Posted in Bible DiscussionsMar 18, 2011
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Let us keep in step with the Spirit.
– Galatians 5:16,22,25
There are at least six important characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit.
1. They are Spirit-produced
These marks of the Holy Spirit in the life of a follower of Jesus are the striking evidence of the supernatural, divine Person who has entered that follower’s life. More than miracles, manifestations or inspired utterances, all of which need to be tested for their source (1 John 4:1), these nine-fold fruit do not need their worth or accuracy tested. They cannot be imitated or counterfeited by the devil, or by human effort. What is produced by human effort is a work of the “flesh”.
Posted in Verse of the MonthMar 17, 2011
Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel in Derbe and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.
– Acts 14:21-22.
Maybe, like us, you are lurching from crisis to crisis? First it was the Christchurch earthquake, with a chimney that toppled down and sliced through the roof of the garage below; then shortly after that our oldest son was sent to Afghanistan on active military service; by year’s end my elderly stepmother in UK developed a gangrenous ulcer on her foot and her condition was steadily deteriorating; eventually the New Year saw me winging my way to UK for a funeral and back to NZ the same week for the other son’s wedding.
However, by comparison with others we know, we have been relatively well off. One young couple in our fellowship live with the burden of a seriously premature baby weighing only 675 grammes at birth. Will she or won’t she survive? If she survives, will she grow up with major handicaps? Another family watch over the hospital bed of their son who has suffered third degree burns in a house fire.
Posted in ReflectionsMar 14, 2011
Have you ever been caught in a tidal rip in the ocean? We live about five minutes walk from Fitzroy beach, New Plymouth. I have felt its pull on some of the rare occasions I have swum at the beach. The rip tries to drag the swimmer out to sea. The longer the resistance the weaker one gets, and the more likely one is to give up. It must be a horrible and hopeless feeling to be dragged out to sea. You see the incredibly grateful expressions from people rescued on television’s “Piha Rescue” to know that they have come very close to death, but are now so relieved at their rescue.
There is in this life a constant drag on the weary and unsuspecting Christian, specifically designed to pull you under. It is not a random experience but cleverly designed and perpetrated by Satan, God’s enemy. This constant drag comes in the form of opposition to the Christian life; from the world, the sinful nature and Satan himself.
Posted in The Leading EdgeMar 8, 2011
1994 was the year of genocide in Rwanda. I was working with Scripture Union, and we heard of a Rwandan Scripture Union staff member who was among the many thousands of refugees who fled into the border city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On arrival, he continued preparing SU Bible reading notes. My first reaction to this news was to think how extraordinarily ordinary such behaviour seemed, and indeed to wonder if he might not have done something a little more helpful for the suffering.
Yesterday, Christchurch was hit by the earthquake. I came home from work and watched numbly as the news unfolded. When I left the television, anything else I was doing seemed trivial, and to prepare an evening meal felt positively indulgent. There is a sense almost of guilt about normal tasks that persists this morning, even into writing this editorial.
It is, of course, not a “normal” editorial. It is the last to appear in this printed version of The Treasury magazine. There will be others to come, on the web, but this issue of the magazine is something of a milestone. Shouldn’t I be writing about that?