What can separate us…?

Hey guys its been a while, way longer than I ever expected.

This is going to be a short post to say I’m back.

I was having a conversation with a friend earlier and we were joking about the fragility of our relationship and what could come between us.

Then I remembered Romans 8:35

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Romans 8:35 KJV

Then I started to think about what would separate me from the love of Christ? I thought of a whole heap of reasons but none of them would ever stop the love of Christ for me. I thought about all the things I’ve done wrong, all of my shortcomings, sins and issues.

Obviously my mind moved to the next logical scripture:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 KJV

Then I thought to myself, wait…hold on… if nothing can separate me from the love of God why do I feel like there is a separation?

Then I thought about why there would ever be a separation between myself and God. Then I started to think what causes people to separate from each other. I realised that it’s often the person in the wrong that causes a separation. For example, when a child does something against their parents they try to avoid their parents, not because their parents don’t love them or love them less but because they fear the consequences of their actions.

Then as I thought about it I realised that the separation doesn’t occur between God’s love and me, but rather the separation occurs between my love and God.

My mind then went to the garden of Eden and the separation of God and man and it dawned on me what I need to ensure that I no longer feel that there is a separation.

It may sound simple but its just the case of not running away and hiding if I do wrong or if I do right. No matter what happens, if I stay close to God I will never feel a separation. In fact, I have a theory that the more wrong that you consider yourself to have done, the greater love you must think God has for you. I mean if you think the worse you are the more love is required to love you. Therefore you have an assurance that if God still loved you in that moment, you have no reason to ever think he would ever not love you.

As ever like comment subscribe, it’s always nice to get feedback so get in contact let me know what you think. Until the next time may the grace of Lord Jesus be with you. Amen!

The Law, Faith & Grace

Just when you thought I was gone, here I am again back with another one!

It’s been a while, I know, since I lasted posted but I haven’t forgotten, and to those of you who’ve asked me when the next is post coming I dedicate this one to you. I couldn’t let the month pass without at least one post and this has been in the pipeline for a while.

Just a quick update on my reading plan, unfortunately it’s not good news, I’ve fallen off the wagon much like my blog posts but hopefully by next week (or the week after) I’ll be back on top of it.

Now I’ve got that house keeping out of the way “the law, faith & grace“…

So I was going through my bible and I came across Galatians 5. You may be familiar with this chapter as it contains the verse

9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

‭‭(Galatians‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

However, I’m going to talk about a slightly different part of that chapter.

1Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love
(‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:1-6‬ ‭KJV‬‬)

What my understanding of this passage is, Paul was trying to explain to the Galatians that if you follow the old covenant, you are bound to the old covenant and therefore you exclude yourself from the new covenant in Christ Jesus.

The Law

The law that I’m referring to here isn’t rules that are used to govern the country that you’re currently in, but The law of Moses. People often read and think that the law of Moses is just the 10 commandments, until recently I was also one of these people. However, the Law of Moses is a series of rules for civil and religious behaviour that is written across the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The 10 commandments, sometimes referred to as the law of God, is separate from the law of Moses.

When Jesus came he gave us a new commandment to follow that, in my opinion, is a bit easier to follow than the law of Moses. Well, it’s achievable at least.

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 

(John 13:34 KJV)

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 

(John 15:12 KJV)

 

Faith

Under the law we would be justified by our works, which is our ability to fulfil all of the requirements of the law, with an emphasis on the ALL. Unfortunately, for us mere men this is an impossible task. However, through faith in Jesus and His death on the cross we are now justified by our faith.

10But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.” (Deut 27:26.) 11So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

(Galatians 3:10-11 NLT)

So to paraphrase Romans 3:25-28 to explain my point. God gave us Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. God declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. People can never boast and say that we have done anything to be accepted by God. This is because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law, but it is based on our faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

Grace

The concept of being subject to the law of works makes attaining right standing with God unachievable as it is not possible to do enough to be deserving of the love and favour of God.  However, Grace is the unmerited love and favour of God to man and therefore costs us nothing but to believe.

23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
(Romans 3:23-24)

17For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

(John 1:17 KJV)

The Dake’s bible makes an interesting commentary about this verse. It says:

This does not mean that there was no law before Moses, or no grace and truth before Jesus Christ. The law itself is truth, and the New Testament is law. There are 1,050 commandments in the New Testament. The idea here is that the fullness of grace came by Jesus Christ. One can get today in fullness what men received only in part in Old testament times.

The Dake Annotated Reference Bible (2014)

I believe the main lesson to be learned here is that none of us are perfect. We are all sinners, whether we have committed sins we consider to be greater sins or lesser sins. The type of sin is irrelevant. However, we can all be saved by the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ. An important point to remember though is that grace isn’t a licence to sin, but by the grace of God we should become righteous.

Until the next time may the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Amen!

 

Recipe for Fruit Filled Christian covered in the Knowledge of Christ

It’s been just over a week since I last shared something with you, (although it feels like it’s been much longer) but personally I’ve had quite an eventful couple of weeks. Thankfully you’ll be pleased to hear I have managed to keep up with my bible reading plan. I did miss one or two days along the way but I doubled up and caught right back up to where I’m supposed to be.

Recently I read 2 Peter 1 and I stumbled across a passage that has a recipe for being a Christian fruitful in the knowledge of Christ.

5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭1:5-7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Faith

This shows us that having faith is a basic element of Christianity and therefore should be the starting point for anyone who considers themselves to be a Christian. What is faith? Faith can be defined as complete trust or confidence in someone or something, or a strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. However, my favourite definition of faith is:

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭KJV‬‬

As a Christian if you don’t have faith what do you have?

Virtue

To take your Christianity to the next level you need to add virtue.  What is virtue? Well virtue can be defined as behaviour or a quality that is considered to be morally good. That’s pretty straightforward right? A Christian should have good morals.

Knowledge

The next step is adding knowledge. Well, as this is with regards to the knowledge of Christ, the knowledge I’m speaking of here isn’t general knowledge or the type that is typically taught in schools or colleges, but the type of knowledge that can be obtained by searching the scriptures, from preaching or from spending time in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Temperance

Once you have knowledge the next thing that’s required is temperance. What is temperance? Another way of saying temperance is to say self-control. Self-control is needed because once you have the theory which is the knowledge, you need the temperance or the self-control in order to be able to put what you know into practice.

Patience

To go even higher a person needs patience. Patience isn’t just about being able to wait but patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. You need patience as a Christian because some times you have to endure problems and suffering and maintain your self-control.

Godliness

Further to this a Christian needs to display godliness. When I first encountered this term ‘godliness‘ I completely misunderstood it. I assumed it referred to being like God. However, with the use of my trusted concordance I discovered that what it is actually referring to is piety. Which is about being devoted to God; this is where you’re living in the will of God. Simply put, a godly person is a person who does God’s business.

Brotherly kindness

At this point you’re probably thinking what more could a person possibly add to make themselves a better Christian?  However, there’s an icing on this Christian fruit cake and that’s brotherly kindness or brotherly love. This is the general care and affection that one has for their brothers and sisters in Christ.

Charity

If there’s icing, there’s got to be a cherry on top, and the cherry is charity. Charity, also known as love or agape love is an unconditional type of love that serves regardless of circumstances.

I’m sure we could all do more to become better christians and Peter has given us a few areas for us to improve here. I pray that we are able to embrace these characteristics and grow as Christians, and may God bless us as we do so.

Until the next time may the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. Amen!

🎵Read your Bible…🎶

Who remembers that song from Sunday school?

Read your Bible, pray every day

Pray every day, pray every day

Read your Bible, pray every day

If you want to grow…

…Anybody? I can’t be the only one, comment if you do, I know I didn’t make it up.

Those of us that were present in Sunday school, it’s funny how this wisdom was given to us, even with a catchy song so we didn’t forget it. However, assuming that a lot of you are like me, we didn’t implement this instruction in our lives.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I wonder how my life would have been different and what situations I would have been able to avoid.

But why do I need to read the Bible? I know enough scriptures off by heart
to get by...Like John 3:16!

Say what?! …Excuse me?! …Bruh?!!!!

Look, I know at times reading the Bible can be long winded and quite boring. I’ve been reading Jeremiah over the last week and I am telling you that if I wasn’t only reading one chapter a day I would have given up by now (or skipped it). It’s literally reading a will, telling us who in tribes of Israel inherits what land and the boundaries of that land. Considering I don’t know who these people are or where the places mentioned are it’s not providing me with much information other than there were a lot of them and that it must have been a long winded process. I digress, but what I can say is that there is another chapter 3 and verse 16 that you need to take note of:

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)

📢  📢  📢  📢  📢  📢

🔑 This version of the scripture is quite self explanatory in telling us what the benefit of the reading the Bible is. However, if you don’t read the Bible, you obviously won’t be able work out what is true or what may be wrong with your life. With a lot of things, if you don’t have an instruction manual there is no way that you could possibly know the correct way to do certain things. So the bible is like an instruction manual for our lives.🔑

📢  📢  📢  📢  📢  📢

Instruction

In Deuteronomy an instruction is given for kings regarding the word. It says:

18And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
19And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
20That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
Deuteronomy 17:18-20
This instruction is also useful for us as it shows that reading the the Bible daily will teach us to give reverence to God. It also tells us the more often we read the scriptures the more likely we are to stay on the straight and narrow. Which makes sense I guess, as it’s basically reading the instruction as you go along life.

Promise

 The Bible also contains many prophecies, promises and decrees that can have a positive effect on our lives. Isaiah tells us to search the scriptures for these promises so that we know what God can and will do for us.
16Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.
Isaian 34:16
If we don’t read the Bible we won’t know all of what God can do for us. It’s almost like having a tool that has multiple functions. Even if you may know the main functions of the tool, if you read the manual you may discover that it has other functions that you were unaware of that can help you with other tasks.

Affirmation

 Going back to my song, it says that you should read your Bible and pray everyday if you want to grow. If you are new to the faith, reading the Bible will help to confirm you in the faith, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Jesus actually states that reading the scriptures is not what gives you eternal life as the scriptures point to Him, and is through Christ that we are able to obtain eternal life.
39“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!
John 5:39 (NLT)
That being said you wouldn’t know this without reading the Bible. When Paul and Silas went to preach the gospel in a place called Berea, the people there received the word well and the reason why they were able to do so is because not only did they listen to the preaching, they read the scriptures daily themselves to confirm what was being preached to them was true.
11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
12Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
Acts 17:11
Therefore, when we are being preached to, we must also read our Bibles to confirm the truth in what we are being taught. Otherwise we run the risk of falling foul of a cult leader who may use his (or her) own rules and doctrines and try to present them as being a part of Christianity.

 Hope

 I didn’t plan on writing too much today, I just wanted to encourage us to read more and to read our Bible more. So I’m going to leave us with one more scripture that tells of the hope we have through the Bible.
4Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
Romans 15:4 (NLT)
If you have found encouragement through reading this or have any comments or suggestions please feel free to get in touch, like, comment & subscribe. As always, until the next time may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

What did the Romans do for us XIV?

 

So today’s post is an update on my progress with Prof. Horner’s Bible reading system.

…so what has that got to do with what the Romans did or didn’t do for us?

I’m getting to that, just stick with me. As I was saying, I’m now two weeks into the Bible reading system, that’s day 14 for those of you who like numbers. I have to say it’s been interesting. I won’t lie to anybody and say I read ten chapters everyday at the right time, I did miss a day on Tuesday I believe, so Wednesday and Thursday I was a day behind in my reading. Friday, I had a bit more spare time, so I decided to catch myself up and read an extra 10 chapters.

Using the Bible app /bible.com plan is really helpful for keeping track of my reading as it allows me to tick off the chapters I’ve read. Which is useful as I can get some reading done whilst I’m at work either at my desk from their website or on my phone.

It’s a good idea to generally keep up with the plan reading everyday, if you miss a day or two it’s possible to double up your reading, or to read a few more chapters each day over the course of a week or so. However, if reading ten chapters is stressful enough, just keep going and be a little behind from your original schedule.

Personally, I am enjoying this reading plan, I like hitting milestones. So as I’m typingI’ve read 140 chapters of the Bible this year. It sounds like a lot but considering there are 1186 chapters in the Bible, it’s barely scratching the surface. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating slightly. It’s more than 10% of the number of chapters in the bible (11.8043845% to be exact).

I’m learning so much and gaining insight on details I didn’t take much notice of before. An example of this is; I didn’t notice that the Gospel of Matthew went from 0-100 real quick. What I mean by this is, in Matthew 1 is a list of Jesus’ ancestors and Mary and Joseph being told Jesus will be born (as in Jesus wasn’t born yet). In Matthew 2 Jesus is born, (in fact Matthew 2:1 talks about Jesus’ birth in the past tense so Jesus was born somewhere between the last verse in Matthew 1 and the first verse in Matthew 2). By Matthew 3 Jesus is being baptised and Matthew 4 Jesus is inviting Simon Peter and Andrew to become fishers of men. 

…I thought you were going to tell us about Romans?

I was just coming to that! So, I’m not exactly sure what the Romans had or hadn’t done exactly, but what I do know is, they had started a church and Paul decided to write to them to encourage them. I actually read something today that I found really interesting and this was Romans 14. Yes, the whole chapter! I guess if I had to narrow it down to any particular verse I would say

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

Romans 14:8

This verse tells us that whatever we do or don’t do as Christians is to the honour and glory of our Lord. As Christians whatever we do, we need to remember we do these things as representatives of Christ. Just the same way that if you work for a particular company or organisation what you say or do is perceived as a representation of the organisation that you work for. That’s why when you undertake charitable activities your employer will endorse you, however, if you said something controversial on social media your employer may disassociate themselves from you and in some instances even terminate your employment for bringing them into disrepute (dishonour or discredit).

I’ve read this particular verse before and it was even already highlighted in my bible but reading the whole chapter gave me some understanding about something that I have wondered about before.

The chapter is talking to believers about being more accepting of, and criticising other believers less. Especially with regard to what they think is right or wrong. Sticking with one of the examples that Paul gave with regard to eating and drinking, I was often confused as to whether as a Christian it was right or wrong to drink alcohol. Depending on what church you go to and which Christians you speak to you will hear a whole host of reasons, arguments and explanations as to why as a Christian you should or shouldn’t consume alcohol. Reading this chapter I have discovered the actual answer, and the answer is: it depends.

Anyone who works with me will find that answer hilarious, we use “it depends” as an answer to so many questions. As a response it sounds like a cop out, it sounds like sitting on the fence and not trying to commit to something for fear of being wrong. The truth, however, is that it really does depend from person to person and their faith.

21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

Romans 14:21

For example, it may be wise for someone with a history of falling into sin whilst under the influence of alcohol to abstain from drinking alcohol completely. Likewise, it may be prudent for someone who has never partaken in the consumption of alcohol to refrain from alcohol as it could be their downfall. Also, as alcohol is often consumed in social settings meaning that it is likely that you may be encouraged to drink more than you should or may encourage others to drink more than they can handle. This is why I believe within a lot of Christian circles it is frowned upon to drink alcohol as people have different tolerances. Whereas one particular individual may be unaffected by consuming alcohol from time to time, their brethren may not be the same and therefore the drinker may become a stumbling block to their brethren. So, rather than have groups comprised of stumbling blocks and those who fall because of the stumbling blocks it safer for all to abstain. That way no one falls or is a stumbling block, both of which are negative.

6He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Romans 14:6

Therefore, before you choose to do something or not, take into consideration whom you are and what you represent. Question yourself as to whether or not, according to your faith your actions or omissions give honour to God.

So I think this can be summed up with this verse taken from the New Living Translation.

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too.

‭‭Romans‬ ‭14:17-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Thanks for reading. Those who haven’t already (and even those who have) I’d love to read, hear and see your feedback and comments. If there’s anything you’d like to see on this blog please let me know. Also please like, share and subscribe.

Until the next time, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you!

The 2017 Anthem

I remember the first time I heard this song, it was Tuesday 13 December 2016. I received a WhatsApp message it read:

“Morning music man.. if you haven’t heard it already”

Me being me, I thought to myself what song is this that I’ve probably already heard before 🙄…I pressed play, then I heard a guitar instrumental, it sounded familiar, yet I couldn’t place it.

Then, to my surprise I hear Lady Pastor Aida’s voice, I thought to myself what?🤔 At this point I was confused, maybe it was just somebody that sounded similar to Aida, but I mean I’ve listened to enough podcasts and seen Aida live enough times to know what LP Aida’s voice sounds like.

If at this point I wasn’t shell shocked enough, what do I hear next? But the voice of my pastor Bishop Dag Heward-Mills.

Considering the track was over 14 minutes long I listened to the whole thing, bare in mind this was at 8am on a Tuesday morning and I was supposed to be getting ready for work…it was love at first listen.

I was so excited about the song I asked where it was from before I thanked the person for sharing it with me…if you’re reading friend, thanks for being “the plug” (that’s a phrase I borrowed from my younger siblings, it means source or supplier). Unfortunately, as I have an iPhone (don’t judge me), I was unable to save this song into my music player 😩.

Why have you titled this post as “The 2017 anthem”?

img_0126First of all the name of the song is The Mountain of the Lord’s House and you can download it free here!

The reason why personally I claim it to be the 2017 anthem is because it was the last song I heard in 2016 & the first I heard in 2017 and I know it will feature a lot through the course of this year.

If you’ve never heard the song it has a somewhat eclectic structure it has the soft rock/pop guitar instrumental taken from James Bay’s 2014 track Let It Go. Lady Pastor Aida sings

1Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
2For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
(Isaiah 60:1-2)

then

3And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

(Isaiah 2:3)

the chorus of the song is

2And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. 

(Isaiah 2:2)

and the bridge is

3And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(Isaiah 60:3)

On top of this soundtrack you have Bishop Dag prophesying into the lives of the listeners.

Funny random story about this song. I thought I could teach myself how to play this song on the guitar (bare in mind, I can barely play the guitar).  I was convinced that song used a sampled instrumental but Shazam failed to help me. So I thought if I use my guitar tuner app I could work out the chords of the song, learn to play it and impress everyone (including myself, I mean when people asked me who taught me how to play it would’ve been an interesting story). However, things didn’t quite go to plan, well actually they didn’t go as badly as you might think. Anyway my younger brother, who listens to worldly music walked in on me trying work out the chords. After watching me painfully working out the main chords he simply asked me “why don’t you just get chords from the internet?” I looked at him like don’t you think I would’ve done that if I knew it could be done 😒. Then he was like “doesn’t it use the instrumental from James Bay Let it Go?” …The way my face lit up when I entered that information on to YouTube. Cheers bro!
…the only thing is now I’m convinced God actually wants me to learn to play this song…😩 no pressure.

Anyway check out aidalive.com for more spiritual music and until the next time, may grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! ✌🏾

PS. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback, thank you for all of your support. Don’t forget to subscribe, like, leave comments and share