A Right Attitude

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” [‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬]

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16 NIV]

These seem like great verses to remind us all about how to behave towards others, the right kind of attitude we should be employing every day. Just to ensure that the light we are shining brightly reflects well on the good deeds of our Father in heaven and brings Him glory.

It seems an especially good reminder in light of the current conversations, comments and opinions flying around in regard to the EU Referendum. I liked this article too as a reminder of what the Bible says about politics.

Whichever side you vote for, we are first and foremost followers of Jesus, so let’s take  our lead from Him and His word, and take care in ensuring that the strength of our opinions don’t see us become opinionated. Remember ~ to have an opinion is to share something that you believe. To be opinionated means you think your opinion is right, and whoever disagrees is wrong or stupid.

Just a thought, amongst all the other thoughts. Ignore me if you think I’m out of line. Let’s lead well in ALL things, however passionate we may feel about whatever we are talking about.

Enthusiasm v Excuses

Maybe it’s just me but you know what it can be like. That first rush of blood after you have heard about something, that immediate reaction that tells you that something must be done.

Enthusiasm burst forth. I’m gonna change the world.
Problem is I don’t know how to change the world. Challenge is to find the person who will lead the way. I would gladly follow someone else who knows what they are doing or can make things happen. Tell me what to do and I will do it. Unfortunately such a person doesn’t always exist so the enthusiasm swiftly dissipates and I revert to type, blend into the crowd. (Maybe they don’t exist because I am supposed to be that person but don’t want to admit it).

Excuses kick in. Too much, too far, too hard, too much time, too expensive, too dangerous, too hopeless, too weak, not from the right place. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Don’t allow your enthusiasm for what you believe God would have you to do be overwhelmed by excuses. Don’t allow the difficulty of doing something dampen your enthusiasm for it.

Be like the Apostle Paul who was seemingly invigorated by the obstacles (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

I have worked much harder.
Been in prison more often.
Flogged more severely.
Exposed to death again & again.
Five times received forty lashes minus one.
Three times beaten with rods.
Stoned.
Shipwrecked.
Night & day in the open sea.
Constantly on the move.
Danger from rivers, bandits, fellow countrymen
Danger in the city, the country, at sea, liars
Laboured without sleep.
Have know hunger, thirst, gone without food, been cold & naked.
Pressures from church concerns.

Now that’s some excuses to kill off any enthusiasm. Makes my poor excuses look incredibly weak in comparison.
Perhaps I could change the world. I’ll do it by starting to change my world, reaching out to those closest to me who are in need and seeing where God might take me as I am willing to be used.

No grand gestures.
No excuses.
Just one person becoming available.
Simple, small acts of kindness, whenever I can.

My prayer…
Lord, help me get over myself and use me. Help me to help others. To be an encourager, a listener, someone who brings hope, who has faith to believe YOU for some stuff. I don’t know where you might take me but I pray that you help me to be ready. Please don’t allow my excuses stop you from using me. Amen

Nevertheless

What a great word. As a Christian I am thinking that I should leave in the place of ‘nevertheless’. Whatever life looks like, whatever decisions need to be made, however dark and gloomy things may look ‘nevertheless’ changes things.

Nevertheless God is on the throne.
Nevertheless He is able to do more than I can think or imagine.

Isaiah painted a picture of the future that looked gloomy, dark and dispairing. But then came ‘nevertheless’ the people in darkness have a seen a great light, nevertheless liberty was coming forth, nevertheless a child was to be born – a child that would become the Saviour of the world. God had an answer, it was ready, it would happen, His zeal would see it accomplished.

It’s a simple thought but thank God for nevertheless.
It’s a comforting thought that if God’s zeal is set toward it, then it’s accomplishment is secure.
It’s exciting to think of how God responds to our dark & gloomy circumstances by shining His light, declaring His liberty & giving us His Son.

How should we respond in 2010 to how God has responded to us?

[Happy Christmas]

Matthew 5: Living the Right Kind of Life!

These next 3 chapters of Matthew are some of my favourites in the whole Bible. The Sermon on the Mount sees Jesus take what is known and established, and shift it with just a subtle change. Christian or not, you cannot read these verses and NOT see clearly how Jesus desires that we should live, how we are to be, how our interactions with others should be different.

Things that struck me… (please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below)

You know what, Jesus messes with the norm BIG time. We deem blessing to be when we receive something we want. He states that we are ‘blessed’ when we are poor in spirit, when we mourn, when we have the right kind of hunger & thirst, when we show mercy, when we act as peacemakers, when we are persecuted, insulted and spoken against. It’s the topsy-turvy way of the Gospel that turns life the right-side up! I need to keep my perspective on life that way too.

If we can live blessed in states of downturn, no wonder we can then be salt and light to the world around us. Our different attitude to life will bring a new flavour, it will cause us to shine. I don’t want to be ‘good for nothing’. Salt penetrates. Salt purifies. Salt preserves. Salt makes something bland more appetising. I hope I can remain salty.

It’s incredible to think about how people must have reacted to this stuff. Jesus took the law and instead of ignoring it and establishing a new code which some hoped for, he took everything that little bit further. He had come to fulfil the law not abolish it. He hones in on everything…

…murder is not just about killing anymore but how you speak to people
…adultery is not just about sex out side of marriage but how you look at someone
…an oath is fickle whatever it is made against, just say yes or say no and mean it
…an eye for an eye may be deserved but turn away from it, in fact give even more
…love is not just for those who love you, that’s easy but it’s also for your enemies

This Christian life is quite challenging at times. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously not one or maybe needs to check themselves against this new level of living that Jesus puts out there, am I becoming more like he wants me to become, especially as he finishes by saying ‘Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’. Or as the Message version puts it ‘Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it…’

What’s your point of view on all that?

My previous posts as we travel through Matthew are here & here

Jesus: Light of the World

Continuing our thoughts this Sunday on why Jesus came.

Jesus is the Light of the World. He said that while He is in the world He is the light of the world. So much truth packed into that statement. The world needs the light that Jesus brings. It is the contrast that the world needs because people love the dark too much.

John wrote that ‘Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.’

The Light of the World exposes us. It shines on our world revealing stuff about us…often those things that we feel uncomfortable about. It’s like you’ve been caught doing something that you should not have been doing. The search of His light can hurt, be too honest that we would rather hide from it…but we must not do that.

The Light of the World guides us, leads us, brings us to salvation.

We are called to be His light in a dark world, living under His light. It means we must respond in surrender. It’s okay to need help. Let the light of the world become a guide in your life. The wisdom to do life well!