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Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Hannah’s God

February 2nd, 2011
  • Hannah was a giant in prayer – she learnt how to pray successfully.
  • There is a pressure to be “normal” as defined by society and not take prayer – or God – seriously. But one day we will find out what was truly “normal”.
  • In Hannah’s day Israel was far from God and was a mess, and so Hannah stood out just as much then as she would do now.
  • God has a habit of choosing people and things that society rejects. Psalm 118:22. Build your life on Christ.
  • Hannah makes a remarkable vow to give her son back to God – but she probably didn’t start off praying like this.
  • We usually start off praying asking God to perform tasks for us – to have this thing or get rid of that thing – like God is some kind of cosmic butler, not to have a relationship with but to serve us. Most religion works like this – with God at arm’s length. But the God of the Bible is different – He saved us for relationship and to be known.
  • God does do things for us but He also knows He is the only thing that will ultimately satisfy us, and through answers to pray He wants to get our attention and draw us to Himself.
  • Luke 17:11-19 – all 10 lepers were healed by Jesus but only 1 came back – the other 9 didn’t want to know the real God; their god was healthy skin. Oftentimes we use God to get our real gods – the things we desire the most, more than God.
  • Answered prayers are sometimes like crumbs from the table to get us to come up and feast with the real God.
  • In the process of her affliction and praying, Hannah finds the real treasure, more precious than a child – God Himself.
  • John 15:4-7 – when we abide in Jesus, when we are aligned with Him and His desires, we begin to pray and see it come to pass. We are branches of the Vine – we are supposed to be extensions of Jesus. We can’t be independent branches.
  • We get pruned as being part of the Vine. We submit our life to God and give up claim over it, and God works in us and prunes us.
  • Our heart needs to be that our life exists for God – then we will see our prayer life explode.
  • Jeremiah 33:3.
  • Hannah had to learn this.
  • Hannah starts praying in a different way, calling on God as “O Lord of Hosts”, meaning “God of heaven’s armies” – because in her heart it is more about just having a child but a longing for God’s name being vindicated, and to have a son to dedicate to that cause. Her vision grows so much bigger than just having a baby.
  • It’s not about us but about God’s mission – it’s His battle.
  • We need to meet the God of the armies of heaven.
  • Real obedience comes from trust in a good God. And we know God is good because He gave us HIS Son. Yield to Him.
  • ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’ (Matt. 6:33)

Finding Rest in the Shade of God – Song of Solomon 2:3

April 12th, 2010

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‘As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.’

This verse uses the symbolic language of finding rest and relief from the heat in the shade of a tree. Although the book of the Song of Solomon is about romantic love between a man and a woman, it can also be interpreted as symbolic of Jesus and His Bride, the Church.

People often view Christianity as hard work and loading on extra burdens of guilt and shame – but in fact, Jesus does the very opposite. He does precisely what this verse describes – He is like a tree that provides shade from the “heat” of life. Jesus came to give inner rest, as He says very clearly in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The qualification for receiving rest for our souls from Jesus isn’t “you who are spiritual/perfect/righteous” or “you who have it all together” – the qualification is “all who are weary”.

Sitting down

  • you actually have to sit under tree and take advantage of the shade
  • this means letting go, taking the weight off your feet, relaxing

Be still and know

  • we need to stop, to cease striving, to let go of our anxieties and fears
  • it is like God says “Enough!” – that He is in control and cares for us
  • it is when we know that God is God, that we find that shade and inner rest in Him
  • Romans 8:28: ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.’ – the point is that we have to know this, otherwise we won’t benefit from the shade God has for us

Being saved

  • we don’t just need a one-time salvation from Jesus – we need saving from Him daily, to save us from the “heat” of life, from the fears and anxieties and pressures we face all the time

Example of Joseph

  • Joseph faced so much hardship and suffering and injustice, constantly being sinned against – but the fact is that everything that happened to him was a step leading closer to his destiny – to rule over Egypt
  • we are not simply at the mercy of other people and their sin – God is in control and He works all things together for our good and to get us to the place He wants us to be in

The shield of faith

  • Ephesians 6 – the armour of God – says ‘In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one’
  • we need to keep holding our faith up, trusting God and standing our ground, so as to extinguish the fiery darts that the devil sends our way

Breaks & holidays

  • we have missed the point when we view rest as simply having a break or a holiday, where we abandon everything, including spending time with Jesus
  • true rest is found in the presence of God!

The “giants” of life

  • when we merely focus on and are intimated by the giants, we do not trust God and therefore are effectively rejecting Him and treating Him with contempt
  • you’ll never arrive at your destination unless you understand that God provides rest, and that you learn to rest in His shade

The “heat” of a guilty conscience

  • the blood of Jesus cleanses all of our sin and guilt and shame
  • God is just – He will not punish us as well if He has already punished His Son in our place

The presence of Jesus & the fruit He provides

  • ‘in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore’ (Psalm 16:11)
  • Jesus also provides us with “fruit” in His presence – the closeness His affection and love and tender mercy

The example of Paul

  • Paul lived with a tremendous amount of hardship and suffering and pressure – but it was all so that he could learn that God’s grace is sufficient
  • it is not about the power of “positive thinking”
  • Paul ends up boasting in his weakness because it shows that Jesus is enough for him
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Alternative Temple 1 Corinthians 3:10-17

November 24th, 2009

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The Church Really Matters
The Church can be seen as an embrassamemt, even by Christians, but we are in fact the temple of God.
God wants a place where he dwells and he wants to share that with us, this should be a place where we can relax with God and ever since the fall of Adam he’s been working to restore this temple.

This temple is not the building or a physical location, it’s the people of God, His living stones. Us. We are not a club or social network but the dwelling place of God. We must expect God with us and not just on Sundays, at zones, small groups etc…

The Foundation Really Matters
We need to build this temple on the right foundation – Jesus Christ. If the foundation of the church is not Jesus it’s not a church.

This strong foundation, Jesus, should be our foundation for life as well as the church. Everyone trusts in something but for real peace, real hope, real life and we must have our trust, our foundation in Christ. He is trustworthy. So trustworthy that he gave up His life for us.

Your Life Really Matters
There is a day appointed when God will judge all people. He will test and filter our lives. You can be saved but still suffer loss. You can store up treasures, real riches in heaven. Our lives need to count.