Turmoil and Swords

The world is in turmoil.  There are “wars and rumors of wars” and persecution against Christians continues to reach record-breaking highs world-wide.  But the Scriptures say “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me“.  Note: “because of me”, as in Jesus, not just because we’re a pain.  We are clearly not meant to encourage persecution of ourselves, by living at peace with others as much as possible.  But how should re respond when persecuted?  We are certainly not to use “the sword” as this can defend only earthly kingdoms.  Continue reading

Our Father’s Attitude to Us

https://i1.wp.com/blog.adw.org/wp-content/uploads/father-and-son.jpgDear Brothers and Sisters, when Jesus came out of the water of baptism, our Father declared: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased“.  That is the Father’s attitude to His true children.  Indeed, “in Christ Jesus [we] are all children of God through faith“, which means that our Father has the same attitude towards us*.  He is pleased with us.  He looks on us and says He is happy with what He sees!  However miserable a job we are doing (and sometimes I am doing a fairly miserable job of being a Christian), He not only loves us and forgives us but has an attitude of joy and pleasure in who we are. 
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The Simplest Thing: Right Here

As the title suggests, I am easing myself back into blogging with something simple, but startling.  Putting aside all religious trappings, tradition, and current problems, God is right here.  Right here in this room as I am typing.  I have his promise on that.  True that promise comes from Jesus the Son, but where He is, there His Father is too. Continue reading

What Came First- The Feeling or The Doctrine?

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United States Library of Congress, demonstrating printed pages as a storage medium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do we realise how much our feelings guide us?  Here is a very general way to not read the Bible:

1) read the text and intake via the eye into the brain what is said,

2) have a gut reaction (feeling) and say “God can’t mean that/has to mean the opposite of that”

3) arrange a logical argument with our mind that backs up our feeling, often giving it the best possible motives (“it can’t apply now”, “it stands to reason”, “that was Bible times”…)

4) re-regard the text and summarise that it is a) incomprehensible (“beyond our understanding”) or b) nonsense (“legend”, “poetry”)

The middle two steps here (heart and mind) are not wrong, but they are in the wrong place and (4) is well, how can I put this tactfully… Wrong!

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Grace, Freedom and Faith

Grace and Hope

Grace and Hope (Photo credit: Crysco Photography)

OK, I’m trying to sought out my own thoughts on this as I type… but this generally comes from reading the book “You’ve Already Got It” by Andrew Wommack.  I was particularly impressed by his handling of grace and faith as these are often falsely dealt with as if they are opposed and you must choose a side, when actually we are saved by grace through faith.  The two ideas are opposed but only as your fingers and thumb are opposed, with which you can grasp anything!

We are given (by grace) all that we need.  Every sin is paid off- so no amount of guilt has any right to hold us (would you be in debt if someone had paid off all your debts already- would you try and pay it again?).  This is why there is no condemnation in Christ.  More than this we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing by Christ already.  Even our healings are already paid for.  This bears dwelling upon: Continue reading

Heaven, Hell, annihilation and procrastination

Hell's Eternal Punishment

Hell’s Eternal Punishment (Photo credit: vaticanus)

Just lately I’ve been thinking of hell- it’s terrifying: the idea of never knowing peace or relief from pain.  I can see why annihilationism is so tempting: the idea that it does not go on for ever, the idea that death is just an end for those souls who reject God and his salvation through Jesus Christ.  I really wanted to become an annihilationist when I thought about hell.  I don’t mean thought intellectually about it, but just thought about what it would be like, what it would feel like.  Body and soul are destroyed (Matthew 10:28), but as Mark 9:42-50 makes clear this is not a clean-cut absolute end as “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”  Furthermore, if any part of you causes you to sin, Jesus says “It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell” (and gives other examples).  In other words, no amount of discomfort in this life is worth the pain of hell, even a lifetime of difficulty and pain does not compare.  On the plus side, “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17), which coming from a man who had suffered as Paul had, shows that Heaven will plentifully compensate us for any pain encountered on earth, even a death for trusting in Jesus (my wife has been going through Revelation).   And thank God that it is He who judges and directs the affairs of both Heaven and Hell!  We can know safety and Peace in His saving plan (John 3:16-18)!  Continue reading

True Religion

Prayer

Prayer (Photo credit: Chris Yarzab)

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” says James 1:27 (see link for context), and there is a lot in there about not just hearing but obeying the word.  But this is easier said than done!  Recently I have been reading (on occasion) the old book A Taste of New Wine by Keith Miller.  This book is filled with a lot of wisdom from God, lived out and shared.  It is brimful of encouragement too- the author does not depict himself as perfect but points us more and more towards the perfect God.

One of the interesting points the book makes (among numerous others) is the value of spending time with God.  Just “feeling we ought to” does not inspire us to read the scriptures and really spend time talking with the Lord (oh… and listening).  Continue reading