Sunday, 28 February 2021

God's incomparably Great Power

God is in the miracle business, and sometimes He chooses to Glorify Himself through miracles. He always works in the mundane, but He especially shows His Glory through the impossible.

Source: RedBubble
Ephesians 1:3-6 ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved’ 

Again, in Ephesians 1:11-12 ‘In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory’

and in 2 Chronicles 16:9 ‘For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him’

God is looking for people to demonstrate His Power. To experience God's Power, we must not discount God's ability to accomplish the impossible; Genesis 17:17 ‘Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?’ When God prophesied about this miracle child, Abraham laughed. Probably he did not laugh because of disbelief, but it was incredible to him because Sarah was barren and past childbearing age. Just like Abraham, we don't consider the miraculous.  We ask, 'How can God fix this situation?', or 'How can God turn this around?', or ‘How can God use somebody like me?'  God is in the miracle business, and sometimes He chooses to Glorify Himself through miracles. He always works in the mundane, but He especially shows His Glory through the impossible.

Source: Bible Verses to go
In Matthew 19:24-26 Christ told his disciples about the impossibility of mankind being saved; ‘Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.’  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’ Many of us know God as Father. He cares, directs, and disciplines us. It seems not many know God as El Shaddai, God Almighty, the all-powerful and sufficient God, who can do anything and meet any need.

In John 14:12 Jesus said that those who believed in Him would do greater miracles; ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father’.

When Peter preached his first sermon, 3,000 people were saved; Acts 2:41 ‘So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls’. Jesus’ ministry was largely limited to Israel, but the disciples reached and turned the world upside down. Nations and governments are transformed by the gospel, but most Christians still have no experience of this. This is the God we need to know as well. We need Him for our lives, our families, our churches, and our nations, to be transformed. We need El Shaddai. We should try to follow the example of the Apostle Paul who made it his mission to not only know Jesus but to also know His Power; Philippians 3:10 ‘that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death’.

When God appeared to Abraham, He told him to walk before Him and be blameless.  This does not mean sinless, but single hearted, sincere, and wholly devoted to the Lord. What situation is God calling you to bring before Him? Our God is the God of the impossible. Let us bring our problems, fears, and hopes before Him.  Because that is where He works, He works in the impossible.

Author: Eugene Dragunas

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday, 21 February 2021

Trust God to finish what He started in us

Until you stop floundering around, God can't/won't do anything for you, so the word we can learn today is trust God more and try less.

Source: constant contact
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’

If we want God's Will to be done in our lives, don't rush things.  Sarah, Abraham's wife did that and as a result Ishmael was born, which brought about all sorts of strife and family complications even in the world today. Remember; ‘flesh gives birth to flesh, the spirit gives birth to spirit’ (John 3:6).  So, let us be sure that our plans are conceived by God's Spirit (the Holy Spirit) and that we don’t continually try to salvage anything that is flesh based.  In Genesis 17:21 God said ‘But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year’. So, Isaac was born as a result of God's Will, done by God's Way and in God's Time.  

Everything that is conceived in us comes from one of two sources, the flesh or the holy spirit. So, we must be vigilant because people will try to involve us in all kinds of schemes to promote ourselves, which is clearly flesh and not spirit. God doesn't need anyone’s help to bless us, He can do it all by himself, which is why whenever the enemy attacks us, we need to be able to point him to our spiritual birthplace and remind him that we didn't begin this project and we don't have to finish it. Philippians 1:6 reminds us of this in the confidence that He who began a good work in us will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  2 Corinthians 3:4-5 reinforces this: ’Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God’.

Here is a further thought: If God is dealing with you about carnality, pride or some other obstacle in your life/path, don't resist, don't run and don't get in his way like a drowning man frantically trying to save himself.  Until you stop floundering around, God can't/won't do anything for you, so the word we can learn today is trust God more and try less.

May the Lord bless you and let the Holy Spirit speak to you.  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’. So we trust Him to complete whatever He has started in us. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight'.

Ephesians 3:20-21 ‘Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen’.

Be Blessed.

Author: Herb Jean

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday, 14 February 2021

Faith alone isn’t enough, we need to repent, believe and be baptised

I wonder if you have ever felt beyond redemption. If you realise you are guilty of murdering the Son of God you might think you have committed the unforgivable sin.  

Source: Knowing Jesus

After the resurrection, Jesus had ordered the apostles to wait for the promise of the Father.  John the Baptist had also had said he baptised with water, but they were going to  be baptised with the Holy Spirit, receiving power to be Jesus’ witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the world. When Jesus ascended into heaven the apostles returned to Jerusalem, devoted themselves to prayer together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers, waiting for the promise of being baptised in the Holy Spirit.  They were around 120 people.  When the day of Pentecost arrived they were all together in one place.  Jews came to celebrate this Jewish Feast from every nation under heaven and also people who weren’t Jews but who feared God or had converted to Judaism. They were around 3000.  

When the Holy Spirit fell, all these visitors were absolutely astounded as they could hear them talking in their own languages. So Peter stood with the other apostles and addressed the locals and the visitors.  He reminded them of the prophecies in the Old Testament that were written centuries before and that they knew so well.  And showing them how the Scriptures clearly told that Jesus whom they had crucified was the Son of God.  They always believed that when the Christ came, the promise that God had made through the prophet Joel would come true (Acts 2:17-21), that God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh.  Peter was explaining that that was exactly what they were witnessing which baffled them so much.  Seven weeks earlier they had shouted, ‘Crucify Him!’  Watching Him being spat at, laughed at and mocked.  Can we imagine how they felt as they began to realise that their sins had crucified Jesus Christ? 

Those people who jeered, and mocked were no worse than any of us, and the sins that made them do it; cowardice, envy, hatred, fear, are the sins that lodge in our hearts and minds, so we were there when they crucified the Lord.  So we can take to heart Peter’s words and say this Jesus whom we crucified, whom our sins nailed to the tree God has made Him Lord and Christ.  It seems a hopeless situation.  

Source: PInterest

If we realise we are guilty of murdering the Son of God we might think that we have committed the unforgivable sin.  Peter’s response is full of hope, full of mercy; Acts 2:38-39 ‘Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself’.

Repenting is not a feeling, it is an action.  To think about our behaviour and to turn away from it and come to the Lord, to be completely washed, totally cleansed.  This was the Lord Jesus’ command.  So faith alone isn’t enough, we need to repent, believe and be baptised.  So we understand with our mind, believing that Jesus is Lord, respond with our heart, repenting, turning away and being baptised, washed.  As we do this God responds by forgiving our sins and remembering them no more; Isaiah 43:25I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more and Hebrews 8:12 ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. God is able to do something that we aren’t able to do and that is to forget.  But if we understand the measure of our sin and the love and forgiveness that the Lord extends to us as we receive the promised Holy Spirit into our lives we will be able to do the things that by ourselves we can’t achieve.  

There isn’t any need we will ever have that God hasn’t already provided for; Philippians 4:9And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. There is no limit to the promise of the Holy Spirit either in time or space; Acts 2:39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call’.  If we feel beyond forgiveness, beyond redemption, then please read Acts 2 and appropriate these amazing words of hope.  Jesus is alive today, ready to pour out upon us the Holy Spirit and to share with us the victory over sin He won at Calvary.  

Author: Betty Plumb

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Sunday, 7 February 2021

Let go of the Helm

If we want to live the life God wants us to lead and be guided by Him, then we have got to let go of the helm


Those of you who know me, have probably heard me, or Barbara, my wife, say that, for the first hour or so in the morning, I am on remote control. My mind doesn’t start working, in the sense of making major or even some minor decisions for that time. Barbara knows better than to ask me a question or give me an instruction or request during that time, because I will not be able to answer her properly or forget what she has said, so whatever she has asked is unlikely to get done. The plus side of this is that the Lord uses this time to talk to me. Probably because, I am in no state, to interrupt, or put my own slant on what He has to say.

A few weeks ago, one morning, I woke early and went downstairs to spend time with the Lord, but unusually, I was also seeking the Lord about the plans I had in my head for the day. Things I thought I ought to be doing, and the way I should be doing them in an ordered, timely and appropriate manner. So, seeking the Lord really, in my own planning, asking Him for guidance in the way I should fulfil my plans, which sounded good and right to me as a man. The Lord’s response was, ‘I would rather watch your house, your belongings, your ideas, and your body disintegrate. I want you to spend time with Me. Your future is with Me, not in your house, your schemes, plans and ideas.’ I felt fully reprimanded and confused by what the Lord had just said to me.

When Barbara came downstairs, I shared with her what had happened and what the Lord had said.  She decided to look at our daily readings, as, even though they were written some years ago, they are especially relevant for the time we are in now, the first reflection she shared was from Sarah Young ‘Jesus Calling’. It said as follows:

‘Remember that you live in a fallen world: an abnormal world tainted by sin.  Much frustration and failure result from your seeking perfection in this life.  There is nothing perfect in this world except Me.  That is why closeness to Me satisfies deep yearning and fills you with Joy. I have planted longing for perfection in every human heart.  This is a good desire, which I alone can fulfil.  But most people see this fulfilment in other people and earthly pleasures or achievements.  Thus, they create idols, before which they bow down.  I will have no other gods before Me! Make Me the deepest desire of your heart.  Let Me fulfil your yearning for perfection’.

These reflections were taken from: Exodus 20:31 ‘You shall have no other gods before (in hostility towards) me’ and Psalm 37:4 ‘Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.’

Barbara, went on to read from the Bible commentary, the meaning of Heart: (The centre of the human spirit, from which springs emotions, thoughts, motivations, courage, and action – “the wellspring of life”).

We realised later, that this reading was not for today (we had read the wrong reading), but in fact two days hence, (early morning lack of vision, or God’s greater vision?). The actual reading for the day was just as pertinent and relevant; ‘I want to be central in your entire being.  When your focus is firmly on Me, My Peace displaces fears and worries.  They will encircle you, seeking entrance, so you must stay alert.  Let trust and thankfulness stand guard, turning back fear before it can gain a foot hold.  There is no fear in My Love Light, while I bless you with radiant Peace. Turn your whole being to trusting and loving Me.’ (These reflections are taken from 2 Thessalonians 3:1 and I John 4:18).

We spent a long time praying, seeking the Lord, reading, and reflecting on the Word. As we did this, we began to realise, how much the world and its rhythm of life we have been brought up on, and how is has become second nature to us.  Some of these things may seem harmless and natural, but that is not how God see’s it at all.

I believe that God’s Word to me that day was a reminder that even though scripture calls upon us to be good stewards of God’s creation, including our possessions and bodies that there is a risk that they can take pride of place in our thinking, but Jesus must come first in every way every day. 

How often do we ask God to show us how to fulfil our own plans and purposes, or even worse, not include Him at all? If we want to live the life God wants us to lead and be guided by Him, then we have got to let go of the helm. It may just seem like tiny things, but how long before we start instructing God in how we live? We need to have our focus on God first and foremost in all things, big and small. We need to pray for God to help us as we need him in the centre of our lives, and for that to happen, we need to let go.

May God bless you today in your walk with Him.

Author: Eugene Dragunas

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday, 31 January 2021

The Lord Restores ME (Psalm 23)

It struck me that God really does see every part of us and His desire is to restore all of it!  

Source: Praise Banners
I am currently reading through Psalms, not a place I thought I would end up in after the exhilaration of reading through Isaiah.  I was so challenged by that book and its prophecies that seem to be speaking directly to this generation. When I had finished, I asked the Lord what to read next and he said clearly read Psalms, you are going to need a time of comfort and encouragement.  So, today I would like to share something from one of the most well know Psalms, but something that spoke right into my spirit today. 

Psalm 23 (NLT Version) ‘The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.  He renews my strength……’. Hold on I thought, don’t you mean soul (instead of ‘strength’), it should read soul!  It was then I noticed that there was a highlight by the word ‘strength’. It was at this point that the Lord stopped me and caused me to look a little deeper

For my 60th Birthday my husband bought me an NLT Bible complete with a wonderful concordance and a dictionary of some Hebrew and Greek words.  This is where the Lord led me; the Hebrew word for the NLT interpretation ‘strength’ is nepesh, which in Hebrew means – ‘soul - life, - self.  In fact, much of the immaterial part of a person similar to the spirit, which is also related to the inner person. But nepesh often has more connection to the physical life, including the seat of cravings and desires.  Often the word is simply an equivalent of the pronoun `my soul` or `me`.

I was really struck by the thought that God – Our Shepherd – not only restores my soul, the eternal part of ME but restores ME, every part of ME.  He restores the ME that only I see, He also wants to restore the ME that others get to see but I`m not aware of. He also wants to restore the ME that He alone sees, the me He wants to mature and perfect.  It struck me that God really does see every part of us and His desire is to restore all of it!   The trouble is that in Psalm 23 we get swept along with the image of the green meadows and peaceful streams and we fit `renews my soul` in with that image of calm. Sometimes it can be a calm process but at other times renewing of our soul, our ME can take us down a challenging, and often unwelcomed path. Things can happen that cause us to feel ill at ease, challenged or actually not in agreement at all with what`s going on for us!  We can sometimes feel anything but calm and frankly can question the Lord as to what is going on!

Source: Faith
Isaiah 45:9 puts it so well; ‘Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong’! Does the pot exclaim ‘how clumsy can you be’? In other words you are getting it all wrong, this shouldn’t be happening!!  Isaiah goes on to say; 45:10 `How terrible would it be if a new born baby said to its father ‘Why was I born?` or if it said to its mother “Why did you make me this way?’ And yet I know I have questioned may times what the Lord is doing, or maybe not liked the way I behave in situations, and asked the Lord why I am the way I am, instead of realising this was the way God created me to be and I am still a work in progress, still under restoration.  

If we want to restore something, say a piece of neglected furniture or paintwork, this can involve many processes.  Admittedly, the majority of the process will involve tender care, restorative products that enhance and build up whatever is being restored, time and patience to do each step carefully and perfectly till the beautiful finished product can be seen.  However, any experienced restorer will have to point out that before you can restore you often have to strip away, sand down, treat with harsh chemicals and sometimes trim off old and useless areas to allow the restored beauty of the finished item to shine through.  It`s at this point if a stage of the work is skimped on or missed then the finished product may not be perfect, not fully restored may even result in a patch up job.  Not desirable if you want to present a perfect item. However, the Lord wants to present us as perfect to the Father.   It is funny how we like to think of the Shepherd leading us to green pastures, letting us drink from quiet waters and us lying down protected in peace and serenity, without wanting to think of the journey over thorns thistles, hard climbs and low depths that we might have to traverse to get there.  The commentary on the Hebrew word nepesh mentions that the soul, the ME is also the seat of cravings and desires.  We all know that these can sometimes be at war with the Lord’s perfect plan for us and need to be perfected and restored too.

This prolonged time of Lockdown and social isolation has been a strain on all of us (even on those who by their nature like to be a little `set apart`). I have heard many people and some Christians say that they are really fed up now and wonder why something can`t be done to stop it all.  I really do understand this and empathise with those sentiments. It’s been a long hard journey for everyone, which has also had its normal everyday difficulties to deal with under extraordinary restrictions.  A little decision like ‘shall we get such and such fixed’ can be weighed down with lots of decisions and considerations about exposure, safety, and should we just try and wait till …………

But through it all for me, the Lord has taken this time to do lots of restoration of His own.  Only when the pressure is on does the real ME become exposed.  Sometimes I`m comfortable with the ME I see but other times I`m very uncomfortable with the ME that appears.  But amazingly I feel very encouraged in all of this because God has firmly promised that He renews my strength - He renews my soul – He restores ME.  And I feel that the extra time that the restrictions have given me, the Lord has provided plenty of restorative time to help me deal with all the stripping, sanding, treating, restoring and TLC He has poured out on ME.  I am sure that I am not alone in this, so many have had challenges to face, and mountains to climb, as well as quiet waters to sit by and green meadows to rest in.

So, what is the purpose of all this restoring, why is it so important that the Lord is so fervent in renewing and restoring our soul - our ME, even to the point of taking us through challenging times sometimes too? The answer lies in the second part of Psalm 23:3 `He guides me along `right` paths, bringing honour to His name’.  Here the little Hebrew dictionary kicks in again.  The Hebrew word for right is `tsedeq` meaning justice or righteousness.  This is a character quality of the Lord, flowing from his moral purity. God has lovingly revealed his standard in his word, and he desires it be dept as a matter of tsedeq’. 

The Lord wants us to develop in us His character to mature and perfect us, because we are to bring honour to His Name both on Earth in the way we represent Him to others, and in the heavenlies to the principalities and powers in the Heavenly realm.

So, the purpose of restoration is that my ME will be more like His HIM.  Jesus reminds us so well in John 16:33 the reason for why we need more of his HIM in our lives; I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on Earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world’.

I know most of us know this, and I apologise if it sounds like I`m trying to bring something you already know, but the journey from the calm meadow and quiet waters of restoration to the understanding of the trial and difficulties of restoration and the purpose of perfecting my ME have been such a blessing I just felt I had to share.

Author: Jan Pearson

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Sunday, 24 January 2021

Stand on the Rock

I don’t know why we are going through valley experiences any more than I know why we enjoy mountain top moments, but I do know the Lord is with us every step of the way

Source: PInterest
The very central scripture of the Bible, indeed the very centre is Psalm 118:8 ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man’.  Also, this theme can be found throughout the Bible:
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’;

Psalm 62:8 ‘Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge’

Many other scriptures remind us again and again where we need to place our trust and yet once more at the beginning of the New Year, I was seeking the Lord and realised that once again we are placing our trust in not just man but a vaccine! Please don’t get me wrong, I have the highest respect for Boris Johnson and all the Medical team advisers.... who would want their job at a time like this?  I am very grateful to the many scientists who have laboured long and hard and will be pleased to receive a vaccine that will protect me from this dreadful virus.

We can get overwhelmed by anxiety, worry, fear and grief.  As a fellowship we are all experiencing all of these emotions.  So, there I sat, at the beginning of the year asking the Lord what I should do.  ‘Here I am Lord, I can’t be sent out to do Your will because we are in lockdown so what do I do that I am not already doing?’ 

Be an encourager, was what I felt the Lord telling me to be.  I must admit I liked that answer because that is something I have always tried to be, an encourager, especially in my working life. My next question then then was....’who do I encourage, how and with what?‘ 

Source: PInterest
Source: Pinterest
Now I am always the first to realise the Lord has a tremendous sense of humour because as soon as I had voiced these thoughts in prayer I came upon a picture.  This picture at first sight was anything but encouraging. Picture if you will a small lighthouse with huge waves crashing almost over the very top. The lighthouse looked overwhelmed and I could find no encouragement in this, so asked the Lord to show me what I was obviously not seeing.

Very patiently the Lord showed me that no amount of buffeting winds, rain and stormy seas would dislodge this little lighthouse and the answer was hidden, beneath the water unseen, this lighthouse was built on rock.  This gave me such encouragement as we have all built our lives on the ROCK, but the encouragement did not stop there because once these huge crashing waves subsided, the light was still shining out of the top of this little beacon of warning but also of encouragement.

Other scriptures recently given to us also link in: 

Psalm 23 ‘The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever’

Psalm 23 refers to ‘quiet waters’, but if you are in the company of our Saviour, like the disciples experienced in the storm-tossed boat, we too can know a peace that surpasses all understanding. Our Pastor, Kevin, recently reminded us of my favourite scripture, Romans 8:28 ‘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’.

Now I won’t pretend that I know all the answers, only the Lord does, I don’t know why we are going through valley experiences any more than I know why we enjoy mountain top moments, but I do know the Lord is with us every step of the way, in the highs as well as in the lows and if we have our anchor in the ROCK, no amount of buffeting can dislodge us and even more encouraging is the fact that our little light will still shine brightly to help and encourage others to come to safety.

I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on the LORD and not on the circumstances whatever they may be, the Lord WILL take us through and ‘will never leave us or forsake us’ (Hebrews 13:5).  So please feel encouraged by the fact that we know the Lord has anointed us with oil and our cup overflows and let us share our light with those who feel overwhelmed. We could lead them to the place where they can anchor themselves to the ROCK too.

God bless.

Author: Linda Allitt

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Sunday, 17 January 2021

Help in Times of Trouble

We may look back in wonderment at our busy pre-covid lives. But we long to see people embracing God’s values, in His Kingdom.

Source: Pinterest
I guess that during lockdown we have thought of the angel coming to Gideon on the threshing floor (Judges 6). He brought news of salvation, physical and spiritual, from God. Like Gideon, we may feel our small everyday contribution is not going to make a difference, but that is where God sent His angel.

Simeon met Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem, as they were going about their duties and he recognised God’s salvation prepared in advance (Luke 2:22-32).

Lockdown has brought a routine of following rules, doing the ‘right thing’ and being considerate of others. We should not belittle this or grow weary. As believers, we are following God’s requirements: ‘ do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:8).

God promises to be: ‘ ever-present help in time of trouble’ (Psalm 46:1). I was reminded of this a few weeks ago, in another lockdown, overhearing a conversation in a hardware shop between a tradesman and the shopkeeper, along these lines: ‘What are we going to do if these measures don’t work? It will be God-help-us!’  ‘Well, yes, if ever we have needed that, it’s now!’

Some individuals are looking to God and turning from reliance on the distractions that the world offers. I remember visiting the model village at Babbacombe, near Torquay. One of the model buildings that stuck in my mind was the ‘Lord Ellpus Hall’.  We may look back in wonderment at our busy pre-covid lives. But we long to see people embracing God’s values, in His Kingdom.

Author: Mandy Windridge

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Sunday, 10 January 2021

The Belt of Truth

The more that we share our lives with Jesus, and the more that we trust Him and His word, the more that truth becomes our way of life too. If His truth is in us and we trust Him day by day, then it makes a difference in our lives

Pilate, a roman governor well-schooled in politics, asked Jesus at His trial 'What is truth'? Watching the sad pantomime of the American election last year, I guess that we can understand what he meant – for many people truth is not about what is really going on; it’s about how they present what’s going on, and if they find that still doesn’t help them achieve their goal – they lie…

Jesus, on the other hand not only undertakes to tell us the truth about what is going on (in the bible He is called 'The Faithful witness') but is THE TRUTH behind everything? The well-known scripture from John 14:6 says 'I am the way the TRUTH and the life'. So, what does this mean?

The book 'Peace Child' describes early encounters between some Christians and tribes in the far East. The people that they met were one generation away from full-on cannibalism. Their moral values were such that the highest honour was given to those who could befriend someone, play them along for a while (the longer the time the higher the honour) and then betray, kill and eat them. The problem was of course that no one could trust each other and so they needed some rules to enable life to continue. Two important rules were: 1) That you couldn’t betray a possible future or present mother-in-law (or the tribe would die out in a matter of years) and 2) If another tribe gave you a 'Peace-child' (literally one of their children to become a member of your tribe), it was taboo to harm anyone from that tribe whilst the peace-child lived.

Well of course the message that the Christians were able to announce was that Jesus was our 'peace-child' – forever - and therefore the lying and treachery didn’t need to carry on. We may look at this as a story about people with primitive beliefs but if we examine ourselves and our own society, we see that truth is indeed hard to find and lies and treachery are easy to find. Experience has taught us that trust based on 'speaking the truth to one another in love' (Ephesians 4:15) is not what we expect – people are very often after something. There is a famous phrase from a government enquiry. When a high official was asked if he was lying, he said 'No, I was merely being economical with the truth'!

Well it is very difficult to have trust without telling the truth. If you find out that someone is lying, trust tends to disappear like a puff of smoke. This is why when Paul is describing the armour of God in Ephesians 6 he starts with 'Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist'… He knew that the stability of a roman soldier’s armour was his belt. His fighting ability – the very core of it – was about the belt being in place and properly fastened. It provided a means of ensuring that he was mobile and none of his clothes or weapons would trip him up. It provided an anchor point for weapons that he might carry with him and it shared some of the weight of his breastplate carried by his shoulders down onto his waist. If you look at the picture of a roman soldier with his traditional belt in place, you will see that it also afforded some protection for other vital tackle – and thereby his ability to father children!

So, all in all, Paul knew what he was doing when he started with the belt of truth – without it our Christianity falls apart! We believe in the truth – we believe the truth of the gospel – we are persuaded that God has shown us the true way to eternal life through the bible and His Son Jesus Christ. Without that belief it says that it is impossible to come to God (Hebrews 11:6). The Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth – has been given to us to reveal all truth to us. Here Jesus is not only speaking about just reading the bible but that the Holy Spirit wants to reveal how that is relevant to me and you – today. He wants us not only to believe in the truth but through trusting him that truth becomes part of us. The more that we share our lives with Jesus, and the more that we trust Him and His word, the more that truth becomes our way of life too. If His truth is in us and we trust Him day by day, then it makes a difference in our lives.

It is only natural that if the truth is in us and part of us then we will tell the truth – just as Jesus did – even when its hurts. It hurt Jesus in two ways. First it hurt him because when He told the people around Him the truth they were not at all pleased – they spread rumours about him, they physically abused him, made his life very difficult, persecuted Him, and of course in the end, they killed Him. Sometimes this is the impact that the truth that we tell and the truth in us will have on others and they will not like it and will treat us badly.

On other occasions Jesus told the truth to someone sadly because He knew that it was in their best interests to know that something was wrong but that it would hurt them to put it right. He told a rich young man that he needed to sell his possessions to get the freedom that he was looking for and he was very sad. He told Peter that he would deny Him and that upset Peter greatly. Are we courageous enough to pray that the Holy Spirit will speak the truth that we need to hear into our lives so that we can put it right?

The belt of truth also guards our private parts. This is difficult territory – it’s about Jesus ruling in the area of our sexuality, being true to the husband or wife that God appoints for us, not lying, not cheating and being open with them. Yes, God’s truth does not stop at the bedroom door – He will not tolerate promiscuity, exploitation nor abuse, nor condone selfishness, cruelty nor causing mental or physical harm to another person. Some get away with this now because it is done behind closed doors, they will need to give an account before God of it if they want to become His children or on the day of judgement, The Spirit of Truth commands that we confess our sins before the Lord to receive forgiveness for and freedom from them.

Lastly, there are times when even when we know the Lord, we can lose our way. We know when this is happening for a number of reasons, usually because we have put too much confidence in the flesh – our truth or experience and not His. Forsaking the truth will mean that our testimony suffers. Men will see and know that we have not followed or compromised what we believe. It is painful but the Spirit of Truth shows us the way back – by confessing our failings to the Lord and telling the truth to others about how we went wrong. Peter found a way back from his denial and how God used him!

Author: Chris Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

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