09/08/2020

As it is!


As it is - Luke 9:28-36 & 2 Peter 1:16=21

Introduction


Last week in looking at Jacob and then at what Paul and Peter say about life in the Spirit we were looking at it 'As it is' maybe warts and all!

Today we go up a  mountain, hiking boots on, and witness the record of an event that was key. It comes a few days after the difficult 'as it is' who do people say I am, who do you say I am - the Messiah - good, you have it but I have a surprise - I am going to suffer, die and rise again all over the space of three days.
Their heads must have been reeling. Jesus knew this and so allowed the close inner three, Peter, John and James to join him in something they had to keep quiet about till the right time - his Transfiguration accompanied by the affirming and commanding voice of His Father!

Later on Peter refers to this directly in one of his letters, John uses it pointedly and strategically in the opening of his gospel, 'We beheld his glory'.

Are their events in your walk with Jesus which you have to mention and talk about? Matters that have left a deep and lasting impression on you and maybe which you hold onto when times are tough.

1.  Seeing it as it is - Luke 9:28-36

Jesus in the glory of eternity just for a few moments. Two smile issues:
•   his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning


1.   They didn't have Daz! As long as I can remember Daz ads have been telling us, 'now even whiter' and that must be over 50 years! I hate to think what whites were like back then to keep getting whiter!


2.   How did spluttering Peter, sorry, know, it was Moses and Elijah?


All sorts of ideas but simplest, Jesus gave them both a high five and said, 'Hi Moses, Hi Elijah
- ages since I've seen you'!


It's also a first for Moses, his feet are now placed in the promised land which previously he had only seen from afar, Deuteronomy 34:4

[4] Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.' I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

Jesus confessed,  Matthew 5:17


[17] “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to
abolish them but to fulfil them.


Here is Moses, not only the law deliverer, but a prophet as well, along with Elijah the supreme prophetic figure. They are affirming Jesus, what he has done - no doubt, as well as what was coming in Jerusalem (v 31) which was such a trauma for the 12. This then is clearly for Jesus but also for the benefit of the three and later others (v 36). I think it also
demonstrates his relationship with the law and the prophets which the whole Christ event is
fulfilling


The big confirmation is through the affirming words of the Father, v 35


A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.”


Straightforward.


This is a voice to us too and we need to listen therefore, to what Jesus says and respond - Matthew 7:24-25,

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

Do you really know what it can mean when you say you are between a rock and a hard place?

The rock - the words of Jesus that support and guide; the hard place - the certain sovereignty of God over all things! Live between the two!!!

From there let us seek 5o see and know some of the glory of the Lord.

2.  Saying it as it is - 2 Peter 1:16-21

Some say, it's all made up / it's been translated so many times it will have changed etc, etc, ad nauseum!

Just for starters, and right where have just been, you would not make the lead speaker, Peter, look like a twit, Luke 9:33

Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one
for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.)


You wouldn't make it up, and all the rest, or turn it into that, with all the rest! It wouldn't make sense and what we have makes perfect sense.

Peter's own testimony, in his letter, is this, 2 Peter 1:16


For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you abou t the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.


It's not a load of porkies but the truth - we are saying it as it is and as we saw it and heard it
- vv 17-18!
What he goes on to say echoes something Paul says, " Tim 3:16,


All scripture is God breathed.


This is how he says it, 2 Peter 1:20-21


[20] Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. [21] For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

People want to knock this sacred book, kick it into touch, discredit it and the like: it's full of contradictions - no, the opposite. Yes, there are tough bits but the majority sits very comfortably together and tells a complete message which is still working through!

Conclusion


The word of  God is pictured as a rock, a light, bread and dozens of other things too.


It is reported that an American professor of literature who was an avid atheist decided, on her own choice, to read the gospels. She had Christian friends she respected but who never preached at her.

She was shattered and stated that the gospels are not fiction, stories or made but eyewitness accounts. She is now a believer!

No other account makes anything like the consistent claims of scripture. Jacob, I saw God and he called the place Peniel, face of God! In the NT God was here with his feet on the ground.

The Holy Spirit has replaced Jesus and we are His dwelling here and now to serve him, show his love and speak of the salvation he accomplished and imparts.

The glory is, or should be, still being seen and shown through us and we should tell it, what we have seen, as it is!


06/08/2020

Wrestling in the arena of life!



Readings & Notes from 2nd August 2020 

Galatians 5:13-26 
[13]  You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. [14] For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” [15] If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. [16] So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. [17] For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. [18] But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. [19] The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; [20] idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions [21] and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. [25] Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [26] Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. 

2 Peter 1:1-15

 [2Pe 1:1] Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: [2] Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. [3] 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. [4] Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. [5] For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; [6] and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; [7] and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. [8] For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [9] But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. [10] Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, [11] and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. [12] So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. [13] I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, [14] because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. [15] And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

 Genesis 32:22-32

 [22] That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. [23] After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. [24] So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. [25] When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. [26] Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” [27] The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. [28] Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” [29] Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there. [30] So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” [31] The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. [32] Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon. 

Talk 
Wrestling in the Arena of Life 
- Genesis 32:22-31

 Introduction

 Jacob's night of wrestling may not be the easiest concept especially when we consider that the one he is wrestling with (who?) can't overpower him! If you follow the Scripture Union readings then, as you know, we read this last Wednesday and might have a few ideas. 
The first thing I want to do is put some verses from Romans into our thoughts which we have seen before and not least last Sunday, 
Romans 8:26-39, and the opening bit today
[26]  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. [27] And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God. Paul wrote this 2000 years after Jacob but it is close to what was happening and may help us understand it better.

 1. Running

Jacob is Abraham's grandson and twin of Esau who was the elder twin.

 In the schemes of family life, Esau sold his birth right and lost his blessing because mother Rebecka helped Jacob deceive his father Isaac. He then fled to his relative's home on the advice of mother to find a wife - he got two, he was conned by Uncle Laban and the process two mistresses. Through the four women he now has 11 sons and one daughter! He has yet to have his 12th son, Joseph who will help land the whole family in Egypt for 400 or so years. At this point Jacob is fleeing from Laban because life has gone a little sour with ongoing changes to working conditions and complaints about Jacob and his rearing techniques! He went, Laban caught up, not happy, and they parted amicably because of plain talk and an agreement. Where was he heading, back to his home country and is about to meet and have to face Esau who when he left, some twenty years earlier, was breathing death threats. As he fled from home to Laban, he had his first encounter with God (Genesis 28:10ff) who reaffirmed the covenant he made with Abraham and had ratified it with Isaac and Jacobs response was positive. 

Just before our passage (32:1) he encounters angels and then sends the family ahead with all his flocks and a host of gifts for Esau - placation offerings? 

2. Wrestling 

So, what is he wrestling with? I think we can see - the complexities of life and the promises of God. Do they clash? Maybe, but perhaps better to say they intertwine. 

It becomes clear that he is wrestling with God, he gets a blessing from him, but he is also wrestling with himself and his life - past and, about to come! The question is, 'why can't God overpower him?' He is all powerful. Perhaps he didn't want to! I found this part of Wednesday's notes helpful: It is interesting that the name ‘Israel’, which God gave to Jacob and then became the name of the nation, means ‘he struggles with God’. Does this indicate that God approves of us wrestling and struggling with him? Physically, the more a muscle is exercised, the stronger it becomes. Is this passage a challenge to exercise our spiritual muscles by wrestling with God? Our trust in God is often a tension between what we know about God, and the questions and unresolved issues which we are struggling to understand. This can be painful, as Jacob discovered – but perhaps this story gives us hope. (Esther Bailey writing for SU) 

The other writer, Andy Bathgate said this, again, helpful 
Our experiences may not approach this level of drama, but similar principles apply. God needs to bring us to a place where desire for him eclipses every other; where we long for his work in our lives, knowing there is no one else and nowhere else to turn. 

I think, again, all this resonates with Romans 8:26-27, and, going back again to the Lord's prayer - Your will be done . . . 

I also note - What God doesn't do is force Himself or His will on us. Jacob encountered God, was blessed by him and started changing and as the account continues, we start to see a different man but he is not perfect and shows his old ways a bit as well. I think many of us may be thinking, as we consider Jacob, I can relate to this. We may be running, looking, frightened (he was of his brother Esau), saddened by aspects of life etc. God was at work, and we start to see that, oh, and he still is with you and me and we have other material we can take heart from and be challenged by. 

3. Realising - 

Galatians 5:13-26 

We turn to Paul who, in writing about living life in the Spirt - a holy life, mentions a whole load of thigs that belong to the 'desires of the flesh' that we leave behind to walk in the Spirit [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. [25] Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. [26] Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. First, note - fruit not fruits! There is only one fruit of the Spirit which is . . . . And in context', saying we have crucified the flesh and keep in step with the Spirit which means a life that looks like Jesus and is kingdom living. When I look into of myself, I see a lot I really don't like! This is not self-deprecation but realising reality! Being a minister doesn't make it easier, maybe, harder! So, I find a constant wrestle in prayer because I want to keep in step with the Spirit! You may feel similar to that. 

Paul gives us a light though: Romans 7:15-21 [15] I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. [16] And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. [17] As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. [18] For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. [19] For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. [20] Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. [21] So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 

Hence, in Romans 8 and here in Galatians 5 Paul is saying we should not walk in the way of our desires but of those of the Spirit - wrestling and seeking and praying deep within, in the power of the Spirit. A lifelong job! 

4. Reaffirming - 2 Peter 1:15

 I think Peter is saying 'keep at it, keep going, keep wrestling' - bit the same as Paul! Let’s reaffirm two things. 
1. It is a gift from God to walk in his ways because we have responded to his call - Jacob was doing that! [3] 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. [4] Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. The emphasis is on what we have from God to enable us. It is what Paul says but from a different perspective.

 2. Because is a gift of God, that is why we keep at it [5] For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; [6] and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; [7] and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 

3. This constant reaffirmation of the outworking of our call and commitment produces fruit [8] For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [9] But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. This is not being 'holier than thou' / pious / self-righteous or the like but holy to share the nature of God. 

Conclusion 

I am going to finish by quoting just one verse from Jesus, John 15:5 [5] “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 
Biblically, the vine is the people of God who flow from the promise to Abram, Isaac and Jacob - a people that can't be counted. 
The children of Israel who went into Egypt were 12.
 Thousands came out 400 + years later and three and a half thousand years or so later, flowing through and from the cross, millions who confess Jesus is Lord and Saviour. 

A massive vine trailing, right round the world. It, the vine, the people of God, the Church, struggles with all sort of problems: divisions / hardships / persecution / arguing and so many more things. Oh, and if you look at Jacob's children before and as they end up in Egypt, what do you see? 

Similar things. They wrestled with all sorts. We wrestle with all sorts but need to keep deeply into Jesus and bear fruit, fruit that endures allowing him to prune the dead and unproductive bit o more fruit is born in us - individually and corporately; locally and worldwide.

26/07/2020

Out and about round Civray, 86



This afternoon, Steven went for a walk by the river, on the way to a village east of our little town St Pierre d'Exideuil. I had to coax Caline back to her house and as usual, she was hiding from the sun under the caravan  so I joined him later. I biked there and I'm glad I did because it's so hot...not complaining at all..just stating...a beautiful summer day! In the spring, the flowers of these 'nénuphar' are yellow.
Hope that  you are having a beautiful and peaceful afternoon.

The highest Valued Kingdom



Readings & Notes for 26th July 2020

Matthew 13:44-52 

[44] “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
 [45] “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.
[46] When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
 [47] “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish.
 [48] When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.
[49] This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous
[50] and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
[51] “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.
[52] He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

Romans 8:26-39
[26] In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
[27] And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God.
[28] And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
[29] For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
[30] And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
[31] What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? [32] He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
[33] Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.
[34] Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
[35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
[36] As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
[37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
[38] For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
[39] neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Talk 
The Highest Valued Kingdom 

- Matthew 13:44-52 / Romans 8:26-39

Introduction

I went to look at the Forbes rich list and if you do so there are names you know and probably ones you don't know. I didn't see us though which was sad because we, in Christ, have riches beyond measure and that is probably why we are not there! So I looked the world's richest nations to see what I would find there: 
Well, it all depends how they add up the figures to count a nation’s wealth - all a bit confusing. Again, what I didn't see was God's Kingdom but I wasn't too surprised because he owns the lot! 

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Colossians 1:16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. This is brought out quite strikingly when David dedicates the gifts of the people for the building of the Temple to be done by his son Solomon 

1 Chronicles 29:14 (NIV) “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. Everything comes from you. 

We belong, as followers of Jesus, to the world's richest kingdom because in the words of Jesus Matthew 6:19-21 [19] “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 
[20] But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. [21] For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

So this brings us to our two readings under my title, The Highest Valued Kingdom.

Two main headings with one for each passage 

1. Nature • Great Worth - 

Matthew 13:44-46 [44] “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. [45] “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. [46] When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Simple - the Kingdom is worth sacrifices and changes will lead to benefits not loss. So many look for meaning and reality in all sorts - treasure on earth. It doesn't last but fades and spoils. What God gives to his children in the kingdom is true treasure and of eternal value hence my 'tease' comments in my introduction. 

• Huge but Sorted - Matthew 13:47-50 [47] “Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. [48] When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. [49] This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous [50] and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This seems to echo or parallel the parable of the wheat and weeds with harsh words about the wicked, those not in Christ and so born of the Spirit, words that cannot be ignored or brushed aside. Remember, as seed has to be sown for a harvest a net has to be cast for a catch!

 • Embraces eternal truth - Matthew 13:51-15 [51] “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied. [52] He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” 
They as the ones who will teach the kingdom need to realise that what Jesus teaches, much that is new, is in line with, fulfils and embraces old truths as well. As we would say they haven't to throw the baby away with the bathwater! 

2. Realities

• Partnership not Pleasing, Placating or Persuading

Romans 8:26-27 [26] In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. [27] And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God's people in accordance with the will of God. In many world views prayer gets answered because of: persuasion / constant repetition / favour / deal / perceived worthiness and goodness - all by the person praying. Key and basic in Christian teaching- Your Kingdom (rule) come, Your will be done on earth as in heaven. Fundamental in understanding the will of God is the word of God but then the word of God is not a book of answers etc. Matthew 6:5ff adds much to this and of course is from the lips of Jesus long before Paul. So, what Paul expresses here is a working of the Holy Spirit who knows he mind of God and with our words, or unspoken words of sighs and groans, searching and trusting, so, the next part:

 • Partaking in God's Plan - Romans 8:28-30
 [28] And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 
[29] For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 
[30] And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 
We are working alongside our heavenly Father who has called us into relationship with Him in the fullness of His purposes and knowledge and however difficult life, circumstances or matters may be, He works for our good. Good in the bigger picture of life. 

Matthew 7:7-12, again from the sermon on the mount, supplements what we have here and well worth a look after Matt. 6 from above!

 • Positive Proposals - Romans 8:31-37 
[31] What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? [32] He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 
[33] Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 
[34] Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life— is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 
[35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 
[36] As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 
[37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

The Victory of the cross, which lies behind v 37 is a victory for those who belong to the Father through the Lord Jesus and His sacrifice which brings life.
The world, other people, life etc throws up all sorts against God's children to drag and pull us down and devalue what we are. 
What Paul says is that it doesn't stick or hold because God is at work in us: he has called us, he gave Jesus for us, he justifies His people through that and the only one who was condemned was Jesus and he is vindicated. Can we be separated from the love of Jesus? No, he is interceding in the throne room of eternity.
 Persecution was starting to kick in for Christians and of course Paul (Saul as he was then) was one of the first to persecute the followers of Jesus but by now he had faced quite a bit himself! However, in 2 Corinthians 11:22ff he lists events he had endured which are reflected in v 35-36. Do these things separate us from the love of Christ? No and then in typical Paul fashion he spells it out even more graphically: 

• Paramount - 
Romans 8:38-39 [38] For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, [39] neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I think that is what is called 'dotting I's and crossing T's'. I'll read it again - it speaks for itself and the end is significant too: Christ Jesus our Lord - Jesus, the reigning King in participation in Godhead. 

And, it is because of that nothing can touch us in our heritage with him. All this is why the Kingdom is so valuable and worth everything, our pride downwards to everything else, to be part of it. 

Conclusion 

What are the things, past or present, that hurt, cause us problems, frustration, anxiety, fear, worry and the like? 

They may hinder our walk with Father God but think, we lift them with unspoken type prayer knowing we are under God's love and that nothing, no, nothing can separate us from it. Keep going there into that special place where we are safe in that love and cast all on him and seek to leave them there. 
Again, when we are in Christ, God is totally on our side and if we are not in him or not sure - easy, remedy it. 

Read Romans 8 again and if needed again and again and in doing so commit into the life that is there not in a legalistic way but responding to that love God has for us - you. This is a passage of great encouragement. 
We won't find ourselves on any rich list - but we know the treasure we have as God's Kingdom is the kingdom over all others. It is the highest valued Kingdom and of supreme worth not monetarily but for life now and eternity. 

Oh, and share this good news!

Christ is preached!

Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

12 Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[c] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[d] 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Philippians 1: 12-26

And here is a message from my sister Pastor Sope  

Don't Share God's Glory!




Hello Everyone! This is a topic on "Don't Share God's Glory" Hope you enjoy!
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23/07/2020

Matthew 5:17


Dear friends, only recently on twitter, somebody asked : do we need the Old Testament? 

To answer this question, I thought that i'd share the answer that Jesus-Christ himself gives us, as written in the Gospel of Matthew! As you can see, it's a very clear answer!

If you have any more questions that bother you, let's talk about them! Blessings and love N.A.

19/07/2020

This is the day that the Lord has made...

This is the day that the  Lord has made, I will rejoice...


virtual worship!

https://youtu.be/kQdZAedklog

Jesus you're my everything...




When I close my eyes and think of you And reminisce of all the things you do I can't imagine my life without you It's like paradise now I know that it's real (um) It's a mystery for someone to give their life just for me Whatcha did on Calvary makes me wanna love you more I never knew I could be so happy I never knew I'd be so secure Because of your love, life has brand new meaning  It's gonna be a brighter day, brighter day Never thought that I would smile again Never thought the dark clouds would end Never thought that I would have a friend That would keep me never leave me alone Jesus you're my everything The only one that makes my heart sing (heart sing) Now I know what real love means its everlasting, lasting Nothing can compare to the joy you bring And everlasting love affair  Jesus my life will never be the same I found someone who truly cares (cares)! Brighter Day!

Today again ....

2 Grace and peace 
be yours
 in abundance 
through the knowledge of God
 and of Jesus our Lord.


3 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. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith
goodness; and to goodness, 
knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, 
self-control; and to self-control, 
perseverance; and to perseverance, 
godliness; 7 and to godliness, 
mutual affection; and to mutual affection, 
love. 
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

08/07/2020

Can't stop praising our Lord!

Proverbs 3:5-12 (NIV)


A prayer today Wednesday 8/07/2020

Heavenly father, thank you for a new day and for all our blessings. Thank you for looking after us during the night too.

Help us today, give us wisdom and patience, grand us peace and love through the anointing of your Holy Spirit.
May we not rely on our own abilities but seek you and wait for your answers.
Thank you for being your children and there is no favoritism nor distinction. 
Bless all our friends and families, all those who are in dire situations, remember where they are and may you switch their tears into smile and joy.
We ask you in the mighty name of Jesus-Christ Amen
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
    and nourishment to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth,
    with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
    and your vats will brim over with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.