Wouldn't it be wonderful to be absolutely certain about some of those things in life that would crush us if it all went wrong.
As the blushing bride stands before her adoring husband to be, there's no guarantee that their vows will stand up to the pressures and demands will come upon them as life moves on.
As we cradle that infant in our loving arms, there is no guarantee this miniature human being will grow up to be a valuable member of society.
As the young person branches out and starts a business, there's no guarantee the business will be a success. It all depends on the environment and the devotion of the one venturing out on his own.
And talking of the environment, there's the farmer who prepares the ground, sews the seed, tends to the crop with no guarantee of a harvest. It all depends on the rain to come at the right time, and the sun to show up and warm the soil.
So it goes on and on. We could find examples of uncertainty everywhere we look. However, there are a few things of which we can be certain - that is Taxes, aging, and death! Pretty depressing huh!
But actually there there's a whole host of other unseen things of which we can be certain also. But these involve faith in someone we cannot see, and knowing Him personally changes everything!
The Bible tells that:
"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:
Just look around and you'll see that it is not too difficult to understand that we don't last forever here, but even the earth upon which we live is slowly decaying? Everything we can see is altering and fading away.
Why is that? It is because the whole earth, our environment in which we live, and every living thing, including ourselves are under a curse. It is a thing called sin, and it came into the world long ago when the first man and woman made a choice to disobey God, and because of this, the curse of sin has affected every living thing and all creation ever since.
Sin is what makes us do the bad things we sometimes do. Sin is the reason why we die. Sin is the reason everything is decaying and will one day come to an end. What a horrible dilemma in which we find ourselves!
Is there any way to change all this? Where can we go for hope?
Yes, a glorious change is possible, but it comes on a very personal basis. And as for the hope we long for, as I said before, it is found in the One who we presently cannot see.
However, there was a time when this wonderful 'hope of all the earth' came to visit this sad place on a rescue mission. His name was Jesus. He was and is no less than the living and true God in a human body.
His mission was accomplished on a cruel Roman cross when humankind thought they would do away with Him. Why would anyone in their right mind want to do away with someone with all the answers to the great need of the human race.
Well, that's it, they were not in their right mind, and so He prayed for those who crucified Him and said over and over again: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23: 24. While they, representing the entire human race were offering their worst to this lovely Man, He was there all the while offering His life, and allowing His own blood to be shed in order to pay for the sin that is keeping us separate from Him.
You may be wondering how could the death of this Man on a cross so long ago affect anything positive for which I can be certain today?
Well, here is the answer - What He accomplished there was a work that was truly finished. It will never again need to be repeated. His sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to pay the debt you and you and I owe to God for our sin. It is sufficient to free us from the guilt, the shame, and the power of the sin that once bound us, and enable to live a life in the most fulfilling way possible. By that, I mean, a life that is walking with God and working with Him and not against Him.
A person who has their faith firmly grounded on the Lord Jesus Christ has infinitely more to be fully persuaded about than anyone else in this sad old world. Look at what Paul, the Apostle said in the Bible:
"I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed,
Being fully persuaded is essential for being able to live an outstanding life which truly blesses others and honours God. Being fully persuaded gives to the Christian a firm and solid standing the world knows nothing about. Being fully persuaded is the definition of what is known as rock solid faith that will not move no matter what our circumstances are. And there are times when the foundations of our life and faith are tried to the limit, but being fully persuaded sees us through!
One of the very saddest things we read in the Bible is an account of a man of social and political standing. He was a King, and as kings go he was 'the man'! He had a curiosity about this new trend that was sweeping the land. Who were these people called Christians and what did they stand for? Well, one day his questions were answered when Paul the Apostle was brought before him. Paul reasoned with Agrippa about the Lord and how the King would benefit from trusting in this perfect Saviour once for all.
However ... the King felt that other things demanded more attention, so the Gospel message went unheeded, in fact it was blatantly refused! Agrippa may have refused the message but he would never be able to forget it!
Don't ever be like this sad individual who after hearing a very clear and appealing message of the Gospel and the offer of the life everyone is truly longing for, but not always ready to admit it, turned down the appeal and said: "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Acts 26: 28.
Almost persuaded is not good enough in the light of eternity. He might as well have been not persuaded at all; for being almost persuaded is as good as lost!
Sadly, we never read in the Bible of this man ever changing his mind and trusting in the Lord Jesus later on. If he did, I'm sure that God would have made sure we would have known about it. I therefore have to conclude that what happened to King Agrippa is a warning to all of us to not mess with God. He only has the very best to offer, but if people do not want what He has to give, He is a perfect gentleman - and will not force His way into people's lives.
Today is another opportunity to trust in Him to save you and clean you up from the inside out. It would be wise to use this opportunity while you have it - tomorrow may be too late!
Here's Something New For You
"I Believe in You"
I hope you like my new song :)
The lyrics of this song are based on the article by the same name here at Rest a While.
>> Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below! ♥
It's been one of those months when I have been almost continuously reminded of a soon coming event which every Christian is, or rather ought to be longing for with every ounce of their being.
The event in question is the promised and glorious coming again of the Lord Jesus to take His people out of this world to be with Him to the place He has been preparing for a very long time.
It all started earlier in the month when I visited Rest a While's 'Perhaps Today' page to look at a poem featured there. Then one thing led to another and I spent a while enjoying the relevant passages of Scripture foretelling us of this event. I then found an endearing YouTube video reminding me of what it might be like on the glad day when we are called away to that great reunion day when we will meet with loved ones who have gone HOME ahead of us. I shared a few thoughts with a friend via email about this subject.
And then one of our visitors staying in the apartment above our Gospel Hall took up this wonderful subject as part of his ministry. That same friend who I shared thoughts about the coming of the Lord earlier then posted on his Facebook wall some beautiful, and at the same time challenging thoughts about what we have to look forward to and what we ought to be up to while we are waiting.
So ... I believe it is probably my turn to make a small contribution :)
It occurred to me that while we have SO much to look forward to when we finally arrive to our home in heaven, and the joyful anticipation is of course understandable and recommended, it actually isn't all about the joy we will have when we get there!
Of course we all look forward to and trust that we will hear those words:
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant ...
enter thou into the joy of thy Lord"
Matthew 25: 23
But this is my point, did you see it? What does the Lord say here? Let me quote these words again and emphasise the words that stood out to me: "well done, thou good and faithful servant ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
The joy He desires us to partake of is HIS joy! This is the reason why He endured the cross - it was: "for the joy that was set before Him ..." Hebrews 12: 2. But what exactly was that joy set before Him? Was it not the anticipation of having us with to be with Him in His home in 'the Father's house'?
I wonder if our desire to be at home with Him anywhere matches His desire for us to be there!
Now, if the Bible tells us that: "... When he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3: 2. And when Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven and prayed: "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." John 17: 24, could His joy about us being there have everything to do with the change that happens in us when we see Him at last?
Back in the beginning when the work of creation was complete, God looked at what He had done and said it was: "Very good." But all too soon it was marred by sin that the first man Adam introduced into the world, which subsequently brought the whole of creation into decay and the human race into condemnation.
So in the passing of time God sent another Man, this time He was perfect and totally unable to sin because of His purity and perfection ... because of course, God was His Father. This Man was to be forever an absolute delight to Him both here on earth and now in the presence of the Father forever.
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth."
John 1: 14.
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
2 Peter 1: 17
Precious moments spent in the presence of the Lord reading His precious Word is a complete honour and privilege, and the more we do this, the more acquainted we are with Him, and the more like Him we become with every passing day.
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2 Corinthians 3: 18
And if this is a change that is gradually taking place here and now, what will the change be like when we finally arrive HOME?
I am therefore confident and believe it is very reasonable to say that our beloved Lord Jesus is going to be absolutely delighted with having the place He has been preparing for so long filled with the people He paid so dearly for, with Him at last, and fully resembling His wonderful characteristics inside and out.
The Bible tells us of the love God has for people like you and me:
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5: 8
It's not as if we were attractive or appealing in any way to God. He loved us while we were unlovable, appealed to us when we didn't really care, offering to us freedom and redemption we do not deserve! This is indeed what true love really is.
But in spite of our unappealing condition He anticipated having the likes of us
with Him for eternity worth the price He was about to pay.
The joy the Lord anticipated is the very same joy He desired to impart through His Words to those who trusted in Him: "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15: 11.
Well, this is an amazing thing coming from the lips of the One who was called 'The Man of Sorrows." His heart was deeply grieved as He moved around in this corrupted system that had turned His wonderful creation into a decaying and declining mess ...
And yet He spoke of joy - the likes of which we cannot comprehend
but are privileged to partake of in an intimate relationship with Him.
We might not have much of what earth has to offer but with the peace of God that passes understanding, and with His unspeakable joy which is full of glory occupying our inmost being, there isn't much else we could ever have need of.
If we were to be in possession of all we ever longed for without Him, we would have nothing of any value. We would possibly be among the most empty and unfulfilled people to walk this earth.
But bless the Lord that there is something of so much greater value than the superficial joy that accompanies everyday life without the Lord in the centre of it.
Yes, this is the very same joy He desires for His people before we even come into His glorious presence. We who have trusted in the Lord Jesus are:
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing
of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."
Titus 2: 13.
Everything about being with our beloved Lord and Saviour fills us with joyful anticipation. I believe thoughts about this wonderful event touch us as individuals in different ways.
Of course we will all appreciate being delivered at last from the presence of sin. For some, the freeing of sickness, pain and heartache is what they long for so much. And for others, maybe for us all the joy of being reunited with loved ones who have arrived in heaven before us is what we anticipate.
But oh, the thought of seeing the One whom we have never seen before and having the privilege of gazing into the eyes of the Lord and Lover of our souls surely supersedes all other joyful thoughts of being in that place we call HOME.
What greater joy could we ever envisage than entering into His Joy. Being in the place where He wants us to be. Our hearts bursting with exuberance. And to see the absolute joy of His dear heart expressed in His lovely face.
I can hardly wait, how about you?
>> Do you have any questions or comments? I would love to hear from you - why not say hello down below! ♥
Someone asked me a while ago if I ever thought of changing my repertoire! Apparently I have a good voice for singing love songs and it was suggested that if ever I thought of taking this up I might be more 'successful' as a singer instead of singing all that 'religious stuff' that nobody wants to hear!
Considering where the question and suggestion came from I could have been tempted to tinker around with songs of another genre other than the one I am dedicated to.
I once again found myself asking a few questions to which I got the same answers as I always did before. "Why do I do what I do?" And "What do I hope to get out of it?"
We live in a world where success is measured by something that people can see, and if they can't see any results it's obviously a waste of effort, move on and try something else!
But what if you are obeying the call of God? What does success look like then?
Anyone seeking to walk closely with our beloved Lord knows that it is far better to follow Him totally by faith and walk alone, rather than living for the here and now with everything we could ever crave for, but without the sunshine of His smile daily - and tragically without His approval to look forward to in a soon coming day.
They say, only a fool would choose to refute the tempting offers out there. Only a fool would choose not to operate in an almost guaranteed successful realm, choosing to follow a path very few dare to go.
Or is that true? Is this what a fool does? What does it mean to be a fool in the first place?
Well, the Bible's definition of a fool is very different to the secular's definition. The secular view of a foolish person is not to take up a good offer even if it is staring you in the face! However, the Biblical view of foolishness is living life without any thought of God all day long! Just like the man in Luke ch20 who planned to create larger barns to house his accumalated harvest but did not account for the fact that he might not see tomorrow. He made no plans for his future beyond this life!
"And God said unto him,
Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee:
then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?"
Luke 12: 20
Everyone who is truly 'born of God' knows what it is like to walk on foreign soil and move about in enemy territory. We live in the scene of Christ's rejection and all who follow this Man are considered to be foolish and out of place and time.
But nothing's changed, nothing at all! Since the earliest times of written history, those who walk with God are considered fools ....
Let's think of Noah for example - he had 120 years to change his mind or his approach - but he didn't. Against the judgement of those around He preached and worked on and on until the time came for him and his family, and two of every species of animal to shelter in the ark he had spent so long building from this strange wet stuff falling from the sky. (It had never rained before!)
Elijah, a lone man on the mountain declaring against all odds against the false prophets that the God in whom he was trusting and serving was indeed the living and true God. He must have looked pretty stupid all on his own while the angry mob geared at him, but he boldly declared that 'the God who answers by fire let Him be God.' They all had an offering of a bullock and the false prophets did their incantations to provoke their false gods to consume their offering, all to no avail. Then came Elijah who called on the living God who did wonders before them all!
The world has seen many so called fools come and go over the millennia since Old Testament days but being a fool for the sake of God is by far better than being considered a fool for no good reason. Here's what how the Bible defines what a fool really is ...
"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."
Psalm 14: 1 & 53: 1.
It is the living and true God who has placed in the heart of every human being a void that only He can fill. Those who bring their empty vessel for Him to fill are able to be thoroughly satisfied.
But the real fool is the one who has already decided within his heart to deny the only One who can answer all their needs and freely give to them a living hope for the future.
'No God,' say they, so that there are no consequences for the sin that rules their life. But they only deceive themselves. Just like those who say 'no sin!' (See 1 John 1: 8.) But no one can escape the consequences of sin: "For the wages of sin is death" Everyone dies, don't they? Well this is the consequence of sin we cannot escape!
But bless God, this is not the end of the story.
God has provided the escape. Let's now read the previously quoted verse from the Bible in full for God's remedy to this rather depressing prognosis -
"For the wages of sin is death;
the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6: 23
A price has been paid for a gift beyond measure to be given freely to undeserving individuals like you and me. Why would God do a thing like that? I guess this is what love does if we are to believe what the Bible says:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3: 16
The ultimate gift freely given to all who are prepared to place their full trust in Him completely.
So here's the answer to the questions I ask myself many times in case you are interested:
Why do I do what I do?
I write, I sing, and I speak about the beloved Lord Jesus simply because I can, and because I can, I must! How can someone with a message of hope like the one every Christian has ever keep quiet about it? The news that God loves you and Jesus died to save you might sound like a foolish thing to be eager to talk about, but this is the very message that has changed the lives and the destinies of countless people down through the ages. This can do the very same thing for you even this very day.
What do I hope to get out of doing what I do?
Well, I already have my reward as it were! Although there are rewards for every believer who has been faithful to what God has given them to do, this is not the reason or the motive behind what I write, sing or speak about.
Back in Genesis God said something to Abraham that resonates with my soul and is the primary reason behind all I do -
"Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."
Genesis 15: 1
He is the One who protected Abraham and motivated him, and He does this for me also. He is my reward, and it is because I have Him, that I have a message, and the passion and ability to communicate this wonderful message. Because He is my reward I am motivated and encouraged to make Him known. You can't stop me you know, I just can't help it :)
Call me silly if you will. Call me a fool if you must but I know whose fool I am.
But the all important question is ... whose fool are you?
Something for you from Amanda's Corner
Another video for you featuring a song from my album "A Whisper in the Wind"
The world is looking for someone to rectify all of its problems. Someone who has all the answers to the mess we are all in.
Great campaigns are held in order to find that one special person with what it takes to rectify the multitude of dilemmas we are currently in.
But have you noticed, every elected man or woman is never able to measure up to their own personal standards let alone the goal they set for themselves while campaigning. It is impossible for them to do so because there is either not enough people to back them up or simply not enough time to implement their cause.
Earlier this month we had a general election. There were several weeks of door knocking, banner raising, public meetings, and flyer distributing in the effort to win supporters. Each stated their claim for our vote but many of them were in favour of questionable trends which appears to be sweeping the scene, and I personally didn't want to be associated with the trends and groups these candidates were promoting and supporting.
Someone asked me on voting day who I was going to vote for.
Here in Jersey every person has the right to either vote or not to vote. I am one of those people who do not exercise my right to vote. Needless to say when I told them that I do not vote that went down like a lead balloon!
This gave to me the opportunity to tell them why, and to speak about my beloved Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ of whom I am sure has everything under His complete control. 'My Man is In', I told this person.
I believe in the power of prayer and this is why the Bible tells us to pray for the folks in Government, not to vote for them!
Prayer power is mightier than people power.
The person who was clearly agitated with me for not voting told me that this is possibly why we have the problems we do in society today. I had to kindly but firmly disagree.
You see, the problems we see in the world today are not there because we did or did not vote, or because we did or did not have an active interest in politics but solely because the living God is not welcome in most of society today. Sin in the heart of mankind is the root cause of the problems we have and will never be solved in accordance with human reasoning.
The living and true God is the only One with the answers if only we as individuals were prepared to humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to lift us up to be the people we were meant to be.
He is the source of all the life we could ever long for and so much more. All this is acquired in, and through faith in His beloved Son who is the demonstration of the character and supreme love of God to us in our helpless state.
I feel like a bit of a lone campaigner in a hostile environment at times, but that doesn't matter to me. This doesn't stop me from wanting to shout from the housetops that:
'There IS a Man' and I know Him.
>> We don't need the empty promises of men but the: 'exceeding great and precious promises' of God. 2 Peter 2: 14
>> We don't need to see the right people 'in' to make us happy, we need the One who is the giver of: 'joy unspeakable and full of glory' even though we cannot see Him. 1 Peter 1: 8
>> There is no one in this world who can establish the peace we're all looking for like the One who is the giver of: 'peace that passes all understanding'. Philippians 4: 7
>> And freedom does not come with democracy it comes through God's remedy to all oppression - the Son of God who said: 'If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed'. John 8: 36
So, there you have it - God's remedy for the needs of the human race if only we would accept it ... or should I say ... Him!
Well, the campaigners have come and gone, candidates have been voted in or voted out, banners and posters have all been removed and its 'business as usual', as if nothing happened. So much expended passion for so little reward!
What the world is missing out on! Only those who dare to trust in Him against all odds know what is really like to not only 'have a life' but to revel in the One who said:
"I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly."
John 10: 10
Here's my latest video,
which is not altogether unrelated to the subject of this Blog.
Earlier in the year I wrote about 'a rainbow moment' when the Lord sends to us little hints to remind us of His tender loving care over us. For me on more than one occasion He has sent a song bird to sweetly serenade at the time when birds don't usually sing - right in the middle of winter! Now that the spring time has arrived at last, the air is filled with birdsong and I am spoiled with the beautiful calls of the blackbird, song thrush, and little robins calling for suitable mates.
Well, just the other day we had a surprise beautiful sunny day to treat us after what has seemed like an endless winder of grey drizzle or pouring rain! It was actually warm enough to open the windows for a while to let some fresh air in and there on my window ledge was a beautiful butterfly with its wings spread open in the warmth of the sun.
I watched it for a while as it partially closed and opened its wings over and over. As I walked away from the window I had to smile; for I was thinking: 'talking of butterflies' that's what my tummy is feeling a lot these days as the time of my channel re-launch was fast approaching :)
But I almost missed it you know! I didn't get it at first but there it was in all its glory right in front of me just at the time when butterflies don't appear. Could this be another 'rainbow moment'? It would not be an uncommon thing to see a butterfly around the months of July and August, but at the beginning of April after an endless winter? Now, that was something very unusual!
I was talking with a friend the other day who was telling me of those 'God winking' moments in his life when the Lord had somehow gone to the trouble to give little tokens of His personal care for him during troubled times and dark seasons.
So I stopped and whispered a prayer asking the Lord what was He trying to tell me when He sent that little butterfly to perch itself on my window ledge.
We all have them, don't we? Seasons of obscurity, dark valleys, sleepless nights, memories of better times, and we wonder if we as Gods people will ever be of any use to Him again or will we ever be of any benefit to someone else once more. Perhaps some of you might be feeling like the best times are over and all you can do is to wait to go home to heaven or wait for His glorious appearing when He comes to take those who have trusted in Him home to be with Himself forever. He's been gone a while now, and has been preparing for us - surely it won't be long before we hear His call to 'rise up ... and come away.'
Perhaps that little butterfly before he grew his wings thought that life was drawing to a close as a cocoon slowly started to grow around its failing body. If it were possible for bugs to get depressed this would have been a justifiable reason for him to be so.
But while hidden for a while and out of sight something incredible was happening. A change was taking place which would alter his appearance and manner of living forever. No turning back!
We might not be aware of it at the time when we are enclosed in a dark world and cut off from what we are familiar with, but if we look carefully we will see that God is at work
“When you find yourself cocooned in isolation and cannot find your way out of the darkness,
remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.”
Of Unknown Origin
I have often asked the question quietly in my heart: "How can any good thing come out of this circumstance or this experience?" It doesn't make any sense at the time but looking back I can now trace the hand of God upon all the events in life that appeared to defy logic.
There are priceless things to be learned during times of obscurity, suffering and trial. And if you are a child of God please be assured that not a sigh, not a tear will ever be wasted. The Lord has a divine purpose in every event of your life, even those uncomfortable ones!
Well, there's been a fair amount of 'uncomfortable' moments in my life, and although I wouldn't want to relive them over again, the knowledge I have acquired of the Lord I would never have known otherwise makes every disappointment and heartache worthwhile.
"I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able
to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1: 18
So what do we do with what we know? Do we hide it, or do we shout it from the roof tops?
Well, what does the butterfly do? He spreads his wings and flies!
You see, he knows he only has a little while ..... and so do we!
The promise of the coming of the Lord draws near and: "yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry." Hebrews 10: 37. It's not long before we who are God's people will hear the call and the sound of the trumpet that heralds His coming and our departure. What a day that will be - home, home, home - at last!
Time is passing and there is much to do. Some can do a lot, while others can do a little but we certainly must be doing something! Something that will bring pleasure to the heart of God and bless others as well. This is the kind of life that springs from an eternal sources, and the only kind of work with eternal value.
We all have that opportunity you know - Today, it's my turn, and it just may be yours also :)