Monthly Archives: February 2010

Give me 3 and a half minutes

Thankyou, now use those 3 and a half minutes to watch the video here:
Persecution in India: These Are Your Brothers and Sisters

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God’s mercy, and our sin

So Genesis 6-8 is all about the flood, Gods judgement on a corrupt world. Noah is singledout by God because “Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD” (6:8). Indeed in the next verse he is described as a righteous man,blameless in his generation.

Now you might think that having been given such high praise God might be pretty pleased with the situation post-flood. We are left with a single group of people, being led by a man who walked with God. It would be easy to think that Gods promise that “I will never again curse the ground because of man” (8:21) flowed out of hope that he would not need to, that man had learnt his lesson from the flood.

This is not the case, 8:21 reads in full

And when the LORD smelledthe pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of mans heart is evil from his youth.Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

The reason God promised not to curse the earth again because of man was that he looked at Noah and co., and realised that he would have to. Mans heart is evil from his youth, so the corruption of humanity was inevitable.

So often the rainbow is described as a reminder of Gods mercy and grace, and thats brilliant. But lets not forget that it is also a reminder of our corrupt and evil hearts which led to the near destruction of the planet. Praise God that in his mercy he came up with another plan, praise God that he sent his son instead of the second flood we deserved.

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God’s mercy

It would be easy to look at Genesis 3-4 in a negative light. In these two chapters you find the fall of man with accompanying curse. You also shortly afterwards discover the murder of Abel and a further curse upon Cain.

These chapters are filled with devastation, the paradise of Eden is lost and humanity is torn apart.

But in the midst of that I cannot help but be overwhelmed by Gods love and mercy. Adam and Eve were told that they would surely die if they ate the fruit, and this is true, they did die. But God was merciful and did not kill them immediately, instead he clothed them and sent them away. Not only that, but he also blessed them with children as evidence that he would allow them to continue their task.

And Cain, who was cast intothe wilderness to wander for the rest of his life, was also protected by God. A mark was put on him so that no one would kill him, and he had children, a brief genealogy is listed in chapter 4.

Gods great mercy shines through in the early chapters of Genesis, despite the immense disobedience of man. Praise God.

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Preach the Bible

On any given Sunday it is not sufficient to claim your words are Biblical and true. You must also demonstrate that they are Biblically grounded and true by drawing them out of the text you are preaching.

If you don’t, then one of the two the following things happens:

  1. People don’t believe you – And why should they? Human wisdom is empty and meaningless compared to God’s, so unless listeners can see the truth in the words of Scripture they have no reason to trust what you are saying. The sad thing is you are probably saying true things which are found in scripture, but without that authority behind you words people will ignore you.
  2. People do believe you – Whilst the first option is sad, this is downright dangerous. If listeners are taking everything you say as gospel truth but can’t see how it comes directly from the Bible then you are cultivating disciples of yourself, not of Jesus. People must be shown that truth comes from Scripture, not from men. I pray that people would never quote me, I pray that they would see me quote scripture and do the same.

And if you are a listener, then you have a part to play as well. Weigh everything against Scripture, get your Bible open and keep it open, check that it really does say that on those pages. Make notes not just of what is said, but which chapter and verse it comes from.

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Prepare for a broken heart

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

CS Lewis, The Four Loves

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