Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bible Quotes Psalm 86:5

“You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” - Psalm 86:5

There is only one God. There are others called God, but none like Him. David calls to Him out of desperation. David’s mother had also been faithful. And we know God answered David. But David had only his faith at that time.  

The full Psalm 86
A prayer of David.
Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
    abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
    listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
    because you answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
    no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
    will come and worship before you, Lord;
    they will bring glory to your name.
For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
    you alone are God.

Teach me your way, Lord,
    that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
    that I may fear your name.
I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.
For great is your love toward me;
    you have delivered me from the depths,
    from the realm of the dead.

Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
    ruthless people are trying to kill me—
    they have no regard for you.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
    slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Turn to me and have mercy on me;
    show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
    just as my mother did.
Give me a sign of your goodness,
    that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
    for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Bible Quotes Ephesians 4:2

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” - Ephesians 4:2

Paul describes himself as a prisoner of the Lord. He gives that bearing and illustrates it as a virtue. We have been given much. And we should use what we have been given for the Lord. It is, as Pastor David Boyd says, as if the Lord has given each of us a new sports car. No one buys a new car to do what the car wants. They use the car as they want. 

We are in a new covenant with the Lord. In the old covenant, the Jews had the Ten Commandments. But when Christ was crucified, for the first time since creation, the Son was separated from God. Jesus bore the sins of the world. The old covenant was torn, with the temple curtain torn from top to bottom. And now the new covenant has the Lord’s law written in the heart of everyone. Not the Ten Commandments, but the new relationship with God. He does not see your sin, but the good you do for Him in service. 

And so our response is not to serve ourselves, for we have more than we need. Our response is to serve Him. And we do so, not through anger and aggression, but through love. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Bible Quotes Mark 9:35

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”” - Mark 9:35

The disciples loved Jesus and wanted to be one Jesus would turn to. They argued among themselves as to who among them was his favourite. Jesus’ answer is humbling. And not something that is immediately obvious. 

People work to achieve. We raise our children to be doctors or lawyers because one can be successful in those professions and still have a reasonable home life. We seek affluence to own things. We want compassion, but don’t look for it. 

People are happy in service. It is nice to own things, but nicer to work for them. To achieve them. Yet even the slave of George Washington was happy to make him a cake on his birthday. Mothers find happiness to meet the needs of their young children. 

Great Presidents of the United States did not order and divide the people, but united them in service. 

And so it was with Jesus. For Jesus, to redeem God’s chosen people, and the Gentiles, He did not come to command, but to serve. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bible Quotes John 4:24

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”” - John 4:24

Jesus has met a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, and told her her life story, and offered her salvation. She wonders how she could be saved as she had made her choices. And here he offers her the water of life. But there is more to the backstory. 

Samaritans and Jews didn’t mix well. They were all from the twelve tribes, but the Samaritans felt the mountain was holy whereas the Jews had a temple. The woman is being very flirty in talking to Jesus at all. It would have been highly inappropriate and might have initiated a fight had a male Samaritan been present. Jesus does not spurn her but tells her he has something she wants. She questions his authority, referencing her ancestor Jacob, which they have in common. 

Jesus answers that anyone who drinks from the well water will be thirsty again. But those who drink from the water of life will never thirst again. Ever flirty, the woman asks for that water. Jesus tells her to bring her husband. And then Jesus reveals he knows exactly who she is. She has made choices which customarily would exclude her from the possibility of salvation. Jesus points out the time is coming when neither the mountain nor the temple would be the special place for one to approach God. Because God is spirit. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Bible Quotes Ephesians 6:12-13

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” - Ephesians 6:12-13

Writer Joe Michael Straczynski adapted this verse to finish off one of his seasons of Babylon 5. The words greatly appeal to stoics. It is worth considering when watching tv and adverts assure you it is ok to lust after wealthy strangers. Everyone faces opposition in their lives, including the blessed. And we need the reminder that our struggle is not really with the person we happen to be facing. It matters little who is treasurer if the Prime Minister has no will to make important decisions. 

And those decision makers may not be individuals at all. It might be policy or custom. Family planning abortion clinics sourcing body parts may not be the idea of one person, but of skewed good intentions. So that the desire to not kill women from poor health care, one ends up killing babies to allow bad lifestyle choices. And the Devil laughs as good people bicker. 

The armour of God is his Word. We are not supposed to fight the Devil, but resist it. God has won the battle already. Don’t join with the losers. Stand on the rock God has given you. Be loving and compassionate. Find wisdom in the Word. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Holocaust Remembrance 27th Jan

Today is holocaust memorial day. A crime that divided the world, placing apathetic in the same circles with terrorists. And one can only guess what the apathetic knew. In modern terms, a US comedian describes it as 'truthiness,' where one only sees what they look for. Some of those guilty of truthiness in the face of the holocaust are startling to see decades later. They escape justice, just as actual war criminals do who claim to be too old and addled to be tried. But today is not about them, but their victims. Only, their victims are dead. Today isn't really about them either. Today is about survivors. And the adamantine promise of those survivors that it will never happen again. For the survivors have family and loved ones, and they will keep the dream that will not be denied. They will prosper. And never forget.

They will not forget the isolation, shaming and casual butchery. They will not forget asking for help from their neighbours, and often being denied onto death. They will not forget calling for justice and having none. Calling for mercy and finding none. Calling for Grace .. and some survived. One does not call for grace, one finds it. Being scheduled for extermination, but surviving because the gaolers fled. Faced with the enormity of what had happened, some female survivors prayed for their gaolers to find God, and not be punished. What had happened to them was not something people should do to one another. After all, how does one rehabilitate those who did that?

At war's end, Jews asked for their promised land. But Democrat US administrations, and Labour UK administrations, sought to deny them. It wasn't politically expedient with the cold war. Remarkably, many survivors were socialist in outlook, but they didn't have the contacts that their like minded socialist buddies demanded. The apathetic began their own process of exoneration .. claiming they had not known. And so we have the world as it is today. A determined Bibi doing the best of a hard job against those hand washers who don't want to be shamed for their choices. We must never forget the cost. Blood cries out.

Bible Quotes James 4:10

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” - James 4:10

Modern health movements don’t admit it. There is strength in service, in not being the highest calling. They school people doing things for themselves. That can be very effective when one is young and in a position to be firm against the change which swirls around the world. But doing things for yourself is ultimately unsatisfying. In a competition against the world, only one is world champion, which means many are losers. If they view themselves that way. 

But service is rewarding and everyone can be good at it. Pride can be found in service. A good parent, a good employee, a good neighbour are valuable. The idea of being the best parent is absurd against the need for sleep. 

It is wonderful to be a world class athlete or performer. It is also an indulgence. Learn about the one who has given you life and blessings. Give thanks for your gifts and opportunities. And if in service you fall down, it is ok to get right back up and try again. In many cases, world class performers who thank God are greater. The elite have done the exercise, but the Lord has given them the gifts. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bible Quotes Philippians 4:8

“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.” -Philippians 4:8

Thanks to Jesus, God sees us like this. And thanks to your heart, when you are in love, this is how you see the loved one. You become more beautiful when you love. It is the vision of hope, the promise of tomorrow.

If you look for what is wrong, what is out of place, what must be improved, you are probably an excellent parent, but to allow clear air, you need to lie so that you can praise too. Lie is not precisely what is meant, but love includes forgiveness. Children feel intense shame at times, and need to have a path that they can follow where they move on from feeling shame to feeling redeemed. 

Not everything will work, and you will want to fix it so that it does. But although you can criticise and break things down to actions where they should work, the glue of praise is needed to put things together and orient them correctly. Which probably is why God gave us Jesus. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Bible Quotes Galatians 6:1

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” - Galatians 6:1
Secular law does not dictate conscience. Lots of things are legal that a moral person should not do. And it is by living by the Spirit that one becomes aware of it. People immersed in the World are not aware of the numerous transgressions they do. Chief of which is to insult God. 

It seems to be a compulsion for unbelievers. But insulting God is a way of finding out who He is. And it should not go unchallenged. But disputing it should not be aggressive either. Because the point is not to be right, but to allow God to work in their lives. 

The scriptures are the inspired work of those who knew God. But unbelievers don’t understand it. The Islamic prophet Mohammed claimed to have flown over the desert on a magic carpet so as to fight two battles at once. Jesus healed the sick. Can you not see how confused the unbeliever becomes? God is real. God has authority on Earth. Arguing aggressively with an unbeliever doesn't illustrate it. 

And believers get confused too. Being saved does not mean one is smart. But the spirit filled believer has not got a license to usurp God just because they are a follower. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Bible Quotes James 1:5

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” -James 1:5

Wisdom seems to be something that only others have. We have excuses, they have wisdom. Every choice you make is your choice, and if you are rational about it then you know why you chose it. Wisdom is deeper. And it is a mystery to those without it. The cult of nature worship has it that only experience makes good choices. Which suggests that everyone needs to make mistakes so that they can later make good choices. But that is not true. 

It isn’t obvious to non believers, but wisdom comes from serving God. If you make choices that are self serving then your decision making is obvious, as are your failures. But you cannot fail in serving God, in making choices based on what God wants, not necessarily what you want. But don’t make the mistake in thinking you serve God by deciding what God wants. You have to walk with God and talk with Him if you want to serve Him. 

God has given you His word so you might serve Him. And so you can ask Him what it is you are choosing to do. And serve Him. Ask God for wisdom. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Bible Quotes Matthew 7:7-8

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” - Matthew 7:7-8

Do you need encouragement to begin a task? Do you feel discouraged and need to persevere. If God wants you to do something, He wants you to finish it. 

The door is a barrier. You want to open it. But before you open it, you should knock. Because the door is closed for a reason and you need permission to open it. It is like a plan for an endeavour. You don’t go on a journey without knowing where you are going. Part of raising a child is teaching them to navigate around places so they know their way around the house, to the shops and to the school. Knocking is like planning. 

Maybe you don’t need to open the door at all. Maybe just knocking is sufficient. It could be very wrong to open a door without knocking, but by knocking, the door is opened and you don’t need to do more. 

Maybe God doesn’t want you to open a door. Be comforted. It is ok to knock. It is not your fault if you are wrong. But don’t open the door without knocking. God loves you and is schooling you to ask Him for permission, and not take Him for granted. Ask. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bible Quotes Galatians 6:7-8

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” - Galatians 6:7-8

To the unbeliever it sounds a simple challenge, mocking God. But if you don’t believe in God you can’t mock him. And if you know that God is real you wouldn’t try. And is that not the explanation that follows? 

It is a criticism of modern evangelical practice that it is prosperity based. The truth of that does not disprove God. It is ok to be rich. It is ok to be blessed. I make no apology to the devil for having been saved and redeemed. I thank God, and I love God and Praise Him. It is not ok to put money before God. The self made person does not acknowledge God. 

The self made person will fall. But the person lifted by God will never fall. Which is why it is better to serve. Some desire wealth so others serve them. But to desire to serve God is better. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bible Quotes James 1:2-3

“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.” - James 1:2-3

James was probably an older brother of Jesus. He had not recognised Jesus until after the resurrection, and possibly felt guilty about that. He was a senior member of the early church. As a senior member, he probably was privy to much that runs a community, and much of his letter seems to go over ground he would have discussed with people many times. 

What must a faithful man have felt to know who Jesus was after resurrection, but not before? To have grown up with him, and played with him and not to have seen, but dismissed him in Jesus’ first life. And then to see children argue and bicker in shared communion. 

It is easy to not persevere. But never rewarding. Only by persevering can great things be done. Is James wishing he had persevered while Jesus was his kin? Did James remember being rejected as he sought to control Jesus and block Jesus from mission? It is natural for siblings to oppose and support each other, and James here seems to be an advocate for love, as church leaders ought to be. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bible Quotes Matthew 7:12

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 7:12

A pastor friend of mine is grieving the loss of his daughter. I gather she was in her twenties and I don’t know what happened to her. But I know she rests in the arms of the Lord. It is the loss of promise. And the whole family is devastated. What would the father ask of the Lord? Nothing less than what he wants for himself. 

The father has been blessed with many children. One of his boys was sick with a bad fever when he was about one years old. They took him to hospital. The child deteriorated and died. He was declared brain dead. The hospital wanted instructions as to the disposal of the body. The father would not give those instructions. He wanted to hold his boy. He held his boy and prayed to God. He lifted up the broken body and declared he knew who God was and he begged for his son to be well. And the boy revived. And twenty years later, the healthy young man lives a full life. 

No doubt the father has prayed similarly for his daughter. 

The verse is from the Sermon on the Mount. It has Jesus who is speaking with authority. But who would deny the truth of that verse for good living? 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bible Quotes 1 Corinthians 10:13

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” - 1 Corinthians 10:13

Life means temptation. Everyone is faced with choice every day. That does not mean there is no salvation or that the faithful are destined to be lost to bad choices. But for the Corinthians there was the need for a theoretical limit or proof that makes a faithful person immune to temptation. And that is not how it works. 

In making choices, it gets easier for the faithful to make right choices. So in choosing to be married and raise a family, it is easier to be faithful in raising that family. But in isolating ones self and not marrying, decisions become more personal and less edifying. Following God can mean building cultural assets. 

But you can lose everything you have built, and still be faithful to God. And still have salvation. God is great. 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bible Quotes Philippians 2:14-16

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.” - Philippians 2:14-16
Probably written during Paul's second incarceration in Rome. The epistle of Paul and Timothy to the Philippians suggests Paul's impending death. Paul is putting his house in order. And such stoicism may well explain Paul's verse here. Paul is not grumbling or arguing. Paul is pointing to God, to salvation. There are the facts of circumstance for which one laments. But then there is the truth of salvation for which we praise God. 

In Psalm 21, David rejoices in the truth of his salvation. In Psalm 22, David Laments in the circumstance of his oppression. But we live with both truth and circumstance. And our hope is in Truth. God is our rock. He will hold us in his victory over our oppressors. 

It is ok to Lament. But not to grumble. In lamentation, we list our woes to God. I lost my sister when I was eleven years old. She had been sickly all her thirteen years. And it seemed as if nothing would ever be right again. But my sister’s life was a blessing, and my life has been enriched for it. In grumbling, we diminish the blessing.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bible Quotes Galatians 5:16

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” -Galatians 5:16
They are thought to have been a tribe of Middle Eastern Gauls that made up Galatia. Immigrants from around 270 BC. Whereas Greeks had a tendency to question everything, including the obvious, these Gauls had a gift for only comprehending what they already knew. So Paul had spoken extensively to the Galatians, even lived among them, but still had to explain that the old law had been surpassed. 

To be fair, the old law had not been replaced, but it is the spirit of that law, as opposed to the obvious expression of it, that the faithful follow. 

Paul was trained as one who would be high Priest of the Jews. But he ended up leading the early Christians. He sets up the question of Law or faith and answers it with the examples of Hagar and Sarah. Hagar was slave to Abraham and bore him slaves. Sarah was wife to Abraham and bore him free children. According to Paul one had to follow the spirit, and by doing so, would find themselves freed of flesh demands. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Bible Quotes John 8:31-32

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
The setting here is Jesus talking to elite Pharisitical Jews. The Pharisees were knowledgeable and well schooled in the word of God. They were gatekeepers, testing those who made claims on God. Only the tests did not allow success. When faced with Jesus, they did not know him. And Jesus does not abandon them, but draws a clear line. 

Jesus points out who the parents are of those who would kill him. The children of Abraham welcome God. And so those who would kill him were not the children of Abraham. This is very upsetting for those who wanted him dead who felt Jesus had failed their tests. Today, the quote about knowing the truth and the truth setting the truthful one free is the cornerstone of the CIA’s original headquarters. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bible Quotes 1 John 4:20-21

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” - 1 John 4:20-21
John had been close to Jesus. He had thought, for a long time, that Jesus had promised John would never suffer mortal death. But God keeps all of his promises. In some ways, John died at least twice. Killed by Romans who wanted to silence his cult, John survived and died later, possibly of old age. He wrote this letter probably around the year 98. 

Pastoral care is a strong part of any community. Clearly this Christian community had issues and cliques had formed. Maybe not actual siblings, but Christian brothers and Christian sisters. Or maybe actual siblings. But what can one do that is not outmatched by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus? Eternal life with God suggests those treasures in life, love, is brought with someone. But division is not part of Heaven, and should not be something someone tries to bring with them.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bible Quotes 2 Corinthians 5:19-20

“that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” -2 Corinthians 5:19-20 

A problem with academia is the promise of the sure result, is not matched with the truth, that every result must be continuously defended. And ancient Greece was the home of academia. Paul went to Corinth and shared his life as a Christian. And Paul returned. Frustrated. Hurt. Explaining again and again what he had meant as Corinthians split hairs. 

But the result is a pure distillation of Paul’s message. We may know that Jesus came to die on the cross. Here we are told explicitly why. More, Paul explains how we are to use that knowledge. We are to be ambassadors of Christ, speaking for God the message of reconciliation with God. Not that people are god like. The ambassadorship is the message of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. We have eternal life. We have been made to live again. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bible Quotes Galatians 3:26-28

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” - Galatians 3:26-28

The new testament does not forbid much by way of worship. It is strongly worded that one does worship. Apparently, around modern Turkey, a Celtic peoples had settled there and Paul had stayed with them. Paul’s letter is because Galatians had fallen from the habits Paul preached, towards a more legalistic view of Hebraic faith.  

Some Galatians were of the view of division, so that preaching took place with slaves separated from others, women separated from men, and so on. But before the Lord, none has more favour than another. All whom have been baptised before God. 

Slavery existed in biblical times, but the slave who was baptised, though still expected to serve their worldly master, would receive full entitlement before God. Something worth considering when discussing the working poor. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bible Quotes Psalm 118:5-6

“When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” - Psalm 118:5-6
A few years ago there was academic debate about wether David even existed. But a stone turned up with Hebrew writing referring to the House of David dating back to the day. Then the location was found where David fought Goliath. David had built a house on it in later years. David existed and his struggles were real. 

David in his struggle against King Saul was hard pressed. It wasn’t enough to oppose Saul and take the crown. Saul was anointed by God and David served God. But Saul wanted to kill David. 

If God is for you, what can be against you? Whatever it is, God will win. David knew that. but David was hard pressed. He could not win until God wanted him to. This is true for everyone. We must persevere at our tasks until God favours us. And then it becomes certain. Cry to the lord when you are hard pressed. He will bring you into a spacious place. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Bible Quotes 1 Peter 1:15-16

“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”” - 1 Peter 1:15-16

Sometimes, to win a debate after having lost it, one accuses the winner of being “Holier than thou.” The implied holiness is not the same as what Peter is referring to in his letter. 

Some say Peter could not have written his letter because they don’t believe in adult learning. After Peter’s education as a disciple of Jesus, Peter was privileged and had ample opportunity to learn advanced rhetoric. But the wording here is simple and pure. God is holy. God is exalted and above the sin of which people are immersed. In order to deal with sin, it is important not to deal in sin, but to look for God. The simplicity of the words is what informs those who claim Peter could not have written it. 

But, in not dealing with the trade of sin, a cheap shot is to say that the winner is unaware of the world in which they have stood in judgement. A populist argument at best, which can win from populism. 

Bible Quotes Matthew 6:19-21

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” - Matthew 6:19-21

The Gospel of Matthew is the shortest of the four Gospels. It gives a bare bones account which is embellished differently in the rest. Mark explains a bit more with detail that one might not think important, but is. Luke is historical, deeply addressing questions and sources. John is more prophetic, in line with his letters and Revelations. Matthew is written by an anonymous Greek writer who was clearly aware of Mark, but not copying it. It is also written after the destruction of the Jewish Temple. 

The Roman destruction of the Temple and the dispersal of Jews throughout the empire was harrowing for Jews. It is wrong to not let Jews rebuild the Temple. But in Christian terms the Temple is surpassed. Matthew comforts the early Christians and gives them a response that lets all Christians do as humans must. They build. Everyone builds in their life. But it is important to not build with personal ambition. Build with the bricks that are heaven made. They will last. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Bible Quotes Amos 5:14-15

“Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.” -Amos 5:14-15

Amos was before Isaiah and influenced some of what the later prophets did. Amos was not raised in the Prophet community and held them in contempt. He was an outsider aware of the contemptible trade in money for prophecy, in much the same way Martin Luther would be. Amos called for reform. 

Amos called for social justice. God was not impressed with institutionalised oppression. Amos saw God as the almighty, God everywhere, not solely his chosen. Amos saw that God was ethical, preferring righteousness to ceremony. 

Amos saw divine judgement for the faults of Israel and Judah. He was exiled for his message. What Amos foresaw came true. And God fixed the problems with Jesus in a way that Amos foresaw, but few understood. Seek good, not evil, that you may live.

Bible Quotes Ephesians 5:1-2

“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” -Ephesians 5:1-2

Following a parent’s example is natural. Even orphaned children try to, with those they imprint on. And God is the ultimate Father. He loves us and indulges us. And so it is natural to want to copy Him. 

But How? How does one follow Jesus? Should they attempt signs and wonders? Except signs and wonders are the pointers, the revelation of who Jesus was. Signs and wonders are not what Jesus calls us to do in following him, but being witnesses. The Holy Spirit still does perform signs and wonders today. But how does one follow Jesus?

We will die. Giving our life to the Lord is a small part of the choices we make. We must make it our life in devotion to Him. Work hard. Be trustworthy. Raise a family. Be kind. Be generous. Raise your children to know the Lord. Remember, there is always more to do, but don’t despair. For the Lord knows our heart and sees your choices. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bible Quotes 1 Peter 1:13

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” - 1 Peter 1:13

Peter was named by Christ as the rock of the Church This letter may not have been written by him, but was written in his name, probably a decade after the fall of Jerusalem. Peter would have been dead, but still remembered in Rome where this letter probably originated. Christians were being persecuted on the pretext of amoral behaviour.

Jesus came, and gave signs that He was God. Instead of ruling the world, Christ submitted to it and has beaten Satan through the cross. Satan no longer has authority in the world, but still whispers promises and misleads people. When Christ comes again, he will forever deal with Satan. 

It is not the lot of the Christian to fight Satan, but resist him. If we fight Satan, we lose sight of our true lord, and end up dancing to Satan’s tune. We don’t know when Christ will come again. But we know he will. We must not get drunk on our zeal to do right. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bible Quotes Isaiah 1:16-17

“Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” -Isaiah 1:16-17

We can have everything and not see it. God is on our side. He has given of himself so that you may walk with Him. And yet you, as your people have done before you, have squandered his gifts. You have taken pleasure in His blessings without acknowledging the source of them. And there will be a reckoning. A reckoning you can avoid. 

You can keep and indulge in your blessings, but you need to pay your due. He wants your praise, but that is meaningless, an insult, if you don’t do what is right. And He has given you His Word so you know what is right. But you know what is wrong if you Know God, and allow him into your heart, to be the centre of our life. You can see what is just, and what is not. 

A number of people have had everything, and still they did not defend the oppressed, the fatherless and widows. But if you see such, and do nothing, you do evil. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Bible Quotes Micah 6 vs 8

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” - Micah 6:8

Micah was preaching to Jews some six centuries before Christ, and 150 years before the fall of Jerusalem. And so his words are a little startling for their aptness. Because we are the mortal. And when we walk with God we learn what he requires of us. The kings of Israel had in some circumstances, become despicable. But the glory of Jewish faith, through Jonah, meant that God could humble his people while rewarding the faithful. Jerusalem fell. But the people continue. And God keeps his promise. 

God keeps his promise, as should mortals who are faithful to Him. As models of God’s behaviour, his faithful need to be just. It isn’t good enough to be unfair in our dealings with others, because that reflects on God.

To show love and mercy is essential too, and a real challenge. I dislike, hate my father. More so after he died. But that is wrong of me. He cannot mend our fences, and if I choose to continue, I’m rejecting the great grace and favour God has given me. It doesn’t matter why. I must forgive my father. It isn’t about me. I must humbly submit to God. If I don’t, all that I hold dear may be scattered and broken. And if I am faithful, not hateful, then I may be reconciled with all that I have lost. He has shown me what is good. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Bible Quotes Titus 2:11-12

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,”Titus 2:11-12 NIV
It feels strange to talk of control in a world where self indulgence is king. Good people want Hope and Change and hucksters misappropriate the words and deliver environmental extremism. 

God offers salvation. It is ok to fail. But it is not ok to be deceitful and unkind. When one follows God they walk his path, which may not be the path of least resistance. 

When the Devil promises what God does not offer, the sober adult refuses. Even the word ‘sober’ is mistrusted by some. It is hard for the child to know who to trust, and incumbent on the sober adult to teach them.  

Those that are tricked. Those that are hoodwinked. They are saved, even so. But there is a cost. For the offer of salvation is open to all, but those who refuse it are lost. It is incumbent on the saved to help those who may be lost by pointing to God. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Bible Quotes Psalm 90 vs 12

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12NIV

I knew a preacher who noted how his life seemed to follow the sixty six chapters of Isaiah. I suggested if one intended to number their days by books of the Bible, one might choose Psalms for its 150 books. It is good to be ambitious. But one can get fixated on numbers. I will take what God gives me, and feel blessed. 

Serving God is not hard. Go to church, and participate in the community. Try your best. Try to develop your heart for giving and being forgiving. It is ok to fail at things, but good to persevere. And good to learn from failure. 

Maybe you are desperate and nothing seems to work. Maybe things frustrate you as what you expect is not appearing to happen. Ask yourself if you are serving God. And if you are, persevere. Maybe you fail. Maybe you break through. Your days are numbered and the choices you make define you before God better than any success. 

Bible Quotes 2 Corinthians 5:17 Jan 2nd

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
God has written in our hearts the word. Previously, the Word had been rules written on paper, clay tablets or stone. The written rules were not sufficient guidance, people still sinned. And even now, with the Word inscribed in our hearts, we sin. But we have this tremendous advantage. We have knowledge of our sin, and we can repent, and turn back to God. We can fail, and yet our failure can be washed clean. 
People make mistakes and choices which go south. But God can still work with mistakes, and make them good. Bad preachers can still win converts. That does not mean we should do bad or to not care. Our fruit comes from the seed God has given us, but we must tend to it, to let it grow. Because those without fruit will be pruned from the tree of life.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Bible Quotes Jan 1st Isaiah 43:16, 18-19

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 NIV