May God still our turbulent heart as we live in this fast-paced world.
We live in a world where there is no peace. We read of tragic event from the news. We know of people who are going through tough times in life. And things around us seem to compete for our attention.
If we are honest with ourselves, everyday we are rushing from task to task, pressured to use every minute that we have to fill fulfilled. Our hearts are turbulent. But as St Teresa prayed, let nothing disturb us. Focus on God. He helps us. He alone suffice.
In 1765, John Wesley wrote on some practical ways to read the Bible.
John Wesley gave us some practical ways to read the Bible.
In his book which was published in 1765, “Explanatory Notes upon the Old Testament”, he wrote:
-To set apart a little time, if you can, every morning and evening for that purpose?
–At each time if you have leisure, to read a chapter out of the Old, and one out of the New Testament: if you cannot do this, to take a single chapter, or a part of one?
–To read this with a single eye, to know the whole will of God, and a fixt resolution to do it?
–In order to know his will, you should, have a constant eye to the analogy of faith;
–Serious and earnest prayer should be constantly used, before we consult the oracles of God, seeing “scripture can only be understood thro’ the same Spirit whereby it was given.”
–Our reading should likewise be closed with prayer, that what we read may be written on our hearts.
-And whatever light you then receive, should be used to the uttermost, and that immediately. Let there be no delay. Whatever you resolve, begin to execute the first moment you can. So shall you find this word to be indeed the power of God unto present and eternal salvation?
What John Wesley meant was that the reading of the Bible should include these basics:
b. a chapter
c. a single eye
d. a constant eye
a. little time
You need to spend time to read the Bible. John Wesley said every morning and every evening, every day. You need to spend time to read the Bible. Make time in your schedule for Bible reading.
b. a chapter
Read a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from New Testament. If you can’t do that, you can read a chapter.
c. a single eye
We have to figure out what we can apply in our daily lives. After reading the chapter, what we should apply in our daily lives?
d. a constant eye
Have a constant eye to the analogy of faith: the original sin, justification by faith (because of faith, we are saved, and not because of good works), the new birth we have through Jesus Christ, Inward and Outward Holiness (emphasizing on Holy living).
While reading the Bible, we pray for the Holy Spirit to give us understanding on the chapter. We also pray that God’s Word will be written in our hearts as we read.
We should pause and examine ourselves by what we read. Examine our hearts and lives. This will result in giving praise to God when He has guided us to a path of blessedness, or at certain parts, we identified with the sins mentioned in the Bible, we then ask God for forgiveness.
The Bible gives us power to live a victorious life. There are so many testimonies of people who are able to face the challenges in life because they hold on to God’s promises and encouragements in His Word.
We will be blessed as we read God’s Word. After all, it is God’s love letter to us. It is the instructions on living our lives. Let us set aside time each day to read His Word.
The church is the people of God, called to be the salt and light to this world (Matt. 5:13-14). In the New Testament, the church is called, “ekklesia”, which is a group of people who have been called out by God.
When the people of God gathered together, there are 3 things which will happen:
It is Christ-centered as we gather to study God’s Word and have fellowship with one another through prayers and through sharing a meal.
The church is a body of Christ. We are one body (1 Cor. 12:12-31).We exalt Christ as we worship God together. Since we are a body in Christ, we love one another and live in peace and unity. It is not always easy, but let us ask help from the God who first loves us. With His help, we learn to embrace one another and to forgive those who have offended us as God has also forgiven our offenses against Him.
In the church, we live in unity and we guard our unity by extending peace to one another. As a body of Christ, we share the Gospel with people outside of the church. In our daily living, we obey God’s commands and live lives that glorify God in our actions, words and thoughts.
God saw our regrets and pains. He understands and He takes them away..
Saw this prayer from the United Methodist Church. I love it because I miss my loved ones who have gone home to the Lord.
God has blessed me with these loved ones. Yes, there are regrets. There were things I wish I had done differently. It is such an assurance to know we can commit these pain and regrets to God. God understands.
‘Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless’ (James 1:26).
In the letter of James, the tongue seems to be a problem (James 1:19; 2:12; 3:1-3, 14-18; 4:11-12). The words we use are a testimony that we are or are not followers of Jesus (Mark 7:15-23).
Whether our religion is true or not depends on what comes out of our mouths. The words “tight rein” here refer to those of a horse’s. During James’ time, much like today, the horse is used for transportation and also for labour work. To be able to ride a horse and to use it effectively, we have to be able to control it, or else it will go in different directions than where we intended. To control it, the rider keeps a tight rein on the horse. The reins is attached to the head of the horse, if we hold on to the rein tightly, we can control where it goes. Likewise, we need a tight rein to guard over our mouth.
What are the words we choose to use? What words come out of our mouths when we are frustrated? When we are angry? Our tongues can do great damages if we do not put a rein over it. I have seen the damages the tongue can do to the community of faith when people are not careful with their words. Once careless words are spoken in anger, whether in anger or without thinking, it will hurt others, and sometimes a relationship can not be repaired to how it used to be.
Jesus Christ also said, “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Matthew 12:34). What comes out of our mouth is an indication what is in our hearts.
In this coming week, let us listen for words that tears down, belittle others or are hurtful. May be you can spot them in conversations on the television or even in our conversations with friends and family. May we be careful with the choice of words we use. We can either build up or tear down. Let us also consider it as a part of our spiritual discipline to watch over our tongues.
For centuries, people have been going for pilgrimages for religious purposes. They would go to holy sites to deepen their relationship with God, to learn more about the history of the religion, to connect with other believers in the community, to experience the historical sites and some may even seek healing at the historical sites.
We can go on a pilgrimage without leaving our country. People who are unwell, the elderly, those limited by physical abilities may not be able to travel to the holy sites to see the historical architectures or experience the surroundings as encountered by the saints. However, taking a pilgrimage is to seek a deeper connection with God — it is our journey with God.
When our heart yearns for Him, He speaks to us through His Word, even if we are in an armchair at home. He speaks to us through the community of faith around us. He speaks to us when we are silent and seek His face intentionally.
Every Christian is on a pilgrimage. We move from ourselves and journey towards God, knowing Him, conversing with Him and walking with Him. It all starts from opening our hearts to His movements in our life.
Our human nature tends to be anxious and we are weigh us down with worries. It can be hard to stop our worrying about the many things in life.
In Philippians 4:4, Paul gives us the antidote to worrying. It is, to “rejoice in the Lord always”. Rejoicing in the Lord is not enough. We are to rejoice not just once but “always”. It means rejoicing should be a part of our lifestyle as Christians.
Not only that, Paul said, “I will say it again: Rejoice!”. It is a repeated command that we should rejoice.
Why should we rejoice?
1. God is sovereign.
He has everything in control. We may not feel it at the moment but God’s timing is the best (Psalm 121:2)
2. God is faithful
He never leaves us or forsakes us (Deuteronomy 7:9-11). We are not in need or in wants. He is with us through the though times and the good times (Psalm 23).
3. God sent His Son
Through the works of Jesus Christ on the cross, we are free from shame and guilt (Galatians 5:1; Isaiah 42:6-7). We have forgiveness from God. We no longer live in shame but we have God’s forgiveness and power. We are now living in freedom through the power of the Holy Spirit.