Peace, be still!

FB_IMG_1479550429482

In Mark 4:39 we read how Jesus calmed the storm with the words, “Peace, be still.” The wind was so strong that it was beating into the boat and water was coming into the boat. The disciples, some of whom were experienced fishermen used to being out at sea in adverse conditions, were afraid and thought they were perishing.

Jesus arose and  calmed the sea with the words, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

Whatever storms you are experiencing in your life right now, Jesus wants to calm them. He is speaking these words to you today – Peace. Be still.

Let Jesus calm your storms within and without.

Our God of Justice

Isaiah 30:18 says, ” Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him. ”

The definition of justice , according to the Oxford online dictionary, is, ” to do, treat or represent  someone or something with due fairness or appreciation.”

God is a just God. He is impartial and fair.

There are many times in the world where justice does not appear to have been done in earthly courts. People may be wrongly convicted and many years later, they are set free. Sometimes a person is guilty but no charge can be brought due to a lack of evidence. This NEVER happens with God. God sees the full picture. He knows the truth about each person, and sooner or later that person will have to give account of what they have done.

2 Corinthians 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

Sometimes on this earth someone may do us wrong, but God tells us not to take revenge.

Romans 12:19 says, ” Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” The Bible says we should not repay people evil for evil but let God avenge us. If we decide to avenge ourselves God may leave us to it. But God knows the wrongs done to us. When we leave things in His hands He will move on our behalf.

The other half of this verse says, ” Blessed are all those who wait for Him.” If we learn to trust God with our troubles we will be blessed. God knows how to look after us.

Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” If you trust in God, you’ll be blessed and happy. Let Him sort out your problems with injustice.

 

Blow the cobwebs away!

DSC_0236

To blow the cobwebs away is an idiomatic expression in English, which means “to do something which makes you feel less tired or bored.” it usually involves fresh air or exercise. Cobwebs are made by spiders and are usually found in rooms or places that no one uses very much.

Today at Church I felt like God was saying He wants to blow away the cobwebs in people’s lives.

In other words, people have been given spiritual gifts but in some cases they have not been used very much. Or, people used to move in the spiritual gifts, but for some reason they no longer do. Maybe their zeal for God has waned.

Now is the time to stir up those gifts. 2 Timothy 1:6 says, “Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”

I feel like there’s someone who used to pray for people in his youth and he saw them healed. Now he is not using that gift. But it’s still there. God is calling you to pick it up again and start praying for people again. People’s lives are hanging in the balance – they need you to be operating in your gift.

Elisha and the Widow’s Oil

_20170318_1810532 KINGS 4:1-7

This woman was in dire need. Her husband had died and a creditor was coming to take her two sons away to be slaves. This woman’s husband had been the son of a prophet; he was a man who feared the Lord and Elisha had known him. So, the woman appealed to Elisha to help her. She was not in a good situation and she sought the man of God.

Elisha was willing to help her and asked what she had in her house. This woman did not have a house full of belongings. All she had was a jar of oil.

A quick question – what do you have that God can work with? If she only had that jar of oil, that is what God was going to use.

Elisha told her to borrow empty vessels from all of her neighbours, which she did. She shut the door behind her and started pouring out the small jar of oil into ALL of the vessels. Amazingly, the oil just kept on flowing until ALL of the vessels were full.

This was a miracle! This miracle was dependant on the woman’s faith. Elisha told her, “Do not gather just a few.” She was told to make room for God to do the miraculous. I say to you today, “Do not gather just a few.” Expect God to move mightily on your situation. If this woman had gathered just a few vessels she might not have had enough money to repay the debt and live off the rest. Please, brothers and sisters, do not limit God in your actions, in your thinking, in anything …

You do realize , of course, that God did not need the small jar of olive oil to perform the miracle. But He wants us to commit ourselves fully and take a step of faith. He requires us to lay the foundations for a miracle to take place.

This woman was a spiritual woman and she did not hesitate to respond to the instructions of the Lord’s prophet in faith and obedience, even if it seemed crazy to her. Will we do that?  Naaman was asked to bathe in the River Jordan in order to be healed from his leprosy. He went away in a rage when he first heard this, because he thought this idea was ridiculous. But, eventually he did bathe in the River and was healed of his leprosy.

The things God asks us to do may not always make sense but we must trust Him. He knows what He is doing.

God is our loving Heavenly Father and He wants to provide for us, His children, when we are in need. Psalm 34:10 says, “…those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” God provided enough oil for the lady to pay the debt and enough for her whole family to live off. God is not only a generous provider ,but He  has unlimited resources.

Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. Our Father in Heaven owns everything that is in the world – the animals and the crops etc. He sends the rain and makes the sun shine – He brings the perfect conditions for harvest. He is a rich Heavenly Father who delights in giving us all things.

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things.”

Your sphere of influence

2 Corinthians 10:12, 13 says, “For we dare not class ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves , and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us – a sphere which especially includes you.”

We often talk about having a sphere of influence or activity. I believe God is saying that we each have our own sphere of influence in the world. We have relationships and people around us who form part of our sphere of influence. We coexist with them . They see how we react to situations and they listen to our words.

Paul was saying in this letter that the Corinthian believers were included in his sphere of influence. They were part of his spiritual responsibility. We are not responsible directly for everyone in the world, but those people who God has put in our path are our responsibility.

I am a supply teacher at the moment and I go into many schools taking classes when the permanent teacher is absent. Recently, I had a dream that I was standing on a stage in front of hundreds and thousands of young people. I have never actually stood on a stage in front of that many young people, however from day to day I meet hundreds of different young people from all backgrounds and all corners of the globe – England, Pakistan, the Ukraine, Hungary, Yemen, for example. At the moment, this is my sphere of influence and although I don’t spend a lot of my time in classrooms preaching (that would be unprofessional) I do pray in my own time for pupils God has laid on my heart and I bring the Presence of God within me into every classroom I am in. St. Francis of Assisi famously said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” At the moment, this is my ministry. It is hard work at times. But I cannot look around and compare what I am doing with someone else’s ministry. I have to be content with what God has appointed me to do at this moment in time.

Each person in the Church is a part of the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about the futility of the foot saying because it’s not a hand, that it’s not part of the Body. The Bible says there are many members but one Body. The eye can’t say to the hand, “I have no need of you” Similarly if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body” is it not still part of the Body? God needs every part of His Body (the Church) playing their part. A Body made up of only ears would be a monstrosity. Each part needs to play their own part so that the whole Body works properly. We need diversity in the Body of Christ.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ – don’t look around and compare yourself with others. Pray and ask God to show you what your sphere of influence is and what your purpose is. It may not be the same as those you are looking at. But be prepared to be the best you can be in the place where God has put you. You may be the only Christian your friends will meet.

What is that to you? You follow Me

JOHN 21:20-23

Jesus restored Peter after he’d denied Jesus three times and told him to feed His sheep. Then He told Peter what sort of death he would have to glorify God. (According to Christian tradition Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar)

In verse 20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following and He said, “But Lord, what about this man?”

Here’s the first mistake Peter made here. We can often make the same mistake. He turned around and looked at another follower of Jesus.

As Christians it can be tempting to look at others and compare our destinies to theirs. Others’ destinies may seem easier and more glamorous, and our own may seem lacking. But Jesus put Peter straight by saying, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

Jesus was essentially saying,” Never mind what I’ve called other people to do. That’s not your concern. You follow Me. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. I have a unique purpose and calling for you and for the people you’re comparing yourself to”

More about the feeding of the Five Thousand

John 6:1-15

The disciples wanted to send the crowds away so they could fend for themselves. But Jesus said in John 6:35 , “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and will never thirst.” He also said in John 6:37, “Whoever comes to Me I will never drive away.”

Jesus will never turn away someone who is earnestly seeking Him. That is not His heart at all. He will never turn you away.

Why didn’t the people have some lunch with them like the young boy? Possible this was because they were desperate . As soon as the crowd heard where he was they rushed to follow Him. They didn’t want to risk missing Him by stopping for food. They were hungry and expectant for a miracle from Jesus.

Are you hungry today for a miracle from Jesus? Are you desperate enough to run to him with your problems?

In Matthew 14:16, Jesus said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

In other words, Jesus was saying, “I have everything they need. They don’t need to look elsewhere, not even for food.”

Jesus is the source of every blessing. We may feel that we have little resources and little ability, but God can take our small contribution of whatever it is and multiply it to meet every need. All God needs is a willing heart. The boy willingly gave up his lunch and Jesus blessed and multiplied it.

Jesus asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat” (John 6:5). This was to test him. Philip only saw the impossibility: “even 8 months wages will not be enough to give each person even one bite of bread.”

Are we like Philip? Do we only see the impossibility of the situation? For example, “The cancer has spread, there’s no hope of a cure”, “We just don’t have enough money for that”, “I’m too old for a new job” etc.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!

Andrew had more faith than Philip. He brought the young boy with five small loaves of barley bread and two small fish – not enough to solve the problem in the natural, but enough for Jesus to work with.

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

Jesus – the supplier of human need.

John 6:14.  The feeding of the five thousand. In verse 7 Peter said, ” Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little.” Our human understanding says, “This is too expensive.” It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a piece. This was a lot of money.

So Andrew said, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many.”

There is only so much we can do – we have to rely on God to do the rest. The little we give can be multiplied by God. He only needs our willingness to be involved.

Verses 12 and 13 – Twelve baskets were leftover. God supplies abundantly more than we ask or think.

In Matthew 14:13-21 we learn that before this miracle, Jesus had just found out that his earthly cousin, John the Baptist, had died a cruel death (he had been beheaded).

Matthew 14:13 says that when He heard this, Jesus withdrew to a solitary place. We all need this time to withdraw to a solitary place away from the demands of life to refresh ourselves in God. If you have troubles, run to Jesus. He is the One who can help you. No matter what demands you have on your time or pressures of ministry etc. you sometimes need to withdraw yourself so God can deposit more of His power.

Jesus had to launch a boat out to get time away from the people. Sometimes we need to use extreme measures to spend time with God.

Yet the crowds still followed Him on foot, waiting for Jesus to land His boat. And when He did, they were still waiting for Him. They were desperate.

Matthew 9:36-38 “But when He saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.””

The harvest is still plentiful today and workers are still needed. There are still sick people , hurting people and sheep without a shepherd in our towns today. If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Will we have compassion on these people and speak to them when we’re busy, when it’s inconvenient, when we’re grieving, tired or hungry?

Jesus’ cousin John had just been cruelly beheaded and Jesus was obviously upset, but He was still able to show compassion for sick people. The circumstances seemed unjust – why did a good person like John have to die and other people probably not as deserving have life breathed into them. It didn’t seem fair, but God was still in control.

(to be continued)

 

 

 

Accepted by God – an antidote for rejection

No matter who has rejected you – the Lord has accepted you. Isaiah 54: 5 says, “your Maker is your husband” and verse 6 says,” “For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused, ” says your God, “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you””

You are precious to God and He loves you dearly. You are totally accepted by Him. In Ephesians 1:6 it says, ” … to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Because of the grace of God, given freely to us through Jesus Christ dying on the cross for us, you can be totally and completely accepted by God.

Jesus has promised never to leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). If you have given your life to Him He will never let you go and will never abandon you.

Psalm 27:10 says, ” When my father and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me”. Friends and family may forsake you,  but the Lord will never forsake you. he will take care of you. Jesus is closer and more faithful than a spouse, a mother, father, brother, sister or friend. He loves you more than anyone in the world ever could. Even in their best days of loving , the people around you cannot match Jesus in His love for you.

If you were the only person left in the world, God would still have sent Jesus to die on the cross so that you could have a relationship with Him.

Your life is important and worth something.

No matter which earthly person has rejected you, give your heart to God. The Bible says He binds up the broken-hearted (Psalm 147:3). Let God heal your broken heart. Experience the power of His unconditional love and acceptance of you.

The Joy of the Redeemed

DSC_0074

One day, all the sorrows and sighing, all the work pressure and the cares of life will flee away. Don’t let the sorrow overwhelm your soul.  It is only temporal.

One day you’ll down tools and your earthly work will be done. You will be overtaken by gladness and joy! Everlasting joy shall crown your head! Oh, I can’t wait for that day!

John 14:1-3 says, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

The Earth is not our permanent home. Jesus is preparing a place for us in Heaven. We don’t need to let our hearts be troubled. Instead, we can trust our Maker to look after us.