Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

2nd Chance, 3rd, 4th, 5th etc.

Hope has a name’ (There is a Song, I Know it Well – B. Cruse, E. J. & R. Williams)

The writer of Hebrews reminded the Hebrew Christians and subsequently us, what God had promised and keeps promising;

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

God even told Joshua the same thing through Moses, when Moses had spoken to the Israelite nation, prior to them crossing the Jordan;

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV).

God even re-affirmed this after the death of his servant Moses;

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Joshua 1:5 NIV).

Do we really believe this?

Are we content, happy with our lot, as it is?

We should be, for God in his infinite wisdom and love has given us everything that we need!

for I (Paul) have learned to be content whatever the circumstances’ (Philippians 4:11 NIV).

For various reasons, (pigheadedness really), I spent some time away from the church. I knew best, I didn’t need God for help I could get by quite well on my own. I thought, why do I need God, I’m not ill, I don’t need anything, and so I struck out not really knowing what I was doing, blinded by self-righteousness and self-worth, thinking I had it all sown up.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! Oops!

When I came back to God, there he was, waiting for me, the prodigal son to return, and he welcomed me back with open arms.

I had not really thought about the fact that he was with me throughout it all (how embarrassing!). But that should have been obvious for the verses above say that we will never be alone.

Later, I remember being in a Bible study group one night when that fact hit me, that God had never left, and I saw Jesus, as clear as anyone else present, sitting in a arm-chair opposite me, and he simply looked up and across at me and said;

But I never left, I was always here”.

That sentence floored me!

I looked back at my life, and realised that through the entire section of my life, when I thought that things had been going wrong and there were blockages in the way causing me grief and aggravation, that they had been sent by God to ‘give me an out’, a way back to him and his loving care.

How could I have been so blind!

I thought of the great king David, and how he had sinned, yet God still forgave him.

Save me, O God! O God you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you’ (Psalm 69:1 & 5 ESV).

As the Psalmist David wrote, so we should know that God knows us, intimately. There is nothing that we can plan, do, or think, that God will not know! (Psalm 139).

God loves us so much, that he sent Jesus to die for us (John 3:16) so no matter what we do, he will always be prepared to take us back, just like the prodigal son, (Luke 15).

You’ve never gone too far that God can’t redeem you, restore you, forgive you, and give you a second chance’ (Lysa TerKeurst).

We’re given second chances every day of our life. We don’t usually take them, but they’re there for the taking’ (Andrew Greeley).

An infamous slave trader was once known to have said;

My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour’ (John Newton – https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1701-1800/john-newton-discovered-amazing-grace-11630253.html – accessed 27/04/19).

It is true, we have all sinned and fall short of where we can be in God, (Romans 3:23). We live in a broken world. God made the world, but then we broke it. But there is hope, Jesus will come back, and when he does, it will all be fixed.

We love and serve a God of second chances (and in my case 3rd, 4th, 5th etc. thankfully).

Don’t think there are no second chances. Life always offers you a SECOND CHANCE… It’s called TOMORROW’ (Nicholas Sparks).

We should remember that we are not alone, we have family and friends, we may also have church family and church friends, but we also have an awesome heavenly Father that wants the best for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and will always be with us;

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Joshua 1:5 NIV).

We should remember that we are all human and so prone to making errors, but by having faith, we can have Fantastic Adventures In Trusting Him, and the grace offered to us is, God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense, yet it is given freely to us by God, when Jesus, Jesus Every Sinners Ultimate Sacrifice, died for us.

We need to remember that we are saved, saved by that ‘Amazing Grace’ that John Newton wrote about, the same grace that he accepted, the same grace that if freely available to us all.

Every second a seeker can start over, for his life’s mistakes are initial drafts and not the final version’ (Sri Chinmoy).

Every moment of your life is a second chance’ (Rick Price – https://www.happypublishing.com/blog/second-chances-quotes/ – accessed 27/04/19).

We have hope because God will always offer second chances to those that seek him and turn from their sin. He will forgive us and accept us back and hold nothing against us (Micah 7:19).

God is our Rock!

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When my heart is overwhelmed
I will look to You alone
God my rock, God my rock, God my rock
You will stand when others fall
You are faithful through it all
God my rock, God my rock, God my rock

In the blessing, in the pain
through it all You’ve never failed me

You are the strength of my heart
You are the strength of my heart
I can rely on You, I can rely on You
You are the joy of my life
You are my song in the night
There is no one as true
Jesus I trust in You

When I’ve struggled to believe
You have not let go of me
God my rock, God my rock, God my rock
Carried through the darkest storms
You have held me in Your arms
God my rock God my rock God my rock

God My Rock

Paul Baloche / Brenton Brown

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Father we thank you for being our rock in times of trouble. We also want to take this time to thank you for being our rock in the good times too. Lord it is so easy to forget you in the good times, and only call on you when things are rough and do not seem to go our way. Help us to fully trust you, and live completely in the hope of the resurrected Jesus.

Amen

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Bible · Christian · Easter · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Risen, Risen Indeed!

By this gospel you are saved’ (1 Corinthians 15:2 NIV – emphasis mine)

Are we not blessed people?

Should we not be on our knees constantly thanking God for sending Jesus?

We really are blessed people, those of us that love and follow Jesus;

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

Wow, what an honour, and an honour that people did not, and also we, do not deserve;

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

The ungodly, the sinners, the liars, the thieves, the murderers, those who covet, all of us;

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

And exactly when did this occur?

at just the right time’ (Romans 5:6 NIV).

The time that was ordained by God; the time that was set to rescue humanity from the depths it had sunk to. A time;

while we were still weak’ (Romans 5:6 ESV).

A time when we could do nothing for ourselves; it was that time that Jesus died for you and me!

Died in our place!

Died so that we may be free!

We did not deserve that, but Jesus did that for us in pure love.

When we see children, sometimes they will tell people they love them, and when they are asked how much, the will sometimes throw wide their arms and say “this much”. Jesus did the same for us. In love, he said this is how much I love you; then he stretched out his arms to be ailed to a cross, and died in our place.

But the best part of this is, he did not stay dead;

he was raised on the third day’ (1 Corinthians 15:4 NIV).

God raised him from the dead, and he is now alive, and has been ever since that first Easter morning.

It must be admitted straightaway that it is extremely difficult to believe that an ordinary person could die and rise again from the dead. But Jesus Christ was certainly no ordinary person’ (Your verdict on the Empty Tomb – p 52 – Val Grieve).

neither Jews nor Greeks nor Romans thought the bodily resurrection of an individual was possible’ (Encounters with Jesus – p 90 – Timothy Keller).

But, Paul confirms that Jesus was actually raised;

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead’ (1 Corinthians 15:20 ESV).

The fact that Jesus has been raised in not a story; it is a historical fact. Josephus, a Jewish writer from a distinguished family (AD 37-100 approx) stated in one of his texts;

He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life’ (The Testimonium Flavianum – www.jonathanmorrow.org/what-did-the-jewish-historian-josephus-really-say-about-jesus/ – accessed 21/04/19).

If his disciples were making the story up, why would they say that the first people to see the empty tomb were women;

The women who had come with him… … saw the tomb and how his body was laid… At early dawn, they went down to the tomb… … but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus’ (Luke 23:55 & 24:1 & 3 ESV).

A testimonial from a woman in Roman times would not have been heard, yet alone believed, so why would they put that fact in if it was not true?

But Christ really did rise from the dead, and because of that fact, the early church exploded onto the scene.

Jesus was not selective, he did not think himself better than anyone else, and so did not only reveal himself to a select few, but to crowds. His appearances seem random and diverse, firstly to Mary at the empty tomb, then Peter, then all the Apostles, then a massive crowd of 500 people, followed by his brother, James, and then to Paul (Luke 16:9, 1 Corinthians 14:5-8).

Yet even Paul, who initially had been a persecutor of the church, and even stood by as some of Jesus’ followers were killed (Acts 8:1), had a life changing experience and started following Jesus (Acts 9:1-19).

Even after the resurrection, life as a follower of Jesus was not all happy days spent preaching and telling people about the ‘risen Christ’. Christians were persecuted and killed in awful ways, but they did not recant their beliefs.

If the fact of the whole story was not a fact, surely, one of the first few martyrs would have changed their minds about being put to death, yet none did, and out of the first apostles, only John died a natural death. If Jesus had not risen, people would not have let themselves be martyred, liars make bad martyrs!

If Jesus really has risen from the dead, then everything has changed!

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life”’ (John 11:25 NIV).

Because of the resurrection, we all have hope, and hope has a name, Jesus!

Changed His status

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

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

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

Hope has a name, his name is Jesus;
my Saviours cross has set this sinner free.
Hope has a name, His name is Jesus;
Oh, Christ be praised, I have victory.
Oh, Christ be praised, I have victory.

There is a song, I know it well (Hope as a Name)

B. Cruse, E. John, R. Williams

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Father we thank you for raising your Son to sit at your right hand and show us the way. He showed us the way to live, and how to be the light for others. Help us to show others that we meet, the way to your Son Jesus. May we be the light that they need in this dark world.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

New for Old !

Put on the new self’ (Ephesians 4:24 NIV)

Isn’t science and technology great?

We have come so far in such a short time.

In 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, (thanks to a coin toss) the younger of two brothers by about four years, Orville Wright flew the first ‘heavier than air machine’ to achieve manned, controlled, sustained flight (https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/wright-brothers/online/ – accessed 06/04/19).

On 12 April 1961, the Russian government, as part of the ‘space race’, sent a cosmonaut called Yuri Gagarin into space as part of their Vostock programme (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_spaceflight – accessed 06/04/19).

In only fifty-eight years, the world had gone crazy, it went from the maiden flight of a plane called ‘The Flyer’, (https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/wright-brothers/online/fly/1903/triumph.cfm – accessed 06/04/19) that had no walls, no windows or seats; a plane that did not even look like something that could, should or even would fly; a plane where the entire flight lasted only twelve seconds, (https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/wright-brothers/online/fly/1903/triumph.cfm – accessed 06/04/19) to flying into the cold, dark, vast nothingness of space.

It could have seemed amazing to some, that the world had been conquered. In less than sixty years, people could fly all over the world, and even into space.

I remember as a boy, reading and watching programmes like ‘Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson – published 14/11/1883) and even today, they still hold an interest to me.

Long John Silver was a man who had lost a leg, and hobbled around with the use of a crutch; the bottom of his leg had disappeared, been cut off due to some accident we presume, and all that he had as a replacement, was a wooden peg, a ‘peg-leg’. A peg-leg was a simple ugly replacement for a limb that had been lost, and it probably did not really suffice.

Prosthetic limbs, in various forms, have been around for many years (https://share.upmc.com/2015/03/timeline-prosthetic-limbs-years/ – accessed 06/04/19). Over time they have improved, originally they would have been made from wood and leather, but more recently, rubber, carbon-fibre, and even now, micro-processor controlled limbs. It really does seem that we can have virtually any part of our body replace, if we have enough money and/or are prepared to wait.

So, what does this have to do with me you might be asking?

Everything!

In our life, we need Jesus.

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

We need Jesus in our lives, Augustine said;

if there is a God who created you, then the deepest chamber of your soul simply cannot be filled up by anything else’ (The Reason For God – Timothy Keller p.172).

This means, that only he can satisfy our deepest desires.

But he will, and he does.

He promises to renew us;

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

So if we turn to Christ, he will renew us.

We will not necessarily suddenly have perfect vision, or no aches or pains in our joints, (wouldn’t that be lovely?) but our heart, our spiritual centre will be reset. God will ‘reboot’ our heart, just like you do with a computer when you want everything to be as it was when you got it.

God will give us a new heart;

I will give them a new heart to know me’ (Jeremiah 24:7 NIV).

I will give them a new undivided heart’ (Ezekiel 11:19 NIV).

I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh’ (Ezekiel 36:24 ESV).

So we see above, in those three verses, that God is willing and able to renew our heart, to freshen our heart, to reboot it so that it will be in line with his teaching.

And not only that, but we know that he will teach us what we need to know (Psalm 32:8) and that he will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:8 & Hebrews 13:5) and we know that he will give to us generously if we ask in line with his will (James 1:5).

God loves us so much that Jesus came to make a way for us to come back to God (John 3:16). He wants the best for us, he has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) and he will never stop loving us or giving to us;

I will never stop doing good to them’ ( Jeremiah 32:40 NIV).

Isn’t it time you renewed you heart?

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When the music fades
All is stripped away
And I simply come
Longing just to bring
Something that’s of worth
That will bless your heart

I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, Lord, for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus

King of endless worth
No one could express
How much you deserve
Though I’m weak and poor
All I have is yours
Every single breath

I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart

I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus
I’m sorry, lord, for the thing I’ve made it
And it’s all about you,
It’s all about you, Jesus (repeat)

The Heart of Worship

Matt Redman

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Father we thank you for renewing our hearts when we come to you. You know how much we need you to change our hearts from stone to flesh. Lord help us to really show others your heart, your light and your love, that they will truly see a renewed us, that they will see you in us.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Speak well of – honour

Honour your father and mother’ (Deuteronomy 5:16 ESV)

How do we treat our parents?

Do we love our parents, and do we do what they want us to do, even when we do not want to do something, even though they will only ever want the best for us?

I can remember when I was a youngster, being really angry with my parents at times; either they had forbidden me from doing something that I wanted to do, or from going somewhere, or told me off for doing something. I also remember that one time after my father had told me not to do something, and I could not understand the reasoning behind the decision and the refusal, so in true child like thinking, knowing, or rather childishly thinking that I knew better than my father, I still went where I had been forbidden. It did not turn out well, at all.

So when we look at our lives, have we really done as the Bible told us to? Have we honoured our parents?

Do we continue to honour our parents even now, in the way that we live and the way we remember them and the way we talk about them?

But what does the word ‘honour’ (sometimes written as ‘honor’) actually mean?

The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines honour as;

a: Good name or public esteem: reputation

b: a showing of usually merited respect: recognotion

(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honor – accessed 30/03/19).

The ancient Hebrew word for honour is written –  – which is pronounced ka-vad.

Strong’s Hebrew reference for the word is H3513 and it means; 

to be great in weight, wealth or importance’ (http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/dictionary/4000.html – accessed 31/03/19).

What we should all do is;

Honour your father and mother, as the LORD your God commanded you’ (Deuteronomy 5:16 ESV).

So we are told to honour our parents, and if we take the analogy further, we should also honour our heavenly Father.

God loves us so much that he sent his only Son to die for us (John 3:16), and he has great compassion for us;

with great compassion I [God] will gather you’ (Isaiah 54:7 ESV – emphasis mine).

The best way we can honour our heavenly Father is by doing what he wants us to do, and the best way that we can do that is by having a relationship with him, in just the same way that we have a relationship with our earthly parents.

We talk to our earthly parents regularly, we ask them how they are, we visit them to chat, and we can go to them if we have problems or things to discuss. That is a proper relationship.

God wants the same.

He wants the best for us;

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

God has plans for our life, and if we are in relationship with him, we can regularly ask him for guidance, ask him to show us what it is that he wants us to do?

Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us’ (Psalm 40:5 NIV).

When we look to God for guidance, we know that he will always be there for us. The writer of Hebrews reminded the Hebrew Christians;

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

These are the exact words that God also spoke to Moses;

It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will never leave you’ (Deuteronomy 31:7 ESV).

If we honour God, he will teach us what we need (Psalm 32:8). We need to honour what God wants from us, we need to honour the fact that Jesus came and died for us.

So really, we should honour our Father, our father and our mother.

Do we?

Honour thy parents

You didn’t ask for this
Nobody ever would
Caught in the middle of this dysfunction
It’s your sad reality
It’s your messed up family tree
And all your left with all these questions

Are you gonna be like your father was and his father was?
Do you have to carry what they’ve handed down?

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

I have a dream for you
It’s better than where you’ve been
It’s bigger than your imagination
You’re gonna find real love
And you’re gonna hold your kids
You’ll change the course of generations

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

‘Cause you’re my child
You’re my chosen
You are loved
You are loved

And I will restore
All that was broken
You are loved
You are loved

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You’re bringing new life to your family tree now
Yes you are
You are

Oh, this will be your legacy
This will be your destiny
Yesterday did not define you
Oh, this will be your legacy
This will be your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You’re bringing new life to your family tree now

Family Tree

J. Houser, J. C. Houser, M. West, M. J. West

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Father we thank you everything that you do and have done for us. We thank you that we can have a relationship with you, and that you will never leave us, that you will teach us what we need to know, and that you have a plan for our lives. Help us to fully rely on you, and talk to you always so that we can fully honour you in all ways.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Sticks & stones

The words of the reckless pierce like swords’ (Proverbs 12:18 NIV)

How reckless are we in our life, and how much of that recklessness is still with us when we talk to someone?

I know that sometimes, well quite often really if I am being honest, I speak first and think later, not out of malice, but sometimes if I sit there and think, I think that people may consider that I am not always being honest, so I just say whatever comes out.

I heard it once told to me, that we should all first ‘put our brain in gear before we open our mouth’ and talk to anyone.

Good advice for many people I think!

But should we ‘sugar coat’ information for people when they ask us, or should we be brutally honest?

How painful are honest words!’ (Job 6:25 NIV).

Well we should really be honest, there is a saying that goes,

Honest as the day is long

In other words, we should always tell the truth, we should be honest all of the day. That does not mean that we do not think before speaking, but always tell the truth.

Telling the truth always can be difficult.

How many men would like to tell their wives that the dress they are wearing looks awful, or how many women would tell their husbands, boyfriends that they are getting a ‘beer belly or worse, going bald?

There are ways to tell the truth, without starting world war 3.

Truthful lips endure forever’ (Proverbs 12:19 NIV).

I am quite honest and frank when I talk to people, which is sometimes not what people want to hear; sometimes they want you to blur the lines, smudge the details, and tell them what they want to hear, but this is not always helpful.

But the tongue of the wise is health’ (Proverbs 12:18 RV1885).

Or as the NIV puts it;

The tongue of the wise brings healing’ (Proverbs 12:18 NIV).

That does not mean that we have to use flowery language, or distort the truth, or say what the person we are talking to wants to hear. What it means is, we have to really listen to whoever we are talking to, and to listen means not to interrupt them; let them finish saying what is on their mind. When they have finished talking, we should measure our response, put our brain in gear, maybe even say a quick prayer, and let the Holy Spirit give us the words that are necessary.

When we are speaking to someone, we have to pray that they will hear what we say. Some people will let you talk to them, and say that they are listening then do whatever they feel like;

but a wise man [or woman] listens to advice’ (Proverbs 12:15 ESV – emphasis mine).

When we speak, we should always do so with the help of God, we should ask for his Spirit to be the voice that we use, that the words we say will come directly from him.

When talking about false prophets, God said through Jeremiah;

They… lead my people astray with their reckless lies’ (Jeremiah 23:32 NIV).

We need to be sensible with our tongue;

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body’ (James 3:6 NIV).

What James was saying is that we use various tools at our disposal, to control certain things (James 3:3-4); we use a bit in a mouth, to control a horse and tell it where we want it to go, and we use a small rudder to steer a large ship to tell it where to go. Both of these things are very small in comparison to what it controls, and so it is with our tongue.

So the tongue is a thing that we need to learn to control.

Your tongue weighs in at approximately, 60 grams if you are woman, and 70 grams if you are a man, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tongue – accessed 23/03/19), and if you look at the average weight within the UK and Wales, using people over the age of 16, a male weighs on average 84 kg, and a female on average weighs in at 69 kg, these were measured in 2009, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_body_weight – accessed 24/03/19).

That means that our tongues weigh less than 1% of our body weight, yet they can destroy peoples’ lives, and we know that;

no human being can tame the tongue’ (James 3:8 ESV).

We need to think about what we say. People can be hurt very easily. Our tongues have no bones, but they can break your heart, and once said, our words cannot be forgotten, only forgiven in time.

Words hurt!

We all know that saying from our childhood;

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’.

That is not true, you only have to look at the news, or read accounts of how young and older people are cyber-bullied.

Words hurt!

Were created on purpose, for a purpose, and our tongue which can hurt so easily, can also praise the creator of the universe;

With our tongue we praise our Lord and Father’ (James 3:9 NIV).

We can be reckless in many ways and in many things, especially when we speak in rash ways, but let us be reckless with our tongue in praising our God.

Let our words recklessly praise our Lord. Let us ‘speak the truth from [their] our heart; whose tongue utters no slander’ (Psalm 15:3 NIV).

Lord, ‘before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely’ (Psalm 139:4 NIV).

Help us to try to tame our words Lord, and help us not to be reckless with our tongues, but with our love, let us recklessly love like Jesus.

Sticks and stones.jpeg

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

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
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

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

downloadFather we thank you for creating us. Help us to look at the way that Jesus spoke, and to guard our tongue against hurting others with words spoken without thought. Help us to ask for your help when in difficult situations where our words may hurt others. Lord you gave your son for us so that we can live in your love, help us to bless and not cures others with our tongues, help us only to only praise you and build others up with our tongues. Help us to be like Job who said, ‘my tongue will utter no lies’ (Job 27:3 NIV).

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

I can – but I need help!

I can do all this’ (Philippians 4:13 NIV – emphasis mine)

Do you believe in yourself?

Do you trust in yourself?

How do you feel about yourself?

However you really feel about yourself, there is one thing that you should always remember, God believes in you, he believes so much that he sent his son to the earth to die for you (John 3:16).

God wants the very best for us, for all of us, and he has a plan for each and every one of us ‘For I know the plans I have for you’ (Jeremiah 29:11).

Gillette came up with a brand slogan in the late 1980’s that was aimed at making men think that what they really needed was their brand of razor, the slogan said ‘The best a man can get’ (Gillette advert circa 1989 – https://www.wired.com/story/gillette-we-believe-ad-men-backlash/ – accessed 16/03/19).

The women’s make-up world also joined in the fight to get women to believe that they needed certain products too. Around 40 years ago, L’Oréal coined the phrase ‘Because you’re worth it’ (Ilon Specht 1973 – https://www.lorealparisusa.com/about-loreal-paris/because-youre-worth-it.aspx – accessed 16/0/19).

The world wants you to believe that you need certain products, that you need to buy their product, and that it will make you feel better. It wants you to think that spending money on yourself will make all the pain disappear, that you will feel better, and that the problems that you are facing will vanish.

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

Paul wrote that to the Roman Christians to remind them that the world will try to take their focus away from God, and that they should guard themselves against it.

We are fickle people sometimes, a lot of the time to be honest, and our concentration can shift from one thing to another really easily.

Many people spend their entire life chasing things, stuff! They want a good job, and then they want a better one that pays more money, a bigger house, a flash car, more, more, and more. People look at their neighbours or friend and many seem to want what they have, but God told us;

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house’ (Exodus 20:17 NIV).

People like this are never satisfied, because they live for self, and never seem to be satisfied.

The writer of Ecclesiastes said;

I have seen all things under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind’ (Ecclesiastes 1:14 NIV).

In all of us, there is a hole, and it is a hole that we cannot fill. We cannot fill it, because it is a God shaped hole, we need Jesus to fill it, we cannot. Jesus said;

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

In other words, we need Jesus in our life; he will fill the hole in us and make us whole. God has said;

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

What that means is that we always have access to God, he is there for us, always at our side, and not only that, but he will show and tell us what we need to do;

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

We are loved by God, we are important to God;

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Fathers care’ (Matthew 10:31 NIV).

God does not make mistakes. Everything that he does is done for a reason. We may not be able to discern the reason, because;

Now I know in part’ (1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV).

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’ (Isaiah 55:8 NIV).

We should remember the following;

Were created on purpose, for a purpose

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The kingdom of our God is near
Lift your eyes, lift your eyes
The hope of heaven’s drawing near
Lift your eyes, lift your eyes

You’re blessed if you’ve been torn apart
You’re blessed if you’ve a broken heart
For hope is waiting at the door
Salvation’s near

Our God is mercy, our God is mercy
If your heart is heavy, if your soul is thirsty
There is a refuge, a home for the lonely
Our God is near, Our God is near
Our God is near, Our God is near

Lift up your eyes, lift up your eyes
Lift up your eyes and sing

Our God Is Mercy (Our God is Near #1)

Brenton Brown, Eoghan Heaslip, Nick Hrebert

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Father we thank you for creating us purposefully. We thank you that you are always near us and that you show us what we need to do. We are grateful for the plans that you have for all of us. Lord we need you in our lives to help us and give us strength to get by day by day.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

What was I saying?

enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures’ (Titus 3:3 NIV)

Do you get easily distracted by some things?

As I am writing this blog, the television is on, and even though the sound is low, there is a flickering as the images change, and I keep looking up, and suddenly, Pointless is on, and 10 minutes have passed!

Why do we get so easily distracted?

We all seem to have such busy lives these days; there is so much stuff around that can to distract us from what we were originally doing, stuff that can distract us from Jesus and his purpose for us.

When I pray, I can suddenly find myself thinking about something or someone at work, or a friend at church, or a situation with the family that I need to resolve, or even the fact that the car needs a service or that the MOT is due, and then less than 5 minutes later, I am not praying, I am doing anything but!

Buddha, is said to have referred to this as the human mind being a ‘monkey mind’, or rather, the human mind has a big tendency to bounce around from one idea to the next idea, from one worry to the next worry, and we need to get our mind under a proper semblance of control (https://www.potential.com.au/new-blog/2015/self-improvement-thursday-got-a-head-full-of-drunken-monkeys-me-too – accessed 08/03/19).

Distractions are everywhere, but Paul reminded the church in Corinth, and thereby us, that they and we should live full lives, devoted to God, with as few distractions as possible;

I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 7:35 NIV).

Some people are easily drawn to the desires that the world seems to produce in such abundance, but we should remember that where our treasure is, that is also where our heart is;

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ (Matthew 6:21 NIV).

Again, Paul reminds us that we should not be drawn into the pleasures that the world has to offer, but we should set ourselves apart from it; not in an attitude of ‘we are better than you’, because we are not, we are ALL sinful, and we ALL fail God regularly (Romans 3:23), but we should be different in both our outlook and attitude to life;

present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’ and we should also, ‘not be conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:1 & 2 ESV).

John also wrote about not loving the things of this world;

Do not love the world or the things in the world’ (1 John 2:15 ESV).

It is very easy to say something like, ‘do not be conformed to this world’ (Romans 12:2 ESV) but it is sometimes very difficult to do.

We need to remain focused on Jesus, on what he taught, and the path that he wants us to take, for God has a plan for each and every one of us (Jeremiah 29:11), and in our lives, we need to not be like the seed that grew and got choked;

Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants’ (Luke 8:7 NIV).

But what does that mean for our lives, when we read that the seeds grew and got choked?

The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature’ (Luke 8:14 NIV).

We need to focus on Jesus;

looking to Jesus’ (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).

The writer of Proverbs also had some good advice for us, on how to live our life;

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you’ (Proverbs 4:25 ESV).

So in this world with its distractions, Facebook ‘pinging’ every five minutes, e-mails arriving and notifying us via a sound, text messages, Whats-App, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and many more, how do we concentrate on what is important?

We need to look to the source of everything, Jesus;

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2 ESV).

Focus on Jesus, listen for him, shut off the television (yes I have now), mute your phone, or ‘perish the thought’ turn it off! Calm yourself down in a quiet place, concentrate on what is important, on who is important. Remember the promises of God, that he will never leave us (Hebrews 13:5), that we are new creations. Remember that you are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16). There is nothing that God does not know about us, and we can hide nothing (Psalm 139). Silence the monkeys jumping around in your head, and focus on the light of the world (John 8:12).

We can try to remember something that I saw written on a Christian website;

‘God has no phone, yet I talk to him every day. God does not have a Facebook account, yet we are friends, and God does not have an Instagram account, yet I still follow him!

Make friends with the most important person you can, talk to him, and follow him.

Talk to, be friends and follow Jesus.

Down in the valley with my Saviour I would go,
Where the flowers are blooming and the sweet waters flow;
Everywhere he leads me I would follow, follow on,
Walking in his footsteps till the crown be won.

Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus,
Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on;
Follow, follow, I will follow Jesus,
Everywhere he leads me I will follow on.

Down in the valley with my Saviour I would go,
Where the storms are sweeping and the dark waters flow;
With his hand to lead , me I will never, never fear;
Dangers cannot frighten me if my Lord is near.

Down in the valley, or upon the mountain steep,
Close beside my Saviour would my soul ever keep;
He will lead me safely in the path that he has trod,
Up to where they gather on the hills of God.

Follow On

William Orcutt Cushing (1823-1902)

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Father we thank you for not giving up on us, for sending Jesus to redeem us, even though we did not deserve it. You know all things about us, how we get easily distracted from what you would have us do. Help us to try to focus more on you, on your ways, and on what you want us to do for your kingdom.

Amen