Fresh Hope – 28th February 2017

One winter night, an old couple dashed into the lobby of a small Philadelphia hotel, hoping for a room. But the clerk said, “all the rooms are full.” As they started to leave he said, “would you be willing to sleep in my room? It’s not a suite, but I think you’ll be comfortable.”

At first they were reluctant, but he insisted, “don’t worry, I can sleep in the office.” So they accepted. The next morning when they were due to check out, the old gentleman said to the clerk, “thank you, you should be the manager of the best hotel in the country. Maybe some day I’ll build one for you.” The clerk simply smiled and thanked him.

Two years later, the clerk received a round-trip ticket to New York City and a letter thanking him for his kindness. The old couple were inviting him to come and visit them. Although he’d forgotten about the incident, he decided to accept their offer. When he arrived in New York, they took him to the corner of 34th street and 5th avenue. “That,” said the elderly gentleman, pointing to the magnificent skyscraper, “is the hotel I have just built for you to manage.” The clerk said, “you must be joking.” “I can assure you I’m not.” he said.

The old gentleman’s name was William Waldorf Astor. The hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria. The young clerk was George C. Bolt – its first manager.

Don’t forget to sow another seed of kindness today…you never can tell what your harvest will be.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th February 2017

Some time ago 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 – 25th February 2017

Some of my favourite verses in the Bible are found in Matthew 6 where we see Jesus addressing people’s concerns such as, ‘what am I going to wear?’ and ‘what am I going to eat?’

What amazes me about the Bible is that although it was written over 2000 years ago, it still speaks to people’s situations today. We still have the same kind of worries and fears as those who Jesus was specifically speaking to in the book of Matthew.

Jesus responds to their concerns by turning their attention to birds and flowers… ‘I want you to consider the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them’. ‘Furthermore, think about the flowers of the field; they do not labour or spin, and yet you’ve never seen anything dressed as good as these.’

The reason Jesus uses such an illustration is to show us that we only have to look at creation to be reminded that God is a good God, that He’s a faithful God and that He’s a God who provides your every need.

He then goes on to say, ‘And how much more valuable are you than they?’

Jesus wants you to know that you are of far greater worth and value to Him than birds and flowers. And just as He ensures that their every need is met, so will He ensure that your every need is met too. You don’t have to worry, you don’t have to fear, you don’t have to be concerned, for the God of Heaven and Earth cares about what you care about and what matters to you, matters to Him…

You can rest assured today that He’s got your whole world in His hand.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 24th February 2017

God’s personal word to you will be accompanied by a sense of assurance and peace.

When you sense God’s leading, ask yourself, ‘do I feel confident and peaceful about moving forwards or am I restless and unsure about the directions I have received?’

Can you honestly move forwards in confidence that you will not be betraying yourself?

Even when doing something that seems impossible, God’s peace will accompany your actions if it is His will. You may feel far from confident in your own ability, but you can grow in confidence in His.

Have you ever moved forward without the ‘green light’ of God’s peace? What were the results?

God has made His guidance system to us very simple – every one of us can easily follow it…

…when we obey God, we experience internal tranquility.

…when we step outside of His will, we feel uneasy.

Our God given peace will not be lost, but if something that we are doing or not doing isn’t pleasing to Him, peace will not rule in our hearts.

Keep it simple.

Peace or no peace?

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 23rd February 2017

“I know God is speaking to me when, in spite of my initial struggle, an undeniable release and peace follows when I have obeyed His voice.
When I finally do the thing he has been nudging me to do, whether it’s letting something or someone go, or taking a step towards the unknown, there is a deep calm in my soul. Where my heart and mind were once filled with terrible angst, I am now filled with supernatural peace.” – Kathy Troccoli

The Greek word for peace in the Bible is the word ‘eirene’. It means to be exempt from rage and havoc of war, to be at rest and quietness.

This word is also used to describe peace between individuals. The peace that Jesus gives therefore is both external and internal.

The Holy Spirit lives within us to give us a continually peaceful assurance internally that directs us to make decisions that honour God, and also to guide our relationship with others.

When God wants to speak to you about something today, or confirm the rightness of a decision today, rest assured, He will give you His peace as a sign to move forwards. When you don’t sense His peace, take it as a sign to stay put.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 22nd February 2017

Proverbs 3 vs 1-2 says “My Son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity..”

God’s teaching and commands are there for a reason.
Why? To bring us prosperity and a great long life.
We’d certainly like that, yet are not always eager to do what His word asks.

If there was a cream out there that promised to prolong our lives, or a power drink that promised us prosperity, we’d be drinking it by the gallon, or rubbing it all over every day.

Yet God’s word says simply this: obey my commands and the results will be the same.

In our society, people think they can please themselves with no thought for God or His word and yet expect to be blessed.
God’s rules are there for our blessing and our protection. He has the perfect plan for our lives.
If we choose to operate within that, then our lives WILL be blessed. If we choose to do the opposite, we do so at our own peril.

If you follow the Maker’s instructions, you’ll get perfect results every time.

Choose to follow God’s word today.
Choose to follow His road map for your life.
HE knows what He’s doing.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st February 2017

Every organisation that is centred around people, has a lost property office, cupboard or at the very least, a cardboard box.

Accompanying this, is usually a book that records as an inventory, all lost items. It’s amazing how many things get left behind without anyone seemingly being bothered to chase them up. You do begin to wonder as to how an adult could go home and leave just one sock behind – at what point did they take it off and forget to put it back on?!

Then there’s valuable items that just sit there for months without being claimed, leaving you to believe that someone out there must be racking their brains as to where they might be.

Interestingly, the Bible records many lost items, which turn our thoughts as to why it would do so? The answer is simple…it’s a book devoted to lost people.
Just like a cookery book is designed to help us create fantastic dishes, and a car maintenance manual is designed to help us repair a car, then the Bible is a manual to show lost people how to be found. Found by God, that is.

In one part of the Bible (Luke 15) there are three things recorded as lost things. These three things are actually stories or parables told by Jesus to help us understand how important lost people are to him…

The lost coin – has no value unless placed in the hands of the one who can spend it…making it WORTHLESS.

The lost sheep – just wandering around without a shepherd…it’s AIMLESS.

The lost son – left to his own devices without a father…he’s RECKLESS or senseless.

Maybe that’s exactly how you feel?

The whole point of this story about ‘lostness’ is found in the closing words about the lost son…”But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”’

God is passionate about finding lost people; in fact the whole purpose of Him sending Jesus to the planet was to to save the lost.
I lost my car some years ago, or at least I thought I had. I parked it and left it for just five minutes and when I went back it was gone. Stolen? After several minutes, I realised that it was exactly where I had left it. My car wasn’t lost…I was. I’d simply forgotten where I’d parked it!

Have you ever asked where God is? Have you felt that His presence is no longer close?

The answer lies in that He is where you left Him. He’s not lost – you are!

The great news is that He is right now waiting for you to turn back to Him and be found.

He’s closer than the breath you breathe.

He’s only ever a prayer away.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 20th February 2017

John chapter 10 v 11 says “I am the good shepherd.”

You may have noticed that the verse before, tells us that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. But verse 11 tells me that Jesus is my good Shepherd.

Sometimes we think that Jesus is a distracted shepherd, because maybe while I have stuff going on, Jesus is distracted by someone else’s stuff and therefore maybe He’s not giving me His best attention.

Then we think He’s a busy Shepherd, well that’s certainly true, He is busy, but He’s busy shepherding you.

Maybe you think Jesus is an absent Shepherd, because maybe you can’t feel His presence near, or you’re wondering where He’s gone in your situation? Let me tell you this: He’s gone nowhere. If you can’t feel Jesus, guess who moved?

Maybe you think that Jesus is a negligent Shepherd. Maybe He has got your situation wrong, maybe things would be different, if Jesus was not so negligent? Is that why everything doesn’t seem right at the moment? Has Jesus forgotten me?

Not at all! Jesus is a GOOD shepherd.
He’s neither absent or negligent or distracted.
Like every good shepherd (and He’s the perfect example) , He will give you His best loving attention at all times.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus that you are always good and that good things are coming my way.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 18th February 2017

Psalm 103 “Bless the Lord O my soul, all my inmost being bless His Holy name.”

Sometimes we have to dig into our inmost being to worship.

You may not feel like it, or at times, dare I say, want to…but at those times, you need to dig deep and do it anyway.
Because this Psalm reminds us of why we should “…and forget not ALL of His benefits.”
He forgives all of your sin.
He heals all of your diseases – STOP…and thank Him right now.
He rescues your life from the pit -STOP…and thank Him for rescuing you.
He crowns you with love and compassion.
I love that “He crowns you”.
Think about this, not only does He rescue me, but He crowns me also.

As a parent, there are times when I’ve had to help lift my children out of a pit, but the last thing I want to do at those times, is crown them with love and compassion!
Not with God, He gets us out of a pit AND then immediately crowns us with love and compassion.
STOP… and thank Him for that.

And then… BONUS. “He renews your youth like the eagles.”

Today my friend, it’s time again to Bless the Lord.
YOU have a lot to be thankful for.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 17th February 2017

Joshua 1:9 ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’

Shannon Lucid broke the world record for time spent in space – 188 days up there!

When she was only 13, she told her teacher that she was going to be a rocket scientist. The teacher just laughed and said there was no such thing, and if there was, a woman couldn’t be one anyway.

Did you know that more than 150 people a year die from falling out of bed and a further 400 are injured by the head board falling on them? The truth is you’re not even safe by staying in bed, so you may as well get up and get going. Reach for God’s strength and do something to make your life count. Did you know that donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes?

Famous Author, Max Lucado says, “instead of just building a fire in your hearth, build one in your heart.” Adopt a child, teach a class, change careers, run for parliament, make a difference. I know it may not sound safe, but what is?”

Jesus said, (Luke 9:24) For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

Reclaim the curiosity of your childhood.

Just because you may be near the top of the hill, doesn’t mean you are past your peak.

Get up and get going – God has amazing things in store for you today.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th February 2017

We all have hard times, inadequate times, painful times as well as great times.

In each season of your life, no matter what comes your way, you have to be motivated to move forward. As someone once said…”even if you fall, at least fall forwards. Even if you fail, fail forwards.”

The tendency with us all is to allow each bad circumstance to take us down and so our theme song becomes one of…’I’m ok under the circumstances.’

Each time you find yourself being overtaken by things, remind yourself that here lies an opportunity for me to grow and to mature.

Here are a few things that I’ve tried to put into place in my own life over the past 30 or so years:

Set the start time of the next day before you go to bed. Don’t get up when you ‘feel’ like it, Instead get up at the time you plan to. That way you get ahead of the day rather than the other way around. If you can remember to charge your phone every night as you get into bed, you can remember to charge your life by getting up at the right time the next day.

Prepare in advance for everything you do – don’t just blag your way through meetings and appointments, but prepare well for each thing that’s coming your way.

Have an ‘I can do attitude’. Paul, as he wrote much of the New Testament said in Philippians 4:13…I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

Fully participate in everything you do with great enthusiasm. Be present wherever you go and whatever you do. Don’t sit on the side lines waiting for something good to happen. Make it happen.

If no one else around you encourages you, encourage yourself!

When King David was greatly distressed because the people were talking of stoning him …(1 Samuel 30 v 6), he encouraged himself in the Lord.

As today unfolds, see everything that’s comes your way as an opportunity to grow.

If you are tired of praying, ‘Lord use me’ and nothing’s happening, then change the prayer to….’Lord, make me useable.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 15th February 2017

By the time that Albert Simpson was 38, he’d suffered two nervous breakdowns and a massive heart attack. His doctor told him that if he didn’t stop preaching, he’d be dead before he reached 40. Climbing even the slightest elevation left him breathless. In desperation, Simpson turned to his Bible to find out what it had to say about healing – soon he became convinced that God wanted to heal him. That was the key!

One afternoon while walking in the woods, he looked up and cried, “Jesus, heal me and give me strength to accomplish my life’s work.” Later he wrote, “in that moment, every fibre in me was tingling with a sense of God’s presence and I knew I was healed!”

A few days later he climbed a 3000 foot mountain. Afterwards he wrote,”a world of weakness and fear lay at my feet and from that time on I literally had a new heart and a new life.”

He went on to hold as many as 20 meetings a week, write dozens of books and establish a world wide organisation.

No matter how good your doctor may be, get a second opinion – God’s.

A.B Simpson went on to live to be almost 80.

The promises of God that he believed then, are also yours today.

Claim them and believe God right now.

James 5:15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th February 2017

God knew the specific purpose that you were born to fulfil, so He provided you with the gifts you’d need to make a success of your life.

Unless you firstly understand that God loves you and has a plan for your life, then you will never move in your full potential.

Loving yourself can almost sound selfish, but actually the way you look at yourself and the way you treat yourself will reflect in the way that others will treat you too. If the truth be told, having a healthy and balanced opinion of who you are will determine how far you will go in life in fulfilling His perfect will for you.

Stop and ask yourself today, ‘how do I really feel about myself?’ Before your final conclusions are made, read and digest these 10 principles that will help you to gain a better God perspective in your life…

Never speak negatively about yourself, unless you are confessing your faults and failings to God.

Think about your God given strengths and encourage yourself to use them – for much of the time no one else will.

Don’t make the mistake of comparing yourself to others – it will kill your joy. You’re unique and you’re an original, so don’t settle for being a copy.

Focus on your potential – not your limitations.

Find out what you do well, and then strive to do it with excellence

Be a God pleaser, not a man pleaser. Have the courage to be different.

Learn to handle criticism. Let it develop you rather than discourage you.

Determine your own worth instead of letting others do it for you.

Keep your shortcomings in perspective – you’re still a work in progress.

Focus daily on your greatest source of confidence – Jesus.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 13th February 2017

We read on Saturday about how pride and arrogance can take us away from God, yet when we are truly sorry, there is always a way back.

King Nebuchadnezzar was one such man who went through some very hard lessons and yet after seven years he came to his senses.

It’s never too late to put things right, it’s never too late to come to God, no matter how far away you’ve been.

In Daniel chapter 4 36-37 The King says “at the same time my sanity was restored, my honor and splendour were returned to me for the glory of my Kingdom. I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before.”

So often when we mess up in life, we think that’s it, no second chance, no way back.
Not with God.
As long as you have the right attitude and truly repent, you have the opportunity to come back stronger and greater than before.
We have to go through a process in order for us to become the people God wants us to be. Often, that process is hard, but God is always with us.

No matter what you go through in life, the grace of God is a wonderful thing. It forgives and restores AND blesses in greater ways than we ever thought possible.

That’s God. He’s awesome. Do you know Him today?

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th February 2017

I love the book of Daniel in the Bible – how against all pressure, he stood up for what he believed in.

But do you ever think much about the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar?
He was the one who made a golden idol and told them to worship it and when they didn’t, he threw them into the fire.
He was the one who put Daniel into the den of lions, but we all know what happened there.

Daniel 4 tells us that the KIng was full of pride and we know that from Scripture, God hates pride. (Prov 8 v 13 – “I hate pride and arrogance.”).

So God takes him through a series of events to teach him.
– Royal authority is taken from him
– lived with wild animals and eats grass like an ox
– lived outside for seven years and got drenched in dew
– his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails grew like claws

This was some lesson.

But I love vs 34-35 “At the end of that time I Nebuchadnezzar raised my eyes towards Heaven and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the most High and honoured Him”

The King came to his senses and came back to God.

You are never too far away to come back to God. He may let you go through some stuff in order to bring you to your senses, but the main thing is that you do.

The best part of this story is that he came back better than before.

To be continued…

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 10th February 2017

Everything big starts with something small.

One kernel of corn can produce a stalk with two ears, each having 200 kernels. From those 400 kernels come 400 more stalks, producing 160,000 kernels. From those 160,000 kernels, come 160,000 more stalks, producing a total of 64 million kernels!

Too many of us are not willing to take the little steps that God places before us. If God has called you to do a particular thing then leap at the opportunity, no matter how small. Don’t sit around and wait for opportunities to jump out at you, instead, find a need and fill it.

Instead of just waiting for big opportunities to come knocking on your door, why not get out there and start to sow seeds of kindness wherever you go?

Last weekend, we saw around 1000 people attend our church. Who wouldn’t have thought, 27 years ago when we started out, that that would have been possible. When I left my catering career to take on the little church, I had no idea as to what to do in running a church…but I did know how to love people and make them feel special. Year after year, I simply did what I could do in reaching out to people with love and hope, and gradually those seeds began to multiply.

When no one else was around to open up the building and sort out the heating, vacuuming and toilets, I would just do what was needed and made sure it got done. It was a very small and slow start, but it was just a simple case of finding a need and filling it.

Today, things are very different as we have teams of volunteers, staff and leaders, all who make Champions Church what it is.

Stop dreaming and scheming and get your hands dirty; God will open doors of your next opportunity, if you’ll just serve in any way you can.

Luke 16:10-12 ‘Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th January 2017

I don’t know whether you consider yourself to be a high-level organiser, or maybe organisation isn’t your gifting. Wherever you find yourself on that spectrum, I do believe that when it comes to the big picture of our lives, most of us, if not all of us, want to be highly organised.

We want to know exactly what our future holds, the career path that we should take, and what relationships are right for us.

However, the problem with this kind of living is that it’s contradictory to the journey God wants to take us on. For the path that God wants to lead you down is not one of knowledge but of trust.

If you knew how everything was going to turn out, then you would have no need for trust. Dare I say it, this would in fact make you God. For what makes God God is that He knows everything and you don’t.

And when you have a relationship with Him, it requires for you to become content in the unknown.

If you’re currently asking yourself, ‘how do I do so?’, then consider this:

God knows everything about you. He knows the end from the beginning. Every intricate detail of your life is held within the palm of His hand. And when you realise that you are known by God, it enables you to become content in the unknown.

In whatever uncertainty you may face today, tell yourself, ‘I don’t know, but God knows – and that’s all I need to know.’

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 8th February 2017

Do you ever remember getting lost on a crowded beach as a child?

I have vivid childhood memories of my Mom and Dad setting up ‘camp’ on our family holidays, and as the sun came out, more and more people would come in search of their private spot too.

Hearing the familiar words, ‘just be careful and don’t go out of sight’, coming from my Mom, I would make the long trek down to the waters’ edge and play for seemingly hours. Without knowing it, I would lose all sense of direction as I played, and by the time I’d bothered to look back to where I’d left my parents…they had disappeared. I was sure that I was looking in the right place and as panic set in, I would run back up the beach for dear life fearing that I was lost and that they’d left me behind. The more I ran the more I got lost.

Even as a young boy, instinct told me to stop running, stand still and simply look for familiar things. Could I spot my Mom’s bright sun umbrella or my Dad’s shiny bald head, or the steps that we had come down on to the beach? Then with a sense of embarrassment, I realised that they were exactly where I’d left them – I had simply wondered away without knowing it.

As I look back over my own life, I realise those childhood memories are more powerful than they appeared at the time all those years ago – here’s my observations that I trust will help in relation to your walk with God…

When feeling lost, don’t run – instead stop, stand still and focus.

If God seems far away, guess who moved.

If you’re still running, you’re likely to be running away from God and not towards Him.

Just because you can’t see God in this moment, it doesn’t mean He can’t see you.

Look for constants in your life – a Christian friend, a great Church or a part of the Bible that you know has helped you in the past.

Don’t focus on the crowds, focus on Jesus

When sensing that you’ve been left behind, remind yourself that God is just where you left Him – He never changes. If things are really desperate right now, don’t just carry on where you are, hoping they will get better, but turn around, look for the point at which your life started to lose its bearings…and then make your way back. His constant love is still waiting for you.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th February 2017

I recently went to see the movie ‘Lion’ (it was brilliant, I highly recommend).

As I got to the end of the movie, I thought “Why is this movie called ‘Lion’?” As there had been no apparent reason up until this point.

Anyway, the movie finished and people started to leave. As the credits rolled, an explanation appeared and more information given. For me it was an “Aha” moment.

Unfortunately, some people missed those important details, as they left too early.

Sometimes, we go through life and things happen that we don’t understand. We’re in a process, we’re on a journey and we can’t quite work it out.

What does all this mean? We ask.

What is God doing? We wonder.

How will all of this work out? We question.

DON’T walk out too soon, give up too soon or abandon your post. God is about to reveal something to you, that will make total sense and you will miss it, if you don’t see the thing through.

God always answers, always comes through and all WILL be revealed in God’s perfect timing.
Waiting and trusting are key.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 6th February 2017

Psalm 121 v 1 ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth.’

As we look to the year ahead, we can start to plan what we’d like to happen or change, where to go on holiday, what could change job-wise, who we’d like to meet etc. We can easily look to circumstances as a solution and a natural progression in our lives. This makes perfect sense! And yet this psalm tells us not to look to the obvious for help.

The hills represents worldly strength, or the logical place of help; e.g. you have a health issue – look for a doctor. You need more money – look for a pay rise at work. You’re lonely – look at getting a pet.

It makes sense in life to look for help in the obvious places, yet this psalm encourages us to look up past the hills and to the Creator of the hills.

He is where our help truly comes from, and He wants you to trust in Him, to look to Him as provider. God loves it when He sees His children choose Him over the easier, more logical solutions to their problems.

This also then encourages us in our needs to actually see them as opportunities! An opening for us through faith to make Gods’s day by looking to Him – the maker of the Heavens and the Earth.

I encourage you this year to look to God in every area of your life. It doesn’t mean we forsake helping ourselves where we can, but it’s learning to put hope in Him – not just needs being met. You will, as long as you’re alive, have a need that needs to be met.

Also, when we look to Him for our help, it takes pressure off our jobs and relationships. We stop seeing our job as the only possible provider of cash and achievement; we stop seeing relationships as the only place we get acceptance.

Shift your focus today and put your hope in Him.

‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th February 2017

Miracles with money. One man that certainly understood this was George Muller, a 19th century man of God.

Early on in his life he was convicted by Luke 6:38 ‘Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’

He understood and believed that he should, from then on, start to trust God for his daily needs. He decided to give away all that he received except what was needed for his daily subsistence. God honoured his trust, and over his lifetime Muller was able to…

Found five orphanages which were homes to 10,000 children

Establish seven day schools that educated 81,500 children

Set up 12 Sunday schools that taught 33,000 children

Distribute 2 million Bibles

Give £26,000 to overseas missions

Over the 60 years of Muller’s work, he gave away £1.5m – this was at a time when a house could be bought for just a few pounds. His life made a massive impact on the world and all because he had total trust and faith in God and ordered his finances accordingly.

What will you do with your life and money?

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 3rd February 2017

How easy it is to judge other people by their actions, but only judge ourselves by our intentions.

Have you ever noticed that those who are set in their ways are obstinate, but when you are, you are just standing your ground?

When they don’t like someone, they’re prejudiced, but when you don’t, it’s good judgement.

When they treat someone extra well, they’re buttering them up, but when you do, you’re just being thoughtful.

When they take time to do things well, they’re slow or lazy, but when you do, you’re meticulous.

When they find fault with someone, they’re judgemental, but when you do, you’re being perceptive.

When they are gentle, they’re weak, but when you are, you’re gracious.

When they dress well, they’re extravagant, but when you do, you’re being tasteful.

When they say what they think,  they’re spiteful, but when you do, you’re just being honest.

When they take risks, they’re reckless, but when you do, you’re just being brave.

The next time you feel like justifying yourself whilst judging others, make sure that you take a long hard look in the mirror first and ask: what is the purpose of my comments – to take someone else down or to build them up?

Matthew 7:1-5 ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd February 2017

One October evening in 1968, a group of die-hard spectators remained in the Olympic stadium in Mexico City to watch the last finishers of the marathon. An hour before, Mamo Wolfe of Ethiopia had won the race. It was getting cold and dark and the remaining spectators began to leave, when suddenly they heard the sound of sirens and police whistles coming into the stadium. As they watched in amazement, one last runner made his way onto the track for the last laps of the 26 mile race – it was John Akhwari of Tanzania.

His leg was bandaged and bleeding after a fall but he refused to let it stop him. Suddenly, the people in the stadium rose to applaud him across the finishing line. As he hobbled his way back to the changing room, he was asked why he had not quit since he had no chance of winning a medal. He said, “my country didn’t send me here to start the race, but to finish it.”

On Sunday evening just this week our good friend, Matthew Barnett of the Dream Center in LA, completed the World Marathon Challenge: 7 Marathons -7 Continents – 7 days. During the fourtg Marathon, he sustained a knee injury that normally would have prevented anyone from walking any further let alone running another three marathons on three continents. He kept going as promised and has become a living legend, raising more than $1 million for the Dream Center.

He spoke of going through the worst pain that he’d ever felt yet continually said that he would not give up – he didn’t.

What an attitude! He looked beyond the pain of the moment and kept his eye on the purpose for which he was there.

Our job is not just to start, but to finish strong in life.

No matter what challenges you are facing today, stay strong and don’t quit.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st February 2017

One day, a Wall Street broker fell in love with with a rising young Broadway actress.

Before proposing marriage, he decided to have her checked out by a private investigator, after all, he thought, “I’ve got a lot to lose.”

He asked the agency not to reveal his identity to the investigator making the report. When it came back, the report said, ‘she has an excellent character, an unblemished past and a great future. But we have one concern, she’s been seen lately with a Wall Street broker whose character and ethics are questionable.’

The question is: if you were that person, what would be revealed about your character?

Reputation is perception, but character is reality.

It’s what you are in the dark that matters. It’s who you are when no one else is looking that matters.

It’s having values that you refuse to violate even for profit or advantage. It’s a wall of integrity built day by day and brick by brick.

Until you can learn to trust yourself, your goals will have to wait.

God will allow you to pass through situations that bring to the surface weak areas which need to be dealt with. Until they are, you will find yourself going back to square one again.

Make it your prayer and your goal today to live a life that is not only pleasing to God, but one that attracts the attention of man…for all the right reasons.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.