~THANKSGIVING~

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  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

 

 

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PART 3 ~ ABIDE IN ME

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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 \\

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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 \\

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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

CREATION SHOUTS!

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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

Little by Little

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Ex 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.

Great achievements rarely happen instantly or ‘overnight’. We grow into our greatest achievements little by little, sometimes the progress is barely visible. This is why we simply walk by faith, believing that what we are doing is having an effect and that eventually we will experience the results.

Even though the deserts of the Sahara are so vast, they are simply comprised of countless little grains of sand.

Isa 28:10

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,

Line upon line, line upon line,

Here a little, there a little.”

We grow gradually into our possession, our destiny. A child may, by inheritance ‘own’ the car and the house, but he is far from able to drive the car or manage the house. He grows into that by having one small job after another until, he has learned all the skills needed. God gives us our inheritance a little at a time, so that we are not suddenly handling responsibilities and situations beyond our wisdom, strength and capacity.

We also need to maintain what we have attained (Phil 3:16). The very skills to do this are won through the ‘little by little’ application of ourselves to the smaller jobs we have had. The Israelites needed to increase in numbers as well so they could outnumber their enemies and the beasts of the field (Deut 7:22)

On the negative side, we are tempted to justify sin to ourselves by it’s smallness, yet little by little the decay will rot away a person’s soul. More houses are destroyed by termites than by earthquakes. More fires are started by matches than by volcanoes. Conversely, little acts of righteousness, little, regular, consistent times of prayer, seemingly little attentions to the Word, eventually will build a magnificent life.

Every little bit counts. It may not seem like it at the time, but each step we take is taking us somewhere, and after a lifetime of steps we will reach certain destinations. The person who restrains themselves from eating foods that add weight, won’t see the result for a while, but eventually they start to see the difference, feel better about themselves and have a new eating habit. Conversely, if we think we can get away with eating small amounts of extra that we don’t need but just want, eventually it too will show. Some people will eat everything on the plate in front of them just because it’s there. Self impose a limit on yourself as to how much you will eat and stick with that. Our results in life are because of the cumulation of all the little things we do over time.

With our money, we can start by putting a little money away into an investment. Every little bit counts. If we don’t waste the money we have in our hand but save it, invest it, soon we will have more than we need. However, if we waste our money and spend all the little amounts on futile things, justifying to ourselves that it’s just ‘little’ spending, we will soon find we don’t even have the money that we do need.

This is living with control. When we’re out of control it shows in our lives.

Our budget is not what we have in our hands. Our budget is the amount of what we have in our hands that we have decided we can spend. For some people, whatever they have is what they spend. Self impose limits on yourself and only spend that amount.

Make these choices as lifestyles, not just something you’ll try for a week. We change our lives when we change our lives.

Bless you,

See you in church!

Meditations on the Holy Spirit

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‘…Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’
John 4:35 (NKJV)

We need a vision for the future.
– People, businesses, churches, nations lose their way without vision. With it they find life, hope and meaning.
– Romans 15:13, abounding in hope. Hope is visionary because it is by the power of the Holy Spirit!
– We need to be pre-occupied with the future and not the past. Looking forward will keep you alive.
– Over and over in the scriptures we hear God saying … ‘lift up your eyes’, ‘lift up your heads’. Downcast eyes and a bowed head are usually indicating negative feelings and a negative state of mind.
– When Jesus comes eyes are opened both physically and spiritually. He is the lifter of our heads. With a lifted head and opened eyes we can see the future and the direction we must go.

1.    See Others
John 4:4-26, Jesus and the woman from Samaria.
– Jesus was thirsty when he went to the well. But his circumstances didn’t stop him from seeing this woman and her circumstances.
– He didn’t see her objectively and relate to her on this basis. When he spoke to her about her life, it must have been done with mercy and without judgement, because she was excited about what he was saying to her.

2.    See Positive
Matthew 14:29-32, step out of the boat. Be bold and positive both naturally and supernaturally. Believe.
Hebrews 12:1-2, looking at and to Christ and running the race set before us.

3.    See a New Perspective
James 1:2-3, look at things positively and respond differently than how you would naturally or usually respond.
– You may well smile or laugh later at things that seem challenging or unpleasant now, so why not smile now.
– How you choose to look at something may well dictate the outcome.

4.    See God Your Source
Mark 6:35-44, in verse 41 Jesus takes the loaves and fishes into His hands and looks to heaven. The disciples’ eyes were looking to how to feed the multitude with so little.
– Jesus gave thanks, blessing what was in his hands and God in heaven gave the provision, the increase and the miracle.

5.    See Bigger
Genesis 13:14-15, we are the seed of Abraham and the promises are to him and his descendants.
– Believe that what God has given you is large and expansive.

6.    See Abundance
Genesis 15:5, look up to the heavens and count the stars. There are limitless possibilities, endless creative energy.

7.    See Transformation
Genesis 31:12, Jacob lifted up his eyes and saw the strategy that God was giving him to bless him and his family. He saw things differently; he saw them and their circumstances totally transformed.

The most powerful of creative forces is to see by faith. To see what should be, and then take that vision and put legs on it. Believe and join with others to make it come to pass.

See you in church