thinking

Conscience

The conscience is a strange thing, the dictionary definition is: A person’s moral sense of right and wrong, viewed as acting as a guide to one’s behaviour: Throughout history man has tried to clean his conscience, absolve himself from guilt and shame. But with little effect. In the book of Hebrews it talks about the Old Testament sacrifices saying that they were offered year after year, and they still felt guilt and shame. They didn’t do the job, yet there was a yearning among the people to have their conscience cleansed, their moral compass was telling them that something was

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Throwing stones

For whatever reason, this memory came back to me today. I must have been 9 years old at the time. It was a beautiful summers evening, the kind of evening you dream about. My elder brother and I were friends with our neighbours, three boys of similar ages. This particular evening they also had their cousins over. We used to play in the fields together and ride our motorbikes. This particular evening we couldn’t decide what to do, maybe it was because there cousins were over too. We eventually decided to have a stone fight. It’s the kind of thing

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Go

“Go,” Jesus replied, “your son will live.” The man took Jesus at his word and departed. (‭John‬ ‭4‬:‭50‬ NIV) Jesus has just me the woman at the well and has now travelled to Cana in Galilee. As gets there a royal official hears about him and goes to visit him because his son is very sick. He begs Jesus to heal him, Jesus ‘seems’ a bit fed up with the people, saying unless you see signs or wonders you will never believe. The official carries on asking despite what Jesus has said. His desperation has made him press in, he

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Live in Harmony with one another – Romans 12:6

Harmony in the musical sense is the simultaneous playing or singing of notes chords that produces something that is pleasant and pleasing to the ear. When musicians and singers aren’t playing together you can hear it straight away, the discordant voice or instrument rises above and can cause you to physically grimace. Playing in a band situation is often a case of ‘less is more’, but some from there insecurity, or sometimes pride, want to keep on playing as they feel the ‘must’ be heard. This is not harmony. It is all very similar to what Paul is saying here

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Jesus and Legion

Do you ever stop to think about the sights and the sounds of the stories in the bible? I have recently been thinking about legion (you can find the story in Mark 5:1-18 and Luke 8:27:33). Think about what this would have looked like (maybe not too hard as the man didn’t have any clothes on) but think about how this would have felt for jesus and the disciples as they came into contact with the man. The boat had just landed and they got out, the air would was filled with the acrid smell of pig manure and the

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Walking in power

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” (‭Luke‬ ‭8‬:‭46‬ NIV) If you have been around a while you will be familiar with the story of the lady with tthe issue of blood. She has spent all her money and seen many doctors. She is in a lot of discomfort and suffered terribly. Hearing of Jesus and seeing the miracles she reaches out to touch him. Jesus would traditionally thought to have worn a garment that is known as the “Tallit”. The dictionary defines it as: “a shawllike garment of wool, silk, or

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Your presence is all I need

Your presence is all I need It’s all I want, all I seek Without it, without it there’s no meaning Your presence is the air I breath The song I sing, the love I need Without it, without it I’m not living David said: Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually! (‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16‬:‭11‬ AMP) As the deer the pants for the waters, so my soul longs after you. Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from

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You have an anointing from the Holy One

I don’t know what it is when I read these words but I struggle to believe that they are for me, I struggle to think of myself as having an anointing. I think others do, but not me. Where does that come from? Is it the typical British self abasement passed down from one generation to the next or is it my own home grown variety, cultivated from my own experiences of life? I imagine that is a mixture of the two, a bit of nature and nurture. However it has grown, I don’t want the weed in my garden.

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Devoted to prayer

Paul is a man devoted to prayer, his encouragement to the Ephesians is to pray in the Spirit on all occasions, to the Colossians to be devoted to prayer, to the Thessalonians to pray continually, to the Philippians to consider everything in prayer, to the Romans to be constant in prayer, to the Corinthians that our prayers make a difference. To Timothy he reminds of his example of day and night prayer and to Titus and Philemon he prays a blessing. You are unable to escape the pervading prayer that Paul advocates and demonstrates. Yet it seems to be relegated

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Holding it all together

We live in a disposable world. If it breaks we throw it away, and that’s not just the ‘stuff’ we acquire, it is friendships, marriages and families. Whilst reading this morning I came across this passage in Colossians 1:17 – in Christ, all things are held together. I have read it many times but only today did a new light shine from this amazing truth. It came whilst reading Jesus + Nothing = everything, Tullian Tchividjian makes the point that only in Christ can fragmentation be restored. I have read this many times and believe it, but this was a

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Friday’s thoughts

I go to the coffee shop as I don’t like my office. I like the feeling of freedom of being outside of constraints, watching the people. The lady at the counter, who is upset with the bus driver. She has more words per second than a Gatling gun. She has a ring on her finger with a ‘stone’ (I doubt it is a stone – and yes I made a judgement) at least 4cm across. If it were real, you and a small African nation would never have to work again. But it’s not real. Then there is the man

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Rebuking the fever

He rebuked the fever, and it left her (Luke 4:39 NASB) Seems kind of simple…yet we often don’t see the reality of this happening around us. I have to ask myself, what are the barriers? Why did Jesus manage to rebuke the fever and we seem to struggle with this kind of thing? There are a number of points to cover here. At the outset the biggest barrier to seeing this happening around is unbelief, which in itself has a number of roots, the biggest of which is thinking that Jesus only did the miracles because he was God, I

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Power

because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. (1 Thessalonians 1:5 NIV) I so want to see this happen, the gospel going out not just in words but also in power. We are very articulate, very clever at communicating but sometimes at the expense of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We need to be clear, effective and efficient communicators but only if we are also able to minister with His power as well. We cannot make

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How much can He do?

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, (Ephesians 3:20 NASB) I am shocked by my own unbelief. I read promises and think, really? Will you really do more abundantly beyond what I ask or think? I disappoint myself by that state of my own heart. I realise as I read that I have been captured by the invisible threads of the enemy. Threads that wrap around my mind until it is cocooned like a spider trapping a fly, but these are

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Led by the Spirit

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1 NASB) At the beginning of a new year I try to gather my thoughts, I pray for wisdom for the coming season, looking to see what he will do and his desires for my life. It is simplistic, but profound, but this can all be summed up with the basis of the ministry of Jesus. Jesus was led by the Spirit. If I have any prayer this year it would be that I would be led by the Spirit. Led into

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Consumer church

We are more influenced by our culture than we think. Subtle changes. Small erosions in the landscape. And like a meandering river cuts it’s way through the valley and discards those bits that are superfluous so our culture discards those bits that are not relevant. Over time you notice the landscape change and wonder how it got there. We are in a consumer culture. From the onset of Sunday trading to the 24hour stores. I remember as a child having to drive to a local petrol station to buy milk on a Sunday, the station owner had a small shop

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Beating the air

When it seems like the fight is frantic and you are beating the air, you are left worn out and tired, still aware of the voices laughing, taunting you. Oh God help me to walk by faith and to see what you are doing. Teach me to fight as you desire, to know that my battle is not against flesh and blood, that my battle is not about beating the wind, thrashing the air and ending up drained and exhausted. Lord show me your strategy to defeat the enemy and see victory so my pummelling of the air is not

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He intercedes

Who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:34 NASB) After such great truths about our victory and the surety of our salvation it seems to be such a throw away statement, ‘who also intercedes for us’. Yet his intercession is a great assurance to my heart. Romans 8 has such heights and depths of truth yet it would not be complete without this phrase. The Lord saw it fit that this phrase should be here, perfectly complimenting all the others. The chapter has so far talked about our freedom in Christ and walking by the Spirit, our adoption as sons and

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The Mirror

I don’t normally do this but I loved the story so much it has it’s own post. The Mirror By Brian Lesnik In a small city in Europe many years ago, lived a simple storekeeper named Moshe. Moshe was a kind man. He was interested in being a good person and helping people. Moshe had a very small store. There was little merchandise in his store so very few people actually came to purchase from him. Moshe spent his time sitting at the doorway waiting for a customer saying his psalms. Moshe had a kind heart. When people had problems,

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Persistent rejection

I know one who has constantly given themselves as a friend, given their kindness, been generous and extravagant in all friendships, whether they were deemed as ‘in’ or not. I know one who is thoughtful and pragmatic and is not afraid to say those things that others are afraid to say for there is a bigger picture at hand. But such qualities are not always admired. Among some they are seen as a threat, they expose their insecurities. The only solution is to reject, and when ones own rejection is not sufficient others are gathered to bolster opinion. The result

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A place of refuge

Daily I have to set my mind and my spirit on a deliberate course, to go to the place of being hidden in him. I know we should stay there but at times like these I am checking where I am, I know the course of life can cause me to not live in that place no matter how great my intentions are. But my desire is to maintain that place of being hidden in Christ. For some you will say we are already there and we appropriate it by faith, yes I agree, as it says in Colossians 3:2-3

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Hardness of heart

Excluded from the life of God….because of the hardness of their heart; (Ephesians 4:18 NASB) I find this shocking. The hardness of a mans heart can exclude him from the light of God’s truth. Though there is revelation all around of the glory of God, man thought it good to harden his heart and choose other things to worship. Whether it is football, or academia or drugs or sex, man has found a degree of satisfaction in giving himself to these things. It will only ever be a degree, for true fulfilment comes only when we come home to the

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Calling a spade a spade

Before I write what I wanted to write a word about the title. It means ‘to tell it how it is’. There are no racial connotations and in fact the earliest form of this expression comes from the Greek philosopher Plutarch (he died around 120BC). Erasmus used it in his writings and the expression came to the UK in the 16th century. It is a statement of the obvious, and in its earlier forms it was to call a fig a fig or call a trough a trough… so enough with the etymology of the phrase and rest assured it

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Abundant life

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 NASB) There is a polar difference between the two statements. What would you choose? To be in the charge of the one who can kill steal and destroy or with the one who gives abundant life? It is a no brainer! Who would choose anything but life? There must be something wrong if you to want hang out with one who is going to kill steal and destroy….they don’t make good friends and they certainly don’t make

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When Paul prays

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and

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Speaking the truth in love

We often use the phrase ‘speaking the truth in love’, but I’m not sure how much of the time it is truth and how much it is in love, a bit like Bombay chicken, Bombay is not called that anymore and it has as much chicken in as tofu burger. Sometimes it seems like a good excuse to vent our issues and get rid of our garbage. Garbage is not destroyed by dumping it on to someone else, it is merely translated. You may feel better but your stuff is now rubbishing their garden. There is only one place to

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Why were you searching?

Why were you searching for me, didn’t you know I had to be in my father’s house? Luke 2:49

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Voice Activated Kingdom part 2

I have always believed in the power of words and have seen their creative power, but only recently the phrase ‘voice activated kingdom’ came to me whilst journaling, others may have used this term but I am not aware of that. A phrase helps capture a large concept in a few words, using the phrase somehow opens us to the fullness of what the phrase means. Creation happened as God spoke, his words were creative. He spoke and something happened. Romans 4:17 captures this really well ‘God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not

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Don’t let go

“Scarcely had I passed them and I found the one my heart loves, I held him and would not let him go” Song of Songs 3:4 When you find him, don’t let him go. When you see him, don’t take your eyes off of him. Hold on. Whatever it takes, don’t let him go.

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Voice activated kingdom

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm. And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” (Luke 4:35, 36 ESV) Deliverance up to this point had been tolerated, they had no choice, for no one new how to get the demons out. However they manifested, whether it was legion or the boy who through himself

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