Mid-Week Meditations

Psalm 19:1-2 — Verse of the Day for 06/12/2018

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, lots of questions have been asked about ‘where is God in this?’.  Well as we reflect on Psalm 19, we will see that God, as always has been and is revealing Himself in both the Creation and through the Bible.

“The heavens proclaim the glory of God.  The skies display His craftmanship.

Day after Day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known.  They speak without a sound or word, their voice is never heard. YET their message has gone throughout the earth and their words to all the world.”

Day and night, sunrise and sunset, God, our creator paints the skies, His glory is seen, His craftmanship displayed; the order and structure of His creation revealed to all.

When we see a beautiful sunset or sunrise our reaction is one of awe at such intricate beauty, whether we turn up or not God still puts on that display, day after day, night after night they make Him known, pointing to His glory.

“God has made a home in the heavens for the sun, it bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after His wedding.  It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end.  Nothing can hide from its heat.”

We see the sun pointing to God eager to burst out and be seen!  Often here the sun is hidden behind the clouds, but it is still there, still doing it tour of duty, still pointing and reminding us that God is with us, reigning supreme in His universe.

“The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.  The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living”.

Just as God reveals Himself in creation, so too does He reveal Himself in His Word, our Bible.  We see His glory, His craftmanship in creation and we see that same attention to detail and beauty as He shows us how to live good, balanced, healthy lives lived the right way with Him through His Word.

“Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.  The laws of the Lord are true, each one is fair.  They are more desirable than gold.  They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.  They are a warning to your servant, a great reward to those who obey them”.

Those laws of God, they are good!  They are for our benefit!  Just as we teach a child good, safe ways of living and lay down boundaries for behaviour, so does God do for us and they are good, they are sweet ways, they are to be desired and they are to be followed!.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?  Cleanse me from these hidden faults.   Keep your servant from deliberate sins!  Don’t let them control me.  Then I will be free from guilt and innocent of great sin.

Yes, God’s Word will point out our sin, it will show us our wrong thinking, our wrong ways, but it also shows us God’s forgiveness, God’s mercy and His love extended towards us in that He still loves us, despite our sin!

“May the words of my mouth & the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my rock & my redeemer”.

This is an appropriate prayer to end with, that our words & thoughts would be in alignment with God’s.  And a final declaration of trust – O Lord, You are my rock, You are my redeemer.

What about you?  Have you seen God in creation?  Have you seen Him in His Word?  Same God, same ways, still speaking day after day, night after night.  Do you see Him on the throne, reigning over His universe and do you trust in Him, call Him your Lord and Saviour?

Endure

The Word For The Day — “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy ...

This post is written to link with #Five Minute Friday: write for five minutes on a one-word prompt. The prompt today is “ENDURE”.

To endure = to bear without resistance or with patience.

And there my dear friends is my problem! I don’t seem to be able to bear with patience or without resistance! My first instinct at the first sign of trouble, pain or suffering is always resistance! I don’t want this trouble in my life, I want it out, finished with, never to return. I don’t want to endure hardship, I would much rather have an easy life, so I don’t endure with patience, I fret, I worry, I am cranky, I berate God with ‘why me’!

I have yet to learn grace to endure with patience, grace to bear without resistance.

Despite the fact God has taught me again and again about acceptance and surrender, it doesn’t seem to come easy for me; there is always an initial resistance.

I envy those who seem to bear with great patience the many sorrows of life, those who seem to accept both the good and bad things that come with the same grace and equanimity.

I long to grow in that grace, grace which endures, grace to rejoice in the enduring, grace to accept, grace to surrender without the struggle, without the resistance,

“Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10)

The Lord’s my Shepherd

A Psalm of David. - Reflections on Music, Worship, and Spiritual ...

I have had a very safe and blessed Lockdown period, so it is the ‘post Lockdown’ phase which I dread, dread going back into the world, into busyness, into stress. I have taken solace today from the 23rd Psalm in the New Living Translation:

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

I have all that I need, even in the Lockdown, even when supplies were low, I have had all that I have needed.

He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength, He guides me along the right path, bringing honour to His Name.

This describes what Lockdown has been for me – a time of rest, a time just to sit and enjoy the green meadows, a time to reflect, study, write, a time to have my spiritual energy renewed.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod & staff protect and comfort me.

I have numerous fears & anxieties which raise their ugly heads when I think about the ‘post Lockdown’ period, but I remember that I don’t need to be afraid because no matter what, no matter the next valley, how deep or dark that may be, or what it will hold, it will be okay because the Lord Himself, the One who has let me rest besides those peaceful streams & meadows, He will still be there beside me. And when I am confused or have decisions to make His Word & Spirit will guard & guide me in the way to go.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honour me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.

So even though the Devil knows my weak spots and knows exactly how to play on my fears – still even there, even then I can feast on the promises of God and my cup will overflow with His blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

No matter what the next phase of post Lockdown will look like, God’s goodness and unfailing love will PURSUE me, actively pursue me even in the yet unknown.

The Lord is my shepherd, He will give me all I need, He will be with me, He will pursue me. I can trust in Him.

People

Every Tribe, Every Nation - YouTube

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

I live in a rural, remote part of Scotland and don’t see a lot of people at the best of times, but especially not recently due to Lockdown with the Corona Virus. So when I hear figures of numbers of people who have died during the virus, I find it hard to get my head round such huge numbers, what does that even look like and how does that equate to individuals?

Then I think of the huge numbers of the redeemed standing before the throne:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, 

from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,

standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,  and crying out with a loud voice, 

Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 7:9-10

Again such huge numbers, but what a joyful mix of people from every race, every tribe, a huge tapestry of colours of humans beings gathered from around the world. A huge symphony of voices raised together in Praise and Worship. Peoples, people, individuals whom God has loved, touched, chosen, called, redeemed, all joined together in Praise!

Peoples gathered together. Peoples joined together. Peoples praising together. Wow! cann’t get my head round that either! But I want to be there, I want to be part of that number, I want to join in that Praise, I want to be part of the People of God.

Compromise

Pin on thank-you Lord

Joining today again with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers where we write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. Today’s prompt is: Compromise

This is a hard one because often Compromise is based on circumstances, situations, feelings, people, pressures etc. it can almost feel arbitrary.

Is compromise a good thing? It can be. Is compromise necessary? It could be.

So what do we do when things are arbitrary, when there are many variables to take into consideration before we form opinions or beliefs let alone know when to compromise on them.

We look to the Lord who changes not. We look to God who IS. He just IS. He is absolute. He is absolute truth, He is absolute righteous, He is absolute just, He is absolute faithful, He is absolute steadfast, He is absolute goodness, He is absolute love, He is absolute.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

James 1:17

There is no variation or shadow of turning with Him because He is absolute.

So when faced with life choices and dilemma’s let us look to God, the absolute judge of all things and align our choices and lives to Him and His ways.

Worth

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Joining today with the #Five Minute Friday Group of writers, who write together on a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today’s prompt is: Worth.

How do we determine how much something is worth? For example, what is it that makes something worth spending time and money on?

Is there always a cost in worth? Like something worth waiting for, or investing in something or someone? Do we deem something/someone more worthy, the more it actually costs us, the more we invest in it?

I am thinking about Jesus and how much He invested of Himself into our Salvation. It wasn’t just a passing glance, nor a casual committment, no it cost Him His life! That then must mean that for Him I am worth it, for Him I am worth the pain, the cost, the death. That is a wow! Really? I am worth that much to Him? That is actually quite mind-boggling! I don’t have that much of a high self-esteem and the fact that someone could love me that much, when I’m not even that loveable, is totally amazing.!

To Jesus I am worth it!

Thank You Jesus!

How

Only Jesus can do immeasurably more | Call my friend, Faith ...

Joining with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers to write on a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today’s prompt is: How

In my Ladies’ Bible Study we have been studying the Woman at the Well in Samaria and when Jesus offers her living water she is puzzled. How would He get this water, where would it come from? He had no bucket and the well was deep – two obstacles stood in His way, two impossibilities.

Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.

”11“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?

John 4:11

But with God all things are possible! His ways are Higher than our ways, His thoughts Higher than our thoughts! We may not know how He will do something, we may not know where our supply may come from, but we can trust the one who promised that He could and would supply all our needs and that He would be with us.

We may be facing some obstacles, there may be impossibilities in the way BUT God! We may not not the “hows, whys or wherefores,” but we may know the Great I AM, the God who will provide us with living water from Himself, the very source of life.

He will open the way and provide the means, we don’t know how and we don’t know when, but we trust His Word, we trust Him.

Stay

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee ...

Joining today again with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers, where we write on a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today’s prompt is Stay.

We have seen and said that word a lot recently – STAY home, STAY safe, STAY a safe distance.

But what does that word mean? The definition in Collins Dictionary is: 1)to stop going forward : pause. 2) to stop doing something : cease. 3) to continue in a place or condition 

So how can we apply that to us today? Here are a few suggestions:

STOP where you are. Don’t go forward, don’t go back, just stop.

Then ..

PAUSE and pray. Take a pause, take a breath, take stock, take time to look at a situation, time to pray, time to reflect

Then ..

CEASE going along your own way, under the illusion that you are in control, cease your own self-seeking, cease your worry and anxieties.

And ..

STAY in the Lord, stay with Him, stay in His Word, Stay in His paths. Stay in His ways.

When all is in turmoil, when darkness seems to cover the land, then go to that quiet place in the Lord and stay there, keep your mind fixed on Him, your eyes looking to Him and your heart aligned with His. STAY.

You keep him in perfect peace

    whose mind is stayed on you,

    because he trusts in you.

Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

Forward

Moving Forward | THE WRIGHT STUFF

Joining with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers, where we write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. Today’s prompt is: Forward

For me just now as we approach the lifting of ‘Lockdown’ my biggest fear and regret will be if we just go back to the way things were before, back to our old ways of living, working and worshipping.

Instead my biggest desire is that we move forward on to new things, that having taken stock, we move forward in the way we live and move around this earth, that we find new, creative, meaningful working enivornments and working lives with balance.

And also most importantly I want us to move forward in church!! No longer shackled by the bondage of traditions, but really becoming a church of the people, a church of the community, where the relevance of the gospel is seen and known in everyday life. I want to move forward in God, finding new ways to worship, new ways to serve, new ways to encourage, new ways to BE the church.

Thy Kingdom come

Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven

Matthew 6:10

Man of Sorrows

Sharing today a post I wrote for our Church’s Peace in the Storm Daily Devotions:

I have a friend who is overcome by grief just now.

Not just the grief of recent weeks and recent losses, but all the griefs and all the losses and all the hurts from all the years of her life.  She is completely engulfed.

I feel for her, my heart aches for her, but I am unable to reach her at this time.

The problem with being engulfed like that is that it is all-consuming, it is all we think about, from the moment we raise our weary head to the moment we put it down again.  There is no light or spark at the moment, nor even light at the end of the tunnel, just grief.

Total, engulfing grief.  Grief from one day’s end to another.  Grief which overcomes.  Grief which wearies and saps our strength and yes even our faith.

Where do we go with our grief?  Who will lift this grief from us?  Who will carry it for us?

The Prophet Isaiah speaks of Jesus when he says:

“He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Isaiah 53:4

Surely, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Jesus.

Only to Jesus can we go with such grief.

Only Jesus will lift this grief from us.

Only Jesus will carry it for us.

Only Jesus.

I know it is hard for my friend to even look out of her grief enough to be able to look up and look to Jesus.  But one look at a time, one tear at a time, one sigh at a time, one lifting of a prayer at a time and Jesus will come, that man of sorrows who is acquainted, who knows all about grief, will come and ease and lift that burden of sorrow and pain and grief.

My friend, you are not alone in your grief, Jesus is there, Jesus is with you in it and Jesus will help you carry it.

Normal

Writing today with the #Five Minute Friday group on a one word prompt. Today’s prompt is: Normal. So just a bit of fun today:-

Normal through the eyes of a 3 & half year old Collie:

Hi, my name is Glenn and you ask me what is normal? Well, I have no idea.

When I came to this house I was brought by a big lad and a mistress. The lad was my trainer, my friend, my playmate, but after a while he left home (sad). That left just the mistress and sometimes the master, but he seemed to be here for 2 weeks and then gone for two weeks, then occasionally a young lady would come home, she would give me lots of fuss and cuddles and play with me. Then they would all go away again and it would just me and the mistress. Some days I would be left alone, other days I would go to work with her. Some days I would have to go in the car on a journey, [which I still don’t like] but yeah often those journeys were short and meant a long walk and I would often get to meet other dogs! [though not all liked to play with me].

Just now my mistress is home all the time, yeah!! The young lady is here all the time too!! Double yeah!! and the master for the past year or so has been home most of the time, going out to work in the morning and coming back in the evening, though sometimes he goes out in the evening and back in the morning!??! As for the young lad? I haven’t seen him for months, where is he?? I miss him.

So basically I have had to learn just to accept all this coming and going and going and staying! I have no idea from one day to the next who will be here or when, when I will be walked or taken out. I just keep my eye on the mistress! I follow her around, she has some consistency so where she goes I go. I know her body language now, I know by what coat she puts on whether it is a walk, or the pen for me. But importantly she knows me, she knows my body language, she knows what I need and what I want, whether that is attention, food or outside or when I am scared or unsure.

She would say that she has a Master too and that she follows Him, where He leads her she goes, and He doesn’t seem to do ‘normal’, so she has to keep her eyes on Him incase there is a change of plan or direction. Her Master is always there and He knows what she needs and provides for Her, He takes care of her and looks out for her and she can run to Him when she is scared or unsure.

There is no normal here, everyday is a new day, every day is a fresh challenge, but also the opportunity for new things and fun!!! Everyday is keeping your eyes on the Master.

Refrain

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty - Lyrics, Hymn Meaning and Story

Joining again with the #Five Minute Friday group to write on a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today’s prompt is Refrain.

Refrain = chorus, the part of a song where a soloist is joined by a group of singers.

Now I am no singer, and don’t always remember all the words of songs or hymns, but the chorus .. it sticks, it comes back to me, I remember them. May get a bit lost with words and tunes for the rest of the song, but I usually manage the chorus!

So what is my chorus today? What is the refrain of my life today?

Well strangely enough I was reading earlier from Revelation Chapter 4 and there are two Refrains there, two Choruses which we can sing over and over again, which when joined with a miriad of other believers is going to sound phenominal!

Holy, Holy, Holy

is the Lord God almighty

Who was and is and is to come

and:

You are worthy, our Lord and God

to receive glory and honour and power,

for you created all things,

and by your will they were created

and have their being.

God is still on His Throne, He is all-powerful, all-wise, all-seeing, all-knowing, Victorious and King!

So today what will my refrain be? One of Praise and trust in the all Mighty and Glorious King, or will I allow fears and anxieties to be my refrain? I know which one will bring me peace, I know which one will still my heart, I know which one will lighten my step and allow me to walk in joy and liberty.

Today my refrain will be worship:

Holy, Holy, Holy

Is the Lord God Almighty

Who was, and is and is to come

Revelation 4:8

Wisdom

Sharing today a piece I wrote for our Church’s daily devotional called Peace In the Storm

What are you praying for today?

I am praying for wisdom.

I am praying for wisdom for those in the Health Service, tracking this virus and responding to it.

I am praying for wisdom for those in care homes that they would remain clear headed in the midst of panic and frustration and be able to find ways to keep staff and patients safe.

I am praying for wisdom for our MPs, that they would make wise decisions that benefit the people they serve.

I am praying for wisdom for Bosses/Executives in our workplaces that they would seek guidance as to best working practices and not just go back to old ways. For small businesses that they would be able to resurrect their fledgling enterprises.

I am praying for our church leaders, that they would seek God for new ways to do church once we are back in our buildings, that the buildings would not become boundaries or barriers to people.

I am praying for wisdom for our Community Leaders that the care shown at this time will be extended as a ‘new norm’.

I am praying for myself, that I would be seeking God for today and for tomorrow, for next steps, next opportunities, that I would align myself to His ways.

I am praying for us all, that we would seek the wisdom from Above, wisdom from God as to how to look after His planet, and everyone in it.  That we would not rely on our own understanding but look to God for His ways and His guidance and that we would align ourselves to those ways and work to put them into practice.

What are you needing wisdom for today? 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight

[Proverbs 3:5,6]

Distraction

Speak, LORD, for Your Servant is Listening

This week’s FMF writing prompt is: DISTRACTION.

I am a very task-orientated person and so don’t like distractions. Let me finish what I am doing first and then I’ll sit and talk with you, let me tick off the items on my list before I sit down and be still.

So I wonder if in my task-focus whether I am missing out not only in human fellowship, but fellowship with God. I want to finish something before I listen, before I take on anything else. I want to finish my agenda before I listen to God’s. If this is so then I need to be distracted by God, I need Him to break through my task list and distract me with His Word, with His presence, with His guidance, with His command.

Then the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”

And Samuel answered,”Speak, for Your Servant is listening”.

1 SAMUEL 3:10

I need to put my lists aside, I need to be willing to listen, I need to be willing to be distracted from my own things and be distracted by the Lord and say, “Speak Lord, for I am listening.”

Perspective

Mist below the hills


This week’s FMF writing prompt is: PERSPECTIVE

I took the above photograph on my walk this morning and to me it sums up this word perspective!

Down below in the misty flats I am often fumbling around, seeking direction, not sure what I am supposed to be doing/thinking. My perspective is limited to what I see in front of me, my situations, my struggles, my circumstances.

But up high above the mist you gain a whole new perspective! You see the bigger picture! You see that there is a whole different surround from the one you see in the misty flats.

So today my prayer is that the Lord will ‘make my feet like hinds feet’ and that He will set me secure upon the high places, where I may see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly. Where my perspective is influenced by eternity, and where my sight is clear unhampered by the mist of circumstances.

The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.”

Habakkuk 3:19

Another

Psalm 145:4 | joshtinpowers | Flickr

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

I looked up the word ‘another’ in a bible dictionary to see if it occurred at all in the bible, seemingly in the NIV version it occurs 343 times!!!

Instances of another child, another battle, another plague, another sin, another murder and for Noah another day stuck in the Ark!!

So for us, what is our ‘another’? Another day of sameness, another loneliness, another sorrow, another worry, another anxiety? These things are real and felt, but I want to draw our attention to another kind of another!

One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.

When this Covid-19 is past, and we talk about it, tell stories of what we did, how we passed the time, how we coped, may we also tell of God and how He has shown Himself during this time of crises, how He has provided, cared, sustained and walked with us through it.

Whilst I too feel the restrictions and sorrows of the Pandemic, Lock-down and uncertainty, I also am really excited about the spread of the gospel in these days. Homes and hearts which were once closed to God, are now live-streaming church services straight into their homes! There is an openness to hear of the things of God and the gospel is reaching ‘every nation and every land’ in a way it hasn’t been able to before.

So I leave you with this Psalm and pray that you will be able to know it and repeat it from one generation to another:

A psalm of praise. Of David. Psalm 145

1 I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.

2 Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

4 One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts

5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds.

7 They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. 8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10 All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you. 11 They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, 12 so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. 14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.

15 The eyes of all look to you,and you give them their food at the proper time. 16 You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. 20 The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.

21 My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name or ever and ever.

Patience

Preparing Seedlings for Planting - MicroDrips Blog

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

It is that time of year of sowing little tiny seeds and waiting for them to germinate so that they can be planted out and eagerly wait for them to grow and produce and become a harvest. But if there is one thing I have learned over the few years I have been growing my own vegetables is that you can’t rush it!!

You can’t rush that germination process, each seed takes its own time according to its variety and type of plant. I have had whole packets of seeds not germinate at all, and had to start over. I don’t know if it has been a bad batch, or the soil not right, or it was too cold, I started too early and should have had patience to wait for the right conditions.

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.

James 5:7-8

In this strange time of waiting, this time of ‘Lock down’, which we are in just now, we want it to be over, we want to get on with our lives, yet the Lord has His work to do and we can’t rush Him! He is sowing seeds in people’s hearts and lives, we could spoil the whole batch by trying to rush through. Be patient. Stand firm because the Lord’s coming is near.

Be patient.

Stand firm.

The Lord’s coming is near.

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.

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

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.