Monthly Archives: January 2013

A deserter in the making!

This morning after I came back from the school run I set down to have a quiet time and I decided to listen to a sermon from John Piper a friend recommended. I am so glad I did. I was both encouraged and challenged.

The title of his sermon was “He Stood by Me and Strengthened Me for the Sake of the Gospel” based on 2 Timothy 4:9-22. Paul is at the end of his life and ministry and he is writing to encourage Timothy and prepare him for what ministry holds.

These verses caught my attention:

“Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.” 2 Timothy 4:9-10

Paul had been deserted by one of his fellow Christians and team member. Unfortunately this is far too common in many churches these days. I know we have all heard stories, sad stories told of those who have abandoned the Gospel and sometimes we don’t really know why. In this verse Paul is telling us exactly what happened: “for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.”

Loving this world makes it impossible to follow what Jesus has designed for us as Christians. The world is ignoring, denying, diminishing God and distorting the image of our Saviour Jesus Christ. What the world sells us all the time is that we should be in the centre of our own universe and there is no place for God in it. A life with Christ means having Him in the centre. Recongnizing His lordship over us and letting Him direct our paths. We simply cannot do that if we love the world.

Demas was working closely with the great apostle Paul and he could not take it. He left the ministry. We do not know if he ever returned but he chose to love the world instead of loving and following Jesus. At this point we might think: I am ok then! I am not part of a church ministry, or a youth group teaching team or Sunday school or anything like that! Phew! God has placed us in many different places and has given each one of us a very important ministry: share the Gospel with every person we know.

If we are married we have been given the amazing, very hard task, to be a helper and support to our husbands. If we have children, then our ministry is to help them grow in God’s way, teaching them to Love Him. If we are single, we have friends and family we need to love and care for. Whether we stay at home or go out to work, we meet people we need to encourage to walk closer to God or share the whole plan of Salvation with. You see, we are not off the hook! No matter where we are, we are to be witnessing about the Gospel, showing people who Jesus is and what He has to offer them!

Are we deserters in the making? Are we letting the world seduce us? Where do we stand? Although the verses above don’t give us any details of how long it took for Demas to get to the point where he left, I can imagine that it was a slow process. That is a great danger. Loving the world starts really small and slowly it takes hold of our hearts. We might find ourselves nodding to views that are contrary to the Bible, or taking part in activities that do not portray the life of a Christian. Do we find ourselves disagreeing with the truths God teaches in His word? Were are we setting our hearts?

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated ar the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2

May our gracious God help us focus our hearts and minds on Him for the honour and glory of His name!

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Things of the heart

If I were to ask you to think about the heart you would probalby think of a heart drawn on a piece of paper coloured red. Sometimes we think of the word love. We might picture an embrace, a couple holding hands, a mother and a child. Some will immediately think of the muscle that pumps blood in our bodies and is so vital to each one of us! Others might think of a broken heart, pain caused by someone long gone that left and empty place in their lives.

The Bible tells us many things about the heart and one that has always stuck with me, since I first became a Christian is this:

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

The people of God had once again turned away from their King. God’s message is of punishment and He warns us about the heart! This is not to be taken likely. It is in our heart that love will grow and be nurtured, but our hearts will also produce things, attitudes, that are not in line with God’s will for our lives.

A few months ago I attended a training course for youth leaders and the speaker pointed out time and time again that we need to deal with the problems of the heart when we think of our children and youth in our churches. The heart that is not centered in God, the heart that has pushed the King away. The heart that refuses to bow before the One who stands with all authority to forgive and redeem. That made me think of how many times we overlook the state of our hearts and since then I have been thinking about this blog. A blog to talk about things of the heart.

It is not all gloomy and desperate though! Jesus has paid the price for us and has welcomed us into His family. For those who have come before Him and given their lives to Him there is hope! That is why we are encouraged to live a life pursuing holiness and being strengthened in our faith day by day.

 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

It is my sincere desire and my prayer that we can find encouragement in the posts and that we may find strength in us to expose the heart before the throne and let the Creator and Author of life take it and mold it, so we can glorify Him through our lives.