Archive for the ‘friendship’ Category

When you’re in a group or a crowd and each have their own needs and requirements, it would seem strange if the leader then wandered off to find another person who had maybe become separated from the group wouldn’t it?

Well Jesus did that – Matthew 18:12-14

What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

I’m sure if you were that person who has become detached from everyone else, you’ would be happy that someone had come to save you wouldn’t you – I certainly would!

Some things are easy to say, but difficult to put into practice. For me, the statement in this picture are some of those.

There is one part of this statement that I find far more difficult than the rest – can you guess which part that is?

I suspect you’ll not be surprised when I tell you, “A heart that forgives the worst” is what I find the most difficult. I’m human, have many flaws, and yes, when someone really hurts me or those I love, it can be very difficult to forgive them. However I believe forgiving them is what I must do, and so I do try to forgive, though if I’m honest, I do still struggle with this at times.

I pray that we may each be able to say the above prayer sincerely, knowing that God will help us to achieve the goals stated in this prayer.

Over the last few days I’ve been talking about how we need to live a Christ-like life so others will be able to see God through our words and our actions.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about spreading God’s message, I tend to think about people I don’t know, rather than family and friends who don’t believe in God. I know that’s wrong, as the people I’m closest to, who see and interact with me on a regular basis, are far more likely to see the real me and how I act and talk on a daily basis than someone I don’t know but our paths cross once or twice over a period of time.

My challenge for me and for you today, is to make sure those I love know I love God, and what He means to me, and what He can do for them. Because if I don’t tell them and show them, how can I expect someone else to convince them?!

When you’re arranging to meet someone for a meal or a coffee, what is your response if they ask you where you want to meet?

I often say, “Wherever suits you” and basically pass the decision-making back to the other person. When the person then decides on a location, am I always happy about it? To be honest, no I’m not! However having told the person to pick a location, can I really be unhappy with their choice!

This got me thinking about God and how we say to God, “Here am I, send me”. We don’t say, “Here am I, send me to a or b”. Instead by saying, “Here I am, send me”, we imply we’re happy to go wherever God wants us to go.

I’ll leave you thinking about this question…are you really ready and willing to go wherever God needs you?

Have you heard the following quote before?

It’s a quote I’ve seen and read a number of times in the past, but today I’ve found an added dimension to this when I found the following image

Yes, to change the world we must love our family, but to love them we must truly live as God wants us to. Therefore we must live as we’re instructed to do by God, and once we start treating our family as we should, we can them start working with and treating our friends and neighbours as we should; Then our community and so on, until we reach the world!

There may have been times in the past when I have felt as if belief in God or the message contained in the bible, was ridiculous and foolish. However when I found myself at my lowest and unable to see how I could get through a situation I faced, it was then , or to be more accurate, it was when I looked back at that time afterwards, that I suddenly realised God was the one who got me through those dark days.

You may think that sounds ridiculous but honestly I know how dark a time I was in, and can assure you that to me I was at rock-bottom, and could see no way forward for me as I couldn’t cope with anymore – I stopped praying, believing God had deserted me, and in turn my life just seemed to get more and more out of control with the outlook becoming less and less assured.

Then just when I really felt I couldn’t face anything further, life took and unexpected turn for the better, with a new friendship bond being created – one that is stronger than ever today. My life began to turn around and my new-found friend was by my side, there to listen to me 24/7 and offers support and encouragement. Once my life was fully back on track I looked back at that awful time in my life, and that was when it struck me, why did that person who I’d know for a while suddenly reach out to me, and why did my life suddenly take a turn for the best – The reason was obvious to me, God!

Yes I’d prayed and prayed, and yes I thought God wasn’t listening to me and had deserted me. I was stupid – I forgot that God always hears and answers our prayers, although he doesn’t always answer them when we want or even in the way we want or expect, and that I believe is exactly what happened to me.

And all that is why I believe in God and the power of the cross.

Nothing we say or do in life can take us out of God’s reach. He has plans for each one of us – those plans may include people and situations we never expected, it may also exclude people or places we thought would be part of our life forever.

When we accept God as our saviour, God will make sure our life will follow the plan he has made for us, whatever and wherever that may take us.

 

Let us each be a blessing and honour God’s names, because one day we will be together with the blind man Jesus healed, and the saints from all the ages, our friends and family who have gone before us, and we will be with God for eternity. On that day we will know for sure that everything we endured during our lifetime was for our good, and for the glory of God.

So today and tomorrow and the day after, remember that whatever we face, God is with us. And because of that we must accept his blessings and do our best to bless others and honour His glorious name.

Yesterday I asked you a few questions about whether you go to church, and if you became a member of your church for the right reasons.

I hope you’ve had time to consider your answer to my questions yesterday.

It’s ok if you become a member of your church for the wrong reasons, the main thing is that you know you did it for the wrong reasons. e.g. pressure from your friends or family, expectations of others in your church.

Maybe you joined for the wrong reasons a long time ago, but maybe now you do attend for the right reasons. You now attend church and believe in God, so you are doing it for the right reasons now. Maybe you could consider seeing if you could re-commit to your church again, knowing that this time you’ll be doing it for the right reason?

Firstly today I want to ask you a couple of questions:

  • Do you go to church?
  • If you do, why do you go?

I’m sorry for all the questions, but I just wanted to get you thinking before you read my thoughts for today.

For those who do go to church or who used to go to church, I want to focus on why. There are lots of reasons why people attend church: faith, friendship, habit, your parent make you, or maybe you’re not entirely sure why you go.

While we may go to church for different reasons, if we become active members of that church, we must do that for the right reasons. i.e. we believe in God, we want to learn more about God, to be challenged to help/inspire others to follow God.

If you’re a member of your church – for example in the Salvation Army, we are called soldiers when we become members – when did you become a member, and why?

Sadly I’ve found over the years are many younger folk will become members of their church just because that’s what is expected of them by their family or friends. Rather than because they truly believe and understand the promises they are ‘signing-up’ to when they become members, and willingly want to take on those responsibilities. That’s why I believe many of these youngsters within 5/10 years of becoming members of their church, have stopped attending.

So today, take yourself back to the day you became a member of your church and committed your life to God – Did you do it for the right reason?

That’s quite a hard-hitting question isn’t? I suspect for some of you it will be a question may need to spend some time considering before you answer.