Death is Random (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

Death is coming, and it’s random

I know that probably isn’t the most uplifting piece of wisdom you’ve ever heard, but it is true! Death is not something we should spend our entire lives thinking about, but it does happen to us all and we need to be prepared for it.

We tend to avoid thinking about it if we can, and otherwise take a herd mentality to cope with it. What I mean is this:

  • It won’t happen to me, I’m too young
  • It won’t happen to me, I’m fit and healthy
  • It won’t happen to me, I’ve got the money to pay for excellent health care      
  • It won’t happen to me, I’ve got longevity in my genes
  • It won’t happen to me, I live in a safe town or neighbourhood

Death is random however. While any one of these factors may reduce the risk of death in your life, the fact is neither money, nor age, nor healthy living can ever stop death from coming to us all sooner or later – and I pray it’s later!

I once heard of a serial killer who seemingly had no profile of victims he attacked. That made him one of the more terrifying examples because no one was safe. If he only targeted young women, then older women and men would feel “safe.”

Each of us must come to terms with our own mortality. Just as each of us have been born, each of us will one day face death.

For the Christian, death holds little fear. When our time comes, we will step out of our earthly bodies and into the presence of the Lord. There we will remain for all eternity.

Whether you are young or old, healthy or sick, rich or poor; you do not know when your time on Earth will be up. Do not gamble with your eternal future. Set it in stone right now by putting your faith in Jesus Christ.

You do this by simply asking Him to be in charge of your life, asking Him to forgive you of the things you’ve done wrong, and by starting to live your life following Him. If you make that choice today, please do get in touch as I would love to celebrate with you and give you some pointers.

Do not put off thinking about death, as unpleasant as it may seem. Life is temporary, but eternity, well, it goes on forever!

Check out my post One Way to hear more about Jesus

Time

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog over the last month. This week however my time has been extremely limited and I have not written nearly as much as I would have liked. Can you relate?

I do not want to make a habit of putting up older posts but i’ve written a fair few articles over the last three years and some of the newer followers may not have seen them all. When I simply cannot write something you for whatever reason, I will try to share an older post here for your enjoyment.

To be perfectly honest, I get frustrated with myself when I cannot carve out the time or headspace to write. If you’re anything like me, then you put enormous pressure on yourself to deliver! It just so happens that I was flicking through some older posts and found this one.

It is about using our time for the benefit of others. Now that is a good use of time!

For those who are not familiar, every so often I put out a shorter post which I described as pearls of wisdom. I tried to offer a nuggets of wisdom and a few thoughts to go alongside it. These have proved popular so I do hope you enjoy this particular one below.

If you can spare a prayer for me at the moment, then I would truly appreciate it. Life is good and I cannot complain. We have a number of things going on all at once so I would value your prayers so that I can keep God at the centre of it all. And ideally, find some time to write!

Bless you today.

andy-brown.org/2020/04/27/people-are-a-good-use-of-time-pow/

Confront (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

Refusing to confront someone’s sin, is refusing to love them.

When we see a Christian brother or sister dabbling with sin, or worse, tangled up in it, it is the loving thing to do to gently point this out to them. Ignoring the issue will not solve the problem. By not confronting them, we are not valuing them enough to say something. It is like someone crossing a road and not seeing the truck heading their way… if we do not cry out to warn them, then how can we possibly claim to love them?

Sin is not just dangerous, it is deadly. One of the main reasons we do not confront sin is because often we do not take it seriously enough. In my truck illustration above, the danger is very real. The danger of sin is no less real, but somehow we don’t recognise it as such.

One reason for not confronting others about sin is because we are afraid of how they might react. This is understandable of course, but if done in the right way, and by someone who truly cares, we must hope and pray they are mature enough to receive.

We also do not confront sin because we feel unworthy to do so. We look at our own lives and recognise the sins we struggle with, and therefore conclude we have no right to speak into another’s life. This is likewise understandable. You do not have to be perfect to help someone with sin, but you do have to be humble.

Before I close, I do want to add that this does not give you the right to walk about your church, pointing out all the sins, mistakes and issues you see. Going around looking for things to confront people about is certainly not loving. As someone once said, “You are not Holy Ghost Junior!” Let God do His perfect work in others, and yourself too.

If you live life with others for long enough, sooner or later you will encounter sin in their life. This is not negative, but a fact of our fallen reality. Be ready to carefully and respectfully direct them away from sin and its consequences. Be prepared for others to love you in that same way.

Every blessing to you!

Move them one step closer (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

Move them one step closer to Jesus

When it comes to sharing our faith with others, most of us feel pretty inadequate. We often let fear overrule us, and do not seize every opportunity as we should. We are not perfect. Most of us want to tell others about Christ, but are not always sure of the best way to go about it. Fear of rejection may stop us even trying.

I want to try to take some of the pressure off of you today. It is vitally important we tell others about Jesus, of course, but it is not our job to convict, convince or persuade them. Our job is to witness to the truth, and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.

Instead of trying to win every argument, and feeling like we have to get everyone to pray the “sinner’s prayer,” just bring someone one step closer to Jesus.

Coming to faith is a journey, and while we may want to be the one to bring them over the finishing line, it might be our job to cheer them on halfway through the race. To put it another way, you do not have to supply all of the jigsaw pieces. It may be your role to give them one piece, answering just one question they have. It may not complete the picture for them, but it certainly will help.

I am sure there are people in your life you want to share Christ with. Don’t try to do God’s job for Him, but instead just move them one step closer to Him. What might that look like for you? Is it a prayer? Is it to answer a question they have? Is it just to display Christ in your own life so they can see Him plainly?

Whatever it might look like for you, take a step of faith today. You may not see instant results, but rest assured God’s word does not return to Him in vain.

Be A Candle (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

Even the dimmest, most tiniest of candles can cast a great light in a dark room.

Are you the only Christian in your family? How about your place of work? Your school perhaps? It can feel extremely tough to be the only one with Christian beliefs or values. It can be lonely, and each day can feel like a slog or struggle.

But don’t give up!

If you really are the only Christian in that setting, then you are the only source of light that this dark place has. If you give up and extinguish your light, then it truly will be a dark place.

You may feel as a tiny candle trying to hold back the darkest of nights, but even a nightlight draws people in. God has placed you in the exact place you find yourself for that very purpose. Be the light of the world! Be a candle! Shine your light and draw others to Christ.

When you feel alone or weary, tell the Lord and seek His refreshment. Focus on those around you who no doubt need to hear of the love of Christ. Show them that love which you have received from Him. It may change their life, not just for the here and now, but for all eternity!

Have a blessed day, and be a candle in whatever way you can.

Comfort Is No Indicator (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

When we step out in faith, perhaps for a new ministry venture or simply to share the Gospel with a friend, and it does not go according to plan… it can be all too easy to think that we completely missed God’s will.

Maybe you have experienced this yourself at times. You felt God lead you in a certain direction, took a step out, and suddenly encountered one problem after another. Or, similarly, you felt a prompting to bless an enemy, but just could not believe God would ask you to do such a thing!

In such times, comfort is no indicator of God’s will. God never promised us that following Him would always lead to a trouble-free existence.

Look at Job from the Old Testament. He was exceptionally blessed, seemingly following God’s will and then he lost absolutely everything in one day. He and his friends wrestled with what had happened to him, and never really got an answer. Unlike us, he could not see behind the curtain and understand that there were spiritual forces at work.

Similarly, look to the Apostle Paul. He was arrested, beaten, put in prison, shipwrecked and far more besides. The author of most of the New Testament faced unimaginable trials, and yet, was smack bang in the middle of God’s will.

I do not write any of this to discourage you. I am not urging you to resist God’s will to avoid such trouble! For Job, although he lost everything, he was restored in the end. Not so for Paul (on this earth at least). The point I am making is that sometimes God’s will leads us into blessing, and sometimes it leads us into trouble. Our comfort or discomfort is no gauge of whether we are well following God or not.

Do not assume that because you are facing times of difficulty that you have somehow missed God’s plan. Often the presence of trouble is a sign that the enemy is resisting you, and you are precisely where you need to be.

Seek the Lord in your trials, as there is always a reason why He has brought them. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable place, do not just run from it, as you may be running from God. We need not seek trouble of course, but let each of us seek God with our whole hearts instead.

Where will God lead you this week?

God doesn’t forgive issues (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

God does not forgive issues; He forgives sin

Every so often, I put out a shorter post which I call Pearls of Wisdom. The usual format is a short phrase or “pearl” with a few words from me highlighting its wisdom. I mention it here as I’ve not done one in a while, and I know there are a few newer readers. (Thanks for joining me!)

I listened to a sermon this week, and the preacher happened to mention the above phrase. It struck me that when we minimise sin (referring to it as slip, mistake or issue) we also minimise what God has done to resolve it.

We may not like to use the word sin or sinful to describe our behaviour, and so water it down with words like issues. All this does is serve to weaken our resolve against sin in all its forms.

God hates sin, and so should we. Christ’s great work at the cross did not achieve the forgiveness of “issues” but of sin and its wickedness.

The older I get, the more I realise the depth of my sinfulness. Not that I consider myself worse than anyone else, it is rather that the more I get to know Christ, it becomes apparent how far short I fall of His wonderful holiness.

Sin is a dreadful thing, and it carries a heavy cost. We Christians can be thankful that this cost is fully paid for by Christ. Let us not minimise His work by softening sin down to mere mishaps. Sin is sin, and yet God forgives it through the blood of Jesus! Hallelujah!

Rejoice in this truth today, and be blessed!

Love or Jealousy (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

If you truly love someone, then it is impossible to be jealous of them

Jealousy is an ugly thing. It is not something we talk much about today, and yet it is a prevalent problem in our society.

To be jealous of someone is to want what they have. Worse, it is to think that they don’t deserve it and that we do. At the heart of jealousy is selfishness. We look on what others have, want it, and our attention is all on ourselves. It may cause us to bitterness, it may cause us to act to undermine the other person, or in extreme cases we may even steal or destroy the very thing we want to prevent them from having it.

None of these are acts of love.

To love someone – to truly love them – is to want the absolute best for them. It has nothing to do with what we do or don’t have, it is just about them having the best. If we love someone and want them to have the very best they can, then it is impossible to be jealous of them. Even if they have the very things we want, that is all overridden by our desire for them to have the very best.

To love is to put them first. It is to put their needs ahead of our own. It is to focus on them and not on ourselves.

The cure for jealousy is love. I put it to you that if you are jealous of someone today, then you perhaps don’t love them truly.

Is there someone you are jealous of right now? What steps can you take to love them better?

Have a great day!

Fear Nothing (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

Fear nothing, except God Himself

We are often afraid of many things in life. That fear can prevent us doing what we know is right. Often the fear of other people stops us doing or saying the things that God has prompted us to. Or worse, peer pressure leads us to do things we know are sinful.

The Bible has much to say about fear, and while I do not think the emotion of fear is prohibited in the Scripture, bowing down to it and letting it stop us certainly is.

When this life is over, and we stand before God, all those things we feared will seem rather insignificant. There is nothing to fear, except God Himself.

When we say “fear” these days, we simply mean things that we are scared of. Often people are afraid of spiders, heights or public speaking. This kind of fear is not what we were made for. God does not want His people to be afraid. Evolutionists explain fear as a safety mechanism, and yet we saw no sign of fear in Adam and Eve until after the Fall and sin entered the world.

Our Heavenly Father does not want us to fear Him in the sense of being afraid of Him. Rather, when we speak of fearing God, we mean a reverential fear. This is to highly respect God in His position of Sovereign Lord with the power of eternity in His hands.

Next to God, there is nothing worth fearing. If your fear is stopping you from serving God then cast it out today! Fear nothing, except God Himself!

We’re Here to Serve God (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

As Christians, we are here to serve the Lord, not the other way around

I am certainly not against all television ministries, but an unguarded look at Christian TV might make you think that Christianity is all about getting the best life you can. Some falsely lead you into thinking that having a relationship with God will make all of your problems go away or that all of your dreams will come true. This is not so.

I do want to add though that God does indeed love us and want us to have good lives. He is a good, good Father and wants what is best for His children. However, God’s primary concern is neither our comfort nor our bank balance.

God is not a cosmic genie ready to grant your every request and wish.

God does not exist to serve us, rather quite the opposite is true. If the focus of your Christian life is to get whatever you can from God, then I suggest you perhaps care more about what God can give you than God Himself.

Christians are here to serve and worship God. Our time, energy, money and resources should be devoted to His service. We should go about our days not thinking about what we want to achieve, but seeking to serve Him and follow His lead.

This is a real challenge. Speaking for myself, I am only just realising the depths of my pride at times. Surrendering to Jesus as Lord is a daily (or even second by second) process. Few of us put and keep God at the very centre of our lives. I ask you though, is there anything more important?

Are you in this to get what you can from God, or are you fully committed to serving Him? How might your plans for today change as a result?

God bless; you!

You Are They (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

You are “they”

Have you ever heard someone say – “They should do something about that…” But who is “they?”

Depending on the context, we might mean “the Government”. The Government should fix this or that… The Government should do something…

The same might be said in a work context. The management should deal with that… Why don’t the management do something about that…

Often when we say “they should” do this or that, we just mean someone else. The longer I stay on the Earth, the more I realise that we are the “they.”

If we recognise that a change is required in some area of life or society, then our first response ought to be “what can I do about that?” Large scale societal problems of course will need more than an individual response, but there are always steps we can take.

Let’s say, for example, you want to do something about homelessness in your area. It might be extremely difficult for you to eradicate this problem single-handedly. You could help a small number of individuals, but you could also raise funds for a local charity. You could campaign at a local or national level or seek support from local businesses or churches.

My point is that you may not be able to solve the entire problem, but you may be able to take steps to improve the situation even in small ways. We all have a responsibility and must not always assume it is for someone else to deal with.

If “they” need to do something about it, then let each of us remember that we are the “they.”

Make Someone Feel Valuable (PoW)

Pearls of Wisdom

Everywhere you go, do whatever you can to make someone feel valuable

Many people do not feel all that valuable or valued. In fact, many feel worthless and unwanted. As Christians, we know this is not true. God values every single human being, and the price He paid for them was the cost of His Son.

Not everyone is open to our Christian message however, but that does not mean we cannot communicate their value. We value the people in our lives, yet often do not show it or neglect to tell them.

If you truly value your spouse or children, then make an effort to show them that. There are myriad ways you can do this, but one of the simplest and most effective is just to say “thank you!” You or they may not think it a big deal to cook dinner every night, or put the bins out, or work every single day, or raise the children. But do not take these things for granted, and make sure you let them know you appreciate them and what they do.

Similarly, for those outside of your household, you can still recognise their value. Whether it is the local shopkeeper who has helped you during this time of lockdown, or the nurse or care worker who has looked after you or a relative, you can ensure they know how valuable they are and their contribution is.

Everywhere you go, do something to show the people around you how much you value and appreciate them. A note of thanks or encouragement can brighten someone’s day. Use social media to promote some one, service or business which has helped you out. Be a blessing and go the extra mile to recognise those who work tirelessly behind the scenes or who are rarely thanked.

You can make a difference. You can shine the light of Christ in this often dark world. What will you do this week?