Reflection on Hebrews 9:11-14

hebrews

Scripture

When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

Observation

This passage compares the high priesthood of Christ in the new covenant with the high priests of the old covenant.

Christ came into the world as high priest through the heavenly “tabernacle” not through one made by human hands. His own perfect blood is the sacrifice that cleanses. His blood cleanses our consciences, and not just the outward appearance. The result is that we are set free from acts that lead to death and enabled to serve the living God.

Application

There is a tendency amongst some christians to want to in some way go back to the sacrifices, ceremonies and worship laid out in the Law of Moses. They argue that by following these practices which were ordained by God, they are in some way superior to those who do not follow them.

The writer of “Hebrews”, though, paints a very different picture. The tabernacle, the sacrifices and the cleansing blood of the Old Testament Law have been replaced by the perfect offering of Jesus. Even the tabernacle that He passed through was better, being heavenly not earthly. The blood he offered was perfect and can cleanse us from sin and not just the outward actions of sin.

In Christ we have all we need to be reconciled to God and empowered to be His servants. We are the royal priesthood, because we serve the greatest High Priest.

Everything in the Old Testament was a picture of the reality to come. Let us not confuse the picture with the living reality.

Prayer

Thank you Jesus for coming into this world as the perfect sacrifice for all the sins of mankind. Thank you for dying for me and setting me free to serve you. Amen.

Advertisements

Reflection on Ruth 1:1-18

ruth

Scripture

“Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God”

Observation

The story of Ruth begins with multiple tragedies, but ends with great favour from the Lord.

A man named Elimelech goes to Moab to escape a great famine in the land of Israel. He takes his wife and two sons with him. While they are there, Elimelech dies. His two sons marry Moabite women, but they die also, leaving Naomi with her two daughters-in-law.

When Naomi hears that the famine in her home town is over, she goes back to Judah. Along the way she implores the two women to go back to their homes. One does this, but the other, Ruth, declares that she is going to stay with Naomi and go wherever she goes.

Application

Ruth’s faithfulness to Naomi is seen in this declaration: “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God”

She had no natural reason to stick with Naomi and travel to a strange land with her. Obviously there was a deep bond of affection between these two women. Perhaps she had seen signs of a better religion, a better culture, a better people than the ones she had grown up with.

It is faithfulness that opens the door for God’s blessing. This is still true today. If we want to see God’s blessings in our life we need to be faithful to the people He puts us with, faithful to the call He places on our life, and faithful above all else to the name of Jesus.

Prayer

Thank you Father for the example of Ruth who shows us how to live in humble obedience to you, even though she was not one of your chosen people. Please help me to be faithful to you. Amen.

Anna Gibson- “No Longer Thirsty.”

A powerful testimony from Mark Virkler’s blog of God reaching into a person’s heart and transforming her life.

No Longer Thirsty Since I Received the Gift of Speaking In Tongues – Testimony by Anna Gibson

At the age of 6, my dad introduced me to a prayer that if I prayed it, he claimed I would then be a Christian. I wanted Jesus in my heart. I constantly lived to please Him, but after this prayer, I expected to be perfect. No more spankings, no more corners. But instead, I felt worse. I struggled more everyday and I didn’t understand. My parents didn’t explain.


At 14 I began realizing I was trying to be good on my own. I didn’t know the next step. For several weeks at church an elder came up to me and asked if I wanted to be baptized. I denied him each time. One Sunday he asked my dad. To my dad’s knowledge I was saved so he told me to get baptized. I was frustrated. He didn’t see my heart. There was no way I was saved. But because I had been taught to be submissive, I did not argue with my dad. “In the name of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I now baptize you.” I arose out of the water as if a heavy blanket were over me. Burden… I felt the guilt and shame of lying to the church as they all cheered for me. Every compliment that day made me sick.

At the age of 19, just before going to college, my spirit was being tormented. I heard the Holy Spirit calling me, but my flesh was crawling with demons of fear, desires, lust and hatred. I slammed my Bible to the floor and spoke out loud, “If you really are God, then show me a verse!” I really wanted an answer!!! Immediately I put my finger on a verse that said, “Be slow to anger.” That made me more mad. I said, “There is no way I am settling down.” Again I slammed the Bible, threw it open and put my finger down. This time the verse was, “Be slow to speak and quick to listen.” How could I listen!! I was so mad and there was no way I wanted to cool down. I wouldn’t hear a thing!! The third time, again, “Be slow to anger.” I just dropped to the floor. “Okay, God! What is it?”

I heard God say, “Choose this day. Me or the world?” It wasn’t long before I said, “Jesus! I want Jesus!!” Immediately God led me to repentance. The next step was baptism. A bitter word in my mouth, but I knew this time, I was depending on Jesus to help me through this life. He wasn’t just sitting on the sidelines waiting for me to mess up so He could go back to the cross. The day of the baptism we went to the river. As I went into the water, my eyes were open and I saw a bright light enter my soul and darkness rushed out of me. I just watched the spirit of shame wash down the river.

I began to journal my prayers when I realized I would fall asleep during prayer on my bed. I didn’t want to fall asleep on my Lord. During these prayers I heard the spontaneous thoughts and knew it was God. I just had no idea I was doing what you teach, Mark! Miracles and pain, blessings and curses later my dad sent me an email from your videos with Charity explaining dreams. My dad knew I dreamed a lot. That’s when I started hearing more. I wanted what you had. I wanted what Charity had. Joy didn’t seem to stop flowing from you. I felt that through the videos. I asked myself, “Why am I not happy? I have tried minimalism, I’ve tried requesting my husband to do more for me. I’ve tried hanging with new friends. I’ve tried working from home. I’ve tried having children, etc. Nothing is working.” There were days I was happy and thought that was the Joy of the Lord, but it was not sustaining. I wanted MORE!!!!!!!!!

Then I received the email that you were coming to my area… wow! My spirit jumped up and down. I just knew we were to go. The first evening my husband and I met Don and Kay Martin from Kansas. I heard they led groups in their home. That’s what piqued my interest. Saturday morning we arrived early. When Don and Kay walked in I inquired about their meetings and how they did that. From that moment, Don gave us a word from the Lord and we were connected. We had lunch together, then from 4:30-11:30 p.m. we were with them. At 10:30 Don asked, “Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?” We said, “Well yes….” He added, “With the gift of speaking in tongues?” Immediately, “NO!

Oh goodness, no.” That moment opened up questions and I began to shake. I told them that for many years how I felt something in my stomach rise up and flow to my head whenever I prayed, but it was becoming far more frequent that I was beginning to think I had a disease that would come on if I bowed my head. Don asked me if it made me feel like it just wanted to come out and I said, “YES! I feel like my brain is going to explode!” He led us to his hotel room and there we yielded to the Holy Spirit and within moments, Spiritual beautiful language was flowing from our mouths! The Holy Spirit was finally flowing! What a relief!!! I felt ten pounds lighter within MINUTES!!!! How could this be and how can you explain this feeling?

My sweet Jesus brought this illustration to my mind: The Potter and the clay. When you find natural clay to work with, it is suggested to bring it in and dry so that you can smash it and grind it into a smooth powder. At this point you pour a little water at a time to mix it in. Once you can make ribbons of clay through your fingers when you squeeze it, it is ready to be formed.

Before receiving this gift I felt like a clay pot that had been formed but set aside and dried. I was thirsty. I was not a good vessel. I could not hold what was being poured into me. The occasional moisture was nice, but I was not where I knew I could be. When we met with Don and Kay Martin they took us to the Potter’s house. My opinions, my analytical self and my weariness were crushed and refined to powder. Yielding to the Holy Spirit I felt Him adding water and mixing together my spirit and His. He threw me to the wheel and began spinning! I am refreshed! I am redeemed! I am whole! I have been made into a beautiful vessel! Already the demons are fighting, (this is where the fire comes in.) Just enough fire, just enough heat will “bake” me. I will mature the longer I am in the fire/ the kiln. I want to be completed in His time!

I thank God for being patient with me. His mercy endures forever! I am His creation! I am proud of it! Thank you for yielding to our Savior and not giving up after 11 years of silence.

Paul Homewood: Why The Weather Doomsayers Need To Take A Raincheck

In Australia we only have about 100 years of weather data, but in the UK they have about 250 years of reliable measurements. So if global warming were a thing it should be apparent there. If extreme weather events were becoming more frequent as we are regularly assured by celebrity scientists, movie stars and politicians, you would see a trend in the UK wouldn’t you? Apparently not.

From Watts Up With That:

Why The Weather Doomsayers Need To Take A Raincheck

Recent UK climate trends offer absolutely no support for outlandish forecasts, which are of course the product of those computer models we hear so much about.

by Paul Homewood

How often do we hear claims that British weather is getting more extreme? Whether it’s heatwaves, droughts, rain or storms, it’s always ‘worse than it used to be’. We even had David Cameron saying that the winter floods of 2014 were linked to climate change. And it is not just laymen who make claims like these, but climate scientists. It does not help, of course, that we tend to have selective memories about the past.

However a new study by the Global Warming Policy Foundation has closely examined official Met Office data and found that such claims are baseless. In reality, apart from the fact that it is slightly warmer than a century ago, the UK climate has changed remarkably little during that time.

In particular, the report – Defra Versus Met Office: Fact-checking the State of the UK Climate  – finds that:

  • Heatwaves have been much less intense in the last decade than before, with no summer comparable to the heat of 1976 since then. (See Fig 1)
  • There has been a marked reduction in the number of extremely cold days in the last three decades.
  • Apart from Scotland, where rainfall has been increasing in recent years, there has been little long-term trend in precipitation. (See Fig 2)
  • In particular, winters are no wetter than they used to be in England and Wales, and summers no drier, contrary to popular myth.
  • Rainfall has also not become more extreme. The wettest year since records started in 1766 was 1872, followed by 1768. The wettest decade was the 1870s, and the wettest month was October 1903.
  • Droughts are also not becoming more common or severe.

 

Figure 1: Distribution of extreme temperatures in Central England Temperature Record

(a) days over 30C; (b) days under -10C

Fig 2 : Long Term Precipitation Record for England & Wales

In recent years the Met Office has taken great delight in naming all storms, although most of these have not technically reached storm force. In reality, as their own figures show, storms have not got any worse in the last four decades.

And despite misinformation to the contrary, sea levels around our coasts are rising only very slowly, and at a similar rate to the early 20th century.

What about temperatures? The data shows that there was a steady rise during the 1990s and early 2000s, but that this rise has since petered out and average temperatures levelled off. There was a very similar increase in temperatures in the early 18th century.

Even this summer was not a record-breaker. According to the long-running Central England Temperature series, it was only the fifth-warmest, and not even as hot as the summer of 1826.

The British climate has always been notable for its volatility, with big swings in weather from week to week, month to month, and year to year. This variability swamps whatever underlying trends there may be. But what we do know is that whatever weather we get now, we have had in the past.

Full story here

 

Doctor Who Episode 3

rosa

After what I though was a very ordinary episode last week- I actually used the word “boring”- this week’s episode was very good.

The Doctor and her team arrive in Montgomery just prior to the Rosa Parks incident that launched the civil rights movement in the United States. A new character is introduced who has travelled from the distant future to prevent Rosa Parks from getting on the bus. For some reason this incident is a turning point in the history of the universe so the stakes are high on both sides.

I thought the story was good and a bit of a different twist on the usual time travellers trying to change history theme. I found the ending just a little unsatisfying and would have liked a bit more of an explanation about why this particular moment was so important to the whole universe. Maybe that will come later in the series. Maybe it was a sop to the American audience.

I think it was a good portrayal of what real racism looks like and how evil it is. It is disturbing that these segregation laws were in place almost in my life time, and that Australian towns had similar policies in place not so long ago.

So this week was good enough to keep me coming back, but I still have reservations.

 

 

Reflection on Job 42:1-16

1920x1080-ChrisKoelle-JOB.jpg

Scripture

‘I had only heard about you before .Now I have seen you with my own eyes.”

Observation

After the Lord’s confrontation with Job, Job now replies.

Job recognises that he was wrong to question the Lord’s wisdom because he was so ignorant. Having seen the Lord, Job now repents of his pride.

The Lord then speaks to Job’s friends and orders them to offer some burnt offerings, asking Job to pray for them.

The Lord then restores Job’s fortunes- wealth, livestock, sons and daughters. He lives a long and full life, dying at an old age.

Application

It makes a difference when we experience the Lord for ourselves instead of relying on other people’s knowledge of the Lord.

Job was a righteous man before, but in his suffering he sees the Lord and talks with the Lord for the first time.

We were meant for relationship with God. If we don’t have that relationship we will try to fill it in all kinds of unhealthy ways.

Religion is the substitution of laws, rituals, sacrifices and other behaviour patterns for the relationship for which we were created. So Job offered sacrifice after sacrifice to keep himself and his family right with God. He knew no better because he had only heard about God; he didn’t know God.

We each need to have our own encounter with God. It may not be God audibly addressing us out of a whirlwind. It might be as simple as a deep conviction that we need a saviour and God has given that saviour to us in Jesus. It might be what John Wesley called a “Strange warming of the heart” as he heard Scripture being read. It might be a vision of the risen Christ.

When we have that encounter and decide to follow Jesus, handing everything over to Him, the Holy Spirit comes into our lives to empower us and equip us for the walk of faith. Then we are completely new, born again in Christ Jesus,

Prayer

Thank you Lord for saving me. Help me to live every day in the power of your love. Amen.