The only answer to terror is Jesus

Joining with you all as we are so saddened by the news from Manchester this morning.

Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil,

WALK

We walk through the valley of the shadow of death, swords drawn and ready, no need to be reminded that our fight is not against flesh and blood but the rulers of the darkness, we must bring the light, we must illuminate every corner, the light cannot remain under the bushel, our light must not be dimmed and snuffed out like so many young lives last night, it is right and proper that we speak out against evil, pray for revival, the only answer to terror is Jesus, the only answer to a world divided is a world united under one banner, the banner of love that flies above those who know him now, but one day at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, every tongue confess him King of Glory, he calls us to the great commission, to tell of what the risen Saviour means for those who mourn, for those who weep, for those with anger, those who live in danger every day, for those who worship other Gods and those who deny that our God exists, the list is endless, Jesus calls us to be disciples and today like no other day before, let’s take notice of this war that rages around us as Satan is desperate to gain ground, warriors of Christ stand up, be found ready and prepared, for we are not called to be scared and fearful, let us strike fear into the enemy, deny him a foothold in our community, stand in unity with our brothers and sisters, warriors of God, conquerors, victors.

Today it was hard to breathe, yet I will breathe again

Not the best day of my life, lost my big brother yesterday, 55 years old, heart attack, dead before he hit the floor.  Grief is a difficult emotion, not one I’ve really experienced to this extent ever before.  Sure, I’ve lost Grandparents but you expect that, not this.  I’m not going to lie and say we were close, because we weren’t, but he was my brother and that means something more than words could ever express.  A little piece of my heart is forever shattered.

Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted

MY BROTHER

All the memories come back, but you never will, siblings who started life so close, you know I have so much left to say to you, so many words unspoken, some bad, some good, today it was hard to breathe, yet I will breathe again, all breath has gone from you, you are still now, you are quiet, at rest, I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you, so sorry I couldn’t share my faith with you because of barriers from our youth, I cry a tear, a thousand more stream down my face, I wish we could embrace just one last time, I hope I didn’t let you down, I hope you found a peace with God before you left us and I am truly devastated that you are gone, I struggle with the void you’ve left, bereft and gutted to have lost you my precious and loved big brother.

He took me from that place of death

Just love reading Ephesians I think it’s the most inspirational book in the Bible for me.  I have just taken Ephesians 2 and interpreted it from my perspective in life.  Before I met Jesus I knew my life wasn’t complete but I don’t think I realised then that I was “dead” in my sins.  But now I am free I can look back and totally get it, wow praise God for the gift of faith he has given me.

Ephesians 2: 1-10 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

NO LONGER A FOLLOWER OF THE WORLD

A follower of the world, gratifying the craving of my flesh with impure thoughts, adulterated desires, I was dead, my prospects hopeless yet I didn’t notice as I followed the ways of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, he who delighted in my fall and like all those other sinners I was by nature deserving of God’s anger, like a dagger piercing my heart I start to see how my sin defined me until God who is rich in mercy forgave me, all this because of unconditional love, outrageous grace that saved me, raised up by a compassionate God, raised up with his own son and seated with him in heavenly places so that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, an expression of kindness, a healing of my blindness, he rose me up, took me from that place of death, rescued through grace, through faith given me as a gift by God who loves me, I cannot boast, I cannot claim that this was me, this was of God and for his glory, me, God’s handiwork, me, created by him to do good works, me, finally face to face with the plans he prepared in advance for me to do, alive with Christ, seated in heavenly realms, overwhelmed, a follower of Jesus, dead to my transgressions and my sins and now at last my life begins.

Do you grasp the enormity of living a life of uncertainty

We’re all going to die, no arguments there it’s a 100% fact.  But as Christians I realise we have nothing to fear, in fact in Philippians we see that to die is gain, when we die we can claim our home in heaven because the truth is dead or alive, we belong to the Lord.  However it saddens us all that we have friends and family who don’t yet know Jesus and our prayers are constantly focussed on them.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:22 – For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
  • Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain
  • Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord
  • Romans 14:8 – If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – or the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever

DEATH

We’re all gonna die, period, end of story, have you made your history with God or are you walking in the dark?  Well here’s a stark reality, if you don’t make your peace with God you’re in for a dismal eternity and there is an urgency in this message, don’t mess with the masquerading Angel of light, he comes to destroy your life, to steal your joy, he’ll deploy every strategy to convince you that heaven’s a fantasy, a place that exists in the minds of those who fear their mortality, yet you need to grasp the reality that you are loved by the light of the world who longs for your companionship, for you to claim membership of the body of Christ before you die, to enjoy a friendship with him now and then plough headfirst into an eternity of love and peace, where death is no longer, tears are no more, so here’s the score we belong to the Lord and he is willing to forgive everything you ever did that caused you to hang your head in shame, he takes the blame off you, lifts the weight off your shoulders, he doesn’t want to control you, he gives you free will, yet still he wants you to see the truth to smooth your path, can you not grasp the enormity of living a life of uncertainty?  I am loved and I am free, heaven, I wouldn’t miss it for the world, don’t you get it, freewill allows you to choose God’s treasure over earthly pleasures, this lifetime just a fleeting moment in eternity, it’s time to grasp that unless you believe you will never be free, condemned to an eternity of darkness, separated from Jesus and what that means is no love, no light, all that is wrong and nothing that’s right, pain, tears, insecurity, fears, need I go on, eternity’s a very long time to suffer for your crimes when your slate can be wiped clean, just lean in to Jesus and ask his forgiveness.

#unbelievable

Good Friday – what a gift, what a love, what a sacrifice.. just thinking about in in any detail blows me away.. this was a horrifying and brutal killing, a barbaric act that our Saviour could have walked away from at any time, he could have cried out to God to save him and we would not have the redemption we have, he could have walked away from us to save himself but he didn’t he sacrificed his own life for us…that is love and if you have never known love then you can now.. Jesus loves you that much he died for you..what an amazing love

Was just looking and reflecting on some less obvious verses today related to the crucifixion

  • Ephesians 2:18- For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
  • Psalm 22:27 – All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,
  • Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many
  • Zechariah 4:6 – ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

UNBELIEVABLE

Unbelievable; access to the Father because the world changed forever the day my Saviour died for me.  He came to serve, he didn’t ask for me to serve him he just wanted to save as many as possible from the enemy, he became our ransom, Jesus a living sacrifice for all our sins. He drew a line in the sand forever, our Saviour made it personal and that’s eternal, an eternal covenant with our God, access to the Father through the Spirit, Jesus was wounded, tormented, despised and rejected and subjected to the worst kind of death, death on a cross. That’s love; unconditional and unfettered love from a God who loves us so much he sent his only son to live as we do, he gets it, knows what it is to live as a human with all the trials and tribulations all the worries and temptations, he was blameless perfection and because of this God asked him to die in our place, amazing love how can it be that Jesus would die on a cross for me, outrageous grace, unspeakable mercy, at his name I bow my knee and one day he will return, all the ends of the earth will remember, all nations will turn to the Lord and surrender and I will live with my Saviour forever.

Radical, let me tell you about radical

So after the news of the terrible atrocities in Brussels I revisited a poem I wrote back in June last year after reading of the plight of some Eritrean Christians under threat from terrorists.  I feel strongly that we need to pray for those behind the crimes in Brussels and other terrorist atrocities that God will reveal himself to them and that they may be saved.  It’s probably too easy to judge or condemn but God forgave me my sins and he will forgive theirs if only they have a chance to hear his name and believe.

I have adapted the poem and added some reference to God’s forgiveness for all , I think that almost reflects my path as I mature as a Christian to see that God loves us all and I believe that this love is more radical than anything a group of terrorists can say or do.

Revelation 21:4 – 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.’

GOD’S LOVE FOR ALL

Desperately sad, incredibly challenged, tears of sheer frustration and sorrow for yesterday, today and all our tomorrows, peace has been shattered, nothing that mattered actually matters now.  The small stuff you use to sweat now an insignificant threat.  A larger presence looms out of darkness, threatening your very existence, the distant memory of good times overshadowed by these heinous crimes, laughter silenced, smiles wiped, happiness obliterated, family members eliminated.

Whilst this war rages on, God comforts and upholds his daughters and sons, keep your eyes on your Father, never falter from his path of peace, wisdom and love, he will free us from all anguish, Satan’s army will be vanquished. Radical, let me tell you about radical, God’s revolutionary approach to terrorists, you see God accepts all sinners, the worst offenders can be called into God’s nation we must pray for their salvation.

Our God will wipe away every tear from your eyes, there will be no more death, sorrow be gone, pain redundant, oh death where is your sting, rise up and sing your soul, he will make us whole once more, we have a promise of life eternal, a life of joy where pain and sorrow are long forgotten, let’s share this option with all we meet, don’t sit in judgement keeping this awesome promise a secret, God died for all whilst we were still sinners not one of us deserves his gift, but God is merciful and kind and God wants not one of us to be left behind.

I am loved by a God who loves me to death

Had a great meeting last night learning more about the persecuted church and praying more intentionally about specific situations in countries such as North Korea, Egypt and China.  It was so humbling to hear of the faith and love that persecuted Christians have, their strength in the face of so much persecution, lies, false criminal charges being laid on them and how even in the face of death they remain strong in their faith.  Just started to draw parallels this morning as I was reading Mark 15 as Jesus was brought before Pilate, praise God for the strength and courage he gives to us all in the face of adversity and praise God that through his amazing sacrifice we are all able to claim the victory over death and the enemy.

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

YOU LOVE ME TO DEATH

The charges were being read and you never said a word except to confirm your status as King of the Jews, you left the charges unopposed, refused to use your influence with God to give yourself a second chance, a way out, an escape, you listened silently as the crowd turned, stirred up by the chief priests shouting crucify and still you denied yourself the chance to speak, to save yourself from being flogged then certain death, you permitted the soldiers to manhandle you, remained silent as they mocked and beat you, they put a crown of thorns on your head whilst taking the proverbial, “we salute you King of the Jews” they scoffed, they spat at you, needled you and still you kept your cool as they took the tools of their trade and made you stand while they nailed your wrists to a cross, what a cost Jesus, what a cost, you died because of me and it may be a story I’ve heard a hundred times but here’s the thing, it was messy, painful and shameful, your betrayal a travesty, the crowd turned against your royal majesty, how quickly they forgot, how quickly they turned their heads away from the Saviour who was paving the way for their salvation, who turned his heart towards every nation, for your love Jesus is greater than life itself, what a sacrifice, precious holy sacrifice, and do you recognise the immense price that Jesus paid, yes he was Son of God but he still paid for our sins with his own life, imagine the pain of the blade in his side, the nails as they pierced his arms, the weakness as his blood drained from his body, the pain, the thirst, the heat of the midday sun beating on his body, the desire to cry out to anybody to save him from the agony of a slow death on the cross, praise you Jesus for your love, knowing that anything less than death meant my death, anything less than your sinless sacrifice meant I would lose my life, oh how you love me, your love lavished on me, your death an eternal reminder that I am loved by a God who loves me to death, who literally loves me to death…