Throughout our lives we may find ourselves caught up in situations outside our control. Though we may struggle to see a way out or a solution to problems we are facing we often cling on to a hope that things will change for the better. We hang on for as long as we are able or until the situation is resolved. We may not be happy with the result but we’ve done our best. How often have we heard others lending their support in encouragement by saying hang on in there? The length of time we are able to resist giving in and throwing in the towel depends on our inner strength, our faith and our determination. Sometimes we are thrown off-course by things out of our control and simply have to accept it. Earlier in the year I noticed our apple trees did not produce the fruit we had expected, in fact one tree had no fruit whilst the other had produced only four apples…
A later photograph of the same tree…..
And later still this picture taken on 25 November…….
Still hanging on through thick and thin. At the time I wrote this post and took the picture I wanted to pluck them from the tree before they fell of their own accord or were blown off in a high wind but E insisted I leave them until December just to see if they would remain hanging on. Life is like that. Sometimes we just don’t know if we should remain hanging on or give in to the pressure to let go. As a Christian I am encouraged to hang on in faith in order to overcome those things which can threaten to bring me down or to simply wait for answered prayer. We should all be encouraged to hang on in there just like the four little apples on my tree.
Maybe you have heard about Jesus, maybe you learned about him at school but did you understand? Did you reject the possibility that Jesus was God in the flesh once you grew out of childhood and reasoned things out for yourself? Many do exactly that but they are rejecting their Creator. Evidence for God surrounds us all and we have no excuse in denying that. Many will say that creation (of life) came about through natural processes that were the result of a developing universe but fail to see that even the universe had a beginning. Who then created the Universe? You see God has always been, He exists outside of time, He was not created as many try to assume. ‘Who created God?’, they say. God is Spirit and we too are spirit though for now we live in the flesh too. Once we die our spirit still lives on, not in the thoughts of those we leave behind but for all eternity with the Spirit who created us, that is if we believe. Jesus came from God for he is God. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus points the way to God and there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. If you don’t believe in Jesus how can you believe in God?
Have you faith? Do you have faith in anything or anyone? Maybe you have trusted in that faith and have been let down? Now you have become wary of trusting in anything as a result perhaps? How can you trust in anything anymore? You can live in the hope that things will work out but you can never be sure, or can you? Is there anything in which you can place your faith and have your hopes fulfilled?
Hebrews 11 (New International Version – UK)
Faith in action
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (read more…)
If you have continued to read you will see that faith in action and the results that followed. In God we are promised eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ but only if we have the faith to believe it. The first requirement is to be open to the possibility that God actually exists and then reach out to Him. If we are sincere and have that faith He will respond. Of course we must also repent of our sins and place our trust in Jesus having that faith……….
7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Put your faith in something that will reap the best reward you could ever receive……….eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.
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.
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.
On whom do you call in times of trouble? When faced with danger do you cry out for help? From where does that help come? People will often call out to God when things are going wrong or they find themselves in sticky situations but fail to believe in the One they are calling out to! Calling on God’s name is done without thought, it has become automatic and totally without meaning or faith. I am not sure what they expect will happen but they will probably say it makes them feel better but that is a false security for without God we have nothing. Next time you call upon the name of The Lord make sure He knows who is calling out to Him. If you don’t have a relationship with Him He may not respond. Call out to Him for mercy with a repentant heart, not as one who is a stranger but one who loves Him as you ought….
For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
3 May he remember all your sacrifices
and accept your burnt offerings.
4 May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
5 May we shout for joy over your victory
and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
6 Now this I know:
the Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call!
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Many people I speak with say they do not believe in God or that He exists. They ask me why I do and what it was that caused me to believe.
I would like to think that this is true of my own experience: ‘A seed was sown in my heart which sprouted and grew. It was watered and fed and tenderly looked after. That seed grew into a large tree which produced fruit. That fruit produced even more seeds to continue the cycle’ but whether I have lived up to that will be judged by God. Although a seed was planted in my heart I had to believe in God for anything to happen. Seeds can be planted on stony ground and not be able to take root. My heart was open to God, my heart was seeking Him but I still needed that faith to believe. My reward was the knowledge that I was a sinner who needed salvation, who needed a saviour, who was condemned, who could not change my predicament but because of Jesus, because of my repentant heart, because I had faith to believe and accept his sacrifice by Gods mercy and grace I was saved. God doesn’t want anyone to perish but all to come to salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. If you haven’t the faith to believe then ask God. Earnestly seek Him and ask for a faith to believe.
Many of my readers will have gathered by now that I like my work and I like working at home because of the many posts I have dedicated to it, especially more recently. Many will be wondering if I have any sort of life beyond what I do at work. They may think that all I do is work, work, work. Well that isn’t true of course. I might not write much about the many things I get up to but you can be sure I am active in other areas apart from my work. I play my guitar quite often but there is little to remark about that. I read quite a lot too but the things I read about are not fiction. they are all based on fact, I don’t read much fiction, hardly any at all. Most everything I read is factual. I read The Bible often and you might be thinking well, isn’t that fiction? I can assure you that it isn’t, it is filled with actual historic events all of which have been corroborated through other historical texts. The parts many people do not understand are those which make reference to a deity, a creator God and a redeemer called Jesus, thinking they are just fiction. Of course I disagree with such people because I have first-hand experience of God and Jesus, something which I cannot deny and that is why I believe in them both. I watched a television program a while back in which they were discussing observations of ‘Black Holes’. There are such phenomenal gravitational forces associated with Black Holes that once material is sucked into them it is lost forever, even light itself cannot escape such a strong gravity which is why we cannot see Black Holes and why they are so described. Yet something created all of what we do see and even what we don’t. Some people will say that we will one day be able to understand how the Universe was made for no-one so far has been able to. Many have put forward theories regarding Creation but the real answer lies in Creation having been created, suddenly popping into existence where nothing existed before. Many would argue that the Universe was created by a Black Hole expelling all of the material it had previously accumulated, which could actually be true but where did that material originally come from? God made it all. Simple. The Bible tells us that God created material from nothing, it wasn’t there before God made it. People might say that cannot be proven but I am already convinced and do not need tangible ‘proof’, my faith tells me it is true. Faith is like a receipt for something that has yet to be delivered, a sort of guarantee that it will arrive, a promise. You might think all of this is nonsense but you will always think that way unless your heart changes.
I find it difficult to understand why people believe in what they do sometimes. Mostly I cannot understand the philosophy of those who think that love is the all important answer to our problems and they will quote many leaders and religious people to stress the point. Often they will include Jesus among them as a sort of concession standing Him alongside people like Gandhi and Buddha as being just another good person. Their whole philosophy has love as its central theme. Well of course there is nothing wrong in promoting love and ideally we should all be living a life of love, love toward our fellow man, our neighbour as Jesus Christ said. However their philosophy leaves out one important factor. We are also taught and told to love God first and foremost and then our neighbours as ourselves. You see their kind of love places human beings above anything else and shuns the idea that there is a supreme being we call God. Many ‘religious’ philosophies don’t have a god but some recognise a ‘superior being’, a ‘great spirit’, an entity more powerful than ourselves. They fail to understand that this ‘being’ is in fact real and can be known on a personal level rather than being simply remote and intangible or something simply ‘spiritual’. That God is the Creator God and He is the only God. He is Yahweh, the God of The Bible, The I Am, He who was and is and shall be forevermore. Jesus Christ isn’t just another ‘good person’ to be compared to any man no matter how good other men are considered to be or were for Jesus Christ is more than that, He is God incarnate, God made flesh, the exact representation of God The Father and He can be known. In fact it is necessary. Without Jesus Christ we remain in our sins. It doesn’t matter if we love everyone else in this world and have that kind of philosophy as a way of living. Without Jesus Christ in our lives it is totally meaningless, without putting God first we waste our time. Be the philosopher, the theosophist, the wise man, the prophet, or whatever else you feel is right but without God, without Jesus Christ you are wasting your time and your salvation hangs in the balance. Many will say that Christians have a blind faith but that is far from the truth. The Christians faith is based on love, the love of God, the love of Jesus Christ and the promise of everlasting life for those who believe these things in their hearts and speak them openly with their mouths. Faith alone though isn’t enough, there has to be faith with works. Forget false religions and philosophies and come to the living God in Christ Jesus. Put all your faith in Him.
So, you go with the flow. You have no opinion about an afterlife. You believe that one does not exist. You cannot explain why you think that way but you just do. You are just like the other sheep in the fold. You say you are not and that anyone who believes that nonsense in an afterlife is in fact under an illusion and it is they who are the sheep. You need proof before you believe but you have no faith to believe what you cannot see. So you carry on in the belief that there is no afterlife. Maybe you believe in something else. If asked about that belief you cannot explain why you believe but say that it is just as viable a belief as any other. That means you hope it is the right one else your belief is founded upon nothing. So why believe in one thing and not the other? If asked whether your beliefs have grounding in fact, you cannot answer. What benefits are there in believing in anything? You might as well believe in anything if in fact there is no benefit from it. So what benefits could there be and are they worth pursuing? In this life a benefit may enable a better lifestyle but that would mean that your present circumstances were not good enough. That again would mean that you are ambitious to improve your situation and why not? What benefit would that be to you? Perhaps you like the idea of being better off than all your neighbours. If so then that means you don’t care much about them. Well if you do care then what are you doing about it? Probably nothing. So why bother with that sort of ambition? At the end of your life you will have achieved basically nothing. Those you leave behind will surpass you. All you have gained will be lost to you and others will reap the benefits. Why then don’t you see that they are satisfied whilst you are still alive? That would make your existence something to be proud of, wouldn’t it? But then that would mean you would be proud. If you don’t mind being proud then that’s alright but others will not see it that way. Do you want to be remembered for being a good person or one that is proud and self-seeking? If all of this is nonsense then what is it that makes sense to you? On what thesis is that based upon? As we grow we form opinions about those things we encounter and either accept them or reject them. We may not know the truth about them sometimes but that often does not prevent us from rejecting them. We can be very irrational in this sphere. We reject things we know nothing about and often accept things in the same way. We resist anyone who tries to tell us otherwise. We can be letting ourselves down by doing this. Somebody somewhere actually knows the truth but are we ready to believe it? No. Why? Because we don’t have the faith to believe. Maybe the sheep description is wrong. Perhaps a more apt description would be an ostrich. Open your heart to faith, then follow your heart when you realise that the truth has been revealed. What truth is that? That is for you to discover. But don’t delude yourself, don’t kid yourself that what you believe is the truth if in fact you know it isn’t. You will know when it is.
I’m crying. I am crying for those who hear the message of salvation and reject it. I am not crying for those who have not heard the message for if they are living in accordance with the will of God that is enough but for those who have heard the message and continue to ignore it are condemning themselves. The sad thing is they are not aware of it, they think they know best, they think that death is the end of the story and they reject the idea that there will be a judgement day for both the just and the unjust. I’m crying because try as I might to witness it all falls on deaf ears and closed minds. No argument I can put forward will convince them but of course the Holy Spirit is He who will supply me with the correct things to say and if I remain faithful the message will get through. I must not take things personally. The Holy Spirit will speak to those who need salvation through me or through someone else but they have to respond to that message themselves. This is why I am crying, they hear the truth and reject it. It is the desire of God that all be saved but God already knows who will and who will not respond. I do not so I have to believe that God’s will be done. I must remain faithful in my duty to reach out to others having come from their side of the fence myself. It isn’t that I have always been a believer, far from it, I was vehemently against God and anything to do with religion and I remember in those days people trying to witness to me but failing to convince me. The thing is though that they sowed the seed. It took years before that seed sprouted and began to grow but when it did my eyes were opened and I saw what I could not previously see. I was keen and eager to know more and I reached out to God, the very God whom I had disregarded and ignored for all my previous life. When my eyes were opened, when my heart was opened, I cried for I realised the grace that had been afforded me an undeserving sinner and what my God had done because he loved me so much. He sacrificed His only begotten Son, Jesus, for me! Even if I had been the only person on the planet He would have done the same. I cry because those who like myself as I was years ago have yet to see, have yet to understand, have yet to be saved but are turning their backs on the invitation, the free gift of everlasting life in Jesus Christ. They are Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Agnostics, Witches, New Age followers and many others too many to list here. They all need salvation, they all need Jesus and I cry for them.
My life has its ups a downs, much as anyone else I suppose. I find I do not feel I’m as happy with my life lately as I should be. I get through my difficulties because of my faith in God for I know that He will provide for me, take care of my needs (not my wants necessarily for I believe he knows best!) and generally look after me. I am contented but not as happy as I feel I ought to be if that makes sense. My relationship with E puts pressure on me and drives me to the brink at times. I feel as though I am being tested to see if I will break down but I never do and that is because I turn to God for strength and guidance. He somehow keeps me on an even keel. I persevere and just live in the hope that things will improve. I have faith to believe it will. My work has its ups and downs too and I sometimes feel under too much pressure to be readily available instead of taking on less more often. Generally speaking I try to do this but it is hard not to switch off sometimes. Then there are times when I don’t get the work I expect but funnily enough I never worry about that. I know that God will provide me with work when it is necessary. Now that might seem ridiculous to those who don’t believe but time and time again God has made such provision in my working life and especially in more recent times. I could say, ‘Lord I need a couple of jobs’ and forget I’d asked, next thing I know I have a couple of jobs! No, it isn’t coincidence, it happens too often. Even though I feel secure in God I feel as though my life is still in a mess sometimes and I know it could be better. However, I know that my life is my lot and that no matter what I might do to try to make improvements it would be futile. If this is the way it is supposed to be for me then I must accept it. If this is God’s plan for me then I have to accept it. It would be a useless exercise to attempt to change things for I believe it would make no difference to my being happy. In fact I may make myself unhappy in the process! It isn’t that I am not happy, I am but I think I could be happier. So what would make me happier? Well the answer to that lies in my prayers and if I ask in accordance with God’s will and He answers me, then I shall be as happy (in this life) as I can ever be!
I got to thinking yesterday
That things were going not my way
The many plans I had in store
Grew wings and flew out of the door!
It seems to happen frequently
As if my life was jinxed for me
But other times it goes quite well
Then pleasant stories I can tell.
So life does have its ups and downs
And I must never wear a frown
I’ll take each moment as it comes
And praise The Lord for what He’s done.
Most societies use a system whereby anyone committing a crime, misdemeanor or other offence are punished for it in some way. Theoretically the more severe the offence the greater the punishment. Pretty reasonable I would think. These are for offences that in some way come against the society in which they are committed. There are however many other offences which are not considered offences against society in a direct way but in essence, in a round about way, do. These are the types of offences against other people which others seldom see, lewdness, bullying, lying and cheating, thinking evil of someone, doing something which denies someone else peace in their lives and many more ‘little’ things that we all take for granted but do little about. Do these ‘lesser’ crimes and offences deserve to go unpunished? There are no laws other than the laws of God, against hating other people, being selfish, pushing ahead of the queue, putting one’s self first and other anti-social activities. Does this mean we can dispense with any ideas of retribution for acting this way? In fact we are all guilty of such ‘minor’ things sometimes in our lives but most people try to limit this kind of behaviour and often have guilt feelings having known they should not have acted in such a way. It is personal moral standards which prevent us going too far in our dealings with others and in some cases the desire to be true to their religious faith. So there are limits to how far we go but always we are not punished for our actions other that having a guilty conscience. So do we get away scot-free? For the Christian no. . In God‘s eyes all sins are equal and deserving of punishment but for the unbeliever it is assumed that the do get away with it. All sins deserve punishment but there is no way we can make amends. God has other ideas
God provided a way out. Jesus paid the penalty for ALL our sins, large or small. This means that they are ALL forgiven and we can go free but like every other free gift we need to take hold of it for it to become ours! It doesn’t mean we have to earn it by doing good things and living a good life although they are expected. Once we have been forgiven we cannot continue to live the way we used to. So you may think that you live a good life, offend nobody but you’d be wrong. Even some of your thoughts as you read this will prove that. There is a price to pay and if not you then who pays on your behalf?
I have seen the film ‘The Sixth Sense‘ several times and have enjoyed it each time. The young boy ‘sees’ ghosts, the ghosts of people who have died. His psychologist is a ghost too but he, like the others, doesn’t know that he is dead. Eventually he does realise however. I think people can be in situations without knowing it. One fine example would be someone who is heavily drunk on alcohol or someone who was under the influence of certain drugs. In another example we don’t know we are asleep and dreaming until that moment we awake. Nightmares are only too real for those who have them, at least as long as they are asleep! Ignorance is bliss as the saying goes but is it really? When in danger it might be better if we are unaware of it sometimes because awareness might bring about panic with disastrous results. Most of what we are capable of knowing isn’t really worth knowing. We can survive without it. We need very little knowledge in the scheme of things but certain knowledge is worth knowing. There are many things I do not know of or about and in my ignorance of them I still survive. This is true for everybody. Before I became a Christian believer I was ignorant of all things to do with God and yet I was without excuse as Scripture points out to me. According to Scripture nobody is without excuse for not being aware of God. It says that all the evidence is around us in Creation but these are only words to an unbeliever, fiction at best. It is only when there is knowledge that this attitude becomes dangerous and yet at the same time the unbeliever is unaware of the danger in rejecting God. This knowledge comes from God through His Spirit. If you do not have the Spirit of God within you, you cannot believe, your eyes see but you remain blind. You don’t know that you are blind, you are unaware of the truth when it is presented. Human logic is in control but when Gods Spirit is in you, you can see and logic takes a backward step. Faith takes over and your whole life changes and has new purpose. 1 Corinthians 1:18
[ Christ Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom ] For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. This verse describes the state of the unbeliever and those who refuse the free gift of God. They cannot help it, they cannot see, they do not know. At my baptism (full immersion in water) I had the congregation sing Amazing Grace because it accurately described my conversion. It was by the grace of God that I became a believer. It was because He called me. Before I didn’t know but now I do. This is the only reason I write about these things in my blog, so that others may seek the truth too. It is a command, we are commanded to ‘go into the world and preach the Good News, the coming Kingdom of God’ but it is a labour of love as it is for every believer. Don’t just say ‘I don’t know’, don’t just say ‘I don’t want to know’ because ignorance and unbelief do not mean that these things are not true. Believe me…………….I know they are! Ask and be sincere and it shall be given to you. I reached out to God and in my persistence He answered me and not in the way I originally expected. He has a different agenda to mine. In a recent post I said that He never ceases to amaze me and He doesn’t. A few days ago I had occasion to drive a customer to purchase a light fitting and she talked about being ‘a good person’. She seemed to think this was enough to please God. Sadly it isn’t………….Ephesians 2:8-9 says this…8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. As you can see, you cannot earn salvation but it is a GIFT by the GRACE of God through FAITH. No doubt much of this will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes because that is the way it is but even the blind can see and the deaf hear. Don’t be a ‘don’t know’ or a ‘don’t care’ because the alternative isn’t worth having.
On a job I was working on in someones house a few weeks ago the guy was very chatty and asked all sorts of questions, some pertaining to the job but some pertaining to my faith. The guy was open-minded but non-committal. He couldn’t understand why I believed in the things I believe in, God, Jesus Christ, Salvation, Repentance and so on. I explained to him that I came to believe in these things after being an atheist for most of my life. He then asked why he seemed unable to do the same. I told him that by myself I could never arrive at my present state of belief. I told him that it is by God’s Holy Spirit that we come to Him, it is having the Holy Spirit within us that makes it possible to confess that Jesus is Christ and Lord. It is our spirit agreeing with the Holy Spirit that we come to believe. It is all about God’s calling. You see, I had denied God for so long and yet He called me to Him, although at that time I was unaware of that fact. I found myself inexplicably reading the Bible one day and I read it from beginning to end. After I had done that I found myself wanting to know more, in fact I couldn’t get enough! Strange for somebody who had never wanted to know God or even believed in Him but He had other ideas. I know a few people who proudly say they have no belief in a deity and some who try their best to deny even the possibility that there is one. They will put their trust in something else instead. They are doubters. They are the kind of people who, after witnessing a miracle would deny it ever happened, turn a blind eye or try to explain it away using the sciences. Many eminent scholars have tried to disprove the Bible and the existence of God but they could not prove anything. They rely on logic for their arguments but they don’t perhaps realise is that God is Spirit, He is not of this world and He cannot be explained away using physical science. God is Spirit and we must worship Him in spirit. When God’s Spirit is in us we act differently and our purpose in life changes completely. Our whole attitude changes and many of the things we once cherished hold little of value to us any longer because we have something far more valuable than gold or diamonds. Take a look at this verse from the New Testament:
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
You see from this verse that those who are unbelievers think the message that Christ suffered for us to know (and they don’t know what that message is because they don’t want to know) is foolishness. If somebody told you that there was a million pounds in suitcase waiting for you to open wouldn’t you go and see if it was true? Again in the verse above, who is it that is being saved, what from and why? Well if you never check it out you’ll never know. All you need to do is seek Him, listen to what He says (He speaks in many ways, even through these ramblings!) and then invite Him in.
I make no excuses for this post. I promote God’s Word here from time to time so if you are not interested pass it by. The choice is always yours.