Jesus is My Umbrella

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Jesus is my umbrella of love, grace, mercy, refuge, compassion, joy, protection, peace, strength, happiness and blessing. Jesus can stop the rain but there are times when He doesn’t, He does keep me from getting drenched. And He allows me to learn, smile and dance in yellow gumboots in the rain! Blessings ~ Sarah xxx

Something To Think About

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” – Edmund Burke

On Brittney Moses blog she has a great collection of thought provoking videos click HERE to get to Something To Think About. Brittney’s first video “180” has a link below (warning the below video is controversial and graphic) is by a man called Ray Comfort. Growing up I met Ray many times. He would visit my Cousins, Aunt and Uncle’s house (they lived next door to my childhood home). I remember Ray was always full of passion and questions. He would stand on an apple box in Cathedral Square or in New Brighton in Christchurch, New Zealand asking questions, teaching and preaching the gospel to anyone who would listen. He moved to the USA where he writes books and is involved in making Christian media. His style of sharing the gospel is a thought provoking natural theology (Christian Apologetic) method. This kind of apologetic’s enables Christian’s to relate the gospel in the modern world context in which we are familiar. Sometimes when people hear the truth they can become interested, questioning, angry, offended and hostile. And sometimes convicted to change. I don’t agree with everything talked about or how it is done on the video’s, but I love to be challenged about why I think what I think. If you like to be challenged or if you are someone who likes to think outside the box, I highly recommend visiting Brittney’s blog HERE where you can make your own mind up. My favourite part of the “180” video is at the end where you see hard hearts become softer by hearing the truth and where they start to think differently. Remember before you do click PLAY that the video is controversial and graphic. ~ Sarah

What I believe …

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I was spending a day with a precious friend recently. She had many questions ranging from, which bible translation is best, to questions relating to “end times” eschatology. She had been given advice from many different people and, as can easily happen, had gotten confused. There were a myriad of topics and questions that needed some good answers, and on top of all this, our children were needing our attention too: there just wasn’t enough time left in this one day. Furthermore, we hadn’t seen each other for such a long time we live along way from each other so we were excited to be able to spend time together. So we talked about so many things, with everything jumbled up together. I wish I could have stayed for a weak learning and studying the Bible together. But we only had a day.

So I thought I would start a series on my blog about un-jumbling or unknotting some of the messy bits of Christian life that we can easily find ourselves involved in from day to day. I thought to myself, “why not start at the beginning with the basic’s of what I personally believe!” With that in hand, I could then move onto different topics such as, “which Bible translations are good, better, best and why?” All translations have their strengths and weaknesses, but what could they be? The King James Version was a good English translation in 1611, but now we have many more manuscripts and a far better knowledge of translating Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (the original languages the Bible were written in). Is it better to have modern English translation which we can understand easily, or stick with the good old KJV? Another topic we might address is: “How do we grow in faith in this fallen world?” As you can see there is quite a bit to ponder and think about. There is plenty to cover, and of course I am still learning too.

For today I’m going to focus on the basics, or I might find myself knotted up in a ball even before I get to the point of this post.

Okay, so today’s post is about what I believe and where did those beliefs came from in the Bible. It isn’t everything I believe and it certainly isn’t all inclusive but it is a start. AN ONLINE BIBLE CAN BE FOUND HERE

I believe as Christians we all may vary in opinions and views about smaller issues regarding Christian faith. We are all on a journey learning and growing in our own personal faith. And I strongly believe it is okay to disagree, but we should not be disagreeable. As Philip Schaff once wrote,

“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”

Here are the essentials I believe in:

I believe that there is one true God who exists in a perfect relationship of three persons in a Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Furthermore, I believe that each Person of this Trinity is God, (1 Corinthians 8:6 6:44; Romans 1:7; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1 Acts 5:3; Hebrews 9:14; John 4:24; Matthew 28:19).

I believe that Satan was a powerful angel who rebelled against God and was kicked out of heaven. He now operates in this world as God’s enemy along with numerous fallen angels called demons. Though he is capable of much evil, he can only go as far as God allows. His final judgment is certain, (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ephesians 6:10-12; Revelation 20:10).

I believe that Jesus was literally conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin named Mary, (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-33).

I believe that Jesus lived a sinless life, (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).

I believe that Jesus Christ is God the Son. He willingly came to our world as a human to live among us in order to show us what God is like, reveal God’s love, truth, and provide us with God’s salvation. He is the way to have a relationship with God. Though Jesus lived a perfect life, He was crucified, taking the death penalty that we deserved for the wrong things we do called sin. After three days Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over sin and death, (Matthew 1:23; Hebrews 9:14;12:2; I Peter 3:22).

I believe that salvation is available to everyone through Jesus. This salvation can only be received by faith—it cannot be earned by religious works. I believe that salvation is found in none other than Jesus Christ: through His name, person, work, and grace. Our sins can be forgiven and we can begin a relationship with God, (John 14:6; John 3:16; Romans 4:4-5, 5:1, 5:8).

I believe that all of humanity has fallen short of God’s glory and have sinned and are in need of salvation; and that is the reason Jesus came to the earth, (Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23; John 14:6).

I believe that all those who are saved through faith in Christ make up the church, (the body of Christ). I value the body of Christ regardless of what denomination they may belong to, (1 Corinthians 12:13).

I believe that all believers have been given the task of sharing the Good News of Salvation. I believe in repentance of sin and baptism. I believe in full immersion water baptism of believers in Christ. I believe that those who trust Christ should be baptised as a public testimony of their faith and new life in Christ, (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38-41; Acts 22:16).

I believe that Jesus is coming back again to this world; no one knows the exact day or time. When He returns, those who have trusted Christ throughout their life will be raised up to spend eternity with Him. Those who have refused to trust Christ will be judged and will face eternal punishment, (1 Corinthians 15:21-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

I believe that those who die without salvation will be eternally separated from God and His people, (Psalms 9:17; Psalms 73:12-19; Luke 16:23.26; John 12:48).

I believe that those who belong to Christ will inherit eternal life in a literal Kingdom born of Heaven, (Isaiah 65; Zechariah 14).

I believe that it is important to remember Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross, (along with His life, and resurrection), by sharing Communion with other Christians. Partaking of the bread and the fruit of the vine are symbols we use in remembering Christ’s sacrifice. It spurs us on to living our lives for Him as we remember that He gave His life for us, (1 Corinthians 11:24).

I believe that all 66 books of the Bible are the “only” inspired written word of God to the world. I believe that the Holy Bible is the word of the living God. I believe the Bible was God breathed and that the writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible is the complete gospel message, from Genesis to Revelation, (2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 4:12).

I believe that God is the creator of all things, that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and in control; with all power to do as He wills, (Jeremiah 32:17; Ephesians 3:20; Psalms 139:1-4; 1 Samuel 2:6-9; Psalms 24:1).

This is some of what I believe; by no means all, but a good start. But perhaps I can finish today with a quote from Ernest Boyer Jr. who said,

“God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, ‘Do you believe there is a God?’ you may find yourself answering, ‘No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.’”

Moving house

Moving house can be one of the most stressful times in your life. So is losing your job, divorce, end of a relationship or the death of a family member or close friend. So we have 2 of those happening right now. AND a number of those have happened with in the last 6 months. I am so thankful that I can put my hope and trust in the Lord. Moving can be stressful but I really feel that God is carrying me atm. Psalms 130:5  says: “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope”. AND Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” These scriptures give me comfort and strength as we wait on God and trust him for the next season in our lives. “Praise God” that he gave us his God breathed bible for instruction and comfort.

We have moved before. In 2006  my husband and I sold our house along with most of our belongings and moved from New Zealand to Cincinnati, Ohio US of A with our  kids. Then we moved again to another country from the USA to Australia. Where we had to co-ordinate things that were stored in New Zealand and also boxes of books etc from the USA.  And now we have another pending move. Each change was ordered by God we had no doubt at all. And he blessed us abundantly we would never have known his complete unfailing love for us if we had not stepped out in faith not knowing what the future held for us.

Moving house was easier in the USA, because by then we had some of our things stored in New Zealand and only arrived in the USA with a few suitcases for our possessions. When we arrived in the USA a lovely church organised a home for us including some food in the cupboards. Talk about Godly people being Jesus to us in a tangible way. By the time we got to the States we got good at giving things away, selling them or just chucking out all that rubbish that collects and clutters up our lives. The biggest change was to entirely give up our own personal wills and have them align with God’s will for us. When leaving the USA we were able to give our belongings to some overseas students who had next to nothing. What a blessing and a joy to give.

Moving out of our home in New Zealand was huge for me. We left a home with an ocean view (we even had a view from our bedroom) to live in the mid-west with no ocean in sight. Not even the smell of salt in the air. In the end moving house and countries was one way to declutter our lives. Albeit a drastic way to declutter!

Tips for a less stressful move:

1. Get organised in advance. If you leave everything until the last-minute it will be stressful. In New Zealand we sold our house and then rented it back from the new owner. This gave us time to sort and organise the house and all our stuff before moving day.

2. Start selling or giving away non-essential items as soon as you can. Don’t wait! Leaving things to the last-minute will add stress to an already potentially stressful time.

3. Organise your important papers and personal information. Get a folder for essential documents like passports, medical information, birth certificates. Make sure you photo copy passports (if moving overseas) of all the members of the family. Give the children copies of your passport as well. Sort out your personal photos. We scanned all our photo’s so we could take them overseas with us on a hard drive and know they wouldn’t get damaged in storage. We gave small album of photo’s to each of the kids special friends. I also made up a tiny album for each of the kids to take with them of important friends and family to pop into their bags and to show new friends.

4. Make up a new family saying. Don’t forget to encourage the kids. Ours was/is “every last step on a journey is a new step in an adventure.” They loved this and while traveling we would often say this family quote.

5. Take this opportunity to simplify. There’s no point in keeping stuff you haven’t used or probably will never use. Storing, moving or sending it to another state or overseas may cost more than replacing it. If you haven’t used it in  6 months then it is time to let it go. Don’t get rid of anything you feel is personal or sentimental and that you may regret not having in the future. In saying that you can’t keep every tiny little scrap of paper your child ever drew on either. We took photo’s of some items the kids had made or pictures and kept those on a hard drive. Easy to store a hard drive than a million bits of papers and sock dolls etc.

6. Have a garage sale or eBay your stuff.

7. Packing. Start packing up things early. Especially books you are not reading and any non-essentials. Buy a huge roll of bubble wrap, tape, cardboard corners for pictures, marker pens, mattress covers. Try local shops and ask if they want to get rid of their boxes. They often are happy to reduce their rubbish pile.

If you can afford it, seriously consider having the professional packers do your packing for you. Then you won’t need to bother with packing apart from personal items and you will save your back. Most times we pack ourselves BUT the times we have had the professionals in it was much less stressful and our backs were thankful too.

Give the kids a limit to how many boxes they can fill with toys. Let them pack some of their boxes themselves. Get rid of worn clothing or things that they will grow out of. If you don’t limit the boxes you will have everything from a scrap of paper to soft toy’s coming out your ears.

My best advice I can give you while packing is to listen to happy music. I listen to Christian and or jazz music on the stereo or computer while I pack. And if you are packing on your own why not listen on your iPod. You can’t be stressed and grumpy if you a listening to Godly or perky music. You know what they say in Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” You need all your strength while in the process of moving.

8. Friends and Family. Don’t forget to put aside time to visit and say goodbye to friends and family. Go out for dinner or have coffee and enjoy spending time with your friends. Some friends or family may not be able to understand your leap of faith and may get upset. Listen and encourage them. Often they are more upset because they themselves can’t do what you are doing and feel uncomfortable. Sometimes it is because they feel you are leaving them behind. Reassure them that we all have seasons in our lives where change occurs. Make sure you have Skype and/or e-mail to keep up the contact. Now is the time to let unhealthy relationships go.

Let the kids have their friends stay over and let them stay up as long as they can. You could have a movie marathon and let them sleep in the lounge or put the TV in their room and watch movies all night. You will find that those kids who can’t stay awake will happily sleep while the others chat all night long. Especially teenage girls!!!

9. Moving day. Don’t pack up your kettle or coffee machine up until the last-minute. OR if you do be sure to make time to run to the cafe’ for takeaway coffee. I guarantee you will be needing a tea or coffee on your moving day. Finally have a good clean up or hire a cleaner. At the end of a stressful day you will be thankful to see the cleaners come and magically clean your house up.

10. Enjoy your new adventure and new home.