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!

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!

Read the Bible 2017

It’s 2017 and as a member of First Love Church, it’s our year of greatness, so I want to attempt great things for God (more on that later). So I have set myself a great task for 2017. (Well I have in theory but I set my target quite low because I actually want to achieve it and by the grace of God obliterate it.)

So for this year I have set myself the rather achievable target (it’s easy to say this at the point where I’ve barely just started) of reading at least one chapter from every single book within the bible by the end of the year. That is a total of 66 chapters over 365 days. That shouldn’t be too difficult as that works out to be roughly 1 chapter every 5 and a half days. However, to achieve this I have set myself a slightly more difficult challenge. I’ve decide to use Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan.

Professor Horner’s Bible reading plan is designed to be an intense journey into reading the whole of the Bible.

How does it work? 

Each day you read one chapter from ten lists. What do you mean?

Well here are the ten lists (and how long it takes to get through them):

 

The Ten Lists

  1. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (89 days)

  2. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (187 days)

  3. Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Hebrews (78 days)

  4. 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 & 2 Peter 1, 2 & 3 John, Jude, Revelation (65 days)

  5. Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (62 days)

  6. Psalms (150 days)

  7. Proverbs (31 days)

  8. Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther (249 days)

  9. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (250 days)

  10. Acts (28 days)

On day one, you start by reading Matthew 1, Genesis 1, Romans 1, etc. On day 2, you read Matthew 2, Genesis 2, etc. On day 29, you will have just finished Matthew, so you go to Mark 1 on list one (the gospels); you’ll also be almost at the end of 2nd Corinthians in list three and Proverbs in list seven. If you’ve been doing it correctly you should also be reading Psalm 29 in list six and Genesis 29 in list two… I hope you’re getting the idea, then when you reach the last chapter of the last book in a list you basically start over again.

As each of the lists vary in length, you will probably never end up reading the same set of ten chapters together again! By the end of the year (if you keep it up every day) you’ll have read through all the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch (that’s the first five books of the bible) twice, Paul’s letters at least 4 times each, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, all the Psalms at least twice, all the Proverbs as well as Acts a dozen (that’s 12) times, and all the way through the Old Testament History and Prophetic books about 1½ times.

So… how am I finding it so far?

Weimg_0095ll, this is day seven for me and I can assure you that it hasn’t been easy so far. By the grace this gets easier as I continue to read the bible more often. What I can say is what helps is I find some parts of the bible more stimulating to read than others, but this method helps to break up some of the more long-winded sections of the Bible for example Matthew chapter 1 aka the geneology of Jesus.

As much of a nice idea as it sounded in my head when I was planning to start this reading plan, it’s not practical to attempt to try to have a full quiet time based on all ten chapters. I mean, it’s taking me roughly an hour to read all ten of my chapters each day so it would probably require me to use 10 hours a day to write anything meaningful about all 10 chapters and unfortunately I don’t have a spare 10 hours every day.

What I will do though to retain some of what I read is take some notes regarding at least one of my 10 chapters. Then I’ll try to share at least one of those chapters with you each week (maybe more if you’re lucky).

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

New year new …blog!

So I’ve been telling myself for a long time that I’m going to get back online and into the social media scene, make a website or start a blog for some time now. However, it just hasn’t seemed to really work for me so far. I haven’t really had a subject or content that I have a passion about or that I have been inspired to keep up.

After a few false starts, I sought inspiration and came up with the idea for this blog. In order to make sure I make this venture successful I decided to consult a friend of mine (who claims to be a blogger…hopefully you’ll hear from her soon as she’s also agreed to contribute to this blog) and now I think I’m finally ready to present…

Entheos or ἔνθεος

…Entheos? What’s that? …well firstly I should tell you it’s pronounced én•tʰe•os

So let’s now move on to the etymology (origin of the word): Well its Ancient Greek from the root words “En” or “ἔν” which means “in” and “θεός” or “theós” which means “god”…so obviously it means in god! (well, not quite)

…now I’ll define it, what does ἔνθεος ‎(éntheos) actually mean? It means having a god in one; possessed or inspired by a god.

If it hasn’t dawned on you by now, what I’m saying to you is, this blog is inspired by God.

Okay Mr Fancy Greek Title what’s your blog about?

Well that’s a very good question Italic Question Asker! This blog is to be a showcase of whatever God inspires me to share, so it could be a word that I feel God has laid on my heart to share, my quiet times, social commentary as well as bits and pieces of my journey as a Christian. I also fancy myself as a bit of a photographer so I also want to try and add a lot of images that I’ve taken; both edited and unedited.

 

Thank you for reading and I look forward to you being a part of this journey with me.