The Day of the Lord’s Wrath

[Originally posted by episcopos1 on 10 December 2015]

Zephaniah 1

Nothing will save them on the day of the Lord’s wrath

This prophetic and poetic word was spoken in or around the time of good king Josiah of Judah (640-609 BC). It’s worth reading 2Kings 22 to get the picture.

Habakkuk, seeing the judgement coming, cried that God would, in His wrath remember mercy. This reading expresses the same judgement, his wrath on a people that refused to love and honour Him.

Called to be the light of the nations, God would use the nations almost to stamp out that light. They had turned light into darkness. They had sinned against the Lord living like the nations and not as the people of God.

It is a sad passage. There is in the next chapter a call to seek the Lord with the hope that some might be hidden on the day of God’s wrath. And in the final chapter a promise with hope. But the judgement duly came. The efforts of good King Josiah were not enough to turn the hearts of the people.

We who stand on this side of these times and this side of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus, know that God never gave up on his purpose even though these instruments failed. In his mercy a good King, mighty to save, has come and has set his people free.

We are called to honour that King and His Heavenly Father in a life of love and service.

 

Ephesians 1

God’s Eternal Plan

This piece of Paul’s correspondence, somewhat in the form of a general letter perhaps sent to more than one church, is a pearl of great price.

Gathered around verse 10 what comes before it and after it tells of the magnificent purpose of God as He goes about fulfilling his plan to sum up all things in Jesus. Here past, present, and future unite in the saving and sanctifying plan of God.

This is to be read, meditated on, believed, prayed with, and looked for. There is no better commentator here than Paul himself and the Spirit who prompted him, the Spirit prayed for in verse 17. Depend on both.

Use the passage for your own good and for God’s glory

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In Wrath Remember Mercy

[Originally posted by episcopos1 on 9 December 2015]

Habakkuk 3

“In Wrath Remember Mercy”

Habakkuk’s three chapter lament joins with the other prophetic activity around the period of the end of the 600s BC and the early part of the 500s BC: Zephaniah, Nahum, and Jeremiah. Babylon is appearing as God’s instrument of punishment.

This chapter is a remarkable psalm. Verses 1-2 are a prayer that God will renew his ancient work and show mercy to his faithless people. Verses 3-15 weave together elements from the history of God’s victories on behalf of his people and verses 16-19 record the prophet’s resolve to wait on God and trust him who his Saviour and the Saviour of his people.

This chapter has a lesson for us who await the day when God will remove all evil and gather his people to himself.

 

1 Corinthians 16

“Let All You Do Be Done In Love” – “Maranatha”

Here is an insight into the busy schedule of an enthusiastic servant of the Gospel. In the cause of unity and of the acceptance by the Jerusalem Church of the Gentile Churches of Asia Paul would collect and carry material help to the poor brethren in Jerusalem. Word and works went together. There is active ministry in Ephesus which he finds hard to leave. However, at the front of his mind is his relationship with the church in Corinth and he hasten to reply to the issues raised in a letter brought to him in Ephesus by Stephanus, Fortunatus, and Achaicus. This was in response to a letter he had written to them (5:9) which we longer possess.

The life of the church in any place is rarely long without some sort of challenge. Loving concern for unity is a necessary ingredient.

We also get an insight into others workers like Timothy and Apollos as well the people who brought the Corinthian’s letter to Paul across the Aegean Sea. Here to, now in Ephesus, are Aquila and Prisca (Priscilla) in whose house there Christians were meeting. They will later be in Rome when Paul writes his letter to the church in that city from Corinth. All these in the own way served the cause of Christ.

God uses all sorts of people to serve his purposes both then and now. A grateful heart is the one needed requirement. The opportunities will soon present themselves.

Verse 13 is to be taken to heart: “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.

To features represent the life of the churches; the holy kiss – fellowship, and Maranatha (a phrase carried over from Aramaic) – “come Lord come” – the hope we await.

 

 

 

GOD KNOWS

[Originally posted on 7 December 2015 by pesmart]

HABAKUK 1-2:1

Today we begin reading the little book of HABAKUK.  The format of this book is

Habakuk’s complaint ch 1:1-4

God’s response ch 1:5-11

Second complaint ch 1:12-17

God’s answer ch 2:1-4

Psalm ch 3

We were surprised at how closely we connected to this ancient prophecy – not in content but in sentiment.

HABAKUK is overwhelmed by the evil around him and cries out to God whom he knows can fix it but who doesn’t seem to be doing anything!

God assures him that the evil that HABAKUK is distressed by, sees and is living with, will be punished and dealt with through Babylonian invasion.

‘No Lord, surely not was Habakuk’s response for he could not believe God would use a murderous, violent, cruel nation to bring Israel back to Himself.  It was inconceivable.  HABAKUK cannot believe that this action could be consistent with God’s purposes or with His nature.

Whether, like us, we are struggling with personal issues or with the agony of knowing the horror  and ongoing evil in places like Syria we were encouraged by today’s passage –

First, that we can & do cry out and complain to God.

Second, that God has things under His control, no matter what life seems like.

Third, our solutions are often not God’s and we can trust Him for ‘ He has plans for us, plans for good and not to harm.’  Jeremiah 31:

The commentator Child reminds us that, in the autobiographical style of the confession, the prophet himself serves as an example of a faithful response of one person living ‘between the promise of the end and its arrival.’

 

1 CORINTHIANS 15:35-49

In today’s reading Paul continues his reply to the Corinthian Christians who were concerned about death and particularly resurrection – issues that no doubt occupy our thinking too.

Even though Paul’s response v36 to the people who were having trouble believing that resurrection was a possibility (Foolish) he continues with a clear explanation from nature, likening death and resurrection to the cycle of sowing, germination and harvest. Leon Morris in his commentary reminds us that God is adequate for all this.  Our bodies are fitted for life on earth, so it is God’s will for us to have more glorious bodies which will be suitable for heavenly existence.

Recently a friend of ours spoke at the funeral of a young grandmother.  Because she wanted her grandchildren to know the truth of the Christian hope of life and resurrection, he gathered the children and gave them each a sunflower seed to plant after the service.

St Paul is keen for Corinthian enquirers to know that, though death is not the end it does mean CHANGE.  The new body we will receive is no longer subject to decay and will be APPROPRIATE TO THE NEW AGE.  ‘The spiritual body that follows death is new, animated by the Spirit of God, clothed and equipped for the age to come and reached by the way of resurrection.’  C K Barrett p373

This is our strong hope to live by, which can colour the way we see life and death right now.

 

Sinfulness Does Not Go Unpunished

[Originally posted by episcopos1 on 10 January 2018]

Sinfulness Does Not Go Unpunished

Nahum 3

“… the book of Nahum tells us in very straight terms that evil will be punished. It warns us about our own sin, and it encourages us when we are oppressed by great evils by reminding us that God will have the last word. We need this message bringing home to us at times when our persecutors ‘increase like the locusts’, or on the other hand, at times when we think we are getting away with behaviour which is not strictly honouring to God. The book may have a limited scope, but its message is a vital one.” (M. Butterworth)

It is worth reading Revelation 20:11-15 as a New Testament equivalent.

I am Christ’s.

[Originally posted by Glenn Murray on 4 December 2015]

FDR part 2 for Fr 04/12/2015.

Following on from my blog and exercise this morning titled: :”Why I am Christ’s” I was able to produce a short list that reminded me of these briefly described reasons: Reasons why I am Christ’s.

Amazement.  Mouth open,  chin on the floor Amazement.  Still.

Learning as a farm boy about all that is life through a child’s eyes.  Seasons,  growing food crops and annimals,  using it for ourselves and selling it for others.  Understanding how the world works as a physical entity.

Regular Sunday School and church attendance where I heard the accounts of the bible and its people.  Then late in primary school a locum minister,  an ex-army chaplain,  who could show us copies of paintings of the crucifixion in its different stages.  Pictures beyond belief that conveyed the scene as it probably occurred . Pictures that visually fitted around the biblical words I knew.

A journey.  From calm to turgid, and back and very challenging.  But accompanied with a great sense of peace and being held in God’s hands.

Nothing stops.  The learning continues.   The journey continues.

God’s people always nearby.  Some sail in and out of my life as God wills. Always for some purpose.   And yet many come along for longer periods,  including my family.  In this current season I find myself at a home-like place working alongside and with my FAC colleagues.

Healing and refining.  I don’t expect to ever tire of seeing my brothers and sisters healed by God.  Some in so terrible a place that no earthly medicine or process will ever produce a cure.  I too am healed in ways I have not expected.  Yet we go on in faith and hope. I learn again the lesson of our God who loves us beyond description.

These are the lasting things; God’s love for me as a sinner before HIm and yet I believe the account of Jesus’ crucifixion and  resurrection for our sins.  From this gift of Jesus to atone for my sinning behaviour comes my faith and hope in everlasting life.

I remain amazed.

Glenn

 

 

 

 

 

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The way we do church

[Originally posted by lachlanedwards2013 on 3 December 2015]

1 Corinthians 14; (Nahum 1)

An incredible amount of energy goes into producing our Sunday services. Looking at last Sunday’s run sheets this was the number of people who directly served at each service:

8am – 24 people

10am – 36 people

KIC – 32 people

6pm – 31 people

Add to this the hours that staff and volunteers have put into preparation including sermon preparation, band practices, video production, notice sheet production, stage set and lighting preparation, cleaning, etc. the total number of hours is significant! (a quick mental calculation puts the number into the hundreds of hours preparation for the four services at our church each Sunday). Each separate part of each service is carefully thought through. The entire service from beginning to end also needs to be cohesive. Our church services are important, and we all put in the hours as a reflection of how important they are to us.

Why?

Because we want to glorify God in the best possible way we can. In doing this we want to have an orderly worship service that is engaging and edifying.

The Corinthian church was struggling with this. It might have been a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. Paul is going to lengths to help them think carefully through how they do church. He starts with centering them on Jesus! Second he corrects their motivation – its all about loving each other when they gather (Follow the way of love – 14:1; Everything must be done so that the church may be built up – 14:26). The problem was that they had placed themselves at the center and what they wanted in a service.

This self centred attitude flowed over into their attitude towards speaking in tongues. (Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves – 14:4). Pauls solution? prophecy (14:4b). This isn’t to be understood as BIG ‘P’ Prophecy – like an OT prophet who heard a voice from God, but rather the prophecy or declaration of scripture expounded and applied to the life of the church. Anyone who reads the bible aloud in a gathering is prophesying because they are speaking God’s words after him.

Orderly and edifying worship is so important that if ever anyone accuses our church of doing something contrary to this, we must listen very carefully. We wont get it right all the time, but collectively we should hold each other accountable.

Under God may we as a church and individuals always be:

  1. Christ Centred
  2. Loving others motivated
  3. Orderly and coherent.

 

 

 

 

Amos 9, 1 Corinthians 13

Amos 9 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Israel to be destroyed

I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and he said:

‘Strike the tops of the pillars
    so that the thresholds shake.
Bring them down on the heads of all the people;
    those who are left I will kill with the sword.
Not one will get away,
    none will escape.
Though they dig down to the depths below,
    from there my hand will take them.
Though they climb up to the heavens above,
    from there I will bring them down.
Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
    there I will hunt them down and seize them.
Though they hide from my eyes at the bottom of the sea,
    there I will command the serpent to bite them.
Though they are driven into exile by their enemies,
    there I will command the sword to slay them.

‘I will keep my eye on them
    for harm and not for good.’

The Lord, the Lord Almighty –
he touches the earth and it melts,
    and all who live in it mourn;
the whole land rises like the Nile,
    then sinks like the river of Egypt;
he builds his lofty palace[a] in the heavens
    and sets its foundation[b] on the earth;
he calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out over the face of the land –
    the Lord is his name.

‘Are not you Israelites
    the same to me as the Cushites?’[c]
declares the Lord.
‘Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt,
    the Philistines from Caphtor[d]
    and the Arameans from Kir?

‘Surely the eyes of the Sovereign Lord
    are on the sinful kingdom.
I will destroy it
    from the face of the earth.
Yet I will not totally destroy
    the descendants of Jacob,’
declares the Lord.
‘For I will give the command,
    and I will shake the people of Israel
    among all the nations
as grain is shaken in a sieve,
    and not a pebble will reach the ground.
10 All the sinners among my people
    will die by the sword,
all those who say,
    “Disaster will not overtake or meet us.”

Israel’s restoration

11 ‘In that day

‘I will restore David’s fallen shelter –
    I will repair its broken walls
    and restore its ruins –
    and will rebuild it as it used to be,
12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom
    and all the nations that bear my name,’[e]
declares the Lord, who will do these things.

13 ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord,

‘when the reaper will be overtaken by the ploughman
    and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains
    and flow from all the hills,
14     and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.[f]

‘They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
    They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
    they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant Israel in their own land,
    never again to be uprooted
    from the land I have given them,’

says the Lord your God.

Footnotes:

  1. Amos 9:6The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  2. Amos 9:6The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  3. Amos 9:7That is, people from the upper Nile region
  4. Amos 9:7That is, Crete
  5. Amos 9:12Hebrew; Septuagint so that the remnant of people / and all the nations that bear my name may seek me
  6. Amos 9:14Or will restore the fortunes of my people Israel

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:1 Or languages
  2. 1 Corinthians 13:3 Some manuscripts body to the flames