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Lights in God’s house
God is light and as we live day-by-day walking in the light we become more like our Father, having his mindset and character. Yet, if we refuse to overcome and we prefer darkness refusing the light of God’s law/teaching then the apostle Paul warns us of the danger of spiritual shipwreck – the end result of not heeding the guidance given by the light. God’s word is our lighthouse shining to keep us on the narrow path, avoiding the treacherous spiritual currents, shoals, and rocks that could destroy us.
Yet God expects more from us than merely following the light, He expects His light to shine through us, thus lighting the path for others. We are to be living as lights in God’s house. Jesus compared his disciples to the light on the hilltop, a hopeful sign for weary travellers, and the light on the lamp stand that illuminates the whole house.
Unlike North Korea’s Air Koryo that is renowned for its infamously poor service and quality, as lights to the world God expects his people to set a high standard of “goodness.” Our godly lifestyle and our service to others should accurately reflect God’s light in us through His spirit that produces good works motivated by love. We are also called to shine the “spotlight” on darkness to expose the evil and embrace the good.
We are called into a relationship with Christ, the true light, so we must not be found “sleeping in the dark.” But rather, being fully awake to the nature of our society, and the responsibilities we have as disciples we must encourage one another and shine our light as Christ’s ambassadors, emissaries of the Kingdom of God and lights in God’s house.
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In a world of competing interests, values, and visions how can we restore family unity?
Christ spoke to the situation in his time and the tensions within the community and families due to sectarian discord. He concluded that a house divided would not be able to stand, and history bears witness to the resultant disaster for the Jewish community. In our day the situation is equally divisive, and unless we take active steps to counter the effects of the spirit of our time we too will not experience the peace in our families that God intended. If we are stuck in the darkness of contention and conflict, it is through our relationship with God that darkness can be turned to light.
The darkness in the world will create animosity between close relatives, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, but we should not be following the pattern of the world around us. God’s word does not leave us in ignorance when it comes to the behaviour He expects of his followers, and what makes for peace. He gives us detailed instructions so we can walk in His light and bring healing to those around us.
Keys to unity are to be found in understanding Malachi’s prophecy, and the apostle Paul’s advice about keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Are we responsibly turning the hearts of our children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children? In our families, are we submitting ourselves to each other and to the Lord, according to God’s arrangement of things? Are we in subjection to Christ, imitating Him, and living honourable lives, in order to make the most of our time together as brethren and experience the blessings of family unity.
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Christian Olympics – Running to Win
The apostle Paul was well aware of his culture and the heritage of the Panhellenic games, the forerunner of our modern Olympics. In writing he used the games, and running the race as a metaphor of the Christian life. As we remember the events of the Rio Olympics in 2016 our modern Olympian, Michael Phelps, brings to mind an earlier competitor Leonidas of Rhodes, a famous runner, who 2000 years earlier had a lifetime record of 12 Olympic crowns.
Paul asks each believer if they are ready, like the athletes in the Panhellenic games, to run the race of a lifetime and exercise the discipline that is needed to win the prize. In our Christian Olympics are we running to win, so we will not be disqualified? Are we listening to our “coach” and heeding his advice as we prepare ourselves to run and overcome every obstacle?
The race requires our full attention, clear vision, unwavering commitment, and self-discipline. And the goal is nothing less than spiritual perfection. We are all in the Christian Olympics – running to win.
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Light of the World
The Cape Meares lighthouse was one of many on the west coast of America that warned sailors of treacherous waters, and helped captains avoid shipwreck and find safe harbours. The apostle Paul having been shipwrecked at least three times, used this analogy to teach a spiritual reality. God is our light, our beacon and the light of the world, and Christ came to light our path. His doctrine is our light, helping us reach our destination safely. But what is that doctrine, that teaching, that will enlighten our eyes so we are not overcome by the darkness and shipwrecked on the rocks? The scripture gives us the answer, so that we too may shine as light in the world. So how are we to shine, distinguishing ourselves as lights, and not succumbing to the darkness? What attitudes, intentions, and actions must we adopt in order to light the way for others and find safe haven for ourselves? And what pitfalls must we avoid, as we live in a society that often confuses sweet, with bitter and light, with darkness. Jesus does not leave us alone to figure out how to shine our light, rather he lights our path and gives us the specific instruction and guidance we need to be the light of the world. Let the scriptures reveal the spiritual lessons.
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Building a Spiritual Family
We call the great spiritual Lifegiver, “Our Father,” and when we look into the origin of the words, Father and Family, we can begin to understand the Father’s love for us and our divine purpose. The apostle Paul, writing in Greek, made an immediate connection between Pater and Patria, father and family. John wrote of the agape, divine love, that the Father and His son have for all those who walk in the truth, those who are of His lineage and are committed to bearing His likeness – His family.
The life of Abraham gives us further insight into God’s family plan and His goal of building a spiritual family. What were the attitudes and actions that caused God to call Abraham the “Father of the faithful?” What did God know that gave Him the assurance that all nations could be blessed through Abraham?
In a time of fractured families, what lessons can we learn from Abraham and the prophets that will help us in guiding our own families and ensuring we are faithful children in our Father’s household? God gives a sober warning to parents and their children, but He also gives a message of hope to those who love and serve Him. Building a spiritual family requires a change of heart and a desire to love God, preferring what He prefers. There is a great future ahead for all those children the Father has redeemed.
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Law of Moses for Christians:
Most Christians today believe the Law of Moses has little validity in the modern world. They do not understand the history of this belief, nor do they realize the factors that led mainstream Christian thought to repudiate the Law of Moses for Christians. They have not questioned their belief, nor considered the impact of this belief on their behaviour and the resulting consequences.
But history is instructive, and in looking at the views of Catholic theologians, like Thomas Aquinas, Protestant reformers like Luther and Calvin, and modern dispensationalists, we gain an understanding of why the Law of Moses was rejected and what was substituted in its place. Then the real question becomes one of whether these biblical scholars were faithful in their examination of the biblical record, and what does the bible really say about the Law of Moses for Christians.
Let’s review the words of Jesus Christ, the writings of the apostles, and the legacy of Celtic Christian scripturalists, like Patrick and Pelagius, to consider their views on the importance and relevance of the Law of Moses to Christians who have a new covenant relationship with the Father. What does God through his word, want every believer to know about the Law of Moses for Christians? What is the truth of the matter, as it is the truth that sets us free to worship God as He desires.
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Law of Moses for Christians?
Turmoil and terror reigned this week in Nice, France, when a terrorist killed dozens on a major thoroughfare. Death and such flagrant disregard for life, is the result of lawlessness. Christians on the other hand are called to be different, to choose life, yet statistically speaking, Christians can fall prey to many of the life-destroying practices that are common in secular society. It is perhaps a good time to re-evaluate the role of the Law of God in our lives, and consider some basic principles that should guide every Christian.
Let’s do a close examination of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures to answer some fundamental questions?
Is the law against the promises of God?
Can the law save us, or give us eternal life?
Can the lawless enter the Kingdom of God?
What must one do to become a Christian and receive the Holy Spirit?
Which words of God must Christians live by?
Did Jesus value the law of Moses?
Did Paul value the law of Moses?
Who created or revealed the law that Moses scribed?
Who was expected to obey the law of Moses?
Why was the law of Moses given to the people of God?
What teachings did the law of Moses encompass?
What were the attributes of the law and their effect in people’s lives?
Malachi, in prophesying of the days just prior to the return of Christ, the Messiah, gives every Christian a warning to remember something essential and so avoid the turmoil and terror that the world will face. What was Malachi’s admonition?
Where do we first read of Christ’s role as Messiah, and his first coming?
Who will be called “great” in the Kingdom of God?
Listen to the scriptural evidence and understand God’s basic perspective on the law of Moses for Christians.