Tuesday, May 21, 2013

hatred and protection

John 17: 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 


We have been given the Word, and the world has hated us. That statement has never been more true than it is today, and if you are reading this, then most likely you are defender of that Word. The world wants the Word gone. The Word is truth, the Word is conviction for the world, the Word goes against what we are taught. The world has no use for the Word. All one has to do is look around today and see just how hard they are working to scrub the Word from everyday life. Yet Christ, knowing the hardships that lie ahead, for Him, and for us, did not ask to be removed, He did not ask for His Father to cut this life short. No…..He asked His Father to protect us from the evil one. That is just what He has done, offered His protection. There has never been any promise of an easy life when you choose to follow Christ. I would go as far as to say that if you find yourself at a point where you are not struggling spiritually, then it is not that you have “arrived” it is that you have started to become stagnant.


We have been given the Word, we have been trusted to go out and despite the hate, despite the resistance, despite the best laid plans of the devil, we have to share that word. We will be hated, for the world hates change, and we are not of this world. SO fight the fight of faith, know that if you are getting pushed it is because you are moving forward, if you experience resistance, it is because you are not standing still. Remember that we are protected, we are loved, and we have a job to do. The lukewarm Christian will tell you to sit back and let it pass, but I would ask….aren’t we glad Christ did not take that approach?


Peace to all and love in faith,



Brian  Thetford

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Complete Joy

John 15:9-11    “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.


As I read this this morning, I am reminded of the simplicity of Christ. Keep my commands. What were Christ’s commands? Love God, love each other. That simple true message is so often lost in this crazy hectic world. We get so caught up in the flash, the new, the job, and the world….we make this life so much more complicated than it has to….no, not has to, but … than it is supposed to be! Imagine today if you resolve to live a life of love, just for today. Just to try it out. If everything we did was out of love of God, or love of neighbor. Nothing else mattered, nothing else came first. There was only God, and love. We would find that we were living well within Christ’s commandments, and do you have any idea what the result would be? We would truly understand the remainder of this passage. His joy would be in us, and our joy would be complete. Let that resonate for a moment. Our joy would be complete. When is the last time your joy was complete? Has it ever been complete? Think of the feeling of actually being full, mentally, spiritually, complete and utter joy. Happy to be alive, happy to serve God, happy to serve those around you. JOYFUL! No your bills will still be there, the hardships will still be there, the irritating people in your life will still wake up this morning and come looking for you. However, none of that would matter because you would know true joy. The bills will go away, one way or another, they are not forever, the hardships will be seen for what they are, an opportunity for Christ to work in your life, instead of you working so hard to fix what you cannot, and the irritating people, well I can promise, they will not be irritating, because when we approach people with love, even those we would call unlovable become softened.  You see, Christ has had the answer all along, of course, Christ has been the answer all along. Resolve to keep His commands today, just today, one day, give it a try, maybe you make the day, maybe today can turn into a week, a month, a year….think of that a year full of joy! Commands of the world are sure to bring disappointment, but the joy that can only be found, and made complete in Christ, that has the possibility to last an eternity. So today, lead with love, and see where the Lord will take you.


Peace to all, and love in faith,





Monday, May 13, 2013

Who is leaving whom?

John 16:30-33  Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God." Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."

Listen to the words Jesus spoke, read them again, there will come a time you will leave me alone…….yet I am not alone……..I have said these things so that you may have peace in me.  Jesus is doing far more than telling His followers what is to come for Him. He is giving them a model to live out their lives in the coming days, weeks and years. Has He not told us that the Father is with Him, and those with Christ are also with the Father? He offers us the peace, He offers His followers that day peace in knowing that they will never truly be alone. We all know that feeling don’t we? The feeling of being alone? That crushing, deep thump in the bottom of your stomach. That moment you look around and realize that your world is about to fall apart, and you have no idea how to fix it, or who can help, the situation is hopeless, helpless, and done for. That is the moment Christ was about to face. His mortal world was about to come to an end, in a way that makes most of our darkest hours seem much lighter by comparison. It is in our dark times, in or troubled times, in the times when the world has abandoned us, just as Christ’s disciples are about to abandon Him, we must realize we too are not alone. Christ is with us….and Christ has overcome the world, He has defeated death, He has not left us, even when every other person has ran out, Christ remains. Why is that truth so important to remember? It is tough times for many of us, debt is at an all-time high, work is hard to find, bills are due, the kids need shoes, summer is around the corner, free time will have to be filled, everyone wants something, and you only have so much to give….and I bet if you are honest with yourself, you have looked around and said “I am all alone in this”. That is the lie that the devil wants you to believe, it is the lie that the world will foster and feed you to increase your dependence on it, it is the lie we allow to take hold in our hearts, because we have forgotten the light, in our time of darkness. We are never alone, and if we will rely on the One that has brought us this far, if we will listen to His call, instead of the call of the world, if we will stand with Him, instead of running head long into the brick wall alone, He will show us the way through, or around, or under, He has told us we will have troubles. Christ was never one to bluff, that is not something He was just saying. He knew the troubles that were to come for those that followed Him, and He knew of the troubles you were to face, and are facing at this very moment. He wants you to have peace! Peace in Him! He wants you to walk with Him, and let Him direct your steps, just as He left His Father direct His. No, no matter how dark it might seem, you are not alone, unless you choose to be. You are not lost, unless you choose to be, you are not at the end of your rope, you are simply at the beginning of His. Grab hold, and pull. He will sustain, He will endure, He will fortify you with the strength, and the insight. He never asked to be the co-pilot. Let Him fly the plane. We spend so much of our lives chasing something, Chase Christ, and you will find you are never alone, and He is always within reach. 

Peace to all, and love in faith,

Monday, December 3, 2012

tis the season

1Th 3:12-13  and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13  so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.


We all want our hearts to be found blameless in holiness before the Father, do we not? SO how do we go about doing that?  Do we run around and point out everyone’s flaws? Do we tell everyone we meet how much of a sinner they are, and condemn them to hell? Maybe we can be found blameless of we make it a point every day to remind each other how much of a failure we are when it comes to being a Christian…. While I am sure we can all think of people who are convinced that one, if not all of these are the correct answer, and if we are honest with ourselves, maybe we even think a point or two might be correct, we would all benefit from reading the verse again. Paul is praying that the Lord increases and abound in love. Love for one another, and for all.


Interesting, so that answer seems to be that we start from a point of love. When I think of Christ, I am reminded just how loving we are called to be. I cannot think of one time where someone in need, someone that we hurting, someone that was lost, came to Christ, and Christ turned them away. I can’t think of one time where he condemned them, and told them that there was no hope for them. No Christ showed me a picture of what it meant to change someone’s life by loving them. Loving them when the world would have us believe, no one else would, could, or really should love that person. Christ did not admonish, scold, or beat down those in need, He opened His arms, and loved the sin out of them. Just as He did, and continues to do for me (I need all of that I can get), and he does for you. The harsh stuff, if you go back and read, was saved for the people who spoke of love and forgiveness, yet practiced the opposite, it was saved for the hypocrite, the self-righteous, and those who would try and use religion as a means to an end. This is how we are called to live, love the lost, forgive the repentant, and live for the Lord.


The Christmas season is kicking off, and for some it is in full swing already. Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians, is my prayer for each of you. May the Lord fill your hearts with love for one another, and for everyone. I pray that this holiday season if a start of a new season for you. I pray that we can see that the way to the hearts of those around us is through loving them…..loving them at the very moment that they might think they deserve it the least. That my friends is loving with grace. That is the love that is given to us from God. That is the love that this season is all about, it is my prayer that that type of love overflows from all of us this season, so that we might brightly shine the light of the Lord onto this dark world, and drowned out the shadows in our lives, and the lives of those around us, so that we might all be found blameless in holiness before God. Remember, love covers a multitude of sins.


God Bless,

Brian  Thetford


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wanna bet?

John 18:33-34 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" 34  Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"



I read this scripture this morning, and something struck me, that I had not thought of before. Christ was not just asking Pilate if he thought Jesus was a king, or if Pilate had just heard about Him. No, Christ was asking Pilate “have you been saved?” It might be easy to miss, just as it is today. You see Christ was asking Pilate are you calling me King, or do you just say that because that is what everyone else says? Pilate…..do you believe, or are you just saying what is easy to say? I would imagine that is a question we will all be asked at some point, and I am fairly sure Christ will be asking. It makes me think of our lives, how we live them, what we do, what we say. DO we proclaim Christ is King because we believe it, or because that is the easy thing to do?


In today’s world there are many that might call Christ King, but just as Christ suspected of Pilate, they only profess what they have heard. In short, they are living out Pascal’s wager. For those of you that are not familiar, Pascal was a 17th century philosopher and mathematician.  One of the things he is known for was the argument that even if you do not believe in God, you should live as if you do, because the cost of living a life without belief  is worse than a life lived as if you do believe. In other words, take a gamble, and take the side with the better payout. This is exactly what we do when we say we believe in Christ, yet knowingly and willingly live a life contradictory to that.  


It is an interesting idea though isn’t it? Want the salvation, the grace, the forgiveness, and the love that comes with Christ? Fake it. Just say the words, and all is good. Do your good deeds, give your money, go to church, and life here and in the next will be great. SO if you say it, and you act like it in your deeds, then what is the difference? How will you know, how will the Lord know, how will anyone else ever figure it out? It comes down to defining moments. One very much like Pilate is about to come to in this passage. If Pilate believed Christ was King, would he have washed his hands? Or would he have stood with Christ and proclaimed to the masses, we cannot kill this man He is the Son of God. We encounter moments like this all of the time, it is where the rubber meets the road, where life happens, when it is time to put up or shut up. However you would like to term it, we find ourselves in situations where we too much choose to show grace, love, mercy, forgiveness….what will we do? How will we respond? Will our lives emulate the life of our Savior? Will we show the world the power of Christ by showing His traits through us? Or will we cave? Will we crumble under the pressure of the world and turn our backs?


Maybe that is where you find yourself today. Perhaps you do want to live that life, but you know that you have in the past turned your back. You know that you have professed to be a Christian, but lived a life that is anything but. Here is the good news! It is not too late to change that. Even Peter denied Christ, yet Christ never denied Him. We make these choices every day, and you need to understand that even when we fall short, there is still the next decision to make. Another opportunity, another chance. The promises of God do not have an expiration date. There is not a number of times we can fall, there is not a limit on the number of times we can fail. The salvation is found in the rising. We will stumble, we will fall, what counts is that we get back up. Do not lay on the ground with the rest of the world defeated, simply raising your hand next time  someone is looking for a Christ follower. Christ fell three times on the way to that wicked hill. Each time He rose, ready to carry out His task well beyond the limits of His human body. So it is with us, do not resign yourself to live out life as a “safe bet”. Live your life out loud. Live your life looking for those moment to test yourself, and show your Faith. You might stumble, but the world will know you believe, it will know where you stand, and it will know, that in the end, there is but One King!



God Bless,

Brian  Thetford


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Trust in Peace

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.


Peace I leave, my peace I give.. Peace….peace like none we have known, and none that we can bestow or receive from another human. It is not the weak peace offering that we offer to each other. As if any of us can truly grant peace to another individual. The peace we offer is one that is only temporary at best. It might keep one issue at bay, or quell one fear or the other, but I have yet to meet the man, woman, or child that can give all-encompassing life sustaining peace. Look how Christ conveyed this offering. HE left it, and He offered it. It is here, it is yours for the taking, yet Christ leaves it very open, even to those who are closest to Him. Here it is, take it if you will. That my friends is true peace, a promise that is freely given, and yours to freely take. No strings, no gimmicks, no fine print. If you would like peace, then simply take it.


Christ furthers his point by saying not as the world gives, yes When Christ gives anything it is on a much larger scale that anything the world can give, but not just that. When the world gives, the world decides how long you get to keep it. With Christ, the choice to take it is yours, the choice to keep it is yours as well. The Lord does not give as the world gives. So do not be troubled, and do not be afraid. There is always a hard part isn’t there?  You see now we are tasked with the hardest part, trust Him. That is hard to do sometimes isn’t it? If we are honest it is hard to do a lot of the times. We have been taught to NOT trust, or as I like to think of it “trust, but verify” which is a really nice way of saying “I don’t trust you” Yet here is Christ telling us….you need it? I have it. You can have it, here I give it to you….now trust me. While it seems too good to be true…….it is true, if it seems like the deal of a lifetime…..well….it is.


The peace is yours to take, and it is yours to wrap yourself in, yet without the trust, it will not do much good. So what do we do? We trust, we take that leap, we make that choice. Let me ask you something, we have all done something in our lives at least once where we had to depend on someone else, right? What was that for you?  I am not talking about something little, I mean we trusted someone with something so big, that our lives would have been changed had that person not come through for us….and they did. They came through just like they said they would. Remember how that feels? Have you trusted Christ with anything near as important as that? Better yet, had you trusted that friend in your moment of need, then at the last second rushed in, and tried to do it yourself, or handle the situation on your own, how would that have turned out? not well, right? You would not have been where you needed to be, because you did not trust your friend to be where they were supposed to be. As a result the outcome would have been very different. What is keeping you from trusting Christ? How is it we are willing to trust another human, who even on their best day might cave and not follow through, yet we deny Christ the opportunity to do what he has PROMISED He will do for us?


It comes down to putting yourself out there, extending the trust to Christ that He will be where He needs to be, when He needs to be there. He has made the promise, will you allow Him to keep it? He has given the gift, will you accept it? Give Him your trust, and see if your life does not change for the better, just as promised. Tell Him just as you did that friend, I need you. I can’t do this without you. You said you would be there, you said I should not be afraid, you promised me peace. Without you in this, I am done for. Christ will be there, He will give you the peace, the assurance, the strength, and the power to do what needs to be done, and then He will take care of the rest of it. Give Him the opportunity, give Him the chance, He died for it you know….just for the chance to save your life, if you thought that deal you trusted your friend with was life changing, I can promise you it pales in comparison to what changes will take place if you trust in Christ.  Do not live in fear, or uncertainty. Choose to accept this promise of peace, and trust…. so that you do not need to be afraid.


God Bless,


Brian  Thetford C.T.B.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

another year gone

Psalm 46:1   God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

I turn 42 today. As I usually do on my birthday, I take a quick reassessment of where I have been, where I am going, and just how I wound up where I am today. One thing is for sure, this Psalm has held true for me my entire life. I should explain that my whole life was not anything like it is today. I have ran as far and as fast as I could from God for a good part of my young life. I thought we had an understanding, He hosed me on my family life, so I would hose Him on my commitment. The older I get, the more I understand the “very present help” part of this verse. It is a very big reason why I am where I am, and doing what I do. You see, I ran out on God, but He never ran out on me. He never left my side. No matter how dark the shadows were that I ran into, He followed. No matter how base the environment was, He followed me in, He sent His Son to walk with me, to keep me on my feet, to keep me sane, in the insane world I was living in. I see that now, looking back. I walked away from things I should not have, I managed to live, even after I was sure my heart was dead. I know it could not of been an easy task, He enlisted the help of a woman to drag me kicking and screaming out of the shadows, and into the light. Today looking back, I am thankful that all 4 of them, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and Leslie Thetford, stuck by me. It has been a long road, with many pot holes, many off road excursions, and a lot of joy, pain, laughter and tears. One thing is for sure though, If this Psalm were not true, I would not be here today. God has sheltered me, strengthened me, and bailed me out of more jams that I can recount. He sent a wonderful woman into my life, that is hard as nails, and as soft as silk all at the same time. He blessed me with two girls that keep my heart soft, and my mind sharp. He has given me more than I deserve, and continues to do that every day.  God has been there for me, and had blessed me, it is my prayer that you allow Him to do the same for you.

If you have found yourself in a place today, and you think you are alone, beaten down, and have nowhere to turn, I would challenge you to be still, quiet your heart, and listen. God is with you, a lot of times, we just think we don’t need or want Him…..at least not right now….. He is faithful, and He is working for you as we speak, give Him the chance to show you just what is possible. Let Him show you what the impossible looks like, for everything is possible through Him.

 God Bless,
Brian  Thetford