Monday, November 26, 2007

Dare to be different


In the last week I have met a lot of people who are not prepared to think for themselves. They are following the current trend in our society to 'rubbish' belief in God and to ridicule the idea that there might be some validity to faith. If you are reading this blog you are probably not one of these people but you may come across them on a daily basis. Just remember that faith is only as good as the one in whom you trust. This is why it is so important to understand the integrity of the Bible and the historical basis of the facts stated therein.

The Bible states in Psalm 118:8 'It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man'. (incidentally this is the central verse to the whole Bible when you divide it up by the number of chapters and verses - interesting and significant!). The Bible also states that it is better that your faith 'should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God'.

Will you dare to be different? Read the word of God today (The Bible). Start in the New Testament and read the four gospels. Discover the truth concerning the Son of God (Jesus) becoming man and dying 'for the ungodly' (that's all of us, as we did not know God by nature and were disobedient to Him). He (the Lord Jesus) is worthy of your trust and he died to be your Saviour. Pray to him today, search for him in prayer and in reading the Bible. Admit your guilt before God and 'call upon the name of the Lord' and you will be saved. Email me at stephen.baker1@virgin.net and I will be delighted to try to help you.
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Friday, September 28, 2007

I'm dying to sit down and have a break



Ever been so busy and in such chaos that you wondered if you would ever make sense of things again. We have been like that in our house this week. We moved into a new house in July and had an extremely busy summer which resulted in us not being in the house much for seven weeks. Then we hit September and chaos reigned. Joiners, plasterers, carpet layers, tilers, plumbers, electricians; you name it - if they had a trade we invited them in to see if they could help. We are nearly at the end now but I thought that we would never get there. Some days you couldn't find the floor never mind a bed.

Maybe your life is a bit like my house. You feel that there is not a lot of order in it. You wouldn't be surprised if you never got it straightened out. In fact it seems impossible to make any sense out of it. Well I have news for you. God can straighten out your life. A man called John is recorded in the Bible as preaching that the Lord Jesus came to make crooked lives straight (the Bible calls it salvation).

But to get it you have to want it!
And to want it you need to understand why you need it.
If you understand what is wrong (our sin and disobedience to God) then you will quickly gather why only God and His Son, Jesus can help you.

The Bible puts it like this. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

Do you know that you are wrong?
Do you want to be forgiven?
Do you accept that you cannot obtain forgiveness anywhere else except from God who you have offended?

Then rest on what the Lord Jesus did for you when he took the punishment for sin upon the cross and know his great salvation today.
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Friday, September 21, 2007

Reunions - It's nice to meet up again

I am off to a reunion this evening. Thankfully we all saw each other in the summer when we ran a youth camp together but often reunions mean coming together again after long times of separation.

Not seeing someone can be heart wrenching and difficult!

In the Bible we are told about lots of reunions. The lost son (prodigal) is welcomed home after a disasterous time away from home. Sin and hurt were the result of a wrong decision but the Father welcomed the lost son back with open arms when he came back acknowledging that he had been wrong (the Gospel of Luke chapter 15).

God is like that with us.

We went our own way.
We sinned.
We did our own thing.
We got hurt.
We cannot get it back together without Him.
We need to admit our wrong (God calls it sin)

When we come he receives us. Why - because the Lord Jesus has taken the punishment for us and God can forgive us.

Why not confess your sin and ask God to forgive you - HE WILL.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Expecting the unexpected

Life is so unpredictable. At times this can be very exciting and sometimes it can be very frightening.

We knew that the rainfall was going to be heavy. We have procedures in place to warn of floods. But as mere mortals we cannot control the rain and have to try to cope with what is inevitable as well as possible.

There are many other situations like this in life. Illness cannot be avoided at times and many circumstances are outwith our control, the ultimate being death. We may be able to take our life (by force - it is very sad when someone gets to that level of despair) but we cannot and do not live for ever and we have no power over the day of our death.

There is hope however. The only man who ever lived who had control over death was Jesus, the Son of God. Not only did he bring at least three people back to life (see the Bible - John 11/Luke 8.41-56/Luke 7.11-18) but he voluntarily sacrificed his life when he died on the cross. I am not only referring to his going to the cross willingly but that when it came to his death, life did not ebb away (as it would with us) but that he consciously sacrificed his life that we might have life (see Luke 23.46).

The profound message of Christianity is this.

Sin has consequences morally in the Court of Heaven. God is loving and unfailingly holy. His distaste of sin is such that it would be an affront to his character to allow beings into his presence who have been marked by sin. The dilemma is that God wants to share life with his creatures but his creatures by willful disobedience have distanced themselves from Him.

Enter, the Son of God. The divine plan was this. The Son of God would become man as a result of a miraculous conception but a normal birth. His life of thirty years would be clear evidence not only of his divinity (His miracles etc) but of His holiness and flawless character. As man He could die but as He was without sin (fault) His death would be payment for guilty humanity. God could still be holy and yet in His love offer individuals pardon and forgiveness.

So how do you get this forgiveness. Well God treats his creatures as thinking individuals. He has given them the capacity to choose. The offer is on the table. Consider, grieve about and admit your sin to God (not a Priest nor anyone). Believe and depend on what the Lord Jesus has done and accept Him as your Saviour.

I cannot describe the change that you will find when you come. It cannot be defined in words. It does not guarantee a problem free existence. It will bring about changes in your lifestyle (not enforced changed as a result of rules but changes in interests and desires for the better). It will mean your guilty status before God has been resolved. You will be saved for ever.

Read the Bible, seek the Lord while He may be found.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

God sees me - wow!

In Liverpool, at the moment, there is a big tent in Sefton Park. It is at the entrance near St Hilda's School. If you are anywhere near Liverpool you should come and have a look.

What is it all about? Well some Christians in Liverpool are so excited about the fact that God wants to bring salvation to the people of Liverpool that they have erected the Tent in the Park for the month of June.

Each night there is a session at 8 p.m. apart from Saturday when it is at 7 p.m.

What will you find if you go? You meet will people who are already believers (not just in God but they have personally believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and have been saved (if you do not know what that means then come along - the good news is all about clearing our guilt before God, about getting our sins forgiven, about peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ). You will also meet people who do not believe (yet) but are interested in finding out the truth.

The guy who is preaching is pretty dogmatic, clear in his thinking, approachable, interested in helping people come to God. Actually he has dedicated his life to preaching this message (i.e. he gave up his job and spends all his time doing this).

If you come ask for me, if I am there I would love to have a chat.

See you there, Stephen
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Monday, May 14, 2007

Taking a guilt trip

Most of us feel guilty from time to time. I am sure that Mr & Mrs McCann are tormented at times with guilt as they wish that they could turn the clock back and that they had not left those lovely children alone for the short time that they did. I am not suggesting that they should feel guilty for most of us have done what they did. We left our children safely at a short distance from us and, thankfully, no harm came to them. As our children grow up we need to extend their freedom and we trust and pray that no harm comes to them or that we have not allowed them too much freedom too soon. If harm comes we blame ourselves and can always see what we should have done ‘in hindsight’.

There are times when it is right to feel guilty. If we have genuinely wronged someone guilt is the God given mechanism that warns us that ‘action needs to be taken’. Sometimes we can rectify the problem and make amends. Other times it is outside of our power to reverse the effect of our actions. It is only right that we should fix the problems that we have caused where possible.

Having said this, many mistakes in life are not really significant in the general scheme of things and will not make a big difference in our lives. Courtesy and true friendship, decency and honesty will however ensure that we behave in ways that are commendable.

A more worrying aspect of life is that of human beings and their relationship with God. In our current society we are in danger of being unaware that we have disobeyed our Creator (and therefore owner) and that he does not tolerate people who break his law. I was aware from childhood of the fact that God had stated his principles (the 10 commandments in the Bible) and that I was incapable of living up to them. The passage in the Bible that explains God’s standards is Exodus 20. The New Testament passage that states that we are not capable of living up to these standards is Romans 3:23 ‘For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’.

Now, contrary to public opinion God gave his Law to make us feel guilty and not to make us feel good. The Bible says ‘Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God’. The reality is that when you and I hear the Bible preached and become aware that God is holy and has his standards; we then realise that we cannot live up to his standards and get feelings of guilt. I lied, I lusted, I took something that did not belong to me (time, emotions, things etc) and as a result I am guilty and am limited as to what I can do to rectify the situation. My offence is firstly against God (Psalm 51:4) and will also often be against a fellow human being.

So we all need to go on a guilt trip – but not for long. When the awareness of our wrong living is heightened and guilt is triggered we will be forced do something about it. That is God’s plan.

What can we do? Again God in the Bible tells us what there is no point in doing! God says in Romans 3:20 that no action on our part will satisfy him because our problem is one we were born with (Psalm 51:5). The problem is reflected in our actions and behaviours but it is deeper than that. God says rather bluntly in the Old Testament that all the right things we do are like filthy clothes. We can never be good enough for God, ‘There is none righteous, no not one’.

I say again ‘what can we do’? The answer again comes from God. He says ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’. The Lord Jesus says ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’. The early Christian preachers preached ‘neither is their salvation in any other for there is no other name under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved’. God’s Son (The Lord Jesus) came to earth, lived and then was put to death on a cross. God was punishing him for sin, sin that he did not commit (for he is God and perfect) but that sin that he was prepared to atone for. He paid the price God demanded to put away sin and to provide forgiveness for us.

Go on a guilt trip? No way - admit your guilt to God and then accept his offer of salvation through trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will experience inexplicable joy.
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Friday, April 27, 2007

The Tragedy of Human Existence

The Bible states that 'it is appointed unto men once to die'. This most obvious of facts is among the most distressing things that we human beings face. I have a friend who committed suicide just before Christmas last year - why I can guess but I do not really know. One my friends in Liverpool has just found that her partner's nephew has been found dead in his flat. Death comes to us all but why?

The Bible tells us why. It is because of sin.

The Bible states that we die because we were born into a fallen race. The first man, Adam, brought 'sin into the world and death by sin'.

We also are all in the habit of sinning and the Bible states 'sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death'. We all sin (fail, hurt, lie, disobey etc etc) and therefore the moral and physical result is death.

But Jesus said 'I am come that they might have life'.

How can that be for we all still die. That is true physically but when a person comes to Jesus (in faith, by praying) and asks him for forgiveness they receive eternal life. The Bible says 'He that hath the Son hath life'. God promises in his word (The Bible) that 'he that cometh to me I will no wise cast out'. The Lord Jesus said 'come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'.

This is actually only possible because 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'. The Bible puts it like this 'The Father (God) sent the Son (Jesus) to be the Saviour of the world'.

Amazing as it is God has intervened to solve the human tragedy of death but his only course of action legally was for someone else to die in my place. The only person who qualified was Jesus. His death was voluntary because death had no claim on him (He could not sin and therefore death had no claim on him). The Lord Jesus willingly died to save me from eternal death in hell and the lake of fire.

What about you will trust the one who can deliver from the 'fear of death'?
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Friday, March 09, 2007

Sensational News - Jesus is alive!

Titanic film director, James Cameron, claims to have discovered the burial casket of Jesus on a Jewish building site [time,bbc]. Furthermore, he also has caskets for Mary Magdelene and a supposed child of Jesus and Mary. This backs up the anti-Bible propaganda recently spread by the Da Vinci Code. As usual, Bible skeptics have jumped aboard the bandwagon, claiming that this archaeological find undermines the authority of the Biblical narrative entirely.

So what does Cameron have? A few boxes inscribed with common 1st century Jewish names. No bones, but supposedly small traces of DNA. An air of pseudo-academic integrity. Oh, and an eager-to-be-persuaded anti-Christian media circus.

Is this journalism? Certainly not the balanced, thought-provoking reporting that does justice to such a story. Is this commercialism? For sure, Cameron is used to making money from the box office. Is this sensationalism? Yes, a few half-strung-together observations construed to reach an unlikely conclusion. But sensational stories appeal to today's entertainment-saturated audiences...

So - take two. Here is a more sensational story than Cameron's... innocent folk-hero abused, harangued and executed by mob. Buried carefully and lovingly by heartbroken friends. Guarded by commando troops, who evacuate the burial ground due to seismic disturbance and extra-terrestrial activity. Tomb cracks open. Body missing. Jesus is alive!

For the full sensational story, check out the Gospel accounts. Try here or here for starters. For argument about the resurrection story, check out books like "Who moved the stone" (Frank Morrison) or "The Case for Christ" (Lee Strobel).
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Monday, January 15, 2007

Keeping the Peace

President Bush is gradually discovering that it costs more to preserve peace than to wage war. The rest of the world seems to have woken up to this fact earlier. Thousands of extra US troops have been committed to Iraq [bbc]. And the British troops already there will not be withdrawn any time soon.

It seems wrong that lives must be lost to keep peace. Surely peacekeepers should beat swords into ploughshares, as the UN motto (and the Bible before it) says so eloquently?

Peace on earth is so elusive to win, so delicate to maintain. If this is true on an international scale, then how much more so on an individual scale? Personal peace is what we desperately crave, yet find so hard to attain.

God promises us the peace we want and need so much. We can know "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Christ is God's peace broker. He obtained that peace "through the blood of His cross." The recurring theme - peace comes at the highest cost - rings true for God's peace as for man's. But there the similarity ends. Unlike our fragility, God's peace is unbreakable and eternal.

How can we find this peace? At the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ ... like the woman in Mark 5, come to him with all your problems, reach out for his help, trust in him and hear his voice "Go in peace, your faith has made you better."
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