Last Tuesday’s ODB entry is worth reading, but it made me ask what does God find beautiful. It’s whole new area to explore ….
- What is beauty?
- How does cultural bias impact?
- What speaks to our souls/hearts?
The most important thrust of the Discipleship Framework is getting to know the real God.
Identity – God.
It’s important because how can we trust (have faith in) someone we don’t know. So, we need to look at God as revealed in the bible and as revealed by the Holy Spirit as we walk hand-in-hand with Him.
One of the things I have come to recognise is that actions speak louder than words. So, all these big words that describe God: omnipresent, omnipotent etc. are all well and good, but how does that affect my life? Where is the connection?
We need to consider these words and then as we study the bible draw out what we see God has actually done, what He is doing now and what He promises to do. What does that reveal about the true nature of God?
Actions speak louder than words.
However, as an afterthought consider this, it is God’s words that breathe life into being. His words carry creation. So, we also need to take seriously what God says about Himself.
I am discovering that ODB is becoming more and more a source of good content to further explore and gradually add to the painting of the picture I hope to develop in the Discipleship Framework.
This entry from Sept 16th is fundamental – PRAYER.
As I expand on the importance of the Christian Posture (Learning to Walk a Different Way) then the way in which we pray, what we pray for, how we position ourselves with the Lord and what we pray for will be central.
In addition, I now think I should add another category – a prayer diary. To keep a record of prayers and hopefully add answers over time.
The passage itself needs mining. There are also some very useful guidelines and comments from ODB. The Lord’s prayer in particular needs dissection.
The passage tells us things about God’s character as well as what He asks of us. It also reinforces who we are as children of God being able to address God as “Our Father.”
*** This is literally jotted thoughts that need pulling together ***
Overcoming constructed worlds – seeing past the front people put on – to see the real person – a constructed world is a false identity.
Healing a wounded heart – Seeing past bad behaviour to look for the open wound(s)
Learning to look with different eyes. Recognising how our own wounds blind us. Why do certain situations or behaviours in others cause us anxiety? What is it we are afraid of? Dealing with our own splinter before trying to help someone else with theirs. We have to seek out our own wounds and find healing (in Christ) before we can help others with theirs – specifically those who have suffered the same wound. We don’t need healing from all wounds before we can help someone but we do need healing from the same type of wound we are trying to help them with.
By his wounds we are healed (1 Peter 2:24 – see wider context of surrounding verses and also Is 56 or 53?). This speaks of the crucifixion and preceding punishments – being whipped which are all part and parcel of what was needed to be done to Christ for our sins. It was needed. It is a fact. It is the pivot point in our faith. Our acceptance of the need for this and the consequence is critical. How do we respond? Repentance is therefore key to our own healing for it flows out of our acceptance of the need for healing (to be made right with God) and what Christ has accomplished. Our ongoing sin is therefore both fruit of a damaged heart (hurt people hurt people) and a choice in the moment (biting the apple).
You’ll like me if you think I am funny – part of my constructed world
You’ll like me if …. (fill in the blank)
Or put another way, you’ll accept me if ….
The confused messages of acceptance that we see in the world.
Learning that people need to find things for themselves- we only value the treasure we have to dig for.
Notes from sermon on Sunday 2nd Sept – Joshua
Everyone belongs to God – book
Phil 2:1-11 – Paul’s encouragement to be like Jesus
If you want to know what God is like take a look at Jesus. Rethink what we think of God by looking at the sacrificial Jesus – pouring yourself out, emptying yourself.
The Christ who empties himself of power for the sake of love.
Jesus regarded his equality with God not to grab power because of His strength but rather as an opportunity to display the true nature of God.
In the time of Jesus people looked to Alexander the Great or Augustus Caesar as great examples to aspire to. So this picture of Jesus, as a crucified criminal, would seem ridiculous.
What is it we aspire to in our day?
Incarnation (a god taking on human form) would not be unusual in those days. However the examples of the Greeks or Romans were Zeus etc wanting to seduce a beautiful virgin or lead a powerful army. So Jesus taking a humble form that is then lead to torture and death on a cross was at complete odds.
How can we express our thanks to God for the extent Jesus went to for our sake.
We are so used to hearing about the cross that it becomes mundane and familiar. Let us not forget the extreme pain and humiliation Christ went through. It’s vital we understand the shame and humiliation of the cross as well as the extreme pain.
One of the problems of modern Christianity is that we have exchanged the burden of carrying the cross on the back for a decorative symbol of honour we might wear on a necklace. Consider the regalia of bishops in all their dress in high churches.
It’s impossible to obey God if you are preoccupied by honour or status. Jesus says real leadership isn’t concerned about status or position. It is found in serving those in need. Because Jesus didn’t have any regard for status or honour those in authority had no power over him.
If we want to be great in the Kingdom then take up our towel and serve. Matt 25, As much as you did for the least of these you did for me. Put on the humility and vulnerability of Christ expressing the heart of God.
Joshua then showed a clip from the film, The Passion, with the backing track, “You chose the cross” by Martyn Lazell.
To explore from ODB on 3rd Sept.
Study deeper the link between comfort and suffering. Link to experience with Lampa
From Lilian following this:
LET THE DEW OF MY PRESENCE refresh your mind and heart. So many, many things vie for your attention in this complex world of instant communication. The world has changed enormously since I first gave the command to be still, and know that I am God. However, this timeless truth is essential for the well-being of your soul. As dew refreshes grass and flowers during the stillness of the night, so My Presence revitalizes you as you sit quietly with Me.
A refreshed, revitalized mind is able to sort out what is important and what is not. In its natural condition, your mind easily gets stuck on trivial matters. Like the spinning wheels of a car trapped in mud, the cogs of your brain spin impotently when you focus on a trivial thing. As soon as you start communicating with Me about the matter, your thoughts gain traction and you can move on to more important things. Communicate with Me continually, and I will put My thoughts into your mind.
Be blest X
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
—1 Corinthians 14:33 nkjv
I was reminded of something God has shown me historically in the last week.
I have always taken the phrase “It’s better to give than receive” as a given. It is something I have always accepted as good advice and a statement of truth. And I still do. That is not what God showed me!
For more on the phrase see:
10 Reasons why it is more blessed to give than receive. (this is an excellent encouragement to give and worth further study)
So, what was it I was reminded of?
It’s better to give than receive …..
But don’t steal the blessing from someone by refusing to receive what they want to give you.
Be grateful and let them know.
Don’t let pride get in the way of blessing.
Note that God loves to receive our gifts to Him!
Today’s ODB pointed me to:
The Insight section says:
Luke records the coming of the Holy Spirit in wonderfully descriptive language. For the disciples, the entire three years of walking with Jesus would have been astounding, but the last two months prior to the day of Pentecost would have been especially intense: the trial, the crucifixion, hiding in fear, the resurrection, the ascension. And it all led to the coming of the Holy Spirit and the proclamation of the gospel. Luke doesn’t record the reactions of the disciples, but imagine being in their sandals. As you are together with your closest friends, you hear the sound of wind—inside the house! What appears to be fire descends on you. Even with everything you have seen, the temptation to flinch would have been great. God’s presence was both terrifying and empowering. But it’s this fire that sparks the first gospel message, the message of salvation in Jesus.
Love Revelation: “I will pour out …..”. The very act of prophesying will be to give revelation.
God’s identity: He is the ultimate authority and source of revelation (life). He does what He says He will do, “I will …..” He also a God of signs and wonders – demonstrating wonders in the heavens above and signs on earth. There is a glorious day to come.
Our Identity: Note Peter’s identity – He has authority but he really wants people to engage (connect) – “Listen carefully.” This is also preaching (not teaching). For us: God’s Spirit will be poured out and it is expected that we will all prophesy – not some, all. What do we expect? What do we aspire to? Finally, if we have called on the name of the Lord – then part of our identity is – saved!
Security and Authority – Peter is totally secure in what he says. He has great confidence that clearly comes from the covering of the Holy Spirit.
Posture/Church – Clearly the covering of the Holy Spirit (resting on and working through us) is important. We should seek to be a prophetic people.
For further exploration: What is the difference between preaching and teaching – I believe Peter is preaching here.