Sunday, 31 January 2016

That Moment when Faith overcomes Fear

What does it mean to risk everything, believe everything about Jesus? A question and thought that I have pondered at length upon recently. What does it mean to you? And certainly what does it mean to me?

Would you and I be absolutely sure we could risk everything, our reputation, our comfort, laying it all on the line for Jesus - holding nothing back - Nothing! - makes you wonder eh?

It's that very moment when our fear is overcome by our faith, that moment when we, often in a fraction of second have to decide are we willing to risk everything and everyone for Jesus.

Wherever and however it happens for you depends entirely on your own set of circumstances - maybe at a gathering when you are called upon to 'make a stand', when your whole Christian faith is put on the line.

When you are maybe friendless and on your own away from any Christian reinforcement or backing . When you realise that your faith isn't just a belief IN Jesus, but actually your faith is founded entirely in a strong belief in what He said and did.

It's at that moment when your faith is at the crossroads - do you truly believe the words of Jesus and allow them to transform your life and speak out for Him, being prepared to lay it all on the line for Him?

Jesus didn't come to earth that we could 'escape' into our own little igloo of safety. No, God makes us all warriors for Him - He tells us so in Ephesians when we need to put on the whole armour He gives us to counteract the firey darts of Satan. The darts of self-doubt and fear are just two the self-destroying arrows that can wither up our faith in the face of persecution and ridicule.

The very thing that Satan sends to destroy us can be the very things that exists in our every-day lives, our self-respect and reputation.

But once we are aware and our belief in how Jesus actually lived and we embrace Him and His example fully into our lives then Satan's greatest attack can become our faith's greatest advantage.

Once we have truly grasped, through God's amazing grace, and shape our lives around the very truth of Jesus, then our faith explodes in us like a tornado and fear really has no part at all within us.

Paul himself experienced that explosion of faith over fear when he had the Damascus road incident that changed his life forever.

Reading in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, Paul recounts just a few of his experiences where his fear has been overcome by faith - he says that he has 'become a spectacle to the world' more or less like a show in some amphitheatre. He continues when he says "we are looked upon as fools on account of Christ and for His sake."

Paul understood entirely what lay before him - he would be looked down on. His reputation and well-being was certainly on the line and yet he believed entirely what Jesus said and the example that Jesus left us. To count this life as nothing compared to what is ahead of us.

No one said pursuing our calling and walking with Jesus would be easy. Not one time has God promised us an easy ride through our walk with Him. We are called to stand up for Jesus no matter the cost to us personally.

So where does that leave us in this world when we are told over and over again "Don't say anything about Jesus - you may offend someone" - Our answer should be "stand and be heard in the name of Jesus - don't let anything silence you"

We mustn't be and we can't be intimidated by evil in any guise. We are swamped with 'political correctness' in today's world but we can't be thwarted by this or any other disguise that is thrown our way.

We must stand up for Jesus - even in the small things - maybe even in the saying of grace before a meal, the mentioning of Jesus and what He has done for us at every opportunity and letting people know that God is alive and loves them.

In Jesus we should and can and must be bold and unafraid - that is exactly what He needs from us - we need to proclaim the truth of Jesus everywhere and every way we can. Proverbs 28:1 says "The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion"

I was reading recently of the story behind the hymn "Stand up for Jesus" which was written by George Duffield in 1858.

Shortly after preaching at a hugely successful mission in Philadelphia, the evangelist and abolitionist Dudley Atkins Tyng visited a barn on his farm. Stretching out his hand to pat a mule that was working a machine shelling corn, his sleeve caught in the cogs and tore off his arm.

Hours later he was discovered, slowly bleeding to death. In his last moments, he whispered to George Duffield "Tell them to stand up for Jesus."

You know the message hasn't changed for us - we need to stand up for Jesus no matter the cost, be it our reputation, our job, even maybe our family.

This is something that I have personally been convicted about so much recently. How am I at REALLY standing up for Jesus. Am I prepared to give everything for Him?  Are you?

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Lord: give me a love for others

Even when things look their blackest, when others forsake and things go pear-shaped in your life we have an answer, we have a rock and we have a fear-defeating spirit we can tap into at any time.

That blows me away when I think of that - it really does!

I think back on my own life and family and some of the worst times in my life and how I have survived and been blessed by God. True! it often hasn't been a bed of roses, life has been hard and even cruel, tragic and tearful and yet here I am praising God for even those terrible times.

Probably one of the hardest things to overcome is the death of a child or spouse - The closest I have come to that horror is the death of my little sister at just one year old.

It had such a tragic effect on my Mum and Dad and to the day they died they never forgot her and we all grew up knowing that a tragedy of immense proportions had happened to our family.

We were reading just today in Psalm 49 of how death finds everyone no one is exempt and no matter how may riches we may have, they will not mean a thing when it comes to that final day. All our riches, family, friends and accumulated 'things' won't actually mean a thing.

Another loss that I guess we all have felt is when family or friends forsake us for no apparent reason. We go through the same universal stages of grief that we experience when someone dies.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying" asserted that there were five stages of loss and grief. Now whether you believe her or not at least the first two stages are worth looking at, for I feel we can all learn something from her finding that can help us in our Christian walk.

First we have DENIAL - "They haven't left us - they will be back" symptoms. Often we are unable to take it in. This happened to me with our immediate family - it was a slow but distinct withdrawal of affections - a very cooling attitude at first then nothing.

This person didn't physically leave, they are still around. Sometimes I feel it would have been better for me to cope if they had left altogether, but they changed in their attitude and nature, isolating all around them, except their own family and pushing everyone else to the edge.

Then we have the ANGER stage and probably this stage is the one I want to spend a little time with. Anger with the person for leaving us or changing toward us is unfortunately normal and one where we are completely at odds with our Lord.

Anger needs to be replaced with love. A love far beyond our feeble minds to grasp and yet it's recorded in the Bible just how much Jesus loves us and He calls us to love as He does.

When I read that I found that impossible to take in. Love like Jesus does? I couldn't and I wouldn't.

I was content with my anger - it smothered my hurt and transferred it to the person that had pulled away from me - I was happy being the angry one - after all I had cause to be.

I struggled with their leaving me - I struggled with their absence of affection that friends and relatives share and I struggled with God when I have been prompted to try to make it right.

That's when the Holy Spirit convicts of things that are wrong in our life. I really didn't know what to do or how to react in this circumstance, all I knew I was overcome with emotion and yes! anger.

That's when I prayed "Lord: Give me a love for others."

We may not ever understand why these things happen to us - Why we are left when our child dies or why we lose our spouse or best friend. We may never understand why our friends or relatives pull away from us and become cold and distant.

Often after praying, the answer that seems to come back to me more that anything is "I don't want you to know WHY - I just want you to walk by faith and keep trusting me after all my grace is sufficient for you."

So here we are left with a plea to the Lord: "Please give me a love for others."

I have proven it over and over, A love the same as Jesus had? Impossible? I would have thought so but God has proven to me that we can indeed love as He does and He is so willing to move that love to us. An amazing gift and one where we can share with others.

God bless you this week as you come to terms with a love that passes our very understanding. A love so deep and true that enables us to love the unlovely things that happen to us. A love that crosses the boundaries of separation and abandonment.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Striding out with Jesus

Ever had a really good look at God - I mean a really good look?

He is the Architect of the universe!  Leaders of our world can never explain Him - they can't ignore Him  - there have been heaps of people trying to explain Him away but do you know what? - they can't do it and they never will.

He is the LORD and His ways are right - He is our God and His way is perfect.

I worship this God.  WHY? because when I am weak He is strong, When I fall He picks me up. When I cry He wipes my tears. When I am lonely He is my friend . When I am angry He holds my hand and sees me though it. When I fail Him, which in my life happens ALL THE TIME, He forgives and not only forgives He forgets.

How amazing is this God - this Holy one, this amazing and awesome creator of the universe.

None can fathom Him, none can explain Him away, none can explain how when I am so afraid and worried for the future He is my courage and boldness.

None can explain how I, a total wreck of a human being, can be so mercifully and miraculously saved from myself to be able to stride out purposefully with Him.

None can explain how my nervous and introverted nature can suddenly become bold enough to loudly extol His name and virtues to all I meet regardless of the consequences.

None can explain how God in his wisdom made this wimp into a warrior None can explain because I can't explain it myself.

All I know is that He did  and He did it with me - probably THE lowest and greatest sinner - I am gobsmacked by His mercy and grace.

None can explain to me how my broken spirit and life suddenly became mended with Him - How He found me buried deep in sin and wallowing in it happily and brought me to Himself, cleaned me and set me upon a pedestal of His making and made me clean in Him.

My mind just boggles when I think of what He has done for me- how through persecution and trials He is with me constantly holding my hand reinforcing His love and grace to me over and over again.

He shields and comforts me during troubles and trials, persecution and strife. No other friend can do what Jesus does - He died for me - for me the wicked and lowly, even though I mocked and scorned His name just like those who tortured and crucified Him.

Yes! How amazing is our God - I know that when I face death in the face He will be there to carry me home - I just know it - nothing can take that away from me.

His braveness, His boldness, His motivation  and His drive have indwelt my life and so often when I fail Him, worrying about trivia, I still know that God is my God who lives and loves for ever and ever.

To me Jesus is the first and last - the Alpha and Omega - the beginning and the end - nothing can or ever will replace God in this puny life of mine here on earth because I know when I meet Him face to face my whole eternity will be bound up and wound up in Him - a wimp into a warrior - an amazing and unexplained life in Christ.

So what do YOU really think of Christ? - Where are you RIGHT now in your relationship with God? Who is your God and who are you serving right at his minute?

When you cast your mind over what He went though while He was here on earth, no mind can ever really take it in.

He was ridiculed yet rose above it, He was deserted by all and yet stayed faithful to God, He was punched and slapped by holier than though hypocrites but never once said a word, He was scourged and flogged, broken and smashed yet carried that cross for you and me.

Can you explain such love? I can't - He rose again through the very love and grace that paid the penalty for my sin and yours. His very persecution and death brought power and reigns to bring that power and peace to this broken and rebellious world.

One day He WILL come back, One day He will reign supreme, one day EVERY knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord

Regardless of how many times people try to explain Him away - He is still here He is still King and one day every person who has ever lived will confess that He is Lord.

Let's purposefully today commit our lives to stride out with Him - Commit your life to Him and I can guarantee you will never be the same again - your life will change dramatically.

If He can change me He can certainly change you - God bless you as you stride out purposefully with Him today.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Letter to Self - regret, forgiveness and consequences

Dear Self,

Wish we knew then what we know now eh! - things would have been a lot easier to bear or to control but as it is, here we are you and me - just the two of us finally free of our dodgy past. We were never ever really good at owning our own mistakes. We were never one to admit we were wrong and ask for help. WHY were we like that? We will never know considering this amazing freedom that overwhelms us so much now.

It took me ages to compose this letter to myself which I should have written a long time ago but because of circumstances and pride I haven't and for that I am so sorry.

It was my prideful heart that ignored the fact that I really needed to sit down and compose this letter so here I go - please bear with me.

So where could I possibly start? Well I guess at the beginning may be a good place.

I hate living with regrets and I guess that is where we are at the moment - You and I have made a heap of mistakes over the years and along with the mistakes comes the consequences some of which can be lived with, others we find it difficult because of the huge residue they have left in our life.

You and I have lived with regrets most of our life and now, of all times, we have been convicted about all of them. We have come to a place where we can honestly say that we can hand our guilts, shame, memories and their accompanying consequences over to God and He has dealt with them.

Many people have denied God's very existence and we were one of them for such a long time, doing our own thing and living as we pleased. We played around with a lot of things and experimented with life and hurt so many people with our arrogance and pride.

We have hurt and been hurt by others. We have built resentment and carried a lot of baggage like a huge burden on our back for years and years. We have encouraged shameful memories of the past as well as carrying our vengeful acts against other people over some purported and warped sense of feeling that we are right and they are so so wrong.

You are I have committed some pretty dastardly deeds in our shallow past and try as we might we just couldn't rid them from our life. They stalked us mercilessly in their stubbornness of not letting us go.

It was in the stillness of night when our past deeds and shame used to love the best - remember how they came to us night after night flashing before like a never-ending slide show. We harboured them, listened to them and entertained their every thought and deed. Re-living every moment we seemed to absorb them into our very being until we began to live our life in a state of continual self-regret, unforgiveness and bearing the consequences.

We were certainly languishing in a life of malignancy for which there appeared no cure only more and more of the same - our very being seemed to crave more and more of the same hurts, regrets, vengeance, unforgiveness, pride and self-absorption.

Remember when we finally came to the point in our life where we felt we could no longer take this seemingly never-ending cycle of shame and regrets - there appeared like there was no possible answer. Our whole life was made up of 'steeling ourself for the battle" or 'looking after me".  We were number one, the first and the last and nothing or no-one would stop us achieving what we set out to do. You and I were ready for the battle, always prepared to confront anyone who we perceived stood in the way of our progress. Always ready with an argument to put us in a far better light that anyone who came across our path.

It was then that God spoke to us through an amazing set of circumstances and led us through a real time of baggage jettising that astounded us. We came to the realisation that God didn't want us to carry our heavy baggage throughout our life. He wanted us to be free. He wanted us to eradicate our guilt. He wanted us to come to Him to give Him our entire life.

Remember the feeling of the amazing relief that came to us that day when we fell to our knees in confession. That day when the Holy Spirit of the Living God came and took up residence in our life and made us a new creation in Him.

Sure we had consequences of our past that we still have to deal with. Remember how we had so many phone calls to people asking for their forgiveness for past wrongs? That was the very fist thing we had been convicted of. Making sure we were on a right-footing with others we had and have hurt. Part of the whole healing process was apologising and not seeking others to apologise to us.

Sure, there were some who wouldn't forgive even though we tried on numerous occasions and for them we are praying to our Heavenly Father, that they will come to see the amazing difference God can make on our earthly life.

The very Bible teaches us to confess our sins and have faith in the sacrifice of Jesus and His astounding resurrection. To trust Him completely in our life. Only then will we become children of God. If we do that we will be clean from our past no matter how dirty and dreadful it may be 1 John 1:12, Colossians 1: 15-22.

Sure there are still times in our life where we falter and even fall but the more closer we walk with God the less and less those times dictate to us how we should live our life.

So Self, thank you for listening to me and I praise God that you and I have become new Creations in Him and that the God's Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our life.

Philippians 3: 13-14 says "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, we press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us in Christ Jesus.

We don't have to live with regrets and unforgiveness. Let's put our hand in the hand of God and press on to the goal that He has before us

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Three major questions about God - WHOA!! Abandonment, punishment & Killing

Had such an interesting and I'm afraid futile (as far as I was concerned anyway) conversation with a beautiful person on social media just recently.

This lovely Person had turned away from Christianity because they couldn't reconcile the God of the Old Testament to the God of the New.

We chatted and chatted for quite some time and we have left it to both consider the others viewpoints.

Afterwards I was left with this person's questions and actually they are quite good questions and deserve a thorough answer.

Question one evolved something like this
"If God is all-powerful and supposedly all-loving why does He condemn people to hell?"

Thinking about this question caused me to ponder some facts anew - I must admit I had come to that very question in my early life following Christ and it was surprisingly refreshing to think again on why does God send people to hell.

The thing to consider here in my opinion is the fact that God cannot and will never look on sin. He won't and in fact He can't. God is so holy that His very presence is righteousness itself - a bit hard for us even to contemplate because we are living in such a fallen and evil world.

We often try to put our minds into the minds of God and we often tend to think that God's mind runs along the same track as ours - so wrong - in fact we couldn't be more wrong. Isaiah 55:9 says
" As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways 
and my thoughts than your thoughts."

So God's ways are so so different than our ways - His thoughts are so so different from our thoughts.

God cannot and WILL NOT tolerate sin. God also gave us a free will - not a robotic will. He leaves us free to travel our own road - to deny Him or to accept Him. None of us NEED to be lost to Him NONE of us!

So would He allow a person to be lost?

Because of His great love God did everything He could so that we ALL could be saved. Sending Jesus to pay the price was that ultimate gift.

NO! He doesn't want us to be lost - any of us ever. But God does leave us free to pursue whichever way we choose.

the second question involved feeling "Abandoned by God" .

My social media friend had prayed and prayed about this and to them the heavens above were as steel. None of their prayers were answered in fact the opposite seemed to be more the truth. Instead of comfort there was stony silence and disaster.

OK so you are distressed, worried and have come to the end of your rope. Maybe a child is sick, your job is redundant - a myriad of things can go wrong in an instant - we have, most of us been there and done that.

We Pray - we feel God isn't listening - the silence is deafening - everything screams out to you that God is simply not there.

If it is any comfort here - We are not alone - many amazing Christians in the past have felt the same - C.S.Lewis and C.H.Surgeon are just two who have written copious amounts on this very subject. You just have turn to the Scriptures and read Psalms to realise that they are filled with cries of help to God.

Have you ever considered that you may be going through this trial for a REAL reason?
In 1 Peter1:6-7 we read this amazing bit of Scripture:-

 "In this rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been 
grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith 
more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire 
may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

So maybe you are going through this terrible trial period for a reason - the thing is, that we shouldn't fall away and shirk such trial periods but keep pressing on with Christ and relying on His promises and reassurances.

Please take heart knowing that sorrowful/sad/horrible times and even feelings of abandonment by God are all very important times of growing in your Christian walk. God has promised He will never abandon us - Keep walking the path by faith with Jesus the very author and finisher.

Question 3 was "Why did God allow such terrible violence in the Old testament?"

Great question and one I reckon such a lot of Christians have struggled with over the years.

My mind travels to the Canaanites - massacred by the Israelites - men, women and children. The Bible record is very clear that God commanded that they kill everyone.

For hundreds of years the Canaanites were disobedient to God - aware of His power but choosing to live immoral and disgusting lives - child sacrifice and incest etc.

We are all guilty of sin - each one of us - all born into sin but surely God doesn't condone infant killing? Just a thought on this - maybe God's very presence here in taking those little ones actually spared their lives to live with Him - maybe just maybe when grown they would have reverted to the culture of their day. Interesting thought.

At the end of the day, the issue of God actually commanding this violence in the Old testament is a truly difficult question for us to tackle.

My personal answer to this one is that it is entirely up to God, the giver and taker of life, to justify why these things are done and the consequences of that action.

The thing is that through his grace and mercy, those who are willing can repent and turn to Him and be saved.

The main thought to take away from the Canaanite experience here is, I feel, that God is a God who will NEVER tolerate sin. He is JUST yet HOLY and LOVING, GRACIOUS and MERCIFUL.

Turn to Him today - accept this amazing offer and start pressing on with Him.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

God is with us through the tempting times

Ever been tempted - I mean really REALLY tempted?

It could be anything that floats your boat. Anything that takes control of your mind and/or body. Whatever your personal temptation is it can be pretty BIG and so so hard to control.

Be it finances and spending, gluttony and addiction to food, pornography and the heaps of traps and pitfalls that entails, drugs of choice; alcohol or the so-called 'hard' stuff, lying, cheating on your spouse, smoking; whatever is banging away at your hearts door at the moment and is so hard to push away.

Both believers and non-believers struggle with temptation and that being said it is absolutely no help at all when your back is to the wall and you feel like the very dogs of hell itself and baying for your blood.

Many many times we have just 'given in' because it is just too hard to fight. We feel like we are all alone and to some extent in lots of ways as the world sees us, we are, because temptations are such personal things, no-one really understands our own exclusive demons.

We ARE all alone in the world's eyes. "Get a grip" "get some help" "go to counselling" "push through it" are just some the worldly wise sayings when our temptations get the better of us and we finally seek help.

A friend of mine tried hypnotherapy to try to stop his temptations and lack of "willpower" to overcome them. The hypnotherapist gave him lots of advice, like "try listening to soothing music when you are tempted to stray" and "retire to bed early and focus your mind on a beautiful scene" and "try watching television before going to bed."

All that seemed to do was to bombard his mind with messages and images that promoted his temptation and lusts. The poor lad was overcome with guilt and self-condemnation.

So where do these temptation thingies come from?

Well the first thing to say is that they don't originate from God! - God cannot be swayed by evil and obviously that is what temptation is. It says in James 1:13 "For God cannot be tempted by evil, and He himself does not tempt anyone"

Throw yourself back to the gospel of Matthew, where Jesus Himself was tempted.

I would like to add here that I feel temptation is not a sin BUT it becomes sin when we allow our thoughts to become actions! Take for example greed or envy or lust - these are sins of the mind and are truly sinful - we can act on these types of sins in our minds. In Matthew 5:28, Jesus deals with these 'mind-type' sins and takes them to a whole new level.

No one knows what you are thinking in your own mind - no-one knows what is lurking there. But you do and so does God! Basically these 'mind sins' are still sin even though they may not have been acted upon.

When we give in and 'entertain' these mind type sins, they can lead to all sorts of 'actions' and eventually they will replace our relationship with God with a relationship with the world.

Back to Jesus in the wilderness. Tempted sorely by Satan. He was there forty days and nights. Makes me wonder how many other temptations Satan hit Him with other than the ones listed for us.

What was Jesus' reaction to temptation? Well, His amazing come-back to the evil one was "it is written". Satan can't do a thing about what God has decreed in His Word. Jesus knew the scriptures backwards and knew exactly what to say when temptation's evil came upon Him.

So what can we learn from this? If Jesus used the Word of God so effectively to ward off temptation then how much more do we need to immerse ourselves in the very same scriptures to do the same thing.

Satan's temptations can be so enticing - we allow ourselves to get carried away with our own thoughts and lusts - the Word says so in James chapter 1:14. we make decisions we shouldn't make - we go to places we know will lead us to more and more temptations. No wonder we fall so often.

So Okay - what do we do from here? Well, first of all we look to Jesus and His example as I have mentioned previously. We also need to be filled/powered with the Holy Spirit. All of our own efforts will be useless against the cunning and evil word of Satan.

Our minds need to be filled with Christ and His Spirit. Instead of filing our minds with stuff we know is only going to lead us to temptation, we need to arm ourselves with Christ and arm ourselves with the very power of God. How? by drawing close to Him daily, learning more and more of Him - asking His spirit to lead you away not towards your temptation.

On the night Jesus was betrayed, remember what He said to the disciples? "All of you must keep awake, give strict attention, be cautious and active and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak." (The Amplified Bible).

If we start living like this, our temptations will begin to weaken and completely go, if not we will continue to be vulnerable to all sorts of devious activities authored by Satan.

As Jesus Himself said - our flesh is indeed weak - if we leave ourselves wide open to lustful, greedy, envious and jealous thoughts, then because our spirit in Jesus is so weak, we fall into temptation time and time again.

We need to put some muscle of our fleshly lives and we can only do that by drawing close to the best muscle maker of all - Jesus.

We certainly need to avoid thinking and acting like the world thinks and acts - we can't keep playing the "Christian"and still hold onto our lusts and passions. We can't keep playing with the world and have Jesus dangling by a string - a sure recipe for disaster. Avoid the obvious paths that will lead us to temptation and we all know which paths they are that affect us personally.

When you read Matthew 5:29 Jesus tells us bluntly about removing our eyes or limbs if they cause us to stumble into temptation. I don't believe for a fleeting second Jesus meant literally to start removing body parts but He does want us to know how serious is temptation.

We need to do some pretty drastic housekeeping in our lives if we are to live for Jesus and avoid temptation and sin. We have to make sure we don't go where temptation is rife and not to put ourselves in a situation where we know temptation will abound.

We need to call on His name when confronted by temptation and I mean to literally throw yourself at Jesus - call out His name loudly if possible and feel His presence holding you tightly.

Even if our spirit is so willing not to be tempted, don't let our weakling flesh lead us into sin this week  - start building muscle with God - reading His word, holding court with Jesus and learning more and more about Him. Hold Him ever close to you. Feel His presence with you wherever you go.

God bless you as you stride out with Jesus - boldly holding His hand with the grace He has already given to you. Take whatever steps are necessary for you to avoid temptation and YES! you can do this with Jesus by your side.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Only believing in what you can see?

"I only believe in what I can see, feel, touch or eat" that was a statement I received just recently. And I guess it pretty much sums up everything we have been taught over the past generations.

Science tells us not to put our belief in anything that can't be proved - only trust the tangible!

It's so interesting to note that verse in Luke 18:8 when Jesus Himself says "When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on earth?' Open to much discussion.

The way the world is going today our 'faith' in God comes under much scrutiny sarcasm and derision. It amazing how closely the prophesies of the Scriptures line up with today's attitude on faith and belief in Christ and the church.

Jesus tells us plainly in Luke 21 and Matthew 24 just some of the signs that will herald His coming back to earth.

Jesus tells us in Luke 21:26 "People will faint from terror: apprehensive of what is coming on the world" and honestly, what has happened in Syria, Paris, Afghanistan, Iraq - that is exactly what is happening.

Our world lives in terror! "There will be wars - but it is not the end." Jesus said so Himself - earthquakes and famines everywhere - people turning against each other - brother against brother - it's happening right here right now!

There will be many deceiving the nations, many will follow the path to destruction - all predicted - all happening!

So many enemies of God - so many enemies of our faith.  So where/what is faith?

Because our world is so opposed and is so much in denial and contra-faith in God, Jesus reveals what we need to know to counteract those in opposition and to use our gift of faith to grow in Him.

The very epitome of Christianity is our Faith - without faith we cannot please God. (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith isn't just a 'nice thing to have' in our lives - it is ESSENTIAL if we want to have a REAL relationship with God. Faith is a mandatory and imperative step we need to have and take when we first come to Christ.

Faith is SO important that without it we can't possibly come to Christ at all.

There are many many examples of faith in the Bible. many listed in Hebrews in the so-called "faith chapter" (Hebrews 11). We read here of amazing things done because of faith.

My personal way of looking at faith is believing God and His Word over anything you may see, hear, feel or experience. Faith is so much more than a 'warm and fuzzy' feeling - it is a strong and steadfast belief in the Creator God and the amazing work of Christ on Calvary all those years ago.

Just recently I read the horrific story of a young 12 year old lad and his father kidnapped by the evil ISIS. The father, a Christian and believer was asked to revert and deny Christ. He refused and was tortured brutally - when he still wouldn't deny his Lord they tortured his son in front of him, finally crucifying them both.

We see reading this horrible and brutal account of the strength of faith here in our world - right here right now. So much more than lip service, bells and steeples and waving incense down church aisles.

Faith is real and tangible - changing peoples lives for good and eternity.

Our mere human brains can't possibly take in the magnitude of FAITH. It effects us spiritually and emotionally - an amazing gift from God, the very SOURCE of faith in the first place.
"For by grace you have been saved through FAITH, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."

So let's not be swayed by so-called experts in the scientific fields who tell us we must prove before we believe - rather let's be bold and courageous, asking God with confidence to impart to us His amazing gift of Faith.

Of course after we have faith given by the very grace of God, we turn to the cross where we repent and ask forgiveness for our sins. Another incredible gift from Him.

God bless you as you step out in faith this week, relying on Him to supply all of your needs. Be confident in God's love, be content with what you have and be courageous and steadfast in your witness for Him