Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Seek and find the truth!

The truth is out there’ (X Files – 1993 – 2002)

When the X files aired on television, there was a tagline used to try to cultivate an air of mystery for the show, to try to entice viewers, the tagline was, ‘the truth is out there

The ‘truth they were referring to, was the fact that they were trying to say that alien races really exist, and that there had been alien visitations to earth.

But is the truth really out there, and if so, what is it?

Yes the truth really is out there, and it is out there in the form of the words given to humans by the creator of the universe. They were kept sacred, and passed down from generation to generation, and then ultimately, they were collected together to form what we, and many now know as ‘The Bible’.

The truth as given to us from our God!

According to the web-site ‘Worldatlas.com’, and also ‘Wikipedia, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books – accessed 19/08/18) the world’s best-selling book of all time, which has according to the site, has sold in excess of 4 billion copies. The book that sold so much, is ‘The Bible’ (https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-best-selling-books-of-all-time.html – accessed 18/08/19).

As Christians, we believe that the words of the Bible were inspired by God and given to man (and some women) to remember. God said to the nation of Israel;

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds’ (Deuteronomy 11:18 NIV).

We believe that through the words of the Bible, that God will let us know what we need to know;

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

In other words, God has given us a training manual, the ultimate training manual called the Bible, and when we delve into the individual books within, we can find all manner of information about what God has in store for us;

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

So we know that God wants what is best for us, therefore he has a plan for each and everyone of us; we also know that God does not make mistakes;

Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?’ (Psalm 94:10 NIV).

So the plans that God has for us, are good plans, and they will help us, and not hinder us, all we have to do is listen to God;

For he is rightly instructed; his God teaches him’ (Isaiah 28:28 ESV).

who teaches us more than the beast of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds of the sky?‘ (Job 35:11 NIV).

So we know that we all have a good plan for our life from our creator, who knows us intimately, (Psalm 139:14-16) and along with that plan, God will teach us what we need to know, and guide us. We know also that we will never be on our own;

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

So we need to remember, that even though we may be physically on our own, we are never completely alone, as we will always have our Lord and Saviour along-side us. This is true, especially if we consider the beautiful words of the poem ‘Footprints in the sand’ (http://www.wowzone.com/fprints.htm – accessed 18/08/19).

We also know that we have a sure hope of an eternal life when we trust and follow Jesus (John 3:16); Jesus even died for us, even though we did not deserve it;

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

And even though we did not deserve it, we can remember the words of the Psalmist David, who said;

Good and upright is the LORD; who instructs sinners in his ways’ (Psalm 25:8 NIV).

We truly are sinners, saved by grace;

For by grace you have been saved through faith’ (Ephesians 2:8 ESV).

When we go to school, we have to be obedient to what the teachers will tell us, as if we do not listen to what they say, we will not learn from them, and the time they spend and the time we spend in the lesson will be wasted.

This is just as applicable, to what God says to us, we need to be attentive to him, and be prepared to listen for his words, we need to be humble and ready to accept what God is saying to us;

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way’ (Psalm 25:9 NIV).

The truth may not really be out there, as referred to by the X files, but the truth is available to anyone and everyone who is willing to look for it. We have to be humble and look within the pages of the world’s most sold book.

Are you a bookworm? Do you want to know the most amazing plans that are there for you? Do you want to know the God who created you?

Are you up for a good book?

Saved by Grace

 

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.

In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.

This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,

“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.
 Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Footprints in the Sand

Mary Stevenson, 1936

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Lord we thank you for giving us the amazing books which have been collected together to form the Bible, which holds your truth and plans for our lives. Help us to be more willing to delve into the words and keep them in our hearts always. Help us to trust you more and live by the words we read. Lord may we fully trust you and trust the words that we read.

Amen

 

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Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Love is all you need. (The Beatles – 1967)

The greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

Recently, people have been commenting upon the fact the my wife and I have now been married now for just over one year, and today I was blessed to be invited to a friends’ wedding, and the wedding took place at the same church where my wife and I had our marriage blessed, and was done by the same pastor.

Many weddings that I have been to, including my own and even the wedding today, have had some verses or even the chapter from 1 Corinthians 13, read within the service.

Although there are many verses within the Bible that speak about love, 1 Corinthians 13 is often referred to as the ‘love chapter’.

This is not saying that when Paul wrote these beautiful words, that he had a complete handle on the topic of love, that he was a love guru, or that he was someone that people could go to if they wanted marriage guidance. Paul was simply reminding the Corinthian church all about love and how we should be if we have the love of God within us.

If we tell people that we love God, the gossip about them, or are deliberately nasty about them or to them, or lie and cheat, then as Paul said;

I am only a resounding cymbal’ (1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV)

We need to do what we do, because we love God, we need to do it for the right reason, and we need to do it because we love God, and want to love more like God.

If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing’ (1 Corinthians 13:2 ESV).

Companies have always looked for the slogan that will sell their product more than the competitor. Back in 1994 a company employed a London based advertising company to help them to sell their product.

The company was HHCL, and they had various ideas, but the main slogan chosen was devised by two people. The phrase was devised by Dave Shelton and Liz Whinston, and was originally designed to ‘de-mistify’ the Ronseal products.

Many people will be able to remember their slogan immediately.

The phrase was;

‘Does exactly what is says on the tin’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronseal – accessed 11/08/19).

As Christians, ‘our tin’ is the word of God, given to man and collected together to form The Bible;

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful’ (2 Timothy 3:16 GNB).

But still, as Christians, do we do exactly what it says in our tin.

I know that at various times I have been guilty of not being an accurate Christian, I have not acted according to the word of God, I have not acted towards other people with the love shown by God, to us and everyone, and that I should show.

We know that God loves us;

For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16 NIV).

God loves us and shows us a massive amount of grace if forgiving us our sins, when we turn to him in faith, when we say that we love him, and say that we trust him, and finally, ask for forgiveness of our sins. I sometimes find it hard to love like that.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace’ (Romans 6:14 NIV).

And more than that, when Jesus died for us, we were still sinning;

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly’ (Romans 5:6 – emphasis mine).

So God knew that when he sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for us, that we were sinners, not deserving of the grace that he was about to make available to us all, to you and to me. We did not deserve another chance, but God in his infinite mercy said, let them try again, and;

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

Right at the beginning, God was bringing out the nation of Israel from Egypt, and a life of captivity and slavery; whilst in the wilderness, they had been given some commandments by God, through Moses;

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’ (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV).

And Jesus also commanded about love, he said;

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another’ (John 13:34 NIV – emphasis mine).

Jesus continued to say that they should love as he had loved, an un-ending, non-judgemental, pure kind of love; he basically told them to “do what it says on the tin”, love like I have loved he said;

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’ (John 13:35 NIV – emphasis mine).

Ronseal said, so if you want to paint wood and need it to dry quickly, then buy Ronseals’ quick drying paint, because it does exactly what it says on the tin.

So if we want other people to know Jesus, we have to do as he said, ‘be [You are] the salt of the earth’ (Matthew 5:13 NIV – emphasis mine), the flavour that will entice others to want to know more about Jesus; we have to show others the way by shining for him, because Jesus told us, ‘You are the light of the world’ (Mathew 5:14 NIV). By living our life according to God’s will, we will be doing exactly what the Bible says.

Come on, let us all do exactly what it says on the tin!

Light shines in Darknes - John - 1

 

Though I may speak with bravest fire,
And have the gifts to all inspire,
And have not love, my words are vain,
As sounding brass, and hopeless gain.

Though I may give all I possess,
And striving so my love profess,
But not be given by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin.

Come Spirit, come, our hearts control,
Our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide every deed;
By this we worship, and are freed.

The Gift of Love (1972)

Hal H. Hopson (1933 – )

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Lord we thank you for the love that you show to each and every one of us, we know that we do not deserve that love, and that we are constantly failing to be worthy of it. Help us to be better people, worthy of the tag of ‘Christian’. Help us to show others your love by the way that we live, and help us to love those people that are hardest to love, help us to love them the most.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Get out of the boat!

Take courage! It is I’ (Matthew 14:27 NIV)

There were times in my life that when I was younger, I could just not handle, and even later in life, when I became a Christian this did not initially change for me.

Even though I believed and trusted God, I still struggled, and at times I wanted to curl up in a corner and forget everything else that was going on around me, I could just not handle it, I felt under pressure and overwhelmed.

Many people go through similar things, when they have problems that they cannot cope with. Some people learn to cope and some do not.

Those who learn to cope may use various techniques; some techniques are not so good for you, and people escape their situations using drugs or alcohol; there are other ways that can help and be beneficial to the body, meditation, yoga, chanting, or prayer. Even atheists admit that they sometimes pray, even though they do not believe in God.

Sometimes, you do not have to know how something works; you just have to believe that it will.

I do not know how a combustion engine works in a car, apart from the basics; it just does work when I turn my key, and if it does not, then I call a mechanic.

I do not know how planes fly, apart from the absolute, very basics; they go very fast and lift up, they just do, and if they do not, then I may meet Jesus sooner than I planned.

When I could not cope with what my life was and the things assailing me, my minister at the time sat me down, and told me that I need to trust God more for his help in those bad situations, that he had plans for me and would not let anything bad happen to me, they were;

plans for welfare not evil, to give you a future and a hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

As I grew older, and supposedly wiser, although many will say that there is still no sign of the getting wiser emerging yet, I left the church and struck out on my own, because I thought I knew better. That did not work out too well, and I ended up a physical, mental, and spiritual wreck.

I quickly realised that I needed Jesus back in my life.

Ultimately I know that he never left me, and it was I who had turned my back on him. I had been called into friendship with Jesus and decided to walk away. Yet even back then after walking away, I knew that God had said;

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

After coming back to the church and letting God back into my every-day life, I quickly realised what I had before I left.

God has a plan for our lives, we just need to ask him to reveal it to us, and that plan will surpass everything that we can ever think up;

I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not evil’ (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

God wants the very best for us, and nothing that he has planned for us will harm us.

In addition to the good plans he has, he will teach us what we need to know;

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

So if we are having problems that seem to be immensely bigger than us, and much stronger than us, we need to remember;

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you’ (Psalm 55:22 NIV).

When we trust God with our lives, they do not then truly belong to us, we belong to God, we are his and like him, and he said;

Let us make man in our image’ (Genesis 1:26 ESV).

We are created in the very image of the living God. We are made on purpose and made for a purpose, and that purpose is to worship God, and bring others into the knowledge of God!

In our lives there are some things that we can do and some things that we cannot. The things we can do are gifts from God. We each have a purpose on earth, and these gifts help us achieve our God given plans;

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us’ (Romans 12:6 NIV).

Your gift may be talking to people, you may find that very easy, I particularly find that incredibly difficult. Your gift may be serving, or healing, or giving; whatever your gift, do it with the grace that God has given each of us.

Use your gift for the benefit of the Kingdom of God, and not for selfish purposes, because Jesus did not die for a selfish purpose, he died for you and me;

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV).

So God will not let anything bad happen to us. Sometimes we go through stuff that we do not like, and sometimes in the chaos, God will silence the noise and mess around us so that we can get through whatever it is. At other times, God will give us the peace we need in order to weather the storm, a peace that we cannot understand, peace that transcends everything else.

No matter what we are going through, we should not tell God we have a big problem, but tell our problem that we have a BIG God.

If we trust in God at all times and in all things, then we can be game changers, we can show people around us that no matter what is happening, Jesus is in charge of our life and our situations because we are trusting in him, and by the way we live, we can show people God in our lives.

We need to make a decision, and we need to decide, just as Peter did. Shall we stay in comfort and security, or shall we trust in Jesus, cling to what is good in our lives, and get out of the boat!

img_0142

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep my faith will stand

I will call upon Your Name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) (Zion #4)

Joel Houston, Matt Crocker, Salomon Lighthelm

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Lord we thank you for everything that you give us, the gifts that we have, the grace that we have, the love that we have. Help us the use these to share you with others, that they may also come to know and trust you. Lord we want your kingdom to grow here on earth give us strength, wisdom and courage to share your love with those around us.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Why should I worry? – Nia Jones

Give all your worries and cares to God’ (1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

Do you worry about things, little things, or really big things? Are the things you worry about daily occurrences, or maybe hourly or your life may even be in constant turmoil?

Should you worry about things?

And why do you worry… Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’ (Matthew 6:28 & 27 NIV).

So why do we worry, why do we not trust that there is someone else, that can take our worries and give us peace, a peace that the world cannot understand.

Peace I leave with you’ (John 14:27 ESV).

So who would want all of our worries, our concerns and our doubts?

Jesus wants them, and us;

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

Jesus wants us to come to him, and be in a relationship with him.

If you are in a relationship, you talk to your partner (occasionally, maybe), and they listen (sometimes…). You share the little things that happen during a normal day, things like who you have seen and what you said to them, where you have been etc. Sometimes my wife will moan at me if she has had a trying day, she is not actually moaning at me, but she needs to shed her stress, worries and concerns of the day, afterwards, she feels better, and equally, I do the same to her.

Jesus wants that kind of relationship with us, one where we go to him in prayer and tell him all about our day, the ups and the downs.

Some will say, “What is the point, surely Jesus already knows everything we do”.

O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me’ (Psalm 139:1 NLT).

Yes, God does know everything, but sometimes, the sharing is the breakthrough to the proper relationship.

Jesus said;

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

He did not say, “Just come over for a bit and let me know your little worries, but keep the big ones, I’m not interested in those, way too big for me”. He said;

Come to me ALL who are weary’ (Matthew 11:28 NIV – emphasis mine).

All of us who are weary from problems in our life, can go to Jesus.

All of us who have problems in our relationship, can go to Jesus.

All of us who have work problems, can go to Jesus.

He may not miraculously cure all the problems, but we can give them all to him, and subsequently not worry about them, and then just, relax, breath out, and rest in him;

I (Jesus) will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28 NIV – emphasis mine).

When we go to Jesus with our concerns, he gently takes them in and says to us “rest in me, I have your worries, do not think about them, leave them, come to me, I love you and care for you so much’.

And we know exactly how much God loves us (John 3:16).

Jesus says “do not worry” (Matthew 6:25 NIV).

But being human and weak, it is hard not to at times; we all worry about various things in our life, but Jesus tells us not to;

do not worry about what you will eat or drink. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.’ (Matthew 6:25 & 34 NIV).

Why worry anyway, just enjoy each day as it comes and be thankful to God for what you have, little or lots; be a good steward of what you have, share what you have with those less fortunate, and live a life that is centred on God, and worthy of the ‘tag’ Christian.

Years ago, people used to wear bands that had the letters ‘W.W.J.D.’ which stood for ‘what would Jesus do?’ If as you go through life, you constantly ask yourself this question, then you may find that your life changes, as you start to really consider what Jesus would do in the various situations that you find yourself.

What Jesus would do, is trust his dad, our heavenly Father. He would not worry about what he could not change, and he would continue with his life, as he did, to the very end.

Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless – like chasing the wind’ (Ecclesiastes 9:9 NLT).

Cast your cares n God

Why should I worry, worry about this life
What I eat what I drink or the clothes I should wear
The lilies of the field they’re more beautiful indeed
More than Solomon in all his splendour
Lilies come and go so tell me how much more
Will the Lord clothe those who surrender to his love

Why should I worry, ‘bout the ifs and the maybes
When maybes may never even happen at all
Worry has no power to add a year, day or hour
To the number of the days that I’ve been given to breathe
Is my faith still so small that I seek first a mall
When my Father knows my need and he longs for me to leave it in his hands

If I seek first Your Kingdom with all of my heart
And then all of these things
All the big things and the small things
They’ll all be given unto me

Why do I worry, worry about tomorrow
When tomorrow has so many worries of its own
The birds of the air have their needs met fair and square
A holy hand provides all they need and so much more
Birds have no cares no bonds, stocks or shares
So if I ask for bread, do I really expect a stone?

Why should I worry? – (Secrets of Life #5)

Nia Jones (words) / Mal Pope (music)

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Lord we thank you for caring about us, caring enough to send Jesus t o die for us, even though we did not deserve it. Help us to be worthy of the sacrifice Jesus paid on our behalf. Lord we love you and want all those in our lives to know that by the way we act. We are weak people at times, I know I am, help us and me to be better and be worthy of the tag Christian.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

The beauty created by God!

love, which comes from a pure heart’ (1 Timmothy 1:5 NIV)

Today I have spent approximately 7 hours with some men from the church I attend, and together, we shared a little fellowship as we walked around Mam Tor (Mother Hill) in the Peak District.

It never ceases to amaze me when I view the creation of our generous God. I marvel at the variance in colours and shades, the attention to detail that we unfortunately, sometimes take for granted. I like to stand there, primarily to get my breath back as I am not the fittest of people, but also to gaze at the amazing beauty given to us by our creator God.

Wow!

In the world there are many who only look out for what they want, but we, as Christians should be different, and Paul remind us;

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

We should not be drawn in by the want of the multitudes;

“I want a bigger newer car!” but they have a decent car that gets them from A to B.

“I want a bigger house with more rooms! Not that we need the extra space, but a friend of mine is buying a bigger house”.

“I want an expensive holiday abroad!” and on it goes.

Many people do not need the bigger, newer, updated things, but they think that it makes them look good, or that they are having a good life and enjoying it all.

Looking good has nothing to do with what we look like on the outside, God created us in his image;

God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us” ‘ (Genesis 1:26 NLT).

So we are created in the image of our creator, and it pleased him that he had created man and woman and everything else;

Then God looked over ALL he had made, and saw that it was very good!’ (Genesis 1:31 NLT – emphasis mine).

So when he created people, God was pleased with the outcome, yet many people today have such a low self esteem because of what other people say about them, and that is terrible.

When Saul was sent by God to anoint the next king of Israel, he was sent to the house of Jesse (1 Samuel 16:1).

Saul looked at the sons of Jesse with purely human eyes, and looked at Eliab the eldest, God told him no;

People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV).

We know that God created us on purpose and for a purpose, and we also know that God makes no mistakes, so we can confidently say;

For you created my inmost being… I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:13 & 14 NIV).

We are indeed wonderfully woven together by a loving God who knows us intimately and desires the best for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and;

He will take great delight in you’ and ‘rejoice over you with singing’ (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV).

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT).

We may think that we have past our sell-by date, with wrinkles, sagging skin, expanding bodies etc, but we should really remember that God sees our heart, and the heart of the reason we do something;

Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day’ (2 Corinthians 4:16 NLT).

We may have old shrivelled, blotchy bodies, but to God we are perfect if we live through the words in the Bible, if we love others without thought for ourselves, and if we give to the needy again without though of what people would think if they knew.

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets… when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing’ (Matthew 6:2 & 3 NIV).

We should not give to make us look good; we should give because at the heart of it, it is the right thing to do. Looking good for God is having a heart that does the will of God because it needs doing, our faith should be visible in the way we live;

What good is it… if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds’ (James 2:14 &17 NLT).

We cannot do anything in our lives that will make God love us any more that he already does, but we do know the things that sadden us, starving people, and people living on the streets with nowhere to go, children without the basic necessities for living well.

In the words from the Hillsong song Hosannah;

Break my heart with what breaks yours, everything I am for you kingdoms cause’ (Hillsong – Hosannah – 2007).

SO where do we look for beauty in others, do we see the shell that the spirit resides in and make a snap judgement upon whether we like someone or not, or do we look deeper inside and see what their actions say about who they are?

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment… Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit’ (1 Peter 3:3 & 4 NIV).

IMG_0210

 

I see the King of glory
Coming on the clouds with fire
The whole earth shakes
The whole earth shakes

I see His love and mercy
Washing over all our sin
The people sing
The people sing

Hosanna Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest
Hosanna Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest

I see a generation
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
With selfless faith

I see a near revival
Stirring as we pray and seek
We’re on our knees
We’re on our knees

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love
Like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am
For Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

Hosanna

Brooke Fraser

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Lord we thank you for looking inside us to know what we are like. The world is so wrapped up in the outward appearance; help us to live lives that shout out the name of Jesus to all who see us. Lord may we live such lives that people will want to know why we are different, and may they also seek you for their lives. Lord, all for your glory, we love you.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Remove the fog and FOCUS!

Set your mind on things that are above’ (Colossians 3:2 ESV)

How good are you at concentrating?

I was having a conversation last night with a friend from my church, and we got interrupted by something for about 15 seconds. When the interruption had gone, we both said, “What were we just talking about?” We did finally realise what the conversation was about and continued it, but it got me thinking.

As I sit and write this, I am also thinking about my family, how are my kids today, the fact that my wife and I are supposed to be going to a barbecue tonight and the weather does not look very good at present.

So even though I am writing a blog on focus, my mind wanders.

In his letter to the church at Colosae, Paul reminded the Christians there that as they had received Jesus into their hearts that they should live their lives in him (Colossians 2:6). He also told them;

set your hearts on things above, where Christ is… … set your minds on things above, not on earthly things’ (Colossians 3:1 & 2 NIV).

Prior to writing his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul had also written to the Roman Christians, and had said something similar to them, that they needed to be focusing on God and not what was around them, he said;

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

So we are not to live as people who do not know Jesus, we are to try to live and emulate him, copy his attitudes which were loving and caring; copy his motives which were pure and kind, copy his behaviour which was focused on saving us.

We are not to live with our own personal benefit in mind, the bigger house, the more expensive car, the luxury yacht etc. There is nothing wrong with owning nice things or having a large house etc., as long as it does not lure us into taking our eyes off Jesus. We should live as he did;

Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head’ (Matthew 8:20 ESV).

Jesus lived during his ministry, by faith. God would and did provide for his needs, whether it was a roof over his head for a night, or a meal such as the one he shared with Matthew (Matthew 9:10).

Jesus was like a race-horse wearing blinkers, nothing could remove his focus on doing what he had come to do; to die for you and me!

I sometimes sit here as I write, and think of what Paul wrote in his first letter to Timothy; Jesus came to the world to save me and all the sinners of this world, and I am the worst of sinners;

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst’ (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV).

With Paul’s background, we can understand why he might think that he is the worst kind of sinner. When we look at our lives, the majority of people are their own worst critic, and I am no exception, but, to God, it is black and white, sin is sin. There are no little sins and big sins.

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

So, it is not just the people that have been arrested and gone to prison, or the people serving community sentences, or the people selling drugs and not getting caught, it is not just those who are forced for many different reasons, into selling their bodies, it is all of us, the Bible says ‘ALL HAVE SINNED’ (Romans 3:23).

Not helping someone when you can, ignoring a cry for help, engaging in gossip, spreading rumours, stealing, murder, these are all sins, committing any of these is going against what God wants for us;

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

God has a plan for each and every one of us; we just need to keep our focus on him, fit ourselves with spiritual blinkers, and be like that race-horse, look at only what is in front of us, the narrow gate;

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction’ (Matthew 7:13 NIV).

Jesus wants us to walk the narrow path, but if the path is narrow, then we will need to focus on what we are doing so that we do not fall off.

We need to focus of Jesus constantly.

Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being, I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me’ (Romans 7:21-24 NIV).

We live in a broken world, where sin assails us all the time. We need to focus on Jesus, focus on the teaching, focus on his love for us, focus on his saving grace.

We cannot do any of this on our own; we need Jesus’ help (John 15:5). If we call out to him in prayer he will hear us (Job 22:27). We need to trust that he wants the best for all of us (Jeremiah 29:11) and if we turn to him he will let us know what to do (Psalm 32:8). If we live a life that is right with God he will watch over us and listen for our needs (Psalm 34:15).

But ultimately, to do all of this, we need to focus on the person that can do all of these things, and that person is Jesus.

Focus on Jesus!

Focus on the Lord

So there is good news for the captive
Good news for the shamed
There is good news for the one who walked away
There is good news for the doubting
The one religion failed
For the good Lord has come to seek and save

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

He is beauty for the blind man
Riches for the poor
He is reaching for the one the world ignores
He is pasture for the weary
Rest for those who strive
For the good lord is the way, the truth and life
The good lord is the way, the truth and life

Wo-oh-oh-oh-ah
We will praise the Lord, our rescuer

So come and be chain less
Come and be fearless
Come to the foot of Calvary
For there is redemption
For every affliction
Here at the foot of Calvary

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

Rescuer (Good News)

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

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Lord we thank you for Jesus. We thank you that he focused on what you wanted. Help us to focus on what you want for our live, whatever it is. Lord we want to live for you, and do what you want us to do, help us to listen for your voice and focus on you.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Life- have it to the full (John 10:10)

Choose Life’ (written on T-shirt worn by Wham 1984)

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley from the pop group Wham, first wore the now iconic t-shirt with the phrase ‘choose life’ for their hit single ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ (Wham – Columbia / Epic – 14 May 1984).

But why did George choose to wear a t-shirt saying choose life?

Whatever the reason for wearing the t-shirt, it is the sentiment that is important, and the sentiment of choosing life is especially important for Christians.

The Israelite nation was given the choice to choose life;

See, I set before you today life and prosperity’ (Deuteronomy 30:15 NIV).

As a Christian, we choose life, because we choose God and decide to follow Jesus in both our attitude and our life-style.

Jesus said;

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one come to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6 NIV).

What he is saying, is that we need to resolve ourselves to follow Jesus, or in other words, we need to ‘choose life’.

In the film T2 Trainspotting (2017 – Sony Pictures), the character Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) also recognised the value of choosing life, and made a speech exactly about that fact, about choosing life (https://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/trainspotting-2-modern-update-choose-life-monologue-1819855#pFkbM0Gh48DeAsm9.99).

And the way we get to the life that God wants for all of us, is by ‘choosing life’, and the way to life is the narrow path mentioned by Jesus;

I [Jesus] am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved’ (John 10:9 ESV – emphasis mine).

Not only is Jesus the way to eternal life, he is also the way to a new life, a new life in Christ;

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

Paul reminded the Roman Christians what they should do;

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23 NIV).

So basically, what Paul is saying, is that we should choose to trust in what God has said, and follow Jesus, trying to live our lives in the same way that Jesus lived his life, he is saying ‘choose life’, if you do not follow Jesus then you will not have the hope of eternal life. And the life we can choose is a gift from God.

But how do we know that deciding to follow Jesus will benefit us?

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).

More than that, God knows us, not just our names and hair colour, but really knows us;

My frame was not hidden from you… … Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days of my life ordained for me were written… before one of them came to pass’ (Psalm 139:15 & 16 NIV).

Before I [God] formed you in the womb I knew you’ (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV).

People may know many others with whom they interact with during either work or socially; some will be acquaintances, some will be friends, and a few may be really close friends.

God knows us as a cherished member of the family, not just a really close friend, but an important member of his family, as Peter reminded the scattered church;

you are a chosen people… God’s special possession’ (1 Peter 2:9 NIV).

So by deciding to trust God and follow Jesus, we are choosing to ‘not perish’; we are electing to ‘choose life’.

Choose to trust God; choose to follow the example set by Jesus throughout his life. Choose to spread wherever you can, the good news about the Gospel and what God has done for us through Jesus.

Choose life

George-Michael-Choose-Life_1024x1024

 

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But holly trust is Jesus’ name

Christ alone, Cornerstone
Weak made strong in the Savior’s love
Through the storm
He is Lord
Lord of all

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

When he shall come with trumpet sound
Oh, may I then in Him be found
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless, stand before the throne

Cornerstone

Hillsong Worship

E. Liljero / J. Myrin / R. Morgan / E. Mote / W. B. Bradbury

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Lord we thank you for the free gift of eternal life. Lord we choose to ‘choose life’ and to follow in the example of your Son Jesus Christ. Help us to spread the good news about your Son to all the various people that we interact with. Lord may your name be glorified throughout the earth, help us to show everyone that we meet, your love and light. Help us to help them to ‘choose life’.

Amen