Tuesday, 27 October 2020

                                 How can you not believe in God - Part I

I have heard that many believe the universe just happened out of a great explosion (Big Bang Theory). Have you ever looked closely at how the human body is made up. With all the veins, and organs that have been specifically placed within you. We are born with a brain with which man can use to split an atom and at the same time make himself to be an idiot. You can look at your hand and even as your brain tells your fingers to type, we don't give it any thought because it is what we have just taken for granted, rather than to marvel at God's creation. How when we are born, and born with everything we need for the rest of our lives. We learn to walk, and talk, we cry and laugh. and experience anger and joy, hatred and love (for food or things or people). Even our very existence, our beginnings. A drop of sperm from the man into the egg of a woman and just like that we are formed and born. God is a God of order, not chaos (Big Bang) where randomly the universe is formed. Next time you go for a walk or listen to someone speak or think of some experience you have lived through, stop and think about how God has made you. None of us are exactly the same, we have many similarities but vastly different. That is how God made you and me. He not only made us, he gave us free will which was used in the garden of Eden and we blew it. Inspite of that, God still loved us, and loved us enough that He sent His one and only Son Jesus Christ, to die for us and for our sins, if only we would believe in Him.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

COVID: Faith over Fear

 I found this devotional online by Destiny Gonzalez. I found this devotional online about COVID and responding with faith rather than fear. Maybe you find that people you work with or hang out with how worried and concerned they are about COVID or the next restrictions that will take place. We need to know and believe that our faith in God and in Jesus Christ is more than enough to carry us through not only COVID but any situation that comes our way.

It is a great reminder of where our faith is at. Is Jesus in control of your life or do you see him as a slot machine hoping to hit the jackpot. Living with Christ is a daily choice and a daily walk. There is no relationship with Him when you only come to him when it benefits you. Marriage isn't like that and the Christian walk is not like that either. It's all in or all out.

Here is the original devotional

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41

This story holds a profound lesson challenging our response to fear. It is important to recognize that the fear in this story was valid. This is not a story about irrational anxiety. Notice the language in the text describing “a great windstorm,” “the waves beat[ing] the boat” and “that the boat was already being swamped.” This was real. The disciples were lifelong fishermen who knew the sea and could recognize genuine danger, and they were convinced they’d die. This makes the contrast with Jesus all the more remarkable. Look at how Jesus acted: “He was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.” Mark paints a picture of serenity, but one surrounded by chaos. I wonder how the disciples viewed Jesus at this moment. He was one of the few in the boat who was not a trained fisherman. Perhaps they viewed his nonchalant attitude as a symptom of ignorance rather than an enduring sign of faith. They faced real danger, one they expertly understood, while their teacher seemed oblivious and out of touch.  It was at that moment Jesus awoke. I like to picture Him slowly sitting up, maybe stretching for a moment and then stepping out to command the waves to “be still!” Instantly, the wind died and seas calmed. At His word. The very word that spoke the sea into existence.

His question is one we must all answer, “Why are you afraid?”

Take a moment and ask yourself.  Fear can be a symptom of a lack of faith. It is human to imagine a worst-case scenario occurring in the future—whether a pandemic, economic collapse or something else entirely. But, do we remember that God will be with us in that future? Do we see only waves or is our attention fixed on Jesus who still rests in the boat? Fear is a form of thinking in which when we imagine a future in which God will not be present. Even in a “worst-case scenario,” Jesus has a funny habit of showing up and transforming into something else entirely.

This does not negate the reality of human suffering and grief. Jesus repeatedly demonstrates His compassion for those suffering. Furthermore, we should not feel condemned for the fear we feel. It’s natural to worry and, no matter how strong your faith, you’ll probably still deal with it to some extent. But this does challenge us to lift our perspective so we are not defined by fear. No matter what occurs in this life, Jesus—the very Word of God—is still with us. He still has authority over the storm, and He has conquered death itself. We may go through trials, but we live in hope.  It is all-too-easy and all-too-human to let fear grow bigger than God. Like the disciples, we follow Jesus during everyday life, but what happens when a storm appears out of nowhere and threatens to swamp us? How do we view Jesus? As a man who doesn’t understand the danger of the situation? Or as a God who reigns over all the earth? Our perspective changes everything.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Have you felt the shoulder taps from the Holy Spirit

Very often in life the Holy Spirit nudges me and you (if you are a follower of Jesus Christ to do something, to go and speak to someone, to pray for someone, to give something to someone. My prayer is that when you feel that nudging that you will act on it.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Praying! Two "different" ways?

 A few weeks ago I had a discussion with someone on prayer, and based on Matthew 18:19 which says, "Again, truly i tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." While I don't like to put labels on certain bible verses I remember from more than 25 years ago someone referring to this as "name it claim it prayer". I am not saying I disagree with the idea of ask for it and it shall be given to you, but I would add, "if it is God's will for me", then he will give it to me. I do believe that God gives us the desires of our heart, but I also believe that what we desire is not necessarily what God wants for us, simply because our desires are not always God based, but selfish based. Maybe I lack the faith to pray the "Name it, Claim it" prayer. I tend to be more like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8 which says, " And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’  For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?  I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
To me I see two quite different ways to pray. Neither one wrong, but more of where my prayer life fits in. I would love to hear comments from anyone on what they see in the New Testament regarding prayer."

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Do you remember when you first became a Christian? I remember being "on fire" when it came to reading the Bible. I would read it on the bus on my way to work. Then as time went on there was a mere flicker of a flame left of that fire, and over time it burned out. It would occasionally flare up a little but not to the extent it was more than 30 years ago. We do not need to look beyond anything other than Jesus... there is nothing else out there. It is Christ alone. Let's get back to preaching the word of God rather than implementing new programs in the church (the idea behind these seems to be, "Let's see if this will work?"). We are so worried about offending people, and yet they need to know the Gospel. I am the first to admit, that evangelism is my weakest gift...but I do have other gifts that I can use in the church, and so do all the other Christians in the pews as well as those on the stage. As a leadership, it is important to know the gifts of the people and to let them be used in building up and edifying the church.

Another thing that has been on my mind is the older I get the more I think about death. When I see others much older than me (people in their 70's and 80's) who do not know the Lord, I often wonder if they think about the after life...what happens when I die...where do I go? There is one couple who comes to mind every morning in my prayers and I know they are not living for the Lord. When I talk to them and ask them what is new, the reply is always the same, " Nothing is new, it is the same old every day, eat sleep and once in awhile coffee with the gang". What a sad life. It makes me wonder what they are living for, and holding on to. I guess the only way to know is to ask them next time we get together. Pray for me that I would have the courage and boldness to speak to them about the Lord.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Family and Friends Without God.

I often think as you get older, say 75 plus, and don't know the Lord. What do you think about? When you are 40 you might be thinking about buying a new home or car and even a change in career, but at 75, 80, 90 what is going through the mind of the non christian? For most, there is nothing material they need anymore, physically you would be in the declining years of life, mentally you would also be declining. Think about spiritually? What have you believed all these years? What has kept you from the creator? A dispute with the church? Pride? Something else? Luke 12:20 says, "God said to him, You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you". These same words apply to any one of any age.
That should be the scariest phrase for any non christian. Therefore, for us as Christians, we should be telling people the Gospel, especially family. We can't make them believe, that is up to God. We can only share it with them and pray that what we have said sinks in and they respond. Lifestyle evangelism is not enough. I have seen people who live very upright and moral lives, but without God in that it is nothing.I think of my son and others like him who made a decision to accept Christ into their heart at a young age, but now no longer believes that. I have a list of people I pray for to come to know the Lord in my family and friends. I am amazed at how many people there are who do not know the Lord. Certainly more in this list than in the list of those who do know Him. That should be more than enough reason for us to share the Gospel with them.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Obituary, Funeral and Humour

Now that I have your attention, I do not plan on dying anytime soon, but I know full well that it certainly could happen at anytime.I have talked about writing my own obituary, but still have not done so yet. I think a good reason to write one is so that others will not have to when I am gone...not that they would not be accurate about what they say. However, I have been to enough funerals and read many obituaries that I know what I do and do not want to say or have said either at my funeral or in my obituary. I do not want written in my obit that I liked to travel, or play golf, or loved going to work (this one is really not true at all (Just seeing if you are paying attention) - I would love to be retired and not go at all). It is always good to add humour (with 2 U's) in spite of all the sadness that takes place at the time of a passing of a loved one. What I would rather have written is I prayed for family and friends that they would experience Jesus Christ to the fullest as their Lord and Saviour. I also hope that if people speak at my funeral that they would simply say He loved the Lord and lived a life that backed it up. (I am not there yet, but I am working on it). I do want my funeral to be mostly upbeat. I should record a video and it can be shown at a certain time during the service and I can take roll call and see who is present....just to break the ice. I suppose at some point then I could call out my name, and just to see if people are paying attention, and then answer for me. I could tell a couple of jokes after all I always wished I had enough talent to be a comedian. Then I would conclude with a real upbeat song,... don't worry I won't be singing it.

I will admit that death is on my mind a lot as I think of the family who have died before me and think that there is little time to do what God wants of me, so I need to be available and obedient all the time even unto death.