Tree by water

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Jeremiah 17:7-10 NIV
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Jeremiah tells us that God’s people have become enmeshed in this world and living for what is necessary in this life. The sins they commit as they pursue these necessities, are written with an iron tool on their own hearts. God’s anger is kindled and He promises them they will loose everything and will become slaves to the things of this life. The barren wasteland is the place for all who turn from the pathway of trust in God. Those who will not follow will reap the whirlwind.

But, not those who trust in the Lord. They will prosper and grow and become fruitful. They have no worries because they trust God. Their roots reach out and find the nourishing stream and when the stream dries up, they still produce fruit to God. When the heat of the sun beats down, still the fruit appears.

At this point, God stops us in our tracks.
He reminds us our hearts are totally deceitful. Their is no cure for them without the forgiveness of a God. It is so difficult to face what is there and the moral decay we live in, is monstrous. We do not suspect ourselves. It is painful to look into our hearts and see what is there. We cannot bear it without the knowledge that we are loved by God. He is able and willing to forgive and make us the people we are not.

If God should search our hearts, what would He find.? It is He who saves us and purifies the work that we do, to make it acceptable to Him. The searcher of hearts shows us what we need to know, so that we can repent and move closer to Him. Sin is ugly, but when we face it, and repent, God washes it away and gives us power to change.

On that last great day, may we have deeds done in faith and love, acceptable to our God and a character that loves Christ and has obeyed Him.

The gamble of your life…

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I wonder if you are willing to admit you gamble…

Gambling used to be a hidden and darker side of human activity, but these days it is completely acceptable and great fun (it would seem). You can do it anywhere, on your computer, phone or at the betting shop. You can do it anytime, even while doing your shopping in the supermarket. The pictures we get show people having a wonderful time, bright colours and golden stars will surround you and you will always win. It doesn’t take long to realise that it is all empty promises, that take your money and leave you with nothing to show for it.

Perhaps you woud be interested in the greatest gamble there is…

This is a foolish gamble which many people take to their own destuction. The question as to whether there is a God or not is one that we all must face up to. We all ask the question of wether or not, at the end of life, we die like animals and are annihilated never to know anything ever again? This is surely the main question mankind faces in all times, and in our days too. If God is a fanciful being who is not really there, then believing in Him will cause no loss at the end. But if He is real, the unbeliever will loose everything and face the unltimate loss of their very selves, forever.

The unbeliever will find in horror, that their “bet” was on the wrong side, and they face eternity paying for their own sins. To suddendly realise that you were wrong about the most basic issue in life and eternity, will bring untold terror.

The wager is one we need to carefully consider and ensure we do not keep our lives in this life, and loose them in the next. Jesus said, that the person who looses their life in this world, will gain true life in the world to come. Whereas the person who holds on to the here and now will eventually loose all.

Surely this is one gamble too far. This is not a question that can be treated rashly or with a passing thought, like a quick flutter on a bet. We need to seek out the truth, until we find it and then to believe what God says and trust fully in our saviour, Jesus. This truth is the Bible, where we see God and we can know Jesus Christ, who came to open our eyes and see reality. He is not willing that we are tricked. He does not want us to end up, dupped by this world and gambling with our soul, only to loose it forever.

The stakes could not be higher. Are you trusting in the all-powerful, ever-living God, or resting in your own sense of peace.? None of our good works will prevail with God. He looks for faith alone, that rests on His mercy and love, in the person of Jesus. Its easy! And yet so difficult. God says, that those who seek Him with all their hearts, will find Him.

That’s a certain promise…

I was at the tomb

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The sergeant has instructed me to cover the night shift at a grave in the garden of Gethsemane, and I am not really looking forward to it. There are so many rumours around this particular dead body, and I don’t want anything to do with it, but I have to do my job and carry out my duty.

Yesterday the corpse of this infamous Galilean preacher was committed into a private grave, owned by a well-to-do man called Joseph of Aremethea, who allowed it to be used, because there was no other. The so-called friends of this preacher had made no provision for their leader in any way, in fact they are nowhere to be found.

I got a glimpse of the body, as I left work at the cross, and it was unrecognizable as a human being. How could anyone be subjected to such a battering? What on earth had he done? I hurried away, as I felt an uneasy sense of responsibility, which I refuse to entertain.

They wrapped the body loosely and draped a piece of cloth around the face, because they were in a rush to shut the grave before the Sabbath started. Only Joseph was there and a group of women, who I also noticed watching him die from a distance. I felt sorry for them, as they looked like people without hope.

It is cold out here in the darkness of the night and there is only a flame from a torch to break the gloom. I just have to stand here all night, awake, as the government are afraid that there will be some illegal activity or trespass on this site. They are feeling rather paranoid, as they suspect a plot to steal the body and spread wild stories about a resurrection, which could seriously damage their political status and cause social unrest.

The Sabbath is over now, so I must be extra vigilant. Maybe the sergeant will let me off for five minutes, to have a quick cigarette. I can’t seem to thrown off the growing feeling of gloom that has crept into my mind, and my hands have become shaky.

That’s all I remember. I woke up in the darkness with the flame torches extinguished on the ground. My mates were all out of it and lying on the earth, just as they fell. I glanced sideways at the enormous stone, as I could see a glow of light, the only light in the whole landscape, which frightened me, because the grave was now open for anyone to walk into, or out of.

My body froze with fear and that feeling of dread had now taken hold of my mind, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off the scene. As I watched in wonder, a gleaming being came out of the tomb and sat on the stone, lain flat on the ground at the entrance of the cave. I couldn’t keep my eyes of it. What was it? Is this what people call an angel?

Something had to happen, but I couldn’t imagine what. As I gazed in fear and amazement, a man came out from the tomb, not torn and battered as I had seen going in, but whole, radiant, like a conqueror. I could see scars on his feet and his face was still marred with the thorns that had been pushed into his head with such hate. How would he feel about me? I caused his pain…

I do not know what he did, but I felt my heart change from fear to longing, from emptiness to peacefulness and I wanted to speak with him. He came across the soil to where I lay in my horror and self-loathing, reached down and touched my shoulder and spoke my name. I called him Lord, as there was no other name available to me.

They tried to keep me quiet, but I refused. I am not known for my bravery, but these days I stand up straight and speak of what I saw and what happened to me. I suppose you could say I am now a follower. They told me he had gone back to heaven, to be alive forever, and would come back again for all who love him and have trusted in what he has done. I know that is true because he spoke to me and I believe him.

The cycle

Read Colossians 1:9-14

If we don’t do
We don’t grow
If we don’t grow
we don’t know
If we don’t know
We can’t show
If we don’t know
We can’t follow
If we don’t follow
The Spirit won’t flow
If power doesn’t flow
No one will know
If people don’t know
They can’t follow
If they don’t follow
We won’t grow
If we don’t grow
Our faith is shallow
If our love is shallow
We will not do…

Keep on keeping on

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“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” Ecclesiastes 11:6 KJV

None of us knows just how long we have left in this life. It is transient, fleeting like the water vapour from the kettle. No one pays much heed, or values the fact that it is there. We notice when it hurts us, but it is mostly superficial and surplus to our needs.

It is wise to consider how we are spending our days and moments. What are we giving our selves to and what activities take the biggest share of our time.? We rarely even think this way.

This verse from the book of wisdom, forced us to take stock of time, money and effort spent on the activities we do. We do not know what things will bear fruit for God. We might have some preconceived ideas about what pleases God and what will bear fruit, but really we don’t know. The Seer is telling us to sow the seeds of the gospel morning and evening. We are not to withhold our hands from any of the work, because we do not know how the Spirit of God will work. We cannot tell who’s life He will enlighten and who will be brought to faith.

Perhaps God will bless this or that work…? Maybe a work done at that time, or this time. Maybe work done in this way or another way.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”
We cannot tell the times and seasons, or the will of the Holy Spirit, so we must work…

Morning, evening, through the day- God may bless either or all… we work for Him in faith, resting in the sure promise that He Himself will bring the work to fruition.
Psalm 126:5-6 NIV
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”

The amount and type of fruit is not our worry.. We work in the fields sowing the seed and praying that God will provide the harvest. We pray that there will be workers to share the load and widen the margins of the effect of the message.
Luke 10:2 NIV
“He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

We shouldn’t be looking for early retirement in the Christian life. We serve and work right up to the end.
Ecclesiastes 11:1 KJV
“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.”
Do not stop casting out the bread of life, even on the uncertain seas. It will come back to you, and you will find the fruit of it even when a long time has passed. Mostly we will not see the return of our efforts until the Eternal kingdom comes.
Don’t give up on anything or anyone, because it is God’s work and God’s harvest.
Let us keep our eyes on the eternal kingdom and a life that lasts forever.

 

 

Meds

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Are you taking any prescription medications?!!
Are you taking any non-prescription medications?!!
All the best people take some kind of medication. Preferably not self-medication. That’s the road to dependency and ever growing addiction to whatever it is you take to fill the gap.

For a time in my life, I found myself needing to smoke cigarettes. And every day having a drink, to get my thoughts and mindset down from the ceiling. It worked somewhat, but took away the desire for the necessities of life. Eating was not a priority and sleeping was difficult. Somehow I managed to keep going and hold down a demanding job, run the household and various other activities. It wasn’t a great time. I was heading for a crash.

I am glad for researchers who seek and find medications to help people suffering in all kinds of ways. We hear about doctors and nurses, but not much about researchers in laboratories. I am thankful to them for their unseen work.

However, I hate taking pills. When I take them I can almost hear God saying. “You need these, Shirley, and you need me. Don’t despise the help provided…”

Pills feel like a prop. Pills make me realise I do have a dependency, not on the pills, but on God. I am glad of that. We are not just physical bodies. We are souls. The spiritual soul has a physical body and the two are together in the person. As the physical body needs sustenance, so also the spiritual. The body at times needs medication, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of that. Also our souls. Sometimes we become so hurt by the unfairness and coldness from people around us, that our soul suffers. We need the precious Word. We need the precious promise of the Word of God to support our spiritual hurts.

Isaiah 26:3-4,8-9,12,19-20 NIV
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.”

We all need the strength of the One who made us and who has died to redeem us from the curse of the law, which condemns us. Jesus alone us the Saviour of our souls. It is He who will bring the whole person into a safe and eternal place of glory with Him. We need Him above all else, but that does not mean we will not need medication at times, or even for longer times. As our bodies need aid, so also our souls.

It is no shame to need help. It helps us keep the balance of life in our bodies and souls. It keeps us remembering we are more that the parts of our being, and we need the Sustainer of life to give us life. Dependence on God is how it’s supposed to be, and only He can bring us safely home.

In the meantime we take our meds…. physical meds and spiritual meds… and walk with God in a worthy manner… without holiness, no one will see the Lord…

 

Women who glorify God