Ask!

God can do amazing things. Never underestimate Him. Never try to put Him in a box. He is far, far bigger than that. He is God. And He loves to amaze His people.

God loves to answer prayer. He loves to respond to our asking- not just doing what we ask but doing far, far, far more, on another dimension we’d never even have thought of. He is far bigger; far wiser; far more wonderful than us.

And yet He loves to answer us; loves to work on our behalf.

Yes, we need to have our hearts aligned with His. Yes, we need to understand that the answers may look different to our expectations. Yes, we may need to wait. But, when we are seeking His way of doing things, honestly, there is an open Heaven above us and a blank cheque (actually, countless blank cheques) at our disposal.

So ask crazy things. Ask beautiful things. Ask impossible things.

Dream big. We have a big, big, big God.

And He is waiting for you to ask.

Because He wants to answer your prayers.

 

 

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So, So Loved

He loves us so, so much. If we belong to Christ then, in His Son, we are covered. He is our Father. We are His treasured possession, the apple of His eye.

The slate is washed clean. We are forgiven.

It just doesn’t matter what anyone says.

We are His.

He has the final say.

And we are so, so loved.

“In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.

The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Zephaniah 3:16-17 (KJV)

Is something troubling you?

It’s a firm favourite in my family: that old, familiar hymn: ‘What a Friend we Have in Jesus.’

And it’s true.

No matter what the need; no matter the guilt; no matter the problem, there is always One you can turn to. One Who will always understand. One Who will never let you down.

No problem is too great. No situation is too complicated. No sin is too big. He wants to take it all, and give you His abundant freedom, and peace.

Bring Him whatever is troubling you. He loves to do amazing things. He wants to answer your prayers.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.

‘What a Friend we Have in Jesus’, Joseph M. Scriven (Public Domain)

The Key to Peace

Do you struggle to trust Him sometimes? I know I do! He has been teaching me things that are wonderful… and I am struggling to apply. They’re still worth sharing, though, so here goes…

The key to peace is trusting Him. It’s being little and letting Him be God. Letting Him have control. And actually believing that He is good.

That He knows what’s best. That He really is working for the good of those who love Him.

Because the bottom line is that He loves His people. Really loves us. And He will not let us down.

You can give Him your burdens and let them go. You can let Him carry them for you. Because that’s what He promises to do.

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

He will not only carry your burdens. He will carry you.

“Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Isaiah 46:3-4

No, He won’t drop you! And He won’t drop your problems, either.

You don’t have to try to work it out yourself. Instead, simply trust.

Isn’t it so clear and so simple, and don’t we so often forget?

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

You can trust that His plan is best.

He gives you His peace. He wants to be your peace. Giving you a peace you couldn’t begin to understand.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

 “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

His will for you is joy. Really! Rejoice, and again He says rejoice!

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Because joy is deep and strong and gutsy, and joy rooted in the right place gives you a strength that comes from God.

 “And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law.

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:9-10

Come to Him, and let Him give you rest.

 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Because ultimately He is God… and He is good.

And, in trusting Him, we find our peace.

“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and for ever.” Psalm 131

 

Wait for Him

God’s timing is perfect. Don’t try to rush ahead of Him. Don’t give up because you can’t see Him working. Don’t lose heart because it doesn’t make sense. He knows what He is doing, and there is a reason for the delay… and a glorious plan beyond it!

“He hath made every thing beautiful in its time”(Eccl 3:10a, KJV). That’s from Ecclesiastes, and there’s so much wisdom in it. Everything is beautiful at the time God appointed for it. It would not be as beautiful if it was not fully ripened; fully matured; fully ready for the place that God has appointed for it. There are many promises in the Bible for those who wait for the LORD. He delights to do wonderful things for those who put their hope in Him.

“For the LORD is a God of judgement: blessed are all they that wait for him” Isaiah 30:18c.

Christians can trust our God because of the kind of God He is. He is a God of justice. He does not forget what has been entrusted to Him. He takes a special delight in coming through for those who wait for Him… in amazing, astounding, unbelievable ways!

“And thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.” Isaiah 49:23b

He wants us to wait for Him: not to rush full steam ahead with our own clever ideas, but to wait on Him for His way. This is His promise: He acts for those who wait for Him. If we try to act in our own strength, what we try to do will not last and we will end up frustrated by our fruitless efforts, which will only tangle us in more problems. If we look to Him, wait for Him and seek Him, we will find blessing that we could not imagine.

The Lord delights to astound those who wait for Him.

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.” Isaiah 64:4.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

There is a way God wants us to respond: to wait quietly, trustingly and restfully, without panic or fear or doubt. This is the way of strength; the way that God delights to honour with deliverance.

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” Isaiah 30:15

The words above were written to Israel, God’s people, as they considered trying to solve the threat of being attacked by their enemies by their own strategy: going to Assyria (another enemy) for help. But this would only end in disaster. If they had turned to God, waited for Him and trusted in Him, He would have delighted to come through for them in an amazing way. Instead, they were unwillingly, and they turned to do things their own way instead. But the LORD’s heart was to bless them! He was only waiting for them to trust in Him so that He could shower them with the wonderful things He wanted to do for them.

And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

This is the way of blessing: seeking Him and going forward as He leads, with Him ahead and Him leading every step of the way.

“For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward.” Isaiah 52:10

The way of faith is not the way of panic or flight, but the way of returning and rest; the way of peace; the way of quiet trust.

Surrender to Him. Let Him be God. Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). The enemy wants you to question God: to give in to unbelief and let go of your precious faith.

Remember Job, and his words when the enemy took everything away. Satan was trying to trick Job into cursing God. But Job’s eyes were fixed beyond his circumstances, to his God.

“And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Job 1:20-22

Remember Abraham, who waited so many years for the promised son. He was stretched and stretched and stretched and stretched until it seemed impossible that God would answer and yet… and yet he held onto what God had told him, and we are still living in the aftershocks of the effects of that incredible promise coming true.

Remember how God honoured his faith.

Remember Sarah, trusting God for a baby, even though it seemed impossible.

“ Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.” Hebrews 11:11-12

Later, she laughed, when her baby was born, with sheer joy. She named him Isaac (he laughs).

Remember Abraham, ready to slay his son of promise, because his heart was looking at his God.

Remember Ruth, who laid everything down and followed her mother-in-law to Israel: to the God she had heard of, and had grown to love.

Remember how He blessed her for her faith.

The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” Ruth 2:12

And He did!

He met them when they laid it all down, obeyed and trusted, even in the dark.

“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” Isaiah 50:10

Is that you? You don’t understand? You have no light? You don’t get what God is doing? You feel like you’re in the dark? God tells you here what He wants you to do: Trust in the Name of the LORD, and depend upon your God.

Wait on the LORD.

Waiting on the LORD is the way of strength: the way of supernatural power: the way of flying up on wings like eagles as we wait for Him. As we look to Him, trust in Him and seek Him, we will find that He fills us with supernatural power, empowering and filling and enabling us in ways that we had not dreamed possible.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31

It is here that we can know Him in a new way, in the stretching and pulling and growing of waiting… in the comfort and counsel and peace of His presence with us.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

And then, when the waiting is over and God’s time has come, we will find that He amazes us with the incredible ways that He has worked, doing over and above anything we could ask or imagine! All the glory will be His (and we will be so, so happy, too!).

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Spring

Don’t you just love spring? All through autumn and winter, deep down, I am yearning for spring: for the sunshine; for the birdsong; for the flowers. Deep in the heart of winter, sometimes it can feel that spring is so, so far away. You wait for weeks and weeks… and then suddenly the snowdrops are bravely sticking their heads out of the cold ground… and sunshine begins to break through… you begin to hope a little… and then, all at once, it seems that the whole world is bright and bold and alive, with a rainbow riot of flowers and the glory of the strong, warm sun and the endless chirping of the wakening birds… and it can feel like a call to hope: a call to remember that winter does not last forever; that, for those who belong to Christ, new life will triumph in the end.

“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; and the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.” Song of Songs 2:11-13a

And how quickly I forget to remember Who is behind it all; the One who calls us to come away and enjoy it with Him.

“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Song of Songs 2:13b

… and to remember that it’s just a faint echo of the wonderful new world that awaits God’s people for all Eternity.

Moments

Do you sometimes find yourself going through the motions and forgetting to take the joy: forgetting to be grateful for the blessings that surround you? I know I do!

Lately, I’ve occasionally caught myself in the busyness, going full steam ahead, forgetting to breathe for a second and thank God for the moment. Life in our office is busy and intense. Errands and writing are squeezed into spare minutes. My mind is often whirring all day long… and then I catch myself for a second and suddenly notice something He has given me: a glimpse of the wide, glittering sky over the garden as I unlock the front door; lacy, white blossom on a freshly budding tree; the taste of hot, good food when I’m hungry; the warm, encouraging words of a friend. And sometimes I find myself suddenly aware that I am deeply, deeply blessed.

And behind it all is the Lord, reminding me of His presence with me always; reminding me of His goodness; reminding me of His love.

After all, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17a, KJV).

And sometimes He so gently reminds me of what I so often forget: Thank You.

It’s all about Him

It’s all about Him. It’s all about knowing Him; about bringing Him glory. In our crazy, craving, restless world, how quickly we look to other things: how quickly we search in other places. But it’s all about Him. It’s all about Christ.

Everything was “created by him, and for him” (from Col 1:16c, KJV).

He is the centre of the universe.

And He is the only way to find true peace…to find joy!

Paul put it so well: everything else is worthless compared to knowing Him.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” Phil 4:8 (KJV).

And he was right.

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” Ps 63:1 (KJV).

He is the One Who satisfies. And, really, it’s all about Him.

Oh, Lord, give us Yourself!

Why not now?

I’ve been thinking for a long time about starting a blog… ‘sometime’. But a conversation with my pastor recently made me realise that ‘sometime’ might never come. Time is so precious. Our lives are so fleeting. We will so soon be in eternity. So why not now? Do I have something to say to the world? Well, yes. Because of Him, I do. Lord, this blog is Yours. Use it however You wish, for Your glory. I know it won’t be perfect. But, maybe, if it can do some good for someone, it will be worth it.