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October 2013

All the same

Christianity

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.
1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT

‘Each of us’ is another way of saying everyone who is a Christian. There are no exclusions. ‘Each other’ is the same but also infers reciprocity and excludes selfishness.

So this means that I have been given a spiritual gift, not for my benefit, but so that I can help every other Christian I can. There can be no exception. I cannot think that I don’t like someone, so I’m not going to help him or her.

It also means that I cannot think that another Christian has not been given any spiritual gift and doesn’t have what it takes to help me.

It’s all back to the point that I should not and must not judge others. 

Nae Fear!

Christianity

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or discouraged. Take all your fighting men and attack Ai, for I have given you the king of Ai, his people, his town, and his land.”
Joshua 8:1 NLT

Just a day after a deflating defeat at the hands of the people of Ai, Joshua was downcast, even asking why they had bothered to cross the Jordan. They had received a severe reprimand for hidden sin but had purged themselves of that sin, and they obviously had doubts if the victory of Jericho was a one-of.

The city of Ai represents an obstacle in my life as a Christian. It might just be a doubt, or it might be a seemingly insurmountable problem. It might be a real fear, or it might be something which is a hangover from sin.

But sin, once it is forgiven, is forgotten. It’s a new day, a new chance. My God is with me and he is there with a way and a plan by which I can rid myself of the problem and move on. So why should I worry? Why should I be afraid? Why should I be discouraged?

I shall not be afraid! I shall not be discouraged! I shall be strong and courageous!

Secret Sin? Nope!

Christianity

Israel has sinned and broken my covenant! They have stolen some of the things that I commanded must be set apart for me. And they have not only stolen them but have lied about it and hidden the things among their own belongings.
Joshua 7:11 NLT

It’s easy to think that I can hide a sin, cover it up and pretend that it’s not there. But that doesn’t work – it’s just denial. I might hide it from the people around me, but I’m a fool to think I can hide it from God! Even when I’m committing the sin I’m in denial and being a fool and blind to the truth. There is no such thing as a secret sin.

This whole chapter shows something else. Sin isn’t a one-off. It doesn’t just affect the sinner. In this case it affected a whole nation, men died and then the man’s family suffered as he did.

If I think that my sin is harmless or only affects me, I really am in denial. My sin costs me God’s blessing and that has an effect on my family. It might also affect my community and even my nation. How can I be so foolish? More importantly, how can I be so selfish? And this is on top of the hurt that I cause my Lord!

If I sin, I need to be open about it, honestly admit what I have done. But it is far more important that I am obedient in the first place. 

Holy, Holy, Holy, ?, ?

Christianity

So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honouring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgement upon yourself.
1 Corinthians 11:27-29 NLT

When I take Communion, I am taking the body of Christ and the blood of Christ into my body, into my blood. If I am not holy at the time, I am contaminating Christ. I deserve judgement for that. But it goes further, because I am told that my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and if I am not holy, I am contaminating him.

I really need to concentrate on being holy, on being perfect. I can be both whenever I repent and seek forgiveness, but that is the reactive method – I need to be proactive in this, to put a much more conscious effort into being holy. It needs to be so constant it is my lifestyle. 

Once a Day for Seven Days

Christianity

But the Lord said to Joshua, “I have given you Jericho, its king, and all its strong warriors. You and your fighting men should march around the town once a day for six days. Seven priests will walk ahead of the Ark, each carrying a ram’s horn. On the seventh day you are to march around the town seven times, with the priests blowing the horns. When you hear the priests give one long blast on the rams’ horns, have all the people shout as loud as they can. Then the walls of the town will collapse, and the people can charge straight into the town.”
Joshua 6:2-5 NLT

Obedience can be the most difficult thing, especially when I cannot see the reason behind it. Just being obedient once a day for seven days, how difficult can that be? But it’s too easy to forget or to question why.

Well, maybe the answer to the question why is a list of the things I will miss if I’m disobedient.

If the Israelites had disputed the order to March round Jericho for 7 days, which must have seemed extremely odd to them, they would not have overcome and the city would have been a constant problem. They were obedient and they won.

Once a day for seven days, that’s all it takes to move on, to get rid of problems. When God tells me to do something I should just do it obediently. 

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