The End

‘The end of a thing is better than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit (Ecclesiastes 7:8).’

Dear Reader,

The end is but a new beginning with the promise of a glorious, eternal future for those who believe in Jesus:

‘“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16, 17).”’

Drink freely of the water of life (Revelation 21:6) and you will live forever (John 4:5-15).

The time has come for an end to this blog. Please take note that the end comes when we shall least expect it. We shall be eating and drinking just as people in the time of Noah (Matthew 24:36-44).

My journey over the past almost three years of writing this blog has been an adventure like no other. I never knew from one moment to the next what would jump out of the page.

The Spirit has been my Guide (John 16:13); God’s Word has been my manna (6:48-51), and the Lord Jesus my Saviour (Philippians 3:20) and Friend (John 15:15). Here I speak of the past, but the same is true of the present and of the future; for God will never leave nor forsake me (cf. Hebrews 13:5).

The Lord is my Keeper (Psalm 121:5), and the Eternal God is my Father (Matthew 6:9) and the Spirit is my life (John 6:63).

I commit myself to the only true God (John 17:3): The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).

‘“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance  upon you. and give you peace (Numbers 6:24- 26).’”’

A Personal Note

Thank you to all who have followed this blog and especially those who have supported me in it. God knows them by name, and by deed.

To those who may have discovered it for the first time, please explore the contents by using the Archives, and particularly by using the Search facility for finding topics that may interest you.

May God bless you in your walk with Him.

Bill.

‘“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever (Daniel 12:1-3).”’

‘“And behold I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolators, and whoever loves and practices a lie.

“I, Jesus, have sent you My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:12-17).’

‘And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God (21:1-3).’

‘And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son (vv. 6, 7).’

‘But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:10-13).’

Amen.

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A Prayer

‘Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should (Colossians 4:2-4).’

We can pray at any time, in any place and under any circumstances (Ephesians 6:18); although I can testify to finding it difficult to pray when under painful duress. It’s heartening that God never sleeps or slumbers (Psalm 121:4), and He is always attentive to our prayers (cf. 1 Peter 3:12). If we pray according to His will (cf. Romans 1:10) He always responds to our requests favourably (Matthew 7:7, 8; James 1:5).

My Prayer

Our Wonderful, Gracious, Loving Father,

We thank You that You are the only God – our God of hope who fills us with joy and peace. You give us faith in Your Son by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, and You give us eternal life. You have opened our eyes to see Your beauty in Your creation, Your wisdom and truth in Your Word, and Your grace, love and forgiveness in Your Son. You give us the sure hope of salvation through the atoning work of Your Son, and by Your grace there is no condemnation for all who believe in Him. In this assurance we thank You that You will count us blameless on the great and awesome day of His coming.

In our troubles You comfort us, and we thank You that in Your Son and by Your Spirit You enable us to comfort one another in the knowledge of Your blessings and sure promises.

Thank You for enrolling us as Your captives for the spreading of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which knowledge is the aroma of life to those being saved and the aroma of death to those who reject You.

Help us to be good witnesses, i.e., Your light in this dark world. Help us to point to Jesus, the Light of the world; for He is the only way to You. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. 

Keep us steadfast in the test of faith, and let our eyes constantly be focussed upon Jesus from whom we draw our strength. Grant us to truly know and receive the power of His resurrection for enabling us to live holy lives in obedience to Him.

Thank You for appointing Christ as Head of the church and for choosing us to be members of it. Thank You that You have made us to be Your adopted sons and daughters. Grant us to know the fullness of Your glorious riches. Let us be encouraged in the wonderful truth of knowing that You are our God who does immeasurably more with us than we could possibly imagine. In view of these truths let us not be fainthearted. Give us boldness on account of knowing and believing we are secure in Your keeping. If You are for us, who can be against us?

We delight and rejoice in You because You give us knowledge and insight for discerning the day of Your Son. In view of this, give us zeal for redeeming the time, always making good use of the gifts You have given us for serving You and our brothers and sisters. Help us to love one another as Jesus loves us.

Give us wisdom, strength and power – especially for rebuffing the evil one. Keep us from his crafty wiles. Furthermore please provide us with opportunities for proclaiming the good news of salvation in and through the merits of Your Son. Help us to make disciples in Your name and His, and in the name of the Holy Spirit.

When we meet opposition for keeping Your commandments and for proclaiming Your gospel, give us a steadfast heart. When we are attacked for standing in Your truth, protect us with the full armour of Your might. When testifying to Your truth may we act in humility and with gentleness. Let us never be ‘ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is [Your] power .. … to salvation for everyone who believes.’

Thank You for grafting us into the Vine. On the great day of the Lord – Your day of reaping and of wrath – there will be the loud rejoicings of angels and of Your people. All will be fulfilled on account of Your mercy, grace and love – all things will be done to your glory and for Your good pleasure. Your will will be done.

Father, in these times of great evil, please look favourably upon our Christian brothers and sisters who find themselves in dark lands where they are being persecuted and tortured – even killed for their love of You. We know their salvation is sure, but if it is Your will, please have mercy upon those who oppress them. Open their eyes to see and to know of Your love. May You grant to them repentance and the gift of faith, as You did with Your servant Paul, and may You use them to Your glory.

Jesus prayed for His oppressors, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what what they are doing.” 

We thank You that the heart of Your gospel is salvation in Your Son. You did not send Him into the world to condemn it, but to save sinners.

Lead us Heavenly Father; protect and keep us. Bless us in Your love, and we shall praise Your name for evermore. Thank You for promising You will never leave or forsake us, and at the resurrection You’ll transform our bodies to be like Your Son’s for us to see You as You are.

Glory to God in the highest; for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.

‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).’

Links to Other Articles on the Subject of Prayer

Prayers of the Bible

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/06/14/prayers-of-the-bible/

Prayers for Healing

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/05/05/prayers-for-healing/

Paul’s Prayers

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/08/15/pauls-prayers/

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Paul’s Prayers

‘May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5, 6).’

When addressing the Corinthian church in his first epistle Paul wrote, “Therefore I urge you, imitate me (1 Corinthians 4:16),” and in the same letter he implored them, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (11:1).” 

As a steward ‘of the mystery of God (4:1) Paul suffered persecution for preaching the gospel. This was his direct calling from Christ (Acts 26:15, 16), and he encouraged the Corinthians to imitate him and to rejoice in their sufferings (cf. Colossians 1:24).

We would do well to copy him in his faithfulness, fervent love, obedience, commitment, witness, and in his prayer life. We would profit from taking note of his prayers and endeavouring to pray like him. By studying them we can learn a great deal about what was important to Paul – what was on his heart. Often it was the welfare of his spiritual children (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:15).

By examining and analysing prayers found in his epistles we’ll learn a great deal that can help us to pray more effectively. Of course, all prayer must be done in faith and in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18) and with an expectation that God will answer them according to His will. Then we shall be able to rejoice in hope, and be fervent in the Spirit (cf. Romans 12:11, 12).

Prayers Found in Paul’s Epistles

Romans

In his letter to the Romans we find Paul prayed for their endurance and he encouraged them for glorifying God. He wanted them to be of one mind (15:5-6), and he wanted ‘the God of hope’ (v. 13) to fill them with joy and peace. They were to trust Him for being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Corinthians 1, 2

When praying for the Corinthians he thanked God for enriching them with speech and knowledge, and he asked that they should not lack any spiritual gift, and for them to be blameless on the day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 1:3-8).

In his second letter he praised ‘the God and Father of Jesus’ who comforted them in their troubles and he prayed that they might comfort one another (2 Corinthians 1:2-4).

He thanked God they were His captives for spreading knowledge of Him (2:14), and he desired that they would do right while acting in the truth for people to observe them standing the test (v. 9), i.e., they were to be good witnesses. Finally he prayed for them to receive ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (13:14).’

Ephesians

While addressing the Ephesians he asked that ‘theFather of Glory’ would give them ‘the Spirit of wisdom and revelation’ for a greater knowledge of Him (1:15-17). He continued praying for them to be given the knowledge of ‘the hope and riches of glory’ they would receive as their inheritance. He wanted them to know Christ’s power for them – the power of His resurrection; also the knowledge of Christ’s authority and dominion, as He was the Head over all things, and the church, His body (vv. 18-23).

Later he asked God again for them to know of His glorious riches, and for them to be strengthened with power through His Spirit. He prayed for Christ to dwell in their hearts through faith (3:14-17a). He asked that they might be rooted and established in love with power to know the fulness of Christ’s love which was beyond their [intellectual] understanding. He wanted them to be filled with the fullness of God (vv.17b-19). He gave glory to God for He could do immeasurably more than they could imagine according to the power that was at work within them (3:20-21).

Philippians

When writing to the Philippians he prayed with joy because of his partnership in the gospel with them (1:2-5). He desired they would abound with love in knowledge and deep insight being pure for discerning the day of Christ and for reaping the fruit of righteousness to God’s glory (vv. 9-11). 

Colossians

Paul thanked God for the faith of the Colossians and their love of His people in the knowledge of the hope stored up for them (1:2-5). Through the Spirit he wanted them to know God’s will, and in this knowledge to live worthily, bearing fruit. He wanted them to be strengthened with power for endurance and patience, and he joyfully thanked God that they were qualified to share in the inheritance of the kingdom of light (1:9-12). He prayed for them to devote themselves to prayer, and together to proclaim the mystery of Christ (4:2-4). His desire was for them to stand firm in all the will of God, and for them to be mature and assured.

Thessalonians 1, 2

Paul thanked God for them. He remembered their work of faith and love that was inspired by their hope in Jesus. He noted that their faith and works came with the power of the Holy Spirit and that they had a deep conviction (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

He prayed he would meet with them to supply what was lacking in their faith. He asked for their love to increase and for their hearts to be strengthened; for them to be blameless and holy when Jesus comes (3:10-13). He also asked ‘the God of peace’ to sanctify them, and for their spirit, soul and body to be kept blameless until the day of Christ (5:23).

In his second letter he thanked God for their growing faith, and their perseverance when undergoing persecution (2 Thessalonians 1:2-4). He asked God to make them worthy of their calling, and for Him to satisfy their desire to do good to His glory through Jesus (vv. 11, 12). He prayed for Jesus and His Father to encourage their hearts and to strengthen them ‘in every good deed and word (2:16, 17). He continued praying for the message of the Lord to spread rapidly and for the Thessalonians to be delivered from evil people (3:1, 2). He asked that the Lord would direct their hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance (v 5). Then he prayed a benediction: ‘Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you (v 16).’

Philemon

In his short letter to Philemon and the church he prayed that the sharing of their faith might ‘become effective by the acknowledgement of every good thing’ that was in them ‘in Christ Jesus (vv. 3-6).’

Paul’s Prayer Themes

The following are themes featured in his epistles:

Romans – endurance, encouragement, God’s glory, joy, peace, power of the Holy Spirit.

Corinthians 1, 2 – enrichment, spiritual gifts, blamelessness, comfort, knowledge of Christ, witness, grace, love, fellowship.

Ephesians – the Spirit of wisdom, revelation, knowledge, hope, Christ’s power, Christ’s authority, Christ’s dominion, Christ’s glorious riches, the fullness of Christ’s love, the fullness of God, the glorification of God.

Philippians – partnership in the gospel, love, knowledge, insight, the fruit of righteousness.

Colossians – knowing God’s will, living worthily, bearing fruit, being strengthened with power, having endurance, patience, the inheritance to come, devotion to prayer, proclamation of the mystery of Christ, standing firm in God’s will, maturity, assurance.

Thessalonians 1, 2 – works of faith, love, hope, power of the Holy Spirit, conviction, love, strengthened hearts, blamelessness, holiness, sanctification, perseverance, worthiness, goodness, encouragement, spreading of the gospel, deliverance from evil, hearts to be set in God’s love and peace

Philemon – the effective sharing of faith, the love of God’s people, a deepening appreciation of good things shared in Christ.

Paul’s Favourite Topics

Paul wrote about many things, but here are a few of his favourite topics, some of which he presented to God in prayer. I’ve set them in order of frequency of use. It’s interesting that Paul never used the word ‘hell’; instead he preferred ‘perdition’.

Faith [142], Grace [100], Holy [95], Love [73), Glory [72], Gospel [61], Righteousness [60], Power [48], Truth [48], Death [46], Good [44], Peace [43], Hope [37], Life [37], Evil [30], Wisdom [28], Heaven [21], Wrath [21], Comfort [20], Joy [20], Mystery [20], Salvation [19], Forgive [17], Patience [16], Knowledge [15], Kingdom [15], Light [12], Darkness [11], Goodness [10], Crucified [10], Perfect [10], Suffering [9], Perdition [5], Persecution [5].

Benediction

‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14).’

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Accountability

‘For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them (Romans 1:18, 19).’

‘Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25)?’

The amazing thing is that God saves His *people ‘through faith’ and not by works (Ephesian 2:8, 9), but at the same time faith without works is dead. The apostle James pointed out that, ‘…. …. faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works (James 2:17, 18).’

In doing good works as a result of faith, the Christian carries out God’s will: ‘For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).’

By obeying God’s Word, we act in line with His will, but this is only possible for those who have been born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). God gives those who are called (Romans 8:30) by Him the ‘gift’ of faith (Ephesians 2:8), without which it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

To be found guilty of disobedience one has to be judged by a legal authority. In the context of the above, the legal authority is God Himself! In fact, He is the Sovereign King of the Universe, since He made everything (John 1:1-3) according to His will and for His pleasure (Ephesians 1:5). So you might ask, “Why does He make everybody accountable to Him?” and “How can people be culpable if they don’t know of Him or of His Word?”

Quite clearly, each and everyone of us is accountable (cf. Romans 3:19) for our words and actions – even our **thoughts! Do they please or displease God? Are they in line with His will? There will be no escape for any of us from the time of judgment when we shall be judged by God for the way in which we have lived (Jude 15).

The redeemed will be judged at the judgement seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) and all others at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).

At that time on the Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10) we shall not be able to plead ignorance of God’s testimony, because He testifies of Himself in different ways: 1) Through His creation, 2) Through His Son, 3) Through His Word and 4) Through our conscience.

He does not leave us in ignorance, but gives us these means to ‘grope’ (Acts 17:26-30) for Him and to ‘find’ Him (Luke 11:10).

The Testimony of Creation

Paul the Apostle makes the case that everybody knows that there is a God, because He reveals Himself through His creation: ‘For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans1:20).’

The things God has made have His fingerprints all over them, as is evident when you examine them. When you look at the night sky, you can be left in doubt that an intelligent Being created the moon, the stars and the planets (Psalm 19:1, 2). They haven’t got there by accident, and they weren’t made from nothing.. 

When you look at the oceans and peer into their depths and observe all the wonderful creatures of the deep, you can be in no doubt that a God who has life made them and gave them ***life (John 1:3, 4). When you see mountains, volcanoes, deserts, forests, rivers and streams, you cannot deny that they were made by a Super Being.

You may not want to admit it, because if you do, you will have to be honest with yourself. Then you will have to admit that He made you, and if that is the case, you cannot shy away from asking why?

Having had these truths revealed to you, you have no alternative than to seek God for an answer. To encourage you He says in His Word, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:7, 8).’  

The Testimony of Jesus and His Word

For you to have no doubt in your mind why He made you, God the Father sent His Son Jesus to bring you face to face with Him. Furthermore He inspired the writers of the ****Bible and put it into their hearts what they should write (2 Timothy 3:16) – specifically, but not uniquely, for you to hear and to understand(Matthew 13:23) in order that you may come to Him in repentance and faith (Acts 20:21).

The central and integral theme of God’s Word is Jesus Christ, the Saviour who saves His people from Hell. He saves through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8). Paul wrote: ‘But they have not all obeyed the gospel, For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:16, 17).’  With faith comes obedience to Jesus (Romans 1:5; 16:26; John 14:23; 17:6).

Were it not for the Bible we would not know of Jesus who is One with His Father (cf. John 17:11). The Bible explains that Jesus came to the earth to die for the sins of those who would believe in Him (John 3:16). He would rise from the dead, and ascend to His Father (cf. John 20:17) in heaven where He would reign in power at His right hand (Acts 2:33) until He comes again to judge the living and the dead (1 Peter 4:5). But please note, Jesus came not to condemn, but to save (Jon 3:17) sinners (Luke 19:10).

The Testimony of Our Conscience

In addition to the revelation of the Son of God and His Word, and His revelation of Himself in the things created, God equips each one of us with a conscience, so that we know what is right and what is wrong, what is just and unjust, and what is good and what is bad. We all have this knowledge (Romans 2:14-16), and yet our natural tendency is to choose wrong rather than right, because the ‘intent and the thoughts of’ our hearts are evil (cf. Genesis 6:5), and we are tainted with the sin of Adam (Romans 5:12-14).

Those who deliberately choose evil, sin against God. They rebelliously oppose the King of the universe, and they are deserving of death (Romans 1:32).’

None of us can be excused (Romans 2:1) from not obeying Him. None of us can plead ignorance (1 Corinthians 15:34; Hebrews 5:2).

‘Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things (Romans 2:1),’  ‘And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practising such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God (v. 3).

*The Redemption of God’s People

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/12/03/the-redemption-of-gods-people/

**Inner Thoughts

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/08/07/inner-thoughts/

***Life

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/03/13/life/

****Bible Versions

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/08/18/bible-versions/

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Inner Thoughts

‘But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4).’

‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).’

One of the purposes of preaching is for people to ‘hear’ the word of God; for without hearing the Word no one can come to faith in Him: ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).’

Another reason for a preacher to preach is to challenge his hearers regarding their conduct, and for them to examine their motivations and affections. Do they obey God? Do they actively seek to do His will?

Crucial in all of this is ‘knowing’ His will, because without knowing His will, how can they attempt to live in accordance with it (Luke 11:2)?

For this purpose God has given us His Word, the Bible. By studying it we can get to know His will and how to live in light of it. Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).’” Our sustenance comes from inwardly digesting the Word of God (cf. John 6:51). We must know the Bible so that we can *know God and His will.

God is **omniscient, and as such there is nothing He does not know about us. He knows what we do, and our every thought.

The writer of Proverbs states: ‘For as he thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7a).’

In view of these truths our inner thoughts ought to be pure (15:26) for us to live holy lives (1 Peter 1:14, 15) in accordance with God’s will, but how many of us can claim we only have pure thoughts? None, of course, because although we’ve been saved through faith by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8), we have not yet been perfected. We still sin, and yet we have been enlivened by the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can do good to ***please God (Colossians 1:10), because He has given us spiritual life in His Son, and thus we are able to please Him.

The question that many ask is why do we have impure thoughts? Are they sown by the serpent (cf. Genesis 3:4)? And if they are, do we allow them to germinate – indeed, encourage them to grow?

James wrote: ‘Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone (James 1:12, 13).’

So as Christians we have to constantly be on our guard against sinful thoughts. We know the Commandments of God, and yet Jesus warns, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28).” 

Jesus warns of the consequences of unforgiven sin (v. 30), i.e., sin that has not been repented of on the part of the sinner (1 John 1:9).

Here’s the paradox: The child of God, born of the Spirit, does not always repent of his sins, and yet he is promised life (1 John 2:25) and an inheritance (Acts 26:18). Because God forgives his sins and forgets them (Psalm 103:12), that does no give him a licence to continue sinning. On the contrary, his desire should be to be more faithful and obedient. He should be ‘even more diligent to make’ his ‘calling sure’ by adding to ‘faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love (cf. 2 Peter 1:5-7).’

Conclusion

We cannot lose our salvation on account of our inner thoughts, although some may have been grievously sinful (Ephesians 4:30). However, God is merciful (Exodus 34:6) loving and forgiving, and His salvation through Jesus is sure. Our salvation is of faith and it is God’s gift:

‘Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (Romans 4:16).’

*Knowing Jesus [God]

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/07/30/knowing-jesus/

**The Omniscience, Omnipotence and Omnipresence of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2018/04/14/the-omniscience-omnipotence-and-omnipresence-of-god/

***Pleasing God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/07/26/pleasing-god/

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Lordship

‘“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not the things I say? Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like; He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock (Luke 6:46-48).”’

The World’s Understanding of Lordship

Lordship is a dirty word these days, at least for the masses, as judged by *Twitterers and populist left-wingers and socialist politicians. Get rid of the House of Lords they insist. Why do we have this ancient archive with its many nobles? Aren’t they an anachronism in 2020? Don’t they hark back to feudal times; the Dark Ages, when serfs were forced to serve local barons? Didn’t **William the Conqueror set all this into motion? Didn’t he establish the jurisdiction of Lords of the Manor? And didn’t their offspring become the landed gentry, who inherited large swathes of land and controlled what happened within their jurisdiction?

We live in different times, don’t we?

Let us put this question to the test.

Is there an ‘upstairs downstairs’ syndrome today? Surely, present day lords are not like their counterparts of olden times who considered they were a class above the common people, their butlers, maids-in-waiting, cooks, cleaners, gardeners – even their wives, who were by law their chattels?

For some in today’s climate of universal enfranchisement and equal rights, the concept of lordship is repulsive, abominable and demeaning.

But today a wife’s husband is no longer her lord (cf. 1 Peter 3:5, 6). Her earnings are hers; her possessions are hers, and she is free to do what she wants with them. In the event of a divorce she could be entitled up to half the value of the home property; whereas in Victorian times she would have been entitled to nothing – not even access to their children, or her children from a previous marriage.

To achieve this present state of imperfect equal rights, in ***times past people have cried out, “We want our freedom. We demand our freedom. Lords shall no longer rule over us. Democracy is our right.”

Inwardly, muttering to themselves, they expressed their feelings and declared that servitude under the domain of lords was menial and debasing. It injured their self-esteem, and it denied their right of self-determination. It was obnoxious. No one should be given the throne of lordship, and yet it was the prerogative of the privileged, i.e., those who held power, those who went to posh schools and those who rubbed shoulders with the elite.

Even today higher members of the establishment, i.e., the Queen, the Prime Minister, and the House of Lords Appointments Commission, confer lordships, and together they support one another in maintaining the status quo, especially in light of recent allegations of cronyism.

Is this the mindset of the House of Lords, where on ceremonial occasions their lordships express solidarity by parading together in their scarlet robes of splendour and authority? One wonders if they esteem themselves far above the citizens they are supposed to represent, protect and honour. Inwardly do they believe they are wise counsellors to the elected body of MPs, truly acting on behalf of the people?

Where would we be without them?  

The Lordship of Jesus

The above is the antithesis of the lordship of Jesus. He said to His disciples, ‘“The Kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves (Luke 22:25-27).”’

Jesus turned the world’s view of lordship upside down. He promised His disciples ‘a kingdom’, where they would ‘eat and drink at’ His table (vv. 29, 30). They would receive rewards for serving Him. He was their Lord, and it was a privilege and a gift of great honour to serve Him (cf. John 12:26).

The Supreme Lord Jesus came as One who served (Mark 10:45) and He treated His disciples as if they were His lords. John tells us that He ‘rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded (John 13:4, 5).’ 

What lord today does that?

True lords serve their subjects in humility, and with respect, tenderness and love.

Jesus said to His disciples, ’“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).”’

Jesus truly was Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8), and He came as God’s sacrificial Servant (v. 7) to die on a tree (1 Peter 2:24). The perfect Lamb of God, our Lord of creation reigns now, seated at the right hand of God the Father. At the appointed time He will come again, and all shall ****bow the knee before Him. The Lord of creation will judge the earth and truly exercise His lordship.

Finally,’The elders who are among you I exhort ….. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3).’

*Abolish The House of Lords at Twitter

#AbolishTheHouseOfLords [Copy and paste this link] 

**William the Conqueror and the Feudal System

https://spartacus-educational.com/U3Ahistory5.htm

***Peasants’ Revolt

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peasants%27_Revolt

****Bowing the Knee

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/07/11/bowing-the-knee/

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Knowing Jesus

‘For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles – if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:1-5).’

How is it possible to ‘know’ Jesus who was and is the Son of God?

I’m inspired to contemplate this subject of ‘Knowing Jesus’ because of hearing a *sermon presented by Roger Ninnis on the nature of Paul’s Prayers.

Paul, of course, was the Apostle who said he had seen Jesus and he was as ‘one born out of due time (1 Corinthians 15:8).’ He was referring to his encounter with Jesus while on his way to Damascus with the purpose of persecuting Christians (Acts 9:1-9). It was then he was born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8).

After his conversion Paul said he was ‘the least of the apostles’ and he wasn’t worthy to be called an apostle because he had ‘persecuted the church of God (1 Corinthians 15:9).’

He had come to know Jesus personally because of His encounter with Him, but more so because of the Holy Spirit’s revelation of Him (Ephesians 3:5). The Holy Spirit opened up the Old Testament Scriptures to reveal to Paul that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 9:20).

For him it wasn’t just a matter of knowing about Jesus, but of having a dialogue (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) and a **relationship with Him (Acts 9:15). Jesus became his Lord (Philippians 3:7-11) and Master, and he wanted the whole world to know and experience the riches of being in Christ (Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:27). In order to preach the gospel Paul made himself as a bondservant of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1). He dedicated his life to serving Him to the extent that he was prepared to die for Him (Philippians 1:21) and he very nearly did (Acts 14:19, 20) while on his missionary journeys. Tradition has it that he was beheaded in Rome on account of his faith, probably with other martyrs during Nero’s persecution of Christians.

The Revelation of Jesus

So, here’s the way in which we can get to know Jesus. We cannot do it unless He reveals Himself to us through the Holy Spirit. On receiving new spiritual life through the Spirit (John 3:3-8), our eyes are opened, and spiritually we see Jesus. This is a bit like the physical opening of Paul’s eyes (Acts 9:18) after he had been blinded by the bright light that shone around him as he approached Damascus. Miraculously God opened Paul’s eyes and he received his sight. He was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’ and immediately he was baptised, and after some days with the disciples at Damascus he ‘preached the Christ in the synagogues that He is the Son of God (vv.17-20).’

Jesus came to the earth to reveal Himself (John 7:28, 29) and to bring His gospel of salvation through faith and repentance (Mark 1:15). He came to call a people into His kingdom (Luke 22:28-30; John 18:36) of everlasting life (John 3:16). His gospel was not just for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11-18). It was for all [sorts of] people (John 3:16). This was the mystery that had been revealed to Paul (Ephesians 3:1-7).

Jesus made it ***transparently clear to him. Indeed, Jesus came to reveal His very nature – the Son of God, the long awaited Messiah (John 1:41), the Saviour of the Jews and of the Gentiles. Paul became His bondservant (Romans 1:1), and as such through the enabling of the Holy Spirit he suffered and upheld the name of Jesus ‘“before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel (Acts 9:15).”’

Our Relationship with Jesus

Prior to receiving the Holy Spirit, we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1), and unless God opens our eyes to understand the word (Matthew 13:23) we cannot [spiritually] see Jesus. This miracle of seeing can only come about through the power of Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). Through Him we have life (John 6:63).

Having been born of the Spirit, our immediate desire is to follow Jesus and to serve Him (John 12:26). He becomes our Lord and Saviour. This marks the beginning of our relationship with Him. None of this comes about through, or on account of any merit in us. It is all of God (2 Corinthians 5:18), and by His grace (Ephesians 2:8).

Having been transformed into ‘a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17) of the Spirit we no longer live for ourselves, but for Christ (vv. 12-18). In and through Him we are ministering spirits of reconciliation (v. 18) for bringing people to God (Matthew 28:19, 20). This is the prime purpose of our relationship with Him. This is how we know Jesus. He works through us and we are His hands, feet and eyes. We are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), i.e., those who speak and act on His behalf. We represent Him. God through Christ ‘has committed us to the word of reconciliation (v. 19).’

We hear His word and we are His Sheep. Jesus said, ‘“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are One (John 10:27-30).’

Nothing is more precious than having a living relationship with Jesus and with His people. Through Him we offer up ‘spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:5).’ He has made us to be: ‘a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people,’ that we ‘may proclaim the praises of Him who’ has ‘called us out of darkness into His marvellous light (v. 9).’

This is how we know Jesus. We praise His name.

*Paul’s Prayers

**God/Man Relationships

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2017/11/17/relationships/

***An Easter Meditation – The Transparency of Jesus

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/04/09/an-easter-meditation-the-transparency-of-jesus/

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Pleasing God

‘For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-8).’

I’ll state the obvious: Only those born of the Holy Spirit will want to please God, because Scripture states that only those who are born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8) are able to please God (Romans 8:5-8). If you are not born again of the Spirit you are not at all interested in the real and only true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Most likely the person you will want to please is yourself. However, I personally know people who do not believe in God, and yet they have an altruistic spirit. They are really interested in the welfare of their relatives, friends and neighbours, and will go out of their way to help and please them. They want to please people, not God.

This brings me to consider the differences between the pleasers of men and the pleasers of God. What motivates them and what is at the core of their hearts?

Paul the Apostle made it abundantly clear that he preached the gospel to please God, not men. In his letter to the Galatians he told them: ‘But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. …… For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ (Galatians 1:8-10).’

Paul’s motivation came from his desire to please God by preaching the gospel.

When writing to the Thessalonians he reiterated his desire to please God: ‘But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts (1 Thessalonians 2:4).’

This matter of pleasing God came from Paul’s heart. He, Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1) laboured and toiled night and day so as not to be a burden (2: 9) to the Thessalonians as they expounded and shared the gospel of their salvation.

The writer of Hebrews had this to say about pleasing God: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).’ He exhorted them: ‘Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased (13:15, 16).’

God is pleased with His people who are ‘fruitful in every good work (Colossians 1:10),because they walk in holiness, pleasing Him.They cannot at the same time walk as those who do not know Him (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7).

Pleasing people is admirable, but God didn’t send His Son to please men; rather He sent His Son so that they may please Him. He wants them to love Him and to please Him by living holy lives to His glory. He wants them to love and to worship Him (Mark 12:29, 30).

He loves (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4; 1 John 4:9, 10) people who please Him (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Amazingly He also loves the unlovable, even those who may reject Him, e.g., the Gentiles spoken of in verse 5. He loves them to the extent ‘that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16, 17).’

The crux of the matter is that only God’s people (1 Peter 2:9, 10) love Him and want to please Him and are capable of pleasing Him. They have this great privilege of being able to please Him. They give Him pleasure. How amazing and wonderful is that! God created us for His pleasure and for ours.

‘I have set the LORD always before me;

Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;

My flesh also will rest in hope.

For You will not leave my soul in Sheol,

Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

You will show me the path of life;

In Your presences is fullness of joy;

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:8-11).’ 

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Thought Crimes

‘Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5).’

Fictional Life – Nineteen Eighty-Four

I remember reading George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ dystopian novel when I was an art student in 1951. As far as I can recollect, the setting was in the State of Oceania, where the populace was monitored and surveyed by Thinkpol, who were the Thought Police. They operated under the instructions and authority of the Inner Party, above whom was the totalitarian leader, Big Brother. Together they attempted to control the middle-class Outer Party, and the working-class Prols by indoctrinating them with mindthink. [My euphemism]. Their officials had power to arrest transgressors under the charge of crimethink. [Orwell’s euphemism].

Intelligent individuals who strayed beyond what was permissible could expect to be placed on a programme of re-education. They had to learn to think within the constraints of the official language, which was Newspeak. If they failed to conform, they would be killed and cremated, and their ashes disposed of. They would become non-persons whose history was totally expunged. Their records were destroyed and their relatives, friends and acquaintances were not permitted to speak, or even think of them. Violation of these prohibitions could mean, they too would suffer the same fate.

Note

My memory of Orwell’s novel goes back 69 years, so please forgive me if some of the details are incorrect, but I think I have the gist of it. I must get around to reading it again.

Real Life – China

Well, the above is fiction, but what is portrayed within the covers of Orwell’s book is taking place in China today!

It is a country whose populace are surveyed and monitored more than any other. The authorities use CCTV, face recognition technology, mobile phone tracking, Internet snooping and information gathering by the *secret police and informers. They monitor subject’s movements, contacts, conversations, and social behaviours. Those who do not support governmental policies can disappear without trace. 

Freedom to worship without restrictions for Muslims and Christians is not possible, as the following excerpt from a **recent online BBC News publication confirms:

In 2017, President Xi Jinping issued a directive that “religions in China must be Chinese in orientation” and “adapt themselves to socialist society”. The directive led to a fresh crackdown on religious practice that particularly affected the Uighurs.

Xinjiang is now covered by a pervasive network of surveillance, including police, checkpoints, and cameras that scan everything from number plates to individual faces.

The Chinese government says the measures are necessary to combat separatist violence in the region, but it is accused of exaggerating the threat in order to justify repression of the Uighurs. Many prominent members of the ethnic minority have been imprisoned or sought asylum abroad after being accused of terrorism.

There is abundant evidence that China is engaged in a re-education programme for the **Uighur people who are mainly Muslim, along with a ***birth control policy to suppress their population.

Worldly Thoughts

Both of the above depictions: Fictional Life – Nineteen Eighty-Four and Real-Life China, illustrate how those in power can attempt to impose upon the ‘proletariat’ certain modes of thinking. It’s interesting to note that in the revolutionary People’s Republic of China, Chairman Mao Tse-tung required all ‘comrades’ to carry with them his ‘The Little Red Book’. This publication was small enough to fit into a pocket, and it was a compilation of quotations from writings and speeches made by Mao. Basically it was a tool of indoctrination for inculcating Marxist thinking.

Karl Marx, the German philosopher, is famous for penning these words: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” From this comes the paraphrase: “Religion is the opium of the People.” 

Marx besmirches followers of religions, claiming they are like sick or injured people who cling to an illusion that if they adhere to their beliefs, all will be well in the end. Their religions prevent them from understanding class structures and oppression that is brought about through the practice of capitalism. Hence religions do not help promote his revolutionary socialism for overturning capitalism and replacing it with Marxism.

Religious and different societal communities require their members to be sympathetic to thought concepts that are supportive of their modus operandi. For example, religious followers’ modes of thought centre on their god or gods. In democracies the focus is upon the rule of law, freedom of speech and human rights. In communistic regimes allegiance to the state and its leaders is paramount. In a dictatorship the prime rule is obedience to the dictator.

Christian Thoughts

Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).’

‘For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12, 13).’            

I am familiar with Christian thinking, because I am a follower of Christ. My thoughts are focussed on Him and His people who live for Him and His glory. My faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), which is the ****Bible. 

Unlike Mao’s Little Red Book, the Bible is not a book of indoctrination. It is a book of spiritual edification, written under the inspiration and authorship of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16). In it God reveals His sovereignty and His power in creating and sustaining the world. He tells of His predestined plan of salvation for all who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. His followers are given spiritual life through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:8). With this supernatural life they are able to understand His Word. Their thoughts are aligned with God’s, and they are given the ‘mind of Christ’:

‘Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “Who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).’

No one can judge us and find us guilty of ‘thought crimes’, because Jesus justifies us by His grace (Romans 3:24), and ‘we have the mind of Christ.’  He is the Judge who will judge us (14:10).

*Ministry of State Security (China)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_State_Security_(China)

**Xinjiang re-education camps

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xinjiang_re-education_camps

***China forcing birth control on Uighurs to suppress population, report says

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-53220713

***The Uighurs and the Chinese state: A long history of discord

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-22278037

****Bible Versions

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/08/18/bible-versions/

****The Unchanging Word of God

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2019/02/28/the-unchanging-word-of-god/

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Rambling On

‘Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided (Genesis 22:13, 14).”

I’ve been struggling for the past couple of days trying to work out what I should write for this blog. Perhaps my quandary has come about because I’ve been preoccupied doing the daily chores (cf. Luke 10:38-41) and because of having to sort out a few unexpected problems that have come my way.

Some days there are things that have to be addressed without delay, because if they aren’t, they can have ramifications which bring problems requiring more attention and possibly the expenditure of money as well as energy. This morning, for example, I was in the middle of having a shower, when, without warning, the electric pump that pressurises the water stopped. This left me standing under a trickle of cold water with which to rinse off the remaining soapsuds.

I could easily cope with this, and in fact I could manage without ever taking a shower. However, my wife loves having them, and it’s very convenient for her, especially when it comes to shampooing her hair. Like me, she could manage without showering, but as I am her husband and the one who loves her, I found myself with the task of getting the shower sorted. 

Fortunately by repeatedly turning the shower handle on and off, and at the same time submersing the flexible shower head into water, I managed to get it working. Needless to say, this was not done without a prayer beforehand and the giving of thanks afterwards, but I can only guess as to when the pump will fail again.

Yes, I appreciate my good fortunate in having a bathroom that is equipped with a shower and a bidet, and I’m always appreciative of God who feeds me and my wife and who gives us a roof over our heads. He provides us with all we need (Genesis 22:13, 14; Matthew 6:33).

The evil one is at work

Despite God’s wonderful provision and loving care, I sometimes ‘feel’ as if I’m of little use to anyone, but I am also aware that such thoughts come from the devil. He is always out to deceive (Revelation 12:9) and to bring people down. He tries to make them dwell on their feelings and failings, rather than on the grace (Ephesians 2:8) and love of Jesus (1 John 4:19). He always wants to dishearten us – especially Christians, and he does all he can to make us depressed.

If we take our eyes off Jesus (Matthew 14:28-30), we can easily get bogged down with worldly thoughts and worldly ways.

We hear the news on radio and we see it on TV, and the great majority of it is soul-destroying. Sometimes even the good stories are sad, such as those of children who have had to suffer greatly on account of health issues, but with fortitude they overcame their life-threatening illnesses. Even if they didn’t survive, before dying they profited others by raising funds for health charities, and after death by allowing their organs to be donated to children who would not otherwise survive.

Pervasive Covid 19 Situation

So this pervasive, almost overwhelming situation continues, and we can’t ignore the daily death toll on account of Covid 19. We can’t escape the demands that are placed upon us. We must wear face masks in public places, and we must keep to social distancing. We must adhere to restrictions wherever we go – that’s if we have the confidence to leave our homes, and this fear of contracting the virus is justifiably real for elderly folk who are more likely to die as a result.

A lot has changed, and the future will never be the same. The ‘new normal’ will inevitably be different. We pray for an effective vaccine that will help make the future approximate more to the past; and as we pray, we try to cast aside the frustrating news that the Russians may have hacked into the IT systems of UK pharmaceutical researchers to steal information for producing a vaccine. We desperately need a vaccine, but we want it to be done ethically and well, for the good of ALL people throughout the world – and not for monetary gain. This is an emergency that goes beyond money-making and international politics.

Hope for Tomorrow

‘See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15, 16).’

These times of unrest, inequity and division are extremely unsettling. To make matters worse, political and ideological forces are at work. There are fundamental differences between the major nations of the world. Each has its own agenda. Even the EU is in disarray, since it is divided on policies and the forthcoming budget. The UK will leave the EU on 31st January 2021, and there will be the imposition of trading tariffs, border controls, and a points-based immigration system. On top of all of this we are experiencing major economic gloom on account of a recession that will perhaps be greater than any that has been in the past.

Yes, I’m a Christian, but like all lovers and followers of Jesus, we have to live in the world, while not being worldly (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). Our focus must always be on Jesus; for He is our all (Colossians 3:11). We live in Him and for Him. He is our life (Philippians 1:21), and there is no other. We must shine His light for the world see. We must look to Him for strength, patience and grace to do His will. We must be united with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and as soon as we have opportunity to meet together for praising and worshipping our God, we must do it – even if we have to wear face masks and we are not permitted to sing.

The virus cannot stop us loving Jesus and one another, and for us there is always a sure *hope for tomorrow.

Jesus said, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this (John 11:25, 26)?”

*Our Hope

https://thebiblicalway.blog/2020/05/25/our-hope/

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