Thursday, April 16, 2015

LEARNING ABOUT LIMITS

As part of our year focus on spiritual disciplines, New Song Church has a focus this month on submission. 



On April 1st I decided to try it out on a road trip to Toronto. Instead of setting my cruise control to 115 kilometres per hour I set it to the highway limit of 100. I chose to submit to the law of the road.

As I reflected on what I was doing, I gained some valuable insights.

First, the limit did not hinder me reaching my destination. I still arrived on time for my appointment. Submission does not hinder you in reaching your desired goal.

Second, the slow lane was less stressful. I did not have to constantly crank my head to see if I could get past those who were slower. I was not upset with the occasional person who was going slower than the limit. My trip was more restful because I practiced submission.

Third, when we submit to limits we discover other ways we need to submit. Submission produces a greater sensitivity to right and wrong. At one point, my mind was on something else and I was drifting on my lane. I suddenly had a guy on the left lane shake his fist and yell at me as he pulled up beside me and then raced ahead. He was right; I should have been more vigilant about my driving skills. So while he cursed me for breaking a law, he angrily raced ahead breaking another law.

Richard Foster said,

What freedom corresponds to submission? It is the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way. The obsession to demand that things go the way we want them to go is one of the greatest bondages in human society today. People will spend weeks, months, even years in a perpetual stew because some little thing did not go as they wished. They will fuss and fume. They will get mad about it. They will act as if their very life hangs on the issue. They may even get an ulcer over it.
In the Discipline of submission we are released to drop the matter, to forget it. Frankly, most things in life are not nearly as important as we think they are. Our lives will not come to an end if this or that does not happen. [1]






[1] Richard Foster, Celebration Of Discipline, Harper Collins Publishers, p.111

Monday, April 13, 2015

BURNING QUESTIONS DVD SERIES

Before writing a review on this DVD series, I wanted to road test it on my church. I am so glad I did and we will use this series again.

Our study group sat forward and engaged in meaningful dialogue as we went through the material.

Ravi Zacharias Ministries have put together a stimulating series that will address several key questions related to the relevance of the Christian faith in a pluralistic world.

Much of it was filmed in Canada and the U.K. with interviews from well spoken atheists, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and of course Christians. Host Dr. Andy Bannister presents a respectful foray into myriad world views and addresses pivotal questions that every thinking person will consider.

1. Is There A God?
2. If So, Why Is There Evil And Suffering?
3. Has Science Eliminated Religion?
4. There Are Thousands Of Different Religions: Which One Is True?
5. Can We Take The Bible Seriously, Or Is It Just A Myth?
6. Who Was Jesus Of Nazareth And Does It Matter?

Having watched friends and acquaintances drift from faith, I am grateful for a series that brings an intelligent and respectful response to difficult questions.

The series can be previewed and ordered at http://burningquestions.ca/ 
_____________________________



"Video series has been provided courtesy of RZIM in exchange for an honest review."

Friday, April 10, 2015

EAT THE SCROLL

One of the strangest of God’s messengers was the prophet Ezekiel. God asked him to do many strange things including this:


Ezekiel 3:
3 Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
4 He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them.


God gave Ezekiel a message for Israel. He was instructed to write it down and then eat it. There is something going on when God’s word is ingested deep inside us. When we consume God’s Word it becomes a message to others.

There are many examples in the Scriptures of food or drink being tied with spiritual significance. With bread and wine we remember the Lord’s death. The Old Testament sacrifices involved much food and drink. Prescribed times of fasting are followed by feasts. The Lord’s return will be celebrated with a great feast.

A biblical fast is characteristically the skipping of meals and sometimes water to focus time in prayer. While it is entirely appropriate to fast from other activities or habits, it will leave us empty and frustrated if we do not also focus on why we have chosen to fast.

Jesus experienced all the same appetites and temptations as any human being. It’s interesting how fasting alone brought him face to face with temptation. The Devil came as Jesus fasted in the Wilderness for forty days and nights. At one point, he was tempted by Satan to turn the stones on the ground into bread.


Matthew 4:
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”


The Enemy will pervert a normal hunger into a spirit-robbing hunger. What will you compromise in order to fill the emptiness you are feeling? Jesus had come to understand that hearing from God was necessary if he were to truly live the fullness of God’s plan. Food is good and blessed, but it is not enough to be fully alive. There is a sumptuous feast of Holy Words from God’s mouth. That’s what makes you alive!

As Jesus practiced prayer and fasting, he discovered a great source of strength for life. One time, he was so pre-occupied with caring for the Samaritan woman at the well that he missed a meal. The disciples caught up to him and were quite concerned that he had not eaten.


John 4:
32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.


If we dare to fast in the way Jesus did, we will find that our soul is nourished. There is something better than eating! His habit of communicating with God had embedded his soul with purpose. He had no greater joy than finding a way to do what he was made for.

When you decide to fast, why not open your Bible? You may find that your hunger for God is satisfied. Dare to plan a private fast and discover that God rewards those who hunger and thirst for His presence.

 



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