Burning Love

I was thinking about relationships and love the other day. This year is my 30th wedding anniversary in July. After dropping a few hints (very heavy hints) my husband realised what a milestone this was and something to be celebrated. I can only think being married to me is a celebration every day so that’s why he had forgotten 🤣

Our relationship has naturally changed over the years and deepened from that initial attraction and fervent love and passion to the developing of a deeper understanding and love for one another that goes beyond that surface knowledge and intimacy to something way deeper. We have learnt from each other and also discovered new things together. Set our own rhythms and become comfortable with each other, trusting each other to be there and challenge and support when things are tough.

There have been different seasons in our relationship. We are now entering that season when our children don’t need us as much and retirement is a lot closer. Our children are off doing their own thing so nights in, days out, holidays are generally just us now. When there’s no-one else around but you, that’s when you need those common interests and to still have fun together.

This navel gazing at my marriage has made me think of the beauty of being able to have a personal relationship with Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit.

When we are mature in faith (I’ve been a Christian longer than I’ve been married to my husband) it is good to stop and consider, whether our hearts still burn with a fervent love for God and for Jesus, our saviour.

Has our fire dwindled and do the embers need a fan of the wind of God’s Spirit.

What is it that motivates us daily in the things we do and say.

Remember that first time you became a Christian and how you were so hungry for the things of God?

If that fervent love is not still there, then what has taken the place which God had in our lives.

The Bible says Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind.

Idolatry is putting something before God – we can make idols of money, careers, other people -worshipping anything other than God.    

Idolatry is one of the areas I believe Holy Spirit is bringing conviction to us as believers in the Body of Christ. The Lord wants all of us.

The Holy Spirit can reveal the true nature of our hearts and what it is that really takes the first place in our lives, our thoughts, prompting our actions. 

Sometimes, we are blind to what or who is really sitting on the throne in our hearts.

We love God because He first loved us and gave His son to die for us while we were still sinners.

Love for God will manifest itself in spending time in His word and in fellowship with Him through prayer and praise. Times of fellowship with God; fellowship with other believers, being obedient to His Will; allowing His Holy Spirit to fill us and mould us.

The Lord draws us with chords of love. Let him draw you to Him today.

The beauty of Holiness

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

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

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

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

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

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

The way of holiness is living in and through Jesus.

In Revelation 2 Jesus says to the Church at Ephesus:

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

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

They had lost their first love.

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

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

By Invitation Only

My dear children – you are all children in my sight, dear and beloved to me.

How my heart aches for you. How my heart longs to take you in my arms and remove the burdens you are carrying.  

I am here – just waiting for you.

Waiting to lift you up in my arms and carry you through the night.

Do you hear me calling to you?  Do you hear my still small voice crying out to you?  

Do not try and block out my voice.   Do not fill your hearts and lives with worldly things which would stifle my still small voice.  

Make room in your hearts for me.   Make room.

Some of you need to clean out the house, to make room so that I can come in and sup with you and talk to you and make you mine.

Some of you have squeezed me into the smallest room of your heart and tried to close the door and keep me in that small space. You will not allow me to have access to the parts which I need to access – the parts which need healing, cleansing and release.

Some of you have opened up a parlour, the best room, where I am invited to sit.  

Where everything to outward appearances is swept clean and tidy – all rubbish hidden out of view – a room where a fire burns and which seems welcoming and inviting and where everything appears to be alright – but you are not comfortable with me.  

You are not comfortable in my presence and you do not know how to be comfortable with me.

You are not really comfortable with my presence because you are fearful that I will want to go into the other rooms and all the other rooms are barred to me.

You are ashamed of them.

You feel that they are not good enough for me.

You feel that I would not want to really see inside those rooms – rooms which are dirty, unclean, cluttered, and full of things which you are ashamed of –

those are the very rooms I need to go into with you and help you clean. Help you bring warmth and light into those rooms.

Those areas of your life which you are ashamed of – those areas of your life which you try and keep me out of and pretend do not exist.

I am not fooled.  

I want to come into all areas. I want to be able to access all areas of your life and your hearts.

Do not be afraid my children. Do not be afraid.

If you will open the door then I will come in and we will eat together. We will talk together, we will commune together. I made you, created you, I know you better than you know yourselves.   I will not be shocked or outraged by anything in your life or in your heart. If you are willing to submit to me completely then I will come in and do a work in you. I will restore you and refresh you.

Some of you ran well once. Who interrupted your race? Who hardened your heart against me? Who deafened your ears and muffled my voice? Who stole away your desire to be with me and the intimacy that we once enjoyed? Who stole your first love?

I am the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I sit at the right hand of my father in heaven. I am not a thief or a trespasser. I do not enter in where I am not invited.

Do not keep me out of my rightful place in your heart and in your life. I want to take up my rightful place in your heart and in your life.   Let me take up my rightful place.  

Come to me and submit yourself to me. Open the door and let me into my rightful place.   Open the door and let me into the closed places.  

I am King and Lord of all and there is no other but me. Let me come in.     Do not leave it any longer.   The time has come to let me be King and Lord in my rightful place.  

For the time will come when I will no longer be stood here knocking.  

Let me in to that locked and darkened room in your heart so that I may bring my light and my healing touch.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

Revelation 3:19-20

Letting go…#TestimonyTuesday

I don’t know about you but I’ve found that is actually very hard to let go as a parent. I know it needs to be done. It’s the natural rhythm of life – to let them find their own way and do their own thing without interfering. It’s hard though. To trust that our Father in Heaven is the One looking out for them. You’re not the protector any more. You have to give them over to God. They were His all the time anyway. I guess my parents felt the same way about me…

My youngest is currently 2 months in to a solo back packing trip of the Far East. Her dad dropped her off at Heathrow Airport in early March. She flew into Bangkok on her own and then a few days later (after complying with COVID restrictions) she booked and took a night train to the North of Thailand. All on her own at 19. She still seemed a baby to me. Too young to be making her way in a foreign land on her own. It’s COVID times as well. No friends or travelling companions. How would she cope. More to the point.. How would I cope?

My friends were all asking me .. how could you let her go? Why didn’t you stop her? As if I were a reckless parent leaving her in danger. But how could we stop her? I guess it would have been easy enough to have interfered and put fear into her and obstacles but it wouldn’t have been right. We had brought both our girls up to explore this world. It’s a beautiful world with a wealth of opportunities to meet incredible people. Created by our wonderful Father. We love to travel and have adventures.

When she was 4 we took her to America. No big deal but it was a holiday when we hadn’t booked any accommodation. A road trip with endless possibilities. Wonderful. Trips followed to Sri Lanka, Dubai, South Africa…. A school trip to Indonesia for her World Challenge. We had opened her eyes to the world and now she wanted to explore it without us. Oh my…that was the hard bit. On her own. No Mum, No Dad. She wanted to go on her own. I wasn’t prepared for that.

It’s hard. I’m not going to lie. She’s on the other side of the world. There is 6 hours difference in time. I’m awake, she’s asleep for some parts. I can’t hold her, comfort her, guide her. I have put her in God’s hands. I fasted and prayed before she went. I thank the Lord for His protection, grace and favour over her. I’m overwhelmed with the grace and favour shown to her on her travels so far. So many incredible examples of God being on that journey with her. I can’t wait to see what God has in store next.

She is in Cambodia now. The next stage of her journey. More new experiences and adventures. God is with her. I thank God that however much I love her, He loves her more than I can possibly love her and understand His love. She is His and I’m so grateful for that. God is good, all the time. I’m so thankful for His faithfulness and still after all these years learning to trust Him in all things. Amen.

Our last family holiday all together in New York 2018
London best city in the world 😊
The world was waiting
The world is our there..
And I can’t have family photos without a nod to Spurs..best team ever 😊

#TestimonyTuesday

God loves people. He sees their hidden wounds and wants to bring healing. Sometimes, it is a prompt from the Lord which is the catalyst to expose the hidden pain and bring release. I want to share this short testimony today of how God spoke into someone’s life to do just that.

A friend and I were praying in our local town as part of the monthly street prayer team. A man was walking towards us and as he approached, a man’s name came to me. I can’t recall the name now but I’ll say “Keith” for the purposes of this story.

We said good morning and he stopped and asked what we were doing. We explained that once a month on a Saturday, we prayed for people on the street who wanted prayer, either for themselves or others. We asked if he wanted prayer. He said no but continued to chat with us.

Whilst we were chatting, the name came to me again, so I asked him if he knew a man called “Keith”. He considered it and then said No. I thought, ok – I’m mistaken. However, he then went on to say that the only “Keith” he knew had run off with his wife. This opened a floodgate which the Lord alone knew was there. This man poured out the pain of the situation he was in and the loss of his children who he now saw only rarely.

This man then asked me how I knew about Keith. I explained that I didn’t but how God loved him and that I believed God had spoken that name to me because God saw his hurts. God wanted to help him. We asked if we could pray into the situation. This time he agreed. We prayed together on the street and it was beautiful to see God’s love reaching out to this man.

Today, God wants to use you to show His love to someone too. It can be demonstrated in so many different ways. God know what each person needs. I pray that the Lord will use each one of us today to show someone God’s love for them.

Lord God, how do you want us to show your love to someone we meet today. Show us we pray. Amen.

Bring the love letter from God

Joseph – Hero of the Faith (5)

As we have already seen in the previous post, Joseph demonstrated patience and long suffering through his troubles, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit of God.

Joseph also showed that there was no bitterness or desire for vengeance in his heart even after all that had happened to him. When the opportunity arose for Joseph to take revenge on all those who had wronged him, when he was in a position of authority and power as second only to Pharaoh to be able to do so, he chose mercy and forgiveness instead.

Its when you have the power yourself to inflict wounding on those who have wronged you but you refuse to do so, that is the power of God in action. When you bless them, that is the power of God in action. When you feed them, that is the power of God in action. When you love them that is the power of God in action.

Joseph was willing to help the Egyptians in their greatest hour of need. These were the same people who had cruelly mistreated him, enslaved him and wrongly imprisoned him. They were foreigners to him, not his tribe or nation. He had no loyalty to them or reason to help them.

Joseph was also willing to help his family, those who had once betrayed him, stripped him of his robe, tried to kill him, put him in a pit with no water or food, sold him into slavery, and abandoned him. He could have sent them packing when they came begging for bread but he didn’t. He had the power of life and death in his hand. He chose to grant them life and provide for them.

Joseph showed incredible forgiveness towards his brothers for their betrayal and cruel treatment of him. Not just in word but as we have seen in and through his actions as well.

Jesus gave a similar command to us, His followers:

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.

35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.

Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.

36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36.

Joseph’s brothers themselves could not understand how Joseph could possibly have forgiven them. You see they still thought as ungodly men. They were worried that Joseph would change his behaviour once Jacob was dead so they pretended that Jacob had told them on his deathbed that Joseph had to forgive them.

They failed to understand the grace and mercy that Joseph showed them. That is why God chose Joseph over them. They couldn’t grasp the ability to forgive and not seek revenge.

Some people cannot understand how God can forgive us our sins and all the cruelty and wickedness in this world but He does through Christ. Jesus has paid the price for all our sins, justice has been met and now there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus who himself forgave his enemies from the cross. Freely we have received so freely give.

God’s banqueting table

For those who read yesterday’s post The Grand day out you will know that I am visiting Stratford Upon Avon today. Part of my treat is a dinner at a nice restaurant with my husband. We don’t often get that time to have a dinner on our own. It’s that time of life I guess where we find ourselves juggling all sorts of responsibilities and challenges. This will be a time to relax and chat over (hopefully a nice dinner) about us- no discussions about our children, aged parents, jobs and other responsibilities.

With that in mind, I wanted to share this previous updated post about God’s banqueting table. I don’t know about you but my actual experience of banquets has mostly been from my own wedding and other similar celebrations.

So we were taking communion at church and I was reminded of God’s banqueting table and that His banner over us at this table is love.   

Those words are from the bible -the Song of Solomon but some might know or remember also the worship song about God bringing us to His banqueting table.   

He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.”

Song of Solomon 2:4

It is only through that act of selfless love when Jesus Christ died on the cross that we have the ability to come to that banqueting table and to the place prepared for us there.   

Christ issued the invitation and I accepted.    I hope you have also accepted that invitation.

Christ’s banner of love is over me and all around me when I am there.    You too.

I have a place at the banqueting table and so I have access to the full provision of God.   You do too.

I am dressed appropriately for the banquet with the garments of salvation and the robes of righteousness because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour, so there is no chance that I will be refused entry – you too;

but how often I can neglect to go there and take hold of and enjoy all that Jesus Christ has obtained for me at the Cross – you too?

Thankfully, the invitation from God is always open to come at any time – 24/7.   

There is always a welcome and my place will never be filled by anyone else so there is always a guarantee that I will have a place at the banqueting table – you too.

God can do exceedingly above all that I ask or imagine there because he is a God of abundance.   

The banquet is a picture of abundance and plenty for everyone.   The best food and drink are laid on at the banquet for the guests. 

Let’s not neglect to ask God for the things that we need and to trust Him to provide for us and sustain us.     It might be physical or spiritual sustenance that we need and we can be sure that whatever it is,  He will be faithful to meet our needs.   

Allow Him to fill us there with His love there so that we can be changed and overflow that love to others.     

A few years ago whilst on a retreat, the leader encouraged us all to take up the invitation to come to God’s banqueting table.  

He pulled up a physical chair and invited us to take our seat at the table.  

We did so and as we did, we saw ourselves seated at the table feasting on all the provision of God that Christ had obtained for us through His death and resurrection.

It had a profound effect on me.  

I encourage you to take up your place at God’s banqueting table today. 

Don’t leave it empty.

Link to He brought me to His banqueting table:

youtube.com/watch

Walking in Love: Love socks

I hope you like my Valentine day socks 😀

I put these socks on as a bit of fun to make my husband laugh but then I was immediately reminded of the exhortation of the Apostle Paul for us disciples of Jesus to walk in love. It’s the outworking of Christ’s love in and through us which is the witness of His transforming power in our lives.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
Ephesians 5:1-2

This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” 2 John 1:4-6

Jesus said to his disciples “If you love Me, keep My commandments. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
John 14:15,21,23-24

As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
John 15:9-14

I want to be a friend of Jesus. I hope you do too. ❤️

Love is..

The Apostle Paul said it beautifully:

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Have a blessed day.

God will show Himself strong for you

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

I felt prompted to share this blog post again today.

I believe there may be someone who needs to hear and be encouraged by these words – the Lord is on the look out to help those who are his and to show himself strong on your behalf.

Do you need God to show himself strong for you today? If so, then take comfort from those words and pray this promise over your situation.

How strong is the Lord?

He is strong enough to bring you out of captivity and bondage.

By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Exodus 13:14

He is strong enough to heal you.

Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases” Psalm 103:3

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people” Matthew 9:35

Are you feeling weak?

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak Isaiah 40:29

Do you need direction?

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.” Exodus 15:13

Are you in need of support? Feeling overwhelmed?

Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees” Job 4:4

Are you facing opposition?

You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me ” Psalm 18:39

Do you feel lost and vulnerable?

I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak” Ezekiel 34:16

Do you need help to rise above your circumstances?

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights Habakkuk 3:19

Take courage from the words of the Aspostle Paul who encourages us:

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13

I pray that God shows himself strong for you today in whatever circumstances or situation that you find yourself in.