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The Journal

The Beautiful Gift

Dear Friends,

When we get older we are prone to forgetfulness but Psalm 103 reminds us that all of us need to be reminded to give thanks to the Lord for His blessings. This generation in which we live has been described by some as “entitled” meaning that people see they are owed good things. We don’t see life as a gift. This country has an abundance of wealth and beauty and it is easy to think that we are entitled to it. Rather the Bible truth is that all good things which we have in life including material blessings are a gift from the Lord. James 1:17 says that every good gift is from Father in heaven. A true gift is not something which is earned nor are we entitled to it but it is graciously given to us by someone.  

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Jesus is the Centre of the Church

Dear Friends,

Peter is writing to Christians in Asia Minor which is modern day Turkey. These Christians are undergoing trials in their faith - see 1 Peter 1:6. They are most likely being ostracised because of their faith. Peter’s approach in dealing with the trials which these Christians encounter is to remind them of their identity in Christ. In 1 Peter 2:4-10 Peter explains our identity as the church. In v4 Jesus is identified as the living stone who is God’s chosen instrument to be the foundation of the church. Jesus is the centre of the church as the corner stone v6-7 who brings us salvation. It is the Gospel of Jesus and the proclamation of Him which both establishes the church and sustains the church - 1:23. It is very easy for churches to drift away from Jesus as the centre. To ensure that Jesus is the centre of the church we need to continually encourage the teaching of the Bible and encourage our people to hear and obey God’s Word as they gather on Sundays and in Bible study groups meeting during the week and individually in our homes.  

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Spiritual Gifts

Dear Friends,

Today we are looking at spiritual gifts from 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. In 12:1 Paul says “Now about the gifts of the Spirit.” Paul has used this introductory phrase in 7:1 “Now about the matters you wrote about., 7:25 “Now about virgins” and 8:1 “Now about food sacrificed to idols.” Paul is responding to a letter from the Corinthian church in which they raised matters of concern. He has also received infor-mation which has been conveyed to him personally 1:11. Commentators have discerned 5 themes con-nected with congregational conduct and they are: church leaders (1:10-4:21), lawsuits (6:1-11), the Lord’s Supper (11:17-34), spiritual gifts (12-14) & Stephanas & Apollos (16:12-18).  

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We are Salt and Light

Dear Friends,

In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus teaches us about our identity as Christians. We are salt and light. Salt in Jesus’ day was used for flavour and preservation. Perhaps the main point in this imagery is that salt is meant to stop food rotting and so our role as Christians is to be distinctive and by our life and witness to point people Jesus who alone will stop communities deteriorating.  

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How to Resist the Devil

Dear Friends,

Today’s topic is “How to resist the devil.” When we become a Christian we enter God’s kingdom. We have transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of darkness are opposed to each other and unless we recognize that we are engaged in a spiritual battle we will find it hard to live the Christian life because we will not take advantage of the spiritual armour which God provides and we will fail to resist the “schemes” of the devil. In Ephesians Paul uses the everyday image of the Roman soldier to describe how God helps us stay strong as a Christian.  

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