Do you need to slow down?

Although this is a somewhat different post to my usual, I thought the poem by David L Weatherford had quite an effective message.

Life is incredibly fast-paced and stressful.   So many people are becoming over-stressed, burnt out, despairing, trapped.   Believe it or not, the Bible gives plenty of advice re priorities AND a balance in one’s life.   One example of where it spells out clearly the need to set aside time to rest a while, is found in Mark 6:31 where it puts it like this:  “Jesus said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while’—for there were many [people who were continually] coming and going, and they could not even find time to eat” (Amplified version)

We do need to take time out, slow down and rest a while.

David Weatherford, a child psychologist and poet, wrote:

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
’cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn’t a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

Poem Used with permission.  If you’d like to see any more of David’s poems, you can visit his site at http://www.davidlweatherford.com/
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Are you limited by your own capacity and strength?

In a recent quiet time I had with the Lord, I was blessed by reading Psalm 1 and Ephesians 2, especially verse 10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”

Good Works … cannot produce salvation (i.o.w. our good works cannot save us) but good works follow on, are subsequent to salvation and form part of the evidence of the God-empowered fruits of salvation.  As with our our salvation, so our good works (following on from salvation) were ordained before time began.   An amazing thought.  He had you and me in mind all the time!

If we think a tall tree covered in foliage.   If one of the branches is cut off it will wither and die.   The only branches that thrive are those connected to the main and flourishing tree.

When we are walking with Christ and connected to Him, many opportunities and blessings we couldn’t begin to imagine become available to us.   So, rather than being limited by our own capacity and strength, we can draw on Christ’s strength and power that He has made available to us.     If we are called by God, He also equips us with what we need for the task – our walk with Him.   We can rely on Him in the same way that Joshua and Moses did.

We need to let go of our own limited expectations and so-called self-sufficiency.

We need to cling to the old rugged cross and draw on all that the Lord has made available to us.   The wonderful thing is that He promises to be with us and IS with us through every season and moment of our lives.

Remember “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)

Billy Graham once said: “The greatest barrier to knowing God’s will is simply that we want to run our own lives.  Our problem is that a battle is going on in our hearts – a battle between our wills and God’s will”

Stop trying to do things your way.  Surrender to the Lord Jesus, walk in the light as He is in the light and remember the “joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers…. but … delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do”. (Psalm 1)

A TRIBUTE TO MY DEAREST MOTHER …

A TRIBUTE TO MY MOTHER, ZENA ASHTON

“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25)

This tribute was written by a very dear friend of mine …

ANOTHER GODLY LIFE

Today’s Scripture verse was the favourite of a dear friend who went to be with the Lord some years ago.  This reading is a tribute to her as she lived her life according to God’s Word.  She trusted Him and advised others never to run away from things but to believe that the Lord would provide.

In other ways too, Zena’s faith in God was clearly visible.  I was always amazed at her hospitality.  If someone needed a bed for the night or needed to stay for a longer period, they were made to feel welcome, even if they were comparative strangers to her.  Most Sundays you would not only find the immediate family at the dining room table, guests were invited to share the meal.

When my own dear mother became too frail to stay alone at home whilst I was at work, she too was welcomed into this Godly home.  I would take her there in the morning and fetch her at the end of the working day.  It was from there that we had to take her to a care home where she lived for just over three months before the Lord called her home.    In spite of working fulltime, Zena found the time to visit her regularly at the care home.

Zena’s goal in life was to share the Lord Jesus Christ with people.  She led Bible studies for her church, and some saw her as their spiritual mother.  An excellent teacher, respected by all in her primary school classes, she was able also to explain God’s Word simply and clearly, so that people could grasp its truth and meaning.

Music was another love in Zena’s life.  She mastered the art of piano playing early in life and later used this gift in the Lord’s service as organist for morning and evening services at the church.

Today would have been Zena’s birthday and I thank God for the memory of her and the way she lived her life to the glory of her Saviour.

A Godly woman “opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26)

[This reading is taken from the book “Amber’s Story – Walking back into the Light” by Lorraine Lorenz]

NOT PERFECT YET!

Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on [e]so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own (Philippians 3:12)

I am sure you have seen the phrase: “Be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet”.   Very true indeed.

In my quiet time with the Lord this morning, I read that well-known passage in Philippians 3 (Paul writing to Timothy) which says:

“12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Apart from the overall message of this passage, which illustrates the importance of finishing the race rather than necessarily winning the race, never entertaining the possibility of slacking off because of infirmity or old age and committing oneself to finishing strong with whatever strength and abilities one has – until our final breath or when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air and we get our first sight of the Lord Jesus …,  there were some other very encouraging and helpful thoughts I gleaned from this passage.  Let me share them with you now.

Is it possible for anyone to be perfect in this imperfect world we live in?

The thought of being “perfect” can be troubling and challenging when we think of all our imperfections as Christians.   We are still a work in progress, after all…

The word “perfected” or “perfect” as used in the Bible to describe various people, does NOT mean “sinless perfection”.  Only Jesus is perfect and sinless!   In the Old Testament, we read about various Bible characters that were described as “perfect”, “blameless” or “loyal” – they were by no means sinless. For example – Noah, Asa, Hezekiah, Job and David (see footnote below for Bible references to these people).   It is important to be aware that several Greek and Hebrew words are translated as “perfect”, but the thought behind them is either “completeness in all details” or “to reach a goal or achieve a purpose”

I discovered that there are three stages of perfection (as set out in the Scofield Reference Bible):

  1. Positional Perfection
    This is something we have as soon as we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Take a quick look at this verse in Hebrews 10:14:
    For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.”  (NLT)
    For by the one offering He has perfected forever and completely cleansed those who are being sanctified [bringing each believer to spiritual completion and maturity].” (Amplified Bible)
  2. Relative Perfection
    This refers to spiritual maturity I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view. And if you think differently about some issue, God will reveal this to you as well. Nevertheless, we must live up to what we have already attained.… (Philippians 3:15)
    Spiritual maturity is particularly important in relation to
    The will of God Epaphras … prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God (Colossians 4:12)
    Love And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect…. (1 John 4:17)
    Holiness Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.(2 Corinthians 7:1)
    PatienceAnd let endurance [patience/perseverance/endurance] have itsperfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:4)
    Every good work Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)Maturity does not come overnight, but is progressive as we saw in 2 Corinthians 7:1 above.   Ephesians 4:12 summarizes this process so beautifully … And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.…”.  Hence one can see the importance of regular Bible study and Bible reading as well as attending a Bible-believing and Bible-preaching church (regrettably many, many churches are no longer Bible believers and are following and teaching a post-modern, emergent church, liberal Gospel … that is, preaching another Jesus, not the Jesus in the Bible).
  3. Ultimate Perfection
    In other words, perfection of soul, spirit, and body. This will only be realized at the time of resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3) or if the Rapture of the Church occurs prior to our dying” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) “… For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” “we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.”

As the footnote in the Schofield Bible states: “For the Christian nothing short of the moral perfection of God is always the absolute standard of conduct, BUT … Scripture recognizes that Christians do not attain to sinless perfection in this life.

So be encouraged as you meditate on these verses.   We are a work in progressLet us strive to draw ever closer to our Saviour and reflect His beauty in all we do, say and think!

Footnotes
Genesis 6:9, 1 Kings 15:14, 2 Kings 20:3, 1 Chronicles 12:38, Job1:1&8, Psalm 37:37)

Share His Word while you still can …

Speaking just a word for Jesus is so important in these days as we see the day of Christ’s return getting very close!

Sometimes one thinks that what one says is not effective or weak.  BUT …. if you share a word or two or three from HIS Word, the Bible, the Lord will assuredly use it to His glory!

As Dr David Jeremiah shared in his devotional reading a few days ago, “Whenever we read the Bible, quote it, teach it, preach it, publish it, or spread it abroad, it speaks loud and clear.  God’s Word NEVER returns void but accomplishes what He pleases (Isaiah 55:11).   Any old mouthpiece will do – even ours!  You can be confident of HIS POWER whenever you share HIS precepts”  (Turning Point September 2017)

Isaiah 55 verses 10 & 11 state …
10 
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens

    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Be faithful in sharing His Word:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthinans 15:58 KJV) “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose] (1 Cor. 15:58 Amplified Bible)

 

The Waiting Game

I don’t know about you but I know that waiting for something can be SO difficult.   We live in a world that expects instant gratification and when one has to wait for any length of time, it can be very frustrating and oft’ times generates a lot of anxiety.

Well, sometime ago I was reading a portion in the well-known book, “Streams in the Desert” and I now share a few thoughts from that reading with the prayer that it will help and encourage you.

If we are praying about something and possibly not seeing an answer yet, the writer suggested 3 ways of “waiting”:

Wait in Prayer
Call on the Lord and, like Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19:14-19, spread the matter before the Lord.  Tell Him all about your problem.   Tell Him about your situation, your concerns, your longings and “plead His promise of aid”.

Wait in Faith
Express your unwavering confidence in Him.  Believe that His timing is perfect and the answer will come one or other way … and not a moment too soon or too late.

Wait in quiet patience
It is so easy to become impatient, but we need to learn not to murmur.   Just continue to put the case before the Lord, exactly as it is and remember, “… In quietness and confidence (trust) shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). Put the matter in His hands, in the hands “of your covenant God, saying ‘Now, Lord, not my will, but Thine be done.  I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities;  but I will wait until Thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes.  I will wait, if Thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed on Thee alone …my spirit waiteth for Thee in full conviction that Thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower” (Morning by Morning)

Wait, patiently wait,
God never is late;
Thy budding plans are in Thy Father’s holding,
And only wait His grand divine unfolding
Then wait, wait,
Patiently wait.

Trust, hopefully trust,
That God will adjust
Thy tangled life; and from its dark concealings,
Will bring His will, in all its bright revealings,
Then trust, trust,
Hopefully trust.

(Mercy A. Gladwin)

What do you know about “casting”?

What sort of question is that?   Casting?   What are you on about?

In my time with the Lord this morning – reading His Word, the Bible – I was struck by the many times it is used in Scripture.   I trust it will be as much of a blessing to you as it was for me.

Briefly then, what does the word mean?    To “cast” something, within the context of the study today, it means to:

  • throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction
  • discard, abandon, throw out
  • shed, get rid of

Now read through these verses prayerfully and with thanksgiving

Cast your burden on the Lord[release it] and He will sustain and uphold you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken (slip, fall, fail) (Psalm 55:22 -Amplified Bible)

Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease.(Proverbs 22:10 – NKJV)
Throw out the mocker, and fighting goes, too.    Quarrels and insults will disappear. (Prov 22:10 – NLT)

Cast your bread on the surface of the waters, [be diligently active, make thoughtful decisions], for you will find it after many days [be richly rewarded].(Ecclesiastes 11:1 – Amplified)  As the great commentator, Matthew Henry said:  “we may well trust God to provide for us, without our anxious, disquieting cares”.  (This verse is a message on its own and maybe I will expound on it sometime soon!)   

This is what the Lord said to His disciples after a whole night of fishing without success.   “And He (Jesus) said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some. So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. (John 21:6 – NKJV)

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12 – NKJV)   “The night [this present evil age] is almost gone and the day [of Christ’s return] is almost here. So let us fling away the works of darkness and put on the [full] armor of light.(Rom. 13:12 – Amplified)

Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].(1 Peter 5:7 – Amplified)

And now a prayer:

Precious Lord and Saviour, open my eyes that I may see wonderful truths in Your Word.  Help me to walk in ways that please you and bring glory to Your Name.

I close with extracts from that beautiful hymn by Clara H Scott, 1895

  1. Open my eyes, that I may see
    Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
    Place in my hands the wonderful key
    That shall unclasp and set me free.
  2. Open my ears, that I may hear
    Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
    And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
    Everything false will disappear.
  3. Open my mind, that I may read
    More of Thy love in word and deed;
    What shall I fear while yet Thou dost lead?
    Only for light from Thee I pleadThe 4th verse modified by me:

    Open my mouth, and let me bear,
    Gladly the warm Truth everywhere;
    Open my heart and let me prepare
    To share Your Living Word, everywhere!

No Tears in Heaven

 

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21:4 NIV)

 Eternal Joy

How many people can you think of of who, just in the last year, have:

  • been bereaved
  • been seriously ill
  • been involved in an accident
  • been made redundant from work
  • suffered from serious stress and anxiety
  • suffered from depression
  • had serious family problems
  • been divorced or separated
  • been victims of crime

The list goes on and on ….

How amazing it is then to think that a day is coming (for all those who have trusted the Lord Jesus as their Saviour) when all these horrific things will be forever past and gone!   Can we even begin to imagine what that will be like?

Another Scripture tells us that no eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard, neither has it even entered into the mind of any human being, what God has prepared for those who love Him.

In the light of what the Bible tells us (and we know that not a single one of God’s promises has ever failed or ever will fail), let us as His children take courage anew today.  When life throws its worst at us, let us remember that it will be worth it all when we see Jesus!

And if you have never opened the door of your life to Jesus, why wait any longer?  Do it now – before your heart is left eternally cold and silent because His pleading has finally ceased and will never be heard again.

(This is an extract from the Daily Devotional book, “Amber’s Story – Walking Back into the Light” by Lorraine Lorenz.  Highly recommended.  Obtainable from Amazon – paperback & Kindle format)

The End Times (Daniel 12)

THE END TIMES (Daniel 12)

We are living in very troubled and dangerous times and according to the Bible, what we are seeing happening all around us, globally, is indicative of the last days prior to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (and yes, He IS coming back again).

I feel led to share this beautiful poem penned by Lorraine Lorenz in her daily devotional book, “Amber’s Story – Walking Back into the Light”

The angel is speaking to Daniel
Revealing the things still to come
In far distant future he sees them
In God’s time these things will be done.

The Antichrist ruling the nations
Unparalleled cruelty to man
Distress so severe, it’s unequalled
To any, since nations began

At that time the Archangel Michael
Protecting God’s people of old,
Will rise up with power from Heaven
And take on his God-given role

Behold now the great resurrection
Of all those asleep in the dust
The saved ones will rise to perfection
Perdition, the fate of the lost.

To shine as the brightness of Heaven
Be wise and your wisdom impart
For those who lead many to [Jesus]
Eternally shine as the stars

Then someone enquired of the angel,
“How long will these things take to be?”
“For a time and times and a half time”,
[Or “3 and one half years”] said he.

The angel continued his message
“The words are now rolled up and sealed
Till the time of the end, when so surely
[These secrets will all be revealed]”

No matter what anyone might think to the contrary, these things will happen.

One thing is sure, we cannot tell the day or the hour, but the Bible tells us we can discern the season … that season is here and we need to be sure we are ready to meet the Lord Jesus as our Saviour and not as our Judge.

If you have any questions, fill in the contact form and we will get back to you

God bless

Day Ashton