Money Will Not Buy …

Money will buy you a bed but not sleep, money
books but not brains,
food but not an appetite,
a house but not a home,
medicine but not health,
luxuries but not happiness,
image but not character,
and religion but not salvation.

22nd May 2010, The Word for Today, UCB

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Gospel Love Soundbites

John’s first letter was a circular to Christians challenging heresies. Some groups were being over zealous and some were being lax. But the central tenet of the letter is love. 

Crown of thorns heart

Today politicians are forced to create soundbites and simplify complicated ideas. John does this in this letter. There are some wonderful points. Look at the following verses from 1 John chapter 4: 

V1: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.

V2: By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.

V4: For he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

V7: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God.

V8: God is love.

V9: In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

V12: No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

V16: God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

V18: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

V19: We love because he first loved us.

V20: He who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

V12: And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

These quotable lines can be easily remembered because they are summaries, and they can then be mined deeply under the power of the Holy Spirit. 

sandwich

A girl student was going out at night giving hot chocolate and sandwiches to homeless people. When one of them asked her why, she said, ‘God loves you and so I love you.’ Not ‘I ought to love you,’ but ‘I naturally love you.’

How do we love others more naturally?
V19 We love because he first loved us.
The power of love is not in the nature of the loved one, but of the lover. 

Jesus said we should judge a tree by its fruit. 

Sunny Delight

Years ago there was a drink called Sunny Delight. Too much Sunny D made you orange. There were a lot of little kids going to school orange because they loved Sunny D. A lot of Jesus should show in your behaviour, in just the same way. You should have so much of Jesus that you can’t help it. 

A car needs fuel, your body needs food for energy. In the same way, we need love from God in order to give us the fuel to love others. 

We’re all wired differently but we are all made in the image of God. Another way of saying it is that we bear the imprint of the one who made us. God is love so we should show love all around us. Be with people who encourage you to grow and learn about God. If you meet socially with Christian friends, you should be praying together too.

Paul felt the same way: For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

[adapted from a sermon by John Rogers at Pantygwydr Baptist Church]

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Ignorance

Ignorance

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An Old English Prayer

Give us, Lord, a bit o’ sun,Praying_Hands_-_Albrecht_Durer
A bit o’ work and a bit o’ fun;
Give us in all the struggle and sputter
Our daily bread and a bit o’ butter;
Give us health, our keep to make,
An’ a bit to spare for others’ sake;
Give us, too, a bit of song
And a tale, and a book to help us along.
Give us, Lord, a chance to be
Our goodly best, brave, wise and free,
Our goodly best for ourself, and others,
‘Till all men learn to live as brothers.

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Joy in the Morning

Quote from a dear friend of mine:
You may be going through a very difficult time today, but that does not mean this is your worst day, no. God will use the difficulty to produce precious things within you that you will treasure in days to come.

diamond

There may be pressure in your day, but God uses pressure to form diamonds.

Gold

Fiery trials in your day, God uses fire to purify gold!!

Pearls

Irritations in your day, He uses irritations to create pearls.
God doesn’t have problems, he only has plans.God made this day the way it is, so that we can see our lives from faith’s point of view. Psalm 44:8, in God we boast ALL DAY long, and praise his name forever!! All is perfectly fitted into His plan, not ours. Hang in there, joy comes, in the morning(mourning).
Prudence Mbaserah
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Considering the Claims of Jesus

Today’s post is an excerpt from a book: The Life, A Portrait of Jesus, by J.John & Chris Walley, p.181-185. This is the best arguement I have seen, explaining who Jesus claimed to be and the importance of making a decision about him. I recommend you read the book.

A_tus_pies_maestro

Jesus’ claims are so awesome and significant that they cannot simply be ignored or overlooked. If Jesus was, in some way, God come to earth, and if our eternal happiness does depend on us giving him our total loyalty, then we are faced with an issue that is without any doubt the most important thing in the world.

Equally, if the claims of Jesus to be God’s unique and supreme intervention into our world are to be rejected with any intellectual honesty, then some alternative explanation for them must be found. Yet the alternatives are very limited. One assessment of Jesus sixty years ago by C.S.Lewis was that because of Jesus’ claims, there were only two alternatives to him being Lord: he was either a liar or a lunatic. With the passage of time, we might extend and rephrase those alternatives: Jesus was either mythical, misunderstood, mistaken, mentally disturbed or someone who misled his followers.

Was Jesus mythical?

This first alternative is an attempt to duck the challenge. This ‘escape route’ from the claims of Jesus assumes the gospels are unreliable and that the divine figure they portray is fictional. Yet the gospels show none of the hallmarks of myth; they are understated and matter-of-fact accounts and the evidence that Jesus considered himself much more than a man is so diverse (the direct and indirect claims, the titles, the actions) and, above all, so consistent, that it seems far more probable that the figure they portray is authentic.

To maintain such a view a hard question has to be answered: how did such a mythical Jesus arise? How did a belief that ‘Jesus was a good man’ so rapidly evolve into ‘Jesus was God’? There are no remotely similar parallels for this sort of development elsewhere and none at all in Judaism.

Was Jesus misunderstood?

This second alternative suggests that, in reality, Jesus never claimed to be God. Rather, his disciples spectacularly misinterpreted what he said and turned his claim to be a faithful prophet of God into that of being an incarnation of God. This view might have some merit if Jesus’ claim to be divine rested on one single statement; but given that he presented his claims in so many different ways it seems hard to maintain. It is difficult to believe that Jesus’ disciples were so stunningly incompetent that they consistently and repeatedly misunderstood what he said on one of the most fundamental issues of his teaching. The charge of ineptitude can also be extended to the leaders of the early church, for never thinking to check whether the disciples had got it all wrong.

Was Jesus mistaken?

A third alternative is that it was Jesus himself who was wrong. On this view, Jesus genuinely thought he was God but, in reality, was sadly mistaken about his own identity. This would mean, however, that far from Jesus being a reliable and authoritative interpreter of the Law, he was breaking the First Commandment – ‘you shall have no other gods before me’ – in a most breathtaking and blasphemous way. The implications of this view are devastating: if Jesus was wrong about this most fundamental issue, then nothing else that he said can be trusted. If he was wrong here, Jesus was not even a reliable teacher.

Was Jesus mentally disturbed?

Another alternative is that Jesus suffered from a delusional psychological disorder. So, for example, the writer George Bernard Shaw considered that Jesus must have suffered from megalomania. Such an explanation has one slight merit: it admits Jesus did make astonishing claims about himself. Yet there is little else to support it. In the gospels, Jesus does not come over as the slightest bit delusional or disturbed.

To hold this view required you to believe that the greatest moral influence the world has ever seen was a man who was mentally disturbed. That conclusion is so bizarre and unsettling that few people have felt comfortable even considering it.

Did Jesus mislead his followers?

A final alternative is that in making his claims, Jesus deliberately misled his followers: he lied to them. Yet it is hard to imagine any motive for Jesus wanting to mislead people in this way’ far from leading to fame or fortune, his claims merely led to his death. And the charge of lying hardly seems consistent with everything else that we know of Jesus, including the fact that he started many of his statements by saying ‘Truly, I say to you…’ To pretend to be God and to accept the worship and praise of devout followers, while you knew you were as human as they were, would be an extraordinary act of deception. To say that it seems out of character with the author of the Sermon on the Mount is an understatement!

CONCLUSIONS

Jesus made extraordinary claims that he was God. If those claims are true then they have awesome and life-changing implications. In Jesus, every search for God comes to its end. In him is found everything that our hearts truly desire and that our lives really need.

There are alternative explanations for the claims that Jesus made. Yet none of those explanations is without serious flaws. A Christian could easily say that it takes much less faith to believe that Jesus made his claims to be God because that’s who he was, than to believe the alternatives. One of Sherlock Holmes’ comments to Watson is helpful here: ‘It is an old maxim of mine that when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’

One event that we will look at later and that is crucial to Jesus’ claims is the Resurrection. If Jesus did rise from the dead, then all his claims are confirmed as true.

Finally, simply saying ‘I believe Jesus is God’ does not exhaust the significance of Jesus’ identity. It is too easy to limit the idea that Jesus is the divine Son of God to some theoretical test-question that identifies true Christianity. Yet to be a Christian does not mean to obey a doctrine or recite a creed, it is to live within a transforming relationship with Jesus. The reality is that the idea that Jesus is God is a truth that should sustain us every day. Jesus was not just the Royal Rescuer, Loving Leader, Perfect Provider and Suffering Servant for his people two thousand years ago: he is all those things for us today.

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I Beseech You To Look

This was written one Christmas in 1513 from a Fr. Giovanni to a Contessina in Firenze:

g0204394There is nothing I can give you which you have not got; but there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No Heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in the present little instant. Take peace!

The gleam of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see, and to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look.

Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendour, woven of love, by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the Angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty; believe me, that angel’s hand is there; the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing Presence. Our joys too: be not content with them as joys, they too conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and of purpose, so full of beauty – beneath its covering – that you will find that earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage, then to claim it, that is all! But courage you have; and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country, home.

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