The fight within

I don’t know about you but I do know about me and a few others close to me. I, like them, sometimes find it difficult to keep wrongdoing and wrong thoughts as far from me as possible. It is an ongoing and daily battle I strive to win. Taking control of bad habits and attitudes isn’t easy sometimes but it is so easy to let my guard down and then find myself where I ought not be. If that happens and I am aware of it I stop and chastise myself, aiming not to do it again. It isn’t easy being perfect and that is why I am not! In fact it is impossible to avoid sin, it is part of everyone. All we can do, I can do, is keep on with the good fight….

“Fight the Good Fight with All Thy Might”
by John S.B. Monsell, 1811-1875

1. Fight the good fight With all thy might;
Christ is thy Strength and Christ thy Right.
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.

2. Run the straight race Thro’ God’s good grace;
Lift up thine eyes and seek His face.
Life with its way before us lies;
Christ is the Path and Christ the Prize.

3. Cast care aside; Upon thy Guide
Lean, and His mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life and Christ its Love.

4. Faint not nor fear, His arms are near;
He changeth not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is All in all to thee.

Hymn #447
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 1 Timothy 6:12
Author: John S.B. Monsell, 1863
Tune: “Mendon”
German melody
Arranged by: Samuel Dyer, 1828

The Fight Within (Romans 6:15–23)

In his book of semi-philosophical and satirical stories titled Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes: “There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. But then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully.”
Isn’t that like most of us? We figure it’s easier to pay the bully than to learn how to defeat him. Sadly, in the same way, we often continue to live in sin rather than to wage war to destroy it. We allow sin to reign rather than dethroning it. We succumb to defeat rather than learning the countermeasures that lead to victory. Before we beat ourselves up too much, we can find comfort in the apostle Paul’s confession that he too struggled with sin. He recognized that he couldn’t escape being a sinner. Yet because sin ultimately leads to death, if he didn’t deal with it his sin would destroy him. He had a fight on his hands, one he waged daily.
How can we win the fight and defeat the power of sin? Honestly, we can’t. We possess neither the strength nor the moral completeness to win such a monumental battle. For victory we must, like Paul, rely solely on Jesus Christ. His sacrifice on the cross, bearing the sins of all human beings, provides our only hope for dethroning the power of sin. Sin is too serious to face alone. Victory over sin requires calling on Jesus, the Victor, all day and every day.
Taken from NIV Men’s Devotional Bible

Be therefore strong and resist all forms of evil

Shirley Anne

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Heaven

All very nice but something is missing. The songs says that heaven is a place on earth and although in the beginning that was true now it is far from that. As soon as sin entered the world heaven was lost. Sin keeps us out of God’s presence and would do so forever unless something could be done about it. The problem is we can’t do anything ourselves but there is One who did. There is One who paid the price on our behalf and has taken away our sin and if we believe on His name and put our whole faith in Him Heaven will be our destiny. He is Jesus Christ. The Saviour of mankind. So if you are looking for heaven on earth you may find glimpses of it around you but the real place is found in Christ Jesus.

Shirley Anne

Things Above (Colossians 3:1–2)

Do you look forward to heaven? Explain.
Give an example of how a person might set their mind on earthly things. Give an example of how a person might set their mind on heavenly things.
Before a person becomes a Christian, it’s natural for them to have an earthly outlook. We can’t really blame someone for pursuing wealth, fame, popularity, fun and everything else this world has to offer. After all, from their perspective, what else is there? Life is short, so grab everything you can while you can.

When a person makes a decision for Christ, though, the perspective changes. We shift our eyes away from this earth and toward heaven. We see things with an eternal view. We shift our priorities to reflect what’s really important. We recognize the things of this world for what they can be: distractions, wastes of time, empty pleasures.

We turn our attention to heaven. We consider the possibilities. If heaven is where God is, and God is the source of all joy and happiness, what does that say about our eternal life there? What kind of place has Jesus prepared for us (see John 14:3)? What will it be like not to have to worry about pain, sickness, sorrow or death? We may not know a lot about heaven, but we know enough to get our curiosity going.

Prayer

Dear God, thank you for giving us an unimaginable future beyond this life. Help us keep our minds focused on heavenly things, not earthly things. Fill us with an excitement for heaven. Amen.

Taken from Once a Day At the Table

Shirley Anne

Man of lawlessness

There have always been those who are disobedient in society but is there anyone who does not sin? No. We all have sinned but there are those among us that determine not to, though we all fail at some point. However, the majority of people strive to live a moral and upright life. For others crime is a way of life and there seems to be more adopting that way too. Below is one very small sample of what we read in the newspapers or see on the television almost every day………..

English: A Merseyside Police patrol car.
A Merseyside Police patrol car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Crime Alert for the residents of North Sefton from Merseyside Police.

Residential Burglaries

During the Christmas and New Year period burglaries have taken place in the following locations:

Bath Street, Lord Street, Pitts House Lane ( caravan), Talbot Street, The Causeway, Braemar Avenue (shed), Portland Street, Nolan Street

Possible Bogus Caller                                                                                                 

There has been a report that a male knocked on doors of houses in Merepark Drive Southport and stating he was from the Council and was collecting soft toys. Enquiries were made with the Council and they were not aware of anyone collecting toys in the area. The male is described as white, approximately 50 years old, bald, wearing a black coat and scarf with a lanyard around his neck saying ‘Sefton Council’.

SCAM WARNING From Lancashire Police

We have received reports of 2 males knocking on house doors claiming to be from BT and stating that they need access to the property immediately to fix a phone line problem.

These males do not represent BT, have no ID cards on them and appear to be targeting vulnerable individuals who are living alone. A card has been pushed through a letterbox promising to return.

Please make your loved ones aware and remind them that they do not need to let strangers in to their house. Always ask for ID, and if in doubt, call the company which they claim to represent (But don’t call any phone numbers they give you themselves).

If you have someone trying to gain entry to your property, you can call the Police on 999, or report any other suspicious sightings on 101.

Man arrested after injury shooting in Southport town centre

04 January 2018

Update – Friday 5th January

The man has been released under investigation while enquiries continue.

Detectives are continuing to appeal to anyone with any information on this incident or any gun crime issues, to please contact the Merseyside Police gun crime hotline on 0800 230 0600 or speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Original Release

Merseyside Police detectives investigating an injury shooting in Southport in December have arrested a man today, Thursday 4 January.

This morning, two warrants were carried out in the Southport and Walton areas.

At an address in Wyresdale Road, Walton, a 21-year-old man from Walton was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and Section 18 assault. He has been taken to a police station for questioning by detectives.

The arrest is in relation to an incident in Eastbank Street on Thursday, 21 December in which a man was shot in the head and a member of the public received a back injury.

——

Don’t these offenders realise there is a price to pay? Ask them and they will probably not care, they have lost all sense of moral standards, all they think about is themselves.

2 Thessalonians 2

The man of lawlessness

1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us – whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter – asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

‘They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.’ 

What more can be said?

Shirley Anne

Making sure part two

Yesterday I wrote about health issues, today I write about spiritual health and well-being. We often forget that we are spiritual beings inside our bodies of flesh and some of us don’t even believe that. We will some day live outside of the bodies we are born into. Those bodies will see decay but our spirits live on. Many has been the time when I wrote about Jesus Christ here on my site and many has been the time when I urged those who don’t know him as their Saviour to earnestly seek him. I will continue doing this as I am led to do so but it will continue to be an occasional post for fear of driving people away. I don’t wish to turn people away from God and Jesus Christ by attempting to ram the information down their throats, that would be wrong and in any case final decisions are made by those who wish to respond or not. I was watching a televised lecture or teaching if you will by a prominent Christian Pastor who was talking about the true nature of God as our Father in Heaven.

When God chose a group of people out of the many there are in this world to be an example for the rest He chose the Israelites or the Jews as we know them today. He laid down Laws for them to follow, laws meant for their well-being if they chose to follow them for God wanted His people to live in accordance with His will. If they failed to adhere to the laws (sin) they were expected to offer a sacrifice by way of atonement and this they did by offering the blood of an animal, an ox, a lamb, a goat or even a pigeon. God required the shedding of blood as a sacrifice. It meant that the Israelites had to own thousands of cattle, sheep and other animals in order to pay the price for their wrongdoing or sinful ways. Had they been obedient there would have been no need for the vast quantities of livestock but sin was in them just as it is today in each of us. God, our Father loves each of us with a love that is incomparable to any other. The Pastor related this observation in his teaching…..When his three-year old daughter cries out to him in the night because she is frightened of the dark or that she believes there is a monster beneath her bed she doesn’t cry out ‘Oh Father who is married to Mommy and who supplies us with food and shelter and who looks after me’ but she shouts ‘Daddy, I am frightened’ (paraphrased throughout). This is who our father in Heaven really is, a loving daddy whom we can rely upon and who genuinely loves and cares for us as any daddy would do (should do). We approach our Father as little children knowing He won’t reject us but is always there for us at all times. Our cries of help do not go unnoticed. He is Abba, Father our loving God. If we do wrong, and we all do wrong at times, He is there to comfort us and to chastise us but He does it for our own benefit. What loving father doesn’t chastise his children? That is how they learn good from evil. Following God isn’t a punishment, something we have to endure else be damned but rather it is the most natural thing in the world to want to please our Daddy, Abba Father. It is because of His great love for us that He came in the flesh as a human being, Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself the sins of the world, even our sins, mine and yours. We don’t need herds of cattle to offer as sacrifices for our wrongdoing for Jesus has already paid that price on our behalf. Jesus shed his own blood, he became our sacrificial Lamb. All we have to do is repent and accept that free gift of life in His name. This is how much our Daddy loves us…….Make sure you don’t miss out on His love…..

Shirley Anne

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
And make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon the cross
My sin upon His shoulder
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Copyright Stuart Townend

Shirley Anne

Are you justified?

 

Justification

Romans 3:23–24

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

We live in a culture that thinks hard work gets us what we want or what we think we deserve. This is especially true in the workplace. If we work hard enough, we get a raise, bonus, or promotion. And if something goes wrong, we can usually work hard enough to make amends. We live in a meritocratic culture.
But God’s kingdom functions differently. He has given us something we don’t deserve: right status before him.
The doctrine of justification tells us that we are considered righteous before God, not by our obedience to the law—for no one can fulfill the law’s requirements—but because of the perfect work of Christ. He alone lived perfectly according to the law and fulfilled it. Because of Christ’s work, God no longer sees us as sinful or guilty. He sees us as righteous and holy. Therefore, we do not have to fear God’s wrath, because our sins are forgiven and the weight of our guilt has been removed.
In his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion, reformer John Calvin says that no sinner could ever justify himself. Not only that, but wherever there is sin, there also “the wrath and vengeance of God show themselves.” Conversely, a justified person is one “who is reckoned in the condition not of a sinner, but of a righteous man; and for that reason, he stands firm before God’s judgment seat while all sinners fall.” This happens when we trust not in ourselves and our own works—because we will find nothing righteous within us—but in the righteousness of Christ through faith. That’s good news!
Connecting
As human beings, we are constantly trying to justify ourselves before others. Fearful of our inadequacies and sins being exposed, we work tirelessly to prove ourselves. This leaves us only exhausted and joyless. But when we begin to grasp the truth that in Christ we are wholly accepted by God regardless of what we do, we experience a peace that allows us not to be preoccupied with ourselves—our successes or failures. Further, we can have confidence as we perform the work God has set before us, even with all of our human limitations. The doctrine of justification brings an incredible freedom in our work, because if God, the ultimate judge, has already deemed us righteous, then no one and nothing can steal our security or status in him.

Taken from NIV Faith & Work Bible

Redemption:  deliverance from sin; salvation.

Why does anyone need redemption is saying why does anyone need salvation? For those who are not believers in God the words are meaningless and they are meaningless to them because they have no conception of sin. If you are an unbeliever for you there is no such thing as sin and therein lies the danger. Let’s get one thing straight, we are all sinners. Believers know so but unbelievers do not know they are sinners. Then what do they believe? They have no need of a creator God, they are all sufficient and in control of their own destiny. Most haven’t a clue about God and Jesus Christ because their minds are closed books yet they will most certainly form their own opinion about such matters. Their fate is sealed in their ignorance, they condemn themselves. They remain in their sinful state oblivious to the danger. ‘Nothing happens when we die’, is what they say. How do they know that? The same question is levelled back at the Christian, ‘How do you know’? The answer is as true as it is subsequently disbelieved. The Christian knows they are redeemed, forgiven and their sins no longer can condemn them because God’s Spirit is in them.

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Why? Because Jesus took the punishment for the sins of mankind upon himself thereby setting free those who believe and accept this free gift of life. God now doesn’t see the sins that cover us because Jesus has set us free, washed us clean and we have been redeemed and saved for all eternity. What about the unbeliever? Whilst there is breath in them they have the opportunity to repent and have that same assurance. The alternative is total separation from God forever! Do you really want to take that chance because of your refusal to turn to God? Reach out and take the hand of Jesus……

Shirley Anne 

For all have sinned

Romans 3:9-18

No one is righteous

9 What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.
10 As it is written:
There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.’
13 ‘Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practise deceit.’
‘The poison of vipers is on their lips.’
14 ‘Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.’
15 ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.’
18 ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Psalm 14

(For the director of music. Of David.)

1 The fool says in his heart,
‘There is no God.’
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
2 The Lord looks down from heaven
on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
any who seek God.
3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.

Ecclesiastes 7:20

20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
no one who does what is right and never sins.

Some realise these things and endeavour to do something about it but the truth is they cannot. By ourselves we are helpless but for those who trust in the Lord God and in Jesus Christ there is hope. There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Jesus is the Name.

I was watching the appalling events which took place on Monday evening last week when a suicide bomber took his own life and the lives of many around him, injuring many more too. It was considered an act of terrorism by the perpetrator as with many other acts of a similar nature which have taken place in these past few years. ‘All done in the name of religion’ is a frequent expression used by those who pass comment. Probably true but based on a false religion and totally against the will of God, the Only True God, not a god of wickedness and evil but a God who is loving, kind, merciful, faithful, righteous, holy and who gave His Son to save all those who repent and turn to Him. I pray for those who have suffered because of evilness in this and other ways but I pray more for the lost souls who follow a false god in the hope they will be rewarded for their evil deeds. They will face their Creator and have a lot of explaining to do.

Through Jesus we are saved and we turn away from and resist the evilness that is sin………

Shirley Anne

What is the point?

I was at home all day today and during the afternoon watched television for a brief time, However that turned out to be longer as news came in of a suspected terror attack in Westminster around the Palace of Westminster and on Westminster Bridge nearby. As I write this I have just learned that a policeman on duty there who had earlier been reported as stabbed has just died. I had already heard about a group of French students having been mowed down by a motor vehicle and a woman had also been killed in the same incident. Many of the students sustained horrific injuries during the incident. The police reaction was swift and we are told that the man who had stabbed the officer was shot dead at the scene.

English: Westminster Palace in London, The Gre...
Westminster Palace in London, The Great Westminster Clock; The bell within the clock tower is named ‘Big Ben.’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is a worrying sign of the times. There have always been people who for some reason are willing to commit offences like these and there is only a limited amount of precautions that can be made to prevent them. What can be done is being done as far as it is possible. Fortunately these incidences are few but even so they cause much suffering by those directly involved as well as the friends and families of those killed or seriously injured.

I pray for all those who have been affected by this horrible incident.

Whatever some people might say this world is in a sorry state and it is going to get worse despite our attempts to prevent it. It is the very fact that we are all different that we have people bent on anti-social activity for whatever reason that may be. People talk about what can be done but in real terms it is down to every individual to look at their own heart and see there is something missing, love. We are all sinners, it is just that some sins affect others besides ourselves. Judgement will come for all those who sin…………..

Shirley Anne

Counting the cost

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.
Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I pity those who now face the prospect of repaying their debts or those now having to cut back on their expenditure as a result of being extravagant for the Christmas holiday. What is really sad is why they feel the need to do it in the first place. Peer pressure, tradition, going with the flow, pick one, any could apply. Following the course means counting the cost later for so many people but they cannot be persuaded otherwise. This is how ridiculous the whole affair is becoming, people actually wait until the ‘January Sales‘ before buying gifts for others! Some go as far as to sleep outside their chosen retail store as early as Christmas Eve to do so! They miss the Christmas Day celebrations for the privilege! How stupid is that? It proves what a mockery it has become. The headlines in a local free newspaper hereabouts read, ‘The greatest gift anyone could receive’ but they weren’t talking about the birth and gift of a Saviour, they were talking about the gift someone was to receive from their sibling, a renal transplant. It is good to make gifts like these whereby someone’s life might be saved but the greater gift is an eternal one. That kidney may extend the recipient’s life for a few years, ten, twenty or more but in the end death awaits. Think about an eternal gift that saves the soul, wouldn’t you rather receive such a gift rather than one which extends your physical existence for a few years?. You will live forever one way or another. It will be too late to count the cost or repay the debt once you die. This gift has no monetary value, it cannot be purchased. It cannot deteriorate as your flesh does therefore it will last forever. Most of all it is freely available to everyone, yes everyone, no-one is excluded. It doesn’t matter how rich you are or how poor, what gender or race, it is free to all who ask. Many things in this world seem desirable but once obtained soon become forgotten and we look elsewhere, we are always looking for something new that will give us some pleasure yet we are never gratified. With this gift you will never need to seek another. The gift came humbly as a baby and died humbly and painfully as a man and by doing so made it possible for all to live forever. All we have to do is receive it. Jesus Christ is that free gift for he bore the sins of the world upon himself and paid the penalty for them all, even your sins and mine! It means that the punishment we should receive was endured on our behalf. If we believe that God sent Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for us and if we repent and turn to Him that gift will be ours, eternal life. Jesus didn’t count the cost before he died for us, he did it willingly. This is one debt that has been paid for those of us who believe.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Shirley Anne

Following like sheep

Jack-o-lantern
Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you ever wonder why sheep stay together following each other so closely? People are very much like sheep, they will, by and large, follow in the same way. Of course people are individuals but only up to a point. We follow trends together, partake in the same holidays, do pretty much the same as each other in many ways. Today, that is the 31st of October is beginning to mark an increasingly popular holiday we call Halloween. One family’s children keenly follow what they think as harmless fun and before we know it every other family’s children are doing the same thing. It is all about not wanting to be different, not wanting to be left out or to be labelled a spoil-sport. Their individualism is lost to the cause. Why are people so ready to follow like sheep? I label Halloween as evil, an evil event of evil origin. There was once a time it was rare to celebrate such holidays but now it is beginning to be considered normal to do so. Much of the celebration, probably most of it is fuelled by commerce as are the other holidays of the year. Someone saw a way to make pots of money and hey presto, it all became popular. None of what Halloween represents today is good. Children are encouraged to make-believe in ghosts, ghouls, witches and wizards and they dress in orange and black, the colours now associated with Halloween in this country at least. Pumpkin sales go through the roof and are mainly only sold at this time of year and used not for cooking but for ornamentation. What sense is there in that? Children are also misguided and  encouraged to go ‘trick or treating‘, basically a threatening behaviour to those on whose doors they knock. What they are saying is give us a treat else we will do something nasty. Is this not evil at work? No, it isn’t just a bit of fun, let’s call it by its rightful name.

All About Evil
All About Evil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We teach children all the wrong things and then wonder why society is in such a state. Santa Claus, birthday and Christmas presents, the paraphernalia surrounding Christmas and Easter and Guy Fawkes are all symbols of secularism by which the human race sets its standards and everyone follows like sheep. In my blog yesterday I posted an article about a loving and peaceful world, the way it should be and will be one day but we have to rid ourselves of all this useless clutter and evil that fills our lives first. Only one thing prevents it from happening and it is what is going on in our hearts. Ask yourself why the world isn’t like the one described in yesterday’s post and what you yourself will do to change things.

Shirley Anne

Just who is God?

live-by-faith-copyI meet many people who tell me they do not believe in God. I once numbered among them myself. Some simply say they are not religious and think God doesn’t exist. They have no explanation as to where everything originated but will ask who created God when it is suggested that He made everything. They ask that question out of ignorance and from a human perspective. If God did make everything then He must have created evil too, they will say. Maybe they will say, ‘Then why does God allow all these horrible things to happen?’ making reference to paedophillia, murder or natural disasters to name but a few things. That becomes their stumbling block, their reasons for not believing in God. If sin is mentioned many will deny they sin but don’t make the connection between sin and God. Sin exists because God exists but sin was not created by God. God did not create many things, love, peace, happiness and all things good would suggest He did but these good things are simply aspects of God’s being, they exist because He does. Without God there would be none of these things. Sin separates the unbeliever from God, in fact sin and evil of all kinds are merely the result of the absence of God. When Adam and Eve took what they were not supposed to take they sinned. Their actions, their sin, resulted from the fact that God wasn’t in their hearts for if He had been they would not have disobeyed. When subsequently they realised their error the way back into the ‘Garden of Eden‘ was blocked. There was no way back to God. They had lost the eternal life which God had bestowed upon them when they were created and decay set in. Had God not put an angel there to guard the way back they would have returned but still in their sin. They would then have lived forever in their sinful state, that is eternally separated from God. That is the description of Hell, eternal damnation and punishment and separation from God. God could not allow that to happen. However all mankind subsequently suffered as a result of that disobedience. Paradise lost indeed. Having been cast out of God’s presence there was no way back. They were helpless and could not change their circumstances. Today we also have no power in ourselves to make amends and be able to return to the everlasting life which God wanted us to share with Him. God however loves us all and knows we cannot help ourselves but He cannot allow us back into His presence whilst still in our sinful state just as He couldn’t allow Adam or Eve back. Our sins keep us separated from Him. God provided a solution, the only solution, an atoning sacrifice. Our sins needed to be dealt with and the punishment meted out for them in order that we might have a clean slate and start anew. That sacrifice was His Son Jesus Christ. He alone has paid the price for each and every one of us. The debt has been paid and we are set free. There is just one thing, we have to believe in Jesus and in God, we have to repent of our sins, which means turning away from them and from deliberately turning to them and then we must take hold of the free gift offered to us. Without Jesus we would remain in our sins and remain separated from God, not just for now but forever! To believe in anything else is futile for there is only one way to salvation and that is through Jesus Christ, no-one else has the power or the authority. Make that choice before it is too late, not tomorrow or the next day, not next week or some time in the future you don’t know how long you have left. If you really wish to make that commitment then say this prayer…

Dear Father in heaven my creator God, I realise that I am a sinner and am in need of salvation. I regret having been a sinner all my life and I repent of my sins. I thank you for the gift of forgiveness and atonement that you have provided through Jesus and I take hold of it as my own. Thank you Jesus for your sacrifice and for taking my sins away. I am now yours and I ask you to be my saviour. Help me to seek only your will in my life from this day forward. Amen.

Now go out into the world where you are and tell others of this wonderful gift of everlasting life, The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Shirley Anne

We will all bow down

Original Sin
Original Sin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zephaniah 2:10-12

10 This is what they will get in return for their pride,
for insulting and mocking
the people of the Lord Almighty.
11 The Lord will be awesome to them
when he destroys all the gods of the earth.
Distant nations will bow down to him,
all of them in their own lands.

In this modern world there is so much sin. There is selfishness and many are slanderous, disobedient, self-seeking, dishonest, liars, cheats, unreliable….the list just goes on and on. Every day we hear of murders, assaults, robberies and all sorts of different crimes yet according to many we are making this world a better place. The problem is that we are incapable if we try to do it in our own strength but there is nobody on this earth capable of leading us to that ‘utopia’.  Is it even possible? Well it is, God says so. The future of this planet is not in our hands, it is in Gods hands. Once that original sin was committed the world started to decay. Decay is all around us, everything is dying, even the Universe itself. Things can only get better but will get far worse first. God will intervene. Jesus is returning but before that great day there will be much suffering, the suffering we inflict upon ourselves and that which God metes out to those who continue in disobedience. It is written in Scripture, it is a prophetic message and we ignore it at our peril. In the end all will bow down to God, every person in every nation will bow down. Why not do it willingly rather than being forced to? Come to the author of life and bow the knee before Him. Do it before it is too late. Jesus will save you, no-one else can, especially yourself.

Shirley Anne

Brothers and sisters

Brothers & Sisters (song)
Brothers & Sisters (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For so many years I was an avid unbeliever, an atheist, stubbornly refusing to have anything to do with ‘religion’ and totally against the idea of a creator God. That all changed about twenty-six years ago when I began to study The Bible and finding myself reaching out to this god whom I had rejected. At that time I was writing poems and verses and most of them concerned God and my reaching out to Him. I became a Christian, born again of The Spirit of God or as many say a ‘born again Christian‘. Whatever terminology is used I became a believer and began to understand what it meant to be a Christian. The message was quite simple, is quite simple…..We are all sinners, helpless to pay the price for those sins and we need a Saviour, someone who would pay the price for us and thereby set us free. That Saviour is Jesus. We need to repent of our sins and accept Jesus as Saviour so that we can be saved from eternal punishment.
John 3:16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’

God did it for us. How amazing is that? We have to reach out and take that gift though. I did that early in 1989 when I became a Christian believer. I learned that I had to tell others for it was and is incumbent on me to do so. A Christian believer who fails to witness to others is being disobedient to the One who saves them.

The great commission

Matthew 28:

 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

We are to tell others about The Gospel…..the Good News………..the truth that is in Christ Jesus and the salvation offered in his name. So brothers and sisters in Christ remember your obligation and witness wherever you are and as the opportunity arises.

Shirley Anne

What is wrong with you all?

Hatred, Passions and Infidelity
Hatred, Passions and Infidelity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Damn the thief, the liar, the cheat, the proud, the arrogant, the adulterer, the child molester, the paedophile, the slanderer, the fornicator, the wife beater, the fraudster, the false witness, the idolaters, the murderer, the dishonourable, those who covet and all who do such things. Now wait a minute, that means the whole of mankind should be condemned should it not for we all fall short in some way? Those who claim to be squeaky clean are disillusioned, no-one is perfect I keep getting told. I often wonder how we all manage to live in close proximity without some sort of friction. The fact is we don’t if we are being honest. We may get along with most people we meet but the truth is we don’t get along with everyone. Why is that? The saying goes that love covers all imperfections might be true for those we are in a close relationship with but I doubt it applies to everyone else in our lives. There seems to exist different levels of love and appreciation toward those in our lives ranging from absolute love to absolute hatred and everything in-between. Personalities and lifestyles of others may be disagreeable to us and some of us carry those traits to the extreme either on the one hand making an aggressive stand against those we perceive as abhorrent to our nature or on the other hand endeavouring to bridge the gaps between us. If there was one single thing that could overcome our differences, our biases, our dislikes, what might it be? More to the point why should we bother? The real problem is love, a lack of it in our lives. Where there is love there is also hatred and life is a struggle because of them both. On the one hand we try to be loving but sometimes we have to fight against the hate. When God created the world and all living creatures He did it out of love. Everything He creates He loves. He loves us so much He didn’t want to leave us with no hope in our struggle against sin for we are unable to overcome the wickedness of sin without His strength. Now some may say that they are not sinners and they are able to combat evil but that is far from the truth. They may not admit to committing any of the things listed in the opening sentences of this post but they are wrong for at some point their guard will fall and they will make mistakes. No-one is perfect and no-one is without sin but does that matter? Well yes it does, it matters to God. Romans 3:23 says…’for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. For this reason we are all condemned but for this reason too and because of God’s great love for us we can be reconciled with Him. John 3:16 says…’For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ His Son is Jesus Christ. We can know real love when we accept Jesus as our Saviour and we can look at the world through a changed heart and with opened eyes in a way that was impossible before because of our sinful nature. We continue to struggle against sin because we remain here immersed in it. Look around you and see the sin that abounds then turn your back on it and come to Jesus.

Shirley Anne

The Ostrich

English: Ostriches at the Cape of Good Hope, S...
Ostriches at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a saying that ostriches bury their heads in the sand when danger looms but that is not true. We use the expression to show how others hide from things they either don’t wish to face or see, impending problems and things like that. The truth of any matter can be presented yet the recipient simply refuses to accept it and we say they are hiding their heads in the sand just like the ostrich. The fact is that ostriches are seldom seen in sandy places but we are, figuratively speaking from time to time. Sand isn’t a good material on which to build a house as it can shift about. Having said that my own house is built on very compacted sand but that sand fills its foundations as well as surrounding them which makes the building very stable and those foundations are deep. It has been standing since 1877 and shows no signs of falling down! We need foundations in life too, things that we can build upon knowing that when those foundations are strong we need not worry about anything. When the foundations are weak, we are weak, when they are unstable we are unstable and if there are no foundations at all we fall down, just as a house would. We can build solid foundations in life by placing our trust in those things we know will not let us down but like everything in life there is never a guarantee. So what can we place our trust in? Gold? Possessions? People? These can let us down too. Gold loses its value sometimes, possessions can be sold but once they are gone there is nothing left and people? Well I am sure we know that in times of crisis people can let us down too. We can also let ourselves down by choosing the wrong things in life, things that eventually lead to death! Of course material things can take the form of alcohol or drugs and too much food leads to obesity all of which can destroy us but what of our spirit? That can be destroyed too and forever! All it takes is being on the wrong path, the path that leads away from God rather than the one that leads to Him. God is our Rock, a solid foundation on which we can place all of our trust. If we have wandered from Him He is merciful to us when we return and we all have wandered away at some point. Some have never approached God and thereby leave their eternal future in the balance. Some deliberately ignore their sins and expect that nothing will result. We have only to read what God did to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to know that if He did not spare those cities He will not spare those who reject Him. Follow this link to read the truth about Sodom and Gomorrah….it is a little long but well worth the visit http://www.str.org/articles/what-was-the-sin-of-sodom-and-gomorrah#.VGibXsmVv-s Now think about what is happening in our world today and compare the two, follow this link and see what I mean  http://www.visitbrighton.com/gay-brighton/ . Are you building your life on a solid foundation or is it being built on loose sand? Don’t be like the ostrich, face the facts and then do something about it.

Shirley Anne

 

The law of God

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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