“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:5-8
Ask a child how old they are and they will tell you their age, but quickly add that they are nearly….
Most Christians want to grow in the Lord, especially when they are new in the faith. But often, as time goes on, the enthusiasm to grow begins to fade. We settle into the humdrum routine and grow spiritually complacent. Good news is that God wants us to grow. Until we are perfectly like Jesus Christ, which won’t happen until we see Him, we still have room to grow. Not so good news is that we won’t grow without deliberate discipline and effort. It is interesting that Peter, a man known in the gospels for his impetuosity, sets us a deliberate, disciplined approach to spiritual growth. If Peter the impetuous fisherman could become a disciplined, godly man, then anyone else can do the same.
Let’s be like the child who is keenly eager to grow up to the next stage.
Excellence ‘Be excellent to each other’
We are saved by grace no doubt, but if there's anything the grace of God should result in, it's to inspire us to work harder and to be diligent in loving others and laboring for God. The grace displayed to us through Jesus and His finished work should never be an excuse for us to slack off.
In your work place, are Christians the most diligent and hard working? If it's Christians who make the most excuses, have the worst tardiness records and miss quotas the most, something is wrong. While God does not oblige us to excel, He gives us His unending grace so that we will become examples of His excellence.
The God we serve is an excellent God. When He created the world, He made it to be very good. When He blesses us, He blesses us abundantly and graciously. And when it came time that He would give the sacrifice that would justify the whole world, He gave His very best -- His only begotten Son.
As God has given and served us with only His very best, who are we to withhold our best from God? If we truly understand God's grace, we will respond in giving excellent service and grace to God and to others. Here are just a few of a number of Scriptures that will encourage us to always be excellent in all we do.
Psalm 150:2. "Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness."
Proverbs 10:4. "A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich."
Proverbs 16:3. "Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established."
Philippians 4:8. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
God has no shortage of names—He is called by almost 1000 different names in the Bible. One of these names is Yahweh. We don’t have an exact translation of the word in our English language so we would see it written as “LORD”. It is a sacred name, in Exodus 3:14 we see that God uses ‘I AM” and “Yahweh” interchangeably. So why is it so significant that God’s name is ‘I AM’?
Names are very important and through the Bible we learn a lot about God and His character and nature by the names that are used.
Yahweh is the Self-Existent, Eternal God
Yahweh is a Relational God
Yahweh is with us
Yahweh is the Unchanging God
Yahweh is Holy
Yahweh keeps His covenant with us
Yahweh is full of mystery….but is so worth seeking!
We worship a God of mystery, yet a God who is closer than our very breath. Yahweh is a paradox, one we will never reach the end of when it comes to our understanding of Him. But we can always seek more, and that should be our daily goal to move one step closer to know the God who is.
In the meantime we can use God’s names, that show us His character and nature to help us give Him thanks.
Thank Him that He is eternal, relational, ever present, unchanging, holy, and reliable yet mysterious. Just to name a few.
His love is so rich and full and awaits anyone seeking to know Him, the One who would do anything to have us. Even if it means sending His One and Only Son!
We have so much to be thankful for!
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” 2 Peter 4:10
Birthday gifts have your name on them because they are meant for you. In this verse though, it shows that God’s new-birth gift has your name on it but it is meant for others!
God has given us each a gift, and He calls us to use it for His kingdom. A pastor often is heard saying that “none of us ‘feel’ adequate for the jobs before us, but maybe we should step up and fill in until the perfect person comes along. Along the way, we may discover gifts and talents that we never knew we had!”
Of course none of us are perfect….yet anyway.
God has gifted us to serve others and to care for one another. God doesn’t want His gifts hoarded or ignored; He wants us to channel our talents into serving others in His name.
As we celebrate the 40 years MCC has been serving, may we remember that we haven’t finished yet. There is still lots of people to serve.
How can we use our time, talents and treasures to bless others? Let’s thank the Giver of our gifts by using our gifts to serve Him each day!
Ever had a bad day? Perhaps it would be a better question to ask when was the last bad day?
Even Jesus, had what we would call ‘bad days’ too. There is one in particular that is recorded in Matthew 14—He has just received the news that the person who understood him the best, his dear cousin, the prophet John the Baptist, had been murdered, just to fill a shallow promise by a lustful king.
Jesus, though he was God, was also human, with human emotions. When he received this tragic news he just wanted to get away from it all. “...He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself …" v13
We’ve all been in that place where the cares of this world come over us like a tidal wave and all we want to do is to get away and be alone with God.
But the people would not let him have this time of mourning. Jesus could have sent Peter or James out to tell the masses that he was taking the day off. But the Bible tells us how Jesus responded:
"When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick." v:14
Jesus shows his heart of God to people, by putting aside his hurt to help and heal others. We could leave it there, but guess what? We too are called to have that same compassion.
Even if we are experiencing feelings of hurt, betrayal, cynicism, selfishness, - even when we are ‘having a bad day’ - we need to display the heart of God by His Holy Spirit.
Today and this week, as we go through our day, let’s take some time to ask that God would give us a heart of compassion for others. Let’s pray that through this heart of compassion we would be moved to become a part of what God is doing to take the gospel to hurting people around our community, around our sphere of influence.
Pray that God’s love would be loosed in our hearts and that we would be moved with compassion — just as Jesus was — for sinners in need of a Savior. This is the heart of God. By His grace, may it also be our heart.
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!