So this is a blog!

Hello to anyone reading this! This is my blog which I'm writing to look at things that take my fancy with a Christian twist, I am nowhere near the last authority on any of this, that's the Bible, God's word, but I thought I'd share my thoughts so that you might have something to think about or share with friends.

God Bless

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reflecting God

So this is the second in the two part bit on the weekend away I went on which is essentially on how we should be reflecting the trinity. I'll be running through the 6 six points we were given and voila it's done. So how can we reflect God in our lives?
Firstly, by being certain in what we believe in. (Hebrews 11) As in the last blog we need to certain, confident and assured of what we believe in and through that we can start to live a life suited for it which is point two.
To be focused solely on the purpose to which we are called. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
It's our duty to fear God and keep his commandments, now I don't mean fear as in "AAAAAAHHH!!" horror movie sort of fear but rather an awe or reverence fear, a fear of his almighty-ness which expresses in a form of awe. It's through focusing on our God like this and keeping the commandments He gave us that we can grow to know Him better and so be able to reflect His nature to this world better.
The next three points are quite tied in with one another but here's point three. Our thoughts match what we believe. (Proverbs 15:26)
The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,
    but gracious words are pure in his sight.
(Philippians 4:8)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
The first is self explanatory and combines well with the second one to tells us to keep our thoughts on things that are pure, true, noble, right, admirable and lovely and not to think like the wicked do. Our thoughts aren't ever really thought about oddly, what I mean to say is we never really advise people to keep their thoughts pure but only their words and deeds, which I'll come to later. It's a challenge though to be more aware of what we are thinking and to set that thinking, that focus of our thoughts on God.
So on to point four, our words should match what we believe. Well this is more talked about and a bit more obvious as we want to portray God's love but here's the verses. (Colossians 3:17)
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
(Titus 2:7-8)
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
So yep again I think the Bible talks for itself and really teaches us more than I could explain, but here's food for thought. Reflecting God is to be consistent with God, just as the Trinity is consistent with one another. Again to reiterate a point near to flogging a dead horse over and over again we need to reflect God and the only way we can do this is by focusing on Him more and more until we align our world view with His. On to point five though: Our deeds should match what we believe in (1 Corinthians 10:13)
No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
(Colossians 3:17)
 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
 Looking at the Corinthians verse we can see that God will not allow us to fall into temptation because of Him but rather by our own choice, we act badly because we choose to. We cannot be excused but through the blood of Christ for the sinful choices we make. If you really can't stop making those wrong choices, and some choices you just repeatedly make wrongly, then bring them all before God and ask Him to help you seek out the right choice, ask Him to help you reflect Him here on Earth. To tie them all together though point six, everything we do, think of and say is consistent with who we are in Christ. (2 Corinthians 13:11)
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
(1 Thessalonians 4:7)
 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
Boom! I think it's a great verse to end on. We are called to live  a pure and holy life, to be consistent with one another in Christ. It's in the unity of Christ we stand. We spend a lot of time bickering and discussing the differences in denominations and I respect that but there is something much greater at the center of our faith that means those don't actually matter. Obviously going off scripture is wrong and unholy but when people squabble over styles of worship it's not love compelling them to my mind, it's comfort in what we are used to. We aren't called to complacency butt we are called to reflect Christ in all we do and to encourage one another in our mission on Earth. I hope I've given a small insight into how we can reflect the Trinity, I realize there aren't any practical explanations written by me here but I think reading the Bible and getting to know God is the only way forward.

God Bless.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I went on a weekend away recently which is where this and the following post draw their inspiration from.
So what is faith? Well amazingly the Bible answers that for us in Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
This isn't saying if your really, really believe in something it is true, which I think is what some people take a faith in God as but rather it's a confidence and assurance about immaterial things. It's quite simply something stronger than a simple belief. In a Christian context it is God we hope for and who we don't see and through or faith we are confident and certain that He is there. We were given this analogy of our certainty in Christ through faith
You know how when you meet a rickety bridge on a walk and because of the uncertainties you choose to walk on to a safer crossing point. Now imagine being chased by a pack of wolves and coming across the same bridge, you'll take your chances won't you. Well that's not what we do when we walk with Christ, when we walk with Christ we can step on that bridge no matter the circumstance or dangers because of certainty in Him.
Now I think our faith is amazing because it allows us to be certain in Christ and His protection over us. You see we normally won't upset the status quo because we fear the repercussions but our certainty in Christ allows us to overcome those fears. In fact if you continue looking through Hebrews 11 then you find that we are called to be faithful and match our view on life with Gods, rather by matching our views with Gods we can grow further in faith.
So let's begin with Hebrews 11:3
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 
God made this world and is perfect so it logically succeeds that God's view of the world is perfect. As His creation then we should try and make our world view the same as God's, quite probably impossible but sure a task we should attempt to obtain. Our thinking should always be influenced by God, I don't think it's a simple case of "What Would Jesus Do?" but rather it's also "How Would God Act?" and "What Are God's Thoughts On This?" We have God's thoughts and ideas written out for us, The Bible, and yet we spend most of our time trying to fit it in to our modern world, we dilute it sometimes in this attempt. We should stop this, read the Bible for what it is, God's word, and try and fit our world into the Bible, if it doesn't work then we've got to sacrifice something on our part. So really to understands God's view we need to understand the Bible. We need to wrestle with the Bible, search out people's alternate understanding and find the full truth of it all. It's a daunting task to understand the Bible and no one will ever understand it all but start where you are comfortable and move on from there, as with moving down God's river we start paddling and move to deeper waters as go on.
So from there we  move onward in chapter 11 where there are many examples of people having faith in God and reaping the reward because of it. So then 11:7:
By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
Noah's a great example of acting on our faith, God came to Noah and said essentially said this "I'm going to do something that I have never done before, here's what I want you to do." Noah had no reason to believe that it was really going to happen but by faith he made the ark. What happened was this, Noah had faith in God thereby he trusted God with his life and believed with all his heart that God would keep to His word. It's because of this that Noah moved in faith and built the ark despite the consequences, this comes from a deep knowledge of  God  and having  his world view in line with God's, causing obedience to God.
Hebrews 11:11 is another case of trusting God to deliver on His promises.
 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[a] considered him faithful who had made the promise.
Sarah, Abraham's wife, really wanted a child and knew she would get one because God promised her one. When she started to realize she was past childbearing age she offered her servant to Abraham so that he could have a child. Yet despite the fact she wasn't fully trusting in God, He kept His promise to her and gave her a child of her own. He keeps His promises so perhaps we should be more trusting and faithful in waiting on the Lord to act. Hebrews 11:26 next.
He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 
So this is all about Moses just to give you some context. Moses had it right, he saw doing anything for the sake of Christ greater in value than the best the Earth could offer. We've lost that slightly today in my eyes, it's probably the reason we can fall into sin with the most ease because we forget the value, the worth of what Jesus Christ is in our lives. I want to be able to do what Moses did, leave a position of power, authority and wealth to follow Christ. I don't mean I want to get it all and make a point of following Christ, but rather I'd like to have the courage and strength of faith to give up everything and do what God has asked of me. As in getting our world view to match God's world view, we also need to be at the point where God say something and we act on it. We can only reach that point as we grow in faith and grapple with who God is more and more. Finally Hebrews 11:17
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,
If you don't know who this one and only son is, well it's the one Sarah had just a couple paragraphs ago. You know the one that God had promised Abraham and delivered after Sarah had past child bearing age. Well God asked Abraham to sacrifice that same son, and you know what Abraham trusted that God had a good plan for him since God had also promised that Abraham's descendants be as numerous as the grains of sand. It's a testament to Abraham's faith in God, and an example to us all. We all suffer hard times of testing, and yes we complain and moan but I don't think that's the way about it at all. Sure it may tear at our heart to sacrifice, or lose, something dear to us but we have to firm in our faith knowing that God has promised us something even better. So whilst we may get depressed due to hard times, remain strong in the knowledge God has promised good to you. Trust that God is easily enough to fulfill His promises even though you may be tested in this life!
So I encourage you all to grow in faith and strive to understand the word of God more.

God Bless!  

Monday, April 23, 2012


It's been mentioned to me that prayer can be included in the armour of God which is why I am doing this now. I was trying to figure out how to go about this and thought about; why we pray? How we pray? The power of prayer? And so decided I would go through them all.
So I thought it would be prudent to talk about why we pray first. Prayer is us talking to God to discern His will in our life, we don't pray for an easier life, for great fortune. We pray to know what God's will is. It's as simple as really, we don't pray for any other reason if we pray properly. Sometimes we stick our selfishness in and ask for something good to happen to us but God will give you what is good, and if it's God giving you know you're in for something amazing. I've never done it myself but some people say prayer helps organize your thoughts which is a novel idea in my mind because we describe prayer as talking to God and I know I'd prefer to talk to someone who has their thoughts in check rather than  all over the place, especially if I'm going to try and make them work in my will. I don't claim to know God's mind but I'd want someone who has their thoughts in line and so I doubt we pray to get our thoughts organized but rather perhaps instead to get God to tell us which thought is more important to follow or which thought should be dropped.
Anyhow I think the main thing is that we pray to know God's will in matters and to see it manifest in our lives, but then how do we pray? Well we kneel down, clasp our hands together and recite memorized verses and prayers, pretty simple really isn't it. Well it would be if that was all there was to it but it's actually easier, just talk. Not the mindless babbling type of talking but from your heart and to God, I like to imagine Him as a mate who has a day like any other person and I'm just chatting away to them. Sometimes you present arguments, other times see what His view on a favour might be. Prayers not something that's taught, it's just you being yourself to the one who created you and it's a free-ness to speak your heart.
However the power of  prayer is all together different, it's power is amazing. When we pray, God acts. He doesn't always give us what we want or what we think is best but He gives us what He knows is best for us in any given situation, sometimes it is what you prayed for, sometimes the opposite and even sometimes it's something all together unimaginable. I've seen this written somewhere before:
When we pray God answers in three ways:
1. He gives it to you straight away and it's what you expect
2. He says "No" and gives you something better
3. He says "Wait" and gives you the best.

 I think it is always a good lesson to be patient in our prayers, all to much in this modern society we want things done quickly but why? So we can move on to the next thing? God's not moving, nor are His promises and we've got our lives and eternity to collect on them so why should we want all our prayers answered now?
I hope I've left some readers with a new insight into prayer, for others who read nothing new then I can only ask that you pray for those of us who need to tackle our attitudes towards prayer and that we can pray diligently in our God's presence.

God Bless

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sword of the Spirit

Which is the word of God.
12 For (B)the word of God is living and (C)active, (D)sharper than any (E)two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and (F)discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. - Hebrews 4:12
(A)Beat your plowshares into swords,    and (B)your pruning hooks into spears;    let the weak say, “I am a warrior.” -Joel 3:10
I thought I'd splash out some verses at the beginning this time. The sword of the Spirit does both of those, it cuts like nothing else and causes the weak to say "I am a warrior."
Now if we take a look at the first passage, what we can see from it is that the word of God can cut anything and pierce anything even the smallest joints and your thoughts as well. I think it's a statement saying the word of God can pierce through anything but knowing God it is also saying no matter how small you think your sin is, no matter how little you turn away from Him there will always be a rebuking from the bible, there will always be something correcting you, because if you aren't perfect then you aren't worthy of being with God. Yet that is the amazing thing about Jesus, He gives us His righteousness, His perfectness which means that the word of God doesn't deem us unworthy but rather causes us to maintain our righteousness and see where we are failing. It also means that if we constantly read the Bible we can keep Satan away and stop Him entering our minds.
The second passage I wanted to share because of the last line and I think that really sums up the whole armour of  God, I think this really encompasses what the armour does, by wearing this we can stand in the army of God and cause the evil on to run.

God Bless

Helmet of Salvation

Well this is going to be a short one, I'm not sure why but this one seems to stump people a bit more than most of the other ones do and I agree with that. I don't whether it's because we have a hard time imagining a helmet as doing more than protecting our head or not, but I would like to think that's the main issue. What's interesting is Paul isn't the first to use this imagery linking a helmet and salvation in fact Isaiah 59:17 contains the same imagery which means that this salvation was put to the helmet for the sake of completing the armour although I can tell you why it really is. My assumption is that it is because salvation through Christ is a choice and one which whilst made with the heart begins very much as a mental decision to follow the truth that you know.
Well I've not entirely made my mind up on the whole matter, I think it will need some more mulling over and discussion with others but if I do ever find a decent answer which holds scripturally true then I will share it here and update this post as well, so keep your eyes peeled on the future.

God Bless

Shield of Faith

So then what is the shield of faith? Well according to Paul it extinguishes the flaming arrows of the evil one, it's certainly a part of equipment that we shall, or should, always have on us. It's our first defence against the attacks, it's in our faith in God and the truth of the Gospel that defends us most against the attacks of the enemy. In fact by extinguishing the arrows it stops the fire burning us and spreading, in a way our faith in Christ Jesus mitigates, if not stops, the attacks on us.
If we were to take the armour of the time, Roman armour, then we should take a gander at the Roman shield which is a big old thing. Well anyway, my point is along the lines that our faith doesn't just defend one part of our body but all of it and that we are so much stronger in fellowship. As in the box formation of Roman armies so can our faith be as we grow, and have fellowship, with other Christians.
It can only be assumed then that our faith and our righteousness are our defence against attacks and it brings forth a challenge in some ways to always be strong in our faith, to grow in our faith, to keep our righteousness at its best and to maintain fellowship with other Christians as much as we can.
Well that's it for a short look at the shield of faith, I feel it should have been longer, I don't know why but there's a nagging feeling of "something is missing" but I can't see what so if you read this and know me and know what's missing then please tell me.

God Bless

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Shoes on your Feet

Put on your feet shoes that are the readiness of the Gospel of Peace, or thereabouts is the third piece of equipment Paul tells us about. In many ways what we are being told to do through this is to constantly walk with the gospel of peace ready and always be ready due to the gospel of peace.
I thought about what the readiness of the gospel of peace might be and decided this is two fold, being ready in it and being ready with it. Being ready in the gospel of peace would entail being set with the gospel, knowing it and the fact that it is true and finally working in that knowledge, whilst being read with the gospel of peace is more about being prepared to evangelise and being prepared to go out with the gospel. I suppose it sums up in the fact we should be ready to move for the gospel of peace and that's a challenging aspect of the armour of God. In many ways we are prepared to confess our sins daily because we know we need to, we know the Truth of Christ, we have faith and salvation. Yet being ready to move for the Gospel, for God. That can be really daunting because you're stepping out with only God to catch you and He's not immediately tangible so we can get scared then. Despite this we have the armour of God to remind us daily that He is there, the armour is what defends from attacks, stops falls from hurting, gives us confidence to move forward in God. The shoes merely gives us the capacity to do so in Christ, in the gospel of peace.
Our shoes now a days aren't always on our feet but I'd expect when the letter to the churches in Ephesus was first written they were so really don't just have the readiness every now and again when we step outside or, in the spiritual sense, out into the battlefield but rather we should be constantly ready. I think the same applies for all the different parts of the armour of God, so be constantly equipped.

God Bless

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Breastplate of righteousness

The breastplate is a needed part of any armour set, it's the major defence of the body and is second in defensive capabilities next to the shield, in fact I'd call it the second line of defense also the colours of your tabard which can accompany a breastplate can identify which army you are fighting for.
I would say all this relates to righteousness, which is to be right with God. Firstly we are defended through our righteousness from the attacks of Satan. We are told in the same passage as the breastplate of righteousness that the shield of faith will extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy, well I believe that's true and whilst the shield of faith can do this, our righteousness can stop those extinguished arrows completely removing the pain they will bring us from coming to us. Yet as like a breastplate our righteousness should be tended to after each battle in so far as to keep ourselves right with God we should confess our sins to Him after every battle we have in this life. 
Also we are identified as a member of the army of Christ through our righteousness and salvation in Jesus Christ. As members of an army we don't fight alone, which is good since a breastplate doesn't have a back and so is, in some ways, designed for fighting as an army facing the opponent down. We should not fear Satan and his attacks but rather face him and challenge him so that he shall flee.

Belt of Truth

The Belt of Truth is in someways interesting because it comes first. Belts are rarely ever cared about when we put things on, unless you're really fashion conscious. I think it might come first because the belt is a support and completing part of an outfit, also the Truth is very important. The Truth that we hold as Christians is that of the Gospel and I'd agree that that is important enough to come first. The imagery of a belt is also quite interesting, not only does it bring to mind something which holds your trousers in place but also a belt can hold many things, sort of like a utility belt. I'd like to think the analogy holds true to an extent as well, since it is through the Gospel of Truth that we are equipped to face this world. This imagery is found elsewhere in the Bible and that is in Isaiah 11:5
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and (A)faithfulness the belt of his loins.
 I found it quite interesting that righteousness and faithfulness were the elements attached to the belt as they easily attach to the Truth as well. In such a way that we are made righteous by the Truth, and Jesus, and our faith in the Truth. Some translations use swash of his loins instead but either way it is something that completes an outfit, connecting it all together and I think that is another bit of the imagery as the Truth really does complete our armour and is the connecting feature of all the other parts of the armour; salvation, righteousness, faith, the readiness of the gospel of faith and the sword of the Spirit. It's the Truth of the gospel that connects and lies under currennt through all the different aspects of the armour of God.
Bringing it back to Christ, Jesus tells that He is the way, the Truth and the life. He is the one that connects it all and is the one through whom we find Truth, whether it be Biblical truth or experiential truth, He is that Truth.

God Bless

The Armour of God Series

Ephesians 6:10-20

The armour of God is in my mind one of the more interesting bits of the Bible and probably worth a bit more study than most others because armour constantly changes, if you look at what the Romans wore compared to what we use as armour now a days and even compare them to the Ottomans who were around not long after. There is so much variation in armour as it changes to best defend the wearer, but then so do the weapons the enemy uses, so it has to change in durability and strength to be stronger than the weapons used against it. God's armour which I will discuss in the following blogs is the strongest armour we will ever receive and doesn't need to change, that's why we aren't wearing a bulletproof vest of righteousness or using a riotshield of faith. It single handedly will defend you from the dangers of this world and keep you safe, even if you sometimes don't feel it.

I'm going to try and delve into the armour of God during these next 6 posts, commenting on each one as I go. I hope you like it!

God Bless

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Weekend

Well it just was Easter Weekend, although this was meant to be written on Saturday so catching up is in process!
So this would have been written on what I consider being the most dulldrum day of Easter weekend. Some don't since they believe Jesus was down in Hell beating up Satan and death, in my head He's down with the dead hanging about playing dungeons and dragons and sharing the good news with all those who died before Him. Either way the Saturday doesn't compare to the victory of Friday on the cross or the glory of Sunday of the resurrection, but nether the less it doesn't take away from the greatness of this weekend. So erm... I think my mind and enthusiasm is slowly dredging away from me so I can only fathom as to how much more thrilling this would be if I had more of it but sadly I can only leave you with a bit of fun about the Saturday of Easter weekend.

God Bless

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Muddy Boots 5: The Beatitudes

Hey, I know this is late and I shall be working to catch up in the next few days but this is the end of the Muddy Boots series with my own view on the beatitudes.

So we've delved through this week with each beatitude taking it's own center stage and now having looked through them all, let us look at them all together.
The beatitudes are the start of Jesus's first teachings on how to live our lives. In many ways He is setting us up already with some hard challenges on how to live our lives already but all is not lost since Jesus spends the rest of His life living out the same beatitudes so that we may know how to. This hopefully comes across with all the Holy Week bits that have been with each beatitude.
Just to recap on the beatitudes:
-Poor in Spirit
-Hunger and thirst for righteousness
-Pure in heart

This is what makes you great in God's eyes. Now I don't know about you but to me, in this world, that wouldn't make a great person. We don't see being pure in heart, persecuted and meek as great, just to combine a few. These qualities are something we tend to see in a few people here and there but what's amazing is that Jesus was not preaching each beatitude to specific people in the crowd following Him. He was preaching this to everyone, these are qualities we all hold and need to nurture for the future. I'm not going to ramble on but it certainly would cause more of a stir for Jesus if we still search for these beatitudes and pray that we can grow in them.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Muddy Boots 4: Peacemakers and Persecuted

Great are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God -Matthew 5:9
So we have made it to the 7th beatitude all about the peacemakers! So what is it really that makes a peacemaker who they are, despite the obvious. Well a peacemaker would be bold, brave and they would confront aggression and aggressors to find a better way of resolving conflict. It is already a tall order for someone but it starts to sound near impossible to think someone could make full peace when during the past 6,000 years of civilization we've only had 292 years of global peace. The odd thing is we see so much war on the news and war is expensive, destructive and devastating one wonders why it continues to prosper. Well Jesus offers us a new way of life, not one of peace but one of the peacemaker.
As with all the beatitudes though Jesus shows us an example of this in Holy Week, leading up to His death Jesus rebuked Peter for using the sword, didn't resist being arrested and in Isaiah it is written that the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him. So the question really is, are we being the peacemaker in our lives?

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
   11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. -Matthew 5:10-12
So the persecuted! We constantly pray for the persecuted church, in the hope that the light of God will not be put out but we never pray that people might meet persecution. In many ways we all want to live a life were we are liked by everyone but we are not, and were never, promised that we would be liked by everyone. In fact when Jesus sent His twelve disciples out He warned them that there would be places where we aren't accepted. We are called to be counter cultural sometimes and our reactions to persecution are definitely one. What is interesting is that this beatitude comes straight after the beatitude about peacemakers, it certainly brings to point that we shouldn't be seeking persecution but rather we are likely to receive persecution in seeking peace.
The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the persecuted so really when we get abused for seeking and sharing the kingdom of God part of us should rejoice because the reward is great. So are we being asked to stand up for anything by God? Are we being called to be brave and courageous in our lives?

God Bless

P.S: I'm sorry for being two days late with this, I'm attempting to catch up.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Muddy Boots 3: Kind, caring and pure

So if you've bee following my last few posts you'll know my church is doing a series about the beatitudes! It's taken the title Muddy Boots because a metaphor of following Jesus is a walk, and one where you really do get stuck in, or metaphorically get your boots muddy. So today we went through the 4th to 6th beatitudes.
So are we all sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin with beatitude number 4
Great are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled -Matthew 5:6
 I think it is fair to say that in the developed world we never have gone needlessly hungry nor have we ever truly experienced what hunger is. Yes, we've felt empty because we haven't eaten in a while but truly hungry, I doubt it. Yet one third of the world's population go hungry everyday, these people are so desperate for food that they will walk for half a day just to find something to eat. It's that desperation that we should have for righteousness. This isn't just righteousness in doing things right and things in the world being right either, no Jesus is telling us to by right with our relationships as well. That's not saying you should be right all the time but rather that you have the right relationship with people and we should work to make those relationship where we aren't right with people into ones where we are. Now as always with our Christian lives we can't just apply what we learn about relationship to just other humans, and this whole beatitudes also holds true for our relationship with God. We've got to have the right relationship with Him too. This would mean we need to confess our sins daily, that we don't deliberately sin and that between Him and us our mess is out in the open and we don't hide it. Yep it's going to be hard to keep our relationship right with God but it is worth it. Worry not though, God hasn't left us without help. Jesus went to the cross and took on the suffering He did so that we could have that relationship with Him.

Great are those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy - Matthew 5:7
We leave righteousness for the fifth beatitude all about mercy. So what is being merciful? Well quite simply it is letting somebody off for something that they did despite the fact they should be punished for it. Also we could depict mercy as being kind to those who don't like us, as such we bless our enemies and pray for them. Now we certainly aren't alone when it comes to trying to be merciful, in fact we have one of the greatest helpers around to help us, God. Being merciful is difficult but at the same time very good, and I'm pretty sure Ghandi and Martin Luther King would say the same. I recognize Ghandi was not Christian but I'm not using him as a Christian example but as someone who was merciful and would also say it is good to be merciful. How good mercy is, or that God gave it to us, is not what is amazing about it though. What's amazing is the being merciful will create more mercy, so what we, as Christians, should be doing is being merciful to others. This is not so that we can receive mercy in return but rather because we have received mercy from God, we know how to partition it on to others. Again Jesus Himself demonstrates this on the cross itself when He asks the Father to "forgive them for they know not what they do."

Great are those pure in heart, for they will see God - Matthew 5:8
To end, today's Muddy Boots section, the quality of being pure of heart will be looked at. Our hearts are all cleansed when we become Christians and so are pure once more, but that's not what Jesus probably had in mind when He said this line, in fact it's more likely He was talking about an innocent, unadulterated core of being, someone who doesn't actually have a sin to confess to almost every minute of the day. In all honest it's pure hearted people who truly glow with something beautiful, but whats amazing is that we are likely to be drawn more to these people since they just want to bless you and have such a close relationship with God. Jesus lived out a pure heart for us, Hebrews tell us that "we have one who has been tempted in everyway, just as we are - but did not sin."  (Hebrews 4:15) So how's your heart? I know mine's not always in the right place, if that's you let's go to God to get it cleansed once more then.

Again I remind you that all this is great in writing but what we need to start trying to do is living it out, we can't just be super spiritual. In fact, you may look at some of those and say "I can't do that" or "that isn't me" but Jesus wasn't saying each beatitude to just a specific group each time but rather they are all qualities we can possess.
So together, let's get the shoes gave us to wear muddy with the muck of life and come out stronger on the other side!

God Bless

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Muddy Boots 2: Mourn and Meek

So today the 2nd and the 3rd beatitudes were spoken about. So we'll go through them in order.
The 2nd beatitudes is "Great are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" - Matthew 5:4.
Now here is where it gets interesting, the word mourn is used in the sense of grieving over the dead, or rather being sorrowful for the way things are. So the question is what makes us sad? Obvious answers to sound like real people are injustice, abuse, immorality and violence but the first thing that crossed my mind was the sin still inside me and that's where the challenge lies in this beatitude, not to just be sorrowful for the sins that are global but to also mourn for the sins we commit, whether in thought, speech or deed. Since when we reach that point of utter, deep sorrow for our sins God comforts us. It is when we are in that desolate place that we are driven into the arms of our Creator and He is there for us. See I am constantly hearing that we should not be afraid of our sin and let it control us because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross but we take that too far sometimes and so start to feel less towards the fact we are sinning. Yet we shouldn't be in fact every sin we commit should shake our world and we should really be sorrowful for each one we commit. Now I'll be the first to put my hand up and say "That's really difficult" and it is but since when was following Jesus going to be easy? Jesus himself gave us an example of this sorrow during Holy Week, He was filled with sorrow in Gethsemane as He came to recognize the sins of the world resting on His shoulder and He was in mourning for each and every one of them. Jesus has been throw the same sorrow we should be going through and He knows what it means, but what we need to ask ourselves and challenge ourselves with is whether or not we'll allow the Holy Spirit to show us our sin again.

The 3rd beatitude is this "Great are the meek, for they will inherit the earth" -Matthew 5:5
Meek does not mean weak or not brave, in fact it is more along the lines of not arrogant but the word meek in the original text has a close meaning to the "broken" as in "broken in." This means it is more in line with us channeling our strength for someone other than ourselves, parallels with a broken in horse. For us as Christians that person is Jesus. Our strength should be channeled solely for Jesus Christ's agenda. In fact one could say that to be meek we must be strong, we are strong because to determinedly seek out and act on somebody else's agenda means disregarding our own desires and following theirs. Yet if we can truly submit to God and follow His agenda, if we can be meek and follow Christ then we have such a high place in the Kingdom. This doesn't mean that we should be meek in order to achieve that high place, because that would be adhering to our own agenda but in fact we should be meek in order to align ourselves with God's will more. If you want an example of someone who is truly meek then look no further than Mother Teresa, she gave up her own life to minister God's will to the poor and because of the fact she followed what God wanted she had an amazing life!
If you want to look further then look at Jesus, He prayed that God's will be done not his. In fact He taught us to pray that God's will be done on earth, check the Lord's prayer if you don't believe me, but a lot of us have started to lose that meaning in our own personal relationship with Him. We want to see God come to earth and have a relationship with everyone but we sometimes don't want to be the person who'll share Him with others and so let other's do it instead. We don't submit to that will within our personal lives. So I encourage and challenge you to pray the Lord's prayer with new meaning, with fresh intention and with your heart.

So be mournful and meek, but don't just feel mournful and meek but do something about it. To use a common place phrase "walk the walk, don't just talk the talk." Wear the shoes God has given you and stride out in them, don't stand still afraid of that first step.

God Bless

Monday, April 2, 2012

Muddy Boots 1: Poor in Spirit

My church is doing a short series this week on the beatitudes. They are calling it Muddy Boots and the reasons behind the picture are good. It's denoting a journey that we take, we are trying to follow Jesus as best we can. We usually describe it as a marathon for how long it is, but what about a long trek up a muddy slope? Well that's the point of the picture, we are always gunning for how long and constantly we must battle that we fail really to recognize how hard we must battle as well, and the fact is a good pair of muddy boots has always seen us through those long, hard treks and will there for the next. The same with our souls that Jesus resides in, He will always be there through our hard situations and prepared to stand in for us during the next one. In many ways it reminds me of the story of the footprints in the sand.

So yes we are all on a journey, any journey s not easy but the destination is great when we get there, whether we run the whole time, jog or walk it's a destination we seek. Jesus undertook His own journey here on earth during which He was misunderstood, persecuted and suffered, but because of all this He received life, power and authority over the world. What about us? Aren't we heading towards something similar? Well it's likely since we are co-heirs with Christ but I'll get into that another time.
So this first bit is all about the beatitudes, Jesus major sermon really in His lie and one which really does teach people what it is to follow Christ. The beatitudes themselves all start with the phrase "Blessed are.." which can be translated to "Happy are..", "Contented are..." or "Great are..." So really the beatitudes are all about how these people are great in God's eyes. 
Blessed are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven -Matthew 5:3
So great are those who are poor in Spirit in God's eyes. Well that sounds easy, reject the Spirit. No wait before you leave thinking that's the message keep reading. It's not wanting to not have a small amount of Spirit that makes us great in God's eyes, it's recognizing we don't have enough Spirit and constantly wanting more that does. Now this clashes with the idea that we are constantly filled, so why would we need more and thereby want more? Well here is how I see it, like a glass full of water you are filled up but there's a waterfall over that cup keeping it topped up, now you can be happy with your cup or you can constantly seek larger containers so that you can hold more Spirit. We have to realize that the cup of the Spirit isn't enough and constantly seek a  larger container. That's what is so great about the poor of the Spirit, it's not the fact they are poor of it since we all are compared to God but it is that they know they are and because of that fact they desperately want more. The aren't all together with their life, they aren't satisfied with their spiritual growth and they know they are in spiritual poverty and so want to grow more and receive the Spirit more.
See it doesn't make sense for Jesus to open the beatitudes with this line if it weren't for the fact it's where we have to start. We can't grow without the Spirit, so we need to realize we need the Spirit so we can search more. Jesus certainly isn't sitting there going "Follow me and be depressed" because He wouldn't reach anyone with a message like that, what He is proclaiming to the people of Isreal, and throughout time, is "Desire more of God!" That is the message He is giving us and in fact apart from "Repent of your sins" is the first thing we find out Jesus tells people in Matthew's gospel. Isn't that kind of representative of our calling as Christians, first we repent of our sins and ask God's forgiveness and thank Him for it through Jesus Christ and then we want to know God more! I'm writing this and I know in my mind I believe I've failed at this and I don't want to read the Bible as much as I used to nor do I try and learn about God, Jesus, having them in my life and sharing them with others as much as I could or should and after today I want to.
So the challenge really is to our lives of content, that we should be happy with our identity in Christ but not be happy with where we are in getting to know Christ and God. We should have a "holy discontent" for how  contented we are with our lives and crave to know God more that we do. In the words of David in psalm 63:
1 You, God, are my God, 

   earnestly I seek you; 
I thirst for you, 
   my whole being longs for you, 
in a dry and parched land 
   where there is no water. 

That's where are attitude to God should lie, that's where my attitude to God should lie. We should be feeling desperate for God. God went so far as to set the example Himself in Jesus Christ during the time leading up to His death, Jesus was desperately seeking for God to get close to Him once more, to be closer than He was already. He was distraught at the idea of being even slightly separated from Him that He was shouting for God asking Him why He had let Him go, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" He cried trying to find God once more. So why does my heart not always do the same, possibly because I've never sat at the Father's right hand but that's probably not the main reason why because I've experience God's glory on the day I chose to follow Him and whenever I truly connect with it all. It's mostly likely because of the content life we live in the western world. I've never gone hungry for more than an hour, worried about what's in the water, had to support my family from a young age. My life is blessed and so I currently don't understand what it means to desperately seek something, and I doubt many of us do understand it properly as well. Yet there are people who do, in fact in places where they really do depend on God for their day to day lives revival is being seen. Heidi Baker, an author, works with the poor in Mozambique and she is quoted as saying this:
Why is God pouring the Spirit of revival in to Mozambique? Because they are poor in Spirit, dependent on God for everything due to their situation.
We need to remember how impoverished we are spiritually and really search to become rich in the Spirit in the west. Nicky Gumbel says "Precisely when we feel this desperate, we come under the reign of God." I would like to challenge the people reading this to not want revival in your cities but to crave it. I think because we only want to see God in this city is exactly why we haven't. We need to start craving revival, desperately seeking God and desperately introducing Him to people. I hear a lot of people say they can't wait for the second coming, and, yeah, neither can I but I also don't want it to happen because at the moment there are a lot of people I want to see saved who aren't. So I should be searching to introduce God to these people more often and just crave to see God work in places. God will meet us in our most desperate places so why not be constantly desperate to know about God more and be filled  with the Spirit more?

Being poor in Spirit is the beginning of the road to greatness.

God Bless.

P.S: sorry for the length, it's my own thoughts mixed in with a talk.

Church 1: It is finished

So first of my church ones, I'm hoping to reiterate what was taught at church doing the mass.
So today's was all about what God did for us and the fact it was finished.
The reading was from Mark 15: 33-47 and Colossians 1: 15-23 read by a guy who sounds like Sean Connery, so it was slightly awesome.
So we start with Jesus death on the cross, where else really? Well in reality we start by trying to understand how much suffering Jesus really went through and so begin before the cross. Before Jesus even began His trip to Golgotha, He was subjected to immense pain whilst being beaten by the Jewish high priests at the time, also known as the Sanhedrin. He was whipped by Pontius Pilate's men, who, it is claimed, could have such proficiency with a whip they could tear to flesh from the backs of men with ease. This all He suffered whilst having barely any sleep due to the agony of what He was going through. Yet on top of all of this He had a crown of thorns thrust upon His head and was forced to carry His own cross across Jerusalem to Golgotha and His crucifixion.
As an interesting sidenote some notes suggest that the whipping before the crucifixion was something that was usually reserved for slaves, or rather the lowest of the low, to add more pain to the crucifixion itself. Which in it's own way shows that Jesus was subjected to the same pain that the lowest of the low would have undergone in that era.
So anyway Jesus gets to the cross battered, bruised, cut up and exhausted but that is not the last of the pain He bears for us. Crucifixion was an art of sorts, it was the most efficient way of torturing someone to death. The crucified would have their arms pulled out of their sockets and all their weight would bear down on their torso causing them to asphyxiate.
That's the physical pain, He also endured the mental and emotional pain of all our sin being put on Him and being cut off from the Father but I to explain it all I would have to write a section longer than above but the pain was probably greater in many ways than the physical pain.
So now you might be wondering why I just explained all the pain Jesus went through, well it's because Jesus endured all that and at the end He said "It is finished!" Not an exhausted, defeated "I'm out" type of "It is finished", but rather an "I've won!" type of "It is finished!" Jesus knew at His death that He had conquered death and had paid the price for our sin and that He was victorious in this world. All this when mere moments before the world had been cast into darkness, Jesus was calling out to God by calling Him "God", not "Abba, Father" but "God" possibly the only time He does in the gospels. All of the wonder of his victory right after the greatest darkness.
This is great news because we now know without any doubt that it is finished, nothing more needs to be done for our salvation because we cannot do anymore since it is finished. That's how we come on to the second reading from Colossians.
The grace given to us by Jesus is by nothing we have done and as I just said by nothing we will or can do but by the actions of Jesus Christ on the cross. That grace is offered freely to us and all we can do is accept Jesus into our lives but even then what are we doing but opening our heart, He's doing all the entering our souls, He's the one changing our lives, even then we do nothing.
I suppose it really is humbling to know that Jesus did everything for us and that we really cannot do anything to save ourselves at all. So I'll leave with that thought and I hope it talks to people.

God Bless.

P.S: If you read this and feel I missed something out from the talk, don't be afraid to comment.