I hope you won’t mind if I indulge in a little self-promotion.
Out of the blue I received an invitation to write a guest blog post for ‘StylishlyInspired’ and this has been published today.
Do go along and visit her site and support me with your comments and likes (if so inclined).
Thanking you in anticipation!
“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer
I am honoured to have been asked to write this guest post. It’s been a long-held desire of mine that God use my writing to speak into the lives of His people, particularly women in the Body of Christ, so when the invitation was given, I immediately asked the Lord what he wanted me to say. Out of the blue, a story came to mind. I’d not read it for a while and hadn’t really considered it to be particularly inspiring, so God’s prompting took me by surprise.
I therefore trust this post will provoke you and speak to you wherever you are at in your relationship with the Lord. I pray it will not just be another post that you read (hopefully enjoy) and then forget—but that it will challenge, even change you.
Are you celebrating the TRUE reason for this season?
Mistletoe and Wine
Children singing Christian rhyme
With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree
A time to rejoice in the good that we see.
Cliff Richards, Commercialism, Christ
The above refrain taken from a popular Cliff Richards’ song, evokes a warm, wholesome image of Christmas, which pretty much stands at odds to the commercial and secular response often associated with this important season in the Christian calendar.
Many will feast and frolic their way through this seasonal period without giving much (if any) thought to the person behind this important event. With all the clever commercials, hyped expectations and frenetic preparations, it can be easy to forget that “Jesus is the reason for the season”.
Stop and reflect!
And so dear readers, may I invite you to come aside and reflect for a while upon what the Christmas message means to us as purpose-driven believers? I’d like you to consider what lessons we can take away from the nativity story, which will equip and encourage us to live God-glorifying, purpose-driven lives.
A big part of Christmas celebrations involves the giving of gifts. The Bible reveals that God led wise men from the Far East to the Jewish town of Bethlehem. They presented Jesus with gifts—gold, frankincense and myrrh—as part of their acceptance, recognition of, and homage to Jesus, the prophesied Messiah and King.
Make faith your travelling companion
I understand from a devotional article read recently, that it took two years for the wise men to travel from their home town, to their ultimate destination. Two years of travelling through unfamiliar terrain away from creature comforts. Two years of not really knowing where they were going – depending solely on God’s guidance through a star.
Logical reasoning would lead anyone to conclude it a risky and perhaps foolish venture, to leave familiar territory for an unknown destination. However, that’s where faith (the ability to believe without actually seeing) comes in!
Walk with God-focused purpose
Our relationship with God is often described as walking with Him. It is generally depicted as a journey. There is an oft-quoted proverb about success. It goes thus: “success is a journey – not a destination!”
As purpose-driven achievers. we may be tempted to focus on the destination, on the fulfilment of our dreams—but just as important to our Father God, is the journey… how we cope with the vagaries of travelling to the unknown… whether during that pilgrimage we endeavour to be self-sufficient, or are willing to trust and depend solely on him.
Even though it is obvious God was there to guide each of these men on their journey, He nevertheless did not require them to travel alone. There is strength, support, even safety in numbers.
Embrace your destiny-helpers
Even though our calling as purpose-driven achievers is specific and individual, our Father does not expect, or desire us to play the lone ranger. Adam was given a help-meet. Jesus, the Son of God, eventually chose 12 disciples. Since God has placed you and me as particular members within the Body of Christ—the fulfilment of our potential, the achievement of our destiny, depends upon our interaction with and, interdependence upon others.
Let go – and let God!
Dear followers and visitors, as we move towards the end of 2016 and prepare to greet a brand new year, with brand new opportunities, I pray you will find your destiny helpers. I pray that God will surround you with the right individuals, who will challenge, encourage, inspire and motivate you to be the very best that you can be. I pray that our Father God will cause every past disappointment, discouragement, failure and seemingly insurmountable obstacle, to work together for your advantage and advancement, for your emotional and spiritual growth, and for your success.
Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, I wish you and your loved ones a happy, Christ-centered Christmas. And if you don’t celebrate the birth of Christ (which is the true reason for this season), then I wish you a peaceful and relaxing break over the coming holiday period.
CREDITS: the images within this post are courtesy of Pixabay.com
Did you enjoy reading this post? Did my message speak to your heart? If so, please let me know. I welcome your comments, likes and ratings and would encourage you to re-blog, or share this post with your social network contacts. Many thanks in anticipation of your support.
O yes, we both have the same father. We both belong to God’s Holy Order of kings and priests. But that my friend is where the similarity ends. He is far, far superior! He has to be, for he has made me and he is self-existent—i.e. nobody made him! He existed along with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the very beginning. His name is Jesus.
Now he is in Heaven whilst I am down here on Earth. But it wasn’t always so. There was a time that he was here on this Earth and within 3 years he brought much light and love, healing and miraculous exploits to the world around him. Whereas, I have been on this earth for over 50 years and I cannot say that I’ve impacted the world about me, or the people within the circle of my influence in such a marvellous way. Nope! Much as I wish that were true, I cannot say that.
Jesus was self-assured. He was not fooled easily. He did not strike back in anger, or resentment, or any other negative attitude when he encountered opposition or violence. Imagine being the one who made man, yet allowing the creature you created to mock and jeer, choosing to stand silent, dumb as a sheep, allowing yourself to be sheared so to speak. Sheared of respect. Sheared of self-esteem.
He could have summoned a legion of angels to rescue him. He could have opened his mouth and burned his detractors to a crisp. But he didn’t. He humbled himself. He remained silent. He succumbed. Succumbed to the malicious will of those sanctimonious bigots (fellow Jews) and soldiers of the Roman Empire—who breathed lies spawned from envy… who uttered false accusations… who mocked and ridiculed and humiliated him (stripping him not only of his clothes but also of his dignity).
How meek but strong was that to not react, to not use his power and might to blast them to hell? How meek but strong was that to not retaliate? Oh no—instead, he said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.
Now, if the power had been in my hand, I would perhaps have cursed them with my words. I would have stopped them in their tracks. Or I would levitate myself from out of my predicament. Or I would play games with them and put the ‘fear of God’ into them – disappearing and reappearing, taking on that aura of blazing fiery light so they could not look upon me but would either fall down in terror, or freeze to the spot in fear—and then I’d freeze them permanently!
But that is the difference between me and Jesus, the difference between me and the Holy Son of God. Jesus loved me and loved the entire world. He wanted to obey his Father at all costs, so that the world would have a way of escape out of spiritual darkness, and could be redeemed from the hateful hand of his arch Enemy, who also became our ultimate enemy. I speak of Satan (whom I also dub Mr Diablo)!
He is the Christ, the Messiah.
Me? I was just a doomed, rebellious sinner.
Okay, so now I’ve been saved by God’s grace, through his unmerited kindness. Now I’ve been elevated to the position of a saint (according to God’s reckoning). Yet, as his beloved child, his sanctified saint, I am nowhere near the calibre of this awesome man, who loved and sacrificed himself for me, who lived in order to die for me. And as I read his biography and compare his noble achievements with my base life’s record, I cannot deny the fact, yeah, I cannot disguise the truth that between me and Him—there’s a stark contrast!
And, for your further reading pleasure, if you have not already done so, you may wish to read my post on a contrasting character – the aforementioned Mr Diablo (another Daily Post Word prompt). If so, please go to: Satan’s Suicidal Mission
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.
After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
John 13:3-5 (NKJ)
In recent weeks we’ve been looking at life metaphors. One of mine is that life is a journey. I believe most of you would agree with me that we are all on a journey of some kind—a journey towards our dreams and aspirations, towards God’s purpose for our lives and ultimately towards our eternal destiny.
In biblical times it was the custom for hosts to wash the dust and grime from the feet of their guests. It was an act of hospitality but also seen as an act of servitude. To wash someone else’s feet requires humility, as demonstrated by Jesus when he laid aside his garments to wash the feet of his disciples.
In Luke 7:36-47 we read an account of a woman filled with deep remorse over her past sins. It would seem she was convinced Jesus was the expected Saviour sent by God to save, i.e. deliver people from the guilt, stain and shame of sin (Matthew 1:21). She makes her heartfelt plea for forgiveness… for release from her transgressions, by anointing and washing the feet of Jesus.
I find it ironic that a Pharisee, to whom observance of the rites of washing represented an important religious tradition, would invite Jesus to dinner, insult him by not offering the common courtesies of a host, yet when this woman anoints Jesus’ feet and washes them with her tears, he is inwardly critical of Jesus, he is inwardly dismissive and despising of this woman.
Here is a man who needs salvation. Here is a man, I am sure, would have heard about the miraculous works of Jesus. Did he only invite Jesus to dinner so he could look good in front of his friends? Did he not recognise Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah? Did he not realise that he himself was as much a sinner as the prostitute, who’d gate-crashed his dinner party, who lay prostrate at his guest’s feet, weeping and seeking forgiveness?
We gain further insight into this man’s heart after Jesus shares the story of two debtors (Matthew 26:39-47). In a nutshell, because Simon saw little need for forgiveness from Jesus, his love and respect for his invited guest was measured accordingly. In fact, Simon even doubted the authenticity of Christ’s pedigree: “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.”
Simon was perhaps only curious about Jesus, or wanted the kudos of being able to say that Christ, a celebrity, had dined at his house. Although he had little love and respect for Jesus, he was willing to use the Lord for his own purposes.
When you do not respect the one who died for you, it is easy to take his life, presence and ability to bless you for granted. It is easy for you to care only about what he can do for you, instead of falling down on your knees in remorse, repentance, gratitude and worship for all he has done for you. It is easy to forget that Christ sacrificed his life for us, even though, as *John Newton observed, we were an undeserving wretch.
The only reason we are now worthy, the only reason we have been exalted to the position of God’s heirs and joint-heir with Christ… to a position of kings and priests in the Kingdom of the only Potentate (1 Timothy 6:15), is because Jesus willingly subjected himself to the cruellest death imaginable, so that I, so that you, so that whosoever wants to, can be saved, healed, delivered and restored.
As followers of and visitors to my blog, I would like to extend to you this biblical hospitality. Figuratively, I would like to wash the dirt, dust and grime from your feet as you pause to rest, before continuing on your journey.
I pray God will use the words I write to wash away the dirt from dashed hopes and dreams, defeat, despair and bitter disappointment. I believe God will anoint my words and use them to remove the dust of self-sufficiency or self-pity. And, I am trusting that God will remove the grime of pride (if and when applicable), whether it be pride of life, status or accomplishment. I pray he will do this both in your lives and in mine. Will you allow Him to do so?
Make no mistake, we all need the water of God’s Word to continually cleanse us, or quench our thirst. We all need the refreshment of his presence, his words of comfort, encouragement and peace. So my invite goes out to you all. Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, come and accept my hospitality. Come, and let me wash your feet, let me serve you with the precious love of Jesus.
*Author of hymn Amazing Grace
And, whilst you’re here, I take this opportunity to wish all my followers and visitors a Happy Easter!
In recent weeks, we have considered our life metaphors. We learned that the Bible reveals 3 metaphors, which indicate God’s perspective regarding life. They are:
Life is a test
Life is a trust
Life is a temporary assignment.
In his best-selling publication, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren said that when we understand life is a test, we will realise that there is no situation we face and no incident that occurs, which is insignificant.
So, what is the purpose of tests?
Deuteronomy 8:2 provides a clue:
And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
And Rick Warren further elaborates on the purpose of tests. He says:
Character is both developed and revealed by tests
And so, in this post, we’re going to take a look at character.
People are drawn to individuals with charisma, to people who are successful. But often, if you were to scratch below the surface of that man or woman, what you find there may not be so attractive.
On the other hand, you may know of some individuals who are ordinary on the outside yet they have such a beautiful character, others are drawn to them.
No one wants to be around people who constantly murmur and complain and see life only from a negative viewpoint. When last have you attended a function and seen people gathered around an individual who had a mournful face, who bleated on and on and on about their troubles and the only thing they had going for them was a “woe is me” attitude? It’s just not gonna happen is it?
We want to surround ourselves with people who are fun, who are positive, who makes us feel good about ourselves and who have something to offer us that will help us on, in our journey in life.
Jesus was clearly like this. Crowds followed him. Women were devoted to and freely ministered to him. His disciples fought over who would sit next to him in heaven and people left their livelihoods and loved ones in order to follow him.
How about you and me? Are you someone that others like to be around? Whom others will turn to during times of need? Are you positive, complimentary and encouraging? Or are you cynical, sarcastic, given to making cruel or cutting jibes?
Recent party political campaigns in America have brought a well-known business mogul to our attention, in the person of Donald Trump. Unfortunately, media footage has presented an unflattering and at times a quite damning picture of this candidate.
Now whilst this man may have reached the pinnacle of success as far as his business interests is concerned, his treatment of fellow-candidates and media representatives reveals an unattractive character. You could not accuse him of being a “people-person”! And even if you agreed with his policies would you want to work under his administration? Would you relish the thought of having to endure a close working relationship with him?
One of the things the Queen of Sheba noted when she came to visit Solomon was how happy the servants were that worked for him. Now that must have been a striking and unusual feature of palace life for her to notice and remark upon it. I mean, how many people notice servants? Generally, important individuals see the staff who serve them as a non-entity, as part of an inconsequential background and the only time servants get noticed is when they do something wrong.
No doubt, there was something special about the atmosphere Solomon had created around him and amongst his servants. He was rich. He was successful. He was celebrated. People flocked to hear his wisdom. Yet he did not allow these facts to inflate his ego and cause him to peer down at his subordinates with disdain. He knew how to treat others, whether rich or poor, great or small. I believe he must have had a wonderful character.
I’m not saying that everyone will celebrate you. We know the religious leaders of Christ’s day were not enamoured of him. But at the end of the day there is someone to whom we are indebted, someone who owns us body and soul (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And so our desire should be to please Him, to seek to tailor our character and conduct to His ideals.
As purpose-driven believers and/or dream achievers the tests we face in life can either hone or harden our character. It’s not always the rich and famous who display arrogance, or pride, or a vicious tongue. Jesus said that from the abundance of our heart, the mouth will speak (Luke 6:45). In other words, the thoughts we treasure or accumulate in our hearts defines our character and if that treasure, that storehouse, is ugly then our character will be ugly and much as you may want to hide it, or put on an act, your true nature will reveal itself through the words you speak.
Negative words may not necessarily be directed towards others. They can very well be aimed at ourselves. How many times have we beaten ourselves up with the vocabulary of failure, fear and despair? Studies show that from childhood we can unconsciously absorb the negative or nasty thoughts, attitudes and behaviour of others toward ourselves. God’s Word is full of His life-giving thoughts and opinions regarding us, yet somehow we place more importance upon what others think and say about us (particularly those who dislike and disrespect us).
If we are honest, we may believe, we may even convince ourselves that we are “nice” but God does not have to dig too far below the surface for us to discover that truly we are not! As the Bible says, our own righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Thank God, he was generous-hearted and wise in imputing His righteousness to us. Our heavenly father’s desire is that we conform to the image of his Son Jesus. I think you will agree with me that character-wise you can’t get a better role model than our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my lovely followers and readers, in all your aspirations, pursuits, endeavours and successes, remember this—what you build with your gift, you can destroy with your character!
PS: I’d love to hear your responses to this post. Please let me know in the comment box below.
This post is an invitation to paradise – a place where there are no troubles, trials or tears. The invitation is open to everyone and yet it is often ignored. If you’ve already accepted – congratulations! If you have not – what will you do? Be wise. Choose life. Choose paradise!
*** *** ***
Yes you! The one who believes you are the master of your fate and the captain of your own soul. The one who feels you have no need of God. The one who makes every single possible excuse for not acknowledging His existence, who perhaps even denies the reality of a living, loving God.
Did you know that every human being on this earth has the breath of God within them? Do you accept that we are spirit beings? Yep – that’s absolutely so. We are spirit beings housed in a physical body. So what has that got to do with me (you may be thinking)? Why should I care?
Well, my dear precious reader, whether God/truth-seeker, agnostic, atheist, fence-sitter, or however else you may categorise yourself, when your body dies, your spirit being (the REAL you) remains alive. And your spirit being is destined to spend eternity either with God, or with Satan!
Who gets to decide where you spend that eternity? You do!
Does the idea that you are deciding your own fate, determining your eternal destiny make you feel afraid, confused, uncomfortable? You need not be – the truth and solution to your spiritual predicament is simple.
Even though neither I, nor you, nor anyone else for that matter, had done anything to deserve this supreme act of love and kindness, God planned a way of escape for us (and Jesus executed this plan), so that we can enjoy eternity with Him. Just listen to what He has to say about this:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:16-18 (New King James Version)
All you need to do is realise and accept you are in need of rescuing from the fate of eternal damnation, through the only person (Jesus) who can deliver you. Simple isn’t it? There’s no test you have to pass, no high-level board you have to sit before and impress, no astronomical entrance fee. Just:- Admit. Accept. Ask.
Admit you have sinned and fallen short of God’s standards
Accept you cannot save yourself through good works, good morals, or some other “enlightened” pathway
Ask Jesus to save you (i.e. rescue you from an eternity in Hell)
Now if you are experiencing an increasing sense of discomfort at these words, please do not worry, ignore, dismiss, or try to suppress. Do you remember I mentioned at the beginning that we are all spirit beings? The uncomfortable feeling is just your spirit, reacting to the conviction of this gospel truth. Believe me, if you press on, that uncomfortable feeling will soon go away and you’ll be glad you persisted.
If you are willing, and if you believe, you can change your fate and ensure your destiny with God. Today. Right now!
If you’re ready to take that step and wish to cut to the chase before you change your mind then please see prayer below. If however, you are able to bear with me a little longer whilst I elaborate, I’d appreciate you lending me your ears for a bit longer.
Adam and Eve committed sin (I do hope you know the story about the snake, the forbidden fruit and the Garden of Eden*), causing the entire human race to become tainted and doomed to death. Further, Adam’s treachery had the effect of legally transferring ownership of our souls to the control of Satan.
However, God who created you, who loved (and still loves you), devised a plan, which enabled Him to redeem (or pay the ransom price) and rescue you from the evil clutches of his arch enemy, Satan. God sent His Son Jesus to this earth and Jesus willingly died the cruel death of crucifixion, so you and I can have a choice about where we spend eternity.
All you are required to do is:
Believe you are in need of salvation (i.e. rescuing from the death penalty)
Believe Jesus died for you
Accept God’s incredibly generous and FREE gift of salvation.
Now for the decision bit. TODAY you have a choice – life or death, eternity with God or eternity without Him (i.e. eternal punishment).
If you would like to choose LIFE and ensure your destiny in paradise (where there will be no troubles, trials, or tears – Revelation 21:4) then please say the following prayer:
I come to you today in the name of your Son, Jesus. I want to thank you for making it possible for me to spend eternity with you. I recognise I am in need of rescuing from the penalty of sin. I believe Jesus died for me and I accept He is the only way through which I can escape eternal punishment. I repent of my sins and ask your forgiveness. Jesus, I invite you into my life as my Saviour and my Lord. Amen.
If you prayed the above in all sincerity, congratulations! There is a party going on in heaven right now because you’ve made this life-changing decision. You now belong to the family of God. Whoo hoo! Congratulations and welcome!
To help you, so you are not left floundering and wondering what to do next, the following links will give you a good start and provide the guidance you need. I’d also suggest that you talk to a Christian friend and/or find a church to attend and receive support.
If you didn’t – why not? Don’t delay for another day, for you do not know what tomorrow will bring.
If you did pray and make the above commitment, please let me know in the comment box below. Telling others cements your decision and reinforces within your heart the new step you’ve taken, plus I’m sure there’ll be others who will want to congratulate and welcome you too.
To all who made it this far, thank you for giving me your precious time. Thank you for reading/listening.