Sunday, 17 June 2018

In my Weakness God’s Strength is made Perfect

….my love of the Bible has never been greater. I am not arty at all but when I read the bible (in my more mature years) I find enlightenment, excitement, vibrancy, and contentment.

Source: PInterest
When I realised my blog deadline was approaching I was really keen to do a love song/poem to God. This is very similar to a Psalm except not so well written and not necessarily inspired by God, therefore the power that ensues is lost because the words would be mine and might tickle the readers ears but would not change their life forever. These thoughts turned my mind back to my teenage years where I was an avid reader. Some of the reason for this was that it was my way of escaping or hiding from areas in my life that I preferred not to think about or ponder on. This pattern continued into my early years of marriage when the librarian said I spent nearly as much time in the library as they did. The only criteria I had was that I would only read books that I couldn't put down until I had finished them. At this point I enrolled in a Nursery Nurse course where I had to study many subjects, one of which was psychology. Whilst I found the subject quite interesting a lot of it seemed ‘weird’, ‘biased’ and much of it I just didn't accept or agree with. Unfortunately, my dislike and unacceptance of the text grew to the point that with gritted teeth I only read the text in order to pass the course and my love of books and literary things came to an abrupt end. For the next few years the only book I read was the Bible and looking back sometimes I read it under duress and much like the set homework it was a means to an end.

Unfortunately, my love of books has never returned.  However, my love of the Bible has never been greater. I am not arty at all but when I read the bible (in my more mature years) I find enlightenment, excitement, vibrancy, and contentment. My encouragement to you today is that if your Bible is gathering dust through lack of use, shake it off and reimmerse yourself in the best-selling book in the World. You will not be disappointed. Philippians 1:9-11 tells us; ‘And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God’. In today's complex, complicated and dysfunctional World we need to know the Word of God deep within our hearts so that we will not be ashamed on the day of judgement. As a church some of us read three chapters of the Bible each day and this is such a blessing that we are all reading the same scriptures at the same time. Maybe today is the time for you to make a commitment to dedicate time in God’s Word and His Presence?

Source: Divine Walls
Just like me, perhaps your love of someone or something has been eroded by the cares and worries of this world. Maybe you have been backed into a corner where you feel you have been made to do something against your will which has made you put up a wall or a defence mechanism which is very hard to overcome. It may even be that you feel angry towards God for all the hurts and wounds that have been inflicted upon you, and struggle to come to terms with the twists and turns in your life. Be assured of one thing there is absolutely nothing that God cannot help you overcome if you just give Him the chance. Philippians 1:6 ‘Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus’.

I have been a Christian for 37 years and there have been many situations where I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't had the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit and known that I was a beloved Child of God. Even now as I write this blog I am facing something which the World would consider devastating news. I however see it as an opportunity to live out my faith with courage and boldness clinging on to my Saviour and Lord who is my Rock and Redeemer and indeed the perfecter of my faith. I have no strength of my own but know that in my weakness God’s strength is made perfect. I may not know what my future holds but I know without a single doubt who holds my future. As I write this blog, the scripture we have been given over and over again in our church is 2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land’. May we all be obedient and turn to God’s Word.

Every blessing.


Author: Lyn Hunt

May God bless and enrich your life
    
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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Does the church really understand what love is?

We are never always going to agree with each other, we are never always going to see eye to eye, we may from time to time fall out with each other. But if our love for each other is greater that our own opinion or need to be right, then we have a chance

Source: PInterest
John 13:34-35 ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another’. Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant by this and is this love evident within the church for fellow believers? Also, is it possible for us as mere humans to love each other the way Christ loves us? Let’s start by considering Jesus’s love:

Firstly, we see in Romans 5:8 that Jesus’s love is unconditional; ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’. It is not necessary for us to become perfect or to reach a certain grade before He forgives us, we don’t have to do amazing or kind deeds. No! it was while we were still steeped in our sin that Christ died for us.

Secondly, in Romans 8:38-39 we see that Jesus’s love is powerful and inseparable; ‘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’. Once we’ve received God’s love then nothing can separate us from it, even when we continue to get things wrong He still loves us. He may show this by disciplining us at times but as we turn to Him He embraces us with His love.

Source: Abide In Gods Word
Thirdly, in 2 Corinthians 5:21 we see that Jesus’s love is sacrificial; ‘God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God’. Isn’t this amazing, that even though we were lost in sin and deserving of death, we are the righteousness of God because Jesus became our sin and defeated it through His blood on the cross.

Fourthly, in John 13:12 we see Jesus’s love is to serve; ‘When He had finished washing their feet, He put on his clothes and returned to His place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them’.

Now let’s think about the church; Do we see this love within the body of Christ? For instance, what causes church splits, arguments, angry outbursts and egotistical desires such as a need to lord it over our brothers and sisters or to get the best job in the church (whatever we consider that may be) and then there is unforgiveness, selfishness and insincerity. It certainly isn’t the love of God. People who act this way live in the flesh not the Spirit. In fact, in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 Paul describes such people perfectly; ‘But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people’. Does this look familiar? Unfortunately, we do see these things within the church, but if we want to see change and see the Love that Jesus commanded us to have for one another in the body of Christ, then we need to do something about it. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we are told; ‘If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’. So how about it, are you ready to do this?

Finally, is it possible for we mere humans to love each other the way Christ loves us? Well the simple answer to that is Yes, it is! We have the Holy Spirit within us, so we have the Love of Christ within us too. John 4:7-11 tells us; ‘Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another’, and 1 John 4:20-21 ‘Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.  And He has given us this command: anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister’.

We are never always going to agree with each other, we are never always going to see eye to eye, we may from time to time fall out with each other. But if our love for each other is greater that our own opinion or need to be right, then we have a chance. I think we need to ponder on what Jesus said to His disciples in John 13:12 and ask ourselves the same question. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ He then went on to say in John 13:13-17 ‘You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them’. I believe this has nothing to do with washing each other’s feet but has everything to do with a servant heart and a heart that loves as Jesus loves. Brothers and sisters in Christ; ‘Do we really understand what He’s done for us’?

May God bless you and fill your heart with His unconditional, inseparable, sacrificial, servant love.


Author: Kevin Hunt 

May God bless and enrich your life

     
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Sunday, 3 June 2018

Praying from the heart is the key to answered prayer

Our confidence in prayer is not based on our ability to speak, but on God's ability to hear and understand and God always knows what we are trying to say, through the Holy Spirit.

Source: Real as the Streets
Jeremiah 29:13 ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’. If our prayers are not being answered, then we should examine our relationship with the Lord. God isn't moved by our eloquence or the multiplicity of our words, He is moved by a heart that spills the burdens of the day across the altar, exposing every pain to the Power of God, who can. ‘Can what’ you may ask? A God who can do what we have the faith to believe Him for. If we regard iniquity in our heart the Lord will not hear us (Psalm 66:18 - KJV) and anything that adversely affects our relationship with God also affects our prayers. Friendship gives us favour, but intimacy gives us access. In John 15:7 Jesus said; ‘If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you’.

It is through God's Word that we can know, believe and agree in faith with God's will. Without His Word our prayers have no foundation, they are based merely on our opinions, desires and feelings, rather than on the living and enduring Word of God. 1 Peter 1:23 ‘For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God’, however, all the Power of God is at the disposal of true prayer. God wants to use His Power in the World, however for Him to do so, we must understand how to appropriate His words. If we are not experiencing God’s power in our lives, then maybe we should be asking ourselves; ‘how strong is our faith’? Without faith it is impossible to please God, for He who comes to God, must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6 ‘And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him’.

When we pray we need to put our heart and soul into it. Paul speaks of labouring in prayer; Colossians 4:12 ‘Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured’. Our confidence in prayer is not based on our ability to speak, but on God's ability to hear and understand and God always knows what we are trying to say, through the Holy Spirit; Romans 8:26 ‘In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans’. In John 17:1-5 Jesus shows us that He had a perfect relationship with His Father; ‘After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began’.

Source: Customoko
We can either learn to pray or we can become good at worrying, however, what we give to God He handles; 1 Peter 5:7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you’, what we keep, we handle. Spiritually when everything is going out and nothing is coming in, we will collapse under the weight of it all if we continue to try to handle things ourselves. Maybe this is where you are today?  If so, prayer is the answer, as it restores what life depletes. When we pray, we are saying ‘Lord, I believe You are more than able to deal with this and I trust You to do it’. When we pray that way, our heart is in God's hands, any illness, or surgery you are facing are in God's hands, our children and finances are in God's hands. God is ready to intervene on our behalf, all we need to do is pray from our heart, commit our way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass; Psalm 37:5 ‘Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this’. We must understand that God Himself is speaking in the Word when we pray, because the Word is who He is; John 1:1 ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’. Therefore, God's Presence becomes a part of our prayers, when we speak His Word in faith. We need to understand the power behind prayer is God's Word, the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Colossians 3:15-17 ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him’.

The Heart of Prayer is asking God to intervene in the World to fulfil His eternal purpose for mankind. We should pray to God on the basis of His Word and experience the revelation of 'Who He is', 'What His will is' and 'What He has promised'.  Prayer is an earthly license for heavenly interference.

Be blessed.


Author: Herbert Jean

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday, 27 May 2018

Blessed is the Bride of Christ

The marriage covenant is so important to God that it is woven through the pages of the Bible from the book of Genesis right through to the book of Revelation. The goal of a covenant marriage is to Glorify God and exemplify Christ to the world. Jesus makes it crystal clear that if we are to be His Bride we have to give up this life

Source: We Believe 2016
I was recently praying to Abba Father and I asked Him; ‘what would a service look like if all His children in attendance came with the sole purpose and desire to meet and Glorify His beloved Son Jesus Christ?’ Can you Imagine a service where the future Bride of Jesus Christ turns up with one purpose and one purpose only; to spend intimate time worshipping their beloved, their first love (Revelation 2:4). A gathering of believers, so on fire with passion for Jesus that no water could put the fire out; Song of Solomon 8:7 ‘Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away’. Wow what a service that would be.

Song of Solomon 5 tells us that the Shalamite woman heard a knocking at her door but she was sleepy and slow to get off her bed, when she did eventually get off her bed and open the door her lover was gone. I pray that Holy Spirit will help the Bride of Christ to never be sleepy; Revelation 3:2 ‘Wake up!’ I pray that we will be wide awake and always ready with extreme excitement for when our lover returns. Imagine the excitement of a newly married couple coming together for the first time on their wedding night. I believe that they would be so focused on one another that nothing from the world would distract them from their night of intimacy. What an even greater honour and privilege for the Bride of Christ Jesus, to be in a intimate relationship with the beloved son of God Almighty, to Love Him, to Praise Him and to have fellowship with Him.

Source: Pinterest
From the beginning to the end of the book Song of Solomon we witness the Shalamite woman growing in confidence and maturity. In Song of Solomon 2:16 she says; ‘My beloved is mine…….’, she lacks confidence and is selfish, she is claiming her lover first but by Song of Solomon 6:3 she says; ‘I am my beloved’s…..’; now we see evidence of less selfish behaviour and she is giving herself to her lover before claiming Him as hers. Then finally in Song of Solomon 7:10 she says; ‘I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me’; now she has matured and confidently knows that her lover claims her as His own. I pray that as the Bride of Jesus Christ there is evidence of us growing in maturity and that the Bride will confidently and boldly claim that she has made herself ready; Revelation 19:7 ‘Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready’, ready to spend all eternity with her beloved, He whom her soul loves and adores. Just the thought of it makes me want to dance like how King David danced, hallelujah to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

The marriage covenant is so important to God that it is woven through the pages of the Bible from the book of Genesis right through to the book of Revelation. The goal of a covenant marriage is to Glorify God and exemplify Christ to the world. Jesus makes it crystal clear that if we are to be His Bride we have to give up this life; Luke 9:23-24 ‘Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it’. Jesus will not tolerate anything coming before him; Matthew 10:37 ‘Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me’. Jesus even warns us of the cost of following Him where He tells us in Matthew 10:22-23 that we will be hated by this world just like He was hated. We are also warned in Revelation 2:10 that persecution is coming, but we must stay strong and not conform to this world (Romans 12:2). We should know with confidence that we are born again of water and of the Spirit; John 3:5 ‘Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit’.

The Living Holy Word of God warns us so many times that Jesus will return for His bride like a thief in the night; Revelation 3:3 ‘Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you’. It is therefore our responsibility to be ready at a fraction of a moments notice.

Father God in the Name of Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit I pray that you will continue to protect your Church on earth so that everything we do brings Glory to your Name.  Help us to always have the oil in our lamps (Matthew 25 1-13). Use us to be the beautiful feet of Jesus that bring the Good News to this world and let the people know that one day soon and very soon we are going to see the King. Thank you God Almighty for loving and protecting your children and thank you for the incredible gift of your beloved son Jesus.  We love and adore you with all our hearts. Amen.

Songs of Solomon 8:6 ‘Place me like a seal over your heart…….’.

God Bless.


Author: Christina O’Neill

May God bless and enrich your life
  
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Sunday, 20 May 2018

A Journey of Obedience

Obedience is the highest form of worship. If we love God, we should obey him

Source: Exhortation
Five years ago, this month I packed two suitcases and got on a plane to Burundi having said a big ‘yes’ to Papa God to step out to the unknown of a missionary life overseas. Recently, I was asked to share some of my story and I’ve found myself reflecting on this journey of obedience. I couldn’t have planned or written the story myself, but God has clearly weaved this beautiful, and sometimes painful, journey into existence:

The resignation letter… I clearly remember sitting with my boss, at a big London children’s hospital where I worked as a Pharmacist, with the letter shaking in my hand. I passed it to him and when he read the letter he asked me what I was going to do when I leave. The truth was, I didn’t know. I guessed something to do with mission work, but there was no clear plan, and if you know me I always have a plan. A plan for the day, a plan for the week, a plan for food, a plan for holidays, a plan for gifts, a plan for church activities, a plan for……. and here I was without a clear plan for the next step, post resignation. My boss handed me back the letter and encouraged me to keep the letter until I had plan. We played ‘pass the letter tennis’ for a few minutes as I shared that God had asked me to hand in my resignation, which I was now doing in obedience.

Preparation time… After finishing my job, I moved to All Nations Christian College and did a three month ‘En Route to Mission’ course with an idea I would go to Burundi as a missionary. God was so kind, as amongst the 13 students on the course there was a man from Burundi, which was a little confirmation that I was in the right place at the right time. From there I went to Burundi for a month to visit organisations and then on to Mozambique where I participated in Iris Global Harvest School for the first time. God knew I needed to receive His love and be completely transformed and forever changed so I could serve Him here in Burundi.

Feet on the ground… I arrived in Burundi with a two-week plan to stay with Burundian friends. The two weeks turned into seven months and I not only immersed myself in the culture, but learnt the language, as well as what stepping out in faith looks like. Looking back God gave such a grace for that time. I remember the laughter I caused the family with my screams when the rats (well probably big mice) ran over my face in the bed, the visitors, the different foods and the day I got caught in the floods and had to be carried over a river.

Source: Read My Bible Study - WordPress.com
Overcoming fear… Sometimes our journey requires us to overcome fear. It was a few days after the family first let me out by myself. I came back from town on the bus and as I walked across a dirt school playground I noticed a young man who had followed me from church on numerous occasions, was suddenly alongside me. Fear set in, the real deal fear that chokes at the neck. He had found me. I turned around and half-ran half-tripped back to the main road and just jumped into a passing taxi. The next day I had a choice – do I go out again by myself or let fear control me? I was reminded of a key life verse; Romans 8:15 ‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’. So, I decided to not live in fear, but as a Child of God to walk in confidence and knowing my inheritance and that I could ask God to hide me supernaturally if the young man was there.

Angels all around… I will never ever know the number of times angels have protected me here in Burundi. One day clearly sticks in my mind when I drove my good friend and her new baby to the vaccination clinic. They were both in the front passenger seat with no seatbelt. It was a clear good road and I remember driving at about 45mph on the dual carriageway. A bus parked at the side of the road pulled out and started driving across the dual carriageway in front of me to turn the other way. I slammed on the brakes, but knew we were not going to stop in time. My only option was to shout ‘Jesus’, and the next thing I knew the steering wheel had turned and the car came to a stop a finger gap from the turning bus. A miracle.

A move to the mountains… A year later God moved me up into the mountains to serve the beautiful TCOAC (The Cries of a Child) family. I had read many previous blogs about the joys and tears of being on the frontline in a rural Burundian village, especially babies needing milk as their mamas had died in childbirth. Opening a medical clinic and working on logistics such as no fuel for the generator which was needed for the oxygen machine. One of the babies was heavily dependent on oxygen! The journey there was clearly God, but there were days I literally started to pack my suitcase to leave, but I kept hearing God’s gentle whisper, ‘Don’t run away’ and I reluctantly unpacked my bag. That is where I really grew, in character, in using my gifts, in leadership, and in learning to trust and of course, it was in my obedience of staying that I met Claude!

Journey of obedience… So, what is the point of me sharing all this? Well, I think I am so challenged about obedience and continuing to walk on this journey of obedience and want to encourage you on your journey. Obedience is the highest form of worship. If we love God, we should obey him (see John 14:15,21,23). At church yesterday morning, the Preacher spoke about how Abram had to be obedient in Genesis 12:1-2 ‘The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing’.

We often want the blessing and our name to be made great, but obedience comes before the blessing. Please hear me, I can give you many examples of getting it wrong, of being disobedient, of falling short, and messing it up. Pray for me to hear God and to walk in obedience! Pray for Claude and I to hear God and to walk in obedience so we can be a blessing to the Nation of Burundi. May God bless you.


Author: Ruth Baraberewe

May God bless and enrich your life

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