Saturday, 29 September 2018

Angels among us

Had a knock on the door recently and two men and one lady wanted to talk to me about ANGELS - I was gobsmacked to say the least because Angels were far and away from my thoughts at that moment.

They chatted about this amazing new world that was coming and the mighty part that Angels will have on that day - I was taken aback a tad and struggled a lot in what they were saying.

Right at the outset of this blog I must admit that I don't know a lot about angels - all I do know is that they are heavenly beings created by God and worship Him constantly - also they are there for specific reasons such as announcing very special events such as the birth of Jesus and many more events recorded in the Word of God.

Getting back to my visitors that Saturday morning, and I must add here that they did sweep me away with their knowledge of angels and their purpose.

I had nowhere to go really except to say that I did indeed believe in Angels and their purpose specifically granted to them by God almighty.

I did say however, and I suppose this was the reason they left my home shaking their heads, convinced I was way out of line and utterly wrong, was that I truly believed that Jesus was higher than the Angels and in fact he was equal with God and part of the triune Godhead being the Father, Son and Spirit. I quoted John 10:30 when Jesus spoke to His disciples saying "I and the Father are one".

Before they left, they told me that "Jesus is like God - He's close to God BUT he is not God". It was at this point that I said to them "Jesus is Jehovah to me" - and that's when they left me.

In Isaiah 6:1-7 we find angels in the vision of Isaiah touching his lips with burning coals in an act of consecration. In this vision we see the primary acts of these amazing creations of God standing or flying around and above God's very throne continually declaring God's holiness. They exist simply to attribute worth to God. announcing the perfection of His character. These powerful, majestic beings are perfectly fulfilled doing nothing other than worshiping God.

It's amazing, when we think of it, that the very act of worship and praise that we offer to God is resoundingly upheld by the angels in God's presence doing exactly the same thing. We are not alone in our worship, Angels are continually before God's throne.

Throughout the scriptures, as already mentioned there have been a lot of recorded instances when we see angels visiting. Sodom and Gomorrah is a prime example - appearing in human form these heavenly creatures rescued Lot and his family from the destruction that befell those cities.

Another example is when an Angel appeared to Elijah suffering from an acute bout of depression and hunger when Jezebel was out to execute him. Angels appeared to Abram and Sarai announcing the impending birth of Isaac in their old age. And so it goes on many times recorded for us.

There doesn't appear to be in the Bible a mention of personal or guardian angels mentioned in the Bible but there have been recorded plenty of instances when people have actually seen angels guiding them and in all sorts of situations.

In her book Tramp for the Lord, Corrie Ten Boom that amazing woman arrested by the Nazi's for protecting and hiding Jewish people during the holocaust was convinced that angels protected her when she was openly on a bus smuggling bibles. Apparently guards boarded the bus she was on and searched everyone looking for contraband of any description.

If she had been caught she would have been arrested, imprisoned and even death was a possibility. As the soldiers approached searching everyone seated there, she closed her eyes and literally felt a presence guarding and protecting her - the searching soldiers went straight past her and continued the search.

Hard to explain but surely if our powerful God sent angels to protect and guide people thousands of years ago the same can be said of today.

Esther Mass, well known to dozens of missionary kids around the world, was on her way to church on April 13, 1988. A short distance from home she was involved in a car accident. Almost immediately a man approached at her van door. He took Esther's hand and at his touch a comforting peace spread over her. The man was in his thirties, he wore tan work clothes and needed a shave. He asked one bystander to call 911.

When Esther asked his name, he said he couldn't tell her his name but that she would be fine. He stayed until the emergencies crew arrived and then was gone. He may not have been an angel but his ministry fits with what we know from the Bible about what angelic care is like.

Then of course we see hundreds of times when no matter how hard we may pray we are not spared the trials and tribulations we may be going through.

All I know is that our God is awesome, holy and so mighty - How can we puny humans put our mind into the mind of God - of course we can't.

We just have to have faith knowing that our mighty God is the mighty God who saved us and that there are tens of thousands of angels surrounding his throne glorifying His holy name and that one day we will know for certain just why and how these amazing events take place.

As Christians we live in a world of crisis and security alerts - every day we seem to face some new threat. Even spiritual enemies are out to deceive us. We should take heart because our strength is in the protection of the Lord no matter in what form it takes.

Friday, 14 September 2018

OK... Time to Jump in the Wheelbarrow

According to Wikipedia, Jean Francois Gravelet AKA Charles Blondin was born on 28th February, 1824 and was renowned as a tightrope walker and an acrobat.

He toured the USA and was known for crossing the 340m Niagara  Gorge on a tightrope often wheeling a barrow.

Apparently he crossed the raging divide from the Canadian side quite a few times with differing theatrical variations to his feat. Once blindfolded, and as mentioned trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts and carrying his manager on his back.

He even sat down half way while he cooked and ate an omelette and believe it or not stood on a balanced chair with only one leg on the rope.

A story is told (not sure how true it is) of how he trundled his barrow across the divide from the Canadian side of the falls full of bricks approximately weighing the average weight of an adult male.

When he got to the US side he was met by a crowd of well-wishers all applauding his great accomplishment. Among the crowd, so the story goes, was the Lord Mayor who promptly congratulated him.

Blondin asked the mayor did he believe that He could carry him safely over to the Canadian side. The Lord Mayor said that he truly believed than Blondin could do just that. "Well hop into the wheelbarrow" said Blondin. I really feel it would have made headlines if the Lord Mayor had indeed climbed in but I'm guessing if that story is true he wouldn't have (and I can't blame him).

When I heard this story I thought of what is the difference between TRUSTING God and BELIEVING in God? In other words I really feel we all have to TRUST enough in God to JUMP IN THE WHEELBARROW.

Believing about or believing in something is fine and good and just - like I believe when I am climbing a mountain that my safety harness will hold - I also TRUST in my safety harness that it will hold me if I fall.

When I go swimming I believe that my swimming ability will keep me afloat - that I am safe with what I believe that my swimming instructors have told me that is true and will keep my from drowning - I not only have faith in what I have learned but I trust in my ability to carry it through.

Believing in and about something is certainly not the same as trusting and having faith in that something - In James chapter 2 it says in the New Living Translation:-

"You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and tremble in terror".

A long time ago I met the girl of my dreams - I reckon it definitely was  love at first sight - I was struck by her piercing blue eyes and her strawberry blond hair. Did I want to marry her? YOU BET I DID!! As I said it was love at first sight - Did I know her? NO I DIDN'T (not at that stage anyway), but I trusted her and I had faith in her that she felt the same about me as I did about her

It was the same when I became a follower of Jesus - I believed about Him and I believe that when I made a decision to follow Him I believed IN Him and I reckon it was a faith, small as it may have been at that time, that allowed me to put my trust in Him.

Over the years I have come to a pretty awesome conclusion and that is the Great God that I first put my trust in through the faith that he gave me originally, wants us all to know Him better and better and the more we get to know Him the bigger and better our trust through faith in Him will grow in us.

When SueAnn and I were first dating and newly engaged I tried all ways to make her think and feel that I was way and above anyone else she'd ever met - bracelets and flowers, perfume and all things pretty - I went above and beyond to prove myself to this amazing girl of my dreams that I loved her and she was the world to me.
We now don't need 'things' to show each other our love although it is nice to celebrate it when the time comes around

God loves us with an everlasting love and He wants us to love Him that way too - He doesn't want all of our "pretties" he doesn't want our good works to make us love Him - he doesn't need the incense and the candles nor even our money. What he does want is our trust fuelled by our faith and surprisingly when that is in our lives we do want to show His love by the works we do - so in lots of ways one stirs the other and we can live our lives to show his love.

So how are you in trusting Jesus? Are you still in the believing about Him stage, but haven't come to the realisation that you don't really KNOW Him at all? God wants us all to know, trust and love Him more and more and all it takes is a simple prayer - simple but from the heart - similar to this one:-

God, Creator of the universe, You made me - You love and you want me to know you better. Thank you for sending Jesus to take my sins away - Forgive me for my brokenness which has been brought about by my own sin. I don't just want to believe ABOUT you, I really want you to transform my life so that I can trust you by the faith you have planted inside of my soul.

If you have prayed that prayer from your very heart, why not contact me through this blog or through and we can chat about our commitments in more depth.

So like the Lord Mayor - it's no use just 'saying' you believe he can get us to the other side - it really is time to trust through faith and jump in the wheelbarrow. Make a stand today - God can change your life for the better and even better.

God bless you this week as you consider the difference between believing ABOUT God to trusting IN God through faith.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

The Art of Doing Nothing

The art of doing nothing has been perfected so well by a lot of us here in the Western world of our so-called civilisation

It's just so easy to turn our backs and do nothing when all we have to do is to turn on our television sets to see what is happening to the world as it spirales seemingly out of control.

I personally seem to have perfected the art of doing nothing to the nth degree - so to that end I have decided to stand up and be counted and help us much as I can to supply not only material things to those in need but also to cease taking a back seat and keeping my faith to myself.

Where we live in New South Wales Australia we are undergoing one of the worst droughts ever recorded and I can never remember such a winter that has been as bad. Our farmers and our food bowl which we all rely upon is in desperate need of rain which hasn't fallen in certain areas for well over eight years. This web link will let you know exactly what is happening here

We are all pulling together to help each other with donations of food and water being trucked from other Australian states. Through this time it has been a wake up call to me of just how bad it can be. Yet, we are blessed that we have a government with the resources to assist and rally us all around to support each other during the crisis.

While I was challenged to help our farmers and so many others affected far more than we, I was also reminded of just how bad it is in other parts of the world who have no clean water at all, children and adults dying through starvation and thirst - we are so blessed.

Once more the art of doing nothing came home to me big time - the scenes of war are devastating - children and adults alike being persecuted and killed horribly for their faith on God - we really have no idea.

I was gobsmacked here in Australia for example when I see that Indonesia is hosting the Asian Games costing tens of millions of dollars yet other countries support poverty stricken children and families there through World Vision, Compassion and other aid organisations. YES The art of doing nothing is alive and well.

At our Growth group meeting this morning we talked about the REAL love of God and what it means. In 1 John 4 there is a lot to be said about loving your brothers and sisters in Christ - to make sure they are coping with life and all that it throws up to us often on a daily basis.

John doesn't pull any punches when he writes that those who don't show love to their brothers and sisters, then the love of God isn't in them at all.

To be persecuted and hated by another is really tough - to forgive that person is tougher still but that is what we are commanded to do - we are also commanded to "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5: 38-40). Does it mean that we have to go out time and time again turning the other cheek and being hated continually by the person or bully doing the hating?

I feel God doesn't mean that - to forgive is great and actually releases you from the stranglehold of the chains of self-pity and even depression but I also feel that going back to try to regain a toxic relationship is not what God meant at all. Of course it all very much depends on the circumstances for each effected individual.

We certainly don't want to engage in physical violence and we definitely don't want to get caught up in the blame game and seek revenge.

With all those things in mind what can we do as Christians to stop ourselves from sitting back and perfecting the art of doing nothing? So easy to do if you have been on the receiving end of unfairness, hurtfulness and even violence.

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is prayer - Prayer for those in real need and also prayer for those who hate, bully and persecute. Some of the VERY bravest, courageous and bold warriors of Jesus are often those who have been hurt both physically and emotionally. They have realised that prayer is the answer for every problem.

So armed with heaps of prayer and knowing that God has forgiven us even considering all of the heartbreaks we have had and all the mistakes we have made what can we take away to help others going through similar experiences?

Love! Love when you are scared to love!

Give - Give when we are scared to give even if giving seems unfair to us - like in the case of Indonesia, lavishly dishing out millions of dollars when their own children are dying in poverty. Does it mean just because we feel it is unfair that we shouldn't assist these children - of course not! That is definitely not what it is about.

Fight - Fight for the weak and helpless - take time and effort with a brother or sister who are struggling , emotionally or financially. Keep an eye out for the sickly and the needy - think of creative ways we can help them while constantly praying eanestly for all.

Speak - Speak out for those who can't speak - those in slavery or those in mental anguish - let's not be satisfied with sitting on the sidelines and perfecting the art of doing nothing.

It takes a soldier to walk the walk of faith - it's so easy to just talk the talk - anyone can do that while at the same time doing nothing. So let's live life for others always aware of their needs making sure we are prepared to stand tall for Jesus and them.

The Return of the king

Loved the Lord of the Rings - The Return of the KING!! "The eye of the enemy is moving - the end has come - Frodo moves closer to Mo...