What is The Trinity

Trinity
Trinity

The Trinity is the threefold presence of the Christian God, as the Father,  as Jesus the Son, and as the Holy Spirit. I read a post this week where the writer stated categorically that NO ONE can understand the Trinity. In fact the writer said; “The Trinity is a concept that is impossible for any human being to fully understand, let alone explain”. Sausage! – it is certainly comprehensible, if you use the information God has given us.

  • God in Everything

The explanation goes like this.  God has told us that He created man in His own image; ergo, to understand God we must look at man [the totality of mankind].  I find that when I look at the world around me there is manifold evidence of God in it, and to understand God, we need only to look at His work. I see God in everything; in the ordered mathematical perfection of creation, in the always changing, never repeated beauty of the sky, and in the unimaginable magnitude of the universe itself.

  • We are Ourselves a Model

We have in our persons a model of the trinity.  We exist as a physical presence, a perfectly designed physical mechanism that maintains and restores itself with no help from our sentient person, the intellect or the brain that is our personality, the driving force of our conscious being and the second part of the threefold entity which we are. We exist too as a soul, we yearn, we desire, we create, and so we have a third existence alongside the personality and the body.

  • Body, Mind and Soul

The physical body hungers, and is fed; it reacts to sensation and involuntarily shrinks from heat and pain. The persona however, is driven by the conscious brain and logic, and causes the body to move according to that logic. On the other hand, my emotional self, or my soul, promotes acts that the brain and the body may resist, like having more chocolate when both brain and body say I have already had more than enough. I exist on three discrete levels, and act and react  on those various levels according to the dominant urges at that time.

  • Physical, Mental and Spiritual

Some actions spring purely from the body; E.G., breathing, dispelling hunger by eating, or shivering when cold.  Other actions are the direct result of the working of the mind; E.G., writing a blog post. And the third set of actions are the product of our soul; and might be as disparate as subconsciously sipping our coffee while we write; or simultaneously enjoying a recorded musical passage.

  • 3 Fold Existence

So the physical me will respond to stimuli without engaging the brain, the mind initiates various actions as a result of processing incoming or remembered data, and the soul floats where it will and often persuades the mind and body along with it. I can see three distinct persons in myself. I hesitate to use the word trinity, it seems sacrilegious to do so, but threefold seems to cover it.

  • God,  the Trinity.

Our God himself is threefold, the archetypal Trinity. He comes to us by His Holy Spirit when and as our soul requires. He might respond through the love of our Lord Jesus when we need healing in our body; and by His Grace, he cherishes our immortal souls and shelters us under the shadow of his hand as God Our Father. Three in one.

How To Be Christ In The world

  • Shine Your Light
Shine Your Light
Shine Your Light

Why you should Shine Your Light. A comment by Teresa Martin on the last post read; “…if the world can’t see Christ in us, we are ‘salt that has lost it’s saltiness’.”  I like that. We are indeed the salt that has lost it’s saltiness.  I struggle all the time with trying to “be Christ in the world”.  Every time I lose my cool in traffic, or get terse with an unhelpful shop assistant, I am just another failed Christian.  After such a “fall from grace”, the Holy Spirit kicks in and I am heavily aware of not having acted like Jesus would have. Call it conscience if you are more comfortable with that term, but the result is the same.   We fall short of our own expectation of ourselves, and we suddenly realise that we have just wasted another great opportunity to witness Christ into the community.

  • Filled With a Warm And Loving Joy.

It is when we take those opportunities and reply to provocation with love that we are really “being the Bible” to the world around us.  If we do use the situation to show love, to offer practical witness, we will be filled with a warm and loving joy, we will have blessed that person, and we will have been an effective witness to the love our God has for this world.  Think how good it will be for your inner self if you come away from EVERY encounter with a warm glow, and are concious that you have blessed that individual, rather than leaving them with a scowl and feeling angry.

  • Practice what you Preach

The wonderful old cliché, “Practice what you Preach”, kicks in here.  It is totally valueless if we preach a sermon to our congregation on Sunday morning saying “love God and love our neighbour”, if we are not doing exactly that in our own daily life. Double standards are easily detectable and will show in our body language and in other subtle ways, so it is vital that we do indeed put into practice the things we are telling others.

  • Shine Your Light.

The same passage of scripture that speaks about saltiness goes on to use the idea that we are a light to the world.  We are urged to so show our light before men that others may see our good deeds and praise God in Heaven. This is how we “shine that light of God’s love”, by acting out His love for all men in EVERY place that we can.

“We can take every human encounter and turn it into a Kingdom experience simply by showing love to that other person.  It is that easy!”

How We Take Christ to The Community

Take Christ to the Community
Take Christ to the Community

Jesus once made the point that it not what goes into our mouths that makes us holy, but what we allow to come out that marks us as “Holy”, or set apart. I was struck today by the thought that it is not having Christ inside us that sets us apart as Christians, so much as having Christlike behaviour COMING OUT that marks us as sons and daughters of the Most High God.

  • You Have Christ  Inside You

Yin and Yang, Good and Bad, Dark and Light, are all interdependent, and only can exist as complements of each other. Paul told the Colossians; “I want to tell you this big secret; that you have Christ inside you”.  And so we do – if we have repented, been baptised and then born again out of the waters of baptism – but that is really quite meaningless to the rest of the world unless we have Christ coming out of us – in our actions, in our speech; and in our aims and attitudes and contact with others. Christ inside, and Christ coming out!

  • We are the Bible to the rest of the world.

I believe that preaching a sermon at people is not the best way to introduce them to Jesus Christ and to the love of God.  I totally believe that we are to BE Christ to people; in our daily meeting with the rest of the world; in our visible actions within our community; and in every thing we do or say to our family. Paul told the Corinthians [2 Cor 3:2-3] that they were [living letters] 2 “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human heart”. written to our community by the Holy Spirit.

  • The Only Way to Take Christ To The Community

This is how we “preach Christ to the Community”.  We don’t preach Christ at them, we BE Christ TO them; as we work, and as we play, and as we shop for our daily bread. We exhibit the love of God to every person we meet.  We treat every person as a brother or a sister in Christ; and in doing so we fulfill the great commandment ; “….to
love your neighbour and to tell the Good News.”

How to Step Out In Faith

Step Out In Faith
Step Out In Faith

Today I was asked; “What gives one the

authority and the confidence to preach?” The answer is that you just have to have to step out in faith. I always feel doubt about what I am doing before a service, and I believe that the doubt is really helpful in that it keeps me from getting puffed up in my own conceit.  It is really easy to start thinking; “I did that very well”,  after preaching and it is good to be reminded that it is God doing it, not me.

  • Confirmation Comes Later.

The confirmation that God is with you comes after the sermon when you realise that He was  giving you the points to put across.  I am  surprised  sometimes to hear myself saying things I didn’t think I even knew, and that goes to show that it was God leading me, and not me being smart or clever. You know He was guiding you when it ‘all comes together’. Thank you, Lord, for guiding me.

  • Wait For Confirmation.

I have learned to wait for confirmation BEFORE doing anything of a spiritual nature.  If God wants something to happen it is easy for Him to show you that.  I can think of 6 different things to do before breakfast on any day of the week, but I have learned not to do any of them unless I get some confirmation that He wants it to happen. We think we know what to do in any situation, but often there are hidden facts that would affect the result, and I have  learned the hard way that I need to NOT act on my own, but to wait to be shown what to do.

  • The Authority to Preach

The authority to preach comes in the certainty that what you are bringing from the Holy Spirit is true.  When the Holy Spirit of God convicts you of something, you share it with complete confidence, because then you KNOW inside yourself that it is true. It is much easier to step out in faith and share that. Not only is there inner conviction, there is total belief because you will have had the experience yourself to back up that conviction.  This is the difference between testimony and preaching. Sadly, ‘preaching’ is often just the re-telling of second-hand knowledge.

How to Preach a Sermon in a Nutshell

  • “To Preach The Lord’s Gospel Daily in Our Own Lives!”

A ‘Comment” yesterday mentioned “To Preach The Lord’s Gospel Daily in Our Own Lives!”, and it really inpired me.  I see that as the very crux of what the Christian faith is all about. Christianity is NOT about going to a seminary and learning to speak dead languages and grinding through reams of dead church history, – it IS all about living our belief 1 Peter 2:12  Live  such  good  lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your  good  deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. meaningfully and honestly.

  • A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

And a living example is worth a thousand word sermon! We need a total mind-shift away from the old ‘sandwich service’ style of hymn, prayer,  sermon preaching from the last millenium, to something that is both relevant and meaningful to today.  I cannot do much good preaching inside a near-empty church, but I CAN do a lot of good, preaching by example to my neighbours, to my friends, and to everyone else who crosses my path during the working week.

  • Live Such a Life

I have to live such a life, that others will see I have this Agape love to share and to pour out, and the conviction to keep on pouring it over every human transaction in which I am engaged. There is scripture that clearly teaches: “Love without deeds is meaningless”. So, to put God’s love in place, I need to LIVE out my sermons!

  • Every Action is a Visible Witness

You can’t ‘logic’ somone into Heaven – you can only impact their life by meeting or witnessing to some need they have, and when they can see in your life that love in action which promises to meet their need, they will want you to share it with them – THAT IS WHEN you can witness to them; that is how to preach in this third millenium! That is the real way to share the  love taught by Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

How NOT to Have Your Prayers on Hold

Do you want all your prayers to be answered? Of course you do; who wouldn’t? The secret is right here in this post, so read on and discover what you can do to have your prayers answered successfully.

  • Infallible logic!

The first rule in the salesman’s handbook reads; “Find out what the customer wants, and then SELL it to them”. When you see it written down, it is just so logical that you would wonder why you didn’t think of it for yourself. So apply that simple, infallible logic to this ‘sales job’. Here it is; “Find out what God wants, then pray for that!” I’ll say that again much louder! – “Find out what God wants, then pray for that!”

  • Children in the Kingdom

This advice is very rational when you think about it a bit more. WE are children in the Kingdom of God, and our role, as His children, is to please Him. If you do not agree with that, then it is little use for you to read further. It is the common Bible analogy that we are cast as His children, with God portrayed as our father, and in that context it is our part to be obedient to His will. This is the reason for doing what I said above; “find out what God wants, and then pray for that”. It goes something like this; “Hey Dad, whatcha doing? Can I help?”

  • Common Sense

To me it is only common sense that if we pray for something that God Himself wants to come to pass, then that prayer is far more likely to succeed than a prayer arising from our own understanding. Such personal prayers are likely to be ‘selfish’ in nature, and are most unlikely to reflect God’s purposes. As the apostle James wrote in Chapter 4; “You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Turn that around, and instead of praying for what WE want, try praying for what God wants!

  • God’s Promise

I have long believed that we ought not to pray for stuff for ourselves. Why? Because God’s promise to us, as related by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount of Olives (Matt 6:33), is that if we seek His will constantly, all our needs will be met. So therein is the equation – “Seek God’s will ~ Your needs will be met”. That looks to me like a cast iron guarantee that our prayers will NOT be put on ‘hold’ and that our prayers WILL be answered.

Good or Bad Decisions.

  • Do Good and Evil Have the Same Face?

Good or Bad Decisions
Good or Bad Decisions

Our Sunday reading was the Genesis account of Abram and Sarai, and I was totally struck by the aptness of the story toward this point: We can act in our own understanding (As Abram and Sarai conspired to produce their son Ishmael from Hagar the serving woman) or we can act on God’s understanding, (as the renamed couple later did when Isaac was miraculously born to 90 year old Sarah and Abraham).

  • Two Decisions, Two World-Changing Consequences

From Ishmael sprang the 12 Princes that became the Arab nations, the prophet Muhammad (Mohammed or Muhammed), and the whole of Islam.  From Isaac came down the 12 tribes of Israel, Moses the OT prophet and law-giver, and the line of King David which led to Jesus Christ, and to the whole of Christendom today.

  • Islam vs Christendom

Present world conflict consists largely in the Jihad, or holy war that Islam appears to want to impose on Christendom: The ongoing Taliban conflicts in Afghanistan; the never-ending Palestinian battle; the September 11 outrage and its endless aftermath of copycat terrorism and skirmishes with Al Qaeda. These are the visible outworking of that fundamental conflict.  Hardline Muslim clerics  preach endless messages themed around “death to Christians”; and the saying, “that the only good Christian is a dead Christian”, is usually attributed to the followers of  Islam.

  • Good Thoughts or Bad?

It is apparent to me that if we act in our own understanding we run the risk of making decisions with possible far-reaching and terrible consequences – likewise if we act on God’s understanding, we court the possibility of doing acts that can have equally far-reaching consequences, but they will be the outworking of God’s love in the world, as we obey.

  • 4000 Years on…..

Abram’s own decision, the one that produced Ishmael, taken 4000 years ago, is continuing to have a major impact on the world events of  today.  This is a very clear illustration of the promise God later made to Moses that the sins of the fathers would be visited on the later generations.  It is a chilling reminder that we are called to bear the consequences of ALL we decide to do; and it is a timely reminder to be very sure that what we do do, is in direct response to the will of our Loving Heavenly Father!

Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Preaching the Gospel
Preaching the Gospel

If you are going to preach anything in this world, this has to be your number one topic: Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We have no other valid message if we don’t preach this Gospel. The good news of Jesus’  life and resurection is the fundamental tenet that we hang all our teaching on.  It is the root of our testimony; the whole basis of all Christian outreach; and the essential ingredient in How to Preach.

  • Gospel = Good News

By definition the word Gospel denotes “the good news”, and of course the Good News is that Christ died to save us and is sitting at the right hand of God today.  The Good News is too that we need only to confess Him as our Lord and Saviour, repent and be baptized to have our sins forgiven; to have eternal life; and to live with Him in all eternity.

  • Preaching to Ourselves

It’s a funny thing, but we can’t preach without Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ TO OURSELVES! Whenever we ponder the Word; whenever we pray for wisdom and guidance to preach; whenever we contemplate spiritually; we are teaching and blessing ourselves as well. It has been said that whenever we preach we are preaching to ourselves as much as to others.  This is true for me, I know, because whenever I prepare to preach, I enlarge my own understanding. Any revelation granted to me to share also remains within me.

  • Preaching Spiritual Revelation

I believe in preaching spiritual revelation. I do not believe in studying up some subject and sermonizing  a whole lot of  other people’s opinion about it.  To share spiritual revelation, you must first get it, and the only way I know to do this is to take your Bible into your ‘quiet place’ and start in praying and reading and allowing yourself to be ministered to by the Holy Spirit of God.  The truths you discover in this context will be inspired revelation, and will effectively be “God speaking to His people”; when you stand up to share on Sunday morning.

  • Throw Away Your Concordance!

You do not need a concordance, you do not need a book of scriptural reference; you do not need to look up a whole lot of stuff on the internet; and you certainly DO NOT need any theological books written by other people.  God is never boring, and He would never insult His children by offering them second-hand goods; what He will do is inspire you to share your convictions, your testimony, and your own intimate knowledge of His Kingdom – IF YOU LET HIM!  His offer to ‘provide all you need’ includes whatever anecdote or experience you will need.  Any preacher who starts off like this: “A funny thing happened to me this week…..” will be sharing right out of their own Christian walk.  It will be real! If God has called upon you to preach this Sunday, He will always have ALREADY PROVIDED you with what ever you need to make your points! You will be obedient, and you will be preaching the Gospels.

  • The Gospel is All You Need

If your circumstance requires you to preach from lectionary readings, and for instance, you are required to be preaching  the Gospel of John; then the only resource material you will need is that very same Gospel of John.  Likewise if you are needed to be preaching the Gospel at Christmas; then again, the only resource materials you will need are those very Gospel advent stories.

Which Version of the Bible Should I Buy?

Which Version
Which Version

Which version of the Bible should I buy? This is pretty much the same question as is dealt with in the previous post, “Which version of the Bible should I Use?”  It is almost the same as which version of the Bible is the best.

  • Be Comfortable with it

Given that the Bibel is the inspired word of God, and as Timothy says; “….all scripture is God-breathed; and is useful for correction, instruction…” etc; then it doesn’t matter which version you use, so long as you are comfortable with the language in it.  What is important is that you use a version that has English (or whatever language) usage that doesn’t confuse you with old fashioned, or obscure terms.

  • The Best Bible is the nearest one!

Buy a version that uses language you understand.  It is that simple! To be blunt: the “best” Bible is the nearest one! What does matter is that you use it, and of course it is important that you use it prayerfully, so that the Holy Spirit of God can minister to you while you read and thereby enrich your understanding.

  • ‘Hear’ God Talking

One preference that matters with me, is using the same version as my local fellowship.  I believe that this matters, because people will more easily recognize quotations, if they all come from the same version.  Identifying scripture passages as ‘coming from the Bible’  is helpful because we can ‘hear God’ talking to us if we have identified a given passage as being from the Bible.

So if you ask yourself which version of the Bible is right for me? You can be assured that that it is an easily answered question.  Just pick one you like the look of and start in and use it!

Which Version of the Bible?

Which Version Of The Bible
Which Version Of The Bible

Which Version of the Bible should I use?  This question comes up from time to time, and there are as many different answers as there are different versions of the Holy Bible.

  • King James Bible version

Some will argue that the original King James Bible version is more accurate, and some will argue that the King James Bible  language is so out of date as to be almost impossible to understand. Americans tend to stick to the ASV(American Standard Version) which names God as “Jehovah”, rather than the slightly confusing “Lord”, so prolific in other translations.  It contains some archaic word forms, but is still much easier to understand than the old KJV.

  • Bible online

I tend to use the online Bible today because it is so easy to copy and paste anything I want to refer to later on. Having the Bible online is so good when it comes to searching for some text you can’t quite remember where to find.  I used to have a disk with a lot of different translations and versions, but it took up a bit of space, and didn’t always work properly.  Today there are many sites offering the Bible “online”, and it is faster to click their icon on my desktop, and start right in browsing.

  • Bible Commentarty, School, Lessons and Studies

Bible study with the  World Wide Web is so easy when you can use any Bible commentary you fancy, attend Bible school, and do any Bible studies, take any Bible lessons  you want – all on line, and all FREE!

  • All Scripture is God-breathed

However, to get back to the original question: “Which Version of the Bible should I use?” Here is the answer.  It is quite irrelevant which version you use, provided you allow the Holy Spirit of God to illumine the Word as you read.  Our God is perfectly able to make you understand what He means, regardless of your reading ability, or what version you use. As the Word says in 2 Timothy 3:16; “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…..”  If you take that on board, then it follows that however you may be sampling His Word, IT WILL WORK!

  • The Secret Revealed!!

So this it what you do…. “then grab your Bible [any Bible], and head for your quiet place and just ‘wait on Him‘; and His Truth will be revealed to you. By all means buy a Bible version or Bible translation that you are comfortable with, but don’t worry about whether it is ‘accurate’ or not – the only thing for you to be concerned about is your own understanding of what you are reading therein. If you are being ‘helped’ by the Holy Spirit of God as you read, your understanding will be perfect!