Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Church Family!

“God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.” Psalm 68:6

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Ephesians 3:15, 16

The greatest way God affectionately relates to us is through the family; therefore, the greatest blessing is to have a healthy family. But the greatest heartache and disappointment also comes by way of the family. The context of the book of Ephesians reveals three distinct pictures of how we relate to God and to one another. We relate through a body, a Holy Temple, and through family.

The teacher’s commentary says that the “body” is to reveal that we are to do “good works” as unto the Lord. The  “Holy Temple” reminds us to be holy as God is holy; it shows us how we are to “worship” Him. The final picture is that of the family and how we are to “live a life of love” and enjoy the closeness given only in families.  “As the human family is the context for growth and intimacy, so the family of God is a context in  which God’s love is expressed to welcome each other and to help each other grow” states the commentary.

I have always considered that I have been blessed to have two families on earth. First is my natural family for which I am deeply thankful and secondly is the people in this congregation whom I consider to be my second family.

Psalms 68:6 tells us that “God sets the solitary in families.” This is a unique family that is made up of many kinds of people who come from many different backgrounds and from many walks of life. Many come from wounded, hurting, and lonely places in life. God draws out the fatherless, the widows, and the bound and gathers them into His family (the church). Psalms 147:2, 3 “….the Lord gathers together the outcasts of Israel, He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.”

Where does God bring all these people to be strengthened and to grow? He plants them in the house of the Lord (the church). He adds them into the church family.

Consider this church family: Where did you come from? How did you get here? How shall others come? Can they find an accepting home? We are not a perfect church. But we are God’s instrument in the earth to reach those who are lost and to include them in the church family.

Paul wrote to Timothy to ask that those in the church relate to each other as fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters. (I Timothy 5:1-3) We are all children of one Heavenly Father. Let’s be committed to serve one another in love!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How God Views the World!

That is a very good question: Just how DOES God view it, with everything going on today? Does He view it any differently than He ever has?

God does not look at the world in terms of political boundaries, governments, or cultures. He sees sinful people who need to be reconciled with Him through Jesus Christ. He sees a whole world that needs to be evangelized. God views the world with a divine purpose in mind. It is a purpose and plan for the world that He established before the beginning of time. (Ephesians 1:9-10, Ephesians 3:11) God’s eternal purpose is to gather all sinful people to Himself through Jesus Christ. Through His written word, He has revealed to us the purpose which for many years was a mystery. In the Bible, there is a natural example illustrating how God views the world.

Jesus said to His disciples: “Don’t you say, there are still four more months, then comes the harvest? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest.” John 4:35 CSB

Jesus was not speaking of the natural harvest in the fields stretched before them at the moment He spoke these words. He was speaking of a spiritual harvest. Jesus used the example of the natural harvest to give His followers a spiritual vision of the world. On another occasion, Jesus clearly stated: “The field is the world.” Matthew 13:38

Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, South America, Europe, the islands of the sea—these are all seen by God as a great harvest field. As God views the harvest field of the world, He also sees a great need: “The harvest is abundant but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:37

God sees a great spiritual harvest ready to be gathered. But there are few laborers at work. If your view is that of God’s, then here are our instructions from the Word of God: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  Matthew 28:19

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Grandparents!

“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents for this is pleasing to God.” 1 Timothy 5:4 (NIV)

One of our first responsibilities is to show and live out our Christ-like life at home. This is not only true for parents, but also for the children and grandchildren. This allows them the opportunity to show their appreciation to their grandparents, giving them the opportunity of showing clearly Christian kindness and of repaying them for their love and care! This is what Timothy calls “showing piety” - “Eusebein”, that is obedient piety; piety toward a grandparent and helping with the needs that they have.

The word is commonly used to denote piety toward God, but it is also used to denote proper reverence and respect for a parent or grandparent. And to repay them as far as possible, for all of their kindness. This debt can never be wholly repaid, but still children and grandchildren should feel it a matter or respect and obligation to do as much toward them as possible for that is good and acceptable before God. It is a duty everywhere enjoyed!

So today, Grandparent’s Day, go out of your way to tell your grandparents or someone else’s grandparents, how much you appreciate them and how special they are! After all, without them you wouldn’t even be here!


Thank God for Grandparents!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Perpetual Promise of Pentecost

Brothers, what shall we do? Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children, and for all who are afar off, all whom the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:37, 38

Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not meant only for the believers in the first century, as some would believe, but it remains in force throughout the entire church age. This revelation, prophesied by the prophet Joel in the Old Testament and explained by the Apostle Peter on the first Pentecost, still applies to all believers today—men and women, young and old in every nation, and through the perilous last days of human history. God is continuing to pour out His Spirit on “all flesh.”

Matthew 25:1-13 is the parable of the ten virgins, where Jesus exhorts the church to be spiritually wise as the day of His return draws near. The five wise virgins took plenty of oil with them but the five foolish virgins did not. Having a sufficiency of oil was the key to proper preparation. So will it be in the last days.

Old Testament writers spoke of the early and latter rains also called the spring and harvest rains. The early rains caused the seeds to germinate whereas the latter rain was necessary to bring the crops to maturity. The Bible says to “ask for the rain in the time of the latter rain so the Lord shall make bright clouds and give them showers of rain.” (Zech. 10:1) The Bible often uses the words rain and water to symbolize the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

If the first outpouring at Pentecost was like unto the early rain, then the great outpouring of the latter rain, is the harvest rain that will bring the witness of the Gospel to the whole world and will gather in the last of those who have been appointed to receive salvation.

I believe that the promise of Pentecost is for us today. My conviction is that Jesus is saving the best wine (Holy Spirit outpouring) until last, that is, the last generation. As  the church age began, so will it end - in a blaze of supernatural glory and power as we welcome the return of Jesus in the clouds of heaven!