Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Heart of Jesus is with the Lost

All we need to do is to make ourselves available for God to work through us and to be obedient to Him

Source: PInterest
Many of the homeless and destitute on our streets suffer from mental illnesses, can be aggressive, have alcohol and drug dependencies and these are reasons why we often don't pay much attention to them. Next time you are in your City Centre or walking down the High Street just take a while to watch how many people will cross over the road or walk right past a homeless person without a second thought. The vast majority of us are guilty of this however it is necessary for us to sometimes take a step of faith and to push through the barriers of fear, embarrassment, scepticism and cold heartedness; Isaiah 58:10 ‘and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday’.

It was a great privilege for me to be part of a team of Street Pastors in my City and I will always remember an encounter I had with a homeless man that I still keep close to my Heart even today. One cold winter’s night myself and a colleague were patrolling the dark streets in the early hours of a Saturday morning. We approached an elderly man who was sheltering with his dog in a doorway, as we approached him he was quite aggressive and told us to go away. A few hours later we came across him again in an underpass where there were usually quite a few people in this underpass at that time, but on this occasion it was nearly empty. There were five entrances in this particular underpass. As we walked past him I casually asked him if he would like some dog biscuits for his dog as I usually carried some in my bag. On this occasion he was pleased to receive them and his whole demeanour changed, and he even asked if we could spend some time with him, which we were more than happy to do. He talked a lot about his father in quite a bad way but later admitted his father wasn't so bad. Now my colleague had a good ear to God’s promptings and sure enough he felt God prompting him to tell this man about the importance of honoring your parents and the importance of the commandment the God gave us in Exodus 20:12 ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you’.

This appeared to affect him quite deeply and he started to share some personal things about how he got his life into such a mess, and he talked about his deep love for his mother and the last time he saw her before she died which was when she came to visit him in prison!!  Through the tears he asked us to pray for him, he said he was afraid to pray to God himself because of the terrible life he had lived and the many years of pain and grief he had caused his parents. We shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with him and helped him to pray to the God he feared. We explained that God loved a repentant heart and that if he was the only person on the earth his saviour, Jesus Christ would have died for him alone. We helped him to understand that nobody would be excluded from the love of God because we were all part of His creation;

John 15:9 ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love’

Romans 8:38-39 ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’.

As our time together was coming to an end an amazing thing happened. People started coming into the underpass from most of the entrances. We realised that God had given us a window of opportunity and given us some private moments with Him, where time seemed to have stood still. Almighty God Himself had set the whole thing up just for this man who may have been seen as worthless by society’s standards however this was not the way God saw him. God had moved heaven and Earth for him and used us as His vessels to do His work. All Glory to God. All we need to do is to make ourselves available for God to work through us and to be obedient to Him; Matthew 25:35-36 ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’.

Remember this; the poor and destitute are still with us, they are still part of society, they are all loved by God who does not love them any less than you or I. How can God use us to show His love to them?  It is something to think about. God bless.

Author: Eileen Greaves

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Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Author and Finisher of our lives

God really is the author and finisher of our lives, directing each step however small or difficult that step might be.

Source: Troy Brewer Ministries
For some time, a number of us in our Fellowship have been reading three chapters a day of the Bible. It’s amazing when you think that it is only three chapters, which should be easy to fit in a day, but I found it really hard to do every day, and honestly, I abandoned doing it after not very long. However, when the readings got around to the book of Genesis again I felt I really should discipline myself and give it a go, so I have endeavoured to try and read three chapters every day. I must admit that I still sometimes skim read and occasionally miss a day. Recently we have been reading through the book of Numbers. Well it’s been a bit hard going especially having ploughed through Leviticus and with the prospect of Deuteronomy ahead there were lots of reasons to ‘miss bits out’ after all it’s all about laws and directions for sacrifice and just keeps repeating itself doesn’t it?  However, when I got to Numbers 30 God decided to teach me a lesson. The title of the Chapter in my Bible was; ‘Laws Concerning Vows’; great! I thought, 'yet another chapter on Laws, like there hadn’t been enough already!' Its only a small chapter of only 16 verses, and honestly, I was tempted to just skip it but for some reason I decided to go ahead and read it, thereby giving God the opportunity to firstly teach me a lesson and to also minister healing and revelation into my life.

When I got to Numbers 30:3-5 it reads; ‘If a young woman makes a vow to the Lord or a pledge under oath while she is still living at her father`s home, and her father hears of the vow or pledge and does not object to it, then all her vows and pledges will stand. But if her father refuses to let her fulfil the vow or pledge on the day he hears of it, then all her vows and pledges will become invalid. The Lord will forgive her because her father would not let her fulfil them’. I was stopped in my tracks and transported back to where my life with the Lord began, the more I heard and read the more I wanted to obey. I started to go to church when I was 15 and eventually asked Jesus to come into my life and forgive all my sins while at a church in Weymouth where I was holidaying with two friends. I was 16 at the time and I was not sure about what I wanted to do with my life. I then heard about water baptism and really felt called to be baptised as I felt it was the next step of obedience for me. My Pastor was happy for me to do this but when I mentioned it to my mom and dad (who were not Christians) they refused to give me their permission and asked that I wait until I was 18 as by then I would ‘know my own mind’. I was devastated, I really felt it was right to be baptised as soon as I could and I didn't want to live in disobedience to the Lord, however my parents were dead against it. I prayed and sought advice from the wonderful lady who had led me to the Lord in the Church in Weymouth and who I had been corresponding with. She was a very wise woman and advised me that although it was very important to be baptised it was also important to follow the commandment in Exodus 20:12 ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you’. So that is exactly what I decided to do, and I committed the decision to the Lord asking him to spare my life until such a time as I could be baptised. Of course, He did and furthermore when I was finally baptised when I was 18 I did so with my parents blessing and they both came along to the baptismal service.

Source: A Little Perspective
So, when I read the verse in Numbers 30:3 (a verse I had never read before in my life) the faithfulness of the Lord really came home to me. I had pledged in my heart to be baptised which I had not been allowed to for two years. Through those years I had worried that if something had happened to me I would die without fulfilling something I had promised the Lord I would do. But this verse showed me that the Lord had released me from that promise because my Mom and Dad would not consent to me being baptised at that time.

So why am I sharing this small personal revelation? Well, I was amazed at the intricacy of the Word of the Lord in His directions to Moses, that the law should not only make provision for young girls who wanted to fulfil God’s purpose but also who were under the authority of their parents. God understood that even in the most loving households there would be times of conflict and separation of ideas and wills however how He had made provision for both parties to be at peace and blessed. The young girl could peacefully be released from the promise until such a time as she was independent and could fulfil it. By the way, the chapter goes on to provide the same provision for married women who wish to fulfil a vow to the Lord but in this case, her husband objects. She also is released from that promise and the Lord forgives the fact that she cannot carry it out at that time.

That this little gem had lay hidden to me for 42 years and why God had chosen that day to reveal it to me is still a mystery. It demonstrated to me that God really is the author and finisher of our lives, directing each step however small or difficult that step might be. That sometimes He calls us to trust Him even when the way ahead is not clear and what we believe would seem to be impossible at that moment. He chose to show me that He was in control of my life then and He is in control of my life now and that His Word really does hold the answer to every issue we may face. It is full of encouragement, direction, assurance and sometimes discipline, it is all we need, and time is no barrier to Him. He reveals the things we need to know, when we need to know them, and not a moment before. 

If you would like to join us on our journey as we read three chapters of the Bible everyday then you will find a reminder for our readings updated daily on our website; or on this blog

Author: Jan Pearson

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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Open the eyes of my heart Lord

It is not the act of study that activates God’s heart towards us but the motive of our hearts. If we look into God’s Word to discover how to please, obey and honour Him, then the Lord opens up His heart to us and we start to see His will and glory.

Source: 新浪博客
Luke 19:41-44 says; ‘As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you. Jesus is saying that Jerusalem had missed out on peace and was now in real danger because its people did not understand God’s Word and the time when the Lord would come to them. He went further and said that these things were ‘now hidden from their eyes’they couldn’t see even if they wanted to. These poignant verses have sparked a number of thoughts for me in the past few days. One of these is about seeing/hearing and understanding.

In John 17:3 Jesus says; ‘Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent’ and in Matthew 11:25-26 and Luke 10:21; ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do’. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 remarks for you see your calling; ‘Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong’ and in Isaiah 33:6, Isaiah prophesies’; Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, and the strength of salvation; (but) the fear of the Lord is His treasure’. Jesus (quoting Isaiah) in Mark 4:11-12 said to the disciples: ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, they may be ever seeing but never perceiving and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!

So, what are we to make of this? It seems from these scriptures that God has determined that people will never find Him by knowledge and cleverness. In these scriptures this determination blocks men from finding Him or understanding warnings, prophesy, direction, salvation or the forgiveness of sins through their own intelligence, wisdom or knowledge. This determination is an active one – Matthew records clearly that the reason that Jesus spoke in parables was so that people would not understand (not even the disciples – but He explained everything later to them when they were on their own). Jesus even spoke directly to the Jews saying that they, through their searching of scripture thought that they would arrive at a knowledge of God – and clearly, they knew something – but it was not enough – in fact as so often is the case, when we feel we have attained some knowledge it turns out to be nothing at all that God is interested in. About six years ago we left our home church and thought that our searching for a new one was to do with us finding a new spiritual home. In fact, it was to do with God taking us back to basics and redirecting much of our thinking. I found out that many of the things that I thought were important were of no significance to the Lord whatsoever but that returning to a state of vulnerability, dependence and obedience to Him were really high on His agenda.

Source: We Heart It
When Nicodemus came to Him in John 3 Jesus said; 'are you a teacher in Israel and don’t know these things' (about being born again). This is something that He may well be telling us today – but how to know God and what God wants if even searching the scriptures doesn’t work?  I believe that the answer is clearly there for us to see. In the story of the men who built their houses on sand and rock, the man who built His house upon the rock was the man who heard what Jesus had to say and did what He said. In John 14:23-24 Jesus tells the disciples: ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me’. So, then it is not the act of study that activates God’s heart towards us but the motive of our hearts. If we look into God’s Word to discover how to please, obey and honour Him, then the Lord opens up His heart to us and we start to see His will and glory.

The first step of obedience that we take towards God always leads us to give our lives away – we are not our own but bought with a price – but many stumble at this and as in the parable of the sower the seed, is taken or choked or parched and doesn’t lead to eternal life. So often it seems that rather than go the hard way where the Lord breaks us to get rid of the things that will rob us of His true liberty, people prefer an easier way which can lead to dead religion and religious service (no matter what church background we are from).

Returning to our first scripture about Jesus weeping over Jerusalem and applying it to us – not hearing the Lord and not understanding what He is saying leads to us not being prepared and not obeying as we should. The dangers of not being prepared include missing God’s opportunities and falling into danger. The people in Jerusalem had the wrong motive. They did not treasure being God’s special people and they did not eagerly seek Him to find out what to do. They wanted to take control of their lives back; Luke 19:14 ‘We will not have this man to reign over us’ and they saw knowledge of God’s Word, not as the way of life but as the way to power and control the lives of others within their culture. Contrast this with the people in Jerusalem in Jehoshaphat’s time who, when threatened with an army worshipped and prayed. They prayed in 2 Chronicles 20:12 ‘we don’t know what to do but our eyes are on you’. They were fully dependent upon the Lord for their salvation and wellbeing.

It is possible that part of our problem is that we don’t know how precarious our position is without the Lord or how soon His return could be – Like Jesus said, ‘everything just carries on the same, so we are not careful or watchful’. Jehoshaphat knew because he could see the enemy and also knew that God was His only hope. This message is for us today, for us right now. Are we hearing from the Lord? Do we know what things will give us peace? Or is the Lord crying over our lives saying; ‘if only you had known… but you have ignored the message for so long that now it is hidden from your eyes’. Jesus is coming soon and all of the implications for the world are already happening or at the doors. If we don’t know Jesus we need to turn our hearts (not heads) to know Him and obey Him, and if we do we need to ensure that we heed messages about being awake and with oil (and some to spare) – and warning others.

Author: Chris Pearson

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Saturday, 31 March 2018

The World’s Darkest Hour

Time is short, we hear this a lot, but time really is short. We are on this earth for such a fleeting moment and then it will be over. We therefore have a small window of opportunity to choose our eternal destination before it is too late. The choice is simple, there are only two destinations.

Source: Josh McDowell Ministry
I am currently reading some of the classic sermons of Billy Graham and in one of those Sermons’ reference is made to the last hour of Jesus's life, which is described as the ‘World’s darkest hour’. The sermon goes into graphic detail of the pain and suffering endured by Jesus and provides a vivid reminder of the love of God for us, that He loves us so much He sacrificed His one and only beloved son so that we can be reconciled to Him. What jumped out at me is where it is pointed out that Jesus knew He would endure this pain and suffering for the whole of his life; John 2:4 ‘Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come’ and Luke 9:21 ‘The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life’.

Imagine if you had to live the entirety of your life knowing that your death was going to be painful beyond anything you could ever imagine and that you knew with certainty that your last days on earth were going to be so horrific?  Well, Jesus did, and it is hardly a surprise when Jesus asks His Father if there is another way; Matthew 26:39 ‘he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’. Notice that Jesus is not asking for this not to happen, but asking if there is another way. In order to purge sin from this world and to reconcile us back to Him in purity, it was necessary to do this in the harshest and most devastating way to enable us to be cleansed once and for all. This is what Jesus did for us, He took all of our sins, all of them, and He paid the price for us. How can we not love Him? How can we not be thankful to Him every single day?  How can we not give everything in our lives to Him? He gave everything for us and took our place on the cross. There are no words that could do justice to the Thanks, Gratitude, Praise and Glory that He deserves, it really is beyond words. 

We know that one day we are going to pass from this earth, but only God knows the precise moment for each of us. Those who have excepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour will not endure the consequences of their sin because Jesus did that for us. We will not be ridiculed, spat at, whipped or nailed to a cross (although we deserve to be). Jesus suffered for us so that God would see us a blameless, as spotless and pure. Jesus knew that even though He was sinless, that He would suffer for the sins of mankind. This is why God brought Himself to earth, through Jesus, because He wanted to bring us back to Him. That's how much He loves us. Wow!

Source: re-Ver(sing) Verses
Jesus crucified on the cross is a reminder of the pain and suffering for all eternity that awaits those who do not know Him. Matthew 13:49-50 ‘This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’. The empty cross is God's gift to those who know Jesus, showing that our sins are forgiven, all suffering is taken away, all pain is gone and a resurrected new life in eternity awaits! Sadly, there are many who choose to ignore and to accept the gift that Jesus gave us, which the Bible refers to as foolishness; 1 Corinthians 1:18 ‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’.

Time is short, we hear this a lot, but time really is short. We are on this earth for such a fleeting moment and then it will be over. We therefore have a small window of opportunity to choose our eternal destination before it is too late. The choice is simple, there are only two destinations. Do you want to spend eternity in hell enduring the same pain and suffering that Jesus did before He died and where you will be thrown into the blazing furnace? or do you want to spend eternity in heaven and be with the Lord forever?‘ 1Thessalonians 4:16-17 ‘For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever’. It would seem to be an obvious choice, but the Bible tells us that many will not realise until it is too late. Matthew 7:13-14 'Enter through the narrow gate. For 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'. Everyone has the opportunity to choose their path and to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and all will acknowledge and bow before Him, even those who have refused to recognise and acknowledge Him; Philippians 2:10 ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’.

I leave the final words to Billy Graham; ‘But before the triumph, before the crown, before the kingdom, before the victory, there had to come the suffering. Before you can share in Christ's victory, before you can have a new life here and now, before you can go to heaven, before you can claim the promise that we shall someday reign with Christ, you, too, must come to that same cross. You, too, must come in simple faith and stand at the foot of that cross’.

Prayer - Father, I thank you for loving me so much that you gave me Jesus so that I have Him in my life to watch over and guide me, to comfort me and to love me. I thank you that through the sacrifice of Jesus I will spend eternity in Heaven with you. I pray for all of those lost souls who ignore or refuse to accept Jesus, that you will remove the scales from their eyes and they too will come to the foot of the cross, so that they can experience your love and look forward to eternity with you. I pray this in the magnificent name of Jesus. Amen

Author: Gary O’Neill

May God bless and enrich your life   

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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Reawakening the Holy Spirit

There is absolutely no situation in our lives that God is not aware of. He not only knew the situations were coming but He also knows how they end. He pours out His grace so that we can be overcomers not because of who we are but because of who He is

Source: My Daily Inspiration Bible Verses
As I look back on last year I think how great and awesome our Heavenly Father is. I come with eager expectation of what things He has in store for us as 2018 continues to unfold. I am sure that everyone who is reading this will be thinking of the blessings and the challenges they have faced during the past twelve months. Maybe some have had a year of the Lord’s favour upon them and are running into 2018 full of anticipation. Others maybe have felt that as one calamity came to an end another one began and are approaching this Year with a sense of trepidation!! I pray that whichever category you fall in, your delight would still be in the Lord; 1 John 5:14-15 ‘This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him’.

At a gathering on New Year’s Eve somebody at the table asked me what my particular highlight of 2017 was. I asked the person to come back to me while I pondered on the question whilst the other people around the table were asked the same question. Listening to the responses around the table I realised that even as a body of Christians our delights and highlights are not triggered by the same incidents or circumstances as each other and our reactions and responses are also very different. I was impacted by the thought that this is why each one of us are intricately and wonderfully made, to better reflect the myriad of gifts and talents and facets the Lord has blessed us with. My answer to the question is a personal one. My blessing came through God hearing my plea for somebody else and God made a way where there seemed to be no way. This however, is somebody else’s testimony to share not mine. But if you are in a situation that you think no-one or nothing can change, hand it over to God and see what He can do.

Source: PInterest
The challenge I set myself for 2018 is that I will be determined to be attentive to His call, be steadfast in my walk and live a life that reflects the beauty of the Holy Spirit within, even when the ugliness of this World crowds in and tries to knock me of course I will simply lift my head and ask for God’s grace and help to walk in the calling and destiny He has for my life; Psalm 23:1-3 ‘The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake’. At our church, we as a body of believers are convinced that change is coming and that God is on the move. We are praying that we will be steadfast when the way ahead seems unfamiliar and in uncharted waters. There is absolutely no situation in our lives that God is not aware of. He not only knew the situations were coming but He also knows how they end. He pours out His grace so that we can be overcomers not because of who we are but because of who He is. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ‘But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’.

If you are reading this today and some of the passion you had has ebbed away and you feel like a failure, ask God to bring back to your memory the times and places that you were filled with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to reawaken you. This doesn’t have to happen in a big meeting it can be quietly in your own home, but don’t pass up the opportunity. Lamentations 3:22-26 ‘Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD’.

Every blessing.

Author: Lyn Hunt

May God bless and enrich your life

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