Final in a mini-series on Loving, God’s way from 1 Peter. “Above all” commands is this command that God’s people should love eachother earnestly. But that love of itself is not the final goal. The final goal is that more people will give God more glory through praise. That’s the goal of all Christian living. Love eachother through hospitality and humble service, so that God will receive all the glory.
No one likes it when the bad guy wins. But suppose you knew yourself to be the bad guy? What if you know the honest truth the Apostle Paul confessed (Romans 7:15-20), that
I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. …
If you know that to be true, then you need the mercy of forgiveness. And if, like the second of the two guilty men who hung on crosses beside Jesus, you turn to the crucified Jesus today, or any day, confess your guilt, admit that he has the power to release you from the sentence of death you deserve, and ask him for that mercy — then he will give you the right to live forever in Paradise, in the presence of God.
As we engage a challenging public national conversation through the plebiscite and what lies beyond, now is a good time to reflect from the Scriptures on how we as believers should engage with the world. We love the world God’s way by living respectfully, even in the face of opposition; by respecting civil authorities as instruments of God’s order; and by continuing to learn humility in the fear of God.
Starting a mini-series on the theme of loving God, the world and the church in the way God has loved and loves us. God’s love for us is strong enough and lasting enough to outshine and outlast even the darkest of times in our lives. If you’ve grasped that your salvation from sin’s curse is forever, then the love you return to this God will also be strong and lasting enough to outshine and outlast even the darkest of times in your lives.
Trust is a choice. And not to choose is to choose unwisely. David chooses the Lord as God, as sufficient and as the source of joy. If God seems hard to trust, have you chosen to trust him?
The final two chapters of the Teacher’s exhaustive inquiry into life. First a look at technology. Then the conclusion. Know who’s in charge (hint: it’s not you). Then do what most matters – to centre your life on God, and do it now.
Jesus’ encounter with chief tax collector Zacchaeus, a hated outcast, shows what’s possible when any sinner experiences the acceptance and love Jesus came to bring. You know a person has really been transformed when their behaviour changes. Zacchaeus – a man transformed by grace. The same grace that still transforms people who meet Jesus.
There are just two approaches to living in a material world. You could be a restless grabber for more … never satisfied, and always disappointed. Or you could be a thankful recipient of God’s kindness. Then you can be rich with nothing.
Just when you thought the Teacher’s cry of “meaningless” (NIV) was reserved for those who ignore God, today he takes up his clipboard, pen and voice recorder and shows up at church. And he finds meaninglessness even there. Here are four tests of whether your worship has real substance:
- Do you hear God?
- Are you hushed by his holiness?
- Do you say ‘Amen’ on Monday?
- Do you fear God?
From the riddle of time (chapter 3) to the riddle of human loneliness. You could be lonely because you’re a powerless victim of injustice, or because the rat-race of life has killed your spirit, drawing you away from the image of God in community. A partial solution: recognise that humans are meant to be in relationship, and so find, join or create a community – the church being the best place on earth. Full solution (of which the partial is but a shadow): the final satisfaction of the friendship of Christ, who laid down his life for those he called friends.