Moments to remember- The life of one Perfect man.

 

 

I noticed on Twitter today a daily challenge to write a blog on three memorable moments in your life. I thought,  “I know I could do something like this, but with a slight twist”.

Not my life, but three memorable moments based on three experiences of people from the Bible.

So let’s begin shall we.

We begin our first memory with a young girl called Mary. Her memory begins as a girl soon to be married to a carpenter called Joseph. Both devout Jews, waiting to consummate their marriage. One night in the tiny village of Nazareth, Mary was asleep in her room when all of a sudden she was greeted by an angel in her room. (I promise you it may sound a scary moment but this is a happy memory!) The angel woke her by calling out “O, Favoured one”, Who thinks of a teenage village girl as a favoured one. Confused by this she tried to test the angels greeting. However before she could get a word in the angel interrupted her. “ Do not be afraid” (See told you, not scary) The angel tells her not to be afraid and that she is favoured by God! Quite a thing that! But not just that continued the angel, “But you will have a son! and you will call him Jesus. He will be great and the son of the most high. He will reign over His kingdom forever!” Naturally confused Mary says to the angel “ How can this be, I’m a virgin?” The angel describes how it will come about of how the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of God himself will overshadow you and unto you a child will be born. The angel just before leaving proclaims “That nothing is impossible with God!” So Mary in excitement and happiness proclaims that she will obey, as a servant of the Lord.

So that’s first of these memories a happy one don’t you think? But who does this boy become? Is this the only memory we have of him?

No.

Not by a long shot. Our second memory however you may think is a bit of an anti climax though.

Our second memory is from a guy called John. John was a good friend of this boy mentioned in the first memory. This boy was of course Jesus as the angel had said it would be. John was one of Jesus’ closest followers. Every where Jesus went there was John. Even in this memory. This is the sad one. How can they have arrested him John thought. John had just seen his closest friend be taken away. Taken to the local Roman governor. He hoped that would mean he would just want to get rid of him. John was right, the governor was going to leave it up to the people to decide Jesus’ fate. John though, think of all the good he has done. They won’t want to kill him. Think of the miracles, But no! “Crucify! Crucify!” That was the only cry John heard. Death. That was the only thing ahead of Jesus now. John now had to witness Jesus, his closest friend, his dearest friend be beaten, humiliated made to carry a cross on his shoulder out of the city. Charged for a crime he did not commit. Then as Jesus, his friend made it to an outcrop just outside the city, the one that looks like a skull, he was made to stretch his arms out on the wood. Then John standing next to Jesus’ mother, Mary, had to witness nails be hammered into his hands and his feet, then to see him lifted as he faced them. Darkness covered the land, people continued to mock. John witnessed as he saw his friend take his final breath. “It is finished!” Jesus cried. John did not understand at the time. Then they pierced Jesus’ side, blood and water fell from his side, proofing. Jesus, Johns friend, Johns teacher. Was dead.

Our third and final memory that we will be looking at is another happy/ good one. We have followed one mans journey through these memory’s and we will continue you to with this last one.

Our final memory is from a lady called Mary Magdalene. She like John was a follower of Jesus. In our last memory we saw that Jesus died having been crucified. Now because of Jewish tradition they could not finish all the correct rituals after his death. So Mary went to go and pray and mourn for the loss of her teacher. Jesus. She arrives to a shocking sight! The stone that covered the entrance to the tomb. Has been moved. How? That stone weighed a ton. Mary looked in to see the burial clothes. But they were in a pile who could have done this? She thought? As if all they had put Jesus through, could they not just leave him now he had died? Mary heard a voice behind her. She turned presuming it was the gardener. He asked her why she was crying. She wept saying “they have taken my Lord and I don’t know where they have laid him.” She then asked if he had taken the body. If so where? The man looked at her and said “Mary”. Then as though a blind was lifted from her eyes, she said “Teacher”. Mary was delighted to see that Jesus! He was alive. She didn’t care how, but just that he was. Jesus told her soon he would ascend to heaven soon to be with his father. Mary delighted that Jesus was alive could not contain herself, so she ran to tell the others.

These are the memories of a man called Jesus seen through the experiences of three people. This amazing life, a life that even death could not stop is a perfect life of one man. This man is Jesus Christ. I hope the true memories that you have heard here will make you explore more of the life of this man Jesus.

Feel free to comment below if you want to know more or message the Facebook or Twitter.

God bless

Gareth

Valentine’s day: a day of love.

Valentine’s day. What can you say really. Fluffy teddies with love hearts everywhere. Every husband or boyfriend believes he has become Michael Buble with their song writing skills. But should Christians celebrate it? Is there anything to celebrate?

I am going to stick my neck out on the line and say that it is ok for Christians to celebrate it. It is a day of celebrating love between two people. It is  a day where married couples may snuggle up on the sofa and remember the day they pledged their vows to each other. It is a day of being thankful for the love that couples share. Now the problem is, how much do we celebrate? Is it right for Christians to be buying love hearts and buying a tonne of Chocolate?

We have to make sure we are only celebrating the love not idolising it.

In the Bible love is a gift from God. Our love for each other, our partners and spouses is a reflection of that love. We need to remember that love comes from God. So on Valentine’s day we should remember to thank God for the love we share. Then we remove the risk of idolising love. I think because of the reason that love is a gift from God and bearing in mind Paul says we have nothing if we don’t have love it is right that we give thanks for it. The joy it brings, the happiness it brings to peoples life’s. So we should give thanks thanks that God has given us love.

The day could also be a reminder especially those who are married to think over their commitment to their partner. To think if they love their spouse as the Bible calls them to love, to love self-sacrificially, giving all to their partner. In doing this also praising God that He has blessed them with the love that they share with each other.

So I hope whatever you are doing for Valentine’s you are thanking God for those you love in your life and those who love you, remembering that the love that you share is a gift from God. You are blessed.

I hope you have enjoyed this short message on Valentine’s day.

God bless,

Gareth

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The “behind closed door” sin.

 

We live in the 21st century where pornography is at our fingertips. It can easily be obtained and watched by millions by using the Television but mostly due to the rapid expansion and accessibility of the internet. Now I know that pornography comes with a reputation and many people do not want to discuss it. But because of that it has pushed people underground, choosing not to admit if they have a problem with it. Hence the title the “behind closed door” sin.

  • Men are 543% more likely to look at porn than females.
  • Those who are politically more liberal are 19% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who have ever committed adultery are 218% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who have ever engaged in paid sex are 270% more likely to look at porn.
  • Those who are happily married are 61% less likely to look at porn.
  • Those with teen children at home are 45% less likely to look at porn.
  • Regular church attenders are 26% less likely to look at porn than non-attenders, but those self-identified as “fundamentalists” are 91% more likely to look at porn.

Statistics from http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/02/19/pornography-statistics/

These statistics are mind boggling. We may also think that this is a problem for weirdo’s and teenagers. But the truth is that Pornography is an addictive problem. It is as addictive as drugs and like drugs it does not discriminate on who gets addictive, the rich the poor, the single the married, the adulterous and the “faithful”. Porn is an issue.

We have however already discussed that because of the taboo that comes with porn it has pushed people to go underground and not want to talk with people about it. One aspect of modern day life we haven’t looked at is the reality that now nearly everyone has a mobile phone with the ability to connect to the internet. This has opened up everyone to the danger of the temptation of Porn. It’s lure.

There is no such thing as free porn. I do not mean the financial side to porn, the adverts on the free websites bring revenue in, but the real cost I am talking about here is the cost of lives. Not only are porn actors often beaten and treated aggressively and often drugged to force them to have sex, but when you download a video, even one with no clear violent or aggressive actions, you have joined in with the shocking treatment of the actors. Normally safe sex is not carried out, so some girls are left pregnant or forced to have an abortion.

What is the cost of this sin on the viewer. Porn is a sin. Porn leads to other sins. Though the Bible does not discuss porn directly, but it discusses shocking things like porn. Fornications like porn.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reveller, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Paul says in the passage from Corinthians that Paul is urging the church in Corinth and us, to stay away from the problems of sexual sin. Porn is one of those sins. Because you are dealing with the people that make money from the immorality mentioned above. This means Paul says stay clear from porn. The way he finishes this passage of is a call to the church and us now. “purge the evil person from among you.” That is what we need to do. All of us. But if you have a problem with porn or sexual sin. Purge yourself. Clothe yourself in Christ. Protect yourself.

What does Jesus say on this topic, well Jesus goes along the line of purging yourself. Jesus says:

Matthew 18:7-9

“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the fire of hell.

Jesus is saying here basically, if you have a problem with porn or any sin, put barriers up. If you are in a situation where you often use your phone to watch porn, get a phone which can’t connect to the internet. If you have a problem viewing porn on your laptop put rigorous security settings on, or use covenant eyes to let friends know if you are tempted to look at porn. If you are married, talk about the problem with your partner. If you struggle look to them to help you get through it. Pray on it, talk. Do not let it become your secret. Something you do behind closed doors. Be open about the problem like any other sin. You need to fight it. With the help of Christ you can fight it.

If you would like to discuss this further please comment below or follow the link to the Facebook page and send a message to me on there. Complete confidentially.

I hope this helped.

God bless.

Gareth.

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Amazing love!

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain-
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?                                          
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace-
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray-
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

What a fantastic hymn off adoration. This hymn by Charles Wesley is a great exaltation of the glorious Salvation found in Jesus Christ. This oh to familiar hymn is great because of its catchy tune and well known lyrics, but how often do we look at what they mean, where are their basis in Scripture and what glorious truths does it point us to.

The hymn is made up of four verses which goes through systematically the redemption of a sinner. The first verse:

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain-
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

The first verse and indeed the Chorus tell of the great love which God has for us, so much so that he came and died for us. The great line of “For me, who him to death pursued?” this great line tells of Christ’s love for us, that he loved us even to the point of death. This line reminds us of the famous quote from Johns gospel:

John 3:16

For God so loved the World, that He sent His only Son.

This first verse of praise is summed up by God’s love for us. This self Sacrificing “Agape” love is God’s motive for setting us free from the power of Sin. The reason he came to save us through Christ is as it says in John 3:16 “For God so Loved the World.”

The second verse:

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace-
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

This verse for me is all about the second line “ So free, so infinite His grace”. The salvation that we have from sin is nothing we have deserved. We are sinful and do not deserve to be saved, we choose to turn away from God until by God’s infinite grace, we turn to God and look to Him as our saviour. For inspiration from Scripture we turn to Pauls fantastic words on Grace from the book of Romans:

Romans 3:22-24 (ESV)
For there is no distinction for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

We have all sinned, and all of us have fallen short of the the Glory of God, but God has justified by grace, he has justified us when we do not deserve it, this is done as Paul says through Jesus Christ. So once again Charles Wesley has captured a great theme of the Bible, Grace.

The third verse:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray-
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

The third verse, the penultimate verse brings us to the moment of redemption. the moment when one is saved, when they trust and believe in Jesus’ name. The chains which Wesley mentions here are the chains which hold us because of Sin, the hold which sin and the Devil has on our lives. Wesley talks here of when we believe, the chains fall away, we are free! The freedom which is found in Christ. The freedom of Salvation.

From Scripture we see:

 

Romans 8:2 (ESV)

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

We have been set free from death, by the Spirit of Life, that is the Spirit of Jesus, that means that we have been set free from death and have been set free to life. This is the glorious truth of the Gospel. That through Christ we are redeemed from death and set free in to life.

The fourth verse:

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Here we reach the climax of the hymn but also the climax of the story of redemption. We have reached the point of redemptions story which means as Wesley says “Bold I approach th’eternal throne” Because of Christ we are made righteous, righteous enough to enter the throne room of Heaven not because of anything which we have done but because of the works of Christ.

We see in Scripture:

Revelation 19:4-5
4And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” 5And from the throne came a voice saying,“Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him,small and great.”

This glorious picture of the throne room with which those who trust in Christ are welcomed to join in, is a picture of how this story of redemption concludes. It comes to the point where having been saved we join as one to worship and give glory to God in the throne room. Somewhere we never thought we could be, But God in his infinite grace has welcomed us to join Him in the Throne room to glorify Him.

I hope you have enjoyed this look into the story of redemption make clear through the aid of Wesley’s hymn as it points us to parts of Scripture which explain to us the great story of redemption.

God bless,

Gareth.

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We all deserve the flood!

 

I have recently been appalled by a specific post on the topic of gay marriage and it’s apparent relevance to the recent floods in Britain. 

The blog post in question is:

http://eveningharold.com/2014/01/19/god-blames-ukip-for-flood-of-stupidity/#comments

It was posted in response to a now ex-member of UKIP, Councillor David Silvester. After he said

“Disaster would come of Gay Marriage.”

And that

“Mr Cameron acted arrogantly against the Gospel.”

When asked for more of his opinion on blaming the floods and storms on the gay marriage bill, he said:

"The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war."

Find this article here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25802437

The issues to discuss are the way the author of the Evening Harold conducted themselves in their counterargument to Councillor Silvester. In addition, exploring if there is any scriptural evidence of God using natural disasters to ‘punish’ a nation.

So who is right here? Is either right?

Firstly, what scripture says about the writer and their attitude.

Romans 2:1-3

1Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?

Before continuing, for the sake of clarification, to point out that this topic has an ambiguous line that will not be crossed, as it may be misconstrued that judgement is also being passed. It is right to make it clear that is not the intention of this post. The objective is to use the method of a Biblical approach to highlight the issues as aforementioned. We find in the The Evening Harold blog post a judgemental and unchristian attitude towards people they disagree with. Paul says in our passage from Romans that if we pass judgement on people that we condemn ourselves. Therefore, when the blog author states at the end that people like the Councillor will be going to ‘warmer places’ (that being hell) is potentially bringing judgement on them. Paul says that you have no right to do that, only God can judge. If we judge we are walking into danger and bringing ourselves to condemnation. The author of this post has gone about this in the wrong way with their judgemental attitude. The post instead should be filled with loving forgiveness and gentle rebuking. The way to convince is not by angry blog posts, but with posts filled of hope and loving grace .

 

Through grace we were saved, by the help of grace we forgive.

 

Secondly, the examination of how the Bible addresses God using a flood to judge the mistakes of the people of the world.

 

 

 

Revelation 18:4-8

4Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; 5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. 7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, ‘I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’ 8 For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

 

In this passage God sees the sins of nations, he remembers them, especially those of an unrepentant nation like Babylon. So is it possible that God could use floods and natural disasters?

Well, to answer this simply, yes God can. Why? …because God is just.

Psalm 111:7

The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy;

God is perfect, just and righteous. There was only one man that could be this and that is Jesus. It is something no human can claim. We can not judge and we should not question anything that God does, because we are imperfect fallen sinners. We can not say if what God decrees is just or not. We do not have that right.

We need to remember we are all imperfect. We all deserve the flood.

However, God declares this statement in Genesis:

Genesis 8: 21-22

21 …the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. 22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

In this passage, just after the flood which destroyed everything but Noah, his family and two of every animal, God declares never again will he do this on such a large scale.

God instead chooses to give life. Not to take it.

1 Timothy 1:15

15The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

Instead of wiping the world clean, God came into the world, he dwelt on Earth and then gave himself as a sacrifice for us. He dealt with sin directly. He paid the price for us.

Jesus took the judgement that we deserve out of love for us.

That does not mean that God will not punish people for sins. There are two ways to live. Those who follow Christ and those who don’t. With this in mind, think carefully if you have yet to make the decision and let God in to your life. To feel the love of his forgiveness and grace.

If you would like to ask a question on this or any topic related to Christianity please follow this link to the Word to Life Answered YouTube series:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5555nGRE6A&list=PLYc9iVzgdUC-KOTsjMjFEdHq0j2874T6T&index=1

God Bless

Gareth

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The greatest Christmas present.

 

 

 

It’s Christmas time again, it comes around every year, shops are packed with people, Christmas music playing everywhere and TV channels taken up mostly with Christmas films. Then someone comes along and makes a video or writes a blog saying:

Put Christ back into Christmas.

Save Christmas!

In this post I am, in a way, asking for those things… but I am not here to attack the commercialisation of Christmas. Instead, I will try to make clear some truths about Christmas. That, yes indeed we want Christ back in Christmas, but not just little baby Jesus meek and mild. We need to think of Jesus as Lord and saviour, King of kings.

I will base a lot of this post around the verse:

 
 
1 Timothy 1:15 (ESV)

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost

 

Yes Jesus did come as a baby but we cannot and should not stray away or dwell on that which will take us from the real reason of Jesus’ coming and that he was to be a sacrifice, as a sacrifice for our sins, so that in his coming he would save all those who trust in him. We must remember this “oh so familiar story” of a child being born in Bethlehem but see it as the coming of a king, The King of Kings, the coming of The Lord of the Earth, the one who would come and save all those who believe in him. We must stick to this, we must not stray or focus for too long on little baby Jesus, but see what this whole event points to…

It points to the child who is a king.

It points to a child who will become a sacrifice.

If you are reading this and you are a non believer you may be sat there wondering, “What is this guy going on about?” But I am saying that to a non -believer Christmas is a time of a hope, that because we are all sinners and we all mess up, that God did not just sit back and watch us destroy ourselves but instead gave us hope.

Hope in Christ…

 

Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This child mentioned in this passage is the hope of our salvation, this child is Jesus, prophesised 400 years before Jesus was born. At Christmas time, at the time of Jesus’ birth he had the expectation of being the messiah/ the saviour resting on his shoulders. 33 years later at the cross Jesus has the sins of the whole world upon his shoulders. So that all those who trust in him will be saved. God gave this the greatest Christmas present, this amazing gift of mercy and forgiveness out of love for us.

 

John 3:16 (ESV)

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

So to sum up if you are a believer reading this, stay steadfast and firm to this truth, that Jesus’ coming was the beginning on the steps towards salvation. But don’t sit back this Christmas, tell people about God’s greatest gift, this Christmas share this gift with others, tell others of the love that Christ has for them. If you are a non-believer reading this, please trust in the hope found in Jesus, trust that in him your sins are forgiven. In Jesus you are saved.

Trust the hope of Christ this Christmas.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Gareth

 

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I Could Do A Better Job Than That!

We can not avoid in the news today yet another disaster. Another killing. Another case of child abduction or abuse. This can and does put people off the idea of God. It is easy when you see these things to wonder “if there is a God, why is he idly  watching by? letting these things happen?”

The answer to this is Sin.

The effect of sin is bigger than the damage it has on humans, but also its impact on creation. We live in a fallen world. A world which could be perfect but because of sin is marred.

So where did this all start then, well in Genesis 3.

 

Genesis 3: 17-19

17And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

In this passage then the key verses are 17-18. Because of the sin of taking from the tree of knowledge which God told Adam and Eve to not take from, God cuts them off from all the potential knowledge and power of the tree but also because of their sin informs them that certain things will not work in creation as well as they had done before “The Fall”. When God created the world he declared it good having made it perfect. But now, “Post Fall” the world is not so good, the word used in verse 17 “Cursed” meant the ground was now not considered good but instead fallen, broken.

The way to imagine all this is that now the world is sick from sin. It needs to be given a cure to the disease of sin.

Sin is the cause of all the pain and suffering, all the natural disasters, Pre-fall there is no sign of hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis and suffering and death. It is only after sin entered the world that the world becomes broken, becomes fallen and imperfect. Soon following the first sin is the first murder, so powerful is influence of sin.

So the reason for all the shocking things that we see on the news are because of the fallen world we live in, because of the sin of our first parents Adam and Eve.

But does this mean God has done nothing about it?

No… Quite the opposite.

 

 

Romans 8: 18-23

18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

 

God had a plan. A rescue plan for creation and for us. One in which he would give his only son up for us and creation.  God saw the effect and damage that sin had on the world. To tackle the infection of Sin, God sent his only son to be a sacrifice for our sins. He came to make us and the world right with him. Jesus came to take away the power of sin by dying on our behalf.

Jesus came to make us and creation righteous. Righteous meaning right with God.

In the passage above we see that as we look and long for the return of Christ, the one who has taken the punishment for our sins, so does creation, it “waits with eager longing”. Creation looks for a release from the bondage of sin just as much as we do.

Does all this mean then that as soon as you become a Christian there is no suffering in your life and in the world around you. Well no. Until Christ returns again there will be death, and there will be natural disasters and famine. But when Christ comes again and we are taken to Heaven we will be in a place of no more tears and no more sorrow. 

 

 

Revelation 21:1-4

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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.”

This glorious picture of what life will be like when Christ returns, shows us that there is hope. There is hope and an end to suffering. We know that through Christ and only through Christ can the world be healed more importantly only through Christ can we be forgiven “healed” of our sin.

God bless.

G.

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A marriage that glorifies… and a marriage that offends…

Over recent years the gift of marriage has been disregarded or neglected by modern society. This is by either people deciding not to marry, or infidelity, money problems, abuse in the relationship or people rushing into something they don’t fully understand. This statistics say it all really:

Latest statistics (published December 2012) estimate that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce.

This simply is not the way marriage, a gift from God was meant to be. Marriage was a gift from God to us, a gift which we are to use to glorify God. The key problem lies at the fact more and more the world drifts further away from the God ordained marriage of the Bible.

We are going to look at firstly how it is God ordained and secondly how people have drifted from it.

Genesis 2:18-25

18Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 19Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called Woman,

because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

This is the creation of Eve the first woman and this is Adam’s reaction to the blessing of Eve’s creation. He rejoices at the fact they came from one. One became two. This fantastic way of creation that God chooses to do, is symbolically put back together in verse 24-25. These verses are based on and are all about marriage, this shows firstly Marriage is between a man and a woman and can only be between a man and a woman, because this is how God created marriage to be. This quashes the opinions that marriage can be between two people of the same sex, that is going against the creational ordinance that God put in place for marriage. So a factor in the destruction of marriage is the people that try to make it something it isn’t and never was intended to be.  But that marriage means more than is sometimes seen in the 21st century, where it might just be the joining of two people who haven’t tested the waters, instead its for two people who feel a deep love for each other. Marriage is the reconnection of a man and a woman together as one. A sign of God’s awesome power in creation and his sovereignty.

So these verses show that marriage is an ordinance put in place by God, at the start of creation. He made man and woman this way, and he made marriage to bring them together as one, and because this is God’s creational order we can not go messing around with it.

Lets now see how in some ways people are drifting from what marriage originally was made for by God.

1 Corinthians 7: 10-11

10To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband 11(but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife.

The way that people have drifted in relation to this passage, is that people are to quick to divorce, instead of seeing divorce as a last resort. They instead marry with the thought “well if it doesn’t work out, I can always divorce.” Which is the wrong thought to have when going into marriage, in fact when entering into marriage, divorce should not even be in your mind. Now i know there are perfectly justifiable reasons for divorce I.e. infidelity, abuse. But in all other situations in marriage you need to work through it and let divorce be the last resort not the first port of call. Through perseverance through trials you find you are more suited to marriage than you previously thought, but if you jump ship and divorce you can find yourself having missed the opportunity to solve the problems.

1 Timothy 3: 2-4

2Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,

The reason for quoting this passage, is for part of verse 2. This passage is calling for husbands to be the husband to one wife. Which in this modern culture is seeming to be ignored on a more prolific basis.

25.4% of married men and 18.3% of married women and have cheated on their current partners at least once.

Most affairs start in the work-place – 38.8% of women have an affair with a work colleague in comparison to 30.7% of men.

These statistics are shocking to look at, when you see how high the figures are, you see there is a problem of infidelity in our culture, and it seems to be accepted as life now. It seems to be condoned instead of being condemned. This needs to be cracked down. You need to see that the Bible calls for monogamy from all marriages. The reality is, that this not only offends God, because of the complete disregard for his gift or marriage but also breaks the heart of the people who are cheated on.

To sum up marriage needs to be taken seriously, it needs to be a step taken by people convinced that they have met the person not that they can live with, but the person they cant live without. Marriage should glorify God, it should point people to him in the love that you show for each other. It should be an act of grace which people see the Lord Jesus Christ in. Your marriage should glorify God, not offend him. If you are a Christian i plead that you take this Biblical argument to keep marriage pure seriously. Pray for your countries government that they will keep marriage between a man and a woman, instead of “trying to find equality”.

I hope this post helped clarify a few things for you.

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God bless.

Gareth

True Love Is the Centre, True Love is at the heart, True Love is Jesus!

Before we begin, thanks for all the support and shares from the previous post. I hope and pray it encouraged you, as seeing people soak up what scripture says on marriage did for me.

After my last post, some people have posted certain comments suggesting that I ‘belittled’ marriage, because it was a biblical view of marriage. This post is not to recant of my previous post, but instead this post is to support it. At the end of my last post I spoke about how love is at the centre of a marriage and how love is the reason the wife is willing to submit to her husband, as the Church is willing to submit to Christ because of love. In this same way a husband is willing to sacrifice all for his wife out of love in the same way Christ did for the Church.

Now we have the context of the post let’s look at love. The dictionary definition is:

1. A strong feeling of affection.

2. A great interest and pleasure in something.

But that just doesn’t quite cut it for me. I have a great interest in rugby and maybe I have occasionally in the past said I loved it, but it’s not love. Not true love.

Some scientists have said that love is just a working of the emotions or an accident of evolution. It just happens. But what a mockery of love!

When you meet the person you know you are going to spend the rest of your life with, you are quite literally “head over heels” in love, you don’t think, ‘what a fantastic evolutionary mistake this is!’ No instead you say things like ‘what a reward, what a blessing!’ This is almost as though love is a gift  or something which is engrained in us. We can’t help but love.

Well let’s look what Scripture says, firstly:

1 Corinthians 13

    1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

 13So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

This passage is a famous wedding verse, ‘Love never fails’, it is a great verse for a wedding because this passage should remind couples of one thing, that love is an essential ingredient. You need love in your marriage because otherwise it will fail! This is seen in verse 1 as it says without love you are just a clanging cymbal. Love is important.

Though this love that we have for one another is great and in marriage it is because you have met the person you want to be with forever, what other reason does scripture give for loving?

    1 John 4:19

    19We love because he first loved us.

We should love all. We should love our partners in marriage because Jesus loved us first.

You may be sat there thinking, Jesus doesn’t love me, look at what has gone wrong for me. Well, can I say, Jesus does love you. He loves you so much that when He came to earth, He gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins which we all commit. Jesus was willing to give himself wholeheartedly to be a sacrifice for us. He died so that we may have new life in Him. When God sent Jesus, he looked at you and said “I can see how sinful that person is, and imperfect that person is, BUT I love them! I love them so much I will give my only Son for them!”

THAT’S LOVE!

So when John says we should love because Jesus loved us first, he is right. The love that we show to others, our husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends, our family and our friends should be an outpouring on the unstoppable perfect love that Jesus has for us.

Please understand that Jesus loves you and came and died for you, so that you may have life.

Use that to go and love others.

God bless

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Marriage is not for me: It’s for Jesus!

I was struck recently by a blog that was trending on social media, about a man who had blogged on his revelation that marriage was not for him but instead it was for his wife and future family.

This seems like a romantic gesture which may make us thing “awww isn’t that sweet”. But the reality of marriage is far greater than romantic gestures. We get a sense in the New Testament that the Love between married couples should be deep and profound, but in looking a little more depth we find that the love involved in marriage is a deeper much more beautiful truth.

We are going to focus on the passage found in Ephesians chapter 5:

22Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

This passage which so often can be mistreated, missused or even ignored is a beautiful statement of what marriage should be.  We find in this passage, in Verse 22:

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

Now how many of you stopped reading right there, because that sounds terrible? Why should a wife submit to her husband? Why should she give into him as the leader?  Well that is looking at it in the negative light as is seen so often because of those who claim to be Christians who misuse this verse as an excuse to abuse their wife’s. Well this verse does not condone violence if anything later on in these verses it basically condemns that sort of behaviour. Instead the explanation of the submission that the wife should have to the husband is explained in these verses:

23For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

So verse 23 suggests that the husband is the head of the family, this is a creation institution, pointing back to the time of Adam and Eve, but the key verse that defends the biblical submission of the wife to the husband is mapped out in Verse 24. If the husband is the head, that means he is like Christ (verse 23) so because of the that the wife is like The Church (verse 24). This means the Church seeks to serve and submit to Christ. Any Christian out there part of the Church wants to glorify Jesus and serve him in everyway they can. So the wife should be willing to do this because this is like Paul saying, “Look, what you do for your husband should be a mirror of what you do for Christ in the Church.” You want to serve Christ in the Church and from that should be an overflowing to serve your husband as you serve Christ. All of this is to point people to Jesus. In 1 Corinthians Paul states that if a wife who is a believer has an unbelieving husband and serves him in Biblical submission, it will help point him to Jesus. Now, I am not suggesting for a moment this means the wife does not have to love her husband. That is nonsense. Paul also says in 1 Corinthians that if you do not have Love you are useless, “like a clanging cymbal”. The wife needs to have love for her husband, so through that love she will understand the need to submit to her husband.

So that’s the verses about the wife sorted now we look at the husband.

25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

So now having seen the wife’s submitting, the men reading this may think they have it easy. But I assure you the men do not have the easy task of these two commands for marriage. To truly understand the enormity of the husbands tasks we need to go back to the Greek.

25 Οἱ ἄνδρες, ἀγαπᾶτε τὰς γυναῖκας, καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ ἑαυτὸν παρέδωκεν ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς

This may look confusing but trust me this will help explain a lot of things. The word used in this command for love is  αγαπε (ag-a-pae). Two variants of this word come up in this passage. The first is the love that the husband should have for his wife, and the second is the love that Christ has for the Church. Now there are a number of words for love in the Greek language. But here Paul uses the same word. This means that husbands need to love their wife’s in exactly the same way as Christ loves the Church. What does that mean?  Well I’m sure all of you reading this know that means that like Christ who loved the Church so much he came and he died on the cross so that those who believe in him will be forgiven. Which means husbands need to love their wife’s self-sacrificially, being willing to give all they have for their wife’s. This may sound like romantic love, the kind that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside, the kind which makes a good movie. But actually this love, this example of Love that we have for one another can point people to the most amazing, perfect and awesome example of Love that has ever been shown. That is Jesus. Through His sacrifice on The Cross for those who believe in Him. As the well known verse from Johns Gospel says:

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

So please let us see that marriage is about love yes! But Love of Biblical proportions. A love that has lead to the salvation of all who trust in Jesus.

My prayer is that your marriage, your future marriage will not only model this but also that you will come to know( if you do not already) the amazing love, the perfect love which Christ has for you!

God Bless

Gareth.

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