Why Right Now Matters

Do you ever catch yourself wondering where the time has gone?

One of my friends got my thinking recently… about time.

About how fast time goes.

About how you can’t get it back.the-eleventh-hour-disaster-alarm-clock-clock.jpg

 

His wife had to go to hospital. In the end, she was fine, but it made him think.

What if she hadn’t been fine? What if her time was up? She’s in her early thirties.

Like me.

It made think, too.

Why do I live like I will have now forever?

I won’t.

The biggest deal is where we will spend eternity (and it’s the question we all seriously need to face before it’s too late). Jesus Christ is my hope for eternity. He has forgiven me, accepted me and made me His own. Trusting in Him alone and following Him, I don’t need to fear the judgement that is coming on the world. I belong to Him (and you need to as well, before it’s too late. Come to Jesus. Receive His free forgiveness as the way back to God. Turn from wrong. Surrender your heart and your life to Him. Follow Him as your Lord. Find love… forgiveness you’d never dreamed existed… and eternal hope).

Yes, Jesus Christ has given me hope for eternity.

But, precisely because He has forgiven me, I don’t want to waste the life He has redeemed… because He is worthy of it all.

Right now, I have a body that works. Time that I can use. Freedom in my single life to choose how I will use big chunks of it.

I can take that for granted. Assume it will always be the same.

But it won’t. Our lives seasons to them… and they don’t last forever.

My Grandma is 98. By God’s grace, she’s still here. But there’s so little she can do by herself now.

In a few years, if God gives me that long (and He may not), that could be me.

It makes me think. How am I using the precious moments God has given me? The talents? The opportunities?

Am I buying them up?

Making the most of them?

Or letting them slip by; frittered away; wasted?

And I don’t think that means doing everything what I want to in this life.  Our culture tells us we need to do everything we want to do now, because life is short.

It is… but I don’t need to live for this world.

I’ll have all the time in forever, when God makes all my true dreams come true.

Those who follow Jesus have hope that is eternal.

But we have only one life in this world to use to make an eternal impact.

To help others know Christ.

To bring Him glory in this world.

It makes me ask some searching questions.

How am I using the time I have today; the opportunities I have right now?

Sometimes we can wish our time away… wish the season was different.

Wish away what God has given me right now.

Seasons do change.

But the opportunities they provide change, too.

I won’t be here forever.

And nor will the people I could impact today.

The doors won’t always be open.

How am I using what God has given me now?

Sometimes, I say to myself, “Blink and I’ll be in tomorrow… or next week…”

Of course, it’s not entirely true. Blink and I’m not in tomorrow or next week… quite. But live a few more hours and, well, I am. Suddenly, it is tomorrow. It is next week. And today’s opportunities have gone.

Lord, help me be intentional with this life You’ve given me now… to make a difference for eternity!

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Final Memories from Manila… and how Manila Changed Me

As my days in the Philippines began to come to an end, there wasn’t much time to write prayer letters. But I still have memories: memories that have impacted me deeply.

There are so many memories; far more than I could write down here. Each of the people I met was so precious. And so much happened in five weeks.

But I will capture just a few:

I remember the day I went to the opening of the new home for street people. As part of the opening ceremony, a group of street people sang a song about the Good News of Jesus, and how He can rescue and redeem forever. I remember the tears standing in my eyes, watching them and knowing that He really can… and He is doing.

I remember the team there giving me a present: a simple little bracelet. They told me to keep it always, to remember. I still have it now… and I still remember.

I remember little Ronalyn (with the red t-shirt below), and how she was learning English at school. I remember the day she came up to me, shyly, and said, “How…. are…. you?” I remember how it melted my heart.

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I remember editing report after report of the children’s stories… so many stories of abuse and neglect and trauma. I am so thankful to think that God can heal broken hearts.

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I remember the Saturday morning we got up so early, climbed into the van and set off for the market: some house mothers, some girls and I. It was crazy and unforgettable: the big shed full of Asian faces and Asian foods and so many things I’d never seen before: men carrying whole pig carcasses on their shoulders; people selling all of the parts on stalls; fish still jumping on the counter; me with one of the only white faces in the market, sticking out like a sore thumb and feeling like I was at the other end of the world… It was another experience I would never forget.

I remember being so humbled by the gifts I was given by the dear sisters I had found in the Lord.

I remember the gift Ate Reah gave me: a gift I still treasure. It is a simple bracelet, made of simple plastic threads. It’s bracelet she wore to remind her to pray for Edward, one of the street people, who had tuberculosis. I remember feeling so humbled that she would give it to me. It reminds me of all I learned while I was with her.

I remember my last evening in the Philippines; when something happened that impacted me very deeply.

That was a sad last day: a day of goodbyes and gifts that humbled me and precious people I did not want to leave. During the day, I went to the office. Usually, when it was time to go home, I would be with one of the CCM team, who would go with me on a Jeepney. That night, there was no one available, so they left me with Emy, a dear girl of around 16. What none of us had bargained for, though, was rush hour.
Emy and I waited on the street, confidently expecting a Jeepney to approach. One did. We waved, asking the driver to stop. He did not. Too full. We waited. Another Jeepney came along. We waved. No answer. Too full. One by one, the Jeepneys went past. It was rush hour, and no-one had any room. So we began to look for taxis or FX’s, too. Again, we waved. None stopped. No-one had any room. I was beginning to get a bit anxious. ‘Lord,’ I was praying, ‘I’m on my own in Manila with a sixteen year old girl and my flight goes tomorrow! Please help me get back!’
‘Let’s walk,’ Emy said. Figuring that she knew the city better than I did, I agreed. We began to walk along the street, waving at the Jeepneys, and taxis. None stopped. We kept walking. I kept praying. No success.
Time passed. We were walking on and on through the streets of Manila, Emy and I, I getting more and more anxious, and Emy probably a bit like that, too!
Suddenly, I recognised where we were. We had reached the street where the church was… Where the street people lived, whom I had got to know. ‘Ate Caroline! Ate Caroline!’ They were calling. They were street people and I was a white girl with so much more than they would ever have, but we were friends. 
Animatedly, Emy explained our problem. We stood talking to our friends. It gave me a few more precious minutes with them, including some of the street children. I wrote in my journal of  “The little clutch of Princess and her sister as their dear, dirty little hands encircled mine, and they watched me with childlike love and trust. My heart ached over them. I was wearing Ate Reah’s bracelet- may it always, always remind me.”
But my friends were now planning a solution to my problem. In shock, I realised what was happening: they were going to help! Springing into action, my new friends from the streets began to gather their other friends. Running down the street, dodging the traffic, they hurried, in and out of the cars, trying to track down a Jeepney or a taxi: anything that would stop. Still amazed, and terrified that they would get hurt on my behalf, I followed helplessly with Emy.
It was surreal. It was crazy. It was so humbling. Street people risking their lives through traffic to get a lift for me? I was too shocked to say how grateful I was.
Before long, they had succeeded in getting me a lift, and were beckoning me to hurry and get into it. I wanted to tell them… To thank them… But there was no time. We had to hustle on board… And get back… To the home and my aeroplane and the rich life I had back in England.
As I sat there in the FX, I processed what had happened. God had answered in a crazy, out-of-the-box way… and with a lesson I would never forget. They were so poor. They had so little. I had so much. Why would they go out of their way to help me? They probably couldn’t afford a taxi or a Jeepney for themselves! But I knew something as I sat there. I would never forget what they had done.
I remember the last moments at the Girls’ Home: the realisation that I had to go to catch my aeroplane, and some of the children were still asleep, and I would have to leave without hugging them goodbye. I went into the rooms and looked at their sleeping faces, wondering if I should wake them up. I still wish I had; that I had woken them and hugged them and told them how much they mean to me. Maybe they don’t remember now, but I do. They’ll be young women now, going out into the world. I received a photo of some of them recently: lovely young women in beautiful dresses. And I thought of the little girls I had grown to love.

If any of them ever read this, I would want them to know how precious they are; how special they are to God. How much He longs to work in and through their lives in stunningly beautiful ways. How much He longs to forgive their sins, heal up their hearts and set them free to know Him and His incredible, healing, freeing, restoring love. And I would want them to know that I have not forgotten them… that they will always be very precious to me.

I remember the gruff, urgent way Monica clung to me and looked up at me as we said goodbye, and said, ‘Don’t ever forget’. Dear Monica who was rescued as a baby from the Mumbai streets. And I wanted to convince her; to make her believe I never could… but I was too overcome with emotion. I still want to tell her it now. I never have forgotten, and I never could. I could never forget what I saw; what I experienced. God has used it to change me forever.

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I remember sitting in the aeroplane, looking out of the window; thinking of the precious people I was leaving behind. I knew that I would probably never see them again this earth, and my heart was bursting.

But my heart was bursting with more than that. My heart was bursting with a call; with a decision.I would never forget. I was going back for people like them. I was going back because God was calling me to serve Him; to live my life so that others like them could know His love; could live forever. I looked out of the window as the plane lifted; as I began the long trip back to England. And I knew that my life had been marked.

I remember that it was strange to be back. I remember walking around a shopping centre, feeling so angry with the lavish expense and waste. I remember thinking of Manila, and how much we could help if we would only share.

I remember looking at statistics: about over 2 billion people who have still never heard the Name of Jesus even once. About 80,000 people dying every single day without a chance even to experience His love. And I remember thinking that they could no longer be statistics any more; not after Manila. Each statistic is a precious person with an eternal soul.

In time, things became clear. God was calling me; not to the Philippines (though I will always love my dear friends there) but to people who have even less access to what I have than they do: to help the billions in the 10/40 Window with no chance whatsoever to experience the love of Christ. Now I work for Gospel for Asia (www.gfauk.org ). But I will never, ever forget what happened to me in Manila.

What I found out afterwards… 

Years afterwards, I saw a Facebook post: a page about Noelyn. I remember Noelyn: how could I ever forget her? The sweet, affectionate girl of 14 who had lived as a scavenger on the streets, trying desperately to survive; the dear, warm Noelyn who had clung to my hand and chatted to me, and won a place in my heart as each of the children did.

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I had written in my journal about  “Dear little Noelyn’s sad, sad eyes as she hugged me so tightly and said, ‘I miss you’ as I said goodbye to her. I think she had been waiting for me. Oh, Lord, would You  go to her?”

What I came to realise through that Facebook post is Jesus did go to Noelyn… and He took her to Himself, too. I found out that dear, sweet Noelyn has gone ahead of me: she is with Jesus now. Health problems took her away suddenly, at only 20 years old.

This is from the report about her death:

“Noelyn left behind a diary and a half finished testimony. She had been hoping to apply for church membership. The last diary entry spoke of her health: “I know God is testing my trust in Him. But I will not give up, I will prove to Him that He is my only Saviour and Keeper and that I want to be His servant and child until the last breath of my life”. Staff had spoken with her during recent months about salvation and believe that she is one of God’s children. 

Written on a piece of paper taped to her mirror the morning she died was the reference John 3:16. Her room mates said she must have written it the night before as it wasn’t there before that.”

You can find the whole story here:

http://www.ccmmanila.org/news/noelynstatement

That brought me to tears. Little Noelyn, who held my hand. Little Noelyn, who had lived as a scavenger on the streets until CCM took her in. Little Noelyn, who is now at peace, with Jesus.

It touches me so deeply to think of that: to think of how much it means that Noelyn is with Jesus now. And it makes it all so real; so important. What matters is sharing Christ’s love with those who so badly need it.

May it wake us up. May it help us realise that, if Jesus Christ really is the only way to Heaven (and He is), then this is worth giving our lives for, no matter what the cost. It is worth doing whatever it takes to share His love.

’18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.[d]’ Matt 28:18-20

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

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Are you wondering where the world is headed?

I had a blog post pretty much planned for this week, but I decided to change it. Because it’s been a bit of a crazy day or two in the world, and there’s something I feel compelled to say.
 It started with a conversation I had recently,about where the world is heading. About how things feel a bit out of control. About how everyone’s talking about where the world is headed.
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Maybe you’ve asked that question, too.

It sure feels a bit like the world is unstable at the moment, doesn’t it?

I don’t want to get into politics. I have my thoughts but I could be wrong! I’m no politician. But things this week have made me think.
Because, to be honest, it sometimes feels like the world is shaking… like things are getting a bit out of control.
People ask where the world is headed.
People ask what the world is coming to.
To be honest, I’m sure I know the answer, and I need to share it, because it matters very much.
Where is the world headed?
Well, to be blunt, Judgement Day.
Is that my opinion? No, it’s what Jesus said. You can take it up with Him.
Things do shake in this world, and they will. This world is on a collision course with eternity, and things will get more and more crazy until the end comes.
Deliberately.
They’re supposed to wake us up: to make us think about the future. They’re supposed to shake us up. Not in cruelty, but in love.
They’re supposed to act as a wake up call… To call us to repent. To turn from our rebellion. To turn to God for mercy and a clean slate. To surrender to Him as Lord, and receive His salvation.
Because He cares so very, very much, and He wants to rescue us before it’s too late.
‘Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.’ Revelation 1:7
‘And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”’ Revelation 7:15-17
That’s why we need to come to Him.
Not just a token coming for forgiveness and a free ticket to Heaven (which He offers, by the way), but surrendering to Him as Lord, following Him with everything- with your whole life. Taking up your cross and following Him, no matter how much it costs. Because He loves you. Because He gave His own life on the cross to buy your forgiveness. Because He wants to rescue you from what is coming on the world.
Before it’s too late, and you have eternal judgement to face.
Then, when you have that sorted, you don’t need to be afraid, no matter how much things shake. Instead, you are free to live at peace, living for eternal things, not to earn salvation but in peaceful gratitude for what He has given, because you are loved: because you are held in His hand.
God’s been encouraging my heart with that.
If you are His, you are secure.
If you’re on His side, you will always have His help. You will always have His grace. You will always have His provision. You know what the end will be: eternal life with Him.
‘Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10
‘You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ Psalm 16:11
We don’t know all the details, but do know the end of the story.
Jesus wins.
If you’re on His side, so do you.
You don’t need to shake, no matter how things shake around you.
He will keep His little ones safe.
‘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
You can be still, and know He is God.
‘God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah’ Psalm 46:1-3
‘Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!’ Psalm 46:10
My heart still quakes a bit when I look at the news, but it doesn’t need to. I am His. 🙂
And you can be too!

‘Of Benjamin he said:

“The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him,
Who shelters him all the day long;
And he shall dwell between His shoulders.”‘ Deuteronomy 33:12

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

What if there was something astoundingly, mind-blowing good in your future… forever?

Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking a bit about my eternal Hope. My friend Angie has been encouraging me for a while to read the book ‘Heaven’, by Randy Alcorn, and I’ve been dipping into it. And it’s been speaking deeply to my heart.

Alcorn, Dr R. (2004). Heaven. ed. Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Knowing you have a certain, amazing, satisfied, beyond-your-wildest-dreams eternal future because you belong to Jesus sure changes your attitude towards life in the here and now.

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This is, after all, a disappointing world. We glimpse little bits of satisfaction, only to leave us craving for more. Our bodies wear out and grow old. We never have the time or the opportunity or the energy to do all the things we wish we could do. Dreams can crumble to dust. And sometimes life breaks our hearts in ways we never dreamed it could.

And that’s for us over here in the west, who, in some ways, have it so good. What about those in Syria right now, facing bombs and starvation and heartbreaking grief? What about those who lost everything in the earthquakes in Nepal? What about those who live on the streets of Mumbai, never knowing who their parents are?

If this life is all there is, it would be easy to be cynical… or to try to squeeze out everything from it we can… only to find ourselves disappointed and endlessly craving more.

But this isn’t the only life there is.

Eternity will follow, much sooner than we realise, in one of two destinations.

If you are trusting in Christ as your Saviour and following Him as Lord (and you can do that now), this life is only the very beginning. As C.S. Lewis put it in the last battle, it’s only the first page of the story.

“But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

p.172, Lewis, C.S. (1996). The Last Battle. ed. London: Diamond Books.

Those who are trusting in Christ have an endless, eternal future of bliss awaiting us.

And the heartbeat of that eternal joy is knowing Him: the One Who can satisfy our deepest longings with Himself in ways we could never dream possible.

And how can that change the here and now?

If you know that all of our your dreams will come true forever and ever, you don’t need to be discouraged if they don’t come true now. You can focus your heart on building God’s Kingdom, knowing He will take care of you.

If you know that you are, in Heaven’s terms, a multi-millionaire in what really matters, you are free to live simply and give extravagantly because you are eternally rich.

If you know that you have an eternal hope, you don’t need to be jealous of anyone else. You can pour out your life in free and abandoned service of others.

If you belong to Jesus, you don’t need to let the most excruciating pains of this life take your hope. You never need to despair. They are working for you an eternal weight of glory.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

If you belong to Jesus, you don’t need to guard your life. You can give it away. Giving it away will only multiply your eternal blessings, anyway.

The more you think about it, the more you realise that having an eternal hope changes everything. Knowing that you are rich beyond your wildest dreams frees you up to live with a light hold on this life, giving yourself away, because you are eternally secure in hope.

As Paul tells the believers in Corinth, ultimately, it’s all theirs.

‘Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours.  And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.’ 1 Corinthians 3:21-23

Really? Like, all things? We learn in Psalm 37 that the meek will inherit the whole earth. The whole earth? Really?

‘But the meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.’ Psalm 37:11

It’s all ours, if we are His.

This is shadow land. That is the reality.

Diamond rings? Cars? The moon?

Your wildest dreams?

It’s all too small. Our dreams aren’t big enough.

We won’t even begin to imagine what He will give us.

‘But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”’ 1 Corinthians 2:9

‘Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.’ Psalm 37:4

And don’t buy the lie that God’s people will just sit on clouds and be bored forever. Really? If you look into the Bible, you glimpse something very different: a real, physical, curse-free reality. A real, physical reality where all the brokenness has gone and everything is astoundingly, unimaginably, crazily good.

We glimpse it sometimes, don’t we?

Have you ever stood on top of a mountain and wanted to somehow eat the beauty; to taste it forever? I bet you can in the new earth.

Have you ever been touched by stirring music and tasted something you never wanted to let go of? Maybe it was an echo of something eternal.

Have you ever known moments of precious relationship with others that suddenly felt free and honest and safe? Relationships will be wonderfully perfect there.

And, most of all, have you tasted moments of being in God’s presence? The amazing joy and love and peace that suddenly satisfies your deepest soul? In Heaven, God will be our portion forever, with nothing in between.

For eternity, it will all be satisfied.

But, actually, none of the stuff of this life really matters after all. If we only want things in Heaven, and not God, we don’t really know what it means to surrender to Christ as Lord, because He is really the Prize. If we only want the blessings, maybe we don’t truly know Him. He is the Fountain that satisfies.

‘”For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.”‘ Jeremiah 2:13

Because everything is empty compared to knowing Him.

And, forever, He will satisfy.

‘You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ Psalm 16:11

Yes, He will give blessings, too. In crazy, astounding ways we could not begin to dream of now.

But, most of all, He will satisfy with Himself.

Think about it a bit (and make sure that it will be yours!).

Pray about it. Dream about it.

I bet it will change how you see the here and now. I know it’s helping me. It isn’t all about this life. But this life is about investing in the next. And knowing that the next is so good can sure bring joy and hope into this one!

‘Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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 21:1-4

(Getting to Heaven isn’t automatic. And there is an alternative that is automatic: Hell. As astoundingly good as Heaven will be, Hell will astoundingly horrific… forever.

‘But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.’ Revelation 21:27

There is a way to have your name written in the Book of Life and to escape Hell through the forgiveness God freely offers because Jesus Christ died in your place, taking the punishment you deserve… if you will turn from your wrong and receive His forgiveness, surrendering your life to Him as your Lord. This life is nothing compared to eternity. Don’t risk it! Come to Him today).

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

Thoughts from my tent..

I just got back from another week of camping. These are thoughts I wrote while I was there…

So I’m back in a tent for another week of worshipping Jesus with many others and sharing about what He is doing across the seas in Asia. And, again, it has made me think.

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There is something so, so good in lifting up our eyes and remembering the glory of the One Who reigns above all: about realising that it’s really all about Him. True, lasting joy is found not in the blessings of this world, but in revelling in Who He is and what it means to know Him. And it’s so good to lift up our eyes and know that God reigns. Beyond the suffering, beyond the trials, beyond the tears, the Lord is on the throne, and He is worth it all. There is no joy like worshipping Him.

There is something so precious about worshipping Him together: about forgetting for a few moments the tough, narrow road to Glory and remembering why it’s worth it to follow Him: remembering where we’re headed: remembering Who He is.

Because there really is a living, loving God, and He really is on the throne. He remains supreme and He is stunningly, astoundingly good. At the cross, He made an intimate, tender, crazily beautiful way for us to know Him as Father. And, for those who trust in Christ and follow Him, the ultimate reality is stunning and astounding and unbelievably good: the satisfaction of the deepest, yearning longings of our hearts: the marriage of Christ and His people for eternity.

This is a broken world. It’s not how it was meant to be, and sometimes it’s very, very tough. But there is a plan… An ultimate, eternal plan of everlasting, glorious Hope with God forever…With the One Who reigns and rules and loves… and Who saves all who come to Him through Christ.

We stood last night, rejoicing in a big tent, singing together in different languages to celebrate our unity across the nations in Christ. We sang about our eternal Hope. We sang it passionately, full of joy, anticipating our eternal future with Him.

One day, not too far away, God’s people be with Him forever, where there are no tears or pain, and He will wipe our tears away… And we will realise more than ever that all our hearts have ever really longed for is Him.

‘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

He is the ultimate Reality. He is on the throne. And He is the One Who really satisfies, and is worth it all.

‘You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ Psalm 16:11

It’s so good to lift up our eyes and worship and celebrate in revel in that.

If you know Jesus, the Reality is so, so, wonderfully, freeingly, eternally GOOD!!

(And if you don’t know Jesus yet as your Saviour and Lord, you really, really need to get to know Him before you meet Him as your Judge. He is waiting for you with open arms).

 

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

Who will tell them?

I don’t even know when I first came to know Jesus as my Saviour.

I was tiny, I know. I was taken to Sunday School from the age of two, and there I learned that Jesus died in my place so that I can be forgiven, and that He wanted to come into my life as my Saviour and Lord, giving me forgiveness and eternal hope if I asked Him to and surrendered my life to Him. I gave my heart to Him when I was very small, and He did what He promised. He came into my heart, and has been the sweetest, kindest, dearest Friend ever since. I can’t imagine what it would be like not to know Him. Knowing Him is peace; joy; hope; strength; comfort; hope for this life and the next. Knowing Him is being secure in His hand, no matter what happens. Knowing Him is a clean slate before my Maker when I meet Him one day as my Judge. Knowing Him is rescue from the judgement that I as a sinner deserve. Not knowing Him would be unthinkable.

But, for billions of people in this world, that is not the reality. Actually, 2-3 billion have never even heard had the opportunity to hear of Him even once.

For countless thousands of girls who live and die on the cruel, merciless streets, life is the stuff of nightmares… And they do not know the peace and life and hope of Jesus in them, with them and for them.

I wrote this poem from the perspective of one of them. She is imagined, but I think her story represents the stories of countless thousands who really exist.

CS of a girl looking through the window.

No-one Told Me

I grew a heartbreak child,

Unwanted and unloved,

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

Abused when still a girl,

In terror, walk alone

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

I gave my heart away.

I cannot buy it back.

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

I’ve learned to bleed for breath.

For food, I pay the price

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

Hopeless, I live the streets,

Die with their grasping hands

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

I walk a lonely road,

My burdens on my back,

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

Fast locked in all my sins,

No hope of finding peace,

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

My family never cared.

So lost, I’m all alone

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

Rejected, now I’m old.

Nobody wants to know

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

Survive through scraps of food.

Fast fading, not long now

And still nobody tells me about Jesus.

 

Alone, I leave this world,

So dirty, so afraid,

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

I stand before my God,

My sins upon my back.

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

I face the night of nights

In horror. All is lost.

And no-one ever told me about Jesus.

 

Another little girl.

For her, there’s still a chance.

But who is going to tell her about Jesus?

 

Billions have never heard.

So many do not know.

And who is going to tell them about Jesus?

 

We hold their only hope

Within our blood-bought hands.

Oh, who is going to tell them about Jesus?

 

 

(You can help reach people like her at http://www.gfauk.org ).

Thoughts on turning 30…

Do you ever wonder how the time went by so fast?

I really don’t know how it happened, but somehow I’ve reached the 30 mark. It’s made me do a lot of thinking, and I thought I’d share some of those thoughts (not that I have them sorted, because I don’t, but just to share what I’m learning).

When I turned 29, I followed my Mum’s example and wrote down a list of things I wanted to achieve in the year. Some of the things on my list were silly. Some were meaningful. And, no, I haven’t managed to tick them all off (although I’m a better cook now than I was and I can now just about knit from a pattern instead of only making scarves! This blog came from that list, too). But it’s helped me to see something: the importance of being intentional about life, because it’s gone so quickly. Why not do that thing I’ve always intended to do now instead of waiting for a day that may never come? I think the list will probably become part of my life far beyond 30 (if God gives me that long), because it’s so helped me to be more intentional.
image

Life is so precious, I don’t want to waste it! No, I guess I’ll never use it perfectly, but I want to use it well! Once a moment has gone, I can never get it back again.

And, you know, when you look back over time that has passed, you want to know that what you have done mattered: that it will have an impact beyond your lifetime.

And what really matters is living for Christ: knowing Him, loving Him, loving others and telling others about Him.

No, I don’t have to earn anything. Jesus did it all for me, living and dying in my place. Trusting in Him, my sins are covered, my eternal future is secure and I have nothing to earn before God. But… knowing that makes me want to live for Him!

I don’t want to waste the precious days I have left! I can be thankful about God’s goodness, forget the mistakes of the past and press forward to what God has for me in the days ahead, like Paul said:

“I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (KJV)

And no, turning 30 isn’t easy. Ok, I’ll say it. Turning 30 single isn’t easy. There are some cruel lies out there about how our lives should look, as if there’s something wrong if they don’t. But it’s not how God sees things. Not at all! Oh, how He treasures us! Oh, how precious we are to Him! Oh, how good and wise and wonderful and perfectly timed His plans are for those who belong to Him! He delights in me in Christ and His plan for me is… astounding. Knowing Christ is far better than anything this world can offer. I can only live His plan for me and try to be faithful to His call on my life. And He will satisfy me with His abundant provision, as He has always, always done.

It is so, so sweet to know Jesus, follow Him and walk with Him. Not always easy, but very precious and rewarding, and deeply satisfying to know His love: so good, so pure, so far more satisfying that anything this world can give. What could be better than knowing Him? The deepest, sweetest peace is found in knowing Him and walking in His plan for my life.

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11 (KJV)

I have so much to be thankful for. I look back and see how God has been so kind to me… how He met me when I was just a little girl, and has been so faithful to me ever since. He has given me so, so much. Precious family and friends in many places. Countless blessings. Freedom and peace and eternal hope. And, above all, knowing Christ. I have tasted and I have seen that the Lord is good- and He is good and will be good beyond my wildest dreams!

There is deep peace in being grateful for what He gives.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:11-13 (KJV)

And, you know, our world has things upside down. People down here want to make life last longer and to make sure it feels good, because it’s all we’ve got… only, it isn’t!  Eternity will come afterwards, in either Heaven or Hell (which is why we really need Jesus). And those who are trusting in Christ have every reason to look forward to the life that is REALLY life… and will go on forever!

“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18 (KJV)

When you are thinking straight about eternity, it makes you want to speed things up, not slow them down- so that you can meet Jesus face to face and live in the Reality of eternal bliss!

But it does change the way you see things down here.

One day, from Glory, I want to look back and know that I lived this life well. I want to see the faces of people who in Glory because of decisions I made today. I want to live a legacy that others can follow: a life lived well by His grace. And, more than that, I want to see a smile on the Face of the One I love more than life itself, and to hear His loving voice say, “Well done”.

So, no, I didn’t really want to turn 30. Maybe none of us do. But… actually, maybe I do! I mean, I don’t want to stay here forever. I want to meet Jesus face to face!

But I do want to make my life count while I am here.

 

Scripture quotations from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press

Do you ever wonder where the time has gone?

This life is so, so short. Why do I forget that?

Any moment now, I could be in eternity.

And, yes, my future is secure. Yes, trusting in Jesus, my sins are forgiven. Yes, in Christ, I have eternal hope (and, if you don’t, believe me, you need it- the stakes are too high to mess around! Judgement is coming, anytime, and there’s only one way to be safe, and it’s by turning from rebellion and putting all your trust in what Jesus did for you on the cross).

No, my salvation is not dependent on what I do. Yes, I have sure and certain eternal hope because my trust is in Jesus. But… this life is so, so short, and I don’t want to waste it! So soon, I will stand before my King in eternity.

clock

 

We live in a strange, strange world. Much of what we spend our time on is empty: meaningless in the light of what really counts… while over 2 billion still wait to hear His Name even once in their lifetime. At the end of the day, what really matters is Christ: knowing Him, trusting in Him, living every part of life as worship to Him… and helping others to know Him, too.

Time is a vapour. It passes so fast! It feels like only a few moments ago that I was still a teenager. Now my thirtieth birthday looms right around the corner. And I’m more and more conscious that I cannot waste this brief span of life that I have been given.

I wrote this poem a few years ago. It feels like moments ago, but actually it was years. I feel like I could step back to those days… only I can’t. They are gone. And the meaning is more profound with every passing day. Oh, Lord, let us not waste this one precious life You have given!

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14 (KJV)

In This Brief Hour

In this brief hour before eternity,

Let me strain every nerve,

For time is fast passing and soon will be over;

The moments are passing on earth.

 

In this quick half-life of heart-lusts and lies,

Oh, let me have only one goal:

To know and pursue the great God of my life

To live with the Lord as my All.

 

In the short sprint of this passing day,

Let me not be weighed down with stuff,

But walk in the weighty and run in the lasting,

And live for the Prize of my Love.

 

In this breath fleeting, with lies so seductive,

So common, may I walk in grace;

Be holding life lightly, pursuing the joy

Of His gaze when I look on His face.

 

In this quick moment, when souls are still waiting,

May I never fear sacrifice,

But love with a passion that lays down my lifeblood

To bring the lost millions to Christ.

 

In this brief illusion when all is deceptive

And fleeting, may I walk by faith,

And live in the shade of the Shadow Almighty

And walk in the power of grace.

 

In this fast passage, when idols are calling,

May I only seek for my Love;

To gaze ever upwards and live in His presence

And live for my Treasure above.

 

And when, in the morning, I meet my Beloved,

May I never wish I’d done more

But live for the moment when, oh! His voice welcome!

‘Well done, faithful servant. Well done’.

 

Scripture quotations from The Authorized (King James) Version. Rights in the Authorized Version in the United Kingdom are vested in the Crown. Reproduced by permission of the Crown’s patentee, Cambridge University Press

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.