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The story of Jonah in the bible is an amazing story to me. It was an early bible story that I was taught as a child, but at that stage just it’s simple outline- Jonah runs away from God, big storm, he’s thrown overboard, a whale swallows Jonah, after 3 days the whale spits him out, he eventually does what God wanted him to do, preaches to Nineveh, everyone is saved in Nineveh.

Now I’m an adult, I can read and understand some of the deeper messages in the story.

I had always thought that Jonah didn’t obey the Lord’s command to go to Nineveh because he was scared. It was a big assignment. Go and tell a city of people that they are wicked, God’s judgment is coming and they will all be destroyed. Not a happy message. I would have been terrified if I was Jonah that the people would take hold of me and kill me bringing such a message.

The story tells us that the city was very wicked and violent. It had a bad reputation. I’m sure some of us can think of places that we would not want to enter…they call them “no go” areas here and to enter is at your own risk.

However, that wasn’t the reason though that Jonah didn’t want to go. These are Jonah’s words telling us why he did not obey the Lord’s command to go.

He (Jonah) prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord , when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Jonah 4:2

Wow..read that again..that’s a shocker. Jonah didn’t want to go because he knew how merciful God was and that if the people repented then God was so merciful that He would forgive them. That is God’s nature. He is a gracious and merciful God. Jonah wanted the people of Nineveh to pay for their wickedness and be destroyed. They were not deserving of God’s mercy. Jonah wanted judgment.

This is still a challenging message for us today. Deep down I believe there can be a struggle in our flesh about those people who have committed heinous and atrocious crimes. In our humanness we can struggle to accept that such people deserve the grace and mercy of God. How can God forgive such people.? How can God want to forgive such people?

The people of Nineveh believed God’s message from Jonah and they all repented in sackcloth. They proclaimed a fast and turned away from their wickedness and cried out to God for mercy. As Jonah knew, God heard their prayers and saw their hearts and poured out His grace and mercy. He relented of the judgment to destroy them as he had destroyed Soddom & Gomorrah for their sins.

This is the truth of the gospel message that we are called to share with the whole world.

We all need a Saviour for all have sinned before God. Not one of us is righteous even if we try to delude ourselves that we are more deserving of God’s grace and mercy than others. We are not such bad people. The truth is that all our righteousness is filthy rags before God and all of us need the grace and mercy of God.

Let us not withhold the good news of Salvation from anyone for God’s heart is for all humanity to be saved through faith in Jesus who paid the price for all our sins.

That is why it is Outrageous Grace.

Bless you today.

Joseph – Hero of the Faith (5)

As we have already seen in the previous post, Joseph demonstrated patience and long suffering through his troubles, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit of God.

Joseph also showed that there was no bitterness or desire for vengeance in his heart even after all that had happened to him. When the opportunity arose for Joseph to take revenge on all those who had wronged him, when he was in a position of authority and power as second only to Pharaoh to be able to do so, he chose mercy and forgiveness instead.

Its when you have the power yourself to inflict wounding on those who have wronged you but you refuse to do so, that is the power of God in action. When you bless them, that is the power of God in action. When you feed them, that is the power of God in action. When you love them that is the power of God in action.

Joseph was willing to help the Egyptians in their greatest hour of need. These were the same people who had cruelly mistreated him, enslaved him and wrongly imprisoned him. They were foreigners to him, not his tribe or nation. He had no loyalty to them or reason to help them.

Joseph was also willing to help his family, those who had once betrayed him, stripped him of his robe, tried to kill him, put him in a pit with no water or food, sold him into slavery, and abandoned him. He could have sent them packing when they came begging for bread but he didn’t. He had the power of life and death in his hand. He chose to grant them life and provide for them.

Joseph showed incredible forgiveness towards his brothers for their betrayal and cruel treatment of him. Not just in word but as we have seen in and through his actions as well.

Jesus gave a similar command to us, His followers:

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.

35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.

Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36.

Joseph’s brothers themselves could not understand how Joseph could possibly have forgiven them. You see they still thought as ungodly men. They were worried that Joseph would change his behaviour once Jacob was dead so they pretended that Jacob had told them on his deathbed that Joseph had to forgive them.

They failed to understand the grace and mercy that Joseph showed them. That is why God chose Joseph over them. They couldn’t grasp the ability to forgive and not seek revenge.

Some people cannot understand how God can forgive us our sins and all the cruelty and wickedness in this world but He does through Christ. Jesus has paid the price for all our sins, justice has been met and now there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus who himself forgave his enemies from the cross. Freely we have received so freely give.

Right but not right?

Hi everyone, I hope you are all having a good weekend. I just wanted to post some words of wisdom which a friend shared recently.

Our friend had been praying about a difficult situation she had encountered. She had felt justified in her behaviour and the actions she had taken. However, as she prayed about the course of events the Lord convicted her that although what she did was “right” her attitude towards it had been bad. Wow.

Those words really hit home to my friend. She had done the right thing but her attitude was not right.

How subtle that we can sometimes justify our bad attitudes because we know we have acted right.

Our prayer today. Lord reveal the true condition of our hearts so that we do right in the right way. We thank you for your grace every day and your mercies which are new every morning. Amen 🙏

Believe in Him

For all things have a set and appointed time. I have ordained all things says the Lord. I do have the power to change times and seasons as you know from My Word. I gave unto my son Hezekiah an additional 15 years and I stopped the sun for my son, Joshua so that he could win the battle. My children, your times are in My hands. I am the one who has sovereign authority over the ways of man. You can run from My presence but on the appointed day you will stand and then kneel before My throne when your eyes are opened to the truth.

O foolish man who has bewitched you that you cannot see the truth of God from the evidence around you. Why have you believed the fables of men. Who are men that they can even understand a fraction of the great universe and cosmos that I have created. There are greater mysteries and wonders than man can ever fathom. It is not enough for man to thing he is cleverer or superior to all living things. I made him a little lower than the angels but man’s pride, he seeks to loft himself over all. Man is made of dust and to dust he will return.

The ways of God are not the ways of man. How dare man ascribe to God works and things that are not God and not wrought by God’s hand. Those that take My name in vain will be ashamed. Do not ascribe to God the weaknesses and folly of man. No eye has seen nor mind imagined the things that God can do. I alone am Omnipotent. I alone can bring all things to pass. There is on-one like Me either now or to come.

It is out of my great love for you that I have not treated you as you deserve. It is out of my great mercy that I have provided a way of escape from the wrath and judgment which is to come. There will be a time of reckoning and that day is set. It will not be changed. All will happen in the fulness of time as I have shown in My Word and revealed to my servants the prophets.

The Lord has shown us His great love and mercy in that whilst we were still sinners and alienated from God, Jesus died for us. Jesus has reconciled us to God through His death and resurrection. He has saved us from the judgment to come and the wrath of God.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon
.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts
.” Isaiah 55: 7-9

Six Things…no wait 7

Ephesians 5:8-10 – “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases God”

As followers of Jesus we are to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. The bible tells us about 6 things, actually 7 behaviours that God does not like at all.

I’m sure you’d agree that some of these behaviours we too would think are extremely bad but some like being proud or telling lies we could be tempted to ignore but this is what Proverbs 6:16 tells us:

“Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion:

eyes that are arrogant,

a tongue that lies,

hands that murder the innocent; and

a heart that hatches evil plots,

feet that race down a wicked track,

a mouth that lies under oath, and

.

a troublemaker in the family”

Lord we want to live our lives in ways that are pleasing to you. Help us keep our feet on the paths of your right ways as you reveal to us in your precious Word, the Bible. Let us live today and tomorrow lives that are pleasing to you as we walk out our faith in your son, Jesus Christ. May your Holy Spirit convict our hearts of sin and wrong and may we turn in repentance to you through the richness of the grace and mercy that you pour out through Jesus on us as your children. Thank you Lord that when you look at us who are hidden in Christ Jesus you see your Son in whom you were well pleased. Thank you that in Jesus and through the work of the Holy Spirit we are empowered to live a life pleasing to you. Praise God. Amen

Seeing is believing? 👀

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. I’ll call it a conversation but it did get a bit heated on his part. He was convinced that if God would just turn up out of the blue and show himself then a lot more people who have no faith (like him) would start to believe in God. He thinks that if God did this then people would stop behaving so badly and there wouldn’t be so much evil in the world. Mmm🤔

My friend wants God to pop up out of thin air- a bit like the genie from Aladdin’s lamp- before he will believe. He’s disappointed because in his opinion if God existed then God isn’t doing enough to stop all the evil and bad things. He doesn’t understand (yet) that God has already provided the answer in Jesus and that it’s God’s loving mercy that is giving people the chance to find Him before it’s judgment time.

I guess my friend is not alone in thinking like this and there are people who want to see God appear for themselves before they will believe. For my friend seeing is believing-but what is seeing and many people are blinded to the truth by Satan or are wilfully blind from seeing. My friend certainly was not going to believe my testimony or anything I told him. His mind is made up (at the moment) and he thinks I’m deluded as a Christian believer 🙁

However, the truth we read in the bible tells us that since the world was created God has made Himself known and revealed Himself to mankind. God walked with Adam & Eve regularly in the garden and talked to them before sin separated them and consequently us from His presence.

God appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him. God hid Moses in the gap in a rock and caused all His goodness to pass before Moses. Moses couldn’t see God’s face because as God said -no-one could look on His face and live.

God revealed Himself to His chosen people, the Israelites, but they still even with all the miracles and incredible things they witnessed of God with their own eyes still went their own ways, did wicked things and didn’t obey His commands. This is unfortunately the reality of human behaviour.

These were the same people who saw God come down for themselves in a thick cloud on Mount Sinai but the manifested presence of God was too much for the people to cope with. They were too afraid of His awesome and powerful presence when the cloud of His glory came down and they witnessed its effect around them. The mountain cracked, there was thunder and smoke and there was fire. It was a terrifying sight. Moses and the elders went up the mountain though because they had prepared and purified themselves to meet God.

Then they climbed the mountain—Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel—and saw the God of Israel. He was standing on a pavement of something like sapphires—pure, clear sky-blue. He didn’t hurt these pillar-leaders of the Israelites: They saw God; and they ate and drank.”
Exodus 24 9-11

If God in all His glory and power did make an appearance as my friend wants then my friend wouldn’t be able to cope with the reality. He’d be struck down in fear at the glory of God. If God appeared as he did on Mount Sinai then my friend would be completely undone because of God’s holiness.

However, God did the most amazing thing out of His great love for us so that people could see Him and touch Him and get to know Him. He came in the flesh as Jesus as a baby. The people of the time saw Jesus with their own eyes, touched him, saw all the miracles and good Jesus did but yet again they still rejected him and didn’t change their ways.

To see Jesus was to see the Father. Jesus revealed God.

Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”

“You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act. “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. John 14:8-9

The wonderful truth for us as believers is that God is also present here now with us as the Holy Spirit. We can’t see the Holy Spirit but we know His presence and we see the evidence of His work and power in us and through us in the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit whether through gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy etc. We don’t see the wind but we know it exists and we feel it and see where it blows. So it is with the Holy Spirit. I don’t need to see the wind to believe in it or to see the air that I breathe.

Jesus told a parable about the rich man in hell who wanted his family to be warned about hell so that they would not go through the torment he was experiencing. The rich man believed that if Lazarus was sent back from the dead and spoke to his family as a witness then they would change their ways and believe. Sadly Jesus knew that even that wouldn’t convince them because they already had unbelief in their hearts.

The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him (Lazarus) to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’ “Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’ “‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’ “Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:27,29-31

I think Jesus summed it up with these words to his disciple Thomas.

“But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.” But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.” Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” Thomas said, “My Master! My God!” Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.
John 20:24,26-29

How amazing, Jesus tells us that we who have believed in Him without seeing with our own eyes have better blessings in store.

The sadness for me is for those, like my friend, who are blinded to the truth of the gospel. I pray that their eyes are opened to see Jesus and know Him and the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. To understand their sin and need for God’s forgiveness and that God exists and has shown His love for them by sending Jesus to die in their place. May they come to know God and be reconciled to Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus before it is too late. May their hearts be softened and faith take root. Amen.

The day of reckoning

Mercy….the Lord our God is truly a God of Mercy and Justice. The Lord has been speaking to me recently about the day that everyone will have to appear before His throne.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

For all God’s children, all of His children, whether good or evil, there is a day of reckoning. Each will appear before His throne, whether great or small, famous or of no account. God is just and He grants mercy, favour and grace to those He chooses as He alone can judge correctly as He sees the intents of a man’s heart.

One day all will be laid bare for all to see. There are those who have been the great deceivers, deceived the whole world by their displays of pretence of goodness, who have loved the praises of men but not to God. Their works will be burnt up like dross. The true heroes of faith will be made known. Those who have been faithful to God. He will reward them according to the thoughts and intents of their hearts.

God will open His books on that day of reckoning. All heaven and earth will know the truth. The truth will be revealed for all to see. That is why the Lord urges His people not to judge each other without cause because they do not know the truth unless the Spirit of truth has revealed it to them. There are not many who can judge correctly with Godly wisdom and knowledge but Solomon was one of those that God gave such wisdom.

Make no mistake, each person from all time from the greatest to the least will appear before the throne of glory to give account of themselves. The reasons for their actions and the reason for their hope. God will be merciful to those He will be merciful to and show grace beyond the understanding of man because He sees the heart. His grace and mercy is the book of life. If your name is written in the book of life then grace and mercy triumphs over judgement.

James 2:13 judgement is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement.

If you do not have confidence today that your name is written in the lamb’s book of life and that you will receive God’s mercy on that day of reckoning then you have an opportunity to say sorry for your sins, accept God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ His son as your saviour. By repentance and saying sorry and by faith in Jesus you will be saved and your name written in the book of life. You will experience the grace of God. This is the start of your new life as a believer in Christ. Find a local church or a believer who can help disciple and teach you how to be a follower of Jesus and live out your new life.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:23- 27

God our refuge

The Lord drew me to Psalm 46 yesterday and so we read it aloud last night in our fellowship group over WhatsApp. We prayed through the words to declare and affirm our faith in God and call upon Him in our times of trouble because He truly is our ever present help. He does not abandon us at these times but is right there with us in the middle of times of pain, sorrow, suffering and grief.

I hope you also take comfort and strength from these words today:

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Psalm 46:1-11

Emmanuel, God with us. He is our ever present help. Call on Him today.

Blessings to you this day. 🙏

His Righteousness alone


Colossians 2 v 6 “As you have received Christ Jesus, so walk in Him”

My friend Caroline sent me these encouraging words to share with you today. She said;

This verse of scripture stood out to me the other day, as I began meditating on it and studying it some thoughts began to crystallise.


I thought back to when I first believed on Jesus, not as a child, but later when I rededicated my life to God, the realisation that I couldn’t ‘do it’ without Him, that I desperately wanted and needed Him, that I had nothing to bring to the table, but that He was calling me anyway. He loved me and wanted me, the joy and faith of experiencing His love and acceptance. I remembered how I just accepted Him and loved Him for accepting me.


I also realised how easy it is to slip into legalism, and how this ploy of the enemy robs our joy. It may begin rather subtly as we desire to please God and ‘live right’ but instead of relying on Jesus, begin substituting this by our own effort, and trying to law keep.


I would gently like to remind us, that Christ is our righteousness and He alone by the power of His spirit can enable us to live out this righteousness that has been given as a gift.


Why do we find it so difficult to accept this truth? I would like to share a few thoughts, maybe it’s just my failing? Maybe I am only just ‘seeing’ this truth?


Maybe we are ignorant of the matchless righteousness of God and the standard of holiness He demands. We think that by keeping certain standards and duties, we are doing OK, when actually if we sin in one small thing, under the law we are condemned, this shouldn’t dishearten us, it brings us to a knowledge of the truth that we are dead to the law ( we cannot keep it, and are therefore condemned to death by it), Praise God that we can be married to another! Christ Jesus – Romans 7v4.


We do not see the glory of His righteousness, or the fullness of it, or the value of it to obtain the favour of God. It is the ONLY righteousness of which God is pleased. Help us never to try to establish a righteousness of our own, this is a proud ignorance and ignorant pride.


We can also tell if we have a legal soul, if we are wearied in the way. “He is wearied in his ways, but did not say it is hopeless, but found new life for his strength.” Just redoubling our efforts is not the way forward, but a total trust and reliance on God.


God wants His glory to be seen in the magnitude of His free mercy and grace, legal obedience leaves us deluded and disappointed thinking we can cover ourselves with the tatters of a robe of prayers and duties that we have performed for many years, and that this may cover us.


As long as we are under the command of the law, we remain under the curse of the law, if we pay any attention to the law as a covenant we are a debtor to the whole law. If we are alive in any form to the law, and it can be so subtle, we are not receiving Christ’s righteousness, but leaning on our works of righteousness.


If we would live unto God we must strive to enter the rest of Christ’s righteousness, in this way mercy and grace take all the credit, and Christ will have all the honour, and we will have the peace of God and be enabled to walk in His righteousness, by leaning totally upon Him.


The word is clear, we are the righteousness of God in Christ, not in ourselves, may we never be deceived by the enemy. I pray a greater revelation of these truths for myself and brothers and sisters. There is NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus!! AMEN.


Caroline

The alarm goes again…

In late October I shared about my heavenly awakening in the night by the sound of a loud alarm clock.

I was awoken again this morning at 4.00 a.m by the same sound.

I believe the Lord is calling His people to pray in these days and to call out to Him with an urgency.

God wants to give us His heavenly perspective on what is happening and reveal the enemies strategies in this hour so that we can pray with wisdom and understanding as the Holy Spirit leads us.

We have been warned many times about deception in these days. The enemy has a great strategy of deception at work. His lies must be exposed.

We are living in unprecedented times but God has called us ..that’s you and me ….and appointed us for these days. We are the Esthers, the Daniels, the Josephs for these days.

We may feel weak and insignificant but in God we are mighty and powerful. When we humble ourselves before God and call on our Heavenly Father then we become more than conquerors in His name.

All of heaven is cheering us on and encouraging us not to give up but to remain faithful to Him that has called us.

All nations have been impacted by COVID 19. The scale of international debt is incredible and that will come with a heavy price to pay. There are economies of the world which have been decimated by this disease and the full impact is yet to be felt. The UK as a nation is now in so much debt.

America, Britain and Europe are all in the midst of turmoil with the presidential election and Brexit happening. We need Gods’ help in these days. Who is there to turn to except Him for He alone has the words of eternal life.

In October the Lord said that many are confused about what is happening. We have seen this following the U.S. election result but God is still sovereign. His word does not return void but accomplishes what it was sent forth to do. Gods word is powerful.

There is fertile ground for deception and much deception, lies and false news is being spread. Many are searching for truth and the Lord says if you Seek Him you will Find Him as He is the Truth, the Way and the Life.

Let us pray and encourage each other to pray. Blessings to you this day in Jesus precious name.