// the great light \\

Standard

A TOUCH OF PRESENCE LARGE

Mt 4:16

      The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,

      And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death

      Light has dawned.

When Jesus was brought to the Temple to be dedicated to the Lord an old Prophet Simeon, came by the Spirit and prophesied over Jesus that He would be a light to the Gentiles.

Lk 2:32

      A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,

      And the glory of Your people Israel.

IN DARKNESS;

PEOPLE STOP

When people are in darkness, they stop moving, or move very slowly, very cautiously, however, after a while they stop, then they sit, going nowhere. There are several things that are essential to our well being. One of them is to know we are moving forward, to know we are making progress. To feel like we are going nowhere, completely frustrates how we are built.

People sit down also because they’ve lost the energy to walk or even stand, to make decisions or to hold ground against the pressure.

When we’re in the darkness of condemnation and guilt we lose energy. We are drained of enthusiasm and motivation when the darkness of discouragement or despair comes over our minds.

We have the choice, to fix our eyes upon the darkness or to fix them on the light.

Isaiah told us darkness would cover the Earth

Isa 60:2

      For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,

      And deep darkness the people;

      But the Lord will arise over you,

      And His glory will be seen upon you.

However, he also told us to not let the darkness overwhelm us but to realise that the Light has come and that we should therefore no longer remain sitting, but stand and arise;

Isa 60:1

      Arise, shine;

      For your light has come!

      And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

In the dark we;

IMAGINE THE WORST

When we’re in darkness we imagine the worst. Something moving nearby is a threat, we imagine it’s a snake, or a spider. If someone touches us we jump with fear. Crime increases when night falls. Most crimes are committed in darkness, not in bright light.

FEEL HOPELESS

People sit in darkness when they’re guilty and feel condemned under the darkness of no hope.

People sit in darkness when they don’t know where they’re going or what to do.

FEEL COLD

Without light there’s often also no heat. When the sun rises the cool night turns to a warm day. Light and heat are often together. Plants grow in the sunlight but die without it. Health comes with sunlight. An old Italian proverb – ‘Where the Sun goes, the physician need not’.

To these people a great light rises, even those sitting in the region of death and in the shadow of death,.

Jesus is not just like the sun, nor is he just like a candle, or a light bulb. He is the great light.

CHRIST IS THE LIGHT, THE HOPE OF THE WORLD.

The reason Christ is a great light is because above all these things He is the HOPE of the world.

When we talk of light shining on our future, it definitely refers to hope beaming into our lives.

See you in church

Advertisements

~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

 

 

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.

 

Meditations on the Holy Spirit

Standard

1 Samuel 16:1

1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided myself a king among his sons.”

How long will you mourn for something God has moved on from. The Lord is far more ruthless than we are about moving on from what we have been attached to, and those things we are sentimental about.

When we mourn over things that God has moved on from we are not honoring Him. Jesus identified our condition of resistance to change;

Lk 5:39 And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’”

The quicker we can change gears and move on from the past the quicker we will be able to possess our future.

As long as we are pining for what was, we will not be able to celebrate what is, and be paralyzed from entering into what is to be. How long are we going to take to get over something that we have lost? How long to leave the past and move into a new future? Saul was old anointing. How long will we mourn for the old anointing, the old revival, how it used to be? This prevents us from possessing the new oil, the fresh anointing.

The prophet was to fill his horn with fresh oil, new oil, for a new leader, a new day.

God is never taken by surprise. He always has someone he has prepared, waiting in the wings.

Before David was born, God formed the future King in the womb for the destiny of ruling a nation and carrying the presence of God to His generation.

God provides for Himself. Our role is to simply recognize what he has prepared. Even though Saul was rejected he still reigned for many years to come, resisting the new move of God that was emerging.

The interesting thing is that although the Lord agreed to the people’s request for a king, albeit with warnings and reproaches that they had rejected Him, nevertheless here he now continues the new form of kingly government with a choice of his own rather than having enough proof He would now revert the nation back to the way it was, a theocracy. There is a definite warp and woof in the will of God, where our human desires, purposes, plans, failures and successes are woven into the divine and sovereign will.

This transfer of power to the new king, was not because the previous leader had died, as with Moses and Joshua, but because Saul had failed to do the will of God. Disobedience has a higher price than we can imagine. God’s choice of David was because he ‘would do all the will of God’

Acts 13:22 …‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.

See you in church