Monthly Archives: March 2013

An innocent man died for me!

Many years have now passed since I first met this man who died for me. His name is Jesus. I heard His story of love and gave my life to Him. How could I resist Him? His love still moves and amazes me! I stand before the cross of my Saviour in awe and wonder! Amazing is His love for me. How can it be? That the king of the Universe should die for me? How can it be that God gave His one and Only Son to die that terrible death in my place so that I could have life, eternal life?

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:4-6

Thank you Lord for Jesus, for the cross and for your amazing love for me! My deepest desire is to love you and serve you everyday! To you all honour and glory.

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I can’t forgive!

Forgiving someone is a very difficult thing. Perhaps this is because we feel hurt or upset when someone offends us, and sometimes we just find it would be so unfair to forgive what people did to hurt us. Our pride and dignity is hurt. We are focussing too much on us, and we ignore our own guilt before God.

You see, God is holy and his honour and dignity are perfect and eternal! When we recognize that, it becomes easier to see that we have received something we do not deserve.

Have you ever stopped to think about your sin, your offenses against God? Can you count them? Perhaps if you did that and then multiplied it by God’s holiness and dignity you would find the result is the size of your debt to HIM. Your guilt.

The Bible tells us that the penalty for our sins is death:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Striking isn’t it? To think that we deserve death but we received forgiveness. This is what God did with our sins:

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

Our record is now clean. While we are letting revenge and bitterness cloud our minds and hearts God sent His Son to die on the cross for us.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Amazing isn’t it? So, when we focus on that it becomes easier to forgive those that offend us.

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13

May God give us the strength to practice forgiveness in our lives.

God bless.

Thanks to Ricardo Libaneo who shared a fantastic post on this subject and has encouraged me immensly. Ricardo is my brother-in-law and is a pastor of a Baptist church in Brazil.

Pruning!

I am not much of a gardener! In fact, I normally kill all the plants I touch, not by choice, of course! I love gardens though! One of the things that always amazes  me about the British people is how much pride they take in having a nice tidy garden!

Even with my small knowledge of the gardening world, I know that certain plants like shade, others like direct sun light. Some are outside plants and some are indoors. I also know that in order for a plant to thrive in the garden and get well established it needs pruning. I have always been fascinated by the pruning process! The gardener there, looking after the beloved plant, cutting away the over growth, the dead bits, the tired ones. Sometimes I watch thinking to myself: “will that ever grow again and be beautiful and colourful?” I often forget the dedicated gardener loves his plants and he knows when the pruning needs to happen and which plants in the garden need it. The gardener knows the plant well. He speaks to it and shows how much he cares and how much he wants to see the plant flourishing and blooming in the right season. The plant cannot do anything, but wait until the time is right and the work has finished.

God is the greater Gardener! He knows all his plants well and in the right time He will start pruning his garden. He will be cutting away, taking the dead, dry bits away, removing what is not good. This process is hard but necessary. All of us, as Christians, will be pruned by the Master in order to grow and flourish. Sometimes it might seem as if we will not be able to get through it, but the supreme Gardener, the Creator, the King of our lives has the whole design in mind and HE knows each plant well. He knows how much light or shade we need, how much water or feed to give us and He knows how beautiful we will be and how much fruit we will produce after the pruning is done and the right season comes.

Perhaps there are times in our lives that we think it is hard and we might not be able to get to the other side of a problem, a disappointment, a health issue, a broken heart, a broken relationship, a different answer to our heart’s desire. Perhaps through these times we find it really hard to understand why.

God is most likely pruning us. Training us to grow in a way He has already designed for us. He is preparing us for, in the right time, produce the fruit or flowers that will embellish the garden and bring an amazing fragrance to the air.

May I suggest that we should respond to God in the same way the plant respond to the gardener: with complete trust that the Gardener knows what he is doing. Although we might feel hurt, cold, ugly, alone, He loves us and is taking care of us. If we carry on trusting and reminding ourselves that God has a perfect plan, it might not be the same plan we think it is perfect for us, but we can confidently say that HIS plan is far better and truly perfect.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8

“Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1

Spiritual laziness!

I have been thinking about laziness lately and the consequences of it. When we are at school for example, and we understand everything and for whatever reason we decide to be lazy about our homework or the work we do in class and just do the bare minimum, the teacher will, most often, think we are unable to do or we are being just lazy. That is very frustrating!

Or if we are at home with lots of little jobs to do, just the normal cleaning and managing the home, and we decide to be lazy, and leave it until tomorrow. Well, we might feel momentarily better and rested, but when tomorrow comes, we will be stressed out trying to make sure everything is done. Or, if we don’t bother about it, the house will just be messy and dirty all the time.

If we are hungry but too lazy to go prepare food, or, even work for food, our bodies will perish. If we complain about others having a house and other comforts in life and we just sit around doing nothing we will never have anything.

When it comes to our Christian faith and growth if we are lazy we are not going to grow or produce fruit. We need to be prepared to do our best to practice all the principles and truths we learn about Jesus from the Bible. It is not enough to just hear about Jesus, we need to let Him rule our lives. We need to work really hard to become more and more like Him each and every day of our lives.

May our God and Father helps us to always desire to work hard in getting to know Him better!

Repentance or remorse?

Have you ever stopped to think about the difference between repentance and remorse? Both attitudes present themselves as a form of sadness. Repentance is a sadness because of the sin we committed that offended God. Remorse is a sadness because of the consequence of our sin.

Peter, one of Jesus’s disciples, denied Him 3 times and in Matthew 26:75 we see what happened when the rooster crowed. Jesus had told Peter this was going to happen.

“Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

We know that this deep sadness that Peter felt was repentance because he changed. We know that Peter became a great preacher and spent his life testifiyng to the Gospel.

Judas, the traitor, in Matthew 27:3-5 is filled with remorse. The sadness caused by remorse will lead to a bigger error:  Judas killed himself.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied.  “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Repentance will always be accompanied by a change. Take Peter again. in Acts 3:19 he tells us to repent and turn back to God. Repentance is followed by turning back.

“19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”

It is this profound sorrow that leads us to realize we are sinners and that our sin is offensive to God. When that happens, we know the only thing we can do is  turn back to Him, to His cross and His sacrifice for us. In Him we find salvation and forgiveness.

God bless!

Tiramisu!

Very recently my son, 7, discovered he loves Tiramisu. If you know him well, you know he is a bit finicky about his food. When it comes to pudding, chocolate is the only thing he likes. So, I was really surprised when he decided to try it and then liked it! He loved it!

So, I have decided to find a recipe and make one for pudding on Sunday. To my surprise, it is amazingly easy to make. It was very hard to wait to try it. It was a success! Everyone enjoyed it!

As I was preparing it I was thinking about life in general and the amount of times we wish there was a recipe for things like raising children, or being a fantastic wife, or a successful person. We sometimes even wish we had a recipe to be a better Christian.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe to raise children, or to be a fantastic wife or a successful person. I can tell you that reading and studying the Bible, getting to know God through Jesus is the closest thing to a perfect recipe to grow in our Christian life. Simple! All we have to do is follow it, be brave and try it!

I found that with recipes, sometimes, I am tempted to adapt it if I am short on some of the ingredients. The problem with that is sometimes it turns out ok and sometimes it is disastrous. So it is with our Christian lives. We can read and study the Bible in order to know God through Jesus, but if we try to adapt it to our liking, we will find the results will be different than what we expected. In order for it to be a perfect recipe it needs to be followed to the letter, and practiced time and time again.

I was very happy my son loved the Tiramisu I made and the smile on his face was priceless! So, I will be making it again soon! I hope and pray that my desiring to grow as a Christian will be stronger every day and that I will want to practice all the things I learn to the glory and honor of the Father.

 

Spring cleaning!

I am not sure I should be spring cleaning my house yet. It doesn’t feel like spring yet! I guess, officially, it is not, until next week anyway! But I decided to start! What a daunting task ahead! I have lots of cupboards, wardrobes, toy boxes to clean and organize, lots of furniture to move around in order to get to those little corners and get it cleaned! I am having to do 2 rooms a day so I can carry on with the rest of the family routine.

So far I have 3 big bags of recycling paper, empty bottles, pots, and one big toy bag to take to the tip and I only did one room and two bathrooms today! If you are like me, I find it really hard to throw things away. I hold on to everything and have been advised many times that when it comes to spring cleaning I need to be ruthless. This is a new thing for me! I have decided to have a little break before I attack my son’s wardrobe!

As I was finding all this unwanted junk and cleaning, scrubbing and vacuuming, I thought about my life and heart! I guess it is time to spring clean my heart as well. Not that I have any power to make it better, because only Jesus and through Him my heart can be clean and new, but I guess, there are things I store there that shouldn’t be in there.

We quite often are very meticulous about our house and cleanliness. Whenever a friend comes around we are frantically cleaning, making sure it is presentable and that people would not think bad of us. Well, at least we do that downstairs!

Why is it that we don’t do that with our hearts? There are lots of clutter in our hearts, unwanted things that are taking too much space. These things could be thoughts we have been having, or the desire to have more material things, or the way we use our tongues to say things we shouldn’t say. It could also be the way we use our eyes, what we watch on TV, or the way we treat other people. How about the lack of patience with our children, or our selfishness screaming louder for “ME” time or recognition for all that we do. To be completely honest it could be all of the above or any combination. We often keep these things stored in our hearts in a little corner, in the dark, collecting dust, being a good ground for all the spiders to crawl in and it is looking ugly.

Surely that is not the way we want to present our lives to the King of kings. It is time to stop and look inwards. Look in all the little corners, cupboards unopened doors of our hearts and let the light in and get the cleaning started and finished so the house is ready for the King.

It is all very well, you might say. But how? How do we do that? We must ask Jesus to help us. It is such a daunting task to get rid of all the things that take space in our hearts and lives that should not be there. Jesus will help us through it. First thing we need to do is recognize that we need to clean our hearts and want to, then, we need to tell Jesus we are sorry for the mess we have made and we would like to present to Him a heart that is in better shape. We can only do that by giving it all to Him, in a big black sack so it can be disposed of.

I remembered a passage that I heard many times and even memorized when I was growing up and it gives us some important things we should keep in our hearts and they will help make it a more presentable home for our Lord and King,

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:4-8

Happy cleaning everyone!