A sunny, sandy Sunday :)

Church was a great time today. 

The worship was intimate. The preaching was challenging. And the Presence of God was empowering.

We began considering the phrase ‘when I look…’ and the challenge of fixing our eyes on Jesus in all the seasons of life.

We took communion thinking about the word ‘remember’ and how the Hebrew meaning leads us to both consider both thought and action.

Like in Exodus when God heard the cry of His people in slavery and remembered His covenant.
He heard their cries and He delivered them.
And then the message considered the challenges found in 1 Peter 4.
Judgement begins in the house of God (1 Peter 4: 17).
Is it judging the activities of others? Is it judging ourselves? What is the Bible actually saying here?
What is the context of 1 Peter 4?
The verse sticks out like a sore thumb. It is wrapped up in verses of suffering.
But the beginning of the chapter talks about us having the same attitude of Christ, who suffered.
Living for the will of God.
And the end of the chapter rounds this up.
Living for God by doing good, even when there is suffering.
The middle verses tell us what this looks like practically.
Love. Hospitality. Servanthood. Doing good. Wrapped in an attitude of prayer and soberness.
Staying strong against criticism. Staying strong against persecution. Suffering as a direct result of being a Christian. 
The suffering is not a punishment in this passage. It is because you choose to live 100% for the will of God, because you are not swayed by the changing morals of the world.
This context is a challenge to our hearts. Are we doing good in the first place? Have we stopped living for earthly desires? Do we suffer?
And verse 17 is the verse of challenge.
What is judgement? 
The ability to discern between good and evil. Between the flesh and the Spirit.
Why is judgement necessary? 
So we know how to live in a way pleasing to God.
We will face the judgement seat of Christ. As Christians, we will not be judged for our sins – they are forgiven. But we will be judged on how we lived our Christian lives.
What is our house built on? What will the fire reveal? 
We can’t live any way we want. God is judging us. He is seeing what we are building with. Are we building to the flesh or to the Spirit?
Judgement is necessary because we can only take what is pleasing to God with us into heaven. If we build with gold, silver or costly stones judgement is a good thing. It is only to be feared if we are doing wrong and building with straw and hay.
We will be judged on our words, our work and our way.
Jesus uses His people to accomplish His work – what is our contribution?
What gifts am I using to serve others?
Works are the what, ways are the how.
How is our relationship with Christ? Are we submitted?
How have you fought? How have you run? What have you thought, said and done.
Why must judgement begin in the house of God? It’s a must – a certainty.
Because the revelation of the seriousness of judgement has already been revealed to the people of God.
We know what we have been saved from.
Our names are sealed in heaven.
It has always been this way.
Jesus judges His Church.
We are in the Kingdom of light, but if our light is going out, a message of judgement is sent to correct.
The judgement is there to refine us, to re-establish us, to reaffirm His love for us, to keep our light shining.
God wants His Church to be holy and pure,
Dead to sin and alive to Him.
A Church with its light shining bright will stand against the world. It will be persecuted. It will be opposed.
But we need to be calling others to this light. To His Light. To rescue. That whatever happens we may conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ. No fear of those who oppose us.
May we stand before the judgement seat of Christ thankful.
I was both challenged and inspired and made thankful by this message.
And these beautiful song lyrics dropped into my heart, ‘It’s better for me, to be with You. It’s better for me to be with the Lord’.
Because I am so thankful for His love and salvation, and I am moved to repentance by the sin that I war against, and I long to live pleasing before Him that I may one day hear Him welcome me into heaven’s courts.
We spent the rest of today at a beautiful beach, enjoying the sun, the sand, the blessing of friendship and the creation of God.
Thank you Papa for everything.

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