Monthly Archives: February 2014

Houston, We Have a Problem

Of late I have written some posts which have ruffled a few feathers, it is not my intention to upset people, but I will always speak what I consider to be the truth. Unfortunately, people don’t always like people speaking things that don’t agree with what they believe. I make no apology for what I say, but it is not my intention to upset anyone. As usual, I am always open to alternative opinions, just be polite when posting them. This post could be seen as controversial, so read it all, check out the scripture and then make up your mind.

The first thing is that I do not believe that God always has His will here on earth. Shock, horror. Yes, I said it. Let’s have a look at 1 Timothy 2:3-4 which says, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” This means that God wants everyone to be saved and go to heaven. Now Matthew 7:14 says, “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Which means that actually, most people won’t go to heaven. Now all of those people who were shouting heretic when I made the initial statement, what do we make of that? I think it is pretty clear. If you think that this means that God is not sovereign, that is not the case, it just means that we need to be clear on what sovereign means. Have a look at Sovereignty Of God for more about this.

So if God does not always get His will here, who is in charge here? Well, we know that the devil roams like a lion, but who has authority from God here on earth? Well, in short, us! Genesis 1:26-28 says, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.””. Now we have free will whether to follow God’s will or not. Now I know that will provoke some people who think that we all just do what God tells us to, but I disagree. Firstly, 1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” This would indicate that we have a choice as to how to do this ‘race of life’, and we are called to ‘run’ it in a manner that would win us the ‘prize’. Let’s have a look at a simple analogy. If I meet you face to face, I have the choice whether to shake your hand, or slap you through the face. What would God have me do? I think it is safe to say that He would rather I shake your hand. I have the choice. I could slap you. If I did, I would be acting outside of God’s will. Now you see where some people get confused is that Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” This means that God will work it for your good, He doesn’t necessarily plan or will it. So even if I choose to act outside of His will and slap you, He will still work it together for your good if you follow Him. That is one of those amazing things about the gospel, another reason why it is called the good news!

So if all of this is true, and the reason why we are in such a mess is because we are in charge and we do not follow the will of God, what can we do about that? Well firstly, we need to know the will of God in order to follow it. Go and read your bible. I have used a few verses here and have only shared individual verses, I encourage you to go and read whole chapters or even books of the bible, in order to get the whole story. You need to confirm what I have said here. Secondly we need to change our attitude and the way we do things. Here are a few that come to mind. Stop asking God to send a revival and go out and be the revival. He has sent us out to make disciples, and we have the Holy Spirit to enable us to do so. Stop asking God to heal someone and use the authority you have in Him to heal someone. Look at how Jesus and the disciples did it, that will give you a good indication of how we should be doing it. Stop asking God to minister to you and go and minister to someone. I can honestly say that I have been more blessed by ministering to others than others ministering to me. It is about our attitude and us understanding who we are in Christ and what that means. It is all about Him, and I’m not suggesting for a second that we don’t need Him. I’m saying we already have Him, now what are we going to do with Him!

I will leave you with Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Richard

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Streets of London


Watch the video that is posted above, and listen to the words. Excuse the cheesy old clothes and annoying screen-text and listen to the words. Now, you’re probably thinking that I’m going to talk about poverty or how we abandon people, or the state of our cities, but I’m not. I’m going to talk about something completely different, something that I learned today when listening to this song. Here goes, try and keep up.

I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and I now live in London, England. I used to listen to this song as a child but, in true human nature, I didn’t actually listen to the words. I used to hum through the verses, not really listening or understanding a word of it, and then sing along vigorously with the chorus. So how can you tell me that you’re lonely, seems to you that the sun don’t shine. Let me take you by the hand and I’ll lead you through the streets of London, I’ll show you something that’ll make you change your mind. Now even though the song sounds a bit depressing, to fit with the lyrics, this is the only part of the song that I remembered. Read the chorus again, this time don’t think about what the verses say. I remembered this song as one that was singing about how wonderful London was and that, just by walking through the streets, you wouldn’t be miserable any more! In fact, when I was a child I remember thinking that I would love to go to such a wonderful place. I clearly didn’t read, listen to, think about, or remember the verses at all. This meant that I totally misunderstood the song.

I had also never been to London, so I had no idea if what the songwriter was saying was true. Considering the fact that I totally misunderstood him anyway, I guess it didn’t really make a difference. Now I live in London. I have to say that I like it here and I’m not sorry that I moved here but, like any city, it has its issues. So, living in Cape Town as a child and hearing about this place called London that I thought was wonderful, and would make you happy, was not really the truth. It certainly was not what the song writer was trying to say. I missed the point completely.

So, what has this got to do with anything? Well, you see, this is how some of us read the Bible. We pull out bits that we fancy, or that are taught to us, and we make up our own story based on that. We’ll either read the bits that make us happy, all the promises from God, and expect to have a perfect life, or we’ll read the bits about suffering and expect to live a horrendous life of misery and suffering. The Bible is an amazing book. The old covenant and new covenant seem to contradict, but, if you understand both of them, you’ll see how they refer to each other and how they relate to each other to show us the greatest love story ever. I have said before that pulling one verse out of the Bible and basing a theological statement on it is risky. Now, I know that we all show the verse that relates to what we are saying, but when someone shows me that, I’ll go and read the whole passage at least. I usually read the introduction to the book (I use the study Bible which has a section showing who wrote the book, why they wrote it and what the circumstances were), this helps me to understand the context. If you read a passage in the New Testament, and it refers to some scripture in the Old Testament, don’t just skim over it (like I used to), look up the scripture and read even more of it. This will help you to see why the NT author used it, and why it is relevant today.

You don’t have to try too hard to find Christians that don’t agree, just post something ‘Christian’ on facebook and you’ll see. This is partly because we interpret the Bible differently (which is alright to an extent) but partly because we haven’t read enough and we don’t understand. We have read a part and have made up our minds what it must mean, or we have heard someone else explain it and it seemed to make sense. I have heard people argue a point because their pastor said something, but when I asked them to explain, they couldn’t. They still believed what he said, but had no idea why.

So, what can we learn from this? Read your Bible, read whole books, get an understanding of why they were written, and understand what you have read. Don’t just believe what others tell you, however much you trust them, or make up theories based on one verse.

Enjoy the Word!

Richard

Are We Religious?

Here in the UK, I often get asked if I am religious, and I’m not sure what to say. I am not embarrassed by being a Christian, not at all, I am concerned about what the person asking the question thinks a Christian is. You see Christianity has sometimes not been the best advert for Christ, in fact it has been an absolute shocker at times, and some people have a very negative opinion of Christians and Christianity. Yesterday I approached someone whom I wanted to pray for and he said to me that he used to be ‘religious’ but not any more. I assured him that I wasn’t ‘religious’, but I believed that prayer does work, so he graciously allowed me to pray for him. This got me to thinking about what ‘religious’ means, and are we as Christians ‘religious’.

John 9:35-41 says: “Jesus heard that the proud religious law-keepers had put the man who had been healed out of the place of worship. He found the man and said to him, “Do you put your trust in the Son of God?” He said, “Who is He, Sir? Tell me so that I can put my trust in Him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him. He is talking with you.” He said, “I do put my trust in You, Lord.” Then he bowed down before Jesus and worshipped Him.
Jesus said, “I came into this world to say what is right from wrong. I came so those who do not see might see, and those who do see might be made blind.” Some of the proud religious law-keepers who were with Him heard this. They said to Him, “Are we blind also?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But because you say, ‘We see,’ you still are guilty of your sin.”

This is a tough bit of scripture to swallow. It separates ‘law’ and ‘religious behaviour’ from the freedom that Christ offers. The issue that this raises is the question of what is religion and does Christ oppose it. Now, there are books on that, and I’m not going to solve this issue with one blog post! I just want to explain some of my thoughts. I am not saying that religion is bad, or that Jesus hates religion or anything like that, I just want to clarify the situation for those who are confused.

Religion is a broad word for any faith or belief that has been formed, according to an online dictionary it is a fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects. This could mean just about anything. The problem with this is that each person has made up their mind as to what religion means to them. This description would include fortune tellers, in fact it would also include sports fans. Yes, you heard me, do sports fans not believe similar beliefs (about their team), meet together at an agreed time to do the same activities (watch their team)? Do they not even worship the players and sing songs about how great they are while (tithing) money to their team through the season ticket prices? Makes you think doesn’t it. I will go as far as to say that we all believe in something and we all worship something, it just depends on what that something is.

So why then is Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and a few others labelled with the title of religions, but other beliefs aren’t? You see that is what people generally mean by religious, they simply are determining if you have beliefs other than that of the general society. Now if someone asks me if I am religious because they want to establish if I am a Christian, then yes I am, but if they are asking if I follow a set of rules, then no. You see Jesus was trying to make the point here that He was the way to God, and not following a bunch of rules. If you’re unsure of this, just go and read Galatians. Pick a passage, Paul repeats himself so often in that book, you actually get bored reading the same thing over and over again.

The problem is that even Christians, who should know better, get caught up in rules and regulations that they feel the need to follow to keep God happy. We put rules in place ourselves (with the intention of helping), but then we spend more time trying to follow them than having a relationship with God and enjoying the freedom that He offers. Now don’t get me wrong, this is not an invitation to a free-for-all sinning session, but I want to make it clear that we are a new creation in Christ and we are not still under the law like they were in the Old Testament! We need to start doing works because we want to do them because we love Christ and are free in Him to use the authority that He has earned for us, and not because we think that it will somehow earn us a place in heaven or that God won’t love us if we don’t.

The word religious has a negative connotation because of how we as Christians have acted. I think it is time that we either shake the title of ‘religious’, or we re-brand it by being strong, Spirit-filled, born again, miracle workers that act in Jesus name. Then if people say are you religious, it will be with optimism and excitement, rather than pity.

Thanks for reading.

Richard

Fingers Crossed

Before I get into this post, I have to warn you that it may turn into a bit of a rant, not because of anger but frustration. Sayings like the title of this post really irritate me because they make no sense and they can actually be detrimental. You’ll hear sayings like ‘fingers crossed’, ‘touch wood’, ‘sending happy thoughts’ and even more common ones like ‘good luck’, but are they helpful or harmful? I’ll try and explain.

I know people who refuse to believe in the gospel because they say that it is far fetched, or unbelievable. Some people even say that it is just a story, or it is fictional nonsense that just couldn’t be true. Those same people will then cross their fingers when they want something to happen, and they take this very seriously too. I have seen people get into a state of panic just because they said ‘touch wood’ and they couldn’t find some wood to knock. They were beside themselves that something bad would happen. People won’t go to see someone who has a prophetic gift because they are ‘weird’ or ‘fake’, yet they will rush to see a fortune teller or read the horoscopes. (if you want to see the difference between a prophet and a fortune teller click here)

These people are usually non-believers who don’t want to believe in the Gospel, yet they believe in these silly things. Now this is up to them, I won’t tell someone that they shouldn’t believe something and should believe something else, I just find it strange. The God who created the universe (although that is disputed) wants a relationship with you, and he will give you gifts beyond your understanding so that you can be blessed when you bless others! No thanks, I’d rather cross my fingers.. Sounds crazy but people do this. Each to their own. Having said this, we as believers may need to think about this, could we be partly to blame? Some people will reject the gospel because they are just anti it, I come across these people often, but are we maybe being bad representatives for Jesus? Could we be pushing some folk away from Christ by what we do or don’t do? I’ll leave that for another post.

When believers say these silly sayings, that concerns me more. Why do we say things like ‘good luck’? What is luck? Do we not believe in prayer? Do we not believe that God has a plan? Do we not believe that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength? Then why are we wishing someone ‘good luck’? You see all of the sayings that I mentioned at the beginning have positive connotations, none of them sound evil, most people would be happy to hear someone say any of them as they sound good. Are they? What does it say to someone when we say these things, most people won’t think twice, but does it bring glory to God? Take a look at an earlier post, ‘Mind Your Tongue‘, what we say is very important. When we give glory to God and put our trust in Him, then wish someone ‘good luck’, that is confusing to others and in fact ourselves. We don’t realise what we are doing, but we’re speaking rubbish over ourselves and others.

Now I know some of you will think that I am over reacting, and maybe I am, but I don’t see how this brings glory to God. I also see this as a lie, because it doesn’t line up with what we believe from the Bible, so why do we say it? It may be harmless, but I don’t think it is, I think it is more serious than what most people do. I don’t want to point fingers at anyone, I just wish to draw this to everyone’s attention. Go away and pray about it, ask God if this is something that you need to change about the way you speak. You may be surprised by the results.

All glory to God!

Richard

Sinner in Need of Grace or Righteous?

This post is going to raise a question that is probably going to upset some people, but that is nothing unusual, Christians believe passionately in the Bible but don’t always agree on what it means. One of the comments that I have noticed of late is that we, as Christians, are ‘sinners in need of grace’. Now I know what people mean by this, but is it true? I’m not so sure. Lets have a look at both sides of the story, compare it to scripture, and then we can all make up our minds.

The first side is the usually the side of the more conservative Christians who say that we are sinners in need of God’s grace. They say that we have a daily struggle to resist our sinful nature and submit to God’s will. Even as a Christian, we are still exposed to sin and have to resist it, and all of us will fail at some stage, therefore we are still sinners in need of grace. I can see their point of view, and I know all too well that none of us are perfect, and I would never claim to be perfect in my own strength. In fact the only reason what I am not 10 times worse is because of what Christ has done!

The other side, usually the more charismatic Christians, say that we are a new creation in Christ and have been made righteous with God through His sacrifice. They say that we are a new creation and we have been made holy, not because of who we are or what we’ve done, but who Christ is and what He has done! I can understand their point of view, and I must say that I agree, we are a new creation. Calling ourselves sinners in need of grace, could actually undermine what Jesus did for us on the cross. What we are actually saying is something along the lines of ‘what Jesus did was not good enough and we are still sinners in need of grace’. I’m sure we’ll all agree that this is just not true. So how do the two views work hand in hand?

Romans 7:14-25 says, “We know that the Law is right and good, but I am a person who does what is wrong and bad. I am not my own boss. Sin is my boss. I do not understand myself. I want to do what is right but I do not do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. When I do the thing I do not want to do, it shows me that the Law is right and good. So I am not doing it. Sin living in me is doing it. I know there is nothing good in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do good but I do not. I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I am always doing the sinful things I do not want to do. If I am always doing the very thing I do not want to do, it means I am no longer the one who does it. It is sin that lives in me. This has become my way of life: When I want to do what is right, I always do what is wrong. My mind and heart agree with the Law of God. But there is a different law at work deep inside of me that fights with my mind. This law of sin holds me in its power because sin is still in me. There is no happiness in me! Who can set me free from my sinful old self? God’s Law has power over my mind, but sin still has power over my sinful old self. I thank God I can be free through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

2 Corinthians 5:17-21 says, “For if a man belongs to Christ, he is a new person. The old life is gone. New life has begun. All this comes from God. He is the One Who brought us to Himself when we hated Him. He did this through Christ. Then He gave us the work of bringing others to Him. God was in Christ. He was working through Christ to bring the whole world back to Himself. God no longer held men’s sins against them. And He gave us the work of telling and showing men this. We are Christ’s missionaries. God is speaking to you through us. We are speaking for Christ and we ask you from our hearts to turn from your sins and come to God. Christ never sinned but God put our sin on Him. Then we are made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.”

This scripture shows the two sides, although the last sentence of the first passage holds the key! I understand why people refer to us as sinners in need of grace, but I believe that we WERE sinners in need of grace, we are now righteous in God’s eyes! Even though we may (and probably do) continue sinning, Jesus has already paid the price so we are still holy in God’s eyes, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice! Now please don’t get me wrong, I know that we can’t achieve this on our own, and I know that we will never be perfect as far as the law requires. Having said that, we are fortunate enough to be righteous and holy in the eyes of God, all because of what Jesus did for us! So if we are righteous as far as God is concerned, why should we go around calling ourselves sinners in need of grace?

I know I couldn’t do it on my own and I know that I would never succeed while trying to follow the law, however thanks to what Jesus did for us, I am righteous and holy in the eyes of the Lord! I believe that all of you who have accepted what Jesus did and call him Lord, can state the same. So yes, from now on we should acknowledge who we are in Christ, yet always remember how we got there!

I hope this makes sense, I don’t want you to think that I suggested that we can do this on our own. All in and for Christ!

Richard

Like Father Like Son (or Daughter)

In the last few posts I have gone on about our authority in Christ and our identity based on who He is, rather than who we are, so I had to post this scripture as I came across it. Galatians 4:4–7 says, “Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles [or powers] of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.”Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.”

We read this scripture and we think for a second how nice it is that we are in God’s family, and sometimes we even call each other ‘brother and sister’, but do we really comprehend what this means for us? Think about the (British) royal family for a second. Now, I know it is different because they are just figure heads and the Queen is still on the throne, but imagine if they still ruled the country and Charles was on the throne. Imagine you were Prince William. You would not want for anything, you would have just about as much authority as your dad, not because of who you are, but because of who he is. You would have the authority to make changes, to do good, and to be the leader that the people need. I think it would be awesome!

The thing is that we do have these things. We do have the authority, we are leaders, we are here to lead the people, to lead them to God! We are Princes and Princesses as our Dad is the King, and not just the King but the King of Kings!

The other point that I noticed in this scripture is that we WERE slaves to earthly powers, but not any more! What does it mean by earthly powers? Sin, demons, evil, hatred, all the things that are not of God, that is what opposes us here on earth. This is why God’s will (or perfect will as some people say) does not happen here on earth (to its fullest). That is why Jesus told us to pray, “Your will on earth as it is in heaven.” We are here to fight these powers (Eph 6:12), not be slaves to it, but yet so many Christians still cry out to God to set them free from these powers! Now don’t get me wrong, there are times when we need help, even to be delivered from such powers, but I am not talking about that. I am talking about the mindset that many of us have, a negative, defeatist mindset. A mindset that says that we are still sinners, that we can’t do anything, that we are slaves to sin and that we have to constantly fight just to avoid sinning. This is a mindset that the devil is happy for us to have, because if we are too busy putting ourselves down and trying to defend ourselves, we won’t realise that we are royals with immense power and go on the offensive against evil. If every Christian realised who we are in Christ and realised what we are capable of doing in His name, the devil and his helpers would be in even more trouble than they are already!

So, here is the challenge. Next time you have the opportunity to minister or come against these powers, whether it be a thought in your head about who you are, actual visible demonic interaction, or anything in between, remember who you are. You are a child of God, you have the authority that was given to you because of what Jesus did. You are not a slave to sin, but a Prince or Princess. You are not here to survive these attacks, you are here to break the strongholds, and set the captives free. Jesus has defeated the enemy already; we are here so set the captives free. The enemy is still about, so he will try and get the better of us. Just remind him that Jesus has won the battle and we are in His army!

The title of this post suggests that we should be like God. How do you do that? Jesus has shown us already, let’s be more like Him!

Richard

Hotel for Saints, or Hospital for Sinners?

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that the church should be a hospital for sinners and not a hotel for the saints. What this means is that the church is there to welcome sinners in, and not just a place for Christians to meet. I could not agree more with this statement. The problem is that I don’t believe that this is happening. In fact, I think that there is a third ‘option’ which is not mentioned here that a large portion of churches adopt. I would like to have a look at all 3 options here and see why only one is what Jesus intended.

Let’s look a the first option. The church is a hotel for saints. Matthew 28:19 tells us to make disciples of all nations. This was Jesus’ last, and possibly most important, instruction to us. Yes, this means teaching Christians, but it also means leading non-believers to Christ. If you don’t want non-believers in church, how do you propose leading them to Christ? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to have a look at just about any passage in the gospels and see that Jesus spent more time with non-believers than believers. It is important to notice that Jesus did spend time with believers (His disciples) but His ministry was with non-believers.

The second option. The hospital for sinners. This is where we should be, however I don’t think that we are. Even the churches that claim to be, I don’t think they are, I think they are mostly in the third category. We’ll get to that, but right now let’s look at this one and see what it should be. A hospital is a place where sick people go to get better. It usually involves some kind of operation or treatment. Then once you are better, you are sent out again. This should also be true of the church, but I fear it isn’t. Sinners (as in all of us before we are/were saved) should feel welcome in the church, but when we come in, we should be helped and ‘treated’ as to make us well again. This will involve teaching, counselling and help to get us is in a healthy relationship with God. So much so, that we can actually go out of the church in order for us to minister to others and bring them into the church. This is the whole idea.

The third option is one not mentioned in the saying, but one I fear most churches adopt unwillingly. The church becomes a hospice for sinners and saints. This is when churches adopt a ‘welcome everyone but stay who you are’ attitude. This happens when churches realise the need to invite non-Christians, but don’t want to ‘inflict’ the gospel onto them, but what is the point of having a church if you don’t plan to spread the Word? Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there should be a whole lot of conditions at the door, I am just saying that people should be welcome to come in, but the church should not compromise on teaching. People need to know what is required to have a healthy relationship with God, they may not choose to follow, but the church needs to teach the truth. It has become quite politically incorrect to ‘point out other’s faults’ but then how do we help them without acknowledging the problems first? Why is it that if I say that I am going to root the sin out of my life so that I can walk closer to God, everyone will say how wonderful that is, but if I say that I want to encourage someone else to root the sin out of their life so that they can walk closer to God, then I am a ‘stone-thrower’?

Doctors don’t become doctors to point out patient’s weaknesses, they become doctors to help others. I don’t do ministry because I want to point out other’s faults, I do it because I have seen the advantages in my own life, and I wish to share that with everyone. It is difficult to do this without people thinking that you are pointing out their faults, but it needs to be done. If we don’t teach others how to have a relationship with God, why are we different to anyone else? We need to be the salt of the earth, not just the same as everyone else. We need to remember to do it in love, we are not here as judges, we are here as friends who help each other.

I hope that this makes sense.

Spread the word.

Richard

What Comes to Mind When I Say Exercise?

So, what does come to mind when I say exercise? For me it would largely have been negative images, even now, although some positive images are creeping in. I have started doing some fitness videos that are on Youtube, which are quite intense. That is what I think, anyway. My wife on the other hand puts me to shame, she does the full hour (three 20 minute videos) whereas I only do one of the 20 minute workouts! She has even done this workout after returning from a run, usually around 8 miles! I do a 20 minute workout and I can hardly walk up or down the stairs! Why is that?

You see, my wife is fit. She has been doing this exercise for a while, she has built her fitness level up slowly, and she is now very fit and can handle extreme exercise. She even enjoys some of it. I, on the other hand, have only started recently. I have not built my fitness level up yet, so I can’t handle as much exercise as she can, I find it a strain. I am still at the stage where I know that it is good for me, and that is why I do it, I don’t really enjoy it yet. I only see minor results so far, as I have not done enough to see major results. I need to do a lot more exercise, and more regularly, in order to see major results. I do realise that the more exercise I do, the easier it becomes and the more I actually enjoy it!

So, is this blog about exercise or God? I think that we can learn much about reading our Bible as we can from the above story about exercise. At first it is difficult to read your Bible, it seems like hard work, and it is difficult to get into it. It is an important discipline to get into, but at first it seems more hassle than what it is worth. Just as we do with exercise, we need to remember why we are reading the Bible. We want to become spiritually fit, build some spiritual muscle! This needs to keep us motivated when we start to read our Bible. We may not see results straight away, but it is very important to carry on reading it, as often as possible. The more we read it, the fitter we get. We will soon get to the point where we not only enjoy it, but we will actually miss it when we don’t read it.

Listening to sermons, reading blogs and watching the God Channel is all good, but nothing is a substitute for reading the Bible. I have learned so many things in my life that contradict what the Bible says and, if I hadn’t read the Bible, I would never have known to disregard what I had been told. If you’re not sure why it is important, read my post entitled ‘Keep Knitting, Just Follow the Pattern’, that should explain.

I have not been reading the Bible as much as I should have, not even close. I am not going to pretend that I am a super-Christian when I am not. I have challenged myself and my wife to spend more time praying and reading the Word. This can only make us stronger and spiritually more fit. That is what it is all about. We realise that God is calling us into some very exciting ministries, so the fitter we are spiritually, the better. We need to know what the scriptures say about us and other situations, so that when we face them, we know the truth. Satan’s tried and tested method of attacking Christians is to try and twist scripture to confuse us and, trust me, he is still doing that today! This is why it is so important to read the Bible for ourselves, and understand it, rather than just accepting what others tell us, however godly they may be!

Here is the challenge. Why don’t you join us in reading the Bible and praying more. When I say praying, I mean giving God thanks and glory, not just rattling off a bunch of prayer requests! Spend more time reading the Bible, get an app on your phone, get it on your kindle, I don’t care, just get it and READ IT!

Read the Bible and be blessed!

Richard