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Order of Salvation : Printables that Teach

October 9, 2017

If you have been following for a while, you’ll know that I love to plaster the back of my toilet door with Printables that Teach.   When I read Pastor Wes Bredenhof’s article about the Order of Salvation, I knew that our toilet door needed this simple, yet succinct explanation of these concepts. 

Just click on the link below and print out a version for yourself. You might like to add a little colour by getting your kids to colour in the outlined letters. 

Printables that Teach : Order of Salvation PDF

You can find Pastor Bredenhof’s blog here : https://yinkahdinay.wordpress.com/

 

Contentment faith

Applying the Word

July 21, 2017
Applying the Word
It is easy to open the bible, read a passage, keep going with whatever the day brings and not take the time to meditate on the Word at all. This is a choice we make. We either skim read the Bible or we meditate on it. We either we move closer to God, become more Christlike, or we kid ourselves that we have done what we need to do for the day. Bible reading box ticked.
 
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks likeBut whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:22-25
 
Do we walk past the mirror and forget immediately what we look like? It’s a good question James asks his readers.
 
Do we read God’s Word, immediately forget what God is saying and do nothing with it? This is a good question to ask ourselves!
 
The attitude of ‘not listening and not doing’ is something James warns us about in his epistle.
 
There are clear commands contained in these verses:
 
Do not only listen to the Word.
 
Do what the Word says.
 
And there is a clear blessing in verse 25 if we heed these commands:
 
Whoever looks at the word and does what it says will be blessed.
 
David Mathis (in an article for Desiring God) wrote about the process God wants us to experience when we read His Word:
 
‘This is the pathway to flourishing we catch a glimpse of in the old covenant in  — meditation, then application, then blessing: ‘This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.’ Joshua 1:8 When Bible reading first aims at astonishment (meditation and worship), it works first on our hearts and changes our person, which then prepares us for application, and application to God’s blessing: ‘your way [will be] prosperous, and then you will have good success.’ So applying God’s words to our lives is not only an effect of his grace to us, but also a means of his ongoing grace.’
 
In her book “Disciplines of a Godly Woman”, Barbara Hughes states that ‘Knowledge without application is lethal.’ Hughes goes on to talk about how applying God’s Word is the key to contentment – a state of being we should all seek after, strive for. ‘But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.’ 1 Timothy 6:6-7
 
She continues, Knowledge without application is one of the greatest dangers in the Christian community – following close behind a loss of confidence in God’s WordKnowledge for the sake of accumulated information leads only to pride and arrogance, both of which are the enemies of GodApplying our knowledge of God to our circumstances is the key to contentment… The rare jewel of Christian contentment will be yours when all that God is, and all that He has done in Christ Jesus fills your heart. We may lack many things in this world, but as godly women we must worth to develop the discipline of contentment. For this is God’s will in the Gospel.’
 
Applying the Word will look different for everyone. However it looks for you, it is an essential part of our Bible reading and meditation. Learning who God is and what He does for us is a constant reminder of how God’s grace plays out in our lives. Spending time using His Word will result in a continual outpouring of this graceListening to God’s Word centres us, reminds us of who we are created to be and most importantly pulls us back to His purpose and His plan.
 
Whether or not you apply God’s Word should probably come down to the questions: Do I want to flourish? Do I choose to become more Christlike in my behaviour and life? 
 
Using words once again from David Mathis, ‘take every word as spoken to yourself, with this essential anchor in place: Seek to understand first how God’s words fell on the original hearers, and how it relates to Jesus’s person and work, and then bring them home to yourselfExpect application to your life as God speaks to us today through the Spirit-illumined understanding of what the inspired human author said to his original readers in the biblical text.’
 
Make the Scriptures yours. Use them in your daily life. See the extraordinary in the stories of people long ago. Relish and take in line-by-line the poetry written by God’s servants. It is God’s story written for you. 
 
Application Questions: (Taken from a COMA Study by David Helm)
 
How does this passage challenge (or confirm) your understanding?
 
Is there some attitude you need to change?
 
How does this passage call on you to change the way you live?
 
How does this passage lead you to trust God and his promises in Jesus?
 
How is your situation similar to or different from those being addressed?
faith

God’s Word Never Returns Empty : Printables that Teach

May 9, 2017

isaiah 5511Verse 10 of the 55th chapter of Isaiah talks about how rain and snow come down from heaven and is never wasted, but accomplish God’s purpose.  Then in verse 11 we are told that God’s Word is the same – it goes out and never returns empty. 

When we understand what the word ’empty’ means, we understand the text. God’s Word won’t come back unfulfilled or unsuccessful. 

God’s purpose is to bring his people into the richness and fullness of eternal life. Our good intentions always fail, and others will always let us down, but God’s promises succeed. This teaches us so much about the character of God, who is sovereign and all powerful. He uses his Words to 1. accomplish what he purposes and 2. to succeed in the thing for which he sent it.  

Isaiah 55:11 is for believers as much as it is for unbelievers. When God’s Word goes out, it either lands on the good soil, the rocky soil, it gets choked with thorns or trampled on by passersby. 

What we do with the Word is a huge responsibility. It must be a priority in our lives, and when we use it to it’s fullest potential, we know that God will bless it. This will take time and discipline, it won’t come naturally for most, as other things will crowd God’s Word out in our busy and distracted lives. Our goal to be ‘in the Word’ is not to know all the facts and minute details, it is intended to change our hearts and lives and so conform to who God wants us to be – and that is imitators of Christ.

What practical ideas can you share that help you ‘be in the Word’ on a daily basis? What helps you stay focussed? 

High res PDF here Isaiah 55:11 

faith

Your God Needs to be So Strong and So Mighty!

April 22, 2017

My God is so big, so strong and so mightyThere's nothing my God cannot doMy God is so big, so strong and so mightyThere's nothing my God cannot do

“My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!” 

It’s a song we are teaching Jacob at the moment. With short, catchy, repeating phrases, it’s an easy song for a child of his age to learn, plus the actions are fun too.  He loves making those big strong muscle arms!

For children, it’s easy for them to imagine that their God is so big and so mighty. They hear bible stories about how God divided the Red Sea, gave David the ability to fell a giant with a small pebble and then the stories of Jesus… wow! He rose people from the dead, fed the 5000 and made blind people see! 

Why then do we seem to lose the wonder of just how big and mighty God is when we are older? 

Is it the busyness of life? Do we get distracted with everything else and then leave little time for God in our hopes and dreams?

Do we become pessimistic because of all the hardship and trials we go through or see others go through? 

Why do our prayers become small and based on what we could do, not on what God is able to do? 

How come we are quick to forget his promises? 

It’s all in his Word when we go looking for it!

 

He promises to fight for us. Exodus 14:14

He promises us a new land. Exodus 20:12

He promises strength to the weary. Isaiah 40:29

He promises to renew our strength. Isaiah 40:31

He promises to uphold us. Isaiah 41:10

He promises to help us. Isaiah 41:13

He promises us unfailing love that will change. Isaiah 54:10

He promises us wisdom when we ask it of him. James 1:5

He promises to protect us from the devil. James 4:7

He promises to forgive our sins if we confess them. 1 John 1:9

He promises to heal our land if we humble ourselves before him. 2 Chronicles 7:14

He promises to never leave us. Deuteronomy 31:8

He promises to prosper us, and give us things to look forward to. Jeremiah 29:11

He promises us eternal life if we believe in him. John 3:16

He promises wrath and judgement to those who reject him. John 3:36

He promises us spiritual freedom. John 8:36

He promises to give us all things we ask of him in prayer. Mark 11:24

He promises to be with us wherever we go. Joshua 1:9

He promises to meet all our needs. Philippians 4:19

He promises to guide us through dark valleys. Psalm 23:4

He promises to be the stronghold of our lives. Psalm 27:1

He promises to never forsake those who love him and call on him in faith. Revelation 3:5

He promises to work even the horrible things in our lives to good. Romans 8:28

He promises to fill us with peace when we are anxious. Philippians 4:6-7

He promises to make our paths straight when we learn to depend on him. Proverbs 3:5-6

He promises to raise up the sick and make them well, either in this life or the next. James 5:14-15

 

These things need to be our prayers. And our prayers need to be as Big and as Mighty as our Lord and Father. 

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.  “If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.” John 14:13-16

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19

If there is something that you are struggling with, do a search in your bible for that topic. Read that passage and pray to God about it. 

Our priority needs to be opening his word and praying to our Father in Heaven. 

faith

Practicing Hospitality

March 27, 2017

Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (2)

The Bible is quite clear : If we say we are Christians, we are to show hospitality. 

Romans 12:13 “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”

1 Peter 4:9 “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Matthew 25:34-46 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? …”

These are just a few Biblical commands to show hospitality. Examples of people showing hospitality in the Bible are numerous, and if you’d like to read a few accounts of these you can read them here.

Before we have this quick, one-sided chat about hospitality we need to remember that hospitality does not only refer to having someone over for a meal or a cup of coffee. Hospitality can be defined as “the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way”. Using the commands and examples in the Bible, hospitality could be defined as “love for strangers.” It’s a state of mind. It’s a behaviour and a quality as a disciple of Christ. For the purpose of this short post, I’d like to just talk about hospitality in terms of those times when we ask someone/or their family over for a meal. 

Hospitality isn’t just to be shown to members of the household of faith. When we invite people into our world, we invite them to see a small glimpse of what Christianity might look like – warts, grumpy kids, moody teenagers and all. “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” Hebrews 13:1-3

Hospitality is seasonal.* Give yourself grace when life is just not compatible with having people over. We need to also give each other this same grace and not judge those who could be in this season of life. 

Keep it easy and simple! It’s ok to ask your visitors to help with setting a table, cut up veggies etc. Sometimes these opportunities allow for great conversations. If you are having a family over for a meal, ask them to bring something to contribute. Ascertain before hand what food allergies your visitors might have. Use disposable plates, cups and cutlery! 

Don’t do it all yourself. If you know that you will be having a big group over, offer your house as the venue and let the visitors do the catering. 

Be clear about your boundaries. If you don’t want children running though your house, set that expectation early on. If you need to have some quiet time with your family on a Sunday, set the expectation that your guests leave at a time that suits you. It’s not being bossy. It’s being smart! 

Hospitality does not have to be carried out at your home. How about at a park? Our family has been included in a few great park dinners at a local botanic garden. The organiser texts the day before, everyone brings a picnic dinner and a picnic rug (or chair), the kids enjoy the great outdoors and the adults get to enjoy fellowship. The best bit is that no one needs to get their house ready and no one needs to clean up afterward!

It’s not about how tidy your house is! Practicing hospitality is more about the personal connection than what your state your house is in. Don’t get too carried away with getting it all hunky-dory before hand.

This is kingdom work, so make sure you include your King! (No, not Elvis…) Make sure you pray together. This is one thing that we as a family are trying to get better at. Not just as word of prayer before or after a meal, but about what you discussed, what situation your visitors might find themselves in. Read from his Word. Ask what a favourite scripture is, or if it’s a pre-believer or new believer, read from the book of Mark. 

Do you have anything to add? What do you find helpful when you are being hospitable? 

*This point is one I heard at a talk and it is the key to accepting that your expectations might not match with your reality. It’s one that has helped me explain that time in our life when hospitality was the furthest thing from my mind… not because I didn’t want people in my house, but because I just had no energy to be hospitable to anyone other than my direct family as I was super busy with three little kids. 

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