Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Want / Need, or both

Follow you heart, and listen when it speaks to you’ (Susanna Tamaro)

Do you enjoy going shopping? Do you get excited when you realise that you have got something to find. Do you enjoy the search when you realise that you need something for the house, or when you want to get some more clothes or jewellery?

Do you like to go from shop to shop whatever the weather, looking for just the right item that you think you need?

We are all searching for something to fill our lives. Some people do not know what they want, and so they fill their lives with ‘things, but unknowingly, we are all searching for God.

We all have a gap within us, a hole that only when filled with God, will it be filled properly.

I spent many years without God, and I thought that my life was going really well. I had my work during the day, and my hobbies that took most of the free-time that I had during the week and weekends. I did not really think that I needed God in my life, or in truth, I did not think about him at all, and so went my own way, how could or would God make it better?

Life felt good, and I did what I wanted when I wanted. What was wrong with that? What else did I need?

I did not think about the things Jesus had said when teaching the people around him, when he said;

where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’ (Matthew 6:21 & Luke 12:34 NIV).

When I was going my own way, I never thought much about what I spent my time on, or much about what the future held. But hind-sight is a wonderful thing, and when looking back, I can see all the times that God touched my life, but all I did was ignore it, and shut the door, over and over again.

I did not realise how much I needed him then, as I thought that I had all I needed, didn’t I?

But again, Jesus had said;

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

Eventually, I returned to God, received my forgiveness, and eventually, even forgave myself, and then started to grow in faith.

We all need Jesus in our lives, for he will guide us and teach us;

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

We need to show Jesus through our lives in the way that we live, for we are the;

salt of the earth… … in the same way, let your light shine before others’ (Matthew 5:13 & 16 ESV).

The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we should;

be content with what you have’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).

I had not been content with my life, and had tried one thing after another with the prospect of trying to feel happy with everything, but as Paul reminded the Roman Christians that they should be different from the people who do not follow the ways of Jesus, he also says it to us too, when he said;

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind’ (Romans 12:2 ESV).

We should live in this world, but live as true followers of Jesus, shining his light for all to see, showing his love to all we meet. Life as a Christian may not be an easy life for us to live, but then Jesus never said it would be, what he actually said was;

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

All the time that I was walking away from God, he had been, unknowingly following me, and watching over me. There is a famous poem about walking with God, called ‘Footprints in the Sand’, and it says;

But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I need you most you would leave me.” The Lord replied: “My precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”’ (Footprints in the sand – Mary Stevenson – http://www.sapphyr.net/largegems/footprints.htm – accessed 16/02/19).

We need to follow Jesus, and let him fill the hole that only he can fill to make our life complete. We need Jesus, and should always remember that he is always with us;

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

I am with you when things are going good, when the way is bright and clear, I am with you my child when life looks bleak, and your vision is blurred with tears. I am with you when Happiness fills your heart, when the sun is shining bright, I am by your side when you feel alone, and you’re surrounded by darkest night. I am with you when you have many friends, when others for you care, I am always with you when you’re alone, your loneliness to share. I am with you when you’re radiant with health, when you don’t lack at thing, I am next to you when you’re in pain, I am there to comfort bring. My child, I will always be there for you, remember that I care, Remember that you’re not alone, I am there to your sorrows share! I will always be with you til the end of the world, I’ll be there each step of the way, I am with you every moment, each hour, and each and every day.’ (https://www.onlythebible.com/Poems/I-Am-With-You.html – accessed 16/02/19).

Life may not be easy, but we need to remember;

You will seek me and find me when you seek with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV – emphasis mine).

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Hope be my anthem
Lord when the world has fallen quiet
You stand beside me
Give me a song in the night

And Jesus I need You
Every moment I need You
Hear now this grace bought heart sing out
Your praise forever

Beauty for ashes
You find the weak and contrite heart
Shoulder its burdens
And carry it into the light

Jesus I need You
Every moment I need You
Hear now this grace bought heart sing out
Your praise forever

And Jesus I need You
Every moment I need You
Hear now this grace bought heart sing out
Your praise forever

Remember love
Remember mercy
Christ before me
Christ behind me

Your loving kindness
Has never failed me
Christ before me
Christ behind me

Jesus I Need You
B. Ligerwood, J. Leith Rogers, R. Morgan, S. Ross Ligerwood

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Father we thank you that when we come to you with a truly repentant heart, we know that you will not only forgive us for our past sins, but that you will not remember them. Help us to be like that with people who hurt us, help us to forgive just as you have forgiven us.

Amen

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Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

The heart of the matter is… … Jesus!

Follow you heart, and listen when it speaks to you’ (Susanna Tamaro)

There are no rules. Just follow your heart’ (Robin Williams).

Is that true that we should just follow our heart, should we live just for our benefit and for no-one else, or is that wrong? Are there really no rules in this life that we need to think about or follow?

Follow your heart; let it lead you to where it knows you want to go, and will never lead you astray’ (Anon).

Should we really follow our heart’s desire, and would we really make no mistakes?

Jesus taught us;

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

If you have, or do, are you happy with the choices that you have made, do they make you feel happy, fulfilled, joyous and content? Do you feel that you are complete, that you have achieved everything that you can; that there is nothing else that you feel is ‘out there’ for you?

There is always something else for our lives; God has told us that;

For I know the plans I have for you’ (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV – emphasis mine).

I do believe that we can follow our heart and be completely content, happy with our choices, and have a joyous fulfilled life.

The way we do that, is by looking to God and following Jesus. We need Jesus in our life to be truly fruitful;

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit’ (John 15:5 ESV).

In other words, we really and truly need Jesus in our lives.

We live in a broken world since the fall of man. Sin has entered into the world, and it is broken, we can’t fix it by ourselves, no matter how hard we try.

I heard a Pastor explain what has happened to the world since God created it, and it says;

 

God made it, we broke it, Jesus is coming to fix it’.

 

We live in a broken world, but rejoice, because Jesus is coming to fix it, that is why God sent him. He sent him because he wants all of us to be saved; why would he do that you may ask, but the answer to that question is simple, he did it, because he loves us so much;

For God so loved the world’ (John 3:16 NIV – emphasis mine).

In the various translations the words generally have a slightly different meaning. Strong’s dictionary numbers the words in the Bible, and this words number is G0025, and the Greek word used here, is agapáō (γαπάω) which is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible (https://www.thoughtco.com/types-of-love-in-the-bible-700177 accessed 09/02/19), and it means;

to love (in a social or moral sense) – of persons; to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly’ (https://www.messie2vie.fr/bible/strongs/strong-greek-G0025-agapao.htmlaccessed 09/02/19).

And that great love is expressed in the continuing words of that verse;

that whoever believes in him shall not perish’ (John 3:16 NIV).

The ‘whoever’ mentioned there in that verse is you; your family, your neighbour, your friend, your co-worker etc. even me!

But the one thing that we need to remember is that we need Jesus;

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

We all have a God shaped hole inside, deep down. Many people do not recognise this, and try to fill their lives with world pursuits, but remember what Paul to the Roman Christians;

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

Be part of the world, but do not be of the world. Sets your sights on God, and all he is doing for you. He sent Jesus for you, he will teach you;

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

Jesus lived in this world, but he lived as his Father wanted him to. We are part of this world, but we need to live as God wants us to, by following Jesus.

Don’t live a life that is worldly, live it Godly, and focus on Jesus, and live as he did!

To be like Jesus! This hope possesses me, in every thought and deed, this is my aim, my creed; to be like Jesus! This hope possesses me, His spirit helping me, like him I’ll be’ (John Gowans [1934-2012]).

Focus on the Lord

 

For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son
That whoever would believe in Him
Would not perish but be saved, oh how surprising is His grace,
The invitation is for everyone

For everyone, for everyone

This is the good news, it’s a hope that is true
We sing ’cause we’ve found peace on earth

Jesus did not come to condemn but that we might live again
His Holy mission was to rescue us
For long before we cried for help He took our sins upon Himself
He took our shame and gave us righteousness

His righteousness, his righteousness

This is the good news, it’s a hope that is true
We sing ’cause we’ve found peace on earth
And death cannot shake us, our sins have been taken
Alive, we’re alive and we’ll sing Your worth

Take these words and make them louder….

Good news (Our God is Near #9)

Brenton Brown

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Father we thank you for the love you showed to each and every one of us, when you sent your Son to die for our sins. Help us each and every day to live our lives, focusing on the way that he lived, and trying to imitate it in our lives. May people see that we are different and ask to know why, and may we have the courage to speak of your Son and all he did for us, and can do for them.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Judge & Jury – or – Curious & Loving

Neither do I (Jesus) condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more

(John 8:11 ESV – emphasis mine)

When we look at other people around us, what do we see?

Do we see the person, either man or woman, who is unique, saved by grace, fully loved by God; who is on a journey, who is full of potential, and is waiting for God to show them the pathway they should take; they are eager to serve and please him who rescued them, waiting fervently, patiently, ready for the opportunity to show others what has happened in their life, and how theirs could be different?

Do we see that?

Or do we see, the drug addict, coming down off their last fix, vomiting everywhere, sweaty, stumbling around, rambling and incoherent? Do we see a woman at her lowest ebb, wandering the streets day and night, trying to score whatever helps her through the day? Do we see the dire need of the desperate person who has just stolen some food from a shop, stolen something with which they can feed their child, in order that they may not be hungry?

Do we see that?

Do we think that at times, we maybe walk around with blinkers on, only seeing what we want to see, and missing the bigger picture?

Are we sometimes too quick to judge?

I know I have been guilty of that, and in far better circumstances. I have judged without a second thought, on what I see, what I perceive that person to be like; and generally, I have been very wide of the mark. The person I have wrongly judged, has turned out to be a really good and pleasant person; willing to help others without thought for themselves, willing to help even me at the slightest request. If only they had known, what I thought about them; how different they may have acted, and justly too.

Why do many of us feel the need to judge others?

To judge a man by his weakest link or deed is like judging the power of the ocean by one wave’ (Elvis Presley).

Are we too, not just as guilty in our own sin?

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

No-one alive is perfect. The only perfect man ever to have lived, live a long time ago and yet we crucified him;

made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation’ (Hebrews 5:9 ESV).

Jesus actually told us;

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged.’ (Matthew 7:1 NIV).

When we turn to Christ, we leave the old part of our lives in the past; the world seems to struggle with this part, but the old part of our lives is no longer relevant to us, we do not want it, God has forgiven us for it (Hebrews 8:12), we have left them and our old life behind us, we no longer live there, we live for God, in the light of his word, in the warmth of his love, and in eternal hope, we live in the present;

if anyone is in Christ, he [or she] is a new creation. The old has passed away’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV – emphasis mine).

We need to remember that we have all come to this point in our lives, by different means, some may have found life easy, others may find it hard, some will find temptation an easier thing to walk away from, others may go hand-in-hand with temptation for a while, until they see the light. Whatever pathway brought us to where we are at present, we can always remember that God loves us, and loves us so much, that he sent Jesus to die for us (John 3:16).

Everyone has untold stories of pain and sadness that make them love, and live a little differently than you do. Stop judging, instead try to understand.’ (Anonymous)

We should not judge people about their life, and how far they have yet to go, we should help them to recognise and celebrate the journey so far, and how far they have come, and also, if we are too busy being judgemental, we may forget to close our closet, and the skeletons may start to fall out.

When you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes; when you leave, you judge him by his heart’ (Russian Proverb).

And most of all, we should remember the following;

If you judge people, you have no time to love them’ (Mother Teresa)

I was nowhere, You came to my rescue
From the grave I’ve been raised
When I needed a saviour to save me
Jesus, You made a way
I was blind, but these eyes have been opened
Now I walk in the light
Ev’ry step on this road I will follow
Jesus, You made a way

You are the way 
You are the way
Lost and dead, but Your love came to find me
Jesus You are the way
Jesus, the only way
Jesus, the only way

All my days are secure in Your promise Never standing alone
You’re the truth, You’re the life, You’re my future
Jesus, You made a way
I’m alive in that love that You give me
Free to dance once again
You will lead me from glory to glory Jesus, You made a way

You are the way
You are the way
You’re the light shining bright in the darkness
Jesus You are the way

The Way (Pocketful of Faith #10)

B. Cantelon, N. Herbert & T. Hughes

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Father we thank you for the salvation offered to us by the death and resurrection of your Son. Help us each and every day to be worthy of the sacrifice he made. Help us to not live in the past, and to love and not judge others. Lord it is so easy to be moved by the world, and help us to remember to live in but not be of this world.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Mourn in the morning for past mornings

Blessed are those who mourn’ (Matthew 5:4 NIV)

In Jesus’ inaugural address; as he saw the crowds that were around him, he went up a mountainside to talk to his disciples (Matthew 5:1-2), and we hear him say that everyone in their lives, should feel ‘blessed’ (Matthew 5:3).

Jesus did not say the word only once or twice, but a total of nine times; and each time he said the word, he did so with yet another different reason that we should feel blessed in our lives.

But in the Biblical context, what exactly does it mean to be blessed, and what does it mean to be mourning, and what or who should we mourn for?

Most people have lost some-one in their life, whether a father / mother, grandfather / grandmother, brother, sister or friend; and maybe even a few people, and when you do, it can feel like a part of you has been ripped out of your body. You feel at a loss, that there is a part of you that will never be complete again.

We live in a broken world, and no matter how we feel, and where our life has led us, and what or who has gone from our lives, God can heal the broken-ness, he can heal us; God can and will complete us if we let him.

If we let God into our life, he will bless us in ways that we can never fully know.

Blessed, is a literal translation from the Greek ‘makarios’ ( μακάριος), and it means to be happy. Strong’s number for the word is ‘G3107’ and the definition for the word says;

a prolonged form of the poetical μακάρ makar (meaning the same); supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off; – blessed happy (x-ier).

Strong’s Hebrew gives the word the number H1288, and translates as – ‘bless – מבורך’.

The Hebrew word translates as ‘to bend the knee, as in ‘to respect’ or ‘to worship / pay homage to’ some-one or some-thing (http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/dictionary/1500.html#1288 – accessed 25/01/19).

The Greek word for mourn that is used, is ‘πενθέω – penthéō’ (Strong’s G3996), and the word means;

Deep grief or intense sorrow, openly manifested by weeping audibly’ (https://www.studylight.org/language-studies/greek-thoughts.html?article=12 – accessed 25/01/19).

But what are we mourning for?

Are we mourning for some-one, relative or friend, who is not with us in our life for the reason of dying?

Are we mourning for our past; mourning for our past sins, any number of sins that we committed before we came to God?

Are we mourning for the sins of the world that have, and are being committed?

How deeply are we mourning or lamenting, for past sins? Are we just apologetic for the fact that the sins have been committed, or do we have a deep sense of regret, and lament for all the wrong in the world, ours included, do we weep for the world and the wrong that seems to be ever present?

Do we ask God to break our hearts with the things that break his?

Whatever we are mourning for, we need to give the situation to God; we need to bring all of our problems to him, Jesus said;

Come to me, all you who are heavy burdened and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28 NIV) and carrying around grief can be wearisome to us, and wear us down, leaving us vulnerable. ‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me’ (Matthew 11:29 NIV).

So if we combine the translations, we could read it as follows;

Happy are those who bend their knee in respect or in worship to the Lord our God, and deeply mourn and lament for the sins that they, and the rest of the world have committed against God, for ‘God will comfort them’ (Matthew 5:4 GNB).

So are we blessed?

Do we feel blessed?

‘Makarios’, happy, blessed! ‘Bless – מבורך’

BLESSED!

img_0142

 

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful 
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out, I’ll 
Turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your Name

Beth Redman / Matt Redman

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Father we thank you for the fact that when we come to you, in all of our states of sin and regret, that you offer us comfort when we trust in you. We mourn for our past sins when we were far from you, and thank you for sending Jesus to die for us, and give us a hope for eternal life.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Poor in Spirit – or POOR?

Blessed are the poor in spirit’ (Matthew 5:3 NIV)

In what appears to be Jesus’ inaugural address to the disciples (Matthew 5:1-2), we hear him say that in our lives, we should feel ‘blessed’ (Matthew 5:3).

Jesus does not only say the word once or twice, but nine times in all, and each time he says the word, he does so with yet another different reason for us to feel blessed about our lives.

But in the Biblical context, what exactly does it mean to be blessed, and what does it mean to be poor in spirit, and should we strive to be poor in spirit?

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association explains that to be poor in spirit does not necessarily mean to be ‘poor’, or to live a meagre life, but it means that we must, ‘be humble in our spirits. If you put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” you will understand what He meant’ (https://billygraham.org.uk/answer/what-does-it-mean-to-be-poor-in-spirit-as-jesus-said-we-ought-to-be/ – accessed 18/01/19).

What it means, is that we should not be self-seeking, but be, and live, a humble life.

Blessed, is a literal translation from the Greek ‘makarios’ ( μακάριος), and it means to be happy. Strong’s number for the word is ‘g3107’ and the definition for the word says;

a prolonged form of the poetical μακάρ makar (meaning the same); supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off; – blessed happy (x-ier).

So another translation of the verse could be;

Oh the happiness of those who have a humble spirit, the kingdom of heaven will belong to them‘.

Being ‘poor in spirit’ could also refer to being humble (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), but it could also refer to the understanding that we as a broken people, desperately need God in our lives, that without him, we cannot live the way that God wants us to, without any help we are unable to perform what scripture says we should be doing; that without Jesus, we simply cannot do anything (John 15:5), that we really need his strength in us, and we know;

He strengthens those who are weak’ (Isaiah 40:29 GNB), which is good news for me, as I regularly fail in many various ways, and some that are really spectacular failures.

They who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength’ (Isaiah 40:31 ESV).

So if we wait for God to show us, and rely on him, then our strength will be restored so that we can try again, to live as he wants us to, so we can really be blessed, life is all about second chances.

In 1964, Ken Dodd released a song, called Happiness.

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess’ (Bill Anderson – Columbia records).

Happiness is a real gift, and it is also important to life, it makes it all worthwhile. We need to be and be able to feel, happy, and Jesus came to give us that. By dying on the cross in our place!

We can now be happy that Jesus came to give us a second chance for eternal redemption, and if necessary, a second-second chance etc.

We can be happy that we now have an eternal hope that will end with us living with Jesus, for he has already gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).

We can be happy that we did not deserve any of this, yet he still freely gives it, for, ‘Christ died for the ungodly’ (Romans 5:6 NIV).

Jesus died for the people that we used to be!

But that is the important thing to remember, he died for ‘the person we used-to-be’. We are now different, we are now in relationship with Jesus, and we are now new;

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

So are we blessed?

Do we feel blessed?

‘Makarios’, happy, blessed!

Could this also be a translation of the verse?

How happy are those people who understand their dire need for the One-True-God, and that the need for God to be in their life, and those who know that they need the love and guidance that only he can give them, and the strength to ‘carry on‘, that comes only from him, ‘for theirs is the kingdom of God’ (Matthew 5:3 ESV).

HOW BLESSED ARE YOU?

HOW BLESSED YOU ARE!

 

poor-in-spirit

 

There is no limit to Your power
There is no stopping what You plan
You give us faith to move the mountains
And hope to dream again
We see the fires of revival
The darkness giving way to light
The glory of Your grace advancing
Let it burn up the night
Let it burn up the night

Let the walls come down in Jesus’ name
Let the lost be found in Jesus’ name
Let the church arise
to shine Your light to the world
Shine Your light

Your house forever undivided
All Your sons and daughters one
At the cross we are united
Our hope is in the blood
Our hope is in Your blood

Salvation’s tide is rising
As all Your people seek Your face
Your life a river flowing
To wash our sin and shame away

Salvation’s Tide

M. Maher, J. Ingram, B. Younker, K. Stanfil

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Father we thank you for second chances, and for second-second chances. We know that we do not deserve what you so freely offer to us, but we know that we really, really need it in our lives. Our lives were empty before you came in and changed us, help us to really live out our blessed life and shine for you.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

I YAM WHAT I YAM – Popeye

by grace you have been saved, through faith’ (Ephesians 2:8 NIV)

Many people I know can truthfully say, “Jesus truly is my friend”, and he can also be yours!

Some people will also say that they  have not always been his friend, there are times that they have ignored him, and even walked the opposite way from him, but most of them return, because they, and I, need him. We want his peace, his love, and we all need his mercy and grace, constantly, because we are sinners, but;

We know that we are loved by God! (John 3:16), and

We try to live like Jesus!

We try to keep his commands!

And because of this, we are saved!

There is one thing I remember, that the apostle Paul wrote in one of his letters, and I do not remember it to say of myself, “look, what a bad person I am or was”, but to remind myself that no matter how bad things go in my life, whether I stray from the path that God has for me, and then return to God for whatever reason, or if I do not love everyone always, as Jesus taught us to. , but I do remember that Jesus came ‘for the ungodly and sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:8 & 9 ESV – emphasis mine).

The world will judge us, and it will judge us in shades, theft is bad, aggravated assault is really bad, and murder is really extremely bad. Murder may be a black sin, and anything else may have shades of grey. But God is not like this, “a little white lie to protect” is still a lie and a sin, and theft, assault, and murder are also sins. Paul told the Roman Christians;

There is no one who is righteous… All have turned away from God; they have all done wrong’ (Romans 3:10 & 12 GNB).

The important thing is what we do with the knowledge that we have all sinned and done what is wrong in the eyes of God. What we need to do. Again, Paul knew how hard it was and is;

I don’t do what I would like to do, but instead I do what I hate’ (Romans 7:15 GNB).

But he also understood why Jesus had come;

we know that the law (of God) is good… … not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:8 & 9 ESV – emphasis mine).

I am definitely not, nor ever will be perfect while I live on earth. We were all born into a broken world, broken since the fall, but I know, and we can all know, that Jesus died for us!

That is so humbling to remember, and whenever I think I am getting too big for my boots, or thinking of myself “look at me”, I remember that our Lord Jesus Christ lay on a cross made of rough wood, for me; he spread his arms wide in love for me, and let Romans nail him to it, for my sin!

Furthermore I remember that Paul prompted Timothy to bring to mind how Paul recalled his life and journey to where he was;

formerly I was a blasphemer (sinner)… …  But I received mercy… … and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me… This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost’ (1 Timothy 1:13, 14 & 15 ESV – emphasis mine).

In 1933, the first television cartoon series with the popular character ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’ (created by E.C. Segar) started, and the first cartoon was titled ’I yam what I yam’ (http://popeye.com/timeline/ – accessed 11/01/19). Popeye used to regularly say, ‘I yam what I yam, and that’s all I yam’ (https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Popeye – accessed 12/01/19).

The saying was obviously not his own, not matter how often he said it, though we can all look at it and endorse the thought behind his sentiment. It is obvious that we are what and who we are; we are the sum of all our life’s experiences, the good, the bad and the indifferent, but how are we ‘what we are’?

In his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul re-iterated this message to them;

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

And he continued;

But by the grace of God I am what I am’ (1 Corinthians 15:10 NIV).

We are here by the grace of God. By his grace I live, by his grace I breathe, and by his grace I am saved. Saved by his Son, who;

at just the right time… … died for the ungodly’ (Romans 5:6 NIV).

So no matter what life throws at us, no matter where God asks us to go, no matter what, we are saved by his grace.

You see;

For this is how God loves [loved] the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him’ (John 3:16 – 17 NLT).

So not matter the issue is, we need to think about how we deal with the problems of life. Sometimes we need to stop and think;

All it takes is a little grace (pause) a little of God’s grace, and all our problems seem to fade away. (pause) Now should we demand an explanation from our Lord? Question his methods, or should we merely enjoy the benefits?’ (Walter Goodfellow’s keynote speech – Keeping Mum – 2005 – N Johnson & R Russo).

I think that we should enjoy the benefit of knowing God, and knowing that we are saved by his never-ending grace.

Lord thank you for bringing us grace’ (Keeping Mum – 2005 – N Johnson & R Russo).

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I was nowhere, You came to my rescue
From the grave I’ve been raised
When I needed a saviour to save me
Jesus, You made a way
I was blind, but these eyes have been opened
Now I walk in the light
Ev’ry step on this road I will follow
Jesus, You made a way

You are the way 
You are the way
Lost and dead, but Your love came to find me
Jesus You are the way
Jesus, the only way
Jesus, the only way

All my days are secure in Your promise Never standing alone
You’re the truth, You’re the life, You’re my future
Jesus, You made a way
I’m alive in that love that You give me
Free to dance once again
You will lead me from glory to glory Jesus, You made a way

You are the way
You are the way
You’re the light shining bright in the darkness
Jesus You are the way

The Way (Pocketful of Faith #10)

B. Cantelon, N. Herbert & T. Hughes

 

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Father we thank you for your never-ending love, and grace. Without you in our life we can do nothing but live in fear, but with you, we have peace and a hope of a brighter future, one that you have planned for our benefit. Lord we love you so much, help us to live and show your love for us, to the world around us, and help us to be the salt and light that they need to find you.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Jesus

I knew I would become NEW!

See, I am doing a new thing‘ (Isaiah 43:19 NIV)

 

Do you remember what it was like as a young child, waking-up early on Christmas morning? Getting up and eagerly unwrapping, vigorously ripping the wrapping paper from the presents that were underneath the tree; new games, new books, new toys, new, new, new!

When we come to God, it can be like that.

BOOM!

We are then eager for everyone around us, at work, at leisure, to hear all about our life changing, colossal, mammoth event! And we don’t care how many times we tell people, we just want everyone to know.

As time passes, sometimes, some of that initial zeal that we have ebbs, it leaves us, and we can drift back to what we used to be, or a slightly better informed version of what we used to be; but then we hear someone speak, or go to a Christian event, and we are inspired again, fired-up, just like we used to be; but then that recedes also.

But during these times when we are less inspired by the Bible, and God’s word, we should remember that God has not left, it is us that has changed, and we should constantly keep in mind;

I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me’ (Psalm 16:8 NLT).

God is right beside us in our daily walk through life; all we need to do is talk to him in prayer;

Pray continually’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NIV).

Most people will go through moments like this. The psalmist David also knew that this would happen;

Even when I walk through the darkest valley… … you are close’ (Psalm 23:4 NLT).

He knew moments in his life, when it seemed like everything could be over, but he trusted the Lord to protect him;

In the LORD I take refuge’ (Psalm 11:1 NIV).

But when we turn to Jesus, and accept him into our life, and trust him, and follow his commands, and try to live like he did, we change. We become a new thing, a Christian, we are new;

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

We become a different person when we accept Jesus into our life, but even so, we can have moments of feeling less, moments of doubt.

The apostle Peter also had moments where he seemed confident in who Jesus was and what he came to do, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’ (Matthew 16:16 NIV), and other moments where he appeared to not understand the plot, ‘Peter took him aside… Never Lord… … “You are a stumbling block to me [Jesus]; you do not have in mind the concerns of God’ (Matthew 16:22 – 23 NIV).

We can also have times such as these, where life seems like a ‘bed-of-roses’, all is good, and being a Christian seems easy. Other days, everything seems to be against us, we oversleep, the traffic lights are all red as we approach them, we don’t get that promotion that we thought we deserved; cursing and swearing is not the answer, but the temptation, ooh it’s there; life can be hard when we do not understand it all.

We should remember that God love us all so much, that Jesus came to die in our place (John 3:16), he will always be with us (Psalm 16:8), whatever we are going through, waiting for us to call to him for help;

You will seek me and find me when you seek with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV).

We did not even deserve to be saved, because;

when we were powerless… … While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:6 & 8 NIV).

So, even when things seem really bad, remember that God has a massive, life changing plan for you, that is unique to you and your gifts, and it is for your betterment, (Jeremiah 29:11) and also, you are a new creation in God, your old self has been condemned to the scrap-heap of life, (2 Corinthians 5:17); trust that you can always take their refuge in God, (Psalm 11:1) lean in on him, trust him to bring you through your valley, (Psalm 23:4) he is closer than you think, (Psalm 16:8) and he will never leave you (Hebrews 13:5).

He is our creator God, and he created you for a purpose.

Live for that purpose.

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My future hangs on this
You make preciousness from dust
Please don’t stop creating me
Your blood offers the chance
To rewind to innocence
Reborn, perfect as a child

Oh Your cross it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross it’s where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven’s heart

When sin and ugliness
Collide with redemption’s kiss
Beauty awakens by romance
Always inside this mess
I have found forgiveness
Mercy, as infinite as You

Countless second chances
We’ve been given at the cross

Fragments of brokenness
Salvaged by the art of grace
You craft life from our mistakes
Black skies of my regrets
Outshone by this kindness
New life dawns over my soul

Second Chance (Homemade Worship by Handmade People #4)
Luke Smallbone, Joel Smallbones, Matthew Hales

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Father we thank you for your Son, and his sacrifice for us, giving us a chance to be different, to be new people through his sacrifice. Show us the way that we should go, to live our life for you, showing all people around us that with you in our life, we are different, with the redemption, mercy, love and hope that we have from you.

Amen