Faith for the Race

Some days are better than others aren’t they. We encounter set backs and discouragement sets in. We feel like not a lot has been achieved or we don’t see growth as fast as we want. It takes time though for green shoots and fruit to appear or re-appear especially in some seasons of our life. If you can identify with that then I hope to encourage you with this post from 2020. It was inspired by a message from our pastor at church who encouraged us to run the race of Faith set before us with these words:

You can run a lap of faith;

One Step at a time – Mark 1

Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ At once they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:17-18

One Command at a time – Deuteronomy 11

Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. Observe therefore all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. Deuteronomy 11:1,8

One Day at a time– Colossians 1

In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world – just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. Colossians 1:6

One Seed at a time – Matthew 13

But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.’ Matthew 13:18-23

One Test at a time -James 1

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Whatever lap of your race you are on. Keep going..you will cross the finishing line and win the prize.

Have a blessed day 😀🙏

Let Everything that has breath….

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150:1-6

This was my daily reading today and it made me feel so blessed I wanted to share it.

How wonderful to be alive and able to give an offering of praise and thanks to God today. Some might not have the ability to offer more than that but how sweet a sound in God’s ear such praise will be.

Have a blessed day.

Staying close to the source

There have been some wonderful and inspiring things I have seen this weekend away in the Derbyshire Dales. I love how the beauty of nature reminds me of God. You see His hand in creation. The wildlife and scenery.

Some man made things have also inspired me- like these old drinking troughs which were built to collect the fresh spring water for the nearby village. The men and women would collect it daily and even sell it for a penny a bucket.

The spring feeding these troughs has never been known to run dry
Even the dog knew which trough was the best water

The first 2 troughs which collected the spring water were clear but the furthest ones were filled with weeds.

It reminded me how we keep pure and fresh by staying close to our saviour, Jesus and staying in and being obedient to God’s Word. The more we stray the weeds in our lives start to choke out Godly purity.

The last trough filled with weeds

Gates-inspirations from Nehemiah

All my recent posts on gates can be found here:

Gates-The Sheep Gate,

Gates-The Fish Gate,

The Rubbish Gate,

The Valley Gate,

The Fountain and Water Gates,

The Horse Gate

Gates – The Inspection Gate

Gates – The Inspection Gate

This is the last in my series of posts on the Gates. I will include a link to all of them on a separate post as well for ease if you haven’t seen or had chance to read the others.

The Miphkad Gate or The inspection Gate

The bible teach us that Jesus is coming back (Hallelujah) and we should live today and each day with that in mind.    

Whatever we are doing -let us do it with an eye to the future and make it count.

This gate reminds me of the judgement seat of Christ.  An inspection appointment.

The bible teaches us that one day we, as Christians, will give an account of ourselves to Christ. We will appear before His throne and Christ will judge our works.  Each one of us individually will appear before Him. How we long to hear those words from His lips “Well done good and faithful servant”. Christ has gifts for us as rewards for our faithfulness to Him.

We can be confident that we are not being judged for sin to face the wrath of God because our sins have been paid for by Jesus’ precious blood, but we will give an account for our works or in other words how have we have lived out our lives for Jesus as His follower.

Paul teaches on this in 2 Corinthians Ch 5 – v 9  “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad“.

What is Christ looking for? 

I believe it is His character reflected in us and how it has manifested in and through our lives as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We are exhorted to be doers of the Word and not just hearers.

Matthew 7 – v 17 – “Every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit“.

This takes us right back to the Sheep Gate where we started our journey around the gates – We have to be rooted in Christ to bear good fruit.

John 15 talks of the true vine and Jesus says:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit working in our lives is Galatians 5: 22 – ” love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, – Against such there is no law: And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires“.

If we are rooted in Him then the good fruit will be produced naturally by the Holy Spirit working in our lives and what we do will be good and pleasing to Jesus.

Let us not become weary in doing good but let us encourage each other to grow in our love for Jesus, the Holy Scriptures and to be wells of living water to those we meet. To boldly proclaim the Word of God in season and out of season.

I have added a link here to another post which I posted some time back on Being a Faithful Servant.

Blessings to all.

 

The trap of deceit

I was inspired to repost this today when I read this post from Alan Kearns of Devotional Treasure yesterday which you can read here https://devotionaltreasure.wordpress.com/2022/06/08/traps-on-your-wayside/

Among my people are the wicked who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch people. Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful.” Jeremiah 5:26-27

Among My people – That is a sobering thought. I believe God is warning His people again now to beware of the wicked one’s trap of deceit. If we fall into that trap, we will be in great trouble. If our minds are deceived then our eyes become blind to the truth and our ears do not hear correctly. The communications we receive are tainted. We see through a distorted lens of deceit and hear through a filter which corrupts us.

The messages we receive become mixed and we are in danger that wrong things are heard and not discerned.

The trap of deceit sucks us further and further into it. The door of the gilded cage is shut and we cannot fly and soar in truth as free as we should be. We are ensnared and our wings are clipped by deceit. Yet we do not see it or hear it.

Let us avoid these traps by keeping to God’s Word revealed in Scripture as our plumb line of truth, stay close to Jesus, follow His paths. We encourage each other to weigh, test and discern the truth. It is Jesus, who is The Truth, who sets us free from deceit. The bible teaches us that –Who the son sets free is free indeed. Lies and deceit are a snare to God’s people and the father of lies, satan loves it so. Let us rather submit to God and resist Satan’s lies. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and Jesus teaches us that He, the Holy Spirit leads us into all truth.

Peter in his second letter to the early churches reminds them that there were false prophets throughout history and that there would also be false prophets amongst them and the same is true for us as believers today. There are false teachers and false prophets at work still.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them —bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”
2 Peter 2:1-3

Peter warns us that such people will deny truthful aspects of Jesus, are greedy, exploitive and goes on to say that such people despise authority, are bold and arrogant, boastful, appeal to the flesh, entice people with promises of freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity. If we follow them the consequences are dire, and as people who once knew truth we are worse off than before we knew Christ. What a terrible thing.
2 Peter 2:10,17-20

I pray that we will pay attention to these warnings and not be like the people who Jeremiah spoke of:

“An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land. The prophets prophecy falsely and the priests rule by their own power and My people love to have it so.”

I pray that we as followers of Jesus are not be deceived by flattery or words that “tickle our ears” and appeal to our flesh. The Word of God is like a fire 🔥 which refines and purifies us to be more like Christ.

Behold I will make your words like fire and this people like wood and it will devour them” Jeremiah 5 v14

Please Lord keep us from the trap of deceit and reveal to us if we have been entrapped in any way.

Blessings to you in Jesus name.

Gates- The Horse Gate

The next gate in this series of posts about the gates which Nehemiah rebuilt is the Horse Gate.

This gate speaks of battles and as Christians we must not forget that we are in a spiritual battle.  There will be battles.

We have an enemy, Satan, who doesn’t want us to follow Christ or mature spiritually and discover the fullness of who we are in Christ.  He certainly doesn’t want us telling anyone else the good news about what Jesus has done for us or making disciples for Jesus.

Our enemy has a strategy against us and will try and discourage us, hinder us, entrap us and stop us in our Christian life.     He will do what he can to put thoughts into our minds and build strongholds there to frustrate our Christian walk.     He will try and deceive us, tempt us, cause us to be fearful, to give up because we are weary, frustrated, anxious and being a Christian just seems too difficult.

That’s all a bit heavy but there is great news. This Christian life is a life that is so worth it and if it wasn’t then we wouldn’t encounter such opposition. We have discovered life in all its fullness in Christ Jesus. It’s precious and valuable and our enemy wants to steal it from us. No wonder he opposes us, but we have been fully equipped in Christ Jesus to resist satan and overcome him.

Let us not give up but let us fight the good fight.   Let us contend for our faith.

We are very familiar with Paul’s encouraging words in Ephesians 6 but let us remember to apply them.

“Finally, my bretheren be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities against powers against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.

Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

The Lord has not left us alone at the mercy of the enemy. We are children of the Most High God. Adopted into God’s family through faith in Jesus. Jesus intercedes for us before God’s throne. We are baptised in the power of the Holy Spirit.

The bible teaches us that when we submit to God and resist the enemy then the promise of God is that our enemy will flee from us. We submit to God when we are obedient to God’s Word and commandments. We resist the temptation to act or fail to act as we know God requires of us. We bring our will into submission to God. We choose life and not death.

Be confident in God’s Word which is living and powerful and is at work in us. We are in a battle that we can win. Jesus has already won the battle and has overcome all that is in opposition to God’s kingdom.

These are such incredible verses to root us in our faith from Colossians:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:6-15

Pouring the oil on you

Today I wanted to share this picture that the Holy Spirit inspired in my heart last year. It is Pentecost Sunday today and I’m so thankful for the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth glorifying King Jesus in and through us, His body of believers. Thank you Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit to us.

I had a beautiful and encouraging picture during worship at our church service this morning which I want to share here too, as I believe there are people reading this blog (or people you know) who will be blessed and encouraged by this picture.

In the picture I saw a shepherd who was pouring oil onto and over a sheep’s head.

The Shepherd was rubbing the oil into places that were wounded or infected but otherwise the oil was freely flowing down and over the sheep’s head onto its neck and then onto the ground.

File:Pouring Oil.jpg

We know that we are the sheep of God’s pasture and the great Shepherd of the flock is Jesus.

Jesus is pouring the oil of His grace and love through the ministry of the Holy Spirit over your head today. It is like the balm of Gilead dripping down over your head.

The Lord Jesus wants to bring healing, wholeness and restoration to those who are currently experiencing attacks on their thoughts – those experiencing anxiety, depression, fear, self doubt, confusion and whose thoughts are being assailed at this time.

Just as the Shepherd pours the oil over the sheep to protect it’s head from disease and to heal its wounds so the Lord is pouring out His grace and love upon you today.

Receive His love. Receive His grace.

I pray that every thought and imagination will be taken captive to Christ and we will know and experience the extravagance of His abundant love for us today.

That we will know and experience God’s amazing love and grace from the top of our heads – the crowns of our heads – to the soles of our feet.

This oil of grace and love is being poured out upon your head today – receive it and allow yourself to surrender to His loving grace and mercy working in every area of your life but particularly your thoughts today.

Bless you today my friends in the precious name of our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Gates-The Fountain and Water Gates

Two gates today which I have mentioned together as they are both water related. The Fountain Gate and the Water Gate.

These gates have been very much in my thoughts and prayers the last week or so. At church we have been considering wells. We are all wells for Jesus. Sometimes our wells can become blocked, capped, or run dry. There are some people whose wells have been capped by others. Perhaps capped intentionally or sometimes unintentionally by a thoughtless criticism or harsh word.

The Lord wants to see those wells uncapped. I am sure you can recognise some capped wells that you know. Could you pray for them to be released. For healing of those hurts of the past and the restrictions to be lifted off people. It’s time to uncap those wells. Spring up oh wells is the cry of our hearts.

The enemy will seek to hinder us from being wells and we need to guard the wells of our heart. Sometimes our wells become polluted because it’s not pure water that we are allowing in. As my friend Paul wisely said this week, if we are pouring out a drink offering for others then may it be the pure living water of Jesus Christ, the Living Word that we offer them. May we be cleansed and purified by Jesus.

The Fountain Gate

Nehemiah repaired the Fountain Gate.   This gate reminds us of Jesus, who is the fountain of living water and the Holy Spirit freely given to us, who lives in us and fills us daily by His power.

There is a living well of spiritual water for us to draw from daily.   

It is an inexhaustible supply that will never run dry.      

Jesus said we never need to thirst again when we come to Him because He is the living water.   He can satisfy our thirst in all areas and bring refreshing to us.   

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

John 7:37-39

When we are tired, weary or discouraged then we can come to the Fountain Gate and be refreshed.   We can drink deeply of Jesus and be restored.     

If we forsake the living water then we will be dry and empty with nothing to give.  Our source of spiritual life is Jesus and the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. The promise in Jesus’ words is that if we believe in Him then rivers of living water will flow from us. That’s a promise from Jesus. We have to thirst, come, drink, believe and let the river flow. No capping.

timelapse photography off water fountain
Photo by Gabriel Peter on Pexels.com

 

The Water Gate

This gate speaks to me of the power of the Word of God (Holy Scripture) which is at work in our lives.    The bible teaches us that we are washed by the Word of God.   The Word of God is living, powerful and true – a test of our thoughts and intentions of our hearts.  

When we read, meditate and act on the Word of God then we see the fruit of its out-working in our lives and it keeps us on the right path.

The Water Gate was the only gate which it seems did not need to be repaired by Nehemiah as it doesn’t mention the repairs. They repaired opposite that gate and then the next section after it.

Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard. Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate towards the east and the projecting tower.”

Nehemiah 3:25-26

This speaks to me powerfully.

The Word of God endures for ever.     

God’s Word does not need to be improved, added to or altered. It is complete just as it is.   It is the best instructions, which are never irrelevant or outdated, for a life lived to God’s glory and fulfilling in every way. It’s the manual for successful living in God’s eyes. Not worldly success as we know it but Kingdom living.

Gates -The Valley Gate

Nehemiah re-built The Valley Gate.       This is a difficult gate and one that we don’t much want to go through- the valley experiences.    We would all much prefer to stay on the mountain top and enjoy those experiences with God but life for most of us is not like that – even the Christian life – it has mountains and valleys. We will face difficult times and times of struggle. It is in such times that our faith is tested and stretched but often it is these experiences which can lead to growth and strength in our faith.

The valley gate can be a necessary path to what God is preparing in us and for us.   The valleys develop our faith and trust in God and we learn from these experience that God is loving, faithful to His promises and His Word and able to sustain us.    We also develop empathy and compassion for those in or who will also go through similar circumstances. We have testimonies to share.

Humility and the valley gate in my experience can sometimes go together hand in hand.   I have had to humble myself under God’s mighty hand before I realise that I can’t handle situations on my own or with my own wisdom and little understanding.    Once I submit and surrender to God and acknowledge my dependence on Him, then I have felt His peace and His presence even in the most difficult of situations.

Valley Gates are painful. Jesus went through a valley gate when He went from Mt Olives through the Kidron Gate into the Garden of Gethsemane and then to the Cross.   Jesus was in agony in the garden but He yielded to God’s will to be done.  

Most of us will go or have been through valley experiences but the encouragement is that we are never alone at those times and we can get through them with God’s strength and support.   Jesus promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will lead us through the valley – even the valley of death. The words of Psalm 23 encourage us that God is with us and will not forsake us and will comfort us in time of sorrow, grief, difficulty and pain. 

If you are in a valley situation right now – I pray that you will have the strength and faith to keep going, don’t give up. I encourage you to ask for God’s help and help from others. God will show you the way and lead you through to the other side.