Your kingdom come

The start and end of today’s study – perhaps, is a fitting way to end this issue: ” … the Kingdom of God, as embodied in the Person of Christ, has the final say in human affairs … So, let this be our last thought: when Christ taught His disciples too pray. He instructed them to say this: ‘ … your kingdom come’ (Matthew 6:10). Other kingdoms come and go. His Kingdom is here now, and is here to stay.”

I’m currently visiting a friend in another city, and (today) they have a range of newspapers covering news from all around the world – from news of the large earthquake in Chile and resulting tsunamis, the Winter Olympics (Vancouver), a variety of reports on political leaders and endless stories about celebrities and their exploits. Yet, just how much news is there, in the various media, concerning God’s Kingdom – the one structure which will survive past the end of time?  I didn’t notice anything of substance.

I think this is a sign – that the hearts of many have grown cold – do you agree?

No dead ends

The text set for reading and meditation supports our trust and confidence in our future, as we stand on an unshakeable rock [Isaiah 9:2-7, NLT]: “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.

You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.

The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned.They will be fuel for the fire.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!”

I think Selwyn’s conclusion captures a part of his passionate belief in God’s eternal kingdom: “The ages have tested the foundations on which men have built, and only one has proved solid and dependable – the Kingdom of God. From the depths of my heart I give thanks that I belong to the one kingdom that cannot be shaken. And so, I hope, do you.”

The sword of the Lord

As Selwyn implies, at the start of today’s study, it’s our Lord’s Word which has the last say.

He writes: “Kingdoms built on laws and principles antithetical to God’s laws are sowing the seeds of their own destruction.”

We, also know, that this truth not only applies to nations and kingdoms but to individuals as well – no one will escape giving an account of their life, to the One who created it.

Unshakeable!

Selwyn now turns to the last of his unchanging truths: remember, no matter what the future may bring, you are part of an unshakeable kingdom.

I liked this part of his conclusion: ” … For those who have eyes to see, that crushing is taking place all around. Nations refusing to build on Christ’s righteousness stumble over it, to their destruction.”

Today’s prayer, I think, contains a lot to meditate on: “Lord Jesus Christ, You are both tender and terrible, meek yet masterful. The builders of civilisation have rejected You, but You have become the cornerstone. My faith is in You. All glory and honour be to Your peerless and precious name. Amen.”

All up, I think today’s study was very good, including the verses set for reading and meditation (Hebrews 12:14-29, NLT) – I’ve included the first few verses and the last section:Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless

Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!

When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakeable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire.”

Jesus is coming soon to judge everyone, including you and me; while we wait for Him, we need to be active – to work at living a holy life, to look after each other; and, to carefully listen for God’s voice – as we seek His guidance – in all that we do.

Continuous surrender

Selwyn makes another good point in today’s study – the nature of our relationship with God – is continuous. It’s a relationship that must be evident for every moment of our lives, and not reserved for just a few hours on a Sunday.

If you only seek God’s involvement in your life, for a short time, once a week; then how deep can that type of relationship be?

Selwyn introduces today’s study with these words: “We talked yesterday about the need for repentance and surrender when we feel ourselves lacking in spiritual power. It is important to point out that surrender is not once-and-for-all; surrender must be continuous. … Surrender is done, and yet it is never done – it is continual yielding. … In our relationship with Christ … we surrender and keep on surrendering.”

As Paul says in his letter to the Romans (12: 1, NLT): “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

The giving of ourselves to God – is a living sacrifice: as we live each day, so too, we offer ourselves for God’s service – each and every day.  Every moment of every day is lived, following Jesus – it is total and continuous surrender – there can be no exceptions.  His love for us is so great that He always provides assistance to enable us in our daily sacrifice. We also have the promise that He will never ask us to do anything that is impossible (for His Spirit to achieve through us), nor will He overwhelm us with burdens. [Matthew 11:29-30: “ … Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Any comments?

Oil wells need oiling

[I sometime wonder about Selwyn’s titles for some of the daily studies; and often smile to myself when I imagine someone doing a search on ‘oil wells’,  in Google, or other search engines – and seeing this posting in their search results. 🙂  ]

I love Chapter 4 of John’s Gospel, actually – I can say that about most chapters in his gospel. These following verses are just fantastic, John 4:7- 15 (NLT): ‘ … Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.” … ‘

The words of Jesus provide the source of hope that we all have for eternal life.  We,who love Jesus, are filled with His love, which remains fresh and bubbles up within us, and overflows as streams of living water. Is this not – too wonderful to be true, yet it is! However, we need to ask Him – for this ‘water’, the asking reflects our love and the confidence we have in His word, that He will always provide us with what we spiritually need.  Our confidence in His love – is the foundation stone of our relationship with God. Do you agree?

Selwyn mentions a word, which has  – to a certain extent – lost its place in the hearts of many people who attend church. The need for repentance, when we realise that our thoughts and actions are not aligned with the direction given by the Holy Spirit, is mandatory – it’s not a nice option.

Selwyn writes in today’s study about a minister who had run ‘dry’, the bubbling spring within him has stopped flowing.  This is part of what Selwyn had to say: “… A lost spiritual blessing cannot be recovered without repentance. If we have moved away from the Lord and ceased to be dependent on Him, the only way back is through the door of repentance.We need to say sorry for losing the connection between ourselves and the Lord. Next we need to surrender. This involves letting go … we must put ourselves at the disposal of the Deity. We substitute His will for ours.”

Today, nearly two thousand years after Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, His words to you and me, are still the same: “You  – through the Scriptures – know of the gift God has for you and you should know that you have access to your living God; so that you can ask Me –  and, I will give you –  living water.”

The first part of Selwyn’s prayer for today, is a prayer all of us need to dwell on – most of our days: “O God, if I have been depending more on my own resources than I have on the Holy Spirit then forgive me, I pray. I repent. … ”

What are your thoughts?

Pleasing Him

After reading today’s study, I guess the main question for each one of us, is: Are there streams of living water flowing out from us? Are we using the power of God within us to live holy lives, for His glory?

I entirely agree with Selwyn when he says: “The Spirit, as we emphasised yesterday, provides power but He is the agent for purity too. Nine streams flow from those in whom the Spirit dwells: ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’ (Galatians 5:22) … when the Spirit fills your life, all you want to do is please the Lord. A truly Spirit-filled believer will not be pleased with anything that does not please God.”

This extract from today’s set verses, for reading and meditation, really capture an important message – one that should be taken deeply into our hearts. 1 John 3:18-24 (NLT): ” …  Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.”

It’s a message that we don’t hear preached often enough: Our on-going fellowship with God is demonstrated by our obedience to  His commandments.

There is a belief held by some people that ‘once‘ you express  a verbal belief in Jesus – that you are ‘always‘ saved.  This belief is true from God’s perspective (He alone knows the real state of our hearts.) – but it’s definitely not proven from a human perspective – it must be supported by evidence, as seen from our on-going actions. Any comments?