Praying for others..

Recently, the Lord has encouraged me to pray this prayer, which is in Colossians chapter One verses 9-14. The Word of God is powerful and if you are interceding for others then this prayer could be a good starting point for you too.

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Amen

May God make His face to shine upon you today and grant you His favour. Bless you.

Blind Spots

A place you cannot see; your view is obstructed; an area your understanding or knowledge is weak – sometimes because we are unwilling to try – Cambridge definitions

Jesus warns us about two examples of blind spots and these bible verses will be familiar to us.

And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” Luke 6:41-42

How often do we read that verse and put ourselves in the position of the brother with the speck in our eye rather than the one with the log? I know I have. You’d think a log would be pretty obvious but that’s the point of a “blind spot”. We just don’t see the log. We’re blinded to it. It’s dangerous. Not just for us but to those we affect because we aren’t aware of the log.

Jesus also pointed out blind spots to one of the churches in Revelation.

In our bibles, it is often noted that this is a “lukewarm” church – neither hot or cold. One of the definitions of a “blind spot’ is an area or subject that we are weak in because we can’t be bothered to apply ourselves to understanding or learning. That sounds a lot like apathy.

And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent”. Revelation 3 14-19

We can read these verses and again fail to see that we could be this lukewarm church or in fact any of the churches that Jesus rebukes.

I have my blind spots and I too need Jesus’ eye salve to anoint the eyes of my heart that I can see clearly. Holy Spirit what are you saying to me in these things. May I see and hear clearly. Remove the obstacles Lord.

As I have meditated on these things I wrote the following, it might help you too if this post has struck a chord with you.

There are blind spots in your heart. These are spots that you do not see or want to see. They are the stains of hurts, stains of pain and anguish. Buried deep in hearts. Spots of sorrow and grief, spots of anger, spots of pride, rejection and bitterness. Blinded to them, Blinded by them. They are your blind spots.

Blind spots need to be BEHIND spots. Things to put behind you; forgetting the past and straining forward towards the high prize in Christ Jesus – the hope of glory.

Blind spots become BIND spots. They bind your thoughts. They bind your behaviours. They bind your hearts. They bind your minds. They are blind spots to the TRUTH.

Uncover the blind spots. Seek the blind spots and open the eyes of your heart to the truth. Open the eyes of your heart to grace, mercy and righteousness; to love in all its fulness. Then the love spots of your heart to overflow in love.

May the grace of God, the knowledge of the Son grow in us more and more. May we be blinded by the light of His glory, blinded by the light of His grace, Blinded by the light of His mercy.

Blinded by His light..the light of the world. The bright morning star.

Blinded by the light of His glory. Amen

Seeking the outcast..

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him. John 9:35 -38

These verses from John’s gospel tell the story of the man who had been blind from birth but was miraculously healed by Jesus. This poor man who had lived his life until this moment in complete darkness, not able to see anything of the world around him, was given the gift of sight.

This is the miracle that this man could probably never have imagined being possible. It was unthinkable, he received his sight. Not his sight back as he had never seen before, but the ability to see what was previously hidden from him.

The greatest and happiest day of his life then becomes one of rejection.

The religious leaders of the day who are offended by his healing on a Sabbath question him about Jesus. When he does not answer in the way they want then they cruelly excommunicate him from the temple. This is a terrible thing to do in the Jewish society of the day. He is now an outcast.

This story of rejection after encountering Jesus may be one that is familiar to you from your own experiences. If so, then I hope these verses bring encouragement and hope to you.

This man’s story doesn’t end in rejection as we see from the verses. Jesus hears what has happened and actively seeks him out until He finds Him. Jesus shows such compassion and concern for this man that He actively looks for him until He finds him. Jesus does not reject him. This is such a beautiful picture to me. Jesus cares.

Jesus came to seek the lost and this is what He does for this man. This man had regained his physical sight but then lost His place to worship God in the Synagogue. Jesus comes and seeks him out to now give Him spiritual sight and show the truth about who Jesus is. Jesus reveals Himself..the Son of God.

Physical blindness must be terrible but spiritual blindness is even worse. Jesus wants this man to see the truth about who He is. Jesus introduces this man to the Son of God. He gives this man the opportunity to believe in Him. This man wants to believe and confesses his faith in Jesus. He then worships Jesus as God as he is now able to worship God in Spirit and in truth because of Christ.

This man was given his physical sight but then was given His spiritual sight which is the most precious gift of all. The tragedy is that those in the temple who had cast him out were still spiritually blind to the truth. They did not see Jesus for who He truly was. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Our prayer today: from Ephesians 1 that we may know Christ and our understanding of Him is enlightened.

“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in”

Understanding..

“And He (Jesus) opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Luke.24.45

Understanding what we read or hear is so important. We can have knowledge but no understanding. When I look at a car engine I can know some of the different components, but I am not a trained mechanic or engineer who understands how the engine works. I can have knowledge about parts of the human body, but I don’t have the level of understanding that a Doctor or biologist has about how the body works.

As followers of Christ, we can all at times wrestle with passages of scripture and not understand the bible verses we read fully. We can read a lot but that knowledge won’t help us if we don’t understand it. Understanding the Scriptures is necessary so that we can apply them to shape the life of obedience we are called to live in Christ. This is especially important to avoid being deceived when Scripture is taken out of context and misapplied. Understanding in these days is so necessary to avoid the trap of false teaching and deceit.

Quite often (especially when we are new to faith) the bible can seem overwhelming to read. You might be someone who struggles with reading and it’s difficult to find the desire to start. There are so many books in the bible, the Old Testament, the New Testament..what do I read. Do I start at Genesis and work through? How much should I read at once? It’s in those times that we can feel defeated reading the scriptures and give up. If we don’t start out by reading the right passages at the right level for us and we dive right into the meaty parts before we are ready, then we can struggle and give up altogether. Start reading the Bible in the right place for you..if you are not sure where to start then don’t be shy to ask – your church leader or a fellow believer will help you.

If you find reading the Bible difficult then can I encourage you that help is at hand. The bible tells us this through this wonderful verse in Luke. The first disciples and followers of Jesus were as we know a collection of people from all walks of life – fishermen, tax collectors etc. They were simple men and women of faith who were not trained in the Scriptures to the level that the Pharisees and other teachers of the law were. However, And He (Jesus) opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Luke.24.45

Jesus took the time to help them understand the Scriptures. One of the first things that Jesus did when He was resurrected was to explain to the two disciples on the road the Scriptures. He helped them understand the Scriptures about the Messiah which He had fulfilled in his death and resurrection. That’s how important us understanding God’s Word is to Him. He wants to help. Jesus through the Holy Spirit that is now living within you, the Lord will help you understand the Scriptures. He wrote them after all so there is no better place to start. Right to the source.

Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and give you understanding as you read the Word of God. Even down to – Where does the Lord want me to start or which verse, passage should I read today. The Lord knows the best place.

You might be thinking how will I know. Take that first step. Pick up your bible and pray a simple prayer. Lord, I want to read and understand the scriptures. Help me today. Guide me in my reading and help my understanding. Amen

Next find someone that you can read the Bible with and discuss what you learn. That will help you in your learning and make sure that you stay on track in a good way. Reading the Bible with others is so beneficial as the Holy Spirit inspires and opens our understanding of the Word together.

“Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things” 2Tim.2.7

I have something to say…

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.

So he said, “Teacher, say it.” Luke 7:40

I read this passage of Scripture this morning and it really got me thinking about how Jesus approached Simon with an important truth that he wanted Simon to hear and understand.

Jesus was an invited guest into Simon’s home. He had been invited in but had not been welcomed in (there’s a difference) as Simon’s behaviour had made clear. Jesus had noticed all these slights from Simon as the host such as not giving Jesus water to clean his feet or a welcoming kiss. We know from this well known bible story that a woman comes in (who Simon knows is a woman of bad reputation) and instead she cleans Jesus’ feet with her tears and wipes them with her hair and anoints him with oil.

Jesus had discerned Simon’s heart from his actions and also his thoughts about the woman washing Jesus’s feet. Jesus had something important to teach Simon about forgiveness and love but first Jesus tested whether Simon was prepared to hear what Jesus had to say.

Notice that Jesus in this situation didn’t just presume to tell Simon. He gave Simon the opportunity to hear or not what Jesus had to say. This wasn’t a general teaching to a crowd but this was going to be directed straight at Simon. It was personal. Simon could have said.. no thanks I don’t want to hear what you’ve got to say. I’m not interested. I think if he had then Jesus would have respected that decision and not said anything further. However, Simon gives Jesus the right and permission to speak to him and even acknowledges him as a “Teacher”.

When I’m wronged, treated badly or just want to get my views across then my first reaction is usually to just “tell” and get it straight out there without thinking of asking the other person whether they actually want to hear what I’ve got to say or not. Generally, they’re going to get my opinion whether they like it or not but the question is, have I asked and do I have permission to speak into the situation. Perhaps, I should first be saying “I have something to say to you”.

Credibility

“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eye witnesses and servants of the word so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
Luke.1-4

This is the opening statement in the gospel of Luke. It’s a bold statement and sets out the confidence that the writer, Luke has in the account he is writing of Jesus because he has carefully investigated everything.

He has tested the first hand accounts of the stories of Jesus from those who were eye witnesses of what happened. Luke acknowledges that many others have sought to share and record what Jesus did because it is such a marvellous truth. People who knew Jesus wanted to share the good news with others just as Jesus commanded them to do.

Luke does not want the truth about Jesus and what Jesus has accomplished to be lost, so in order to preserve the truth for Theophilus he has decided to write a full and orderly account. I wonder if Luke had any idea that his words would be preserved, read and studied by millions of followers of Jesus today still.

As we know there is much taught, discussed and written about Jesus today. You can access so much on the Web. Just as Luke was diligent to test the source of his information so that it was credible, it is so important that we test what we hear, are being taught and read about Jesus. It must line up with the Jesus who is revealed to us in the Bible. The Son of God. Any purported new truth, teaching or revelation of Jesus which is not in the Bible is a false teaching and a false gospel.

Paul commended the Bereans for diligently searching the scriptures to test the message that he brought to them about Jesus. The Bereans wanted to know the truth. I wrote a post called Being Open-Minded which you can read on the link. Alarm bells should definitely ring if someone doesn’t want or like their teachings about Jesus to be tested and expects you to blindly accept everything they tell or teach you.

I’m inspired to read the gospel of Luke again and I hope today’s post has blessed and encouraged you.

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 🙏

Overwhelmed….

I woke in the early hours with thoughts racing through my mind of all the tasks I had not done and were overdue. As I went through them one by one I started to feel overwhelmed and stressed. The more I thought about them all, the more overwhelmed I felt. Stress was building and I wanted and needed some more sleep.

I told myself “Stay calm”. You need to stay calm. I kept repeating those words to myself “Stay calm”. “Stay calm”.

As I repeated that word “calm” I thought, I can stay calm because Christ Always Loves Me.. yes, Christ Always Loves Me. That is never in doubt. His unfailing love never changes or diminishes. He always loves me.

I then thought of dear brother Alan’s post from the other day of how God rescues us in His Firm Hold. I encourage you to read it. It blessed me and I know it will bless you too. As I thought of Alan’s words, I thought, yes I can stay calm because Christ Always Lifts Me. Christ Always Lifts Me. Jesus always draws me closer to Him. I could focus on all the things I haven’t done or I could fix my eyes on Him.

I prayed a simple prayer. Lord take these burdens from me. I give them to you. I know you love me and care for me in all things. Thank you Lord. You are my help.

So those are my two reminders to myself for today. Perhaps you are also in a similar situation and it would help you to say….Christ Always Loves Me and Christ Always Lifts Me.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Pick up your mat….

Last week, I had a word from the Lord which I shared in our church fellowship and it witnessed with some people and their situations. I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to share this same word with you today. Please weigh and test and if it speaks to your heart too then please pray about it.

The Lord spoke to me about the paralysed man who was lying by the pool Bethesda. When the waters were stirred for healing, he couldn’t get there in time. He kept missing out. He kept missing his opportunity and thought others were always beating him to it. Taking the only opportunity available.

I believe this word was about more than healing and was for other situations. The Lord impressed on me that there were brothers and sisters in Christ who felt they had missed or kept missing their opportunity. Each time they felt someone else was beating them to it and it was too late for them. You see your vision being accomplished by other people and wonder about the promises the Lord has given you. When will they come to pass for you.

The paralysed man had not initially recognised the time of opportunity which had come to him and that the Healer himself was right beside him until Jesus spoke those words to him. “Take up your mat and walk” so the Lord is saying that He is the one that opens doors and makes things happen and gives opportunity according to His Will. He will fulfil His promises within His times.

You have not missed out. The Lord will clearly open the door in His timing and you have to be obedient to His voice telling you to “pick up your mat and walk”. Walk through that door of opportunity. Your time will come. Don’t hesitate but look and listen for the Lord is right there beside you in all things.

Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?

7 Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” John 5 1-9

#Testimony Tuesday-Pam’s story

It’s my mum Pam’s birthday this week and so I wanted to re-post this testimony of her healing. She will be 84 and still loves sharing her faith in Jesus with others. She is doing well physically although her mobility is not as good as it was but she is coming to church using her wheelchair and loves it. I hope her story blesses you today.

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.