In the last week I have met a lot of people who are not prepared to think for themselves. They are following the current trend in our society to ‘rubbish’ belief in God and to ridicule the idea that there might be some validity to faith. If you are reading this blog you are probably not one of these people but you may come across them on a daily basis. Just remember that faith is only as good as the one in whom you trust. This is why it is so important to understand the integrity of the Bible and the historical basis of the facts stated therein.
The Bible states in Psalm 118:8 ‘It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man’. (incidentally this is the central verse to the whole Bible when you divide it up by the number of chapters and verses – interesting and significant!). The Bible also states that it is better that your faith ‘should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God’.
Will you dare to be different? Read the word of God today (The Bible). Start in the New Testament and read the four gospels. Discover the truth concerning the Son of God (Jesus) becoming man and dying ‘for the ungodly’ (that’s all of us, as we did not know God by nature and were disobedient to Him). He (the Lord Jesus) is worthy of your trust and he died to be your Saviour. Pray to him today, search for him in prayer and in reading the Bible. Admit your guilt before God and ‘call upon the name of the Lord’ and you will be saved.
(source : http://www.findingthemissingpeace.co.uk)
NEW YEAR CHALLENGES
JESUS HAS CONTROL OVER DEATH
THE PROFOUND MESSAGE OF CHRISTIANITY
NEW YEAR CHANGES
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11v28
The Absence of Rest
As dusk settles on our city all seems peaceful. But, under this appearance of rest, turmoil and struggle abound. From day to day, the burdens, the disappointments, and sorrows of life bear down upon us, and in the darkest hours of struggle we can feel helpless, even hopeless.
Yet, in this helplessness there is hope. There, we realise that the source of our burden is our separation from God. We begin to understand that rather than rest in our God and trust in Him, we have sought to follow our own path, to our own hurt. And there, we realise our own responsibility – that our sins have separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2).
At first, this seems to increase our helplessness. We wonder how we could ever be reconciled with God, knowing it is impossible for us to ever do enough to make things right with Him (Romans 3:10-20).
The Hope of Rest
But, in this darkest of hours hope appears, and descending into our darkness, Jesus Christ, ‘the Light of the world’ (John 9:5), invites us to find reconciliation and rest in Him. Truly, these are words of hope:
Come unto me … and I will give you rest
This rest is not the kind of temporary rest we experience in this life. Rather, it is a complete and eternal rest. A rest that knows the work of reconciliation is finished, once and for all, and this was accomplished through Jesus Christ, when God ‘made peace through the blood of His cross, to reconcile all things unto Himself’ (Colossians 1:20).
This rest has its source in God alone, yet Jesus Christ said, ‘I will give you rest’. There can be no other explanation than to understand that Jesus Christ is God – not another God, for there is only One God, the Creator, who having completed His work of creation, ‘rested on the seventh day’ (Genesis 2:2).
The Restoration of Rest
Now Jesus Christ, the author of rest, has come ‘to be the Saviour’ (1 John 4:14), the restorer of rest. He has come to ‘bare our sins in His own body on the tree’ (1 Peter 2:24); to make reparation for our wrongs. For God ‘hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is a real and eternal hope, for it is based in the finished work of Christ.
Now, when we come in our helplessness to Jesus Christ, and repent of our sin, He lifts us up saying, ‘Your sins are forgiven … go in peace’ (Luke 7:48,50). This forgiveness brings us to have peace with God (Romans 5:1), and as we come into His gracious presence, we come to enjoy the peace of God (Philippians 4:9). This is the rest Jesus Christ invites us to.
The Invitation to Rest
We have seen that the provision of this rest cost God a great deal. But for us, who ‘labour and are heavy laden’, this rest is free.
All our obligations have been paid in full by Jesus Christ, and all He asks of us is to come. He wants us to trust Him: to accept His provision and His promise. It is when we fully trust Him that we find fulness of rest.
‘Come unto me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls’.
Come to Jesus Christ now, and be at rest.
(source : forwardinhope.com)
A recent article reported a baby Jesus figure as having been stolen from St Annes Square nativity scene (Lancashire) – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-46599641
Is this vandalism or deliberate theft? We trust the culprit will return the baby Jesus.
I was reminded by this news article of the sad fact that so many people love to celebrate Christmas, but the Lord Jesus is absent! Whilst I’m not a lover of nativity scenes, I am all for reminding people that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. Is the Lord Jesus Christ part of your life?
Do you have room for Him?
Remember, what I do with Jesus Christ in this life, He will do with me in eternity.
If I have no room for Him in life and refuse to accept Him as my Saviour, then He will have no room for me in heaven, and on account of my sin will refuse to accept me.
Wise men years ago asked after Jesus Christ was born, “Where is He?” Ask yourself the same question.
The Gospel is good news!
Good news that there is hope, salvation, forgiveness, reconciliation, life, glory … for all of us. Good news that we don’t have to do anything to get it, but that God is willing to freely give it to us.
Why? Because we deserve it?
Absolutely not! We are dead in our sins, separated from God our Creator, and it’s not just a passive state. We are actively enemies in our minds by wicked works, heading to a lost eternity, without hope.
‘But God … is rich in mercy’ (Eph 2:4)
There is good news for us – the Gospel.
‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Roms 6:23)
God wants to bless us with the gift of salvation – eternal life – and is able to because His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, willingly took our place under the wrath of God, was wounded for our sins, and died, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
That death was on the cross, where Jesus suffered, going into the darkness and the place of separation, to cry ‘My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’, bear the wrath and judgement of Almighty God, and then die for our sins, to rise again the third day.
Without Jesus Christ there is no hope of salvation, no good news, no Gospel.
Without the cross there is no hope of salvation, no good news, no Gospel.
Therefore, the Gospel that we preach and make known can be summarised in four words.
Christ and Him Crucified
(source : forwardinhope.com)
Life’s most important questions – Is Jesus alive?
The Lord Jesus Christ is no ordinary person. I make this statement in the present tense because the Lord Jesus is not just a figure of history but he is, today, still alive in heaven. I don’t mean alive in the way we might think about a relative who has died and hope is now in heaven. As a Christian I believe people who have turned from their sin and accepted Jesus as their Saviour will be in heaven when they die but this is not my point at the moment. I mean that Jesus is alive, physically in heaven.
Your response might be – impossible and unbelievable!
The evidence points to it being statistically impossible for the historical predictions (the bible calls them prophecies) being fulfilled accurately being mere coincidence!
It was impossible to deceive so many historians and eye witnesses on a such a grand scale!
In support of this the bible clearly states: ‘these are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life in his name’, John 20:31.
What do you think?
HERE TODAY – WHERE TOMORROW?
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).
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)