Category: desert

Freed to Follow Week 6

BETWEEN THE TEXTS

Week 6


• Remember, Exodus is all about two things – knowing God and vocation. Exodus is an account of knowing God through personal experience and how it is that God would call a nation to be the community through which he would bless the human family.


• We left the Israelites feeling quite contented and happy after the Lord had responded to their complaint by providing bread and meat to eat for the duration of their desert journey on a daily basis. The ongoing dynamic of the Lord shaping his people had begun with the Lord testing the peoples’ trust in him and then giving them every assurance that He in deed can be trusted – especially in testing times. Testing leads to trust and is all about trust, we said.


• Again we come to a testing moment. This one will become quite famous in years to come. It will be put into verse and song a few times, but especially in Psalm 95.

……Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did……



• This testing event was a serious one, worthy of remembering for all time.






WEEK 5 Exodus 16:2-15 (TNIV)


Water from the Rock ( numbers relate to THOUGHTS – the bullet points below)


1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, travelling from place to place as the LORD commanded 1 2. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink3. 2 So they quarrelled4 with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”


Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me5? Why do you put the LORD to the test?6


3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst5?”


4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, “What am I to do with these people8? They are almost ready to stone me7.”


5 The LORD answered Moses, “Go out in front9 of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go10. 6 I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7 And he called the place Massah[a] and Meribah[b] because the Israelites quarrelled and because they tested the LORD saying, “Is the LORD among us or not?11, 12

Footnotes:
a. Exodus 17:7 Massah means testing.
b. Exodus 17:7 Meribah means quarrelling.

THOUGHTS


1. We get these little travelling notes from time-to-time throughout Exodus and Numbers, as the journey goes on. There are difficulties with the places mentioned and their order, so it is quite difficult to be certain of the route the Israelites actually took in the vast spaces of the Sinai Peninsular.


2. They are people on the move. God is on the move. There is constant change and constant need, testing, shows of God’s presence and commitment to his people and strength given for the ongoing journey of faith – sounds like the Church!


3. Again we are facing a “water problem” as we did just prior to the Lord “raining down” manna from heaven in 15:22ff. But this time the “testing” is of a more serious nature.


4. We are now fighting, not just complaining! When there is no water and desperation sets in among a group of people, people can say and do strange things in their desperation. The brunt of their desperation in God’s servant, Moses.


5. They are “quarrelling” or “finding fault” with him and his leadership. The “fault” they find is Moses’ intentions. They accuse Moses of being a shadowy, underbelly kind of man who has their murder on his mind. They think he is masterminding a mass murder in the desert, like some megalomaniac cult leader or something.


6. Moses points out that as they accuse him of such underhanded and evil intent, so they actually accuse the Lord of the same things because Moses is only a mere servant of the Lord. The Lord is making up the plan as they go, not Moses! The people don’t seem to pull back from their fighting accusations. They don’t seem to realise that when they pull down a servant of God they are directly offending and rejecting the Hand that feeds them.


7. Moses will constantly have to deal with this fault finding of him by the people and on occasions it turns very nasty as he even will be on the edge of being stones to death by these people! (Numbers 14:10). Moses has now joined an elite club of servants of the Lord who have been on the receiving end of a threat of or actual stoning by God’s people – David (1 Samuel 30:6, Jesus John 10:31, Stephen Acts 7:58, Paul Acts 14:19).


8. Notice how Moses now gives vent to his own fears as he speaks not of “God’s people”, or “my people”, or even “your people”, but “these people”. It is as if Moses is teaming up with the Lord and accusing these agro people of wrong doing and expecting the Lord to feel the same about “these people”. He is not saying “your people” and thereby putting all the blame for the current trouble on God’s shoulders. He will do that later!! He is siding with God and getting a small taste of what it is like for the Lord to have to knock these troublesome and so very human people into shape for their vocation of being a blessing to the whole world!


9. The Lord responds to the tricky situation of angry people ready to exact their desperate anger on Moses by doing something very visible once again. Moses is directed to go “in front” of the people with witnesses in two (the Elders). They are all going to get good seats in the house to see again that the Lord is with them and responding to them and keeping his promise to get them to their promised destination.


10. Moses is instructed to use the same rod with which he “struck” the waters of the Nile to turn them into blood to now turn this rocky land into a stream of gushing water. There is no doubt as to the Lord’s message here. He has provided them with water from dry land, as he also provided them with dry ground through the water at the Sea of Reeds. He is the Lord. He is still with them. Moses is indeed his servant. God takes responsibility for the plight of his people and handles their anger and doubt and deep questioning of his integrity with a show of power and gracious care.


11. It is noteworthy that this event is given two names to be remembered by. It must be significant! The words means “finding fault with” and “putting to the proof” someone. The people ask, “Is the Lord with us, or not?” They are raising serious doubts as to the Lord’s honesty, integrity and will regarding his stated promises to deliver on his promise to get them to the new land, give them a great name among the nations and keep them alive and growing as a nation, as he once promised to their father, Abraham (Genesis 12). They find fault with God’s leadership and management and pan for this to happen and they ask him to show himself and his will again – not in friendly terms but doubting, harsh and distrustful terms.


12. Through Moses the Lord really turns this question back around on the people. They ask, “Are you with us or not?” The Lord and his servant Moses really respond with a question back at them, “Are you with the Lord, or not?”

REFLECTIONS
1. Testing times brings out the best and the worst in people. In his own fear Moses rises to the occasion and seeks the Lord on the people’s behalf as well as for himself. Moses “nails his colours to the mast” and declares his loyalty and trust in the Lord as he asks the Lord what he should do with “these people”.


2. Moses is on the Lord’s side. He does not give in to the people’s fault finding or aggressive questioning of him and the Lord. So he “passes the testing” by seeking the Lord and confessing faith in the Lord when there is no easy reason to do so.


3. On the other hand, the people lower their colours in fear and mistrust of Moses and the Lord. They get aggressive in their fault finding of Moses, not realising that they are really having a go at the Lord, who had not only brought them into being by the promise to Abraham and the freeing work he had just completed in Egypt, but also given them a destiny, meaning and purpose in his world as his own blessing bearers to the world. In ungrateful aggression they turn on the Lord and accuse him of not being there, or if he is there, not with them and for them.


4. So, where are you thins week?! Aggressively doubting the Lord for what he did not do for you or placing your life in his hands anyway? The people ask, “Are you with us, Lord, or not?” God says, “Are you with me, or not? Where are you in your faith journey?


5. Is one of the things to notice here all about how we faithfully respond to life as people of God? In the midst of great threat not only to faith but to life itself, Moses leads the way by living his faith. In the face of hard testing, he does those two things: 1) He seeks the Lord’s word on the situation (“What should I do, Lord), 2) He confesses faith in the Lord (Why do you find fault and fight with the Lord? He asks). What have you done when under the pump in life? These things or other things?


6. God seems so very able to absorb all the grumbling, complaining, fault finding and aggressive questioning his people throw at him. Most often he responds to their need with grace. Now and again he responds with judgement. This will happen later in the journey after Mt Sinai when the covenant between God and the people has been made at Sinai. (See Numbers from chapter 10 – particularly Numbers 11:1-3 as an example). Here he gives them what they need – not just the water but a sign that he was still there with them and for them, wanting them to live and continue the journey with him.


7. This account went into the worship life of Israel in sing and verse. In the Feast of Tabernacles (one of the main feast in the Jewish calendar), this event is remembered and then used as a prayer for God’s blessing in the form of rain/water for a good crop and good year of his favour. The picture of the future messiah kingdom developed around this event with Jerusalem being the holy city of God built on top of a rock/mountain with streams of living water flowing from it to all nations (When the Messiah finally came). The prophets (especially Isaiah) took this event and pictured God’s future as “streams of living water bubbling up in the desert” etc…..(Isaiah 35)


8. Jesus stands up at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and proclaims those famous words recorded in John 7:37, “If anyone thirst, let that person come to me and drink”. He was saying that he is the living water from the rock. He is the water that quenches a person’s thirst for life for ever (Remember the conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well recorded in John 4?


9. Paul picked up this event and the legend that developed around in latter times from the Rabbis who said that the rock from which the water came was picked up by the Lord and then followed the people wherever they went, when he says the Rock was Christ” himself with the people of old – and also now with us (1 Corinthians10:4).


10. When the testing time is upon us, or a testing time has happened to us and we are still dealing with it, we have the choices of questioning the Lord and his leadership, his management, his church, his leaders (which may be necessary at times because the church is only full of imperfect human beings!) or doing those things Moses did – seeking the Lord and confessing faith. Faithfulness to the God of life and promise is in these things somewhere………


In the end, this event gets this response from the priests, poets and song writers of God’s people…


Psalm 95


Today, if only you would hear his voice,
8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,[a]
as you did that day at Massah[b] in the wilderness,
9 where your ancestors tested me;
they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
10 For forty years I was angry with that generation;
I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
and they have not known my ways.’

1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.

5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.



Freed to Follow – an exodus Journey Week 5

FREED TO FOLLOW EXODUS: NOTES, WEEK 5

• Remember, Exodus is all about two things – knowing God and vocation. Exodus is an account of knowing God through personal experience and how it is that God would call a nation to be the community through which he would bless the human family



• We left the Israelites in a joyful moment of victory on the shores of the Sea of Reeds as they sung the song Miriam and Moses wrote for the occasion, as they saw the bodies of the once mighty Egyptian military floating in the shallows after the Lord had comprehensively won the battle on their behalf. They had to put fear away, stand at the ready attentive to the Lord’s work in their midst and simply be still and know that he is the LORD and he wins the victory for them. At the end of it they all “feared the Lord and trusted Moses his servant”(14:31)


• After the celebrations of song and tambourine, it is off into the desert on this epic journey that will shape a nation into their vocation – to be a people through which God blesses all nations.
• They head east and travel through the North Western part of the Sinai Peninsular (Desert of Shur)

• It would be a constant worry to have to find water and food for this huge community on the move – especially in the harsh environment in which they were called to travel. They have their first experience threatening moment as they arrive at a water source after three days of travelling in the heat, shade less desert with all its dust and rocks and the water is brackish. (15:22-24)


• We get this first “grumbling” moment. There will be many of these throughout this long journey of faith (Exodus 16:2; 17:3; Numbers 14:2; 16:11; 16:41).


• These are testing times! The point of the testing is trust – trust in the Lord. This fledgling nation of blessing will be tested on this one issue over and over again. Moses makes the point of this hard testing clear in verse 26: “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep his decrees, I will not bring any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, because I am the LORD who heals you”.


• So, it is clear: this community will have to learnt o trust and obey if they are going to be the people they were created to be – a people of life and healing and blessing.


• Soon after this first dice with grumbling and doubting the LORD, the LORD ends the testing and brings the healing – they come to an oasis with 70 palm trees and 12 natural springs! The testing only lasts for as long as it needs to before the promised blessing is given again.


WEEK 5 Exodus 16:2-15 (TNIV)


The bread from heaven ( numbers relate to THOUGHTS – the bullet points below)


2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron1. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death2.”


4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.3


6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, 7 and in the morning you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD.”


9 Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.’”


10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud.


11 The LORD said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’”


13 That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was4, 5. 6

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.

THOUGHTS
1. Now water is no longer the immediate problem! The problem is food. How will this community on the move being shaped by God to fulfil their role in the world survive the testing times they face? This is an obvious question for any person on the journey of faith in God. How will I continue on in faith in God? We are about to find out that God will feed the people.


2. As the people become more and more skilled at complaining as they express their lack of trust in the Lord (through Moses), they look back to “the good old days”. It is a common ploy we humans use to express our doubt about the present. The Israelites are very good at it. They know how to make a good whinge!


3. The LORD responds to the complaint not with harsh judgement but free gift – the gift of bread and meat for his people in the desert. But there is something going on here. There is that continuing shaping and testing of the people by the LORD. He gives his gifts for a purpose. He gives his gifts out of commitment to his people and love for them, but also to shape them so that they fulfil their calling as his holy people of healing and blessing in his world.


4. The deal is this: The LORD will rain down bread and birds to eat in daily portions only. There will enough for everyone everyday and enough for the rest day (Sabbath). God sustains his people on a day by day basis. Can you see that this demands trust from the people’s point of view? They are not to take more than the allotted amount of bread (manna) or Quail – only enough for daily need. The manna will not store – except on Friday afternoon when it will be OK overnight for the Rest day.


5. For the most part, the people trusted God’s daily provision and his Sabbath Day food. Both took trust – trust that the Lord would provide what he promised and that there would be enough for his requirement to rest together with him on the Sabbath.


6. Some people could not trust God on this daily basis. They decided to take control of their life and needs by gathering more then was needed and trying o store up for themselves more then enough, “just in case”. Just in case? Just in case God could not be trusted and did not follow through on his daily provision. Greed is lack of trust in God’s provisions for us.


REFLECTIONS
• This reality of God testing his people’s trust of him is an ongoing stream in the bible. In Deuteronomy 8, we are told later by Moses that this whole Manna experience was a teaching thing. Through this daily provision of food for the journey, his people learnt that no human being or community can live only by bread, but actually, we can only truly live by the very Word that comes from God’s own mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3).


• In Psalm 78, the writer describes this provision by God in the form of manna as “grain of heaven” that “rained down” on the people. It was “and “food in abundance” bread of angels” (Psalm 78:24-25). Yet, in spite of this magnificent food from God himself, the people still doubted and rejected God’s nurture and sustenance. They did not believe (Psalm 78:32).


o How has the LORD been providing for you and how have you been doubting him and his promise to keep you?
o We have so much in this place. Maybe it would be easier in some ways to actually trust the Lord if we had little and were travelling in a desert in tents?
o What do you find it hard to trust God for – “things” or relationships and well-being and future?


• Have you done the “murmuring” thing against God lately? Did it lead you to want the “good old days” or just to get out of the situation asap?!


• Israel’s rejection and doubt of God was made good by the new Israel – the Messiah – Jesus Christ;


o As Israel wandered in the harsh desert for 40 years, so he entered the desert experience for 40 days where he was also put the harshest test by the Devil himself. The test was whether or not he would trust his Father and fulfil the promised plan to defeat sin and death once and for all. He did so we do (Matthew 3:15). Jesus even cited those same words of Deuteronomy 8:3, reiterating that we cannot truly live this life or our God-given calling by mere food and drink and the possessions of this world, but only by hearing every word that God speaks in his Word. The Word of God sustains our life – not anything less.


o Jesus is far more than merely an obedient Israel. He is also the new and greater Moses who has begun a new age and a new relationship between the Lord and his new people – now Israelites and non-Israelites. Moses gave the people the Law (Torah) of God and was a mediator between God and the people. Jesus gives the new LAW (Matthew 5-7 – the Sermon on the Mount) and also feeds the people in the wilderness (Matthew 14:13-21).


o Jesus is the “true Manna”, the “Bread of Heaven” (John 6:48-51). Jesus is the food from heaven himself who gives his own flesh and blood for the life of the world.


• St Paul reflects on this manna episode in the desert in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, where he holds up the people and their doubting as something not to engage in. Somehow, Jesus himself was present in the desert and was the “Rock from which they drank”.


• Paul uses this doubting moment as a warning to New Testament Christians – this is a warning not to swap God’s provision for other things in an attempt to sure one’s life up. He says “they became idolaters and engaged in immorality. His lesson is no “shun the worship of idols (1Cor 10:14) because it is impossible to partake of this bread of heaven (Jesus) at the altar and at the same time partake of demons at another table.


• The Promises and calling of the Lord is received on a daily needed basis and includes rest with him in his presence among his people. This however, can be rejected doubted and lost.


o How are we doubting God’s ability to sustain us as church and choosing to live by bread alone?
o Where do you go back to when under the pump?
o What is the Lord calling you to ignore, dismiss or reject in order to participate in the body of Christ?





Living Together God’s Way

Sermon, Epiphany 7A (Proper 2)
Sunday February 20, 2011.

Ocean Forest

Living together in God’s wayLeviticus 19:2-18


Friends, I could not go past this first bible reading from Leviticus. It is all about being community. When you put these ancient directives into our current place, it makes for challenging but also enlightening and helpful hearing – a word from the Lord about how we are to be together in every sphere of life.

We hear God shaping his people in their desert wandering community. God speaks his vision of community to his people on the journey so that they can truly live in his land, hi s presence and with others in his world.

So, we do well this morning to hear these very practice directives on how to live together in God’s mission community so that we actually LIVE – TOGETHER with God’s peace and power at our core.

19:2 Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.Sounds impossible! But not if we trust that Jesus makes us holy and acceptable to a perfect God in our baptism into his death and resurrection. So this is really more: Stay in my holiness and be like me in holiness.
All that we will be instructed in is about remaining in God’s holiness and life

19:9 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest.I hear God saying – don’t be takers, but givers. Yes, take what you need from planet earth, from your work, from people’s generosity, but leave other people plenty. Leave food, money, a room, a chair for another – especially those in need. Don’t take everything from what you earn or gain in life. Leave room for generous giving of heart, things and wallet.

19:10 You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: Why leave room for generosity to others? Because the poor matter and people’s needs matter to God. The ground matters. Plants and animals matter. People matter. We, the holy community of God in the world are called to value the needs of others and our planet and respond accordingly.

19:11 You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another.
No one likes having their stuff taken. It creates mistrust and suspicion among people. And of course, we know the damage done by hurtful and harmful words spoken by whatever means, be it SMS, email, phone or face to face. So for the community of God, words are a premium gift to be used very carefully and with all wisdom from God. Careful words create community.

19:12 And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the LORD.It is a very serious thing to call down God’s name as the reason or authority for your actions. Have you ever had one of those conversations where you disagree with a person’s attitude or action and they say, “Well, God told me to do that”. The conversation is over and somehow, things were not the same as they used to be between you.
We want to be very careful and quite sure of God’s will before claiming we are doing it! Paul says there is no law against loving our neighbour. As we love and give, we are on the right track and in God’s will.
On the Name of God; well it is a shame that the Lord’s name is taken so lightly and is so often profaned, but all we can do is use it to do what he intended it for – as Luther says… ”to ask for help in any kind of trouble, and to praise, thank God”. (Small Catechism). That is what God gave us his personal name for.

19:13 You shall not defraud your neighbour; …. and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning.I think the message here for us to be open and free in our giving of what we owe people, or, to not tightly hang on to what we owe to someone until we absolutely have to give them. Instead God’s way is to pay what we owe straight away and move on so that all remains well between us, because if there is one thing that causes the community lots of grief, it is money and lack of payment of money!
Unpaid debt in money or kind can cause a rift between even the best of friends or between family members, and this is tragic because it so unnecessary.

19:14 You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.Yes, that is why our school has a support program for all kinds of children and young people and their parents! I think God is affirming us here for our attention to people’s different needs in learning, business, sport.

19:15 You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor.We are not free to judge our neighbour with malice, hatred, or spite but only justice – God’s justice, which is never with only mere punishment in mind, but some punishment and mostly restoration to the community.
As for unjust judgment, that is hard to tell sometimes isn’t it? Sometimes there are no winners and everybody loses in a situation, no matter what the judgment has been. I think of the fires a couple of weeks ago and the justice of it all when we found out the off-duty police officer had no intention whatsoever of destroying 60+ homes. He was just carelessly using his angle grinder….
But, even though injustice can be sometimes very hard to discern or judge, we are called to try and find God’s restorative justice in every situation; whether it be in protecting our God-given environment, another person or a whole country.

19:16 You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD.We are not to be “Underbelly” kind of people! Any underhandedness, deceit, dishonesty, intended or unintended hurts the community greatly. When we share this kind of behaviour we exasperates the problem 10 fold. We all know this and yet, we seem to find it hard to say less rather than more.
We need to keep learning how to control the tongue which is like a ship’s rudder – small but hugely influential – says James in his letter.
We really do need to learn more and more to not get ourselves in what they call “triangulation” where instead of telling another person who may have wronged us or upset us about how we are feeling and what their actions have meant, we actually get used to telling them directly. Sure we can gain support from another friend and maybe even ask that friend to support us in some way as we reach the goal of speaking directly with the person who has wronged us – but in the end our goal is that, and not to share the issue with anyone or everyone.

19:17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 19:18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.I don’t think any of us want to hate anyone, it is just that we seem to let hatred develop over time. It usually comes from being hurt and not talking about our hurt with the person who hurt us or even a good friend. We hold it too long and then are quite guilty for feeling hatred for another person.
God is calling us to “reprove our neighbour”. In other words, tell the person who has hurt you that they have hurt you, as soon as you can – even before the sunset at the Apostle Paul says (Ephesians 4:26).
This lessens the likelihood of carrying anger and it turning into bitterness and hatred – which is so destructive for the one carrying it and the whole community.
God says we are accountable for the hatred and bitterness we carry – even though it came as a result of someone else’s wrong. We need to take learn how to tell each other when we hurt each other and so, save ourselves a whole lot of guilt and trouble.

So, there it is; God’s practical direction for us here and now.

We might feel overwhelmed with our inability to do any of this and we might view God as having unreasonable expectations! But he says he gives us these directions not because he is some harsh school master waiting to see us fail, but for our good – our life – our well-being.
Paul can say that “all is yours” in 1Corinthians 3. All the wisdom, power, gifts, ability, faith and love are already yours in Jesus Christ. You have received him and his community in your baptism and as we actually do these directives on living together, we will actually LIVE – TOGETHER.

Instead of depleting each other, hurting each other we will help each other live – live in God’s grace and peace and be at each with each other more and more.

I am praying we take God’s practical direction into our heart and then try them and see how God uses us to be life bringers in our community so that we actually be the community through which others in this place receive the love and blessing of God in Jesus as their Saviour. Amen