The Invite

It’s exciting to receive an invitation especially to a celebration. I have received an invitation recently to attend a party..there is free food, drink, a great venue in Birmingham but it’s only for volunteers of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

The thing is after working 8 shifts (some very early ones), getting home late, travelling, working my day job….I’m tired. I couldn’t really be bothered and started making excuses not to go. It was easy to find the excuses..but then other people started to encourage me to attend. This was a one off event, it would be fun and I’d be with all my fellow volunteers.

Then someone said something which struck me “it’s free..why wouldn’t you go”.

This reminded me of God’s invitation to receive forgiveness and the free gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus’ His son.

It’s a free gift…an invitation ..why wouldn’t it be accepted?

The sad truth is that there are people who do not accept God’s invitation. Jesus knew that people would reject Him and His message. He told a parable about people who were invited to a wedding feast but refused to come – they made lots of different excuses. This is what Jesus says:

‘The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. ‘Then he sent some more servants and said, “Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.” ‘But they paid no attention and went off – one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, ill-treated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. ‘Then he said to his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” Matthew 22:2-10

People will always have the freedom of choice whether to accept God’s invitation or not – that is up to them. We cannot force people to accept Jesus, but we should not give up or be discouraged from issuing the invitation because it gets refused – Jesus isn’t.

Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust from their feet and move on when they and their message was not welcomed at places.

Perhaps we need to shake off some past disappointments and defeatist mind sets and start giving out those invitations again. I know I do.

Sadly, there will come a time when it will be too late to issue the invites – the door will be closed- but we can encourage others to “seek Him while He can be found“. Isaiah 55 v 6.

Who can we invite today to find Jesus?

Let the Games begin…

Morning all, for those who read my recent blog Look the Part…Play your Part you will know that the Commonwealth Games are taking part in Birmingham England (my home city) this week. Sports people from many different parts of the world (72 nations) have come together to take part in about 19 different sporting events from cricket, athletics, rugby, swimming, gymnastics, netball, racket sports…a huge range over 10 days.

It’s a massive thing for the city of Birmingham because although Birmingham is the second largest city in the United Kingdom, it is generally still regarded as a poor place. It’s reputation has not been great. Birmingham has together with the region where I live (called the Black Country) a long industrial past so a lot of the city centre was made up of factories around the Jewellery Quarter and then there were the coal/tin mines in the Black Country with the glass, chain, steel and other industries. In the other areas of Longbridge and Solihull were the large car manufacturing plants and not forgetting the famous Cadbury Chocolate factories and village for the workers in Bournville.

When the industries, manufacturing and mining declined, and some disappeared altogether, those buildings and areas fell into disrepair and neglect and there was a lot of poverty but over the years the city and its areas have started to be regenerated. One of the beautiful things of the games is that people get to see the “new” and “regenerated” Birmingham. The regeneration is not complete by any means but these games have brought with them the ability to push that regeneration along. The past images of Birmingham are being renewed and people can see what a great city Birmingham is.

God is a God of restoration and these beautiful verses in Isaiah remind us of this:

You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.“ Isaiah 62:3-5

The opening ceremony showed the story of Birmingham and its pioneering achievements but didn’t shy away from some of its difficult history…especially the cruel story of the women who were the “chain makers” of the area. These women worked day and night making chains for industry in terrible conditions and essentially being exploited in their labour. These brave women eventually stood up and said enough. They fought to have better pay and treatment.

There was a powerful scene in the opening ceremony when this huge (and I mean huge) mechanical bull was brought into the arena by these women in their chains. The women then were set free from their chains and released. This representation reminded me so much of Jesus who by His death and resurrection has set us, the captives free, and we are no longer enslaved to sin. We are free in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Hallelujah

There are many people praying for us whilst these Games are on that the light of Jesus will break over our city. Please pray that Jesus will be exalted in these days and the love of God made known. Join with us as we pray.

I started my first volunteer shift yesterday and for the next week will be carrying out various duties in my role and meeting lots of different people. I’ll post some (hopefully) fun stories of my experiences and what happens at the Games. Let the Games begin..

Launch Out Again

Morning friends, I want to share this encouragement again from Luke 5 because I believe there are people who may need to hear this today. Bless you.

Some people may feel like they have been toiling hard for the Kingdom of God in their ministry, especially in wanting to see people come to know Jesus, but the breakthrough has not happened yet.

You may feel weary and discouraged but the word today is:

“Launch out into the deep and let your nets down again for a catch”.

If you have put an aspect of your work or ministry for the Lord down, then perhaps the Lord is speaking to you today by His Holy Spirit, as he did to Simon Peter.

Let your nets down where the Lord shows you and directs you and in His timing. At His Word the disciples were obedient.

You may need to step out of your comfort zone as the Lord takes you into different and deeper waters.

The Lord may be leading you to a new fishing ground.

Even though we read the disciples were weary as they had fished all night, they had already cleaned their nets to be put away, Simon Peter showed faith in Jesus and obeyed. He put to sea again.

Peter is saying – despite my experience and what has happened in the past, I am going to do what you say, Jesus. He was immediately obedient.

The result was a miraculous catch of fish.

“When He (Jesus) had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.”
Luke 5:4-7

To Know Him

The most beautiful moment of my life was accepting Jesus as my Saviour and surrendering my life to Him. Since then discipleship has been a journey of discovery to know Jesus better and more deeply. Jesus came to show us the Father and through faith in Jesus, to enable us to have a relationship with God. It is in that relationship that we become more Christ like as we live out our Christian faith through obedience to God’s Word and Jesus’ teachings.

Accepting Christ is the start of an amazing journey of faith and not the end in itself.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth has come and dwells in us, to lead us and help us in our discipleship journey. The Spirit convicts us of sin and leads in righteousness and truth, to glorify the Son.

We sometimes think as Christians our goal is to evangelise and once someone has made a commitment to Jesus, it’s job done. But that’s just the start.

Jesus asks us to make disciples and not just converts. We are His witnesses of a new life born again into God’s kingdom. Discipleship is to journey with people and requires love and commitment so that we become rooted and grounded in the truth of the gospel. It’s like bringing people into a family. You wouldn’t invite someone to be part of a family and then just ignore them and leave them to it. You show them how to live life as part of the family. What’s expected of each other. Sharing knowledge, wisdom, gifting, there through the highs and lows, joys, sorrows, successes and failures. Encouraging and supportive. Discipline and love. Forgiveness and grace.

We can journey with many different people as believers in Christ. Some journeys are for different seasons. I’ve been discipled by some incredible people and even now the Lord brings people alongside me who help me grow in faith and develop – sometimes in challenging ways. We have to learn sometimes to let some relationships and people go and move on so they can also grow and develop as the Lord leads. Sometimes we have to move on ourselves. We are a body of believers, members of one another. United in Christ.

I love these bible verses:

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 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 all. Ephesians 1:15-23

Amen 🙏

Lifeline..

On Wednesday at our church prayer meeting, this was the word I heard in my spirit from the Lord – Lifeline.

At the same time I saw us all in a boat that was being tossed about in large waves but in the water were people desperate for help. That is when I hear that word “Lifeline”. I then saw the people in the boats throwing out lifelines to those in the water.

There are many people who need a lifeline. Brothers and sisters in Christ- who can we be that lifeline for today, tomorrow, next week.

I then read Andy B’s testimony of being prompted by the Holy Spirit to buy a packet of biscuits for a lady. It turned out to be the lifeline that woman needed. You can read that testimony here Kindness doesn’t need to be costly

We can throw a lifeline to someone today..reaching out as the Holy Spirit prompts us whether in little acts of kindness or into the deeper things as the Spirit leads for the Lord knows and hears the cries of a wounded heart.

Definitions of a lifeline:

A way of getting help on which you depend:

A rope or line used for life-saving, typically one thrown to rescue someone in difficulties in water or one used by sailors to secure themselves to a boat.

Provide (someone) with a means of escaping from a difficult situation.

A lifeline is a safety feature on a boat, a rope that either protects you from falling off or you throw to someone in difficulty.

A lifeline also protects those on the boat from falling off. This is also important I believe in this season. The boat I saw was not on calm waters but was being tossed around. That may be you today. You are going through a really difficult season. Buffeted from all directions. The Lord’s lifeline is there for you. He is your rock..when you pass through the waters He will be with you.

Lord hear our prayer today. Show us those around us who need a lifeline. Be the lifeline that we throw to help and anchor them securely to you. For those Lord whose faith is wavering and who need a lifeline to protect them in this season from falling off the boat, then let us be those who notice and help them to be rooted in you and not to lose hope or faith. Lord we are so grateful that you are not only in the boat with us but you are the boat Lord. Help us to remain not only attached to you and to each other, but to abide in you always. Amen

Replenish (2)

Recently, the Lord prompted this word “Replenish” to me. I wrote a post about it which you can access here Replenish. At the time, I thought there was more in this word that the Lord wanted me to understand and I have been thinking about it on and off ever since.

As I have prayed, I have been led firstly to these bible verses in Ephesians 1 which talk about Jesus. As with anything, we must always start with Jesus, our cornerstone. I have included the words in brackets as the verses are at the end of chapter 1 to be clear who the Apostle Paul is talking about. I encourage you to read the whole chapter but these are the verses the Lord drew me to.

And He (God) put all things under His (Jesus’) feet, and gave Him (Jesus) to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him (Jesus) who fills all in all.
Ephesians 1:22-23

Paul is setting out in these verses the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ and His authority and His position now. Not just in the future but in our very present.

Firstly, God has put all things under Jesus’ feet. Not some things but all things, not just in the natural physical realm that we live in currently, but also in the heavenly realm. There is not one thing that is not beneath Jesus’ feet. Jesus is supreme over all things and has all things at His command.

God has appointed Jesus and given Jesus to be the Head over His church. Jesus is the one who is and should be the Head of us who are His body. Jesus is not detached from us. He is the Head of us. What a gift to us. Jesus who has supreme authority and power is the one who leads, guides, protects, nourishes, feeds and provides for us.

As we read on it says that we as the body of Christ are intended to be the fullness of Jesus. Paul has explained who Jesus is, His position, authority, power and we, His body, are to be the fullness of Him.

I want to meditate on that thought again. As the body of Christ, we are connected to Jesus who is the fullness of all things. Jesus is not remote from us, disconnected or disinterested. Jesus is our source of all goodness, righteousness, love, Godly wisdom, kindness, hope, joy, long suffering, patience, humility, strength, power. Jesus is connected to us as the Head of us and He fills us.

We are called to be filled with Jesus. This is made possible through the gift of the Holy Spirit who is given freely to us. The Spirit of God is now in us. We are exhorted to be filled with the Holy Spirit as believers and disciples of Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit is to be abundant in our lives.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22

Jesus fills all..that is what the Apostle Paul is teaching us. Jesus fills each one of us who is part of His body. Each one of us can be Replenished…filled up to the level that Jesus intends for us, His body. We are to be filled for His glory and His purposes. The intention is for all who are part of Jesus’ body to be filled with Him.

We are intended to be the fullness of Jesus as His body.

What needs replenishing in us today..let us go to the source Jesus and ask Him to replenish us with His fulness.

My prayer today;

Lord, come by your Holy Spirit and fill each one of us who together are your body. May we, your body, be united under you, our Head. Let us be at one in you so that we may be at one with each other. Knit us together Lord in your love. We want to be the fullness of you, who have given us so freely the gift of the Holy Spirit. Fill us again we ask Lord. Fill your body. Replenish us Lord. Let us be the fullness of you in these days for the glory of your Kingdom. Reign in us Lord Jesus. Unite us and breathe upon us breath of God. Amen.

Bless you today.

Jesus the Lamb of God

Heaven’s darling,

All Hail the Lamb; All Hail the Lamb;

He is the darling of heaven;

He is crowned with many crowns;

At His name every knee will bow;

He is all majesty and power;

His eyes are like a flaming torch;

He is TRUTH and LOVE;

On His thigh is written a name only He knows;

He is FAITHFUL and TRUE;

He is our HEALER,

He is our Deliverer;

He is the Refining Fire;

Open your eyes today to see Him;

It is time to anoint our eyes with salve so that we can truly see Him;

Those blinded to the truth do not see Jesus for who He truly is;

He is more than a prophet, He is more than a man;

He is the Son of the living God;

He is God;

He is alive;

We live in times when there are many blind leaders of the blind;

Many follow those who are blind along wrong paths;

Are you blinded to the truth;

Have we become blinded to the truth;

I pray the Holy Spirit will open eyes to the truth today so that we can see Jesus more clearly;

Without Jesus as our saviour we are dead in our sin but He can cleanse us from all sin.

I pray today that you will see and know Jesus in all His glory.

Take hold of Him today and His redeeming Love for you in faith.

Amen

True Hope..

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guard the door of your heart against disappointment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings to you this day in Jesus name.

The Perfect Plan of God – Harmony

Today, I am reposting a post from 2018. I find it useful to go back and read some of my old posts and discover again some things the Lord has put on my heart and encouraged me with at various times, especially when I’m in a period which is extremely busy at work and I can feel overwhelmed. This post reminding me that God is sovereign and has a perfect plan for each of us reassures me that my future is secure in Him and to keep my eyes fixed on Him. I am in Him and He is in me which brings great peace and comfort to my soul.

2018 – God reminded me today that even though at times my life seems chaotic and overwhelming to me when I am trying to balance work, family, home and many other things which distract me, the truth is that He is always right there with me and I am made right with Him through Jesus.   

I am living out His perfect plan for my life because He is in it.     I don’t have to earn it or work at it – I just have to accept the greatest gift which Jesus has given to me – the gift of relationship with God.

I wrote down the following words which came to me as I spent some time with God today:

My children,  From the very foundation of the world I had a plan and My plan has not altered.    It is a plan set in the heavenly realm and My son Jesus achieved and accomplished in perfect obedience and perfect sacrifice and in perfect timing that plan.   Every person on earth who has ever lived and was created with life has a place in My perfect plan.    There is no-one who has ever lived who is not able to partake.  None has been left out.  

I long that all would come into My perfect plan for their lives.   My plan is simple.  It consists of relationship between Father, Son, Holy Spirit and you in perfect harmony of relationship.  There is nothing which can stop you being part of My plan.  

All that is necessary is humble acceptance of My son’s sacrifice and offering of Himself for you.  He has obtained by His death and resurrection the keys of death and hell so that the door is open to walk into the perfect plan for your life.   No other plan will bring you the desires of your heart for no other plan can bring you into perfect harmony with Me.  It is simple and it is true.  There is only one plan which is perfect and so why accept anything less for yourselves.

sky sunset person silhouette

I hope that you have found that perfect plan in Jesus for your life with God. It’s called the gospel – the good news. The bible teaches that sin has separated us from God but Jesus, who had no sin, became that bridge to God by dying in our place. Jesus took the punishment that our sins deserved and made it possible to be reconciled with God and adopted into God’s family. We have to acknowledge our sin, accept Jesus as our saviour and then commit to following Jesus as a disciple for the rest of our lives, growing in the knowledge of God and His Kingdom being filled with the Holy Spirit and expressing God’s love to others. Telling others the good news about Jesus.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11

 

 

The Narrow Gate

We are away in the Derbyshire Dales at the moment and the countryside is beautiful. We visited last year and I was inspired by their narrow gates to write this post.

So, to get to the inspiration for this post..the narrow gate. On our first evening here, we ventured for a walk and discovered the “narrow gate”. Here it is..it was the first of many we encountered on our walks in these parts but our first experience of such a gate. As you can see the gate is made of two massive stones, positioned to enable walkers to enter the next field but not the livestock.

Photo taken at Youlgrave

I seriously struggled to get through it. I literally had to squeeze myself through. I know I’m carrying a few extra Covid pounds but this was ridiculous. My husband thought it was hilarious as I was trying this way and that way and eventually sideways to get through. I don’t know what was going wrong because I should have easily got through the gap. It is very narrow at the bottom and then widens out (a bit) but I seemed to approach it all wrong.

And there lies the rub…with finding and entering through the narrow gate which Jesus talks about. The gate that leads to God and eternal life.

We have to approach and enter through the gate (Jesus) in the right way. We can’t take any of our selfish ambitions, pride or get through the gate by belief in our own goodness or good works. My own righteousness and good works are just filthy rags and will not do. They just get in the way and count for nothing.

The good news is that you can enter through the gate by simple faith in Jesus alone. Simple childlike faith. The gate is available to be found by everyone from every nation to find and walk through. There is an entrance fee but Jesus has already paid it for us. He died and paid the penalty for sin so the price is paid in full.

Have you found the narrow gate dear reader and entered through? Or are you approaching the gate in the wrong way and making it too difficult for yourself. Don’t let the things of this world get in the way of walking through that gate. Divest yourself of them and simply come as you are. Believe in Jesus and follow Him.

You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
Matthew 7:13-14

“so he (Jesus) explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd. John 10:7-18

I hope you have found the narrow gate.

It’s a tight squeeze