Asking…what do we need today

Perhaps it’s part of our nature but sometimes we don’t like asking others for things or asking other people for help. Even our close family or friends.

The same can be said of asking from God. But Jesus encourages us to ask our Heavenly Father for the things we need.

One of the reasons is that it keeps our eyes on God and places our trust and dependence in Him as our Father looking out for us. God reliance instead of self reliance.

God is ABBA our Father who loves us and cares for us and also Jehovah Jireh. God who provides.

Jesus says to us today: Ask and you will receive – Matthew 7:7

What do you need today? There will definitely be things. They could be material, emotional or spiritual.

Whatever it is be assured that the storehouses of heaven are not empty and God is well able to provide for us.

My friend Geoff reminded us in our prayer group of this verse in James which says:

“You have not because you ask not” James 4:2

But James also tells us in the next verse that we wont receive if we ask with the wrong motives.

God knows our hearts and what prompts us to ask for things – if our requests are selfishly motivated or we are asking for the wrong things then we will not receive them from God.

We are living in times when God wants to remind us and encourage us to ask Him and trust Him to provide for us.

COVID has shown all of us whether rich or poor how quickly our lives can be shaken and turned upside down. How the things we rely on everyday can quickly disappear. Even how quickly the shelves of the supermarkets can be emptied by panic buying.

This is the time to remind ourselves that we are not orphans. We have a Father in heaven.

Let us approach God with confidence because God is not unprepared. Jesus tells us that our Father in heaven already knows the things we need before we even ask him – Matthew 6:8

The first prayer which Jesus taught his followers to pray to the Father makes some specific requests of God:

To Feed us (provision) – Give us our daily bread;

To Forgive us (grace) – for the wrongs we do as we forgive others;

To Lead us (direction)- keep our steps from following after the wrong things;

To Deliver us from evil (protection) – from satan and his strategies against us. For he, the thief, comes just to rob, kill and destroy.

If we pray as Jesus showed us it covers all our basic needs of provision, forgiveness, direction and protection.

My friend, Heather, had a picture recently of heaven’s storehouses which were stocked full with all the things that Jesus died that we may have as our inheritance now to live life to the full in Him and do His works.

These are all the things that the enemy wants to make sure that we don’t have and enjoy. Satan wants to rob them from us. Satan will do what he can to stop us asking God for what we need and distort our understanding of God’s love and care for us. He will use distraction, discouragement, pride and unbelief in hindering and stopping us asking God for help.

God really cares about the little things. During the first lock down in April I was helping as a volunteer to get shopping for vulnerable people. I was sent a shopping list for a lady with cancer and it was a long list. I was like Lord where am I going to get these items especially toilet paper as there was none at all in the shops. I had been out shopping and the shelves were mostly bare.

Well I went shopping and I was amazed because each shop I went in I managed to get something from her list. In one shop I remember there was one can of what this lady needed just sitting there on a shelf. Just waiting for me to pick it up.

The last thing on the list was the toilet paper and to be honest I was not feeling that hopeful but then I saw two ladies walking along the street with big bags of toilet paper. I’m not normally pushy but I really wanted to find this toilet paper. I called over and asked them where they had managed to find it. They showed me a shop that had just taken a new delivery and stocked the shelves. I can’t tell you how glad I was to be able to deliver all that ladies items to her and how pleased she was to receive them.

Be encouraged today to ask of God in faith and expect to receive. Join with others too and encourage them to ask. Asking with others is powerful.

Jesus said that when two of us agree about something and ask God then it will be done for us by our Father in heaven.

I join my prayer with yours today and say;

Our Father in heaven:

May your holy name be honored;

may your Kingdom come;

may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today the food we need.

Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.

Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.’

Amen 🙏

Ready to receive

Condemnation

I don’t know about you but I really don’t like the word Condemnation.

Judges use it when passing sentences on an accused who has been found guilty and sentenced to a punishment which can include death. It must be a terrible thing to be condemned especially to death.

The bible tells us that the wages of sin is death but that through faith and salvation in Jesus Christ there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Jesus has paid the price of our sins, all of them, and justified us completely.

It is sad that many of us are still struggling under the lie of condemnation and guilt.

The Holy Spirit convicts us as believers when we do wrong but does not bring condemnation.

If you still feel condemned and that you deserve everything that happens in your life. That it’s a just punishment for what you’ve done then God wants to remind you that He is a gracious and merciful God. Forgiveness means forgiveness. Please do not get trapped in condemnation. God blots out our sins from His remembrance and remembers them no more. It is by grace that we are saved.

He is a God who abundantly pardons us.

If we still have a definite intention to continue to sin and disobey God then that is not walking in the spirit but in the flesh. As followers of Christ we are new creations in Him and the old sinful self has been crucified with Christ.

We are called to be holy just as Jesus was holy so that we can proclaim the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9

We do mess up though and make mistakes and it is the mercy and forgiveness of God that we need in such times. That is the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He keeps us on that narrow path

Believing condemnation traps us and keeps us from moving forward and growing. Jesus wants to set us free from condemnation so that we can run the race He has for us.

The bible tells us that sin entangles us and ensnares us.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:1-3

Jesus intercedes for us before Gods throne of grace. He is our compassionate High Priest. He has overcome the world and persevered and He knows that we too can overcome sin through His strength and the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.

He believes in us.

Don’t give up even if you mess up.

Jesus doesn’t condemn us so let’s not condemn ourselves or allow others to condemn us.

We are called to help each other when we get it wrong. Speaking the truth in love to each other. We can’t ignore bad behaviour or turn a blind eye or sweep it under the carpet because that does not help anyone and the body of Christ becomes sick. Hypocrisy is not the way.

Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.’
Luke 11:34-36

In helping others let us not fall into the trap of criticism, condemnation and judging each other which can be wounding and lead to hurts that fester and cause bitterness.

Blessings to you today in Jesus 🙏

Jesus the Lamb of God

The shouts of heaven still continue to declare:

All Hail the Lamb; All Hail the Lamb;

He is the darling of heaven;

He is crowned with many crowns;

At His name every knee will bow;

He is all majesty and power;

His eyes are like a flaming torch;

He is TRUTH and LOVE;

On His thigh is written a name only He knows;

He is FAITHFUL and TRUE;

He is HEALER, He Is CLEANSER;

He is Deliverer;

He is the Refining Fire;

Open your eyes today to see Him;

It is time to anoint our eyes with salve so that we can truly see Him;

If you are blinded to the truth then you will not see Jesus for who He truly is;

He is more than a prophet, He is more than a man;

He is the Son of the living God;

He is God;

He is alive;

We live in times when there are many blind leaders of the blind;

Many follow those who are blind along the wrong ways;

Are you blinded to the truth;

Have we become blinded to the truth;

I pray the Holy Spirit will open eyes to the truth today so that we can see Jesus more clearly;

Without Jesus as our saviour we are in sin but He can cleanse us from all sin.

I pray today that you will see and know Jesus in all His glory. Take hold of Him today and His redeeming Love for you in faith.

Amen

Gardens…

Meet Me in the garden…Those were the words I heard in my spirit as I was waking one morning. I initially turned over and tried to go back to sleep but I heard them again – “Meet Me in the garden”.    I knew it was the Lord Jesus speaking to me and inviting me to spend time with him – not in my actual garden – but in that secret place where I go to pray and talk to Him.    It was early morning so I got up as quietly as I could, so not to disturb my family, and went downstairs to a place I could be alone and meet with the Lord.

It was a really blessed time in His presence.   I started to think more about why the Lord has said to “Meet Him in the garden” and what is so special about a garden.   

During lockdown because of Coronavirus,  many people have spent more time in their gardens or local parks.   It is a blessing to have a garden – a place which is yours, a sanctuary to enjoy and take pleasure from.    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.

I started to think more about gardens in the bible.

God was the first Gardener – It says in Genesis 2 v 8  that “the Lord God planted a garden”  – the Garden of Eden.    How amazing & beautiful that first garden must have been – planted & 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.   He took the time to create a special place for Adam.   A place of nourishment & also a place to meet.    God would walk in the garden in the cool of the day and meet with Adam & Eve – a time of relationship.   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 – it was formed there – God created Eve from Adam’s side and the Tree of Life was in it’s midst.    Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness and I believe that we find life – true life – in our relationship with Him.    When we come and meet with Him 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 & Eve had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good & 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, there is a way back into the garden of fellowship with God for us and we are now partakers of eternal life.

Death was also in that Garden – When Adam & Eve ate of the tree of knowledge death came.   God made tunics of skin to cover them – an animal had to die to provide clothing for Adam & Eve.  Death had entered into creation.   Death was also drawing near in the Garden of Gethsemane.    Jesus met with his Father in prayer in the Garden on that night.    It says in the gospels that Jesus often went with his disciples there and that is why Judas knew where to find him.    On that night – it was a place of betrayal, pain & 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 & torture.     The garden is a place that God wants us to come when we are in such times of sorrow – times of anxiety & 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 & strengthen us in such times 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 him lead you astray. 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 & hope was in the Garden – When Jesus conquered the grave and rose from the dead and 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.   It 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 from there to water the garden.    We all need food & 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 and hearing what He has to say to us in those quiet times and 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 doing things for God.  I am blessed by the giftings 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 waits in the garden. God loves us no matter what we have done or what we do.

You will hear God’s voice in the garden. 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. Blessings to you.

 

Mountains..

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 3:19.

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 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? 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 heavenly awakening

Early this morning I heard my alarm clock start to sound. It was very clear. One long burst and then it went off.

I woke up but then realised that my alarm had not sounded. What I had heard was in the spirit. I then heard the Lord say that He is sounding His alarm all over the world.

His people are being woken by His alarm but many are not responding and continue to sleep.

Jesus says wake up you sleepers. Rise from the dead and He will give you light.

Many are confused about what is happening. There is fertile ground for deception and much deception, lies and false news is being spread. Many are searching for truth and the Lord says if you Seek Him you will Find Him as He is the Truth, the Way and the Life.

Blessings to you this day.

A course correction – the right direction

The Lord has been speaking these same words “a course correction” to me over the last month or so. It has certainly got my attention and through various scriptures and pictures, I keep coming back to this theme of a “course correction”. As I have been reading and praying, I believe that the Lord is emphasising that whether it is on a personal level or even governmental and national – there is need of a “course correction”.

I have this sense that some may have gone “off course” in terms of following God, or in doing what God wants us to do in our lives or doing what is pleasing to Him. The degree of “course correction” required is going to vary depending on how far we have wandered from the right path or direction that God wants to take us. It could be just a small correction or adjustment to get us back on track or if we are going in the wrong direction entirely then it will mean a complete “U” turn – whether that is in terms of mindsets and/or behaviors to get back on track.

Photo by Kelly Lacy on Pexels.com

For some I believe it means they will find the right way in God through Jesus for the first time. It will be a complete revelation of truth to them. They will hear the good news and receive the gospel and believe. There could be opposition, trouble and persecution to this new direction in life and for some people it will mean going in the opposite direction to those around you – people you may have journeyed through life with for a long time. There will be challenging times ahead but Jesus will journey with you and take you through.

You might be led to take a different path and for some there may be a literal parting of ways with certain people – this even happened with the Apostle Paul when he parted ways with Barnabas and they went in different directions in their missionary journey. I see this happening in certain ministries – people are going to part company but God will show the timing of this and trust Him to give you peace about the decision. It may mean for those who do not discern God’s hand and direction that there could be hurts along the way and difficulties to overcome, so I pray for God’s grace in these situations and a covering of protection of hearts & minds. That no root of bitterness will spring up or jealousy among fellow believers leading to disunity and trouble.

At the start of Covid 19 we certainly seemed to be having a time of “reset” and people took the opportunity of an enforced lockdown to review lots of aspects of their lives. Even Churches were not immune and had to review their practices and make changes to the way that they functioned in terms of meeting together, teaching & helping each other and their local communities. Lots of changes were made, there was innovation & new practices undertaken – but recently people seem to be wanting to get back to “normal”.

People are saying more and more that they can’t wait until things return to normal. I can understand this because there has been a lot of confusion and changes of rules/regulations and this has unsettled us -there are restrictions on our every day lives and we are longing for a return to normality, but I don’t think God wants us to return to the old “normal”. I believe God really wants us to embrace a course correction. God does not want us to return to old habits and ways of doing things especially if they were wrong. There is something better that God has for us.

The Lord first got my attention on a “course correction” with a reading in the book of Habakkuk. Habakkuk was a prophet in the Old Testament and in Chapter 2 he says “I will stand my watch and set myself on the ramparts and watch to see what He (God) will say to me and what I will answer when I am corrected“.

Habakkuk actively sought correction from God – he prepared himself to listen and receive it but in my experience (this may just be me) -we usually try and avoid correction or disciplining. I don’t think I have met anyone yet who really likes being disciplined and told they are wrong but it is good for us and its necessary. We can make wrong choices or we move and act impulsively or at the wrong time. God loves us and correcting us is a sign of His love for us – If we are children of God then it is a given that He will correct us. As a loving Father, God wants to correct us and show us when we are “off course”. God wants the best for us. He showed Habakkuk plainly – God said “write the vision and make it plain i.e. clear so that he may run who reads it” – in other words God speaks clearly to us through His word and shows us what is required for Godly living.

When I was thinking about this scripture from Habakkuk the Lord showed me a picture of a sail boat. It was just a small simple boat with a sail and a person sitting at the helm with his hand on the tiller. The tiller is the “course corrector” – without the tiller the boat would just go with the currents, the winds & tides which would dictate its course. However, the sailor constantly adjusts the pressure on the tiller to keep the boat going in the right direction. God is the tiller in our lives. There is always going to be a “wind” or a “current” in our lives which tries to influence us and take us in a certain direction. It’s identifying which is prevailing and influencing the direction of my life – is it culture, relationships, work, fears, lies, anxieties, my desires, my assumptions etc. there are so many things – or am I allowing the word of God and the breath of the Holy Spirit to lead me in the right way – with my eyes fixed on Jesus. It’s challenging to take time and ask God to identify what is truly influencing our decisions and the direction we are travelling.

Photo by Jahoo Clouseau on Pexels.com

The good news is that Jesus comes to set us back on track if we are going the wrong way. Jesus set two of His followers back on the right course. In Luke 24 starting at verse 13, we read the story of two followers of Jesus, one named Cleopas, who were travelling from Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus. Both had been in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified and were discussing everything that had happened with Jesus’ death and also the story that the women had told them that morning of Jesus’ tomb being empty. They were confused, sad and didn’t know what to believe. They had now left Jerusalem & the other believers – we are not told why- and were travelling to Emmaus – 7 miles away – going in the wrong direction. Jesus took the time to go and meet them on the road and explain the truth to them – he took them through the scriptures and explained the truth about the Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament. These men both knew Jesus but they didn’t immediately recognise Jesus on the road but something compelled them not to let this “stranger” go on but to hear more from Him. The story ends with them doing a “U” turn and heading back to Jerusalem.

I love this story – Jesus shows His love and compassion as the good shepherd for these two followers. He actively seeks them out because they are headed in the wrong direction but they don’t realise it. They need to be in Jerusalem. They need to go back to where they headed out from. Jesus eventually reveals himself to them when they all sit down to eat & break bread together (this speaks to me of a time of intimacy and fellowship) and then immediately once they recognise Jesus it all makes sense – they get up and head back to Jerusalem – even though it is late at night to tell the rest of the disciples the good news – Jesus is alive – He has been resurrected.

This story made me think – What would have happened if those two followers had not returned to Jerusalem. Not only did they encourage and immediately witness about Jesus’ resurrection to the other disciples when they returned which must have had an impact especially when their story was verified when Jesus appeared again to all of them there, but I also think they could have missed out on receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit which Jesus had promised His followers. It is not recorded in scripture, but I do believe those two men were part of those 120 who were recorded as gathered in the upper room in the Acts of the Apostles and received the infilling and power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus did not want them to miss out on the fullness of what He had promised and it’s the same for you and I today. Jesus does not want us to miss out on the fullness of what He died and rose from death to give us – life in all its abundance.

I think Jesus wants to cause an intervention in some lives to get us back on track. We hear of “interventions” being made in secular terms – someone might be in a desperate situation and there has to be an “intervention” by friends or authorities to get them to stop and change – to get them to realise truth. Jesus does the same and the New Testament is full of stories of Jesus intervening in people’s lives and totally changing them and their circumstances. The apostle Paul is another example who comes to mind- Jesus meets him on the road to Damascus and totally changes the direction of his life – instead of persecuting and killing Christians as Saul – he becomes Paul – a believer and follower of Christ who becomes a witness of Jesus – an apostle and missionary.

Isaiah 55 v 7 says “Let the wicked forsake his way, …….Let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God for He will abundantly pardon”. The good news of Jesus is that salvation -believing in Jesus and accepting Him into our lives – the biggest course corrector to lead us back into fellowship with God – is available to everyone. Repenting means doing a “U” turn – a “turn around” – turning away from our former sinful and self-centered lives – and following Jesus as a disciple. It is not too late to make that decision to get off the wide path that Jesus says leads to destruction and instead choose to take the narrow path which Jesus guides us to and puts our feet on – the path of salvation and to eternal life with God. Restoration in all its fullness.

And what of those of us who are followers of Christ already- where could we possible need a course correction. Jesus speaks to the churches in Revelation and showed them some course corrections needed -Firstly – the church who had forgotten their first love. I was really convicted of this recently – My love for Jesus – it needed rekindling. My passion for Him as I had at first as a young believer – when I first came to know Him and love Him. Those verses in Revelation 2:4 spoke right into my heart “I have this against you – that you have left your first love”. Remember from where you have fallen – repent – a course corrector – it’s always first and foremost about Jesus. It’s about our relationship with Him. It’s not what we do but why we do it – Jesus is the reason – our love for Him.

It’s not just losing our first love, Jesus also points out in these early chapters of Revelation the churches who are tolerating immorality, idolatry, false teachings, tolerating false prophets, the indifferent church – neither hot nor cold and the dead church – having a name for being alive but actually dead. Jesus has words of correction to all these churches but also words of encouragement to keep the churches on the right paths of His presence and teachings. To help them get back on track and overcome all trials and temptations just as Jesus did – with His guidance and the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us. We, who are the Church – the body of Christ – a living, breathing body with Christ as our head need to take these words of Jesus on board – They are relevant to these times that we are living in. What is Jesus saying to His church today – what words of correction is He bringing to us.

I pray that this blog will be an encouragement, challenge and help to you. It may resonate with you and may you be blessed in Jesus’ precious name.

Watch the Nations – whose side will they take?

I sense that God is encouraging us to watch & pray and see which nations are aligning themselves with each other in the times ahead.

Nations which at one time were bitter enemies may start to align themselves – taking sides against other nations.

Nations which at one time would have relied on support from another nation will instead be betrayed when that nation unexpectedly sides against them.

I felt God say that this is a time when nations need to be careful who they align themselves with in the days ahead and what they do. Those decisions will have eternal consequences.

Nations are in danger of allowing pride to deceive them into making the wrong alliances.

Obadiah is one of the shortest books in the Old Testament but it warns about the consequences of such actions for the nation of Edom. In verse 3 we read about the nation of Edom “the pride of your heart has deceived you”.

Edom picked the wrong side to support. They chose to align themselves with an enemy against Israel & the people of God who were their brothers.

Edom was part of the winning side or so it seemed at the time. Israel was defeated. Edom celebrated the victory and rejoiced over Israel’s destruction & captivity.

However, God was against their behavior – v 10 – For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you” v11 – in the day that you stood on the other side”

Edom aligned themselves wrongly.

The consequences of that decision & their subsequent actions were that they were going to be shamed & brought low. God would take vengeance on their actions and against those who harmed His people. God was going to restore His people.

In verse 15 it says “For the day of the Lord upon all nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you – your reprisal shall return upon your own head“.

How the nations act & what they do – God will measure it back to them.

There is a day of divine justice coming to all the nations of the earth.

Jesus said that in the last days “Nations will rise against Nations” – Matthew 24:7

Let us watch & pray over the nations as the Lord leads us in these days.

God bless,

A divided Kingdom will fall – pray for the United Kingdom

This morning the Lord led me to read Daniel 5 and the account of Belshazzar’s feast. During the feast a finger divinely appears on the wall and writes. This sight terrifies the king and he wants to know what the words mean as no-one can read them. Daniel is brought in and he interprets the words as:

Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin

He tells the King that the meaning is this: God had numbered Belshazzar’s kingdom & finished it. Belshazzar had been weighed and found wanting. His Kingdom was now going to be taken from him and given to others.

Belshazzar had not learnt the lessons of the past from his own father’s (Nebuchadnezzar) experience and was brought down by pride.

I believe that God is warning us that we, the United Kingdom, are in danger of being brought down because of Nationalistic Pride.

I have written below the words I heard from the Lord this morning in my spirit:

My eye has been over the kingdoms of the earth since the beginning of time. I have watched them rise and I have watched them fall.

In the time of Daniel, my servant was shown the mystery of the kingdoms of the earth and how they would be brought up and brought down.

I have measured each one in My hand and all have been found wanting. Not one earthly kingdom has measured up fully to the calling that was put upon it and the mantle which covered it.

The kingdom that you live in (the United Kingdom) is a kingdom about to divide itself again.

For a kingdom divided against itself, such as your kingdom is now, cannot stand.

The day is approaching faster than some can see – that the kingdom will divided. This is not part of My divine plan for your nation but is an inevitable outcome if they continue in this way. If each one takes continual power for themselves and decides what benefits their own nation rather than the collective then this kingdom will fall.

It is an inevitable consequence unless there is a repentance and turn of heart and each nation truly joins together for the common good of all. Divided they will fall otherwise.

May My people pray for a turning to occur in the hearts of those who govern these nations. May they humble themselves and rid themselves of nationalistic pride but rather seek the good of all. United they stand but divided they fall.

Pray for the unity of the kingdom before it cleaves itself completely and then it will not be able to fulfill the destiny calling to which it has been called for the last days.

This is the day for coming together and not tearing itself apart.

I was reminded of Jesus words in Matthew 12:25 – “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.”

I believe that we are stronger together as a kingdom rather than as individual nations. Nationalistic pride is a stumbling block. Each nation that makes up the United Kingdom – Scotland, England, Wales & Northern Ireland is important and has a voice that should be heard but no element should be favored above the other. Let each work together for the benefit of all.

Lord we pray that you will open the eyes of those who govern our nations and the ministers of each nation of Scotland, Wales, England & Northern Ireland. Lord let them see the division that is occurring. Open their eyes Lord and convict their hearts. Let their hearts be softened and let truth be received. Reveal nationalistic price and let all be truly repentant and turn instead in humility to working for the common good of all in equality and for unity. Let there be true unity among those who govern our nations. Let the stumbling blocks of pride be removed.

Let them lead us, the people, by example and let their example Lord then bring change in us. Let us all Lord come together as one – truly united in You our sovereign God.

Lord reveal the demonic plans of the enemy to bring division and stir up hatred. Let the enemy be undone and let his plans to divide this nation come to nothing. Lord we pray that your Will is achieved in us and that you use the United Kingdom powerfully for your purposes in these days ahead Lord. Amen

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Truth will always out

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 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 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 because of Covid 19 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.

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.

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

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”.