Fresh Hope – Day 6

Your mountain top experience is not your permanent address.

 

Striving to live on a continual high is a nice thought, but it’s not realistic.

 

Don’t get disappointed when you find yourself living for days on end in the valley.

 

Highs and lows are what make life what it is.

 

We have friends that live in a part of the world that only has 3 days of rain a year. Now that to me is ideal. Hot sunny days every day, yet they crave to come to the UK where they can enjoy the cold, rain and snow. Why? Because experiencing the same climate every day is seen as boring and something that they have to endure.

 

You’d fully expect people in that climate to be spending all day outside in skimpy clothes and eating from the barbecue every night. The reality is they spend all their time indoors with the air conditioning turned up full.

 

Seasons are a blessing. That trial that you are facing right now may make you feel like you’re in the dead of winter, but it will not only strengthen you, it will make you appreciate the spring time of your life too, when you will start to see new growth in your life.

 

Instead of craving to live only at one level, see that each day brings different seasons, and each season bringing not only fresh challenges, but fresh growth.

 

Don’t be disillusioned by the fact that you’re not on the mountain top every day, but embrace every challenge as a good friend, a friend that will enlarge your world.

 

Romans 5:3-5 MSG

‘There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!’

 

Pastor Mark

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – Day 5

Afford yourself the luxury of having time to think.

 

Busyness is what seems to give us our identity.

 

When asked how you are, the standard answer always seems to be ‘busy thanks, how are you?’ … ’I’m busy too, really busy.’

 

It’s like as if the 21st century has inbred a sense of failure or weakness into us if we are not constantly busy.

 

Being busy seems to be a way of hiding the real me. It’s a way of saying I’m really needed, I’m important, I haven’t got a minute, I have a full diary. I’m successful. I’m indispensable.

 

Is it possible that you are a busy fool? Or maybe you are pretending to be so busy so that you don’t come across as unsuccessful, without any purpose.

 

One of the tensions in our house is trying to get my wife to sit down for a few minutes. Her standard reply is one of two things; there’s too much to do or I feel guilty if I stop and sit down.

 

My standard reply always goes like this; if you feel guilty about stopping then you have a problem.

 

Every one of us needs to be guilt free when it comes down to making time to think.

 

Without thinking time you lose your way in life.

 

Without thinking time things get out of proportion.

 

Without thinking time you lose perspective.

 

Without thinking time you lose sight of God.

 

Without thinking time you are prone to make wrong choices.

 

Dedicate a chair in your home as a thinking chair and stop seeing that ceasing from work is wrong and start to see that thinking is a necessary form of work that helps keep our lives on track.

 

Thinking punctuates our lives and gives them greater meaning and effectiveness. Sit down today and allow yourself a little luxury thinking time.

 

Proverbs 23v7 ‘As a man thinks… so is he’

 

Pastor Mark

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – Day 4

People look at us everyday; the outside of us, that is. The way we dress, the way we smile or frown. They pick up many things just by looking. They also look at us and see through us. Do they see phony or do they see genuine?

 

We tend to only think about WHAT we do without ever considering WHY we do what we do. ALWAYS CHECK YOUR MOTIVES.

 

Anytime that I am doing something to look good in the eyes of others, means that any applause that I may receive will be short lived.

 

Solomon was known as the wisest man of all time. He had this to say in Proverbs 16:2 ‘All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.’

 

When we do something today, let’s make a habit of asking ourselves the question of WHY?

 

It appears that God is more interested in why you do something more than just the act of doing something.

 

The simplest way of thinking this through is to see it like this… The outside of me is the part that people see at first glance, however, the inside of me is what they really pick up when they get to know me. What vibe do they get from you?

 

As I write today, you can’t see that I’m sitting alone in an old jogging suit with my slippers on. My wife wouldn’t dare let me out of the house like this. But that doesn’t matter to you right now. It’s unimportant. What is important is the reason as to why I’m writing.

 

There can only be one correct answer to that and it has to be to help others find daily hope and make a pathway for a better way of living.

 

There’s nothing worse than seeing right through someone and feeling that the only reason they are doing this is to make them look good.

 

Get on the scales today and weigh your motives. I just did.

 

If the scales are weighing too heavy on the wrong motive side of things then start to lose some of the excess weight from your ego.

 

Pastor Mark

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – Day 3

My wife arrived home from the office yesterday. As she came through the door, she started to tell me how she had struggled to see the computer screen even though she was wearing reading glasses. She then noticed that her eyes were really blurred once she took the glasses off. As I started to feel sorry for her, she started to laugh and proceeded to tell me that she had been wearing my glasses all afternoon by mistake.

 

The invisible glasses of vision that we wear on our minds are vital to the way we see things. They can colour the way we think. They can make small things look much bigger. They can blur what we are trying to see in the distance.

 

Many times we look at other people’s amazing lives and try to borrow their vision. It doesn’t work. Trying to do what you weren’t called to do produces strain and leaves you discouraged.

 

Ask God to give you a vision for your own life. A purpose made pair of glasses designed to fit perfectly on you. Wrong vision brings strain and a headache, but the right vision for your life brings clarity.

 

Many people can do what you do better than you, true, but no one can do what you do quite like you.

 

Don’t be tempted to try and live your life through someone else’s vision. Get your own. By all means serve someone else’s ‘corporate’ vision but also have a ‘personal’ vision for your own life.

 

Get alone with God today and ask Him to help you to see through his eyes the things that you should do with your life.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’

 

Pastor Mark

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – Day 2

I hate cold water.

 

My family laugh at me standing at the side of a swimming pool as I pluck up the courage to get in.

 

I rarely jump or dive in to start with. I have to get in gradually and it takes so long.

 

I’m frustrating to watch, but I prefer to do it that way than feel the sudden shock.  I know I’m a chicken, but I have my reasons. Two in fact… The first came as a result of being pushed into a freezing cold pool as a child and being unable to do anything about it. The second was much more serious, in that a good friend of mine died of shock through getting into a freezing cold reservoir while his body had baked all afternoon in the sun.

 

Both events have affected my life by instilling fear into me.

 

FEAR robs us of doing simple things that normally wouldn’t have been a problem. My two grandsons know nothing of my fear, so they are happy to be thrown into the water as many times as I have the strength for.

 

I also feared flying, but have overcome that fear by ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway’. To date, I have flown to many parts of the world.

 

The simple question that I had to ask myself was this; are you going to let fear rule your day or your destiny? My answer had to be NO. No way.

 

What pool do you have to dive in today? What plane do you have to fly on today?  I don’t mean literally, but in the sense of what fear do you have to conquer today.

Many times my wife would have to hold my hand on a turbulent flight just to reassure me.

 

Whose hand are you holding today?

 

Perfect love casts out all fear.

 

1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

 

The simple meaning of that for us today is this; once you know the hand of the one that’s holding you and loves you unconditionally and won’t let you go, then you can step on fear and use it as a springboard to move forward.

 

DON’T allow fear to cripple you, defeat you, or destroy you.

 

Trust in Jesus. He’s waiting to catch you as you jump into scary water today.

 

Deuteronomy 31:8 – The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’

 

Pastor Mark

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – Day 1

Today I got up.

 

For some reason I seemed to have lost the peace that I went to bed with.

 

It’s happened many times before. I think the reason for this is that the mind plays games while we are semi-conscious, so much so, that we are unable to stop it in its negative tracks. It takes advantage of us while we sleep and steals from us what we gained the day before.

 

The problem is, is that we often allow this negative start to determine the outcome of the day. We mustn’t. The frustration and agitation that we feel isn’t real. These feelings are hoping that we will believe them, but remember, they are only thoughts and feelings; they are not set in stone. You have the power to overcome them by what you do in the next few minutes.

 

This morning I changed my day by changing my thoughts and feelings.

 

I changed them like I would change a watch that’s running out of sync. I have to set it to the rock solid GMT. It’s always right no matter where in the world I go. It’s never wrong.

 

For the past 35 years I’ve learnt to set my alarm to wake me earlier than my schedule for the day did. I made a cup of tea and sat down in my usual quiet place.

 

I opened my Bible and read a few verses that would anchor my life to the rock solid Jesus Christ.

 

I prayed and spread the day out before God. I gave to him my concerns, thoughts, plans and dreams. I prayed for others and those that I needed to speak to today.

 

I prayed about things that I needed and things that I desired.

 

I asked to be used today to help someone else. I asked that I would know who that would be amongst the many people that I will pass by throughout the day.

 

Spending this time, maybe 1/2 hour, maybe an hour, has set the scene for my day. No longer was my day going to decide my frame of mind or my mood, but I, through reading Gods word and prayer have made God the centre of my day.  I know that whatever comes my way now, it will be a blessed day.

 

Commit your plans to The Lord and they will succeed. (Proverbs 16v3)

 

Pastor Mark

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.