He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.
Matthew 21:44 (NIV)
I’d never heard this verse before, but it really stood out today for me. Just before this, Jesus has quoted Psalm 118:22-23 and told the parable of the tenants. It’s obvious in the parable that the land owner is God, and the son is Jesus. Likewise the stone that the builders rejected is Jesus. He has become the cornerstone that is marvellous in our eyes.
The contrast in verse 44 stood out to me. “He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces” When you fall at the foot of the cross, when you come to Jesus, he will break you into pieces. He will break down the wall that we have constructed, and he will start to work in our lives through the broken pieces.
“But he on whom it falls will be crushed.” Jesus is warning the chief priests and the Pharisees that the only way to God is through him. Whoever doesn’t come to God through Jesus will be crushed by the cornerstone when Judgement comes.
So what do we do by knowing this? We go to the cross, allow ourselves to be broken and allow Jesus to build our lives into one that will produce fruit for the kingdom of heaven.
Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-24
This passage is really full of meaning here, full of hope and more. It really could be the subject of a few blog posts, but there are a few things I really want to share with you today.
These words come at the end of the first letter to the Thessalonians, and in the NIV are headed “Final Instructions.” This is basically a list of things that Paul needed to share with the Thessalonians. It’s a great list of goals for a Christian. Acknowledge those who work hard, hold them in the highest regard. Live in peace with each other. Encourage the disheartened (sometimes interpreted as “Strengthen the disheartened”), help the weak, be patient with everyone.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. Those last three are wonderful calls to what we should do. We should always rejoice in what the Lord is doing in our lives. We need to pray continually as it’s through praying that we establish and maintain our relationship with God. We need to give thanks in all circumstances. Not just in the good times, but also in the bad times. Romans 5 says that “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.” So in the bad times, in our sufferings, we should give thanks because we know that it will create character and hope. That doesn’t make it easy, but knowing that gives us hope. Thanking God always gives us hope, because we have God’s love, that “has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5)
Finally, Paul shares this benediction: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” We don’t know when Jesus will come. It’s difficult for us to make ourselves blameless. We must humble ourselves before God and allow him to chip away those things that keep us from being the reflection of Jesus.
My officer shared this video on the Sunday Night service yesterday. There’s all this stuff that we have in ourselves that keep us from being God’s original masterpiece. It’s like those paintings that are hundreds of years old. They need to go through restoration, and the difference at the end is incredible – it is the original masterpiece once again. Are you willing to let God chisel away all the things that have been added to your life, and allow yourself to be God’s original masterpiece once more?
Forever God is faithful. Forever God is true. Forever will his mercy flow to you, and forever will he embrace you, and be willing to restore you. Be faithful, because the one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.
The topic from The Daily Post today is a tough one. Do you believe everything happens for a reason? Why or why not? It’s a tough topic to look at, as a Christian.
See, as Christians, we believe that we have free will – God gave us free will, which led to the fall of man, and the need for Jesus to come to forgive all our sins. Yet, God is all-knowing, and all-powerful, and knows what we are thinking before we even think it. So does that change things, for although we have free will, God knows what we’re going to do before we do it.
There are also Christians who believe that God is an interventionist God – basically meaning he is still active and changing things in the world, and others who don’t. I tend to lean towards the non-interventionist God in a way, believing that he’s still active in our lives, but not controlling such things as the weather. This would not sit comfortably with those Christians who believe that the floods in Queensland were a message from God.
So, do things happen for a reason? Yes and no. Some things happen because we cause them – cause and effect. I know that if I pour a beer over someone, I’m likely to get punched in the face. Or if I help someone out who’s struggling with something, I’m likely to get warm fuzzies. However, somethings happen because it’s the way the world is designed, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t stop the wind blowing, the rain raining, or the sun shining (although sometimes I wish its UV was a little less potent to my skin). What we can do is control how we react to these situations. Do we want to use natural disasters as an excuse to judge people, or do we want to use them as a catalyst to spark Christian action, helping those we do not know?
Thankfully, I’m not someone who gets stressed out very often. I’m fairly relaxed in my disposition, so things that might stress other people out don’t generally stress me out. I just go with the flow.
That’s not to say that I haven’t been stressed out before. The 6 month period at the beginning of last year when I was searching for a job was particularly stressful. Getting constant rejections, running out of time before my wedding, and more, it got very stressed.
I also got stressed towards the end of this year as I started to work on the directory for the Uniting Church. Having never done anything like this before, and knowing it was such a big project, it was getting me stressed out as to whether I would have enough time to get it done. I even chose to take the train for a work trip to Kalgoorlie that I have coming up, so that I could have an extra 14 hours to work on it. However, once I actually started working on getting the layout done, and working in access, I got it working fine in no time and am now trying to figure out what I’m going to do on my 14 hour return train ride.
So am I stressed right now? No – because I’ve just finished a nice little break, and go back to work today (for a day, then a three-day weekend). Are you stressed? What’s some of your techniques for dealing with stress?
I’ve been reading my bible again, and going through the book of Job. I’d gone into this book with the assumption of knowing what happens. Job, an upstanding and outstanding man of God, is tested by God and Satan, when Satan causes a whole heap of bad stuff to happen to him. Job goes on a kind of “Woe is me, woe is this, woe is that” spiel for a while, and eventually God appears and explains what happened. Probably not quite right, but that was my understanding of it, not having read the book before. Continue reading “God Forgets”→
At the end of a Songsters rehearsal last night, I was asked from a musical perspective what I think of the Songsters. The Songsters is the Salvation Army choir, and it’s very different to any choir I’ve sung in before. However, there is a wealth of music there that fulfills me Musically, Lyrically and Spiritually. Continue reading “Count Your Blessings”→
I found this blog while looking at blogs for work (what a wonderful part of my job) and I thought it was fantastic. It’s a theme that has been hashed out in different formats through different people at different times and basically proposes the question: Would Jesus fit in at our church? Would he be the type of person to fit in at any church? Are church structures too strict sometimes and do we lose our perspective?
When I read this out at my bible study tonight, someone else got me thinking on this. God is too vast, and too immeasurable, too infinite to fit into our churches. He is also someone who judges what the audience wants, what they desire, and gives them what they truly needs. Like in this post, He gets sent to the youth church, where the pastor thinks he’ll fit in – and then changes and gives them something different. Then sent somewhere else based on this latest change, and he changes once again. Each time, he upsets many people, and leaves many people asking questions. All the time, he affects people’s lives, often in ways they do not expect.
Do our churches need to look past our traditions (which are often done because someone once did it for a certain reason, and a church did it ever after), and start looking at what our church – and more importantly, our communities – truly needs?
On 07/06/2010, at 3:34 PM, Pastor@BelmontCommunityChurch.org wrote: Dear Jesus, I have been praying that you are sensing God’s presence during this difficult week for us all. Last night the Church board and I held an emergency meeting and I am writing to inform you that we have come to a difficult decision. Writing this email is one of the hardest things that I have had to do at my time here at Belmont Community Church. Before I tell you of our d … Read More
Tonight, I went to an Emmaus gathering where the special guest was Bill Harper, National Lay Director of Chrysalis and Emmaus in Australia. He had lots of interesting things to say, but one that particularly caught my mind was one where he talked about the split within Emmaus, and within the Church at large. Continue reading “Division of Labour”→
In my morning coffee time, I follow the form ACTS – Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication – in my prayers. This morning, I was in the confession part of the form, and I used the group confession that is used in the Liturgy of the Anglican Church. Continue reading “Confession”→
I went to Chrysalis over the weekend – it’s a three-day non-denominational Christian retreat for young adults that I’ve been involved with for a number of years. At the end of the weekend, I was exposed to an idea that I absolutely love – having Coffee with God. Continue reading “Coffee with God”→