Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 20th of July 2010

I Can Only Imagine!

S - "When God raises people to life, they won't marry. They will be like angels in heaven."  Matthew 22:30

- There is a new reality awaiting us, a time that we who are alive have not yet experienced. It's a different place. A new amazingly different reality. Jesus is giving us information about this new reality.

We won't be married or getting married in heaven. These verses don't tell us why this is the case but Jesus was rebuking the Sadducees for getting hung up on it and neither should I. I'll no doubt be lost in wonder and praise of God and I will love my wife as much as I love everyone. It won't be that I'll love her less, I'll love everyone more.

Jesus also says we'll be like the angels in heaven. The Bible speaks of angels as being so striking that when people come face to face with them they are terrified. But it doesn't seem to be a horrible fear, rather a fear of awe, a fear that this being is so incredible, so overwhelming that I am afraid. People tried to worship angels, thinking that they were God, but the angels refused to let them and encouraged people to worship God.

C. S. Lewis wrote...

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, culture, arts, civilization – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.

What a mystery awaits me! 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, "What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds." I can only imagine!

A - Today I will seek to view people as those who are not ordinary. The way I treat people should not be on how I see them today but on what God might do in them as a result of faith in Christ, or who they might become through rejecting God (a horror of nightmare proportions). How I treat people today will either help them to grow towards either destination. 

I too must live with the end in mind. I must remember that I am but a stranger passing through. This world is not my home! There is an incredible reality waiting ahead that I can only imagine. An incredible eternity awaits me. This is encouraging to remember especially when times get tough. 

- Father help me to live with the end in mind and live and treat people with honour as I live as stranger awaiting this future you have for me. Thanks for this hope I have in you. Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 22

Monday, July 12, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 13th of July 2010

Get Out of the Boat!

S - "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. Matthew 14:29 TNIV

O - Yes! The Bible says Peter actually got out of the boat and walked on water! People don't normally do this type of thing. A miracle is occurring here. Water which is liquid holds up the weight of a person. For Peter to have actually got down out of the boat, would have taken great courage and, even more significantly, faith. There were many more who stayed in boat, yet Peter didn't. He experienced what was previously impossible. He walked on water. Interestingly Jesus in the next verses says to Peter, "You of little faith!" Peter had faith to get out of the boat but he took his eyes off Jesus. Faith comes from trusting and obeying Jesus even in the storm.

A - What steps is Jesus calling me to take right now? They may seem impossible. They may seem completely out of the ordinary. Today, I want to say, "Yes" to steps of faith, no matter how stormy it might be around me.

P - Father, there are many challenges I face at the moment. I need to keep looking to you with faith in the midst of this time of transition with new appointments, new programs, and new opportunities help me keep my eyes on you. Amen

Daily Reading - Matthew 14

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Daily Journal for Friday 9th of July 2010

Give My Life To You?

S - Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

O - To give your life away is dangerous! To give my turst to a stranger is very foolish. To put my life in the hands of a control freak or an abuser would be crazy. In fact to put my total unreserved trust in anyone is unwise. Except for one. Jesus said, "I am the bread of life." He claimed that he is all that we need to be nourished and satified. He said, "I am the living water."He claimed to quench our spiritual thirst. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life." He claimed that by trusting in him we would live forever. Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." Jesus is God.

I am right not to unreservedly trust my life to anyone - but Jesus is the exception. In fact the very opposite is true. I must lose my life - give mine completely to him to live. If I don't I will lose my life.

A - I know that Jesus is trustworthy. I need to urge others to entrust to Jesus what we would never trust completely to anyone else. My longing is that people would give him their lives completely. That they would acknowledge him as Lord, Master and Saviour. He alone is worthy. He is creator. He can be trusted. In him and him alone is fulness of life.

P - Father, thank-you for sending Jesus. I have unreservedly put my trust in you Lord. Help me to continue to do that everyday in all I do. Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 10

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Farewell to Gayle and Warren Hill

On Monday 21st of June we invited the church to come together and express our thanks to God for Galye's ministry at Wodonga Baptist Church for the last 10 years.

After a welcome and opening prayer Pastor Jonathan Stark invited anyone who would like to share any thoughts or reflections to do so. Over the next hour many people shared about the way in which Galye had been used by God to touch many lives in our church. One shared of his marriage being strengthened through Gayle's preaching, a letter was read sent from Marg and John Docking in Uganda, and a number shared how Gayle's encouragement had helped them take a step up in their own ministry. Those who were on staff shared of the encouragement she was to serve on team with.

The Rev Dr Graeme and Maria Smith attended and Graeme reflected on the times from when Galye first came on to the staff and the way she has flourished since that time.

Senior Pastor Jonathan Stark shared about the great blessing Gayle and been to the church and the staff. He spoke about Gayle's many gifts and strengths and shared how he was sure that God will continue to use her greatly in the future.

Through all of this sharing Warren too was thanked and acknowledged as a strong support for Gayle in her ministry. Many acknowledged Warren's great work as a deacon, on the building committee and as a leader prayer ministry. His quiet strength was emphasised throughout the night.

Gayle and Warren responded with a speech thanking everyone. Warren expressed how much he loves to see Gayle doing what she loves and really felt that his ministry was to support her. Gayle said that they weren't sure what the future will hold but felt sure that God was leading them to Melbourne.

The church then presented Gayle and Warren with a gift which they had played a part in choosing. It was an antique unit that they will place in their home in Melbourne.

 People came forward and laid hands on Gayle and Warren and together we thanked God for their ministry among us, prayed for God's blessing on all that they do in the future and we committed them into God care.

After this time of sharing and praying we enjoyed a big supper together which everyone who was able bringing a plate. It was a wonderful night.

Thanks to all who came and made this a special night for our church family. Gayle and Warren have been dearly loved and will be greatly missed!

Daily Journal for Wednesday 7th of July 2010

Under Authority

S - But the centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy for you to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. Matthew 8:8

O - The centurion had come to Jesus and told him that his servant was paralyzed at home and suffering great pain. When Jesus said, "I will come and heal him," the man objected saying that he was not worthy. He was a leader, a man who was under authority, and who had people who were under his authority. He knew what it was like to just say the word and it would be done. He was saying here to Jesus, "I know that you have authority over sickness. I know that all you need to do it say the word and my servant will be healed." It's no wonder that Jesus' response to this man was so overwhelming, "I have not found such faith with anyone in all of Israel."

A - The greatest faith found in all of Israel came from one who asked Jesus and recognised his authority. "Just say the word" was the request of a man with great faith. For those who I pray for today all that it would take is one word from Jesus and healing can take place. For the problems that burden our souls one word from Jesus and they can be changed. For the hard hearts of those we love who resist God's love, one word, just one and their hearts can melt. I believe it. Jesus has authority over all things.

- Jesus, heal the sick that I know today. One word can do it Lord. Jesus for the deep longings of my heart, that you would revive your church, touch the lives of those in this region, just one word Lord. Awesome sovereign Lord Jesus, stiller of the storm, raiser of the dead, feeder of the thousands, your will be done! Amen.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Daily Journal for Tuesday 6th of July 2010

The Golden Rule

S - So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12

O - What simple yet profound words. Whatever I would wish that people would do for me, I should do for them. Treat people how you want to be treated. This appears easy and straight-forward. Everyone wants to be loved, valued and respected. I should do this to others.

The greater challenge is to do the things I know I would want others to do to me if I didn't know what I do know now! Two areas come to mind immediately. Firstly, now that I know Jesus is Lord, that he died and rose again, and that fulness of life is found only in him, if I didn't know that, I would want people to let me know. But some people would not want me to because they don't want to know. Or maybe it's just that they don't know. Because I have never met someone who has come to know Jesus who is not incredibly grateful to the person who let them know what they initially didn't want to know.

Secondly, I would also want people to speak the truth to me in love. Yet when I see something and want to share that with someone to help them, it can be painful and people sometimes don't want to face the very things that they 'need to know to grow.' These people would not want me to do to them what I would want them to do for me, because I would want people to tell me the hard things even if it hurt. Yet when people do learn and grow I have rarely found anyone who regretted getting healthier, just like a smoker never resents the fact that they gave up.

A - Do I really want to do to others the things that I would wish they would do unto me? If I do I will share with others about Jesus. If I want to do this I will speak the truth and seek to help people grow to be more like Jesus. If I really want to be more than just treating people 'nicely' I will do what I really believe is for their best. Sure they can say, "No thanks!" or "Back off!" but as long as I have genuinely tried, then I am living the golden rule. It's a harder rule than first expected!

P - Father, the Golden Rule is much harder than I realised. I'm going to need your help and your Holy Spirit's empowerment to really do for others what I wish others would do for me. Help!! Amen.

Daily Reading - Matthew 7