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
“As in water the face is reflected as a face,
so a person’s heart reflects the person.”
This cryptic verse probably means that if we want to see the real person, we must look into the heart to discover what drives and interests us, what our loves and decisions are. That ought to be compared with what God wants us to be.
What kind of self-analysis do you perform? How often? What process do you follow to compare it to God’s word?
#heart #reflection #VOTD
On Memorial Day, American citizens honor those who died while serving in our nation’s armed forces. For some, it is a day of celebration of patriotism and an occasion for gathering with friends and family. They may celebrate freedoms that remain because men and women died while protecting them. For others, Memorial Day is a day of reflection about the meaning of sacrifice and ser…vice. Jesus noted, foreshadowing his own sacrificial death by crucifixion, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Good Soldiers, whether in the nation’s service, or in that of the Lord, devote themselves to seeking the safety and welfare of others. We who survive the fray appreciate the sacrifice made by those who did not. Their deaths remind us of the commitment required to protect important principles. Memorial Day is also a day for lament. We mourn our loss: Fathers, sisters, uncles, daughters who no longer brighten our day with their humor or listen to us when no one else will. We ponder how history would have differed had they lived. Would Joseph Kennedy, Jr. have been elected President rather than his brother John if Joseph had not died during World War II? What would my life or my cousin’s life have been like if my uncle had not been killed in Vietnam? We weep for the lost opportunities, the shattered dreams, and the never-realized loves. We lament also the horror caused by the hatred, selfishness, and greed that often spark human conflicts that escalate into war. So, as Christians, even while some of us serve with awareness that we too may die in the service of our country, we must remember that we are called to be ministers of reconciliation who seek peace (2 Corinthians 5:18). We must remember that while we enjoy the aroma and flavors of a Memorial Day barbecue, others still grieve the laugh and the voice they will never hear again. Comfort those who mourn. Remember those who have perished. Resolve to live well for God and in service of others.
My printed outline for this evening’s message.
- Meditation is not chanting a word or phrase or emptying the mind, but seeking the meaning of God’s word, in order to apply it in life, Psa 119.11-13; Lc 2.19; Cl 3.16.
- Meditation seeks to relate to God and please him, Psa 19.14.
- Meditation looks to practice the word of God, Ja 1.25.
- Some ways to meditate:
• Write verses on a card to analyze during the day.
• Read biblical passages in several versions.
• Pay attention to the context of a passage.
• Sing spiritual songs based on the Bible.
I am never “hit hard” by news – at least I have not been (as I interpret the phrase). However, though never having been hit hard, I am quite reflective, perhaps overly so. I will sit in front of my “man cave” garage) with the radio on and just look out into the quiet surroundings, reflecting on many things, but one that is always on my mind – why is it that I keep failing! I know why, but I ask and reflect on the same thing continually.
In this quiet surrounding there is peace. whatever turmoil I may feel, for a little while I am not.
Several times in the book of Ecclesiastes, the writer refers to various activities as being “Vanity of vanities” (cf. 1:2). Everything is vain ultimately, he concludes, except serving God (12:13-14). Let us consider several things mentioned in the New Testament that are described as being vain. (Click here to read more)
I am reflecting upon the wonderful family God has given to me. Tuesday George and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I am so very thankful that he is my husband and father to our children. We both readily admit that we are far from perfect, but we have striven to keep God in the center of our home. Our son, Jacob, age 21, preached a very good lesson this morning. Our children are such a blessing in our lives, and I am often humbled when I think of their goodness. They teach me alot.
Reflecting upon the works of the Lord (in history), people find strength, and the lonely heart finds a home. Time and again we are exhorted to pay attention to our individual history; let us learn from the mistakes in the past that we can live a more peaceful life. David, earlier, tried to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem only to have a disastrous situation come upon him. David learned a dreadful lesson, he was angry and then afraid. No doubt, after reflection, he learned that the Lord is to be praised, and not lightly treated (1 Chronicles 15:13). David had the Lord foremost in his mind; on an even earlier occasion, when his men all but turned on him, it was to the Lord that he sought comfort (1 Samuel 30:6). David had personal experience from which to draw; we, too, should draw from our own personal experience and praise the Lord for His works.