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Bible Verses

The Power to do God’s Will

There’s an interesting analogy in 2 Corinthians ch.4 v.7 – it refers to treasure in jars of clay. That on the outside, we’re normal, human beings just like anyone else. We’re nothing special. What we do, anyone could do.

But on the inside – that’s the difference. There’s a treasure inside each of us who takes that step of faith to develop a relationship with our creator. Without that treasure – without that connection with the Father, we’re nothing, we can achieve nothing.

But with Him – anything becomes possible. Meeting the needs of those around us when resources are scarce? No problem! Showing love and mercy to people society has thrown on the rubbish heap, healing bodies and emotions – nothing is too difficult!

The choice is ours – treasure trove or clay pot. On the outside, we all look the same. But it’s the content that counts, not the crumbling clay pot. What have you got inside? Do people know that the treasure is there?

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Bible Verses

Power to be Positive

We love Philippians ch.4 v.13 – it is just so incredibly positive to say that I can do all things through Christ. It makes perfect sense. If you believe that you are empowered by the Creator of the universe who intimately knows how everything was created and is capable of supplying the knowledge and skill required to bring about His will through you at the time when He wants it; then this verse is axiomatic.

We can do all things because we are an integral part of the means He has chosen to redeem all things.

The flip-side is that if we find we’re in a situation where we are powerless and unable to make a difference it challenges us on two fronts:

Is this because we are no longer exercising His will. Did we have a clear vision of what He wanted to accomplish? Are our own motives and agendas pure?

Are we being challenged to take on this because God is trying to demonstrate His greatness through our powerlessness? Should we be looking for His miraculous intervention to transform a hopeless situation through our persistent and faithful prayer?

This is why James tells people to pray for wisdom! We need to know the difference between these situations.

However, there is another important point that needs to be stressed. When Paul wrote about being able to do all things, he was not speaking from a position of great material prosperity and physical comfort – indeed, his point was that he had known great challenges and need. But God had been faithful in all circumstances, had met his needs and empowered him to fulfil his calling – providing all he needed to do this – whether it was physical strength, skills, knowledge, supernatural power or just getting the timing right.

Because of his experience of God’s provision in the past, Paul was able to look on negative circumstances with a positive outlook and be certain that God would not only see him through it, but would do so in such a way that God was glorified.

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Bible Verses

Reflections on Faith (6)

Hebrews ch.11 v.6 lays down an important challenge to all who claim to believe. It is not enough to believe that God merely exists. People often quote James ch.2 v.19 at this stage in a discussion on faith – which makes the same point, but in a very different way.

In their case, demons are not expressing an academic opinion on whether there may or may not be a Creator of the universe. They are well aware of the truth behind that. Instead – they have gone one step further, having translated their faith into action, they tremble with the anticipated fear of their impending judgement.

Similarly for us – the question becomes not – do you believe in God, but what sort of God do you believe in?

Is your God one who will judge without mercy?

Is your God one who will be fickle, inconsistent, merely because He can?

Or has your God revealed Himself to be consistent, a rewarder of those who seek to do His will on earth?

It is this arean where doubt actually becomes a useful tool in purifying our faith – where we critically examine our thoughts and experiences and question our assumptions – not on the subject of God’s existence – but to ensure we have fully grasped the depth and complexity of His nature.

If our concept of God is at fault – it is our duty to use doubt to excise those imperfections in order that our view of Him becomes clearer. By doing so we receive our reward – a deeper, more authentic fellowship with the Lord of Creation, a greater insight into our purpose in His universe.

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Bible Verses

Reflections on Faith (5)

To understand the significance of Hebrews ch.11 v.5 you need to cross-reference it against Genesis ch.5 v.24. Another hero of faith from the beginning of history. We’re told in Genesis that Enoch walked with God. He didn’t just live a good life. He wasn’t remembered for his wealth. It was the quality of his ongoing relationship with his Creator that marked him out as someone different.

He disappeared. But it was understood that this meant he was with God, in His presence eternally as a sign to us that we too have a future in eternity – we too can stand in god’s presence if we dare to cultivate an intimacy with God.

Yes, it makes us stand out. Yes, it is something we work at – as with all relationships. But its benefits are out of this world.

A relationship with God is a step towards a life with purpose. We have a glorious destiny ahead of us – but there is a price to pay. Will you stand up and be counted as one who pleases God rather than men?

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Bible Verses

Reflections on Faith (4)

Hebrews ch.11 v.4 tells us that by faith – Abel still speaks, even though long dead. Faith brings immortality in ways that are not immediately apparent. For a long time I wondered what Romans ch.2 v.7 was talking about – it did not make sense when considering that Paul wrote so much about faith being diametrically opposed to salvation by works. But when seen in the light of this statement from Hebrews, it takes on a new shade of meaning. Allow me to explain.

What will you leave as a legacy to those who come after you? A  small pot of money, a house, some antique nick-nacks? Abel, and those who come after him, saw by faith that future generations would build upon their experience of God. Their legacy – demonstrating that it is possible to live a life pleasing to God though faith – still has value today.

To that extent, by seeking to be people of a pioneering faith,  we too can speak in a voice that will survive the span of many generations. Our words and actions become immortal – continuing to bear fruit amongst our spiritual descendants.

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Bible Verses

Reflections on Faith (3)

There is a clear message from Hebrews ch.11 v.3 – faith is not a desperate clutching at semantic straws. We are not trying to will ourselves into a state of denial with respect to reality. Faith is neither the product of speculation nor the author of confusion.

Faith brings understanding and insight. Through faith we see the patterns of God’s handiwork displayed through the universe and brought directly to bear on our circumstances.

We see for ourselves the big picture and our place within it. We gain a true perspective of not just our own limitations and need for our Creator; but also of the colossal magnitude of His ability to change and transform everything around us.

To the one who could speak an entire universe into being out of nothing, to whom history is as fluid as water; our troubles may seem infinitesimally small – but so great is His love for all of us, that even these matter.

It stretches our comprehension to its limits to begin to appreciate this greatness – but the effort is worthwhile, for through faith we see a reality that is consistent, that allows for a Divine hand to intervene, and yet retains the imperfections that separate this universe from the Creator.

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Bible Verses

Reflections on Faith (2)

What will you be remembered for? What attribute do you possess that, in the future, when people think back on your life, they will say, “This was the way they lived.” Will it be your integrity, your intellect, your ability to make others laugh?

Hopefully, you won’t be remembered merely as someone who sold their soul to the corporate dream, who lived for work and little else.

Even sporting achievements or TV celebrity status – being famous for merely wanting to be famous – these things fade into insignificance over time – until they are trapped in the scrapbooks of a minority of obsessive fact collectors – in the same way that beetles would be pinned to cards in previous generations.

Hebrews ch.11 v.2 is short and to the point – the figures we look up to from days gone by were commended for their faith. Not their charm and beauty, or their ability to amass piles of shiny yellow metal; but something of infinitely higher worth.

It was their ability to see forward to a world that God had called into being – to live today in the light of the promise of what they were certain was coming. They caught a vision of a reality made the way the Creator intended and would not rest until they saw it into completion. They were as certain of its existence as they were of their own. In effect, they straddled two worlds, knowing deep down that the truth of the word of God would bring the unseen eternal reality they grasped through faith to prevail upon the tangible, temporal world they inhabited.

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Bible Verses

Reflections on Faith (1)

The Letter to the Hebrews ch.11 v.1 gives us a simple definition of faith. We put out trust in the unseen, our confidence in the benevolence of our Creator who has promised to fulfil His purpose in our lives.

Faith is the sure knowledge that He will not change his mind or go back on His word. Faith stems from experiencing His unfailing love in all our circumstances – seeing Him meet our needs in one area, and knowing He is able and willing to do the same in others.

Faith comes from deepening our relationship with Him – so that our certainty is based, not on a merely theoretical, abstract awareness of his Goodness – but from a hands-on  personal encounter with Him in our daily lives. We do not just read the book – we live it. The pages of the Bible come alive to us as we see our experience dovetail with that of those who have walked a life of faith before us.

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Bible Verses

Our plans and God’s plans

There is a vast gulf that separates the Creator of the universe from the creation He is intimately involved with. This distinction cannot be ignored. We may be created in His image; we may have amazing powers; we may partake of His divine nature and be one with Him – but we are not God.

This becomes apparent when we comare our thinking with His. We are bound by this space-time universe. Our intellects are limited, not least by our perspective – which, because we cannot know everything, is therefore imperfect, fallible. We see – through a glass darkly – a distorted, clouded mirror image.

It is no surprise therefore that the Good Lord takes the trouble to not only remind us of this – but that He gives a solution to our predicament.

You want to see your plans come to fruition? Consult with the Master Planner – humbly bring your ideas to Him, dedicate them to Him and let Him review them. He may have suggestions, refinement – or outright commandments to radically change your direction. One thing is sure. It is better to go through that refining process as you plan than to make a decision and watch it fall apart because of faulty foundations or shoddy materials.

Hebrews ch.11 v.1-6 provides an interesting starting point to meditate on before embarking on a major project.

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Bible Verses

An Encouraging Bible Verse on God’s Goodness

There are some things we can be absolutely certain of. For example, we can say with confidence that God has a plan for every single one of us.

He called you by His own goodness and has already given you everything you need in order to achieve all that He has called you to do.

To claim otherwise, we would first have to rip 2Peter ch.1 v.3 out of our Bibles.

Note, it says all – not some or a few of the things He has called you and set you apart to do.

Action is the key principle for us here. There are many promises that God has declared in the Bible. Take a look. But they will just stay there as ink on the page if we do not make the effort to find them, apply them and exercise faith in our lives to see them come to fruition.

The choice is essentially ours. God has done His part – as He is a good God, always faithful to His word through which He has chosen to reveal himself .

The good news is that we are not left on our own. As we begin to exercise faith, we find that He will work inside us to complete the task. Which is why it is essential to allow His word to motivate us into taking those first steps of faith in the direction of fulfilling His word – with confidence that even though we may not know how we will arrive at our destination, He will provide everything we need in order to do so.