Archive for the 'miscellaneous' Category

The Key


March 25th, 2016

So often times, it happens that we live our lives in chains and never even know we have the key.

Do you know where to find the key?

Take a step closer to the Lord.

Ask, Seek, Knock

Matthew 7 “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.

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Life’s little questions


March 25th, 2016

Could a religion exist that had no believers?

Why are there so many answers to Gods questions?

If life is a puzzle, does it need to be completed?

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WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT


March 25th, 2016

YAY it’s Good Friday, which is clearly good because most of us are off today.

But, let’s be honest, why it’s good and why it’s a holiday at all is a mystery to many of us. It has something to do with the death, or the rising again, of Jesus wasn’t it?
But what does it have to do with eating seafood?
And why are the shops closed?

So we’re here to clear up your Good Friday confusions and answer the questions you were too concerned to ask lest you show yourself up as someone who doesn’t go to church.
Like religiously.

So, to begin …

WHAT IS GOOD FRIDAY, ANYWAY?

If this was Who Wants to be a Millionaire, this question would be worth a mere $100. On Good Friday, Roman governor Pontius Pilate presided over the trial that condemned Jesus.

Unable to pass down a sentence of death, Pilate washed his hands — which is where the famous saying comes from — and let Jesus be taken away for crucifixion anyway to satisfy the baying crowd.

It was not a good day for a fair trial.

It wasn’t until Easter Sunday that he rose again.
This probably made for a particularly miserable Saturday as well.

SO, IF IT’S ALL BAD, WHY IS IT CALLED “GOOD” FRIDAY THEN?

In many countries it’s not. In German speaking nations, the day is generally known as Karfreitag, which translates as “Mournful Friday”. Which seems more appropriate, really.

However, we shouldn’t assume “good”, as used in Good Friday, means good at all, “Good Friday is one of the most misunderstood phrases we have in the calendar.”

“Good” in this context, he said, really reflects an archaic meaning of the medieval word “goode” that translates as “holy”. So, it’s really Holy Friday.

“In fact the liturgy of Good Friday always emphasises sadness that a very decent person was crushed by a political system that did not understand what he had to say.”

 

GEE, YOU’LL BE TELLING ME EASTER ISN’T IN THE BIBLE NEXT.

You may need to sit down. I hate to break this to you, but there is no mention of Easter in the bible. In fact, it’s probably more accurate to call Easter Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, but it just doesn’t have the same ring.

It’s widely thought the name Easter derives from the Angle-Saxon goddess Eostre. In the 8th century, festivals were held by pagans in the goddess’ honour.

As these disappeared they were replaced by the Christian tradition marking the death and rebirth of Jesus but they took on a number of the pagan traditions.

The whole bunny thing is even more obscure. It was a symbol often found in medieval churches. Animals were also choc-full in pagan myths and Eostre possibly had some hares as her animal companions.

Easter eggs were first decorated in the area which is now Iraq and were painted red as a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion. Both rabbits and eggs are fertility symbols which chimes well with the theme of rebirth.

BUT IT’S CLEARLY NOT AS BIG A DEAL AS CHRISTMAS

When it comes to holidays, Christmas wins hands down. Particularly in Australia where heading off to the coast on Christmas Eve and not returning until the hangovers have subsided after Australia Day is one’s patriotic duty.

But, Jesus-wise, Easter wins. “Certainly, Christmas has long been perceived as a more popular festival, certainly since the advent of gift giving in a big way since the 19th century.”
“In religious terms, however, Christmas only evolved in the fourth century, while the celebration of Easter has always been important.”

“Only two out of four Gospels tell the Christmas story, so theologically, Easter is central to the Christian tradition.”

While many see Easter Sunday as the culmination of Easter, the entire period from Good Friday to Sunday is equally significant.

BUT WE HAVE TO EAT FISH ON GOOD FRIDAY, RIGHT?

If you ask the sellers down at the heaving Fish Market that certainly seems the case. People started queuing at 5am today with 55,000 fish mad customers expected to snap up more than 440 tonnes of seafood.

“It’s a massive, massive workload. “To give you an idea, you probably go through an equivalent of a week of sales just in that one day.”

However, while the tradition certainly has religious roots its popularity has been boosted by some business savvy.
Every Friday, not just the Good variety, is considered one where Christians tried to avoid extravagance and embrace sacrifice.
With meat, for many centuries, being a luxury it was an easy extravagance to forego.

“Eating fish on a Friday was an indirect reminder of Christ’s offering himself as a sacrifice on the cross.
It made the feast on Easter Sunday morning all the more important.

“Not eating meat on Good Friday was standard Catholic tradition in the middle ages, but it continued under Queen Elizabeth and in Anglican tradition, in part because of the continued influence of the fish industry.”

OK, BUT WHY CAN’T WE GO SHOPPING?

You can, it’s just not that easy. In years gone by, both Good Friday and Easter Sunday saw shops close.
But as trading hours have gradually loosened, Easter Sunday closing has begun to fray while Good Friday has held out, perhaps because the Friday is a day of mourning while Sunday is a celebration of rebirth.

Generally, smaller stores are allowed to trade on Good Friday but many choose to close anyway.

Still Confused?

Folks get into a good bible based church, you may even make some new friends.

So, this Easter, if you fancy a cup of the blood of Christ don’t try and turn water into wine, just head to the nearest church.

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Sealed By God


October 5th, 2015

We don’t often hear about signet rings anymore; but in Bible times, they were very significant. The signet ring was used to identify the message or messenger and the authority they had. In other words, you knew something was from the king because it was marked by his signet ring. It was representative of power and authority. This verse is saying that you are the mark of authority of Almighty God. You have been chosen and set apart to be identified with Him.

When you have someone’s power and authority, you have access to everything they have. It’s like having power of attorney; you have the authority to act on behalf of that individual. As a believer in Jesus, you are marked with His seal. Think of all you have access to today! Think about the authority you have. Everything He has is available to you—healing, provision, strength, peace, joy. You have been given authority to “sign His name” in order to receive His blessings. You are God’s seal, and you are marked to live the abundant life He has in store for you!

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Keep On Sowing


October 2nd, 2015

In the book of Genesis, in the very beginning, God established a system for increase. Everything in life operates off of seed time and harvest. There are seeds of success, provision and increase inside of you. As long as you have seed, you have increase in your hand. But a seed will lay dormant until it is placed in the right conditions. You have to plant that seed and water it in order for it to grow. What are the seeds you have in your hand? Seeds can be as simple as the seed of a smile that will produce happiness in your life. It can be a financial seed that will produce provision in your life. Whatever you have, give and it shall be given back to you in greater measure.

The Bible says that God’s Word is water, and when you speak the Word of God, you are watering your seeds. Ask the Lord today to show you what seeds you have in your hand. Ask Him to show you where to plant them. Then step out and sow because He will watch over those seeds to produce an abundant harvest in every area of your life!

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Written On Your Heart


September 30th, 2015

In the Old Testament, God’s commands were written on stone tablets and kept in the tabernacle. Now, we have the New Testament, or new covenant. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we become His temple. He lives in us, and He engraves His promises and commands right on our hearts!

How can you be sure of this? This verse goes on to say that your spirit, your inner man, has a strong knowledge of what is right and wrong; what you should and shouldn’t do. When His law is written on your heart, you are drawn to follow His Word. That’s the Spirit of God on the inside of you, guiding and directing your steps. As you follow His leading, your ability to hear and know Him is strengthened. But if you choose to bypass that prompting on the inside, your heart can become hard which will affect your ability to hear Him in the future.

Make the decision today to demonstrate that God’s law is written on your heart by quickly obeying His leading. Remember, His law is written on your heart! Trust that He is leading you in the path of blessing all the days of your life!

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silent epidemic


September 28th, 2015

Depression has been called the ‘common cold of the emotions’. It is common. There is no quick fix. Yet unlike the common cold, depression is not readily noticeable to an onlooker. It is a mistake to assume that a person who is depressed is down at mouth and sitting at home in a dark room sunk in misery.

It can be like that. But very often, those who are depressed seem to be quite normal on the surface. They may seem active and purposeful, and yet behind the façade is a despondency which can defy explanation or solution.

Depression is surprisingly common among Christians. It can be harder for them because they figure that Christians ought not to feel that way. Depression is seen to be a poor witness. Which brings us to Jeremiah.

This passage indicates he felt God had let him down. Circumstances were overwhelming. There seemed to be no hope. He had done the right thing but wrong things were happening to him. He doesn’t hide his despondency but pours his heart out to God.

There is no easy solution to the complex issue of depression. However, one lesson we can draw from Jeremiah is that we need to tell our God all about it. He is well able to bear the painful and uncomfortable and sometimes unorthodox feelings within us.

It is no sin to be depressed.

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words can be weapons


September 25th, 2015

Our words can be weapons. We can use them to demean and diminish people. We have no need to wield a knife or point a gun in order to demolish people. Words will do just as well.

In today’s climate, what passes for ‘debate’ about important issues is too often more a case of abuse being hurled at opponents. Or simplistic and hurtful attempts to pin labels on those with whom we disagree. It all makes application of this text impossible. In context, Paul is urging God’s people to accept one another, differences and all. Living in peace does not involve denial of differences or sweeping disagreements under the carpet.

But nor can it involve cheap name-calling which is a substitute for sensitivity and understanding. Those on the ‘right’ accuse those on the ‘left’ of being unbiblical or even heretical. Those on the ‘left’ accuse those on the ‘right’ of being bigoted or fundamentalists. It seems it is hard to question a long-held belief because we can be accused of lacking conviction. And it is correspondingly hard to hold to a long-held belief because there will be accusations of bigotry and closed-mindedness.

There is no easy answer. But Christians would do well not to mimic the way the world engages in debate. Offer a different model. See people as those loved by God not as adversaries or as mere categories. After all, pigeon holes are for the birds!

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A Hope Transfusion


April 5th, 2015

Easter and hope are synonymous. That special day never arrives without its refreshing reminder that there is life beyond this one. True life. Eternal life. Glorious life. Those who live on what we might call “the outskirts of hope” need a transfusion. Easter gives it.

I think of all those who are battling the dread disease of cancer. Talk about people living on “the outskirts.” They fight the gallant battle, endure the horrible reactions of chemotherapy, and anxiously await the results of the next check up.

And then there are those who still grieve over the loss of a mate, a child, a parent, or a friend. Death has come like a ruthless thief, snatching away a treasured presence, leaving only memories. What is missing?

Hope.

Hope has died. There is nothing like Easter to bring hope back to life. Easter has its own anthems. Easter has its own scriptures. And Easter has its own proclamation: “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said” (Matt. 28:6).

When Christians gather in houses of worship and lift their voices in praise to the risen Redeemer, the demonic hosts of hell and their damnable prince of darkness are temporarily paralyzed.

When pastors stand and declare the unshakable, undeniable facts of Jesus’ bodily resurrection and the assurance of ours as well, the empty message of skeptics and cynics is momentarily silenced.

Our illnesses don’t seem nearly so final.

Our fears fade and lose their grip.

Our grief over those who have gone on is diminished.

Our desire to press on in spite of the obstacles is rejuvenated.

Our identity as Christians is strengthened as we stand in the lengthening shadows of saints down through the centuries, who have always answered back in antiphonal voice: “He is risen, indeed!”

A hope transfusion awaits us. It happens every year on Easter Sunday.

Alleluia!

Jesus lives and so shall we! Death, where is your victory?

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Don’t Be Afraid to be Different


March 26th, 2015

When you become a follower of Christ, your life becomes different. Everything about you becomes different. When we follow God’s commands, it means we do things differently from others. It means, instead of being offended, we choose love. Instead of insisting on our way, we serve others. It means, instead of trying to be right all the time, we build and lift others up. This isn’t the way most people in the world act but that’s okay. We are called to be different. We are called to rise higher. We are called to be examples of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness. It may not make sense to others but that’s okay. God will promote you to a new level of blessing and victory when you commit yourself fully to Him. Don’t live a life of mediocrity, live a life of excellence for God. Life a life pleasing to Him and don’t be afraid to be different!

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