Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

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every perfect gift is from above’ (James 1:17 ESV)

Being a Marvel fan, I tend to watch most of the films or television series. There is a relatively recent one called ‘The Gifted’ (Fox Broadcasting Company – originally aired 02/10/17) where many of the people that are the stars of the show are referred to as ‘Mutants’. D.C. refers to these people as ‘Metahumans’. But whatever they are called, are they really gifted? They may have certain powers, to create fire of bend metal etc, but are these really gifts that a lot of people would want?

John Newton (1725 – 1807) wrote the wonderful Christian hymn about a gift that is freely available to anyone and everyone who may want (or really need it), and all you have to do is claim it. Amazing Grace; and it basically tells us that no matter what we have done, or what we have lost, or how bad we think we are, God is never too far away to help us and rescue us; now that is Amazing Grace.

The greatest gift that has ever been given to anybody, did not consist of large perfectly cut diamonds, or smooth, perfectly coloured emeralds, or even large amounts of gold or silver; the greatest gift ever given, was a life!

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

Every good gift, every perfect gift is from above’ (James 1:17 ESV).

When people buy you a gift for your birthday or Christmas, do they spend hours or even days choosing it, walking from shop to shop trying to imagine if you will like the gift? Maybe they do not, unless you have absolutely amazing friends, but still, probably not.

When my daughter was younger, one year she saved some of her money from her birthday, and brought myself and her mother a bar of chocolate each; there was nothing special about the chocolate (apart from it was Galaxy), she did not wrap it in amazingly coloured paper with bows or ribbons, she did write a long elegant letter telling of her love for us, but what was special was the way that she did it. Young as she was, she gave of her own, she did not ask for any help with this, she did not ask for any money, or anything for that matter, and she did it in secret, without telling us.

When God sent his perfect gift to us, Jesus, he knew exactly how bad we were as a race of people, and;

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

God’s timing is perfect, and what he does is perfect, and the reason that the timing is just right, spot-on, perfect, is that he knows everything that we do;

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!’ (Psalm 139:1 ESV).

Yet you know me, LORD; you see me and test my thoughts about you’ (Jeremiah 12:3 NIV).

There is nothing that we can do that God does not already know about. I know that may sound extremely worrying to some, but try not to worry too much, because there is also nothing that you can do that will make God love you any less.

God sent Jesus as a gift to the human race, Jesus would come and show us how we should live, and then, ultimately, he would die for our sins.

Ellis J Crum wrote about Jesus coming to die for us, he wrote;

He paid a debt he did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay’ (Ellis J Crum – 1977).

So really what we should be saying, or rather shouting out to God, is a massive thank you;

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift’ (2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV).

The gift we get from God, through Jesus, is eternal hope for an eternal life, with Jesus. But the gift we get when we accept Jesus as our Lord, Friend, Redeemer, Teacher, Rescuer, Counsellor, Leader, Saviour, needs to be used.

We receive Grace and Redemption for our past sins, so we should also give others grace and redemption for what they have or may have done against us. In this way, just as Paul reminded Timothy in one of the letters written to him, we will;

fan into flame the gift of God’ (2 Timothy 1:6 NIV).

In his previous letter to Timothy, Paul had reminded Timothy to devote himself to public preaching, teaching, and reading of the scripture (1 Timothy 4:13), and he also reminded him not to do something;

Do not neglect your gift, which was given to you’ (1 Timothy 4:14 NIV).

Now concerning spiritual gifts… … … Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord’ (1 Corinthians 1 & 4-5 ESV).

You can go on-line and do tests to see what gifts you have, as you may not think that you have any, but we all have them, eternal life being the one most people think of, but you may be called to serve God and be a teacher or preacher, you may be called to serve God in a worship group, or with the youth of your church, or as an organiser, or a some-one who meets and greets people at the door, or a cleaner, a chair stacker, a person who hands out Bibles etc. every position is just as important as the person who stands at the front and preaches, but also pulls all the various elements together.

There are many, many ways in which we could each serve God, and you may not even feel ready or able to serve.  Remember that God does not always call those who are fully ready and equipped for whatever challenge is presented, but he will ensure that if he calls you, that you are equipped.

As I sit here writing this text, I know that the ability I have to write, is a gift from my God, a gift I cherish, the ability to say to others through this blog, what God has put on my heart.

Many years ago, when doing a Bible study as a teenager, we were looking at time, and something was said then that has stayed with me;

Yesterday is history;
Tomorrow is a mystery;
Today is a gift, that is why it is called the present

We all have gifts, and some are more important than others, but the most important thing of all to remember is;

the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23 ESV – emphasis mine).

 

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I am broken at Your feet
Like an alabaster jar
Every piece of who I am
Laid before Your majesty

I will bow my life
At Your feet
At Your feet
My lips
So lost for words
Will kiss Your feet
Kiss Your feet

Oh the gravity of You
Draws my soul unto its knees
I will never be the same
I am lost and found in You

Alabaster

Rend Collective

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Father we thank you for giving us such an amazing gift, your Son. We realise that we do not deserve it, but want to live our lives like your Son Jesus did. Lord we want to be better people, and with your help and strength, we can try. Lord help us to be better day by day we pray.

Amen

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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

Christian

Risen indeed!

Changed His status

He has risen‘ (G. Coates, N. & T. Richards)

If we had not had the first Easter, we would not be living as we do now, with the Bible as our hand-book, and we would not have the hope that we do, the hope of eternal life with Jesus!

We would not have people inspired by Go to write lyrics like these;

Better is one day in Your courts,
Better is one day in Your house,
Better is one day in Your Courts,
Than thousands elsewhere.
(Matt Redman).

Those sentiments are inspired by the Spirit of the Living God! Given to man for the purpose of praising God.

Everything we have is given by God, and the most important thing we have is the grace of God.

John Newton (1725-1807), captured that power, when he wrote the song;

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.

Paul commented upon that grace when he said, ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst‘ (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV).

The world needed Jesus to die.

No-one else could have done what he did.

We were dead in our sins (Colossians 2:13).

No-one else was even capable of doing what he did.

No-one else would have ever wanted to do what he did.

Now most people would not be willing to die for an upright person‘ (Romans 5:7 NLT). That does not bode well, had Jesus not come to save us.

But!

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (John 15:13 NIV).

God loves us so much, that he sent Jesus, his only Son, to die in our place (John 3:16). Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

When he died, the earth trembled, the curtain in the temple was torn, and the Roman officer that crucified him said, ‘This man truly was the Son of God!‘ (Mark 15:19 NLT).

The disciples were distraught! Jesus was dead! They had scattered.

Jesus knew what was going to happen, he had told his disciples this, three times. The first time, Peter basically said, not on my watch Lord (‘Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him‘ (Mark 8:32 NIV). The second time, Jesus actually said, ‘and after three days he will rise‘ (Mark 9:31 NLT), but the disciples did not understand what he meant. The last time he spoke of his death, (Mark 10:32-44) all the disciples were interested in, was who would be next in line to Jesus (v 36-39).

When Jesus was before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, there were many false witnesses, but two finally came forward and told them that Jesus had said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days‘ (Matthew 26:61 NIV).

At that time, neither the disciples, the Jews, the Sanhedrin, or anyone, truly understood what Jesus was explaining about. The people were thinking literally. Even now we could not demolish a Church and rebuild it in three days, that would be an impressive ’DIY SOS‘; I do not think even ‘Challenge Anneka‘ could complete a challenge like that.

We now know what he meant, and how it worked out.

The disciples were eventually shown what to do, by the Risen Jesus. Many saw him, and many started to follow, ‘the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved‘ (Acts 2:47 NIV).

He is risen, He is risen indeed!

He has risen.
He has risen.
He has risen.
Jesus is alive.
(G. Coates, N. & T. Richards)

Who am I? That the Lord of all the earth,
Would care to know my name, would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I? That the bright and morning star,
Would choose to light the way, of my ever changing heart.

Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done,
Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are.

I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean, and vapour in the wind.
Still you hear me when I’m calling, Lord, You catch me when I’m falling,
And You’ve told me who I am, I am Yours, I am Yours.

Who am I? That the eyes that see my sin,
Would look on me with love, and watch me rise again.
Who am I? That the voice that calmed the sea,
Would call out through the rain, and calm the storm in me.

Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done,
Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are.

I am a flower quickly fading, here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean, and vapour in the wind.
Still you hear me when I’m calling, Lord, You catch me when I’m falling,
And You’ve told me who I am, I am Yours, I am Yours.

Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear
‘Cause I’m Yours. I am Yours.

Mark Hall (Casting Crowns)

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Father God, we thank you that you sent your Son to die for us. We realise that we do not deserve the grace that you give us day by day, but we desperately need it. Lord without Jesus, there is no hope, there is nothing. Help us to cling to the vine. Help us to look to you for everything. Help us to be open to your guidance and teaching. Help us.
Lord we thank you for everything that you give us, help us to be thankful for all of our gifts, and help us to use them to further your kingdom, and bring people into knowledge of you and your kingdom.

Amen

 

Christian

Judgement – No! My chains are gone!

judgement belongs to the God‘ (Deuteronomy 1:17 NIV)

God spoke through Isaiah and said, ‘The LORD will judge all flesh‘ (Isaiah 66:16 NKJV).

Unfortunately. the world will judge us, in everything that we do, especially when we say we are a Christian, for then we will stand out from others around us, and some people delight in trying to point out our weaknesses, and where we fail. In God’s eyes, whether we tell a lie, steal, or kill someone, we sin and that is a black mark against us; the world sees sin in shades, some sins being worse than others, but that is simply not true, ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God‘ (Romans 3:23 NIV).

We know that when we give our life to Jesus, we become, ‘a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT). That, sadly is not it though; to stay true to God, and to follow his path, can be difficult, as we are surrounded by the world, and those in the world who do not know Christ can cause us to stumble. We need to be careful in what we do, ‘If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning‘ (Romans 14:23 NLT). So if we think we are doing wrong, then we probably are, we need to keep ourselves pure, and we know that as followers of Christ, we should, ‘offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God‘ (Romans 12:1 NIV).

We must be ready at all times to glorify God and not the world, which will be judged, so, ‘if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it‘ (1 Peter 3:15 NLT). Another translation says that we should, ‘give a defence… … a reason for the hope that is in [you] us‘ (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV). We must always honour God, if we deny Him, ‘He will also deny us‘ (2 Timothy 2:12 ESV). So, never play down our forgiveness, it was monumental what Jesus did for us, He died for us, and not only that, but it was, ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Romans 5:8 NIV). He did not died for us because he thought we were good, he died for us because there was no other way that we could pay our debt, we are free of our bondage through Christ’s death on the cross. We have been set free by Christ, and we should , ‘use [your] our freedom to serve‘ (Galatians 5:13 NLT).

We need to remember that, ‘He (Jesus) washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit‘ (Titus 3:5 NLT). We are none of us perfect, but I think it is very important to remember this saying, ‘I remember two things very clearly, I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Saviour‘ (John Newton 1725-1807). And above all, a line from the film God’s Not Dead, ‘God is good (all the time) And all the time (God is good)‘ (Don Moen / Paul Overstreet).

 

chains

All these pieces, broken and scattered
In mercy gathered, mended and whole
Empty handed, but not forsaken
I’ve been set free, I’ve been set free

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I am found
Was blind but now I see

Oh I can see You now, Oh I can see the love in Your eyes
Laying Yourself down, raising up the broken to life
You take our failure, you take our weakness
You set Your treasure, in jars of clay
So take this heart, Lord, I’ll be Your vessel
The world to see Your life in me

Broken Vessel (Amazing Grace) – Joel Houston, Jonas Myrin

 

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Lord we thank you that you are so good to us, all of the time. We know that we often fail you, yet in your goodness and faithfulness, you accept us back into your family when we say sorry and repent of our wrongdoing. Help us to live better lives for you, help us to show your light in our lives, your goodness and faithfulness to others we meet. Lord you are so, so good to us.
Lord we pray for the youth of the world, help them as they grow, to know you. Place people in their lives that can and will show them what it means to be a follower of Christ. There is so much in the world to tempt young people away from the Church, help the people surrounding them to show them that a better life awaits those who live with you at the centre of their lives.

Amen

 

Christian

You forged these chains in life – J. Marley

anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT)

When we decide to be in Christ, we are made into a brand new person! Saved, redeemed, made new, no blemishes, white as snow, with no condemnation, the past has gone!

Amen to that!

After Jesus had risen, the apostles were testifying about the resurrection and the Good News, and the reason they were able to do this, was nothing to do with their faith or strength, the reason was, ‘God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all‘ (Acts 4:33 NIV).

Paul, when writing to the Romans, said, ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God‘ but we are, ‘justified by his grace as a gift‘ (Romans 3:23 & 24 ESV). A freebie, a free gift, a free pass, gratis, with compliments. We cannot earn grace, we cannot buy grace with good deeds, grace truly is a free gift from God!

And these wonderful words say it all really. ‘Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me‘ (John Newton 1725-1807). and it is true, it is grace has saved us all.

Chris Tomlin, S. Roto, D. Pritchard-Blunt and L. Giglio, added to the beautiful word by John Newton;

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.
My God, my Saviour has ransomed me,
And like a flood His mercy rains.
Unending love,  Amazing grace

We have been set free! We have done nothing, Jesus did it all, by dying for us for our sins. We were prisoners to sin, and Jesus said that he had been, ‘sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind‘ (Luke 4:18 NIV).

Chains were generally used to keep prisoners from escaping, or sometimes for keeping unruly people ‘in check‘. Jesus met a man, who was not like most normal men, he was possessed, ‘with an unclean spirit‘, his name, ‘Legion, for we are many‘ he said (Mark 5:2 & 9 ESV). Jesus broke this man free from his bondage to the spirit, by saying, ‘Come out of this man, you evil spirit‘ (Mark 5:8 NLT).

The Israelite’s felt that they live  like, ‘prisoners suffering in iron chains‘ (Psalm 107:8 ESV), the reason the felt this way was because they had rebelled against God.

We all at times, rebel against what God wants for us, because we think we know better, but, he has a master-plan for everyone. ‘For I know the plans I have for you… … plans for good… … to give you a future and a hope‘ (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT).

Jesus can break us free from our chains of bondage, if only we will let Him. All we have to do, is look for Him, ‘You will seek me and find me, when you seek with all your heart‘ (Jeremiah 29:13 ESV).

Are you, and I prepared to seek today, the ‘Author of Life‘ with all of our hearts?

If we do, ‘I will be found by you, declares the LORD‘ (Jeremiah 29:13 NLT).

Nike have this part just right.  Just do it!  Nike

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If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles
If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies
If you’re trying to feel the same old holes inside
There’s a better life. There’s a better life

If you’ve got pain. He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost. He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Saviour
If you’ve got chains. He’s a chain breaker

We’ve all search for the light of day in the dead of night
We’ve all found ourselves worn out from the same old fight
We’ve all run to things we know just ain’t right
And there’s a better life. There’s a better life

If you’ve got pain. He’s a pain taker
If you feel lost. He’s a way maker
If you need freedom or saving
He’s a prison-shaking Saviour
If you’ve got chains. He’s a chain breaker

If you believe it. If you receive it. If you can feel it. Somebody testify

Chain Breaker – Jonathan Lindley Smith / Mia Fieldes / Zach Williams

 

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Lord at this time we thank you for sending your Son to break our chains and set us free. We know that we still do wrong, and that this hurts you. Help us to see your path for us and to know your will for us. Help us to rely on your strength, may we be more of you and less of us. Help us Father, Abba, help us to be what you know we can be.
Lord we pray for all people around the world that are suffering, whether those who are being persecuted, for their faith, may they have mustard seeds of faith that will grow into mighty trees. May their faith multiply until all around them can see and witness to their faith, may nothing get in the way. May your glory be seen by all.
Lord we pray for all Christians that cannot for various reasons, get to a Church to worship you, may they find peace and comfort in their situations                                                                      and places where they can and do meet with you.

Amen

Christian

I knew I was NEW!

the new creation has come‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Different translations change the words slightly; and the New Living Translation says that, ‘anyone  who belongs to Christ has become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT), we can start afresh in His eyes..

We all know that we are not a new person really, but Christ does not see our past. Moses, when receiving the stone tablets for the second time, as God passed in front of him, heard the voice of God say, ‘The LORD, slow to anger, abounding in love… … maintaining love… .. and forgiving wickedness‘ (Exodus 34:6-7 NLT).

Speaking about compassion, Micah knew that when we repent of our sin, ‘you [God] will tread our sins underfoot‘ and not only that, they will be, ‘thrown into the depths of the ocean‘ (Micah 7:19 NLT). The Psalmist David knew that once we confessed our sins as Jesus taught the disciples (Matthew 6:12), then, ‘you [Lord] forgave the iniquity of my sin‘ (Psalm 32:5 ESV). The Lord said through Jeremiah, ‘I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins‘ (Jeremiah 31:34 NLT). When writing to the Romans, Paul said ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven‘ (Romans 4:7 ESV) Once we have repented, our sins are forgiven, ‘Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away‘, and not just that, ‘you [God] have comforted me‘  (Isaiah 12:1 NIV).

Paul reminded the Galatians, ‘What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation‘ (Galatians 6:15 NLT); he also reminded the Ephesians, ‘put on the new self, created in the likeness of God‘ (Ephesians 4:24 ESV); and as we are new, we also have, ‘a white stone, with a new name written on‘ (Revelation 2:17 ESV). And for our part, ‘what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God‘ (Micah 6:8 NIV).

And what happens after this? ‘he [God] will be the source of peace‘ (Micah 5:5 NLT) in our lives. The one thing to remember is that our great and awesome God, is, ‘God of my salvation‘ (Isaiah 12:2 NIV).

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Seeking God more than we do other things, is what we are taught to do, ‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else‘ (Matthew 6:33 NLT). For we know that eventually, ‘at the name of Jesus every knee will bow‘ (Philippians 2:10 NIV). When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said, ‘Pray like this; Our Father in Heaven… … May your will be done… .. forgive us of our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us‘ (Matthew 6:9,10,12 NLT). Whatever we do, ‘the heavenly Father to whom you pray… … He will judge or reward according to what you do‘ (1 Peter 1:17 NLT). Paul told the Romans that he did what he did not want to do, and vice versa. We need to  do everything that we do, as we should do it, We should live Godly lives, but we cannot do it alone, ‘Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies‘ (1 Peter 4:11 NLT).

 

I may not walk on water 
but I’ve seen the rolling seas
Never have I told the wind to calm
but I’ve felt it’s mighty breeze
and I can’t pretend that Noah
and I were life-long friends
but when a rainbow blocks my vision
a flood of messages he sends me

and you and I cannot ignore that
Jesus Christ is Lord of all and
every knee will hit the floor
Because Jesus Christ is Lord

Don’t ask me how an acorn
becomes a mighty tree
but if seeing is believing
then I guess I must believe
You know there’s got to be a maker
behind this universe
‘Cause no one in their right mind
would say it all fell into place

Jesus Christ is Lord – (Secrets of Life #6)
Nia Jones, Mal Pope

 

downloadFather God, we thank you that with our repentance and your forgiveness, we can become mighty men and women of God, serving you in whatever you want us to do. Help us to look to you at all times, whether things are going well or going not so well. Lord we know that we can do all things through the strength that comes from you, help us always to rely on it and you.
Father we thank you for the opportunities that we have to share the Good News of your Son, coming to earth, living with us, preaching about you, dying for our sins, and rising from death. We know that death has been defeated, and that we can look forward to having a home with you eternally.

Amen

Christian

Only Love

in his love he will no longer rebuke you‘ (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

Paloma Faith sang ‘Only love can hurt like this‘, but true love does not really hurt, true love give and gives and gives again. Jesus told us, ‘Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends‘ (John 15:13 NIV). Jesus did not just speak words, He put the words into action, because, ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Romans 5:8 NIV).

Tracy Chapman sang that, ‘Words don’t come easily, Like I love you’. Jesus gave everyone, ‘A new command‘ (John 13:34 NIV), and the new command was to love, ‘Love each other. Just as I have loved you‘ (John 13:34 NLT). We already know that God love us, and love us so, so much. We can read about God’s love for us in John 3:16, and in many passages within the Bible. Jesus also said that if we love each other with a true selfless love, ‘As I have loved you‘ (v 34), if we love as commanded, we are displaying exactly the correct characteristics that are necessary for, ‘everyone to [will] know that you are my disciples‘ (John 13:35 NIV).

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, ‘Love will last forever‘ (1 Cor 13:8 NLT). He wrote, ‘Love is patient‘ (v 4),but are we always with the people we love? He wrote, ‘love is kind‘ (v 4), but are we to the people we love? He wrote, ‘it is not easily angered‘ (v 5) but do people make us angry and lead us from the presence of God?

God needs to be at the centre of everything.

He may not have been speaking about God, but Ed Sheeran wrote the words, ‘All that you are is all that I’ll ever need.

I hope we can all echo those words about our God;

Lord in all things, you are all I will ever need.

Love can build bridges, it can repair lives, it can point the way to our Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

 

 

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Whitney Houston sang the words, ‘If tomorrow is judgment day, and I’m standing on the front line, and the Lord asks me what I did with my life, I will say I spent it with you’ (My Love Is Your Love); Leanne Rimes sang the words, ‘When it comes to loving you, You’re my only reason, You’re my only truth.’ (I Need You). Adele sang that she would, ‘Go to the ends of the Earth for you, to make you feel my love’ (Make You Feel My Love).

These are lovely sentiments about love, but do they really show love? Do they show the kind of love that we want or desperately need in our lives?

We need the kind of love that gives and gives, and gives again, unconditionally. And love like that, is pure love, and only comes from one place, it is God’s love. Bob Marley sang, ‘I don’t wanna wait in vain for your love‘ (Waiting in Vain). We do not have to wait in vain for love.

God loves, and He loves us! Always and unconditionally!

 

chains

Amazing grace, How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found, Was blind, but now I see, ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved, How precious did that grace appear, The hour I first believed, My chains are gone, I’ve been set free
My God, my Saviour has, ransomed me, And like a flood His mercy rains, Unending love, Amazing grace,

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)

John Newton, John P. Ross, Edwin Othello Excell, Chris Tomlin, and Louie Giglio

 

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Lord we thank you for loving us unconditionally; right from the very beginning you loved us, you loved us before we loved you, and you still love us when we done something that hurts you. You are an amazing God, worthy of so much praise and honour, yet we keep on hurting you. Help us Lord, for without you we are nothing, without you we can do nothing. We need you in our lives, guiding us and showing us the way you want us to go, the path that you have got for each of our lives. Show us how to love like you, to love the people that hurt us, to love and love and love again. Lord we are yours and we want to be yours always, help us to trust you and follow you more closely in all that we do, that we                                           may one day be like you, truly loving.                                        Amen