The souls conflict and deliverance

“Objection [To quieting the spirit in the soul’s conflicts].  But I have often relapsed and fallen into the same sin again and again.
Answer.  If Christ will have us pardon our brother seventy-seven times, can we think that he will enjoin us more than he will be ready to do himself, when in cases of showing mercy he would have us think his thoughts to be far above ours?”

(From: The Soul’s Conflict With Itself – Richard Sibbes)

There is a worship song that has a line ‘1000 times I fail yet your mercy remains.’
Of course like Paul we must ask:
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 6:1,2)

However, note that being a Christian does not suddenly mean we are completely perfect and won’t make any mistakes along the way. Paul also admits:
“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19)

God looks at the heart. A good self examining question is to consider ‘do I love sin?’ Or ‘Do I desire to be free of it for the sake of my first love Christ Jesus?’

One thing that is certain is that if we truly love Jesus we will not want sin any more and will come to loath our sins (even pet ones that need His special grace to be done with). Furthermore if this is the case it is also certain that His desire will be to lavish us with His forgiveness as we come to Him in sorrow and repentance. 
“If Christ will have us pardon our brother seventy-seven times, can we think that he will enjoin us more than he will be ready to do himself, when in cases of showing mercy he would have us think his thoughts to be far above ours?” (Sibbes)


Life in Creation

Life,
It’s a journey.
Even better,
A pilgrimage.
We are born into the world needing love,
Needing peace.
One of the most basic human needs is to love and be loved.
Some may find that special someone,
Some may not.
Some may have the joy of children,
Some may not.
But, we can all seek and share love.
Wonderfully we can also all appreciate the love and peace of creation.
Birds chirping, flowers blooming, butterflies fluttering.
What a beautiful world it is.
This is life.

A Definition of Anabaptist

An Anabaptist is a type of Christian who normally traces the views they have to the “Radical Reformation” of the 16th century. The distinctives of such a movement are normally, but not solely, believers baptism, a nonviolent ethic, and separation of church and state. Being a Reformation group they also tend to believe in salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. They endeavour to follow Jesus with a biblically-based life. Like Evangelicals and Charismatics they exist in many different denominations and also have movements or denominations directly birthed from them. 

‘What happened four hundred years ago? Well, whatever your views may be, you will have to admit that it was one of the most remarkable historical phenomena that has ever taken place. It is no exaggeration to say that the Protestant Reformation changed and turned the entire course of history, not only the history of the church but secular history too.’ 

– D. MARTYN LLOYD-JONES

‘[Christ] is everywhere, but he does not wish that you grope for him everywhere. Grope rather where the Word is, and there you will lay hold of him in the right way.’

– Martin Luther

Cometh The Hour

Cometh the hour. 

Blow the trumpet. 

Send the beast back from whence it came.

Has the beast not had its fill? 

Consumer of souls, destroyer of worlds. 

Why must the beast have its day?

Send the beast back from whence it came. 

Turn back the tide, break the curse, free the world.

Blood and tears, weeping for the night, creation groans.

Calvary tree, earth shaking, stones roll, angels speak.

Ascension. 

Pause. 

Dark night of the soul. 

Send the beast back from whence it came.

Has the beast not had its fill? 

Consumer of souls, destroyer of worlds. 

Why must the beast have its day?

Send the beast back from whence it came. 

Turn back the tide, break the curse, free the world.

Heavenly chariots, trumpet calls, angels sing, swords to plows.

Casting crowns, royal robes, outstretched hand, victory whispers. 

Be still. 

Cometh the hour.

Children of Abba

 A devotion originally written for team forum at work with slight adjustments. 

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 19:14)

Children of Abba lift your eyes to Him.

He knows our hearts. He is Father. We are sons. Heirs of His grace. 

He knows we work hard in trying times. He has known days of toil. Days of labour. 

He knows we get burntout at times. He wept over Jerusalem and in the garden. Jesus wept. 

He knows our tiny mustard seed faith faulters at times. He knows what it is to be tempted. Yet He endured. 

Our childlike hands must join His as He guides us to safety.

Become childlike not childish. 

Our weakness will fade like mist as His strength becomes our strength.

Become childlike not childish. 

Our Abba, Our Father.

Lift your eyes to Him. 

I Hear People Crying For One

One of my favourite superhero quotes is “I hear everything. You wrote that the world doesn’t need a savior, but every day I hear people crying for one.” – Superman in Superman Returns (2006)

Some people say that if bad things happen there is no God. But, bad things happening is exactly the reason there needs to be a God. Someone to redress the balance. There needs to be hope, light and good amidst defeat, darkness and evil.

For Christians this global crisis is as good a time as any to re-acknowledge both our need of, as broken and fallen people who sin, and our hope in, the child born in a manger. Such a humble beginning for the King of Kings. Years after the stable birth His death would be brutal yet redemptive, His resurrection triumphant and hope giving. Soon His return will prove both inevitable and welcome. He is our hope. Blessed be His name!

Personality or Character?

Having good character was the great objective.
Having good personality became the objective.
Good character, like God character, was all about morals.
Good personality, like no character, is all about the self.
How do I do good?
Became
How do I look good?
Passion
Became
Performance
Genuine article
Became
Acting a part
How things change.
It changed.
Can it change again?

Remember when life wasn’t a series of screens?

Remember when life wasn’t a series of screens?
‘I’ meant ‘me’ as in ‘I am human’ not machine.
Smart wasn’t a phone it was our Sunday best.
Is this another rant? Well then, you know the rest…
Heads didn’t hang low unless we were being told…and even then…
We looked up at the clouds and imagined shapes.
Saw the autumn leaves and snowflakes, all so majestic, no mistake.
Saw the Robins in the bushes and thought of Christmas.
Waited to see bluebell walks and spring unleashed.
Spent time outdoors at the beach.
We tried to look people in the eye as we spoke unmuffled by this digital joke.
Screen time or no time hadn’t tried to replace family time or even ‘quiet time’ and ‘rest time.’
Brains switched off, not to reboot but to refresh. Down time wasn’t interrupted by digital guests. Breathe in the air, take a walk, be blessed.
Remember when life wasn’t a series of screens?
Because that scene wasn’t even that long ago!
If you a reading this on a screen. Excuse my irony. Switch off, be free. Addiction is the enemy of your liberty.

The Sunrise is Coming

(Written a number of years ago, but still with some relevance).

When I look at this world I feel a deep pain.
A burden in my soul.
This overwhelming sadness threatens to engulf me, to crush me with waves of despair.

Who can I trust but you?

Our Western civilization has fallen foul to false idols.
Community is replaced by screen’s of various sizes.
Friendship is reduced to a virtual status.

Yet in You I find community.
In you I find friendship.
The wife you provided, the baby on the way.

The love of this world is enmity with you.
The world’s love blows hot and cold.
A politics of hate, a muffled church, neighbourhoods of fear and pain –
Broken, All Broken!
But, Your light still shines.
Pockets of hope, sparkles in the night.
The Sunrise is coming!

Love Wins!

Love will win in the end, dear friends.
Love will win.
There are whispers of a word.
Amidst the chaos and confusion of a dark and angry world, it echoes through the mist.
My heart heard this misunderstood little word.
It heard and was blessed.
The word love caused my heart to skip a beat and my soul to become merry.
Could it be that even in mans darkest hours, love still lives?
Indeed it lives and breaths all things pure.
But what is the meaning of such a word?
Could it be the joy of babes playing a merry little din?
Is it the splendour of a spring morning?
Or the beauty of a maidens face basked in sunlight?
Or perhaps its just a word we use in season to gain something in return?
Maybe its just a word the poets like to write?
Nay, it is more.
Surely true love is self-sacrifice.
Its the laying down of ones life for a friend.
Even an enemy.
Its the will to bless those who curse us
To love our haters
To forgive our debtors as Jesus forgives his.
Love is not some superficial myth, but a dream of things better.
It was love that allowed Gods own Son to give himself into mans angry hands.
It was love that sent him beyond this realm to prepare a peaceful place for us.
Our Promised Land, our Paradise.
Yes, behold, it is love that is the greatest thing!

This poem won a prize at All Poetry.