Free Electricity!

Free Electricity!

There is an earnest complaint in some communities that in years gone by they did not have to pay for electricity. They are upset that they are now being pressured to pay for the electricity that they use.

Many of us wonder how those people could be so unreasonable. We have to pay for water, light, telephone, food, housing etc.

The amazing thing is that even as we look in wonderment at those who refuse to pay for electricity, we do not expect to pay for our sins. We commit sin after sin without any true penitence and there is no genuine repentance from those actions that displease God.

We raise placards in our minds that read: “We want FREE SIN!!!”

Why should the living complain when punished for their sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Lamentations 3:39-40

 God is a God of grace but also a just God. He hates sin and places a heavy price on it. Woe!

 

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Notes on Motes

Notes on Motes

Matt 7:
3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Today, we present 4 points in relation to Motes. The NIV speaks of a speck.

Point #1: A mote or speck in the eye is irritating and needs to be removed.

We all know how uncomfortable even an eyelash is in our eye. The eye is not very tolerant of things that do not belong there.

This is the perspective that Christians should have of sin. Christians should view sin as an irritant and be as uncomfortable with sin as the eye is with a mote or speck in it.

Our discomfort should be so pressing and urgent that we will not stop until we remove the source of the offence. Yet, we all know about the concept of the besetting sin. (A wrong that keeps repeating itself in our life.)

In some instances, it is almost as if we have resigned ourselves to living with this problem. Yet, who among us is willing to ignore the mote in our eye and accept it as part of our reality?

The call today is for us to be intolerant of sin in our lives in the same way that we refuse to leave a speck in our eye. We should spare no effort to remove the offending behaviour from our conduct.

Sin is irritating not only to the individual but to God and the church. A speck in the eye distracts our whole being. The problem is not restricted to just the eye. Similarly, sin in a Christian’s life has wider relevance.

It has impact on the church and on others. It also has implications for the relations of the body to God. It has been shown to block God’s blessing on His people and to invite His wrath.

Joshua 7:
10 The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? 11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.
13 “Go, consecrate the people. Tell them, ‘Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow; for this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: That which is devoted is among you, O Israel. You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it.


Point #2: The mote is not easily detected by others

A speck in your eye is not readily seen by onlookers. For a similar reason, sin in a Christian’s life is often missed by brethren. This limits the pressure on the individual to remove the sin and some Christians continue in sin while remaining in the fellowship.

One important consideration is that our level of discomfort with a speck in our eye is not reduced because those looking on do not see it. It is irritating to us and we have the urge to remove it even though it is not visible.

That is the philosophy that we must adopt as Christians. However, well hidden we consider our sin to be, it must annoy us to the point where we do not stop until we remove it from our lives.

It helps to remember that while human eyes may not detect the sin, God knows everything and is fully aware of even our most secret of sins.

Point #3: To detect the speck in our life we only need to look at what we think we see in the eyes of others

Sometimes we are not certain about the substance that is in our eye. We sense that all is not well but we cannot pinpoint exactly what is the source. We are also hard pressed to prevent the invasion of our eye if we have are unable to readily identify potential contaminants.

One way of identifying areas of vulnerability in our lives is to carefully review the lists of faults that we are quick to point out in others. There is strong evidence to indicate that we tend to be passionate and alert to defects that that appear in the life of others when we ourselves are guilty of them.

Romans 2
God’s Righteous Judgment
1You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.3So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?
5But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.

The mixture of denial and disappointment prompts us to see the flaw in others. The twin factors of denial and disappointment also has the tendency to make us less patient and tolerant with others. We are quick to correct, criticize and chastise.

So my message is for us to reflect in the things that upset us in the behaviour of others. Look at the things that we are critical about. The exercise might give us some insight into where we are vulnerable.

By looking at the motes that we readily see, maybe we can identify some potential beams that are growing in us.

Point #4: An effective way of getting a speck out of our eye is to flush it out

The equivalent of a water flush for the eye is the blood of Christ in the life of an individual.

1 John 1:
5This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.

What must WE do to flush our lives with the blood of Christ?

Hear the Word – the Gospel
John 6: 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Believe
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins
.

Repent
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.
Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

Confess Jesus is Lord
Matt 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Be baptized for the remission of your sins
Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
1 Pet 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Remain in Christ and walk in the light
John 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
1 Pet 2: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

God’s Will for our lives

God’s will for our lives

Why bother about God?
Most of us as children want to please our parents.
Most parents want the best for their children.
We are concerned about them.
Our concern is not dependent on what they do.
No matter what, they are still our children.

Why bother about God?
We are made in God’s image and God is deeply concerned about us.
As with our children, no matter what we do, we belong to God. Nothing can change that.
If we ignore God, we still belong to God. If we curse God, we still belong to God.

Gen 1:26 – 28 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

God is a spirit and so any image of God in us must be in spiritual form – our souls. Our souls are of critical importance and God is particularly interested in our souls.

Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The soul is more than our physical parts. Our souls are far more important that our bodies. “Soul” occurs 458 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Our souls are to be treasured and are beyond the reach of man.

Matt 10:28: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Our souls are priceless:
Matt 16:24: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Why are we in danger of losing our souls?

The key issue is the need for man to do the will of God. That is our duty.

Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

We put our souls in danger when we fail to obey God and ignorance is no excuse

Lev 5:17 And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist (knew) it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.

Man disobeyed God and put our souls at risk.

Gen 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

What has put our souls in danger?

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

1 Jn 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

James 1:15 Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin: and the sin, when it is fullgrown, bringeth forth death.

What is God’s will for us?

Deut 10:12 And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

What is God’s will for us?
Matt 22:37 – 40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

What is God’s will for us?
2 Tim 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

God has a plan to protect our souls?

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jn 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

What must WE do to save our souls?

1. Hear the Word – the Gospel
John 6: 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

What must we do to save our souls?
2. Believe
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

What must we do to save our souls?
3. Repent
Acts 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.

Luke 13: 1 Now there were some present at that very season who told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered and said unto them, Think ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they have suffered these things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish.

4. What must we do to save our souls?
Confess Jesus is Lord
Matt 10:32 Every one therefore who shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

What must we do to save our souls?
5. Be baptized for the remission of your sins
Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

1 Pet 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What must we do to save our souls?
6. Remain in Christ
John 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Pet 2: 1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.

Cues from Life: Lessons from Dental Floss

Cues from Life

Lessons from Dental Floss

Early Removal

Dental floss is a convenient replacement for toothpicks and is designed to allow us to efficiently remove food particles that have lodged between our teeth. The early removal of particles prevents the occurrence of decay and the onset of poor dental hygiene. Poor dental hygiene has unpleasant effects and usually produces painful consequences.

Sin has a way of lodging easily in our lives. Left unattended it leads to decay and poor spiritual health. The effects are unpleasant and can be eternally painful. Have you noticed that when you err for the first time in a particular area, it is repulsive and you are really very upset. The next time, the level of your anger is somewhat lower. This continues until the error becomes a “besetting sin” — in other words, you have grown to accept its occurrence. That is why it has beset you. Swift repentance (real, deep-seated regret and a firm commitment not to repeat the action) flosses out sin from our lives before they get a chance to settle in and produce lasting decay.

Sterner stuff

Thread-like in appearance, dental floss owes its popularity to the fact that it is made of sterner stuff than thread. The texture of thread is such that it snaps too easily when used for flossing. One of the goals of personal development is to so shape our ‘texture’ (character) that we are built of sterner stuff.

We want to produce mental fibre that can withstand the stresses of life without snapping. The first step is to recognize the fact that it is possible to develop the capacity to cope better with stress. In order to produce floss instead of thread, one has to alter either the inputs or the process. The same is true of character. What we are is result of the raw material we feed into our minds. A steady supply of healthy, positive thoughts mixed with a clear vision and a commitment to excellence will produce a strong personality, capable of coping with life.

Flexibility

Dental floss grew in popularity over toothpicks because its flexibility offered the user far greater opportunities to remove food particles than a toothpick. Too many of us go through life in a fixed, one-directional manner. We get flustered and unproductive if things fail to go as planned. We stick stubbornly to ‘the plan’, unwilling to open our minds to other options and to revised objectives. Flexibility is a better option than holding firm to a wooden, uni-directional approach to living.