Forgiveness

Last Saturday Night was Grace Community Church’s annual Autumn Supper . This is a great formal evening consisting of a fantastic meal followed by a guest speaker , we all try to invite family and friends who are not yet committed to the Lord. This years guest speaker was Robin Oake former, police commissioner and Christian.  Robin’s son Stephen Oake ,also a Christian and anti terrorist police officer was murdered during an anti terror raid in Manchester where he was stabbed by an alleged terror suspect. He was just 40 , married with children.

Please have a quick read of this article.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/shropshire/content/articles/2008/09/22/20080922_robin_oake_feature.shtml

How can anyone forgive the killer of someone so dear to them, that person who rips them savagely away from you and their loved ones. A life time without them.

As a Christian myself i find it so difficult to get my head around. What strong unshakable faith you must need.

I know i could forgive someone if they say, told lies of me, but for murdering a loved one??

But the bible teaches us that sin is sin no matter what the action is , SIN IS SIN. Who are we to judge others and condemn them when we ourselves blindly sin every day of our lives.

We have been forgiven by the grace of God , so we to should through God forgive those who Sin against us. We should not judge others only God can judge.

What if the person we need to forgive is not a believer?

I have found that prayer is one of the best ways to break down the wall of forgiveness in my heart. When I begin to pray for the person who has wronged me, God gives me new eyes to see and a new heart to care for that person. As I pray, I start to see that person as God sees them, and I realize that he or she is precious to the Lord. I also see myself in a new light, just as guilty of sin and failure as the other person. I too am in need of forgiveness. If God did not withhold his forgiveness from me, why should I withhold my forgiveness from another?

Matthew 18:21-22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Is it okay to feel anger and want justice for the person we need to forgive?

This question presents another reason to pray for the person we need to forgive. We can pray for God to deal with the injustices, for God to judge the person’s life, and then we can leave that prayer at the altar. We no longer have to carry the anger. Although it is normal for us to feel anger toward sin and injustice, it is not our job to judge the other person in their sin.

Luke 6:37

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

When Jesus says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged,” Jesus is not saying that we must not judge people so that people do not judge us. Jesus is not teaching some sort of relativism that we just let people believe what they want to believe so that no one is judging each other. Jesus is talking about God judging others. Do not judge others and you will not be judged by God. Do not condemn others and you will not be condemned by God. Forgive others and you will be forgiven by God.

Previously, Jesus taught to do to others as you want them to do to you. Now Jesus teaches this principle: Do to others what you want God to do to you.Treat others, not only how you want them to treat you, but also how you want God to treat you. Jesus is not teaching that we can avoid the day of final judgment if we somehow be sure not to judge other people. No one can avoid the day of judgment. All must stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

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A balancing act

For Myself , serving in the local church and attending bible study and home groups  is a regular part of my life and to a certain extent my wife,s also (  she is not yet  a Christian but loves to be involved ) –   God has impacted me that i might impact the next generation and i love that.

However, sometimes  i have a difficult time balancing family and ministry.  It’s so easy to become over-committed and under-connected.  When there is a lack of presence and priorities, relationships with God, spouses, and children suffer.  This is a dangerous place to be.

If you serve in  ministry in any way and have a family of your own, please take a moment to consider the following points compiled by ministry veterans.

5 Ways To Balance Family and Ministry:

1.  Keep the focus on Christ: We all know it, but as the hymn says, “We are prone to wander.”  Doing things for Christ in ministry is not synonymous with abiding in Him.  Protect your personal time with God above everything.

2.  Respect the priority of your marriage: Set a non-negotiable date night.  Communicate.  Do devotions together.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Surprise your spouse.  Love him/her according to their personal love language.

3.  Set boundaries: Set a limit to how many nights you are out a week doing ministry.  Give your spouse veto power over your schedule.  Do not miss your own kids’ events for ministry purposes.  Allow ample time for rest at home, listening, and fun.

4.  Set the tone in your home: Ensure that your home is a refuge of affection, warmth, and encouragement.  If you are too busy, you set a tone of stress and chaos.  May the Word of God be visible in your home and in your actions.

5.  Be intentional with your own children: Include your kids in ministry.  Allow them to enjoy the perks about serving at church.  Be present when you are home.  Find unique ways to encourage and celebrate them.  Be creative and fun!

What practical suggestions do you have to balance family and ministry?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

The last thing i want to do with my family is unintentional push them away from God and the church because of an in balance in time spent between the two.

Colossians 3:23-24

 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

Remember you can serve the Lord during time with your family in the way you act in the way you talk , in the way you engage with your family and those around you. When working for the church this is your front line , when at work this is your frontline for Christ and also when you are at home with loved ones this is also your frontline for Christ , so please remember that simply  because you are not physically doing work for your church ( maybe preparing Sunday school teaching or attending a meeting) this does not mean you are neglecting Christ because you can be serving him in your actions in the love you show for your wife , your children and the care and compassion for those others around you.

 

The Frontline

So what is ‘The Frontline’?.  Well as Christians we all have one. It is the positions and situations we find ourselves in on a daily basis, a place God has intentionally put us in to use us as his special agents! A place were we can make a real difference  for Christ. It may be at home with the family, it could be as we meet up with friends or team mates and for most of us when we are at work. It is  easy  , at church on a Sunday, to build up high barriers between us and the outside world to feel safe and secure within our church family, but the real work for Christ happens out beyond the church at all of our frontlines. Maybe you are fed up with your job , bored and feel like you are ‘better than this job’ . But stop and think –  has God put me in this place for a reason?. Of course he has, and you should learn to make this your motivation.

We need to respond to what is in front of us on our frontlines. We should trust that God will lead us where he wants us to go and will make clear what he wants us to do. Maybe we just need to hear the cries of the world around us to know how best to offer the good news to people . Maybe we need to develop our alertness to the promptings of God, who we believe is at work in his world.

Remember wherever your frontline may be God has given you a set of  unique skills, to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Colossians 3: 12-17

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility,gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do,whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Opendoors

http://www.opendoorsuk.org/

We as Christians are immensely blessed here in the U.K to be able to openly show our faith and practice our Christian beliefs.

Normally the worst persecution we suffer is maybe people calling us names behind our backs, and laughing about our beliefs.

This however is not the case in many parts of the world where Christians are persecuted in the worst possible ways.

Preachers are locked away indefinitely for no reason, followers are beaten and tortured, homes and livelihoods taken or destroyed,  churches are attacked with bombs or by arson and Christians are executed for their faith.

We must all come together and pray that these things may come to an end , and pray for the suppressors that they to may one day come to know Christ as their Saviour to.

Also we can pray for organisations that are in place to help and support the suppressed Christians of our world such as Open Doors. The people involved in such organsiations risk their own saftey that the good news of the Gospel can reach those in even the most persecuted countries.

Take a minute to click on the above link and look at the work of open doors

. Please pray for them and their workers, and for the supresses and the supressors.

 

 

But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble;
they will not overcome me.
They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor
will never be forgotten.

—Jeremiah 20:1

Why i hate Religion ,but love Jesus

This video for me underlines the misconception that many people have about followers of our lord Jesus Christ. Most look at us as religious weirdo,s who lock ourselves away together and live a life of strict rules without the enjoyment of many of  life’s pleasures.

Other religions are all about WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO BE GOOD ENOUGH. With Christianity and Jesus as our lord and saviour it is all about what has been DONE.
Because Jesus died for our sins , we are all forgiven , if we accept him as our lord and saviour.

As Christians we can still enjoy lifes pleasures as long as God is at the centre of everything. Without God at the centre they become mere ‘ God substitues’ never quite living up to our expectations, never able to fully satisfy.

Imagine these pleasures are all spokes on a wheel , to keep them in order , for the wheel to function you need a hub in the centre – God. Without this hub the spokes just twist and crumple and fail.
RELIGION SHACKLES YOU UP IN CHAINS
JESUS CHRIST SETS YOU FREE.