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When did you last give thanks?

I didn’t get round to writing a new post on my new blog yesterday, why not? Because I was busy; helping out at a youth group and then going over to my friends house for a catch up on everything since the last time we talked, while having a takeaway… It’s always a good night when you get a takeaway. But my question afterwards was, when did I last give thanks?

Some would say praying is the easier act to do and reading their Bible is the harder act, however I have found it to be the other way round because sometimes when things are going bad we can feel isolated and fall into the trap of not praying, and then when things are going so well we can get carried away in the moment and forget to pray. But we are told that no matter what we are going through to prayer.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”                             1 Thessalonians 5:18

The problem is I find myself asking for God to do something; whether it’s asking Him to open the heart of one of my friends so that they may believe, or maybe I’m praying giving praise saying “Lord you are awesome and powerful you would calm the seas no matter how big the storm is in my life”. But then I can forget to pray and say “God thanks for the great day I just had”.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3

Reading what Peter says there we can see that actually we should always be thankful because God is providing in our lives everything that we could possibly need… and even better than just providing us with absolutely everything, He is providing us ONLY with what “we need for a godly life” so when He doesn’t provide we should be thankful in the knowledge He has stopped us from going astray, being thankful knowing He won’t provide to us if it will lead us to unrighteousness.

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever!”  Psalm 107:1

So after the day I had yesterday, I am thankful for the friends God has provided in my life as we could enjoy our time without being drunk (in contrast to society saying to have a good time you must get drunk), so God has provided us with people to be around to live a godly life. I am thankful for; the money He provided us with to buy the takeaway and the amazing food we ate, I am thankful for the games we played but most of all I am thankful for Him creating us with such emotions of happiness and enjoyment as well as the emotion of being thankful.

So when did you last give thanks? Maybe it’s about time.

Loving God’s Law

“You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently.” Psalms 119:4

How can you live such a boring life, following all them rules??? Probably one of the most asked questions by none Christians, and it never helps explaining it to them because to them we are being suffocated by these rules that God has just chucked at us. The fact is the laws God has laid down we have been freed from because of Jesus laying down his life so we don’t have to follow them; but that raises the question, should we?

“For when you were slaves to sin, you were free of obligation to righteousness” Romans 6:20

Paul states that before we asked God for forgiveness there was no “obligation” to follow God’s laws we were free to do as we pleased, many people like to believe that when they become saved they can still do whatever they want and they are forgiven and although they are forgiven; is it right to live like that?? The fact is by living in such a way they disrespect God as they take advantage of His grace. Paul points out; when we were slaves to sin we didn’t have to follow the laws but this is a yes or no situation (if it’s not yes then it has to be no and if it’s not no then it has to be yes), so if we didn’t have to follow the laws when we were sinners, we do have to follow the laws when we are saved.

“Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.” 1 Peter 2:16

The worst way to see God’s laws is as if they are suffocating and restricting you. God’s laws are there to help us and make us righteous, there’s no guessing game involved with how to become a righteous child of God because he has laid before us His rules and by following them we show we want to please him and we show our respect and love for Him and how we appreciate the sacrifice of His Son on the cross.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Psalms 119:18

The laws of God are amazing they help us to find; purpose when we are lost, light in the darkness, hope in despair and a love for God when others don’t care. His laws uplift us and make us role models to sinners and other Christians and by following them we become that light in the darkness. Be more like Jesus and act in a way God want’s us to, not in a way society want’s.

“Jesus gave up His life for us so that we might give up how we live in exchange for righteousness.” quoted my mind as typing this just now #BemorelikeChrist

Ashamed of the Saviour

I’m not sure about you but if I’m honest there have been times when I have been ashamed of God and one case in particular I didn’t even realise my act had been caused out of shame until much later on. Have you ever listened to a friend’s situation and been close to saying “I’ll pray for you” but then you never say it and why not? Maybe it’s because like me you worried that you would say you’ll pray for God to help… but God wouldn’t help and then what impression would that leave??

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16

The fact is we can’t be ashamed of the Gospel or ashamed to pray for others, and if you’ve been in the same situation as I mentioned before then maybe without realising you were ashamed of God. We need to have enough faith in God that if we tell someone were going to pray for them and if we say God will help them, then God would come through; showing His power and authority over everything in this world.

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” Romans 10:17

Paul the Apostle tells us that “faith comes from hearing the message” and this doesn’t always mean sitting down and telling someone the Gospel, instead this can be as simple as telling someone you’re going to pray for them, praying for them, and then allowing God to take control and answer the prayer. This can speak to people in such a powerful way because it can show them that prayer is not some make believe act that Christians do but shows them there is power in prayer.

“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”  Luke 22:61

So the challenge; don’t be like Peter as we see in Luke 22:61, instead of denying our Saviour and denying the chance to pray for someone, make yourself strong in faith. Be faithful in God’s word and know that if you trust God to answer your prayer He will surely answer it. Be encouraged, be firm in faith and #speakout!

“meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ…” Colossians 4:3

Set free before I was born

I just want to talk about how amazing God’s love really is. The same love that meant He sent His son to die for us. The best way we can see God’s love is by looking at His forgiveness, He forgives everyone of everything. We have a creator who loves everyone though some would despise Him, a creator who is perfect but loves our every imperfection and a creator who gives direction when we have lost hope

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” Psalm 119:105

Have you ever just stopped and thought how amazing it is that God doesn’t wait for you to commit the sin, instead He forgave you of the sin back at the cross; the sin that you didn’t even know you were going to commit, was forgiven thousands of years before you even did it. I’m not sure about you, but if someone has done a lot of bad things towards me then I might say “how can I forgive that person after everything they’ve done” however looking at how God forgives us, He looked at all the sins we would ever commit and says; they’ve sinned so much yet there is no amount of sins too much for me to forgive. Remember it’s not that God forgives… it’s that God forgave. It’s like going to a shop owner and asking for a refund to find out you’ve already been given the refund, but not just for the pair of shoes you were returning but for all the products you would ever need to return and ever need to ask a refund for.

“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25

The best part of living a life for Christ is that we are meant to live to exalt God, and yet in our lives God exalts us. He lifts us up and shows our worth to others, the Holy Spirit blesses us with gifts. The most outstanding bit of this is that God exalted us before we were even born, because He planned a great life for us to live for him when we just being formed.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

So if God has done so much for us how do we thank Him, how do we show appreciation to an awesome God, there is no other way but by praising him in everything we do, but more than that we can show we are thankful to Him for what He has done for us by what we don’t do! Every time we choose to not defile our bodies we show God we are thankful for everything He has done for us. So actions speak loudly to God and the amazing action of not doing something to keep our righteousness can be the loudest action of them all.

“you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

Being at peace, is a piece of Heaven

The more and more I read the New Testament and look for patterns of repetition of words, the more I see one word continuously repeated… the word is: Peace.

The word “peace” is found 91 times in the New Testament, out of 91 it’s only used 24 times in the Gospels, so what does that say??

Well the fact it is used more after the gospels would point to me that it’s important to teach peace to the unsaved but it’s even more important for Christians/ disciples to learn that we need to find peace in order to truly live for God.

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”       2 Corinthians‬ ‭13:11‬ ‭

Sometimes it’s easy to lose our temper and we can lose our temper with certain people in our lives easier than we lose our temper with others but we should always aim to be like God and God is slow to anger.

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.”    Psalms‬ ‭103:8‬

As Solomon said in Psalms our glory should make us forgive and the forgiveness we give should make us slow to anger.

“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.”      Proverbs‬ ‭19:11‬ 

Paul also tells us that by doing this we are able to keep peace and this peace will strengthen our souls, it will give us direction and in a society like today which can very easily misguide us it is therefore important for us to keep peace so that God would guide us to live a righteous life.

“and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”      Philippians‬ ‭4:7‬

Loving others like you’d love an angel

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I just had to use that image when I saw it… too good to miss as it just made me a laugh a bit, credit to the BBC. I guess right now you’re wondering what I mean by “loving others like you’d love an angel”. Well for this I’m using the verse “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 so that’s why I’ve given it the title it has.

A lot of the time when it comes to talking about showing love to your neighbour the passage of the good Samaritan will always be told. So, I’d like to use Hebrews 13:2 instead and hopefully make you think about showing kindness to others in a way you haven’t thought of before. Our challenge after reading that verse is to make sure we treat everyone like an angel of God, what do I mean by that? well i bet if an angel of God came before you and the angel had wings and looked exactly how we might illustrate an angel (even if the bible for the most part would not illustrate them in such a way) and the angel said to you I would like you to point me in the direction of the nearest shop, I’m sure we would not just point the way but in order to look good we would even offer to walk the angel to the shop. So if we would act in this way for an angel of God then we should act in this way towards everyone we meet. Being not just willing to do what is asked but to go the extra mile and do more than is asked.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Remember that we are told to shine like a light before others and so our actions with how we treat people is part of the bright light that we can shine. You might think well I’m not going to be coming across an angel anytime soon but just take another look at the verse from Hebrews “some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” If God sends and angel into your life tomorrow the likely hood is that you won’t know the person is an angel so I would pray that from now on you would treat everyone like an angel remembering that just one day you may show the love of God to an angel and if angels would rejoice over a sinner repenting then I am but sure they would rejoice from seeing you live your life in a righteous manner… in a loving manner.

“I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

#Seeingisbelieving

Sometimes as Christians we might feel we don’t believe enough, or maybe you’re not even a christian because heck you can’t even see God to believe in him. As a christian I want to say you are not alone. But know that seeing isn’t always believing because we can see and still have little faith. So “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2 as this is the only way to not waver in faith, the only way to truly continue to believe and this does not require having to see God or our Saviour; Christ Jesus. Who I love and who loves you!

Have you ever said you will believe when you see God? Thomas wouldn’t believe Jesus was resurrected, instead he said “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25 and when Thomas sees Jesus He believes; “Then Jesus told him, Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29.

So does seeing always make us believe?

The answer is NO.
How do I know? because in the bible Peter sees Jesus and has his focus on Jesus… “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” Matthew 14:29
… but even though peter can see Him he still doubts and this doubt causes him to lose his stability over the water and he begins to sink “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Note what Jesus says to him next:
“You of little faith,”
See peter could see Jesus yet he still lost faith, you don’t need to see God to believe in him so don’t be like Thomas and not believe until you see, as even then you might still not believe.

Remember this verse:
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” 1 Corinthians 16:13
Don’t wait on God, just believe… and if you do believe then stay strong in your faith and grow to know God because then you will feel his presence and just as He will not leave you, nor will you leave Him.

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