I’m struggling to understand my Faith

I dont get itHow often do you hear someone say, “I just don’t GET IT, what’s the fuss all about?” When it comes to anything remotely connected to Faiths or Religions, heated discussions will ensue and more often than not, all parties leave more annoyed or angry than before they started. Then everyone agrees to stay away from such discussions in future, resulting in misconceptions and misunderstandings. This may be acceptable for the world at large, but not so for the Christian believer. For us, the opposite is true. Ignorance and compromise will not help us to understand our Faith; and to be able to fulfil our purpose in Christ, we must reach a point where we truly ‘get it.’ We must understand who Christ is and who we are in Him.


So, you’ve been a Christian for a while now and you still don’t get it! Well, you are not alone. All those moving parts leave you feeling like a deer in the headlights? There are varying levels and degrees of understanding when you first come to Christ, and this is normal. But, the extent to which the confusion is taking hold is far from normal. The enemy doesn’t know when he is beaten and he never gives up. He throws, chaos, confusion and hate into the huge melting pot that is the world, and just keeps on stirring. Picking your way through it whilst staying on the right path can only be compared to a tightrope walker balancing precariously above the heads of the audience at circus. The audience waiting to see if the artist is skilled enough to get from A to B without falling off. In much the same way the Devil and his demons watch and wait to see if we will fall away from the right path. But in the case of the circus performer, they often have a safety net beneath them in-case they fall or for when they are dismounting.

The Christian might think they don’t have a safety net, but we do; we have the Almighty God, who’s hands are big enough to catch us. Sometimes you will wobble, and other times you will fall off; but know that He is always there to catch you and put you back on to continue your journey.

The enemy’s only purpose now; bearing in mind he was unable to fulfil his purpose that he was created for, (which was to walk around looking beautiful, praising and worshipping God and to be a leader (archangel) over the angels put in his care) is to steal your Salvation, kill your Spirit and destroy your Soul. In a nutshell, he wants to prevent you from getting to heaven, so he throws obstacles in your way. If nothing else he is consistent.

John 10:10
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

Up to this point it may seem like all doom and gloom and you are wondering if you can win. Can I really make it? Well the short, firm, undeniable answer is YES! You can. This battle we think we have to fight is not ours, Jesus has already fought this battle and He has won it. All you have to do is to:

Stand firm and endure to the end, regardless of what is thrown at you. 

God knows our future but we don’t. So, we are free to chose and make the right decisions without the weight of knowing what the outcome will be. We can grow and develop; become stagnant with little or no evidence of growth or we can slip backwards and return to the life we once had. And, if it was that great in the first place you wouldn’t have left it! Your path is not set. It changes according to the choices you make, so Choose well. 

But how do we achieve the above?

You really, really need to have a live relationship with God. He is your Father who lives, breathes, speaks and loves you with an everlasting love that is unparalleled. He is not a golden image, or a stone figurine on your mantel piece, He is not a character in a fantasy tale. He is real!

It is not enough to get baptised go to church every Sunday and hope for the best. There is so much more to your Christian walk than that. Be curious, have zeal, ask questions regardless of how silly they may seem. If they are important to you; they are important! Challenge the popular belief if it doesn’t rest easy in your Spirit. So many false doctrines and wrong thinking has crept stealthily into the Christian Faith that some are very difficult to separate from the truth. This is a tough one and only God Himself can guide you.

You must start talking to Him. Keep it simple. don’t look at how others are doing it, we are all wonderfully unique. Find your special ‘Me Time’ to connect with God. Don’t wait until 11pm when you have ran around all day for the world and are now tired and can barely think straight. Don’t worry about the kneeling or the closing of eyes or the clasping of hands. Throw yourself on your bed and cry to Him. It doesn’t have to be posh, or refined. He knows who you are and the struggles you are faced with. If you are confused, tell Him; if you are scared, tell Him; if you don’t get it, TELL HIM!

He guides you so gently that often it is only when you get to a place in your life and look back that you realise how far you’ve come, and don’t forget to thank Him. You cannot grow spiritually as a Christian, if you are not connect to the Spirit of God.

Start getting curious and ask questions!

Blood and Fire

Newsletter Cover 051117_4Translating the Bible into English and the Bloody Battle that ensued!


Sacrilegious, contraband, illegal, were just some of the terms used to describe one of the rarest books in the world.  With only 3 copies left; each worth millions of pounds; one of which was on display in October at St. Paul’s Cathedral, England; it is the very first English translation of the Bible (the New Testament). Translated by William Tyndale in 1534, its’ distribution network consisted of dedicated followers of Christ who would hide the Bibles in bales of wool and smuggle them to avoid detection by Customs. It was regarded as contraband and was against the law to translate it into English. To distribute it as well was going against the power and might of Europe. Copies of the Bible was rounded up and burnt; all but 3 copies are in existence today.

The English church was governed from Rome so church services had to be conducted in Latin by law. Translating the Bible into English to enable the common folk to get to know God for themselves was literally a crime, punishable by death. At that time the church acted as mediator between man and God, and only permitted the educated clergy to read the Bible which was translated in Latin.

Two years after Tyndale translated the Bible, he was executed and burnt as a heretic. But against all the odds, he was able to fulfil his purpose to make the Bible accessible to everyone and not just the elite by man’s standard. Today over 80% of the King James Bible (KJV) comes from Tyndale’s original translation. The KJV remains the most accurate translation of the Bible from the original Greek scrolls.

During this time of reformation, anyone who preached the true Gospel and attempted to open the eyes of people to the truth of Jesus Christ were killed and labelled as a heretic. The term simply means someone who challenged the doctrine of the established church; the Roman Catholic Church at that time. The irony here is that ‘Heresy’ had been declared by Pope Innocent III in 1199 as treason against God; and was regarded as the worst of all crimes. Yet it was these very leaders themselves who were actually committing crimes against God and all that Jesus stood for! They abused their position of power, making the laws of the land to control the masses. Many followers of Christ who stayed true to the Gospel died horrific deaths. From the Apostles some two thousand years ago, through generation after generation; and people are still being killed for their belief in Christ.

Every generation of true Christians experience persecution and suffering. Same thing, different package! Yet Christianity remains the largest faith in the world. The Bible continues to be the bestselling book of all time and tops the best seller list every year; having sold billions through the centuries.

Many, many men and women of God died to make the Bible and its’ teachings available to us. And the more God’s people are persecuted, the more they are victorious over the plans of the devil. Regardless of the war raged against Tyndale and the true followers of Christ, we have complete access to the Word of God today; Victory! But how did we get the Bible? Over the following months we will follow the journey of the Bible; a book forged in blood and persecutions, claiming the lives of some of the greatest, determined, driven and above all; righteous individuals of our time. Wycliffe, the first of the Bible-men, during a time of brutal persecutions said:

“They mined it (the Bible) for individual texts to use in debates and sermons, and they wrote copious notes and glosses on passages within it. But their approach was logical and scholastic; they did not think of it as a work that was alive and breathing, like the God who had created it. It was a priestly text, dusty, locked up in Latin, safely beyond the reach of the English at large. Religion had come to mean the Church itself, and its traditions.”

Many in this age would happily take us back to these dark ages, but the sooner we realise that the Bible is the Living Word of God, the sooner it will be life to us!

What does being unequally yoked mean?

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16


The subject of being ‘unequally yoked’ for a Christian continues to be a bone of contention. It really shouldn’t; but often we want the Bible to fit in with our lives and seem only able to accept Christ on our terms. The Bible however will not change, we cannot add or take anything away from it, and if we don’t agree with it there is precious little we can do. So, as usual I like to keep things simple.

Firstly, God always gives us a choice. There are some requirements for holy living where God says we categorically must not do something and must live a certain way, or we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. And there are other requirements where God says, we should not do something because if we do it we will have problems which will make it difficult for us to maintain a righteous life in Him. As a result we will struggle unnecessarily and could fall away from Him. The subject of being unequally yoked falls in the latter category.

To be ‘yoked’ is to be joined together in a close relationship, any relationship; not just marriage. As Christians we usually think of this term in regards to a Christian marrying a non-Christian, but it is far more than that. The Apostle Paul addresses the Corinthians, who at the time were not living a righteous life, they were making all sorts of mistakes. They had close relationships with idol worshippers and false prophets, the lines were blurred with believers and unbelievers fellowshipping together. As a result of this, they did not recognise Paul as the true follower of Christ and was rejecting him.

The world today is a difficult, complicated, melting pot of evil, hate and pain; masking itself with the sole intent to deceive and destroy the innocent. God has opened the eyes of His believers so they will see it for what it is and live accordingly, avoiding the unholiness of the world. Living a righteous and holy life in this world, is difficult enough even when you are equally ‘yoked,’ believing in the same doctrine of Christ and living according to the same principles.

Paul challenges this situation, be it friendships or relationships; of which marriage is the closest. For when we are married to someone who is an unbeliever; we know Christ; while they do not. We worship while they do not. They still enjoy the worldly living while we do not or should not. Our lifestyle and choices will be different which will inevitably cause problems and divisions in the relationship.

Paul is not saying here that this is a ‘deal breaker’ or that you will lose your Salvation, although as a Christian, worldly influences could pull you away from Christ which could result in you losing your salvation if not recognised and acted upon. He is saying that the two are not equally matched. To be yoked with others who preach completely different doctrines that goes against the Bible, to be yoked with idol worshippers; those who live a riotous life which you are trying to live a righteous life is counter productive to the Christian walk.

God gives us the freedom to make our own choices, but tells us very clearly in the Bible that certain choices will make our lives difficult.

Whilst there are many marriages and close relationships joining believers to non-believers; how many can say they can sit down and pray together, discuss God together, read and understand the Bible together or both look forward to the day when they meet our Saviour in heaven? For such a relationship to work, there has to be a lot of compromise so one will not offend the other, boundaries which cannot be crossed, a dividing line to allow each to ‘do their thing’ whilst coming together to fellowship. It is difficult at best!

When believers are yoked with unbelievers; we will not be able to share or exchange intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a mental or spiritual level; but the Lord still allows us to chose the people in our lives.

It should also be noted here that Christians can be unequally yoked to other Christians. How is this possible you ask? Well, Paul actually speaks of believers and unbelievers, which we often refer to as Christians and non-Christians. With over 2 billion Christians in the world today, it is safe to say that there are varying degrees of belief in the true Gospel of Christ. There are some Christians who do not believe in Jesus Christ and His teachings. Many have taken what pleases them and mixed it with a little of this and a little of that and created their own hybrid ‘religion’ still referring to it as Christianity. To be yoked to someone claiming to be a Christian but not truly believing in Jesus Christ and His teachings… the fullness of the Word of God; is to be unequally yoked.

God is merciful and loves us so much that as long as there is a Christian in the household that household will be blessed. On the topic of marriage the Lord is not saying that if your partner is a non-believer you should be parted from them; on the contrary. God loves marriage, it was ordained by Him. So an unbelieving husband or wife is sanctified through the husband or wife who believes in Christ and is living a righteous life. That union is blessed, it is not any less of a marriage than the marriage of two believers. But we need to know that there will be struggles because fundamentally both parties still have different beliefs.

Babes in Christ

Christians fix up

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3


The fragile state of a new born babe cannot be denied. They are completely reliant on the parents or guardians. They don’t understand our language; we need some time to understand their signs; they can’t care for themselves; they need to learn all about their new world that they have been born into. They need to be nurtured! Some are more challenging than others, so we don’t abandon those, on the contrary, we put more effort into caring for them. And all this takes time as they grow and develop into strong adults!

You are probably thinking at this stage that we all know this, mankind has been around for a while now so what point am I making here?! Well, the point is that this is the same for a ‘new born babe’ in Christ. The new Christian, the new Convert, the newly Saved… they are babes in Christ! and in much the way as a new born babe, they need care, guidance, nurturing as they make their way through their spiritual life to becoming spiritual adults. They too have to learn a new language, train their mind to think in a different way; their bodies to react in a different way and their tongues to speak in a different way… all new to them. As they grow and develop spiritually they will become stronger and not so dependent on others, though we must always love and support each other throughout out lives.

Having said all this why then do we as Christians get it wrong so often? New converts who are able to adjust well and quickly seem to be embraced while the ones who are finding it more challenging and are struggling in many ways; often finding it difficult to shake of the residue of the world; are ignored, avoided, side-stepped. Sometimes they are blatantly dismissed or subtly ignored! Not only have I seen this happen, but many have shared their experiences with me over the years; and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

First and foremost, many seem to lack understanding and knowledge; then progress on to a lack of patience and empathy when it comes to helping others. If someone is deemed to be too challenging; few are prepared to go the extra mile with them. Yet, Christ went further than the extra mile with us and continues to do so today! If we are spiritual adults who follow Christ and love each other as Christ has loved us; we should never be overcome with the task of nurturing the new babes to the point where we give up with them ultimately leading to them giving up on themselves.

Our Christian walk is “not about us! It is about others.” It’s always been about loving and helping others.

We need to help them to nurture their relationship with God, through studying the Word of God (the Bible) which will teach them how to communicate effectively with God through prayer; to enable them to grow into strong spiritual adults:

1 Peter 2:2
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

All too often and more so in these latter days Christianity seems to be so exclusive, with a real ‘them’ and ‘us’ attitude. If we don’t ‘fix up’ and sort ourselves out we do the name of Christ an injustice.

Reach out today and help someone who is struggling in their Faith!

Recommended Reading:
My Alabaster Box: A Simple Guide Through The Christian Journey

I am a Christian… but!

Jesus Christ is Lord_2


Many people in the world claim to be Christians; and the 2001 census recorded 41 million Christians living in Great Britain; making up almost three quarters of the population. (Information taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32722155). At a glance this is impressive and encouraging for the Faith in this country. But start scratching the surface and a very different story emerges.

It seems that many who claim to be Christians are really not sure what Christianity is or what it really means to be a Christian. Is it possible to be a Christian but not believe in Jesus Christ? No absolutely not; but apparently many say they are Christians but not only do they not believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and don’t know Him; but they don’t believe in the teachings of the Bible. They are happy with some bits and discard the rest.

Christianity Is:
In light of these revelations, let’s take a few moments to provide a simple definition of the meaning of Christianity. To be a Christian is to be Christ like, to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Saviour, is the Son of the one true living God, Jehovah. It is a belief that Jesus came to die for the sins of the world and He will one day return to reward His followers and judge the rest of the world. Christianity is to live a righteous life according to the teachings of the Holy Bible and to have a real relationship with God.

Christianity is Not:
A fad, popular culture, or a new lifestyle choice. It is not just a spiritual experience that you can’t quite understand so you have decided to give it a label. It is not a belief in all the religions of the world; you cannot say you are a Christian, but you also believe in other gods and religions; as Christianity is a complete and total belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Professing to be a Christian on your own terms is damaging to the Faith and adds to the confusion causing a decline in the Faith with many turning to other religions or choosing to believe in nothing at all.

The term ‘Christians’ was first used in Antioch as told to us in the following scriptures:

Acts 11:25-26
Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

So we know this was the start of Christianity and the first church and this has continued through the ages to today.  Christianity has taken many turns and directions, many ups and downs.  Hundreds of denominations, inconsistent teachings and practices have caused much confusion in the Faith and decades later the world is more confused now than ever.  Many have misunderstood the prophecies and revelations of the Bible, attempting to interpret parts by taking them out of context, embracing some teachings while rejecting others.  They have mixed it with some man-made laws, traditions practices and cultures; not to mention the cults and newly emerging religious groups.  Who can be blamed for being confused?  A good rule of thumb here is to get to know the Bible for yourself, have a real relationship with the Holy Spirit so He can guide you and you will know in your spirit when a teaching is wrong and does not line up with the Word of God. (My Alabaster Box: A Simple Guide Through the Christian Journey).

You cannot say you are a Christian… but! There are no grey areas in God. We are either Christians or not. We are either like Christ or not! Believing that there is a god or something greater out there or you are spiritual does not make you a Christian.

If we say we are Christians, there are no buts; we need to know who we worship and who we are in Christ!

Be Blessed!

The Ultimate in Service to God

“Not my will Lord; Let your will be done in my life.”


We often think we know what’s best for ourselves and what we should do to please God. Usually without a thought as to what God’s perfect will is for our lives, or what is actually pleasing to Him. In spending some time with the Holy Spirit to understand this, I was lead to John 13, when Jesus washed the feet of His Disciples after He finished the Last Supper.

It is easy to think that the ultimate service we can perform for God is to be great in our calling… to be a great Prophet, a great Preacher or worker of Miracles; but no, this is not the case. Jesus is the Son of God, a Prophet, a teacher and preacher of the Gospel, a worker of miracles; and so much more. Yet, in John 13, after He had the Last Supper He washed the feet of His disciples. So what is  Jesus saying to us here?

John 13:3-5
Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He rose from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded…

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper with twelve men who had been journeying with Him throughout His ministry, and … WASHED THEIR FEET!

It was the custom at that time for slaves to be assigned the task of washing the feet of the masters’ guests. That task was NEVER done by anyone of high status in society…EVER…So why did Jesus do this? He removed His outer garments took a towel and girded Himself in preparation for the task just as the slaves would have done at that time.

But this was not just a physical or practical exercise. In this one act there are many spiritually symbolic meanings. In verse 10; Christ says; ‘he who is bathed needs only to wash His feet, but is completely clean.’ When we come to Christ we are washed in His blood so we are COMPLETELY clean, we have been justified by our Faith in Him. Our FEET however continues to get dirty and unclean as they represent our WALK in Christ. We are at the start of our journey so we have a long way to go! They will get dirty on this daily journey as we make mistakes. Sometimes we will get ourselves all messed up, we will sin whether consciously or unconsciously; physically or in our minds!! So therefore, our feet need washing again and again. We do this through confessing our sins to God and to each other… (JAMES 5:16 confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.)

WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE WHERE WE ARE GOING WRONG! 

Only Jesus can cleanse us from the sins committed on our walk, only He can wash away sins… so Peter or any of the disciples could NOT wash the feet of Jesus. Jesus also knew that shortly one would betray Him; one would deny Him and the others would run away from Him… so He was already cleansing them and forgiving them for what they were about to do. This was the fullness of God’s Love and Mercy, that all the Disciples had to do was to confess their sins to Him acknowledge what they had because He had already cleansed them and forgiven them… He washed Judas’ feet’ so Judas was already cleansed and forgiven for his part but we know that he never went back to the Lord with it… he later took his life when he realised what he had done!!

We follow Christ’s example by washing each other’s feet not to cleanse anyone from their sins but to show LOVE, COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS TO EACH OTHER and to commit to serving each other…

It is a practical act with a deep spiritual meaning, just like the Holy Communion. When we eat the bread which represents Christ’s body and drink the wine which represents Christ’s blood we remember His crucifixion; a practical act with a very deep spiritual meaning.

The washing of each others’ feet represents the ultimate in service to God and His people. Jesus did not ask us to wash our own feet as this would be self-serving, we MUST serve each other. When we make our lives about others and NOT about ourselves… only then can God work with us! The ultimate service to God is to love and serve Him obediently as Christ did and to love and serve each other as Christ did. It’s not about ‘us,’ it’s about Him. God needs to be able to call on us at anytime to do whatever He asks us to do.

When God calls on you, do you hear Him, or do you continue doing what pleases you?

Fishers of Men

Fishers of men

I am proud to say that I have a new profession… I am a Fisher; forget the gender specifics! I fish for the humankind.


When we are called into the kingdom of God there is a lot of attention and emphasis on us, the new convert. And while we continue to be grounded in our Faith by staying closely connected to God and growing spiritually, we have been called into a greater purpose; a new profession. No, don’t give up your day job just yet, unless God has called you into full time ministry. The training for this role is on the job training.

Matthew 4:
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
And He said unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Becoming a Fisher for God is simple. Qualifications: accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, confess and repent of your sins, turn away from your old life and live a righteous life in Christ. Too simple? Not at all! There are no catches, hidden agendas for fine print. Don’t think you are not good enough or that you don’t deserve the ultimate promotion? Yes you are and yes you do.

So what does it mean to be a ‘Fisher of Men?’ Our greatest example was and always will be Jesus Christ. At no point did He live a pomp, privileged life unconcerned with the world or the fate of others. He was focused at all times on His purpose… to educate the world about Him and the Kingdom of Heaven. He therefore travelled far and wide preaching and teaching the Gospel; daily. He remained in constant contact with God the Father and never diverted to follow His own path. The four Gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell us of Jesus Christ, His life and works.

Jesus did not sit in the temples and synagogues daily or on a particular chosen day, Sunday or Saturday suited and booted and waiting! Waiting for the sick and needy to find Him. No, He went out of the four walls of the synagogues or His house and He travelled on the transported afforded to Him at that time… oh and He walked; a lot. As Christians we cannot get so comfortable and complacent in the four walls of our church. Our lives cannot revolve solely around our Sunday worship or whichever day of the week is designated for worship. Remember worship should be every day.

A Fisherman of the natural kind, cannot wait at home for the fish to jump out of the sea and travel to find them. They have to commit to their profession, invest in the necessary equipment, tools, resources and time. They need expert knowledge of the weather and the best locations to fish; and most importantly of all they have to get up out of the four walls of their homes and go fishing. I imagine in this age of technology they would need to staying abreast of innovative technology, with continued training and reskilling throughout their lives to be an effective fisherman.

So how does the Christian measure up to this new profession. Well first of all; secular societies are often insulted at the mention of Jesus’ name, making it difficult to spread the Word of God. There seems to be a lot of respect for other religions and faiths, but little for the Christian Faith. But that’s ok, the fisherman too has to ride the storms and cannot give up because the weather is threatening and perilous. Jesus continued with His ministry against oppositions such as the might of the Roman Empire, the King, the Jewish Leaders. Know that it is not nor ever will be easy! Don’t let fear prevent you from spreading the message of Christ far and wide. Don’t wait for someone to find you, to discover you are a Christian in the hope that they will find Christ through their own efforts! Help them by telling them about Christ and the kingdom of heaven.

Leave the four walls of your church and your home and tell people about your Faith. Let yourself be guided by God the Holy Spirit and use wisdom and discernment; but do tell them. Work situations can be easier than you think. During many discussions on a Monday morning when work colleagues would ask each other how their weekend went and what they did! Everyone openly shared their exciting weekend adventures, ‘I went to a party and got drunk off my face and don’t remember how I got home,’ or ‘I went away for the weekend and stayed in a beautiful hotel,’ or ‘I caught up with household chores and did some gardening.’ Naturally, I did something as well so I wasn’t going to stay silent. I shared my wonderful weekend too, don’t stay silent because you think someone might not want to hear it. “I had an amazing time at church, I was moderating, or ushering… there was a baptism.” I too have a voice and the many weekend escapades of the world do not interest me; but I had to listen to them every week; so I shared my experiences and my joys just like anyone else.

You have a voice so use it! Don’t stay silent and hope for the best, Jesus didn’t! Use your spiritual gifts, cast your net wide, spread the Gospel of Christ and become real Fishers of Men!

The Royal Law

James 2:8
If you fulfil the Royal Law according to the Scripture, you shall love your neighbour as yourself, you do well.


All too often in the world today, love and respect are shown to some while rejecting others.  The book of James, in the New Testament teaches us to show love to each other and not show special love to some while dismissing others. Jesus was no respecter of persons, meaning He showed love to everyone in the same way. To the Lord no one is more important than the other. Partiality is a sin and if we respect or love someone who is rich, dresses well has a certain status and hate someone who is poor and not dressed well or treat them any less than the other person, we are guilty of committing that sin.

James tells us to fulfil the ‘Royal Law’ which is to love each other as ourselves and if we do that we are definitely obeying God’s commandments. We know we cannot keep the ten commandments by our own self efforts; we need the Holy Spirit to help us and God’s grace to keep us. So, putting that aside let us look at the only two commandments we need to concentrate on… because all the other commandments hang on these two!

Matthew 22:37-40
Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Once we begin to practice and understand the fullness of ‘Love,’ and how important it is to God, it will begin to flow in our lives. Everything God did for us was out of Love otherwise we would not be here. We in turn must love each other and showing partiality and being dismissive of each other is not showing love. If this very important segment of fruit is not hanging from your tree… the other segments won’t be their either. Yes I am speaking of the Fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-26
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

How often do we say; “I don’t like that person,” or “I can’t stand that person,” or treat others with respect while ignoring others. How often do we scowl when someone walks into a room or avoiding sitting at the table with them. Pretending we don’t see someone by holding our heads straight… all acts of partiality and a definite lack of love. I see these actions in everyday life and definitely in the Body of Christ. We think we can treat each other like this and say we love God, but God is saying no you can’t! As Christians, God does not tolerate this type of behaviour and if we think He does, we are fooling ourselves. The following scripture confirms this:

1 John 4:20-21
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

If we are to live by the First law which is to Love God, followed by the Royal law, to love each other; then everything else will slowly but surely fit into place in our lives.

Love activates and sustains all Godliness in the Christian.

Going through Trials

Whether you are a Christian or not, you WILL go through trials. The moment we rejected God and chose Satan in the Garden of Eden; we signed up for trials and misfortunes. There is no getting out of it nor avoiding or sidestepping it: Satan makes sure of that. We are faced with these struggles whether we are directly responsible through our actions or not. The book of James in the New Testament tells us how to deal with these trials:

  • Embrace your trials because God will bless you if you don’t give up, and endure to the end
  • The crown of life is eternal life with God after this life is over
  • All those who continue to love God through their trials and do not give up will receive this gift of life

When we go through struggles and challenges in life we like to blame someone for this even when it is directly our own fault. More often than not the world likes to blame God. James tells us here to stop blaming God for our shortcomings and for the bad things that happen to us.

James 1:13
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man:

I have heard Christians say that because they didn’t pay their tithes, God made something bad happen to them and they had to pay all their money to fix the problem, so God was punishing them for not paying their tithes! Or God made them get sick as a punishment for something they had done wrong. Or when marriages fail; if God didn’t want them to get married He should have stopped them…the list of accusations go on and on! Somehow, we manage very well to shift blame onto God. But the book of James tells us that we of our own free will, lust after things. We have a great desire to have what we want regardless of the cost which is sin; and when conceived in our hearts it brings forth sin!

God is life, He does not sin and is not sin, so He cannot give us the fruits of sin. Sin is from darkness (Satan), and God is the “Father of Lights,” so His gifts are always good and perfect. God gives life! He will never stop being who He is, to consult Satan for some inspiration on how to punish us and make our lives a misery; then after He has inflicted pain on us He goes back to being a loving God! He will never do that. God never changes and never deviates from being who He is, and James confirms this in the following verse:

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

There are no shades, shadows, darkness or variations in God, He remains the same always. The Book of Malachi in the Old Testament 3:6 confirms this: For I am the Lord, I change not;

When we follow our desires, and fall foul of life, the Lord does not interfere in our choices. He has given us free will. If He didn’t step in to prevent Adam and Eve from disobeying Him, He won’t step in now to force us to do His will. You cannot tell someone they love you, they have to tell you themselves and they have to show it through their actions. No one who values the love of another will try to force that person to love them, it has to be freely given or it means nothing. So, God will not make bad things happen to us so that we will chose Him, He allows us to make our own choices.

But God’s grace is so amazing that when we make the wrong choices and get ourselves tangled up in the thicket or when life throws us a curve ball; we can always go to Him and ask Him to help us out of it. Unfortunately we are so impatient that if He doesn’t respond as quickly as we would like, we go off and get ourselves caught up even deeper in the thicket.

The message from James, is to not blame God for the situations we find ourselves in, but instead to go to Him in prayer and tell Him all about it. Ask Him to help and guide you out of the situation. Definitely do not give up when you are going through trials and don’t get so desperate that you do things to make the situation worse. Once God is in that situation with you He will bring you out of it while using it to strengthen you; ready for the next one… yes it’s a lifelong cycle!

Making wise decisions

It is fair to say that with the state the world is in today we very rarely use wisdom when we make choices, in our lives: relationships, decision making, life choices and our actions towards each other. The absence of wisdom in our daily lives, not only impact others but will have a direct impact on us. Wisdom is a rare commodity, yet is completely free and absolutely necessary. We cannot go out and buy it, as it is not for sale and it doesn’t matter how positive we try to be, it will not just present itself before us. Wisdom, as defined by Nelson’s Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible; is “the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding.”

The true wisdom of God far transcends the wisdom of the world. In God, this gift will flourish beyond your expectation. If you are not making the right decisions in your life you will have to live with the consequences of it, but there is a simple solution to this problem:

  • Ask God for wisdom, by Faith, without wavering
  • If we waver, and are unstable in our beliefs we will not receive anything of the Lord
  • If we continue to live without wisdom in our lives, we will continue to make the same mistakes again and again.

I find that wisdom is greatly under-rated in life. When you are applying for a job, how often do you see ‘wisdom’ listed in the list of requirements for the role? The following is a list of just some of the desirable qualities employers look for:

Strong communications skills, Excellent interpersonal skills, Driven and ambitious professionals, Knowledge and experience in the given field of work!

I have never yet seen ‘wisdom,’ or any other Godly characteristics requested by an employer. Yet wisdom is the ability to judge correctly based on knowledge and understanding. In light of this I understand better why there are so many people incorrectly placed in a job they are ill equipped to do.

You may be thinking, what has ‘wisdom’ got to do with business? Who needs wisdom to be a successful business person? Well, let me draw your attention to Solomon, the richest man and king who ever lived; even by today’s standard. God appeared to Solomon in a dream and told him to ask for something from Him. Solomon asked for ‘wisdom!’

God was pleased with this request because Solomon needed the necessary skills to rule over God’s people and no amount of riches or self-effort would have qualified him for the task. So, God gave Solomon the great gift of wisdom and more.

1 Kings 3:9
Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

From the gift of wisdom, so many other great qualities and skills were birthed. Sound judgement, a heart to do the right thing, empathy, astuteness, great communicator; and more: which made Solomon the greatest businessman both of his time and ours. Many travelled from far and wide to see him in action and to bestow great gifts on him. He amassed great wealth… and all from being a wise man with an understanding heart. Many businesses today could learn a lot from Solomon.

Today there seems to be a desire for gifts that bring fame, recognition and riches. But James confirms here that wisdom is one of the first gifts we should desire and we should go directly to God for it.