Bear Each Other’s Burdens

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by Calven Celliers

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2NIV)

Most Bible scholars understand the law of Christ to be what Christ stated were the greatest commandments – 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12: 30 & 31NIV)

Love God and love people, that’s the law of Christ. And what better way to express our love for both than to carry each other’s burdens? There’s a reason why Jesus said the second greatest commandment is like the first: if we love God with all our heart, we will love our neighbour as ourselves It functions like faith and works; if we truly have the first, the second naturally follows.

“If we love God most, we will love others best.” (Jon Bloom)

One of the beautiful things about being a Christian is that you are not alone. God intentionally connects you with other believers and one of the reasons is so we can strengthen and encourage each other when life threatens to overwhelm.  It’s during those times that we can carry each other’s burdens by coming alongside a struggling brother or sister and helping them shoulder the weight of a trial or temptation that threatens to pull them under. I probably don’t need to tell you that the added strength and encouragement of others is often the difference between pressing on and giving up when the going gets tough.

No one should ever go through situations alone. The bottom line is we need each other. For every one of us there will come a point where you are overwhelmed by the weight of life. In those moments you will be grateful that there is someone there to help you carry that weight. This is one of the responsibilities of the body of Christ.

In our efforts to do good, we must not overlook the priority the apostle Paul sets in Galatians 6:10 – “ 10 Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.” (Galatians 6:10TheMessage)

The call to believers is to take advantage of every opportunity to do good and be helpful to all people, but especially to those who are of the household of faith, your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Bearing one another’s burdens is where the rubber meets the road. It is where you don’t just talk about your faith and the love you have for God’s people. It is where you show it. Remember, when you do this, you are being Jesus’ hands and feet to those who are in need of it. There are plenty of people who are carrying burdens right now who could use your help to lift that weight off them. If you know someone in that situation, then be the one to help them through it. I can say from personal experience they will be eternally grateful.

 

God bless you,

Calven

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Expectations

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by Calven Celliers

Have you ever set out to pursue something that was a goal or dream in your heart only to have it turn out to be completely different to what you thought it would be?

Yesterday morning I read a quote by Pastor Steven Furtick that dealt with just that –

“Don’t let your experience become the enemy of your expectation.”

As I read that I began contemplating the reality of expectations, and how creating expectations can open our hearts up to disappointment. How often do things in our lives go exactly as we planned?

Don’t get me wrong: planning is a good thing. It’s beneficial to be organized and to have certain things planned out, after all the failure to plan is a plan for failure. A wise person ponders and plans.

I guess the question I find myself wrestling with, however, is how do I react when things don’t pan out the way I’d hoped or planned? Do I get bent out of shape and let the disappointment crush my spirit?

And then these wise words of King Solomon in Proverbs 16 came to mind, 3Commit to the  Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3NIV)

What a comforting thought! How much happier we would be, how much lighter our burdens, if we would just commit all our ways to the Lord!  We plot and plan, fret and worry, failing  to be dependent upon God, forgetting that without His blessing, our plans will come to naught.

The apostle Paul was a man who often spoke of his plans to visit certain churches and wrote in his letters about the goals he wanted to achieve; but Scripture shows that although Paul made many good plans, not all those expectations were  accomplished, for the Lord was the one that directed his path.

Sometimes the plans we make may be good and honourable, but God knows the end from the beginning and may take us to a different destination with a different expected outcome. But if we are living by faith and trusting His guidance, He will bring us to the place that He knows is best.

God not only knows the future, but holds the future in His hands. How wise, therefore, to use our rational thought and God-given free-will to plan wisely, to the best of our ability, while recognising that God may either permit our plan to move forward, or He may overrule it according to His divine will and purpose for our lives. What a comfort to know that while we have the freedom to make our plans, the Lord will ultimately direct our feet into the way that is best for us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3: 5 & 6NIV)

 

God bless,

Calven

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Accidents Happen

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by Calven Celliers

This past week I was involved in a bumper bashing. Thankfully no one was injured , but my vehicle definitely came off second best.  No doubt, every one of us have had our fair share of accidents in life. If not in a car, then perhaps we’ve injured ourselves, or at some point we’ve fallen down. Ironically, falling down is part of growing up.

As far as the record of history and the record of God’s Word goes, we as believers do not have any promise that we will escape suffering. In fact, in the Gospel of John Jesus made it quite clear that 33In this world you will have trouble.” (John16:33NIV)

As I contemplated this issue, I found myself reading an online article ‘The Reality of  Accidents’ in which the author made the following four observations regarding the events of life and the categories they fall into.

  1. EVENTS WHICH GOD PLANS – These events have to happen because they are a part of God’s purpose, and they are predestined. They cannot not happen.

 

  1. EVENTS WHICH GOD PREVENTS – These are things that would have happened if God had not stepped into history and by His providence prevented.

 

  1. EVENTS WHICH GOD PROHIBITS – These are all the things that God forbids. These things do take place, however, because God has given man the freedom of choice. God does not will these events, nor does He prevent them.

 

  1. EVENTS WHICH GOD PERMITS – These are events which God has not planned, but neither has He prohibited, or prevented them. This is where we put accidents. Accidents are events which God did not plan to happen, nor did man choose to happen. They happen because of mistaken judgments, carelessness, and unawareness of the consequences of what is being done. 

 

No matter how you look at it, the reality of life on this side of eternity is that there isn’t a human being alive on this planet who isn’t acquainted with troubles. The great comfort for all who believe, however, is found in Jesus follow up statement, 33In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33NIV)

Jesus doesn’t want us to be under any false illusion that life in this fallen world will be full of ease and comfort. Life is tough, accidents happen. The Bible, far from dodging this fact, acknowledges it and embraces it. Jesus himself guaranteed it. And instead of promising to eliminate trouble from our lives, Jesus instead promises to give peace and comfort in the midst of trouble. The finished work of Christ removes the teeth from suffering. By entering into our world and suffering alongside us, Jesus offers certain hope that transcends the temporal sorrow and suffering this world throws at us.  

17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17 & 18NIV)

There is much to be gained if we take these words to heart. They help us to remain faithful in our walk with the Lord, if our focus is more on the eternal than the temporary troubles of the present. Then we can more easily endure through whatever comes our way.

Keep on keeping on my friends.

 

God bless,

Calven

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Peace of Mind

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by Calven Celliers

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6 & 7NIV)

 Anxiety is the natural result when our hopes are centred in anything short of God and His will for us.” (Billy Graham)

At its worst, anxiety is a crippling disease, taking over our minds and plunging our thoughts into darkness. But God wants so much more for us than to walk through life full of fear, worry and anxiety. But our instruction to not be anxious doesn’t just stop there. The apostle Paul goes on to tell believers exactly what the solution is and what we should focus on – 8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8NIV)

The first step to an anxiety-free mind is to fix your thoughts on Jesus – “5 …take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5NIV) –  and to gain control over what you think about yourself and life. In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes this awesome promise – 36 …if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36NIV)   

Many people seek peace of mind, and yet it eludes them because they seek to fabricate something that only God, the God of peace, can give us through His one and only Son, the Prince of Peace, and the abiding presence of His Holy Spirit, who produces peace within us.

We must, however, work with the Holy Spirit, by thinking about what we allow into our minds. Guard your mind from garbage! The old computer cliché, GIGO – Garbage in/Garbage out — holds a lot of truth. If you put bad data into a computer, you will get bad results out. If you put mental garbage into your mind, you will get garbage out in your life. 

As long as we live in a fearful, stressful, fallen world, negative thoughts will come our way. We have the option of either stamping out those thoughts or nurturing them. The apostle Paul not only tells us what to think about, but he implicitly teaches that we can control what we think about. When a negative thought comes, we as Christians, who have the mind of Christ, have the ability to push it out of our mind and replace it with godly thoughts. This takes practice, but with persistence, it gets easier. The good news is, negative thoughts can be replaced with positive ones, and the more that godly substitution takes place, the more peace and joy we can experience.

Christians must think about what they’re thinking about and not allow their minds to have free rein. In our spiritual warfare, we’ve been given the helmet of salvation to guard our minds.

God bless,

Calven

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