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Thursday 25 June 2015

Genesis 3:22-24

Clearly God loves intensely the human beings He has made in His own image; however because of our sin and to be wholly true to Himself, God cannot allow us to remain (by grace bestowed) immortal (in His own image) in His presence, sharing His utterly pure life - eternal life - forever. Yet by His grace & mercy those who turn to Jesus are "reconnected" with eternal life through the gift of the Holy Spirit (though we still sin & have to die physically).

The Fall of Man

Now the snake was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, “You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”’ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the snake said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’* When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.|

* In the Fall, we have all tragically gained knowledge but have loft wisdom (God) →→ (Babel)

NB the archetype DOUBT → the archetype LIE → the archetype SIN

Temptation: MIND → HEART → WILL | Fall

See also 1 John 2:16; Romans 1:20,22 & 25 & ff

Sunday 21 June 2015

Genesis 2:17

cf. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=gen+2%3A17&version=NIVUK

The term "good and evil" in Hebrew is used in legal literature of the period to describe legal responsibility. The tree of knowledge of good an evil then becomes a potent symbol of moral authority, the eating of which expresses the human desire to go his or her own way rather than God's way. The Hebrew word for "knowledge" has a wide range of meanings which include "experience". By eating the fruit, Adam and Eve exercise an experience their own moral judgement, separating it from God's. That really is evil and it is the evil consequence of disobeying God's Commands that we see in the world ever since. It is obedience to God[Who is Love]'s Law which gives real light to the eyes [Psalm 19:8] not disobedience.

Monday 24 June 2013

The Resurrection is a sign of hope

This article was taken from the Independent newspaper on the 23rd March 1994:

GAZETTE

 

ARGUMENTS for EASTER: 

 

In the first article in our series for Holy Week, The Rev Clive Calver, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance UK, weighs up the veracity of the Gospel story of Christ’s death.

 

WHEN PEOPLE cease believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing, they believe in anything. This pithy observation from G.K. Chesterton holds much truth for Britain this Holy Week.

 

Try announcing to friends a deep reverence for the healing power of crystals and you will likely as not arouse eager questioning; but reveal a conviction that the historic person of Jesus Christ was raised physically from the dead as part of God’s plan to rescue human beings from their wrongdoing and modern eyes will roll at the primitive nature of your utterance. “And I thought he was intelligent,” they might whisper.

 

The tragedy is that pastimes like astrology, which have no scientific basis, should be seen to compete at all with the story of the Resurrection. For there is no contest. The evidence for physical resurrection is greater than for historical events which we never question.

 

Of course no one at this distance can prove with 100 per cent certainty that Jesus rose from the dead; but there are forceful historical reasons for claiming that he did. So strong is the testimony that the Resurrection is either the most evil and callous sham in history or it is the most marvellous certainty which demands a verdict from each of us.

 

To deny that the Jesus of the New Testament rose physically the dead primarily because we find him unacceptable is to evade the real question: did it happen? We may feel uncomfortable’ with the idea of a risen Jesus but emotions are notoriously unreliable in deciding what is true.

 

And yet it is clear from the biblical accounts that the Roman soldiers refrained from breaking the legs of Jesus as he hung on the cross because they : found he was already dead. One of. them simply thrust a spear into his side, piercing his heart. If Jesus had been alive at this point modern medical students would tell us that bright arterial blood should have appeared.

 

Instead an eyewitness, probably John, describes that blood and water came from the wound. This pre-scientific description concurs with today’s medical proof of death the separation of blood from serum. A sure sign that someone is not experiencing a “swoon”.

 

Even if we suspend common sense to presume that Jesus did survive the cross, hoodwinking both his executioner and Pilate, we are left with a substantial leap of faith if we are to conclude that Christ escaped. Having been severely beaten, nailed by wrists and ankles to a cross for six hours, taken down and wrapped in 100 pounds of spices, could Jesus have moved a two ton rock and evaded a tomb guard who faced the death penalty for losing live prisoners, never mind dead ones? Is it beyond reasonable doubt to conclude that he performed such remarkable feats?

 

Another speculation is that Christ’s remains were stolen. The predicament here is one of motive. In killing Jesus the Romans and the Jewish authorities had achieved their ambition. A meddlesome threat had been dealt with in such a way as to scotch rumours about Jesus’s claims that he would rise from the dead.

 

If for some perverse reason the authorities had removed the dead body of Jesus, they would only have had to produce it again when the disciples caused near hysteria in Jerusalem by proclaiming that Jesus had come to life. They could have stopped the emerging Christian Church in its tracks; but across 2,000 years no eyewitness, enemies or friends of Jesus, historians, or critics have produced Christ’s dead body, or even claimed to have seen it.

 

No one was less likely to steal Jesus’s remains than the disciples, assuming that they could have eluded the tomb guard in order to mount a raid. Far from waiting for a resurrection this demoralised group of men Thomas the doubter, John the dreamer, Matthew the taxman and assorted fishermen ‘were more intent on saving their own skins; and yet something transformed them from conquered cowards into fearless preachers about the risen Christ. Their sudden and passionate declarations of Christ’s post-crucifixion appearances spread like a wildfire" throughout Palestine in a movement which was to changed the course of history. Had the disciples fabricated the Resurrection story they would surely have avoided elementary gaffs such as casting women whose testimony was unacceptable in a court of law as the first witness of the risen Jesus.

 

Of course, few people believe in Jesus solely because the arguments point to physical resurrection. The apostle Paul did not become a Christian after hearing about the empty tomb, but when he met the living Christ on the road to Damascus. We, too, discover Jesus in a life changing way by entering a relationship with him.

 

When as a rebellious 19 year old I committed my life to Jesus while walking along a side-street in Hackney, London, I experienced Christ’s resurrection power ‘in conversion. I could no longer describe him as merely a good teacher. His claims to be the Son of God, to be able to forgive sins and to offer new life, became tangible realities.

 

During the past 30 years I have attempted to live out and test this resurrection faith. There have been spectacular bursts of doubt, difficulty and questioning; and yet in different parts of the world I have been moved to witness perhaps the greatest proof of the Resurrection the suffering and devotion of Christian people in the most appalling circumstances, from a Christian community living off a rubbish tip in Manila to the secret faith of persecuted believers from the former Communist Eastern Europe.

 

The Resurrection heralds the beginning of the end, a sign of hope that nothing need ever be so terrible again. In the transformation of Christ’s mutilated, abandoned body, we have the promise that no situation can be deemed totally hopeless, not Bosnia, Northern Ireland, not a hungry child. For the Resurrection is God’s sign that he can and will transform all evil, not by avoiding it or pretending it is not bad, but by bringing new life from it.

 

 The Resurrection ushers in the new age of friendship between human beings and God. It is available to all, not just at Easter. Those who are sustained by this relationship join Jesus intent on becoming transformers of the world in which we live.

Saturday 22 June 2013

A Matter of Life and Death

Do you know what is going to happen to you when you die? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust? Your body will Certainly decay but your soul is indestructible-—it will live on for ever and ever-—into Eternity.

 

Your soul, by the way, is the real “YOU”———your emotions, the source of every thought, your loving, your hating——the body is just a house which, during your short stay on Earth contains the soul which is indestructible— it cannot be destroyed, not even -by atomic explosion; if you were to be blown to pieces or burnt to a cinder your soul would live on, the real YOU is invisible, it is made by God.

 

The Bible says that God is intensely interested in your soul; he made you so that he might love you and have fellowship with you. It may be mystery to you but nevertheless true—that because of Adam's disobedience to God, every man, woman and child is tainted by sin and needs to be brought back into a right relationship with God. To make this possible God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to Earth by a supernatural birth to tell us of our only hope--the saving of our soul, by believing on Jesus and receiving him into our heart and living for him. Believing on Jesus is the ONLY way for man to come back into a right relationship with God, and when you do this you will be BORN AGAIN; your life will completely change and you will desire only to love Jesus and be obedient to his will. The Bible says that when you believe on Jesus Christ as your Saviour your soul will, at death, go straight to Heaven where there is joy unspeakable and there you will be with him for ever.

 

There is, however, a grim alternative! By your rejection of Jesus your end is a. Christ-less eternity where, the Bible says, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, an eternity of torment where you will every moment wish that you had listened carefully and accepted the gift of God's free salvation—--but there will be no opportunity then to turn back——by your own rejection of Christ in this world you have settled your end at death.

The end of the world is near. Bible prophecy now been fulfilled for this generation in which we live and so there is little time to make your decision, it may be too late tomorrow. The Bible says “It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgement”. Which way will you choose?

  1. Accept Christ as your Saviour and live in the experience of his love in this world and the joy of his presence in the next, OR

  2. Reject Christ and live out this life without Christ, dissatisfied, and after death an eternity of fearful constant torment.

But the Bible says that God desires that no-one should" be lost. God’s love for us is so great that he sent, his only son Jesus, that whosoever should believe on him should not perish but have everlasting life. -Jesus, in obedience
to his Father’s will, even allowed himself to be killed on the cross at Calvary so that, by his dying and the shedding of his blood for us, .. we might be saved from the penalty of our sin which is death-—-he bore the penalty for us then. After three days he rose again in resurrection life so that he might impart to us also who believe on Him the same resurrection life. What will you do? Where will you go?

Get before God now before it is too late and ask Jesus to come into your heart and life—tell him that You want to be saved.

If you do this with a sincere heart a miracle will happen to you- -God will completely change your life-—-you will be BORN AGAIN.

Without this vital experience you are lost.

Church-going will not save you.

Trying to be good will not save you.

Living a clean life will not save you:

There is ONE WAY to be saved——-—“believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”

Your life is in your hands!

Thursday 13 June 2013

7 "Dos"

Keys to open up the human heart (in the Holy Spirit's guidance) to allow Jesus to get into [an] enquirer's heart & do/finish the business that He is already doing in the person's life by drawing him/her to Himself sometimes over many years - to the point of your "God-instance"/encounter. NB Conversion is always essentially/a personal meeting with Jesus. 

① Goodness & kindness (2 Tim 2:22-26

② Be real/show courage/take risks/to reveal God's love & joy (2 Cor 3:2-3

③ Be natural/be profound without at the same time being "heavy"/ - be real listen to God carefully/closely & learn to ask the right enabling/opening up questions. 

④ Always show natural/free/spontaneously wholesome humour (love/joy/humour(laughter) from the very heart of God - truly redemptive / reconciling) 

⑤ Listen without reaction/judgement 

⑥ Talk good sense - building up confidence & faith/trust in the listener John 8:32 

⑦ Speak creatively/affirmingly/things over people show naturally God's love affirming/encouraging them. See the image of God in people always. Loads of people don't naturally feel good about themselves. ...poor self image/low self esteem/worth
...root lack of security significance & self worth
They don't really love themselves/start to really love themselves until they know God truly loves them in Jesus.

God-instances occur as we know our role to discover where the Holy Spirit is working in people's lives. This needs our faith & obedience. We should be midwives, not salespersons in our role as Christ's ambassadors.

God prepares people for encounters with Him when He (the ultimate mystery here) knows beforehand [who] will respond to His grace.

Keep prayerfully looking for such "Cornelius" type people in the world (in who[m] God is already working (more or less consciously to them) - sometimes for a long time/even all their lives (did they/we but know it).

Go through life prayerfully & in action always with a spiritual thermometer (by the Holy Spirit).

Thus we are Christ's ambassadors:

He has given us the ministry of reconciliation. We may talk about leading people to the Lord but always first & foremost it is the Lord Who draws them/us to Himself. (They are drawn to Jesus by the Father. John 6:44) To be a "soul winner"/ambassador is a privilege of His grace that we need to / he yearns for us / to ask Him for as by His express & loving will & grace he makes us, in Jesus, his partners in building His kingdom.

So we start off giving people what they want hear (i.e. meeting with people as/how/where they are at) and move on to end up sharing with them they need to know/what we want them to hear (from God). The model is always Jesus' own ministry in Gospels. We must "be Jesus" to them: Keeping close ourselves to Jesus in trust and obedience.

Show them unself-consciously how we enjoy being Christians (& they can be united in Jesus to do so also).

Pray in the/your Spirit for the Holy Spirit for words of knowledge & discernment wherever you meet/talk with people.

8 Things that close the door (to God's message):

(a) religious language or jargon - NB no "sloganizing".

(b) Trying to explain everything - this risks hubris/self righteousness and may well reveal our basic insecurities. Accept there are many things we don't understand / that are hand / to understand. This reveals real humility.

(c) Don't moralise - this risks hubris & dogmatism. Neither condemn or condone - certainly never condemn people. God alone condemns or is merciful. We are simply to be ministers of His grace / goodness in Jesus.

(d) Never give the impression of intolerance (the bane of hardened evangelicals). Rather stress how (deep down) God made them/us in His image/like Himself, as a living soul and He loves them to bits (wholly unconditionally).

(e) Never have tension in Conversation (this kills relationship/contact)

(f) Never use theoretical explanations. The Gospel is not/never the explanation of God's plan of redemption but rather it is come to God's banquet/feast - a personal invitation (through coming to Jesus) to God's party for them. Stress "God loves you" - when a person makes serious enquires later (or becomes a Christian later) then explanations can come (helped by the Holy Spirit in the life of the person).

Always KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid!

(g) never comment on news stories

(h) never use extreme / detailed personal testimony

Friday 7 June 2013

God (Love)...

God (Love) created us in His image to praise/worship/serve/glorify Him and enjoy Him Forever. We are made for relationship with God (Three in one/one in Three) and each other. God yearns to restore that relationship. He has reconciled us to Himself through Christ Jesus/God the Son and gave us (①) the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. (2 Cor 5:18-19) [For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.] [Col 1:19-20] And God has committed to us (②) the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors as though God were making His appeal through us (③). We implore [others] on Christ's behalf: 

Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 

(2 Cor 5:19b-21)

"You did not choose Me, but I chose you & appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last...remain in my love...obey my commands...Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My Name. This is My Command, "Love each other."

(John 15:16,9b,10a,17)
cf Romans 8:28-30

Monday 27 May 2013

visions into suffering

"All visions are risks to step out of our comfort zones to earth the benefits of heaven's resources for the healing and wholeness of others."

Russ Parker (Acorn Healing Fellowship)

(Acorn Christian Healing Foundation)

"The heart of all visions (is) to see something strategy and to be empowered by God to do something practical to meet the other at their point of need"

, ... and so (ibid) underlines the [other's] humanity and need to be loved as one made in the image of God.

"Suffering is not a question which demands an answer. It's not a problem which demands a solution. It's a mystery which demands a presence.

God doesn't explain the mystery of evil & suffering, He enters into it [in Jesus].

The Incarnation is the greatest example of empathy the cosmos has ever seen.

That is Christ's example to us.

We enter [in Christ] into the mystery of suffering."

Dr John Wyatt pp 133/134

"Creation, Chaos & Christ" Keswick Year Book 2008

Saturday 25 May 2013

trust & go deeper for healing

"Surely the most exciting and wonderful adventure in life is when we put our hand in God's hand and trust Him utterly for indeed, His ways are not our ways and His ways are best."

Dororthy Kerin (founder of Burrswood)

Isaiah 55:8-9; Mark 7:37a; Ephesians 3:20-21

"Father, go on reconciling us to yourself, for in that, is revealed true healing, that we, by your Spirit's grace wisdom and power, may become better prayer channels of Your healing love & joy to many others."

In Jesus name.

Exodus 15:26(c); 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

(Luke 11:28)

"--rather blessed are those who hear my words and obey them."

Luke 8:21 & 11:28 & 6:47

(James 1:22-25)

"Go deeper still into what healing is about and you will discover a strange yet creative exchange among those who admit to each other that they are wounded. In bearing one another's burdens, in the sharing of one another's pain we begin to dance."

Jim Cotter "Healing, more or less"

Galatians 6:2

Thursday 23 May 2013

apologetics...

Christianity is not a religion at all but a revelation and a rescue and an ensuring relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Michael Green p.75 "But don't all religions to God." IVP/Sovereign World 2002

"The existence of evil does not eliminate the possibility of God but the existence of God guarantees the elimination of evil."

Wednesday 22 May 2013

The Cross

The_Cross.png

Tuesday 21 May 2013

God is..

God is consistently about using everything for His glory and our good.

Being His is certainly the greatest adventure.

Romans 8:28

Jeremiah 29:11

Mark 8:34-37

"His no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Jim Elliott, martyr Ecuador 1955

Sunday 19 May 2013

a quote...

"We must preserve unity in essentials,* liberty in non-essentials and charity in all things."

Rupert Melderius

*2 essentials / non-negotiables (after John Stott)

① That Jesus is the Son of God, that he died and rose again, that He saves the world from sin.

② The truth about holiness - that genuine belief will affect behaviour, although there is room for differing opinions on exactly how.

Thursday 16 May 2013

THE 2 SIDES OF THE EXPANDING "COIN" OF GOD'S KINGDOM

coin

God enables us - with His power, wisdom and grace - to spread the Good News of Jesus even/especially while He is still renewing/remaking us to be more and more like Himself. In both activities at the same time He is growing His Kingdom on Earth as in Heaven. In this, His is both the Mystery and the Glory.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

on Exploitation

Isaiah 3:14

Amos 4:1-2

Zechariah 7:8-10

Tuesday 14 May 2013

The grace & mercy of God towards...

1 John 1:9

Titus 3:4-6

Jeremiah 31:34

1 Corinthians 10:13

Isaiah 43:25

Psalm 103:12

The grace & mercy of God towards the believer.

NB cf. Jeremiah Ch 18:1-7 & 2 Chronicles 7:14

[cf Jeremiah 1:9]

The grace & mercy of God towards a truly repentant Church (& nation).

Monday 13 May 2013

The 7 Paradoxes of the Christian Faith

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose"

Jim Elliott 1955

① When we lose ourselves/our lives we find our true selves/our true lives [in Jesus].

② When we truly humble ourselves, we are exalted [by God], for the least become the greatest in His Kingdom.

③ In the midst of agony/suffering we may know & share in Jesus risen joy/ecstasy & glorious victory (over sin, the world & the devil)

④ God's strength is revealed in human weakness: when we are weak, we are actually strong (in God)

⑤ In acknowledging our foolishness we recognize God's true wisdom for God's foolishness is far greater than all human wisdom.

⑥ In acknowledging our spiritual bankruptcy/slavery to sin, we can turn to receive God's forgiveness & eternal (abundant) life in Jesus. In the midst of Sin (& its consequences in spiritual & physical death) the way is open to eternal life

⑦ In the discipline of / slavery to the Lord / to righteousness, lies true freedom in the power of God's love (in the Spirit) to do what is right.

 

We are saved to serve and (in the process) to be transformed. Hence Augustine (Truly) Love and do what you will.

Sunday 12 May 2013

come and seek

Lord, in repentance and broken-ness
we come to you to be
filled up with Yourself.
Lord, in your mercy and grace
give us holy boldness to
become warriors of wor(th)ship
for the building of your Kingdom.
Make us hungry for Your hot bread from Heaven,
Send us the manna of your Presence.
Lord show us your glory;
Let Your glory fill this place.
Help us to be a people after Your heart,
Let our hearts and lives be on fire for You
and shine out far and wide to many others
with your love
In Jesus Name, we pray, Amen.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
Call on Him while he is near
To our hearts Lord, you have said,
"Seek My face!"
Your face, Lord, we now seek.
2 Chron 5:13-14
2 Chron 6:3
2 Chron 7:1-4
2 Chron 7:12, 14-15

Saturday 11 May 2013

Methodical Prayer

Matthew Ch 6

① regularity

② conforming/to God's Word/will/purpose

③ continuous

④ concrete

⑤ emotions/imagination

⑥ affirming

⑦ honesty

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