Fresh Hope – Day 189

The car is packed and you are now travelling on your long awaited summer holiday.

As you ease your way over the speed limit, the worst news possible comes from the back seat of the car…one of the children needs the toilet.

Your wife spots a service station in one mile but you argue that the one that’s seven miles away would be better.

Logic says that whichever one you stop at will cost you the same amount of time, but not to a person with hurry sickness.

A person with ‘hurry sickness’ is determined to keep travelling as fast and as far as possible without a stop, as it means that other motorists might get ahead of you.

As you later take a lunch stop, what should be a time to relax and think of the holiday ahead, instead becomes a point of stress as you watch all the cars that you passed half an hour earlier now get ahead and take the lead.

Back on the road and gathering speed once again, you soon come to an abrupt end as you hit a traffic jam. Switching from lane to lane, you come face to face with an eternal principle that says the lane you just left is now going to pass you by.

That night as you tuck the excited children into their holiday home beds, you skip 17 pages of the bedtime story and turn the frog into a prince without anything in between…after all you’re in a rush.

Hurry sickness is a modern day disease that affects us all in one way or another.

I have to admit that my biggest problem is eating as if I was in a race. When I pause and ask myself ‘why the rush?’, the only answer I can come up with is that I’m suffering from hurry sickness. There is no rush, there is no need to eat quickly, but my mind is so conditioned to the race of life that it tells me to move on quickly to the next important thing.

Now I do agree that some people need to speed up a little, but for most, the cure for hurry sickness is to ease up and enjoy the moment.

Jesus gave some great advice to His followers…

Mark 6 v 31

Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.

When was the last time that you spent some time at slower pace…even just for a day?

When was the last time that you spent some time on your own, topping up your emotional tank?

When was the last time that sat on the floor with the kids and devoted some time solely for them?

When was the last time that you took time and talked through everything with Jesus?

Remember…if you can’t take time you have to make time.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 188

Michael Jordan is known as the greatest basketball player of all time.

Born in 1963, Jordan, known as MJ, was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularising the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.

Ask anyone, even with limited basketball knowledge for a name that is connected to basketball, and nine out of ten will come up with Michael Jordan.

What everyone tends to forget though, is that his illustrious career was made only possible because of his many failures on his way to the top.

He missed 9000 shots.

He lost 300 games.

26 times, he was recorded as missing the winning shot and when asked what the secret of his success was, he simply replied, ‘I’ve failed over and over again and that is why I succeed.’

Truth is…we will all fail but in failing we have to learn to fail forward.

Success is the product of failing and then growing stronger through the process, remembering that the person that has never made a mistake has never made anything.

The Bible is such a great encouragement to anyone that is facing defeat as you wake this very morning…

Proverbs 24:16 ‘For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.’

I love the way that the Message Bible translates this verse…

Proverbs 24:16
‘…God-loyal people don’t stay down long; Soon they’re up on their feet, while the wicked end up flat on their faces.’

If you feel like quitting today because you’ve failed, then get in a very long line of great people who have felt exactly the same.

Falling and failing will happen to us all…but the choice to get back up or not should never be an option.

Fall forwards today.

The Lord will lift you up.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 187

Tonight, my husband ran over a pigeon. It was very unfortunate. We approached slowly, we beeped the horn, but the pigeon wouldn’t move.  Why? Because it wouldn’t let go of the item of food that it had found in the middle of the road.  I covered my eyes ready and hoped that the pigeon had seen sense and moved. I heard the thud. Sad, I know.

That’s a lot like us. We refuse to let go of things, when really we should move on.
Often, it can be dangerous to hold onto things.

If there’s stuff in your life that you’re refusing to let go of, remember this, you’ll never move on until you do.

You may think that what you’re holding onto is worth it, but often it’s not. We can actually damage our lives by keeping hold of it and don’t see the danger ahead.

May today be a day of letting go and unlike the pigeon, may you know a new found freedom when you do.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 186

Let’s complete our aeroplane journey this week, with another great life lesson.

DON’T FOCUS ON THE LENGTH OF THE JOURNEY.

It takes us approximately 24 hrs to get to Australia. I get put off with that thought.  But if you want to go anywhere in life, you have to journey.  Journeys can be hard work and tiresome.
Remember how children always ask after 10 minutes, “are we there yet?”

Here’s a good tip…if you go on a long haul flight, break it down into sections. It’s not 24 hours, it’s 6 x 4 hours. Or, it’s not a 12 hour flight, it’s 4 x 3 hours. Somehow that helps.

If you think about the entire length, it won’t help you. It may seem too daunting and many people are put off going anywhere, because of journeying time.

So on a long journey, plan your time…
Settle and get organised/food/a film/read/write/sleep/pray…
Enjoy every moment and see it as an adventure.
Lots of people sit there and ENDURE it for 12 hours.
When you make the most of it, you’ll enjoy it, you’ll get to your destination quicker.

Take life piece by piece and organise your life in such a way that you enjoy every moment.

In life, don’t see the future or your goal as a hard slog ahead of you.
Don’t see how ‘far’ you are away from where you want to be.

“But I want to get there!” GOOD. But don’t forget to be happy now.

Many parents wish their children’s lives away.
“I’ll be happy when they can walk, when they can talk, go to nursery, go to school, drive, earn their own money and go to work.”
Before you know it, they’ve got married and gone.

We say things like, “I’ll be okay,  when I get to where I’m going.” People rarely get to where they’re going overnight, so what about now?

What about all the great things that are part of the journey, that you’re missing out on, because you’re so focused on the destination only? We all have to have a destination, otherwise we’d be wandering around aimlessly, but we have to enjoy the journey NOW.

One of my pet hates has to be “I can’t wait for my holiday in 17 weeks, only another 119 sleeps to go.”  Hello?! What about the 16 weeks and 6 days that God has planned for you in between?  You’ve almost just totally just dismissed that period of time, by wishing it away and looking forward to something that’s four months away.

It’s great to have something to look forward to, but remember that the journey will take time, but if you want to get to somewhere great, you have to go on one.
Make sure you enjoy it on the way to where you are going.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 185

We’ve been looking this week about how life can be a bit like an aeroplane journey (see Days 182 and 183).

Here’s another thought to help you: NOT ALL OF YOUR JOURNEY WILL BE PEACE AND QUIET.

“Oh, but I want to get on the plane and enjoy a smooth, quiet beautiful journey, with no one bothering me and I want to have eight hours of comfy sleep and a nice dinner.”
That is not reality.

On one of our very first aeroplane journeys, we took our 20 month old drumming son, complete with his little drums.  We thought it would be quite acceptable to let him play them to pass the time, we didn’t quite think about anyone else!

On a plane, you’ll often encounter babies crying, people snoring loudly, or talking very loudly, even turbulence .
On my first ever flight, the turbulence was so bad that a woman started screaming very loudly in the seat behind us and scared everyone half to death.

Turbulence freaks some people out, others enjoy it.  But sometimes turbulence can turn people very strange.  ‘Woah! What happened to them?’ They hit some turbulence. Their eyes are bloodshot. Their face is a weird colour and they’re holding on to something so hard they’re killing it.

That’s a lot like life. Turbulence can have a strange affect on some people, whilst others just treat it like a fairground ride. It’s only here for a short time, so we may as well just hold on tight.

We’re all on this journey called Life. Sometimes it’s going to be noisy, it’s going to get turbulent at some point and at times it will get messy and even scary.

If you want life to be all peace and quiet, go and live in the monastery or take up residency in the graveyard.

Life will have turbulence – stuff that tries to shake you up a bit.
One minute all is calm, the next, the “fasten your seatbelt” sign is on.
God often allows turbulence in your life to make you stronger.

Isaiah 32 v 18 says “My people will live in peaceful habitations, safe dwellings and quiet resting places. ”

It’s talking about in our hearts. Not on the outside.
There will be times of peace and quiet in your life, and those times are good – like when the lights go out on the plane and they ask you to rest.

But most of the time life isn’t like that.
Make sure you KNOW the God of peace for yourself today, so that when the turbulence does come, you are safely resting in the fact that He has you in the palm of His hand.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 184

Recently, I bought something on the internet, and as a thank you from the company whom I purchased it from, I was sent a free gift in the post.

When the gift arrived, I opened it, pulled it out of the box and put the box and its remaining contents aside. I then placed the gift in my bedroom and proceeded to throw away the box and the documents inside of it.

A few days later, our family came round for dinner and during the afternoon, this free gift that I had been sent came up in conversation. Two family members then mentioned how they had also received this same gift some time ago and had gone on to sell it for a reasonable amount of money. At this, my ears pricked up and I began to get excited about how I could also do the same.

As the conversation further unfolded, I discovered that the value of this item was found in what I had thrown away…the box and the certificate of authenticity. Immediately, I headed for the recycling bin outside, hoping to retrieve what I had thrown out earlier in the week, only to find that it was too late…it was gone.

At the time of receiving this gift, I failed to see the value of it, causing me to throw away what I thought to be worthless.

So often in life, we fail to see the true value of what sits right in front of us, and that is PEOPLE. We discard what we perceive to lack worth. However, to God, people are His most prized possession… They are His ultimate treasure.

Whenever you go shopping and you see an item for sale, one of the very first things that you do is look at the price. I think that we should adopt this same way of living when it comes to people; see first the price that was paid for them – that being God’s one and only Son, Jesus, who was sent to die on a cross to purchase what was already His: you and I.

I want to encourage you to see the value in today, and that is found in the people around you.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 183

Yesterday, we looked at how life can be like an aeroplane journey. Here’s another thought: sometimes you’ll get delayed.

This happens from time to time, but not always. You have to see it as ‘ok’…it’s part of the journey.

It may seem highly inconvenient to you and a ‘waste of time’ but that’s how it is at times.

On one particular plane journey, we were sat on the tarmac, waiting for the pilot who was two hours late. A lot of people were moaning and a lot were demanding more free alcohol…I decided to get over the inconvenience and do some writing. Two more hours of being productive.

There was the occasion when we had to wait for late passengers (how dare they!) and the time a bird flew into the engine on take off and the whole plane had to get off and get onto a new plane (how totally inconvenient).

Life will throw its ‘delays’ for whatever reason. It’s how we deal with them that matters.

You see, your attitude to the delay in your life, will determine how quickly you move on. “God, why isn’t this happening faster? Why am I delayed? Why are people making it so inconvenient for me?”

In life, you will get delays. But when you realise that your life is in HIS hands and that your future is mapped out, then you will learn to appreciate that ‘delays’ are all part of the journey and all part of the plan.

2 Corinthians 2 v 9 ‘For this was My purpose, to test your attitude and see if you would stand the test. Whether you are obedient and altogether agreeable in everything.’

Don’t fail the test miserably because of attitude.

Understand that delay and waiting is all part of life. Learn from them and be happy in them.

Remember, His delay is never His denial.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 182

It’s amazing how things can seem so different, if we just have the right attitude.

Our life’s journey is a little like an aeroplane journey. We’re all going somewhere and our attitude on that journey will determine if we enjoy those next several hours.

For instance, every seat can be a first class seat, if we have the right attitude.

I’d love to be like the people at the front with big armchairs, great food, and the chance to lie down and sleep instead of being cramped at the back.

But my attitude goes from “why aren’t I in first class?” to “I’m blessed to be on this flight, I’m blessed that I had the money to pay for it AND I’m going to the same destination as those at the front.”

Your journey is a lot about your attitude. I may not be in first class, but I am going to have a first class experience.

I’ve also learnt this: the greater your attitude, the further you’ll go and the higher you’ll climb.

So think today about all the great things that you do have and don’t concentrate on that which you don’t.

God loves a great heart and a great attitude.

Have a first class attitude and you’ll never travel in economy life again.

 Pastor Gillian

 A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – Day 181

What do you say to people to encourage them, when you feel that you need encouraging yourself?

What do you say to someone who needs a friend, when you long for a friend yourself?

How can you lift someone up, when you feel down yourself?

How do you talk to that depressed person when you feel like that yourself?

We can often spend so long feeling sorry for ourselves, that we fail to see that we have the answer.

I once heard someone say, “no one speaks to me” – the truth was, when I observed that person, they spoke to no one either.

There is a great principal in the Bible; it’s called  the law of sowing and reaping. So even though it’s hard for you to sow that kindness, that friendship, that encouragement, that love, you need to, so the very thing that you need to reap will come right back to you.

Sow friendship and you’ll get friendship. Speak to a lonely person and you won’t feel so lonely. Be an encourager and that encouragement will come right back to you!

It’s amazing how it works, but it does…it’s called  the law of sowing and reaping.

Go and make someone’s day today and see what comes right back to you.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotional for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – Day 180

What great stuff Dads are made of…

A great dad is always there, but parks down the street so your friends don’t see you get dropped off.

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

Safe, for a child, is his dad’s hand holding him tight.

One father is worth more than a hundred schoolmasters.

Dads know that to keep the peace in the family, it takes love , patience, understanding, and more than one TV.

Need to know something? Ask your dad. He knows, and on the off chance that he doesn’t, he’ll make something up pretty good.

By the time the youngest children have learned to keep the house tidy, the oldest grandchildren are on hand to take it to pieces.

‘When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have him around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.’ – Mark Twain.

Happy Father’s Day weekend.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 179

Criticism will either crush you or energize you.

As soon after I’ve been criticised, I simply get alone and ask myself one simple question…’what should I learn from what has just been said about me?’

My thinking is this: whatever truth I gain from the conversation can be used to help me to become a better person.

The same wind that threatens the chicken lifts the wings of the eagle above the storm.

If you’re facing criticism today, consider these things carefully…

– Is it constructive or destructive?

– Is is gentle or judgemental ?

– Is it to make me look bad and my critics look good?

– Is it done discreetly in private or publicly, in order to damage my reputation?

Sometimes, you just have to smile through criticism, as you discern the spirit behind the words.

It’s hard for any of us to receive criticism, so keep your attitude toward your critic in check. Remember, bitterness will do more to damage you than any criticism levelled against you would ever do.

If you’re facing criticism today, take another look at how Jesus handled it, and ask Him to help you to do the same.

1 Peter 2:23 ‘When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 178

Everyone fears a pair of weighing scales when on a diet.

It seems that if you can ignore them, your weight might just go away…but it doesn’t.

There’s only one way to tackle the issue and that is to face up to your weight and make your scales into your best friend.

They will never lie and they will never tell anyone else what they know.

What if we had scales for the levels of our maturity?

Our reaction would probably be just the same, in that we would want to stay off them in case they told us something that we didn’t want to know.

Because there is no such thing, below are six pointers to help you ‘weigh in’ on your level of maturity…

1) Free from offence – do you resolve issues quickly and move on or do your harbour hurt and struggle to forgive?

2) Impartial in how you treat people – do you treat people like you would wish to be treated?

3) Control of your tongue – are you able to hold back words that you know you shouldn’t speak? An immature person talks too much and therefore has little to say.

4) Peace and not conflict – do you always look for the good and believe the best about people or do you like to cause strife?

5) Patience – are you willing to stay the course or do you give up too easily?

6) Keep your word – if you say you’ll be there, are you?

How painful was that?

Weighing in on the maturity scales means that you can now lose attitudes that you don’t want in your life.

If you’re feeling pained about who you are right now, good, it simply means that you have a desire to change.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 177

Oscar Wilde once said ‘I can resist everything but temptation.’

Every one of us will face some form of temptation during today.

It may be as simple as that cream cake that you vowed you wouldn’t eat because you’re on a diet.

However, during our lifetime we will potentially all face a major temptation that will have the power to take us down.

Here are P’s that I trust will help us to stay strong, when we identify that we are under the persuasive influence of temptation.

1) The purpose of temptation is get to you to do what you vowed you would never do.

Remember that even on its worst day, temptation masquerades as sweetness and light. Its job is to pretend that what’s on offer will actually be good for you.

2) The power of temptation is such that you actually believe that the once unacceptable is now acceptable – it’s called deception.

3) The preference of temptation is that you continue to serve and love God whilst living the life of a hypocrite.

Temptation’s job is to dilute your life to the point whereby you become weak, wet and wimpish.

4) The poison of temptation is so strong, that those that challenge your lifestyle, who were once counted as friends, you now count as enemies.

One of the greatest truths that you need to hear today is that you can say NO to temptation.

Don’t give up your destiny for a few moments of pleasure.

Think of what giving in to temptation would do to you for the rest of your life.

1 Corinthians 10:13 ‘No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 176

Redwood trees are amongst the oldest trees in the world – some are known to have lived for as long as 2000 years.

Some redwoods grow up to 350 ft tall, with a diameter reaching as much as 20 ft – yet astonishingly, their roots only go down to a depth of around three feet.

These trees beg the question: how is it possible to grow so tall and yet have such shallow roots?

Many lesser trees have root systems that are equal in depth to their height, so why is the great redwood unique?

The answer lies in the way it takes strength from the other trees that grow around it, thus enabling them to withstand the fiercest of storms.

Instead of its roots going downhill, it intertwines its root system around those of the other trees, in order to strengthen itself.

The lesson of the redwood tree is that of understanding the power of drawing on the strength of those around you.

Being a part of a great church is one such example of how to stand strong in times of adversity. Having people around you that can support you not only helps you through the storms of life, but can actually help you to grow tall in your faith.

Ask yourself a vital question today: who do I have in my life that is vital to my strength and growth?

Have I told any of those people lately how much they mean to me?

Have I understood that if I attempt to do life on my own, then it’s possible that I’m going to get taken down when the winds of adversity blow?

God has placed great people around you to help you to be the best that you can be; don’t be afraid to embrace and appreciate them once again today.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered,two can defend themselves.A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 175

Apparently, a diamond is a dirty rock that has been put under a tremendous amount of pressure. How interesting.

A diamond is the ultimate symbol of love, sparkle and shine and often status, yet it originated as a dirty rock.

It took a diamond specialist to identify it when it was in its ‘dirty rock’ state and say, “that’s really a diamond.”

You may feel like a dirty rock today, you may even look like one, but inside of you is a precious diamond waiting to come out.

It takes the diamond specialist of your life, Jesus, to see you in that initial state and to take you and transform you  into what you were created for.

If this sounds appealing though, get ready – you’ll need to be put under a lot of pressure to get to diamond status.

When we get put under pressure, what really is in us will come out and often that’s not pretty.

Pressure is what makes the diamond and when it happens to us, God is trying to get rid of everything in us that doesn’t resemble Jesus.

Feel under pressure today? Good.
Make sure that in this process you are becoming more like the diamond you are supposed to be.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 174

So many things in life can consume us. They consume our thinking, our time, our energy and even our health.

You may have woken up today consumed by your ill health or your finances, maybe a marriage difficulty or a wayward child. Maybe you’re consumed with an issue at work or at college?

It leads us to worry and to fear. It leads us to lose sight of everything else because we are so consumed with whatever it is.

There’s a wonderful verse in Lamentations 3. It says “because of the Lord’s great love, we are NOT consumed.”

Things that consume us can take our focus off God and His goodness.
They can take us away from the very plan of God for our lives.
The enemy is very good at getting you to be ‘consumed’ by stuff – so you have no energy left for that which really matters.

Today, right now, take that which consumes you, and offer it to God.
He will help you. He will take your worries, concerns and burdens.
Get your focus off it and onto God.

If you want to be consumed by something, be consumed with His goodness, His love and His wonderful peace.

Because of His great love, we don’t have to be consumed by stuff.
Wow. Thank Him today for His great love for you, give Him that which consumes you and see what a difference it makes to your day.

Happy Friday

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 173

Be creative.

Some people can make something beautiful from nothing…others struggle to make anything from something beautiful!

I’m sure we all know both of these types of people.

However, let me encourage you – in whatever way, to whatever extent, we can all make something beautiful today.

Creativity is thought of as a gift, for the ‘arty’ types or the ‘musically
minded’.

I actually believe it’s within us all to be creative. We all can work with different mediums, sources and resources…whether you’re a teacher helping to mould and create young minds, a scientist creating a new formula, a musician or artist creating something pleasing to the eyes and ears, a car salesman helping to create happy families or a stay-at-home parent creating a happy home.

God is the source of all creativity and has left His same DNA in each and every single person.

So today, give yourself permission to create, make and be creative in all you do.

Adam Nash

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 172

I love the story of the prodigal son found in the book of Luke 15:11.

We read about a young son who went to his father, asking for his inheritance early. Upon receiving it, he sets off for a distant country and there loses all that he has in wild living.

He now finds himself away from home, without a penny to his name, so he goes on the job search. The young boy then acquires a job feeding pigs, and as if things couldn’t get any worse, he becomes tempted by the very food that he is distributing.

It’s safe to say that he has reached a pretty low point in his life.

Coming to his senses, he decides to head back home, hoping that maybe, just maybe, at best, his father will hire him as an employee.

Upon returning home, he is greeted with an unexpected response… The father, instead of punishing the son for all that he has done, instead of putting him to work to make up for lost time, instead of telling the son how much he has disgraced the family name, the father throws his son a party… and within a matter of moments, we now find the son partying on the dance floor.

Today, you may feel as though your decisions, your actions, your mistakes have disqualified you from the dance floor of life. You may feel as though your past has disqualified you from enjoying your present. You may feel as though you are no longer worthy to celebrate and enjoy the fullness of life because of what you’ve done.

But just like the prodigal son, you have one reason to dance again, and that is because the Father still loves you. Irrespective of what you’ve done, irrespective of where you’ve been, irrespective of the bad choices you’ve made- today, the Father, Jesus, still loves you.

He always has done and He always will do.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – Day 171

In the Bible, we read a story about a man named Hezekiah, found in the book of 2 Kings 20:1-5.

Hezekiah, who was King of Judah at the time, became ill and was at the point of death.

A prophet comes to Hezekiah, informing him that God has said he will not recover from this sickness…this is the end.

Now, to be told by a doctor that it’s all over is one thing, but to be told by God is another.

Naturally speaking, our response to such news would be to give up all hope. After all, it seemed as though all hope had been well and truly lost.

However, what Hezekiah does next is pretty astounding to me…he begins to pray.

And following the prayer, the Bible says that he wept bitterly.

Today, like Hezekiah, you may feel as though all hope has been lost in your life and that your situations and circumstances are beyond rescue.

Maybe, you even feel as though God has given up on you.

But be encouraged, for the story doesn’t end there. It goes on to say, “This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.”

The great news is that God is only a conversation away. He sees your tears, He sees your times of distress, He hears your prayers and He is able to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.

Who do you turn to in your times of trouble? Hezekiah went straight for God. I encourage you to do the same today.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 170

I’m all about that base…

I know what you’re thinking, ‘he’s got the wrong word’. It’s not that kind of base!

Well, today I’d like to take a moment to think about this type of base. You can carry on singing the song though,if you want to…

A strong base or foundation is essential to a strong construction – whether it’s a house, a sky-scraper or a lovely handcrafted sculpture.  Without it, these things, no matter how lovely or how big, will come to ruin.

A similar thought can be applied to us, the relationships we build, our families and our lives in general.

Without a strong base, life can easily fall apart or even worse, crash into a pile of ruins.

So what make for a good base?

Well in foundations, there must be the correct mix of materials – stone, sand, cement, metal etc – each playing its part.

Have you got a good mix of things for your base in life?

For some, it’s family. For others, friends.

Then for some it’s money, work and a career.

All these are great, but let me draw your attention to what I would call the vital ingredient.

In the bible, Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus talks about how a man who built his house upon a rock is like those who hear the words of Jesus and put them into practise. No matter what conditions hit those house, it stayed standing and strong. Where as the foolish man who built his house on sand, is like those who choose to ignore His words, and you can guess what happened to that house.

For a successful life, make sure your base is of utmost importance to you, not forgetting the vital ingredient: the words of Jesus, that help to shape your life.

Adam Nash

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 169

Very often, we can think that other people are being blessed, but yet somehow we are missing out.

It’s very easy to look around at others’ blessings and completely miss the ones in your life.

We can be so focused on what we don’t have, that we fail to see what we do have.

Recently, I was in a room where there was a vase of lilacs.  A simple, beautiful flower, yet with an amazing smell. For three days, I walked past those lilacs and enjoyed the fragrance and their stunning beauty.

Two days later, I was in my own garden (which I’ve had for eight years!) and noticed three, yes three, lilac trees.

Sometimes, blessings can be so under our nose, that we totally miss them.
I immediately cut a few for my vase.  And reminded myself every day of God’s blessing to me.

There is an old hymn that goes “count your blessings, name them one by one and  it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

Start to think about what you do have, start to thank Him…it will probably surprise you, how blessed you really are.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 168

Happy day!

History tells us that Abraham Lincoln had a melancholic personality that often caused him to drift into low mood swings, in his younger years.

Along the way, some significant changes took place and he became a much brighter and more optimistic person.

He once stated that ‘most people are about as happy as they make up their mind to be’.

What Lincoln realised was that our attitudes change when we change our choice of thoughts.

This same president was criticised during the civil war for gathering his staff in the evenings and telling jokes, while the nation was in severe crisis. When criticised, he explained that this was how he rejuvenated his soul and kept himself from despair.

His choice to laugh was a source of strength.

Laughter as a strength-builder wasn’t Lincoln’s original idea – it was God’s.

Proverbs 17:22 ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine…’

Happiness is a decision you make, not an emotion you feel.

Don’t let circumstances steal your happiness…be happy now, it’s a choice.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 167

We must give every heavy burden that we have to JESUS.

When you come to a place where you cannot figure out which way to go, give it to Him and learn to relax.

God loves it when you depend on Him.

This is not a cop-out for you not to take control of your life, but remember it takes a whole lot of faith and trust to relax when you have a problem.

I used to have an old car, and on the back I stuck large letters that said …JESUS CARES.

Wherever I travelled I wanted people to know that whatever they were facing, that Jesus cared about them.

I was brought up on this old hymn many years ago. Its words are a great reminder to give over every concern that we have to God in prayer…

What a friend we have in Jesus,

all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit,

O 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 Savior, 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.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 166

There is only one way to stop feeling hurt, forgotten, unloved discouraged and broken; when you feel any of these symptoms, help someone else to feel better and take the focus off yourself.

Life brightens up when you help others.

You cannot solve problems, while looking at yourself all of the time.

A little saying is very helpful to remind yourself of each day…it goes like this: it’s so hard to see, when the focus is on me.

There have been many times when I have felt discouraged as I have taken to the platform of our church for over 25 years now. I’ve often thought, ‘how on earth am I going to be able to encourage all these people that have come to receive something from today’s message?’

Within a few minutes of standing there, I have regained my composure and given everything to help and encourage others and almost instantly, I would lose all sense that I was facing discouragement myself.

When I’ve felt like I needed a friend, I would simply go out of my way and be a friend to someone else. It’s an amazing way of turning the tables on yourself.

If you’re feeling unloved today, stop feeling sorry for yourself and get out there and show love to someone else.

You’ll be amazed at how good life can be when you make it your mission to be a blessing to others.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 165

The old lady across the road from our home was having some garden landscaping done, and was throwing away lots of bulbs that the workman had dug up.

Her garden was well established and had many beautiful plants and shrubs that now needed to make way for the alterations.

One summer evening three years ago,  I went across to talk to her and came back with a bucket load of old bulbous roots that didn’t resemble anything to me.

“They will become beautiful peonies, if you’re successful at replanting them and taking care of them”, she said.

I did know that a peony was deep red in colour and looked amazing when in flower, but also knew that there was not much chance of their survival with my gardening reputation.

Sure enough, I planted them and the following year nothing happened.

A year later, leaves started to sprout and produced a healthy looking plant but still no amazing red flower.

Today, I’m looking at what my neighbour described to me three years ago – beautiful red peonies springing up from wherever they were planted…they are the best thing in the garden right now.

Meeting people can sometimes be just like looking at those old dirty, lifeless bulbous roots. At first glance, there seems to be no hope and certainly no future.

Their chance of making anything out of their lives seems slim, but I do believe with all of my heart that everyone is precious to God and therefore needs to be loved and nurtured back to life.

No one is beyond hope and everyone can flourish, if you will just be prepared to believe in them.

You too may feel on the scrap heap of life right now; discarded, abandoned and given up for dead.

Don’t give up. Though you may have to go through some dark days and cold winters when all seems lost, God will always send someone into your life to help bring you back to your full potential.

Remember: God loves you and believes in you so much so, that He sent His son Jesus to die for you that you might live again.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 164

God never wastes a hurt.

It’s possible today to perceive that your hurt has only one dimension to it, in that you believe that its only purpose is/was to hurt you.

If that’s the case, you’ve missed it.

Your hurt is far more than that. Sometimes, your hurt is two or even three dimensional.

First – it hurts you.

Second – it teaches you.

Third – it helps you to help someone else.

Your hurt is only wasted if you can’t see beyond its first dimension.

The greatest thing that you can offer someone else in a current difficulty is the past hurt that you came through and lived to tell the tale.

Pain is a wonderful teacher. In fact, I would say that you learn the greatest lessons in life through painful experiences.

You never know when you are going to get called upon to share what you learnt, but be sure that that day will come.

Just imagine if the only thing that you are willing to take on board from what you are going through is more hurt because you are hurt. That’s not the point of pain. The point is to squeeze every bit of meaning out of it and store it up so that you can bless someone else that is going through a similar experience.

If your only reaction towards what you’ve gone through is bitterness, then that’s all you’ve got to offer…and who wants a dose of that?

Today, make a choice to live and learn through life’s hard times and thank God for the experience that He’s allowed you to go through.

Someone is waiting for you to help them get them through what you went through earlier. Don’t miss the opportunity to give someone fresh hope to live another day.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.’

God never wastes a hurt.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.