THOUGHTFUL WORD: Ephesians 4:29-“Let nounwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace tothe listeners.”
The call today is to speak words that are good and wholesome. Speak what is helpful and not harmful to the well-being of others. Speak what builds a person up and not tear them down.
We have heard the saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." That is not true! Words do hurt!
Words can either build up, encourage, motivate or they can hurt, tear down or leave someone with lasting scars.
As people of God, we need to be very careful about what we allow to come out of our mouth.
As the saints of old would say, "If you do not have anything good to say, keep your mouth shut"!
Words spoken out of our mouth are very important for the simple fact that they speak whatis in our hearts. Let's listen to Luke 6:45 (NKJV) “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”
What are you speaking? Words that build up or tear others down?
Let us all examine ourselves by listening to the words that proceed out of our mouth. The wrong words can destroy and the right word can mend.
Loving Father will you help me so that the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart is acceptable in your sight? I thank You for Your Word that is full of loving words and encouragement and I thank You for Your Spirit in me to help me live and speak truth and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Joshua 1:8 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
So what does it mean to meditate in the Bible? Firstly I draw your attention to the little word in– no it’s not a typo. It doesn’t say ‘on’ it says ‘in’ - it’s a hint of how we go about meditating. It’s a dive in approach rather than a half-hearted approach.
Secondly, when we look up the word meditate in the dictionary - one of the synonyms listed to help us understand is, the word ‘ruminate’.
Have you ever had the opportunity to learn how a cow eats? Some would say it is a little gross – but the basic way a cow eats is this….
When the cow first eats, it chews the food just enough to swallow it. The unchewed food travels to the first two stomachs, the rumen and the reticulum, where it is stored until later. ... Later, the cow coughs up bits of the unchewed food called cud and chews it completely this time before swallowing it again.
So why am I telling you this? Well this is a picture of what it means to ruminate, chew over, meditate.
Meditating on the Bible is reading, then thinking over the verse over and over, seeing it from every angle and applying it to your own life.We mentally chew on it, sinking it’s meaning in. Then, we look at the passage again and think of what else it could mean, or how it applies to our lives.
Another way to meditate on God’s Word comes from the Hebrew word for meditation: hagah- which means to quietly speak the words of the text over and over to yourself. This helps us to 1) memorize the verses so we can remember what we read as we continue our daily lives and 2) this can often bring clarity and insight to the meanings we are looking for in God’s word.
What happens when we do this? It enables us to draw closer to God, understand Him, His character, His gifts, His plans, His directions so that we may come closer to successfully live a life worthy to bring praise and honor to the Lord.
Lord, quiet my heart and still my soul as I wait on you during these moments. I want to focus on You, Lord, and to shut out all the distractions of the world. I ask for your wisdom to apply these truths to my life morning, noon, and night—literally all through the day. I treasure your Word and want to chew on the truths you reveal to me. As I pull apart each piece and reflect on every principle and word of instruction, I’m asking you to guide me and teach me what you want me to know.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
It is Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday the last Sunday before Easter. Most of us know the story where Jesus rode in on a donkey, directly fulfilling the prophecy in the old testament.
It is referred to as Palm Sunday as the Bible tells us that the people cut palm branches and waved them in the air, laid them out on the ground before Jesus. Palms were recognised as representing goodness, well-being and victory. Palm carvings were often used to decorate important buildings for these very reasons.
Jesus came as goodness Himself, pure and without blemish. He came to have victory over sin and death and so that we may have life. An abundant life with meaning and purpose.
It was also customary that during a time of peace, a king would ride on a donkey, while a king would come sitting on a white horse after victory in a battle. Jesus came as a King, but not to judge the people, He came to demonstrate God’s grace.
Jesus shows us so many aspects of God and of living a God filled life, throughout His ministry but particularly in this period that marks the beginning of a Holy week. We know that this week continues and is a journey of many difficulties, brokenness, betrayal and cruelty right up to death. However we praise God as Jesus was obedient, even to death on a cross. This allows us to have the many gifts we treasure today, not the least of which is our salvation.
Will you join us in praying that today, this Palm Sunday, people will take the time to evaluate and recognise Jesus, who He is and the journey He obediently took for each one of us, so that we can be saved?
Father we pray for our community, that they would come to Christ as the only way, truth and life. We pray that you would change their heart from one of stone to one that is alive and responsive to you. May you open their hearts to believe the Gospel. We pray that you would put your Spirit within them, that they may know the great joy of salvation. We pray this so that they may know the freedom from sin, from repentance and receive your Holy grace. In Jesus precious name, we pray. Amen
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:6-7
Most of us would know the story of David & Goliath. (1 Samuel 17)David was a young fellow, small in stature and was going to face the giant. This giant that the armour of grown men shook in fear and trembling. How scary it must have been for David. If we think about it—David didn’t do a course, have special military training, in fact there wasn’t anything really that extraordinary about David….at least nothing we could see.
What made David special and successful of bringing down that huge soldier, Goliath, was God’s presence.
David put his hope in God and fanned that small glimmer of faith and allowed God to enable him.
God invites us today to allow Him in to our lives and gift us with His power, His love and self-discipline. All we have to do is say yes!
There is a but...as that ‘yes’ needs to be everyday. We need to actively ‘feed the flame’ each and everyday. That is, allow God’s gift of His Holy Spirit to ignite our passion, our enthusiasm, our joy and our faith and live it out boldly. Without fear, but bravely in God’s strength because we have His power!
Prayer: Father, thank you for your generous gift of salvation in Jesus. Please help us to live out our gratitude to you, without fear. Amen
Sometimes its real, sometimes it is imagined, but the feeling of failure is acute. Disappointment in one’s self is heart breaking and soul damaging. Can even be paralysing. But, one needs to remember failure is not fatal, nor is it defining. Here are some helpful Scriptures to give perspective and encourage ….
It happens to us all—Proverbs 24:16a ‘The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.’
The Lord holds your hand—Psalm 37:34-24 ‘The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.’
The answer is Jesus—Romans 7:24 ’Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God, the answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.’
You are forgiven—1 John 1:9 ‘But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.’
The Lord is your strength—Psalm 73:26 ‘My health may fail, and my spirit grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever’
There is fresh mercy—Lamentations 3:2-23 ‘The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.’
Forget the past—Philippians 3:13-14 ‘No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.’
Last week Leighton raised some interesting questions for us to ponder and reflect on. Here is someone’s thoughts on why they go to church….
“In a culture that minimizes commitment and maximizes self-indulgence, I have learned the precious gift of church attendance or, more specifically, the church gathered. I do not see church attendance as a burden or legalistic commitment. I view it as a joy—a place where I can give and serve, a place where I can focus more on others than myself. I could name many but here are ten reasons I attend church:
¨ I attend church to serve others
¨ I attend church to encourage others
¨ I attend church to encourage my pastor
¨ I attend church to state my priorities
¨ I attend church to participate in worship
¨ I attend church even if it doesn’t meet all my needs
¨ I attend church with frequency, not on occasion.
¨ I attend church to set an example for my family.
¨ I attend church because the Bible tells me to do so.
¨ I attend church because I love my church
I love to attend church. I attend church for these reasons and many more. I thank God for my church.”
Do you attend church regularly? What are your reasons? Let us pause and thank God for His church here at Marion Church of Christ.
At our Sunday 10am service, we were delighted to be able to witness Noah go through the waters of Baptism.
Water Baptism is an act of obedience to the commands of Christ. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28-19.20
Baptism declares that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a public confession of your faith in, and commitment to, Jesus Christ. It is the next step after salvation through repentance and faith and is an important foundation for the Christian life.
Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead. It shows that you love, trust and have put your hope in Christ.
“Going under the water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ. When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ! Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.” Colossians 2:12-14 MSG
If you have any questions or are interested in exploring your faith or baptism further, please either put a note on your Care Card or contact the Church Office during the week, so we can arrange for you to meet with a Pastor.