Pastor Tim Pianta 65 Main Street, Tolga, Phone 0418882605 Email tolgacommunitychurch@gmail.com

Monday, September 1, 2014

About God - Preparing for war!


Psalm 46 

Be Still

This psalm encourages us to hope and trust in God; in his power and providence, and his gracious presence with his church in the worst of times. We may apply it to spiritual enemies, and the encouragement we have that, through Christ, we shall be conquerors over them. He is a Help, a present Help, a Help found, one whom we have found to be so; a Help at hand, one that is always near; we cannot desire a better, nor shall we ever find the like in any creature. Here is joy to the church, even in sorrowful times. The river alludes to the graces and the comforts received by the Holy Spirit, which flow through every part of the church, and through God's sacred ordinances, gladdening the heart of every believer. It is promised that the church shall not be moved. If God be in our hearts, by his word dwelling richly in us, we shall be established, we shall be helped; let us trust and not be afraid. You want to know victory – stop striving, to let go, surrender to God – be still.

Mark 4:39

          Peace, be still - Be silent! Be still! There is uncommon majesty and authority in these words. Who but God could do this? Perhaps this salvation of his disciples in the boat might be designed to show us the protection and deliverance which Christ will give to his followers, however violently they may be persecuted by earth.
How often do we ask God for everything, but we don’t stop to listen or to be still?  The act of being still and getting quiet becomes more of a challenge in our hectic world. The world asks us to be busy. God asks us to be still so that we can receive love, peace and guidance. Some commentators say we have upwards of 50,000 thoughts a day. We burn our brains out.

       Quieting the mind, shutting up the mind requires practice. For some reason, meditation has not been a mainstay of traditional Christianity.  Prayer and Bible reading are encouraged in the bible and so is meditation.  Jesus, John the Baptist and others went off to meditate and to take themselves away from the hectic world. Meditation is not only about turning things over in our mind, it is also being still to allow God to instruct us about Himself and to allow ourselves to come under His authority.
        The next time you have fearful and anxious thoughts that are raging within you like a violent storm, do as Jesus did. Silence those thoughts by saying, “Peace, be still.” When you need strength and help, let go and rest in God, your refuge. “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still so God can give you His vision for your life – so you will know God’s purpose for you.

Nehemiah 13:1 – 12

1When the Law of Moses was being read aloud to the people, they came to the passage that said that no Ammonite or Moabite was ever to be permitted to join God's people. 2This was because the people of Ammon and Moab did not give food and water to the Israelites on their way out of Egypt. Instead, they paid money to Balaam to curse Israel, but our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3When the people of Israel heard this law read, they excluded all foreigners from the community. 4The priest Eliashib, who was in charge of the Temple storerooms, had for a long time been on good terms with Tobiah. 5He allowed Tobiah to use a large room that was intended only for storing offerings of grain and incense, the equipment used in the Temple, the offerings for the priests, and the tithes of grain, wine, and olive oil given to the Levites, to the Temple musicians, and to the Temple guards. 6While this was going on, I was not in Jerusalem, because in the thirty-second year that Artaxerxes was king of Babylon I had gone back to report to him. After some time I received his permission 7and returned to Jerusalem. There I was shocked to find that Eliashib had allowed Tobiah to use a room in the Temple. 8I was furious and threw out all of Tobiah's belongings. 9I gave orders for the rooms to be ritually purified and for the Temple equipment, grain offerings, and incense to be put back. 10I also learned that the Temple musicians and other Levites had left Jerusalem and gone back to their farms, because the people had not been giving them enough to live on. 11I reprimanded the officials for letting the Temple be neglected. And I brought the Levites and musicians back to the Temple and put them to work again. 12Then all the people of Israel again started bringing to the Temple storerooms their tithes of grain, wine, and olive oil.

Israel was a peculiar people, and was not to mingle with the nations. What happens here is from publicly reading the word of God; when it is properly attended to, it shows us sin and righteousness, good and evil, and shows where we have gone wrong.

We profit, when we separate from evil. Those that drive sin out of their hearts, the living temples, must throw out its household stuff, and take away all the things that are the food and fuel of lust. When sin is cast out of the heart by repentance, let the blood of Christ be applied to it by faith, then let it be furnished with the graces of God's Spirit, for every good work.


We are not to shelter anyone destined for God punishment. All other people we are to love as God does – to do less is not to clean out God’s temple. This passage clearly shows that you will be rewarded for your good works done God’s way.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

God's Existence, exactness and accuracy are evident in Creation

Creation is God’s way of revealing Himself to humanity.

What does creation, (the universe around us), tell us about God?

Can we find evidence of God's existence from looking at the world in which we live?

The Bible asserts that the universe is a testimony to God's Existence, exactness and accuracy. Psalm 19:1-3 has this to say: 1 How clearly the sky reveals God's glory! How plainly it shows what he has done!  2 Each day announces it to the following day; each night repeats it to the next. 3 No speech or words are used, no sound is heard;

Acts 14:15-17 says 14 When Barnabas and Paul heard what they were about to do, they tore their clothes and ran into the middle of the crowd, shouting, 15 "Why are you doing this? We ourselves are only human beings like you! We are here to announce the Good News, to turn you away from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven, earth, sea, and all that is in them.
16 In the past he allowed all people to go their own way. 17 But he has always given evidence of his existence by the good things he does: he gives you rain from heaven and crops at the right times; he gives you food and fills your hearts with happiness."

In Romans 1:20 Paul wrote: For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse

These scriptures are reminders that God's creative work can be observed in nature. He created things to function in an orderly fashion and He continues to keep things in order. His handiwork is present everywhere for all to view. We only need to be involved with God’s creation to know that God exists.

Even though God’s creation is a wonderful thing to see – it is The Lord God we worship. To reverse this and worship God’s creation will cause us much trouble as this doing in the world today. It is the worship of God that will lead us to salvation – not the other way around. Creation is testimony to the greatness of the Lord God. Creation gives a basic knowledge of God. All people, at all times, know that God exists through what He has revealed. Creation though only gives basic knowledge about God. It does not give us specific information about God – for this we need the scriptures. It is always best to remember that God’s Son came to save all sinners from the wages of sin and we learn this from reading or hearing the Bible. Creation provides everyone with an understanding of God's existence but not enough to save.

Because humankind has fallen from their original perfect state we are now totally corrupted by sin. God’s Son, not creation saves us - This truth holds true for believer and unbeliever alike. Creation proves that God exists - without Scripture creation tells unbelievers nothing about salvation.
Though creation testifies that God does exist, it is only God Himself who can give us knowledge of His own being. The Bible makes it clear that God's revelation of Himself in creation is not sufficient knowledge for sinful man to know Him.

Acts 17:22, 25 tell us 22 Paul stood up in front of the city council and said, "I see that in every way you Athenians are very religious. 23 For as I walked through your city and looked at the places where you worship, I found an altar on which is written, 'To an Unknown God.' That which you worship, then, even though you do not know it, is what I now proclaim to you. 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands. 25 Nor does he need anything that we can supply by working for him, since it is he himself who gives life and breath and everything else to everyone.

Man can see the existence of God in creation, but he still needs the scriptures to get it straight about whom God is and His plan of salvation – get these two things wrong and no matter how sincere you are - you are still wrong.

The Bible makes it clear that God's revelation of Himself in creation is not sufficient knowledge for sinful man to know Him.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians: (Ephesians 3:8,9) 8I am less than the least of all God's people; yet God gave me this privilege of taking to the Gentiles the Good News about the infinite riches of Christ, 9 and of making all people see how God's secret plan is to be put into effect. God, who is the Creator of all things, kept his secret hidden through all the past ages,

Creation, by itself, is an inadequate source to know the God of the Bible. While the evidence from nature bears testament to God's existence, it certainly is not enough for anyone to know which God exists or what God expects from humanity. Creation can prove God's existence not His Word.

Creation Is Not Enough – it tells us nothing about where sin came from, how it can be pardoned, or how to live a holy life. For these things we must go to God's revelation - the Bible - we need God's written Word. Any conclusions about God's character and purpose we might make from creation must be evaluated in light of what God has said about Himself and what Jesus revealed about God in His ministry while on earth. Creation is a witness to God's might and power but it does not supply all the knowledge a sinner needs to develop a personal relationship with God. That is for God's written Word - the Bible.


It is important to understand that our God is the creator of ALL things and it is Him we worship – this is the starting point of salvation. Salvation itself is given by God – it is the Holy Spirit who quickens our spirit to receive this gift.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

About God

Psalm 90

It is supposed that this psalm refers to the sentence passed on Israel in the wilderness, Numbers 14. The favour and protection of God are the only sure rest and comfort of the soul in this evil world. Christ Jesus is the refuge and dwelling-place to which we may repair. We are dying creatures, all our comforts in the world are dying comforts, but God is an ever-living God, and believers find him so. When God, by sickness, or other afflictions, turns men to destruction, he thereby calls men to return unto him to repent of their sins, and live a new life. Romans 3:23 tells us about our condition and our remedy. God created us to live in His glory not the enemy’s sin. Time is God’s – eternal time - the body and soul shall both return and be united again.

Key Verse

Psalm 90:2 

Before the mountains were born, before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world—from forever in the past to forever in the future, you are God. 

Focus

We want to live in such a way that at the end of our days we can say confidently, “My life was worthwhile.” What help is available to make the most of our days regardless of their number? Psalm 90 reminds us that though life is fleeting, we can live wisely with God’s eternal presence.

Goals

To examine Psalm 90 to contrast humanity’s frailty and sinfulness with God’s enduring power and goodness. To cultivate thankfulness that God cares about how they can get the most out of the gift of life. To declare how their relationship with God gives lasting meaning and significance to their lives.

The central subject of Psalm 90 is time.

It deals with the shortness of human life—there is too little time. But most importantly, the psalm asks how to live life in light of the certainty of death and the fleeting nature of human existence. Part of the answer is to focus first on the eternality of God, the one who gives life (90:1) and makes life purposeful (90:17).


Note# Psalm 90 has an important location in the Book of Psalms. It is the first psalm in Book Four (the Psalms are divided into five “books” or divisions: Book I: Psalms 1–41; Book II: Psalms 42–72; Book III: Psalms 73–89; Book IV: Psalms 90–106; Book V: Psalms 107–150). Book III was dominated by psalms that complained to God about Israel’s suffering. This ended with Psalm 89, a psalm that complained about the failure of the Davidic monarchy. Psalm 90 now begins a book of psalms that seems to answer that complaint with the assurance that “the LORD reigns” Psalm 90 speaks about the shortness of human life in order to address a particular trauma Israel suffered, namely the Babylonian exile (587–539 B.C.). The short time of life, the wrath of God (90:7, 9, 11), and humanity’s “toil and trouble” (90:10) are steps God uses to fix Israel’s suffering. Isaiah 40 uses similar language and images to speak about this event.

Psalm 90 is the only psalm in the book of Psalms attributed to Moses (see the title of Psalm 90, “A Prayer of Moses, and the man of God”).

The titles of psalms were added later in order to provide context for reading them, either by associating them with a person (mostly with David) or with an event. The scribes who preserved the psalm understood it as a prayer for Israel when it was in distress and they imagined the prayer as the words of Moses. Who better to voice a prayer for God’s people in such a situation than Moses? Moses had prayed for Israel when God became angry with them in the wilderness (Exodus 32). Now in Psalm 90 Moses prays across the ages for Israel in exile.

Psalm 90:1-2 the first verse expresses confidence in God as the source of protection and care. “Dwelling place” is closely related to the term “refuge” which appears frequently in the Psalms (2:12; 34:8; 71:3). The claim about God here is very personal— the Lord is “our dwelling place” The concern for time is also apparent from the start. The Lord has been our dwelling place “in all generations.” Verse 2, however, declares God’s greatness by pointing to God’s time. Before the world was put in order God was God.

Psalm 90:3-6 the second section of the psalm contrasts God’s eternality with humanity’s weakness. While God is eternal, we are made from dust and to dust we return. In fact, verses 5-6 compare human life to the plant that sprouts with the morning dew and then fades away as soon as the sun strikes it. Ref. Psalm 103:15-16 and Isaiah 40:6-8.

Psalm 90:7-12 speak of humanity’s fleeting existence. But here the psalmist links this life with God’s wrath. Death is a sign of God’s wrath in that it is God’s ultimate “no” to human sinfulness. This is a way of saying that eternity belongs to God alone. Verse 12 asks for help to respond properly to the knowledge that life is brief - teach us to count our days - to cherish each day as a gift from God.

Psalm 90:13-17 reflects on the human condition to ask for God to act concerning our condition. Verse 13 recalls the prayer of Moses in Exodus 32 when he interceded for them when God was about to destroy them because they had made the golden calf. Moses asked God to change His mind Only Moses and Amos (Amos 7:2, 5) make such a request of God.
Moses refers to Israel as your servants in verses 13 and 16. This identifies Israel as subjects of God who identify with God as their king or “lord. The previous psalm 89 gave this title to David (89:3, 20, 39, and 50). This is another message.
God, Our Dwelling Place
Although Psalm 90 may seem to be mainly about time, notably the lack of time humans have, the first two verses emphasize space as well and they focus on God rather than humans. Psalm 90:1 declares God has been “our dwelling place” (an emphasis on space) “in all generations” (an emphasis on time). Verse 2 begins with space (mountains, earth, and world) and ends with time (“from everlasting to everlasting”) as they relate to God.
These two verses therefore seem to have a structure that says something very important about God. Namely, the way verse 1 begins and verse 2 ends, with references to God’s identity, communicates the idea that God is all-encompassing. Both time and space are in God’s control. Hence, the limits of humans portrayed in verses 3-10 must be understood in relation to God’s unlimited power.

The Reality of Death
One of the most important and pervasive messages of Psalm 90:1-12 is that life is short. Death is near at hand. The psalm goes to great lengths to express that truth: our lives are like grass that “fades and withers” (90:6); “our years come to an end like a sigh” (90:9); our days “are soon gone, and we fly away” (90:10). That message may at first seem negative. It may seem even more depressing that our human limits are a sign of God’s wrath. This Psalm may seem to run counter to the New Testament’s hopeful word that in Christ death has lost its sting (1Cor 15:55). But in fact this psalm is entirely consistent with the message of resurrection. What it really says is that life and eternity belong to God, not to us. The emphasis on death is also closely tied to the awareness that we are sinful creatures. As verse 8 says, our sins are set before God. They are a sure sign of our limitations. Our lives—and our resurrection—come from the Creator and giver of life. We live because of God’s authority in life.

The Psalms testify that people who refuse to admit their human limits - refuse to confess their sins in the end act violently towards others. They take advantage of others because they believe they are entitled to more of the world than they really are. But those who acknowledge that they live within the sovereignty of God are more willing to promote Life. The more we submit to God’s sovereignty the more we live in His image. When we know God our life is seen as worthwhile – we have purpose.

About God
God has made a way to bring us back to the Glory of God. To live in God’s reality of time (eternity) with God’s purpose for His life for us (salvation).

A Great Way to share the Word

FaithWriters

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4) Letter from Mike & Bea Edwards about FaithWriters status and future plans.
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God Bless,
Mike & Bea Edwards