Now

Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven - Lyrics, Hymn Meaning and Story

Joining again with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers where we write on a one word prompt. Today’s prompt is: Now

For many people their ‘now’ is actually a very long space of time, they do one task, and then ask, ‘what am I going to do now’? From having very little time, or no time to do anything, suddenly there is lots of time. What do we do with our time, how do we fill our ‘nows’?

Perhaps this is a good time to reflect on our stewardship of time, how we usually fill our days: with good things, necessary things, godly things even, but are they the things we should be doing? Do we need to restock and think of the amount of time we would have spent out at meetings, and now actually we can spend in contemplation? Rushing from one committee meeting to another, pressed by the decisions to be made whereas now we can take a step back, pray and ask God for His better way?

How to we fill our nows? We have a choice, many choices, but one thing I would suggest is Praise. Praise lifts the heart, praise lifts the mind, praise exults God, praise it not about us.

So take one of your ‘now’ moments and choose Praise:

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;
To his feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore his praises sing:

Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.Praise him for his grace and favor
To our fathers in distress;
Praise him still the same for ever,
Slow to chide and swift to bless:
Alleluia, alleluia!
Glorious in his faithfulness.Father-like, he tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame he knows;
In his hand he gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes.

Adjust

Joining again today with the #FiveMinuteFriday group of Writers, where we write on a one word prompt for 5 minutes flat. This week’s prompt is: Adjust.

I don’t know about you, but I take a while to adjust to new things, new ideas, new ways of thinking etc. I like time to ponder, time to think things through, time to take a leap from one idea to another, time to make adjustments.

But at present there is no time, things are happening too fast, I can’t keep up, I felt as if I was in a bit of an overload situation this week and that then makes me feel panicky. There has been no time to adjust from one way of living to another, no time to adjust from one way of working to another, no time to adjust from one way of doing church to another! It is a bit like being on the proverbial wheel – stop I want to get off! It is all happening too fast for me!

So what can we do? What is God saying to me in the midst of this daily changing world?

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

    I will be exalted among the nations,

    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

Be still. Calm yourself. Life your eyes heavenward. Be still and know that I am God.

Be still – God is in control.

Be still – Know that He is God, trust it believe it, declare it.

In the midst of the chaos, in the midst of the change, in the midst of making those quick and necessary adjustments – Be still. Be still and know. Be still and know that He is God. Be still and know that He is God and that He will be exalted among the nations. Be still and know that He is God and that He will be exalted among the nations and exalted on the earth. Be still.

Psalm 46:10 - Best Bible Verse - Bible Verse Images

Tomorrow

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Hello & welcome, today I am joining with the  #FiveMinuteFriday  Group. We gather every week to freewrite for five minutes flat on a single writing prompt. This week’s prompt is: Tomorrow.

Well, in a week that has seen more change with each passing hour it is impossible to predict what tomorrow may bring! At work all week every hour brought e-mails regarding the changing situation, changing plans, changing procedures till now – lock-down!

It is certainly a time of trial, a time to dig deep, a time to really place our trust in the Living Eternal God who changes not and a time to take each day one day at a time.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:34

Tomorrow will have its own problems, its own challenges and sometimes we may worry about those and all the “what-ifs”, we fear whether we will we have the resilience to cope with one more thing on top of all the other things.

But Christ promised strength for TODAY, bread for TODAY. He promised that He would equip us for every good work which was the theme for me for New Year (Equipped).

In what appears to be the last days, facing trials of an unprecedented nature, does our faith fly out the window and we give in to the fear, or are we standing strong, knowing our God has prepared us for such a time as this? We are not exempt from the trials, we don’t sail through unscathed, we are human too, we feel the pain of loss of work, loss of services, loss of life as we have known it and even sadly loss of loved ones. We feel that, we go through that, but we still stand knowing that :

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,

because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

 perseverance, character;

and character, hope.

 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

We place our hope in God, our hope for tomorrow, our hope for the future, our hope for what is still to come we place in God knowing His love has been poured out into our hearts and that will sustain us in the days and tomorrows ahead.

Less

Hello & welcome, today I am joining with the  #FiveMinuteFriday  Group. We gather every week to freewrite for five minutes flat on a single writing prompt. This week’s prompt is: Less.

Today in light of the Corona virus Pandemic I want to think about the Panic surrounding it. As Christians, we are not to give in to panic, we know the God who is in control and who is never caught out, never surprised by events and never panics because He has it all under control.

What does God tell us to do:-

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

  1. Panic Less – Humble more
  2. Panic Less – Pray more
  3. Panic Less – Seek God’s Face
  4. Panic Less – Turn from your wicked ways of ignoring God
  5. Panic Less – God will hear
  6. Panic Less – God will forgive
  7. Panic Less – God will heal our land.

So for every panic less there is more to be found in God.

More peace

More just ways

More relationships/communication

More forgiveness

More hearing

More healing

Let us turn our panics down, let us count them less and let us trust the Living God, turning to Him, seeking Him and interceeding for our land.

Lord in your wrath, remember mercy. Amen.

Table

Welcome today when I am joining with the  #FiveMinuteFriday  Group. We gather every week to freewrite for five minutes flat on a single writing prompt. This week’s prompt is: Table.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Psalm 23:5

We all know and love Psalm 23, the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want .. .. but when we pause and look at each clause there is more to it.

Verse 5 – God prepares a table for us, where/when? – in the presence of our enemies. When we are faced with temptations, when we face our inner demons, when life is tough, when others are letting us down, when we let ourselves down, when we listen to the lies of satan who is telling us that we are not up to much, that my friend is when and where God is preparing a table for us. A place to recline, a place to be fed, a place to be nourished, cherished, nurtured, refreshed.

At that table of refreshment, God feeds our souls, He wipes away our weariness and restores us to right relationship with Himself. And we rise and leave that table we are filled, cleansed, refreshed, with our cup of blessing overflowing.

So today when we are weary, when we are in need, when we are being buffeted by the trials of life, let us come to the table which God has prepared for us and allow Him to minister to us there…

God prepares a table and my cup overflows with His goodness and grace.

Before

Welcome today when I am joining with the  #FiveMinuteFriday  Group. We gather every week to freewrite for five minutes flat on a single writing prompt. This week’s prompt is: Before.

For there to be a before there as to be an after

So for me I could divide my life up into;

Before I got married

Before I had children

Before I left for a remote island

Then correspondingly:

After I got married

After I had children

After I returned from the island

But then I am missing out the life which happened inbetween , missing out on the messy middle,  the ‘inbetween’ the ‘during’ process, or even the enduring process.  God has been there in the ‘befores’, God has been there in the afters and God is most certainly there in the ‘durings’.

So whatever your Before, or after, whatever your ‘during’ or even ‘enduring’, rest assured that it is the same God who sees you through to the afters.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;

he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 31:8

Risk

Welcome today when I am joining with the #FiveMinuteFriday Group. We gather every week to freewrite for five minutes flat on a single writing prompt. This week’s prompt is: Risk

I am so not a risk taker! I like to play it safe. I like to know what is going to happen, I like to have it all planned out! Yet the path of faith is often not like that and at times it seems as if we are having to take a risk, a ‘leap of faith’ to move out of our comfort zone and trust in God.

When I think of the great Bible Hero’s they all took risks: Abram to leave the land he was in, Moses in leading the people out of Egypt, Esther to go before the king, Ruth to follow her mother-in-law, Daniel not to bow down before the king. Each took a risk, each exercised their faith, each put their trust in God.

And yet, and yet was it really such a risk? Or was it more moving on in assurance? Were they assured of God’s faithfulness, did they know their God and know that He wouldn’t let them down, so that it hardly seemed like a risk at all?

What about me, what about you? Does following, trusting, believing seem like a risk to you or are you just walking out with God your faithful Father, placing your hand in His and trusting where He may lead you?

Experience

Joining today again with the Five Minute Friday Group of Writers, where we write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. Today’s word is: Experience.

As I approach my 6th decade, I have quite a bit of life experience behind me, so I want to share with you 3 things experience has taught me.

  1. I have learnt the wisdom behind the saying “this too shall pass“. I have been in circumstances which I thought would define me for life, ways I thought my life would always be. But praise God, those things and times have passed and I have seen God redeem those very situations.
  2. I have learnt not to compare my situation, my inside with those of others’ external outside. They may seem to have it all together, they may seem to be having a far easier time than I am, but actually I don’t know. I don’t know the struggles and trials they are actually facing behind those seemingly ‘smooth’ external circumstances.
  3. And I have learnt through the ups and downs, through the trials and blessings, that God is faithful. As I have seen Him work, show up, strengthen and guide, then that encourages me and grows my faith in my God who is faithful and in control of all our situations.

And Praise Be, I have learnt that God is not finished with us yet! Another page to turn, another chapter to be written and lived.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

Talent

Joining with the Five Minute Friday Group of Writers where we write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. Today’s word is: Talent

Some people are SO talented aren’t they? They can sing, draw, paint, dance, and just seem to excel at everything. That leaves me feeling a bit flat, I can’t do any of those things, doesn’t that mean I dont have any talents? This can lead to a lot of negative, unhealthy introspection.

But if I say I have no talent, then I feel as if I am denying God, the creator who has made us in His own image and has made us creative, He has given us talent and to deny that talent is to negate the gifts He has given each one of us.

They may not be up-front, obvious gifts or talents, but like our personalities may be hidden, shy, retiring. It may just be a knack of saying the right thing at the right time, the knack of making scones and being able to take them to some club or meeting, or it might be the knack of remembering people’s birthdays and important dates. What ever that ‘knack’ is that you have you are to use it.

Use it as if working for the Lord. Don’t wory about what people think, don’t worry about it not being as good as someone else’s talent. Just use what you have, and use it well, and use it for God and the good of others.

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23-24

Sacrifice

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Joining today with FiveMinuteFriday Group where we write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. This week’s word is: Sacrifice.

The dictionary definition of sacrifice = an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

So the thing about sacrifice is that it is costly! We are giving up something we hold dear, something or someone of utmost importance in our life we are sacrificing for Jesus, for something He is calling us to do, for some act of service, or act of Praise.

One of the hardest sacrifices is to Praise in the midst of pain, to give up our own self-pity, our own feelings, to lay them aside and to Praise the Lord. Or perhaps it is to forgive someone a wrong they have done to us and we have hung on to that hurt for a long time, till it has flourished and taken on a root of bitterness. It is hard to give up those things, hard to sacrifice them so that we can move on in God, move on to new things, move on to Praise.

In 2 Samuel Chapter 24 we read of a time in David’s life when David had to give time, energy and money into intercession for his people. He knew it would cost him personally, but he knew that he needed to make that cost, he did not want to cheat on God and give Him something which cost him nothing:

Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take whatever he wishes and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood.  Your Majesty, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the Lord your God accept you.” But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.  David built an altar to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered his prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.

2 samuel 24:22-25

I love this song by Matt Redman, the Place of Praise, the chorus:

I will not bring that which costs me nothing
I will not bring that which costs me nothing
If the highest praise is a sacrifice
And the greatest song is to give my life then
I will not bring that which costs me nothing

What will be my sacrifice to the Lord today? What will be your sacrifice to the Lord today?

Direction

I am joining today again with the Five Minute Friday group where we write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. Today’s Word is: Direction

I think there can be a lot of pressure at this time, the start of a new year, to think that you have to know what direction you are taking or even be changing direction.

But often you start the year as you finished the last year, facing the same way without specific goals or knowledge of what the New Year will bring. And who of us does know what the year will bring? Circumstances change, situations arise halfway through the year which may cause us to pause, even turn around, or just face a different dirrection, but until that situation arises what are we to do?

God has told us what he requires of us:

He has told you, O man, what is good;

    and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

    and to walk humbly with your God?

micah 6:8

With that in mind, our face set towards God and our hearts focused then we walk on, one step at a time, one day at a time, one month at a time throughout the year. We walk in the light He has give us for that next step, and then the light for the next step. They may not be huge steps, they may not be hugely illuminated, but we walk on in that light. And when we look back at the year we see that indeed God has guided our steps in His ways.

Equipped

For the last four years I have had the wonderful privilege of joining with women all over the world in Bible Study with the #LoveGodGreatly Ministry. Their mission statement is :

Helping women love God greatly with their lives…
one Bible study, one translation, one woman at a time.

They do this teaching us the SOAP Method of Bible Study [https://lovegodgreatly.com/how-to-soap/} and inspire, encourage and equip us every step of the way.

It has dawned on me that for the past 4 years in our local group, we have been inspired, we have been encouraged and now we are equipped. And being equipped it is time we recognised that, took confidence in that and stepped out in that.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 

so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped

for every good work

2 Timothy 3:16-17

So as we enter the unknown of a New Year we can have that assurance that the Word of God equips us for every eventuality, every unknown, every surprise, every turn of the corner. The Word of God equips us to face life with all its ups and downs, highs and lows, joys as well as sorrows.

We are equipped to face change, uncertainty, even a new normal. Equipped to try new things, have new adventures, face new challenges. Equipped to face tomorrow and the day after that, and the day after that ..

We are equipped to be children of God, set free from the guilt of sin and past mistakes, equipped to see ourselves as loved, as beloved in God’s sight.

We are equipped to rebuke the devil and the lies he whispers into our ears, the discouragements, the insecurities, we are equipped to speak to all these things.

We are equipped to be of service to others, to love, to bring peace, to do EVERY good work which is set before us, to minister, care for and get on and do the next right thing!

How are we equipped?

By the Word of God. It is the Word which prepares us and the Word which helps us to be bold, to share our faith, to share our God stories, it is the Word of God which equips us for every good work.

Where in 2020 are you needing to be equipped? What are you already equipped for and just need that confidence to step out?

The Word of God will equip us for every good work. Learn that Word, Write that Word, Be equipped in that Word and Bring that Word to others.

May 2020 be a year of equipping for each and everyone of us. Happy New Year!

Blessed When Persecuted

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 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:10-12

A strange reading for the week before Christmas you may think, but actually when you think about it, it is so apt and so relevant.

At Christmas we want to think about the Prince of Peace, the Saviour of the World coming, we want to think of nice things. Yet the harsh reality is that this Prince of Peace, this Saviour who came was hated, persecuted & rejected by mankind. And as His followers, we can but expect the same. There is an offence of the gospel which is aimed at those who follow Jesus, they don’t want Jesus, so they don’t want us and that can lead to persecution even in small subtle ways. They ridicule, make fun of our faith, they take the Lord’s name in vain, they throw insults, they put us down, they go out of their way to be awkward, they display dislike and even hatred, all because they are rejecting the Saviour, they are hurt by the offence of the cross.

However, as always with these Beatitudes, it is the paradox which strikes us – those who are persecuted, given a hard-time because they are Christians, well they are actually blessed! They actually have reason to rejoice and be glad! Why? Because this Rejected Saviour comes and walks beside them, this Lord who suffered and was persecuted knows and understands and can draw alongside and strengthen in miraculous ways. The suffering Servant brings His own healing and balm and Immanuel, God is with us through it all as we discover that the times of our deepest lows can also be our times of highest joys.

And even though it is Christmas, families still face trials, pain, suffering and persecution. It doesn’t stop, just because it is Christmas. I know a family who on the lead up to this Christmas are facing a Child Protection Court Case, just because they pray with their children!! They are experiencing that opposition of the gospel, and it is hard.

Dear friends,

Don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.  Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.

1 peter 4:12-14,(nlt)

So as we rejoice in the coming King this Christmas, may we also take heart and be glad that we are counted worthy to suffer with Him.

Blessed are the Peacemakers

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What an appropriate Beatitude for this time of year, when we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace to look at what it means to be peacemakers.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Sons of God

matthew 5:9

The Prince of Peace, Jesus, came to reconcile us to God, that we may have peace with God, and that we would be adopted into the family and called ‘sons of God’

We have to look to this Prince of Peace to see what a peacemaker is and to see what role we have as peacemakers. So first of all we have to see that Peacemakers are not the same as Peacekeepers who can be passive, can cover over conflict for the sake of false unity, they call for peace where there is unrest and hurts and shame, but don’t get to the bottom of these things, there is no actual peace at the core, they white-wash issues with bland words.

Peacemakers are FOR peace, they work for peace, they pursue peace, they actively engage in the peacemaking process in order to bring about reconciliation. Reconciliation between Christian brothers and sisters, reconciliation between family members, reconciliation between friends, and most importantly reconciliation between us and God.

So where there is discord, disharmony, hurts, unforgiveness and grievances we are called to bring reconciliation. To recognise the conflict, recognise the hurts, recognise the imperfections, not ignore those real and often raw human emotions and yet still seek for reconciliation. Recognise that God is bigger than those things, recognise that Jesus came to heal us from those things, and be brave to work for peace in these situations.

To live like Jesus, to live up to His standards is not easy, He calls us to bigger, He calls us to better and He calls us to be brave and step out from worldly standards and instead follow His radical ways and be peacemakers, bringing reconciliation with God.

Only in Jesus can we find true peace because only through Jesus can we have peace and reconciliation with God.

Peace, I leave you with; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27

Where do you need to be a peacemaker in your relationships?

Do you need to be brave and actually face up to an unpleasant situation rather than just let it fester?

What about your relationship with God, do you need reconciliation there?

Do you know the peace of Jesus, which keeps you heart free from trouble and from being afraid?

Pure in Heart

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Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

matthew 5:8

Well there is no hope for me then! Pure in heart? Just as well no-one sees my heart, eh?

Yet, yet it is the pure in heart who see God. The unrighteous heart does not want to see God, the sinful heart does not desire God, only those whose hearts have been made clean by the blood of Jesus, only those who have been made righteous in Christ can have that desire to see God.

So what does this look like for me today?:

Well there appears to be a 2-foldness to this being pure in heart:-
1) Our hearts are impure, sinful, only by the blood of Jesus can we be made clean, only by accepting His righteousness can we have pure hearts & clean hands and are acceptable to the Righteous, Holy God.
2) But we do have a daily duty to keep our hearts clean, to keep our spirits in fellowship with God and to follow Him with undivided, loyal hearts.

So in this lead up to Christmas, this advent time, I can meditate on the wonder of a Saviour coming to save a sinner such as I, whose heart without Him is impure, sinful and far from Him. The Saviour, who came because we were unrighteous and there was nothing we could do to get back to God, the Saviour who took our punishment for sin and brings us back to God, the Saviour who makes a way for us to “see” God.

Only Jesus. Only His Righteousness.

What a Saviour, He came to save us FROM sin and save us TO God!

As we worship this Babe born in Bethlehem this Christmas time, may we remember what He came to save us from and what He saved us to and have that desire to see and follow Him every season of our soul.

Blessed are the merciful

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Mmmh, there is such a lot in this little beatitude:

Blessed at the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matthew 5:7

Let us have a look first of all what the word Mercy actually means, it is such a small word, but it contains so much. Mercy – it has overtones of forgiveness and grace, but also of God’s judgment, that God doesn’t give us the judgement we deserve.

So as sinners, we are separated from God, we deserve His wrath, His judgment, His punishment, we deserve no less than this because we have gone our own sinful way, away from Him. But God sent Jesus to take our sin, take our punishment so that we can have a way back to Him. We don’t deserve it, but God in His mercy does not give us what we deserve, but rather in love chooses to forgive, chooses to draw us near, chooses to give us the blessings we don’t deserve (grace).

That is pretty awesome!

But what is hard in this beatitude is that He is telling us that we are to treat others like that too! We are to forgive, we are to accept even when others don’t deserve it, even if they have hurt us, even when they have sinned against us. We are to forgive, even if/when they don’t deserve it. Jesus is saying; this is the way God has treated you, now go and do likewise!

This is a parable Jesus told to illustrate this point:

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

MATTHEW 18: 23-35

Go and do likewise.

*****

For they shall receive mercy – we have received it, we then give it and we receive it back again every single day when God wipes our slate clean and gives us a brand new day.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

    his mercies never come to an end;

23 they are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3: 22-23


Everyday we get to start again, we get to experience anew God’s mercies, His love, His kindness, His compassion, His grace.
Every day, God wipes the slate clean and we have a fresh start with Him, He doesn’t hold our yesterdays against us, neither should we hold them against ourselves, but move, gratefully into each new day, assured of His mercy and grace.

Hunger & Thirst after Righteousness

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Continuing to look at the paradox in each of the Beatitudes.

 The meaning of Paradox = seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true.

And this Beatitude is no different:

Blessed are those who hunger & thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Matthew 5:6

Hunger and thirst are two of the most basic human instincts, they form a craving, a need born out necessity. This is also true of our most basic need for God. There is within each one of us a God shaped hole, which only God Himself can satisfy. It doesn’t matter how many other things we use to fill our lives, they won’t satisfy, only Jesus can.

So to hunger & thirst after righteousness, is a blessed experience because it is when you are in that state of hungering, hankering after something which will satisfy, when you are thirsty for the truth, that You will seek for God, You will pursue, and You will find.

Righteousness means right standing with God, and that only happens through Jesus. Jesus alone is the One who has paid for our sin, Jesus alone is the One who has opened the way to God for us, bridging that gulf of sin, Jesus alone is righteous and so it is to Jesus that we must come for our righteousness, it is to Jesus that we must come to have our right standing with God.

And having that right standing means to go on, to pursue, to continue on to know more of God, to put aside other worldly pleasures, to put aside our own ambitions, thoughts and plans, desiring to know God first and foremost.

Jesus came to give us life and to give it more abundantly, He came to stir our hearts so that we won’t settle for temporal things which won’t last and won’t satisfy, for He promised that He is enough, that His Grace is sufficient and that He will meet our needs, He alone will satisfy.

Sometimes that hunger & thirst of desire is created within us through hardships, through tough times, as they let us see how empty other things are, things which don’t satisfy those deep longings in our heart. That is where the paradox comes in and if that is the case with you dear friend, then know that you are blessed indeed, know that when you know your need, that you are blessed. Let that need drive you to Jesus and to Him alone, for that need could be the means of blessing to your soul.

Blessed are the Meek

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Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

Matthew 5:5

Really? It is the meek who shall inherit the earth? According to our Society today it is the strong, the academic, the loud, the aggressive; those who are cut-throat and don’t let anyone stand in their way, surely they are the ones who inherit the earth and the rest of us just slide along at the bottom of the pile?

Not so according to Jesus. It is the meek. Not the wimpy, not the weak, but MEEK. Those who choose to be humble, those who choose to hold back aggression to be kind and gentle, those who don’t seek their own glory, but will give a lending hand to others, those who know whose they are in Christ and so choose a different walk.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness & patience

Colossians 3:12

Just as Jesus, with all His majesty and divine power chose to humble himself, chose to walk this earth in submission to His Father, chose to walk humble, chose to walk meek, so He calls us to do the same.

 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:1-8

So to inherit the earth as one of the meek it starts with having that humble, submissive heart to God, in recognition of His Sovereignty, surrendered to Him in trust.

To inherit the earth means that we have that peace and serenity which the world longs for, but cannot give; it is being in harmony with God through the sacrifice of Jesus; it is walking with Jesus, learning from Him, emulating His ways and His compassionate heart.

We can choose to walk a different way from the world, we can choose to walk in meekness, we can choose to follow the ways of the Man from Galilee and in so doing we will inherit the blessings of God, we will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who Mourn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted

Matthew 5:4

We have had a deep sorrow and mourning in our community in recent days. The pain, the sorrow is still very raw.

What words do we have to comfort? Where can we find our comfort? What is our comfort at such awful times?

IMMANUEL – God with us, He is our comfort. The fact that He is right here with us and knows our pain, that He sees our tears and that it is He Himself who will come and wipe them away for us, is our comfort.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away

Revelation 21:3,4

We have a present promise: God Himself will be with us. We are not walking through this alone, the Man of Sorrows is with us.

We have a future hope: for when all the pain, tears and sorrows will cease.

We must not forget eternity!! We must not be so caught up with the present that we forget about eternity, or forget that as Christians we have a hope which will shed light and meaning to our present sorrows.

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” 1 Corinthians 15:19

Not only do we have a hope, but we must share that hope. There are so many people still stuck in sorrow, still stuck in mourning, with no hope, asking ‘where is your God?’ We can answer that He is here, He is with us and that eternity will shine light and bring meaning to our present sorrows. And how in eternity all our pain, all our sorrows and all our tears will be wiped away.

God Himself will comfort.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

The Beatitudes

In the lead up to Christmas, we have begun a new bible study in my ladies group on the Beatitudes. They are not a section of the bible which I have studied before. Read, yes, understood no!

So the goal I set myself at the start of the study was: “to know that I am blessed, even in the midst of adverse circumstances, by intentionally giving thanks”.

Because that is thing isn’t it, the things which would get us down, make us uncomfortable, even seek to destroy us, Jesus tells us that actually we are blessed by them!

So firstly what does it mean to be blessed? One definition I came across was: “a state of well being in relationship with God”. And Jesus was all about relationship wasn’t He? Jesus’s teaching was meant to bless us :-

” For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,

but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Jesus went up to a mountain and it was then when He saw the crowds, had pity on them because they were like sheep without a Shepherd, that He spoke these words. Words to draw us in, words to bring us comfort, words to bring us hope, words to bring relief and words to be blessed by.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3

The poor in spirit? Yes, those rejected and despised by society, those who have no natural gifting, those for whom life has dealt a harsh blow, those who know their need, those who know that without God they are nothing. You are blessed because it is that very knowledge which leads to that dependency upon God, which in turns bring its blessing. Those hardships which would seek to destroy us are in actual fact the gateway to blessing because they drive us to dependency upon God.

That dependency is what then opens the whole of the kingdom of heaven for us and that my friend means that we are blessed indeed! Blessed in relationship with God.

Week 4 – Weekend Pause & Reflect – Community

Pause and Reflect:

Take a verse from the past week – Write it out. Pray About it. Apply it.

What has God been saying to you about community and relationships this week?

  1. Are there any boundaries you have been kicking against and need to step away from?
  2. How can you get involved in your local community and build relationships in it?
  3. How can we serve others with respect and humility?
  4. Are there any people/places/things which could become idols to us and which we need to let go?
  5. Are you serving, are you finishing well?

*****

Thank you for visiting, hope you have enjoyed this series: ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to go back to the introduction/contents page, please click here.

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Week 4; Day 5 – Finish Well

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “we are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty”.

luke 17:10

Matilda has been a fine mother, infact she has been excellent. She has patiently incubated & hatched out 7 chicks. She has nurtured, guarded and taught them. Her job is done, finished, the end? Or is it? Will she start over again next year?

We like a bit of praise and recognition for the work we have done, don’t we? We want others to recognise the time and effort we have put in to something, an act of service, showing some kindness, or some sacrifice.

Yet Jesus tell us we have only done that which was required of us as His servants. Our joy and satisfaction should be that we have served and served well, even if no-one else notices!

Lord, may we always give You the Praise and glory for anything You have enabled us to do. May our service be to You and may we finish well. Amen.

*****

this is the final week of the series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to go back to the introduction/contents page, please click here.





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Week Four; Day Four – No Idols

Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

1 JOHN 5:21

At 12 weeks Matilda must let of of her chicks. She needs to go back to her own flock and must let the chicks mature and become productive members of the coop.

Sometimes we hold things too dear and need to learn to let them go. Particularly with our children, it is hard to let them go, hard to watch their little fledgling attempts into adulthood. But there are other things we can hold dear and find difficult to let go of. Perhaps it is the careers we have built up and now need to let go of. Or even our own fiercely fought for independence, our pride, our reputations, even our ‘yeses’.

What do we need to hand over to the Lord today so that it doesn’t become an idol in our lives?

Lord, may I have open hands and open heart, not holding on too tightly to the things I need to let go of.

*****

This is the last week of the series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to go back to the introduction/contents page, please click here.

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Week 4; Day Three – Relationships

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him, as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

1 Timonthy 5:1-2

Already amongst the chicks there is a little sparring going on, but they will soon have to learn the pecking order of things – which is old hens rule! The chicks will very “peckedly” be kept in order and will have to learn to wait their turn for food and treats.

Sometimes we need to learn our place too don’t we? Not get too above ourselves, not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought, but rather serving one another in humility and treating others with respect.

Remember Jesus, kneeling down and washing the disciples feet? Such a lowly task and we are called to go and do likewise.

Lord, help me to serve others with the same humility & thoughtfulness which You showed and to follow Your example. Amen.

*****

This is the last week of the series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to go back to the introduction/contents page, please click here.

“I’m participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes in October!   www.fiveminutefriday.com/31days2019

Week 4; Day Two – Community

God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing …

Psalm 68:6

By 8 weeks we have moved Matilda & her chicks into the main hen pen. They still have their own wee ‘ark’ to stay in, but they are together in the larger pen with the other hens.

We too are placed in groups, in communities. Perhaps you may be an introvert like me and prefer solitude, but God has placed us in community for us to grow in relationships.

God is a relational God. He establishes relationships with us, He pours love into our hearts that we may love others and so that we can experience more of Him in this way.

Lord, Help me to love and interact in the community You have placed me in, that I may know You in relationship. Amen.

*****

This is the last week of the series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to go back to the introduction/contents page, please click here.

“I’m participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes in October!   www.fiveminutefriday.com/31days2019

Week 4; Day 1 – Boundaries

The Law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul, the statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are radiant giving light to the eyes by them your servant is warned; in keeping them is great reward.

Psalm 19:7,8,11

One of the very important lessons the wee chicks have to learn is fences – that they are there for their own protection; not just to keep them in and safe, but also to keep predators out.

God’s law is like that – there for our protection, there to keep us safe. So we should not kick against those laws nor resent them, but rather grow to value and respect them.

“By them is Your servant warned, in keeping them is great reward”

We should be glad when we come across one of God’s boundaries because then we know that we are being safe-guarded, and under the protection of the Lord.

Thank you Lord for Your law, Your commands & statutes, may we see that they are there for our safe-guarding and so rejoice in them. Amen.

Thank you for visiting, this is the last week of the series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to go back to the introduction/contents page, please click here.

Week 3; Learning & Growing – Pause & Reflect

Take one verse from the reading from this past week –

Read it. Write it out. Pray over it.

Let us pause and reflect on the areas we are needing to learn and grow in:

  1. Where do you need to hear Jesus’ voice to follow Him?
  2. How can we “learn of Jesus” this week and follow His example?
  3. What can we do to study deeper the Word of God?
  4. In what areas do we need to slow and take a deep drink from the waters of life?
  5. How can we be intentional in our growth, in becoming more like Jesus?

This is part of a series ‘A month with Mother Hen’. If you would like to go back to the introduction/contents page, please click here.

Week 3; Day 5 – Transforming

And we all, who with veiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:18

By 8 weeks the wee chicks are more or less fully feathered, they have lost their soft down fluff and have their feathers which keep them dry and warm. They now just look like mini-hens!

Growing, learning, developing, changing is that us?

As we study the Word do we apply it to our lives? Do we allow it to work in our lives changing us?

Are we growing more into the image of Jesus, beginning to look like Him in attitude and love? Growing in the riches of His grace?

Lord, help us to grow in knowledge and truth of Your grace, allowing it to change us look more like You. Amen.

This is part of a series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to return to the introduction/contents page, please click here.

Week 3; Day 4 – Drinking

Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them, a spring of water welling up to eternal live.

John 4:13

Hens have a sweet wee way of drinking, they don’t gulp it down in one go, they take it up in their mouths and it is as if they savour it there for a moment or two before swallowing. The chicks do this too, very interesting to watch!

Another lesson for us – do we savour the Word of God? Do we let it sink in or are we always in such a rush that we just take a big gulp and then rush into our day without savouring it, without really tasting it, without being refreshed by it?

We need to slow. We need to take the time for the Word to get into us and refresh us. We need to drink long and deeply of the Word of life.

Lord, refresh my soul in You today. May I drink long and deep of You today. Amen.

This is part of a series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to return to the introduction/contents page please click here.

Week 3; Day 3 – Searching

In fact by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s Word all over again. You need milk, not solid food.

hebrews 5:12

Very quickly the wee chicks learn to scratch for food, not just the hen food I feed them, but for other bugs and niceties they can find.

So too, we shouldnt just wait to be ‘taught’, but we need to learn and we need to learn for ourselves. We need to do our own scratching around in the Word to find the promises and instructions of God.

We can use Cross-References, Commentaries, Bible Studies etc, anything to get us going deeper and learning the truth for ourselves.

Lord, open Your Word to me, that I may learn and understand Yours ways. Amen.

This is part of a series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, if you would like to go back to the introduction/contents page, please click here.

Week 3; Day 2 – Learn from Example

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 11:29

Matilda is a great mother and teaches her chicks by example. Everything she does for them for the first time she repeats and then stands back and waits for them to follow her example. So she will scratch the ground and peck and it a couple of times and then waits for them to do the same.

This is definetly the best way to learn isn’t it?

Jesus says, “learn from me; follow my teaching, follow my example”

What we see Jesus do, we are to do, how we see Him treat and respond to people is how we are to treat them and respond to them.

How Jesus is with His Father in heaven is how we are to be with God the Father too.

Lord, help me to learn of You, to study Your ways and to emulate them. Amen.

This is part of a series, ‘A Month With Mother Hen’, you would like to return to the introduction/contents page, please click here. Thank you.

Week 3; Day 1 – Recognition

When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger, infact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.

John 10:4

From the moment Matilda settled on her eggs, I spoke to her. I went in every morning to see her and spoke to her. Then when the chicks were hatched I spoke, “hello, my wee chicks”, every day. Now when I call “wee chicks”, they know my voice and come running!

Just like Jesus said about the sheep, my wee chicks know me and know my voice and come to me.

This comes with familiarity, hearing the voice and being assured that this voice brings good things and acts for our best.

How familiar are we with the voice of Jesus?

Are we often enough in His Word, that we recognise His voice in our every day? Do we have that assurance that Jesus works for our best, do we strain forward, do we listen and are blessed at hearing the voice of the Master and do we follow Him in our every day ?

Lord, open my ears that I may hear Your voice today and that I may respond and follow You. Amen

This is part of a series – ‘A Month with Mother Hen’ if you would like to return to the introduction/contents page, please click here. Thank you.

Week 2 – Hatching & Protecting – Pause and Reflect

Take one verse from the readings from this past week.

Read it. Write it out. Pray over it.

Where this week have you seen or needed the nurturing/protecting hand of God?

  1. Have you brought & submitted your plans to the Lord, trusting that His ways are wiser, higher, better?
  2. Have you sought refuge in the Lord? Are you needing to find that safe place of shelter in Him?
  3. Are you gathering up the manna of God’s promises every single day and finding refuge in them?
  4. Have you been quick to run, quick to respond, quick to call on Him, quick to flee to Him?
  5. Are you aware and alert as to the dangers & temptations there are which would beset you? What can you do? Where will you find your protection?

If you would like to return to the introduction/contents page please click here.

Week 2; Day 5 – Protection

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of suffering.

1 peter 5:8

The chicks know their mother as their protector, there is no-one else to whom they can or will go. She alone knows them through & through and she will fight for them. There is no lion or tiger more fierce than that of a mother hen protecting her chicks!

We need to be aware of dangers, snares & temptations around us. If we know our own areas of weakness, and the shiny things which lure us away from the things of God, then we can seek help from our Protector.

Many times we are tripped up by things that we are unaware of and which we come upon unexpectedly. Other times it is the same old, same old thing. Whichever it is; we need to have the protection of the armour of God on.

We need the help of the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation. We need to know our help and protection is from the Lord and that if God is on our side then really who can be against us?

Thank You Lord, that You fight for us this day. Thank You that You are mighty and that we need not fear when You are by our side. Amen.

If you would like to return to the introduction/contents page, please click here. Thank you.

Week 2; Day 4 – Calls

Jerusalem, Jerusalem you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I would long to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings and you were not willing.

Luke 13:34

Matilda has two very distinct calls: one is for food as she calls the chicks over when she has found some. The second is for danger. Danger, quick, come, hide, into the nest box or under me. Quick.

Like the wee chicks we are often unaware of the dangers around us. But we have to have that immediate response, that immediate run to our safe place in Jesus.

No point having a look around and see if we can handle the problem/danger ourselves. We need to have that immediate response in-built in us to turn to the Lord, to call out to Him, to run to Him.

We need to be willing in our vulnerability to find our refuge & shelter in Him.

Lord, may we always be quick to come, quick to respond to Your voice calling us. Amen.

If you would like to return to the Introduction/contents page, please click here. Thank you.

Week 2; Day 3 – Manna

When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost appeared on the desert floor. Moses said, ‘It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat’.

Exodus 16:13-15

By day two Matilda has her chicks outside in search of food and water. She is still very much covering them, but they are out, cheeping away and already pecking at food!

This reminds me of the manna God sent from heaven for the Israelites during their wilderness years. They went to bed at night, and when they got up in the morning there it was, just lying there on the ground ready for them just to pick it up!!

God gives us so much, but we have to avail ourselves of it on a daily basis. We have to gather up His Word, partake of its truths and be nourished by it. Every single day.

Lord, help me not to miss a day with You, but to be found feasting on Your Word, every single day. Amen.

If you would like to return to the introduction/contents page, please click here. Thank you.

Week 2; Day 2 -Refuge

He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings You will find refuge. His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 91:4

For that first day Matilda continues to keep her chicks under her so that they will dry out and be warm. It is a safe place of warmth and nurture. They are too vulnerable to leave that place.

Sometimes we feel like that too, don’t we? We just want to hide, safe under the shelter of the wings of God.

We need to take refuge in His Word, hold onto His faithfulness and just be protected from the on-slaughts of the evil one.

Sometimes we even need that shelter away from our own insecurities and self-condeming thoughts. We need to come and find that place of refuge, that place of security in Jesus.

Lord, thank You that You are our safe place. We come to You for our refuge today. Amen.

To return to the introduction/contents page, please click here. Thank you.

Week 2; Day 1 – Fruition

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts

Isaiah 55:8-9

The time has come, Matilda can feel and hear the stirrings under her as the chicks begin to hatch. She shifts her weight about to accommodate the emerging chicks. She can feel their flutters under her, but wait not all the eggs have hatched! She was sitting on 10 eggs, but only 7 have hatched.

Have we ever been disappointed that all our plans have not come about the way we expected them to? We had hopes and dreams and not all of them have come to fruition.

So what do we do? We take those unfulfilled hopes and dreams and lay them before the Lord.

Your Will Lord, Your Way Lord, Your timing Lord and we surrender them and ourselves to the Lord.

Lord, I surrender, I admit that my ways are not Yours and so I submit to Your ways Lord and trust that they are better than mine.

To return to the Introduction/Contents page, click here! Thank you.

Week 1 – Sitting; Pause & Reflect

Take One Verse from the past week.

Read it. Write it out. Pray over it.

So what are you sitting on this week?

  1. Are you needing to come out from the crowd, by yourself for some much needed quiet time?
  2. Are you needing to see something through to the end? Where do you need to be intentional?
  3. Is there an area of service you need to sacrifice your own comfort for?
  4. Where in your life are you needing patience to wait for the Lord to step in? How can you encourage yourself in this time?
  5. Are you feeling the first flutters of hope? How can you fan them into a living hope whilst waiting?

To get back to the Introduction/Contents page, click here ! Thank you.

Week 1 – Sitting; Day 5 – Waiting

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His Word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for the morning; more than the watchmen wait for the morning.

Psalm 130:5-6

So Matilda waits. By now she must feel the flutterings of the heartbeats of her tiny chicks in their shells. She has hope within her waiting, not long now and her patient endurance will have paid off and the chicks will hatch.

What about us, do we have hope in our waiting? Do we have those little flutterings of hope, little glimpses of God’s promises, little glimpses of what He can do?

Is our hope in His word, is it straining within us, so that it is with our whole being that we are waiting?

Do we know that our hope placed in His Word, will not disappoint?

So let us strain forward, let us look to His Word, let us place our hope in His faithful love towards us and turn our waiting into hopeful waiting.

Lord, I wait for You this day, I place my hope in You, give me a joyful, hopeful waiting time. Amen.

Week 1 – Sitting; Day 4 – Patience

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends; with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow to keep His promises, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:8-9

What do you think Matilda was doing on that nest? Do you think she was scoring off the days? No, she was being patient, sitting and keeping on sitting, warming and rolling the eggs beneath her.

We are so impatient aren’t we?

We want God’s answers now! We want to see Him work, come in and transform a situation and now would be a good time!

What about that promise God gave us years ago, have we forgotten it, given up on it?

Do doubts and fears come in because we allow our immediate feelings and reactions to come in and control our situations?

Or can we encourage our hearts that with the Lord, one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day? Can we trust that His timing is perfect and He will show up on time, at just the right time?!

Lord, help me to trust Your timings and to be patient in hope to trust Your promises. Amen.

Week 1 – Sitting; Day 3 – Self-Sacrifice

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interest of others.

Philippians 2:3-4

For Matilda, putting the needs of her eggs comes first. Before her own comfort and needs, she puts her eggs first. In practical terms this means that she cannot leave the nest for long – a quick dash to peck some grain, a dash to the water and her toilet, and as the time for hatching gets closer she doesn’t leave at all!

That is sacrifice!

We are not called to put our own health or mental health at risk, but we are called to sacrifice our wants and desires for the sake of the kingdom.

What today are we being called to sacrifice:

> That TV show which blasphemes the Name of God?

> That personal pampering which you feel you “deserve”?

> That new purchase when the money could be used for the good of others?

Our time, our talents, our gifts are they surrendered over to the Lord?

Where are we too focused on our own desires and not on the need of others?

It is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.

C.S. Lewis

Lord, show me my selfish heart and where I can set aside my selfish desires in order to serve others. Amen.

Week 1 – Sitting, Day 2 – Focus

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve …. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:15

It takes 21 days to incubate and hatch out eggs, so the hen has to be in it for the long-haul! Many a hen will sit for a few days, but give up before the week is out. Not so Matilda, she was focussed, she was intentional, she was in it for the long-haul. This was her task, this was her calling and she was going to see it through.

Is there something we need to commit to and see through to the end?

We have to be intentional in the work God has given us to do and not just let it drift along, but be focussed, have a step-by-step guide and see it through.

Are we in it for the long-haul? Are we really committed to speaking the gospel, carrying the care, showing the love? Or do we give up before we have even really started?

How many good ideas/plans do we have which we never get off the ground because we are not intentional about them?

Lord, help be be intentional in the work You have given me to do. By Your grace let me be committed to see it through. Amen.

Week 1 – Sitting, Day 1 – Come Away

Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” 

Mark 6:31

So the first thing which happened to Matilda was that she was separated out from the other hens.  She needed that space to have her own brooding box, she needed that peace and quiet away from the clucking and disturbance of the other hens.  She needed to come away by herself to a quiet, safe place.

So what about us?  Do we need to step aside from distractions for a while?  Do we need to create a quiet, safe place where we can have some head room to hear the voice of God as to next steps?

Do we need to take a step back from all the usual distractions of the daily?  Do we need to come away for a while by ourselves in order to hear the Master’s voice?

Lord, help me to put aside the distractions of the day, to come, to rest in You and to hear Your voice. Amen.

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A Month with Mother Hen

This October I am taking up the challenge to write everyday with others from the Five Minute Friday writing community on the 31 Days of Free Writes 2019 Challenge.  I am going to be sharing  life lessons learnt from my mother hen!

The way of a Mother Hen with her chicks is truly one of the wonders of the animal world.  There are many life and spiritual lessons we can learn from her.  These particular lessons have been drawn from watching my own ‘Broody Hen’ this summer when she successfully hatched and reared 7 chicks.

A Month with Mother Hen

So meet Matilda, she is a grey speckled hen with a pom pom on her head, so quite regal looking!  She actually is a neighbour’s hen who went “broody”, that is the natural instinct to sit and hatch eggs took over her, so we took her to ours, gave her a safe place and put 10 of our own eggs under her to sit on.  

So starting from tomorrow (Monday), I will be posting a very short daily devotional for 4 weeks, – Monday through to Friday with a time to pause and reflect at the weekend.  The devotionals will be short and  will include a scripture reading, a little story about Matilda & her chicks and the lessons we can learn from her, followed by a short prayer.

See table of contents below and click on the day’s reading to take you directly to that devotional day’s devotional.

Table of Contents

Week 1 – Sitting

Day One – Come Away

Day Two – Focus

Day Three – Self-Sacrifice

Day Four – Patience

Day Five – Waiting

Weekend – Pause & Reflect

Week 2 – Hatching & Protecting

Day One – Fruition

Day Two – Refuge

Day Three – Manna

Day Four – Calls

Day Five – Protection

Weekend – Pause & Reflect

Week 3 – Learning & Growing

Day One – Recognising

Day Two – Learn form Example

Day Three – Searching

Day Four – Drinking

Day Five – Transforming

Weekend – Pause & Reflect

Week 4 – Community

Day One – Boundaries

Day Two – Community

Day Three – Relationships

Day Four – No Idols

Day Five – Finish Well

Weekend – Pause & Reflect

“I’m participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes in October!   www.fiveminutefriday.com/31days2019

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Success

Joining up today again with the Five Minute Friday Group of writers who write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt.  Today’s prompt is Success.

Mmmh, success can be hard to measure sometimes can’t it?  But it definitely speaks of achievement of some sort.

For me it also ties in with last week’s prompt of challenge.  Success is completing the challenge.  So the challenge I have been struggling with, but which I have now signed up for is the October 31 days Writing Challenge!  Free writing for 31days!  A big commitment, a lot of concerns, but the measure of success will be the completion of the challenge.

The challenge always for me is putting my writing out there, but here I am with the opportunity for 31 days, the month of October, to write and put it out, even if it is just to an audience of One.  It will be an achievement, it will be success, but really it is just obedience and as such I should just humbly submit and ask that through it all He will be glorified.

So watch out this weekend for the launch of my #31days2019 write.  I have a series, a theme in mind.  More to follow …

Perhaps the graphic will give you an idea of what it is:

“I’m participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes in October! Registration closes September 30th. Join here: www.fiveminutefriday.com/31days2019

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Challenge

Joining again with the #fmf group to write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt.  This week’s prompt is: Challenge.

But the problem with a challenge you see is that it is very personal isn’t it?  What is a challenge to you may not be for me, and you may wonder at my fears and halting over what you consider trivial, but which for me stretches me, challenges me, takes me out of my comfort zone.

For some a challenge may just be getting out of bed in the morning and facing a new day, for others it may be facing an illness with bravery and composure, for many it is putting a brave face on and facing the challenges of the day.  It need not be that huge challenge of doing some phenomenal sport/activity challenge which attracts a lot of attention.  But rather it is a quiet meeting of the challenge of the everyday with grace.

So what challenge am I facing at the moment?  Well to be honest, I am afraid to tell you, I don’t want to share it, you may not understand where I am coming from, you may not appreciate the fears and insecurities which make this a challenge for me.  And that is the whole thing isn’t it, we don’t know what challenges people face, so we really shouldn’t judge, we don’t know what hurdles they are facing.  So we should cut ‘some slack’ and treat people with kindness, cheering each other on, encouraging, and stretching each other and be a safe, empathetic, understanding place where people can share their struggles and challenges.

When we face challenges, which seem like mountains, when the storms and sea billows blow new challenges our way, we fix our eyes on Jesus, we keep Him before us and we remind ourselves:
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives
And life is worth the living, just because He lives
And then one day, I’ll cross the river
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain
And then, as death gives way to victory
I’ll see
Because He Lives
Kristin Chenoweth
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Start

Joining up with the #FiveMinuteFriday team to write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt.  This week’s word is: Start

“Start as you mean to go on” is a saying I hear in my mother’s voice in my head.

But that is all very well isn’t it?  You start well, you are full of enthusiasm, you think you can do it, you may even have a plan of how to get it done, in the best way, in least amount of time, your goal is in sight.

But alas!  Trials come, unexpected obstacles which you hadn’t foreseen suddenly appear in your path.  It can be dark and danger seems to lurk round certain corners.  The air once so clear and bright now seems heavy and oppressive, it is any wonder your energy levels drop, your enthusiasm wains?

My bible focus verse for this week has this covered:

Philippians 3:12-14

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…  But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead.  I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.

So I press on.  I don’t know what lies round the corner, I  may loose the path a bit, I may get a bit distracted, but I press on.  I don’t look behind at what I once was, but I fix my eyes, I strain forward to catch a glimpse of that goal.

Onwards and upwards I strain forward to persevere and continue on what I have started, getting to know my Saviour, getting closer to heaven, and when energy and enthusiasm wains I fix my eyes on Jesus because He is the goal, He is the prize and He is worth it every time!

Back

Joining again with the #fiveminutefriday group of writers, where we write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt.  Today’s word is: Back.

Last Sunday Evening we had our ‘Back to School With God’ Event, an event created by Scripture Union in the UK, to dedicate our schools, teachers & young people to God as they go back to school, college, & university.

So that made me think, what else are we going back to?  Back to autumn, back to dark nights, back to turning the clock back, back to winter activities.

How do we respond with these seasonal changes?  It doesn’t have to mean going back to old ways, old habits or old self-defeating behaviours.  It can actually mean going forward.  Going forward to new things, going forward in our walk with God, going forward into new events and situations in life.

It could be a new time of re-dedication, of new direction, of new purpose, a time to go back to God, even a time to go back to church!

Whatever the next season brings, may we dedicate ourselves to God in it, may we surrender to His will, may we seek Him first.

May it be going back to God, and maybe even back to church?

Love this song about going back to church:

 

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PACE

Joining today with the Five Minute Friday group to write on a one word prompt for 5 minutes.  Today’s prompt is: Pace.

I have learnt over the years to pace myself both mentally, spiritually and physically to enable me to get through my days and cope with life and with age my pace has also slowed considerably!

However, after our old dog died and we got our puppy I discovered that boy did I need to up my pace!!  The old girl would plod along at a considerable slowness, then the shock of having a young male, strong pup who’s pace far outstripped mine!!  I so had to up my pace in more ways than one to keep ahead of him!!

So I have learnt that whilst pacing yourself is good and having a balance is right, there can also be times when we are called upon to up our game, to up our pace, to stride out in faith and confidence.

For me it is in my writing that I have been called to up my game, learning the craft, developing skills and then having to put it out there.  It is out of my comfort zone, it calls for faith, it stretches me, it scares me, but it also calls me to up my game and up my pace.  I want to run the race/finish the course and I want to do it well.

So is there an area of your life where you have to up your game, up your pace and stride out in faith?

Relief

Image result for my soul waits for the lord

Joining with the Five Minute Friday Group to write for five minutes on a One Word Prompt. Today’s Word is: Relief.

Relief. You know that big exhale of breath you give, which you didn’t even realise you were holding. Relief, that big sigh of release that something is over, or test results have been favourable, or you’ve coped with something. Sigh. Exhale. Release. Relief.

It could be relief for many things. But for me in the ordinary, in the everyday and on yet another dark, damp January morning I am relieved to see signs of spring! Snowdrops appearing, almost a patch of blue sky this morning, and ever so slightly longer days. January has been a long hard month, it is a relief that it is almost over.

I wait for the LORD; my soul does wait,
and in His word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning—
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

I feel a bit like the Psalmist, a bit like those watchmen who are waiting for the morning, I am waiting for spring! Waiting for longer days, waiting for a glimpse of the sun, waiting to feel a bit more motivated, waiting to feel more energy.

So meantime, I wait, I put my hope in the Word of the Lord, I wait for the Lord, I wait for my relief, my release to come.

What are you waiting for relief from and how are you waiting on the Lord during the time of waiting?