A man must be laid down before he can be risen up

My dear friends I have had two experiences of God one experience was an angelic experience and the other was when God spoke to me in a vision.

I want to today concentrate on the second experience. I have this friend I hope he is still my friend named Jeremy and it would be true to say that he is not a spring chicken indeed he is 70 years old.

I had become increasingly concerned about my friend particularly about his spiritual health so much so that I bought him a book call the imitation of Christ and presented it to him September last year.

But I had been in constant prayer worrying about his eternal soul and what would happen if he was to die outside God’s grace.

Now in December I was working at the local mail centre and I was sitting at my work station and had momentarily closed my eyes when I opened my eyes again I could not see anything it was like I was in a mist trapped in fog. A voice came through the Fog asking me to ask my question

I said which question, the one you’ve been asking for 6-months him The Voice replied. So I asked my question what happens to a man’s soul if he dies outside the grace of God. Now I was expecting a pretty straightforward answer but that is not the answer I got.

The answer I got was this ” a man must be laid down before he can be risen up” this answer totally confused me because it was not what I was expecting. I said what and the voice said a man must be laid down before he can be risen up. Then it all became clear we had just had a general election and my friend had been served to his enemies and had been laid down not in a physical sense but in a spiritual sense.

I believe the almighty has tasked me with bringing this person to a knowledge of him before it is too late. The question to be asked is will this person be receptive to my words which are indeed not my words but the words of the almighty spoken through me.

And may God bless you all today

God is light

1 John 1:5-2:2 NSRV

God Is Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Christ Our Advocate

2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

In the message the author Eugene Peterson words it in this way.

Walk in the Light
5 This, in essence, is the message we heard from Christ and are passing on to you: God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in him.
6-7 If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.
8-10 If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God.
2 1-2 I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. When he served as a sacrifice for our sins, he solved the sin problem for good—not only ours, but the whole world’s.

This is a very interesting passage of scripture and it is very relevant considering that we have just celebrated the birth of the Christ Child, Jesus Christ the light of the world as we are reminded in that greart painting by William Holman Hunt. Jesus Christ the light of the World who came to deliver us from the darkness of sin.

Sin in its purest form is an act of wrongdoing which causes us to be disobedient to God’s precepts or commands which have been laid down God and revealed to us through his Word and that act of wrongdoing can be in thought or in deed.

However , the dichotomy for us Christians is that which may be considered sinful according to scripture the law of the land may not consider illegal.
Now this was the conflict I faced as a Christian Police Officer. As Christians where do we draw our authority from ?. By the way that’s a question!

As Police officer my authority to enforce the law was taken from Acts of Parliament or from Common Law which had been handed down over a period of time. Indeed the basis of English and Scottish law is Christian in nature and is taken from tradition and practice. It could be said that an Act of Parliament is already flawed because those who put it together as just like us are flawed individuals with all the same weaknesses and facing all the same temptations that we all face as we travel along our journey of life or in an Act of Parliament can we see the prevenient grace of God.

It is true to say that those who govern over us are not without sin themselves and if any were to say that they were I guess I would have something to say about it and I often have.

Although some may find it easier to justify the commission of sin but the truth is there is no justification for sin no matter how small that act of wrongdoing may be.

Now when I was thinking about this portion of Scripture I happened to be in my local shopping centre and was looking through a shop window when something caught my eye and I thought to myself I must have that not that I needed it only that I wanted it and probably because I didn’t want anyone else to have it.

So not only was I being selfish I was also committing the sin of covetousness because there is a difference between need and want. Covetousness is a sin that we all guilty of more times than we care to admit and it is a sin that we must guard ourselves against because far too many of us are in the “I must” category.

Do you know when I was looking in that shop window coveting what I saw, this portion of scripture can and hit me on the head like a brick caused me to step back and to reflect on what I was thinking. At that moment I had allowed sinful thoughts to enter my mind.

But there is one sin that really comes between us and our relationship with God and probably between those whom we care for the most and that Sin is the Sin of Pride. The reason I know why the sin of pride is so bad is because I have been guilty of it.

The Sin of Pride rather than strengthening relationship destroys relationships because it destroyed mine. Pride can lead you to the cliff edge and push you over and that fall into the chasm of despair is very long and the landing is not a soft landing but the hardest of landings. The words in Proverbs 16:18 are deadly accurate and we should strive to take heed of them.

Pride strips you of everything, everything that you were, everything that you are but not everything you can be. There is only one word word that best describes everything you can be, and that word is humility. If you are humble in all things then one will be rewarded so it is important to banish all pride.

Remember pride and Humility are opposites pride is often as seductive as lust perhaps more so. Pride leads to conceit and conceit destroys the soul but humility leads to truthfulness and truthfulness puts life into a diseased soul because truthfulness is of God. So it is better to be humble that proud.

Finally my brothers and sisters we are told that Christ’s crucifixion was the forever sacrifice for sin so I just ask you all on bended knee not use the crucifixion of Christ as an excuse, do not use it as a way of appeasing our own conscience or as a crutch to continue behaving in a sinful way because if we do we make a mockery of Christ’s sacrifice and his Crucifixion a worthless act.

For a time will come when we will all stand before God and have to give account for all our actions throughout life and at that appointed time we won’t have to worry about legal aid because we will have our own defence barrister but I charge you to remember this what is given by God can be taken away by God.

And may God bless you this day.

We wrestle not against flesh or blood

Over the last few days God has laid a portion of scripture upon my heart and I would like to share it with you.

Ephesians 6:12-13 King James Version (KJV)

12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts”.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ this is such a powerful piece of scripture just the opening paragraph says enough we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

What is this darkness that is mentioned in this piece of scripture. Well the darkness is sinful behaviour so the rulers of Darkness are those who gives rise to sinful behaviour and each and every one of us.

Now what about spiritual wickedness is it always to be found in high places no it is not it is found in low places as well. It is even to be found in the house of God because those who may frequent the house of God may themselves be trapped in spiritual wickedness.

And when members of the church which are trapped in spiritual wickedness it destroys all spiritual growth in the church and the church becomes dead and moribund. Unless you take a disinfectant to the spiritual wickedness then the church will die.

Now there are those who come to church in fine clothing and appear to be so righteous but the truth of the matter is is that they have no righteousness , none of us do. But they pretend to have it but it is just a deception and it is a deception that is played on other people.

So many people in church who have not repented of their sins and if people do not repent of their sins they will find no redemption no renewal no restoration and they will no longer be sanctified by the Holy Spirit because what is given can be taken away. And for them who do not repent then the fiery furnace of Hell awaits them at the end of days.

Spiritual wickedness is all pervasive and it can spread like a contagion throughout the church congregation so that all are dragged into it.

For any church to grow in the spirit it needs to excise the spiritual wickedness that is killing the spirit within the church.

I spent many years in the police force I thought I had seen it all manner of spiritual wickedness all manner of sinful behaviour but I have to tell you you what I see in some churches frankly astounds me. Now I am no Paragon of virtue myself and I am not a good man but I am a man trying to live a good life trying to live according to scripture I wish some of my Christian brothers and sisters would do likewise because it is their souls that are at risk.

And may God bless you this evening

Pride….. no thanks!

My dear brothers and sisters in the faith I wanted to speak to you this evening about an important issue.

I have been given some consideration to what the worst sin is that can affect us as Christian and our relationship with God and often with the people around us, the people that we care for the most.

What I am speaking about is the Sin of Pride, for the Christian the consequences of the sin of Pride is quite damning.

I know this to be true because I’m guilty of it, the sin of Pride destroyed my relationships, the sin of Pride took me to the cliff-edge and pushed me in and the fall was long into that chasm of despair.

When you hit the bottom it’s not a soft landing it’s the hardest of landings.

Pride strips you of everything, everything that you were everything that you are but not everything you can be because there is only one word that describes everything that you can be and that is humility..

Pride and humility are opposites, I have heard so many people say that they are proud of their achievements is it not far better to say that I am humbled by the achievements I have made knowing that others may not have made them.

Pride leads to conceit, conceit destroys the soul humility leads to truthfulness and truthfulness puts life into a diseased soul.

Truly what is a Sin

The light of the world

Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness

5 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us”.

Christ Our Advocate

2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

This is a very interesting passage of scripture from 1 John 1and 1 John 2. It is a very relevant portion of scripture being we’ve just had Christmas where we celebrated the birth of the Christ child, Jesus Christ the light of the world as we are reminded by that great painting by William Holman Hunt who came to deliver us from the darkness of Sin. So the question we have to ask ourselves is what is Sin.

Sin in its purest form is an act of wrongdoing according to scripture laid down by God. However the dichotomy for Christians is that which we as Christians may consider sinful according to scripture but the law of the land may not consider illegal. Now this was the conflict that I faced everyday as a police officer as a Christian Police Officer and it comes down to authority. As a police officer my authority to enforce the law came from those who had enacted legislation sinful people because not one Member of Parliament can say that they are without sin. If any MP got up in the chamber and said they had never committed a wrong in their lives then I would call that person out to be a liar because we have all committed wrongs therefore we have all committed sin of one type or another. Some people find it easier than others to justify it but the truth is that there is no justification for sin no matter how small that sin maybe.

Today day I have committed a sin I have committed the sin of covetousness. I was looking at a shop window and something caught my eye I said to myself I must have that although I didn’t really need it I just wanted it so that somebody else wouldn’t have it, well my friends that is the sin of covetousness and it is a sin that we are all guilty of and it is a sin that we must guard ourselves against.

Finally I say to my Christian brothers and sisters do not use the crucifixion of Christ as an excuse to continue committing acts of wrongdoing do not use the crucifixion of Christ as a way of appeasing our own consciences when we know we are in the wrong. We say that the crucifixion of Christ was the once and for all propitiation for sin I have to say that I am beginning to question that in that when I commit a wrong towards my brother or sister am I not crucifying Christ a second time. Well I’ll leave that one for you

May God bless you all this day

The Two Pope’s

I have watched this film 5 times on Netflix and there is something about it which I cannot find the words to describe. Now I am no longer Roman Catholic I’m a Protestant my reasons for that are long and complex.

and I remember once I was on foot patrol in Tilbury and I was just passing the Roman Catholic Church and the priest was on the doorstep and I said good morning and he acknowledged it but when I told him that I had become a Protestant his face went white and said I was risking my immortal soul and that I should say an act of confession and put myself right with the church.

I think it’s more important to put yourself out with God than with any institution. What is the most important thing for a believer the most important thing for a believer is to stay true to scripture. This week we have seen a former Anglican Bishop and chaplain to the Queen following in the footsteps of of Cardinal St Thomas Henry Newman and becoming a Roman Catholic.

My journey of faith went in the opposite direction I went from being a Roman Catholic where I once thought about going into holy orders when I was younger.

I now sit in a Wesleyan/Holiness Church called the Church of the Nazarene and whilst we have some doctrinal differences I think we can sit in each other’s company as Christian Brothers and Sisters should.

My problem with the Anglican church is that it is so wanting to fit in, in wanting to be seen as relevant it has become less relevant. Its willingness to compromise on almost anything that secularism demands has led it to be less relevant and that is what secularism wants.

I am mindful of the phrase that “we are in the world but not of the world”

John 15:19
If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

John 17:14-16
I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

It would seem that Jesus understood the conundrum that we often find ourselves in.

He understood the many tensions we would experience as Christians living in a hostile ideological environment. The authors of the New Testament went out of their way to tell us that we have to be in communication with the world that we live in but we had to do it in such a way that it pleased God rather than the culture we live in.

1 John 2:15
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Roman’s 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

So we have to ask ourselves what is it to be in the world but not of the world.

Perhaps the answer has to do with location and information.

God may have placed this in a situation where the Christian worldview is challenged and that’s not a bad thing. God places us in locations where we can have a positive impact on those who have not heard the message of Christ. God takes those who were once lost in order to find and those who are lost and a case in point is my very good friend in Burnley. He was lost, lost in a sea of addictions but but God had a plan for him. Who do I use to reach out to those who are lost in this sea of addiction who do I use the gain the trust of those lost in a sea of addictions. I use someone who themselves was lost in a sea of addictions.

When I talk about information, we get it from a wide medium of sources and a lot of it encourages us to stray from the path that God has laid before us. There are a number of different paths we can walk but there is only one path that we should walk and that is the path that leads directly to God and in order to stay on that path we must not allow ourselves to be corrupted by the world.

And and wherever you are tonight, whatever situation you are in and if you just happened to come across this Facebook post I want to pray God’s blessings upon you for God has a plan for you you as he has the someone else I could mention.

The other week I told you about a vision that I had in which God actually spoke to me. Where I asked the question what will become of a man’s soul if he dies outside the grace of God. And God’s answer was “that a man must be laid down before he can be risen up” I understand it now that we must come before God and lie prostrate before him and cast off all those things that cause the darkness of the heart before we can rise up as new creations.

God has his eye on someone and that someone doesn’t know it yet but all will be revealed when he wants it to be revealed.

May almighty God pardon you from your sins may he restore you and renew you and finally may he sanctify you.

Help those in need

My dear friends when you see someone in need what do you do, do you stop and say how can I help or do you see the person in need but say to yourself not my problem somebody else’s problem and without a thought walk by on the other side of the street because my friends there are many people who would do exactly that.

Sometimes I wonder what if I had a callousness of the heart would I be better off especially financially, well yes certainly.

Well it’s not who I am and I hope it’s not who you are. It is true that I am of large stature and I am compassionate but unlike the man spoken about by John Wesley I am not insensitive to the needs of the many because I see them everyday.

In every street in every Village, every street in every town, every street in every city you see so many people who have such diverse needs. I know it is difficult to try and cater for all of them believe me in some small way I have tried.

When you see someone in the gutter especially if you’re a Christian or a person of faith do not leave that person languish in the gutter because one day that person could be you and if you have not helped another human being then there may come a time when you are in difficulty and you will not be helped.

No one should be left in the dark you should be light to them as he is a light to you. As a Christian my faith is a sacrificial faith as Christ sacrificed himself for me is it not right that I should sacrifice some part of myself for the stranger who is in need.

I make a mockery if I say I believe but do not practice what I believe. I am a Christian and I am a socialist the two things are indivisible they feed each other. Be not ashamed if you suffer from excessive compassion rather be ashamed if you have have a callousness of the heart.

I hope this day that if you see any of your brothers and sisters in great need that you will stop and say how can I help.

The reward for an act of random kindness to a stranger in need is unmeasurable. You may not receive it in this life but I can tell you will receive it in the next.

And may God bless you all on this Sunday evening