To those who are unfamiliar with the Gospel, the celebration of the nativity story at Christmas must seem odd. It is certainly a strange story: a virgin betrothed to a carpenter gives birth to a child in a stable in an unremarkable corner of Roman-occupied Palestine; local shepherds are told by angels that the child is the saviour of all mankind; and astrologers "from the east" (possibly Zoroastrians from Persia) come bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Why is it that we commemorate this bizarre and improbable series of events every year?
The Bible has a lot to say on the topic of money. Of the 38 parables told by Jesus, 16 concern how to handle money and possessions. One in 10 verses in the gospels (288 in total) deal directly with the subject of money. And, perhaps most strikingly, the entire Bible contains more than 2,000 verses on money, while only 500 deal with prayer and less than 500 deal with faith.
Contrary to what many believe, the Bible does not teach that there is anything wrong with wealth per se. 1 Kings 10-13 recounts how God blessed Solomon with wealth to the point that he was richer than "all the other kings of the earth" (2 Chronicles 9:32). However, the Bible makes it clear that a person's attitude towards money reveals their heart. Matthew 6:21 says "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also".
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
If we are honest, most of us would admit that we don't give prayer the importance that it is due. There are a number of possible reasons for this. Perhaps we doubt that God is interested in our prayers or that our they carry weight. We may feel that we can manage our circumstances without recourse to prayer. Or perhaps we simply don't know how we are supposed to pray.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
Rest is an essential part of life. Without it we burn out, overwhelmed by the pressure of work deadlines, social commitments, personal problems, and so on. We seek rest in a variety of ways, such as watching films and TV shows, reading, and holidaying away from home. But, while these activities are all good forms of recreation (they can be invigorating and even edifying) they do not provide true rest for the soul, only temporary relief from circumstances. When we put down the book, or come away from the film, or return from the trip we are immediately brought back to reality.
Click here to read more
In the last blog post "The Journey" we briefly looked at the Holy Spirit's role in helping us become more like Christ. In this post we will take a closer look at who the Holy Spirit is and how he works to accomplish God's purposes in our lives.
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his followers, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8). He also said, "the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you" (John 14:26). In other words, the Spirit of God, the Creator of the universe, is active in the world today, and he helps us to know Christ and to bear witness to the gospel.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
We are all wired with a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. We all want to be world-changers. In this pursuit to find what we can bring in this world, we go through an incredible journey of change.
This journey of change really begins with getting to know our Creator and who we are created to be. On this discovery, we become aware of our insufficiency before God and how perfect he really is. Our natural response is to strive to live a righteous life by performing good deeds — looking after the sick, giving to charity, campaigning for "good" political causes, and so on. But good deeds, while commendable, are not enough to reconcile us to God.
Click here to read more.
We live in a world where it is counter-intuitive to show weakness. We learn from a young age to conceal weakness; to put on a brave face and show our peers that we are strong, successful, and happy. This is especially evident in our social media activity: our Instagram and Facebook feeds are full of photos of exotic holidays, happy marriages, and vibrant social lives, but we are reluctant to share the details of our daily struggles — broken relationships, career disappointments, suicidal thoughts, addictions, and so on. This is understandable — if we are open about our weaknesses we run the risk of allowing others to exploit those weaknesses and judge us by them. But the problem with covering up weakness is that few of us know how to deal with it properly in our personal lives.