Archive for the ‘God’ category

Offer Of Hope To Desperate Man

August 24, 2018

He was an ex-Army man and looked very active and fit, but as I chatted to him I discovered that life was in fact terrible for him.

His wife was suffering from severe mental illness and within the last week had walked on to the local motorway to try and kill herself.  The husband admitted he was at the end of his tether. Because of her dangerous and unpredictable behaviour he was getting hardly any sleep and didn’t know where to turn. He had tried to get her into secure accommodation, but with no success.

He seemed in a hopeless predicament and He confirmed to me that this was indeed the case.  "HOPE FOR A BROKEN WORLD"

I picked up a little booklet we have for clients, called “Finding Hope”. I said: “even although you may not be a religious person, this is an encouraging booklet because it offers hope. He flicked through it and said: “yes, that looks good – I’ll take it”. The first pages begin: “If life is hard, if your whole world is broken, if it is hard to keep going………………………where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” Psalm 121:1-2. Let this God of the Bible bring you hope”.

I went on to tell him that a comprehensive study of the different religions in the world identified the Christian religion as the only one that offered hope to its followers. He told me his wife liked reading, so I also give him another booklet called: “Thought and Prayers For Troubled Times”. He looked through it and said: “yes, I think she’ll read that.”

photo of kneesLater, I chatted to a guy with a major, painful knee problem requiring surgery. I told him of several cases I personally knew of where guys had been healed of knee problems after a short prayer. Despite me encouraging him to try it for himself, he said quite firmly: “no thanks!”. I said: “what do you have to lose – it’s only 30 seconds of your time?” All to no avail, so off he went with his pain and damaged knee.

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Why Does God Allow Suffering?

July 28, 2018

The first point to note is that God is definitely powerful. In fact, he has all power. So don’t let anyone tell you that God simply isn’t able to stop the suffering in the world. who does god allow suffering

The second point to note is that when people ask this question, they usually include pain, suffering caused by people to other people, and all kinds of “natural” disasters – the whole works. That’s the assumption we’ll make here.

This begs the question: “if God is able to stop suffering, does that mean he doesn’t want to?” Not at all. In fact, there will come a time when God puts a stop to all evil. Obviously, that time has not yet come. In that case, the even bigger question is this: “why hasn’t God put a stop to suffering and evil yet? What is he waiting for?”

And the answer: He’s waiting for as long as possible, to give as many people as possible the opportunity to make their peace with him. To put it another way:

“God is not slow about his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wanting anyone to perish, but wanting everyone to come to repentance”

That’s the bottom line. God could quite easily put an end to all suffering and evil now. Instead, he’s waiting to give all of us an opportunity to respond to him. In any case, what if God decided to stop all evil at 5 pm today. How many people would be left living at 5.01 pm?

What Would God Have To Do?

Just think for a moment what God would have to do to get rid of the painful consequences of human choices:

Every time someone used a weapon for violence, God would have to make the weapon harmless. He would have to turn bullets into paper, knives into plastic, and grenades into polystyrene beads.

Every time someone drove a car out of control, God would have to intervene, somehow interrupting the laws of nature to protect that person.

Every time a parent yelled at a child in anger, God would have to mute the sounds, and somehow turn the expression on the parent’s face to an expression of care and love.

How Did It Start?

Evil and suffering made their appearance when the first humans, Adam and Eve, chose to disobey God. In a garden of every imaginable delight, they ate the one and only piece of fruit that God had told them not to. That was the first human sin. Since that time, the world has seen a lot of pain and suffering, but it was never God’s preferred option. Natural disasters are all part of the suffering caused by sin.

Sure, God could have removed the option of choosing to disobey him, but he wanted people who chose to love him. Love is never forced. And so, God put in place a plan to rescue humans from their own self-destructive ways.

Here’s a story to make the point:

A vicar and an atheist barber were walking through the seedy part of their city. As they saw the suffering around them, the barber said “This is why I could never believe in a God of love. If he is as kind as they say, why doesn’t he do something about all this crime, disease, poverty, drug-dealing and vandalism?”

The vicar said nothing until they came across an unkempt and filthy man with hair down his back and far too much stubble on his face. The vicar said to the atheist: “You can’t be a very good barber, or you wouldn’t let people live around here without a haircut and a shave.”

More than a little offended, the barber answered: “Why blame me for that man’s condition? I can’t help it if he’s like that! He’s never given me a chance! If he’d only come to my shop, I could fix him up and make him look respectable.”

The vicar replied: “Then don’t blame God for the condition of these people. They’ve never given God a chance. If they would only come to him, he would fix them up and turn their lives around.”

Even though God is completely powerful, he has not yet removed suffering and evil from the picture. He’s waiting…waiting for as long as possible, to give as many people as possible the opportunity to make their peace with him.

Not Sure If You Are A Christian?

April 9, 2018

 male icon imageimage of a woman     If you want to test yourself to see whether you are a Christian, ask yourself these questions and answer honestly:

1. Do I believe that Jesus Christ came from Heaven for the express purpose of reconciling mankind to God the Father?

2. Do I acknowledge that the fallen human nature is predisposed to sin, and that only Jesus can redeem my life from sin and make me acceptable to a holy God?

3. Do I believe Jesus died on a cross, that God raised him from the dead and that he is now alive for evermore?

4. Do I believe that when Jesus died on the cross, he paid the price for my sins?

5. Have I ever acknowledged to God that I am a sinner, in need of God’s forgiveness?

6. Did I ever pray to Jesus to become a Christian? If so, was I sincere in my heart about what I was asking?

7. If someone asked me, could I give examples of some sins that God has forgiven me for?

8. Do I believe that I can talk to Jesus in prayer and he will answer?

9. Do I believe Jesus is able to forgive ALL my sins and make me a brand new person?

10. Do I accept Jesus as my Lord, in charge of my whole life from now on, putting him first instead of myself?

11. Am I doing my best nowadays, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to live a changed life that will please Jesus my Lord?

12. Do I want to forgive others in the present – and also from the past – for what they did to me?

13. Do I have a desire to read the Bible regularly?

14. Do I pray regularly, not just asking for “things”, but to cultivate a personal relationship with God?

15. Do I want to meet regularly with other Christians, to encourage and be encouraged by them?

16. Do other people see genuine evidence in my life of a love for God and my neighbour, as Jesus commanded?

17. In what ways do I lay down my life for my fellow man?

18. Do I know what it is to experience persecution for my faith in Jesus Christ?

19. Do I have stories to tell of how God has worked through me to bless others?

20. Are any of your family/close friends Christians? If not, have you ever witnessed to them about the importance of your own faith?

If you want to know WHY you should become a Christian after reading this, see  this page

 

So You Want To Become a Christian?

January 18, 2018

 holy bible  So you want to become a Christian and  know the basic facts about Jesus?      

Basic facts are here: http://www.newchristian.org.uk/twokingdoms.html

If so, read on below.

You probably want to change things about your life and your behaviour and so far have got nowhere. That’s actually a good place to be, since only Jesus can change you deep down where it matters, and from the inside out.

He knows your heart attitude, so you can’t fool him! But the good thing is, he’s ready and waiting to do for you what you can’t do for yourself.

The easiest way is to take time out one day and pour you heart out to him in prayer, just simply talking to him in your mind, or out loud if you prefer. Tell Jesus how you feel, what you need, and how you now realise that He’s the only one who can change things.

Coming to Jesus in prayer and asking for forgiveness of your sins and surrender of your life to Jesus is how you become a Christian. hand lifted up in prayer

Jesus wants all of you, not just a part. He wants to be the most important person in your life. This is an act of your will – to choose this course of action. God never forces us to do anything, that’s why he gave us free will.

Once you’ve settled that in your mind, the next step is this. Ask Jesus to forgive all the sins you ever committed. All sin is primarily against God. He’s the one you hurt the most when you sinned. Even though you did things to other people, God’s the one who’s been most hurt by your actions.

Through his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, Jesus paid the price for all your sins. All sin has to be paid for, for justice to be done. Instead of paying for your own sins, Jesus did it for you, in advance. How amazing is that? But you have to ask for and receive that forgiveness for yourself.

The ideal way to approach Jesus to forgive you is this way. Take time out and make a list of things you’ve done that you know to be wrong. Don’t rush it – take your time. For example, list lies you’ve told, people you’ve wronged or hated, folk you’ve deceived, things you’ve stolen. Pour your heart out to Jesus and ask him in prayer to help you write the list.

handwritten listWhen you’re done making the list, talk to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you everything on your list, plus all the sins you’ve forgotten about.

There’s nothing you’ve done that Jesus can’t forgive. Then after your prayer of confession to him, thank him that he now HAS forgiven you all these things. Jesus has promised to come and live with us when we choose to surrender our life to him and so he will come and live in your spirit by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables us to live a life that honours Jesus and he gives us the strength to live for him, in the face of opposition or other problems we have.

Once you’ve written your list, this is the kind of prayer you could use, as an example:

“Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that you came from Heaven to Earth to reconcile me to God the Father, and that you did this because you love me. I thank you that when you died on the cross and rose again from the dead, you paid the penalty price for my sin. These are the list of sins I am able to remember…………(your list). Please forgive me of all these. Please also forgive me the many sins I committed but have since forgotten about.

I realise you are the only one who is able to forgive me these sins, for only you were good enough to pay the price for them. I offer myself to you as a living sacrifice, so please use my life for your glory and honour. I turn from everything I k now to be wrong.I place my trust in you for the future. Please help me to live for you, and give me the strength I need to live my life for you for the rest of my days. Thank you for hearing and answering this prayer. I am weak and need your strength, so please fill me with your Holy Spirit power now. Amen”

Once you have done this with a sincere heart, you have become a follower of Jesus and an “apprentice Christian” (my phrase). You can then destroy the list of your sins that you wrote, because they have now all been forgiven by Jesus and forgotten about by him.

 

The Question Is Not “Do You Believe In God?” But “What Kind of God Do You Believe In?”

October 21, 2016

I said to him: “I’m guessing you may be a Christian” He replied: “Well I believe in God, but wouldn’t call myself a Christian”.  I said that many profess a belief in God, but the issue was which God did they believe in, since we can all make Gods in our own heads that don’t truly exist. I may sincerely believe in a four-headed God living on the Moon, but if it’s not true it’s a waste of belief on my part. The Christian believes in God as revealed in Jesus Christ of the Bible. If you make up a belief in a God of your own making, from within your own mind, you’re on dangerous ground.christian cross in gold colour

He pointed out to me how all the different religions claim to be the way to God. I replied that they believe different things, so can’t all be right, which he agreed with. I highlighted to him a fundamental difference between Christianity and all other religions: all other religious leaders said to their followers, in effect: “I am showing you the path to the God/Gods/Nirvana (or whatever)”. Uniquely, Jesus Christ in the Bible said it otherwise: “I am the Way, the Truth and The Life”. He declared He alone was the Way to God, and also, exclusively, that “no-one comes to the Father except by Me”.

I said to the guy: “Suppose you were on a journey, came to a crossroads and didn’t know which way to go. There were two men by the roadside; one was dead, the other was alive. Which one would you ask for directions?” Obviously you’d choose the man who was alive. “This”, I explained, “illustrates another difference between Christianity and all other religions. The founders of all other religions are in their graves, as conceded by their followers. No-one disagrees that Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius are all dead in their graves. Jesus is the only religious founder who rose from the dead and is alive today, as claimed by his followers”.

He thought he might go to Heaven when he died, but when I asked him what the pass mark was for entry into Heaven he said he had no idea. I said to him that surely God would let us know how to get to Heaven, otherwise he wouldn’t be a very kind God? I explained how Jesus was our substitute, who died on a cross in our place and took the punishment our sins deserve. We receive our pass mark from Jesus who got 100% due to his sinless life. When we become Christians his 100% is conferred on us as “born-again” believers. Theologians call this “imputed righteousness”.

We discussed repentance, which he seemed to understand, but by the end of our conversation I concluded that he was happy to sit on the fence and take his chance on Heaven. He agreed that was pretty accurate.

We shook hands, I wished him well and said I hoped we might meet up again in another environment.

 

People Are Hungry For God But Don’t Know Where He Is

September 23, 2016

Today I went in for volunteer duty with a local agency and took with me four books written from a Christian perspective. We have a box marked  “free books – help yourself” and clients can take and keep anything they want while waiting their turn to be seen.

At the end of my 3 hour shift three of the four books had been taken away.   pile of books

I had a long conversation with one woman client who was going through life’s trials and had recently split up with her lesbian partner. She showed me two severe injuries her partner had inflicted and for which she had needed lots of stitches. She was very open to talking with me and admitted she found there was a spiritual dimension to our conversation that she really appreciated. In fact she said she sensed that God was in our encounter in a very real way. I was surprised to hear this, as I hadn’t said anything particularly spiritual up until this point.

She then picked up a little booklet “Finding Hope” and put it in her bag, saying that was exactly what she needed. She had experienced quite a bit of rejection in life, so I told her that Jesus was the man and woman huggingonly one who truly loved her and that he would never reject her. I also told her about an encounter I had where Jesus had appeared  to me when I was distressed many years ago. She seemed quite touched by this. I asked her: “would it be OK if I gave you a hug?” She said that would be good, so I did and she also hugged me tightly back for a few moments. Before she left she saw the book box, picked up the one at the front with the title “Finding God” and said with a laugh: “this has all been planned!” I agreed that it had, so she left with the book on a high, and a big smile on her face.

The Two Sides of Life

August 27, 2016

For over 30 years I worked in Government service with Armed Forces personnel in a cosseted environment. It was an “Ivory Tower”, remote from real life suffering and tragedy.  armed forces logo

During the last 10 years however, moving in an environment where suffering and tragedy abound, I meet up with it all the time, albeit at arm’s length.

Today I met a guy who seemed drunk, as he found it difficult to walk in a straight line. He had a severe injury that made walking upright difficult. As we chatted he cursed the day he ever took heroin, “the worst mistake I ever made”. He is an ex-offender, struggling to cope with everyday life. He was sweating profusely, an indicator of drug withdrawal; he admitted he’s still a user.

lifebelt   Some time back he threw himself in the local canal; fortunately he was spotted and rescued by the Police.

I prayed briefly for the pain he was suffering. It improved very slightly, but he was still suffering. He wasn’t inclined to carry on with further prayer.

I told him to not give up; there is always hope if you believe in God. He said he did believe. I asked if could read and he said he could, so I showed him a small booklet called “Finding Hope”. It is an excellent little booklet produced by SGM Lifewords. They produce this booklet in several languages http://www.sgmlifewords.com/uk/resources?search=finding+hope