was successfully added to your cart.

Till Death Do Us Part

By | From The Heart | No Comments

For those of us who are married, if you used the traditional marriage vow, or if you used more modern vows, you would have used these or similar words – “till death do us part”. This is the promise we make to our spouse. These are the words we use in our commitment to them. That is the promise we are making. Till death would part us, if that is the promise you make, then that is the promise you should keep.

So, if anything but death is an option for you to end your marriage, then why would you say these words, “till death do us part”? Why not tell the truth, promise what you mean? Perhaps you should say something like – Till adultery, or abandonment, or abuse do us part.  But you can’t because the Marriage Law doesn’t allow for that.

In Matthew 19:3-12, Jesus speaks about marriage, and says;”Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5). The man and the women are now one flesh. Marriage is an institution made by God, for all humanity, at creation.

The two become one flesh through sexual union. God made us to be to together in that way, and for life. So it says; “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate”, (Matthew 19:6). When divorce breaks a marriage, it is against how God made us to be. Divorce breaks one of the most intimate relationships on earth. It harms children in the relationship, no matter how old they are. It also harms society—the adultery of one person will affect at least two immediate families, and many other family members and friends.

Jesus said that faithfulness in marriage is an image of His faithfulness to the church. Ephesians 5:31-32; “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” Let us reflect the faithfulness of Christ to us, in our faithfulness to our marriage partner.

 

RUOK?

By | From The Heart | No Comments

This Thursday is RUOK day. It was begun by Gavin Larkin who as a 27 year-old, unexpectedly lost his father to suicide in 1995. His father was his hero and a successful businessman, and Gavin had no idea he was hurting so badly inside. He started his RUOK movement as a simple way of reaching out to the people around us and caring for each other. Not long after starting RUOK day, he died from cancer. Two years later his oldest son also passed away, leaving a grieving widow and mum with 2 young kids. It’s a tragic and inspiring story of a family who in their grief are helping people to value the lives of their family, friends and colleagues by simply checking in on them. I don’t know if they are believers, but they sure value life – everyone’s life.

God’s command to not murder is really his way of telling us that life is very precious to him. Every life is sacred because everyone is created in the image of God, no matter how badly the image is shattered. We know this because God has told us, many times over. But more than that, we know because He has shown us. He gave up what was most precious to him, his beloved Son Jesus, so that we could be redeemed, forgiven, healed, put back together again in the likeness of his Son. Let’s make it RUOK year, rather than just one day. True love can do no less, as we seek to love our neighbour as much as we love ourselves.

 

To Respect Our Parents

By | From The Heart | No Comments

What does it mean to respect another person? The dictionary tells us that respect is a feeling of deep admiration or having a sense of esteem or of great worth for another person. In his first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 5:3-8), Paul emphasises one aspect of children and grandchildren looking after the physical needs of their parents and grandparents. If your parents are old and cannot look after themselves, then their children should be the first to look after them.

Let children be kind to their parents. This may mean providing for them financially (e.g. helping them with their financial affairs, paying bills for them), but it can also mean looking after them when they cannot look after themselves (e.g. taking them to medical appointments, arranging for the care they need,  taking them into our home and caring for them there).

”Let them first learn to show godliness to their own household” (1 Timothy 5:4). The emphasis here is that since your parents supported and nourished you when you were young and helpless, so you should support them when they are old and need to be cared for. Parents should not be left to the care of the church or the government when they have children who can care for them. How can we be kind to others if we do not first show kindness and care to our own family?

Then comes the statement in 1 Timothy 5:8, if you don’t look after your own family, you have denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever. If we profess Christ as Lord, then we do what He tells us to do. As a Christian, our faith is also shown by our actions (James 2:26). Our faith is so often seen by our actions. We are to be kind towards other people, particularly to those in need.  So when it comes to our own family members, this requirement is even more glaring. True love respects; so our parents need for respect should come first and foremost, always before us.

 

Life-balance

By | From The Heart | No Comments

G’day, how are you?” What’s the most common answer to this Aussie greeting? I don’t have any research to prove it, but by far the one I hear the most is: “Busy!” It’s almost a badge of honour, or a mark of godliness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against people being gainfully and fully occupied, especially in the great work of honouring Jesus. But if the key indicator of our lives is how busy we are, something is wrong. It’s what we’re busy doing that matters.

Balancing competing priorities or just the business of surviving is not easy. It takes wisdom and skill. Wisdom to know what is really important, and skill to keep focused on what matters. And then a good plan to have our diaries (what we do) align with our priorities (why we do it).

God knows this, so he set the world up so that there are 6 days for work, and one when we stop working, take a rest and reflect – recreation – be re-created. That’s why it’s important that we gather together for part of the rest day – to help one another be re-created in the image of Christ.

This is one of the ways we truly love – the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength (as we prioritise serving Him well and resting well) and our neighbour as ourselves (as we serve them well and also give them a rest from us!). That’s what Jesus says is what the law and prophets are all about – loving God and our neighbour. Responding to God’s love to us.

Let’s make sure that our priorities don’t get out of whack, and that what we do with our time reflects God’s priorities for us, our careers, our families, and our church family.

 

Let’s Be Honest

By | From The Heart | No Comments

In Acts chapter 5 we have the story of Ananias and Sapphira. When Peter confronts the two he does not accuse them of greed or materialism, but rather of lying. Then, Peter does not accuse them of lying to the leaders of the church, but rather, lying to God (Acts 5:4). So it is saying here that lying to the church is equivalent to lying to God. No wonder it says that the whole church was in fear about this (Acts 5:11).

In the church today we do not believe in killing people for lying. We are too nice and pleasant with each other for that. We would rather lie and keep things pleasant than tell the truth and make ourselves as honest before men as we should be before God. Yet in this first century church, they believe that being a truthful community before God is so important, it’s a matter of life and death.

In Matthew 5:33-37, Jesus speaks against making oaths. An oath was used as a way of confirming that what I say, I will in fact do. Something like, As God is my witness I will do this… But the Pharisees had worked out ways around this. They said that if you swear by other names, e.g. by heaven or earth or Jerusalem or by your own head, as long as you were not directly using God’s name to swear by, then if you break such an oath, that was OK, because you did not formally swear by God’s name.

But Jesus says all these things belong to God anyway, so they should not be used to make a false oath, or allow you to break your oath. In fact Jesus is saying that you should not need to use an oath at all. You should be a person of integrity. Your reputation should be such that people know when you say something or make a promise, you will always keep your word. Honesty should just be part of our nature. If we make a promise to God or to people and we don’t live up to it, then we are using God’s name in vain, because as sons and daughters of God, our character is to be like His, always truthful.