Romans 15:14

I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

“My brothers and sisters”

Fact 1: When we put our faith in Jesus, we are adopted as God’s children (Romans 8).
Therefore:

  • As a result we need to live like a family.
  • We need to love each other selflessly and self-sacrificially like Jesus did for us, and like family should do for one another.
  • We need to spend time together. One of the main reasons we go to curch is to fellowship with other Christians – that means encouraging them, challenging them and just generaly being around one another.
  • We need to be honest with each other and our conversation should be based around our faith (That doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about anything else, but I’ve found it most encouraging when my conversation with other Christians is about our struggles and about God’s word.)

“That you yourselves are full of goodness”

Fact 2: The truth is that naturally we are not filled with goodness. We are full of sin. We rejected God and we were living as his enemies. Yet…
Fact 3: Through Jesus there is complete forgiveness and salvation. When we put our faith in him and repent of our sins we are completely forgiven. And more than that – we are changed. Jesus’ righteousness is swapped for our sin. He died, paying for our sin and we have become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17).

As a result we need to live like it! But it’s hard isn’t it. It’s SO hard! We still sin. We still stuff up.

What a glorious thing it is to know that we have a God who not only gives us a second chance, but continually forgives us. His patience is greater than we can imagine, and he continues to work in us if we want to serve him.

But we need to put in effort as well. We need to work hard at replacing our natural evil with goodness. We need to work hard to obey him. A lot of the time for me at least it feels like an up-hill battle. It feels impossible. And in reality – it is impossible without God’s spirit working in us and helping us. But our aim needs to be to be full of goodness! Work at it! Pray for it!

“Filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another”

Fact 4: As we learn more about God, we learn how to obey him better. Being “filled with knowledge” and being “full of goodness” are linked. We need to live what we learn, but we obviously need to learn so that we can live it as well. We need to study God’s word.

As both of those come together and we grow in godliness we begin to be able to help others – we have the bible to show them what God calls us to do and we can help them by empathising with them and discussing their struggles with them. We instruct one another in words and actions, as brothers and sisters.
We can’t view ourselves as elitist Christians who are better than others. No, we need to be honest and realise that we are just as sinful and sinful as new Christians, and help them on the long road ahead.

How are you going with treating fellow Christians as Brothers and sisters? What about learning Gods word and living it?

God bless!
Feel free to comment and say your thoughts or any prayer points you have!
Nathan.

Why there’s no room for pride in a Christian’s life.

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Romans 5:6-8

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

This verse is one of those ones that pops up a lot. People like it. It shows God’s mercy and grace. But I think a lot of people use it without considering more deeply what it means.

What this verse tells us is that Jesus came to save us when we were still sinners. When we were ungodly. When the best of our ‘good’ works were like a stinking, disgusting rubbish heap.

It tells us that we didn’t deserve Jesus to come and die in our place.
In fact it tells us that the complete opposite was actually true – we were living in rebellion to God. Since the fall, God has revealed his law to us and we have continually disobeyed it. The law of God is a direct reflection of his character – it is good, just, pure, right and true. But the truth is we simply can’t obey God’s law perfectly. We cannot meet his perfect standard. The law is good, and it shows that we are evil. It is just and it shows just how corrupt and sinful we are. It is perfect and right, and it shows just how far we miss the mark. We didn’t deserve to have Jesus come and save us. We were still sinners.

Therefore this verse also tells us of God’s fantastic, awesome and entirely undeserved grace and mercy. He sent Jesus into the world when we were still living in rebellion to him. When we rightfully deserved his punishment, because by disobeying his law we directly stand against God’s character and rebel against him. We were sinners! We were the ones who deserved hell. Yet Jesus suffered that wrath for us. He died in our place at just the right time. On the cross He paid the penalty for sin that we would spend eternity in hell paying for. That’s what Jesus did for us. He took our stinking rubbish heap and replaced it with his perfect righteousness (because he never sinned). What a glorious saviour! What a wonderful Lord! He certainly is worthy of all praise!

Jesus didn’t come into the world to save us because we are good, or because we’re worth it, or because we deserve it. He came into the world to save us because he is good, even though we are bad and unworthy. Because he is gracious and merciful, because he wanted to make his character known and because he wanted us to be able to glorify him like we were created to do.

How should we be living in response to that if we claim to be Christians?

That’s why there is absolutely no room for pride in our lives.

Soli deo Gloria!
Nat.

Reading 1 Corinthians.

Status

Hey reader!

I’m about to start reading 1 Corinthians, if you’re keen to join me then comment or email me.

I haven’t really paid much attention to the book before, and I thought it’d be a good idea to team up with other Christians so we can discuss it and learn together.

God Bless!

Nat.

LiT 2014 and spending time with God’s people.

Since last Wednesday I’ve been away at a camp called Leaders in Training. To be honest I went a bit sceptical. I wasn’t  really sure what to expect or how good it’d be. But I was pleasantly surprised, and by the end of the week I’d learnt a lot.

The 5 days were spent surrounded by God’s word and professing Christians, a whole heap of whom were extremely enthusiastic about the gospel. And that was a massive challenge to me. We listened to sermons, we discussed them and we were just honest with each other. All these things made the following verse ring true – we have fellowship as we walk in the light and obey God.

If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

It was really easy to be passionate about God when I was surrounded by his people. It was easy to strike up conversations about the bible and about our individual struggles. And it was extremely encouraging to have those conversations. The honesty we shared was a breath of air compared to the stuffy culture of superficiality that we live in.

But the truth is, it’s hard to be passionate about God and to be talking about his word with the friends you see every day. It’s hard to discuss your struggles with people who have expectations about who you are already.

Why is that? Why is it so hard to obey God in normal life? 

For me I think it comes down to fear of man. I value my friends very highly, and as a result I often shy away from talking about God with them (even the Christian ones who I should be comfortable talking about the bible with). I reason that it’s a bit awkward, or it might make them uncomfortable. But those reasons are stupid! The most important thing in all my friendships should be Jesus and discussing his word should be a joy (Psalm 119:105).

Spending a week with passionate Christians, talking about God’s word and being honest together was extremely encouraging. I need to be doing those things in my own life – discussing what I’m learning and being honest with those around me. It’ll be tough to make that transition. But it’ll be well worth it, and I’d truly appreciate prayer in trying to make that change.

How about you? How do you go with talking about your faith with those around you? With the Christians near you? How about sharing the gospel with the Non-Christians in your life?

Remembering God’s Promises

Last Friday my Grandfather died.

It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it is still tough to process and work through. Nevertheless it would be far tougher if he wasn’t a Christian. As far as I know he trusted in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and if that is true then these promises apply to him.

Since my Grandfather was a Christian, there are a number of promises that God has reminded me of from his word – promises that comfort and encourage. Here are a few.

1 Thessalonians 4:14

 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

God has promised that he will bring all who are Christians back to life. He has promised that when he returns he will bring my grandfather and my grandmother with him – and if I have died by then, he will bring me too. He will bring us back to life and if we are his people he will take us into his kingdom where we will be with him forever. What a glorious promise and encouragement!

Psalm 23:6

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me 
all the days of my life, 
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. 

God has promised that his people will live with him forever. David trusted in that promise in Psalm 23, and even hundreds of years later we Christians can trust in that promise. We won’t dwell with God because we are good enough or because we deserve it. We will dwell with God because Jesus died in our place. He took our sin – what separates us from God and makes us unworthy of his love. Jesus died to take that punishment, and if we put our faith in him we will dwell with God forever. Therefore when I die I will see my Grandfather and Grandmother again “in the house of the Lord forever”. What a wonderful promise!

Philippians 3:20-21

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.

Revelations 21:3-4

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

God has promised that when he brings us into heaven he will give us new bodies – with no more suffering, no more death. Therefore I know that my grandfather is out of his pain and suffering. That is far better than him staying here another few years and being sick for longer.

 

I trust that my Grandfather is in heaven glorifying God, as he was created to do. In reality only he and God knew if he truly was a Christian. But assuming he was then these promises apply to him. And what a comfort they are!

Do you know and trust in these promises?

 

P.s. if you’re a Christian, I’d really appreciate prayer for our family as we mourn. I’d also appreciate prayer to have the opportunity and courage to share the gospel out of this and to tell people of the hope we have in Jesus.

Voice of the Martyrs Prayer watch

INDIA: Pastor and Wife Brutally Attacked

A Baptist pastor in Andhra Pradesh, India, is in a critical condition after he and his wife were attacked on 30 December by a group of radicals wielding swords, knives and sticks.

Pastor Namha Mosses, 45; his wife, Suvartha; and their 7-year-old daughter were asleep in their home when they heard a knock at the door at 1 am. When Pastor Mosses answered the door, he was repeatedly stabbed in the stomach and back, causing damage to his liver, kidneys and other internal organs.  Suvartha rushed to help her husband, but then she was attacked, receiving injuries on her head and hands.

Neighbours called an ambulance for the couple, and they were taken to a nearby hospital in Kamineni. Because Pastor Mosses’ injuries were more severe, he was transferred to a hospital in Hyderabad.

The couple had been warned to stop their Christian activities, but they continued to minister through prayer and their church, which includes 100 members and six house churches in the area.

Source: Voice of the Martyrs USA

Prayer Points

  • Pray Pastor Mosses and his wife will make a full and complete recovery, pray the Lord will help them and their daughter overcome this ordeal.
  • Pray this attack will result in increased boldness among the believers in the area (Acts 5:29).
  • Pray the perpetrators will be affected by the witness of the believers and come to the Lord in repentance.

CHINA: Update on Alimujiang Yimiti

This month marks Alimujiang Yimiti’s sixth year in prison. Alimujiang was first charged in 2009 for “providing state secrets to overseas organisations.” However, many believe the real reason for his incarceration is his zealous commitment to share the Gospel and for leading a church in the Uyghur area of China’s northwest.

Alimujiang has been imprisoned since January of 2008. The following year he was sentenced to 15 years in detention. In April of 2010, his wife, Gulnur, was finally permitted to visit him for the first time since his imprisonment. Tragically, their son, who was only four years old at the time, could barely even recognise his father. At last report, Gulnur is only able to visit her husband once a month at the most.

The past six years have been incredibly difficult for this family, but God has faithfully sustained them. Gulnur recently shared that she had found a new job, and that her mother has become a believer. She also expressed how encouraged she is by the many prayers of brothers and sisters from around the world, as well as by the support of local Christians.

Source: Open Doors, International Christian Concern

Prayer Points

  • Pray that Alimujiang will be released from prison soon so he can be reunited with his wife and children. May this family be encouraged by the prayers of Christians throughout the world.
  • Praise the Lord that Gulnur’s mother has become a believer. Pray her faith will grow, eventually producing a great harvest.
  • May God also bless Gulnur in her new job. Ask for a special blessing on the couple’s children who are missing the presence of their earthly father in their daily lives…that they would look to their Heavenly Father to sustain them.

While praying for this family, please also consider sending Alimujiang a letter to build him up in his faith.Click here to visit our Prisoner Profiles page.

PAKISTAN: Deadly “Reform” to Controversial Blasphemy Laws

The Federal Sharia Court, the organisation that determines whether or not Pakistan’s laws comply with Sharia law, has ordered the Pakistani government to remove life imprisonment from punishments for blasphemy, leaving death as the only consequence.

Most fear that Muslims will abuse this new law to persecute religious minorities. Accusations of blasphemy are often levelled against individuals as a way of taking revenge or settling scores.

The hope is for there to be enough international pressure on the Pakistan government that they will not allow death to become the only punishment for blasphemy.

Source: International Christian Concern, VOM sources

Prayer Points

  • Pray for the protection of Christians in Pakistan who have been falsely accused of blasphemy.
  • Pray for the wisdom and courage of Christian lawyers fighting on behalf of Christians falsely accused of blasphemy.
  • Pray that the radicalism will be noticed and discouraged by the international community.

Psalm 71:1-4

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me;
turn your ear to me and save me.

Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked,
from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel.