Death Before Dishonour

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by Luke Kincaid

I always enjoy trying new flavors of energy drinks. I am well aware of the negative impact they can have on your body but I often go to one of these caffeine heavy drinks on a day I haven’t had enough sleep the night before. While looking at the artwork on one of the latest flavors I was really invested to find the following saying:

Death before dishonour.

While this saying is quite old and has been adopted by various groups of people, I began to think of what this could mean for a disciple of Jesus.

So, what does it mean to honor God?

“To honour God means to give Him the regard, respect, reverence, admiration, adoration, awe, praise, submission, and obedience which are due to Him. To honour God means to worship Him in all our attitudes, affections, and actions. The essence of what it means to honour God is revealed to us in what Jesus called the first and greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38)” – Compelling Truth.

I am aware that the words, death before dishonour do not appear in God’s word but I think it can be a really powerful motto to live by as God is always worthy of honour. He always deserves to be honoured by us and this is something that will never change. With this in mind, when I find myself purposely wanting to dishonour Him through purposeful disobedience or through worshipping something or someone other than God, I will try to remember and be motivated by these words

Much Love,

Luke

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Running on Dregs

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by Calven Celliers

Last week I experienced car trouble. I was on my way to visit a lovely new couple to our congregation, when my car started losing power, and kept threatening to cut out in the traffic. I pulled over and gave my mechanic a quick call. As I explained to him what was happening, he advised me to go home and bring my car into his workshop the next morning. So, I called ahead to my appointment, explained my situation. They graciously understood my predicament and we rescheduled for this week. The next morning my mechanic checked out my vehicle and the verdict was as he suspected, contaminated fuel. Fuel contamination is, as the name suggests, fuel that becomes contaminated or tainted with water or sediment that collects towards the bottom of fuel tanks at the service station.

As I reflected on this experience, it brought to mind the reality of what happens when we as believers let our ‘tanks’ run low, and our spiritual lives become contaminated. Sometimes we find ourselves running very low because we are giving out more than we are taking in, and eventually we become quite drained, less than our best and tainted because we’re cruising on the dregs of what’s left, and we start losing power. It’s impossible to continue giving out when there’s nothing left to give. Maybe you’re there right now? Maybe you feel like you’ve got nothing more to give and you’re tempted to ‘cut out’ and give up? Well, if that’s you then I want to encourage you this day.

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus said that when we’re tired, worn out, and empty we can come to Him. I like the way the late Eugene Petersen paraphrases Christ’s words in The Message saying, 28-30 Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11: 28 – 30TheMessage)

The simplicity of Jesus’s invite, come to me, is so refreshing. All of us go through times where we feel spiritually empty. David likens it in Psalm 42 to a deer panting after water. Jesus doesn’t offer us a four-fold path to peace-giving enlightenment, like the Buddha did. He doesn’t give us five pillars of peace through submission as Islam does. Nor does He give us a “10 Ways to Relieve Your Weariness,” program like our pragmatic, self-help-oriented 21st century culture does. Instead, Jesus simply offers Himself as the solution.

There is a danger in continually running on dregs. When we let our spiritual tank run low, our energy and inspiration disappear. Our desire to live for Christ decreases, and soon, we are just getting by.

When you’re running on dregs it becomes difficult to cope with little things that come up or to smile. We spew out our frustration, usually on the ones we love the most, the ones we’re meant to lead or the ones we’re meant to serve. Jesus wants more for us than just getting by. In the Gospel of John, He says that 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10NIV)

Many times, we over complicate the solution, when all it takes is sheer determination and a good ol’ dose of discipline. Even when you don’t feel like it, even when it takes every last ounce of energy you’ve got left, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you to overflowing. Fill yourself with the Word of God and commit to attending Services to fellowship and worship with others where possible. As simple as it sounds, when you make a concerted effort to do these things (prayer, bible reading, fellowship and worship), you will notice your spiritual fervour increasing. Your mind turns to the things of God and away from those negative thoughts which tend to both exhaust and overwhelm us. When your tank is full, however, it’s easier to find joy in each day, to laugh at the days ahead and cope with trials.

Make every effort to connect to the source of abundant life and let Him fill your tank!

 

God bless,

Calven

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An Ascension Day Poem

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Today is Ascension Day, a day which commemorates Jesus’ ascension in Heaven after a period of time following His resurrection.

The record of Jesus’ ascension can be found in Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-20; Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:1-11.

To mark this Ascension Day we would like to share the following poem with you:

A Sonnet for Ascension Day

by Malcolm Guite

We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centred now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed.

Source: https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/a-sonnet-for-ascension-day/

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The Greatest Sermon

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by Graham Mol

Yesterday my son had to give a history speech on a great leader and speak about what makes them a great leader. He had chosen to give his speech on Jesus. As we discussed the points of the speech we looked at how Jesus was a great teacher. His “Sermon on the Mount” is one of the most famous of His teachings. Our discussion prompted me to read through Jesus’ sermon in chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of Matthew.

Reading through those three chapters is like listening to a “Greatest Hits” album of Christian teaching. Hits like the Beatitudes (Blessed are those…) to “You are the light of the world” to “Love your enemies” and “The Lord’s Prayer”. The Sermon on the Mount contains some of Jesus’ most powerful and challenging teachings for us as believers to follow. It is no wonder that the people listening to Him were astonished at the authority with which he spoke (Matthew 7:28-29).

There is one particular passage that I’d like to highlight today:

17 “Don’t think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all things are accomplished. 19 Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)

Those listening must have been shocked at this. How could one be more righteous than the very people who embodied righteousness, their religious leaders? The thing is, the people only saw what was on the outside, the display that the Pharisees and scribes put on. What was on the inside, going on in their hearts, was entirely another matter.

Following this statement Jesus looks at laws saying, “You have heard it said…” following each one with a “But I tell you…” statement. In each he does not negate the law but rather brings into focus the principle behind that law. In doing this He highlights the state of one’s heart before God. The scribes and Pharisees were very good at following the “letter” of the law and having the appearance of righteousness, the state of their hearts before God was another matter. What do you think matters more to the Lord?

“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

 

God Bless

Graham

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