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Teleos: Discover Your Destiny
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Monday, August 28, 2006

Power to Love

We are reminded in 1 John ch.4 v.18 that perfect love casts out fear; an important principle to bear in mind when we are told in Romans ch.5 v.5 that the Good Lord has poured His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. This is no half-measure. God is extravagant in the way He demonstrates His power by doing this.

But, there is a purpose behind all of this. God may be extravagant with His gifts, but He is not wasteful.

We learn more about this purpose in 2 Timothy Ch.1 v.7 - where we discover the reason for dispelling our fear of the stranger by cultivating a divine love for them. By removing our fear, confronting it with the power of a God who loved us when we were distincly unlovely; we become suitable vessels to communicate this love to our neghbours.

The key is simple - but not simplistic. We possess the power, the self discipline to confront fear and tell it where to go, to face a challenge with courage; to take a deep breath and launch ourselves into a situation where we can trust the Holy Spirit to inspire us and give us peace. It's a step of faith. It may seem a small obstacle to some - insurmountable to others, but one thing is certain. It is within the grasp of anyone who wishes to believe and act.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Believing the Promise

Faith is not blind. It merely sees beyond one set of circumstances to look at a reality promised by a higher authority. Fortunately, we do not have to make up a set of rules or principles to follow. Instead, we have a pattern to follow in the scriptures themselves.

The Bible is not written as a theology textbook or a magical recipe book. Instead, it contains stories - of how real people encountered a very real God. If you want to learn how to exercise faith, treat these stories as case studies, enter into them and see what they saw.

Abraham was just like us. He had to deal with situations that are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. The veneer of civilisation may fool us into thinking that we have nothing to learn from a society which did not depend on mobile phones or computers to communicate.; but his concerns about his family strike a resonant chord to a world where humans have not changed, despite the sophisticated technology that surrounds us.

Infertility is a multi-million dollar business in the developed world. Abraham and his wife were no strangers to the stresses and worries that accompany the inability to conceive. In Romans ch.4 we learn some interesting insights into Abraham's response to the situation.

He did not go around denying the reality of his situation, he looked at his predicament and assessed it clearly. He knew what he faced.

But he also knew that the Good Lord had spoken. And that this word called for a reality that wasn't his experience at that point. He was faced with a choice. Believe the evidence of his eyes. Or believe the evidence of the promise.

Not a simple path - a hard choice when the facts seem stacked up against you. But it was a decision that Abraham had to face for himself. No-one else could face it for him. The good news is, that as he continued to feed that faith, so his confidence grew stronger that the promises God had clearly made to him would be fulfilled.

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

God's Plan - Power for You to Share

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. It was a promise Jesus made to His followers after He rose from the dead, re-iterated in Acts ch.1 v.8 by angels. There is one thing we can be certain of with Divine promises, they will be kept - whatever the cost. We have that guarantee given to us in 2 Corinthians ch.1 v.20 - it is in God's nature to be consistent, faithful to His own Word; not capricious. As a side note: as God's children, with His nature working within us to transform us into His likeness, we too can confidently expect to reflect this in our own personalities as we reflect Him through our lives.

The promise was that we would receive power. Power to do what? Not to merely empower us into being able to think nice thoughts about our own eternal destiny. Not merely power to make our own lifestyles a little more comfortable - but power t be able to reach out and transform the lives of those we touch; both locally and further afield.

Power to be able to stand up and be counted as a followr of Jesus and be effective in seeing others around you come to the same faith.

Power to bring about change in the social fabric of the world, to bring healing, to make this world into a place where God's will is done - as in Heaven.

That is a power worth sharing - and by definition, it will be shared - once you allow yourself to experience it. For it will not stay pent-up in complacency and comfort. It will break out. Just believe...

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Friday, August 25, 2006

In 2 Timothy ch.1 v.9 we learn a startling truth that sets conventional wisdom on its head. It is the scandal of an overpwering grace that cannot be evaded. The theme runs through the entire scriptures, from Adam and Eve, who deserved death, but were clothed to hide their shame, by a God who shed an animal's blood on their behalf.

Through a people who were not chosen because of any greatness that made them outstanding amongst their contemporaries - apart from a promise made to their forefathers - see Deuteronomy ch.7 v.7.

And then into a New Covenant - a solemn binding promise between an all-powerful God and a people, not limited by race, gender, education or social standing. We cn be confident that He has called each one of us individually and set each one of us apart for His purpose.

But this is the scandalous part. We have not pre-qualified ourselves for a specific role or function through our own efforts. We have not earned the right to a holy calling. Rather, the purpose that the Good Lord has in mind for each of us qualifies us for the task ahead, and by His grace He prepares us for it - leading us with confidence that He will never put in front of us an obstacle that we cannot overcome through faith in Him.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Power in prayer

Prayer is powerful. And it is not limited to an exclusive club of super saints to experience its power. James ch.5 v.17 tells us clearly, Elijah was a man just like us - he shared the same nature, had the same limitations, suffered the same fears and temptations - but when you look at the way God used him, those limitations seem far less significant.

There are a couple of keys in the previous verse to help us ensure that we have a more effective prayer life. We are told that it's the insistent prayer of a righteous person that is powerfully effective.

Therefore, in the face of discouragement, we can look at this verse and gain the confidence to not give up - but to persevere in order to see the prayer answered.

We can give thanks that the Good Lord has already declared us righteous, sinless, perfect due to the perfect sacrifice of the sinless Christ on our behalf - after all, weare told: He who had no sin became a sin offering for us so that, in Him, we might become the righteousness of God in Christ.

However, if our experience does not match the reality of the Word of God, we know that He will forgive us if we admit our sin, come to Him and tell Him we have failed, fallen short. There is good reason for this, for if our hearts are fixed on going in the wrong direction, we won't be able to see His perspective and pray effectively - this is why Psalm ch.66 v.18 says - if I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

So, if you want to experience power in prayer, keep open the channel of communication with God, ask for forgiveness when you step outside His perfect will for your life whether in attitude or in action, and pray with persistence, with fervency, with faith that He has already answered you.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Spirit and Soul

We learn that the human spirit and soul are linked to such a degree that it takes the word of God to extricate one from the other - and with good reason, for the Bible plays an essential role in revealing our true motivations. In effect it sits in judgement on us - although for many of us, we would prefer it to be the other way round, that we could judge it, decide which of its principles should apply to us, and which should only apply to other people or other times and situations.

However, if, instead of attempting to reinterpret God's word, trying to make it say something it doesn't, that its original writer never intended; if we take it as it is, and allow it to nourish our souls. Feeding our motivatons with wholesome ideals, then we will prosper - from the inside out.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

A verse for prosperity?

Hopefully, we all agree that it is God's will that His children should prosper. Of course, we will probably disagree as to what prosperity means - to me, it's not to be limited to merely material things. Also, God's will - there's a reason why Jesus instructs us to pray, "Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven." We are on earth.

In 3John v.2, we read, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be healthy, even as your soul prospers." It's part of John's greeting. He identifies with the Father's desire for us and gives a clue. What can we do to see greater prosperity in every aspect of our lives?

Work with the Holy Spirit to bring about prosperity in our souls.

I'll spend the next few days going over some ways that we can do that.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

God's Love

I like to play games. Sometimes I'll be told bizarre things like, "Of course you do realise that the God of the Old Testament is a very different one to the one of the New Testament." And I'll agree with them - I'll say, "Yes, I do find it fascinating that God, in the Old Testament comes out with statements like:

"Come now, let us reason together"... "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah ch.1 v.18) and "I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more" (Jeremiah ch.31 v.34).

While in the New Testament, one of Jesus' main topics of conversation was about the reality of Hell.

Trying to view the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe as some form of spiritual smorgasbord - where you can choose the nice bits you want to believe in and send back the truths that you find unpalatable - is never a good idea. He refuses to be constrained by our limited perception, in fact He delights in turning such unreal worlds upside down.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

God's plans v Our plans

There is a vast gulf that separates the Creator of the universe from the creation He is intimately involved with. This distinction cannot be ignored. We may be created in His image; we may have amazing powers; we may partake of His divine nature and be one with Him - but we are not God.

This becomes apparent when we comare our thinking with His. We are bound by this space-time universe. Our intellects are limited, not least by our perspective - which, because we cannot know everything, is therefore imperfect, fallible. We see - through a glass darkly - a distorted, clouded mirror image.

It is no surprise therefore that the Good Lord takes the trouble to not only remind us of this - but that He gives a solution to our predicament.

You want to see your plans come to fruition? Consult with the Master Planner - humbly bring your ideas to Him, dedicate them to Him and let Him review them. He may have suggestions, refinement - or outright commandments to radically change your direction. One thing is sure. It is better to go through that refining process as you plan than to make a decision and watch it fall apart because of faulty foundations or shoddy materials.

Hebrews ch.16 provides an interesting starting point to meditate on before embarking on a major project.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

God's Goodness

God has a plan for you - He called you by His own goodness and has already given you everything you need in order to achieve all that He has called you to do. To claim otherwise, we would first have to rip 2Peter ch.1 v.3 out of our Bibles.

This is the key principle for us here. There are many promises that God has declared in the Bible. But they will just stay there as ink on the page if we do not make the effort to find them, apply them and exercise faith in our lives to see them come to fruition.

The choice is essentially ours. God has done His part - as He is a good God, always faithful to His word through which He has chosen to reveal himself - the good news is that we are not left on our own. As we begin to exercise faith, we find that He will work inside us to complete the task.

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Friday, August 04, 2006

A plan to prosper...

Jeremiah ch.29 v.11 is a popular verse - it makes a number of specific claims, that the Good Lord has a specific plan for each individual called to serve Him - that the plan is in our best interests, that we can be confident that He is not perversely lifting us up in order for us to fail catastrophically.

But to me, there's something else to give hope in the passage - it's a call to return from a wilderness experience.

For seventy years, the exiles would feel that their prayers were unanswered, that everything they had worked towards was cast aside, that they were forgotten and cast aside like broken toys.

But then, they would perceive, He hadn't abandoned them, that He had raised up a prophetic voice among them - that, when they had given up on being able to manufacture something spiritually unsatisfying on their own, and turned to Him wholeheartedly; then, and only then would He intervene on their behalf.

Then, the Almighty would make Himself known to them, would restore them in full fellowship with Him, would restore them on track to fulfil His vision, His plan, His purpose.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

The most important thing

So, what is of the most importance to you? Where do your priorities lie? Is it to hold true to the calling or vision that God has given you - to be a person of integrity? Is it to be a success in stewarding earthly treasure, so that the Good Lord can entrust you with spiritual treasures?

Our perspective is not necessaritly the same as God's - it is far too easy for us to be distracted by the temporal - missing out on the big picture because we focus on just one small detail, blowing its importance out of proportion.

In 1Corinthians ch.13 - we're introduced to the most excellent way. We are reminded that spiritual gifts, social justice and a successful ministry do not occur in a vacuum. Without love, they are worthless, discordant, futile.

Are these things imporant? Only if their frame of reference is founded on a genuine love for God and for everything that He loves.

The criteria are high - but He doesn't leave us there on our own.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

God's Purpose for You...

Given that God is all-powerful, all-loving and has a plan for the universe He has created, it is not an unreasonable assumption to believe that He has a purpose for each person who comes to faith in Him.

In the letter to the Romans ch.12 v.2 we are told that His will is good, pleasing and perfect.

Good: we find we have an aptitude for the work we believe we are set aside to do, opportunities arise for us to exercise our gifts in an uncompromising way.

Pleasing: we enjoy what we do, and would rather do this than anything else.

Perfect: we look back and we see His plan unfolded in our lives, even though we did not recognise it at the time; we see how events that we could not understand fit together in a process that prepared us for what happened next.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

God's Plan...

God's ultimate plan for the universe is spelled out in Ephesians ch.1 v.9 - to bring all things under one head: Christ. This is not an isolated verse. This is a theme running throughout scripture.

In Numbers ch.14 v.21, Isaiah ch.11 v.9 and Habakkuk ch.2 v.14 the emphasis is clear - the Good Lord is not merely looking for a small isolated clan that worships Him in obscurity - but a people that transcends national and racial boundaries, influencing everything it comes into contact with.

Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel ch.2 v.34 -35 in line with this; pointing to the Messiah's rule where the eternal breaks into human history culminating in a destiny that makes earthly empires pale into insignificance as His kingdom spreads across the world.

This is paralleled by Jesus' parables of the Kingdom - yeast, that is mixed in with dough, having an influence on the structure of the bread, causing an obvious dynamic, irreversible change; the mustard seed that starts small, yet has an impact and influence above and beyond anything else in existence, bringing safety and sustenance to all who require it.

And yet, into all this - He chooses to involve us intimately as His partners and co-workers in the task of redemption. We see the grand vista of His plan for redemption; but to implement it, we each have a unique part to play according to our talents and calling.

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