Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Surrounded, fight my battles – E. Smith

Do not repay evil with evil’ (1 Peter 3:9 NIV)

How many times in the past have you reacted badly when people have hurt you, or when they have said something against or to you, or when you have felt ‘wronged’ by them, how many times have you wanted to ‘speak to them viciously’, whilst ‘holding’ a base-ball bat?

There have been many times in the past when I have wanted to have a quiet word with someone, whilst holding something heavy in one hand and maybe waving it around some-what.

But that is not the answer, revenge is never ending;

The problem with revenge is that it never evens the score. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain’ (Lewis B. Smedes).

So when people decide to ‘take the law into their own hands’, no-one wins. And then the process just repeats itself, and repeats itself, and so on. But is revenge not our right?

Weak people revenge, strong people forgive, intelligent people ignore’ (Anon).

In taking revenge, a man is even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior’ (Francis Bacon).

So by letting the hurt or slight pass by, we are taking the intelligent way out, but some may see that as weakness. Does not the Bible say ‘an eye for an eye’ (Matthew 5:38 ESV)? But if everyone lived with the code of, “if you hurt me, then I will hurt you, what would happen then? Would the world be full of vicious weak people? Who is strong enough to really and truly forgive?

An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind’ (Mahatma Ghandi).

We should look to the source of All Truth, The Bible. We know that within its pages will be that answers and guidance that we need, we know that God will teach us through the written word;

I will instruct you and teach you’ (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

So why do we insist on ‘going it alone’?

God is always available, whenever we want or need him, he is there waiting for us to call on him, like many people, I too have learnt this lesson the hard way, but;

The LORD is near to ALL who call on him’ (Psalm 145:18 ESV – emphasis mine).

That does not mean that at other times, when we call to God, that he may be busy, or that there is some other matter that has arisen far away that requires God’s attention. God is always available to us, he told the nation of Israel this very fact, and Paul reminded the Hebrew Christians of the exact same thing, that he (God) would and will always be by our side;

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

So whenever someone hurts us, all we have to do is call out to God;

I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me’ (Jonah 2:2 ESV).

Now, Jonah had been told by God to do something specific, and so on hearing what God wanted of him, what did he do? He did exactly the opposite of what he was told, and yet did he get ignored when he realised his mistake and called out to God? No, God still answered his prayer. The Psalmist also knew this to be true;

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).

So when we are overwhelmed with feelings of anger and hurt, when we feel that we may ‘lash out irrationally’ (Eric Lloyd as Charlie – ‘The Santa Clause’ – Disney – 1994), that is when we should be turning to God and asking for, pleading for help.

Jesus even gave us details of how we should act when we feel overwhelmed with what life throws at us;

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

Jesus knew that we could not fully and completely handle life, and he commented upon the fact that if we try to ‘go it alone’, then we would falter, that it would not always be ‘rainbows and unicorns’, and that it would be extremely likely that things would go awry;

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

So when we feel that the world has turned against us, that the people we used to think of as friends are the ones that are hurting us; when we cannot see the wood for the trees, that everything seems to unravel at the slightest touch, it is precisely at that time when we should call to Jesus.

Jesus, the one who Saves, Jesus is the Great Friend to all, The Redeemer, the Light of the World, my friend;

O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me’ (Psalm 30:2 NIV).

I am not saying that every time the world feels that it is against you, that you can call out to Jesus and he will ‘smite your enemies’ instantly, but we know that it has been said, ‘The Lord will judge’ (Hebrews 10:30 NIV) and also;

Vengeance is mine; I will repay’ (Hebrews 10:30 ESV).

So according to some;

Revenge is a dish best served cold’ (Ricardo Montablán as Khan Noonien Singh – Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan – Paramount Pictures – 1982).

Remember, the weak get revenge, the intelligent let it pass by, the strong do something unexpected;

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you’ (Lewis B. Smedes).

Set someone free today!

IMG_0212

There’s a table that You’ve prepared for me
In the presence of my enemies
It’s Your body and Your blood You’ve shed for me
This is how I fight my battles

There’s a table that You’ve prepared for me
In the presence of my enemies
It’s Your body and Your blood You’ve shed for me
This is how I fight my battles

In the valley I know that You’re with me
And surely Your goodness and mercy follow me
So my weapons are praise and thanksgiving
This is how I fight my battles

And I believe You’ve overcome
And I will lift my song of praise for what You’ve done

This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how

It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You

Surrounded (Fight My Battles)

Elyssa Smith

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Lord thank you for giving us everything in life that we need, your Son Jesus. Help us to fully rely on him to lead us, guide us, and teach us what we need to know, and help us to look to his life for how we should act. Lord we know that all we need is within The Bible, help us to study your word and learn the truths that we need to know.

Amen

 

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Do you trust me? (Aladdin to Jasmine)

But I trust in you, O LORD’ (Psalm 31:14 ESV)

In the film Aladdin and the king of thieves (Disney – 1996) Aladdin is portrayed as a lovable rogue, and according to the film and the words spoken by the guardian of the lost treasure, he is ‘The diamond in the rough’ (Aladdin 1996 – Disney).

But Aladdin is a generally a good person, and just before he and princess Jasmine go for a ride on his magic carpet and sing ‘A Whole New World’ (Alan Menkham – music & Tim Rice – lyrics) Aladdin asks Jasmine a pertinent question, and the question is;

Do you trust me?’ (Aladdin to Jasmine).

“Do you trust me?”

That question is asked by most of us to most other people that we know at some point in our lives, even our family.

Trust is an important issue for everyone, but it is also a very easy thing to break or lose.

It has been written;

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans’ (Psalm 118:8 NIV).

Wow, that is a harsh statement!

But the psalmist David also wrote;

Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD’ (Psalm 40:4 NIV).

Trust is an extremely fragile thing, for it can takes years to build, it only takes seconds to break, and it will take forever to try to repair it. Breaking some-ones trust is like taking a perfect brand new piece of paper, and then screwing it up into a messy ball; you can open the paper up and even smooth it out so it is flat, and you can even write on it, but it will never be the same as it was!

Trust is important to everyone;

‘Trust starts with truth and it ends with truth’ (Santosh Kalwar).

When Jeremiah was speaking about what he had been told from God, he spoke these words;

Cursed is the one who trusts in man… But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him’ (Jeremiah 17:5 & 7 NIV).

So in this world that is driven by advertisers who tell us that we are not good enough, that we need certain products because ewe are worth the expense, or that we need a certain item to be deemed worthy by the rest of the world, or we need a new car, just because! Where life can seem to be an endless barrage of people telling us what we need and giving us seemingly plausible reasons for it, who can we trust?

O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trust in you!’ (Psalm 84:12 ESV).

The LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him’ (Psalm 34:8 ESV).

So, who should we trust?

Solomon was a very very wise man, he was probably the wisest man to have ever lived, and he knew who he should trust, and the one he trusted, is also the one that we should trust;

blessed is he who trusts the LORD’ (Prov 16:20 ESV).

Wiser words have probably never been spoken!

We need to trust in God!

God has it all in hand if we turn to him, love him, and trust him. He has it all planned out;

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’ (Psalm 139:16 NIV).

If we trust God, he will show us his plan for our lives;

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

So God knows us, and if we turn to him and trust him, he will give us knowledge;

I will instruct you and teach you… I will counsel you with my loving eye on you’ (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

And when we trust him, God is always there, for just as he told the Israelite nation, so we are reminded by Paul when he wrote to the Hebrew Christians;

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

And if we love him, then we will trust him, and we will be surrounded by his love;

Steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD’ (Psalm 32:10 ESV).

So we are never alone (Hebrews 13:5), we are known by God and our life has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and the plan was written before we were born (Psalm 139:16) and if we ask, God will teach us what we need to know (Psalm 32:8).

Why would we ever not trust God?

Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, and walks in his ways’ (Psalm 128:1 ESV).

So, trust God, trust him in your good days, and even more so in your bad days. Trust him to help you with your family, trust him with your work situations, and trust him with, well with everything really.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to b happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey’ (John Henry Sammis – 1846 – 1919).

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When darkness deepens
The path unsure 
The sun is hidden by the storms 
I look to heaven
And cry to Thee
Oh God be here with me

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

When faith is shaken
When fears surround
My feet will stand on solid ground
In every season
My song will be
Oh God be here with me

And in that moment
We’re face to face
I will not need these eyes of faith
Forever after, God I will see
That You’ve always been with me
You’ve always been with me

Here With Me (Pocketful of Faith #1)

Tim Hughes, Phil Wickham, Nick Herbert

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Father, we thank you that we can trust you with everything in our lives. We thank you that even before we were born, you knew us and had a plan for our lives. Help us to show others that trusting in you can have a positive impact upon their lives. Lord help us to trust in you more.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want – Spice Girls

What do you want me (Jesus) to do for you?
(Luke 18:41 NIV -emphasis mine)

The verse continues with a reply;

Lord, let me recover my sight’ (Luke 18:41 ESV).

The blind beggar was not satisfied with his lot and he wanted more, and he knew that Jesus could help him get what he wanted.

Are you satisfied with ‘your lot’?

Do you have everything that you want or need?

Do you chase after things that other people have, do you try to ‘keep up with the Jones’?

I think that at times we have all been guilty of wanting because others have. I can clearly remember wanting things because my neighbours had something similar, or wanting a newer or bigger car because my friends had just got one, not because I needed them.

I think that it is important to remember that Jesus is not a divine vending machine. We cannot and should not go to Jesus only when we want something.

There is no problem with asking Jesus for something as long as it is in line with the teachings set within the Bible, and as long as we genuinely need it.

George Müller trusted God implicitly for what he needed, and through the power of prayer, he raised more that the equivalent of £90 million in today’s money (How To Pray – Pete Greig – p75).

Yes we can ask God for our daily needs, Jesus told us to;

This is how you should pray..Give us today our daily bread’ (Matthew 6:9 & 11 NIV).

He also told us to ask for things;

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do’ (John 14:13 ESV).

That does not mean that we can ask for extravagant items, new cars or designer clothes. In my opinion, it means that we can ask for healing for a friend, strength for someone to overcome a personal situation, or even wisdom for us to help someone with the right words to say.

It is not always about us!

Paul reminded the Roman Christians;

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

I heard a story on Premier Christian Radio the other day, and it went something like this;

An old man is sitting under a melon tree relaxing and eating a melon, when a young man comes up to him and says “Why don’t you pick 2 melons and go and sell one?”. “Why would I do that?” asks the old man. “So you would have some money” comes the reply, “then you could buy more trees and sell more mangoes and make more money”. “Why would I do that?” asks the old man again. “Because then you could buy lots of trees and employ lots of people to harvest the fruit, and then you could own the largest Mango farm in the country”. The old man looks at the young man, “But why would I do that?” he asks yet again. The young man replies, “Because then you could have all the workers doing all of the work, and then you could just relax under a tree and eat Mangoes!”. “But why would I do all of that work and have all that pressure, just to do what I am doing now?” he asked the young man. The young man could not answer him.

The older man was ‘satisfied with his lot’.

Are we satisfied that God has a plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11)? Are we happy that we can call on God to help us and teach us what we need to know (Psalm 32:8)? Are you happy that because Jesus died, that you are saved and it cost you nothing (John 3:16)? Are you happy that you are never truly alone (Hebrews 13:5)? Are you happy that there will be a place ready prepared for you when you depart this life (John 14:3)? Are you happy that if you turn to God, that he will give you your hearts desires (Psalm 37:4)? Are we happy that whatever happens and how we feel at the end of the day ‘Joy comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5 ESV)?

If you are not happy, perhaps you need to give more of your burdens to him and worry less, for Jesus has told us;

Come to me, ALL YOU who are weary and burdened, and I WILL give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28 NIV- emphasis mine).

Sometimes we all cling to ‘what we know’ sin and all, perhaps it is time to do what Queen Elsa said;

Let it go!’ (Queen Elsa – Frozen – Disney – 2013).

Stop carrying all your unnecessary things around, give them to God, let them go!

Trust that God will supply all your needs.

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

Taste and see.jpeg

Jesus all these songs we sing, every word and melody
All of it is meant for your alone
Silent prayers and bended knees, every kind of offering
All of it’s intended for your throne


Jesus this is all for you, Father this is all for you
How your children long to bless your heart
Lord we’ve tasted and we’ve seen, beheld the splendour of the King
How we long to magnify our GOD.

Every lifted voice and hand, every woman, every man
All of us have known Your generous ways
Spirit you have carried us, we have seen Your faithfulness
And our hearts are bursting with Your praise

All for you, all for you, all to bless Your heart
All for you, all for you, all for you oh GOD

All for you (Our God is Near #10)

Brenton Brown

downloadFather, we thank you that when we trust you and call to you, you give us what we need. We know that sometimes this will not be what we want, but we trust you in all things. Lord we want to be happy in what we have, give us wisdom to accept what we have, and courage to not always want what others have when we know that we really do not need it. In you we have all things, and all that we need. Lord we thank you that Jesus paid the price for our freedom and happiness.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Bless not curse

Believe  it  or  not,  I  actually  care  what  happens  to  you,  which  makes  one of us’ (Marvel’s The Punisher – Season 1 – Two Dead Men).

Marvel’s the Punisher is all based upon the premise of the title character ‘The Punisher’ who was a Marine veteran called Frank Castle. After the murder of his family he becomes a vigilante who takes it upon himself to avenge their death.

When people say things against us, or do things to us that we do not like, our instant reaction might be that we want to get revenge on them, to ‘get them back’, orto get even for what they have done to or against us, to hurt them the way they hurt us.

If someone hurts us, is it natural to want revenge, to hurt them in some similar way that may make us feel better about the situation we are in?

Life is not always that simple, and the Bible has another thing to say, and another way to deal with hurt against us.

In his letter to the scattered church, Paul says;

Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing’ (1 Peter 3:9 GNB).

So if we are hurt by another person, we are told not to deliberately hurt them back just to ‘make us even’, as Christians, we are told to be different, in essence we are told to take the moral high ground;

On the contrary, repay evil with blessing’ (1 Peter 3:9 NIV).

And if we know a person that has been wronged or hurt, we need to take positive steps to help with the situation, we should;

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other’ (1 Thessalonians 5:15 NIV).

We should not, and do not need to take situations into our hands, God is with us, we know that he will never leave us, (Hebrews 13:5) so in any situation, we know that we are not alone, and we should trust that God will deal with the problem;

It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ (Deuteronomy 32:35 NIV).

And in addition to the Lord telling the nation of Israel not to take vengeance against any nation that hurt or attacked them, Paul reminded the Roman Christians not to seek to repay any sins that are committed against them;

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath’ (Romans 12:17 & 19 NIV).

Whatever we are doing, even if it is during a time of prayer of meditation, or any time we want to spend with God, we need to ensure that we are ‘right with God’;

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled’ (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV).

So we should try to only go to God when our hearts are pure. We are not perfect, but we should strive to be;

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48 ESV).

Tough order! But even though, we should always try our best. I was once told “Do your best and the Lord will do the rest”.

Jesus came and died for us, all of us, (John 3:16) so we need to make sure that in every situation we are the best person we can be at any time. When we choose to live for God, we need to change our lives, and we know that when we choose God, we are a new person;

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV).

Also we have to let God take charge of our life, he has a plan and will be with us;

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

God will take charge if we let him. We need to let God lead us and cover us with his love. We need to trust God in every situation and let him show us how to live a good life. We do not need to punish people if they hurt us, we need to forgive them, and trust God in every situation that we find ourselves.

And without love we have nothing to give anyone, and in all situations, all we need to remember is;

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs’ (Proverbs 10:12 NIV).

And more importantly, if we trust in the plan that God has for us, and remove all our hatred, trust that God we always be with us and lead us, and also try to live as he showed us, then we will not try to take revenge in any situation, but trust it all to God. Then our life will be filled with love, and the most important thing to know is;

Love never fails’ (1 Corinthians 13:8 NIV).

keep-calm-trust-and-obey-God

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, I pray with thanks that when we trust in you for all things, that we can be better people and live a better life. Lord help us to trust you in all situations, and know that you are always with us, and will take charge if we leave our life in your hands. Lord we need you every day because life can be very hard at time, help us to turn to you first when life goes awry. Lord we love you, help us to trust in you more.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Tempting, isn’t it???

each person is tempted’ (James 1:14 NIV).

 

You know, there are times when you buy things that are bad for you, and you know that you probably should not buy the item.

You know, it is the times when you think;

Should I????

And at the end of the sentence, there is not just one question mark, but there are multiple question marks. Those are the times I am talking about, the “Should I????” moments.

We all have them!

Should I tell a ‘little white lie, it will not hurt anyone’, well the answer is NO! There is no such thing as a ‘little white lie’, a lie is a lie, and lies can have devastating effects.

I know I should not speed, but everyone does it, and who will it hurt?” Everyone does not speed, look at all the elderly people that you get stuck behind, and then spend the next few minutes ranting at or about them because they are driving at one mile and hour under the speed limit, and besides, as you race around a bend or up a road, you could run someone over, maybe even someone you know or care for!

I really cannot be bothered with work after going out last night, I am tired, shall I ‘throw a sickie’ and have the day off?’ Well no, you should think about the consequences when doing something or going out when you have work the next day.

But each of the situations, and there are lots more, can be tempting to people, ‘bending the truth’, or as it is more commonly known, lying; speeding or as it know by some, breaking the law, and pretending to be ill, which again is lying.

We can all be tempted at times, and sometimes it can feel as though we are tempted daily, or hourly; and the people who say they have not, or are never tempted are, yes, you guessed it, probably lying;

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).

The devil will always try to tempt us from what is good for us, and what is good for us, is Jesus.

Jesus came to die for us, for all of us, so we can have another chance at living the way God intended us to live (John 3:16).

We need to always take care, the world may not know or care about Jesus, but we have to live in a way that people will be able to see him through us.

We need to take the light where it is not. We are like a flaming arrow travelling through the night, taking the light of Jesus wherever we go. We need to be the salt and light in a dark world.

Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world’ (Romans 12:2 GNB).

We need to be constantly armed and ready to stand against the times when we are tempted, and when we are attacked, the best way to respond, is with truth, and the truth is the Word of God, as given to us in The Bible, and the Bible says;

So, put on God’s armour now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks’ (Ephesians 6:13 GNB).

And whilst we are donning all the protective armour that God freely gives to anyone who trusts him, and we should be truly thankful for it, we should also;

Pray that you should [will] not fall into temptation’ (Luke 22:40 NIV).

Temptations can slide up to you, they slither in from the ‘blind-side’. They appear to be something good or nice, and briefly they may be, but after when you realise what you have done, then condemnation sets in and you chastise yourself, you wallow in self-pity, you get into a bad mood, and then you can affect others around you. But remember;

There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1 NIV).

We should also remember the following, ‘everyone sins!’.

for ALL HAVE SINNED and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23 NIV – emphasis mine).

Guilty as charged!”

But what now?????

Well that bit is slightly easier.

If you trust Jesus, if you love Jesus, and if you generally try to live like Jesus, then there is only one thing that you have to do after you have succumbed to any temptation;

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that he will forgive your sins’ (Acts 3:19 GNB).

It seems a little easy, doesn’t it?

But true repentance is required. Saying sorry, then in a few hours, days or weeks, repeating the same thing over and over, is not repentance. But changing habits is hard, ask those who are recovering from an addiction, whatever the addiction was, and they will tell you that change is hard work.

There is something that we can cling to when we feel that we are being tempted, and cannot cope. We have someone with us who has been through more temptation than we will probably ever know.

Jesus was tempted for forty days in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13) and yet never yielded, never gave in;

And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered’ (Hebrews 2:18 GNB).

There is a comedy film in which Mathesar, the leader of an alien race called ‘Thermians’, says;

‘Never give up, never surrender!’ (Galaxy Quest – Dreamworks SKG – 1999).

It may be a line from a movie, but it holds truth. Jesus never gave up, he was tempted for a long time, and did not give up. He knew that he was going to die when he reached Jerusalem, but decided not to change his life’s path and go elsewhere, he did not surrender to ‘have an easy life’, he continued on the path before him.

When we feel that life is getting hard for us, and we feel the pull of temptation, focus on what is important, Jesus! Surround yourself with other Christians who can help you overcome your temptations, Christians who can pray for and with you, and who will help guide you to a better path, a narrow path (Matthew 7:13-14).

In times of testing, look to Jesus for strength and wisdom in how to act in that or any situation;

Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee’ (James 4:7 NIV).

Temptations can be hard to overcome, change is hard at times, but if we truly want to be a different person, then there is only one thing for it, trust God fully with every fibre of your body. You have to want to change, doing something to please someone else is not change, not unless you really want it.

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans’ (Psalm 118:20 NIV).

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Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defence, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
Where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
When I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

You’re my one defence, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defence, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Lord, I Need You

C. Nockels, D. Carson, J. Reeves, K. Stanfill, M. Maher

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Father, I pray with thanks that you sent Your Son to give us a second chance at living the way you intended us to live. We know that we are not worthy of the sacrifice made for us, but we humbly come to you and ask for your forgiveness. Help us every day to be better, and to show the light of Jesus to everyone around us.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Knowledge or Wisdom?

If any of you lacks wisdom’ (James 1:5 NIV)

At times, we all lack wisdom, whether that time is whilst we are young and immature, or for me according to my wife, last week, when I was not so young and still immature!

The verse continues, and tells us what we should do if we lack wisdom;

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach’ (James 1:5 ESV).

So if we think we need wisdom or understanding, then ask God. If you need to know more about a situation that you may be going into, then ask God. If you are about to enter into a relationship and are not sure, then ask God. Ask him about anything, if there is a lack of knowledge about anything.

But as we get older, should we not also get wiser too? Someone once said;

With age comes wisdom’ (Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900).

There are people I know who would disagree, but Oscar Wilde went on to say;

But sometimes, age comes alone’.

With which they would definitely agree!

Wisdom need to be built upon a solid foundation, and the Bible is that foundation.

When we were young, we acted like children and people accepted it because we knew no better. As we grow, we change and develop; we begin to understand things that were probably too hard for us maybe only months before; our attitudes change as we begin to understand how one thing is affected by another.

Paul, the writer of Corinthians also commented upon this matter;

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man. I put away childish things’ (1 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV).

Every year we get a little older, and sometimes a little wiser, and in my case, also a little rounder.

We change constantly both in the way we look, and the way we think and act; we are the sum of all our experiences that we have gone through, and God is guiding us to where he wants us, and where we need to be.

Age does not necessarily define us. As we grow, we may get wrinkles, spots, and grey hair, or sometimes no hair, but this does not mean that we are past it all, we are not on a downward hill from which there is no recovery.

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days’ (Job 12:12 ESV).

We should not worry about anything (Matthew 6:25-33), and especially not be worried about getting old;

Grey hair is a crown of glory’ (Proverbs 16:31 ESV).

Some people fear getting old, but the older generation have experience, and they can help guide the next generation in their walk with God, and maybe help them to avoid the pitfalls of life that snared them.

There is one constant in life, as we go from baby to toddler, toddler to teenager, and teenager to adult: Jesus, and he never changes;

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

Amen to that!

So when things get tough, and they will at some point, for we all at one time or another take our eyes away from God and lose our focus from Jesus, and wander from the narrow path that leads to life.

But at these times, we need to remember that Jesus has said;

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

So whatever is happening in our lives, we are not alone. When we have grown old, and our friends have moved away, or gone to be with Jesus, and we feel left out; when we feel that nobody bothers with us, it is then that we need to cling to the fact that Jesus is always with us.

We are NEVER alone!

And if we only remember one thing, we should remember this;

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge’ (Proverbs 1:7 NIV).

Follow God, cling to what is good, follow his path, and lead the next generation in the ways of Jesus.

Use your wisdom, gained through age; use your knowledge gained through life experiences. Use all the tools you have, and all the gifts you have received from the Holy Spirit to guide all those around you towards the light, towards Jesus and life. Life in its fullness.

Wisdom pyramid

 

There’s a narrow little gate not very far from here
some look from a distance some look at it in fear
The eye of a needle is not a walk through with ease
but there is a way right through if we get down on our knees

The years go by so quickly but the narrow gate’s still there
And I’m sure it’s getting smaller though and that don’t seem too fair
Maybe tomorrow I’ll go and take a closer look
but for now I’m quite content here with the path that I took

There’s a narrow little gate, and you must enter like a child
Don’t count upon your wisdom got to set aside your pride
There’s a narrow little gate and no matter what you say
You could spend your whole life searching but you’ll find no other way

We use any old excuse to avoid that little gate
But however much we hide from it still stare us in the face
It all sounds too easy for a crazy life like mine
I worked so hard to get this far and you say ‘leave it all behind’

Narrow Little Gate – (Secrets of Life #8)

Nia Jones (words) / Mal Pope (music)

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Father, I thank you for sending your So Jesus to show us how we should live. Thank you for the Bible and all the wisdom contained within the pages. Lord help us to turn to your word in times when we struggle, and rely more on you and less on us. Loving God, help us to always want more of you Lord and less of us we pray.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Each person is tempted – be alert!

Be alert’ (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)

Do you think that we not alert all the time? Why do we need to be alert?

We may be alert to the situation we are actually in; such as if we are walking somewhere we will generally take notice of the route we are taking and any roads as we cross them, or if we are talking to a friend, we will usually have an understanding of the conversation because we pay attention to the other person.

But the Bible is not referring to those situations!

We need to be alert to our spiritual situations, and here is why;

each person is tempted’ (James 1:14 NIV).

William Booth was well known for asking about a person’s spiritual state. Once when in a carriage with Lord Loch and Cecil Rhodes, he placed a hand on the knee of Cecil Rhodes and asked him “Tell me, how is it with your soul?” (William & Catherine Booth – God’s Soldiers – Jenty Fairbank – p123 – 1974).

William Booth was concerned for Cecil’s well-being, for he was well aware of the dangers of spiritual complacency, and we need to be as well.

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 need to be alert for evil in the world and around us; we need to ensure that we are not be taken in by things that seem to good to be true, because the generally will be, and there is always a cost.

In Start Trek Deep Space Nine there is an alien who owns a bar, and his name is Quark, and he comes from a very money oriented race called the Ferengi; they have a saying for everything; ‘rule 59’ says;

Free advice is rarely cheap’ (The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition – by Quark as told to Ira Steven Behr – 1995).

We need to to watch what we do, we do not want to find that we have been tempted by bright lights and material goods, from the path that Jesus has shown us;

Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world’ (Romans 12:2 GNB).

We need to watch ourselves, because the world will try to tempt us away from Jesus; we need to remember and treasure the words that have been give to us by Jesus;

Enter through the narrow gate. Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it’ (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV).

Whenever we are struggling, we need to remember not to stray from the narrow path, it is the path of life; but in addition to this, we also need to be armed and ready for action;

Put on the FULL ARMOUR of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’ (Ephesians 6:11 NIV – emphasis mine).

We need to be armed and ready to stand against attacks, and when we are attacked, the best way to respond, is with truth, and the truth is the Word of God, as given to us in The Bible.

When we are tempted, we should remember that we are not alone, Jesus is always with us;

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

Paul reminded the Hebrew Christians of these words which were also spoken by Moses to Joshua, just before Moses’ death;

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).

So all through the word of God we hear that we will never be alone!

And more than that, we always have someone with us who has been through more temptation than we will probably ever know. Jesus was tempted for forty days in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13);

And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered’ (Hebrews 2:18 GNB).

Jesus was tempted, just as we sometimes are, and he overcame his temptation with scripture, ‘The Word of Truth’.

Jesus was tempted, he was human;

one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin’ (Hebrews 4:15 NIV).

Sometimes, when I fail, I get really miserable, I just want to scream and rage at myself for failing; I am filled with anger at myself for whatever I have done and should not have, I am full of self-recrimination and blame myself for being weak, I am annoyed with the knowledge that I have let Jesus down, again and again.

It would not be bad if it only happened once, but it is a constant struggle against my failure to be like Jesus.

We are not alone!

Paul also suffered failure;

For I do not do the good I want to do but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing’ (Romans 7:19 NIV).

So we are not alone when we fail, but we need to acknowledge our failings, take them to the cross, and leave them there and try again. We love and serve a God of second chances;

But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all wrongdoing’ (1 John 1:9 GNB).

That does not mean that we can go right back and repeat the sin, we have to learn, evolve and grow past the sins of our past.

When teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus said;

When you pray say…… And forgive us our sins’ (Luke 11:4 NKJV).

So we acknowledge our sin, ask for forgiveness and try not to repeat the same sins again. I am not saying this is easy, for I am just a guilty for doing the exact same thing over and over, as did Paul, but it does get easier with time and Jesus’ help; it can be a long road, but Jesus is always there to pick us up, and continue to love us.

The devil is always trying to tempt us from the path that Jesus has shown us, but Jesus is always with us to help us, and the Holy Spirit will guide us through our testing. Jesus said;

I am the way and the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6 NIV – emphasis mine).

Just as in Spiderman 2 when the train passenger says to Doctor Octopus; “You want to get to him (Spiderman), you gotta go through me!” (Spiderman 2 – 2004).

If we want to get to heaven and God, we have to go through Jesus. Stick to the narrow path and Jesus, choose Jesus, choose life!

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Lord, I come, I con-fess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart ??
You’re the One that guides my heart


Lord, I need You, Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You


Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

Lord, I need You

C. Nockels, D. Carson, J. Reeves, K. Stanfill, M. Maher

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Father, I pray with thanks that you sent Your Son to help us and show us the way to a better life. We try to live a Jesus shows, but sometimes, life gets in the way, the world tempts us and we are weak. We are sorry for these times, and ask for the strength and courage to be better people. Lord we look to your Son as an example to us all, help us to be more like him.

Amen