All things new..

So recently I was in Suffolk for a holiday with the camper van and of course my dearly beloved, aka husband, van driver, navigator and chef. To be fair I am really just along to enjoy the ride and provide the occasional fascinating fact hopefully about the places we visit.

We had never been to Suffolk before and on our way through we stopped off in Cambridge, that university seat of high powered learning. I hadn’t realised that some of the colleges in Cambridge were so old having been founded in the 12th century.

There have been incredible discoveries made here- Sir Isaac Newton discovering gravity (you can still see the tree that dropped the apple on his head apparently) and here the double helix of DNA was discovered just to name two.

So naturally this has prompted me to think of discovering new things. If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know I love to discover new things. That why I love reading other blogs. Learning from you all.

The Lord prompted me recently to change the bible verses on my site to the verses from Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know”.

Although the things I currently discover may be new to me but of course they are not original discoveries. Yet!!! Who knows what God has in store for me and us especially when we consider these amazing bible verses and God’s encouragement to ask Him to show us things that we do not know.

How incredible it must be to discover something completely new, to have that Eureka moment – although in this day and age I don’t recommend jumping naked out of a bath and running down the street like Archimedes did shouting Eureka or you’ll probably get arrested.

I believe the bible that says God created all things. He knows all things. He is the fount of all knowledge. I am sure that there are still many new discoveries to be made about this incredible world God has created for us and the universe around us. The natural and the spiritual realm.

I find it amazing that we humans are still discovering new species of animals, insects and plants every year. In June, Discovery magazine listed 7 new animal species discovered so far this year alone.

Scientists continually make new discoveries. You only have to google “new discoveries” and you’ll find an amazing amount of information about the most recent scientific breakthroughs.

If you are interested Time magazine has a list of the top 100 inventions in 2020 – innovations which are designed to change the way we live from a germ trapper (yuk) to a robot suit and a smart hard hat. I’m not sure if it’s the hard hat which is smart or wearing it makes you smart -if only! Some of these innovations may be for the better but some not so.

So what are you and I waiting for….let’s get out there and discover something new today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year. Let’s ask God what great and mighty things He wants to show us. Let’s discover something we didn’t know yet about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the bible, this creation, even about ourselves – for we are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.

What we discover may not be an original discovery which will change the world but it will definitely change your world and my world and it could possibly change someone else’s world for good.

May you experience the joy and excitement and wonder of that precious moment of discovery and wonder of the new.

The Lord has been speaking to me recently about starting something new called “5 minutes of Wonder”. I don’t know what that looks like yet or what the Lord wants to do but I’m excited to find out. Watch this space.

Have a blessed discovery my friends.

Photo by Noble Mitchell on Unsplash

Simple Instructions

Did you collect stickers as a child? These are two stickers I put in a bible given to me in 1976 by Glenrothes Baptist Church when I was a young girl. I’ll stress the young 😊

Two simple instructions:

1. Follow Jesus

2. Read the book of God

If you asked me for advice today then I don’t think I could put it any better than that. It’s served me well for the last 45 years. Follow Jesus and read God’s Word. Simples as they say 😊

We sometimes have a tendency to over complicate things and then can’t see the wood from the trees. It’s good to remind ourselves of simple truths which help us and bring us back on track when we get a bit lost, discouraged or wander away from God and His plan.

2 simple instructions that we can all apply.

Are you following Jesus? Have you submitted your life to Him as Lord? If not then there is no greater joy. If you have-are you still following His leading? Walking in the Spirit and being led by the Spirit.

Are you reading (or listening) to the Word of God, the bible for yourself? Do you know sound doctrine? There’s no substitute for studying the bible for yourself. Sure we have appointed teachers in the church to help us with our understanding, there are great books, teaching manuals, guides etc out there to help us but don’t neglect to read and study the Word of God for yourself.

My friend Heather told me this little verse which was passed on to her;

The bible is a mine of gold, of precious gems and wealth untold. Read now and pray that you may find, rich treasures for your heart and mind. Amen 🙏🏾

Be blessed today my friends x

First Impressions

There’s a great book, a classic, called Pride & Prejudice written by Jane Austen in the 1800s which has been made into various film adaptations. Although written during a different era, it’s message is still very relevant today. In the book, we encounter characters who make decisions (some very hasty) based on their own initial judgments & prejudices and how others appear initially to influence them.

The initial title for the book was apparently “First Impressions”.

We all make first impressions. When I started my first job in sales, I was always taught that you only had one chance to make a first impression on the customer so make it a good one. No pressure!!!

People make first impressions on us. There are lots of factors which can influence our first impression of someone and prejudice is one of those influences we need to recognise and if it’s there then choose to reject.

So I’ve been giving this topic of prejudice some thought. Do I really understand what it means to be prejudiced and do I harbour any prejudices in my own heart.

When I think of the word “prejudice” I think of pre-judging – my mind has already reached a conclusion – it’s judged a person or situation already without really knowing the truth.

It’s so easy to make snap decisions or judgments based on our “eyes” – what we initially see or by what we hear (which can unfortunately include hearsay), but discerning whether those arise from prejudice in our hearts is sometimes difficult to recognise unless it’s pretty obvious.

The dictionary defines “prejudice” as a “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.”

Sometimes, it is easy to recognise prejudice – it makes no effort to hide itself. I worked with a lady once who had a racial prejudice which was from ignorance and lack of relationships and experience of different cultures. She didn’t hide this prejudice and we had some very uncomfortable and difficult conversations about it. She couldn’t recognise the problem however.

When she was very ill in hospital with cancer, I went to visit her and the first thing she did was introduce me to her “new friend” who just happened to be a person of race that she had harboured great prejudice against previously.

I discovered that my friend had been placed in a hospital room for two. Initially, she was very unhappy with the arrangement – her prejudice influenced her first impressions of her room mate. However as they started to talk she discovered they had lots in common. She also experienced such great kindness and compassion from her new friend and his family whilst she was so ill that her eyes were opened to the truth and her prejudices disappeared. Her first impressions were changed.

My friend was truly sorry for the years that she had allowed this prejudice to rob her of forming friendships and relationships with people of other cultures and races and for the wrong things she had thought, said and done.

Sadly my friend died not many weeks after her stay in hospital but I’m truly grateful that before she died she had the opportunity to discover truth not prejudice. God works in amazing and gracious ways to bring us into truth.

The Lord knows that we as humans have a tendency to be swayed by our first impressions which is why he showed us that God isn’t influenced by those things.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

I wonder what our first impressions of Jesus would have been? Isaiah the Prophet said this about him.

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.”
Isaiah 53:2

From these verses it would seem that Jesus would not have initially drawn people to him through his appearance. It was his teachings, his character and his good works. He showed great compassion and love which drew people. His words of wisdom and understanding would have been like precious jewels.

James gives us good advice in these bible verses because prejudice can lead to favouritism.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:1-4

So my prayer this week is that the Lord will help me identify any prejudice in my heart and show me what influences my first impressions. May it be Godly discernment and wisdom with eyes of love which are not blinkered or blind. Eyes and ears that see the heart and character of a person not influenced by outward appearance.

Have a blessed week my friends.

What’s it based on..

Washed Clean

I saw these lovely old posters in a railway station today and they reminded me of the incredible blessing of being washed clean of sin by the precious blood of Jesus.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

No man made soap could ever wash away our sins and make us clean in God’s sight.

“For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, Yet your iniquity is marked before Me,” says the Lord God. Jeremiah 2:22”

It is only the “son” the “light” of the world who can make us truly clean.

Thankfully, Jesus is always willing to cleanse us. His offer is open to everyone to come and be cleansed.

“And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew 8:2-3

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
1 John 1:9

Thank you Lord for cleansing us from our sins and making us clean and righteous in your sight. Amen

Have a blessed day 😊

Feeling invisible

Do you sometimes feel invisible? That people just don’t notice you.

A visiting preacher from Turkey once told us that Mission begins with Seeing.

In chapter 2 of the story of Ruth we read in verse 5 – Boaz said “whose young woman is this?”

Ruth who was a foreigner, a stranger, a refugee who is destitute is noticed by Boaz. From that moment on when she is noticed – everything in her life changes.

When we notice someone or when someone notices us – things change.

There were a lot of reasons for Boaz not to notice Ruth or pretend he hadn’t noticed her- she was a woman from another culture. She was poor – not a worker in the field just there to pick up the leftovers – but Boaz noticed her. When he noticed her – he also did something to change her circumstances forever. He showed her favour, gave her advice, his protection and then redeemed her in marriage.

Ruth was a widow from another country who had gone to Bethlehem with her mother in law Naomi, also a widow, to escape a famine in the land. They had heard that there was food in Bethlehem. Ruth was a Moabite and was an outsider from a different culture. The Jews and Moabites were often in conflict. Ruth as a widow had no husband to represent her. She had no voice and no legal rights. She had no-one to protect her. She is living in a desperate situation having fled from a country suffering a severe famine. She has nothing other than her mother in law Naomi. She no doubt felt shame about her destitute circumstances.

Ruth was someone who desperately needed someone to notice her and help her.

Boaz was at the other end of the social scale. He is a wealthy landowner who has power, influence and privilege. He is a Jew. He has a voice. He has a position. Sometimes “having” can stop us seeing how others – the “have nots” are affected and living but Boaz does see Ruth though. He notices her situation and then uses his position to help her. He doesn’t ignore her plight.

This story is set in Bethlehem which is called the “House of Bread”. Hungry people come to the house of bread to be fed. When Ruth and Boaz marry and have children their descendants lead directly to Jesus. Jesus is from their line. Jesus who is and called himself the bread of life. Hungry people need Jesus who is the only one who can truly satisfy their hunger. Do we notice spiritually hungry people and signpost them to the true bread of life. Do we notice those who are actually hungry and feed them.

We are all refugees like Ruth in one sense in that we too as mankind lost our original place with God when sin entered the world through Adam & Eve eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. We all need a Boaz – a saviour to step in and help us. Someone who notices our plight and has the ability to be able to save us from sin – there is only one who can truly do that – His name is Jesus the son of God who through his death and resurrection saved and redeemed us from sin. We are refugees no more as our home is now in heaven with God forever and ever. We are now part of the family of God as Ruth became part of Boaz’s family on marriage.

If you feel invisible, insignificant or overlooked then I want you to know today that God is a God who sees us – God sees you. God notices you. He is just waiting for you to notice Him. He sees you right where you are.

When Hagar fled to the wilderness and hid it was God who saw her – She called him “you are the God Who Sees” because God saw her in her predicament and helped her. Even if those around us don’t notice us, if our families don’t notice us – God does. God always sees us. He loves us.

We are God’s eyes too – who does he want you to notice today so that you can show His love. Who does God want you to see – mission begins with seeing.

Whether you identify with Ruth or Boaz in the story, I pray that you will be encouraged. You will know that God has noticed you – He sees you and loves you. That we will also notice those who God wants us to see and notice who are in need today.

Have a blessed day.

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com