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The PASSION Blog
The PASSION Blog is a place where I share reflections on faith, life, the Bible and ministry. Be blessed.
Beach or mountains?
The Wordpress question of the day was, "Beach or
mountains? Which do you prefer? Why?" I found it an
While I like being at both the beach and the mountains, I would have to say the mountains win out slightly.
For me there is something about walking up a hill to be alone with God in prayer. I can focus on Him on the journey to the top and when I arrive I can see from a higher perspective.
But in saying this, sometimes I like to sit at the ocean and just watch the waves go in and out. I find myself being in awe of the God who made the oceans and how vast it is when you look out to sea.
The deciding factor for me is that fact that we live nearly 300 kilometres from the ocean. It is easier for me to go and walk up our rock. I can walk up the pathway and be alone with Him.
So beach or mountains. It is the mountains for me,
but only just.
If I could make one first impression on people, my hope they would see me as a compassionate person. I want to be seen as someone who loves, cares and helps where they can.
When I read through the life of Jesus in the Gospels, I see many occasions where Jesus had compassion on the people. Every time I read of these things it bring tears to my eyes and a deep longing to my heart.
Here are just a few examples…
Mark 6:34 NLT Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.
Matthew 14:14 NLT Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
Mark 1:41 NLT Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”
Luke 7:13-14 NLT When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. “Don’t cry!” he said.  Then he walked over to the coffin and touched it, and the bearers stopped. “Young man,” he said, “I tell you, get up.”
Just in these examples we see Jesus had compassion on the people. He shepherded them, taught them, healed their sick and even raised the widows only son to life.
In Luke 6:36 NLT Jesus says, “You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate”. This is something Jesus wants us to display to the world around us.
So what first impression do I want to make on people – I want to be seen as a compassionate person.
Radical forgiveness book
One I have just read and will read through again is Bruce Downes book Radical Forgiveness. Bruce is known as The Catholic Guy.
I read this book on Thursday in a couple of sittings and I think I will read it again before I have to return it. My sister sent it to me in the mail this week. It is one that she enjoyed and found very helpful.
One key for me that came through over and over is the saying “time heals all wounds”. Downes says this is not true.
We know in the natural, our physical wounds may heal in time, but wounds to our heart or soul need to be worked through. And part of the working through includes forgiving and letting go.
Downes says this forgiveness and letting go is often very hard, but it is essential for our relationships and our own future. Not only might it improve a fractured relationship, but it can actually allow us to live freer going forwards. It is like a weight lifted off us.
I have often heard that if we carry grudges against people for hurting us, it is like giving them free rent space in our heads. It is also like our computers RAM being taken up by programs running in the background. You just do not have the processing space to think clearly.
Downes’ book was a nice easy read. It was in simple language, had good examples and it used lots of Bibles passages that fit in nicely to illustrate his points. At 70 odd pages it is well worth a read.
If you are interested you can find it here on his website. Just to let you know I do not receive anything for this recommendation.
Forgiveness and unforgiveness
Matthew 6:14-15 NLT – “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Forgiveness is a lost art in some areas of society. People hold on to grudges and won’t let go. Sometimes for many years, sadly.
This is especially true in the online world. Small things get blown out of proportion. A simple slip of the tongue can lead to a hate campaign and people being deeply deeply offended.
One thing I have purposed in my heart to do is let forgiveness flow. As hard as it is sometimes, I have to remember people are imperfect humans who make mistakes.
Jesus is the only One who walked the earth that is perfect. Everyone else is not.
Sometimes we have to admit to ourselves that yes we have been hurt or offended, but unforgiveness is not part of who we want to be as Jesus followers.
In the above passage, which comes right after the Lord’s prayer, we see that our forgiveness has implications for our own faith journey. Jesus said that if we want God to forgive our sins, we have to forgive others.
What? I have to forgive others to be forgiven. This is hard Christianity. This is where the rubber hits the road. But it is what Jesus wants for us. He wants us to let go of our pain and release forgiveness to others.
It is not an easy thing to do. In some cases it is impossible without God’s help. We have to be like David in the Psalms and be really honest with God. And then ask Him to help us to forgive and let go.
I know in my own life I have asked God to help me let go of long held unforgiveness and when I did, it was like a huge weight was lifted off me. I felt light for the first time in years.
How about you? Have you things you are holding on to? Is it time to ask God to help you let them go and forgive?
Dear God, I do not want to hold unforgiveness in my
heart. Please help me today to let things go. Help me
to forgive those who have hurt me. I pray I can
release forgiveness today. Help me to forgive others
so You can forgive me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Love your enemies
Today in the world there is so much conflict and hatred going on. The Bible says these things will happen and it gives us some advice on how to handle it.
Matthew 5:43-48 TPT – “Your ancestors have also been taught ‘Love your neighbors and hate the one who hates you.’  However, I say to you, love your enemy, bless the one who curses you, do something wonderful for the one who hates you, and respond to the very ones who persecute you by praying for them.  For that will reveal your identity as children of your heavenly Father. He is kind to all by bringing the sunrise to warm and rainfall to refresh whether a person does what is good or evil.  What reward do you deserve if you only love the loveable? Don’t even the tax collectors do that?  How are you any different from others if you limit your kindness only to your friends? Don’t even the ungodly do that?  Since you are children of a perfect Father in heaven, you are to be perfect like him.”
We see that there was a time when people where taught to love their neighbour and to hate those who hate them. In the passage above we see Jesus taught some different things.
1. To love our enemies, not hate them.
2. To bless those who curse us.
3. To do something nice for them.
4. To pray for those who persecute us.
These four points are very clear and easy to understand. Yes, they are hard to do, but it is what Jesus wants us to do. Ultimately it is what best for us too.
We also see in the above passage that there are two things that happen as a result of this…
1. It helps to identify as God’s children.
2. It shows we are different from the world around us.
As Christians we should want to be identified as God’s children and shine our lights to the world around us. If we do the four things above when persecuted, we will shine God’s light and love to others.
Dear Lord Jesus, please help me to respond to persecution and hatred in the way You want me to respond. Help me to love others, pray for them and be a blessing to them. Help me to let my light shine and show I am different from those around me. In Your name, Amen.
Matthew 16:24-27 NLT – Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.  And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.”
When Jesus called His first followers He simply said, “Come, follow Me” (Mark 1:17-18). It was a few simple words, but a big call to leave everything behind to commit to a new way of life. History tells us that those fishermen did answer the call and left everything behind.
In the above passage Jesus offers the same call to His followers today. But He adds to be a true follower we have to give up our own way and take on His way and His direction. To be a true follower of Jesus we give up our worldly hopes, dreams, plans and wisdom and take on His goals, plans and dreams for us. We need to take up our cross and follow Him.
I believe this is about changing kingdoms – from the worldly kingdom and it’s ways to God’s Kingdom and His eternal ways. It also means not being king or ruler of our own lives and handing complete and total control to Jesus. We need to accept His Lordship.
I know from my own experience it is easier to accept Jesus as our Saviour, than our Lord. To accept that He died on the cross for our sins and to accept Him as the only way to salvation happens when we understand who He is and what He has done. But Lordship is another matter. Giving up control of our lives is much harder.
The passage above tells us that if we do give up our lives for Jesus and service in His Kingdom, we actually find true life. We find true life because this is how it is meant to be. God made us all for His purpose. We all have a divine call, purpose and destiny. When we come in to line with this, we find our true place in this world and in God’s Kingdom.
How about you? Have you accepted Jesus as your saviour? Have you handed your life over to Him to be Your Lord? It is my hope and prayer that you have done both.
Dear Lord Jesus, I thank You that You died on the cross
for my sin. Right now I confess all the wrong things I
have done in my life and ask for Your forgiveness. I
accept You as my Saviour. Jesus, I also want to accept
You as my Lord. I want You to be the ruler of my life. I
lay down my life to You. Please use me in the way You
created me to be. Please use me for Your Kingdom
purposes. Help me to take up my cross each day and truly
follow You. I ask this in Your name, Amen.
We do not lose heart2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT says, “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
As Christians we should not lose heart. We have so much hope. Our faith and hope in Jesus should draw us along life’s highway towards our eternal home.
This life is not not all there is. We have an eternal home waiting for us. And Jesus Himself is waiting at the door to welcome us home!
We know in this life we have troubles and pain, but they are nothing compared to what awaits us in eternity. The Bible says the glory of heaven vastly outweighs our earthly problems and pain.
I believe as followers of Jesus we need to live today in light of eternity. To go about our days with hope in our hearts that one day we will see Jesus face to face. In His glorious presence all our troubles will melt away in an instant. They will all be gone forever.
The key for us is to fix our spiritual eyes on what is unseen. To imagine what it will be like to see Jesus face to face. To look into His eyes and feel His loving embrace. And to hear those eternal words, “Well done good and faithful servant”.
This is what keeps me going. This is what inspires me to press on towards the goal. How can I lose heart when this is my focus?
Dear Jesus, thank You for the eternal home you have
prepared for me. Thank You for the hope this gives me.
Help me to focus on the eternal unseen things. Help me
to live my life in light of eternity each and every
day. In Your name, Amen.
Four things to remember when sin
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