Posterity

Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it! Psalm 22:30,31

 

It is worth keeping in mind that we don’t know the future. While in our youth, we don’t give too much thought to the future, and let’s face it, the years ahead can bring many changes to life, some bad, and some good. For my part, and from experience, I am happy not knowing the future, and leaving it in God’s hands.

 

I was drawn to these verses because of circumstances which are unfolding before my eyes, and I am blessed to be a witness to them. The call of God on a life is a precious and very special thing, and cannot be compared to any secular job, no matter how important. When that call comes to your grandson, it can be humbling and a blessing in equal measure because it is within your own close family circle. Such is this time which I couldn’t foresee as he was growing up, even though he was raised in a secure, loving and Godly family unit.

 

Now some years later, it is evident that he will be used in music, speaking, teaching, preaching, and living a life of ministry to some who have not yet been born! That is mind boggling, at least to me. Those who know and love him, can see the sincerity of his life for God. However there is one in particular who is not here to witness this life changing period. His gran would be so proud of his commitment to serve the Lord in this way. Who can say that she is not looking down from her place in heaven, in that great cloud of witnesses, and smiling?

 

God is already in our future, whether we recognise that truth or not. Through good and bad, health and sickness, life until death. Let us be sure to live our lives as a testimony to the love and grace of a holy God such that others can see Christ in us and respond. Who knows what the effect of a sincere witness will be in the preparation of a heart, perhaps yet unborn, to be given in God’s service to others, through our own life? As the verse ends, “He (God) has done it”. It’s not of ourselves. No one else can take the credit!

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Confidant

I think a definition is necessary. “A confidant is a person with whom one shares a secret or private matter, trusting them not to repeat it to others.”

 

Let me be brutally honest, one of the loneliest times in the life of a single person, whether young, old, male or female is the lack of a listening ear when times get tough. Let’s face it, things do get unbearably rough at times, and when you have a husband, wife, or partner, you can unload your deepest feelings and fears knowing fully that they will support, understand, sympathise, and it will go no further.

 

Sometimes I miss that special person in my life because it isn’t always fitting, easy or possible to share your heart with others, even your family who may have their own issues to face. Having that close, trusted spouse or close friend is invaluable, and not to be taken for granted. Somehow I don’t think I am alone in my thinking, and since the Bible is the Word of God for all times, situations, and people, it wisely puts it this way:

 

Two are better than one…..if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9,10

Inconvenient Truth

Our news outlets have been filled with reporting of many injuries and deaths as a terrorist blew himself up, killing and injuring many others in the Manchester Arena. You will also recall the terrorist who drove straight into pedestrians at Westminster Bridge near to the mother of all parliaments. Do you also remember the killed and injured when a lorry was deliberately driven straight into Israeli soldiers, and the crowds enjoying a Christmas Market in Berlin when a vehicle was driven straight into them? These are not isolated occurrences but I feel we are becoming numbed to the attacks. What about the recent Turkey and Paris club attacks, the hijacked plane forced to land in Malta and the Tunisian beach shootings to name just a few? There are many, many more.

 

Have you noticed the trend adopted by the media as they report these atrocities? First of all, they don’t like to call them terrorist attacks. Then slowly, they will say it was an isolated incident, followed up by the statements that they are perpetrated by the insane, deranged who don’t represent the majority of good people. Eventually, when there is no other way to tell the inconvenient truth, it will be reported as the work of Islamists. The tag ‘extremists’ is added to have you think these are very out of the ordinary occurrences by a mad few.

 

Do yourself a favour. Take a Google search on Islamist terrorist attacks, and when you have done that, tell me these attacks are isolated or only the work of a few extremists. While you are at it you will be able to compare terrorism from non Islamic sources, only to find there are hardly any. We are told frequently that we must not blame the many for the wrongs of the few. Can I ask how many ‘few’ terrorist attacks it will take before we stop saying they are a form of extreme Islam, and we should not make the obvious link from Islam the so called religion of peace, to its troops who are all called Muslims (like it or not)?

 

If you know anything about Islam, you will know that it is certainly NOT a religion of peace. It was born out of conflict, and jihad is a recognised, basic, and fundamental part of its faith. Their terrorism strikes out at any infidel who should disagree with their form of Islam. Can we make it clear that ALL of the Muslim-ist attacks are carried out in the name of their God Allah (and it’s NOT the same God of the Christian faith), and in their stated quest to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate with Sharia Law in any way they can. There is a fear that the Christian church has been sleepwalking into oblivion, afraid to speak out should we be called intolerant. Our ‘free’ governments do not help the situation. We need to ask ourselves, who are the ones who are intolerant? It would be a step in the right direction if we woke up and became honest, and less politically correct. There is a war going on, and it was not started by any other people of faith but the muslims of Islam.

 

Final thoughts. Have you noticed a mass uprising of ‘ordinary muslims’ marching against these atrocities? The occasional cleric or academic speaking platitudes do not count. Did you know that Islam allows lies to be told and used on its behalf as long as they are for the greater good of their religion? Secondly, has there been any report of droves of muslims who know all this and leave Islam for any other faith, or none at all, effectively saying ‘not in my name’? No, me neither. It’s time to wake up!

 

I am getting tired of hearing that steps are being taken to find the source of the terrorist’s radicalisation. Spare me that fake news, because we all know without a doubt where the source lies, and it is with Islam, and the blind allegiance of the Muslim believers, who all use the same ‘holy book’ as the reason for their actions. And anyway, the suicide bomber or anyone who dies in the quest, is told they will go straight to their heaven, and the family left on earth will be granted a pension for life because of the sacrifice paid by their hero. Get the picture? Good. Now we need to wake up to the truth and light of the only Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

 

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

 

Yes, everything is made clear by the light. This is why we say, “Wake up, you who are sleeping! Rise from death, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14

Churchianity

You heard the true message, the Good News about the way God saves you. When you heard that Good News, you believed in Christ. And in Christ, God put his special mark on you by giving you the Holy Spirit that he promised. Ephesians 1:13

 

Ok, I know I take my faith seriously, but although my head may be in heaven, I hope my feet stay firmly rooted on the ground! If you take a browse round some online posts on theology, even from friends, I begin to hear and recognise my Mum’s words ringing in my ears as she said, “Heavenly minded, but no earthly good” and she meant. Let me explain. My Mum and Dad were basic, good, kind, and Godly examples in word and deed, but never strayed into the ‘big words’ arena. They were not educated to a great degree in the eyes of this world, but I would challenge you to find a better example of the Godly life in action.

 

It’s not that I don’t know some of these big theological words, or even what some mean, but are they really necessary when speaking outside the college classroom or lecture hall? Is it possibly a way to show how clever and well educated they are? Maybe to show their reading and Theology training? Does it act as an attraction to the unchurched, or the unsaved? Would big words bring conviction, and salvation? Somehow I doubt it, but it still goes on with those who have a ‘need’ to use them. Paul reminded the Ephesians that they were saved by the ‘Good News’ of the Gospel, and this was the only reason for early church growth. It was simple enough for the ordinary man and woman then, and still is today!
Of course, I have to recognise that it is also possible I am jealous and in awe of their superior education and knowledge, and perhaps I need to bring my own failings to the Lord and ask for forgiveness for my own simple and sinful pride.

Thoughts

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

It’s only a thought. What harm can it do, and anyway, no one knows what I’m thinking! That’s how it usually goes, but how wrong. There is no doubt that thoughts are linked to our actions. After all, before we do something, we had the thought first. It stands to reason.

I was shocked and surprised to learn of the case of a young man who is in court charged as being a paedophile with shameful images on his computer. He hid this at the start so well, that many of his classmates didn’t know what he was like under the surface. This makes my heart cry out to the young folks of our generation. Don’t let your thoughts stray into dangerous places, imagining that no one will know or ever find out. The actions of this teen started out as a thought, and grew from there into horrifying action.

Please, guard your heart and mind and stay healthy inside your head. Don’t become trapped with the lie of the devil that it’s only a thought, and no one will ever know. Thoughts become a lifestyle, and your lifestyle becomes known to all. It may even land you in prison. The devil didn’t warn you about that, did he?

The heart is the most deceitful thing there is and desperately wicked. No one can really know how bad it is! Jeremiah 17:9

Family

It has been a year, but twelve months later I am visiting my Texas family for an extended holiday. Frankly, I don’t know how they put up with me and my quirks, but they do. Or maybe the truth lies in the fact that we are not just friends, or even good friends, but family! Close family. And don’t we always make allowances for those we love? The more we love, the more we see the good, and happily ignore or forget the ‘other stuff’, and let’s face it, we all carry some stuff from our lives into the lives of others!

 

In a similar way, I am privileged to meet up with folks in the local church here that I had the pleasure and blessing to meet last year. It was like an extension of family, but these same folks don’t really know me, but they know my faith and values. On top of that, my family has been reminding their friends that their dad/granda was coming to visit. They accepted me on the strength of the word of those they trust. Their word is good, acceptable, and trustworthy almost without question, and all because of their integrity.

 

What an amazing picture of the family of God. Those who profess the name of Jesus Christ, as Christians, will happily accept others they may not even know well, if at all, on the word of a trusted friend. We are close to God when we are close to His followers, whoever they are and wherever they live. It is a double blessing when those Christians are also family. I am blessed on both counts, and have a reminder of how the love of God flows through His followers, to everyone they come in contact with. How do I know this? Because it was Jesus who said:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34,35  

Safe Place

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

 

There is something calming and soothing about this well known verse. Another translation says it like this God is our safe place and our strength. He is always our help when we are in trouble.” Do you have a safe place? One where you can retreat to, and you won’t be bothered by some of those well meaning people who don’t seem to be able to help, and a bit like Job’s comforters? If we don’t have a physical place, I would hazard a guess that you do it in the recesses of your mind.

 

We all need a refuge, or as I prefer, a ‘safe place’ where problems can be met head on, without someone saying, “don’t worry it will work out”. I know they mean well, but there are times you need to sort things out on your own because you know in your heart that things will not just ‘work out’ by themselves. Some problems need to be faced, and tackled, not ignored.

 

It doesn’t matter what age you are, or how clever, we know deep down when a problem has gone on for too long and now has to be encountered and dealt with. No two people are the same, and no two problems are the same. Every person and problem is uniquely personal, and therefore needs our personal attention. This is exactly the time that you and I need that ‘safe place’ where God can be allowed to work and speak into our heart. In the silence of our safe place, we may find that the resolution is in our own hands. Do we need to forgive someone? I don’t mean only to say I’m sorry, but to go that step further and forgive? No one said it would be easy, but it might just be what is needed. Many times it doesn’t matter whose fault it was or who started it, we need to reset our life and relationship. I have found that when I retreat to that quiet place, and God’s will becomes apparent, He does not show me the problems that need resolved in my friend’s life, but shows me the failings that must be addressed in my own. God is good, and so where better to start than in our place of refuge that is God’s safe place?