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

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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

The great act of forgiveness.

 

Ever done something you were ashamed of? I mean something you were really ashamed of?

We have all done something wrong, this includes things like ignoring or disrespecting parents or teachers to lying, stealing to the extreme of murder and adultery and using drugs.

We have all done something bad, something which hurt somebody.

Whenever we do something bad, we always hurt someone, maybe not always directly, but when we do wrong someone always gets hurt, even if that person is ourselves.

Did it hurt someone? Has that someone forgiven you?

It’s so much harder to forgive someone when they have hurt you, when we have been hurt we realise how hard it is to forgive. But when you hurt someone and you are truly sorry we seek that persons forgiveness. From that forgiveness you know you can move on.

The Bible calls this Sin.

The Bible mentions sin a lot. Sin is the reason there is a barrier between us and God. Why so many things go wrong in the world. Why relationships fail, why there is war. Sin is the problem.

We have all done something bad in the eyes of God, were imperfect.

We all sin, we have all done wrong. “All fall short of the glory of God.” You make think, “I’m good, I haven’t killed anyone, stolen anything.” But Sin does not just mean the really bad things, it doesn’t just mean crimes. It means anything that is going against God.

We have all hurt God by doing this.

Once again, we have all fallen short of the glory of God. We all sin, and when we sin it hurts God. Like we do with friends and family, we do to God. We hurt Him. We should seek to find forgiveness for the things we do against God.

But God, He forgives.

You may think God won’t forgive me, He knows how bad I am. Why would He. He is just like everyone else. But He isn’t! God forgives!

He saw all the sin of the world, all the wrongs that we commit.

God has seen all the sins we have committed and knows we will sin again. He does not turn his back though. Like people think he has. Why has he not done anything about it?

Instead of anger he showed love, instead of Wrath He showed mercy.

God could have shown anger, He could have wiped us out. That’s what He did in Genesis, only saving Noah and his family. But He didn’t. He Loved us. He could have come through full of wrath, like he showed to the Egyptians in Exodus. But God didn’t He showed mercy.

How did He show this love and mercy?

He did it by sending His only son, Jesus. He sent Him to die. To die in our place for our sins. For the sins which we commit. For when we hurt God. God placed the blame on Jesus. He showed love by not sparing even His own son to die for us. He showed mercy by forgiving all those who believe and trust in Jesus.

That’s great, but what does it mean?

It means if you trust in Jesus, if you believe that He came and died for you, that you are forgiven. You are free from the power sin. It doesn’t mean you won’t sin but the power and punishment of sin has no power over you. This is because of Jesus’ death, because of His sacrifice you are innocent.

What do I do then?

Give your life to Jesus. Pray to Him in faith. Admit your sin to Him. Meet with His people, your brothers and sisters, The Church. Grow in your relationship with Him. As a forgiven innocent redeemed person. Live a new way. His way. The way of Jesus Christ.

God bless,

Gareth

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I want to tear my hair out!

We all have bad days. Some worse than others. But there is nothing worse than having a problem resting on your shoulders, making you worry, stressing you out. You lie awake a night wondering what you should do. Sometimes stress and anxiety may been seen as something that you don’t discuss with faith, maybe you even feel embarrassed that you are stressed. In this post we are going to look at what Christianity has to say about Stress and anxiety.

But first lets define stress and look at some statistics. Stress as defined by Anxiety UK:

The word stress is usually used to describe the feelings that people experience when the demands made on them are greater than their ability to cope. At such times people can often feel overloaded, under tremendous pressure and very tense or emotional. Stress affects everyone, young and old.

http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/about-anxiety/stress/

Here are some statistics on Stress and Anxiety taken from http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/anxiety/anxiety/anxiety-facts-and-statistics.html

  • Anxiety affects around 16% of the population at any one time.
  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (see Types of Anxiety) affects 2-5% of people but accounts for 30% of the mental health problems in people seen by GPs (Source: Department of Work and Pensions).
  • In our Uncovered report we found that 67% of the British population state that money worries cause them anxiety.
  • 34% of the UK population agreed that they use alcohol for this purpose. Broken down, this relates to 37% of men and 30% of women admitting that they are likely to turn to alcohol to cope with low mood, anxiety or depression.

http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/anxiety/anxiety/anxiety-facts-and-statistics.html

So as we can see from the statistics that stress and anxiety are a big issue in a busy modern day way of living. We have family commitments, work takes up more and more of our time and with the frailty of our economic system, we have financial concerns on top of that. 

the world would say go on holiday, have a break go for a spa weekend. But at the end of the holiday and the spa, the financial worries are still there, the only thing that has happened is that you have been distracted from them.

So what does Christianity have to say to stress.

First off God takes stress seriously. Secondly if you are suffering from stress you are not sinning, it is not a sin to be stressed. Finally God is not ashamed of you and he hasn’t turned his back on you. With this in mind lets see what the gracious loving God of the Bible has to say about stress.

Stress is never mentioned by name in the Bible, but the effects of anxiety are. Jesus talks about it. The worries that lead to stress, the worries which keep you up at night. Jesus says:

 

 

Matthew 6:34 (ESV)

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

 

Jesus says here that you should expect to have anxieties, that we will encounter them. That we should not trouble ourselves with more than we can handle. We tend to in our busy lives try to solve all our problems in one day. Because of this self induced pressure with unrealistic personal deadlines.

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

 

So you may be thinking well what can God do?

Clearly nothing, apart from telling us not to worry.

 

Well not quite. Jesus also says:

 

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

28 Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

This may leave you confused, especially as a believer struggling with stress, you may be thinking “I believe, why is my burden still there?”  But I ask you the question, have you given your worries to God? Have you trusted that Jesus will deal with it? This is a difficult thing to do. But worthwhile. On the road to becoming more Christ-like, we want to do what Christ did and give your problems over to God. Jesus prays continually for guidance and intervention from The Father. If Jesus did, why cant we? Is your problem to big for God to handle? Give it over to God to trust that he will equip you to get through the problem and that he will take the stress away.

 

Giving your problems over to God may not immediately solve your problems and worries. What then do you do as you are lay in bed at night awake?

 

Focus on our great hope.

 

Having given your problem over to God, think of the future hope that you have through Christ.

 

 

 

Revelation 21:3-4 (ESV)

3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 

The great hope that we have in Christ is that all of the worries that you have now. All the problems, financial, emotional, family. All those problems will be gone. No more tears shed. No more pain.

 

There is hope in Christ.

 

In these uncertain times, of worry and stress. Take comfort in Christ. Take comfort in the hope.

I do hope this helped.

God bless.

Gareth.

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