Refreshing Company

“I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition”.
1 Corinthians 16:17-18

These bible verses really inspired me today. Oh how blessed we are to have people like a Stephanus, Fortunatus and Achaicus in our lives and in the body of Christ. People who refresh us.

These type of Christian believers are commended by Paul. They must have been a great source of encouragement and Godly wisdom to the early church.

We all need times of refreshing. One of those ways of refreshing is also through other believers, just as Paul and the Corinthians were refreshed by the visit of these 3 men.

As Paul says, such people deserve recognition.

Can I encourage us all to take some time to think about the people who are the refreshing company in our lives. They make us happy when we see them. They give and impart good things. Positive people.

Let’s thank God for them. They are a blessing.

Let’s also make a point of thanking them. It’s good to let such people know that we value them.

Finally, let’s all try to be the “refreshing” company we enjoy so people are happy to see and hear from us. We can be that source of refreshment to others.

Let’s be “Refreshers”.

Have a blessed day friends.

A Warning Dream-false accusations

Morning all, I want to share a dream which I had last night which I believe was from the Lord following on from yesterday’s post about being prepared.

I saw an armchair in the living room of a house with someone sitting relaxing in the armchair. I did not know the person. It was a high backed chair (a winged back chair they are called I think) with arms. Unusually the chair was placed in the room so it’s back was to the window. It was positioned so that you could not see out of the window. The person in the chair could not see what was happening behind them outside. Suddenly, the house was attacked with large rocks being thrown through the window. Then the attack intensified with more and more rocks being thrown. It was like a machine gun spraying these rocks at the house. I could not see who the attacker or attackers were or were they were positioned.

I believe the house represents a Christian believer or believers. They are relaxed and comfortable and unaware of an imminent attack. This surprise attack will be in the form of false accusations/slanders which are represented by the rocks. These words break the windows of the house and so will cause disruption and damage. It will be a serious and relentless attack against this person or persons shown by the machine gun firing a constant stream of rocks. It will escalate. The word bombardment came to mind.

However, the high backed chair which completely covered the person’s back and the back of their head is significant as it protected them from the attack and the rocks. They were also hidden in the chair (which came all around them) from the view of whoever was outside attacking them. This speaks to me of God’s promises from Psalm 91. We are hidden in Him. I believe the chair represents God in the dream who is confirming His promise that He has us covered and is our refuge, defender and will protect during this onslaught.

In my dream I did not see the person jump out of the chair when the attack happened, run away or retaliate. This I believe is key. Keep your position and your eyes fixed on God and His promises. Do not turn around in this season but keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Remain in God. Rest in Him and trust Him to protect and defend in this season.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Psalm 91:1-16

Bless you my friends,

Taking Stock

Today, I attended for the first time a breakfast meeting with Christians from all over our region of the Black Country in the West Midlands organised by “Love Black Country”. For those who may not be familiar with the Black Country it is an area outside of Birmingham which takes in the four boroughs of Sandwell, Dudley, Wolverhampton & Walsall. I myself live and work in the Dudley borough in the town of Stourbridge.

It is an area with a great industrial heritage, rich in coal, iron and other minerals and many specialisms developed in local industries of glass making, iron & steel works, chain making, leather working etc. A little known fact but the chain for the ship Titanic was made in the Black Country in Netherton and the first steam locomotive to run in America was built right here – it was called the “Stourbridge Lion”.

The area has, like other industrial areas, suffered over the years through various recessions and loss of manufacturing jobs etc. and areas within the boroughs have been and are still classed as deprived. However, as Christians we believe in a God who can bring about transformation. The churches in the boroughs have joined together as a network with a vision for transformation of the area through:

Listening to God. Working Together. Pursuing Transformation.”

Their logo is below and you can access their site here to find out more about them and the vision at https://loveblackcountry.org.uk

The Big Breakfast today was the first opportunity for, what I understand was a smaller than usual group, to meet together since the Covid restrictions were implemented and certainly for me was the largest group of people that I have met with for the last 15 months. It was a great time and I’m glad that my friend encouraged me to go – it was a very early start!! There were Christians from all denominations and sizes of churches represented. A great opportunity to meet other believers – we may have some differences in how we do things but we can still come together in unity with a common purpose to see our borough changed by the love of Jesus.

It was a time to remind ourselves how much has changed for Christian fellowships and believers during this time of Covid. A time to take stock. There has been, because of the enforced changes, great innovations and flexibility in delivering church meetings and fellowship online and the opportunities to use new technologies. We were certainly moved out of our comfort zones big time and for many it was a scary time, unsettling and difficult but there were great things achieved for God’s Kingdom. Today was a chance to hear about the experiences of others and reflect on what has happened during this period and thank God for the good things that the Churches were able to do to show God’s love and help their local communities. When people were looking for help they turned to the churches because there already existed a network of volunteers and programmes in place. Many churches were prepared and could connect with other local organisations to facilitate and provide help where it was needed. On line church services became more accessible to those who would not usually have entered a church building.

It was also a time of reflecting on the sad things which have happened – the losses, deaths, times of grief, isolation and difficulties which people have encountered. The speaker talked about us moving into a season of rebuilding and restoration but just as in the time of Nehemiah, it was important to go out and survey and ascertain the true state of the Church. Take stock of the damage. Nehemiah did exactly this. He went out before he did any rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem to inspect and review their actual condition which had been reported to him but he needed to see it for himself. He also wept over their condition. I thought that was a very wise and thought provoking statement. Before going forward it is important to look and assess our true condition and any damage or hurts sustained in this period which sometimes unless it is obvious to us can only truly be revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. The hidden cracks in the foundations. It is good to have a time of reflection and assessment of the true state of where we are in God whether that is in the corporate sense or individually.

For some years previously, I had received a number of words and encouragements when praying about being in a season where God was wanting us to move out of our comfort zones.  I know that this resonated with a number of people that I regularly pray and fellowship with. There was a sense that as Christians we had become too comfortable whether that was in our fellowships, in our buildings, in our traditions and programmes. God wanted to shake us out of our comfort zones.  Like the mother bird stirring up her nest and pushing her young out – she does it for their own good – they have to learn to fly and leave the nest. As Christians, God is encouraging us to leave our comfort zones – move out of nests- the place we may have made our security and put our trust Him. He truly knows what is best for us and what will enable us to grow and develop in Him and to reach those who need to encounter Him. Covid has brought about an enforced period of change and this is an opportunity which many people have taken hold of to do just that – they have tried new things, new experiences and taken new risks. They have moved and I believe God wants you to keep moving forward, trying new things in Him and not going back to the familiar ways of doing things. It is certainly a time of change which isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Change will bring about transformation.

Have a blessed day in the Lord. Perhaps a day to take stock and reflect.

God Appointments

I was encouraged to write this post by dear brother Alan Kearns’ recent post Evidence for prayer and his prompting to ask for God appointments in our day. I just wanted to cheer when I read it and say…..Yes, Amen. It really does work. I have found it opens the way for God to use me in all types of situations and even in my weaknesses and messes to bless others. God loves people. He really, really does and longs to show His care and compassion.

If you’re reading this thinking I can’t do that. It’s for those Super Spiritual, amazing Christians and that sounds way too scary for me, I won’t know what to say or do…then join the club. I was just like that too but then I realised that there aren’t many of those “super spiritual walking on water Christians” around and anyway this was not about me, it’s all about God wanting to show His love and care to His children and God’s just looking for someone to say “I’m here…little old me, nothing special but I’m available for an appointment God, so please use me and do your work through me”..that was it, my prayer and God brought those appointments along.

God showed me that we can be the answer to someone else’s need by sometimes doing something so simple…..like just holding someone’s hand. This is what happened to me in one of those God Appointments.

I was in our local cafe one afternoon with 2 friends. It was a regular meet up as once a month we would meet for a coffee, chat and prayer. The manager of the cafe was a Christian from another local church and knew us. I went up to order my coffee and he asked if he could introduce me to someone. It was an elderly lady who was a regular customer at the cafe. She had recently been widowed and was lonely. I asked her if she would like to join us at our table and she did.

We chatted for some time and had a lovely time with her. We listened as she talked about her husband and their times together. Towards the end of our chat, I explained that we were Christians and asked her if we could pray for her before we left, She agreed and as we prayed, I felt prompted to take her hand. I asked her if it was ok if I held her hand and she said yes and then started to cry. She explained that the one thing she missed more than anything was holding her husband’s hand. Every time they walked anywhere together they held hands. She told us that as she had walked to town that day, she really missed her husband and had wanted someone to just hold hands with again. That had been the desire of her heart. That just blew me away and we all started crying. God had known exactly what she needed to comfort her and so He set up that appointment for her.

That dear lady wasn’t a Christian when we met but from that first meeting and then subsequent chats around the coffee table, she started to go to her local church and got confirmed. Praise God. From little seeds that are planted it’s amazing what God can do.

Have a blessed day and I hope you feel encouraged to ask God for an appointment for Him today. I’m looking forward to hearing and sharing more testimonies of God at work through these divine appointments.

A simple touch of love

A warning-Avoid the spirit of rebellion

As I was praying recently, I wrote the following word which the Lord Jesus laid on my heart. Please pray, weigh and test this word.

A day of calamity is arising. It will come from the South. The Queen of the South has left a legacy that still has roots in the people. It will start to rise up now; first shoots and then the stalk and then the leaf. It will be like a cancerous weed that will slowly spread and choke the life out of all that is good, kind and righteous in the people. A rebellion will take hold that will spread like a roaring fire. It will be whipped up by the wind of the enemy, spreading its influence to adjoining nations and then overseas.

Then suddenly I will send My angels who will fight the evil enemy behind this uprising and I will quench it and extinguish and then uproot it.

My children must have no part in this rebellion. It will have a pretence of truth, righteousness and justice but it is all a pretence and a sham. A great lie rooted in corruption and evil. It will blow away like the chaff when I breathe the breath of God on it and roar in the face of evil and overcome it by My radiance. I will shine like the sun and dazzle the enemy. He will be blinded and futile and will turn on his own in his confusion. His pride will yet again be his downfall. Let all who have ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit is say to the bride. Do not align yourself with rebellion and wickedness.

Be at peace with those in authority who do no harm to you and leave you in peace. May the Godly have wisdom and discernment and follow the path of truth and justice and not be led astray by evil workers of iniquity.

Not all who call on My name belong to Me. Not all who profess to love Me are mine. Not all who claim to follow Me do so. They are lovers of self, deluded by their own wickedness and pride who long for the praises of man and to be recognised and praised and lauded for their good works, but I will smash them down to the ground and trample them underfoot for they are not of My Kingdom. They are not of Me and I will not have My name polluted and used for things that are not of Me.

Bear fruit worthy of your calling in Me, My children. Do not bear the fruit of iniquity or pride. Let those who have ears listen to what the Spirit is saying to the bride in these days. Be alert, sober and watchful for the days are evil but they will not last, for I am coming to breathe and blast the enemy from My nostrils, as I snort at him who would seek to exalt his throne above that of the Most High God whose throne is in Heaven and who reigns forever and ever. Amen