Priorities: God vs Man

I was driving to work today, and an odd thought came into my mind. The thought was of priorities, and how we can often have very different ones. One example came to my mind about different priorities my fiancée and I have. I studied music at Uni, and hence have a very different perspective of rehearsals than my fiancee. We’re in the Songsters at my Corps – a choir that gives a message during the morning service. We rehearse each Wednesday, and sometimes, my fiancee has a slightly “less professional” attitude than myself. Where as for me, I can’t stand being late for a rehearsal, let alone missing one without a valid reason. If it were up to me, I would be arriving at least 15 minutes before the rehearsal was due to begin, where as my fiancee would prefer to arrive right when it’s due to start.

My priorities during rehearsal are also somewhat different to those sitting next to me. I pay attention, sing, run through my part in my mind when the conductor is working with other parts, and stop singing when he requests. Others will muck around, not pay attention, and continue to sing for a little bit after the conductor has finished. We have different priorities, based on what we have experienced.

How do we reconcile different priorities between each other? Also, how do we reconcile when our priorities are different to what God’s priorities are? Continue reading “Priorities: God vs Man”

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Love Actually

Biblical Truth

  If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
   Love doesn’t strut,
   Doesn’t have a swelled head,
   Doesn’t force itself on others,
   Isn’t always "me first,"
   Doesn’t fly off the handle,
   Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.

  Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be cancelled.

  When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

  We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

1 Corinthians 13, The Message Continue reading “Love Actually”

Jesus, Name above all names

Biblical Truth

The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—’God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25, The Message Continue reading “Jesus, Name above all names”

My Redeemer Lives

Biblical Truth

Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favour.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter”. So she went out and began to glean in the fields behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelech.
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The LORD be with you!”
“The LORD bless you!” they called back.
Boaz asked the foreman of his harvesters, “Whose young woman is that?”
The foreman replied, “She is the Moabitess who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She went into the field and has worked steadily from morning till now except for a short rest in the shelter.”
So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with my servant girls. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the girls. I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have willed.”
At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She exclaimed, “Why have I found such favour in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”
Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother–in–law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
“May I continue to find favour in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have given me comfort and have spoken kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servant girls.”

Ruth 2:1-13 (NIV)

Musical Offering

Ben’s Offering

A wonderful reading, full of meaning in our lives. We could take a look at Ruth, but she has a whole book devoted to her, so I’m going to look at Boaz. What a wonderful example for us in our world. We read that he’s a land owner — a boss, you might call him — and he treats his workers well. He comes out to greet them and says “The LORD be with you!” and they greet back “The LORD bless you!” He treats his workers well, and they treat him well.

But there’s more. He notices this foreigner working behind the men. Not just any foreigner, but a foreign woman. She deserves no attention according to the culture of the day, and has less standing that one of Boaz’ servant girls. Yet not only does he seek out who she is, but offers to treat her as one of the servant girls, well above her standing.

There’s a lesson here. Keep an eye out for those we might forget, those we might normally look over, and treat them with a care and love that puts them above what they would expect. And do this not for gloating, not to share in any blog, or newspaper, but do it for the glory of God.

The musical offering today is one of my favourite songs — My Redeemer Lives — performed here by Hillsong. Personally, I preferred the version played by a group of my mates, but this is pretty awesome as well. Would love to hear your comments.

The Lord is my Shepherd

Biblical Truth

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23 (NIV)

Musical Offering

Ben’s Offering

Perhaps it’s just because I haven’t been paying as much attention as I should have been, or perhaps it’s because I got complacent thinking I knew this psalm, but I can’t remember having ever noticed the last two verses of this reading. It’s really inspiring. I especially love the line “my cup overflows.” It’s something that I’ve reflected on a bit recently, and has been a continuing theme at Floreat. “God is more than enough.” When they raised $12,000 at their fete up on last year’s $7,000 – “He is more than enough.” The more I discover about my wonderful girlfriend, the more that makes me love her – “He is more than enough” When I worry that I might not be able to put together a sermon for the upcoming youth service – “He is more than enough.” Trust in the Lord, and what will happen? “… goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

What a wonderful setting of the 23rd Psalm. The 6th movement in John Rutter’s Requiem, a musical setting of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass, it was completed and first performed in 1985, but this movement was originally written in 1976 as a separate anthem. It’s got a wonderfully calm setting – the oboe playing its wonderful pastoral role, and some wonderful harmonic painting.