Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

Well I am older now, if not wiser

Teach me good judgement and knowledge’ (Psalm 119:66 ESV)

When we were young babies, and we tried to copy people as they spoke to us, we may have gurgled and garbled and made many funny noises rather than spoken properly; we could not talk, as we had not learned speech. It may have been cute to listen to, but it made no sense to others listening.

As we grew up and matured, we learned many different words; and then, we learnt when to, and how to use them properly in the conversations that we had.

I heard of a man who travelled from an old eastern communist country, and then decided to settle down, to live and to work in England. Most nights, when it was time, he would go to bed with a dictionary as his bed-time companion, there he would try to learn 3 new words. He tried to use these newly acquired words whenever he got a chance, sometimes with amusing reactions from his work colleagues, but, he continued to practice, and constantly persevered, eventually becoming fluent in the language.

Paul, whilst talking about love, and how that never changes, reminded the Corinthian church, how people could and did change, ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child’ (1 Corinthians 13:11 NIV), then as we get older and presumably ‘wiser’ ‘When I became a man, I gave up childish ways’ (1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV).

This is true. When we are young, we may have a fully formed mind, but it is empty. Well, not completely empty, but there is not much information in there when we are very young, just the basics.

As we grow and learn, information fills our mind with experiences, and experience is what we generally use to make our life choices, sometimes these are good ones, and occasionally really bad ones.

Some people though, seem to cling to their childhood with everything that they have, not wanting to let it go; even Jesus said;

Let the little children come to me… … the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’ (Mark 10:14 NIV).

Many times, when I was younger, growing up, and even recently when being mischievous, people have told me to ‘grow up’ or ‘act your age, not your shoe size’. But did not Jesus say, we have to be child-like?

anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it’ (Mark 10:15 NIV).

Behaving like a child is not the part that we have to be fixated upon. What we need to understand is that we have to have the ‘mind-set’ of a child, to be trusting, and be willing to listen, explore, and at times, to have an unquestioning child-like faith.

When I was young, if my mother or father said something to me, or told me anything, generally I believed them; I had faith in them. Faith that they would not lie to me, that they would tell me only truths, and, or, things that would be of benefit to me personally.

King Solomon is said to have been the wisest person ever to have lived, and is said to have written over 3000 proverbs, many of which are stored within the pages of the Bible. Solomon wrote;

My child, listen when your father corrects you’ (Proverbs 1:8 NLT).

Not only should we listen to our earthly parents, but when God, our heavenly parent speaks to us, we should listen all the more. The reason that we should be more willing to listen is, ‘the LORD gives wisdom’ (Proverbs 2:6 NKJV), and as we learn to listen, we also grow, ‘those who take advice are wise’ (Proverbs 13:10 NLT). The reason that God gives wisdom is, ‘To God belong wisdom and… … understanding is [are] his’ (Job 12:13 NIV), so we go to the source of all information and knowledge for anything that we need to know, and in addition to this, ‘it is impossible for God to lie’ (Hebrews 6:18 NIV). We will get only truth from our heavenly Father!

That being the case, as Jesus taught;

What father… if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent’ (Luke 11:11 ESV).

There is a life lesson here. What Jesus is saying is, that even though we are not perfect parents, we do the best that we can for our off-spring, but, even though we do our best, we still fail, and some of us may fail our children, a lot.

As a parent, I can see times when I have not ultimately done what was the best for my children in the past, and have failed them, and it pains me to realise this; but God, is our all loving heavenly Father, and he is perfect, and will not fail us, ‘God will supply every need of ours [yours]’ (Philippians 4:19 ESV).

Whatever we need, we can ask of him;

this is the confidence we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us’ (1 John 5:14 ESV).

Whatever happens, we have to trust that God wants the best for us;

For I know the plans I have for you’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

God has a plan for every one of us, he wants what is best for us, he is a perfect parent; and like any parent, our heavenly Father will guide us;

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go’ (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

God is a perfect parent, and we can learn from his words, and lean on him as we grow, and know that he will always be with us, ‘ Never will I leave you’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV), and he will  never leave us alone, ‘Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close’ (Psalm 27:10 NLT).

‘Wisdom comes with age they say, and with wisdom, comes knowledge;

Wise words are more valuable than rubies’ (Proverbs 20:15 NLT).

How much better to get wisdom than gold’ (Proverbs 16:16 NIV).

When we grow and mature, we learn from experience, but we need God, for he has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11), and he will instruct us in what we should do (Psalm 32:8), and ultimately we can ask of our heavenly Father;

Teach us… … that we may gain a heart of wisdom’ (Psalm 90:12 NKJV).

 

Wisdom - James-1-5

 

There is something that’s better than the latest toy 
There is something that never can be destroyed 
It’s worth more than jewels and gold 
Or anything money can buy 

W-I-S-D-O-M spells wisdom, I need it 
W-I-S-D-O-M in Your Word, I find it 
I need Your wisdom, Lord, each day 

Left to my own self I always tend to go astray 
But in the Bible You reveal Your perfect ways 
You teach me to think like You 
Instead of being a fool 
 
I wanna love it, live it, learn it, read it (W-I-S-D-O-M!) 
I wanna know it, think it, speak it, breathe it (W-I-S-D-O-M!) 

W-I-S-D-O-M
 Zach Jones

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Father God, we thank you that we can come for all things. You are always there for us, even though we are not always there for you. Give us wisdom to come to you for all things. Give us wisdom to know what to do. Give us wisdom to know what you want us to do for your kingdom. Lord we want to live our lives for you and for your glory. Give us wisdom to know what to do and what to say when we meet people. Lord we ask you to help us grow in you and your love daily.

Amen

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Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

Trust & Obey

God is our refuge and strength’ (Psalm 46:1 NIV)

How much do you trust people? Years ago, when a stockbroker made a deal and shook some-one’s hand, that was the deal done, ‘my word is my bond’ was the understanding. Now, with shady dealings, under the table deals, and people breaking promises etc. Some people have very little trust left, and it is a commodity in short supply at times.

So, how much do you trust people?

How much do you trust God and his word?

Do we fully trust and rely on our Lord and Saviour?

We can and should always rely on God, and trust what he says.

Abraham trusted God, when God promised him a family;

I will make you into a great nation’ God said, ‘and I will bless you’ (Genesis 12:2 NIV).

This promise came from God directly;

her name will be Sarah, I will bless her and will surely give you a son’ (Genesis 17:16 NIV).

When they finally gave birth to their son, Isaac (Genesis 21:2), God asked Abraham to trust him, and offer up Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham trusted God, and went to Moriah, where he was to perform the sacrifice of his son. When as the time for the sacrifice came near, and asked by his son where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham’s reply was, ‘God himself will provide the lamb’ (Genesis 22:8 NIV), Abraham’s trust was rewarded, as God, called out to Abraham to stop, and, ‘Abraham looked up and there caught in a thicket he saw a ram… … and sacrificed it’ (Genesis 22:13 NIV).

Naaman also trusted in a ‘man-of-God’ (Elisha), when after visiting his house due to an illness. Elisha sent a messenger to give the message to Naaman, who wanted a more important person to speak to him. He thought that a ‘man-of-God would speak directly to him, (2 Kings 5:11). Later, after his servants spoke to him, he decided to trust God through what Elisha had said; he was healed and returned to Elisha, saying, ‘Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel’ (2 Kings 5:15 NIV).

Abraham placed his complete trust in his God, and was fully rewarded for his trust and faithfulness. Naaman did not completely trust God, but did what he eventually thought best, and was rewarded by being healed, and finally trusted in what God could do. God is indeed truly our strength, when we need it.

How much do we trust in the strength of God in our lives?

Do we talk to God when things are going well in our lives, or do we only talk to him when things are falling apart, when chaos is knocking at the door and our world is coming apart at the edges? ‘Why, my soul, are you downcast… … for I will yet praise’ (Psalm 42:11 NIV).

We need to rely on God for all things, ‘The name of the LORD is a strong tower’ (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV).

Do we really believe in that statement?

We should! We should fully rely on God!

We need his strength for everything, Jesus said, ‘apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5 NIV). If we fully rely on God as our refuge, the Bible tells us, that because God is a strong tower, ‘The righteous run to it and are safe’ (Proverbs 18:10 NKJV).

We should rely on God for everything, when we are with God, we have the joy of the Lord in our lives, and, ‘the joy of the LORD is our [your] strength’ (Nehemiah 8:10 ESV).

Rely on God for all your help, ‘I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you’ (Isaiah 41:10 ESV).

If we trust God to be Lord of our lives, we can always turn to him for strength in times of good, and not-so-good. We can trust in the words that are written within the Bible, words inspired by God, words of encouragement, words of love, words to help us and strengthen us in times of trouble, for God has said;

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye’ (Psalm 32:8 NKJV).

Are you prepared to trust in God, to give you strength for all things, to guide you, teach you? Rely on God for all things, for he has only the best in mind for you;

Let us rely on God, and trust Him fully for all our needs!

 ‘For I know the plan I have for you… … plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and a hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

 

keep-calm-trust-and-obey-God

 

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favour He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and Obey
John H Sammis (1846 – 1919)

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Father God, we thank you that we can come to you in times of need, for strength and refuge. We thank you that we can come to you no matter what is happening in our life. Lord help us to rely on you fully for all things in our life. Lord we know that you have a plan for our lives, help us to look to you in all areas, and to fully rely on your word, for we know that as you said to Isaiah, ‘so is my word that goes out from my mouth it will not return to me empty’ (Isaiah 56:11 NIV). Lord help us to trust you fully.

Amen

 

 

Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

The past is where it belongs!

I know that the LORD saves his anointed’ (Psalm 20:6 NKJV)

What does it mean to leave something behind?

I remember being told about relatives that had never met, because they had died before I was born. Stories were told about them, when they were younger, and what they had done, where they had travelled to, and sometimes, even the mischief they had gotten into.

How do we want to be remembered?

Do we want to be remembered as someone who always went to church no matter what was happening, or as someone who sang loudly for all to hear, or as someone who helped to put the chairs out or away, or for making the coffee and tea?

These are all nice things that may be said about people, but are they really important?

How do we want to be remembered?

Do we want to be remembered as being giants for God? Do we want to be remembered as defiant against the enemy in the times of personal trials, and/or persecution? Do we wish to be remembered as being outrageously ‘out-there’ for God and for the spreading of the gospel!

When we think about how we will be remembered, we can sometimes focus on the things in our past that we are not proud of, there may be things which we would like to forget, or there may be some areas of our life that we are downright ashamed of!

Remember this;

When your past calls out to you, do not answer it, for it has nothing new to say to you’

When we trust in Jesus, we do not have to worry about our past, it is passed. ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV). Do not think about what happened before you came to Christ, ‘The old has gone, the new is here’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV – emphasis mine).

We do not need to focus on our mistakes, if people did that, then everyone would be far too busy to do anything else at all, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23 NIV).

It was because of sin, sometime known as ‘The Fall’, that the first humans were banished from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-23).

We are not perfect, and we live in a fallen world, where sin is prevalent. Sin entered the world, when Adam and Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden, (Genesis 1:6). In the New Testament, Paul reminds the Roman Christians, that sin entered the world through man, ‘just as sin entered the world through one man’ (Romans 5:12).

Do not be burdened with your past. Jesus said;

Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden’ (Matthew 11:28 NKJV), and, ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’ (John 14:1 NIV).

Jesus did not want us to constantly look backwards in life, we need to focus on Jesus, and what is in front of us.

The past has passed!

Do not dwell on what you cannot change!

Do not waste energy on something that you cannot alter!

God has forgiven you, because you called to him.

The Psalmist David knew this from personal experience, when he was being hunted by Saul;

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice’ (Psalm 18:6 ESV).

Another un-named Psalmist said the same,

In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me’ (Psalm 120:1 ESV).

There are many times within the Bible, and especially the Psalms, where people call out to God, and he answers;, and why does he answer? He wants the best for us; he has a good plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). The plan does not have us dwelling on our past.

God has said;

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgression, for my own sake’ (Isaiah 43:25 NIV).

So we should not remember our sins, because God has blotted them out!

When we have, ‘acknowledged our [my] sin to You’ (Psalm 32:5 NKJV), we know that he will be gracious, just as the Psalmist said, ‘you forgave the guilt of my sin’ (Psalm 32:5 NIV).

Our sin has gone, it has been forgiven, blotted out, thrown away, ‘you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl them into the depths of the sea’ (Micah 7:19 NIV).

Do not dwell on the past, it has passed.

How do you want to be remembered?

I know how I want to be remembered, I want to be remembered for the amazing grace that God showed and gave me, and for the light of God in my life;

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.’ (Traditional Folk song).

Arrive at the pearly gates

All these pieces, Broken and scattered,
In mercy gathered, Mended and whole,
Empty handed, But not forsaken,
I’ve been set free, I’ve been set free.

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, But now I am found,
Was blind but now I see

Oh I can see You now,
Oh I can see the love in Your eyes,
Laying Yourself down,
Raising up the broken to life

You take our failure, You take our weakness,
You set Your treasure, In jars of clay,
So take this heart, Lord, I’ll be Your vessel,
The world to see Your life in me

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, But now I am found,
Was blind but now I see

Broken Vessel (Amazing Grace)
Joel Houston, Jonas Myrin

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Father God, we thank you for seeing us as we are now, members of your family. We thank you for forgetting our past sins, and the ways in which we hurt you. We know that we are far from perfect, and we want to be better people, living better lives for your glory. Help us to focus on the teachings within the Bible, and help us to live for you and your glory. Help us to radiantly shine the light of life at all we see daily in our lives.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

Family Matters!

Isn’t there someone else you could annoy?’ (Eddie – Family Matters)

Family Matters’ (W. Bickley & M. Warren – 1989 – 2004) was a family comedy television series that showed many of the different issues that a family could have to deal with, and generally everything ended well.

Michael J Fox is attributed as saying, ‘Family is not an important thing, it is everything’.

Family should matter to everyone within the family, and everyone that is associated with them.

In the Old Testament, family is listed often; Adam’s family line is listed (Genesis 5:1) Noah’s family, (Genesis 6:9). Other families are also listed within the scriptures (Genesis 11:10 & 27, 25:12 & 19).

We should remember how important family is!

Now we trust Jesus and are known as a Christian, we are part of the largest family of all. We belong to the world-wide family of believers, and as a family of believers we should look after each other, we should;

do good to everyone – especially those in the family of faith’ (Galatians 6:10 NLT).

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially the members of his household, ha has denied his faith’ (1 Timothy 5:8 ESV).

Our earthly family can cause us lots of problems if we do not have God at the centre of our relationship. But even as Christians we are not perfect, and can slip up causing problems between people, such as arguments and disagreements; but we should be, ‘bearing with one another, and forgiving one another’ (Colossians 3:13 NKJV).

As a father or husband, we should, lead our family in the way that we live, the way that we trust Jesus in all that we do, the way we model our lives after Jesus;

Love our [your] wives, just as Christ loved the church’ (Ephesians 5:25 NIV),

love your wives and do not be harsh with them’ (Colossians 3:19 NIV).

do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4 NKJV).

As a wife, you should love our family with all of our heart, we should be virtuous and upright, strong in the Lord, wise and loving (Proverbs 31:10-31). You should also trust, love and let your husband lead you, in the same way that you let Jesus lead you (Colossians 3:18).

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown’ (Proverbs 12;4 NIV).

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine’ (Psalm 128:3 NIV).

As a child you should look to your parents for the way you should live, in the same way that your parents look to Jesus;

Honour your father and mother, that your days may be long’ (Exodus 20:12 NKJV).

My son [daughter], keep your father’s commandment and forsake not your mother’s teaching’ (Proverbs 6:20 ESV).

obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord’ (Colossians 3:20 NIV).

Families can be complicated, hard to deal with, and cause all manner of problems. Families belong with each other, and they are part of a whole. As Jesus taught us, we should love them no matter what

What we should remember is that our family is a gift from God;

Children are a heritage from the LORD’ (Psalm 127:3 NIV).

We need to trust in what the Bible tells us, follow Jesus, and live our lives as he would have. All that we have is given to us by God, but all that we can leave our children is the legacy of our lives.

How we trusted Jesus in all areas.

How we lived and loved like Jesus.

How we treated our family, both members of our direct family and the family of the church.

 ‘A good person leaves and inheritance for their children’s children’ (Proverbs 13:22 NIV).

Family

You didn’t ask for this
Nobody ever would
Caught in the middle of this dysfunction
It’s your sad reality
It’s your messed up family tree
And all your left with all these questions

Are you gonna be like your father was and his father was?
Do you have to carry what they’ve handed down?

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

I have a dream for you
It’s better than where you’ve been
It’s bigger than your imagination
You’re gonna find real love
And you’re gonna hold your kids
You’ll change the course of generations

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

‘Cause you’re my child
You’re my chosen
You are loved
You are loved

And I will restore
All that was broken
You are loved
You are loved

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You’re bringing new life to your family tree now
Yes you are
You are

Oh, this will be your legacy
This will be your destiny
Yesterday did not define you
Oh, this will be your legacy
This will be your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You’re bringing new life to your family tree now

Family Tree
Jason Houser / Jason C. Houser / Matthew West / Matthew Joseph West

downloadFather God, we thank you for families, even though at times they may appear to give us nothing but trouble. We know that all of them are a gift from you, and that you know each and every one of us. Help us to love them, and guide them in the right ways that they should go. Lord we know that we all need you to show us the path that we should go, in order that we may fulfil the plan that you have for our lives. Help us all to live our lives that you may receive the glory, and that your kingdom will grow.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

Passenger or Participant!

Elisha A. Hoffman wrote a hymn that was subsequently published in 1878, with the following words;

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow’r?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

                                                (Published 1878 – now Public Domain)

Have you gone to Jesus, are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

When writing to the Hebrew Christians, Paul reminded them, ‘he (Jesus) became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him’ (Hebrews 5:9 NIV). Their obedience would mean that they would be trusting Jesus, therefore, saved, and washed in the blood of their saviour, Jesus Christ, who died for them.

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation’ (Ephesians 1:13 NKJV). When we believe in Jesus, we become part of a heavenly family, who turn to God, and trust him and let him into all areas of our lives.

Whilst preaching in Rome, Paul said that salvation was for everyone not just the Jewish nation, ‘God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles’ (Acts 28:28 NIV).

Salvation is not for a select few, it is for everyone, and it is a gift from God; ‘that whoever believes may have eternal life’ (John 3:15 ESV).

All we need to do to receive salvation is to accept that we have done wrong, that we have sinned and gone off from the path that God has for us;

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23 NIV).

Yet even though we have sinned and are sinners, ‘Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8 NIV); because of the debt that Jesus paid for us, we are, ‘justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus’ (Romans 3:24 NIV).

And how much does our salvation cost us?

Nothing!

Jesus came to pay a debt he did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay.

There is no cost to us; all we need is to have faith;

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith’ (Ephesians 2:8 NIV – emphasis mine).

once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption’ (Hebrews 9:12 NIV).

God’s grace, like all the gifts that he gives us (Galatians 5:22-23) is free, all we need to do, is to use these gifts for the glory of God’s kingdom.

Paul told the Christians in Ephesus, ‘In him (Jesus) we have redemption’ (Ephesians 1:7 NIV). What exactly is redemption? It is, ‘the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace’ (Ephesians 1:7 NIV).

We now have a hope of eternal life with Jesus, for, ‘he has delivered us from the powers of darkness’ (Colossians 1:13 NKJV). Where have we been delivered to ’He has delivered us… … transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins’ (Colossians 1:13-14 ESV).

Jesus said to the disciples; ‘I am the way’ (John 14:6 NIV).

Our sins can be forgiven, by faith in Jesus;

I was a slave in a foreign land, So very far from the Father’s loving hand. He rescued me one glorious day. He brought me out, paid a debt I could not pay. Chorus I am redeemed. I am redeemed. Jesus loosed the chains of sin and set me free’ (Phil Cross – I Am Redeemed).

IMG_0146.JPG

 

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last?
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “Son,
Stop fighting a fight-it’s already been won”

I am redeemed. You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains and
Wipe away every stain. Now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head,”
I remember, oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I am redeemed. You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains and
Wipe away every stain. Now I’m not who I used to be…

Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
‘Cause his day is long dead and gone.
Because I’ve got a new name, a new life, I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home.

I am redeemed. You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains and
Wipe away every stain, ’cause I’m not who I used to be

I am redeemed. You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains and
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I’m not who I used to be.
Oh, God, I’m not who I used to be.
Jesus, I’m not who I used to be.
‘Cause I am redeemed.
Thank God, redeemed.

Redeemed
Big Daddy Weave (Mike Weaver)

downloadFather God, we thank you for your gift of our salvation when we turn to you and put our trust in you. Lord help us to put our trust fully in you, that we may put you in control of all areas of our lives. We thank you that because of our trust in you, that the chains that kept us in bondage for sin, have been removed by the loving sacrifice of your Son. Help us to live lives that bring glory to your kingdom, and your name.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

Strength… but not ours!

Be strong and very courageous’ (Joshua 1:7 NIV)

The Merriam Webster online dictionary, defines courage as, ‘mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty’ (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/courage – accessed 20/07/18 – 19:10).

The Cambridge online dictionary defines courage slightly different, as, ‘the ability to control your fear in a dangerous or difficult situation’ (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/courage – accessed 20/07/18 – 19:15).

Being a Christian is not always an easy thing to be, in the world as we know it, with all its material consumerism, and idols that are ever-present, ready to take our focus from Jesus. We need courage sometimes to speak to people about our belief and faith in Jesus. Jesus never said that it would be an easy thing, to follow in his footsteps, in fact he did say that it could be very difficult.

If anyone would come after me (Jesus), let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’ (Matthew 16:24 ESV).

God promised the Israelite nation in the Old Testament, through Moses, that he would never leave them, and that he will always be around;

It is the LORD… … He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 3:8 ESV).

He had also promised that to the early Christians, through Paul’s letter to the Hebrews;

I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).

God calls all of us, into his family, because he has a plan for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) and, when we accept him into our lives, he promises to be with us through thick and thin, just as he said to Joshua, when he (Joshua) took over leading the Israelite nation after the death of Moses.

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Joshua 1:5 NIV).

If we are right with God, he will stay with us, and fight for us, just as he did for Joshua when they fought the five kings and won the battle.

Be strong and courageous. This is what the LORD will do to all the enemies’ (Joshua 10:25 NIV).

Whatever we do for God, we need to be courageous. Our mission is to take the message of the Good News of the Gospel to all people that we meet;

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations’ (Matthew 28:19 NIV).

Our mission is to tell all people that we come into contact with, about Jesus, and the Good News of Salvation and Redemption that comes through him. We need to be courageous in our mission.

As Christians, we should be willing to tell people about Jesus. We need to talk about Jesus more, and not be afraid of what people might say to us, or about us. We need to be strong and courageous in all that we do for Jesus.

In his letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul reminded them to be strong for Jesus;

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men [and women], be strong. Let all that you do be done in love’ (1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV – emphasis mine).

Jesus spoke to his disciples after the feeding of the five-thousand, when they had been on the water during the night, and he had been praying alone. He was walking on the water towards them in the boat, when he called out to them;

Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid’ (Matthew 1:27 & Mark 6:50 NIV).

We have to rely on Jesus for everything that we need. When teaching one day, Jesus said;

apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5 ESV).

We can take strength from knowing that Jesus is with us always (Hebrews 13:5), just as Peter and John did;

they saw the courage of Peter and John’ (Acts 4:13 NIV).

Let us all be always strong and courageous in all that we do for the kingdom of God. What we need to do is;

be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD’ (Psalm 27:14 NIV).

IMG_0212.JPG

When confusion’s my companion
And despair holds me for ransom
I will feel no fear
I know that You are near

When I’m caught deep in the valley
With chaos for my company
I’ll find my comfort here
‘Cause I know that You are near

My help comes from You
You’re right here, pulling me through
You carry my weakness, my sickness,
my brokenness all on Your shoulders

Your shoulders
My help comes from You
You are my rest, my rescue
I don’t have to see t believe that You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders
Your shoulders

You mend what was once shattered
And You turn my tears to laughter
Your forgiveness is my fortress
Oh Your mercy is relentless

My help is from You
Don’t have to see it to believe it
My help is from You
Don’t have to see it, ’cause I know, ’cause I know it’s true

My help is from You
Don’t have to see it to believe it
My help is from You
Don’t have to see it, ’cause I know, ’cause I know it’s true

Shoulders (Run Wild, Live Free, Love Strong #5)
Joel Smallbone, Luke Smallbone, Tedd T, Ben Glover

downloadFather God, we thank you, that we can take our strength from you. We thank you that as you promised, you are always with us, whatever is happening in and around our lives. Help us to place our trust fully in you, and put our faith completely in you. Lord we know that apart from you we are nothing. Help us to fully rely on you for all of our wants and needs.
Lord we want to hear from you and to know that what we are doing is what is your will. Help us to listen for your voice so that we can know that we are truly doing your will in our lives.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

Sometimes all it takes is a little grace’ (Rowan Atkinson as Walter Goodfellow – Keeping Mum – 2005)

The Merriam Webster online dictionary (accessed 12/07/18 – 22:30) defines grace as;

Unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification, or as, a virtue coming from God, or even as being in a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance’ (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/grace).

The film ‘“Keeping Mum” is quirky, humorous, and in my opinion, good family entertainment, but equally it is really deep when you think about it, because grace is exactly the answer we are all looking for; it is the answer for everything that we require.

Douglas Adams would have us think;

The Answer to the Great Question. . . Of Life the Universe and Everything. . . Is. . . Forty-two’ (Deep Thought – Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy – p.152 – Pan Books).

42 is not going to help us get far in life, but grace will, grace gives us a hope, ‘we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus’ (Acts 15:11 ESV).

Grace is by no means a little thing when we consider what our Lord and Saviour went through for us;

 ‘for the joy that was set before him (Jesus) endured the cross’ (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).

When you think about grace, it is not even something that we deserve, why should we deserve it?

While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8 NIV).

Jesus said to his followers, ‘apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5 NIV), so in order to live a life fulfilled, we need Jesus. Yet we do not deserve what he gives us (Romans 5:8).

Paul knew how hard it was to live a godly life, he said to the Roman Christians;

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do’ (Romans 7:18-19 NIV).

Yet even though he struggled, he knew everything would work out, just as God intended, and because of it, he could, and we can say;

by the grace of God I am what I am’ (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV).

So we are the people we are, because God loves us so much, and it is because of that love, that he sent his only Son to earth to die for us (John3:16).

In fact, Jesus was the only person who could do what he did, no-one else could have accomplished what he did;

He came to pay a debt he did not owe, because we owed a debt we could not pay’ (Anon).

That is grace!

What in the end all this comes down to is how we deal in life with the problems we have to face. Sometimes it’s a question of just taking action, of making decisions, of involving others, of finding your resolve and seeing it through. But at other times, it’s about something much less tangible. Sometimes all it takes is a little grace. A little of God’s grace, and all our problems seem to fade away’ (Rowan Atkinson as Walter Goodfellow – Keeping Mum – 2005).

Grace gives us everything, it allows us to, ‘come boldly to the throne [of grace], that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need’ (Hebrews 4:16 NKJV).

It also gives us, ‘forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace’ (Ephesians 1:7 ESV).

What now?

We have grace even though we do not deserve it (Romans 5:8)

So we are forgiven through grace! (Ephesians 1:7)

We can boldly come before God, because of grace! (Hebrews 4:16)

So what do we do now? Let us have a little bit more wisdom for the Reverend Goodfellow;

Now, should we demand an explanation from our Lord? Question his methods? Or should we merely enjoy the benefits? (Rowan Atkinson as Walter Goodfellow – Keeping Mum – 2005).

Me, I try to enjoy the benefits daily as I walk with God!

What are you going to do?

 

Grace - John 1 v 16

 

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh…

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)
Casting Crowns

downloadFather God, we thank you for your grace and forgiveness towards us, that is given so freely, even though we do not deserve it. Help us to be worthy of the gift that you so freely bestow upon us, help us to live lives that are full of your love and joy, and may we be willing to share all of it with other people that we meet along the way, that we may do as your Son commanded, love others, and go and make disciples of all the world. May your name be glorified in everything that we do.

Thank you Jesus, Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith

We want to be together (Prudential advert – 1992)

A cord of three strands is not quickly broken‘ (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV)

a triple-braided cord is not easily broken‘ (Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT).

When we stand together in unity, we are stronger.

Unity, is the coming together and acting as one body, the Church. We are one Church, yet there is ‘approximately 36,000 different denominations and Christian streams [exist] today‘ (One for All – The Foundations, p.37 – M. Duncan – 2017).

We claim to be one, but there are many differences within our worship, our practices etc. that separate us. We let minor things divide us, when all that should matter, is,

We all worship the same God, the creator, who sustains all of life, and who is the redeemer of us all!

An old African proverb states, ‘Where there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you‘. In other words, if we did not squabble with the people around us, and within our own churches,  then we would be working together, and when we are working together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.

A cord of three strands, you, me, and God!

Jesus taught about the vine, and said, ‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you‘ (John 15:7 NIV). So if we are working together as a Church, to perform the will of God, then we are stronger, and there is no enmity within, and therefore if we have problems outside of the church, then we take them to Jesus, and they will be dealt with.

We are not on our own, Paul reminded the Hebrew Christians of that fact, when he wrote to them saying that God had said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you‘ (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).

So if we are united, working together for a common aim, and that aim is in line with God’s will, then we can ask for help, and it will come. We will always have God’s help (Hebrews 13:5) and will be able to say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear‘ (Hebrews 13:6 ESV).

Christian unity lies in, ‘our common identity in Christ‘ (One for All – The Implications – p.19 – M. Duncan – 2017).

Ultimately, we may be able to work in unity with the people in our churches and our community, but what has the future got in store?

As we get older, the church will decline unless we do something about it. There will be no unity in the future if there is not going to be a radical shift in the way people think and act.

If you look around at your church, how many youngsters does it have? I have been to churches, where the vast majority are over 60, maybe even over 70 years old; the youngsters are 30-40 years old, or there are only a few younger people aged between 5-30 years old.

Unless we change the appeal factor for the younger generation, the church will decline, and yet in persecuted countries, the church grows at an amazing rate;

persecution fosters a robust Christianity, confident of its faith and bold in its proclamation
(
https://www.christianity.com/church/does-church-thrive-under-persecution.html – accessed 22/06/18)

Out of the younger generation, only 1 in 5 between the ages of 11-18 describe themselves as active followers of Christ, and only just over half of these are regular church attendees and practicing Christians (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/17/one-six-young-people-christian-visits-church-buildings-inspire/    – accessed 22/06/18).

Without growth, in a few generations, there will be no-one left, to be in unity with!

We need to be bold, with our actions. They need to magnetize the people around us. The way we act needs to draw people to God. We cannot be ‘Sunday Christians‘ or ‘Weekend Evangelists‘; we need to be consistent in the way we speak and act.

Tozer is attributed with having said the following;

If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95% of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95% of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference‘ (https://www.christianquotes.info/quotes-by-author/a-w-tozer-quotes/?listpage=2&instance=2#participants-list-2  – accessed 22/06/18).

We need to work together to build the church, and try to get back to the way it was in the New Testament times.

The early believers were amazingly dedicated to Christ, ‘They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teachings‘ (Acts 2:42 NIV).

And all who believed were together and had all things in common‘ (Acts 2:44 ESV). Not only did they have things in common with each other, but they, ‘sold their possessions and goods and divided them among all, as anyone had need‘ (Acts 2:45 NKJV).

And because of this wonderful behaviour, that demonstrated the love that God has for us through Jesus Christ, ‘the Lord added to the church‘ (Acts 2:47 NKJV), but he not only added, but, ‘the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved‘ (Acts 2:47 NIV – emphasis mine).

If we want the church to survive and thrive, we need to behave like the early Christians did, sharing everything we have, our time, our money, our love, our all.

Saved by Grace

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus
He came to love, heal and forgive
He lived and died to buy my pardon
An empty grave is there to prove my saviour lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy He gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain day, because He lives

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

And then one day, I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He reigns

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives

Because He Lives
Gloria Gaither / Willam J. Gaither

downloadFather we thank you that you are with us daily, and we ask for your help to live the type of lives that can make a difference for the kingdom of heaven. Lord help us to live the sort of life that will make people want to know more about you, more about your love, and more about your amazing grace that saves us. Lord we know that you love us, help us to love others with that same love. Help us to build your kingdom bigger and bigger, so that the church flourishes.
Lord we thank you for everything that you give us, help us to be equally generous with what we do and give for others that surround us.

Amen

 

 

Bible · Christian · Faith

Let us walk in the light of the Lord

‘Those who walk with God, always reach their destination’ (Henry Ford 1863-1947)

 

千里之行,始於足下 (A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Laozi)

When you walk into a room, how do you walk?

Do you walk slowly, with a measured purposeful step, or a heavy determined stride?

Do you swagger or strut into a room, like a cowboy walks into a saloon, and try to command the attention of everyone in their?

Do you rush into a room, like you have some important news, hoping that everyone will stop, and think that you are important?

Do you walk quietly into a room without any fuss, in the quiet authority of a man who knows who he is?

We do not need to walk in the same way that the people who belong to the world do. Paul reminded the Roman Christians of this, when he said, ‘Do not be conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:2 NRSV).

We need to be different to the people of the world who choose not follow Jesus.

We need to stand out from the crowd and be different from those that do not know Jesus as Lord of their life. We need to be blazing beacons of light, that shine out into the darkness, showing people of little or no faith, the path they need to take; the path that leads them to an everlasting life of redemption and Salvation through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There is something for each of us, whether we know it or not, and all we have to do to receive it, is believe and trust in God. What we will then have access to, is a gift from the Creator of the entire universe.

What, you may ask is this wonderful gift?

It is a plan for each of our lives. A perfect plan, from God, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV), and these plans were made even before we were born, ‘all the days ordained to me were writen in your book before one of them came to be‘ (Psalm 139:16 NIV).

There is a plan even for those who do not yet trust God or believe in Jesus, and chose to live their lives for their own benefit. God does not play favourites; there is a plan for each and every one of us.  

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD.’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). The ‘you‘ used there is meant for all of us.

The Psalmist David knew this, ‘Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us’ (Psalm 40:5 NIV).

Not only does he have a plan, but we are not alone in that plan. ‘I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go’ (Psalm 32:8 NRSV).

So how do we get access to this wonderful plan?

David knew this also, ‘I desire to do your will’ (Psalm 40:8 NIV).

To get God’s plan, working in our lives, we need to be in tune with him, we need to trust him, and we need to follow him.

We need to walk with God.

We need to, ‘walk humbly with our [your] God’ (Micah 6:8 RSV).

As Christians, when we walk, we are not alone. We are ever alone, for as God told the people of Israel, the same is true today, ‘I am the LORD your God… I will walk among you’ (Leviticus 13 & 12 NIV).

God never walks away from us, it is us who walk away from him, He is always with us, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV).

As God has said; “I will live with them and walk among them” ’ (2 Corinthians 6:16 NIV).

As followers of God, people watch us, some watching to see what makes us different, others, watching and waiting for us to make a mistake, so that they can say, ‘I thought you were a Christian’.

We are not perfect by any means, though we should strive to be. Jesus told us to, ‘Be perfect, therefore‘ he said, ‘as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48 NIV).

We are a walking imperfectly through life, as a ‘work in progress‘. We are not finished product.

Life is not a 100m sprint, it is a marathon to be run at a steady pace, so that we do not burn ourselves out. We walk through life, and as we do, we need to ‘press on towards the goal’ (Philippians 3:14 NIV). We all need a place to aim for, the light at the end of the tunnel, or a personal goal, something that is worth it. Our eternal hope in Christ Jesus, is the main goal.

Let us stay true to the words of the Bible, and the teachings within.

Let it be always said of us, ‘The law of truth was in his mouth, and injustice was not found on his lips’ (Malachi 2:6 NKJV).

Arrive at the pearly gates

There’s a better version of me
That I can’t quite see
But things are gonna change
Right now I’m a total mess and
Right now I’m completely incomplete
But things are gonna change
‘Cause you’re not through with me yet

This is a redemption’s story
With every step that I’m taking
Every day, you’re chipping away
What I don’t need
This is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I’m closer to who I’m meant to be
I’m a change in the making

Wish I could live more patiently
Wish I could give a little more of me
Without stopping to think twice
Wish I had faith like a little child
Wish I could walk a single mile
Without tripping on my own feet
‘Cause you’re not through with me yet

From the dawn of history
You make new and you redeem
From a broken world to a broken heart
You finish what you start in everything

Like a river rolls into the sea
We’re not who we’re going to be
But things are going to change

I’m living a redemption’s story
With every step that I’m taking
Every day, you’re chipping away
What I don’t need
This is me under construction
This is my pride being broken
And every day I’m closer to who I’m meant to be
I’m a change in the making

I’m a change in the making
I’m not who I’m going to be
I’m moving closer to your glory

Change In The Making (Addison Road – Stories #2)
Jeff Pardo / Alli Rogers / Jenny Simmons

downloadFather, we thank you that you are always with us. Thank you that you were with us, even before we even thought about you. We know that you will never leave us, and ask that you help us to stay on the path that you have for our life, help us to always see that what you have planned for us is better that what we could ever plan ourselves. Help us to light the way for others to find you and accept you as their eternal Salvation.
Saviour, friend, redeemer, light of the world, Abba, Father, all these names and more we know you by, but the most important knowledge, is that through Your Son we are saved, and for t hat we are truly thankful.

Amen

 

Bible · Christian · Faith

Changed, Made Better, Refined

God’s refining fire, may it purge me now(Mac Lynch)

 When a tree grows, and has reached the size to be cut down, it is not perfect or ready to use.

When iron ore is dug out of the ground, it is not perfect, or ready to use.

Whenever we want to use the wood or iron ore, something first has to happen to it. The wood needs to be cut into pieces, and shaped, ready for specific purposes. The iron ore has to be heated, then separated for the impurities within, to make it ready to use.

And what are the processes that make these items ready to use?

Refining.

The timber is refined by initially storing them to allow moisture to evaporate, then they are taken to a saw mill for conversion into planks, and then they are cut again to make the timber we see in shops.

The iron ore is removed from the ground, and then crushed. Following the crushing, it is heated to over 1500°C, and then the impurities are removed, making the remaining material ready to shape and use.

As we become a Christian, we do not become perfect immediately. We become more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we do not, not need the Spirit. We are by no means a finished article, we are ‘a work in progress‘.

As God created man and woman initially, (Genesis 1:26), they were perfect and lived in harmony with God and His creation (Genesis 2:15-16 NIV). The Psalmist David knew who created him, and how he was made, ‘For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb‘  (Psalm 139:13 NIV), and we know how we were made, by God.

We are malleable, pliable, flexible and supple, which allows God to mould us into something better than what we are. We are clay in the hands of a master potter, who is God. ‘We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand‘ (Isaiah 64:8 NIV).

Darlene Zschech wrote a beautiful song called ‘The Potter’s Hand‘, and some of the lyrics say;

all of my days are held in Your hands
Crafted into Your perfect plan
.

So when we think about how things go from their natural state, to the ‘ready to use by us‘ state, materials go through many changes. They start in a rather rough but flexible condition (timber can be shaped relatively easily, and even metals are flexible when heated) and following some refining and changing of their initial condition, they become what we are used to seeing.

Even through all of his sufferings, Job knew that he was being refined, and he never gave up on his faith, ‘Surely there is a mine for silver And a place where gold is refined. Iron is taken from the earth, And copper is smelted from ore‘ (Job 28:1-2)

The Psalmist David knew that he needed, and we need help to shape us into what God really wants us to be, ‘The LORD’S promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times‘ (Psalm 12:6 NLT).

In Peter’s first letter to the scattered Church, he reminded the people there, that they should not be, ‘surprised at the fiery trials they were [you are] going through‘ (1 Peter 4:12 NLT).

Everyone needs to change, everyone needs to move forward in life. If water does not move, eventually it stagnates. If we do not move forward, then we do not grow as a Christian. If we do not move then we cannot change.

Take me, mould me, use me, fill me. I give my life to the Potter’s hand‘ (Darlene Zschech – Potter’s Hand). The master potter will use what happens in our life to shape what we will become. Gad has a plan for all of us (Jeremiah 29:11).

We have to trust God in all things, and, ‘be (being) confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in us [you] will complete it‘ (Philippians 1:4 NKJV).

So, in order to change, we need to be refined;

O Lord, feed the fire, Your refining fire.
Now as gold and silver must be tried, (Mac Lynch)

God wants all of his people to belong to the same global family, so he takes us in our brokenness, and shapes us; our lives are then given meaning. He refines us into something much, much better than what we were prior to this. We are made into something that can be used for His, and the Kingdom’s glory. We become a beacon of light, showing others the way to God and life eternal, for we know that Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me‘ (John 14:6 NKJV).

God wants the best for us, and because of this, sent Jesus to die for us, (John 3:16) and because of this, ultimately, we should remember;

You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined‘ (Psalm 66:10 NKJV).

Gods-work-is-progress 

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold

Refiner’s fire
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within

 Brian Doerkson

downloadFather, we thank you for your great love for us, that you sent Jesus to die for us. We thank you for having a plan for all of our lives, a plan that will be good for us, and help to build your kingdom, and bring glory to your name. Help us when we go through testing, to know that you are with us, and that when we come out the other side, we will be better stronger people, ready to be used by you.
Lord we pray for all people who do not have a proper home, whether due to personal circumstances, or due to natural disasters. Be with the people who come alongside of them during their trial. Help them to be compassionate and to help them see you through their actions.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith

I Knew, or I AM NEW!

He gives new life to my soul‘ (Psalm 23:3 – Bible in Basic English)

God spoke to Isaiah when Israel were being unfaithful, yet again.

He said to him, ‘Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old‘ (Isaiah 43:18 ESV).

When we read that passage in the New Living Translation, it puts it into a more modern easier way of speaking;

forget all that… … … it is nothing compared to what I am going to do‘ (Isaiah 43:18 NLT).

And why, you may ask should we forget the things from our past?

Jesus said that we should forgive people, ‘even if they sin against you seven times a day… … come back… saying “I repent”, you must forgive‘ (Luke 17:4 NIV).

We need to forgive, and move on with our lives.

The reason that we need to forgive and let the past stay in the past, is that our God, is the God of second chances. Even when we sin and turn from God because we think we know best;

The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease… … his mercies begin afresh each morning‘ (Lamentations 3:22 & 23 NLT).

And not only that, but even after we have sinned against God, we can return at any time, he is always waiting for us;

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness‘ (1 John 1:9 ESV)

So each and every day, yes every day, that we are on this planet, God’s mercy, love and forgiveness are renewed towards us.

Every day his goodness towards us starts anew; he renews us daily. Some renewals we dread, such as car tax, or car insurance renewal. But with God, we know that he will do nothing that will hurt us, he only ‘plans to prosper you and not harm you‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

So how does God renew us?

He restores my soul‘ (Psalm 23:3 ESV).

He renews my life‘ (Psalm 23:3 HCSB).

He restores my strength‘ (Psalm 23:3 NET).

Restores and renews. That is what our God does for us. And what does he restore?

He restores, soul, life and strength; whichever version you read, the important word is ‘restores’ or ‘renews’.

Restore me to the joy of Your salvation‘ (Psalm 51:12 NKJV).

If we turn to Jesus, we can find restoration and renewal.

We need to remember what Paul reminded the church in Corinth about; ‘if any-one is in Christ, the new creation has come‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). So when we go to God initially, or we return to God, after trying it n our own, he is always there waiting for us.

When we are renewed in Christ, we need to remember, ‘throw off our [your] old sinful nature and our [your] former way of life, which is corrupted‘ (Ephesians 4:22 NLT).

You may ask, how do we get rid of our old self?

We separate our-self from what is around us, ‘Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world‘ (Romans 12:2 NLT).

Why should we not copy the ways of the world you may ask?

We need to be more lie Jesus; change and start again, ‘ by the renewing of your mind‘ (Romans 12:2 NKJV).

We cannot do things like this in our own strength, we need help; Jesus said, ‘apart from me you can do nothing‘ (John 15:5 NIV).

We need to trust God.

We know that he love us so much (John 3:16).

Renewal comes as a gift from God, as do all things, and it is free to everyone who wants it, and the renewal comes in us in our eternal life, we are changed from some-one who will eventually die, to some-one who will live forever with Jesus, the ultimate renewal;

We all need to remember, that, ‘whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life‘ (John 3:16 NIV).

Christ takes me seriously

 

In the crushing
In the pressing
You are making new wine
In the soil I now surrender
You are breaking new ground 

So I yield to You and to Your careful hand
When I trust You I don’t need to understand

Make me Your vessel
Make me an offering
Make me whatever You want me to be
I came here with nothing but all You have given me
Jesus bring new wine out of me

You are breaking new ground

Jesus bring new wine out of me
Jesus bring new wine out of me

Cause where there is new wine
There is new power
There is new freedom
The Kingdom is here
I lay down my old flames
To carry Your new fire today

Jesus bring new wine out of me
Jesus bring new wine out of me

New Wine
Brooke Fraser

 

downloadFather, we know that in you we can have a newness of life, and an eternal hope of a glorious life with you forever. You are so, so good to us; we know that everything you give us is for our benefit, your plans for us are to help us grow in you, and for the expansion of your kingdom. May everything that we do help those in our community around us, and may everything that we do bring you glory and honour.
Lord we thank you for all the gifts that you give to us. Help us to use these gifts for your glory, and for the good of the kingdom of heaven. May we honour you in the way that we use our gifts. Lord we know that everything that we have comes from you, help us to be good stewards of our lives so that you get the glory.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith

Forgive as the Lord forgave you‘ (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

At some point during our lives, we will probably be hurt, and the hurt may come from a family member or a friend, but what do we do when that happens, and how do we feel when these people hurt us?

We may go completely ‘over-the-top’, we may shout and rage at the person, we may go really quiet and seethe / fume with anger, or we may just storm off from them and the situation.

The Bible says that we should, be patient with each other, ‘bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other‘ (Colossians 3:13 ESV).

How difficult is that? Is it even possible to be patient with some-one that is hurting us?

It can be very hard to forgive, even though we are told to. When some-one has hurt you, forgiving them for what they have done against us, or said to us, may be the last thing you want to do.

Forgiveness requires an inner strength that we do not have on our own. We need Jesus to help us, and we know this, because Jesus said, ‘apart from me you can do nothing‘ (John 15:5 NLT).

No matter how difficult forgiving some-one can be, the Bible tells us that we must / should do it.

You may ask, what difference does it make to me whether or not I forgive a person?

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins‘ (Matthew 6:15 NIV).

So forgiving others, is what Jesus has told us to do, so really we do not have a choice; if not, there will be consequences for us.

But, if we do choose to take the moral high-ground and Biblical teaching by forgiving those who have hurt us, then we benefit also.

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you‘ (Matthew 6:14 NLT).

And how do we go about the difficult task forgiving people?

We need to, ‘Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other(Ephesians 4:31 NIV) and why should we do this?

We should do this, ‘just as in Christ God forgave you‘ (Ephesians 4:32 NIV).

Well now we read that, we really should forgive. If God can and does forgive all the horrid stuff that we do, then forgiving some-one for hurting us seems to be the least that we can do, doesn’t it?

How many times do we need to forgive people?

Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks for forgiveness, you must forgive‘ (Luke 17:4 NLT).

So if we work with some-one, or know a person, and they annoy us regularly, (and we all know some-one like that), then if they apologise to us and ask to be forgiven, we must do as Jesus says;

you must forgive them‘ (Luke 17:4 NIV).

That is a very tall order.

In the Old Testament it was said, ‘eye for eye‘ (Exodus 21:24 NIV), and that is how some people still behave; yet when questioned by Peter about forgiveness, and how often should he forgive, Jesus answered;

I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times‘ (Matthew 18:22 NIV).

So what should we do?

Isaiah sang praises to God, ‘O LORD, I will praise You; Though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me‘ (Isaiah 12:1 NKJV).

The Psalmist David, during some contemplation, knew what he should do to get forgiven;

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt… … And you forgave me‘ (Psalm 32:5 NLT).

Micah knew what the Lord was like. Throughout the book, he either warns of destruction, or tells promises of restoration. Finally, at the end of his book, Micah says of the Lord, ‘you [God] will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean‘ (Micah 7:19 NLT).

But the main reason that we should forgive, is that God has told us, what he does for us.

I, even, I am he who blots out your transgression… … and remembers your sins no more‘ (Isaiah 43:25 NIV).

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more‘ (Jeremiah 31:31 NIV).

And I will forgive their wickedness‘ (Hebrews 8:12 NLT).

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven‘ (Romans 4:7 NLT).

And how do we know that we are forgiven?

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us‘ (Psalm 103:12 NIV).

God spoke to Isaiah, and said, ‘Though your sins are as scarlet, They shall be as white as snow‘ (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV).

But ultimately, when we become a Christian, we know we are forgiven, we become different, ‘if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

And how did this happen?

It did not happen by chance, God had an ‘end-game’. He knew what he had to do, God, sent his only Son to be sacrificed for our sins, (John 3:16).

And we need to remember, ‘In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace‘ (Ephesians 1:7 NIV).

We have done nothing, grace is free;

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me… … T’was grace that taught my heart to fear… … And grace will lead us home‘ (John Newton).

chains

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see

T’was grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Saviour has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Saviour has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
Chris Tomlin

 

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Father God, we are thankful that we do indeed get the forgiveness from you, that we do not deserve. We know that when we turn to you in repentance, whatever we have done in the  past is no longer remembered. Whatever we have done, we know that you, God will forget, and forgive. We know that we also need to forgive, and for that we ask for your strength to help us. Without you, we know we can do nothing. Help us we pray.
Lord we pray for all people who have entered into marriage, that you will be central in their life. Help them and guide them through their life that they share, but help them to keep you their focus. May they know your love and show and share your love with each other, and others. Lord may all people know you centrally in their lives.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith

God wants the best for us!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens‘ (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

There are many times or seasons that occur throughout our lives; different things happen within our lives, some things that happen are easy times, others are much tougher. Sometimes things are easy in our lives, other times it seem as though we are going through stormy waters; we need to remember that when we go through the stormy waters, God allows us to go this way, because our enemies cannot swim; at other times, we are purified through trials, ‘God, tested us… refined us like silver‘ (Psalm 66:10 NIV). At other times, God lets the storm rage around us, and fill us with his peace, keeping us safe in the calamity around us.

Enemies cannot swim

The Bible tells us that there is a time for everything, ‘a time to be born and a time to die‘ (Ecclesiastes 3:2 NIV). Whatever happens in our life, we need to remember to have wisdom when we are looking at what we are going to do; there is, ‘a time to search and a time to give up‘ (Ecclesiastes 3:6 NIV).

When we are looking for something, or making decisions in our life, we need to have some solid, positive guidance.

God will give us this, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life‘ (Psalm 32:8 NLT). The Psalmist knew God intimately, ‘You make known to me the path of life‘ (Psalm 16:11 NIV). We know that God will guide us, because he wants the best for us, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD‘ (Jeremiah 21:11 NLT); not only does he have a plan for us, the plan is a good one, ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT). The plan for us is a good one, and it is for our benefit, the advantage for us is that it will, ‘give you a future and a hope‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

If we trust our God, he will be there for us, always, ‘I will never fail you, I will never abandon you‘ (Hebrews 13:5 NLT).

When we are looking at making big decisions in our life, life changing decision, we need to seek God’s guidance.

Are we looking at marriage? Have spoken to God about the relationship and the person we are with? Are we wanting to change jobs, and have we asked for guidance about the company where we want to go?

Do we want to  buy a new vehicle, moving house, invest heavily in shares, do we feel that we want to go to another church etc. God will guide us in all situations if we turn to him, and ask.

The Bible is a book that can teach us many things. The words within are God inspired; there is much wisdom to be found within its’ pages.

Jesus said to his disciples that, ‘my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name‘ (John 1623 NIV).

If we ask, what will happen?

Ask using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy‘ (John 16:24 NLT).

So if we ask, then God will come along-side of us and guide us. He will guide our lives and our decisions, and because of this, our life will be full of joy.

We know that he will never leave us, and will always be there for us, (Hebrews 13:5).

We know that he has a plan for all of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11).

We know that he will guide us through that plan (Psalm 16:11 & 32:8).

All we have to do to get that is trust God, and ask in his name (John 16:24).

Are you prepared to put your trust in the Creator of all you see?

Calms the storm or the child

 

Guide me, O thou great redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty,
Hold me with thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through:
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer;
Be thou still my strength and shield;
Be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell’s destruction
Land me safe on Canaan’s side:
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee;
I will ever give to thee.

Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer Hymn

William Williams (1719-1791) (tr Peter Williams 1771)

 

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Father God, we are thankful that we can turn to you for help and guidance any time. We know that you have a plan for our life that will be good for us, as long as we follow your teaching in the Bible. Helps us to always follow you and know that whatever you have for us, it will be for our benefit, and will give us a hope and a future in you.
Lord we pray for all the people who hurt in the world. We pray that you will surround them with people that care, and will pray for them, support them, and guide them through their troubles. We know that you will be with them, help them to feel your peace in their lives, and to know that you are with them.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith

Do it, or stop talking about it

KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid‘ (Kelly Johnson – 1910 – 1990)

Although I do not like to use the word stupid, that is how the phrase started. It is attributed to a Kelly Johnson, who was working at the Lockheed Skunk Works. It was used by the US Navy as a design principle. Keep it simple, don’t over complicate things, why have a great mass of complexity when easy designs and simple elements will work; i.e. keep it simple.

There is no need for the last word, you could say;

Keep it Simple and Straight-forward
Keep it Short and Simple

When we talk to people, we should generally, keep it simple, talk to them in a language that they understand. When we say ‘language they understand’ we do not mean to use French to talk to a person of French descent or Chinese to a person of Chinese decent, this too could cause problems.

We mean, talk to a person, at ‘their level‘ using words that they will understand.

There are many people in this country now, where English is not a first language, or where they only have rudimentary speech and understanding of English.

If we are talking to a well-educated person, we may use long words or multi-syllable words; but if we are talking to someone less educated,  we may temper our conversation with shorter words, and easily understood phrases.

That is not to say that we talk down to them.

Many years ago, I worked with a man who had a great philosophy, that I have tried to use in my life.

Always speak to someone, the way that you would want to be spoken to.

This is not always easy, and has not always worked, but I always try, especially when working with people who I do not really know, and even more importantly, when working with people that I know, and know that I am a Christian.

Jesus followed this pattern of talking to people in a way that they would understand.

Why do you think he used so many ‘parables’? (stories with meanings)

When Jesus was in his ministry period, he knew the people around him.

He knew their style of life.

He knew their struggles.

He knew how they thought.

So he used parables,

Parables about coins, people, sons, things that had been lost, or found, seeds, and sheep.

The Parable of the Wandering Sheep

If you had a 100 sheep, and one strayed, you may think, ‘oh well, at least I have 99 left’, because if you left the 99, to look for the one that had strayed, you may lose the rest of the sheep, (Matthew 18:12-14, Luke 15:4-7) The parable was told to show the great love that God has for his people, that no matter what, he will look for us, he wants us to be part of his family, he does not want to lose us, we are that precious, ‘In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish‘ (Matthew 18:14 NIV).

WOW.

The Parable of the Lost Son

This is about the son that took all that was going to be his, and left. In the times that the story was set, even asking for his portion would have been a grave insult to the father. Many of us know the story, but if not, have a read please take the time to do so, (Luke 15:11-32). When his son finally comes to his senses, he decides to return, but now  he returns understanding what he has done. His father’s reaction is not the usual one; he runs to him, which would be really unusual for a man of his status. But ultimately, the father was joyous, because the errant son had returned to him. That is how God is with us.

Again, WOW.

We are loved by the Creator of the universe, the one who spoke everything into being. Love so much (John 3:16).

And although, like the sheep, we may stray, God never will, Paul reminded the Hebrews of this in his letter, ‘Never will I leave you‘ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).

Moses reminded all of Israel this, when he made Joshua the leader. He said, ‘the LORD will personally go ahead of. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you‘ (Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT).

God wants us to be in his family, he wants the best for us. God delights in us, Jesus said, ‘there will be more rejoicing in heaven over on sinner who repents‘ (Luke 15:7 NIV). And as we praise and worship our Awesome Mighty God, he sings to us.

We need to remember this verse.

‘The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
I his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing

(Zephaniah 3:17 NIV).

Listen for the singing.

 

Zephaniah 3 v 17 v1

 

Outrageous love
You poured outrageous love on me
Outrageous love
You gave Your life for all to see
Poured Your love on me

The cross stands tall, showing Your great love
A sacrifice, so pure, paid for me, so undeserved
Love, a mighty ocean, flowing over me
Vast, unmeasured, boundless
Love has set me free

Redeemed and forgiven, I am healed and restored
That I would gain such grace
So amazed, I stand in awe
Now You’re risen, resurrected 
Seated high on heaven’s throne
Christ the hope of this world
Your love has set us free

His love is overflowing
The sound of heaven pouring
Rivers of living water
Love overflow, love overflows

Outrageous Love

Noel Robinson

 

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Father God, we want to thank you for your outrageously great love for us. Help us to treat all people we meet, with that same love and respect, that you showed to everyone that you met, whoever they were, and whatever they had done. Help us to be salt and light in a dark world. Help us to show you and to share you with anyone that asks. Help us to be ready and willing to share the Good News about you.
Lord we thank you for all the people in our lives, that help us with our walk of faith. We thank you that they are prepared to walk with us, and help us when we have troubles. Thank you for their faith, love and respect for all Christians, and the time they spend helping us. Bless them in all areas of their lives, and may they also have people who help them to grow in their faith.

Bible · Christian · Faith

Sticks & stones!

Careless talk costs lives‘ (Anon)

During the second world war, there were many propaganda posters produced by the government, with the purpose of encouraging people to be more careful in many areas of their lives.

Talk

Talk2

Some posters were designed to get people to be less wasteful, and some to warn them that not everywhere is safe to talk, hence, ‘Careless talk costs lives‘ (Anon).

Propaganda can be used for both good and bad purposes, but during the war, it was used to get people to think positively about situations that they were involved in, and what they did.

We need to remember, that whatever we do, has consequences. Whenever we open our mouth, we should always think first, and put our ‘brain into gear’. Anything that we say has power; power to do good, or the power to cause harm to people.

In the playground, we used to say;

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me

This is not true, yes sticks and stones may hurt us and cause us physical harm, but words cut deep and hurt us emotionally.

We need to use our words properly, ‘encourage one another and build each other up‘ (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).

Our words need to be healthy, and we should think about what we are about to say, and say, ‘only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs‘ (Ephesians 4:29 NIV).

In his letters, Paul said to the Corinthian church, that the authority we have, was given to us from God, ‘our authority builds you up‘ (2 Corinthians 10:8 NLT).

Paul also to the church at Ephesus, ‘Let everything you say be good and helpful‘ (Ephesians 4:29 NLT). Not only should our words be helpful, they should, ‘benefit those who listen‘ (Ephesians 4:29 NIV).

We need to keep our mouths pure and wholesome, and not let any, ‘filthy language [come] from our lips‘ (Colossians 3:8 NIV).

We should make sure that, due to the fact that, ‘mouths are full of cursing and bitterness‘ (Romans 3:14 NIV), we are careful in what we say.

We have to make sure that our words are good,  because, ‘tongues are filled with lies‘ (Romans 3:13 NLT).

In Malachi, the Lord spoke prophesy to Malachi, and said, ‘nothing false was found on his lips‘ (Malachi 2:6 NIV).

What we need to remember is that both good and evil come out of the same mouth; ‘Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God‘ (James 3:9 NLT).

The tongue is a dangerous part of our body, that has to be constantly controlled. ‘The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body‘(James 3:6 NIV).

What we need to remember is, ‘words are destructive‘ (Proverbs 16:27 NLT) if they are used without thought.

‘There is no one righteous, not even one‘ (Romans 3:9 NIV). All we have, is God’s grace.

We need to remember that just as Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, ‘I pleaded with the Lord‘ (2 Corinthians 12:8 NIV), and the response from God was, ‘my grace is sufficient for you‘ (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV). That is all we need to know. The grace we have, is undeserved; we have it, only because of the great love that the Father God has for us (John 3:16).

Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes wrote, that there is a time for everything, there will be, ‘A time to tear down‘ but more important, and most important to remember, is, there will be a ‘time to build up‘ (Ecclesiastes 3:3 NLT).

Remember, ‘Careless talk costs lives‘, but if we remember the love of God for us, and remember that his word is here to teach us, then his words are written for us. ‘The word f God is alive and active. Sharper that any double-edged sword‘ (Hebrews 4:12 NIV).

The word of God is for us, and for everyone. Use it, and the words given to us for good only.

IMG_0180

For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son
That whoever would believe in Him
Would not perish but be saved, oh how surprising is His grace,
The invitation is for everyone

For everyone, for everyone

This is the good news, it’s a hope that is true
We sing ’cause we’ve found peace on earth
And death cannot shake us, our sins have been taken
Alive, we’re alive and we’ll sing Your worth

Jesus did not come to condemn but that we might live again
His Holy mission was to rescue us
For long before we cried for help He took our sins upon yourself
He took our shame and gave us righteousness

His righteousness, his righteousness

This is the good news, it’s a hope that is true
We sing ’cause we’ve found peace on earth
And death cannot shake us, our sins have been taken
Alive, we’re alive and we’ll sing Your worth

Take these words and make them louder….

Good news (Our God is Near #9)
Brenton Brown

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Father God, we thank you for your great love for us. Help us to stay true to you, and to your teachings. Help us to think about what we say to everyone we meet. May all of our words be used to build people up, and not tear them down. Lord we know that we need you to help us, we cannot do this on our own, or in our own strength. Lord we want to live for you, and use our words for you, to encourage, help, build-up, and bring joy to others. Lord help us in this task.
Lord we thank you for all of our gifts, help us to consider that they all come from you. Help us to use these gifts for the benefit of your kingdom, and others. Lord we want to give you the glory, by using what you give us. Help us to Glorify you in all that we do.

Amen

Christian

Risen indeed!

Changed His status

He has risen‘ (G. Coates, N. & T. Richards)

If we had not had the first Easter, we would not be living as we do now, with the Bible as our hand-book, and we would not have the hope that we do, the hope of eternal life with Jesus!

We would not have people inspired by Go to write lyrics like these;

Better is one day in Your courts,
Better is one day in Your house,
Better is one day in Your Courts,
Than thousands elsewhere.
(Matt Redman).

Those sentiments are inspired by the Spirit of the Living God! Given to man for the purpose of praising God.

Everything we have is given by God, and the most important thing we have is the grace of God.

John Newton (1725-1807), captured that power, when he wrote the song;

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.

Paul commented upon that grace when he said, ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst‘ (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV).

The world needed Jesus to die.

No-one else could have done what he did.

We were dead in our sins (Colossians 2:13).

No-one else was even capable of doing what he did.

No-one else would have ever wanted to do what he did.

Now most people would not be willing to die for an upright person‘ (Romans 5:7 NLT). That does not bode well, had Jesus not come to save us.

But!

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (John 15:13 NIV).

God loves us so much, that he sent Jesus, his only Son, to die in our place (John 3:16). Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

When he died, the earth trembled, the curtain in the temple was torn, and the Roman officer that crucified him said, ‘This man truly was the Son of God!‘ (Mark 15:19 NLT).

The disciples were distraught! Jesus was dead! They had scattered.

Jesus knew what was going to happen, he had told his disciples this, three times. The first time, Peter basically said, not on my watch Lord (‘Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him‘ (Mark 8:32 NIV). The second time, Jesus actually said, ‘and after three days he will rise‘ (Mark 9:31 NLT), but the disciples did not understand what he meant. The last time he spoke of his death, (Mark 10:32-44) all the disciples were interested in, was who would be next in line to Jesus (v 36-39).

When Jesus was before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, there were many false witnesses, but two finally came forward and told them that Jesus had said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days‘ (Matthew 26:61 NIV).

At that time, neither the disciples, the Jews, the Sanhedrin, or anyone, truly understood what Jesus was explaining about. The people were thinking literally. Even now we could not demolish a Church and rebuild it in three days, that would be an impressive ’DIY SOS‘; I do not think even ‘Challenge Anneka‘ could complete a challenge like that.

We now know what he meant, and how it worked out.

The disciples were eventually shown what to do, by the Risen Jesus. Many saw him, and many started to follow, ‘the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved‘ (Acts 2:47 NIV).

He is risen, He is risen indeed!

He has risen.
He has risen.
He has risen.
Jesus is alive.
(G. Coates, N. & T. Richards)

Who am I? That the Lord of all the earth,
Would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I? That the bright and morning star,
Would choose to light the way, of my ever changing heart.

Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done,
Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are.

I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean, and vapour in the wind.
Still you hear me when I’m calling, Lord, You catch me when I’m falling,
And You’ve told me who I am, I am Yours, I am Yours.

Who am I? That the eyes that see my sin,
Would look on me with love, and watch me rise again.
Who am I? That the voice that calmed the sea,
Would call out through the rain, and calm the storm in me.

Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done,
Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are.

I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean, and vapour in the wind.
Still you hear me when I’m calling, Lord, You catch me when I’m falling,
And You’ve told me who I am, I am Yours, I am Yours.

Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear
‘Cause I’m Yours. I am Yours.

Mark Hall (Casting Crowns)

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Father God, we thank you that you sent your Son to die for us. We realise that we do not deserve the grace that you give us day by day, but we desperately need it. Lord without Jesus, there is no hope, there is nothing. Help us to cling to the vine. Help us to look to you for everything. Help us to be open to your guidance and teaching. Help us.
Lord we thank you for everything that you give us, help us to be thankful for all of our gifts, and help us to use them to further your kingdom, and bring people into knowledge of you and your kingdom.

Amen

 

Christian

Chat, Talk, Pray!

This, then, is how you should pray‘ (Matthew 6:9 NIV)

Prayer. The last refuge of a scoundrel‘ (Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons, season 2 episode 1 [11/10/90 USA]). Lisa says this to her brother Bart, after he has prayed for bad weather, to give him more time to study for a school test.

God answered his prayer.

Jesus thought that prayer was so important, that he taught us how to accomplish the task (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). ‘don’t babble on and on‘ (Matthew 6:7 NLT) well that is to the point. He also said that we should pray in secret, ‘pray to your Father in private‘ (Matthew 6:6 NLT). ‘When you pray, say… …‘ (Luke 11:2 NIV).

We need to look to God and Jesus, and trust them in all aspects of our life.

When we decide to do that, then we enter into a relationship with our awesome Father, Creator of the entire universe, our Redeemer, and Friend.

And how do we do these things?

Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty‘ (Zechariah 4:6 NIV).

We pray, in the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we pray.

you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you‘ (Jeremiah 29:12 NIV).

God tells us that we talk to Him, when we pray, He will listen to us.

Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends said, ‘You will pray to him, and he will hear you‘ (Job 22:23 NLT). ‘if anyone is a worshipper of God and does his will, God listens to him‘ (John 9:31 ESV)

Jesus took that a step further, not only will He listen to us, ‘my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name‘ (John 16:23 NIV). ‘we know that he hears us in whatever we ask‘ (1 John 5:15 ESV). ‘the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer‘ (1 Peter 3:12 ESV).

‘But I don’t have time to pray’. ‘I have a really busy work life’. ‘The children need constant attention’. ‘I’m too tired’. These and many, many more, are not reasons not to pray. We make excuses for most things that we find difficult, or hard to plan into our daily lives.

You can pray whilst driving the car, or walking into town or around work, or even while cooking the dinner or making the bed, and why not get the children to join in, they are the next generation of the Church.

And when we feel that we cannot pray, ‘the Holy Spirit helps us… … the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words‘ (Romans 8:26 NLT).

But how often should we pray?

We should pray often. We are in a relationship, and when we are in relationships, we talk to the other person most days if not multiple times in a day.

pray continually‘ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV); ‘Night and day we pray earnestly‘ (1 Thessalonians 3:10 NLT). That may seem a lot, but how often do you speak to your loved one? ‘Prayer is simply talking to God like a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day’ (Joyce Meyer).

Who should pray, some of us or all of us?

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you [God] while you may be found‘ (Psalm 32:6 NIV). It is not only mothers or fathers or children that need to pray, everyone needs prayer. ‘I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no-where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day‘ (Abraham Lincoln). ‘The prayer offered to God in the morning during your quiet time is the key that unlocks the door of the day. Any athlete knows that it is the start that ensures a good finish’ (Adrian Rogers).

We live in a troubled world, a world of the flesh, sinful desire, and temptation. On the Mount of Olives, Jesus told his disciples, ‘Pray, that you will not fall into temptation‘ (Luke 22:40 NIV).

Wise words, that are just as true today!

God has a plan for all of our lives, (Jeremiah 29:11).

He wants a relationship with us. Any relationship that is going to survive, requires people to talk. We can talk to God at any time, through prayer.

For this we can take a leaf out of the disciples’ lives (read Acts 2:42-47). ‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer… … And the Lord added to their number daily‘ (Acts 2:42 & 47 NIV).

Because of prayer and living the way God wanted them to, their number increased daily.

That is a challenge for all of us!

Remember the word of Oswald Chambers;

Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work

Faith

Prayer gently lifts me to highest Heaven,
From earth’s confusion to Jesus’ breast;
My sin and weakness, my doubt and sorrow,
Are lost forever in sweetest rest.
Hal Beckett (1888 – 1971)

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Father God, we thank you that we can come to you any time that we want. We do not have to wait for Sunday, or any special day, we can talk to you whenever we want to. Help us to talk to you more. We love you Lord, and we want to lift our voice in prayer more to you. To praise you for what you do in our lives. To praise you for what you do for the world. You created the world for us, and you created us in your image, help us to be more thankful for that.
Lord we look at the world you created for us. How it has changed with killings, bombings and other hateful crimes. Help us to be salt and light in the dark world. Lord may we be the point at which people can meet with you and have life changing moments.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith

Amble, run, or WALK!

I press on to reach the end of the race‘ (Philippians 3:14 NLT)

 Probably one of the first word many people think of when the word ‘race’ is mentioned is ‘marathon’, and throughout the world there are over 100 ‘marathon’ races every year.

The name ‘Marathon’ comes from the legend of a Greek messenger (Philippides), in 490 BC. It is said, that following a great battle, where the Persians had been defeated, he was sent from the battle-field of ‘Marathon’ to Athens to announce the victory. It is reported that he ran the entire distance, then burst into an assembly to proclaim their victory, then collapsed and died.

When the modern Olympics was inaugurated in 1896, Michel Bréal wanted to make the Olympic event popular, and so the ‘marathon race’ was born. This idea was supported by founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin; it was also well received by the Greeks. The distance of the race altered with every race, and was not standardised until 1924, when the distance of 26.22 mile (42.195 kilometres) was set.

As Christians, we know that our life is not a race, we do not have to achieve certain things in order to be saved. We were saved without doing anything; ‘God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners‘ (Romans 5:8 NLT).

There is nothing that we can do that will make God love us less, and there is nothing we can do to make him love us more.

How does it all work then?

God saved us [you] by his grace when you believed‘ (Ephesians 2:8 NLT), or to use different words, ‘by grace you have been saved through faith‘ (NIV).

It is nothing that we have done. We believe in the word of God, trust him, and we are saved. There is nothing that we could do, God did it all for us, with Jesus (John3:16).

Faith is not a race, it is a sedate walk.

God did not run around the Garden of Eden, ‘the sound of the LORD God walking‘ (Genesis 3:8 ESV).

When Abram and Lot separated, God did not say to Abram, ‘come on, run over there for a bit’, he said, ‘Arise, walk‘ (Genesis 13:17 ESV).

The Israelites were told to teach the next generation about God. ‘You shall teach them diligently… … … when you walk‘ (Deuteronomy 6:7 ESV).

When Jesus came and his ministry started, he said to John the Baptists disciples, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk‘ (Matthew 11:5 ESV).

To run a race, you must train. You cannot just enter a race like a marathon, it takes months if not year of practice and training, building up strength and muscle. But in a race, ‘all the runners run, but only one receives the prize‘ (1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV).

We do not race against other Christians, no-one will get a better prize for going to the Master earlier than us, we do not need to worry, there will be plenty of room.

How do we know this?

Jesus told his disciples, ‘Let not your heart be troubled… … In My Father’s house are many mansions… … I go to prepare a place for you‘ (John 14:1 & 2 italics mine).

We need to live and walk in the light, ‘The path of those who live right is like the early morning light. It gets brighter and brighter until the full light of day. But the path of the wicked is like a dark night‘ (Proverbs 4:18-19 ERV).

In his letter to Timothy, Paul says, ‘Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts, instead, pursue righteous living‘ (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT). In his previous letter, he said of Timothy, as we could say of many people we know, ‘But you Timothy (insert name), are a man (or woman) of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life‘ (1 Timothy 6:11 NLT), words of wisdom indeed.

But what are these ‘evil things’?

They are anything that takes the focus off from God, our Mighty, Awesome, Redeemer God, Saviour of the masses, and Friend.

They are the ways of the world, money, nice cars, pleasures of the world.

There is something that Paul told the Romans, which is probably more important to us these days, with all that is available, and how easy it is to get, with the internet making the world seem smaller and smaller each day. ‘I urge you… in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God‘ (Romans 12:1 NIV italics mine); but he does not stop there, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of the world‘ (v 2 NIV).

We need to set ourselves apart from the world, we need to be seen to be different, but we also need to be seen to be inviting. There needs to be something that interests others to come and talk to us to find out more. That needs to be the light of God shining through us, ‘You are the light of the world… … No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket‘ (Matthew 5:14 & 15 NLT). In the same way, we should not hide that fact that we follow Jesus, and that he is the only way for he told us so, ‘I am the way‘ (John 14:6 NLT italics mine).

Even during the storms in our life, we need not run off, the reason that God takes us through deep waters, is that the enemy cannot swim, ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you… … they will not sweep over you‘ (Isaiah 43:2 NIV).

Faith is not a race, take time to enjoy being with God, be still and know him (Psalm 46:10). Take time to walk with the Master.

Relax and, ‘Walk by the spirit‘ (Galatians 5:16 NIV), and God says, ‘I will walk among you‘ (Leviticus 26:12 NIV).

 

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We are walking in the light of God,
we are walking in the light of God,
 we are walking in the light of God,
 we are walking in the light of God. (The light of God)

We are walking, (Walking)
we are walking (oh )
we are walking in the light of God.
We are walking, (Walking)
we are walking (oh,)
we are walking in the light of God.

Siyahamba (We are walking in the light of God)
Trad African song

 

downloadFather God, we thank you that you are indeed our Father. We thank you that you are a good, good Father. Help us not to run from things that are tests for us. Refine us with your love that we may be better able to serve you in our community. Help us to show the light of your love to others around us, that they may see a little of you, and want to know more. We know that we must train with your word daily, as an athlete trains for a race, Lord put a new eagerness within us to help us with this.
Lord we think of those who have died this week, may they find eternal rest with you. Be with the families left behind. May they seek you and find love, peace and rest in knowing You.

Amen

Christian

Mothering Sunday, family, God!

Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother  and sister and mother‘ (Matthew 12:48 NLT)

As we reach mothering Sunday, it is good to look at how our family surrounds us. Mothering Sunday used to be a day when people went to their ‘mother Church’ i.e. where they were baptised, or the local Cathedral (the mother of the local churches). It is only during the last 100 years that the tradition has become what most people know today.

That does not take from the fact that mothers are important. Without them, we would not be here, yet God had his part to play too, ‘You [God] made all the delicate parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb‘ (Psalm 139:13 NLT).

And to take that further, without God, none of us would be here. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… … Let us make mankind in our image‘ (Genesis 1:1 &26 NIV).

God created all of us, and continues to work today, creating tiny miracles of life, every day, every hour, every minute.

Families can be difficult at times. Even right at the beginning, Cain and Abel fought, ‘Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him‘ (Genesis 4:8 NLT).

So potentially when we argue with other members of our family, we are not too bad, are we? Yet, Paul reminded the Church in Ephesus, ‘Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry‘ (Ephesians 4:26 NLT), how difficult can that be?

Even when you love someone, sorting through differences can be a monumental task, yet the Bible tells us to do it; and why should we do it? ‘anger gives a foothold to the devil‘ (Ephesians 4:27 NLT).

Why do we need to worry so much about anger, the reason is that we do not want to be giving the devil a step up. Peter’s first letter to the scattered exiles told them, and tells us, ‘Be alert… Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion‘ (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).

Family is important, we all suffer at times, ‘Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering‘ (1 Peter 5:9 NLT).

So our family, and, our family in Christ, all have difficulties to overcome.

The fight may be over, Jesus has won the victory, but the lord of lies is always after prisoners, to hold to the world, to corrupt.

Paul wrote to the Church in Rome, warning them and urging them to do many things. ‘I urge you, brothers and sisters… … offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God‘ (Romans 12:1 NIV).

That is not enough, we are weak, but our Father loved us so much that his only Son, Jesus Christ, was sent to here to die for us, (John 3:16). So we need to do more, ‘Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you‘ (Romans 12:2 NIV).

Whatever a person has done, as Jesus did, we have to forgive. The early Israelites knew that God could and would forgive, ‘you offer forgiveness, that we might learn‘ (Psalm 130:4 NLT). When Peter spoke to Cornelius, he said, ‘everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name‘ (Acts 10:43 NLT).

We have been, ‘rescued from the kingdom of darkness‘ (Colossians 1:13 NLT). We lived in darkness, but now live in a much better place, for all who believe in him live in, ‘the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins‘ (Colossians 1:13-14 NLT).

So from an earthly family, we have been transferred into the kingdom of the Most High. We have a global family. My brothers and sisters at work, at church, at the gym. Wherever there are believers, there is family, ‘For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them‘ (Matthew 18:20 NIV); and as for our Father, well, we can all say,

 ‘You’re a Good, Good Father, it’s who you are‘ (P Barrett and T Brown).

 

As for our family - we will serve the LORD.jpg

You hear me when I call. You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night. It cannot hide the light

Whom shall I fear

You crush the enemy. Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield. Though troubles linger still

Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind me

The God of angel armies, Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies, Is always by my side

My strength is in Your name. For You alone can save
You will deliver me. Yours is the victory

Whom shall I fear. Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind me

The God of angel armies, Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever. He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies, Is always by my side

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding on to Your promises

You are faithful. You are faithful. You are faithful

I know who goes before me. I know who stands behind me

The God of angel armies. Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever. He is a friend of mine

The God of angel armies, Is always by my side

The God of angel armies, Is always by my side

Whom Shall I Fear (God Of Angel Armies)
Ed Cash, Scott Mctyeire Cash, Chris Tomlin

 

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Abba, Father, as we consider our mothers at this time of year, help us not to lose sight of our brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, as well as our wider family, the family of the church. Lord we recognise that life is not always easy, yet we know that you will help us through any situation that we bring to you. Today we bring to you our families, help us through the power of your Spirit to live in harmony with each other, to forgive, and forgive, and forgive, for the bible tells us to do so. Lord we fail you so often, that again, we come to you for forgiveness at this time, forgive us our sins, wash us whiter than snow, so we may go forward in the sure knowledge  that you are with us till the end of days.

Amen

Christian

Hole or Whole?????

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed‘ (Matthew 13:31 NIV)

Most things in life, start off small. Trees are small when they are young saplings, large ships are made from metal which is mined as ‘ore’ which comes out of the ground in small amounts, and babies are small but become adults.

When we like something, we generally take an interest in it, we like it a little, or it intrigues us  at the beginning, we may get more interested in it as time passes, then possibly end up liking it, and partaking of it a lot.

That is a bit like our faith. When we hear about Jesus, we may start by talking to someone who knows about him, or by reading about him in the Bible. We  look at his life, what he said, how he said it, and the effect that his words had on those around him.

We may look at our life, and reflect on what we have, and what we do not have, or what is missing.

Jesus actually spoke about this, he talked about the mustard seed,. Jesus said, ‘Though it is the smallest of all seeds… when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants‘ (Matthew 13:32 NIV). Just like our likes, just like our faith!

We all have a God shaped hole deep inside of us, and only he can fill it. 

We may try many things to try to live fulfilled lives without him. We may try to fill our lives to give the meaning.  We may take up hobbies, such as, painting, swimming, running, or mountain bike riding etc.

But if we look to the Bible, read the words, and look at lives within, real people, who had real lives transformed, and we look at the world and see the same, we too could be transformed, we could become ‘a new person‘ (2 Corinthian 5:17 NLT).

We could be painting an amazing sunset made by our Saviour, we could be swimming in the marvellous waters, filled with life by the Creator of the universe, or we could be riding a bike up a mountain placed there at the beginning of time by the hands of our amazing, awesome wonderful God.

Wow wouldn’t that be fantastic.

As Christians, we look at everything that God created and say, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God‘ (Psalm 19:1 NIV) , we marvel at his works, and we can say, ‘This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made‘ (Anon) these wonderful words were turned into a beautiful hymn, but the words ring true for all of us who follow the creator of everything, ‘Let us rejoice today and be glad‘ (Psalm 118:24 NIV).

We know God provides us with everything comes from, our help (Psalm 121:1-2), our support (Psalm 94:18) our protection (Psalm 91:11) our strength (Psalm 46:1).

And what will we do with this knowledge?

Me, ‘I will sing to the LORD’s great love forever; with m mouth I will make your faith fullness known‘ (Psalm 89:1 NIV).

Praise the LORD. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD‘ (Psalm 150:1 & 6).

All I ever wanted

 

Be still and wait patiently, for the Lord has heard our cry. As I cry to you Lord, I only desire to do your will. I delight in you Lord, help to make my steps firm, as I commit myself to you. I know in you is the fountain of life, so I declare the following;

I will be still and know your unfailing love.
I will be still and take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
I will be still and let you save my crushed spirit.
I will be still and let you instruct me on the way I should go.
I will be still as you counsel me with love.
I will be still, even as my heart leaps for joy.
I will be still with you Lord, for with you I am never alone.
I am a sinner Lord, but I will be still as you instruct me.
I will be still as you comfort me like no other can.
I will be still as you grant my requests.
I will be still as I look to the heavens and marvel at­­­ your glory.
I will be still and know that in the morning I can talk to you again.
But most of all, I will be still and know that you are God.

Psalms

 

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Lord we have such busy lives, that at times we forget you. We forget to talk to you, we forget to thank you, we forget to praise you. We know that you love us just the same Lord, and for that we are thankful. Help us to be still in your presence Lord, to take time to thank you each and every day, for each and every new day that you bless us with.
Lord we marvel at the universe you created, and are sometimes overwhelmed that you created us and love us. Help us to look at this place you created for us with new eyes, to see you in everything, wherever we are and whatever we are doing, may your name be praise and glorified always. For you are our Great God.

Amen

Christian

You forged these chains in life – J. Marley

anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT)

When we decide to be in Christ, we are made into a brand new person! Saved, redeemed, made new, no blemishes, white as snow, with no condemnation, the past has gone!

Amen to that!

After Jesus had risen, the apostles were testifying about the resurrection and the Good News, and the reason they were able to do this, was nothing to do with their faith or strength, the reason was, ‘God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all‘ (Acts 4:33 NIV).

Paul, when writing to the Romans, said, ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God‘ but we are, ‘justified by his grace as a gift‘ (Romans 3:23 & 24 ESV). A freebie, a free gift, a free pass, gratis, with compliments. We cannot earn grace, we cannot buy grace with good deeds, grace truly is a free gift from God!

And these wonderful words say it all really. ‘Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me‘ (John Newton 1725-1807). and it is true, it is grace has saved us all.

Chris Tomlin, S. Roto, D. Pritchard-Blunt and L. Giglio, added to the beautiful word by John Newton;

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.
My God, my Saviour has ransomed me,
And like a flood His mercy rains.
Unending love,  Amazing grace

We have been set free! We have done nothing, Jesus did it all, by dying for us for our sins. We were prisoners to sin, and Jesus said that he had been, ‘sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind‘ (Luke 4:18 NIV).

Chains were generally used to keep prisoners from escaping, or sometimes for keeping unruly people ‘in check‘. Jesus met a man, who was not like most normal men, he was possessed, ‘with an unclean spirit‘, his name, ‘Legion, for we are many‘ he said (Mark 5:2 & 9 ESV). Jesus broke this man free from his bondage to the spirit, by saying, ‘Come out of this man, you evil spirit‘ (Mark 5:8 NLT).

The Israelite’s felt that they live  like, ‘prisoners suffering in iron chains‘ (Psalm 107:8 ESV), the reason the felt this way was because they had rebelled against God.

We all at times, rebel against what God wants for us, because we think we know better, but, he has a master-plan for everyone. ‘For I know the plans I have for you… … plans for good… … to give you a future and a hope‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

Jesus can break us free from our chains of bondage, if only we will let Him. All we have to do, is look for Him, ‘You will seek me and find me, when you seek with all your heart‘ (Jeremiah 29:13 ESV).

Are you, and I prepared to seek today, the ‘Author of Life‘ with all of our hearts?

If we do, ‘I will be found by you, declares the LORD‘ (Jeremiah 29:13 NLT).

Nike have this part just right.  Just do it!  Nike

you-make-a-new-life-by-making-new-choices-quote-1

 

If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you’re trying to feel the same old holes inside
There’s a better life. There’s a better life

If you’ve got pain. He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost. He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Saviour
If you’ve got chains. He’s a chain breaker

We’ve all search for the light of day in the dead of night
We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight
We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right
And there’s a better life. There’s a better life

If you’ve got pain. He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost. He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Saviour
If you’ve got chains. He’s a chain breaker

If you believe it. If you receive it. If you can feel it. Somebody testify

Chain Breaker – Jonathan Lindley Smith / Mia Fieldes / Zach Williams

 

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Lord at this time we thank you for sending your Son to break our chains and set us free. We know that we still do wrong, and that this hurts you. Help us to see your path for us and to know your will for us. Help us to rely on your strength, may we be more of you and less of us. Help us Father, Abba, help us to be what you know we can be.
Lord we pray for all people around the world that are suffering, whether those who are being persecuted, for their faith, may they have mustard seeds of faith that will grow into mighty trees. May their faith multiply until all around them can see and witness to their faith, may nothing get in the way. May your glory be seen by all.
Lord we pray for all Christians that cannot for various reasons, get to a Church to worship you, may they find peace and comfort in their situations                                                                      and places where they can and do meet with you.

Amen

Christian

All You need is Love – John Lenon

For this is how God loved the world‘ (John 3:16 NLT)

God loved the world so much, that Jesus, his only Son, was sent to earth to serve as a sacrifice for our sins; the ultimate sacrifice. In the Old Testament times, people had to sacrifice animals to remove their sins, this time Jesus would be that sacrifice. He did this, not because we deserved it; for, ‘God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners‘ (Romans 5:8 NLT), and the reason that he did this, he did it for love.

Bryan Adams, M Kamen and R. Lange, wrote the lyrics for the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves film. They are as follows;

‘Look into my eyes you will see, what you mean to me.
Search your heart search your soul, and when you
find me there you’ll search no more. You know
it’s true, everything I do I do it for you’

And where do we need to look? ‘Look to the LORD and his strength‘ (Psalm 105:4 NIV). We should look to God, for everything God has done, and still does, is for us. God did, and constantly does amazing things for us all the time. He created the universe for us (Genesis 1:1), and in fact, if there was only ever going to be you in the universe, God would have still created everything he did, as it says in the book of truth, The Bible. In love, on the sixth day of creation, God, in a supreme act of love, created Adam and Eve, and then let them live in his beautiful garden (Eden) that was created especially for them (Genesis 1:27, 2:8 & 15 NIV).

Paul, when writing to the Church at Corinth said, that whatever people could do, whether move mountains, or even sacrifice them self, ‘if they [I] didn’t love others, they [I] would be nothing‘ (1 Corinthians 13:2 NLT). Everything we do, has to be done in love.

Love can do amazing things. ‘Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (John 15:13 NIV). In the second world war, Desmond Doss (Hacksaw Ridge) went to war without a gun, because he believed what God said in the Bible, and at risk to his own life, continually went back into a war zone, and saved 75 men, not all his own side, from almost certain death, such great love he showed. His fellow soldiers respected him so much, that later, they actually waited to go into battle whilst Doss prayed, and the reason that Doss prayed, is love.

Can we show the same love for people that Desmond Doss did?

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As the Father has love me. so have I loved you‘ (John 15:9 NIV). ‘So I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples‘ (John 13:34-35 NLT). ‘Because of your unfailing love, I can enter your house‘ (Psalm 5:7 NLT). In my sin, ‘Return, O LORD… … Save me because of your unfailing love‘ (Psalm 6:4 NLT). ‘I love you LORD; you are my strength‘ (Psalm 18:1 NLT). Lord, you, ‘save by your right hand… Show me the wonders of your great love‘ (Psalm 17:7 NIV). Lord, help us to love you with all our hear, mind and soul, as we should, and help us to love others, the same.

Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate
I feel like moving to the rhythm of Your grace 
Your fragrance is intoxicating in our secret place
Your love is extravagant

Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known You considered me a friend
Capture my heart again

Spread wide in the arms of Christ is the love that covers sin
No greater love have I ever known; You considered me a friend

Capture my heart again
Your love is extravagant
Your friendship, it is intimate

Your Love Is Extravagant
Casting Crowns
Jared Anderson / Pete Kipley / Peter C. Kipley

 

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Lord at this time we thank you for your great love for us. We know that we are not worthy of that love, but you love us anyway. Help us to show others your love, a smile at someone, a welcome to someone, a cup of tea to a visitor. Help us to show the kind of love that Jesus showed to lepers and others that were outcast, that sacrificial love that come from putting our lives in you.
Lord as we saw on the opening ceremony of the winter Olympics, North and South Korea together, may that signify a change, may unity come through sport. Lord we pray for unity in Korea and in all areas of the world where there is conflict.. Help those that try to bring peace and end wars, and so bring unity to nations.

Amen

Christian

Luv or Love!

In humility value others above yourselves‘ (Philippians 2:3 NIV)

If we value someone, we should also love and respect them. As people, we spend a large amount of time looking for love, that ‘special some-one‘ to share our lives with, ‘I will search for the one I love‘ (Song of Songs 3:2 NLT). We do not have to search any longer, Jesus came, and he said, ‘A new command I give you: Love one another‘ (John 13:34 NIV). When God was giving His laws to the Israelites, He said, ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow [Israelite]‘ (Leviticus 19:18 NLT).

We have been, ‘cleansed from our [your] sins.. .. so now show sincere love to each other‘ (1 Peter 1:22 NLT), and because we are clean, we ‘who belong[s] to Christ have [has] become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT). We need to live a life, following the example that Christ set for us, and, ‘Live a life filled with love‘ (Ephesians 5:2 NLT). We have known real love in our life, and it is the amazing love that God has for us (John 3:16). ‘This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice‘ (1 John 4:10 NLT).

God loves us so much, ‘While we were still sinners Christ died for us‘ (Romans 5:8 NIV), ‘while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled‘ (Romans 5:10 NIV). In John’s letter, he says that, ‘God is love, and all who live in love live in God‘ (1 John 4:16 NLT).

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul used the analogy of us being a clanging bell if we are without love in our life (1 Corinthians 13:1), he continues saying that, ‘Love is patient and kind… not jealous or boastful or proud or rude‘ (1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NLT).

Love changes everything… … Love will never ever let you be the same‘ (Love Changes Everything – A Lloyd Webber).

now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love‘ (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV).

Do we show the love of Christ in our lives?

 

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I love you Lord; you are my strength… … my God is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour. Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life. I know that you will guide me along the best pathway, and advise me and watch over me. In your unfailing love, rescue me. Lord I love you, and know that your love surrounds me. Your love fills the earth, you unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens, so vast, that we can barely understand it; it is so precious to us, we find shelter under your wings of love. Lord, you love justice and hate evil, help us to be like you. Your love is better than life itself, my soul thirsts for you, as the deer thirst for water, lead me beside the still waters, and help me to be still and listen to you, help me to be still and know you Lord. In your love Lord, grant us our salvation, and I will sing of your unfailing love forever.

Psalms

Joyful joyful we adore You, God of glory, Lord of love
Hearts unfold like flowers before You, opening to the sun above
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness, drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of Eternal gladness fill us with the light of day (cause)

You are the One who saves, You are the One who saves
You are the One who’s hands lift us from the grave
You are the light of life, the everlasting day
You are the One who takes all our sins away

Joyful (the One Who Saves) (Our God is Near #2)
Brenton Brown, Jason Ingram

downloadFather God, in love please guide our lives that we may be used by you to spread the Good News to the people that we know and meet. Help us to be servants that have an attitude of gratitude for what you have done and given to us. Lord you are amazing in what you do for us, help us to follow your example in our lives, that we may share your love with others and change the world.
Lord we thank you for missionaries that travel and spread your word to various parts of the world, both local and international. Lord be with these people, protect them, shower them with your love, give them strength, love and wisdom to do your work in these sometimes difficult times.

Amen

 

Christian

Where have they gone???

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12 NLT)

Our God is an awesome God‘ (R Mullins 1989). Richard Mullins wrote these simple inspiring words, and went on to say, ‘he reigns from heaven above, with wisdom power and love‘, these words capture the power and glory of God perfectly. We who know ‘Our God‘ can truly agree with both the sentiment and the words, God truly is awesome. And as awesome as He is, creating the universe and everything in it, He still has time for us.

God wants what is best for us, He has plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), and when we commit our lives to the Lord, and live the way that He wants us to, then when He looks at us, He will not see our past, He will not remember our past, it is as if it never happened; When Micah was talking to the Lord, he said, ‘You will trample our sins under your feet‘ (Micah 7:20 NIV).

If we trust in what the Bible say, in what God has said through all the prophets, and in what Jesus said and lived out, then God has promised, ‘I will never leave you‘ (Hebrews 13:5 NLT), so we know that when we submit to God and let Him lead our lives, as He has promised to (Psalm 32:8), then we are never alone. Jesus reminded His disciples of  the fact that they would never be alone, when giving them the ‘Great Commission’, He said, ‘I am with you always‘ so the disciples knew they were not alone, but if we read on, there is more for us, ‘always, to the very end of the age‘ (Matthew 28:20 NIV); so we know that the disciples always had Jesus in their heart, and we know that we can have the same thing.

Let us all confess our sins to God, and say, ‘Create in me a pure heart, O God… … Restore to me the joy of your salvation‘ (Psalm 51:10 NIV).

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Come set Your rule and reign, in our hearts again. Increase in us we pray. Unveil why we’re made. Come set our hearts ablaze with hope, like wildfire in our very souls. Holy Spirit come invade us now. We are Your Church. We need Your power, in us. We seek Your kingdom first. We hunger and we thirst. Refuse to waste our lives, for You’re our joy and prize. To see the captive hearts released, the hurt, the sick, the poor at peace. We lay down our lives for heaven’s cause. We are Your church. We pray revive, this earth. Unleash Your kingdoms power. Reaching the near and far. No force of hell can stop, your beauty  changing hearts. You made us for much more than this, awake the kingdom seed in us. Fill us with the strength and love of Christ. We are Your church. We are the hope , on earth. Build Your kingdom here. Let the darkness fear, show Your mighty hand, heal our streets and land. Set Your church on fire, win this nation back. Change the atmosphere, build Your kingdom here. We pray.

Build your Kingdom Here (Rend Collective)

 

So there is good news for the captive
Good news for the caged
There good news for the one who walked away
There is good news for the doubting
The one [?]
For the good Lord has come to seek and save

He’s our rescuer
He’s our rescuer
We are free from sin forever more
Oh how sweet the sound
Oh how grace abounds
We will praise the Lord, our rescuer

He is beauty for the battle
Riches for the poor
He is reaching for the one who will ignore
He is pasture for the weary
Rest for those who strive
For the good lord is the way, the truth and life
The good lord is the way, the truth and life

Rescuer

C. Llewellyn, B. Hastings, B. Fowler, G. Gilkeson, Rend Collective Holding Account

 

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Father God, we know that when we trust in you, we are a new creation, that there is no condemnation, and that you remember nothing of our past, we are washed whiter than snow. Help us to look at others and treat them as you treat us, to truly love them and forgive them for anything that they have done in the past, help us to forget that and treat them as you would have.
Lord we pray for the people who have suffered in the mudslide that happened in California. Be with the rescuers and the people that are helping with the situation. May they sense your love and peace in the area, and may the people that are helping, have the right words of comfort and support to say from you Lord.

Amen

Christian

How committed are we?

and may your hearts be fully committed‘ (1 Kings 8:61 NIV)

This week, it is vision and commitment weekend within the Salvation Army, and it is a good time for reflection on the past spiritual year, the battles fought and won, how we served our Lord, and where we see our path leading us, or rather, where we think God is leading us; ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV). God has great plans for all of our lives, we just have to trust Him to reveal them to us, and be receptive to hear them; For God has said, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go‘ (Psalm 32:8 NIV); but not only that, God know our weaknesses, and, ‘he shows the proper path to those who go astray‘ (Psalm 25:8 NLT); and when we stray, ‘He rescues them… … and keeps them alive in times of famine‘ (Psalm 33:19 NLT).

When we seek God in what we do, ‘You will… .. find me when you seek with all your heart‘ (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV), and when we seek Him, God too searches in order to, ‘strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed‘ (2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT).

In the same way that we commit to God, it was God first through Jesus, that, ‘was reconciling the world… … and he has committed to us the message of reconciliation‘ (2 Corinthians 5:19 NIV). And the message of reconciliation, was a pair of out-stretched arms, ‘For God so loved the world‘ (John 3:16). God loves us and wants us all to be part of Him in the Church.

In the 80’s, Wham had ‘T’ shirts with big bold writing on them saying ‘choose life’ printed on them; we can still do that, choose life, choose Jesus; in this new year, re-commit your life to the Lord of All Creation, for, ‘if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

Choose to commit to God, choose to live for the King of Kings, choose to serve Him who saves us, ‘Choose Life‘.

Worthy of praise - John 17 v 3

 

Lead me LORD in your righteousness, make your way straight before me. Spread your protection over those who love your name, may the rejoice in you. We know that in the morning, you hear our voice as we lay our requests before you, watch over our ways Lord, keep us righteous. Let us be glad under your protection, as we consider your creation, we stand in awe that you have time for us, you have time even for me, to make known the path of my  life, my life is full of joy in your presence. You are my rock LORD, you are my shield and salvation, your forget my sins and count them not against me, and instruct me in your ways. Though people may shun me throughout my life, you alone will receive me, always. There is only one thing I ask LORD, may I dwell in your house for the rest of my days, and be happy in your presence.        

 (Psalms)

I tasted the world, seen more than enough, it’s promises fleeting.
Of water and wine I emptied the cup and found myself wanting
But there is a well that never runs dry
The water of life, the blood of the Vine

And all I know is everything
I have means nothing
Jesus, if You’re not my one thing
Everything I need right now
All I need is You right now

‘Cuz all I want is
Everything you are and nothing
Jesus if you’re not my one thing
Everything to me right now

One Thing (Hillsong)
J.Houston, A. King, Dylan Thomas

 

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Father God, as we enter a new year, help us to look again at our lives and consider how we may serve you in the coming year. Help us to be receptive to your voice, help us to hear you when you speak, help us to be still and wait upon you, Lord we love you so much and wish in this coming year to show that by our commitment to you, to serve you where you would want us to.
Lord we pray for all leaders at this time, with all the situations that they face, strengthen and renew them with your peace and love, and surround them with people that will support them in prayer and love. Lord they may lead us, but they are just like us, so be with them and let them know your peace in their lives.

Amen

Christian

Let’s do it again!

has become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT)

At this time of year, many of us will ponder the previous twelve months; how they panned out for us and others close to us, what we accomplished, and the things that we could not complete. We take a retrospective look on life in general. There will be television shows that will give us the highlights of the year, the funny items, the celebrity news and all manner of things.

In a similar vein, it is also a good time of year to look inwardly too, to spend some time being introspective, to examine our self. The founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth, was known for asking about a person’s soul, or walk with God, and he did not ‘sugar-coat‘ his words, he was direct, and used to ask by saying, ‘Tell me, how is it with your soul?‘ (God’s Soldiers p123). As we look towards a new year, should we not also consider how our walk with God went in the previous twelve months?

Did we pray enough this last year? Did we spend enough time immersed in the wonders of the Bible? Did we share the good news of Jesus to those when we had the opportunity? There are many things we could consider.

New year resolutions are also a popular thing to set one-self, but how many of you do this, only to not follow through? God knows that we struggle, yet He still loves us no matter what. There is nothing we can do that is so bad that He will stop loving us, equally there is nothing that we can do to make Him love us more. But at this time of year as we are ready to ‘do it all again‘, let us spend some time alone with God and consider our soul.

Tell me, how is it with your soul?

 

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anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5;7 NLT). As the new year dawns upon us, we can consider newness.

The year will be new, we will not have made any mistakes, isn’t that good, not to have made any mistakes? But how long will it last for us, We all make mistakes, and when we make mistakes, we have to live with the consequences.

But if at the beginning of a new year, we can again turn to God, and reaffirm our love for Him. If we do this, He will again make us new in Him. We know that He will , ‘have compassion on us‘ and ‘trample our sins under his [your] feet‘ (Micah 7:19 NLT). God forgives and forgets, ‘I alone will blot out your sins… … and will never think of them again‘ (Isaiah 43:25 NLT), not only that  but we know that God will, ‘forgive generously‘ (Isaiah 55:7 NLT). At this new year let us all put our souls right with God.

 

In His hands that hung the sky
In His hands that touch the blind
In His hands He’s holding me
In His hands that flung the stars
In His hands that bear the scars
In His hands He’s holding me

O Jesus, the One who frees us     
The One who holds  us all
O Jesus, the One who saves us
The One who holds us all in His hands of love

In His hands that bring us life
In His hands we come alive
In His hands He’s holding us

His Hands of Love
Davis Crowder, Seth Philpott

 

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Father God, as we prepare to enter another new year, help us to consider all the things that we wanted to do last year, and those that we want to do this coming year. Lord we know that through your strength, all things are possible. Help us to fully rely on your strength in all situations, so that we may show your light and love to those around us, at all times.
Lord, at the start of a new year, we consider all the new babies that have been born over the Christmas period. Help the parents of all children to bring them up in the knowledge of your love and hope. May all children everywhere be loved as they should be, unconditionally and shown that they are important. Help children everywhere to you’re your love within their hearts and lives, that they may be able to grow up in a secure knowledge of your love.

Amen

 

Christian

He is born to save us all!

Hark! the herald angels sing “Glory to the newborn King

My dear precious Jesus, I did not mean to take your place,
I only bring toys and things and you bring love and grace.
People give me lists of wishes and hope that they come true;
But you hear prayers of the heart and promise your will to do.
Children try to be good and not to cry when I am coming to town;
But you love them unconditionally and that love will abound.
I leave only a bag of toys and temporary joy for a season;
But you leave a heart of love, full of purpose and reasons.
I have a lot of believers and what one might call fame;
But I never healed the blind or tried to help the lame.
I have rosy cheeks and a voice full of laughter;
But no nail—scarred hands or a promise of the hereafter.
You may find several of me in town or at a mall;
But there is only one omnipotent you, to answer a sinner’s call.
And so, my dear precious Jesus, I kneel here to pray;
To worship and adore you on this, your holy birthday.

Jesus & Santa

HOPE, PEACE, JOY & LOVE

1600+ years after the child was born, Isaac Watts wrote the words to this famous carol, ‘Joy to the world! the Lord is come.’ We can all accept it, should we want to, the free gift that the child gave to the world, as he grew into a man and sacrificed Himself for our sins. On this most joyous day, we recall the fact that God loved the world so much, He was willing to give of Himself in the biggest way that He could (John 3:16). He did this by sending His Son, Jesus, to show us the way to live, in unity with our God and others around us. His life is worth celebrating, every minute of every day. If Scrooge could learn not to be selfish, and to live each day as if it was Christmas, sharing with others less fortunate, should we not do the same, with and for the love of Jesus?

O come, all ye faithful, 
Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;

O come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord

Yea, Lord we greet Thee,
Born this happy morning,
Jesus, to thee be glory given;
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing;

O come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord

Attr. John Francis Wade (c 17111 – 1786)
trs Frederick Oakeley (1802 – 1880) & others

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Lord we pray for those suffering from loss at this time of year, we pray that the Church community that they belong to upholds them in their prayers, and that they will feel the special presence of the Lord at this time. Help them to emerge stronger in their faith and ready to help others going through similar situations.

Lord we pray for individual and congregational strength, guidance, direction and peace; that God will reveal His Divine plan for all of our lives, and that He may show us the path that He wants us to walk, that we may work together for His Glory through this coming year.

Amen

Christian

I’m in love, I’m in love, and I do’t care who knows it (Buddy the Elf)

 “The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” (Victor Hugo)

We know we are loved. We know, ‘this is how God loved the world; He gave his one and only Son‘ (John 3:16 NLT). Not only did He give His Son for us, but, ‘God demonstrates his own love for us… While we were still sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Romans 5:8 NIV); and not only that, ‘at just the right time… … Christ died‘ (Romans 5:6 NIV).

You may ask “why did He do this?” ‘This is how God showed his love among us… … This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins‘ (1 John 4:9-10 NIV). He did it because he loves us, unconditionally (John 3:16).

The Psalmist David knew that God loved him, ‘How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!‘ (Psalm 36:7 NIV); and had plans for Him, ‘You make know to me the path of life‘ (Psalm 16:11 NIV), we too can read those words as if they were written to us now, today. God has a plan for all of our lives, ‘They are plans for good… to give you a future and a hope‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT); David agrees with this for he wrote, ‘Many…  are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us’ (Psalm 40:5 NIV).

Paul reminds us, when writing to the Church at Corinth, of the greatest thing that we have, ‘Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love‘ (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT). We love not only because Jesus told us to (Matthew 22:37-40), but because, ‘we live by faith, not by sight‘ (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV); but ultimately, ‘we know and rely on the love God has for us‘ (1 Thessalonians 4:6 NIV). And God’s love is like the following statement by an unknown author, ‘I choose you. And I’ll choose you over and over and over. Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat. I’ll keep choosing you.‘ (Anon). That is how much God loves us.

“To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved, that’s everything.” (T. Tolis) so with God’s unfailing love for us, we have everything.  “And remember, as it was written, to love another person is to see the face of God.” (Les Miserables)

4 advent - love

The Little Baby

The little baby, so tiny and small,
Was born and slept in a cattle stall.
No riches or fame, were in his life,
just plain, and normal everyday strife.

Tempted by the devil  tho’ he was,
But passed the test, first class.
For you and me, he died on the cross,
To ensure our lives are rescued from loss.

Each year, we celebrate his birth,
With presents, joy, and lots of mirth.
So hold him deep within our heart,
And never ever, from him depart.

 

Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!

(Rejoice! Rejoice! Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary.  Rejoice!)

 Now the time of grace has come, 
Let us raise our voices;
Promised hope has now appeared,
All mankind rejoices!

God is born into our world,
Nature celebrating;
Everything is now made new,
Christ the King is reigning.

The eastern gate Ezekiel saw
Closed, is standing open;
Light is streaming to the world,
Showing our salvation.

Therefore let us sing aloud,
Celebrate this story;
Let our praises now resound 
To the King of Glory!

Traditional Latin carol (c.1582)

 

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Father God, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of your dear Son, help us to look again at the story in the Bible and to fully rely on and accept the truth of the word. Help us to live the love that came down on that first Christmas, and help us to keep Christ IN Christmas. Help us to show others at this time of year, that without your Son, there is no Christmas, and that Christ is the reason for the season.
Lord we pray  for the people who will be sleeping rough out on the streets of the world, be with them and the people that will go out to feed them and minister to them, help them to feel our love by their actions.
Lord we pray for the people of the Philippines at this time, help the aid workers that go there to help rescue and give help. We pray that your Spirit will be with them at this time.

Amen

 

Christian

Joy! Joy! Joy!

Joy to the world

The Psalmist wrote, ‘Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise‘ (Psalm 47:1 ESV), and ‘Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad‘ (Psalm 96:11 NIV) and, ‘Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth‘ (Psalm 98:4 NIV). So the Psalmist is telling us to be joyful with our God, and to praise Him.

Between the years of 1674 and 1748, Isaac Watts wrote the wonderful words to this marvellous carol. It has been over 260 years since then, and we are still singing the words that were inspired by the birth of a special child, foretold in the book of Isaiah,

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace‘ (Isaiah 9:6-7).

It happened over 2000 years ago, and it affected people and some changed because of it. Today, and the years in between, have also moved the hearts and minds of men and women, and people are still moved by Him and the truths found in the Bible. We sing, ‘Let every heart prepare Him room‘, and about, ‘The glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love‘, and also, ‘Repeat the sounding joy‘, (Joy To The World). These are fantastic words of both praise to our God, and encouragement for others.

The First Noel‘ (Anon), angels came to inform local people about the birth of a baby, Jesus. This was a special birth and every-body needed to know; and everybody still needs to know today, possibly more so with today’s society. There is more today that can draw us away from God. Paul reminds us, ‘Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world‘ (Romans 12:2 ESV); instead, we are to be, ‘transformed by the renewal of our [your] mind‘ (v 2 NLT).

 That is why it is so important during this Advent that we are open to the moving of His spirit is us, and be prepared to show Him, and the hope that He brings to mankind. We need to show the peace that we can have when we surrender our lives to the Lord of All.

We need to be full of the joy that can only come when we have a fully committed relationship with our Lord, the only person that can help and save us. Only Jesus can truly help us, and so we sing ‘And fit us for Heaven to live with thee there‘ (Away in a Manger – Anon).

3 advent - joy

 

HOPE, PEACE, JOY & LOVE

Bildad replied to Job by saying; ‘He [God] will fill yet your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.‘ (Job 8:21 NIV). Even at his lowest, Job knew deep down in his heart, that God had not left him. We know, in our hearts that God will never leave us, even though we, as with the Hebrews, need reminding some times, so Paul did just that, ‘God has said, “I will never abandon you”‘ (Hebrews 13:5 NLT – remember this). We need to trust God, He is with us, and will give us what we need, when we need it. In His time, not ours. He has a plan for our lives (Job 29:11). We may see troubles in our personal lives, or through the lives of other people’s around us, but our life will be put back onto an even keel; ‘from the depths of the earth you [God] will bring me up‘ (Psalm 71:20 NIV). In all we do we should remember ‘God is our refuge and strength‘ (Psalm 46:1 NLT), and we should ‘Shout with joy to the LORD… … Worship the LORD with gladness‘ (Psalm 100:1-2).

My Jesus, my Saviour, Lord, there is none like you. All of my days I want to praise, the wonders of your mighty love. My comfort, my shelter, tower of refuge and strength,  let every breath, all that I am,  never cease to worship you.

Shout to the Lord, all the earth, let us sing. Power and majesty, praise to the King. Mountains bow down and the seas will roar, at the sound of your name. I sing for joy at the work of your hands, forever I’ll love you, forever I’ll stand. Nothing compares to the promise I have in you.

My Jesus My Saviour

Darlene Zschech ©Hillsongs 1994

 

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Lord we thank you for the joy that can only be found in you. We know that you are with us always, and will never leave us, we also know that you watch over us, and have a plan for each of us. Lord help us to fully rely on you, and you alone, help us to look to you and what you give us daily, and to see the cost of following world. Lord you are truly an awesome God, loving and kind, help us to be loving and kind too.
Lord we know the words to many carols, and we sing them year after year. Help us to truly encounter you through the singing of them, help our lives to be transformed by the words and by what they stand for. Lord help us daily, to look to your life as an example of what ours should look like, and help us to be better people.

Amen

 

Christian

In Pieces, or In Peace?

‘And peace to men on earth’

With all the problems that we see around the world and the constant coverage on these events in the news and internet, along with natural disasters that seem to be constantly occurring, it is hard to see or imagine peace anywhere, yet Jesus said, ‘Peace I leave with you(John 14:27 NIV). He told His followers that they would have the peace of Jesus, ‘I do not give to you as the world gives‘ (v 27). We too can have the peace of our Lord, Saviour, Friend and Redeemer left to the world; His gift of peace; should we and they seek and accept Him, peace will be theirs and ours, and Jesus told people that they should, ‘seek first his kingdom and his righteousness‘ (Matthew 6:33 NIV). Jesus also promised us that once we have come to Him and accepted Him as Lord of our life, that He would stay with us, ‘Never will I leave you‘ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). Once we are with God, we are never alone.

We can take comfort in the fact that, ‘the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones‘ (Psalm 37:28). All Christians suffer at times, but when they die, they will have His eternal peace when they pass from this life. Those who live for the Lord, and delight in Him ‘The Lord upholds them [him] with his hand‘ (Psalm 37:24 NIV). We walk with God in His strength, but sometimes we also get carried by his strength (Footprints in the Sand).

From the very beginning, Jesus was always going to be special; as His birth became imminent even the angels could not keep silent; they spoke to the shepherds saying; ‘Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased‘ (Luke 2:14 NLT). We also sing ‘Glory to the newborn King‘ and ‘Peace on earth and mercy mild‘ (Hark The Herald Angel Sing). Jesus though said that he did not come to bring peace (Matthew 10:34), but he did share with His disciples so that they would have peace (John 16:33). We may not feel at peace, we may have issues that require addressing, but whatever is wrong in our lives, Jesus is the answer.

Only Jesus can give us the peace that our hearts crave. God can remedy all things, in His time. ‘God He has called you [us] to live in peace‘ (1 Corinthians 7:15 NIV), for He himself is a God of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Is He the God of your peace?

2 advent - peace

HOPE, PEACE, LOVE & JOY

Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and He said ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.’ (John 14:27 NIV). He also said that it was not given as the world gives. The world will want something in return. ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch‘ (Milton Friedman) means you will not get something for nothing, yet Jesus gave, and God gives without expectation. God wants our love, and when we give it, He gives us His peace. ‘Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times‘ (2 Thessalonians 3:16). It may not seem that we have His peace but if we do as the Psalm tells us, ‘Be still and know him [that I am God]‘ (Psalm 46:10 ESV). If we are still and really get to know God, if we then listen, He is there, and He is ‘always ready to help in times of trouble‘ (Psalm 46:1 NLT).

 

The first Noel the angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; in fields where they lay keeping their sheep, on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Then let us all with one accord, sing praises to our heavenly Lord, that hath made heaven and earth of naught, and with his blood mankind hath bought

The First Noel

Anon – 17the century

 

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Lord we often sing carols at Christmas that celebrate your birth, and sing about peace on earth, and for all men. This year help us to really mean the words that we sing, help us to really look and work for peace as you did; help us to be ambassadors for peace, so that people will see a change in us. Help us to look to you, and what breaks your heart, may it also affect ours. Lord we look to you and the Bible for all of our teaching, help us to look harder, give us truly eyes to see, and ears to hear, and a heart that is willing.

Lord at this time, special to all Christians, help us to be ready to help those less fortunate than ourselves, help us to consider them more and help them in whatever ways we can, to show your true love.

Amen

 

 

 

 

Christian

Christmas, or, CHRISTmas!

‘Tis the season to be jolly (T. Oliphant)

At this time of year, the clocks have been turned back, the nights are drawing in, and they are getting darker earlier and earlier, and it is getting colder and colder, we can think of how lucky we are to be living in comfortable houses or flats, with a proper roof over our heads, with money in our pockets and food in the cupboards. Many in this world have little of the comfort that we can enjoy, and some even do not have food in the cupboard, let alone roofs over their heads.

Jesus’ start in life, was very similar to this, He was born with nor proper roof over His or His parents’ heads due to a census being called by the Rome empire; born in a stable (Luke 2:1-7), very humble beginnings, yet this would not stop the story unfolding as God foretold it (Isaiah 9:6-7) and willed it.

As we light the first of the Advent candles, and look at the light of the candle, we think of, and celebrate hope, hope for the whole world, because Jesus was sent by God, to save the whole world (John 3:16).

As the Psalmist said, we should ‘put our [your] hope in God‘ (Psalm 42:5 NIV), and at another said, ‘we [I] have put our [my] hope in your word‘ (Psalm 119:74). The Lord want us to turn to him, and to love Him, because, ‘the LORD delights in those… … who put their hope in his unfailing love‘ (Psalm 147:11 NIV).

The hope we have in our Lord Jesus Christ, is an eternal hope, ‘if only for this life we have hope in Christ‘ (1 Corinthians 15:19 NIV), and, ‘in this hope we are [were] saved‘ (Romans 8:24 NIV), and with this hope, we can be joyous in life (Romans 12:12). The scriptures give us everything that we need, they are spiritual food for us and give us encouragement, that we, ‘might have hope‘ (Romans 15:4 NIV).

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, Paul said that our hope should not be put in the things of the world, but we should, ‘put our [their] hope in God‘ (1 Timothy 6:17 NIV).

What do you put your hope in?

1 advent - hope

HOPE, PEACE, LOVE & JOY

In the weeks up to the time of year that we celebrate the birth of the most important person ever to have lived, we live in a period called Advent, which has been celebrated since the fourth century. The word Advent is derived from the Latin word for ‘coming’. The world would be upon His shoulders, (Isaiah 9:6) but would he be the King that everyone was waiting for?

The First Noel, on a Silent Night, Holy Night, While Shepherd Watched Their Flocks by night, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing to the shepherds, about the birth of the Messiah (Luke 2:8-17), Angels From The Realms Of Glory, brought Joy To The World.

Wise men sought Him, and went to visit Him, (Matthew 2:1-2). Wise men today still seek Jesus; He  said that we should, ‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else‘ (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

Do we do that?

 

When faith is shaken, when fears surround, my feet will stand on solid ground. In every season, my song will be

 In every breath, every joy and tear, every passing hour, let me know You’re near. In life, in death, for eternity, Oh God be here with me

Here With Me – (Pocketful of Faith #1

T. Hughes, P. Wickham, N. Herbert

 

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Lord we thank you for your great love for us, and the hope that it gives to us. Help us to live with that hope at the front of our thoughts. Help us to seek your will for our lives, and to follow you and to live as you did, showing your love to all those who we come into contact with in our day to day lives. Help us to be salt and light to a world in need.

Lord we know that you have a plan for all of our lives, and that this plan will be for the betterment of us. Help us to look to you in all things, and to be willing to trust you in all aspects of our lives, that you will provide for us in all areas. Lord we know that you love us unfailingly, help us to love you better.

Amen

Christian

The Whole World Needs Him

Christ for the whole wide world‘ (Hattie Bell Allen 1896-1981)

In everything that we do, every relationship that we have, every decision that we make, we should always consider the fact that we are children of the Living God! A few years ago, people started to were bracelets with the letters W.W.J.D., and the letters stood for, ‘What Would Jesus Do?‘ if every Christian would act like this, then the world would be a much better place.

Living our life, considering how Jesus would react, how He would deal with a situation; how He would speak, listen, act and love, would show His light and love to the world around us. Unfortunately, being human means that this is not easy. Jesus, when teaching about enemies said that we are to love everyone including our enemies, then people will know that we are, ‘children of the Most High‘ (Luke 6:35 NLT). Loving people that we like and care for is easy, but loving the people that we do not get along with, the people who annoy us, the people who spread gossip about us, that is the difficult part, but we are called to do it. We can only do these things if we are with God, ‘apart from me [Jesus] you can do nothing‘ (John 15:5 NIV); if we are separated from God, we do not have the strength, not on our own.

We should base all of our relationships on what God has told us through the words of Jesus; what He did and how He did it, and how He taught, and also by the fact that we know that God loves us so much, (John 3:16).

Jeremiah wrote a letter to exiled Israelite’s whilst they were living in Babylon, telling them what God had for each of their lives, ‘For I know the plans I have for you… .. to give you a good future and a hope‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT); even the Psalmist David knew that the Lord would, ‘teach me [you] in the way I [you] should go‘ (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

God knows what plans there are for our lives, David even noted this by saying, ‘all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be‘ (Psalm 139:16 NIV).

We need to trust that God knows what is best for us.

Ask God what that plan is, and then start living His great plan for our lives.

 

World map

If we do not show other people Christ in our lives, or if we do not share the love of God with others, are we actually doing what Jesus commanded us to do?

Jesus told His disciples that, as you go about your business, when you get the chance, you should share the love of God, and that of the Good News of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, with those around you, and also teach them to obey all that I (Jesus) have commanded you  (Matt 28:19-20).

He is truly Christ, for the whole wide world

 

 

Lord please, I ask that you show me your plan, for my life it is dreary, and I need some focus. Help me to seek, and to search, and to find, help me to see, and no longer be blind.

Lord will you show me how I can be bolder, it’s hard for me Lord, for I cower from the crowd, help me to be, the salt and the light, take me and use me, to fight in your fight.

Lord will you use me, to  show others it’s true, that only with you, will my life be fulfilled.
My part in this story I willingly play, Lord, please help me to show some people your way.

 

 

Spent today in a conversation, in the mirror face to face with somebody less than perfect I wouldn’t choose me first if I was looking for a champion. In fact I’d understand  if you picked everyone before me, but that’s just not my story. True to who You are, you saw my heart and made something out of nothing.

I don’t need my name in lights, I’m famous in my Father’s eyes. Make no mistake, He knows my name.

He Knows My Name – S.Mosley, F. Battistelli, M. Fieldes

 

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Lord we thank you for your great love for us, we know that we are loved and cherished as your children, and as you children we need you to help us to show others your great love, mercy and grace. Help others to see you through the way that we live our lives. May we be lights for a dark world, help us to show your way to people around us, help them to see you in us.

Lord we pray for all the situations around the world where your love and hope are needed. May the people that respond to disasters everywhere fell you with them at all times. May your love go with them, and show them the way to help. may your love show through their actions, and be a blessing to all those that are ministered to.

Amen

 

Christian

Prayer gently lifts me – to highest Heaven

God is near to us whenever we call on him‘ (Deuteronomy 4:7 NLT)

Prayer should not be the last refuge for anyone. Many great men and women throughout the Bible prayed often, and Moses was no exception, when interceding for the Israelites, (Exodus 16:4, 33:12-13). In many places it says that people spoke to the Lord, but what is prayer if not speaking? Talking to our Creator God is a privilege, prayer should be the first place we go in any situation, not the last. ‘who [what great nation] has a god as near to them as the LORD our God is‘ (Deuteronomy 4:7 NLT), and He is indeed! Whenever we need Him, turn to Him and call to Him, God always hears us. And when He hears us, what will He do? He honours us for being close to Him, ‘He… … honouring his faithful ones – … who are close to him‘ (Psalm 148:14 NLT). When we are ‘close to Him’ it says, yet even when we were all far from Him, and constantly sinning, ‘He brought this Good News of peace to us [you]… who were far away from him‘ (Ephesians 2:17 NLT); it was when the world was far from God and in a state of sin, that He interceded for us and sent His Son, for, ‘Christ died [to die] for us while we were still sinners‘ (Romans 5:8 NLT). No human who ever lived is or was perfect, only Jesus was, ‘everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard‘ (Romans 3:23 NLT). The Psalmist wrote, ‘I love the LORD, because he hears my voice‘ (Psalm 116:1 NLT). Samuel knew that prayer was central to living a holy life, ‘far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray‘ (1 Samuel 12:23 NIV). So prayer is not only important to living the way that God wants and intended us to live, but it is a sin not to pray.

Solomon prayed for wisdom (1 Kings 3:7-9); Hannah prayed for a baby (1 Samuel 1:11). David prayed for Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:10-19),  and Hezekiah prayed during a siege (2 Kings 19:15-19) Daniel prayed for his people (Daniel 9:4-19). Jesus prayed often, teaching His disciples how to pray (Matthew 6:9-13) , sometimes even going off by himself (Matthew 26:39).

What do we pray for?

All these people found time to pray, and some of them, even during adversity.

When do we find time to pray, and is it enough time?

Pray to the One

Jesus knew the significance of prayer, and staying in communion with His Father, especially when things got tough; He often went off alone to pray, (Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:23). Because of how Jesus was with prayer, the disciples also realised that prayer was important, and they asked Jesus to ‘teach us to pray‘ (Luke 11:1 NIV). At times, it can seem that God has not heard us when we pray, and what we want or want to know, we generally want and want to know, now. God has a plan for our lives, (Jeremiah 29:11tell us that, we just have to trust Him to reveal it to us, but do we ask to know it?. Jesus told His disciples that, ‘whatever you ask for in prayer, believe… … and it will be yours‘ (Mark 11:24 NIV). We need to be patient, the answer to our prayer may be ‘not yet‘. We need to remember that ‘The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results‘ (James 5:16 NLT).

Pray without ceasing, (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT) let him pray, (James 5:13) you are ever in our prayers,  (2 Thessalonians 1:11) say prayers for one another (James 5:16), we pray to our God our Father about you (1 Thessalonians 1:3 NLT)

Prayer gently lifts me to highest Heaven, from earth’s confusion to Jesus’ breast; my sin and weakness, my doubt and sorrow, are lost forever in sweetest rest.

 Salvation Army Song Book (new edition) 783 – Hal Beckett (1888-1971)

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Father God, we thank you that we can come to you at any time, to speak to you in prayer. Whether we are walking, driving, having a bath, wherever we are, we know that you will always have time for us. Help us to model our behaviour on you, help us to be available to those around us that may want our time. Help us to look for people that we may be able to help, to shine your love on an otherwise dark world, may we be beacons of light for you Lord.

Lord we pray for families everywhere, that they may know your love and peace now and always. Be with them in their times of grief, and their times of joy, shower them with blessings, and help them to see your path for their combined lives, leading them ever closer to you.

Amen

 

Christian

Remember!

we will remember them.‘ (R L Binyon)

Ever since 11 November 1919, in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, where the first Armistice Day was celebrated, we have remembered the fallen. In Ypres, the fire brigade there remember the fallen every night, at 20:00, the road through the Menin Gate is closed and the fire brigade march from the nearby station to the gate, they play The Last Post and Reveille, and then March back; it is a very moving experience to witness.

As with the last 98 years, at this time of year we join with people everywhere in remembering those brave men and women, who laid down their lives for their belief of freedom, for their families, and their friends. We may not know who they were, but we still remember. That is why their sacrifice is so poignant.

We need remember everything that the brave men and women did and still do for us during times of conflict, as without them, truly, the world would be very different.

We should also remember that another well known sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Soldiers are not perfect people as they go out willingly to protect us and keep us safe; Jesus was, for ‘by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy‘ (Hebrews 10:14 NIV). Paul in his letter to the Hebrews reminded them of the fact that Jesus was perfect (Hebrews 5:8-9 NIV), and that He  ‘became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him‘ (v 9).

Jesus said, ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life‘ (John 15:13 NLT) and the laying down their lives is what we will be remembering, but Jesus continued saying, ‘lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (v 13). Jesus said to His disciples, that ‘You [they and us] are my friends if you do what I command‘ (John 15:14 NIV).

How much are you willing to do for your family and friends?

How much are you willing to do for Jesus?

Avenham Park, Preston.jpgAvenham Park, Preston (2014)

 

For the Fallen (R L Binyon 1869-1943)

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit.
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into mortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

Straight of limb, true of eye,
steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the daytime;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a wellspring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the night.

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

 

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Father God, we thank you for your great love for us, which you showed when you sent your Son to die for us. Help us not to be selfish, and self-centred and to start living and loving like he did. This world desperately needs your love, as without it, men, women and children will keep dying in senseless wars that solve nothing. We know that the only way is through Jesus, the way and the truth. Help us to show that way to others through the love that we show in our lives, help us to be better.

Lord we pray for peace for all families that are remembering someone they lost due to conflict, bring them peace as only you can. Wrap your loving arms around them, and be with them always.

Amen

 

 

Christian

Light of the World

lightning flashed toward the earth.‘ (Exodus 10:23 NLT)

In the beginning, ‘the power of God was moving across the water.‘ (Genesis 1:2 GNB). The was nothing else there at that time, only God, because, ‘In the beginning God created‘ (Genesis 1:1 NLT). ‘The earth was without for and void‘ (Genesis 1:2 ESV).

The first thing God did, was to say, ‘“Let there be light”… … God saw that the light was good‘ (Genesis 1:3 ESV). We need to bask in  the light of our loving, mighty, caring Father God. Isaiah was telling the Israelites about how they should live and what they and us should do, and this is to, ‘walk in the light of the LORD‘ (Isaiah 2:5 ESV).

It is not easy, by any stretch of the imagination, the devil and the world try to drag us in, and away from God, but Paul told the Romans, and us what to do if found in that situation, ‘give your bodies to God… … … Don’t copy the behaviour of the [this] world‘ (Romans 12:1 & 2 NLT). The reason that Paul says to not be taken in by the things of the world, is that our, ‘adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion‘ and the reason he prowls around, is that he is, ‘seeking someone to devour‘ (1 Peter 5:8 ESV). If we are devoured by the devil, we will lose our hope of eternal life with our Father.

We need to, ‘Remain in Christ [me]‘ for we ‘cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me‘ (John 15:4 NLT). To do this, all we have to do, is open the door and let Jesus, the light of the world (John 8:12) enter our life, for, ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it‘ (John 1:5 ESV). As Christians, we need to live decent honest lives, because, ‘what is true comes to the light‘ (John 3:21 ESV), and once you have light, you do not hide it, (Matthew 5:14-16). Sometimes, in the darkness we can feel oppressed, or under attack from the devil, but in fact, ‘we are a spear, piercing the darkness and pushing the light of Christ into an otherwise dark world’.

All we have to do is listen and respond, and we too can have the light of God living within us. ‘Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into his house‘ (Revelation 3:20 GNB).

God the stars are your fireworks

 

the-strength-from-within-any-lengths-daily-quotes-sayings-picturesFaith like fireworks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a little flame inside us all, some shine bright, some shine small. The rains will come and the waters rise, but don’t you ever lose your light.

In this life you will know, love and pain, joy and sorrow. So when it hurts, when times get hard, don’t forget whose child you are.

One day there will be no more pain, and we will finally see Jesus’ face. So until then I’m gonna try, to brave the dark and let my little light shine

This Little Light of Mine

Addison Road (Stories #3)

Ryan Gregg / Jennie Stiefel

 

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Father God, Creator, Friend, Saviour, we thank you that you are indeed the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. We thank you for entering into our lives and filling us with light and love. Help us to always show the light you have given us to others, that they may see or experience your love and great mercy and be changed, for how can we see or experience you  and not be changed Lord. You are a mighty awesome God, and we thank you for everything that you give to us day by day.

Lord we pray for Joyce and Ralph at this time, and their extended family, be with them in a mighty way, may they feel your presence and your peace at this time, comfort them and fill them with your love and peace that passes all understanding.

Amen

 

 

 

 

Christian

Tempted?

he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.‘ (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)

Temptation is always just around the corner, and seems more prevalent in the good times of our lives.

Whenever we are tempted though, we can always find a way out if we look for it, if we look to God, and we will always find Him, ‘when you seek me with all your heart‘ (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV).

We are love so much by our amazing God (John 3:16), that whilst we were still sinners, ‘Christ died for the ungodly‘ (Romans 5:8 ESV). We also know that, ‘our old self was crucified with him‘ (Romans 6:6 NIV), we are new people. When we were crucified with Christ, ‘the body ruled by sin was [might be] done away with‘ (Romans 6:6 NIV).

When temptation comes near us, we need to submit ourselves to a higher power and let ourselves be, ‘ruled by God and make war on the Evil One‘ (James 4:7 BBE – Bible in basic Eglish). It is important to remember that Jesus was also tempted (Matthew 4:1-11), but he resisted, ‘he himself suffered when he was tempted‘ (Hebrews 2:18 NIV) the difference between man and Jesus is that he was, ‘without sin‘ (Hebrews 4:15 ESV).

If we stand with God and trust in him, we can, ‘resist the devil, and he will flee‘ (James 4:7 NIV). The best way to resist the devil is to keep, ‘praying at all times in the Spirit‘ (Ephesians 6:18 ESV). We also need to, ‘Take up God’s instruments of war‘ which will allow us ‘to keep our [your] position against all the deceits of the Evil One‘ (Ephesians 6:11 BBE).

The Devil is cunning and will use his many tricks in order to try to get us to stray from the path that God has for us. The path that God has chosen for us is god for us, it will not cause us any harm (Jeremiah 29:11), the path the Devil wants us to travel, may look enticing and easy, but ultimately, it will lead to misery, our destruction, and the loss of our hope of eternal life, ‘For the reward of sin is death‘ (Romans 6:23 BBE).

We need to remember that in all situations, if we, ‘come near to God, [and] he will come near to us [you]‘ (James 4:8 NIV). If we stay close and trust in God, ‘the free gift… is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord‘ (Romans 6:23 ESV).

Surely that is worth everything!

 

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When I look to the sky and the heavens, your magnificence is evident there. Throughout the day and the night, they reveal to me much wisdom. They do not share this wisdom through speech, which cloud in the sky can talk, and what might the stars say? Yet still the words of Your creation Lord reach the ends of the earth. The sun runs through the sky like a mighty athlete running after his prize, like a bridegroom hastening to his wedding day. The sun shares Your glory with all creation, nowhere is it’s warmth missed. Lord your laws are true and just, and they refresh the very core of my being, they give me wisdom and joy in following your commands O Mighty Sovereign. All of the decrees set out by Your hand are righteous and good, they are more precious than all the wealth of the world, they are good food to my soul, Lord, may they stay in my heart forever.

Psalm 19:1-10

 

A needy sinner at thy feet, with broken heart I bow, for pardon at thy mercy seat; O Jesus, save me now.

Strong friend of sinners, hear my cry, and set my sad heart free; my sins demand that I should die, But I believe in thee.

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee. O come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee.

Salvation Army Song Book (new edition) 484 – v 1, 2 & chorus

C. Strang, E. E. Steele Elliott

 

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Lord we thank you for showing us through your Son that temptation can be beaten, that the devil has lost, and that you are the glorious winner. Help us to fully rely on you in all situations where we may be tempted to stray, stay with us and hold us tight that we may never stray from your presence.

Lord we pray for all of the corps that make up the area we live in , Staffordshire. Lord may they all feel your presence in whatever they may do and whenever they may do it. Help the leaders of the corps to look for your leading and follow your will in all that they do and say and plan. Help your light to shine through all that happens in this area, now and always.

Amen

Christian

Serving in Leadership

The servant-leader… … begins with the natural feeling that one wants to… serve first.‘ (R. K. Greenleaf)

When the mother of Zebedee’s sons went to ask Jesus if He would let her sons sit either side of Him when He was in His Kingdom, Jesus said to her that it was not for Him to grant that request. All she wanted was for her sons to be at the top, seen as the ‘best of the best’. We all want the best for our children, but only God can give them that, He has a plan for all of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). ‘Best of the best‘ is normally a phrase  used when people are talking about someone is at the ‘top of their game‘.

Jesus did not want to be thought of as ‘the best‘. He was not concerned about what people thought about Him, for Him, it was all about God; He knew who He was, He said ‘I am the bread of life‘ (John 6:35 & 48 NIV). Not only did He say that, later He used another phrase to inform the people around Him, how important He was to the world, ‘I am the light of the world‘ (John 8:12 & 9:5 NIV); yet following this, He was serving by washing the disciples feet (John 13). People do not necessarily need to shout-out about who they are and what they are doing. A famous servant-leader is quoted as saying ‘Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love‘ (Mother Teresa).

Do we do things for love, or for the adulation of others?

Jesus gave a famous command to every-one, and He said ‘A new command I give to you; Love one another‘ (John 13:34 NIV). Jesus was not only a servant-leader, but he came here to serve us in an amazing way, with love, He did something that He knew we could never do, ‘He came to pay a debt He did not owe; [for] I owed a debt I could not pay.’ (Ellis J Crum). Jesus served us the best way He could, ‘Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life‘ (John 15:13 NIV), and He loved to the utmost.

Are we servants / servant-leaders, do we serve in love, or for love of others?

 

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Leadership is a position that some people want and aspire to, but God knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11), He knows everything about us, the Psalmist David knew this (Psalm 139), he also knew that God would guide us (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

Some people may not be pleased with God’s plan for them, Moses was one of these. Although he answered God when he was spoken to, but when told what to do, he said, ‘Who am I, that I should go‘ (Exodus 3:11 NIV). God tried to persuade Moses that with His help he could do it, but Moses continued to argue, God became angry, but in the end, God decided that Moses would lead, but Aaron would speak for Him, (Exodus 4:14).

 Jeremiah also was not happy about being called, he said that he was too young and did not know how to speak out, (Jeremiah 1:6).

Samuel however was ready to serve in any way necessary, for when God spoke to him, he replied, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening‘ (1 Samuel 3:10 NIV).

Are we ready to lead and / or serve?

 

From heav’n you came helpless babe, entered our world, your glory veiled; not to be served but to serve, and give your life that we might live.

This is our God, the Servant King, he calls us now to follow him, to bring our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant King

So let us learn how to serve, and in our lives enthrone him; each other’s needs to prefer, for it is Christ we’re serving.

From Heaven You Came (The Servant King)

Graham Kendrick

 

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Lord we thank you for showing us through your Son that leading and serving are both possible, and that they should be embraced to bring glory to your name. Hel us to be ready to serve those that others may not want to, help us to serve those that most need it, help us to discern your plan for our lives that we may show your love and your light everywhere we go.

Father we thank you for your great love for us, help us to show that love to others around us in our daily lives, help us to be beacons of your light to a dark and broken world; it is so important for us that we live our lives according to your will, but Lord we are human and frail, so we need your help constantly, be patient with us we pray.

Amen

 

 

Christian

Our Home in Heaven

an eternal house… not built by human hands‘ (2 Cor 5:1 NIV)

Moses and the tribes of the  Israelites, did not live in houses. The Israelites lived in tents, for they were a nomadic people. The Merriam Webster online dictionary, describes nomadic as; roaming about from place to place aimlessly, frequently, or without a fixed pattern of movement. The Israelites were definitely not wandering about aimlessly, frequently they moved, but it was planned,  for God had a plan for them, and was leading them, by day He was a pillar of cloud, and by night He lead them by being a pillar of fire, (Exo 13:21, Num 14:14). They travelled through the desert for forty years, with God guiding them constantly.

God has a plan for everyone’s life, yours and mine, and we need to be open to His leading; the Psalmist David knew this, for he wrote, ‘You make known to me the path of life‘ (Psalm 16:11 NIV). David knew that God was a great God and would ‘instruct him [you] and teach him [you] in the way he [you] should go‘ (Psalm 32:8 ESV). Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles, commented that God knew what was best for us, and that He could and would guides us, for God had told him ‘ For I know the plans I have for you‘ (Jer 29:11 NIV).

Paul in writing to the people in Corinth said, that ‘while we are still in this tent, we groan‘ (2 Cor 5:4 ESV), but ultimately, our hope is in our eternal life with our Lord, as Peter said to Jesus, ‘You have the words of eternal life‘ (John 6:68 NIV). On one day, Jesus was comforting His disciples and said, ‘In my Father’s house… … … I go to prepare a place for you‘ (John 14:2 & 3 ESV). The days of our wandering are completed when we trust Jesus to guide us to the source of all life, our Great Almighty, Father God in whom all who believe, will find rest.

 

Saved by Grace

 

For he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones‘ (Prov 2:8 NIV). We should remember to, ‘trust in the LORD with all our [your] heart and lean not on our [your] own understanding; in all our [your] ways submit to him, and he will make our [your] paths straight‘ (Prov 8:5-6 NIV). As a Christian, ‘do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in our [your] power to act‘ (Prov 3:27 NIV). ‘Let our [your] eyes look straight ahead; fix our [your] gaze directly before you‘ (Prov 4:25 NIV). We know that ‘our [your] ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all our [your] paths‘ (Prov 5:21 NIV). In all our dealings with other Christians, we should remember, ‘The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy‘ (Prov 12:22 NIV) and that, ‘anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up‘ (Prov 12:25 NIV). But ultimately the one thing that we should remember , is, ‘The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good‘ (Prov 15:3 NIV).

 

I have a Home that is fairer than day, And my dear Saviour has shown me the way; Oft when I’m sad and temptations arise, I look to my home far away.

My Home is in Heaven, there is no parting there, All will be happy, glorious, bright and fair; There’ll be no sorrow, there will be no tears, In that bright Home far away.

O who will journey to Heaven with me? Jesus has died that we all may be free; Come then to him who has laid up for you, A crown in that Home far away.

Salvation Army Song Book (new edition) 537 verse 1, chorus, verse 3

Ada Mary Nisbett (c 1866 – 1931)

 

downloadLord we thank you for loving us and giving us a path to walk on, through our lives with you. Help us to stay true to your will, to put you first before all things, help us not to be drawn to the things of this world that will separate us from you. Lord you are the first and the last, be the first thing in our lives each day, and the last thing in our day as we lay down to sleep.

Lord we pray for ministers in every place around the world, may they be filled with the mighty power of your Spirit, fill them with the wisdom of the Bible that they may teach what you have put in their hearts. Help them to be mighty in your word yet humble in their walk with you as testament to your power and will.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

Christian

Only Love

in his love he will no longer rebuke you‘ (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

Paloma Faith sang ‘Only love can hurt like this‘, but true love does not really hurt, true love give and gives and gives again. Jesus told us, ‘Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (John 15:13 NIV). Jesus did not just speak words, He put the words into action, because, ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Romans 5:8 NIV).

Tracy Chapman sang that, ‘Words don’t come easily, Like I love you’. Jesus gave everyone, ‘A new command‘ (John 13:34 NIV), and the new command was to love, ‘Love each other. Just as I have loved you‘ (John 13:34 NLT). We already know that God love us, and love us so, so much. We can read about God’s love for us in John 3:16, and in many passages within the Bible. Jesus also said that if we love each other with a true selfless love, ‘As I have loved you‘ (v 34), if we love as commanded, we are displaying exactly the correct characteristics that are necessary for, ‘everyone to [will] know that you are my disciples‘ (John 13:35 NIV).

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, ‘Love will last forever‘ (1 Cor 13:8 NLT). He wrote, ‘Love is patient‘ (v 4),but are we always with the people we love? He wrote, ‘love is kind‘ (v 4), but are we to the people we love? He wrote, ‘it is not easily angered‘ (v 5) but do people make us angry and lead us from the presence of God?

God needs to be at the centre of everything.

He may not have been speaking about God, but Ed Sheeran wrote the words, ‘All that you are is all that I’ll ever need.

I hope we can all echo those words about our God;

Lord in all things, you are all I will ever need.

Love can build bridges, it can repair lives, it can point the way to our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

 

 

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Whitney Houston sang the words, ‘If tomorrow is judgment day, and I’m standing on the front line, and the Lord asks me what I did with my life, I will say I spent it with you’ (My Love Is Your Love); Leanne Rimes sang the words, ‘When it comes to loving you, You’re my only reason, You’re my only truth.’ (I Need You). Adele sang that she would, ‘Go to the ends of the Earth for you, to make you feel my love’ (Make You Feel My Love).

These are lovely sentiments about love, but do they really show love? Do they show the kind of love that we want or desperately need in our lives?

We need the kind of love that gives and gives, and gives again, unconditionally. And love like that, is pure love, and only comes from one place, it is God’s love. Bob Marley sang, ‘I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love‘ (Waiting in Vain). We do not have to wait in vain for love.

God loves, and He loves us! Always and unconditionally!

 

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Amazing grace, How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see, ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved, How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed, My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God, my Saviour has, ransomed me, And like a flood His mercy rains, Unending love, Amazing grace,

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

John Newton, John P. Ross, Edwin Othello Excell, Chris Tomlin, and Louie Giglio

 

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Lord we thank you for loving us unconditionally; right from the very beginning you loved us, you loved us before we loved you, and you still love us when we done something that hurts you. You are an amazing God, worthy of so much praise and honour, yet we keep on hurting you. Help us Lord, for without you we are nothing, without you we can do nothing. We need you in our lives, guiding us and showing us the way you want us to go, the path that you have got for each of our lives. Show us how to love like you, to love the people that hurt us, to love and love and love again. Lord we are yours and we want to be yours always, help us to trust you and follow you more closely in all that we do, that we                                           may one day be like you, truly loving.                                        Amen

Christian

Harvest

Send out workers into his harvest‘ (Matt 9:37 NIV)

Barbara Stoddard (1865-1915) wrote, ‘Bring your tithes into the storehouse‘ (SASB 995 v1),The Lord told the Israelites that, ‘Three times you shall keep a feast to Me in the year… … … the Feast of Harvest, the first-fruits of your labours‘ (Exodus 23:14 & 16). Our best is for the Lord, we should always do our best in all situations. Paul told the people at Collossae, ‘Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you are working for the Lord‘ (Coll 3:23 NLT). Howard Grose (1851-1939) wrote the following words that sum up exactly what we should willingly do for God; ‘Give of your best to the Master; Give of the strength of your youth‘ (v 1); that does not mean that you can only give while you are young, God can use you at any time in your life; we just have to be ‘Clad in salvatian’s full armour‘ we can, ‘Join in the battle for truth‘ (chorus). The writer of Proverbs tells us to, ‘Honour the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits‘ (3:9).

And why should we give of our best to the Lord? We should give of our best because God loves us, but, ‘We love because he first loved us‘ (1 John 4:19 NIV); in fact He love us so much He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16). Whatever we give to the Lord, should be given willingly, Paul in his letter to Timothy reminded him that as sons and daughters of the living God, we should be, ‘willing to share‘ (1 Tim 6:18 NIV). If we work fully for God, spreading the Good News of His Gospel, and sharing with people that we meet, eventually, ‘we will reap a harvest if we do not give up‘ (Gal 6:9 NIV).

Are we prepared to work tirelessly for the Lord of all creation, and get the best harvest that we can for Him?

 

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As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.‘ (Gen 8:22 NIV). The Lord made the world for us, and it blesses us. The Psalmist said that, ‘God blesses us‘ and ‘The land yields its harvest‘ (Psalm 67:6 NIV). We trust God because, ‘The LORD will indeed give what is good‘ and because He does, ‘our land will yield its harvest‘ (Psalm 85:12 NIV). In all things we need to trust God because He has a plan for us, Jeremiah mentioned this in his letter he sent to the exiles, he said to them, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,‘ he continued that they were, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future‘ (Jer 29:11 NIV).They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest‘ (Psalm 107:37 NIV).

 

Lord we thank you for loving us and creating this world for us, help us to live grateful lives, grateful that you give us all we need, rain sunshine, light, wind; everything that we need to be fruitful. Help us to be thankful for everything that you give us, especially Your Son. Help us to live and be thankful for everything you give us.

Lord at this time of year we also think of those who do not have enough, to those whose lives are full of constant hardship. Help those in government to look at these situations and be moved by your Spirit; that they may be open to your leading and your will, and that they will share the surplus from other nations to ensure we all have enough, and do it by the love you first showed us.

Amen

 

‘the harvest of the earth is ripe’                  Revelations 14:16 NKJV

Christian

Trust & Obey

Trust that everything happens for a reason, even when you’re not wise enough to see it ‘ (Oprah)

Do we really trust that everything that happens to us, happens for a reason, even if, at that very moment we cannot understand it, as Oprah said? If we turn a corner, just as the person we want to see arrives at that exact same corner, do we call that a mere coincidence, or do we call it a ‘God-instance’?

God wants the very best for us, and the reason He wants the very best for us, is because He loves us, and loves us to such an extent that He will do anything for us. He loves us so much; ‘he gave his one and only Son‘ (John 3:16 NIV), and whoever believes in Him, ‘shall not perish but have eternal life‘ (v 16).

God did all this, even though we disappoint Him and sin. He still loves us, and loves us so much that, ‘Whilst we were still sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Rom 5:8 NIV).

The Psalmist knew that God would, ‘instruct him [you] and teach him [you] in the way he [you] should go‘ (Psalm 32:8 NIV). We really need to trust God to know what is best for us, for He said, ‘For I know the plans I have for you‘ (Jer 29:11 NIV). God knows what He has planned for us, and as long as we follow His plan, we will be able to say as the Psalmist said, ‘Many, LORD my God, are… … the things you planned for us‘ (Psalm 40:5 NIV).

We need to trust God and follow His commands for our life, Jesus to His disciples that ‘apart from me you can do nothing‘ (John 15:5 NIV). If we are not apart, then we are with Him, and ‘if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation‘ (2 Cor 5:17 ESV). Be new for Christ, and boldly trust God with your life. It is worth it!

 

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When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His word, what a glory He sheds on our way; while we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey. Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies, but His smile quickly drives it away; not a doubt nor a fear, not a sigh  nor a tear, can abide while we trust and obey. Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, but our toil he doth richly repay; not a grief nor a loss, not a frown nor a cross, but is blessed if we trust and obey. But we never can prove, the delights of His love, until all on the alter we lay; for the favour he shows, and the joy He bestows, are for them who will trust and obey. Then in fellowship sweet, we will sit at His feet, or we’ll walk by His side in the way; what He says He will do, where He sends we will go, Never fear, only trust and obey. Trust and Obey for there’s no other way.

J. H. Sammis (1846-1919)

 

When confusion’s my companion, And despair holds me for  ransom, I will feel no fear, I know that You are near. When I’m caught deep in the valley, with chaos for my company, I’ll find my comfort here, ’cause I know that You are near. My help comes from You, you’re right here, pulling me through. You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness all on Your shoulders, Your shoulders. My help comes from You. You are my rest, my rescue, I don’t have to see t believe that, You’re lifting me up on Your shoulders, your shoulders

Shoulders – For King & Country

J & L. Smallbone, Tedd T, B. Glover

 

Lord we thank you for Love in our lives and that you love us so much that your Son came to die for us. Help us to fully rely and trust on you to guide our lives that we may glorify your name forever. May we be beacons of light to all that we meet in our day to day lives, that they will also want the love you give us and to live for you and your glory.

Amen

Christian

Are You Listening?

Speak, for your servant is listening‘ (1 Samuel 3:10 NIV)

Many of us watch television, or hear music or even take part in conversations, but do we actually listen to what is happening?

Do we follow the script the actors are sharing?

Do we feel the music as it plays over us?

Do we engage in the conversation that we are part of?

Do we make the time to listen?  Do we make the time to listen to God?

God speaks to us, all of us.

God spoke to Moses through a burning bush, but that was for Moses only. When Samuel was about 10 – 11 years old, he was called by God, it was during the quiet hours of the night, ‘Samuel was lying down… … … Then the LORD called Samuel‘ (1 Sam 3:3-4). God spoke through Isaiah with ‘Prophecy’ (Isa 13-23); He spoke to Daniel in the night also, concerning he dream of Nebuchadnezzar, (Dan 2:19). He spoke to all the prophets during their lives, and continues to speak to us today, and if God is speaking to us now, ‘we do not need more information, we need more understanding‘ (S. Sampsom – You can hear the voice of God p23), we need wisdom to be able to sort through the information we are given to make sense of it, to be able to understand what God is saying to us.

The disciples were fortunate, for God through Jesus, spoke directly to them. We do not have that, but we have something equally as good. We have the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus promised, ‘the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things‘ (John 14:26 NIV).

If we want to hear from God we should, ‘come boldly to the throne‘ (Heb 4:16 NKJV). Come boldly now and seek Him!

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Lord listen to me as I cry to you, it is to you I pray, my King and God. When I rise you hear me, as I put my request to you and wait upon your answer. You O God dislike evil, the arrogant, and the people who do wrong are not pleasing to you, and those who lie are not welcome in your house. You love me God, and in humility and awe I come into your holy dwelling. Lord lead me in your ways, and help me go on the right path. Keep me from my enemies who try to take me from you, rid them from my life Lord and keep me safe. Let those who trust in you  be happy and sing your praises. Protect those who love you, may they rejoice in you as you surround them with protection and love.

Psalm 5 (adaptation)

Lord we thank you for guiding our lives, we know that you knew us before we were born, and that our life now is known to you. We thank you for loving us and sowing us how to live a life that is pleasing to you. Help us to listen to you, and to listen for you. Our lives are so busy Lord that it is hard to find time to speak and listen to you. Help us to better at listening, speak to us Lord in words that we may understand.                  Amen

 

Christian

how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to your children‘ (Matthew 7:11 NIV)

Whenever we want something we can either get it our-self, or ask for it, and when we ask for something, we are generally asking someone we know, a family member or a friend. Are we also planning for the potential let-down that can also come? If we ask God for something, there will never be any ‘let-down’, God always answers prayer.

When we come to God, we can ask anything that we want as long as it fits within the teaching of the Bible. Jesus told His disciples and therefore us to, ‘Ask and it will be given to you‘ (Matt 7:7 ESV, Luke 11:9 NIV); He also told His disciples ‘I will do whatever you ask in my name‘ (John 14:13 NIV).

I am sure that the mother of Moses prayed and asked that he be spared and not drown when she floated her watertight  basket containing her precious cargo into the Nile river; the Hebrew word for ‘watertight basket’ used here is the same as in Noah’s ark.

And as we all know, God did indeed answer and save the life of the baby Moses, and he grew up and saved the lives of all of the Israelites, and with the mighty power of God, led them out of Egypt and slavery, (Exodus 2 – 13).

At some point we all get rid of things for various reasons, Moses’ mother put him in the basket and sent him away for protection. We too have to remove things from our lives to get the ‘full benefit’ of living with Jesus, and the benefit of following Jesus is eternal life with Him I heaven. ‘I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you‘ (John 14:2 NIV).

You Don't Understand

 

In order to benefit from the promise of eternal life, we have to throw away those things ‘of us’ that do not fit with the teachings of the Bible, those are;

the works of the flesh… … sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these‘ (Gal 5:19-21 ESV).

What a list. These are all things that will be barriers between us and God, and we do not want any barriers to separate us, ‘your iniquities (sin) have separated you from God‘ (Isai 59:2 NIV). So if the list above separate us from God, what do we need to do? We need to clothe ourselves with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, because;

the Holy Spirit produces… … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control‘ (Gal 5:22-23 NLT).

The ‘Fruits of The Spirit’ are what help us work towards the goal of eternal life that we are promised when we follow Jesus. He said ‘follow me‘ (Matt 4:19 NIV), and He said to everyone, ‘I am the way‘ (John 14:6 NIV).

 

Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

I have the power! (He-man)

I will teach you about the power of God’ (Job 27:11 NIV)

Power is not all about the physical strength of someone. There is power of the will and mind, or power in what you say and how you say it. You could even demonstrate power of control, in your actions, and how you treat people.

The Merriam Webster online dictionary, defines power as;

Physical might, or

Mental or moral efficiency, and

Possession of control, authority or influence over others’ (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/power – accessed 04/08/18 – 09:27).

Jesus may or may not have had physical strength or might, we don’t see that in what is written; although he was in situations where he was threatened, he never reacted with a show of physical strength; he was never in a situation where he had to use his own bodily strength, he trusted his heavenly Father for all his needs.

When we trust God to fight our battles, we do not need our own physical might, God is our strength. The Psalmist David knew this to be true, ‘The LORD is the strength of his people’ (Psalm 28:8 ESV).

Power can just as easily be shown in the authority that someone has. Jesus knew that he had been given authority from his Father, for he prayed;

that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority’ (John 17:2 NIV).

Efficiency is all about being competent and well organised. Jesus definitely had mental and moral efficiency.

Jesus travelled around most of the time during his ministry, and confidently preached in various areas, and many times. He knew the scriptures well, and showed this on many occasions, and at each place, there were similar responses from the crowds;

they were astonished at his teaching; for his word was with authority’ (Luke 4:32 RV1885).

the Son of Man has authority on earth’ (Matthew 9:6 NIV).

There have been many songs and hymns written about the power of Jesus, and what he has done for us, such as;

There is power in the name of Jesus’ (Noel Richards – 1955 – today)

There is power in the precious name of Jesus, Jesus’ (Sandy Patti – 1956 – today)

Of Jesus there is power in his name’ (Lincoln Brewster – 1971 – today).

We know that there was power in Jesus, he preached and taught with authority, but even more than that, we know that he had power over natural elements;

Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake’ (Matthew 14:25 NIV).

The Israelite nation in the Old Testament knew and experienced the awesome power of God, when they left Egypt (Exodus 14:15-22), when travelling during the wilderness years and in need of water (Numbers 20:8-11).

The Psalmist Ethan the Ezrahite wrote, ‘You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them’ (Psalm 89:9 ESV).

There were many times that the Israelite nation experienced the power of God during their exodus from Egypt, and the time of the Judges. Again and again, the Israelite nation turned from God and suffered, and then God in his mercy delivered them time after time.

The Jewish nation during Jesus’ time, would have also known about the power of God, but were now witnessing the might of God through the life of Jesus, ‘The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!”’ (Matthew 8:27 NIV).

The most important thing for us to remember is that he has the power, not only to perform miracles, such as turning water into wine (John 2:1-10), and healing people (Luke 5:12-14 & Mark 8:22-26), Jesus has the power to save us. Jesus saves us by what he has done for us, in his death and resurrection.

We trust Jesus, and know that he has power, and we also know that the power he has means that we will be with him in our eternal life, and that ultimately;

at the name of Jesus every knee should bow’ (Philippians 2:10 NIV).

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There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain

There’s an army rising up
There’s an army rising up
There’s an army rising up
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain

There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain
To break every chain, break every chain, break every chain

I hear the chains falling

Break Every Chain
Will Reagan

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Father God, we thank you for sending your Son to earth. We thank you for his wisdom, strength and power, and that through his life, death and resurrection we can have the hope of eternal life. Lord we trust in you and all that you have said through the inspired word of the Bible. Father, help us to lean on you for strength and to trust in the power of your risen Son.

Amen