Tuesday, November 13, 2012

There's no sync button

I recently bought a new computer, and even more recently upgraded the hard drive. What makes it easy to not lose any information during these upgrades and changes is the ability to sync things. All your old files, web pages, passwords, nearly everything can just be synced so you are right back where you were before the upgrade.
The Holy Spirit doesn't like sync buttons.
When he 'upgrades us' through the process of the Cross, even what we considered the best part of our old lives, the bit we think of as 'not that bad' is unwanted by the Spirit. He doesn't want any of that old life coming through.
What I mean by that is, sure you may have been a good accountant before you were saved, and after you probably are still a good accountant. But, whatever skills you bring with you, or think will be an asset to the body...aren't.
It is only when there is sacrifice (death) does the fire come. Or to put it another way, only after the Cross has done it's work on you or any part of your flesh that has tried to cling on does the Spirit empower.
I know that's not the best news to all those working merrily away in their own power, in their own strength to their own ideas and agendas, but unless the Cross does a thorough work the Spirit will not place his seal of approval in empowering on your work.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Time to stop and think

I was recently sent to Norwich with work. I am being made redundant and my mind was in a whirl. I went for a walk to find a place to have a chat with God and talk through everything. I sat down on a secluded bench I spotted hidden away behind some trees. As I sat I wondered if there was a plaque on it. There was, and even more, I was surprised by what it said. If you have trouble reading the picture, it says:

Rest awhile - Ponder anew what the almighty can do.

So I did.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

John Daniel Lawtum: Press On

I keep coming away from my prayer times with this very old John Daniel Lawtum song in my head:

Let us know, let us press on
To know the Lord
For His coming is as certain as the dawn
He will come to us, just like the rain
Like the spring rain that waters the earth.

Nothings gonna separate us from the love of God
No darkness, no evil entity,
Nothings gonna separate us from His saving grace
Whom the Son set's free is free

Jesus my Lord gave new life to me,
Who the Son set's free is free

Let us know, let us press on
To know the Lord
For His coming is as certain as the dawn
He will come to us, just like the rain
Like the spring rain that waters the earth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Time Keeping

"To be early is to be on time.
To be on time is to be late.
To be late is unacceptable."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.

Prov 16:3
Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.
Read also 1Pet 5:6-7
Out of baseball for good?
Traded from the Montrel Expos to an AA team in Nashville, pitcher Tim Burke, in his worst starting inning, allowed Chattanooga to score four runs.  His wife recalls:
    "That evening Tim said, 'After tonight, there's a strong chance I'll be released.  I could be out of baseball for good.'
    "'Tim', I told him, 'maybe we need to turn your career over to the Lord.'
    "Tim responded without hesitiation, 'That's a good idea.'
    "On our knees by our kitchen table, Tim prayed: 'Lord, I never even thought about you caring about this stuff.  If I'm holding on to baseball too much, help me to let it go; but if you want me to keep going, I'll fight to make it.  You know best.'
    "Then I said, 'Lord, if you'll give Tim the strength and opportunity, he'll give it his all; but if it's not your will for us to stay in baseball, please show us what you have next for our lives.'
    "When we finished, we still had no idea what lay ahead, but we had a new sense of peace" - and Tim didn't lose another game all season.  Christine Burke in Major League Dad.
It sounds so simple: "commit your work to God" then you "will succeed."  But this requires more from us than a simple nod of the heart towards God.  It's more than asking him to approve and bless our efforts before we go our merry ways.
The power behind this verse is in the word "commit".  When one commits to the Lord, he turns over the project and lets go completely.  Then, of course, the plans succeed because God is in control of both the work and the results.
For many of us, it's far from easy to turn things over to God.  But success depends on your willingness to humble yourself "under the mighty power of God" (1Pet 5:6).  Then, "in his good time, he will honour you."  In other words, take your hands off the wheel, peacefully sit back, and leave the driving to the one who knows the road ahead.
The Moravians had a wonderful symbol.  It was a bull standing between an alter and a plough, below were the words "Ready for either".

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Being Lonely

I usually cycle to and from work.
A very regular site on my cycling trips are the (what I call) 'Gadget Zombies'.
Gadget Zombies seem to waddle in a strange zig zag pattern, not looking where they are going, because there attention is fixed to their phone. Or they do not hear me asking to move over on the cycle path because they are plugged into their iPod.
It seems gadgets in and especially out of the house are becoming more and more prolific. And although they can be extremely useful I think for the most part they are causing a lot more harm than good.
I'm not talking about radiation or unseen waves of some sort, not even ear or eye damage, I'm talking about loneliness.
I think if asked, 100% of people would say loneliness is not a good thing, and I would probably say the same, except there is a part of life where loneliness is healthy.
There are times in life when we feel alone, apart from everyone else, we feel a hunger in us for something we can't put our finger on. These are times that are designed for human beings to crave and long for their maker. That is a very healthy thing to do. Not just healthy, but essential for life. I mean real life.
Unfortunately, those times are becoming scarcer and scarcer as we fill them up with Facebook and music and what is, on the whole, just inane.
Try this: Turn your phone off. Leave your MP3 at home. Don't bother with the TV or PS3 tonight. Turn the PC off. Go for a walk, or just sit quietly. Let your hunger lead you to the Lord.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

"It's an inspirational story about never giving up."

'Miracle recovery' of teen declared brain dead by four doctors

A teenager who was declared brain dead by four doctors has made a "miracle" recovery after his parents asked for another medical opinion, just moments before his life support machine could have been switched off.

Steven Thorpe, then 17, suffered horrific injuries in a multiple car crash, leaving him in a medically-induced coma and another man dead.
Doctors told his family he would never recover and asked them to consider donating his organs before his life-support machine was turned off.
Instead, Steven’s father enlisted the help of private GP Julia Piper to check his son again as doctors at University Hospital in Coventry, West Midlands, agreed to let a neurologist re-examine him.
Remarkably, he detected faint brain waves indicating Steven had a slim chance of recovery and medics decided to attempt to bring him out of his coma.
Just five weeks later, he was discharged from hospital having made a near-full recovery.
Steven, a 21-year-old trainee accountant, has now spoken of his progress for the first time and paid tribute to his family and the GP who may have saved him.
He said: "My father believed I was still there.
"He expressed his views to Julia Piper and I think she listened very closely to what my dad had said.
"My impression is maybe the hospital weren't very happy that my father wanted a second opinion.
"I think the doctors wanted to give me three days on the life support machine and the following day they said they wanted to turn it off.
"The words they used to my parents were 'you need to start thinking about organ donations'.
"I think that's what gave my dad energy, he thought 'no way'.
"I think if my dad would've agreed with them then it would've been off in seconds.
"If my parents hadn't asked for the second opinion, and if Julia hadn't been there, I wouldn't be here today."
Steven, from Kenilworth, Warks., was been travelling home from nearby Leamington Spa in February 2008 when the vehicle he was in was involved in a collision with two other cars and a horse that had run loose.
The horrific crash left one man dead and the horse was also fatally injured.
Steven was rushed to hospital and surgeons performed a craniotomy to help alleviate any swelling on his brain.
But despite the operation being successful, brain scans failed to detect any electrical pulses and he was declared brain dead.
Steven said: "As far as I am concerned, living is a full recovery. From how I was to how I am now, I think it's a miracle.
"I drive to work every day, I don't think anything is holding me back. There's no point dwelling on it, I just pull my socks up and get on with it.
"Hopefully it can help people see that you should never give up. I've had so much positive feedback about it.
"If you believe it then follow it, that's the motto. My father believed I was alive - and he was correct.
"It's hard for me to even ask my parents about what happened.
"They do cooperate with me because they want me to understand it all but they don't want to be reminded about it."
Dr Piper, who runs a private practice in Leicester, said: "They had doctors saying he wasn't going to live but the parents felt there was flickers of response and it wasn't just wishful thinking.
"I had this strong feeling that this wasn't right and then eventually I got someone else to look at him and of course it proved to have been the right thing to have done.
"It's an inspirational story about never giving up.
"He's a remarkable young man and his recovery has been astonishing."
Since leaving hospital four years ago, Steven has had four operations to reconstruct his face, including having his nose rebuilt and an artificial eye socket made.
He also has physiotherapy session to improve the movement in his left arm which was badly injured in the road smash.
In a statement, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust said: "The injury to Steven's brain was extremely critical and several CT scans of the head showed almost irreversible damage.
"It is extremely rare that a patient with having suffered such extensive trauma to the brain should survive.
"However, critical care and other specialist teams continued to support his systems through his critical period and we were delighted to see Steven recover and make progress against all the odds.
"He is truly a unique case."

Monday, April 16, 2012

Plow Your Mind

For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.
(I Corinthians 14:2)

Do you know that when you speak in tongues you are speaking mysteries.
A mystery is just a truth that has not been revealed to you yet.

Speaking in tongues can plow through the soil of your mind preparing it for revelation.
Now, think...does that mean every time you read the Bible, hear teaching etc you could be receiving more revelation than you do just by speaking in tongues?

Doesn't that make you want to speak in tongues more than you do?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Beautiful Music

Recently it feels like lots of music I'm listening to, I just hear songs about Jesus. Here's a typical example I was listening to:


"Fall Into Me"

When the weight of the world
Breaks down so strong it
Leaves footprints on the street
And theres too many miles to face
Without a few more hours sleep
The storm clouds overhead won't shed
Any rain to quench your thirst
I wanna be the one you reach for first

When your faith is stretched so thin
That you can see right through your soul
And you cant find a nickel to buy a smile cuz all ur pockets all got holes
You wanna shut the door and
Hide before the day can get much worse
I wanna be the one you reach for first

Fall into me
My arms are opened wide
And you dont have to say a word
Cuz I already see
That it's hard
And you're scared
And you're tired
And it hurts
And I wanna be the one you reach for first

I wanna be the bottle you've been drinkin with your eyes
Or the road you run away on
You've been runnin all your life
The third row pew that you last knew
As a child in church
I wanna be the one you reach for first

Fall into me
My arms are opened wide
And you don't have to say a word
Cuz I already see
That it's hard
And you're scared
And you're tired
And it hurts
And I wanna be the one you reach for first

Before you turn the key
Before you fall asleep
Before you drift away
To find some demons waiting for you
In your dreams
Before your arms stretched wide open
Before you're reaching for the sky
Before you're searching for direction
And all the answers till you fall

Fall into me
My arms are stretched opened wide
You don't have to say a word
Cuz I already see
That its hard
And your scared
And your tired
And it hurts
And i wanna be the one you reach for first

Friday, March 23, 2012

Faith Part 3: The Rest Of The New Testament

My final notes on Faith with regard to Acts - Revelation.

And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
(Acts 3:16)
Faith in His name I think is the same as Faith in His person/character/being. Faith came through Jesus. To me this says it wasn’t just the Apostles faith, Jesus faith was involved. Is this correct? Is this really the way it always is?

And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch.
(Acts 6:5)
I think this is interesting as it says filled with faith AND the Holy Spirit, it’s reminiscent of John saying He would baptise with the Holy Spirit AND with Fire. Separate but linked.

And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
(Acts 6:7)
‘The faith’, an interesting title for the life of a Christian. Also called ‘The Way’.

He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,
(Acts 14:9)
This just shows it wasn’t only Jesus who could see faith in others. I would like to experience this.

And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
(Acts 14:27)
A door of faith. Interesting. I wonder if I can see these opened?

to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
(Acts 26:18)
Faith sanctifies us. Makes us Holy in Jesus. it almost sounds like a bridge between the natural world and the supernatural.

So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.
(Acts 27:25)
I almost feel like shouting out ‘BINGO!’, I think this verse tells us so much. Believing what we have been told. Again, I don’t think this is just a mental brainwashing, there is a supernatural element, and there has to be, for faith is a gift from Him.

whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
(Romans 3:25)
We all know this (I hope) but we receive salvation through faith. And we carry on receiving through faith.

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
(Romans 3:28)
This is why you can’t ‘earn’ a place in Heaven by ‘being good’. It doesn’t come through human effort, it’s a gift.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
(Romans 10:17)
Probably the most famous verse on faith. It comes through hearing Jesus.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
(Romans 12:3)
This says to me we all have faith, but it has been given in different measures. It takes sober judgment to see at what level that faith is at.

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
(Romans 14:22)
I kept coming back to this verse. I think it’s linked to the one above in that we have different measures, and although you need to be soberly aware of your measure you shouldn’t cause others to stumble trying to get to a level they aren’t at.

that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
(I Corinthians 2:5)
Faith is not knowledge. It doesn’t follow the path of earthly thinking.

to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
(I Corinthians 12:9)
Faith is also a gift of the spirit. This is different to the faith we all have. To be quick, it is a gift that allows great things to be believed for where faith is not present.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
(I Corinthians 13:13)
Faith will last eternally!

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
(I Corinthians 16:13)
Sometimes I feel like I need the encouragement of a slap that says ‘Come on, MAN UP!’

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, I believed, and so I spoke, we also believe, and so we also speak,
(II Corinthians 4:13)
Another name for the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Faith.

for we walk by faith, not by sight.
(II Corinthians 5:7)
If only we could reprogramme ourselves, as a computer, to believe this. We fall so quickly with what we see and yet it can’t be trusted. Faith can.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
(II Corinthians 13:5)
Wow. it’s working out your salvation for the purpose of finally coming down on one side of the fence, the side of faith in jesus, and then getting on with that life.

So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
(Galatians 3:9)
It’s a great title for Abraham, ‘The Man of Faith’, it’s like a superhero title. To me he wasn’t always a man of faith, and feared for his life on more than one occasion leading to strange decisions, but when it came to Isaac he is exemplary.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
(Ephesians 2:8)
it’s all God. He is the One who gives you the faith to believe.

one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
(Ephesians 4:5)
So there is only one faith. We all share in it and are part of it.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;
(Ephesians 6:16)
The picture of faith as a shield protecting you from outside influences.

Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
(Philippians 2:17)
I like this idea that our faith is also an offering of worship.

as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
(I Thessalonians 3:10)
I think this is talking about service, the doing word of faith.

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
(I Thessalonians 5:8)
Faith again described as defensive armour, this time as a breastplate, protecting the heart.

holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,
(I Timothy 1:19)
Faith can be shipwrecked! If we don’t hold onto it and hold onto a good conscience.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
(I Timothy 6:10)
Love of money/wealth/pride can lead you down a path away from faith.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
(I Timothy 6:12)
Faith is a fight. A good fight, blessed by God. Let’s do well at it.

This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,
(Titus 1:13)
We mustn't let faith be muddied with incorrect doctrine.

but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.
(Hebrews 10:38)
Once we start there is no going back. We must therefore know what we are in faith for/with.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1)
So, if I have faith it proves what I hope for will come about. It convinces me of what I can’t see.

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:2)
Jesus starts us in faith and he finishes the job.

for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
(James 1:3)
When we are stretched to believe it is to produce solidness in our faith.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
(James 1:6)
Faith is a rock. Jesus is a rock. Faith and Jesus are so intermingled you can’t have one without the other.

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
(James 2:17)
Faith is a doing word.

so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
(I Peter 1:7)
Faith is a precious item. Like the pearl of great price or the treasure in a field. It gives God great delight.

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
(I John 5:4)
Do you have faith? You've won!

But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;
(Jude 1:20)
Praying in the Spirit (maybe tongues, but not necessarily) can build you up in faith.

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
(Revelation of John 14:12)
The last mention of faith. Keep going. Faith is a marathon not a sprint.

Faith Part 2: The Gospels

Carrying on with faith mentioned in the Gospels. I noticed there was no reference at all to faith in John!
incidentally, my search was done using the ESV version of the Bible.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
(Matthew 6:30)
The first mention of faith in the gospels, and Jesus is using it as a rebuke for having such a small amount. Not the last time that phrase ‘little faith’ will be heard.

When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.
(Matthew 8:10)
Jesus almost gobsmacked because of the Centurion's faith. He only needed Jesus to say the word and that was good enough for him. Job done.

And he said to them, Why are you afraid, O you of little faith? Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
(Matthew 8:26)
Again, ‘Little faith’, but notice this time when faith comes it also comes with peace. Peace incidentally doesn’t mean an absence of crisis.

And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.
(Matthew 9:2)
This is really interesting. How can we recognise faith in others? James says proper faith is accompanied by actions, but I don’t think that means every action is faith filled. There is a spiritual element involved. Our antennae in the Spirit needs to be functioning well to recognise it.

Then he touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it done to you.
(Matthew 9:29)
It’s not popular to say something has or hasn’t happened because of our faith. I have to say I agree with that. In thinking about this verse and also the verses where Jesus rebukes us of ‘little faith’, I can only think it was Jesus who said these things. He is never wrong.

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
(Matthew 14:31)
It might be obvious, but I guess this shows ‘doubt’ as the opposite to faith.

He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
(Matthew 17:20)
Do you get the feeling faith is more powerful than nitroglycerin? just a tiny amount can accomplish so much.

And Jesus answered them, Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and thrown into the sea, it will happen.
(Matthew 21:21)
I think if this was a sum it would look like this: Faith - Doubt + Speak = Accomplished

He said to them, Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?
(Mark 4:40)
Fear also kills faith.

And he said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.
(Mark 5:34)
Can we do this too? yes, Jesus said we would actually do even greater things than Him, but this cannot be done with presumption!!!! It must be done ‘in Him’, moving when He moves, speaking when He speaks or we will certainly cause a LOT of grief, as those who have zeal but not much knowledge.

And Jesus answered them, Have faith in God.
(Mark 11:22)
Trust Him. Believe what He says about you. Know who you are before Him.

The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith!
(Luke 17:5)
I think if I had been a disciple I too would have asked this question. But look at the reply next.

And the Lord said, If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would obey you.
(Luke 17:6)
There’s no ‘Yes, OK’, but rather again a rebuke. Jesus is continually pushing his disciples to exercise what they have rather than think it isn’t sufficient enough.

I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?
(Luke 18:8)
What a question!  This is said after Jesus tells the story of the persistent widow and the judge. Persistence is good, Faith is better. Is that how you read this?

Faith Part 1: Old Testament

I've been looking at faith.
What is it? Where does it come from? Do we all have it? Can we lose it once given? Can we make it grow? etc, etc.
All I'm going to do here over 3 parts is put down the verses that strike me as having something significant to say, this is mainly for my benefit, with some comments, but if you get something out of it too, that's great.

If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.
(Exodus 21:8)
The first mention of faith is linked to redemption. If the Master’s Bride does not please Him (capital letters used on purpose to make a point), rather than sell her, He allows her to be redeemed. After this, nearly every mention of Faith in the Old Testament is linked to the ‘breaking of faith’.

Do you have faith in him that he will return your grain
and gather it to your threshing floor?
(Job 39:12)
Faith as a question of trust. Faith in a Person, the Person of God.

who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
(Psalms 146:6)
Gods side of the covenant, he keeps faith with us. Forever.

And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you are not firm in faith,
you will not be firm at all.
(Isaiah 7:9)
Faith described as something needed with a detrimental effect when absent.

Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
but the righteous shall live by his faith.
(Habakkuk 2:4)
The last mention of faith in the Old Testament, and a prophetic insight into how faith will change the way we live as opposed to the Law.