Showing posts in 'Fighting the Monday Feeling'

Frantic Friday?

The Explore Team | January 9th 2015

Sometimes it’s good to get a reality check—and these first verses of Psalm 144 are great for that. It's a psalm by King David. He's recalling God's help in subduing the enemies he faced—and looking to God for future help with great confidence.

1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.
2 He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.
3 Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them?
4 They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. 
Psalm 144:1-4... continue reading

 

Manic Monday?

The Explore Team | January 5th 2015

Here are two short—but brilliant—verses to start your week with.

For we know that our old self was crucified with [Christ] so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Romans 6:6-7

  • If you are a Christian, what has happened to the old “you” (v 6)?
  • What is the consequence of this (v 6)?
 

Boxing Day

The Explore Team | December 26th 2014

Whether you’re slumping on the sofa this morning or preparing to tackle an ambitious boxing-day walk, take a few moments to reflect on the words of Simeon as he held the infant Jesus in the temple:

‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.’

Luke 2:29-32

  • What does Simeon see in this child (v 30)?
  •  

Manic Monday?

The Explore Team | December 22nd 2014

These verses are one of the most breathtaking descriptions of Jesus. The most important thing for the Colossians is to understand just who Jesus is—and as we celebrate Christmas, the same is true for us.

 

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:15-19... continue reading

 

Manic Monday?

The Explore Team | December 15th 2014

Psalm 33 gives a simple message to start your week: exuberant praise should mark God’s people!

 

1Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
    it is fitting for the upright to praise him.

Praise the Lord with the harp;
    make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.

Sing to him a new song;
    play skillfully, and shout for joy.

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
    he is faithful in all he does.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice;
    the earth is full of his unfailing love.... continue reading

 

Frantic Friday

The Explore Team | December 12th 2014

Perhaps you come to the end of this week feeling the weight of the things you’ve got wrong. Today’s verses kick off one of the best-loved chapters in the whole of Scripture…

Romans 8:1-2 

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

  • What does 8 v 1 tell us about being “in Christ”? Why is this wonderful news?
  • What else has happened to Christians (v 2)?

The phrase Paul uses in verse 1 is much stronger than simply saying we are not condemned; it is that there is no condemnation at all—no possibility of it. Not only are we not condemned, we can never and will never be condemned.

  • How does this affect our response to sin?
  • How does this affect our view of our future?

Although they sin, for those who are “in Christ Jesus” there “is now no condemnation”—first, not because of their own obedience, but because of the work of God’s Son and God’s Spirit (8 v 2). And second, because the Spirit now works to do what we cannot—overcome sin.

 

 

Manic Monday?

The Explore Team | December 8th 2014

In this passage, God gives a command and makes a wonderful promise.

Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk,
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labour on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Isaiah 55:1-2

God says: “Come—there is free food.” There are two highlights about this promise of a banquet: it is free and it truly satisfies. The invitation is wide open.

  • Think for a moment about the things to which people look for satisfaction and fulfilment. They give little and short-lived satisfaction, yet people can spend their lives and wealth pursuing them.
  • Where are you looking for satisfaction? Take this invitation to heart. Come to God now for satisfaction and fulfilment.

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

 

Frantic Friday?

The Explore Team | December 5th 2014

In this short paragraph from the book of Titus, Paul gives us one of the New Testament’s great mountain peaks:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. - Titus 2:11-14

Titus was a pastor, and all pastors worth their salt long for their church’s members to grow in godliness. So a common shortcut is to lay down rules to obey, and use the stick of guilt to keep people “up to scratch”. But that is the fatal path of legalism—trying to earn, or keep, salvation through our own goodness. God has given a life-saving alternative: the gospel of Christ.

The first “appearing”: in the past (v 11-12)

  • When did saving grace first appear?
  • How does this change us?
  • What do we say “no” to? What do we say “yes” to?

The second “appearing”: in the future (v 13-14)

  • What are we waiting for?
  • On what grounds can we have hope when we so often fail to say “no” to ungodliness (v 14)?

Christianity is never rules-based—we never grow beyond the gospel. We must not slip into the mindset that we are saved by grace but now we live by law. The gospel both saves us and motivates us to live for Christ, as the pure people He has died to make us. Knowing that the grace of God has appeared, and will appear, is all we need to desire to live in a way which is “good” (v 7). The more we understand and appreciate the gospel, the more we’ll obey God.

 

Manic Monday?

The Explore Team | December 1st 2014

The worldly success of ungodly people regularly bothers people who are trying to follow God. This week, you’ll doubt less see lots of people who are rejecting God and doing well out of it—colleagues, friends and even family. How should we react? “Fret not,” says this psalm; and then it tells us why.

Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
he will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret – it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.
But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy peace and prosperity.

Psalm 37:1-11

Notice the repetition of “the LORD.”

  • What five responses should we have to the LORD (v 3-5, 7, 9)?
  • What promises does God make in v 4-6, 9, 11?
  • How do those promises encourage us to respond in the ways these verses tell us to?

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

 

Frantic Friday?

The Explore Team | November 28th 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?

 
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