Thursday, November 7, 2013 2:55:50 AM
Hi, this is the last post I will be putting on My Opera.
Never fear you can read my blog on wordpress
Point your RSS reader to http://newlifenarrabri.wordpress.com
Thursday, November 7, 2013 12:59:16 AM
“So he is the God of the living, not the dead, for they are all alive to him.”
Some Sadducees, who do not believe in the resurrection from the dead, put a trick question, a hypothetical, to Jesus to prove their intellectual superiority. They put to him a situation which they suppose shows the contradictions in believing in heaven. A woman who has multiple husbands (brothers who were required under the law of Moses to provide for heirs for widows), dies childless. Whose husband will she be in the resurrection?
Jesus replies by pointing out that heaven is different to earth. It's a different world with different needs so the present rules do not apply.
He goes on to say that if God is the God of the living, and not the dead, and if God describes Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, then clearly these people are still alive.
Religion multiplies ridiculous questions because it engages the soul not the spirit. Religion is about finding the loopholes and exploiting them like an unethical lawyer, and keeping God in a safe corner.
Jesus came to set us free from this. Rather than boxing God in, Jesus calls us to taste His freedom.
No more hypotheticals trying to get our finite minds around the infinite God. Rather, let's walk in relationship with the God of the living, and let His life free us from the constraints of religious thinking.
This is not to decry doctrine, because we need to have categories to describe our infinite Father. When doctrines become the only definition of truth, when they seek to exclude people rather than include, then we are far from the path of life.
Lord I don't understand the details of eternity, but I trust you enough to know that you have it worked out. Thank you that you are equipping me for heaven. Please grow your grace in me each day. Amen.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013 1:11:37 AM
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold on to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
Paul warns the Thessalonians against the teachings of those who claim the Day of the Lord has already come. No, that day will not come until the time of rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed. At that time the Lord Jesus will destroy the lawless one and all the works of satan.
Paul encourages the church of Thessalonica to stand firm in Christ in order to share in His glory.
Through the ages there has been speculation about the end times and the return of Christ. Our age is no different.
Paul seems to be saying here that we cannot be confident of the details of the time of Christ's return but we can be confident that there will be an uprisng in rebellion and that a man of lawlessness will be exposed as satan's tool to deceive the elect.
Therefore we need to keep our eyes on Jesus and not on the time in which we live. Look to obeying Christ now, and trust Him for the details of His return and triumph over evil.
Holy Spirit lead me into all truth. Let me stand firm in the power of your grace and never be deceived by the Evil One. Amen.
Monday, November 4, 2013 11:43:00 PM
Sing praise to the Lord,
Celebrate His name
I thought I was lost
But He rescued me
I thought there was no escape
But He showed me the exit
Hills sing with me!
Rivers come and praise!
All you birds and animals too
For God is good
In all His ways
Blessed be His name.
Monday, November 4, 2013 12:01:43 AM
“I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come , and I will fill this house with glory,” says the lord Almighty.
People are returning to Israel to rebuild Jerusalem after the Exile in Babylon.
The Lord speaks to Haggai and tells him to go to the people and say “Do you remember the former glory of the Temple?” What they have seems to be nothing compared to what they had, but the Spirit of the Lord is still with them.
Soon, the Lord will shake the heavens and the earth, and the temple will be rebuilt to its former glory. The silver and gold of the entire earth is the Lord's and He will provide what is needed.
The glory of the latter house will exceed what was formerly there and God will bring peace to his people.
When we go through difficult times we can lose sight of God's faithfulness. We look at the surface of things and miss how God is at work underneath.
The Israelites had returned from exile, but were discouraged by the state of the Temple. It seemed so poor and inadequate compared with what had been. The Lord reminds them that He is still with them and has never left them since the time of Moses. He will rebuild the Temple and He will restore His people.
The Lord never leaves us. Even when we can't see Him, He is still with us,
Thank you Lord for always being here. I confess that sometimes I don't understand what you are doing, but Lord you promise you will never leave me. Amen.
Sunday, November 3, 2013 2:43:45 AM
The sermon for November 3rd 2013 is now available on the New Life web-site.
This sermon is based on Isaiah 60 and commemorates our church's 17th Birthday.
Click here to listen
Friday, November 1, 2013 1:22:06 AM
I picked up this book without reading the sub-title, so it is a very different book to what I was expecting.
Having said that, this is an excellent exploration of the roles that women have been forced to play in churches because of faulty readings of Scripture. Using both a detailed examination of some key bible verses together with some historical cases of strong christian women, Kris exhorts the church to allow women to take up their God-given roles in leadership, in ministry and in service in the church.
This book is easy to read and written passionately and personally.
Thursday, October 31, 2013 11:23:07 PM
It looks like Opera is going through a major rationalisation of its services.
First linux was dropped from the platforms supported by the browser, and now they have announced the end of the my.opera blogging platform from 1st March 2014.
I've already switched to firefox and chrome on my desktop, laptop and mobile devices. Now I need to find a new blogging platform.
I have a lot of affection for Opera. In the early days, it was a very compelling alternative to the main browsers- I even paid for licences for the earlier versions. It was at the cutting edge back then pioneering many innovations in browsing technology.
Lately though it seems to have lost its way.
I will probably change my blogging platform over the long lazy (ha!) days of summer and will put up a notice and a link here.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:12:40 PM
J. Lee Grady writes:
A few years ago I heard a preacher tell a room full of ministers that they couldn’t work miracles or exercise apostolic authority unless they used the word apostle as a title. So some of them ran out and printed new business cards—as if putting the word in front of their names was the magic ticket to reclaiming New Testament power.
That was a bad idea. For the past 15 years or more, thousands of people have been wounded and countless churches have nosedived because immature leaders thought they could gain apostolic status the easy way. We are so eager to qualify ourselves that we forget God alone calls, prepares and sends true apostles.
The late Arthur Katz, who was a prophetic voice to our movement for many years, wrote in his 1999 book Apostolic Foundations that nobody should be eager to step into an apostolic assignment or to treat such a task flippantly. “God is jealous over the word apostolic,” Katz wrote. “It is a word that has fallen into disuse and needs to be restored, and that restoration is not going to be cheap.”
We are so carnal, so power hungry and so enamored with status and position that we don’t have a clue what apostolic ministry really is. Most charismatics think it is about authority, and many men who claim to be apostles build top-down pyramid structures that abuse people. Others think apostolic leaders are marked primarily by sensational miracles. Yet I see something we have entirely missed when I look at the life of the apostle Paul.
Paul told the Thessalonians that love is the true hallmark of any person who is sent on an apostolic mission. Therefore, if we want apostolic power or authority (which we should), it must flow through apostolic love or it is a counterfeit. This apostolic love can be described in four ways:
Click here to read the full article
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:40:48 PM
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, for this man, too, is a son of Abraham.”
Jesus comes into Jericho and the crowds line the streets to see him. Amongst them is a short man called Zaccheus, a wealthy tax-collector. Unable to see over the crowds, Zaccheus climbs a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus.
When Jesus reaches the place where Zaccheus is, he comes and invites himself to Zaccheus' place. The self-righteous people grumble about Jesus eating with sinners. Zaccheus stands up and says, “Today I'm giving half of my wealth to the poor and I will repay four-fold anyone I have cheated.”
Jesus tells him that clearly salvation has come to him and that the Son of Man came to seek what was lost.
Nobody is too much of a sinner for God. All it takes is an encounter with Jesus and a desire to repent.
The world says that leopards cannot change their spots, but Jesus offers us the chance to change.
A wealthy chief tax collector is changed by a short meeting with Jesus. Greed and selfishness melt away when he realises that he is loved for who he is and not what he has.
We find it convenient to put people in the “too hard” basket- they are clearly hard-hearted and beyond God's love. But how do we know until someone actually shows them what God's love looks like?
Lord show me the people like Zaccheus in my community. Show me how to share your love with them and the good news of salvation. Amen.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 5:10:24 AM
In this book, Roger Mitchell traces what he calls the fall of the church right back to its legitimation by the Roman Empire in 300.
Describing what he calls the "subsuming of the transcendent by sovereignty" (or God's agenda being taken over by the world's agenda) Mitchell traces the ways in which the church through the ages has chosen power rather than the way of love. This manifests through the Crusades, the Inquisition, the murder of the Anabaptists during the Reformation, right through to the tele-evangelists and the religious patriotism of today.
The key to all of this is learning to die to ourselves and follow the Way of Jesus, that is through self-emptying and living for the sake of others.
This is a rather difficult book to read as Mitchell is an academic, but it is worth the effort for everyone struggling with how to engage the gospel in our culture.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013 3:40:57 AM
All this is evidence that God's judgement is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
Pail is writing to the church of the Thessalonians. He thanks God for them, for their faith and love are growing, and he boasts to all the other churches of their perseverance and faith in the midst of persecutions and trials.
Their faith is evidence that God's judgement is right. God will repay those who trouble the church while giving comfort to the church. This will happen when Jesus comes in glory. Those who refuse to obey the gospel will be punished with eternal destruction while those who are His people will be glorified by Him.
Paul prays for the Thessalonians constantly that they may be worthy of their calling so that the name of Jesus Christ will be glorified through them.
It can be hard to see God's purposes when we are going through hard times, whether it is systematic persecution or the griefs and trials of life.
We need to understand that God's hand is always on us and those whom we love. Even when we see no good thing, no purpose, no redemption in our situation, we can be sure that God will set it to rights when the end comes.
Paul promises that those who trouble us will be repaid with trouble and we will receive comfort and reward from Jesus.
In the end, hard as it is to see right now, God's righteousness will triumph over man's wickedness.
Thank you Jesus for the knowledge that one day all will be well. Give me eyes to see your purposes in the present as well as a heart that hopes for the future. Amen.
Sunday, October 27, 2013 11:54:29 PM
How long O Lord,
how long will you stand by
to let evil men rule?
Everywhere I look
there is violence and oppression
it just gets worse.
I'm looking and waiting
Listening and praying.
And the Lord said,
Write it down,
for I will intervene
when the harvest is here
and the fruit is ripe
all men will be judged
evil will not win
the faithful will arise.
Sunday, October 27, 2013 1:15:02 AM
The sermon for October 27th 2013 is now available on the New Life web-site.
In this sermon which is based on Joel 2, I talk about how God takes us from the place of judgment through repentance, salvation and transformation.
Click here to listen Note: there seems to be about 45 seconds of silence at the beginning.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:52:25 PM
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Jesus tells a parable to some people who were self-righteous and proud. In the story, a Pharisee and a tax collector go to the temple to pray. The Pharisee prays proudly to God, boasting of his religious deeds. The tax collector, on the other hand, simply cried out to God, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Jesus concludes that it was the tax collector rather than the self-righteous Pharisee who went away in a right relationship with God.
It is so easy to forget that we are all sinners justified by the grace of God. When we hang around Christians enough, we start to enjoy our own good deeds a little too much. We condemn the sins of other people but forget the part about loving (really loving, not just pretending to love) the sinner.
Maybe we aren't as blatant about it as the man in the story, but sometimes we can be tempted to think God is pretty blessed to have us on his team.
The truth is that in any of us, even the most sanctified of saints, sin lurks just below the surface waiting to escape.
Self-righteousness is a form of delusion that persuades us that we are something better than we really are, and that God is something less than who He is.
We will always be sinners dependent on grace. But God's grace will always be enough to save us.
Father I thank you for your unending grace. Rescue me from the sin of self-righteousness and teach me how to receive your righteousness. Amen.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 4:12:56 AM
Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day- and not only to me but to all who have longed for his glorious appearing.Observation
Paul describes himself as being already poured out like a drink offering. He has fought the fight, finished the race, kept the faith. Now he is ready to receive his crown of righteousness.
Many people have deserted Paul, but some such as Luke have remained with him. At his first court hearing everyone deserted him, but the Lord was faithful and delivered him. He knows that the Lord will bring him safely to the heavenly kingdom.Application
Paul assures us that there is a crown of righteousness awaiting all who trust the Lord Jesus and who look forward to His return. It is not clear what form this will take, but it certainly reflects God's approval “Well done good and faithful servant.”
What is God's judgement on my life so far? Can I say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”?
The world is concerned only for temporary things- wealth, amusement, comfort. Christians must be concerned above all with eternity, finding God's purposes in daily living.Prayer
Lord please help me to live a life entirely devoted to you and to your purposes. Amen.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 11:18:10 PM
A defence of traditional Christian doctrine from a Presbyterian pastor. Well worth reading.
A Defense of Six-Day Creation
It’s my conviction that we in the Presbyterian and Reformed community have lost credibility with respect to this.
Published: 22 October 2013 (GMT+10)
Originally published by The Aquila Report, republished with permission.
I am now in my sixty-first year as a Reformed Pastor, and I am very much aware of the fact that I am not likely to have many more years of service. So, before the Lord calls me to come to his dwelling place I want to bear faithful witness concerning one of the foundational doctrines of the Bible. It is so foundational that it is the very first thing affirmed in the oldest creeds of the church: “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,” and “of all things visible and invisible.” The Greek word translated in English as ‘maker’ is ποιητην [poiētēn]. In Latin it is creatorem. And the Bible itself, before it says anything else, says “in the beginning” God “created” (Hebrew bara) “the heavens and the earth.” It also clearly says that he did so “in the space of six days, and all very good.”
This doctrine of six day creation was also the consensus of the theologians, ministers and elders at the Westminster Assembly. And it’s my conviction that we in the Presbyterian and Reformed community of today have lost credibility with respect to this affirmation. We still say we believe every word of the Bible including what it says about creation. We also say that we subscribe to the Westminster Standards. But the truth is that we are no longer united in what we mean when we say this. And it is my conviction that this has seriously weakened our testimony to unbelievers.
I’m well aware of the fact that our tolerance of “day-age,” “analogical,” and “framework” views is seen by some as a very good thing. It shows that we are not stick-in-the-mud fundamentalists. And for this reason we can still be people who are respected by intellectuals and scientific people. We can even join with them in ridiculing people like Ken Ham for their attempts to uphold and defend a literal reading of the Genesis account of creation. I am willing to admit that at one time I felt attracted to this viewpoint. I also wanted to be respected. And there certainly have been aspects of fundamentalism that I disagree with.
But when it comes to such a fundamental of the faith as the doctrine of creation, I am not ashamed to say that I have reached the point where, on this doctrine, I am more in harmony with them than with much of the material written by those who reject six-day creation.
Read the rest of the article here
Monday, October 21, 2013 11:45:57 PM
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
Our God saves.
He forgives our sin
And wipes out our debt.
Fires rage in the mountains
Drought ravages the land
But our Lord will send
Rain to quench the thirst
And still the ravaging flames.
Even in tough times
Our God is good
He supplies every good thing
And wealth and food in abundance
Sing praise to our God
The joy of all people.
Monday, October 21, 2013 11:06:28 PM
The ABC has been ferociously pushing the line that the current NSW bushfires are "unprecedented". Well I can remember a huge bushfire in the Pilliga about 20 years ago that was bigger then the fires currently burning in the Blue Mountains- long before the ABC was cpativated by the global warming faith. The difference was that far fewer people live in the Pilliga than in the Blue Mountains. That of course is also a key difference between now and much earlier but far greater bushfires.
Andrew Bolt has published a list of bigger and earlier bushfires.
The ABC is furiously promoting the NSW fires as “unprecedented” and evidence of the global warming that actually paused 15 years ago.
This morning Fran Kelly, host of ABC Radio National Breakfast, claimed there had never been bushfires in October and implicated global warming.
In fact, of 48 major bushfires in NSW between 1926 and 2006,11 occurred in October or earlier:
North-Western NSW: Bushfires – 01/09/84 deaths – 4
Western Sydney and Central Coast, NSW: 16/10/91 deaths – 2
Hunter Valley, NSW: 01/09/96
Central Coast/Hunter Valley/south coast. 15/08/96
NW NSW : Bush Fire 30/10/01
Sydney, NSW: Bushfires 09/10/02
Northern NSW: Bushfire 27/09/02
Central Coast, QLD/NSW: Bushfires 27/09/02
Cessnock, NSW: Bushfire 19/10/02 deaths – 1
NSW Bushfires 24/09/06
Bushfires: Sydney and South Coast, NSW 24/09/06
These fires are serious. But the scale of destruction is nothing likethe very worst we have faced:
Read the rest of this excellent article here
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