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Hangover cure

March 28, 2014 1 comment

Ever had a hangover?

Or worse ever had a hangover and you didn’t even have a drink the night before? You know what I mean, your mouth is like the bottom of a budgie’s cage, your head hurts, you have that horrible queasy feeling. When you get up it feels like you got up too fast, something is out of sync with your body. You crave a coffee maybe, a slap up fried breakfast perhaps. One person I knew said they always had a craving for a drink of Lucozade and a bag of crisps and would walk miles to get some. And of course we vow never to drink or drink that much again . .

Now then, that devil, he sometimes tries to give us hangover. How does he do that? The bible says he prowls around like a lion waiting to devour someone[1], 1 Peter 5:8 One of the ways is this, he comes and whispers in our ear, ‘now then your name here let’s just have a think, let’s just have a ponder what it used to be like before you became a Christian (insert your own, ‘before’ here, could be before you started out doing that ministry for church, that work, that new level The Lord has taken you too). So you wander back in your mind to those halcyon days, the devil suggests, ‘those were good days weren’t they?’ Well yes, you have to agree they were good days. ‘In those days you had plenty of money, foreign holidays,a nice car’. Or maybe on those days you woke up without a care, without much worry or much of a conscience, and you weren’t such a bad person really were you? ‘And all the freedom to do what you wanted! And above all wasn’t it just nice and comfy?’ Mmm, . . . . watch out! That old devil is trying to give us a hangover! his ultimate aim is to get us to indulge, the oldest lie, ‘God didn’t really say you couldn’t have that apple’, is in play. It’s often more subtle, ‘God didn’t really mean for things to be this hard did He? After all he desires you prosper in all things and well let’s face it, all this doesn’t really feel like that, does it?’ Can you feel a headache coming? What’s the tempatation here for you, let’s be honest with ourselves, is it a bit of real wallowing in the mud? Let a bit of grumpiness and ungratefulness settle in? And where does that lead, have a think. . or may be it’s indulge in a bit of pornography? Just for comfort you know, doesn’t harm anyone does it? Mmm where does that lead, what’s that really all about? Or maybe for you it’s to take comfort by having a good gossip and a moan with a best friend, you know, just between the two of you, get it all off your chest sort of thing, where does that lead? (usually to your bestie having a similar one to one with someone else and so on, till someone get’s hurt), maybe it’s an actual drink too many so your’re not at your best the next day for work and any divine opportunities Father has lined up for you to bless somebody are going to be difficult or not happen . . . . yes you’ve got it, we got a hangover!

So what can we do to avoid a hangover ?

  1.  Father God understands if we slip up ( if like me you’re suddenly feeling bad 😦 ) He’s kind, gracious, forgiving, the best Dad in the world!
  2. Recognise the thought, hit the pause button and let the Holy Spirit nudge you, ask yourself, what’s really going on here?
  3. Don’t rebel, you realise something not good is going on here, instead capture the thought, (repent, see below) and like a plane asking permission to land, refuse that permission, ’resist the devil and he will flee from you’. James 4:7 Don’t let those thoughts land and take up residence! You know how to do that, or you could just laugh and say ‘do one, take a flying leap, I shake you off, in the name of Jesus’. The Holy Spirit will give you the words . . shout out loud if you can!
  4. Repent if necessary, I say if necessary as it depends how far you indulged yourself, although to be honest this process does demand some kind of turning anyway
  5. Pray and/or worship, do the good thing you normally do even if you don’t feel like it, be determined! And don’t give yourself any excuses! Sometimes I’m so grumpy and out of sorts in the car I just can’t put on the CD player with that favourite Christian worship live set . . and yet I’m beginning to learn, just put it on and after a while, depending on the depth of my bad mood, or grief or whatever it is, I begin to worship, maybe cry or groan or whatever, a smile eventually comes and sure enough I’m back in His presence again and there it is . . . JOY  . . .  and PEACE. It’s just like my daughter who gets in a mood sometimes and is really stubborn about coming out of it, nothing it seems can divert her. And yet if Daddy spends time with her, encouraging her and starts to tickle her, the mood lifts. Think about it and get spending time with Father God! He’s good (ps often a sign of these situations is that you suddenly don’t want to go to church or other Christian activity or meet with that Christian friend . . just do it!)
  6. Another thing to try is declare some favourite truths, here’s one or two to try God is good or God keeps his promises

And always remember there is a hangover cure available from Father God. It’s this, ‘if any of does sin we have a friend in heaven, who is on our side and who has already arranged forgiveness and restoration of our relationship with Father God’, yes that’s right, His name is Jesus! 1 John 2:1-2

Bless you today
Andy
Don’t let’s forget our daily act of kindness for lent, to be found here www.40acts.org.uk


[1] Matthew Henry’s comment on this verse, ‘Our duty plainly is, to be sober; to govern both the outward and the inward man by the rules of temperance’ I’m not saying anything!
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Father God Part One

January 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Father God Part One

God wants to marry you!

September 13, 2013 1 comment

God wants to marry you!
 
Only joking! Just using some picture language we often find in the bible (particularly Song of Solomon/Songs). And actually I just remembered that Catholic nuns wear a ring . . their sense of love being so great, I guess, they want to demonstrate their devotion by being, ‘married’ to Jesus. So, if romantic love is a good strong picture language/poetry we can use, what can we sense about His love for us? That is, how does God feel toward us in all this? What can we discover?
 
Some verses to help us discover::
 
“ . . You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight)” from Isaiah 62:4 MSG
 
“ . . And as a bridegroom is happy in his bride,
so your God is happy with you.” Isaiah 62:5 MSG
 
Read Isaiah 62 here – when you realize it can be about you personally as well as about a heavenly kingdom coming now – it’s amazing!
 
“ . . He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” From Zephaniah 3:17
I always pictured myself as a baby in his arms as he sang over me when reading this . . which is a good picture for us . . however, a lover can also sing to or over the object of his love (eg Romeo and Juliet). Isn’t that wonderful, the thought that God is always singing over you with His great love for you?
 
Heaven is not some meritorious place only in the future . . it starts here . . it belongs to you because of what Jesus did as a once and for all act, stretching forward and backward through time, freedom and forgiveness, available freely the moment you think of turning or repenting and in that moment the possibility of feeling the intimacy and great love He has for you – so just like marriage (at it’s best), you know your spouse will forgive straight away, asking no payment, no penance, no good work, she/he will give it freely . . God gives it all freely to you! Take it from His hands today! Go on! You know you don’t deserve it, yet He holds it all out to you in his open hands, waiting, with a face full of love for you to reach out . .
 
Let’s pray today ‘O Lord I take all the love you have for me’, remember as you go about your business, ‘Lord, I take all the love you have for me’
 
Hope that blesses us today
 
Andy

ps if anyone knows the Lamentations verse that implies that God leaps up into the air, twirling around for joy when He thinks of us, can you email it to me? Heard a speaker refer to it and just cannot find it!

Overcoming fears to become part of Gods exciting plan

August 5, 2013 Leave a comment

This might be rushed, we are on holiday and I am in the library in Grange over Sands. I pray you will be blessed somehow though!

I really felt encouraged by the first two lines of Isaiah 51:16 recently . .all of the chapter in fact. I guess I had been feeling fearful about what the Lord might ask/was asking me to do. Some times, I have been feeling excited too. It’s strange when you are contemplating leading services or preaching or whatever . .and you start looking at other people and thinking, wow! I could never do that . .it’s just the voice of fear of course. Maybe we hear a story of someone witnessing at work and we think, I could never do that! And so on . . so how do we overcome this fear?

Three ways to overcome fear;

1. God will give us the words to say
2. God will protect us while we are in action ‘doing the doing’
3.We are part of bringing about amazing transformation in people’s lives!

And I have put My words in your mouth;
I have covered you with the shadow of My hand,
That I may plant the heavens,
Lay the foundations of the earth,
And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ ” Isaiah 51:16

So these first two lines are very encouraging, firstly God, through His Holy Spirit will give the words to say and secondly, whilst you are speaking out those words, He will protect you! Or to widen it, God will give the where with all to do the thing he asking of you and also protection whilst you are doing it. And what is amazing is that we are called to be partners working with God to bring about His transforming plan . .

Just to develop why this verse can apply to us:In Matthew Henry’s commentary it says this refers to Isaiah the prophet, ie that God has put his words in his mouth and that He has covered him with the shadow of His hand, ie protection. It also says this looks forward to Christ. And we see how Jesus said only what His Father said and we see God’s divine protection, Jesus walking through the crowds when they intended throwing him off a cliff, for example. And I would suggest this applies to us because we are called to be imitators of Christ and deeper than that to be Jesus to people, so let’s have a look at these two aspects . .

The protection aspect first

‘I have covered you with the shadow of My hand’

Just like Jesus and Isaiah, we can expect that, whilst we are rightly orientated toward our Father, seeking to do what’s on His heart, he will protect us. The chapter talks about how great and awesome God is and this is the very same person that is protecting us and we should not be afraid of mere man, ie other people

Three practical suggestions if you are facing fears,
1. Ponder how big God is and how able he is to help you
2. A prayer to repeat to yourself, ‘Jesus perfect love for me casts out fear’ based on 1 John 4:18
3. Read Psalm 121 and replace the ‘you’ with me, ‘your’ with my, etc, to personalize it
.
12“I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you should be afraid
Of a man who will die,
And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?

‘And I have put My Words in your mouth’
The Holy Spirit will come upon you as soon as you open your mouth and start to speak Luke 12:12 Or to widen it out, as soon as you step out to do that thing, the Lord will give you what you need to do it

Finally overcome your fear by thinking on just how exciting it is to partner with God! The verse below is not just talking about heaven, it starts now!

11So the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come to Zion with singing,
With everlasting joy on their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness;
Sorrow and sighing shall flee away

The Lord bless you this week

Andy

It’s ‘The Business’ !

February 12, 2013 Leave a comment

The business of the gospel is what? We know it’s ‘the business’, but, really what does that entail? How does it feel living or doing the business in everyday life, moment to moment?

“The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” http://bible.us/Ps116.6.NKJV

In this Psalm the person realises he is close to death and calls out to The Lord to save him. In verse 13 we read of the ‘cup of salvation’, the Psalmist knows that God offers salvation. Those of us who are saved know that he offers salvation. Salvation from the Hebrew means full and whole salvation, ie deliverance, health, aid, saved. We live in New Testament times so we know that God offers salvation.Do we know that this is not just from our sins, ie sins we have committed? It is for any sin, because God operates outside of time, it is also for any future sin. It is sin that has caused sickness so the offer of salvation is also to redeem our emotions, our hurts, our physical bodies. So why is God in ‘the business’ of saving us?
Our Father is in the business of saving us because we are his greatest pleasure! Ephesians 1:5
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” http://bible.us/Eph1.5.NLT
And we were created to be in relationship with Him and for Him to be our greatest pleasure!
So, in our daily lives we should be experiencing, by the Holy Spirit, a great deal of pleasure, joy! There is nothing wrong with, as a first priority, seeking the joy of being in His presence every moment. We need to have our whole beings (body, soul and spirit) ever tuned toward our Father. So that, being ever more in His presence, we receive joy and our Father receives joy! So, ‘the business’, of the Gospel is first and foremost for us to enjoy God and Him to enjoy us, forever!
Everything else flows from this; enjoying God by His Holy Spirit. Just like Jesus did, when we have such a relationship, we hear the Fathers voice and seek to do what is on the Father’s heart. So then, why is it many Christians either fall asleep or enter a world of busyness? These are the two temptations, fall asleep, ie become a seeker after comfort, put our money on the plate, help out with church activities and expect that the vicar/pastor and/or his pastoral team will look after us in times of trouble. It’s what you might call the ‘comfort contract’! Or starting with and continuing with a right heart we seek to do God’s work . . for Him! ‘Don’t worry Lord’, we say, ‘I’ll get this one’ . . . and the next one and the next one . . ! What God is asking for is not our ‘doing’, nor a relationship where we treat Him as a recalcitrant genie in a bottle, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t! No, He is simply looking for relationship, we don’t need to earn it! Simple, He wants to spend time in our company, he misses us when we are busy, even if we are busy doing things for Him!
For example, last Thursday, I was walking toward Salford Central station, I had had a migraine all day. Unusually, I just prayed that I would meet someone on the train I could talk to about Jesus. And I did, It was brilliant, an 82 year old chap from Wigan wanted to know what life was all about, why was he here, etc. So I witnessed to him all the way to Bolton. As we were approaching Bolton a lady in front of us turned round and said, ‘that was amazing, I couldn’t help overhearing everything you said! And you know what? My migraine was gone.Relationship, lets pray we can get focussed on that, so that our whole desire, our longing is always for more of Him. Like the pearl of great price*, do whatever you have to do to have it! Because “Return to your rest, O my soul, For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Rest means, not having a rest, but, ‘resting’ in God

Dear Father, may our desire always be for more of you, more of your presence in our lives.May we always be seeking that deeper relationship and the joy it brings, through a greater infilling of your Holy Spirit. This day we invite you, Holy Spirit to fill us afresh. Amen

* http://bible.cc/matthew/13-46.htm

Fat Kings and Swords

January 29, 2013 Leave a comment

or

Where’s Your Gilgal?

Judges 2:10 ‘Eventually that entire generation died and was buried. Then another generation grew up that didn’t know anything of God or the work he had done for Israel .’ or insert the work he had done for the United Kingdom (Judges 2:10 MSG)

That folks is what has happened to our country! And now just like the people of Israel in Egypt, we have become enslaved to another god! (Pharaoh was seen as the ‘son of god’). There is a strong man who thinks he is in charge of the UK, he thinks he has us in his grip and that he can’t be defeated! He gives the people no rest and just works them till they die, hoping then to feast on their flesh and become fat (just like Eglon in the story below) and send them straight to hell! Can that strong man be defeated? God calls us to rise up in an anger that won’t go away until we do something!

Click Judges 3 or read the story below

So what happened was that Ehud had a thought, he was probably scared and never believed he would actually carry out his half formed plan. He had strapped that sword there, to his inner right thigh, hiding it, and it went undiscovered. After paying the tribute to the King of the Moabites, Eglon, Ehud got back as far as Gilgal, and something happened there. He snapped, is what happened. We read earlier in Judges that the memorial stones, marking where the people had crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land, had been replaced by stone idols. When Ehud saw that, he suddenly got very angry! I’m talking red hot anger, the kind that won’t go away, the kind that leaves you wondering what to do with yourself! So he went back, slaughtered the King of the Moabites, then went to the top of a mountain and blew a trumpet calling all the men to himself. Then he led those men, defeating the Moabites at the fords to the river Jordan, which they also secured against the enemy

Angry people are not popular. So we suppress our anger. In fact we are not that keen on ‘passion’, unless it’s about children in trouble or something! So what is your Gilgal? Is it when you see porn or lads mags displayed at eye level in your local news agents? Is it the hurt people you see every day? People without hope. People dying and going to Hell? What’s really getting your goat?

I would encourage us all to think of that one thing that’s getting us angry. If you can’t think of something, then ask The Lord to point it out. Then I would ask us us to strap on our swords and go out and plunge that sword deep into the enemy! Go on strike a blow!

Pray:
“Come on my soul, rise up in the name of Jesus! Let me grasp with a firm hand, that never tires, the sword Father has given me. Rise up, oh my soul! Rise up!” Amen, let it be so.

Let’s secure the fords of our Jordan, our land. And the only people we will bring in will be the captives, let’s usher in the captives, the rescued ones!

Thanks for reading and don’t be frightened about getting angry – it’s righteous, it’s sanctified!

Andy
Great website for men here

Judy Jacobs – Days of Elijah – No God like Jehovah – great song!

The Story:
There was a man called Ehood in Judea at the time of the Judges who suddenly came upon the realisation that the ‘strong man’ could be defeated. He came to this realisation at Gilgal, a red hot anger began to burn within him there. So what’s the story?
“But the People of Israel went back to doing evil in God’s sight. So God made Eglon king of Moab a power against Israel because they did evil in God’s sight. He recruited the Ammonites and Amalekites and went out and struck Israel. They took the City of Palms. The People of Israel were in servitude to Eglon fourteen years. The People of Israel cried out to God and God raised up for them a savior, Ehud son of Gera, a Benjaminite. He was left-handed. The People of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon king of Moab. Ehud made himself a short two-edged sword and strapped it on his right thigh under his clothes. He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Eglon was grossly fat. After Ehud finished presenting the tribute, he went a little way with the men who had carried it. But when he got as far as the stone images near Gilgal, he went back and said, “I have a private message for you, O king.” The king told his servants, “Leave.” They all left. Ehud approached him-the king was now quite alone in his cool rooftop room-and said, “I have a word of God for you.” Eglon stood up from his throne. Ehud reached with his left hand and took his sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s big belly. Not only the blade but the hilt went in. The fat closed in over it so he couldn’t pull it out. Ehud slipped out by way of the porch and shut and locked the doors of the rooftop room behind him. Then he was gone. When the servants came, they saw with surprise that the doors to the rooftop room were locked. They said, “He’s probably relieving himself in the restroom.” They waited. And then they worried-no one was coming out of those locked doors. Finally, they got a key and unlocked them. There was their master, fallen on the floor, dead! While they were standing around wondering what to do, Ehud was long gone. He got past the stone images and escaped to Seirah. When he got there, he sounded the trumpet on Mount Ephraim. The People of Israel came down from the hills and joined him. He took his place at their head. He said, “Follow me, for God has given your enemies-yes, Moab!-to you.” They went down after him and secured the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites. They let no one cross over. At that time, they struck down about ten companies of Moabites, all of them well-fed and robust. Not one escaped. That day Moab was subdued under the hand of Israel. The land was quiet for eighty years. (Judges 3:12-30 MSG)

Tell our Stories and Make Hearts Glad

December 31, 2012 1 comment

Those who reverently and worshipfully fear You will see me and be glad, because I have hoped in Your word and tarried for it.
Psalm 119:74

As people watch you tarry (persevere, wait, etc), in the midst of a difficulty or challenge, they are made glad, they are super encouraged! And one of the ways they are given this super natural confidence and joy is if you tell them. In 2013 let’s tell people our stories!

I want us to be encouraged to reflect on our ‘testimonies’ or stories of the past year and to tell these to other people. Let’s pray we can do this as naturally as possible, trusting in the Holy Spirit to do His work in the hearts of people listening. However well we do it, we will certainly encourage people. 
We can also tell other people’s stories. .

And as you think over the last year, remember the Lord can use every failure as well as every success in the year to come. His hand remains on all those memories, which reminds us that we can bring healing/salvation/grace/mercy/redemption to others, in those same areas. How does this happen? Revelation 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophesy . . when we declare what Jesus has done in our life, it prophesies in that person’s life, that Jesus will do the same . .

Help us Lord always to be ready to tell a story of your goodness