Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

New for Old !

Put on the new self’ (Ephesians 4:24 NIV)

Isn’t science and technology great?

We have come so far in such a short time.

In 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, (thanks to a coin toss) the younger of two brothers by about four years, Orville Wright flew the first ‘heavier than air machine’ to achieve manned, controlled, sustained flight (https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/wright-brothers/online/ – accessed 06/04/19).

On 12 April 1961, the Russian government, as part of the ‘space race’, sent a cosmonaut called Yuri Gagarin into space as part of their Vostock programme (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_spaceflight – accessed 06/04/19).

In only fifty-eight years, the world had gone crazy, it went from the maiden flight of a plane called ‘The Flyer’, (https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/wright-brothers/online/fly/1903/triumph.cfm – accessed 06/04/19) that had no walls, no windows or seats; a plane that did not even look like something that could, should or even would fly; a plane where the entire flight lasted only twelve seconds, (https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/wright-brothers/online/fly/1903/triumph.cfm – accessed 06/04/19) to flying into the cold, dark, vast nothingness of space.

It could have seemed amazing to some, that the world had been conquered. In less than sixty years, people could fly all over the world, and even into space.

I remember as a boy, reading and watching programmes like ‘Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson – published 14/11/1883) and even today, they still hold an interest to me.

Long John Silver was a man who had lost a leg, and hobbled around with the use of a crutch; the bottom of his leg had disappeared, been cut off due to some accident we presume, and all that he had as a replacement, was a wooden peg, a ‘peg-leg’. A peg-leg was a simple ugly replacement for a limb that had been lost, and it probably did not really suffice.

Prosthetic limbs, in various forms, have been around for many years (https://share.upmc.com/2015/03/timeline-prosthetic-limbs-years/ – accessed 06/04/19). Over time they have improved, originally they would have been made from wood and leather, but more recently, rubber, carbon-fibre, and even now, micro-processor controlled limbs. It really does seem that we can have virtually any part of our body replace, if we have enough money and/or are prepared to wait.

So, what does this have to do with me you might be asking?

Everything!

In our life, we need Jesus.

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

We need Jesus in our lives, Augustine said;

if there is a God who created you, then the deepest chamber of your soul simply cannot be filled up by anything else’ (The Reason For God – Timothy Keller p.172).

This means, that only he can satisfy our deepest desires.

But he will, and he does.

He promises to renew us;

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV – emphasis mine).

So if we turn to Christ, he will renew us.

We will not necessarily suddenly have perfect vision, or no aches or pains in our joints, (wouldn’t that be lovely?) but our heart, our spiritual centre will be reset. God will ‘reboot’ our heart, just like you do with a computer when you want everything to be as it was when you got it.

God will give us a new heart;

I will give them a new heart to know me’ (Jeremiah 24:7 NIV).

I will give them a new undivided heart’ (Ezekiel 11:19 NIV).

I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh’ (Ezekiel 36:24 ESV).

So we see above, in those three verses, that God is willing and able to renew our heart, to freshen our heart, to reboot it so that it will be in line with his teaching.

And not only that, but we know that he will teach us what we need to know (Psalm 32:8) and that he will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:8 & Hebrews 13:5) and we know that he will give to us generously if we ask in line with his will (James 1:5).

God loves us so much that Jesus came to make a way for us to come back to God (John 3:16). He wants the best for us, he has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and he will never stop loving us or giving to us;

I will never stop doing good to them’ ( Jeremiah 32:40 NIV).

Isn’t it time you renewed you heart?

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When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart

I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much you deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is yours
Every single breath

I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, lord, for the thing I’ve made it
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus (repeat)

The Heart of Worship

Matt Redman

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Father we thank you for renewing our hearts when we come to you. You know how much we need you to change our hearts from stone to flesh. Lord help us to really show others your heart, your light and your love, that they will truly see a renewed us, that they will see you in us.

Amen

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Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Speak well of – honour

Honour your father and mother’ (Deuteronomy 5:16 ESV)

How do we treat our parents?

Do we love our parents, and do we do what they want us to do, even when we do not want to do something, even though they will only ever want the best for us?

I can remember when I was a youngster, being really angry with my parents at times; either they had forbidden me from doing something that I wanted to do, or from going somewhere, or told me off for doing something. I also remember that one time after my father had told me not to do something, and I could not understand the reasoning behind the decision and the refusal, so in true child like thinking, knowing, or rather childishly thinking that I knew better than my father, I still went where I had been forbidden. It did not turn out well, at all.

So when we look at our lives, have we really done as the Bible told us to? Have we honoured our parents?

Do we continue to honour our parents even now, in the way that we live and the way we remember them and the way we talk about them?

But what does the word ‘honour’ (sometimes written as ‘honor’) actually mean?

The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines honour as;

a: Good name or public esteem: reputation

b: a showing of usually merited respect: recognotion

(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honor – accessed 30/03/19).

The ancient Hebrew word for honour is written –  – which is pronounced ka-vad.

Strong’s Hebrew reference for the word is H3513 and it means; 

to be great in weight, wealth or importance’ (http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/dictionary/4000.html – accessed 31/03/19).

What we should all do is;

Honour your father and mother, as the LORD your God commanded you’ (Deuteronomy 5:16 ESV).

So we are told to honour our parents, and if we take the analogy further, we should also honour our heavenly Father.

God loves us so much that he sent his only Son to die for us (John 3:16), and he has great compassion for us;

with great compassion I [God] will gather you’ (Isaiah 54:7 ESV – emphasis mine).

The best way we can honour our heavenly Father is by doing what he wants us to do, and the best way that we can do that is by having a relationship with him, in just the same way that we have a relationship with our earthly parents.

We talk to our earthly parents regularly, we ask them how they are, we visit them to chat, and we can go to them if we have problems or things to discuss. That is a proper relationship.

God wants the same.

He wants the best for us;

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

God has plans for our life, and if we are in relationship with him, we can regularly ask him for guidance, ask him to show us what it is that he wants us to do?

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

When we look to God for guidance, we know that he will always be there for us. The writer of Hebrews reminded the Hebrew Christians;

Never will I leave you’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).

These are the exact words that God also spoke to Moses;

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will never leave you’ (Deuteronomy 31:7 ESV).

If we honour God, he will teach us what we need (Psalm 32:8). We need to honour what God wants from us, we need to honour the fact that Jesus came and died for us.

So really, we should honour our Father, our father and our mother.

Do we?

Honour thy parents

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

J. Houser, J. C. Houser, M. West, M. J. West

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Father we thank you everything that you do and have done for us. We thank you that we can have a relationship with you, and that you will never leave us, that you will teach us what we need to know, and that you have a plan for our lives. Help us to fully rely on you, and talk to you always so that we can fully honour you in all ways.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Sticks & stones

The words of the reckless pierce like swords’ (Proverbs 12:18 NIV)

How reckless are we in our life, and how much of that recklessness is still with us when we talk to someone?

I know that sometimes, well quite often really if I am being honest, I speak first and think later, not out of malice, but sometimes if I sit there and think, I think that people may consider that I am not always being honest, so I just say whatever comes out.

I heard it once told to me, that we should all first ‘put our brain in gear before we open our mouth’ and talk to anyone.

Good advice for many people I think!

But should we ‘sugar coat’ information for people when they ask us, or should we be brutally honest?

How painful are honest words!’ (Job 6:25 NIV).

Well we should really be honest, there is a saying that goes,

Honest as the day is long

In other words, we should always tell the truth, we should be honest all of the day. That does not mean that we do not think before speaking, but always tell the truth.

Telling the truth always can be difficult.

How many men would like to tell their wives that the dress they are wearing looks awful, or how many women would tell their husbands, boyfriends that they are getting a ‘beer belly or worse, going bald?

There are ways to tell the truth, without starting world war 3.

Truthful lips endure forever’ (Proverbs 12:19 NIV).

I am quite honest and frank when I talk to people, which is sometimes not what people want to hear; sometimes they want you to blur the lines, smudge the details, and tell them what they want to hear, but this is not always helpful.

But the tongue of the wise is health’ (Proverbs 12:18 RV1885).

Or as the NIV puts it;

The tongue of the wise brings healing’ (Proverbs 12:18 NIV).

That does not mean that we have to use flowery language, or distort the truth, or say what the person we are talking to wants to hear. What it means is, we have to really listen to whoever we are talking to, and to listen means not to interrupt them; let them finish saying what is on their mind. When they have finished talking, we should measure our response, put our brain in gear, maybe even say a quick prayer, and let the Holy Spirit give us the words that are necessary.

When we are speaking to someone, we have to pray that they will hear what we say. Some people will let you talk to them, and say that they are listening then do whatever they feel like;

but a wise man [or woman] listens to advice’ (Proverbs 12:15 ESV – emphasis mine).

When we speak, we should always do so with the help of God, we should ask for his Spirit to be the voice that we use, that the words we say will come directly from him.

When talking about false prophets, God said through Jeremiah;

They… lead my people astray with their reckless lies’ (Jeremiah 23:32 NIV).

We need to be sensible with our tongue;

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body’ (James 3:6 NIV).

What James was saying is that we use various tools at our disposal, to control certain things (James 3:3-4); we use a bit in a mouth, to control a horse and tell it where we want it to go, and we use a small rudder to steer a large ship to tell it where to go. Both of these things are very small in comparison to what it controls, and so it is with our tongue.

So the tongue is a thing that we need to learn to control.

Your tongue weighs in at approximately, 60 grams if you are woman, and 70 grams if you are a man, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongue – accessed 23/03/19), and if you look at the average weight within the UK and Wales, using people over the age of 16, a male weighs on average 84 kg, and a female on average weighs in at 69 kg, these were measured in 2009, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_body_weight – accessed 24/03/19).

That means that our tongues weigh less than 1% of our body weight, yet they can destroy peoples’ lives, and we know that;

no human being can tame the tongue’ (James 3:8 ESV).

We need to think about what we say. People can be hurt very easily. Our tongues have no bones, but they can break your heart, and once said, our words cannot be forgotten, only forgiven in time.

Words hurt!

We all know that saying from our childhood;

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

That is not true, you only have to look at the news, or read accounts of how young and older people are cyber-bullied.

Words hurt!

Were created on purpose, for a purpose, and our tongue which can hurt so easily, can also praise the creator of the universe;

With our tongue we praise our Lord and Father’ (James 3:9 NIV).

We can be reckless in many ways and in many things, especially when we speak in rash ways, but let us be reckless with our tongue in praising our God.

Let our words recklessly praise our Lord. Let us ‘speak the truth from [their] our heart; whose tongue utters no slander’ (Psalm 15:3 NIV).

Lord, ‘before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely’ (Psalm 139:4 NIV).

Help us to try to tame our words Lord, and help us not to be reckless with our tongues, but with our love, let us recklessly love like Jesus.

Sticks and stones.jpeg

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

Reckless Love

Caleb Culver, Cory Asbury, Ran Jackson

downloadFather we thank you for creating us. Help us to look at the way that Jesus spoke, and to guard our tongue against hurting others with words spoken without thought. Help us to ask for your help when in difficult situations where our words may hurt others. Lord you gave your son for us so that we can live in your love, help us to bless and not cures others with our tongues, help us only to only praise you and build others up with our tongues. Help us to be like Job who said, ‘my tongue will utter no lies’ (Job 27:3 NIV).

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

I can – but I need help!

I can do all this’ (Philippians 4:13 NIV – emphasis mine)

Do you believe in yourself?

Do you trust in yourself?

How do you feel about yourself?

However you really feel about yourself, there is one thing that you should always remember, God believes in you, he believes so much that he sent his son to the earth to die for you (John 3:16).

God wants the very best for us, for all of us, and he has a plan for each and every one of us ‘For I know the plans I have for you’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

Gillette came up with a brand slogan in the late 1980’s that was aimed at making men think that what they really needed was their brand of razor, the slogan said ‘The best a man can get’ (Gillette advert circa 1989 – https://www.wired.com/story/gillette-we-believe-ad-men-backlash/ – accessed 16/03/19).

The women’s make-up world also joined in the fight to get women to believe that they needed certain products too. Around 40 years ago, L’Oréal coined the phrase ‘Because you’re worth it’ (Ilon Specht 1973 – https://www.lorealparisusa.com/about-loreal-paris/because-youre-worth-it.aspx – accessed 16/0/19).

The world wants you to believe that you need certain products, that you need to buy their product, and that it will make you feel better. It wants you to think that spending money on yourself will make all the pain disappear, that you will feel better, and that the problems that you are facing will vanish.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world’ (Romans 12:2 NIV).

Paul wrote that to the Roman Christians to remind them that the world will try to take their focus away from God, and that they should guard themselves against it.

We are fickle people sometimes, a lot of the time to be honest, and our concentration can shift from one thing to another really easily.

Many people spend their entire life chasing things, stuff! They want a good job, and then they want a better one that pays more money, a bigger house, a flash car, more, more, and more. People look at their neighbours or friend and many seem to want what they have, but God told us;

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house’ (Exodus 20:17 NIV).

People like this are never satisfied, because they live for self, and never seem to be satisfied.

The writer of Ecclesiastes said;

I have seen all things under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind’ (Ecclesiastes 1:14 NIV).

In all of us, there is a hole, and it is a hole that we cannot fill. We cannot fill it, because it is a God shaped hole, we need Jesus to fill it, we cannot. Jesus said;

Apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5 NIV).

In other words, we need Jesus in our life; he will fill the hole in us and make us whole. God has said;

Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).

What that means is that we always have access to God, he is there for us, always at our side, and not only that, but he will show and tell us what we need to do;

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

We are loved by God, we are important to God;

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Fathers care’ (Matthew 10:31 NIV).

God does not make mistakes. Everything that he does is done for a reason. We may not be able to discern the reason, because;

Now I know in part’ (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV).

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’ (Isaiah 55:8 NIV).

We should remember the following;

Were created on purpose, for a purpose

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The kingdom of our God is near
Lift your eyes, lift your eyes
The hope of heaven’s drawing near
Lift your eyes, lift your eyes

You’re blessed if you’ve been torn apart
You’re blessed if you’ve a broken heart
For hope is waiting at the door
Salvation’s near

Our God is mercy, our God is mercy
If your heart is heavy, if your soul is thirsty
There is a refuge, a home for the lonely
Our God is near, Our God is near
Our God is near, Our God is near

Lift up your eyes, lift up your eyes
Lift up your eyes and sing

Our God Is Mercy (Our God is Near #1)

Brenton Brown, Eoghan Heaslip, Nick Hrebert

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Father we thank you for creating us purposefully. We thank you that you are always near us and that you show us what we need to do. We are grateful for the plans that you have for all of us. Lord we need you in our lives to help us and give us strength to get by day by day.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

What was I saying?

enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures’ (Titus 3:3 NIV)

Do you get easily distracted by some things?

As I am writing this blog, the television is on, and even though the sound is low, there is a flickering as the images change, and I keep looking up, and suddenly, Pointless is on, and 10 minutes have passed!

Why do we get so easily distracted?

We all seem to have such busy lives these days; there is so much stuff around that can to distract us from what we were originally doing, stuff that can distract us from Jesus and his purpose for us.

When I pray, I can suddenly find myself thinking about something or someone at work, or a friend at church, or a situation with the family that I need to resolve, or even the fact that the car needs a service or that the MOT is due, and then less than 5 minutes later, I am not praying, I am doing anything but!

Buddha, is said to have referred to this as the human mind being a ‘monkey mind’, or rather, the human mind has a big tendency to bounce around from one idea to the next idea, from one worry to the next worry, and we need to get our mind under a proper semblance of control (https://www.potential.com.au/new-blog/2015/self-improvement-thursday-got-a-head-full-of-drunken-monkeys-me-too – accessed 08/03/19).

Distractions are everywhere, but Paul reminded the church in Corinth, and thereby us, that they and we should live full lives, devoted to God, with as few distractions as possible;

I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 7:35 NIV).

Some people are easily drawn to the desires that the world seems to produce in such abundance, but we should remember that where our treasure is, that is also where our heart is;

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ (Matthew 6:21 NIV).

Again, Paul reminds us that we should not be drawn into the pleasures that the world has to offer, but we should set ourselves apart from it; not in an attitude of ‘we are better than you’, because we are not, we are ALL sinful, and we ALL fail God regularly (Romans 3:23), but we should be different in both our outlook and attitude to life;

present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’ and we should also, ‘not be conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:1 & 2 ESV).

John also wrote about not loving the things of this world;

Do not love the world or the things in the world’ (1 John 2:15 ESV).

It is very easy to say something like, ‘do not be conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:2 ESV) but it is sometimes very difficult to do.

We need to remain focused on Jesus, on what he taught, and the path that he wants us to take, for God has a plan for each and every one of us (Jeremiah 29:11), and in our lives, we need to not be like the seed that grew and got choked;

Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants’ (Luke 8:7 NIV).

But what does that mean for our lives, when we read that the seeds grew and got choked?

The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature’ (Luke 8:14 NIV).

We need to focus on Jesus;

looking to Jesus’ (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).

The writer of Proverbs also had some good advice for us, on how to live our life;

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you’ (Proverbs 4:25 ESV).

So in this world with its distractions, Facebook ‘pinging’ every five minutes, e-mails arriving and notifying us via a sound, text messages, Whats-App, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and many more, how do we concentrate on what is important?

We need to look to the source of everything, Jesus;

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).

Focus on Jesus, listen for him, shut off the television (yes I have now), mute your phone, or ‘perish the thought’ turn it off! Calm yourself down in a quiet place, concentrate on what is important, on who is important. Remember the promises of God, that he will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5), that we are new creations. Remember that you are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). There is nothing that God does not know about us, and we can hide nothing (Psalm 139). Silence the monkeys jumping around in your head, and focus on the light of the world (John 8:12).

We can try to remember something that I saw written on a Christian website;

‘God has no phone, yet I talk to him every day. God does not have a Facebook account, yet we are friends, and God does not have an Instagram account, yet I still follow him!

Make friends with the most important person you can, talk to him, and follow him.

Talk to, be friends and follow Jesus.

Down in the valley with my Saviour I would go,
Where the flowers are blooming and the sweet waters flow;
Everywhere he leads me I would follow, follow on,
Walking in his footsteps till the crown be won.

Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus,
Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on;
Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus,
Everywhere he leads me I will follow on.

Down in the valley with my Saviour I would go,
Where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow;
With his hand to lead , me I will never, never fear;
Dangers cannot frighten me if my Lord is near.

Down in the valley, or upon the mountain steep,
Close beside my Saviour would my soul ever keep;
He will lead me safely in the path that he has trod,
Up to where they gather on the hills of God.

Follow On

William Orcutt Cushing (1823-1902)

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Father we thank you for not giving up on us, for sending Jesus to redeem us, even though we did not deserve it. You know all things about us, how we get easily distracted from what you would have us do. Help us to try to focus more on you, on your ways, and on what you want us to do for your kingdom.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

store up for yourselves treasures in heaven – Matthew 6:20

Not all treasure is silver and gold mate’ (Captain Jack Sparrow – The Curse of the Black Pearl)

So what is treasure really? The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines treasure as;

wealth (such as money, jewels, or precious metals) stored up or hoarded’ or ‘something of great worth or value’ (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/treasure – accessed 02/03/19).

So what actually defines something as treasure? Even the pirate captain, Jack Sparrow knew that all that is desirable, is not just shiny and pretty, or even very expensive; ‘Not all treasure is silver and gold mate’ (Cpt. J. Sparrow), some things have great worth to us, but are worthless to others, such a photographs of loved ones who have died, or personal items that belonged to them.

Do we have treasure, as measured in earthly standards? We are reminded that we should live, and be different from people who do not love and follow Jesus;

Do not conform to the patterns of this world’ (Romans 12:2 NIV).

Do we have vast treasure on earth, or large sums of money that is there for us, and only us?

Do not get me wrong, I personally think that having savings for a ‘rainy day’ is a good thing. God gives us all things (Romans 11:36), money being only one of them, and being a good steward with what we have, is different from squirrelling away every penny and being miserly with our money. There is nothing wrong with having money and savings in the bank, it is how we think about, and treat those savings;

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils’ (1 Timothy 6:10 ESV).

Having lots of money does not necessarily make you a bad person, and not having much money, does also, not always make you a good person.

Bill Gates is one of the founding members of a 190 strong, growing charity, with its people based in over 20 different countries around the globe, and it was started in August 2010; it is called ‘The Giving Pledge’ (https://givingpledge.org/ – accessed 02/03/19). The members pledge either as a couple or a single person, to give away at least half of their wealth on issues such as;

poverty alleviation, refugee aid, disaster relief, global health, education, women and girls’ empowerment, medical research, arts and culture, criminal justice reform, and environmental sustainability’ (https://givingpledge.org/About.aspx – accessed 02/03/19).

Some may say that it is easy to give away half of your money, when you are still going to have more left than most people will earn in a lifetime, but they are willingly choosing, joyfully giving away, and there lies the difference.

Could you, or would you decide to give away over half of your money if you had £5,000,000.00 (five million pounds)?

The Bible asks us to;

Honour the LORD with your wealth’ (Proverbs 3:9 ESV).

The Bible also mentions about giving a ‘tenth’ of what we have, as Abraham did, (Genesis 14:20); Jacob also promised to give a tenth if God watched over him on a journey (Genesis 28:20-22)

Some people get hung up on the ‘tenth’, but does the amount you give really matter?

Does it matter whether you give 10% or 8% or less, or more?

Is it not really the way in which we give?

In 1978, Henry Smith wrote a wonderful song called ‘Give Thanks’. The first line says;

Give thanks with grateful heart’ (Henry Smith – 1978).

There were some really wealthy men who would walk past the Offertory plate and drop large sums of money in it, making sure that they were seen doing so, and a little while later, a little old lady, hobbled up, and quickly and quietly dropped in, without making a fuss, a little sum of money, 2 coins, everything that she owned. (Mark 12:41-44 & Luke 2:1-4).

Who gave more, and who gave with the right heart?

In my humble opinion, we should give what we can, but give willingly. There is no point grudgingly giving a tenth of everything you have, what good does it do? If you can willingly give less, then do so, but do it with your heart in the right place. Do it willingly, as a heart-felt gift to the ‘Maker of the Universe’. Some places say that you should give until it hurts, then regularly give just a little less. Others say that it is not all about money, you can give of your time and talent too.

Again, in my opinion, we should give, and not make a huge fuss about it. If you were to help out a needy person, or feed someone who is homeless, that is a good thing, but if you then go about and tell everyone what you had done, did you do it with the right heart?

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you’ (Matthew 6:2-4 NIV).

Give!

Give willingly!

Give with a joyous heart!

Give, because God has already given to you;

Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand’ (1 Chronicles 29:14 NIV).

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The splendour of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
The Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

How Great Is Our God

Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves

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Father we thank you for giving us everything that we have. Help us to be willing to give to those around us that are in need, help us to do so with a willing heart, and heart full of love for you and them. Lord we get everything that we need from you help us to give some of it to those less fortunate than us.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

God my rock!

God my rock’ (P. Baloche & B. Brown)

We need a rock in our life!

Something to cling to in times of trouble!

When my heart is overwhelmed I will look to you alone. God my rock’ (God my rock – 2012 – Paul Baloche & Brenton Brown).

As I look at my life, there is only one thing that has been constant throughout, and that is God.

Even when I did not think about him when I was younger, and I never went to church, never even thought about reading the Bible, and never prayed, but, God was still always there, waiting for me.

O Lord you have searched me and known me!’ (Psalm 1139:1 ESV).

So, even though I knew very little about God when I was younger, he still knew me, intimately.

You… are acquainted with me’ (Psalm 139:3 ESV).

Even more, he knew every fibre of my being, because he formed my body;

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb’ (Psalm 139:13 ESV).

God knew and still knows every little detail about my life, and yours, and now that I have a relationship with my maker, I understand that he has always been there with me, he truly was and is my rock.

 ‘The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge’ (Psalm 18:1 NIV).

I know that I can place my trust in God, and he will never let me down, and always be there for me.

You will stand when others fall, you are faithful through it all’ (God my rock – 2012 – Paul Baloche & Brenton Brown).

I call out to God regularly, whether in the good times, and I call out with thanks, or the bad times when I cry out in pain;

In the blessing, in the pain, through it all You’ve never failed me… … … Carried through the darkest storms – You have held me in Your arms – God my rock’ (God my rock – 2012 – Paul Baloche & Brenton Brown).

No matter what has happened in my life, and what happens in yours, we can always remember what the Psalmist knew;

I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise’ (Psalm 18:3 NIV).

God is indeed worthy of our praise. He is worthy of so much more than we give him, and he is always there, ready to listen to us, and it does not matter where we are. We do not have to be in a church to speak to God, we can be anywhere;

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you’ (Psalm 61:1-2 NIV).

And I know that God listens, and I know that he answers prayer, in his own time not ours, so we have to be patient, but I also know;

I can rely on You’ (God my rock – 2012 – Paul Baloche & Brenton Brown).

When trouble assails us, where do we turn? Do we turn to family or friends? Maybe we do, and maybe it helps a little. But if we want hope in any situation, then we need God;

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him’ (Palm 62:5 ESV).

Everyone needs something in their life that is un-moving, firm, reliable, always there, rock-like. I used to think that was my dad, but then he died and was not there anymore, there was just a massive hole where he used to be. I got past that and grew up, and I now know that I had two dads, my earthly one, and my heavenly dad, so even when my earthly father died, my heavenly father was still there for me, even if at the time I did not realise it.

I know that God is there for me;

he is my mighty rock’ (Psalm 62:7 NIV).

And I know that whatever happens, he has a plan for my life and everybody’s life (Jeremiah 29:11) and if we let him, he will lead us and teach us what we need to know (Psalm 32:8). I also know that he will always be there for us, whatever happens (Hebrews 13:5).

There is no one as true. Jesus I trust in You’ (God my rock – 2012 – Paul Baloche & Brenton Brown).

 

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Who is this King of glory, Maker of all the heavens
Author of all creation, what is his name?
Who is the One who formed us, made us into His image?
At who’s voice will all of heaven one day bow in praise?

His name is Wonderful, his name is Counsellor
His name is Prince of peace, the Living Word
His name is Mighty God, eternal Father
His name is Jesus, His name is LORD

Who is this King of Glory, born to the virgin Mary
Who’s simple words could raise the dead and heal the lame?
He gave His life for many, was crucified and buried
But on the third day He rose up from the grave.

Ransomed for my release, He died to set me free
Oh how amazing is my Saviour’s love for me

His name is wonderful (Our God is Near #5)

Brenton Brown

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Father we thank you for being unmovable. We thank you for always being there for us. Lord you are our rock, in good times, in bad times, all the time. Lord you are amazing, and we thank you for loving us and sending your son to die for us. There is no-one as true, Jesus we love you!

Amen