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A little boy once said to his mum, “Who’s book is this?” The mum replied, “It’s God’s book, the Bible.” Then the boy said, “Well why don’t we return it? We never read it?” Many in the West have several bibles in each house, we have them on apps, online, on cd, dvd & some may still listen in on cassette or video tape! The Purpose of God’s Word is for teaching, rebuking, correcting & training in righteousness, so that every person will be thoroughly equipped for every work. 2 Timothy 3:16. Sadly, many are not taught, rebuked, corrected or trained. We need to study God’s word in private, for self-feeding, & in community for growth. Why don’t you pick up God’s book today?
Brother Andrew from Open Doors, well known from the book, “God’s Smuggler,” took a courageous risk many years ago & started smuggling Bibles into Communist China. He prayed the now famous prayer, “Lord you can make blind eyes see, now make seeing eyes blind.” The guards at the checkpoint didn’t see the bibles in his little V dub beetle, and he started the first of many bible smuggling missions. Open doors now reaches out to many persecuted believers all over the world. What a history maker. From one courageous risk, so many have been reached. They say that Leadership is not just what you accomplish, but what you set in motion. What can you do today to make history?
An old Chinese pastor once said, “There are 3 kinds of christians. Some who have the bible but don’t read it, they don’t count. Some who read the bible & don’t live it out, they don’t count. And there are those who read the bible and live it out, those are the ones who count. We have a lot to learn from Chinese Christians, they have seen incredible revival in the midst of persecution. Another underground Chinese Pastor once said that their churches were raided, their bibles would often be burned by authorities, and their members were imprisoned or worse. But whenever they saw persecution, their underground church would grow. Maybe we should be a little more committed to studying God’s word, and even if we are not persecuted, we should be getting to know the bible, and more importantly, getting to know the God of the bible. Maybe we’d see revival in ourselves, and then it could flow to those around us.
According to the university of Iowa, the average 2 year old child hears 432 negative statements each day, but only 32 positive statements each day. And by the time your kid is in high school he or she will hear an average of 15 negative comments to every one positive! The Bibles says in Ephesians 4:29, don’t use any foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Let’s choose to speak life today and always look for an opportunity to build others up, not tear them down.
Many people love the icing on the cake. I’ve even seen some kids just eat the icing and leave the cake on the plate. But the way cakes are created, it’s best to eat both, and too much icing is not good for you! Sex is a bit like the icing on the cake. You need the cake with all its flour & eggs and other goodies to make the cake, then the icing on the cake is the final topping. And it’s not the key ingredient. In our relationships, we need to have lots of ingredients to make it successful, and sex is the icing on the cake, after the wedding. Sex has been designed by God for married couples, as a part of a healthy relationship, and in the marriage covenant. And God’s way is always the best way.
Once there was a river that was infested with dangerous crocodiles. People from the nearby village would often be attacked and lose limbs and have terrible scars, and sometimes lives would be lost. But the longstanding tradition of the village was that people would never talk about the crocodiles, it was a taboo subject. Many people see the subject of Sex as a Taboo subject. They have a longstanding tradition that it is never talked about, and sadly many people are never properly educated on the subject. The Bible has lots to say about sex. We should be talking about it in our families, in our churches and in our relationships. Otherwise people will believe what Hollywood & the media & the schoolyard believes. But God’s way is always the best way.
Research shows that the divorce rate for couples who marry in a church is 40%. For those married by a Celebrant it’s 60%. For those who live together before they are married it’s 80%. And for those couples who read their bible daily it’s 1 in 1051 that get divorced. When we follow God’s design of marriage, it’s always the best way. The Bible tells us to seek Wisdom from God above all else. To forgive each other, to serve one another in love. This is the opposite to the worlds way. The world says live for yourself, the Bible says to Love God & love others. With all the confusion and attacks on marriage. Maybe it’s time we get back to a firm foundation, let’s pray for stronger marriages, and for wisdom in our families.
They say that a smart chess player can think seven moves ahead before he makes his next move. I think we need to think the same way for our children’s sake and for the sake of our children’s children. Recently I spoke to a friend of mine who’s a pastor in Seattle, USA. He said he’s dealing with all sorts of questions in his congregation, because of three parts of legislation that have changed his local community. Marijuana has been legalised. Euthanasia is legalised and gay marriage has been legalised too. He said he could go on beating the drum and try and change the legislation back, but he said to me that in a world where the darkness is increasing, it’s a time for Christians to shine all the brighter. Now there are some who are called to change the legislation, but the more important thing is that we change lives. Once a person comes to Christ, the Bible says the old is gone, the new has come. THey are a new creation in Christ Jesus. And the Word of God then becomes a solid foundation for their life. No matter what shifting sands are around, the Word of God is the solid rock on which we stand. And even though we may be persecuted and ridiculed for our beliefs, we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Many people are changing their beliefs because of the culture that’s changing around them. Lets make sure culture doesn’t dictate what we believe. It all comes back to the Word of God. And the Word of God all points to Jesus.
With the introduction of social media into our lives. Everyone has become a broadcaster. Everyone like to share their opinions and their point of view. And people like to discuss and argue over different topics. Whether it’s online or face-to-face, we need to be careful about what we say. We need to be careful about the tone we use and the words we choose. They say no ones ever argued anyone into becoming a Christian, and the Bible says we should let our conversation always be seasoned and full of grace. Author and speaker Karl Faase talks about the tone we use when we’re having discussions. According to research doctors who are less likely to get sued, are the ones who speak in a calming tone and who spend a little bit more time with their patients. And doctors who are more likely to get sued are ones who speak abruptly and don’t give time to their patients. The same applies to us when we’re having a discussion. Let’s remain calm. Let’s speak positively. Let’s not attack one-another. And let’s be rational and guarded in what we say. And maybe give a little bit more time to those we’re talking with. There’s a saying in indigenous communities that we need to walk a while with someone before we really know them. I think that’s one of the best ways we can be a witness for Christ. Walk a while with someone. Be careful about the tone of your voice and give them a little bit of extra time.
I saw a poster recently that really got me thinking. It said “Jesus avoided people, so should you.” I thought, it’s true that Jesus did go off to solitary places to pray at times and he didn’t always avoid people. He loved them and he ministered to them, he did miracles with them. But it is true that time and time again in scripture, Jesus withdrew from the crowds to go away and pray. In our busy lives we can spend the whole day with the radio, the TV, the internet all blaring into our ears. We can be surrounded by people and busyness. They say that busyness is the curse of the new millennium. But the truth is we’re no good to anyone if our tank’s empty. I think Jesus knew the key of withdrawing from the crowds. Going away to a solitary place and seeking the will of his Father in heaven. That’s the way to get your tank filled up. And when your tank’s full, you can achieve what you’re meant to achieve. It’s great to set aside time every morning to pray and read the Word of God. But I don’t think that’s enough. I think we need to take time throughout each day as well. A friend of mine told me about a silent retreat she went on for three days. She said at first, it was really difficult, but then she learnt the art of being still. I think it’s a timely reminder for us to stop being so busy. To pause. Take time to fill the tank and live for an audience of one. To follow Christ and to not follow the crowd.
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