Category Archives: God
Well it’s the start of the new year so I thought I should really starting getting back into my blog-space.
I find the music reviews I do really easy, especially as music basically is dropped on my lap it’s really simple… studios, artists, labels and producers send me new albums to listen to… I listen to them and give my opinion… it’s easy.
But then I have this other world… the world where I think about stuff and try and explain it… for myself if not anyone else.
However I am very thankful for you (the reader) for taking the time to read my stuff…
So where do you start?
For ME it is about thinking and knowing the promises of God… and not just knowing them… standing on them.
Just like Goliath held a whole army captive… so do our fears and failures often hold us captive…
However just like David we need to know and stand on Gods promises.
“David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47
See the battle is the Lords… and the Lord delivers our enemies into our hands.
So all we have to do is BE BOLD and give it to God, so that when we step out we know who has our back!
So what are the Promises of God we should know and believe and LIVE?
“If God is for us who can be against us?” – Romans 8:31
“The one who is in you, is greater than he that is in the world” – 1 John 4:4
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” – Philippians 4:13
“In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” - Romans 8:28
So why should I learn and remember these verse?
You shouldn’t… you should be LIVING them… and learning them is a good start… pin them up… write them down… however you remember them do it!!
Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness… and what did Jesus do?
He went straight back into the Word of God and used them… not to defend himself but as a sword.
This year… I’m going to stop playing defense…
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Lets look at moving mountains instead of camping at the bottom of them!
Isn’t it funny how it’s often when people are being sarcastic that they finally say the truth… especially when it comes to things against Christians or the Christian life.
You’ll hear things like “Of course God will look after him…” (followed by an eye roll) or “suuuuure God created the Earth” – it’s all things that are made to make us feel bad about what we believe, however the truth is that some of the most intelligent minds argue the facts or intelligent design or evolution. And to be honest I believe in intelligent design because there seems to be more and more evidence being revealled to us all the time, and the more we can see at a micro level the more it seems that there was some sort of thought process that has gone into it… it doesn’t seem to me that it’s all hap-hazzard, but something that was so well thought through… that doesn’t happen by accident.
I mean if the thought of intelligent design sounds crazy… you might want to look at the other option.
People like Richard Dawkins are asking you to believe is that we evolved from a turnip… In his own words from his book The Greatest Show on Earth he says “It is the plain truth that we are cousins of chimpanzees, somewhat more distant cousins of monkeys, more distant cousins of aardvarks and manatees, yet more distant cousins of bananas and turnips”
So let me get this right, we get laughed at for believing that fruit and veges were created… but Richard Dawkins would like you to believe that we’re cousins, before admitting that there could be a chance that God created it, let alone the Earth he’s standing on. It only seems to make the Bible seems even more relevant when in 1 Corninthians 1:27
“Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful”
You see, others will have you try to believe that it’s all about OUR intellect… OUR wisdom… OUR power… however we hardly have enough power, intellect or wisdom to keep our society clean or free of crime… maybe… just maybe we’re not as smart as we think we are… I mean the last time I looked, we still hadn’t been able to create the simplist oranism, the start of a creation.
I went down to get milk from our local gas station, it’s a the place where I always go to get my petrol, so I knew the guy behind the counter pretty well, a
Indian who is now a New Zealand resident… and he looked at me and asked me something that I didn’t expect.
He asked me “Tell me about Christmas?”
Now to be honest I was a little bit confused, I mean we were coming up to Christmas… it’s only a few days away, surely he had to know something about the holiday by now…
So I stumbled out the words “What exactly do you mean by that?”
And he went on to tell me about how he was confused… when he was growing up he had met some Americans who went to Church and prayed… then went home and had a party with the family.
I knew what he was talking about as it was something simliar in my world… maybe not as simplistic however I knew what he was getting at.
“BUT…” he said
I thought “hold on here we go…”
“I’m confused, because everyone these days just wants to party and get drunk… so tell me… what does Christmas mean?”
AT this point I would love to tell you that I came up with the perfect discription of how Christ was born to be the saviour of all mankind… but I didn’t… I froze… I mean seriously where do you start?
All these things went wizzing through my mind at the same time… so I just picked the first one that came to my mind, and blurted out something to do with God coming down to be one of us so that he could make a way for us to be closer to him…
I wasn’t proud of it, and it wasn’t pretty… but I did it.
I went away thinking… why was that so hard?
I could tell you 50 reasons how God changed my life, I can tell you why I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and I can tell you why you need to make a descision to follow Christ and be born again… but that wasn’t the question.
The question was “Tell me what Christmas is about?”
Christmas is one of the most important points in the Christian calendar, its when God came down to be with us… 2nd only to Easter, when he died to take our place…so shouldn’t we know the story as more than just “little baby Jesus?”
Are you ready to answer the question “Tell me about Christmas?”
Because your answer might be just what someone is needing to here…because Christmas is so much more than presents, and lights and family and decorations and wanting to be with the ones you miss…
Christmas is about God loving us so much that he gave his one and only son, to come down from his place of Glory and come live among us so that he could suffer for our sin, and take the punishment for our sin… so that we could be closer to him.
SO tell me… what is Christmas about?
To say I love Christmas is an understatement…
I LOVE CHRISTMAS…
I even start playing the Christmas Carols a month out… I love it. There are some REALLY cool Christmas carols, but one of my favourites lyrically is ‘Hark the Herald Angels sing’ a song originally written in the 1700′s – I think it’s the simplicity of the words and the fact that the more you look into what they mean the more they reveal.
One of the verses particularly stands out for me:
Mild he lays his glory by
Born that man no more shall die
Born to raise the sons of Earth
Born to give them second birth…
Did you pick that up?
Among the story of a baby born into the world in one of the most unlikely places… there is a future.
But not the future of this baby… a future for us.
Here lies this baby… growing up… to die for us.
“Born that man no more shall die…”
Let that sink in for a while… he died for you…
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
1 Peter 1:3-4
You see Christmas is more than the story of when a baby was born into the world… this is a story of a rescue, God laying aside his Gloryand putting himself in the place where we should have been… taking the punishment of death for the sins that we did… the punishment that WE deserved.
God was giving us a second chance…
Hark the Herald angels sing.
Christmas seems to be getting crazier every year… more things to do… more things to buy… more sales… more tinsel… more… more… more.
And if you’re a Christian like me you hear the same stories over and over again… and while these stories are often well intended or even true after a while they start to sound a bit stale… and that’s sometimes hard to focus on what the real meaning of Christmas is.
For me it’s about one word that translated in English means three words:
Emmanuel: God with us!
Think about it GOD… the creator of the universe and everything in it… someone who is so HUGE that it’s often easier for people to intellectualise him away… to say “I can’t even think of how that would work… therefore it can’t be true” than to think of the vastness of a God who really wants to spend time with you… and that’s part of the irony isn’t it?
A God who doesn’t need us… but wants us, while we desperately and totally need God and yet we don’t really want him most of the time.
God WITH: he wasn’t just God who studied us from afar like some ant farm experiment… he was WITH us.. he came and lived with us… not as a King… not as a person of stature… but one of us… the ordinary… the plain… the broken… and he suffered and he died in a way that none of us would never be able to understand… one commentator calls it the most vicious way any person could invent to kill someone else.
And yet knowing this God came down… to be WITH us… knowing that we’ll reject him.
God with US: You and me… Jesus came to die for us… and he dies on the cross knowing our past sins… and our future sins… and yet he went and died for us anyway… because there was no other way for us to have our sins removed
We can earn our way to heaven… we can’t beg our way to heaven… we can’t even evangelize our way to heaven…
The only way is through Jesus…
Emmanuel… God With US…
When we look at Christmas through the lens of that one word… EMMANUEL… it changes everything.
Why aren’t we telling our kids this all the time… Why aren’t we passing this on?
Don’t we want our kids to experience God’s grace?
Isn’t this the Good News we want them to hear… that there is hope in this world… that there is something to live for in this world… and it’s far bigger than you and it’s far bigger than me… and that’s GREAT… that’s the way it should be… because anything that would be in our control we would stuff up so monumentally that it would never work…
And yes it will be hard – but if life were easy… then we wouldn’t need to rely on God would we?
Emmanuel: God with US… and he’s still with us… so why do you only remind yourself of that at Christmas?
The word awesome is a bit of a funny word isn’t it?…
Awesome… it’s like “I have some awe… but that’s all”… yet we use it to mean “Wow… that’s more than amazing”
An even funnier word is ‘Awful’… it’s obviously a bad word… yet it would seem it should be a much happier word… “I’m full of AWE”
Either way… I like the word AWESOME… it may seem at times to be over used… but I genuinely like it as a word… there is nothing better than hearing someone say to you “You’re awesome”… and it feels just as good telling someone “You’re pretty awesome”…
It warms up your heart… it’s one of those ‘Awwwwww moment’ words
Yet why do we think of ourselves less than Awesome?
You see not only are you made in God’s image… but you were saved from Sin, even when you weren’t worth saving.
Do you see that?
God really likes you… he thinks that you’re awesome enough to save you, even when you had turned away from him… even when you didn’t want to know him…
And he did what only he could do… you couldn’t save yourself… but God loved you so much that he sent his only son to die in your place.
You see you matter to God… anyone would be happy to take a hit for someone who was good… but for Jesus to DIE for us in our wretched state only shows how much you mean to God.
God thinks that you’re pretty awesome.
So why do we hide away in our own self pity… or knock ourselves down?
The rest of the world tries to knock us down… so why should we?
“let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” Romans 12:6 (The Message)
God loves you so much… and not in a cliche sticky sweet way… but God actually likes you… he really likes you!!
He thinks… You’re AWESOME.
I wish you could know that for yourself…
not because of what you’ve done…
or look like…
but because you are God’s masterpiece (Eph 2:10)… God doesn’t make junk.
I’m secure in my man-hood when I say… I like butterflies, they are beautiful, colourful, and they float through the soft warm air of your summer.
I especially like how they were once one thing… but now they are something totally different.
It’s like us really as Christians… We are born a caterpillar.
There’s nothing wrong with a caterpillar, they spend there day roaming around and they eat leaves I would have to assume that it’s a pretty cool life… sure there is the odd bird or other enemies that are there to attack you, but ‘hey’ that’s life in any world.
They are something else… not only can they walk and do most of the things that caterpillars can do but they’re free from having to walk… they can fly, they can float from leaf to leaf… branch to branch.
Romans 6:3-14 tells us that we, as Christians are dead to our old life… and alive in Christ (we have been ‘reborn’)…
So… if this is the case, why do we spend our time crawling around like the caterpillars that we once were… when we can soar and fly above the fields we fought through?
It doesn’t make sense does it?
But here’s the really cool part… the rebirth process is only the start… it’s only a down payment… it’s an echo of what is to come.
You see we still get aches and pains… we still get our hearts broken… we live in a fallen world.
But 1 Corinthians 15:35-39 tells us that when we get to heaven… we’ll be given a new body… the right type of body for all eternity… no pain… no suffering… no heart ache… no regrets.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” - Revelation 21:4
As my Pastor Murray Talbot put it “He will wipe away the tear on your cheek right now, the tears and hurt from your past, and the tears you will give to others… will all be wiped away”
Isn’t that cool…
I like butterflies… they are beautiful, they are colourful…
But what is in store for us is much much much better… don’t you think?
I was talking to a friend of mine, and I was reminded about the amazing provisions that God had continued to bring into the life of myself and my family.
There have been so many times in my life where our cupboard was bare… and just at the right time someone came with a box of food…
Or when our car had been in need of repair… and just at the right time the money came into our account – the EXACT amount.
I can give story upon story of how God has provided for us at just the right time in so many ways.
Revelation 12 says:
And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die – Revelation 12:11
Testimonies remind us that God is still in charge… how?
Because no one can take away the things God has done in our lives… we EXPERIENCED it.
It’s kind of like walking in and seeing your grandmother naked… you can’t UN-SEE things like that… and you can’t un-experience the things that God has done for you.
When we share the things that God has done for us we take away from the enemy his lies telling us that “God doesn’t work in our lives anymore” when we know he does because we have experienced that in our lives.
We have experienced his Grace, we have experienced his healing, we have seen and heard his answers to prayers… and we can say with all honesty that “God has been with us Thus Far and we know he will continue to be with us.” (1 Sam 7:12)
Often we think that Testimonies are only to do with how we became a Christian… and what God did for us does come into the story of how we became a Christian… but Revelations 12:11 talk about how POWERFUL our testimonies actually are.
One of my favourite testimonies I have heard was in Mark Batterson’s book ‘The Circle Maker’… t goes something like this:
Bob Bagley was a missionary to Africa. His tribal church was literally meeting under a tree and one day the local witchdoctor cursed the tree and all the leaves withered. They lost their shade. They also lost their status! That curse overshadowed them. So Dr. Bagley decided to call a public prayer meeting. He laid hands on the tree and prayed that God would resurrect it. I love his prayer: “It’s not my name that’s at stake.” He knew that he couldn’t establish God’s reputation without risking his own! The rest of the story? Not only did God resurrect the tree, it became the only tree of its type that yielded fruit twice a year!
Isn’t that great… those sort of testimonies remind us who’s really in charge, and that God is able to do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20)…
But here is the thing – If we don’t share the way God is at work in our lives, then we’re tempted to think God isn’t working at all.
So what are the stories that YOU have of Gods provisions in your life… God’s Grace etc…
Are you telling people about them… because they are YOUR stories to tell… and another way of overcoming the enemies in your life.
Isn’t it so easy these days to not engage with anyone… or you might engage but on a really small shallow level…
I was thinking about the things that influenced me the most… and it was two things.
Things that made me happy… and things that made me sad
Do you remember the things that your parents said to you when they said something like “You must always remember this…” – it’s great if you do… but I certainly don’t… the things I remember are the times that someone gave me encouragement, lifted me up… a parent telling me that they were proud of me… a friend giving me an ‘atta-boy’ at going a good job… it’s those things that stick…
On the flip side however it’s the things that often hurt the most that stay in your mind too… the time when you felt betrayed, shamed or guilty…. these things when held onto can hold back and cripple someone.
My thought is… if the things that impact us the most are so influenced by the people who are part of our lives, and if we are filled with the Holy Spirit and different from the rest of the world… then why don’t we encourage each other more and help take away those negative thoughts???
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”
We’re to ENCOURAGE each other… lift each other up… motivate each other.
“By acts of love and good works…”
It seems to me that when we are being counter cultural to the norm and we start to show our love for others… and do things for these people… it makes a real impact. The world expects people to take advantage of them, to use them when they are weak, and to hold a grudge… what are we doing to counter that?
Notice however it does not say “just saying nice things”... but it’s “doing” nice things… it’s putting your money where your mouth is… it’s walking the talk!
After all LOVE is a verb.
And what starts to happen when we start to do things for other people and love them how Christ loved us (which is unconditionally – after all he died for us when we were still sinners) then not only do we see those around us change… but we start to change too.
You see we’re called to spur each other on… but how do you even start that??
We need to make sure that we’re taking our cues from the Holy Spirit… just ask if there is anyone in mind that he thinks you should ‘spur’ on… or maybe there is someone that comes to your mind straight away… how are you going to make them feel encouraged?
However here’s the thing…
Spurs often hurt… sometimes you need to give the person that you are trying to encourage a bit of a ‘dig’…
Wounds from a sincere friend
are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Sometimes you have to say the ‘hard word’ to a friend… sometimes you have to give your friend a reality check… and it can be hard and it can be painful… however if your friend knows that you’re saying it from a sincere place… and if you feel that you’re saying it as a prompting from the Holy Spirit… it may be the things that sets them free from some of the pain that they have been holding onto for sometime.
So are you encouraging your friends?
Are you spurring them on?
What are you doing to change the life of your friends?
Because isn’t it easier to be right… than it is to love someone?
Lets not choose the easy option!
Have you ever been in a place where you have been making progress in your faith and all of a sudden you get railroaded?
I have… after a hard couple of months due to business and just ‘life’ in general I finally felt like I was in a place that was a place where I could get real with God again… it was time to do business!!
I had been really getting back into the word of God and reading it each morning with my wife Emma… and then last night we were with our growth group and we decided to have communion together… it was something most of us had never done outside of a ‘church’ building before and it , and most of us agreed that it gave it a different feel… a different focus… as we wrestled with how it was described in the Bible.
Spiritually I was feeling like things were getting back to where they had been before…maybe even better… until today.
A while ago I was in a position where I was being pursued by another woman… it was getting pretty messy (I won’t go into details) however I was given the opportunity to move to another part of the city for my job and I took it… and things were going pretty well… until today.
The same person I had being trying to stay away from and cut out of my life, started to message me, and text me… out of the blue?
I don’t think so… because all of a sudden I found myself thinking of where I had been before instead of where I was going.
It hit me like a bolt out of the blue…
I was frustrated on the drive home in my car… why this… and why now… things were starting to look so good.
And then I realised the hugeness of what having communion and remembering where we had come from as sinners meant to me… and then what it meant to the enemy.
And then I started to be frustrated at myself…
“Of course this has happened now… you had drawn a line in the sand and declared that you are aligning yourself with God… and the enemy doesn’t want that”
It was a ‘Duh Goose moment’
The reason it took me off guard was because I wasn’t being vigilant.
“Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy…” – John 10:10a
Was I that naive to think that these things happening were an accident?
The enemy is strategic and forceful, and he’s playing for keeps… the Holy Spirits role is to help you have a closer relationship with God… and the enemy wants the opposite…
Be vigilant… keep and eye out.
Now I realise what is happening I am certainly going to be.