Friday, 21 September 2018

Pray to God, preach His Word - and care for the people.

"We will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word" (Acts 6:4). Prayer and the ministry of God's word - these are to be important priorities in the lives of God's servants - but this is not all that's done by the people of God. when we read these words in the light of the preceding verses, we see that there was other work that also needed to be done.
"In those days when the number of disciples was increasing,the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.”" (Acts 6:1-4).
Pray to God, preach His Word - and care for the people.  

Enthusiastic and Energetic ... Evangelical and Evangelistic ... Let's follow Jesus ...

Enthusiastic and energetic - sometimes, these are the words churches use to describe the minister they're looking for. Enthusiastic and energetic - these are words that could be used to describe the crowd at a sports event or music concert. Is there anything inherently spiritual about looking for a minister who is enthusiastic and energetic? It's good to be enthusiastic and energetic - but we must ask where does the enthusiasm and the energy come from? Does it come from ourselves - from an extrovert personality? or Does it come from the Lord - from believing in the Saviour and being committed to serving him? I would suggest than , when we're speaking about the Lord's servants, we should use two other words - also beginning with the letter "E" - Evangelical and Evangelistic. 
Evangelical and Evangelistic - Committed to the Saviour and Committed to winning others for him: These words sum up Jesus' call to His first disciples - "Follow me" and his plan for his first disciples - "I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). This still his call to us today.
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Here's a hymn which will help us to be the kind of people the Lord wants us to be - I Want To Walk With Jesus Christ Song Lyrics Video - YouTube.

"Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so."

The Bible tells us about our wonderful Saviour. As I was thinking about the Bible - God's written Word - and Jesus - God's living Word, my heart rejoiced in the Lord. How great is our Saviour! We thank God for Him - and we thank God that the Bible tells us the Good News that we have such a wonderful Saviour.
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Here's a link to the hymn, "Jesus loves me" - Jesus Loves Me Lyrics ( Yes Jesus Loves Me with Lyrics ) - YouTube. May your heart rejoice as you listen to and sing along with this lovely hymn of thanksgiving for Jesus, our wonderful Saviour.
Here's another link which will help you to worship the Lord Jesus - Sing to Jesus - Fernando Ortega - YouTube

We come to You, Lord, with sadness. You give us gladness.

1 Samuel 1:1-28
We come to You, Lord, with sadness. You give us gladness. How does this gladness come to us? It comes to us when we stand upon Your Word, when we believe Your promises. Our life is not controlled by our feelings - the feelings that drag us down, the feelings that pull us away from You. Your promises lift us out of these feelings. They lift us into Your presence. They assure us of Your love. They lead us into Your blessing. Thank You, Lord, for Your promises and Your presence, Your love and Your blessing.

The Problem, the Returning, the Blessing (James 5:19-20)

The Problem - "if one of you should wander from the truth"
The Returning - "if ... someone should bring him back"
The Blessing - "Whoever turns a sinner away from his error will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins."
Does God have a message of hope for those who have wandered away from Him? - Yes!
He speaks with truth concerning our sin, and He speaks with love concerning His salvation.
"Seek t  he Lord while He may be found; Call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).
What blessing is given to those who return to the Lord!
There was sin and guilt. Now, there is the forgiveness of sin.
There was death.  Now, there is life: new life - life with a new sense of meaning, purpose and direction; eternal life - life with the Lord in the everlasting glory of His everlasting Kingdom.

We thank You, Lord, that Your love is eternal love.

Psalms 56:1-57:11
“Be gracious to me, O God … Be merciful to us, O God” (Psalm 56:1; Psalm 57:1). In mercy, Lord, You don’t send to us the judgment we deserve. In grace, You give to us the salvation we don’t deserve.
How do You do this for us? You make Your grace and mercy available to us through Your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. How do we receive Your grace and mercy? We look to the Cross of Christ. There, we see Your “steadfast love and faithfulness” (Psalm 57:3,10). Your love is eternal love. It’s love unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable – “I will give thanks to You, O Lord … I will sing praises to You … Be exalted, O God” (Psalm 57:9-11).

What Kind Of People Are We Becoming?

Hosea 1:1-3:5
‘Hosea’ means ‘salvation’. Married to ‘an adulterous wife’, Hosea spoke with great compassion to ‘the land’ which was ‘guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord’(1:2). He brought God’s Word of love to the people: ‘I will show My love to the one I called, “Not My loved one”’. He spoke to them of the life-changing power of God’s love: ‘I will say to those called, “Not My people”, and they will say, “You are My God”’(2:23). He brought a Word of hope to God’s people: ‘The Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God... They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days’(3:5). His words of hope point us to our Saviour, Jesus Christ - ‘In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son’(Hebrews 1:2).

Hosea 4:1-5:14
We read here of Israel’s rebellion against God: ‘A spirit of prostitution leads them astray. They are unfaithful to their God... A spirit of prostitution is in their heart. They do not acknowledge the Lord’(4:12; 5:4). God is not pleased with them. He speaks His Word of ‘judgment against’ them (5:1). We must look closely at our lives. What kind of people are we becoming? Are we becoming ‘slaves of sin’? God is calling us to be changed by His love and power: ‘Now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap is holiness, and the result is eternal life’(Romans 6:16,22). Let His love show you that He has not abandoned you because of your sin. Let His power assure you that He can make you ‘a new person’(2 Corinthians 5:17).

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Pray to God, preach His Word - and care for the people.

"We will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word" (Acts 6:4). Prayer and the ministry of God's word - these a...