One of the things I find myself drawn back to again and again is the relational and personal dimension of our faith. That we first and foremost relate to God as a person, friend, father, Lord and so on. When we talk about believing .. it’s more than just about our ideas and doctrines of God (which is important for healthy faith), we must not neglect the basics of the beginnings of our faith which often is simple. And this particular verse in John 14:1-6 mentioning the Father’s House is the one which inspired me to call the church premises we worship in the Father’s House. The place is meant to remind us of the place or space we can have to grow in God, explore new aspects of faith, relate to very different people, and mature along the way … we leave behind simplistic unhealthy aspects of faith, and yet mature with the simplicity authentic faith through the thick and thin of our life journey. The Father’s House in our lifetime now, is a symbol of the pit-stop we need to allow ourselves to mature in worship, in community and in fellowship.
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One of my favorite prayers I’ve learnt from the Bible is from 1 Samuel where the young prophet Samuel was taught to pray this way.
"Speak Lord, You servant is listening".
So often, the issue at hand is not whether God speaks, it’s whether I am listening.
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While we may or may not find out the exact causes and reasons of the difficulties we are facing each day, we will still face them. So often, we are tempted to head towards a dead-end of analysis when like it or not we still need to act (i.e. decide on the next course of action). My guess is that God first and foremost walks with us during times of hardship, and at the same time may guide us to a greater understanding of what is going on, but in the long run, he persists in empowering us to overcome the obstacles before us.
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The Bible – or more precisely – the library of 66 books we have in our hands today, has indeed been a necessary resource for my own life, and ministry (work). My understanding on how the Bible functions in my life has been enriched, i.e. it’s not just a Christian chicken soup for the soul book!, and in some areas revised for the better as it now it encompasses all of life, i.e. not just about religious issues. The practice of reading, and reflecting on the Bible also follows with an ongoing learning process with various curves. The methods are many whether we use guided notes like this devotional, or a simple listening to the texts through the Bible Experience Audio, what I found important and constant is the need to return to the reservoir of truth, guidance, comfort and challenge that comes from it’s pages. And it’s really beyond just nice and inspiring thoughts, it’s God speaking through the texts to our context. In times like this where there’s an overcrowded competition of messages which demand our attention, some needed, others mostly distracting, I’m looking forward to hear what can cut through the maze or mess of ideas with a voice who truly is for the good of all. Returning to the Bible (with all it’s interpretive challenges) forces me to hear the human voices again, but more importantly to hear God’s voice afresh.
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These harmonics vibrated from July 14 – July 18, 2008