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WISE – Faith

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Faith

People always say that faith is blind!  However the Bible says that faith is a total confidence in God’s faithfulness, which leads to reliance, trust and total obedience to Him (Hebrews 11v6).  We see this faith in the Godly obedience of those around us and from the Bible and church history.

Faith in Salvation

For salvation, faith is a voluntary change of mind and heart in the sinner in which the person turns to God, relying on and accepting His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.

  1. Mind – recognition of your need of salvation. Acknowledging Christ’s death on your behalf and your need of forgiveness.
  2. Emotional (Heart) – your personal assent to the gospel.  You ask yourself, “What must I do to be saved?” and then you agree to make salvation a part of your life.
  3. Will – Personal trust in Jesus Christ.

Now as a follower of Jesus, you are to continue having faith in Him.  Four things at least you are to have faith in Him for:

By faith – He is praying for you

Jesus Christ is making intercessions for His followers (Romans 8:34).  He knew the disciples troubles (Mark 6:48), just as He knows your troubles now.  He feels your cares and knows what you are going through (Hebrews 4:14-16).

By faith – He will come to you

Ever felt like God is far away? Well you aren’t alone!  King David often felt God was far away and unconcerned.  However he also knew God would ultimately rescue him.  Jesus always comes to you through difficult times, although He may not come in the time you think He should come, because He knows when you need Him most.

By faith – He will help you grow

When the disciples were in the storm and Jesus came to them walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33), the purpose of this incident was to show that Jesus would be leaving them soon, so they had to learn to trust in Him when He wasn’t physically present.  Peter wrote later on in his life, “for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3v12).

By faith, He will see you through

At the same event, Jesus said “Come” and Peter went with Him.  This must have encouraged the other disciples, for upon seeing Jesus’ power they worshipped him.  Whatever troubles you are undergoing are temporary, and Jesus will see you through.

By faith, you have salvation. By faith Jesus is praying, will come to you, grow you and help you through troubles.  By being obedient to God, you are showing others your salvation and showing that faith, is not blind, but active!

 

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WISE – Prayer

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Prayer

I wonder what you think prayer is and how much of it you have experienced? Is your vision and experience of prayer too small? Let us find out together, a small part of prayer!

Prayer is to be at the centre of the relationship between God and the Christian. It is the major interaction and fellowship between God and humans, and of humans communicating with God, both in talking and listening. Prayer is allowing God to be consciously in to all aspects of Christian’s life and enjoying God’s companionship.

John Calvin, said that part of praying was asking for “what we have learned to be available” in God’s love and of His being the infinitesimal good giver. He goes on to say our “only security” is achieved by calling on the Father for His providence out of His infinite mercy.

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WISE – Prayer

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Prayer

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I wonder what you think prayer is and how much of it you have experienced? Is your vision and experience of prayer too small? Let us find out together, a small part of prayer!

Prayer is to be at the centre of the relationship between God and the Christian. It is the major interaction and fellowship between God and humans, and of humans communicating with God, both in talking and listening. Prayer is allowing God to be consciously in to all aspects of Christian’s life and enjoying God’s companionship.

John Calvin, said that part of praying was asking for “what we have learned to be available” in God’s love and of His being the infinitesimal good giver. He goes on to say our “only security” is achieved by calling on the Father for His providence out of His infinite mercy.

Prayer is ultimately what humans were made for: conversing with God. Regardless of status or maturity or any other man-made barrier, God is always accessible, through prayer, to all those seeking Him with a contrite heart and a humble spirit. This dynamic relationship enables the Christian to engage in prayer that is both personal and relational.

All prayer consists of a desire or longing to know God better, and that is to be the prime motivation: to know God better and more intimately. Prayer’s function is to a constant yearning for God’s assistance! It is to be a strengthening of desire towards eternal happiness, holiness and worship and knowledge of God.

God Himself assists us as we pray! Did you know that? He does this by correcting and strengthening the yearning we express. Prayers express desires and thoughts in a contributory way to the journey of the Christian Disciple. Prayer emits our words from ourselves to the God we seek to know, as a response to His reaching out to us.

Through prayer, God is able to comprehend the Christian Disciple regardless of language, grammar or oratory skill as long as the Christian Disciple approaches with a correct attitude. Words however, are not just to be a mental action but also an emotive act, conveying emotions and feeling. Prayer is to convey deep emotions to God, regardless of our language skills. The words spoken in prayer portray our innermost feeling to Him. Because God is personal, He values language and expects His people to talk to Him. Prayer is intimacy with God!

If for some reason, the Christian Disciple is unable to convey their words in prayer, then Romans 8v26, intimates that the Holy Spirit intercedes. Prayer epitomises the Father-child relationship symbolized in the Christian Disciple’s relationship with God. It further symbolizes the freedom and peace in prayer, advocated by Jesus to communicate His deepest desires, as in the Lords Prayer (Matthew 6v9-13) and in John 17.

Don’t just have your prayer time in the morning or evening and leave it at that. Pray throughout the day as well, asking God for His assistance as you go about your daily life! Go! Pray!

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WISE – Giving

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Giving!

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Every person has in differing quantities time, possessions and money. These things in and of themselves are not evil. The whole Christian community is one that is to reflect the Holy Trinity. The Church is to be a community where the strongest members support the weakest members. This applies not only to the local church, but also to the universal Church and therefore has a national and international context as well. Too often, even as Christian Disciples we are found turning a blind eye to the suffering of others where the bare necessities of life are in sparse existence. Too often we gather possessions and people, instead of giving up our time and money generously to help the poor and needy of both our world and local communities.

Perhaps the greatest indicator of spiritual growth in the Christian Disciple concerns their financial giving. Paul writing to the Corinthians commands that giving be done whole-heartedly and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9v7). For the Christian Disciple, it is not so much how much is given, but how much is left after giving. God looks beyond the amount that is given to the motive behind the giving. All our money and possessions belong to God anyway, so giving is to be in response to this. Giving is to be done out of love for God. Paul offers in 1 Corinthians 16v2 a three-point system for giving: regularly, methodically and proportionately.

Failure to give back to God’s work what He has given the Christian Disciple in the first place, robs God (Malachi 3v8). The reason it robs is because the giving cannot be used to support those who are working for God. As a result of giving, the Christian Disciple will be blessed (Malachi 3v10) and have their needs satisfied (Philippians 4v19).

Remember in the Old Testament, Widows were important to God, because justice is important to God. God is a God of justice and mercy. In the Old Testament, under the Law of Moses, God commanded provision for those who were widows, oppressed or uncared for. The Apostles would have known about God caring for the widows and in Jesus teaching about justice for the poor and the oppressed. We know this because if you remember from Acts 2 and 4, people were selling and sharing possessions and ensuring that people within the Christian community were being looked after and cared for. This included making sure that everyone got fed, particularly those who had no family to care for them. And its not just for those in the church – but all in the community where you live.

The New Testament church made sure that giving was done and that the poor, the oppressed, the lonely and the widows were taken care of. People working fulltime for the Lord were given recompense by others for their efforts. People gave. How is your giving? How does your church give and care for those in need, in your community? The get out clause as it were these days, is that it would not be good stewardship to give to that person or that cause. After all, they say, “Didnt Jesus say in Matthew 7v6 ;Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you'”. Of course when they say that they are totally missing both the point and context of what Jesus actually meant.
God gave everything so that you and I may life and life in abundance. So by giving, you are reflecting that. This Christmas, give generously, just as God gave and gives generously, and gave His Son as a ransom for sin.

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WISE – Sovereignty of God

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Sovereignty of God.

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G’day! Welcome to WISE. The word for today is Sovereignty of God.

The sovereignty of God means that God is in control at all times and nothing can occur outside of His control and will. God loves His creation and cares for it. He won’t deny people their humanity when dealing with them.

Decrees – a part of Sovereignty

Sovereign decree: When God says “Eternal life is available for all. You may choose to accept or reject it. Those that accept it, I will call my children.” Your own reaction as a Christian Disciple is that you have taken up God’s offer and are trusting and obeying.

Conditional decree: When God says “I am willing to give you my opinion and help when you ask.” Our reaction should be to read the Bible, and pray and talk to God about the situation!

Natural decree: When God has created a lemon tree, that lemon tree wont produce potatoes.” Our reaction should be to plan in view of that.

But!

A question often posed is one that goes “Well if God is sovereign, then why doesn’t He do something about the suffering of the masses such as those in who are dying for lack of food?” But God has done something about it! God has provided enough food for all people everywhere, just that we in the West are greedy! So the problem is not with God, but with people! God’s provision to all people has become God’s provision for the minority, through humanity’s inhumanity to others. As for other kinds of suffering, that’s part of the reason for the cross, where God Himself experienced human suffering when Jesus died on the cross: Jesus, the man who was both fully God and fully human. God is not so removed from our sufferings, which He Himself endured and suffered at the Cross. Just because God allows free will to all people to sin, doesn’t mean that God is responsible for the sin – that is, and must remain, people’s responsibility! If not, we would all just be robotic automatons instead of free people.

God knows…

God’s sovereignty is inclusive in that it covers all actions of people, good or bad (Acts 2v23; Ephesians 2v10). The foundation of God’s sovereignty is wisdom according to Paul (Ephesians 3:8-11). So, when we are faced with a decision, God knows what is going to occur. He knows all the options and choices. It is important when faced with making decisions to pray about it and read the Bible. He seeks you to respond to Him with love and affection. Why not start today, and ask Him for help? God is interested in every facet of your life. If He were not, then He couldn’t be personal, and He certainly wouldn’t be sovereign!

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