Letting Go

Moses holding up his arms during the battle, a...

Has anyone else noticed that you seem to get certain threads that come up during the day or week? I do a few different bible studies daily, and maybe it shouldnt be surprising to me, but many times even though I am reading different sections of the bible they seem to share a common theme. Today was all about letting go!

1. Exodus 18:17-18
17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good.18 You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone.

Moses was trying to do everything himself. He was getting burnt out by the constant demands on his leadership.  As a result his father-in-law suggested that he delegate out the day-to-day running of the court, and instead focus on bringing the people before God, and handling only the most difficult of cases.
Moses needed to let go and allow some of the capable people around him take control of the areas that didn’t need direct input.

2. 1 Peter 5:7
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Does it get any simpler? This one verse doesn’t even talk about “when they get too much for you” or “if you have no other options”… it simply says ALL your cares. God cares for us, and he is not weighed down by our troubles, not matter how big they may seem to us. So give them to God! Let go of your troubles and let God work in your life though your circumstances.

Matthew 6:12
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

This is of course a line out of the famous “Lords Prayer” – and something we can easily overlook. Forgiveness is us letting go. Letting go of our guilt because we have been washed clean by the precious blood of Jesus. Forgive others and let go of the bitterness that can build in your life, and thank the Lord for the forgiveness He has given you.

4. Isaiah 43:1
1  But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

The last verse in the study today is from the old testament. As a child of God we can let go of our earthly fears. He is in control, and He will take care of us.

Cheers, Joh.

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Thought someone might like this… Bring on movember I say!

Tony Reinke

Joe Thorn’s recent tweet reminded of this bit of advice for preachers from the Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon:

When you have done preaching take care of your throat by never wrapping it up tightly. From personal experience I venture with some diffidence to give this piece of advice. If any of you possess delightfully warm woollen comforters, with which there may be associated the most tender remembrances of mother or sister, treasure them — treasure them in the bottom of your trunk, but do not expose them to any vulgar use by wrapping them round your necks. If any brother wants to die of influenza let him wear a warm scarf round his neck, and then one of these nights he will forget it, and catch such a cold as will last him the rest of his natural life.

You seldom see a sailor wrap his neck up. No…

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Discipline, Character and Hope

Image representing YouVersion as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

I have recently discovered the reading plans at http://www.youversion.com/. While I also own the excellent Glo bible software, as well as ESword, I like the fact that youversion will work on my Android smartphone, my Android tablet, as well as my desktop computer – or in fact anywhere where else I can get a web connection (there are apps for you iPhone and blackberry users also). It also can be set to remind you to do your daily reading/study. I highly recommend that if like me you have trouble at times being motivated to read Gods Word on a daily basis, then youversion might be the ticket for you!
This study is inspired by day 2 of the “parenting by design daily devotional”

Todays study verses:
Romans 5:3-5
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Suffering hurts! Not just for those that are suffering, but also for those that are watching. Its like that with our children, just as it must be for God watching us at times. As much as we would like to put a wall up around or rescue our children every time they make a bad choice, we need to learn which “suffering” will provide a valuable lesson that will build discipline and character. “Dont inhibit your child’s growth by rescuing them from or taking over difficult situations”. Balance that though… just as God will never place a temptation before us that He cannot help us conquer (1 Corinthians 10:13), don’t allow your children to suffer to the extent that they become “scarred” rather then “stronger”!

More reading: Verses on trials and tribulations
http://www.openbible.info/topics/trials_and_tribulations

Cheers, Joh.

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Men of Honour, 2012 and the whole blog thing.

Well, 2011 has come and gone, together with its ups and downs. One of the really great things that happened was the formation of the Men of Honour group (click the image for Facebook group link), a Townsville based group of christian men, who realise that we are not perfect, but want to honour God in every way that we can.

Whats the plan? Well, this year we are kicking off with a pledge day – a day that we can actually sit down together, with our families and make a pledge – a pledge about raising children, about our marriages, and about living as God-fearing men. Stay tuned for that one.

I am also revitalising this blog. One of the big things that is a weak spot in my life is in my personal bible reading and study. It’s a bit sad that I am trying to live like a Christian, and yet fail to study the manual properly! So my new years resolution is to read and study the bible every day. This blog is part of my self motivation, as well as reading plans at youversion.com, to not just read for the sake of reading, but also to study and share and discuss.

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Is there a god?

God

Sistine Chapel fresco by Michelangelo

Let me start by saying that I don’t and cannot possibly have all the answers… but neither do you! Some things do need an element of faith: believing in the unseen or unfelt, even when your mind casts doubt.

The existence of “a god” is something that I imagine that almost every human both alive and dead has thought about on occasion during their lifetime. Obviously if there is a “higher power” then that is amazing, and something that makes one want to look into the whole reason for living. If not, then we suffer a pretty lonely and pointless existence don’t we! In this post I aim to examine the reasons that I believe in the existence of a god, without looking at my beliefs in regards to the question of “are we worshipping the right God?” I personally don’t like to answer the argument about the existence of god with any quotes and references from the Bible, as I consider that to be largely circular logic, and so I will explain how I can believe in the existence of god without looking at the Bible.

I recently had a chance to chat with a young man, and he began by outlining that he was not religious, and that he couldn’t be because so many wrong things had been done by religion. The conversation began in a similar vein as this:

Friend: “I don’t know how you can possibly be religious. I think religion is a bad thing – after all, look at all the bad things that religion has done… crusades, witch hunts, bible bashing, priests and alter boys etc etc”

Me: “I don’t much like religion either!”

Friend at this stage has a look of disbelief on his face, as he knows I am a Salvo, and I am always eager to chat to people regarding God!

Me: “well let me put it this way. I see religion as doing something out of habit because someone at some stage saw it as something that would please God. If your heart is not in it, then that is a pointless exercise, and I am sure that with God its all about where your heart is at. Everything else will follow.”

Friend: “well you know what I mean – people have been fighting with about which god is the right one, which is stupid because there is no such thing as “god” anyway”

Me: “well I can certainly see what you mean about people fighting about the god they believe in – but you do have to remember that that is people twisting things to suit their own purposes. Unfortunately, even though God is perfect, people are not, and we continually get it wrong, even when we start out with the right intentions. As to there being no god, that is something that you need to work out for yourself before you even start looking at the rights and wrongs of religion. I am interested to know though, if there is no god, where did we come from?”

Friend: (with a look of triumph on his face as he is sure that his high-school education on the theory of evolution will easily trump what he believes my closed minded view of “origin of the species”) “well that’s easy! we evolved from apes, who ultimately evolved from a single cell organism.”

Me: “well I don’t want to step on what you believe our history in time is, and you may be surprised to know that there are Christians out there who believe that we did evolve over billions of years – not that that is what I believe – but assuming that that is completely correct, where did that single cell organism come from?”

Friend: (less certain this time, as he is beginning to realise where I am heading with this) “Well, it came from the big bang”

Me: “And who put the big bang there – that is to say, who put the material there to make the big bang?”

Friend: “Well how am I supposed to know that!”

And so the conversation went. Outlined below are the reasons that I gave for why I believe that there is a god (and that is by no means all the arguments available). For this argument, I define god as the highest entity, one capable of controlling time and matter.

  1. Every effect has a cause. The universe is an effect – we are here, and so we ‘happened’. Somewhere in history, before time there must be an uncaused cause.
  2. The series of events that come one after another we know as time. A collection formed by adding one moment after another cannot be infinite. Time is not infinite and is therefore created. (if a man jumped into an infinitely deep hole, when would he reach the bottom: never. it is impossible to have an infinite number of causes and effects)
  3. Everything that begins to exist has a cause. The universe exists, and so began to exist. Therefore, the universe has a cause.
  4. The universe is too complex to have come about by chance. If it has design, then it must have a designer. There must be an undesigned designer.
  5. The universe is a system of complex laws. Mathematical, scientific, moral etc. The fact that these universal laws exist points to the existence of a a law-giver.
  6. The fact that people even wonder if there is a god points to there being one.
  7. If there is no god and you believe in one, what have you lost… but if there is a god and you don’t believe in god, the consequences could be huge.

Individually it is probably possible to tentatively explain any of those individual arguments away. The problem is that as they accumulate it becomes increasingly difficult to continue to be blind to the existence of a god.

As the conversation completed, it quickly went from a conversation regarding the existence of god, to a concession that something must have put us here, but that that god was unlikely to be interested in his creation, and had probably moved on – and therefore it made no difference what he believed.

Stay tuned for the next blog, where I will look at a broad overview of the different types of beliefs in the different types of god, and why I am certain I have the right one!

Cheers, Joh.

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First Blog!

Hi all,

This is my first blog on the new christiancounsel site, and also my first using Windows Live Writer. Lets see how that goes!

I would like to start by sharing a bit of my heart. The last 15 years have seen me go full circle and then some – from a gawky teen who felt he was passionate about the Lord, to living my life away from God. Getting married, having kids, problems with pornography and even various stages of sexual immorality, back to simply living without God – though still struggling with internal feelings of guilt, remorse, self-justification, externalisation, feelings of worthlessness. Finally I, and my wife Bec, in a joint venture, decided that it was time that we steered our own lives and our family back to God, and back to an active commitment to Him.

Now I am sure that some people would argue that choosing to follow God is a personal decision – and I guess that ultimately it is (not starting any Wesley vs Calvin arguments this time!) – but making that personal decision does affect the family unit as a whole, so it was great that both Bec and I felt it was “time” (actually it was well over time) that we got our lives back on track. This does make a decision for the family. The kids are too young, and frankly due to our complacence were uneducated about anything to do with God. And so it began.

I guess its funny. Its one of those cases of “the hardest way is always the right way”. You lose the Sunday morning sleep in. You also lose the ability to turn a blind eye to the multitude of things that God begins to work on in your life. Funny, but in the end, the hardest way is actually even harder then you thought it would be to begin with. Its still the right way though!

Get involved with God! If you know how, then do so. If not, contact me, or your local church. In my opinion, the Salvo’s are a good place to start. In the end it doesn’t matter though – find a good, active, and friendly church. One where you can be comfortable with the people, but where you are left uncomfortable in the areas that God needs to work!

Cheers, and stay strong in Christ,

Joh.

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