God is Good – His invitation

“Oh taste and see that the Lord is Good;  Blessed is the man that trusts in Him”  Psalm 34:8 

God’s invitation is open to all to come and taste and see that He is good.    He invites us to come to His banqueting table just as we are and to feast.    The Lord says that it is free to come and to partake of all His goodness.   Jesus has paid the price for us.     Other things in this life will not satisfy us but His love, grace, mercy and goodness are more than enough to satisfy our very souls.     His banner over us is love. 

The truth is that God is good.   Jesus is good.   The Holy Spirit is good.    All good things come from God above and He is good.     We declare that truth today.    Anything which teaches or tells us otherwise is a lie.   The gifts of the Holy Spirit are good.    The fruit of the Holy Spirit is good.    Anything which is not good is not of God.     The fruit which is not good is not of Him.    

I believe that the Lord is saying in this season, Come and see that I am good.   I am a good, good, God.   I give good gifts to my children.   Come and ask of me so that I might pour My gifts into you for the benefit of others.    My Spirit living and breathing through you by the power of My resurrected son, Jesus – the very breath of God.   I bring life and truth.    I am speaking in the season to bring the dry bones to life.   As the prophet spoke to the dry bones so I am sending out My Word amongst My children to proclaim that this is the day of the Lord.  Rejoice and be glad in it.  Speak to the dry places and tell them to become fruitful in the name of the Lord – that there may be rivers of living water that will flow in the deserts.   Speak to the barren places and command them to bring forth fruit.     Whatever fruit has already withered on the vine then let it die,  but I am bringing a refreshing wind says the Lord which will revive those of My children who need refreshing.    Come and taste and see that the Lord is good.   If you will seek Him with all your heart then He will not disappoint you.   Come says the Lord.  Come.   The invitation is there.      If you choose to ignore it then you will not reap the benefits of My presence or My goodness says the Lord.    Oh taste and see that the Lord is Good.   Trust in Him and be blessed as you come in and as you go out.

Isaiah 55 New King James Version (NKJV)

An Invitation to Abundant Life

55 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Why do you [a]spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the [b]wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me [c]void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree,
And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree;
And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

 

Amen.

The Horse Gate

This gate speaks of battles and as Christians we are in a spiritual battle.     We have an enemy, Satan,  who doesn’t want us to mature spiritually and discover the fullness of who we are in Christ.     The enemy will try and discourage you, hinder you and stop you.     He will do what he can to put thoughts into your mind and build strongholds there to frustrate your Christian walk.     He will try and deceive you, tempt you, cause you to be fearful,  to give up because you are weary, frustrated, anxious and being a Christian just seems too difficult.

Let us not give up but let us fight the good fight.    Ephesians 6 says “Finally, my bretheren be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities against powers against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.

Stand therefore having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

God has equipped us through the power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the word and Christ with the ability to stand against and overcome our enemy.   The bible says that when we submit to God, resist the enemy then the promise of God is that “he will flee”.      Jesus said that he overcame the world and so we can too.

The Valley Gate

Nehemiah re-built The Valley Gate.       This is a difficult gate and one that we don’t generally want to go through- the valley experiences which no-one likes.    We would all (myself included) much rather stay on the mountain top and enjoy those experiences with God but I don’t believe that we can stay there forever if we are to grow, mature and move on.

The valley gate can be a necessary part of following our path to achieve what God is preparing us for.   It develops our faith and trust in God and we learn from the experience that God is faithful.    I believe that Jesus had to go through the valley gate when he went from Mt Olives through the Kidron Gate into Garden of Gethsemane and then to the Cross.   He was in agony in the garden but He yielded to God’s will to be done.   Generally, in life we will all go through valley experiences but the encouragement is that we are never alone at those times and we can get through them.   Jesus promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will lead us through the valley – even the valley of death.   The words of Psalm 23 encourages that God is with us and will not forsake us and will comfort us in time of difficulty and pain. 

If you are in a valley situation right now – keep going, don’t give up and ask for God’s help.  Sometimes the valley situations teach us far more than the mountain top experiences and our faith in God grows. God will show you the way through to the other side.  Humility and the valley gate in my experience can sometimes go together hand in hand.   I have had to humble myself under God’s mighty hand before I realise that I can’t handle situations on my own or with my own wisdom or little understanding.    If I submit and surrender to God and acknowledge my dependence on Him then I have felt His peace even in the most difficult of situations.

 

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The Fish Gate

The fish Gate was another gate which Nehemiah rebuilt.  As followers of Christ we are called like the disciples of Jesus to be fishers of men.   We have been given the great commission to go out and make disciples. It is the mandate from Christ to His church.     If however we just put all of our efforts into catching the fish and seeing converts, but don’t disciple them properly afterwards, then we shouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see any growth or maturity.

Discipleship requires service, commitment, love and sacrifice.    In order to walk alongside people,  especially people who are hurting, we can need grace, patience and love in great abundance.   The Holy Spirit can help us to develop the fruit of the Spirit in discipleship and teach us how to disciple others.     We need to know the truth of the gospel ourselves in order that we can help others to mature in Christ and follow Him.    The Christian life can be one of suffering, hardship and persecution because of our faith in Jesus and preparing people for that is a key part of discipleship. 

Are the nets ready for the catch?    If there is to be a great harvest of souls then we need to get ready to disciple them.    If you are a follower of Christ then I encourage you to share your testimony and life with others who are new to the faith and disciple them.   Help them and strengthen them to grow and mature in Christ and share your experiences with them.    We all have something to offer in service to Jesus.   Is there someone that you can take under your wing today or give a supporting hand?

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God – He is on our side

Psalm 46 verse 1 says that “God is our refuge and strength.  A very present help in times of trouble”.    If you are in the middle of difficult times and struggling to hang on and feel that everything is conspiring against you then I encourage you to take hold of these verses.    God is with you and will not let you sink.  His everlasting arms are around you to support you.

In verse 10 it says “Be still and know that I am God”.   I always thought that this meant that I was to be still and know Him in such times but the footnotes in my Bible say that this is God telling the wicked- “Be Still and know that I am God”.  In other words God is telling the enemy who is rising against us and conspiring against us “Back off -enough is enough- you don’t have a chance of winning in this situation because I am God”.   

I love that.   Thank you Father that you are on our side.  God puts the enemy well and truly in his place.  He reminds the enemy that God alone will be exalted among the nations.      God may allow us to go through certain trials and struggles to strengthen our faith and so that we can grow in spiritual maturity – things that sometimes we do not understand- but ultimately God always has the last say over the enemy and his strategies because God is God.   God is sovereign and everything in heaven and earth is subject to Him.

This was evident when Jesus spoke to the storm that was raging all around the boat carrying the disciples and Jesus over the sea of Galilee and He commanded the winds and the waves to “Be still” and they were.    Does God need to speak into a few storms in your life or do you need to remind the storms that God is saying to them “Be Still”.

Breakthrough

A visiting speaker encouraged us recently to be a bit of kindling and allow the Lord to set fire to us.   A little fire can be all it takes – it can spread like wildfire as nature has shown us with the wildfires which took hold last year in various places. At this time we are to press in and not be discouraged.  Don’t settle where you are but press on in faith.     The breakthrough or miracle you have been waiting for or seeing in faith could be just around the corner.

We may face opposition just before we see the promise and answer come to pass.    When Jesus was on the way to heal the sick daughter of the leader, Jairus, people came to tell him not to bother because the girl was already dead.     Jesus refused to accept that and told them that she was not dead only sleeping.   The people ridiculed him but Jesus silenced them, pressed ahead and the girl was raised up. People may ridicule you or try to stop you pressing in to what God has for you and the vision He has shown you.

When we step out in faith we are His vessels.  It is the oil of His Presence and the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through us to do His good works which He prepared beforehand for us to do.    The people who know their God will be strong and do mighty things.   You may have people telling you opposite things to the promises of God and what God has revealed to you by His Holy Spirit.   Do not listen to them and refuse to believe them.  Stand on the Word of God.    You may have to be bold and silence them.   Fix your eyes on Christ.  Lift up your head and see the King of Glory

In scripture John the Baptist said that Jesus was the one who would baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire.     Tongues of fire appeared on the heads of those who first received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.   I have been baptised in the Holy Spirit but I want to be on fire for Jesus.   I believe this fire is purifying and empowering to enable the Holy Spirit to flow through us in power in signs and wonders to give a powerful witness to the gospel message of Christ.     The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and glorifies Jesus Christ. People are saved and those who are suffering to healed and restored. Hold on to your promise and vision today and believe in faith. It will happen in His appointed time.

Healing Testimony

My Granddad, David was a Christian and man of faith.   I never met him as unfortunately, he died before I was born but I still have his anointing bottle which has been passed on to me and which I still use today.   It came from the Smith Wigglesworth ministries.    David had a stroke in 1943 and wrote out the testimony of his healing.  I have it today written in his own hand.   It always encourages me when I read it and it reminds me that Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever and He still heals.  I thought it would be encouraging to share David’s testimony on my blog.  The language is old fashioned but the meaning is the same.  I hope you find it uplifting as I do.

“I was a strong healthy man all my days having experienced little trouble up to sixty years of age.   One morning on the 15th September 1943, I rose to go to my work as usual.  Arriving there, I fell very sick.  I tried to work on but the sickness made me give up and start for home.  I arrived home, my wife meeting me at the door.  I was telling her of my feeling when I fell into her arms and the power immediately left the whole of my left side.

After I was taken in bed my first thoughts were of Jesus and of His healing power and I remembered that verse in the 11th Chapter of Mark’s gospel.  “Therefore I say until you, whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them”. Instead of a sadness and depression following, a perfect peace and calm came to my heart, a peace that could only come from Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour.

The next day the Doctor called and said I had taken a shock (Hemiplegia), paralysis of one side of the body and blood pressure.   I was to be kept very quiet as it would be a long time before I would be able to go around again.  In fact, I would not be able to work again.  Many friends were praying that God in His great mercy and loving kindness would lay His healing hand upon me.

On November 30th, having been 11 weeks in bed and still praying for God’s healing touch; I continually kept repeating to myself these words -” God help me.  Thou has said Lord in thy precious word 11th Chapter of Mark.  All things whatsoever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye received them and ye shall have them”.  On this day the Pastor of the Pentecostal Assembly, Hope Street, Leith, with his wife called to see me.  He had been asked by a friend of mine to call.  After a little talk on the deep things of Christ and if I believed that Christ could heal today as when He was upon earth, I said yes, he laid his hands on me and prayed earnestly for my deliverance, calling on me in the Name of the Lord to rise and walk.   This I did for about 6 yards into the kitchen and sat down on a chair.  I felt that the Lord had touched me, for from that moment, I began to mend, praising God with a joy unspeakable.

I sat on the chair for over an hour and a half.  As I rose to go back to bed it seemed as if the evil one was determined to crush me down on the floor, as I felt so weak and helpless, but I called on God to deliver me and take me back to bed the way He took me out and this He did.   Ever since then, I have went on gaining strength every day, the power coming gradually back to me.  I have had no special treatment any further than up in the morning at nine o’clock attempting to improve my walking. 

A month later the Doctor called.  With astonishment he looked at me and said “you are up”.  “Yes”, I said, “this is the work of the Lord”.   “Well, I will tell you” said the Doctor “you are a marvel, really it is wonderful, your prayers have been heard and answered.  I was delighted to hear Doctor say that my prayers had been answered.  I do thank God for His wonderful touch to my body and enabling me to walk when the power was completely out of my leg, no life also in my arm and fingers.  To God be all the glory.  

Dear friends, people of faith are not moved by anything they see or hear, not puffed up, they live in meekness and grow in grace.   The people of faith, said a great preacher, do not live in time, they are begun in eternity, they do not count on the things that are but rely on the things that are not.  Faith is a restful realisation of the gracious and almighty presence of an eternal God.  Divine power is laid hold of through believing prayers and by its means men are fundamentally changed, circumstances modified and miracles of grace wrought to the glory of God.   May we ever follow the spiritual way, for spiritual results can only be obtained by spiritual methods.

Yes friends, the life of faith here below is a life of trial from first to last and that is no more or less with every believer.  The promise had been given to Abraham that he would have a son, and it was many years before that promise was fulfilled, and yet it is said of him that against hope he believed in hope that he might become the father of many nations, and staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith giving glory to God.  Now this faith was afterwards crowned, the promise was fulfilled and Isaac was born.  He waited long, but he learned in a peculiar manner, the faithfulness of God to His promises. 

Perhaps we may have to live some years to wait on the Lord, for some good which he intends to confer upon us.  It does not matter how long we may have to wait, don’t grow weary in well doing, for you can rest assured that when it does come it was worth waiting for.  God never lets you down, no matter how long you may be tried.  If we could only remember that, at these burning moments of test and seek the face of Christ, we would hear Him say “Fear not, for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou are mine.”   The severe trials which God sometimes sends are seldom of long duration, they are not only sent in wisdom and love but held in the same grip of love and wisdom.  Life itself is short, and when on some emergency the Lord calls his child to suffer, we see with what tenderness the Lord comes to his relief.   He never asks his child to stand more then he is able.  Whatever portion of suffering may be allotted to us here, may we be enabled to say continually, not my will but thine be done O’ Lord, thus glorifying Him forever.”    The end.