31 March 2011

Eaton Ford - Living in glory

< 3rd March 2011 | Index | 3rd August 2011 >

Jim, Sean and I met this evening and spent some great time together with Yahshua. We spoke to him and he spoke to us. We considered whether we are living in peace or living in glory.

A bunch of hydrogen balloonsJim told us that John Wesley, hearing that someone had just died, asked whether they had died in peace or died in glory. People often say that a person 'passed away peacefully', but it's also possible to die in glory, perhaps with a vision of angels or knowing the presence of the Lord in a very real way.

We talked about glory and how Yahshua had told his followers that he was giving them the glory that the Father had given him. What an awesome thought! I read John 17:20-26 and we were blown away by this prayer of Yahshua's immediately before his arrest. It is a prayer for us!

Later I had a prophecy. 'Don't gaze in through the window, come in through the front door. I want you to come into my house and be where I am. You are my children, I love you and you belong with me, always.'

This prompted Jim to share a picture he had of a Georgian house (in fact it was a huge and elaborate mansion). He saw angels there and was reminded that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us there. He knows the stars individually by name and knows the colour of each hair on my head. He is amazing! We can't really appreciate the size of his mansion. Jim went on to mention that if we run things man's way we will produce only man's results. Instead we need to do whatever the Holy Spirit tells us to do.

I had a picture that didn't seem to relate to anything that had gone before. I saw a large bunch of hydrogen balloons. They were brightly coloured and pulling on their strings, bobbing about in the breeze. And I realised that the balloons represented people, and when a person dies it's as though the string has broken.

People sometimes say, 'Oh dear, that bright and cheerful personality that was so full of life has gone. Now there is just the physical remains, like a piece of limp string.' Yet they fail to see that the bright, lively balloon is now floating free and rising into the sky.

Sean than drew our attention to Matthew 28 in which Jesus did the impossible and rose from the dead. Jim shared the thought that we, like Jesus before us, will also be raised to life. We have nothing to fear from death; we don't become a limp piece of string, we become a free-floating balloon.

It's good to die, not in peace, but in glory. But we first need to live, not in peace, but in glory!

< 3rd March 2011 | Index | 3rd August 2011 >

30 March 2011

An open letter to Muammar al-Gaddafi

Muammar al-GaddafiDear Mr Gaddafi,

Assalamu alaikum,

You are currently the leader of the nation of Libya, but not all the people of Libya support you. Not all of them see you as a brother. Few people have really understood you.

But there is another leader who understands you well. The King of heaven, the Most High, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe understands you because he too does not have the support of all the people in his realm. He knows what it is like to stand alone, to be despised and overlooked, to be thrown down and rejected and opposed.

He has chosen to speak with you, man to man, leader to leader. He wants to hear your answer while there is still time. He says,

I will deal with your personal problems and with your political problems in full, but I can only do this if you willingly and immediately put them into my hands. Give me your loneliness, your fear, and your shame and I will take them away and destroy them. I can see what is in your heart and I will know if you withhold anything from me. You must meet the future with me or without me, the choice is yours.

You must ask Isa to help you, this is most important. Without Isa's help and guidance you will not survive - either in this world or in the next. He is the key to seal your past and unlock your future. He will tell you what to do. He will explain everything you need to know.

I think Isa will call you to draw back your armies and allow supplies and assistance to reach the suffering people in your towns and cities. All good leaders act quickly to help their people. But these are merely my thoughts and he will tell you about these things himself.

Here is one of Isa's sayings, 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.' (Matthew 11:28)

(See also: Jesus in the prison cell)

29 March 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT - Moggerhanger gathering, 10th April

The Moggerhanger meeting on 10th April will be a time for rejoicing in Jesus' presence, giving him all the glory, and listening to what he will tell us. Come in expectation!

Bluebells at Moggerhanger ParkWe announced this meeting back in February and now, with only twelve days left, this is a final reminder.

We've booked space at Moggerhanger Park between Bedford and Sandy. We plan to meet for lunch, then we'll spend the afternoon in open praise, worship, and sharing. There will be no prepared music and no invited speaker; we'll just meet in a circle (Jesus at the centre) and wait to see what he will do amongst us. We can be sure he will surprise us and delight us just as he always does.

Here are the directions to Moggerhanger Park. The approximate schedule will be...
  • 13:30 - Optionally, meet at the front of the house for a walk (if dry).
  • 14:00 - Gather in the house for a simple meal.
  • 14:45 - Spend time together as the Spirit leads. We will finish when we finish.
Jesus has told us he'll definitely be joining us provided at least two or three turn up.

What we need to know - If you plan to join us please mail me names and contact details (email address and phone number).  If you are replying on behalf of several people please include names for all of them, and for under 16s include ages as well. We will provide some materials to occupy children but you will be responsible for supervision (you may be able to share this by taking turns with other parents).

There will be no charge for the afternoon but we will provide a basket for contributions towards the costs.

You may find notes on previous meetings useful, particularly if you haven't experienced one of these gatherings before. The notes include announcements sent out and a report on each meeting.

28 March 2011

THOUGHT - Blessing or curse?

With all that's been happening in Libya recently (and in the wider Middle East and North Africa) I was deeply impressed while reading Matthew 5 this morning.

Have you ever wondered what happens if you reverse Yahshua's statements about blessing?


Church of the Beatitudes in GalileeHe had headed up the mountain because the crowd was pressing in. Yahshua always had compassion on the crowds, he saw them as lost sheep in need of a shepherd.

But he also clearly saw that it was essential to spend time teaching his closest followers. That is what he did on this particular day, leaving the crowd in order to teach the disciples (verse 1).

And what teaching it was!

Backwards beatitudes? - On this occasion he tells them what will bring blessing; it's the simple, basic, kind and loving things that are blessed. It was true then and it's still true today - a fundamental fact about the nature of the kingdom of heaven.

Looking at the opposites of these statements is instructive because it's a list of what will not, and cannot, be blessed. Here's the list...

  • The super spiritual
  • The ones who think everything's fine (so do not mourn)
  • The arrogant
  • Those who have no appetite for righteousness
  • The merciless
  • The impure in heart
  • The peace destroyers
  • Those who are not righteous enough to attract persecution
And there is no blessing in being praised, championed, and having good things said about us if Yahshua is not in us!

Salt and light - We are salt and light, in other words we need to have flavour and not be hidden away. Yahshua is clear that he is not here to abolish the Law or the Prophets, (the Old Testament). These writings speak of him over and over again and he is here to be and do and say what they have set out in words. The law cannot be set aside, it must instead be fulfilled (fully filled, fully met). This is what he came to do.

The demands of love go further than the demands of the Law. In other words anger is embryonic murder and reconciliation is more important than an offering. We have a choice, settle our accounts with Yahweh now (the Son has made that possible) or wait until we are thrown into a place from which there is no escape! Looking at a woman lustfully is embryonic adultery, we must get rid of everything that causes sin. Divorce is wrong unless the circumstances are extreme, swearing an oath comes from the evil one.

We are not to struggle with evil people, we are to love even our enemies and pray for them.

Love in action - The last verse sums it all up, we are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. Is that a tall order or what? We are called to lives of love for Father and for those around us. It seems to me that the worst figures in history did few of the things that lead to blessing and all the things that do not. Yet still we must love our enemies.

Pray for the people suffering in Libya at the hands of Mr Gaddafi, but also pray for Muammar Gaddafi himself. Even now it's not too late for him to turn away from the things that do not bring a blessing. While there is still time, pray that he will even seize a chance to meet and honour Isa (Jesus). It may be an opportunity that is finally slipping away.

(See also: Being radical)

20 March 2011

RESPONSE - Comments on BBC News from Libya

Here are clippings from two BBC viewers writing in. They can't both be right...

Jamal, from Bradford, UK, writes: "I am originally from Libya and I am outraged that the foreign forces are bombing Libya. They say they want to protect lives but I think hundreds more will die. The rebels are nothing but a bunch of murderers, they are undisciplined and are the real threat so if you want to attack anyone it should be the rebels."

Khaled, in the UK, writes: "I just have been told (on Sunday 20 March) by my sister who lives in Misrata that Gaddafi forces are shelling residences and homes with massive force. Everyone is hysterical and there is lots of screaming. I am very worried."

See more as it happens from the BBC's Middle East page.

Continue praying for the people of Libya.

17 March 2011

THOUGHT - David's slingstone

David is so often a picture of Christ. He is a good shepherd, looking after his Father's sheep. He was anointed and is a mighty King. He also faced and defeated a strong and powerful giant.

Rounded pebbles suitable for a slingI was half awake one morning, and was brought out of that dreamy state with a sudden understanding that Jesus fired off his slingstone at Calvary and it is still on its unerring flight towards the giant's forehead. There must have been a period of perhaps a second or two between David letting loose the stone and the blow that downed Goliath. During that moment he had no idea that he was about to die. If he thought about it at all, he assumed the little pebble would miss, or if it struck him it would bounce harmlessly off his helmet or breastplate. For a short time he had no idea what was coming.

Like the giant, the evil one knows that something has been done against him but doesn't yet see the full implication. For a millenium or two he has been acting as if he thinks he can escape, but the cause of his final demise is on its way and will assuredly arrive.

A good illustration of this kind of behaviour is Colonal Gaddafi. In fact, we all do it. We carry on as if we will live for ever, forgetting that we might die at any moment. Muammar Gaddafi might die today or tomorrow from a heart attack or a stroke, a traffic accident or an assassin's bullet, a slip on the stairs, a falling tree or just plain old age. Yet he continues to act as if he might rule Libya for ever, despite the certainty that we must all die.

That is the same behaviour we see from the evil one, carrying on as if he may still win. Perhaps, like Goliath, he doesn't fully understand what Jesus, this little 'David', has done; the full implication of the cross. I am sure some things are hidden from him.

But it doesn't really matter whether he thinks he can win or not. What is important is that we know he has lost! We know that if we resist him he will run away. We know that prayer is powerful. We know that the enemy will try to distract us, confuse us, and misinform us. He will try to put doubt in our minds and despair in our hearts. But we also know that the Messiah has won the victory once and for ever. We know that we have a share in that victory. We know that it's a victory over death, but also over the enemy. Even captivity has been taken captive!

HalleluYah!

Rejoice, for Jesus IS Lord and King.

16 March 2011

Messenger in orbit

The Mercury Messenger probe is intended to make a long burn to decelerate into Mercury orbit tomorrow (Thursday 17th March). If successful this should be the start of a year of detailed observations of the innermost planet.

The MESSENGER spacecraftIt's taken the spaceprobe six and a half years to get to the right place at the right time and at the right velocity to make a major 15 minute engine burn for capture into Mercurian orbit.

This is, frankly, an astonishing achievement. Hopefully all will go well and the prime mission will return very large amounts of new and detailed knowledge about the innermost planet.

Read more on these web pages...

10 March 2011

RESPONSE - Seven signs in John

In his gospel, John records seven signs that Jesus gave. They were miraculous acts that made people stop, take notice, and respond. One of them (healing a person born blind) was regarded by the rabbis as a messianic miracle, something that only the Messiah would be able to do. Something they could not ignore.

Ben and CathBen Taylor visited me for an afternoon recently, he was in the area to visit and work with Chris Duffett and I was delighted that he could find time to drop in on his way back to Somerset.

Several times he mentioned the seven signs in John, the link leads to articles on Ben and Cath's blog where you'll find additional references to the seven signs and some examples of how they can be used to help people understand who Jesus is. I believe this is important and I encourage everyone to dig deeper for themselves.

Last year I also wrote about healing the man born blind. As a result of this (and other messianic miracles) the religious authorities were faced with a stark choice - accept Jesus as the Messiah, or reject the plain facts.

I'd like to go through the seven signs in John with others as and when there are opportunities. We're planning to do some Bible study in a local coffee shop and maybe this will provide some possibilities. We'll see.

Meanwhile, a very good place to begin would be to read the CMA Resources page on the seven signs. It explains everything clearly and concisely. Also, check back on Ben and Cath's site from time to time for more examples of how they are using these signs to spark meaningful conversations and simple Bible studies with people.

The Great Commission is to go out into the world and make disciples - and this is a great way to do just that. It's not the only way, of course, but if you're thinking, 'How do I begin?' this is a good idea to consider. Read about it, pray about it, and if the Spirit leads you to do it - go for it!

See also: Seven signs in John - a series

05 March 2011

THOUGHT - Through love or by effort?

Some writers and commentators tell us that we can do nothing unless we know Christ's love for us and rest in that love. Others tell us that we must make an effort and try harder to think and act in accordance with Biblical teaching.

Bread like a stoneHow are we to square this circle? Who is right?

I want to suggest there's a false dichotomy here. Rather than a choice between alternatives we are seeing two sides of the same coin. The debate is much like those about faith versus works or grace versus law. We are invited to take sides, we are encouraged to come down on the side of faith or of works.

But of course if we have faith it will result in works because works are the evidence of an underlying faith. Faith without works is impossible, works without faith are futile. Works springing from faith are like loaves of good, wholesome, energy-giving bread. Works alone are like stones in the desert, deceivingly loaf-like but devoid of life.

It's true that 'we love because Christ first loved us' (John 4:19).

Yet Paul urges the Ephesians to 'live a life worthy of [their] calling' (Ephesians 4:1). And in verse two he explains what this means - humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love. In verse three he tells them 'to make every effort'. Paul makes it perfectly clear that there is a real bond there (the automatic part) but some level of effort is required from us. Read the entire chapter with this in mind.

How many of us live like this? It's important to make the attempt even if we seem to fail. If we truly know Christ and are really aware of his love for us we will automatically do the right things. But our conscious mind is required as well, an effort of will and purpose.

Christ descended and therefore grappled with temptation just as we do. We can see how the love of the Father constantly guided and motivated him - 'I do only what I see the Father do' (John 5:16-30). But we also see how he was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) and how he wrestled in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). He moved in his Father's constant love and approval, but he also had to make an effort of will. Because he is both 'up there' and 'down here', he has grappled with life just the same as we do, yet he is also able to reach us with heavenly truth and love. He is in both places and therefore we can triumph in him in both places - now and eternally, in the world and in the Kingdom of heaven.

And out of his ascended bounty, in order to enable his church to function in a fallen world, he is able to give us apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds, and teachers. The very purpose of this is that we will all reach unity in the faith. All - not just a few, not just the majority - all!

Notice too that we are all to reach unity in two realms - the realm of faith (believing and doing) - and the realm of knowing Christ (trusting and resting). Effort and knowing his love. Our part and his part. Victory needs both!

And see the results! We will be fully mature, not tossed on the waves and blown by the wind but speaking the truth and growing into the Head. We grow from him, built in love, each of us working.

Built in love and doing our work - both!

03 March 2011

Little Paxton - brothers in the Spirit

< 28th February | Index | 31st March 2011 >

We met at Jim's tonight. After chatting for some time over tea and coffee, Sean read a verse from Ephesians and set us off on what quickly became the theme for the evening.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

Walking in woodlandWe have a new life in Christ that is a fundamentally spiritual life. I shared the thought that we know this in our minds and we feel it in our hearts, but sometimes we don't walk it in our lives.

Jim described some of the practical work that he, Rob and another friend Alan are planning to do in St Neots. This will focus particularly on helping some of the lonely people in society, people with few or no friends and family around them.

As we spent more time in prayer I felt the Spirit was saying, 'I will make you blind and deaf to the things of this world, but seeing and hearing to the things of the Kingdom of heaven. You will be like blind and deaf people walking along the pavement. It would be easy to step out in front of a car, or walk into a post. But I will guide you and keep you safe. You need to become blind and deaf to the world but fully see and hear the Holy Spirit.

We read Ephesians 2, particularly verses 6 and 7. But going back to it later, the entire chapter seems very relevant.

We felt that we were especially privileged to know one another as friends, and that we are all growing by spending time together. Jim read Romans 12:10 which sums up this idea very clearly.

< 28th February | Index | 31st March 2011 >

02 March 2011

RESPONSE - Death of Pakistani minister

Shahbaz Bhatti, the Minorities Minister in the Pakistani cabinet, has been murdered by gunmen. An organisation called Tehrik-i-Taliban has claimed responsibility.

Satellite view of IslamabadThere had been death threats against Shahbaz Bhatti and he had chosen to ignore them. He recorded his thoughts about this four months ago in an interview. He was a brave man, a follower of Jesus (Isa), and he preferred to die rather than compromise his views and policies. More details and a video of the interview are available on the BBC website.

What are we to say about this assassination? Are the murderers so afraid of an idea that they must kill to prevent it spreading? Don't they realise that where one dies a hundred more will spring up? Don't they recognise that the Most High calls us to bless and not to curse, to love and not hate?

Violence (and particularly killing) is clearly against the law and will of the Most High worshipped by Abraham (Exodus 20:13). Tehrik-i-Taliban killed Mr Bhatti because they believe he blasphemed their prophet. But which is worse - to disobey the Most High or to blaspheme against a prophet?

Another of the prophets of Islam (Isa, Jesus, Yahshua) shouted out these words (John 12:44-50)...

Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.

Shahbaz Bhatti loved and followed this same Jesus and is therefore also my brother. My sincere condolences go to his family and friends. He was a man of sincerity and high principles. I know Shahbaz would have forgiven his murderers. I pray that they will come to know Isa for themselves and that their hearts will be open to receive him.

Copyright

Creative Commons Licence

© 2002-2014, Chris J Jefferies

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. A link to the relevant article on this site is sufficient attribution. If you print the material please include the URL. Thanks! Click through photos for larger versions. Images from Wikimedia Commons will then display the original copyright information.
Real Time Web Analytics