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Let’s Remember Them


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Living as a Christian in 21st Century England is easy. It might not always feel easy, but it really is. There are no laws prohibiting Bible reading or praying to Jesus or talking about Him in public places. There aren’t any government-sent army soldiers knocking on the door of your life-group to demand you stop worshipping Yeshua or pulling you off to a prison cell when you don’t.

  These realities are so far from our experience as Christians in the UK that we forget they are happening every day for a sizeable chunk of our Christian family around the earth. We forget. We forget what it really costs some to stand for the gospel and to bear the Name.

 

 

http://www.csw.org.uk/idop.htm

 Peter writes of trials that come to believers like this: “These have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor…” (1 Pet. 1:7)

In the absence of ‘life or death’ or ‘freedom or prison’ realities for us here, we should still remember that our own trials are still ‘proving’ our faith in our lives. Part of the high, high privilege of having a soft heart is the process of the maturing of our faith in Christ…a faith growing in wisdom. 
Whatever trial you’re in now consider it’s effect on your faith as one of proving and maturing. Trials mature us. Trials produce wiser faith….which is worth far more than gold, (1 Pet. 1).
 
Come on, let’s pray! Father, we pray now for every brother and sister around the globe caught in persecution. We pray you’d bless them. Keep them, protect and deliver them, and may their faith be shown to be genuine. Please strenghten their faith to the praise of Your Name – may your Name be known.
And for the trials in our lives, here in the Western world. Help us to respond well. Would you give us a wiser faith as a result, and that You’d be glorified – that is, known as the glorious One that You are. We pray too for subtle, governmental laws that persecute followers of Christ in the UK – in the midst of these cause Your gospel to shine. 
 
Amen 
 

 

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Go And Make 2010 Happen


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Jeremiah 33:3 –  ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

One of the things I regularly think about is the future. It might be a future week, a future year or even a future decade. It might be that I’m thinking about a significant life event, like my 30th birthday in February. I spend a lot of my time, I’m realising, thinking about the future.

If you’re a futurist like me, Strengths Finders (http://www.strengthsfinder.com/113647/Homepage.aspx) suggests:

“Partner with someone…who can remind you that you do not discover the future, you create it with the actions you take today.”

“Surround yourself with people who are eager to put your vision into motion. They will feel exhilarated by your Futuristic talents, and you can harness their energy to propel the vision toward reality.”

Normally I dislike “self help concepts” or “lead the best life yet” type of teachings, because they are often void of Scriptural foundations or Biblical principles. For instance, Jesus did come to give us abundant life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a certain salary per year, 3 holidays and a caravan. Jesus was mainly referring to the abundance of knowing freedom from condemnation…the abundance of a life being a child of God. Having said that, there  are elements of helping ourselves in our co-working with God ( 1 Cor. 3: 5-9) that have to form part of our devotion – i.e. budgetting wisely, being careful to avoid laziness or slovenly habits that don’t encourage others.

So for us in 2010: I pray that instead of just temporary NY resolutions that fade that we have some new thoughts about how we can improve ourselves this year or some new ventures that will mould our presents into the futures we dream about. Some things are outside of our control but I know I want to get to grips with some things this year that I have God-given control over.

Ask God to help you find your strengths.  Think about them, invest in them, build around them and determine this New Year, with the Lord, to make your future. The God who knows everything, and specifically everything about you, invites you to pray Jeremiah 33:3 that He might help you make your future.


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Ginger beards and shell-suits


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DSC_9249

 

 

The other day I was running along a canal near to where I live in Bradford and I was praying as I started picking up speed.

 

 

As I was running this particular day, a young chap with a bright ginger beard, a caring face and a full-length shell-suit caught my heightened attention as I noticed him stroll past me as I’d stopped to stretch. My half-hearted attempt to respond to what the Holy Spirit was saying was to ask him for the time, which he didn’t have.

 

“So you’ve just asked him for something you don’t need instead of giving him what you do have and that he desperately needs?”. That was my canal-side conviction.

 

Off I went a few minutes later thinking I might see him again, and I did, coming back towards me. This time I bailed out again – silly thoughts overtaking the Holy Spirit  in me –  ‘what should I say?’ –  knowing full-well that I’d know right in the minute. 

 

I carried on running away from this chap who I’d just passed again. I didn’t get much past a minute down the canal and I had to turn back around. If you want it to, the love of Christ will compel you. Up ahead I saw the guy who I was just about to find out was called Adam. Jesus is awesome and He’s with you – that’s all he needed to hear.

 

The smile that crept across my face after we’d finished talking told me, “that’s it!!”. 

 

When we engage with what God is saying at any given moment we cast ripples across eternity. 

 

I kicked a few stones in the canal and praised God.

 

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No-one Like You God


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In Exodus 15:11 the phenomenal prophet, Moses, says,

“”Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ? 

       Who is like you— 
       majestic in holiness, 
       awesome in glory, working wonders?”

 

Today, often in the shadow of Islamic mosques, Jehovah’s Witness call-outs and the world’s obsession with political correctness, the prophetic accuracy of Moses’ song above seems to be a distant Old Testament psalm, and Easter is just another calendar date,

But in reality this truth remains today, Easter 2009, in exactly the same way as it did 4,000 years ago…that there really is no-one, not even close, like the God of the Bible – Jesus Christ.

Who can compare to Jesus Christ? Who is like our Abba of Isa.53 who would desire that His Son be crushed (Isa.53:10), despite the searing pain to the Godhead. Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross for the pleasure of you and me? (Heb.12:2)

The Easter truth today is that, despite world-wide cultural norms, spiritual strong-holds, fears and Western apathy, Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father of all creation. Even if you struggle to accept Him, even if you struggle to see and savour Him…there is still No-one like the Lord…majestic in His splendour, all-powerful in heaven and earth.

Why not make your prayer today….Jesus, if you are really real, and if you are really the only way to know this peace I’m after,I’ve tried everything else, then please show me yourself now….amen.

 

I pray that for you guys with all my heart.

 

Happy Easter:)

 

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John 17:26 – What Is This Love?


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26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
The Father's love
The Father's love

Jesus’ words in this section of scripture should be met with a hushed silence as we listen in on His intimate conversations with the Father.

Jesus requests that the love in the Father’s heart for Jesus, His Son, would be the same love that burns in our hearts for Jesus. This is a stunning thought.

I pray that we would come to know this love more and more and that it would be the treasure we cherish above all things. Father, help us to love as you love…not with sentiment or human efforts, but to love in the power of your Name. Amen.