MIXED MARRIAGES and God’s Family!!

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In Psalm 127 it says “children are a gift from the Lord – they are a blessing”.  In spiritual terms a gift means any endowment that comes through God’s grace.

This means that each one of us started our lives as a blessing.  God had a purpose and a plan for each one of us before we were even born.  And yet, most of us fall so far short of what God had planned for our lives.  I am the daughter of an Almighty God.  We are all children of an Almighty God.  We need to start behaving like God’s children. In Psalm 127 it says “children are a gift from the Lord – they are a blessing”.  In spiritual terms a gift means any endowment that comes through God’s grace.

Once you accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour you become a member of God’s family. Ephesians 1:5 tells us that God predestined us to be adopted as His sons and daughters through Jesus Christ.

So whether you like it or not you are part of God’s family and there are going to be some members in the family that you are just not going to like!  You won’t get on with all the members and at times may feel frustrated and angry and hurt by the members of this family.  But, on the other hand, there will be some members that you will love dearly and who will care for you and love you in return – basically it is the same as living in any earthly family!  Just as we cannot chose what family we will be born into physically we also cannot choose the members in God’s family.

The fact that as believers we all belong to one family was brought forcibly to my attention recently.  I have a friend whose son is a Believer and who joined an internet Christian dating agency.  He met this lovely lady from the Philippines on line and they started chatting and then skyping each other.  The relationship developed over cyberspace and eventually he flew over to the Philippines to meet this lady and her family.  Her family and her are also believers.

The couple decided to get married and my friend asked me to pray for them.  Both families were struggling with the fact that the couple came from different cultures, spoke different languages and knew so little of each other’s lives.  The only common ground they really had was Jesus Christ.  As  I was praying for them one morning I came across the following verses in
Ephesians (2: 19 – 22) “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone.  In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”

If we are believers we are not foreigners to each other.  We are all part of God’s family and with Christ as the cornerstone of our relationships we will overcome any difficulties and challenges that we may have with each other as long as we continue to pray together and worship our Lord together.  God calls us to live in one family by His Holy Spirit.

The following video is about five minutes long.  If you have the time – sit back, listen to the words, relax and enjoy it!  To me this video sums up what the Family of God is all about.  It does not matter whether you are white or black, Chinese or Indian, a Zulu or a Xhosa etc, whether you are male or female, whether you are disabled or not – if you are a believer in Jesus Christ you are joined together with all other Believers no matter who you are or where you are in the world!

The title of the song is “Stand by me” and God, Himself, has promised to stand by us always.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1276623088715&set=vb.1624134122&type=2&theater  (face book)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI_0Hyn57Lk  (you tube)

GLOSSOPHOBIA – overcoming your fears!

SAM_3539I suffer from Glossophobia but I am not alone!  Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking and according to psychologists, most people fear public speaking more than death!

If you had attended the service at Mowbray Presbyterian Church this past Sunday morning you would have experienced a miracle because I was the ‘Preacher’.

We have been members of Mowbray Presbyterian church for over seventeen years and I used to dread it when it was our family’s turn to pray in church.  The worship leader would announce that the “Curry family will now come up to pray”.  Steve would get up from the pew, followed by Sarah, Amy and Emma Jane while I remained where I was sinking lower and lower in my seat, trying very hard to pretend that I was not part of the Curry family!

Our minister phoned me a few weeks ago and asked whether I would speak on Mother’s Day.  I didn’t even hesitate – I said YES.  I immediately broke out in a cold sweat, started having heart palpitations and felt nauseous but I said YES.

I put the phone down and asked God “what have I done?  What am I going to speak about?  What if I make a fool of myself?” and God gave me the same answer He has been giving believers for hundreds of years.  The same answer He gives you when you cry out to Him in despair or panic or fear.  He repeated the words found in Ephesians 2 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”.

It stands to reason that if God has prepared the way for us He will also equip and enable us to do what He has asked us to do.  As I was still sitting there, in shock about having said yes, I realized that God would not have put it on our minister’s heart to ask me to talk if He was not also prepared to equip me to talk.

Shortly after saying yes to preaching, I came across this saying “Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet”.

As a child of God we need to be prepared to say YES to Him when He asks us to do something and then we need to TRUST that He will enable us to do what He has asked.

With my ‘yes’ God was able to start preparing me and equipping me to be able to stand in front of the congregation and ‘preach’.

My all time favourite Bible story of someone saying YES to Jesus is found in Matthew 17.

Jesus and His disciples arrived in Capernaum and the temple tax collectors asked Peter whether he and Jesus paid the two-drachma temple tax.  Peter said that they did.

”When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak.  “What do you think, Simon?” he asked.  “From who do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes – from their own sons or from others?’

“From others,” Peter answered.

“Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him. “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line.  Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin.  Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours”.

Now Peter could have thought to himself “Very funny! I bet Jesus is just kidding me”.  He could have gone to any one of Jesus followers and asked for the money to pay the temple tax but instead he says “yes!” to Jesus, grabs his fishing rod and heads down to the lake.  If Peter was anything like the rest of us, he was most probably thinking to himself “why am I doing this”.  Can you just imagine his wonder and excitement when he catches that fish and opens its mouth to discover the four-drachma coin.  If he had not said yes to Jesus, and just borrowed the money from someone, he would have missed the incredible miracle of finding a coin in a fishes’ mouth. Jesus could have just produced a coin – after all he had changed water into wine so a coin would have been no problem for Him but He did not.  He wanted Peter to “move his feet”.

So many of us miss out on God’s blessing because we refuse to move our feet. We need to beobedient to God, to listen for His voice and to be faithful to act on it.  However, we have doubts, and fears and feel foolish about doing what Jesus has asked us to do.  It was like me when I said yes to preaching  – I thought to myself ‘what if I make an absolute fool of myself’ and God said to me “I am the one who wanted you to talk.  You are quite capable of making a fool of yourself on your own time but for today I will undertake and carry you through!