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)

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)

WHY DO WE DIE?

The Bible states that ‘it is appointed unto men once to die’. This most obvious of facts is among the most distressing things that we human beings face. I have a friend who committed suicide just before Christmas about ten years ago – why I can guess but I do not really know. Shortly after that one of my contacts in Liverpool found that her partner’s nephew had been found dead in his flat.

Death comes to us all but why?

The Bible tells us why. It is because of sin.

The Bible states that we die because we were born into a fallen race. The first man, Adam, brought ‘sin into the world and death by sin‘.

We also are all in the habit of sinning and the Bible states ‘sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death‘. We all sin, fail, hurt, lie, disobey etc, and therefore the moral and physical result is death.

But Jesus said ‘I am come that they might have life‘.

How can that be true? We all still die! That is true physically but when a person comes to Jesus, by confessing our sin and asking him for forgiveness, they receive eternal life. The Bible says ‘He that hath the Son hath life‘. God promises in his word, The Bible, that ‘he that cometh to me I will no wise cast out‘. The Lord Jesus said ‘come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest‘.

This is actually only possible because ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners‘. The Bible puts it like this ‘The Father (God) sent the Son (Jesus) to be the Saviour of the world’.

Amazing! God intervened to solve the human tragedy of death but His only course of action legally was for someone else to die in my place. The only person who qualified was Jesus. His death was voluntary because death had no claim on him, He could not sin, and did not, which is why death had no claim on him. The Lord Jesus willingly died to save me from eternal death in Hell and the Lake of Fire.

What about you, will you trust the one who can deliver from the ‘fear of death’?

Courtesy of http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk

THE #BASTILLE DAY MASSACRE #PRAYFORNICE

The Bastille Day Massacre

At least 84 people were killed Thursday night when a truck careered through crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice. French President François Hollande has said the attack, which also left dozens of people injured, was likely an act of terrorism. He said later that there were 50 injured people “between life and death.” The driver was named as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a resident of Nice, by French authorities.

What happened

According to eyewitness accounts, bodies were sent flying into the air as the heavy-duty white transport vehicle hit them on the Promenade des Anglais at about 10:30 p.m. local time, where people had gathered to watch fireworks by the Nice seafront. Videos taken by bystanders show the truck zigzagging as the driver apparently sought to hit as many people as possible as he drove along more than a mile of crowded road. Images from the scene show bodies sprawled along stretches of road. Local paper Nice-Matin reports the drive lasted 45 seconds.
The driver reportedly also opened fire on the crowd, and was killed in a shootout with police. Photographs show the windshield of the truck riddled with bullet holes after it was brought to a halt.

The reaction

France is in shock, the world has once again been traumatised. What does the future hold? How do we tackle this type of extremism?
We have lots of questions but very few answers!
One word that keeps cropping up is the word ‘prayer’.
Lady Gaga tweeted to say ‘I am praying for you France’. Simon Cowell said the same, so did Justine Timberlake. Paul Coelho asked in a tweet ‘is prayer enough’, Kim Kardashian said ‘God the world needs you’.

My reflections

I believe, and the bible teaches, that the man who perpetrated this crime is evil. He is wicked! My prayers are for those who have been bereaved! My sympathy goes out to the families of the dead and injured. May God comfort them and strengthen in these days of grief, fear, anger and trauma. God is the God of all comfort and he can meet the needs of each of us in all the dilemmas we face in life.

Will Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel be punished?

Indeed the Bible teaches that he will be accountable for what he did! Sin never goes unpunished. Men may fail to implement justice but God will both in this life (at times) and in the next.

But is all evil the same, in other words are there degrees of sin and wickedness?Although the Bible is absolutely true when it states that ‘all have sinned and come short of the glory of God’ I have no doubt that we all agree that violent acts such as this extreme wickedness should be dealt with appropriately.

Be in no doubt that ‘the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death’ – Revelation 21. 8.
I repeat, evil will not go unpunished! God has appointed a day, in the which he will  judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead – Acts 17. 31.
But before any of us sit back and conclude that we will not face God’s judgement (of course God must judge the terrorist and evil men but there’s more to it than that) we should re-read these two passages of scripture.
Please read the other definitions in the list in Revelation 21 verse 8 – ‘the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death’. God is duty bound to deal with all forms of evil not just the ones we don’t like.

Please read Acts 17. 31 again. 

How does God go about judging the world. Just as a Premier, President or Prime Minister selects the right person to take public office so God has selected the right person to be Judge – His name is Jesus.
What is the basis of his assessment? – ‘he will judge the world in righteousness’.
Can we be sure that the right person has been selected? – God has ‘given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead’. The judge in the future will be the same Jesus who came into the world to save sinners. He lived on earth, he knows the human mind, he died for our sins and God brought him back to life to prove once and for all that he, Jesus, is God’s Son and that he is the Saviour of the world.

Is prayer enough?

One of the questions in the tweets I read was ‘is prayer enough’. The answer is that prayer is enough to change the sinful heart of the individual. We must come to God one by one. We acknowledge our sin as individuals and we trust Jesus personally as we repent of our sin and trust Him to save us. Prayer will not be enough if it is prayer without confession of sin or exercising faith in Jesus. If it’s just a ‘save our world’ prayer or a ‘preserve my comfortable life’ prayer it won’t have any effect but if it is a prayer of confession of sin and guilt then God hears and answers.

God the world needs you!

O how true these words are! If we had not turned our back on God the evil we have seen perpetrated in Nice would not have happened. If only we had not sinned then there would be no death, no tears, no abuse and no violence.
But – by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin – Romans 5. 12 and we find ourselves in an increasingly evil society.

What is the answer?

The answer is in turning back to God. By coming His way.  By receiving His salvation, by trusting His well beloved Son – Jesus.
I leave you with the words of John chapter 3 verse 16 – it is the key and provides the answer:

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.

Courtesy of http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk/

Why did God allow Hurricane Harvey?

 

By the time you read this, hopefully, Hurricane Harvey will be long gone, but we all know that the after effects of such a tragedy take a lot longer to handle. The physical reconstruction work is daunting enough but rebuilding lives, families, hearts, and minds is another matter completely. Why did God allow such devastation?

Many people claim to have answers, here are a few to think about.

1. We are being punished for sin.

God brought plagues against Egypt in response to Pharaoh’s “hardened heart.” The book of Revelation is full of disasters arranged by God to discipline those who reject him. Is Hurricane Harvey an instrument of his anger against our sinfulness?
If so, does this mean that people living on the Gulf Coast are worse sinners than those residing in the Wirral, London or New York City? God can use disasters to bring us to repentance, but is this always the explanation for such calamity?

2. Fairness demands that God ignores the crisis.

If God stopped Hurricane Harvey, wouldn’t he have to do the same with every storm? Does this mean that he cannot cure anyone of cancer unless he cures everyone of cancer? He cannot protect one person unless he protects us all! Such logic is flawed. I, personally, know of examples where God has healed in response to prayer, and he has protected people in the past – i.e., in the UK we had a National Day of Prayer on the 26th of May 1940 before successful Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 against all the odds.

3. He does not know or doesn’t care, or can’t help.

Skeptics might claim that if God knew the devastation that this hurricane would bring, or cared for those in its path, or had the power to prevent their suffering, surely he would have intervened. So because he has not, he cannot? However, His word teaches that he is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Moreover, his omniscience, compassion, and omnipotence are on display regularly in our broken world.
So what is my conclusion – I do not have an answer, but I know that God sometimes intervenes in natural disasters and sometimes he does not. I do know that sometimes he heals and sometimes he does not. The scripture states in Isaiah 55:8 ”my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”
I also know that God saves all who call upon his name, Romans 10:13 and that he loves us unconditionally despite the fact that we are all sinners, Romans 5:8. The Bible teaches that one day this broken world will be gone and that Believers will live in “a new heaven and a new earth,” Revelation 21:1.
I choose to trust God, to trust him even when I do not presently have explanations. Will you join me?
Courtesy of http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk/

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.

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An Important question about Jesus Messiah

If we are serious about faith in God, then we will want to search out and  know the truth. Many people have their own ideas about Jesus, some are correct and some are not.

The Holy book, the sacred scriptures tell us Jesus is the Son of God. Many will ask, “How can God have a Son?”

God as correctly pointed out by many is one, the Bible says “There is one God”

Before someone suggests it, God did not have a wife.  We must understand that the One God of the Bible is one in essence and nature and yet revealed as three personalities, who are inseparably united in being, purpose and action. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All were eternally pre-existent before creation, so God the Son, becoming flesh as Jesus the Messiah, while continuing  to be God, we need to understand that He voluntarily humbled himself (Philippians 2) and at his birth, but became a man  (John 1:1 & John 1:14)

The Son of God became the Son of Man. Jesus was the Son of God, like a man born in Tunisia for example, would be called a Son of Tunisia. Jesus continued to be at birth here on earth what he had always been in eternity in heaven.

Thanks for reading – Let’s open up this blog for comments.