Reading God’s Word Regularly . . .

DAY 1

When I decided to tackle reading the entire Bible I was doubtful as to whether I would be able to stick with it. Instead of working from some already drawn up table of someone else’s I did my own. Yep, I counted the chapters in each book, and worked out how many I had to read per weekday to complete my task in one year. After all the work it took, I decided I was definitely going to succeed. As it turned out there was a bit of a break in the middle, but I ended up doing the first read in about 18 months. And with it has come so much more understanding of the big picture that God has for mankind.

We cannot fully understand the New Testament without reading  and understanding all that came before throughout the Old Testament.

You don’t have to do it in the same space of time, especially if you work full time, but the important thing is that you do read something. Choose a book and read whatever you feel you can handle. Be realistic. Or you will make it too big a task. I found it quite difficult at first, but then all of a sudden some days I got so engrossed I found I had gone way beyond my five chapters! I have learnt so much and now have started all over again several times since. It has become my daily routine. At the present time of posting this I am reading the New Testament in my newly acquired Amplified Bible, one chapter at a time. There are 260 chapters in the NT, and 260 weekdays in a year. So, one a day gets you through the whole NT in one year.

I have learnt that I must treasure God’s Word in my heart ~

To meditate on it and delight in it ~

To run after it and it will enlarge my heart (how cool is that!) ~

That it will revive me ~

It will teach me good discernment and knowledge ~

That it should be better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces ~

That His Word stands firm in heaven ~

That it makes me wiser than my enemies ~

That it is sweeter than honey to my mouth ~

It gives understanding ~

His Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path ~

It is the joy of my heart (the Word is Jesus, and the joy of the Lord is my strength) ~

It is my hiding place and my shield ~

It gives light ~

It is pure ~

And the sum of His Word is truth.

His Word is not just about truth, it IS truth.

John 1 1-3

All of the above is in Psalm 119. My suggestion is that you take time this week to read it. It is very long, so perhaps divide it into parts and read a portion each day. May Holy Spirit give you revelation as you read.

Suggested reading per day ~

DAY 2
Psalm 119:1-32

DAY 3
Psalm 119:33-64

DAY 4
Psalm 119:65-96

DAY 5
Psalm 119:97-128

DAY 6
Psalm 119:129-160

DAY 7
Psalm 119:161-176

The Psalms and the Armour of God . . .

The Psalms are full of David’s pleas to God in the midst of his calamity and depression. It was like he was on a roller coaster, up one minute, down the next, then round the bend, and finally on the straight and narrow. But in all of his ups and downs he always called out to, and relied upon God to deliver him.

His declarations that the Lord was a refuge for him, a high tower and a stronghold in times of trouble carried him through.

I have been reading the Psalms in the Amplified Bible and of ‘trouble’ it says : high cost, destitution and desperation. David also prayed that God would lighten the eyes of his faith so that he could behold God’s face in the pitch-like darkness (of destitution and desperation), lest he sleep the sleep of death. David knew that if he didn’t stay on track with God, no matter what was happening in his life, that he would lose all faith and trust in the Only One who could or would deliver him out of the darkness.

At this time in David’s life, King Saul was out to kill him out of jealousy of David’s great feats and his huge popularity. David spent quite some time hiding out in the hills and caves, crying out to God to deliver him. His endless praises to God, his declarations of God as his fortress, his deliverer, his stronghold, his high tower, and also how God’s way is perfect and brings the shield of Salvation, came before God, into His very ears.

When David became aware that God had heard him, he pursued his enemies. He acted by faith that God had girded him with strength for the battle and he went on the offensive, knowing that he had God’s favour and protection, instead of spending the rest of his days on the defensive. He had spent so much time in crying out to God in prayer, intercession and travail, that his faithfulness had brought him to a place where he could shout :

“ The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear or dread? The Lord is the refuge and stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?”

At the end of this Psalm he states very confidently, pretty much as a testimony :

“Wait and hope for and expect the Lord ; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for, and hope for, and expect the Lord.”

So because of David’s great tenacity in pursuing God’s blessings and favour, he now calls God his strength and impenetrable shield, and he has come to rely on, trust, and confidently lean on Him for help. This causes his heart to greatly rejoice and sing praises to the Lord. God turns David’s mourning into dancing and great gladness, and he sings to God a new song, committing his very spirit into God’s hands.

To the end that his tongue and his heart and everything glorious within him sang praise to God and could not be silent.

“Oh Lord, my God, I will give thanks to You forever.”

In the secret place of God’s presence, he was being hidden from the plots of men, knowing that all those who trust in the Lord and rely upon and confidently lean upon Him, shall be compassed about (circled) with mercy and lovingkindness.

God is righteous and just. He is merciful and loving, and in fact, His lovingkindness extends to the skies, and His faithfulness to the clouds. In other words, He is everywhere. How precious is His love.

We can, as David did, take refuge and put our trust under the shadow of His wings.

“For with God is the fountain of life ; In His light, we see light.”

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires and secret petitions of our hearts. He will draw us up out of the pit of destruction, and out of the miry clay, and set us upon a rock (Jesus) steadying our steps and establishing our goings. He will put a new song into our mouths, songs of praise to our God.

As children of the New Covenant we can still draw upon, and will always be able to draw upon, all of the benefits that David had, but we also have a new mandate. And that is that Jesus commands us to :

‘Love our enemies, and our neighbours as ourselves.’

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Today, as children of the New Covenant, bought for us by Jesus’ blood and His forgiveness of mankind’s sin, we no longer fight with flesh and blood, or in other words, with physical opponents ; but our fight is against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places, or in other words, the devil and all his nasty cohort who are each day trying to bring us down. David recognised this and fought it with God’s words that were in his heart.

So in Ephesians 6:13-17 we are told to put on our armour, the full armour of God. And having done all possible through prayer and supplication to God, to stand in faith. This armour is :

* The Helmet of Salvation
* The Breastplate of Righteousness
* The Shield of Faith
* The Belt of Truth
* The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God
* Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace

Praying at all times in the Spirit.

This is how we prepare for the battles of this life ~

1. We need to come to a place in our hearts where we  desire to make Jesus Lord of our lives ~ This is the Helmet of Salvation.
2. We need to live holy and clean and sin free lives ~ This is the Breastplate of Righteousness.
3. We need to put all our trust in God, as David did ~ This is our Shield of Faith.
4. We need to get into God’s Word regularly and  discover Him and His Will ~ This is the Belt of Truth.
5. We need to make His Word real in our lives by meditating upon what we read and learning it and confessing it before others, and keeping in tune with it by expecting revelation from Holy Spirit ~ This is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
6. We need to be prepared to take His Word to others ~ This is the Gospel of Peace.

You will find all the references to the above in Psalms 1-37.

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.