I had a great day yesterday. A couple of my great mates Steve and Big Kev came up from Perth to spend some time with us in Merredin. We played golf, had lunch, talked and prayed. It is the usual thing we do when they come up, but this time the prayer was really focussed.
We took the time to draw aside into God’s presence to pray for each others needs and really speak into each others lives. It was a real encouraging day and a day that left us all buzzing. We had real fellowship with each other and real fellowship with God.
I am so thankful to God that I have these guys in my life. It is a real blessing to know that you have people in your life that stand along side you in the good times and the bad. When things are going great you celebrate together. When things are not so good or a struggle, you pull along side and uphold each other in prayer.
As I type the words from Ecclesiastes 4:10 come to mind. “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
Being content in hard times is easier said than done. The Apostle Paul from the Bible understood true contentment. Many times he had been beaten, whipped, shipwrecked, starved and imprisoned, but he still said he was content.
In Philippians 4:11-13 Paul says this, “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 everything through him who gives me strength”.
Paul learned that while the situations of life may be up and down, if he was connected to Christ and trusting in Him, then he would be able to continue on in Christ’s strength. He knew that true contentment is not found in things, but in Christ.
One of the great things about living the Christian life is finding out that God has a plan and purpose for our lives. The Bible even tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that He prepared it before the world was made!
One thing I have noticed about finding God’s will for our lives is that many times as Christians we are almost crippled and do nothing because we don’t want to step out of God’s will. We are afraid to do anything just in case it is not part of God’s plan for us.
What I have found though as a Christian is that God guides and leads us in different ways. Sometimes it is a loud call that comes and it is undeniable, some times it is an opportunity to do something new that we have a peace about moving forward in and at other times a desire to do something rises up within us.
St Augustine who was one of the early church theologians (354-430 AD) talked about how the desire rises up within us in one of his writings. He said, “Love God and please yourself”. Now he wasn’t saying to do whatever you want, he was saying that if we love God and are following Him, the desire to do what God wants will naturally flow out from inside us.
This thought is echoed in Psalm 37:4. It says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart”. This tells us that if we are delighting ourselves in God, we will love the things that He loves and the desire to do His will overtake our hearts. God’s will, becomes our hearts desire and then He will bring it to pass as we step out and do it.
So here is some questions regarding the desires of your heart…
- Have you got a heart for helping young people follow God?
- Have you got a desire to reach out with compassion to your community?
- Have you got a desire to write devotional or discipleship materials to help others follow God in a deeper way?
- Have you got a desire to be a missionary or support missionaries financially?
- Have you got a desire to develop a vaccine that cures or slows a diseases progress?
- Have you got a desire to preach God’s Word?
- Have you got a desire to Pastor or plant a church?
If you are walking closely with God you might just find that these desires were placed there by God and it might be His will for the next chapter of your life. Why not trust the desires of your heart and prayerfully step out in faith.
In Mark 12:30 Jesus says the famous words that we have come to know as the Great Commandment. It says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” In doing this Jesus is quoting from the Old Testament Scripture Deuteronomy 6:5. This says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength“.
I found it interesting that in the Mark version, Jesus added the word “mind” that is not in the Deuteronomy version. This got me thinking. I wonder if Jesus added the extra word in to really emphasise the importance the mind in making the decision to love God? I wonder if He really added that in to help us to know that we need to really decide purposely to love God as an act of our will?
It is an interesting thought that is worth pondering I think…
The Bible tells us that Satan is a worthy adversary and he roams around like a lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). However, in Job we see that he only has limited power.
In a conversation with God in chapters one and two, we see that Satan is allowed to test Job, but not take his life. This shows that while Satan is powerful, he is still subject and bound by God’s ultimate power.
I love the way Henrietta Mears describes Satan’s power in relation to God in her book “What the Bible is all about”. She says, “Satan has great power, but there are limits to it. Satan is mighty, but God is Almighty! He can only break through where God allows”.
As Christians it is great to know that we serve an Almighty God. Yes Satan is powerful, but God is ALL powerful!
A little while ago my wife Larissa received an email from a someone about the dangers of Hermeneutics. It warned that Christians should not be involved in Hermeneutics as it was named after the Greek god Hermes. It said that if we do practice this we will be led astray.
When you look into the term Hermeneutics you realise it is not something we should be worried about. It is just the rules and principles of Bible Interpretation. Hermeneutics uses two main parts to find out what the Bible is actually saying to us – Exegesis and Interpretation.
Exegesis involves looking at the text and finding out a bit about the background of the time of writing and what the author was trying to say to the intended recipients. The whole aim is to come up with a summary of what it meant at the time of writing.
Once this is complete you can move on to the task of Interpreting the text and seeing if it has any meaning for us today. Most Bible text has some transferable meaning and use for our times. Some have not as they were specific for the time of writing. As we are looking at the interpretation side of things we need to remember what the ultimate goal of Biblical Interpretation is to get a plain text meaning.
You might ask why is this so important? Well I believe there are two reasons. The first is to accurately apply the Bible’s teaching to our lives and secondly to correctly teach it to others. The Apostle Paul warned Timothy to make sure he correctly handled the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15). This should be the goal of all Christians and especially those in ministry because when it is not handled correctly people really are led astray.
So if you are worried about using the principles of Hermeneutics and being led astray you don’t need to. You might actually find that it helps you to understand the Bible better and then apply it to your daily life in a more accurate way.
If you would like to find out more about Hermeneutics you can visit Theopedia.com here
The Bible says in Proverbs 22:6 that we should, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it”. This verse gives us great encouragement to really nurture and teach our kids the things of God. It also makes the promise that if we do, they will continue on in their faith.
Here are a few ways we are trying to train our kids in the things of God.
- Modeling – we try our best to model the right way to follow Jesus in front of our kids so they can learn how to do it themselves.
- Teaching – we show our kids what the Bible teaches on different subjects in a practical way so it is easy to live it out.
- Encouragement – whenever our kids do something well we try to encourage and positively reinforce what they are doing.
- Correction – we give them constructive criticism to correct the behaviour if they are doing something wrong.
- Benefits – we show the benefits of living the way God wants us to live and that it makes sense to do so.
- Love – we let our kids know how much we as parents we love them and just how much God really loves them.
- Purpose – we show our kids that God has made them a certain way to do certain things in this life and that we should seek out God’s will for our lives.
- Developing – we are helping our kids to develop their own faith and relationship with God. We want them to have their own personal faith and to relate to God in a way that is meaningful to them.
At the heart of this training is a desire to pass our faith on to our kids. As parents we want to be faithful to God and His Word and to prepare them to be the best they can be and to make a positive impact of the world around them.