thinking

Another definition of faith

Another definition of faith

We are all familiar with the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1, ‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’. However, I came across another verse in Romans, I have read it many time but I had not previously thought of it as a definition of faith. It is Romans 4:12, where Paul, speaking of Abraham, says ‘ being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised’. I read this verse and had one of those moments where I had to stop and re-read the verse again

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Where is your trust?

Where is your trust?

I awake this morning to the nation being in a state of unrest. Ruffled feathers, confusion and uncertainty. For those who have put their trust in man and his strength today is either one of hope or disappointment, but for those who have put their trust in the most high they remind themselves that His kingdom is not one that cannot be shaken, one that will not be overthrown. I remind my self today that firstly I belong to and am an ambassador of the Kingdom of heaven, not the United Kingdom. Though I live in this land and I

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Falling down

Falling down

You can’t go through life without falling down, the question is, will you get up? Will you stand again after a fall? I grew up, getting up. I would fall, I would get back up again. Sometimes slowly, but I always got back up. Every when you thought you heard the whispers of ‘stay down, stay down’, my bloody minded stubbornness and determination would make me get up, wounded and broken I would still get up, trying to learn each time, trying to not make the same mistake again, trying to live knowing that I am enough, that I cannot

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Last Man Standing

Sometimes the one who wins is the one who manages to stand the longest. This is often how I feel when under pressure of the enemy. If I can stand and keep standing then I can win. Doesn’t it say resist the devil and he will flee from you? If I can stand despite the pressure of the enemy then I can overcome. I have learnt that the pressure of the enemy can come for a few days before it lifts, it is in those moments that my perspective can be skewed; It is a dangerous time to make decisions

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Sealed

Sealed

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ I haven’t visited this passage for a while but found myself being drawn to it this morning. It is reassuring and comforting to read the promise of being sealed by the Holy Spirit, but part of that comes from knowing what sealing means. The sealing that Paul is talking about is the mark of identification often placed upon important documents to show authenticity, ownership and authority.

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Advent ~ day 24 ~ Christmas Eve

Advent ~ day 24 ~ Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve in 1865, Philip Brooks, a minister of Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia, travelled through the fields from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. He wrote about this journey: “After and early dinner, we took our horses and rode to Bethlehem. It was only about two hours when we came to the town, situated on an eastern ridge of a range of hills, surrounded by its terraced gardens. It is a good-looking town, better build than any other we have seen in Palestine. . . . Before dark, we rode out of town to the field, where they say the shepherds

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Advent ~ day 23 ~ Magi part 3

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. (‭Matthew‬ ‭2‬:‭10-12‬ NASB) As we said yesterday, the Magi did the only appropriate thing when they found Jesus, they worshipped and gave gifts. The famous gifts of Gold, Fankincense

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Advent ~ day 22 ~ The Magi, part 2

And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him.

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Advent ~ day 21 ~ The Magi

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

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Advent ~ day 20 ~ Simeon & Anna part2

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss

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Advent ~ day 19 ~ Simeon and Anna part 1

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss

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Advent ~ day 18 ~ the eight day

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb Luke 2:21 So on the eight day, he was circumcised. The eight day is medically significant because there are high levels of Vitamin K and the level of Prothrombin is over 100% of normal, the only time in a males life when this will be the case. Both Vitamin K and Prothrombin are clotting agents so the eight day is the perfect day for circumcision to be performed, another example of God’s

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Advent ~ day 17 ~ Mary treasured these things

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned,

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Advent ~ day 16 ~ shepherds part 2

The shepherds knew of the customs and religious practices of the day, though they weren’t able to join in because of their lifestyle. They new the significance of sacrifice for it was their very sheep that they were watching over that were to be used. Staying out with the sheep night after night was an endurance. The nights would have been long and cold, the conversation would have often run dry. But this night was different. The daily routine was interrupted by a visitation that terrified them. They were seemingly put at ease as the angel told them not to

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Advent ~ day 15 ~ shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a

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Advent ~ day 14 ~ the birth part 2

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for

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Advent ~ day 13 ~ the journey and the birth part 1

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for

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Advent ~ day 12 ~ the forerunner

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared

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Advent ~ day 11 ~ a word that sustains

I feel that sometimes we get very familiar with scripture. I know that I do, I can read something again and again and I don’t always stop to think about what is happening. We tend to think of the birth of Jesus as just that, the birth. We might think of the angelic encounter at the start, and maybe Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, but nothing else. The story jumps immediately to the journey into Bethlehem, but that is 9 months later. That is a whole lot of unaccounted for time, about which we can only speculate. But based on what

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Advent ~ day 10 ~ Genealogy

1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, 4 Ram the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6

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Advent ~ day 9 ~ Joseph

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what

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Advent ~ day 8 ~ Mary and Elizabeth

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is

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Advent ~ day 7 ~ Mary, God’s choice

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and

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Advent ~ day 6 ~ a pregnant pause

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” (‭Malachi‬ ‭4‬:‭5-6‬ NIV) These are the last words of the Old Testament. And then silence. 400 years of silence. In comedy and acting, the timing of your words is everything, it makes all the difference to the emphasis of what is being said. Similarly, punctuation creates timing and can

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Advent ~ day 5 ~ the prophetic word

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. (‭Amos‬ ‭3‬:‭7‬ NIV) I love prophecy. I love that God would speak to us and excite with His plans and purposes. As we have just read in Amos, the Lord doesn’t do anything without revealing his word to His servants the prophets. The birth of Jesus is no exception, in fact it is one of the best examples of the prophetic word spoken and then fulfilled. 1. Jesus will come from the line of Abraham. Prophecy: Genesis 12:3 Fulfilled: Matthew 1:1 2. Jesus’ mother will

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Advent ~ day 4 ~ The ministry of angels

Throughout these first few devotions we have been looking at Zechariah and his encounter in the temple. His angelic encounter is not an isolated event, in fact it is a frequent occurrence in the bible. From the Garden of Eden to Abrahamm, to Lot, Moses and Daniel, and this is to only name a few, angels have had a role in ministering and delivering messages from the Father. We can read more about their purpose in the book of Hebrews: In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” Are not

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Advent ~ day 3 ~ Trust in Him

Luke 1:18-20 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭18-20‬ NIV) Time can take its toll in holding on to

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Advent ~ day 2 ~ God has a plan

Luke 1:8-17 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him:

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Advent ~ day 1 ~ God hears

And so we begin the season of advent, the coming of Jesus, I begin a season of thoughts and meditations on Jesus’ coming and the promise that He offers. I love this time of year and find it an excuse to indulge in the riches that it holds. I will start the journey in the book of Luke. Luke 1:8-17 8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

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The sovereign and intentional balance

We know that God is sovereign, and by that we think that he will intervene in our lives and move and make things happen that need to happen. Our response to this is that we sit back and wait, and wait and wait. We wait for God to move. But, I believe, He is often waiting for us to move. Yes, absolutely He is Sovereign, but there is a dynamic of responsibility and intentionality that we have lost. The picture comes to mind of a man sitting in his sitting room praying for a new car. God hears his prayer

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