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.

Refreshing Company 2

So a couple of weeks ago I posted Refreshing Company about 3 believers named Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus, who the Apostle Paul commended for being people who had by their visit refreshed him and the other believers in Corinth.

Paul encouraged recognising such people, so today I want to give a quick shout out and thank you to some “Refreshers” that I know.

First off my fellowship friends who have journeyed with me for 22 years now. We have met regularly on Wednesday evenings and when Covid kept us apart we discovered Zoom and WhatsApp video. So to Mary, Geoff, Karen, Deb, Terry, and Heather thanks for refreshing me through your prayers, reading the bible together and your giftings in the Holy Spirit. You’re awesome and I thank God for each one of you x

Next my work buddy Rachel who just by her bubbly and caring nature is such a blessing to me at work. She picks me up when I’m feeling low but is also great at challenging me when I’m wallowing in a bit of self pity because work is hard and I just need to get over myself. I remember asking God to send me some Christian friends at work and he answered my prayer by blessing me with Rachel. She is a joy.

Lastly, but not least in any way are the lovely bloggers that I follow on here. There are so many of you that regularly pour out refreshment for us readers through your writings. There is such a variety of great writing on here and I always find something that makes me smile and encourages me. You know who you are and you’re great. Bless you all.

Pouring out the oil

Morning all, I hope that you are having a blessed day. I had a beautiful and encouraging picture during worship at our church service this morning which I want to share here too, as I believe there are people reading this blog (or people you know) who will be blessed and encouraged by this picture.

In the picture I saw a shepherd who was pouring oil onto and over a sheep’s head. The Shepherd was rubbing the oil into places that were wounded or infected but otherwise the oil was freely flowing down and over the sheep’s head onto its neck and then onto the ground.

File:Pouring Oil.jpg

We know that we are the sheep of God’s pasture and the great Shepherd of the flock is Jesus. Jesus is pouring the oil of His grace and love through the ministry of the Holy Spirit over your head today. It is like the balm of Gilead dripping down over your head.

The Lord Jesus wants to bring healing, wholeness and restoration to those who are currently experiencing attacks on their thoughts – those experiencing anxiety, depression, fear, self doubt, confusion and whose thoughts are being assailed at this time.

Just as the Shepherd pours the oil over the sheep to protect it’s head from disease and to heal its wounds so the Lord is pouring out His grace and love upon you today. Receive His love. Receive His grace.

I pray that every thought and imagination will be taken captive to Christ and we will know and experience the extravagance of His abundant love for us today. That we will know God’s love and grace from the top of our heads – the crowns of our heads – to the soles of our feet.

This oil of grace and love is being poured out upon your head today – receive it and allow yourself to surrender to His loving grace and mercy working in every area of your life but particularly your thoughts today.

Bless you today my friends in the precious name of our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

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.

Conspiracies and Fear-Mongering

This is what the Lord says to me with his strong hand upon me, warning me not to follow the way of this people: ‘Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread.
Isaiah 8:11-13

Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God’s instruction among my disciples. I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. I will put my trust in him.
Isaiah 8:16-17

My friends keep your eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus in this season and be led by the Holy Spirit. Wait on God and His instructions. There are people who are whipping up fear and leading many astray. Causing them to follow the ways of greed and selfishness and exploiting the weak and not regarding the poor. People’s fear is leading them to behave in terrible ways. We only have to witness the recent violence stirred up by the fuel crises in this country. We are not called to follow ungodly ways but the ways of righteousness and truth. We are followers of Jesus.

Let us not forget that the Lord God Almighty is on the throne. He knows the truth and will expose the lies and strategies of the enemy. Stand firm in your faith, and do not be led astray but put on the armour of light, submit to God, resist the enemy and do not fall into Satan’s traps.

We have a righteous advocate in Jesus our Lord and King who rules and reigns: May His Kingdom come and may His Will be done today in our lives.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash round his waist.”
Isaiah 11:3-5

The Lord has overcome and by His power in us, His grace and His mercy we will not give in to evil or evil days but will overcome. Let us encourage each other to persevere in faith and be beacons of His light, grace, love, power and mercy in these times.

Have a blessed day.

First Impressions

There’s a great book, a classic, called Pride & Prejudice written by Jane Austen in the 1800s which has been made into various film adaptations. Although written during a different era, it’s message is still very relevant today. In the book, we encounter characters who make decisions (some very hasty) based on their own initial judgments & prejudices and how others appear initially to influence them.

The initial title for the book was apparently “First Impressions”.

We all make first impressions. When I started my first job in sales, I was always taught that you only had one chance to make a first impression on the customer so make it a good one. No pressure!!!

People make first impressions on us. There are lots of factors which can influence our first impression of someone and prejudice is one of those influences we need to recognise and if it’s there then choose to reject.

So I’ve been giving this topic of prejudice some thought. Do I really understand what it means to be prejudiced and do I harbour any prejudices in my own heart.

When I think of the word “prejudice” I think of pre-judging – my mind has already reached a conclusion – it’s judged a person or situation already without really knowing the truth.

It’s so easy to make snap decisions or judgments based on our “eyes” – what we initially see or by what we hear (which can unfortunately include hearsay), but discerning whether those arise from prejudice in our hearts is sometimes difficult to recognise unless it’s pretty obvious.

The dictionary defines “prejudice” as a “preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.”

Sometimes, it is easy to recognise prejudice – it makes no effort to hide itself. I worked with a lady once who had a racial prejudice which was from ignorance and lack of relationships and experience of different cultures. She didn’t hide this prejudice and we had some very uncomfortable and difficult conversations about it. She couldn’t recognise the problem however.

When she was very ill in hospital with cancer, I went to visit her and the first thing she did was introduce me to her “new friend” who just happened to be a person of race that she had harboured great prejudice against previously.

I discovered that my friend had been placed in a hospital room for two. Initially, she was very unhappy with the arrangement – her prejudice influenced her first impressions of her room mate. However as they started to talk she discovered they had lots in common. She also experienced such great kindness and compassion from her new friend and his family whilst she was so ill that her eyes were opened to the truth and her prejudices disappeared. Her first impressions were changed.

My friend was truly sorry for the years that she had allowed this prejudice to rob her of forming friendships and relationships with people of other cultures and races and for the wrong things she had thought, said and done.

Sadly my friend died not many weeks after her stay in hospital but I’m truly grateful that before she died she had the opportunity to discover truth not prejudice. God works in amazing and gracious ways to bring us into truth.

The Lord knows that we as humans have a tendency to be swayed by our first impressions which is why he showed us that God isn’t influenced by those things.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

I wonder what our first impressions of Jesus would have been? Isaiah the Prophet said this about him.

“For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.”
Isaiah 53:2

From these verses it would seem that Jesus would not have initially drawn people to him through his appearance. It was his teachings, his character and his good works. He showed great compassion and love which drew people. His words of wisdom and understanding would have been like precious jewels.

James gives us good advice in these bible verses because prejudice can lead to favouritism.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favouritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:1-4

So my prayer this week is that the Lord will help me identify any prejudice in my heart and show me what influences my first impressions. May it be Godly discernment and wisdom with eyes of love which are not blinkered or blind. Eyes and ears that see the heart and character of a person not influenced by outward appearance.

Have a blessed week my friends.

What’s it based on..

Feed My lambs, Feed My Sheep

These were the instructions which Jesus gave to his disciple Simon Peter, when he met him again in Galilee after His death and resurrection.

This was the same Simon Peter who had denied knowing Jesus in his time of trial. Jesus had told Peter that he would deny Him but Peter had protested that he was ready to go to prison and even death for Jesus. It wasn’t to be the case, but Jesus knew that.

It must have been really difficult for Simon Peter to face Jesus again after letting him down so badly, to believe that Jesus would still want him, Peter, to be involved in His ministry and to trust him to look after His flock. What a responsibility. What a calling.

Jesus did trust him though. Even when Jesus knew that Simon Peter would deny him, He comforted Peter by telling him that even after his denial Peter would return and be restored to relationship with Him.

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’
Luke 22:31-32

Jesus had a task for Peter to do..to strengthen his brothers. The other disciples would need Peter’s support, faith, encouragement and example of humility. I can imagine it was a different Peter who met with his brothers again after his experiences.

I was reminded today of a picture which was shared by a dear brother in Christ at one of our Sunday morning services many years ago. He saw in his vision a long banqueting table. On the table were bowls of soup ready to eat.

The guests at the banquet (members of the church) took their seats facing each other ready to eat. However, when they picked up the spoons they were far too long. It was impossible to get the spoon into the bowl and into their mouths.

Somebody then realised that their spoon could reach the bowl of the person seated opposite them. They started to feed the person opposite them. The others watched their example and started to do the same. Everyone worked together to feed each other.

Jesus has appointed different ministry roles within His church and has equipped His body of believers with every good gift so that His followers can be discipled and fed. Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Teachers and Evangelists. We have the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God. The Holy Spirit has also come to us. We have the gifts and fruit of the Spirit to help us and to help others.

It’s love for Jesus that is to be the motivation and reason for our service to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Loving obedience to Him our Lord and Master. Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved him when He gave him these instructions. Peter replied that Jesus knew that he did love him. Jesus then replied “Feed My Lambs and Feed My Sheep”.

It was Peter’s love for Jesus that was to be the motivation for service. Jesus restored Peter in love and forgiveness so that Peter did not have a wrong understanding and reason to do what Jesus asked. Jesus wasn’t asking Peter to serve him out of duty or penance in mistakenly thinking he had to make it up to Jesus for denying him. A pure love for Jesus will lead to a pure love for the brethren and pure motives for service.

I believe that there are those within the body of Christ who have not taken up their ministry roles or have laid down their roles and gifts for many different reasons. There will be so many different reasons but Jesus knows them all. Jesus wants to restore us just as He restored Peter. There is a way back to Jesus and there is a way forward to serve Jesus in love as He has called us to do.

As Satan wanted to hinder Peter and to sift him like wheat, so satan does not want any of us to take up our God given callings within the body of Christ. Don’t let Satan deceive us or rob us and the body of Christ of our service to each other.

Every beautiful thing in community pantry

Taking only what is necessary. That is the theme of the Community Pantry. Those wise words remind me of God’s provision for the Children of Israel in the wilderness. God only provided the food that was necessary for the day ahead and if the people tried to take more than they needed and store it, the manna would spoil. God was faithful in providing each day sufficient food for the day.

Give us this day Lord our daily bread. Thank you for your provision to us God. Bless the community pantry Lord amongst the people of the Philippines and may it be a light and inspiration to others to help others and share their bread with the needy. May it be like the widow’s oil which will never run dry and will sustain all in these times of need. 🙏

Quiet Storm by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, 26 April 2021 Patring the lovely lady behind this community pantry said it so well “this is not a charity” …

Every beautiful thing in community pantry

Power in the Presence

This is a beautiful inspiring poem written by a lovely lady called Bee from our church fellowship. She has allowed me the privilege of sharing it on my blog. It really touched my heart and I hope you enjoy it and it inspires you too x

They prayed & laid on hands in love
But the one who held the key
Was the one who came in silence
And sat and cried with me.

He didn’t seek for understanding
He didn’t offer prayer
He just came down into my valley
And waited with me there

No aid was offered nor accepted
To relieve me of my pain
But there was power in his presence
With no judgement, fear or shame.

You say ‘he must have been an angel,
Or even Christ the Lord!’ Believe me –
He was just a man.
Human. Christian. Flawed.

But when he sat beside me
I knew the presence of the Son
For the Spirit dwelt within him
And he let God’s glory come.

I didn’t leave the valley
When he left me for the light
But my faith and hope
Did flicker in the darkness of my night.

I ask God to pull me from the valley
But so far, he has said no.
So I need friends to walk with me
To go where I must go

One day the King will come
Glorious light to end all pain
But still there’s power in the presence
Of the ones who love His Name

B.H.
Jan 2021
Mark 9:24