New Every Morning

English: Early Morning Sunrise over Scarboroug...
English: Early Morning Sunrise over Scarborough Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At our midweek church cell the Pastor asked if we had any testimonies, old or new. I have to admit I didn’t have any new or recent testimonies that I could share.

It got me thinking though, to have something as a testimony you have to firstly recognise it. A miracle could happen right in front of your eyes and yet you may not even notice it.

There’s a verse in Scripture about God’s mercies being new every morning. It comes from the book of Lamentations:

Lamentations 3:22-24
New Living Translation (NLT)
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”

Let’s make a start in using our spiritual eyes and seeing the work of God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, in all that we see!

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My God is Awesome!

Sometimes a worship song comes along which really moves you. This one below from Pastor Charles Jenkins is one such. Awesomely so. Love the lyrics to it as well.

Authored by Chris Hall

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Invasion of the spiders

s. Bipunctata (Common False Widow)
s. Bipunctata (Common False Widow) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seeing a lot in the news about the recent sightings of False Widow spiders in England. Given that it is one of the few spiders in the UK whose bite can break the skin then perhaps the worry can be understood although I expect it will die down soon with the coming of winter. It’s bite can release venom and neurotoxins but it seems the more serious risk is from bacterial infection.

A good time to repost about the other forgotten invader, the Segestria Florentina or Tube Web spider. A few years ago these were harbingers of the end of Western civilisation but the world keeps spinning.

Here’s some pics of one of the critters I found in my back garden a few years ago. It’s big, black and with a bright green marking which gives the appearance of ‘fangs’. This one flipped over on it’s back when I disturbed it showing a what seems to be a well armoured body. Found another the following year in some brickwork. Like the False Widow it’s bite can puncture skin and people say it’s like receiving a ‘deep injection’ that remains painful for a few hours.

Cecil Frances Alexander wrote about:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

in the poem Maker of Heaven and Earth and God related creation in Genesis 1:20-22

20 Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 Then God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply. Let the fish fill the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.”

Perhaps a little less fruitful for some of creation Lord!

Authored by Chris Hall

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Being Honest in the Christian Life

Something is really playing on my spirit at the moment. It’s something that I’m hearing from people close to me and I find myself cringing every time I hear it. It’s the concept that how good your day, your life, your relationships are is dependent upon how you verbalise it and how your own state of mind is towards it.

In the secular world I come across it as ‘positive thinking’ or ‘self-help’. Often you’ll find that it gets intertwined with ‘New Age’ concepts.

In the church I look upon it as an aspect of the ‘Confession and Prosperity Doctrine’ or ‘Name It and Claim It’. Only an aspect though, something small yet something subversive.

I’ll raise my flag here right at the beginning. Believer or not, shit happens. I don’t believe that being a child of God gives us a Get Out of Jail card that we can throw at life’s slings and arrows. An episode of Postman Pat summed it up beautifully for me. Pat was delivering to the church and went inside the church to get out of the rain. As he was speaking to the Vicar a drop of water fell through from a hole in the roof onto Pat’s nose. The Vicar exclaimed ‘Ah Pat, it rains on the just and the unjust’. Of course this is based upon Matthew 5:44-45

44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. (NLT)

Sadly I’m seeing it more and more in the Christian circles that I move.

If feel that it’s a dangerous thing to do. It puts the onus of ‘having a good day’ upon you. It doesn’t matter what’s happening just verbalise some self-help tosh and it’ll all be better. If you’d talked with me on the day my mum died and told me that all I have to do to make it a ‘good day’ is to say it then you’d likely have walked away with less teeth.

For people who suffer with mental illness this sort of doctrine is doubly dangerous: Even if you do confess it to be a good day and still feel crap then the blame lies solely at your feet. When it seems like the world is miles away from you mentally and emotionally do you really want someone telling you in an underhand way that it’s all your fault?

Claiming the promises of God when taken together with advancing the Kingdom of God in our own lives is something to aim for. I believe that such will enable us through the Holy Spirit to much better deal and cope and endure. But to live in a delusion? No thanks. Live honestly with God, act as true children.

I’ll finish with the wise words of The Teacher and a video from the great Pete Seeger.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

Authored by Chris Hall

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God’s Grace

I have a friend who regularly sends me emails with varying religious content. Sometimes he hits the spot though and I think that this is one of those times.

God’s Grace

It is a shame but this message is very true. Hope you are all as blessed as I was by this story. I wonder how many people will delete this without reading it because of the title.

There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit.

Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak….

“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this bird cage.  On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.



I stopped the lad and asked, “What do you have there, son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply.

“What are you going to do with them?” I asked.

“Take ’em home and have fun with ’em,” he answered. “I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time..”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”

“Oh, I got some cats,” said the little boy. “They like birds. I’ll take ’em to them.”

The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh?? !!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing. They ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?” the pastor asked again. The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?”

The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free. Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. “Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

Satan replied, “Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I’m gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

“And what will you do when you are done with them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, I’ll kill ’em,” Satan glared proudly.

“How much do you want for them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you’ll take them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don’t want those people!!”

“How much? He asked again.

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your blood, tears and your life.”

Jesus said, “DONE!” Then He paid the price.

The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.

Note: Isn’t it funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell? Isn’t it funny how someone can say “I believe in God” but still follow Satan. Isn’t it funny how you can send a thousand jokes through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing? Isn’t it funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them? Isn’t it funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us?

Authored by Chris Hall

Christian MPs and the ASA

I read the letter below and very nearly fell off me chair! Imagine that, MPs in the House of Commons, one from each of the main parties defending a group (HOTS) that had fallen foul of the Atheist Standards Authority, Sorry Advertising Standards Authority.

Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury
Chairman, Advertising Standards Agency

21st March 2012

We are writing on behalf of the all-party Christians in Parliament group in Westminster and your ruling that the Healing On The Streets ministry in Bath are no longer able to claim, in their advertising, that God can heal people from medical conditions.

We write to express our concern at this decision and to enquire about the basis on which it has been made. It appears to cut across two thousand years of Christian tradition and the very clear teaching in the Bible. Many of us have seen and experienced physical healing ourselves in our own families and churches and wonder why you have decided that this is not possible.
On what scientific research or empirical evidence have you based this decision?

You might be interested to know that I (Gary Streeter) received divine healing myself at a church meeting in 1983 on my right hand, which was in pain for many years. After prayer at that meeting, my hand was immediately free from pain and has been ever since. What does the ASA say about that? I would be the first to accept that prayed for people do not always get healed, but sometimes they do. That is all this sincere group of Christians in Bath are claiming.

It is interesting to note that since the traumatic collapse of the footballer Fabrice Muamba the whole nation appears to be praying for a physical healing for him. I enclose some media extracts. Are they wrong also and will you seek to intervene?

We invite your detailed response to this letter and unless you can persuade us that you have reached your ruling on the basis of indisputable scientific evidence, we intend to raise this matter in Parliament.

Yours sincerely,
Gary Streeter MP (Con)
Chair, Christians in Parliament
Gavin Shuker MP (Labour)
Vice Chair, Christians in Parliament
Tim Farron (Lib-Dem)
Vice Chair, Christians in Parliament

Excellent!

Source : Total Politics

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I believe that God can heal

Bath Abbey and Entertainer. Bath is very popul...
Image via Wikipedia

It would seem that just reiterating that statement of Christian faith is enough to bring down the wrath of the Advertising Standards Agency. If you believe that statement is true then please sign the new e-petition here.

The statement goes:

I believe that God can heal 

Responsible department: Department for Culture, Media and Sport Whether or not we believe that God can heal, we call on the Government to ensure that publishing statements of faith is not banned. This petition is put forward following cases where the Advertising Standards Agency has banned Christian groups from publishing material with the words ‘God can heal’, for example in Bath.

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