Remembering to Say ‘Thank You’

I’m learning, more and more, that it’s good to just say ‘Thank You’: to celebrate the good things God has done.

We’ve started taking a few moments to do that every day in our little GFA UK team in the office where I work. It’s helping us to notice His blessings.

I know things can be hard. There is suffering in this world.

But God is also very kind.

I saw that last week. I knew I needed to get away for a break. I was getting pretty exhausted, but I didn’t know where a proper rest could come from. When plans fell through more than once, I prayed, with faltering faith, that He would provide.

I went back to verses He’s shown me often recently.

‘The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.’ 32 Yet, for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God, 33 who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the way you should go, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day.’ Deuteronomy 1:30-33

I am His. Forgiven through Jesus, I am a child of God. Just as He provided for His Old Testament people every step of the way, He has promised to go ahead of me and provide for me.

And He did… amazingly.

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Through a friend’s suggestion and generosity, God opened the way and provided for me to have a week in a lovely Christian B&B in Llandudno ( http://www.betheden.co.uk/ ) … complete with new friends, abundant, hot sunshine, a gentle beach with bright blue sea, beautiful scenery… Bible teaching and encouragement every evening… Even a love heart in the sky from the Red Arrow display at a military parade, which I watched from the beach!

red arrowsIt couldn’t have been easier, really. There was even a coach a friend knew about that took me quickly and smoothly there! So many details just came together. And I had a week soaked in sunshine and God’s blessing. 🙂

For all my worrying, there was His abundant, tender provision.

wales

He is so, so kind.

Sometimes we forget that.

He throws in blessings we don’t expect.

Don’t lose hope. Sure, there is suffering in this world. But I’m learning, again and again, that He is kind, and He loves to provide and to bless. 🙂

(What we all need, most of all, is His forgiveness. We all face eternal judgement without it. He loves us so much. That’s why He gave His Son. When we come to Him, turn from wrong, surrender to follow Him as Lord and accept the free forgiveness Jesus bought for us on the cross, we find a loving Father Who, through all the trials, meets every need abundantly and offers abundant hope for all eternity for all who follow Him).

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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When You Think No-One Could Heal Your Heart

The other day, I was in a conversation with someone, which made me think. There’s something I want to share in response. So here goes:

Jesus can heal the broken-hearted. Nothing is too hard for Him. He knows us. He made us. He cares about every sigh; every tear. And He is able to heal our hearts, and to restore.

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No matter how intricate the problem or how deep the wounds of our hearts. No matter how confusing, or messy, or raw. He can heal, and He does.

If we come to Him on His terms. If we let Him in.

We need to surrender. We need to seek Him for His forgiveness.. turn from wrong… forgive others… let Him in… Let Him be first. We need to let Him to come in; to let Him help us. But oh, how He wants to!

He does it His own way. Sometimes He does it suddenly. Sometimes (perhaps more commonly) He takes time. Or sometimes it’s a bit of both: like waves that come gradually. It will culminate in eternity. It’s not all done here and now. 

But He can, and He does.

‘“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;”‘ Isaiah 61:1

We need to do it let Him in, and surrender. He will work.

He is the tender Shepherd. He knows us intimately. And He knows each of His sheep as individuals. No matter how wounded. No matter how broken. The Good Shepherd knows how to heal.

And He knows how to care for us, too, while we are in His hospital. So very, very tenderly. He carries His little lambs close to His heart.

‘He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.’ Isaiah 40:11

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I remember being in a season when God was doing a lot of deep work in me. It was painful. I felt raw. I was afraid of things I needed to cope with through the day. I didn’t feel able to cope with much. And a picture came into my mind: a hospital, with clean white beds and a gentle breeze. It was reassuring. I was in God’s hospital. I didn’t need to over-try. He would take care of me. And He did.

He knows us each as individuals. And He knows exactly what we need. It’s not one-size-fits all. That’s why other people’s stories are not the same as yours (although He may well provide people who can help because there are deep similarities). You are unique. And He knows just what you need.

’15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. 16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”’ Ezekiel 34:15-16

He is so very tender with His little ones. He deals with us each in just the right way. He takes us at a pace we can handle.

He knows just what we need. He knows the intricacies of our hearts. Sometimes we need to cry. His arms are a safe place. Sometimes we need Him to help us access the pain first (like having an operation). Sometimes we need to let Him take us back to the memories, so He can set us free from them as we forgive and He comes and pours in His love. Sometimes we need others to help us, so we are not alone. He can provide them if we ask Him to (and He can heal us up when they hurt us, too, if let Him… if we forgive them). Sometimes we need freedom from demons who are attacking us. He knows about that, too, and nothing is to hard for Him. No power is bigger than Jesus. Sometimes we need conviction of where we are wrong. He will show us, forgive us when we ask Him to, and work to change us from the inside out.

And He can heal, and restore, in ways we just couldn’t imagine.

There are things I used to think I’d never be free from. Now, I find it hard to remember how they used to be a problem. Because He has worked so amazingly, and so well. He is thorough, yes. But He is also very, very kind.

It can take longer than we think. His ways are often not what we expect. But they are so very, very good. Don’t ever underestimate what He can do.

Come to Him. Come to Him in faith.

Just like this lady, who had tried everything and nothing had worked:

’25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”

29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in herbody that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”

31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’

32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”’ Mark 5:25-34

She reached out to Jesus, and He answered her.

In His own way, yes. But He did.

And He interacted with her, too, because healing is not an end in itself.

The end is not healing, but relationship with Him. It’s about knowing Him; loving Him; being loved. Finding the Love we have been looking for all our lives. Living this life from the Father’s arms.

Turning from the idols that let us down, and letting Him be all in all.

‘For my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
    the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
    broken cisterns that can hold no water.’ Jeremiah 2:13

‘3 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.‘ John 4:13-14

He can fill the broken places in our hearts with His love; with His peace; with His joy.

This is a broken world. Our tears don’t all get fixed now. But He shares them with us, if we let Him. He is with us through them all. And He promises to wipe them all away one day, if we follow Him now.

‘3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”’ Revelation 21:3-4

And He can restore… over and above anything we ever expected Him to do.
‘7 Instead of your shame you shall have double honor,
And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion.
Therefore in their land they shall possess double;
Everlasting joy shall be theirs.’ Isaiah 61:7

There are things I look back on now, amazed at what He has done. Hope can spring up from our deepest tears. Restoration can come in ways we never expected. We will look back one day and be amazed… if we let Him in.

There is always hope with Jesus.

Why not ask Him to come in?

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How Knowing God’s Love Can Help With Fear of a New Year…

Do you ever feel a little bit of fear about going into a new year?

To be honest, I do.

I think one of my greatest weaknesses is fear and hesitancy. There’s generally some low-level fear going on in my heart about something or other.

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I know Jesus. I am forgiven and accepted in Him. I have eternal hope. But, when I look at a new year, I find a little bit of fear rising in my heart, especially if there are things I’m worried about.

My sweet friend Ellen encouraged me a while ago with something like this: ‘Be strong. Don’t be afraid.’ It was wise advice. Ellen knows me well. And it’s advice I generally need- to be strong and not be afraid.

My friends prayed for me the other day about my fear of the new year. Dear Brenda encouraged me to live one moment at a time, and take one day at a time. Wise advice! We also prayed about a situation where someone needed help with a stair lift. And I realised going forward with God can be a bit like getting on a stair lift: you get on and you are carried.

And I sense my Heavenly Father encouraging me with something like this: Because I am forgiven through Jesus (as we all need to be), I have such peace and hope in Him. I am surrounded by His love. His loving arms are always round me. I am His precious, dearly loved child. His provision will always meet me (maybe in ways I don’t expect, but it will). It doesn’t mean there won’t be suffering, but it does mean I don’t need to be afraid of it. He will give me all I need, tenderly and abundantly. So long as you are trusting in and following in Jesus (and that’s the big condition), everything is ultimately going to be okay.

I hear this phrase in my head often these days: Do not be afraid. 

And it’s spot on. What reason do I have to be afraid when I have such a kind, faithful Father leading the way?

God recently encouraged me with the words He spoke to Jacob when he was about to go to Egypt.

 ‘So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. Then God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob!”

And he said, “Here I am.”

So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.”

Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried their father Jacob, their little ones, and their wives, in the carts which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.’ Genesis 46:1-60

The Lord was moving Jacob forward in His plans for Jacob’s life, but there was no reason for Jacob to hesitate or be afraid. The Lord knew why He was sending Jacob back to Egypt, and it was for a good reason. And Jacob was going to be carried all the way there, tenderly provided for in a wagon by Pharaoh himself. It was time to move forward, but it was not time to be afraid, because God was going with him, would bless him and would carry him all the way there and meet him when he got there.

I like to take time before a new year to seek Him for goals for the year. It’s a really helpful way to focus. It’s a big reason why I managed to make an album last year (I knew it was one the goals for the year that I felt God had given me). But sometimes I need to seek Him for His encouragement, too.

Do not be afraid.

Why? Because the Lord is going with me all the way, and He will abundantly be all I need.

If you trust and follow Jesus (and you need to, and can!), He will be abundantly all you need too. 🙂

God bless you in 2018! 🙂

(The way to find true peace and hope (and the rescue from judgement that we all need) is to follow Jesus: to believe He died for what you have done wrong, to turn from sin, believe in Him and surrender to follow Him all your life. It’s the way of rescue from eternal judgement and Hell we all face, and it’s the way of true peace and hope through this life… and the way to eternal joy. It’s not always an easy path, but it’s the way of true blessing as you find your true hope in God and His incredible love for you).

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

 

It’s Not Over Yet

Below are some words I wrote to encourage Christians who are going through hard times.

When you are trusting Jesus as your Saviour and following Him as your Lord, though life can be very tough at times, there is always a reason to keep going, because God always has a good plan in the end.

Eternal blessing is coming for those who follow Jesus. It’s always worth holding on.

(And, if you’re not a follower of Jesus yet, He longs to receive you, forgive you, give you a fresh start and give you this hope too).

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‘Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.’ Psalm 30:5b

I hope these words encourage you, too.

It’s Not Over Yet

It’s not over yet.

You can’t see the end:

What God is doing in love.

So don’t forget:

Lift up your head.

God will work all things for good.

 

All is not done,

Though you just can’t see

How your God moves; how He’ll come.

Faith will win out.

Time will tell yet

Why you were right to hold on.

 

You have a part.

You have a goal.

You still have something to do.

Keep pressing on.

Fulfil your call.

Sow through the tears. He’ll bless you.

 

Be still and know

That He is God.

Your God is still good; in control.

Weeping will turn

Into deep joy.

God has a plan all along.

 

It’s all in hand.

He thinks thoughts for you

Filled not with evil but good.

The end will be bright.

From tears will spring joy.

Be still and know He is God.

 

Fight through the night.

Hold onto what’s right.

God’s promises never can fail.

When Morning comes,

He will amaze.

You will be happy and whole.

 

And, after all,

God is your God.

He is the joy of your soul.

He will provide.

He satisfies.

He is your heart’s All in All.

 

(The Father is reaching out to all of us in such love. Though our rebellion has broken our relationship with Him and we all face His judgement, He gave His only Son to put that right. When you come to Jesus, turning from your sin and putting your trust in what He did on the cross, surrendering your life to follow Him as your Lord and Master, you receive complete forgiveness, eternal hope… and the encouragement that all things will ultimately work out for your good. He is reaching out to you today).

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

A Place to Rest and Remember He is God

This is another full week when I’m busy preparing for a session in a recording studio. There isn’t a lot of time for blogging. So I thought I’d share a poem I wrote a while ago.

beautiful lake

I wrote it at a time when I was pretty anxious and fretful, and on holiday. In the midst of that time, God provided a beautiful day in a hotel spa relaxation space- a gift from a friend.

It was so quiet there, and peaceful, in a little haven deep below the rushing world. The light was muted and beautiful; water so blue and sparkling softly; everything gentle, soothing and calm. I sat there resting- and I had to get my pen and paper and put the peace into words. This is my attempt.

At the end of the day, God is God. If we belong to Him through Jesus (and that’s the issue that determines whether all is really well with us or not) and are following Him, ultimately, all is well. We sometimes fret and worry, but, honestly, we can receive His peace. All is well. We are loved. Our hearts can rest in Him.

Rest

Soft and shining, water plays,

Blue- a thousand depths of blue-

Smoothing, gleaming, ripples glaze

Still, yet ever shifting new.

Soft, a thousand voices fall

Silent in this melting peace.

Deep, this gentle quieting

To feel the troubled echoes cease.

 

Sapphire, sparkling all around,

Glistening in the muted light:

Calm- so calm and glowing down,

Whispering in softest flight.

Sleep, my troubled murmurs, sleep.

Find peace in the quietness.

Listen in this glowing light.

Echoes of Eden bring you peace.

 

Plunge, my weary worries. Bathe

Within this balm of gentleness.

Wait, my anxious plannings, find

Deeply now this place of rest.

Thunders roar and earth may quake.

Winds can blow around you yet

But now- still to hear His voice:

A gentle haven, where you rest.

 

(All is truly well with us when we know that we are forgiven, and secure in God’s love. He offers us His forgiveness and eternal salvation when we turn from our sins, trust in Jesus as Saviour and follow Him as Lord. That’s the way to true, lasting peace… now and forever).

Where We Can Find Everything We Need…

Ok, so this is a bit of a crazy week- another day in a recording studio is coming up, Lord willing! There hasn’t been much time for blogging.
So I thought I would share another poem with you: a poem I wrote for my parents about our shared faith. I hope it is an encouragement!
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Everything We Need
Through the joys and struggles
Of life’s winding way,
We have found the Answer:
Peace in Jesus’ Name.
Yes, in Jesus only
Is our only plea.
We find in our Saviour
Everything we need.
At the cross of Calvary,
Forgiveness is free.
Mercy found in Jesus
Meets our every need.
What a Friend in Jesus
Through each joy and care,
Coming to the Saviour,
We find comfort there.
Just looking to Jesus,
Just letting Him be
Every needed Answer:
All the peace we seek.
Though our sins and failures
Bring us to our knees,
Still we find in Jesus
Grace. Abundantly.
Though it may be costly
To take up His cross,
There is Life abundant,
Joy in every loss.
Though the road may wander,
Though there may be tears,
Still looking to Jesus,
Faithful through the years.
Onward down the pathway,
Forward to Glory’s shore,
Waiting for the Morning
When the wait is over.
Then- to wake with Jesus,
Safe on Mercy’s shore.
There to find together
Joy forevermore.
He will be our anthem
Through eternity.
Yes! We find in Jesus
Everything we need.
Hope it’s an encouragement! God bless you!
(If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Saviour yet, He waits for you with open arms! Turn from your sin, receive His wonderful forgiveness, accept Him as Lord of your life… follow Him and you, too, will find Him as everything you need… for this life and for eternity).

When You’re Wondering Whether You Should Just Give Up…

Have you ever thought about giving on what God has called you to do; on trusting Him?

I’ll be honest here. I have.

Sometimes, the road is just too hard. The setbacks are just too many. You wonder how you can ever keep going.

The Christian life can be HARD. Serving Jesus can be HARD.

And Satan tells us, loudly, to just give up.

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Maybe you don’t know Jesus yet. Maybe this doesn’t make sense to you. But maybe life just feels too hard. You need to know that Jesus is the One Who can give you all the help you need; can give you hope; can give you love.

You need to know that Jesus is right here, reaching out to you, offering you forgiveness, love beyond your wildest dreams, a fresh start and new hope… forever. Come to Him, and find new life. Come and find forgiveness. Come and find peace with God. Come and find hope for eternity. Come and turn from the sins that chain you. Come and receive His forgiveness. Come surrender your life and heart to Him as Lord of your life, and receive the forgiveness, love and hope He loves to give you as your Saviour and Lord. Following Him won’t always be easy, but it’s what you’re searching for. He is the One you are searching for. He is the hope you need.

You are loved.

And that’s what we need to do every time, no matter how long we have known Him. Come to Jesus.

Those who follow Jesus as Saviour and Lord are on the right path, but sometimes it is just hard. Sometimes it feels like it would be far easier to just give up.

But giving up on what God has called us to do, or on trusting Him, is never, ever the right option.

Why? Because He is good. Because He is faithful. Because holding onto Him is always, always worth it… and because He always, always keeps His promises.

It doesn’t always look like we think it will… but, then, it is always ultimately better. He is far, far more generous; more kind; more wise; more faithful than we could ever dream.

I have noticed that God often answers my prayers on another dimension, which I’d never even thought of!

But it’s always too soon to quit.

I remember sensing the Lord showing me something like, “If you give up now, you won’t see the blessing I have been preparing for you.”

Sometimes, blessings are on their way to us that we could not begin to imagine… If only we wait for them… if we don’t give up.

There are always unimaginable blessings coming to those who follow Jesus… If only we hold out for them. Whether in this life or the next, we couldn’t begin to imagine the good things He has planned for us. Sure, this life is hard. But God is also very, very kind, and very, very faithful.

What if it means an awful lot; that decision not to quit; that decision to take one more step forward? That one decision to live as though God will be faithful… and to do the next thing? What if all of Heaven is cheering for us? What if our perseverance is doing far more than we could ever imagine?

What if it’s not as far as we think it is? What if it really is going to be okay… if only we trust Him and hold on?

‘The blessing of the Lord makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it.’ Prov 10:22

Some things are just Rock. Solid. True.

‘”Then you will know that I am the Lord,
For they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.”’ Isaiah 49:23b

‘5Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
6 He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.’ Ps 126:5-6

‘Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.’ Ecclesiastes 11:1

‘Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.’ Isaiah 30:18

‘For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.’ Isaiah 64:4

We don’t have to know how God’s promises will come true… Or even when. But you can be certain, and utterly confident in hope, that, for the child of God through Jesus, they will.

Sometimes it helps to think back when I was a little curly-headed girl in Sunday School, and things were simple. Just trust Jesus. He will take care of me.

‘The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.’ Ps 23:1

‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;’ Prov 3:5

Hope is On the Way

Things look dark now but don’t give in.

Hope is on the way.

Tears sow streams for growing seeds

That will bud one day.

Keep your head up. He will come.

He is on His way.

Light will break through deepest night.

Keep trusting today.

Things look bleak now. You can’t see

Sun behind the storm.

Rainbows birth from cloudy skies

If you wait for morn.

Healing comes from honest prayers.

Hope springs from despair.

The righteous path is like the dawn,

Bright, brighter every hour.

Things look down but don’t let go.

He will lift you up.

He is tender with bruised reeds.

He will heal with love.

He is working through this pain;

His plan never fails.

Harvests bathed in faithful tears

Reap rewards one Day.

Things look bleak but stand in faith.

Let Him hear your songs.

Let Him see your loving trust.

Let Him hold you close.

Nothing done for love of Him

Ever is a waste.

Love Him hard through this deep dark

And He will amaze!

Some day soon, He will reward

All your tears have sown.

Live to hear His tender voice:

‘Well done, faithful one.”

Brightness bursts through streaming Dawn;

You will see His face.

Morning breaks on Heaven’s shore.

Night has turned to Day.

You don’t need to have strength right now for all of days ahead. You only need to lean hard on the LORD. You only need to take the next step. As you do, help will come. You can be sure of it.

The words below are part of an anonymous poem that has blessed me at various times. It’s called ‘Do the Next Thing’. I thought you might enjoy them.

“Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus. DO THE NEXT THING.

Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command,
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
Leave all resultings. DO THE NEXT THING.”

(source unknown)

Sometimes it’s just leaning hard into Him, and then making the decision to wash the dishes. To sweep the floor. To go to work. Trusting that, as you take a step forward, He will meet you with all you need. And, when you look back, you will be amazed at how He came through.

And I have learned that the best thing to do when you don’t know what to do or you don’t know how you will keep going is to get alone with Jesus, and seek Him until He gives you what you need. In His presence, we find the missing pieces. We find His love. We find what we need to keep going. Often, it’s just peace and His presence… which is really all we need. Sometimes His answers aren’t what we expect. Sometimes He doesn’t feel close. But He will always be faithful to answer our cries.

‘My God of mercy[a] shall come to meet me;
God shall let me see my desire on my enemies.’ Ps 59:10

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

When you Long to Feel Secure…

I recently felt prompted to share a poem that I recently wrote for a friend. I wrote it to encourage her in the love of our Heavenly Father, and how secure she is in Him.

Those who are trusting in Jesus for salvation and following Him are so very, very loved, and so very, very secure in His love.

Just to clarity, that security never a licence to grow complacent and play with sin- and doing so may even be a warning light that we do not really believe in the way we think we do. Maybe part of the proof that we believe is that we keep believing; keep following Jesus all the way. But, yet, there is deep, sweet security in the Father’s love, and resting in His gracious, tender wisdom and plan for our lives. No matter what life throws at us, believers in Jesus are surrounded, secure and enfolded in the love of a Father, Who loves us so very, very dearly, and holds us so very tenderly in His hands.

After all,

‘The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;’ Deut 33:27a.

(And, if you don’t know that yet, you can- it’s what Jesus longs to give you!).

I hope the words below bless and encourage you. They are not Scripture, but my attempt to encapsulate comfort and encouragement in following the Lord. I hope they are a blessing to you. 🙂

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In My Love

‘The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’ Jer 31:3

In My love you are surrounded.

In My peace, you’re reconciled.

In My plan, you’re safe, enfolded,

Treasured as your Father’s child.

 

Trusting in your Saviour’s promise,

Follow Him along the way.

He will lead you as, surrendered,

You walk, believing in His grace.

 

Treasured in the love that keeps you,

Held fast in the love of God;

Everlasting Arms beneath you;

Cherished, kept, in My strong hold.

 

Trust in Me for each new moment.

Rest in Me. I’ll keep you safe.

I will shield you as you trust Me.

I will carry all the way.

 

For the future, grace is promised.

For the present, I Am here.

For the past, all is forgiven.

In My love, you are secure.

 

Follow Me through every valley.

Every step, look up to Me.

Live surrendered, looking upwards.

I will give you all you need.

 

‘Til forever, safe in Heaven,

You’ll reach your eternal shore.

I will meet you. I will comfort.

You’ll be with Me evermore.

 

Treasured, held, enfolded, promised,

Loved and lifted all the way.

You can rejoice. You can trust Me.

In My love, I’ll keep you safe.

 

(To experience this for yourself, come to Jesus as your Saviour, confessing your sin and receiving His full and free forgiveness for the things you have done against Him, and surrendering your life to Him as your Lord. He is waiting to meet with you, set you free and give you eternal, abundant hope. Don’t wait- seek Him today. He longs to meet with you and wrap you up in the security of His love).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Even if you’re not American…

This is the time of the year when my friends and I get together to celebrate Thanksgiving. No, I am not American. But our team began celebrating Thanksgiving years ago for the sake of our American friends, and it has become a tradition-and a joy!

We get together in a beautifully decorated house for a meal and a time of fun and celebration. Everyone brings food, generally homemade, which steams invitingly. The room is decorated with bronzed leaves, warm colours and glowing candles. We welcome each other with love and laughter.

thanksgiving

We smile at each other over the flickering candles and loaded table, and take turns to talk about the things we are thankful for. It helps you to realise how much you have.
Even if you don’t have everything you think you want, it helps you to realise how very rich you are: how very good God has been to you. It fills you with contentment, and joy.
Because, when you notice some of the things He has done for you, you begin to realise how blessed you are.
My friend and I talked the other day about gratitude: about being thankful for what you have right now. Someone in Syria, for example, would probably give anything just for somewhere safe to live… Enough food… Freedom. I have those in abundance.
Most of all, I have Christ. The deep thirst of my soul has been satisfied. When I am in need, I know where to go. He always meets me with His help. He has given me forgiveness, and eternal hope.
I was talking to someone the other day about what it would be like to earn lots of money- and I realised I’m glad I don’t (although I guess we all have so much compared to many people who struggle through this world). Actually, I feel so rich already, with the blessings He has showered upon me.
A loving family. So many caring friends. More than one church family. Life and freedom and, most of all, knowing Christ. Food and shelter and creativity… And so, so much more. I am so very, very blessed.
Sometimes, our team take time in prayer meetings to write down ten things we are thankful for. It can be big things or little things. It can be anything. There have been times when I didn’t feel like doing it- when I felt sad and it felt too hard to rejoice. But I had to write my list anyway… And it encouraged me so much. How easily I forget the things He has done for me… the things He blesses me with!
It helps me realise that I am a lot richer than I think I am.
It is so good to take a moment to stop, reflect and say ‘thank You’. To take a moment to breathe right where I am, look around and pick out something I can be grateful for.
He’s been speaking to me recently from Psalm 23. Those words: ‘I shall not want.’ (Ps 23:1b) Ever. He will always provide for His child who belongs to Christ. I have seen it the past. When I stop to look, I realise I see it now. And I will see it tomorrow, and every day after that until He calls me home.
It helps me realise that He is trustworthy for the future, too.
I don’t know if you celebrate Thanksgiving. If you don’t, I recommend it (even if, like me, you’re not American!). It’s lots of fun! But, whether you do or not, Happy Thanksgiving!
Either way, I recommend making your own list of things to be thankful for, and taking a moment to say ‘thank You’ to God.
I think it will make you smile. 🙂
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

When you feel in need of some Divine TLC…

Do you ever have times when you feel fragile and worn, and in need of some TLC?

That is exactly what God delights to provide for those who look to Him, and come to Him through Jesus.

There are many astoundingly beautiful characteristics of God. Some examples: He is holy. He is faithful. He is powerful. He is just. He is righteous. He is good.

But, sometimes, I think that my favourite characteristic of God is His tenderness. Ok, so I don’t really mean that: everything about Him is astoundingly wonderful.

But His tenderness is very precious to me.

pic-bench

The truth is that I’m very sensitive. He made me that way, and it has its benefits, but it sure makes life painful sometimes. And it also makes it so very precious when He meets me in His tenderness, and ministers in a way that is so very personal; so very intimate; so very gentle; so very kind.

Maybe you’ve seen it in your own life: something so intimate that it could only be God, because no-one else could have known how much it mattered, or could have orchestrated it in such a detailed way.

Maybe you had no idea that it was from Him.

I can think of many examples in my own life. Here are a few:

The day I was so very sad, and my friend, who didn’t know, bought me roses. I know God timed that.

The day I pulled up in my car, my mind clouded with worry, stepped out onto the street… and looked up at a rainbow I hadn’t even known was there.

The day I was crying, asking God to help me believe He loved me because He felt so far away… and along came my friend’s cat and started rubbing against my face.

The messages of encouragement that were perfectly timed. The friends who prayed just when I needed it. The little things that meant so much.

The things only God could do.

He is such a tender Father.

He is far more merciful than we could ever dream.

This is a broken world. He never intended it to be that way. He made a perfect world, with no tears. We broke it by our rebellion. And now there are all kinds of tears, and all kinds of broken dreams.

But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t care. We can’t draw simplistic conclusions about His intentions when we have His promise that He loves us so very, very much.

He holds a bottle of the tears of His child. He counts them all. That’s how much He cares.

‘You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?’ Psalm 56:8

He cares so much that He gave His own Son to die a cruel death on a cross to buy you a way out of this mess, forever.

He knows when your heart is fragile- and His protection of it is fierce when you take refuge in Him!

‘The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.’ Psalm 34:18

‘For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.’ Psalm 5:12

‘A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.’ Isaiah 42:3

I listened to a message the other day about how tender He is with the bruised reed: how gentle He is with those who are broken and helpless and at the end of themselves. It was so precious and encouraging because we all get knocked down sometimes, don’t we? And He knows. And He cares. And He is tender with those who are fragile and look to Him.

http://www.preachtheword.com/sermon/misc0075-bruisedreed.shtml

If you’ve never come to Him as Saviour, surrendering to Him as Lord, you have no idea of what you are missing out on. You have no idea of the things He has done for you, which you missed. Every breath comes from Him. Every heartbeat. Every caring hug. Every piece of chocolate. Every sunset. Every smile. And how He yearns to receive you as His own, offering you His forgiveness and eternal life when you turn from wrong and believe in Christ.

Sometimes I look around at the people living around me, seeing the sadness, the brokenness in their eyes, and yearn for them to know what He offers to us all: His forgiveness, His hope, His love, His comfort and His peace. Please let Him in. His mercy will amaze you.

And His tenderness never changes, no matter how long we have known Him… or how many tears we have cried.

He knows just how much we can take. He cares for us as a tender Father, and He never stretches us too much.

‘As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.’ Psalm 103:13-14

My friend Carole pointed something out from Bible history once: when Jacob’s family were travelling, they only went as fast as the little ones could take. And the Lord, also, knows how much His little ones can take. He takes us patiently on a journey we can handle.

‘But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. 14 Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure, until I come to my lord in Seir.”’ Genesis 33:13

Jacob would not push the little ones too hard. And our Lord won’t, either. Actually, he carries them!

‘He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.’ Isaiah 40:11

Sometimes I can get frustrated with the pace of the journey God takes me on. Sometimes I think He is being too slow. But what if what feels painstakingly slow is actually His tender loving care? What if He knows I can’t handle things as fast as I think I can? What if the pauses are actually just a chance for me to rebuild and catch my breath? They say even good things can cause stress. He knows us so well. Maybe He takes things slowly sometimes for a reason.

And He knows your personality perfectly, too. What if the pace is tailor-made to your design? What if it’s really His tender loving care?

There are seasons to the lives of God’s children in Christ, measured by His gracious hand. He gives His people rebuilding seasons as well as tough ones. He tenderly provides just what we need to keep going. Sometimes He breaks in with wonderful mercies and encouragements, to give us a reminder of His Father heart.

He is so very, very kind.

It’s easy to forget that. There’s a lot of suffering to life in this broken world. If you follow Jesus, there is even more suffering, because you’re going the opposite direction to everyone else. But you are also so very, very loved.

And you can rest in His Father heart when you don’t understand.

‘Who among you fears the Lord?
Who obeys the voice of His Servant?
Who walks in darkness
And has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord
And rely upon his God.’ Isaiah 50:10

Come into His presence. Seek Him. Surrender. Talk to Him. Ask Him to comfort you. He is so very, very precious and so very, very kind, and He loves to bring His tender comfort, and His love.

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.’

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

And knowing how much He cares is a great reason to trust in Him, no matter what you’re going through right now. 🙂

 

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.