A Very Powerful Force That is Available to Us All…

Something I’ve been learning about recently is prayer.

I’m learning that prayer is a powerful, powerful thing. Because God is all powerful and and prayer is God acting in answer to the words of feeble men and women.
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Those who come to God through Jesus (which we all can do if we come on His terms) have at their disposable an indescribably powerful weapon: the power of prayer.

I remember a quote I read from Charles Spurgeon, about prayer being like lightening, cutting through things with power.

“I do believe there is as much reality in a Christian’s prayer as in a lightning flash; and the utility and excellency of the prayer of a Christian may be just as sensibly known as the power of the lightning flash when it strikes the tree, breaks off its branches, and splits it to the very root.”

Spurgeon, C. (1993). The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life. ed. Lynwood, Washington: Emerald Books, p.69

And I believe that the power of prayer is greatly increased when you start to believe it really works, and you start making use of it in faith… and expecting God to answer.

 

I’ve heard a preacher say that Mary Queen of Scots was more afraid of John Knox’s prayers than the armies of her enemies.

And she was right.

Because prayer is more powerful than any army.

It’s like in 2 Kings 6:

’16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.

19 Now Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” But he led them to Samaria.’  2 Kings 6:14-19

The enemies could not touch the people of Israel, because they were depending on their God for help. God’s people were surrounded by the army of Heaven: far more powerful than the forces of their enemies. And God defeated their enemies in a way that was amazing!

And, if we are following Jesus, we too have incredible protection on our side.

If only we could see.

There are some powerful, powerful promises about prayer in the Bible.

And we can so easily water them down; reason them away.

But they are ours, not to be watered down, but to taken and used and claimed.

Sure, our hearts need to be in line with God’s will.

Sure, He gets the final say on how He acts.

Sure, we need to be surrendered to God’s plan and way of doing things.

But let’s not lose the power of the blank cheque we have been given.

Let’s think about some examples we have been given about what happened in answer to prayer.

God stopped the sun.

God stood up the sea.

God defeated huge armies.

God intervened in incredible, astounding ways.

Spurgeon also said this to believers in Jesus who pray with faith:

“You have power in prayer, and you stand today among the most potent ministers in the universe that God has made. You have power over angels, they will fly at your command. You have power over fire, and water, and the elements of the earth. You have power to make your voice heard beyond the stars; where the thunders die out in silence, your voice will wake the echoes of eternity. The ear of God himself will listen and the hand of God himself will yield to your will. He commands you pray, “Your will be done,” and your will, will be done. When you can plead his promise then your will is his will.”

Spurgeon, C. (1993). The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life. ed. Lynwood, Washington: Emerald Books, p.67

I found myself thinking last night what my life would be like if I could not pray; did not know how. I couldn’t imagine it. It would be too awful for words! Not to have the joy; the freedom; the relief of being able to lift my burdens up to my Father, and know He will act on my behalf. Life would be so very, very different.

It made me long for others to know this reality, too: the joy of bringing our hearts and burdens to God.

Maybe you already know Him too. Let’s make more use of this unlimited gift He has given us! I know I need to!

Maybe you have never prayed before. Oh, dear friend, you are missing out! God is waiting right where you are, waiting to hear you speak to Him… in your own words… from your own heart… because He wants to meet with you, and to answer.

This same God, Who did incredible things in the past, is waiting to do incredible things for us today.

Okay, so we need to do things His way. We all mess up. That’s why we need the blood of Jesus for forgiveness. That’s why we need to turn from the things that offend Him and follow Him His way. Sin blocks things up and gets in the way of what God wants to do for us.

But God is calling us  to speak to Him: the One Who did incredible things in the past, Who does not change, and ask Him for whatever we want, so long as our hearts are surrendered to Him. Whatever we want.

‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.’ James 5:16b-19

So why do we limit God?

Why do we hold back from asking?

Sometimes I sense Him asking me, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

Well, I think He’s always asking it. But, sometimes, I’m more aware of it.

I guess He’s asking me right now.

I guess He’s asking you right now, too.

What do you want Him to do for you? For those you love? For the nations? In your wildest dreams?

Yes, we need to surrender to Him and His ways. Yes, we need to align our hearts with His. Yes, we need to allow Him to be God in the way and the timing He answers. But let’s not lose the power of this very, very powerful and effective blank cheque that God is holding out to us.

What do you want Him to do for you?

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

Without reasoning it away, holding back or limiting what He can do.

What would I like Him to? What would you like Him to do?

Why not ask Him now?

He’s waiting for you. 😉

 

(The most important prayer we all need to pray is the one that opens the door to knowing God as our loving Heavenly Father: when we surrender to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. Although we have all rebelled against Him, He loves us and longs to restore that relationship with Him. He gave His Son so that we can be forgiven from the judgement we all deserve and have the hope of living forever in His Heaven, when we come to Him, receive His forgiveness and surrender our lives to follow Him. He longs to meet with us, hear us and answer our prayers. He longs to give Himself to us).

 

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

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Do You Ever Put God in a Box?

Do you ever underestimate God?

Expect Him to act in a certain way? Limit what you think He can or will do?

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I remember a friend at University, who used to talk about ‘putting God in a box’.

Yup, I do that.

And then He bursts the boxes apart by doing far more than we could even ask, dream or imagine… usually on another dimension, with lots of extra thrown in!

I think I often underestimate my Heavenly Father.

Well, that’s an understatement!

Not just in what He can do.

But His kindness. His gentleness. His tenderness. His care.

He much He loves.

How deeply He knows me, in a way that no-one else does. How deeply I understands what I need.

How much He cares.

You see, He cares so very, very much more than we realise. He loves so much deeper than we could ever dream of.

Sometimes I think of Him in a certain way… and then He does something that blows my mind… and I realise… He is so, so much bigger and better and more wonderful than I could ever think of in my wildest dreams! He is real and He is there and He really answers and He really acts… wisely and wonderfully and powerfully, but also tenderly for His people, too.

In big ways, and in little ones. To be honest, it’s often the little ones that get me the most: things that only He could do; things only He could know about. Answering prayers I haven’t even realised I’ve prayed. Doing things I’ve forgotten to even ask for.

And He delights to do so!

He blows my mind, again and again and again.

And I find myself encountering the One Who is so much bigger; so much better than my wildest dreams.

But it’s not just in the big answers. It’s in encountering Him in and through it all.

He cares so much more than we realise when we are hurting. We forget; we go on our way; trying to keep strong; thinking He must want us just to push through. And, all the time, He is there, waiting for us to come to Him; because He wants to comfort us; because He wants to hold us close.

 ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,’ 1 Cor 1:3

He will fix the problems one day- ultimately, in eternity. Those who follow Jesus down the narrow road (and we all need to) have every reason to hope. But He also wants to pour His love in now. He wants us to find Him in it all.

He knows this is a broken world. He never meant for it to be like that. We are the ones who broke it, and He is the One Who is going to put it right when Jesus comes back to judge the world and collect His people: His bride. But even now, in the middle of all the mess, the Father longs to hold us; to pour in His love; to comfort us through it all.

To minister to us in ways we’d never even dream of. To counsel us. To protect us. To give us peace.

To answer our prayers. But, more than that, to give us what we never even realised we longed for: God.

Yes, He loves to amaze us by what He does. But He loves to amaze us in the process, too: by showing up; by pouring in His love; by giving us Himself.

It may be a painful process to do things His way (like labour). But He’ll burst our boxes apart in the process if we let Him in… as we find Him… and discover that He is really all we are looking for, anyway.

I’m learning that it means letting go of our ideas about how we think He should answer… and our timetables, too.

It means letting Him do things His way.

But it’s not because He’s cruel, and it’s not because He’s going to let us down. No way.

He is Love. Pure love.

It’s because our boxes aren’t big enough to hold what He wants to do.

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

And, when He bursts our boxes apart, we find Him waiting there… real, wonderful and beyond our wildest dreams.

Love.

God.

The One we have been looking for all along.

The One Who is waiting for us with open arms. 🙂

’20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.’ Eph 3:20-21

 

(He is the One Who cares so much that He gave His one and only Son to bring us into His family. Jesus died in our place, so that we can be forgiven… the slate washed clean… when we come to Him and receive His forgiveness, turn from our wrong ways and surrender to follow Him and do things His way. He is better than your wildest dreams, and He longs to receive you with open arms when you come to Him in faith. He is waiting to rescue you for all eternity: to give you an astounding, eternal hope. He is waiting for you now).

(To receive free encouraging emails, click ‘follow’. I’d love to keep encouraging you!) 🙂

 

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

Have you ever longed for a friend who will never let you down?

Have you ever longed for someone who would always be there for you? Who would listen to you and never say the wrong thing? Who would love you no matter what you had done? Who would help you perfectly through every season and never, ever let you down?

When I was a young girl at primary school, one of my school friends asked me who my best friend was. She tried to guess, and couldn’t. When she found out my best friend was God, she laughed. She couldn’t believe it. Really? Yes.

Years later, it is still true. He is the most faithful, faithful Friend you could ever dream of. And He constantly amazes me with how amazing He is.

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The Lord has stayed with me through thick and thin. He has held me through tears. He has forgiven me for so many things. He has comforted me through fear. He has answered my prayers about things big and small in astounding, incredible ways.

He has led me and carried me with a faithfulness I could not have imagined if it wasn’t real.

And He continues to amaze.

There is a verse in Proverbs that says this:

‘But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.’ Proverbs 18:24b

I could say that of the Lord. Maybe you could too.

He is there, with me, through it all. Sometimes it’s more apparent than others. The times I have known it the most have been the hardest times. But it’s been always true, whether I have been aware of it or not.

One thing that has amazed me about Him recently is how He counsels. He really is the Wonderful Counsellor. He is not just wise; His tone is perfect, too. I am very sensitive; easily hurt. I hear the tone something is said in sometimes louder than what is said. And what amazes me about the Lord is how gentle He is with me. He doesn’t just give His counsel; He gives it so tenderly, so lovingly, especially when I feel fragile. He is just so, so kind.

Like with Elijah in 1 Kings 19. Elijah was exhausted; so worn down that he wanted to die. He walked miles because he needed to meet with God. And God did speak to him. But, first, God took care of him in a very tender way, and He also established the tone of the conversation by emphasising how gentle He can be. It was not a strong wind. It was not an earthquake. It was not a fire. It was quiet; gentle; tender, for Elijah’s worn down spirit.

’11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.’ 1 Kings 19:11-12

I want to encourage you to come to Him; to meet with Him; to cast your cares on Him. He loves. He forgives. He comforts. He consoles. He is just incredible. And Hereally is there for you.

Are you troubled? Take it to Him. Are you burdened? Take it to Him. Are you troubled by guilt? Take it to Him. Are you lonely? Heartbroken? Desperate? Take it to Him.

He is the Best Friend you could ever find, and it is amazing what He can do.

There is a song that has been well-loved in my family; an old, familiar hymn that you probably know. It’s stood me in good stead… even before that day when I told my friend my best friend was God. He still is. And He wants to be your Best Friend, too, through thick and thin.

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

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

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

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

Joseph M. Scriven, ‘What a Friend in Jesus’, 1855 (Public Domain)

(If you don’t know Jesus yet as Saviour and Lord, He is waiting for you to come to Him. We all need His free forgiveness from the judgement that is coming. We all need to turn from the wrong in our lives; the things that hurt Him, ourselves and others. We all need to surrender our lives into His hands; to choose to believe in His grace; to follow Him. It’s the way to eternal life, and it’s also the way to the best Friend you could ever, ever find. He longs to be your Best Friend, too).

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

A Love that can Change your Life…

Something God has been ministering to me deeply is His love as Father.

It’s the most astounding, healing, freeing, wonderful truth… And it’s everything our souls truly crave and long for. I’d like to blog about it because it’s so wonderful, and so, so transforming and healing and good!
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Knowing that you are loved by God as your Heavenly Father is so, so healing. It’s not something to know on the surface: it’s something to soak in; to drink in; to bathe in; to live in. It’s soaking in His presence, drinking in His love, listening to His tender, gentle voice. Because His love is real, and solid, and powerful, and unimaginable, and unending, and so, so, so very good.

Knowing God as Father is the answer for everything; everything. It’s forgiveness through Jesus when we mess up. It’s strength when we are weak. It’s arms of comfort when our hearts are racked with pain. It’s strong arms of security when we are afraid. It’s peace when we are anxious and confused and anxious. It’s assurance that we are loved when we worry what people will think. It’s hope for the future and deep, pure, wise strength for today. It’s everything we need for the journey.

No matter what the problem is, the solution is always coming to our Heavenly Father, and letting Him be all we need. He has comfort for our sorrows; joy for our tears. He holds us in strong arms. He surrounds us with a fierce, powerful love. He is fiercely tender and wonderfully protective. When we look to Him through Jesus, He will meet each one of us with whatever we need each day.

It starts the way of the cross; turning from our wrong ways and receiving the gift of forgiveness through His Son Jesus, because He loves us so much that He gave His own Son to make a way for us to come back into His Arms. It starts with surrendering our lives to His powerful, wonderful love- to do things His way, because He knows best. That’s the beginning of the relationship, and the way of rescue from the judgement we all deserve and knowing eternally the love that He longs to shower on each one of us.

But that’s only the beginning. The beginning of a life surrounded by His love, whether we are aware of it or not. There is nothing like being held in the Father’s arms and being loved. Sometimes life hits so hard and hurts so much. Sometimes pain is so deep that it feels like no person can come close enough to truly help. Sometimes no person is gentle or patient enough to speak into a place that is raw inside you. But the Father always, always understands. He is always, always there for us. He can minister to our hearts with love in a way that is soothing and healing and deep and true. There is no gentleness; no kindness; no peace like His. Come into His presence, and soak your heart in His love.

And, no, sometimes He doesn’t feel close. I’ve known seasons like that. Sometimes He is growing our faith based on truth, and not on feelings. I remember begging Him with tears to come close, because He felt so far away. But that didn’t change the reality. He is there, and He loves us,  just the same.

And there are so many implications of being loved like this. One that God is encouraging my heart with at the moment is this: it takes away the need for worry, because it means that you are safe, protected and provided for. I am such a worrier- have been as long as I can remember. But God has been encouraging me to rest in His love for me. If I truly believe that I am loved, I won’t be striving to always have all the bases covered. I won’t be looking ahead in fear, trying to provide for every eventuality. I won’t be living today burdened with fear of what might happen tomorrow. I’ll be secure; at peace; able to live and laugh and love and rejoice because I know deep down that He already has tomorrow covered. When I get there, I will find the provision He has had planned all along… because He is a good Father and He actually, truly cares. 

Here are some verses that have been encouraging my heart about my wonderful Heavenly Father, to help you process how good He is:

 

‘The Lord is merciful and gracious,

Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.

9 He will not always strive with us,

Nor will He keep His anger forever.

10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,

Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,

So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

12 As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father pities his children,

So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

14 For He knows our frame;

He remembers that we are dust.’ Ps 103:8-14

‘He heals the brokenhearted

And binds up their wounds.’ Ps 147:3

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,’ 2 Cor 1:3

‘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

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

I’m writing a song at the moment. It’s not finished yet and it may change, but here are the rough words so far. It’s about being held by my Father through every need, and every season of life.

 

Father Me

Being held by you is my refuge;

Being held within Your mighty wings;

Safe within Your fortress;

Comfort in Your peace;

You are all I need.

You are enough for every sorrow.

You are enough for every fear.

 

Father me, Father me.

Hold me, Lord, tenderly

Father me, Father me.

Hold me in Your peace

As You’re singing over me.

Throughout all my journey,

Through all the joy and tears,

As a Gentle Father,

Father me.

 

You can heal my broken heart; my sorrow.

You forgive my sins and wipe my tears.

I meet You in the valleys.

You comfort all my fears.

You are all I need.

You are enough for every sorrow.

You are enough for every fear.

 

Bridge

Soothe me with your songs;

Held beneath Your wings;

Wipe away my tears;

Hold me through the years.

 

You are enough for every sorrow.

You are enough for every fear.

You are enough for every circumstance.

You are enough for everything.

Why not come into His presence right now, and ask Him to meet you and minister to you with His powerful love?:-)

(If you don’t know this love yet, He is waiting for you with open arms. He cares so much that He gave His beloved Son to pay the price so that you can be forgiven and rescued for all eternity. Turn from your sin. Receive His forgiveness. Surrender your life into His hands. Ask Him to forgive you because of Jesus, and to change your heart. You will find the love you have been looking for all your life).

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

When you’re striving and all you really need is to be still…

picture-peace-blogThe more I go through this life, the more I’m learning that the answer is always to come back to my Heavenly Father: to come into His presence and wait on Him.

In His presence, we find all we need.

There is a place where we can find comfort for our trials; peace for anxiety; forgiveness for our wrongs; healing for our tears. It’s in the presence of Father God.

If we belong to Him already, this is where we always need to come back to in everything: back to Him. He is always the answer.

And if you don’t know Him yet, it’s where you begin- coming to Him as Father, receiving His forgiveness through Christ, surrendering to Him as Lord… and finding a love you never dreamed of. It’s the way out of the eternal judgement we all face without Christ, but it’s far more than that: it’s finding what our souls have yearned for all along. Come into His presence. He is waiting for you.

In the presence of Father God, surrendered to Him, we find all we need.

Wisdom for the confusion; peace for the striving; a safe place for the tears… what we are searching for is found in God.

And sometimes what we really need is to come into His presence, to surrender to Him and to be still, and let Him minister to us.

Sometimes, what we really need to do is to just to come away with Him; to be still and receive from Him; to, as my friend put it the other day, ‘soak’ in His presence: to be still and know that He is God.

‘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

A few years ago, a lady shared something with me. I still need to remember it, because I so often strive, and forget. It was this: “God just wants to hold you.”

Sometimes, I think He just wants to hold us: to spend time with us: to comfort us; to minister to us; to be with us. Not to look at the clock and rush away, but to just wait in His presence. Not to hold on to our sins, but to bring them to the cross of Jesus and know that His forgiveness is free. Not to stay in the confusion of our minds but to read His Word, and listen to Him speak. Not to stay all locked up inside, but to let Him in to bring His healing; His freedom; His comfort; His release. Not to look to other places to find our souls filled, but to look up at Him and love Him; to drink from Him and find all we need in Him.

And, yes, sometimes it’s not easy. Sometimes He seems far away and the feelings don’t always come. But it’s not about feelings. It’s about Him.

And yes, sometimes it’s a process. Sometimes it takes time. He is wise and thorough and good.

But, whether we feel it or not, He is always there, and He is always waiting to meet with us, and to help us.

‘You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.’ Psalm 139:5

‘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,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.’ Psalm 139:7-10

I can often be pretty restless, trying to come away with the Lord but still striving. But I sense that He wants me just to come to Him; to surrender; to receive.

The poem below isn’t perfect and it’s not Scripture, but it’s me trying to encapsulate something of this, and I think that maybe the Lord wants me to share it. I hope it blesses you.

No matter what the need, He is always the answer we really need.

Still

Cease striving and be still,

For I am LORD of all

And my deep love will heal.

Be still, My child, be still.

 

Wait humbly and be still.

I do not need your strength.

I only want your all.

Be still, My child, be still.

 

Don’t carry. Just be still.

The burden is not yours.

Just lay it down. I’m All.

Be still, My child, be still.

 

You’ve walked a painful road

And I have shared it all.

I care. I’m here to heal.

Be still, My child, be still.

 

You cannot change what’s gone.

The work has all been done.

It’s finished. I have won.

Be still, My child. Just come.

 

Don’t rush away. Wait on.

I want to hold you, long.

Oh, hear my tender songs.

Be still, my child. Hold on.

 

You’re loved, My child. I’m all

You yearn for. I can fill.

Secure and all is well.

Be still, My child. Be still.

 

Look up, My child. Hold on.

You’ll be Home before long.

The morning light will dawn.

Be still, My child. Hope comes.

 

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

Did this little boy touch your heart, too?

Did you see little Alex on the news?

Did he touch your heart, too?

I want to tell you about him. But first, let me go back a bit…

Sometimes I need to write the ugly stuff… the stuff that isn’t nice or pleasant or encouraging, but it needs to be said, because so few people are saying it… because we can all get wrapped up in our own lives and forget. And I think that breaks God’s heart.

There’s horrible stuff going on in the world out there. And I don’t think it should be forgotten. And that includes by me.

Right now, people are starving and dying and being bombed. Most of them have never even heard the Good News that Jesus died so that they can have forgiveness and hope, in this life and the next.

There are so many heartbreaking examples. Here are a few:

I saw this on the news the other day: babies starving in Yemen, because there is nothing to feed them with. Precious people on the verge of starvation.

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-10-13/the-starving-children-of-toheita-yemen/

I’m sure you’ve seen the images of Aleppo in Syria. Bombs and starvation, grief and carnage and broken  hearts.

There are millions of children on the streets in many places, not even knowing who their parents are.

There are refuges much closer to home, too, in need of help and struggling because maybe we cling so closely to what we have.

I was talking to a friend the other day. He made friends with a refugee who came to his church after a harrowing ordeal getting to the UK. He was going to be kicked out of where he was staying in the UK and he had nowhere to go. My friend and his wife talked about it. What if one of their children was in a foreign country with nowhere to turn? So they took him in. Since then, he’s been staying in their spare room.

Doesn’t it refresh your heart to see people responding to an appeal for food or toys or clothes in an emergency? Doesn’t it warm your heart to see the things pile up and the sudden joy on the people’s faces as they share?

And then there’s Alex.

Maybe you saw the news story a few weeks ago: a little six- year old boy called Alex wrote to President Obama, offering a home to a little Syrian boy called Omran he had seen on the news covered with blood and ravaged by war.

http://www.itv.com/news/2016-09-22/boys-letter-to-president-obama-offering-home-to-syrian-refugee-read-out-at-united-nations/

Alex offered the little Omran his own family… a bedroom… toys… Of course, it will most likely never happen. But Alex’s fresh innocence and willingness to help touched hearts across the world. It made many cry. I think it made God smile.

Because we all know, deep down, that Alex is right.

Why shouldn’t he share what he has with another boy so desperately in need?

Maybe God raised up little Alex as an example.

…”that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack”- from 2 Cor 8:14

I know we can’t do everything. But surely each of us can do something to help someone. Little things, after all, do much more than we realise.

How could I learn from Alex’s example? I can’t write to the president and magic away all of the suffering, but is there something I could do?

Could I skip some meals and fast and pray for those who are starving?

Could I sacrifice something and give a little bit (or even a big bit) to help?

Could I look for a moment at all that I have been given and somehow find a way to share?

And, most of all, they need my Saviour.

Could I ask God if there’s anything He would like me to do? Maybe it’s just a little thing- an offered prayer. Maybe it’s not what I expect. But, whether it’s offering a little prayer or a few pence or my whole future, I bet He’d like to show me.

‘Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Surely we did not know this,”
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?’ Proverbs 24:11-12

I don’t mean to be condemning. I don’t have this sorted. Maybe these things are complicated and messy and maybe we can’t help everyone.

But let’s not lose Alex’s wisdom. Maybe it’s not as complicated as we make it out to be.

And surely we can’t do nothing. Especially not when we realise how much God loves us.

Maybe I can’t do much, but I do have words, and I know that there are people out there who don’t have a voice.

Just because they are far away (if they are) doesn’t mean they don’t matter. They matter so much to God.

And doesn’t it feel so good when you know you helped someone out?

Please, please, let’s not forget them.

Let’s talk a moment to talk to God and do something for them now.

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

Can you relate to these thoughts?

Sometimes I catch myself thinking things like this:

‘That’s never going to change.’

‘That’s just too big a problem.’

‘If God was going to answer, He would have done so by now.’

‘It’s too late for that to ever change.’

‘I could never pray enough about that, so I might as well not pray at all.’

‘That’s just too hard to fix.’

Says who?!?

What if God has something incredible in mind?

What if the prayers are building up and building up and building up and about to spill over in answers… But I give up too soon?

What if Satan is really just trying to dampen my faith, because faith adds such power to prayer?

What if God is just waiting for someone to pray, because He wants to answer?

I think back to other times: things I thought would never be answered; things I thought would never change. Only they have! If I could have seen ahead, I would have been amazed.

Why not again?

I need to go back and find promises to hold onto: promises from my Father, which I can claim as my own.

Like:

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14 (KJV)

Or:

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Matt 7:7-11

Or:

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16b

Or even this:

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” Matt 21:21

Or many, many more!

And I need to dream big: to ask for big things, because, after all, His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways. He is far bigger than me (and yes, that means it may not be in my way or my time, but He always knows best!). 🙂

Sometimes I play a little game: I stop and think of ten things to ask God for- and I ask Him! It forces me to think out of the box: to realise that I have a blank cheque, and I can just ask! It’s fun, and encouraging, and, after all, prayer works!

I dare you to do the same. You could take a moment to submit your heart to God and ask Him to guide you and give you faith… and then make a list of ten things you want to see God do… and ask Him! You could keep the list, pray over it and wait for His answers.

I bet He will amaze! 😉

No Matter What…

No matter what, Jesus is the Answer.

He heals the broken-hearted. He sets the prisoner free. He brings joy where there shouldn’t be joy. He forms beauty out of ashes. He raises praise out of despair.

He brings transformation: surprising, stunning transformation where you thought there was no hope.

When you thought you should give up, He comes and offers hope THERE.

That’s how good… how powerful… how close He is.

And He wants to do amazing things for you…

… if you’ll ask Him.

Ok, so it’s on His terms. You can’t expect Him to bless you if you’re fighting Him. He asks you to surrender. Because He really does love you, and He really does know best.

It may be unexpected. It may take time. After all, God is far bigger than superficial solutions.

But He sure is into transformation! He just loves to answer prayer.

What He does in answer to our asking is far, far more than we could ever ask or even imagine.

And He wants to work for you.

So why not come to Him? 😉

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3

It was Just a Dream- or was it?

Last night, I had a dream. In the dream, I was in Syria. A country at war.

It was a terrible, frightening world.

Nowhere was safe. I kept having to move on. It was a world of dreadful chaos and fear.

It was the stuff of nightmares.

In the dream, I had some children with me. They weren’t mine, but they needed looking after and I loved them.

I looked after them for a while and then, in the chaos, I lost them.

It was a deeply troubling dream.

But I woke up. There I was in my bed, with the soft sheets around me and the stillness of safety and peace, and the comfort of my God. I could snuggle down and go back to sleep.

After all, it was just a dream.

For me, that is.

But it’s not a dream for millions of people out there, although it sure might feel like a nightmare.

And many of them don’t know my Jesus, and how He gives forgiveness and eternal life to all who come to Him in repentance and faith.

Many of them are being attacked.

Many of them have lost children.

Many of them are starving to death.

And how can that be ok? And how can I do nothing?

It may only be prayer but, hey, prayer changes things. For real.

Lord, help us never forget the world in need.

And, Lord, help us do what we can to help.

 

WHO SAYS these mountains won’t move?

WHO SAYS these mountains won’t move?

Sometimes the work can feel overwhelming. The problems can seem insurmountable. The weight can weigh you down.

When you’re serving Jesus, sometimes it feels like you’re walking through treacle.

Sticky, impossible treacle.

And Satan’s not exactly silent, is he?

“My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.” Lamentations 3:20 (KJV)

“I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.” Psalm 77:3 (KJV)

But what does it mean to be MORE than a conqueror?

Through EVERYTHING?

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Romans 8:37

What does it mean that GOD is FOR us?

“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

What does it mean to have a HEAVENLY army on our side?

And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” 2 Kings 6:15-17

What does it mean that we can tell this mountain to move…

And it WILL?!

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Matthew 17:20

Answers to prayer are always on their way.

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” 2 Chronicles 17:20

‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ John 15:7

‘The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.’ James 1:16a-18

All that happened because of the prayers of

Just. One. Man.

(JUST like us, it says!)’

(Are you encouraged yet?) 😉

As we walk forward in faith…

the mountains will disappear!

‘Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.

Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.’

Isaiah 41:15-16

‘And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.’ Mark 11:22-23

‘Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.’ Zechariah 4:6b

So let’s pray, abide, believe…

And watch these mountains MOVE!!