Thursday, 23 November 2017
Sunday, 19 November 2017
Monday, 29 May 2017
I was reading a new book by a Christian author who pointed out how often we use the language of finance when we talk about relationships. We “value” a friend. We “invest in” a relationship. The author went on to say that we commonly use our love in the same way we use money: to get what we want.
I had to stop and check my own marriage relationship: Do I give/withhold courtesy, attention or affection to/from my husband, depending on whether David’s behavior pleases or upsets me? In all honesty, I had to admit that sometimes my love is conditional toward him. Sometimes I do use love like money.
This is not the way of grace and mercy. This is not Christ’s way. This is not kingdom behavior. God’s love does not depend on my good behavior; there’s no way I can earn his approval or salvation. Jesus gave his life for me, and God accepts me and welcomes me into his family because I trust Christ’s work on my behalf.
Simon the Sorcerer failed to realize that some things in life are priceless. When he saw the powerful effects of the apostles’ prayers, Simon wanted to buy what was in their “bag of tricks”: “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:19). Peter’s response was to rebuke Simon sternly, saying, “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!” (verse 20). Simon the Sorcerer hadn’t figured out that the gifts of God are given by God’s grace and goodness alone; they cannot be earned or bought.
I’m afraid my attempts to freely offer love and kindness to others, as Jesus would, will be a lifelong challenge for me. My consumer mentality seems too deeply rooted. But I want to love others without considering what they might think of me or what they might “owe” me. At home, that means choosing to love David through all my actions and attitudes, whether or not I think he’s “earned” my affection.
Many times when one spouse behaves with grace and love toward an undeserving spouse, the spouse reciprocates with a renewed attempt to be gracious and loving, but there are no guarantees. In the end, I must choose to give my love freely, not in an attempt to manipulate my husband or get him to treat me well, but only because I want to please the Lord.
Money can’t buy lasting love, and I don’t want to use my love like money. In the end I’ll be more gratified in receiving David’s love and affection if I know I haven’t manipulated his attention with a bag of tricks or with strategies of conditional love. My goal is to love him freely, the way God has loved me.
Taken from NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Monday, 3 April 2017
(Taken from a devotional reading on YouVersion)
Saturday, 25 February 2017
In my opinion, the biggest life changing question asked in the Bible can be found in Matthew 16:15, Jesus arrives in the region of Caesarea Philippi. He asked who the people thought He was. The disciples said John the Baptist returned, Elijah, Jeremiah or another prophet. Clearly the people thought whoever this Jesus person was He was under the authority of God. The reality was He was not recognised for who He really was, the Son of God and The Saviour of the World.
Jesus then turns to His disciples and in Matthew 16:15 says, "who do you say I am?" At this point Jesus is recognised as Messiah and Son of the living God and on this foundation Jesus said, "I will build my church". This question at this point changed everything, Jesus' suffering on the cross and His resurrection was close and that God's Kingdom was ever closer.
This question is as powerful today as then. "Who do you say Jesus is?" And that's why I struggle to call myself a Christian, as I learn more about Him. Christian for some people is used to describe someone who loves and follows Jesus. For others it is more a label used to describe a life style, a type of person, a type of music, something ticked on a demographic form or a type of insurance. I remember a musician talking about a particular conference and describing it as very 'Christian'. Almost as you would describe the Motorshow being very automotive. The funny thing is, I went to that very conference the following year and ran into the same chap and I have to say it was very 'Christian'. It's very surreal being sold Christian motor insurance!
The point I'm trying to make is that this word Christian seems so far removed from that moment when Jesus asked that question to His disciples, "who do you say I am?" It's not enough to stick a label on ourselves and call ourselves a Christian, but do we know and acknowledge who Jesus is. He wants to have a 'real' relationship with us and see our lives changed so that we can live life to its fullness.