Thursday, 31 January 2013

From A Park Bench - John 4 v 13-14




John 4 v 13-14

 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

Lie is full of the unexpected, chance meetings that have the potential to change our lives. That day as the Samarian woman walked over to draw her water from the well, she had no idea that her life would change forever.  It was a simple mundane act of necessity.

When Jesus asked her for a drink, he was opening her up to all the promises of God.  God is the fountain of life, the fountain of living water and he was talking to her about the essence of the New Covenant.

He was offering the solution to the thirst that was deep within her heart.

Christ fully satisfies our thirst, when we come to him he fully satisfies us.

Christ living is us, is a fresh, bubbling spring inside every believer.  In our union with Christ we have the riches of God flowing into and out of our frail bodies. We are one with Christ and his power flows through our veins.

Meeting Christ  changes us forever, we no longer seek after things and answers, He is the answer, the truth, the life and when we arrive into all God has provided for us, we are overwhelmed with a treasury of unmerited favour.

Every day, in every situation, Christ now lives in us and works through us. This is an amazing, wonderful and overwhelming truth that the God of creation, now resides in every believer.

Just as Christ made that promise to the Samarian woman he says the same to us today, He will give us living water that will bubble up and spring within us.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Bygone Times - Buttersnap


Buttersnap

Some chocolate bars have instant recognition, everyone remembers ‘Marathon’ bars and no one can forget ‘Mars’ bars, there was one chocolate bar that brings back vivid pictures of breaking your teeth when in a moment of madness you tired to bite into it.

The Buttersnap was just a thin brittle layer of caramel covered in thick milk chocolate. But it was impossible to bite without causing injury. The only way to eat a Buttersnap was to suck it.  There was a skill in taking off the chocolate layer with your teeth to expose the caramel but no one had a hope of chewing the rock solid caramel inside.

It took forever to suck a Buttersnap!

There was a TV commercial: -

Man at the kiosk cannot remember the name of what he wants, says things like “it’s a … er …. snappy, snappy taste” to the bewildered kiosk lady; cue a schoolboy swiftly into view “Butter Snap, please, thanks!” and out again, and the chap remembers too late as the kiosk lady pulls down the shutter

Voice-over: Sharp’s Butter Snap, a name to remember!”

Buttersnap’s were great fun to eat and suck and I am sure many a 70’s child will have found memories of these teeth breaking delights.


Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tuesday's Track - With Everything by Hillsong


Tuesdays track this week is “With Everything” by Hillsong

I love this song, it starts of with the great declaration – Glorious in all of your ways, your majesty, the wonder of your grace, in the light of your name.

Grace and Christ are the same, grace is Christ and Christ is grace. If you want to know the substance of grace, look and study the love and compassion of Jesus. In Christ, there was no condemnation for the sinner, healing for those that were sick, forgiveness to those that were lost, acceptance to those that were alienated, hope to those who were in despair, wisdom for those that were wanting direction and life to those in need of resurrection.

Let the words and melody flood over you and be immersed in the grace of God through Christ.




Open our hearts,
To see the things
That make Your heart cry,
To be the church
The You would desire.
Light to be seen.

Break down our pride,
And all the walls
We've built up inside,
Our earthly crowns
And all our desires,
We lay at Your feet.

So let hope rise,
And darkness tremble
In Your holy light,
And every eye will see
Jesus, our God,
Great and mighty to be praised.

God of all days,
Glorious in all of Your ways.
Your majesty, the wonder and grace,
In the light of Your name.

With everything,
With everything,
We will shout for your glory.

With everything,
With everything,
We will shout forth your praise.

Our hearts will cry
Be glorified,
Be lifted high,
Above all names.
For You our King,
With everything,
We will shout forth your praise.

Woah...


Monday, 28 January 2013

Grace Notes - Matthew 4:3


Matthew 4:3, 

"And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread."

One of the greatest truths’s that every Christian’s needs to know is who we are In Christ.

The world and its pleasures constantly lie to us; they try to distract us away from all God’s grace and our position in Christ as a new creation.

If we believe for nothing we get nothing, therefore the enemy tries to chip away at God’s abundant power and grace in an effort to reduce the believer’s faith and expectation.

It is the truth that sets us free.

Here Andrew Wommack explains how Satan tried to tempt Jesus to confirm himself :-

Two of Satan's three temptations began with the words, "If you be the Son of God."

Jesus was God, but he did have a human body that had to grow in the knowledge and wisdom of God. It took faith for the physical mind of Jesus to believe the witness of the Spirit within Him that he was the Messiah. Satan was attacking the most basic of His beliefs. This must have been a temptation to Jesus or Satan would not have used it.

Satan is very subtle in his temptations. It may have looked like he was trying to get Jesus to perform a miracle, but he was actually trying to make Jesus waiver in His faith of who He was. He tried to get Jesus to draw on the supernatural power of God to confirm it to the devil and Himself.

Unlike Jesus, we sometimes fall for this trick of the devil. We may say that we are arguing for some truth of the gospel, but many times we are hoping to convince ourselves. Someone who really knows who they are and what they believe doesn't have to prove anything to anyone.

Isaiah 30:15 says, "For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength..."

Let the Lord build your confidence in who you are in Christ.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

ConneXions - Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I am."



Jesus Said “Before Abraham was, I am”

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me – John 14:6

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12

I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty – John 6:35

Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?  Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.     You will enjoy the finest food. Come to me with your ears wide open.  Listen, and you will find life. – Isaiah 55: 2-3

I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life. – John 8:12

People loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. – John 3:19

I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. – John 11:25

Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life – John 5:40

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep – John 10:11

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.  We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all – Isaiah 53:6

Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. – John 10:9

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Creation speaks without a word by Allen Steble



In the soft blowing of the afternoon wind
a quiet sound is heard in the breeze
On the top of a tree reaching the clouds
A lonely leaf moves with the wind's soft touch
creation speaks without a sound heard

In the bright light of a summer moon
streams of colour cover a pool of pitch dark
A blue bolt of lightning from a dark ocean above
quakes the silent earth below with a lions roar
creation sings without a melody heard

The sun rises waking the sleeping land 
power spoken in the breadth of surrounding light
a thousand stars light up night, just one in day
One quiet voice speaks with a tongue of truth
Creation speaks without a word
to tell us about its grand maker


By Allen Steble

Friday, 25 January 2013

Friday's Five - Colossians 1 v 12-14



Colossians 1:12-14

Always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light.
 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Here in Colossians chapter 1 Paul writes some life changing truths to the Christians living in the days of the early church.

Faith in Christ is simply our thank you for all Christ won at the cross now abundantly available to us by grace.  The more we drench ourselves in the amazing truths and light of all he has done the greater we can revel and enjoy all the benefits of grace.

Works, performance, reading the Bible, prayer, fasting, seeking after God alters nothing with God. God has provided all I need by grace through Christ. Everything is already mine. I can rest in all Christ has won for me.  The only trouble is that is we don’t know realise all the wonders of the grace provided. Grace is quite simply too good, too marvellous, too extraordinary, too scandalous to be true. But it is true and the more you bask and experience its fathomless bottomless ocean the more you want.

Christ’s is the source of life, the power of life, the energy of life and the joy in every believer’s heart.

Here in Colossians the vast ocean of grace is explored: -

He has enabled you to share in the inheritance – We are the sons of God, joint-heirs to all the riches of glory. We inherited all the promises and glory that Christ deserved. The fatted calf has been slain, the best wine poured, the best clothes draped on our shoulders and the finest ring placed on our finger. All the riches and blessings of Christ are ours.

He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness – Christ died as me. I was united in death on the cross with Christ and my old sinful nature was crucified and was buried. The kingdom of darkness has no hold on me; death has lost its victory.

Transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son – By Christ’s resurrection i have been brought into a new Kingdom. Christ lives in me and all the glory and triumph of God’s kingdom now reigns in my life.

Who purchased our freedom  - Christ purchased my freedom from sin and the law. I have a clean heart, my spirit is united with Christ and I am free from every curse and requirement of the law. I am not searching for God, I have found him. I am not trying to be holy; I have been made holy by him.  My identity is in Christ; all that is Christ is living and working through me. I am free.

Forgave our sins – All my sins, past, present and future sins are forgiven. Sin does not separate me from God; in fact nothing separates me from God. I am righteous, holy and when God looks at me, he sees Christ in me. I am saved by grace and I am eternally held by grace.

God’s grace available through Christ is truly scandalous.  It breaks every law and rule that was created and gives me what I do not deserve, the riches of heaven.

Christ purchased my freedom and forgave all my sins. I am now a citizen of the kingdom of heaven and Christ lives in me, united with me.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

From A Park Bench - Mark 3 v 10



Mark 3 v 10
He had healed many people that day, so all the sick people eagerly pushed forward to touch him.”

Jesus is life. Every one that came in contact with Jesus touched the word of God in flesh. God manifested his desire, love, compassion, mercy and goodness through Jesus and his actions. No one who met him was not touched by the love and power of God.

Sick people flocked to him recognized that here was the healing for their diseases. What person among us today would not rush to the surgeon, the doctor or a newly developed medicine that gave us a chance of a physical cure?

I can choose where I rush when life’s trials and tribulations come my way. I can look to the natural as all my fellow men do and trust the world and its wisdom. I can try to make God bless me by doing all the right things, making sure I am right with God and by my works and performance make God look favorably upon me. I could obey him and keep all his commandments in the hope that God will not withhold his blessing from me.

Or I could, believe that all things work together for those in Christ, live from my union with Christ and receive all the blessings he has freely given me, because he sees me as righteous, his son, a joint-heir with Christ, blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

God’s grace is free and unmerited and he has provided every thing I need and required through Christ. Christ lives in me and I have his fullness in my life. I am eternally joined with him and am declared righteous because of Christ in me.

Jesus is life and his life is now permeating and filling my life.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Bygone Times - Pen with Digital Clock


The 1970’s was an amazing time of technological advancement.

One of the best of these breath-taking inventions to hit the unsuspecting teenager was the ‘Digital Pen Clock.’ 

Sitting in History class and being able to flash my amazing pen at my friends and look at the digital clock was just brilliant.

It was an excellent piece of the finest quality, whoever invented the ‘Digital Pen Clock’ was a genius.

Easy to use, practical, helpful and impressive this was a must in the pencil case of every young man.

Unfortunately they didn’t last long on the market as new advances soon made them seem outdated. But in the mid 1970’s they were the best thing around, everybody wanted one.





Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Tuesday's Track - Amazing Love by Hillsongs


Therefore there is No condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus – Romans 1 v 8

The cross is the defining moment of history. In an act of amazing love, God the creator of the universe became the curse of sin and died in my place.

Every sin I ever committed was placed upon Christ and before I was born my sin was forgiven.

He took the condemnation I deserved and in a beautiful exchange I received all the honor and riches of God that He deserved. I exchanged a sinful and rebellious life for a new life where I am a Son of God and received righteousness and holiness.

I am righteous and holy by His death.

Amazing, incredible and overwhelming the wonder and majesty of His grace.





Amazing Love

I'm forgiven, because you were forsaken
I'm accepted, you were condemned
I'm alive and well, you're spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again

I'm forgiven, because you were forsaken
I'm accepted, you were condemned
I'm alive and well, you're spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again

Amazing love, how can it be
That you my king would die for me
Amazing love, I know it's true
It's my joy to honor you
Amazing love, how can it be
That you My king would die for me
Amazing love, I know it's true
It's my joy to honor you
In all I do I honor you

I'm forgiven, because you were forsaken
I'm accepted, you were condemned
I'm alive and well, you're spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again

Monday, 21 January 2013

Breath of Creation by David Whalen



Today, I breathed into the air, 
two cups of moisture… as I do everyday
which was absorbed by the atmosphere 
in some arcane, yet everyday way

To couple with clouds…the cold…
and a mote of dust…to take
The wondrous form of…
A crystalline snowflake

What in my most delirious dreams
Tis a heartwarming thought 
To be a bit of the creation, of Nature’s schemes
My essence, and breath have wrought.

no one gives thought Of simple inhalations, 
Of everyday breaths… ordinary inspirations
Yet in every exhalation… everyone takes 
A part in the creation…of snowflakes


By David Whalen

Sunday, 20 January 2013

ConneXions - Full Assurance of Faith



Full Assurance of Faith

You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins. – Luke 1:77

When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. – John 19:30

At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart – Matthew 27:51

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. – Hebrews 6:19-20

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. – John 1:12-13

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” – Galatians 4:6

 And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us. – 1 John 3:24

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. – 2 Corinthians 4:6

I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. – John 5:24

For I know the one in whom I trust – 2 Timothy 1:12


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Creation by Ella Wheeler Wilcox



The impulse of all love is to create.
God was so full of love, in his embrace
He clasped the empty nothingness of space,
And low! the solar system! High in state
The mighty sun sat, so supreme and great
With this same essence, one smile of its face
Brought myriad forms of life forth; race on race,

From insects up to men.
Through love, not hate,
All that is grand in nature or in art
Sprang into being. He who would build sublime
And lasting works, to stand the test of time,
Must inspiration draw from his full heart.
And he who loveth widely, well, and much,
The secret holds of the true master touch.


By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Friday, 18 January 2013

Friday's Five - Isaiah 42 v 6-7



Isaiah 42 v 6-7

I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
I will take you by the hand and guard you,
and I will give you to my people,
Israel,
as a symbol of my covenant with them.
And you will be a light to guide the nations.
7 You will open the eyes of the blind.
You will free the captives from prison,
releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.

Isaiah 42 is a wonderful picture of the Messiah coming to ransom Israel. This piece of scripture contains some amazing truths and promises.

For the New Covenant believer it is a rich tapestry of all the glorious grace we have through our new birth in Christ.  

Friday’s Five is five great truths about Christ that our now within every believer:-

I have called you to demonstrate my righteousness –  Christ was the demonstration of all the attributes of God to man. When people looked at Jesus they looked into the eyes of God. Now Christ lives and works through every believer, we are the demonstration of God to a fallen and lost world. We have been made righteous through his death and live through his resurrection.

I will give you to my people – He gave himself for me. Christ identified with me, my sinfulness and I died with Christ at the cross. The life I now live is one of union with Christ.

You will be a light – Christ is the way, the truth and the life. He is the shining light of God glory in a work of darkness and hate. Likewise with Christ living in me, I am Christ ambassador in this dark world. Christ living through me is the light to everyone around me.

You will open the eyes of the blind - Christ opened my eyes, when I was blind. I was lost but he found me, he lives in me and reveals himself to me. More than that he gave my eyes sight to see the riches of his grace and the glory of his abundant love.

You will free the captives – Christ proclaimed freedom to the captives and broke the chains of oppression that hold us in prison. New life in Christ is freedom from the demands of the law and liberty in the glorious union of the spirit. Every believer is free from the law, its performance, guilt and condemnation.  Free to live a life of joy, adventure, rest and peace with the unbroken heartbeat of God.

Christ is the answer to every problem that we face, every dilemma that rises up, he is the life in our hearts, the peace inside our soul, the reassurance when we are afraid and the love when we feel unloved.

His amazing interwoven union inside our spirits is the life that fills us with joy.

His grace is the power to be accepted and not be rejected.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

From A Park Bench - Luke 2:49


Luke 2 v 49
"But why did you need to search?” he asked. “ Didn't you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover feast and there as a twelve year old boy Jesus sat amongst the religious leaders discussing deep questions with them.

This was the first mention of Jesus’ awareness that he was God’s son.

Here the religious leaders sat and talked with the promise they had been hoping and waiting for. The answer to their prayers was sitting right under their noses. God in flesh, the Messiah chatting and discussing questions. I wonder if any of those leaders had an inkling who the boy was?

The same can be true of us today, God has provided all we need to live a victorious and fulfilled life through the finished work of Christ and his resurrection. All the answers of life, all forgiveness, all healing, everything has been provided by God through his grace.

Your Spirit is united with Christ, the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives inside you.

The grace of God is an ever flowing, overwhelming stream of goodness and mercy cascading within the spirit of every believer.  Jump into the river, drown in his grace, and submerge yourself in his goodness. All we do is receive and be satisfied, be filled up to overflowing on the fatted calf he has given us.

Don’t be like those religious leaders and miss what is right there in front of you. Open your eyes and gaze into the vast oceans of unmerited favour he has lavished on you.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Bygone Times - The Sun 3D Album - Starcards



Growing up in the early 1970’s there were many things to collect.

Petrol Stations gave away numerous free collectible coins and every one had a stamp album. Collecting rare Eastern Communist countries stamps was all the rage. My mates and I argued and fought over stamps from Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

But one of the best things to collect was The Sun 3-D Starcards.

What could be better than them combination of football, 3-D and collectors cards.

The collector’s album of 99 pages could hold all the cards available
.
There were 50 cards 3-D Galley of Football Games

There were 52 cards of Football Action

And 6 cards of how to play the game.

You got these amazing cards by collection Sun Starcard tokens and you could order them.

They were all in dazzling 3-D.

Comparing these with your mates. Watching your album fill up was great excitement.

I spent many hours arguing over the best cards with all my mates
.
Great fun. 

Here are a few examples:-

Rodney Marsh


Archie Gemmill


Colin Bell

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Praise for Creation and Providence by Isaac Watts



I sing the mighty power of God, 
that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, 
and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained 
the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God's command, 
and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, 
who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, 
and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, 
wherever I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, 
or gaze upon the sky.

There's not a plant or flower below, 
but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, 
by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee 
is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be, 
Thou, God art present there.


by Isaac Watts

Monday, 14 January 2013

Grace Notes - Matthew 1 v 24



Matthew 1:24,
 "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife."

Trust is a concept that most of us know and say we possess but in reality it is often the last action we take.

When problems rise up and try to distract us the last thing we do is trust in the promises of God.

I often try my hardest to do everything I can to make the situation work to my advantage and if that does not seem to be working, I worry.

In the Christmas story Mary had a unique problem she was told by God that she would be made pregnant by the Holy Spirit when she was not married. How would she tell her betrothed?

She could have tried to convince him, she could have bombarded him with her version of events, but she put her faith and trust in God.

Trust in the work of God through Christ should be the solid rock on which we build our lives, he provides everything by his grace and he is working everything out for us.

Andrew Wommack explains:-

Much attention is given to Mary and her piety, but Joseph was quite a man of faith, too.

Verse 18 says that Mary was "found" with child, implying that the pregnancy was observed by Joseph, not explained to him by Mary. And this was after Mary had been away visiting Elisabeth for three months! Certainly Joseph was tempted with the same thoughts that you or I would have been. How could she expect him to believe that this was a virgin birth?

As special as Mary was, she had an equally special young man for a fiancé.

How many men would have believed such an incredible story even if an angel had told them in a dream? It took more faith on Joseph's part than it did on Mary's.

This is the way it always is. Those who hear of the vision or call of God second hand have to exhibit an even greater faith than the person who received the word from the Lord directly.

The scriptures don't mention whether or not Mary ever attempted to convince Joseph of the truth. What would have been the use? Only God could make someone believe a story like this. It is to Mary's credit that she trusted God and to Joseph's credit that he believed God. 

Today, do as the Lord bids you and trust God to take care of the rest.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

ConneXions - The Savior of All Men


The savior of all men


I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! – Luke 2:10-11

Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. – 1 John 4:14

And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. – 2 Timothy 1:10

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all – 1 Timothy 1:15

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. – John 3:14-17

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. – 1 John 5:12

The Lord is my light and my salvation – Psalm 27:1

The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.- Psalm 116:6

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. - John 6:37

He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth! – Psalm 116: 8-9

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The world's most beautiful creation by Karl Jones



I’d give anything to see the sun set on the horizon,
I’d do anything to gaze at a full moon in the night sky
Even a rainbow would make me smile,
And I’d love to swim in crystal clear waters
Of an untouched sea
Sometimes I’ll see a shooting star,
And try to gaze from afar,
All the diamonds in the night sky
The mist on the mountains is breathtaking,
As is walking in rainforest
To see cascading waterfalls I’d do anything for,
As to stand on the highest peak in the world,
And look at the sights below
I’d love to soar on wings above the clouds,
Across the bluest skies
I’d do anything to see
All the beautiful things in the world,
Like a red rose blooming in the Sahara,
Like a river twisting through a dusty land,
All the beautiful things in the world
But I also know I am looking at
The world’s most beautiful creation....YOU!

By Karl Jones

Friday, 11 January 2013

Friday's Five - Philemon 4-7




Philemon 4-7

I always thank my God when I pray for you, Philemon, because I keep hearing about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ. Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.

Friday’s five this week is from the opening verses in Philemon.

Paul gives us a fantastic overview of God’s grace overflowing and working in the life of a believer.

Life has a way of grinding truth down and making everything thing we do seem worthless. The power and excitement of every moment in union with Christ needs to permeate our thoughts and flow through our bodies.

These five truths are great to mediate on as we realize that Christ in us is the hope of glory.


I always thank my God – A thankful heart is the overflow of God’s grace. Thankfulness dispels self pity, depression and morbidity. God has given every believer so much to be thankful for, every moment of every day we are united with Christ and all heavens blessing are freely bestowed on us.

Your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people – Faith is simply our positive response to all God has provided by his grace. Our simply ‘thank you’ to all that Christ won for us at the Cross. The overflow is faith is love and acceptance of each other. Without love everything is worthless.

The generosity that comes from your faith – Because God has given everything to us by grace; freely we can give everything away in generosity. God is generous beyond compare, exceeding in showering us with his love, mercy and favor. We need to give his goodness away to everyone we meet.

Understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ – God is good all the time, he is not angry with us and he sees us constantly as ‘In Christ.’ We need to drench ourselves in the grace of God and experience his life flowing through our veins. Understanding without experience is just academic bluster; experience without understanding is overblown emotional feeling. We all need the balance of knowing who God is, knowing all he has provided for us in grace and experience his life and grace in our lives.

Kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people – God is kind, in his kindness and compassion he reached out to the unloved, the rejected, the despised, the unacceptable, and the enemies of God and reconciled them to God by his death. His kindness is the template for us, the example of a gracious life poured out for those around us.

My prayer for each and every one of us today is that we would know and experience all the good things we have in Christ and that we would refresh all those that enter into our lives.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

From A Park Bench - Matthew 1:21



Matthew 1 v 21
"And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Jesus means the ‘Lord saves’.  The prophet Isaiah writing in the Old Testament predicted the saviour’s birth and called him ‘Immanuel – God is with us.’  Jesus was God in the flesh, the very God, the creator of the universe, birthed into the world he created, as a baby.

The good news is that Jesus came to pay the price, to redeem us, and stop God’s wrath upon sin. Jesus ended the war between God and man.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians that God is no longer counting men’s sins against them. By His death on the cross he reconciled man back to God and all sin, for every human alive, is forgiven at the cross. All sin, past, present and future sin was placed upon Jesus and he died in our place and took our punishment. The truth is that before you were born, your sins were forgiven.

Sin separates us from God, but Christ died to end the separation and bring us into the royal family of God.
His death saved us from all sin and by his resurrection he gave us new life. Today the only thing that keeps man from God is unbelief. No matter how good I am I cannot make the grade, my works and performance mean nothing. The only way to God is by saying thank you to Christ for all he did at the Cross and resurrection and receiving and living in the abundance of his grace.

Christ has provided all I need and I am united with Him through the Holy Spirit. He lives in me and I am alive to him.

The Lord Saves, my sin has been eternally forgiven.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Bygone Times - Fauna Pottery from Eastgate




Timothy Whites was a houseware store from my childhood. Located in Terminus Road in Eastbourne, my mother swore by the store and its products.

I remember numerous visits on Saturday afternoons, but the product that summed up Timothy Whites for me was a Tree Vase that had a little rabbit snuggled at its base. This vase once purchased proudly stayed in the entrance of our home, welcoming any visitor into the Stevens home.

I loved this vase; it was cute, funny and just looked great.

Okay, it was not worth a lot in value and was not a collectible work of art, but it was just great.

I found out that it was a piece of Fauna Pottery from Eastgate England. This is the description of the vase:-
“This jug is fashioned in the shape of a tree with a forked branch to the right forming the handle of the jug. Adorning the tree in the center and above the handle are swathes of large green leaves. The tree is coloured brown and has yellow highlights on the various knots.

A flattened plinth at the base forms a niche where a large rabbit is seated erect. The rabbit is reddish-brown with a white face and black stenciled eyes.”

Sometimes when we visit antique markets I catch a glimpse of them and they are being sold for a tenner.

They make me smile, I almost buy them but my wife is not convinced, memories are often more special.




Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Tuesday's Track - Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave



This is an amazing song

I have heard it numerous times on UCB radio.

Full of truth and fantastic reality. It took me years to finally realize that all of heavens riches had been poured into me though Christ and everything that was my old man, my old life was crucified with Christ and was dead and buried.

Condemnation and guilt have no effect on someone that is dead.

I have been raised to new life In Christ.

Every day now I live in the freedom and liberty that is my glorious satisfaction that Christ is the interwoven joy in union with me





Redeemed

Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

Monday, 7 January 2013

Grace Notes - John 1:1



John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

Christ was tempted, suffered and died for us as a man. He lived, breathed, walked as a man.

He was God, ‘veiled in flesh’, he was the second Adam, man born from the seed of God, sinless, righteous and Holy.

It is important that his ‘earthly’ existence is not diminished by his Spirit’s existence and likewise that He is truly proclaimed as ‘God With Us!’

Here Andrew Wommack explains the importance that Jesus was God.
 
“Jesus was not just a man sent from God, He was God.

This is the most important statement of the New Testament. On this truth hangs all other truths.

If Jesus was only a man, then regardless of how good He was, His life could only provide a substitute for one other man. But since He was God, His life was worth more than every human life since creation. Indeed it was worth more than the sum total of the universe that He created.

Any compromise on this point will negate the work of Christ in our lives. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh! Yet this Almighty God came to dwell in a human body. He humbled Himself and took the form of a servant.

Christ's humanity truly made Him one of us. He suffered the same temptations and pressures that we suffer. It was His divinity, however, that gave Him the power to save us to the max. We must never let His humanity blind us to the fact that Almighty God Himself became our friend. And we must never let His divinity blind us to the fact that He knows exactly how we feel and cares for us.”

Sunday, 6 January 2013

ConneXions - Saved By Grace



God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. – Ephesians 2:8

For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. – Colossians 1:13-14

I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. – John 5:24

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6

But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation – 1 Thessalonians 5:8

Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. – Jude 24

An inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. - 1 Peter 1: 4-5

Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. – Romans 13:11

Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. -  Hebrews 7:25

Saturday, 5 January 2013

In Christ we are A New Creation



Christ poured into us through grace all the blessings he won as a man who lived and died for us in our place.
  
  • The Father's grace is freely bestowed on us in Christ, whom He loves.
  • We were created born again in Christ. 
  • Those who are in Christ are new creatures.
  • In Christ we have the fullness of Christ inside us.
  • In Christ we are God’s masterpiece.
  • All believers are sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit from the first moment of saving faith.
  • In Christ we have been brought near to God by His death. 
  • Our redemption is in Christ. 
  • Thus, the forgiveness of our sins is in Christ, 
  • Therefore, being in Christ removes us from all condemnation.
  • As Adam brought condemnation upon all humans by his disobedience as our federal head, so also Christ has brought justification upon all believers by His obedience as our federal head. 
  • Righteousness is in Christ. 
  • Being found in Christ by faith clothes us in His righteousness.
  • Thus, believers have become the righteousness of God in Christ.
  • Therefore, we are justified in Christ. 
  • Because of this, we have liberty in Christ.
  • In Christ we had been redeemed from the cruse.
  • The law has been fulfilled in Christ
  • God riches are freely given to those in Christ 
  • We have been sanctified in Christ.
  • We are holy in Christ
  • We died with Christ. 
  • Our old self was crucified with Him so that we are no longer slaves of sin.
  • We died to our old sinful nature in Christ.
  • Because we have died with Christ, we will be raised from the dead in union with Christ. 
  • The Father has raised us up with Christ.
  • The Father seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ.
  • In Christ every promise of God is available to us.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Friday's Five - Psalm 121



A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

It has been said that Psalm 121 was a song of blessing given to someone embarking on a dangerous journey or a song for pilgrims going up to Jerusalem.

In Christ we have come to Jerusalem, Christ has made his home with us.  Christ is not afar off, he is not residing in some distant land, not contactable by telephone, he is right here, united with us in our spirit.

Every moment of every day he is joy in our hearts, the reassurance of our salvation, and the peace inside, the excitement in our spirits.

Whether it is making dinner for our family, kicking a football in the garden, baking a cake with the Kids or washing up the dirty plates, He is there enabling us, encouraging us, loving us through in a torrent of grace.

My help comes from the lord – Christ is our place of refuge, our help, and our rest. Often we look in every place possible than to the indwelling power of Christ inside us. He is our father, who loves to give us all good things that he has made available to us.

He watches over you and does not sleep – When we are asleep he is still alive within us. His spirit is the very power that surges through our veins.

He stands with us and protects us – It is His delight to protect us and be there for us. He is the quickening in our hearts, which brings peace, reassurance, joy and love. The world batters and besieges us with its torment, discouragement and lies.   Christ is the exact opposite; he is the rock on whom we can build the strong tower of grace.

He keeps us from harm – All things work together for good, to those that are called according to his purpose. In Christ every situation is a chance for him to work through us. From the mundane task to the spectacular adventure. Whatever we are facing he is right there, inside us, in the same power that raised Christ from the dead.

He is with us as we come and go, now and forever. – Every moment of every day. Eternally united to Christ, eternally redeemed, eternally sanctified, eternally free.

Today, mediate in the truth of God living, protecting, guiding and working through you in everything you do. Let him permeate and overwhelm you with His love.    

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Blank Paper by Deepa Thomas



God created us like a blank paper
More white than milk
More pure than rain

He let others walk into our life
Take that pen by the side
And let them make their mark
Some write, some just glance around, 
Some erase what they wrote, 
Leaving us never the same.

Some marks run deep, 
Some on the surface
Some start new
Some complete the marks
And we change therefore
And change continues every day! 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

ConneXions - In The Beginning God




In the beginning God

Lord, through all the generations you have been our home! Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, you are God. – Psalm 90:1-2

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. – Romans 1:20

The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, I  the Holy One, says this: I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.  - Isaiah 57:15

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. – Isaiah 40:28

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. – Deuteronomy 33:27

All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. – 1 Timothy 1:17

I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,”says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” – Revelation 1:8

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year



Happy New Year to everyone who drops in and takes a look.

May you experience and revel in the wonderful waterfall of the goodness and grace of God.

Let the same power that raised Christ from the dead, infiltrate, permeate, immerse and flood out of our lives into a broken and hurting world.

Wherever we go, who ever we meet, whatever mundane chores we are placed with, the glory and grace of Christ is in us to touch all those around us.

Christ lives and works through every believer, in the smile we share, in the hope we bring, in making the kids breakfast, in cleaning the house, in playing golf, in resetting the Church chairs, in making our work-mates coffee, in cleaning away the dirty mugs, in sorting out the broken photocopier, in all we do Christ works through us.

 My prayer for you in 2013 is from Numbers 6:24-26:

‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.’

And may Christ the conqueror of death reign and overwhelm our hearts: -

My Captain by Dorothea Day

Out of the light that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be
For Christ the conqueror of my soul.
 
Since His the sway of circumstance,
I would not wince nor cry aloud.
Under that rule which men call chance
My head with joy is humbly bowed.
 
Beyond this place of sin and tears
That life with Him! And His the aid,
Despite the menace of the years,
Keeps, and shall keep me, unafraid.

I have no fear, though strait the gate,
He cleared from punishment the scroll.
Christ is the Master of my fate,
Christ is the Captain of my soul.

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