HERE TODAY – WHERE TOMORROW?

HERE TODAY – WHERE TOMORROW?

With the speed and facility of modern travel it is possible to have breakfast in the UK and tea in the USA. In travel terms the world has shrunk and this has opened up a whole new vista on holiday destinations with many companies specialising in long haul flights to exotic and distant locations. Travellers are less restricted in their choice and even the most remote places have become accessible, so you can be here today and almost anywhere on earth tomorrow. Maybe, even now as you read this article, you have read the brochures and planned your summer holiday.
However the apostle James in his epistle warns against presuming that we can do this or that tomorrow. In Chapter 4.14,15 we read; ” Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” Solomon in his wisdom, wrote in Proverbs 27.1;”Boast not thyself of tomorrow; For thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”
Life is uncertain, I can call only the present moment mine and I cannot state definitely what I shall do or where I will be tomorrow. You may expect to be in the office, or work on the farm as usual, or attend school as you have so often done but can you be sure? Perhaps life has become rather monotonous and drab and every day seems to be the same but tomorrow could be different. You may feel that you are in a secure routine and there appears to be nothing on the horizon to threaten that but things can change suddenly and unexpectedly. You may on the other hand have planned something out of the ordinary for tomorrow, but will your ambitions ever be realised?
So, where will you be tomorrow? At home, at work, in hospital, in heaven, in hell? What will you be doing tomorrow? Working, travelling, weeping, rejoicing, resting? How will you be tomorrow? Healthy, happy, excited, disappointed, tired, sick, dead? You say, “I have no idea, no one can be sure.”
But there are those of us who know that if things don’t work out as planned, if calamities should suddenly overtake us, if life should unexpectedly be brought to an end, that all is well for eternity.
There is not the slightest doubt in our minds because the Word of God has assured us. Note the confidence of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8.38,39; “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” John writes in his first epistle, chapter 5.13; “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Paul’s last letter was 2 Timothy and in chapter 1.12 he wrote;”…for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
Dear reader, do you have such confidence or do you have nagging doubts and apprehension regarding the future? Are you persuaded or perplexed? Before the end of today you could be able to sing, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”
The facts regarding Christ’s death on your behalf are absolutely beyond dispute. In 1Corinthians 15.3 we read; “…Christ died for our sins…” In 1Peter 2.24 it is stated; ” Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” In Romans 5.8 we read; ” Christ died for us.”
All has been done that you might be in heaven – are you prepared to trust Christ and depend exclusively on Him and what He has done at Calvary to save you from hell and take you to heaven? If so, then tomorrow will hold no dread for you and peace will be yours amid all the uncertainties of life.
(source : http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk)

HARRY & MEGAN’S WEDDING SERMON

HARRY & MEGAN’S WEDDING SERMON – PREACHER MICHAEL CURRY

I so enjoyed the preaching of this man today that I wanted to present it to you. It is not for me to critique his preaching but I want to highlight some of things he said that we would do well to consider.
May you come to know Christ as Lord and Saviour through the word of God. If you understand the grace of God and love of God as displayed in Christ Jesus then you need to repent of your sins, and Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Acts 16. 31.
The Wedding Sermon
The late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, and I quote: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.
There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved. There’s power, power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense, in which when you are loved and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it, when you love and you show it, it actually feels right. There’s something right about it. And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of love. Our lives are meant to be lived in that love—that’s why we are here. Ultimately, the source of love is God himself—the source of all of our lives.
There’s an old medieval poem that says it: “Where true love is found, God himself is there.” The New Testament says it this way:Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; and those who love are born of God and know God; those who do not love, do not know God. Why? For God is love.
There’s power in love. There is power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will. There’s power in love to show us the way to live. Set me as a seal on your heart, a seal on your arm. For love, it is strong as death. But love is not only about a young couple. Now the power of love is demonstrated by the fact that we are all here. Two young people fell in love, and we all showed up. But it’s not just for and about a young couple who we rejoice with. It’s more than that.
Jesus of Nazareth, on one occasion, was asked to sum up the essence of the teachings of Moses. And he reached back to the Hebrew scriptures of Deuteronomy and Leviticus. And Jesus said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ This is the first and great commandment, and the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.
And then in Matthew’s version, he added, he said, on these two, love of God and love of neighbor, hang all the law, all the prophets, everything that Moses wrote, everything in the holy prophets, everything in the scriptures, everything that God has been trying to tell the world. Love God. Love your neighbors. And while you’re at it, love yourself.
Someone once said that Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in all of human history: a movement grounded in the unconditional love of God for the world. A movement mandating people to live that love, and in so doing, to change not only their lives, but the very life of the world itself. I am talking about some power. Real power. Power to change the world. If you don’t believe me, well, there were some old slaves in America’s Antebellum South who explained the dynamic power of love, and why it has the power to transform. They explained it this way. They sang a spiritual, even in the midst of their captivity. It’s the one that says there is a balm in Gilead—a healing balm.
There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul. One of the stanzas actually explains why: if you cannot preach like Peter, and you cannot pray like Paul, you just tell the love of Jesus, how he died to save us all. That’s the balm of Gilead.
This way of love, it is the way of life. They got it; he died to save us all. He didn’t die for anything he could get out of it. Jesus did not get an honorary doctorate for dying. He wasn’t getting anything out of it. He sacrificed his life for the good of others, for the well-being of the world, for us. That’s what love is.
Love is not selfish and self-centered. Love can be sacrificial and, in so doing, become redemptive. And that way of unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive love changes lives. And it can change this world. If you don’t believe me, just stop, think, and imagine.
Think and imagine a world when love is the way. Imagine our homes and families when love is the way. Imagine neighborhoods and communities when love is the way. Imagine governments and nations when love is the way. Imagine business and commerce when love is the way. Imagine this tired, old world when love is the way. When love is the way—unselfish, sacrificial, redemptive—then no child will go to bed hungry in this world ever again. When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook. When love is the way, poverty will become history. When love is the way, the Earth will be a sanctuary. When love is the way, we will lay down our swords and shields down by the riverside to study war no more. When love is the way, there is plenty of good room for all of God’s children. Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other like we are actually family. When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all. And we are brothers and sisters, children of God. My brothers and sisters, that’s a new heaven, a new Earth, a new world, a new human family.
And let me tell you something: Solomon was right in the Old Testament. That’s fire.
With this, we’ll sit down. We gotta get y’all married.
French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was arguably one of the great minds, great spirits of the 20th century—a Jesuit, Roman Catholic priest, a scientist, a scholar, a mystic. In some of his writings, he said from his scientific background as well as his theological one, that the discovery and harnessing of fire was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries in all of human history. Fire, to a great extent, made human civilization possible. Fire made it possible to cook food and to provide sanitary ways of eating, which reduced the spread of disease in its time. Fire made it possible to heat environments, and thereby made human migration around the world a possibility, even into older climates. There was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. The advances of science and technology are greatly dependent on the human ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good.
Anybody get here in a car today, an automobile? Nod your heads if you did; I know there were some carriages. For those of us who came in cars, fire made that possible. I know that the Bible says—and I believe that Jesus walked on water. But I have to tell you I didn’t walk across the Atlantic Ocean to get here. Controlled fire in that plane got me here. Fire makes it possible for us to text and tweet and e-mail and Instagram and Facebook, and otherwise socially be dysfunctional with each other.
Fire makes all that possible. And de Chardin said that fire was one of the greatest discoveries of all of human history. He then went on to say that if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it would be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.
Dr. King was right: we must discover love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world.
My brother, my sister—God love you, God bless you. And may God hold us all in those almighty hands of love.
Amen.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life
The Gospel of John, chapter three, verse sixteen
(source : http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk/)

Discuss The Son of God

The following excerpt from John chapter 5 is crystal clear that Jesus, in defining Himself as the Son of God, is declaring that He and His Father are the One True and Living God.

Let me take you through it, and then I’d be glad to hear your thoughts.

The chapter begins with Jesus healing a man at the pool of Bethesda, who had been ill for 38 years.  Note, first of all, the authority with which Jesus speaks:

Jesus said unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

He doesn’t invoke the name of the LORD, or attribute the miracle to God, but seems to act by His own will and in His own authority. The problem was … Jesus had healed the man on the Sabbath day, an act that the religious leaders classed as work, and therefore illegal.

And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for you to carry thy bed. 11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up your bed, and walk. 12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto you, Take up your bed, and walk? 13 And he that was healed did not know who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, you are made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto you. 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. 16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

In His defense, Jesus makes an astonishing statement!

17 But Jesus answered them, My Father works hitherto, and I work.

What does He mean by this? Well, we don’t need to guess, for the Jewish, religious leaders, experts in the Law of Moses, had no doubt what Jesus meant, immediately identifying it as blasphemous.  They claimed that Jesus was essentially saying, ‘I am God’.

IF YOU THINK DIFFERENTLY, I’D LIKE TO HEAR YOUR EXPLANATION BELOW.

18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Some make the point that these are Jesus’ enemies speaking, so why should we believe them? A fair question, but Jesus Himself goes on to clarify His meaning, drawing the union between Himself and His Father ever clearer. Instead of denying their claim, He confirms it by pointing out the unity of action: ‘as the Father … even so the Son’. It is this unity of mind, purpose and action that is the point of the phrase in v19, ‘The Son can do nothing of Himself’.

(ADAM TO BEGIN WITH, THEN ALL THE REST OF US, MAKE FREE CHOICES TO ACT OUTSIDE THE WILL OF GOD AND/OR DISOBEY HIS WORD,  FOR JESUS CHRIST, THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE! HE CANNOT ACT ‘OF HIMSELF’; OF HIS OWN ACCORD, OUTSIDE OF THE FATHER’S WILL AND PURPOSE, FOR HE AND THE FATHER ARE ONE GOD.)

19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he does, these also does the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son, and shews him all things that himself does: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens (makes alive) them; even so the Son quickens whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son:

Not only does Jesus confirm their understanding, but in this last verse enhances it, by pointing out the consequences of it for the Jewish leaders themselves: they cannot say they are honouring God, if they do not honour the Son.

23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honours not the Son, honours not the Father which has sent him.

How do you honour God, the Father?

Well, because the Father loves His eternal Son, He desires that you honour Jesus Christ, the Son, in the same way, for they are One God, and there is only one response: to bow down and worship!

(courtesy of forwardinhope.com)

Have your say at the bottom of this page.

20% OF PEOPLE IN THE UK ADMIT TO LONELINESS!

I discovered recently that ‘¹ A national commission investigating loneliness in the UK in January 2017 showed that a fifth of the population privately admits they are “always or often lonely”’.

Herbert Van Zeller, 1905-1984, once wrote ‘the soul hardly ever realises it, but whether he is believer or not, his loneliness is really a homesickness for God’. That’s quite a statement. Loneliness is deeper than a lack of company and it affects people in all stages of life.

The following quote from an article in the Guardian newspaper gives us an insight into the loneliness that afflicts young people – ‘²I’m 22 years old and going into my fourth year in medical school. I have been using study to escape loneliness, insecurity and anxiety’. So here is an intelligent young woman and despite all the prospects that she has in life she is lonely.

Social media posts and images are often a cover up for the fears, anxiety and rejection that many fear. There is a real loneliness in many lives. Liz Hoggard in her ³article in the Daily Telegraph writes ‘Researchers now recognise that loneliness is a serious public health issue. As a predictor of early death, it eclipses obesity. Some studies argue that it is a bigger killer than cancer or heart disease’.

The Bible teaches that we were not designed to be solitary creatures; our social needs are deeply ingrained in our personalities. ‘It is not good that the man should be alone’ (Genesis 2v18) is a classic and abiding statement of truth. At a basic level we were created to have a relationship with God as well as with other human beings. Numerous times in scripture we come across the statement ‘I will be their God and they shall be my people’ (Leviticus 16v12, Jeremiah 31v33, Jeremiah 32v38, 2 Corinthians 6v16). In the original creation God came down and walked with Adam & Eve (Genesis 3v8) but sin entered and that relationship was damaged.

Sin separates us from God in this life, and the next, if we fail to address our need of forgiveness and salvation. God is the source of joy, peace, contentment, justice and all the valuable things we crave for in life. Without God, we are without hope in this life (Ephesians 2v12). I believe that the ultimate answer to loneliness is found in a person – Jesus Christ. Life can only be lived to the full when God is involved. Jesus said ‘And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent’ (John 17v3).

In summary:

Loneliness is only one of the many effects of sin.

Sin came into the world by an act of disobedience on the first man’s part (Romans 5:12 states – ‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned‘) and it has been perpetuated by our acts of disobedience.

Before the effects of sin can be resolved (and this will only be partial until we are in heaven where there will be no sin, death etc) the root (cause) has to be dealt with. Which is why the scriptures teach in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 that ‘Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures‘.

To know God in your life you need your sins forgiven. To experience the joy of that relationship each individual needs to turn from their sin (repent), turn to God and trust His Son, Jesus. You trust Him in the sense that you understand that He (Jesus) is the Son of God, that he paid the price in full to cancel sin when he suffered and died on the cross. You believe that He alone can forgive you for your past behaviour, your sinful character and that you need Him as your Saviour.

If I have confused you please get in touch and I will try to answer any questions that you might have.

Stephen  Baker (source http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk)

¹ source – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/life-looks-good-surface-lonely/April 2017)

Manchester Sadness

FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2017  (Courtesy of: www.seekthetruth.org.uk)

WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN READY?

In most homes when someone is going out for the evening or leaving for work it is normal to hear someone shout ‘are you ready yet’?

Preparing to go out or getting ready for various events in life is a major part of human activity. When two people fall in love and decide to get married then great preparation is made for the wedding day. Later on if they discover that they are expecting a baby there is equally as much planning that goes into the preparation for the arrival of the little one. Life is full of times of preparation. Often this is exciting and sometimes it makes life very hectic.

As I consider the tragic events that took place in Manchester, England in the last week I wonder how many people who entered that arena were prepared for the end of their life. Please don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to make mileage out of a sad event and I don’t think that they shouldn’t even have had to consider that life may have ended in such an awful way. But my question remains the same – how prepared was each individual, in that arena, to leave this world and enter the next. My heart breaks when I consider the age of the children that died. The tragedy of teenagers who had hardly begun to live and life was taking forcibly from them but the question remains the same – how prepared were they for this final step from this life to the next?
Please let me turn the question round and address it to you. Are you prepared for the next life? Do you understand that there is life on the other side of death? Do you realise that this life is about the preparation for the next?
There are a lot of other questions that sit alongside the ones that I have posed. Questions that might challenge some of the things that I have send! You might say that I’m making assumptions. Or you may deny the validity or the basis of the statements that I make. I would, with all due respect, ask you to read some of my other blog posts before passing judgement as they go into more detail about why I believe the Bible and the gospel of Jesus Christ to be the truth.
I want to leave you with a couple of statements from the Bible and I want to request that you take time to consider them and reflect upon them.
Proverbs 14:12
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs 16:25
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
This statement is repeated twice by a man who is renowned to be the wisest man who ever lived. Basically he is saying that we think we know the truth, we think we know what is right but actually we get it wrong and our way ends in death.
You are no doubt a very good person as measured against other people but we all are flawed and sinful and need salvation from a God who is holy and against whom we have sinned.
Ecclesiastes 12:1
Remember now — thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
This is a warning to young people to think about God early in life. You might be well beyond ‘the days of your youth’ but if it was important to think about God when young then it must be even more important and urgent as life progresses. God is concerned about all his creation, he hates evil, he will judge the perpetrators of evil but he does not pick and choose which sins he judges. He judges grosser sin more severely than lesser forms of sin. However that will not be much of a comfort when you are excluded from heaven, God’s grace and all that our hearts desire. God will judge all sin and humanity fairly and justly.
Amos 4:12
Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
This recommendation was made to a nation. They had sinned against God and were about to be judged by him. The advice of the prophet Amos was that they should prepare to meet God. The advice is just as significant for us today in the 21st-century. We need to be prepared for the day when we meet God.
I am praying that God would give help in our country to reduce and control terrorism. I doubt that will ever eradicate it but I hope that we can minimise it and reduce the horrible events of Manchester being repeated elsewhere.
But let us learn a lesson. A lesson that we would rather not learn. We need to be prepared for the unexpected, prepared for the end of life, prepared even though we might not be in the age bracket where we expect life to end. It could, and did and the tragedy is that many were most likely not prepared.
The ultimate advice in the Bible is that we should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, Acts 16:31. Would you take that advice today.

SHARE:

Peace with God?

ISLAM, THINK

Peace with God?

We all long for peace, in our families, communities or the wider world, and yet any peace we find never lasts for long. The reason is that we don’t enjoy peace with God, and peace with God is the foundation of all true peace.

Peace with God is impossible in our current sinful condition.

Jesus Christ, the true and living Word of God, tells us in the Bible, that the reason we don’t have peace with God is that ‘all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). Because the ‘heart is deceitful … and desperately wicked’ (Jeremiah 17:9) no amount of outer change will make a difference. All our prayers, good deeds, or religious commitments can never cleanse our sinful hearts. Peace with God is impossible in such a condition, but there is hope.

Peace with God is made possible through the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

‘For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things … making peace by the blood of His cross.’ (Colossians 1:19,20)

This is amazing grace. The eternal Word humbling Himself to not only become a man, but become ‘obedient unto death, even the death of the cross’ (Philippians 2:8). And while on that cross Christ ‘once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God’ (1Peter 3:18). In other words, it is because Christ died, that it is now possible to have forgiveness of sin and peace with God.

Christ Jesus is able to ‘bring us to God’ because He is ‘risen from the dead’ (1Corinthians 15:20). He is the living Saviour, and He promises that ‘whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16). This is the promise of God. Do you believe it?

Peace with God becomes certain when we trust the Lord Jesus Christ.

If forgiveness of sin, and eternal life was something we had to merit through our good deeds, prayers or religious commitment, we could never be certain of attaining such a position. We would never have peace!

However, the good news is that forgiveness of sin and eternal life are gifts from God to those who will humble themselves, confess their sin and accept that Jesus Christ has paid the price on their behalf. All that God asks of us is to trust Him. If you do, peace with God is guaranteed.

‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved’ (Acts16:31).

Courtesy of: https://forwardinhope.com

By ALM