Posted on: 19th March 2018
“He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”
Life is like a rollercoaster, full of ups and downs. Some people seem to be able to go with it. Taking each dip as it comes yet other people fall apart the very moment something does not go the way they intended it to.
In the Old Testament, we read of a man named Moses, one of the greatest prophets who ever lived. Moses was born during the hard times where the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt and as the population of the Israelites was growing so rapidly the Egyptian king ordered that all new born Israelite boys to be drowned in the Nile River. Moses’ mother saves her son’s life by placing him in the Nile in a reed basket, where he is discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter, who ironically raises Moses in the Royal Palace. As he grows, Moses realises his is part of God’s family and one of the Israelites, he makes a choice and kills an Egyptian who was beating and Israelite slave, therefore must flee Egypt. He does it alone but God shows up in the burning bush and tells him that he must return to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from their slavery. With God’s help, Moses succeeds in his mission, bringing the Israelites to Mount Sinai, where God then appears to Moses to deliver the law and the Ten Commandments. Moses, eventually leads the people of Israel to the edge of their Promised Land ready for the next generation to lead them in.
Moses’ life by far was not smooth, he often had adversities and had to navigate his way around circumstances no one would like to be in. Yet, he persevered. He stayed on track, he didn’t sway his cart to the left or right, he committed to the journey and what a legacy he left. In the new testament it recalls his faith: He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11 v 26-27).
What a guy!
Are you ready for the next bit of your ride? Do you know what your convictions are that are going to keep you on track?
Posted on: 12th March 2018
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Wow Factor – Awe and Wonder Helps You Connect With Your Spirit
What’s around us can inspire us, enlighten us and empower us. Yet thanks to technology, the media and a greater awareness of the world, we find our first-time, overwhelming experiences of the world to be fewer and fewer.
In the Old Testament, we read of a king called King David. King David started his life as a shepherd boy and a musician and we mainly know him as the young boy who killed Goliath long before becoming king. Over the course of his years, David wrote much of the book in the bible called the Psalms. Each Psalm illustrates a different point in David’s life where he connects with God through his spirit. This verse stands out at the beginning of chapter 19: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19 v 1)
Can you imagine what it is David is thinking about as he proclaims this bold statement? Most theologians believe this chapter was inserted towards the end of David’s life where he reflected on the events over his time on earth.
David knew of God’s awe and wonder and what a magnificent position he must have been in to see each moment throughout his life. When we look outwards and look upwards, we can do the same and connect with our spirit.
This week, consider; why do we sometimes miss moments of awe and wonder? What can we do to realign ourselves so we can see the awe and wonder God has placed in the world?
Posted on: 5th March 2018
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”
1 John 4:18
Have you ever found yourself having an internal conversation with yourself over your worries? Sometimes it can become a battle of Trust Vs Worry and worry begins to win with a series of “What if…” type question taking over.
But, here is the thing, worry never works. Worry never hurries answers, worry wastes life, it never solves problems and it dissolves energy and time. Worry falsely gives the feeling of “doing” something, yet, it never does anything.
Therefore, trust is a must!
Trusting in God eradicates fear and in place of fear, God pours out and surrounds us with His love. Like the scripture says, there is no fear in love, perfect love drives out fear.
This week as we think, worry, anticipate our next steps, it is important we remember that trust is a must, and trust in God allows perfect love into our lives.
Posted on: 26th Feb 2018
“Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”
This week’s theme is about our compass, our moral compass, something that we all have that enables us to gage and react to situations around us. But our moral compass also allows us to set the direction for our life.
From time to time we may twist and turn learning new things about our world around us but as our compass surface area expands, we may question more of how we feel and what we believe.
It’s here where we have the opportunity to make the change. See, if you change your direction by one degree now, in the future you will be facing a whole different direction.
In Ephesians 5 v 15-16 it says: Be Very Careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.
We are thrown so much in life, trouble, love, anger, adoration, but when we get the opportunities to use our moral compass, be careful how you live, wisely making choices and make the most of every opportunity.
Posted on: 19th Feb 2018
“Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?””
Sometimes we can look like we have it all together on the outside but inside we are a complete mess and feel totally out of control. Many circumstances and expectations of others can lead us to feel and act like this on a daily basis.
Expectations of others can lead us to feeling overwhelmed and control us to quickly grasp onto any way of keeping our ‘all together’ outside appearance. However, that is when life can spiral out of our control, when others’ expectations and in turn our own expectations, can consume us.
How we respond to these circumstances or influences around us can either make us, or break us. We cannot control what tries to influence us but we can control how we respond.
In the Gospels, we read of Peter, one of Jesus disciples, controlled by his jealousy of his fellow disciple John. Peter constantly compared himself to John and all the things John was getting to do until one day Jesus was speaking life into Peter, calling him out to be the leader he was meant to be and he looked around at John and then asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
Can you imagine? Jesus, the Son of God who was crucified, died, and then come back from the dead has just given you responsibility, a title, a role for the future you look around and compare yourself to those around you! How often do we do that, always wanting to have one better than the people around us do or at least comparable to those around us, something to brag about.
“What about him?” How many times do we ask, “What about them?”
Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must, just follow me.”
Jesus gently reminds Peter, it does not matter what the others have. This is the unique role God has called Peter to do, he just needs to focus on Jesus and it will all remain in control.
This week, consider whom are you comparing yourself to? Do you let the expectations of others control your life? What can you focus on that means you are not controlled by your surrounding influences?
Posted on: 5th February 2018
Isn’t it ironic that the majority of time we ask for patience is when we want it immediately? Even Christian’s pray for patience… and they want God to give it them now!
Think through the past few weeks. Who or what has tested your patience? A teacher who did not understand you? A friend who annoyed you? A brother or sister in an obnoxious mood? A parent’s expectations that seemed unreasonable? A disappointing grade? A broken-down car? Other drivers on the road? Sickness?
Now consider, which of those situations did you have any control over? Probably not many and whilst it’s good to try to control those things you can control, just to simplify your life, the things that test our patience are often out of our control. We just have to live with them and through them, learn patience.
So, now what?
Paul tells us to be “strengthened with all power according to God’s glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” (Colossians 1:11).
Yes, God can give us the power of patience; He can also teach us patience when we ask for it.
Are you patient? Do you need to learn patience? In which areas of your life could you do with a bit more patience?
Posted on: 29th January 2018
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
Focusing on the future can be scary, for some thinking about the past can also be a daunting experience. This week’s theme revolves around our focus, like we talked about last week actually framing our world and for some of us it may be easier to think about where our focus is than others but don’t worry, wherever you are at when you are reading this, remember that God has a plan for you, he loves you and wants the best for you (Jeremiah 29v11).
Probably the most famous painting in the world the Mona Lisa (by Leonardo De Vinci) hangs in the Louvre in Paris, France. It is a portrait of a woman called Gherardini and became the topic of conversation due to the women’s expression being indecipherable. Many stories have been suggested as to why her face is painted in such a way, was it her character? Does the image depict how Di Vinci was feeling? Does it show how Di Vinci saw Gherardini?
Whatever the story, Gherardini was the focus of Di Vinci’s painting, ready to be framed.
Your focus frames your world.
If you were to draw an image of what your world looked like now what would you draw? Would it be just as you see it? Would your expression be indecipherable or would you know exactly what you were trying to show? Would you show every unique detail or would your brush stokes make the image fuzzy in some places and blurred in others?
The writer of proverbs reminds us to seek wisdom as our first focus. In fact chapter 4 really goes to town on what we should focus on in verse 25 it says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
It encourages us not to focus on what is behind, not to look to the left or to the right but to look straight ahead and keep our gaze fixed there.
So where is your focus this week? How does it frame your world?
Posted on: 22nd January 2018
Two weeks ago, we talked about each individual being made up of mind, body and spirit. This week we are delving into how we grow in those areas. As many of us already know, studying, reading and learning new things grows our mind. We also know that exercise and healthy eating is good for development in our bodies. However, how do we grow our spirit? How do we remain strong not just in our mind and body but also in our spirit?
We can learn two things from health gurus and apply them to our spiritual growth.
- Work your muscles in a focused way.
You cannot just keep on going the way you always have if you want to change. You have to work on the area you want to change in a focused way. The bible reminds Christians that when they followed Jesus their old self, their old spirit died and they were a new creation (2 Corinthians 5 v 17). So what is the point in doing the same old things if it does not strengthen their new spirit?
- Eat right
Guard what you put into yourself. Instead of letting things around you just happen, take control of what you are exposed to. Again, for a Christian the bible reminds us that all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3 v 16-17). Reading the bible is healthy for us and our spirit, even if all we take from it is moral truths.
This week, consider: where does your focus need to be? What needs to change in your diet for you to be able to grow your spiritual self?
Posted on: 15th January 2018
“Do not be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”
We have considered and thought about our pebble Koinonia many times in the past, it comes up so often, that sense of community, fellowship, thinking of one another, praying for one another. Therefore, what else can we consider when we think of Koinonia?
Well in Philippians 2 v 1-4 from the message version Paul says this:
If you have gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favour: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Do not push your way to the front; do not sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Do not be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Let us apply that to our Academy:
If you take anything away from hearing about God, sitting in worship, listening to different speakers, if His love that you have felt or heard of from others has made a difference, if being a Wilfridian and living with Christian values and God’s spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – then do each other a favour: Agree with one another, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Do not push your way to the front; do not sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Do not be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Kononia is something we can all embody if we take what Paul says and apply it to where we are at BUT let us not forget Koinonia to Christians means going beyond just what we do and what we say. One theologian translates it as “praying and living in one accord with each other,” meaning aligning ourselves with those around us but continuously facing Jesus.
What does Koinonia mean to you? What changes do you need to make to demonstrate Koinonia in your day-to-day life?
Posted on: 8th January 2018
“For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.”
2 Corinthians 2:11
Each of us look, act and express ourselves in different ways yet we are all made up of similar parts just like different mobile phone makes and models. We all have a shell, our outer appearance. We all have an operating system, our mind that controls what we do. Yet it’s our spirit which is the hardest to explain. Without our spirit we would be like our phone without a sim card, we would be able to function but not be able to fully connect with what takes place around us. It’s who we are beneath our shell and how we act. It’s who we really are.
The bible says it like this:
For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (2 Corinthians 2:11).
This verse is a part of the Apostle Paul trying to explain how we as humans can connect with God as our thoughts from our mind cannot comprehend Him, our bodies cannot encapsulate him but our spirit is the thing that can connect with him. It’s how we communicate with him, through our spirit.
This week consider how you connect with your spirit. Consider how you can use this thought of everyone having a mind a body and a spirit could impact how you relate to others around you.