Tag Archives: sermon

Lockdown Day 32 Freedom

Today is Freedom Day in South Africa. It commemorates our first democratic elections in 1994. At last all South Africans could vote. One would have thought that after twenty six years we would now have a free society but that is not so. We are not free from crime, we are not free from corruption, we are not free from greed, selfishness, xenophobia, inequality or evil.

What is freedom? The Oxford dictionary gives us two choices.

  1. The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.
  2. The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

According to these definitions, are any of us really free? Ask Israel Folau.

What about drug addicts, alcoholics or those addicted to porn. Are they free?

According to the Bible, God has given us one main freedom and He will never revoke that. That is the freedom of choice. Right at the beginning, humanity could choose whether to obey God or not. Later Joshua spelled it out for the Israelites.

And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served …….or the gods of the Amorites, but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Josh 24:15 NKJV)

Because of the choice early humanity made, we are all under the dominion of sin. Hardly free! Even Paul, that great apostle, said,
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18 and 19.)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can certainly relate. How many times have I told myself not to treat my adult children as if they were still children instead of the independent adults they now are? I try but how many times have I failed? We are all slaves, therefore not free at all.

For this very purpose Jesus came to die. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galations 5:1 NIV)

In our virtual sermon yesterday, we remembered that …we are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Rom 8:37 NIV) and that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (verse 38)

May we all appropriate the freedom Christ has won for us. Happy Freedom Day!

Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

Lockdown Day 10 Sunday again

Sunday has come around again and not just any Sunday. Today is Palm Sunday. The family came over for church again this week, and we seem to be getting into the habit of tea/coffee and something nice to eat after church. It will probably be one of my happy memories of lockdown. Not the usual stress to get to church on time, but rather a more relaxed flexible family time. We could stop the preacher mid-sermon to get water, help the kids with their activities and so on.

Our sermon was based on Colossians 2:13, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins”

What I got out of it is that forgiveness is always costly. Our forgiveness cost God. We are called to forgive others. There will be a cost to us. It is not easy and can only be done if we have a full appreciation of the forgiveness God gifted to us.

I thought the children might want to make palm crosses,

but it was much more fun to race up and down on the driveway on roller blades or a scooter. After all, yesterday had been a cold, wet, indoor kind of day.

Christian Servanthood

During December and early January my husband and I were in New Zealand to visit our son and his family and to explore.

While exploring, we visited church’s where we were at. As Christmas drew near, I was struck by Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” she said.

While I was still mulling over this, we attended the Hamilton Central Baptist Church where a missionary working in Papua New Guinea, Grant Dixon, told us what it meant to be a servant.

I was so struck by what he said that it has become the foundation of the start to my New Year. The following is a summary.

  1. As a servant, I am not the master. Jesus is.
  2. Serving is what servants do.
  3. Servants are under authority and cannot abuse the trust of the master.
  4. As I serve God, I serve others and as I serve others, I serve God.
  5. Servants don’t choose what they do. they can only choose the attitude in which they do it.
  6. Serving and giving don’t come naturally. We have to choose to do it.
  7. Serving often entails hard work, long term application, even suffering.

As part of the message Grant read the covenant prayer by John Wesley.

servant

I was particularly struck by point number five. Servants don’t choose what they do.

My husband has been a Gideon for over thirty-five years but I have always regarded it as his passion and calling, not mine. Although I totally believe in the handing out of bibles leading to the salvation of many, there are things about he organisation that I don’t like. A woman can not join the Gideons. If her husband is a Gideon, she may join the Auxiliary which is composed of wives of Gideons. She may not speak in church or to a Gideon meeting, but only to Auxiliary gatherings. As a qualified local preacher of the Methodist Church, a silver level Toastmaster and a woman of the twenty-first century, I found this very old-fashioned. Moreover, in South Africa, the Gideons are strongly dominated by Afrikaans Christians. Trainings and zone meetings are conducted in Afrikaans and although I understand the language, I don’t feel comfortable in those situations.

Last year the president of our Auxiliary begged me to come onto the Cabinet as vice president and, perhaps foolishly, I said I would pray about it. Some three days later in my quiet time the following verse jumped out of the page in my face, “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.” (Col 1:25) Just to make sure, three days later, I read the following in my quiet time, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” (2 Tim 3:16). I think I’d have to be very obtuse not to get the message. so I became vice president more from obedience than any passion.

Now I have been reminded that a servant does not choose what she does, just the attitude in which she does it. Moreover the covenant prayer says, “Rank me with whom you will.” That includes Afrikaans people belonging to an old fashioned organisation.

So 2019 will be the year of learning to be a servant. It won’t come easy as it goes against all my inclinations but I know that Christ will strengthen me even in my attitude. May my attitude be gratitude.