Living for Christ will involve Suffering! (Part 3 of 6)

Here is a truth that is hard to swallow: Living for Christ will involve suffering!

Peter puts this truth into perspective in his first letter. First he spoke of a a Christ-centred hope (1:3-2:10), then he taught his readers how to live with a Christ-centred hope (2:11-4:11). In the final section of his letter, Peter wants to ensure that his readers understand what it means to suffer under a Christ-centred hope (4:12-5:11).

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If you are going to live for Christ, are you willing to make a stand? (Part 2 of 6)

‘The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy.’ so said Martin Luther King Jnr, the great American Black Civil Rights Leader and Preacher at a Nobel Peace Prize Recognition Dinner on 27th January 1965.[1]

It is a profound statement and one which many Christians should be able to relate too. Christians can say what they believe, but that belief is most clearly tested, most obvious, when Christians have to stand firm through challenge, conflict or persecution.

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Resilient in Suffering (Part 1 of 6)

My job was to care for the widows. Our church was growing so quickly and it was a joy to see that together we could care well for those who were more vulnerable. I would help distribute food particularly to our new Christian sisters – Grecian and Hebraic Jewish ladies who had come to faith and needed material support – we wanted to make sure no one was overlooked.

It was privilege to serve in this way, because it meant that the apostles were freed up to focus on what we all knew was a priority – prayer and the ministry of the word of God.

I got myself into a little bit of a fix, I wish it didn’t happen – a fight that was blown way out of proportion.

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Praying the Lord’s Way (Part 5 of 6)

So how do we pray?

Jesus taught his disciples to pray in Matthew 6. His instruction came in the middle of a sermon, called the ‘sermon on the mount’ (hardly surprising as Jesus often withdrew to a mountain to pray). His concern is that the disciples conducted themselves in a way that was pleasing to the Lord as opposed to pleasing before people (6:1, 18) and he offers three areas of concern: Giving (6:2-4), Prayer (6:5-15) and Fasting (6:16-18).

This is what he says about prayer:

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Talking to God (Part 2 of 6)

Has your prayer life ever sounded like this?

Dear Lord and Father,

Help me now to come before your word and hear your voice. Help me – oh I forgot to lock the car! Sorry God, just got distracted. I pray that you would open my mind and heart and – I must remember to pick up some milk on the way home!  Should I go out after church this week, it will be a busy week, maybe I should get home and get to bed instead! Whoops, get back to praying, Sorry God. Where was I? Something about opening my mind… oh that’s right, I pray that you will help me to obey what you want me to obey – I wonder if I will see Steve after church – oh not now, God help me to focus and I pray ….I can’t remember – well in Jesus Name Amen!

Is it just me, or are there times when you struggle to pray? Christians know they should pray, it is wonderful to have an open line to the only God of the universe, yet that doesn’t mean Christians always find it easy! Sadly, we often fail in the area of prayer, and it can lead to disillusionment and lack of discipline in this important area of the Christian life.

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How does a Christian organise their Godly Giving? (Part 4 of 4)

Over the generations, across the world, and right to your local church family, there will be numerous examples of godly and generous givers. Among those who have given, are many who have given even at times of extreme poverty or hardship (Luke 21:1-4; 2 Cor 8:2). It is right and proper to be immensely thankful to God for these saints (maybe you are one such person). Under God, what has been given has served the gospel and those the gospel has reached for centuries. Godly giving, although rarely put on display, is a wonderful testimony to the power and gift of the gospel. Praise God.

So how should a Christian organise their godly giving?

Let’s look first at our priorities and then at the practical mechanics!

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