Andy B 2 Minute Video Vlog, Calendars, Organisation and Peace, S3, E10

Some sound advice here which I thought I would share. For someone like me, who is often taking on way too much, I really need to consider what God is asking me to do each and every day.

Psalm 139 is a fairly well known piece of scripture, but it is verse 2 that really strikes Andy B as he considers Calendars, Organisation and Peace. …

Andy B 2 Minute Video Vlog, Calendars, Organisation and Peace, S3, E10

“A Prayer For Courage and Integrity”

Father, I thank you for the “Daniels” of our day. Many of us grew up with fathers and mothers who not only taught us right from wrong, but modeled it…

“A Prayer For Courage and Integrity”

June 30 Faithful Living

Paul’s last words to the leaders of the church at Ephesus set quite an example for believers to follow. I also pray that I will be able to say to my …

June 30 Faithful Living

Ask and Believe

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled “Ask” which you can read here. It was all about encouraging us to ask of our generous and gracious God.

At that time, I prayed a specific prayer to the Lord and am thrilled to say that it was fulfilled this week. The content of the prayer is not for sharing, but please do join me in thanking and praising our Wonderful Lord for His faithfulness.

Here’s the thing though… I was more than a little surprised when the answer came. What does that say about my faith in general, or in that particular prayer? If we are surprised when God answers our prayers, it is because we did not expect Him to do so. Let me be clear; if we do not expect any answer to our prayers, then why pray in the first place? Prayer is not simply “wishing!”

I am truly humbled to see this answer come, and God has challenged me to not just pray big, but to really expect the answer to come. I have heard Christians pray for something, say “Amen!” and then immediately say, “That probably won’t happen…” Why do we undo our prayers like that!

In the first chapter of the letter of James, it says this:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

James 1:5-8 (NIV)

James is clearly talking about the subject of wisdom here, and yet what he says about not doubting applies to all that we ask of God.

Verse six tells us to believe but at the same time, not to doubt. These are two separate instructions, I think. Belief and doubt are not mutually exclusive. For the prayer I referred to above, I did believe God when I asked, but I also doubted it would happen. My doubt was not necessarily in God Himself, but rather in a) my deserving b) that it was His will and c) that the ask was too big for me and my faith right now.

I can say wholeheartedly that I did believe when I asked, otherwise I would not have asked at all. But in the gap between the ask and the result, I began to doubt that the answer would come. Can you relate?

James uses the example of a wave to illustrate his point. A wave is neither on the beach nor out to sea. One minute it is in, and the next it is out. I am fortunate to live by the coast, and so when we take a walk alone the shoreline, I am reminded of this truth. I do not wish to be like the wave. When I pray, I want to be fully in – believing that God will come through and not doubting either Him or myself.

That is why it is so important to pray with the Bible. If we are not entirely sure if something is God’s will, then it is hard to have complete faith in it. However, when we pray with the Word of God, we can be sure that what we are asking for is promised by Him. It gives us full assurance of His faithfulness.

So I am going to continue to pray, and pray big! In an attempt to learn my lesson from this experience, I am going to focus on the Generous God we serve, and try not to allow doubt to talk me out of it. If God shows me that the answer is no, then I shall move on to the next thing!

Tell me your praise reports and prayer testimonies. Are you ever surprised by God answering your prayers? Let’s steadfastly remain in Him, trusting in His goodness and glory.

As ever, do send me your prayer requests. I would love to pray for you in whatever capacity I can. Comment below or get in touch. May your prayers be fruitful this week!

Your Government Needs You

The COVID pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges that has faced our generation, many have said. Governments across the world have grappled with its consequences, and whether you think your political leaders have done a good job or not, you cannot deny the scale of the issues they have faced.

The UK appears to be in an unusual place concerning the pandemic. We were heading for a full release of restrictions on 21st June – so call Freedom Day – but due to rising cases of a COVID variant named Delta, our government have pushed this date back to 19th July.

The challenge facing the UK Government does not end on 19th July however, and a whole new set of challenges begins. Many have lost their jobs over the last 18 months, much money has been paid out to businesses forced to close during the lockdown, and our health service faces a massive backlog of treatment they could not give in the last year.

All of this came to mind this morning when reading Proverbs:

When the country is in chaos,
everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
to straighten things out.

Proverbs 28:2 (Message)

Whether you think it fair to describe the current state of affairs as “chaos” is down to you. As above however, this country and nearly all others are facing unprecedented times. Things certainly need to be straightened out in one way or another.

The phrase “everybody has a plan to fix it” stood out to me this morning. At every turn, and every choice the Government makes, there will be someone telling them they are wrong. Commentators, experts and the general public say they should do this or that, but of course, no one can agree. For every expert that says “Go this way!” there is another which says to go the opposite direction.

Such times as we live in, and indeed, any times really, require leaders of wisdom. They must use their wisdom to make sensible choices, and not be swayed by wavering opinions. Sometimes the right choice is obvious… but often it is not.

This is true in our own lives, let alone running a whole nation. We do not always know which path to choose, and so how can our governments when they face decisions which can have implications for generations to come?

Only God has wisdom enough to show us the right path to choose. We, as Christians, must seek Him fully in His Word and be obedient to His call. When we face a choice not clearly described in the Bible, we pray for guidance and lean on the Holy Spirit. We must pray the same for our political leaders. They may or may not be Christians, but they still need godly wisdom to do what is right.

Your government needs you! It needs you to pray, and such prayers will benefit the whole country. It is a Christian’s duty to pray for our leaders, even when we do not agree with them.

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (Message)

At times, we may all be guilty of criticizing the government and our national leaders. Their job is extremely difficult, and I am not sure I would want to have the responsibility they hold. I confess that I do not pray for them as often as I should, and clearly they need our prayers now as much as ever.

Some will feel called by the Lord to get involved in politics, local or otherwise, and others will certainly not. Whether that applies to you or not, the Bible is clear that we are to pray for our governmental leaders.

If you are not sure where to start, then here are a couple of suggestions.

As above, ask God to give our political leaders wisdom to make godly choices. When the right path forward is not clear, ask the Lord to show them the right way to go.

Also, pray that the Gospel can be freely preached in your nation. There are places in this world where the preaching of the faith is strictly prohibited. While not banned in the UK, the Gospel is no longer a popular message (if the Gospel ever was) and those who wish to share it are being penned in on every side.

Your government needs you to pray for them. The Bible commands us to do so. Let each of us set aside some time this week to pray for those in authority.

Have a great day!

Christ is… Enough? [Re-post]

Listening to Christian radio this afternoon, I heard another worship song proclaiming Christ is enough… it got me thinking about the below post I wrote a while ago. Re-posting it here for you. What do you think? Is Christ enough? Clearly He is… but is “enough” sufficient?

Christ is… Enough?

This Sunday at Church: Encourage someone you seen changed this past year

For this Sunday here’s what you can do: Encourage someone you seen changed this past year..   For this Lord’s Day post I thought it might be …

This Sunday at Church: Encourage someone you seen changed this past year

Bespoke Furniture, Rolling Clouds and Growth

Do check out all things Berry Bunch when you have some time. Another great ministry I’ve encountered here on WordPress

I was remembering a home we lived in a few years ago. Because it was on a mountain, and because it was our favourite place to live – ever. And from …

Bespoke Furniture, Rolling Clouds and Growth

THE KEY TO SUCCESS

I thought I would share this as it pairs so well with my earlier post from this morning.

Formonthills Woods with the Firth of Forth in the background. Photo by Alan Kearns. This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you …

THE KEY TO SUCCESS

Success

This week, WordPress notified me of two particular milestones my site has reached. It does not matter exactly what they are, and you will understand later why I choose not to share the specifics. In addition to that, my site also managed to exceed total views for 2020, also something of an achievement.

Are these successes though?

In some ways, of course they are. It is encouraging to me as a writer to know that my posts are being read. That’s sort of the point, right? But take my blog and sit it next to a social media giant or retail conglomerate and suddenly my handful of views does not look quite so successful.

Page views, likes and shares are just one small way to measure success. For the Christian writer, blogger or author aiming to share the Gospel, they are not the best measure.

So what is success in God’s eyes? As ever, Paul has wisdom to share.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV)

In particular, my attention is drawn to verse seven above. Paul, as he approached the end of his life, was able to say that he fought the good fight, finished his race, and kept the faith. While i am sure he had regrets, he was able to say that he did what God had called him to. Surely that is the greatest success a person can achieve.

Whether you are a writer, pastor or anything else. Are you able to say that you are doing what God has called you to? If so, then you are a success. It does not matter what awards you do or do not win in this life, for you will be rewarded with the crown of righteousness by the Righteous Judge.

When I stand before God at the end of all things, He will not ask me how many views my site got. He will ask what I did with Jesus, and then He will examine my works to see if they stand the test. Salvation is unquestioningly found in Jesus alone, but our good works in His Name will also be recognised.

A blog with a thousand followers is not more successful than one with a hundred, if both are seeking the glory of the Lord. The same is true for churches. Worldly success is fleeting so strive for God’s success which is eternal.

What race are you running? Let it be the one that leads to Christ. Once you have made sure that it is, run it with all you can. If you can say, at the end of your life, that you followed the Lord and kept the faith, you will be a true success. Don’t chase after follows or promote yourself, do it all for Jesus. He is the only One that matters.

Prayer for the weary

How has your week been? How about your day today? I feel led to pray for the weary this evening. Is that you? It certainly is me!

Heavenly Father, we give you thanks and praise for your wonderful, never ending love for each one of us. Whether this week has been good or bad, we thank you that you have been with us through every step of it.

As we approach the weekend, I want to pray for all who feel weary or heavy laden at the moment.

Lord, I ask you to give them strength. I pray that they may know that your yoke is easy and your burden is light.

If there are those who have come to the end of their strength, May they draw on your infinite resources.

If need be loving God, then do carry them through this moment.

Increase their joy, heavenly father, as we know joy is our strength. let them draw on your piece which surpasses all understanding.

You know the burdens we all carry Lord, so do help us to know that we do not carry them alone. let us also know the height, depth, length, and breadth of your unfailing love!

When it is time to sleep this evening, may that sleep be sweet and peaceful. Watch over us as we rest, so we might serve you all the better tomorrow.

We thank you that you have heard our prayers. we lift them before you in the mighty name of Jesus Christ!

Amen!

Joseph and Jesus (Joseph #8)

I have now written and published a series of posts on Genesis 37, which covers the early part of the story of Joseph. I know it is a familiar story to many, and I hope that you have found my thoughts helpful.

Let me summarise chapter 37 for you now:

There once was a son, beloved by his father, and he made some very bold claims about himself. He was hated by his brothers, so much so that they bound him and beat him. They wanted to kill him and left him for dead. They thought they had gotten rid of him for good for the price of a few silver coins. They did not realise that one day, he would return to rule over them.

Who am I talking about here? Joseph? Or Jesus? With some careful wording, the above seems to apply rather well to both the son of Jacob and the Son of God.

Joseph is a “type” of Christ, and by type, I mean something akin to a prototype. In the Hebrew Scriptures, prophecy is less about predicting the future, and more about  establishing a pattern. Joseph is a pattern for Christ.

Let’s walk back through Genesis 37 and see if we can spot the similarities between Joseph and Jesus.

  • Joseph was hated by his brothers. Jesus was largely rejected by the people of Israel. (Gen 37:4)
  • Joseph was beloved by his father, as was Jesus beloved by His Father (Gen 37:4)
  • Joseph’s brothers hated him for telling them the truth (his dreams). Jesus was hated by the religious leaders of the day for telling them the truth. (Gen 37:5)
  • Joseph told his brothers that they would one day bow down to him. Jesus said that one day we all will bow down to Him (Gen 37:6-7)
  • Joseph’s father sent him to his brothers. Jesus was sent by the Father to the people of Israel (Gen 37:13)
  • Joseph’s brothers plotted to kill him; Jesus’ fellow Israelites plotted to kill Him. (Gen 37:18)
  • They threw Joseph in a pit, and Jesus was put in a tomb hewn from rock. (Gen 37:19)
  • They stripped Joseph of his tunic, and the same was done to Jesus (Gen 37:23)
  • Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver; Jesus was sold for thirty pieces. (Gen 37:28)
  • Reuben returned to Joseph’s pit and found it empty. Likewise, the women found Jesus’ tomb empty on the third day (Gen 37:29)
  • Joseph’s brothers killed a male goat to hide their sin. Jesus became a sacrifice for us all, and His blood covered our sin (Gen 37:31)

Some of these, alone, may seem just trivial or coincidental. But when you look at the list as whole, you must admit there is certainly something here.

Is Joseph a perfect, prophetic representation of Jesus? No, not exactly of course. However, there are signs here and patterns set out which we must not gloss over. This passage alone is surely not enough to convince anyone of Jesus’ future coming, but take it alongside the many other Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, and a picture forms.

I am not suggesting you bend Scripture to make it say whatever you wish. IF you look however, you will soon see that Jesus is ever present in His Word. The old Testament is a shadow of things to come, and that shadow is that of Christ Himself.

Genesis 37 is not the only place in Joseph’s story where we see Christ. As we continue on through his story, I will try to point them out to you. If you spot one that I miss, do let me know!

Rest assured; the Bible is true! It is the only truth we can rely on! I have not just bet my life on it, but my whole eternity as well. How about you?