Pastor Keith’s Blog

Loneliness

Loneliness is a constant attack of the mind.  People go through experiences thinking that no-one else understands, no-one else knows what you are experiencing, that there are none that have gone through similar situations.  This is how Elijah felt in 1 kings 19:10, 14 “Only I am left …”  In this situation God speaks and says no I have reserved for myself 7,000 men who have not bowed their knee to other gods.
   In certain countries there is great opposition to the kingdom and work of God.  Christians are being persecuted, horrific things are being done to believers, lives are taken.  At times it may seem like all is lost, the cause and the purposes of God will never be fulfilled.  This is how Elijah felt in 1 Kings 19.  He had attempted to stand against the wicked forces and wicked rulers of his time and had seen few lasting results.  Yet in this situation God speaks and says that he is not alone.     
  In Romans 11:4  the Apostle Paul is also comforted by a similar thought, though it seemed like there were few of his Jewish countrymen walking with the Lord, yet by the grace of God there was  a remnant left who would faithfully walk with Him.
   In your situations of loneliness or isolation look for those who will be there, Godly Christian people.  You are not alone, God always has some of His people close at hand to help you in your walk with Him.  

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Is That A Ghost?

Matthew 14:26-27 ” And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.””
   Here we have the account of Jesus sending His disciples, ahead of Him, by boat, as He, Jesus, pulls apart from the crowds to pray.  A storm comes up and the disciples are alone, Jesus walks out to be with them and yet they are filled with fear, thinking that they are seeing a ghost  they are troubled and filled with fear (vs 26).  Jesus responds, “It is I; do not be afraid.”
  At least four of these 12 disciples were fishermen, they were familiar with fishing during the night, navigating boats through storms and the perils of the water.  Yet in this situation their greatest concern came from the appearance of Jesus, walking on the water, whom they thought was a ghost.  That which should have brought great comfort and peace to them brought fear, because they could not perceive Jesus coming to be in the midst of them.  How many times are we distraught by the situations around us because we too do not see Jesus in the midst of the situations.  We think that God is allowing evil to happen (we see things as if they were caused by a malicious ghost), instead of clearly seeing how Jesus is there to help us.
  Too often we focus upon the negative thoughts, the fearful sights or the apprehensive feelings, yet our challenge is to be able to see the working of God and the coming of Jesus in every situation.  We can feel that the storms will destroy us, or that the opposing powers will overcome us, and fail to see Jesus with His great power coming to walk into our situation.
  Notice that when Peter perceives that this is Jesus approaching, courage and faith arise.  He is prepared to go from one situation of stress, being in a storm-fraught vessel, to that of trying to walk on water.   Seeing Jesus in the midst of the troubles, changed Peter’s perspective on the circumstances.  Stepping out towards Jesus, when the difficulties could easily consume his thoughts, emotions and energy, brought about a  miraculous experience, that of walking on water.

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There Is A Cost To Helping

“Buy now, make no payments till 2016″.  We live in a society that wants quick results with no immediate costs.  Yet in the first Christmas there were great costs. 

  • The loss of Joseph’s good reputation when taking a young pregnant woman to be his wife.
  • The scandalous rumours that would be spread about Mary having a child outside of marriage.
  • The young baby boys under the age of two, who were murdered under the orders of Herod.
  • The newborn Christ child and His parents having to be uprooted  fleeing to Egypt

   This Christmas each of us will have opportunities to help people.  There will be challenges that people will present.  Painful situations will come forward, sharp words and awkward decisions.
   To bring help into these situations we need to realize that there too will be costs for us.  These costs might seem huge, they might sap the energy from us and consume our resources.  The expenditures on our behalf might even seem to be more than we are capable of giving.  When Jesus came to help us, He did not come in His own strength, He too needed the strength and power of God upon Him.
   This Christmas season, may we be able to draw upon the help of God so that you can help others to walk close to Him also.

  

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Distant From God

In Exodus chapter 32 we read of the children of Israel building a golden calf, they start to party and if it had not been for the intercession of Moses, the Israelites would have been destroyed.   God says in Exodus 33:5 that because of their stiff necked and hard hearted nature, if He were to dwell in the midst of the people, then they would be consumed.  So Moses pitches a tent outside of the camp of the Israelites, and there he and God meet regularly.  The holiness of God, in the presence of our sinfulness, would mean instant judgment for our sins and iniquities.
   All through the remaining of the old testament the people of Israel, in various degrees, have endeavoured to connect with God and to be close to him.  In days past, God of spoke in various different ways, using His prophets and others to help the people connect with God.  But there was always a distance, God could never be too close to His people because their sinfulness in the face of His holiness would be destructive to the people of God.
  In John chapter 1 we see how the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  Christmas is about how God through Jesus Christ broke the barriers that would separate us from Him.  Though sin would separate us from God, Jesus came as a human, a child, to provide a way for us to be near to God.
   This Christmas take time to appreciate the birth of the Christ child, but also how He makes a way for us to be close to God, the Father.

 

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