Now that’s a miracle!

 

I attended a talk over Christmas about the true meaning of Christmas and why the birth of a baby was so significant.
The talk included different philosophers on how Jesus was historically a real person and that there are many different sources accounting the miracles.
At the end of the talk someone asked how we can relate to this today as we don’t have miracles.
In response to this question I was eager to reply that we do have miracles. But it wasn’t my place at the time.

I would like to share that we do in fact experience miracles today in the same way that Jesus performed them when we was with us on earth.
These miracles are personal miracles. We can call them Mini Miracles. They might not be to the same extent as feeding the 5,000.
But that miracle affected 5,000 people individually. Their own mini-miracle of being fed. They experienced it. Just because lots of people experienced the same mini miracle at the same time doesn’t belittle the mini miracles that people experience in their daily lives through the Holy Spirit and God’s omnipresence. God created the earth. He was performing miracles before Jesus was on the earth and he’s performing them after, even right now. In the same way that the people witnessed and experienced mini miracles of their own through Jesus, we can witness and experience them today.

What do we class as a miracle? Something that happens that is seemingly impossible.
Taking this recognition into account let’s look at some examples. The first being the -flame above the disciples heads – meaning that they can speak to everyone about Christianity in different languages, automatically. Acts 2:1-12  This was a miracle. A miracle for the disciples. And this would result in mini miracles for the people who they spoke to. But this was after Jesus had physically left them.
So after Jesus had gone to heaven, miracles could still occur.

We hear of many different miracles, the more dramatic such as healings, people speaking in tongues or visions.

But I think we often miss out  those miracles such as Churches running food banks which in some community’s sustain and help those in the most need. Doing all of it in the name of the Lord Jesus.

The Young person who in this 21st century of  rational thinking and a hatred of all things religions, dares to be different and choose to live a different life.

Now these miracles may seem a lot like good deeds and the more “miracles” you do in your life leads to your salvation. Well I want to categorically deny that is not what I’m saying. these mini miracles which I have mentioned as the miracles that were experienced in the Bible  were there to point to Jesus. To his divinity, to the salvation that can only be obtained through him. Pointing to the remarkable miracle that God sent His only Son to die on the Cross and rise again to defeat death and open up the gates so that we may walk free of the grasps of death and hell.

Feel free to comment if you would like to share some experiences of miracles. A testimony of how God has moved and worked in and through your life, It might act as ministry/evangelism to your friends or have a think about events in your life that you could consider to be a miracle. I hope reading this and other comments will encourage you.

God Bless

Gareth

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Listening for the Gospel

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Are you one of those people who sits on long train journeys with headphones in, music blaring, in your own little world?

On a recent journey I took with my headphones in I found myself in my own little world I realised that I was not doing anything good for the gospel. See, in life we see the gospel throughout the world, through what we see, in what we do and what we hear.

As we go about our days rushing from one place to another you can’t help but notice things in other people’s lives like the phone conversation you overhear, the homeless person sat in the cold rain and the joy and love of a married couple strolling together. But what should these things that we see do to us?

These things that we come across in our day to day lives should remind us of the gospel. When we see people in distress or struggling alone this should stir in our minds the story of the gospel. As we see people in these situations it should also draw us to think why we need the gospel.

Let’s break this down.

Recently on a train journey I came across a lady on the phone. The phone conversation did not appear to be going very well and by the end of the phone call she was in tears. Then like every morning I walked past several homeless people shivering in the cold after another night on the streets. What do these sights and sounds show us about the need for the gospel. They show us that this world is a fallen world. That this world is a broken and imperfect world. When we talk about the gospel and when we talk about the good news of Jesus Christ we cannot and should not avoid the reality that the world in which we live in is not the way it should be… I am regularly drawn back when I think of the fallen state of our world. God knows this problem and in fact God has fixed this problem. Jesus knows how difficult life can be with the loss that we can encounter. I am drawn to John chapter 11 where Jesus loses Lazarus, Mary blames and accuses Jesus, saying, ‘If only you had been here.’ When Jesus sees the troubles, the pain, the anguish as the scriptures say he was moved deeply and it greatly troubled him. The gospel, the good news tells us that this world is not perfect. However, the gospel also tells us that our God is moved greatly and deeply at the site of the troubled state we are in. That means only one thing… hope.

As we continue through John 11 we realise that this deep and troubled feeling on Jesus is what stirs in Him action. This is also true however with the salvation of mankind. Back in Genesis when Adam and Eve committed the first sin God cast them aside, He sees them separated from Him and is moved deeply. God threatens the evil one that He has a plan of salvation to rescue His people, His beloved people, from the grasps of Satan. This is the hope mentioned earlier. This is the hope of Jesus Christ. In this broken world where we encounter pain and suffering we know that Jesus came to change all of that. He encountered pain and suffering himself taking on pain and suffering that he did not deserve. Jesus came to fix this broken world. Jesus came to walk alongside everyone, including those who have lost, those who are lonely and those who sleep in the cold. God cares. So how should this have any impact on the good news? What should this mean for us when we are evangelising to those who do not yet believe.

It should encourage us that we do not need to start by telling people where they are going wrong and just shout ‘repent!’ at them. We need to, like Jesus, see what is wrong and walk alongside those who are in pain and suffering. As we do this we will be moved greatly and we will be affected by what we see and in doing so we will react with action. An appropriate action will help bring the good news to that person to point them to the Lord Jesus.

My prayer for you is that as you go about your day, meeting new people and enjoying your old friend’s company that you look into their lives and look for any trouble so that you can walk alongside them. I hope that you can help them through their troubles, weep when you need to weep, allow yourself to be moved greatly and deeply so that you will be able to most effectively tell of the good news of Jesus.

If you have any other questions and you’d like to get in touch with me please do not hesitate to comment below or Message the Facebook page OR send an e-mail to wordtolife_gareth@outlook.com

God bless.

Gareth.

 

Poverty, Ignorance and Total Depravity.

 

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My recent trip to South Africa has opened my eyes to issues such as Poverty, ignorance and the theology of Total depravity.

I’m going to look at these three things briefly today and look at them in more depth in the next few blogs.

So why look at these things? Why care?

Well let’s start with Poverty.

First off Poverty is a big problem. Fact. Some people will quite often try to dismiss claims poverty worldwide and locally is on a decline. Quite often in England they will release statistics suggesting that poverty is decreasing when in reality all they do is lower the poverty line so less people are included in that bracket. Mostly single parent households with large families are now being drawn to food banks and relying on hand outs to survive. This is the same problem I encountered in South Africa. But worse. Living conditions, health care even relying on local government all worse.  In South Africa you rely on the goodness of those who are willing to help. Who regardless of their situation are willing to help, regardless of the conditions that you come to them in, those seek to help only because the love they have. Driven on by the Love of God and the peace he brings to the hectic and unpredictable life in South Africa. These people are like the Care workers at the care points. These amazing ladies are driven to care and love the children and their carers by the love of God. For them Poverty is a reality even for some of them themselves, but they continue to volunteer to help make other peoples lives better. They help to in still the hope of God in peoples lives. More about them in the blog post on Poverty.

Moving on to ignorance.

You may wonder what this section will be about. Well for me this is a section all about our ignorance. Before I went to South Africa I think I had a selfish heart, an ignorant heart, that some one will help the people stricken by poverty, afflicted by famine and disease. I soon realised after arriving in South Africa that poverty is everyone’s problem. That it should be everyone’s concern. We particularly in the west are ignorant to the fact that someone else is helping out. On Facebook or Twitter we see someone else has been to Africa to help so therefore I don’t need to or an advert on the TV so someone else will donate. But we can not allow this to go on. We must let God open our eyes to our own ignorance and the ignorance not just of the western world but also of those who live with poverty all around them. We do this in England and because of my visit to South Africa it has opened my eyes to the poverty in my own country.

Now finally Total Depravity.

You may wonder why the first point of Calvinism has found it’s way into a post on South Africa and Poverty. Well it all came about after a fellow team member and I had a conversation. You see when you are in a place of so little and yet you come from a place of plenty. When you then realise that across the world we live in plenty alongside those who have little, we walk by, we don’t blink and eye and instead complain about our own lives, we only choose to see the problems in our own lives instead of helping others. Now there will always be poverty, the Bible makes that clear but it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t walk alongside those who live through it. Pride, Ignorance and sins of omission prevent us from helping stem the flow of Poverty. Our totally depraved state is how poverty is at the state it is. In the UK, the US and Africa.

I will over the next few weeks be going into these three topics in a more in depth way.

God bless

Gareth

Trust in the Lord!

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Exodus 14:1-14

So we come into this true story at quite a stage don’t we, the Israelites find themselves in a real backs to the wall situation, it seems like all hope is lost, they find themselves having experienced freedom for a short while appear to have been caught. Like now is there last few moments of freedom, The last few moments on Earth potentially. But as Gods chosen people, he did not, and will not stand by and watch his chosen people to be slaughtered by the shores of the red sea. So lets see why God did this and how it relates to us.

Point 1: Glory to God alone.

So looking firstly at verse 1-9 we find the Israelites in a bit of a pickle, I mean from a military standpoint God’s detour which he tells them to do 1-3 must have and did make Pharaoh think hang on a tick they must be lost and confused, we don’t know the exact place of where Moses was directed to take the people we know though that they were real and in a vulnerable place. See Gods actually military plan was a lure a trap if you like, see God wanted the glory of the victory at the Egyptians expense. Now I don’t know about you but this should be getting the alarm bells ringing that you have heard of a similar plan by God. And hopefully you know this story, it was through Jesus on the cross Satan must have thought Jesus had no clue what he was doing, he was the son of God handing himself over to die on a cross. on the cross he was vulnerable, Satan had the strategic advantage, but this was the devils fatal mistake, The cross was not a defeat for Jesus it was a victory, by dyeing for us he had an eternal victory over,sin,death and Satan.  Moving on to verse 4 God needed Pharaoh  to fall for his plan so what he did was he hardened Pharaohs heart, but Pharaohs change of heart showed one thing, that he never truly repented of his sins, Pharaoh had chance after chance after chance, he asked Moses to pray for him, he even asked for Gods blessing,yet he still rebelled against God, its an example to anyone who never quite gets around to doing what God requires. What God wants is total commitment to him, right here right now for the rest of our lives.

Point 2: When Under Satanic attack, Stand firm!!!!

This all sounds great commitment, right as Christians we can work on that but, and its a big but, Satan will not give up without a fight as the Israelites soon discovered. look at verse 10. What the Israelites saw was a slave master with an army with the most advanced technology in the world at that time. they find themselves in a desperate situation between Pharaoh and the deep blue sea, and instead of looking for Gods grace and strength they looked at their enemies and were terrified, see its fairly disappointing that they do this because they had witnessed all ten plagues, they had seen the wonders that God can do, not to mention the fact they escaped from Egypt only the night before. this is another place where it reflects our own salvation because no sooner after we make a commitment to Christ the doubts start to seep in, they start to discourage us, Satan begins to tempt, and as it says in the parable of the sower, some fall away after troubles, Satan does not give up without a fight, this is not surprising when you imagine we were once his slaves and he wants nothing more than to have us back. but see once God has set us free, Satan has no right to take us back. So what what should we do in this situation, well do what the Israelites did which was in verse 10, cry out to the lord.So how can we escape all this? well by making our stand, Moses tells the people in verse 13, 14 to not be afraid, stand frim and be still which in military situations seems ridiculously suicidal. but see the Israelites were not soldiers they were just spectators and same applies to our salvation to, see Satan is pursuing us, but instead of running away, all we need do see the salvation of our God Which brings glory to him because of his victory. Christianity is not about what we can do, its all about what Jesus has done through the cross and the empty tomb, Jesus has accomplished all for our salvation, he is the one who atoned for sin, who has turned aside Gods wrath, who offers perfect righteousness as a gift of faith. once we put our faith in Jesus we need to stand our ground, it is hard to be still and wait for God, we are tempted to turn and run, cry out in fear, or try to deal with it ourselves, instead trust Gods command to stand your ground, he is our defender our champion.

Summary:

We see here Gods glory through salvation and judgement in this passage, It showed in Gods character that he was Just and righteous. He is a faithful God, he told the Egyptians that he would redeem them from Egypt. and he did. he did this also for us, he said he would wipe away our iniquities and save us from our sin and bring glory to himself and he did that in the  cross, the red sea crossing is a great miraculous thing but what Jesus did on the cross is much more glorifying, and we should glorify God for what he did by saving us on the cross. He is our defender and our champion all to his Glory.

My girlfriend wrote this when she was 10.

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Recently, my girlfriend stumbled upon an old piece of school work. The piece of work was done by her when she was a 10 year old. Now you may be wondering why I would put a piece of school work up on the Word to Life blog. Well I think if you read it, especially with the context of the release of the new Noah film, and the state of the worlds climate with the recent large amount of smog that hit the United Kingdom, I am sure you can see why this powerful piece written by a 10 year old is so poignant.

I do hope you appreciate some of the truths which fall from it, God created a masterpiece but through the sin of the first humans Adam and Eve we marred the broken world that we live in. God decided to try to stem the flow of the evil and trouble in the world through what he did at the time of Noah, I will leave this piece to talk for itself now:

‘Nature is the art of God’

-Dante

This is the motto that we should all live by. It says that we should respect Gods world. Like we respect Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. No one would drop rubbish on that if people lived on the amazing piece of art work which it is. But God is the greatest artist of all. So why should we spoil his creation. We are polluting the air and sea, we are destroying rain forests so one day we will starve and suffocate in our environment we call home. God creating earth has another similarity to the Mona Lisa, Leonardo first painted her without a smile so then he went through drastic measures to make her better so he gave her a smile, we can relate to these changes in the Bible, the story of Noah. God did not like one part of his creation, how bad people were. So he went to great lengths to get it right, even flooding the whole world saving only Noah and his family. Most of the famous art work of centuries ago that still ‘live’ today are priceless. The earth has been here for millions of years and it needs our respect as it is more than priceless.

Let me know what you thought of this piece of work.

I hope it has had an impact on you, as I felt it was thought provoking.

God bless
Gareth

When does God want me to ‘pop the question’?

 

This is a question which men around the world have to wrestle with all the time. Is there a right time to pop the question, is there a set time. Do you get to so many months or years and then that’s when it is acceptable to pop the question. Well I don’t believe that to be the case. I am firm believer that when you know, you know. So for me, when you meet someone for the first time your thought should be “Is this the person I want to marry?” May seem slightly on the forward side but that should be running through your mind. Now you can test this over a number of months possibly a year to see is this the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. I must admit I have aimed this post at men who would be thinking of popping the question but of course ladies you can read this if you are wanting to ask your boyfriend to marry you.

So what criteria are there when considering if you should ask the girl you are with if they would marry you?

1. Do you love them?

This may seem obvious and non-Christians reading this may see this as a criteria for marriage but actually the importance of this is so great. In the book of Ephesians there is a call for men to love their wives as Christ loved the church (husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25 ESV) Now I don’t know about other men reading this who may be thinking about asking their girlfriends to marry them but when you hear what Paul is saying here about the love which husbands should have for their wives it seems a bit daunting. But this is why it is the first port of call in questioning if you should marry the girl you are with. Do you love her? Love her so much you would be willing to give yourself up for her? Now I don’t think this is just that age old “would you die for her” sort of thing but, would you be willing to make sacrifices for her, give things up out of love for her. For example you may be like to go out partying every other night but that means that you don’t see much of your girlfriend, this is not a stable situation to find yourself in when it comes to marriage, so would you be willing to give up in that situation going out every other night and maybe instead only go out once every other week, or so. These are the sacrifices that Paul is talking about here.

2. Are they a Christian?

This is a topic of much debate. I would personally myself feel it most advisable to marry a Christian. I feel this is because of issues such as baptism of children, can the children go to church and so on. Not only this but there can be issues with moral standpoints and views which can lead to if not start arguments or debates. Saying this however Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians says this (To the rest I say (I not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he consents to living with her, she should not divorce him….. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know husband whether you will save you wife? 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 ESV).

Now this long passage may look a bit OTT but Paul is basically saying “look you don’t know what could happen with an unbelieving partner, you never know through your marriage they could come to faith” which sounds great because if you truly love someone and they are not a believer why is the thing you want most of all? That they would be saved and know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour.

3. Do they want the same things in life i.e Children?

This is admittedly more of a practical criteria really. But none the less is a very important criteria. The main example I have used for this criteria is children. The simple fact is if one of you does not want children this may lead to regret, anger or resentment. But this can be the same for any issue, such as where you want to live, what your jobs situations are like. This is obviously something which can be solved very easily with a number of conversations. You can easily discuss future plans. Obviously if you were planning a surprise of asking your partner to marry you, then make these conversations discreet but make sure you cover and think of everything.

4. Could you stand living with them?

This is also a more practical criteria. It is easy to thing someone is the most amazing person in the world when you see them for a couple of hours a day. But living with them is a completely different kettle of fish. It may be that they are loud eaters, or they snore or they are messy. Now I am not suggesting that you can not marry them if they snore. But these are things you need to take in to consideration and also have a conversation about. The most important thing to do in this new step forward in your life is to keep talking to each other.

5. Do you really love them?

Now why have I put this point you may be wondering? Well this is because as we saw in our first point you have to love your wife as Christ loved the church. But like at the end of John’s Gospel, Jesus asks Peter (Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. John 21:15 ESV) Now Jesus asks this of Peter to make sure Peter is going to be willing to go that extra mile for him. Jesus is testing Peters love making sure Peter is ready to follow Jesus through thick and thin. This is the love you need to be certain you have for your soon to be wife and the love that they equally have for you. Then you will know if you are willing to through thick and thin for each other.

So there we go, we have been through five issues which I feel are grounds to think on when wondering about marriage. Are there more? probably depending on your situation with your partner. Are there less? No, I don’t think so.

I do hope if you are reading this and looking at going into marriage, that God will bless you and your future wife in all that you do together and that you will keep God the creator of marriage in the centre.

God bless
Gareth

20 Real things every woman should realise about men: A Christian view on Love and Relationships.

 

So I was recently linked to an awful page that tried to make men out to women as lustful stupid beasts.  Well my aim in this post is to change that view. I want to encourage especially Christian couples, that is not the way a man and a woman should view each other. But if you are a non-believer, I want you to see that is not good enough either.

So here are the 20 points coming up:

1. He Loves you as Christ loved the Church.

Every man in a Christian relationship should love you as Christ loved the Church that means, that with every fibre in his being and even to the point of giving his life for you, that should be how much he loves you. This does not mean you don’t love him. You love him back just as much, that is the key to love in the Christian relationship.

2. Be subject to him.

I know you have instantly gasped or may even have thought of not reading anymore, but this point does not give your partner the right to dominate you or abuse you. You need to be there for him, be a support for him. He too needs to support you, show him how to support by being there for him.

3. Worship together.

You can not underestimate the power of worshipping together, attending church together. This is a key aspect to the relationship, keep your worship relationship with God good and you will find the relationship between you is good as well.

4. Pray with him.

Praying together is so important, sometimes it may feel like the world is against your relationship or you are going through tough times, remember that as Christians you can take it to the Lord and he will help you. Take it to the Lord in prayer. Together.

5. Enjoy each others company.

You are Christians but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time together, you do not need to always be doing things for the Church, or trying to convert thousands together, if you want to stay at home and watch a Rom-Com, you do it. This is especially true for Newly weds.

6. Sex is not evil.

Sex is an important part of a Christian marriage, and only marriage. That is what makes it so special, when you find the person you are to spend the rest of your life with them and you get to spend the most intimate time together. Cherish that. It is not evil but instead a gift from God.

7. Do not feel forced to have sex.

However do not feel that you need to obey your husbands command for sex. Remember, submit to your husband but do not allow yourself to be abused. No does mean no, especially in a Christian relationship. Make sure if you are to have sex that you both consent. Love should be at the heart of sex, not the lustful desires of one side being fulfilled.

8. Read the Bible with him.

The Bible is the Word of God. It is our way of hearing from God’s word when we read together. Therefore it is important to do it together, as you learn as you read it on your own, so you learn as a couple when you read together.

9. Be careful who you take advice from.

Do not allow too many people into the relationship. If you have an argument or a fall out, try to work it out together. If not bring in trusted friends preferably one man and one woman, maybe your Pastor and his wife.

10. Pray about children.

Not all couples want children, and it is certainly not a requirement for a Christian relationship but it may be something that you need to pray on and prepare for. Then seek that God would bless you with Children.

11. It is not ok for him to cheat.

Do not accept if he has cheated on you. You are worth more through Christ. You should be the only woman in his life, he should act that way towards you, respect you by only loving you.

12. Help him if he is addicted to pornography

If you come across a website or dodgy subscriptions which suggest a porn addiction, do not dismiss him straight away. Help him. Support him. It is as addictive as a drug. Help in anyway you can. Do not feel guilty, you have not done anything wrong. Only walk away, if he refuses to change, or he is has crossed a line in the things he views.

13. It is ok for you to have different friends.

Unlike the movies that suggest Christian couples are connected by the hip, you can and should have different friends. It is good for your social life but also relives some of the pressure that come with being around your partner.

14. Be prepared to rebuke.

Men don’t always get it right. Sometimes it will be your responsibility to stand up and tell him what he is doing or saying is wrong. Do not however do this in a proud and arrogant way. Do it with love and desire to care for him, in preventing him from doing wrong.

15. Trust is crucial.

As in any relationship trust is key. You need to trust him as he needs to trust you. As a couple you should work on this together, do not allow things to get between you and discuss together if anything troubles you.

16. Do not try to overpower him.

It is not good for you to try overpower and undermine him as person. This is only because it creates rifts in the relationship and puts barriers up. Understand that you can rebuke him, but do not try to make him feel worthless. He is loved by Christ as much as you.

17. Always have faith in his abilities.

Always trust and have faith that he will do well. Trust that God will bless him and all he does. This does not mean sit back, watch and laugh at the times he may fail, but instead pray for him and be there to help him up from a fall.

18. Stand next to him through good and bad.

Eve was created from Adams side. These means you need to stand side by side with your partner. Not just through the smooth and good times but when it is hard and tough. You need to support him, as he does you. You support best when standing next to him.

19. Do not judge his past.

All Christians have a past. He may have had a sexual history. But do not hold that against him. Jesus doesn’t so neither should you. Remember that you too will have done things that you may have done wrong and you may not like it if he starts to judge you for that.

20. Remember he is a sinner too.

He will make mistakes. But then so will you. You are sinners and certainly not perfect. Make reasonable allowances for this. Do not bite his head off for every little thing, instead walk alongside him and help him from stumbling into sin, as he should do the same for you.

I hope this has helped, Please find the link to the original blog post here: http://wallstreetinsanity.com/50-things-every-woman-should-realize-about-men/

 

Any questions feel free to comment.

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God bless

Gareth