The Final Whistle..

Sadly, my time as a volunteer has come to an end. It was incredibly good fun but hard work with very early mornings and late nights. In this short time though of just 9 days, the Lord has shown me things and I have learnt more about myself than I expected. Lots of it good but some not so…I’m a work in progress still in certain areas even after all these years but God is in the business of refining me and that is part of the process. Hallelujah.

We all have strengths and weaknesses and temptations to resist. Our flesh can try and influence our behaviour especially when we are put into new situations with different people, different expectations and with a hierarchy of responsibility and a team of people, all coming together with different backgrounds and skills. It is in these times that our strengths and weaknesses become more keenly felt. I’m so grateful for the leading and conviction of the Holy Spirit which helped me so much during my time as a volunteer interacting with colleagues, athletes and spectators.

I have a lot to process over the next few days and share with you all. I’m excited to start writing again. In the meantime here are a few photos from my time at the #Commonwealth Games 2022 with some of my fellow volunteers.

My friend Liz..a great character as you can see.
Getting ready for the crowds
Our venue Swimming and Diving
A competitor on the 10m diving platform
The end….

The Invite

It’s exciting to receive an invitation especially to a celebration. I have received an invitation recently to attend a party..there is free food, drink, a great venue in Birmingham but it’s only for volunteers of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

The thing is after working 8 shifts (some very early ones), getting home late, travelling, working my day job….I’m tired. I couldn’t really be bothered and started making excuses not to go. It was easy to find the excuses..but then other people started to encourage me to attend. This was a one off event, it would be fun and I’d be with all my fellow volunteers.

Then someone said something which struck me “it’s free..why wouldn’t you go”.

This reminded me of God’s invitation to receive forgiveness and the free gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus’ His son.

It’s a free gift…an invitation ..why wouldn’t it be accepted?

The sad truth is that there are people who do not accept God’s invitation. Jesus knew that people would reject Him and His message. He told a parable about people who were invited to a wedding feast but refused to come – they made lots of different excuses. This is what Jesus says:

‘The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. ‘Then he sent some more servants and said, “Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.” ‘But they paid no attention and went off – one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, ill-treated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. ‘Then he said to his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” Matthew 22:2-10

People will always have the freedom of choice whether to accept God’s invitation or not – that is up to them. We cannot force people to accept Jesus, but we should not give up or be discouraged from issuing the invitation because it gets refused – Jesus isn’t.

Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust from their feet and move on when they and their message was not welcomed at places.

Perhaps we need to shake off some past disappointments and defeatist mind sets and start giving out those invitations again. I know I do.

Sadly, there will come a time when it will be too late to issue the invites – the door will be closed- but we can encourage others to “seek Him while He can be found“. Isaiah 55 v 6.

Who can we invite today to find Jesus?

Sportsmanship….#TestimonyTuesday

One of the stories from the #Commonwealth Games that caught my eye and I wanted to share with you was this one:

In an incredible act of sportsmanship, the Malaysian Badminton coach offers and gives his shoes to the opposing Jamaican Badminton player. The Jamaican’s shoes had been damaged during the match and he would not have been able to continue playing giving automatic victory to his Malaysian opponent.

The Malaysian coach, who is the opposition remember, offers him to try his shoes. They fit and the Jamaican player accepts and is able to continue the match. He eventually goes on to lose the match but keeps the shoes and even wears them in his next doubles match.

What really spoke to me about this story is how it is a testimony for us of God’s love and grace to us in action.

The coach did not have to even offer his shoes, his player would have secured an immediate victory. However, he chose to do so. He freely offered those shoes. That offer had to be accepted by the player to continue with a life line. There was humility on both parts. The coach sat with no shoes and even had to leave with no shoes. The Jamaican kept the shoes..a gift.

It reminded me of these beautiful verses from Romans;

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
Romans 5:8-11

Beautiful. Have you freely offered God’s gift of salvation through faith in Christ Jesus my friend.

Launch Out Again

Morning friends, I want to share this encouragement again from Luke 5 because I believe there are people who may need to hear this today. Bless you.

Some people may feel like they have been toiling hard for the Kingdom of God in their ministry, especially in wanting to see people come to know Jesus, but the breakthrough has not happened yet.

You may feel weary and discouraged but the word today is:

“Launch out into the deep and let your nets down again for a catch”.

If you have put an aspect of your work or ministry for the Lord down, then perhaps the Lord is speaking to you today by His Holy Spirit, as he did to Simon Peter.

Let your nets down where the Lord shows you and directs you and in His timing. At His Word the disciples were obedient.

You may need to step out of your comfort zone as the Lord takes you into different and deeper waters.

The Lord may be leading you to a new fishing ground.

Even though we read the disciples were weary as they had fished all night, they had already cleaned their nets to be put away, Simon Peter showed faith in Jesus and obeyed. He put to sea again.

Peter is saying – despite my experience and what has happened in the past, I am going to do what you say, Jesus. He was immediately obedient.

The result was a miraculous catch of fish.

“When He (Jesus) had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.”
Luke 5:4-7

Influence

Influence…this was a word that the Lord spoke to my heart recently and I have been pondering it.

It’s very important that I recognise what it is that is influencing me. Ideas or emotions that are shaping my thinking or actions. The Lord wants me to be aware of what is influencing me.

Subtle influences conforming and trying to mould me to this world’s culture which may be more influential than I realise.

Influence….whether we admit it or not we are all influenced by something or someone. That someone can also be us….our “old” selves rather than our “new” man in Christ.

So something to consider…..our actions, thoughts, desires, decisions, plans….what is influencing them.

The decisions we make or see others make (which may or may not affect us) they are all influenced.

Some sources of influence are open and transparent but other influences are subtle, manipulative, controlling and coercive. We don’t want to get caught in a trap of those influences.

There are influences which we can discern are clearly for good and then others which would lead us into ungodly things.

It’s interesting to me that there is this social phenomenon of “Influencers”…people given this label who are “Influencers” because of the power of their social media presence and amount of followers. Advertisers flock to their sites.

As I have thought about sources of influence in my life, I have made a note of the following, you may think of others and I’d be interested to hear:

My bible/Jesus and His teachings,The Holy Spirit’s leading

Me/My emotions (good or bad), my experiences, my character

My husband/My parents/family

My friends

Work

My Pastor/His preaching

My fellowship group at church

Bloggers that I follow/connect with

Newspapers/Magazines/Books

Television/Films

Songs/music

Twitter/LinkedIn/Instagram

Alcohol (any amount will “influence” our behaviour)

I’ve written all these down as I thought about them but it may not necessarily be the case (all the time) that those at the top of the list influence me the most or those at the bottom the least.

What weight do I give to these influences in my life. How long do I spend with each one. Which are more reliable.

Test, weigh, prove. In court as a juror you have to weigh the evidence given. An eye witness account from a plausible witness corroborated by one or two others will far outweigh hearsay or second hand testimony. The evidence is tested and weighed through questioning and cross examining. The trustworthiness of the witness tested.

Are we influenced by things taken at face value without testing the source?

Through the media, it seems people can be whipped up into a frenzy of emotion and opinion very quickly and sometimes over seemingly nothing or things subsequently proven to be false or fake news.

Psalm 24 encourages us to swing wide and open the gate and let the King of Glory, Jesus, come in.  

The Gates of the City were historically important places of influence and decision making. The elders gathered at the gates of the city to discuss and make decisions.

The Gates were opened to allow access or shut to refuse entry and for protection and safety of the citizens within.

The Gates were large, strong and often barred and guarded.

We all have gateways of influence in our lives and minds. 

Every day we make decisions to permit or refuse things to operate in our lives and indwell our thoughts whether for good or bad.

Let us guard the gates of influence in our lives.

I want the gates of influence in my life to be opened wide for Jesus Christ’s influence.  Not just a little bit open for Jesus but flung wide open.

Come Lord Jesus come.

To Know Him

The most beautiful moment of my life was accepting Jesus as my Saviour and surrendering my life to Him. Since then discipleship has been a journey of discovery to know Jesus better and more deeply. Jesus came to show us the Father and through faith in Jesus, to enable us to have a relationship with God. It is in that relationship that we become more Christ like as we live out our Christian faith through obedience to God’s Word and Jesus’ teachings.

Accepting Christ is the start of an amazing journey of faith and not the end in itself.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth has come and dwells in us, to lead us and help us in our discipleship journey. The Spirit convicts us of sin and leads in righteousness and truth, to glorify the Son.

We sometimes think as Christians our goal is to evangelise and once someone has made a commitment to Jesus, it’s job done. But that’s just the start.

Jesus asks us to make disciples and not just converts. We are His witnesses of a new life born again into God’s kingdom. Discipleship is to journey with people and requires love and commitment so that we become rooted and grounded in the truth of the gospel. It’s like bringing people into a family. You wouldn’t invite someone to be part of a family and then just ignore them and leave them to it. You show them how to live life as part of the family. What’s expected of each other. Sharing knowledge, wisdom, gifting, there through the highs and lows, joys, sorrows, successes and failures. Encouraging and supportive. Discipline and love. Forgiveness and grace.

We can journey with many different people as believers in Christ. Some journeys are for different seasons. I’ve been discipled by some incredible people and even now the Lord brings people alongside me who help me grow in faith and develop – sometimes in challenging ways. We have to learn sometimes to let some relationships and people go and move on so they can also grow and develop as the Lord leads. Sometimes we have to move on ourselves. We are a body of believers, members of one another. United in Christ.

I love these bible verses:

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23

Amen 🙏

Replenish (2)

Recently, the Lord prompted this word “Replenish” to me. I wrote a post about it which you can access here Replenish. At the time, I thought there was more in this word that the Lord wanted me to understand and I have been thinking about it on and off ever since.

As I have prayed, I have been led firstly to these bible verses in Ephesians 1 which talk about Jesus. As with anything, we must always start with Jesus, our cornerstone. I have included the words in brackets as the verses are at the end of chapter 1 to be clear who the Apostle Paul is talking about. I encourage you to read the whole chapter but these are the verses the Lord drew me to.

And He (God) put all things under His (Jesus’) feet, and gave Him (Jesus) to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him (Jesus) who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:22-23

Paul is setting out in these verses the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ and His authority and His position now. Not just in the future but in our very present.

Firstly, God has put all things under Jesus’ feet. Not some things but all things, not just in the natural physical realm that we live in currently, but also in the heavenly realm. There is not one thing that is not beneath Jesus’ feet. Jesus is supreme over all things and has all things at His command.

God has appointed Jesus and given Jesus to be the Head over His church. Jesus is the one who is and should be the Head of us who are His body. Jesus is not detached from us. He is the Head of us. What a gift to us. Jesus who has supreme authority and power is the one who leads, guides, protects, nourishes, feeds and provides for us.

As we read on it says that we as the body of Christ are intended to be the fullness of Jesus. Paul has explained who Jesus is, His position, authority, power and we, His body, are to be the fullness of Him.

I want to meditate on that thought again. As the body of Christ, we are connected to Jesus who is the fullness of all things. Jesus is not remote from us, disconnected or disinterested. Jesus is our source of all goodness, righteousness, love, Godly wisdom, kindness, hope, joy, long suffering, patience, humility, strength, power. Jesus is connected to us as the Head of us and He fills us.

We are called to be filled with Jesus. This is made possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit who is given freely to us. The Spirit of God is now in us. We are exhorted to be filled with the Holy Spirit as believers and disciples of Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit is to be abundant in our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

Jesus fills all..that is what the Apostle Paul is teaching us. Jesus fills each one of us who is part of His body. Each one of us can be Replenished…filled up to the level that Jesus intends for us, His body. We are to be filled for His glory and His purposes. The intention is for all who are part of Jesus’ body to be filled with Him.

We are intended to be the fullness of Jesus as His body.

What needs replenishing in us today..let us go to the source Jesus and ask Him to replenish us with His fulness.

My prayer today;

Lord, come by your Holy Spirit and fill each one of us who together are your body. May we, your body, be united under you, our Head. Let us be at one in you so that we may be at one with each other. Knit us together Lord in your love. We want to be the fullness of you, who have given us so freely the gift of the Holy Spirit. Fill us again we ask Lord. Fill your body. Replenish us Lord. Let us be the fullness of you in these days for the glory of your Kingdom. Reign in us Lord Jesus. Unite us and breathe upon us breath of God. Amen.

Bless you today.

Sharing is caring..

The story of Jonah in the bible is an amazing story to me. It was an early bible story that I was taught as a child, but at that stage just it’s simple outline- Jonah runs away from God, big storm, he’s thrown overboard, a whale swallows Jonah, after 3 days the whale spits him out, he eventually does what God wanted him to do, preaches to Nineveh, everyone is saved in Nineveh.

Now I’m an adult, I can read and understand some of the deeper messages in the story.

I had always thought that Jonah didn’t obey the Lord’s command to go to Nineveh because he was scared. It was a big assignment. Go and tell a city of people that they are wicked, God’s judgment is coming and they will all be destroyed. Not a happy message. I would have been terrified if I was Jonah that the people would take hold of me and kill me bringing such a message.

The story tells us that the city was very wicked and violent. It had a bad reputation. I’m sure some of us can think of places that we would not want to enter…they call them “no go” areas here and to enter is at your own risk.

However, that wasn’t the reason though that Jonah didn’t want to go. These are Jonah’s words telling us why he did not obey the Lord’s command to go.

He (Jonah) prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord , when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Jonah 4:2

Wow..read that again..that’s a shocker. Jonah didn’t want to go because he knew how merciful God was and that if the people repented then God was so merciful that He would forgive them. That is God’s nature. He is a gracious and merciful God. Jonah wanted the people of Nineveh to pay for their wickedness and be destroyed. They were not deserving of God’s mercy. Jonah wanted judgment.

This is still a challenging message for us today. Deep down I believe there can be a struggle in our flesh about those people who have committed heinous and atrocious crimes. In our humanness we can struggle to accept that such people deserve the grace and mercy of God. How can God forgive such people.? How can God want to forgive such people?

The people of Nineveh believed God’s message from Jonah and they all repented in sackcloth. They proclaimed a fast and turned away from their wickedness and cried out to God for mercy. As Jonah knew, God heard their prayers and saw their hearts and poured out His grace and mercy. He relented of the judgment to destroy them as he had destroyed Soddom & Gomorrah for their sins.

This is the truth of the gospel message that we are called to share with the whole world.

We all need a Saviour for all have sinned before God. Not one of us is righteous even if we try to delude ourselves that we are more deserving of God’s grace and mercy than others. We are not such bad people. The truth is that all our righteousness is filthy rags before God and all of us need the grace and mercy of God.

Let us not withhold the good news of Salvation from anyone for God’s heart is for all humanity to be saved through faith in Jesus who paid the price for all our sins.

That is why it is Outrageous Grace.

Bless you today.

The Doldrums

I read a post yesterday which reminded me of something I had written a while ago, and I felt prompted to share it again today. Perhaps there is someone who needs encouragement this morning that there is always hope to move forward.

This post is for anyone who may be experiencing a feeling that they are stuck in the doldrums at the moment – where they are seeing a lack of activity, movement or progress in their lives- a feeling of being stuck in the same place.   

Do not despair, there is hope for you and breakthrough awaits.  

In some instances, God’s hand has kept you in that place until His perfect timing and He has worked in you and prepared you so that you are ready for the suddenlies – the wind of God’s Spirit will come suddenly and you will see great acceleration and growth.  

There will be a sudden shift.  Some people have been waiting for the wind -God’s wind and a fresh breath of the Spirit of God to propel them forward to where they need to be.  

I pray that such people will be stirred up in hope and experience a fresh impetus to push forward in God and let Him breathe new life again into their vision.

For those who have lost hope and feel stuck in the Doldrums, I pray that such people will experience new zeal (great energy and enthusiasm for something you feel strongly about) which will replace apathy (feeling of not being interested or enthusiastic) and complacency (a feeling of being satisfied with yourself or with a situation so you do not feel any change is necessary) and despair (feeling that all hope lost) which can hinder progress and moving forward. 

I pray that we will reject apathy and complacency, throw off the shroud of apathy and complacency and put on the garment of zeal instead.  

That there will be an exchange of  the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3) for the garment of Praise.

If you find yourself thinking “what is the point” then that could be an indication that you are stuck in the Doldrums.   

Be careful that unbelief and fear has not set in and trapped you.   Unbelief will need to be dealt with in prayer and repentance.

James 5 V 16 – The effective, fervent (very strong feelings about) prayer of a righteous man avails much.   

If this resonates with you then I encourage you to seek God in this season.

Be led by the Holy Spirit into all He has for you. Amen 🙏

 

Jesus the Lamb of God

Heaven’s darling,

All Hail the Lamb; All Hail the Lamb;

He is the darling of heaven;

He is crowned with many crowns;

At His name every knee will bow;

He is all majesty and power;

His eyes are like a flaming torch;

He is TRUTH and LOVE;

On His thigh is written a name only He knows;

He is FAITHFUL and TRUE;

He is our HEALER,

He is our Deliverer;

He is the Refining Fire;

Open your eyes today to see Him;

It is time to anoint our eyes with salve so that we can truly see Him;

Those blinded to the truth do not see Jesus for who He truly is;

He is more than a prophet, He is more than a man;

He is the Son of the living God;

He is God;

He is alive;

We live in times when there are many blind leaders of the blind;

Many follow those who are blind along wrong paths;

Are you blinded to the truth;

Have we become blinded to the truth;

I pray the Holy Spirit will open eyes to the truth today so that we can see Jesus more clearly;

Without Jesus as our saviour we are dead in our sin but He can cleanse us from all sin.

I pray today that you will see and know Jesus in all His glory.

Take hold of Him today and His redeeming Love for you in faith.

Amen