God is Good

As we begin this new year, there are a couple of areas in which God is speaking to me about. I share one here today in case you feel He is guiding you in a similar direction.

God is Good

I know that this seems a fairly basic premise, yet I wonder how often I (and others) forget this simple truth.

When I worry, I am not remembering how good God is. When I try to meet my own needs, instead of relying on Him, I am forgetting His goodness towards His children. When I neglect to pray, because I am trying to solve my own problems, I am not actively bringing to mind His genuine and constant love towards me.

A proper revelation and understanding of God’s goodness will result in me living quite differently.

Properly understanding the goodness of #God will result in a life of #trust and defeat #worry – #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

I know that God is indeed good, all of the time, and yet I often forget this fact and rely too heavily on myself. This is a form of pride, and something I need to work on. “I need…” or rather need to get out of God’s way and let His Spirit change me! A lot of bad things happen in this world, which cannot be denied, but this does not deter from God’s goodness. There are countless examples of His loving-kindness towards us, specifically and in common grace.

I plan to meditate on God’s goodness, and try to keep it at the forefront of my mind. That way, when something happens, I can turn my thoughts and prayers to something positive and powerful. Instead of grumbling, I can call to mind all the good things He has done, and seek Him for the answer.

Some Scriptures to help me, and hopefully you too:

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Psalm 103:8 ESV

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:1 NIV

Taste and see that the Lord is good;     blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8 NIV

Taste and see that the Lord is #good #Psalm 34:8 #Bible

Imagine what would happen if we spent a lot of time digesting these verses. If we were to memorise them, recite them, internalise them, then how different might our life look in the next twelve months?

If we are not stunned by God’s goodness, then I am not sure we properly perceive it. In and of ourselves, we are sinners who have rejected God’s ways and rebelled against Him. Yet, while we were still far off, He sent His One and Only Son to die a terrible death on our behalf. Because of what Jesus did at the cross, we are free from sin and can approach the Father, enjoying life for all eternity. God is indeed good!

Whatever you are facing right now, spend some time focussing on the goodness of the Lord. Even if everything in this life were to fall apart, you have an eternity in heaven to look forward to. That alone is worth praising Him for! Chances are, there is much in your life to be thankful for, and the ever-good God is willing to listen to your prayers and act on your behalf in this life. Do not waste your time and energy worrying, instead put whatever the issue is before the Lord and let Him show you His goodness. Not every problem will be solved, and rarely in the way you expect, yet it is far better to endure trials with Him than without.

Think back over last year, and remember the good things God has done for you. If He was good last year, He will be good this year too.

Join me in rejoicing in His goodness, and I would love to hear your comments on the good things He is doing in your life. If you are struggling, then I would be honoured to pray for you too.

God is good – all of the time! Amen!

This Sunday at Church: Repenting of sins from the previous year (RB)

It is good to start the new year with a clean sheet and a fresh start. Jim’s first post of the year, on his This Sunday series, shows us one way that we can do that.

I hope you enjoy reading it, and have a great Sunday, and indeed, a great New Year!

This Sunday at Church I want to encourage you to do the following: Repenting of sins from the previous year. I think the Christian life means …

This Sunday at Church: Repenting of sins from the previous year

Going for Godliness #SundaySuggestion

This year begins on a Sunday so I am kicking off the year with a Sunday Suggestion.

One of the most popular posts of last year was – Go for a Goal – which was another Sunday Suggestion. I could launch 2023 with a similar theme, but I am sure you will hear enough about New Years’ Resolutions in the coming days. Instead, let me ask you – how ought you to live your life as a Christian in 2023?

Peter, in his second letter, talks of the end of all things. He says this:

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

2 Peter 3:11 NIV

Peter instructs that as all things will end one day, we ought to live our lives in holy and godly ways.

These words are in reference to the end of the world or the last days, and we could spend much time discussing if we are indeed in the last of the latter times. We certainly see many signs that Jesus warned us of, and yet every generation believed itself to be the final one. Two things are for sure; 1) we are closer to the end than we were yesterday, and 2) life is short and last days or not, each of us could find ourselves standing before the Lord a lot sooner than we ever thought possible.

Given this, it is all the more vital that you and I live holy and godly lives. My suggestion for you today, and for this entire year, is to go for godliness.

What is godliness, and how do we go for it?

What is #godliness? How can we be #holy? #Bible #Jesus #Christianity

Godliness and holiness are close cousins. To be holy is to be set apart for a specific purpose – namely, to serve God. Godliness is to be like God in character, and to think and act in accordance with His will.

This is not easy for us to achieve, and impossible in our own strength. Only through constant study of God’s Word and fellowship with Him and His Spirit can we ever hope to act in a godly manner. Our born-again heart might be new, but we wrestle with our sinful nature and conquer it through prayer and the renewing of our minds.

Going for godliness is to put God first in your life, and to prioritise Christian practices over the things of this temporary world. Watching TV  is not wrong, nor is any of your hobbies, but if they replace your fellowship with Christ, then you will never be able to live as you ought.

It is not something you can do overnight, and in fact, will take effort each and every day of 2023. You do not go it alone, as you have the continual comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of believers who travel  with you.

Decide today to made 2023 the most godly year of your life to date. Put God first, and live in accordance with the Scriptures and in line with the Gospel. Pray for me as I do the same, and let us each look forward to the coming of our Lord – sooner or later.

God bless you this year!

UK Christian Bloggers – Andy Brown (Best of 2022)

For my final best of the year series of posts, I want to share one from the UK Christian bloggers.

Over the last year, a group of UK-based bloggers have been getting together regularly to pray and swap stories. It’s been a tremendous encouragement. I want to publicly thank each and everyone of them today.

If you are looking for something to read or watch, do check out their blogs. There is some wonderful material there and you will not be disappointed.

Hi! My name is Andy Brown, you may remember me from such blogs as andy-brown.org…! It has indeed been some time since my last proper post, although I have tried to share some older material and some great posts from friends and fellow bloggers. Life has gotten rather busy and my writing has suffered. I…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2022/06/18/uk-christian-bloggers/

I’m Sorry – Andy Brown (Best of 2022)

Not exactly one of my most popular posts from this year, but I really like it! So I’m sharing it with you today. Hopefully you won’t have much cause to use this advice in the coming year, but just in case! 

I was thinking about apologising this week, not that there was a particular incident which I needed to say sorry for, but instead I was reflecting on how bad we are at it – generally speaking! Is that through lack of practise I wonder? We all make mistakes, and yet we often fail to apologise…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2022/02/03/im-sorry/

God’s Glory or Your Comfort? – Andy Brown (Best of 2022)

This was one of my most read Pearls of Wisdom from this year.

I hope you enjoy reading it again tody

Pearls of Wisdom God’s number one goal is NOT to make you comfortable Some Christian TV channels are great, but not all of their content lines up with Scripture. You do have to be discerning. If you tune in to the wrong show or preacher, you might be misled into thinking that God’s number one…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2022/01/19/gods-glory-or-your-comfort/

Then Wisdom (Proverbs 2:5-8) – Andy Brown (Best of 2022)

Over the course of 2022, I have written a series of posts in the book of proverbs. This particular post had the most views, so I share it with you again today as part of my best of the year. 

In yesterday’s post – If Wisdom – we saw and understood that wisdom required certain things from us. A choice was given to us, and we could opt to follow the path of insight or to tread the way of foolishness. What are the benefits of wisdom though? We posed the question yesterday, if I…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2022/01/18/then-wisdom-proverbs-25-8/

When one door closes another one opens (RB)

Do spare a thought and a prayer for brother Dean at this time. Thanks for reading.

Hi everyone! Hope that you are well and have had a great Christmas! How was Christmas for you? I have been quiet lately in the blogging sphere. To be…

When one door closes another one opens

Preaching to the Choir – Andy Brown (Best of 2022)

Are you preaching to the choir? Is that wasteful, or does the choir need your encouragement as well? It was a great pleasure yesterday evening to meet (on video) a couple of fellow Christian bloggers, and lovely to share some of our stories, questions and experiences of ministering through this medium. It was humbling to…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2022/04/09/preaching-to-the-choir/

Poor Little Fig Tree – Andy Brown (Best of 2022)

On Tuesday, I wrote a post entitled Anything, which looked at the awesome power of prayer. Yesterday, I shared a post called – A Fig Tree – which picked up that theme, and was written by the excellent blogger Bruce Cooper. Some comments on these posts highlighted to me that many do not fully understand…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2022/06/23/poor-little-fig-tree/

Psalm 150 Poetry – Andy Brown (Best of 2022)

As I explain in this post, I have never been much of one for poetry. That is why I was quite surprised to learn that this was actually one of my most popular posts this year.

If you missed it the first time around, I hope you enjoy this repost today.

I have been dabbling with a bit of poetry lately. It has never been something I was particularly good at or interested in, but perhaps the Lord is opening up something new. Perhaps not! Time will tell! This first attempt at a poem is based around Psalm 150, and is perhaps a little trite to…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2022/01/05/psalm-150-poetry/

My Normal Hero

Towards the end of each year, I like to try and share something of a summary post. This year is no different, and yet, in other ways, it will never be the same again. This Christmas, for the first time in my life, I’ll be facing the end of the year without my father.

On Friday 2nd December, just a couple of weeks ago, my dad passed away. He had suffered with Parkinson’s Disease for several years, and had deteriorated rapidly in the handful of months since the summertime.

As we prepare for his funeral this week, I was asked to sum up his life in a few short words. “What’s the one thing you would want people to take away from it?”

I answered like this.

He was a “normal” hero – as opposed to a “super” hero. There are no stories of he and I climbing Mount Everest together, nor times we went trekking in the Andes. We just “did life” together, and he was an ever constant presence in my world. He worked hard his whole life, putting food on our table and taking care of us. He enjoyed the simple things in life, and I cannot be more grateful to him.

There are countless lessons he taught me over the years – both directly and indirectly. There are too many for me to share in this one short post, but a few things I must mention.

It is ok to live a normal life

When I was a boy I dreamed of being a police officer, astronaut, fighter pilot and a hundred other things. As I grew, I looked ahead to college and university, and then on to marriage and children. My vision has always been set forward, and I was always “waiting” for my life to begin. When I became a Christian, and really before I knew anything of God, I felt the tug toward ministry. Again, I waited for it to begin, thinking “One day…” I’ll do this or that. In some respects, now I have completed university, have a career, am married with a family, and in small ways I minister in God’s kingdom, I am still looking ahead.

As I reflect on my dad’s life, I now realise it is ok to just be normal. I need not seek fame, fortune, an international ministry or seek ever exciting things to add to my bucket list. Make the most of life – absolutely – but my dad has taught me not to miss today, looking to tomorrow.

Do not miss out on the blessings of today, because your eyes are fixed on tomorrow #wisdom

Appreciate what you’ve got

Many people lose loved ones having never told them what they really mean to them. While I do not feel as though that was the case for me and my father, the illness he had meant that we lost much valuable time over recent years.

If you have people in your life who you love and care about – tell them so. Don’t waste a day, as life is always shorter than we would like, and opportunities to talk and live with those you love are limited. It is not morbid or dark to say that a time will come when you can no longer tell them (on this Earth) what they mean to you – seize those chances whenever you can. That is one thing my dad has taught me.

There is more I could say – much more, yet a thousand-page post would somehow seem inadequate. I’ll leave you with something that would make my dad smile.

He used to enjoy a TV show called Red Dwarf. Perhaps you’ve never heard of it? It is a sci-fi comedy starring a man who is the last remaining human being alive. This character, Lister, lives abord a spaceship called “Red Dwarf” which is rather loosely controlled by a computer AI called Holly.

In one particular episode Holly, through his ineptitude, endangers the crew and is replaced by a rather stricter computer AI. This new personality forces the crew to work and earn rations, and before long they miss the rather slapdash former AI. In a duel to the death over a chess board, the two AIs battle it out and Holly is no match for his replacement. He is deleted, much to the crew’s sadness. In the final scene of the show, and spoiler alert, Holly appears and admits it has all been a practical joke. He was having them on the whole time. His closing words are very apt for me, and I hope you also:

“The moral of the story is “appreciate what you’ve got…” because, basically, I’m fantastic!” – Holly

I do not know what 2022 has thrown at you, nor what 2023 will bring. Take this advice however, and appreciate what you have.

I will miss you Dad