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‘Know Me’

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‘Know Me’

This morning I had a lie-in and while I was lying in bed I felt God reminding me of something I read recently in the book which accompanies the ‘Freedom in Christ’ course, and which I have been re-reading. I hadn’t realised before this morning that I had been believing deep down that God was demanding. I had tears in my eyes as I asked for forgiveness for believing this lie and joyfully grasped the truth that my Father God is accepting and filled with joy and love. My whole way of living, thinking, behaving, being, and relating to others hangs on this truth, if I am to become more like Jesus.

Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.’ (Romans 15 verse 7)

‘The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’ (Zephaniah 3 verse 17)

This chapter goes on to tell us a wonderful truth……

The sorrows for the appointed feasts
I will remove from you;
they are a burden and a reproach to you.
At that time I will deal with all
who oppressed you;
I will gather those who have been
scattered.
I will give them praise and honour
in every land  [area] where they were
put to shame.
At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honour and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes
before your very eyes.’ declares the Lord.’
(Zephaniah 3 verse 17)

While I was lying in bed and this wonderful truth began to penetrate my mind, a word that God gave me during a Freedom in Christ course I helped with in Whitby last year came to mind. It was this…….’Know Me.’
I received this word at the time as an instruction, that I was to make the effort to get to know God more intimately. This morning, a light dawned. It wasn’t an instruction. It was a declaration! Just as God spoke and creation came into being, by the word He has spoken over me He will bring it to pass. It is something He is going to do in me. He will do it! When God speaks, things happen! He creates, He reveals, He restores, He renews, He heals, hallelujah! Now, all I want is to know, really know my Heavenly Father more and more intimately, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. I want to know, like a small child, that I am safe in His loving arms and that He will never let me go. He is drawing me close to Him. I need Him more than anything else, He is everything.

God wants me to relate to others from my safe place and He is drawing me to that safe place with Him. For quite a while now I have been suffering with anxiety, mild depression and constant tiredness, due I believe to the change. I haven’t felt like myself for some time, but what I have gone through has a purpose in God’s plan for me, that of enabling me to empathise with those I meet who believe what I have believed and who live in fear and anxiety. God will rescue you!

Prayer: Thank you Father so much, that nothing we go through is wasted, that you are able to use it all for your glory. Thank you with all my heart. Amen

God bless you,

Heather Joy x

Nurturing friendships

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I have been thinking over the last few days about friendship. A few days ago our car died, and is now ready to be towed away to be scrapped. It is a sorry sight, standing sadly on our driveway, as though it knows that it will never again cruise along country lanes, or meander through city streets. I posted this sad story on Facebook and as a result, received so many messages of support and encouragement from lovely friends, and offers of help. It felt wonderful, like a warm hug. It got me thinking about the subject of friendship, and its more real and tangeable reality in our everyday lives.

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Our friendships are a precious gift from God and as such need to be nurtured and protected. Jesus treasured His friends and nurtured them. The dictionary definition of ‘nurture’ is:
To feed and protect. In John Chapter 6 verse 35, Jesus says, ‘I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and He who believes in Me will never be thirsty.’ 1 Corinthians Chapter 13 verse 7 says, ‘[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres’. He spent time with His friends, supporting and encouraging them. 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5 verse 11 says, ‘Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’
He also trained them, to enable them to continue His ministry after His ascension, preparing them for the work ahead. (Luke Chapter 9 verses 1 to 27)

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I remember when going on holiday with my family, packing the boot of our car to capacity with everything we considered essential! I can’t go away without plenty of changes of clothes, toiletries, and of course, the absolute essential….hair straighteners! But Jesus on this occasion, told His friends to travel light. He sent them out in pairs, not alone, and their ministry was to proclaim the good news and heal the sick, just as they had seen Jesus do. In doing that, they were fulfilling people’s physical and spiritual needs. The disciples were to be provided for by the people in the villages they visited.  Jesus was training them to trust Him for their every need. This they did, so that different instructions could be given for their future ministry.

Jesus also understood His friends’ need for rest and quiet. He said to them one day when they must have been feeling overwhelmed with the volume of people and their needs, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

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God understands our need for space and quiet sometimes.

Some friendships are short term, others have the potential to be long term, and grow as our lives change.

‘A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.’ (William Shakespeare)

If it wasn’t for my family and good friends, I would never have survived some of the most difficult moments of my life. They gave me advice and a new perspective, they strengthened me and gave me courage to go on, and they were there for laughter and encouragement. Oh how I love to laugh with good friends!

Jesus went through tough times with His friends – Peter, one of His closest friends, denied he knew Him, at the time He needed him the most. In the Garden of Gethsemane, His friends fell asleep while He went through agony, yet, despite all that, they remained friends, and Jesus’ love for them never wavered.  Jesus understands our need for true friends.

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Sometimes we are so busy with life and family that we forget our friends. We must try not to take our friends for granted. Friendship is a choice, not an obligation and if we don’t value our friendships, they will disappear. If we ignore them, they will drift away. That has happened to me, as I get so busy with day to day living. Friendships need time, and communication. We spend time on the relationships that matter to us.

But our greatest and most precious Friend, and the most important relationship we can have, is Jesus. He died for you and me.

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We will find no greater friend. Let’s take time each day with Him, let Him teach us, encourage us, empower us, feed us, support and protect us, by His Word, and His Holy Spirit.

God bless you x

God’s Great Love

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Above the canopy of space
Where light does have its home
God’s love is there, the Source of light
In its celestial home.
Down on the earth, a silent tear
By God’s great heart is seen
Each detail of our lives He knows
And where our hearts have been.
Each human heart that’s touched by God
Is filled with His great love
The Creator of the universe
He reaches from above
To wipe each tear from our eyes
To lift us when we fall
In gratitude, our voices raised
To praise our All in all.

Only one thing is needed…..

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Do you sometimes wish that life were simpler? My parents have often looked back at how life was when they were young, and the world seems hardly recognisable from how it was then. With the progression from TV, to a computer in every home, to mobile phones, and now the internet available in our pocket, the fast pace of life, stressful jobs, financial pressure, constant noise, often due to our fear of silence, it’s little wonder that the number of stress related illnesses have soared in recent years.

How hard it can be to take time out to ‘be still’, and yet, it is the greatest need of our lives. The Bible says that in God’s presence is peace, fulness of joy, hope, and a deep knowing that we are loved, as God is Love, yet, in the busyness of our lives, we forget that all our needs, all our desires, are met in Him.

In Luke 10 verses 38 to 42, Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary. Martha is busy preparing the house and the meal, wanting it to be just right for Jesus, but Mary just sits at His feet and listens to what He has to say. Martha was working for Jesus, though He hadn’t asked her to do anything for Him. Was Jesus ungrateful to Martha when she complained about the lack of help she was getting from Mary? No, of course not, but He just told the truth. “Only one thing is needed”, He said, and “Mary has chosen the right thing.” In her frantic activity, Martha was stressed, worried and upset. In Jesus’ presence, where she could just ‘be’, Mary was at peace.

In order to hear the ‘still small voice’ of God we need to be quiet and still. In order to be quiet and still we need to stop, take time out, learn to say ‘no’ sometimes, and sit at the feet of Jesus. Jesus had not asked Martha to be frantically busy for Him. When God asks us to do something and we obey, He gives us the strength to do it, and He fills us with His joy and peace, no matter what the circumstances.

Only one thing is needed……be still, and may you be filled with the peace of God that passes all understanding, and the joy of the Lord, which is your strength.

God bless x

The Lavish Giver

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I love presents! I love Christmas and birthdays, and I especially love receiving presents that my children have made themselves. The love, care and time that has gone into their creation and the eager anticipation they feel of my reaction to receiving them is lovely and I appreciate and love them so much.

God is a perfect Father. He loves to lavish His gifts on His children but so often we miss them because we get caught up in the things of the world that so easily get our attention. But the gifts that come from God are for building up His body, the church, which has eternal value.

‘If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!’ (Matthew 7 v 11)

”Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’ (James 1 v 17)

I want people to see in me what is from God and not from me. Our Heavenly Father wants to give us ‘the treasures of darkness…riches stored in secret places’ …

Jesus longs for people to know how much He loves them…enough to die for them. Those of us who know that love should be showing it every day. We should decrease so He is increased. We should be a beacon shining His light in a dark world, then people will be drawn to Him.  Why aren’t people being drawn to Him? Because they can’t see Him! Because we are often so anxious to blend in and not stand out from the crowd. Are we embarrassed by Jesus? Are people not seeing Him in us because we are trying to keep Him shut away in Churches?

When we allow Jesus to be seen in us through the gifts He gives us then people will be drawn to Him. Paul the apostle talks about these gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 v 7 – 11. Paul also writes about the fruit that people should be seeing in those who love Jesus. This can be found in Galatians 5 v 22 -23.

‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ‘

God has lavished these gifts on us…they pour from His heart every day. His love, His peace, His joy, His faithfulness and gentleness. These should be flowing through us and out of us every day. The gifts Paul describes in 1 Corinthians are for the edification of the Church and for reaching out to those who don’t know Jesus. The fruit is what we should be producing because we are rooted in Jesus.

Watchman Nee in one of his daily readings describes how I want to be each day, and how I see myself. We need a contrite and humble heart daily. We have a sinful nature that can be stirred up at any moment. My ideas are undependable. I dare not trust myself and unless I am sustained by God I will fall. This is why I want people to see Jesus and not me. I have been bought at a huge price. I belong to Jesus and in Him is fulness of joy, peace and love. It is the best way to live!

‘The Lord will guide you always, He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.’ (Isaiah 58 v 11)

‘I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.’ (Philippians 3 v 12)

God bless x

Gentle Waves…

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I’d like you to picture if you would a speed boat on the edge of a large lake. Underneath the boat are gentle waves, making it bob up and down. The boat is built for speed, but it has no engine and it is not going anywhere.

As humans we often want to do our own thing and get ‘ahead’ of God. With our own natural ‘engines’ which drive us we can go speeding off in any direction; humanly speaking, this is how we are naturally. But when we give our lives to God, trusting Him, then we can rest in Him. We are meant to be led by the Holy Spirit, His ‘waves’ leading us in the direction He wants us to go and, just as the boat doesn’t seem to be going anywhere at the moment, sometimes we just need to slow down, rest in God’s presence, and ‘Be still and know that He is God’.

It can be frustrating when our human nature wants to veer off and run ahead, but God in His grace and mercy removes our human ‘engines’ if we trust what Jesus did for us on the cross and in doing so, removes the power of sin and self-centredness from our lives, which frees us to be led by Him, who knows what is best for us and who guides us to our ‘desired haven’, our eternal home in heaven!

‘Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and He guided them to their desired haven.’ (Psalm 107 v 28-30)

Do you feel stressed, burned out, tired? Are you fed up of striving in your own strength? Do you feel as if you are running around in circles but not really getting anywhere? If you feel like this, just stop for a moment, find a quiet place and ask God to speak to you, even if you don’t know at this moment whether He even exists!  Just say something like, “God, I don’t know whether you are there, or if you are, whether you are listening, but if you are, please reveal yourself to me now somehow.” God answers an honest prayer like that. He wants to fill you with His love, joy and peace and He wants you to stop striving and start resting and trusting in Him to guide you. He loves us so much and wants the very best for us!

God has a great plan for your life. Why not ‘be still’ for a little while today and talk with Him about it? 

God bless you.

One Small Step at a Time!

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We often look through a keyhole at the miracle on the other side of the door and forget the miracles in ordinary living!

Imagine you are standing at the edge of a river, looking across at the opposite bank. There are wonderful things over there. But you can’t get across the river in one huge stride, God provides a bridge. You can only cross the bridge one ordinary, obedient step at a time.

A while ago, God spoke to my heart when I had been getting frustrated that I didn’t seem to be fulfilling my calling…He said, “Do what I put in front of you!”  When I thought about it, it was obvious. What God puts in front of us is usually ordinary, but those small faithful steps lead to more. If we are faithful with the little things, God will entrust us with bigger things!

‘By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.’ (Hebrews 11 v 8)