“God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9
“God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” 1 Corinthians 10: 12-14
“But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not ‘yes and ‘no’.” 2 Corinthians 1:18
I have been thinking about God’s faithfulness. In the world today faithfulness seems to be in short supply. If something doesn’t work then throw it away and start again. Don’t worry about the commitment you made, don’t worry about keeping your word, don’t worry about being faithful, unless it makes you happy. If it doesn’t, then throw it away. What a contrast with the great faithfulness of God. He who made a commitment, a covenant, with mankind and will not give up on us – even though we deserve that! God’s purposes will go through in spite of all that man does to try and mess it all up. If we know Jesus as our Lord and Saviour then God has called us into fellowship with Him. What an honour, what a privilege. Furthermore, He is over every detail of our lives and will not let us be tested, or tempted, beyond that which we can bear. And He will work through every trial for our good – for our blessing. Why? Because He is faithful.
We had an excellent talk today by Peter Guinness in St Marks Gillingham. God is working – in all things – for the good of those who love Him. Romans 8:28. So will we still trust that God is good – even in the midst of difficult circumstances? We have a message of hope and joy, and it is true! God is faithful and our message is not ‘yes’ He is one day, and ‘no’ He isn’t the next. God is always good and God is always faithful. He demonstrated this at the cross when He gave His own Son to die for you and for me so that we could enjoy everlasting life with Him. And He is working out His purposes for each of those who love Him, and for this world in which we live, for His glory and praise.
So we can hold on tight to this wonderful truth – that God is faithful. Even if everyone else should let us down, He will not. Praise the Lord.
Well, I am amazed and astounded but also very happy to tell you that ‘How do I know I know God?’ has just received a five star editorial review! I had never heard of Readers Favorite until recently but they selected my book for review and I am very grateful to them for posting this on their site. Here’s the link in case you are interested!
‘Whoever wants to be my disciple……‘ Matthew 16:24
Another great word preached at the San JuanChurch of the Good Shepherd. Carol spoke about the need for true disciples today and then outlined three conditions for being Christ’s disciple according to Christ Himself.
Unrivalled love – ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, borthers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple’ Luke 14:26 Of course, hate in this context means to ‘love less’ and not ‘hate’ in the way it is often used today. So am I prepared to put Jesus first every time in my life? A disciple does not just listen to the Teacher but he or she then does their utmost to follow what is said.
Unceasing cross bearing – the path of a disciple is not an easy one in the world today. Jesus says ‘ Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ Matthew 16.24 We know that the Christian path is both difficult and easy. Difficult because it goes against the general flow of the world today and easy because Jesus will always be with us. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling who will help us in every circumstance and God has said ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’ Hebrews 13:5
Unreserved surrender – We must deny ourselves. Probably the most difficult condition of all but if God is worth anything then He is worth everything. To love God and to love our neighbour means that we come last! I have been thinking over these things this week and I thought to myself, is it even possible? And then I remembered that with God all things are possible. Therefore, with His help and in the power of the Holy Spirit it is possible to be a disciple of Jesus today. So if we tell Him we want to be His disciple and then ask Him to help us keep to that commitment we can be at peace knowing that it is His work, not ours. Paul tells us in Philippians 1:6 that ‘he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’
Will you make a commitment today to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and then trust God to help you to be faithful to that commitment?
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ Matthew 5:3
Wow! We had a really good time yesterday at the San Juan Church of the Good Shepherd. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in a very powerful way – the songs, the people (who kept on coming in so that we ran out of chairs – standing room only!!) and what a great sermon from Gordon Burgess. I decided the best thing for my blog this week would be to try and capture a few of his thoughts and pass them on.
God is against the proud and the arrogant. It is those who are poor in spirit to whom God reveals Himself. It is they who inherit the kingdom of heaven. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? It means true humility and to think nothing of ourselves but everything of the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ – Paul says (2 Cor 12:10). Weak in himself but strong in the Lord. So many examples in Scripture of those who were poor in spirit, and God was with them in a very special way – Joseph, David, Isaiah, Paul, to name just a few. ‘Poor’ in the eyes of the world, but special to God. And of course the perfect example in the Lord Jesus who ‘humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!’ (Philippians 2:8)
The Christian path is both difficult and easy. It is difficult because it means we must become poor in spirit. It is difficult because it means death to self – ‘take up your cross and follow me’ is not an easy thing to do. It means we no longer want to please ourselves but we want to please God. Death to our selfish selves is not an easy thing hence the Christian path is difficult. But ‘my yoke is easy and my burden is light’ Jesus says in Matthew 11:30. The path is easy because we have Jesus always with us – ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ (Hebrews 13:5). What more can we want or need? If Jesus is with us then He will see us through our journey on earth until we meet Him face to face and spend eternity with Him.
And what should we be doing while we wait for Him to come? The Lord revealed Himself to Isaiah – a man poor in spirit – and then Isaiah tells us this. “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8
So what about me and what about you? Am I/are you prepared to become poor in spirit so as to be able to inherit the kingdom of heaven? And what will be your response when you hear the voice of the Lord – are you willing to join Isaiah and to say, ‘Here am I. Send me!’
A time for reflection and a time for anticipation. I look back over this past year and can praise God for every part of it. And I can look forward to 2014 and praise Him for all that He will do. He has been faithful and will continue to be faithful. He never changes.
He has been faithful throughout 2013 – the joys and the sorrows – and I believe I have learned more about Him and His great love for me. As this blog is a result of my books, I want to write specifically about how I have been amazed at all that He has chosen to do regarding these books. When I first began to write I had no intention of trying to publish the book. But some strange doors opened, and with encouragement from others the first book was published. I thought just a few of my friends might read it. I have nothing to recommend me as an author. I am not a celebrity, or a vicar, or a convert from some other religion, or anything that is ‘special’ in the eyes of the world. In publishing these days it is more important that you are ‘famous’ in some way than it is for you to be able to write! But I am just a nobody from nowhere and yet somehow my books have nearly reached the 10,000 marker! I can only say praise the Lord – it can only be His work and according to His plans that this has happened.
Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me. Thank you if you have bought one or more of my books. Thank you for your emails and your messages on this blog. One of the many benefits of this project has been the way in which I have been brought into contact with so many wonderful people who know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. I may not meet you on earth but I know I will meet you in heaven.
I think I am writing all this about my books only because I want to encourage you to step out in faith in 2014 to do what you believe God has put into your heart. Some special work, some special project, some special way you want to serve God. You may think you are not able to do it, but God is able to use our poor efforts for His glory, if it is His will. I hope my experience will show you that if it is possible for me – a nobody from nowhere – then it is definitely possible for you! The young boy in the Gospels brought what he had to Jesus – five small loaves and two small fish (John 6:8). When these were placed into the hands of Jesus He used them to feed more than five thousand people! We know a God who specialises in making small things big – Praise the Lord and God bless you in 2014.
Christmas …. just one day to go. For many it is a time of peace and joy and happiness but for others simply an endurance test. For some reason we often feel more lonely at such times, even if surrounded by people. But the good news is that Jesus came so that no-one need ever feel lonely. He has promised to never leave us – which means just that! He is always near us, with us, closer than we can ever imagine. I was thinking along these lines when I read a piece written by Billy Graham on the same subject. I thought – yes, that’s right, and Billy you say it much better than I ever could. So I have posted the link here for you because he says just what I would like to have written! Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.
Now this really made me think which is why it is now on my blog! Christmas is coming and many of us are so busy and stressed about such small things. This has put things in perspective for me – maybe it will do the same for you. When we think we have problems – maybe they are not really problems at all!
‘One thing I do know’ John 9:25
Sometimes I am confused about many things! Sometimes there are many voices and many opinions about different parts of the Bible. But as I thought about these different voices and views and as I thought about the confusion there is in the world today, I believe God drew my attention to this Scripture and an old song came into my heart, some of which I have included below. There may be many voices but ‘one thing I do know’. I know that Jesus died for me. I know my life has been changed because I gave it to Him and I know that because I know Him, love Him and trust Him, He will take care of me in this life and for all eternity. Do I really need to know anymore than that?
My faith has found a resting place, not in device or creed;
I trust the ever living One, His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea
It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.
‘You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’ James 4:14
Where does the time go? I often say this and hear others say it too. The time just seems to fly. That’s my excuse I suppose for being late with this blog! Yesterday caught me by surprise because the last Monday seemed such a short time ago. Everyone seems to agree that time flies. I wonder if this is because we are so busy these days. There is always so much to fill the time. With the intrusion of social media and electronic gadgets in our lives, there is never a spare moment and so time flies. Or is it that time has actually speeded up? Who knows – I am sure I don’t.
The Bible tells us that our lives pass very quickly and that is certainly my experience. James 4:14 says, ‘What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.’ Job tells us (Job7:6 and 9:25) ‘My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle’ and ‘My days are swifter than a runner’ – so even in Job’s day (around 2000BC) it seems that time passed quickly. Peter quotes from Isaiah and says (1 Peter 1:23-25) ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.’
How depressing you might think – but I don’t find it so, because Peter goes on to say, ‘but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ So there is something that endures forever and that is the Word of the Lord. That Word which says that if we believe in Jesus we can have everlasting life. That Word which promises us life after death with Jesus. That Word which tells us about the great sacrifice of Jesus on the cross so that we can have a relationship with God both now and for eternity. So Praise the Lord that this life is not all there is – there is everlasting life available for all those who put their hope and trust in the Lord Jesus!
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” Hebrews 1:3
Jesus! He is at the centre of all God’s plans and purposes. Hebrews is such a brilliant book for bringing together the Old and the New Testaments and explaining how the whole Bible fits together! It shows us that whenever we speak or preach or write about any section of the Bible, we can point to Jesus! Why is that? Because the whole of the Bible speaks about Him. God’s Word, God’s plan and God’s purpose is all centred in Jesus.
So you can pick up the Bible and read anywhere at all and it won’t be long before you find out something about Jesus. The whole of the Old Testament points to His coming and then of course the New Testament speaks about Him clearly. So although we may not find the name Jesus in the Old Testament, we find many hidden references to Him. Many pictures, many stories, many prophecies – all about Jesus. Since the beginning and right to the end God wants to glorify Jesus. God says, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.’ Matthew 17:5
Do you know this Jesus? And if you do, do you listen to Him?