Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Surrounded, fight my battles – E. Smith

Do not repay evil with evil’ (1 Peter 3:9 NIV)

How many times in the past have you reacted badly when people have hurt you, or when they have said something against or to you, or when you have felt ‘wronged’ by them, how many times have you wanted to ‘speak to them viciously’, whilst ‘holding’ a base-ball bat?

There have been many times in the past when I have wanted to have a quiet word with someone, whilst holding something heavy in one hand and maybe waving it around some-what.

But that is not the answer, revenge is never ending;

The problem with revenge is that it never evens the score. It ties both the injured and the injurer to an escalator of pain’ (Lewis B. Smedes).

So when people decide to ‘take the law into their own hands’, no-one wins. And then the process just repeats itself, and repeats itself, and so on. But is revenge not our right?

Weak people revenge, strong people forgive, intelligent people ignore’ (Anon).

In taking revenge, a man is even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior’ (Francis Bacon).

So by letting the hurt or slight pass by, we are taking the intelligent way out, but some may see that as weakness. Does not the Bible say ‘an eye for an eye’ (Matthew 5:38 ESV)? But if everyone lived with the code of, “if you hurt me, then I will hurt you, what would happen then? Would the world be full of vicious weak people? Who is strong enough to really and truly forgive?

An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind’ (Mahatma Ghandi).

We should look to the source of All Truth, The Bible. We know that within its pages will be that answers and guidance that we need, we know that God will teach us through the written word;

I will instruct you and teach you’ (Psalm 32:8 NIV).

So why do we insist on ‘going it alone’?

God is always available, whenever we want or need him, he is there waiting for us to call on him, like many people, I too have learnt this lesson the hard way, but;

The LORD is near to ALL who call on him’ (Psalm 145:18 ESV – emphasis mine).

That does not mean that at other times, when we call to God, that he may be busy, or that there is some other matter that has arisen far away that requires God’s attention. God is always available to us, he told the nation of Israel this very fact, and Paul reminded the Hebrew Christians of the exact same thing, that he (God) would and will always be by our side;

NEVER WILL I LEAVE YOU’ (Hebrews 13:5 NIV – emphasis mine).

So whenever someone hurts us, all we have to do is call out to God;

I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me’ (Jonah 2:2 ESV).

Now, Jonah had been told by God to do something specific, and so on hearing what God wanted of him, what did he do? He did exactly the opposite of what he was told, and yet did he get ignored when he realised his mistake and called out to God? No, God still answered his prayer. The Psalmist also knew this to be true;

In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice’ (Psalm 18:6 ESV).

So when we are overwhelmed with feelings of anger and hurt, when we feel that we may ‘lash out irrationally’ (Eric Lloyd as Charlie – ‘The Santa Clause’ – Disney – 1994), that is when we should be turning to God and asking for, pleading for help.

Jesus even gave us details of how we should act when we feel overwhelmed with what life throws at us;

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I WILL give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28 NIV – emphasis mine).

Jesus knew that we could not fully and completely handle life, and he commented upon the fact that if we try to ‘go it alone’, then we would falter, that it would not always be ‘rainbows and unicorns’, and that it would be extremely likely that things would go awry;

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

So when we feel that the world has turned against us, that the people we used to think of as friends are the ones that are hurting us; when we cannot see the wood for the trees, that everything seems to unravel at the slightest touch, it is precisely at that time when we should call to Jesus.

Jesus, the one who Saves, Jesus is the Great Friend to all, The Redeemer, the Light of the World, my friend;

O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me’ (Psalm 30:2 NIV).

I am not saying that every time the world feels that it is against you, that you can call out to Jesus and he will ‘smite your enemies’ instantly, but we know that it has been said, ‘The Lord will judge’ (Hebrews 10:30 NIV) and also;

Vengeance is mine; I will repay’ (Hebrews 10:30 ESV).

So according to some;

Revenge is a dish best served cold’ (Ricardo Montablán as Khan Noonien Singh – Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan – Paramount Pictures – 1982).

Remember, the weak get revenge, the intelligent let it pass by, the strong do something unexpected;

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you’ (Lewis B. Smedes).

Set someone free today!

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There’s a table that You’ve prepared for me
In the presence of my enemies
It’s Your body and Your blood You’ve shed for me
This is how I fight my battles

There’s a table that You’ve prepared for me
In the presence of my enemies
It’s Your body and Your blood You’ve shed for me
This is how I fight my battles

In the valley I know that You’re with me
And surely Your goodness and mercy follow me
So my weapons are praise and thanksgiving
This is how I fight my battles

And I believe You’ve overcome
And I will lift my song of praise for what You’ve done

This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how I fight my battles
This is how

It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You
It may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by You

Surrounded (Fight My Battles)

Elyssa Smith

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Lord thank you for giving us everything in life that we need, your Son Jesus. Help us to fully rely on him to lead us, guide us, and teach us what we need to know, and help us to look to his life for how we should act. Lord we know that all we need is within The Bible, help us to study your word and learn the truths that we need to know.

Amen

 

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want – Spice Girls

What do you want me (Jesus) to do for you?
(Luke 18:41 NIV -emphasis mine)

The verse continues with a reply;

Lord, let me recover my sight’ (Luke 18:41 ESV).

The blind beggar was not satisfied with his lot and he wanted more, and he knew that Jesus could help him get what he wanted.

Are you satisfied with ‘your lot’?

Do you have everything that you want or need?

Do you chase after things that other people have, do you try to ‘keep up with the Jones’?

I think that at times we have all been guilty of wanting because others have. I can clearly remember wanting things because my neighbours had something similar, or wanting a newer or bigger car because my friends had just got one, not because I needed them.

I think that it is important to remember that Jesus is not a divine vending machine. We cannot and should not go to Jesus only when we want something.

There is no problem with asking Jesus for something as long as it is in line with the teachings set within the Bible, and as long as we genuinely need it.

George Müller trusted God implicitly for what he needed, and through the power of prayer, he raised more that the equivalent of £90 million in today’s money (How To Pray – Pete Greig – p75).

Yes we can ask God for our daily needs, Jesus told us to;

This is how you should pray..Give us today our daily bread’ (Matthew 6:9 & 11 NIV).

He also told us to ask for things;

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do’ (John 14:13 ESV).

That does not mean that we can ask for extravagant items, new cars or designer clothes. In my opinion, it means that we can ask for healing for a friend, strength for someone to overcome a personal situation, or even wisdom for us to help someone with the right words to say.

It is not always about us!

Paul reminded the Roman Christians;

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

I heard a story on Premier Christian Radio the other day, and it went something like this;

An old man is sitting under a melon tree relaxing and eating a melon, when a young man comes up to him and says “Why don’t you pick 2 melons and go and sell one?”. “Why would I do that?” asks the old man. “So you would have some money” comes the reply, “then you could buy more trees and sell more mangoes and make more money”. “Why would I do that?” asks the old man again. “Because then you could buy lots of trees and employ lots of people to harvest the fruit, and then you could own the largest Mango farm in the country”. The old man looks at the young man, “But why would I do that?” he asks yet again. The young man replies, “Because then you could have all the workers doing all of the work, and then you could just relax under a tree and eat Mangoes!”. “But why would I do all of that work and have all that pressure, just to do what I am doing now?” he asked the young man. The young man could not answer him.

The older man was ‘satisfied with his lot’.

Are we satisfied that God has a plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11)? Are we happy that we can call on God to help us and teach us what we need to know (Psalm 32:8)? Are you happy that because Jesus died, that you are saved and it cost you nothing (John 3:16)? Are you happy that you are never truly alone (Hebrews 13:5)? Are you happy that there will be a place ready prepared for you when you depart this life (John 14:3)? Are you happy that if you turn to God, that he will give you your hearts desires (Psalm 37:4)? Are we happy that whatever happens and how we feel at the end of the day ‘Joy comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5 ESV)?

If you are not happy, perhaps you need to give more of your burdens to him and worry less, for Jesus has told us;

Come to me, ALL YOU who are weary and burdened, and I WILL give you rest’ (Matthew 11:28 NIV- emphasis mine).

Sometimes we all cling to ‘what we know’ sin and all, perhaps it is time to do what Queen Elsa said;

Let it go!’ (Queen Elsa – Frozen – Disney – 2013).

Stop carrying all your unnecessary things around, give them to God, let them go!

Trust that God will supply all your needs.

Taste and see that the LORD is good!’ (Psalm 34:8 ESV).

Taste and see.jpeg

Jesus all these songs we sing, every word and melody
All of it is meant for your alone
Silent prayers and bended knees, every kind of offering
All of it’s intended for your throne


Jesus this is all for you, Father this is all for you
How your children long to bless your heart
Lord we’ve tasted and we’ve seen, beheld the splendour of the King
How we long to magnify our GOD.

Every lifted voice and hand, every woman, every man
All of us have known Your generous ways
Spirit you have carried us, we have seen Your faithfulness
And our hearts are bursting with Your praise

All for you, all for you, all to bless Your heart
All for you, all for you, all for you oh GOD

All for you (Our God is Near #10)

Brenton Brown

downloadFather, we thank you that when we trust you and call to you, you give us what we need. We know that sometimes this will not be what we want, but we trust you in all things. Lord we want to be happy in what we have, give us wisdom to accept what we have, and courage to not always want what others have when we know that we really do not need it. In you we have all things, and all that we need. Lord we thank you that Jesus paid the price for our freedom and happiness.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · God · Grace · Jesus

Knowledge or Wisdom?

If any of you lacks wisdom’ (James 1:5 NIV)

At times, we all lack wisdom, whether that time is whilst we are young and immature, or for me according to my wife, last week, when I was not so young and still immature!

The verse continues, and tells us what we should do if we lack wisdom;

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach’ (James 1:5 ESV).

So if we think we need wisdom or understanding, then ask God. If you need to know more about a situation that you may be going into, then ask God. If you are about to enter into a relationship and are not sure, then ask God. Ask him about anything, if there is a lack of knowledge about anything.

But as we get older, should we not also get wiser too? Someone once said;

With age comes wisdom’ (Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900).

There are people I know who would disagree, but Oscar Wilde went on to say;

But sometimes, age comes alone’.

With which they would definitely agree!

Wisdom need to be built upon a solid foundation, and the Bible is that foundation.

When we were young, we acted like children and people accepted it because we knew no better. As we grow, we change and develop; we begin to understand things that were probably too hard for us maybe only months before; our attitudes change as we begin to understand how one thing is affected by another.

Paul, the writer of Corinthians also commented upon this matter;

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man. I put away childish things’ (1 Corinthians 13:11 NKJV).

Every year we get a little older, and sometimes a little wiser, and in my case, also a little rounder.

We change constantly both in the way we look, and the way we think and act; we are the sum of all our experiences that we have gone through, and God is guiding us to where he wants us, and where we need to be.

Age does not necessarily define us. As we grow, we may get wrinkles, spots, and grey hair, or sometimes no hair, but this does not mean that we are past it all, we are not on a downward hill from which there is no recovery.

Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days’ (Job 12:12 ESV).

We should not worry about anything (Matthew 6:25-33), and especially not be worried about getting old;

Grey hair is a crown of glory’ (Proverbs 16:31 ESV).

Some people fear getting old, but the older generation have experience, and they can help guide the next generation in their walk with God, and maybe help them to avoid the pitfalls of life that snared them.

There is one constant in life, as we go from baby to toddler, toddler to teenager, and teenager to adult: Jesus, and he never changes;

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

Amen to that!

So when things get tough, and they will at some point, for we all at one time or another take our eyes away from God and lose our focus from Jesus, and wander from the narrow path that leads to life.

But at these times, we need to remember that Jesus has said;

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

So whatever is happening in our lives, we are not alone. When we have grown old, and our friends have moved away, or gone to be with Jesus, and we feel left out; when we feel that nobody bothers with us, it is then that we need to cling to the fact that Jesus is always with us.

We are NEVER alone!

And if we only remember one thing, we should remember this;

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge’ (Proverbs 1:7 NIV).

Follow God, cling to what is good, follow his path, and lead the next generation in the ways of Jesus.

Use your wisdom, gained through age; use your knowledge gained through life experiences. Use all the tools you have, and all the gifts you have received from the Holy Spirit to guide all those around you towards the light, towards Jesus and life. Life in its fullness.

Wisdom pyramid

 

There’s a narrow little gate not very far from here
some look from a distance some look at it in fear
The eye of a needle is not a walk through with ease
but there is a way right through if we get down on our knees

The years go by so quickly but the narrow gate’s still there
And I’m sure it’s getting smaller though and that don’t seem too fair
Maybe tomorrow I’ll go and take a closer look
but for now I’m quite content here with the path that I took

There’s a narrow little gate, and you must enter like a child
Don’t count upon your wisdom got to set aside your pride
There’s a narrow little gate and no matter what you say
You could spend your whole life searching but you’ll find no other way

We use any old excuse to avoid that little gate
But however much we hide from it still stare us in the face
It all sounds too easy for a crazy life like mine
I worked so hard to get this far and you say ‘leave it all behind’

Narrow Little Gate – (Secrets of Life #8)

Nia Jones (words) / Mal Pope (music)

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Father, I thank you for sending your So Jesus to show us how we should live. Thank you for the Bible and all the wisdom contained within the pages. Lord help us to turn to your word in times when we struggle, and rely more on you and less on us. Loving God, help us to always want more of you Lord and less of us we pray.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Each person is tempted – be alert!

Be alert’ (1 Peter 5:8 NIV)

Do you think that we not alert all the time? Why do we need to be alert?

We may be alert to the situation we are actually in; such as if we are walking somewhere we will generally take notice of the route we are taking and any roads as we cross them, or if we are talking to a friend, we will usually have an understanding of the conversation because we pay attention to the other person.

But the Bible is not referring to those situations!

We need to be alert to our spiritual situations, and here is why;

each person is tempted’ (James 1:14 NIV).

William Booth was well known for asking about a person’s spiritual state. Once when in a carriage with Lord Loch and Cecil Rhodes, he placed a hand on the knee of Cecil Rhodes and asked him “Tell me, how is it with your soul?” (William & Catherine Booth – God’s Soldiers – Jenty Fairbank – p123 – 1974).

William Booth was concerned for Cecil’s well-being, for he was well aware of the dangers of spiritual complacency, and we need to be as well.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).

So we need to be alert for evil in the world and around us; we need to ensure that we are not be taken in by things that seem to good to be true, because the generally will be, and there is always a cost.

In Start Trek Deep Space Nine there is an alien who owns a bar, and his name is Quark, and he comes from a very money oriented race called the Ferengi; they have a saying for everything; ‘rule 59’ says;

Free advice is rarely cheap’ (The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition – by Quark as told to Ira Steven Behr – 1995).

We need to to watch what we do, we do not want to find that we have been tempted by bright lights and material goods, from the path that Jesus has shown us;

Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world’ (Romans 12:2 GNB).

We need to watch ourselves, because the world will try to tempt us away from Jesus; we need to remember and treasure the words that have been give to us by Jesus;

Enter through the narrow gate. Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it’ (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV).

Whenever we are struggling, we need to remember not to stray from the narrow path, it is the path of life; but in addition to this, we also need to be armed and ready for action;

Put on the FULL ARMOUR of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’ (Ephesians 6:11 NIV – emphasis mine).

We need to be armed and ready to stand against attacks, and when we are attacked, the best way to respond, is with truth, and the truth is the Word of God, as given to us in The Bible.

When we are tempted, we should remember that we are not alone, Jesus is always with us;

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

Paul reminded the Hebrew Christians of these words which were also spoken by Moses to Joshua, just before Moses’ death;

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV).

So all through the word of God we hear that we will never be alone!

And more than that, we always have someone with us who has been through more temptation than we will probably ever know. Jesus was tempted for forty days in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13);

And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered’ (Hebrews 2:18 GNB).

Jesus was tempted, just as we sometimes are, and he overcame his temptation with scripture, ‘The Word of Truth’.

Jesus was tempted, he was human;

one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin’ (Hebrews 4:15 NIV).

Sometimes, when I fail, I get really miserable, I just want to scream and rage at myself for failing; I am filled with anger at myself for whatever I have done and should not have, I am full of self-recrimination and blame myself for being weak, I am annoyed with the knowledge that I have let Jesus down, again and again.

It would not be bad if it only happened once, but it is a constant struggle against my failure to be like Jesus.

We are not alone!

Paul also suffered failure;

For I do not do the good I want to do but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing’ (Romans 7:19 NIV).

So we are not alone when we fail, but we need to acknowledge our failings, take them to the cross, and leave them there and try again. We love and serve a God of second chances;

But if we confess our sins to God, he will keep his promise and do what is right: he will forgive us our sins and purify us from all wrongdoing’ (1 John 1:9 GNB).

That does not mean that we can go right back and repeat the sin, we have to learn, evolve and grow past the sins of our past.

When teaching his disciples to pray, Jesus said;

When you pray say…… And forgive us our sins’ (Luke 11:4 NKJV).

So we acknowledge our sin, ask for forgiveness and try not to repeat the same sins again. I am not saying this is easy, for I am just a guilty for doing the exact same thing over and over, as did Paul, but it does get easier with time and Jesus’ help; it can be a long road, but Jesus is always there to pick us up, and continue to love us.

The devil is always trying to tempt us from the path that Jesus has shown us, but Jesus is always with us to help us, and the Holy Spirit will guide us through our testing. Jesus said;

I am the way and the truth and the life. NO ONE comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6 NIV – emphasis mine).

Just as in Spiderman 2 when the train passenger says to Doctor Octopus; “You want to get to him (Spiderman), you gotta go through me!” (Spiderman 2 – 2004).

If we want to get to heaven and God, we have to go through Jesus. Stick to the narrow path and Jesus, choose Jesus, choose life!

IMG_0131

Lord, I come, I con-fess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart ??
You’re the One that guides my heart


Lord, I need You, Oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You


Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay

Lord, I need You

C. Nockels, D. Carson, J. Reeves, K. Stanfill, M. Maher

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Father, I pray with thanks that you sent Your Son to help us and show us the way to a better life. We try to live a Jesus shows, but sometimes, life gets in the way, the world tempts us and we are weak. We are sorry for these times, and ask for the strength and courage to be better people. Lord we look to your Son as an example to us all, help us to be more like him.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Our Super God!

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

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

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

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

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

This super heroes’ name, is Jesus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus spoke often of love;

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

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

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

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

And how does God show that unconditional love?

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

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

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

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

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

Our God is a super hero.

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

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

                                      

Super Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

Superhero

Hillsong Kids

 

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

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Get out of the boat!

Take courage! It is I’ (Matthew 14:27 NIV)

There were times in my life that when I was younger, I could just not handle, and even later in life, when I became a Christian this did not initially change for me.

Even though I believed and trusted God, I still struggled, and at times I wanted to curl up in a corner and forget everything else that was going on around me, I could just not handle it, I felt under pressure and overwhelmed.

Many people go through similar things, when they have problems that they cannot cope with. Some people learn to cope and some do not.

Those who learn to cope may use various techniques; some techniques are not so good for you, and people escape their situations using drugs or alcohol; there are other ways that can help and be beneficial to the body, meditation, yoga, chanting, or prayer. Even atheists admit that they sometimes pray, even though they do not believe in God.

Sometimes, you do not have to know how something works; you just have to believe that it will.

I do not know how a combustion engine works in a car, apart from the basics; it just does work when I turn my key, and if it does not, then I call a mechanic.

I do not know how planes fly, apart from the absolute, very basics; they go very fast and lift up, they just do, and if they do not, then I may meet Jesus sooner than I planned.

When I could not cope with what my life was and the things assailing me, my minister at the time sat me down, and told me that I need to trust God more for his help in those bad situations, that he had plans for me and would not let anything bad happen to me, they were;

plans for welfare not evil, to give you a future and a hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

As I grew older, and supposedly wiser, although many will say that there is still no sign of the getting wiser emerging yet, I left the church and struck out on my own, because I thought I knew better. That did not work out too well, and I ended up a physical, mental, and spiritual wreck.

I quickly realised that I needed Jesus back in my life.

Ultimately I know that he never left me, and it was I who had turned my back on him. I had been called into friendship with Jesus and decided to walk away. Yet even back then after walking away, I knew that God had said;

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

After coming back to the church and letting God back into my every-day life, I quickly realised what I had before I left.

God has a plan for our lives, we just need to ask him to reveal it to us, and that plan will surpass everything that we can ever think up;

I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not evil’ (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV).

God wants the very best for us, and nothing that he has planned for us will harm us.

In addition to the good plans he has, he will teach us what we need to know;

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

So if we are having problems that seem to be immensely bigger than us, and much stronger than us, we need to remember;

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you’ (Psalm 55:22 NIV).

When we trust God with our lives, they do not then truly belong to us, we belong to God, we are his and like him, and he said;

Let us make man in our image’ (Genesis 1:26 ESV).

We are created in the very image of the living God. We are made on purpose and made for a purpose, and that purpose is to worship God, and bring others into the knowledge of God!

In our lives there are some things that we can do and some things that we cannot. The things we can do are gifts from God. We each have a purpose on earth, and these gifts help us achieve our God given plans;

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us’ (Romans 12:6 NIV).

Your gift may be talking to people, you may find that very easy, I particularly find that incredibly difficult. Your gift may be serving, or healing, or giving; whatever your gift, do it with the grace that God has given each of us.

Use your gift for the benefit of the Kingdom of God, and not for selfish purposes, because Jesus did not die for a selfish purpose, he died for you and me;

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV).

So God will not let anything bad happen to us. Sometimes we go through stuff that we do not like, and sometimes in the chaos, God will silence the noise and mess around us so that we can get through whatever it is. At other times, God will give us the peace we need in order to weather the storm, a peace that we cannot understand, peace that transcends everything else.

No matter what we are going through, we should not tell God we have a big problem, but tell our problem that we have a BIG God.

If we trust in God at all times and in all things, then we can be game changers, we can show people around us that no matter what is happening, Jesus is in charge of our life and our situations because we are trusting in him, and by the way we live, we can show people God in our lives.

We need to make a decision, and we need to decide, just as Peter did. Shall we stay in comfort and security, or shall we trust in Jesus, cling to what is good in our lives, and get out of the boat!

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You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep my faith will stand

I will call upon Your Name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) (Zion #4)

Joel Houston, Matt Crocker, Salomon Lighthelm

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Lord we thank you for everything that you give us, the gifts that we have, the grace that we have, the love that we have. Help us the use these to share you with others, that they may also come to know and trust you. Lord we want your kingdom to grow here on earth give us strength, wisdom and courage to share your love with those around us.

Amen

Bible · Christian · Faith · Grace · Jesus

Dear God… …Amen!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jesus also told the disciples the same thing;

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

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

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

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

So how do we really talk to God?

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

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

What do I do then?

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

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

So why do we pray, and what is prayer?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer can really be that simple.

Pray to the One

The splendour of the King
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
And trembles at His voice

How great is our God
Sing with me
How great is our God
And all will see how great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the End
Beginning and the End
he Godhead three in one
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

How Great Is Our God

Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves

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

Amen