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

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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

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

Not worthy?

Undeserved (Luke 7:37–39)
I am sinful, yet God calls me righteous. Is there anything I can do to thank him?
Read…….

English: Parish church Saint Vinzenz - Sacred ...
Parish church Saint Vinzenz – Sacred Heart altar – Jesus and the Pharisee

One day a Pharisee asked Jesus to come to his house to eat. “A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner’ ” (Luke 7:37–39). The incredible thing is that Jesus did know what kind of woman she was. But that didn’t stop him from loving her.
Think……..
Like the woman, we all stand before Jesus with a spiritual rap sheet that is miles long. At this very moment, he sees every area of our lives that needs refining. Yet despite our sin, he loves us anyway. Dearly. That doesn’t make sense. But God’s love doesn’t make sense. We can’t figure it out.
Live…….
Let grace amaze you. Ponder it. Dwell on it. Feel the intensity of God’s love behind it. The woman had it right. She was well aware of her sinful past—she had lived it. And when she found the Saviour who knew her completely and still offered acceptance and forgiveness, she could do nothing else but fall on her knees and pour out her praise on him.
When your messiness runs into Jesus’ perfection and you find him there loving you, be like the woman with the alabaster jar. Just love him. Pour out your praise; drench him in worship. Stand in awe of the One who gave it all. He is worthy of every ounce of your praise.

Taken from The Great Rescue Bible

Wouldn’t you like to have that kind of love meted out to you? It is so readily available to those who recognise their God and believe in Him, turning in repentance and allowing Jesus into your heart is the only way.

Romans 3:22-24 New International Version – UK

22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 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.

Repent therefore and turn to your Saviour who is Christ Jesus our Lord…

Shirley Anne

Borrowed time

Borrowed Time (John Lennon song)
Borrowed Time (John Lennon song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suppose most of us give little thought about our mortality. It’s not something people like to dwell upon when they are enjoying their lives. For many people the act of dying simply means they cease to exist, they have no hope of a life beyond the grave because they don’t believe in such things. It says in Scripture these things…

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

God has set eternity in our hearts so for those who don’t believe in God does that mean they never think about eternity? I think not. I think the unbelieving heart is simply not ready to accept it. The fact is eternity does exist. How could it not? Whether we believe in it is irrelevant. We cannot say that something doesn’t exist because we don’t believe it, that is an absurd assumption. It is the same with God, not believing in Him doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. Because we don’t understand doesn’t mean it isn’t true. In the latter half of the verse shown it reminds us that NO one can fathom what God has done. It is all above our understanding, yet if we believe in God, if we believe in Jesus Christ, God actually gives us the understanding through His Spirit! It all becomes clear and in fact not believing becomes an abhorrent thought. What God reveals in our hearts is the truth and we have hope if we trust in Him. What’s more He give us that eternal life once we believe in Him and in the One He sent, The Lord Jesus, it becomes the reality we didn’t previously understand.

One of the most amazing things is He gives us the choice to believe or not. From someone who spent 43 years of her life as an unbeliever but became a believer, who did not understand but now does, believe me when I say that knowing God and having that eternal hope is worth reaching out for. Don’t put off seeking God for your days may be numbered, in fact they are numbered. Waiting for another time may prove too late, you are living on borrowed time…………….

God is calling you to Salvation through His Son Jesus……….reach out and believe.

Shirley Anne

Here is a true story…..
Sharing Your Story (Acts 4:1–22)
Peter and John are “unschooled, ordinary men.” Both are fishermen—a lower-class vocation. Some of the Pharisees who arrest the two for healing a crippled beggar are particularly puzzled by the men’s ability to speak articulately and effect healing. The only possible explanation is that these men have spent time with Jesus.
Jesus’ forgiveness and grace together comprised the only reason Peter and John had a chance to succeed in life. The same holds true for Ken Freeman, who emerged from homelessness to become a lifelong evangelist.
His mother was an alcoholic, and his father didn’t care enough to stick around. In a seemingly unending succession, Ken called nine different men his stepfather, but not one of them proved to be a worthy father figure. His home life brought only continuing abuse and neglect. As a young teen, Ken decided that he was better off on the streets than living the continuing nightmare at home.
When he was 16, Ken heard about a local church revival. He didn’t care about the revival as such, but he was lured by the free pizza being offered. Although he attended with the goal of filling his belly, God had other plans.
That night Ken met Jesus for the first time, and the encounter transformed him completely. He developed a growing passion for teenagers and their families, and at age 19, he began traveling and speaking at youth camps and church revivals across the country. Ken did not attend seminary to learn how to tell people about Jesus. He simply told his story. And people listened.
More than 200,000 people have come to know Jesus through Ken’s ministry. Despite having grown up in a broken home, he and his wife have been married for almost 40 years. Ken credits Jesus for the miraculous changes and incredible ministry that have blessed his life.

How do you think Ken Freeman can maintain such a positive outlook on life despite his difficult childhood?

Taken from NIV College Devotional Bible

Shirley Anne

A real concern

A Christmas Without Snow
A Christmas Without Snow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have just written a comment on an article posted by AOL regarding snowfall at Christmas. Our weather forecasters seemingly cannot say with certainty if we in the UK will get a white Christmas. My comments centred on the fact that I thought it utter nonsense that people yearn for such things forgetting as many do what Christmas is supposed to be all about, the birth of our Saviour and not the fact that we might or might not get snow!
I was at work on Saturday afternoon. I had no work in the morning but had arranged to work in another town for someone in the afternoon because they had no free time during the week. I didn’t mind, after all it is Christmas as they say. Anyway the work was to replace a few light fittings with sparkling new ones. The lady for whom I was doing the work began chatting with me. Usually it is off-putting when people won’t just let me get on with the work but on this occasion I didn’t mind. I was taken a little by surprise because her questions all centred upon me, my family, friends, about my faith and about Christmas. I am not forthright in opening up to people regarding my family and friends my faith and beliefs unless they ask of course but if they do I don’t hold back. She began by asking what I was doing over Christmas. When I replied ‘nothing different from usual’ she was intrigued and wanted to know more so I explained, telling her that I don’t think Christmas is celebrated for the right reasons these days and it has become a secular and commercial machine having nothing to do with Christ. I also told her that my family have all but distanced themselves and my friends all live afar, not that I can claim having many friends as I don’t which means I couldn’t celebrate the holiday with them as they do even it was my wish to do so. My social life is just about zero too but that’s another story. She became very concerned and it prompted more questions which I answered as honestly as I could. She couldn’t believe I don’t celebrate Christmas as I once did, in fact I don’t celebrate it at all. The look of concern upon her face was evident. She asked if I was a Christian, a question I usually end up asking of those I talk with rather than it being asked of myself. Asking what church I went to and discovering I don’t prompted her to ask why. The answer I gave made her feel sad for me and she said she thought it was sad that I wasn’t in a fellowship and no longer felt the urge to be in one. I was more concerned about her feeling a sadness for me instead of just accepting the way I feel about things as being my own choice. I have to admit I haven’t felt such a concern for me for many years, not even from those closest to me, my own family. I am more concerned that people should believe in God and Jesus Christ rather than be concerned for me and never mind whether it will snow or not.

Shirley Anne

The days grow long

English: Holy Spirit church: Cellingpainting: ...
Holy Spirit church: Cellingpainting: Birth of Christ Locality: Heiligengeistplatz Community:Klagenfurt  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Around this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere of our Earth the days begin to lengthen, that is the hours of daylight. At the same time of course the nighttime hours get shorter. The day is almost upon us, the celebration of the birth of our Saviour and many will be marking the day in their usual way. Before I became a Christian believer I had another faith, I was an atheist, I didn’t believe in God or Jesus Christ and I’d never heard of the Holy Spirit. I followed, like many others, in the tradition of men, celebrating Christmas as non-believers do. People around me would say, Christmas is about family and it is a time for children. Children were told, as they still are, that Santa Clause would be bringing them toys if they were good. Why are children told such lies? There is no harm in make-believe I hear you say but it is just as easy to tell the truth is it not? Children end up growing as non-believers and the lies are perpetuated. If you are going to celebrate someone’s birth surely they will be at the centre of it won’t they? No-one goes to a birthday party that has nobody there whose birthday it is! There cannot be a party without its host. There cannot be a party without an invitation to join-in either, that would be stupid, yet it happens every year at Christmas. If Christ is not in Christmas there is no birthday party to celebrate. Time is short and Christmas will be upon us in a day or two. Time is short for us all and one day we each of us will pass away. For those who believe there is a party in Heaven that will last for eternity and Jesus will be there to greet them, he is their host and will welcome them in because he knows them. Do you know Jesus? Is he the host at your party? Without him there is no real celebration. The invitation is there…..are you going to accept it?

I no longer celebrate Christmas as I once did, the way the world does but I celebrate in my heart each and every day for what Jesus did for me and praise him.

Shirley Anne

Out of the equation

A wonderful christmas card we received. Certai...
A wonderful Christmas card we received. Certainly good enough to photograph, so here it is. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christmas is not far away, a few weeks is all. Soon people will be thinking about presents,what to buy and for whom. Greetings cards will be sought and bought too. E herself is making greetings cards at home as part of her newfound hobby of crafting. I mentioned something about this a few posts ago. None of the cards she has made reflect the true reason for Christmas and nice as they are none have Nativity scenes on them or any reference to Christ Jesus which is kind of pointless. Most shops don’t sell cards with references to Jesus on them either. The reason for this is that the celebration of Christmas as the birth of our Saviour has been hijacked by the secular world and people who subscribe to secularism are only interested in the festivities which are now associated with the holiday (Holy Day). You see God has been left out of the equation in today’s society by all except those who are believers. People it seems would rather go with the majority than have anything to do with God. Father Christmas (Santa Claus) rules instead. Their celebrations centre around self-indulgence, alcohol, chocolate, roast dinners, puddings, mince pies and all the other things which are common in most homes at Christmas.

Greeting card with horses on
Greeting card with horses on (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is nothing wrong in people enjoying themselves of course but at Christmas they do it for all the wrong reasons. Jesus Christ is the reason for the celebration or should be but that falls on many deaf ears. God has been left out of many people’s lives but when they need Him they cry out. I just pray He will answer. God in fact does answer if we are sincere. We just have to believe, the unbeliever has to believe. Many pay God lip service, they do as they please whilst thinking God doesn’t notice, they lack understanding because they refuse to seek the truth. They even question the truth when it is presented before them. What kind of equation is balanced when only one-sided? We need a relationship with God and He wants a relationship with us so don’t leave Him out of the equation or your life will be totally one-sided and truly out of balance.

 

 

Isaiah 55

6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Shirley Anne

God is dead?

 

 

Many people in my country and probably around the world say they have no time for religion. Religion they say is the root cause of many of the problems we face in today’s world. Nothing could be further from the truth. It isn’t religion which causes the suffering and the pain, the greed and the lust, the hatred and the deceit, it is mankind. Mankind is the real problem because mankind lives in sin, sin is a part of us like a bad rash that clings to our skin and nothing will remove it. God can remove it though and He did it through Jesus Christ yet still many refuse the idea so they remain in their sins and nothing changes but it can be different………….Open your hearts and see that God is good, that we are sinners and are in need of salvation or we are doomed….Christ died for our very souls but he rose from the dead and conquered death……

The Resurrection of Christ
The Resurrection of Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christ Is Risen (1 Corinthians 15:55)

Matt Maher, Mia Fields

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
But fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to him
Who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely you’ve bled for us
Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but heaven’s will
No scheme of hell
No scoffer’s crown
No burden great
Can hold you down
In strength you reign
Forever let your church proclaim
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He’s alive! He’s alive!

Behind the Song

Matt Maher finds inspiration for songs in unusual places. One of his friends, a Ukrainian priest, told him about an amazing sermon from the fourth century, and Maher immediately resonated with its message.

“There was a priest named John Chrysostom,” Maher explains. “His nickname was ‘The Golden Tongue’ because he was such a great preacher. One year on Easter, he preached a homily with the message; ‘Christ is risen from the dead, trampling over death by death and redeeming us from the grave.’ ” Maher was so moved by both the original Chrysostom message and the passion of his Ukrainian friend as he told him about it, that he began to explore the concept within the context of a worship song for Easter.

“The whole song is about the cross—the death and the resurrection of Christ,” Maher adds. “Hell thought it had swallowed another victim; just another human being, but it swallowed God Incarnate. So God literally used death to destroy death and that’s something only God can do!”

The song ends by triumphantly proclaiming “He’s alive! He’s alive!” “It’s a refutation of modernism in a way,” Maher admits. “There’s this whole notion in these times that religion is obsolete or God is dead. He is not dead. He’s alive!”

Taken from NIV Worship Together Bible

Remember there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. Jesus Christ is the only way to Salvation. No ‘religion’, no prophet, no false god or idol, only Jesus.

Shirley Anne

Broken bones

English: X-ray shot of Trachemys scripta with ...
X-ray shot of Trachemys scripta with bone fracture of femur. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are like broken bones and often we are in need of repair just as our bones would if they were indeed broken. Sometimes though the damage is so bad that we cannot see how repairs of any kind would help. We live broken lives and put up with it but there is hope, we are not left in that state forever as long as we believe it can change.
Shirley Anne

Tending Each Other’s Wounds (Hebrews 10:24–25)

The book of Hebrews was written to Christians who were facing persecution. Though evidently none of them had as yet been martyred because of their faith (see Hebrews 12:4), a number had been jailed or had their property confiscated (see Hebrews 10:34).
Most of the believers addressed in Hebrews had converted to Christianity from Judaism. Now, because of persecution, they were being pressured to return to Judaism. Some went along with the change, reasoning that the commandments and teachings of the Hebrew religion were the same as that of Christianity, but without Jesus.
The writer of Hebrews urged these believers to recognize that no faith is complete without Jesus. To turn away from Jesus is to cut out the very heart of Christianity.
Still, the threat of further persecution was real. Things would get very difficult for the believers. The writer of this letter responded to this threat by reminding his readers, first, that Jesus had endured hardships and persecution and therefore understood what they were going through. Jesus would provide them with divine assistance and encouragement, no matter how severe their suffering. Second, they could not make it on their own; they needed to help one another, precisely because of the tough times ahead.
That is good advice for spouses who need to encourage one another, particularly in times of crisis, such as financial hardship, relationship challenges, infertility issues or painful losses. No matter what happens or how severe our pain, the only way to triumph over trial is to be anchored in Christ and in each other.
Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones. But no. Mead said that the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thighbone) that had been broken and then healed.
Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from anger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for prowling beasts. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.
That sounds a lot like the gospel, doesn’t it? Jesus died for our sins when we were still sinners. He is our comfort and salvation when we are broken and dying. He is our lifeline in suffering. Now, as the writer of Hebrews said, we get to do the same for one another.
—Wayne Brouwer
Taken from NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible

Remember, no-one is unrepairable or unreachable where Christ Jesus is concerned…………

Shirley Anne