What does it mean to receive Christ? It means to receive his messengers who bring his Good News. The real ones, as distinguished from false teachers, bring a vigorous message of conversion. It means (1) hearing; (2) turning; (3) changing; (4) serving; and (5) waiting: Continue reading
While congregations across the world have cancelled their meetings because of the coronavirus, some still insist on gathering the saints together. Yesterday, we in Urbanova gathered a small number together, while experimenting for the first time with a live broadcast. Continue reading
Call it happiness if you wish, or maybe better, joy, gladness, or delight. If you belong to God’s people, you know what it is and where it is found.
The world chases after happiness in material things. The U.N.’s international day focuses on the same. A glance at the rich neighborhoods around, or the rich countries, belies this belief — so many unhappy, broken, frustrated lives — though the majority are not convinced that material things are not the answer.
God’s saints know that joy comes from the presence of God.
“You lead me in the path of life. I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight” Psalm 16.11.
This is why keeping God’s commands are also such a delight:
“Praise the Lord! How blessed is the one who obeys the Lord, who takes great delight in keeping his commands” Psalm 112.1.
It is no paradox that the letter to the Philippians, whose keynote is joy, was written from prison.
Christians have no reason to worry. They know God and this joy overwhelms the cares of the world.
#presence-of-God #joy #happiness
Cambridge Press offers their books for free through May, I’m told. Here’s an excerpt from an introduction to the NT, focusing on Paul’s work. It’s an image capture, since the site doesn’t allow copying.
#NT-church #apostle-Paul #house-churches
People have devised a number of ways to organize their prayers. All of them are valid, probably, as long as they submit to Scripture and fulfill the commands of God. And as long as they are not imposed upon others as divinely given structures.
It has been suggested, somewhat in jest, that the apostle Paul must have had some sort of prayer list, considering the many people he mentions in prayer. Maybe he just had a good memory. However he organized his prayers, he got the job done.
Some follow the ACTS acrostic: Adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. One supposes that intercession is subsumed under the last item. It might be best, however, to bring prayer for others to the fore.
What’s important is that we pray, that we obey the Lord to pray as we ought, that we deepen our relationship with him, that we advance the Kingdom among the world that lies in darkness.
Rom 15.4 says, “For everything that was written in former times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and through encouragement of the scriptures we may have hope” (NET)
Our hope is centered in eternal life, Tt 1.3; 3.7. It is the hope of justification before God (being accepted by him), Gal 5.5. The NT does not carry over the promises of physical blessings (aside from necessities, Mt 6.33), contrary to proponents of the theology of prosperity.
Eternal life was not prominent in the OT. So how can it help us maintain our hope? Your comments will be most appreciated.
#hope #eternal-life #Old-Testament
The New Testament is the model for God’s people. Its teachings are normative for all people everywhere, in all times. First-century congregations were not perfect, by any means, but by visits and letters they were urged to conform to the divine standard then being taught and now found in the New Testament. Their imperfections are our opportunity to be mature, stable, growing congregations that glorify God and carry forward the mission of Christ in the world.
What follows is an invitation to self-analysis, not an attempt to undermine New Testament authority: If you had to think of a congregation in the New Testament for the congregation where you meet to emulate, which one would it be?
#churches #maturity #reflection
“What can a person give in exchange for his life?”
Mark 8.37 NET
Jesus reminds us that nothing in this world can compare to, or compensate, for eternity.
#eternity #Jesus #soul
What percentage of New Testament usage refers to the phrase, “church(es) of Christ”? How often does the phrase appear in comparison to other similar ones? For the next week, why not try reflecting that percentage in your speech? The exercise might encourage some positive reflection.
A little quatrain of mine that you might enjoy: Continue reading
Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
But our citizenship is in heaven – and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. Philippians 3.20,21
Do you like to travel? Living in a country that is not where you were born and raised can give you a better perspective at times. When we are citizens of one country and travel to another, you do not have the same rights as a native of the country. Of what country are you a citizen? Paul’s says that we are citizens of heaven. We sing “This world is not my home. I’m just a passing through.” We also hear people often say that “There is no place like home.” How true that is! The Christian is a citizen of heaven! We await Jesus’ return to be able to go home. There is going to be a huge transformation to take place upon his return. This body of mine that is sick, broken, and imperfect will be changed by his power into a glorious body similar to Jesus. I will travel to the heavenly city of which I am a citizen. I will go home!
#risingjoy #heaven #Philippians
Bobby Cloyd of the Keltonburg congregation, in Smithville TN, printed the main points of his sermon today, entitled “3 Seconds.”
- The Second Birth
- The Second Coming
- The Second Death
A great way to deal with last things and our need to prepare for them.
See below the original. Here’s my revision of it. See the difference?
Each new day is a gift from God. Today I will open the day slowly, like a present that’s wrapped in hours. I will be open to what my Lord offers me. The Spirit comes to greet me like an old friend each morning. My daily habits in the Word and in prayer comfort and ground me. The thought of moving into my day pleases me. Life unfolds one second at a time and today I will be present to witness it. How much of my life do I let pass by unnoticed? How many of my feelings go unfelt? Today I will recognize that my time on earth is limited. I choose to value my life a day at a time and embrace it while I have it. I choose to be nothing more, nothing less than a servant who glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel.
I am open to God.
Each new day is a gift. Today I will open the day slowly, like a present that’s wrapped in hours. I will be open to what my world offers me. The world comes to greet me like an old friend each morning. My daily habits comfort and ground me. The thought of moving into my day pleases me. Life unfolds one second at a time and today I will be present to witness it. How much of my life do I let pass by unnoticed? How many of my feelings go unfelt? Today I will recognize that my time on earth is limited. I choose to value my life a day at a time and embrace it while I have it.
I am open to life.
– Tian Dayton PhD
#time #today #God #grace
Here’s a little 3×5 card that puts the gospel squarely (or rectangularly) centered in God and his activity.
#gospel #God #salvation
While doing some research for my Forthright Magazine article today, “How humility acts,” I came across this little item, which I liked. May you be encouraged by it. It was titled, “The Voices of the World.”
Appetite says, “Be sensuous, enjoy yourself.”
Education says, “Be resourceful, expand yourself.”
Materialism says, “Be satisfied, please yourself.”
Psychology says, “Be confident, fulfill yourself.”
Pride says, “Be superior, promote yourself.”
Humanism says, “Be capable, believe in yourself.”
God says, “Be wise, humble yourself.”