Credibility

“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye witnesses and servants of the word so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
Luke.1-4

This is the opening statement in the gospel of Luke. It’s a bold statement and sets out the confidence that the writer, Luke has in the account he is writing of Jesus because he has carefully investigated everything.

He has tested the first hand accounts of the stories of Jesus from those who were eye witnesses of what happened. Luke acknowledges that many others have sought to share and record what Jesus did because it is such a marvellous truth. People who knew Jesus wanted to share the good news with others just as Jesus commanded them to do.

Luke does not want the truth about Jesus and what Jesus has accomplished to be lost, so in order to preserve the truth for Theophilus he has decided to write a full and orderly account. I wonder if Luke had any idea that his words would be preserved, read and studied by millions of followers of Jesus today still.

As we know there is much taught, discussed and written about Jesus today. You can access so much on the Web. Just as Luke was diligent to test the source of his information so that it was credible, it is so important that we test what we hear, are being taught and read about Jesus. It must line up with the Jesus who is revealed to us in the Bible. The Son of God. Any purported new truth, teaching or revelation of Jesus which is not in the Bible is a false teaching and a false gospel.

Paul commended the Bereans for diligently searching the scriptures to test the message that he brought to them about Jesus. The Bereans wanted to know the truth. I wrote a post called Being Open-Minded which you can read on the link. Alarm bells should definitely ring if someone doesn’t want or like their teachings about Jesus to be tested and expects you to blindly accept everything they tell or teach you.

I’m inspired to read the gospel of Luke again and I hope today’s post has blessed and encouraged you.

#TestimonyTuesday – Life Verses

This week at church we did something different. Our Pastor asked us to share our “life verses” or some people call them their “north star verses”. They are verses from the Bible that have guided, helped, encouraged and shaped your walk with the Lord. They can be bible verses that have been lifelines in times of trouble.

Our Pastor invited people forward and there was soon a queue of people eager to share. They read their bible verses and shared why those bible verses were so important to them. Some were able to recite long passages of Scripture which they had memorised.

It was so inspiring and touching to hear these verses and the testimonies. Do you have a life verse? If so, I would love to hear it and why it’s important to you. Please share in the comments section below.

My life verses are from Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.”

These verses give me confidence in God, who cares for me and guides me in the right way. When I am unsure then I remember these verses and declare my trust in Him and submit the circumstances or decision to the Lord.

I took the opportunity on Sunday to share my Dad’s life verses which he shared frequently with us. They had a profound influence on me because they taught me the importance of worship and the intimacy of relationship that the Lord desires with each of us.

My Dad’s life verse was from Psalm 84 verse 10. He recited this passage of Scripture often especially when he had his first stroke and was so ill.

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked

In sharing with others our life verses then we also help disciple others by showing the importance of God’s Word in our lives and how it shapes us. We show that God’s Word is living, active and powerful.

I look forward to reading the comments and your life verses.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In Green Pastures

I was searching on my bookcase yesterday for a book by C S Lewis. I know I have it but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I have probably either lent it to someone or put it elsewhere. I easily lose track of my books and am also a bit of a magpie. I did find several books lent to me though which I’ve yet to return. Whoops and apologies to those who thought they’d lost them.

My searching wasn’t fruitless though because I came across this tiny little book called “In Green Pastures” by J R Miller. He is not an author I had heard of before but he is credited in this book as being the author of another book called “ Come ye apart”. That sounds like a book worth reading doesn’t it..Come ye apart.

The title of the book had caught my eye as we have recently studied Psalm 23 in church and I thought the book was on that theme. However, it’s actually a Daily Devotional. It’s been clearly written in another generation, which you can tell from the language used, but there is no date of publication inside.

A quick search on Amazon though revealed it was first published in 1904 and you can still buy this book. That’s longevity. Dr. James Russell Miller was born in 1840 in Frankfort Springs Pennsylvania and died on 2 July 1912. He wrote quite a number of Christian books which are available still. He may be more familiar to my fellow American blogging friends? I’d be interested to hear.

The book was given to my late mother in law, Clare, by a friend who had written these words on the first page:

To Clare, in remembrance of many happy days, with love and all good wishes…”Hold fast that which thou hast”. Revelation 3:11

What a lovely inscription. I am sure each time our dear Clare picked up this little book, she thought of her friend and those words encouraged her. I love the exhortation to hold fast that which you have. Our faith and trust in Jesus is so precious. The most precious thing we have and not to be taken lightly or for granted. Let us be encouraged today to hold fast what we have been given through the grace and mercy of God.

Clare must have valued this little book because she had kept it all her life. We found it amongst her possessions when she died. It was precious to her so we didn’t want to part with it either. It has sat on the bookshelf though unread. Who knows what little treasures I will now find within.

Anyway, I am digressing, but if you are looking for another daily devotional then perhaps you could consider this little book. Even though it is written over a hundred years ago, God’s truths are constant. Culture may change around us, blown by winds of change, but God’s Word stands firm like a beacon in the darkness. I thought I would share today’s devotional on the Sin of Thoughtlessness below:

Lord please forgive me my thoughtlessness and for causing hurt to others even unintentionally. Help me through your Holy Spirit to be kind, gentle, loving, thoughtful and considerate particularly today and in the weeks ahead. I pray for a gentle heart. Amen 🙏

Hey Jude!

Morning all, today’s blog is one that I have posted before, it is not about that famous song by The Beatles but about Jude – it’s that small book in the bible, right near the end, just before Revelation – very easy to miss.

It might be small but it certainly packs a punch. It’s probably not the subject of a sermon that we hear much in church these days. However, the key messages are as relevant for today’s church as they were when Jude wrote them.

Jude warns us as disciples of Jesus to:

Watch out for people who are just pretending to be holy but abuse the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus and keep right on sinning, then repent and sin again – especially sexual sin. There is no intention of true repentance in such people. Don’t follow their example or be led astray by their behaviour.

Watch out for people who despise authority -they are not submissive but proud and will not listen. They cause division and stir up trouble.

Watch out for those who speak disdainfully and disrespectfully about things they do not understand – especially things of the spirit realm. Such people are selfish and motivated by greed and a desire for recognition. They are takers not givers.

Beware of people who will change their opinions and allegiances – they are easily swayed. They will agree with whatever view is popular. They have no firm faith. No firm foundation.

Beware of people who are grumblers and faultfinders – always moaning and complaining. Nothing is ever good enough. They are dissatisfied and disappointed.

Beware of those who are boastful and living for their own pleasures – people who will flatter and manipulate for their own benefit.

These people follow the flesh and not the Spirit.

We need to be aware of any such behaviour so that we do not agree with it, align ourselves with it or fall victim to it.

Jude’s advice to us is:

Build our faith up in Jesus. Keep praying in the Holy Spirit and rest in God’s love and mercy;

Discern those who are doubting or weak in faith – help to disciple such people and build their faith;

Show mercy and reach out to help those that are weak – treat them with compassion.

We can all stumble and fall and need a helping hand from each other.

There is a difference between those who are wilfully being disobedient to God and doing ungodly things and treating the sacrifice and blood of Jesus as an excuse to sin than those who sincerely desire change but struggle and need help.

Warn each other about the consequences of such ungodly behaviour (in a Godly, gentle and truthful way).

Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Jude gives us knowledge and it is God’s wisdom to apply it in our walk with the Lord.

Have a blessed day my friends.

The Final Whistle..

Sadly, my time as a volunteer has come to an end. It was incredibly good fun but hard work with very early mornings and late nights. In this short time though of just 9 days, the Lord has shown me things and I have learnt more about myself than I expected. Lots of it good but some not so…I’m a work in progress still in certain areas even after all these years but God is in the business of refining me and that is part of the process. Hallelujah.

We all have strengths and weaknesses and temptations to resist. Our flesh can try and influence our behaviour especially when we are put into new situations with different people, different expectations and with a hierarchy of responsibility and a team of people, all coming together with different backgrounds and skills. It is in these times that our strengths and weaknesses become more keenly felt. I’m so grateful for the leading and conviction of the Holy Spirit which helped me so much during my time as a volunteer interacting with colleagues, athletes and spectators.

I have a lot to process over the next few days and share with you all. I’m excited to start writing again. In the meantime here are a few photos from my time at the #Commonwealth Games 2022 with some of my fellow volunteers.

My friend Liz..a great character as you can see.
Getting ready for the crowds
Our venue Swimming and Diving
A competitor on the 10m diving platform
The end….

Influence

Influence…this was a word that the Lord spoke to my heart recently and I have been pondering it.

It’s very important that I recognise what it is that is influencing me. Ideas or emotions that are shaping my thinking or actions. The Lord wants me to be aware of what is influencing me.

Subtle influences conforming and trying to mould me to this world’s culture which may be more influential than I realise.

Influence….whether we admit it or not we are all influenced by something or someone. That someone can also be us….our “old” selves rather than our “new” man in Christ.

So something to consider…..our actions, thoughts, desires, decisions, plans….what is influencing them.

The decisions we make or see others make (which may or may not affect us) they are all influenced.

Some sources of influence are open and transparent but other influences are subtle, manipulative, controlling and coercive. We don’t want to get caught in a trap of those influences.

There are influences which we can discern are clearly for good and then others which would lead us into ungodly things.

It’s interesting to me that there is this social phenomenon of “Influencers”…people given this label who are “Influencers” because of the power of their social media presence and amount of followers. Advertisers flock to their sites.

As I have thought about sources of influence in my life, I have made a note of the following, you may think of others and I’d be interested to hear:

My bible/Jesus and His teachings,The Holy Spirit’s leading

Me/My emotions (good or bad), my experiences, my character

My husband/My parents/family

My friends

Work

My Pastor/His preaching

My fellowship group at church

Bloggers that I follow/connect with

Newspapers/Magazines/Books

Television/Films

Songs/music

Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram

Alcohol (any amount will “influence” our behaviour)

I’ve written all these down as I thought about them but it may not necessarily be the case (all the time) that those at the top of the list influence me the most or those at the bottom the least.

What weight do I give to these influences in my life. How long do I spend with each one. Which are more reliable.

Test, weigh, prove. In court as a juror you have to weigh the evidence given. An eye witness account from a plausible witness corroborated by one or two others will far outweigh hearsay or second hand testimony. The evidence is tested and weighed through questioning and cross examining. The trustworthiness of the witness tested.

Are we influenced by things taken at face value without testing the source?

Through the media, it seems people can be whipped up into a frenzy of emotion and opinion very quickly and sometimes over seemingly nothing or things subsequently proven to be false or fake news.

Psalm 24 encourages us to swing wide and open the gate and let the King of Glory, Jesus, come in.  

The Gates of the City were historically important places of influence and decision making. The elders gathered at the gates of the city to discuss and make decisions.

The Gates were opened to allow access or shut to refuse entry and for protection and safety of the citizens within.

The Gates were large, strong and often barred and guarded.

We all have gateways of influence in our lives and minds. 

Every day we make decisions to permit or refuse things to operate in our lives and indwell our thoughts whether for good or bad.

Let us guard the gates of influence in our lives.

I want the gates of influence in my life to be opened wide for Jesus Christ’s influence.  Not just a little bit open for Jesus but flung wide open.

Come Lord Jesus come.

To Know Him

The most beautiful moment of my life was accepting Jesus as my Saviour and surrendering my life to Him. Since then discipleship has been a journey of discovery to know Jesus better and more deeply. Jesus came to show us the Father and through faith in Jesus, to enable us to have a relationship with God. It is in that relationship that we become more Christ like as we live out our Christian faith through obedience to God’s Word and Jesus’ teachings.

Accepting Christ is the start of an amazing journey of faith and not the end in itself.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth has come and dwells in us, to lead us and help us in our discipleship journey. The Spirit convicts us of sin and leads in righteousness and truth, to glorify the Son.

We sometimes think as Christians our goal is to evangelise and once someone has made a commitment to Jesus, it’s job done. But that’s just the start.

Jesus asks us to make disciples and not just converts. We are His witnesses of a new life born again into God’s kingdom. Discipleship is to journey with people and requires love and commitment so that we become rooted and grounded in the truth of the gospel. It’s like bringing people into a family. You wouldn’t invite someone to be part of a family and then just ignore them and leave them to it. You show them how to live life as part of the family. What’s expected of each other. Sharing knowledge, wisdom, gifting, there through the highs and lows, joys, sorrows, successes and failures. Encouraging and supportive. Discipline and love. Forgiveness and grace.

We can journey with many different people as believers in Christ. Some journeys are for different seasons. I’ve been discipled by some incredible people and even now the Lord brings people alongside me who help me grow in faith and develop – sometimes in challenging ways. We have to learn sometimes to let some relationships and people go and move on so they can also grow and develop as the Lord leads. Sometimes we have to move on ourselves. We are a body of believers, members of one another. United in Christ.

I love these bible verses:

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23

Amen 🙏

Lifeline..

On Wednesday at our church prayer meeting, this was the word I heard in my spirit from the Lord – Lifeline.

At the same time I saw us all in a boat that was being tossed about in large waves but in the water were people desperate for help. That is when I hear that word “Lifeline”. I then saw the people in the boats throwing out lifelines to those in the water.

There are many people who need a lifeline. Brothers and sisters in Christ- who can we be that lifeline for today, tomorrow, next week.

I then read Andy B’s testimony of being prompted by the Holy Spirit to buy a packet of biscuits for a lady. It turned out to be the lifeline that woman needed. You can read that testimony here Kindness doesn’t need to be costly

We can throw a lifeline to someone today..reaching out as the Holy Spirit prompts us whether in little acts of kindness or into the deeper things as the Spirit leads for the Lord knows and hears the cries of a wounded heart.

Definitions of a lifeline:

A way of getting help on which you depend:

A rope or line used for life-saving, typically one thrown to rescue someone in difficulties in water or one used by sailors to secure themselves to a boat.

Provide (someone) with a means of escaping from a difficult situation.

A lifeline is a safety feature on a boat, a rope that either protects you from falling off or you throw to someone in difficulty.

A lifeline also protects those on the boat from falling off. This is also important I believe in this season. The boat I saw was not on calm waters but was being tossed around. That may be you today. You are going through a really difficult season. Buffeted from all directions. The Lord’s lifeline is there for you. He is your rock..when you pass through the waters He will be with you.

Lord hear our prayer today. Show us those around us who need a lifeline. Be the lifeline that we throw to help and anchor them securely to you. For those Lord whose faith is wavering and who need a lifeline to protect them in this season from falling off the boat, then let us be those who notice and help them to be rooted in you and not to lose hope or faith. Lord we are so grateful that you are not only in the boat with us but you are the boat Lord. Help us to remain not only attached to you and to each other, but to abide in you always. Amen

The Doldrums

I read a post yesterday which reminded me of something I had written a while ago, and I felt prompted to share it again today. Perhaps there is someone who needs encouragement this morning that there is always hope to move forward.

This post is for anyone who may be experiencing a feeling that they are stuck in the doldrums at the moment – where they are seeing a lack of activity, movement or progress in their lives- a feeling of being stuck in the same place.   

Do not despair, there is hope for you and breakthrough awaits.  

In some instances, God’s hand has kept you in that place until His perfect timing and He has worked in you and prepared you so that you are ready for the suddenlies – the wind of God’s Spirit will come suddenly and you will see great acceleration and growth.  

There will be a sudden shift.  Some people have been waiting for the wind -God’s wind and a fresh breath of the Spirit of God to propel them forward to where they need to be.  

I pray that such people will be stirred up in hope and experience a fresh impetus to push forward in God and let Him breathe new life again into their vision.

For those who have lost hope and feel stuck in the Doldrums, I pray that such people will experience new zeal (great energy and enthusiasm for something you feel strongly about) which will replace apathy (feeling of not being interested or enthusiastic) and complacency (a feeling of being satisfied with yourself or with a situation so you do not feel any change is necessary) and despair (feeling that all hope lost) which can hinder progress and moving forward. 

I pray that we will reject apathy and complacency, throw off the shroud of apathy and complacency and put on the garment of zeal instead.  

That there will be an exchange of  the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3) for the garment of Praise.

If you find yourself thinking “what is the point” then that could be an indication that you are stuck in the Doldrums.   

Be careful that unbelief and fear has not set in and trapped you.   Unbelief will need to be dealt with in prayer and repentance.

James 5 V 16 – The effective, fervent (very strong feelings about) prayer of a righteous man avails much.   

If this resonates with you then I encourage you to seek God in this season.

Be led by the Holy Spirit into all He has for you. Amen 🙏

 

The Imposter…

I was very fortunate to be invited to the First day of the Test Match at Edgbaston on Friday to watch India play England. I confess I’m not a huge cricket fan but Test matches are special and there was a great atmosphere in the crowd. People had dressed up in all manner of outfits from minions to Disney characters.

We were seated quite high up on a balcony so had a really good view of the whole cricket pitch. When one of the Indian wickets fell the next player up for India entered the field. As he walked on, he hadn’t reached the wicket when he was suddenly surrounded by men in security vests and we realised that this man wasn’t one of the Indian team. He was an imposter.

He looked the real deal though even down to the cricket helmet, pads and bat. He had boldly strode onto the field (as bold as brass as my mum would say) as though he had ever right to be there. He really looked the part but he was an imposter.

Security in bottom corner leading him away

We can all easily be fooled by appearances but I’m sure if that man had actually faced one of the English fast bowlers, he would soon have been exposed as a fraud. Bowled out or more likely knocked out by a cricket ball coming at him at over 80 mph. His team mate I’m sure would also have easily spotted he was a fake and not part of the team.

The bible warns us about people and spirits that are not what they appear…false spirits, false teachers, false apostles, false prophets….Imposters and not the real deal.

We are to test all things and check the fruit. Jesus said:

Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them.”
Matthew 7:15-20