Holy Spirit, Rain Down

Biblical Truth

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia – your faith on God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it

1 Thessalonians 1:4-8a

Musical Offering

Ben’s Offering

Have you ever had one of those moments where you were planning on doing something, but it was going to make for a rather busy day, but when the time came you did it anyway – and were so glad you did? I had a moment like that today. Having been in the city all day for my WA Youth Orchestra concert, I had originally planned to head from there to the Salvation Army Divisional Meeting, being held at Floreat. I’d pictured the concert finishing around 5.30pm, and with the service starting at 6, it would be tight getting there. I ended up saying to people that I probably wouldn’t make it – it was just too complicated, making my life too busy. However, when the concert finished closer to 5pm than 5.30pm, I figured I could get to the Corps with plenty of time to spare. So I did.

It was a fantastic service, with the Floreat Songsters singing a couple of songs, the Perth Fortress Brass Band and Contemporary Worship band providing the rest of the music, and a fantastic message. It was based on the reading above, and spoke wonderfully to me. And when we sang Holy Spirit, Rain Down as a prayer after the sermon, I was just filled with the Holy Spirit, to overflowing. A wonderful, encouraging embrace, sent by my Lord to let me know that he has chosen me – and that he has big plans for me. And while sometimes I may not be able to see those plans, when I know that they’re in his hands, nothing can go wrong. All I have to do is have the courage to follow him.

Tomorrow I start a challenge – To read the Bible from cover to cover in 90 days. This will be a challenge for me – I have never read the bible like this before, and there are books of the bible that I’ve never looked at. There will be parts that are going to be challenging – I know I will find Leviticus tough, and all the x begat y business will be a struggle to get through, but there will be other parts that will challenge me through their message and I look forward to that. But I know that in this, God will bless me richly – as he has done my entire life. It’s not too late to join me, sign up!

Being Perfect

I’ve recently been stressing over a major decision that I will share shortly. I know the decision is the right one, it’s just how I do it – I want it to be perfect. I’ve received advice from a large number of people, often conflicting opinions, and that made me double guess myself, made me start to rethink and wonder whether the decision was the right one.
On my way to work today I discovered/realised in my thoughts that what others think doesn’t mater. Whatever I do, however I do it, will be perfect for that occasion. And while we might consider things that might have gone better, we can’t change the past, and if we accept that it was perfect as it was, then it is much better for our mental health.

For example, I switched schools at the end of year 10, receiving a music scholarship to another school. I didn’t exactly fit in there, was teased, and went through feelings that, if they had been diagnosed, would be very close to depression. There have been times where I wished I hadn’t changed schools, that I had stayed and received 1-on-1 TEE music Tuition. However, looking back now, if I had a chance to do things over again, to do things differently – I wouldn’t. While I had that really tough time in year 11 and 12, it helped me discover things about myself that have made me who I am today. Had I not discovered those things then, I might still be searching for them today.

So I will go with what I think is the way to do it, and it will be the right way for that time. God will help me out, and through him, anything is possible.

Classic 100 Symphonies

I voted today in ABC Classic FM’s Classic 100 Symphonies. Put my three votes in for Beethoven Symphony No. 5, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique and Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 “Pathetique”. I was very glad that I could pick 3 symphonies, instead of just one, as that would’ve been a lot harder.

Will be interesting to see how the order goes. I have a feeling Beethoven 5 will be fairly high, as most people will know it, but we’ll see.

http://www.abc.net.au/classic/classic100/ <- go vote.

Comfort, ye my people

Biblical Truth

Comfort, comfort, my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.

Isaiah 40:1-2

Musical Offering

Ben’s offering

Today I attended the funeral of my friend’s nanna. Toni Lenthall, as I knew her (she had many other names) was a wonderful woman, who lived to the ripe age of 94 (though she would argue in her last few months that she was 100), and despite showing the signs of age, still kept a quick wit around her up until the end. She loved sport, but also in the later life would attend WASO concerts with Tricia, her daughter. To this end, I chose this reading and musical offering. Toni left a mark on my life, and I still know her better as "nanna" than Toni, and it was a great privilege to play the music at her funeral today, including Comfort, Comfort by Robin Mann which quotes this text. I couldn’t find a video of that, so Handel will have to do (a most acceptable substitute). So this post is for Toni – who taught us that you support your team through thick and thin (shame the Eagle’s couldn’t get up over the Dockers on Saturday, maybe next time Toni!), you love your family, and that no matter what, if you want to do something, you can do it and not let any social norms stop you in your tracks.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

Biblical Truth

Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no–one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting on men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (NIV)

Musical Offering

Ben’s Offering

This song was playing in my car as I arrived at Church this morning. A little while ago I got tired of all the CD’s in my car, so I threw them all out (they were compilation disks that I’d made a while ago) and replaced it with a CD full of Christian songs and hymns. I really enjoy driving these days, as I’m always getting a little bit of praise and worship in a time which would otherwise be dead time. This hymn is one of my favourites, and reminds me of the amazing love that God has shown us by sending his son. As a reflection, I’m just going to post the lyrics, with some formatting for lines I like, but the song really says it all.

How deep the father’s Love for us,
how vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch his treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon his Shoulders.
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

O Let the Son of God Enfold you

Biblical Truth

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”
“Yes Lord,” he said, ̶you know that I love you.
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to hem, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. II till you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

John 21:12-19

Musical Offering

Ben’s Offering

I’ve heard a few different interpretations of this reading. Both deal with why Jesus asks the same question three times. One suggests that it is balancing out the three times Peter denied Jesus, while the other went on the translation of the word Love – we have one word where as the Greek/Aramaic languages had many different words for Love. But for me, I’m liking the call. When Peter says he loves Jesus, he is told to feed his lambs, take care of his sheep and feed his sheep. When we say that we love God, likewise we are also called to feed the lambs, that is to bring people to Christ (young Christians), to take care of his sheep, that is, to provide those that are already Christians with resources to further their relationship with God, and to feed his sheep – teaching those who call themselves Christians about the wonder of God’s love, because we can never be reminded about it too many times.

This is a wonderful arrangement of the hymn “Spirit Song” – I love this hymn, especially the chorus: “Jesus, O Jesus, Come and fill your Lambs” and this line in the second verse: “O give Him all your tears and sadness Give Him all your years of pain and you’ll enter into life in Jesus’ name.”

My Redeemer Lives

Biblical Truth

Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favour.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter”. So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The LORD be with you!”
“The LORD bless you!” they called back.
Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, “Whose young woman is that?”
The foreman replied, “She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now except for a short rest in the shelter.”
So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have willed.”
At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, “Why have I found such favour in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”
Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother–in–law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
“May I continue to find favour in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls.”

Ruth 2:1-13 (NIV)

Musical Offering

Ben’s Offering

A wonderful reading, full of meaning in our lives. We could take a look at Ruth, but she has a whole book devoted to her, so I’m going to look at Boaz. What a wonderful example for us in our world. We read that he’s a land owner — a boss, you might call him — and he treats his workers well. He comes out to greet them and says “The LORD be with you!” and they greet back “The LORD bless you!” He treats his workers well, and they treat him well.

But there’s more. He notices this foreigner working behind the men. Not just any foreigner, but a foreign woman. She deserves no attention according to the culture of the day, and has less standing that one of Boaz’ servant girls. Yet not only does he seek out who she is, but offers to treat her as one of the servant girls, well above her standing.

There’s a lesson here. Keep an eye out for those we might forget, those we might normally look over, and treat them with a care and love that puts them above what they would expect. And do this not for gloating, not to share in any blog, or newspaper, but do it for the glory of God.

The musical offering today is one of my favourite songs — My Redeemer Lives — performed here by Hillsong. Personally, I preferred the version played by a group of my mates, but this is pretty awesome as well. Would love to hear your comments.