Scriptures for Students sitting Exams

Exam season is fast approaching, so I thought I would share a few Scriptures to help calm those nerves

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It’s a very anxious time, students can feel overwhelmed, but can I just let you know that God is still in control and here are some Scriptures to help you.

1 Peter 5:7 “…casting all your care on Him, for He cares about you”

God cares about your wellbeing. You can entrust all your concerns and worries to Him.

Jeremiah 29:11 ” For I know the thoughts I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Your future is in the hands of God, not in the hands of any exam board!

God’s plan for you encompasses all aspects of your life. His plan for your future is not going to be hijacked because you couldn’t answer one question on an exam paper. God’s thoughts toward you are only good.

One of my other roles is that of GCSE examiner. I mark French examinations, so I know from personal experience that the examiners are not trying to catch you out – they are looking for what you know and what you can do. You have learned a lot over your years of study. You have retained more than you think.

God has said in His Word: ” I will never leave you nor forsake you, so we may boldly say “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”” (Hebrews 13:5,6)

What’s the worst that could happen? You might fail? You can retake the exam if necessary. Furthermore, you might not fail, you might do better than expected! What can man do to you? You aren’t going to be put to death for failing an exam.

If you think you can’t do this, the Bible says , ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13″ Ask God to help you.

You are not defined by the grades you get, you are defined by who God says you are.

You are His creation.

You are loved by God.

You are a person with a purpose.

You are not forsaken.

You are not alone.

Proverbs 14:23 says ” All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

If you have worked hard, God will grant you success.

If you haven’t worked hard, you still have a bit of time left to do some more revision. Use your time wisely!

But, having done all you can, the only thing left is to trust.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6)

God will perfect that which concerns you.

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The Word of God discovers our condition

Hebrews 4:11-13

 

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The Word of God is powerful. When you read it, your life will be changed. It is not just an old, dusty book that has no relevance. As you read it, asking the Holy Spirit for revelation, He will speak to you through His Word. He will convict you about your sin and will give you direction about your life.

Joints and Marrow

The three parts of the inside of the bone are the marrow, surrounded by the actual bone cells (which is where the blood cells are) and the outside membrane.

This membrane is a very hard substance and is called the periosteum.

It would be very difficult to slice between the three parts because the three parts are fused together to form the bone. It could be done, but only with the very sharpest knife or tool.

In this passage, the Word of God (ie.the Bible ) is being compared to this, the sharpest of knives with precision cutting abilities.

God knows what He wants to accomplish in our lives and as we meditate on the Word of God He operates on us (spiritually)  with the precision of a surgeon.

Let His Word transform your inner being!

Take a Gospill!

God knows our frailties and our weaknesses and He wants to do a work in our life.

 

 

When God says “No!” Part 3-Yes to Lydia

Acts 16:11-15

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The title of “When God says No!” is perhaps not a very catchy or appealing title  but actually when God is saying, “No” to one thing, He’s saying, “Yes” to something else. God’s  “No” to Bithynia at this time became a  “Yes” to Lydia and Philippi.

Timing is crucial.If Paul had tarried in Bithynia he may have missed the meeting with Lydia in Philippi. This meeting was a divine appointment. The Bible says that Lydia was a worshipper of God. God had been preparing her heart to receive Paul’s message.

God prepares us for a people and a people for us. We just need to trust His direction.

Lydia was a seller of purple. She was a well to do agent of a purple dye company from Thyatira. Purple cloth was extremely expensive – it was a symbol of status and wealth. The dye for purple was made from a juice found in minute quantities in shellfish. It took thousands of crustaceans to make a yard or two of purple cloth. So, to sell this cloth Lydia will have been mixing with very rich and influential people.

Lydia is believed to be the first European convert and the Orthodox churches have given her the title of, “Equal to the Apostles”  which signifies her importance and level of holiness.

The Lord opened Lydia’s heart and her and her household got baptized. Then she invited Paul to stay at her house. Later, when Paul had gone to jail and been released (Acts 16:30) he, along with Silas,  headed straight for Lydia’s house.

So after the  “No!” he received from God, Paul met this wonderful lady, Lydia, whose heart was responsive and open to the gospel  who became a big part of the Church at Philippi – a Church that was a constant source of supply for Paul – financially and spiritually. This connection was extremely significant

God’s  “No!” to Bithynia became a “Yes” to Philippi!

This happened because Paul listened to and obeyed the Holy Spirit

God has a plan for you. Don’t be discouraged if you sense a roadblock. God has a greater purpose.

God has good plans for you – to give you a future and a hope.

 

When God says “No!” Part 2

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Compare 1 Peter 1:1 “To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatians, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.”

So, there was a Church there at some point in time.

Sometimes God’s “No” isn’t a “Never”. It might just be a “Not Now”.

Sometimes in our own understanding we might think, “It can’t do any harm to go there and encourage these people   but the Bible says in Proverbs 3:5,”Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

God directs our steps and our stops.

 

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.

God’s thoughts are not our thoughts

DSC_0092.JPGIsaiah 55: 6-9 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God , For He will abundantly pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

There are things in this life that in our humanity, we simply cannot understand. If we were God, perhaps we would do things differently. But God does not see life from our finite perspective – He sees the whole of eternity – stretching out from before we were created to beyond our earthly existence. In Revelation 22:13 Jesus said , “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last”.

Can I just point out , from Isaiah 55 that it talks about the unrighteous man returning to the Lord – not coming to Him for the first time. This was, perhaps, not someone who had never known the Lord. Sometimes in our walk with God, things happen and we can become weary and frustrated and we can step out of fellowship with God. If you are that person, God is asking you today  to return to Him and he will have mercy on you.

God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. How much distance is there between the heavens and the earth? It’s immeasurable. Our thoughts and God’s thoughts are simply poles apart.

What can we do about this? We have to seek the Lord. We can’t expect God to fit into our narrow way of thinking. We have to align ourselves with God’s way of thinking. God loves us so much and He is willing to be found by us; He is still near; He is available and He is willing to speak to us.

There are many things in life we cannot understand – but we must trust the thoughts and the intentions of God for our lives and those around us.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” these are the thoughts of God towards you. He loves you. He wants to give you hope today.

Jeremiah 29: 12 says, ” Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Psalm 61:8 says, “Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”

Seek the Lord with all of your heart today. Bring your disappointments, your heartache, your grief and your frustration to your Maker. He will help you.

God’s Protection

primorskaya-metro-stationPsalm 91 talks about the safety of abiding in the Presence of God. It says the person who abides in the secret place of the most High, who expresses trust in God will be protected. It says that person will be delivered from the snare of the fowler and the perilous pestilence; they will not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday; no evil shall befall them and the angels will have charge of them and will keep them in all their ways.

Many different times of the day and night are mentioned, so essentially God’s people are under 24 hour protection. Nothing happens to us unless God has allowed it. In Job we read that he was under a hedge of protection , so the devil could not penetrate this without God’s permission (Job 1:10). God has placed that hedge of protection around those who are walking in fellowship with Him. Nothing happens to us unless God has allowed it.

I want to share a few instances when God has protected me.

As part of my degree in French and Russian I lived for about six months in Saint Petersburg in Russia. I attended a Church there , which was not far from the Primorskaya (Приморская)  Metro station on Vasilievsky Island. I used to travel home from church on Sundays with a Mexican ex-gangster and drug dealer who had become a Christian and was the leader of a men’s home in Saint Petersburg. There was a small group of Russians also and we had some great fellowship on the Metro. I felt quite safe with such a group, to be honest.

At some point on the underground network we would all part company and I would make my way alone to the Aftovo metro station, which was near where I was staying in a hostel with other British students.

One Sunday I came out of the metro station and was surrounded by some drunken, Azerbaijani men. They were all jostling me and speaking unintelligible things and I felt extremely threatened. Around this time one of my fellow students had been carried off by an Azerbaijani man (although she managed to escape). I carried on walking and praying and I met two women. For some inexplicable reason God told me to speak in French to them, and they answered me in perfect French (although they were Russian). I asked them for help but they were unwilling to help me. Anyway, when I looked around the men had disappeared, and I was a few minutes away from my hostel so I ran there. I can’t explain why they disappeared , but perhaps because we were speaking in a different language they thought that these women were my friends. The most important thing is that I escaped danger.

 

When I stayed in Moodymmai, in my husband’s village in North East India, I was walking by myself and encountered a drunken man who had never seen a white-skinned person before. He thought he was seeing a “Puri ” – a  ghost! He was so afraid of me that he was about to throw stones at me, when some children who had been following me told him, “No, this is Bah Airforce’s wife. It’s not a Puri”! So he left me alone.

Once, in the town where I live now, I felt led to read Psalm 91 out loud, which I did. That same day I was driving down a busy road and a crazy driver pulled out from a side road and nearly hit my car! I felt a hand on my head, and I believe it was an angel. Amazingly the car did not hit me.

One time I was late setting off from home and I was taking my children to their breakfast club a bit later than usual. My eldest daughter was giving me a hard time as she was upset that we our arrival had been delayed. That same day I learnt that there had been some armed robbers at the local shop, and if we had been on time we would have been right in their path!

There are probably many more instances where God has protected me that I don’t even know about. I believe sometimes God has arranged timings so I have avoided certain incidents. If you are a Christian and in fellowship with God, I believe you are protected too. Part of that protection is being obedient – if you hear God saying, “Don’t go there” , then be obedient – He may be wanting to protect you from something. If you feel uneasy in your spirit about doing something, then heed that feeling. It may be a warning.

There are , of course, things that we simply cannot understand. For example, I cannot explain why God allows some people to die at a young age and , we would say, before their time. We often hear about young people passing away tragically from cancer, meningitis and car accidents or Christians dying because of their faith in God. This is something that God will have to explain to me in Eternity. All I can say is that God sees things from a Heavenly perspective, not from our Earthly perspective. He knows the end from the beginning. Psalm 48:14 says, “For this is God. Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.”

God is our guide. If you are a Christian, then God is guiding you even right up to the day of your death on Earth. God is in control. Until it is your time to die, you are protected on this Earth. The Bible says in Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

Death is an appointment we all must keep, at one time or another. But, the death of a saint of God (i.e. a Christian) is viewed by God as something special. It is a time of rejoicing as they leave this world of sin and go to Heaven to be with Him. When your loved one has been on a long journey and you feel happy that they have  returned safely home to their loving family, friends and their warm bed – that’s how God sees it when one of His children finally reaches their Heavenly Home – safe, secure and at peace.

Perseverance


Hebrews 12:1,2  says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great  cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”

The Greek word “martus” translated ” witnesses” is the origin of the English word “martyr” and means “testifies, witnesses”.

Here, Christianity is compared to a long distance race and we need perseverance to finish it.

This letter was written to Jewish converts who were familiar with the Old Testament and were being tempted to revert to Judaism or to Judaise the gospel.

The witnesses are the heroes of the faith who were mentioned in Hebrews 11 and they are our inspiring examples. Examples of some of these heroes are Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph , Moses, Gideon etc. They and others through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, were tortured, had trial of mockings and scourges, chains and imprisonment, were stoned, sawn in two, were tempted and slain with the sword. Their work on earth has been done. Now the baton has been passed on – to you and I.

To run this race successfully we need to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and run with perseverance the race that is set before us.

We can take comfort in the fact that this race has been marked out for us. The Lord directs our steps and our stops. If He has brought us to it, He will bring us through it. God says, “This is the way, walk in it.”

The definition of “perseverance” is “the steadfast pursuit of an objective” or “the constant persistence , for example in a belief ”

Throwing off everything that hinders is like someone in a hot air balloon throwing out everything that’s heavy so the balloon can rise. Everything that gets in the way of serving God needs to go.

The Christian life is not a short sprint – it is a long distance race and we will need perseverance. There will be peaks and troughs. Despite all that, we need to keep going. Just as a runner concentrates on the finishing line we need to concentrate (fix our eyes on ) Jesus.

It will be worth it in the end!

Hebrews 10:36 says “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”

Trust whilst in transit

I’m on the train to London today. I have checked where I am right now (near Milton Keynes )  and I know exactly how long it will take me to reach my destination. That’s the sort of person I am. When our family travelled to India on the airplane I was following our progress on the flight tracker. Watching the plane icon travelling over the different countries was comforting to me.

I think it is human nature to want to know where we are at in our journey.

However, in our journey of life we do not know how far along we are. We do not know when we will reach our destination of Heaven. That’s where trust comes in. We are commanded to pray to God for our daily bread and advised to not worry even about tomorrow.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, ” 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.”

God knows when we will reach our final destination.  God orders our steps, and our stops and we can only entrust our journey of life to Him.