Saturday, November 26, 2016

Communion - Jesus dying for us is more than what we could imagine

By Hayley Boud

“14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom [every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21

We are now about to take communion to remember all the Jesus has done for us.

(v14) “For this reason, I bow my knees”.  We are about to enter into the Holy of Holies, bow before the Father.  Let’s remember this morning, as we bow before Him, that we are only able to enter into that place and meet with God because Jesus died on the cross and tore the veil that separated us.

(v15) We will remember that we have been given God’s name.  We have been adopted into His family and we are God’s children.  All because of what Jesus did for us.

(v16-17) We have been given the inheritance of Christ and given all the strength and power and the Holy Spirit, we have Christ dwelling in our hearts, we have been given faith and we have been grounded in Christ’s love

(v18) so that we might have understanding with all the saints.  We can really praise God this morning because of this inheritance, because of the strength and power He has given us.  We will thank God this morning for His Holy Spirit dwelling in us, for Jesus Himself living in us and the faith and love He has provided us.  And we will praise Him because all of this enables us to have an understanding that others don’t have.  We are so blessed to know Jesus…

(v19) and to know His love.

(v20) “Now to Him who is able to do abundantly more than what we can ask or think or imagine”.  We could not have thought or imagined that God would leave heaven to come to earth as a man to die for us.  Only God can think of such a thing.  With our human minds, we could never have thought of that.  Even if we did think of it, we would never have asked God to die for us.

Imagine asking the Queen of England to die for me.  “Elizabeth, I’ve been sentenced to death.  Will you pay the price for me?  Will you please die instead of me?”  We wouldn’t ask the Queen of England such a favour.  A queen would never die for her people.  In fact, it is our duty to die for our queen.  Yet, God died for us.  It’s abundantly more than what we could ask for or think of. 

(v21) “to Him be the glory in the church”…in Little Bethlehem… “and in Christ Jesus to all generations”…in my generation, in mum’s generation, in Leah’s generation and in her children’s generation and in her grandchildren’s generation… “forever and ever, Amen”.

Let’s pray for the bread and juice.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Refiner's fire

By Hayley Boud

Zechariah 13:9, “I will bring the third part through the fire, refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested.  They will call on My name and I will answer them, I will say, ‘They are my people’, and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God’.”

Malachi 3:2-3, “But who can endure the day of His coming?  And who can stand when He appears?  For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.  And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.”

To refine silver means you have to go through the fire, you have to accept to be beaten with the hammer, over and over again.  The tests we go through are there to help us.  They might feel like we are being beaten with a hammer, over and over but at the end, God is creating something special in us.

The silversmith knows what he is doing.  He won’t leave the silver in the heat too long because he knows it will get destroyed.  He brings it out of the heat when he can see himself in the reflection.  He can only see himself when all the impurities have gone and the silver is pure.

Who can endure the day when Christ comes back?  None of us are able to survive that day.  The only way to stand in His presence is if we allow Him to refine us.  Allow Him to remove the impurities.  What are we holding onto in our lives that we don’t want to let go of.

Name some: Relationships that God doesn’t approve of?  Bad language?  Offensive jokes?  Laziness?  Impatience?  Negative thoughts?  Impure thoughts? Gossiping?  Curiosity?  Not honouring my parents?  Being a stumbling block to others? Alcohol?  Food?  If we don’t let these impurities go, we will end up getting destroyed in the fire.  When Christ comes back, He won’t be able to see His reflection in us.  He will see a black, tarnished soul (like black tarnished silver).

Let’s aim to be shiny silver that reflects the image of Christ.  What are ways we can reflect Christ in our lives?: fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, self-control and faithfulness), forgiving, compassionate, merciful, praying for others, trying to put ourselves in the shoes of others, being sensitive to others, not giving up meeting together, serving each other, serving God, being committed to God’s work, not fearing what people think of us.

Gold and silver are very precious and valuable because of their qualities as metals and because they are rare.  We, as children of God, are valuable because of the qualities that God has given us which includes our character (we are a new creation) and the gifts He has given us.  We are very rare because only a few take the narrow road and only a few of those stay on it.

Gold and silver are medicinal and healing.  Whenever I get a sty in my eye, I rub a gold ring on it and the sty disappears.  The ions in the gold are healing.  There are bandages which contain colloidal silver to bring rapid healing of wounds.  Let’s be healing to others with our words and actions and encouragements.

Gold is pliable.  Let’s allow God to mould us and shape us and use us according to His will.

Gold and silver are beautiful.  When I see gold jewellery, I feel attracted to it.  Let’s be beautiful in God’s eyes and attract others to the Kingdom of God.  Let’s not be fake Christians, which like fake silver, doesn’t last, becomes unattractive, tarnished and unusable.

I was thinking during the week that I sometimes feel a bit like I’m silver-plated.  On the outside I look shiny but on the inside, I’m something else.  When I come here to the Wednesday meetings, I look like a good Christian.  I sing, pray and look perfect but at home, I love to complain, “oh, I just cleaned the bathroom, who made this mess?”  or, “oh, I just cleaned the windows, who did this mess all over them?”  or “oh, why is there food all over the floor that I just vacuumed?”  etc.

On the outside, I am silver but on the inside I’m another kind of metal because I complain and moan and whinge.  I’m silver-plated.  I need to be silver through-out and not just look good when I’m at church.  Silver-plated doesn’t last.  Eventually the silver wears off and you see what’s inside.  Let’s make sure to change our whole lives, completely so that we will be Christians that shine forever and reflect the image of Christ wherever we are.