…according to the glorious good news of the happy God…1 TIMOTHY 1:11
I am sometimes bewildered that some seem to think the Bible is full of doom and gloom. Sure, enough the scriptures record the painful consequences of Adam’s rebellion, but right from the start they show the good news – that God will not allow this obstacle to thwart His purposes for the earth and the human family.
Every time we turn on the news we see gloomy news – wickedness, pollution, disease, corruption, injustices, anxiety are advancing more than any previous pandemic. The glorious good news of the happy God is that He knows how to repair the damage done and He will soon act.
Our happy God wants us to be happy too. This world promotes a distorted view of happiness based on possessions, position, and pleasures – often the immediate satisfaction of desires that have harmful consequences. But the happy God knows what will bring us true happiness. He can help us even now to live a happier life, and the glorious good news involves a future free of all the doom and gloom that is systemic in this world.
Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.MATTHEW 5:5
Is being mild-tempered a weakness? When we see injustices that anger us in the world today – how should we act?
The prime example for us of course is Jesus himself who was described as mild-tempered (Matt 21:5). We know that Jesus was deeply effected by the suffering of others. Yet Jesus willingly submitted to God’s will, to the timing his Father had set in place.
We know that soon as the empowered King of God’s Kingdom, Jesus will be authorised to act in a just way that will bring to an end all the corruption, injustices, racism and wickedness that plagues the earth today.
It is difficult to see the scale of corruption and injustices that are systemic in all aspects of society today. As individuals we are often faced with the choice of whether to do right or wrong, and of course we should do what we know is good in God’s eyes. But it is God’s Kingdom that will remove wickedness from this earth.
Under God’s Kingdom, God’s Will can then fully take place on earth. The mild-tempered will inherit the earth that is then free of wickedness.
“Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you.”JAMES 4:8
Some people think God is not interested in humans today. Others doubt his existence. In fact many millions are estranged from their heavenly Father and do not know Him.
Yet by talking to God in prayer, listening to Him by reading the scriptures, following his directions and trusting Him – He will draw close to you.
God wants us to draw close to Him.
In his days the righteous will flourish, and peace will abound until the moon is no more.Psalm 72:7
A lot of people think that world peace starts with individuals learning to find peace within themselves and that peace radiating throughout their lives.
But while the world is filled with suffering and injustice, is true peace possible? We see the level of deep rooted self interest and ambition that governments have promoted to the extent that now there seems to be almost “vaccine wars” brewing.
The good news is that God’s Kingdom is a government that has already been educating people internationally for decades. It is educating people to love what is right and to truly care for other people.
Human governments may talk peace – and they will, it is prophesied they will talk peace – but they will never achieve it. God’s Kingdom will bring an abundance of peace allowing the human family to flourish.
“The wilderness and the parched land will exult, and the desert plain will be joyful and blossom as the saffron.”Isaiah 35:1
I watched the recent David Attenborough documentary “Perfect Planet” on the BBC throughout January. I was amazing to watch, and yet sad at the same time.
That series cemented in my mind that our home is exceptional, there is no where else quite like it. The incredible attributes that allow life to thrive are close to miraculous. Yet, there is a force that is upsetting life on this perfect planet dramatically – humans abusing the planet.
So much damage has already been done. It hurts. Watching those scenes of animals suffering due to the way human behaviour has effected their habitat is harsh. Things have to change.
The verse I chose today is one of many verses that describes how under God’s Kingdom, this earth will be restored to be the home our Creator intended. We will learn to care for our wonderful home and all it’s creatures. Under God’s Kingdom, the damage will be undone. The whole earth will flourish.
Two sparrows sell for a coin of small value, do they not? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. So have no fear; you are worth more than many sparrows.Matthew 10:29-31
I have never seen it for myself, but I have read that in the Middle East, sparrows have been sold in the markets as an item of food. Think shish kebabs. In ancient times, of all the birds used for food, sparrows were the cheapest.
This explains why Jesus pointed to those sparrows and how cheap they cost, how little the value of their life was considered, and he said that not one of them was forgotten by God.
He used this powerful example to encourage his followers not to be afraid – they were precious in the eyes of their Creator.
There may be times when we feel worthless, especially as in this world. we may suffer harsh treatment from others. Yet in the eyes of God, our lives are precious. He is aware of all of our suffering and the challenges we face.
God is not partial, but in every nation the man who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.Acts 10:34,35
Isn’t it great to know in a world full of deep divisions, racism and discrimination that God is not partial, He does not judge by outward appearance. He can see people for what they are on the inside. He does not favour people because of their race, nationality, social standing, or any external factors.
What pleased God? Fearing him – or respecting Him and His laws. Naturally the follow on from that is that we will do what is right.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation2 Corinthians 1:3,4
A number of my friends and lots of our customers have lost relatives during the past ten months to the virus that has shaken all of us in one way or another. I was thinking about what to say to say to one of my friends who has just lost his father.
What came into my mind were the worst kind of clichés, which made me cringe. It made me realize I need to sit down and think about this.
Apparently the Greek word that is translated “comfort” literally means “to call to one’s side”. So, it means being there, staying close to the person grieving. That is hard to do maybe during a national lockdown. But we can still make sure we are in close contact and maybe arrange to go for a walk outside so we can listen and offer encouragement.
I also read that the Greek word is much more than sympathetic words, it is more about imparting some motivation, perhaps practical measures and comfort in order to help someone cope with all that life may demand of them. In other words, the actual loss of a loved one might just be the start of our friend’s challenges. We may need to be aware of the huge hole in their life.
Encouraging them to go on, speaking positively about the future hope for those who have died and being there for them are all part of what comfort can mean – definitely not clichés.
“The stupid one is reckless and overconfident.”Proverbs 14:16
There is a deadly disease on the rampage, but some people still don’t seem to take the warnings seriously.
We ought to comply with all that has been asked of us – it is for our protection. We may have a lot of questions and concerns over jobs, education and all sorts of other things. But the restrictions are there to save our lives.
To go around thinking, “I’m be fine, I’m fit, I won’t get ill,” is inviting pain and heartbreak. We ought to think about how our actions will effect not just us and our family – but others too.
I was chatting with a London-based blogger who said that she was sad but convinced that cancelling her plans to travel at Christmas was the right thing to do. She said, “I wasn’t just thinking about the danger to my own mum, I was thinking of everyone else in the train carriage if I had travelled. I don’t want to be responsible for someone else losing their mum.”
How can we expect our Creator’s blessing if we are not showing appreciation for the cost of life?
“If, then, you are bringing your gift to the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, and go away. First make your peace with your brother, and then come back and offer your gift.– MATTHEW 5:23,24
Making peace, restoring relations, restoring enmity to friendship is essential to having a good relationship with God. If we don’t work a having peace with our brothers, our worship may not be acceptable to God, our Father.
It’s not all about our personal salvation. Firstly and most important is the sanctification of God’s name. He has been slandered and been accused of not having our best interests at heart. God wants his children to get along together. He sees us praying and he sees our brother praying. So he wants his people to be like family.
If we are more concerned with our own vindication than making peace with our brother, what does our Father above of us? At the end of the day, He wants all to be united and at peace.
If there is a genuine reason we make have a cause for complaint against a brother, we approach our brother in private and try to resolve the issue in the spirit of peace.
God is training his people, educating them to form the basis of the new world under his Kingdom rulership.