Take Me To Church: 13/8/17.
Hebrews 7 (NIV UK)
25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
Honestly church was really good today. There was a guest speaker all the way from Northern Ireland and he was hilarious! His message was spoken in such a great way I was sat trying to work out what his message was about but I could not work it out upon where he was preaching from. He was preaching from Luke 8:26-39 which is one of those passages that can be quite shocking when you think about what this man went through in his life before Jesus came along.
Luke 8:26-39 (NIVUK)
Jesus restores a demon-possessed man.
…27 When Jesus stepped ashore, he was met by a demon-possessed man from the town. For a long time this man had not worn clothes or lived in a house, but had lived in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!’ 29 For Jesus had commanded the impure spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was chained hand and foot and kept under guard, he had broken his chains and had been driven by the demon into solitary places…
32 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and he gave them permission. 33 When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned…
38 The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 ‘Return home and tell how much God has done for you.’ So the man went away and told all over the town how much Jesus had done for him.
His three main points were the power of; Community, Christ and Testimony.
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Who Am I Esteemed By?
John 18:36 (NIVUK)
36 Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’
I prayed about who I am esteemed by maybe a week or two ago and some of the things on the list of what I had allowed the world to tell me I was esteemed by included; my bank account, social media numbers, clothing, friends (the numbers not the people) and the main one that had led me to past pain was a man. I prayed and kept telling myself when I was feeling “less than” after some online window shopping or social media browsing that I am not esteemed by my wardrobe, a job, the money in my bank account, I AM ESTEEMED BY GOD.
I have believed so many lies about what esteems me it’s unreal.
Social media is one of the biggest liars that we all fall for. It tells us that the more followers we have the better we are. But honestly the more followers you have just means people like what you post and the echo chamber that you are in benefits you. But as we have seen over an over social media is not real, many social media stars have come out to tell us as much over the years. Social media does not esteem me or you.
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What Is My Character Preparing Me For?
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV UK)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!
I started properly thinking about my character a few or more weeks back when I watched a chat show in which a woman spoke about the organisation that she created to help young people to build up their characters (through musical perfromance.) I had also heard a few pastors speaking about ‘what certain things that we do are preparing us’ for but I had not really thought much further about it until I watched this chat show. After watching this show I wrote this post “don’t grow weary in doing good.” I realised that my leaving a job that I had been in was not so much of a mistake as I thought it had been. It showed me that I had character flaws that I desperately needed to work on before embarking on any type of job where I was representing Christians.
What I can see in my character right now (so far) is that I am preparing for divorce and cheating in a relationship.Quitting things is preparing me for divorce. Not being content or satisfied is preparing me for cheating.
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Every Action Has A Reaction.
James 1:19-20 (NIV UK)
Listening and doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
This lesson was so necessary in my life this year. I was living in “I deserve better” land and God had to show me that a lot of what I was moaning about wouldn’t be something that I was moaning about if my reaction or action had been different. A lot of the things that have happened in my life have had to do with me reacting toward things out of anger, feeling like I deserve better etc. and this has lead to a whole heap of pain.
Last night (15/07/17) as I was thinking more about every action has a reaction I thought about the conversation between Wisdom & Mack in “The Shack.” Wisdom asks Mack if the guy who murdered his daughter deserves to be punished for what he did, he responds with a yes. Then she asks him the same question but with more information about the guys past, does he still deserve to be punished “even though his dad made him into this person; his dad was abusive, he was the monster, he is just living life according to what his dad instilled in him” these are not direct quotes. Eventually Mack softens and he starts to realise that he could have turned out the same way as that guy, someone could be speaking to wisdom and they could be responding with a “yes, Mack needs to be punished for what he did.”
This exchange in the movie and my own personal experiences have shown me that we all deserve to be punished for something or the other that we have done. Every action that has happened in our lives has been caused by something. We don’t have control over the action but we do have control over the reaction. Whatever we choose to or not to do has a consequence. Our reaction to an action may lead us to something that we deserve punishment for and so we need to be very careful when we hand down judgements of punishment towards others because we probably have a few things ourselves that we deserve to be punished for.
When God was educating me in this area there was something that came up and I started to dislike and maybe even hate the person for what they did because it lead to a lot of years of hurt, pain and sinfulness. BUT what God showed me was that I could have spoken up after the fact to stop anything more from continuing. The persons actions had lead me to the door of a specific sin but I had not done anything in response to that action and so I had no right to hold that person captive for the sinful life that I then lived because they controlled the action I controlled the reaction.
What have I learned from “Every Action Has A Reaction?”
- Not to hold people in emotional prisons.
- To never hold myself in a higher level to others.
- Not to feel guilty about what I have done to others.
- To spend less time thinking about the past and what has happened in it.
- To remember that God is the final judge. Earthly judgement is nothing compared to Heavenly Judgement.
Once Saved Always Saved?
Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV UK)
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This year of conscious salvation has been long and rough but honestly I would not want to go back to my past. I say conscious salvation because my salvation happened years ago but I didn’t start walking and living in it until last year. What God has taught me about salvation ties into the term revert that I mentioned in my last post. It’s here if you want to read it. But God has also showed me that salvation is more than forgiveness or “when you became a Christian.” (this was a question that bothered me during Alpha for many reasons, that I may write about.)
My opinion on once saved always saved has changed since hearing someone in alpha saying “you can’t lose your salvation.” When I heard this at the time I thought, yes you can but now since God has directed my life to realising that salvation is not something that you can lose. I am less fearful about this area of our walks with God. This is another sneaky tactic that the devil uses to keep us from living in victory and fully taking hold of our salvation.
The main thing that made me think, yes we can lose our salvation was forgiveness. Matthew 6:14 was the reason why I thought yes we can BUT on thinking about it more I realise that salvation does not stop at forgiveness. Yes the way in which we forgive is the way that God will forgive us but this does not mean that we lose our salvation. (Matthew 25:14-30, Matthew 18:21-35)
Matthew 6:14 (NIV UK)
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
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God Will Bring Them Back.
1 John 1:9 (ESV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Revert – return to. I heard this word when I was watching a documentary about Muslim girls in america and how they were finding life being so visible in America. One of the girls in the documentary did not look Muslim and then she talked about how she was a revert to the religion. She then explained that Muslims don’t say convert, they say revert because they believe that they are not converting but returning to Allah (Allah translates to God.) This struck me because that’s what I was starting to realise about Christianity, that those who belong to God return to Him. I had listened to two testimonies that really spoke to me about this. These testimonies and mine combined made me realise that once God is in your life you can go on to live a lawless life but when you get to the end of your sin and the beginning of God you are not converting to Christianity you are returning back to God.
Today in church the pastor was speaking about the first church. But he started the service by speaking about how in England (not sure if he said the U.K.) 95% of children do not know God or have a connection to church (something along those lines.) He then spoke about how in the past most people would have at least one person in their family who was connected to a church. Most people’s connection would be their grandma and she would be praying for them. But we no longer have that now for a lot of reasons, different religions, family situations, ethnic diversity, fear of the Bible, the list can go on and on.
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University Tips & Advice.
Ecclesiastes 7:12 (ESV)
12 For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money,
and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.
I thought I would write a different kind of post. One about university.
When I went to uni I went into it with no knowledge of what I was getting myself into. I look back on university and I do wish that I had gone into it with a bit more preparation for what was yet to come. BUT I am thankful for my whole experience even though it was not the best. I disliked uni and wanted to leave towards the end of second year but the people around me convinced me to stay. I am thankful that I did not quit and I completed the course. If I’d left I would have received a very expensive diploma not a degree.
After I completed my course I knew I didn’t want anything to do with the course because that had been my thoughts for over a year, BUT God had a different plan for my life. 3 years (wow) since graduation (which I didn’t attend) I have found myself producing work that is infinitely better than all the work I created at university. For someone who did not want anything to do with my degree or the industry I spend a lot of my time creating work that has to do with my degree.
Anyways back to this post. I will be sharing my tips and advice for university from lived experience and from an if I could do it again I would do this perspective.
First Year Students. Do your research; course, campus, city, career prospects.
When I went to university I think like a lot of people I wasn’t prepared because uni is just another step on the education ladder. You go there, do your time and you graduate. I didn’t think too much about all the other things that are a part of university because my university plans changed drastically when I found a course that I liked.
Do your research! This is the most valuable part of preparation for university…
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