Who is greater?

Cross

I AM (Exodus 3:14)

God provided his people with a name that denotes his uncaused, independent and eternal character. Moses, faced with the unenviable task of asking Pharaoh for the freedom of the Israelites, asked God for his name. He knew that the Israelites would ask for the name of the one who gave Moses these instructions. God told Moses to call him, “I AM.” He is and will always be. He owes nothing and no one for his existence. Rather, he is the supreme, uncreated, sovereign and sole God of the universe. All things owe their being to him.
Jesus used this same name to declare his identity during his earthly ministry. While the people argued about the relationship of Jesus to the promises God made to Abraham, Jesus defied their understanding by declaring that he is not merely one in a long line of those whom God uses. Rather, he is the “I am” (Jn 8:58). The immense nature of this claim caused many to attempt to stone Jesus because they knew the implications of this term. By using this term Jesus announced himself to be God, committing the ultimate sin of blasphemy in the minds of his Jewish audience. They simply could not comprehend that this carpenter from Nazareth could be the very Son of God, in human form, to whom all people owe their allegiance and worship.

Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible

Whom do you think Jesus IS? Soon many will be ‘celebrating’ what Jesus accomplished on the cross for all humanity, ONCE AND FOR ALL TIME. He was God in the flesh when He was with us. His name is Emmanuel which means God with us. He gave the ultimate sacrifice enabling us to approach Him forgiven of our sins by His grace through our faith in Him. He is The I AM and there is no other.

Is it time for you to come to Him and receive His gift of life?

Shirley Anne

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A fresh start

A Fresh Start (Isaiah 53:4–12)

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . . Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words, inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, conclude a poem titled “The New Colossus” composed by Emma Lazarus. With torch in her hand, Lady Liberty stands as a symbol of freedom and a welcoming beacon for emigrants coming to America in search of success, happiness and a fresh start.

Do you feel tired or poor? Do you long for freedom? Do you feel tossed by life’s storms? Most of us experience these conditions at some point. Isaiah describes Someone who understands exactly how we feel. Even his own people rejected this “man of suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). Many hated him. Nothing about his mere physical appearance attracted people. In short, most of us wouldn’t have given this person the time of day.

Yet this passage describes the most compelling individual in the history of the world. Somehow we can’t resist him. Perhaps it’s what he offers: himself as one like us—one who knows sorrow and yet who offers peace and relief. He offers himself as the sacrifice for our sins. He is the Messiah. And Isaiah makes it clear that Jesus identifies with all the difficulties we could ever face. He knows what it’s like to be crushed, despised, rejected and in deep emotional pain. He knows the quiet desperation we endure when faced with mounting bills, job loss, marital discord, parenting challenges and all the other stuff of life that—if we’re wise—sends us to our knees.

Take a few moments to reread the passage for today and let the words sink into your consciousness. This Jesus, the very Son of God, came to Earth for the very purpose of becoming one of us, albeit temporarily. So when we kneel before Jesus, we kneel before one who can relate to our struggles and hardships. He kneels alongside us to revitalize our energy, provide relief from our stress, set us free from sin and enable us to endure life’s storms. Then, through his powerful Holy Spirit, he offers us a fresh start.

Taken from NIV Men’s Devotional Bible

We are now into the second month of the year. For some it will be their first ‘second month’ and for most it will be just one of many that they have lived through. Yet whoever they are, whoever we are we all know that it could also be the last ‘second month’ of our lives. What then? What have we to look forward to? Oblivion? Re-incarnation? Hell? Heaven? Do we cease to exist beyond the grave? For those of us who believe in God, believe in Jesus Christ and what he accomplished on the cross for ourselves and for all who would believe there is hope. There is the assurance of life eternal. Christ died for us all so that if we believe we have the assurance our sins are forgiven, that we are made holy, that we are made righteous before God and that we are welcomed into His kingdom. If you don’t already know Jesus, if you have no relationship with the Father then make this the year of fresh beginnings, a fresh start. There is no need to wait, just come as you are and call upon God to reveal Himself to you. Let Jesus take your burden of guilt and shame, your misdeeds and unbelief and be transformed by his love. You can know this much right now………God loves YOU. Why not take the time and get to know how much He loves you through Jesus Christ who died for YOU.

Shirley Anne

Going nowhere

So who is in charge? Who directs things in the background? Who motivates your thought processes and keeps you on the wrong path? We may feel that we are in charge of our lives, what we think and what we do but often our choices are limited without us realising. Since the fall of man there has been a struggle to regain what was lost. When God created mankind we were created perfect and had a life everlasting but as soon as we rejected God’s word we lost it all. He through whom we were tempted was given authority over the earth though not necessarily over man. Adam was given free will and he chose wrong though it was Eve who was first deceived. We have that same free will to choose right from wrong, that is God’s way from all that opposes Him and who is it that opposes Him? Satan, the deceiver. He too was created perfect with free will but chose to disobey though we are told he became infatuated with himself raising himself above God thinking he had the power to do so. He didn’t. God however didn’t destroy him but instead allows him temporary freedom to reign in authority here. Satan though has no authority other than that which we ourselves allow over us. He is the father of lies, a tempter and if we succumb to his wiles we lose every time, we are pulled away from the love of God though God still loves us. Following Satan leads us nowhere but to death, in Christ Jesus we have overcome death and it has no power over us. In Jesus there is life everlasting and the promise of redemption and reconciliation with God from whom we were originally separated because of Adam’s sin.

We can either remain in prison or we can change our direction in life and choose the right path, not one we think is right by our own standards but by God’s standards. We need to follow Jesus for he is the only way back to God.

Shirley Anne

Can we hope?

How Can We Hope in a God Who Abandons Us? (Lamentations 3:25)
Jeremiah steadfastly recognized that the Lord had not abandoned his people, despite the pain of their situation. Rather, God’s people had abandoned him. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, is also called the prophet of hope, because he foresaw a day when the Lord would reign in the midst of a restored, renewed and reconciled people—people who had finally returned to him.

Jesus knew this paradox between abandonment and hope. In the midst of his suffering and death on the cross, he cried, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mt 27:46). Yet Jesus also knew that he would be resurrected on the third day, opening the gate of eternal life to all believers. The despair of the cross has now become the gift of life to perishing sinners.

Abandonment, sorrow, struggle and pain—all these are transitory. Wholeness, healing, joy and peace are permanent, for they are part of the very nature of God. That is what sustains the believer through difficult times. Although Jeremiah grieved over Jerusalem’s destruction, he knew God would prevail.

Taken from NIV Quest Study Bible

It is so very true that God has not abandoned His creation of which we all are a part. It is mankind who has abandoned their Creator. It is we who only want to believe in a God who supplies us with our every wish and when we don’t get it disown Him! God isn’t in the business of producing automatons who only love Him because they have no choice. That wouldn’t be real love now would it? God has given us a choice, from the very beginning we had this choice and we chose to disobey. From that day to this we have been a rebellious people. God however still loves us each and every one and is waiting for us to turn back to Him. We can do this and be accepted into His Kingdom by and through Jesus Christ and that is the only way. Even those who have never heard of Jesus will be accepted if they have known there is a Creator God and by their lives have honoured Him. God hasn’t promised us our every secular wish and owes us nothing but He is ready to give us everything we need in this life and the promise of an everlasting life thereafter.

Shirley Anne

Best policy

Are your sins counted against you? When you come face to face with God will He see your sinful nature, will your sins condemn you? Going through life without a care in the world for your bad behaviour, your misdeeds to others will only lead to death. Wouldn’t it be great if our sins could not be seen and we could be pure before our Creator? By accepting Jesus into our hearts we can have our sins wiped away for he paid the price for them on the cross.

Shirley Anne

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Best Policy (Psalm 130:1–8)

Have you ever noticed the boldness of David and of other composers of psalms? They courageously questioned God (see Psalm 89:46) and went so far as to boldly outline for him what in their view he needed to do (see Psalm 123:3). As people well versed in Israel’s history, the songwriters, we might expect, would have kept silent when it came to questioning God’s ways.

However, the psalmists “got away” with what they said because they expressed their feelings with honesty. They knew their own weaknesses and limitations and understood God’s strength and power and majesty. They knew who they were and where they were. But they also knew God.

Here, the songwriter acknowledges his own state as being in “the depths.” Whether this refers to a physical, emotional or spiritual place doesn’t matter. He’s honest enough to recognize his desperate situation and to cry out to God for help. Simply acknowledging our need is the first step down the pathway of redemption.

But what does the songwriter need? He realizes that if God were to keep a record of sin, the psalmist would certainly be lost. With his rhetorical question “Who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3), he anticipates the words of the New Testament: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In almost the same breath as his admission of sinfulness, the songwriter honestly expresses who God is. With God “there is forgiveness . . . unfailing love . . . full redemption” (Psalm 130:4,7). Finally, the songwriter acknowledges God’s promise that “he himself will redeem Israel from all their sins” (Psalm 130:8).

Perhaps the apostle Paul had the words of Psalm 130 in mind hundreds of years later when he wrote to the church at Colosse, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [ Jesus], and through him to reconcile to himself all things” (Colossians 1:19–20).

Because of Christ we can be honest with ourselves: God comes to where we are to redeem who we are because of who he is.

Taken from NIV Men’s Devotional Bible

Shirley Anne

Redeemed

When we do wrong things to others we expect to be forgiven if in our hearts we know we shouldn’t have done them. This is usually referred to as our conscience. If we say we don’t have a conscience we fool only ourselves and have no respect even for ourselves. We might consider ourselves to be less evil if our conscience ‘pricks’ us though in reality every evil deed is just as bad as the next and we are no less evil than the most wicked amongst us. As God tells us ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). We may try to be ‘good’ but we will always fail at some point. We are helpless before God but are we? Is there no way out? The good news is yes there is!

Shirley Anne

Redemption (Isaiah 43:1)

To “redeem” means literally “to buy back.” Redemption is one of the key accomplishments of God’s Son, Jesus. As this passage states, God’s people were created and formed by God’s own divine activity, and God himself through Jesus’ sacrificial ministry would buy them back.

But the word “redeemed” itself begs the question: From what are God’s people being bought back? The answer is that we all have willingly sold ourselves in slavery to sin; death is the cost of our disobedience. We are, both by nature and by our consistently sinful choices, rebels against God’s kingdom. The consequence for that rebellion against the righteousness and holiness of God is death, and this price must be paid.

But God, in his mercy, has paid that price himself. He truly has redeemed those who trust in him, having paid the price for our sinful pride and rebellion. God has now the right not only as our Creator, but also as our Redeemer, to say that believers are his and to expect them to live lives that reflect gratitude for his gracious redemption.

Jesus, I know that my future contained nothing but death and darkness, until I heard you call my name and responded. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for giving me another chance. Amen.

Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible

Shirley Anne

Oh yes you have!

Ever done something wrong and regretted it? Perhaps you’ve done something wrong and yet not regretted it! When you feel guilty you know you’ve done something wrong but why do you feel the guilt? Is it shame? If nobody saw you then what’s the problem? Yet you still think it was wrong. Perhaps you think you’ve let yourself down by doing something against your nature. You still feel that guilt. ‘But I’ve never done anything wrong, well really wrong, well perhaps once or twice’….Oh yes you have, we all have done things we know were wrong. Maybe we forgive ourselves or make excuses but what do we do if we know we’ve offended someone? What if we offend God? Oh yes we do, we all fall short of His standards, we are all guilty of that. We know if we do wrong and get caught there is a price to pay but what do we receive when we offend God? One day we will all have to face God and explain ourselves, yet God lays His cards on the table before we get to that stage. He offers a solution, a way out and there is no small print at the bottom of the page! You may look for it but you’ll never see it because it just isn’t there. God’s offer is freely given for those who accept it. The offer is salvation through Christ Jesus………. 

Shirley Anne

Where’s the Fine Print? (Isaiah 55:1–7)

You’ve seen the offers in the mail: “No money down and no payments for the first six months!” “Huge savings—up to 75% off!” “Lose 20 pounds in seven days!” “Apply now and start earning points today.” “Your money back, guaranteed!” And don’t forget how many times you’ve read the word free: “Free financing!” “Free cash back bonus!” “Buy one and get a second absolutely free!”

As you skeptically sort through these “limited offers” and “special savings,” you don’t even open most of the envelopes. Others might get a quick glance before you tear them in half and drop them in the “circular file.” And the ones you do open you instinctively scour for the fine print. Why? You know that an offer that sounds too good to be true probably is.

If you were to receive Isaiah 55 in the mail, you might easily dismiss it too as junk mail, as too good to be true! In the opening lines God promises free food and drink. What’s the catch? you wonder. Then God pledges to “freely pardon” those who turn away from evil and turn toward him (verse 7). Of course, that offer seems totally far-fetched, completely unbelievable. Cynically, you ask yourself, “Free pardon” . . . free for how long before the hidden charges kick in?

Yet though you search for the fine print in this offer, you won’t find any. God offers forgiveness as a gift. The price was enormous—God himself paid it through the blood of his Son, Jesus. Yes, God offers pardon to us free of charge. You can’t pay even if you want to. In fact, if you try to earn this offer from God, you can’t have it!

Not only does God offer his forgiveness free of charge, his pardon sets us free! When we accept his gift we experience peace, new life and a restored relationship with God.

When God freely offers pardon and mercy and life and love and blessing, he really means it. Don’t even bother searching for the fine print.

Taken from NIV Men’s Devotional Bible

Shirley Anne

Something missing revisited

It is only the title to which I refer. In yesterday’s post I mentioned in a round about way how easy it was to miss something. If you remember I had returned home after a walk but hadn’t noticed the flag wasn’t flying as the rope had severed leaving it on the ground. Is it unusual to miss something even though they are right under our noses so to speak? The saying ‘you only miss something when it is gone’ seems not always to be true because we often take things for granted and don’t expect them to disappear. Quite a few times in the past E has pointed out a problem which I should have noticed myself but didn’t. When all is well we don’t look for problems; nothing is ever going to go wrong is it? Do we ever consider the future and what may happen?

Perhaps most will say ‘yes but not the distant future, we will wait until then to see what will happen’. The thing is that future can be upon us sooner than we think and then it is too late to respond if things go wrong. Living for today is fine but we should plan ahead and this brings me to the real subject of this post, your future in eternity. We live and then we die and that is the end of the matter is what many say. Why worry about something that isn’t going to happen? How do you know that, is it instinct, a gut feeling, you’ve first-hand knowledge or has someone convinced you that there isn’t a future after death? How could you find out about such things? Innocence is definitely not bliss but it will be too late for those who think that way when after dying they discover the truth. Why does your spirit think otherwise? Think about that for a moment. Why do you not accept that you have a future after you have died? Do you think you will return in another body? Why? Where did that idea come from? Discovering the truth after you’ve passed on is like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, it is just too late. What have you to lose by opening your heart to an everlasting life after death as Jesus promises for all who believe in him and in the Father who sent him? I tell you the truth, no-one comes to the Father except through Jesus. Jesus said so himself. Trouble is you have to open your heart and accept him in but you resist for something you think is better will happen. I tell you it won’t so don’t trust in gut feelings, sayings of others, weird religions and faiths, trust only in The Lord Jesus. Think on these things then go find this truth yourself…it is written in Scripture, The Bible and I pray that you will. Don’t miss out on Gods free gift of life because of a stubborn heart or a misguided thought.

Shirley Anne

Do you want saving or not?

I can hear the voices of rejection, the scoffers mumbling to themselves ‘Why do I need to be saved and from what?’ Well that is the whole point, until we realise that we do need saving we reject the idea. To have an open mind and not to turn down an opportunity to understand is paramount. Being a closed door will get you nowhere, stubbornness can be fatal and leave you in the wrong place. Well what is the wrong place or better still what is the right place? For those who have ears to listen and eyes to see, who are ready to learn and understand……..Salvation is a gift…..a free gift…. it is something we all need but cannot simply take….we have to receive it….

Shirley Anne

SAVE ME: YES OR NO? (Psalm 70:1–5)

In Psalm 70, David asked God to deliver him from the oppression and suffering brought about by his enemies. He sought refuge in God, expecting the result to include great glory for the Lord (v. 4).

Jesus voiced a prayer in the Gospel of John that includes some similarity to David’s prayer (Jn 12:27–28). Labouring under the weight of the task before him, Jesus considered the depth of what he was about to suffer on the cross. He contemplated a request for God to deliver him, but quickly changed direction—affirming that what he was about to endure was the very reason why he came to earth.

In David’s words, God is glorified by delivering him from the hands of his enemies. In Jesus’ words, God the Father is glorified not by sparing the Son but through the Son’s death. If Jesus had avoided the cross, there would be no way for people to have access to God. Through the willing sacrifice of Jesus, God makes possible the deliverance of all people who place their faith in Jesus for salvation.

Prayer…..

Jesus, I know you could have called down angels to rescue you from the cross, but you didn’t, because you love me. Thank you for loving me with a love I can never deserve or repay. Amen.

Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible

Shirley Anne

A fresh start

A Fresh Start (Isaiah 53:4–12 see below)

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . . Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

These words, inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, conclude a poem titled “The New Colossus” composed by Emma Lazarus. With torch in her hand, Lady Liberty stands as a symbol of freedom and a welcoming beacon for emigrants coming to America in search of success, happiness and a fresh start.

Do you feel tired or poor? Do you long for freedom? Do you feel tossed by life’s storms? Most of us experience these conditions at some point. Isaiah describes Someone who understands exactly how we feel. Even his own people rejected this “man of suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). Many hated him. Nothing about his mere physical appearance attracted people. In short, most of us wouldn’t have given this person the time of day.

Yet this passage describes the most compelling individual in the history of the world. Somehow we can’t resist him. Perhaps it’s what he offers: himself as one like us—one who knows sorrow and yet who offers peace and relief. He offers himself as the sacrifice for our sins. He is the Messiah. And Isaiah makes it clear that Jesus identifies with all the difficulties we could ever face. He knows what it’s like to be crushed, despised, rejected and in deep emotional pain. He knows the quiet desperation we endure when faced with mounting bills, job loss, marital discord, parenting challenges and all the other stuff of life that—if we’re wise—sends us to our knees.

Take a few moments to reread the passage for today (below) and let the words sink into your consciousness. This Jesus, the very Son of God, came to Earth for the very purpose of becoming one of us, albeit temporarily. So when we kneel before Jesus, we kneel before one who can relate to our struggles and hardships. He kneels alongside us to revitalize our energy, provide relief from our stress, set us free from sin and enable us to endure life’s storms. Then, through his powerful Holy Spirit, he offers us a fresh start.

Taken from NIV Men’s Devotional Bible

Isaiah 53:4-12 (New International Version – UK )

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Remember……..for those who still do not believe…….Isaiah wrote hundreds of years before Christ was born on Earth…………How did he know? It was the inspired word of God. He was a prophet through whom God spoke and still speaks today for those who have an ear……

Shirley Anne