Earthquakes

Love each other deeply

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Prayer, Persistence, Patience, Deliverance, Trust

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Christians ought to work hard at loving each other. The Greek word translated as “deeply,” “earnestly,” or “fervently” is ektenē, used to describe the muscles of an athlete straining to win a race. Peter writes that Christians should do this above all. A follower of Christ must make demonstrating the love of Jesus to others his or her first priority. This is always a requirement, but especially crucial during seasons of suffering.

Loving each other is also a proper response to the realisation that the end of all things is near, as mentioned in 1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.” Knowing that the Day of the Lord could come at any time should cause believers to double down on our commitment to each other.

Finally, loving each other in this way covers a multitude of sins. We need to be careful with this statement. This doesn’t mean that our acts of love for each other can earn God’s forgiveness. Nor does Peter mean to imply that we are paying our sins off through good works. That would contradict what Peter and other New Testament writers clearly teach: that our sins are paid for by Christ’s death on the cross, and forgiveness for sin comes only through trusting in Him.

Rather, the idea that our love for each other covers a multitude of sins relates to our imperfection. Christians are not yet sinless. We are not perfect. We have set the course of our lives away from sin, but we still fail to obey sometimes. We make mistakes, even when we mean well.

Love for each other includes forgiving each other, overlooking past hurts, and building each other up when we fall.

It is difficult for sin and resentment to flourish in a community rich in Christ-like love.

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath in Devotional, 0 comments

Repentance to Salvation

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2 Corinthians 7:10: “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Paul has written about the deep sorrow experienced by the Corinthians in response to his letter to them. They grieved deeply over their sinfulness. Paul has not dismissed that pain, but he has said he rejoices because it led to their repentance from sin. In the end, it was for their good and not their harm.

Now Paul generalises this idea to every believer. Godly grief produces repentance: turning away from the sinful path to go in the right direction. That repentance leads to salvation and leaves no regret. Paul may not have in mind here salvation in the sense of a person’s eternal destiny, but those in Christ are securely saved because of God’s forgiveness for sin is irreversible.

Worldly grief, on the other hand, leads only to death. Worldly grief is a pain over the consequences of sin that does not lead to repentance. It is only pain followed by more sin followed by more pain. The path of sin always leads to death and destruction and never to life and joyfulness.

Godly grief hurts. It hurts us to recognise our sinfulness and our responsibility for bringing pain to others with our sin. If that hurt leads to repentance, though, it is a pain that frees the believer from regret. In the end, a Christian is glad for the grief that brought them back to the path of life.

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Grumbling to Gratitude

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11 The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

In this sinful, fallen world, it can often be difficult to see the positives in your life. I, for one, when life knocks me down, sometimes look at worldly disappoints and find myself feeling hopeless and defeated. I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of guy, but it is not always easy.

For a while now, I have felt flustered and sometimes in a panic. 2021 has been kind to me but at the same time there have been moments that have really knocked me down and I am not proud of how I have responded to those moments. The morning wake-up calls from my alarm on my phone has seemed even more shrill than usual, sending the low-grade headaches I’ve been nursing into full-on migraine status. I open the shower door, take a deep breath and sigh because the day ahead already feels like it’s going to be tough.

I grumpily make my way to the kitchen to brew the first of many much-needed cups of coffee. I take another deep breath as I head back to my home office, saying a quick, silent prayer that everyone else would wake up on the right side of the bed.

In the grand scheme of things, most mornings aren’t horrible. Nothing major goes wrong, but nothing goes particularly right, either, and I sometimes do not feel anything like my normally positive self.

Sometimes those not-quite-right days can be even trickier than times of full-on crisis because we are not technically supposed to be grumbling or complaining over such trivial things. Let’s face it, no one is sending flowers or handing out casseroles to comfort you.

I feel the old familiar sting of conviction in Philippians 2:14-15 when we’re told to “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” (NIV)

God has blessed me abundantly. I’m certain it’s frustrating to Him when I complain, just like it’s frustrating to me when someone complains to me (or how I don’t feel any better if I complain).

Misery loves company. And if I grumble my way throughout the day, my attitude would have be picked up by others that interact with me.

We must decide each morning to rise above the annoyances. I’d much rather “shine like stars in the sky” than gather others to stand under my own personal cloud.

Isaiah 58:11 says, “The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.

Guide you always?

Satisfy your needs in sun-scorched places?

Be like a well-watered garden?

Yes, please!

If I’m feeling parched, I can imagine that my family, my friends and my co-workers might be, too. But rather than fostering a dreary drought, I can consciously choose to lift others by rising above my own trivial complaints.

What wonderful news that the Lord is with us during days of crisis as well as the mediocre days filled with mundane tasks amd migraines. Remembering this grace in our weakness easily becomes a shining moment for God’s heavenly strength.

God never promised us smooth sailing, but He does promise that He will be right there beside us, restoring us and urging us onward. He is there to fill us up so we can continue to fill others.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to accept both life’s little challenges and Your restoring help with grace and gratitude. Help me remember that no problem is too large or too small for me to call out to You. Please help me remember that a heart can be filled in with joy every day, not just the easy days. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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He promises to be our refuge and strength.

David goes on in Psalm 10 and says…

His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity.He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;     he lurks in ambush like a lion in his thicket; he lurks that he may seize the poor;he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. 10 The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

The ungodly are compared to a preying lion.  They prey on the weak, helpless and poor.

And David questions again…

  • Has God forgotten?
  • Is God hiding?
  • Does he see all of this pain that is happening?
  • Why is God not stopping it?

Oh I have been there! Many many times I have been there. I am there now.


Where are you God? My life is a mess!
I have wondered these same thoughts and I love David’s example to us.

Where does he go with his questions?

  — He goes straight to God.

Where should we go with our questions? 

 — Straight to God.

In the final 7 verses of Psalm 10 – David gives a call to action.

Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted 13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.16 The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear 18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

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It is a great privilege that we can go to the God of the universe in prayer – do not miss this!!  He loves us and wants us to cry out to him. He wants to comfort us and help us.

We may not always understand God’s ways but we can go to God’s throne and say – God – don’t forget about me! Help me! Protect me!

In difficult times, I have asked God to intervene and in that moment – it has not felt like God intervened.  But who knows what he has protected me from – perhaps things could have been ten times worse than they were and I will never know it.  God has protected me and brought me through every trial I have ever faced.  He is faithful!

Are you facing the impossible?  Or maybe struggling with anxiety about something that feels impossible?  That roadblock in front of you may not disappear with one prayer.  But this I can assure you of…

God is not hiding from you.

God does hear your prayers.

And God loves you.

So keep on talking to God about it!

While we may not like the hard circumstances we are stuck in – we can have hope. A day will come when there will be no more tears and no more pain.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
(Revelation 21:4)

Pray Pray Pray

Prayer is the most powerful weapon, the most powerful connection you have with the Father. Pray through your journey and you will succeed.

James 5:15-16 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Rejoice in your sufferings

Romans 5:3-5 – More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Everyone in this world will experience trials and tribulations. God knows that we can become stronger through conflict. God’s ultimate love is our redemption from the suffering we experience as we navigate through the difficult times in our lives. Our moment of rejoicing comes when we realise that no matter how bad our lives are, there is always hope and a chance for a new life. God’s love is always there and we can find hope, courage and strength through a relationship with our Lord.

I must learn to trust God is control. I must listen to His voice for guidance and then obey Him.

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