LET US CELEBRATE PENTECOST SUNDAY 2021

With Pentecost Sunday coming up, it is an appropriate time for us to reconsider what Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to do when He went to the Cross and died on our behalf.

Our Heavenly Father sends the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer to make it possible for us to live the Christian life.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.1 Corinthians 2:12-13.

If we have the Spirit, our hearts will be gentle and kind. 

If we have the Spirit, our intentions will be pure.

If we have the Spirit, our words will show compassion and not judgment.

If we have the Spirit, our lives will exhibit the fruit of spirit: love, joy, peace, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control.

And God will give us the right words if we heed His SpiritHe will guide and guard our every step.

When we allow God’s word and His Spirit to shape our actions and our words, we are walking in the Spirit and pleasing God.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.Galatians 5:16-17

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

How are you living your life? According to the works of the flesh or will you follow Jesus and commit your life to walking in the Spirit.  It is never too late to make the right decision! 

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mathew 20:28, Mark 10:45.

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

TO DIE IS GAIN

Let us look at a few Scriptures relating to life on God’s earth. This first Scripture makes it clear that God knows each one of us before we were born and He knows how we will live out our days.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.Psalms 139:16

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12

David asked God to teach Him. We need to have prayer filled lives and teachable hearts. Note: David wanted a heart of wisdom.

For if, because of one man’s (Adam) trespass, death reigned through that one man , much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17

There is only one way we can reign in this life. It is when we receive through Jesus Christ the abundance of grace (Holy Spirit) and the free gift of righteousness.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.Philippians 1:21-23

It really does come down to how much do we treasure our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we treasure Him above all life’s earthly pleasures? Note the two life options for Christians: fruitful labour for Jesus on this earth which Paul obviously enjoyed or to depart and be with Jesus Christ which he acknowledged was the better option.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.Hebrews 9:27

We all face death but how different is the fate of those that reject God’s offer of eternal life through His Son. Judgement, the Lake of Fire, punishment and eternal death. Unbelievers should be fearful of the fate that awaits them after death. If they knew perhaps some would repent. Let us do our best to reach as many as God brings across our path with the Gospel of Christ.

ARE WE WORKING OUT OUR SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING?

Paul tells us “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippian 12-13

“With fear and trembling” sounds daunting and certainly not pleasurable. In fact, is it even possible?

Working out your salvation is not possible if you have not accepted Christ as your Savior. But once you have, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you.

With His partnership you can “work out” your salvation. You can experience practically in your everyday life the unlimited resources of peace, joy, and hope that accompany the Holy Spirit’s presence inside of you.

Sadly, you have to question how many people in our churches today are born again and have received the Holy Spirit as their counsellor, teacher and comforter. It is only the Holy Spirit that produces the fruit of the spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace. patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. It is only the Holy Spirit that provides the gifts of the spirit for ministry: word of knowledge, word of wisdom, prophecy, faith, healing, miracles, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

The “fear and trembling” Paul is referring to is the attitude Christians are to have in pursuing this goal. We are to have a healthy fear of offending God through disobedience and an awe and respect for His majesty and holiness.

How we act right now as followers of Jesus will greatly impact our internal peace. Fear and trembling simply means, approach God with humility and ask him for His peace to be increased to a greater measure than the anxiety you are experiencing. Say to Him, “Lord, I humbly ask for your peace to be increased in me. I need it Lord to get through my day. Please help me Lord.”

And guess what? God will. God promises us in Philippians 2:13 that “He is at work in us both to will and to work for his good pleasure“. This is a promise.

Obedience triggers greater peace in our lives and greater peace triggers greater effectiveness for us as witnesses for Christ. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:15 that obedience brings blamelessness into our lives in the midst of a crooked and twisted world and this enables our light for Him to shine brighter.

We have to hold on to God’s Word, be in God’s Word, and apply God’s Word to our lives if we hope to maintain any sense of peace in this world. If we hold fast to God’s Word we are fixing our gaze on God by reading His Word and applying it to our lives regardless of our circumstances.

Much of this article was taken from a post by Pastor Kelly a Guest Contributor to http://www.patheos.com entitled Working Out Peace In Your Life In 2021

COVID-19 RAISING THE BIG ISSUES OF LIFE

Researchers have found Australians say they have been praying more during the COVID-19 crisis, suggesting the pandemic has led many to reassess their priorities in life.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle surveyed 1002 people between July 24 and 28 and found more than a third (35 per cent) said they were praying more and 41 per cent were thinking about God more. A quarter said they were reading the Bible more.

Nearly a half (47 per cent) said they had thought more about their mortality and the meaning of life.

“The research is showing that this COVID situation has rattled Australians and got them thinking about the big purpose of life,” Mr McCrindle said. “It’s got them re-prioritising their life.”

Charles Sturt University Associate Professor Ruth Powell, who studies Australian spirituality said she was not surprised by the survey results. Her own research as director of the National Church Life Survey has shown a third of Australians pray or meditate “in normal times”.

“In this context when a proportion say I think I am praying more …. it’s not surprising if it has been heightened at this time,” she said. “What we know from our own research is that Australians are already moderately religious or spiritual. “It’s often in times of crisis that you do go to the big spiritual questions.”

Macquarie University Professor Marion Maddox, an authority on the intersection of religion and politics, said it was not surprising many people would be thinking more about their spirituality and mortality during an existential crisis.

“The bushfires would have had similar effects of making people think about the meaning and purpose of life or …. questions about environmental concerns and our relationship to the human world,” she said.

“It’s at the same time that churches and places of collective worship are closing, so people aren’t able to gather and do their spiritual reflection as easily together. They can do it online, but it’s not quite the same.”

Anglican Bishop of South Sydney Michael Stead said he has received anecdotal feedback that parishioners were reading the Bible and praying more.

“The enforced slow down and isolation of the COVID restrictions have meant that people have been forced to step off the treadmill and realise there is more to life than the endless grind of work and pursuit of material ends,” he said. “It has given people an opportunity to reflect more deeply on what is the ultimate meaning of life and hence to dig into spiritual resources to help answer those kind of questions.

“There is a degree where we are all thinking about our own mortality now and that is forcing a reconnection back to God.”

The Stringer family is no exception, their story is encouraging.

The Stringer family have been praying more during the coronavirus pandemic. Andrew, Lucy, William, Katie and EleanorCREDIT: STEVEN SIEWERT.
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Katie Stringer from Leichhardt in Sydney Australia, a teacher and mother of three children aged from 6 to 13, said she and her family had been praying more at home together during the pandemic. They read passages from the Bible during family meals and in the car during school drop-off.
Mrs Stringer said the closure of their local Anglican church forced them to “assess their spiritual connection”. “It reminded us our faith is also our responsibility and not just the responsibility of the minister in our church,” she said. “We needed to be proactive in talking to God.”

Catastrophes: Bring them on Lord; if it means people turn back to you.

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

Have you contemplated why I called this blog Living Eternal Now?

How do we live in the light of eternity and see beyond the moment in a world of increasing darkness?

God has enabled us to look beyond today to see what lies ahead.

Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers. Our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. All believers have received the Holy Spirit to be their counsellor, comforter and teacher. We are Holy Spirit enabled.

We have a spiritual lens through which to view the world from God’s perspective.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” 1 Corinthians 2:12

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit.1 Corinthians 2:9-10

Considering we are living in the “last days” when persecution of Christians will increase. It is essential we live Holy Spirit enabled lives. He may not reveal what immediately lies ahead but we live our lives knowing He is in control of coming events. Moreover, we will not be taken by surprise, His Word tells us exactly how the “last days” play out before Jesus returns.

Living eternal nowis a way of travelling in the here and now, with our spiritual vision fixed on God and eternity so we are submitted to His will.

Remember, our days are numbered. The psalmist says, “So teach us to number our days, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom” Psalm 90:12 Hopefully, this admonition, will affect how we use our time, how we decide our priorities, so we don’t waste time..

Paul also tells us, we are now alive to the spiritual realm, we see what is important from an eternal perspective, we don’t dwell on earthly matters which are temporary:while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:18

The preceding verses tell us how being Holt Spirit enabled, we know that whatever God allows into our lives, we will be able to see it as “light affliction” because we know it is for His glory.

Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

If we are living Holy Spirit enabled lives then the fruit of the Spirit (9) will be evident in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. The fruit of the Spirit demonstrates how far along we are in the sanctification process, submitted to God’s will.

As well, we will be operating in the gifts of the Spirit (9). The gifts of the spirit are the ammunition that the Holy Spirit provides for our use as we walk Holy Spirit enabled lives. The miraculous will truly be evident.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Note the counsel Paul gives concerning neglecting and quenching the Holy Spirits work in our lives.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

Do not neglect the gift that is in you… Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 1 Timothy 4:14

Are you living eternal now? If not why not?

One aspect of living eternally now is based on what our expectation is of the hereafter. Where will you be, and what will you be doing? Sadly, most peoples view of eternal life is not that appealing. They view it as an eternity in heaven but have no idea of what they will be doing there e.g. plucking harps and praising God. As a result, not to many are anxious to leave this life and go there. In future posts, we will explore what the Bible really says about where we will be (new heaven and new earth) and what we will be doing there.