The Five Gospels

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by Calven Celliers

I recently came across a quote by British evangelist Rodney “Gipsy” Smith who said that,

“There are five Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Christian, but most people will never read the first four.”

 

The Five Gospels – Matthew. Mark. Luke. John. YOU!

Have you ever heard the slogan that the only Bible some people may ever read is you? This is a reminder to us as believers that we need to keep our behaviour beyond reproach since non-Christians will judge Christianity by the day-to-day lives of Christians. The idea is that people form their impressions of Christianity not just from what Christians say, but also by what Christians do and how Christians treat others. I have a confession, there’s a reason I’ve always been reluctant to put a fish symbol on the back of my car. Come to think of it, do people even do that anymore? There was a time when it was the ‘in thing’ in many Christian circles, but in all honesty, I hardly ever see fish symbols on Christians bumpers these days. The point, however, remains true. What if I go over the speed limit? What if I don’t always manage to merge gracefully into traffic? People will start to form a negative impression of all Christians.

The pattern holds true whether it’s a Jesus fish on our bumper or a cross around our neck or even if someone just happens to know that we go to church. Once it’s known that we’re Christians, then we’re on the witness stand. The truth is that we are all role models. Each one of us is setting an example for someone. You can’t walk away from that reality.  The people you interact with, in your sphere of influence, are watching what you do.  And by your words and actions, you are influencing others. People will look at us as followers of Christ and make judgments about what Christians are all about. This can have negative consequences if we display bad behaviour, but it can also have profoundly positive ones too.

“One must not overlook the stark reality that the way one’s life is lived out will determine the impact.” (Ravi Zacharias)

In his letter to Titus, an early church leader and trusted companion, the apostle Paul wrote,

And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.” (Titus 2:7NLT

Paul clearly knew that a principle of ‘do as I do’ rather than ‘do as I say’ is a most effective way to train others in the things of God, and he advised this trusted colleague to present himself to his brothers and sisters in Christ, as a worthy pattern of the good behaviour and the godly conduct that should be the hallmark of every believer.

The people you interact with each day aren’t walls.  What you say and do, doesn’t just bounce off them. We impact other people! It is your choice as to whether to influence others in a positive or negative manner.

I encourage you this week to think about how your words and actions are influencing others. What would your family members, colleagues and friends say about you? Would they say that you are setting a good example?  Would they say that you inspire them to get into a personal relationship with Jesus?

May we live a life that is so Christ-focused that we become a practical outworking of the doctrine we have learned and a living testimony to the God we serve.

 

God bless,

Calven

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Avoiding Fear and Anxiety

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by John Doyle

These are days of fear and anxiety in many people’s lives around the World. Lockdown and the affects of it has hit many lives and families. We do need to be reminded of the teaching of God’s Word concerning how we must handle Fear and Anxiety and be an example to others that maybe going through stressful times.

God’s word says “Anxiety in a mans heart weighs him down but a good man makes him glad, one who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor…” Proverbs 12:25 – 26

Photo by NAN STUDIO from FreeImages

We know from life experiences that anxiety and worry change nothing. It’s just another way the enemy tries to destroy our walk with the Lord and our relationships with others. 

He we are reminded again in Gods Word:

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

What an amazing promise from God when we apply these Biblical principals to our lives!

The teachings of Jesus to His Disciples on this very subject are so relevant to His people in these days in which we are living.

Lets read this together: Luke 12: 22 – 26

“Then Jesus said to his Disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do be anxious about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why are you anxious about the rest?’”

The Apostle Paul found his strength in God in times of great trial and sufferings on his journey of faith. He reminds us

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-12:10)

Based on this amazing word from the Apostle Paul we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:6. Lets “…put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.” Psalm 131:1

If you are struggling with worry or anxiety at this time let me encourage you to spend some time in God’s Word and His promise is the He will give “Peace of Heart”.

 

In the Love of the Lord Jesus,

John and Barbara.

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Opinions

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by Graham Mol

One thing that you will not find in this age of ubiquitous social media is a lack of opinions. They are everywhere, on news articles, Youtube videos, Facebook posts, comments at the workplace, that lengthy rant when you asked (and regretted asking) what someone thought about an issue. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to think about and have an opinion about matters, but what seems to be the case is that “everyone” is now an “expert” on every matter.

The deeper issue regarding the multitude of opinions can be seen in how everyone is insistent that their opinion is what matters most. There is an element of pride as people criticise, stating just how they would do things differently, or resort to bullying those who do not share their views. You get a sense of the discontentment people are experiencing as they react to the things of life, very often giving an opinion on things that, if they were honest, they know nothing about. This is not a pleasant way to live.

The comments on pride by Charles Spurgeon, a Baptist preacher from the 1800s  are still relevant to the situation we find today as he says:

This pride very often leads to haughtiness, domineering ways towards others, and contempt of them, as if they were not as good as we are; and if we see any errors and mistakes in them we conclude that they are very foolish, and that we should act much better if we were in their position. If they act nobly and well, this same pride of ours leads us to pick holes in them, and to detract from their excellence; and if we cannot get up as high as they are, we try to pull them down to our own level. This is a base thing to do, but the proud man is always mean, loftiness of looks and meanness of heart run in a leash like a couple of hounds.

In contrast to this we find a simple psalm written by David. In it is a very different philosophy, that is a way of thinking, than we find in the world today.

Psalm 131

My heart is not proud, Lord,
    my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
    or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.

How many of us experience the kind of contentment that David describes in his image of the child with his mother? Rather than trying ever so hard to make our own voices heard on every issue, let us rather listen for God’s voice and trust in His unfailing ways. For He is the source of our contentment and hope. Now and forevermore.

God Bless

Graham

 

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The Secret Ingredient

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by Caryl Moll

My gift had travelled with us for over 600 kms. It lay on the back seat of our car – a plastic bag filled with all the dry ingredients to make up my special brand of “Bran muffins.” This package was intended for the Chef at our lodge. It was heart-felt and aimed at conveying our appreciation for the opportunity of spending time in the bush. 

I’ve made these muffins for many years. They’re easy and my family love them. They’re large, chunky and yummy – ideal to fill the gap in ravenous tummies. They’re high in fibre too, so could pass as ‘healthy’.

The package had all the ingredients that Chef needed to make the muffins. I hoped that he could perhaps have some fun too – a diversion from his busy day in the hot kitchen as he worked to serve his guests.

He just had to add the wet stuff. Or so I thought…

—xXx—

“Thank you so much,” Chef Jonson smiled. I’d finally met him and he tipped his head in grateful thanks.

“Enjoy it,” I beamed. It felt good to do something for someone else.

At breakfast the next morning, the dining area looked pristine and tastefully decorated despite us being only one of two couples. The setting was exquisite. The lake around the lodge teamed with birds and game. A group of Egyptian geese squabbled loudly while a cool breeze fluttered the table cloths. Vases of wild flowers were placed elegantly amongst the tables. We sat down and waited for the other guests to arrive. The lodge was practically empty. Paradise!

Chef Jonson came over to greet us. I noticed his pride as he took time to explain the menu. Then he smiled secretively and left briskly to the kitchen. He was soon back at our table – this time clutching a small, steaming basket. I recognised the aroma immediately.

“My muffins?” I gasped. He nodded and smiled widely.

“Made especially for you. I hope you like them.”

Les and I looked at each other with surprise as Chef placed the basket in front of us.

“But I meant them for you..?” I countered.  But Chef continued to smile.

I gently peeled back the covers of the basket to peep inside. The aroma was all too familiar. It reminded me of home – practically bringing my family along into the lodge with us. Chef Jonson watched our reactions with keen interest.

My muffins had never looked so good. Nor had they smelled so delicious. Somehow Chef had waved his magic spoon and produced something totally different. These muffins were small, delicate, perfectly risen and uniform in shape – quite unlike my own chunky efforts at home.

“Wow!” I exclaimed. “These are amazing. Thank you so, so much. They look absolutely incredible!”

“You are most welcome!”

Chef continued to smile and then he made a quick, humble bow in front of me. We were being treated royally although there was no divide between us.

I took a moment to savour the delicacy. The muffins were absolutely perfect and seemed to ooze something unique and personal. Was this really my recipe? How had he baked them so perfectly? They were moist, delicious – my mouth is watering as I write this.

“I wonder what the secret ingredient is…?” I looked at Les. He smiled as if he knew.

“What is it…?” I pleaded.

—xXx—

Chef had taught me an important lesson at the lodge that morning. He proved the importance of that elusive, not-so-secret ingredient.  I suspect that you already know what it is?

Yes, you’ve got it… It’s when you pour your whole self into your task to make a difference in someone else’s life. … it is the all-important, divine ingredient –

LOVE

 1 Corinthians 13:2

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

I was taught, yet again, that if we don’t add love to what we do, our efforts amount to nothing. We can perfect our routines and our daily habits, but without love they are just that – empty efforts and routines. If we add love to our work and activities, it brings a whole new recipe into our lives. It brings smiles to the recipients, kindness and joy to our hearts and a whole new feel to our world.

Love can be dispensed in our smiles. It’s the comforting gestures we extend to others. It’s in the breath we take when we centre our thoughts on someone else. It’s in our uplifting prayers, words, thoughts and gifts. It is what should make us human. It’s part of Jesus’s recipe. Love started our world. And it’s love that continues to permeate into God’s whole story. Let’s fill the world with love!

—xXx—

So, dear Sister/Brother-in-Christ, I’m off to the kitchen now. I challenge you too to try out my recipe. But this time, add you own unique blend of LOVE. Perhaps consider blessing someone else with your efforts. Either way, jump on the band wagon with me. Let’s make our world a better place!

May God bless you as you add your own ‘cup of love’ to all the activities in your day.

 

With love, in Christ

Caryl

Ps. Let us know how your own recipe turns out 😉

 

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