Forget Me Not

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These beautiful flowers called Forget Me Nots are growing in my garden. Forget Me Not flowers symbolize remembrance.To me, they remind me of how God has promised never to forget us.

We are always on God’s mind.

Psalm 139:17-18 says “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I am awake, I am still with you.” God’s thoughts towards us are too many to be counted.

Isaiah 49:15 says,  Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you”

I nursed all four of my children. For a large proportion of their early life I nursed them, sustained them and met their every need. It was impossible for me to forget about a tiny, hungry, needy baby. Such is a mother’s instinct and love. Yet God is saying surely some mothers may forget their children (unlikely but possible) but God will never forget about us. Yes, sometimes we’re loud and needy but God will never turn us away. He is compassionate. God’s divine remembrance to us is even more tender than a mother’s love and He is ever mindful of us.

Sometimes when we are going through things, we are tempted to think that God has forgotten about us. That is not the case at all.

Isaiah 49:16 says “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands”

Your hands are always in your view. We wear rings on our fingers, often as a symbol of affection, promise etc and the right hand  in the Bible, is a symbol of strength.

God is saying how often He thinks about us.

Furthermore, in John 20:20 the risen Jesus showed the disciples His hands  which had been pierced by the nails of the cross-showing the sacrifice He made for us.

2 Timothy 2:13 says “if we are faithless, He remains faithful ;He cannot deny Himself.”

It is not in God’s nature to be faithless. He is a faithful God. And He will not forget you.

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Comfort

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In Matthew 5:4 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Jesus promises comfort to all who mourn.

In John 14:15-18 Jesus said  “I will pray the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever-the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him;but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you”

We have a helper – the Holy Spirit is our Comforter and He helps us to pray, even when we have no words to say. The Holy Spirit will never leave us. He will not abandon us in our hour of need.

Some things may happen in life that we can never fully understand this side of eternity, but one day, we will understand. No matter what happens  God is good. He loves you and He promises to help you because He cares about you.

The Holy Spirit comes alongside us in our disappointment and grief and He shares our load. He says, “Come to me, all you who are burdened and heavy laden, and I will give you rest”

God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Give your burden to God. He can handle your pain, your loss, your grief and He will help you through it.

 

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.

 

Sunday’s coming!

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It was a very sombre time after that Good Friday. Jesus’ mother and friends were mourning; hopes of the Messiah liberating Israel were dashed; things had not turned out as hoped or expected; Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb tightly sealed with a stone and guarded by a soldier. There was no hope left.

Jesus’ disciples, who had given up their livelihood to follow Jesus, were devastated. They lost their faith. (see Mark 16:11)

Just as Jesus had felt forsaken by God whilst He was on the cross, so did His followers.

What none of them knew at that time was that Sunday was coming! The day between Jesus being crucified and resurrected was a day of transition. From their earthly perspective the disciples’ situation looked grim. They could not imagine the sort of victory that was being wrought. Resurrection from the dead. Victory over sin and death.

My friend, if things look bleak for you at the moment, just wait a while. Sunday is coming! Your victory is on the way! God will not leave you in the midst of despair – you might pass by there for a season, but you won’t stay there. There are brighter days ahead. Trust God and stay at peace.

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!

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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.

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.

More about the feeding of the Five Thousand

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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.