Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus · Mercy

I knew I needed to be NEW!

‘for the LORD your God is with you’ (Joshua 1:9 RSV)

 

Do we believe that God is with us always?

Some people reading this may not even believe in God or Jesus, but those of us who respond to God or Jesus will know without a doubt that he is always with us;

‘It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you, he will not fail you or forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:8 RSV – emphasis mine).

At the time of the death of Moses, just before Israel crossed the river Jordan, Joshua began to lead the Israelite nation; knowing that he was not going to cross the river, Moses had passed the leadership of the nation to Joshua.

Joshua was encouraged  and  given assurance that he would not be on his own when leading the nation, for God spoke to him, (Joshua 1:2 – 10).

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9 NIV – emphasis mine).

This was such an important message for the people to hear, that many years later, Paul, the writer of the book of Hebrews, reminded the people of the message;

because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” ’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).

So we can take solace from the words written there, that whatever situation we find ourselves in, we are never truly alone.

Now this knowledge fills me will praise and gladness for my Father God, when I think back to what I used to be like, it fills me with shame and regret at what I used to be like.

Many years ago, I found myself in a situation where my marriage failed, and many of the people I knew quickly disappeared from my daily life. My life changed in an instant, my normality became a desolate space. I no longer had the ability to engage with the very people I had spent the previous number of years calling friends.

We may all got through situations that are seemingly very bad, some may be of our own doing, and some may be because of circumstances out of our own control, but whatever situation we are in, as we read in the Bible, we are never truly alone.

NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV – emphasis mine).

I my time of being on my own, I found these words to be a great comfort to me.

When situations arise, and you find yourself excluded from certain areas of a former life, or you realise that you have been rejected from certain groups that you used to take part in, then it may feel as a little part of you dies, but take heart there is more to life than your past.

What we need to ask ourselves is;

Who was I living my life for?

Who was most important in my life?

Were you living solely for you own enjoyment, did you acknowledge God at all in your life, did God even come into your thoughts, or maybe just consider what was most important to you, what did all your energy go towards?

For me, the answer was simple, I lived for me and thought of no one else but me, but, life does not end there, and when you find yourself on you own, there is a place to go, you still have choices to make.

Your past does not necessarily characterize you, and whatever you may have done; your circumstances do not define your future!

So, how do we get from our past, point A, to our new future, point B?

Whenever you are planning a journey, you usually consult a map book or atlas, or you used to. Today, you look on your smart phone for your map application, or, if like me and are a little lazy, you just say;

Okay Google, navigate to (wherever you want to go)

Google will then offer you several routes, and also give the amount of time that you can expect to be on the journey.

Well, if you are coming from a point of exiting out of an old life style, and wanting to come into a new life, maybe a realisation that there is something missing in your life, then there is an easy way.

Some people can go through life without a care for the world; they can fill their life with ‘things’, cars, houses, expensive holiday etc.; material things that they consider important, and tings that will bring them happiness.

Material possessions will not bring us happiness, they may do momentarily, you get a new television and it is great, but after a short time, it is just another possession and you want more again. Paul said so to the Roman Christians;

Do not be conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:2 RSV).

We do not really need material possessions, they serve a purpose in our lives, new televisions let us watch documentaries, or keep us informed about local and world events, but they are not more important that life itself.

We all have something missing from our lives.

When God created the universe, (Genesis 1) and Adam and Eve lived in The Garden of Eden, they lived in harmony with God, tending the Garden for him (Genesis 2:15). But life did not stay that way, as, when they were tempted, they gave in to temptation (Genesis 3), and so they were expelled for The Garden of Eden.

The fall caused mankind to be missing something now, and that was a close relationship with their Creator (Genesis 1:26). We now have a God shaped hole in us that only God can fill, and we each need to come to that realisation in our own way, it cannot be forced upon us.

Jesus came to the earth because God loves mankind so much that he wanted us to have a chance to build the bridge, and come back into a right relationship with him.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son’ (John 3:16 NIV – emphasis mine).

So whatever you or I have done in the past, whatever pit we find ourselves in, there is a way out, and the way is Jesus!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” ’ (John 14:6 RSV).

All through our life, God has been, is  and always will be with us, and he knows all that we do, nothing is hidden from him, when we steal, when we lust after people we are not married to, or when we tell a lie;

You perceive my thoughts from afar… … Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely’ (Psalm 139:2 & 4 NIV).

Whatever we do that is wrong, whatever sin we do, God knows it as we do it;

Before I’d ever seen the light of day, the number of days you planned for me were already recorded in your book’ (Psalm 139:16 Passion Translation).

So whatever we do, God knows, wherever we are, God knows; there is nothing that any of us can do that God will not know about, but we can change who we are, by turning to the very same God, and asking for his forgiveness, just as the prodigal son, who took half his father’s wealth and squandered it asked his father to forgive him (and he did) (Luke 15:11 – 31).

We cannot do any of this on our own, or in our own strength;

I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you – but when you live separated from me you are powerless’ (John 15:5 Passion Translation)

There is nothing that any of us can do that will make our Creator God love us more that he already does, equally, there is nothing that we can do, no sin  that is so great that God will love us any less.

When we turn to God, repent of anything and everything that we have done wrong and ask for his forgiveness, it can and will all change;

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 Passion Translation).

What amazing grace!

IMG_0133

 

So here it is, my alabaster heart
I’m keeping nothing back from who You are
No hidden treasure veiled by key or lock
You’re a lifetime worth of worship
And that’s only just the start

Here it is, my every waking day
The minutes, hours, the years of endless praise
For You’re worthy far beyond all I could say
There’s a lifetime worth of worship
In the nuance of Your names

So let it rise like incense
My whole life a fragrance
Every ounce here broken at Your feet
Every breath an offering
My heart cries these lungs sing
Over You, my worthy King of kings

There it is, Your alabaster cross
Giving all You are for all I’m not
I can’t believe that’s the kind of King You are
How could I not bring a lifetime worth of worship to You God

All my love
All my love
All my love
You can have it all

Alabaster Heart

Kalley Heiligenthal

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Father, thank you so much that you deem us worthy to be with us always. I am sorry for the times when I hurt you by my action, or by my inaction’s. Help me to rely more upon your strength, and stop trying to do it all on my own, because it never works. Lord I need you, O how I need you, be with me always.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus · Mercy

Even Jesus was tempted!

I need thee every hour’ (Annie Sherwood Hawks, Robert Lowry)


Have you ever walked along a beach, and spent any time looking at the surrounding rocks there?

I love being at the beach, listening to the waves as they break along the shore, or watching the surf as it makes its way towards the shore, I find it incredibly peaceful.

Equally, I know the power of the sea, the strength that the water has, and anyone who has swam in the sea will know the power that the surge has when it pulls you away from the direction that you want to go.

When I walk along the sea-shore, I also look at the rocks, looking at the way that the waves have pounded them, ravaged them constantly, incessantly cascading onto them over and over, day by day smashing into the rock, slowly wearing away little pieces of the rock until they form the patterns that we see.

The power of the sea I think is also similar to the power that temptation can have over us.

Some days, to resist temptation can be very easy, it is as easy as saying “No, not today satan”, but other days, it seems as if every time we turn around to walk away from our temptation, it has run in front of us, everywhere we look, there it is, taunting us, challenging us to fail, and many time we may, but we are not alone in this;

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

That is not to say that we can use this Bible verse as an excuse, we cannot keep going to God and saying;

Yes, but you know that we all sin and get it wrong, but I am sorry

Again, it may be tempting to say that, but that is not what we should be saying, we should be repenting and asking for strength to change.

We alone are not tempted, even Jesus was tempted, but the difference is that Jesus did not sin, he did not give in, and we need to learn to be different. We need to learn to ‘unlearn’ our sinful behaviour.

In life, we will fail at times, and that is okay, but we also need to learn to change, and we cannot do that on our own, Jesus said;

apart from me you can do nothing’ (John 14:5 NIV).

In our times of temptation, we need to turn to Jesus, call out for his help in dealing with the situation. God never gives us more that we can handle, we just have to recognise that;

God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear’ (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV).

So whenever we are tempted, God knows what we are going through, and we need to stand on the promise written I the Bible that says we will not be tempted beyond our capabilities, if we trust Jesus; but there is more than that. We have to trust God, turn to him and ask him for help, or we may yet still fail;

but with the temptation [God] will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it’ (1 Corinthians 10:13 RSV – addition mine).

So when we are tempted, God will provide for us a means of escaping it. Many times I have been in this situation and failed to find the way out that God has for me, failed to call out to him and escape, but, each time that we go through this, we learn what not to do.

We need to learn what trigger us to be in a situation that triggers our temptations, and then try not to be in those situations.

If being alone triggers us, then at times when we feel tempted, go and find some company, go and find people to pray for you in that time.

Pray that you may not enter into temptation’ (Luke 22:40 RSV).

Satan is a cunning adversary, and he is always looking at ways to lure us away from the kingdom of God. He knows that we are weak, and he knows that some people are easily led, so we should always be on our guard;

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).

So we are likely to come under attack at any moment, and it is more likely that you will come under attack after you have had a good experience of God’s power or grace.

Following my baptism, I had a terrible week, where every day, and sometimes every hour, it felt like I was on trial for my life.

I was watching ‘Dr Who’ last night, and one of the characters said to another, “Gird your loins”, and the reply was “how do I do that?

To ‘gird one’s loins’ means to prepare for something, to strengthen yourself, and we can strengthen ourselves best by immersing ourselves in the Word of God, the Bible says;

put on the full armour of God’ (Ephesians 6:11 NIV).

So when we feel tempted, we, just like the Psalmist did, can call out to God;

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer’ (Psalm 61:1 NIV).

Save me, O God, by your name’ (Psalm 54:1 NIV).

But we can also go to God at times of failure, and lament our sin to him, and ask him to be lenient towards us for we are remorseful for what we have done;

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions… … Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me’ (Psalm 51:1 & 10 NIV).

Then we can wait on God and learn anew what he wants for us.

Trust God, he will never let you down;

Taste and see that the LORD is good’ (Psalm 34:8 NIV).

Gods-work-is-progress

 

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer
O what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer

Have we trials and temptations
Is there trouble anywhere
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share
Jesus knows our every weakness
Take it to the Lord in prayer

Are we weak and heavy laden
Cumbered with a load of care
Precious Saviour still our refuge
Take it to the Lord in prayer
Do thy friends despise forsake thee
Take it to the Lord in prayer
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee
Thou wilt find a solace there

Blessed Saviour Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever Lord be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer
Soon in glory bright unclouded
There will be no need for prayer
Rapture praise and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there

What A Friend We Have In Jesus

C.C. Converse, J. M. Scriven

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Father, we thank you that you love us so much, that even in the depths of our sin, we can call to you and you will hear us. Help us to not fall into temptation, and deliver us from evil Lord. We turn to you for strength in resisting the temptations of this world Lord, guide us and strengthen us so that we can live godly lives and serve you.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus · Mercy

Kintsugi – by God I am restored!

I once was lost, but now am found’ (Amazing Grace – John Newton – 1725 – 1807)


Do you think about your life much or do you just live one day at a time?

If and when you think about yourself, do you consider all aspects of your life, your family, your friends, your work etc., and if you do, how do they stack-up against what you thought or dreamed of?

Is your life on track for your dreams, do you have your ideal spouse and family, are you living in your dream house or do you drive your dream car, is the work that you do your ideal job, or is it all failing in some way that you cannot seem to control?

Sadly, nothing is perfect in this world!

The world was perfect once, just as God wanted it and he was pleased with what he had created;

God saw all that he had made, and it was good’ (Genesis 1:31 NIV).

Unfortunately, this did not last long, for the serpent spoke to Eve and tempted both Adam and Eve;

For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God’ (Genesis 3:5 NIV).

Because of the craftiness of the serpent, Adam and Eve became disobedient to God, and they were banished from the perfect splendour of the Garden of Eden, to struggle outside of the garden, and to live their life apart from God;

So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden’ (Genesis 3:23 NIV).

So we do not live in a perfect world, and we that live in this world are also far from perfect;

everyone has sinned as I far away from God’s saving presence’ (Romans 3:23 GNB).

God created a perfect world in which all of creation could have lived, Adam and Eve (humanity) broke the world, and because of that breaking, it does not now work as the Creator intended, there is sin, pain and death in the world.

Both the world and us as us as the residents of the created world, are broken!

What can we do then, how do we change this?

We need restoration to God and Jesus.

We need to repent of our sins, be healed by God’s mercy and receive the Holy Spirit which will help to transform our lives.

I do not say this simply, it may not be an easy fix for most of us, sin clings to us and tries to drag us down constantly, or it reminds us of what we have done in the past, and the shame and guilt of our past cling to us and blur our godly vision.

The Japanese have a tradition or philosophy of not wasting anything that can be repaired, and they say that nothing is ever truly broken (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/326qTYw26156P9k92v8zr3C/broken-a-pot-copy-the-japanese-and-fix-it-with-gold – accessed 17/05/2020).

I have recently read a book about being broken and seeking restoration, and Wikipedia also seems to agree with the book, that Kintsugi (金継ぎ – golden joinery) may have originated with the Japanese shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (足利 義政 1436 – 1490) (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/326qTYw26156P9k92v8zr3C/broken-a-pot-copy-the-japanese-and-fix-it-with-gold – accessed 17/05/2020)

The thought behind Kintsugi is that it shows the history of an item that has gone through its process, and  that once repaired and restored it can be even more beautiful that the original.

Even in our brokenness, God can and will use you and me for his purposes if we let him.

There may be people struggling with exactly the same problems that you have been facing, and they do not know what to do or where to turn.

Kintsugi uses a specific sap from a tree that has to be a certain age before the sap can be removed to make the lacquer glue (Restoring the Fallen – Mark & Cherith Stibbe – pp 106-107), and then either gold or silver is added so that the repairs are evident, and this can make the item that has been repaired even more beautiful than it was originally.

In our repaired state, the gold of God’s mercy and love shine out for others to see. We live in a broken, dark world, and the way that God has healed us, shines out and shouts out God’s love for everyone.

We may still not be completely comfortable with our past, and every so often it can creep up on us and remind us of what we have done, but it is in  those instances, that we have to say, yes, but God loves me so much, that Jesus did something amazing for me;

at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly’ (Romans 5:6 NIV – emphasis mine).

What a powerful thing to remember, it is nothing that we have done that has healed us, but, in our brokenness we knew that the only thing that could make a difference in our lives, was the saving grace of God;

For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 GNB).

So we take our brokenness to the God of mercy, we repent of our past sins and ask for forgiveness, and when we do, an incredible change happens; God forgive us.

When we think of forgiveness, we can recall the wonderful words written in 1772, by John Newton, sailor, slave trader, family man and later clergyman, when he wrote about the saving grace of God;

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but no am found, was blind, but now I see’ (Amazing Grace – John Newton – 1725 – 1807).

So, when we feel broken, when we have done something to another person, or another person has done something to us, remember that it does not have to be the end of the story, but the start of a new chapter in the story, ask God to heal you, let the Kintsugi master repair your life, let the gold of God’s love pour into your heart and body, and heal the cracks that life has put there.

Let God mould you into something even more beautiful than you were before, let the gold of God’s grace fill your broken heart, mind and body. Lean into God, let him have all your pain, sorrow and hurt, for Jesus says;

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28 NIV – emphasis mine).

Turn to God, let the Creator God, the Kintsugi Master repair your life and make you even more beautiful!

Broken healing

 

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, we thank you that you love us so much, that even in our brokenness we can turn to you and ask for forgiveness of healing, and that you will forgive  our sins, and cleanse us of our past. Lord you are the master restorer, and you show us lobe like no other. Lord help us in our broken state to fully turn to you and trust you for all things.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Take 2!

I’m coming back to the start’ (God’s Great Dance Floor – Chris Tomlin, Martin Smith, Nick Herbert – 2013)


Are you following Jesus, or have you yet to make the decision to follow Jesus?

There is a song where the words say that Christ is enough for all that we need, and it continues;

I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back’ (Christ is Enough – Jonas Myrin & Reuben Morgan [Hillsong Live] 2012).

The lyrics say ‘no turning back’ but we are human, and prone to failure;

since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23 RSV – emphasis mine).

At various times, we may find ourselves foolishly returning to our old habits, our old way of life.

The writer of Proverbs says;

As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly’ (Proverbs 26:11 NIV).

Apparently, dogs do actually eat vomit, as gross as that may sound to you and me, and it is a completely normal action for them, yuk! (https://wisconsinpetcare.com/dogs-eat-vomit-katelyn-schutz-cpdt/ – accessed 10/05/2020).

But just as a dog will, to us grossly return and eat their own vomit, we, as humans, persistently return to our old ways of sin, and hurting God. As the proverb says, old habits are really hard to break.

I myself, walked away from the church for a number of years, I turned my back on everything that I had leaned and knew about Jesus and what he had done for me, I wanted none of it. I did not go back to my old habits, I invented new ones that would help in my destruction.

So how well did that strategy work out for me you may ask? Not well is the answer.

It was exceedingly bad. I had made a monumental mistake, and I persisted in this mistake for nearly a decade. It ended really badly.

But, once I had hit the bottom of my self-dug pit, I realised what I need to do, and where I should be.

It was a place that was comfortable, welcoming, and loving, and it was a place I needed to be.

That place where I had felt most at home, most loved and most accepted, had been the church.

I returned, and was immediately welcomed; it felt very uncomfortable initially, due to my extremely low feeling of self-worth, but the people there continued to love me and try to build me up.

Over time, I left the pit, with much love from the people at the church and much love and strength from Jesus. I could not have done this alone, as God had reminded me time and time again; I knew that I needed Jesus to help me live again;

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

The Psalmist knew what God could do for him, and so did I;

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

It was not that I had denied God, or said that there was no God, it was just that I had decided that I knew best what my life should look like, was I not the person living it?

Coming back to Jesus was not easy, but the response was definitely just like the return of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).

When I returned, Jesus was waiting for me, and told me that it was never him that had walked away from the relationship. He showed me;

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

Jesus had always been there with me, waiting for me to turn back to him repent, and ask for forgiveness, and he reminded me how much he loved me;

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 – emphasis mine).

I can see the nudges that he was giving me throughout my time away from him, little reminders that he was there and that I should return to him, but I ignored them.

So, what is the purpose of this blog?

I hope that someone who is struggling may read this and realise that there is someone who loves them with a deep love that will never stop.

That there is someone who loves them enough that they will do anything to help you realise that, and will do anything to try to show this love;

For go so loved the world’ (John 3:16 NIV – emphasis mine).

In place of the words ‘the world’ you can insert your name, your family, whatever you want, because God loves everyone and Jesus showed us this by dying on the cross;

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

How do we know for sure that Jesus loves us?

at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly’ (Romans 5:6 NIV).

And if we ever need to recall this fact, there is a little song that reminds us of it;

Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so’ (Jesus Loves Me – Anna B Warner – 1860).

If you have yet to decide to follow Christ, I can tell you that you will be in for an amazing journey. If you are following Jesus and finding it difficult, then remember you are never really alone in this world, Jesus is always with you.

There is nothing that you can ever do that will make God love you any more than he does right now at this moment in time, equally, there is nothing that you can ever ever do, no matter how bad, that will make Jesus love you less that he does at this very moment.

Remember;

Whilst we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8 NIV – emphasis mine).

Trust Jesus loves you, trust Jesus and follow him, trust him always.

No turning back’ (Christ is Enough – Jonas Myrin & Reuben Morgan [Hillsong Live] 2012).

Prodigal son

I’m coming back to the start
Where you found me
I’m coming back to your heart
Now I surrender
Take me
This is all I can bring

I’m coming back to the start
I got this freedom
In here we feel your heart
Your heartbeat for us
Take me
This is all I can bring

You’ll never stop loving us
No matter how far we run
You’ll never give up on us
All of heaven shouts let the future begin
Let the future begin

Take me
This is all I can bring

I feel alive, I come alive
I am alive on God’s great dance floor

God’s Great Dance Floor

Chris Tomlin, Martin Smith, Nick Herbert

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Father, we thank you that we can come to you, and that we can come back to you. Lord you love us always, help us to help each other as we struggle with life, with work, with all the issues in our lives. Lord we know there is great celebrating in heaven for one who returns to you. Help us to see those who are struggling, and to come alongside them and point them to the light, to you.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Return to page one with Jesus!

the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7 NIV)

 

I would think that everyone has had a time in their life when things have not gone exactly the way that they would have like them to.

For example, there have been times in my life when I have made choices about certain aspects of my life, and they have worked out well and I have been happy and so has everyone who has been involved.

There are also other choices that I have made, that have most definitely not turned out well and caused many, many problems for all people involved.

When you have times like these, where there have been decisions made in error, or decisions that are just ‘poorly made decisions’, what do you do? How should you act?

People are very complicated beings. We have emotions that are very complex. We have layers and layers of feelings that make up our ‘self’, some we show to other people, and some we decide bury.

But whatever happens, whatever will happen, and whatever has happened, makes us who we are, we are the sum total of all of our experiences.

But I have done some really bad stuff” some people will say, or “How can I be forgiven for this sin?” others may say.

Here is something to think about; there is nothing that you can do in your life that will make God love you any more than he already does!

Equally, there is nothing that you can do in your life that will make God love you any less than he does now!

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 RSV).

Wow, is that not amazing!

So if we have done wrong in our life, if we have sinned, we can turn to God and have eternal life.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin’ (2 Chronicles 7:14 RSV).

So we need to acknowledge that we have done wrong in the eyes of God, we need to understand that we have not done as God would want of us and we have sinned; we then need to adopt a humble heart, and turn from the ways of ‘old us’ and change, we need to stop doing the wrong that we were, and ask for God to forgive us.

We will then no longer be the same person that we were;

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold, the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:16 RSV – emphasis mine).

This is not a one-time thing, as we are human and prone to try to do our ‘own thing’ we sometimes think that we know better in situations, and will ‘go-it-alone’. I have found that this never works, and always ends in tears, mine usually, when I cry to God for forgiveness;

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help’ (Psalm 18:6 NIV).

We are human, and as humans we fail at times. Adam and Eve failed at the very beginning, and because of that, we live in a very broken world where nothing works exactly as it should, because we as humans have broken the perfect thing that God created.

But even so, God will not ever turn his back on us;

never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV – emphasis mine).

So whatever we do, however we act, even if it is against what God wants and expects of us, he will always be with us;

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

So God will always be with us, right by our side, waiting for us to call out to him, and if and when we do, it will always end well because he is always with us;

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV).

So if we have done something wrong, if we have meandered away from the path that God wants for us, if we have chosen what we would like for our life rather than the great plan that God has for it, then maybe it is time to reconsider what we are doing.

It is not just us, though;

since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23 RSV – emphasis mine).

But when we turn from our wrong doing, ask God for his forgiveness and change our attitude, then he forgives us;

You do not stay angry forever’ (Micah 7:19 NIV).

Not only does God forgive our sins, but he also forgets our sins when we have repented (asked forgiveness for them);

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

Once we have turned from our past, it is gone, wiped clean;

all are justified freely by his grace’ (Romans 3:24 NIV).

We are justified, or as it was explained to me as a teenager, it is;

‘JUST AS IF I’D’ never.

Wow, so when we come to God with all our baggage, worries, turmoil, regrets etc. and give them to him at the cross and ask for his forgiveness, Jesus in his great mercy wipes the slate clean, a fresh start, we are new people, saved by Jesus’ grace;

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved’ (Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV emphasis mine).

Because of what God did for us, sending Jesus to the earth, (John 3:16) we can be different, we do not have to live lives for self, we need to live lives that show the light of Jesus into the dark areas, the areas where people may never have heard of Jesus, the areas where people live in fear.

We need to be careful once we have told people that we are Christians, because the world will watch us and wait to see how we deal with situations that are not favourable to us;

Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads’ (William J. Toms).

We do need to be careful, but we also need to be joyful that we have Jesus with us at all times, we are never truly alone, and because of Jesus, we also have hope;

therefore I have hope. Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning’ (Lamentations 3:21-23 NIV – emphasis mine).

Live for Jesus, try to live as he would live. Love for Jesus, try to love those that the world says are ‘un-lovable’. Live the Bible, live as if Jesus is coming back in the next 10 minutes.

I'm coming back to the start

My future hangs on this
You make preciousness from dust
Please don’t stop creating me
Your blood offers the chance
To rewind to innocence
Reborn, perfect as a child

Oh Your cross it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross it’s where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven’s heart

When sin and ugliness
Collide with redemption’s kiss
Beauty awakens by romance
Always inside this mess
I have found forgiveness
Mercy, as infinite as You

Countless second chances
We’ve been given at the cross

Fragments of brokenness
Salvaged by the art of grace
You craft life from our mistakes
Black skies of my regrets
Outshone by this kindness
New life dawns over my soul

Second Chance

Rend Collective

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Father, we thank you that you sent your Son to die for us, to give us the second chance that we do not deserve but greatly need. We realise that we do not deserve this gift, and thank you for your great love for us. Lord help us to live our lives in order to show your love for all people. We know that you are always with us, help us to rely on you Lord. Less of us and more of you Lord we pray.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Wish in vain or Hope in knowledge!

we boast in the hope of the glory of God’ (Romans 5:2 NIV)

 

When times are tough, as they are now with the COVID 19 virus pandemic, what do you do, or who do you look to for comfort?

Do you worry about work or lack of it, do you worry about your finances, or how you will educate and entertain the children throughout the day for those who now have to become part-time teachers, or during the on-set of the virus, was it the more basic needs such as here can I get my groceries from?

During these tough times, what is your hope, how do you keep yourself positive that there will be an end to the situation, or that those things will get better?

It can be hard to be positive and hope for a good outcome if we do not trust anything other than ourselves or what we can see or touch.

In the beginning, God made the earth and rested on the Sabbath (the seventh day), but before he rested, he looked at all that he had created by the end of the sixth day, and he declared that it was good;

it was very good’ (Genesis 1:31 ESV).

So God created a perfect world for us to live in, a world with which he was very happy, it was just as he wanted it, land and water in a perfect balance, animals and flowers, and mankind.

So what did we do with this perfect world that was working in beautiful harmony?

We broke it. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and got cast out from the ‘Garden of Eden’ (Genesis 3).

So now the world has pain, suffering and disease in it, people work hard and labour for long hours in order to get money to survive (Genesis 3:17 – 19), women suffer in child (Genesis 3:16). Now we suffer because Adam and Eve did not listen to God.

But God loves us still, and so Jesus came to the earth to show us what to do, and how we should live, and also to give us a hope that things will be better;

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 ESV).

Eventually the earth will be remade;

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth”, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away’ (Revelation 5:1 NIV).

And all suffering as we know it will stop;

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain’ (Revelation 21:4 NIV).

As Christians, our hope is fully in Jesus Christ who saves us, and it is an eternal hope that one day, all things will be made better and we will live with him forever.

So eventually, at the end of time, Jesus will return and everything will return to what it once was;

So there is hope.

There is always hope, we only have to look within the pages of our handbook, The Bible to find it.

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

So our life has a plan that we should seek; we should ask God to reveal his plan to us. We do not have to wait for certain times or places to be before we call to God, we can ask whenever we want to, for we are never really alone;

I will never leave you’ (Hebrews 13:5 ESV).

So we can call out to God all the time if we wish, we can thank him for the good days that we have when everything is ‘rainbows and unicorns’, but we can also cry out in anguish when we are suffering with trials and temptations.

In the morning, LORD you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you’ (Psalm 5:3 NIV).

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer’ (Psalm 61:1 ESV).

But if we trust God, then he will show us what we need to see, and teach us what we need to know;

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

Turn to God and put our trust in the creator of the universe, for he will save you;

‘whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 – emphasis mine).

So our hope is in Jesus;

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him’ (Psalm 62:5 RSV).

In Jesus, we have the following;

Our past forgiven, a purpose for living and a hope in heaven’ (Pastor Rick Warren).

IMG_0143

 

There is a song, I know it well.
A melody that’s never failed,
On mountains high, in valleys low
My soul will rest, my confidence, in You alone

Hope has a name, His name is Jesus
My Saviour’s cross has set this sinner free
Hope has a name, His name is Jesus
Oh, Christ be praised, I have victory

There is a light, salvation’s flame
Christ undefeated, trampled the grave
See now the cross, be lifted high
The light has come, the light has won, behold the Christ

There’ll be a day my hope complete
Now home in glory, Your face I’ll see
My pain no more, my fear will cease
I bow my life, I fix my eyes, on Christ my King
I bow my life, I fix my eyes, on Christ my King

There is a song I know it well (Hope has a name)

Benjamin Cruise, Evan John, Ryan Williams

 

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Father, we thank you that you sent your Son to die for us. We realise that we do not deserve this gift, but thank you for the hope of eternal life with you. Lord we look to you for how to live, we look to you for how to love. Lord we look to you for everything. Help us to be better people and show you in all we do to the other people we meet.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Get older, or grow in Christ!

rooted and built up in him’ (Colossians 2:7 NIV)

Do you trust that everyone you know, such as friends and family will do the best for you in all situations?

And if you do trust them, how much do you trust them, and will you tell them everything that is happening in your life, all the good and the bad things?

How far does loyalty and trust go within your social circle, between your friends and family?

We need to know those that we can trust, because there may be situations where we need someone to talk to in order to help overcome a certain situation and aid us in our spiritual growth.

You planted them, and they take root; they grow and produce fruit’ (Jeremiah 12:2 ESV).

We also need to trust someone that will support us and help us grow, and that trust needs to be built over time.

We all need support, because we are human, and being human means that we will do things wrong; even Paul struggled with this;

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do’ (Romans 7:19 NIV).

And knowing that people like Paul struggled can sometimes help us knowing that we are not alone when we suffer; everyone struggles;

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 2:23 NIV – emphasis mine).

So, we all sin (Romans 3:23) it does not matter who we are, but we also know that we all need to grow; we need to change, to transform from what we were, to what we want to be;

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he [or she] is a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV – addition mine).

I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God… … …be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:1 & 2 NIV).

So we are called to change ourselves, transform from something into something else, something better, renew from a sinful person, and be more Christ-like in everything that we say and do.

And change will happen, if we work for it. We cannot grow on our own, we only grow in community, and spiritual growth will happen in spurts, just as all things grow. We grow through stages, and growth comes from making commitments.

For everything there is a season’ (Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV).

Just as when you plant anything, it will start to grow during the spring and generally blossom or ripen in the summer season, but after this, it will lay dormant during the autumn and winter periods; so we will spend times where we grow and mature as a Christian, and there will be times where we seem to plateau and stay at a level with no change.

Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation’ (1 Peter 2:2 NIV).

We may think that during these times that God has left us, but God never leaves us; if God does not seem to be with us, it is because we have moved away from him, not the other way round.

God does not, and will not, ever leave us, far from it;

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you’ (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).

So we require others to help us. Sometimes we may think that we are living well, but others may see that we are doing things that we should not, things that will not help us grow in Christ, and we need them to help us, to come along-side us, and in love, tell us what we are doing wrong and help us correct what we are doing.

Growth needs help, if a plant is left unattended, it may grow but it may not grow properly, it requires pruning, the dead leaves removing, plant food etc.

As with us, if left un-tended and on our own, we may think we are growing, but in order to grow properly, we need community.

Community will help us if we stray from the path, they will show us where we err and help us back to the correct path.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity’ (Hebrews 6:1 ESV).

Spiritual growth has to be intentional, and also spiritual growth is relational, we need to want to grow, and we need other Christian people’s help in all aspects of life in order to grow properly.

In all areas in our Christian life, we are as close to God as we want to be, we have to want to be with God, we have a choice to make. Do we want Jesus in our life? Do we want to be more like Jesus? If we do, God will work in us and continue to do so as longs as we follow and trust him

To be like Jesus is a choice, it has to be our hope, and we need his spirit and the help of other Christians to help us change.

Gods-work-is-progress

To be like Jesus!
This hope possesses me,
In every thought and deed,
This is my aim my creed;
To be like Jesus!
This hope possesses me,
Is Spirit helping me
Like him I’ll be.

To Be Like Jesus

John Gowans (1934 – 2012)

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Lord thank you that you send your spirit to help us grow to be more like your Son. Lord we need your help, your strength and love in order to grow to be a better person. Lord forgive us when we fail you and help us to become better people. Lord we love you and want to be more like you.

Amen