Posts Tagged With: Baptist

The Destructive Nature Of Anger

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Anger is an emotion that all of us have felt or will feel! A formless force that manifests itself in many ways, often in the destruction or (attempted destruction) of whatsoever crosses our path.

Now whilst there are many that struggle with anger problems, often because of deep-seated personal issues, anger is such that even the most mild mannered lady or gentlemen can exhibit feelings of intense rage. Now is this all bad? Not necessarily, in the bible we are told that Jesus Christ got angry, often times at the hardness of people’s hearts towards his words.

In other passages, we are told that due to the lack of respect shown to the temple, he proceeded to physically cleanse the temple of moneychangers & those that bought & sold in the temple with whip in hand.

Now I bring up Christ to highlight the fact that anger in itself is not a bad thing, if the anger is directed towards unrighteousness or injustices. The problem though is that many of us get angry for the wrong reasons! Even if initially our fit of rage is justified.

I picture anger like a man balancing spinning plates; whilst initially he could be successful in balancing a few, as the intensity grows of balancing more & more, he quickly finds that he cannot keep track of all the plates as they begin to smash on the ground, before he knows it, what started out as a simple (albeit complex manoeuvre) becomes something he has no control over.

It’s the same with anger, we often times open up a pandora’s box of hurt, when we let anger control us & ultimately consume us. The bible of course has much to say about this;

Make no friendship with an angry man;
and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Proverbs 22:24

An angry man stirreth up strife,
and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. Proverbs 29:22

Two verses to name a few, highlighting the dangers of allowing anger to sit within us for long periods of time.

The bible says in Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil

Showing us that anger becomes a problem when we don’t deal with it. The bible’s timeframe of dealing with anger is 1 day, but often times we harbour anger in our hearts for many days, months, years even. We allow it to fester & canker in our hearts, eating us from inside & robbing us of our joy

steam on pot in kitchen

The bible says let it go! In a sinful world filled with sinful men & women, the chances of you harbouring anger is extremely high, but understand that in Christ, we have a Saviour who not only took care of the anger of God towards sinners by appeasing it through his own sacrificial death, but forever lives to make intercession for us.

The sustained anger we often show towards others is the same anger that was dealt with on the cross. Can we not show the extended hand of grace to others who have ruffled us?

Is there a time to be angry? Oh yeah!! Christians should not downplay this, but there is a difference between anger at injustices, disrespect & sin & plain anger due to emotional instability (bruised ego, pride etc)

Let’s identify them both & act accordingly! A life ruled by emotions is an unstable & dangerous life to live. Choose rather to be governed by principles & grace.  Amen

 

 

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An Attitude Of Bitterness Is No Excuse.


You know it’s been a while I wrote a blog post, when I had to use my password protect app to locate my WordPress username & password to login 😕

So here I am again, with a quick thought taken from my general reading through the book of Ezekiel. Have I ever mentioned that I love the books of Jeremiah & Ezekiel?

Do I understand everything from them? No…..but the more you read, the more God opens your heart to his Word.

As I read through Chapter 3 of Ezekiel, the verses 12-17 stood out to me. In these verses, you get a glimpse of the attitude of the prophet Ezekiel! Drawing in the immediate context of what is going on at this period, we understand that the captivity of Judah had already taken place; Nebuchadnezzar has besieged Judah & rounded up the choice men & women for Babylon. King Jehoiachin who was the king of Judah at the time, was also taken to captivity, Nebuchadnezzar instilled Zedekiah as the last king of the remnants of Judah. (2Kings 24:10-15)

Ezekiel who was one of the captives of Judah is called of God to be a prophet as he & the captives are dwelling at the river Chebar in the land of Babylon (Ezekiel 1:1-3)

Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him. Ezekiel 1:1-3

The commands of God to Ezekiel are clear,

1: Go preach to my people

2: Warn them to turn back to me

3: Tell them I have not forgotten them

4: Warn other nations of my judgments

Now prior to Ezekiel leaving to preach to the remnant of those captive, this is what is said of Ezekiel in terms of his attitude to the command of God “So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.” Ezekiel 3:14

Now bare in mind, Ezekiel had lived through some of the rebellious years of Judah, & grew up during the reign of King Josiah to Jehoiachin, so he had legitimate reason to be upset with his people for how they had disobeyed God.

Let’s not forget also that God makes it clear to Ezekiel that whilst he will have the ears of the people, they WILL not listen to him “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.” Ezekiel 3:7

So Ezekiel was aggrieved & bitter in his spirit towards the people, but the Spirit of God was still strong on him as he took him to the captives. Showing that Ezekiel had a heart of obedience, even though he himself did not particularly like the task at hand, nevertheless he obeyed God.

Now whilst Ezekiel left in bitterness & anger to the people, his attitude changed during a period of 7 days as he sat amongst them “Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. Ezekiel 3:15

Ezekiel, once he had been amongst the remnant, no doubt seeing the state in which the people were in, his heart softened to the cause. This reminds me of Christ’s surmisings & compassion he had for the people in Matthew 9:36 that they were scattered like sheep with no shepherd.

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36

Ezekiel would go on for 48 huge chapters obeying God, sometimes undertaking some of the most difficult tasks God had ever given to man, solidifying himself as a great prophet of God & a giant of the faith, but that was not how he started.

All of this to say this one simple fact; sometimes God calls us to obey him, when we may have our own reservations as to why we should not. Maybe a past hurt, or fear, past disappointments, disillusionment, doubts, inadequacy etc but regardless if we have these thoughts, just like Ezekiel, it should not stop us from obeying the command of God, in whatever capacity God has called us to. God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. Amen

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We Had No Right (short poem)

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He drank until there was nothing left.
My guilt, his love, 3 days of restlessness.

The cup of indignation which was meant for me.
The second of the three, drank it amongst scheming thieves.

Who am I? That the Saviour should bleed? My sin, oh gracious Lord you intercede
You deserve all the glory!
All hail the King of this story.

A new chapter unfolded, the grave clothes were graciously folded.
The dark day gave way to clear displays.
The stone rolled away, you gracious Lord, are the only Way.

– Sal

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9/11 – We Still Hear The Echoes (poem)

Wrote this poem 3 years ago!

Ten years ago! Oh ten years ago, we still hear the impact, we still hear the echoes……

We still see the planes, we still feel the crash, we still gasp at screams,
We still wish it was all a dream………………….

Ten years on, feels like ten days have gone
Tenth is this anniversary, of two towers which stood strong……….

Herein lies the deceased, both here & in the Middle East
Some died for supposed honour
Many died in pure innocence
Some died on the battlefield
Many died for money & greed………

Raging fires turned to dying embers
Dying embers became burning emblems
Two towers came down, one nation stood up,
One voice perked up & one heart pumped up……

Conspiracies arise, we can speculate, we can surmise
But judge with your own eyes
Darkness lies within the bosom & smoky skies…………..

One thing for sure, as I write from across the shore
Is we still hear the echoes, of innocent lives taken…………

Rest in peace the righteous amongst the deceased
A heavenly home now yours, with which no money can afford (John 14:1-4)…………

TwinTowers

Sal

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Lessons From The Piccadilly Umbrella Man

UmbrellaPiccadilly Circus is known for it’s exuberant and often comical collection of indie performers, all vying for the attention and money of pass-by tourists and regular central London enthusiasts.

 

It was then highly comical to see a performer today of which the word “talent-less” would go hand to hand with. An act consisting of holding a windswept umbrella in a position which would give the illusion of a windy day in London would hardly get the creative juices flowing neither would compel tourists to cough up their hard-earned coffers.

 

WHAT a surprise then to see such an act gather the crowds and bring in the money, maybe it was the simplicity of it all, or rather the nonsensical act of holding a windswept umbrella in a clearly wind-less day. Whatever it was, people loved it and it brought a smile on many children’s faces.

 

As I sat and watched, it suddenly dawned on me that this guy probably has worked hard with whatever small idea he had to perfect his act. To us simpletons watching on the sidelines, it looked so easy, one would be excused for thinking it’s just as simple as standing on a street holding a windswept umbrella, but the grace and poise by which he stood still, and carried himself, exposed a man who had finely tuned his act through hours and hours of practice.

 

This of course reminded me of all the times in the Bible, where God called many people to do great acts, people who started out with no obvious talent or skill, people who the majority would have looked upon and thought “they are good for nothing” yet turned out to be some of the greatest men and women of history. What are the underlying “keywords” for all these great men and women? “HARD WORK” and “PERSISTENCE”.

 

Much like this man, who probably went through periods where he must have thought “this is stupid” or “this is hopeless” great men and women of God fell and had to start again, constantly working and perfecting themselves through God, making mistakes yet learning and becoming the people that God could use to change the climate of whole nations and bring about changes that would resonate thousands of years on in Christianity.

 

Maybe this is all too much to draw from a man with a windswept umbrella in the middle of Piccadilly Circus lol, but according to 1Corinthians 1 v26-27 Paul wrote “ For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

 

God delights to use people who maybe are not the most talented, but have a love for him and a willing-ness to learn to do great things. If you think you have no obvious talents or gifts Christian, then you are maybe who God is looking for.

 

Sal

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To My Disgruntled American Friends.

Barack Obama, Barack ObamaA great theologian once told me to “suck it up buttercup!” and when it comes to the whole Obama Administration, that too pretty much sums everything up.

Alright, so let’ not play; Obama has been a disaster in office up to date! His exploits vindicate that, with the latest Bergdahl Guantanamo swap affair tipping some of you guys over the edge (Wasn’t he supposed to have closed Guantanamo by now?). Not only that but side issues, such as his birth certificate fiasco, his love for social media, his youth days, his wife etc, have all made him a different type of president to his predecessors a hipster president to many. So all in all, not a particularly happy 6 years for many of you, and the last 2 could hardly come quick enough for some.

Alright, so this is all well and good, he is not fit for office, but what is the alternative to Mr Obama?, lest we forget Romney, who was Obama’s main rival for the 2012 presidency was equally awful. I still have some of my notes I took as I watched the 2012 presidential debates like a keen American observer, from across the pond, and from it, I thought that Romney would have been an equally bad choice for the presidency.

political-symbols-democrat-republican-oI don’t remember ever being totally convinced by the Romney/Ryan combo. In fact the only thing I distinctly remember about Paul Ryan was Joe Biden’s freakishly white teeth, mocking him as he attempted to answer his questions during the vice-presidential debates.

Romney on the other hand…….lacked specifics to say the least. He owned a successful business, but aside from that, he never really seemed like he had a plan of how he would get America out of the economic slump it was facing after the worldwide economic downturn, or how to negotiate foreign policy.

1) He didn’t seem know how he was going to balance the US budget, or decrease its astronomical figure. I remember him stumbling on this grilling.

2) Couldn’t really say how he would stop Iran getting nuclear weapons, if they wanted to get them, although he claimed if Obama was elected, Iran would definitely get their hands on them.

3) He did not know what he would cut from spendings, or how he would increase gross revenue.

4) He promised everyone a tax break, not just for the rich, but couldn’t really explain how he would do it, or how it would not only help rich people.

5) Plus he pretty much supported  the same abhorrent moral measures Obama endorsed. I couldn’t even pin him down on his stance on abortion, as it kept changing depending if you were reading the Huffington post, or various political websites.

So we have two awful candidates for the presidency; a choice between the lesser of two evils, with the public ultimately favouring Obama over Romney. Obama clearly won the popular vote, along with the youth vote, ethnic minority vote, and women votes. Romney had the Republican, conservative tea party vote & elderly vote, but it was not enough in the end.

Biden

 

The grass is not always greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it. Obama is terrible in office up to date, but Romney would have been the same. Yes maybe he would have handled certain issues better than Obama, but he would have had his own problems, people would be complaining about right now. The truth is, I doubt there will ever be a president in office who will echo the Christian sentiments of presidents gone by. America will continue having the same presidential candidates, because really there is little difference now between the Republican and Democratic parties. The illusion of choice is obvious, but it’s still a choice to many who fail see through the smoke and mirrors of politics.

The only ruler who will ever be worth his weight in gold is the Saviour himself who will rule and reign on this entire world, not just one continent for 1,000 years. Funnily enough, even with a perfect ruler such as Christ, there will still be people who hate his reign and will group together with Satan to attack him. The only hope then is that you are on his side, when that happens, because the alternative is fire from heaven!

Sal

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The Marked Life

ScarAs I type this, I wince in pain as the fingers on my left hand tap each individual key. A movement I had taken for granted all my life, now provide a little slither of pain shooting down my left elbow, where I have been stitched up pretty tightly. Currently my arm is healing from a pretty severe cut from shattered glass; my attempt to climb through my window (I left my keys inside) seemed like a good idea at the time, but a smashed window and a deep cut prove otherwise.

I received 18 stitches to my arm to cover the gaping hole the shattered glass had left, the piece of glass somehow managed to cut through two layers of skin, arm fat and nerves, just about scraping my muscle tissue underneath. Once the wound has healed, I will be left with a scar on my left forearm for life. A little reminder of my bull headedness!

Now whilst my career as an arm model has ended before it’s even begun, I readily have a sermon illustration for the rest of my life now. The scar will always serve as a reminder of my exploits at that window. every single time I look down at my arm, I will be reminded! A mark of remembrance.

20140522_083354As I lay in bed attempting to sleep and recover the blood I lost during my frantic wait for the ambulance to come, I was reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul in the book of Galatians; “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus” – Galatians 6:17

Paul bore marks and scars of a whole other nature to my bullheadedness. He bore the marks of Christ!! We only have to flip back to 2Corinthians 11 to read the physical scars he bore for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Now not all of us will face physical persecution, but what about the spiritual scars Paul bore and we should strive to bear for Christ’s sake?

When I mean spiritual scars, I mean marks that tell a story. Who can you point to and say I have left my mark on them in a spiritual sense. You led them to Christ or you helped them in their spiritual growth, you met a physical need or spent time in prayer for your brother or sister in Christ. Spiritual marks!!! Where can you point to and say I have sacrificed my time and energy to congregate and be with other believers, every time the church doors open for services.

If the Lord is gracious enough to give you a long life, would you have borne the marks of a life walked with Christ? Maybe physical, but more so spiritually.

Jesus himself, when he appeared unto his disciples showed them his physical marks on his body to prove to them how much he loved them and what he had just done for humanity. Beckoning with his voice, Jesus tells ThomasReach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side:and be not faithless, but believing

Jesus lived a marked life, a life which showed his actions spoke louder than his words……and Jesus spoke many words, as we see in the gospels.

My challenge is this; just like how Jesus Christ and Christians who have come and gone through history did great exploits, exploits still to this day which shape our everyday living. We should also strive to do great things for a great God. Let us attempt to leave our spiritual marks on a lost and dying world and on lost souls.

Never forget the words of Christ to his personal disciples “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” – Matthew 28:19-20

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10 Reasons Why I think David Cameron Thinks Britain is a Christian Country.

 

 

David CameronSO after being inundated with posts like these – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27105023 in regards to good ole Britain still being a Christian nation, I honestly couldn’t think of one reason why Cameron would make such a claim like this. I mean, it would only take a couple of quick discussions with actual Christians (you know, like the ones who ACTUALLY believe the bible) to see that this is false. We’ve fallen a long way as a nation, and no honest to God Christian really takes Cameron’s words seriously.

So in light of such a bold face lie of a statement, here are my top 10 reasons why I think our Prime Minister thinks otherwise.

1) Our national anthem still contains “God” in it.

2) Our flag has a huge red cross across it

3) We have many tall church buildings

4) Westminster Abbey

5) We are living in the present but, thinking of the past

6) Britain is part of the western world. Western world = Christianity

7) The first English bible was from England.

8) Christmas & Easter are still bank holidays

9) Being religious = being Christian. Christianity = religiosity

10) He lives in a bubble.

Yep so those are my 10 reason, most of them are nonsensical, just like David Cameron’s claims. If you would like more serious reasons why Britain has fallen away, including the moral degradation that is eating our country up, take a read of this insightful post. – http://www.john-stevens.com/2014/04/letter-to-editor-why-does-david-cameron.html

Sal

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(Video) I AM A Christian – Short Poem

I added a video to the recent poem I wrote. All these wonderful people go to my church, and I am blessed to know them and be part of their lives.

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I Am A Christian! Short Poem.

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I am a Christian!

I look like you, I walk like you.

My Hair can be black, my eyes maybe blue

You walk by me, you walk next to me

You talk to me, you even woRk with me.

I eat, sleep, drink like you

I even talk & think like you.

I can be black, or whIte like you

I can be a Sister, I can be a brother

An aunt or a mother

A poliTician a policeman

I’m tall, I can be short like you

I wonder do you know me………

 

Diverse Group of People Holding a Sign - Isolated

 

I make Jokes like you, I laugh like you

I have passions like you, I like fashion as you.

I Educate with you, I graduate like you

I cry like you, I die like you……

So where is the severance, or who makes the difference?

A man that I proclaim, Who bore all my shame

He bore yoUrs too, he cares for you too

I wonder do you know him, he sure knows you!

He is the Saviour, he saves sinners…….like you!

 

Sal

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