Keep the Faith and don’t deviate

The coronavirus pandemic has had such an effect on people’s lives some have died and some have cried at the loss of a loved one. It has caused many people to take stock of their lives send it to consider where the are going.

Many have suffered physically, mentally, financially and morally. Many have been left having to make important decisions but for Christians those decisions only be made with God in the centre, anything else just doesn’t do.

We are all struggling to make our way and none of us know whether to turn left or turn right or to keep walking street ahead. Only God can direct our paths. We have to be honest with God which means that we have to be honest with ourselves because if we cannot be honest with ourselves we will not be able to be honest with God.

Let God be central to all decisions that we may make and rely on him for that sure and steadfast support and call on his beloved son Jesus Christ to intercede with the father on our behalf.

Let us be faithful the word of God because if we cannot be faithful to the word of God which is laid down for our understanding in his Holy word then we will never be faithful to him.

Standing firm in the faith.

I have been reading the manual of my church demomination in recent days and I find myself for the most part agreeing with it particularly in areas of Christian conduct. As we are a wesleyan holiness church we must aspire to a state of grace which can only come by living lives of Christian purity meaning that we do not defile our bodies with anything unworthy to the lord or engage anything that is unworthy to the Lord.

Maintaining these standards is very difficult particularly in the kind of society we are living in but we must have courage in the face of adversity and stand firm in the faith and upon our convictions. The evil doer is bringing about division in the worldwide Church of Christ and for those who are prepared to take a stand the cost of taking that stand can be rather expensive indeed some of our brothers and sisters have been killed for being faithful to the lord.

We pray for them at all times and for all brothers and sisters who are living faithful lives. In these days of great social change let us be a beacon of constancy in our approach and in what we have to say jn respect of the issues of our age.

As a church we should not compromise on the biblical standard that we have set ourselves because it is of the highest biblical standard and we must not be afraid to call out sinful living or any kind of sinful activity even though to do so may cause us to be vilified for holding to such a high standard. Jesus said that we are in the world but not of the world which means that we have to hold ourselves to a standard which is higher than the world standard.

We must be beacons of hope and light in a dark world. If we have to say things which are uncomfortable to the reader or to the listener then we have to do that but if we do it with love in our hearts God will not look badly upon us.

Who do you think I am

A theological reflection on Mark 8:27-29
“Who do you say that I am”
This is a question that has wracked the minds of people for centuries since it was first asked, and it is a question that is still being asked of us by Christ today.

If I was asked to explain this to a person seeking the truth what would my answer be, well it is complex as it is simple. But perhaps I would start like this. Jesus is the holy one of God, God revealed to us through the personage of Jesus Christ, the eternal one who existed before time itself. Human yet of the divine essence of
God but I want to focus on Jesus being the holy one of God.

Throughout the Old Testament book of Isaiah God is referred to as The Holy One of Israel. Twenty eight separate occasions God is mentioned in this way, Isaiah 1:4 , Isaiah 12:6 and Isaiah 41:14 for example. No doubt Isaiah use of this phrase stems from his personal encounter with God as told in Isaiah 6.

Jesus is referred to as The Holy One of God only in two passages of the scripture in the New Testament namely in Mark 1:24 when Jesus was in the Synagogue with the unclean man. The demon which had possessed the man said “I know who you are, the Holy One of God”.Here we see how similar the terminology is, to how God is referred to in Isaiah and how Jesus is referred to in this first chapter of Mark. So the divine title afforded to God in the Old Testament now rests upon Jesus.

There is another place in the New Testament where Jesus Is referred to as The Holy One of God and that is in John 6-66. We learn here that many of Jesus’s followers had left his side
and Jesus said to the remaining twelve do you wish to go as well and Peter in his answer refers to Jesus as the Holy One of God, so in these two portions of scripture from the New Testament we have a confirmation of the identity of Jesus that being of God incarnate,
come down from the highest heavens in the personage of Jesus.

Why would God do this, because it was no longer about plagues, punishment and pestilence for the commission of sinful acts, this was about the salvation of the whole of humanity so the birth of Jesus is significant but the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is more significant because the crucifixion was the ultimate act of love and forgiveness and the resurrection was the message of hope to fallen humankind. Jesus the Holy One of God who alone is able to forgive us of all our sins so that we are cleansed from all wrongdoing. For us Christians knowing Jesus as The Holy One of God is of paramount importance because it is a confirmation that Jesus is Holy God in human form, God made man, both human and divine, and is that not something to marvel at.

The crucifixion was a necessary act, as in order for us to be redeemed from our sinful nature one had to descend into the depths of the pit (hell) to where sin came from so that we could be raised up. Without the crucifixion, there would be simply no hope for fallen humankind.

For the Poor

We are constantly being told in the United Kingdom that we are the fifth richest economy in the world. Indeed like many other countries the covid-19 pandemic has had a serious effect on our economic well-being and on people’s lives and on people’s jobs and livelihoods, but it is the poor who are disproportionately affected. It is the poor who are affected by lower life expectancy and so many other things.

The poor generally have no one to speak for them and I thank God for these two ministers whose Ministry to the poor is the difference between life and death for many in their local area

Faith and Works

It has been some time since I have written on this blog for that I apologise.

The Reverend Martin Luther King civil rights leader in America gave a speech in which he said "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character".

I have always tried to live my life not by judging people by outward appearances but by the content of their character. When I was a police officer I could always tell the good from the bad and that hasn’t changed since I retired. Good is good and bad is bad. Is it possible for the bad to become good, yes it is, through the redemptive nature of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, does it work on everyone well I’m trying still to work out the answer one side of me says yes and the other side of me says no.

I know that there are individuals who are predicated to committing evil deeds whereas there are those who are probably in the majority who do not commit evil deeds but rather commit good deeds. But are good deeds enough without faith or do these things work in tandem with each other or is it that works are seen acting through our faith.

In Romans 4: 1-25 Paul lays out his case on being justified by faith. And then he adds this in chapter 5: 1-2

“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”

No so whilst Paul is saying that we are justified by faith James on the other hand you cannot have faith without work and you cannot have work without faith. What is it that is written in James 2: 14- 26

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[e] if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you senseless person, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works. 23 Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another road? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead”.

So we have Paul saying that we are Justified by Faith alone and we have James saying no because we have to be justified not only through our faith but through our works which arise out of our faith. So we see the contradiction between Paul and James. The question now to be answered is who is right and who is wrong. Well I leave that one there for you to work out and a very good night to you and may God bless you wherever you are.

The Room , a new hymn for Pentecost

The Room

We were gathered in the room, lost in our thoughts, then you came like a flame. Spirit, Holy Spirit , Spirit of the living God come to us this day, Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit of the living God come to us we pray

Touching all our hearts and touching all our tongues changing us within and without. Spirit, Holy Spirit , Spirit of the living God come to us this day, Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit of the living God come to us we pray

Come into our hearts , come into our minds, infuse us with your love. Spirit, Holy Spirit , Spirit of the living God come to us this day, Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit of the living God come to us we pray

repeat

We were gathered in the room, lost in our thoughts, then you came like a flame. Spirit, Holy Spirit , Spirit of the living God come to us this day, Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit of the living God come to us we pray

Touching all our hearts and touching all our tongues changing us within and without. Spirit, Holy Spirit , Spirit of the living God come to us this day, Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit of the living God come to us we pray.

Come into our hearts , come into our minds, infuse us with your love.Spirit, Holy Spirit , Spirit of the living God come to us this day, Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit of the living God come to us we pray

Spirit, Holy Spirit , Spirit of the living God come to us this day, Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit of the living God come to us we pray.

(james Chespy copyright 2020)

The Ascension of Christ

Yesterday was Ascension Day and I was thinking about the wholeness of the event when I wrote these words whilst looking out into the garden. Might need a little bit more work done on them what do you think.

We lift our voice to thee in praise on this Ascension Day
Remembering what you did for us, thank you we pray
You took the debt upon yourself , the burden of our sins
So we lift our voice to thee in praise on this Ascension Day

We lift our voice to thee in praise on this Ascension Day
We magnify your holy name and in this we pray
You gave to us the gift of life that great salvation plan
So we lift our voice to thee in praise on this Ascension Day

A good Friday story

It’s Good Friday but in truth what is good about Good Friday.

For his mother, for his friends there was nothing good about Good Friday

They had to watch as he carried his Cross, how did it come to this only a few days ago he was welcomed as a hero and then them same people who so welcomed him turned on him.

Then Pilate offered them a choice, he who did no wrong or he who had done much wrong.

A shout from the crowd , “free Barabas” then one voice became two voices and two voices became three voices before long the whole crowd were shouting free Barabas.

Barabas who had killed innocents versus the man from Galilee who had killed no one.

Pilate gave in to the crowd and said what should I do and they said “crucify him”. Pilate replied “so be it” and then washed his hands of the whole affair.

The soldiers took him, mocked him, scourged him and laid the cross upon him. Oh how the agony as he made that walk to Golgotha.

Arriving at the skull they stretched out his hands and drove the nails in, the scream of agony was ear piercing. Then they drove the nails into his feet.

Blood everywhere his blood , the blood of forgiveness.

He looked down at his mother and his friend and said Woman behold thy son and to his friend and he said behold thy mother.

His eyes were eyes of compassion there was no hatred in him. We cried when he said “Father Forgive Them For they know not what they do” even then his thoughts were not of himself but of others.

He shouted out I thirst I was given a sponge that had been immersed in vinegar oh what a bitter brew

And then he managed to raise his head to Heaven saying father “why has thou forsaken me”

Then the Light of Day turned into the Dark of night a streak of lightning hit the temple.

We heard him say “father into thy hands I commend my spirit” and as he took his last breath he said “it is finished”

We looked at each other not believing what we were seeing.

It is finished but little did we know it was only beginning

Should Prisons be Abolished

https://newint.org/features/2020/02/10/should-prisons-be-abolished.

I’m not sure if I can accept the main premise of this person’s argument. Prisons should exist mainly to house the most dangerous in Society particularly those sentenced for violent crime. But should we send a person to prison because their only crime is that they are poor and they have committed a theft in order to put bread on the table.

The key test for any civilised Society is how we treat the most marginalised, the downtrodden and the dispossessed. Do we punish them because of the state that they are in or are they being punished enough just being in that state.

I never thought I would be in favour of prison reform but I guess thats comes with getting older and perhaps getting wiser. We do need serious dialogue about prison reform in this country.

To meet the demands of those with sometimes the loudest voices often take actions without thinking of the long-term consequences that taken those actions will have.

My dear friends I ask you this question what would be worse depriving a wealthy person of a little of their wealth or depriving a poor person of everything that they have.

I tell you the truth that for someone who is convicted of depriving a wealthy person all the little of their wealth then have no doubt that person would be incarcerated for a number of years whereas depriving a poor person that person may not receive a sentence of incarceration.

In the society we live in we pay scant regard to the wants, to the needs, to the hopes of the poor person but when it comes to the wealthy person our thought processes are entirely different. Whereas we don’t want to look after the poor when it comes to the wealthy we have to look after them. Maybe that is what is wrong with our Society.

Conflict Related Sexual Violence

Everyone has to think about ways they can help to transform  attitudes so that women and girls who have survived rape in  deadly conflict are treated with dignity and respect by society, like other war veterans

London is a city full of statues, statues to the great and the good in the end they fade into the landscape.

For something to have lasting effect it must have the ability to be passed down each generation that is why it is so important that we collate the stories of survivors of conflict related sexual violence so that they form a body of knowledge.

And with that body of knowledge a programme of learning can evole. A programme of learning that can challenge us in how we think about these issues.

First we take one story then we add to it another and then another then another thousands of stories from women and girls who have suffered in this awful manner.

Yes yes we may erect a statue but if we do that without doing anything else what will we have achieved ?

I tell you my friends for something to be a testament it must give rise to the truth and the truth is that as human beings we have often been inhumane to each other.

And women and girls who have suffered grievously as a result of conflict and war and being raped or subject to sexual violence, they have suffered the greatest inumanity. So for a testament to have purpose it must challenge us to change our ways of thinking because if it does not do that then it is not a testament. 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/conflict-related-sexual-violence-its-a-war-crime-tickets-96198360887?aff=eand