Showing posts in 'Fighting the Monday Feeling'

Frantic Friday?

The Explore Team | 29 Nov 2014

It’s a great privilege to be called to follow Christ; but it is not an easy calling.

Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.

“Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

“But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now,
for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Luke 6:20-26

How does Jesus turn our normal view of life upside down?

As a Christian, how have you known:

  • being more poor or hungry than if you didn’t live for Christ?
  • crying for a reason that a non-Christian wouldn’t?
  • being hated, excluded or insulted because you follow Jesus

How can this life possibly be “blessed”?! How can it be happy and contented?! The answer's in verse 23: It’s the reality of heavenly eternity that allows a Christian to look through the tears, to look at their empty bank balance, to look beyond being hated, and say: “I am blessed simply because I know Christ. I may have nothing in this life, but I have everything I need for eternity”.

Of course, the world doesn’t look at life like this—and Jesus has a warning about that.

    Instinctively, many of us just want an “easy life”. What does Jesus have to say about that attitude?
  • Where in your life are you (or are you in danger of) living for worldly, fleeting comfort and reward, instead of the heavenly, eternal ones?

Manic Monday?

The Explore Team | 24 Nov 2014

Here's a challenge from God's word to start your week with—and a brilliant promise to hold onto:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. - Galatians 6:9-10

  • What does Paul tell Christians to do?
  • What's the great motivation of doing this?
  • Based on your own experience, how do we “reap” from such a lifestyle?

The final sentence is sweeping and comprehensive in its simplicity. First, it shows that the Christian life is not all about meetings or even conversions; it is about doing good to the person before me, giving him or her what is best for them.

Second, the word “doing” reminds us that we are actively to give those around us whatever love discerns is best for them; love in deed as well as in word. This starts with our family—our fellow adopted brothers and sisters in God's church. But it's not to be limited to them.

  • What would it look like deliberately to “do good” to all those you meet this week? Pray for stamina not to grow weary in doing good.

Based on an extract taken from Explore Daily Bible Reading Notes.

Manic Monday?

The Explore Team | 17 Nov 2014

Who is God with? We might expect that God is with the righteous: but if God were only with the righteous, then no one would know him as their refuge. Wonderfully, Isaiah says God is with the contrite and lowly in spirit.

For this is what the high and exalted One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
I will not accuse them forever,
nor will I always be angry,
for then they would faint away because of me—
the very people I have created.
I was enraged by their sinful greed;
I punished them, and hid my face in anger,
yet they kept on in their willful ways.
I have seen their ways, but I will heal them;
I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,
creating praise on their lips.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”

Isaiah 57:13-19

If God continued to accuse us, then we could have no future (v 16). But God promises to heal, to guide, to restore and to comfort those who humble themselves before him (v 17-18).

Jesus probably drew on these words when he said: 'Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted' (Matthew 5 v 4). Isaiah says God will put praise on the lips of those who mourn (v 19). True praise begins when we recognise God’s great grace towards us in Jesus. And recognising God’s grace begins when we realise how great our sin is. So mourning and praise are inextricably linked in the Christian life.

Take a few moments to reflect on the promise of verse 15. Spend some time mourning over your sins, and then rejoicing in his love. Ask him to revive your spirit today.

Based on an extract taken from Explore Daily Bible Reading Notes.

Frantic Friday?

The Explore Team | 15 Nov 2014

Are you ever a bit embarrassed about following Jesus? What is it that makes you feel that way? In his second letter to Timothy, Paul has some words of encouragement:

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,  but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
(2 Timothy 1 v 9-10)

·      What should Timothy not be ashamed of?

·      What do these verses say about being saved?

·      How has this salvation come to us?

The most amazing thing about being a Christian is that God has deliberately chosen to save us, even though we deserve his punishment and even though it cost his Son everything! If someone gave you a very precious gift, you would want to show and tell everyone—how much more should we be unashamed of the gospel and all who proclaim it! Pray for an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus THIS WEEKEND!

Based on an extract taken from Explore Daily Bible Reading Notes

Manic Monday?

The Explore Team | 10 Nov 2014

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’
(Matthew 9:35-37)

Jesus has come into a world where heaven and earth have been separated by sin, leaving the earth under the shadow of death. The “gospel of the kingdom” is the glorious news that heaven and earth will be reunited under God’s rule, bringing salvation to those who believe it. The problem is, there’s only one of Jesus, and still an awful lot of needy people under the shadow of death.... continue reading

Frantic Friday?

The Explore Team | 7 Nov 2014

Maybe your week’s been stressful, or fun, or sad, or exciting—or just a whirlwind of busyness. However you’re feeling at the end of it, if you’re a Christian, you can still echo David’s amazing words of praise:

I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Psalm 40 v 1-3

  • When was the last time you stopped and thanked God for the ways he first brought you to the point of putting your trust in him?
  • From what “mud and mire” has he rescued you in your life since then?

Why not pause to praise him for these acts now?

Based on an extract taken from Explore Daily Bible Reading Notes

Manic Monday

Explore Team | 3 Nov 2014

We tend to think of ourselves in terms of what job we do, or what we have achieved, or in relation to the people around us. But Paul tells us to find our identity elsewhere:

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. - Colossians 3 v 21-23

This is a description of who you were, and who you’ve become in Christ. How does that make you feel?

What difference would it make to you if you remembered and believed verse 21 — all day, every day this week — about the non-Christians around you?

According to this passage, what is the one thing we do this week?

The gospel reconciles us to God and makes us holy—and it keeps doing so. It’s amazing — all we need to do is hang onto it!

Based on an extract taken from Explore Daily Bible Reading Notes

Fighting the Monday feeling

Rachel Jones | 27 Oct 2014

‘Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.

Even to your old age and grey hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.'

Isaiah 46:3-4

Fighting the Monday feeling

Rachel Jones | 20 Oct 2014

[The Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Fighting the Monday feeling

Rachel Jones | 13 Oct 2014

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

Revelation 1:4-6

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