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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT WEDNESDAY – LORDSHIP OF CHRIST.

Jesus Christ is not valued at all until He is valued above all. - Augustine.

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.' - Luke 4:8.



I said: Let me walk in the field.
God said: Nay, walk in the town.
I said: There are no flowers there.
He said: No flowers, but a crown.
I said: But the sky is black, there is
nothing but noise and din.

But He wept as He sent me back,
"There is more," He said. "There is sin."
I said: But the air is thick, and fogs are
veiling the sun.
He answered: Yet souls are sick, and
souls in the dark undone.
I said: I shall miss the light, and friends
will miss me, they say.
He answered me: Choose tonight, if I
am to miss you, or they.

I pleaded for time to be given;
He said: Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in heaven to have
followed the steps of your Guide.
I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town;
He said: My child, do you yield? Will
you leave the flowers for the crown?

Then into His hand went mine,
and into my heart came He;
And I walk in a light Divine,
the path I had feared to see.
- George MacDonald.
-------------------------
A.W. Tozer says that people who are crucified with Christ have three distinct marks:
1. They are facing only one direction,
2. They can never turn back, and
3. They no longer have plans of their own.
- Tim Hansel.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be obedient in every command. I ask this in the wonderful and majestic Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY – HUMILITY.

I am the least of the apostles… For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. - 1 Corinthians 15:9.

I am the very least of all the saints… Although I am less than the least of all the Lord's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, - Ephesians 3:8.

I am the foremost of sinners… Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. - 1 Timothy 1:15.

Humility and a passion for praise are a pair of characteristics which together indicate growth in grace. The Bible is full of self-humbling (man bowing down before God) and doxology (man giving praise to God). The healthy heart is one that bows down in humility and rises in praise and adoration. The Psalms strike both these notes again and again.

So too, Paul in his letters both articulates humility and breaks into doxology. Look at his three descriptions of himself quoted above, dating respectively from around A.D. 59, 63, and 64. As the years pass he goes lower; he grows downward! And as his self-esteem sinks, so his rapture of praise and adoration for the God who so wonderfully saved him rises.

Undoubtedly, learning to praise God at all times for all that is good is a mark that we are growing in grace. One of my predecessors in my first parochial appointment died exceedingly painfully of cancer. But between fearful bouts of agony, in which he had to stuff his mouth with bedclothes to avoid biting his tongue, he would say aloud over and over again: "I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Ps. 34:1).

That was a passion for praise asserting itself in the most poignant extremity imaginable. Cultivate humility and a passion for praise if you want to grow in grace. - James Packer, Your Father Loves You.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be humble in every situation. I ask this in the wonderful and majestic Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Monday, May 29, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY – FAITH.

Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace. - Oswald Chambers in Run Today's Race.

Jesus replied, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." – Mat 21:21-22.

Yesterday was a great day for praising God, because I got the great news that my friend and fellow battler in the gospel, Guy Russell, had received from his doctors, the all clear from the cancer that had attacked his body.

I am so proud of him; his faith in God never wavered once as I watched him take blow after blow from the enemy. Surrounded by the love and prayers of his wife and two sons, his families on both sides, and his Church family, he never gave up on his faith of God, to heal him from the ravaging disease.

As we sat and talked yesterday over a cup of coffee, I told him I was so proud of him and the way he battled, he said to me, “I just held on to God and let Him do it, there was nothing else I could do.” I was so moved by what he said; I had tears in my eyes. What a great man of faith!

Sir Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary in Labrador, found himself adrift on an ice flow, headed out to sea. He mercifully killed his dogs, made a coat out of their hides, put up a distress flag, and lay down and slept.

Later he said, "There was nothing to fear. I had done all I could, the rest lay in God's hands." - Donald Campbell.

Live in faith and hope, though it be in darkness, for in this darkness God protects the soul. Cast your care upon God for you are His and He will not forget you. Do not think that He is leaving you alone, for that would be to wrong Him. - John of the Cross.

Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends. - George Muller.

Faith is not a distant view but a warm embrace of Christ. - John Calvin.

God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing. - Martin Luther.

I salute you Guy, for you are truly one of God’s encouragers.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to have the faith that Jesus spoke of, and as evidenced by Guy. I ask this in the wonderful and majestic Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Sunday, May 28, 2006

SUNDAY SERMON ON THE BLOG – ONLY THROUGH JESUS.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. - John 14:6.

I don't want to be any more exclusive than Jesus, but I do want to hear His voice, because He calls me to find the way to the Father through Him.

I also know that others must know Him, to find their way to the Father, too. Why can we not be more passionate about those around us, who do not really know Jesus as their Saviour, Redeemer, and Lord?

How can the first four books of our New Testament be read and ignored?

Loving Father, by the power of the Holy Spirit, give me a passion for Jesus, and a heart that knows Him in word, deed, and concern. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Friday, May 26, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT FRIDAY - A CHEERFUL HEART. #24.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. - Pro 17:22. TNIV

Two men went bear hunting. While one stayed in the cabin, the other went out looking for a bear. He soon found a huge bear, shot at it but only wounded it.The enraged bear charged toward him, he dropped his rifle and started running for the cabin as fast as he could. He ran pretty fast but the bear was just a little faster and gained on him with every step.

Just as he reached the open cabin door, he tripped and fell flat.Too close behind to stop, the bear tripped over him and went rolling into the cabin.The man jumped up, closed the cabin door and yelled to his friend inside, "You skin this one while I go and get another!"
-----------------------
A friend was in front of me coming out of church one day, and the preacher was standing at the door as he always is to shake hands. He grabbed my friend by the hand and pulled him aside.

The Pastor said to him, "You need to join the Army of the Lord!"

My friend replied, "I'm already in the Army of the Lord, Pastor."

Pastor questioned, "How come I don't see you except at Christmas and Easter?"

He whispered back, "I'm in the secret service.
-------------------------
You know you are addicted to coffee if ...

You grind your coffee beans in your mouth.
You sleep with your eyes open.
You have to watch videos in fast-forward.
The only time you're standing still is during an earthquake.
You can take a picture of yourself from ten feet away without using the timer.
You've worn out your third pair of tennis shoes this week.
Your eyes stay open when you sneeze.
You chew on other people's fingernails.
The nurse needs a scientific calculator to take your pulse.
You're so jittery that people use your hands to blend their margaritas.
You can type sixty words per minute with your feet.
You can jump-start your car without cables.
You don't sweat, you percolate.
You walk twenty miles on your treadmill before you realize it's not plugged in.
-------------------------
A priest who has spent a fruitless day fishing picked out three fat fish in the market. "Before you wrap them," he said to the store manager," toss them to me, one by one. That way I'll be able to tell the monsignor I caught them and I'll be speaking the truth."
-------------------------
Eli Black was a brilliant businessman best know for two events in his life: He masterminded the multimillion dollar takeover of the United Fruit conglomerate, and he jumped to his death from the 42nd floor of the Pan Am building in New York City.

In the book An American Company, an executive described a business lunch he had with Eli Black. When the waitress brought a plate of cheese and crackers as an appetizer, Black reached out and took them, placed them on the table, blocked them with his arms, and continued talking. The executive hadn't eaten for hours and hinted that he would like a cracker. But Black acted as though he hadn't heard him and went on with the business meeting.

After a while, Black placed a cracker and cheese on the tips of his fingers and continued to talk. Several moments later, Black placed the cracker on the executive's plate and then blocked the rest as before. It was clear that Black was in charge, manipulating others as he pleased.

When you play "follow the leader," check to see who is at the head of the line. Eli Black, for all his power, ended up in suicide. Jesus Christ, in all His humility, ended up the Savior of the world. - Our Daily Bread.

SO ONCE AGAIN LET US REMIND OURSELVES, THAT BEING CHEERFUL KEEPS YOU HEALTHY. IT IS SLOW DEATH TO BE GLOOMY ALL THE TIME!

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to remind myself that Jesus died to set me free, help me Lord to live that life, and be determined in Him to have a cheerful heart, in Jesus wonderful Name I pray, amen!

HAVE A GREAT AND GODLY WEEKEND!

Be encouraged!

GBYAY

Thursday, May 25, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – JOHN WESLEY... “A Burning Stick Snatched From The Fire.”

Get on fire for God and men will come to see you burn. - John Wesley.

The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" Zechariah 3:2.

I read on someone’s blog the other day, a scathing attack on John Wesley, and I thought to myself, how arrogant! How anyone can speak ill of another brother in Christ, never mind one of the ilk of a wonderful Christian like John Wesley, is beyond my understanding! It certainly was discouraging to see a man like Wesley castigated like that. I wonder if the writer can compare himself with Wesley’s love and work for the Lord…

Wesley traveled constantly, generally on horseback, preaching twice or three times a day, seven day a week. He wrote over 600 books, tracts, and articles. Compiled 23 collections of hymns, edited a monthly magazine, translated Greek, Latin, and Hebrew works, and edited, under the title The Christian's Pattern, Kempis's Imitation of Christ.

Wesley’s death did not bring an end to Methodism. Instead, it heralded a golden age of rising membership and increased self-confidence. Between 1791 and 1850 the number of Methodists in the British Isles increased from 72,500 to over 500,000, with millions more overseas. Although membership in Britain has declined since that high-water mark, Methodism remains one of the largest growing Protestant denominations in the world.

For example, between 1956 and 1996 the number of Methodists in Africa rose from one million to nearly six million and in Asia from 1,230,000 to nearly 10,000,000.

John Wesley’s reputation kept pace with this expansion. He was seen as the man whose genius and faith had laid the foundations for one of the great success stories of the post-Reformation Church. Despite cultural differences and the passing of more than 200 years, Methodists continued to look to their founder as the model evangelical and a focus for unity. - The Wesleyan Legacy.

John Wesley's father, Samuel, was a dedicated pastor, but there were those in his parish who did not like him. On February 9, 1709, a fire broke out in the rectory at Epworth, possibly set by one of the rector's enemies. Young John, not yet six years old, was stranded on an upper floor of the building. Two neighbors rescued the lad just seconds before the roof crashed in. One neighbor stood on the other's shoulders and pulled young John through the window.

Samuel Wesley said, "Come, neighbors, let us kneel down. Let us give thanks to God. He has given me all my eight children. Let the house go. I am rich enough." John Wesley often referred to himself as a "brand plucked out of the fire" (Zechariah 3:2; Amos 4:11). In later years he often noted February 9 in his journal and gave thanks to God for His mercy. Samuel Wesley labored for 40 years at Epworth and saw very little fruit; but consider what his family accomplished! - W. Wiersbe.
-------------------------------
When evangelist John Wesley (1703-1791) was returning home from a service one night, he was robbed. The thief, however, found his victim to have only a little money and some Christian literature. As the bandit was leaving, Wesley called out, "Stop! I have something more to give you." The surprised robber paused. "My friend," said Wesley, "you may live to regret this sort of life. If you ever do, here's something to remember: 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin!'" The thief hurried away, and Wesley prayed that his words might bear fruit.

Years later, Wesley was greeting people after a Sunday service when he was approached by a stranger. What a surprise to learn that this visitor, now a believer in Christ as a successful businessman, was the one who had robbed him years before! "I owe it all to you," said the transformed man. "Oh no, my friend," Wesley exclaimed, "not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ that cleanses us from all sin!" - Our Daily Bread.
-----------------------------
Being much concerned about the rise of denominations in the church, John Wesley tells of a dream he had. In the dream, he was ushered to the gates of Hell. There he asked, "Are there any Presbyterians here?" "Yes!", came the answer. Then he asked, "Are there any Baptists? Any Episcopalians? Any Methodists?" The answer was Yes! each time. Much distressed, Wesley was then ushered to the gates of Heaven. There he asked the same question, and the answer was No! "No?" To this, Wesley asked, "Who then is inside?" The answer came back, "There are only Christians here." 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. – Source Unknown.
----------------------
I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field. - John Wesley.
----------------------
John Wesley preached his last sermon of Feb 17, 1791, in Lambeth on the text "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near" (Isa 55:6). The following day, a very sick man, he was put to bed in his home on City Road. During the days of his illness, he often repeated the words from one of his brother's hymns: I the chief of sinners am, But Jesus died for me! His last words were, "The best of all is, God is with us!" He died March 2, 1791, aged 88. - W. Wiersbe.

I think our attitude towards other Christians, should be the same as George Whitefield…

Although George Whitefield disagreed with John Wesley on some theological matters, he was careful not to create problems in public that could be used to hinder the preaching of the gospel. When someone asked Whitefield if he thought he would see Wesley in heaven, Whitefield replied, "I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him." - W. Wiersbe.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to forgive those who ridicule other Christians, because of their interpretations of doctrine. Help me Lord to remember John Wesley, and others like him, who loved you so much, and worked solidly for the extension of your Kingdom. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT WEDNESDAY – THE OLD CROSS AND THE NEW.

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. - A.W. Tozer.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Heb 12:2. TNIV

"From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life; and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique -- a new type of meeting and new type of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as of the old, but its content is not the same, and the emphasis not as before.

"The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into the public view the same thing the world does, only a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.

"The new cross does not slay the sinner; it re-directs him. It gears him to a cleaner and jollier way of living, and saves his self-respect... the Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

"The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere, but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross. The old cross is a symbol of DEATH. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took the cross and started down the road has already said goodbye to his friends. He was not coming back. He was not going out to have his life re-directed; he was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise; modified nothing; spared nothing. It slew all of the man completely, and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with the victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

"The race of Adam is under the death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear, or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him, and then raising him again to newness of life.

"That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world; it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life to a higher plane; we leave it at the cross....

"We, who preach the gospel, must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, or the world of sports, or modern entertainment. We are not diplomats, but prophets; and our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum." - A. W. Tozer.


Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to keep my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, and to remember at all times, His sacrificial death on the cross. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY – LOVE FOR GOD.

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' - Mat 22:37.

My God, I love Thee; not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
Nor yet because who love Thee not
Are lost eternally.

Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
Upon the cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails, and spear,
And manifold disgrace,
And griefs and torments numberless,
And sweat of agony;
Yea, death itself; and all for me
Who was thine enemy.

Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well?
Not for the sake of winning heaven,
Nor of escaping hell;
Not from the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord.

So would I love Thee, dearest Lord,
And in Thy praise will sing;
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my most loving King.

Francis Xavier, 1506-1552
Translated by Edward Caswall, 1814-1878.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to love Jesus with all my heart, all of my soul, and all of my mind. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Monday, May 22, 2006

CHILLIN OUT TODAY!


I am chillin out, as I am going to spoil Jean, and take her out for the day, and treat her to a wee surprise. You have a great day, and I will catch up with y'all tomorrow!

Be Encouraged!
GBYAY

Sunday, May 21, 2006

SUNDAY SERMON ON THE BLOG – WALK THE WALK AND TALK THE TALK!

Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. - Philippians 3:17.

Someone once said... “I would rather see a sermon any day, than hear one.”

I'm not distressed because people want to “see a sermon,” but because so many of us don't “practice what we preach.”

As leaders, whether as friends, parents, or in positions of authority, our principal tool of influence, is our life of character (or lack of it). Do you practice what you “preach?” All of us who seek to influence others MUST!

Why? Because most people need to both hear and see the message, before it becomes a part of them.

Loving Father, forgive me for not being a visual sermon. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to walk the walk, and talk the talk. Equip me, and make me fit for your service. I know I can't do any of those without your power and grace transforming my life. In the wonderful Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Saturday, May 20, 2006

THE SILLY SATURDAY JOKE

OLD Fred had been a religious man and was in hospital, near death.

His minister visited him and as he stood at the bedside the old man's condition started to deteriorate.


Fred motioned frantically for something to write on.

The minister handed him a pen and a piece of paper and watched as Fred scribbled with his last gasp and passed away. Moved, the minister put the paper in his pocket.


At the funeral, as he finished the service, he felt the paper in his pocket. He told the mourners: "Old Fred handed me a note just before he died. I haven't read it, but knowing him I'm sure there will be inspiration for us all."

He opened the note and read out loud: "You're standing on my oxygen tube!"

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Friday, May 19, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT FRIDAY – Confused? Then Return to the Original Model! The Conclusion.

The Bohemian reformer John Hus was a man who believed the Scriptures to be the infallible and supreme authority in all matters. He died at the stake for that belief in Constance, Germany, on his forty-second birthday. As he refused a final plea to renounce his faith, Hus's last words were, "What I taught with my lips, I seal with my blood." - Source Unknown.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. – Rom 1:21.

Adoniram Judson sweated out Burma's heat for 18 years without a furlough, six years without a convert. Enduring torture and imprisonment, he admitted that he never saw a ship sail without wanting to jump on board and go home. When his wife's health broke and he put her on a homebound vessel in the knowledge he would not see her for two full years, he confided to his diary:

"If we could find some quiet resting place on earth where we could spend the rest of our days in peace. . ." But he steadied himself with this remarkable postscript: "Life is short. Millions of Burmese are perishing. I am almost the only person on earth who has attained their language to communicate salvation. . ." - Regions Beyond.

As we conclude our series, we review what we have studied so far; that many of the new ideas about Church are just that, ideas! By leaving a building doesn’t make us a better Church; we are the Church, no matter what the construction may be.

We determined that whenever a good recipe is abandoned over a long period and becomes inferior, it would be wise to return to the original recipe to see where we began to fail. What did we add, and what did we delete, and what did we change?

Therefore, I suggested that we retrace our steps and our understandings back to the original model given to us in the 2nd chapter of Acts. On Wednesday we looked at returning to The Original Salvation Model; Thursday we looked at The Original Worship Model, and today we draw to a close with…

THE ORIGINAL COMMITMENT MODEL

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. – Acts 2:44-47.

The original believers felt a connection to each other, and that obligated them to have a special care and concern towards one another. They believed that they must work together and provide for the common good of the group. The organisation was not larger than a local congregation, and they had no district associations, no state and national conventions. But, their common faith moved them to sacrifice for the common good of the local group. This involved them in regular assemblies, hospitality, and in financial sacrifices to help this large group remain for a while in Jerusalem.

Allan Emery had an experience, which made a deep impression upon him. His father received a call saying a well-known Christian had been found at a certain place drunk on the sidewalk. Immediately his father sent his chauffeured limousine to pick the man up, while his mother prepared the best guest room. My friend watched wide-eyed, as the beautiful coverlets were turned down on the exquisite, old, four poster bed, revealing the monogrammed sheets.

"But, mother," he protested, "he's drunk. He might even get sick." "I know," his mother replied kindly, "but this man has slipped and fallen. When he comes to, he will be so ashamed. He will need all the loving encouragement we can give him." It was a lesson the son never forgot.

If this “Original Model” was used as our dependable pattern today, then the Church would be so attractive that people would flock to it!!!

Are you tired of the religious confusion of our day? Would you be willing to go back to the original pattern? I urge you to give it serious thought before God. If you are convinced that this is the way, and you know you need to obey the gospel, then let’s stand and ask the Lord to help us to be like the “Original Model.”

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, not to be led into confusion, but to be convicted and reassured by your word, regarding my commitment to you and my fellow believers, and returning to the original model that you provided. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Thursday, May 18, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – Confused? Then Return to the Original Model! Part 2.

During the tenure of the great orator Henry Ward Beecher, a visiting minister (Beecher's brother) once substituted for the popular pastor. A large audience had already assembled to hear Beecher, and when the substitute pastor stepped into the pulpit, several disappointed listeners began to move toward the exits.

That's when the minister stood and said loudly, "All who have come here today to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now withdraw from the church. All who have come to worship God keep your seats!" - Today in the Word.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. – Rom 1:21.

Deeply immersed in meditation during a church service, Italian poet Dante Alighieri failed to kneel at the appropriate moment. His enemies hurried to the bishop and demanded that Dante be punished for his sacrilege.

Dante defended himself by saying, "If those who accuse me had had their eyes and minds on God, as I had, they too would have failed to notice events around them, and they most certainly would not have noticed what I was doing." - Today in the Word.

As we continue our series, we realised in Part 1, that many of the new ideas about Church are just that, ideas! By leaving a building doesn’t make us a better Church; we are the Church, no matter what the construction may be.

We determined that whenever a good recipe is abandoned over a long period and becomes inferior, it would be wise to return to the original recipe to see where we began to fail. What did we add, and what did we delete, and what did we change?

Therefore, I suggested that we retrace our steps and our understandings back to the original model given to us in the 2nd chapter of Acts. Yesterday we looked at returning to The Original Salvation Model; today we now look at…

THE ORIGINAL WORSHIP MODEL

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. - Acts 2:42.

Currently, various churches are engaged in various forms of activity, that they call worship to God. Reading the Old Testament, we learn from Cain and Abel, that God does not accept just anything we want to offer Him. Furthermore, Jesus told us that worship can be “in vain.”

'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.' - Matt.15:8-9.

Worship must be “in spirit and in truth.” God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." - John 4:24.

Acts 2:42 gives us the original model… They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. They gathered as united believers, devoted and engaged in the following activities:

The Apostle's Doctrine. This is teaching or preaching God's word. We learn from that this teaching can be communicated to each other via “speaking and singing.”

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. - Eph.5:19. Preaching ought to be engaging… Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. -2 Tim 4:1-4.

Fellowship. This includes sharing or giving into the common work… Now about the collection for the Lord's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. - 1 Cor 16:1-2.

Breaking Bread. This is the Lord's Supper… Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? - 1Cor 10:16;

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. - Act 20:7. Notice that these events occurred on the first day of the week, Sunday.

Prayers. Petitions to God were engaged, publicly as a congregation, and privately as individuals.

God seeks and values the gifts we bring Him - gifts of praise, thanksgiving, service, and material offerings. In all such giving at the altar we enter into the highest experiences of fellowship. But the gift is acceptable to God in the measure to which the one who offers it is in fellowship with Him in character and conduct; and the test of this is in our relationships with our fellow men.

We are thus charged to postpone giving to God until right relationships are established with others. Could the neglect of this be the explanation of the barrenness of our worship? - G.C. Morgan.

If this “Original Model” was used as our devoted pattern today, our worship to the Lord would be correct, and sweeter.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, not to be led into confusion, but to be convicted and reassured by your word, regarding the teaching of your word, fellowship with the family of God, celebrating communion with you, and praying publicly and privately. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT WEDNESDAY – Confused? Then Return to the Original Model! Part 1.


A university student was seen with a large "K" printed on his T- shirt. When someone asked him what the "K" stood for, he said, "Confused." "But," the questioner replied, "you don't spell "confused" with a "K." The student answered, "You don't know how confused I am." - Source Unknown.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. – Rom 1:21.

Many of the new ideas about Church are just that, ideas! By leaving a building doesn’t make us a better Church; we are the Church, no matter what the construction may be.

Whenever a good recipe is abandoned over a long period and becomes inferior, it would be wise to return to the original recipe to see where we began to fail. What did we add, and what did we delete, and what did we change?

When it comes to our recipe for salvation, and service to God we must “ask for the old paths.” Since the Bible clearly warned about departures from “the faith,” it is very important that we return to the original order of things.

One thing we have to understand is that today’s Christianity fails to speak the same thing in regard to how a person is to be saved. Various Churches will say various things, often in complete conflict with one another. Therefore, I suggested that we retrace our steps and our understandings back to the original model given to us in the 2nd chapter of Acts.

Return To The Original Salvation Model.


Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah." When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

Peter replied,
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. - Acts 2:36-41.

They had heard about Jesus, and this brought conviction. They were “Cut to the heart.” This was their faith or belief. They cried “what shall we do?” This is godly sorrow produced by faith. Then they were told to repent and be baptised. This would result in their forgiveness of all sins, and the receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.

This shows that the “free gift” is conditional, and that only those with this kind of faith will enjoy these benefits. Modern theories and contradictory ideas do not support this “Original Salvation Model.”


Early one morning fire broke out in a house on a narrow street. The alarm was sounded by a policeman on duty. Before the fire engines could get to the scene, however, flames were leaping high into the air. Suddenly a young man appeared at an upper window in his pyjamas.

Firemen quickly placed a ladder against the burning building. But to the consternation of all, he refused to come down, shouting back that he had to get dressed first. The firemen pleaded, “Come as you are! Come as you are!” but to no avail.

From below they tried to ascend the stairs, but were turned back as the wind fanned the flames into fury. When a rescuer tried to enter through a window, the heat and smoke forced him away. Suddenly the stairs gave way and the roof fell in. The man had waited too long and was buried beneath the ruins.

How much greater tragedy awaits all who refuse to “flee from the wrath to come.” Many reject God’s provision of salvation and safety in Christ because they want to get dressed up in the clothes of self-righteousness or religion. Their delay could cost them their souls. – Source Unknown.

If this “Original Model” was used as our dependable pattern today, then confusion on this issue of Salvation, would be resolved.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, not to be led into confusion, but to be convicted and reassured by your word, regarding the old paths. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY – HIS LOWEST HOUR!

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. - William Arthur Ward.

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. - 1Thes 4:18.

One man who was ousted from his profession for an indiscretion took work as a Hod Carrier simply to put bread on the table. He was suddenly plunged into a drastically different world; instead of going to an office each day, he was hauling loads of concrete block up to the fifth level of a construction site.

Gone was the piped-in music in the corridors; now he had to endure blaring transistors. Any girl who walked by was subject to rude remarks and whistles. Profanity shot through the air, especially from the foreman, whose primary tactics were whining and intimidation; "For---sake, you---, can't you do anything right? I never worked with such a bunch of --- in all my life..."

Near the end of the third week, the new employee felt he could take no more. "I'll work till break time this morning," he told himself, "and then that's it. I'm going home." He'd already been the butt of more than one joke when his lack of experience caused him to do something foolish. The stories were retold constantly thereafter. "I just can't handle any more of this."

A while later, he decided to finish out the morning and then leave at lunchtime. Shortly before noon, the foreman came around with paychecks. As he handed the man his envelope, he made his first civil comment to him in three weeks. "Hey, there's a woman working in the front office who knows you. Says she takes care of your kids sometimes."

"Who?" He named the woman, who sometimes helped in the nursery of the church where the man and his family worshiped. The foreman then went on with his rounds.

When the Hod Carrier opened his envelope, he found, along with his check, a handwritten note from the payroll clerk: "When one part of the body of Christ suffers, we all suffer with it. Just wanted you to know that I'm praying for you these days."

He stared at the note, astonished at God's timing. He hadn't even known the woman worked for this company. Here at his lowest hour, she had given him the courage to go on, to push another wheelbarrow of mortar up that ramp. - Dean Merrill, Another Chance, Zondervan, 1981, p. 138.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to admonish those that cause others problems, to encourage those who are discouraged, to help those who are weak, and to be patient with others who are struggling. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Monday, May 15, 2006

MONDAY'S SILLY JOKE!

FRED got home from his weekly round of golf later than normal and very tired.

"Bad day at the course?" his wife asked.

"Everything was going fine," he said. "Then Harry had a heart attack and died on the 10th tee." "


Oh, that's awful."

"You're not kidding. For the whole back nine, it was hit the ball, drag Harry, hit the ball, drag Harry."

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Sunday, May 14, 2006

SUNDAY SERMON ON THE BLOG – HOW TO SURVIVE A LONG AGONY!

Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. - Psalm 4:1.

At first, this cry for help seems very demanding. However, closer inspection shows that this is really the cry of desperation.

Have you been there? I surely have, and I regularly hear from other Christians, who are there now. But, read how this Psalm ends! What is the secret to surviving a long agony? I believe three things are important:

1. Honesty in our prayer life with God.
2. Confidence that God hears, and cares even when our prayers sizzle with pain and frustration.
3. Genuine praise for God included in our prayers, even when things seem miserable.

It's not a magical formula, but it is a Spirit-inspired one... check it out in Psalm 4!


Loving Father, hear my cry for relief, as well as the relief of those I love, from agony, burdens, and suffering. By the power of the Holy Spirit, answer in amazing and miraculous ways, so that we may not only be relieved, but in such a way that you may be glorified. In the wonderful Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Friday, May 12, 2006

CONGRATULATIONS HARVS ON YOUR 324!

What a legend Robert Harvey is! We congratulate him on being the best Saint’s player ever, and we have had a lot of great players, but for me Harvs tops the lot! Onya mate...

ROBERT Harvey is a great player and an even better student of the game.


Turning 35 in August, the dual Brownlow medallist probably has no right to be running out for a club record 324th game for St Kilda against Geelong at Telstra Dome tonight, but on form he would be just about the first Saint picked.

From his debut as a 16-year-old schoolboy from Seaford against the Bulldogs on a wind-swept Western Oval in 1988 through to tonight's landmark occasion at the ultra-modern Dome, Harvey has lived, learned and flourished.

"I had a few interesting battles early on with Greg Williams. He gave me a few beltings early, which taught me about what to do," Harvey said yesterday. "Especially because he wasn't a quick player and he had to use other things and tactics to get by. As a young player he really taught me a lot about what I should do."

Back-to-back Brownlow medals in 1997-98 were testimony to his status as one of the game's greats, as are his four club best-and-fairests and eight All-Australian selections.

But arguably his greatest achievement is being able to play in three different decades, as the game has grown from a semi-professional sport played on suburban mud-heaps to a full-time, ultra-slick occupation for super athletes.

And to survive into a 19th season with a full knee reconstruction and an almost chronic history of hamstring and calf injuries is nothing short of phenomenal. Just how much longer his career will go on is debatable.

"The way the hamstrings have been the last 18 months, I've never been able to look too far ahead. As recently as Brisbane (Round 3) when I did my hamstring, you just don't know what's going to happen, that's the way my body goes," Harvey said.

"I suppose as you get older you don't want to look forward too far. I'm obviously proud of what I've done and how long I've been able to play but I've still got stuff I want to do. You can never get too comfortable."

That captures the essence of the man – still learning, still striving to get better.

"Just after I turned 30 I was still trying to train and do what I used to do without any changes," he said. I've had to sacrifice a fair bit in the last few years just to get myself through and arguably my body is in better shape now than it was then because I get much more advice about what I should be doing. And I actually do it, rather than push through and try to do stuff I shouldn't.

"It has always led to injuries – missing three games here and four there. I'm in a good routine now and, in my body, I'm actually feeling younger."

His style of play had to change too. His desire to run all day has had to be modified.

"When I play I feel like I can't do things that I used to do," Harvey said. "I've obviously lost a bit of pace and that happens to everyone, but I've tried to tweak a few things, use my experience. I don't carry the ball as much as I used to, for instance. It's just something that has to happen as you get older."

Coach Grant Thomas gave a compelling insight into the nature of Harvey.

"Harvs is gifted from a skill perspective, but you wouldn't put him at the absolute top of the tops. It's more about his workrate, his mental toughness, his ability to endure pain and continue on," Thomas said. "The ability to keep going when lesser people have said `That's enough'.

"He is an extraordinarily driven person. When he gets to a situation where most of us would say `Well, that's a damn good job, that's enough', he actually then goes from third to fourth gear and keeps going. "He's pretty much like those wind-up toys, you just turn the key on the back a few times, kick him up the bum across the line and away he goes. When he runs out, you wind it up again - but he doesn't run out too often."

Robert Harvey, we salute you, as one of the great ambassador’s of the finest sport in the world!

Link Link

Crowds panic as floods threaten Ireland ...

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Thursday, May 11, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – IS THERE A HOLE IN OUR BUCKET? The Conclusion.

"May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love and joy of God's presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love." - Andrew Murray.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation." With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. – Isaiah 12:2-3. TNIV

JOY COMES FROM HAVING THE HOLY SPIRIT!

The fruit of the Spirit is the spontaneous work of the Holy Spirit in us. The Spirit produces these character traits that are found in Christ, and they are the by-products of Christ's control, we can't obtain them by trying to get them without his help.

If we want the fruit of the Spirit to grow in us, we must join our life to His in 4 ways, in accordance with the commandment of Jesus...


Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:4-5.

WE MUST KNOW HIM! I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, - Phil 3:10.

WE MUST LOVE HIM! Love Him, with all of our heart, soul and mind! - Mk 12:30.

WE MUST REMEMBER HIM! Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, - 2 Tim 2:8.

WE MUST OBEY HIM! "If you love me, keep my commands. - John 14:15.

We can be joyful in spite of our circumstances. It seems strange that a man in prison would be telling a church to rejoice, but Paul's attitude teaches us an important lesson: our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances. Paul was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, Jesus Christ was with him.

Several times in his letter, Paul urged the Philippians to be joyful, probably because they needed to hear this. It's easy to get discouraged about unpleasant circumstances or to take unimportant events too seriously.

D. L. Moody was to have a campaign in England. An elderly pastor protested, "Why do we need this 'Mr. Moody'? He's uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?" A younger, wiser pastor rose and responded, "No, but the Holy Spirit has a monopoly on Mr. Moody." - Source Unknown.

If we haven't been joyful lately, we may not be looking at life from the right perspective, and we might be living life with A HOLE IN OUR BUCKET! Ultimate joy comes from Christ dwelling within us. Christ is near, and at his second coming, we will fully realise this ultimate joy. He who lives within us will fulfil his final purposes for us.

Loving Father, Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to draw water from the wells of salvation, with joy. I ask this in the mighty Name of Jesus, my Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT WEDNESDAY – IS THERE A HOLE IN OUR BUCKET? Part 3.

The test of Christian character should be that a man is a joy-bearing agent to the world. - Henry Ward Beecher.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation." With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. – Isaiah 12:2-3. TNIV

We as Christians should be the happiest people on earth, but you wouldn’t think it sometimes! Paul of PRYING 1, commented about this in Part 1…

“When I meet Christians that look like they are sucking on lemons, I know they are missing out on the best part of the Christian walk. The bubbly part that drives unbeliever’s nuts, and makes it more worthwhile to take the next step on the path, that God sets before us. Without the joy I don't think we can really know the peace.” Wow! This is so true Paul!

Today we will study how…

JOY COMES FROM BEING IN GOD'S PRESENCE!

True joy is far deeper than happiness; we can feel joy in spite of our deepest troubles. Happiness is temporary because it is based on external circumstances, but joy is lasting because it is based on God's presence within us. As we contemplate his daily presence, we will find peace and contentment. As we understand the future that the Lord has for us, we will experience joy. Don't base your life on circumstances, but on God.

The well-known theologian Charles Hodge wrote about his early years at Princeton: "It was my privilege to be the pupil-assistant of Professor Joseph Henry, the illustrious scientist. When, for the first time, electric signals were sent from point to point, the earth itself being used for the return current, Professor Henry put me at one end of the circuit, while he stood directing the experiments at the other.

I can well remember the wonderful care with which he arranged them. Very often, when the testing moment came, he would raise his hand in adoring reverence and call upon me to uncover my head and worship in silence. He would say, 'Because God is here, I am about to ask Him a question.'" - Charles Hodge.

David’s heart was glad, he found the secret to joy... I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, - Psa 16:8-9.

David was glad, because he kept his eyes fixed firmly on Jesus, so that he would not lose his perspective on the presence of God. And that’s what we need to do, keep our eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, our hearts and tongues will rejoice in Him! Hallelujah! What an awesome God we serve!

Not only does God want us to HAVE joy, but complete JOY with eternal pleasures... You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. - Ps 16:11.

Jesus completes the picture of joy, when He says... I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. - John 15:11.

John R. W. Stott once admitted the truth that many of us have felt but failed to confess: "The thing I know will give me the deepest joy -- namely, to be alone and unhurried in the presence of God, aware of His presence, my heart open to worship Him -- is often the thing I least want to do." – Source Unknown.

IS OUR BUCKET LEAKING? THEN LET US SEEK THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND RECEIVE DEEP JOY!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT TUESDAY – IS THERE A HOLE IN OUR BUCKET? Part 2.

After attending church one Sunday morning, a little boy knelt at his bedside that night and prayed, "Dear God, we had a good time at church today--but I wish you had been there!" - Source Unknown.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation." With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. – Isaiah 12:2-3. TNIV

What is worship? Worship is to feel in your heart and express in some appropriate manner a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of that most ancient Mystery, that Majesty which philosophers call the First Cause, but which we call Our Father Which Are in Heaven. - A.W. Tozer.

As we continue our series on JOY, we remind ourselves that JOY is... The happy state that results from knowing and serving God. - Holman’s Bible Dictionary.

Webster’s Dictionary defines Joy as... 1.a. Intense, and especially ecstatic, or exultant happiness. b. The expression or manifestation of such feeling. 2. A source, or an object of pleasure, or satisfaction.

Joy is found over 150 times in the Bible. If such words as “joyous” and “joyful” are included, the number comes to over 200. The verb rejoice, appears well over 200 times. Today we discover that...

JOY GROWS OUT OF REAL WORSHIP!

Most church people don't “REALLY” worship the Lord. Worship involves 2 elements...

1. CONFESSION!

The 3 phases of complete confession are...

MEDITATION! - On God and His Word...
I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees. - Psa 119:48.

REFLECTION! - On how we are living our lives... Don't fall into the trap of making promises to God before you think! - Pro 20:25. CEV

CONFESSION! - About sin, neglect, and bad choices we have made... Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. - Heb 3:1.

Prussian king Frederick the Great was once touring a Berlin prison. The prisoners fell on their knees before him to proclaim their innocence -- except for one man, who remained silent. Frederick called to him, "Why are you here?" "Armed robbery, Your Majesty," was the reply. "And are you guilty?" "Yes indeed, Your Majesty, I deserve my punishment."

Frederick then summoned the jailer and ordered him, "Release this guilty wretch at once. I will not have him kept in this prison where he will corrupt all the fine innocent people who occupy it." - Today in the Word.

2. CELEBRATION!

In Israel’s National Holidays, there are 5 joyous to 2 solemn ones. The God of the Bible encourages JOY! Confession MUST be balanced by JOY!
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, - Rom 14:17.

Author Leo Buscaglia tells this story about his mother and their "misery dinner." It was the night after his father came home and said it looked as if he would have to go into bankruptcy because his partner had absconded with their firm's funds.

His mother went out and sold some jewelry to buy food for a sumptuous feast. Other members of the family scolded her for it. But she told them that "the time for joy is now, when we need it most, not next week." Her courageous act rallied the family. - Christopher News Notes.

ONE OF THE QUICKEST WAYS TO MEND A HOLE IN OUR BUCKETS IS... TO CONFESS AND CELEBRATE IN THE WORSHIP OF JESUS!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Monday, May 08, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT MONDAY – IS THERE A HOLE IN OUR BUCKET? Part 1.

Joy is the byproduct of obedience. – Source unknown.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation." With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. – Isaiah 12:2-3. TNIV

Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. - C.S. Lewis.

This week we are going to be studying JOY! The happy state that results from knowing and serving God. - Holman’s Bible Dictionary. Joy is found over 150 times in the Bible. If such words as “joyous” and “joyful” are included, the number comes to over 200. The verb rejoice, appears well over 200 times.

Joy is the fruit of a right relation with God. It is not something people can create by their own efforts. The Bible distinguishes joy from pleasure. The Bible warns that self-indulgent pleasure-seeking does not lead to happiness and fulfilment. Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 records the sad testimony of one who sought to build his life on pleasure-seeking. The search left him empty and disillusioned.

Proverbs 14:13 offers insight into this way of life... Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief. Cares, riches, and pleasures rob people of the possibility of fruitful living… The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. - Luke 8:14.

Pleasure seeking often enslaves people in a vicious cycle of addiction... At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. - Titus 3:3. The self-indulgent person, according to 1 Timothy 5:6, is dead while seeming still to be live.

Many people think that God is the great Kill-Joy. Nothing could be a bigger lie. God Himself knows joy, and He wants His people to know joy. Psalm 104:31 speaks of God Himself rejoicing in His creative works. Isaiah 65:18 speaks of God rejoicing over His redeemed people who will be to Him "a joy."

Joy in the Christian life is in direct proportion as believers walk with the Lord. They can rejoice because they are in the Lord...

"Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again, Rejoice." - Phil 4:4. Joy is a fruit of a Spirit-led life. (Gal. 5:22).

Sin in a believer's life robs the person of joy... Psa 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. When a person walks with the Lord, that person can continue to rejoice even when troubles come. Joy in the Lord enables people to enjoy all that God has given.

An anonymous friar in a Nebraska monastery wrote the following late in life: If I had my life to live over again, I'd try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take more trips. I would be crazier. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets. I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

If I had to do it over again I would go places, do things, and travel lighter. If I had my life to live over I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would ride on more merry-go-rounds. I'd pick more daisies. – Source Unknown.

Our text says to draw water from the wells of salvation with JOY! Joy is the bucket that holds the water that satisfies your life. Too many times, we allow our buckets to get a hole and leak out all of our joy.

This week we are going to discover how to overcome... A HOLE IN OUR BUCKET!!!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Sunday, May 07, 2006

SUNDAY SERMON ON THE BLOG – SPEND TIME WITH JESUS.

He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach - Mark 3:14.

While there are many intriguing and fascinating thoughts in this short sentence, the one phrase that touches my heart is this one: “...that they might be with him...” This reminds me of that great passage in Acts 4:13 “...they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”

Now I know that we can't “be with” Jesus in the same way the 12 apostles were. But, we do have the four Gospels that tell His story. When was the last time we sat down and read one straight through? When was the last time we read a Gospel, and asked Jesus to make Himself, and his will known to us?

Why not spend some time being with Jesus this week!

Loving Father, I thank you for the Scriptures. I thank you especially for the Gospels that tell the story of your Son. Forgive me for not spending more time getting to know Him better. As I recommit myself to seek after your Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit, bless me with a genuine sense of His presence, and a clearer knowledge of Hhis will. In the wonderful name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Saturday, May 06, 2006

SAINTS BITE THE DOGS HARD!


The Saints beat the Western Bulldogs 92-78!

St Kilda 3.4 8.4 9.8 14.8 (92)
Western Bulldogs 3.0 4.1 8.4 12.6 (78)


GOALS:
St Kilda. Fraser Gehrig (6) Robert Harvey (3) Aaron Hamill (1)
Matthew Maguire (1) Troy Schwarze (1) Nick Riewoldt (1)
Stephen Milne (1)

Western Bulldogs. Mitchell Hahn (3) Brad Johnson (2) Daniel Giansiracusa (2) Chris Grant (2) Rohan Smith (1) Scott West (1)
Adam Cooney (1)


What a fantastic game, with full forward Fraser Gehrig, slamming six past the dogs!

It was a game marred with controversy, similar to last week's game against the dockers!

What I can't understand, the AFL change lot's of rules, the players get penalised for not obeying them, but it is the umpires who don't know how to interpret the rules correctly!

Let's hope they get it all sorted out soon, for everybody's sake!

Oh! When the Saints go marching in...

GBYAY

SAINTS TO BITE BACK!

After the Launceston debacle of last week, the Saints are ready to bite back at the bulldogs today!

It was good to see the great attitude displayed by the Saints, when the AFL commission deliberated, and awarded the points to relieved Dockers…

"I hope we've set a standard in this industry. The game has no place in the courts of this land. The game ought to be contested on the field," said the Saint’s president Rod Butterss.

"To be honest, it hasn't affected me either way. The only thing that might have made a difference is whether we received the two points or not. They might've helped us towards the end of the year but we won't know that until the end of the season." said Andrew Thompson, who celebrates his 200th game today.

Congratulations Thommo! It’s a great attitude and a fantastic feat for someone who started their first senior game at the ripe old age of 24!

The Saints have put the debacle behind them, and are ready to unleash their mighty talent, against a Bulldog side that got thrashed last week by the Crows.

Let’s get out there Sainter’s, and put the dismal dogs back in the doghouse!

Carn the Saints!

Friday, May 05, 2006

WORKING HARD!

Sorry folks! No post today, very busy weekend ahead!

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

Thursday, May 04, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – FELLOWSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.

The Holy Spirit is not a blessing from God, He is God. - Colin Urquhart.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. - 2 Cor 13:14.

The deity of the Holy Spirit ought to be clearly recognized in Scripture. Look at these facts: Christ is born; the Spirit is His forerunner. Christ is baptized; the Spirit bears witness. Christ is tempted; the Spirit leads Him up. Christ ascends; the Spirit takes His place. What great things are there in the character of God which are not found in the Spirit?

What titles which belong to God are not also applied to Him? He is called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the mind of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of adoption, of truth, of liberty; the Spirit of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of might, of knowledge, of godliness, of the fear of God. This only begins to show how unlimited He is. - Gregory of Nazianzus.

Paul’s benediction, witnesses to the to the New Testament Church’s belief in the Trinity. He prays that the Corinthians may continually experience:

1. The GRACE of the Lord Jesus Christ; i.e., His nearness, power, mercy and comfort...

Although out of pure grace God does not impute our sins to us, He nonetheless did not want to do this until complete and ample satisfaction of His law and His righteousness had been made. Since this was impossible for us, God ordained for us, in our place, one who took upon Himself all the punishment we deserve.

He fulfilled the law for us. He averted the judgment of God from us and appeased God's wrath. Grace, therefore, costs us nothing, but is cost another much to get it for us. Grace was purchased with an incalculable, infinite treasure, the Son of God Himself." - Martin Luther.

2. The LOVE of God; His Fatherly love with all His blessings.

One day C.H. Spurgeon was walking through the English countryside with a friend. As they strolled along, the evangelist noticed a barn with a weather vane on its roof. At the top of the vane were these words: GOD IS LOVE. Spurgeon remarked to his companion that he thought this was a rather inappropriate place for such a message. "Weather vanes are changeable," he said, "but God's love is constant."

"I don't agree with you about those words, Charles," replied his friend. "You misunderstood the meaning. That sign is indicating a truth: Regardless of which way the wind blows, God is love." - Ian Pitt-Watson.

3. The FELLOWSHIP of the Holy Spirit; His constant companionship and His encouraging, guiding presence.

The Holy Spirit's distinctive role is to fulfill what we may call a floodlight ministry in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. So far as this role was concerned, the Spirit "was not yet" (John 7:29, literal Greek) while Jesus was on earth; only when the Father had glorified him (John 17:1, 5) could the Spirit's work of making men aware of Jesus' glory begin.

I remember walking to church one winter evening to preach on the words, "He will glorify me" (John 16:14), seeing the building floodlit as I turned a corner, and realizing that this was exactly the illustration my message needed. When floodlighting is well done, the floodlights are placed so that you do not see them; in fact, you are not supposed to see where the light is coming from; what you are meant to see is just the building on which the floodlights are trained.

The intended effect is to make it visible when otherwise it would not be seen for the darkness, and to maximize its dignity by throwing all its details into relief so that you can see it properly. This perfectly illustrated the Spirit's new covenant role. He is, so to speak, the hidden floodlight shining on the Savior.

Or think of it this way. It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over our shoulder on to Jesus who stands facing us. The Spirit's message to us is never, "Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me", but always, "Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace."

The Spirit, we might say, is the matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose role it is to bring us and Christ together and ensure that we stay together. - James Packer.

Wow! What a blessing! If this threefold reality is our abiding blessing, then our everlasting fellowship will be guaranteed!

Loving Father, I thank you for this wonderful blessing, may the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be forever evident in my life. I ask this in the mighty name of Jesus, my Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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