Sunday 14 July 2024

Fear of?

I often find the most generous people are the ones who have little, and they are generally the ones with the greater faith.

Christian clipArts.net
I recently spoke on the instruction Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 16:24 ‘Then Jesus told His disciples, ‘’If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny Himself and take up his cross and follow Me’’ (BSB). And since then everyday I ask the Lord to help me pick up my cross and follow Him. I have to ask for His help because I know that in my own strength I couldn’t possibly do it.

Having continued to ponder this instruction a couple of things occurred to me. Firstly, the need to deny oneself, that is I believe, putting down our wants and desires and submitting totally to Jesus. That is to invite Him to direct us through the day (follow Me), and keep our spiritual eyes fixed on Him. Something I know we may need to practice.

And secondly, the question of what is it that stops people from taking this seriously and doing it? This I believe comes as two different sides (as answers) of the same coin.

The first is the belief that we need to hold on to what we have, after all hasn’t God given it to us? And the fear of losing it can make us hold on to it tighter. And along with this comes the fear of us ultimately losing our comfort blanket. There’s a saying that is so true which is: ‘The more you have, the less you want to give away and the less you have, the more you want to give away.’

I often find the most generous people are the ones who have little, and they are generally the ones with the greater faith.

Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 16:25-26 ‘For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?’ (NIV). So there goes the comfort blanket!

Also, the fear of man, or the need for recognition from man. Both of these can stop us picking up our cross, denying ourselves and following Jesus, and can ultimately stunt our spiritual growth. Proverbs 29:25 says ‘The fear of man is a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is set secure on high.’ (BSB).

So whether we recognise it in ourselves or not, fear can have a negative power over us if we don’t keep it in check.

On the other side of the coin lies the answer to all this, and one that will help us carry our cross and follow Him, and we find the answer in Job 28:28 but let us read from verse 20.

20 Where then does wisdom come from?

     Where does understanding dwell?

21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing,

    concealed even from the birds in the sky.

22 Destruction and Death say,

    “Only a rumour of it has reached our ears.

23 God understands the way to it

    and he alone knows where it dwells,

24 for he views the ends of the earth

    and sees everything under the heavens.

25 When he established the force of the wind

    and measured out the waters,

26 when he made a decree for the rain

    and a path for the thunderstorm,

27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it;

    he confirmed it and tested it. 

28 And he said to the human race,

    “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,

    and to shun evil is understanding.” (NIV).(Red lettering changed from black)


The answer on both sides of the proverbial coin is ‘fear’ but on one side it’s the fear of man and on the other side it’s the fear of the LORD, the second being the biblical definition of wisdom.

Unfortunately, in a lot of the church there seems to be a lack of the fear of the LORD, which in turn produces a lack of wisdom, which in turn produces a lack of willingness to pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus.

Daily Trust
But God always gives us time and a way out. So if you’re reading this you’re still alive and breathing and therefore have the time. And the way out (if you’re not already), is to walk in the fear of the LORD.

So let's not toss a spiritual coin to see where it lands, let's make a choice.

Let me finish with Job 28:28 from the BSB version of the bible.

And He said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’ so let us turn away from the fear of man and of evil.

I pray that you know both wisdom and understanding as you pick up your cross daily and follow Jesus. And if like me you need help to do that, ask Him and He’ll give it to you.

Be blessed.



Author: Kevin Hunt

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Sunday 7 July 2024

The Land Mourns

If the climate is changing, if nature has been disrupted, it is because we have offended the Creator

There is a connection between the moral state of the nation and the condition of the land.

Thrive Through Christ Ministries
'Hear the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish,
and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens,
and even the fish of the sea are taken away.' (Hosea 4:1-3)

Those who work the soil or observe nature cannot fail to have noticed that this year has been unusual. Continued winter rain led to waterlogging, causing crop losses on a scale unseen in generations. Soil biology and structure are suffering the consequences, leaving farmers and growers struggling to find a way to get seeds growing in cold and unresponsive ground, while blackgrass and other weeds have taken over many a wheat field.

Meanwhile nature too is out of kilter. Populations of songbirds have declined, while the numbers of corbids (crows, jackdaws, magpies etc.) have increased exponentially. Other species considered to be pests have also prospered; rats are rampant, even becoming immune to poison; slugs have overtaken plants as the soil temperature remained low while air temperature rose; even ticks are thriving in the strange conditions.

Many people have recently commented to me that things are 'just not right' in the countryside. What is going on? Is it climate change? Is it human activity? What can be done? But more importantly what is God saying? The following is a personal prophetic view as I try to line up what I perceive with what the Bible says.

Reaping the Whirlwind

There has been a disruption in nature. A disruption can be defined as a disturbance which interrupts, and the natural order of things has been disturbed and interrupted. Hosea connected the lack of the knowledge of God, and the resulting sinfulness, with the sorry state of the land: 'therefore the land mourns'. The connection between the moral state of the nation and the condition of the land is not limited to ancient Israel. I believe that what we are seeing now is a direct result of God's displeasure, and that the Lord allows imbalance in His created order as a warning to us. All of Hosea's warnings to Israel, quoted above, are surely applicable to present-day Britain and, since God does not change, similar effects can be expected. As Hosea later states: 'They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.' (8:7)

Rest

Indeed, given the dire state of corruption and syncretism in our nation, it is the level of continued providence that is surprising - testimony to the grace and patience of God and the resilience of His creation.

A key word from the Lord for these days is 'rest', both for people and for the land.  We are, paradoxically, to work and strive to enter God's rest (Hebrews 4:11). In the book of Judges after each cycle of complacency leading to apostasy, then judgement, prompting repentance and restoration, followed by a period when '..the land had rest..', until the people got comfortable again and forgot God's directions.  There are two Hebrew words for rest; the first is 'nuach', from which Noah got his name. It means to settle down, in Noah's case to stop floating around and remain in one place. But the phrase in Judges: 'the land had rest...', rest is 'shaqat',  meaning freedom from disturbance, disruption or harassment. We are getting a glimpse of un-rest in the environment, in society, in the church and in politics (but that is another whole story). This is not the end, but it is certainly a warning.

Climate Change?

FaithByTheWord
There is a popular view that climate change has been caused by human industrial and agricultural activity, and that therefore we can fix it. That view is humanist arrogance. Even Christians have been led by so-called science into this godless opinion. Science reveals the wonders, the complexity and the relationships of the life that God made. The Bible tells us that God created all things and that He maintains and sustains His creation. One day God will do terrible things to the climate and the environment He formed, (Rev 6-16), because He is in control. If the climate is changing, if nature has been disrupted, it is because we have offended the Creator, the only One who is able to give the land rest. We are 'without excuse'. (Rom 1:18-25). Of course it is good to minimise pollution and reduce our carbon footprint, but it is only Jesus who can save the planet.

If my People

If you have read this far you will know that the good news always comes at the end. Let me couple two scriptures together:

'When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.' (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)

'For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.' (Romans 8:19-23)

Our destiny is linked to God's creation. If we put our faith, hope and trust in Jesus we will one day have new bodies, like His, in a new and glorious creation. What we will be in the future influences our present. So even now we can humble ourselves, seeking the Lord in repentance, find forgiveness and see blessing and healing over the land.



Author: John Plumb

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Saturday 29 June 2024

Designed for a special purpose

He called and equipped us to fulfil a certain purpose in this world

Ephesians 1:18-19. The apostle Paul prayed for the believers at Ephesus, that they might know what God called them to do and understand the riches He had invested in them. Think about this:- 

God knows what He's invested in us. He didn't redeem us one day and take us to heaven the next day. He called and equipped us to fulfil a certain purpose in this world. (Matthew 25:15) Christ taught that some of us are five talents people, some are two talents people, and some are one talent people, according to his ability and immediately he went on a journey. That's why it's a mistake to draw comparisons, it's not what you have that determines your reward, but what you do with what you have. It's when you bury your talent because you're afraid to risk and fail, that you get into trouble with God.

God protects what He's invested in you. Do we sometimes disobey God? Yes - does He discipline us? Yes and our response to Him can either lengthen or shorten our season of discipline, depending on whether we repent or be unrepented. But does God abandon us? Never!!!  God's gifts and His call will never be withdrawn. Romans 11:29-33. God's promise is Yes and Amen.

God expects a return on what He's invested in us. When we get to the end of our life, what will we have to show for it? God gives us time, talent and treasures. Are we using them selfishly or are we using them to serve Him and bless others? (2 Corinthians 5:10) We must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ so God will have all the glory, that each one may receive according to what we have done, whether good or bad. A song writer, put it this way. "only one life, t'will soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last".

in 1 Corinthians 12:7 Paul is saying we're all given a spiritual gift. Before an architect designs a building, he asks what is it's purpose? The answer to that determines everything. Before God created us, He decided the role He wanted us to play, then prepared us for it. He also planned each day of our life accordingly.  Psalms 139:13-16.

God would not give us talents and life experiences unless He intended us to use them, we all have certain abilities given to us by God. We do not get to earn or choose them, they are a gift, God alone decides which gift each person should have according to His will 1 Corinthians 12:11 because God loves variety, that's why God gave different gifts to everyone, if you had all the gifts you would not need anyone else. That would defeat God's purpose of teaching us to firstly love God - love one another, your talents were not just given to you for your benefit, but firstly to bring glory and honour to God, and to benefit others, just as their talents were given to benefit you.

The spiritual gifts is given to each as a means of helping the whole body/church and to bring glory to God. 1 Corinthians:12:7 God planned it that way if others do not use their gifts you get cheated, if you do not use your gift they get cheated, an unopened gift is worthless. That's why we are each commanded to discover and develop our spiritual gifts. 

I pray that this blog will encourage you to seek the teaching and leading of the Holy Spirit so that you can use the gift that God has entrusted/invested in you to serve Him and others on our journey of faith in Him to bring glory and honour to Him and His church.



Author: Herbie Jean

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Saturday 22 June 2024

It is finished

The influence of the written law and ability to condemn finishes with Jesus

Heartlight.org
Quite a while ago I used to work for something called the “West Midlands Regional Health Authority” (WMRHA). There came a time when I could see significant changes were ahead and sure enough about a year later, there was a big exercise which changed WMRHA completely. The total number of staff was reduced from around 1500 to about 350 and my division of 75 people was reduced to 6.

I, along with many colleagues, was made redundant. I went through a series of stages in this becoming a reality. I foresaw the change, I heard that change was planned, I went through the process of restructuring, I had a temporary Job which lasted 6 months, and then I was “redundant”. I learned quite a few lessons through the process – but those are for another time. As you can see, the experience itself was extended and taxing, and in the final 6 months each day seemed to pass slowly. I was confident that our family and young children would be alright and that everything would work out as the Lord had planned, but knowing what to do and how to “be” on each individual day was more challenging. Then, unexpectedly, there was the promise of a different future – one in which I worked for myself and used my experience and skills to a different end – the promise of something different. I now waited excitedly for the day on which everything would change and, in the end, it arrived!

On that final day my work with WMRHA finished. I no longer had any obligation to the Health Authority and in fact it was abolished soon after. I now worked under completely different conditions – I had my own company and anyone was free to hire me to do work for them. No one from my old employer could come along and tell me to do some work for them – they had no hold on me. Some of the rules, practices and experiences from my old job proved very useful but I now lived a completely different life – deciding when I worked and who I worked for.

I still remembered what it was like to be employed, but my new freedom cast a shadow back over those memories. The experience that I had, had been useful to get me to a place where I could work for myself, but there was no comparison between the two. I passed from a time of learning and preparation to a different life where I was using that learning and preparation to help others.

Now why am I sharing this I hear you ask? Well, it is because I have been reading through the New Testament again recently and a number of scriptures have made a deep impression on me – particularly in Romans, Galatians and Hebrews - which I have read in a completely new light. I am going to compare some of these scriptures with the story that I have shared above, starting with Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes”.

No half measures here! Its Jesus first, Jesus last and Jesus in between! The influence of the written law and ability to condemn finishes with Jesus. The bible tells us that in this new post-resurrection, Holy Spirit outpoured era, God will write His “laws” – inscribe His very character - on the hearts of every follower of Jesus. Hebrews 10:16: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds, I will write them…”

On the day I left WMRHA and began a new life, my contract with my former employer ended. In the same way, on the day that we become a true follower of Jesus, our obligation to the law finishes. That’s not to say that my years of preparation were not useful – indeed they were very necessary. Similarly, Paul tells us in a number of places that the law from the Old Testament serves as an instructor – a teacher that brings us to an understanding of sin and its effects. Galatians 3:22-24 tells us that: 22 …the Scripture has confined everyone under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

No wonder Paul in various books like Galatians “wonders out loud” on the page: “Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. 2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. 3 How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? 4 Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? (Galatians 3:1-4)

He takes them to task that, after being freed from the observance of special days, rituals and religious practices of various sorts, people in the Galatian church are being entrapped and their freedom torn away by false teaching:

8 Before you Gentiles knew God; you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. 9 So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? 10 You are trying to earn favour with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. 11 I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. 12 Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws.

Paul even takes issue with Peter when Peter was ashamed to eat with gentile believers after some visiting Jews came from “Headquarters” (Jerusalem) He says: 11 Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, … 14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? (Galatians 2).

Crooked Glasses
In Hebrews 10:1 the writer, addressing a then main audience of Jews (possibly in Jerusalem), is getting towards the end of his message setting out the way in which Jesus in multiple ways fulfilled the law and its signs and symbols. He illustrates his point in this way: “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. For this reason, it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship”. The point is that a shadow is not the reality – it is merely an indication that a “reality” is present. Why live in the shadows when the Holy Spirit is here to reveal to us the reality? When I finished my job with WMRHA it became a “shadow” of the reality that I was then in. A useful reference point, a reminder of ways to do things, a resource, a good practice guide etc… But it was not my reality – it was a shadow of who I was in the past. Now I served a different reality and a different master. Hebrews points its readers away from signs and symbols and towards the reality – Jesus.

Jesus had good news for the Samaritan woman who had made a real mess of her life, also for all who seek to worship in God in reality: John 4:21-24 “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem…  23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” It doesn’t matter who you are or where you worship. Now – and in the future - our Father in heaven will reveal Himself in spirit and truth – to anyone, at any time, in any place. Jesus taught us that humankind’s efforts to constrain the Godhead with our fabrications and attempts at wisdom would all be confounded. It’s characteristics such as child-likeness, humility, obedience, willingness to seek His face and repentance that commend us to the Father…

Jesus told the Samaritan woman that salvation was of the Jews because up until then the revelation of the scriptures had been in the main committed to them. Long before Israel or the Jews existed, Abraham received the news that God’s plan included all nations. Galatians 3:8 tells us that: … the Scriptures looked forward to this time when God would make the Gentiles right in his sight because of their faith. God proclaimed this good news to Abraham long ago when he said, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all who put their faith in Christ share the same blessing Abraham received because of his faith.

This is a starting point for the gospel story, going through God’s revelation of examples and types and reflections of heavenly things shining through in the Old Testament – Paul’s “shadows” of the reality that came with the coming of Jesus. We can pick a number of vital points in the story of the gospel but one of the clearest assertions in scripture was from Jesus Himself – it marks an ending, a passing away, the dawning of a new age and promise. Summoning His last breath on the cross He declared: “It is finished”! and nothing was the same ever again! Glory to His holy name forever and ever…



Author: Chris Pearson

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Saturday 15 June 2024

He Never Fails

He has promised me that He will never leave me, nor will He ever forsake me.

Are these simply encouraging words, or do they have a genuine meaning for my life?


Mansfield Baptist Church
On Thursday 18th April, I read the following in “Faith’s Chequebook”, a daily devotional written by Charles Spurgeon. For some reason I was prompted to make a note of it on my phone:

"l will be with you: I will not fail you, nor forsake you"   (Joshua 1:5).

This word to Joshua is often quoted; it is the basis of that New Testament word "He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you."

Beloved, a life of warfare is before us, but the LORD of Hosts is with us. 

Are we called to lead a great but fickle people? This promise guarantees us all the wisdom and prudence that we shall need.

Have we to contend with cunning and powerful enemies? Here is strength and valour, prowess and victory.

Have we a vast heritage to win? By this sign we shall achieve our purpose; the LORD Himself is with us.

It would be woe to us indeed if Jehovah could fail us; but, as this can never be, the winds of disquietude are laid to sleep in the caverns of divine faithfulness. 

On no one occasion will the LORD desert us. Happen what may, He will be at our side. Friends drop from us, their help is but an April shower; but God is faithful, Jesus is the same forever, and the Holy Spirit abides in us.

Come, my heart, be calm and hopeful today. Clouds may gather, but the LORD can blow them away. 

Since God will not fail me, my faith shall not fail; and as He will not forsake me, neither will I forsake Him. Oh, for a restful faith!

I thought no more about it, but a week later, I had a small accident in which I fractured one of my vertebrae in my spine. This caused a serious reduction in my mobility, as you may imagine.

Added to this, in the following week, I was informed by my Haematologist that my usual test results were indicating that my Myeloma was returning, having been in remission for seven years. This came as bit of a disappointment but goes someway to explaining some of the other physical challenges I’ve experienced over the past few months. There is a degree of uncertainty, but it looks as though I will need to start another course of treatment later in the year. On balance though, the Lord has been very generous to me. When I was first diagnosed I was told that a five-year treatment/remission cycle was the norm, but he has given me seven years. Indeed, the Haematologist told me that the norm was nearer three years than five so thank you Lord!

As I reflected on the implications of my recovery period after my accident and the uncertainty surrounding any proposed treatment regime for my Myeloma, I was concerned for ability (or lack of ability) to fulfil my roles as husband/partner to Thelma, as part of the leadership team at MCF, as a Police Chaplain and as a good neighbour within our community. 

It was then that the Lord reminded me of the scripture and reflection he had prompted me to save on 18th April.

He has promised me that He will never leave me, nor will He ever forsake me.

Are these simply encouraging words, or do they have a genuine meaning for my life?

Spurgeon’s reflection sets out a number of areas  of ”ministry” in which the Lord promises to be present and the reality of this was brought home to me this week after a conversation with a dear friend and colleague from the Police. He pointed out that the Lord has used me for His purposes in the past few years despite my health problems and my diminishing mobility.

Piterest
This has brought me to the realisation that my perception of my “calling,” husband/partner, leader, chaplain, or neighbour is not important. What is important is the Lord’s will for my life and my desire and willingness to listen to His voice and submit to His will.

This realisation has lifted a weight from my spirit, and I can face whatever is coming with equanimity and a degree of excitement knowing that I will not face it alone but with the Lord as He has promised that He will never leave me or ever forsake me as well as the support of my loving wife and friends.

I am aware that a number of my brothers and sisters have experienced health issues in recent years and months and that many of us are feeling the effects of the passage of time. If, like me, you have been asking the question “What is left for me Lord?,” I would commend this scripture and reflection to you. I pray that you too will find “A restful faith.”

Have a blessed week.


Author: Alan Cameron

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Saturday 8 June 2024

I believed in God, so I spoke

Only the life of the Lord within us is of any sustaining value and power.

wejustliketalk.com
There is a saying “words are cheap” and that is so true. We all talk all the time, it`s one of the main thing’s we humans do. We meet up to talk to each other, to share our thoughts and experiences. We read books to hear what people have to say either about themselves or others, we watch television programmes or listen to radio broadcasts of people talking. There is a saying “they love the sound of their own voice” people often talk just for the sake of making themselves heard. A lot of what we hear can be good and informative etc. But there is also a lot of rubbish around too. It`s our job as Christians, to sort the good from the rubbish and concentrate on listening to the good. It is also our job to make sure our words mean something, that they are of value. I am reading through Pauls letters to the Corinthians at the moment, and he has a lot to say to them about their lifestyle and the way they are conducting themselves and how that relates to their faith in Jesus. But he also talks about us those who know the Lord having something worth talking about.

In chapter 4 of 2nd Corinthians Paul says “You see we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus` sake. For God who said “let there be light in the darkness has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ” (Verse 5&6 NLT) in other words Paul says, wow guys! we have something really worth talking about and its nothing to do with who I am or my standing in life, or what I`ve achieved (either in life or in God) and its not even about how great I am because I have been entrusted with the word of God or a ministry; but it is all about the Glory of God seen in the face of Jesus Christ. Paul is so grounded in Jesus, in the character of Jesus, in his life, his teachings, his love, his purpose, his sacrifice and much more. All of which he has gained by seeking the face of the Lord for himself, because it’s by seeing a face that we recognise people the most. And it is by talking face to face with someone we get their true expression and meaning which can often be distorted by other means of communication. Paul had spent many years seeking the face of Jesus without being influenced by anyone else`s teaching. He knew his Lord personally because he had spent personal time with the Lord.

But then he goes on to explain that even though we may have this amazing revelatory light in our lives, we ourselves are fragile – like clay jars that break so easily when dropped or put under lots of pressure - so we need to recognise that our great and only power comes from God. (2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT) And because of this we do have something worth talking about! Paul goes on to identify that our power (our words) needs to be an expression of Gods light in us, because we ourselves have nothing of worth to fall back on, to talk about. Only the life of the Lord within us is of any sustaining value and power. He confirms this further in verses 8-10 Though we experience every kind of pressure, were not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. We are persecuted by others but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but we are not out. We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity (TPT). Paul clearly identifies that we are nothing of ourselves but the light of the Lord in us is everything. That Jesus can use our very frail humanity to show his amazing light and love to the world. But it is all to do with His light, His love, His resurrection life, and absolutely nothing to do with what we have done or what we can do to be right with him and live a righteous life. Our walk is solely by faith in Him and nothing else. It is the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus (that He is the Son of God, that he lived a sinless life, that he sacrificed his life to save us from the sins that separated us from God, that he rose again so we could be free) and we live by faith in what He has done. This is what Paul’s faith was built on and this is what our faith is built on. And this is why we have something of value to talk about. Faith in God and His Son Jesus!   

thoughts-about-god.com

Paul goes on to say in verse 13 “We have the same Spirit of faith that is described in the Scriptures when it says `First I believed, then I spoke faith`” (TPT) This is worth talking about. I think this why the song “I just want to speak the name of Jesus” is so popular at the moment because the premise of the song is based around knowing that there is nothing we can do that can affect change. It’s not a set of rules to conform to, or formulas for praying. It is all to do with Jesus.  The light and power in Him, what He represents and has achieved, and thankfully nothing to do with our status, knowledge or ministry. Just simply faith in the Lord Jesus.  

I was really challenged when I read “I believed in God, so I spoke” (2 Corinthians 4:13 NLT) Do I believe in God? Do I believe the gospel of Good News? (salvation through Jesus). Do I believe God loves me and has THE perfect plan for my life? Do I believe that He will keep me in and through all the difficult situations of my life, and will keep me until I see Him face to face in Heaven? If the answer is yes! I should speak! Both to others about Him, to the enemy of our souls when he comes to steal, kill and destroy my faith and the loved ones I hold dear. And to the confusing voices in my head that seek to distract me and rob me of peace. To anything that entices me to believe I am anything of myself and that my reliance is in anything other than Christ alone. And if having challenged myself and confirmed that I do believe in God, then I should be proactive. I should go into battle using the word of God as my foundation, to speak truth into the spiritual realm, defeating the enemy wherever he tries to raise his voice. 

Paul also encourages us to do this in 2 Corinthians 6:7 “We faithfully preach the truth; Gods power is working is us. We use the weapons of righteousness (His not ours/ his word not ours) in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defence” our sword and shield. 

Lord today, help me to have valuable words to speak based on faith in You and directed by your Spirit. And help me to speak the name of Jesus into every situation.

 


Author: Jan Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday 2 June 2024

Old Lives Matter

David had made the Lord, his 'go to' place.


Jen Miskov
Another blog inspired by a trip to Wales. This time we were taking a short break in Swansea under the excuse of visiting my sibling who was completing a course at the Bible College of Wales. Now, some of the blog readership will know of Rees Howells, who was part of the Welsh revival and was used by God to do great exploits. His remarkable story is well documented in his biography, ‘Intercessor’ by Norman Grubb. In recent years, the Bible College campus has been restored to a place of prayer and biblical training. Incredibly, this work has been done through the partnership with a church based in Singapore!

On our first morning, we visited the museum at the Waterfront, which illuminated  life during the past 150 years with many exhibits and stories from south Wales in particular. The extensive mining both for coal and metal ores in the region provided employment for many, along with the equally dangerous and demanding work in the furnaces where the metals were extracted and formed into raw products. Here we were as visitors in our mid-sixties, sightseeing on a lovely sunny day in Swansea, staying in a modernised working-class terrace house, knowing that many of the original residents would never have reached our age.

We were privileged to join the college community and locals as they gathered on Sunday morning to praise the Lord. There were young and old from many nations together, full of joy and extending a warm welcome to us. The pastor from the Singapore church brought a timely message, ‘Old Lives Matter’. He personally was looking back on 35 years since he left the lucrative corporate world and together with his wife, followed a calling to pastor.  The essence of his exhortation was to keep us all effective and productive, as we seek to walk with the Lord.

The 4 main points of the message with my reflective one line summary::

·         Stay trusting - we started out in faith, let us continue to trust and obey

·         Stay healthy - our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit,

·         Stay connected – remember needy family members, friends, community

·         Stay decluttered – unused stuff (baggage!) in our lives is a hindrance - we’re on pilgrimage

There are several interesting biblical references to grey hair, which I will leave to the reader to investigate.  But I want to pick out Psalm 71, which although not directly ascribed to David, seems to follow on from the Davidic Psalm 70:5 we read:

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
 From my birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
    I will ever praise you.

Back to the Bible Canada
David had made the Lord, his ‘go to’ place, when he was young. When he was alone protecting the flocks,; when he was alone singing and making music on his harp; when he was alone running errands and serving his brothers;  when he alone was standing up to the taunting giant. He learned and honed the spiritual disciplines of a victorious life. And this life of faith continued into his old age, as we read in in v18

    do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
    your mighty acts to all who are to come.

So may we continue to root ourselves in our Lord Jesus Christ and may our lives, in word and deed, inspire the next generation to walk faithfully with our Lord.

 


Author: Richard Windridge

May God bless and enrich your life

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