Abounding in Love

1 Thessalonians 3 v 12-13 says “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all; just as we do to you so that He (God) may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints”.

Genuine love for one another…it’s a command of the Lord Jesus and a sign to non-believers.

Someone wrote “where love abounds in a fellowship of Christians, many small offences, and even some large ones are readily overlooked and forgotten. But where love is lacking every word is viewed with suspicion, every action is liable to misunderstanding and conflicts abound to satan’s perverse delight.

We can’t opt out of loving one another if we are followers of Jesus – it was Christ’s commandment to us – to love each other as He loved us.

We recall Jesus’ teaching at the last supper. This was his last opportunity to talk to His disciples before He went to the Cross. Jesus reiterates 4 times His new commandment to love one another.

Jesus didn’t remind the disciples of all the great miracles and signs they had witnessed – it was love which was important.

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 15:12-14,17 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Jesus said “if you love me then you will obey my commandments.”

1 John 2 v3-6 sets it out plainly to us:

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

1John 3:11 “This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. “

How can we love each other in this way. I think it is impossible without a genuine love for Christ ablaze in our hearts.

Do we struggle to genuinely love each other in churches because we have lost our first love for Christ. We strive to love through our flesh rather than an overflow from our hearts. Let us encourage each other to prioritise expressing our love for Jesus in our times of gathering together.

It’s a perfect circle of love – we love Christ and He is our first love then out of this love will flow love for one another. Let us start with love for God first and then allow His love to flow through us.

We could try and manufacture this love for one another. We could perhaps do it for a while but it will stagnate and eventually die – this Christ like love should develop as fruit out of relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Romans 5:5 “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us and love is created in us by the Holy Spirit”

Let us not strive to love in our own strength and with our own love but rather that the love for and of Christ will be ignited in our hearts and will come through us – let the fruit be produced by abiding in Him & receiving God’s love through the Holy Spirit within us.

Our prayer for us today as we gather together on the Lord’s day:

1 Thessalonians 3 v 12-13 says “and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all; just as we do to you so that He (God) may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints

Then…

A repost today dear friends on the power of a very small word. Since last Thursday and the death of our Queen Elizabeth II, we as a nation under God are in a “Then” moment. We are in times of huge change that require prayer before God that His will for our nation and our new King Charles III come into alignment. Let us join our prayers brothers and sisters in Christ with our nation at this key time of transition and change.

Then is such a little word but it is can be so powerful. It’s a word which speaks of change. There is a before and THEN something happens which changes the story.

In Genesis, we read the story of Noah. The flood has come upon the earth and Noah, his family and the animals are in the ark. They obeyed God’s instructions and went into the Ark and then God shut the door.

“So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.”
Genesis 7:16 NKJV

It was after obedience that the THEN came and God shut the door. Sometimes, we are waiting for God to act and the THEN to happen but we maybe haven’t done our part to enable the THEN. Something at our end needs to change.

Dear brother Alan posted the other day about prayer warriors still being required. You can read that post here which I recommend if you have not yet read it. https://devotionaltreasure.wordpress.com/2021/12/31/2022-prayer-warriors-still-required.

There is an often quoted portion of scripture which contains one of the most powerful THENs in the bible.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

Prayer changes things and brings about the THEN. If we want to see change then let us seek God’s Will and act on it. Let us be Prayer Warriors for change.

Bless you my friends.

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#TestimonyTuesday – Life Verses

This week at church we did something different. Our Pastor asked us to share our “life verses” or some people call them their “north star verses”. They are verses from the Bible that have guided, helped, encouraged and shaped your walk with the Lord. They can be bible verses that have been lifelines in times of trouble.

Our Pastor invited people forward and there was soon a queue of people eager to share. They read their bible verses and shared why those bible verses were so important to them. Some were able to recite long passages of Scripture which they had memorised.

It was so inspiring and touching to hear these verses and the testimonies. Do you have a life verse? If so, I would love to hear it and why it’s important to you. Please share in the comments section below.

My life verses are from Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,and he will make your paths straight.”

These verses give me confidence in God, who cares for me and guides me in the right way. When I am unsure then I remember these verses and declare my trust in Him and submit the circumstances or decision to the Lord.

I took the opportunity on Sunday to share my Dad’s life verses which he shared frequently with us. They had a profound influence on me because they taught me the importance of worship and the intimacy of relationship that the Lord desires with each of us.

My Dad’s life verse was from Psalm 84 verse 10. He recited this passage of Scripture often especially when he had his first stroke and was so ill.

Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked

In sharing with others our life verses then we also help disciple others by showing the importance of God’s Word in our lives and how it shapes us. We show that God’s Word is living, active and powerful.

I look forward to reading the comments and your life verses.

Have a blessed day my friends.

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In Green Pastures

I was searching on my bookcase yesterday for a book by C S Lewis. I know I have it but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I have probably either lent it to someone or put it elsewhere. I easily lose track of my books and am also a bit of a magpie. I did find several books lent to me though which I’ve yet to return. Whoops and apologies to those who thought they’d lost them.

My searching wasn’t fruitless though because I came across this tiny little book called “In Green Pastures” by J R Miller. He is not an author I had heard of before but he is credited in this book as being the author of another book called “ Come ye apart”. That sounds like a book worth reading doesn’t it..Come ye apart.

The title of the book had caught my eye as we have recently studied Psalm 23 in church and I thought the book was on that theme. However, it’s actually a Daily Devotional. It’s been clearly written in another generation, which you can tell from the language used, but there is no date of publication inside.

A quick search on Amazon though revealed it was first published in 1904 and you can still buy this book. That’s longevity. Dr. James Russell Miller was born in 1840 in Frankfort Springs Pennsylvania and died on 2 July 1912. He wrote quite a number of Christian books which are available still. He may be more familiar to my fellow American blogging friends? I’d be interested to hear.

The book was given to my late mother in law, Clare, by a friend who had written these words on the first page:

To Clare, in remembrance of many happy days, with love and all good wishes…”Hold fast that which thou hast”. Revelation 3:11

What a lovely inscription. I am sure each time our dear Clare picked up this little book, she thought of her friend and those words encouraged her. I love the exhortation to hold fast that which you have. Our faith and trust in Jesus is so precious. The most precious thing we have and not to be taken lightly or for granted. Let us be encouraged today to hold fast what we have been given through the grace and mercy of God.

Clare must have valued this little book because she had kept it all her life. We found it amongst her possessions when she died. It was precious to her so we didn’t want to part with it either. It has sat on the bookshelf though unread. Who knows what little treasures I will now find within.

Anyway, I am digressing, but if you are looking for another daily devotional then perhaps you could consider this little book. Even though it is written over a hundred years ago, God’s truths are constant. Culture may change around us, blown by winds of change, but God’s Word stands firm like a beacon in the darkness. I thought I would share today’s devotional on the Sin of Thoughtlessness below:

Lord please forgive me my thoughtlessness and for causing hurt to others even unintentionally. Help me through your Holy Spirit to be kind, gentle, loving, thoughtful and considerate particularly today and in the weeks ahead. I pray for a gentle heart. Amen 🙏

A Financial Storm

We are living in a time when people are worried and anxious about rising inflation, energy costs and the economy, not just in the U.K, but in other nations. The Lord has brought to my remembrance this morning a post from November 2020 and so I am re-posting today for weighing, testing and prayer. Our God is faithful and He is a good, good God in all times and at all times. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

At the beginning of November I had a picture whilst praying to the Lord.

I was seated with the Lord in a quiet place when suddenly a great wind blew up which started howling all around us and the walls and the ground started shaking. I was terrified as the wind was so strong and the walls around us started to collapse, but the Lord drew me close and put me in the crook of his arm. Even though I could still hear the wind roaring I felt safe and secure.

After that picture, as I prayed I felt the Lord say that we are going into days ahead of great darkness. There is a storm coming – a financial storm.

I believe the Lord is warning us that there is going to be a shaking again of the financial institutions of the world.

They have been shaken before but this time there is to be a mighty shaking which will cause many of them to collapse.

Great fear and panic will seize people as they realise that their assets and funds have been exploited by these institutions.

I felt the Lord was also warning us to be watchful to see who will come to the aid of people when all seems lost.

Beware of those who are the vultures just intent on picking over the carcasses of what has happened.

Those who intend to prey on the vulnerable and exploit their misery even more.

At this time the Lord says that He will arise amongst His people to bring ships to the rescue of those who are suffering.

This is the time for those nations to come forward and do good. This will be their opportunity to feed and look after and help those in need.

These ships will arise out of countries who will come to the aid of those from whom they have received aid in the past.

Woe to those nations who choose to turn a blind eye at this time. For they will have to answer to the Lord.

The Lord says that these days will be dark but He will provide for His people.

Turn to Him and call on His name for He will miraculously provide what is needed. He will care for His children.

Let our light shine before men who will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

The Lord will not let His faithful be put to shame. He will crown them with glory at this time.

This will be a time of great suffering and perseverance and endurance will be needed within the body of Christ. Let faith and hope arise.

Clothe ourselves with love and grace and put on mercy and tender kindness.

The King is coming. He is not slow in His coming as some would think but He will arrive at the appointed time with great glory and triumph over all His enemies.

Arise and keep your eyes fixed on Him for He is the author and finisher of our faith.

He will sustain us through these times ahead and will not let us stumble or fall. Call on Him and you will be saved. Amen 🙏

Overwhelmed….

I woke in the early hours with thoughts racing through my mind of all the tasks I had not done and were overdue. As I went through them one by one I started to feel overwhelmed and stressed. The more I thought about them all, the more overwhelmed I felt. Stress was building and I wanted and needed some more sleep.

I told myself “Stay calm”. You need to stay calm. I kept repeating those words to myself “Stay calm”. “Stay calm”.

As I repeated that word “calm” I thought, I can stay calm because Christ Always Loves Me.. yes, Christ Always Loves Me. That is never in doubt. His unfailing love never changes or diminishes. He always loves me.

I then thought of dear brother Alan’s post from the other day of how God rescues us in His Firm Hold. I encourage you to read it. It blessed me and I know it will bless you too. As I thought of Alan’s words, I thought, yes I can stay calm because Christ Always Lifts Me. Christ Always Lifts Me. Jesus always draws me closer to Him. I could focus on all the things I haven’t done or I could fix my eyes on Him.

I prayed a simple prayer. Lord take these burdens from me. I give them to you. I know you love me and care for me in all things. Thank you Lord. You are my help.

So those are my two reminders to myself for today. Perhaps you are also in a similar situation and it would help you to say….Christ Always Loves Me and Christ Always Lifts Me.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Letting Go…Testimony Tuesday (Update)

The wanderer has returned! You may recall my post about my youngest daughter (who set off for over 5 months on a solo back pack to the Far East) and my thoughts in Letting go…#TestimonyTuesday. Now she is back……but not for long. She heads off on her next adventure to university in Newcastle Upon Tyne, a city in the North of England about 4/5 hours away from us.

I re-read my post from that time she set out and I thank God for His faithfulness in being with her during her travels as her protector and guide. She has told me stories of things that happened to her and her friends and I know that the Lord was at work during those times. She calls it “luck” but I recognise the hand of God and am grateful for His answer to my prayers.

She travelled (even with the difficulties of Covid still) into Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bali. She learnt about man’s inhumanity to man in the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the realities and horror of war from her time in Vietnam. I don’t want to repeat the things she told me about the genocide in Cambodia here as they are too distressing. She spoke of the impact of those atrocities still hanging over the country and people in a tangible way. These experiences will stay with her. God will use them in the future.

I was prompted by the Lord to fast and pray before she went away. It was only the Lord who knew what the months ahead held and I believe in times of our uncertainty that it’s so important to pray and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. We don’t fully comprehend or see how God looks after us and the outworking of His providence, but I believe one day we will see and understand fully. Whilst I can thank God now for His faithfulness and goodness, I believe that one day when I will truly understand what God has done then my thanks and praise will seem so inadequate in comparison to His grace. Even in situations when I believed my prayers went unanswered or did not go “my” plan, I will understand that God in His inestimable wisdom and goodness was working things out for good in the long term. God is a good, good God.

They say travel broadens the mind and I can definitely see that this experience has helped my daughter mature. She has challenged herself in many ways and these experiences have helped her grow and develop. She is more ready for university life now. We were concerned that after 2 years of life during Covid and missing out on so many life experiences at college, that she would go a bit wild with her new found freedom. Have you seen cows when they are let out to pasture after being in the winter stables. They run, frolic and jump with excitement. We didn’t want her jumping recklessly into danger looking for “fun” after all those months cooped up in isolation.

The Lord has been laying on my heart that it is a season of change. I can see how this relates to certain things in my family and my life but I believe this change is going to be more widely felt. My husband and I enter into a new season of change for sure as both daughters will have left home. I look at the empty rooms and wonder what we will do with them? There will be a way I am sure and I believe the Lord will show us.

Have a blessed day my friends.

One of the beautiful places visited

Pick up your mat….

Last week, I had a word from the Lord which I shared in our church fellowship and it witnessed with some people and their situations. I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to share this same word with you today. Please weigh and test and if it speaks to your heart too then please pray about it.

The Lord spoke to me about the paralysed man who was lying by the pool Bethesda. When the waters were stirred for healing, he couldn’t get there in time. He kept missing out. He kept missing his opportunity and thought others were always beating him to it. Taking the only opportunity available.

I believe this word was about more than healing and was for other situations. The Lord impressed on me that there were brothers and sisters in Christ who felt they had missed or kept missing their opportunity. Each time they felt someone else was beating them to it and it was too late for them. You see your vision being accomplished by other people and wonder about the promises the Lord has given you. When will they come to pass for you.

The paralysed man had not initially recognised the time of opportunity which had come to him and that the Healer himself was right beside him until Jesus spoke those words to him. “Take up your mat and walk” so the Lord is saying that He is the one that opens doors and makes things happen and gives opportunity according to His Will. He will fulfil His promises within His times.

You have not missed out. The Lord will clearly open the door in His timing and you have to be obedient to His voice telling you to “pick up your mat and walk”. Walk through that door of opportunity. Your time will come. Don’t hesitate but look and listen for the Lord is right there beside you in all things.

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?

7 Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” John 5 1-9

#Testimony Tuesday-Pam’s story

It’s my mum Pam’s birthday this week and so I wanted to re-post this testimony of her healing. She will be 84 and still loves sharing her faith in Jesus with others. She is doing well physically although her mobility is not as good as it was but she is coming to church using her wheelchair and loves it. I hope her story blesses you today.

So yesterday I posted about my belief in a God that heals in God’s Healing Power and promised to share my Mum, Pam’s testimony of her recovery from Meningitis.

My mum married my Dad, Bill when she was young. He was a reservist in the army and was posted to Somerset in England for his basic training. Dad was Scottish and a long way from home. He decided to visit the local Pentecostal church which my Mum attended. It was love at first sight according to Mum and I don’t think she wanted to let him out of her sight from that time onwards. They married but then my Dad was posted overseas because of the Suez crisis. Mum stayed behind with my brother, Ian who was just a young baby.

Mum was still young herself, only 18 years old, a young mother when she was taken ill suddenly with Meningitis. She had been out for the day on a Church outing. On the way home on the coach she got a bad headache which she put down to tiredness . It got worse and worse though and eventually she became so ill that they took her to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with suspected Meningitis and put into the isolation hospital. All she can really remember of that time is having the lumber-punctures to drain the fluid from her spine which she said were terribly painful. She dreaded them. The Doctors told her family that it was not looking good and that my Dad needed to be sent for immediately from abroad as she was not likely to pull through.

My grandad contacted the army and Dad was brought home as quickly as they could from Cyprus. It still took him some time to get home though. It was the 1950s so communication wasn’t easy. Even travel on army planes took some time. The army wouldn’t tell him either what was wrong with his wife and he was naturally extremely worried and expecting the worst. Dad kept the newspaper cuttings from the time which we still have. They are a bit brown but you can still read them.

My mum’s parents were not churchgoers but her Aunt Mabel was and it was my Aunt who had taken my mum to church. Mum had become a Christian and been baptised. The church committed to praying for mum and they decided to have an all-night prayer vigil for her when they heard the news that she was not expected to survive the night. They sent prayer cloths in for her to the hospital and were faithful in praying for her recovery and healing. She made it through the night and the worst was over. There was a breakthrough. There is power in prayer and in corporate prayer when believers come together.

From that time on, Mum started to get better and better and the Doctors were amazed at her recovery. They told her though that in their opinion she would still not be able to walk again. Mum was convinced though that she had been healed and was determined to show the Doctors that she would walk. She recovered her strength and was soon up and about. The Doctors were so pleased that she was able to walk that they agreed that she could leave the hospital and continue her recovery at home. Mum is convinced that God healed her in answer to prayer. Without prayer she is sure that she would not have survived that night. I’m grateful for those faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who committed to pray through the night for her. I’m especially grateful that God answered prayer and she made it because otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. Thank the Lord for His mercies. If you need God to move in your situation then I hope this encourages you to pray to God and trust and believe that He will hear and answer your prayers.

She’s doing well for 82 😀

The encouraging thing is that because Mum had experienced God’s healing touch, she had faith in God to heal. She always encouraged us to pray in all situations. I remember one occasion when Mum had broken her ankle. She had been playing on my daughters scooter (she’d forgotten her age) and fallen. She was in plaster but still insisted on going to church. That night there was a visiting preacher, Martin Scott who had a prophetic ministry. He picked Mum out of the crowd and said that he could tell she was a woman of strong faith. He believed God was going to heal her ankle. It was incredible because Mum felt a heat in her leg and her ankle soon recovered.

It’s good to share testimonies of God’s grace to us and the good things He does. God is with us in all times of life, the good but also the trials and times of difficulty. As a family we have also had those times too. I’ll share more about those times and how God has sustained us in times of sickness and tragedy in other posts. Have a blessed day.

Hey Jude!

Morning all, today’s blog is one that I have posted before, it is not about that famous song by The Beatles but about Jude – it’s that small book in the bible, right near the end, just before Revelation – very easy to miss.

It might be small but it certainly packs a punch. It’s probably not the subject of a sermon that we hear much in church these days. However, the key messages are as relevant for today’s church as they were when Jude wrote them.

Jude warns us as disciples of Jesus to:

Watch out for people who are just pretending to be holy but abuse the grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus and keep right on sinning, then repent and sin again – especially sexual sin. There is no intention of true repentance in such people. Don’t follow their example or be led astray by their behaviour.

Watch out for people who despise authority -they are not submissive but proud and will not listen. They cause division and stir up trouble.

Watch out for those who speak disdainfully and disrespectfully about things they do not understand – especially things of the spirit realm. Such people are selfish and motivated by greed and a desire for recognition. They are takers not givers.

Beware of people who will change their opinions and allegiances – they are easily swayed. They will agree with whatever view is popular. They have no firm faith. No firm foundation.

Beware of people who are grumblers and faultfinders – always moaning and complaining. Nothing is ever good enough. They are dissatisfied and disappointed.

Beware of those who are boastful and living for their own pleasures – people who will flatter and manipulate for their own benefit.

These people follow the flesh and not the Spirit.

We need to be aware of any such behaviour so that we do not agree with it, align ourselves with it or fall victim to it.

Jude’s advice to us is:

Build our faith up in Jesus. Keep praying in the Holy Spirit and rest in God’s love and mercy;

Discern those who are doubting or weak in faith – help to disciple such people and build their faith;

Show mercy and reach out to help those that are weak – treat them with compassion.

We can all stumble and fall and need a helping hand from each other.

There is a difference between those who are wilfully being disobedient to God and doing ungodly things and treating the sacrifice and blood of Jesus as an excuse to sin than those who sincerely desire change but struggle and need help.

Warn each other about the consequences of such ungodly behaviour (in a Godly, gentle and truthful way).

Wisdom is the application of knowledge. Jude gives us knowledge and it is God’s wisdom to apply it in our walk with the Lord.

Have a blessed day my friends.