Sunday, 31 March 2013

John 11:25-26

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Friday, 29 March 2013

Romans 5:6-8


Romans 5:6-8
 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Not only are we not good or righteous, not only are we sinners, but our saviour isn't simply a man who is also sinful. He, Jesus, is God - perfect and holy, he cannot stand sin. Yet he died for us - who are not simply bad, but utterly and completely lost in our sin - powerless. Sin is a personal attack on God's character, because he defines what is good, and sin is evil, disobedience to him. What an awesome thing our God has done for us! I cannot Fathom it.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Barabbas

Mark 15:6-15
"Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.

“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.

“Crucify him!” they shouted.

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified."


A simple point, though one thats been on my mind: We, I and you, are Barabbas. We are sinners - murderers, thieves, liars, proud, arrogant. We mock, we reject God, we rebel against him. Even if we are 'good people' we are still sinful and rebelling against God. Yet Jesus dies instead of us if we are Christians. We deserve death and God's wrath which is hell eternally, instead Jesus dies and we are set free. He is murdered for our sake. We don't deserve it - like Barabbas, but yet we have it freely. Why? Because God is gracious, wonderful, awesome, loving and kind. Because by it God displays his attributes - his justice and wrath, his perfection and holiness his love, mercy, grace and compassion. What an awesome God! What a marvellous saviour we have in Jesus!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Romans 8:18 - Sufferings


Romans 8:18
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

What an awesome verse.

The truth is, we will suffer here. We will face hardship, we will be sick, we will be persecuted, we will have broken relationships, we will have friends and family become sick and die, we will suffer. God never tells us in his word that we won't suffer, the prosperity gospel is not biblical. In actual face 2 Timothy 3:12 says
 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted and Jesus explains this more in John 15:18-19: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.". We will be hated if we follow Jesus, and not only will we suffer because of our faith, but we will suffer like anyone else int he world and face sickness and death as well.

Why do we suffer? How can a good God allow suffering? At creation, God created everything perfectly. There was no suffering, no death and no sickness. Then we chose to disobey God, Adam and Eve ate the fruit, and the punishment (as God said it would be) is sickness and death. That is the result of sin. God will right it when he returns to judge, and he will put an end to it, but in not judging yet he is showing mercy, gathering more people into his kingdom. We suffer because we live in a fallen, sinful world and because we ourselves are fallen and sinful. 

Yet there is so much hope in this verse. Our sufferings are NOTHING compared to what heaven will be. When Christ returns, he will gather all his people and bring us to heaven with him - we will be with God for eternity. Revelations 21:1-4 says: Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 
 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” We have the promise of eternity with God, and with no more sin, pain, death, crying, mourning or suffering of any kind. We may suffer for a little while here, but don't give up! An eternity without suffering awaits all who trust in Christ! On the other side of the coin, all those who reject Christ will suffer for eternity in hell. What's worth more? Suffering here for a short time and then eternal life with Christ? Or living how we want here (though still suffering often) and then eternal suffering because of sin? Don't give up, fix your eyes on Christ and persevere.

Yet God also gives us so much hope in our sufferings here. Romans 8:28 says "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." God works everything for our good - even suffering. So we can trust him, we don't have to worry about suffering because we know God will work it all for our good. Isaiah 41:10 and 43:1b-2 - 

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
 do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." 

and 

'“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."'

We have God promising that he is with us, that he will protect us and be with us. Zephaniah 3:17 is similar, saying: "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

We also learn that God allows sufferings to mature and teach us -
  James 1:2-4: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.". 
  1 Peter 1:3-9 is similar saying - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
Hebrews 12:7-11: Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Other great verses to look at include
John 16:33
 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcomethe world
Philippians 4:4-13

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. 
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
2 Corinthians 4:8-12,16-18
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you...Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
1 Peter 5:6-10

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

God's word is absolutely packed full of encouragements about suffering. We will certainly suffer if we follow Jesus wholeheartedly, but it is well worth it in the eternal perspective. By sufferings we learn and grow and become more like God, by them we seek deeper into God's word and we look forward to heaven where there will be no more suffering. We also have God's continual sustaining power and grace throughout them, helping and encouraging us, even though we don't deserve it and continually stuff it up. We have an awesome God, a mighty saviour, and there is much reason to be joyful, even if you're suffering. Fix your eyes on Christ and his promises. He is always faithful, he will save and he is in control. Trust him and don't lose heart.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Friday, 22 March 2013

Romans 8:17 - Co-heirs with Christ

Romans 8:17
Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Recently I've been quite stressed (and this will continue until school holidays), but God is constantly proving himself faithful, and he has timed me reading through Romans 8 perfectly. At the moment I'm pretty tired, so I'm not feeling the joy of this verse too deeply, but it is a verse full of hope and joy, and our hearts should be 'singing' as we read it. 

"If we are children" - Paul has established in the last verse that the Holy Spirit lets us know if we are truly God's children. Everyone who has the Holy Spirit in them is adopted as a Child of God. Some revision: Who has the holy Spirit? Only Christians, and all Christians do. How can God, the Holy Spirit, dwell in us when we are sinful? Jesus came into the world. suffered in our place. We have all sinned, disobeyed God and therefore deserve his wrath. No amount of good works can save us - it's like if someone was charged with Murder, and at court they appealed to the judge, saying they helped an old woman walk across the road, it would still be unjust for the judge to acquit him. Likewise with us, no amount of good works can remove the fact that we have sinned, and our good works are also bad, since (unless Christians) they are no done to glorify God. Yet in Jesus there is forgiveness - he takes our sin and we take his perfection, he took God's just and perfect wrath against our sin (for which we deserved hell) and he paid it in full, dying in our place. He then rose again, proving he had fully dealt with sin. How are we saved? We repent (turn from sin) and believe (Trust in Jesus as the only way to be saved).

"Then we are Heirs - heirs of God" - We are not only adopted as God's children, not only saved when we deserve hell, not only shown mercy when we murdered God's only son, not only given the Holy Spirit in this life, with comfort, joy and God's strength, not only granted eternal life, not only united with Christ in his death and resurrection, but also we are heirs. God is so gracious! So merciful! I cannot fathom the depths of his love and grace toward us. I cannot even begin to fathom or understand it. What does Heirs of God mean? Adam Clarke says it refers to the fact that God is our reward. We were created to glorify God and enjoy him forever, and heaven by definition is being in the presence of God (In the Garden, God walked with Adam and eve and in heaven we will be in the presence of God - Rev 21). Aside from eternal life, we will be in God's direct presence, and it will be greater then we can ever imagine. That's our blessing. Which raises the point: If you reject God here, or don't want to obey him, how will you be able to enjoy him in heaven? Non-christians will get what they wanted - rejection by God. Christians, we need to be desiring to be like God and we need to love him more and more. Pray for his help in that!

"Co-heirs with Christ". We are united with Jesus in his death and resurrection (Romans 6), he takes our sin, we take his righteousness, we died to sin with him and therefore shouldn't be living in it any longer and he ros to life and we rose with him to new life - in service to him, as living sacrifices (Galatians 2:20). We are then adopted as God's children, united with Christ in that. The church is the bride of Christ - united to him like husband and wife. He is the head of the church. And we are united with Christ as heirs with him. Jesus came to save us, depraved, helpless sinners, and we had nothing desirable in us. Nt only did he give his life for us, suffer and die, but he shares his eternal and infinite glories with us - when we are still weak and frail after being saved. Then we have the nerve to not forgive others, or to not share the gospel? What a glorious and wonderful saviour! And what sinful, frail humans we are! Pray for his help to change and work on it!

"If indeed we share in his sufferings". Throughout the bible we are told that as Christians we will suffer. 2 Timothy 3:12 says "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted". We should count the cost and be ready, but it's way worth it isn't it? A short amount of persecutions and sufferings here, and eternal life with God, heirs of his glory with Christ our saviour. It is well worth it. But why do we have to suffer? Does it have anything to do with "Filling up the afflictions of Christ" which Paul talks about in Colossians? I have no idea. But I do know why God lets us suffer. James 1:2-4
 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be matureand complete, not lacking anything.
1 Peter 1:6-9
 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in himand are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
We suffer because by it God grows us and causes us to trust in him. Because by it we learn to be more like him, we are refines and our sin is cut off. By sufferings we become more like Jesus and thus more able to worship God fully. More ready for heaven. We also suffer so we can help others who are suffering and share the gospel with them, and so we love this world less and desire heaven and God more. It's hard, but even in suffering there is grace and mercy!

And again, it's well worth it. We suffer so that we may "share in his glory" - we will be glorified with Chist at the end, eternity in God's presence, in heaven. It's a hard, but true contrast to non-christians. They will spend eternity without God and in eternal shame. We will spend eternity with God and eternal glory and joy. Share the gospel! It is entirely selfish not to!

God Bless!
Nat

Thursday, 21 March 2013

2 Samuel 14:14


A Hint at the Gospel from 2 Samuel 14:14
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.

I'm not entirely sure if the context suits - it's a wise woman telling David to bring back his son Absalom, and stemmed from an unjust decision by King David, but it's true of God through Jesus.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Romans 8:14 - Children of God

Romans 8:14
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.


As per usual, another beautiful piece of God's word. The whole bible is God's word, when we read it, it is God talking to us if we are his people. That is such a blessing, and that should be so encouraging to us! Read the bible!


"Led by the Spirit of God" - led involves submitting. We need to submit to the Holy Spirit and then be led by it. How does it lead us? Well, through the bible, directing us to know Christ/God more fully. He (The Holy Spirit) is God, and directs us to be more like God through God's word. But he also directs us in our lives if we are submitting to him, to do God's will. Ultimately the first step in being led by the Holy Spirit is being convicted of sin and thereby repenting of it. Once saved, he continues to work in us and develop us into who God wants us to be. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit in them. How can we, sinners have God living in us? God who is perfect, holy, just, who is "too pure to look on evil" (Habakkuk 1:13). How can that God live in us? Well Jesus came into the world (and he aso is God - God is three persons, but one God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit). He came and died for us, took our sin and the wrath we deserved for it and he died on the cross. He took God's perfect wrath for all who are his people and he saved us - dealt with it in full so we are forgiven, viewed as righteous in God's sight, holy enough that he can live in us. Yet we still sin - but in Christ there is forgiveness and our aim is to be like God. (We are Justified - viewed as Holy in God's eyes, and we are being sanctified - becoming holy in our lives, working against sin),

But we are not only forgiven. Here's how it is. We are sinners, we disobey God. Therefore we are his enemies. We reject him, we mock him. We murdered Jesus when he came to save us (We are no better then those who murdered him). We are evil, jealous, lying, thieving creatures, we are wretched, pitiful and unable to help ourselves. We deserve only wrath. Yet God does not only not give us what we deserve - he gives us life and enjoyment here. And not only that, he sends his only, perfect, holy son to die in our place and save us (though we were the ones who would murder him). Then he sends the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and bring us to salvation through Repentance and faith and to lead us to be more like God. And not only are we forgiven, but we receive Christ's righteousness (2 Cor 5:21, Romans 5:17). Not only that, we are Adopted as "Children of God" and even more - we are Co-Heirs with Christ! (v17). What mercy is this! What a Gracious God! Yet we still sin, and he continually forgives! What an awesome God!

So then, "Children of God". God is the perfect father, therefore as his children we need to:
1. Submit 100% to him, he is right. He provides a way out so we don't have to sin (1 Corinthians 10:13)
2. Trust him 100% - he is in control, knows all our needs and promises to give us all we need. He constantly sustains us and protects us, he is with us and he is mighty to save (Isaiah 41:10, Zephaniah 3:17).
3. Pray to him and talk to him - he is our father.
4. Be joyful! He is faithful, he has saved us and he promises us eternal life. We will be with him eternally so be joyful! And from that, be courageous to share the gospel so others might see his grace and mercy also.

But on the other hand, if we reject God, he is still perfect, still just. He will judge sin, he will put an end to it - either in Christ, or by sending all who refuse to submit to Christ to eternal judgement in hell. That is what we all deserve. Turn to Christ! He saves! Submit to hom, Repent and Believe the good news!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Romans 8:12-13

Romans 8:12-13
Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation--but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

What a Beautiful passage, it's been so encouraging to think over these verses the last two days, here's a few lessons and thoughts from them:

"Brothers and Sisters" - we are united in Christ - united as his church to each other and we are all equal in him. We are united to him in his death and in his resurrection  dying to sin with him and raising to new life with him (and we will rise to eternal life with him also when we die). We need to live like it! Also, if we are united to each other, adopted as God's children and therefore brothers and sisters, we need to love each other and be genuinely concerned for each other - physically, emotionally, spiritually, concerned for each other on all levels. Love other christians regardless of denomination assuming that they accept the true gospel. That doesn't mean we shouldn't discuss issues in theology or that we should gloss over our disagreements, but when we discuss it should be with love and respect and with the bible at the centre of every argument.

"We have an obligation". What to? To obey God. Why? 1. If we have genuinely repented of sin and put our faith in God, we are obliged to show it in our lives and obey. You don't genuinely say sorry for something then keep on doing it, you change if it was a genuine apology. 2. If we have done this, we have been forgiven by God completely, and are obliged to live differently then we used to. 3. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. He is holy, therefore we need to be holy. We should also do it out of love for God, obliged since he loved us and gave his son for us. There are other reasons as well. We owe God so much, we used to be his enemies, slaves to sin, we rebelled (and rebel) against him, we hated him, we rejected him, yet he saw fit to save us - we are obliged to change and live for him. There is no excuse for continuing to sin if we call yourself a Christian. Of course, we stuff up, but we should also be changing and growing in godliness, hating our sin.

"If you" - it is a personal decision. We need to decide who we will follow, what we will trust in and therefore how we will live. No one can make us christians, not one can make you turn to God. You need to make that decision yourself, weigh it up carefully, count the cost for both (Because there is a cost to both) and choose wisely. But at the same time, while we are responsible, God is in control, and no decision of ours can mess up his plan. 

"Live according to the Flesh" - according to the sinful nature. If we live according to the sinful nature that means living in sin. Disobeying God. The result of that is death. What are some examples of sin? Lying, stealing, murder, hatred, bitterness, or even just not living for God's glory. What's the result? "You will die". That's satan's goal - he wants us destroyed. Why does sin result in death? Because God is perfect and sin is rebellion to him, and his perfect law condemns us if we sin to death. So in a way, Satan uses God's good and perfect law to achieve his aims. But at the same time, satan has been defeated and God offers salvation through Jesus, forgiveness for sin. So Satan doesn't win - Jesus has the victory and God will be glorified through saving many, and also in justly condemning those who reject him. Don't live according to the sinful nature, don't libe for satan or for self - it leads to destruction! To death. Not just physical death, but spiritual death and therefore God's eternal wrath. That's what our sinfulness deserves. Satan promises the world, but in reality he gives nothing. And even if he does give the world - Matthew 16:26: "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?" Nothing. It's not worth it. Keep an eternal perspective!

Yet in Jesus there is salvation. He came to earth as a man, though he is God. He lived perfectly, suffered and then died in our place - taking the sin of God's people (Christians) and paying for it in full on the cross. He took God's wrath, the condemnation we deserved. That's why jesus came, thats why he had to die - to deal with our sin. How do we know he dealt with it in full? Well he rose again! He dealt with sin, dealt with the condemnation of God's good and right law in full, and therefore he was no longer condemned for our sakes - he was no longer held by death. 

"By the Spirit" - This second part of v13 is the opposite to the first - calling us to live according to God's word. How can we do that? Only by the Spirit. We are powerless to obey God ourselves, we are powerless to put sin 'to death' in our lives. We cannot help ourselves, yet God sends his Holy Spirit to help us, to encourage, rebuke, strengthen and change us. The Holy Spirit, which is given to all believers at salvation, is proof that we are entirely forgiven. How can a holy God dwell in sinful people? He can't. But in Jesus there is complete forgiveness, so we are holy in God's sight, and therefore the Holy Spirit can live in us.

"Put to death the misdeeds of the body." Since we died to sin with Christ and have risen with him to new life (Romans 6), we are now called to put sij to death in our lives. We are called to no longer be slaves to sin, but slaves to God - living sacrifices, without blemish or sin, holy and pleasing to God. Of course, we stuff up, but Jesus saves and forgives when we do. How do we kill sin? We don't feed it. We don't sin, we don't entertain sinful thoughts, we avoid temptation and flee from it. We pray, pray pray and pray more, we rea he bible and draw nearer to God, and we work hard to hate our sin and to love God more. The opposite is also true - we are called to kill sin, therefore we are also called to live godly lives, to obey God and serve him in all we do. How do we do that? Well know and read his word, share the gospel, help the poor and weak, be godly! Be Genuine in your walk with God.

The result? "You will live". Works don't save us, but a genuinely saves person will do good works and we will live - live here for God, live eternally with him in heaven. Live as we were created to live - loving him and for his glory in all things. Live fully, joyfully and full of faith in him. 

Trust in God! Love him, worship him alone and serve him! Live for him.


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Matthew 5:7

I don't have time to write this out as a devotional or in a more logical manner, but here's the outline for my talk for next week. I hope it makes sense and is useful to you!




Matthew 5:7
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed?
What is being Merciful?
Why are we called to be merciful?
-         How does God show his mercy to us?
Who was the Ultimate example of Mercy
-                     How did he show it?
Why do we need to be shown mercy?
-                     What is sin? In essence?
-                     How serious is sin?
-                     Is there any way for us to pay for our sin?
Are only the merciful shown mercy? What is God’s mercy
-                    In terms of Eternity?
-                    In terms of life here?
-                   How do Christians see Gods mercy in their lives here?
Is this salvation by works? James 2:13 Matthew 6:14-15
What does being merciful look like in our lives?
-                      What does not being merciful look like?
-                      What does being merciful look like?
-                      Specific examples?
How can we develop it?


Blessed?
-       - God’s favour, God’s blessing. Better then any earthly thing. But also has real implications for our life, and for our eternity.

What is being Merciful
-       - Tied strongly to forgiving, undeserved forgiveness, or helping someone in need without any real reason except to help them.

Why are we called to be merciful?
-       - God is
-       - Ex 34:6 “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,”
-       God is merciful to Us

Who was the Ultimate example of Mercy and how did he show it?
-       - Jesus, died for us. He was God’s son. He also gave up his glory and lived among us. he has taken our sin if we are his people and tat he died in our place so we are completely forgiven, but rose again to prove it and to show he had fulfilled the law.

Why do we need to be shown mercy?
-      -  Ezekiel 33:11 “Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?'”
-      -  2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
-      - God offers us forgiveness even though our sin is a personal attack on him. We are his enemies, we rebel against him and ignore him, or worse – we mock him and attack his people. Yet he offers to show us mercy in Jesus, sending his only son to die in our place. We deserve none of it – that’s mercy.
-      - God is merciful, he wants us to be like him (Perfection = like God = his standard). Therefore he wants us to be merciful and is delighted when we are.

Are only the merciful shown mercy? What is God’s mercy
-      -  In terms of eternity yes, we are granted heaven.
-      - But here on earth, every second of life we have, every good thing we have is a mercy of God because we deserve only his punishment.
-      -  We have here the promise of heaven eternally if we are God’s people! Complete forgiveness. We were God’s enemies, he has every reason to destroy us yet he accepts us as his children, co-heirs with Jesus, to miss out on heaven by rejecting Jesus isn’t worth any pleasure or joy in this life!
-      -  Also or cs it means joy and hope here, complete forgiveness, no guilt, no fear of death. We also have God helping and strengthening and teaching us in this life.

Is this salvation by works? James 2:13 Matthew 6:14-15
-      -  No, it is an evidence of salvation. If we have been forgiven so much by God how can we not forgive others?
-      -  We offended God far more then we can imagine – so much that the only payment could be Jesus, God himself, dying in our place.
-      - Yet God forgave. How can we not forgive others?
-      -  We have the Holy Spirit, we should be acting like it
-      -  Eph 4:32, Matthew 10:42
-      - Being merciful means nothing – it needs to be being merciful for God’s glory.

What does being merciful look like in our lives?
-       - It’s an attitude of the heart, but à direct action.
-       - The opposite to seeking revenge – don’t try to get back at people, just let it go and forgive!
-      -  Seeing the suffering of others and wanting to help and then helping.
-      - Can we learn from Jesus’ example? How should we be acting like him? Giving up glory and pride to save us who hated him – maybe standing up for someone whose being bullied, befriending and helping them even if you don’t like them? Small compared to what Jesus did.
-       - Forgiving people when the offend us – not just our friends, but even those who hate us
-       - Helping those in need, specifics?
-       -  Things like 4 hour famine – helping people when really we have no reason to and it costs us
-       - It also can mean telling people off when they are in sin. The biggest mercy we can show someone is sharing the gospel with them. That involves telling them they are sinners destined for Gods wrath unless they turn to Jesus. We need to direct people to God’s mercy.
-       - It also can involve challenging christians with God’s word and rebuking them if they are sinning.
-        
How can we develop it?
-       - Pray!
-       - Read the bible
-       - Do it. Work on it.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

  2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Psalm 20:6-8

Psalm 20:6-8
Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
    with the victorious power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
    but we rise up and stand firm.