Isaiah 25:1

Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.

Advertisements

Seek First

11102718_10204268156043583_1391972960179293776_n

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Picture taken in Durham

Quiet Waters

IMG_4933.JPG

Photo taken at Keswick, Lake District

1The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

4Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,a

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

6Surely your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever.

John 6:20-21

[Jesus] said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

—John 6:20-21
Sometimes, it’s not about asking God to calm the storm. It’s about asking Him to be in the boat with you, so He can calm your heart.

The Seed

sprout-in-hand

The Parable of the Seed Growing

26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

Mark 4:26-29

I went to church last Sunday, asking God for some sort of encouragement, something inspiring. And I left so grateful I had asked Him.

Jesus’ parable of the seed growing was a wonderful reminder to me that while I may not saw an obvious, immediate outward change towards the gospel, the heart is slowly changing. Jesus likens the planting of a gospel in someone’s heart to a seed on the ground. The man simply scatters the seed and lets God do the work. He carries on living even as the seed germinates, grows and bears fruit.

It is a reminder that it is not us who grows and nurtures the seed.

Let God do His work. We are simply to scatter the seed. Once we have shared the gospel, it is not our responsibility or burden to see that they accept this. The Holy Spirit convicts, so let go and let God.

No matter how much evidence you put before a person, no one and nothing will convince them accept Jesus.

It takes time and patience.

We know not when, but we must have faith and prayerfully ask that the seed in a friend’s heart will continue to grow. It may takes weeks, months, years, decades. But what is more important is that at the end, it bears fruit and grows into a tree rooted in the Lord and gospel.

Let us always be reminded that as Christians, our mission is to scatter the seed, and God’s mission is to watch over the seed.

Renewal

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Jesus Heals The Paralytic

Jesus Heals a Paralytic

Mark 2:1-12
And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home.
And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming!Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts?Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

jesus-paralytic

Here Jesus is again, He is in a house, preaching the gospel and healing the sick. A paralytic is lowered from the roof of the house and he asks Jesus to heal Him. But before Jesus heals him of his paralysis, He first tells the man ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’

‘What on earth was Jesus talking about?’ You may ask. Jesus’ words in verse 20 surprise, shock and insult. This man merely asked to walk, did Jesus have authority to heal him? It seems like Jesus was focussing on the wrong thing here – but was He really?

As we reflect on this passage, we realise a few things:

1. Jesus recognised humanity’s biggest problem

Jesus looked past this man’s physical deformity. He looked past his physical incapacity and found that sin was man’s biggest problem. He likens sin very much to a paralysis, because sin immobilises us; it prevents us from living up to our fullest potential. It is a disease, slowly killing us and robbing us from life. And Jesus recognises that. Deep in our hearts, we yearn for perfection, wholeness, purity. We aim to be a good, better or the best person we could ever be, but what exactly is that? We seem continuously frustrated that we can never attain such atonement on our own efforts.

The pharisees could not save the Jews. In the same way, doing good works cannot say you because what concept of ‘good’ are you referring to? From birth, we have been evil. Yet, Jesus sees this and says ‘I forgive you’. He recognises what we really need, and what we need is forgiveness for our sins. He rebukes the pharisees for looking purely at the rigid rules. Rather, he offers another way to heaven: believe in me and change the attitude of your heart.

2. Jesus preaches that Christianity is not a religion

When discussing this at iClub on Monday, I put out this question: ‘According to the religions in your home country, what do you need to do to become pure? In Christianity, all you need to do is ask and Jesus will forgive. How is this different to other religions?’

One spoke about how in Hinduism, there were many rules on what not to do. He observed that Christianity talks about the heart, the earnest, internal thoughts and attitude as opposed to the list of things to do in other religions.

You see, Jesus looks beyond your physical need and probes your heart. He sees what is wrong on the inside and he tells you that the only way to be saved is to change that heart. It is not about keeping the Sabbath, refraining from certain foods or doing certain things a specific number of times a day. These routines are nothing when compared to the attitude of your heart.

3. The healed paralytic took his bed with him

Every time I read this, I find it so interesting this man would bring his bed with him in verse 12. If I were healed, I would not want any memory of how I was once bound to the bed. This mat that I lay on for my whole life would be a traumatic memory of what life was life, and now I would want to look forward in life and start it anew. However, he chose to take his mat with him.

Why? Because he wanted to show others how Jesus had changed him. He wanted to show the ‘before and after’; he wanted to show people what he had been before he met Jesus. And that made me think about how I treated God when he performed a miracle. Many times we ask God for certain things/miracles, but when we get it, we completely forget what we were like before God helped. Unlike the healed paralytic, we tend to leave the mat behind and just move on with our lives.

This passage has been a recurrent one this week, and I just thought it would be nice to share a few of my thoughts.

Have a blessed Friday,
Izzy x