Grace in the end

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

March/April 2016 Issue –  Straight from the Heart‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’  Philippians 1:7

The text set for today’s reading and meditation:

Philippians 4:23 (NIVUK): ”The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

I think that Selwyn’s conclusion to this March/April issue is excellent.

“It is grace that makes us citizens of heaven’s kingdom and raises our sights to a coming Saviour. What is more, it is by this transforming grace that He changes our death-ridden earthly bodies into radiant, resurrection bodies modelled on His.

It’s all grace isn’t it? Grace upon grace,. Can anything be more wonderful? Grace be also to you, dear reader, in Jesus’ name.”

At the moment, the words of the famous song – Amazing Grace – are going around my head and heart. Amazing, that God loves us so much that He freely gives us the gift of eternal life – to be with Him in a harmonious relationship.

Any comments?

Saints in Caesar’s household

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

March/April 2016 Issue –  Straight from the Heart‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’  Philippians 1:7

The text set for today’s reading and meditation:

Philippians 4:20-22 (NIVUK): ”To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.”

These are the bits that I liked in today’s study: “The thought of God’s gloriously lavish giving moves Paul to a characteristic burst of praise: ‘To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.'” When was the last time you cried out to God, in a burst of spontaneous praise? It’s a challenging question don’t you think?

Selwyn tells us that Caesar’s household, refers to members of the civil service or government administration in Rome (where the letter to the Philippians was written). He concludes with these words: “Paul’s greetings give another glimpse of the extraordinary interconnectedness of all who love Jesus. A ‘network of grace’ is set up when Jesus changes our lives. If you are in a Caesar’s household (a difficult and challenging environment for a Christian) today then take heart. You can be sure God will touch someone’s spirit to intercede for you.”

In a sense we all are in a foreign environment controlled by Satan; thankfully we have the Lord’s protection and the prince of this world has no hold over us, unless we give him a foothold!

Any comments?

The divine supply line

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

March/April 2016 Issue –  Straight from the Heart‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’  Philippians 1:7

The text set for today’s reading and meditation:

Philippians 4:19 (NIVUK): ”And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

I don’t have much to add to what Selwyn has said, except to say that God will provide all that we need – in a spiritual sense – for us to undertake His work.

If, we have been tasked by God to provide financial help to someone who  is in desperate need then God will ensure that we have the resources to undertake His work. The point is that God is not meeting our needs to satisfy our own wants – He is providing resources to us so that we can undertake His work.

Early in my Christian walk, I felt called upon to lend a person some money to help them during a time of financial crises. However, shortly afterwards, I discovered that I needed to pay a debt (before my next payday), which I had completely overlooked. I went to my bank and sought a financial report on my account and much to my surprise found that some funds had been withdrawn from my account, in error. Once the bank rectified the error, the money credited to my account, was the exact amount required by me, to pay the debt.

I’ve found over the years that whenever I’ve stepped out to help others I’ve never been placed at a disadvantage – God has always provided exactly what was needed.

Have you had similar experiences?

‘Hot money’

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

March/April 2016 Issue –  Straight from the Heart‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’  Philippians 1:7

The text set for today’s reading and meditation:

Philippians 4:18 (NIVUK): ”I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

I think the following captures the main point of today’s study.

“‘Money’, it is said, ‘is power.’ That is a conclusion with which there can be no possible argument. But is it possible to hold money without being corrupted by the love of money? Yes, if we understand that we are stewards and not proprietors, and we regard our money as God’s money. Also, that we understand what Jesus meant when He said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35).”

When we give away our money to help those less fortunate, especially in response to disaster relief, then (in a sense) we are giving away some of ‘our power’; it is saying that we don’t place our trust in the power (money) we have accumulated but we depend totally on Jesus for all that we need to serve Him.

I read recently that the giving to charities by younger age groups (from memory those under 25 years) has dramatically declined in recent years; the spiritual value of giving is obviously not being adequately taught to the younger people in our communities. However, I have also seen some fantastic initiatives started by young people in areas of need like caring for the homeless.

Your thoughts?

Giving and receiving

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

March/April 2016 Issue –  Straight from the Heart‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’  Philippians 1:7

The text set for today’s reading and meditation:

Philippians 4:14-17 (NIVUK): ”Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.

Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.”

I like this part of today’s study: “Generous giving and humble receiving oil the wheels of love in the Church, and flow over into praise for God. Paul is insistent that he neither needs nor seeks their support (but he appreciates their help). He’s not after their money. But he knows that such reciprocity builds up the Church in love and completes the joy of all.”

Generous giving protects us from becoming addicted to the acquisition of wealth and power, it keeps us in balance which is important considering the disparity between the poor and the rich throughout the world.

The current situation cannot last, resources are being consumed at a fast rate and sooner or later large cracks will start to appear in the global economy. How blessed are we that we are ready for anything through the strength of Jesus within us.

Your thoughts?

Ready for anything

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

March/April 2016 Issue –  Straight from the Heart‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’  Philippians 1:7

The text set for today’s reading and meditation:

Philippians 4:10-13 (NIVUK): ”I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

I liked this point which Selwyn makes in today’s study: “This is probably one of the most abused texts in the Bible. Read in the light of the previous verses, ‘all things’ can refer only to things pertaining to Paul’s apostolic ministry.

In other words, empowered by Jesus, Paul has been able to cope with whatever life has thrown at him in the pursuance of his God-given commission.

The everything must not be interpreted as all the things we want to do but all the things God wants us to do.”

Just as Paul was able to withstand all the trials he suffered in undertaking his ministry; so too, we can be ready for anything through the strength of Jesus – who lives within us (those who follow and totally love Him by putting His teaching into action).

Any comments?

The God of peace

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

March/April 2016 Issue –  Straight from the Heart‘I have you in my heart … all of you share God’s grace with me’  Philippians 1:7

The text set for today’s reading and meditation:

Philippians 4:9 (NIVUK): ”Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

I think one of the biggest issues for Christians in the western world is to follow Jesus’ example, by doing those things which demonstrate that we are His disciples – and, the main focus of our work for Jesus, is to make God known.

Selwyn writes the following in today’s study: “Paul was apostle, spiritual father, friend and mentor to the Philippians. He wrote this letter straight from the heart. It was written out of love for them and to promote their spiritual progress. He has just urged them to fill their minds with good things; now he wants to remind them to do, as well as think, good things. …

If the Philippians practise what they have heard preached by Paul and seen exemplified in him and in others then the peace of God, says the apostle, will be with them. And so it will be with us.”

The various letters written by Paul were designed to be read by the early church, and also by us. The spiritual truths they contained are not altered by the changes in culture that have occurred over the centuries.

The call to love God and to love all humanity with all our heart, mind and spirit is as valid and necessary as it was two thousand years ago – to love our family, friends, neighbours and community (including the global community) requires action by us. There is no escaping this fundamental truth. Yet many turn a deaf ear to the call for Christian action.

Why, I wonder?