The Living Dead

By , September 17, 2017

“…I no longer live but Christ lives in me.”
Galatians 2:20 (NIV)

Reflections on water

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The Christian message has a variety of unusual expressions to describe the walk of faith. Paul stated earlier in the verse that he was crucified with Christ. That sounds fearful to those who do not have a knowledge of the biblical message.

For those who practice believer’s baptism, when the candidate is totally immersed in the baptismal waters, the ceremony is viewed as a funeral service. They understand the meaning of baptism to be first a physical portrayal of a spiritual funeral service. This is why the person is “buried” or put totally under the water.

Then the person is immediately raised up out of the water and that is symbolic of a resurrection. So the person being baptised wants those who witness the baptismal ceremony to understand they are “crucified with Christ”. They seek to state by their actions that their old way of life is gone.

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Had Any Good Fights Lately?

By , September 16, 2017

“…we were harassed at every turn-
conflicts on the outside, fears within.”
2 Corinthians 7:5 (NIV)

A country chapel

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A fine young preacher friend of mine emailed me a link to what is a most fascinating article that deals with afflictions in the ministry.

This is not the first occasion when my friend has helped me in my work as a minister of Jesus Christ. He and I have had spirited debates on various things concerning Scripture and how to understand the message written for our comfort and instruction.

The article my friend referred me to addresses numerous comments by the apostle Paul on his suffering as a preacher. My understanding of how much Paul discussed about his personal suffering was enlarged as a result of reading the article.

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Suffering is hard work

By , September 15, 2017

“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly,
and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Luke 22:44 (NIV)

Man sleeping

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In my many years of dealing with people in adversity, I have seen that to suffer is exhausting work. People in pain—physical or emotional—often fall asleep exhausted at night, and during their waking hours find that their energy level is very low. Such is the hard work of suffering.

The disciples of our Lord were in Gethsemane with Jesus and it was late at night. They were tired from the long day just passed. Jesus had dropped off eight of the apostles near the Garden entrance and went further in with Peter, James and John.

It is recorded in Mark 14:33-34 that Jesus began to be dreadfully troubled and distressed as He was alone with these three men. Mark 14:40 tells us that they did not know what to say to Jesus concerning His terrible agony that they witnessed. Instead of helping Jesus, they fell asleep several times.

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How Can Bad Things Be Good?

By , September 14, 2017

“…unless you are converted and become like children,
you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

Small child in autumn leaf pile eyes closed smiling

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All of us have been children at one time. However, as adults, we often need little children around us to remember what life was like then. As we watch how children behave we can see in them a faith that is complete and beautiful.

In western society we see that little children do not tend to worry about where their food or clothes will come from. Small children simply trust that their parents will see to their needs. They are far too busy playing to bother about food and shelter.

The faith of a child is full and robust. They are absolutely certain that mommy and daddy will take care of them and so there is no need for them to be concerned. Doubts about their parents’ ability to make provision has no place in their thinking. They unconsciously accept the fact they have needs they cannot meet and pass the work on to their parents.

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Too Busy for What?

By , September 13, 2017

“And he was saying,
‘Jesus remember me when you come in your kingdom.’”
Luke 23:42 (NIV)

Man concentrating while reading a book

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Most, if not all of us have been busy doing something and someone started to talk to us. We have found their speech an interruption to our concentration on the task we were performing. Perhaps we simply ignore the person’s chatter. Then, we might find their speaking to be extremely irritating as we must turn to answer them and lose our focus on the work we were trying to do.

On another occasion we might be in great pain and we wish for a quiet, dark room to lie very still and not be disturbed. If someone interrupts our peaceful situation we easily become angry with them and ask them to go away. Trying to cope with pain that is severe is hard work and requires all of our concentration. Any interruption, however small, is very hard to accept.

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