Rome is calling..

Photo by Photoholgic on Unsplash

So dear readers, God willing I should be in Rome on Thursday for a short trip to visit my youngest daughter who is working there. I’m really looking forward to visiting this historic city. The beautiful St Peter’s Basilica and seeing it’s stunning interior. Hopefully I will also get to visit the Sistine Chapel and see the famous painted ceiling with my own eyes.

Interior of St Peter’s – photo by C Reeve

Paul desired to go to Rome because it was God’s Will revealed to him even though he knew what awaited him there, chains and death. I don’t think I would be so keen to go if I knew that awaited me. Paul redeemed the years whilst under house arrest in Rome wisely by teaching and writing and continuing to share his faith even in those difficult circumstances. What an example of perseverance under trial. Paul took every opportunity to share the good news of Jesus.

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” Acts 28:30-31

I hope I can also make the most of this God given opportunity and have some inspiration to share in my blogs on my return. What awaits me praise God should not be imprisonment like Paul (unless I unwittingly break the complicated Covid travel rules) 🤔😷 🤪.

Paul’s letter to the Romans includes some of my favourite bible verses:

“For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” Romans 5:7-11

The beauty of the gospel message summed up in theses verses is that it’s for everyone because we were all sinners who needed a Saviour. There is no-one who is not able to be saved through faith in Jesus. Jesus has redeemed us through His sacrifice and cleansed us by His blood so we are now reconciled to God. We are saved from God’s wrath to come and judgement. Praise God.

I’ll finish with these encouraging verses:

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38- 39

Bless you my friends. I will say Ciao for now x

The Good News

“The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.”
― Carl F. H. Henry

We have been privileged and blessed as a church fellowship this weekend to have Simon Guillebaud come and speak to us for our Kingdom Weekend when we focus on missions both near and far.

Simon has been a missionary in Burundi and shared his story of how God took him to that African nation and the incredible way that God has used him and his fellow believers in that country to show the love of God and salvation through faith in Jesus.

Simon came with the purpose of stirring our faith and exhorting us as believers in Christ to share the Good News that we have received wherever God has called and appointed us to be His witnesses. He warned against the dangers of apathy and other distractions of life which can interfere with our sense of urgency to share the Good News.

Simon’s teaching this morning was from the passage in Romans 10 verses 9-15

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

So fellow believers in Christ how wonderful it is that we are the bearers of Good News but as Simon reminded us today as Carl F.H. Henry said: “The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.

I have an encouraging testimony to share with you about how the Lord answered our prayer for the Good News to be given in time for someone. My friend’s son was diagnosed with terminal cancer just before Christmas last year. He has undergone much chemotherapy and is now on his second course but the Consultants have told him that it is terminal and he does not have much time left. We have prayed for him that he will hear and receive the Good News of salvation before it is too late. My friend has shared the gospel with her son but sometimes with family they won’t really “hear” what you say to them. I am sure if you have family who are not saved then you can identify with that.

We had been praying that the Lord would put someone else across his path. He lives hundreds of miles away from us. Last week the Lord answered those prayers. During a visit to the hospital a man (a complete stranger) asked my friend’s son if he had faith and then proceeded to share Jesus with him and why he needed salvation. Wow – thank the Lord that this man who we do not know was faithful and obedient to share the good news and that the message “got there in time“. My friend’s son called his Mum to tell her about this and we now pray that he will respond – our responsibility is to be obedient to share our faith but it is for the person who hears to respond. We cannot do that part for them but we continue to pray that the Holy Spirit will convict him, his heart will be softened and he will call on the Lord and be saved.

Lord today I pray that those who need to hear the message of salvation, the Good News will hear it and receive it in time. Stir our hearts with a sense of urgency our dear Lord and Father to share the good news when we have opportunity to do so. Thank you Jesus for the privilege of being co-workers for your Kingdom. Amen

First Snow

Don’t get toooooo excited but we woke up to our first snow of the winter today as a result of storm Arwen. It wasn’t very much but it was still snow. We don’t get much snow where I live so for the children it’s great excitement. Making snowmen, sledging and all the fun things then you get cold, wet and can’t wait to head back in 🤣

I posted yesterday about our sins being washed away and becoming as white as snow in Pure Whites by Jesus’s blood and posted this bible verse:

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:18

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities”. Psalm 51

I love the snow and so it’s wonderful that it gives me another opportunity to blog these bible verses again today and be thankful for salvation in Jesus who cleanses us from all our sins. As I enjoy the snow today I am reminded again of this truth.

Bless you my friends and have a joyous day.

The dog enjoying his morning walk in the snow

Pure Whites

Pure whites

After a recent time of fellowship and ministry during which we took communion, my friend had a picture of pure white washing pegged out on a clothes line.

It’s a simple picture really but it spoke deeply to me about who I am now in Christ. I’m as clean as that white washing.

In order to be truly cleansed from sin and it’s effects it can only be through faith in what Jesus has done for me through his death and resurrection. I believe as a Christian that we receive forgiveness for our sins through confessing our sins, repenting of them and believing Jesus has paid the price for our wrongdoing. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that it is Jesus’ sacrifice and his blood alone which has cleansed me from sin.

You might not feel clean like that or might feel you still have some dirty linen but there is no stain or dirt that can’t be made clean, pure and washed as white as the washing in this picture. Just like new. No stains, no grey, no streaks, no spots no matter how filthy. How do I know this? The bible tells me and I believe it.

Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
Isaiah 1:18

When we as followers of Jesus take Communion and we break bread together and drink the wine, we remember the Lord’s death until He comes again. We remember with thanksgiving all Jesus has done for us. We have opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to convict us if there is anything we need to confess or put right before we take Communion.

When we were in lockdown many did not have the opportunity to take Communion together. As I joined with my brothers and sisters in Christ this week I was reminded how powerful it is when we recall and thank God for what Jesus did for us all through His being broken for us and being poured out for us. How powerful it is to confess and release sin in my life and receive cleansing.

He (Jesus) took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
Matthew 26:27-28

Jesus shed His own precious blood so that we can be cleansed from sin. A free gift of grace that is available to everyone no matter who we are. The bible tells us that all have sinned so all need to take this cup of forgiveness. Have you my dear friend? It’s freely available to you. If you want to be truly clean then I believe there is no other way.

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Acts 2:38-39

Do you hear the Lord calling you to repentance? I pray that you will hear and respond to God’s grace and mercy today and be ever thankful to God who through His great love has reached down from heaven and rescued us from sin and death. Praise God.

Six Things…no wait 7

Ephesians 5:8-10 – “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases God”

As followers of Jesus we are to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God. The bible tells us about 6 things, actually 7 behaviours that God does not like at all.

I’m sure you’d agree that some of these behaviours we too would think are extremely bad but some like being proud or telling lies we could be tempted to ignore but this is what Proverbs 6:16 tells us:

“Here are six things God hates, and one more that he loathes with a passion:

eyes that are arrogant,

a tongue that lies,

hands that murder the innocent; and

a heart that hatches evil plots,

feet that race down a wicked track,

a mouth that lies under oath, and

.

a troublemaker in the family”

Lord we want to live our lives in ways that are pleasing to you. Help us keep our feet on the paths of your right ways as you reveal to us in your precious Word, the Bible. Let us live today and tomorrow lives that are pleasing to you as we walk out our faith in your son, Jesus Christ. May your Holy Spirit convict our hearts of sin and wrong and may we turn in repentance to you through the richness of the grace and mercy that you pour out through Jesus on us as your children. Thank you Lord that when you look at us who are hidden in Christ Jesus you see your Son in whom you were well pleased. Thank you that in Jesus and through the work of the Holy Spirit we are empowered to live a life pleasing to you. Praise God. Amen

Seeing is believing? 👀

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. I’ll call it a conversation but it did get a bit heated on his part. He was convinced that if God would just turn up out of the blue and show himself then a lot more people who have no faith (like him) would start to believe in God. He thinks that if God did this then people would stop behaving so badly and there wouldn’t be so much evil in the world. Mmm🤔

My friend wants God to pop up out of thin air- a bit like the genie from Aladdin’s lamp- before he will believe. He’s disappointed because in his opinion if God existed then God isn’t doing enough to stop all the evil and bad things. He doesn’t understand (yet) that God has already provided the answer in Jesus and that it’s God’s loving mercy that is giving people the chance to find Him before it’s judgment time.

I guess my friend is not alone in thinking like this and there are people who want to see God appear for themselves before they will believe. For my friend seeing is believing-but what is seeing and many people are blinded to the truth by Satan or are wilfully blind from seeing. My friend certainly was not going to believe my testimony or anything I told him. His mind is made up (at the moment) and he thinks I’m deluded as a Christian believer 🙁

However, the truth we read in the bible tells us that since the world was created God has made Himself known and revealed Himself to mankind. God walked with Adam & Eve regularly in the garden and talked to them before sin separated them and consequently us from His presence.

God appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him. God hid Moses in the gap in a rock and caused all His goodness to pass before Moses. Moses couldn’t see God’s face because as God said -no-one could look on His face and live.

God revealed Himself to His chosen people, the Israelites, but they still even with all the miracles and incredible things they witnessed of God with their own eyes still went their own ways, did wicked things and didn’t obey His commands. This is unfortunately the reality of human behaviour.

These were the same people who saw God come down for themselves in a thick cloud on Mount Sinai but the manifested presence of God was too much for the people to cope with. They were too afraid of His awesome and powerful presence when the cloud of His glory came down and they witnessed its effect around them. The mountain cracked, there was thunder and smoke and there was fire. It was a terrifying sight. Moses and the elders went up the mountain though because they had prepared and purified themselves to meet God.

Then they climbed the mountain—Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel—and saw the God of Israel. He was standing on a pavement of something like sapphires—pure, clear sky-blue. He didn’t hurt these pillar-leaders of the Israelites: They saw God; and they ate and drank.”
Exodus 24 9-11

If God in all His glory and power did make an appearance as my friend wants then my friend wouldn’t be able to cope with the reality. He’d be struck down in fear at the glory of God. If God appeared as he did on Mount Sinai then my friend would be completely undone because of God’s holiness.

However, God did the most amazing thing out of His great love for us so that people could see Him and touch Him and get to know Him. He came in the flesh as Jesus as a baby. The people of the time saw Jesus with their own eyes, touched him, saw all the miracles and good Jesus did but yet again they still rejected him and didn’t change their ways.

To see Jesus was to see the Father. Jesus revealed God.

Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”

“You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act. “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. John 14:8-9

The wonderful truth for us as believers is that God is also present here now with us as the Holy Spirit. We can’t see the Holy Spirit but we know His presence and we see the evidence of His work and power in us and through us in the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit whether through gifts of healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy etc. We don’t see the wind but we know it exists and we feel it and see where it blows. So it is with the Holy Spirit. I don’t need to see the wind to believe in it or to see the air that I breathe.

Jesus told a parable about the rich man in hell who wanted his family to be warned about hell so that they would not go through the torment he was experiencing. The rich man believed that if Lazarus was sent back from the dead and spoke to his family as a witness then they would change their ways and believe. Sadly Jesus knew that even that wouldn’t convince them because they already had unbelief in their hearts.

The rich man said, ‘Then let me ask you, Father: Send him (Lazarus) to the house of my father where I have five brothers, so he can tell them the score and warn them so they won’t end up here in this place of torment.’ “Abraham answered, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets to tell them the score. Let them listen to them.’ “‘I know, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but they’re not listening. If someone came back to them from the dead, they would change their ways.’ “Abraham replied, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they’re not going to be convinced by someone who rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:27,29-31

I think Jesus summed it up with these words to his disciple Thomas.

“But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.” But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.” Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” Thomas said, “My Master! My God!” Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.
John 20:24,26-29

How amazing, Jesus tells us that we who have believed in Him without seeing with our own eyes have better blessings in store.

The sadness for me is for those, like my friend, who are blinded to the truth of the gospel. I pray that their eyes are opened to see Jesus and know Him and the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. To understand their sin and need for God’s forgiveness and that God exists and has shown His love for them by sending Jesus to die in their place. May they come to know God and be reconciled to Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus before it is too late. May their hearts be softened and faith take root. Amen.

I will leave a light on

Last night my two daughters went into the City to meet friends and go out. It was going to be a late night so they were either going to stay out at friends or get the night bus home. As was usual my husband had left the outside light on for them coming home in the dark.

However, last night as I went to bed I turned the light off. My husband was surprised and asked why I wasn’t leaving the light on. I replied that the girls had said that they were probably going to stay out with friends or get back early in the morning so there was no point leaving the light on.

Well this morning the Lord spoke these words to my heart – “I will leave a light on“. They are the title of a song which my youngest daughter plays a lot.

Jesus reminded me that we (His followers) are the light of the world.

We carry the light of Christ.

Jesus left a light on when He went back to His Father God in Heaven – He left us.

Jesus hasn’t switched that light off yet.

I will leave a light on.

We show others the way to Jesus by declaring our faith in Him and living out that faith in loving service.

We shine in the darkness and point the way home to God through faith in Jesus the Son.

One day though the reality is that my earthly light will be switched off. I won’t be here anymore to shine the light for others.

I need to shine whilst I can. Whilst I still have the time.

I hope I can leave a legacy of light behind me too.

You may be the only light in your family, your friends, your colleagues, your neighbourhood, your community – the place where the Lord has put you.

Your light is really important so be encouraged and “let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

I really think there is someone who needs to hear this today. Don’t give up but let your light shine – It will lead someone home to God.

Leave a light on and it will lead that person home – they may be in a dark place at moment, have wandered far from truth, be in a very very dark place but the Lord is saying:

“I will leave a light on” – that light is you. Don’t let it go out and it will lead them home.

Awake Awake

Morning my friends. The Lord has reminded me of 3 words which I posted in 2020 which started with a post called “Awake Awake”. This post is a warning that the Lord God is a God who will judge righteously. We are called as followers of Jesus to stand for truth, justice and righteousness and not conform to this world. It’s a call to be ready and persevere in the times we are in. Trust in God.

I am re-posting these words again as I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so. Please read them again or for the first time. I hope they bless you and speak to us all in some way for God’s glory and to advance His Kingdom. Perhaps there is a word in season for someone that will speak to their heart today.

The second post that linked to Awake Awake was The Heavenly Steed which talks of Jesus’ second coming and the glorious horse that bears Him. A reminder that Jesus is Lord and is coming again. The time is set and will not be delayed. He is the King of Glory. It’s a call to salvation for those who do not yet know Jesus as Lord. Call on Him whilst He is near and there is time.

The third word in the series is Take hold of today – Make it count which reminds us as followers of Christ that we are called to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus and do His good works. The power of the Holy Spirit is at work in each one of us who has been born again into the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus. One day we will each give an account to our loving Master Jesus.

Have a blessed day my friends.

Walking on Sunshine ☀️

Do you know or remember this song called “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves? It’s one of those songs that makes me smile every time I hear it. There’s a particular lyric which says “I’m walking on sunshine yeah and don’t it feel great”.

These lyrics remind me what our new life in Jesus is like – Walking on Sunshine and doesn’t it feel great!!!

Isn’t it good to reflect on that truth -that as Christians we are no longer walking in darkness- the darkness of sin, death, judgment and ignorance of our minds but we’ve discovered the truth about God through Jesus our Saviour and through his death and resurrection, we have crossed over from darkness into the light.

We are now light and walking in the light of Christ.

This is what the bible says. Ephesians 5:8 – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord”

It’s so good to remind ourselves constantly of that truth. We have been rescued from the darkness of sin and death- Praise God. Not from our own efforts but through God’s rich love and mercy. Last Sunday the preacher encouraged us to thank God each day this week for the gift of salvation. Thank you God for saving me.

Now truthfully do I “feel” like I’m walking on sunshine all the time. I’d be lying if I said yes but the truth of what Christ has done for me is not altered by my feelings or circumstances. The truth does not change and is based on God’s Word and I make the decision to choose to believe it whether I “feel” like it or not. If I let my feelings rule then I’m on a slippery slope of trouble.

I am light in the Lord. I am a child of the light.

Now we know that as Christians once we’ve become light we are called to live as children of light – to continue walking in righteousness living godly lives. We encourage each other to walk worthy of our calling in Christ and help each other to pursue godliness. Being accountable and challenging each other in the right loving way. Not being all judgmental, gossiping and trying to dress it up as “telling the truth in love” – that’s not right or helpful. Let’s not forget gentleness and loving kindness when dealing with each other.

Ephesians 5:8-10 – “Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases God”

What a great instruction. Live right, produce fruit through the Spirit of God now at work in us and…….Find out what pleases God. That’s the mandate.

Some Christians I know wonder or fret about what they should be doing for God. They worry in case they get it “wrong”. Paul gives us some simple instructions to help us here in these verses – find out what pleases God and then let’s just get on and do it.

So what pleases God?

We find that out from reading the bible for ourselves (no shortcuts here – you need to read and study it) and in being in fellowship with other believers where we are taught and discipled.

Here’s just a few things the bible says please God:

Faith in Him – Hebrews 11:6 – “without faith it is impossible to please God”.

Generosity and an unselfish attitude – God loves a cheerful giver – 2 Corinthians 9:7

A humble attitude – God does not like pride. In fact God opposes the proud. James 4:6 tell us that God’s face is against the proud.

An obedient attitude – Obedience is better than Sacrifice -1 Samuel 15:22

A peacemaker – Matthew 5:9

Jesus pleased God – “This is my son in whom I am well pleased”. Luke 3:22

So, we learn what pleases God from studying Jesus.

Jesus himself was:

Humble – “But made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant” Philippians 2:7

Selfless – He gave himself freely for us.

Obedient – “and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”. He said to His father “not my will but yours be done”.

Forgiving – “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Luke 23:34

Compassionate – “When He saw the crowds his heart moved with compassion” Matthew 9:36

Loving – “nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:39

These are just a few things which please God. There’s more you can discover in the bible.

I want to be a God pleaser. How about you?

Have a blessed day my friends.

Washed Clean

I saw these lovely old posters in a railway station today and they reminded me of the incredible blessing of being washed clean of sin by the precious blood of Jesus.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7

No man made soap could ever wash away our sins and make us clean in God’s sight.

“For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, Yet your iniquity is marked before Me,” says the Lord God. Jeremiah 2:22”

It is only the “son” the “light” of the world who can make us truly clean.

Thankfully, Jesus is always willing to cleanse us. His offer is open to everyone to come and be cleansed.

“And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Matthew 8:2-3

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
1 John 1:9

Thank you Lord for cleansing us from our sins and making us clean and righteous in your sight. Amen

Have a blessed day 😊