Yesterday, I went into our guest bedroom to find something. What with Covid and the travel restrictions, it’s not seen a lot of guests in the last year or so and has become rather a dumping ground for all sorts of family mess. However, it seems that one member of the family has been sneaking in there for her day time naps. The rascal.
She wasn’t in there at the time but the evidence of her was clearly visible. She had made herself a little nest on my red tablecloth (I did say all sorts of stuff had been left in that room) and traces of her were very visible on that red tablecloth. White cat hairs everywhere. I definitely knew she had been there. She had left traces….
So for those who know me through my writings, you’ll know that these seemingly random things always get me thinking. Leaving traces was the words that came to me. Do I leave traces of my presence behind? What about you? Would someone know that I’d been there before.
There is a beautiful verse in Acts about Peter and John.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
I pray that people will know that I have been with Jesus too and that I leave traces of Jesus behind me wherever I go. That’s my desire today for me and I hope for you too. May they say about us “ they have been with Jesus”.
Have a blessed day my friends. One more cheeky picture of the cat to make you smile.
Yesterday, I received a reminder of my 4 year blogging anniversary…it came as a bit of a surprise as I hadn’t realised. So a big thank you to everyone who has read, liked, commented, followed me and shared my posts over these last four years. Thank you 😊
I have connected with some amazing bloggers from all over the world reading a variety of blogs from people from all walks of life with all different types of blogs.
I have recently been fortunate to connect on a deeper level with some great UK Christian bloggers. We meet every couple of weeks on zoom to share stories and pray for each other – you can find more details about them and their sites here https://www.berrybunch.family/uk-christian-bloggers/
There is a verse in Isaiah which says this:
“‘Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” Isaiah 54:2
Blogging for me was enlarging my tent and I have lengthened my cords by connecting with other amazing bloggers world wide. The posts I have read have encouraged, inspired, taught and strengthened me. I have felt supported in my writings.
Thank you fellow bloggers for being such a blessed gift and keep up the good work.
If you are new to blogging then persevere. It takes time but start to connect with others and Don’t hold back .
I wrote a post recently called Replenish and since then I have been meditating on scriptures along this theme. I will be posting some more thoughts on this theme soon and would love your feedback on what that word Replenish has inspired for you.
Grandad David often wrote down snippets in his notebook from Aesop’s Fables. This is one of the morals from the story of the Fox and the Stork which must have made an impact on him.
“It is very imprudent as well as inhuman and uncivil to affront anybody; and whoever takes the liberty to exercise his witty talent that way must not think much of it if he be paid back in his own coin.”
I had not heard that expression before….to be paid back in your own coin. This was a fable that I wasn’t familiar with but the story goes like this:
THE Fox invited the Stork to dinner; and, being disposed to divert himself at the expence of his guest, provided nothing for the entertainment, but a soup, in a wide shallow dish. This he could lap up with a great deal of ease, but the Stork, who could but just dip in the point of his bill, was not a bit the better all the while: however, in a few days after, the stork returned the compliment, and invited the Fox; but suffered nothing to be brought to table but some minced meat in a glass jar; the neck of which was so deep and so narrow, that though the Stork with his long bill made a shift to fill his belly, all that the Fox, who was very hungry, could do, was to lick the brims, as the Stork slabbered them with his eating. The fox was heartily vexed at first: but when he came to take his leave, owned ingenuously, that he had been used as he deserved; and that he had no reason to take any treatment ill, of which himself had set the example.
If you ill treat people for your own amusement then you can’t complain if the same treatment is meted out to you. That’s being paid back in your own coin.
Today, I am reposting a post from 2018. I find it useful to go back and read some of my old posts and discover again some things the Lord has put on my heart and encouraged me with at various times, especially when I’m in a period which is extremely busy at work and I can feel overwhelmed. This post reminding me that God is sovereign and has a perfect plan for each of us reassures me that my future is secure in Him and to keep my eyes fixed on Him. I am in Him and He is in me which brings great peace and comfort to my soul.
2018 – God reminded me today that even though at times my life seems chaotic and overwhelming to me when I am trying to balance work, family, home and many other things which distract me, the truth is that He is always right there with me and I am made right with Him through Jesus.
I am living out His perfect plan for my life because He is in it. I don’t have to earn it or work at it – I just have to accept the greatest gift which Jesus has given to me – the gift of relationship with God.
I wrote down the following words which came to me as I spent some time with God today:
My children, From the very foundation of the world I had a plan and My plan has not altered. It is a plan set in the heavenly realm and My son Jesus achieved and accomplished in perfect obedience and perfect sacrifice and in perfect timing that plan. Every person on earth who has ever lived and was created with life has a place in My perfect plan. There is no-one who has ever lived who is not able to partake. None has been left out.
I long that all would come into My perfect plan for their lives. My plan is simple. It consists of relationship between Father, Son, Holy Spirit and you in perfect harmony of relationship. There is nothing which can stop you being part of My plan.
All that is necessary is humble acceptance of My son’s sacrifice and offering of Himself for you. He has obtained by His death and resurrection the keys of death and hell so that the door is open to walk into the perfect plan for your life. No other plan will bring you the desires of your heart for no other plan can bring you into perfect harmony with Me. It is simple and it is true. There is only one plan which is perfect and so why accept anything less for yourselves.
I hope that you have found that perfect plan in Jesus for your life with God. It’s called the gospel – the good news. The bible teaches that sin has separated us from God but Jesus, who had no sin, became that bridge to God by dying in our place. Jesus took the punishment that our sins deserved and made it possible to be reconciled with God and adopted into God’s family. We have to acknowledge our sin, accept Jesus as our saviour and then commit to following Jesus as a disciple for the rest of our lives, growing in the knowledge of God and His Kingdom being filled with the Holy Spirit and expressing God’s love to others. Telling others the good news about Jesus.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11
This is an entry in Grandad David’s book written in November 1905 on the subject of friends.
Be cautious in your choice of friends. It is of no small importance in life to be cautious what company we keep, and with whom we enter into friendships; for though we are ever so well disposed ourselves, and happen to be ever so free from vice, yet if those with whom we frequently converse are engaged in a wicked course, it will be almost impossible for us to escape being drawn in with them.In all our transactions with mankind even in the most private and humble life, we should have a special regard how and with whom we trust ourselves. If bad company had nothing else to make us avoid it, this might be sufficient, that it infects and taints a man’s reputation to as great a degree as if he were thoroughly versed in the wickedness of the whole gang.
The bible teaches us:
Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ 1 Corinthians 15:33
It’s a celebration of Fathers today in the UK. My girls have pulled out the stops this year and my husband could not contain himself. It was a gift of a charcuterie pack of smoked meats. My goodness, he was so happy I’m sure he almost cried. I’ve not seen him look at something so lovingly (apart from me obvs 🤣) in a long time. It was genuinely lovely to see though how happy this gift made him. The way to his heart..smoked and cured meats.
I’m blessed to have had a wonderful father, Bill. Sadly, he died in 2007 and I really miss him but I’m grateful to God for him and the Godly influence he had on my life. I have good memories to treasure of him.
There are many though who have not had such a good experience of a Father or any Father figure in their lives. That is a great sadness. This will probably not be a day of thanksgiving or celebration for them.
However, Jesus came to show us that God is a loving Father who longs to be reconciled with us. God loved us so much that even when we wanted nothing to do with him, he gave his only son to die for us. No greater gift has there ever been given than that. We can through faith in Jesus become adopted children of our Father in heaven. Our eternal Father who will never leave us or forsake us.
Thank you Lord that you are a good, good Father.
A father to the fatherless and a defender of those who have no-one else. You are on their side.
Thank you Lord for our Fathers. Help them to be Fathers after your own heart who are filled with your love, your loving kindness and patience. Grant them divine wisdom to guide, correct and support their children. Strengthen them in you. Bless the work of their hands. Amen.
Two gates today which I have mentioned together as they are both water related. The Fountain Gate and the Water Gate.
These gates have been very much in my thoughts and prayers the last week or so. At church we have been considering wells. We are all wells for Jesus. Sometimes our wells can become blocked, capped, or run dry. There are some people whose wells have been capped by others. Perhaps capped intentionally or sometimes unintentionally by a thoughtless criticism or harsh word.
The Lord wants to see those wells uncapped. I am sure you can recognise some capped wells that you know. Could you pray for them to be released. For healing of those hurts of the past and the restrictions to be lifted off people. It’s time to uncap those wells. Spring up oh wells is the cry of our hearts.
The enemy will seek to hinder us from being wells and we need to guard the wells of our heart. Sometimes our wells become polluted because it’s not pure water that we are allowing in. As my friend Paul wisely said this week, if we are pouring out a drink offering for others then may it be the pure living water of Jesus Christ, the Living Word that we offer them. May we be cleansed and purified by Jesus.
The Fountain Gate
Nehemiah repaired the Fountain Gate. This gate reminds us of Jesus, who is the fountain of living water and the Holy Spirit freely given to us, who lives in us and fills us daily by His power.
There is a living well of spiritual water for us to draw from daily.
It is an inexhaustible supply that will never run dry.
Jesus said we never need to thirst again when we come to Him because He is the living water. He can satisfy our thirst in all areas and bring refreshing to us.
“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
When we are tired, weary or discouraged then we can come to the Fountain Gate and be refreshed. We can drink deeply of Jesus and be restored.
If we forsake the living water then we will be dry and empty with nothing to give. Our source of spiritual life is Jesus and the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. The promise in Jesus’ words is that if we believe in Him then rivers of living water will flow from us. That’s a promise from Jesus. We have to thirst, come, drink, believe and let the river flow. No capping.
The Water Gate
This gate speaks to me of the power of the Word of God (Holy Scripture) which is at work in our lives. The bible teaches us that we are washed by the Word of God. The Word of God is living, powerful and true – a test of our thoughts and intentions of our hearts.
When we read, meditate and act on the Word of God then we see the fruit of its out-working in our lives and it keeps us on the right path.
The Water Gate was the only gate which it seems did not need to be repaired by Nehemiah as it doesn’t mention the repairs. They repaired opposite that gate and then the next section after it.
“Palal son of Uzai worked opposite the angle and the tower projecting from the upper palace near the court of the guard. Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate towards the east and the projecting tower.”
This speaks to me powerfully.
The Word of God endures for ever.
God’s Word does not need to be improved, added to or altered. It is complete just as it is. It is the best instructions, which are never irrelevant or outdated, for a life lived to God’s glory and fulfilling in every way. It’s the manual for successful living in God’s eyes. Not worldly success as we know it but Kingdom living.
Nehemiah re-built The Valley Gate. This is a difficult gate and one that we don’t much want to go through- the valley experiences. We would all much prefer to stay on the mountain top and enjoy those experiences with God but life for most of us is not like that – even the Christian life – it has mountains and valleys. We will face difficult times and times of struggle. It is in such times that our faith is tested and stretched but often it is these experiences which can lead to growth and strength in our faith.
The valley gate can be a necessary path to what God is preparing in us and for us. The valleys develop our faith and trust in God and we learn from these experience that God is loving, faithful to His promises and His Word and able to sustain us. We also develop empathy and compassion for those in or who will also go through similar circumstances. We have testimonies to share.
Humility and the valley gate in my experience can sometimes go together hand in hand. I have had to humble myself under God’s mighty hand before I realise that I can’t handle situations on my own or with my own wisdom and little understanding. Once I submit and surrender to God and acknowledge my dependence on Him, then I have felt His peace and His presence even in the most difficult of situations.
Valley Gates are painful. Jesus went through a valley gate when He went from Mt Olives through the Kidron Gate into the Garden of Gethsemane and then to the Cross. Jesus was in agony in the garden but He yielded to God’s will to be done.
Most of us will go or have been through valley experiences but the encouragement is that we are never alone at those times and we can get through them with God’s strength and support. Jesus promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. He will lead us through the valley – even the valley of death. The words of Psalm 23 encourage us that God is with us and will not forsake us and will comfort us in time of sorrow, grief, difficulty and pain.
If you are in a valley situation right now – I pray that you will have the strength and faith to keep going, don’t give up. I encourage you to ask for God’s help and help from others. God will show you the way and lead you through to the other side.
I was thinking about relationships and love the other day. This year is my 30th wedding anniversary in July. After dropping a few hints (very heavy hints) my husband realised what a milestone this was and something to be celebrated. I can only think being married to me is a celebration every day so that’s why he had forgotten 🤣
Our relationship has naturally changed over the years and deepened from that initial attraction and fervent love and passion to the developing of a deeper understanding and love for one another that goes beyond that surface knowledge and intimacy to something way deeper. We have learnt from each other and also discovered new things together. Set our own rhythms and become comfortable with each other, trusting each other to be there and challenge and support when things are tough.
There have been different seasons in our relationship. We are now entering that season when our children don’t need us as much and retirement is a lot closer. Our children are off doing their own thing so nights in, days out, holidays are generally just us now. When there’s no-one else around but you, that’s when you need those common interests and to still have fun together.
This navel gazing at my marriage has made me think of the beauty of being able to have a personal relationship with Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit.
When we are mature in faith (I’ve been a Christian longer than I’ve been married to my husband) it is good to stop and consider, whether our hearts still burn with a fervent love for God and for Jesus, our saviour.
Has our fire dwindled and do the embers need a fan of the wind of God’s Spirit.
What is it that motivates us daily in the things we do and say.
Remember that first time you became a Christian and how you were so hungry for the things of God?
If that fervent love is not still there, then what has taken the place which God had in our lives.
The Bible says Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.
Idolatry is putting something before God – we can make idols of money, careers, other people -worshipping anything other than God.
Idolatry is one of the areas I believe Holy Spirit is bringing conviction to us as believers in the Body of Christ. The Lord wants all of us.
The Holy Spirit can reveal the true nature of our hearts and what it is that really takes the first place in our lives, our thoughts, prompting our actions.
Sometimes, we are blind to what or who is really sitting on the throne in our hearts.
We love God because He first loved us and gave His son to die for us while we were still sinners.
Love for God will manifest itself in spending time in His word and in fellowship with Him through prayer and praise. Times of fellowship with God; fellowship with other believers, being obedient to His Will; allowing His Holy Spirit to fill us and mould us.
The Lord draws us with chords of love. Let him draw you to Him today.
I’m fortunate still to be away this week having a refreshing break in the beautiful hills and valleys of Wales. Truly beautiful part of this world and our Father’s creation.
I’ve been able to keep up with my reading and enjoyed Alan’s post on refreshment which comes from reading our precious bibles. Praise God.
It inspired me to share a post from last year on refreshing company. I don’t know about you but I know some people who are “drainers”. I come away from time with them feeling emotionally drained. They’ve sucked everything out of me.
Paul talked about another type of people “Refreshers”. I hope you have plenty of those in your life too. Perhaps you are one of them 😀.
“I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition”. 1 Corinthians 16:17-18
These bible verses really inspired me today. Oh how blessed we are to have people like a Stephanus, Fortunatus and Achaicus in our lives and in the body of Christ. People who refresh us.
These type of Christian believers are commended by Paul. They must have been a great source of encouragement and Godly wisdom to the early church.
We all need times of refreshing. One of those ways of refreshing is also through other believers, just as Paul and the Corinthians were refreshed by the visit of these 3 men.
As Paul says, such people deserve recognition.
Can I encourage us all to take some time to think about the people who are the refreshing company in our lives. They make us happy when we see them. They give and impart good things. Positive people.
Let’s thank God for them. They are a blessing.
Let’s also make a point of thanking them. It’s good to let such people know that we value them.
Finally, let’s all try to be the “refreshing” company we enjoy so people are happy to see and hear from us. We can be that source of refreshment to others.