In Green Pastures

I was searching on my bookcase yesterday for a book by C S Lewis. I know I have it but I couldn’t find it anywhere. I have probably either lent it to someone or put it elsewhere. I easily lose track of my books and am also a bit of a magpie. I did find several books lent to me though which I’ve yet to return. Whoops and apologies to those who thought they’d lost them.

My searching wasn’t fruitless though because I came across this tiny little book called “In Green Pastures” by J R Miller. He is not an author I had heard of before but he is credited in this book as being the author of another book called “ Come ye apart”. That sounds like a book worth reading doesn’t it..Come ye apart.

The title of the book had caught my eye as we have recently studied Psalm 23 in church and I thought the book was on that theme. However, it’s actually a Daily Devotional. It’s been clearly written in another generation, which you can tell from the language used, but there is no date of publication inside.

A quick search on Amazon though revealed it was first published in 1904 and you can still buy this book. That’s longevity. Dr. James Russell Miller was born in 1840 in Frankfort Springs Pennsylvania and died on 2 July 1912. He wrote quite a number of Christian books which are available still. He may be more familiar to my fellow American blogging friends? I’d be interested to hear.

The book was given to my late mother in law, Clare, by a friend who had written these words on the first page:

To Clare, in remembrance of many happy days, with love and all good wishes…”Hold fast that which thou hast”. Revelation 3:11

What a lovely inscription. I am sure each time our dear Clare picked up this little book, she thought of her friend and those words encouraged her. I love the exhortation to hold fast that which you have. Our faith and trust in Jesus is so precious. The most precious thing we have and not to be taken lightly or for granted. Let us be encouraged today to hold fast what we have been given through the grace and mercy of God.

Clare must have valued this little book because she had kept it all her life. We found it amongst her possessions when she died. It was precious to her so we didn’t want to part with it either. It has sat on the bookshelf though unread. Who knows what little treasures I will now find within.

Anyway, I am digressing, but if you are looking for another daily devotional then perhaps you could consider this little book. Even though it is written over a hundred years ago, God’s truths are constant. Culture may change around us, blown by winds of change, but God’s Word stands firm like a beacon in the darkness. I thought I would share today’s devotional on the Sin of Thoughtlessness below:

Lord please forgive me my thoughtlessness and for causing hurt to others even unintentionally. Help me through your Holy Spirit to be kind, gentle, loving, thoughtful and considerate particularly today and in the weeks ahead. I pray for a gentle heart. Amen 🙏

A Financial Storm

We are living in a time when people are worried and anxious about rising inflation, energy costs and the economy, not just in the U.K, but in other nations. The Lord has brought to my remembrance this morning a post from November 2020 and so I am re-posting today for weighing, testing and prayer. Our God is faithful and He is a good, good God in all times and at all times. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

At the beginning of November I had a picture whilst praying to the Lord.

I was seated with the Lord in a quiet place when suddenly a great wind blew up which started howling all around us and the walls and the ground started shaking. I was terrified as the wind was so strong and the walls around us started to collapse, but the Lord drew me close and put me in the crook of his arm. Even though I could still hear the wind roaring I felt safe and secure.

After that picture, as I prayed I felt the Lord say that we are going into days ahead of great darkness. There is a storm coming – a financial storm.

I believe the Lord is warning us that there is going to be a shaking again of the financial institutions of the world.

They have been shaken before but this time there is to be a mighty shaking which will cause many of them to collapse.

Great fear and panic will seize people as they realise that their assets and funds have been exploited by these institutions.

I felt the Lord was also warning us to be watchful to see who will come to the aid of people when all seems lost.

Beware of those who are the vultures just intent on picking over the carcasses of what has happened.

Those who intend to prey on the vulnerable and exploit their misery even more.

At this time the Lord says that He will arise amongst His people to bring ships to the rescue of those who are suffering.

This is the time for those nations to come forward and do good. This will be their opportunity to feed and look after and help those in need.

These ships will arise out of countries who will come to the aid of those from whom they have received aid in the past.

Woe to those nations who choose to turn a blind eye at this time. For they will have to answer to the Lord.

The Lord says that these days will be dark but He will provide for His people.

Turn to Him and call on His name for He will miraculously provide what is needed. He will care for His children.

Let our light shine before men who will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven.

The Lord will not let His faithful be put to shame. He will crown them with glory at this time.

This will be a time of great suffering and perseverance and endurance will be needed within the body of Christ. Let faith and hope arise.

Clothe ourselves with love and grace and put on mercy and tender kindness.

The King is coming. He is not slow in His coming as some would think but He will arrive at the appointed time with great glory and triumph over all His enemies.

Arise and keep your eyes fixed on Him for He is the author and finisher of our faith.

He will sustain us through these times ahead and will not let us stumble or fall. Call on Him and you will be saved. Amen 🙏

Letting Go…Testimony Tuesday (Update)

The wanderer has returned! You may recall my post about my youngest daughter (who set off for over 5 months on a solo back pack to the Far East) and my thoughts in Letting go…#TestimonyTuesday. Now she is back……but not for long. She heads off on her next adventure to university in Newcastle Upon Tyne, a city in the North of England about 4/5 hours away from us.

I re-read my post from that time she set out and I thank God for His faithfulness in being with her during her travels as her protector and guide. She has told me stories of things that happened to her and her friends and I know that the Lord was at work during those times. She calls it “luck” but I recognise the hand of God and am grateful for His answer to my prayers.

She travelled (even with the difficulties of Covid still) into Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bali. She learnt about man’s inhumanity to man in the Killing Fields of Cambodia and the realities and horror of war from her time in Vietnam. I don’t want to repeat the things she told me about the genocide in Cambodia here as they are too distressing. She spoke of the impact of those atrocities still hanging over the country and people in a tangible way. These experiences will stay with her. God will use them in the future.

I was prompted by the Lord to fast and pray before she went away. It was only the Lord who knew what the months ahead held and I believe in times of our uncertainty that it’s so important to pray and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. We don’t fully comprehend or see how God looks after us and the outworking of His providence, but I believe one day we will see and understand fully. Whilst I can thank God now for His faithfulness and goodness, I believe that one day when I will truly understand what God has done then my thanks and praise will seem so inadequate in comparison to His grace. Even in situations when I believed my prayers went unanswered or did not go “my” plan, I will understand that God in His inestimable wisdom and goodness was working things out for good in the long term. God is a good, good God.

They say travel broadens the mind and I can definitely see that this experience has helped my daughter mature. She has challenged herself in many ways and these experiences have helped her grow and develop. She is more ready for university life now. We were concerned that after 2 years of life during Covid and missing out on so many life experiences at college, that she would go a bit wild with her new found freedom. Have you seen cows when they are let out to pasture after being in the winter stables. They run, frolic and jump with excitement. We didn’t want her jumping recklessly into danger looking for “fun” after all those months cooped up in isolation.

The Lord has been laying on my heart that it is a season of change. I can see how this relates to certain things in my family and my life but I believe this change is going to be more widely felt. My husband and I enter into a new season of change for sure as both daughters will have left home. I look at the empty rooms and wonder what we will do with them? There will be a way I am sure and I believe the Lord will show us.

Have a blessed day my friends.

One of the beautiful places visited

Let Everything that has breath….

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;

praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150:1-6

This was my daily reading today and it made me feel so blessed I wanted to share it.

How wonderful to be alive and able to give an offering of praise and thanks to God today. Some might not have the ability to offer more than that but how sweet a sound in God’s ear such praise will be.

Have a blessed day.

God our refuge

Psalm 46 is my prayer for us all today to affirm our faith in God and call upon Him in our times of trouble because He truly is our ever present help. He does not abandon us at these difficult and heart wrenching times but is right there with us in the middle of times of pain, sorrow, suffering and unimaginable grief.

I hope you also take comfort and strength from these words today:

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Psalm 46:1-11

Emmanuel, God with us. He is our ever present help. Call on Him today.

Blessings to you this day. 🙏

The beauty of Holiness

Holiness – it’s a word we don’t hear a lot or generally feel comfortable using these days even in church.

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 1:15 “But as He who called you is Holy, you also be Holy in all your conduct“.

Our Pastor says when you think of being Holy just think it’s being separated and different to the world because of Jesus.

It seems to me that when we try to be Holy ourselves (apart from Jesus) then it just becomes a religious list of dos and don’ts which lead to frustration and guilt when we fail.

We can end up doing lots of works with little fruit.

A wise person said “Holiness will take care of itself when we see ourselves as the Holy people of God with a Holy destiny“.

The way of holiness is living in and through Jesus.

In Revelation 2 Jesus says to the Church at Ephesus:

“I know your works, your labour, your patience and that you cannot bear those who are evil, and you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars, and you have persevered and have patience and have laboured for My name’s sake and have not become weary, Nevertheless I have this against you; that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen and repent and do the first works

Jesus said they were patient, hardworking, persistent, hated evil – but they no longer had a fervent love for Christ and God out of which their works were to flow.

They had lost their first love.

Jesus said the greatest commandment is “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” and then “to love your neighbour as yourself“:

I like to think this expression of love unto God and others is Holiness in action.

This is the way walk in it..

Isaiah 30: 21 says “Your ears shall hear a word behind you saying “This is the way walk in it”. Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left”.

If you are looking for direction in your life and seeking the path that God wants you to take or a new door is opening up to you then take encouragement from the promise in these verses.  

God will direct your way.

This could be your season for stepping into the new things of God. 

It may be paths that you or no-one else has travelled before, areas which you have never ventured into, things you or nobody else has ever done but take comfort that God will make it clear that you are on the right path.   

God will direct you to move forward into new things.   

Don’t look back at the old or try to do things in the same way but with boldness step into the new.   

This may be a season for God to show you how to do things in a different way.  Don’t worry or be anxious that you don’t know what’s up ahead – trust God.    If you are walking where God wants you to walk then you are going in the right direction.

You may face discouragement – people may think you are crazy even to attempt something new but God will give you the vision and you will hear His still small voice saying “This is the way walk in it“.   

You will know that it is God speaking to you.   

I encourage you to be bold in faith today as you hear Him speak to you.  

Take hold of the opportunity or opportunities which God is bringing your way.

I sense this may be a season for some that God will completely turn things on their head.  God will flip things upside down but you will emerge unscathed.    Allow God to be in the driving seat.

I pray God will increase your vision in these days.  To stir in you a new vision, a bigger vision and to break new ground for Him.  

To see new things and create new opportunities for the gospel to be preached and people to be reached with the good news of Jesus Christ.

I felt prompted to share this post again today. I hope it is a blessing and encouragement to someone reading.

Blessings,

 

How Great Thou Art

I woke up this morning thinking of the words of this wonderful old hymn. Hymns are beautiful and declare precious truths about God. I hope these words from How Great Thou Art bless you this morning. I hadn’t realised but according to information I have read, the words were originally a poem by Swedish Carl Boberg. The title was translated as “O Mighty God”.

It was years later that a missionary in Ukraine heard locals singing the song who translated it into the English version we know today.

I pray today that with all this terrible situation in Ukraine that this song and it’s words will be once again be a mighty declaration over that country of How Great God Is. May these words be heard ringing in Heaven’s courts today,

Oh Lord, my God
When I, in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

Praying People

Over the last few weeks, I have been considering how meditating on and confessing the names of God, discovering the character of God (which is revealed through His names) can help us in our times of prayer.   

Other things which can also help our prayer life to develop are:

ATTITUDE; – The word “confess” comes from the Hebrew word “Yadah” meaning “an open or extended hand

In prayer we are reaching out to take hold of God and Him alone and declaring that we are putting our trust in Him.  

We are acting humbly by putting God in His rightful position and focusing on Him.

A humble attitude is I believe a KEY to God hearing and answering our prayers:

If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land ”  2 Chronicles 7 v14

A humble attitude in our hearts can also be demonstrated physically in prayer by kneeling, lying on our faces before God, raising our hands etc.

Jesus’ model prayer that he taught his disciples demonstrated his humility.

FOR YOURS (God) IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER AMEN”.

Let us not forget (particularly when prayers are answered or when the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in operation) that the glory always belongs to God and Jesus.

THE WORD OF GOD;- If we are going to give voice to our faith and understanding of GOD’S Character, His Works, His Wonders, His Glory and confess our belief in God, His promises and His Word then it is really good (for me a necessity) to have a bible or other access to the Word of God to hand whilst praying so that we can confess scripture out loud or meditate on God’s Word.

I encourage you to try and get into the habit of praying with your bible to hand or other access to the Word of God through your phone, tablets etc. The Holy Spirit will bring a scripture to your mind and that can form the basis of your prayer.

Isaiah Ch 55 v 11So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth: It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing which I sent it“.

When you proclaim the Word of God it builds you up spiritually and encourages you in your faith.

You are also proclaiming God’s Word boldly to the enemy -to spirits, principalities & powers as you resist the enemy. Wielding the Sword of the Spirit against the lies of the enemy. Demolishing arguments and strongholds.

If I am praying about a situation where I am declaring God’s victory then I will often read aloud the song of Moses from Exodus 15 verses 1-18 about the time God rescued the Israelites from the pursuing Egyptians.

When I want to declare Christ’s sovereign position and authority over a situation then Revelation 19 verses 11- 16 will often come to mind.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

It will take some effort initially to look up relevant portions of scripture when you are praying but the Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians Ch 6 ) and the weapon of our warfare, so we need to know how to use THE WORD of God effectively in prayer.  

I wouldn’t advise just picking out bible verses without any thought to throw at situations but by prayerful meditation on the Word of God allow the Holy Spirit to direct you to relevant passages of scripture.   The Word of God is living and powerful.

When you meditate on the Word of God in your prayer times it allows the Lord the opportunity to speak to you through HIS WORD and you will hear His still small voice in your spirit.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Freedom Friday

I hope you enjoy this re-post today.

God wants us to be free.  He is the God who sets the captives free.  The God of deliverance.   

Jesus died and rose again so that we might live in freedom.   Not chained in any way.

The Holy Spirit desires to reveal to us those things in our lives or our mind sets which are obstacles or hindrances to us living fully as Jesus wants us to live. A Kingdom lifestyle.

The power of the gospel of the Kingdom working in and through us.  

Jesus wants to set us free from every oppressive work and lie of the enemy which is operating in our lives and restricting us.  

It might be fear, unbelief, guilt, lack of self-belief, un-forgiveness, trauma, depression, anxiety, sinful behaviour or addictions – there can be many things which restrict our spiritual growth as believers, hold us back and stop us stepping out in faith.   

Things which restrict the flow of the power of the Holy Spirit in and through us to others.

There is a word for this season from Isaiah 60:1

“Arise, Shine – for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you“.   

I heard the The Lord ask me -“What is stopping you from rising – what is trying to stop you from doing things for me?    What is stopping you from shining?   What is tainting the light shining from you?”

In my case it was fear – fear which I didn’t even realise was there.  

The Lord showed me that a traumatic event in my childhood had left a mark of fear on my life.  

It wasn’t a gripping, completely debilitating fear which paralysed me but it still used to rise up out of the blue causing me to question and torment myself over things I had said or done.   Decisions made and actions taken – Was I right or wrong?

Fear brought its friends along too..doubt, anxiety and worry.

It caused me to worry about making mistakes and over analyse the decisions I had made.   

Thankfully the Lord set me free and healed me from this fear.  

Who the son sets free is free indeed.

Fear no longer has a part in me because of Jesus’ finished work on the Cross and His resurrection power.

I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal things which may also be holding you back too or which may be tainting your light so you are not shining as brightly for Him.  

Jesus wants you to be free and He alone can set you free.

Amen 🙏 blessings to you this day.