Turning

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I can’t bear to watch the news… What a catalogue of sin and pain… Some might say that the “civilised West” is ” reaping the whirlwind”…

But we are not in a position to judge… Our loving God still holds out hands of mercy. He looks for repentance from all our sins and the turning of our lives over to Him… This is the real issue…

Hosea 8:7-8 NIV
“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up. Israel is swallowed up, now she is among the nations like something no one wants.”

All we seem to produce is wasted- a chasing after the wind.. No one is benefited… We sell ourselves and our goods to the highest bidder. We don’t even get the benefit in this world, never mind the next. All we seek after is a transient moment of success which then turns to disappointment as the needs of society move endlessly on.

We who have been satisfied in ourselves, now have nothing to offer. We are barren, not fit for the harvest. We have become the outsider, the ones who need shelter and help, but there is none. We have given over our God and have settled for a safe seat in the pew and a settled social life that will keep us safe and secure. We are not safe and we are not secure, as faith in the living God has been replaced by the insurance culture of the Western psyche.

The East is turning to God out of great hardship and oppression, but the West, who have rested on their prosperity, are heading into night. The East that has little in real terms, and is working to find a place in a global economy. In spiritual terms many are finding the way to God and a vibrant life, even though lacking safety and security. Those who have been rich are now poor, especially in terms of spiritual life. Those who are poor in this world system, and finding eternal riches in Christ.

This is not the time for the church movement, the new strategy or the big church leader. It is time for individual Christians to see their own short comings and sinful ways, and to turn to God. Repent of our sins and believe that God will lead us according to His ways. God will open the doors and show His own people the way back….

God help us to humble ourselves and turn…

“My Lord and my God…”

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“My Lord and my God..”All that I am and have that is good, is not my own. If I could grasp that and the full extent of its implications, I would gave a different attitude toward myself and other people. Pride would shrivel up and die…
I look into my Saviour’s face and say..”My Lord and my God.” He is the beautiful One, the giver of all things good, the judge of all that is evil. The King of love to all who fall, the true hearts desire of every redeemed soul.
There is no one like Him.. The true heart desires His likeness and gives up every unworthy choice to know that blessed choice to be His own… “My Lord and my God..”

The heart

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“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

We can tell someone who is not selfish, because they share what they have freely without complaining or wanting it back. It is not a quality that is encouraged in our society. Everyone is out for their own career, their own home, social standing, and so on. The idea that someone would let another person take the advantage, is considered a bit “odd.”

To lack ambition in this world, is not considered a good quality. The idea of giving things away, goes alongside weakness and even ill health.

If good deeds and words come out of a person, then they show what that person is like on the inside. These qualities are part of their character and have been learned and practiced for long years. The motivation comes from their hearts- hearts that have been changed and made good by God. This kind of desire for the good of others, does not come from ourselves. It is a gift and a strength from the One who is all good and all holy.

The evil that comes out of a person, is their own hardness and unrighteousness that comes from a heart, dead in the moral disease of sin, and so produces the outworking of that sin in their lives. It requires no effort from them, and is the natural state of all of us.

The words we say reflect our mindset and show if we trust in God or not. Our words show how much faith we have and what we are building our lives upon. What we say is so important, as it is the outward witness of the condition of our hearts.

To be a righteous person is not our normal state of being. To produce good works and lasting deeds, we have to be fundamentally changed on the inside. The good we do must be from a pure heart, or it will not last.

We can try to cover up our motivations and attitude in the eyes of other people, but not to God. He knows everything and will test our work to see if it is true or not.

“the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s action.”

1 Corinthians 3:13

Ultimately, our words and deeds will be searched by the fire of God’s holiness and the perfect Word of God. If we seek God now and follow Him with a true and renewed heart, our work will stand.

The truth is, our good works are not our own, for every renewed person was bought with a great price, and our righteousness had been given to us by God. There is no room for boasting- only joy and thankfulness in the Holy Spirit.

 

 

What can I do?

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“Ponder anew- all the Almighty can do, if with His love He befriend thee.”

John 4:35 “Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”

“Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony…

“They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

Let’s bring in the harvest wherever we are…

Get your own back

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Luke 6:27-31 NIV
“……Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you …”

This teaching given to us by the Lord Jesus, does not fit into our modern mindset, nor would it be a practical way if living, especially in 21st Century workplace …!

When we read these words, this is the kind of thing we might think. We say to ourselves, “Jesus isn’t being practical here, He doesn’t know what I face. Jesus isn’t living in my world..”
Jesus is right here in the world, right now. He knows everything that happens and He knows everything we all think. He knows what is coming and He knows the outcome of everything. So when He tells us we should behave in a certain way, we need to listen.

When we feel attacked verbally or emotionally, we want to protect ourselves. We believe that if we give back as good as we get, then others will respect us. If we never retaliate, then people will pick on us and bully us. It’s a dog eat dog world and we need to join in the cycle of hatred of violence, so that we will not be hurt.

Jesus says we must pray for those who behave in an evil way towards us. We must be concerned for their spiritual state before Him. Jesus says He will keep us and protect us in every circumstance, but the problem is, we don’t believe Him. We don’t think He really knows or cares for us on that most basic level. It can’t be good if Christians get hurt, can it?

In other places in our world, Christians suffer this kind of oppression every day. They cannot retaliate and they loose everything, even their lives..! This is something we find very hard to understand- surely God cannot allow this? But He does. For every Christian there is the facing the fact that God will allow trouble of all kinds in our lives. He is in complete control. The question is- will we obey and go through the trouble, or justify another course of action.?

In return for the evil dished out to us, we are commanded to give good things- prayer, blessings, generosity and lack of blame or vengeance. This is how Christians shine in a wicked and perverse society. If we react like the general consensus, then there is no difference between the Believer and the unbeliever. But if I react as Jesus has taught me, I will stand out and be a beacon of hope and love to other people.

We would wish to be treated with kindness, forgiveness and without a vengeful spirit, therefore that is how I must behave towards everyone else.

When someone hurts me, abuses me in serious ways, often the difficulty is not the event that hurt, but the great amount if prayer and grace we need to actually forgive the person. Hurt is so hard to let go of and forgiveness is not in our human nature, but if Jesus tells us to do it, we must. This is the attitude of life and character of the Christian. It is the opposite of what we are told by this world system. It is difficult, but it leads to life and peace for all those who trust in Jesus and obey what He says.

Forgiveness depends on grace. Our forgiveness depends on the grace and love of Jesus, and also on our decision to forgive those who hurt us. This is the only way to walk with God. If We follow our own desires, and act and react in the light of our own mindset, we walk in darkness.

What we do, our attitudes and actions impact on other people. This is how Christians should be making the world a better place, through life-changing faith and sacrificial living to everyone around us.

A growing faith

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God promises all the strength we need, at the time we need it. He never fails and never fades in His ability and power. All power belongs to Him, there is no one greater, no other authority in heaven or on earth. His majesty fills the heavens
and in the earth we see the outworking of that glory in everything He has made.

Christians know that power when they first trust in Christ, but that is only the beginning.

As the Christian walks through life, there are many troubles, trials and temptations. They are put in our lives by our loving God. As we learn to conquer these things, so our faith grows and we gain the strength that comes with faith. We rely less and less on others and ourselves, and deliberately put all our needs on Him.

Throughout our lives the pressures increase and we need increased faith to overcome them. This is the walk of the Christian with the Lord Jesus, their closest and best known friend.

We can notice a pattern… As we grapple with the troubles, our faith grows so that we can face the next trials and overcome in faith. As I walk by faith, so God encourages me to walk more in His strength. As life goes on, so the walk of faith goes on and becomes mature.

A problem can arise in my mind…
I realise that the difficulties get more difficult, so maybe if I don’t fight so hard, I won’t have to face greater problems… It’s a bit like the under-achieving child in the class, who deliberately tried less and does less, so they don’t stand out or be asked to do more challenging tasks..!

We are just as weak as we have always been. Without the daily walk and growing knowledge of Christ and The Spirit, we remain infants- babies in the kingdom of God. We avoid the closeness of the Lord, so that we can avoid the corresponding challenges to our faith..! We are less than we could be.. We are afraid of what the gracious Lord might ask us to face, so we feign deafness and blindness.

Our lack of living faith, results in Christian lives that are stunted and shallow. We don’t see and hear what God says, because we don’t really want to. We let ourselves off the hook and lie back on the faith that looks out for itself and protects its interests in a non-committal kind if way.

The result is that we have no courage, or back-bone to strike out for God, or do anything that might make my Christian witness obvious. We cannot stand up for what we believe and we cannot witness to the unbeliever.
Our lives are ordinary, sterile and lacklustre.
When trouble hits us, we are overwhelmed, because we didn’t learn the previous lessons in a spiritual way.

It is a sorrowful state. We are Christians that cannot face the evil of this world and rescue people from it through the truth of the gospel. We cannot involve ourselves with people around us and have no skills to reach out to them as fellow humans. Perhaps in our church life we pay people to do that, and that covers what needs to be done. But we loose out, big time, as we don’t experience the reality of walking with God in the circumstances He asks us to.

Will we dare to step out- stand out- put everything on the line- let go, knowing He is with us- turn our backs on sinning and what other people think..?

Heart sins

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They are all in there. Pride. Selfishness. Conceit. Meanness. Dishonesty. Hatefulness.
They sit there, lined up in our hearts, like in a shooting gallery.!

Every day we shoot them down. They slide past, we notice, take aim and fire. But just like the shooting gallery in the fairground, they constantly pop up again.

That’s the deal. That’s the fight. Every day we must be ready to take a pop at every one of them. If we don’t, they will run a riot and spread the ugliness all over our lives.

So keep shooting at the ducks- they will stay down one day. Then you can lay down your gun and go home for good…

Women who glorify God