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Archive for the 'WOW Word' Category

Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Spiritual Armor

 

Today Alphy has a special guest, the Reverend Sammy!

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV)

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To help His people resist satan and to fight spiritual warfare, God has designed spiritual armor for Christians to wear during our constant battle with temptation, sin & also with the evil one. That’s what the Apostle Paul is talking about here in Ephesians 6! This armour is what God wears according to Isaiah 59:17, when He goes out to battle! The hallmarks of this Armor are: Truth, Righteousness, Gospel, Faith, Salvation, the Scriptures and Prayer.

To discover more about the Spiritual Armor, download the mp3 using the links below.
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WOW Word 09 - Salvation

Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Salvation

Salvation! What is it?

Salvation means a rescue or having been saved!  As humans, from the time we are born, we inherit a sinful nature and are alienated from God.  But God has seen fit to offer a way back into relationship with Him, so that we may no longer be alienated from Him!  This offer of relationship is a result of Jesus, who was both fully God and fully man, dying on the cross.

Who decides who is saved?

The question “Who decides the saved?” has been asked for centuries!! There are two extremist views – one view says, “God has decided who is saved and nothing can be done about it.” The other view says that God will grant salvation to all.

But we need to see these two views in the balance of Scripture. Firstly God does choose individuals to fulfil His purposes (Romans 9) and He chooses those who are, or will be, saved (John 15v16). These chosen ones are called the elect. However, it is also His will that all people should be saved (1 Timothy 2v3-4) and that nobody should perish (2 Peter 3v9).

So in reading those two statements, we must accept both these Scriptural statements as equally and absolutely true. When we use words about God with a time element such as 'chose', 'elect', we need to consider God's infinite time framework, timelessness, and not in our human finite time framework. So God offers salvation to all, and leaves the responsibility to take up the offer with humans.

Saved from and saved to?

As a Christian you are now saved from everlasting alienation from Him, for that’s what Hell is.  As a Christian you are saved to an everlasting relationship with Him, for that’s what Heaven is.  Salvation is for all people of all time and of every nation.  As a Christian, you have accepted the offer.

Salvation! What do you do with it?

Now you are to do what Paul suggests in Philippians 2v12-13: “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” So now you live to please God alone and not your self.

Go this week and tell somebody this Good News of salvation that God offers, and continue to show the transforming power of God in your life.  For as one of the early church fathers Irenaeus said: “To follow Jesus is to participate in salvation.”

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WOW Word 06 - Words

wow-word.jpg

 

Words!

Today's WOW Word is about Words! Words have power! Did you know that? Here is what Solomon said about them...

Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire”

Proverbs 15:4 “Kind words heal and help! Cutting words wound and maim”

Proverbs 15:23 “Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful! “

Proverbs 15:26 “GOD can't stand evil scheming, but he puts words of grace and beauty on display.”

 

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WOW Word 64 - Government

Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Living Water

the WOW Word Government!

 

Download the audio and discover more about the WOW Word: Government

In the UK, when we have a General Election, that is where people vote for their political representatives. After all the votes are counted there will be a government elected! This of course, is not unique to the UK! All people all over the world live under some from of leadership or government.  That government may be democratically elected, a monarchy or even an oppressive dictatorship. 

Whatever kind of government we find ourselves with, we have one!  If there was not a government in place, as hard as it is to imagine, total chaos would reign and people would just do whatever pleases them, regardless of consequences and regardless of other people.  Therefore, regardless of whatever government we live under, what does the Bible say should be our reaction and attitude to the government. 

By government, I mean all levels of government and authority - from local authority to federal government. 

But first of all, lets look at what the Bible has to say about the function of human government, before going on to look at our responsibility to Government and our community.

The Function of Human Government

Paul writing in Romans 13 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour."

Here Paul indicates that there are at least three functions of a human government: protection, punishment and promotion.

  • Protection: From the moment Adam sinned, it was plainly obvious that human civilizations would need some form of restraint and law, in order to protect their citizens - form themselves and others.  We see this clearly in Acts 21, where the Roman soldiers step in to save Paul from being killed by other people in Jerusalem. 
  • Punishment: Paul stipulates that duly appointed government officials and servants are to be considered as servants of God (even if they don't believe in God!) 
  • Promotion: Human government, as thought by Paul, was to promote the broad-spectrum welfare of all the community and not just select groups, where its laws are in effect.

 

Christian Response to Human Government

 

Paul in 1 Timothy 2:1-3 writes: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour,"

The Apostle Peter goes further when writing in 1 Peter 2v13-17 "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king."

From these passages of Scripture we see that it is clearly impossible to be simultaneously a solid Christian and a poor citizen.  As Christians we have responsibilities to our government.

  • Firstly we have a responsibility to recognize and acknowledge that God ordains the Government. We see that from Paul's writing in Romans 13 and Paul was writing when the Emperor Nero was in power and systematically persecuting and torturing Christians!  We also see this thinking in the passage from 1 Peter. There is no authority except as given by God.  Even to the most sadistic, dictatorial or atheist governments - they have power only because God has allowed them.  So we are to obey our government!  But it is not to be slavish obedience regardless of what laws are decreed! No!   The exception to this is where obedience to the Government would require the Christian to actively or passively disobey God.  For we read in Acts 4v18-20 that the believer is to live in obedience to God rather than man.
  • Secondly, as much as we probably hate to, we are commanded to pay taxes to the government!  For by doing so, the government can set about ensuring, for example, that the weaker and more vulnerable sections of the community are cared for and protected!
  • Thirdly, and quite possibly, most importantly, Christians are to pray for their leaders, governments and those in authority!  Both Peter and Paul command and recommend it!  To pray for them is to love them and it is also a way for God to shine into the lives of people.  One of the things we are to pray for, is that the government governs righteously, honourably, honestly and with integrity. The Christian, as a citizen, is free to be law-abiding, conscious that they are under submission to Almighty God. It also means giving respect to all members of society from the lowest to the highest!  As Christians, we are to submit ourselves to our Government and be living lives worthy of the Gospel of Christ. This may indeed win some for God, win the recognition of their government as well as influencing Government policy and law.  Whatever government you find yourself under, pray for your leaders even if you thoroughly disagree with some or all of their actions.  They are in power, only because our God has allowed them.  They will answer to Him one day for what they have done with the power given to them by God alone.  God is in control, and He is on the ultimate throne and is the definitive power!

 

Community Responsibility

But just as we have responsibility to our Government, we also have a responsibility for those in our community - both local and global.  We are also to work for social justice and be involved in social action - that's part of our loving of other people.  The oppression and persecution of people is to be anathema to us as Christians, just as it is to our God!  Where a minority is maltreated and discriminated we should be at the forefront of demanding justice for all!  We are to be promoting civil rights and using all aspects of the law to do so.  We are to be working to ensure the poorest members of our community, both local and global, are cared for and the oppressed freed! In your country, this could mean peaceful demonstrations and interacting with your political representatives! 

Look at some of the great reformers or social activists of the past: Wilberforce helping to abolish slavery; or Martin Luther King Jr. at the forefront of ending segregation and racism.  May each one of us, on both a local and international scale, play some small part in ending prejudice, suffering, racism, poverty, bigotry, abuse, oppression and other injustices. 

As John Stott once said: "The reason for our acceptance of social responsibility... is simple uncomplicated compassion.  Love has no need to justify itself. It merely expresses itself in service wherever it sees need."

As Jesus of Nazareth once said: "Love God and love other people."

Some questions to help your thinking!

    1. In what way can I influence and encourage my government to promote justice, free the oppressed and take care of the poor?
    2. How can I help my government authorities to protect, punish and promote?
    3. When was the last time I actively prayed for those in authority over me, whether Christian or secular? Thank you.

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WOW Word 62 - Trinity

Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Idolatry

Images of Idolatry

I wonder if you are like me and when you hear the word idolatry, you imagine somebody bowing before a statue and worshipping it. A good example is the story of the Israelites worshipping the golden calf, as recorded by Moses in Exodus 32. Or perhaps in our own time when seeing people bow down to the statue of the Buddha or one of the many Hindu gods.

Therefore, we tend to think that idolatry is worshipping statues or worshipping in other religions such as Islam, Jainism and Zoroastrianism. However, the Bible is very clear, certainly Jesus was, that idolatry is a threat to living and partaking of the Christian life. How can that be, you may very well ask?

Christian Idolatry

As a Christian, you are to love God and love others. Anything that replaces your love of God as your first priority, is an idol, and therefore, is idolatry. For idolatry is not merely worshipping statues. Idolatry is the transference of allegiance to something apart from God. It is worshipping created things, and not worshipping God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Idolatry can be anything! For anything can take first place in your life! It may be your computer, your car, your books, your family, your church, a Christian leader, entertainment, celebrities and even love of yourself! These are all good things, in and of themselves, but they are not good things if they remove God from first priority in your life. These things can turn out to be idols, because they relegate your thinking of Almighty God to below first place.

Idolatry is the mind’s sin

Paul writes to the Roman church in Romans 1:18-25

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is for ever praised. Amen."


In that passage of scripture, Paul links idolatry with immorality. Immorality is the outer sins and idolatry is the inward sin. Idolatry is an attitude inside you that says to God “You are not first place, this other thing is”. Somebody who commits the sin of idolatry is a slave to that something else, and is not a slave to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, idolatry is not just worshipping in another religion and bowing down to statues. Idolatry is relegating God to second place, in both actions and attitudes. Therefore cast off anything that is blocking your relationship with Almighty God. As idolatry is primarily the sin of the mind, those depraved ideas turn to sins of lusts and idolatrous physical pleasures. Be renewed in your thinking and have a renewed mind, so that you can worship Almighty God through Jesus Christ the Lord, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

How’s that for a WOW Word?

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WOW Word 63 - Living Water

Alfie brings you a WOW Word

WOW Word - Living Water

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In the book of Leviticus, God commanded that the cleansing of a defiled house required sprinkling with a mixture of blood and ‘living’ water, the bird having been slain over the water (Leviticus 14:51). Elsewhere we read of the ‘water of cleansing’ (Numbers 19), which is also called ‘living water’.

This was water that had been sprinkled with the ashes of a young cow, and was kept aside for purification by sprinkling those who had touched a dead body. In both cases, this water had been cleansed by the shedding of blood and sacrifice. The cleansing was to be through the blood of sacrifice, applied through the sprinkled water. For there is no cleansing without the shedding of blood.

Let us look to Jesus in his earthly ministry! What did Jesus say about being living water? Speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus said: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:10

Elsewhere in John 7:37-39 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Now moving forward to seeing Jesus as He is and will be - Revelation 7:17 - For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

Download the audio and discover more about this weeks WOW Word: Living Water!

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