Advent Calendars 1 December

It’s 1 December and all around the rustle of advent calendars being opened and chocolates eaten. Here’s my Advent Calendar post from last year which I hope raises a smile.

“Have you got me an Advent Calendar this year“ asked Daughter looking hopeful. Husband and I exchanged looks which we interpreted between us thus “Is she serious-yes I think so-did you-no-did you-no-oh!”

Daughter apparently can now also interpret “the look” because she proceeded to look sad and tell us that we were the “only parents who never sent their offspring an Advent Calendar in the post at University”. Poor girl-how did she cope being so neglected 🤣

Anyway, feeling suitably chastised husband and I rushed out to the shops on the evening to try and find an Advent Calendar. It had to be a chocolate one of course because that is what she meant. It seems to be the thing-edible Advent Calendars.

We do still have the family Advent Calendar of the manger scene that comes out every year. You add a piece every day to build up the scene but of course you can’t eat it!! This doesn’t cut it anymore unfortunately. If it’s not chocolate then they are not interested. 🙁

Our traditional Advent Calendar-I think we may have lost a few pieces x

For as long as I can remember we always had an Advent Calendar to open leading up to Christmas Day. When I was a child it was a paper calendar that told the story of Jesus’ birth. It was with great excitement that we opened the tiny windows to see the little picture for the day and read the Bible verse. It didn’t matter that it was the same picture every year, we still looked forward to the “discovery” of what was behind the window. I loved it.

It’s sad that the only Advent Calendars you seem to find in the shops now have nothing to do with the Christmas story. I hope that there are still some traditional Advent calendars being made.

Anyway, my husband now seems to have got in on the act because this year he bought me an Advent Calendar of coffee!!! Can you believe it but behind every door is a new coffee pod to get me up and going in the morning, Rocket Fuel for the day ahead. What could I say but thanks! 😊

Anyway, daughter was very pleased when she got home to find her Advent Calendar and her favourite chocolate, Maltesers. She’s away this weekend so I popped in to open a window for her….what did I find? She’d already opened them! She obviously doesn’t trust me 🤣

An extra 3 days’ ahead 🤣

Truth..

Most people that I encounter want to know the truth. They don’t want lies, half-truths, imaginations or guesswork. However, I find more and more that people’s expectations are that they won’t be told the truth and they expect lies. If you did a poll I think the majority would now say that they do not believe what is printed in mainstream newspapers, or on social media or even what is said by our own politicians. “Fake” news and “political agendas” is big business.

A more worrying trend though is that people now apparently have their own version of the truth. It’s “their” truth rather than “the truth”. If their understanding or interpretation is wrong then it doesn’t matter because it’s “their truth”. If you challenge “their” truth because it’s different to “the” truth then you are an “ist” of some kind..labelled for having a different perspective.

As Christians today we are contenders for the truth and testifiers of the truth. That is our testimony. We can confidently declare the truth because the Truth is Jesus and truth comes from Jesus. We can be confident that Jesus told us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Not only that, but Jesus also sent the Spirit of Truth who is the Holy Spirit to be with us, live in us and to teach us and lead us in Truth. Our confidence has to be rooted in Jesus.

As we approach this Advent, let us as believers be confident of the announcement and proclamation that the Truth came into the world and revealed God to us. Let us be bold to declare that Jesus is the truth. I encourage you this Advent to read again from the gospels the words and teachings of Jesus himself. I am reading John’s gospel this December and the opening verses have been my inspiration today.

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” John.1.17-18 NKJV

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Shout for Joy

This is my shout for Joy this Marvellous Monday.

God is good, worthy of all praise and glory. He has taken me who was destined for death and judgement because of my sin and has redeemed, restored and given me the greatest treasure…Jesus and eternal life. He has totally transformed me by His awesome power. I am a new me.

I am no longer dead spiritually but am alive in Christ Jesus, my Lord. I am lifted high through Him who loves Me and who has demonstrated already His great love for me by giving Himself totally for me. He died and rose again from death that I too might live, but not only that He has give me, His Holy Spirit.

His Spirit lives in me and empowers me.

When I fall, Jesus picks me up. He tends my wounds and heals me. He encourages me to endure and persevere. Jesus is in my corner. I am not alone.

He teaches me to be an overcomer of the works of the evil one and to laugh with joy at the works of God.

God’s handiwork of creation is bold and beautiful and reminds me daily how awesome my Father God is.

How wonderful, how amazing that I am now counted His child.

Adopted into the family of the most loving, merciful, gracious, trustworthy, good and powerful Father there ever is and who is for everlasting to everlasting. Praise His glorious name.

Join me in giving a Shout of Joy today for our most marvellous God and His son, Jesus.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Songs of the Heart..

What is the song of your heart?

That’s not a question you may have been asked before but think about it for a moment.

What song is playing in your heart?

When we as believers come to worship God, He hears the song of our heart not just the words from our lips.

Sometimes, in our heart’s song there’s a background note or harmony that’s a bit off, a bit out of tune. The melody of worship is playing but occasionally there is that “wrong note” that influences the tune.

A song, as we know, is not just one note, it’s full of different and varied notes and chords that create harmonies. It only takes one of those notes to be off or slightly out of tune to spoil the music..the symphony of our hearts song.

I am sure we can all think of obvious actions, thoughts, emotions which would be those “off notes”. However, there are some things in our lives – past wounds, emotional hurts, wrong influences that we no longer recognise as “wrong notes”.

Those notes have become so familiar to us that we don’t hear them anymore or recognise that they are affecting the melody. Those sounds have become “white noise” or perhaps that one very painful note we have got used to and now ignore. Those “off-notes’ have blended in to our song.

Although, we may no longer hear them, God does. He hears the whole song of your heart. His ear is tuned in and God cares about the song playing in your heart. God wants us to be healed and whole in all areas of our lives in and through the finished work of Jesus and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.

So, what song is your heart playing?

Is the Holy Spirit revealing something which has been that background noise or “note” for too long. Is there a wrong note influencing your relationship with God and others. It’s never too late for healing, restoration and release through the mighty power of Jesus and the living Word. Amen.

Re-write the tune

Psalm 118 – Goodness

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. “

It was such a privilege to be able to contribute to the group blog today Thanksgiving Thursday UKCB Group Blog when individually and corporately our thanks were expressed to God through unity in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 118 came to my remembrance this morning as I read lots of different posts from bloggers about thanksgiving. The opening lines of the Psalm encourage us to thank God for His goodness and His enduring mercy. One of the key things the Lord has been speaking to me about recently is the importance of understanding that biblical truth. God is a good, good God. His nature is goodness.

Let us encourage one another to remember and declare that truth. God is good.

The Psalm then goes on to encourage the whole nation of Israel, the priests of the house of Aaron and then all those who acknowledge God to declare His great mercy.

“Let Israel now say,“His mercy endures forever.” V2

“Let the house of Aaron now say,“His mercy endures forever.” V3

“Let those who fear the Lord now say,“His mercy endures forever.” V4

I feel prompted to encourage those reading my blog today to join in this declaration:

Let those reading this blog now say “His mercy endures forever”.

Amen

Thanksgiving Thursday UKCB Group Blog

O GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, FOR HE IS GOOD; FOR HIS LOVINGKINDNESS IS EVERLASTING.

1 Chronicles 16:34 (NASB)

Today brings you to a group post produced by UK Christian Bloggers on the subject of thanksgiving. When we think of thanksgiving we automatically think of the annual holiday celebrations that take place in the USA, which remembers the first Thanksgiving in 1621 by the early pilgrims. It was a harvest thanksgiving thanking God for His provisions for their community. The fact that Thanksgiving is originally men thanking the Almighty should be a universal theme, practiced by people of all countries and races. So here today are some British thoughts on thanking our God.

   Nicola Reeve

“Muchos Gracias” “Grazie Mille” “Obrigado” “Merci” “Danke”.

Wherever you travel in the world, learning to say “thank you” in the native language is one of the most important words to learn.  I’ve been to the Spanish Island of Lanzarote this week and my Spanish is very limited but I soon learnt that a “Gracias” goes a long way. People really appreciated it. In some languages I have discovered that there are in fact many different words to express thanks and also different types of thanks depending on the situation.   We may only learn one expression of thanks in a language but a grateful heart to God and others can and does express itself in many different ways. Some ways we don’t all understand or recognise but God does. It’s not just the words of thanks that we speak with our mouths but the language of our hearts. A grateful heart. Thanksgiving is a varied language of love which I believe is only fully awakened by a true revelation of who and how good God is. The eyes of our hearts are opened and we are taught a new language which expresses itself in us and through our actions. God is a good, good God and a good Father who has given us, in and through Jesus everything for true life.  The knowledge and truth of who God is transforms us by the power of the Holy Spirit. My words may sometimes be inadequate but I hope my heart sings thank you Lord. 

Andy Berry

I was working away on a video that needed editing, although this wasn’t one destined to be used by our own ministry, but another ministry that I regularly help out. And the computer I was using was a direct gift from an anonymous supporter of our ministry – the BerryBunch.family. God is good; that one gift blesses many!

‘Feeling’ thankful is a great feeling, but ‘being’ thankful is much more sustaining and requires action – because we should always be in a perpetual state of expecting to be thankful at the goodness of God!

It’s really easy to think of being thankful in relation to what we get from something/someone. Ultimately, though, our thankfulness is more than just being glad of something happening, or not. Because the sort of thankfulness we should be experiencing needs to be rooted in our actions, and our demeanour towards life and, more importantly, towards God.

Dean

Lord I’m grateful for your promises and all you’ve done for me. You’re the way the truth the life and through your son you’ve set us free. From my lips I utter praise and I will share my testimony; the name of Jesus shall be raised as I pray for rest for many. Lord I’m grateful for your kindness and the love that you’ve shown. I thank you for my family and a place I can call home, I thank you for your comfort in those times I feel alone. You gave a heart of flesh and removed my heart of stone, Lord I’m grateful for the cross and my future that’s secured. I pray that multitudes will come to know You precious Lord,  I give you all my praise and pray you open heavens door. Pour your Holy Spirit out upon the world and save us all, Amen.

Andy Brown

Gratitude is an attitude. This is something I tell my children often! It is one thing to say the words, but quite another to demonstrate thanksgiving with words and actions. For example, I give my daughter a gift and she says, “Thank you.” But then tosses it  aside without opening it, then I know for sure she is not grateful for it.

Colossians 3:17 says: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

It is easy to do things with a grumbling attitude. We do it, whatever it may be, making sure those around us know we aren’t joyful about it. That is not how we ought to conduct ourselves. Instead, we are to do all things as if God had asked us to do them Himself – and to do so “giving thanks.”

The command to “give thanks” is an ongoing one – not “give” but “giving…” We thank God, and keep on thanking Him. We give and keep on giving, heaping gratitude on gratitude. There is no shortage of things to thank the Lord for, and the well of thankfulness should never run dry.

Thanksgiving may be only a single day, but let the Christian live a life of thanksgiving.

Alan Kearns

When I reflect on the history of traditions I am saddened by how over time men have changed them; sadly Thanksgiving is no different in this respect. It primarily was God fearing men and women thanking the Almighty for His many provisions and blessings. Sadly nowadays such a celebration of our God is frowned upon and maybe even mocked in this woke world; it would be deemed offensive to many. As children of His Kingdom we are called to heed and live out His Word; we have a choice to either be mocked by men or be judged by God – I personally prefer the temporary discomfort in this world so I can praise God in Heaven! Thus each Thanksgiving my Father God is the only focus of all my thanks; be it in speech, song or in prayer. After all such festivals are great opportunities to share His Good News of Salvation!

Mandy

Lord God, we pause to give You thanks and praise this Thanksgiving. Lord God, even in the midst of the darkness and chaos that surrounds us, may Your people never cease to marvel at the blessings that You have given to us. Lord God, remind us that we are to bless others, because You have blessed us. Thank You and praise You Lord for our salvation that we have by grace, through faith, in Christ alone. Lord God, may we feast and crave Your Word more than our Thanksgiving meal and leftovers. Thank You Lord that in Christ filled, yet wired to long and desire You more. Thank You Holy Trinity for the gift of community. Praise You Lord for those whom You allow to journey with us. Lord God, thank You for this reader. May this reader grow closer to You this Thanksgiving. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.

Action Stations!

It’s good isn’t it to reflect and bring things to remembrance. If you are anything like me I tend to forget things quite quickly (especially these days).

One of the benefits of writing a blog is that you do get the opportunity to review previous posts and be reminded of things the Lord has inspired from His word or spoken to you in your quiet times of prayer. I did that today.

The motto of the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared”. I thought of that motto when this post about Action Stations came to mind. I wrote it at the beginning of this year 2022 (as you will note from the initial greeting). See below:

As I have been praying today and asking the Lord about the coming New Year, these are the words that I heard in my spirit – Action Stations!

Action Stations – it’s the command that is used to tell everyone to get ready immediately to do the particular jobs that they have been given to do. Ready for Action.

Everyone has an assigned role and is prepared, ready, confident to play their part and equipped ready for action.

Committed to the common cause at hand once the signal for action is given. Everyone ready to do their part when called upon to act or when they see the need to act. Soldiers ready to go into battle. Sound familiar.

So I believe that is what the Lord wants me to hear today – Get ready Nicola – Action Stations. I also believe that is what the Lord wants us to hear today – Get ready my children – Action Stations.

As I listened to what the Lord was speaking to my heart today – I wrote down the following. Please read, pray and test and hold onto the good and Godly and discard whatever does not sit well with you. This is what I heard.

My Children have been in a season of preparation but now it is the time to take Action Stations. To be in position, prepared and ready to move on My command and in My timing.

This is the time to listen carefully and act on My Rhema Word that I decree. As I spoke to the churches in Revelation so will My Holy Word come through the Spirit of God to bring direction and clear guidance to My people.

This is the time to be equipped and ready My children so that you are not deceived and led astray by the evil one. His days are short as he knows and he will try to deceive, distract and cause you to stumble but My power, My anointing will be on you so that you will overcome by the power of your testimony and that you will lay down to surrender all to Me. Fully surrendered and prepared. Rooted in Me, Rooted in My Word and nourished and fed by My Holy Word, My Bread – the bread of life.

You will hear me very clearly My children. Those who are prepared for action will spring into action – They are ready.

Those of you who are not ready – hearken to My voice. Be ready. For you know not what hour the Master will come so be prepared for action. Be ready when I send you out to do all that I have for you to do.

Know the day of Action is just ahead – you will be called to Action. None who have My name upon them will be left out or overlooked. All will hear the call to Action. The trumpet will sound and all will hear who bear My name.

Take up your Action Station and Be ready to respond to Me. Amen.

The Lord then brought these bible verses to mind:

Matthew 25:13 “Watch, therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming”.

Revelation 3 2-3: “Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard, hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch I will come upon you as a thief and you will not know what hour I will come upon you”.

Jude 1:24 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy”

Isaiah 55:2 “Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good and let your soul delight itself in abundance”.

Blessings to you in Jesus name.

Action stations | Definitions & Meanings That Nobody Will Tell You.

Praying from a place of pain

Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also….. Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church”. Acts 12

Here we read that the early church believers are being persecuted. Life is being made extremely difficult for them because of their faith in Jesus and now James one of the Apostles and the brother of John has been killed. This must have been such a distressing and painful time for the church.

We know from reading the book of Acts that the early church gave themselves to prayer and worship daily. They met regularly together, lived together, worshipped together and prayed together. I believe that they would have been seeking God and praying about the things which Herod was doing and would have certainly prayed for James.

Then James is killed leaving the believers in a painful place of sorrow and mourning, perhaps some were in disappointment, confusion and hurt. Then more sorrow comes as Peter is then seized and Herod’s clear intention is to kill Peter too.

The encouragement to us from these verses is that the believers do not give up on prayer in these terrible circumstances. They continue to put their trust in God. They do not let the sorrow, pain and grief of James’ death stop them praying to God for Peter who was in the same situation as James. They faithfully keep praying. They keep trusting and believing.

Have you encountered times when you are in pain, life is hard and bad things are happening to you and those you love. It can seem as though God isn’t listening or speaking and hasn’t answered our prayers. We don’t understand why. We can let the disappointment of that start to influence our understanding of God and our faith in Him. Doubts can creep in and before we know it our hearts become hardened by unbelief and we start to question God’s character, His faithfulness, His goodness and even His love for us.

Perhaps if I was in the early church at that time, my disappointment and doubts would have got in the way of praying for Peter. I might have said..what’s the point praying for Peter. James has been killed. Peter will too. Peter is in prison and guarded by so many soldiers. It’s impossible. But, if the early church had not faithfully prayed then they would not have seen God’s answer to prayer and Peter’s miraculous deliverance from prison by the Angel sent from God.

These verses will and should challenge us. Did God love Peter more than James and that was why God answered and delivered Peter but not James. Did the Church pray with more faith for Peter. I would say certainly not. The bible teaches us that God is not partial. God has no favourites. God loves His children. God is sovereign and knows our end from our beginning. God allowed His own son to suffer and die for the sake of humanity so that whoever believed on Jesus would not die in sin but have redemption and eternal life. God knows the eternal plan that He has for each one of us. We see with a limited perspective and our “here and now” experiences can hinder and warp our view of God as revealed in His Word. We don’t have all the answers but God does.

The encouragement from our preacher at church today was to look up. Look up to God and heaven and not our circumstances and earthly distractions. I am encouraged by Peter as we read on further in this story from Acts. When the Angel comes to rescue Peter it says that Peter was sleeping between the guards in his chains. The Angel had to wake him up.

This was the night before Herod was going to kill him. The threat was very real as James had just been killed. James and Peter had known each other as fishermen before they became disciples and followers of Jesus. James was one of the disciples who was close to Jesus with Peter and his brother John. James was with Peter and John when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain and when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead. If James has been killed then Peter must have realised that he was very much in danger too of being killed.

How could Peter sleep in such circumstances. I believe Peter had the peace of God in his heart that passes all understanding and he was looking up to heaven. He had an eternal perspective. He trusted that God’s Will would be done and God’s Kingdom established. He knew his end destination. The place that Jesus had already told him was prepared for him. A place with Jesus in Gods Kingdom forever.

Be blessed today my dear friends and encouraged. Do not give up. Keep looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Keep the faith. Keep a soft heart towards God. Trust in the goodness, abounding love and faithfulness of God. God sees you.

Praying for others..

Recently, the Lord has encouraged me to pray this prayer, which is in Colossians chapter One verses 9-14. The Word of God is powerful and if you are interceding for others then this prayer could be a good starting point for you too.

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Amen

May God make His face to shine upon you today and grant you His favour. Bless you.

Do not be afraid of the dark..

I felt prompted to re-post this today about the darkness. I pray the Lord will speak to your heart. Be encouraged and God bless you my friends.

We don’t often as Christians talk much about darkness and the nighttime but recently I’ve been thinking about darkness in a new light 😊 excuse the pun but I couldn’t resist it x

When I was a child I was, probably like most children, frightened of the dark and the nighttime. I used to let my imagination run wild about things that were living in that dark time of night. I would hide myself under my bed clothes and make myself invisible. I was hidden so in my childish thinking if I couldn’t see anything then nothing could see me.

The bible encourages us to put away childish thinking and so I’ve been trying to understand darkness/nighttime from God’s viewpoint and think differently about it. It started with a prayer vigil that we held recently from midnight until 3 a.m. In preparing for that I discovered that the bible teaches us a lot about darkness and especially the midnight hour.

First off, I am reminded from Genesis Chapter 1 that God created the day and the night. If God created it then it is his and just as the sun, moon and stars belong to Him then so does the night – it belongs to God. The darkness and the night belong to God and not the enemy.

It seems to me that the enemy has exploited our fear and twisted our thinking about the hours of dark and the nighttime. I have heard it called the “witching hour” and the enemy has used this time to his advantage and for his wicked purposes for far too long but he doesn’t have control of the night. God does. It belongs to God and as children of God and light it can belong to us as our inheritance in Christ.

I believe it’s time for us as believers in Christ to rise up and to reclaim the darkness and the night times.

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
Isaiah 60:1-3

The bible teaches us that God does great and miraculous things in the night and especially in the midnight hour. God is working in those hours of darkness on our behalf and bringing freedom and deliverance to His people in the night time. He answers prayers in the night. He brings us dreams and revelation in the night.

Here are just a few examples of the amazing and miraculous things which I am reminded of which God has done in the night:

1. At midnight the angel of the Lord went through Egypt and God led the Israelites out of hundreds of years of captivity into freedom just after the midnight hour;

2. God sent an angel to free Paul and Silas from the prison at midnight. Salvation then came to the jailor and his family;

3. God also sent an angel at night to free Peter from the prison as the guards slept and whilst the believers were gathered to pray for him;

3. God made His covenant with Abraham at night;

4. God showed Jacob in a dream the angels ascending and descending to the earth from heaven and also wrestled with Jacob in the night;

5. God gave Daniel revelation in dreams;

6. God gave Pharaoh a dream which enabled Joseph to prepare for a famine.

These are just a few amazing stories of God working at night to bring freedom and salvation to His people.

I am also reminded of the greatest story ever told. When Jesus was dying on the cross and just before he died as part of God’s amazing plan for our salvation and redemption, God caused there to be darkness over the land for 3 hours from noon until 3 in the afternoon. Jesus then died.

Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb, in a place of darkness, but a miracle was taking place during that time and on the third day His glorious resurrection took place.

Jesus the true Light of the world was then revealed and He had triumphed over death and hell and Satan.

Day always follows the night and light always breaks into the darkness.

Miracles can still take place in the darkest of times. God can be working for you and answering your prayer in this place of darkness that you may find yourself in right now.

Please do not give up hope. He is working on your behalf. He is working in our darkness.

Do not be afraid of the dark..God is there with you.

Blessings to you all this day and night in Jesus precious name.

Thanks to Andy Holmes @andyjh07 for making this photo of the beautiful night sky available freely on Unsplash 🎁