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www.PASSIONAustralia.org - Encouraging people on their journey of faith and life in Christ
The PASSION Blog
The PASSION Blog is a place where I share reflections on faith, life and the Bible. They are short thoughts that grow out of my morning devotions. I hope they encourage you in your walk with the Lord or make you think differently about how you live out your Christian life.
21 December 2014
I have uploaded the text of a Christmas message titled, "Three reasons why Jesus was born at Christmas". You can find it here.
9 December 2014
Conforming to the pattern of Christmas
One verse that I think a lot about is Romans 12:2. It says, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect."
Copying the behaviour and customs of this world can be putting your trust in money above God, working long hours and never seeing your family, valuing yourself by what you do or own, trusting in your own good works rather than Christ for salvation or a host of other things.
One thing I have been thinking about is the pattern or way many people celebrate Christmas. Christmas can be about running around to buy presents for everyone, driving hundreds of kilometres for a meal, rushing from one house to another to visit different sides of the family, or getting the table just right to impress everyone.
These are not necessarily bad if you enjoy these things, but if you don't enjoy them and Christmas Day becomes a chore, then you may just be conforming to the behaviour and customs of Christmas. You may not be celebrating Christmas in the way God wants you to celebrate it as a family.
Several years ago we decided to jump off the Christmas Day expectations of everyone else. We chose to stay at home and celebrate a quiet Christmas. We opened some presents, went to church and had a quiet family meal together.
It felt like we redeemed Christmas. It felt like we were able to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas - the birth of the Saviour of the world. We had a day that remembered Him.
As someone said to me recently, we travel a long way to sit with people we don't see the rest of the year, we often fight and get really stressed out and we do what everyone else wants from us on the day. It is far from being about Christ.
With Christmas Day fast approaching I wonder if you will be focusing on Christ or something else on the 25th? Will you be copying the behaviour and patterns of the world or celebrating the brith of the Christ child some 2000 years ago?
29 November 2014
Christ makes us complete
I was reading Colossians 2 this morning. Verses 6-10 jumped out at me…
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (Colossians 2:6-10 NLT)
As I read I was reminded of several things that I want to share today.
1. A decision to follow Christ is not the end of things. We need to chose to continue to follow each day.
2. We need to sink our roots deep in Him. We don’t want a shallow faith that is easily swayed by the world.
3. Our faith needs to be shaped by the eternal truths we were taught. Strength and thankfulness flow from that.
4. When we are strong in Christ and the truth, we will not be drawn away by empty philosophies that can lead us astray.
5. We are complete in Christ. He is the fullness of God. Our search for truth and meaning is over. It is found in Christ.
Our relationship with Christ makes us complete. The eternal plan of God is that we would know and walk with Christ and then make Him known to others.
Colossians 2 is a nice reminder and a great way to start the day today.
12 November 2014
Two things that stop us growing in Christ
Over the years I have seen people starting to grow in their faith and walk with Jesus, then all of a sudden they stop growing. Their growth is stalled and becomes stunted. Sometimes they backslide for a while and get moving again. Other times they fall away altogether.
As I have seen this happen I have realised there are two worldly things that can stop our growth in Christ.
1. The world and all it alluring things
1 John 2.15-16 says “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
The world and everything it offers can be enticing, but we need to remember it is passing away. It has a use by date. As Christians we look forward to the great day when everything will be made new and we will live in the new heavens and new earth and when God will dwell among His people
2. The world and it choking effect
In Matthew 13 Jesus talks about seed being scattered on various types of ground. Some fell on the pathway, some on rocky ground, some fell on thorny ground that choked it and some fell on good soil.
In Matthew 13:22 Jesus explained His message. “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful”.
The world and all its pressures has a way of choking us. The lack of growth happens when the world presses in hard on us and we bow to its pressure. We become conformed to its patterns. Sometimes we get too busy, sometimes we get caught up in money and wealth, sometimes we are so tired we get lazy, sometimes we get worried about the future, sometimes we try to work it all out ourselves, and sometimes we get frustrated that we don’t see the fruit of our work and we grow weary.
The world and its alluring things and the choking effect it has can stop our growth in Christ if we allow it. We need to understand these things can effect our continued walk and growth in Christ.
A key verse that helps me keep on track is Matthew 6:33. It says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”.
Focus on Jesus and His Kingdom and the world and its alluring things and choking effect will not have a hold on you.
Older posts can be found in the Daily
Reflections booklet here.
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