Wounded Sheep..Strong Sheep

We recently returned from a church weekend away in beautiful Wales. It was so lovely to spend this time away in fellowship with our Christian family and to hear great teaching. Sharing meals together, chatting, fun, worship, prayer…all those things pre-Covid I took for granted. How precious they are.

The Holy Spirit was certainly present and moving in our midsts during that weekend away and many shared what they received from the Lord. Today, I want to share a picture that my dear friend Heather received and also the bible verses which the Lord gave her about the picture.

I believe there are brothers and sisters in Christ who connect with us through this blog who also need to hear this.

Heather saw a picture of a large flock of sheep who were all moving in one direction and from her perspective onto new pastures. At the front she could see some really strong and healthy sheep who were forging ahead with the Shepherd walking alongside them. However, at the back of the flock there were some sheep lagging well behind. The stragglers who were struggling.

These sheep were all wounded in some way. Some were limping, injured and crippled. Some had bad eyesight or were partly blinded and couldn’t see clearly where they were going. They kept bumping into things. Other sheep couldn’t hear clearly what the Shepherd at the front was saying. They were partly deaf and asking “What’s He saying”

These sheep at the back felt like losing heart and giving up. They couldn’t keep up with the other sheep. They were struggling and falling further behind. They were discouraged. They didn’t feel like they belonged.

However, the Shepherd was looking back and He noticed those sheep. He left the other sheep and goes right to the back of the flock to them. He starts calling each of those sheep by name because He knows them by name. He tells each one that He knows their name. The Shepherd tells each one that He will walk with them. He will heal them and He will take them into the new pasture.

These are the bible verses from Ezekiel:

For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My flock and seek them out. As a shepherd cares for his sheep on the day that he is among his scattered flock, so I will care for My sheep; and I will rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock and I will let them lie down [to rest],” says the Lord God. “

I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bandage the crippled, and strengthen the weak and the sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong [who have become hard-hearted and perverse]. I will feed them with judgment and punishment.”
Ezekiel 34:11-17

There is great comfort and encouragement in this picture as Jesus who is our great and chief Shepherd seeks out those sheep who are lost and wounded but there is also I believe a gentle warning to those who are forging ahead at the front.

There is a danger that those sheep who are strong in faith and doctrine and pressing ahead will not remember and help those in the flock who are weak and struggling. They could become hard hearted to those who are more weak in faith or wounded. Those limping and carrying wounds may need help and support from past emotional wounds and abuse. Those not seeing or hearing clearly could be affected by false teaching or doctrine or sin. Let us not forget that the Lord has given gifts of ministry and service within the church that we may help each other grow and mature.

Is the Lord also calling you by name to walk alongside and help one of His wounded sheep with Him today?

Are you a wounded sheep who is suffering? Then be encouraged because Jesus the great Shepherd has seen you, will come to you right where you are and knows exactly what you need to heal and restore you. Don’t give up but look up.

Thank you Lord that you found me when I was lost, weak and hurting. Now let me also be a shepherd to those you bring into the fold. Amen.

Bill’s story – Lessons from my Father

I don’t usually do two posts in a day, so this is a new experience for me. I earlier shared my Mum, Pam’s story of her experience with Meningitis in Pam’s story. As it is Father’s Day then I want to honour my Dad, William or Bill as he was usually called, and tell you about him.

Dad’s experience of God’s healing power in his life was very different to Mum’s. We are all unique and no-one’s story is exactly the same. Every story has value and we all have something to share. This is why I believe in the power of testimony. Your story with its uniqueness of relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit will speak to someone.

I believe that God truly knows what is best for each one of us and learning to surrender to him and trusting God when things don’t go according to our plans is a valuable life lesson. Dad’s experiences helped me to understand and see that God’s grace is sufficient for us and how God gives us the grace and strength we need to hold on and persevere in times of testing and suffering.

My Dad, Bill was quite a character. He was a passionate Christian who loved to share the gospel with everyone he met. He was full of energy, never still and very engaging..a cheeky chappie as they say and loved to talk. He could have made a living by talking…He was a big supporter of many Christian ministries and particularly loved T L Osborn, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham. Luis Palau and Reinhard Bonnke.

Dad worked hard. He worked the night shift in a factory and sometimes I would hardly see him. I’d be going out to school and he’d be coming in from work. He had big plans though for when he eventually retired. He was going to take Mum travelling in one of those big Winnebagos. This prompted much laughter in our family as Dad was well known for getting lost and being quite incapable of reading a map. Mum wasn’t much better either so I had quickly learnt to become chief navigator on our family holidays from a young age.

However, sadly those plans were not meant to be. Dad retired at 60 but then almost immediately suffered a massive stroke which rendered him paralysed down one side of his body. He was confined to a wheelchair. We would have loved him to have been miraculously healed but those prayers were not answered. We were grateful though to have him still with us. Dad could still laugh and joke and he still continued to share the gospel. In hospital he had a poster by his bed of Jesus standing beside the empty tomb. I don’t know what happened to him when he was so ill in hospital and unconscious but when he recovered, he could not talk about Jesus without being moved to tears and tell people how much he loved Jesus. It was very humbling to see.

Further tragedy was to strike not long after though when Dad suffered another major stroke. This time it was on the other side of his brain and took his speech. He could no longer talk as he did. It was very hard to see him struggle to express himself. He could utter sounds which we started to learn to interpret and we could still understand some words, especially when he was saying “Jesus”.

During this time, Dad could have become embittered and angry at his lot and how his life had turned out but he didn’t. He faithfully attended church and loved watching and listening to great preachers. He was still grateful to God and he knew that there were also many people who were worse off and suffering much more than him. He was always a big supporter of the Barnabus Fund and taught us that it was important to support fellow believers who were being persecuted and suffering greatly for their faith in other nations.

Dad had lost his independence and all ability to look after himself and was totally reliant on my Mum, my brother and his carers to do everything for him, getting him up, washing, dressing and even feeding. He had limited movement in his right arm but was very weak. He sometimes got frustrated when we couldn’t understand him but he maintained his cheerfulness and was able to cope with what had happened to him. It was only through God’s grace operating in his life that I believe enabled him to be like that. He was a testimony to me and others of God’s grace and peace in action.

Although, Dad was never fully physically healed, he did experience times of God’s healing in his body. One time, I recall was when he was taken extremely ill with pneumonia and was in the hospital. We were called to his bedside because the doctors did not think he would survive the Pneumonia. The chief registrar and doctor stood at the bottom of his bed and it was the first time that I had heard what is called the “death rattle”. It’s the most horrible sound of someone struggling to breathe and effectively taking their lasts breaths. It is a rattling sound from deep within the chest.

I had called my friends from the hospital to pray and I had asked God to take Dad if it was his time but if not, then to restore him to us. It was all I could think to ask God for at that time. We had the comfort as a Christian family to know that Dad would go to be with his Lord Jesus, but truthfully I didn’t want to let him go. He was my Dad and a big influence in my life. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet.

As we all waited by his bed, Dad suddenly stirred and pointed to the corner of the room. We couldn’t see anything but I believe that he could see something in the spiritual realm. They say the veil into the spiritual realm is thin at such times. I felt prompted to tell Dad that it wasn’t his time to go. He should tell whoever was there that he wasn’t ready to go with them. I can’t explain what happened next but Dad seemed to relax and continued on breathing but his breathing started to change. It became quieter and more regular. His face changed and was more relaxed.

After a while of this the Registrar stated that he didn’t think Dad was going to die after all that day and they would come back later!! Praise God, Dad recovered and lived for many more years after that day.

Our appointed times are truly in God’s hands. God as our Heavenly Father loves us much more than we can understand. I thank God that my earthly father is now safe in Father God’s care. Dad went to be with the Lord in 2006. I’m sure Bill will have lots to tell me one day when we meet again which we surely will.

Dad always said he was looking forward to getting to heaven. One thing he wanted to do was meet the Apostle Paul. He had lots of questions for him…it makes me smile to think of my Dad chewing the ear off the Apostle Paul..one of his great bible heroes. Bless him.

Dad’s favourite scripture was Psalm 84: It was the reading at his funeral. His favourite verse was:

A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
Psalm 84:10

Dad’s enjoying eternity in God’s courts now and I’m sure he has never been happier.

Dad as a young man

Pam’s story

So yesterday I posted about my belief in a God that heals in God’s Healing Power and promised to share my Mum, Pam’s testimony of her recovery from Meningitis.

My mum married my Dad, Bill when she was young. He was a reservist in the army and was posted to Somerset in England for his basic training. Dad was Scottish and a long way from home. He decided to visit the local Pentecostal church which my Mum attended. It was love at first sight according to Mum and I don’t think she wanted to let him out of her sight from that time onwards. They married but then my Dad was posted overseas because of the Suez crisis. Mum stayed behind with my brother, Ian who was just a young baby.

Mum was still young herself, only 18 years old, a young mother when she was taken ill suddenly with Meningitis. She had been out for the day on a Church outing. On the way home on the coach she got a bad headache which she put down to tiredness . It got worse and worse though and eventually she became so ill that they took her to the hospital.

She was diagnosed with suspected Meningitis and put into the isolation hospital. All she can really remember of that time is having the lumber-punctures to drain the fluid from her spine which she said were terribly painful. She dreaded them. The Doctors told her family that it was not looking good and that my Dad needed to be sent for immediately from abroad as she was not likely to pull through.

My grandad contacted the army and Dad was brought home as quickly as they could from Cyprus. It still took him some time to get home though. It was the 1950s so communication wasn’t easy. Even travel on army planes took some time. The army wouldn’t tell him either what was wrong with his wife and he was naturally extremely worried and expecting the worst. Dad kept the newspaper cuttings from the time which we still have. They are a bit brown but you can still read them.

My mum’s parents were not churchgoers but her Aunt Mabel was and it was my Aunt who had taken my mum to church. Mum had become a Christian and been baptised. The church committed to praying for mum and they decided to have an all-night prayer vigil for her when they heard the news that she was not expected to survive the night. They sent prayer cloths in for her to the hospital and were faithful in praying for her recovery and healing. She made it through the night and the worst was over. There was a breakthrough. There is power in prayer and in corporate prayer when believers come together.

From that time on, Mum started to get better and better and the Doctors were amazed at her recovery. They told her though that in their opinion she would still not be able to walk again. Mum was convinced though that she had been healed and was determined to show the Doctors that she would walk. She recovered her strength and was soon up and about. The Doctors were so pleased that she was able to walk that they agreed that she could leave the hospital and continue her recovery at home. Mum is convinced that God healed her in answer to prayer. Without prayer she is sure that she would not have survived that night. I’m grateful for those faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who committed to pray through the night for her. I’m especially grateful that God answered prayer and she made it because otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. Thank the Lord for His mercies. If you need God to move in your situation then I hope this encourages you to pray to God and trust and believe that He will hear and answer your prayers.

She’s doing well for 82 😀

The encouraging thing is that because Mum had experienced God’s healing touch, she had faith in God to heal. She always encouraged us to pray in all situations. I remember one occasion when Mum had broken her ankle. She had been playing on my daughters scooter (she’d forgotten her age) and fallen. She was in plaster but still insisted on going to church. That night there was a visiting preacher, Martin Scott who had a prophetic ministry. He picked Mum out of the crowd and said that he could tell she was a woman of strong faith. He believed God was going to heal her ankle. It was incredible because Mum felt a heat in her leg and her ankle soon recovered.

It’s good to share testimonies of God’s grace to us and the good things He does. God is with us in all times of life, the good but also the trials and times of difficulty. As a family we have also had those times too. I’ll share more about those times and how God has sustained us in times of sickness and tragedy in other posts. Have a blessed day.

God’s Healing Power

Sometimes, it’s important to be clear about what you believe. I felt convicted of that this morning. I am not ashamed to say that I believe in God’s power to heal us from sickness and disease, not just in days of past but also for today. I worship and believe in a God that heals yesterday, today and tomorrow. God boldly declares it about himself, it’s part of God’s character. He is a healer. He calls himself Jehovah Rapha..the God who heals. That’s a bold statement.

God doesn’t just say empty words about himself. He demonstrates that what He says about himself is true and reliable. We can have faith in Him that His words are true. There is a continued thread throughout the bible of God demonstrating His healing power in the Old Testament and continued by Jesus in the New Testament and then by the Apostles and other believers. There are many stories of healing and witnesses who testified about God healing them.

Healing was a major part of Jesus’ ministry when He was here on earth. He had such compassion on people that He did many healings and miracles which the gospels tell us about. I believe those accounts.

“They had come to hear him (Jesus) and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed. Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.”
Luke 6:18-19

The bible teaches us that God’s healing powers did not stop when Jesus returned to heaven because Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to continue His work through His believers. The Apostles and other believers filled with the Holy Spirit also healed in Jesus name.

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’

“What should we do with these men?” they (the leaders) asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. The council then threatened them further, but they finally let them go because they didn’t know how to punish them without starting a riot.

For everyone was praising God for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.

After their release the disciples prayed:

“And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:8-11,16,21-22,29-30

Healing didn’t stop there either as the bible teaches us through the Apostle Paul that the Holy Spirit continues to give the gift of healing through believers:

The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.” 1 Corinthians 12:9

We are encouraged to pray for those who are sick:

Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
James 5:14-16

Does everyone that we pray for get healed immediately or physically healed. The answer to that from my own experience is No. I don’t operate in a gift of healing continually. I can testify however that I have experienced people being healed immediately and I have felt the power of the Holy Spirit go through me by the laying on of hands. Yet on other times not.

Do I get discouraged sometimes when people I pray for or we pray for as a fellowship are not healed. Yes, I do. Do I understand why some prayers for healing are answered and some not. No I don’t. It doesn’t stop me though from stirring up my faith, refusing to give in to disappointment and praying again. I persevere because I know and believe that I serve a loving, faithful God who can and does heal. It is His Will which is to be done and He knows what is best in every circumstance. God wants people to be saved and spend eternity with Him through faith in His son Jesus.

I know there are other bloggers on WordPress who have also been healed and have shared their testimonies online. I have met people who have experienced God’s healing touch through faith in Jesus Christ and been encouraged by their testimonies. I have shared my own story of experiencing healing. God healed me once in a very different way than I expected. You can read about what happened here Healing – My story.

I’ll share my Mum’s story tomorrow. Pam was healed from Meningitis before I was born. The doctors had told my Dad that there was little hope of recovery but the Church held an all night prayer meeting and God moved powerfully on her behalf. I believe her testimony will encourage someone who need to hear that there is a God who heals and His healing power is available today.

I pray God’s blessing on you all today.

Today..God is speaking

In the night, I was wakened with theses words “Today, if you will hear His voice DO NOT HARDEN your heart.” I felt a great stirring from the Lord to share these words with us all today so that we can ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the true condition of our hearts.

The Lord is speaking in these days to us through His Holy Scriptures and through His Holy Spirit. He wants us to hear His voice above all others. Especially each day. What is God saying Today. Let us have ears to hear as the Spirit says, what the Lord is speaking to us, individually and corporately as His body of believers. His church.

I have posted below the scriptures which speak of our hearts being hardened. We are warned to guard our hearts against unbelief, sin, unfaithfulness and disobedience as these will hinder and stop us entering into what God has for us.

My dear friends, I pray that we will seek the Lord for His guidance today and repent of anything the Holy Spirit reveals to us through Holy Scripture which is causing our hearts to be hard. Sometimes we don’t realise that there can be a hardening of our hearts. It can be very subtle.

Many years ago, my husband was extremely ill and thought he was having a heart attack. His symptoms were of a heart attack and in the ambulance and at the hospital, the tests were showing a heart attack. He was very young at the time and you would not think he could be suffering a heart attack. He was very healthy and fit. Even when the ambulance crew came, they laughed with us at the very thought but all soon changed when the ECG machine tested his heart.

However, the Consultant at the hospital said that they would not diagnose a heart attack until the blood tests came back. It was the blood which would tell them the condition of the heart. When the blood test came back there had been no evidence of a heart attack.

The consultant informed us that it was a virus that was attacking my husbands heart. The virus worked by hardening the tissue around the heart and squeezing it and if the virus was left untreated it would continue eventually causing the heart itself to become hardened. Sin, unbelief, disobedience in our lives are like that virus. Left unchecked they will work to cause great harm to our hearts.

The good news was that the treatment of this condition which was affecting my husbands’s heart was so simple. It was a little tablet which you could buy cheaply and easily from any pharmacy, an anti-inflammatory tablet. It would quickly break down the effects caused by the virus. Praise God it soon did and my husband quickly recovered.

The same is true for us. The hardening of our hearts can be healed through humbling ourselves, confessing our sins before God, repentance and the cleansing of our hearts by the washing of the Word and the blood of Jesus. We become restored and healed. Our hearts are cleansed and softened.

I pray that you will be encouraged and challenged today. That you hear His voice and respond to God. Have a blessed day. Scriptures posted below for ease.

“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.

Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. “Psalm 95:6-9

“For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. “Hebrews 3:7-19

“But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?
Mark 8:17-18 –

Christ in our hearts. The King of Glory