Monthly Archives: May 2013

4 types of heart

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We don’t normally think about the types of heart people might have. Is there such thing as different hearts? I googled it and only found different types of heart diseases or heart attacks, heart blocks or heart failures. I didn’t find anything about different hearts as in the muscle that pumps the blood around our whole body.

The Bible speaks of different types of heart. Jesus once told a story about a farmer who sowed seeds. Some seeds fell along the path, some fell on rocky places, some fell among thorns and some fell in good soil. This story can be found in Matthew 13:3-9.

The places where the seeds fell represent people’s hearts. The first one hears God’s word but does not understand it. This heart is vulnerable to the attacks of the evil one who snatches that seed, or God’s word, away from that heart. The second one, receives God’s word with gladness in their hearts, but because it is in rocky ground it does not have deep roots and once the persecution starts, they let go of what they heard and don’t believe any more. Note, when we talk about persecution here, it might be as simple as being mocked by peers at school or at work for believing in Jesus. It does not necessary mean being put in prison because of His name. The third type of heart is that of a person that hears God’s word but is too preoccupied with the things of this life. It is a heart that is concerned and distracted by the wealth and riches of this world. So, those things stop this heart truly believing. The fourth and final type of heart is that of a person who hears God’s word and understands it. This heart not only understands it, but because it does, it produces fruit. It is someone who lives it out and therefore witnesses to other people.

Such a simple story but so rich! How many times have you been discouraged when telling people about God and the amazing love He showed us through Jesus and they simply do not get it or choose to ignore it? Jesus told us we would meet people like that. He also told us we would meet hearts that are good soil, so, do not be discouraged. Like with the farmer, our responsibility is to sow the seeds, God will prepare the soil.

Have a blessed week.

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knowing God’s will

How do we know if we are doing things in our lives according to God’s will? Have you ever wondered? Is it possible to know?

How do we know that the way we act in our day-to-day lives is pleasing to the King?

If we live our lives trying to hit the target, ie, God’s perfect will, and we miss it or get it wrong, then we create a series of events that will be all wrong. I never practiced archery, in fact, I am pretty bad even playing on the Wii, but for a minute, lets imagine that doing God’s will is a bit like trying to send an arrow to the centre of the target, only to realize that most of the time is not getting even close to the center. Sometimes it is not even hitting it at all. As it happens with archery, that can be very frustrating and even leave us filling guilty because we always fall short.

Now, lets imagine a Motorway. Here in England most Motorways have three or four lanes and barriers to separate the traffic going in opposite directions. God’s will is like that Motorway. It is covered by lanes of principles from His word. It is guarded by His Spirit to help us know what He wants for us. Christians are very much like a car on the Motorway, we are free to move through the lanes, provided we do not drive through the barriers.

For example: you are unemployed and have been offered two jobs: the first will give you £45,000 a year and the other will give you £70,000. So, do you take the bigger salary because God wants you to be rich or do you take the lower one because He wants you to be poor? Perhaps a better way to look at it would be: do any of these jobs make me do things that are not in line with God’s principles in the Bible?  Will I be required to lie? Or treat people in a rude way? Will I be breaking the law of the country? All of these are outside God’s principles. It is like we have broken the barrier in the centre and are now driving the wrong way.

Lets have another example: say you are a single woman and you want to marry someone. You have two very nice men you met and they could both be good husbands (bearing in mind they have to choose you as well). They are both Christians and are interested in marriage as well. You are free to choose. Get to know them and if one of them chooses you, you are a very blessed woman. Now, if you cross the barrier, say, meet someone who is not a Christian and want to marry him, then that is not God’s will. How do we know? The Bible tells us about it in the New Testament. Remember, God’s will is like the Motorway, and its lanes are covered by God’s principles we can find in the Bible.

How do we know God’s will then? We need to know Him better. To learn more about the principles in the Bible. Follow the principles and trust in Him because His will is perfect!

God bless!

The Lion and the Lamb!

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The lion is a majestic animal! Strong and mighty! The lion is known as the king of the jungle! It has a mighty roar that can be heard for 5 miles!

The lamb is a weak animal. It is easily preyed upon. It is sheared so clothes can be made from the wool. The lamb is also killed for food. In the Old Testament it was used as a sacrifice for forgiveness of sins.

These two animals couldn’t be more different. The Bible describe Jesus as being the Lion and the Lamb. How can that be, you might say?

Jesus came to the world to serve and to die for humanity. He acted like the lamb, that Perfect Lamb which was required for the sacrifice, so the sins of the people could be forgiven.  John, the Baptist, gives this testimony about Jesus:

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  John 1:29

And Isaiah describes what Jesus would do for us:

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Isaiah 53:7

Jesus died for us and rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father in heaven. One day He will return. When He returns He will reign in all his might and power.

In Revelations 5:5 we read:

Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’

Here we see Jesus being called the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He has triumphed! What an amazing truth! If we continue to read verse 6 we will see Jesus being called a Lamb again:

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth.

A lamb standing, not dead, but alive standing and with great power! It is here that we see the Lion and the Lamb coming together: the King Jesus, triumphant, powerful being honoured, yet still the Lamb, the perfect sacrifice, the price paid for all those who believe!

How marvelous it will be, the day when every eye will see and every tongue will confess that He is King!

God bless.

Castle!

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We live very near Arundel in West Sussex. Arundel has a beautiful castle! Castles are fascinating! We have a very romantic idea of what castles should be like in our minds, perhaps because of fairy tale books or Disney movies. Castles were built to protect the land at different times over the course of history.  They were strongholds! A fortress where people could find shelter, feel secure and protected!. A castle has thick stone walls and strategically positioned towers to help to defend the people againds their enemies! It is a mighty structure built to stand grand on the land! It can be seen from a far off distance!

God is like a castle! He is mighty and powerful! Stands above all gods as the KING, the only true King. He offers us protection, security. He loves us and defends us against the enemy. He stands strong for all eternity! His love can be seen and felt all over the world, even by those who do not fear Him. He saves us and helps us to be strong in our day-to-day lives.
We can always trust  Him and call upon Him to keep us safe!

Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shieldand the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”

God bless!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all need a smile on our faces every once in a while! :)

I came across these little stories and they put a smile on my face! Have a great Saturday!

The Cop – While taking a routine vandalism report at an elementary school, I was interrupted by a little girl about 6 years old. Looking up and down at my uniform, she asked, “Are you a cop?” “Yes,” I answered and continued writing the report.
“My mother said if I ever needed help I should ask the police. Is that right?” “Yes, that’s right,” I told her. “Well, then,” she said as she extended her foot toward me, “would you please tie my shoe?”

 

Looking through the Bible -A little boy opened the big family bible. He was fascinated as he fingered through the old pages. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible. He picked up the object and looked at it. What he saw was an old leaf that had been pressed in between the pages. “Mama, look what I found,” the boy called out. “What have you got there, dear?” With astonishment in the young boy’s voice, he answered, “I think it’s Adam’s underwear !

 

Stolen pencils

Teacher: “Jimmy, why aren’t you writing?”
Jimmy: “I don’t has a pencil.”
Teacher: “Jimmy, that’s not a correct sentence. The correct way is: I don’t have a pencil; he doesn’t have a pencil; we don’t have a pencil.”
Jimmy: “Who stole all the pencils then?”

 

Where is God?  – A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. The two were always getting into trouble and their parents could be assured that if any mischief occurred in their town their two young sons were in some way involved.

The parents were at their wits end as to what to do about their sons’ behavior. The mother had heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children in the past, so she asked her husband if he thought they should send the boys to speak with the clergyman.

The husband said, ‘We might as well. We need to do something before I really lose my temper!’ The clergyman agreed to speak with the boys, but asked to see them individually. The 8 year old went to meet with him first. The clergyman sat the boy down and asked him sternly,’Where is God?’

The boy made no response, so the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, ‘Where is God?’ Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy’s face, ‘WHERE IS GOD?’

At that the boy bolted from the room and ran directly home, slamming himself in the closet. His older brother followed him into the closet and asked what had happened. The younger brother replied, ‘We are in BIG trouble this time. God is missing and they think we did it.’

The wisdom of children – You can’t fool the kids in Sunday school, they are way too smart…

‘If I sold my house and my car,had a big garage sale,and gave all my money to the church,would I get into heaven?’I asked the children in my Sunday school class.

‘NO!’ all the children answered.

‘If I cleaned the church every day,mowed the yard,and kept everything neat and tidy,would I get into heaven?’

Again the answer was,’NO!’

‘Well,’I continued,’then how can I get to heaven?’

A five-year-old boy shouted,’You gotta be dead!’

True faith or mere religiosity?

Have you ever stopped to think about the difference between true faith and religiosity? I watched a little video recently about it and I was very challenged by it. I praise God for the opportunities He gives me every day to learn more about what it means to truly follow Him.

What is the difference you might be asking? There are two important things we need to consider in order to understand it: teaching and learning. True faith is present in a person’s life when he/she hears the teaching and learns, ie, practices it in his/her life. Religiosity is when someone hears the teaching and learns nothing from it, ie. only goes through the motions and does not practice it. This is a matter of the heart. People can hear God’s word and give their hearts to Him, in obedience, and follow HIm, or people can hear God’s word and go to church all their lives, sing hymns to Him, pray to Him and not give their hearts to Him.

Lets see what an example of that in the Bible.

And the Israelites served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the leaders who outlived him—those who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110. They buried him in the land he had been allocated, at Timnath-serah[b] in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 After that generation died, another generation grew up who did not acknowledge the Lord or remember the mighty things he had done for Israel.” Judges 2:7-10 (NLT)

The Israelites, God’s people, served the Lord while Joshua and the leaders were alive. Joshua and the leaders were teaching them and encouraging them to live for God. This is why it is so important that Christian men, teach God’s word faithfully in our churches, so that the people of God is encouraged to live by their example.

Notice verse 10 says that after all the leaders, and Joshua, had died, the people didn’t know the Lord or remember the mighty things He had done.  The people were not following God anymore. Their hearts were somewhere else.

Let me give you another example: we teach our children about God. We tell them to pray to Him. We take them to church every Sunday. We tell them to listen to the preacher and to their Sunday school teacher. We encourage them to sing and take part in things at church. All of these are wonderful things if we are helping them and encouraging them to learn about Jesus and apply what they learn in their lives. They are good if they are centred in God’s word, and if they are helping their hearts be transformed. As I said before, if there isn’t any learning, transforming of the heart, it is mere religiosity.

We must pray to God to help us have true faith, so that those people around us will not call us religious people, but will start seeing that we follow Christ.

How does God speak to his people?

I have come across an interesting question many times: How does God speak to His people? When we read the Bible, God’s word, His manual of how to live our lives to please Him alone, we see that many times in the Old Testament, God spoke to his people through  visions or dreams, or through angels or prophets – God’s messengers. But how does He speak to us today? If He speaks to us at all?

The Bible also tells us in Hebrews that God speaks to us through His Son – Jesus.

“1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.”  Hebrews 1:1-4

If we want to know God better and really listen to Him, we need to know Jesus. How do we do that? How does one get to know the Son of God? Through the Bible – God’s word. That why it is so important that our churches are centred on the Bible and preach/teach it faithfully. That is why it is so encouraging to go to church on a Sunday and hear God’s word being explained and know that by knowing Jesus better we are knowing God better.

Jesus also commanded His disciples – the original ones and all those that follow Him today – to teach people to obey His commands.

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

How were they to teach people to obey Jesus’s commands? They were to bear witness and we need to do it through the Bible. This was Jesus himself telling His disciples what to do. They were to share the good news of the Gospel and teach them.

Listening to Jesus and getting to know Him is how we are going to learn how to live lives that are pleasing to Him.

So, how does God speak to his people? Through Jesus – through the Bible. Praise Him for those churches where the preaching of God’s word is the center of their worship, because this is God’s will for his children: that we get to know Him better and that we obey Him.

God bless!