Fresh Hope – Day 320

I don’t know how you feel today?
You may feel that you don’t have a destiny or a purpose for your life.
You may say, “There’s no way God has a perfect plan for MY life.”
You may think that with all the hardship and suffering you’ve gone through or are going through, that’s there’s no way God could possibly be able to use you.

You can’t see clearly for tomorrow, let alone a great future.

Well, take heart.
When you read the book of Ruth you will understand that even with all the hardships, sufferings and even devastation that God can make something awesome from your life.

She went through famine, losing her father-in-law and then her brother-in-law, then her husband died.

You may say “it never rains, but it pours” – that was Ruth’s life.

Difficulties don’t necessarily mean God has left you.

It’s not what happens to you, it’s your attitude to what happens that matters.

You like Ruth, may just be on the verge of something awesome…hang on in there.

God will always fulfil His destiny in you…as long as you remain faithful.

Ruth pledged her allegiance to her mother-in-law, even though it didn’t seem to be right and what God did next was…WOW.

Read the story. You’ll be so inspired.

God has your future in His hands.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – Day 319

This last week we sent out 5500 Christmas gifts to our community, inviting them to our Champion Christmas events.

We are getting ready…

We took on two major billboards in our town and local shopping mall that will reach thousands.

We are getting ready…

This week coming, we are expecting to see a few thousand people come to our Christmas village.

We are getting ready…

Today, we put up all our Christmas decorations at home, including 5 trees.

We are getting ready…

I have already purchased 99.9% of all my Christmas gifts this year.

I am nearly ready…
The Christmas season is about getting ready and being ready.
It’s usually a time of rushing around and making sure everything is just so.

For some, it’s stressful and full of pressure. Please don’t let it be like that for you.

The most important thing, is that YOU are ready and your heart is ready for all that this season can bring to you.
God wants to draw you closer to Him and use you to be an inviter of others.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (Michael Bublé reminded me of that this morning).

Warning: don’t miss the Christ from Christmas this year, because you are too busy doing other stuff.

I love Christmas. I love family and friends, I love giving and receiving.But most of all, I love Jesus…And celebrating HIM is what it’s really all about.

Get yourself ready for what God can do in your life and those you love this Christmas.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 318

Recently, I was watching the David Beckham Match for Children on TV. It was quite the occasion, with some of the world’s greatest football players all on the same pitch playing together.

One of my favourite moments of the game was when Brooklyn Beckham came on in replacement for his Dad. The crowd were upstanding, cheering and admiring this historic moment.

Brooklyn walked onto the pitch looking confident, as he entered a game filled with some of the most talented individuals that football has ever seen.

Now, he was not the most experienced player on the pitch. His ability in comparison to those around him wouldn’t have been the reason for his confidence. What provided the skip in his step, so to speak, was knowing who his dad was…that was where his confidence was found.

In life, you too can experience this same kind of confidence, when you understand that through simple belief in Jesus, you can become a child of God.

It means that you aren’t dependant on your past experience, nor are you preoccupied with your ability in comparison to others, your confidence is rooted in who your Dad is.

When you live life with Jesus, He will take you places that you don’t deserve to be and will do for you that which you cannot do for yourself. That’s the message of His grace…

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 317

There are 7 billion people that occupy this world today, and yet you are totally unique.

You have a unique purpose and destiny that is distinct from anyone else that has ever lived.

You can have a dream, a plan, a role and a vision that will make a contribution to humanity.

Have the courage to be uniquely you…to be different.

Don’t just settle for an easy life, that requires no effort on your part; I know it’s much easier and far less stressful to be mediocre and to blend in.

Everything within you at times says ‘don’t make waves, just swim with the tide and go with the flow.’

No courage is required just to be normal, but all that does is neutralise what God has planned for your life.

Being courageous doesn’t mean you will never be afraid or doubt, quite the opposite; the one who has courage pushes through the fear and keeps moving forward toward the goal that you were created for.

Destiny is not only a destination, but a process taking place within you.

You need to see yourself doing what you were born for, before you actually do it.

Long before you get married, you need to see yourself at the altar.

You need to get educated, if you are dreaming of that degree.

You need to see yourself as the supervisor before you get the title; but if you don’t behave like a supervisor, you will never become one -even if you do get the badge.

If you believe you are called to be a communicator then start to prepare a little message that you can preach to a tree or the dog.

If you are to become the musician that you believe you are called to be, then don’t wait for the stage, but become skilful with your headphones on, shut away in your bedroom, while all of your friends are out partying or watching TV.

A surgeon is only able to pick up and use the instruments that are already clean and at hand in the operating theatre. In the same way today, God is looking to use those that are prepared and ready to be used.

Instead of praying the prayer ‘Lord use me today’, why not change it to ‘Lord make me usable today’.

My prayer for you is that you will have the courage and determination to make a difference by being who you need to be.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 316

My work started today with trudging through all the countless emails that I had accumulated over the weekend.

I can assure you that the vast majority were nothing to do with necessity, urgency, problems, encouragement or popularity, but to do with just one word – JUNK.  

Every day we all have to sift through all the junk mail that comes to us in a modern world, knowing that we can’t afford to miss that one email that we were waiting or hoping for. 

I had a friend that was so fed up with the amount of emails that he received on a daily basis, that he would ignore them for as long as possible, and then delete the whole lot…important ones as well. 

I soon learnt that the only way to communicate with him by email, was to send at least 3 identical messages, all with the title ‘URGENT‘ in bold capitals.

Occasionally it would grab his attention and I’d get a reply!

Being continually bombarded by junk mail is no different in many ways to the amount of ‘junk thoughts’ that enter our minds every day. 

I wonder how many thoughts you have had to sift through just to start the day off today?

How many of us have found some pretty horrendous things coming into out minds, even before we got out of bed?

The key is, just like with your emails, to quickly deal with the junk and delete it without reading it. Don’t even open it – as you know it will only want you to give it your attention. 

Be ruthless with your thoughts. 

Don’t attach any importance whatsoever to the junk thoughts. 

Remember, you’re not the only one getting them as they are being sent out to millions of people all at the same time hoping that they will gain someone’s attention. Decide it’s not going to be you. 

Press delete now.  

Don’t flag them for later.

Don’t believe what the subject says.

Bin them before they bin you. 

Amongst all of the chit-chat that going on inside of your head right now, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you clearly above the noise of everything else. 

Don’t mistakenly delete His ‘mail’ to you…that’s the one that you need to read today.

Romans 12:1-2 (Message version) ‘…So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 315

I’m quite handy when it comes to DIY and have, over the years, been willing to try my hand at most things.

I was taught how to do plumbing by a friend of mine, and tried to teach myself how to do electrics, that was until I gave myself one too many shocks and nearly blew someone else out of their shoes in the process.

Owning our first house meant that there was always some pretty major stuff to do, and the order of the day was to do it as quickly and cheaply as possible, even though the end result was never perfect and rarely lasted more than a couple of years. 

As I look back over my DIY days, I realise that a change has taken place, as I now approach things with a view to make sure that the finished job is 100% and that it will stand the test of time. 

The big difference in this change is all in the amount of time taken in preparation. The more thorough the preparation, the better and more lasting the finished product will be. 

Someone once said that the longest journey between two points is a short cut. 

No matter what we do in life, the same principle applies. 

Oven chips and microwave pies will always taste average, so if you want an exquisite meal then you have to put in the hours of preparation, or pay someone else to do so at a good restaurant. 

All these practical life lessons can stand us in good stead for the character preparation that’s needed, if we too are going to stand the test of time. Life is not about how fast you can sprint for a few short paces, but it’s about being able to cross the finishing line at the end of the marathon. 

Stop trying to get everywhere too quickly in order to become an overnight success – believe me, it won’t last. 

Take pride in the preparation of your life, understanding that God’s preparation is both thorough and often lengthy, but He does it knowing that He wants you to succeed for the long haul of your destiny. 

I have often seen people that are highly gifted spring up over night, with much adulation, only to find them quickly disappearing because their character couldn’t sustain them where the gift had taken them. 

Don’t just live to get to your destination…enjoy the journey. 

Romans 5:3-5′…we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 314

A beauty product company once asked people in a large city to send pictures, along with brief letters, describing the most beautiful women they know.

Within weeks, thousands of letters came in.

One letter caught the attention of the MD.
It was written by a boy from a broken home who lived in a rundown neighbourhood. With lots of spelling mistakes, an excerpt from his letter said this “a beautiful woman lives down the street from me, I visit her every day. She makes me feel like the most important kid in the world. We play draughts and she listens to my problems.
She understands me.
When I leave she always yells out of the door that she is proud of me and one day I hope to have a wife as pretty as her.”

Intrigued by the letter, the MD asked to see the woman’s picture. His secretary handed him the photograph of a smiling, toothless woman, well advanced in years, sitting in a wheelchair. Her sparse grey hair was pulled back into a bun. The wrinkles that formed deep furrows on her face were somehow diminished by the twinkle in her eyes.

The managing director exclaimed “we cannot use this woman, she would show the world that our products are not necessary to make someone beautiful.”

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 313

I love going to fitness classes. It’s not always easy to motivate myself to go, but I do go. 

When I’m there, I may moan about the difficult tasks or I may think “should I be doing this at my age!?”

But of course, the answer is yes. Exercise is good. And the benefits far out way the excuses.

A gold standard athlete has to go through RIGOROUS training to get where he/she needs to be. 

  • Getting up and out at 5 am for training in all weathers, not just when it’s warm and sunny. 
  • Running up hills and mountains for stamina training, when you sometimes can’t even breathe.
  • Going away for weeks on end for intense training.
  • Not eating and drinking what everyone else does, but sticking to a strict diet instead 
  • Not staying out late and going to all the places your friends do, because you need good sleep and you have to get up early for training. 

 

These are just a few of the ‘hardships’ that an athlete would go through. 

Surely, there are times when they would want to give up? I’m sure so. 

But ask them when they are standing on that podium with the gold medal, if it was worth it and I’m sure the answer is YES.

Good things don’t come easy. 

Success doesn’t happen overnight.

Hard work and faithfulness produce excellent results. 

Are you contemplating giving up today?

Are you making excuses?

Keep going!  

You are stronger than you think. 

Galatians 6:9 Don’t grow weary in doing good. For at the proper time, you WILL reap a harvest, if you don’t give up. 

Happy Saturday.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 312

I’m teaching my youngest son, Caleb, to drive at the moment. 

I’ve been taking him out once week for a few months now, and as much as possible, he gets to drive to the office on most mornings (with me in the car that is).

On the rare times that his Mom travels with him, he will ask if he can drive, to which she normally replies that it stresses her too much. 

On the evenings when I’ve been teaching him how to do three-point turns or parallel parking, he always has a tendency to want to be a rally driver on his way home, as the the hour lesson has been so slow and tedious. 

We all have different driving habits, and often they mirror the way we live our lives. Some are fast and furious whilst others are slow and cautious. 

I’d like to think that I’m somewhere in between, both in driving and in life. 

Gillian will often say to me, either, ‘you’re driving too slow’ or ‘slow down, this is a 30mph limit.’ 

I reckon that you can pretty much tell a person’s age by the speed that they drive, and almost can guarantee that that’s the speed in which they do life. 

I wonder today if you are driving your life on the inside lane?  Conserving energy, being cautious, not wanting to get too close to the speed limit?

Without even noticing, our lives can become one long boring motorway journey that is never going to go anywhere in a hurry. You are so concerned with burning yourself out in life that you settle for an inside lane…minimal stress, minimal effort, minimal concentration, minimal speed, minimal blessing and maximum boredom kind of life. 

Why not today overtake the undertaker that resides in you? 

Venture out a little into the fast lane of life and take some more ground that you have feared up until now. 

Stop being so cautious about everything. 

Stop being so reserved in your personality. 

Stop being so intimidated by those that keep overtaking you. 

Stop conserving your energy for another day…that day is TO-DAY.

Sometimes we can be so careful, only because we are so full of care.

Break out of your inside lane mentality, and take to the freedom of the open road. 

Matthew 14:22-31 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 

`Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 311

We all have a signature that is unique to us. 

I remember as a young teenager, trying to come up with something that would stay with me throughout my life.

After endless sheets of paper, I finally came up with a signature that was impossible to copy and unfortunately impossible to read. 

 Nowadays, I have to sign my name on lots of documents…passport countersignatures for people, letters, cheques, authorisations, and then there’s the marriage certificate; this one is the most interesting, as the registrar has to print my name by the side just to verify that that scribble is connected to me.

When signing my name, I am actually saying that this is my identity. 

My authority is in that name. If I want to give someone else my authority, I have to sign my name to do so. 

My credibility is in that name. 

My reputation is in that name. 

My name can get me into schools, hospitals and prisons, but it won’t get me into places like Buckingham Palace, as my name has its obvious limitations. 

Have you ever thought as to why we pray and then say ‘in Jesus name?’

It’s because our words don’t carry authority in and of themselves, but by using the name JESUS, we are actually stating that this prayer is in His authority and backed by His credibility and reputation. 

When I pray in His name, my prayer is just as if Jesus is saying it himself. 

There is power in the name of Jesus. 

Don’t ever be tempted to think that your style of prayer, or the language of your prayer, or the length of your prayer is what matters, no, it’s Jesus’ name that gives the simplest of prayers, prayed with the smallest amount of faith its power. 

Never forget that the very signature of God is written in the blood of Jesus, His Son, and our Saviour. 

The name of Jesus carries with it the very weight of God himself. 

Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

Pastor Mark

 A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 310

I have to admit that I was trembling with fear. 

I was waiting on the end of the phone for the results from tests that I’d undertaken at the Doctor’s 10 days earlier. 

I’d felt unwell for some time and had concluded that there must be something wrong; my appetite had gone and I was feeling sick every afternoon. 

I’m not very good with the anatomy of the body, but I was experiencing discomfort around my kidney area and was pretty convinced that I was going to receive results that would confirm my worst fears. 

As I waited, even the receptionist seemed to act strangely, as if she wanted to hide something from me, pulling up the results on the screen. 

“I will have to get the Doctor to call you”, she said with a tone that suggested that she was not qualified to break to bad news. 

Moments later the Doctor phoned. “Mr Burchell…your test results have come back…all clear.”

I asked him if he’d read them correctly and if he was sure, and once again he confirmed all was well. 

It doesn’t have to be a sickness – it may be just a situation that is plaguing you, but nevertheless the feelings are much the same…you fear the worst. 

As a man of faith, it pains me to tell this story as it feels like I was so lacking in faith on this particular day, when instead of believing for the best, I was waiting for the worst. 

Every day, ordinary people of faith, like you and I are facing the subtle yet powerful mind games that come to take us down. 

How many of us today are fearing the worst possible news, when in reality, it’s just a ploy of the Devil to take us out of action?

Stop believing for the worst and believe for the best. 

Even if the news is bad or worse than you thought, God is still God and He is still good- nothing can change that. 

Maybe your test results didn’t come back all clear and you’re trembling with fear right now…be at peace. 

Worry is worthless – it changes nothing.

Don’t look down, look up -Jesus has it all under control. 

If you are sick- trust Him today for your miracle. 

Mark 5:35-43 ‘While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him,“Don’t be afraid; just believe.” He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”. Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around she was twelve years old. At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.’

Pastor Mark

 A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 309

I don’t know if you’ve ever waited for a bus? 

As you anxiously see it coming in the distance, you start to get ready to hop on.

As it approaches, it becomes clear that it’s not going to slow down and let you on.

The driver doesn’t want to even catch your eye as the illuminated sign on the front plainly says it all…’not in service’. 

For many people, the idea of God coming their way to stop and help is pretty much the same as the bus experience – He’s been long out of service. 

Not even a glance from Him is coming your way.

As you consider all the wrong things that you’ve done in life, and the times that you’ve rejected God, you begin to think that there’s no way that He’s going to give you a second look, let alone any kind of lift. 

But the great news is that God is very much in service today, and He’s got everything you need to get you where you need to go. 

He’s sovereign.

He reigns. 

He says to anything that you’re facing at the start of this brand new day…

‘If it’s a mountain, I can move it. 

‘If it’s a thing, I’ve got it.’

‘If it’s a bondage, I can break it.’

‘If it’s a problem, I can sort it.’

If it’s a disease, I can heal it.’

‘If it’s a burden, I can lift it.’

‘If it’s forgiveness, I died for you to purchase it.’

When you have God, you have everything.

He can turn your world upside down.

As you stand by the bus stop of life today, begin to see afresh that God is not going to pass you by, as He’s every bit in service, just as He always was. 

Luke 18:35-43 ‘As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”“Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 308

Joseph had a great destiny. How do we know that? Because God told him in a dream that one day he would be great and that people would bow down to him. 

It seemed to all go horribly wrong, because a short time later, he found himself fighting for his life in a pit, at the hands of his very own family. 

Life can suddenly turn, but what happens to us in that hole is very important. 

Had God changed His mind? No.

Did He still love Joseph? Yes.

Would He still fulfil His purpose for Him? Yes.

Just because life doesn’t always run like we would want it to, doesn’t mean that God has left us. 

Don’t die in the hole. 

Keep trusting and believing God. 

He is the master builder. And to build something master class takes time. 

Your responsibility is to keep a great heart and a great attitude in the meantime.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 307

Just over 12 months ago, I was with my family visiting some friends of ours in Seattle, USA.

During our stay there, a couple of my friends took me to see the Seattle Seahawks play at their 80,000 seater stadium. I’d only ever watched American Football once up until this point, so I was no expert in the sport…

We arrived at the game and headed to the turnstiles to collect an envelope that had our tickets in. Now, my friends knew some of the coaching staff at the club, and so had managed to secure some tickets that enabled us to watch the game from the VIP Lounge.

On that afternoon, I sat thinking about how I’d found myself in this position… I didn’t really know what was going on, I was unfamiliar with the rules of the game – in reality, I had no right to be there.

I’ve heard it said many times that life is not about what you know, but it’s about who you know. And what got me to that place on that day was not based on the information I’d obtained, but rather the relationships that I had.

I want to ask you a question today: do you know Jesus? That’s what life is truly all about…relationship with Him. Because when you know Jesus, He’ll take you places in life that you don’t deserve to be…And He’ll do for you what you cannot do for yourself.

Life with Jesus is the best kind of life. You can experience this today by simply inviting Him into your heart, and watch your life go to heights that you could’ve never dreamt.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 306

Whilst driving to Birmingham train station this morning, I noticed a site where people were busy demolishing a building.  No doubt they were removing something in order to replace it with something better, or so I hoped.  I noticed how easy the process was and wondered how long it took to build that building, how long the architect took to plan it and now it was no longer necessary.

It’s always easier to break than it is to build.  It’s also easier to hinder than it is to help or hurt than it is to heal.

Every day we are faced with options and choices like, ‘can I help or shall I hinder? And ‘can I heal or shall I hurt?’

Our societies, communities and families are filled with hurting people.  Remember hurt people hurt people.  As we go through today and every other day, let’s do it with our eyes and ears open as week consciously look and listen for those who have been hurt or broken through various circumstance and let’s ask ourselves if there is anything we can do to help or to heal.

You see, life is filled with stories within stories.  You and I are on our way somewhere when our path collides with someone else’s path, someone who needs a little help.  The Gospels are full of such events.  Jesus was often on His way somewhere when His path crossed that of a needy person. He was always ready and willing to stop and help or heal.  Let’s bear that in mind as we go through today.

Take care!

Pastor Donovan Coetzee

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 305

More pearls of wisdom…

  • Don’t read your child’s school report as though it were a prophecy.
  • Coping with difficult people is always a problem, especially if that difficult person happens to be you.
  • Upgrade to the size of your future.
  • ‘Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.’ Sir Winston Churchill
  • ‘The most significant achievement of our age is not that man stood on the moon, but that God, in Christ stood upon the earth.’ James Irwin, Astronaut.
  • We stand tallest when we are on our knees.
  • Stop everyday and look at the size of God.
  • The future belongs to those that see possibilities before it becomes obvious.
  • Giving is the highest level of living.
  • Our confidence is not in answered prayer, but in the fact that God hears us.
  • When your output is more than your input then your upkeep becomes your downfall.
  • When Jesus said ‘ I am with you always’, He didn’t make a promise, He stated a fact.
  • And finally…if at first you don’t succeed, you’re normal.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 304

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (Proverbs 24:3-4)

We are all building a house today and every day. 

Not a physical house that we live in, but a spiritual house that lives in us. 

The house that we build is often built with common sense or maybe even built with bricks of fear, doubt and confusion. 

Solomon, the guy that wrote the book of Proverbs, advised that we should build the home within us on blocks of wisdom and understanding; that wisdom comes from asking God about things. 

God’s wisdom can also often be found in what great men and women have to say, as they have sought God for answers on how to build their own lives.

From these words we get the phrase ‘pearls of wisdom’, meaning that we can receive so much understanding through one small spoken nugget of truth.

Here are some pearls of wisdom that I trust will help you to build your own life today… 

  • ‘The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and miss it, but that we aim too low and reach it.’ Michelangelo 
  • ‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. A optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.’ Sir Winston Churchill. 
  • ‘A different world cannot be built by indifferent people.’ Peter Marshall 
  • ‘Why wait for the iron to be hot before you strike…why not strike until it gets hot?’  Reinhard Bonkke. 
  • ‘People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be. Jentezen Franklin.’
  • ‘Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.’ Proverbs 29:2
  • ‘Troubles are often tools by which God fashions us for better things.’
  • ‘Faith makes all things possible – love makes all things easy.’ DL Moody
  • ‘An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.’
  • ‘Every Christian needs half an hour of prayer each day, except when he is busy…then he needs an hour.’
  • ‘Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see.’
  • ‘No problem is too hard for God’s intervention and no problem too small for His attention.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 303

Lest we forget. 

To forget those who paid for our freedom is to be ungrateful, but to forget those for whose freedom we live, is to be unmindful. 

To remember by looking back is good, but to remember by reaching forward is better. 

To celebrate our heritage with one day is enough, so long as every day, we celebrate our freedom by doing for others what they cannot do for themselves.

The past is meaningless, the death of a loved one purposeless, and life is pointless unless we too give ourselves wholeheartedly.

The greatest act of love is to give yourself on behalf of others…even to the point of death. 

Jesus himself paid the ultimate sacrifice by giving His life willingly, so that we can be forgiven. 

Remembering that event purely as a page in history is not enough; we have to make it personal, in that we understand that He gave is life for ME.

Being grateful of that for the first time is a wonderful day in your life, but don’t just be grateful…actually invite Jesus into your life today. 

You’ll find that life makes sense when you know and not just know about the one that loved you and gave His life for you. 

1 John 3:16-18 ‘This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 302

Emotions are the killer of many dreams.  

Feelings have to be brought into line through mental discipline. 

Discipline says, “I may not like what I have to do today, or even feel like doing it, but I know what must be done and why I have to do it”.

Discipline gets you to the gym when your feelings tell you to stay at home because it’s cold and rainy.

Discipline says that the new car that you can’t afford right now should wait until you can. 

The upgrade on your phone that will cost you more, but will make you ‘so much happier’ than the perfectly good one that you have, is refused by mental discipline. 

Discipline says to skip the second helping because you don’t need it. 

I’m sure, like me, that you have looked back on some of the decisions that you have made and have asked yourself, ‘what was I thinking?’

Disciplined thinking leads to right decisions.  

We had not long been married when we decided to have a dog – a real dog.  

I wanted a dog that looked manly on a lead, so we went to look at a Great Dane -fully grown. 

Its name was Jason, and was the size of a small horse!  

We decided to have it…well almost. We talked about the pros and cons, and then realised that we needed to be mentally strong. This dog would eat us out of house and home and into the bargain wreck the place.  

We called the owners and told them that we would not be having Jason.  

Looking back…what were we thinking?

Now we all make mistakes, but the likelihood of mistakes is far greater if your life is governed by feelings. 

Don’t rush into major decisions, but instead ask God to give you wisdom and strength to make the right ones whatever the cost. 

James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 301

Have you ever had a wound?  

You will know that for it to heal quickly you were always told not to pick at it, but to leave it alone. 

Yet, you were always tempted to pick at the scab because it was quite irritating. 

When I was around 15 years of age, I had chicken pox quite badly and I remember picking at the scabs. To this day, I have a scar on the back of my leg where I picked away. 

Sorry if this all sounds gross…but there is a great truth here, if you stay with me. 

In life, we get wounded and the more you keep going back to that wound, talking about it, going over it in your mind, picking at it, then the longer it will take to heal. 

You might pick at it for so long, that you will eventually have a scar, where it once was. 

Lesson; when you get wounded, apply the correct treatment, like forgiveness and prayer, then LEAVE it.  

It will heal quickly and after a short time, it will be gone forever. 

Some wounds, I know, are deeper than others. 

Some I know may actually scar. 

But the quicker you learn to leave them with God, the quicker you will heal and the better you will be.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 300

Did you know that there is one question that God will never ask you?

He will never ask you the question…‘can you?’

But there is one question that God will always ask you, and that is…‘will you?’

There’s a world of difference between the two, as one is connected to your ability whilst the other is connected to your availability

The reason He will never ask ‘can you?’, is because he knows what you can and cannot do, so the only thing left to ask is…’will you?’

Think about it for a moment…why would God ask you to do what He knows you cannot do? 

If he commands me to do it, then it must be within my power to do so.  

Here’s a great story that Jesus told to highlight this very issue…

Matthew 21:28-31 (NIV) “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, `Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ” `I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, `I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.

How often do we make excuses as to why we cannot do what God is asking of us?

There is only one issue here, and it’s not ‘can you or can’t you?’, but ‘will you or won’t you?’

It’s a simple question of obedience. 

Maybe you’ve said ‘NO’ in the past, just like the one son that we’ve read about. If so, change your mind, and say ‘YES!’

There are people’s lives right now that can only be reached by your YES.  

They are depending on you.  

If you will…you can.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 299

If you don’t exercise your muscles, they weaken and atrophy occurs.

In the same way, if you don’t utilise the abilities and gifts that God has given you, you will grow weak in them, and even lose them altogether.

In the Bible, Jesus taught the well known parable about three men that were each given different talents. 

Referring to the servant that refused to use his one talent, Jesus said that his talent should be taken from him and given to the one that had ten talents. 

Fail to use what you’ve been given and you’ll lose it; use what gifts you have been given and God will increase it. 

Whatever gifts you have been given can be enlarged and developed through practice. For instance, no one gets the gift of teaching, fully developed but with study, feedback and practice, a good teacher can become a better teacher and then a great teacher and then a master teacher. 

Don’t settle for a half-developed gift. Stretch yourself and learn all you can. 

2 Timothy 2:15 ‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.’ 

Like an athlete, preparing for that moment when they will be called upon to serve their country, so you and I should daily prepare for that opportunity that God will send our way so that we can use our gifts for Him. 

God deserves my very best. 

Use it or lose it.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 298

A few days ago, I was challenged by someone that told me that they felt that I had stopped using the gifts that God had given me. 

At first, I was pretty annoyed that someone who was not even in my life had spoken to me like this, but after a time I started to mull over the sentiment of his words.

His approach had been made with kindness and humility, and therefore I felt that his assessment should at least be given some consideration.

Of course, not everyone that speaks into your life should be given the time of day, otherwise we’d be all be taken off track by some very weird and unwise characters that are around; but something about this guy’s message to me rang true, and as I pondered it for a few days, I began to see that it was actually something sent to help me rather than harm me. 

Messengers come in all shapes and sizes and can at first glance look nothing like an ideal person ‘sent by God’ to give you a much needed jolt. However, even a quick flick through the Bible will reveal that this was often the case and interestingly the one guy that you would think ‘looked the part’ and had the credibility to speak into Jesus’ life,  was dismissed with the words ‘get behind me Satan’. Those words were spoken by Jesus to one of his closest disciples, namely Peter.

We can, without knowing it, let the gifts that God has given us lie dormant and unused. 

How are those gifts brought back to life, we may well ask?  

Is it not sometimes by someone willing to be honest with us, leading us to stir ourselves once again in that department?

The Bible puts it like this…

2 Timothy 1:6-7 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 

At this time of the year, we start to get the coal and logs ready for our open fire in the lounge. It’s such a great centrepiece for any home, but the truth is if you walk out of the room and forget about it, it can start to die down and finally die out. 

For every winter evening that we get to sit in front of our fire, I have to work at keeping it alive, by fanning it back into flame and keeping it well-stocked.

Maybe like me, you need a gentle reminder today to ‘fan into flame’ the gift that is within you. 

I’ve realised afresh this week that when I don’t keep my gift alive, I am actually depriving many people from receiving what God has for them through me. 

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 297

It’s very easy to become envious of people that you perceive to have already ‘arrived’ in life, seemingly without the effort and frustration that you are having to go through right now. 

They seem to have become an overnight success and are gifted way beyond you, but remember, they too had to endure a process to get to where they are today. 

Every success has a process that often you cannot see, or maybe you weren’t around for at the time.

I have come to realise, and to be at peace with the fact, that I am not accountable for the gifts that God has given to someone else. 

God does not expect me to produce beyond the level of the gifts given to me. Instead, my only obligation is to use my gifts to the best of my ability. 

Why look at someone else’s life and then belittle what God has done in your own life? The gifts that God has given to you are not the same as the gifts given to someone else.

If you compare yourself with others, you’ll never be at peace. Somebody’s life will always look better than yours; they’ll have more degrees, more money, a bigger house, a better physique, a better singing voice -the list goes on and on. 

Today, I encourage you to celebrate the gifts that God has blessed you with and then use them to the very best of your ability. 

Remember…every time that you focus on what others have, you start to lose sight of what you have been uniquely blessed with.

Don’t bury your gifts and talents fearing that you are useless compared to others, instead, use what you have been given and remember that there is always someone out there that would love to be in your shoes.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – Day 296

I want to encourage you today that God can change a situation round in an instant.

I have been thinking about Saul in the Bible; he was a complete God-hater, Christian hater and very evil man.

One day he had an encounter with Almighty God, that changed his life forever.

Do you have a situation in your life right now that seems to be going completely the opposite way to what you would want?

Do you have a seemingly impossible mountain ahead?

Do you have an incurable sickness?

Do you have someone in your family who is so far away from God that it breaks your heart?

Be encouraged today, because God is the God of the impossible.

If God can turn Saul around in a five minute encounter, then your problem is not too difficult either.

Keep praying. Keep believing. Keep looking forward to that moment when God does a ‘suddenly’ in your life.

No one is too far from God for Him to reach.

No sickness is beyond His healing.

No impossibility is impossible for Him.

Be encouraged today. Put your faith and trust firmly back into the One who can do ALL things.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.