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Thursday: The Church – A Change Agent — 8 Comments

    • I know we have to submit ourselves daily if must become like Christ let us continues to pray for ourselves and the weak among us so that we can all come into the unity of the faith, lets keep pressing towards a higher ground where will exchange this mortal body of ours to immortality.

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  1. Micah 6:8 Includes kindness. I struggle with the boundaries around the concept. We are to live a life of kindness and not only display it (External religion), but is there a point where we are being pushed over not just being kind?

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    • Yes, I see your point. We live in a society where individual kindness is looked upon as a weakness, where nice guy finish last, or where the intended kindness is not appreciated. Also our society feels that if you are not aggressive enough, then there's something wrong with you. Not so, aggression is contrary to God's will for His people. Jesus talked about showing love and kindness to your fellow man, even to your enemies. Aggression is not found in love and kindness, it is a rare animal instinct - kill or be killed. God is not pleased that His church is following after the world in its aggressive nature, and have almost altogether forgotten about showing love and kindness to the poor, the unloved, and the prisoner among us. And for what? To boast about our church's popularity, that we have hundreds or thousands of members, with a large tithe base! These things don't matter a hill of beans to God; these "things and/or ideas" that we boast about now will be all washed away at Jesus' second coming. In that day, all that will matter to God is - what did you do for the least of these? - "when I was hungry, you did not feed me; when I was naked, you did not clothe me...", Matthew 25:45. Many of God's people will be weeping in that day, for neglecting to do what we could have done for the least of these. Let us all pledge to do one small act now, to show mercy to the least of these, that they too may see the justice of God. Pray and ask God to lead you personally to the ways you can help the least of these.

      (14)
  2. Today's lesson reminds me of "The Nebuchadnezzar Syndrome",that you and I sometimes find ourselves being diagnosed of by the Infinite One.

    King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon stands in his favorite spot—on the rooftop garden of his sumptuous palace just beside the phenomenal Hanging Gardens of Babylon. And as he stands there his eyes scan the horizon. The double outer wall of the city runs for 27 kilometers around his capital. From the palace his eyes wander down the sacred processional way; one kilometer long, its walls covered in highly glazed, reflective blue tiles, decorated with 575 mythological beasts. And then on to the great citadel of Esagila, the temple of the high god Marduk, the ziggurat of Etemenanki rising 90 meters into the air. A bridge 130 meters long spanning the Euphrates. Not to mention another 3 palaces and 53 temples.

    “He said, ‘Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?’ ” (Dan. 4v10-11).

    Nebuchadnezzar takes Jerusalem. Or, rather the Lord gives Jerusalem into his hands, as Daniel puts it. But Nebuchadnezzar can’t see it because at this stage he hasn’t met the Lord. Rather, he believes his power, his effort, brought him success. He’s filled with the pride of self-achievement.

    Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a huge awe-inspiring, frightening metal idol. Sitting atop this idol resides a head of gold. The gold of Babylon. But then the whole idol of human achievement is smashed to smithereens by a small stone. The stone of the kingdom of God. But at this stage, Nebuchadnezzar has only heard of the Lord. Nothing more. And the crushing of the idol of human pride means little to him.

    Nebuchadnezzar’s resistance to humility continues. So he builds an idol made entirely of gold. At 30 meters high, it is second only to the legendary Colossus of Rhodes, one of the wonders of the ancient world, which stood 35 meters high. Its size matches Nebuchadnezzar’s pride. But as he peers into the furnace and sees the three friends walking in the flames with another figure who looks like a son of the gods, the truth begins to dawn on him. But nothing more.

    Where does God deal His final hand? Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a tree. A tree that represents Nebuchadnezzar himself. Its size matches Nebuchadnezzar’s ego. The tree is enormous—its top reached to heaven, visible to the ends of the earth and that explains Nebuchadnezzar’s pride. “ ‘Is not this the great Babylon?’ ” In previous episodes, Nebuchadnezzar, as he besieged Jerusalem, was ignorant of God, then he heard of God when Daniel interpreted his dream of the metal idol, then he saw the workings of God when the three friends walked alive in the flames. But here, he experiences God. And what is it that brings him to experience God? Humility.

    A sobering thought for us, Adventists, we can lurch between two extremes. On the one hand, self-congratulation and pride. The Nebuchadnezzar syndrome. Are not these my baptismal candidates, my congregation that I have built up and nurtured? Is not this my church? Is this not the only truth bearing church?

    But, on the other hand, depression— we’re just not achieving what the church expects of us. Few Bible studies and few baptisms, doubts about our calling, awkward members, demanding conference presidents. The antidote for both extremes of pride and depression is humility.

    (8)
    • Great story! I loved reading it. Your story leads me into one of my Favorite Bible stories, one that illustrates how God's people failed to introduce God to the nations around them. If we are not careful, we will repeat their history as "God's people", of not introducing God to our neighbors and friends.

      In 2 Kings 20, Hezekiah was sick unto death, and God spoke to him through the prophet Isaiah and told them to "Get thine house in order". Hezekiah begged Isaiah to pray to God for him to spare his life. We all know this story, that Isiah prayed for Hezekiah, and how Hezekiah requested that he pray that God give him a sign that God will definitely heal him from his terminal illness - by turning the sun backward 10 degrees.

      That's a great story, but there's another story in the middle of this story, which not a lot of church are NOT preaching on. In verse 12 of this chapter it says, "12 At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick." Instead of Hezekiah asking the prophet Isiah for his opinion on how to receive these visitors, instead King Hezekiah decided to do things his own way; verse "13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them (the Babylonians), and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not." This is the same Babylon, the same nation that besieged Jerusalem and Judah many generations later; King Nebuchadnezzar was probably the great great great grandchild of this King of Babylon.

      This was the time when King Hezekiah could have introduce God to the King of Babylon's son, Berodachbaladan, and he could have taken the knowledge of the true and living God back home to his father centuries earlier. When God send someone to us, His people, it is for a good reason. These people came a long distance, and they came not just because they hear that the Hezekiah was sick; they saw, being astrologers, an unusual phenomenon that happened to the sun. Being experts in the study of the stars, they wanted to know what happened; the stars probably lead them to Jerusalem (sounds familiar), and to Hezekiah. This was King Hezekiah's opportunity to not only share the knowledge of God with Babylon, but to all the nations around Babylon. King Hezekiah failed to do the task that God told His people to do all along, since He delivered them from Egypt, to show and tell the nations around Canaan about your God, what He did for you, and how He delivered you out of slavery and the bondage of Egypt.

      This could have been the Babylon's first introduction to the true and living God, not the gods of stone and metals that the Babylonians were accustomed to. Hezekiah could have told them how God healed him, and as a sign of his healing, he asked God to turn the sun back 10 degrees. Hezekiah never mentioned God or what God did for him, instead Hezekiah was more interested in boasting about how much riches "he" had, not how much riches "his God" gave him.

      And even though Hezekiah failed, God still showed him "mercy and justice". God told the prophet Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that because of your actions, this same nation, Babylon will come back one day and carried everything away you have showed them back to Babylon. But in verse "19 “The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?”, NIV. God did allow Hezekiah to have peace and security for the rest of His days, which many Bible scholars says was about 15 more years.

      We don't have to be in the middle of the street to share or introduce God to our communities. Just like Hezekiah, God is always leading people to us, or providing opportunities for us to talk to them about our God. Let's not make the same mistake that Hezekiah did, by showing our neighbors God's blessings, without telling them about the "I Am" that blesses us. Feed a man, and he will come back to you for more. Show the man how to fish, or introduce the man to the true and living God, and that man will have a new life in Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

      (5)
  3. God expects us to show kindness, compassion, care and love to our fellow human beings just as He does to us always. Clearly, a ringing call for the Church in this text is for justice. God's church as a corporate body and individually as church members are stewards of God's resources. As stewards and heirs to God's promises, He wants us show faithfulness, mercy, compassion and love to our neighbours. We have to serve the Lord in this earth with selfless dedication prepared to suffer discomfort and worldly scorn. In my church we started a project we call "Just A Blanket" where in winter we collect blankets from members to distribute among the old, infirm and poor members of our community as just but one service offering to our less fortunate residents of Langa.

    (6)
  4. Helping others, showing compassion to others is simply the result of knowing the one who put us here. God directs us daily in how we relate to others. Every encounter is God directed. How we respond to that is depended on our relationship with our Lord. If we aren't presently involved in church and our community, we need to honestly relook at our relationship with our Lord. We were all sent here for a purpose. Daily connection seeking God leads us to the work He has prepared for us.

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