The Opposer

Satan is the opposer and adversary of God’s Kingdom and all things that are good and Godly. In the story of Job we read that he (Satan) had been walking about the earth -no doubt looking for things to disrupt and destroy. There are evil spirits – Satan’s princes and principalities who are opposed to the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Job did not know that Satan was the cause of his trouble but Satan will do what he can to disrupt and attack the work of God in our lives.

That is why as Christians we must take up the whole armour of God and stand firm and be in opposition to Satan. The fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives is every good gift which is in opposition to every sinful and perverted act of Satan who is the hater of all mankind but God is love. Satan is full of jealousy, resentment, pride and bitterness but the life of faith is one of selflessness, humility, love, grace and forgiveness. Satan is a liar and has always been a liar but God is and has always been truth. Jesus is truth and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.

Watch out for the enemy is truly on the prowl looking for who he can devour. Let us not take our eyes from our Protector (Jesus) – the one who laid down His life for us. The Lord has His hand upon us and will be with us. Satan thought he could take Job’s life but he could not because it was not in his power to do so. God would not permit it.

If you are really struggling with life at the moment, you feel that you are of no value and may even have been having suicidal thoughts. Please I beg of you resist them. Satan will try and convince you to take your own life, waste it, end it as if it is of no worth or value but that is a lie – you have value. You are extremely valuable and precious to God. You are worth so much to God. God has made a way through Jesus for you to come into eternal life with him and He has given himself for you.

God has thwarted Satan’s plans and schemes and the offer of free everlasting life out of Satan’s grasp is freely available to all. It matters not that you once were part of Satan’s kingdom because the blood of Jesus is powerful enough to set free all – even if you think you are the worst of sinners included. There is not one person who is too deep in sin to be saved. The enemy will lie and scheme to keep you in his kingdom but there is a way of escape through faith in Jesus the Son of God who can set every prisoner free from a life of sin and death.

Do not waste any opportunity to take the offer of free everlasting life which is on offer. Why give the most precious thing you have every owned – your own life- into the hands of Satan. What has he ever offered or given that can be more precious than a life with God the Father and Creator of all things. The All Mighty, All Powerful God who will one day cast that evil liar into everlasting torment and damnation.

God’s grace is freely available to all. There is no-one who is beyond His redemptive power. There is no-one who, whilst there is breath in their body, who is beyond the power of Salvation. The blood of the Lamb (Jesus) can cleanse and redeem and blot out all transgression. God is love.

Satan is a liar, a deceiver of all mankind and he only wants to destroy and oppose everything that God has for believers. Resist him and let us not give in to his lies or false accusations. Satan can be overcome by the blood of Jesus, the word of our testimony and those who do not love their life unto death. Satan cannot take your soul as a believer because you are sealed in Christ for the day of redemption. He can try and kill the body but he cannot take your soul once that is in the hands of your everlasting Father in Heaven who holds you unto him. God is sovereign. God is on the Throne – not satan. Amen.

#Freedom Day

Well today 19th July has been labelled “Freedom Day” here at home in England now that more Covid lockdown restrictions have been lifted. Given current circumstances though it’s not really a “Freedom Day” -we’re not all truly free as there are still restrictions in place and also a lot of people who can’t enjoy the full benefits for various reasons. Its not full freedom by any means.

I find it significant and interesting that our own Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor Rishi Sunak can’t participate fully in #Freedom Day as they have to follow the rules and self isolate having come into close contact with the Health Secretary who has Covid – although they did try some creative thinking or was it rule bending 🤔 to try and get the rule dis-applied to them. Thankfully they wisely did a U-turn and agreed to comply with current rules like responsible citizens.

You can’t write about #Freedom Day without thinking of true freedom and what that means. It will mean different things to different people dependent on their experiences and circumstances. As Christians we can truly celebrate a #Freedom Day that is available to everyone to participate in through simple faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the one who has set us free from the effects of sin and death so that we can live in true freedom and have ever lasting life. He took our punishment through His sacrifice and death on the cross. He was punished for us and we have obtained freedom through God’s grace and mercy.

My own personal #Freedom Day was 26th June 1976 when I asked God to forgive me for the wrong things in my life and accepted Jesus as my Saviour. I gave my life to Him and went on to be baptised in water as a sign of repentance and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Praise God that I’m truly free and I hope dear reader that you also have your own #Freedom Day to celebrate or if not, that you discover Jesus and become truly free.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:3-8

Although we may live under permanent or temporary physical restrictions, in Jesus we are truly free spiritually. Amen and thanks to our Father in heaven, Christ Jesus and Holy Spirit.

True freedom
Photo from 2015 trip to Robben Island. Freedom cannot be manacled

The Narrow Gate

So this week, I am blogging “en vacances” as the French say, but from the Peak District and the Derbyshire Dales and not the belle France ….which is where we should be this week coming with the family. Sadly, because of Covid restrictions it was not meant to be. C’est la vie. However, new opportunities beckoned.

It’s been about a 2.5 hour trip from home to get to our new camping ground, so not far, but this is a good opportunity for us to visit some areas we have not considered previously and take our minds off France. Although Covid changed our travel plans, we are blessed in that we live in a tourist destination already. The U.K has beautiful places to visit and although the sun is not guaranteed….as we were always told as kids when sheltering on a windy cold Fife beach, “there is no bad weather wee girl, just bad clothing” 😂

If you have never been to this area of the U.K. then I recommend a visit. The Derbyshire Dales is beautiful and seems much less busy or well known than the Yorkshire Dales, but if you like limestone gorges and beautiful river valleys with babbling brooks then this is for you.

The high Peaks of the Peak District are also great for stretching those legs out, walking to Mam Tor, Kinder Scout. Not that I made it up Kinder Scout (I’m not that energetic) but Mam Tor was just perfect to get my heart pumping. I like a nice river walk me – usually flat but as my husband says, “if you want the views then you got to get up there to the heights”. I tell him “that is why they invented cable cars”.

River walk
Lathkill Gorge
View from Mam Tor

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. Let others through and keep others out.

Photo taken at Youlgreave

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

Bill’s story – Lessons from my Father

I don’t usually do two posts in a day, so this is a new experience for me. I earlier shared my Mum, Pam’s story of her experience with Meningitis in Pam’s story. As it is Father’s Day then I want to honour my Dad, William or Bill as he was usually called, and tell you about him.

Dad’s experience of God’s healing power in his life was very different to Mum’s. We are all unique and no-one’s story is exactly the same. Every story has value and we all have something to share. This is why I believe in the power of testimony. Your story with its uniqueness of relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit will speak to someone.

I believe that God truly knows what is best for each one of us and learning to surrender to him and trusting God when things don’t go according to our plans is a valuable life lesson. Dad’s experiences helped me to understand and see that God’s grace is sufficient for us and how God gives us the grace and strength we need to hold on and persevere in times of testing and suffering.

My Dad, Bill was quite a character. He was a passionate Christian who loved to share the gospel with everyone he met. He was full of energy, never still and very engaging..a cheeky chappie as they say and loved to talk. He could have made a living by talking…He was a big supporter of many Christian ministries and particularly loved T L Osborn, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham. Luis Palau and Reinhard Bonnke.

Dad worked hard. He worked the night shift in a factory and sometimes I would hardly see him. I’d be going out to school and he’d be coming in from work. He had big plans though for when he eventually retired. He was going to take Mum travelling in one of those big Winnebagos. This prompted much laughter in our family as Dad was well known for getting lost and being quite incapable of reading a map. Mum wasn’t much better either so I had quickly learnt to become chief navigator on our family holidays from a young age.

However, sadly those plans were not meant to be. Dad retired at 60 but then almost immediately suffered a massive stroke which rendered him paralysed down one side of his body. He was confined to a wheelchair. We would have loved him to have been miraculously healed but those prayers were not answered. We were grateful though to have him still with us. Dad could still laugh and joke and he still continued to share the gospel. In hospital he had a poster by his bed of Jesus standing beside the empty tomb. I don’t know what happened to him when he was so ill in hospital and unconscious but when he recovered, he could not talk about Jesus without being moved to tears and tell people how much he loved Jesus. It was very humbling to see.

Further tragedy was to strike not long after though when Dad suffered another major stroke. This time it was on the other side of his brain and took his speech. He could no longer talk as he did. It was very hard to see him struggle to express himself. He could utter sounds which we started to learn to interpret and we could still understand some words, especially when he was saying “Jesus”.

During this time, Dad could have become embittered and angry at his lot and how his life had turned out but he didn’t. He faithfully attended church and loved watching and listening to great preachers. He was still grateful to God and he knew that there were also many people who were worse off and suffering much more than him. He was always a big supporter of the Barnabus Fund and taught us that it was important to support fellow believers who were being persecuted and suffering greatly for their faith in other nations.

Dad had lost his independence and all ability to look after himself and was totally reliant on my Mum, my brother and his carers to do everything for him, getting him up, washing, dressing and even feeding. He had limited movement in his right arm but was very weak. He sometimes got frustrated when we couldn’t understand him but he maintained his cheerfulness and was able to cope with what had happened to him. It was only through God’s grace operating in his life that I believe enabled him to be like that. He was a testimony to me and others of God’s grace and peace in action.

Although, Dad was never fully physically healed, he did experience times of God’s healing in his body. One time, I recall was when he was taken extremely ill with pneumonia and was in the hospital. We were called to his bedside because the doctors did not think he would survive the Pneumonia. The chief registrar and doctor stood at the bottom of his bed and it was the first time that I had heard what is called the “death rattle”. It’s the most horrible sound of someone struggling to breathe and effectively taking their lasts breaths. It is a rattling sound from deep within the chest.

I had called my friends from the hospital to pray and I had asked God to take Dad if it was his time but if not, then to restore him to us. It was all I could think to ask God for at that time. We had the comfort as a Christian family to know that Dad would go to be with his Lord Jesus, but truthfully I didn’t want to let him go. He was my Dad and a big influence in my life. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye yet.

As we all waited by his bed, Dad suddenly stirred and pointed to the corner of the room. We couldn’t see anything but I believe that he could see something in the spiritual realm. They say the veil into the spiritual realm is thin at such times. I felt prompted to tell Dad that it wasn’t his time to go. He should tell whoever was there that he wasn’t ready to go with them. I can’t explain what happened next but Dad seemed to relax and continued on breathing but his breathing started to change. It became quieter and more regular. His face changed and was more relaxed.

After a while of this the Registrar stated that he didn’t think Dad was going to die after all that day and they would come back later!! Praise God, Dad recovered and lived for many more years after that day.

Our appointed times are truly in God’s hands. God as our Heavenly Father loves us much more than we can understand. I thank God that my earthly father is now safe in Father God’s care. Dad went to be with the Lord in 2006. I’m sure Bill will have lots to tell me one day when we meet again which we surely will.

Dad always said he was looking forward to getting to heaven. One thing he wanted to do was meet the Apostle Paul. He had lots of questions for him…it makes me smile to think of my Dad chewing the ear off the Apostle Paul..one of his great bible heroes. Bless him.

Dad’s favourite scripture was Psalm 84: It was the reading at his funeral. His favourite verse was:

A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
Psalm 84:10

Dad’s enjoying eternity in God’s courts now and I’m sure he has never been happier.

Dad as a young man

There is power in the blood

There is a hymn which boldly declares “There is power, power, wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.” These words remind us as Christians of the incredible power that there is in the blood of Jesus Christ, which Jesus shed for us all, to cleanse us and purify us from all sin.

When we consider the blood of Jesus and what it has done for us, it stirs us to give all Praise, Honour and Glory to Him who sits on the throne – the Ancient of Days. God, the Sustainer of all life. God himself breathed into Adam and brought forth life. God alone is Creator.

The Godhead has all authority and power over every created being. No-one is higher or has more supremacy than God, yet it pleased him (God) to send His only Son Jesus to die in our place so that we may live instead of die and not be in eternal damnation. It pleased God to then raise Him (Jesus) to the highest place – far above all principalities and powers and to put all things under His Feet and under His authority.

Jesus purchased us from the power of death and broke the curse of sin over our lives. How precious and valuable we are to Him. We have been redeemed with the most precious substance – the blood of Jesus. God’s own son – His Holy blood which has purified us from all sin and wiped away our spots and blemishes. We are now clean. Clean in and through the power of His precious blood.

How valuable is one spot of that blood. Can it ever have a price put upon it? If we knew how much it really cost for God’s own son to suffer and die to provide His blood for us. How much more would we place a value upon it. Much more precious than gold or silver or all the precious metals and jewels in the world. Not even the richest man who has ever lived would be able, through his riches, to purchase a drop of that sacred blood. No wonder that God has made it by His Grace and Mercy freely available to all who ask of Him. Ask and you will receive. Nothing held back. The blood of Jesus which cleanses and purifies all from their sin is freely available to all who will receive Him. How blessed and fortunate we truly are to have the most precious gift – the true treasure.

There is still power in the blood of Jesus for us today. We plead the blood over ourselves, our loved ones and all who need His blood and the power of His blood working in their lives today.

There is power, power, wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb. Amen.

Come and avail yourself of it today whilst there is still opportunity. Do not wait for tomorrow for tomorrow may never come. Come before it is too late – Taste and see that God is good and His mercy and love are unfailing towards you.

Hebrews 9: 22 “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin

Revelation 7:14 “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb”

1 Peter 1: 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”

Revelation 1:5 “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood