2015: Our year of Indescribable and Glorious Joy!

Theme: 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NRSV)

8 Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

CBE: New Testament, 2 Peter and Jude

Making good progress, we move on to Peter’s second letter and Jude’s letter tomorrow. Peter’s second letter was written around AD 65 while Peter was imprisoned by the emperor Nero in Rome. Some Theologians believe that it was written to strengthen Jude’s letter: addressing doctrines that refute Jesus’ second coming, godly living, resurrection of the dead, and judgement. With historic and scriptural references he presents an exhortation to holiness, love, faith and patience. My favourite line being:

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

We will discuss who he was; who his audiences were; possible reasons behind his writing; and other questions drawn from our weekly agenda.

This week we are reading pages 359-368 so join us if you can, or meet with friends and family.

CBElogo_black

Community Bible Experience operates like a Reading Club…

Participants agree a weekly reading plan, then every Friday we meet in a relaxed fashion for an hour to discuss the following simple questions:

  • What’s something you noticed for the first time?
  • What questions did you have?
  • Was there anything that bothered you?
  • What did you learn about loving God?
  • What did you learn about loving others?

Afterwards, we enjoy light refreshments while we catchup, pray, challenge, and encourage each other.

We recommend a copy of The Books of The Bible by Biblica because of it’s contemporary design and translation, and we set ourselves a weekly target to read eleven pages.

  • (7:00 – 8:00)pm on Fridays
  • 52 Arcadian Avenue, Bexley, Kent DA5 1JW

If you need help with setting one up in your home, community space, church or perhaps offices; please get in touch!

Community Bible Experience: New Testament, 1 Peter

We start Peter’s first letter this Friday. Some theologians suggest that it was written in the early AD 60’s, most likely in the final years of his life and ministry.

The letter open’s up with these words,

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”

Wow! What a beauty? Even though these people were exiled, scattered, and suffering persecution in modern day Turkey; it is comforting to know that they still had a special place in God’s heart. Goes to show that our circumstances in life is not always a good indicator of our spiritual health and wellbeing.

We will discuss who he was; who his audiences were; possible reasons behind his writing; and other questions drawn from our weekly agenda.

This week we are reading pages 351-358, so join us if you can, or meet with friends and family.

CBElogo_black

Community Bible Experience operates like a Reading Club…

Participants agree a weekly reading plan, then every Friday we meet in a relaxed fashion for an hour to discuss the following simple questions:

  • What’s something you noticed for the first time?
  • What questions did you have?
  • Was there anything that bothered you?
  • What did you learn about loving God?
  • What did you learn about loving others?

Afterwards, we enjoy light refreshments while we catchup, pray, challenge, and encourage each other.

We recommend a copy of The Books of The Bible by Biblica because of it’s contemporary design and translation, and we set ourselves a weekly target to read eleven pages.

  • (7:00 – 8:00)pm on Fridays
  • 52 Arcadian Avenue, Bexley, Kent DA5 1JW

If you need help with setting one up in your home, community space, church or perhaps offices; please get in touch!

Spiritual Intelligence: From Inertia, To Rest

Inertia can be defined as the resistance of any physical object to any change in its state of motion, including changes to its speed and direction. In other words, it is the tendency of objects to keep moving in a straight line at constant linear velocity.

With this in mind let us consider this passage:

The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!”

Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!”

Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household.

What an amazing account of a supernatural encounter?

Good morning friends. Evidently, the situations and circumstances that life presents to us, conjures major opportunities for our spiritual growth and development. They are moments in time to move us from a state of inertia, to a state of rest. However, these attainments remain illusions except we allow God room to step in.

Peter and his friends experienced a turn around when they accepted Jesus’ request to use their boat as a platform for preaching one evening. After toiling for hours to no avail, they heeded His command, and they cast their nets into the deep. Suddenly they encountered a net bursting catch, so big that they had to call for backup from other fishermen! With this thought in mind, Paul wrote to his friends in Rome:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

So, back to our opening verses; in complete trust in Jesus the nobleman went his way as instructed and that same hour his son regained full strength. He refused the common sense approach, for a Spirit led approach. He starved his doubts, thereby feeding his faith. He left it with Jesus, and he came into God’s rest. A nobleman in the true sense of nobility!

Let us pray:
Father we commit our lives into your holy hands today; give us the faith and courage we need to bring your kingdom to earth, and let your will unfold in our lives. Amen.

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~ Sabali

Spiritual Intelligence: The Battle For The Human Soul

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

Wow… What a statement?

Friends, know and understand that at any one time there are two main forces in operation here on earth; light and darkness. The source of these forces are spiritual in nature, so they are unseen through the human eyes. As a result, the process of discernment involves tracing physical manifestations back to source.

Just like in elementary science where we are taught basic testing principles for acids, base and salts; so also our spirits can be trained to discern the origins of manifestations. It takes a lot more effort sometimes, and here lies the problem – for many cannot pay the price. But as we are dependent on heaven for answers, and are willing to wait like Daniel, the answers are sure to come.

There are also shades of grey, these include;”Wolves in sheep clothing”, “The wheat and the tares”, “The old prophet and the unknown prophet”, “The Gibeonites”, etc. Sometimes darkness presents itself like the genuine article, however on closer inspection you’ll find its a fake.

We are the battle ground, and the object of interest is our soul. A human soul is worth more than all the wealth and riches of this world put together! When Peter caught sight of this, he wrote this as an encouragement to fellow seekers like you and me;

so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Dear friends, on that note I close with a statement from The Rabbi on this supremely important subject, so important that it became a cross-cutting theme of His preaching and teaching while on earth;

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

God! Help us.

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~ Sabali

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Spiritual Intelligence: Do You See What I See?

Do you see what I see my dear friends? Something has badly gone wrong… Our priorities have been hijacked and misguided. Like Naomi, we need to return home, return to our first love, return to power and strength!

As a backdrop, lets consider this passage;

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

I always find this account captured in Matthew’s Gospel fascinating. Even though these men had wealth, honour, power, influence and intelligence, they still recognised the place of God in their lives. So it saddens me to see spirit filled believers, chasing what these fellas had at the expense of what they have.

It was Jesus’ burning desire that we recognise, protect and nurture what we have, so we don’t lose it or have it stolen by our adversary, hence he said:

So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them, and he will give them to you if you give him first place in your life and live as he wants you to.

We fast forward after Jesus’ death and we stumble across Peter’s stern rebuke to Simon when he tried to offer them money in exchange for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

When Simon saw that the apostles by merely laying on hands conferred the Spirit, he pulled out his money, excited, and said,

Sell me your secret! Show me how you did that! How much do you want? Name your price!”

Peter said, “To hell with your money! And you along with it. Why, that’s unthinkable—trying to buy God’s gift! You’ll never be part of what God is doing by striking bargains and offering bribes. Change your ways—and now! Ask the Master to forgive you for trying to use God to make money. I can see this is an old habit with you; you reek with money-lust.

Little wonder why this subject came up again in John’s revelation on the Isle of Patmos, as a note of caution to us:

Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.

Lets us pray. Lord help us to recognise, protect and nurture your gift to us. Help us to make the right choices, help us to prioritise our lives, help us to lead praiseworthy lives – amen.

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~ Sabali

Spiritual Intelligence: Bow Or Burn

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not worried about what will happen to us. If we are thrown into the flaming furnace, our God is able to deliver us; and he will deliver us out of your hand, Your Majesty. But if he doesn’t, please understand, sir, that even then we will never under any circumstance serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have erected.”

A message of defiance from the three young men called to serve in the courts of the king after their country had been besieged, destroyed and burnt to the ground. For the records, this was no ordinary king too. King Nebuchadnezzar was a violent and blood thirsty ruler who ruled his subjects with an iron fist.

Thousands of years later, the battle rages on and the intensity of the fire is hotter. The idols of this world stand tall against the presence of the all powerful, but invisible God. People are being compelled to; Bow to cultural or social norms or Burn, Bow to money or Burn, Bow to pornography or Burn, Bow to popular opinion or Burn, Bow to atheism or Burn, Bow to science or Burn, Bow to sexual “freedom” or Burn, Bow to excessive consumption or Burn, Bow to drugs, Bow to self or hero worship, Bow to greed or Burn… And many are wearied-out, their heads slump forward, and they bow as time passes on.

In the words of Peter to friends just like you and I, he encouraged with these words;

I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.

So lets keep a steady head and our feet on the ground, it will all be over soon!

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~ Sabali