Sunday, 17 February 2019

Sunday Service: Our cup overflows

This morning our theme was "our cup overflows" which looked at various places in the Bible that referenced the use of a cup. We also inaugurated our new cup or chalice that will replace the dove that fell down on our prayer trail. We invite everybody to come and find their own message from God when they walk the trail and pray.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sunday Service: What is our calling?

This morning our service Anglican and lead by Liz where helps us to think about what is our calling.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Sunday service: He ever lives to make intercession (Heb 7:25)

 Reading: Psalm 121, Heb 7:23-28

We are spending a lot of time in the process of leaving; so did Jesus – he prepared the disciples (Jn 14-16, which includes five sections on the Spirit).  But leaving is a preparation for the future!  So what then? What Would Jesus Do?

Jesus was not idle! He continues to work (Jn 5:17). Although He sat down (Heb 10:12), it was not because he stopped; many sit to work.  It was to relate to His Father.  Indeed he continued to work by sending the Spirit - and us!

In particular, Jesus prayed. If he did, how much more we should!  Indeed, prayer is essential - it is GOD who works! But if we do not ask … can we expect blessing?

Indeed, He is able to save … since he prays (Heb 7:25). His salvation is both then and now (Ps 121), and to the uttermost (cf Lk 13:11).  Note it is for those who likewise pray.  Why is this, and why did Jesus have to pray?

The answer is that prayer is a natural aspect of relating.  Jesus naturally shared his concerns with his father, so his intercession for us is entirely natural.  And so it is for us - those who are saved are those in relation to God.  The relation is twofold, to God, and to Church and world. So Jesus interceded as both son of God, son of man; and the same is true for us.

Jesus prayed as the Son of God, and we can as we are adopted children of God.  So his intercession is an aspect of care for family.  He loves!  Are we concerned enough? For our natural family; for God’s family?

Then Jesus prayed as the high priest – a theme of the book.  But also all believers are priests! Do we adequately represent people to God? Do we adequately represent God to people - show the holiness that He died to give us?

Prayer a privilege for us now – it is a foretaste of the glory that we will have.  Is this our experience?  It can be!



Sunday, 13 January 2019

Sunday service : Transitions in our life

This morning Liz, our Anglican reverend, lead our Sunday service and we looked at transitions in our life. How do we deal with change?

   

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Selah

This post has originally appeared in one of our villager's blogs, definitely worth following: www.mountaingrace.blogspot.com. Thank you Maria for giving us permission to re-post it here!

It is a new year... Cicadas' buzzing song infuses the heat and the cat is stretched long and limp at my feet. On cool forest walks, we spot the first wild mushrooms, with the Rameron Pigeons cooing in the forest canopy. Bramble berries ripen in the sun. It is a season of abundance, fruit trees bend low under the weight of mellowing fruit, fields of wild flowers dazzle, lush green foliage whisper in the breeze. The call of the seldom seen but often heard Piet my Vrou/Red Chested Cuckoo (called the Christmas-bird by the Xhosa people for obvious reasons) has become more drawn out and less urgent. The glossy starlings amuse us with their friendly chatter. A pair of inquisitive yellow billed hornbills come to perch on our deck-railings, clearly finding us as interesting as we find them. When the sun beats down, we slip into a nearby dam, mud curling between our toes. These long Summer days seemed endless, and "playtime" came to an end all too soon. We shed our childlike skins and square our shoulders to face reality. The pace picks up and time just skips ahead - an impatient child, rather hard to keep up with.

As with previous years, I hoped to have a bible verse to make my own at the beginning of this year. A verse which would be like a reminder or promise or a "theme" for 2019. Instead, I got a word: Selah...

It is not even a word that is read out loud most of the time. A mysterious little word, with no clear interpretation or translation. In many translations of the bible, it is just spelt out phonetically from the Hebrew. The NIV have removed it altogether. It appears 74 times in the bible, 71 times in Psalms, 3 times in the book of Habakkuk. That makes it more frequent than two other "famous" Hebrew words from the bible, "Amen" and "Hallelujah". So it is an important word. Up to very recently, I just had no idea what it meant, or how I could apply it to my every day.

Some biblical scholars speculate that it’s a kind of musical notation, maybe indicating something like a key change, or a repeat. Others think maybe it marks a pause, or a shift in subject or tone. But it is still just speculation. The word Selah is, and will remain, a mystery.

For me, that’s kind of fitting. Some people may think that the Bible is simple, straightforward, and that they have it all figured out. Psalms, and especially "Selah" reminds me that there are many unanswered questions, many mysteries, "For now we see through a glass, dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 1 Cor 13:12

Charles Spurgeon (the Prince of Preachers) wrote a beautiful interpretation of the word Selah - Lift up the heart. Rest in contemplation and praise. Still keep the soul in tune... let it be our aim to maintain the uprising devotion of our grateful hearts...

With that in mind, I thought to look at one Psalm and how "Selah" lifts my heart, moves me to rest in contemplation and praise, keeping my soul in tune, maintaining the uprising devotion of my grateful heart.

I chose Psalm 46. Two years ago our boys memorised this Psalm verse by verse. Reading it, I still see their faces, frowning with concentration and dramatising the "dramatic" parts with flourish.

Psalm 46 is not advice, like Proverbs or Psalm 1. It’s not about me, or you or anyone else. Psalm 46 is about God. It is reassurance about who our God is, where God is, and what God has promised us.

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.


Firstly, our God is a God of Might. Selah. God is our strength. The one who breaks the bow and shatters the spear, who will, on the wonderful day appointed by Him, make wars cease to the end of the earth. Or, as Martin Luther famously paraphrased this Psalm: A Mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing! (bulwark: a defensive wall, rampart, fortification, protector, guard, defender; or a ship's sides above the level of the deck.)

Our God is a God of Might.

Secondly, our God is a God of Mystery. Selah. Psalm 46 reminds me that no matter how desperately I want to understand why things happen in this world, why God does or does not do the things I may think God should do… there will always be some things beyond my ability to comprehend.

I value this mystery because it enables me to feel and trust in God’s love… love that was fully revealed in Christ Jesus. It reminds me that we are the players of life in God's universe, not the playwright.

God is always greater than our understanding of Him and there will always be mystery about Him that causes us to fall down in awe and worship. This mystery, which we may try to categorise, keeps causing struggles in our life. Every time we get God tidied up like a ball of rubber bands, another end bursts out and the struggle begins all over again... until we learn to live in faith with untidy ends. If everything was clear, then faith would be irrelevant! We are not called to solve the mystery... but enter it.


Our God is a God of Might, and a God of Mystery.

But finally, and perhaps most importantly, our God is in our Midst. Selah

Immanuel.

God with us, among us, ever present;

Before we were born, throughout our lives, and after our days are done;

God who stands with us and strengthens us today and for the road ahead;

God who watches over us, guides us, protects us, comforts us. Selah.

Might, Mystery in our Midst...

So, as the year and the unknown stretches out before you and I, lets enter into the mystery, with trusting hearts lifted up to our Mighty God. Resting in contemplation, with souls in tune, keeping the uplifted devotion of our grateful hearts.

Post by Maria Gladwin from her blog In the Shadow of His wings
https://mountaingrace.blogspot.com/