God – He is on your side

I was reminded of this post following an encouraging word from our Pastor on Sunday. I thought it would be a timely #ThrowbackThursday post.

Psalm 46 verse 1 declares 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 bible verses. Meditate on them. They will be life to you today.

God is with you in the middle of it all 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”. Jesus has already defeated the enemy. He has won.

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. All glory, honour and power are His alone.

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. Jesus was right there in the boat with the disciples. 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“.

Bless you today.

Letting go…#TestimonyTuesday

I don’t know about you but I’ve found that is actually very hard to let go as a parent. I know it needs to be done. It’s the natural rhythm of life – to let them find their own way and do their own thing without interfering. It’s hard though. To trust that our Father in Heaven is the One looking out for them. You’re not the protector any more. You have to give them over to God. They were His all the time anyway. I guess my parents felt the same way about me…

My youngest is currently 2 months in to a solo back packing trip of the Far East. Her dad dropped her off at Heathrow Airport in early March. She flew into Bangkok on her own and then a few days later (after complying with COVID restrictions) she booked and took a night train to the North of Thailand. All on her own at 19. She still seemed a baby to me. Too young to be making her way in a foreign land on her own. It’s COVID times as well. No friends or travelling companions. How would she cope. More to the point.. How would I cope?

My friends were all asking me .. how could you let her go? Why didn’t you stop her? As if I were a reckless parent leaving her in danger. But how could we stop her? I guess it would have been easy enough to have interfered and put fear into her and obstacles but it wouldn’t have been right. We had brought both our girls up to explore this world. It’s a beautiful world with a wealth of opportunities to meet incredible people. Created by our wonderful Father. We love to travel and have adventures.

When she was 4 we took her to America. No big deal but it was a holiday when we hadn’t booked any accommodation. A road trip with endless possibilities. Wonderful. Trips followed to Sri Lanka, Dubai, South Africa…. A school trip to Indonesia for her World Challenge. We had opened her eyes to the world and now she wanted to explore it without us. Oh my…that was the hard bit. On her own. No Mum, No Dad. She wanted to go on her own. I wasn’t prepared for that.

It’s hard. I’m not going to lie. She’s on the other side of the world. There is 6 hours difference in time. I’m awake, she’s asleep for some parts. I can’t hold her, comfort her, guide her. I have put her in God’s hands. I fasted and prayed before she went. I thank the Lord for His protection, grace and favour over her. I’m overwhelmed with the grace and favour shown to her on her travels so far. So many incredible examples of God being on that journey with her. I can’t wait to see what God has in store next.

She is in Cambodia now. The next stage of her journey. More new experiences and adventures. God is with her. I thank God that however much I love her, He loves her more than I can possibly love her and understand His love. She is His and I’m so grateful for that. God is good, all the time. I’m so thankful for His faithfulness and still after all these years learning to trust Him in all things. Amen.

Our last family holiday all together in New York 2018
London best city in the world 😊
The world was waiting
The world is our there..
And I can’t have family photos without a nod to Spurs..best team ever 😊

I will leave a light on

I was reminded of this post today so decided to re-post #thursdaythrowback

Last night my two daughters went into the City to meet friends and go out. It was going to be a late night so they were either going to stay out at friends or get the night bus home. As was usual my husband had left the outside light on for them coming home in the dark.

However, last night as I went to bed I turned the light off. My husband was surprised and asked why I wasn’t leaving the light on. I replied that the girls had said that they were probably going to stay out with friends or get back early in the morning so there was no point leaving the light on.

Well this morning the Lord spoke these words to my heart – “I will leave a light on“.

Those words are the title of a song which my youngest daughter loves and plays a lot.

Jesus reminded me that we (His followers) are the light of the world.

We carry the light of Christ.

Jesus left a light on when He went back to His Father God in Heaven – He left us.

Jesus hasn’t switched that light off yet.

I will leave a light on.

We show others the way to Jesus by declaring our faith in Him and living out that faith in loving service.

We shine in the darkness and point the way home to God through faith in Jesus the Son.

One day though the reality is that my earthly light will be switched off. I won’t be here anymore to shine the light for others.

I need to shine whilst I can. Whilst I still have the time.

I hope I can leave a legacy of light behind me too.

You may be the only light in your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbourhood, your community – the place where the Lord has put you.

Your light is really important so be encouraged and “let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

I really think there is someone who needs to hear this today.

Don’t give up but let your light shine – It will lead someone home to God.

Leave a light on and it will lead that person home – they may be in a dark place at moment, have wandered far from truth, be in a very very dark place but the Lord is saying:

“I will leave a light on” – that light is you.

Don’t let it go out and it will lead them home.

#TestimonyTuesday

God loves people. He sees their hidden wounds and wants to bring healing. Sometimes, it is a prompt from the Lord which is the catalyst to expose the hidden pain and bring release. I want to share this short testimony today of how God spoke into someone’s life to do just that.

A friend and I were praying in our local town as part of the monthly street prayer team. A man was walking towards us and as he approached, a man’s name came to me. I can’t recall the name now but I’ll say “Keith” for the purposes of this story.

We said good morning and he stopped and asked what we were doing. We explained that once a month on a Saturday, we prayed for people on the street who wanted prayer, either for themselves or others. We asked if he wanted prayer. He said no but continued to chat with us.

Whilst we were chatting, the name came to me again, so I asked him if he knew a man called “Keith”. He considered it and then said No. I thought, ok – I’m mistaken. However, he then went on to say that the only “Keith” he knew had run off with his wife. This opened a floodgate which the Lord alone knew was there. This man poured out the pain of the situation he was in and the loss of his children who he now saw only rarely.

This man then asked me how I knew about Keith. I explained that I didn’t but how God loved him and that I believed God had spoken that name to me because God saw his hurts. God wanted to help him. We asked if we could pray into the situation. This time he agreed. We prayed together on the street and it was beautiful to see God’s love reaching out to this man.

Today, God wants to use you to show His love to someone too. It can be demonstrated in so many different ways. God know what each person needs. I pray that the Lord will use each one of us today to show someone God’s love for them.

Lord God, how do you want us to show your love to someone we meet today. Show us we pray. Amen.

Bring the love letter from God

Hands Lifted up

Photo by Carlos Arthur M.R on Unsplash

Hands lifted up in praise and worship of King Jesus.

Last week, during a time of praise and worship the Lord showed me a different perspective of hands lifted up.

He showed me a young child lifting their hands up to their parent – no words needed, just their hands up being enough to signal – pick me up – the parent stooped down and picked them up, lifted them high in love and joy.

God stoops down in His love and picks us up as we are His children through faith in Jesus Christ, His son. We are lifted high into heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

You are not ignored, abandoned or unloved. The Lord sees you. His eye is on you and He does not ignore the cries of your heart. He bends down in love and whispers, I love you.

Have a blessed Sunday my friends.

#Testimony Tuesday- Bill’s story – Lessons from my Father

It’s my #TestimonyTuesday post and I wanted to share part of my dad’s story. His full name was William Easton Third but everyone called him Bill. Dad was a true inspiration to me. He was born into a poor but happy home in Edinburgh. He lived in a tenement building in Leith which I understand today is a bit more of a gentrified area than it was back then. Dad came from a large family. There were 9 of them. How they all lived in 2 rooms is beyond me but they did. Dad said it was happy times. He loved the freedom of his childhood days.

Dad with his family in their Sunday Best. He’s the second from the front.

Dad’s experience of God’s healing power in his life was different to mine. We are all unique and no-one’s story is exactly the same. Every story has value and we all have something to share. This is why I believe in the power of testimony.

Your story with its uniqueness of relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit will speak to someone.

I believe that God truly knows what is best for each one of us and learning to surrender to him and trusting God when things don’t go according to our plans is a valuable life lesson. Dad’s experiences helped me to understand and see that God’s grace is sufficient for us and how God gives us the grace and strength we need to hold on and persevere in times of testing and suffering.

My Dad, Bill was quite a character. He was a passionate Christian who loved to share the gospel with everyone he met. He was full of energy, never still and very engaging..a cheeky chappie as they say and loved to talk. He could have made a living by talking…He was a big supporter of many Christian ministries and particularly loved T L Osborn, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, Luis Palau and Reinhard Bonnke.

Dad worked hard. He worked the night shift in a factory and sometimes I would hardly see him. I’d be going out to school and he’d be coming in from work. He had big plans though for when he eventually retired. He was going to take Mum travelling in one of those big Winnebagos. This prompted much laughter in our family as Dad was well known for getting lost and being quite incapable of reading a map. Mum wasn’t much better either so I had quickly learnt to become chief navigator on our family holidays from a young age.

However, sadly those plans were not meant to be. Dad retired at 60 but then almost immediately suffered a massive stroke which rendered him paralysed down one side of his body. He was confined to a wheelchair. We would have loved him to have been miraculously healed but those prayers were not answered. We were grateful though to have him still with us. Dad could still laugh and joke and he still continued to share the gospel. In hospital he had a poster by his bed of Jesus standing beside the empty tomb. I don’t know what happened to him when he was so ill in hospital and unconscious but when he recovered, he could not talk about Jesus without being moved to tears and tell people how much he loved Jesus. It was very humbling to see.

Further tragedy was to strike not long after though when Dad suffered another major stroke. This time it was on the other side of his brain and took his speech. He could no longer talk as he did. It was very hard to see him struggle to express himself. He could utter sounds which we started to learn to interpret and we could still understand some words, especially when he was saying “Jesus”.

During this time, Dad could have become embittered and angry at his lot and how his life had turned out, it wasn’t what he planned, but he didn’t. He faithfully attended church and loved watching and listening to great preachers. He was still grateful to God and he knew that there were also many people who were worse off and suffering much more than him.

He was always a big supporter of the Barnabus Fund and taught us that it was important to support fellow believers who were being persecuted and suffering greatly for their faith in other nations.

Dad had lost his independence and all ability to look after himself and was totally reliant on my Mum, my brother and his carers to do everything for him, getting him up, washing, dressing and even feeding. He had limited movement in his right arm but was very weak. He sometimes got frustrated when we couldn’t understand him but he maintained his cheerfulness and was able to cope with what had happened to him. It was only through God’s grace operating in his life that I believe enabled him to be like that. He was a testimony to me and others of God’s grace and peace in action.

Although, Dad was never fully physically healed, he did experience times of God’s healing in his body. One time, I recall was when he was taken extremely ill with pneumonia and was in the hospital. We were called to his bedside because the doctors did not think he would survive the Pneumonia. The chief registrar and doctor stood at the bottom of his bed and it was the first time that I had heard what is called the “death rattle”. It’s the most horrible sound of someone struggling to breathe and effectively taking their lasts breaths.

I had called my friends from the hospital to pray and I had asked God to take Dad if it was his time but if not, then to restore him to us. It was all I could think to ask God for at that time. We had the comfort as a Christian family to know that Dad would go to be with his Lord Jesus, but truthfully I didn’t want to let him go. He was my Dad and a big influence in my life. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet.

As we all waited by his bed, Dad suddenly stirred and pointed to the corner of the room. We couldn’t see anything but I believe that he could see something in the spiritual realm. They say the veil into the spiritual realm is thin at such times. I felt prompted to tell Dad that it wasn’t his time to go. He should tell whoever was there that he wasn’t ready to go with them. I can’t explain what happened next but Dad seemed to relax and continued on breathing but his breathing started to change. It became quieter and more regular. His face changed and was more relaxed.

After a while of this, the Registrar stated that he didn’t think Dad was going to die after all that day and they would come back later!! Praise God, Dad recovered and lived for many more years after that day.

Our appointed times are truly in God’s hands. God as our Heavenly Father loves us much more than we can understand. I thank God that my earthly father is now safe in Father God’s care. Dad went to be with the Lord in 2006. I’m sure Bill will have lots to tell me one day when we meet again which we surely will.

Dad always said he was looking forward to getting to heaven. One thing he wanted to do was meet the Apostle Paul. He had lots of questions for him…it makes me smile to think of my Dad chewing the ear off the Apostle Paul..one of his great bible heroes. Bless him.

Dad’s favourite scripture was Psalm 84: It was the reading at his funeral. His favourite verse was:

A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
Psalm 84:10

Dad’s enjoying eternity in God’s courts now and I’m sure he has never been happier.

Dad as a young man

Gardens…

Morning all, I hope you all had good weekends. This is the third and last in my series of updates of re-posts over the weekend following on from Mountains and Rivers.

I came to realise, like many others over the lockdown restrictions, that it was such a blessing to have a garden – either a place which is yours, a sanctuary to enjoy and take pleasure from or a communal garden.    A place to reflect, enjoy the beauty of nature and time to relax.    Gardens draw us in and make us feel better – they are food indeed for the soul.   There is something in our DNA which draws us to a garden – even if we are not green fingered ourselves – we can appreciate the beauty. This is me with my dog peeking through a floral display in the park.

It got me thinking about gardens in the bible.

God was the first Gardener:

Genesis 2 v 8  “the Lord God planted a garden“- the Garden of Eden.    How amazing and beautiful that first garden must have been, planted and designed by God’s own hand.   It says that every tree planted was “pleasant for the sight” and “good for food“. God made that garden especially for Adam and Eve.   He took the time to create a special place for them.   A place of nourishment and also a place to meet for fellowship.    God would walk in the garden in the cool of the day and meet with Adam and Eve – a special time of relationship.  

I love that as Christians there is also a special place for each one of us – a place where we can go and meet with God – a place to be in His presence.

Life was in that very first Garden:

Life was formed there in the Garden of Eden. God created Eve from Adam’s side and the Tree of Life – eternal life- was also there in it’s midst.    Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness and the bible teaches that we find life – true life – in our relationship with Him.    When we come and meet with Jesus we meet Life.

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth & the life. No-one comes to the father except through Me“.     

We won’t find true life or relationship with God any other way. After Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were put out of the garden in case they ate of the tree of life and lived forever in sin.     Jesus through his death and resurrection has cleansed us from sin to make a way back into the garden of fellowship with God for us. We are now partakers of eternal life.

Death was also in that Garden:

When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge then death came.   God made tunics of skin to cover them – an animal had to die to provide those skins for clothing for Adam and Eve.  Death had entered into creation for the first time.  

Death was also drawing near to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.    Jesus met with his Father in prayer that night in the Garden.    On that night the Garden was a place of betrayal, pain and suffering for Jesus.   He was in great sorrow and in deep distress.   He had been betrayed, let down by His disciples and was facing death and torture.    

The garden is a place that God wants us to come when we too are in such times of sorrow – times of anxiety and fear.  Times when we feel overwhelmed and think that we can’t continue – when it all seems too much.    Times when people close to us have betrayed us or let us down. God will draw us to Him, will comfort us and strengthen us so that we can continue.

Beware of the enemy in the Garden:

Satan entered the garden of Eden and deceived Eve. Watch out for the lies of the enemy. Don’t let satan lead you astray by his lies and deception.

The garden can provoke others to jealousy. Jezebel schemed and plotted to have Naboth killed because her husband Ahab desired the vineyard garden that belonged to Naboth. The king wanted it for a vegetable garden but Naboth refused to sell. It was his inheritance and not for sale.

The enemy always wants to steal your inheritance in Christ. The enemy is jealous of your position in Christ and he will do what he can to steal from you. Guard yourself and trust in God. The enemy will try and stop you enjoying relationship with God. He will tell you that you are not good enough and all sorts of lies to interfere in your relationship with God.

New Life and hope was in the Garden:

When Jesus conquered the grave and rose from the dead, He appeared to Mary. She thought at first that he was a Gardener.   I had never really thought about that before but my friend mentioned it to me the other day.     Why would Mary have mistaken Jesus for a Gardener unless he was in a garden and it was a reasonable assumption to make.   From a place of sorrow and grief the garden became one of hope for Mary. There is hope in the garden – Jesus was dead but now He is alive.   The garden is a place of hope. It’s a place of victory. It’s a place of new beginnings.

Nourishment in the Garden:

The plants which were in the Garden of Eden were good for food and there was a river which flowed through it.    We all need food and water to survive and flourish.  

Jesus said “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst”  – “Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God“. 

There is spiritual nourishment in spending time with God in His presence. Hearing what He has to say to us in those quiet times as we spend time in His word – the bible.   Jesus is the true bread of life and out of Him spring rivers of living water.  I am becoming more aware of my need to spend more time in His presence, in His word than being busy doing things for God.  I am blessed by the giftings and ministry which God has given me but being in relationship with Him is the most important thing – Reminding me of my first love.

Love is in the Garden:

Unconditional love is in the garden. God loves us.

You will hear God’s voice in the garden speaking to you. As He spoke to Adam you will hear His still small voice speak to you saying- I love you.

God is love. If you seek Him you will find Him. If you are looking for love you will find it in God the father and Jesus the son.

 

Love letter

A friend from church Jan wrote this many, many years ago – I have kept it all this time: – A love letter from God

From the beginning of time to the end of time – I love you;

For the times when you felt that I was far off and distant – I love you;

For the times when we were very close – I love you;

For the times when you find it difficult to ready my Word – I love you;

For the times when you are constantly in my Word – I love you;

For the times when you are sad and distressed and feel so low – I love you;

For the times when you are happy and full of joy – I love you;

For the times when you simply cannot be bothered – I love you;

For the times when you trust and obey me fully – I love you;

For the times when you go days without even speaking to me – I love you;

For the times when you tell me everything – I love you;

For the time when my only beloved son died in your place so that I could call you my sons and daughters – I love you;

No matter what you say or do – both now or for eternity- I will always love you.

Beloved you are of exceeding more value than rubies to me. Hear my whisper to your heart – Beloved you are not forgotten. I love you.

God’s banqueting table

For those who read yesterday’s post The Grand day out you will know that I am visiting Stratford Upon Avon today. Part of my treat is a dinner at a nice restaurant with my husband. We don’t often get that time to have a dinner on our own. It’s that time of life I guess where we find ourselves juggling all sorts of responsibilities and challenges. This will be a time to relax and chat over (hopefully a nice dinner) about us- no discussions about our children, aged parents, jobs and other responsibilities.

With that in mind, I wanted to share this previous updated post about God’s banqueting table. I don’t know about you but my actual experience of banquets has mostly been from my own wedding and other similar celebrations.

So we were taking communion at church and I was reminded of God’s banqueting table and that His banner over us at this table is love.   

Those words are from the bible -the Song of Solomon but some might know or remember also the worship song about God bringing us to His banqueting table.   

He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.”

Song of Solomon 2:4

It is only through that act of selfless love when Jesus Christ died on the cross that we have the ability to come to that banqueting table and to the place prepared for us there.   

Christ issued the invitation and I accepted.    I hope you have also accepted that invitation.

Christ’s banner of love is over me and all around me when I am there.    You too.

I have a place at the banqueting table and so I have access to the full provision of God.   You do too.

I am dressed appropriately for the banquet with the garments of salvation and the robes of righteousness because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour, so there is no chance that I will be refused entry – you too;

but how often I can neglect to go there and take hold of and enjoy all that Jesus Christ has obtained for me at the Cross – you too?

Thankfully, the invitation from God is always open to come at any time – 24/7.   

There is always a welcome and my place will never be filled by anyone else so there is always a guarantee that I will have a place at the banqueting table – you too.

God can do exceedingly above all that I ask or imagine there because he is a God of abundance.   

The banquet is a picture of abundance and plenty for everyone.   The best food and drink are laid on at the banquet for the guests. 

Let’s not neglect to ask God for the things that we need and to trust Him to provide for us and sustain us.     It might be physical or spiritual sustenance that we need and we can be sure that whatever it is,  He will be faithful to meet our needs.   

Allow Him to fill us there with His love there so that we can be changed and overflow that love to others.     

A few years ago whilst on a retreat, the leader encouraged us all to take up the invitation to come to God’s banqueting table.  

He pulled up a physical chair and invited us to take our seat at the table.  

We did so and as we did, we saw ourselves seated at the table feasting on all the provision of God that Christ had obtained for us through His death and resurrection.

It had a profound effect on me.  

I encourage you to take up your place at God’s banqueting table today. 

Don’t leave it empty.

Link to He brought me to His banqueting table:

youtube.com/watch

Walking in Love: Love socks

I hope you like my Valentine day socks 😀

I put these socks on as a bit of fun to make my husband laugh but then I was immediately reminded of the exhortation of the Apostle Paul for us disciples of Jesus to walk in love. It’s the outworking of Christ’s love in and through us which is the witness of His transforming power in our lives.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
Ephesians 5:1-2

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” 2 John 1:4-6

Jesus said to his disciples “If you love Me, keep My commandments. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
John 14:15,21,23-24

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
John 15:9-14

I want to be a friend of Jesus. I hope you do too. ❤️