Friday, 28 January 2011

Disappointed? Rejected? Don't Grow Weary

"And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint."

Galatians 6:9 (Amplified Bible)

One of the hardest things we go through as a Christian is the feeling that sometimes our hard work has been in vain, especially when that hard work has involved pouring our life into someone else. From time to time you will have people who come into your life with real needs and issues. You spend time with them, pray for them, encourage them, counsel them, and maybe even give financial aid when it is needed. And then one day, in spite of everything you have done they simply walk away from you on some flimsy pretext without as much as a thank you.

If you have been a Christian for any length of time then I'm sure you have had this experience, and if you have been in church leadership for more than a year or two, you will undoubtedly have gone through it at least once, probably many times. After a couple of these experiences, our emotional response can often be "what is the point?” or “why bother?" We can become embittered against the people who have acted so ungratefully towards us, and take the apparent rejection very personally. If this has been your experience then let me tell you a few things to help you keep going, keep loving and keep giving.

First, we must always look to Jesus as our example. He came and poured His life out into people, healing them, forgiving them and feeding them both physically and spiritually. Yet at the end of his earthly life most of those people had walked away and left him, and many of his own disciples had badly let him down. He knew what was going to happen long before it actually did, and He knew the weakness and lack in those that He loved. (Matthew 26:34)

The second thing we need to know is that same love that Jesus has is now in us and enables us to love and forgive those who have mistreated us and rejected us, and yet still be available for the next person who comes along. It is His Spirit that softens our own heart towards those who come to us needing help. Christ now lives in and through you and me.

Finally, we need to understand that we will reap a harvest, but it is a spiritual harvest from spiritual seed. God's promises never fail and it is HE ALONE who we serve and who sees our hearts and our actions. God's word to us is that we shouldn't grow weary and give up doing the right things, and with His help and this knowledge we won't.

God bless you.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Let Jesus Take Over

Many years ago we used to sing a song in church that had the title “Give up and let Jesus take over.” It was all about letting the Lord help us in the battles and trials of life, when we had run out of ideas or resources. And that is how most of us live our Christian lives, if we are honest. We do our best every day to try and please God, and only really bother him when we can’t manage any longer. Our prayers may go something like this...”Dear Lord, I don’t come to you very often and I never ask for much, could you please help me with this situation.” Then we have a mental picture of God on his throne thinking to himself “I suppose so, you don’t cause me too much trouble, and I might help you out this time.” You get the picture; generally God is not too involved with our daily life, but He is there is we really need Him.

The apostle Paul said this, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” In other words, we are not supposed to let God take over just when we get into trouble, we are supposed to let Him take over full stop. He is not just the power we need when our resources run out; He is the power for everything. And not only our power, but also our wisdom, our love, our patience, our kindness, our self, control, our health and so on and so on. Jesus Christ in us is our whole life and therefore the true Christian life is letting Jesus take over.

How do we apply this truth practically? Well, you can start by realising that with Jesus in you, by His Holy Spirit, you are calling on resources that are already there, rather than trying to get your Father to send something extra. Instead of praying "Lord give me patience (or wisdom) to deal with this situation," we should instead say "Thanks Lord for giving me patience, and I am now releasing it into this situation." Paul said to Timothy "Stir up the gift that is in you, " and that is what we are doing when we acknowledge what we already have in Christ.

Scripture reading

Acts 1:8, Galatians 5:22, 1 Corinthians 4:5-11, 1 Corinthians 1:30-31, Philemon 6

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Key to a Victorious Christian Life

This month in Living Word Church the focus of our teaching is on the wonderful fact that we are "in Christ" and He is "in us." You might say "well I know that already, " but there is a difference between knowing something in theory and actually having a revelation of what has taken place in your life when you were saved.

God wants us to really know, really understand the hope He has called us to and the rich inheritance He has given us. (Ephesians 1:18) It is only then we can stop striving to be better Christians and realise that He has already given us everything we need for life and godliness by bringing us into a brand new life.(2 Peter 1:3)

The Christian writer, Watchman Nee, described this new life as like putting a train ticket in between the pages of a book. Where the book goes, so does the ticket. Whatever the book experiences, so does the ticket. If I were to throw the book into the lake the ticket would also get wet. This picture helps us understand that our life truly is hidden with God in Christ. We are "in Him." (Colossians 3:3)

Not only that, but He is also "in us," by His Spirit. He is not in us just to help us through life, He is in us so that through us the world will see Him, and because He is in us we have victory over sin and it's consequences. We are not trying to get peace, we have peace because the prince of peace is in us. We are not trying to be more loving, because love Himself is living in us. All we have to do is stop striving and actually allow Jesus to rule in our hearts and in our minds. (Galatians 2:20)

Why not join us this Sunday for the latest part of this great teaching. It's time to stop trying to live a Christian life and realise the key is "Christ in you the hope of Glory." (Colossians 1:27)