Are you living the way God intends you to live?
Thomas Merton wrote: ‘A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be, it is obeying Him….The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him”
In other words all that a tree needs to do to honor God is to be a tree, be itself.
So often we get caught up in what others think of us, whether we are popular or liked. We try and be like everyone else and seek their approval.
We need to be reminded that God loves us for who we are! He created us. All He wants for us is for us to be the best version of ourselves that He created us to be.
Faith is just another word for complete trust or confidence in. As Christians we look to God to believe and have complete trust in. That is based on our spiritual conviction, and increased by learning who God is and being assured of His worthiness, His love and His generosity.
We can have faith and trust in God because He has shown us over generations that He is trustworthy. He even sent His only Son to die to cover all the bad stuff we do. All God wants from us, is to let go and let Him help us to be the unique individual that He created us to be. Loved, cherished, saved, free!
Who do you trust?
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirt.” – Romans 15:13
The Bible says: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit’ (1 Cor 2:9-10). Do you ‘love’ God? If so, He will reveal His thoughts to you. What an advantage!
Paul writes, ‘These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.’ (1 Cor 2:13)
Don’t make the mistake of limiting ‘spiritual things’ to prayer, Bible reading and church activities. This promise applies to every area of your life including your family, your finances, your career, etc.
The Bible says, ‘We have the mind of Christ.’ That means when you face a problem, you can pray, ‘Lord, help me to see this the way you do.’
When you need to make an important decision you can pray, ‘Lord reveal to me what I don’t know and teach me what I need to learn so that my decision is in line with Your will and what’s best fore everyone concerned.’ Instead of confining God to church and so-called ‘spiritual activities’ ask for His help in every area of your life.
Psalm 46:10 says, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ That means you must be still long enough for Him to put His thoughts into your mind. When it happens—and it will– you’ll never want to think any other way.
The word ‘Calvary’ appears only once in the New Testament but what happened there changed our destiny. Not only that it is vital...as vital as life or death, hope or despair, heaven or hell. It’s our only means of salvation! ‘There is salvation in no one else! God has given not other name under Heaven by which we mush be saved’ (Acts 4:12).
Without Christ’s death, our sins would have separated us from God forever. But for His death we’d be subject to the full penalty of God’s law, pronounced guilty for every sin we’ve ever committed and as condemned sinners, lost forever.
Romans 3:19 says “Obviously, the law applies to those whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.’ No exceptions—’the entire world’ including you, stands guilty in God’s sight.
But because Jesus fulfilled every requirement of God’s law on our behalf, we have been forgiven and declared righteous. That’s vital information. And you only have two options when it comes to Jesus: accept or reject Him!
He said ’Anyone who believes and is baptised will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.’ (Mark 16:16) Jesus’ sacrifice resolved the sin question: ’What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:22) The answer is simple: put your trust in Him and be saved.
"Me and John went to the footy last Saturday"
"Me and..." is not only grammatically incorrect but spiritually disastrous.
Yet we hear "Me and..." in everyday conversation around us everyday.
"Me and..." reveals that our unconscious priority is "Me first!"
Now as we follow Jesus, there comes a time when we will read in our Bible, Philippians 2:3, Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
and Holy Spirit reveals to us that we are out of step with the Spirit of Jesus.
It is a humbling experience!
Just a cursory read of Scripture shows us that God doesn't bless disobedience. So contemplate the liberation, the freedom of the tyranny of self, that obedience to God and His will for us will bring into our lives.
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— .
OK, Let's get growing!
Paul writes: “Don’t be selfish: don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself. Don’t just think about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and in what they are doing. Your attitude should be the kind that was shown us by Jesus.’ (Philippians 2:3-5 TLB). Becoming more unselfish begins with the decision to stop thinking about yourself so much and start looking for ways to help others. If you want to become more Christlike and unselfish, start doing these two things:
(1) Put yourself in situations where people have needs. Is that risky? Sure. You risk rejection. You risk being misunderstood. You risk making mistakes. But becoming unselfish requires putting yourself in a position where you can see a person’s need and so something about it. In other words, get involved!
(2) Give quietly or anonymously. Jesus said: ‘Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven...Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.’ (Matthew 6:1-4 NLT) It’s easier to give when you receive recognition than when no one knows about it. But those who give for recognition and applause have already received any reward they will get (see Matthew 6:3). There are spiritual, mental and emotional benefits that come to those who give anonymously. Try it. The fulfilment you’ll receive will encourage you to make it a lifestyle.
The Word for Today–Vision Christian Media
Last week Leighton raised some interesting questions for us to ponder and reflect on. Here is someone’s thoughts on why they go to church….
“In a culture that minimizes commitment and maximizes self-indulgence, I have learned the precious gift of church attendance or, more specifically, the church gathered. I do not see church attendance as a burden or legalistic commitment. I view it as a joy—a place where I can give and serve, a place where I can focus more on others than myself. I could name many but here are ten reasons I attend church:
¨ I attend church to serve others
¨ I attend church to encourage others
¨ I attend church to encourage my pastor
¨ I attend church to state my priorities
¨ I attend church to participate in worship
¨ I attend church even if it doesn’t meet all my needs
¨ I attend church with frequency, not on occasion.
¨ I attend church to set an example for my family.
¨ I attend church because the Bible tells me to do so.
¨ I attend church because I love my church
I love to attend church. I attend church for these reasons and many more. I thank God for my church.”
Do you attend church regularly? What are your reasons? Let us pause and thank God for His church here at Marion Church of Christ.
Human love says, I’ll love you as long as you meet my expectations, agree with my politics, or fit into my social circle. God isn’t like that! He didn’t wait for us to become worthy before making the first move. “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.’ (Romans 5:8)
Jesus came to live as man, lived life here on earth, faced challenges, had hurts, felt grief. Then He underwent a most gruesome punishment, so severe it cost Him his life, for something He didn’t do. His body was put in a grave, but that isn’t the end of the story. God, Jesus’ Almighty Father who had watched everything happen to His Son, raised Jesus from the dead.
The cost/consequence of everything that is not good in this world, called sin, is death. We have all sinned / done wrong and the only way to God is to have the debt paid. So because He loves us so much, He sent His one and only Son to pay that price once and for all. All that so God could call us, each and everyone His beloved children too.
That is real, authentic, perfect Love. It is available for the taking. Want to feel that perfect love and all that comes with it? Simply ask….
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn away from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Saviour and know your perfect love and forgiveness.” Amen
At our Sunday 10am service, we were delighted to be able to witness Noah go through the waters of Baptism.
Water Baptism is an act of obedience to the commands of Christ. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28-19.20
Baptism declares that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a public confession of your faith in, and commitment to, Jesus Christ. It is the next step after salvation through repentance and faith and is an important foundation for the Christian life.
Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead. It shows that you love, trust and have put your hope in Christ.
“Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.” Colossians 2:12-14 MSG
If you have any questions or are interested in exploring your faith or baptism further, please either put a note on your Care Card or contact the Church Office during the week, so we can arrange for you to meet with a Pastor.
Like trees, our relationship with Christ needs a lot of help to grow!
This growth process is impossible to complete alone. Christ understood we, His followers, would need help if we were to succeed in this world without Him, so He made provision for us before returning to His Father.
Christ provides us a helper that we can receive after accepting Him as Saviour. This helper is Holy Spirit, and He dwells within us to aid in our daily relationship with Christ. He is our conscience and our comfort. He is the source of supernatural power that we need to thrive in our growth.
In addition to Holy Spirit, Christ has also given us a family of believers in the local church that we can rely on and grow with daily. Just like trees in a forest provide shelter for seedlings, the church will provide shelter and knowledge for us.
Christ also gave us some key areas where He wants us to grow: worship, prayer, understanding and community. Each one of these produces unique fruit to strengthen our overall relationship with Christ and His church. If we lack in these areas, we will find it hard to follow after Jesus in a true relationship and will often find our walk with Him lacking purpose and impact.
Ask the Lord to open your heart, mind, and eyes to the areas you need the most growth. Ask Holy Spirit to begin to provide you strength and supernatural power in your daily walk to continue to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ.