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Posts Tagged ‘God’

You need Him more than you know

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 12, 2014

English: Jesus Christ - detail from Deesis mos...

Jesus Christ – detail from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been reading the Book of Job in the Old Testament of The Bible as part of my ongoing study of Scripture. I have said before that I have read The Bible many times from beginning to end and that each time I read something from it I learn something new or are shown something in a different light. As a Christian I have an obligation and a desire to tell others about Salvation, about our need for it, about our Creator God and the love He has for every one of us no matter who we are. I make no excuses for doing so here but I do realise that not all of my readers believe in what I have to say. All I ask is that they read it with an open mind and heart. It is also for this reason that I don’t swamp my blog with too many references to the Christian faith. I don’t wish to drive folk away. In that light you will find me posting such things infrequently. Anyway, back to today’s post. In an effort to show the love that God has I use Scripture itself and whilst I was reading through this particular passage it dawn on me that yet again God is telling us of His love and what He had planned in advance of it actually happening. The Book of Job it is said is probably one of if not the oldest in The Bible so it is even more amazing that we find messages in it relating to future events. In God’s eyes we are all sinners, yes even Christians and because of that God has His back to us. As a righteous and holy God He must mete out the punishment we deserve, however, this is something He really doesn’t wish to do but has to because He is not a liar. If we play a game of football we abide by the rules for if we don’t there is a penalty to pay. God sets the rules for life so if we don’t abide by them there is also a penalty to pay and that could be everlasting. Job was an upright and righteous man who became afflicted and lost everything but through it all he never blamed God. During his discourse he had these words to say to the friends who had come to console him….

Job chapter 9

25 ‘My days are swifter than a runner;
they fly away without a glimpse of joy.
26 They skim past like boats of papyrus,
like eagles swooping down on their prey.
27 If I say, “I will forget my complaint,
I will change my expression, and smile,”
28 I still dread all my sufferings,
for I know you will not hold me innocent.
29 Since I am already found guilty,
why should I struggle in vain?
30 Even if I washed myself with soap
and my hands with cleansing powder,
31 you would plunge me into a slime pit
so that even my clothes would detest me.

32 ‘He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him,
that we might confront each other in court.
33 If only there were someone to mediate between us,
someone to bring us together,
34 someone to remove God’s rod from me,
so that his terror would frighten me no more.
35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,
but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

…………….As you can see (highlighted in red) he realised that no matter how clean and pure he might have thought he was God would show him that he was no better than if he had been wallowing in a slimy pit, he was still unclean and filled with sin. No matter what we do either, we are still sinners in Gods pure eyes. He called out in a plea wishing there was an intercessor between himself and God, someone to speak on his behalf, someone to plead his case. In the next chapter we read the following……

Chapter 10

12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.

………God did show him kindness and restored him. God shows that same kindness to us too. He provided a mediator, an intercessor for us too. That person is Jesus Christ himself. He is the one who stands in our place, the one who has dealt with our uncleanliness, our impurity, our sins. All this is ours if we accept this free gift from God. God lays down the rules and dishes out the punishment and in Jesus Christ has shown us a way out. There is but one mediator between God and man and that is Jesus. No-one else can do it. Come to him and find out..

Shirley Anne.

Posted in Gods love, Gods love through Jesus, Jesus | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Love of my life

Posted by Shirley Anne on September 6, 2014

"Where there is love there is life."

“Where there is love there is life.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the moment we become aware of the life we have we seek to be accepted and loved by those around us. We learn however that not everyone is accepting or loving and as a result we tread tentatively and carefully when reaching out to others. For some reaching out is easy but for others it can be difficult. The problem with our fellow human beings is that they are not all the same, not all constant, not all ready to draw close as we might hope. Some are out to see what they can take from us but thankfully not all are like that. We are all different, some good, some bad, some even downright evil! Why this should be so has been debated for centuries. There is no definitive answer, or is there? Why do people act the way they do? Because we are all different and think differently it would be hard to pinpoint an individual reason for the way we behave. For those who believe in God it might be suggested that we can be so influenced by the forces of evil if we turn away from Him but is that really true? As a Christian myself I have to believe in that possibility but I also accept that because we have free choice we can just as easily turn to evil as we can to good. God has given us all that choice but points out the consequences of choosing evil and turning our backs to Him. One thing I can say is that in God I am totally loved and accepted because He is faithful. I lay no claim to being a perfect human being by any means though I strive to be good in every way. It is only because Jesus took my place in the punishment queue. He took all my wrongdoing (sins) upon himself so that I would be free of punishment, so that I could be saved. My fellow human beings can and will let me down but Jesus will never do that, he is the love of my life, my thoughts and my actions are centred around him. He determines how I act toward others and react to them. I am so unworthy of this love I know for I have not earned it and I never will. It is by grace that I receive such love and forgiveness.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

I haven’t earned it, I don’t deserve it but the gift is mine because I believe it in faith. I know there are areas of my life that need attention and I make every effort to deal with that. The amazing thing is that I came to believe in God and the Lord Jesus after 43 years of ardent unbelief! What caused that change in me? God moves in mysterious ways and I believe He reaches out to each of us in different ways. It is recognising that it is Him reaching out. For me it was a yearning to know more after I had read a verse from Matthews Gospel, 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’.

If you hear God calling you, if you receive a sign, if your heart is touched by The Holy Spirit………..respond.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Faith, Gods love, Gods love through Jesus, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What compassion, what patience

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 29, 2014

Nehemiah 9 New International Version – UK
The Israelites confess their sins

1 On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads.
2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors.
3 They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshipping the Lord their God.
4 Standing on the stairs of the Levites were Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Kenani. They cried out with loud voices to the Lord their God.
5 And the Levites – Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah and Pethahiah – said: ‘Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. ‘Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.
6 You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
7 ‘You are the Lord God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. 8 You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites. You have kept your promise because you are righteous.
9 ‘You saw the suffering of our ancestors in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea.
10 You sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day.
11 You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters.
12 By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.
13 ‘You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good.
14 You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.
15 In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them.
16 ‘But they, our ancestors, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and they did not obey your commands.
17 They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them,
18 even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, “This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,” or when they committed awful blasphemies.

Foster Bible Pictures 0068-1 Praying to a Gold...

Foster Bible Pictures 0068-1 Praying to a Golden Idol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

19 ‘Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the wilderness. By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.
20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.
21 For forty years you sustained them in the wilderness; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.
22 ‘You gave them kingdoms and nations, allotting to them even the remotest frontiers. They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan.
23 You made their children as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land that you told their parents to enter and possess.
24 Their children went in and took possession of the land. You subdued before them the Canaanites, who lived in the land; you gave the Canaanites into their hands, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased.
25 They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they revelled in your great goodness.
26 ‘But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies.
27 So you delivered them into the hands of their enemies, who oppressed them. But when they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.
28 ‘But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.
29 ‘You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, “The person who obeys them will live by them.” Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen.
30 For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you warned them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you gave them into the hands of the neighbouring peoples.
31 But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.
32 ‘Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyes – the hardship that has come on us, on our kings and leaders, on our priests and prophets, on our ancestors and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today.
33 In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we acted wickedly.
34 Our kings, our leaders, our priests and our ancestors did not follow your law; they did not pay attention to your commands or the statutes you warned them to keep.
35 Even while they were in their kingdom, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they did not serve you or turn from their evil ways.
36 ‘But see, we are slaves today, slaves in the land you gave our ancestors so that they could eat its fruit and the other good things it produces.
37 Because of our sins, its abundant harvest goes to the kings you have placed over us. They rule over our bodies and our cattle as they please. We are in great distress.
The agreement of the people
38 ‘In view of all this, we are making a binding agreement, putting it in writing, and our leaders, our Levites and our priests are affixing their seals to it.’

…………….

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Don’t be like the ancient Israelites when they continuously rebelled but be like them when they came to their senses.
God wants no-one to remain outside of His presence for all eternity but because He is a loving God He is patient with us, longing that we call upon His name before we die. Unless our sins have been dealt with through our confession and our acceptance of our Saviour Jesus Christ we remain isolated from God for all eternity. God has shown us the right way and because He is a righteous and faithful God He must be true to His word. That means that if we reject Him, He will reject us especially if we know what we should do yet not do it. Remember the Devil is a real being and all he wants is to dissuade you from making the right choice and does all in his power to achieve that. We must resist him with all our being. In the meantime God waits patiently for you to come to Him. Do it now right where you are, ask the Lord Jesus Christ to come into your life. It will be the best thing you ever did and will last forever.

Shirley Anne

Tomorrows Post Hardly enough to pay………….

Posted in Gods love, Gods love through Jesus, Salvation | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

It will happen

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 18, 2014

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church

Revelation 22:12-21

12 ‘Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 ‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.’

17 The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

20 He who testifies to these things says, Yes, I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

What do you suppose this verse (highlighted in red) means? As sinners we are kept from Gods presence forever but loving as He is He makes it possible for that rift to be mended. God is righteous and expects His creation to be likewise but mankind separated himself from God by his wrongdoing and still does so today. We are filled with sin from the moment we are born but that sin can be dealt with. If we have dirty clothes we wash them and they become clean again. So it is with sinful man, we repent of our sins and wash them away. Unfortunately we cannot do that as we clean clothes, we cannot forgive ourselves and make ourselves clean once more. There is only one way to have our sins cleansed and that is having them washed in the blood of Christ, figuratively speaking of course. You see Jesus took our sins upon himself so that we might become clean and presentable to God. When we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to be our Saviour then the sacrifice he made for us comes into force. Imagine standing before God in filthy rags, still covered in sin. What do you suppose He would say? You would be cast out of His presence. Our dirty clothes need to be washed clean, our sins need to be washed away by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Jesus, Salvation | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Simply a video

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 10, 2014

This video runs for just over two hours so unless you have that spare time all in one go I suggest only part is watched at a time. I make no excuses for its content and but do not necessarily agree with everything in it. It certainly opened my eyes regarding one or two things. As a Christian I have to take care of what is being presented and rely on The Holy Spirit for guidance and for those who are not Christians or believers in God the video is still something which can open our hearts and minds to what is actually going on in this world in secret. You may consider it contrived nonsense and ignore it altogether. That will always be your choice but ask yourself why things happen the way they do, why this world is seemingly headed in one direction, one that any sane person would wish not to. But do take the time to watch it at least. It is called Dragons Deception and can be found at the link below. Be patient with the ‘musak’, I personally found it a little distracting toward the end but persevere.

Shirley Anne

http://www.scottkeisler.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in End Times, God, Religion, Religion and Spirituality | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Death? What’s that?

Posted by Shirley Anne on August 4, 2014

Poster for It's a Wonderful Afterlife

Poster for It’s a Wonderful Afterlife (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me ask you a question. Do you believe in an afterlife or do you believe this life is all there is? No doubt if you believe in only this life you will not be afraid of death. Is that true of yourself? Are you frightened of dying? Many will be unsure about what happens after death and may be too frightened to even think about it. There are some who just don’t give it a thought. There are many religious beliefs in the world and probably all of them have a take on the subject of an afterlife and more especially how to get there, what you have to do yourself to get there. It may be that you believe in re-incarnation and that when you die you come back as a different person or even a different creature! Only the Christian faith tells us that we cannot earn a place in Heaven and that we don’t have to do much either to get into hell! Our afterlife as a Christian is determined by whether we accept the gift that our Creator God offers to us. Of course if one is a Christian that gift has already been accepted. The Bible tells us that we cannot earn the right no matter how ‘good’ we are in this life for if we could get to Heaven under our own steam I suppose there wouldn’t be a person living who would not make the effort. The truth is none of us have the ability for the gift is only by God’s grace and the sacrifice of Jesus who died that we may live, live in His presence for all eternity. Death has lost its sting for those who are in Christ Jesus, our debts have all been paid and we have been set free as prisoners who have served their time for their wrongdoing. Jesus took upon himself the punishment we ought to pay for our wrongdoing , if we believe and repent of them. What could be easier, what could be simpler? We may think we deserve a life hereafter in Heaven but unless our sins, our wrongdoings are paid for beforehand we will pay the price for them in hell. Jesus is the answer, He alone is our salvation, He alone can cleanse us from our wrongdoing and present us clean and holy before God. If you believe otherwise then ask yourself this question, ‘Can I really know that what I believe will be enough? When I die, what really happens to me and will it be too late once I am dead’? It would be a horrible thing not to have accepted Jesus then find out you were wrong. If believers are wrong they have lost nothing but if unbelievers are wrong they have lost an eternity in Paradise. Death, where is thy sting?

Shirley Anne

Posted in Bible, Death and mortality, God, Gods love through Jesus, Jesus, Salvation | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My Peace

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 29, 2014

I have found over the years since becoming a Christian 26 years ago but especially in recent years that I have become more aware of the promised peace of God. Up until now I can say with all honesty that I haven’t experienced a peace in my heart like it. It is unique and it fills me with confidence knowing that The Lord is always present in all the circumstances I find myself in. When once I would be anxious about something I find I no longer am. Unless you have experienced this peace, this love from Jesus, you will not understand. It comes without any effort on my part and allows me to rise above the problems in life. I don’t worry about anything as I once did, I will have concerns but no worries. 

Jesus comforts his disciples

John 14

 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, me back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.’

Jesus the way to the Father

Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’

Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’

Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’

Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Jesus promises the Holy Spirit

15 ‘If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – 17 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. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 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.’

22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’

23 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. 24 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.

25 ‘All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 ‘You heard me say, “I am going away and I am coming back to you.” If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

‘Come now; let us leave.

——————–

Shirley Anne

Posted in Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit, Peace | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Women in the Church

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 18, 2014

the word of God

the word of God (Photo credit: jangkwee)

1 Corinthians 14:33-40

33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace – as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

34 Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to enquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
Footnotes:

1 Corinthians 14:34 Or peace. As in all the congregations of the Lord’s people, 34 women

It has become more and more commonplace for the Word of God to be twisted or ignored by those professing to be Christian followers of the faith and worse still those who are members of the Church whether clergy or not. It seems that the pressures of the world’s view, morals and standards come before what God says. Initially ordaining women into the priesthood was an absolute non-starter but gradually the longstanding adherence to God’s word has been eroded. What makes men think they can alter what God dictates with impunity? Look at verse 36 above. This attitude follows on from accepting other things that are wrong as being right, for example homosexuality. There are several verses which point to the fact that God doesn’t accept homosexuality but they are ignored in preference to ‘human rights’ legislation and the pressure and influence of the unbelieving masses. They will quote that love is supreme and of course it is but there is a difference between the love they talk about and the righteous love of God. We must love one another no matter who they are but that isn’t an excuse to accept their way of life when it goes against the word of God. The amazing thing is that all these things are prophesied in Scripture but it appears even the clergy miss that point. Remember one thing though in all of this, we are all sinners and must not judge one another for we ourselves, if believers, saved by the blood of Christ, saved by faith through the mercy and grace of our Lord, will be judged too.

Shirley Anne

Posted in Church | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

What does it take?

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 16, 2014

My readers will know that I am a Christian believer, an exile from atheism, turned-around, born again person, all of those things but still me. It’s all about realising something is truth, experiencing a change of heart and a revelation from God Himself. You will often hear Christians saying that God revealed Himself to them in one way or another which opened their hearts to the fact that they were in need of salvation because they were heading for eternal damnation otherwise. God has a plan and knows in advance which way people will go in believing or not in His gift of life eternal in Jesus Christ. As human beings we all fall short of His glory, no-one but no-one is anywhere near perfect in His eyes and never will be by their own efforts. It is because we are all sinners that we remain separated from Him and that can be forever. Hell is indeed being separated from God. God knows our imperfect state and knows we are helpless to do anything about it ourselves but we are His creation and He loves us so much that He died for us in order that we may be redeemed. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’, John 3:16 . Jesus Christ paid the penalty for each and every one of us but we must believe that and accept him as our Saviour. When we invite him in he will come. We are given The Holy Spirit who then dwells in our hearts like a live-in helper. As we allow The Spirit to guide us and teach us we become more and more at one with our Maker.

It isn’t a religion as some think, it isn’t a religion but a relationship and one with a promise. We become heirs to a great kingdom, we have been washed clean of all our sins and made pure in the eyes of God because of what Jesus did for us. If anyone does not believe that it is their choice, it always was and always will be. I can only wonder why people so easily reject the message and maintain a belief in something else which will leave them condemned and without hope for all eternity.

NOW READ THIS IF YOU ARE STILL SKEPTICAL………http://y-jesus.com/wwrj/6-jesus-rise-dead/?gclid=COX-prfzyb8CFWnpwgod3ZAA8g

Shirley Anne

 

Posted in Christianity, God, Gods love, Gods love through Jesus, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit, Salvation | Tagged: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Time for God

Posted by Shirley Anne on July 1, 2014

PhotonQ-Homer' s Evolution Theory

PhotonQ-Homer’ s Evolution Theory (Photo credit: PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE)

Many atheists will tell you that we, the Universe and everything came about by chance and that we as human beings evolved from other species. Despite the fact that there aren’t and valid links or in-between species as would be expected at some point in the evolutionary time scale people insist that evolution and chance are the reasons we exist. I have to say at this point those beliefs were also once mine years ago but something stirred within me to change my thoughts on the subject though I will admit that not everything is clear to me at the moment. I have learned that the Universe did not happen by chance but only long after I became a Christian and a believer in a supreme being, God. The beliefs were not related. What I am saying is that my eyes and heart were opened to God before I understood things about creation. It has been demonstrated by certain scientists that the matter of which the Universe is made needed to be imperfect for it to remain stable enough for the creation model to work for had it been perfect there would have been no possibility of molecules forming bonds. The one surprising thing about it all is that the chaotic nature of the developing universe makes it almost impossible for the creation of life in any form. People talk of the primordial soup, a conglomeration of chemicals that suddenly developed into basic life forms which then developed into larger forms and all by chance. That is equal to saying that if all of the components parts (and there are millions of them) that make up a Jumbo Jet airplane were put into a large bag and shaken for some time would eventually turn into the plane. That is the sort of odds we are talking about. In other words it is practically impossible. Everything points to a creator and that creator has to be all supreme to have achieved it all. I often wonder why it is that I ever came to know God and to accept the free gift of everlasting life in Jesus Christ in the first place but when I think about it I know the reason. For one thing I was in possession of a seed which grew and developed within me and for another I was seeking out knowledge of God and wanted proof of His existence. I had my wishes fulfilled because I earnestly sought with an open heart. I didn’t find God as one might find or discover a tangible object for God isn’t something or someone who can be seen with the eyes. It says in Scripture that no-one has seen God but we have seen God in the flesh in Jesus Christ. That is those of us who were there at the time of course. I see other people and their religions but they are all empty promises. Muslims worship a moon-god they call Allah and think they worship the God of The Bible. They follow after a prophet called Mohammed who was originally a soldier who had shall we say a wicked past. Hindus worship animal gods, Buddha supposedly resides in a man. Some religions are centred around re-incarnation but non offer the promise of everlasting life and forgiveness of sins but one, and that is Christianity. For, it says in Scripture, that there is only one name under heaven by which we must be saved and that name is Jesus. There is only one way to the Father (God) and that is through Jesus Christ. We are all God’s creation and as such we are all loved by Him. It is the sin in our lives that keep us from Him or from having a relationship with Him, the very thing He desires. Jesus died for our sins and if we accept that fact and invite him into our hearts we have the assurance of everlasting life in the presence of our Creator. From dust we were made and to dust we shall return but our spirit lives forever. Question is, where, Heaven or Hell? You alone can determine that. Make time for God.

Shirley Anne

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The day of the Lord

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 17, 2014

Česky: Kříže - symbol utrpení Ježíše Krista a ...

The world in which we live is a wicked place and full of evil, who can deny it? Every day we read about wickedness in all areas and all societies around the world. Moral standards are in decline and we are moving forward to troubled times ahead. Some say things are getting better and that mankind will eventually come to its senses and there will be love and peace abounding. No more wars, no friction, no prejudices of any kind and everyone will be living in harmony. Well that isn’t going to come about by man’s efforts, history has proved that to be the case, we simply do not learn. Man may be very clever at inventing things but he still finds it difficult to socialise in love. As a Christian I don’t think this world will ever change until Christ returns. The world will change however, it is prophesied to do so and the sad thing is most people will be taken by complete surprise. Why? Because they refuse to believe despite the many times they have been told. The day of the Lord will come upon them like a thief in the night and it will then be too late………….

1 Thessalonians 5 (New International VersionUK)
The day of the Lord

1 Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Final instructions

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Don’t be surprised therefore if you find yourself outside the door knocking to come in for it may not be opened for you. Seek the Lord whilst he may be found and before the silver cord is broken. (Ecclesiastes 12)

Shirley Anne

 

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It happened before

Posted by Shirley Anne on June 5, 2014

All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    Look! This is something new’?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.

How many times have you heard it said that it’s happened before or it’s nothing new? Well here’s the truth of the matter, there’s nothing new under the sun. What’s been will be again, maybe in a different guise but nevertheless it will surely come again. Some even claim that modern technology is nothing new. They talk about ancient batteries and computers that have been discovered in archaeological digs. Whether these things are true is very much debatable but events, attitudes and behaviour certainly don’t change on the whole. People remain as they have always been, some loving, kind, courteous, humble and others hateful, brash, uncaring , selfish just the same. The eye never has enough of seeing. Isn’t that just so true? We never seem satisfied with our lot, always striving for more yet having received it are still not satisfied. Look at those who acquire great monetary wealth. Most will say that it hasn’t necessarily brought them happiness. Wealth isn’t about the money you have in the bank but the store you have in Heaven. With mankind nothing really changes.

Something Happened on the Way to Heaven

Something Happened on the Way to Heaven (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In times gone by as times today
We fought and died and lost our way
And in those days all was the same
Just as it is, we’ve nothing gained.
We grow in peace, we grow in war
But all remains as was before
A lesson learned is soon forgot
It seems as if we’ve lost the plot.
We cleverly invent new things
And revel in the joy they bring
But sadly at the end of day
We have to give them all away.
Our lives are centred in this world
Which doesn’t last, or so we’ve heard
We live our lives just for the day
But never take the time to pray.
When we depart from out this place
Do we expect a saving grace?
By then it all will be too late
If to our hearts we close the gate!

Copyright Shirley Anne 14 Nov 2010

…………..but the word of God never changes.

Shirley Anne

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Love one another

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 29, 2014

Jesus will return!

Jesus will return!

Perhaps you’ve not encountered it before,
It overlooks mistakes and what is more,
It smothers you in kindness and forgives,
Those things you are ashamed you ever did.

This thing I have within my mortal frame,
By grace it was placed there and will remain,
And as my sins are so forgiven me,
Yours are forgiven too as you can see.

It is of course a love so deep inside,
That shuns all hatred, greed and earthly pride,
It is this thing that I do offer you.
And makes me love you just the way I do.

Copyright Shirley Anne 12 Aug 2003

New International Version – UK

John 13:33-36

33 ‘My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: where I am going, you cannot come.

34 ‘A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’

36 Simon Peter asked him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’

Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.’

 

Shirley Anne

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Insurance with benefits

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 13, 2014

insurance

insurance (Photo credit: I am marlon)

When I was young I never gave much thought to insurance, it was something I knew very little about. About the time I was courting and just prior to my marriage I was prompted by my future father-in-law to take out a life insurance policy. My only knowledge of insurance and the need for it centred around my vehicle. We can insure ourselves against almost any kind of misfortune or disaster if we are willing to pay for it of course. These types of insurance policies only become beneficial afterwards. We can protect ourselves from any form of liability too, at a cost. Life insurance policies with benefits ensure a lump sum of money at the end of the term, as with endowment policies. You pay for insurance cover whilst saving at the same time, as long as you keep up the payments. Is it wise then to take out insurance? Well yes it is I hear you say and most folk would agree. Well there is an insurance policy of sorts that we can take out that costs absolutely nothing in financial terms and when it matures there are great benefits to be found. All we have to do is trust the provider and admit to our own failings and the policy is free! I am speaking about an eternal life policy that provides a mansion too! As a Christian believer I find it astounding that people will take great measures to protect their possessions against damage or theft yet take no measures to protect their eternal existence. All they are concerned about are the material things in this life yet one day they will all have to give them up. They will then face their Maker with nothing to show for their lives. No earthly insurance policy covers you and protects you once to die. There are no benefits to be had with them. To ensure an eternity, yes AN ETERNITY in peace and contentment all you have to do is allow Jesus to be your Saviour, confess your sins and repent of them and the free gift of life is yours! No need for an insurance policy.

Shirley Anne

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Jack

Posted by Shirley Anne on May 4, 2014

J.R.R. Tolkien

Cover of J.R.R. Tolkien

Word for today

01 May 2014
‘Jack’
‘Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him…’ LUKE 24:31
He was a militant non-believer, who summed up his worldview with a verse from Lucretius: ‘Had God designed the world, it would not be a world so frail and faulty as we see.’ So Jack turned his attention to academia, excelling in each field he studied. Soon the dons of Oxford took him in as a respected peer and he began to write and teach. Yet, far beneath the surface, his doubts were taking their toll. He described his mental state with words like ‘misery and hopelessness’. He said, ‘I maintained God did not exist. I was also angry with God for not existing.’ Then two friends, also Oxford dons, J R R Tolkien and H V V Dyson, both devout followers of Christ, urged him to do something he’d surprisingly never done: read the Bible. So he did. Jack began to wrestle with the claims Christ made, concluding that He was either deluded, deceptive, or the very One He claimed to be, the Son of God. On the evening of September 19, 1931, Jack and his two friends took a long walk through the Oxford campus. They talked late into the night. And Jack, C S ‘Jack’ Lewis, would later recall a rush of wind that caused the first leaf to fall-a sudden breeze, which possibly came to symbolise for him the Holy Spirit. Soon after that night, Lewis became a believer. The change revolutionised his world and consequently the worlds of millions of readers. Could it be this simple? Could the chasm between doubt and faith be spanned with Scripture and Christian fellowship? Why don’t you come to Christ and find out for yourself?

© 2014: This devotional is produced by UCB, free of charge through the generosity of our supporters. As a gift to the body of Christ, permission is given to Churches and Christian organisations to copy up to a maximum of 52 daily excerpts per year. Excerpts must acknowledge The Word For Today as the source, give the UCB address and inform that free issues of the daily devotional are available for the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The Word For Today is written by Bob and Debby Gass.

 

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Well connected

Posted by Shirley Anne on April 30, 2014

KJV Bible

KJV Bible (Photo credit: knowhimonline)

Written by forty different authors spanning several centuries yet all contributions knit together like a jigsaw puzzle and have a thread within them which links them together. The Bible. Many have sought its destruction and have failed, many have tried to disprove its content and also have failed. The collection of books we know collectively as The Bible cover many subjects but overall it is a history book and a book of prophesy. It is a book about life and the purpose and future of mankind. It is a manual for living and the words it contains are alive. Many have no understanding of its purpose and meaning often preferring to dismiss it without prior study, often preferring to believe in something else yet not being able to justify it. One of the main characters and contributors in the New Testament, Paul, was vehemently against the followers of Christ to the point of seeking them out and persecuting them until one day as he made his way to Damascus to pursue his passion of hate he was confronted by God. That experience led him to repent and become a driving force in the early Church. My own experience followed a similar vein. The Bible has been called a fairy tale by those who oppose the faith, some even going out of their way to bring it to disrepute. Often this is because they do not want to have their way of life challenged in any way and that is probably because The Bible speaks out against the practices of some. Religion has been blamed as the cause of friction and the many wars that mankind has endured over the millennia but in fact it has been proven not to be true, in fact most wars have been caused by other things not related to religion. This argument is a non-starter for an excuse not to believe in God. There will be scoffers, there will be unbelievers, there will be those who reject the truth, there will be those who are immoral, who slander, who cheat and lie, who think there will be no punishment or judgement, even those things are prophesied in The Bible. I say to those people read the book and gain an understanding, ask God that He open your heart to the truth of the matter. If you are sincere and persistent, He WILL answer and that’s a fact.

Shirley Anne

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The law of God

Posted by Shirley Anne on April 12, 2014

Bible

Bible (Photo credit: Light from Light)

These laws given by God still stand today despite what some people would say. God loves the sinner but hates the sin. Continuing in sin is self-condemnation. Are you guilty of this?

Leviticus 18

New International Version (NIV)

Unlawful Sexual Relations

18 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the person who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.

“‘No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.

“‘Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.

“‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father.

“‘Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.

10 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter; that would dishonor you.

11 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father’s wife, born to your father; she is your sister.

12 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative.

13 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative.

14 “‘Do not dishonor your father’s brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.

15 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son’s wife; do not have relations with her.

16 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would dishonor your brother.

17 “‘Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.

18 “‘Do not take your wife’s sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.

19 “‘Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleanness of her monthly period.

20 “‘Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor’s wife and defile yourself with her.

21 “‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

22 “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

23 “‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.

24 “‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, 27 for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. 28 And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

29 “‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. 30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.’”

God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity

Romans 1

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

What may be considered right and proper in today’s society, same-sex marriages, fornication, debauchery, pornography and other degrading things does not mean it is right in the eyes of God. Repent and turn away from such things, your eternal salvation may depend upon it. Heaven or Hell? Which will you choose?

Shirley Anne

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God’s Plan of Salvation

Posted by Shirley Anne on April 4, 2014

Click on the link beneath the cartoon on the right

Copyright http://www.chick.com/information/general/salvation.asp

The Bible says there is only one way to Heaven

Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6)

Good works cannot save you.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Trust Jesus Christ today! Here’s what you must do:

  1. Admit you are a sinner.“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23)“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Romans 5:12)“If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:10)
  2. Be willing to turn from sin (repent).Jesus said: “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 17:30)
  3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you, was buried, and rose from the dead.For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
  4. Through prayer, invite Jesus into your life to become your personal Saviour.“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10)“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
What to pray:Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Saviour.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)


If you have received Jesus Christ as your Saviour, as a Christian you should:

  1. Read your Bible every day to get to know Christ better.“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalms 119:105)
  2. Talk to God in prayer every day.“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)
  3. Be baptized, worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached and the Bible is the final authority.“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matthew 28:19)“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)
  4. Tell others about Christ.“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)“For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

 

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Article reblogged from Chick.com @ http://www.chick.com/information/general/salvation.asp

Shirley Anne

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Dust thou art!

Posted by Shirley Anne on March 14, 2014

This article is re-blogged in its entirety and all credit is given to its author the Reverend  Dane E. Boston, Curate of Christ Church, Greenwich, Connecticut.

http://bostondane.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/dust-thou-art-and-unto-dust-shalt-thou-return/

Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

by bostondane

May I speak in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Amen.

“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Those strange and solemn words are at the heart of this strange and solemn day. They are the words that you will hear in a more contemporary form when you come forward to receive the mark of ashes as a sign of penitence. In that moment, the dust will be physical, literal—the gritty symbol of real ashes smudged on fingers and faces—but the force of those words will connect them to our need for repentance, and our mortality. ”Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Book of Genesis, Fall of Man.

Book of Genesis, Fall of Man. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But where do these strange and solemn words come from? If you look
back over the readings in your bulletin, you will not find them
there. The prophet Joel is not interested in ashes—in the outward signs
of repentance—as he calls the people of Israel to “rend [their]
hearts and not [their] garments.” Our Lord Jesus is not thinking of
smudged foreheads—indeed, he seems to challenge, if not expressly to
forbid, practices such as these—as he urges his disciples, ”When you
fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.”

No, to find the source of today’s reminder that ”Dust thou art, and
unto dust shalt thou return,” we must go back beyond our appointed
lessons—back beyond the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ; back beyond
the prophetic pronouncements of Joel. We must go back to the beginning,
to the Book of Genesis.

In Genesis, we are told of how God created the heavens and the
earth. We are told of how the Spirit of God moved mightily over the face
of the waters, and how, out of chaos and darkness, God brought order
and light. In Genesis, we are told of God’s great goodness in calling
forth the bounty and rich diversity of this earth: plants and
animals, fish and birds, the beasts of the earth and the cattle of the
fields and “every creeping thing that creepeth upon” the ground.

In Genesis, we are told of how God in his mercy and in his love made
human beings in his image—out of the dust of the earth and enlivened
with the breath of his Spirit. We are told of how he set them over the
good earth which he had made, to tend and keep it, in order that we
might rule and serve all creatures. In Genesis, we are told that God set
the first humans in a garden full of good fruit growing on abundant
trees.

And one more thing. We are told of one command that the Lord gave to
the first people—the dust creatures made in the image of God: ”Of every
tree in the garden, thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day
that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”

Of course, we know what happens nest. The serpent seduces. The people
eat. And God comes to walk through the Garden of Eden in the cool of
the day, only to find Adam and Eve hiding: ashamed of their
nakedness. The relationship of trust and intimacy that the first people
enjoyed with the Lord their God was broken.

And so it is, at last, that in the Third Chapter of the Book of
Genesis, we find the strange and solemn words for which we have been
searching: the dread words that we will hear again in just a few moments
this evening. The Lord pronounces judgment, first upon the
serpent, then upon the woman, and then at last on Adam, the first
man, whose name in Hebrew means ”earth.” God declares: ”In the sweat of
thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out
of it thou wast taken. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou
return.”

Here, beloved, is the source of this tonight’s strange
pronouncement. Here, then, is the meaning of this day’s solemn
declaration. The startling and unsettling truth proclaimed in the
imposition of ashes is that you and I stand in the line of Adam. Over
us is spoken the same condemnation, the same curse. ”Remember that you
are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Now perhaps this is too much for you. Perhaps here you might raise an
objection. Perhaps, as modern Americans in Greenwich, Connecticut in
2014, you chafe against so simple an application of so ancient a
story. Talking serpents? First parents? A divine curse? Can you imagine a
more preposterous explanation of human origins?

But let us be very clear this Ash Wednesday. The story we have just
heard—and the curse at the heart of that story—is not meant to explain
the past. The truth of this tale cannot be confirmed by an
archaeological dig or a mitochondrial analysis. The story of Adam and
Eve is not a story about where we come from, explaining our background.
This is a story about where we are, and it explains where we are
headed. This is not a story about the past, but about the present and
the future. For the truth is that the fruits of Eden’s loss still fall,
heavy and rotten, all around us.

We see them falling in the Crimea, as the great powers of the
world once again find themselves drawn into the tired, terrible dance of
war. To be sure, this day we hope and pray that peace will yet
prevail. But we must also acknowledge that each time nations collide and
tyranny rises and blood is spilt, the fruits of Adam’s fall can be
seen, and the ancient curse can be heard again in our time: ”Dust thou
art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

We see those fruits falling in Mexico, where Joaquin “El Chapo”
Guzman now sits in federal custody. The arrest of perhaps the world’s
most powerful drug lord late last month has been major news, supplanted
only by the crisis in the Ukraine. Guzman rules over a multi-billion
dollar cartel. His actions and activities have brought misery and pain
to the streets and suburbs of America, even as he has brought violent
death to the towns and cities of Mexico. Yet we must not forget that his
enormous wealth is driven by the enormous American appetite for his
products—cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroine—and therefore, by
the enslaving power of addiction. Here, surely, around one life we see
the fatal fruit fall abundantly, and hear the curse spoken to so many of
the innocent and guilty alike: ”Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou
return.”

And lest we forget the purpose of this season of Lent, if we would
see the truth of this day’s pronouncement—if we would see the fruit of
Adam’s fall—let us look within ourselves. You and I may not be as brash
as Vladimir Putin or as ruthless as “El Chapo” Guzman. But can you
outrun the terrible words we hear this night? For all our advancement
and enlightenment, for all our wealth and wisdom, for all our piety and
our spiritual practices, who among us can claim a perfectly clean
conscience, or the knowledge that we have not been disobedient?

We know what it is to exploit our fellow human beings in ways big and
small. We know what it is to eat gluttonously, to
drink intemperately, to look and act lustfully, to yearn enviously, to
react wrathfully, to amass greedily, and to stand pridefully. And what
is the price of all this? What is the cost of these actions? Is it not
the same penalty paid by Adam: the loss of a relationship of intimacy
and trust with the Lord our God, and with one another?

For all our sophistication and satisfaction, for all our charity and
our credentials, for all our goodness and our gratitude, who among
us can escape death? ”Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

And yet let us make something very clear. Ash Wednesday is not, in
fact, a day to sit in our sin; to wallow in the warped, worn-out
weariness of our hearts; to fixate on death. Our worship this day does
not end with the imposition of ashes. Our story this day does
not conclude with the pronouncement of a curse.

For behold, Christian, the shape of the ashes that will soon
bedeck your brow! The dust with which you are marked today is no mere
smudge. Instead, the symbol of mortality applied to our foreheads this
night will be made in the form of a cross.

And that realization lifts us to the true and better meaning of
this strange and solemn day. For what that sign of a cross shows
forth is that we have not been left alone in our fallenness and our
mortality. What we remember this day is that the same God whose justice
drove Eve out of Eden has come down from heaven to be born a son of
Eve. The same God whose righteousness could not bear the disobedience of
our father Adam took on our flesh—our flesh of earth and dust—to become
for us a new Adam, a new creation: a new and better beginning for our
race.

The sign we receive this Ash Wednesday reminds us, not only that we
are dust, but that God himself has come to share in our dusty, deathward
life. The purpose of this long season of Lent is not to fix our hearts
on our fallenness, but to prepare us for the announcement that on the
Cross of Calvary, Jesus our Lord has conquered Death and Sin
forever, and in the bright light of the Resurrection he calls us to
share in a new life that cannot end.

So it is that this evening (and only this evening in the whole cycle
of the Church year) we come forward twice. The first time, we come
forward to hear the dread reminder; to be told “Dust thou art”; to
acknowledge and bewail the fact that the seeds of Adam’s fall have taken
root in us and grown up and produced rank fruit in our souls.

But then, beloved, once we have been marked with the cross and have
made our confession, and heard words of absolution, we will be called
forward again. We will be called forward to hear, not a curse, but words
of blessing and holy union. We will be called forward to taste, not the
bitter fruit of fallenness, but a new and better fruit: the fruit of
the new Jerusalem, the fruit of Christ’s Body and Blood.

Tonight, Christ Jesus invites all those who have shared in his death
through baptism, and who repent of their sins, and who embark now on the
holy road of Lent, to draw near in faith, and to see the fulfillment of
words not from the first book–from Genesis–but from the last book–from
Revelation–and to taste at this altar the fruit of the Tree of Life.

“And the angel showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as
crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the lamb. In the
midst of the street of the city, and on either side of the river, there
was the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded
her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing
of the nations.

“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the
lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall
see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”

AMEN.

 

Shirley Anne

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Walking blind

Posted by Shirley Anne on February 28, 2014

Cover of "Faith"

Cover of Faith

I have always been an inquisitive person, always wanted to know how things work. My interests have always been in seeking knowledge in one field or another, especially in Astronomy and Science. I was never one who sat and read a novel and even now the thought of doing that is foreign to me. My preferences have always been in fact and not fiction. It was understandable therefore that anything I considered to be fiction was left for others. As I grew up I don’t remember having learned much if anything about religion and God though my mother often told me that I had. When I became a teenager I rejected any notion of there being a creator God and when anyone suggested it I refused to believe. It would be many years before that changed and I finally came to believe. That was 25 years ago almost to the day (actually 6th February 1989) and more about that can be read in the ‘My Faith‘ page above. Save to say I had been walking blind, a veil covered my eyes and I couldn’t see the light. I remember watching a presentation in church which sought to show unbelievers that they were walking in the dark. A guy, the unbeliever, had his back toward a very bright light which could be seen by those he was facing, his friends. They were encouraging him to turn around and see for himself but his stubborn heart refused to allow him despite his friends telling him how good it was and trying to explain just what he was missing. In the presentation sketch he did finally turn to look and he was amazed at what he saw. He couldn’t understand why he hadn’t responded sooner. He hadn’t realised that his friends were not fooling and that what they said was in fact the truth. That truth was Jesus Christ, He was the bright light behind him and all Jesus wanted was for him to turn around and see. The good news he was missing out on was the offer of life eternal and it was free! Quite often people who don’t believe in God have to reach a crisis point in their lives before they reach out to Him. There is nothing like finding out the truth sooner but finding it even later is better than not finding it at all. The greatest thing that ever happened to me was finding that truth, finding out that God was real because I took the time to seek Him. My inquisitive heart lead me to God and to believe in Him and in the One He sent, Jesus Christ. The blindness would lead to death but now the veil was lifted and I could see.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Shirley Anne

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