Money

•February 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well, here begins a new commitment for me. This walk in Christ is really a frustrating thing. To continually fall and stumble, to feel down and weak without knowing why until you work up the courage to speak to a fellow Christian and they point out to you exactly what you’ve been doing wrong. And then iot is like a thunderbolt to the brain, and you are energised again. Anyway, this commitment I make here and now. Each day I will give time to the lord. I will study his word and give time to worship. I will never allow myself to wake up one day and think “you know what, I can’t be bothered today”. May God give me strength to honour this pledge. Amen!

 

And so it begins below, with help from Examen.me

Deuteronomy 8:10-18, Mattehew 6:24 and Hebrews 13:5

God will provide everything we need to survive and to accomplish what he wants us to accomplish. However, if we ever lose sight of the fact that all we have is given to us by God, if we ever fall into the trap of believing the lie that we have done it ourselves and without help, then we have lost sight of God, and must ask forgiveness from the Lord. He is the reason we have al that we have, and so all that we have should be used for his Glory.

You can choose either to worship God, or to worship money. You cannot do both. Either you believe that God is all powerful and will provide you with what you need to survive and live a happy and contended life, or you believe it takes money as well. Both things cannot be true. Yes, God provides us with money so that we might live, but happiness, achievement and a good life come only from the Lord. If there were no money in the world, God would still be able to provide for us.

I urge you brothers and sisters in Christ, be grateful for what you have. This doesn’t mean you can’t strive for more, or that you should stay stagnant in one place, but rather strive for the greater glory of Him, reach for the tasks he has set you, but never blame God when things don’t go quite to plan, or when the tough times come for you.

God is not a Routine!

•November 25, 2010 • 3 Comments

I feel compelled to write these words, as they were laid upon my heart whilst I was riding into work yesterday morning. I pray they are words from God, and they I put them down as they are meant to be written. I also pray that God would start giving me these words when I have the opportunity to actually write them down straight away, but that’s a whole different story!

The worship of God should never be routine. It is so easy to fall into the trap of going to church every sunday just because it is what you have ALWAYS done, or because your parents did so. For some, it is just that right from the beginning. They have never felt Gods presence, never truly known what it is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, they merely come to church because they feel that somehow it is the right thing to do. Pray for them my friends, pray that God will find them in His own time, and that they may come to know the glory that is Him our saviour.

Sadder to me however are those who once knew God, once worshipped and believed in him fully, and yet now they have lost that connection, that deep feeling of love and hope, that comes from being in contact with our Lord. It is a horrible thing to imagine, yet it is so easy to do. We fall into a pattern of going to church on sunday, singing the hymns and songs with half a heart, listening to the sermon whilst considering where or what to have for lunch, and then we leave and forget. Pray more for these poor souls my friends, for they have lost something so precious, so amazing that their lives must feel empty. What, after all, is life without God?

So how do we overcome this matter of routine? We must be honest with ourselves. We must take a long hard look and discover the reasons within us that determine WHY we have come to church, why we have come to worship. If you are truly there to worship God with all your heart and mind and soul, how incredible is that?! How amazing is it to give everything to God, and know that he receives it and will help you through whatever you are facing?

If, instead you come because it is Sunday and it is the right thing to do, then I urge you to find someone you can sit and talk and pray with. Find out where you became lost along the way, and how you can get back on the path of worshipping our most great and powerful God. Do not feel ashamed or tearful that you have done so, it happens to us all. We are human, and we fail. We have all of us been there. Our God, YOUR God, is ready to take you back into his arms if only you will let him in.

Our God does not want robots, following a set pattern, worshipping automatically and then going home. Our God is not a god of machines, but a God of life, love and joy! How you worship is not important, some play music, some dance and wave and sing, some sit silently and contemplate. It all glorifies God, it all brings him pleasure, just so long as it is done with the sole intent of doing so. Of turning to God and saying “you are the Lord of all things, come into my life, and be with me always.”

He is here, he is moving amongst us and he has a plan for us. His spirit is drawing nearer and nearer each day and all we have to do is reach up our arms and embrace him. His spirit will overflow within us, changing us, moulding us into the people we are SUPPOSED to be, according to His plan. I urge anyone reading this, examine WHY you do the things you do, and seek help if it is needed. Help is always available for those who need it. Isiah 55:7 says “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near”. Amen! Call upon the Lord, feel Him enter your life and send it spiralling upwards on a rollercoaster ride that will leave you breathless and amazed and ever closer to God. Join the Lord, and feel how great and awesome He is!

Ezekiel 37

•November 15, 2010 • 2 Comments

So, just got back from Mission Worship. All I can really say is wow…just wow! most amazing 3 days away ever! I feel renewed spiritually and ready to face anything thrown at me. Bring it on, lol! Loads of great stuff came out of it, had some great talks with some people (as well as causing the group I was with to threaten to disown me, hehe!) I see great things coming in the future, not only for myself but for Christ Church and for Braintree. May Gods glory increase!
One of the things that came up that I want to talk about today is chapter 37 in Ezekiel. I kept having this passage shoved in my face again and again on Saturday. I was reading it randomly on the beach before the seminars, and it turned up at least once in each of the seminars that I went to in the afternoon. What would I do without these subtle hints God throws at me! When I sat down and read and thought about it deeply, it gave me more of a general impression of my state of spiritual being before the conference, and my state during.
For those of you who don’t know, Ezekiel 37 is where he’s walking through this valley, and everywhere around him are dried bones. And he feels God speak to him, telling him that he (God) will bring life to the bones. And sure enough he does. When I read this passage I’ll admit I was a little confused as to what it had to do with me. Short of the Lord sending me to a graveyard and giving me the power to raise an undead army (which would be quite cool I admit!) I couldn’t see how it referred to me. But when I sat and looked at it in a spiritual context, I found I understood. As I looked back at myself over the past months, I found that I had been drawing further and further away from the living God. I still went to church and worshipped, but I never really thought of him outside of that, except when things went wrong and I blamed him! How fortunate am I that I have a loving and forgiving God, because with what I’d been saying to him recently, certainly deserve at least 2 or 3 lightning bolts upon my head!
My soul had become as dry as those bones in the valley. I thirsted after the water that God gives us, the water that will never run dry, and yet I refused to allow it entry. I had become some obsessed with work and with my problems that I didn’t take time to worship each and every day. The conference changed all that. At Mission Worship I felt myself give over everything to God, I felt his spirit in me as I felt it the first time I met him. It washed over me and through me like a flood, and left me shaking and weak in awe. Praise the Lord that the power he uses on us, his followers, is used to protect, guide and comfort, else I would have surely drowned!
I still do not understand everything, I do not know Gods end plan for me, and I know I will have to work hard, with Gods help, to stay with him in spirit, and to keep my spiritual bones from becoming as dry and dusty as they were a few days ago. But, for the first time in a long while, I feel up to the challenge, because I have a mighty and powerful God on my side, one who will walk with me every step of the way. Amen!
In closing I would suggest to any of you reading this who feels that maybe God is not there as much as he used to be, that maybe he doesn’t answer as often as he once did, read this amazing passage in Ezekiel. Meditate on it, and know that no matter how old, no matter how dry and cracked and thirsty our bones, the Lord God will breathe fresh life into them and fill you with an abundance of water, if you but ask.

All glory to God, shout loud his praise, and know that he is with you always. Amen!

The Soul

•July 28, 2010 • 1 Comment

What is a soul like? I t is like a perfect pond in the middle of a woodland trail. When we are born, the waters are smooth and peaceful, untroubled by anything. It’s clean to drink, and wonderful to behold. Unfortunatly, during our lives, trash often gets dropped into this pond. The waters begin to darken, and it becomes foul and stale. At times we will come back, and stare into it mournfully, wondering just how we managed to let a thing of such beauty become so stained and unlooked after.

God gives us the means to clean this pool that we have allowed to become contaminated. He gives us the means to make the water drinkable again. However before he can do so, we must look, and truly see what it is we have done. It is not enough to simply say “I have sinned, but God forgives me”. Such a statement is pointless if you cannot admit to yourself how you have sinned. A grand all-encompassing statement is not what will allow God to heal you, to make you clean. We must examine what we have done, examine the truth of how we have turned aside from God, hurt others, overindulged ourselves, etc.

Only when we examine the garbage floating at the bottom of our pond can we truly understand how we have ruined it. Once we understand that, we can give it to God and be cleansed. Without examination in detail of that which we have done, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes.

God Provides

•June 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

I want to talk a little today about faith, and about how much we all believe. It is easy to say “God can do anything”, it is much harder, I feel, to actually believe it. We always seem to be ready with that backup plan, that attempt to plan ahead and make contingencies for problems that may or may not arise. We find it so very hard to let go, to give up control. We are born worriers. What we worry about differs from person to person, and indeed some things that one person will worry about seem trivial, even laughable to others. This is brought home to me repeatidly whilst I work as a security guard in retail clothing stores and hear customers worring about whether thier purse matches thier shoes. To me, such worries are laughable and I must fight to keep a straight face. To them, it seems deadly serious.

Here then is what the bible says in Matthew 6:25 : Therefore I tell you, do not worry.

Do I really need to write anymore? Whilst this probably doesn’t apply to whether green goes with red, it does apply to things such as money, food, clothes, how to live. The bible tells us that God will provide, and He will. He loves us and cares for us. But we need to learn to trust him. We need to learn to relax our worries, get over our fears, stop making our own plans and listen for HIS plan. He will provide. This doesn’t mean we can all now go on a spending spree, maxing out our cards and then turn to God and say “why aren’t you providing for me?”. No. What it does mean is that if we live a godly life and trust in the Lord to provide, then he will do so. By all means plan, but do so with the will of God in mind, and be prepared for him to blow your plan out of the water if he finds it unnacceptable.

There are no ifs, buts or maybes to this. Take a deep breath, take a step back, and ask yourself the following questions.

1) Did the Lord make the world?

2)Is the Lord capable of anything?

3)Do I trust Him?

When it is broken down to these three questions, the answers should be clear. It is easy to turn round and say “it’s not that simple”. I’m sorry, but it really is. God provides because he loves and cares for us. End of.

Praise God for the things that he gives us. May this truth spread, and perhaps more importantly, may this truth be believed. God provides. Amen!

Gods Path

•June 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The path we walk with God is never going to be an easy one.It is not one of those sedate paths you find on country estates with manicured lawns, all easy walking, beautiful views and quiet space. Instead it is a path of difficulty. It’s a country lane full of potholes, mud and the unpleasant smell of horse dung, with, in the distance, the roar of the motorway just out of sight. So why then, do we willingly choose this path over any other? Why suffer the holes, the grazed knees and the dirty boots? Why not stay in the safe and sheltered walks provided by the estate, content with structured beauty?

The answer is simple. For all the beauty that the estate walk provides, for all it’s cleanliness and guidance, it is not real. It is a fake beauty. Enjoyable in it’s way, easily accessible without fuss or bother, and yet dead, lifeless and stagnant. The path never offers anything more or less than it is. It never goes anywhere in the end, merely round and round, showing us the same sights we have already seen. It is unchanging, and thus comforting for some, but for those of us who know and follow God, it can never be enough.

The country path is messy, and hard. We will often stumble and fall, collecting dirt and grime that we may sometimes not even notice, and yet when we do notice it it will take ages to clean. We will go hungry and thirsty whilst those on the other path are sitting on lawns eating cream buns and drinking tea. And yet…and yet, the beauty we will see on our journey is worth so much more than anything the other path can provide. The knowledge of obstacles overcome, the satisfaction of a challenge faced and met more than worth the efort. The mystery of where the path will lead next, and the wonder of discovery. And even the end of the walk, when we come home to rest, safe and warm and secure. All these things are why we walk the path of God. It is not easy, but that’s alright, because we don’t expect it to be. And because we know that He who made us, who loves us, who wants us to walk with Him forever, will always be there to help us when we need it.

Amen!

Faith and Deeds

•May 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As a Christian, it is easy to say ” I have faith”. We go to church evry sunday, we worship God, maybe we even attend a homegroup or prayer triplet. But is this all there is to our lives as Christians? These things affirm our faith, they strengthen us for what we will face during our lives, but they are nothing by themselves. The Bible says in James 2:14: What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? I feel there is an important lesson to be learnt here. It is not merely faith that saves us, it is our actions and our deeds as children of the Living God that are also an essential part of our salvation. Faith alone is not enough. We MUST act upon the word of God. It is through our deeds as much, or even more than, through our words that people are able to see the glory of God, and to witness His love. Without actions to back our words up, we are nothing more than puppets, reading from a book like any other. With our actions we affirm the Word of God. We prove to all who witness that his Word is Truth undeniable, and that he has power and love greater than anything else ever concieved.

And yet, when we act, we must consider the reasons behind WHY we are acting. Are we acting solely for God, or is a part of us doing so for recognition? So that people may look upon us and say “there stands a good Christian”. Quash this thought if it enters your minds I beg of you! If ever you act for these reasons rather than entirely and only for Gods Glory then such actions are false and should not be tolerated, no matter how good they might seem. Everything we do, EVERYTHING, must be for Him and Him alone. All else is ashes and dust. It is not easy to seperate such thoughts, it does not happen over night, but trust in Him and He will provide you with the strength you need.

All Glory to God! May my written words reflect the message he wishes, and may I be told is it is ever not so. Amen!

Trials

•May 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

James 1:2: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds

Amen to these words! It is not during the soft times when everything is going right and well that our faith grows in leaps and bounds. It is not in those times when evrything in our lives is great that we turn to God and call on him for help. It is during the dark times that we grow. When the shadows close in and there seems to be no hope of help or escape from our worsening situation, THAT is when the light of the Lord shines most brightly to us. It is then that we are forced to give up our foolish beliefs that we are in control of our lives. It is then that we must openly admit and cry out to our Lord and Creator-you are everything Lord, and I need you.

As Christians, whether we like it or not, we must give all of our lives over to God. There are no half measures in the journey through faith. You cannot be a Christian one day out of seven and live how you like the rest of the time. Being a Christian is about surrendering yourself to God. Giving yourself to he who created you and allowing him to work His mighty will on your life. It is not an easy thing to do for real. It is all to easy when things are going well to say “Lord, all of this is because of you, thankyou”. It is a much harder thing to say such a thing in the hard times when there seems to be no hope. But those times are used by God too. They are our times of testing, the times when our faith is put to the test. Pray that we will not be found wanting!

Pray to the Lord for strength during these times my friends. He will never test you more than you can take, and when you need strength call out to him, and he will provide. But as it says in James 1:6 to 8: But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Believe, therefore, dear readers!  Know that the Lord loves you, and will shelter you during all times. His strength and power will flow through you when you need it most. All it takes is faith. Amen!

God is like…a SatNav!

•May 14, 2010 • 1 Comment

Proverbs 21:16:  A man who strays from the path of understanding comes to rest in the company of the dead.

 Ok, so I’m driving to the Christ Church weekend after work on a Sunday morning. It’s a miserable day, lots of drizzle, and I’m feeling the burn from doing a night shift and then going on this long journey. I have no idea how to get there, but fortunatly I have that ultimate tool for a driver on my phone, the Satnav! And so, tired but eager to reach my destination and join my friends in worship, I programme in the postcode and set off.

I seem to be driving for hours and getting nowhere. Horrendous roundabouts that make me glad it’s Sunday morning and thus the roads are relitivley empty, dodgy farm tracks that are barely wide enough for my small motorbike let alone someone in a car, and massivly long straight bits of road that would be great if it weren’t for the 30mph speed limit. And then I see a sign to a place I recognise. Not the centre where I’m supposed to be going to, oh no. This is a sign to Chelmsford! For some reason that at the time I could not fathom, my Satnav has taken me round in a massive semicircle rather than going in a straight line. How insane! How crazy! What on EARTH was the point in that?! However, having no idea what else to do, I continued following it’s intructions. Short of turning round and going back, what other choice did I have?

To my amazement, I arrived at my destination a short time later. Imagine my relief, my joy! My Satnav had not failed after all, my phone was not going to be destined to be flung to the ground in rage, and I was free to worship with my friends.

On the return trip, I remembered the trip down, and decided to ignore the Satnav. I would follow the road signs, and ignore the messages being repeatidly shouted in my ear by my phone. So, despite countless advisories to turn around, I followed the signs to Chelmsford, convinced I knew best. After all, am I not more knowledgeable than a machine? Are the road signs not put there to guide us safely to our destination?

The return trip took me twice as long, as by following the signs rather than listening to the Satnav, I drove slap bang through the middle of harlow. I was NOT impressed. However, it did get me thinking. And so, after this long rambling story, my conclusion is this: God is like a Satnav!

The road He takes us on is not always clear. There are many times when we feel we know better, that our choices and ideas are better than his. We walk our own path, convinced that God is wrong and that our way will be easier. And we suffer for it. We suffer because in our arrogance we do not listen to Him no matter how many times he tells us what to do. I urge you therefore, dear reader, to always remember this message. Though God’s way is mysterious, though it is often impossible for us to see where His way is leading us, or how it can be the best way for us, nevertheless it is! He is God, he knows all and sees all! He has a plan! He does not think in terms of hours or days, he sees the big picture, the fulfillment of his will and his promise to us! Praise God and follow him always, through darkness and confusion, through doubt and fear. Trust him always, and let your faith be the light you follow along the road that he has set for you.

Amen, all glory to God!

And you thought I was done…

•May 4, 2010 • 1 Comment

Okay, been a while since I’ve written anything I know. I could blame my recent illness, though since this lasted only over the last two days and I haven’t written on here for months, such a claim would me blatantly senseless. The truth is, it is hard sometimes to put these things that are given to us down onto pen and paper (or indeed key and screen). They can be so much more mundane than when they arrive in our head from our Lord. We read and re-read, rephrase and tweak slightly, and they still never come across quite as good as when they came to us. Well what do we expect?! We are trying to emulate the words and ideas that God himself has given us! Who are we to even expect to be able to put things as perfectly as he does?! All we can do is write, and pray that  Jesus will do the rest, to open the minds and hearts of those who are our readers. Amen!

So after two days of meditation and fasting (actually, two days curled in bed groaning and calling on god for my stomach to stop churning PLEASE!) and after a splendid feast to recover, the weight of which still sits on my stomach these ten hours later (my thanks Alan!) I have come to the conclusion I must write. Today’s will be an explanation, and justification of sorts. I’m not sure it’s needed, but it came to mind, and so I’ll put it down and see what happens.

The thing I feel that needs explanation, the thing that I need to justify, is my sense of humour. An odd thing to justify, I admit, but bear with me. Many’s the  time I have been discussing God with my friends (christian and non-christian) and many’s the time I’ve cracked a joke at or about God, and they’ve cringed. Literally, they’ve “ducked and covered” as I believe is the technical army term, as if expecting a lightning bolt to fall and strike me for my insolence.

Now I grant you, for some of the things I’ve said he might well be tempted. But the God I know, loves me, and I love him. If you cannot share a gibe and a giggle with those you love without causing offence, if indeed those jokes and wry comments to not constitute affection, then I admit, I am at a loss. To me, being able to have a laugh and a joke with someone is one of the most powerful signs of love. To know you can say absolutely anything to embarrass this person, and they will take it in the manner it is meant. Or if they do not, that they will forgive easily your mistake in pushing too far. And, indeed, that they can do the same to you. Is that not love? God, I believe, has a sense of humour. I am grateful he felt it right to share some small part of that with me.

Lord, I thank you for laughter. I thank you for the ability to express our love for others in all the myriad of different ways. Each of those ways different, but all conveying the same thing. May our love for others, and through others you, continue to grow. May it encompass the world, so that all may know the power of your love. The love that loved us so much, he died for us. Amen!