Aug 012013
 

Relationship through prayerDuring the remaining part of the summer and possibly into the autumn, I will be looking at various ways that we can develop our relationship with God.

I’m starting with a subject which has had many books written about it and has been discussed and debated endlessly. I think the reason it has been talked about so much is that we all realise how important it is and yet so many of us find it difficult to do.

It is an enormous privilege to pray to the God of the universe, the great and awesome God who created all things. To get an audience with a King or Queen or Head of State would be an almost impossible task, but the God who created us, the supreme ruler and creator of the universe invites us freely to come and talk to Him.

Boldly

The main problem with approaching a Holy God is that our sin blocks us from getting near. As Christians we can actually approach him boldly because of what Jesus has done in dealing with our sin. Jesus has made a way. Hebrews 4 states all that Jesus accomplished, culminating in verse 16 which says “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

It also says in Hebrews 10:19-22:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water”.

In the Old Testament the people of God had to go through all sorts of purification rituals and animal sacrifices to approach God, and with real fear, in case their sacrifice wasn’t acceptable. But now we can have confidence in the sacrifice that was made once and for all by Jesus our redeemer.

Any time

We can approach Him at any time, day or night. God is always ready to speak to us, His door is always open, He is never asleep.

It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)

He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4)

This means that whatever is going on in our lives, we can discuss it with Him. It doesn’t mean we necessarily have to pray great long prayers, but we can simply ask for help, tell Him our needs, ask for guidance and especially keep an attitude of thankfulness. This can be through short prayers throughout the day.

Knowing we can come to Him boldly and at any time, I guess the next big question is “so what do I say?”. We will look at this next week.

Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness.” (Martin Luther)

 August 1, 2013  Posted by at 10:13 pm Prayer No Responses »
Jul 252013
 

relationship with JesusDuring the summer holidays I thought I would use some of the Foundations material I have recently written at church, looking into the wonderful subject of being in a relationship with Jesus.

When somebody becomes a Christian, they don’t just have their sins forgiven and a ticket to heaven when they die; they enter into a relationship with their saviour, Jesus.

Many religions focus on various rituals you have to perform and things you have to do in order to get on God’s good side, or to somehow gain his favour. But as we have discussed before we are saved by grace through faith. Effectively all our religious rituals and requirements have already been fully completed in Jesus. He has done everything required. This means that everything we do subsequently is purely out of our relationship with Him.

Just like any other relationship, we will want to deepen our relationship with Jesus by spending time with Him, getting to know Him better and finding out what His will is for our lives.

It is important to stress from the outset that setting time aside to study and read God’s word and to seek Him in prayer is out of relationship with Him, not through any obligation, sense of duty or striving to gain extra merit points. We are saved by grace and we must continue in our faith by grace as we seek to know Him better.

What I am going to cover over the coming weeks may sound like a list of obligations we have to go through to get more standing with God: a daily check list where we tick off 15 minutes bible study, 20 minutes prayer and listen to a worship song, that’s my ‘God bit’ for the day. It is actually very easy to slip into that way, especially if you have been a Christian for a long time, but this is not at all how I want it to come across.

We seek Jesus because we love Him and because we want to please Him, and this is not through any sense of duty. Imagine if I gave my wife a bunch of flowers and said that it was a requirement due to a nuptial agreement we made during our marriage vows. That would not go down too well. My wife wants to hear me say ‘I love you’ (and as I have discovered, not just the once!!).

Over the next few weeks (and I have no idea how long this will continue) we are going to look at 4 ways that will help us develop and deepen our relationship with Jesus. They are not the only ways, but they are certainly good places to start. I have alluded to some of them already but you’ll have to come back each Friday to find out what the next subject is.

 July 25, 2013  Posted by at 6:27 pm Uncategorized 1 Response »
Mar 072013
 

Large Group of Happy People standing together.In last week’s blog I talked about the fact that as Christians we have been adopted into God’s family. I started listing some of the benefits of being adopted into His family.

 

The benefits we looked at last week were:

(1) We are able to speak to God

(2) He takes care of our needs

(3) He gives many good gifts

If you missed it or want to read it again, click on the link here.

This week we will look at another 3 benefits:

(4) He gives compassion, care and protection

God cares and provides for us, not just physically but also emotionally. God provides in every area where a father should provide for his children. He provides completely where earthly fathers never can.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

You, Lord, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked, (Psalm 12:7)

The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. (Lamentations 3:31-32)

(5) God disciplines His children

Hang on a minute, what’s that doing in this list? Even though discipline is painful at the time, God disciplines us because He loves us. It is for our good, so that we can grow in righteousness and holiness.

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)

(6) Inheritance & ‘sonship’

We have an everlasting inheritance.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. (1 Peter 1:3-4)

Another interesting term from the bible is the word “sonship”. This is a term relevant to men and women. “Sonship” as used in the bible is a legal term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture. This is the inheritance we gain as ‘Sons of God’.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Meditate on these truths and verses over the coming week and let them change your whole outlook on life. As a child of God you have an amazing position which should affect how you relate to God and others.

 March 7, 2013  Posted by at 9:37 pm Community, God's family, The Church No Responses »
Apr 252012
 

2_men_talking_silouette-300x231In my last blog I talked about the importance of accountability questions in Discipleship. We looked at a number of honest questions we could ask each other regularly to become accountable to one another.

Last time I looked briefly at James 5:16 which says “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” In this blog I want to look at what it means to confess our sins to one another.

When we talk about confession you might, if you have a Roman Catholic background, think of the confessional booth and having to recount the weeks’ wrongdoings to the priest. Should we do this? Do we confess to each other and then to God, or the other way round? It can all get very confusing. We can sometimes come to some wrong conclusions which I will address later. Continue reading »

 April 25, 2012  Posted by at 9:58 pm Accountability, Confession, Discipleship 1 Response »