Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Value not riches!

Try not to become  a man of success but a man of value’ (Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955)

As an adult living a regular life, there are many people that we interact with; daily connections with family and close friends, weekly meetings with other friends and their families, or monthly when we might go out somewhere and meet others that we know, but our lives mesh with the lives of those around us.

Our lives can and do affect those we know, and especially the young children and the teenagers around us will be watching us, waiting for us to slip-up.

We need to be like the product ‘Ronseal’.

In 1994, Liz Whinston and David Shelton came up with the slogan, that fast made ‘Ronseal’ a household name (https://www.ronseal.com/the-ronseal-phrase/ – accessed 21/09/19).

So now you know that if you want a quick drying wood stain, you can buy the ‘Ronseal’ quick drying wood stain, because;

It does what it says on the tin’ (L. Whinston & D. Shelton 1994).

So if you look to older or more mature Christians for leadership or for help in how to act, you should be able to imitate the next generation in the church, because they should be living or trying to live like Jesus.

So really, all of us have the power, whether we want it or not, it is there, to shape the next generation of Christians.

That can put us under quite a bit of scrutiny, but we should not shy away from it, all we need to do is live a life of integrity, being honest and trustworthy at all times, and as we live and go about our lives we should remember;

The integrity of the upright guides them’ (Proverbs 11:3 NIV).

The LORD hates liars, but is please with those who keep their word’ (Proverbs 12:2 GNB).

With the lives of younger people all around us potentially being influenced by our actions, we should try to live as Jesus taught. We should not be self absorbed or materialistic, for God gives us what we need;

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

Jesus said that we should trust God for all our needs and not worry about them (Matthew 6:25-34), the grass grows, the flowers grow and are beautiful, but we are worth more than that;

If this is how God clothes the grass of the field… … will he not much more clothe you’ (Matthew 6:30 NIV).

He also said that we need to rely on God for our daily needs, just as Johann Georg Ferdinand Mϋller (1805 – 1898) who often had no food for the children in his orphanage, but prayed as God had taught;

Give us today our daily bread’ (Matthew 5:11 NIV).

God has said that he will give us what we really need to live (https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/church-history-for-kids/george-mueller-orphanages-built-by-prayer-11634869.html – accessed 21/09/19).

Life may not always be rainbows and unicorns, fluffy and nice; we also go through hard times, times of testing, and times where we will get things wrong. It is just as important that we are honest with those around us then.

Youngsters need to see that it is ok to get things wrong. They need to understand that life as a Christian is not always easy, but they also need to know that there is a God who loves them unconditionally (Psalm 103:11), who is with them every step of the way (Deuteronomy 31:6) always and will never leave them (Hebrews 5:8), a God who is willing to give anything and everything to help them see and come into his Kingdom (John 3:16), and if we love him, trust him, and follow him, then nothing can ever take us away from him (Romans 8:38 – 39NIV).

Think about the people you know, maybe not youngsters, but younger people, maybe 10 to 15 years younger than you. Who can you help grow as a Christian?

We are all mighty men and women of God, just like the names we read in the Bible, names that inspire us, names of people who trusted God when it seemed there was nothing that could be done, people who had integrity to the last, the Bible is full of them.

But I think so is this world.

Gods-work-is-progress

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

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

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

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

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

Reckless Love

Caleb Culver / Cory Asbury / Ran Jackson

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Father, I pray with thanks that you sent Your Son to us. We need help most if not every day to try to live like he did. Lord we are not strong enough without you, fill our lives, let Your Spirit overflow from us, and affect all that we meet, that they may know you and trust you for everything. Lord help our lives have a positive influence on those around us, especially the younger generation, Lord may we live like you and for Your glory.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

And I would walk 500 miles – The Proclaimers – 1988

千里之行,始於足下’ (Lao Tze – 601 – 531 BC)

The above Chinese translates as ‘A journey of a thousand Chinese miles starts beneath one’s feet’.

Whenever we travel a distance, i.e. being in a car longer than 90 minutes, we always plan the journey. Along with a good soundtrack to listen to, my wife likes to snack in the car, so she enjoys the shopping trip just prior to the journey. What sweets shall we take? Do you want biscuits, and what type? What do you want to drink? These are just some of the questions that she will ask me.

Me, maybe I am a little boring; plain biscuits and water will do me, but she likes to look around and may spend quite a time in her choosing, and each trip she will want something a little different from the previous one.

But in our lives, every journey is possible for us, but if you just set off without any sort of plan, in the immortal words of the song;

There may be trouble ahead’ (Let’s Face the Music and Dance – Irving Berlin – 1888 – 1989).

Every journey is possible, but they need planning;

The only impossible journey is the one you never begin’ (Anthony Robins – born 1960).

We do not know what is around the corner, only God knows that, but we do know that he has a plan for each and every one of us;

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

So we do not just appear on this earth by chance. We are here on purpose, and our life has a purpose, God just told us so in the verse from Jeremiah.

So why do we worry about anything; in fact, what does worrying get us, apart from heart-burn, high stress levels, maybe even grey hair. Jesus told people not to worry;

This is why I tell you not to be worried’ (Matthew 6:25 GNB).

In fact he went further than this; he said to look around at the birds and the bees, they do not work and yet are looked after by God, and are we not worth more than them? (Matthew 6:25-34). He continued to say that we could not really accomplish anything by worrying anyway;

Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?’ (Matthew 6:27 GNB).

All of our journeys are different. My journey is far removed from that of my wife; although we now share parts of our journey with each other due to our marriage, but prior to that we each had separate lives and separate journeys; but each of us was letting God lead us, and eventually he lead us towards our union in marriage;

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ (Ephesians 5:31 ESV).

But each of us had difficulties to overcome on our journey towards each other, but;

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations’ (Zig Ziglar – 1946 – 2012).

None of us know what other people journeys entail; only they and God know all the details. Other people’s journeys are completely diverse from ours, we do not know the fears they hide, or the tears they have cried; and we do not know how much they have suffered loss or the cost of their journey.

We need to look at our lives, and ask of God;

Where is my journey taking me, and am I following your path or mine?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart… …in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight’ (Proverbs 3:5 & 6 NIV).

Before Jesus came to this earth, his journey was foretold by the prophets in the Old Testament. Isaiah said that we should prepare for his coming;

prepare the way for the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God’ (Isaiah 40:3 NIV).

And later, after Jesus had been born and grown up into a man, just before he started his ministry, John the Baptist reminded people of this, whilst preaching in the desert;

For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight” ‘ (Matthew 3:3 ESV).

So Jesus’ coming was foretold, and his journey planned well in advance of his coming, God knew all the details of his life, including how it would play out in the end. Jesus’ journey was a straight road, from birth to death, a death he suffered for us, to give us a clear path, one that leads straight to God.

So let us continue on our journey, be grateful and joyous and take each day as it comes. I saw a statement on a social media site, and although I have changed the words a little, it still seems apt;

My life is a journey with God, it may be difficult at times, but I am assured by Jesus that it is worth it

Journey with God

 

Our hope will always be found
In You, in You alone
Our hearts will always be Yours
And Yours for You to hold

In the beauty in breaking
In this holy unmaking
I am learning to trust You, God

You will not fail us
You will not fail us
You’ll always be for us 

You’ll always be for us
Jesus, our fortress
For ever victorious
When everything changes
You will not fail us

Our souls will ever resound
The stories of Your goodness
There’s such joy in the journey
Knowing You are with us

In the beauty in breaking
Your love is unfailing
I am learning to trust You, God

You Will Not Fail US

B.Brown, S. Mosley, P. Barrett

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Father, I pray with thanks that you give us such good instructions in the Bible. Help us to rely on your word to teach us what you want us to do, and where you want us to go. Lord help us to hear and see the plan you have for our lives, and may it always bring you the glory.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Our Super God!

With Great power comes great responsibility’ (Uncle Ben to Peter Parker – Spiderman – 2002 – Marvel)

When I was young, I grew up watching all manner of television shows and films, but my favourite was the Adam West and Burt Ward ‘Batman’ (released in January 1966). I also watched ‘The Lone Ranger’ (1949 – 1957), ‘Spiderman’ (animated – various) and some unconventional ones such as ‘Casey Jones’ (1957 – 1958) and others long forgotten.

The comedy in the script and the comic fighting scenes were great to the younger me, and the fact that Batman and Robin, the ‘good guys’, always came out on top eventually; and the ‘baddies’ like the ‘Penguin’, ‘Joker’ and the ‘Riddler’ always ‘got what they deserved’ in the end.

As I have got older, I still enjoy super hero films; they have a way of taking you out of any situation and putting you into a scenario where the good guys always come out on top.

There is another super hero that can take you out of any bad situation, whatever it is, and all you have to do is ask. He wears no red cape, nor does he don a black mask, he does not fly like superman, nor does he do any of the things that other super heroes do, but he does do, so much more, and his task is saving the world just like the others.

This super heroes’ name, is Jesus.

We can have the assurance that God is with us always, just as he told Joshua that he would be with him, he said;

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged’ because being a Christian can sometimes be very hard, especially in a secular society, when people poke fun at you, make jokes at your expense, or ridicule you; ‘the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

We can take comfort that the maker of the universe, our super hero God is with us wherever we go;

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

Those are some mighty words to remember, ‘Never will I leave you(Hebrews 13:5 NIV – emphasis mine).

Come to me, ALL WHO ARE BURDENED, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 1:28 NIV).

Jesus wants to take all of our burdens away from us; there is no reason that we need to keep them and carry them with us all the time. Jesus died so that we can give our burdens to him, so that we can live a life free from the sorrows of sin that we had, we can have a new life, showered in his grace, love and mercy.

So on the days when you think that the world is against you, the days that everything seems to go wrong, the day when everyone seems to hate you, the day that your friends abandon you when life is at its worst, when you can find no reason to carry on, when you think that life holds nothing for you, that there is no future, when you feel at your lowest, that you do not know why or how to continue, when your darkest thoughts are dragging you down into a deep dark pit, that you cannot seem to find any escape from, it is at that point, when life is at its hardest, that we need someone to come alongside us and tell us what we should already know, “bro, Jesus loves you man!

We need to constantly remember that God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to this world for our sake (John 3:16). God’s love knows no boundaries, WOW, amazing;

But you, LORD, are a compassionate and gracious God… … abounding in love and faithfulness’ (Psalm 86:15 NIV).

I am constantly blown away with how much I am love.

I AM A CHILD OF GOD. Sometimes I just want to shout it out for all to hear; God is my heavenly Father who loves me without limits, a love so pure and gentle, yet powerful in a way we just cannot understand.

God loves us without limits. There is so much love coming out of God, it is like a river. A river flows and never stops, water that is not moving is either frozen, or trapped and eventually stagnates; but God’s love is neither, it is constantly in motion, a motion that comes from heaven, down to us; a love that will fill us to overflowing, a love that we can then share with others we meet, and unconditional love, an powerful love, a love without end.

Jesus spoke often of love;

 ‘A new command I give you; Love one another’ (John 13:34 NIV).

But I tell you, love your enemies; (Matthew 5:44 NIV).

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Love each other as I have loved you’ (John 15:9 & 12 NIV).

So, Jesus, our super hero that came and died in our place, the one who paid the debt that we owed, because we could not, tells us that he loves us the way that God love him, unconditionally, and that we are to love others the same way.

And how does God show that unconditional love?

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

So while we were enemies of God, and doing wrong, sinning against God, he decided that the best thing to do was to send Jesus to this world, knowing that the world would kill him. But God had a plan, and it was timed to perfection;

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

So what did we do for God to send Jesus? Well, nothing, other than do what God did not want us to do, we did our own thing!

God has our best interest in mind for us, he has a plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11) and if we call to him for help he will teach us (Psalm 32:8) and we know he will never ever leave us alone (Hebrews 13:5).

Our God is a super hero.

The LORD your God is with you the Mighty Warrior (Super Hero) who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing’ (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV – addition mine).

God loves us, and delights in us, give him all your unwanted burdens and dross from your life, start anew again, it does not matter how many time you have started again, do it again now, re-commit yourself to our super hero loving God.

                                      

Super Jesus

He’s the one who makes the sun shine
He’s the one who that puts the moon in the sky
He’s the one who hung the stars
One by one

He’s the one who makes the birds sing
He’s the one who makes your dreams so high
He’s the one who makes me smile
Day by day

Jesus you’re my superhero
You’re my star, my best friend
Jesus you’re my superhero
You’re my star, my best friend

Better than Spiderman
Better than Superman
Better than Batman
Better than anyone

Better than Yu Gi Yo
Better than Barbie
Better than Action Man
Better than anyone

Superhero

Hillsong Kids

 

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Father, I pray with thanks that you are such a Super Hero God, that you sent your Son to die for us, even when we did not deserve it. Father we want to give you all the dross from our life, and commit to you again, take all our sin and grant us you grace, love and mercy that we do not deserve. Lord we want to love you the way that you love us. Thank you.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

I knew God could make me NEW!

In the beginning’ (Genesis 1:1 NIV)

In the beginning there was nothing in the universe until God decided that there should be. He spoke words of creativity, and then;

God created the heavens and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1 ESV).

Whilst God was creating the universe, he created all manner of things, the heavens and the earth, the water of the rivers and sea that divide the different parts of the earth; all the animal, birds, fish and plants, and then he created a living masterpiece;

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image” ‘ (Genesis 1:26 NIV).

We were created by God deliberately, created on purpose, and we were created for a purpose, for something specific. God loves humankind so much;

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

And because God loves us, he always wants the best for us, and that is why he has said;

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

The plans that God has for us will be for our good and not to our detriment. Why would God create something so wonderful and beautiful for no real purpose, and then just to allow us to do whatever we want, whenever we want without thought to anything else.

plans I have for you… plans for welfare… to give you a future and a hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

And if we look for God, then we know that we will find him;

You will seek me and find me’ (Jeremiah 29:13 ESV).

And if we turn to him fully, which means that we should go to him in both the good times and the bad times, then we will grow to trust him, that he will know what is best for us, and if we do that, then God has promised;

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

So when we trust God for everything in our lives, then we know that he will watch over us and look after us, for he has promised us;

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

Not only does he have a good plan for people that acknowledge God as Lord and Saviour, but he also has a good plan for all the people who do not believe that there is a God.

He teaches us through the reading and studying of his word, and helps us become better people, because we know;

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

When we turn to God, he acknowledges us and makes us a new creation, if we repent of our sins, say that we know that we have done things wrong, and hurt God by doing this; then if we ask him to forgive us, whatever wrongs (sin) we have committed in the past, they will be forgiven and forgotten by God because we know that he loves us, (John 3:16) and we know;

You [God] do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy… you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea’ (Micah 7:18 & 19 NIV).

God forgives us for what we have done, but only if we acknowledge that we have done wrong and asked for forgiveness. That does not mean that we can keep doing the wrongs that we did before we turned to God for help, we have become a new creation, (2 Corinthians 5:17) this that we have to change, this means that we have changed, we are new, God has forgiven us, and cleansed us from all or wrong doing;

Cleanse me… and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow’ (Psalm 51:7 NIV).

So God will forgive us if we turn to him for help and trust with our life, for showing us what we should do, and also trust in his guidance, then we will have everything that we need;

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

IMG_0130

You were the Word at the beginning
One With God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus, You brought heaven down
My sin was great, Your love was greater
What could separate us now

What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

You have no rival, You have no equal
Now and forever, Our God reigns
Yours is the Kingdom, Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name, above all names

What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King

What A Beautiful Name

Hillsong Worship

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Lord thank you for giving us everything that we have, thank you for creating this beautiful world that we live in. Lord we thank you for everything that we have, but most of all we want to thank you for Jesus, for sending him to us, that we may be right with you and have a relationship with you. Help us to fully trust and love you Lord.

Amen

 

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

 

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!

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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