#Freedom Day

Well today 19th July has been labelled “Freedom Day” here at home in England now that more Covid lockdown restrictions have been lifted. Given current circumstances though it’s not really a “Freedom Day” -we’re not all truly free as there are still restrictions in place and also a lot of people who can’t enjoy the full benefits for various reasons. Its not full freedom by any means.

I find it significant and interesting that our own Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak can’t participate fully in #Freedom Day as they have to follow the rules and self isolate having come into close contact with the Health Secretary who has Covid – although they did try some creative thinking or was it rule bending 🤔 to try and get the rule dis-applied to them. Thankfully they wisely did a U-turn and agreed to comply with current rules like responsible citizens.

You can’t write about #Freedom Day without thinking of true freedom and what that means. It will mean different things to different people dependent on their experiences and circumstances. As Christians we can truly celebrate a #Freedom Day that is available to everyone to participate in through simple faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the one who has set us free from the effects of sin and death so that we can live in true freedom and have ever lasting life. He took our punishment through His sacrifice and death on the cross. He was punished for us and we have obtained freedom through God’s grace and mercy.

My own personal #Freedom Day was 26th June 1976 when I asked God to forgive me for the wrong things in my life and accepted Jesus as my Saviour. I gave my life to Him and went on to be baptised in water as a sign of repentance and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Praise God that I’m truly free and I hope dear reader that you also have your own #Freedom Day to celebrate or if not, that you discover Jesus and become truly free.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:3-8

Although we may live under permanent or temporary physical restrictions, in Jesus we are truly free spiritually. Amen and thanks to our Father in heaven, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit.

True freedom
Photo from 2015 trip to Robben Island. Freedom cannot be manacled

The Narrow Gate

So this week, I am blogging “en vacances” as the French say, but from the Peak District and the Derbyshire Dales and not the belle France ….which is where we should be this week coming with the family. Sadly, because of Covid restrictions it was not meant to be. C’est la vie. However, new opportunities beckoned.

It’s been about a 2.5 hour trip from home to get to our new camping ground, so not far, but this is a good opportunity for us to visit some areas we have not considered previously and take our minds off France. Although Covid changed our travel plans, we are blessed in that we live in a tourist destination already. The U.K has beautiful places to visit and although the sun is not guaranteed….as we were always told as kids when sheltering on a windy cold Fife beach, “there is no bad weather wee girl, just bad clothing” 😂

If you have never been to this area of the U.K. then I recommend a visit. The Derbyshire Dales is beautiful and seems much less busy or well known than the Yorkshire Dales, but if you like limestone gorges and beautiful river valleys with babbling brooks then this is for you.

The high Peaks of the Peak District are also great for stretching those legs out, walking to Mam Tor, Kinder Scout. Not that I made it up Kinder Scout (I’m not that energetic) but Mam Tor was just perfect to get my heart pumping. I like a nice river walk me – usually flat but as my husband says, “if you want the views then you got to get up there to the heights”. I tell him “that is why they invented cable cars”.

River walk
Lathkill Gorge
View from Mam Tor

So, to get to the inspiration for this post..the narrow gate. On our first evening here, we ventured for a walk and discovered the “narrow gate”. Here it is..it was the first of many we encountered on our walks in these parts but our first experience of such a gate. As you can see the gate is made of two massive stones, positioned to enable walkers to enter the next field but not the livestock. Let others through and keep others out.

Photo taken at Youlgreave

I seriously struggled to get through it. I literally had to squeeze myself through. I know I’m carrying a few extra Covid pounds but this was ridiculous. My husband thought it was hilarious as I was trying this way and that way and eventually sideways to get through. I don’t know what was going wrong because I should have easily got through the gap. It is very narrow at the bottom and then widens out (a bit) but I seemed to approach it all wrong.

And there lies the rub…with finding and entering through the narrow gate which Jesus talks about. The gate that leads to God and eternal life. We have to approach and enter through the gate (Jesus) in the right way. We can’t take any of our selfish ambitions, pride or get through the gate by belief in our own goodness or good works. My own righteousness and good works are just filthy rags and will not do. They just get in the way and count for nothing.

The good news is that you can enter through the gate by simple faith in Jesus alone. Simple childlike faith. The gate is available to be found by everyone from every nation to find and walk through. There is an entrance fee but Jesus has already paid it for us. He died and paid the penalty for sin so the price is paid in full.

Have you found the narrow gate dear reader and entered through? Or are you approaching the gate in the wrong way and making it too difficult for yourself. Don’t let the things of this world get in the way of walking through that gate. Divest yourself of them and simply come as you are. Believe in Jesus and follow Him.

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
Matthew 7:13-14

“so he (Jesus) explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. John 10:7-18

There is power in the blood

There is a hymn which boldly declares “There is power, power, wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.” These words remind us as Christians of the incredible power that there is in the blood of Jesus Christ, which Jesus shed for us all, to cleanse us and purify us from all sin.

When we consider the blood of Jesus and what it has done for us, it stirs us to give all Praise, Honour and Glory to Him who sits on the throne – the Ancient of Days. God, the Sustainer of all life. God himself breathed into Adam and brought forth life. God alone is Creator.

The Godhead has all authority and power over every created being. No-one is higher or has more supremacy than God, yet it pleased him (God) to send His only Son Jesus to die in our place so that we may live instead of die and not be in eternal damnation. It pleased God to then raise Him (Jesus) to the highest place – far above all principalities and powers and to put all things under His Feet and under His authority.

Jesus purchased us from the power of death and broke the curse of sin over our lives. How precious and valuable we are to Him. We have been redeemed with the most precious substance – the blood of Jesus. God’s own son – His Holy blood which has purified us from all sin and wiped away our spots and blemishes. We are now clean. Clean in and through the power of His precious blood.

How valuable is one spot of that blood. Can it ever have a price put upon it? If we knew how much it really cost for God’s own son to suffer and die to provide His blood for us. How much more would we place a value upon it. Much more precious than gold or silver or all the precious metals and jewels in the world. Not even the richest man who has ever lived would be able, through his riches, to purchase a drop of that sacred blood. No wonder that God has made it by His Grace and Mercy freely available to all who ask of Him. Ask and you will receive. Nothing held back. The blood of Jesus which cleanses and purifies all from their sin is freely available to all who will receive Him. How blessed and fortunate we truly are to have the most precious gift – the true treasure.

There is still power in the blood of Jesus for us today. We plead the blood over ourselves, our loved ones and all who need His blood and the power of His blood working in their lives today.

There is power, power, wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb. Amen.

Come and avail yourself of it today whilst there is still opportunity. Do not wait for tomorrow for tomorrow may never come. Come before it is too late – Taste and see that God is good and His mercy and love are unfailing towards you.

Hebrews 9: 22 “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin

Revelation 7:14 “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”

1 Peter 1: 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”

Revelation 1:5 “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood

Darkness into Light

Mark 16. Verses 1-8. The Resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus is our true hope..He takes us from darkness into His glorious light.

My dear friends, I have posted the link below to our Resurrection Service today celebrating our risen Saviour, Jesus. I had the privilege of speaking today and announcing His resurrection. The message outlines how God was working in the darkness and still works in our darkness to bring about the glorious resurrection of Jesus to life in us. The true light of life to light our way from darkness into life. He is the light in our darkest times. He is the true light.

God loved us all too much to leave us in darkness and sin. He planned the story of redemption from the very beginning to restore us to Him. He brought us into His glorious Light.

I pray you are blessed and take hold of Jesus the saviour of the world and the one true hope today. He can bring you out of and through the darkness into His glorious light.

youtube.com/watch

The Cross of Jesus and Me

So here we are, Good Friday. A day when I can pause and reflect on Jesus’ death and what it means to me.

We all have an opportunity today to ask ourselves…What does the Cross mean to me?

The Cross is a personal experience.

I have to come to the Cross for myself.

I have to accept that Jesus died for me and understand why He chose to die.

I am so grateful that others have helped point me towards the Cross of Jesus.

I am so grateful that there were witnesses to His death and Resurrection who told the story in the gospels.

I am so grateful for the ones who through the years have faithfully told and shared the the Good News.

The ones who faithfully declared the truth that Jesus the Son of God came to this world and had to die so that I could live. Jesus became my sin offering before God and paid the price to set me free. He who had no sin took my sin on Himself.

The price of sin, the wages of sin, which is death had to be paid. I was born into sin. Jesus was the one who by His death ransomed me and set me free. He took my punishment on Himself. He chose to die that I might live.

There was no other way for God’s righteous judgement to be met. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the door through which we come to God.

I understood this truth and came to the Cross. I knelt before it and said sorry to God for my sins and accepted Jesus as My Saviour and Lord. I have been born again into a new life in Jesus and have restored relationship with God in heaven and received the promise of His Holy Spirit who lives in me.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me. Thank you Jesus that you were raised from the dead by God’s mighty hand. Thank you Jesus for sending us your Holy Spirit. Thank you Jesus that you love me with an everlasting love. That you are always with me and never leave me.

I pray that you also encounter Jesus at the Cross today.

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Colossians 1:21-23,2:9-15