Thursday, 1 March 2012

Thursday Lent 1

Thursdays.   We are supposed to be receiving some snow today.  Hurrah.  Snow!  While snow
is not the best for driving in,  snow makes the landscape look clean and fresh.  This is like our Lent... when we come before God asking for forgiveness  God makes our lives clean and fresh.  And how neat is that.   Today make many opportunities to spend time with God in prayer.... or meditate upon this phrase: "How does my life reflect the love of Jesus through a willingness to listen to God's word and then how do I respond to God's will?"

Lamb of God,  You take away the sins of the world,  have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God,  You take away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.
Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world,  grant us Your peace.  Amen.

Read:   St. Matthew 7: 21 - 23

These three verses are the conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount.  The previous three chapters (Chapters 5, 6, and 7) have been instructions   on how to live as a Disciple.  
These three chapters are excellent reading during this time of Lent as it takes us to a time of seriously  looking inward at ourselves and stating what we believe and how we live each day.
Jesus tells the disciples that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter into heaven.  For us today this means going to Church on Sundays,  going to Bible Study class,  attending the Ladies Group/Choir/Men’s Group does not necessarily make the kind of disciple that Jesus was instructing the Disciples to be without a faith that leads us ever to God.   Our life must reflect the love of Jesus and a willingness to listen to God’s word and then to respond to God’s will.
So,  how do we know that we are not just spouting, “Lord, Lord”?  Through the three indicators of Healthy Christians.     First,  we must hear what Jesus is saying by reading the Bible.   Daily.  This comes from reading the Scriptures daily then taking time to sit in silence and reflect on the Scriptures.    Secondly,  we must understand what we hear and read in the Bible.   Doing Daily Devotionals with a meditation on the Scripture is excellent!  But take the Scripture reading one further step and purchase a good  book which explains of the Scriptures.   (Your Minister will be delighted to help you to find an awesome commentary!!!)  A lifetime of reading the Bible and reading Commentaries makes for growth as a Christian.    Reading and understanding the Scriptures also comes through prayer.  Prayers of sitting in silence with God.  Prayers of asking God for understanding of what you are reading in the Bible. 
Third,  we must have a vision and take into action    what we have just read.  This third quality is not easy to do as it challenges us to new thinking and makes changes in our lives.   But if we truly are living in God’s will,  how can we not make changes for God!  We can check if we are including this third indictor in our lives by seeing if we have the Fruits of the Spirit.   And be truthful!  If you were just standing in line at the grocery store and then chew out the clerk for taking too long,  one would suspect that “gentleness” and “self control” aren’t your fruits yet!  
Many of the Ministers and Elders who are part of the Spiritual leadership of growing vital Churches mention that the reason their Churches are growing is they have a vision and a mission… they are constantly looking into the Community and seeing how they can help individuals and groups.  They understand that the Good News must be taken out of the Church and into the Community/World.   This is not done by a few people but by the Spiritual Leadership of each Church who have spent time in prayer and reflection.

 Lamb of God,  You take away the sin of the world. Lord forgive us.
Lamb of God,  You take away the sin of the world.   Hear us this day.
Lamb of God,  You take away the sin of the world.  Lord have mercy upon us. 

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