Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bible Quotes 1 John 3:18 Feb 28th

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” - 1 John 3:18
Love is meaningless if the emotion does not engender action. A former Israeli PM was asked why Jews wanted Israel when they could settle in any third world nation of their choice? He answered “Why would you drive 20kms on the weekend to see your grandmother when there are plenty of elderly women on your street you can visit?”

Love is personal. It crosses generations

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bible Quotes Proverbs 17:9 Feb 21st

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” - Proverbs 17:9

If you have not given up on someone, you find a way to accommodate them. Maybe it means that you give up something you wanted that they took. But, maybe it is tough love too, and you have to give up what you hoped for from them, so they can grow. It is not compassionate to give in to an addict or a bully. People need pointers in life, and to know which way is up, which way is the path to the kingdom of God, is a greater gift than being liked.  

But if you cling to your hope or your possessions, you deny an opportunity for the other person to grow. If you show yourself to be the appeaser to the bully, you may be the last person they sacrifice to their ego, but they will sacrifice you. It is wrong to drown people so that you can be called compassionate. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

A lesson on prayer

Prayer reminds us of who is in charge. You don’t take your requests to someone with less authority. You take them to someone who outranks you in the solutions department.

The same is true in prayer. You don’t pray just to let God know what’s going on. He’s way ahead of you on that one. You pray to transfer “my will be done” to “God’s will be done.” And, since he’s in charge, he knows the best solution. Prayer transfers the burden to God and He lightens your load. Prayer pushes us through life’s slumps, propels us over the humps, and pulls us out of the dumps. Prayer is the oomph we need to get the answers we seek. So, pray…today!
Max Lucado

Thank you Max, and Maria Tan for sharing. I am afraid. I feel alone. And oppressed. But God has been kind to me, and has held me in good stead. I go to hope in Melbourne. I have friends here and there. I am let down by bureaucracy, but who wants to trust that? I exercise and I’m getting stronger. But as with fishes and loaves, I have a hundred dollars to last me three weeks. Or not. Father, it is you I trust. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bible Quotes 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

This is the opening verse to an often used marriage reading. It highlights the need for love, and it continues

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.“

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Bible Quotes 2 Thessalonians 1:3

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.” - 2 Thessalonians 1:3
It is good for things to be successful. It suggests that God is at the centre of things, and not pride. The only things that last are of God. But there is no secret to achieving such good work. Work in faith. And success should not suggest that the time has come for Jesus’ return. Delight in the good things, but remember it is prideful to inflate their meaning. 

Always thank God. Life and opportunity are entirely from Him. Hope is His promise. And even when you are challenged, He has tomorrow for you. And when you eventually fail, He will hold you. It is fascinating that by 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Paul is advising that those who don’t work should not be fed. 

If you love you will work. You will work to keep things, and to improve things. You work because what you have is good and you want more. And when you work in faith, your faith grows. This is Paul’s second known greeting to Thessalonians. And it is a greeting to you, too. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bible Quotes Matthew 5:43-45

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” - Matthew 5:43-45

Jesus continues

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Life in concentration camps was very hard. The SS Guards had tortured, raped, starved and killed inmates, as well as working them to death. The inmates were mainly Jewish, but there were also gays, gypsies, communists and Christians. Notably, following liberation, groups of female survivors forgave their guards, praying they would come to know God and not face persecution by secular authorities. Prosecutors even worried that prosecution would be undermined by the act. The survivors said that they needed to forgive so as to move forward with their lives. 

Jesus’ instruction is also wise. We need to forgive. We still retain a responsibility through secular authority to prevent abuses, but we need to forgive. And it is those who have wronged us who need to be forgiven. You don’t need to forgive those who love you. But you should love them. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Bible Quotes Psalm 97:10

“Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” - Psalm 97:10

In David’s time, God’s focus was on nations and tribes. He still worked with individuals. So the national character was needed to love God as well as the individual. 

As the Psalm opens, 
“The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
    let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
    and consumes his foes on every side.
His lightning lights up the world;
    the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
    before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
    and all peoples see his glory.”
But there is a warning
“All who worship images are put to shame,
    those who boast in idols—
    worship him, all you gods!”
And a promise.
“Zion hears and rejoices
    and the villages of Judah are glad
    because of your judgments, Lord.
For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth;
    you are exalted far above all gods.
Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
    for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
    and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light shines on the righteous
    and joy on the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
    and praise his holy name.”

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Bible Quotes Proverbs 21:21

“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” - Proverbs 21:21

Righteousness is a big word. Solomon puts it before love. Pursuing love on its own is not something that works out well for people. But pursuing righteousness and love is rewarding. 

Recently, a shamed drunken footballer pretended to have sex with a dog when a woman turned him down. He had not pursued love righteously. 

Righteous is a word remodelled by William Tyndale, a bible translator, for the word rightwis, which approximates a word appearing hundreds of times in the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament. It might loosely translate in a modern sense as Right ways or right wise. The idea of being right before God is baffling to some. Sometimes, the righteous may break the law, or be extreme. Sometimes Pastors are wrong in their interpretation of the bible, and yet people are saved as a result. 

It is foolishness to pursue love. But to pursue righteousness and love echoes Jesus’ commandment at the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

The reward for pursuing love on its own is of itself unsatisfying. Self serving is never as rewarding as serving God. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Bible Quotes Psalm 33:4-5

“For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” - Psalm 33:4-5

Many curse and spit at the Lord. They feel betrayed and angry. Because they have been misled and do not know the Lord. The earliest awareness of God was that He was the Lord of nations. Later, God wrote His word on the hearts of all. But anti God memes cover anything. So one meme has it that God is too big for you. Or God is too big for reality. Or God is so small, God doesn’t like things you do. Or that some nations aren’t worthy. Or that pleasing God is difficult. 

The memes are hurtful. God has authority and is deserving of praise. God loves you and blesses you and wants to be with you. God loves sincere praise by those He has blessed, which is all. 

No life is without challenges. And you will die. But it isn’t your death that matters, so much as your life. You make choices. And you can walk with God and carry authority in his name. But not everything you do is wise or good. And when you oppose God you don’t have the authority of his word. But just because you fail at something doesn’t mean you did wrong or that God hasn’t blessed you or doesn’t exist. 

God is bigger than any nation, bigger than you can conceive. And God loves you and cares about you, and worries about your choices. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bible Quotes Psalm 18:1-2

“For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love you, LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” - Psalm 18:1-2

King David is finally seeing the fruit of God’s promise to him. David had been blessed. He was a capable soldier and leader. He could sing and entertain. He stood up in faith when others were defeated. Yet David was besieged. His King, Saul, was jealous and wanted to kill him rather than serve God. 

Saul had been installed as King because the people wanted to have a King. Saul was anointed, but he failed. Saul wanted what Saul wanted, which wasn’t the same as what God wanted for his people. And so David, who was the best servant Saul had had, was a threat to Saul. 

The relationship between David and Saul is not isolated to them. In everyone’s life there is conflict. At school, at work and at home too. It is unlikely the rival is trying to kill you. But David’s response is not to fight, but to turn to God. And David encourages Saul to do the same. And the Lord gave as He promised. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bible Quotes Psalm 59:16

“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” -Psalm 59:16
David is loyal. And he is blessed. He serves King Saul well. And Saul is jealous and fearful that David will depose him. So Saul sends spies to watch David so Saul can find a reason to kill David.

This puts David in an impossible situation. David loves God. Saul is anointed by God.

“Deliver me from my enemies, O God;
be my fortress against those who are attacking me.
Deliver me from evildoers
and save me from those who are after my blood.

See how they lie in wait for me!
Fierce men conspire against me
for no offence or sin of mine, Lord.
I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me.
Arise to help me; look on my plight!
You, Lord God Almighty,
you who are the God of Israel,
rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
show no mercy to wicked traitors.

They return at evening,
snarling like dogs,
and prowl about the city.
See what they spew from their mouths—
the words from their lips are sharp as swords,
and they think, “Who can hear us?”
But you laugh at them, Lord;
you scoff at all those nations.“

David does not rely on his own strength, but turns to God

“ You are my strength, I watch for you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.

God will go before me
and will let me gloat over those who slander me.
But do not kill them, Lord our shield,
or my people will forget.
In your might uproot them
and bring them down.
For the sins of their mouths,
for the words of their lips,
let them be caught in their pride.
For the curses and lies they utter,
consume them in your wrath,
consume them till they are no more.
Then it will be known to the ends of the earth
that God rules over Jacob.

They return at evening,
snarling like dogs,
and prowl about the city.
They wander about for food
and howl if not satisfied.
But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.

You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
you, God, are my fortress,
my God on whom I can rely.“

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bible Quotes 1 Corinthians 2:9

However, as it is written:
"What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived"--
the things God has prepared for those who love him... - 1 Corinthians 2:9

The wisdom of the age has it that one needs things. A house, a job, authority over others, and none of it matters. It is all very transient. One may have them for a time. One can work and build on them. One can be unfairly denied them. It is foolishness to dwell on it, it will happen or it won’t.

It is not your word which will convict others to faith in God, but His words. And they speak in ways you may not be aware of. Let them.

Paul writes “We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.”

Monday, February 1, 2016

Bible Quotes Deuteronomy 6:4-5

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” - Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Called Shema Yisrael, this is a prayer that serves as a centre piece to morning and evening prayer in Jewish traditions. Mark quotes Jesus as saying it as part of the great commandment. “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

In Deuteronomy, the call is to Israel. Under the covenant of Christ, the call is to everyone. And if you think that Israel owed it to God for all that He did in freeing them from captivity, we gentiles owe Him no less under the new covenant. Rather, we owe more. And we must not forget through inaction. 

We do not measure up to the gift we have been given. But we must serve. We fall down, and we get up again, in service. And the Lord will hold us when we fail.