Possible

When God Doesn't Move the Mountain - Purposeful Faith

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

This was my bible reading this morning:

Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. [Mark 11:22-23]

This passage brings up a few difficulties, is it possible for God to move our mountains? Yes it is. I do believe that, but yet at the same time often my mountains aren’t moved.

I could tie myself in knots trying to come to terms with what this passage means and how the reality of it in my own life can look very different.

However, I do believe that just as God is bigger than our mountains, so is He bigger than our faith, bigger than our prayers and that He doesn’t need our faith or our prayers to carry out His work or fulfill His promises.

Yes I believe all things are possible with God. Yes I believe God can move my mountains, but I also believe that sometimes God keeps the mountains there in front of us so that we rely on Him, so that our faith is in Him and not in our own worked-up faith.

All things are possible with God, even living with a mountain in front of you; even in the sitting waiting for that mountain to move; even in the endurance of the weight of that mountain on you.

God is the God of the impossible even when the impossible is living with a mountain.

The Battle of the Wills

Kneeling in Gethsemane | Guideposts

It started in a Garden.

Adam, as a representative of mankind had a suggestion, a lie put to him that God was with holding something good from him and if he just had that thing he would be so wise. Adam believed the lie, He went against God’s wishes; he chose what he thought was good over what God had told him was good.

There actually doesn’t seem to be much of a battle; just a straight surrender to the wrong, to the evil, to the disobedience, to the sin which led to banishment and separation from God.

But another time, another garden there is another battle.

Here we see a ‘second Adam’ and this man is weeping it out, in total anguish of soul, sweating great drops of blood so great is this battle.

This second Adam was facing the punishment the first Adam brought in. The punishment a horrific, agonising death, a death so great that it would lead to separation from His Father. A separation He had never had before even though He was a ‘son of Adam’, a ‘son of Man’, He was also the ‘Son of God’ and He was in agony at the thought. He balked at the thought of it.

The battle was real.

The battle was for the souls of men.

What to do? Was there another way?

So He asked His Father “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me”.

Did He look for another way? Did He hope for another way? Or did He just know that there was no other way?

So He surrendered.

Battle Won.

Not my Will.

BUT Yours be done.

The Second Adam won where the first Adam failed. The Second Adam could redeem what the first Adam broke. The Second Adam surrendered His will for that of His Father’s; He surrendered in the battle over wills so that there would be victory for the souls of men.

Which battle are you fighting today? Where do you need to surrender? Where do you need to say – Not my Will, but Yours be done?

Enable

Habakkuk 3:19 - Bible verse of the day - DailyVerses.net

Joining with the #Five Minute Friday writing community who write for 5 minutes on a one word prompt. Today’s prompt is: Enable

I like this word ‘enable‘ because it conjures up for me the picture that whilst you can’t do something given the right set of tools, encouragement, teaching, learning, power, help etc, that you are then able to do the thing.

But most of all I am thankful that my God enables me to ‘do all things through Him who strengthens me’. He leads me out of my comfort zone and enables me to go beyond that which I would normally go and He enables me to do the thing He has asked of me. He has created me for ‘good works’ and He enables me to do that, even for difficult people. He calls us to preach the gospel/tell our redemption stories and He is teaching me slowly how to do that.

I am thankful that He does not leave me to my own lack and limited abilities, but that He takes me weak, lacking in faith and fearful and He enables me. He enables me to walk in His ways, He enables me to obey His commands; He enables me to love; to live; to give glory to Him.

My God enables me!

A Lockdown Lament

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How long, O Lord?

How long, will this uncertainty last?

How long will these endless days persist?

How long before we see Your face again?

How long before You turn Your face from wrath?

How long before You yet again have mercy upon us?

How long before the light of Your Presence shines upon us?

How long before You turn towards us again?

How long will we persist in our arrogance?

How long will our hardness of heart continue?

How long will our sins come against You?

How long before we turn to You once again?

Surely You are a faithful God,

Surely, we will yet have cause to Praise Your Name?

Turn us O lord and we will be turned,

Turn us O Lord and be gracious to us.

Your Praise will yet be on the lips of Your people.

Your Name will yet be exalted.

Your people will yet rejoice in Your Deliverance.

We will yet sing songs to You, O Lord, our faithful God.

Observant

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Today’s prompt for the #Five Minute Friday group of writers is: Observant.

In the bible when we are called to be observant, we are being called to be mindful of the things of God, to be attentive to His Word, to heed His warnings and commands; to pay attention.

It has been on my mind a lot recently that ‘we have never been this way before’, we have never gone through a Pandemic; we have never had to be locked away from our loved ones and have our lives restricted by Lockdowns and so it is no wonder that our emotions and mental health are all over the place; no wonder we are struggling, we have never faced this before.

Then the other day I was reading this passage from the book of Joshua and noticed that the people of Israel also ‘had never been this way before’.

After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the Levitical priests carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it. Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before. But keep a distance of about two thousand cubits That is, about 3,000 feet or about 900 meters between you and the ark; do not go near it.”

Joshua 3:2-4

So what were they to do? – They were to be observant!

They had never been this way, so they were to carefully observe which way the Ark of the Covenant, the Presence of the Lord was leading them. They were to watch it, move to a place where they could see it; heed any change of direction; any veering to one side; they were to be observant to the ways of the Lord.

So for me today I need to step out to a place where I have known the presence of the Lord and I need to give careful consideration, careful observance to the way He is leading in this time of unknown. When I am walking in those unknown paths I am to give care observance to what He is doing and where He is leading.

Met by Compassion

One of the biggest things which has come out of this Pandemic and Lockdown situations is our need for kindness; our need for compassion.

We have been writing a series for our church looking at people Jesus met and how He stopped; listened; acknowledged; respected and showed compassion to those individuals. Today I share my own contribution to that series:

Today we meet a woman who was caught in the act of adultery.  She was publicly dragged out and accused of her ‘crime’.  She was publicly humiliated with fingers-pointing & tongues wagging; so-called friends began to withdraw away not wanting to be associated with her.

She was labelled; she was condemned.

Except by Jesus – He stood by her; He stood up for her and faced her accusers for her, “Whoever among you is guiltless may be the first to throw a stone at her”.

That sent them packing; some grumbling; some a bit ashamed, till there is no-one left to accuse.  Jesus asks her, Where are they?  Did no-one condemn you?

And then Jesus speaks the kindest words;

‘Neither do I condemn you.”  I don’t condemn you either.

Jesus doesn’t condemn her, nor does He leave her where she is or has been; He delivers her from that past; from those labels; from the sin.  He gives her a new life; the past has been dealt with and He says ‘go now and sin no more”.  The past is gone; forgiven; not condemned; but set free.

Maybe you need to hear those words today.  Maybe you have been labelled in the past and people remember; people still point the finger; tongues still wag.  But Jesus doesn’t condemn you; He sets you free; He delivers you; there is new life to be found in Him.

Know today that Jesus will stand by you; Jesus will stand up for you; Jesus will face your accusers for you; Jesus will deliver you.

“Go now and from now on do not live in that sin anymore.”.  Forgiven; set-free; redeemed!

[This story can be found in John 8:1-11]

Once

Joining again today with the #Five Minute Friday group of writers, today we write on the prompt ‘Once‘.

ONCE upon a time is how the stories start isn’t it? Once upon a time our stories had a start, once upon a time we were conceived and born and our stories started.

Where are we now in our stories? How many chapters on are we? Have we got to the good bit yet? Or are we still stuck in that awful nightmare of a chapter?

Are we the stars of our own stories, or do we let others take our leading place?

Would you like to skip a couple of chapters till the bad stuff is past and we get to the nice happy place?

My friend, no matter what our story is like; no matter what chapter we are on just now, we can be rest assured that if we are a Christian our stories will always, always have a happy ending!! A wonderful, glorious, victorious, happy ending. Infact not really an ending more like a wonderful eternal life of joy and praise in the Home of our Heavenly Father.

God is the God of our stories:

For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:13-16

God knew our stories before they even came to be. He knows and wrote every chapter. So no matter what chapter we are in whether it is a good chapter or a hard chapter; He knows, He wrote it and he knows the ending!

So my friend, can we trust Him with our stories? Can we hang on in there till we come to a new chapter; Can we believe and hope for a happy ending?

Once upon a time God wrote our story and it will have a happy ending, let us trust Him in the inbetween chapters!

Sunrise

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When I read this week’s Word prompt, from the #Five Minute Friday group, I immediately thought of this song from Matt Redman:

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before, O my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name The sun comes up It’s a new day dawning It’s time to sing Your song again Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me Let me be singing when the evening comes Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before, o my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger Your name is great and Your heart is kind For all Your goodness I will keep on singing 10,000 reasons for my heart to find Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before, O my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name And on that day When my strength is failing The end draws near and my time has come Still my soul will sing Your praise unending 10,000 years and then forevermore, forevermore Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before, O my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before, O my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name Yes, I will worship Your Holy name Lord, I’ll worship Your Holy name

The sun comes up. It’s a new day dawning. It’s time to sing Your song again. Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me Let me be singing when the evening comes.

The sun comes up; faithfully everyday showing up whether I see it or not. The sun comes up after a long night. The sun comes up and it is another day. We don’t know what that day may bring; what the post may bring; what a phonecall may bring; what news we may receive; but faithfully, enduringly the sun rises and the sun sets; what we do in the between times is often up to us – not the events, but how we respond.

Do we respond with singing; do we respond with Praise; do we find 10,000 reasons still to bless the Lord? Do we still look for and find the goodness of God? Even when our strength is failing and we are weary, do we still not just bless the Lord, but bless Him as never before? Does our praise reflect our trust, our hanging on? Does our praise reflect the One we are praising?

Today, I will choose to bless the Lord, and to bless Him as I have never done before because though there are hard things in my life to deal with God is rich in love and He is slow to anger and His name is great and His heart is kind . For all His goodness I will keep on singing 10,000 reasons for my heart to find Bless the Lord,

Hopeful

How to grow and care for snowdrops | lovethegarden

I don’t know why but it has taken me to now, the first of February for me to feel that it is a new year, a new start and to feel hopeful again. Perhaps January is just such a long, dark month, and coming after a Lockdown Christmas and New Year with no let up, it just has been a bit of a slog.

I hadn’t actually realised that until now, until I suddenly feel hopeful! The days are longer, brighter; the snowdrops are out with the crocuses pushing through the snow and frost; spring it seems is not far, just round the corner and it makes me hopeful.

Also for the first time in years I am about to embark on some study!! Whilst in some ways that seems such a daunting thing, in another way it just seems so right and the next step on the journey. I woke up this morning with such a sense that I am where I am supposed to be and that in it’s self is no light thing!

So, I embark today on the next step, the next phase and I praise God, that even to old age and grey-hairs He is still with me, still sustaining, still leading and still filling with hope.

What is keeping you hopeful at this time?

Design

Created for Good Works – Ordinary but Effective Ways of Doing Things

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

I am in awe of our Creator God, the design, the intricate details which He put into His creation and into us. We see it in the detail of the petal of a flower, we see it in the colours of the grasses, we see it in the way our body functions and relies on different organs to work and I’m sure artists and physicists could explain it all far better than I can, but to me it is still wonderful!

We know and can say with the Pslamist:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well

Psalm 139:14

I also believe that the Creator created us to create!!

Now we may immediately say, “Oh but I’m not artistic”. Did I say God created us to be artistic? No, God created us to create! That may well be to create fine works of art or poetry, of knitting or tapestry, or even cooking or baking.

But so many of us are much more ordinary than that and live ordinary lives, but in the midst of the ordinary we can create space for love and joy; in the midst of the ordinary we can create friendships and relationships; in the midst of the ordinary we can invite God in to create His good work within us and we can be obedient to do those good works God created us to do!

How is God calling you to create and weave His design into your life?