~THANKSGIVING~

Standard
  1. First Give Thanks

Romans 1:8

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.

Before we do anything else, we should pave the road ahead of us with thanksgiving. In almost every letter Paul writes to the churches, he begins with thanks to God for them. All of his letters, except the one to the Philippians were written to correct problems they were having bringing grief, pain and anxiety to Paul. He was in prison. He had no access to mobile phones, fax machines, email, or any other kind of instant communication. There was not even a mail service. He had to rely on his own fellow workers to bring news of the churches and then he would write the letter, send it back by their hand and then wait again for news as to how they received it. There were no jets, trains, cars or fast transport either. They only had the slow options of walking, or sailing or riding donkeys and horses, thus the turnaround for communications to distant lands could easily be months, even years. How anxious would you be, not knowing how your congregations were doing, in the light of the problems you had become aware of? Paul kept himself in faith, first, thanking God for all of them, believing that all would be well.

He thanked God for them before He began writing to them because this created the atmosphere in which all his other words would be couched. Giving thanks forces us to pinpoint the positive things about the people we are talking to. Even if we may have grief over some areas of their life we should not make that the first mention. Start with gratitude. It is the antidote to any prejudice or negative things you’ve heard about them and any presumptions you may have entertained. First, give thanks.

Begin your days with thanksgiving. Begin your conversations, your letters, your phone calls, your communications with how much you appreciate the people you are talking with. Begin prayer with thanks to God. Make this one of your ‘first’ practices from today.

See you in church

For more information on C3 Church or Ps. Phil Pringle visit our website at philpringle.com

 

 

Advertisements

PART 3 ~ ABIDE IN ME

Standard

7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

If you successfully resist all the temptations to the thousands of other distractions that remove you from meditating in the Word of God and spending time in prayer, then you will be abiding in Christ. If His Words, as distinct from all the other words that can abide in you, then your prayers, your declarations, your commands will be done.

8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

No farmer is honoured by a poor crop. Our father’s honour is in our hands to ensure he is glorified by much fruitfulness. By what? By answered prayer. How is prayer answered? By abiding in Jesus and His Word abiding in us. This is how we prove to be His disciples, because we bear much fruit because of answered prayer, which in turn glorifies the Vine-dresser, the Father.

9    “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love

The Father loved Jesus by:
1. Publicly endorsing him at Jordan,
2. Equipping him with power and authority so he could heal, deliver and rule over circumstances.
3. Being close to Him,
4. Protecting Him,
5. Speaking with him every day.

Regularly Jesus revealed to His disciples that the way the Father dealt with him was the way he dealt with the disciples. Everything the Father does for us is not just for us, but for us to bring to those we are called to lead, Jesus loved his disciples as he had been loved. He invites them to ‘be with him’, ‘to come to where he lived’, ‘involving them in his deepest agonies’, telling them what the Father had told him.

As parents we begin a legacy of family culture. How we treat our children will be transferred into the next generation. How we love is a result of how we were loved and how those we love will love others. This is easily seen in the negative in so many situations. We must draw a line in the sand if we have been on the receiving end of a lineage of abuse or violence. We declare it ends here and we begin an entirely new heritage  for those who will come after us. We love as we have been loved. Someone has to take the first step. ŒWe love Him, because He first loved us!

See you in church friends

// PRE-DESTINATION \\

Standard

Eph 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Every single person ever born and ever will be born has been predestined to be adopted by God, to be born of God, according to His good pleasure. He takes no pleasure in anyone perishing. It is neither His will, nor His pleasure for anyone that He predestined to be His child, to perish. And He has predestined everyone to be His child.

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is … not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

For this Scripture to mesh with the abundance of Scripture proclaiming that ‘whoever will may come’, and ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’, it is obvious that even though God has predestined our adoption He has never overridden our choice as to whether or not that will actually happen.

It’s always been His plan, but whether or not it becomes our plan as well is left to our choice. Also it is incumbent (far too soft a word), upon us who have received this predestined adoption, to bring as many others as we can into the same state, through every means possible.

Some of our friends have imagined that Paul is saying that our acceptance of Christ was predestined, and, unfortunately, those who don’t accept Christ, was also predestined. This violation of Scripture voices arrogance from the ‘chosen’ and charges God, who is Love, with the severest of discriminations. The weak believer will wonder if they are part of the chosen few. The non-believer can only conclude God is diabolically prejudicial.

Ultimately, there can be no Day Of Judgement if we had no choice in the matter of our salvation. God would be evil to judge us for things He was fully aware that He made us do. To force someone to do something and then to judge them for that action is inconsistent with any notion of justice. His plans for people are His predestination. All of us have the chance to receive His magnificent plan for our lives and begin living it out.

I know there are always those who ask, ‘what about those who have never heard, to have the opportunity to choose?’ A more pertinent question may be ‘what are we doing who have the Word of Life?’ Should we not be sharing Christ, building the church, sending preachers, supporting broadcasts, television and radio, so that people who have never heard do have the opportunity to hear and believe.

See you in church (with a friend)

// INNER HEALTH \\

Standard

Phil 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Phil 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Our hearts (attitudes, desires, trust and emotions), and minds (thoughts, memories, conscience, imaginations), need guarding because this is what comes under the severest pressure. Our only defence is the peace of God which acts as a fortress against all incoming troublesome thoughts and attitudes.
Mental health and emotional well-being come by relieving anxiety from our minds and hearts. This is achieved not through medication but every day through prayer. But this is not just prayer, because prayer on its own can be simply the pleadings of worry. Thanksgiving must be part of our prayer life and our all day speech. Complaining is the language of victims and is the fastest route to a negative mindset which in turn leads to our minds being ill at ease and depression. The person who takes pains to appreciate others and be grateful will find their hearts and minds in far better health than the prayer-less, cynical complainers. Following our prayers comes His peace.
His peace is totally unreasonable. There is no logical reason why we can be peaceful under dreadful circumstances, yet we are, because of His Presence upon us. This beautiful serenity pervades our hearts and minds with sanity and a bright perspective on whatever comes our way.
Cast all your cares upon Him!
Why?
Because He cares for you!

See you in church.

HOPE ROARS

‘Cause I’m Happy….’

Standard

Happiness

The opposite to depression is happiness.
If a person is happy, they are not depressed.
However, happiness should not be confused with laughter.
The circus clown is often the saddest person in town.
Depressed comedians are proverbial.

Pr 14:13
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart,
but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.

Depression has become epidemic.
WHO predict depression will be the most common major disease by 2020.

Wikipedia – The recent hit pop song “Happy” is a neo soul and funk song on which Pharrell Williams’ falsetto voice has been compared to Curtis Mayfield by critics. The song has been highly successful, peaking at number one in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and 19 other countries. It has sold over 5.6 million copies in the United States  and over 1.52 million copies in the United Kingdom, and has reached number one in the latter a record three separate occasions.

Happiness is popular because so many want it, and yet happiness remains so elusive.

Depression and Stress: Several studies have found that high levels of religious commitment correlate with lower levels of depression and stress. [David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, The Forgotten Factor in Physical and Mental Health: What Does the Research Show? (Rockville, Md.: National Institute for Healthcare Research, 1992), 76-78
“Australian Psychologist”
Volume 34, Number 1
March 1999
Editor: Christine Lee
University of Newcastle
The World Health Organisation’s global burden of disease research indicates that unipolar major depression was the leading cause of disability worldwide in 1990. Furthermore, it predicts that, by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of death and disability across the world. (Page 49)

The deepest happiness available to any of us is fellowship with Christ.
This communion brings a smile to our soul unobtainable anywhere else in the Universe.
This is being right with your creator, rather than wrong with Him and feeling separated from Him because of our offences against Him.
This joy is the joy of fellowship with Christ Himself.
This is the secret place of Psalm 91.
No-one can remove this or steal it away.
This happiness remains in spite of everything and anything.
It is the wine of fellowship with God Himself.
When we should be drowning in depression, we can be happy in an overcoming attitude because we are connected, fused with a supernatural fusion to Christ Himself the One who rose from the dead, overcoming all hell, hades, demons, sickness, sin and shame.

Dr Martin Seligman is the world’s leading authority on optimism and happiness. He wrote a ground breaking book – Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991) and followed that up with (amongst others) Authentic Happiness (Random House, 2002).

In Authentic Happiness (page 177 & 178) Seligman wrote this about the importance of optimism for achieving high performance:

‘The pessimist views bad events as pervasive, permanent and uncontrollable, while an optimist sees them as local, temporary and changeable. Pessimism is maladaptive in most endeavours: Pessimistic life agents sell less and drop out sooner than optimistic agents. Pessimistic undergraduates get lower grades, relative to their SAT scores and past academic record, than optimistic students. Pessimistic swimmers have more substandard times and bounce back from poor efforts worse than optimistic swimmers. Pessimistic pitchers and hitters do worse in close games than optimistic pitchers and hitters. Thus pessimists are losers on many fronts.’

Optimists are people magnets. People like to be in the company of an optimist. Emotional Intelligence author, Daniel Goleman’s research proves that optimistic leaders more easily retain talented people compared to leaders who more often display negative moods.

Optimism and associated good moods create positive feelings about work. Good moods have also been proven to greatly improve people’s speed in; understanding complex information, making effective decisions and thinking more creatively.

Optimism builds resilience. Pessimists as more likely to give up sooner or not to try at all, compared to optimists.

Nelson Mandela is often mentioned in surveys of inspiring leaders. To go through all that he did as a prisoner on Roden Island for over 20 years and come out a free man with no apparent diminishment of his belief in the basic good of all people, shows optimism at its most inspiring.

There are a number of roadblocks to happiness that all of us have to deal with if we want some joy in our lives.
I certainly don’t underestimate the power of depression in people’s minds and lives. I have faced and fought my own battles with depression, but also I have discovered how to minimise the impact of negative thoughts and emotions and how to promote positive emotions.
Positive feelings alone are not the root of happiness. If our character is right and our spirit clean, joyfulness is inevitable in our emotional life. To try and medicate our way out of depression and into good feelings doesn’t deal with the roots of the problem.

The truest and most accurate translation of the word ‘Blessed’ when Jesus is presenting the sermon on the mount, is ‘Happy’.
We have a problem with this because we think this is too light a word compared to the word blessed, which sounds so much more sacred.
However, Jesus came to bring us into happiness, not by waving a major wand, but through us being obedient to God.

Happy weekend friends & see you in church!

Ps. Phil has authoured 14 books, one of which is about HOPE.  A must read for anybody suffering with depression or feelings of hopelssness.  You can order a copy by clicking on the link above.

 

CREATION SHOUTS!

Standard

Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

Before creation, the ‘invisible God’ was not clearly understood, but ‘since creation’, even before Jesus, God was not without a vivid, crystal clear witness to His character, in creation, in which He is understood, through all that has been made. From giraffes to bananas, from the smallest of ants with all their industry to the mighty humpback whales finding their ways to mating grounds, with all the engineering marvels of blood circulation in our body and the irrigation of the Earth, our breathing systems, the symbiosis of a thousand eco systems. The list is too long and breathtaking, altogether too marvelous to take it all in. I am speechless at the flight of a small finch. Not tens of billions of dollars could make one, let alone bring the personality of these creatures to life. And then man himself, with all the glory of his intelligence, his dance, songs, art and rhythms, discoveries, inventions and adventures. His own self aware ‘self’, which is no-one else’s, never was and never will be. We are all uniquely ourselves and conscious of that fact. Where did that ‘me’ come from?

We have been created!

Once we were not. Now we are. We did not make ourselves. Neither do personalities evolve. We either are or we are not, and all of us know, we are, we exist, regardless of how many feeble mind gymnastics we want to attempt to explain our being and creation some other way. God is there and He is here. This is the truth we desperately want to suppress, because if He is, then we are accountable, and responsible, and answerable for what we have done with what He has given us. But creation reveals a creator who loves, in the colors, the scents, the nutrition yet not purely utilitarian, but beautiful in taste, scent and feel. The rains, the sun, the oceans, the mountains, the sheer breathtaking pleasure of the beauty of it all is love. The pleasures of companionship and union with others, grace to breathe fresh air and to be able to think, deduct and decide, freely without constraint. We understand that God is

1. Powerful – to create all that is, calls for immense resources of ‘life’

2. Big – Earth’s oceans, mountains and lands with all it’s inhabitants are big enough. Then there’s an unending universe, with uncountable galaxies of solar systems with stars far larger than ours, and some planets with caves large enough to contain our entire solar system;

3. Generous – so many unneeded creations and creatures, so many varieties, colors, flavors, scents, textures, kinds and species;

4. Intelligent – Engineering, like gravity, evaporation, seed, inter-activities of each part, molecules and atoms, such immeasurably clever and un-discoverably brilliant designs;

5. Loving – The rain falls and the sun brings light and heat for life, the endless fruits, vegetables, trees, fish, bird, and sources of food for us with exquisite tastes reveal a caring, loving God desiring to make our lives exciting, interesting and beautiful.

The painfully lame excuse that because God doesn’t show Himself, we are therefore justified to not believe in Him fails outright, in light of all creation surrounding us every day.

See you in church

Phil

Meditations on the Holy Spirit

Standard

Keys to Carrying the Presence of God
The presence of God is extraordinary. We carry it with
us all the time. If we are careful about the way we live,
the Holy Spirit remains the undisputed ruler over our
lives. His power manifests around us continually. This
power affects others deeply as we focus our faith on
realities within us. Consider this key scripture:
Philemon 1:6 ‘…that the sharing of your faith may
become effective by the acknowledgment of every
good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.’
Acknowledging every good thing in us releases those
same things through us. This applies equally to the
negative case. People who are constantly acknowledging
weakness in themselves live weak lives. Continually
acknowledging failures, sins and shortcomings defeats
us. We should repent from these things whenever we
need to, but that’s it. Repentance is a doorway, not a
living room. Once we’ve repented, we need to accept
forgiveness from the Father and cleansing by the blood
of Jesus and move on. We acknowledge the grand
qualities God placed in us by grace.

1 John 4:4 ‘You are of God, little children, and
have overcome them, because He who is in you is
greater than he who is in the world’

See you in church friends

For further tools on hoe to move more effectively in the Holy Spirit my book ‘Moving in the Spirit’ is available at philpringle.com