Sunday, 23 July 2017

Jesus – Our Friend

Jesus demonstrated His friendship, love and loyalty by what He chose to do at the cross. It may be worth asking ourselves; What am I/you doing to demonstrate our friendship, love and loyalty to Jesus?

Source: PInterest
As a youngster, I remember singing the song ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’.  Back then it was considered a good song to sing about Jesus. Now, as an adult by virtue of my age and also of my spiritual maturity, I need to know what a friend is and the responsibility that goes along with friendship. John 15:15 ‘I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from my Father I have made known to you’. Wow!  Consider what Jesus said.  We, the committed Christians, are no longer His servants, but are called His friends!  

Friendship requires commitment to each other – loyalty, trustworthiness, even unto death.  This friendship that Jesus is referring to goes so deep that He said; ‘all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known to you’. Think about those words; ‘my Father’! He is the creator of all things – the author and controller of all things. Wow! Those are intimate things between Jesus and His Father, and Jesus shares those things because Jesus has trusted His true believers to know Him and His Father.

Source: DailyVerses.net
Why has Jesus trusted us with these intimate things? There are four primary reasons:

1) Jesus wants to re-establish the relationship between God and man that He had with Adam and Eve before they sinned.

2) Jesus wants man to live in total harmony with God and man which can only happen if man knows and lives by God’s standards of righteousness.

3) Our God is a jealous God and wants man to worship only Him.  After all, God created man.

4) God/Jesus wants us to go out into the world to proclaim His word (the Scriptures) and present the gospel of salvation.

Here is a question - Jesus asked His followers to go out into the world. Are we, His chosen, prepared to go out and share the gospel? Yes – Jesus said so in John 15:15. There are many other Scriptures that tell us that we should be prepared to go out unto the world. Consider how Jesus prayed for His Disciples in John 17:6-19. (Please go into your Bible and read this scripture); then consider these key verses:

John 17:8 - ‘For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me’. Note: Again, Jesus said that He gave us all that was given to Him.  We are prepared!

John 17:11 - ‘I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one’. Note: Jesus said He would leave this world, but He was leaving us in this world to do His works, and we are protected by the power of our Father to go out unto the world. We are protected!

John 17:13 - ‘I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them’. Note: Jesus says He wants us to have His JOY. We have His joy!

John 17:17 - ‘Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth’. Note: We need to be sanctified by applying the Word of God. The Word of God is the only absolute truth. We have His truth!

John 17:18 – ‘As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world’. Note: Did Jesus send us to another Bible study, church service, program, etc.?  While these are important, the most important thing is that Jesus sent us out into the World to use the Gifts of the Spirit He has given us. We have the Gifts of the Spirit!

Well, that is what the Scripture says about our relationship with Jesus. There are many more Scriptures that say the same thing about our friendship with Jesus and what Jesus desires from that friendship. An Important note to finish with: Jesus demonstrated His friendship, love and loyalty by what He chose to do at the cross. It may be worth asking ourselves; What am I/you doing to demonstrate our friendship, love and loyalty to Jesus?


Author: David Leatherman

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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Jesus is the Master Key

Having a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus helps me in frustrating times

Source: Heart's Table
A couple of months ago God blinded my eyes to finding my son’s spare car key and in doing so I believe God saved his life. The ‘short’ version of events goes like this: My son was working in America and when his work was done he was packing his things up to make his way back to the UK and he noticed that his car keys were missing. He got in touch with me in the UK and asked me to meet him at the airport with the spare car key on his return. I said I would, however, when my daughter and I got to his house to pick up the spare car key it was not where it was supposed to be. We both searched but could not find it anywhere.  I contacted my son to tell him we could not find the key and he explained that the spare car key was in a specific drawer in his kitchen. I went back to his house and totally emptied out this ‘specific drawer’ but there was no spare car key. When my son returned to the UK the following day a friend dropped him home and the first thing he did was open the ‘specific drawer’ and to my absolute shock the key just sitting there. 

The 'missing' key - Source: own
I prayed to God and asked him ‘why were my eyes blinded to seeing the spare car key in the drawer, the drawer that I had completely emptied out?’  I believe the answer that God gave me was that He was protecting my son and possibly the lives of other innocent people. God knew my son was not in a fit state to drive his car that day and knew that he was completely exhausted after a grueling two-week work schedule and a very long flight home. The bible tells us that we don’t know our future (Ecclesiastes 8:7) but God does. The bible also tells us that God knew us before we are born (Jeremiah 1:5) and in Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’. Praise God. Later that evening when I was praying I asked God ‘What if my son had driven his car that day and something terrible had happened. Would I still worship you when the hedge of protection was removed?’ In response to that question I can only pray that with the help of the Holy Spirit I could be trusted by God to worship him always and in everything.

My prayers led me to consider some of the many incredible characters in the bible who’s hedge of protection was removed and yet they never stopped worshiping God. Job’s worship to God was unwavering even when he lost his sons and daughters, his cattle, his servants and his camels; Job 1:20-21 ‘At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised’. In Job 2, Job loses his health and his wife challenges him to curse God and die but in Job 2:10 ‘He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said’. The Bible is packed with incredible characters, just like Job to help us on this often difficult and complex journey.

Source: PInterest
Having a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus helps me in frustrating times like the afore-mentioned example of not being able to see the key! I love reading the Bible. It is the most amazing book ever. Many of the scriptures are written on my heart and mind (Proverbs 22:18). Knowing the Bible gives me the confidence that God has everything under control. The Bible is a light unto all our feet (Psalm 119:105); and helps us stay close to God ready for times of attack from the enemy in this world (1 Peter 5:8).

I would like to conclude this testimony by thanking God for the hedge of protection that He places around all His beloved children. My heart is always overwhelmed with love and adoration for God. It is my belief that God saved me from the agonising heart break of losing my only son whom I love with all my heart and yet He allowed His own beloved Son to brutally die for me and for you, this reality is more than my mind can comprehend. Thank you, God, for saving my son’s physical life and giving all our loved one’s additional time to claim Jesus as their only ‘key’. The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 ’The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’.

Prayer - Father God open the eyes of the lost, not to a missing car key but to see that there is a Devine Almighty Christ who faithfully promises to dwell with us and never leave us. Help us Dear Father God to know you have everything under control. You always know what is best for your children. Help us to be still and hear your voice (Psalm 46:10). Father God we don’t know if we have tomorrow (1 Thessalonians 5:2) so help us to be bold and share the good news and to speak out wherever you have stationed us to be, to tell everyone that in Matthew 7:7 Jesus said; ‘Knock and the door will be opened’. Jesus is the master key, who can never ever be misplaced, Jesus lives safely in our hearts for all eternity. Amen.


Author: Christina O’Neill

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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you

I am not exactly sure what is going on at this moment in time but I know that God is with me. I feel that He is working with me and ‘cleaning’ me. The fact that He has heard my prayers, yes, my prayers, tells me that He wants me to be still and to know His presence in my life and to Glorify Him

Source: Knowing Jesus
I have recently had feelings of being frightened, stressed, unsure and in my darkest moments I have even had feelings of wanting to end the suffering and pain to the point of wanting to take my own life. By God’s grace at these moments of utter despair I reached out to brothers and sisters in Christ and asked them to pray for me. God has obviously heard their prayers because I am still here. I have come to realise that contemplating taking my own life is actually a selfish thought on my part and in hindsight this gives me feelings of guilt and shame. When I see all of the hardship in this country and around the World such as starving children, wars, disasters and many other forms of suffering, one could ask are my troubles really that significant? In actual fact I can now look back and see that my troubles seem very small compared to others, however this was very difficult to see and acknowledge when I was at my lowest point. God tells me that I am a work in progress and that He has things for me to do while I am on this earth; 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’. Below is a brief testimony showing how God is starting to work in me. I pray this will give hope and encouragement to those who may feel the way I did and to know that God is always there for us and He never leaves us, it’s actually us who move away from Him: Hebrews 13:5 ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’.

Earlier this year on 31st May I was made redundant from my job and I had to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). When I was at the Job Centre I was asked what types of job I would be looking for. As I had worked as a cleaner for several years and as this was the job I had just been made redundant from it seemed only natural to look for similar types of jobs. I was asked if I would consider any other types of work and after a little thought I said; ‘I wouldn’t mind being a Security Guard’. I was told that to be a Security Guard I would need to pass Maths and English tests first, and as I had not been in education for many years my first thought was ‘great, that’s, that then’. I had no confidence that I would be able to pass these tests, in fact the thought of doing them filled me with dread. I therefore initially discounted the possibility of being a Security Guard.

Source: Amazing Facts
After a little while a thought came to my mind that I have got nothing to lose so I may as well have a try so I booked a place to go and take the tests. The centre where the tests were being held was quite a distance from my home. I had not been to that part of the City before and I was not convinced I would be able to find it. I asked the Lord to be with me and to help me find my way to the centre and to be with me during the tests. God heard my prayers; I managed to find the centre easily and to my amazement, I passed the tests with high scores! Matthew 7:7 ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you’. Praise God, that He heard and answered my prayers.

I am not exactly sure what is going on at this moment in time but I know that God is with me. I feel that He is working with me and ‘cleaning’ me. The fact that He has heard my prayers, yes, my prayers, tells me that He wants me to be still and to know His presence in my life and to Glorify Him; Psalm 46:10 ‘He says, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth’. Without knowing me personally it will be very difficult for anyone reading this testimony to fully understand what an absolute miracle it was for me to pass the Maths and English tests. There is no way I could have done this on my own. I feel that my heart is filling up with love for an amazing God who is holding me right now. Jeremiah 29:11-13 ‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’.

I have no idea what God has planned for the rest of my life, however I know that He is working on me right now. I accept that it will not always be easy but I know I have a God who hears me 24/7, a God that will always be there for me and a God that will never let me down. Thank you Father that despite all of my faults, failings and short comings that you love me unconditionally. Amen


Author: Margaret Hannon

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Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Mouth

More wars, destruction, and hurt have been brought about by words that come from the mouth, than any other mechanism

Source: New Life Narrabri
The mouth - what a wonderful and important thing it can be. It allows you to enjoy some of the blessings of Our Lord. Some of the most joyful times are experienced when we use our mouths to eat. The mouth can also be a vital tool used to express and communicate through verbalization and while it can be a pleasant thing it can also be a vicious tool or a weapon that can be used for pure destruction. More wars, destruction, and hurt have been brought about by words that come from the mouth, than any other mechanism. However even though words can be a tool of destruction, they can also be a thing of beauty. What better mechanism for communication do we have than words coming from the mouth? Also, what feels better than a kind word that comes from the mouth?

Source:www.primobibleverses.com
The Bible has hundreds of references to the mouth in both the New and the Old Testament and records a lot of cases where the mouth was a tool or a weapon. The Bible also records many cases where the mouth gave words of comfort and joy and reassurances. In the New Testament, Jesus gave a statement about words used in the wrong way; Matthew 15:10-20 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them’. Then the disciples came to him and asked, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?’ He replied, Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit’. Peter said, ‘Explain the parable to us’. ‘Are you still so dull?’ Jesus asked them. ‘Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them’. The mouth in this scripture, is referred to as a weapon because of the words that come out of it. The rest of those verses, verses 10-20, go on to clarify what Jesus is referring to.

Words, we all use them. Jesus said to be careful that your words are cleansing and be sure your words are clean, not unclean. The essence, character, and soul of a man is not so much about what a man puts into his body from the outside in, but rather the essence, character and soul of a man is reflected by what comes from the inside out through his words, deeds, and actions. It is worth thinking about the things we allow to come from our mouths to ensure that we do not, as Jesus puts it, ‘defile ourselves’.


Author: David Leatherman

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