More Thoughts on Trust and Peace

So, more thoughts on anxiety and worry:

As the Lord has been teaching me lately about resting in Him, I thought it would be a good thing to keep writing about!

The Lord has teaching me recently about trust: about the Lord teaching us; helping us quieten down the anxious flow of thoughts and plannings in our minds- just living moment by moment, abiding in Him through Jesus.

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I was praying recently about anxiety: about the anxious thought that so often trouble my mind.

A picture came to mind: a little child tucked up in her Father’s embrace, head tucked under His arm, quiet. Just resting in His embrace.

And isn’t that the answer?

Just resting in His embrace. Not needing to understand. Not needing to know what will happen: just resting in His arms, and letting His love be enough for right now… and for the fear, too, because what drives out fear is perfect love, and tormenting fear has been broken for all who follow Jesus.

’18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.’ 1 John 4:18

If you have been forgiven through Jesus and belong to Him (and that’s the key because we face God’s judgement without that and He longs to welcome us all when we come to Him, turn from wrong, surrender our lives to Him as Lord and receive His free forgiveness because of what Jesus did on the cross), you can learn and grow in the peace of living life with your Lord in control.

Living from His arms.

Moment by moment. Just doing what the song says: ‘Trust and obey’.

‘Lord, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.’ Ps 131

 

What can I do when something makes me anxious?

I can be that little girl again, coming back into her Father’s arms. Committing it to Him… and then nestling down, tucking my head under His arm, doing what He tells me to do and trusting Him to fight for me.

When the fear comes back, I can nestle closer; look up to Him more, and trust Him to work things out for me.

‘Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.’ Ps 37:5

Like going to sleep in His arms.

 

‘Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.’ Ps 127:1-2

It’s definitely a learning curve! Not that something that comes all at once. But it’s something I can grow in. I’ve definitely seen progress!

It reminds me of another picture that came to mind once, when I used to struggle more often with swirling thoughts.

It was a still, still lake, brilliantly blue, under a bright, bright sky.

Stillness. Perfect peace.

It was a picture of what my mind could be: of what He is doing in me.

I glimpse it sometimes. I suddenly notice that my mind is still: wonderfully, radiantly so. It’s incredible.

I can upset that peace with my worry. I often do.

But it’s growing. Sometimes I glimpse it.

Peace.

Because, really, God has me. I don’t need to know the answers. I can rest in Him.

‘You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.’ Isaiah 26:3

And, in Him, I am so very, very loved. And so many encouragements can hold me, because, through Jesus, I am His.

Those who belong to Jesus, look to Him for salvation and follow Him through our lives (as we all need to), have such confidence, and so many reasons, even when it doesn’t make sense, to be at peace.

Beloved

‘The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;”‘ Jeremiah 31:3a

You are My beloved,

Apple of My eye,

My treasured possession,

Precious in My eyes.

 

My child, My creation,

By My hand designed

For something so special

With just you in mind.

 

Fear not, you are precious,

Cherished in My sight,

Embraced in My presence,

Held fast in My might.

 

Never will I leave you,

No, never forsake.

I will be your shelter

For each hour, each day.

 

When you walk through valleys,

I will still be here

When you face deep waters,

You never need fear.

 

I’m here as your Refuge.

I’m here by your side.

Loving My beloved,

Longing for My bride.

 

I delight to use you

In ways you’d never dream.

My plan and My purpose

Are wide and vast, unseen.

 

So wide is My promise,

My purpose so great

To awake the nations

To praise My great Name.

 

So live out your calling,

Be all that I made.

I’ll not fail to use you

To honour My Name.

 

You’re loved. Everlasting,

My faithful pursuit.

My love will not fail you.

I make all things new.

 

My love is unending,

My promise to you. My Arms everlasting

Will carry you through.

 

Soon I will come back

To take you to Me.

Each tear I will comfort.

You’ll belong to Me.

 

My treasure, My darling,

Apple of My eye,

My treasured possession,

Honoured in My sight.

 

Arise, My beloved.

You’re precious to Me.

Come rest in My presence.

Come walk close to Me.

 

(To know that wonderful hope in Him, come to Him. Surrender to Him. Turn from wrong. Receive His forgiveness through Jesus. Give your life, all your days, into His hands as your Lord. It won’t always be easy, but He will be all you need and it’s entirely worth it. He will amaze you by what He does!)

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How Trust Can Really Simplify Things

Do you, like me, struggle with fear and anxiety, feeling like you need to know what will happen so that you can make sure it will be okay?

Gradually, I am finding more and more peace in life, and the reason is simple: knowing I am loved, and that I have a heavenly Father Who can be trusted.

I am forgiven. Because of Jesus Christ, my slate has been washed clean. I came to God by faith in Jesus, asking Him to forgive me. I gave my life into His hands, to follow Him, not to earn anything but because I am His. I am following Him. And now I have His promise to take care of me. Not because of anything I have done, but because of Jesus. And that security is available to all who will come to Him and follow Him the same way.

And something the Lord has encouraging me in recently is this: knowing the Father’s love through Jesus can really help with anxiety.

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You know, so often I think I need to know the answers: that I need to know why or how or what… or what will happen next…

But something has been clicking recently: I don’t need to know.

I am so, so loved. I can rest in my Father’s arms, and trust His heart when I don’t have the answers; when I don’t understand.

No, I don’t know the answer to  that.

No, I don’t know why. No, I don’t know what. No, I don’t know how.

But I choose to trust my Abba Father. I choose to trust His heart.

I don’t need to know. I don’t need to understand.

All I need to do is trust.

Because some things just don’t change.

God is good.

God is trustworthy.

God has promised to provide for those who trust in Him (and He also responds to our faith: to our trust!)

Ok, so it doesn’t always look like He is control- not at a superficial glance.

Ok, so it’s not always easy. Trust, and peace, are things we grow in. It doesn’t always come all at once.

But I chose to trust my Abba Father. I choose to trust His heart.

When I look ahead to the future, it doesn’t need to be in fear. Because fear does not take into account the loving heart of my Father God, Who has promised to give me all I need.

Living in the moment, from His arms.

Choosing to rest in Him.

Choosing to know Him now, because it’s only right now that I can know Him for right now.

Choosing to rest in His love.

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

Now, that could really simplify life!

What has God called me to do now? Then why am I worried about tomorrow?

’33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’ Matt 6:33-34

I’m not saying I’ve got this! I haven’t! Actually, whilst writing this post, I fell far short with it again. But it’s what He’s teaching me. And I think it’s the way of very deep,  very precious peace!

I can commit my burdens to Him and He will carry them for me, and He will provide.

‘Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.’ Ps 37:5

And He will carry my burdens for me, and give my heart His rest.

’28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”’ Matt 11:28-30

(Whether you know Him or not, He is reaching out to you right now. Come to Him through Jesus, receive what Christ did on the cross, turn from sin, surrender your life, your burdens and your cares into His hands and find the way to abundant peace).

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

When You Can’t Sleep

Do you ever struggle with not being able to get to sleep? I do!

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A battle I go through regularly is a battle to get to sleep. I’m so blessed not to have full insomnia, but getting enough sleep is something I struggle with often. It often comes back every few days, more depending on how much is going on around and inside me! I’m not sure how much wisdom I have on it yet, but I thought it might be a good idea to blog about it, if that’s okay. I pray it blesses you too.

So here are some of the things I think I have been learning…

Normally, I can’t sleep because I am tense: anxious about something, trying to figure things out, or else just too busy processing everything that has happened until my heart can get to a place of quiet. Good things keep me awake as well as bad ones, especially if I am processing them.

It’s generally anything that is not yet quiet in my heart and mind- and often, if it is becoming an issue, tension because I’m anxious that I’m not asleep yet! Then, of course, I get more and more tense, and I lay there for a long, long time… until eventually all goes quiet… and I’m asleep.

I think sleep comes when your mind goes quiet.

And I think a big part of the solution is to relax.

And the foundation for that is knowing that, ultimately, all will be well. That root of that is being forgiven; accepted; lovedand secure in the love of Father God (which happens when you come to Him, turn from wrong and receive His forgiveness through Jesus, following Him as your Lord).

I’m an expert at overreacting to things; assuming the worst and getting upset… when things probably aren’t that bad.

And lack of sleep probably isn’t a big a deal as I think it is when I’m lying awake.

I’ve learned by experience that I won’t die if I have a night of no sleep at all. It doesn’t happen often, but it does sometimes. It’s not great, but I’ve survived.

I’ll feel pretty rubbish the next day, but I’ll be okay. I’ve also learned by experience that the insomnia will break eventually. In a few days, if I just stay calm about it, one day soon I’ll be surprised by a good night’s sleep, and I’ll feel more strength come back again, and I’ll feel loads better. And, the more I just relax and stop stressing about it, the more quickly that will happen.

I’ve also learned that being very tired is not necessarily a bad thing. It does make me more sensitive, more easily upset and more easily stressed. It does make it hard to get through the day. But it also makes me very dependent on God because of that. I know I can’t do an exhausted day on my own: that I need God in a special way. And so I’m more intentional. I pray harder. I lean on God more. I ask others to pray for me (I’m so blessed to work in an office of believers). And I find deep peace and strength coming in. It’s more of His strength, and less of mine. It’s beautiful.

I’ve also learned that often I just expect too much of myself. I stay up late and try to do so much because I think that must be what God wants to do. A few years ago, the Lord spoke to me deeply through Ps 127:

‘Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.’ Psalm 127:1-2

It was a breakthrough realisation.

I am only called to do the things the Lord is leading me to do, and, even then, it won’t work unless His hand is on it and, if it is, He’ll be the One carrying the weight and opening up the way. I am not called to do everything. And it’s okay to take time to sleep. Sleep is a gift from God.

That means that an early night isn’t a crime. Making time to ready a book to wind down is okay. I am not called to do everything, and it really is okay to make time to rest.

I’m called to serve God for the long term. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.My salvation is dependent on what Jesus did for me, not on anything I do. And sleep is a gift from God.

But, I also think something that would be really helpful with getting to sleep is to receive the peace of God into my spirit. If I can tune into the spiritual reality of my Father’s love for me, quietening me, reassuring me, my heart will be quieter; more at peace.

I realised that the other day: I lay there, trying to get calm and go to sleep, and I sensed that Father there, loving me, wanting to pour peace into me; wanting to hold me in His arms and soothe my restless thoughts.

‘”The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”’ Zephaniah 3:17

‘Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall[a] on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.’ Psalm 139:7-12

‘Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.’ Psalm 139:16

Actually, I suspect maybe the Lord allows the sleeplessness to show me the tension in my heart, because He wants to comfort it. If He gave me sleep straight away, every time I asked for it, I wouldn’t learn how to receive His peace for the things that are keeping me awake. I wouldn’t discover the peace He wants to give.

Realising that my God is with me, for me and in control. Because I am a child of God through Jesus, I have no reason to live in fear anymore. Realising that the things I have not yet resolved in my mind are secure in His hands. Realising that I am loved and, in Christ, because I am forgiven through Him, everything is ultimately going to be okay.

I think the Lord has also given me a key that I’m still learning how to use: His Word. If you repeat a Bible verse to yourself, over and over again, your mind and your spirit will go quiet. It’s like a muscle; I forget to do it. I struggle to do it. Sometimes it feels like it’s not working. But there have been lots of times when it’s really helped… when I’ve woken up in the morning and I realise I had decided to think about a verse… and then I woke up, and it was morning.

My dear friend Jane recommends this verse:

‘I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.’ Psalm 4:8

It speaks peace into your spirit; as well as your mind.

And there are others, too:

‘I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.’ Psalm 3:5

‘“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
Who have been upheld by Me from birth,
Who have been carried from the womb:
Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.“‘ Isaiah 46:3-4

‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’ Matthew 6:34

‘Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ John 14:27

There will be grace for tomorrow, however tired I am. There is grace for lying awake, too. I can use the long moments of sleeplessness to pray; to receive rest into my spirit: to lift my heart and concerns up to God; to rest in His arms; to receive His love.

And, whether I sleep or not, I can rest in His arms, knowing He will give all the grace I need and fill all the exhausted gaps with His love. 🙂

 

(There is so much comfort and help we can draw from God, and He longs to give it to us. However, the first thing we all need to do is come to Him for forgiveness and rescue from the eternal judgement we all face. We need to come to Him, turn from wrong, surrender to follow Him and receive what Jesus did for sinners on the cross. That’s the way back to God: the way to His forgiveness and grace and eternal life. On sleepless nights and all the time, He is waiting for you to come to Him).

 

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.

 

 

Why Worry is Not As Innocent As it Seems…

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So, again, I think the subject for this post is worry… and trust. It’s the subject I feel God wants me to write about again, and it’s definitely one I need to grow in!

Do you ever catch yourself fretting about something you’re already committed to God through Jesus?

Over and over again?

And do you ever think that worry isn’t that big a deal, really?

The other day, I was spending time with the Lord, seeking Him about some things I was, yes, worried about. And He encouraged and comforted me. I could sense Him so gently encouraging me. It was so tender: as if He was saying, “Let go of your fear, Caroline. You can let go of your fear.” … and I kept fretting.

And then I felt Him, very gently and tenderly, encouraging me. It was so encouraging that it wasn’t really a rebuke… but I knew it was what I needed to hear. The sense of it was something like this: “Stop fretting, Caroline! You have given it to Me… over and over again. I know about it and I’m taking care of it! Just relax! You will see My answer soon!”

It was bang on. It was right. I had given my worries to Him. Now all I needed to do was stop fretting, and trust (and even praise Him for the answers that are on their way!).

And I, as I prayed into it, I felt Him showing me how often I fret about things. I allow anxious thoughts into my mind, and I play with them and try to solve them, when I’ve already given them to the Lord, and He’s already encouraged me that He’s taking care of them. And I felt Him encouraging me that this way of thinking needs to change. Yes, He is gracious. Yes, He still loves me when I worry! But I can change, and I need to if I want to achieve all the things God wants to do through my life and ministry. Worry will hamper my ministry and steal my faith in the Lord. Because God responds and does amazing things in answer to faith.

And fear chokes out faith.

Worry will hold back things that God wants to do in answer to faith in Him through Jesus, because it will choke out the faith. If I let Him change me, faith will rise up in new, wonderful ways, and He will do much more than I ever thought possible in answer to the faith that is left after the worry has begun to fall away.

Worry is not an innocent, harmless habit. Not only does it weaken us (and could even make us ill), but it chokes out the faith that God wants to use to do amazing things in and through our lives, when we come to Him through Jesus.

God led me recently to a sermon about how Satan wants to use fear and anxiety in our lives. It was a powerful message. I knew it would be- my computer kept refusing to play it, and so did my phone! So I guessed the enemy didn’t want me to listen to it! And I was right about that, I think. It was really helpful. Satan will try to get into our lives and hold us back in various ways. And one of those is worry and fear. It’s pretty subtle, too- worry doesn’t even feel like sin, and it seems so innocent! But the enemy can really use it to hold us back and keep us down, holding us back from what God wants to do in and through our lives. You can hear the message here:

https://www.preachtheword.com/sermon/life06.shtml

Because what children of God through Jesus really need to do is to stand in faith on God’s promises: to commit our worries to God, and believe that He will act in the best way and at the best time- as we trust in Him.

‘Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.’ Psalm 37:5

But how can we stand in faith on God’s promises if we are letting anxiety take our faith?

The battle with worry is really a battle for faith in God.

And we are called to fight that battle in our minds.

‘casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,’ 2 Corinthians 10:5

It won’t feel good to break the thought patterns. I guess it will be a healing process, over time. But I think the Lord is encouraging me that the process will be beautiful: like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. As less fear is there, in the silence that remains in my mind, faith will rise up. And He will answer that faith in very beautiful, powerful ways.

My friend was wearing a t-shirt the other day: “Dream Big!” You know, if we’re following Jesus, there’s no reason not to dream big! There is no limit to what God can do in answer to the prayer of faith! All things are possible with Him! Sure, it may not look like what we expect. It means surrendering to His way. It may take a while. It may be unexpected. But that will be because He’s doing more, not less. If we let go of our fears and trust Him, I think He will amaze us by what He does!

As He says,

‘”Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”‘ Psalm 81:10b

And worry will only limit that faith; limit the beautiful, amazing things God wants to do through our faith.

So, yes, it’s time to let go of the worries… Over and over again, if necessary!

Because we really can cast our cares on Him.

“casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

It’s as if He is reassuring me, “You can let go, Caroline. You can let go. I’ve got you safe.”

If you’re following Jesus, He’s got you safe, too. And you can let go too!

(When you know Jesus as Saviour and are following Him as Lord, there really is nothing to worry about because you are His. But that pre-condition is really important, because we all have a big problem: our sin and the coming judgement. That’s why Jesus came, died on the cross and rose again. And He offers forgiveness and new life to all who will receive His forgiveness, turn from wrong and surrender to Him as Lord of their lives. When you have done that and are following Him, you can know that He will take care of you… now and forever.

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

Is There a Safe Place in this Crazy World?

Is there a safe place in this crazy world?

Do you ever feel frightened by the vulnerability; unpredictability of this crazy life? I do.

And sometimes things happen that shock you, and could paralyse you with fear.

Like what happened this week in Manchester.

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Manchester. The place I have learned to call home.

I took a tram through Victoria station the other day, right near where the attack happened.

And then this.

It’s shocking. Sickening. Heartbreaking. Terrifying.

But the horrible thing is that it’s real.

A group of us went to a peace vigil the night after the attack at a local church. Actually, the church had planned to hold an election hustings. But then things changed. Bigger things because more important. So the election candidates can along, and we had a peace vigil instead at the local church. It was precious; beautiful. All were welcome, and many came, including some who had probably never before set foot in a church. A group of people joined together by a common humanity. Normal people like me. Politicians. The old and young alike. We sat silent in God’s presence… While they read prayers… While our local election candidates read well- known, well-loved passages of Scripture about the Lord being our Shepherd; about the One Who knows us intimately; about God Who is our fortress; about casting every care upon Him. It was a precious time of peace in a crazy world.

And I was asking God a question: how can I ever feel safe in this unsafe world? How do I know there won’t be another attack right where I am? How can I not be paralysed by fear?

Is there a safe place in this crazy world?

The passages they were reading answered my question.

‘The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge.’ Psalm 46:7

Yes, there is a fortress. His Name is the LORD. He is the only truly safe place in this crazy world.

You get into the fortress by putting your trust in Jesus as your Saviour, turning from your sin and following Him as Lord of your life. And you really do need to be in the fortress. Not just because this world is crazy now, but because it will only get crazier. We don’t like to think about it, but God makes it clear in His Word. Judgement is coming… anytime. That’s why we need a place of refuge.

And there is one. As you come to Jesus as your Saviour, turning from wrong and trusting in what He did on the cross, placing your life in His hands as your Lord, you are forgiven… accepted… welcomed… no matter what you have done.

And you are in the fortress. The place of safety. The place of security. The place of peace.

God doesn’t promise we will never go through suffering, but He does promise that, when we trust in Jesus and follow Him, He will always hold us tenderly, abundantly in His hands and provide for every single one of our needs. As we abide in Him, placing our lives in His hands, our hearts will find a safe place.

(The Lord led me to a helpful sermon about this yesterday- I recommend checking it out!   https://www.preachtheword.com/sermon/safe01.shtml  )

And something else clicked in me as I sat in that silent church, looking round at all of the people who had gathered. Other people need what I have. They need to know the peace; the hope; the security of what I have in Christ. And, because I have Him as my safe place, I am free to reach out to them in love.

When you know that you are held safe by God, you are suddenly free to reach out to others, because your heart is secure and because other people need what you have in Him. They too need the peace; the comfort; the eternal security that can only be found in Christ. I need to know that I am secure within the fortress of God, so that I can lean hard on Him… and reach out to others. Even if it puts me in harm’s way. Because God’s hand is on me, and He is holding me safe.

Other people need to know that He is God; that He can be their (your) fortress, too.

I think it is a journey to feel secure in this. It takes time. It takes leaning on the Lord. It takes soaking in His Word. It takes prayer. Maybe sometimes courage is deciding to act even though you still feel afraid. But it is true, however we feel.

There is a safe place in this crazy world. And He is available to all who will take refuge in Him.

‘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

There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.’ Psalm 46

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

How the Father’s Love Can Help With Fear…

You know I struggle with fear and worry. I blog about it often, because I battle with it often!

Here is me processing more, in the light of what God has been showing me about His love as Father, and how His love can help to cast out fear.

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’18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.’ 1 John 4:18

Do you live in a cage of fear, afraid? Those who believe in Jesus as Saviour and are following Him as their Lord can know a love that can set us free from fear. When you remember the love in your Father’s eyes, love deeper and stronger and wiser and more tender than you could ever begin to conceive, the fear will begin to fall away. As you learn to trust His heart, the fear will lose its power over you.

The safest place in the world is being held by your Heavenly Father.

The reason that believers in Jesus don’t need to be anxious about the future is that our Heavenly Father loves us. Really loves us. He cares so much. No detail is too small for His tender concern. No situation is unknown to Him. He loves and He cares, and that is why we can be sure that we have nothing to be afraid of. He has promised never to fail us, and He never will. He will never break His promises to us. He is God, and He never breaks His word. And… He loves us!

God’s children through Jesus are secure, because He holds us in His arms.

’12 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

Oh, and by the way, He knows just how to take care of even the most fragile and vulnerable, and just what pace to take them forward.

’13 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

Your anxiety about the future falls away when you feel the strong arms of your Father around you, holding you secure. You no longer need to be afraid when you realise that your Father is strong and able and will always protect you and provide for you. You’re not alone anymore, and there is Someone so strong and faithful, so tender and yet so powerful, Who has promised to protect, cherish and provide for you. The present is no longer threatening, because you know you are safe and secure. And the future begins to lose its fear, because you know you are not alone, because you are His. Again and again, the Lord tells His people in His Word not to be afraid. Why? The world is big and scary and anything could happen. But, He is with us. When we realise Who He is, that is all the comfort we need! Your Father’s tender, yearning, oh-so-strong love is the certain assurance that He will always give you what you need. It is your Father’s job to provide for you, and He delights to do so! So you have no need to be anxious!

‘”‘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

‘”The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, ‘Destroy!’”‘ Deut 33:27

‘“Listen to Me, O house of Jacob,
And all the remnant of the house of Israel,
Who have been upheld by Me from birth,
Who have been carried from the womb:
Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.”‘ Isaiah 46:3-4

God’s children are carried.

He longs for us to know His peace; His presence; the tender, sweet release of simply being still and knowing that He is God.

Something God has been ministering into my fear has been this: no matter what happens, I am held. Whenever I become conscious of fear, I can remember that my Heavenly Father is right there with me, holding me. And I can look for His provision, for it will always, always be there.

When I become aware of my fear, I can take it to Him. I can bring it into His presence, and rest in His arms. I can be held, and let Him minister to my fear with His love.

‘Lord, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.’

Psalm 131

I am always safe, because I am always held in His loving arms. Sure, I may come under attack, but I am held within a strong and mighty fortress.

‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord“He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lordwho is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”’ Psalm 91

Help will always come to God’s children. Provision will always come. Strength will always come. He will give His children through Jesus all we need, because He is our Father and He loves us.

Now that’s security! 🙂

(To know this security for yourself, come to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. Turn from your sin and believe Jesus died to buy your forgiveness. Surrender to Him as your Lord. Place your life in His hands and follow Him. You can know the security of the incredible, unending love of the Father for yourself… forever).

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

Fighting the Bully of Fear

Something I have been thinking through lately is how to fight fear. Because it’s something the enemy tries to get me me with… often. And, to be honest, I think it’s been a stronghold in me. So this is me thinking out some thoughts on how to fight!

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I know my sins are forgiven. I know I belong to God through Jesus. But, oh, how the enemy loves to use fear in my life!

Fear can seem so innocent, but it become crippling. The enemy can use it to do so much damage in our lives: to stop us from doing what God has called us to do.

I was convicted by this quote:

“Fear is the enemy of everything God wants  to bring forth from your life. Fear will stop a woman dead in her tracks and keep her there for years- even decades. Fear will keep you from your God-given dreams and ambition. Fear will make you deny your gifts and turn a deaf ear to your calling. If you are going to move forward, if you are going to participate in the life God imagined when He thought of you, if you are going to drink deeply from the well of passion and grace, you must run with everything you have into the strong arms of God and let His perfect love drive out every fear.”

Thomas, A. (2003). Do You Think I’m Beautiful? ed. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers. (p.170)

But how do believers, as children of God through Jesus, fight fear?

Well, we have weapons. And one of those is the Word of God.

This is a verse that the Lord used to help me recently:

“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” Isaiah 41:13

It suddenly hit me as I looked at that verse. God is the One Who will help me. Often, God’s help comes through people; through people who step in and provide practical help. It hit me one night when I was struggling and I needed a lift and friends from church gave me one: I am not supposed to do this alone. God has provided people who are there to help me. But He also showed me something else: the help really comes from Him. It’s not dependent on a particular person or circumstance. It comes from Him, and it will come in different ways at different times, and maybe not always as I expect. But that doesn’t matter! It can be fun journey of watching out for how the Lord will provide: and realising that He always will.

Like once when I bumped into a friend who asked how I was doing. I admitted that I was feeling the battle, and he asked how he could pray. I asked him to pray for God’s peace, and he promised he would. And then suddenly, he spied a little rabbit and pointed it out! It was just a fun moment, spying an unexpected rabbit in a car park. And he, laughing said, “It’s a rabbit of peace!” It made me laugh, and kept me laughing when I would have been battling the fear. And I knew the laughter was God’s gift in that moment, to give me victory over the fear. It encouraged me so much: the help that will come from Him every time as we look to Him to provide it.

He promises that He will hold my hand. He will help me. And He promises that He will strengthen me, too.

I love these words:

“But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you,
‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away:
10 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 41:8-10

And this:

“Behold, all those who were incensed against you
Shall be ashamed and disgraced;
They shall be as nothing,
And those who strive with you shall perish.
12 You shall seek them and not find them—
Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you
Shall be as nothing,
As a nonexistent thing.” Isaiah 41:11-12

My enemies (including fear) have no chance against the God of the universe! They will disappear into nothing!

And I have another weapon: prayer! And the prayers of others!

Working in full-time ministry, I have found that the spiritual battle can be fierce. Sometimes, there is a heavy sense that I am being attacked, and it just feels like it won’t lift. And I have learned something: a very wise thing to do when things feel like that is to send out a prayer letter to my supporters. Without fail, I have found that it works! Within a day or two, the weight has lifted. Something feels different. I feel upheld. I feel the strength of prayer behind me. And you don’t have to have a team of prayer supporters behind you to ask some friends to pray. Sometimes, it’s hard to do. I know that. It makes me feel vulnerable, and sometimes I just don’t like showing I am that vulnerable. But it’s worth it, because prayer works!

Worship, too, is such a powerful weapon when we know the enemy is at our back. I remember hearing a speaker talk about how, in spiritual warfare, the enemy hates to hear about the blood of Jesus. So he learned to sing about the blood of Jesus when he was struggling! I find it really helpful, too!

Ok, I’ll be honest here. Probably the place where I struggle most with fear is in my car. Driving and I have a love/hate relationship, with a history of struggles. There’s something about going 70mph (or even less) down the motorway that I have really, really hated- and still do sometimes! It can come back when I’m tired or stressed. God showed me that the way to tackle it was to gradually face the fear and build up my driving, leaning on Him, and He has helped me so much. But the fear comes back sometimes. And I need to fight it!

There’s no reason why my car can’t be a place of worship: a place where I can put on a worship CD and praise my God as loudly as I like, especially when driving feels tough!

And, you know, I think sometimes the fear is from the enemy, and I can speak out loud and tell it to leave in Jesus’ Name, bringing the blood of Jesus against it. Maybe that’s a new concept for you but, honestly, I have learned that sometimes it just needs to be done. I wouldn’t advise doing it if you’re not in a right relationship with God but, if you are, it can really help. It’s in Jesus’ Name, and never in our own. But sometimes it just really, really helps to tell the fear to LEAVE in Jesus’ Name! After all, He has the victory!

Those are some things I’ve been thinking through recently. It’s not complete thoughts- just me processing. I so don’t have this sorted! But I’m learning. And, if it’s a blessing to you, too, I’m glad.

We never have to give in to fear. If we belong to Jesus (and that’s available to all of us), we have victory in His Name, and He will always send us the help we need when we look to Him.

And, actually, in His Arms, the children of God through Jesus are so safe, no matter how fragile we feel. I’ve shared this poem on here before, but I want to share it again:

The Swallow’s Nest

‘Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.’ Psalm 84:3

Where swallows lay their babies,

My heart finds her rest

In refuge strong, Almighty,

By tender, loving Breast.

When tears and tearings bleed deep,

I can come away.

This bruised reed finds her comfort

Where nestlings sleep, all safe.

 

If lambs lie in His bosom,

And chicks beneath His wings,

Then I can still be broken

And healing find in Him.

For though He rules the thunder,

He holds the little lambs

And fragile ones find refuge

Close to the great I Am.

 

The winds may roar around me

Wild waves toss round my way,

Or cruel tongues mock and taunt me

Or darkness dim my day.

Where swallows lay their babies,

My heart find her rest.

How lovely are Thine altars

Beside the swallow’s nest!

(If you don’t know that security of God’s love through Jesus yet, you can! He waits for you with open arms. Come to Him and turn from your sins, receiving His free and gracious forgiveness because of what Jesus did on the cross. Surrender your life to Him and let Him lead as your Lord. It may not always be easy but it’s the best decision you could ever make, for now and for eternity… and you will know the security of being held in God’s loving arms… forever. He loves you and longs for you).

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

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.

Thoughts On Stepping Out

Has God ever asked you to step out? To do something that scares you a little?

This is the week of stepping out: of doing something that has been on my heart for a long time, and God has increasingly been encouraging me to do. I’ve been a songwriter (of a sort) since I was tiny, but this is the week when God is asking me to start the process of recording and sharing some songs. Saturday, Lord willing, will be a whole new experience in a recording studio. I hope to share some on here sometime soon, God willing. But I thought it might be good to use this space as a place to process right now, while I’m messy and in process, and hopefully encourage you, too.

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I feel hesitant; inadequate. How could I think I have something to share; something that matters? And yet, He has been impressing upon my heart that I do. It’s not really about me; it’s about gifts He has entrusted me with; gifts that were meant to be a blessing to others. How could I withhold them if somehow I have something that someone else needs?

Faith is always about walking, one step at a time, in the light that we have, following the One Who leads us.

Sometimes, it’s easier to hold back; to stay hidden away. But how can I, when He is leading me forward? Only, in moving forward, I want to try to do things the right way. Not perfectly: none of us can ever achieve that on this earth. That’s why Jesus died. He died to cover our mess, and, if we come to Him in repentance and faith, trusting and following Him as Saviour and Lord, He covers it forever… and continually. But He is giving me some insight about how to do things in a way that will last. Not that I have this sorted- I don’t! This is just me writing them out. But here they are:

A conviction is growing in me about creativity for the Lord. I love being creative. It’s a big part of why I blog… why I write songs. But, more and more, I’m coming to believe something. What matters is not so much how good something is, or how talented you are, but how anointed it is by the Lord (if that’s the right word). How much God’s hand is on it. How much it has come from the secret place, with Him in prayer. How much it has been birthed in His presence, under His leading.

Of course, it is good to strive for excellence. But it is far better to commit what you do to the Lord, and to do it in His way. That;s the way your plans will bear fruit.

‘3 Commit your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established.’ Proverbs 16:3

Only, success may look more like fruit than fame, if you do things His way. It may look like someone coming to know Him, instead of people knowing who you are. But isn’t that far, far better? Because it’s eternally, wonderfully good.

We can succeed greatly in the world’s eyes, only to find out one day that it was all only ‘wood, hay, straw’ (from 1 Cor 3:12). Or we can fix our eyes on Him and seek to do it His way… which may not look so flashy, or appealing. But it carries more lasting power.

’12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.’ 1 Corinthians 3:12-13

And behind it all, what you need to know when you step out is that you are loved, no matter what happens.

Peace comes from knowing that you are deeply, deeply loved. That it doesn’t matter how things go. That it doesn’t matter whether you succeed or fail in the world’s eyes. What matters is being faithful with what He has given you. Following His lead. Because that really is success. And knowing that, however things go, He loves you. And He sees all you do for Him.

To the woman whose offering was rejected and misunderstood, He said,

‘6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.’ Mark 14:6 (some versions say it was beautiful to Him).

And so I’m stepping out. Not that confidently, but confident that He is leading me. Believing that, while preparation is important, prayer matters far more. Believing that, no matter how things go, I am loved, and secure in His grace.

If you would like to pray for me this Saturday, please pray that I will do this His way, with His help. Lord, help me be faithful and fruitful for You!

I hope I have a recording to share sometime. But, far more, I guess we all need to remember what really matters in the end: hearing His voice say,

‘”Well done, good and faithful servant”‘ (from Matt 25:23).

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

(If you don’t know Him yet as Saviour and Lord, you can! You can know complete forgiveness, breathtaking love, incredible acceptance and astounding eternal life. Turn from your rebellion, come to Him and receive His full and free forgiveness through Jesus. Surrender to Him, confess Him as your Lord and give your life to Him. He longs to meet you and transform you forever).