Getting outside the walls

My theme verses for this year have been 1 John 2:5-6. It has been shaping my thinking and my involvements. It says…

But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” ‭1 John‬ ‭2:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The part from verse six about living as Jesus did has been in my mind all year. It has been a constant front and centre.

As I have thought about this it became apparent that Jesus spent the Sabbath at the Synagogue / Temple and then the rest of the week where the people were. He prayed first and then went where the Father told Him.

Translating that into my current life means spending Sunday with my church family and the rest of the week split between time encouraging fellow believers and time in my community.

For this reason I have tried to get outside the four walls of the church a lot more this year. I have tried to seep into the cracks of our town and reach into peoples lives. I have tried delberately to be Jesus hands and feet.

In the last week alone we have helped a number of families with food parcels and a number of other families with much needed furniture for their homes.

As we do these things it allows us to talk to people we would not normally be in contact with, hear their stories and offer encouragement. We have also given away Bibles and tracts to those interested and offered prayer to those who are open to it.

It is starting to feel like I am getting outside the walls of the church. It is only the beginning but I am hoping in time it grows into what God wants it to be.

God Bless,
Dave

 

Share with gentleness and respect

I have spoken to several people lately who have had Christians share their faith with them, which is a good thing. However, they felt like they were mugged and bullied into answering questions.

It left them feeling angry with the person and it actually set both people back in their search for God. In talking to the people I remembered 1 Peter 3:15-16. Its says…

“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.”

A key part of this passage is to be ready to share your faith, but do it with gentleness and respect. Gentleness and respect includes listening to the person and making sure your sharing is a two way conversation. It is not just downloading your belief on to someone else or interogating their beliefs.

If you are sharing your faith with someone today, remember to show gentleness, respect and listen as much as you speak.

God Bless,
Dave

Message from Bruce Rock yesterday

I spoke at Bruce Rock Church again yesterday morning. This is the third time I have spoken there in the last 3-4 months and attended another 3-4 times too.

It is good to help out country churches that do not have a Pastor. It gives me a chance to encourage them through the preaching and also enjoy a time of fellowship afterwards. I always come away encouraged. Bruce Rock feels like my second church family now.

Yesterday I shared from Colossians 3:1-17 and titled it, “Four things to remember about living the new life in Christ”. My main points were…

  1. Set your hearts and minds on things above
  2. Put off your old earthly nature
  3. Put on your new heavenly nature
  4. Remember you are Christ’s heavenly representative.

The thing I tried to do was remind us all is that we will spend way more time in eternity and as a result we need to live our lives accordingly.

When we have a heavenly focus our lives take on an eternal perspective and we start to see the world through God’s eyes. This changes our attitude to money, work, other people, service and our time here on earth.

A key thought was death is not the full stop at the end of our story, it is the full stop of the end of the first chapter. The rest of our lives will unfold in eternity.

If you would like to read the full message, you can find it here.

God Bless,
Dave

5 ways God helps us through suffering

Recently I was asked to share a short testimony and some thoughts about how God helps us through our times of pain and suffering with our youth group at church.

The first testimony part is a bit too personal to share on here, but I thought I would share some of the ways God promises to help us through our suffering. I hope they will help you and encourage you.

1. God promises to help us

Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

God promises to help us. He is our ever present and our refuge and our strength. A refuge is a place you can go to, to get away. A place where you know help will be and you will find comfort. There are so many times in my life where I never thought I could go on, but by knowing God is helping me and my refuge got me through.

2. God promises to never leave us

Hebrews 13:5 tell us that “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

Knowing that God will never leave me has helped. In the early part of my life through all the struggles of family life, terrible health and depression I felt so alone. I felt like no-one really knew me and my struggles. It gave me comfort to know God promises to never fail me and never abandon me.

3. God promises to give us strength

Philippians 4:13 says, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

God promises to give us strength and there are times when we really need it. This is something that I have prayed for a lot over the years. Sometimes I imagine getting to heaven and seeing the things that I have prayed for most. Close to the top of the list will be “Lord give me help, I need strength to do this”. And God always does help. Somehow I am able to do what I need to do.

4. God says our suffering can have purpose

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

At the time our suffering does not make sense. It is just hard and seems unfair. But God tells us that He can use our suffering for good. I have lost track of the times that the things I have been through have helped others. Recently I was able to talk to a 11 year old boy who was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. He was worried for his future, but I was able to reassure him that things would be ok.

5. God promises that suffering will not last forever

Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe every ear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

God promises that one day we will live in heaven and there will be no more pain and suffering. No more sadness and no more death. No one will hurt us or abuse us. No one will cause us harm. We will be loved and accepted and experience perfect peace. This gives me comfort. This gives me hope.

There is more, so much more

Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in this world and forget that we will spend way more time in eternity than we will here on earth.

1 Peter 1:23 reminds us of an eternal truth…

“For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.”

There is more, so much more that this life we live in this world. As the verse above says we have been born again to a life that will not quickly end.

Today as you go about your day, remeber that this life is not all there is. There is a life that stretches on forever and ever with Christ.

God Bless,
Dave

Meditating on the Bible & being a disciple

I had this thought today as part of my devotions…

“Just as reading the Bible and meditating on the Bible are two different things, so is being a Christian and being a true disciple of Christ”.

As I thought I realized we can read chapters of the Bible and tick it off our Bible reading plan, but never really think about what we have read or tried to apply it to our lives.

The same goes for being a Christian. I can call myself a Christian because I have a belief in Christ, but being a true disciple is more about learning and growing in Christ and putting it into practice as we follow Him.

Reading the Bible and being a nominal Christian are two very different things to mining the Scriptures for truth and wholeheartedly following Christ.

Just after I had this thought I read that many Christians today don’t think going to church and reading their Bible are important to being a Christian.

It makes it virtually impossible to be a true follower of Christ if you don’t read your Bible or go to church regularly. Some would say it is impossible.

Being a disciple of Jesus is about committing to a way of life and of learning and growth. It goes past just believing in something and reading the Bible, it is more about learning to follow and heading in a new direction full steam ahead.

God Bless,
Dave

 

Comparison is the thief of joy

Here is a devotion I read today. It talks about comparing ourselves to others and what they have…

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. (Galatians 6:4 NLT)

This verse can apply not only to our work but also the other areas of our lives that we compare. Comparison is a trap of pride we often willingly walk into because we take our eyes off of Christ and focus on ourselves.

When we look at other peoples work, home, belongings, or bodies it keeps us from experiencing happiness with the gifts God gave us. Don’t let comparison rob you of the joy of God’s blessings.

If you find yourself constantly comparing, refocus your thoughts on the positives of what you have.

Download this app to get your daily devotions: http://jctrois.com

Humility and serving God

I read this paragraph this morning in the 40 Days of Community devotion. It was in the context of Jesus washing the disciples feet in John 13:4-5. I thought I would share it today…

“The key to humility is knowing who you are; when you understand who you are, you’re comfortable with grabbing a towel instead of the spotlight. Jesus didn’t care if someone mistook Him for a servant because He knew His mission in life. He was more interested in serving others than impressing others.” (page 137)

I agree with this thought. Once you know who you are in Christ and you know God’s love for you, it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are serving God. It becomes less about you and more about Him.

God Bless,
Dave

 

Remaining in Christ

Once we come to Christ for our salvation it is important for us to remain in Him. We are called to follow Him, not just believe.

In this post I want to look at some of the things that can help us remain in Him. It is not an exhaustive list, but just some things to help keep us on track.

1. Keep believing Jesus is the Son of God

1 John 4:15 – All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.

2. Remember you became God’s child

John 1:12 – But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God.

3. Be obedient to God’s words in the Bible

1 John 3:24 – Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with Him, and He with them. And we know He lives in us because the Spirit He gave us lives in us.

4. Remain faithful to the message of salvation

1 John 2:24 – So you must remain faithful to what you have been taught from the beginning. If you do, you will remain in fellowship with the Son and with the Father.

5. Keep on loving one another

John 15:12 – This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

6. Keep on serving God with your gifts

1 Peter 4:10 – God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

These things should help us remain in Christ. It is about continuing to have faith and belief in Christ, remembering we are God’s child, being obedient to God’s Word and loving and serving one another.

God Bless,
Dave