Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…

Having an “Attitude of Gratitude”

I was watching a program on one of the Christian channels last night, the preacher on the stage was speaking to a congregation that would have filled Wembley and then some! He was talking about “seeing your vision and expecting it to come to fruition“! Now, I can understand, that if you believe that God has told you “you will become a parent” like he said to Abraham and Sarah, having something to remind of that promise every day is a good thing! But one of the examples he gave, was that of a businessman who felt God promise he would own a plane one day!  I watched another program on that channel where four christians were sitting on a sofa, discussing “being rich or poor” When asked the question “would you prefer to be rich or poor?“, All four responded instantly “rich!!” This surprised me, despite the following statement from Jesus’s own lips

“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven!”

These “followers of Christ” were wanting be rich!? If you put a group of millionaires in one room and a group of “poor” Christians in another, surveyed each group about their lives, whether they were happy, how strong their faith was, etc. I believe that it wouldn’t be the Millionaires, who would come out as being the happiest!  People with possessions want more possessions and will try to get them by their own wealth even if that means putting it on a credit card!  People without a lot, trust God for what they cannot possibly get for themselves!

Anyone who has been to an African country and spent time living in a “mud hut” or with people in a rural area, who have virtually nothing in comparison to those of us in the western world, will have noticed how happy they appear to be!  The people that I have stayed with are, without doubt, the most hospitable people that I have ever met!  If someone comes to visit one family in the village, their neighbours will come over with food to help bear the load of feeding the guest!  So as you sit, having a cup of tea with your host, their neighbours will be popping round with vegetables, a chicken, (or if you are really lucky) a live goat!!

I believe that one of the things we have lost in the modern world, is the sense of gratitude, I know I blogged a little while ago about not taking things for granted, three quotes come to mind

  • People apparently live in one of two “tents” either ConTENT or disconTENT!
  • The “grass may be greener on the other side” but you don’t know how much work has gone into making it constantly look that way!
  • Tesco ergo sum” is Latin for “I shop, therefore I am

Giving thanks for a meal“, or “saying grace” occurs in a lot of homes especially at Thanksgiving in American homes!  But how sincere are these prayers, or the prayers that we say with our children at bedtime?  It is easy to fall into a routine of saying “Thank you Lord for our food, our friends and family……” and perhaps losing the heartfelt thankfulness of it all!  I vividly remember one Sunday, the church I was in at the time, was having communion and I was “daydreaming” as the cup came round, as soon as the pastor was given the cup back (as it had gone round all of the congregation) he said “I believe that we should take it again as we sometimes don’t take enough time to consider what it is symbolising”  I suddenly realised, that I had drunk the communion wine and not thought about the sacrifice of Jesus or thanked him for what he has done for me!

I truly believe that if we are constantly looking for the “hand of God” in our lives and the world around us, if we are constantly thanking God, then we will happier, we will have trials, we will have bad days, but even when we do we should say:-

  • Thank you Lord for what I have!
  • Thank you Lord for your promises!
  • Thank You Lord for your sacrifice!
  • Thank You Lord for those around me! 
  • Thank You Lord for creating me!
  • Thank You Lord for the trials I face, for I know that you are with me in them!
  • Thank You Lord for the Holy Spirit, who is with me, guides me and helps me!

When we are constantly looking for God, we will find him, we will have experiences that we can tell others about and because they are our experiences we can be confident in sharing them!


#Moana, #Motonui, #Metanoeo, & #Baptiso

Our youngest child loves watching Moana, we have got a few of the catchy songs in our heads, when one person says “thank you” we break into “you’re welcome!”  When preparing to write a blog on saying “sorry, I discovered something that I thought was true, actually wasn’t!  The word “repent” doesn’t come from the Latin or Greek for “turn around” which I am sure I was told was a term that officers used in drills and directing their troops! The word “repent” wasn’t even used in the bible until the King James Version came about, the word “repent” is from the Latin meaning “regret“, which doesn’t really encapsulate what “repentance” is meant to mean!

Metanoeo” is the word that was used 34 times in the New Testament to tell followers of Christ to “stop sinning and change your ways” the word itself is a compound of two Greek words which mean “after” and “thought or understanding“, so you could say it is a “changing of your mind” but the whole word suggests that you have a total rethink of your actions!

In the film, the character Maui has really good intentions, all he wants is to be loved by humans, but in order to get their affection, he defeats monsters and makes “stuff happen” but he finally does something which condemns the islands to suffering and decay!  Like him we can sin and make mistakes even when we had good intentions!

As i have said before sometimes saying sorry is just not enough! we need to turn our lives around and actually make steps to reconcile or show your remorse!  Baptism is a step towards getting yourself right with God, it is a public declaration that you wish to leave your old self behind and live your life as if you are a child of God. (which you are!)

The act of Baptism cannot wash away our sin any more than having a shower can! You have to take more steps into a relationship with God and behaving like the new creation you have become (easier said than done sometimes). In my opinion you cannot do this until you are old enough to make that decision for yourself, the Greek word “Baptiso” means “full immersion“, like fabric being dyed, you full immerse yourself in the water, and rise up and become anew.

Motonui is the island where Moana lives, she is kept safe by her parents, by not allowing her to leave the island but in doing so they are hindering her from fulfilling her destiny! Her dad wants to protect her but as my kids have discovered from “the magic School bus“, we need to make mistakes to learn and grow in life, it is when we repeat them deliberately when we know that they are wrong that we find ourselves in big trouble.

Strangely enough there was a really bizarrely coloured sky this afternoon, it reminded me of the sky in Moana as she tries to restore “the heart” to an island goddess and make the decay of the sea and islands end.  As J. John points out in this video   :-

The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart

We are flawed people, many things can distract us from living the way we have been called to live and  from loving the way we have been called to love.  All have fallen short, all of us will be called to account for our actions and inactions.  

If you need to “metanoia” then do so, if you want to take the next step into baptism then speak to a church leader, but if you need forgiveness from someone who you have offended or hurt, don’t waste time, don’t hide away but go and apologise, then ask for forgiveness!

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