Saturday 25 May 2019

Trust in the Word of God

We need to understand and grow in the awareness of who we are in Christ.

Have you ever been in a place where you find yourself wondering what now? or how can I be sure what God wants next for my life? There are times when we can feel in a season of dryness or barrenness, and we struggle to find a vision from God as to the way forward and wonder why this is happening. I find this to be especially true and poignant if I've been through times of clear direction and have known and been sure what God wants me to do, and have seen success in doing it.
Related image
If this is true of you then let me encourage you to think about doing two things. Firstly worship the Lord, even if you don't feel like it, do it anyway until you go from a sacrifice of worship to a freedom of worship, and it's then that you'll often find a breakthrough. The second thing to do is to look into the word of God, open up its pages and speak out into the atmosphere scriptures like: 

John 1:11-13 He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

Romans 8:14-17 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 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." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8: 28- 30 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 

As you do this you will also be speaking affirmation into your spirit. You see, by worshipping and speaking the Word of God into the atmosphere you are declaring into the spiritual realms the praises and truth of GOD, which will send the demons fleeing and your spirit soaring. Try it! 

We need to understand and grow in the awareness of who we are in Christ, how much the Father loves us and not let our emotions or others, spiritual or physical, take our focus off the fact that we are chosen, predestined and called by God to bring Him glory. We are no longer slaves to sin or fear, but have been set free through the blood of Jesus. So never forget......'YOU ARE a CHILD of GOD'.

Sometimes God allows us to got through these times to draw us to Himself, especially if He's been trying to get our attention and we've been ignoring Him or just simply been to busy to hear Him. So often we get caught up with doing things that we forget to stop and spend time with God, to listen and fellowship with Him. I find that when we get too busy to spend time with God we start to become dry and distant from Him and it's not until we find ourselves in that place of wondering, what now? or how can I be sure what God wants next for my life? that we suddenly realise we've stopped spending time with Him.

Jesus often withdrew and spent time with the Father, and we need to do the same. Luke 5:15-16 Yet the news about Him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (underline added)

So if Jesus needed to do that what makes us think we don't? It's like going for days without eating or drinking and then wondering why we're hungry and thirsty. Just like our bodies need physical food and drink to stay healthy and strong, so our spirits need spiritual food and drink to keep spiritually healthy and strong. 
Image result for free christian small imagesJohn 6:35 Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

John 4:34 "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. This should be our food too.

Let us remember when we get to a place of 'Woe is me', that it's actually nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Christ who redeemed us with His blood. So our testimony should be the same as that of the Apostle Paul who said of himself:

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

What the Lord requires of us is quite simple:
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you
but to act justly, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

I pray that you will grow stronger and stronger in God each day, and remember we're in a battle, but the battle belongs to the Lord. Just keep the armour of God on, your eyes fixed on Jesus the author and perfector of your faith and finish the race.

God bless.


Kevin Hunt

Sunday 19 May 2019

What are you doing here Elijah?

Even when we are doing great exploits for the Lord, or just trying to live to serve Him in the quietness of our own lives and families, we can be slayed by the smallest thing……

Source: The Waters Church
When James, in his letter to the Jewish believers who had been scattered abroad, wrote about prayer, he referred to Elijah; James 5:16-18 (NKJV) ‘The effective prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain’. James recognised that Elijah was a man who walked closely with God and did amazing exploits for God, but at the same time was also governed by his human nature. His walk with the Lord is full of miracles, including declaring that the land would have no rain again until he said, and it didn’t, he challenged the King, he was fed by ravens, he raised a dead child to life, and who can forget the awesome image of the fire of God falling on Mount Carmel and consuming a water sodden offering?

You would think that nothing could effect this mighty man of God and yet it is only a short while after the ‘Mount Carmel incident’ that we find him afraid and on the run because of the threats of a woman! 1 Kings 19:3-4 ‘Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. ‘He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness travelling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. I have had enough Lord he said take my life for I am no better than by ancestors who have already died’. This is such a vivid picture of Elijah, in the wilderness, alone and struggling to make sense of all that had happened. Driven by his fear and his human nature he asks the Lord to take his life as he was no better than all the people that had gone before and let the Lord down. He wanted to be different, he wanted to be faithful, he wanted to be dependable, and he had put himself ‘out there for the Lord’ but had been defeated by fear. His human nature had taken over, as human nature does.

Even when we are doing great exploits for the Lord, or just trying to live to serve Him in the quietness of our own lives and families, we can be slayed by the smallest thing, a single thought or a harsh word a disappointment or sometimes even confusion over what is happening in our lives or the lives of others. In a moment we can forget all the Lord has done, all the miracles we have seen and experienced, all the assurance we have ever received and all we can think about is the current issue. We take our eyes off the Lord and in a moment we can be filled with fear and find ourselves on the run, sometimes physically by trying to take ourselves somewhere else or spiritually by running away from the Lord, not praying, sometimes not going to church and putting down our bibles and turning to other things. Pretty soon we can find ourselves sitting in a wilderness under a solitary tree feeling totally defeated and that we are a failure.

Source: PInterest
We have so much to learn about the Lord from the account of Elijah. Firstly, as Elijah was at his lowest point and as he slept, an angel came and made him a meal, woke him up and told him to eat. Then Elijah went back to sleep. The angel woke him up again and told him to; ‘eat some more or the journey ahead will be too much for you’ (1 Kings 19:7). The Lord knows that when we become distracted or filled with fear there is a tendency for us to sleep, shut down, either physically or spiritually, but the Lord also knows that it is at this very point that we actually need to feed. We need to read His Word more, we need to actually get before Him and pray and we definitely need the encouragement of being with other believers, to worship with them and to allow them to encourage us. The Bible tells us that in the strength of this food Elijah travelled 40 days and 40 nights until he came to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, the place where the Lord was going to both challenge him, meet him and direct him. As Elijah spent the night in a cave the Lord asked an incredibly searching question; 1 Kings 19:13 ‘what are you doing here Elijah?’ Again, Elijah showed his human nature by blaming other people for his fear and for his situation of being on the run.

Our human nature so likes to blame other people; ‘they did this’, ‘they are saying that’, ‘I`m trying my best but look at what they are doing’. I can think of many times in my life when I have done this and I know that I will probably do it again in the future because it is our human nature to blame others, after all it started with Adam blaming Eve and Eve blaming the serpent. It's embedded in us, however God has a different way for us. He didn’t answer Elijah`s arguments or give an explanation, instead He told Elijah; ‘to go outside and stand on the mountain’. It was there on the mountain of the Lord that God revealed His strength and awesome power in the form of a windstorm, earthquake and fire, but in none of these terrifying events did the Lord reveal the essence of His Presence. It was in a still small voice, a gentle whisper, it was this gentle whisper that enticed Elijah from the protection of the cave to stand before the Lord. And what did the Lord whisper to Elijah… ‘What are you doing here Elijah?’ to which Elijah replied with the same reason as before. I think this part of the account displays the Lord's amazing grace to us, His people. He had just demonstrated the extent of His Power to control all things to Elijah, but Elijah was still holding on to his grievances, his fears and his reasons. Instead of God saying to him ‘well if you feel like that after all I have revealed to you, then get on with it you are of no use to me like this’, instead He said a strange thing to him; 1 Kings 19:15 ‘go back the same way you came’.

So often when things go wrong we want to run away and we expect the Lord to change everything. We do not want to face our fears because that feels the most comfortable thing to do, however, there is no victory in that. God knows this so He often sends us back to where we are running from to fulfill the purpose He has for us there. He did it with Jonah and He did it here with Elijah. The Lord also gave Elijah instructions of what to do next and assurance that he was not alone. God knew that on the journey back Elijah would have time to reflect on all the Lord had shown him and he would be in a better place to fulfill all the Lord wanted him to do including anointing the next prophet of Israel.

I am so encouraged and grateful for this account in God’s Word and James`s reflection that Elijah was a man with a nature just like ours and the fact that God was able to really use him. I find that so encouraging in the times when I feel the worst about myself. If I can take the time and put myself in the place where I can hear God’s still small voice, His gentle whisper then I can be encouraged to know that His Grace will lift me up, set me on the right path and allow me to be and do what he wants me to be and to do.

May God bless you.

Author: Jan Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and others

Sunday 12 May 2019

‘Eat Me, Drink Me’ – then you will know true life!

Isaiah 55:1 ‘Ho! Everyone who thirsts! Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat’

Source: YouTube
It was through conversations with a good friend that I came to realise more deeply the importance and power of ‘partaking’ and communion of the saints. I was reminded recently about something we saw in Grenada. On an excursion around the Island the guide stopped and showed us a group of land crabs tied to a rope. They were a local delicacy and were being prepared for sale to eat. Apparently in the wild the land crabs eat any old rubbish they can get their claws on and consequently, when they are caught, their insides are full of rubbish (‘you are what you eat’)! What the vendors do is feed the land crabs for a while on rice and household scraps and thereby ‘cleanse’ them so that they are the sought-after cuisine that people will pay good money for. The point is that the crabs are cleansed by what they take in although they are largely unaware of the change that is taking place inside.

In the bible, we are offered the invitation to ‘come and eat’ in various forms. Normally what we eat and drink makes no difference to our spiritual welfare or what others make of us. In Mark 7:14-16 Jesus says: ‘Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!’ However, there is a context in which what we take in does make a difference to our spiritual lives and wellbeing. Here are three examples:

Matthew 4:4 - (Quoting scripture Himself Jesus said) ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’

John 6:51-56 - (Jesus said) ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world’. … and ‘Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him’.

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 ‘The cup of blessing which we bless (or ‘consecrate’), is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread’.

Source: Assurance United Methodist Church
Clearly the first example is about our need for the Word of God whether heard, read or received by direct revelation. The importance of the response from Jesus is to Satan tempting Him to take bread and Jesus replying that our primary need is not in satisfying our natural hunger for food but in partaking of the Word of God in whatever form it is accessible. The response that Jesus gave also links to the second temptation where Satan quotes some scripture himself. Paraphrasing, Satan says ‘jump off the building because it is written that His angels will look after you and keep you from (even) dashing your foot against a stone’. Satan misses out the vital words ‘keep you in all your ways’ – crucial in not getting into that scrape in the first place! Jesus has already pointed out that we live by every Word of God – not just the ones that we pick out or prefer for ourselves. The Lord wants to walk with us in all our ways every day – not just to keep getting us out of 'another fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into'.

The second example is Jesus saying that He is the ‘Living Bread which came down from heaven’. He is urging those listening to ‘eat Him’ and ‘drink Him’. The context is that this passage in John 6 occurs after the feeding of the 5000 and Jesus says: ‘You don’t follow me because you believe the signs that you saw but because you took of the loaves and had your fill’. You can imagine that almost in frustration Jesus wants to shout: ‘Eat Me, Drink Me – then you will know true life’! He wants them to partake of that spiritual food that leads to eternal life. No doubt there is more than a passing connection here with the sacrifices offered under Moses’s Law where those offering sacrifices ate their allotted portion from the relevant offerings. The response of some of the disciples to Jesus saying; ‘eat my flesh and drink my blood’ is recorded in John 6:60 ‘On hearing it, many of his disciples said, This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ We are then told in John 6:66-69 ‘From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, Do you also want to go away? But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’. So many of His (then) disciples couldn’t cope with Jesus’s urging to partake – their belief it seems only took them as far as the ‘free handouts’. Jesus did not spare them or coax them He challenged them even more deeply about how far they were willing to go. Peter on the other hand had one of his moments of significant revelation – he seems to get it completely; ‘where can we go Jesus? We have tasted ‘real bread’ and understand you are the ‘real thing’ to go elsewhere would be pointless’!

In 1 Corinthians 10 and 11 Paul picks up the theme of the Last Supper and the significance of what Jesus has given us as a gift. In 1 Corinthians 10 he talks about how it is impossible to partake in pagan rituals and to also take communion; 1 Corinthians 10:21 ‘You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons’. He talks about the bread and the wine that we ‘bless’ (consecrate) as the gathered church agrees together that this is a representation of our Lord and what He has done for us. He is saying that it is not possible to completely identify with Him and at the same time give allegiance to other Gods. (In those days, they were as we know demonically inspired physical images. Today they often take the form of ‘Gods’ that we have created in our own minds, or 'doctrines' that we have made up for ourselves).

As we (His church) partake of those sacred emblems they mean more to us than just tokens. This is Jesus giving Himself that we might receive divine nature; 2 Peter 1:3-4 ‘His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires’. Through communion we receive and imbibe the very characteristics of Jesus. He was not only dying to deal with our sins but that through the bread and wine of the New Covenant, His torn flesh and shed blood, He was providing a tangible way that we can partake of His very essence. Almost as if He might say to us; ‘is your faith so weak that you cannot receive what I offer? OK then eat me and drink me and receive what you need’. No wonder then that 1 Corinthians 11:27-30 says ‘Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason, many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep’.

Apparently, John Wesley said that he took communion as often as he could (sometimes four times a week). If we could really grasp that this is not a religious observance, a ritual sometimes embedded in our church services, but our gift from the Lord Himself through which He empowers His people, then would we not do the same? As the song says; ‘The same power that rolled the stone away – the same power alive in us today’! Let’s embrace this gift from the Lord, Let’s know its true meaning, let’s realise and experience it’s place and power in our lives.

Be blessed.

Author: Chris Pearson 

May God bless and enrich your life

Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and others

Sunday 5 May 2019

How can this happen? - God will make it happen through the Holy Spirit!

Luke 1:34-35 ‘How can this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you……..’

Source: PInterest
Has God been telling us things that He wants to do through us, but instead we look at ourselves and think, how can this happen? We might say to ourselves; ‘I don't have the training, the resources, the skill or the connections and I certainly don't have the strength to accomplish it alone’. Our natural human instinct tends to focus on our human limitations and shortcomings without having the strength of faith to realise that God has no limitations in what He can do through us. By doubting what God can accomplish in us we are asking exactly the same question as Mary in Luke 1:34 ‘How can this be?’

God is not asking or expecting us to do it by ourselves, but that we allow the Holy Spirit to do it through us. In doing so, no-one else will get the credit, but God alone. How will it happen?; By surrendering to the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to come upon us and letting the Power of the Most High over-shadow us. The key thing here is that we surrender. If we can truly do this then we initiate the process of letting go of doubt and submitting to God’s Will through faith. This will then allow the Holy Spirit to impregnate us with a vision, inspire us with a creative idea, introduce us to the right people and empower us to do the job. God had a unique plan for Mary and He has one for you (and I) too.

We're not privileged to see into the future and we don't know all that God has in store for us, but we can be absolutely certain that He has a plan and purpose for each of us. After the angel spoke to Mary notice what she said; Luke 1:38 ‘…..May your word to me be fulfilled…... God is also asking us to trust and obey Him in exactly the same way. Our social status, our job description, our finances or what we think we deserve are not factors that influence who God uses to fulfil His Purpose on this earth. But if we are willing to surrender and by faith say to God ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’ then we have a chance of turning this world upside down through faith and obedience, all to the Glory of God.

Source: PInterest
Do you think that it would have been easy for Mary to respond in the way she did? No, she was taking an extreme risk as to be pregnant and unmarried brought dire consequences in those days. Yet she gave herself willingly to God and the results were miraculous. God can use us in mighty ways if we can follow the obedient example of Mary even in times of possible adversity, ridicule, persecution and their resulting consequences.

In faith we say ‘amen’ to God's ‘yes’ and if we can leave our lack of faith and human negativity behind we can leave God to be free to continue and complete His work in us; 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’. The language of faith is to commit our ways to Him and to trust in Him at all times; Psalm 37:5 ‘Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this’ and Jeremiah 17:7 ‘But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him’.

May God bless each of us to have the faith and to follow the example of Mary, to listen to what God is asking of us and by faith to be bold in the confidence that God will fulfil His Purpose in us. By the Power of the Holy Spirit let our response always be; ‘May your word to me be fulfilled’.

Be blessed.

Author: Anonymous

May God bless and enrich your life
Please feel free to share this article and other articles on this site with friends, family and others