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)

download

 

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

download

 

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

download

 

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

download

 

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

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Rescued from the storm

He’s our rescuer’ (Rescuer (Good News) – Rend Collective)

When I was a child, I used to love going to the beach for days out. I hated being on the sand, and I couldn’t swim even if my life depended upon it, but it always seemed beautiful and peaceful to me, even with all the noise around me.

Nothing has changed, I still love to visit the sea-side, the lapping of the waves, the colours and how the light hits the water; it is one of my most favourite places.

Have you ever just sat still in a place where you most desire to be, and then done absolutely nothing? We are told to be still by God; I have often bee still in a calm place, but I also have to be careful not to fall asleep.

Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10 NIV).

Most people have a preferred place they like to visit, and mine is wherever there is water; the sea-side, a river, or a water-fall, and they all captivate me, and then make me want to run to the loo.

Water is such a wonderful thing. We can splash in a bath, we can swim in a swimming pool or river etc. we can spray people with it, but it is also a very powerful thing.

We now have tools for cutting that don’t use metal blades or lasers, but they use ultra high-powered water jets. If you think pumping up a car tyre to 35 PSI is a lot, then think again; these machines use pressures in excess of 30,000 PSI (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_jet_cutter – accessed 21/06/19).

Water has both beauty and power, and the only one that can truly control it is God!

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place” ‘ (Genesis 1:9 ESV).

We know that God made the universe and everything in it, he even spoke to Job at one point about creation;

Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb… …  when I said, “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt” ’ (Job 30:8 & 11 NIV).

I [God] made the sand and a boundary for the sea’ (Jeremiah 5:22 NIV – emphasis mine).

Water can also not be very nice to experience, like getting caught out on a sunny day when you have gone out without a coat and then the rain comes incessantly, like it will never stop, and we think “Is this how Noah felt?”

Rain though, is only part of it; storm like a tsunami / tidal wave, or sometimes they are called seismic sea waves, can be devastating. The raw power of the water can be overwhelming, engulfing everything in its path, and leaving behind utter chaos; people without electric, without proper sanitation, and even without homes.

Storms can be horrible!

We also suffer storms in our lives. Storms that threaten to overwhelm us, and take our focus away from where it should be, on Jesus.

Money problems can come without notice, the company you work for suddenly goes bankrupt, and all of a sudden the storm hits.

Family issues, where you argue with another family member, it gets heated, and one of you says something they really should not, and all of a sudden the storm hits.

You have an accident, and the doctor prescribes pain killers, your body gets used to them, and so you ask for something stronger, then stronger, and then you start taking drugs that are not prescribed, and all of a sudden the storm hits.

Unfortunately, storms happen in our lives, but it is what we do and where we turn that will make a difference.

When life falls apart, where should we go?

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

It truly is.

I was not part of the church when a storm hit in my life, and yet the first place I went, was a place I had not visited for nearly 10 years, yet a place that I knew would be welcoming at that time of my life, a church; a place where I knew I could find peace, and be rescued from my storm, and ultimately, I knew that God would be there waiting for me. I know that Jesus never left me; it was I that left him, the Bible told me that;

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

God had said the same words to Moses, that he would never be alone, when he was leading the Israelite nation;

My Presence will go with you’ (Exodus 33:14 NIV).

When our storms hit, we may feel totally unprepared to deal with them, but all we have to do is call out to God, and he will rescue us.

To you LORD I call’ (Psalm 28:1 NIV).

And if we turn to God, and trust him, then he will help us;

The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way’ (Psalm 37:23 ESV).

Life is full of ups and downs, and no-one ever said it would be easy, in fact Jesus said exactly the opposite;

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily’ (Luke 9:23 NIV).

So life is not always going to be roses, rainbows and fluffy teddy bears; life is hard, (Luke 9:23 & Matthew 10:38) we are living in a world that is broken, (Genesis 3) but the hope we have is eternal, (Psalm 39:7). Jesus is mighty and will save us and sing over us in love, (Zephaniah 3:17) and he will come back (1 Thessalonians 4:16) we just do not know when, so we have to be vigilant (Matthew 24:42) and in the words of the J Bass Ministries, ‘I know that Jesus will fix it’ (Jesus Will Fix It – http://www.jbassministries.com/j_bass_songbook_lyrics/jesus_will_fix_it_lyrics_-_j_bass_songbook_volume_1 – accessed 21/06/19). All we do know, is that he has promised to return soon (Revelation 22:12).

Storms come and storms go.

We need to learn to anchor ourselves to something rock-like, so that when they do hit, our lives will be in tune with the creator of the universe and we will not be traumatised.

Truly my soul finds rest in God… … Yes my soul, find rest in God… Truly he is my rock and my salvation… I will not be shaken’ (Psalm 62:1, 5 & 6 NIV).

Whatever storm comes our way, whenever that storm hits us, however that storm affects us, our lives, and the lives of those dear to us, we should remember the Rend Collective, and what they say about God;

‘He’s our rescuer… we will praise the Lord our rescuer’ (Rescuer (Good News) – September 2018).

In my desperation

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

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 doubter
The one religion failed
For the good lord has come to seek and save

He is beauty for the blind man
Riches for the poor
He is friendship 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, the life
Yes, the good lord is the way, the truth and life (hey)

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

Rescuer (Good News)

Rend Collective

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

download

 

Father we thank you that whenever we need you, you are always ready for us. Lord we loo to you, maybe not as often as we should or could, but we look to you for strength to deal with whatever life throws at us. Lord help us to spend time with you, in your word, and talking to you in prayer, that when storm do hit our lives, we are in tune with you and are not shaken. God you are our rock, not just in times of trouble, but always. Help us to cling to you.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Dear God… …Amen!

“Dear God” Amen’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p1).

Have you ever been abroad on holiday with friends, and gone to a country where no-one in the group knows how to speak the local language? The only proper conversations that you will likely have during your stay will probably be with them, unless you meet others who speak your language.

I like to go to different places and explore the surrounding countryside, but I also like to learn some of the local language, even if it is only to say hello, please, and thank-you and good-bye.

Have you ever really tried to have a proper in-depth conversation with someone that speaks a different language?

I have; I remember once speaking to an Aunt who lived abroad, and was over in England visiting another of my relatives. I was having a conversation with her, using bits of English, French, sign-language, and even a little German. I soon became aware of the fact that she could not understand me properly, so I started to speak louder to her. My other Aunt, who was also present, then said to me;

she does not understand you, shouting at her will not help, as she will still not understand you, she speaks Spanish, she is not stupid”.

I thought that this statement was a little harsh until I started to watch other people also try to have conversations in the same way that I had.

But, whatever situation we find ourselves in, there is always someone that we can talk to, no matter where we find ourselves, and whatever language we speak. We do not need to go to their house, we do not need an internet connection, there will be no ‘face-time’, video call or text; the person that we can always talk to is God!

Wherever we are, we have absolute, direct access, ‘back-stage-pass’ if you like, to the creator of the universe. So we can talk to him anytime that we want to, we do not need an appointment, we do not need to schedule some ‘together-time’ we just need to call out to him, as David did;

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry’ (Psalm 40:1 NIV).

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

But does God really care for us, or have surplus time for us?

Of course God cares for us; he even created us to like him;

So God created man in his own image… … male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27 ESV).

The Psalmist David also asked questions about God and his people;

what is mankind that you are mindful of them… that you care for them’ (Psalm 8:4 NIV).

God created you and me, on purpose, and for a purpose! We were planned and created.

We know that whatever we have done, wherever we are, God is also there with us;

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

Jesus also told the disciples the same thing;

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20 NIV).

And even if everyone else in your family or circle of friends leaves you, you will never be truly alone;

the LORD will receive you [me]’ (Psalm 27:10 NIV – emphasis mine).

So we know that the creator of the universe, the creator of you and me is always with us, then having a conversation whenever we want, is not a problem. Is it?

So how do we really talk to God?

Do we need to get on our knees? No but it may help you feel humble about meeting God in prayer!

Do I have to close my eyes? No but it may help you concentrate on God.

What do I do then?

Well we go somewhere we are comfortable, and then we talk to God using normal language, we speak simply; we do not have to use a foreign language or archaic words, we do not have to use mantras or even speak with specific intonation;

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of’ (Idylls of the King – Tennyson).

So why do we pray, and what is prayer?

The word ‘pray’ has is derived from the Latin language, and the root of the word is, precari, which means to ask in earnest, or to beg or to entreat, (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/pray – accessed 15/06/19).

We pray because life is precarious’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p8).

Jesus taught his disciples to pray, and even to ask for their daily bread (Matthew 6:11), he also taught them that whatever the asked for would be done for them;

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer’ (Matthew 21:22 NIV).

That does not mean that we should all go to pray about what we want materialistically, we do not need Ferrari’s or luxury yachts; they may be nice, but they would also help us to lose our focus, and we should focus on God, we should not conform to the world (Romans 12:2), but be apart from it, live in such a way that we live in the world, but live as Jesus wants us to.

Prayer is a powerful tool, and George Müller knew this more than most people; on one occasion, he stood up and said grace in front of 300 hungry orphans, with absolutely no food to give them; he thanked God for the food that he was ‘going to give them’. Upon finishing saying grace, a few minutes later, a baker came in giving them bread that he had baked the previous night, and he was followed by a milkman offering them milk (How to pray – Pete Greig – p75 – alsohttps://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/church-history-for-kids/george-mueller-orphanages-built-by-prayer-11634869.html – accessed 15/06/19).

Talking to God in prayer should be like talking to a friend, chatting simply; but prayers are not always words;

Sometimes I imagine my prayers… … they’re not always audible’ (Anon – Sicangu Oyate tribal member – How to pray – Pete Greig – p20).

the Spirit helps us in our weakness… … the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings’ (Romans 8:26 ESV).

That does not mean that when we cannot bother with prayer that we should just sit there and groan. When we least fell like praying, that is when we should pray our hardest.

Cause you are strong when I’m weak, so I’m still standing, still standing on my knees’ (Standing on my knees – Sarah Kelly).

Basically, prayer is talking, about what you have done, what scares you, what angers you, what you need help with, asking for specific things such as people you know to encounter God maybe for the first time. We should also find time to thank God for the good things in our lives such as family and health, and also find time to praise him and worship him.

pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV).

We need to pray all the time, in the morning with thanks for waking up, during the day with expectation on chances to share the gospel, and in the evening with a thankful heart at the end of the day, and asking for more time to share Jesus with people tomorrow.

P.R.A.Y. – Pause, Rejoice, Ask, Yield. I’m not a big fan of acronyms… … but this particular one works’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p3).

I remember speaking to a worker on a site in Derby about prayer, and he asked what he should say. My reply was simple, and I said, talk to God, in the exact same way that you are talking to me, he is your heavenly Father and just wants you to talk to him.

Prayer should be like talking to a best friend, it should be easy and uncomplicated;

You just say, “Dear God”, chat to him for a bit, and then say Amen’ (How to pray – Pete Greig – p1).

Prayer can really be that simple.

Pray to the One

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
he 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

download

 

Father we thank you for always being with us, we thank you that we can talk to you in prayer any time that we want, we thank you that you are on-call 24-7. Lord, help us to want to talk to you more, help us to be ready to talk to you more. Lord, help us to be better people that reflect you to the world.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Authority from God our Rock!

God my rock’ (Brenton Brown – God My Rock – God My Rock #3)

When you were young and you went on holiday, if you were lucky enough to go, did you play on the beach and build large, rambling, majestic sand castles?

Then later on in the day, did you watch as the tide returned, and relentlessly came in a destroyed you creation; hours of sweating and toiling gone with just a few small waves, as it washed away your masterpiece.

I used to try to stop this, I would collect stones and try to build a dam, or I would dig a trench around it like a moat on a castle, but eventually, the result was the same, annihilation for the creation I had worked so hard at.

That is why Jesus said;

everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand’ (Matthew 7:26 NIV).

As a builder, with many years experience, I could explain, and probably bore you to death in the process, all of the ins and outs of building something correctly, with a properly dug, deep enough, sure foundation with which to start, but I will not (yay!).

If you build wisely from a firm solid foundation, or if you listen to the word of God, and then practice it, i.e. walk it out in your day to day life for all to see, then you are like;

a wise man who built his house on the rock’ (Matthew 7:24 ESV).

The very nature of rock is solidity and strength.

If we plan something properly, then what we are planning will generally have a good foundation, a good start to the venture, and a chance that it may succeed. It certainly has a better chance that if we do no absolutely no planning whatsoever, and just ‘wing-it’.

Our Christian faith is a little like that. If we hear the word of God, listen to it properly, then ignore it until we decide to go to church the following week, or whenever we attend, the our faith is a little like the house on the sand, we will have no depth to our foundational knowledge about the gospel and Jesus, who gave so much for us.

People may ask us questions about Jesus, expecting a reply that may challenge them, or help them enter into a debate about your faith and their lack. But if there is no depth to our knowledge, then we may only be able to give a shallow answer that may not really give the person asking any information.

If we attend church, whatever denomination we go to does not really matter; what matters is that we are engaging with God and other Christians, and being present, ready to listen to the word of God, and hopefully hear God speak to us through the service, i.e. through the worship, prayers or message preached.

If we attend and listen, engage with others and God, and really ask him to speak to us, then, like a good cheese, we will mature.

We do not need to be advanced in years to be mature; I have heard relatively young people be very articulate and knowledgeable about the Bible and theology, and really engage the people that they are speaking to, pulling them into what they are talking about; pulling them in because they are so passionate about their topic, Jesus.

We also read that Jesus was so;

because he taught as one who had authority’ (Matthew 7:29 NIV).

And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority’ (Mark 1:22 ESV – emphasis mine).

For with authority and power he commands’ (Luke 4:36 ESV).

No one ever spoke the way this man does’ (John 7:46 NIV).

In our country, the law of the land has authority over all situations, and, if you break the law by stealing something, or by breaking-in to somewhere, or by murdering or trying to murder someone, or cause someone bodily harm etc. then the law will deal with you.

the law has authority’ (Romans 7:1 NIV).

But where does the authority of the law come from?

there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God’ (Romans 13:1 ESV).

God does not let our life randomly proceed; he has a plan for all of our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). We may think that we get our job and subsequently the promotion with more pay and better terms, all from what we have done, but we should be careful in how we treat others. We may have had bad bosses in the past, but two wrongs do not make a right (this is life, not Algebra).

I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority, the authority the Lord gave me’ (2 Corinthians 13:10 NIV).

We need to live our life, so that when people look at us, they notice that we are generally different from the people around us. We should be different, and we are called to be different.

Do not be conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:1 ESV).

We should stand out from the crowd. We need to be the light in the dark place, just as Jesus said;

You are the light of the world’ (Matthew 5:14 NIV).

And if we are to be the light, what do we do with our light, keep it to ourselves? Only share it with our friends? No, we put it where everyone can see it;

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden… … put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light’ (Luke 11:33 NIV).

We need to be able to show others who may not know Jesus, the way to Jesus. We know that he is the way to our Father God (John 14:6), but many in the world do not, and there are even many who have never even had a chance to hear about the amazing saving grace of Jesus and the gospel.

In the film Stardust (Paramount Pictures – 2007), a star (Yvaine played by Claire Danes) falls to earth and a love story ensues, but, ultimately just before the end of the film she recovers from a broken heart and says to her beloved (Tristan played by Chalie Cox);

What do stars do? They shine’ (Yvaine – Stardust – 2007).

So what should we do, for the world that is lacking Jesus, for the world  that may not ever have heard the amazing gospel message? For the person we work with who does not know Jesus? For our neighbour? For our family members?

What we should do, is shine for Jesus!

saltandlight copy

 

There’s a little flame inside us all
Some shine bright, some shine small
The rains will come and the waters rise
But don’t you ever lose your light
In this life you will know
Love and pain, joy and sorrow
So when it hurts, when times get hard
Don’t forget whose child you are

This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine
I’m gonna let it shine, gonna let it shine

May you live each day with no regret
Make the most of every chance you get
Let your eyes get wide when you look at the stars
With the same sense of wonder as a child’s heart
With the ones you love treasure the time
And for those who are gone keep their memories alive
Hold on to your dreams don’t ever let go
There’s a fire inside you burning with hope

There will be days when you want to give up
When the clouds settle in
But after the rain comes the sun
Don’t you ever forget

One day there will be no more pain
And we will finally see Jesus’ face
So until then I’m gonna try
To brave the dark and let my little light shine

This Little Light Of Mine (Addison Road – Stories #3)

Ryan Gregg & Jennie Stiefel

 

 

download

 

Father we thank you sending Jesus to light the way for us, and to show us the way to enter into your kingdom. Help us be the light that is needed in this world that can be so dark. Lord this world needs you, we need you, help us to shine for you and guide others into your presence.

Amen