God our refuge

Psalm 46 is my prayer for us all today to affirm our faith in God and call upon Him in our times of trouble because He truly is our ever present help. He does not abandon us at these difficult and heart wrenching times but is right there with us in the middle of times of pain, sorrow, suffering and unimaginable grief.

I hope you also take comfort and strength from these words today:

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Psalm 46:1-11

Emmanuel, God with us. He is our ever present help. Call on Him today.

Blessings to you this day. 🙏

#TestimonyTuesday-Praising God

Today it is 12 months since my dear friend and sister in the Lord, Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer. What a shocking and terrible day that was for us all but especially for her and her family. The prognosis from the hospital was not good. The cancer had also been found in her lymph nodes in her armpit as well as in the breast. She had some lumps in her leg as well but thank God they were not cancerous. There would be an aggressive treatment plan with chemotherapy followed by radiation and surgery.

Today I want to share the good news that Karen is cancer free, Praise God. God has most wonderfully healed her. Not only is she cancer free but after her chemotherapy treatments the Consultant could not find any trace of cancer anywhere. She had been told initially and on many consultations that she would need surgery to remove her breast but eventually because the treatment was so successful a mastectomy was no longer required. Praise God.

Her journey over the last 12 months has undoubtedly been one of sickness, hardship and pain. Covid was rampant during this time and so we were not allowed to see her for days before her treatments as she had to isolate. She lost her hair and had some bad reactions to the Chemotherapy but through it all her faith in God has been solid and she has had a peace that only God through Christ Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit can give in such circumstances.

The importance of prayer, fellowship and being united together in love and faith has been crucial at this time. We have praised, worshipped, prayed, laughed and cried together. The Lord has encouraged us with key bible verses from His word and with songs and prophetic words.

At the start the Lord led us to the story of Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19. When Hezekiah received a letter with a threat from his enemies and bad news, he brought the letter to God at the altar, laid it before God and prayed. God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and answered. We were encouraged and wrote the following prayer letter to God and laid it before His altar on 24 May 2021.

“You have seen O God the threat to Karen’s health and we lay and surrender all that has been diagnosed before you and ask that you will undertake in this situation and use it for Your glory and your will be done. Specifically, we ask that you will strengthen Karen and draw near to her at this time. Speak clearly to her. Refresh her and grant her peace. Grant your favour in terms of the Doctors, Nurses and all those who treat her and the treatment plan. Help her with the pain and treatments. Keep her well and heal this cancer from her body completely. Draw the family to you at this time so they may know and encounter you at this time. Amen.

Thank you Lord for hearing and answering our prayers. To you be all the honour, praise and glory.

Good Advice or Godly Advice

I’m sure that like me you value good advice from trusted people. As a lawyer I’m paid to be a trusted advisor to my clients. Hopefully, I provide good advice which helps them make their decisions.

There was a man in the bible who was renowned for giving good advice. In fact his advice was so good that it was likened to enquiring at the oracle of God. That’s a huge compliment.

The man was called Ahithophel (a name that just trips off your tongue) and he was a trusted advisor to King David.

There is a fascinating story in 2 Samuel 15-17 of the time when the good advice of Ahithophel was thwarted by God. God had different plans.

The background to the story is that Absalom, David’s son, had secretly conspired to rebel against his father and seize the throne. He had gathered together key people to support him, one of whom was Ahithophel. David had fled with his supporters to escape being killed by Absolam who then took up residence in the King’s house.

Now David and his supporters were really concerned when they heard that Ahithophel had sided with Absolam and would be his adviser. They knew that they had to find a way to ensure that Absalom did not follow his good advice as this was a real threat to David.

There were 2 steps to David’s plan. First he rightly gave the situation to God and prayed:

And David said, “O Lord, I pray, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness!” 2 Samuel 15:31

I find this prayer quite amazing. Praying to God to turn away the good advice of someone. It made me think of the advisers to those in governments especially with the current situation in Ukraine. Whilst advisers may provide good advice to their leaders, is it Godly advice to bring about God’s purposes and plans. Does their advice lead to peace and goodness.

The other part of David’s plan was that one of David’s other trusted advisers, a man named Hushai, would pretend that he had swapped allegiance to Absolam. He would then provide different advice in the hope of persuading Absolam to ignore the good advice of Ahithophel.

The time came for Absalom to make a key decision. He had usurped the throne but David and his supporters were still alive. What should he do. He asked Ahithophel for his advice. He wisely advised Absalom to let him pursue that night with 12,000 armed men and strike whilst there was this golden opportunity to defeat David when he was tired and vulnerable from fleeing in haste. David was in the wilderness with no protection. He would kill David only and bring back his supporters in peace which would please the men of Israel.

Absalom approved of this advice but asked Hushai what he thought. Hushai was bold. He undermined the good advice by introducing doubt of David’s weakness and reminding Absalom of the mighty men of David who accompanied him and of the mighty and crafty warrior David was. Hushai advised Absalom to rather gather all of Israel to pursue David thus delaying the strike whilst the army was gathered and buying David time. He subtly introduced doubt and fear into Absalom’s mind. The result was that Absalom chose to ignore the good advice of Ahithophel and follow the bad advice of Hushai. Therefore the good advice of Ahithophel was overthrown.

So Absalom and all the men of Israel said, “The advice of Hushai the Archite is better than the advice of Ahithophel.” For the Lord had purposed to defeat the good advice of Ahithophel, to the intent that the Lord might bring disaster on Absalom.
2 Samuel 17:14

Now when Ahithophel heard that Absalom had not followed his advice he took drastic action. We read that he returned to his home, put his affairs in order and then killed himself. Now that is an extreme reaction and it wasn’t done in a fit of pique that the King had not followed his advice. Ahithophel realised that his days were now numbered. He knew that by not following his advice, Absalom was going to be defeated by David and lose his grasp on the throne. This meant that as someone who had betrayed David, he would be killed once David returned.

I find this whole story fascinating and especially how it played out. It has really made me think. If you would like to read more of the story then I recommend reading from 2 Samuel chapters 15-19. This includes the subsequent defeat of Absalom and then the wise advice of Joab to David.

Good advice may not be Godly advice.

#Testimony Tuesday ..throwing shoes

Moab is My washpot; Over Edom I will cast My shoe; Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.”
Psalm 60:8

I read this Psalm today and it reminded me of a time many years ago when the Holy Spirit prompted me to cast (throw) my shoes over a large wire fence onto some waste ground. I’m sure some of you are reading this and thinking that’s a bit strange but please read on and I will explain.

I had been walking with my friend around a local estate where our church had an outreach work. We helped out with a Sunday School and breakfast for the children once a month. It was a deprived estate with a lot of social problems and we were walking and praying for the families on the estate.

As we walked past a piece of wasteland, which was surrounded by this metal chain link fence, I felt stirred that the Lord wanted us to pray for this spot in particular. As we prayed I saw a picture of this barren piece of land becoming a garden. A barren land being redeemed by the Lord and brought back in to use. I was reminded of the verses from Isaiah:

You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the Lord delights in you, And your land shall be married.
Isaiah 62:4

We continued to pray into the picture and that is when the Holy Spirit impressed on me to throw my shoes over the fence into the land. Not something I had ever done before, nor has it been something the Lord has prompted me to do since.

I shared this prompting with my friend and it witnessed with her too. The thing was she had just bought some brand new boots. She looked wistfully at her boots, looked at the land and then she said Yes…her new boots were going over.

So we prayed and threw our shoes and boots over that fence.

It meant walking back to our car with no shoes on (which drew some strange looks) but we knew in our hearts that the Lord was about something and our obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit was a key.

Roll forward several years and that barren wilderness became a community garden. A Christian charity had a vision to create a garden where the residents of the estate could go and learn how to grow veg, fruit and also provide a place where people could meet, talk and engage with each other.

Now it wasn’t just our prayers that brought that about. We were just a small piece in God’s plan and there would have been much prayer, planning and vision from others many years later that made that happen. In that moment though, the Lord showed us with eyes of faith the vision that He had for that land and the community. Perhaps our prayers and actions of shoe throwing were the seed that was sown in God’s timing.

God is so wonderful that He gives us these opportunities to serve Him. To partner with Him in His plans for His glory and to show His love, mercy and goodness to others. When the Holy Spirit prompts you and you know (you know in that deep inner place) that it is the Lord, then I encourage you to step out in faith and trust God with the rest.

Have a blessed day my friends.

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 😊

How Great Thou Art

I woke up this morning thinking of the words of this wonderful old hymn. Hymns are beautiful and declare precious truths about God. I hope these words from How Great Thou Art bless you this morning. I hadn’t realised but according to information I have read, the words were originally a poem by Swedish Carl Boberg. The title was translated as “O Mighty God”.

It was years later that a missionary in Ukraine heard locals singing the song who translated it into the English version we know today.

I pray today that with all this terrible situation in Ukraine that this song and it’s words will be once again be a mighty declaration over that country of How Great God Is. May these words be heard ringing in Heaven’s courts today,

Oh Lord, my God
When I, in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

And when I think that God, His Son not sparing
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing
He bled and died to take away my sin

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art
How great Thou art, how great Thou art

#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

Mockery

Morning all. A slightly different post today but something the Lord has been laying on my heart recently and bringing wisdom about which might speak to and help you too.

The dictionary describes a mocker as someone who jeers or mocks or treats something or someone with contempt. It is unkind and can be cruel.

Have you encountered mockery and in particular the spirit of mockery in church life. This spirit will often attack you through others especially if you are stepping out into new ministry or new things of God. It will try and hinder you and belittle you through mockery. It doesn’t want you discovering your true identity in Christ and your gifting. It certainly doesn’t want you to step up into ministry and leadership. It will attack your sense of worth and identity. It wants to keep you in your place. It will seek to humiliate you.

As if that wasn’t bad enough it often brings strife along with it to cause more trouble as it stirs up disunity and dissension amongst believers especially when it comes to proposals for change and new things.

The Lord gave me these bible verses:

Proverbs 22:10 says “Drive out the mocker and out goes strife. Quarrels and insults are ended

We need to deal with that mocking spirit when we discern it is operating within our fellowships in Jesus’ name. Bind it and drive the spirit out together with strife from our midsts in the authority of Jesus’ name. It’s not the person or persons you need to get into a confrontation with. Deal with the spirit. Once the spirit is dealt with and it’s influence broken then pray the Lord through the conviction of the Holy Spirit will bring people to repentance and restore and heal.

We will encounter mockery from the world because of our faith. That we can bear through Christ but there is to be no place in the body of Christ for mockery or strife. We are not to devour each other in that way.

Have a blessed day my friends.

#Testimony Tuesday – Pam’s story

As it was Mother’s Day on Sunday then I just had to re-share my Mum’s healing testimony today for #TestimonyTuesday. She’s 84 now and an inspiring woman of faith.

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 from Edinburgh and so 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. I don’t think she wanted to let Dad out of her sight from that time onwards but unfortunately Dad was later posted overseas for the Suez crises.

Mum was only 18 and a young mum when she was taken ill suddenly. She had been out for the day on a Church outing. On the way home she developed a bad headache which she put down to tiredness. It got worse and worse though and eventually she became so ill that she was taken to hospital.

Mum was diagnosed with suspected Meningitis and put into the isolation hospital. All she can really remember of that time is having 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 from his posting in Cyprus. It was the 1950s so communication wasn’t easy. The army wouldn’t tell him either what was wrong with Mum so he expected 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.

Mum had taken a turn for the worse. My mum’s parents were not churchgoers but her Aunt Mabel was and it was my Aunt who had taken my mum to church from a young girl. 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. They sent prayer cloths in to the hospital and were faithful in praying for her recovery and healing. She made it through that night and the worst was over. There was a breakthrough. Praise God.

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 after many months 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 the meningitis. 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 today, or for someone else, then I hope this testimony encourages you and gives you hope. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Amen.

Enjoying a day by the river

The Giants

The bible talks of the giants. The Israelites had to fight the giants and dispossess them so they could inherit the promised land. They had to conquer their fears, take hold of boldness and go in to the land where the giants lived to inherit their promise

For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants. Indeed his bedstead was an iron bedstead. (Is it not in Rabbah of the people of Ammon?) Nine cubits is its length and four cubits its width, according to the standard cubit”. Deut 3:11

Judging by the size of his iron bed, Og was definitely a giant of a man. A cubit in ancient times was measured from the elbow to the tip of your longest finger and so about 17.5 inches which means his bed was over 13 ft long and nearly 6 foot wide.

There can be “giants” in all our lives, things that hinder us, mock us and stop us progressing that need to be brought down just like David brought down Goliath. Some of these “giants” may have started out small but have grown and grown until they now seem overwhelming and so intimidating but they can be defeated. Their domination over us can be broken through faith in Jesus.

This is an encouraging word which I received from the Lord during a prayer vigil which spoke to me of some giants. This is what the Lord said to me.

I have brought My people to such a time and such a place as this. In the Spirit you are in a very wide place – can you see? As far as the eye can see is the territory that I am giving to you My children, it is yours. It is your glorious inheritance in Me. You will stretch far and wide – even beyond the horizon will your influence be felt. Your territory will be magnificent.

All that has stood in your way – the strongholds of the enemy will be demolished, pulled down and rooted out by My anointed ones. You will face your giants and you will overthrow them. The giants in your land are being overthrown. Giants of false religion, giants of wickedness, giants of rebellion, giants of depravity and filth, giants who take captives and feed on My people.

Enough is enough. My remnant, My faithful ones, My anointed ones – they will rise up with wings as Eagles and they will drive out the enemy from this territory.

I am bringing a fresh anointing of My Holy Spirit upon you. The wind of My Spirit is going to blow and propel you into places you have never been before in the physical and in the spiritual realm.

This is the day of the Lord. Rejoice and be glad for your King has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

My blessed and beloved ones. My angels are encamped all around you. I have sent them to help you and to carry out My commands. They will war with you and they are for you in the battle to evict the enemy from your territory.

All honour and glory and power belongs to the Lamb who sits upon the throne forever and ever. Amen and Amen. Let all who know the King say Amen.

Later that night as we were praying I saw a vision of an angel. He had a scroll tied with red ribbon in his right hand and in his left hand he had a trumpet. He was blowing the trumpet to awaken the people of God. I believe that this angel was sent to carryout God’s commands which were written in the scroll and which were in response to the prayers of the Saints. As the angel blew the trumpet, I saw the land of the nation being ploughed up and down its breadth and its length. I believe it was God’s Word and the prayers of the Saints which were breaking up the soil.

These verses which Peter spoke when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost from the Prophet Joel were brought to my remembrance. I pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us.

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”
Acts 2:16-18