Tag Archive | love

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

Joy! The Heartbeat of Heaven!

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Today has been one of those days when I wish I could have stayed in bed! I clean houses on four days a week and today I felt as if I was working on autopilot! I felt so tired! I expect you, like me, have had days like that. Maybe today is one of them.

When I got home from work, I decided to have a rest before our daughter came home. While resting on my bed I began to read my book at the page where I had got to. The book is called The Happy Intercessor and is by Beni Johnson.  As I read I was reminded that God WANTS to release JOY in us! If we know and love God and have accepted Jesus as our Saviour then we are already citizens of heaven! The world we live in now needs to see happy, joyful, alive people of God who love and serve others with hearts full of joy! The Bible says, ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength!’ Jesus, though He suffered a lot on this earth, was full of joy and He brought heaven’s joy to many many people wherever He went. He wants us to do the same!

‘If I say, “I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face and wear a smile.” ‘ (Job 9: 27)

This doesn’t mean gritting our teeth when we are going through a difficult time. It means consciously deciding to accept our Heavenly Father’s offer of the gift of Joy…..a present from heaven. Jesus showed this joy which, like God’s peace, another free gift, is beyond our human understanding.  We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can decide to ‘put off [our] sad face[s] and wear a smile! We can’t do it in our own strength but God will give us the gift of joy…all we need do is ask Him for it!

After reading my book, I decided that I was fed up of feeling fed up!! Even though I am still feeling very tired, I did ask God for His gift of joy, and guess what! I am smiling!

God bless you and fill you with His love, joy and peace. Amen.

THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE

ImageThe Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field.  When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.  Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.’  (Matthew Chapter 13 v. 44-46)

‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John Chapter 3 v. 16)

Do you love anything or anyone enough to die for them?  It is a question I am asking myself, and the answer that comes to my mind as I think about it is…I hope so!  I hope I would die for my children, or anyone I love.  

When I think about the above verse, about God, the Creator of the Universe, holy, mighty, perfect, and then I think that He loves us so much that He gave up the most precious thing He had to save us, US!  We are certainly not perfect.  It seems like in the great scheme of things that we are like ants, we don’t really matter.  We live, we die, we do our best to be good, but fail so many times.  We have all done things we are ashamed of.  Yet, the perfect, awesome God gave Himself for us.  

It is nearly Christmas as I write, and at this time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  He was born of a virgin, and He was the Son of God.  He came to this earth for one purpose, to show us what God is like, and to die a cruel death to take the punishment for everything we have done wrong.  God Incarnate, God, embodied as a man, living the perfect life because He knew we never could, dying for us, so that we could be saved and be with Him for ever when we die.  Why did He do that?

Jesus Himself tells the story of the Merchant who was looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he sold everything he had and bought it.  God created us.  He created you.  You were not an accident.  You were made for a purpose.  He loves you and showed His immense love by giving everything He had for you…His life.  He doesn’t want any of us to be punished for the things we have done wrong, so He took the punishment for us.  He loves us THAT much!

What is our response to such incredible love?  To receive it.  That’s it.  To believe that Jesus died for us, to invite Him into our lives, and receive all the love He has for us.  To realise that we are not perfect, and that we never can be, that we can never ever earn our way to heaven.  We can in ourselves never be good enough, but Jesus was.  He lived the perfect life for us, showing us how much God loves us, and He died the death that we deserve, because ‘….all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’ (Romans 3 v. 23)

We have all done things that are wrong and we all need forgiveness.  Jesus is worth giving our whole lives for.  He is the pearl of great price, and, amazingly, He also thinks of us as precious pearls.  He gave up everything for us, but that wasn’t the end.  He rose again.  He is alive and will reign forever in heaven.  

God loves you.  You are precious to Him.  Will you accept His love and His precious gift today?

God bless you.

Heather x

WORTH MORE THAN MANY SPARROWS…

I love watching the sparrows and other birds on my bird feeder. As I write I am sat at my dining table, watching them from my window. A while back I was having my quiet time, while watching the birds and I turned to my reading for the day, and this is what I read:-

‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.’ (Matthew 10 v. 29-31).

We are so precious to God! If we trust Him, there is no need to worry. He notices when one sparrow falls – even we don’t very often notice that! When did I last see a sparrow fall? The Creator of the universe has a will for even one sparrow! How much more does He want us to trust Him with our lives? Remember…you are worth more than many sparrows…

NETS OF MERCY – CHAPTER TWELVE

‘The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.’  (Psalm 23)

‘I know your deepest desires.  I am working in ways you do not understand.  I am working all the time.  Slowly, the darkness in you is crumbling.  You asked me to remove your pride; this I am doing.  That is a part of the darkness that is crumbling away.  You will work for Me, I will work through you….You have had to go through these struggles; you have had to go through failure.  It is all part of the process of cleansing…..’

‘For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’  (Luke 18 v. 14)

‘My Word is like the snow and the rain that come down from the sky to water the earth.  They make the crops grow and provide seed for sowing and food to eat.  So also will be the Word that I speak – it will not fail to do what I plan for it; it will do everything I send it to do.’ (Isaiah 55 v. 10-11)

May 2010.  One morning I was sitting at my dining table having my quiet time, and my daily reading came from 1 Peter 2.  But I decided to read on.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the first verse of 1 Peter 3!

‘Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.’

This kind of submission is the kind Jesus had.  Not being a ‘doormat’, but an inner beauty, that of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  The reason I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that was that the day before the words ‘Won over without words’ had been in my mind.

I had noticed a change in me for a while.  I didn’t react like I used to.  I was calmer.  Things didn’t hurt like they did.  God was doing something wonderful in me.  I had realised that without God I could do nothing, that my old self had died and I was a new creation because of what Jesus did on the cross.  I wanted to live as Jesus did, holding on to His grace and mercy.

That morning I went for my usual walk with Megan, our dog.  As I was getting ready it started raining.  I looked out of the bedroom window and the trees were blowing in the wind and the sky was grey and overcast.  I asked God to stop the rain but it continued.  Still, I decided, I was just going to wrap up and go!  I put my raincoat and wellies on and went.  When I went out it was still raining but there was no wind and it felt warm.  It was bright, and not long into the walk the sun came out and there was lots of blue sky! Just before that happened I said, “The rain is beautiful!  Thank you God!”  It was!  It was gentle and soft and the sun shone through the raindrops.  It was lovely!  It really was a beautiful walk.  Eventually, as I came back the rain stopped altogether and the sun shone brightly.  It was lovely and warm, and the rain sparkled on the grass.  Rain can be so beautiful.

13th May 2010.  I had a strong conviction all day that something hidden was going to be revealed soon.  It would be out in the open.  I had no idea what it was, but I believed it was about Paul and I knew that God had been preparing me for it.  He had been strengthening me inside and I was absolutely not afraid; I knew it would be alright, that God meant it all for good – for everyone.  I asked God to prepare my response, that it would be for His glory.

Three days later, on the Sunday evening, I decided to go to church.  We live seven miles from our church, so I don’t go in the evenings very often, but on this occasion, I really felt I should go.  The whole sermon, based on chapter forty of Genesis, part of the story of Joseph, was as if it was aimed directly at me!  After the service, I went up to our Pastor and told him.  He prayed for me, and again, God really met with me in a wonderful way.  The following day I was tired, but calm and at peace and I felt God say –

‘Heather, you don’t have to give me anything today.  Just receive.’

The following day I didn’t feel so good.  I felt that life was such a paradox!  Paul was really awful that evening and I was standing at the oven, crying my eyes out when he walked into the kitchen, saw me crying, made himself a cup of tea without a word, and walked out again.  I felt so scared and lonely and completely rejected.  I just couldn’t understand what was happening.

‘He maketh me lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters, He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for His names sake.’ (From Psalm 23)

I so wanted to be like Jesus.  I wanted to do what I saw Him doing and I wanted to never find myself enough, to draw on His strength and not my own.  I wanted to always tremble at myself, my human nature, knowing what it was capable of and always relying on Jesus.  I wanted to never get too ‘big’ but hide behind Him.  I prayed that I would love my Heavenly Father so much that I would be willing to do ANYTHING for Him.  I wanted all fear to be gone.  We have this treasure in jars of clay and I felt free when I realised I really could do nothing without Him.

‘Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.’ (2 Corinthians 4 v. 1)

A few days later I was feeling irritable again (and it was only nine o’clock in the morning!).  The verse from my reading was from Romans 6 about our sin being crucified with Jesus, and therefore not being slaves to it.  I realised that whenever I felt like that I had a choice.  Later thar morning, while I was out walking Megan, a praise song was in my mind.  It lifted me and gave me the power to choose not to be irritable!  I had the power in Jesus to choose LIFE!

18th June 2010. I had a heavy expectancy again that something that had been hidden for a long time would be exposed.  I felt it would be painful, but it would also be a huge relief.  It would open the way forward and bring me into freedom.  God had been preparing and strengthening me and I really felt it was imminent.  Again, I asked God to control my response to whatever this was and that it would be pleasing to Him.  I knew He had it all in hand.  I had no idea what the hidden thing was, but that didn’t matter, because God did.

1st July 2010.

“Lord, Paul’s arrogance, his cynicism, his neglect, his hostility, lay heavily on me like a massive weight.”

“Why are you wearing them?”

“I suppose I have been putting them on one by one for many years by bearing the results of them and by my resentment building up towards them.  I have worn them by my reactions.  His actions have been my reactions.  I have reacted instead of responded.”

“What are you going to do with them?”

“I take it all and nail it to the cross.  I crucify arrogance, pride, resentment, cynicism, neglect, hostility.  I crucify them all.”

“What do you have left?”

“I see a small, lonely, anxious little boy.”

“Do you think you could love him?”

“Oh yes!  I could love him.  I could take him in my arms and comfort him.  Yes, I could love him.”

“Heather, try to see that lonely, anxious little boy whenever you look at Paul.  Look beyond that other rubbish, because I took all that on myself on the cross.  I took it all, including the results of it.”

“I will try.  Help me to remember.”

“I will.”

“Thank you, Lord.  I love you.”

“I love you too, my precious child.”

9th July 2010.  Four days before, my daily reading was about the silversmith who refines silver in the heart of the fire.  It made me realise that is exactly how I had been feeling lately – that the fire had been hotting up, and the last few days and weeks I had hardly been able to stand it.

That morning, my daily reading asked, ‘Are you in the fire today?’  The Bible verse was, ‘No weapon forged against you will prosper’ from Isaiah 54.  I read the whole chapter and it was as if God was speaking directly to me!  The last words in my daily reading were, ‘Are you walking through a fiery trial today?  If so, you are not alone – God is with you!  Take courage!  When He brings you out you will know Him better, trust Him more, and have something to say that will make others want to listen.’

October 2010.  The hidden thing that God told me about a few months ago has been revealed…

It all started when a lovely neighbour of ours started chatting with me on our  street one day.  She was telling me about her life and spoke about her marriage of twenty-three years.  It sounded so like mine!  There had been so much frustration and misunderstanding.  I had felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall, or talking to a deaf person.

My neighbour told me, as I related this, that she discovered, after twenty-three years of marriage, that her husband had aspergers syndrome.  She said that she believed Paul had it too and she told me that the knowledge would revolutionise our marriage.

I started to do some research into aspergers syndrome, and as I read the traits of someone with the condition it was as if it was describing Paul.  Aspergers is a neurological condition, a mild form of autism, which means that someone with aspergers has no concept of non-verbal communication.  They can’t read peoples’ non-verbal signals.  They can’t imagine how someone is feeling very well, and can’t put themselves into someone else’s shoes.  They have obsessive interests and focus for abnormally long periods of time on one thing that interests them.  It is a social dysfunction.

I started to read books written by women whose husbands have aspergers and it was like reading about my own marriage.  Someone with aspergers is ‘in their own world’ and has very little concept of the thoughts and feelings of others.  They think logically and if they say something that is inappropriate they cannot understand how it could hurt someone or make them feel uncomfortable.  They don’t mean to be rude – they just say what comes into their head!  They think intellectually and often have a higher intellect and IQ than normal.

As I read about aspergers it was like a light being switched on over our whole marriage.  It explained absolutely everything!  It also explained why my reactions had been so wrong and why Paul withdrew for hours on end every day and why I couldn’t get through to him when I tried to tell him how I felt.  Any show of emotion or verbal attack overloads him and he easily gets sensory overload because there are so many thoughts going on in his head at any one time.  An outburst like that can drive him to shut himself away and completely shut down, in order to re-charge.

Social situations for someone with aspergers are a nightmare.  Even though they can talk at length about a special interest, social chit chat makes them anxious because they can’t read social ‘cues’, ie, when it is someone else’s turn to speak, body language or facial expressions.  They also can’t explain easily how they feel.

Now I know, it has transformed how I respond to Paul.  In this situation, knowledge and understanding are everything.  It will be tough at times.  Knowing he can’t easily give me the kind of emotional support I need or be able to empathise is hard, but he can learn from observing and I can teach him what I need and also learn his needs and how to respond to him.  The books were a lifeline and opened my eyes.

It felt weird at first, because it was like being married to a stranger, but now that my eyes were opened, I could see the vulnerable, anxious little boy that God showed me back in July and I knew that I loved him and that it would be ok.

The reason God hinted at this all those months before was so that I would know that He was behind it all and that He was in control….