Sunday, 18 June 2017

Be vigilant at all times, the battle never ends

In our day to day battle it is very important to remember that Jesus Christ alone is the one, the only one that we should be totally dependent upon, it is in Christ we move and have our being

Source: PInterest
Did you know that we are in a war? We must be aware that we are living in a war zone; the Christian life is a war and we have a very real enemy who hates us and seeks our down fall daily, he is called lucifer or satan and he has other names. He will use every tactic he can against us and one of his most powerful weapons is deception. 2 Corinthians 11:3 ‘But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ’. He tells us that we are not good enough; you can’t preach like them; you can’t pray like them; look how you have messed things up; a Holy God can’t use you; play it safe, go home, what do you know; don’t go to church, and so on…. All these lies are from satan who will do all he can to stop us from serving God, however God has given every one of us gifts which we can use to counteract satan and to lay up treasures for ourselves in heaven; John 16:33 ‘These things I have spoken to you that in me you may have peace; in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer because I have overcome the world’.

In the Second World War both the Germans and Japanese used radio propaganda. The Germans had 'Axis Sally' (a nickname given by American GI’s) and the Japanese had 'Tokyo Rose' who were a group of presenters who would play the latest hits such as the Glen Miller Band etc, and at the same time they would feed false information such as; ‘many American troops missing or dead’; 'American boys you are too young to die’; ‘You are far from home’; ‘Your family miss you’ and so on… They would then go on to discourage the troops by saying things like; ‘This is an unjust war’; ‘You can’t win’; ‘Surrender to us’; ‘Give up and go home’. This is exactly the same way in which the devil speaks lies to discourage us constantly; Psalm 120:2 ‘Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues’.

Source: Source: keywordsuggest.org
We should always be aware and rebuke the lies of the devil and confidently know who we are in Christ Jesus. We must not let the lies of the devil effect our Christian walk or our church. We must encourage and pray for one another, nor forgetting the Pastor and the Church Leadership Team who are on the front line of spiritual attacks. Satan will be constantly trying to discourage them (and us), in every possible way, so we should always be on our guard and be vigilant.1 Peter 1:13 ‘Therefore prepare your minds for action, keep sober in Spirit, fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought to you, at the revelation of Jesus Christ’.

Just before a serious message one Sunday morning on Spiritual warfare the Pastor said; ‘sometimes I feel like I am in a trench with a crash helmet on, being bombarded on every side with arrows from the devil 24/7’. This really emphasised the constant battle we are in, a battle that never ends, even when we are sleeping. If the battle is constant then so should our vigilance and protection also be; Ephesians 6:11 ’Put on the whole armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes’ and Ephesians 6:6 ‘in addition to all this take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one’

Do you know that Pastors are probably the most noble of the fivefold ministry? They are stayers. The Teacher and the Evangelists move on, but the Pastor sticks around. They are available all hours of the day and night, regardless of how much they get paid. Many Pastors battle to survive month after month with very little financial help from their congregation and yet they remain faithful to the ministry (they stick around). The Pastor and his wife have a lot of responsibility. Many people need their attention and support after a service, so the question I ask myself is how can I best help to support the Pastor and his wife. My prayer before God is that I never add to their pressures. Come on brothers and sisters lets be a blessing to the church God has called us to and use our gifting’s to edify the church and bring Glory to God.

In praying for our Pastors nothing releases the power of a Pastor’s ministry like the prayers of their flock. The Apostle Paul recognised that his effectiveness in ministry depended on the people’s prayers; Ephesians 6:19 ‘Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel’. Satan targets pastors who preach the truth and the thing he hates and fears the most is God’s Word. Often when Pastors are preaching, the spiritual struggle is so intense that afterwards they find themselves drained. This emphasizes why we need to fight the battle alongside our Pastors, to help to shield them with prayer and support to ensure that they are continually protected so that they can go fearlessly into battle each day.

In our day to day battle it is very important to remember that Jesus Christ alone is the one, the only one that we should be totally dependent upon, it is in Christ we move and have our being; Isaiah 40:10 So do not fear, I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you, I will up hold you with my righteous right hand’.

I pray that you will be encouraged by the song at the end of this blog which is about overcoming the lies of the evil one and knowing who we are in Christ. May the Lord Bless you.


Author : Eileen Greaves

May God bless and enrich your life


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Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Wedding Celebration

If we don`t keep our lives topped up with the oil of the Holy Spirit, by asking the Lord for a fresh supply each day, then when the time comes for us to enter the wedding celebration we will be drained and in the dark and we will miss out

Source: Tell the Lord Thank You
I always like to write about something that is current to me, and at the moment I am in the throes of a wedding, my sons` wedding in fact. It seems that most thoughts these days seem to end up back at the arrangements. The success of the day is all about the planning, but the trouble is that this can lose sight of the real wonder of the day; two lives becoming one in the presence of the Lord (and all the guests of course). This got me thinking about how much Jesus knew of weddings. He actually talked about wedding quite a lot and He had obviously been to a few. He may even have had experience of the planning/preparation around a wedding from members of his own family.

The invitations - Jesus must have known about the excitement of sending out wedding invitations and the expectation that people would be pleased to be invited. In Luke 14:15-24 Jesus talked about a man holding a great feast and inviting many to come however one by one they all made excuses, saying they had different things to do. Imagine the man’s disappointment that people cared so little about his invitation. So, in the end the man sent out invitations to people in the streets and alleys of the town and the country lanes to come to his feast. I know how disappointed my son has been that some people couldn’t attend his wedding, and here is the Lord of Heaven and Earth inviting us to come and partake of His wonderful gift of new life through Jesus. Sadly, so many people find excuses not to accept this offer, yet day after day instead of rescinding His invitation He offers it to anyone and everyone. Let us not find reasons to reject the invitation to come to Him or spend time with Him or whatever else He may be inviting us to do at that moment.

Source: Dee Brestin
The seating plan -  ahh! This has caused many a headache deciding who should be sat by whom, it can be a real dilemma. Jesus knew all about this. In Luke 14: 8-11 He tells us all about this; ‘When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honour.  What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say `Give this person your seat`. Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! Instead take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say `Friend we have a better place for you!` then you will be honoured in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted’. Oh, how subtle expectation is. It`s my right to sit/be/have all the things I think I should. How disappointed and frustrated and sometimes envious and even resentful we become when we don’t seem to have what we think we `should have`. We feel that it is our right to be in say; a well-paid job, or have a better car, computer or whatever else we may value, even the kind of church we worship in. It's not wrong to desire all these things but when they take over and dominate all of our thinking (pushing us to demand them and to act resentfully if we don’t get them) then we are in danger. Jesus’s advice in the passage above is to take the lower place and wait to be invited by the host to the better place. Jesus summed this up in Mathew 6:33 by saying ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you’.  In other words, let`s get our priorities right and God will sort out the rest.

The catering - Well, Jesus can turn water into wine (John 2:1-11) so problem solved, just let Him handle the catering and we will always have the best. This just depends what your ‘catering’ needs are today, trust Him with the problem, do what He tells you and leave the rest up to Him.

The right clothes - There is a parable in Matthew 22:11 about a man turning up to a wedding in the wrong clothes however this has a sad ending with the man being thrown out.  It is important for us to ask the Lord to clothe us with the robes of His righteousness in every situation so we will be properly attired ‘equipped’ for every situation we must face.

Preparation - Everyone knows the secret to a successful wedding is preparation. Those poor bridesmaids (or virgins in the more traditional texts) in Matthew 25:1-13. They had started well, they all had lamps, they all had oil and they were all waiting for the Bridegroom. They all got tired and fell asleep but when the Bridegroom finally arrived, the five who had prepared well had enough oil in their lamps to go with Him. The five who had not prepared thoroughly and only taken just enough oil were left in the dark and outside the celebration.  So, what does that all mean for us? Yes, we can get excited about being invited to the wedding (God’s plan of salvation) and accept the invitation, by asking him into our hearts and to forgive us our wrongdoings, by making sure we are seated in the right place and even by wearing the right clothes (His robes of righteousness).  However, if we don`t keep our lives topped up with the oil of the Holy Spirit, by asking the Lord for a fresh supply each day, then when the time comes for us to enter the wedding celebration (either the work He has for us to do, or ultimately the time for us to go to be with Him) we will be drained and in the dark and we will miss out.

And finally, The Bride - Every bride is special and prepares herself for that moment when her Groom turns and looks down the aisle and sees her for the first time in all her loveliness, prepared just for him. It is amazing to me that the Lord would want me (us) as His bride, but He does and He thinks we are very precious, so precious that He gave up His own life to secure mine (and yours). I need to take time today to prepare myself for Him. This can be so hard to do some days in the stresses of everyday life however today could be the day when the Bridegroom comes and calls us either to do something for Him or to be with Him. We must be careful not to be unprepared, so, may our lamps always be full of oil. God bless.


Author: Jan Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday, 4 June 2017

What is God’s agenda for our lives?

Jesus had no agenda of His own, but what about us? How are we living for God? Is what we are doing to gain praise from man or from God? We need to be honest with ourselves about this

Source: My Little Corner of the World
Do we have an agenda? This is a good question to ask ourselves and then to think about. If we do have an agenda, then what is it? Is it in line with God's agenda for our lives? What is God's agenda for our lives? All pretty deep questions on the surface, but if we break them down it's really quite simple. We'll look at what God's agenda is for our lives toward the end of this article, but first let’s look at:

'What was Jesus' agenda when He came to earth'? - Well, Jesus was quite clear about this; when coming to be baptised by John He said in Matthew 3:15  ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness’. So Jesus was being baptised to fulfil all righteousness, He was consecrated, set apart, called by the Father into service for Him here on earth. In essence Jesus' agenda was to fulfil the Father's agenda. He makes this quite clear in John 5:19 ‘Jesus gave them this answer: 'Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does’. John 8:27-29 also tells us; ‘They did not understand that He was telling them about His Father. So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He and that I do nothing on My own but speak just what the Father has taught Me. The one who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him’. So the bible shows us that Jesus had no agenda of His own.

Source: The Blueprint
Now, what about us?: 'What's our agenda now that we are in Christ'? - It's clear from scripture that many people in the bible had their own agenda. One good example of this can be found in Acts 8:18-24 where after Simon the sorcerer had believed in Jesus, he followed the disciples and when he saw that the Holy Spirit was given and received by the laying on of the apostles hands, he offered them money and said 'Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit. Peter answered: May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God’. He was then told to repent. So, is our agenda to do God's will our way, is our heart right before God? The bible tells us in Matthew 7:21 that not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is going to get into Heaven ‘Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven’. We have already seen that Jesus had no agenda of His own, but what about us? How are we living for God? Is what we' are doing to gain praise from man or from God? We need to be honest with ourselves about this.

Lastly: 'What's God's agenda for our lives'? - Well I believe it’s the same agenda that Jesus had; to glorify God, to say what He tells us to say and to do what He tells us to do. Quite simple really when you think about it, but that's often the problem, we think about it. We then try to reason with ourselves about it and ask ourselves 'what God might want from us?' Even if we know what He wants from us we often decide to do it our way, which then introduces our own agenda and usually results in us being honoured for it instead of God. So, how can we be sure of what God wants from us? Well that's even simpler, it's not a secret, He's made it crystal clear in His Word of what He requires from us. Micah 6:8 'He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’. Now, ask yourself this question; 'Who do you love more, yourself or Jesus?' but before you answer think for a moment and really consider what this question is asking you. Then be honest with yourself before you make your decision. If what your heart is telling you is yourself, then consider the scripture above from Matthew 7:21. However, if your answer is Jesus, then I leave you with this from John 15-24 ‘If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever - the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’ Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world? Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me’.

So God's agenda for us is...’To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’. And to obey the commands and the teachings of Jesus. Forget what you're good at, what you can offer Him, what great giftings you might or might not have, it has nothing to do with any of that and if we're not careful these things can become stumbling blocks to our walk with Him. God simply wants a love relationship with you and me, He proved that on the cross. My prayer to finish, is that we let Christ Jesus be our example and that we follow in His footsteps.

To God be the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


Author: Kevin Hunt

May God bless and enrich your life   
  
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