Advent 3 – Joy

When we have been bogged down by our fears the last thing we feel is joy. We feel trapped, we feel down, we feel darkness, we feel despair, we feel hopeless.

Yet in the dark streets shineth

the everlasting Light;

The Hope and fears of all the years

Are met in Thee tonight”

But when we are delivered of those fears relief comes, a lightness comes and joy comes! All those fears from all those years are met in Jesus.

Joy

Joy Comes

Joy comes with the relief, joy comes with the hope. All our fears from all the years are met in Jesus, they are come together in Jesus and He deals with them, He satisfies them, He relieves us of them.

Jesus meets us right where we are, He relieves us from the burden of those fears and brings joy. Joy which no one can take away from us, no-one can rob us of the joy which Jesus brings.

Have you had the burdens of your heart lifted, have you had your fears relieved? Then rejoice, know that deep down joy in Jesus.

My prayer for you this week is that you will know relief from you fears and that you will find joy in Jesus.

Advent 2 – Hope

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Yet in the dark streets shineth
the everlasting light;
The Hope and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

This Advent week we looking at HOPE.

Hope for the “fears of all the years”.

Fears of all the years – that is a lot of fears, over a lot of years!

Even in our own lives imagine if all our fears from all our years were written in one long list, how long would that list be? Some years there may be more entries than others, but still, I know for me that would be a very long list.

YET

Yet Jesus

Yes Jesus is the hope for all those fears which we carry, sometimes we carry them from one year to the other, Yet Jesus.

Jesus is our hope. Our hope is placed in Jesus for our saving, our hope is placed in the fact that Jesus died for us, He has opened a way to God for us, He has gone into heaven before us to prepare a place for us and He will come back again to take us to our forever home.

So we don’t place our hope in the temporal, material, dispensable, fleeting things of this world, but we place our hope in the eternal, the everlasting, the imperishable, the truth and the trustworthy things of God.

Jesus alone is the answer to our hope and fears of all our years, let us place our hope in Him today, giving Him our fears and know assuredly that He will come back for a second advent when He will remove all those fears and tears from all for all time.

My prayer for you this week is that you will find hope for all your fears in the midst of your years.

Advent 1 – Light

I AM the Light of the World

So it is Advent! Lots of busy, lots to do, also lots of Advent Devotionals and Studies, but these lines from the Carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” have really touched me this year and seem so appropriate for this Advent, this pandemic, this life.

Yet in the dark streets shineth

the everlasting light;

The Hope and fear of all the years

Are met in thee tonight

O Little Town of Bethlehem

In the dark streets – our streets are dark, it is winter, the weather has closed in, it is dark, bleak even. There are fears on our streets, fears in our homes, fears in our hearts.

We are still in the midst of a Pandemic, it has not gone away, it mutates, grows, finds new ways to get a grip. Similar really to our fears, they mutate, they grow arms and legs, they can get hold of us and it is difficult to let them go, difficult not to focus on them, difficult not to let them control us.

BUT.

But Jesus.

But Jesus is the light.

In the dark world shines our Everlasting Light.

Jesus is the Everlasting Light, in Him is no darkness at all.

When we turn our fears and our darkness over to Him we find that His light comes into those fears and dispels them and His light shines sanity, serenity, peace and hope into our darkness.

So what are our fears today that we need to turn to Jesus in? Where is the darkness in our life that we need to let Jesus shine into?

My prayer for you is that you will find the Light of Jesus in the midst of this dark world and that you will be the light of Jesus in this dark world!

See Grace

This is part of a wee mini series I am doing on the Five Senses looking at Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Kindness and Grace.

This week we are looking at Grace – what does Grace look like?

For me Grace looks like Victory!

Grace is strong, Grace wins through every time, Grace reaches down to the depths and comes out victorious!

It is the strength of Grace which reaches down and pulls you back up. It is Grace that calls for you when you are in the depths.

It is Grace which takes you small, dirty, insignificant, as you are and transforms you into being a son/daughter of the King of Kings.

It is Grace which takes you at your lowest and puts you back on the path of life. It is Grace which seeks for you when you are lost. Grace meets you where you are, but doesn’t leave you there! It is Grace which takes you and led you, it is Grace which sustains you, it is all of Grace.

It is Grace which takes you home, through all the trials, all the tribulations, pains and fears of life, it is Grace which wins through and takes you to your forever home with our Gracious Lord and Saviour.

What does Grace look like to you? Let me know in the comments section below!

Touch Kindness

This is part of a wee mini-series I am doing on the Five Senses on Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Kindness, and Grace.

Ephesians 4:32 Be Kind to One Another - Free Bible Verse Art Downloads - Bible  Verses To Go

This week we are looking at – What does kindness feel like?

To me it feels soft, warmth, almost fluffy but not quite!

Against the harsh realities of the world, jagged personalities, bitterness’s and resentments kindness feels soft.

Against the anger, hurts and even violence kindness feels soft.

It is not so much that we touch kindness, but that kindness touches us and when it does it leaves its mark. Strange that something so soft can have such a profound effect, and can leave a mark.

But kindness can soften hard hearts, kindness can dispel anger, kindness can stop violence in its tracks.

Kindness can wipe away tears of loneliness, kindness can take away the sharpness of broken personalities, kindness can remove barriers between those who were estranged.

We can reach out in kindness to our neighbours, our friends, our colleagues, our family, those whithin our sphere of influence. We can be kind, in word and deed, we need to extend kindness in this harsh world.

But we also need to let kindness into our own souls and lives, to feel that softness against the harsh realities, to know that touch when we are feeling bitter, to feel that touch of forgiveness when we feel judged and condemned. We need to feel that touch of the loving kindness of the Lord.

And be kind to one another

What does kindness feel like to you? Let me know in the comments section!

Hear Courage

This is part of a wee mini-series I am doing on the Five Senses on Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Grace,

Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courage...

This week we are looking at – what does courage sound like?

For me it sounds like a bell!

Courage for me means that I am having to be brave about something, it means taking a big gulp and doing that something which naturally doesn’t come easy for me and so courage may at first sound like the little tinkle of a bell.

I may have to face a difficult day, I may have to apologise to someone I don’t find easy, I may have to face a medical issue or I may need to step out in faith and do something God is asking for me. However little or however big the thing is I need to garrison my courage.

And then when I have garrisoned the courage, taken a deep breath and start out on the pathway of the difficult task, I hear that little tinkle of courage, but as I progress along that pathway the tinkle gets louder, as my courage grows so does the sound of that bell, it is no longer a tinkle of courage swamped by fear, but a boldness comes and with it the sound of courage changes to a much more resounding gong.

So often in the bible God tells us to ‘Be of good courage’ to be ‘courageous’. He knows our fears you see and when He calls us to do something which goes against our natural instincts He is asking us to step out and trust Him, that He will bring it to pass, that He will step in where we are weak and make us strong.

What does courage sound like for you? Let me know in the comments section.

Mind Your Senses - The Research Group
wordpress.com/post/findinggodintheeverydayblog.wordpress.com/1851

Taste Forgiveness

This is part of a wee mini-series I am doing on the Five Senses on Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Kindness and Grace,

Sweeter than Honey — Intentionally Yours

This week we are asking – What does forgiveness taste like?

For me it tastes like honey – sweet and soothing.

If we are living in unforgiveness, not having accepted that Jesus died for us, died for our sins; that our sins are removed from us, along with the guilt and shame of those sins, then we don’t know that sweetness of forgiveness. We are not experiencing the soothing forgiveness of Jesus washing away our sins.

If we have unforgiveness in our heart towards others it taste like bile in our mouths, it is bitter and it comes out like poison. Honey sweetens that. Honey smoothly slips down and on its way it touches everything around transforming them to sweet.

Honey heals, honey soothes, honey sweetens.

Forgiveness heals, forgiveness soothes, forgiveness sweetens a sinner heart.

We are told to taste and see that the Lord is good’

Tasting, partaking of the Lord’s forgiveness is seeing He is good, tasting of His forgiveness, His compassion is like tasting honey.

If we have a sore throat and drink a little hot water with a spoon on honey it soothes.

If we have a wound and rub a little honey on it, it heals.

If we are sore with our sin, drinking in of the Lord’s forgiveness soothes our sorry souls,

If we are wounded, broken, shamed, rejected then finding the Lord’s forgiveness and applying that to our wounds heals our sad, broken souls.

Honey, honey on the comb, sweet, healing

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”

What does forgiveness taste like to you? Let me know in the comments!

Smell Hope

A while ago was listening to a Podcasts by Emily P Freeman, #The Next Right thing where she was talking about the senses and posed the question what does Hope smell like? I found the question interesting and began to ponder what our senses communicate to us about Hope, Forgiveness, Courage, Kindness and Grace and so for the next five weeks we will look at these very things.

So today we start with the sense of smell – one of the most evocative of all the senses they say, bringing us back to childhood memories and can conjur up situations both good and bad. Yet strangely enough my own dad was born without a sense of smell and I remember trying to describe a smell to him, but in my bad effort it was only comparing it with other smells!

Anyway, what does Hope smell like?

For me, it smells sharp, citrus like Lemon. It is something which awakes the senses when you have been dull, when you have been in a fog and then you smell something citrus it freshens your other senses, heightens them even and you begin to wake up, you begin to pay attention and as that smell increases, gets stronger you become fully alert

That for me is what hope is. You get a glimmer, maybe just faintly at first, but a glimmer and with that glimmer, you sit up, you pay attention, you are on the lookout for further signs. Then as you see further signs, maybe something you had missed in your dismay, too wrapped up in your despair to see, hope stirs within you and awakens you.

Why are you cast down O my Soul

Hope in God, my Help and my strength

What does hope smell like to you? You can let me know in the comments section, I’d love to know!

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Thrive – A Review

Perennial Plant that Thrive in Summer Heat | Signals AZ

Thrive was the word given to me for this year to “Thrive, not just survive” . So six months on how are you doing, how am I doing? Are we thriving?

Six months and it has been mixed, it started with us still in Lockdown, then slowly there were tentative steps into re-opening, re-starting, and then re-entering the big world again. One thing I was absolutely sure of was that I didn’t want to go back to the pressures of ‘pre-Covid’ life and that every season I want to thrive.

So how do you Thrive in this new way of living? How are you planning on Thriving this Summer? Using the Acrostic Letters of the word THRIVE, let me share with you how I hope to thrive this summer.

T – Time with God – always first and foremost to seek Him first, to build relationship, to build trust. How do I do that? With daily, intentional bible study and I have also started using a Pause App on my phone which is building a practice of pausing & reconnecting with God throughout the day or before starting a new task/event

H -Hope – Building Hope is not an easy thing, it takes discipline to turn your eyes away from your immediate circumstances and onto God, it takes discipline to remind yourself of God’s past faithfulness, as He has been with you before; He will be with you again and to remind yourself that no matter what is happening in the world God is still on the Throne, He is King and He is over all.

R – Rest – Building rest into your life also takes practice, but the benefits far outweigh any work involved in planning rest periods into your day, into your week, your month and into the season. Summer is often a time when people go off on holiday and this is important; it is important to take a break from the normal routines of life and to slow, to think of other things and to feed your soul with beauty and joy.

I – Intentional – for all these things I am building into my life, I have to be intentional, I have to actually have a plan, write it down and review it. Every season I write down goals for different aspects of my life and review them as the season goes on, add to them perhaps, this includes what I am going to study in the Bible, what books I may want to read, what fruits of the Spirit I wish to work on, what relationships are needing prayer and attention, as well as work and church life and rest periods

V – Victory – So easy to keep slipping at the same things isn’t it? So easy to write it off as just ‘my weakness’, whereas in actual fact there is victory found in Jesus. We can forge new pathways in our thinking; and instead of always going into our default of self-defeating attitudes and behaviours, we can forge new ways. For this I have to identify what these faults/weaknesses/areas of sin are and then find ways to counteract them, often this starts with my ‘stinking thinking’ and how to speak God’s truth into those thoughts and areas.

E – Encourage – A great way to thrive is to encourage others. Get alongside others, share your own struggles, encourage them in theirs, open the Word together, pray together, make space for one another to listen and to hear the unspoken words and also to joy together, praise together, laugh together.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

Praying for you my dear friend, that you too will find ways to Thrive this summer, drop me a comment below on how you plan to do that, so we may encourage each other.

Tomorrow

Image result for do not worry about tomorrow bible verse

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.