Mountains..

Morning fellow bloggers. I am away walking this weekend in one of my favourite places, Wales. Hold on, I hear you say – weren’t you gallivanting (I love that word) off last weekend as well. Yes is the answer. Two weekends in a row. How blessed. The truth is I’ve been rather over working the last month. Work has been so busy and we have been understaffed so it’s been a lot of pressure. A wise friend told me I needed to take a day off work and rest so I am taking her advice. My husband has then been great organising me.

I don’t know about you but I’m terrible at reading the signs of my own fatigue and stress or I tend to ignore it and carry on. However, recently, I felt like a bit of rubber band/elastic that had been stretched so far at work that I had no more left to give. That’s a definite sign you need a break. No wonder God tells us to rest. We need it.

Anyway enough babbling, I have scheduled some of my favourite posts about Mountains, Rivers etc. for this weekend which I hope you enjoy. Blessings in Jesus.

I was having a look back in my journal today and noticed that earlier this year I had made a few scribbled notes about mountains. As I read my notes again, I realised that this year I have certainly and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, encountered some “mountains” in my life. Mountains I didn’t even know existed especially pre COVID 19!

I’ve realised that sometimes these mountains just have to be conquered. It would be much easier to ignore them and pretend they don’t exist, to try and find another easier way around them (my preference usually if I’m honest) but if we are to make progress in life then I have learnt that they have to be tackled.

These mountains, and they certainly come in all different shapes and sizes and may be different for each of us, have to be climbed and overcome. These are the experiences that God uses to teach us. We persevere and as we do so we encounter the love and faithfulness of God who walks with us each step of the way. He strengthens us and equips us.

The satisfaction we get when we eventually stand on the top, that sense of achievement knowing that we can do it ….when we see life from a different perspective is awesome. We see things we couldn’t see on the way up…hidden things become revealed. We get new perspective.

It can be done. Nothing is impossible with God

Some mountains of opposition are intended to be crushed under our feet. Strongholds that need to be brought down and demolished through the authority of Christ Jesus and the Word of God. We crucify our flesh and walk in the Spirit. We take captive thoughts and imaginations and submit them to Christ.

Who are you , oh great mountain, before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain”. Ezekiel 4:7

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”. 2 Cor 10:4

Strongholds can be demolished

Some mountains are to be moved in faith…Jesus said to them. “If you have faith as a mustard seed you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move, and nothing will be impossible” Some mountains in our lives which are blocking us need to be be moved out of the way by faith. Mountains of insecurity, doubt, anxiety, inferiority…choosing instead to believe what the bible says and not what I think or what others say about me.

Other mountains we can leap on and over like a deer as the Lord fills us with His joy. It is amazing that we can experience the joy of the Lord despite the realities of our current difficulties and circumstances. We don’t deny those difficulties but we can rise above them as we praise Him and as we dance with the knowledge of the joy of our salvation. We can jump with joy on the mountains.

The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deers feet ..and He will make me walk on the high hills”. Habakkuk 3:

James 1:2. “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience but let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.”

God is there on the mountains. God met Moses on the mountain. He meets us in our circumstances too. God came down but Moses also had to choose to go up. It was a fearful sight to behold and the mountain trembled, there was smoke and fire. It required boldness and faith to approach the mountain of God.

Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire…..Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.”

Moses did not let fear hold him back. He overcame any fear of approaching the mountain of God’s presence. Do not let fear hold you back either. The Lord says do not fear because the truth is as the bible says that we have not come to the mountain that cannot be touched. In Jesus Christ we can have confidence that we can boldly approach God’s throne of grace for help in times of need. Jesus has made the way and prepared the way for us.

There is good news we can still receive in every mountain of our life. For every difficult situation we have the word of God to comfort us, guide us, encourage us, lift us and remind us of the hope we have in Jesus our Saviour.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of Him who bring good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings, who proclaims salvation,”. Isaiah 52:7

What is the mountain you are facing today dear reader? Be encouraged it will not defeat you.

Behold, I will make you into a new threshing sledge with sharp teeth. You shall thresh the mountains and beat them small and make hills like chaff. You shall winnow them, the wind shall carry them away and the whirlwind shall scatter them, you shall rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel

Blessings to you in Jesus.

The Grand day out

Morning friends. Friday is here and we are nearly at the weekend. I will share a little secret with you today. My husband (the romantic soul he is) is taking me out for the day on Saturday. A whole day. Just himself and I. No dog, no daughters – just the two of us.

He has planned a trip to Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare. Stratford is a beautiful place on the river and I love it. The historic buildings, the theatre, the winding streets, museums, shops, pubs, cafes, tourists, street performers. Its a great place.

As a special treat for me he has booked tickets see the play – Much Ado About Nothing. You see I love a bit of a Shakespeare. I studied Shakespeare and have read and watched lots of the plays. This is one of the comedies, but a modern interpretation so I’m really looking forward to it.

Theatre at Stratford viewed from the River

Anyway, I digress. My trip has reminded me of the inspiration for one of my previous posts called the Truth will always out which was inspired by Lady Macbeth. I hope you enjoy it again.

Matthew 5 v 8. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.

There is a very dramatic scene in Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth” when Lady Macbeth is observed at night sleep walking and “washing” her hands over and over in an attempt to clean them from the “blood” which only she can see on her hands.      She keeps repeating over and over “out damned spot out” but no matter how often she cleans her hands it has no effect.    The “blood” is still there and she knows it. 

Those watching her sleep walking think she has gone mad because they cannot see any blood on her hands. As far as they know she hasn’t murdered anyone or spilled blood– her hands are to all intents and purposes clean.

Her unconscious actions though whilst asleep however betray the truth.

Lady Macbeth was to all intents and purposes a murderer. She had persuaded her husband to murder the King and now she was suffering from guilt and revealing through her actions what had previously been hidden in her heart.      Her heart was certainly not pure as it was full of murderous thoughts, jealousy and scheming ambition.   Consequently, her apparently clean hands were not really clean at all. 

She was the ultimate hypocrite whose heart betrayed her.  

The story of Lady Macbeth is rather an extreme example but I hope it might makes us stop and think and consider our own hearts and what motivates us.   We can all put on a good show (myself included) but impurity in our thoughts and character will eventually come out no matter how much we might try to hide or pretend it’s not there.  

Jesus taught his disciples that it wasn’t enough to just observe the religious rituals of the day because it was the evil thoughts which came out of their hearts which actually defiled them and shaped their actions. 

Jesus had a lot to say about hypocrisy and wasn’t shy to challenge the religious people of the day.  

I believe Jesus issues the same challenges to us, His followers, today.

Jesus didn’t mince His words.   He called the Pharisees “whitewashed” tombs and accused them of being too concerned with appearing holy to others but actually inside they were full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.     

The religious leaders of the day were so meticulous in enforcing, and on the face of it obeying all the laws and traditions, but in practice they were not living out a pure life but were full of “extortion and self-indulgence”.   The outside of the cup may have been clean but not the inside.

Matthew 5 v 8. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. 

These words of Jesus show us that it must be possible to become pure in heart otherwise Jesus would be lying.  I believe that Jesus is truth so this statement would on that principle be true.    

The bible teaches us that we cannot be pure through our own efforts – it is impossible.  

The Old Testament points us to the need for a Saviour.    I believe that Jesus is that Saviour who makes this possible. Jesus is the only one who can make us clean from sin by His sacrifice on the Cross and His blood shed for us to cleanse us from sin. 

The apostle Paul teaches us that “Jesus loved the church and gave himself for her that he might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of the Word in order to present her as a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that she should be holy and without blemish” i.e. pure.

Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross ensures that we can daily come and take hold of His blood to cleanse and purify us.   However, we must not treat his sacrifice with contempt and pay lip service when we are convicted of sin.      True repentance means turning away from sin. Changing our behavior. Replacing the old wrong behaviors and thoughts with the right and Godly ones.

I believe in the biblical promise that one day when we die in faith we will then be with and see God.    To be absent from the body as Paul put it and present with the Lord.    However, I think that Jesus’ promise that we will see God can be evidenced in our behavior in our everyday lives.  

When we are hypocritical and our actions do not mirror what we say we believe or what God requires of us in his Word then we do not “see” God at work in our lives or in the lives of others around us.  

However, when we submit ourselves to God and allow Him to work in us and to change us by the power of the Holy Spirit, then I believe we “see” God at work in the changes we experience in our character and motives.     We become more Christ like in our attitudes and so we see God’s character reflected in us and our actions to others.   

I know for myself and I am sure that others can testify to the changes that have taken place in them since becoming Christians.   Some of the immediate changes in my behavior were more obvious and noticeable (my lifestyle changed dramatically when I came back to the Lord) and I think it can be the same for a lot of people.   The lifestyle changes are usually the first to be seen. 

However, some changes in character and behavior are a deeper work of the Holy Spirit especially if we are “blind” or don’t want to acknowledge those character flaws within us. This is when the Word of God and applying the Word is so important as we can use the Word to hold ourselves to account.

1 Peter 2 says Lay aside all hypocrisy –desire the pure milk of the word that you may grow thereby and Romans 12: “Let love be without hypocrisy”.

True Christian love in our hearts will show itself through our actions.

These are certainly the days for action.

We are in a new day of opportunity in how we live out our Christian faith daily- the old pattern & structure of church attendance is not the same any more. We are not pew fillers and were never just meant to be “Sunday believers”. I believe we are now less “building focused” and more “body of Christ” focused.

It is difficult to acknowledge that our hearts might not be right before God and to humble ourselves. 

I am not perfect by any means and some days the thoughts and motives of my heart are anything but pure. I would be lying if I said otherwise, but I love the fact that God’s grace is at work in my life. I take confidence from the fact that “He who has begun a good work in me will complete it” Phil 1:6.

There is an encouraging prayer in the Psalms – Psalm 51 –A prayer of repentance which can help us. 

David acknowledged that he needed to be cleansed from his sins and that God “desires truth in the inward parts”. David certainly knew what he was talking about – the sinful desires of his heart had also led him to contrive a murder (rather like our fictional Lady Macbeth) which he then tried to cover up but God revealed the truth through his prophet, Nathan. David was truly repentant and experienced God’s redeeming love.

Can I encourage us all that our prayer to God this week is “Create in me a clean heart O’ God”.

#Testimony Tuesday- shout out to Sunday School Teachers and Youth Workers

I hope today’s testimony will encourage all the Sunday School and Youth Workers out there who have faithfully served your churches and communities over the years.

I recently sent an email to Alan Kearns from Devotional Treasures because he mentioned in a post that he attended Glenrothes Baptist Church in Fife. Now I live hundreds of miles away in the West Midlands in England and I’ve never met Alan. We connected on WordPress but the church Alan mentioned was familiar to me. Coincidence….I don’t think so. God has a way of connecting believers together over miles and years.

Glenrothes Baptist Church was the first Sunday School that I ever attended when my family lived for a time in Scotland.

I still have the little bible given to me on 25 January 1976 by the Glenrothes Baptist Church Sunday School. It has travelled with me and was the first Bible ever given to me. I wouldn’t part with it as I gave my life to Jesus in that summer of 1976. I was 9 years old.

That gift of a bible was a seed and I’m very grateful for it. I’m not sure if the fellowship at Glenrothes is the same now but I thank the Lord for the ministry of believers in Glenrothes. God knows the other seeds which have been sown by them in good soil and produced fruit for the Kingdom and by other faithful Sunday School Teachers and Youth Workers. Young people have receptive hearts and your labours are not in vain.

My bible is very battered now as you can see and it has been stuck together with sellotape. It is very old though now.

So I just want to thank all the wonderful people who serve as youth leaders and Sunday School Teachers. The seeds you have sown over the years have not been wasted. I am sure that there are lots of believers just like me who had the first foundations of faith in Jesus laid at Sunday School. I’m forever grateful. Thank you.

A Privileged People (Pt Two)

Yesterday’s post A Privileged People (Pt One) was about the Privileges we enjoy as followers of Jesus Christ. Today’s post is a reminder that with such Privilege comes responsibility.

We have responsibilities in our daily walk with Christ in how we behave and how we represent Jesus. A disciple is someone who is learning to be like the Master. We are encouraging each other as believers to be more Christ like every day. We are called to be Salt and Light to the world and to walk worthy of our calling in Christ. Christ is calling us to walk in righteousness and holiness and to obey His commands. It is a lifestyle that requires sacrifice and for many it means to endure persecution but the bible tells us that there is no better life.

We are not perfect people though. We know that. We struggle and all make mistakes and the Lord understands that. He is merciful and gracious, but we should not behave as presumptuous people. Grace is not a licence to continually sin and live as we like. That is abusing God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice for us. God knows if we are genuine in our repentance, our faith or just paying lip service. The Word of God will judge our hearts and motives.

The good news is that Jesus can empathise with our struggles and weaknesses and help us through the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin in our lives. Jesus intercedes for us continually before Gods throne. Jesus has given us all the ability in him through the power of the Holy Spirit to live righteously. We are fully equipped. The Word teaches us that through Jesus we have the power to overcome sin in our lives.

Paul stated the truth and consequences if we treat Christ’s sacrifice with disrespect and contempt in these bible verses.

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:26-31

There is a story in the bible about a presumptuous man who did not treat God’s holiness and commands with respect.

He was a contemporary of Moses, also of the tribe of Levites, who dared to presume that he could just become God’s priest like Aaron and offer sacrifices to God and enter into God’s presence. He was called Korah and we read his story in the Old Testament in the book of Numbers in Ch 16. Korah was jealous of Moses and Aaron and wanted what they had.

God had specifically set aside Aaron and his sons from the tribe of Levi to be priests to Him, to minister in the sanctuary and bring the blood offerings and sacrifices for the offering of sin.

The other Levites (Korah included) had been assigned roles to play in ministering to the people and looking after the tabernacle but it was only the priests who could go into the Sanctuary and only the High Priest who could go into the Holy of Holies once a year. The Israelites had to keep making the blood sacrifices to God to cover the sins of the people.

Korah was a man who made a fatal mistake. He presumed that he could come to God his way rather than God’s way. He led others astray with such blasphemy as well. Korah lied to the people and told them everyone was holy and could minister to God and come into God’s presence. God had said no such thing.

Korah was envious and jealous of Moses and Aaron and wanted the prestige of the priestly position. He made the fatal error of presuming that he could do what the priests did and not suffer the consequences. Korah’s heart was full of sin and God knew that. He ignored God’s commands and fell into the trap of presumption – quite literally – God opened the ground and swallowed him up alive because of his rebellion.

The terrible thing was that his rebellion and God’s judgement was not only against him but also his family and those who sided with him. It led to all their deaths.

Don’t be deceived by teachers or people who tell you that as a follower of Jesus you can continue to behave as you like, ignore Jesus’ commands and continue to sin and it will be ok. It won’t. Don’t be led astray by them. Sin has consequences. Jesus is to be the Lord of our lives.

Jesus Christ became a priest unto God for us and established a new covenant. The bible teaches us that we can only come to God through Jesus Christ to be forgiven of sins. Jesus was God who became an offering for us. He was sinless and the perfect offering –blemish free and without spot.

Jesus told us that He is the way, the truth and the life and no-one can come to the Father except through Him.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

We can try (like Korah) to presume to come to God a different way but the Bible says that righteousness and holiness through forgiveness of our sins only comes through faith in Jesus Christ and in His death and resurrection.

Therefore since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” Hebrews Ch 12 v 28

Amen.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Lord our Shepherd

JEHOVAH – ROI (Ra-ah)– God our SHEPHERD.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. Psalm 23:1-3

Psalm 23 is probably one of the most well known and read of the Psalms. David talks about God who is our Shepherd.

David talked from experience. He was a Shepherd himself before becoming a King. He knew what Shepherds had to do daily for the flock to care and protect them.

Our prayer for today.

Lord, your Word says that you are my shepherd. I choose to believe your Word and declare in faith that you are my shepherd . Thank you God that you are Jehovah Roi – My Shepherd. I belong to you and you alone and you are Lord of my life.

Thank you God that you are the one true shepherd who tends, cares and provides for me. Thank you that you make me lie down in green pastures where I can rest and be refreshed in you. Thank you Lord that you lead me every day. Help me to follow in your footsteps and to be obedient to your voice.

Thank you God that you are JEHOVAH JIREH – the God who provides for me and that I shall not want. Lord, your Word declares that you will provide all my needs according to your riches in glory. Help me to see Lord that these are not my wants but my needs.

Thank you Lord that you are JEHOVAH TSIDKENU the God of righteousness who leads me in paths of righteousness. Lord keep me from temptation and sin and keep my feet on the rights paths of your presence.

Thank you God for Jesus who your Word declares is the Good Shepherd who by His death on the cross has opened up the way for me to come before your throne.

I thank you for the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses me and the robes of righteousness which cover me.

God, help me to share the love of Jesus Christ with those who don’t know you so that they can see and know Jesus Christ as their Shepherd. Lord give me compassion for those who don’t know you.

Thank you God for my church leaders who you have put in positions to be shepherds of this flock. God bless them and help them to be good shepherds filled with your wisdom as they love us, lead us and care for us.

Lord, help me to feed on good food – building up myself and strengthening myself in you and your Word.

Lord, renew my appetite and thirst for you because I know that you are the only one who can satisfy. You alone are the bread of life.

God finally, I acknowledge that your Word says “Know that the Lord, He is God. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves. We are His People and the Sheep of His pasture”.

Lord, let me have a true revelation of who you are so that I will not boast in me but in you alone. That I will walk humbly before you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Good Shepherd

Angelic Hosts

We read many stories in the bible about angels and the angelic hosts. Angels are spirits and so we don’t see them in the spiritual realm unless our spiritual eyes are opened or in the physical realm unless they reveal themselves to us.

God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant so that he could see the angelic host which was ready to fight for them as all he could see before that was the enemies’ army which surrounded the city.

And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “ Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17

God is revealed to us in the story of David’s defeat of the giant, Goliath as JEHOVAH SABAOTH“The LORD of HOSTS”.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you”. 1 Samuel 17:45/46

God is the Lord of Hosts. The Lord of the Angel-Armies. God’s angels are mighty and powerful as revealed to us in Scripture. The angelic hosts of Heaven are at God’s and Jesus’ command to do their Will.

When Paul was in the severe storm he encouraged the crew that an Angel of the Lord had stood by him that night and revealed God’s plans.

And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me.” Acts 27:22-25

When the early church was praying earnestly for Peter who was in prison, the Lord sent an Angel to set him free.

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
Acts 12:5-10

Our prayer today:

Lord of Hosts, we thank you that even now your angels are still sent from heaven by you to help us, your children, here on earth. Their help may often be unseen or unrecognised by us but we thank you for those times they have ministered to us and will do again in future. Your word tells us that they are ministers to those who will inherit salvation. That is us who are your children through Christ Jesus our Saviour. Lord we ask to you to send your angels to help those in need today wherever they are and whatever circumstances they are in. Open our eyes Lord that just as Elisha’s servant saw the angelic host, we too will see in the Spirit as you reveal things to us by your will. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen 🙏

Are they (angels) not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation”? Hebrews 1:14

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” Hebrews 13:2

Believe in Him

For all things have a set and appointed time. I have ordained all things says the Lord. I do have the power to change times and seasons as you know from My Word. I gave unto my son Hezekiah an additional 15 years and I stopped the sun for my son, Joshua so that he could win the battle. My children, your times are in My hands. I am the one who has sovereign authority over the ways of man. You can run from My presence but on the appointed day you will stand and then kneel before My throne when your eyes are opened to the truth.

O foolish man who has bewitched you that you cannot see the truth of God from the evidence around you. Why have you believed the fables of men. Who are men that they can even understand a fraction of the great universe and cosmos that I have created. There are greater mysteries and wonders than man can ever fathom. It is not enough for man to thing he is cleverer or superior to all living things. I made him a little lower than the angels but man’s pride, he seeks to loft himself over all. Man is made of dust and to dust he will return.

The ways of God are not the ways of man. How dare man ascribe to God works and things that are not God and not wrought by God’s hand. Those that take My name in vain will be ashamed. Do not ascribe to God the weaknesses and folly of man. No eye has seen nor mind imagined the things that God can do. I alone am Omnipotent. I alone can bring all things to pass. There is on-one like Me either now or to come.

It is out of my great love for you that I have not treated you as you deserve. It is out of my great mercy that I have provided a way of escape from the wrath and judgment which is to come. There will be a time of reckoning and that day is set. It will not be changed. All will happen in the fulness of time as I have shown in My Word and revealed to my servants the prophets.

The Lord has shown us His great love and mercy in that whilst we were still sinners and alienated from God, Jesus died for us. Jesus has reconciled us to God through His death and resurrection. He has saved us from the judgment to come and the wrath of God.

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon
.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts
.” Isaiah 55: 7-9

The Lord is my banner

The Winter Olympic Athletes are in action at the moment and you can easily identify each nation competing by their national flags. The competitors and their supporters wave their flags proudly as they represent and support their nations. The winners wrap themselves in their national flag and wave them aloft. At the medal ceremonies, whilst the national anthems are played, the flags of the winners are raised up high for everyone to see. The highest flag denoting the champion.

Yahweh Nissi means “The Lord is my Banner“.

This name for God was first used by Moses after the victory over the Amalekites in battle. We read the story of the battle in Exodus chapter 17 verses 8-16. The Israelites only defeated the Amalekites because the Lord God was on their side. God was the one who gave them the victory over their enemies. When Moses raised up the rod of God high then the Israelites prevailed but when the rod dropped the Amalekites started to win the battle.

In ancient times when troops went out to battle they carried these large banners which were like flags on poles with them. The banners would be lifted up high so that everyone could see them. The banners were a signal to the troops. The symbol or coat of arms of the King or the noble that the men were fighting for was designed and displayed on the banner. The troops would gather under their banners ready for their orders. There would be many banners flying across the battlefields as a sign of strength of numbers. They would strike fear into the enemy.

Moses declared that the Lord God, YAHWEH himself was the banner over the Israelites They rallied to His call. It was in the Lord’s name that they fought against their enemies. The reputation of the Lord went ahead of the people – God had defeated the Egyptians and now He had defeated the Amalekites.

As followers of Jesus we are assured of victory over sin and death through belief in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ who by his death and resurrection defeated the power of satan over us. Jesus has defeated our enemies. He is victorious. Colossians 2:13-15

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the [i]handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

When the Israelites camped in the wilderness they arranged their tents according to their tribe and their family. Each family had a banner that they displayed to identify them.

We now belong to the family of God. We are adopted into His family. The banner we hold high is that of the Lord’s name which is now over us. We are part of the family of God. We identify with God. We identify with each other – we are of the same tribe and family. We are on God’s side and He is on our side. We are on each other’s side.

We are assured of God’s love as His banner over us is Love. Song of Songs 2:4

Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
    and let his banner over me be love

It was prophesied that Jesus would also be a banner for us – Isaiah 11:10:

And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”

Take encouragement today that the Lord’s banner is over you. God has raised his banner over you. It is displayed boldly for the enemy to see.

So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him
.”

So how can this revelation help and guide our prayers. Firstly, we can thank God that we are part of His family and His name is a banner over us and a strong tower for our protection. We thank God for His love and protection. We acknowledge that the battle belongs to God. God is all powerful, mighty and is undefeated. We take our stand under God’s banner as we rebuke our enemy, satan. We thank God and acknowledge Jesus Christ’s victory over satan at the Cross and over sin and death. Jesus took the keys of death and hell from Satan. We are victorious in Jesus. Christ is our champion. We rebuke a defeated enemy.

We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God We will set up our banners! May the Lord fulfil all your petitions “ Psalm 20:5

On a number of occasions when we have prayed around our local area, we have taken a flag with us as the Holy Spirit has prompted us. One time we were prompted to take a red flag which I believe was for a reminder and declaration of the blood of Jesus which is powerful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and sin. There is power in the blood of Jesus. Do I understand fully each time the Lord prompts me by the Holy Spirit to do this in prayer – no but in faith and obedience I do it. I believe it is a public declaration to the powers of darkness that we believe in Jesus who has saved and delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of God. Jesus is powerful and mighty to save. Amen

Since yesterday, Brother Alan drew my attention to the banners and flags of the Salvation Army. I have updated my post to include a picture of some of their flags.

Their website says “The crimson colour of the flag represents atonement, and the blue, God’s chosen emblem of purity. The motto ‘Blood and Fire’ stands for the blood of Christ and the fire of the Holy Spirit”

Blood of Jesus and the Fire of the Holy Spirit. What we all need. Praise God. Amen.

The Promise

Have you been given a promise by God which you are yet to see fulfilled?

Recently, the Lord has been stirring my heart about a promise that He gave me about the place I live. Many years ago, I saw in the Spirit a vision of people falling in the streets crying out to God for salvation. They were overcome with conviction of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit. I saw a river of God’s healing and restoring presence flowing through our town and region.

The bible verses the Lord showed me were from Ezekiel 47 which talks of the river of God flowing from the temple and getting deeper and deeper. These verses particularly spoke to me of the fishermen having full nets. Many people were being saved and healed.

“When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many.
Ezekiel 47:7-10

Over the years I and friends and many others have prayed for our town and area. The Lord is stirring us once again through His Holy Spirit and reminding me of this promise. I have also been really encouraged by posts from fellow Christian bloggers. Their posts about the faithfulness of God and in particular the post about Simeon and Anna. Both had been promised that they would see the Messiah, the Saviour and they did with their own eyes.

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”
Luke 2:25-32”

When the Lord called us out of the fellowship I had been in for 25 years it was a difficult decision but the Holy Spirit had made it clear it was time to move. I went to meet the Pastor of the new fellowship and he asked me about my passion and vision. I told him about this Promise from God.

He listened and then told me to turn over a piece of paper which was face down on the table next to me. I did and on it was written Ezekiel 47: River of God. I was overcome because the Lord was powerfully confirming not just the promise but that I was being led by the Holy Spirit on the next part of the journey to seeing this promise fulfilled. Praise God. The Pastor had a similar vision for this area which had brought him from Turkey to the church (more of which for another post).

What promise is the Lord stirring in your hearts today? Is there a promise you need to actively start praying about and it’s fulfilment? Follow where the Holy Spirit leads you dear friend. Our Lord can do exceedingly more than we could ever imagine by His power and grace.

Blessings.

Testimony Tuesday

Morning all, I’ve been reminded and encouraged from reading recent posts by other Christian Bloggers of the power of our testimonies so I thought today I would join in #TestimonyTuesday. I’m hoping some of the friends I’ve made on WordPress will share their testimonies on #TestimonyTuesday too.

This is my testimony of a time when I was not only physically healed by God, but also a testimony of the Lord preparing me for what happened by giving me a Word of Wisdom in advance. The Providence of God.

My healing happened during an Alpha course and to be entirely honest I wasn’t expecting it. For those who are not familiar with Alpha – it is a course for people wanting to find out more about the Christian faith. It wasn’t a healing service and I wasn’t there specifically for healing but the opportunity arose and I responded. It just so happened that one of the leaders on the course also had a healing ministry.

To set the scene, I had been in a car accident a week or two before the meeting. Our car had been written off and I had whiplash and a crushing injury to my chest from the impact and from the air bag which had been inflated in the accident. I was in pain in my neck and chest and having physio as my movement was restricted.

The amazing thing about the car accident was that the Lord had already given me a word of Wisdom from a friend about what to do in such an accident. It was a head on collision but I had remembered my friend explaining to me (she had recently been involved in a bad car accident) that it was better to hit another car head on (the bonnet is longer and designed to take the impact) rather than swerve and then the other car hits your passenger door and badly injures your passenger. This was exactly the situation I found myself in not long after that conversation. God was already ahead of me and preparing me.

I had been driving home after collecting my daughters from school when another car drove across the road at speed straight in front of us. We couldn’t avoid hitting it but instead of following my natural instinct to swerve, I remembered my friend’s advice and told my children to brace for impact and we hit the other car head on. The impact was very severe but fortunately, the front of the car took the brunt of it. The air bags protected us. Although, we were all injured in the accident it could have been a lot worse. I thank the Lord for His protection.

So as I say, I find myself at this meeting and the leader is talking about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and asking if anyone present needs healing. I put my hand up because I was still experiencing a lot of pain in my neck and chest from the impact. The leader laid hands on me and prayed for Jesus to heal me and for all my bones, ligaments and muscles to come into alignment and be healed.

As he prayed for me, I felt my body change and knew instantly that I had been healed. The best way I can describe the feeling is that it felt like someone was inflating a balloon inside my chest. I felt my chest actually expand and the pain in my chest, neck and shoulder instantly disappeared. Praise God it was wonderful and the first time I physically felt the healing power of Jesus for myself in this way.

Praise God that Jesus is our healer and still heals us today. Thank you Lord.

Name above all Names