Sunday, 29 November 2015

Are we only a handful of dust?

The dirt will return to dirt, but the spirit lives on forever in either the agony of hell or the glory of heaven.  Do you know Jesus as your Savior so that your eternal spirit can live in heaven, or will your eternal spirit burn in hell?

Are we only a handful of dust, which is dirt? As unflattering as that sounds, we are only dirt.  Well, maybe a special kind of dirt. We are made from the elements of the ground, suspended in a molecular state, held together by gases, such as oxygen and hydrogen, which are also in a molecular state, formed by the magnetic fields of atoms, which they, themselves, are a magnetic field. What a miracle!  To prove that is true, consider cremation of an animal.  A two-hundred pound animal that is cremated will be reduced to a handful of dust, which is dirt.  The rest of the body returns to gases. Wait a minute!  There is something even more special than the dirt that we are made of - a soul.  A soul was also created, along with the dirt. So, the soul and dirt act as one unit. 

Here is another thought - the most awesome aspect of a created human being is that man’s body was made from existing dirt that God formed and breathed life into; Genesis 2:7 ‘The time came when the Lord God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And man became a living person’; and someday the body will return to dirt; Genesis 3:19 ‘All your life you will sweat to master it (the soil), until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from the ground, and to the ground you will return.’ But, the soul that was created to occupy the body was created by a spirit that did not exist prior to the creation of the body.  While the dirt will return to dirt, the spirit comes from nothing that has physical properties and will never die. 
Okay, so what is the point of what has been discussed? Well, no matter how important we think we are, no matter how rich or poor we are, no matter how much civil power we have, no matter about anything else, we were made from dirt; we are now dirt, and we will return to dirt.  The bible refers to it as ‘dust’, which is dirt. The thing that separates one special piece of dirt from another special piece of dirt is the unique spirit that occupies each special peace of dirt.  The dirt will return to dirt, but the spirit lives on forever in either the agony of hell or the glory of heaven.  Do you know Jesus as your Savior so that your eternal spirit can live in heaven, or will your eternal spirit burn in hell?

Just as a note from one piece of dirt to another piece of dirt. Do not evaluate yourself over someone else.  They may be a piece of dirt, but so are you.  God breathed life into your special piece of dirt, so that you can find, joy, peace and fulfilment by serving Him. Psalm 103:13-14 ‘As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him for he knows how we are formed; he remembers that we are dust’.

Yes, He loves you – the dirt and the spirit – ALL of you.

Author: David Leatherman 

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

The miracle of God’s amazing provision

‘…the land produced much vegetation-all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed bearing fruit.  Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good’ (Genesis 1:12).
In March 2014 my husband very excitedly secured himself an allotment.  When I went with my husband to share in his joy I was very surprised to be standing in front of a very large plot of extremely over grown land. I was initially deterred by the huge amount of work it would take to clear the land however my husband was not put off by my lack of enthusiasm, Praise God and he started to put a plan in place to get the land cleared ready for him to plant some seeds and reap a harvest. My husband worked really hard every weekend to prepare the allotment, he turned the land over and removed every single weed by hand. Our son and I helped one day and it was really hard physical work.  After months of preparation, dedication and passion my husband managed to get the allotment to a place where it was ready to plant some seeds. Praise God.

Just to grow cauliflowers alone, my husband had to sow the cauliflower seeds into pots and then after a few weeks he had to individually separate the small shoots (something known as pricking out). The very tiny delicate shoots had to be handled SO carefully.  After several weeks exposed to the sunshine the tiny shoots were ready to be transplanted into the prepared allotment land. The next stage in the process of growing the cauliflower was to lovingly water and feed the tiny shoots on a regular basis.  A few months later there was evidence of many tiny cauliflowers beginning to bud. It was amazing, a real blessing to be a part of this incredible experience. From a packet of seeds these cauliflowers started to take shape and then there was the growth of potatoes, beetroot, onions, corn and a whole range of other vegetables and several fruits, Praise God. The preparation for all of the range of vegetables (and fruit) was similar to the cauliflower. Hours and Hours of hard work, but my husband enjoyed every second because he told me that he felt really close to God through out the whole process. The huge amount of preparation and hard work reminded me of the scripture in Revelation 19:7, ‘…the bride has made herself ready….’

This photograph was taken from the same position as the
photograph above in June 2015
From the day my husband started work on his beloved allotment to his first harvest the bible scriptures kept going around in my mind and many Scripture’s came to life. Here are just a few of them; 

Hard work, commitment and focus;
Proverbs 13:4 ‘…those who work hard will prosper….’
Proverbs 6: 6-8 ‘… take lessons from the ants, you lazy bones….’
Proverbs 12:24 ‘Work hard and become a leader, be lazy and become a slave.’
Proverbs 14:23 ‘work brings profit but mere talk leads to poverty’

The ability to believe and see an end result;
2 Corinthians 5:7 ‘…. we live by faith and not sight’
Hebrews 11:1 ‘… assurance about what we do not see….’
James 1:6 ‘… You must believe and not doubt….’

The ability to not be deterred from his dream by any negative comments spoken;
Song of Solomon 2:15 ‘….catch the Foxes before they ruin the vineyard’
Psalm 1:1 ‘…The joy of those who do not follow the advise of the wicked…’
Proverbs 4:23 ‘….what we sow in our minds will run our life….’

The obvious scripture that is constantly alive in my mind is the Parable of the sower and the seed; Matthew 13:1-23.

A photograph of part of the harvest - Praise God
The ongoing lessons for me personally are far too many to mention but the greatest blessings has been to learn how to 'be just still and know that I am GOD', (Psalm 46:10), to watch the miracle of new life, to witness how hard work, faith and passion pay off to reap a ‘mighty harvest’. For me the blessing of the allotment is time away from mobile phones, the internet, housework, cooking and so on. It is a time of incredible peace, joy and absolute wonder, a time of prayer and thanksgiving, in acknowledgement of God’s amazing provision (Genesis 1:12). The allotment also deepens my love for my husband because when he plants a seed and there is evidence of new life he gets SO excited like a small child on his birthday and to be a part of this overwhelming joy is infectious and a real blessing to my life. God blesses my heart because it deepens my love for him. To God be all the Glory always. 

In summary my experience of the allotment leads me to ask myself the question, where do I invest my time? Also, and more importantly; what harvest will I reap? I believe my heart is my allotment and I must do the hard work to prepare my heart so My God has a fertile land, wholly surrendered to His service and then the seed of his Word may bear His heavenly fruit through me, praise God. It is my responsibility with the help of the Holy Spirit to keep the land weeded and to ‘watch for the foxes’ (Song of Solomon 2:15), my mind is the doorway to my heart so I must ‘guard my mind always’ (Proverbs 4:23). I am a soldier at war so I must never be without my sword and my full armor on (Nehemiah 4:18 & Ephesians 6:10-17), we know 'the devil prowls around like a roaring lion' (1 Peter 5:8), BUT 'He who is in me has defeated him' (1 John 4:4)! Praise God, Amen.

Author: Christina O’Neill 

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Sunday, 15 November 2015

I Stand Amazed

… is love, vaster than the ocean. In the garden that night He demonstrated the greatest love. Knowing that we would not always love Him back, and many would choose never to love Him at all….

I wanted to share a few scriptures and thoughts that link to a hymn I have been looking at recently. The hymn is ‘I Stand Amazed in the Presence’ by Charles H Gabriel, who was born in 1856 on a farm in Iowa, USA. Charles taught himself to play the family’s reed organ and later went on to become a well known teacher and composer, and this hymn is one of his more recognisable ones. You can enjoy the hymn for yourself by listening to the video at the end of this article.

For a while now I have been reflecting on the unfathomable mystery of God’s love, that He chose to sacrifice himself for me, a sinful man, from whom He could receive no useful thing. The hymn begins; ‘I stand amazed in the presence Of Jesus the Nazarene; And wonder how He could love me; A sinner, condemned, unclean’. This makes me think of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane shortly before He was arrested;

Matthew 26:36-39 ‘Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray’.  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me’. Going a little farther, 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’.

Matthew 26:42 ‘He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done’.

Matthew 26:44 ‘So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing’.

In the stillness of the garden that night, Jesus, full of anguish and sorrow, faced the prospect of drinking from the cup of God’s terrible wrath against sin, and a violent and brutal death by crucifixion. He would no doubt have been tempted, as any man would have been, to flee from the horror of those trials ahead…  But here is love, vaster than the ocean. In the garden that night He demonstrated the greatest love. Knowing that we would not always love Him back, and many would choose never to love Him at all, instead cursing His name. Despite the knowledge of all of our sin and disobedience towards Him, for you, and…. (the hymn continues) ‘For me it was in the garden; He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.”; He had no tears for His own griefs; But sweat drops of blood for mine’.

Luke 22:43 ‘An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him’. ‘In pity angels beheld Him; And came from the world of light; To comfort Him in the sorrows; He bore for my soul that night’.

Isaiah 53:6 ‘We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all’. ‘He took my sins and my sorrows; He made them His very own; He bore the burden to Calvary; And suffered and died alone’.

John 3:16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’. ‘When with the ransomed in glory; His face I at last shall see; ’Twill be my joy through the ages; To sing of His love for me’.

Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to drink of the cup of God’s wrath against sin so we didn't have to. Romans 5:9 talks about this wrath, where it says: ‘Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!’

And finally, Revelation 14:19-20 provides us with an agricultural representation of the end times, where God’s mercy is cut off forever from those who have chosen to love sin over God, and His wrath is poured out upon them. ‘The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia’. What is marvellous, and what is wonderful, is that when Jesus, by Himself, purged our sins at Calvary, He made a way for us to avoid this wrath.

‘O how marvellous! O how wonderful!; And my song shall ever be: O how marvellous! O how wonderful!; Is my Saviour’s love for me!’

Author: Mark Watson

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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Make your plan and God will direct it

Our God is an awesome God, all His timings and ways are just and perfect

The Word of God tells us to make our plans and He will direct them. Proverbs 16:3 ‘Commit your actions to the Lord, and  your plans will succeed’ and again in Proverbs 16:9 ‘In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps’. How true these scriptures are, for God not only directs but also appoints blessed encounters and provision.

My husband and I recently booked a holiday in Wales, but we were humming and harring over the location and the actual date of when to go.  We eventually settled on going to Laugharne, South Wales, from Saturday 26th September to Saturday 3rd October. Having made the decision we proceeded to search for a Pentecostal Church to attend for Sunday service, we searched for a Church as close as possible to where we were staying, as we did not want to miss service while we were away. After a little research we found Calvary Church at Haverfordwest, which was approximately 27 miles away from where we were staying. We also chose this Church as we knew the Pastor and his wife.  Pastor Adrian Vaughan is married to Hazel (nee Weaver) who is the daughter of Pastor Weaver of Calvary Temple, Balsall Heath, Birmingham which was our original home church.

So on the Sunday, armed with our sat nav we set out to arrive in time for the start of the 10.30am morning service.   When we arrived the service had already started as it was actually a 10.00am start and not 10.30am as stated on the Internet, however we were still lovingly welcomed. Interestingly, the Pastor was reminiscing about his time at Calvary Temple, Birmingham (our original church) and then announced that ‘Madge’ was going to be the speaker.  Herbie (my husband) and I looked at each other in surprise, exclaiming ‘Madge it can’t be, there’s only one Madge’ and we couldn’t believe our ears.  Our eyes didn’t deceive and sure enough Madge stood up and proceeded up to the stage to deliver the Word.

You see this is a two-fold testimony in that Herbie and I got married in 1971 and this is when we started to go to Calvary Temple in Birmingham.  I gave my heart to the Lord (born again) on the 03rd September 1978.  This is where Madge came in, you see at the time I was childless, but after much powerful prayers and prophecy/vision given to me by Madge, who I remember prophesying by explaining to me the following vision; –  ‘I came into church one Sunday morning and I asked her (Madge) to hold our baby girl to enable me to go after her brother who had run off outside church’. It is worth remembering that at the time of the prophecy, I was childless. I did not get pregnant until I had given my heart to the Lord, even though I had two miscarriages.  I eventually had a bouncing baby boy on the 14th February 1984, followed by a beautiful baby girl on the 28th June 1985. To God be all the praise and glory.

The provision part of this testimony is that after the Sunday morning service had finished Pastor Vaughan invited us to come back to their home for lunch along with Madge who was staying with them before she returned home on the Monday.  So we were well fed and watered and had a wonderful time catching up on old times (we hadn’t had any contact with Madge for approx. 30 years).  The day ended with us being able to go back to the evening service at Calvary Church. 

Our God is an awesome God, all His timings and ways are just and perfect. Ecclesiastes 3:1 ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens’ Praise God.

Author: Inie Jean 

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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Psalm 1 - Seeking the right counsel

Choose your friends/advisors carefully and prayerfully, because those closest to you can have the ability to make or break you.

The first Psalm in the bible talks about the dangers of getting the wrong counsel, listening to wrong voices and mixing with the wrong people. Psalm 1:1-3 ‘Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers’. The Word of God therefore clearly warns us to seek our counsel carefully.

Implicit in the Word is stability, nourishment, productivity, strength, durability and success.  So choose your friends/advisors carefully and prayerfully, because those closest to you will have the ability to make or break you. When seeking advice or counsel we should always discern any advisor before they speak into our lives, making sure that they are:

               1.  People of integrity
               2.  People of faith
               3.  People with influence
               4.  People with complimentary gifts
               5.  People who share your vision
               6.  People who are loyal
               7.  People who are creative

If we look for these seven qualities in those who are advising us there is every chance we will receive good counsel and we will have a better chance of succeeding in what God has called us to do.  This will also help ensure that we get input from God, giving us confidence that any advice we have been given is not just worldly.  Advice that is not from God is usually not good advice and can often make our situations worse than before, so again, we should always seek our counsel carefully. 

Isaiah 30:21 tells us that if we know our Father then He will direct us; ‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’.  We should therefore make sure that any goals or plans that we have set are in harmony with God’s will for us, because if they are not, having the best counsel ‘in the world’ won’t help us one iota.

Romans 8:15 ‘So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father’

Psalm 32:1-2 ‘Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit’ 

Psalm 40:4 ‘Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods’

Way back in the Old Testament the Prophet Isaiah foretold that there would be a child born who would be called ‘Wonderful Counsellor’, (amongst other glorious titles).  The prophesy was fulfilled with the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; Isaiah 30:31 ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’. If our counsel comes directly from the ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ himself, and this may be through somebody with the seven qualities described above, then we can be certain that this will be good counsel, which is the very counsel we should be seeking.  Praise God.

Author: Herbert Jean 

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