Sunday, 7 February 2021

Perfect LOVE drives out fear

A week ago I took a very precious friend to a nearby hospital to have her monthly eye injections following all the guidelines for being a volunteer driver. Having dropped her off I wait in the car park for a couple of hours. I needed a comfort break so walked into the hospital where staff check your temperature and you say your business. I felt as if I was hit by a wall of fear, it was tangible in people's mannerisms and their eyes when we can't see smiles. Even when in the Eastern Block in the Cold War I didn't feel this. I wanted to stop and talk to people about God's amazing love and I felt so sad and more determined than ever to talk about the amazing LOVE we all have poured into our hearts when we choose Jesus as number one.

Fear causes us to say things like 'I could never....... do that,..... go there,..... speak to them..... be any good at......' and the rest! Think about what you declare with your mouth, is it a truth or a lie?

It is hard to talk about LOVE and focus on 'fear' and yet that is the very powerful force that limits love working in our lives and is often at the root of many problems we have.
1 John 4:18-19 'There is no fear in LOVE (dread does not exist). But perfect (complete, full grown) LOVE drives out fear, because fear involves (the expectation of Divine) punishment, so the one who is afraid (of God's Judgement) is not perfected in LOVE (has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God's LOVE). We love, because He first Loved us.'

Fear can be so deep rooted that we respond to situations and don't even know why we react like that. Of course there is the fight or flight automatic reaction which saves us from many dangers. Recently I was about to fall over and the first word out of my mouth was 'Jesus' (not as a swear word) and as I landed on the concrete slabs nothing at all was damaged much to the surprise of all around me. So let us have His Name forefront in our talk.

Fear is a very massive response in most situations today as the TV News is full of horror stories, as is the multimedia. We are in danger of our mind picking up these stories if we do not protect ourselves by speaking His Word out of our mouth as a weapon in this war for our spirit.

FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. So when we get symptoms in our body which we often accept, not recognising them as false evidence from the enemy, then we have a battle on our hands.

But let us focus on His LOVE as the Word says that this is what deals with 'fear'. This LOVE is not a happy feeling it is GOD Himself. Our love is very varied. We use the same word for our children and chocolate. There is no comparison but I believe this verse is not calling for a head response, a knowledge that we have lots of verses to back up that Father loves us. It is not an intellectual relationship, using our brains to prove the point. It is receiving His heart into our heart and allowing Him to give us a new heart and put a new spirit within us. He takes away our heart of stone and we let Him give us a new heart of flesh, that is responsive to His touch. Ezekiel 11:19.

Without a doubt this has been the biggest change in my life this last year. The light bulb moment of recognising that lots of good things I have said about God's love has now dropped from my head to my heart. I no longer need to be driven by activity for acceptance and approval. I can just rest in my LOVE relationship with Him alone and KNOW that just the way I am is just right for HIM and this overwhelms me. All the wasted years striving and manipulating to be loved when I am totally unconditionally loved from the beginning of time. I love the Word far more, I want to spend more time just enjoying Jesus and obey His leading as this is the most exciting life.

The Father's Love Letter says it all.

If you want to study further look at 'Real Love' in Joy for Life Bible studies looking at the book of 1 John 

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Disappointment, Loss and Grief

I went on a course recently about these subjects and was a bit concerned as I am truly feeling so blessed, so happy, so settled and thankful in Jesus. I didn't want anything to upset my equilibrium. On the course we covered most of the manifestations of grief that I experienced, in the form of confusion; unbelief, lots of tears; mood swings; sleeplessness and overwhelming tiredness and a sense of failure. 

We looked at the vicious circle of feeling alone and so withdrawing because of not being sure anyone understands and I can't face anymore hurt. 

Our loss affects us on so many different levels as every one's grief is unique and we need to respect other people's journey. Physically we can have all sorts of symptoms as our body has to express our loss, especially if we are unable to vocalise it. There are so many emotions that I experienced with loss, sadness, regret, anger, disappointment and guilt. People talked to me a lot about finding a new 'normal'. I didn't want any life without Dave. That wasn't 'normal' from my perspective. 

People can say lots of well meaning words and we can so easily get offended. I realised whatever people say can be wrong from my perspective, but I need to see their hearts. I much preferred that to people crossing over the road because they didn't know what to say. When we lost our baby the greatest conversation was with a friend who came and sat in silence beside me and cried. In 2 Corinthians 1:4 'Jesus always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.' That was definitely my friend's story.

All the disappointments and losses we go through as we give them to Jesus and 'let go' of them daily, allowing Him to heal the deep wounds and turn them for our good. Then Father uses us to comfort others going through a similar situation.

Anyway towards the end of the day on the course we were asked to comment on anything that we had found helpful. A lady made a comment saying that she always 'stood on the Word of God' and she suggested if we did the same then we wouldn't get upset by loss. Well I felt quite offended in my heart and was feeling quite thankful that she wasn't my counsellor. I then started to think that has been my kind of reaction to others pain so often, and I felt convicted by my judgemental, and critical attitude to myself and others. 

The teacher allowed two other guests to share their points. She then picked up on the point given, of the answer is 'to stand on the Word of God'. She pointed out that many can have a very cognitive relationship with God where it is more a cerebral, than a heart relationship. I had this amazing eye watering moment when I realised most of my relationship with Father God had been in my head and studying, not in my heart, so compassion was so far from me when others were suffering. It has also been so hard for me to believe I am loved as I don't match up in my head to my standard of perfection that I see in the Word.

I know a lot of Bible verses but unless I allow these truths to go to the core of my being and let them satisfy my soul, feed me, strengthen me and guide my life they stay in my head. Now I need to have such a close intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father, that as I read the Word it soaks me and transforms me. God has changed my whole perspective on His Love, I can rest in His love.

How I picture this is running up to my Father, jumping on His knee and receiving a wrap around blanket cuddle as He fills my heart with ALL I need. Where all the emptiness has been, He fills me up with Himself and heals all the brokenness. Check out the Japanese art form of mending broken pottery with gold, 'Kintsugi'. and making it more beautiful and valuable than before it was broken. See in the UK striving to make a difference to peoples mental wellbeing. 

I know this is a journey to walk like Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit, but I do hope sharing has helped a few people to be really honest about where they stand with Him.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

'I hate growing old......'

So many lovely people that I know and don't know have made this comment to me, including my Mum. Since I met Jesus I have always been challenged about how I speak about situations, I haven't always talked right but I am becoming more aware. 

When I worked with Cardiac outpatients who had usually had a heart attack and were young, we always did one session about how they spoke about their heart, their life and their future.

If you say 'I am terrified I am going to have another attack' you become more fearful. Whereas if you say 'my heart is getting stronger each day as I exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle'. You can help your mind to be more positive just speaking this truth. Proverbs 18:21 'Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who loves its use will eat its fruit' As one commentary says 'So those who enjoy talking, indulging in it, must "eat" its fruit, whether good or bad...... it means accepting the consequences of loving to talk.'

Growing old can be such a blessing, we have excuses for our bad, childish behaviour, we can make people happy by joining with us to laugh, even at ourselves. Last week I put a white load in my washing machine and after about 10 minutes I heard a banging noise in the machine went to check and saw my mobile phone smiling out of the door at me. It took me about another 10 minutes to work out how to open the machine when it is full, even thinking I would phone a friend but realised all my numbers are on the phone. But I remembered my emergency response is 'Praise Him', sung or shouted. So I just kept thanking my wonderful Father for my working phone. After drying it off taking the cover off and receiving the drips out of the orifices it came up with my great screen saver, Dave. I was more than thankful to see my mustard seed faith rewarded. So many got a laugh at my story.

Even when we are telling a story and forgotten the punch line or even worse a joke, why say 'Oh my mind is so slow/ forgetful or even worse, I am so stupid' We used to forget things when we were pregnant and say 'I have water on the brain' or when we were mega stressed at work. 

Let us grow a generation of joy full seniors who love life, have a fantastic listening ear and a heart full of praise, after all on the law of averages we are closer to heaven than the 'young' people around us. Therefore we have so much to be thankful for. Let us use everyday to tell EVERYONE about Almighty, All knowing, All powerful Jesus. All He has done for us recently, even if it is just we are dressed and walked across the room without falling. 

Then let us really work at storing up treasure in eternity. We can't take any of our 'stuff' with us but we can take people, and we can send prayers ahead. So while we are exciting everyone around us with the love of Jesus let us tell them what we have to be so thankful for today.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Does God really love ME?

I love the way the Bible really is living. So I can read something I have read many times before and there is something new. I often think about heaven as I realise that my thoughts are usually stuck in the mud of this world and not focused enough on eternity.

In order to look at the 'joy that is set before me' I love to look at the garden of Eden described in Genesis 2:8-14, as this is God's best plan so I am sure heaven will be something like it. What I saw in the reading this week is the amazing, phenomenal description, that after Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit and realised they were naked, Father God had still gone to meet with them in the garden in the evening breeze. They were hiding from God. Then one of the saddest verses in the Bible, 'God called to the Man: 'Where are you?' Genesis 3:9. God knew exactly where 
Adam and Eve were and what they had done, but He wanted them to own up to Him about their misdemeanor. He wanted to be with them and reassure them. 

But can you imagine God's enormous disappointment. His precious creation, Adam, and then His gift to him in Eve, had gone against the one rule He had asked them to adhere to. All His great plans blown out of the water by one slimy snake. But I am mega grateful that was not the end. BUT GOD knew this would happen so He had a plan which He mentioned in Genesis 3:15

The wonderful new point for me in this story is that God wanted to find them that day, and talk to them and fellowship with them. He did not leave them to wallow in their guilt and shame. He was so keen to restore the relationship, there would be consequences of their action, but He would still be there for them both. This is amazing LOVE.

Words cannot describe the enormity of God's reaction to Adam showing us the complete overwhelming unconditional LOVE of our Heavenly Father.

This is so very special for all of us, when we do wrong not only do we avoid facing God but also taking responsibility for the misdemeanor. We put off saying 'sorry', making right what we have done wrong. I must never forget that as soon as I have a wrong thought, action or word, I must run to Him and be completely open and ask for forgiveness and for the free flow of the Holy Spirit through me to return, so I can continue on in His strength which I need moment by moment.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Sitting at His feet

'Would you like to be frank in telling the Lord the story of your life so far?' This is a question in the study I have been doing this week, so being a good (?) student I thought I would have an honest dialogue with my Heavenly Father, even though it is the night before the Zoom class.

The chat with Him was a mixed description of childhood pain, thankfulness how God had kept me safe despite my own plans to the contrary. Then the line in the sand drawn in my life on the day I realised there was no way I belonged to God and was just a counterfeit Christian, working my own efforts to be a good girl. I knew my heart was changed overnight when I acknowledged and received all Jesus had done on the Cross for me.
One problem was that the desire to be popular from the old life grew as I just wanted to please my Heavenly Father so I worked for the Church, rushing round helping people and more and more activity, even going behind the Iron Curtain, Burma, and women's ministry in prisons. All the time thinking this was my value.

Wrong wrong wrong I knew in my head my whole value is in who I am in Jesus Christ. But what about my heart? All this effort without much prayer or checking His plans first.

I am so valuable God gave His Son Jesus to pay the horrendous price of His whole life in such a foul way on the Cross so I could have the amazing life I have had but more than that so I can live with Him forever with no tears or pain or suffering or separation.

This 'lockdown' is such a great time to do a spring clean of my heart, Ezekiel 11:19. An opportunity to check out my motives for all my activities and relationships, what is of eternal value? What changes does Father want to make, what am I holding onto? what am I not willing to let go of? 

Let us move on and grow up by sitting at His feet to take in all He wants to say to us and grow in His way, then go out and be His Light in this darkness.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Make your choice?

The last painting Dave did just before he died was called the 'Narrow Gate'. It was going to be a trilogy but he only did this one. The three were going to show the choice we all have to make. To die to ourselves and live for Jesus so having Him as number one in our lives. To have all the pleasures and delights of this world for ourselves and not consider our eternal future. Or not make any decision, 'I'll be alright'. Dave was very much alive, larger than life in fact, and realising he was dying was an enormous shock.  But his heart was very much to remind people there is only one way the Narrow Gate and the broad road leads to destruction and that road is crowded. Matthew 7:13-14 

In the light of all that is going on in the world at this time I have been asking myself why do I think I can go through all my life with no serious persecution. Jesus did say the world would hate us. 'Just remember, when the unbelieving world hates you, they first hated me.' John 15:18 We have seen an enemy in the last few weeks that is very real and wants to indiscriminately destroy people. But as we saw at the Cross, the enemy thought he had finished Jesus off and all His followers with Him, but within three days the whole situation had turned around when Jesus rose from the dead. Then 50 days later all His followers who were terrified, were filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit and there were over 3,000 little 'Jesuses' running around, adding to that number every day, Acts 2:47.

The world was in chaos when Jesus was crucified. It was the same for the disciples as well as for the religious leaders who didn't understand what was going on. There was a lot of insecurity, feelings were running high, and then Jesus appeared. Even more uncertainty, this has never happened before. So the disciples decided to just isolate themselves, in fear, or go back to the old job, something familiar. 'We could Pray; pray; pray'.

The room shook and the Holy Spirit came just as Jesus had told them 'And I will send you the Divine Encourager from the very presence of My Father. He will come to you, the Spirit of Truth, emanating from the Father, and He will speak to you about Me. 27 And you will tell everyone the truth about Me, for you have walked with Me from the start.' John 15:26,27 TPT.

Today is the most amazing opportunity to focus our time and effort and energy on developing a really loving, close and intimate relationship with Jesus, pray, pray, pray. Know exactly who we are in Christ and all that He has paid to give us. Listen and be led by the Holy Spirit moment by moment, every moment is to used not wasted.

So let us make sure we have chosen the narrow way and no amount of persecution or temptation or desperation will draw us away from the Highway Jesus paid for us to journey on.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

The First Good Friday

It is impossible adequately to describe the horror of that day. Events had moved quickly from the arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane to the trials and Peter's denial of his Lord, from the trumped-up charges, to the near-acquittal, to the mocking, the scourging, and then to the handing over of an innocent man to the howling religious mob whipped to a frenzy by the chief priests. Horror enough you may say, but now, Jesus whose beard had been yanked out, whose back had been laid open to the bone all over, whose flesh must have been hanging from Him like so much raw meat, was forced to carry His cross to the final place of execution.

This stumbling, agonising and breath-sapping procession was through streets (Via Dolorosa) thronged with a crowd which just a few short days ago was heralding Him as their king, but was now raucously deriding Him. He had been sentenced to death and was therefore regarded as a dead man already. He was fair game for all the horrors which could be inflicted on a condemned man on the public road to His death.

Was He kicked, pushed from side to side of the street, jeered, spat upon, and reviled? Perhaps rubbish and sewage was thrown over Him.... perhaps we shall never know, but human nature today allows us to think that the final footsteps of His life were more horrific than we might care to consider.

Whatever happened, Jesus could carry His cross no longer. The Roman executioners pressed Simon from Cyrene in North Africa into carrying it the remainder of the way. Finally, at the place called Golgotha - the place of the skull - Skull Hill, Jesus was flung to the cross and nailed there. The common practice was to use spikes through the forearms so that as the victim hung upright, He would not tear the spike through His hand and free His arm. 
Spikes were driven through His feet - probably His ankles, rupturing tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints - you see nobody cared anymore, Jesus was just another condemned non-entity, a joke, He would be dead in a few hours anyway. And then they hoisted the cross up ............ do you think they carefully put it in the ground so as not to jar the body more than necessary!? I don't think so.................

You saved others, but you can't save yourself ................ Get yourself and us down from here ......... Perhaps Elijah will come and get Him, let's wait and see ............ What's that He said? ......... Why is the sky getting dark, it’s hardly past lunch-time? It's pitch black!! .......... Why is the ground shaking? ..........Who are those people? ..........What's happening?!!!!!!

Questions: Dare you answer them truthfully?
·                     What would you have done?
·                     What stand would you have taken in this final unfolding of horror?
·                     Do you jeer at injustice now?
·                     Who is Jesus to you?
·                     What claim does the Son of God have on your life?

See how to receive all that Jesus died to give you, He loves you more than you have ever been loved before. For the eternal value of all our lives, this Friday is the best ever. Check this new life out at 'Joy for Life'