Tuesday, 30 April 2013

From A Park Bench - When the spiritual becomes the secular and the secular becomes the spiritual



When the spiritual becomes the secular and the secular becomes the spiritual

Every Christmas there is one word, one phrase that seems to be only used at Christmas. I am not writing about crackers, Christmas pudding or advent calendars, the word I am thinking of is “Immanuel.” This declaration of the coming of the baby Jesus, God intervening into time and space, “God with us.”

But “Immanuel” is so much more than just God entering our world, it is the son of God becoming human so that he could actually touch us. “Immanuel” means that God is showing us that he has no intention of being God without us. He is sharing His life with us so that we can share in God’s life.

When we believe in Christ, we enter into a living relationship with God. Our life becomes nothing less than a participation in God’s life.

The desires of our hearts are God’s desires, the dreams we dream are God’s dreams, the breath we exhale is God’s breath, the blood flowing in our veins is God’s blood. In every area, every sense, every action we are in union and participation with the almighty God.

From the most mundane action of making breakfast for the family, doing the washing, sorting out the broken office photocopier to praying for the sick, enjoying the presence of God, every moment, every action is important and God is with us and working through us.

Our lives should not be “departmentalized” into “spiritual” and “secular.” Truth is truth whether we are at Church or at home. We should keep our thoughts, imaginations and our minds on the good things God has given us in the natural, such as family, health, and work, just as we should think about, righteousness, justification, forgiveness, and so on.

We should focus on the good in every area of our lives. Recognizing God’s hand in even the smallest things will cause peace and keep our hearts and minds on our union with Christ and let his power flow out of our lives.

Christ is sharing himself and his life with the father in us. Every thing we do is intertwined with Him and his glory.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Grace Notes - Matthew 9 v 9



Matthew 9:9, "And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him."

Many times I have heard various “Altar” calls at events where people are encouraged to follow Christ. This has many aspects but the most difficult is that it can produce self effort as the path of acceptance with God.

Christianity is not a changed life, it is an exchanged life. When we come to Christ our old sinful man is crucified with Christ and we are born into a new union with the living God. Christ now lives in us and He starts to flow through us.

Grace is the power and glory of God now living on the inside of us, motivating us, encouraging us, loving us and overflowing us with the power to overcome. This union is a place of victory and joy. We now  live from a new spirit man and focus our eyes on Christ.

As Andrew Wommack explains to “follow” Christ is to let Him live through us: -

To "follow" means to come or go after; move behind in the same direction; to come or go with; to accept the guidance or leadership of; to adhere to the cause or principles of; to be governed by; obey; comply with.

When a person first comes to Jesus, it is impossible to know everything that following Jesus entails. No one, however, should be fearful of making a total commitment because of some imagined problem that may never come to pass. There should be a willingness to forsake everything to follow Jesus. Once we make that decision, then Christ begins to live through us and we find a strength that is not our own, equal to whatever test we may encounter .

It is Christ living through us that is the secret of victorious Christian living. It is not us living for Jesus, but Jesus living through us. Failure to understand this simple truth is at the root of all legalism and the performance mentality. The law focuses on the outer man and tells it what it must do. Grace focuses on the inner man and tells it what is already done through Christ. Those who are focused on what they must do are under law. Those who are focused on what Christ has done for them are walking under grace.

Just as the life of a root is found in the soil, or a branch in the vine, or a fish in the sea, so the believer's true life is found to be in union with Christ. The Christian life is not just hard to live, it's impossible in our human strength. The only way to walk in victory is to let Christ live through us.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Inscribed on a Park Bench



Inscribed on two park benches where my wife and I sat in Hampden Park, Eastbourne, today.

Percy and Dorothy Downey (1907-1979) and (1920-2001) much loved and remembered.

In loving memory of Estelle Myres 1922-2009. Greatly missed by her family and friends who loved her dearly.

The Girl I Left Behind - Edward Dyson



THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND ME.

I said: "I leave my bit of land-
In khaki they've entwined me,
I go abroad to lend a hand."
Said she: "My love, I understand.
I will be true, and though we part
A thousand years you hold my heart"-
The girl I left behind me.

I went away to fight the Huns-
No coward thought could bind me,
I sizzled n the tropic suns,
I faced the bayonets and the guns.
And when in daring deeds I shone
One little woman spurred me on-
The girl I left behind me.

Out there, in grim Gallipoli.
Hard going they assigned me,
I pricked the Turk up from the sea;
I riddled him, he punctured me;
And, bleeding in my rags, I said:
"She'll meet me somewhere if I'm dead-
The girl I left behind me.

In France we broke the German's face-
They tried with gas to blind me.
In mud we bogged from front to base,
And dirt was ours, but not disgrace.
They carved me till I couldn't stand.
Said I "Now for the Lodden, and
The girl I left behind me.

I came ashore, and struck the track;
For dust you scarce could find me.
The dear girl gave no welcome back-
She'd changed her names and state, alack!
"You've been a time, I must say, Ned,
In finishing your old war." Said
The girl I left behind me.

I flung a song up to the skies.
For battles gods designed me.
I think of Fifi's laughing eyes,
And Nami, dusk, but sweet and wise,
And chortle in my heart to find
How very far I've left behind-
The girl I left behind me

---------------------------

On Thursday 25th April ANZAC Day was remembered. On 25th April 1915, the Australian and New Zealand forces entered the Great War in combat by landing at Gallipoli.

To remember this event I have posted the above poem by the exceptional Australian poet Edward Dyson, who saw action with the A.I.F.

Edward Dyson wrote in my opinion one of the greatest poems of the First World War “The Unredeemed.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Bygone Times - Kan-U-Go


Long before Scrabble became popular there was an old card crossword game. Kan-U-Go was a Christmas present from an Uncle and Aunt in 1974.

It consisted of small cards with letters and values and thankfully had simple rules for playing and scoring.

There were 58 letter cards in the pack plus two Kan-U-Go wild cards.

One of the great advantages of Kan-U-Go was that it could be played from 1 to 7 players. Therefore all the family could play it, but if everyone had fallen out with you, it could be played solo with the solitaire version. A crossword patience.

The aim of the game is to form words in a crossword and to get rid of all your cards. You add to words already formed or form your own words. A simple but winning formula.

It is what I would call an educational present, one that educated the child by increasing spelling skills but also by having competition and fun.

I loved Kan-U-Go small enough to take on holiday and a good family game.



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Thursday, 25 April 2013

From A Park Bench - Hebrews 12 : 1-2



"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."
Hebrews 12:1-2 

Last weekend saw the running of the 32nd London marathon. I watched the end of the event from the comfort of my sofa and I must admit a secret admiration for all those that took part. Months of dedication, training in all weather’s, pushing their bodies to achieve their personal targets. For some it was to win the race, for others it was to beat a particular time, and for most it was just about enjoying it and making it to the finish. For every one that took part it took determination and courage to make it to the end. 

The writer to the Hebrews encourages us to “run with perseverance the race marked out before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.” But what does this mean? Are we by our own efforts and works trying to get the reward for our salvation?

Earlier in Hebrews we are encouraged to ‘labor to enter the rest that God had provided.”

The Christian life is a wonderful adventure from the beautiful place of Rest. God by his grace has provided everything we need, it is a job done. All we have to do is receive and live in it.

The race we are in is a race into the inheritance and grace of all that God has provided, as we fix our eyes on Jesus, we center ourselves into the grace that overflows our life. This is not a race where we try to win, because we have already won. This is a race of victory, a race of glory, a race of overwhelming love.

Sin hinders us receiving all that God has for us, The Old Testament saints look on and marvel at the wonders that we have and the greater depths that await us, we run from one degree of glory into another degree of glory.

We already have the prize; the prize is Jesus, in all his glory and majesty united inside us with all his fullness. As we run into him we immerse ourselves into the grace of God and we transform ourselves into his likeness.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Create the perfect TV Christian



Create the perfect TV Christian
  
To portray a Christian on a Television detective programme or ‘soap opera’ is not for the light hearted. In fact, you have to relinquish any normality and become a strange religious character that is slightly out of touch with the real world.

Over at TV Tropes the TV “Vicar” is summed up perfectly:-
 British vicars are generally portrayed as docile and gentle elderly chaps, with white hair and little glasses and ever so prim and prissy ways. They take afternoon tea ("more tea, vicar?"), have a tendency to be a bit liberal with the altar wine and don't believe that anything remotely sexual happens ever, despite the fact that Church of England vicars are allowed to marry. 
A more recent trope is the "trendy" vicar, who is younger, and probably plays the guitar, but is really just as clueless, especially when it comes to attracting young people to the church. Expect them to make air quotes while using thirty-year-old slang.”


Below are 10 characteristic of a TV acted Christian you can choose any 5 of them to blend together to make the perfect character.

1, You must wear a T-Shirt with a Jesus slogan

2. You must be found reciting the Lord's prayer

3. You must be able to quote bible verses at will (especially famous ones or equally very obscure ones).

4. You must always be found in a church

5. You must always kneel to pray

6. You must smile inanely as you answer questions

7. You must refer to God as the “Boss” or “Him upstairs”

8. You must have a criminal past or be involved in a secret illicit relationship, of which you say you have repented of and are now on the right path.

9. You must have a very bad or old fashioned hair cut.

10. You must avoid answering any questions truthful and drop bible references in at will.

 In the episode of Midsomer Murders I just watched  “Country Matters” I matched:

1. You must wear a T-Shirt with a Jesus slogan
2. You must be found reciting the Lord prayer
4. You must always be found in a church
5. You must always kneel to pray
7. You must refer to God as the “Boss” or “Him upstairs”

 Have a go yourself and create your own perfect TV Christian.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

From A Park Bench - Value



When You Value Something You Treat It Differently.

Last week I took the plunge into the 21st century and the world of portable technology and bought a Galaxy tablet. This wonderful little device cost a tidy sum for me and I got a protective case for it. The last thing I wanted was damage to my valuable new purchase.

We try to protect and take care of the things we value. Those things that are worthless to us we tend to neglect and treat badly. When you value something you treat it differently.

Now if you never read your Bible for the rest of your life and never prayed another prayer to God for the rest of your life or never tried to win one more person to Christ for the rest of your life then God would still fully love you, accept you and be pleased with you! 

Christ is united with every believer and your relationship with him is through his life in you not on anything you do to be accepted, but we glory in what we most enjoy. So the closer we get to God, the more our heart overflows with God’s grace, the more we retain the glory of God in our lives.

Misplaced values diminish the impact God has in our lives. It is not that God is any less; it is not that God is withholding things from us; it is that other things around us and in the world take our focus off God and onto our circumstances. As Andrew Wommack points out, “Most people place a higher value on circumstances or the opinion of others than they do on God.”

The greatest treasure in our lives is our living union with Christ. Living in the abundant grace of God that flowed from the cross.  Valuing Christ above all the other things we value will cause God to increase and ourselves and the world to shrink by comparison.

We are accepted, we are loved, we are holy, we are righteous, we are already blessed, and these are the greatest truths to value.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Grace Notes - Mark 5:19


But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” Mark 5 :19.

God is not angry with us in fact God likes us. The most famous verse in the Bible tells us that God so loved us that he sent his son.

The amazing truth is that God who was so self-sufficient and perfect in happiness and bliss with His Son and the Spirit, wanted to share and enjoy the wonder of his happiness with us. He did not need to, but we are crucial to God because with his creation enjoying and loving Him God’s majesty is made even wonderful and glorious.

God reveals himself to us through his radiant attributes, one of these is mercy, As Andrew Wommack explains mercy is God’s lovingkindness given towards a fallen and lost world:-

“One of the ways God's goodness is revealed is through His mercy. We may describe mercy as "the readiness of God to relieve the misery of fallen creatures." Many times, mercy is called compassion or lovingkindness. It is expressed toward the sinner because of the misery that sin has brought upon him.

God's mercy to the believer is revealed by His taking away the misery of sin's consequences through the New Covenant of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Mercy is not something merited or earned, but as the Apostle Paul states, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to HIS MERCY He saved us."
Our Heavenly Father is the author, originator, and source of all mercy.

"Mercy is condescending love, reaching out to meet a need without considering the merit of the person who receives the aid" (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words ).

Even when we were spiritually dead because of our sins, God's forbearance was working on our behalf. He was tolerant, patient and kind towards us. God abounded in excessive proportion with good will, compassion, and desire to help us. His disposition was kind, compassionate, and forgiving in His treatment of us. He wanted in abundant supply to alleviate our distress and bring relief from our sins. He did this by giving us life in place of death. It was with Christ that this salvation was secured. By grace, kindness, and favor we are saved. All of this was the result of God's extremely large degree of love wherewith He loved us, always seeking the welfare and betterment of us.

God likes us.”

Sunday, 21 April 2013

ConneXions - In the shadow of his hand he hid me



In the shadow of his hand he hid me

Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever. – Psalm 125:2

For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain.  My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you. – Isaiah 54:10

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’ – Deuteronomy 33:27

Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. – Isaiah 49:15,16

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, - John 10:28

For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’ – Isaiah 41:13

Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last. I alone am he. – Isaiah 41:4

I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness. Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. – Psalm 89: 1,2

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. – Lamentations 3:23

Friday, 19 April 2013

Rejoice.....



Rejoice that you are dependent on Christ.

Rejoice that Christ has united you to himself.

Rejoice that Christ has removed once and for all the whole sinfulness of mankind.

Rejoice that the whole of humanity’s darkness and evil was consumed in the body of Christ, crucified and buried forever.

Rejoice in the scandalous love of God.

Rejoice that God in Christ became one with humanity.

Rejoice in the overflow of God’s sweet love towards me.

Rejoice that I have had my head anointed with oil.

Rejoice that I have the same power that raised Christ from the dead living inside me.

Rejoice that I am accepted, restored and forgiven.  Forever.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

From A Park Bench - Joy



Joy

“Don’t worry, be happy,” are lyrics that my teenage often quotes at me, when he sees me in a state of perplex. He often reminds me that I am the one who is supposed to be overflowing with joy and if the joy of the Lord is my strength, then I need to let joy flood my life.

My spirit is perfect. It’s a part of God. It’s one with God. It has his nature in it. It’s been given the fullness of Christ. The fruit of the spirit is in my spirit. When we walk by the spirit the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humility, gentleness, self-control starts to permeate into the very core of our being. The more we walk by the spirit the more our natural mind begins to be flooded with and lines up with to spiritual truth.

Joy is something we already have but may not experience. Being dull to our spirit and awake to natural man means that lies and worry, and natural senses dominate over the fruits of the spirit.

One way we can start to release what we already have is to rejoice and give thanks for all God has done. The reason most of us don’t rejoice always, is because we don’t know that we already have been given joy.

We have these fruits regardless of our emotions. Just as a tree produces fruit naturally, because we are rooted and en-grafted into Christ, so naturally God produces the fruit in our spirit.

Outward circumstances may sometimes be against us but inward joy can always be ours because we are united with Christ.

Our joy is in the Lord. We always have joy but we choose to rejoice.  No matter what our circumstances we can always be glad, take pleasure in and enjoy the Lord.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Simply......



Simply Jesus
Simply take your eyes off yourself and get your eyes off your sin and get your eyes on Christ.
Simply let your heart blossom into happy praise and thankfulness that your union with Christ is perfect and complete.
Simply focus and live from the spirit.
Simply freed from the bondage of sin.
Simply realize that faith and righteousness is a free gift of grace.
Simply walk in a renewed mind, a mind that is Jesus conscious
Simply rest in knowing your identity and security.
Simply honour all that Jesus did.
Simply be free in the grace of God.
Simply enjoy the mercy from above.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Simple Things - Hope


All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope." – Sir Winston Churchill.

Hope

“Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” So writes  Andy Dufresne in “The Shawshank Redemption”. In one of the greatest movies ever made, the wrongly imprisoned Dufrense gives his friend the greatest advice, even when everything seems bleak and impossible there is always hope.

There is awesome, great power in Hope. Hope can be the motivation that gets us up in the morning when everything around us is bleak. Hope can be the stronghold we trust when we watch our teenage children grow up. Hope is the power to anticipate the future and find pleasure in it.

Without hope we would fall into despair and worry overwhelms our hearts.

What we hope in also defines how we view everything; we see life through the eyes of hope in the imagination of our hearts. Often in the Bible, hope is the word that is used for a positive imagination that is working in your favour.

The heart is where we live from. It is the ground from which our life grows. Having a heart that is full of hope will begin to germinate faith and love in our lives. Hope rooted in the grace of God is the key to all God has provided for us In Christ. As the songwriter Edward Mote wrote:-

“My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
but wholly trust in Jesus' name.”

For the believer, united into Christ all our hope is in Jesus’ blood and righteousness. We can have natural hope in the weather report, the news etc.. But the finished work of the cross is all the hope we need, as it is written in Colossians 1:29 –

“Christ in you – the hope of glory.”

Our union with Christ, living and working through us is the anticipated pleasure in all the grace of God that is freely available to us. To hope in anything over Christ and his grace, is to settle for slice of toast when we can have an eight course banquet.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Simple Things - Mercy


All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope." – Sir Winston Churchill.

Mercy

“We don’t need justice – we need mercy,” in the words of Andrew Wommack.

God is rich in mercy; one of the strands that weaves itself through the Bible is the mercy of God and how He deals with mankind. From His loving reaction to the first sin, His mercy shown to Cain, His mercy shown to Sodom and Gomorrah, mercy towards Nineveh, and so on.

Mercy is sometimes frowned upon in our justice driven world; we all want to see those that commit crimes get the punishment they deserve. We understand fairness and expect a fair outcome to the trial and tribulations that we face. God’s heart towards us is not one of fairness it is one of mercy. God does not treat us as our failures deserve and He cares for us in our brokenness.

When the world and our friends judge us for our failings and our faults, God does not leave us or forsake us, he gently reminds us of who we are in Christ and gives us the ability and strength to make amends to those we have hurt.

And in exactly the same way that God pours out his mercy to us, is the way we should show mercy and grace to those that offend and hurt us and those that don’t agree with us.

God is rich in mercy, we have that same mercy living and working inside of us, we need to let that life and mercy flow out of us to everyone we met and disagree with. Mercy is not an option it is an overflow of a renewed heart.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Simple Things - Duty


All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope." – Sir Winston Churchill

Duty

It was the Confederate General Robert E. Lee that once said “Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less” . For him taking up arms to defend his home state of Virginia was the highest duty.

For every believer of Christ our duty is to live and be fully satisfied in the finished work of the cross. Everything we could ever want is in the person of Christ; he is the source of all bliss and fulfillment.

In Christ we lack nothing, we have been plugged into a wellspring of grace.

It is our duty to enjoy all the riches of God’s grace freely provided by the cross. Often we stop at forgiveness as the main work of the cross, but the victory at the cross provided so much more. The cross was a complete, once and for all eternal work. Our holiness was completed at the cross, our healing, our prosperity, our wholeness, the end of the law, the end of separation, the heavens were opened, and the Glory of God came to live in man.

God demands that we are filled with his joy.

God demands that we be satisfied.

God demands that we live in the full and finished work of the cross.

God demands that we live in all the scandalous grace he has made available to us.

It is our duty, the duty of every believer to live overflowing lives, full of his spirit and over spilling in love, power and grace to a broken and lost world.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Simple Things - Honour


All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope." – Sir Winston Churchill.

Honour

Margaret Visser once stated that "a person is what he or she is in the eyes of other people". Honouring each other for the actions that further and enhance society is a foundation. Every year, societies and organisations have award ceremonies; Armistice Day is a special moment when we honour those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

We also give honour to those that have influenced and changed our lives, our way of thinking, our opinions. A special place of respect to hero’s that make an impact, for me two men especially have had a profound and amazing influence on the way I understand and live my Christian life. Through the teaching of Rob Rufus and Andrew Wommack I have come into a place of freedom, understood all that God has provided for me by grace and opened up my mind to the wonderful union I have with God.

But although honour is due to human man, it is nothing to the honour, esteem and respect I have for Jesus.  I stand in awe of everything that Jesus has done for me, of all that he is, of all that have in union with him.

To place any man above God is just silly; It is Jesus that won my freedom, Jesus that gave me new life, Jesus that provided everything for me, Jesus that is the power that thunders within my heart.

In a world that gives honour, rightly to those that enhance and change the world through acts of self-sacrfice, the greatest sacrifice was made on a cross, 2000 years ago, by God through his predestined gift so that we could exchange our sinful, guilty, forlorn, hopeless life for a new vibrant, free, power filled, joyous new life with the God of all creation living inside every believer.

He is worthy of all honour and deserves our highest esteem and praise.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Remembering - Margaret Thatcher



"He left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me."

 By Charles Wesley

"" I shall know why, when time is over,
And I have ceased to wonder why;
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky.

He will tell me what Peter promised,
And I, for wonder at his woe,
I shall forget the drop of anguish
That scalds me now, that scalds me now"

.By Emily Dickinson

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
- Sir Winston Churchill.

“For He the price has paid, to bring us to this place,
That we might share His glory, look upon His face.

Atonement, at one with God, hidden in His love,
This is God great gift to man, sent from heaven above.”

By Dave Thorpe

Monday, 8 April 2013

Simple Things - Justice


All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope." – Sir Winston Churchill.

 
Justice

“We glorify in what we enjoy the most. And it ins’t God.” So writes the theologian John Piper. Jesus had similar words to say, “Where your treasure is there will be your heart.”

We all want to live in a world and society that is unpinned with the foundation of Justice. We all want to be treated fairly; we want the good to be rewarded and the evil to be punished. From the imprisonment of those that commit hideous crimes to those that break the speed limit as they overtake our car and nearly cause an accident. Most of us at one time or another, have wished for the Police to appear and punish those that break the speeding laws. My daughter and I watch the numerous TV programmes where the law enforcers attempt to catch and bring to justice those who are naughty.

There is something deep within our souls that yearns for justice. This is because we are created in the image of God and God is both just and loving. God through his love for us was willing to meet all his demands for justice.

All of us glorify what we enjoy most and we glorify in ourselves, our own achievements, our own pleasure and our own self-righteousness. We ignore God, reject his love, cast off his kindness, but his love reached out and in and through Christ’s sacrifice at the cross, God’s justice was satisfied so that we could have perfect, unbroken fellowship with God.

The power of sin was broken at the cross and every person born has already had every sin they have and will ever commit forgiven. God doesn't look a sin the way people do. To God, sin isn't only doing something by violating a command. It’s also not doing something right you should have done. We all fall short of God’s standard and deserve justice.

When Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead. He became the complete sacrifice for our sin once and for all. Satisfying the justice of a holy and righteous God for all eternity!

Jesus fully provided forgiveness and pardon leaving us the freedom to live free from guilt, condemnation, shame, and fear.  We have been cleansed from all sin and our conscious have been cleansed of all guilt.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Simple Things - Freedom



"All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope." – Sir Winston Churchill.

 
Freedom

Some songs stay in your mind, deep in the recesses of hidden chambers. One such song is Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee.”  A school friend recorded the album for me on a cassette tape and I spent many hours playing it over and over again.  When I hear anyone mention or use the word “freedom” almost immediately I start listening to the song again in my mind. Especially the words, “Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose, And nothin' ain't worth nothin' but it's free.”

Freedom conjures up a mixture of meanings and emotions. For most of us trapped in a world of rules and regulations, laws and restraint, it is that feeling of living and existing without any restriction or control.  The right that each of us feel we should have to act as we choose without being confined or held down.  Freedom from any form of slavery brings release and fulfilment. In the words of Kris Kristofferson, “Freedom just another word for nothing left to lose,” to be able to be free to have nothing to lose, you have got to leave all that holds you back behind, you might have nothing but at least you will have your freedom.

For those that receive Christ and accept his provision of forgiveness, freedom is an amazing reality, it is a relationship with a glorious God, and it is a breaking free of all the bondage of the Old Covenant Law and the regulations that went with it.

God in Christ paid the ultimate price for our freedom. We have been released from the oppression of sin and we have been given a new holy nature, the old sinful nature has been nailed to the cross and died with Christ. We have been raised into a new, vibrant life with God the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit living inside and interwoven into us.

We are free because we have died and Christ now lives and works through us.

We are loved by God, and he wants us to be intoxicated, wooed, overwhelmed, drunk with his love so that we spill out his love in every moment and to every person we met. The Father is delighted with us and desires us to enjoy the wonders of his grace and the revelation of all that was purchased for us at the cross.

We must never let anything or anyone bring us back into bondage again.

Friday, 5 April 2013

In The Words of Sir Winston Churchill.


“All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope."

“It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”
"Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival."

"For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else."

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
"One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half."

“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.”
"We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

Thursday, 4 April 2013

From A Park Bench - Made in the Image of God



We are made in the image and likeness of God. The very essence of God is the core of our nature. We are his delight, the joy of his heart, the overflow of his abundant love.

We are his treasure, when we are lost he searches the earth for us, his heart cries out for us and he sends encounter after encounter to us to woo us back to him.

We have as our origin the source of all things, the Father God

Great professors, academics and scientist debate and argue over the start of life. But God’s love letter to us, shows us that we all had our beginnings in the Father’s heart of everlasting, unconditional love. We are his prize, his cherished ones.

Each one of us is a precious gem in our Fathers crown. A son who was lost but is now found. A child of God.

And as Children of God are in an intimate privileged position with God. We are his delight, his face beams with joy when we come close and enjoy His presence and receive His favour. There is nothing than God likes more than to be with and us and see us experience all the riches of His grace.

We can stay as long as we want in our Father’s presence. He never tires of us and his heart is overflowing with abundant goodness towards us.

We can feel secure in receiving freely all the amazing great things that God has provided and lavished upon us.

We don’t earn it, we don’t deserved it, it is not dependent upon our praise for it, it is not how good we are, it is not how we ask for it.

It is all freely given, abundantly provided, out of the overwhelming goodness of a Father’s heart, all there ready to be received without conditions.

All God desires is that we take His grace, enjoy it, revel in it and come back and receive more and more and more and more.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Day That I Have Loved - Rupert Brooke



Tenderly, day that I have loved, I close your eyes,
And smooth your quiet brow, and fold your thin dead hands.
The grey veils of the half-light deepen; colour dies.
I bear you, a light burden, to the shrouded sands,

Where lies your waiting boat, by wreaths of the sea's making
Mist-garlanded, with all grey weeds of the water crowned.
There you'll be laid, past fear of sleep or hope of waking;
And over the unmoving sea, without a sound,

Faint hands will row you outward, out beyond our sight,
Us with stretched arms and empty eyes on the far-gleaming
And marble sand. . . .
Beyond the shifting cold twilight,
Further than laughter goes, or tears, further than dreaming,
 
There'll be no port, no dawn-lit islands! But the drear
Waste darkening, and, at length, flame ultimate on the deep.
Oh, the last fire -- and you, unkissed, unfriended there!
Oh, the lone way's red ending, and we not there to weep!

(We found you pale and quiet, and strangely crowned with flowers,
Lovely and secret as a child. You came with us,
Came happily, hand in hand with the young dancing hours,
High on the downs at dawn!) Void now and tenebrous,

The grey sands curve before me. . . .
From the inland meadows,
Fragrant of June and clover, floats the dark, and fills
The hollow sea's dead face with little creeping shadows,
And the white silence brims the hollow of the hills.

Close in the nest is folded every weary wing,
Hushed all the joyful voices; and we, who held you dear,
Eastward we turn and homeward, alone, remembering . . .
Day that I loved, day that I loved, the Night is here! 

By Rupert Brooke


(Rupert Brooke was born in Rugby, Warwickshire where he attended the local school. He then gained entry into King's College, Cambridge (1905-11) where he became a Fellow in 1912. He travelled extensively and wrote many travel letters for the 'Westminster Gazette', London (1912-13). At the start of the First World War in 1914, he was assigned to the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He saw action at Antwerp which inspired the writing of five passionately patriotic sonnets, the last of them being The Soldier. He was at the height of his fame when he died during the war aged twenty-seven. He had been on his way to serve in the Dardanelles when he died of blood poisoning at Scyros and was buried there.).

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Focus....



Focus on the connection found in Christ.

Focus on the finished work of the cross.

Focus on the Spirit that lives within.

Focus on the words of truth not the words of lies.

Focus on your union with the perfect one.

Focus on the breath that fills your lungs, the breath that God breathed into your nostrils.

Focus on his ridiculous grace.

Focus on Christ, who didn’t just take our curse, He became our curse.

Focus with the eyes of faith on the sacrifice of Christ.

Focus on the fact that it is all done.

Focus on the pleasure of salvation and let it overtake you.

Focus on a fully supernatural life.

Focus on Christ.


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