Friday, 7 November 2014

Indescribable

Do you like me rush around and get into your day, hardly thinking about just how amazing 'the day' actually is?

When you think about it here we are perched on a spinning giant ball hurtling through space at a rate of half a km every second - we are spinning at 1,675 km's an hour.

That borders on the bizarre really - freakish even - when you actually take time to analyse it.

We are the only planet in this huge amazing cosmos that supports life - lunging through the atmosphere, circling a gigantic fiery planet big enough to fit 1.3 million 'earths' in it's vastness at 108,000 km's an hour.

That is totally  mind blowing - when you stop and actually think of our sun - it's huge; amazing - spell binding - a fiery ball of gas and plasma which can blind us if we look at it for any length of time.

The sun is the very centre of the solar system and here we are hurtling around it at incredible speed and yet the very force of our spinning creating 'gravity' which keeps our feet on the ground. We don't appear to be spinning and we feel we are on a firm footing and yet we are actually rushing at incredible speed.

You can't possibly feel that all of this just happened to fall into place - the balance of the universe alone is enough to make God real in every sense.

The Bible says in Romans 1:20 that we have no excuse WHATEVER in not knowing God. - the whole creation screams at us of a Creator God -  God: awesome in power, majesty and might Our God that you can see in everything.

God has revealed Himself plainly in creation: he created you and me - we didn't just evolve - we were created uniquely and divinely not just some accident in space spat out in an explosion of molten fluid and gases.

God created and we sinned - we were the ones who turned our backs on Him - He has always been the same and will be for eternity - This old world of ours will gradually teeter and spin out of control BUT God will remain - Yesterday, today and for eternity.

You have really got to to hear this! - God loves us - you and me - He sent His own Son to bear the punishment which should have been metered out to us - Our punishment - not His - Our sin - not His. He took our sins and killed them stone dead on that cross all those years ago.

Its totally and utterly crazy that God; the creator of this amazing spinning universe had His own son punished for us and why?

Because he loves us that much - The very God, the Creator God, the majestic God, the awesome God, loves you; actually LOVES you.

He loves us and wants desperately to have a personal relationship with us: again, how spellbinding is that!!! - the very Architect of the Universe wants to have a personal relationship with you!!!

We have to make a choice here; Gods wants desperately to forgive your sins  and have that personal relationship with Him BUT you have to choose to accept Him.

Thing is - when we actually stand before our Mighty God we only have one plea and that is JESUS - He paid my penalty for me - He paid the price that should have been mine. When God looks at me He will see Jesus - Will you be able to say the same?

Today, even right now you can KNOW for sure that when you die you will spend eternity with God. You need to get alone with God and accept His amazing offer of forgiveness and let Him change your life.

Begin this awesome walk with God - You will never be the same again - even in the bad times He is there with you.

The God of the universe LOVES you! - He wants so much for you to come to Him.

Don't delay there is nothing to delay about! - You can know today for sure that Heaven is yours - It's time to stop, think and act. Today is the day of salvation.


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Shooting at others and wounding yourself


Who can forget the amazing story of the Cheerleader Mum who hired a hit man to murder her daughter's competitor's Mother?

Wanda Holloway's claim to fame blew the newspaper stands off their feet with this amazing story of envy, jealousy and malevolence.

In 1991 according to Wikipedia "Holloways daughter, Shanna was beaten out for a spot on the Johnson High School's Cheerleading squad by Amber Heath, age fourteen."

That was the start of a chain of events that culminated in Wanda hiring the hit man to murder Amber's mother and subsequently being sentenced to ten years jail.

She believed that Amber would be so devastated by her Mothers death she would drop out of the team thus awarding the top spot to her own daughter Shanna. And why? All because of envy.

So what causes envy?

Envy is an emotion and like most other emotions can be traced back to some other underlying problems like desiring to be better than others or having an unhealthy ambition to better yourself or your family at the expense of anyone or anything else.

Sometimes looking at other peoples success can make us bitter and angry. We look at the gifts they possess and compare them with what we have and what is happening in our lives - The talents of their children for example compared with our own can make us resent every little success they have.

Envy can destroy long time  friendships and even families - I personally know of a deep friendship that was torn apart simply because one family's child succeeded and achieved in an audition and the other missed out - amazing but true. One family couldn't come to terms with the other's success and the hurt was just too much to bear, envy had taken it's devastating toll.

Envy gets us focusing on what we can't have rather on the amazing reality of what we do have.

This unique life has been freely provided to us by God, yet envy of others or things can put our focus on everything and anything that we believe we have every right to. Actually when we analyse it - we don't have rights to anything at all - we have responsibility to pursue goals BUT they are not rights.

On saying that I do appreciate how hard it must be to yearn for something so badly and see others attaining what you want with all your heart and yet you are unable to achieve what they have. It takes courage and peace of heart to be genuinely happy for that person and to be content.

Its so so difficult for an envious person to share the joys of others especially when they see them getting or achieving what they so desperately want.

So how do we overcome envy? To be perfectly honest, envy is often an unwelcome side of my personality and a side of me that I know is wrong and one in which God does not want me to have in my life. I would like to share just some of the ways God has helped me to overcome this nasty sneaky little sin.

Firstly read Galatians 5: 16-26 and you will find that envy along with a host of others is a product of our human sinful nature - This nature has to be controlled by God's nature - The Holy Spirit.

Giving our lives fully to Christ is the very starting point in overcoming our sinful nature - believe me you can never do it on your own - There is no "I did it my way" in overcoming sin - no matter what that sin is.

Recognise envy for what it is - name it - "I'm envious" - say it aloud if you have to. Naming it blows its cover - you have recognised how you are feeling now grab hold of God's promise.

Once we have recognised it for what it is - ask God to eradicate these thoughts from your life and especially in the situation you are facing right now. Ask His forgiveness and once you have accepted that you can start anew with Jesus.

In Galatians 5:16 it says "Let the Spirit direct your lives, and you will not satisfy the desires of the human nature". Simply put, once the Holy Spirit is directing our lives we can execute all desires of sin by being influenced by God's Spirit not ours.

Carting envy around with us makes us bitter and will definitely drive a huge wedge between God and us. God and His promises are vital for us to grow spiritually and become mature in Him. Mature enough to banish envy from our lives for good.

Also accept the fact that God made you unique; thank Him for that fact; He created us for praise - so praise Him especially in times when envy creeps up on you unexpectantly (and believe me Satan will make sure it does).

Remember selfishness is the mother of envy. If we can get our minds off what we want and start thanking God for what we have and stop comparing ourselves to others - miracles will occur.

God so wants us to have contented and fulfilling lives in Him and the only way we can do that is to have God-focused lives - with new goals and  new standards.

With the Holy Spirit indwelling us we can move from the ordinary into the extraordinary - putting aside anything, including ourselves, and moving to a much higher life with God.














Wednesday, 15 October 2014

...But I'm still asking why?






Why? - Good question.

Why does a lot of things happen when they are not supposed to - it's a question that often doesn't get answered I'm afraid.

When we look at the world stage and what is happening it makes our hearts just about burst with anxiousness and hurt for others - the terror and horror that is unfolding before us can make our heads spin.

Man's inhumanity to man seemingly has no bounds and then there is sickness as well.

Illness and even death in our families can leave us asking the inevitable question of WHY?

Just recently our No 2 Grandblessing was extremely ill - rushed off to hospital in the early hours, she needed immediate but comparatively minor surgery to alleviate the acute pain.

The pain scale was off the chart and she being the brave little soldier that she is sucked it in  and got on with the job of coping as best she could - until the pain got so unbearable she could take no more.

Being Grandparents in this situation, I can reassure you, is probably the hardest thing I have even had to do or witness. We immediately went to prayer, the hours wore on - We prayed through the night as the hours dragged.

The hospital staff, being at the start of the weekend, could do little - the minor surgery needed to alleviate the immediate pain could not be undertaken as it was the weekend - told to come back on Monday - she was given a small amount of pain relief and sent home in agony.

The next two days saw the pain level reach to crisis point as she struggled to cope. Copious amounts of phone calls attempting to reach doctors, specialists or anyone that would even listen went unheeded. There was nothing Anyone could do until the weekend was over - we were divested watching our little one go through this agonising time.

Through that weekend and watching her suffer so much - my question of WHY?? seemed also to go unanswered.Why didn't our Lord do anything to help us?

The two words that kept coming back to me was PATIENCE and TRUST.

BUT.... I didn't want patience I wanted ACTION and with a capital "A".

All over the Bible there is story after story of God's people suffering trials and tribulations - some of them got angry at God - others despaired - others whinged and gave up.

What we have to remember here is this - that all of us get to decide just how we are going to react when adversity, trials and tribulation come our way - we can easily become impatient and throw in the towel or we can depend on God that He will indeed answer but in His time.

Sometimes it feels like our hopes and  dreams are never going to be fulfilled. We had to wait over what seemed a very long weekend - some folk have to wait years and years and still their dreams seemingly never come to fruition.

Sometimes it's hard to understand why God doesn't allow things to happen straight away. My impatient attitude always seems to get in  the way and I find myself often despondent especially when I see my loved ones suffering.

What we need to do is to realise that whatever the issue we are facing we first need to bring it to Him in prayer.

We then need to trust Him. God has plans for your life. He knows everything about you.

We have to learn to be patient and wait on the Lord: His timing is perfect and he WILL answer us BUT in His time.

His answer to us may seem a long time in coming but every gift from God is worth waiting for.

Be encouraged: Wait patiently (not impatiently like me) trust in God and He will work things out.

God is so perfect and so is his timing - trust in Him to do what is right and good in your life.

I am reminded of a song by Melissa Greene called 'Jody's Song' - well worth the listen. Took me by surprise but pretty much spelt out how I was feeling.

BIG blessings to you all and may God's timing be perfect in your life as in mine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCFUD_PWjHc






Saturday, 4 October 2014

Thistles and weeds.


How are you at weeding? I'm hopeless - after five minutes I have given up completely!

Weeds are a pain - just when you think you have the garden looking reasonable, along they come with their baggage and just move right on in and before you know it they have taken over completely.

My sweet Mum-In-Law was the very best gardener I have ever seen - her garden was the epitome of neatness - the flowers were breathtaking and it was a delight to just walk around and take it all in. Did it come easy? NO way - she worked hard to achieve success and it showed - the result? Just beautiful!

With gardening you have to work at it - constantly removing weeds, pruning, mulching and watering - it never stops a constant cycle of work - but certainly worth it.

I sometimes look at our garden and just sigh... Yes sometimes it looks fantastic and so beautiful and I can thanks my long-suffering and patient wife for her diligence and eye for detail - it's hard enough for me just to mow the lawn!

Weeds need to be controlled and got rid of as soon as they appear - if you let them go you only court disaster.

This lesson can be brought into your life. Jesus told a story in the Bible about the sower who sowed his seeds and the types of soil in which the seeds landed.

One lot of seeds fell on pretty good ground actually - and they sprang to life nourished by the good soil and the cooling rains.

Unfortunately though the good soil and the cooling rains also helped to germinate the weeds and thorns and before long the good seed was consumed entirely by them - nothing left!

How can we take this on board and how can this age-old story help us in today's world of the 21st century? Actually it has never been more relevant than it is today.

Just like the seeds sown in the ground - so is our life. Whatever we focus our attention on will grow. If we focus on Christ and His amazing mercy and grace - His forgiveness and love for others that is what will take root in our hearts and grow.

On the other hand if we focus our attention of the things of the world - just like the weeds, they will grow and soon take over our lives and in abundance!.

Proverbs 23:7 says "our hearts bring forth fruit of itself" in other words that which we let take over our lives is exactly what will happen. So.... we have to be very careful and pay close attention to the 'seeds' we let establish in our lives.

Don't know about you but our days seem to be choc-a-bloc with 'things'. We don't, it seems just 'drift' from one thing to another we gallop and the utter busyness of the day can sometimes overwhelm us.

Our lives can be consumed by 'things' and it seems to me the more 'things' we have in our lives, the more we often want - we often crave for company and the 'good' life - hankering for more and the more we get the busier we find ourselves.

Time spent with God becomes less and less as we cultivate the 'weeds' in our lives and soon we are reaping what we have cultivated.

Our lives only reflect was has been cultivated and what has been given preference. Whatever we choose to fill our lives, that it exactly what will grow.

The 'weed' seeds in our lives can be planted whether intentionally or not and will soon take over if not rooted out.

Jesus said "The worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful" (Mark 4:19).

We can get so busy, even chasing after our kids, taking them here and there, in this sport or that, in this concert or that one. Music lessons, sporting clubs etc - our lives can be so full yet so empty!

In 2 Corinthians 10 Paul says "it is the very KNOWLEDGE of God that can demolish strongholds and makes every thought captive and obedient to Him"

We need to immerse ourselves in the words of Jesus - we need to accept Him into our lives fully. He needs to dominate our thoughts, our minds and our lives to avoid letting the 'weeds' take root and smother the beautiful gift of salvation that has been planted in us.

Sure we can still enjoy the life that God has given us, but let's not get to the stage where the sheer 'busyness' of life consumes us entirely. God HAS to have the pre-eminence over everything, our time, finances even our children and family.

To weed properly we must set aside our desires and busy way of life and put them in the right order, giving God first place in our lives.










Saturday, 20 September 2014

Obstacles, Dangers, Courage and Bears

Just been reading the tragic news of Lorna Weafer, who was fatally killed by a black bear in May this year.

The 36 year old was employed by Suncor and was an Instrument Technician working on an isolated job site near Fort McMurray, Alta, a town in Salt Lake, Utah, USA.

The horrible tragedy happened as she was making her way back from the wash room to the worksite. The attack was predatory and wasn't provoked at all - the bear dragged her off indifferent to the other workers trying to help.

My heart aches for this poor young woman and her family. Lorna's courage in the face of such ferocity was amazing as bravely she struggled for her life, but to no avail.

You know, life is so fragile - so tender.

Dangers seem to lurk everywhere, even some so unexpected that  they almost seem to be unbelievable and hard for us to get our minds around - like what happened to Lorna - tragedy out of no where with no explanation - just sadness and heart ache.

It seems our world has turned up side down of late - ISIL attacking Christians, public beheadings, the torture of children and women the list seems to go on forever.

Every news item just seems to get worse and the persecution of Christians seems to be taken for granted in the world at large. - the world we live and work in. The world we are part of and yet we aren't - our real home is with our Lord and Saviour.

My real heartfelt message to everyone, all of us, is to be ready - our lives seem to hang in the balance now more than ever before. None of us can know for sure how each day will pan out. Suddenly our lives could change forever, suddenly and without knowing.

We need to ensure that we all know where our heart and real love lies - we need to believe on Him - Acts 16:31 says in part ..."Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved..."

So what does it mean to "believe on Him?" - To believe on Jesus means to believe that He is the Son of God and that he is worthy to be loved, worshipped and obeyed.

The Bible not only stresses faith to believe but it also stresses love. We must give our heart to the Lord - our very being. Loving Jesus is not just having certain feelings; it is a definite choice of our will.

The heart of man can be cold and selfish and can so easily ignore the love that Jesus is offering, they choose not only to ignore but to reject it and soon forget it.

God does not take it lightly when we ignore His word, His invitation to come to Him or hinder others by putting obstacles in their way. This is serious business, I can't stress enough just how serious this is!

As believers we must also expect obstacles along our paths; the more we move out with God, the more attacks and more 'obstacles' we can expect.

As Paul stated in in 2 Timothy 3:12 "....In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted"

We need to be ready, looking to Jesus every day. We need to stand fast and leave the results to Him.

We need to move forward in our differing ministries and God-given gifts, while trusting God to make a way and remove obstacles.

Are you ready?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Mercy, Grace and Truth

John 1: 16-17 tells us "...and of His fullness we have all received" and again that "Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ"

Pretty astounding when  you think about it that WE HAVE RECEIVED HIS (JESUS') FULLNESS.

The very completeness of Jesus has been transplanted to us when we become born again in Him.

The very fact we have now become and have received the full nature of Jesus often makes me stand amazed at this almost incomprehensible gift!

Jesus Christ is in us and we are in Him - we have the VERY 'fullness' of Christ - WOW! if we can just grasp that truth - we no longer have to live defeated and guilt-ridden lives.

Many Christians go through life thinking "when we get to heaven we will THEN be like Jesus but right now we live in this world - struggling with sin forgiven by God". They feel they can't possibly be like Jesus but in actual fact - we have Jesus living in us - amazing as it sounds!

In lots of ways 'waiting to get to heaven to be like Jesus' can often lead us to defeat and open to guilt and failure.

No! we will never be perfect while we are here on earth BUT with Jesus living in us and us living in Him we have unbridled power to overcome sin at its very root in our lives - we certainly can't do that on our own.

Jesus has not only forgiven us but has also made us His sons and daughters - giving us freely His VERY nature and His DIVINE nature at that - NOW that is truly EXTRAORDINARY!!!

Yes we are forgiven sinners - right now here on earth. We are going to spend eternity with Jesus - BUT amazingly Jesus is living in us right now and has been the very moment we became one with Him and we were born anew.

Because He lives in us and we in Him - His nature is imparted to us. We no longer live for ourselves He, Jesus, actually lives through us!

Do you wrestle with feelings of guilt or unworthiness? Have you made mistakes that you can't seem to recover from? Are there blemishes on your record that won't go away, no matter how hard you try to erase them? Have you done things that people won't forgive?

Think, just for a moment, what Jesus did for you on that cross. He took your guilt, your shame. your mistakes and your blemishes on Himself and destroyed them forever! WOW!!!

Then.... He promised you His divine Nature to live in you while you are here on earth! - Don't know about you but that blows my mind.

If you have given your life to Jesus, in God's eyes you are perfect, spotless - WHY? Because He looks at you and sees Jesus because Jesus is living in you right here, right now.

Don't lead a defeated life here, thinking that you can't be like Jesus until you get to Heaven. Jesus has imparted to His own an extraordinary gift. The gift of Himself. Once we have realised that we can live extraordinary lives while we live on earth, nothing is beyond us.

No sin is too big for us to overcome because it has already been defeated by He who resides in us - JESUS!

Rest on His promise and the purity and forgiveness that He has given you.








Saturday, 30 August 2014

Revealed: letting the cat out of the bag

Just reading a book by John Bevere called EXTRAORDINARY. It has certainly been a journey and an eye-opening one at that.

In His book John maintains that we as humans have three images our "projected' image, our "perceived" image and of course our "actual" image.

Must admit I took a bit of a gulp when I read that because his words hit their mark with me straight away. - I would just like to share some of the things he wrote and my own thoughts on this vital message of how God really 'sees' us.

John goes on further to say that your 'perceived' image is how others see you - your 'projected' image is how you desire others to see and your 'actual' image is who you really are.

This really got me thinking - how often do we live in a world of 'projected' images - living to please others - going to and behaving in a manner that suits the occasion - like going to church and putting on your 'spiritual' face, talking in the 'spiritual' way with all the 'spiritual' cliche's.

If you were raised in Sunday School like I was - you know all the 'right' things to say to rise to almost any situation you are put into when it comes to holding your own in a 'religious' sort of way. You can carry on a discussion in a Bible study or lead a group, pray in church and do copious amounts of Bible reading with the best of them. BUT...

Where does that actually leave you in the "actual image' department?

Take Jesus for example (and you couldn't get a better one) - His 'perceived' image was atrocious - He was slandered, mocked, abused, labelled as a blasphemer and even accused of being demon possessed. He had hardly any friends and those who were, abandoned him quick enough. BUT His 'actual' image was altogether different.

In Hebrews we are told that He is the express image of the Father. So while humans saw their 'perceived' image of Jesus  - God saw His "actual" image. And the "actual" image of us - it what God sees too!

Our "perceived" image does not mean a thing to God - we can look as good as we can and go to all the right places. We can meet all the right people and say all the right things but God sees who we really are.

Jesus was the same with the people He met on a daily basis as He was the Father - can we say that??? Would God be welcome to share every thought we have and every conversation?

Maybe you can see now why I took that BIG gulp after reading just a few pages of John's book.

Jesus didn't try to boost his reputation - he didn't try to get the accolades and win applause by the crowds - he actually hid himself away on many occasions. He wasn't interested in the approval of mankind.

Jesus only cared about what was important to the Father God - and we should imitate Jesus in that way.