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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Time out

We are in the process of moving, will be off the blog for a few weeks.
God bless all

Monday, 9 November 2015

He must increase but I must decrease

I love all scripture, but one of the most beautiful verses in the whole of the Bible to me is the first verse of Psalm 18.  It reads 'I will love You O Lord my strength.' When I first came across this verse I felt it was summing up all that I have ever wanted to say to the Lord in one sentence.  For whether I have received blessing, correction, healing, knowledge or anything else from the Lord, these words would express perfectly my thoughts towards Him at all times.  I know that His words to me when I seek Him are always to strengthen me in Him, and I am coming to know that I can do all things in Christ Who strengthens me.
If an unbeliever seeks advice or help on any matter, he or she will look to a person, a book or a website that they believe will have knowledge on that particular subject.  How much better that I seek advice from the One who knows all things, and can do all things, including that which is not possible for man to know or do.  The only thing that has ever caused me to question what the Lord tells me is the human knowledge which is stored in my carnal mind.  If man's wisdom had never been fed into my mind there would be nothing to challenge God's words to me, and I would know only God's wisdom.

There are two strengths that are able to dominate my life and the one I try to live by is the strength of my Lord Jesus, the mediator between God and man.  The other one I must try to put to death.  It is the strength that dominated the old me, the one that was born of flesh.  It has a power over the fleshly me if I allow it to, and is a liar, a thief and a murderer by nature, seeking to deceive me with false knowledge and rob me of the blessings of God and eternal life that can only be found in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah ch. 30 vs. 1 and 2 read:- 'Woe to the rebellious children' says the Lord, 'who carry out a plan but not mine: and who make a league, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin, who set out to go down to Egypt without asking for my counsel, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh, and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt.'   
Egypt, here, is spiritually discerned as representing the world, and Pharaoh the strength of that world.  In ch. 31 vs.1 - 3 the Lord continues to remind His people that only woe can come from relying on Egypt and its strength instead of consulting the Lord, saying that the Egyptians are merely men, and not God, and that their strong horsemen and horses are flesh, and not spirit.

John ch. 12 vs. 44 - 50 reads:- 'And Jesus cried out 'He who believes in me believes not in me but in Him who sent me.  And he who sees me sees Him who sent me.

I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.  If anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him;  for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.  He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.  For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has Himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak.  And I know that His commandment is eternal life.  What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.'

The Lord showed me a long time ago the meaning of a Hebrew word found in the Bible, the word Chattath, meaning 'to miss the mark'.  It signifies sin in general, and is a very apt term by which to express its nature.  A person is continually aiming at and seeking happiness, but as he does not seek it in God, hence the Scripture represents him as missing his aim, or 'missing the mark'.  I believe that I can continually miss out on blessings by missing the mark when I choose to listen to my carnal mind dictating worldly wisdom rather than listen to the Lord's instruction.  In the new testament the term 'turned back from following Him' is used when some disciples found it too hard to eat and drink the body of the Lord. 
Although it has often been hard to focus, and act upon, what the Lord is telling me above what my carnal mind is telling me, I have found that when I do, His words have become a very real strength in some of my weakest times.

I continue to say:-

Just as John the Baptist said, regarding Jesus, in John ch. 3 v. 30:- 
 'He must increase, but I must decrease.' 


I too say, regarding Jesus in my life:- 
 'He must increase, but I must decrease.'

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


This is a short story that was written whilst I was attending a writer's circle in a town we lived  in a while back.  We were given the title to write on and immediately a story came into my mind which was partly inspired by my near death experience that I had experienced several years previous.
I posted it on my blog shortly after I started it, but feel led to share it again.


Mark felt like he had just stepped back in time as he quietly closed the door behind him.  the old man slowly raised himself from his chair behind the counter, bowed his head slightly, and said, ' Good morning to you young sir '.  ' Morning ', the young man replied as he looked around the large dusty room.  Mark had come into the old second hand shop to look for a pair of shoes with very little money, and optimism to match.  For some time now a pessimistic attitude had gradually been taking over his naturally pleasant personality.  Slowly he scanned the cluttered shop, his eyes adjusting to the dim light.  It was getting harder to live on job seekers allowance and at the moment, although he was only seventeen, the prospect of finding work with a decent wage seemed to be as much in another era as did this shop... only in the far distant future. 
'I ... er, I'm looking for a pair of shoes, size eight ' Mark said slowly, ' strong leather shoes. '   The old man came around the counter and limped over to a dark corner of the shop.  ' These are size eight ' he said, as he bent down and picked up a pair of dark brown shoes.  Blowing the dust from them he held them towards the young man.  Mark took the shoes and examined them.  They were strong shoes, leather too, and hardly worn by the look of them.  ' How much? ' he asked, as he pulled his old worn trainers from his feet and eased the dark brown shoes on in their place.  They were a perfect fit.  ' Three pounds ' said the old man, with a tone that said ' No offers '.  ' Three pounds ! ' Mark said, rather too loudly.  ' I could practically buy a new pair for that '  He was fed up with the old cliche which had now become part of his life as he traipsed around charity shops and second hand shops whenever he needed something, and which rarely got him a reduction in the price anyway.  He decided he would slip into silent acceptance in future.  ' I'll take them ', he said grudgingly.  He slapped three pound coins onto the counter, behind which the old man was now wrapping the shoes in a newspaper, that lay on the counter, while muttering ' I have to make a living you know ', half to himself and half to the boy, adding ' I'm sorry, I don't have a carrier bag '.  Mister, I wouldn't mind being in your shoes ' Mark said, as he took the package and walked to the door.  As he tugged at the latch he turned to see the old man now bathed in a brilliant shaft of light that was coming through the open door, and saw something in the dark, deep set eyes that made him feel a little uneasy at what he had just said.
That evening Mark was getting ready to go out.  It was Friday, the day his mother made his favourite meal, spaghetti bolognaise and although he loved his mother very much, even this weekly event had become a monotonous chore in the light of his poor social life.  He hated not having enough money to be able to go out somewhere special with his friends even one night a week.  He hated also the fact that his mother had to do a cleaning job every day to make ends meet ever since his father had left her for another woman.  How he would love to be earning enough not only to enjoy his own life, but also to enable her to enjoy her life too.  ' Why couldn't I have been born rich? ' he sighed as, seated on his bed, he reached down and put on his brown leather shoes .....
Back in the flat above the second hand shop the old man blinked, suddenly startled as he sat in the antique, worn, once beautiful, burgundy velvet chair.  What a strange feeling, for a split second he had actually felt as if he had been transported into his past, when he had been a boy of seventeen.   The memories came flooding back.  He had been sent at the age of eleven to England to live with his mother's cousin, Rosa, in Northants.  Things were none too good for Jews in Germany in 1939, and his parents had felt that England would be a safer place for their son, Benji.  How he had missed his beautiful homeland, and the family home with its fine furniture and extensive grounds.  He'd had a wonderful, happy childhood, wanting for nothing.  His father had owned a very grand jewellery shop, catering for Berlin's high society, and his mother had always had servants in the house, enabling her to spend a great deal of time with her son.  His parents had intended to follow him to England, but things had happened so quickly after he had arrived at Rosa's.  His mother's letters were regular, once a week for a time, then they started to arrive every few weeks and he began to sense a fear in the beautifully penned lines, a fear which eventually became a deep anxiety that could not be hidden by her over assurance that everything was alright in their homeland.  Eventually the letters had stopped coming altogether.  Weeks turned into months, months into years, and a war with Germany raged that was to ensure he was never to see his beloved parents again.  He would willingly have sacrificed all of the wealth he had been born into not to have had to bear the extreme heartache and suffering that finally learning at the age of seventeen, that his parents had been sent to the gas chambers, had caused him throughout his life.
' No, no! ' Mark was flung forward from the bed, sobbing uncontrollably.  ' Mother!, father! he screamed, the feeling of grief was unbearable.  He looked around the unfamiliar room, ' Where was he, this was not aunt Rosa's house, what .... where ... Slowly, comforting reality returned, and Mark realized that the only explanation for what he had just experienced had to be supernatural.  He'd felt as if he had actually been another person, Jewish and born in Berlin.  He'd had a complete memory of a seventeen year old boy living in England, who had just been informed that his parents had been sent to Hitler's gas chambers.  He could not believe what had just happened to him.  ' Are you alright Mark ', his mother's concerned voice travelled up the stairway from the kitchen, where she had been happily washing spaghetti bolognaise from dinner plates.  She always loved Friday nights when she prepared her son's favourite meal.  He had missed out on so much during the five years that her husband had been gone.  ' I heard you shouting '.  ' Uh... yes mum ' he called back to her ' it was nothing, er I just slipped off the bed '.  How could he possibly explain to his mother what had just happened.  He could not explain it to himself.
Later that evening he and his friends walked along the same old streets that led to the same old cafe that they congregated in with the same old kids in the same old predicament, jobless and with very little cash to spend.  Every aspect of life had become monotonous and boring to Mark, he felt there was nothing to look forward to.  As they walked they discussed what they would do if they only had money.  ' Even if I had a job, I probably wouldn't have enough to buy the things that I want ', one of Mark's friends spat out angrily, ' what they pay in some of the jobs offered wouldn't buy a pair of designer jeans. '  ' You're better off being a criminal these days' added another friend.  'You're right, ' said Mark ' who says crime doesn't pay.  I wish right now that I was the most famous thief that ever lived '.
Suddenly Mark found himself spinning backwards in a dark tunnel at tremendous speed, noises, smells filling his ears and nostrils, changing by the second from familiar to unfamiliar,.  He had the distinct impression that each change in sound and smell represented an era in time, and that he was being drawn back into those once distant ages.  Fear and fascination mingled in his emotions, fear of what was actually happening to him yet fascination at a deep sense of a great power that was totally in control of the situation, and in whose presence he would be completely safe. 

The spinning gradually ceased and he was aware that, although he was still being drawn backwards, the darkness was disappearing and he seemed to be drifting past scenes that changed almost as if he was being shown an incredibly enhanced slide show.  There were scenes of beautiful mountains, rivers and tribes of foreign looking men on horseback with spears in their hands, and more scenes of soldiers of different nations and different eras, all bright pictures on a dark background.  After a while Mark was suddenly aware of a green glow filling the dark space around him, and of the scenes gradually becoming drawn into this glow, which itself was now before his eyes changing into a scene, a truly breathtaking scene of a magnificent garden of sheer beauty.  Mark had never seen colours of this kind before.  There were flowers of every sort, exquisitly beautiful, alive and in harmony with everything around them, and animals of every kind that showed no sign of aggression towards one another.  What was this strange place where no decay appeared to be present?  It was like Mark's own world and yet totally different.  Mark felt absolute peace as he watched from his position which seemed to be within the scene and yet outside of it.  The feeling of well being in him was immense, and he was aware that it was a feeling he had never experienced before in his life, and was a force that was also reflected in this place before him, and which he had felt in the great power he had known was in control of his strange journey, as if all were connected and from the same origin.
Suddenly the beautiful picture began to crumble before his eyes, reverting back to the green glow, which gradually started changing to pale purple and orange colours mingled with shades of grey.  Now Mark saw before him a totally different scene, and was aware that his position had also changed.  His body felt completely restricted, and he was elevated.  A cool breeze brushed across his face carrying with it a strong, pungent smell.  There were sounds also in the air, diverse sounds.  He could hear strong sounds, aggressive, cursing and mocking.  Gentle sobbing sounds also hung in the air, the two sounds combating one another almost as in a tug of war in which two opposing parties wrestled for victory.  Mark turned his throbbing, swollen face to the left as horror slowly became the dominant emotion, eventually struggling with grief at what he saw. 
He looked upon the most beautiful face he had ever seen, the forehead of which was torn by an encompassing circle of long, ugly thorns.  Mark realized that the amazing beauty was coming from the man's eyes and was not a physical attribute.  The deep, dark eyes appeared to reflect a love and compassion beyond comprehension, and something else too was reflected there... It was suffering.  Mark had seen a glimmer of this kind of suffering before, it was back in the second hand shop, in the eyes of the old man as the light from the open door had shone on his face.  He knew immediately that he was not only witnessing, but experiencing the love of his and all of mankind's creator.  It was as if the eyes had the ability to convey to the one gazed upon a love which could never be described with words, but which the one gazed upon had been searching for all his life.  He knew that the blood that flowed from the piercings in this man's head, hands and feet was shed for him.  He knew that the pain, the cramps, intense thirst and dizziness he was feeling in his body was nothing in comparison to the sufferings that this man who hung beside him had been brought to bear.  In that instant, as he looked into those eyes, he knew as surely as the thief whose torment he was now experiencing had, that everything he had ever heard about this man was true. 
He felt himself being made to say, rather than speaking the words, 'Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom ', knowing at the same time that he was only experiencing a glimpse of what had actually happened that day, that for him there was no such suffering requred as that thief would have experienced in those times.  He was living in a time where there was hope for all mankind, a hope that had been bought by this divine Saviour, which all of manking could now search for and have fulfilled through faith in Him.
The magnitude of this revelation was so intense in Mark that even the dimmed physical pain of the torture of his body had little effect on him, and it had been dimmed.  He knew that the physical pain he was experiencing had to be nowhere near the actual pain of crucifixion. 
Once again change began taking place as he felt himself ebbing out from the twisted flesh.  His soul ached both with the loathing and longing as he began slowly to be drawn away from this incredible scene, not wanting to remain in the terrible reality of crucifiction, yet his desire to remain in the compassion, love and total protection of those beautiful eyes causing him to dread his departure.  ' Truly, I say to you.... '  The words could be heard plainly by him, even though the scene was fast disappearing.  In dense blackness now, he felt himself once again starting to spin, being pulled backwards.  ' today you will be with Me in Paradise. '  As if in an echo chamber the words vibrated right through his being, over and over until eventually he felt himself slowly emerging from this strange experience as if coming out of anaesthetic in an operating theatre.  ' Whoosh... ' .  There was a blast of cold air against his ear drums as reality returned in time for him to hear himself speaking the last word of the sentence about wanting to be the most famous thief that ever lived.
Fully aware of what had happened Mark knew that there was no hope of explaining his experience to his friends.  How could he possibly have had that experience when no actual time had passed.  Even if he thought they would believe him, there was a strange feeling of reluctance to say anything of his experience to them, almost as if it was too precious to share with anyone.  Yet he knew now what it was all about.  His amazing spiritual slide show had portrayed images of what mankind had turned into, and it was aggressive and warlike.  He had been taken right back to what had been originally intended for man, love and harmony with God,  as shown in that beautiful garden. Then he had been shown that he had a choice in this world.  There had been two criminals crucified with Christ, but Mark had only been put in the position of the one who trusted, and asked to be brought into God's kingdom.  He had been shown which choice to make, and it was the positive one in every circumstance that grew from love, trust and hope, not the negative that sprouted from greed, envy and hatred. 

His friends' laughter at what he had said filled the air and gave him time to compose himself, and then he was able to withdraw into listening mode as they continued their negative conversations along to the cafe.  Something had changed inside Mark, a new, or maybe a reviving of an old, attitude.  By the time they got to the cafe he was in a completely different frame of mind.  Instead of the usual doom and gloom conversation, new ideas and encouraging thoughts of work prospects caused him to speak positively about his situation, and by the time they left the cafe Mark's candle of encouragement had become a beacon of hope and determination in the little group.  They had spent this evening in the cafe discussing, not the situation itself, but what they could do about it, and it had all been due to one person's unforgettable experience of love and hope.
' Goodnight mum ' Mark shouted as he mounted the stairs to his bedroom.  How strange his experience just a few hours ago in this room, when he had been shown that being born rich also had its griefs.  The anguish of losing his mother had been so real...... .  He had so much to be thankful for.  No even with all the difficulties in his life at the moment, he still would not rather be in anyone else's shoes.  As he started to undress, he noticed the newspaper in the little bin in the corner of the room.  It was the newspaper that the old man had wrapped his shoes in.  Something stood out to him as he focused on it.  He went over and picked it out of the bin.  ' Wanted, ' He read ' young person to train alongside handyman in care home for the elderly.  Good pay and a chance to go further in social services in the future '.  Mark decided he would ring the number given the following Monday, and yes, he would accompany his mother to the local Pentecostal church this Sunday.  She had gone there for as long as he could remember, and he knew deep down that her faith had helped her through the hard times in her life.  He had stopped going with her to the church about two years ago, but he now realized that his attitude to life had changed during those two years.  He had allowed weeds of negativity and cynicism to choke optimism and joy in his life.  Things needed to change.  Then he settled down in his bed with a great feeling of well being as he thought about his incredible day.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Growing in the Lord

As I grow in the Lord I go through many trials, but I know that these trials strengthen me and enable me to trust more in His power, and His ability to change me and take away all fear.
In Isaiah ch. 41 v. 13 God encourages Israel saying:- 'For I, the Lord thy God, will hold your right hand, saying unto you, ‘Fear not; I will help you.’
Knowing that the church is the Spiritual Israel of God, I too am encouraged by this verse.

The following is a song that I wrote concerning this which I believe I shared in a post a few years back, but which I feel to share in this post.

Touching Your hand

Touching Your hand I feel a power in me
walking Your way leads me into my destiny
all that I am is what You're making me
Your grace in my life is setting me free

You are my strength, death has no power in me
the battle is won, You are my song of victory
Where there's no fear there is no enemy
Your love in my heart is setting me free

For You are the Father's precious breath of life to me
my soul feels Your love that stirs within me
With You in my life I can be all I'm meant to be
each day as You teach me Your ways

Now is the time, in You must my spirit dwell
time to break free from my shadowy prison cell
Now is the time, time for my soul to rise
time to awake and open my eyes

Kissed by Your mercy, bathed in Your tenderness
now I awake to the touch of Your sweet caress
Fear lies behind me lost in the cold of night
sweet love lies ahead in the warmth of Your light

For You are the sun that melts this cold, cold heart of mine
and You are the lamp that lights my darkness
My prayer to You Lord is that within my life You'll shine
each day as You lead me along

Once  we are born again of God's Holy Spirit, we do not die, we fall asleep in Christ as stated in  
1 Thessalonians ch. 4 vs. 13 - 17:-

'Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.'
So although some of us may not see the Lord's return in our lifetime on this earth, if we have been born again of God's Holy Spirit, believing and trusting in the word spoken to us and allowing ourselves to be changed, then we need not fear death, nor worry about family and friends who have fallen asleep in the Lord,  and are assured through Jesus' prayer in John ch. 17 vs. 20 and 21 that we shall all be together as one:-
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those  who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.'

Some time ago I wrote this poem regarding those of us who may have already fallen asleep in Jesus when He returns for us:-

When we awaken from this sleep

Life and death both have their pain
both have their share of sorrow
and what we see and love today
may not be here tomorrow

One day we'll stand at Heaven's door
and pain and tears will be no more
when we awaken from this sleep
to be where shadows can not creep

We'll be together joined as one                  
with God the Father and His Son               
we'll step within that blessed door
to find that sorrow is no more.
How can we lose out when we put our trust in our Lord Jesus

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Doing the Lord's work with His authority

Matthew ch. 9 vs.6-8 declares that God had given authority to Jesus:-

'But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins (then says He to the sick of the palsy), Arise, and take up thy bed, and go up unto thy house.
And he arose, and departed to his house.   But when the multitudes saw it, they were afraid, and glorified God, who had given such authority unto men.'
 Mark ch. 3 vs. 13 - 16 declares that Jesus gives this same authority to man, His twelve whom He called to Himself to be with Him:-
'And He went up onto a mountain, and called unto Him whom He would have, and they came unto Him.  And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach,  and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils:'

 Once we are called to Jesus and become born again of God's Spirit then, as infants in Christ,  we are first given the milk of the word as stated in Hebrews ch. 6 v. 1 and 2 '.......the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,  of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.' , and then the strong meat which changes us from walking according to the flesh to walking according to the Spirit.
Luke ch. 8  vs.15 - 18 implies that first the Holy Spirit has to change people before they can do service without hypocrisy :-
' And that in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience.  And no man, when he has lighted a lamp, covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed; but puts it on a stand, that they that enter in may see the light.   For nothing is hid, that shall not be made manifest; nor anything secret, that shall not be known and come to light.   Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever has, to him shall be given; and whosoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that which he thinks he has.'
Those who hear the word and hold it fast in an honest (where truth is) and good (only God is good) heart, and bring forth fruit with patience, are like the good soil that receives the seed of the sower.

Being a Christian and worshiping God, to me, is not about learning how to get people into the church.  God adds to the church.  It is about working out my own salvation through being taught by the Holy Spirit how to become like  Jesus, and understanding what part I play in the body of Christ.
True worship, as I understand it, not only means to honour and to adore, but 'to be in submission to'.  The more I come to know God, the more I adore and want to honour Him.  As I can only know God through Jesus Christ Who is the Word of God, then to worship God is to honour, adore and be in submission to that Word, and if Jesus is the express image of Him, then God's image will be reflected in me as I submit through the renewing of my mind in Christ, as instructed in Romans ch. 12  v. 2:-
'Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will'

It is an on-going transformation as stated in 2 Corinthians ch. 3 v. 18:-
' But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.'
So it is impossible for me to say that I worship God without confirming my adoration of Him by my actions, therefore I must strive to demonstrate in my life what I confess with my mouth.

Each one of us in the body of Christ are given gifts, and 1 Corinthians ch. 12 vs. 11 and 12 states regarding these gifts:-
'but all these work the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each one severally even as He will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.'

We can not recognize mentors by a title or physical appearance:-   2 Corinthians ch. 5 vs. 16 and 17:-
Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

There are times when the 'skills of a shepherd boy ' are used as opposed to the 'armour of a king'  King Saul was not as tuned in to the word of God as was the shepherd boy.  David did not use the physical armour of the king to defeat the enemy. 

Saul tried to clothe David with his own armour, but David was not used to it, and went to fight Goliath in his own clothes using the word of God, saying to him ' You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.' , and a stone, eventually killing the giant with the giant's own weapon.

We too can come in the name of the Lord to fight our spiritual enemies, who may have become giants in our lives, when we are led by the word of God enlightened to us by the Holy Spirit.  It is not in our own strength, but the strength of the Lord that the battle is won through trust in that word.
What are we asking of God?

When Jesus initially called the twelve, He called them to be with Him, Mark ch. 3 v. 14, and to be sent out to preach.  In Mark ch. 10v. 35  two disciples ask Jesus to do whatever they ask of Him.  Verse 36 states that He says to them, 'What do you want me to do for you?'  They ask for position.
Jesus goes on to tell them that it is not His to give, that it is already determined who will sit at His right and His left (v. 40)
He tells them that position is in reverse amongst His disciples, that just as He came not to be served but to serve, so must they do likewise. 

Jesus later asks the same question to a blind beggar who persists in asking Jesus for help even when he is rebuked for it.  In verse 51 Jesus speaks exactly the same words to him as He has said to the two disciples:- 'What do you want me to do for you?'

But instead of asking for position this poor blind beggar asks that he might receive his sight.

I, too, do not seek position in the Lord.  I seek spiritual insight and direction, in order to do
what I am called to do in the body of Christ.

wherever You lead me
I will follow You
through hail, wind or fire Lord
I will cling to You
For what should I fear Lord
in a foreign land
if You are there with me
holding my hand
Wherever I am Lord
I will worship You
whenever I can Lord
I will speak of You
To every nation,
kindred and tongue
I'll tell of salvation
through God's Holy One

Friday, 21 August 2015

Thank You Lord for the Comforter

The Holy Spirit is not just a teacher, the Holy Spirit is also a comforter and this is being demonstrated more and more in my life as I go on with the Lord.

One morning last week I was sat in my lounge having a coffee.  I'd had a night of not sleeping much due to the on-going trial that I am going through regarding waiting on the Lord for my healing.  I gazed out of the window and negative thoughts of what my future might hold started to form in my mind, and slowly started to balloon. 

Suddenly it was as if a voice spoke over these thoughts saying 'Take no thought for tomorrow'.  This scripture has always been emphasized to me in my trials, encouraging me to believe and trust in what the Lord has promised, not what my carnal mind is foretelling and trying to convince me will happen.
I immediately felt better, and turned to pick up my cup of coffee.


As I did, my eyes fell upon a pile of my old writings that I had placed on the coffee table the previous evening in order to sort them out (story of my life).  There was a page that jumped out to me, it was partially hidden near the bottom of the pile, but the title was clearly showing.  It was:-

'You know not what tomorrow brings.'

It was an article that I had written after attending an annual writers' seminar several years ago, the contents of which clearly demonstrated how the picture that forms in a person's natural mind of future happenings can be totally the opposite of what does actually happen.
I asked the Lord to show me something from His word to confirm His promise to me.  I opened my Bible straight to Psalm 103, with the words that He has used right from the beginning, concerning my promise of healing, underlined.  'who heals you from all your diseases. '

Later that morning I decided to do some ironing as the pile of clothes needing to be ironed was building up.  I asked my husband to put the ironing board in our bedroom as I thought I could watch Tbn UK,  the Christian channel that I occasionally watched, on the television in there while he had peace to read his classic car magazines in the lounge.
When I turned the channel on, there was a man speaking about enduring and persevering in trials.  He was relating to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego  in the fiery furnace, and how that, even when we are in extreme fiery trials, the Lord will be there with us to protect us from the spiritual enemy.
I knew immediately that everything that had happened in those few hours was encouragement from the Lord to persevere in my trial, even though it was sometimes hard, and knew that I had to take every thought captive and bring it into obedience to Christ, the Word of God that was being spoken into my situation. 
I thank God that my times are in His hands, and that all things are possible if I can believe, and that He helps and encourages  in areas where  the spiritual enemy tries to cause doubt and unbelief  as demonstrated in  Mark ch. 9 vs. 23 and 24 .:-
'Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.   And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.'
John ch. 14 v. 26 states:- 'But the comforter , the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.' - and this is exactly what He did here, and many other times as I wait on the Lord for my healing.
I know that I could not go down this road if I had not been absolutely convinced that the Lord had initially led me down it and told me to trust absolutely in Him.

Only You

Only a Father as loving as You
could take my life's burdens and carry me through
Only to someone who knew how I felt
could I pour out my anguish each night as I knelt
Only my Saviour, my Lord and my King
could change my cold Winter to blossoming Spring
Only my God and His wonderful Son
will I praise 'til my days on this earth are done



Friday, 31 July 2015

New Life

Recently my husband accidently cut off a sprig from my Fragrant Cloud rose bush when mowing the lawn in the back garden.   There were two buds on it and there is a part of me which hates to see anything die, so I decided to replant it hoping that it would grow into another bush and the buds would flourish and open.
As I planted it in a pot of earth and gradually saw what was happening to it I was reminded of my life, and the gradual change in me over time as I am being taught by the Holy Spirit.   Very soon after I had transplanted the sprig new leaves started to grow from it. 
It reminded me of when I first came to the Lord and the Holy Spirit started to enlighten the Word of God as I read the Bible, teaching me gradually and renewing my mind in Christ.
As the days go by I can see  the buds lowering their heads as the branch bends over, the older leaves starting to die, and the new ones starting to increase and enlarge.
The new growth reminds me of what I would consider an initial instruction from the scriptures that is relevant when we are born again of God's Holy Spirit, as written in Colossians ch. 3 v. 1 - 3:- 'If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.   Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.'
In verse 10 we are told that our new self 'is being renewed in knowledge after the image of it's creator.'
The old leaves that are dying remind me of my on-going instruction from the Word of God to:- 'Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.'  Ephesians ch. 4 v. 31  and to:-
'put to death' what is earthly, such  as 'fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry, '   Colossians ch. 3 v. 5, and the lowering of the old buds remind me of the instruction written in James ch. 4 v. 7:- 'Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.'
I have found God to be a very patient and loving God Who understands that we are flesh and, just like my rose twig is taking time for the old to die and the new to form, so too has it been, and still is, in my walk with the Lord.  However, the more I have come to know the Lord and experience His love the more I run to Him and desire for my mind to be renewed in Him through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and the more I endeavour to, and want  to, 'put to death' what is earthly in me.
Paul the apostle said in Philippians ch. 3 v. 12 - 14, regarding attaining the resurrection from the dead:- 'Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.'
 I too say these words, and also acknowledge the words of James in James ch. 1 vs. 2-4 'Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.' 
As I watch the transformation of my rose twig, and what it reflects in my life,  I speak these words from my heart to the Lord:-
You can make me whole Lord
You can make me whole Lord
and take away my fears
You've put laughter in my life
in place of all my tears
All I can say is 'Thank You'
and love You all the more
when I see how I am now
and think how I was before
My sickness You took years ago Lord
for me there was no price to pay
All You required was my trust in You
and that I look to You each day
I know that You see every sorrow
that is laying deep down in my heart
but know also that You are the Healer
and all pain from my past will depart
So as I grow up in You Jesus
let Your precious love open my eyes
Let my ears hear the voice of the Father
instead of this world and its lies
Lord I love You, Lord I praise You, Lord I honour Your Name
Lord I trust You, and believe You will make me like Jesus, the same.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

...... but God causes the growth

Years ago I planted four separate
things in pots of soil.
Two were acorns.  They eventually
grew into two small oak trees,
which I brought with us when we
moved here over five years ago,
and have in tubs in my back garden.

I have always loved growing things,
and get quite excited when I see the
first signs of the plants emerging
from the soil.

Another thing I  planted was a fig, that too in a pot of soil, and which gradually grew into a small fig tree.   I  also brought this small tree with us to this house.  I put it into the ground and it has now grown to about three feet high. 
The amazing thing is that it has actually produced three figs this year for the first time.
My husband loves figs so I am hoping that these will eventually ripen enough for him to be able to eat them.

The fourth thing that I planted was a grape seed.  This plant had always been in a pot outside all through the year, until we came to live here.  Then I put it into the front porch which is like a greenhouse when the sun is out.  
About a month ago I put it back outside and I have to say that it appears to be thriving better there than it did indoors. 
Perhaps one day I will get a greenhouse and see how it does in there.
There is something in all of this which really speaks spiritually to me about having humility in the Lord.
Although I have thoroughly enjoyed watching these plants grow,  there is no way that I could take any credit regarding the actual growth of the plants.  I know how to place the original seed in the ground, and I can encourage it to grow by watering it, but that is all that I can do.  All credit regarding the growth goes to God.
The same applies to my calling in the church, which I believe is evangelism and, strangely enough, I have to say that just like my grapevine  thrives when outdoors I too love being outside sharing the gospel.  However, I may plant, I may water, but it is God who causes the growth, and all credit and glory can only go to Him.
This is emphasized in 1 Corinthians ch. 3 v. 6 and 7  where the apostle Paul says 'I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused it to grow.  So neither the one who plants counts for anything, nor the one who waters, but God who causes the growth. '
 'Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.'
Ephesians ch. 3 v. 20

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Love one another as I have loved you

When I first came to the Lord poems and songs just dropped into my mind, some of them were almost like questions that I believe the Lord could have been asking me.   I always thought that I had a fair amount of love for people, and did have to a certain degree.   The problem was that it was 'human love', which is conditional. 

The following is one of those poems that revealed to me many things that my 'love' was lacking when compared to the love that is required by Jesus in John ch. 13 v. 34:-
' A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.'

So you think you have love

So you think you have love son of Adam
you think that you're gentle and kind
'til your wife leaves you for another
and the hate drives you out of your mind

And you think that you're patient - long suffering
.... you can tolerate everyone
'til a tramp who is filthy comes near you
and you feel like you want to run

Can you say that you're really forgiving
that you're filled with mercy and grace
can you truly say there is no evil thought
behind your smiling face?

So you think you have love son of Adam
you think that you've been set free
Then brother I've one thing to ask you
.... Would you die for me?

When I examined myself against the words of this poem I could see that there was a vast difference between what I thought was 'love' and what 'love' is according to God.  The Lord does not ask us to physically die as He did, but we have to spiritually 'die' to our carnal self, 'For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.' Romans ch. 8 v. 6. 

So what is love?  1 Corinthians 13 vs. 4 - 7 gives this interpretation of love:-
'Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.'

I realized I fell very short of this kind of love in most areas.    Regarding 'patience', I believed that I could tolerate much.  However, when I looked up the word 'patience' in the dictionary and saw the meaning as 'the ability to endure with calmness', I realized that many of the things that I could endure were done not with 'calmness', but with gritted teeth.
I asked the Lord to help me in this area and within a very short time I had a job working as a carer in a residential home for the elderly.  I could not have been in a better place to learn patience.

We have to have our minds renewed in Christ:- 'that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.Ephesians ch. 4 vs. 22 - 24, learning line upon line, precept upon precept, as we are taught by the Holy Spirit. 
Jesus says 'If you love Me, keep my commands.'  That is not the ten commandments of the law, because there is not one person on earth who could gain 'righteousness' through the keeping of the  old testament law.  We would fail miserably through spiritual weakness, and we need  the Holy Spirit to help us, as Jesus states in John ch. 16 v. 8:- 'And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:'. 

Jesus is the Word of God, and keeping Jesus' commands is to ' be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.'  James ch. 1 v. 22 , and this can only come about through having our minds renewed in Christ. '  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.' Romans ch. 12 v. 2 .

Sometimes we may find it hard to love one another, depending on what we each focus on, and look for, in our brothers and sisters.  However, the Lord has made us all different for a reason, and those differences should not divide, they should unite.  God made the cactus, a very prickly plant.  Yet it can supply water to a person who finds himself in a desert.

I have always loved blackberries, and when I was a child I was brought up on the edge of a town.  One of my favourite pastimes was to go into the countryside and pick them.   My husband loves blackberries too, but hates the bramble, as demonstrated a few days ago when bushes from a field behind our bungalow were intruding over the back garden wall.

There were brambles amongst the bushes, and they were beginning to flower.  I had to stay out there and watch him constantly as he trimmed the bushes, to make sure he did not cut the brambles too.  Without the fruit, he saw them only as a prickly plant.

Many people might think of the bramble from the thorny point of view, forgetting that it bears a beautiful fruit, and sometimes we can see a brother or sister in the Lord in a similar way, but it may be that they have a certain type of personality to be used by the Lord in a particular way to reach similar people.  We are all different, yet joined as one in the Lord.

Through plants like the rose and the bramble I am taught not to judge by what I see, for according to when I look I only see a small part of the picture of what they fully are, God sees the whole picture.

The Bramble                            

God made everything on Earth
and saw that it was good
'though man will often judge between
the silver and the wood
To be counted as nothing or great in man's book
matters not in our Father's esteem
for He's made every creature  with purpose in mind 
regardless of how it might seem
And whether mighty or humble -rich or poor 
our God desires nothing should waste
for even the bramble bears a beautiful rose
and a fruit that is good to the taste

I am still learning to 'love' in the way that the Lord asks me to in John ch. 13 v. 34, and have been tested through many trials regarding this, but I welcome the change that only the Lord could bring about through His teaching, as I have my mind renewed in Him.