God’s Heart . . .

The heart of God has always been for you and for me. From the very moment Adam and Eve sinned and lost eternal life, God planned our redemption.

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Imagine that you are an angel and live in a place called Heaven. It is so clean and pure and joyful and every soul there is perfect as well. You all love and worship your  creator, God. But one day there is a revolt against the One that is responsible for your existence. There is such a clear probability that if those causing trouble through their  jealousy and greed for power are not banished, then there would be irreversible damage done for eternity to this Holy and Glorious place. So that is just what God does. He kicks them out of Heaven and banishes them forever to a place He creates just for them. Hell.

The leader of these exiles is Satan. He is so angry at God that he decides to attack His ultimate creation. Mankind. He tempts Adam and Eve with the very thing that he epitomises. Pride and Greed. They turned their eyes off God and His loving provision and were deceived into thinking that they could be like Him. You see, God made us with a free will, to be able to make free choices. They lost their relationship with God, and therefore their eternal life. Heaven, as has been said, is too Holy and Pure to accept anyone that could mar that Beauty and Glorious Light. God cannot live within the remotest distance of sin.

God loved us so much even though we had chosen to go against Him, that He put into place a plan to redeem us from the loss of eternal life with Him.

He sent His Son from that most Glorious place to earth, to live a human existence, to take upon Himself the sin of the world for our freedom from the pit of Hell. What does this mean?

When Jesus cried out to His Father, God, when dying on the cross, “Why have You forsaken Me?” that was the moment God transferred OUR sin to His Son. For us.
Salvation includes healing, prosperity, our sanity and so much more. Jesus hung on that cross after having been betrayed, mocked, beaten to within an inch of His life, and tortured with all the sin and sickness of the history of the world also upon Him.

Let’s be blunt here. He took on the filth of murderers, thieves, haters, sexual abusers, rapists, paedophiles, torturers, liars, deviants and any other horrible sin, from the beginning of the world to the end of the world. He took on cancer, cystic fibrosis, malaria, aids, multiple sclerosis, herpes, STD’s, heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease, schizophrenia, and any other sickness you can think of, and any we don’t even know about. That’s why it has been said that He was unrecognisable as He hung on that cross.

He went to hell. But He was without sin, because He was God, and hell cannot hold a sinless soul. So God His Father by the power of the Holy Spirit, raised Him up out of the grave victorious. Jesus had done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Jesus, Our Saviour, He’s God, and He subjected Himself to all that evil for us. Only a soul without sin could successfully do that for mankind.

That is why if we deny Jesus and all that He did for us, God the Father will deny us access to eternal life. The price He paid was way too high for us to ignore.

Jesus died for us with forgiveness in His heart. He forgave those who betrayed Him, tortured Him, sentenced Him, and crucified Him. We are told to do the same. The Lord’s Prayer tells us to do this very thing in Matthew 6:9-13. Then in the next verses Jesus says,
“For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

You see, God, through Jesus, did an amazing thing for us so that He could be reunited with His creation, created in His image. He never wanted any to be lost, but also needed us to come to Him by our own free will. And all He asks in return is for you and me to acknowledge the sacrifice He made (just as we would a friend who saved our life) and accept His Son Jesus into our hearts.

The whole Bible is about this sacrifice, and there are many, many, many scriptures that show us His Love.

Psalm 103:1-8 tells us how He forgives all our sins, and heals all our diseases. John 6:35 tells us that He (Jesus) is the bread of life, and in Him all our needs will be met. Isaiah 55:6 tells us to seek the Lord while He may be found. There is a time when the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth, and it will be a lot harder to find God.

Romans 10:9,10 says that if we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead, we will be saved. For with the heart we believe, and with the mouth we confess that belief, resulting in salvation.

And here’s a thought for those who love finding little gems in the scripture ~ what I see in Luke 22:44 where Jesus was praying in the garden of Gethsemane ~ “He prayed more fervently, and He was in such agony of spirit that His sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” ~

Even at this stage Jesus was beginning to shed His blood for us.

Redemption . . .

When God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, it was a test. This type of sacrifice was a common practice amongst the people (who worshipped idols) where Abraham had lived before God directed him to leave and seek the promised land, so he obviously did not see anything odd in doing this.

Abraham is known as the Father of Faith, so his assurance from God that he would become the father of a great nation was at the forefront of his mind as he climbed the mountain with his beloved son confident that God would not go back on His word.

And He didn’t.

Because Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son for love of Yahweh, at the same time knowing, by faith, that God was about to do something extraordinary, God was willing to sacrifice His Son for the redemption of mankind.

Fast forward to the first Passover.
“Judaism and Christianity are as inseparable as seed and flower or tree and fruit. In the light of the New Testament we obtain a full understanding of the Passover, while the deepest meaning of the Lord’s Supper cannot be fathomed without the historic background of the Jewish Passover.

Israel’s deliverance from Egypt is the central point in Jewish history and worship, even as Calvary is the central point in the Christian faith, for on Calvary the work of redemption was accomplished for every believer.

Passover, the story of deliverance, is the harbinger of a greater redemption yet to come, the vehicle of the undying Messianic hope. It was in the upper room (where Jesus and His disciples  celebrated the Passover) that it at last obtained its real meaning and deepest significance”

(Excerpts from “The Gospel in the Feasts of Israel”, by Victor Buksbazen)

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Blood sprinkled on the doorposts on the night of the first Passover to save them from the angel of death ~ Jesus’ blood shed for our deliverance from eternal death.

The Passover lamb slaughtered outside camp/city confines ~ Jesus crucified as the Lamb of God at a place called Golgotha, outside of the city of Jerusalem.

All the blood drained from the Passover lamb ~ All Jesus’ blood was shed, for when the soldier pierced His side only water flowed.

Not one bone of the Passover lamb was to be broken ~ Not one bone in Jesus’ body was broken.

There are so many things related to each event, referred to as Types in the Old Testament of things to come.

Finally another word from Mr Buksbazen ~

“Jesus Himself was the final reality of what the Passover lamb sought to convey originally. It is His blood that saves Jew and Gentile alike from the death of sin and eternal condemnation and makes the believer a child of God.”

You can read the account of the Passover in Exodus chapter 12 and the account of Jesus’ death in the Gospels of Matthew chapters 26,27,28  or Mark chapters 14,15,16 or Luke chapters 22,23,24 or John chapters 13-21.

 

Son of God . . . or just a man?

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
“Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”
Then He asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:13-16

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I am not going to address this from a theological point of view, for I am not a theologian. The only perspective I can present is my own, simply because of my experience as a Christian woman in today’s society.

I was raised in a Christian home, therefore have been taught about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit all my life. However, there does come a time when we, as individuals, do need to delve into God’s Word and decide for ourselves whether or not we are going to walk with God for the rest of our earthly lives and beyond.

And there is a beyond. There is a Heaven and there is a Hell. Whether we like it or not they both exist. With all the amazing love and endurance in the world that is manifested by so many courageous and caring souls, don’t you think that there must be a loving being that those traits come from? And on the other hand, with all the despicable cruelty and unmentionable atrocities that are happening in our world, don’t you think there must be an enemy somewhere whose sole existence is to make life as miserable as possible for all of us?

Both those traits cannot come from the same being. Good and Evil cannot co-exist in one being. It’s a contradiction. It’s like any ‘good wins over evil’ movie. There is a good guy and there is a very bad guy. And we accept this. So why do we blame God for all the evil in our lives? Don’t you think there must be another force creating all the havoc?

However, it’s not up to me to try and convince you that there is a God . . .

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20

At the same time, it is very clear in the Bible that there is an enemy on the warpath . . .

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

So, what is up to me to do, is to communicate the Good News to you. And that is . . . That God in His infinite wisdom and mercy decided from the very beginning of time, on a plan, that if man in his freedom to choose, chose the wrong way, God could then put that plan into action for our Salvation. And that plan was that . . .

“This is how God loved the world : He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Ah, so now we come back to Jesus and the original question. Many believe that Jesus was just a man. Perhaps a prophet.

I believe the whole creation story. I believe in a Triune God, that is, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe Jesus came and died for me. I believe that because I have accepted what He did for me at Calvary and His resurrection, that I am going to spend eternity with Him. I believe that those who reject Jesus will spend eternity in hell separated from God. I believe in good and evil and that they come from two different sources. I believe in prayer that can change the course of events radically. I believe in healing. I believe in miracles. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe that when He ascended into heaven He sent His Holy Spirit to sustain us in all things.

Why do I believe all this?

Because it all makes sense.

Why on earth are we all here, if not for a purpose.

We can’t all just exist, suffer and die for NOTHING!

God the Father is a living God who inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3)

He is not like those idols that just sit there, and cannot speak or communicate (Isaiah 44:9-20)

If you truly want to find God, and search for Him with all your heart, He will hear you and answer you (Jeremiah 29:13)

By faith I believe in Him, and by grace I have been saved. I have walked with Jesus most of my life, but the past ten years have been the closest. By reading God’s Word and discovering for myself what is in those pages, my life has changed radically.

Over the years God has provided for us in very difficult circumstances, we have never been without a place to live, He has always looked after my children, and He has walked by my side and made such a difference. I know my Redeemer lives, because I feel His presence everyday. I truly don’t know how I would survive if I had to question what happens when I die and lived in constant fear of the unknown. The Bible contains all I need to know for now and the future. It is an amazingly poetic book, particularly Psalms and Song of Solomon, and many of Paul’s letters.

Once again, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for my sins, and that He conquered death and hell and arose from the dead.

It’s simple. All you need to be saved. A sincere desire to connect with the one true God and His precious Son, Jesus. And then to walk in His love, joy, peace and truth with the help of His Holy Spirit.

I believe Jesus would like me to finish with a question for you:

Who do YOU say I am?

 

 

If you are interested in learning more, go to the top of this page and click on Prayer for Salvation.

Once Upon a Time . . .

. . . There was a great God who created the heavens and the earth, the trees and flowers and herbs, and all the animals and birds and everything in the sea.

He then decided to make a being in His image. This being he gave the ability to think and create and make choices. He called this being mankind and breathed His life into them.

This God lived in an eternal place of perfection, joy and laughter and great wonders, where He had created myriads and myriads of beautiful angelic beings to populate His abode which was called Heaven.

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However, a long time before, there had been a huge rebellion in Heaven, and many of the angels that had lived with God, had been cast out of that wonderful place because of their prideful choice to want to oust God and take over.

Because it was incredibly important for Heaven to remain an eternally perfect and loving and joyful sanctuary for those who gave God the glory and respect and reverence He deserved, He created an eternal place of exile for those who had rebelled against Him. This place was called Hell.

You see, He couldn’t risk the Love and Joy and Peace and Contentment that permeated from Him throughout Heaven, being destroyed by evil, arrogant, prideful beings who were only out to please themselves. Much like removing a rotten piece of fruit from the bowl so that it doesn’t spread its rottenness to the other fruit in the bowl. It gets thrown into the trash where all the bad things belong.

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Mankind, in the form of a Man and a Woman, lived in a Garden that God provided for them. They looked after this garden and all the animals. They arose from peaceful slumber each morning and sang praises to God before setting out to their work for the day. They lovingly cared for each other with all purity, and tended the garden God had given them as their home, with the same love.

Then one day one of the fallen angels, wanting to get back at God, manipulated and deceived the man and woman to turn away from God and seek their own glory. God found them cowering from Him one  afternoon when He came to walk with them in the garden. They knew the huge error of their choice to turn from God and were now for the first time experiencing fear. Fear and shame that caused them to hide from their creator.

That sinful moment, God knew He had to put into action a plan for the redemption of His creation. In their present state of sin, mankind was doomed to eternal exile from God in Hell. Because sin was now in the blood of man, it was by this bloodline that future generations would inherit this sin, and all mankind be lost to eternal death. God knew the only way this could ever be achieved was to offer the sacrifice of sinless blood.

So He turned to His Son, and He responded with a nod of affirmation.

Can you imagine living in the most miraculous and peaceful and joyous and beautiful place ever, and being asked to leave that place and go and spend 33 years in another land full of hatred, disease, strife, and evil?

Not only that, but to actually become a sacrificial offering to save those horrible, evil and sinful people who live there? And after  the incredibly painful and heartbreaking experience of spending much time with the people there looking after them and healing them, they don’t even recognize and accept the love you give them?

Well, this is not just a once upon a time story, it is the His-story of a God who gave His all for mankind.

This Christmas, I pray that we recognize the truth in the greatest love story ever told, and accept Jesus, our Saviour, Redeemer and Lord into our hearts once again, or perhaps for the first time.

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Because, you see, we wouldn’t even have Christmas to celebrate if it wasn’t for God’s great love for His creation, and His willingness to give us all of Himself for our eternal life.

He gave His all.

All He wants from us, is our hearts.

Advent of the Coming King . . .

2The word Advent comes from the Latin word Adventus, which means ‘Coming’. Many Christians around the world observe Advent by recognising the four weeks leading up to Christmas as a chance to prepare themselves for this special event on the Christian calendar. This year, Tuesday 27th November marks the first of four candles that will be lit, sometimes in the form of a wreath, to signal in the coming of this special event. Each week a new candle is lit until the four weeks mark the lighting of all.
But what is it we are celebrating? What is it we are waiting for?

Of course, it is the Birth of the Baby Jesus.
But it’s more . . . It’s the coming of the Messiah. What does this mean to us?

Matthew 2:6 quotes the Old Testament (OT) book of Micah, “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler, Who will shepherd My people  Israel.”

The OT was written to create an anticipation of, and pave the way, for the coming of Christ. Throughout the entire OT are predictions and foregleams of His coming. By the time we come to the end of the OT, the entire story of Christ has been  pre-written in language and symbol, which, taken as a whole, cannot refer to any other person in history.

As woman (Eve) fell in the garden of Eden, so through a woman (Mary) would mankind be redeemed (Gen 3:15) Abel’s offering, the call of Abraham, the institution of the Passover, many of David’s psalms, a great deal of the prophets, and much, much more all through the OT lead us to that glorious night in Bethlehem well over 2,000 years ago when God became flesh and dwelt among us, in the persona of His Son Jesus, the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah.

Isaiah 7:13,14 says, “O house of David . . . a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call His name  Immanuel.” (which means ‘God with us’)

 

Isaiah 9: 1,2,6,7 says, “In Galilee . . . the people have seen a great light . . . For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, from henceforth even forever.”

 

Jeremiah 23:5,6 says, “The days come, says the Lord, that I will raise up unto David a righteous branch, a King, this is His Name whereby He shall be called, ‘The Lord Our Righteousness’.”

 

Early in the OT it is stated that the Hebrew nation was  being founded for the blessing of all nations (Gen 12:3, 18:18, 22:18) Then we begin to see One Person through whom this will be accomplished. First He is called Shiloh, then He is called Star, then a Prophet like Moses, then He is spoken of over and over as King, Prince, Anointed One, First Born, Wonderful, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. It was foretold He would be born of a virgin, at Bethlehem, and spend some time in Egypt, and be raised in Nazareth.

It is an incredibly important event we celebrate each year, but sadly buried under a heap of tinsel, carousing and over-spending, that leaves many buried under a pile of debt and disillusionment. This is not what God intended when He sent His only Son from the glorious beauty of paradise, to earth. For us. Just for us.

It’s an unbelievably amazing thing He came to earth to do. For us.

Let’s celebrate His Birth with the respect He deserves, and not over-indulge in any way, but from this week until the date in December that we’ve chosen to celebrate this momentous event in history, be aware of and anticipate His coming with joyful hearts, and  generosity for those less fortunate.
Not everybody does the advent candles. But they represent the Light of the world, Jesus.

John 14:6 says, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no-one comes to the Father, but through Me.”

Forgiveness

cross 1 Forgiveness is a powerful tool. When we hold on to the hurts in our lives and refuse to forgive we hinder the Holy Spirit from being able to effectively work in our lives.

In Matthew 6:14,15 Jesus tells us, “For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

Why do you suppose God requires us to be forgiving? Well, its simple really. He forgave us our sins by sending His Son Jesus, to die for us. Jesus Himself, as He hung on that cross, forgave those who had tortured Him, and crucified Him. If Jesus, the Son of God, can forgive, who are we to hold grudges?

No matter how badly and unjustly we have been treated in our lives, God requires forgiveness on our part. It won’t make the memory go away or maybe not the hurt either, but it frees us from fear and anxiety and we begin to heal. Even get to a place where we can begin to pray for our aggressors. Intercede for them.

Corrie Ten Boom was an ordinary middle aged lady who was interred in a Nazi prison camp during WW2. God spoke to her at that time about the importance of not becoming bitter and unforgiving. After the war she travelled all over the world teaching about forgiveness. At that time after one of her talks, she came face to face with the very soldier from the camp who had been one of her main offenders and she shook his hand and forgave him! What a lot to forgive! You may or may not have read her two books, The Hiding Place, and Tramp for the Lord. Worth a read, if you are struggling with hurt in your life and can’t let go of feelings of resentment, hatred and vengeance. Very humbling, amazing read!

In Corrie’s words, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover that the prisoner was you.”

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
Paul Boese.

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

It’s the most amazing thing we can do in our Christian walk.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

By forgiving others, we acknowledge what Jesus did for us at Calvary. We do the same, and as we walk with Him, we grow closer and closer as He walks beside us each day.