Tag Archives: Gospel

God is dead?

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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

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Wheat and weeds

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Matthew 13:24–30

The parable of the weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed ears, then the weeds also appeared.

27 ‘The owner’s servants came to him and said, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?”

28 ‘“An enemy did this,” he replied.

‘The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?”

29 ‘“No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: first collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.”’

…………………

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 Journey Bible

Are you wheat or weed?

Shirley Anne

A milestone for some

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Long ago when people travelled along a highway there were no signposts or markers along the way. Unless they used a particular route often they would have no idea how long it would be to journey’s end. Eventually signs were posted, either carved onto a rock or made of wood. Those carved into a rock might show the distance in miles left to a town or city. They were called milestones for that reason. Life’s journey is like that, there are ‘milestones’ along life’s path too. Many people celebrate the passing of another year in their lives, the anniversary of their birth day now called birthday. Not everyone celebrates their birthday but in modern times it has become an excuse (if there was one) to indulge in revelry and the drinking of alcohol. Today actually marks my own seventieth birthday and I suppose it counts as a milestone along life’s highway though I don’t celebrate it. Once upon a time I did but over the last few years that novelty has worn off or rather has been ignored as something pointless by myself. It is a man-made celebration only begun in relatively recent times as are many of the other so-called celebrations that many observe. If the truth be known my birthday is no different from any other day in my life and it simply reminds me that I am another day older and closer to death. When I was young life’s road lay ahead and as I ventured along it I experienced new things not even considering what lay at the end of it. As I grew older and dare I say wiser, I began to wonder and I pondered these things. I always thought that at the end of my life there was nothing to follow, I didn’t believe in a Creator God or an afterlife. It wasn’t until I was about forty-three years of age that I began to think differently and I found myself on a new road with promises of something at the end of it. I had become a Christian, a believer in God and an everlasting life in Jesus Christ. My life up to that point was meaningless, I passed milestone after milestone and was going nowhere. My life since has purpose and meaning and I now realise that all that went before was a chasing after the wind, a merry-go-round on a useless road to damnation. It doesn’t matter to me if I die today or tomorrow or in ten years time. What matters is that I am promised something far better and something that will last forever. Time will have no meaning at all for there won’t be any. In this life we measure the passage of time by all sorts of ways and none of them are really important, not even the milestones we create for ourselves, not even my birthday. During my working day I sometimes get the opportunity to be a witness for God, for Jesus and I fulfill my duty in telling others about God’s wonderful gift of life, the Gospel or good news about the reconciliation we all can have with our Creator God though His Son Jesus Christ. Some listen and some do not. Some might consider these things and others will not. Scripture tells us this. There may not be many more milestones to come in your life so why not take stock before you reach the last one?

Shirley Anne

Just so you know

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9

3rd quarter of 16th century

Jesus is the Bread of life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My duty as a Christian and the duty all Christians should be fulfilling is to spread the message of The Gospel, which means ‘Good News‘. It is a commandment that we tell others about this good news, the promise of salvation and everlasting life in Jesus Christ. For those who hear the message, believe and repent there is that promise. Once the message is received and understood of course it follows that there is then no excuse for rejecting it. The consequences of refusal rest with the individual. All sorts of excuses are put forward for not believing, no God, no Saviour, no sin but often no replacement argument that can stand is offered. Atheists have a hard time trying to prove their case as well as in trying to demolish what we as believers know to be the truth. If anyone is filled with The Spirit of God they will know that what I am saying and the message I have given is indeed truth. A few years ago I wrote a personal letter to a new friend, someone I met on-line and then later in person. She had some strange ideas regarding who God is and was a believer in Theosophy often quoting one of that ideology’s original proponents. Anyone can search about Theosophy over The Internet so I won’t go into detail here. In my letter I mention Theosophy but you can substitute any other belief system in regards to my argument. As Christians we have a compassionate concern for the unbeliever but we should never witness brandishing a stick as many of our misguided forebears did. We should witness in love, delivering the message in an attitude of love and pray that it is received and accepted. We have no control over what happens, The Lord is in control. Here is that Letter with amendments to protect the identity of its recipient, my friend…

Que sera, sera (name). Whatever will be will be. In this wicked world in which we live there are always going to be those who oppose you and what you believe. There will always be those who do that in love and those who do it out of hatred or even fear. A rant in a newspaper article is going to change nothing except maybe allow you to vent your anger, but to whom is that anger directed? If you confess that you love your fellow-man then you have to accept them for what they are and what they believe else you are showing the same bigotry and hatred as they do. Jesus did say that we should love our neighbours as ourselves, it is a, dare I use the word, fundamental law of God? (She had a thing about ‘fundamental’ Christians). I respect your views on religion but that doesn’t mean I agree with them and it is the same for anyone else. But my message is to you personally here is, and you may not think this is true, that I like you (name) and I consider you as a friend. Accept that fact or not, it remains the truth. In your article, to give it the respect it deserves, you say in your closing sentence that you know the answers to the questions you posed in the script. Then you must know that what I am saying about other people is true. It just seems that you are struggling a little coming to terms with it all and I can understand why. I know perhaps I shouldn’t say this as it is probably the last thing you want to hear but I think you need God in your life. You refer to God as ‘it’ in some lines and as God in others which shows me that you really have no idea who God really is. I know your thoughts on Theosophy and the doctrine of universal oneness, re-incarnation, karma and such but what do you really know about it? I mean, by what means did you come to the point that Theosophy is the way to go? Have a look at this link http://www.allaboutcults.org/theosophical-society.htm  (and the whole site which I think is amazing and revealing) and see if it compares to how you view things  for the whole site click here http://www.allaboutspirituality.org/. You are right in saying that God does not interfere with our lives and lifestyles, we forsook that privilege when we fell from grace but that does not mean that we are not loved by Him, on the contrary we are.
John 3:16-17
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

That is through Jesus, not through someone else or any philosophical or religious ideal. When I wrote to you about other Christians who you consider fundamentalists because they seem to be preaching hatred and bigotry, they do it because they see the wickedness that has a grip on men’s (mankind) hearts, sinful behaviour in the sight of God. They do that because they are concerned knowing that God punishes those who are disobedient. If God didn’t do that He would not be a fair and just God. He makes the rules for our benefit, though many, many people do not see that. He wants us to come to Him of our own free will, not because He is brandishing a whip but because His arms are wide open waiting for us to make the right decision. Those who make a stand against the evil in this world make a stand for Jesus, for God but some unfortunately do not do that in love. I apologise on their behalf. It is right and proper for a Christian to make such a stand against what is God’s Word and that can include anything like homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication, murder, theft, immorality in general and a host of other things. However I do not think as Christians we should hold political sway which forces our beliefs on an unbelieving nation. We must tell them about The Gospel, about the coming Kingdom of God, about Jesus and real salvation. It is by doing these things that we, as Christians fulfill God’s wishes. The decision to respond must rest with the recipient.
So I hope you will accept what I am saying and receive it in the spirit of its intentions, to show you love and friendship, as well as a real concern for your welfare.
Take care, love

Shirley Anne

The same message is for you too if you are not a Christian

Well?

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Does anyone remember this song? When I first heard it I liked it but to me it only had a sense of romanticism to it. The message (if any was intended) it contained eluded me but since that time all those years ago I have come to realise what the song was really all about. It is based on the message of the Gospel, the Good News, that Jesus spoke about. It is about forgiveness and salvation a free gift from God through His Son Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,’

Listen to the music then ask yourself the question…..Where am I going when I die?

 

I hope it will be Heaven but only you can decide that.

Shirley Anne

Love of my life

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"Where there is love there is life."

“Where there is love there is life.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the moment we become aware of the life we have we seek to be accepted and loved by those around us. We learn however that not everyone is accepting or loving and as a result we tread tentatively and carefully when reaching out to others. For some reaching out is easy but for others it can be difficult. The problem with our fellow human beings is that they are not all the same, not all constant, not all ready to draw close as we might hope. Some are out to see what they can take from us but thankfully not all are like that. We are all different, some good, some bad, some even downright evil! Why this should be so has been debated for centuries. There is no definitive answer, or is there? Why do people act the way they do? Because we are all different and think differently it would be hard to pinpoint an individual reason for the way we behave. For those who believe in God it might be suggested that we can be so influenced by the forces of evil if we turn away from Him but is that really true? As a Christian myself I have to believe in that possibility but I also accept that because we have free choice we can just as easily turn to evil as we can to good. God has given us all that choice but points out the consequences of choosing evil and turning our backs to Him. One thing I can say is that in God I am totally loved and accepted because He is faithful. I lay no claim to being a perfect human being by any means though I strive to be good in every way. It is only because Jesus took my place in the punishment queue. He took all my wrongdoing (sins) upon himself so that I would be free of punishment, so that I could be saved. My fellow human beings can and will let me down but Jesus will never do that, he is the love of my life, my thoughts and my actions are centred around him. He determines how I act toward others and react to them. I am so unworthy of this love I know for I have not earned it and I never will. It is by grace that I receive such love and forgiveness.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, 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.

I haven’t earned it, I don’t deserve it but the gift is mine because I believe it in faith. I know there are areas of my life that need attention and I make every effort to deal with that. The amazing thing is that I came to believe in God and the Lord Jesus after 43 years of ardent unbelief! What caused that change in me? God moves in mysterious ways and I believe He reaches out to each of us in different ways. It is recognising that it is Him reaching out. For me it was a yearning to know more after I had read a verse from Matthews Gospel, 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’.

If you hear God calling you, if you receive a sign, if your heart is touched by The Holy Spirit………..respond.

Shirley Anne

Another good reason

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English: Norwood Green in spring. These lovely...

English: Norwood Green in spring. These lovely daffodils are often “harvested” for Mothers’ Day. Sad that “Mothering Sunday” should be so abused.

Sunday marked the anniversary of the birth of our youngest son. He is now 28 years old. He paid us a visit of course in order to give his mum a small gift as it was also Mothering Sunday, another of those annual events that have become fashionable to observe in the last century, possibly half-century? The tradition goes back quite a few hundred years in fact (check the link below this post). Time flies by rather quickly these days, well obviously it doesn’t but it seems to as we get older. Monday, today as I write this, is back again and it only seems like yesterday it was Monday. In my part of the country it is very sunny with only a few clouds in the sky but it is bitterly cold in the strong north-easterly wind making the 1 degree temperature seem minus 7! It is very pleasant in the sunshine and in fact I have to close the curtain for a few minutes as I sit writing this for I cannot see the screen. I have just been out to do a small job locally and have returned home because there are no other jobs scheduled. I am in two minds as to whether a trip to the pub for lunch is on the cards. I will decide later. I didn’t wish to get out of bed this morning but my commitment to work forced me to. Actually, I have been trying not to spend too much time in bed and getting more active instead. For the first time this year I saw the sun shining into my bedroom which faces more or less north-easterly. As the sun rises progressively from a more northerly point until the summer solstice it gets to shine more and more into my room in the early hours after sunrise, another good reason for getting out of bed. The job I had to do was very simple indeed and took next to no time to do once I’d visited the supplier for the part I needed. The elderly gentleman asked me if I would like a drink and I accepted. He is 75 years old but doesn’t look anything like it and he was surprised to learn that I was 67. He admired the fact that I don’t look my age either. He asked about my history as an electrician and commented on the fact that it was unusual for a woman to have been trained as an electrician way back in 1962! I had to concur but said nothing more about it. He seemingly supports the idea that women should be able to do anything that men do in the workplace. I have to agree with him. He then asked about my faith for he remembered that I am a Christian from a previous visit to do another job for him last year. He was intrigued and asked questions so I gave him the ‘full monty’ as they say, explaining the Gospel message and what it means to be a Christian. He asked about other faiths too and I explained what God says about them in the Bible. So most of my time with him was spent chatting rather than working but I think it was time well spent. Another good reason for getting out of bed and meeting people! I take every opportunity to spread the Gospel message for I know only too well what I was like before I became a believer.

Shirley Anne

Family and friends

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English: Proud Moment with Grandmother, Family...

English: Proud Moment with Grandmother, Family and Friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love my family and I love my friends such as they are but apart from those in my immediate family most of the others do not bother much with me, not all of them, just most of them. I would welcome more contact from them but it appears I am at the bottom of their list as someone whom they wish to communicate with. Don’t misunderstand I am probably only one of the folk others  neglect but I can only see things from my perspective of course. For many years the eldest of my two younger brothers cut himself off from the rest of the family and despite many attempts to change that he never did make much of a response. I have two sisters both younger than I and both now living in France so I don’t get to see them. Apart from the occasional greetings card they never get in touch either. Only my youngest brother and his wife made any effort to remain in touch although I’ve not heard much from them lately either apart from a birthday card I received recently. Such is life isn’t it? When I first started writing on this blog I received encouragement from only three of those I have mentioned. That was almost four years ago. I have heard nothing from any of my family or most of my friends since. It’s like I just left the planet. People have excuses of course and will make them if they haven’t. I wonder why people are the way they are isolating themselves from others for no apparent reason. Is it just people in this country who tend not to live in close-knit families? I love people and if I didn’t life would be far easier I guess but I have a passion in my heart to reach out to others. This passion is for their salvation. If I cannot reach my family and friends with the message of hope found in The Gospel I must reach out to others instead. Eyes are blind, hearts are closed but I try anyway. This is my duty to God. I still pray for my family and friends in the hope that they will respond. I also hope and pray they will respond to me too! I have visions of them all attending my funeral and thinking to themselves, ‘I should have tried harder, now it is too late’

Shirley Anne

Too much wine?

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English: Icon of the wedding at Cana

English: Icon of the wedding at Cana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Johns gospel we read about Jesus turning water into wine ( John 2:1). The master of the house who was holding a celebration but had run out of wine and Jesus asked him to fill the containers with water after which it was turned into the very best wine when they sampled the contents. The guests proclaimed that not only had the master served them all the wine they wanted he had saved the best until last. I don’t know if you have ever been to a gathering where the worst wine is served until you begin to feel its effects then get served with some quality wine which you recognise as such. Many hosts would serve the good wine first so that you don’t notice the poor quality of the wine that follows. Jesus may have been making the point that once you’ve tried all the other faiths he saves and presents the best, The Gospel, at the end. Several times in Scripture is wine mentioned, in fact so many times it is too many to mention here but those references which indicate being drunk on wine or point to that are in

Isaiah 28:1, Isaiah 49:26, Isaiah 51:21, Habakkuk 2:15, Ephesians 5:18

The last reference in Ephesians warns of the danger of being drunk on wine and encourages being ‘drunk’ in The Spirit instead. A  phrase that has been the butt of many a joke in secular circles as you may imagine. There is a difference between The Holy Spirit and spirit of course. Essentially we are warned not to get drunk on wine or anything else for that matter but many Christians take this warning too much to heart insisting that Jesus said we shouldn’t drink wine (or anything alcoholic) at all. There is a vast difference between having a drink and getting drunk. If we cannot maintain a sensible drinking regime we would be wise to refrain from partaking at all. If we are sensible and maintain control it shouldn’t be a problem. It all depends on the individual. Jesus did not say that we should refrain but he said we should not get drunk which means drinking to excess. It is better not to drink, it is better to remain celibate, it is better not to do many things if we are able but God does not want us to suffer if we cannot conform. All He asks is that we are sensible in these matters. If we cannot control our sexual urges we are instructed to get a wife/husband so that we are not drawn into sinful behaviour  and if we like an occasional drink it is right to partake as long as we are sensible and don’t take things too far. Many do not see this principle and try to impose their reasoning on the actions of others. God wants us to be happy but sensible in what we do.

Shirley Anne

If God is with us

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Jesus

Image via Wikipedia

Many things in life seem difficult until we try them out for ourselves but there will be occasions when no matter what we do we still fail. We seek help from others and then we succeed. Some things however are seemingly impossible no matter which way we look at them. Indeed many things are literally impossible to do by human endeavour. Nothing is impossible with God however. In Matthews gospel chapter nineteen we read about the rich young man asking what good thing must he do to gain eternal life. In reply Jesus told the man to keep the commandments of God to which the man replied that he had kept to the commandments. Then he asked what else was necessary and Jesus told the man that if he wished to be perfect then he was to sell all of his possessions, give to the poor and follow Jesus. The young man went away saddened for he was very wealthy. In life we place too much value on our possessions and sometimes pay little concern for the welfare of others. There are many ‘do gooders’ in the world spending their spare time and effort to the good of the community. Some would call themselves Christian whilst others may be of other faiths or have no faith at all. They all labour in vain if God is not with them in their ventures, true even for Christians. Psalm 127 verse one says this,  ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain’. God will place a burden on your heart and when you respond you can be sure that He will be with you when you take up the challenge but you must wait upon His instruction however seemingly impossible you think it is. Don’t go out in your own strength but go out in His, then you will succeed. For many years the church I once attended strived to bring in unbelievers so they could hear the message of the Gospel using all kinds of means to achieve that with some limited success. We longed to see the church grow but our numbers remained almost the same throughout that time. I was involved with outreach and was saddened by the lack of interest in the Fellowship in supporting the outreach program. Their hearts were simply not in it. Had we sought God in the first place we could have saved a lot of unneccessary work. It became apparent that God wasn’t with us in our ventures for if He had been the church would have grown. Did we seek God first? Well yes, of course we did but I assume that we asked and did not wait for an answer, going out in our own strength. If God is with us in anything we do then we will always succeed. Ask Him but then wait for the answer. His timetable is different from ours and so is His schedule!

Shirley Anne