True Hope..

I have realised that hope is not as easy to define as I thought and can be easily misunderstood.

My own hope in the past was not always properly formed and I think when I reflect back was either a false hope, misguided optimism or wishful thinking on my part.

So then when things did not turn out as I had hoped, I was disappointed.

When disappointment took hold that led me down a slippery slope of all sorts of other negative emotions and thoughts. It can shake your confidence and faith. It can crush your spirit and make you feel like giving up.

When hope is crushed, the heart is crushed
Proverbs 13:12

Disappointment can be that doorway for negative thoughts and emotions. Bitterness can start to take root if we are not careful. Jealousy and envy can be quick to follow too.

Guard the door of your heart against disappointment.

Let us encourage each other and build ourselves up on a solid foundation which cannot be shaken.

The cornerstone of our faith and true hope is found in Jesus. Keeping our eyes fixed on Him.

I have experienced that Hope is formed through tests and trials. It comes through the hard times. It is developed in those times when we travel through the valley and experience the love and faithfulness of God. We trust in Him to know the best outcome for us. Not my will but His perfect will formed in me.

“We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.”
Romans 5:3-5

Whatever difficult circumstances you may also be going through I pray that perfect hope will take root in your heart and mind. Guard your heart. If there is disappointment or bitterness, then I pray the Holy Spirit will bring revelation and will lead you to repentance, release and healing and that your joy will be restored.

Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. Romans 12:12

Blessings to you this day in Jesus name.

Blogging Anniversary..Thank You

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.

Have a blessed day friends.

Paid in your own coin..

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.

Crane Poetry visual -You have heard how Sir Fox treated Crane:
With soup in a plate. When again
They dined, a long bottle
Just suited Crane’s throttle;
And Sir Fox licked the outside in vain

The Perfect Plan of God – Harmony

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.

sky sunset person silhouette

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

 

 

#TestimonyTuesday – God’s Provision

When I was growing up I was fortunate that my Dad taught me about how to manage my finances and honouring God with my finances. He taught me about being generous and supportive of God’s work, helping those in need and giving on biblical principles.

When I received my first pay packet Dad helped me to allocate my wages. God first, then paying for my “keep” to Mum and Dad, saving a bit and spending a bit. I was living at home so didn’t have any other expenses back then. Dad always encouraged a balance of saving and spending. He wasn’t against credit cards but he would always say that you shouldn’t overstretch yourself. If you couldn’t afford something straight away then wait and save for it. If you still wanted it by the time you’d saved for it then great, but otherwise it might have been an impulse buy, you were saved from.

Money was often tight in our house growing up and we certainly weren’t well off but we weren’t poor either. We always had food on the table. We lived with my Nan for a while when we didn’t have a house but we still had a roof over our heads. Quite often I couldn’t go on school trips because we didn’t have the money for luxuries. I didn’t go to University when the opportunity came because I needed to get a job at 18. My dad worked shifts in a factory and if there was no overtime then money was very tight but Dad was always generous with what little there was. He believed that God would always provide and God certainly did provide for our needs.

When the time came for me to have my own home and be responsible for a household budget then Dad’s financial advice was something I relied on. I remember that as I advanced in my career as a lawyer (God blessed me indeed to be able to qualify as a lawyer which is a testimony for another day) and my salary increased, there was a temptation to cut back on my giving. Ridiculous really as I was better off than I had ever been but the temptation was there. In having more than I had ever dreamed possible there was a subtle trap of wanting to give less out of my increase…..the very increase God had blessed me with.

I remember a specific time when the Lord taught me to trust Him with our finances. I had qualified as a lawyer and then a year later became pregnant with our first child. Maternity pay was not as generous then as it is now and we were concerned how we would manage to pay our mortgage, bills etc, without my salary. We were arranging overdraft facilities and loans to see us through this time. It was then that I felt prompted by the Lord to give 3 amounts of money to 3 different Christian ministries. It was a large amount and more than I had ever given before but I felt this conviction in my heart that this was what the Lord wanted.

I prayed and asked the Lord that if I was right then my husband would agree straight away. My husband wasn’t a Christian so this was going to be a big ask. I can recall so clearly being really nervous asking my husband. I plucked up courage and asked and he said yes, straight away. I thought he hadn’t heard me so asked him again and again, he said yes. I was amazed and so thankful because I believe the Lord had prepared his heart.

So, I gave the gifts and it was only months later that I realised that we were not using our overdraft facility. I cannot explain it or how it happened but it did. We didn’t receive a large unexpected financial gift or anything like that but during this time we were able to manage our finances so much better than before. Our money seemed to be going a lot further than before. God was blessing us indeed and His provision was sustaining us. We went through my whole period of maternity leave without using our overdraft or going into debt. God was faithful.

We are familiar with these verses I am sure from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians but it is good to remind ourselves again of these encouraging words from God’s Word.

Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: ‘They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures for ever.’ Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:6-15

Grandad’s Notebook – Friendships

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

Fathers…a thank you

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.

My Dad giving me away. He was a very proud Father that day.

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.

Blessings to you this day.

Replenish

Replenish…what a satisfying word just in itself.

When you say that word “Replenish” it automatically has a positive influence. It’s a word with good vibes.

This was the word that the Holy Spirit prompted to me when I was praying with fellow UK Christian Bloggers on Thursday night. I used that word Replenish as the basis for my prayers for us all.

Since then the Lord has kept bringing me back to this word “Re-Plenish” so I wanted to have a bit more of a look into the meaning of the word and also understand more what the Lord is speaking through this word.

Replenish definitions are:

1. To fill something back up again;

2. To restore something (stock or supply) to its former condition;

3. To make full or complete again by supplying what has been used up or is lacking;

4. To put fresh fuel on a fire; and

5. To inspire or nourish.

A similar word would be “top up”.

My husband’s parents used to have a drinks party for their friends and neighbours each Christmas. One year they asked my twin nephews who were about 8 at the time to be the “drinks waiters” and to refill the guests glasses. Young Jack took this job very seriously and you could continually hear this young voice moving around the guests asking them in a loud and sometimes assertive voice if they wanted a “top up”. Most would have a “top up” whether they wanted it or not.

Plein in French means full. In Latin the word is “Plenus”. There is a sense then that what was once full is depleted and needs to be replenished. Does this speak to you because it speaks to me. I know areas of my life that are depleted/used up and need to be replenished.

Do you also need a top up today? It might be a top up of spiritual refreshment through fellowship with the Lord in His Word, through prayer, a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit, fellowship with other believers…there are many more we could list.

It might be a top up of other resources which have become depleted. Is your store cupboard or finances in need of replenishing.

Here is a promise from the Lord

For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.” Jeremiah 31:25

I know there is more to come with this…..look forward to your comments. Have a blessed day.

Replenished

UK Christian Bloggers

It’s been such a blessing and encouragement to me to connect up with other Christian bloggers. I’ve learnt so much and been inspired by chats on various topics. Andy Brown has summed it up excellently in his post which you can read below. Have a blessed day.

Hi! My name is Andy Brown, you may remember me from such blogs as andy-brown.org…! It has indeed been some time since my last proper post, although I…

UK Christian Bloggers

Someone to notice us

Do you sometimes feel invisible? Overlooked? 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 and 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 proactive to change her circumstances forever. He showed her favour, gave her advice, gave her his protection and then redeemed her in marriage.

Ruth needed Boaz. 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 was 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 not Boaz. He sees Ruth. 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 then 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 today. You will know that God has noticed you – He sees you and loves you.

I pray that we will also notice those who God wants us to see, notice those who are in need today and help them.

Have a blessed day.

Photo by Eva Elijas on Pexels.com