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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69th Generation…….etc

The following end passages are taken from the online book I mentioned in a post labelled ‘Me reading?’ two days ago. The book can be downloaded free of charge for anyone interested…..and I sincerely hope many will take up the offer. I make no excuses for that because I know myself how important it is for people to understand the times and having read the book I thoroughly agree with the author. Steven Medley is a man whose life has changed dramatically since……well I’ll let him tell you in his own words written at the end of that book….

If you are among those who have followed along closely in
this study, then I believe you have been blessed, and privileged
to behold, and to understand the time-line of God. You have
been given an extraordinary gift and it has not come to you
accidentally. You have come to the knowledge of I Chron.12:32
“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had
understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought
to do…”
Notice that the understanding was given to them for the
benefit of all of Israel. It was God’s instrumental method for
guiding and directing His people. At the same time it served to
give an advanced notice and warning so that the people could
prepare for what would lie ahead.
And unless we forget, this also is the ministry of the Holy
Spirit. Jesus Himself spoke these words in John 16:13 “…when
He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all
truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He
shall hear, that shall He speak, and He will show you things
to come.”
If you have been awakened through this study it is only
because the Spirit of God has revealed it to you. Neither you
nor I have the ability within ourselves to see these things, let
alone the ability to understand them, or even to believe them
for that matter, this is the work of the Spirit of truth.
And if you’re wondering “why me?” Jesus Himself explains
it best in John 14:29 “And now I have told you before it come
to pass, that, when it is come to pass, you might believe.”
This is a call to faith my dear friends, it cannot be mistaken
for anything else.
I can look back at my own life and see clearly the various
stages of faith and relationship that God has brought me
through, and continues to do so. Early on I spent decades as
a devout follower of drugs, alcohol, sex, violence and rage,
cursing, lying, and stealing. I was loud, and arrogant, and cruel,
unthankful, selfish, and unloving. There was no sin that I am
aware of that I did not readily engage in, and I cared little about
religion, let alone a person called God. This was the horror
that my life had become over the many years of committed
practice of every type of evil. I had become a street animal,
sleeping anywhere, eating anything, and doing everything,
while barely resembling a man. My mind was a sewer, a pit of
disgust and torture, and there was no way out for me.
I was continually haunted in my alone time by my many
failures and inadequacies, and the many people that I had
hurt. I had turned my back on a dying father, I had totally
abandoned an innocent young daughter, I had scammed and
abused every relationship I had ever known, and I had injured
many physically as well as those I had scarred emotionally.
I had never owned anything, never held on to any job, never
married, never even had a driver’s license; I was a throw away,
and the worst part of it, was that I knew it. Year after year
was passing, decades rolled painfully by, and as no surprise
to me I was actually growing worse. Imprisonments and
incarcerations, attempted murders, and those that attempted
to murder me. Drug overdoses, some intentional, others were
not, house fires, car crashes, gun shots nearly missing, home
invasions and armed robberies, you name it, this was my life.
And one night I laid broken and shattered on a cold kitchen
floor in the dark, crying shamelessly, and I said “God, I have
heard about the people that you have changed their lives. If you
can do this for them, why can’t you do this for me? You know
that I cannot change myself, if you don’t change me I will die.”
That was it. No great theological prayer, no one there to hold
my hand and lead me through the dos and don’ts of petitioning
God properly. Just a crushed and hopeless heart giving up,
tired and beaten down, crying out on a naked kitchen floor in
the dark. I didn’t even know if He had heard me. There was no
lightning or thunderbolts, no visions, no appearance of angels,
no heavenly voice, no anything. I remember eventually getting
up and wiping the tears from my face and moving on to
whatever the next thing was. But I tell you this, from that
next day and forward I did feel something, something new
and strange, but unmistakably real. For the first time in my
life I could feel within me an opposing presence to the evil
that was my life. I didn’t know what this thing was, but it
was actively resisting me on every wicked front that I use to
perform so freely before. There was a wrestling match going
on so violently within me, it was impossible not to feel, or
notice it. I knew nothing about a Holy Spirit, or the Word of
God, but I now know this much, that night God did hear me,
and I was saved by His mercy, and the road to change had
begun for me.
I would like to say that from that moment on my life was
completely changed, externally I mean, but that did not happen
for me. It would be over many years still that this progression
would take place, even at times as it would seem to be at a snail’s pace. But for me, none of that matters now, as I have come
through it to be the man that I am now, as I sit at this keyboard.
Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination I can assure you,
but unquestionably and undeniably forever changed.
For several years now I have been drug and alcohol free,
no longer a slave to either. Additionally I have been sexually
abstinent now since 2009 since I am still remaining unmarried.
At the same time, I no longer fight, steal, lie, or curse, among
many other things that were so common to me, but these are
but the beginning of the change that God has done in me.
The greater changes have occurred, and still occur within the
hidden recesses of my heart and mind. Today I love God, and
I am an addict to His Word. The knowledge of Him has stolen
me away from this world, and it is the sweetest and most
pleasant thing that I could have ever imagined. Consequently,
I feel a deep abiding love and concern for others, and it is for
this reason that I have written this book for you.
My heart bleeds for you to know Him, my soul pleads for
you also to cry out to him, as I once did, and still do. I tell you
as truthfully as I know how, He is loving, and merciful, and
forgiving, and patient, and He is anxiously waiting for you. He
will hear you, and He will answer mightily all the pain that is
in your heart. You only have to ask. Yes time is short, so think
of it this way, every second that you do not call upon Him is
another second that you have to go without Him, and equally
as important, He without you.
Perhaps you may already be saved, but over time and
circumstances you have fallen victim to the many landslides
of life, seemingly separating you ever farther from your Father.
To you I would say this: He has not been moved away from
you, neither has His opinion changed, or His heartfelt desire
concerning you. Past guilt is behaving as your enemy, give
that also to Him. Let us not ever forget that Jesus died to bear
your shame and your guilt, in addition to your sin. Run back
to your Father just as the “prodigal son” was so wise to do.
He is forever looking over the barren landscapes of our lives
hoping only to see us in the distance as we approach. With
arms spread as wide as the beams that fastened wide the nail
pierced hands of Christ, He welcomes you to come home to
His certain embrace. I beg you not to walk, run my beloved,
run hard and fast to your God and Father, and King. Run now!
And lastly, for those of you who have and do know Him
well, all blessings and mercy, and peace and grace be to you.
To you I say, reach farther, go deeper, seek more, grow, stretch,
change, learn, and mature. Never become complacent, nor
comfortable within this world. Yearn, thirst, and hunger, for
His presence, to hear His voice, and to serve.
Ask yourself earnestly, what does this message mean for
you? What is the appropriate response given all that we have
learned? Where do you go from here? Do not do as the servant
that hid his lord’s “talent” in the ground as he awaited his
lord’s arrival, but rather be as the faithful servants that put
their “talents” to use and did produce an “interest” to present
to their lord at his return.
Take the message and make it your own. Study it, meditate
on it, speak it and teach to others. Become that “watchman”
that sits on the wall alerting the others to the seriousness of
the times in which we live. Be bold and courageous, stand up
and work for the good. Be fearless in your faith, and open wide
your mouth and testify “in season and out of season”. Be the
“salt” and the “light” that you were created to be. The God
of all creation has chosen you to live in this, the most crucial
time in all of human history. You are stronger than you know
you can be. Launch out in faith, and trust God to lead you and
direct you in all of your paths. Jesus is coming, and God has
preordained that you should be His welcoming committee.
Blow the trumpet and sound the alarm, the King is coming!
So there it is, the cold hard facts staring you in the face.
The future doesn’t hold a new and better career for you simply
because God desires to bless you. For that matter, you know
that mystical debt cancellation you’ve been waiting on from
God, or that new home, or that new husband or wife that God
has been planning to get to you, none of this is as high on His
priority list as it is on yours.
The truth is difficult times are ahead of us all. And until
we face that, we are as far away from being prepared for it
as we could possibly be. We are not here for God to bless us,
were actually here to be a blessing. We’re not here to take but
to give. We were never meant to serve self, not while there’s a
great King to serve.

About the author

Steven Medley was born in 1961 in the inner city of Chicago.
Born to a middle-aged father and a young but alcoholic mother,
it would be less than a year before his maternal mother would
abandon them both. The next nine years would be spent being
shipped around from various foster homes, and from one
school to the next. At age 10 he would finally come home to
stay with his quickly aging father. These would be the happiest
years of his life.
At seventeen Steven would enlist in the U.S. Marines and
four short years later he would receive an honorable discharge.
Upon his return home his father would die of lung cancer only
a short single year later. This would begin the darkest time
of Stevens life. Alcoholism, drug addiction, and a wide array
of criminal activities would eventually land him in the state
penitentiary where he would serve a total of forty-two months
behind bars. It would be there behind those same bars that he
would give his life to Jesus in 1991.
This would begin years of cultivating a personal and
intimate relationship with his newly discovered Savior. It
would be during this period of his life that he would uncover
the ever-present gift of prophecy lying previously dormant and
undetected within him.
Since then Steven Medley is a dedicated student and
researcher of the Word of God, with more than over 40,000
hours of collective study in the field of biblical prophecy.
Medley was born in Chicago Illinois, and currently resides
there with his newly gained wife and teenage daughter. He is
also the father of another daughter, and grandfather to three
young grandchildren.

Copyright Steven Medley

Shirley Anne

With all my heart

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

Copyright Shirley Anne 31 March 2003

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

You are worthy to receive honour and glory and praise

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

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

He is my Redeemer my Saviour God

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

Immanuel! We cry out Immanuel – God with us

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

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

Thank you for the greatest gift we could ever receive

Thank you Jesus for loving me.

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

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

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

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

Thank you Jesus

Amen

 

Shirley Anne

New start

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

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

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

Shirley Anne

JESUS’ VICTORY (John 12:31–32)

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

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

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

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

Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible

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

Shirley Anne

 

All been said before

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

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

Copyright Shirley Anne 19 Feb 1999

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

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

He always maintained a belief in God though I was never quite sure because he didn’t talk about it. However his way of life and his love for my mother and we his children would indicate he was a God-fearing man. When we as Christians talk about fear in this way we mean having respect for our Creator, His awesomeness, His power, His love. It is not fear in the everyday meaning of the word as in being frightened or scared. True love casts out all fear. If we love God and we know He loves us we have the assurance of His love. Does everyone love God? Unfortunately no. often simply by the way they live they show a lack of love for Him. People might say they just don’t understand but God says in His word that there is no excuse for not believing because of the evidence which surrounds us…. Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

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

Shirley Anne

No VAT

The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ
The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Value added tax,.,…in case you are not from the UK. VAT is a tax levied on any transaction involving the exchange of money here in the UK. As far as the purchasing of goods was concerned it used to be referred as purchase tax. As with any tax funds received are used to finance the various needs of the nation but though many people may grumble about such things they do understand the necessity for it. Nobody likes paying taxes I suppose. People like getting things for free, nobody refuses a free gift do they? Oh yes they do! Somehow a free gift means a hidden price to pay, an ulterior motive or agenda. Surprisingly there are such things as free gifts, we have all received them at some point in our lives. How many of you receive birthday presents? The catch here is that we in turn return the compliment to the giver at the appropriate time making it not really free at all yet if there were not any catches, no price to pay, no VAT or anything else some people still remain suspicious! There are those who expect everything for nothing thinking the world owes them a living they beg, borrow or steal rather than work for it. They don’t pay VAT, they don’t pay for anything if they can avoid it. Little do they realise there is a price to pay eventually. I have offered many people a free gift though not I but The Lord, I am simply a messenger. That free gift is rejected more often than it is received. It is the free gift of everlasting life through Jesus Christ and it is free, nothing to pay for it has all been paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross. People think they have to earn it to receive it so they reject it. Jesus asks they come as they are and simply believe. People think their access to Heaven is automatic…..it isn’t. It is only possible through Jesus Christ. He paid the price for each of us. All we have to do is repent and ask Jesus to be our personal Saviour, all free, nothing to pay, no VAT or anything else! What a wonderful gift is that! This Christmas why not receive the free gift of life, the only gift that will last forever…….

Shirley Anne

I knew…………

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

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

Shirley Anne

Divine justice

Divine Justice (Psalm 7:6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taken from The Case for Christ Study Bible

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

Shirley Anne

The I AM

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

Remember then what Christmas is all about

Shirley Anne

One last chance?

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

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

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

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

Shirley Anne

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

Shirley Anne

Good, bad and …….

There is no-one who does good in this world (Psalm 14:3 All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one). Oh there are those who some consider to be good because of what they have done but that compliment is based upon human views. Even the person whom we may consider being good falls short of the mark in the eyes of God. That aside I think we can safely say that there are quite a few bad people in this world. Maybe you have met with some of them in your corner of the world? Probably. Most people might be considered upright, honest and trustworthy and have good moral standing in our eyes but we all know there are some who are not. These will be deceitful, selfish, scheming and dishonest and I’ll wager many of us will know some like that closer to home. The good and the bad are usually easy to discern, eventually anyway but the ugly may not be.

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly (album)
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I say ugly I am not referring to someone who is not as good-looking as others or who has the misfortune not to appear physically attractive; no, I am referring to one who has personality problems. The ugly person is the one who speaks ill of others where there is no justification, the one who speaks in whispers to another about someone else. Perhaps they do it through jealousy or hatred or because the person holds a differing point of view. Perhaps it is racially motivated, perhaps it is homo-phobic or based upon fear. Perhaps they are simply bullies. Whatever the reason the ugly person is the nastiest of them all. Theirs is a life intent on making someone else’s life a misery. I have met a few ‘ugly’ people like this over the years and I’m certain I am not alone. The problem the ugly person thinks their target has is actually a problem they have themselves but they cannot see that. When we were young my siblings and I were always taught that it is rude to whisper (about someone else) but I know I have not always adhered to the teaching in the past. It isn’t nice to be obviously whispering about someone in their presence and it certainly isn’t nice to be on the receiving end of such behaviour is it? Jesus said ‘Love one another’ and to do that we must begin by looking inward to our own hearts. Treat others as you would like them to treat you, with respect. It doesn’t matter who or what they are, you don’t have to ‘like’ them…..just love them. Don’t be an ugly person for the chip on your shoulder will become a heavy burden and you will crumble beneath the weight.

Shirley Anne

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Never ending story

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

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

 

Ecclesiastes 1

Everything is meaningless

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

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

What do people gain from all their labours
    at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
    but the earth remains for ever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
    and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
    and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
    ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
    yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
    there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
    ‘Look! This is something new’?
It was here already, long ago;
    it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

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

Shirley Anne

The future……………your future!

 

What is going to happen in the future? (1 Corinthians 15:51–58)
What happens when we die? The New Testament indicates that people experience an “intermediate state,” which refers to a person’s existence between their time of death and the promised resurrection of their new body. Their earthly body goes into the grave; their spirit lives on in one of two places—in God’s presence where they enjoy a time of peace until they receive their resurrected bodies or in a place of torment where they await final judgment. Jesus talked about this vividly in the story about a rich man and Lazarus (not the Lazarus Jesus raised from the dead). Jesus depicted the place of blessedness for the righteous as Abraham’s side and the place of torment for the wicked as Hades. (See Luke 16:19-31.)
The grand promise of God and the ultimate hope for all Christians is the resurrection. Just as Christ was raised from the dead and received an imperishable body, so will all those who believe in Christ. Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, details this major truth.(See 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.)
The event that will trigger this promised resurrection is the Second coming of Christ. Often the Bible refers to the return of Christ as the “day of the Lord.” Paul explains that on the great day of Christ’s return God will resurrect those who have died and then all believers will be brought together and will be with the Lord Jesus forever.
After Jesus returns and we are resurrected into our imperishable bodies, there will be a final judgment by God of every nation. John saw and recorded a vision from God about what will happen at this time of judgment. John wrote down the final movement in God’s grand story—the restoration of what was lost in the beginning. What we read in the opening creation story of Genesis we see again in Revelation—a re-creation—but on a grander scale to accommodate all the people over the centuries who have embraced Christ and received eternal life. (See Revelation 20:11-22:21.)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14:1–2)

I believe (Christians) there is a heaven and a hell and that Jesus will return to judge all people and to establish his eternal kingdom.
What difference does this make in the way I live?
I ask you to prayerfully take a moment to do an inventory of your relationships. How many non-Christians are currently in your circle of influence? And of these non-Christians in your cir­cle, how many are you actively sharing God’s love with?
Taken from NIV Believe

For my non-believing readers: Although you may not believe in God it doesn’t mean He doesn’t exist. For many years I resisted the possibility that there was a God and no matter what people told me I just refused to take it seriously. What did I want with a God? How was it possible for God to be omnipotent and omnipresent? Thinking as a human being who was proud and unyielding and could only see things my way kept me from my Creator. All this time He waited patiently until one day……….I reached out to Him and was welcomed with open arms.

Shirley Anne

Who are you?

Enjoy the song (sorry about the odd expletives in the lyrics) then read the message below…..

 

Who am I? (John 1:12)

The beautiful thing about God’s kingdom is that all those who welcome Jesus as their Lord are given the opportunity to accept a new identity through him. This is illustrated poignantly through the story of a crooked tax collector named Zacchaeus. Tax collectors were among the most despised people in Israel because they chose to work for Rome and were making themselves rich by gouging their fellow Jews. But Zaccheaus shows that even the lost can be adopted and made new.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” (Luke 19:1-9)
KEY VERSE

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
KEY IDEA

I believe I am significant because of my position as a child of God.
KEY APPLICATION: What difference does this make in the way I live?

Because of our new identity in Christ, we are free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
Because of our new identity in Christ, our worth comes from our position in Christ, not our performance. (Matthew 11:28)
Because of our new identity in Christ, we live to express who we are in Christ, not to prove who we are.
Because of our new identity in Christ, we can focus on building others up, not tearing them down.

Taken from NIV Believe

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