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How can I?

‘Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.’ Isaiah 58:10



How can I want a big house when so many in the world are without any shelter?

How can I complain about the lack of variety in my diet when one child every five seconds dies from hunger-related causes?

How can I allow myself to feel down when so many struggle with the extreme pain of a mental illness?

How can I consider getting an iPad or some other gadget when so many battle simply to survive.

How can I be annoyed by a noisy neighbour when there are those at risk in war zones.

How can I be content in my faith when so many don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

So what am I going to do about it?

Dear God, I completely commit myself to doing all I can to alleviate poverty, to support those struggling with mental illness, to love generously without the expectation of being loved in return, and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Lord give me the right perspective so I might serve you selflessly, give my a focus and understanding of the struggle and pain of others so that I might respond appropriately. Lord I give you all I have. I am ready. Amen.

God bless,

Mark Brown

http://www.facebook.com/MarkBrown.page
http://twitter.com/RevMarkB

If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free: click here.

Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is: 1 Chronicles 5-9

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

Its not what I can do.

1 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:1-5

I like this a lot.  Paul is writing here to the people of Corinth, which was a large impressive Greek city, where big words, clever communication and impressive wisdom would have been greatly valued.  Those who came across well, communicated well, would have been greatly admired.  And then Paul steps in and basically says that what they value is wrong, how they measure ‘cool’ is way off.  He basically refuses to play their game.   He bluntly tells them that his focus isn’t how cool he sounds or how clever his words are, but that his focus is completely Jesus Christ.  And as if to hammer the point home, he then points out how weak and plain he is.  And boldly states that he relies on the power of the Holy Spirit. He states he did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

I have been a public speaker, a communicator for many years and will now admit that I can way too much rely on my own power and ability.  I have worked hard at improving how I come across, at being more interesting and engaging.  Seeing it as a job I must succeed at.  And really in relying on me and my ability, I can see that this is one way of saying I don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This passage is a powerful reminder that I need to open myself up to the Holy Spirit and not rely on my ability.

Once I was invited to speak to a theological college, to the students and staff.  I spent many days carefully crafting my presentation and with it in my bag I flew to the city to speak.  As I was due to speak early, I came up the day before and stayed a night in a motel.  Once settled in the motel I pulled out my speech to run over it one last time, I had worship music playing and found myself drawn into the presence of God through the worship experience.  And in the midst of that experience God prompted me to completely abandon the carefully prepared speech.  I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing a few points of what God wanted me to share.  The next day my speech was very well received, but not through anything I have done, but through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I want to be completely reliant on the Holy Spirit so that I might point not to myself, but to the power of God.

God bless,

Mark Brown

http://www.facebook.com/MarkBrown.page
http://twitter.com/RevMarkB

If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free: click here.

Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is: Psalm 96-98


How I handle criticism.

I get a lot of comments on my blog, Facebook, YouTube and sometimes they are critical. How do I handle that? Click on the vid below..

If you are on email and cannot see the vid, click here: Blog

God bless,

Mark Brown

http://www.facebook.com/MarkBrown.page
http://twitter.com/RevMarkB

If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free: click here.

Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is: 1 Chronicles 5-9

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

Keeping the Temple of the Holy Spirit in order

Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-19

I am very convicted by this passage. Particularly the line, Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? In this context it is talking about keeping the body pure from sexual immorality but the language of our body being a temple is very powerful to me.

A temple was no ordinary place,  but a place where God was, a sacred and special place that was to be treated with the upmost respect and care.  One of the best parts of travelling to Europe is hanging out at the awesome Cathedrals, I love Cathedrals!  Some of them took hundreds of years to build, using the finest craftsmanship possible.  They wanted to give God their very best, and in being the most prominent building in the city they wanted to remind people that God is present.  In a similar way the passage above explains that my body is a wonderful and grand creation by God, something to be cared for and valued and treated with respect.  How I look and how I care for myself says a lot to people around me about how I value God’s creation.

I am not advocating vanity, or being obsessed with how I look, that is not the point of the passage; I realise that I am charged to look after my body as a way of honoring God.  I honor God by looking after myself.

About a year ago I was overweight and unfit. So I made a decision, to lose weight, build muscle and get fit. Over this year I have lost a lot of weight, built muscle and am now fit. So I thought I would share my tips, what has worked for me as a way of encouraging you:

Don’t believe the TV adverts, seeing results takes many months, not weeks.

I exercise for an hour minimum 5 times a week, rest Wed and Sat.

4 times a week I do weights for 45 minutes to an hour then 30 mins – 1 hour of cardio

Once a week I run for an hour+ only

I mix the cardio up to keep it interesting. I swim, run, cycle, and walk (fast walking)

With weights I concentrate on a different muscle group each session: arms, back, legs, chest, shoulders. So each muscle group is only done a maximum of once a week.

Before breakfast I do 100 crunches (abs work) and as many pushups as I can.

I have learnt the importance of recovery for building muscle. Once I have worked out, letting my muscle rest and recover is essential.

I have discovered that I need to eat every 2 or 3 hours, small healthy meals.

I have learnt that protein is key as it feeds the muscle and assists with recovery. You are meant to have somewhere between 1 and 1.5 grams of protein for every kg you weigh (about 0.6 grams per pound) each day. I take protein powders, egg, nuts, cheese, meat (tuna, chicken breast) to name a few.

Every 6 or so weeks I take three days to a week off.

Every three months I have to change my exercise plan completely, variety is key as the body gets used to routine exercise and stops developing as fast.

I reduced the size of the portions I ate, started eating more fruit and veggies and salad.

I reduced the number of carbs I was eating each day by half.

I allow myself a treat once a week, chocolate, cake, ice cream etc..

I went from daily soft drink usage to having a couple of cans once a week.

It is essential to not be too hard on myself if I slip up, if I eat something I shouldn’t. Just get back into it and keep going.

And the key thing I have learnt is to persist. Results take absolutely ages, don’t be discouraged, just stay on target and eventually you will see the results you want!!

Oh take a before photo, I wish I had.

Now go for it!!!  🙂

And please do share your tips and experience on how you lost weight and got fit, in the comments below.  If you are reading this on email click here to head to the blog: blog to leave a comment.

God bless,

Mark Brown

http://www.facebook.com/MarkBrown.page
http://twitter.com/RevMarkB

If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free: click here.

Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is: Numbers 1-4

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

You are invited on a journey!

My passion is to see people drawn closer to God. And one way this can happen is by really getting into the Bible. To help this I have started a new page on Facebook called Journey Through the Bible where starting the 13th of September, scripture will be posted for those who are members, and they will be encouraged to post their comments on the passage.  So together the community learns from each other, God will work through the stories and insights of those journeying!

The plan is to start at Genesis 1:1 and each day post several passages for discussion.  So it may well take a few years to get right through, but what an awesome journey it will be!

So I invite you to join me on this journey through the Bible.  To participate click:  Journey Through the Bible and then click on the ‘Like’ button.

And please invite your friends to join, be great to have a huge number all journeying together!

God bless,

Mark Brown

http://www.facebook.com/MarkBrown.page
http://twitter.com/RevMarkB

If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free: click here.

Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is: 2 Thessalonians

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

Take two: Dealing with my sin and living in the Spirit

Sorry for the failed first attempt!!  YouTube ate the last part of my video and I had to re-record, let me just say an excellent object lesson in patience!!!

Here it is:

Click here to watch: video if you are on email or click the play button below..

God bless!

Mark

http://www.facebook.com/MarkBrown.page
http://twitter.com/RevMarkB

If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free: click here.

Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is: John 3-4

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

A special video for those struggling right now

For a number of days God has put those struggling very much on my heart. So I felt compelled to record this special video. So if you are struggling head to the blog by clicking here: BLOG and press the play button below. Or if you know someone who is struggling, forward this email to them.

God bless!

Mark

http://www.facebook.com/MarkBrown.page
http://twitter.com/RevMarkB

If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free: click here.

Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today is: Daniel 1-6

To access the complete plan for the year click here.