Faith to believe

The post is mainly aimed at those who doubt, who do not believe in God or Jesus Christ but it equally applies to believers too. Since becoming a Christian believer myself almost thirty years ago after a lifetime of staunchly adhering to atheism it has always been my passion to introduce others to Christ. Some say that to believe one has to have an inclination that way in the first place and for many I guess that could be true but I also think that many would turn to Christ if they really knew more about him. It is true that a desire to know more and to have an inquiring heart really does help and even Scripture tells us this. God says that those who earnestly seek Him WILL find Him. I always say too that the alternative does not bear thinking about! All I can add is to reach out to God and He will respond……..and He already knows what you will do………..

Shirley Anne

Now That's What I Call Faith
Now That’s What I Call Faith (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FAITH AND UNBELIEF (Mark 5:24–34)

Faith is different from feelings. Feelings are based on circumstances, and they change like the weather. Faith involves acting, trusting and believing that God is real, at work and working for believers’ good—regardless of what one may happen to feel at the moment. In fact, sometimes faith leads believers in the opposite direction of feelings.

The woman in this passage had been suffering for a long time. As her disorder involved blood, she was perpetually “unclean” (according to Jewish law), and as a result had likely been ostracized by her community. When she heard about the healing power of Jesus, she boldly braved the large crowd and reached out to him in faith. His response: “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (Mk 5:34).

God invites people to faithfully trust him for all of life (Pr 3:5–6). The way of Jesus is the way of trust. All throughout his life on earth, Jesus demonstrated absolute faith in his Father and challenged his followers to exercise the same kind of faith.

For many reasons, people are prone to doubt. Modern western culture is fraught with skepticism. The contemporary search for truth says, “Understand in order to believe.” And against this thinking, Jesus has always maintained, “Believe in order to understand.” In the struggle with doubt and unbelief, Jesus encourages people, “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mk 5:36). The way of Jesus is the way of trusting God every day, for this life and the next.

Prayer
Jesus, please don’t let me get distracted by feelings, which can be so fickle. I want to believe in you, trust in you and surrender to you, even when I don’t feel like it. Amen.

Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible

Shirley Anne

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Why did Christ suffer on the cross?

Doctrine: Atonement; God’s Forgiveness (Leviticus 6:6–7)

Barry Bonds at the plate.
Barry Bonds at the plate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On August 7, 2007, baseball slugger Barry Bonds hit career home run number 756, the home run that broke Hank Aaron’s record. However, many questioned whether or not the new record should count because Bonds was alleged to have used steroids. Sports buffs said if his name is listed in the record book, it should be accompanied by an asterisk to indicate that the record is a sort-of record, a tainted record. In 2008 Mark Ecko, the man who bought the ball Bonds hit to set the record, branded the baseball with an asterisk and donated it to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s not unusual for Christians to imagine we have an asterisk by our name. We may be destined for that Hall of Fame called heaven, but aware that our lives our tainted, we’re left with a sour taste in our souls. We’re grateful to enjoy eternal life with God, but we wish there wasn’t that sense of being tainted. The gospel is hard to believe at just this point, but it is nonetheless the great truth. There is no longer a need for sin offerings. The forgiveness we are offered through Christ’s sacrifice doesn’t just make our sin null and void, it also erases the asterisk. God doesn’t see a fixed sinner, but someone righteous and pristine. We are in Christ, and Christ is in us. We are a new creation. The old has passed away—so much so that there is no need for an asterisk—and all things have become new.

Taken from NIV Understand the Faith Study Bible

That’s it! ‘The forgiveness we are offered through Christ’s sacrifice’ For all of us have sinned, we all fall short of God’s glory, we simply are not at all good. Yes we may live good lives and be upstanding citizens, give to the poor and do all sorts of ‘good’ things but unfortunately we are none of us perfect, we are all tainted in some way. Our own sense of righteousness doesn’t mean we are righteous, no, we cheat and lie, we do things we ought not do and don’t do the things we ought to do. It is just as well therefore that God loves us and He demonstrates that love through Jesus Christ. Jesus died on that cross for each and every one of us both now, in the past and in the future. For all those who believe on his name there is salvation, atonement with The Father and forgiveness for our sins. It is an amazing truth. It is such a shame that not everybody will accept it. They remain in their sins and they condemn themselves. My hope is that all will come to the truth which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. My hope is that you dear reader, if you have not already done so, is that you come to accept Jesus as your Saviour for that is who He is.

Shirley Anne

With all my heart

I’ve a wonderful love
That’s so deep in my heart
Came into my life
Gave me a new start
Through all of my sorrows
My troubles and pain
Whenever I fell
I was lifted again.
The joy of this love
Gives to each one a share
With no special favours
To black, brown or fair.
Take hold of this love
There for each one of us
The love of my Saviour
My sweet Lord Jesus.

Copyright Shirley Anne 31 March 2003

Dear Lord my God, my Heavenly Father I give you praise

You are worthy to receive honour and glory and praise

For You are the I AM, you are the Creator of all things

You created all things through your Son my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ

He is my Redeemer my Saviour God

Today the world celebrates your birth, the day you came down from heaven to live amongst us

Immanuel! We cry out Immanuel – God with us

You take away the sins of the people that we may be presented pure and holy before The Father

For all those who believe on your name there is Salvation.

Thank you for the greatest gift we could ever receive

Thank you Jesus for loving me.

Today as in every day my soul rejoices in the knowledge of your love

I pray for those who don’t know you, for those who reject you

Forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing forgive them in Jesus’ name I ask

Give them O God another opportunity today to get to know you.

Thank you Jesus

Amen

 

Shirley Anne

New start

Today, well sometime today it will be the event we call The Winter Solstice.

English: The Earth at the start of the 4 (astr...
The Earth at the start of the 4 (astronomical) seasons as seen from the north and ignoring the atmosphere (no clouds, no twilight).  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is that point in the Earth’s orbit about the Sun whereby the north pole of the Earth begins once again to tilt toward the Sun. At the same time the south pole begins to tilt away from the Sun and for those living in the southern hemisphere it marks their Summer Solstice. Our hemisphere will slowly become warmer and theirs gradually will become cooler over the next few months. The major parts of the Earth feeling those effects are the temperate regions, for anyone living near or in the tropics the effects are less noticeable. Whichever way you look at it the year is starting over, new beginnings, new possibilities, new promises. Yes, we can promise ourselves all these things and many do just that at the start of the new calendar year by making resolutions. Nothing will change however unless the spirit is willing. Many promises are not fulfilled, not even to ourselves. There is hope. Try promising yourself something new, something that will be worth the effort. You will finally gain the victory over empty promises and a future of uncertainty…….

Shirley Anne

JESUS’ VICTORY (John 12:31–32)

31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up[a] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’

This verse marks the declaration of Christ’s complete victory over the kingdom of the world. Jesus foretold this event in John 12:31–32, and in Revelation his promise is manifested. After Jesus’ victory was declared, the 24 elders “fell on their faces and worshiped God” (Rev 11:16). Five times in the book of Revelation the elders similarly demonstrate with their bodies the posture of their hearts (5:8,14; 7:11; 11:26; 19:4).

This absolute victory should cause those who rebel against Christ to shudder. Their doom is promised and assured. They will face the tribulation and punishment described in John’s vision. Yet, Jesus’ ultimate victory is a great hope for his followers. Though the world is in chaos, believers can be assured that Jesus has already won the victory over sin and death, and that the whole earth will soon see this victory. The kingdom of God will fully and finally come on earth as it has been in heaven (Mt 6:9–13). At the end of time, God’s promise from Genesis 3:15 will come true as the offspring of the woman will crush the serpent’s head forever.

Jesus, I can’t wait to fall on my face and worship you in your presence. Until then, please help me keep the right posture of my heart, always submitted to and honouring you. Amen.

Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible

Think what it would be like to know you gave yourself the opportunity to start afresh instead of each year ending up with empty promises. The promise of salvation and eternal life is yours if you want it, just believe in Jesus Christ.

Shirley Anne

 

All been said before

Deep in the valley of sorrow and sadness,
Where my life was ebbing away,
I saw a light, it was shining so brightly,
That my eyes did draw me to stay.

Out of the darkness a hand pulled me gently,
And effortlessly lift me above,
I felt the warmth and a power surround me,
The power of ineffable love.

Copyright Shirley Anne 19 Feb 1999

The above poem was dedicated to my father just before he died.

The Power to Believe
The Power to Believe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He always maintained a belief in God though I was never quite sure because he didn’t talk about it. However his way of life and his love for my mother and we his children would indicate he was a God-fearing man. When we as Christians talk about fear in this way we mean having respect for our Creator, His awesomeness, His power, His love. It is not fear in the everyday meaning of the word as in being frightened or scared. True love casts out all fear. If we love God and we know He loves us we have the assurance of His love. Does everyone love God? Unfortunately no. often simply by the way they live they show a lack of love for Him. People might say they just don’t understand but God says in His word that there is no excuse for not believing because of the evidence which surrounds us…. Romans 1:20 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.

If knowing this people who still remain stubborn still remain in sin and will be judged accordingly. It seems stupid to me that people will reject the free gift of Gods love by rejecting His Son our Lord Jesus Christ and be set free from their sins. Why face God as a sinner when you know that He cannot look upon sin? It will be too late to do anything about it once you have died. So if you are about to celebrate Christmas think about the reason for Christ‘s birth, what was the purpose? He came to save sinners from eternal damnation and give them eternal life. All He asks is they repent and believe in Him. Make this Christmas one to remember, one that changed your life and gave you hope.

Shirley Anne

I knew…………

A few weeks ago my doctor called me in to see her. I have to attend surgery every six months for routine blood pressure checks because of the medication (hormones) I have to take each day. On my last visit I was told to make an appointment with the nurse who take blood samples and send them off for analysis. That was done and I then had to see the doctor again for the results. That happened on Friday (10). My readers will know that I am a Christian believer and place my trust in God knowing that He loves me. I don’t like visits to the doctor to be truthful and though I appear at ease by my demeanour I am usually tensed inside. I arrived at the surgery and parked my van but before going in I prayed to The Lord that all would be well with my results and there would be no necessity for any further action. I went into the surgery and waited to be called. I was with the doctor for less than a minute……..there was nothing wrong with my blood pressure nor the resultant blood tests. I praised The Lord. I knew in my heart the results would be normal, He had given me that assurance.

Take Jesus’ hand
I have learnt over the years to have more faith in God and to trust in His love. I know He loves me and will take care of me. He proved His love on the cross. Jesus Christ died for me and that act demonstrated pure love. He paid my debt and set me free from the bondage of sin. All I had to do was believe in Him and accept His gift of life. No ,matter what God's plans are for me I know I can trust Him. I just know...

Shirley Anne

Divine justice

Divine Justice (Psalm 7:6)

The idea that those who reject God will experience torment for eternity is offensive to many people. It seems like awfully vicious behavior from one who is known as a loving God.

Dr. D. A. Carson, prominent professor and scholar, says, “In the first place, the Bible says that there are different degrees of punishment, so I’m not sure that it’s the same level of intensity for all people.

“In the second place, if God took his hands off this fallen world so that there were no restraint on human wickedness, we would make hell. Thus if you allow a whole lot of sinners to live somewhere in a confined place where they’re not doing damage to anyone but themselves, what do you get but hell? There’s a sense in which they’re doing it to themselves, and it’s what they want because they still don’t repent. One of the things the Bible does insist is that in the end not only will justice be done, but justice will be seen to be done, so that every mouth will be stopped.”

In other words, at the time of judgment there is nobody in the world who will walk away from that experience saying that God had treated them unfairly. Everyone will recognize the fundamental justice in the way God judges them and the world.

“Justice is not always done in this world; we see that every day,” Carson says. “But on the last day it will be done for all to see. And no one will be able to complain by saying, ‘This isn’t fair.’ ”

—Adapted from interview with Dr. D. A. Carson

Taken from The Case for Christ Study Bible

So, there is no escape for believer and unbeliever alike. However, the believer has Christ Jesus as their intercessor, one who stands in the gap between them and God. He has paid the price for the sins for which they deserve punishment. They have placed their trust in him, believed in him and in the One who sent him. They will still be judged but as God’s children, members of His family. How will God judge you?

Shirley Anne

The I AM

I AM THE Lord (Exodus 6:1–8)
The patriarchs had known God Almighty, but they had never heard the unique name of God. God revealed himself to Moses with intimate clarity, connecting his personal name with the wonders that he had done for the people up to this point in their story. He is the one who called Abraham, initiated a covenant with him and inaugurated a great nation through a child promised to him and his then-barren wife (Gen 12; 15). He is the God who used what man intended for evil to promote Joseph to second-in-command in Egypt (Gen 50:20). He is the one who led his people to seek refuge in the land of Egypt to escape a dire famine. And he is the one who promised to deliver the people from slavery through Moses’ leadership. The people were urged to avoid worry—the God who promised to act on their behalf is the God who had always come through on the behalf of his people.
This personal revelation is distinct to Christians. The God of the Bible is not some disengaged deity, unconcerned with the plight of his people. Rather, he is the God who is both omnipotent and sovereignly in charge of all things and the God who is intimately concerned and engaged with the affairs of his children.
This personal care is best demonstrated in the way Jesus humbled himself, leaving the right hand of the Father and taking the place of a servant on the cross (Phil 2:5–11). Paul wrote that God was intent on redeeming his people, so Jesus laid aside equality with God and humbled himself to take on human flesh. While, in the age to come, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, the early ministry of Jesus demonstrated how far God would stoop to show his personal love for his children. Jesus is the perfect Son of God, yet one who loved his enemies and called them his friends (Rom 5:10). He is the radiance of the glory of God, yet willing to love those who show even a childlike faith (Luke 18:16). God is the King of the universe, yet one who allows frail humans to approach him as their father (Rom 8:15). He is Yahweh, the Lord God Almighty.
Jesus, thank you for tearing down the curtain that separated me from my Father. Thank you for making it possible for me to have a personal, intimate relationship with the almighty God of the universe. Amen.
Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible

Remember then what Christmas is all about

Shirley Anne

One last chance?

Recently I had the opportunity to view again a movie I chanced upon and watched a few years ago. I enjoyed it then as I did the second time around. The movie had a message in it which made me think it was produced by a Christian or Christians aiming to use it as a witness to the unbeliever who may be watching it. The movie was called ‘Left behind‘ and the leading actor was Nicolas Cage. Perhaps you have seen it too dear reader? I wondered whilst watching it just how many unbelieving hearts were touched by its message enough for them to reconsider their view. The basic theme of the movie centred around these Bible verses:-

Matthew 24:40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
Matthew 24:41 Two women will be grinding with a hand-mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Luke 17:34 I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.
Luke 17:35 Two women will be grinding corn together; one will be taken and the other left.’

In the movie many people and all of the children suddenly disappeared. Clothes were just left where they had stood. Those who were left couldn’t understand what had happened though some began to realise it was a fulfillment of Scripture….the beginning of the end. Nicolas Cage was the pilot of a plane whose co-pilot, some of the crew and passengers suddenly disappeared whilst in flight. Even a pastor of a church had been left behind and we learned why, although he could quote Scripture he admitted to not believing in what he was preaching. I know a few people just like him. One evening while at a ‘Four square gospel‘ businessmen’s dinner one such pastor of a church gave us his testimony explaining how he became a Christian years after he became ordained. For so many years he too had preached The Gospel but had no real belief until one day it dawned upon him. At that point he invited Jesus into his heart and became ‘saved’. The movie didn’t explain what happened to all those who had been left behind but someone realised that the preceding ‘rapture’ marked the beginning of  the tribulation and the suffering of all who were left.

So now will you believe? Now will you take notice? Now will you come to Christ and be saved? The choice is yours. The rapture may indeed come tonight, only God knows.

Shirley Anne

Matthew 13:24–30
In this short story, Jesus tells why God allows evil to continue in the world. According to Jesus, if God uprooted all the evil people (the weeds) now, others (the wheat) might be uprooted along with them.
For now, God’s allowing evil doesn’t mean he condones it. Rather, God is waiting for people to turn to him and accept his leadership in their lives. After all, if tonight at midnight God wiped out all the people who hadn’t yet trusted in him, where would you be in the morning?
Verse 30 gives us an image of the final separation that God will initiate at the end of time. On that day, God wants to gather you, as one of his people, into his heaven. Won’t you accept that gracious offer?
Taken from NIV The NIV Journey Bible

Shirley Anne

Never ending story

No not the movie…..life! Do you ever feel you are on a treadmill going nowhere? Yes you do things, you have a routine, you change your routine as often as you feel but nothing really changes does it? Recently retired and when working having purpose really meant nothing either, it simply meant I had something to occupy my time. I still have things to occupy my time, it is simply a different routine. We set goals in life or just live for the moment or maybe we do both but in the end everything we do eventually leads us to the next for we are never satisfied. It is like food for our souls, it is our thoughts which spurs us on, they are what keep us moving forward and ever seeking something that in fact we seldom find if we are truthful. Life can be very satisfying and rewarding but none of it really lasts. We aim to satisfy our physical needs first and foremost and neglect our spiritual needs though the two are inseparable, at least whilst we live. We are driven by what we think but we can change what we think. If we are comfortable with the changes we continue in them or we can make an attempt to do so but in the end if we are not happy we revert. No matter what we do in life, what choices we make along the way can we really say that we’ve been happy one hundred percent of the time? Our thoughts might tell us otherwise and in reality we know we are never fully happy, never fully satisfied with our lot. So our lives are a never-ending struggle with ourselves and our situations. Some resign themselves to never achieving their hopes and dreams and others think they’ve hit the jackpot when they think they have. It is all an illusion, a passing fancy and we have to make the most of it until we die. How often have you heard the expression ‘Life is for living’? Did it have an effect on your choices thereafter? We can but do nothing else but live out our lives as best we can and be happy and contented. In this world there is nothing else.

Story of My Life (album)
Story of My Life (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Ecclesiastes 1

Everything is meaningless

The words of the Teacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem:

‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’
    says the Teacher.
‘Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.’

What do people gain from all their labours
    at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains for ever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
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.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

It is a never-ending story……..until we die

Shirley Anne