I feel like you’re a fame hunter
Welcome to the twenty first century. An era of technological advances derived from an explosion of knowledge and people willing to take risky chances. We dont even know our own neighbours, if we do we wish we never said hello in the first place. Whats happened to us, our sense of commnutiy has lost its unity. Now were too busy on facebook and complain to people to get out of our space.
Welcome to the 21st century, over 7 billion people in the world yet loneliness affects more than a common cold, whether we are young or old, makes no difference in a world that can sometimes be so cold. We hide our identity on social media, its easier to talk when nobody is seeing you. They can’t monitor our facial expressions that way, how are you? Im fine you would say. We all know that’s not the truth, when the only place to find you is online when searching for you. The only one we are fooling is ourself, so log out, put on your shoes and go out. Enjoy the fresh breeze, embrace the outdoors. If its raining wear a coat, have a rest from technological chores.
Welcome to the 21st century, its not all gloom and doom, theres good news, Jesus is coming back soon! This world has so much food yet there’s still famine, it has so much space yet the underground seems to have competitions of how many people they can cram in. Some people have spare rooms while the poor sleep on the street, yes there are various reasons why we can’t give them a room but we can always give them something to eat. Once a person has tasted poverty they understand, they don’t hesitate again to reach out their hand.
Welcome to the 21st century, we are in charge, we are able to change this, our neighbours don’t have to remain strangers. Say hello, you may not regret it, invite them round for lunch this could be the start of your friendship. Our neighbour doesn’t mean the one who lives next door, it could be that person on the street or the one who lives at number 4.
So welcome to the 21st century, it has its good parts too, because for this 21st century, God made me and he made you.
“How was lent? Did you do well”?
‘I must be honest, I was on and off with my commitments. I started well and excelled, and then I had a tough day and I fell. Oh well, is what I used to say, but this time I refused to accept this as defeat. Quick, get back up on your feet! I would say this to myself like a record stuck on repeat’.
“Did you give something up for lent?”
‘Its not so much that I gave something up, its more a case of starting something new’. “What was this”? It was a commitment to remain positive, this was so hard when I had a bad day and was thinking to myself I have had enough of this. Yet, step by step I guess there was change, I just need to keep it going now that we’re at the end of lents days.’
“Do you consider lent to be religious”?
‘I am a believer of Jesus, so of course I see its significance. He was tempted by the Devil for 40 days and refused to give into his ways. Lent is the build up to the crucifixion and resurrection, it is a chance to stabalize our commitment to God, to improver our spiritual perception. Yes I admit that it takes strength to give or start something up, and to keep it going after lent is over. This is commendable, but if we only do it to prove ourself then we are missing the point. Lent is a chance to refocus on the cross and to meditate on the ressurrection hope. So do I believe it is religious? I believe it is faith, so my answer would have to be no.’
“Isn’t religion and faith the same?”
‘If Christianity is religious then it becomes a set of rules, we become like the sadducees and pharisees who Jesus considered fools. Faith, even as small as a mustard seed, is about belief, to believe in something or someone means to trust. To have hope means to have faith, to believe God loves us, without having to tick all the boxes takes faith. Religion puts on pressure to comform, faith releases us to transform. So having faith as a christian is about having hope that outmeasures our circumstances, this is what lent takes, a little bit of faith and a whole lot of Gods grace.’
“So is lent worth being a part of?
‘Yes it is, without a doubt. You may slip up on some days in commitments but God is there to help us out. If lent is just an opportunity to give something up, why wait until lent? If it is an opportunity to seek God, then this is time well spent. I have stumbled many times during this time, the key is to keep looking forward, never look behind. So yes lent is worth doing and God is worth pursuing.’
“Thank you for sharing this”.
You are welcome
So, we are coming to that time of year where many believers around the world follow the footsteps of Jesus through lent. Learning from the 40 days of testing in the wilderness we set our selves personal goals for those 40 days or 46 according to western Christianity as it begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Holy Saturday. We aim to pray more, study the word more, give up tea or chocolate and many more things. It is a time of developing our character and even aiming to get rid of some bad habits. Yet, how many of us keep our commitment? How many times do we get back up if we fail one day? Or do we stop at the first herdel.
The most important part of lent is keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus himself. If we are only aiming to better ourselves without looking to the reason for lent in the first place, then why are we only doing this during the time of lent? It has been proved that 40 days is enough time to break bad habits and create good ones. It is also proved that 40 days has some significance through the bible. After 40 days on the mountain of the Lord, Moses returned to the camp with the glory of the Lord shining from his face (exodus 19-24). After 40 days Elijah had the strength to face what God had called him to do (1 kings 19) After 40 days Jesus began his ministry (Matthew 4). 40 days precedes something glorious from God when its done for him. So the most important thing for us to remember during lent, if we are choosing to fast. It is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. If we have struggled in faith then this is a great opportunity to get back to our foundation, to re-boost our faith through focus and commitment. It is a time where we can become consistent at whatever we set our hearts and minds to do. 40 days really can set in motion a change for the rest of our life. Fasting is not just giving something up, it can also be starting something new. When we give something up, we usually replace it with something else, so why not use this time as an opportunity to do just that.
So what’s the key to success this lent? Keep eyes fixed on Jesus, let the holy spirit help and remember that millions around the world are also committing there selves to this. Be diligent and keep going even if you stumble. It will be worth it in the end. This will be the last post until after Easter so have a good one all. God bless.
Will you walk the extra mile with me? Will you love me even when I make mistakes? Would you seal love with a kiss? Or would your love for me be fake? A diamond is tested by examination, if its fake it will break easily. If its real then the value is far more, depending on the size and how rare it is. True love is more precious than diamonds and more valuable than gold, truth be told it is available for all to be able to hold. You can buy diamonds if you are rich, but love is not expensive. It costs nothing to give a hug, say something nice and smile. It costs no money to listen and stay with someone a while. It may cost your time but its time worth investing, fake love won’t last, true love will, even when it is tested.So buckle up and get ready for a generation rising up filled with crazy love. Love that never gives up and always keeps hope, this is a love worth living for, a love that is seen without a microscope. Let it be visable and shine in this darkness, who knows maybe this love can reach out to even the most heartless. Love, its crazy when its sacrificial, so let’s love this way and get rid of the superficial. The world needs love like this, the world needs Heaven to come down and greet earth with a kiss.
Sometimes you have looked at me like a stranger, am I not your best friend anymore?
I know the power of rejection, what it feels like when someone slams the door.
I know sometimes I hurt you, this was only because I was hurting too.
Sorry my friend, I hope its okay if I still call you that?
Why let friendship end? If I send you a message will you message back?
So we have a differences, so what? We dont see much now days or talk a lot.
Age has played a part in our seperation. We grew up and grew apart, its the pattern of every generation.
But dont treat me like I dont exist if you see me. Or act like a movie star thats been on TV.
Seriously, we were so close, true friendship shouldn’t end just because we changed posts.
This isn’t me begging for a new start, just an old friend sharing some of my heart.
We used to share so much, remember in the hard times our friendship was enough.
You somehow knew just what to say, we used to smile and cry as we shared our day.
But I guess for now we go our own way, I wish you all the best.
Maybe our paths will meet again, before our souls be laid to rest.
So my friend God bless, may life treat you well. I’m sure we will see each other again, so this is only goodbye for now.
Let’s be honest with you, no mask being worn here just pure heartfelt honesty. I have been to the depths of depression, those thoughts of wanting to end it all, those feelings of being unloved and not wanted, rejecting others and myself. I have been in a crowd and felt lonely. Each day I catch a boat and 2 busy metros just to get to work, and of course the same back. Sometimes loneliness has never been as bad as those journeys, especially being an English man in a foreign country. I am a long way from my biological family, but I have church family that have taken me in and loves me. The worst thing is, like many who were not brought up with love and stability, it is hard to accept love once the barriers are up, or if you do not love yourself.
I have many reasons not to be depressed. I have a job, a partner, a church and a God I believe in, a family here and future hope. Yet somewhere deep beneath this surface was a hidden darkness masked through the comfort of my life in England. Once that comfort blanket was taken away and I was out in deep waters, I had to allow this darkness to be revealed.
I lived 13 years in foster care moving place to place. It was confusing sometimes. Moved on because I didn’t behave well, being taken in for the money. Don’t get me wrong some families were genuinely nice, but I couldn’t control my emotions, I guess the first 5years of abuse in my life really left a mark for me and all my brothers and sisters. Sometimes I wonder how much to share, I don’t want a pat on the shoulder and someone to say it will all be okay. I get that people who do that are trying to help, but that doesnt help with the matter at hand. I have discovered through my 29 years of life is not to make quick judgements on how a person acts, we have no idea what they have been through and why they are that way. What’s best, tell them you do not understand if you dont, tell them that as a friend you won’t give up on them, tell them to.love and appreciate themself and that everything is not there fault. Guilt is a murderer because it kills the joy of life. I wish I was told these things when I was younger, I hear them now because of the love shown through Christ and his church, without that I doubt I would be here today.
I could say so much more to fellow bloggers who struggle with these issues. I would just say this because its what I have learned to tell myself. ‘Never give up, you have purpose, you are worthy of life and its not your fault!’ Some things we can take the blame for, but we can also forgive ourselves along with those who have hurt us, this is the pathway to freedom. Depression is caused because we constantly believe the lie. The truth is God loves you always, even when the world doesnt. You can always love and view yourself in view of this love because it is always secure. For we are loved with an everlasting love. I dont blame my past for my future, because I am old enough to make decisions that can make the future better. People with depression, you have come this far and read this post, dont quit! We can overcome!
The last post projected an image of the horrors of the cross. This post will illuminate the beauty and joy of the resurrection. If we only look at the cross and ignore the resurrection, then Jesus death for the human race seems pointless and hopeless.
He knew why he came. The prophets emphasised the coming of Jesus to earth, Isaiah 53 paints a picture of the cross. Jesus knew his purpose for coming too. Consider Hebrews 12:2 which states, ‘for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God’. A demonstration of trust took place during the life of Christ. A trust that somehow without doing anything wrong he would die the kind of death reserved for the worst criminals. How does an innocent man die in the place of the guilty? If I was in the sandals of Jesus when walking this earth this question would always be on my mind, I’m sure it would be on yours too. Yet he knew the joy beyond the cross, this question didn’t even occur to him because his trust was based on the divine power of God almighty rather than human reasoning. He knew his life would be an offering for the guilty on the cross, that’s why he paid the price of the guilty. Jesus literally could have said, ‘I have the weight of the world on my shoulders’, but he didn’t. Instead his words were, ‘not my will but yours be done’.
A place reserved. Before the ministry of Jesus began just after his baptism from John the Baptist, the Heavens opened and a voice was heard saying, ‘this is my son, with him I am well pleased’. (Matthew 3) Jesus didn’t tick all the boxes by healing so and so, or speaking the truth here and there, or doing good before the father spoke to him from heaven. God was pleased because ‘this was his son’. His place at the throne was reserved before he did a thing on earth, the father knew his son would accomplish the mission and die for the sins of the world. So it was this joy that Jesus had his mind set on. Despite opposition, crowds surrounding him for healing and teachings, and the torment of the cross itself, he never lost his focus on the joy beyond the pain.
Joy for believers too. Yes we can set our hearts and minds on this joy too. We face hardship and pain in this life, in this life we will have tribulation. Take heart, Jesus overcame the world, through him we overcome too. A far better place awaits us for eternity, and what’s our life compared to that? It’s just a small island in the big wide sea or a star in the vastness of the universe, there is not much comparison. When we have faith it pleases God, because having faith in him shows that we believe in his existence. If we do not believe in him how can we please him. So we can face the cross in our own life and look forward to the joy beyond, the joy of our resurrection through the same power that rose Christ from the grave.
Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scoring it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of he throne of God.
There are many angles to look at the cross of Christ, this is why the Bible has 4 gospels, 4 people who looked from different views. Let’s take a look at two perspectives that paint two clear pictures of the cross in the light of Christianity.
1) The love and grace of God. Love in this world is radically different to the love shown on the cross. We are constantly told and shown what love is through television and films. The fairytale love story where boy meets girl, the charming prince that saves with a kiss, the superhero that displays might and power and of course gets the girl. We know these films, we know this kind of love. Ironically in some films love does include sacrifice, whether it’s giving up something for the love of the woman or giving up for the love of something else like saving a city they love. Yes we see it everywhere. Yet there is not many stories of love being humiliated in public and dying for people who put him in that place. John 15:13 says that there is no greater love than to lay down ones life for his friends. The grace is laying down his life for his enemies. In truth we are all his enemies at first, the ironic twist is that through the cross and acceptance of it we become friends of God, amazing! Let’s move on to number 2.
2) What God really thinks of the world’s sin. It is easy to think that because we don’t get told off or corrected everytime we do wrong that God is tolerant of our wrongs. When we think this, we need to look at the cross. Our conscience’s are our indicator when we do something wrong, sadly through desensitisation some conscience’s have lost the ability to know the difference.The cross is our indication of what God truly thinks of sin. The cross is known as the most embarrassing and shameful form of capital punishment ever used, usually reserved for the worst criminals such as murderers. The irony is Jesus was without sin yet suffered the worst punishment. Why? Well to put in its simplest way it was his love for us.
A transaction took place at the cross, our sin and shame for his forgiveness and acceptance. Thats love, a love expressed through words such as; ‘my God my God why have you forsaken me’, ‘forgive them father for they know not what they do’ and to the ultimate depth of this love the words, ‘it is done!’. In truth we deserved that cross more, but Jesus chose to take our place. So God showed how severe sin is through 39 lashes on the back, a crown made of thorns, nails through the hands and feet after carrying the cross, rejection from people and rejection from the father himself. This was the extremes of love, and what does God require for this love? Only that we believe that he really does love us that much.
Next post: The joy after the cross
The final chapter has been written. A story that started before the fruit was forbidden. A story of redemption, a story where we can’t help but pay attention.
Rebellion was birthed from the beginning, but God had a plan before the world started spinning. Some may ask, why would God allow us to do wrong in the first place? Good question, yet would we truly know Gods love without his grace?
Suppose doing wrong was not an option, and God the father didn’t choose us for adoption. If we always belonged and never did wrong, the father would not have sent his begotten son.
Our scars tell stories, without the hardship their can be no glory. We had to have a choice to ignore or obey Gods voice.
It sounds mean, but true love is something we choose, the world’s full of bad but this is good news! Revelation 22, it’s a promise of restoration, for me and for you. No matter what we are going through, or how many wrongs have happened to you, this is a hope worth holding on too.
The cross is Gods unique invitation, to restore our lost souls and give us salvation. It is a free gift, we choose whether to accept it. Or we can live without this hope if we choose to reject it.
Everyone’s invited, the rich and the poor, but we hold the handle to open the door. In the end all creation will be restored, yet today, with God, we can be so much more.
Eternity depends on our decision, his story includes you, that’s our purpose in living. Remember the cross if today your afraid, death was the cost but the price has been paid.