Life has curve balls. For me, For you. For our families. For our friends. Even for Christians. Things happen, shocking news comes that we weren’t expecting to receive. Times of pain, hurt, disappointment, unsettling times of trouble. It shakes us, throws us off track and then we remember that we serve a God who knows all things, is our Rock, our Fortress and an ever present help in times of need.
In such times, the Lord draws us to Him with love and reminds us of His faithfulness and goodness. That He is a good, good God and we can trust in Him.
Recently, the Lord gave these promises from His Word to sustain us in the difficult and painful times ahead. I hope that if you are experiencing such times yourself that you will also find hope and comfort in these verses. I have meditated and spoken them aloud especially at the start of the day. They have uplifted my soul.
Psalm 91:2. “ I will say of the Lord:He is my refuge and my fortress, My God in Him I will trust”
Nahum 1:7. “ The Lord is good; A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.”
Psalm 25:5. “ Lead me in your truth and teach me. For you are the God of my salvation on you I wait all the day.”
Psalm 96 1-3. “ Oh sing to the Lord a new song, Sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name, Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.”
John 3:16. “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Lamentations 3: 22-23. “Through the Lords mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning:Great is your faithfulness”.
Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace those whose mind is steadfast because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever He is the rock eternal”
My friend also gave this wise advice.
I believe the Lord wants us to stop fretting and to rest in his love and goodness for this season and also to look and see His beauty in nature all around us.
My good friend Heather sent me this story about experiencing the providence of God in her life.
Collins English dictionary defines Providence as:
“Providence is God, or a force which is believed by some people to arrange the things that happen to us” or another dictionary defines it as “a manifestation of divine care or direction”
There is a saying in the book, Streams in the Desert:
“Those who watch for the providence of God will never lack the providence of God to watch for “
In other words those who have an expectation of the goodness of God in their lives will see it and recognise His goodness at work.
This is Heather’s story about one of those times when she experienced God’s Providence.
“My husband and I had taken a last minute holiday to Sardinia out of season and we were really looking forward to this break. A 10 day holiday in the sun at a bargain price.
At the airport my husband said he didn’t feel too well. We just thought it was something he’d eaten and so we got on the flight and arrived at the hotel. It was late when we arrived, about midnight. By this time it was becoming apparent that my husband was becoming extremely unwell.
I went down to reception for help but the receptionist spoke only Italian. No other guests were around and I couldn’t find anyone who spoke English. I eventually managed to get the receptionist to understand through a mixture of French/English and sign language that my husband was very ill and needed a doctor.
In what seemed like no time at all 3 medics arrived and started to treat my husband. The strange thing was that I couldn’t take my eyes off them…they were so amazing and extremely handsome. They looked like they should have been actors from a film or TV drama. I almost expected there to be a film crew tagging along behind them. They promptly whisked my husband off to hospital but I had to stay behind and so they left me in the hotel.
I realised I was now alone in a strange country, I didn’t speak the language and with no idea where my husband had been taken and then a massive thunderstorm started, I thought “Where are you God”.
In the morning I wanted to go to the hospital and find out what was happening. Fortunately, the day receptionist spoke a little English and ordered a taxi for me. The hospital was a very large hospital in the suburbs and extremely busy. Thankfully, I managed to find one person to help me..he said “oh the English patient..come with me”. As we got to the fifth floor I was just in time to see my husband being taken down to the theatre for surgery to have his appendix removed. His appendix had burst and that was why he had suddenly become so ill.
There was nothing more I could do until later so I left the hospital and just started walking. I didn’t really know where I was going but eventually managed to find my way back to the hotel. I was thinking “Lord what do I do now? I’m here on a quiet part of the island, no-one seems to speak my language and I’m now on my own. My husband was going to be kept in hospital for the next 4/5 days after the operation and there was very limited visiting hours.
I decided that I would set off for the rest of the day expecting the Lord to be with me and to lead me. As I walked I came to a crossroads where the higher road went along the Promenade and the lower one led to the town. I prayed and felt led to take the higher road. I stopped to look out at the sea and then suddenly out of nowhere it seemed to me, a lady approached me and asked me if I spoke English and if I knew where the town was. She was amazed when I replied in English and we were both as relieved as each other.
I explained my story. This lady said that she had arrived the night before too on an organised trip. That morning she had missed the day trip out and so was left all alone at her hotel. She had decided to go for a walk and then got lost.
We walked to town together and decided to go for coffee. As we talked, we discovered to our amazement that we both came from Portsmouth in England. She was living there and I had been brought up there although was now living in the Midlands. Even more amazing though as I talked about my children, she asked if I had a daughter called “Amy” who worked for one of the TV channels. I did and it turned out that her son Toby worked with my daughter. They were friends in London. We both knew so many places and people in common and it was comforting and reassuring to chat. It felt like we had known each other for years.
I accompanied her back to her hotel and the Holiday Rep for the the tour was relieved to find her ok. My new friend explained my story and the Rep arranged for us both to have dinner at the hotel and for me to stay over. The next day they also arranged a private tour for us all around the island with lunch and dinner all paid for by the tour company.
I spent the remaining days of their tour with her and the tour company also arranged a car to take me to the hospital when I needed to visit my husband. What a blessing.
During our days out my new friend wanted to visit some of the churches on the island. I was able to share my faith in Jesus with her. She left the island the next day to continue her tour and my husband John came out of hospital and we continued our holiday. I never did see that lady again.
God provided me with a companion when I was lonely and blessed me with such favour from the tour company. His providence was certainly at work in my situation. I pray that you also will expect and experience Gods providence and trust Him in your life too.
Hebrews 13:2 “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so, some people have entertained angels without knowing it”.
That dear lady may not have been an actual angel but she certainly was an angel to me sent by God at just the right time to help and comfort me.
“Those who watch for the providence of God will never lack the providence of God to watch for “
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8
So this weekend I am in Somerset, visiting my old home and it’s such a beautiful place that I wanted to share some photos with you. I was fortunate to grow up here. We visited Old Cleeve, where my ancestors on my Mum’s side lived in the 1700s. There is a beautiful church here, St Andrew’s, which has an ancient churchyard with views over the sea.
The church itself dates from the 15th century and there has been a church on this site since at least 1066. There is a tomb in the church that dates back to 1420 of a knight who was believed to be in service to Richard 11. That’s a lot of history. The church is a reminder to me of my past but also that we are blessed to have such a longstanding Christian heritage in this nation of ours.
The font where babies were baptised dates back to the 15th century. My great great great grandad William Langdon born in 1787 was baptised in that font. I stood in that same church today where my ancestors stood and baptised him as a baby. How awesome is that.
This post may seem at odds with my last post on church but buildings themselves should not be the focus of or define our worship or faith in God. They were built for the glory of God and point us to Him but we in our humanity can make idols of them so easily. The church, the monument, can become our focus rather than the source. The community this church served has changed dramatically since it was founded. Over time families, mine included, moved away to the larger towns and cities looking for work and the village populations decreased dramatically. Times changed. It’s good and right to remember our history as the Bible encourages us to do but we must not get stuck in the past. God wants us to advance His Kingdom in this generation and those to come.
We do need to be reminded though of God’s faithfulness, His ways and the wonderful things He has done for us so that we can tell our children and the generations that follow us. We can so easily forget otherwise. Just as I have retraced my ancestors today to the place they worshipped. Psalm 37 includes this exhortation:
“We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. For he issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them— even the children not yet born— and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands. Then they will not be like their ancestors— stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.” Psalm 78:4-8
Each generation is to set its hope anew on God. I pray that will be the case. Let hope arise in the hearts of the younger generation in these days that they will discover a hope that will never let them down in Jesus Christ, God’s own son who died that we may live.
It’s so quintessentially English around here in this part of Somerset. If you had to picture a typical English village then this village of East Quantoxhead would be it. Thatched cottages, cream teas and there is even a village duck pond with its own house for the ducks.
This lovely village also has a beautiful ancient church with views over the adjoining fields.
It is good for the soul to get out into the countryside again after Lockdown restrictions and enjoy nature and these lovely ancient places which put us in remembrance of our great and glorious God who has created all things. He is the ancient of days. Blessed be His glorious name forever and ever.
I do like to take a rest from walking too though…..
Have a blessed day my friends and I hope that we remember the good that God has done for us.
“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” Psalm 103:1-5
You’ll be pleased to know this isn’t a post about giving up biscuits (cookies) for Lent but rather about the unusual ways God sometimes gets our attention and speaks to us about big things.
I love the fact that the Lord loves to engage with us. He speak to our hearts and sometimes brings a big thing to reflect on but in an engaging and fun way. This happened to me the other night.
My friends and I were having a our weekly chat/pray/bible study over WhatsApp and we took 5 minutes out to listen to a worship song and ask the Lord to speak to us. The word I heard in my spirit was “Biscuits”. Initially, I was like “Lord really? are you teasing me?”Biscuits had nothing to do with what we had been talking about and I wasn’t even thinking about biscuits. Either this was a completely random thought crossing my mind or a word spoken to me by the Lord.
I said Lord -“You want me to share the word “Biscuits” when we all come back together”. In my mind I was already thinking that my friends will think what!! She’s lost it, lockdown has finally tipped her over the edge. However, that still small voice said again “Biscuits”..and “Just you wait and see”….
Ok, so when we came back together to share what we believed the Lord has spoken to our hearts, I just said “Biscuits”. My friends laughed but then asked if I had anymore from the Lord to which I replied .”No, just Biscuits.”
My friend Heather (bless her) had the key though to unlock my word “Biscuits” and interpret what the Lord was saying.
She shared that when I said “Biscuits” she was immediately reminded of a word the Lord had given her about Expectation. Heather has a dog Lola who like all dogs loves Biscuits. Whenever Heather takes her for a walk, Lola knows that in Heather’s pocket there are biscuits. She expects to receive a biscuit when Heather reaches in her pocket and she certainly expects to receive a biscuit on her walk. She will sit down and stare at Heather’s pocket knowing that there are good treats to be had. She just has to patiently wait and Heather will give her a biscuit. The Lord challenged Heather on her walk about whether she also expects to receive good things from God and also what her expectation is of God. Is He a BIG, BIG, BIG God to her?
If you have read some of my recent posts on No bargain basement, Good Gifts and Open Sesame that this also follows a theme that God has been speaking to me about recently. God has been encouraging us to Ask him and Expect to receive good gifts from our Father in Heaven. Yet again, God is finding another way to speak to our hearts and gently challenge us by asking us “What is your expectation of Me.”?
I pray that we will all prayerfully consider this question and if our expectation of God is wrong that we will allow Him to show us and bring us into a right expectation of Him. The Lord is so gracious in how He speaks to our hearts. I am reminded of the word I shared some time ago about Expectation and have posted the link below in case you have not read it before.
In the night I awoke with these verses from Psalm 91 in my thoughts and immediately felt a sense of God’s peace and assurance that His arm of protection was shielding me as I was nestled in a place of security. As a mother hen gathers her chicks underneath her for warmth and protection so was this sense of Gods love surrounding me.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2 – https://www.biblegateway
There is a promise in these verses that when we abide in God (as Jesus encourages us to do) that we can rest (not be anxious or worried) even when the storm is raging around us and trust Him. His presence surrounds us in all circumstances and when we are resting and sleeping God is working on our behalf and He watches over us.
I am reminded of the song by Michael W Smith called Surrounded (Fight My Battles)
The Word Says “For the spirit of heaviness” “Put on the garment of praise” That’s how we fight our battles (yeah)This is how I fight my battles This is how I fight my battles This is how I fight my battles (What we’re doing tonight) This is how I fight my battles (Just when you think you’re lost)It may look like I’m surrounded But I’m surrounded by You (hey) It may look like I’m surrounded But I’m surrounded by You It may look like I’m surrounded But I’m surrounded by You It may look like I’m surrounded But I’m surrounded by You This is how I fight my battles
When things are at their worst. If you are feeling oppressed and surrounded by trouble, anxiety on all sides then God wants to encourage you today that He is surrounding you with His love and wants you to rest in Him. Give your worries to Him and receive God’s peace in exchange.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 – https://www.biblegateway.com