God Even Uses Your Mistakes

Handley Moule, when he was Bishop of Durham, had the task of visiting the relatives of 170 miners who had been killed in a mining accident. While he was wondering what to say to them, he picked up a little bookmark his mother had given him. As he held it up, on the reverse side of the handwoven bookmark there was a tangled web. There was no rhyme, no reason, no pattern, nothing. But on the other side it said, ‘God is love’.

The world often seems to us like a tangled web. Often we cannot work out what is going on or why we are suffering in the way we are. But the claim of Jesus and the Scriptures is that behind it all is the love of God. Even though things may seem very difficult for us to understand now, God is working out his loving purposes in the world.

God can weave a pattern from the threads of our lives – including the suffering, heartaches and even our mistakes and make something beautiful. The apostle Paul tells us that ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28). Reflect today on the fact that, even though your situation may be challenging, God is weaving his purpose for your life.  

Job said, ‘You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit’ (Job 10:12). Everything that happens in this world is within the sphere of God’s working. ‘Providence’ means God’s foresight: the way he anticipates and prepares for the future. ‘Providence’ is the way God guides and steers human history – he is present and active in the world – sustaining it and ruling it.

It is also the way he guides and steers your life personally and individually. God has a specific, unique destiny for you. Sometimes this thought worries people: that they might somehow mess things up and miss out on God’s purpose. But that isn’t the case. Even your mistakes he uses for good. In all the circumstances of your life and the events going on around you, you can trust in the providence of God.

On My Brothers

Our nation has had more than its share of distractions lately.

There’s one facet that grieves me more than others: this division of racism.

It should not be citizens against police. It should not be blacks against whites. We are all citizens; we are all people.

I pray we each and collectively can respect and love one another as a brother and part of our nation regardless of race, skin color and background.

I do think Jesus Christ is a huge part to healing and solving the hurts and wounds so many have with this issue in our country. That’s my opinion and I don’t mean to preach.

I did want to share a poem I wrote this morning ( 1st draft):

So, here I want to try a new mnemonic
Speaking of ill of a plague, not bubonic
Deeper than the skin that we’re in
It’s the face of a race to start and begin

Yes, it fractures the heart and does shatter
The fact my brother black lives do matter
No one feeling a hurt or deep pains
Presumes not to get wet as it rains

Don’t ignore or lift again an umbrella
Lend your voice and join a capella

There’s too much a cry to ignore
Not a bump, bruise but a deep sore
There’s a chance here to truly heal
Without a bandaid slap you barely feel

If only we care beyond the surface
No masked vain attempt lip service
Yet love and kindness to kith and kin
Gently trying to get at the root within

The power of unity

In Buchenwald concentration camp, 56,000 people were put to death by a totalitarian regime that saw the Christian faith as a threat to its ideology. One block of cells in the camp was reserved for prisoners who were deemed especially dangerous or notable. Paul Schneider, a Lutheran pastor who was called ‘the preacher of Buchenwald’, was placed in this special block because even from the small window in his cell he loudly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ – in defiance of the orders of the Gestapo guards.

Otto Neururer, a Catholic priest whose work on behalf of the Jews and other so called ‘undesirables’ had made him a threat to the Nazi warlords, was also put in this block. He too ministered in Jesus’ name to his fellow inmates in the concentration camp until he was crucified upside down.

In unity, these two men, one a Catholic and the other a Protestant, bore witness together to their common Lord – Jesus Christ. Unity is so powerful.

The Ultimate Valentine

Romantic love is wonderful – but it’s only a reflection of the much deeper love God has for His children!

– from Pastor Begg’s broadcasted sermon today

I was encouraged and reminded by a sermon from Alistair Begg on God’s love, his “First, Love: The Original Plan” that broadcasted today.

https://www.truthforlife.org/

Yes, I recommend giving this sermon a listen. Dated February 14, 2020.

It is mind blowing to me how crazy deep, rich, broad and intimate God’s love is!

“The Love of God” Hymn is a favorite of mine and gives a descriptive attempt at the vastness of God’s love:

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade


To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

– A few stanzas from The Love of God hymn

And to think that in Christ his love is inseparable!

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Happy Valentine’s Day!

You Can Trust God

During World War II, in the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father’s voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, ‘I can’t see you!’ The father called to the silhouette of his son, ‘But I can see you. Jump!’ The boy jumped, because he trusted his father. In other words, he loved him, he believed in him, he trusted him and he had confidence in him.

‘Faith’, in the Bible, is primarily about putting our trust in a person. In that sense it is more akin to love. All loving relationships involve some element of trust. Faith is trust in God that transforms all your other relationships.

The Bible – God’s Talking To You

Fyodor was a wild young man. His life revolved around eating, drinking, talking, music, theatre and the company of women. He dreamt of fame. He was caught up in a movement for political and social reform in Russia during the repressive reign of Tsar Nicholas I. He was arrested, tried and condemned to be executed.

On a bitterly cold morning, the prisoners were taken out to be shot. The prison guards raised their muskets to their shoulders and took aim. At the last moment, a white flag was raised to announce that the Tsar had commuted their sentence to life imprisonment in Siberia.

On his arrival in Siberia on Christmas Eve 1849, at the age of twenty-eight, two women slipped him a New Testament. When the guard turned away momentarily, they suggested he should search the pages thoroughly. He did.

While in prison, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the great Russian novelist, read the New Testament from cover to cover and learnt much of it by heart. He wrote, ‘I believe that there is no one lovelier, deeper, more sympathetic and more perfect than Jesus. I say to myself with jealous love not only is there no one else like him, but there never could be anyone like him.’ It was through the Bible that he had encountered Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul describes all Scripture as ‘God-breathed’ (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is not just inspired in the way that artists, poets, composers and musical performers can be said to be inspired. It actually has God’s breath, his Spirit, in it. Through the Bible, God speaks to you.

– A Poem – [untitled]

I wrote this today actually. I currently don’t have much of a title idea for it. I would welcome any suggestions, thank you

I want to make these thoughts rhyme

Or at least to make sense the craziness of mine

Though You call me up, You call me towards

Yet still sin of yesterday entangles and hoards

To entice and enchant heart and mind

It’s Mine! been mine; it’s a hug, though a bind

How comforting and familiar this rut and cave retreat

Sure, a sin You call to fall away since it’s already beat

God, it was my comfort and a craze

A secret, a precious, in coping ways

You ask me to strip it away?

And when my heart finally catches up to my head

That I find myself a slow learner knowing little, I dread

In grasping knowing you more, it’s at a snails pace

It’s only with Your grace each day that I can lift my face

Finding then it’s your lead through Your strength in every way

However to put to phrase these right longings to say

In and of each weak, inadequate things of me

Discard, burn, grow, sift, refine the things you see

What little I have is enough still that I can start

Shedding sin that binds my heart

Ambition – Directing it Where?

Chuck Colson was a self-made man. As a student, he arrogantly turned down a scholarship to Harvard. He joined the Marines, set up his own law firm and entered politics. By the age of forty he had become one of President Nixon’s closest advisers. Later, he described himself as ‘a young ambitious political kingmaker’. He was known as Nixon’s ‘hatchet-man’.

He pleaded guilty to his part in the Watergate cover-up scandal and was sent to prison. By then he had encountered Jesus. When he left the court after hearing the sentence he said, ‘What happened in court today… was the court’s will and the Lord’s will – I have committed my life to Jesus Christ and I can work for him in prison as well as out.’

Colson did just that. After his release, he set up Prison Fellowship and became directly or indirectly responsible for leading thousands to Christ. I once heard him say, ‘I was ambitious, and I am ambitious today, but I hope it is not for Chuck Colson (though I struggle with that quite a lot as a matter of fact). But I am ambitious for Christ.’

Ambition has been defined as the ‘desire to succeed’. There are ultimately only two controlling ambitions to which all others may be reduced: one is our own glory, and the other is God’s glory.

To Be Free

He had no one to help him become a lawyer or a politician. He was not interested in the army. He had no desire to be a doctor. Therefore, the only obvious career move in those days for a man of his background was to become a clergyman in the Church of England.

He tried to make himself acceptable to God by keeping the whole law, inwardly and outwardly. He got up early. He prayed. He denied himself. He tried to earn forgiveness and peace by increased effort. But he ‘groaned under a heavy yoke’.

On 24 May 1738, at 8.45 pm he heard someone reading a book by the great reformer, Martin Luther. He later recalled, ‘While he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given [to] me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.’

John Wesley became one of the greatest preachers ever, preaching over 40,000 sermons centred on freedom through faith in Jesus Christ. He had, as he put it, ‘exchanged the faith of a servant for the faith of a son’. He was free at last.

‘Freedom’ is the word that best sums up the Christian life. You, too, are free. Therefore, refuse to be trapped by your past.

Your Life. Making a Difference

Alfred Nobel (1833–1896) is best known for the Nobel Peace Prize. Less well known is the fact that Alfred Nobel also invented dynamite. As well as a chemist, engineer and innovator, he was a weapons’ manufacturer.

In 1888, Alfred’s brother Ludvig died. A French newspaper erroneously published Alfred’s obituary. It condemned him for his invention of dynamite, stating: ‘The merchant of death is dead… Dr Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.’

Alfred Nobel was devastated by the foretaste of how he would be remembered. His last will and testament set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel prizes. He gave the equivalent of US $250 million to fund such prizes. Alfred Nobel had the rare opportunity to evaluate his life near its end and live long enough to change that assessment.

Have you ever wondered what difference your life might make? How can your life bring blessing to other people? How can you change the world for the better? How can your life be of ultimate lasting value? How can we lead fruitful lives?