Our souls need Relationships

Our Souls need Relationships

Ecclesiastes 4:12b

“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” NIV

Even if you didn’t know where it came from you may have heard this saying before as it is used often. Not only is it true in a practical sense, it is also true in a spiritual sense.

Let’s look at this as an analogy for our life. When we look at more of Eccl 4, verses 10 to 12 we can see that there are three ‘strands’ mentioned. If we build a cord of these three strands we too will not be easily broken.

1—The strand of Accountability (V10) The reason why many of us fall or fall away is because we don’t have someone that we are accountable to. We need relationships. If we have people of faith surrounding us, if/when we trip up, we are held to account and it is great to know that there is someone ready to lift us up and help us to be restored.

2– The strand of Unity (V11). The key word here is together. Solomon records that one benefit of ‘together’, is to keep warm. One of the ways we keep God’s love burning in our hearts is by encouraging and inspiring each other. Let’s keep each other’s heart and soul warm by lifting one another up.

3– The strand of Resistance (V12). There is no doubt about it, we will face hardships and challenges. Sometimes we find we are simply ‘battle weary’. When we are tired to the point of being overwhelmed, and at risk of being overpowered, is the time when our brother or sister in Christ can help us stand strong.

Simply, we are not created to be on our own. The beauty of these three strands is that it makes us stronger. If you are not connected in, or maybe you have drifted since COVID and not yet returned. Now is the time to reconnect. Not only will you be made stronger, you will help others be strong.

Let’s be part of a positive relationship with Jesus by doing life with our Church Family. Remember the Holy Trinity? God, Holy Spirit & Jesus—they all work together as our example. The challenge is to join them, aim to be more and more like them. Are you in?

Father, we thank You for Your blessing over us and our Church Family. Help us to be unified. Help us to speak the same language and share the same vision that You have for us. Help us to stand in unity…preferring one another over ourselves and loving You above all else. Thank you that we are all in Your family and that you provide us each other to do life with. We pray a blessing over these relationships. Continue to connect us with like minded people that will sharpen us and bring us to a new level of faith in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Our souls need Revelry

A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

[Proverbs 17:22](http://www.crossbooks.com/verse.asp?ref=Pr+17%3A22)

There is a healing effect when we are joyful, cheerful people. We read in the above proverb that a joyful heart is good medicine. The word used for "joyful" here is the Hebrew word "sameah" which means, 'to be glad, happy, or joyful.' The idea behind this word is that someone is choosing to rejoice - to consider the good that God has done, rather than the misery and the opportunity to be sad and depressed. That is why we are to seek to maintain a "joyful" heart.

University of Montreal's Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, discovered that when rats are subjected to cold, fatigue, frustration, noise, and other stressful conditions, they develop physical symptoms. Their blood pressure soars and they develop peptic ulcers just to name a few. Other research done by the American Medical Association by a Dr Seyle showed that hatred, frustration, and anxiety are the worst stresses. If you forcefully restrain a normally active rat, deadly frustration results. If you put a mouse and a cat in adjoining cages, the mouse will die of anxiety.

This kind of "broken spirit" will, according to the Lord, dry up the bones. This is a horrible condition because our bones are not only our main source of strength and stability, but they are also the place where our blood is produced. Without our bones we will surely die in short order. What is difficult though is that we cannot go up to someone who is dried up in their affections and tell them to be joyful. That does not help them. They know they are without joy - and can sense the drying up of their vitality. An admonition to stop this is like asking the sun to stop shining simply by requesting it. What they need is a supernatural infusion of joy - or even better an infusing of a joy producing principle that will not go away with the seasons or the up and down existence of being alive.

Where can we obtain joy? That is the million dollar question. Fortunately, we are instructed in where to find joy in the Gospels. We have just celebrated Christmas where the angels announced ‘Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people, for today there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.’ Luke 2.

For those afflicted with sorrow, sighing, sadness, and a broken spirit there is wonderful news. Jesus came to bring great joy. He came to give us the oil of joy poured upon our heads rather than a spirit of fainting. The cause of the broken spirit is our separation from God - and its remedy is turning to God through Jesus Christ. That is how we can have our sorrow turned to laughter and our gloom to everlasting joy.

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Our souls need refocussing

Focus!

Have you ever driven a car into merging lanes, where traffic is to the left and right of you and you are all driving at full speed?

On my route to work, this happens daily. I have found that if I keep my eyes straight ahead and focus on my lane and speed, it all happens smoothly.

If however, I notice in my peripheral sight a large car, or truck merging towards me on my right and I take my eyes off the road ahead and look at their large, looming tyres, I can have a moment of panic!

It is likely to only be the perspective I am viewing the vehicle in the lane beside me, but it appears to be very, very close, even to the point I feel I need to swerve to avoid it. You and I both know if one swerves, it is not going to end well.

Isn’t this so like us in life? When we take our eyes off Jesus, we can so easily become overwhelmed by our surroundings. They can even seem bigger than they actually are, but it is too late, we have gone into panic mode. The obstacle can become our ‘soul’ focus, we are now consumed with everything that is negative and troublesome and can’t see our way out. We are not alone in this. Let us look at Psalm 123:

“ Unto You lift I up my eyes, O You that dwells in the heavens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until that he has mercy on us. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt. 4 Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorn of those who are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud”.

This Psalm starts by calling us to look up. It is important to remember that God has a perspective that no one else has. He alone can see all sides of a situation and He alone knows what the future holds and how situations will impact the future.

The Psalm also asks for mercy, or in other words favour, to be gracious towards. If you ever feel undeserving of God’s help, join the club. All of us are in need of a gracious God.

The Psalm finishes off with a believer of God in the middle of a hostile and scoffing world. Sound familiar? It is God alone and in His perfect timing that will right the wrongs. It is our challenge to keep our focus on God.

The key to this is surrendering to God as Lord (that is the One in control of our life) every day. If we acknowledge His Lordship then we will be following Him up the mountains of life rather than asking Him to follow us. As David wrote in Psalm 23, if the Lord is our Shepherd, we lack nothing.

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New Year Focus 2021

— Focus!

Have you ever driven a car into merging lanes, where traffic is to the left and right of you and you are all driving at full speed?

On my route to work, this happens daily. I have found that if I keep my eyes straight ahead and focus on my lane and speed, it all happens smoothly.

If however, I notice in my peripheral sight a large car, or truck merging towards me on my right and I take my eyes off the road ahead and look at their large, looming tyres, I can have a moment of panic!

It is likely to only be the perspective I am viewing the vehicle in the lane beside me, but it appears to be very, very close, even to the point I feel I need to swerve to avoid it. You and I both know if one swerves, it is not going to end well.

Isn’t this so like us in life? When we take our eyes off Jesus, we can so easily become overwhelmed by our surroundings. They can even seem bigger than they actually are, but it is too late, we have gone into panic mode. The obstacle can become our ‘soul’ focus, we are now consumed with everything that is negative and troublesome and can’t see our way out. We are not alone in this. Let us look at Psalm 123:

“ Unto You lift I up my eyes, O You that dwells in the heavens. 2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden to the hand of her mistress; so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until that he has mercy on us. Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt. 4 Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorn of those who are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud”.

This Psalm starts by calling us to look up. It is important to remember that God has a perspective that no one else has. He alone can see all sides of a situation and He alone knows what the future holds and how situations will impact the future.

The Psalm also asks for mercy, or in other words favour, to be gracious towards. If you ever feel undeserving of God’s help, join the club. All of us are in need of a gracious God.

The Psalm finishes off with a believer of God in the middle of a hostile and scoffing world. Sound familiar? It is God alone and in His perfect timing that will right the wrongs. It is our challenge to keep our focus on God.

The key to this is surrendering to God as Lord (that is the One in control of our life) every day. If we acknowledge His Lordship then we will be following Him up the mountains of life rather than asking Him to follow us. As David wrote in Psalm 23, if the Lord is our Shepherd, we lack nothing.

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Matthew 3:13-19

Here recounts the time of Joseph where the Lord appeared to him in a dream. Joseph was told in no uncertain terms that he, his wife and newborn needed to get out of town, pronto!

Interestingly Joseph did what he was told as soon as he woke up. He didn’t take time to think about it, he didn’t ask all and sundry what they thought he should do either. He heard and he acted.

We have the benefit of knowing the outcome, but Joseph didn’t nor did Mary.

Have you ever wondered how you might respond if you were in Joseph and Mary’s position?

Sometimes I think and even ask God for a neon flashing sign to help me make the right decision or to know which way to go. But, alas I haven’t had that yet. But what I do have is His Spirit and past experience of trusting God and never being let down.

Joseph had already had an amazing visit which told him about the impending birth of Jesus to Mary. That came true. The visitors, Shepherds and Magi, told of their experience of angels and receiving the Good News and that too came to pass.

So when Joseph is visited in a dream and told to take the next steps, he has some experience to draw on. However, Joseph still had the choice to make—to follow in obedience and trust, although not understanding or knowing everything or risk it, ignore the message and stay put.

Joseph and Mary must have had their dreams of marrying and living together forever and maybe a family down the track. Yet suddenly everything seems to fall apart. But does it? No. Why? Because they are in God’s plan for them.

Here’s a great reminder to us all, particularly as we evaluate the New Year and what it might hold for us. Are we looking to God’s leading, allowing His Holy Spirit to speak to our heart? We may not have vivid dreams, we may not hear an audible voice, or we may not even have angels visit us, but if we are in tune with Him and seek His will for us we can be blessed.

Will everything go swimmingly just because we are doing what God want’s us to? Probably not. (It wasn’t exactly easy for Mary and Joseph). That is because we are still in the world. However we can rely on God’s peace, comfort, guidance, wisdom, love, grace and strength. He will sustain us.

There are so many verses of Scripture where God reminds us of this, here is just two.

Ps 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved”

Col 1:17 “And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, remind me of Your Words I ask as I make choices each day. I pray that you would help me to boldly allow Holy Spirt to work in my life. When I become overwhelmed with decisions that are placed before me, please give me the peace that surpasses all understanding. Clear my mind to follow You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. Help me grow in the fruit of the Spirit and so walk closer with You. I pray for guidance from your Spirit- let your will and promises always be a meditation of my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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Christmas 2020

— Matthew 1:21

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Names in the Bible were truly significant because they often told us something about the person. This is particularly true of God whose many names are of utmost significance—every name of God in the Bible reveals something about Him.

When the angel visited Joseph, we read that Joseph was instructed to name the baby, Jesus. Whilst ‘Jesus’ is a fairly common Jewish name, it comes with huge significance.

‘Jesus’ is an English rendering of the Greek name Iēsous, which is a translation of the ancient Hebrew Yehoshua. This name is formed from Hebrew roots signifying “Jehovah is salvation”

The name Jesus is also significant because of who it represents—it means “God our Saviour”. Jesus Christ is Immanuel “God with us”.

Jesus name was chosen for Him by God.

Jesus’ name was a constant reminder of what God was going to accomplish.

The name Jesus reminds us about the amazing humility of the Son of God when he came as a man to die. As His followers, we must also strive to show the same selfless humility that Jesus demonstrated while on earth.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” ([Philippians 2:5–8](https://biblia.com/bible/esv/Phil%202.5%E2%80%938))

However, Jesus is not just a name of unmatched humility; it is also a name of infinite exaltation. His name is glorified far above every other name:

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ([Philippians 2:9–11](https://biblia.com/bible/esv/Phil%202.9%E2%80%9311); cf. [Acts 4:12](https://biblia.com/bible/esv/Acts%204.12))

Praise the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, our awesome Saviour!

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Christmas - A Spiritual Time

— Luke 2:8:16

“A Spiritual Time”.

You may be aware of the quote by French philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin..

“We are not humans having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience”

Sometimes we forget this. We get caught up in ‘life’ we often forget our actual purpose and the fact that ‘it’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.” Eph 1:1 TM

The Shepherds, as we read in Luke 2 were just living out their daily duties until they un-expectantly had quite the spiritual time.

We may not have angels visit us, as the shepherds did but we can have that amazing spirit filled experience. Even better, if we allow it, it is not a one time event, it’s a wonderful relationship that blesses every day.

The angels announced that the Saviour of the world has been born. This baby is the Messiah, Jesus the Christ the Son of the living God.

It is in Christ and only in Him that we find our identity and can have that spiritual connection we are all seeking.

We may think we know best, but God knows everything about us. He made you to love you and to give you purpose, one that only you can fulfil. We cannot find that identity in others, our job, our hobby or accomplishments or causes, if we try, we will only be disappointed.

If you haven’t trusted in Jesus and committed to following Him, why wait any longer?

Perhaps you are not feeling particularly spiritual; it may be time to evaluate how much you let Jesus in?

If you are following Jesus, then let’s join with the angels and praise God…

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests”

Luke 2:14 NIV

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank You for loving me and giving me the opportunity to accept You. I confess my sin, and I believe that You are my Saviour. I receive You into every aspect of my life as my Lord. I turn everything over to You. Jesus, I want to use the rest of my life to serve You instead of serving myself, I commit to You and ask You to show me my purpose and accept me into your family. In Your name I pray, AMEN.

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Christmas - A Disruptive Time

Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing will be impossible”.

This verse comes at the end of the Angel’s announcement of Christ’s birth to Mary. Mary is told of the miraculous conception and birth of our Lord Jesus. Like all of the promises we find in the Word, this promise came true. For what is impossible with man is possible with God. And this truth is equally true for you as it is for me.

Nothing is impossible with respect to any of God’s promises. Jesus is the fulfilment of all that God has promised—for all things are in Him and of Him and for Him.

God is the power behind everyone of His promises and God is the truth behind all of His Word. God is the omniscient mind behind all of His plans. No promise from God will ever fail.

This truth is fully consistent with the perfect nature of God’s character and totally compatible with His eternal perfection. If God has promised, nothing will stand in the way.

Our challenge is to consciously live out this fact, that all things are possible with God, and demonstrate that same trusting faith that was expressed by Mary—that nothing is impossible to God, even when we don’t understand.

Prayer: Loving Father, thank You for Your Word and the many promises that fill its pages. Thank You that nothing is impossible with respect to any of Your precious promises not only to me individually but to all people. Forgive me for the times I have doubted Your Word and help me to stand firm in all that You have promised, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

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