Monday, November 30, 2009

The chocolates were poisoned.

The chocolates were poisoned.

Even as a kid I remember the chocolates being there.
They looked so good, some had shiny wrappers.
We all knew they were poisoned though.
I remember being in the Baptist church youth group, I was around 10 years old. Even then I remember some of the older kids, some of my friends, discussing the chocolates.
One day, my friend Phillip said he'd had eaten one.
We were all a bit stunned, after all, he was still alive?
He told us he knew he shouldn't have eaten it, but it hadn't been that bad.
A couple of weeks later he wasn't there.
I've not seen him since.

Then I joined another church when I was around 13.
There was a girl there called Dawn. She took one of the chocolates too.
It was very quick working on here, I never saw her again.
Then a friend of mine, also called Chris. He took one.
He was around just long enough to tell us he'd done it.

We all knew they were poisoned. It was tough though. You see them there day after day. As soon as one is taken, it's replaced by another. Day after day after day they are there.

A couple of times I was tempted to take one.
I even had one in my hand one time until I dropped it.
I'm still alive. Not down to me though, as I had it in my hand one of the leaders of the church warned me to drop it, and I did.

I'm not in a youth group any more - too old now.
Thing is, I was speaking at one the other day and the next week I dreamed about the chocolates.
I could see that this young group knew about them.
They knew they were poisoned.
I knew as well that each of the girls were going to try one, maybe some of the boys.

It's strange, but everyone thinks the same thing just before they pick one up.
They always think they will be strong enough to withstand the poison.
They know others can't take it, but they think maybe they can.
Then, when they do, they tell there friends about it, warning them; "I know I shouldn't have eaten it, and I'm telling you it was wrong and you shouldn't do it, I'll be all right though".
And then they're gone.

Do you know what the chocolates are?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The 60 Minute Father

I've just finished reading this. It is true, you could read this in 60 minutes, but it took me twice as long. Mainly because I kept stopping to cry.
Never has a book just taken me apart piece by piece. This book is devestating. In it's little stories, funny anecdotes and life lessons you see where your going wrong, and more importantly, where to go right.

Every father should read this and be turned into something that is worth his calling.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hitting you in the wallet.

A few years ago now I was looking through my bank account, trying to figure out just how much was in there. At the end of the exercise I reckoned there was about £600 I couldn't account for? I said, Praise God and promptly spent it. I took it as a blessing from God. Who wouldn't?

OK, flash forward from there about 1 month.
I'm in church and the speaker is talking about paying our debts to God, which I fully agree with. Thing is I start to get an uncomfortable feeling. A long, long time ago I had signed up to a church charity to help the poor. It consisted of a standing order for X amount of pounds a month. When I checked over this I realized the standing order hadn't been set up. That was the £600 I'd spent!
I just didn't have that kind of money to pay it back either, but knew it was a debt I had to pay.
What I did, was set the standing order up again but for double the amount.
I've been paying it now for a few years and have cleared the debt and some. But this isn't really the point of this story.

I recently read something about how people who give to the poor can expect God to do some amazing things in their lives. I can't remember exactly what it said, but the gist of it was that. I felt a rise of faith in me as I read it as you do when you read something true. I thought, Aha!, I give to the poor, I'll increase the payment again. Which I did, now to treble the original payment.

Thing is, I'm in the car telling Nicky what I've done (we are in this together), and as soon as I said the words the Holy Spirit said, up it again.

It's funny, when you hear these stories about people trying to make deals with God: If you do this for me Lord, I'll go to church on Sunday! I'll go every week. I'll give to the poor. I'll do this, and I'll do that etc.
Like God's interested in that!
He want's you. All of you.
When He's got that He can tell you to do what He likes without the bargaining.
He knows what he's doing there!

So, I did it. How am I going to argue or say no?
I now pay quadruple the original amount. I figure I can afford it, just as God figures the same.
I also figure God is able to supply anything to me that I need.

One of the biggest 'rubber hits the road' moments for us as Christians is when God asks us to open our wallet. That's when we really get a look at how much God has our lives.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Top Trumps

Top Trumps is a card game, based on facts. I used to have a set of tank cards when I was a kid. If I had a tank that could go 30MPH and someone else had a tank that could go 50MPH, I'd lose.

Their are facts in our lives. We don't imagine them. Facts like sickness, depression, needs in our lives. These are facts.
However, the word of God is a Top Trump. It too is filled with facts. And these facts beat any other facts you can throw at them.
But! If you are going to play a Word of God Top Trump, you really need to know what it says in black and white. Guessing won't accomplish much.
If you are sick, a Top Trump card to play is James 5:14

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Follow through on the verse: Call for the Elders, don't wait around for an appeal. They will annoint you with oil, a symbol of the Holy Spirit (if they don't, ask them to get some), and they will pray for you a prayer of faith. Don't be embarasses to ask if it was a prayer of faith. You need to know for your faith in the Word.

There is then no other outcome except being raised up-made well. And amazingly, if youv'e got in that state through sin, it will also be forgiven you.

Play Word of God Top Trumps. And be a winner every time. Don't let the Word stay between those dusty covers. it wants OUT! it wants to be released to change everything in your environment. Starting with you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Martyrs for the Lord

I've seen this song written down in both Brother Yun's books now and it's a chilling, sobering reminder of what happened to those first disciples, and what could be our calling if we accept Christ.

Martyrs for the Lord


To be a martyr for the Lord, to be a martyr for the Lord.

I am willing to die gloriously for the Lord.

Those apostles who loved the Lord to the end

Willingly followed the Lord down the path of suffering.

John was exiled to the lonely isle of Patmos.

Stephen was stoned to death by an angry crowd.

Matthew was stabbed to death in Persia by a mob.

Mark died as horses pulled his two legs apart.

Doctor Luke was cruelly hanged.

Peter, Philip and Simon were crucified on a cross.

Bartholomew was skinned alive by the heathen.

Thomas died in India as five horses pulled his body apart.

The apostle James was beheaded by King Herod.

Little James was cut in half by a sharp saw.

James the brother of the Lord was stoned to death.

Judas was tied to a pillar and shot by arrows.

Matthias had his head cut off in Jerusalem.

Paul was a martyr under Emperor Nero.

I am willing to take up the cross and go forward

To follow the apostles down the road to sacrifice

That tens of thousands of precious souls can be saved

I am willing to leave all and be a martyr for the Lord.