Fresh Hope – 30th November 2018


What were the very first words that God spoke in the Bible?

Answer: Let there be light.

It’s one of the biggest clues to the fact that God doesn’t want you to be in the dark; in fact, there’s a little more to it than meets the eye. The word translated light from the original text is the word ‘order’, and the word for dark came from the word meaning ‘chaos’.

Think about it for a moment…the first thing that God wanted for this world was to light it up, so that the chaos could be brought to order. In fact, 740 years before Jesus came to earth we read these words…

Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Now skip to the New Testament and we find the fulfilment of that promise…

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ John 8:12


Have you ever wondered why when everything outwardly seems to be working just fine, there’s still a longing for something more?

Have you ever wondered why in a very lit world, you feel as if you are wandering around in the dark?

Maybe you would describe your existence like this…everything is complete but there’s just something missing.

I’m sure that we’ve all been in a power cut from time to time.

What’s the first thing that you reach for? A candle? A torch? The light from your phone? The truth is that everything comes to a standstill until the power comes back on. Whilst it’s off, your life is disorientated and even quite fearful, yet just one light can dispel the darkness.

Having the ‘light of life’ means that your life comes alive and you begin to see clearly where you’re going for the first time – your life comes alive.

As we approach this Christmas season, my question to you is, have you got it? Have you found it? Or is life just one big puzzle?

When a popular town plans a date to have its Christmas lights switched on, it usually invites a celebrity to do so.

The greatest thing that you could do today is to invite the greatest person that ever walked the earth to switch your light on so that you will never walk in darkness again.

Everything changes when the light goes on.

Invite Jesus into your life right now…He’s just waiting for you to ask.

The future is bright!

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 29th November 2018

Have you ever got offended by someone who told you that what you were doing wasn’t right? Or pointed out your mistake?

I recently got some feedback in my job that was more ‘constructive’, than encouraging. I learnt that I don’t handle criticism too well. I like to do everything perfectly. I don’t like to make mistakes. I felt really discouraged afterwards.

Our response toward feedback and own mistakes tells us a lot about who we are and where our security and sense of identity is at.

Many of us are experiencing ‘death by fertiliser’. The very thing that is supposed to make us grow, we are letting suffocate us, and kill us rather than allowing it to make us flourish. Seeds need to be buried in dirt before they can grow. Many of us are buried in our jobs, marriages, life circumstances etc, and rather than seeing it as the process to growth, we are letting it become the death of us.

Ask yourself, ‘how do I respond to mistakes and feedback?’. Do they inspire me to win? We can’t let our shortcomings shake our identity. We need guts, and patience toward taking on advice and overcoming our areas for improvement.

There is a quote I recently read and love, ‘The greatest secret of winners is that failure inspires winning; thus they are not afraid of losingLosers avoid failing. And failure turns losers into winners’.

There is a difference between hating losing and being afraid to lose. There is a big difference between hating to make mistakes and being afraid to make them. For many of us, the pain of honest feedback is greater than the freedom it could bring, so we avoid it, and thus stunt our growth in the process.

When we are secure in how God sees us, we are free from the need to constantly seek out praise and affirmation from man. We cannot only handle feedback, but actively seek it out.  The most successful people, and they are often the minority, are people who are serious about getting advice. They intentionally seek out the hard truth. They create a network of mentors around them. They want their shortcomings identified and lovingly sharpened. They know that protecting their egos isn’t going to serve them well in the end.

Winston Churchill had to repeat a grade at school, and failed two entrance exams. Thomas Edison was asked how it felt to fail his light bulb design 100 times and his response was, ‘I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was 1000 steps’. Louis Pasteur was ranked 15th out of 22 students in chemistry. Henry Ford went broke five times before he succeeded. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. His response, ‘I’ve failed over and over again in my life, this is why I succeeded’.

What is your attitude toward your mistakes? Does it kill you? Or make you stronger?

In the words of Proverbs 12:15, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. The lessons learnt from mistakes and honest feedback, are the fertilisersof your seed to success!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 28th November 2018

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ Romans 5:8.

 

Do we live like we know we are truly loved by God? Do we live like we know His love is unconditional? Do we live like we know God wouldn’t change His mind about us? He would still die for us today, like He did all those years ago.

We often process God’s nature and feelings towards us like we process the earthly relationships around us. We watch real people withdraw love from people who upset them. We see people hold grudges against others. We watch people form relationships for what they can get. So it’s a mind-set shift to comprehend that God operates in a different way.

While we know in our heads that God’s love isn’t condition based, for many of us, the reality of this hasn’t sunk into our hearts. Before we know it we find ourselves in a toxic system of religious performance – striving for approval, favour and love. Sadly, we will inevitably fail at some point and because we don’t understand the love of God, we then struggle with shame and condemnation. A vicious cycle.

In the words of Randall Worley, ‘It’s impossible to disappoint God, because in order to disappoint Him, we’d have to do something He didn’t know we were capable of doing’. When God said He loved you, there was nothing about you hidden. No ugly parts of you that He did not know.

Being that God is God, the way he relates to us isn’t like the typical earthly relationships we often see. He saw all your past, your present, and your future and still chose to die for you. The death of Jesus is universal (for all mindkind), yet also so personal and individual.  

Jeremiah 31:34 says, ‘I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more’ (Jeremiah 31:34).

Humans may forgive you, but they can’t always forget. God not only forgives our sins, but also can forget them. Being that He is God, He is the only one that has the ability to forget if He chooses to. So stop reminding Him of where you have failed. If God has chosen to forgive AND forget, then how much more should we freeourselves!

Live like you know God loves your unconditionally. Live like you know He has forgotten your failures. When you do good works, let the effort come from knowing your position in Christ, not trying to earn a position you already have!

When the prodigal son returns to his father’s house, it was his older, perfectly performing brother who was annoyed. Why? Because he worked his butt off, doing all the right things to get a position, and here was his rebellious brother returning from sin to receive all the same rights and privileges! The words of the loving father to the bothered brother were ‘everything I have is yours anyways’(Luke 15:31). Here was the older, jealous son, working hard for His father’s approval and inheritance, when the whole time he had it anyways! He was wasting his time trying to earn it!

How often are we working for something we already have? How often are we trying to earn the father’s love and blessings, counting all the good things we’ve done, hoping we will rightfully receive our share of favour, when God has already given us all love, favour and blessings! Stop working for something that is already yours!  

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th November 2018

Have you ever needed peace? Have you ever found yourself lacking joy?

When I think about peace and joy, two things I am certain we would love more of, I am drawn to the moments that led up to the death of Jesus.

Here Jesus is recorded telling some of His closest friends, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

As difficult as this is to hear, there is something about this statement that resonates with you and I… that Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, experienced some pretty real emotions.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Jesus goes on to pray that if possible, He would not have to die this way, but He then says to God, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

You want to talk about peace?! This right here is what it looks like to possess peace. Willingly offering yourself to be hung on a cross.

And why? As the Bible puts it, “For the joy set before him he endured the cross.”

The ‘joy’ being the thought of spending eternity with you through the salvation He would offer.

Again, talk about real joy?!

Now you may be thinking, that’s great for Jesus, but what about me?

In the book of John, Jesus tells us two things across two different chapters that I believe will encourage you greatly.

Hear this… He says, “My peace I give you” and in another chapter, “So that my joy may be in you.”

Notice how Jesus isn’t just offering any kind of peace and joy – these are personalised.

The same peace and the same joy that brought Jesus through what was no doubt the hardest point in His life, is the same peace and joy He has made available to you.

I’ve got a feeling that if Jesus could walk through this, you and I can walk through anything.

Whatever circumstances you find yourself up against today, whatever struggles you may be facing, remind yourself constantly of this, ‘the peace and joy of God Himself is at work on the inside of me.’

I think you’ll be amazed by how you see life from that moment forward.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

 

Fresh Hope – 26th November 2018

WD-40 is a household name.

For as long as I can remember, it’s been the blue can with the little red pipe for every rusty occasion. A creaking door hinge, a seized-up lock or a bicycle wheel that needs to run more freely…WD-40 is the answer to a thousand and one problems.

Just last week, I was getting frustrated as I was sure that I had a can of the stuff somewhere, but it just could not be found. It’s just one of those items that every home needs to have in stock at all times.

I don’t think I would be too far out by saying that a man doesn’t feel a real man without his trusty can; but have you ever considered the story behind that little can of WD-40?

WD-40 literally stands for ‘Water Displacement 40th attempt’.

That’s the name straight out of the lab book used by the chemist who created it in 1953.

The chemist, Norman Larsen, was attempting to concoct a formula to prevent corrosion, a goal that is achieved by displacing water. Eventually, his persistence paid off when he finally perfected the formula on the 40th try.

Do you have that same level of determination? Do you have what it takes?

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re normal, and you definitely qualify for membership among the ranks of the world’s most accomplished people as they learn most and best through their successive failures.

Your next attempt at your dream could be the greatest day of your life.

Today, resolve to be persistent, keep getting back up, be determined, have faith and be patient.

If you fall in the process, don’t fall backwards, but instead fall forwards and gain new insights and new ground.

Determination is the pathway to victory.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 24th November 2018

In the book of Mark chapter 14, we read the story of Mary pouring very expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus.
Jesus was dining in the home of ‘Simon the Leper’  – It’s interesting to read that it was Simon THE LEPER.  That was his label.
Life puts labels on us, ‘loser’ ‘leper’ ‘divorced’ ‘failure’ ‘addict’ etc etc …and even though Leprosy was a disease that no one wanted to associate with, Jesus did, he ate at his house.
Whatever ‘label’ has been put on your life, remember this: Jesus loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.

Back to Mary. She was criticised heavily for spending a year’s wages on perfume that she poured on Jesus feet.  Imagine that! Thousands and thousands of pounds spent in one action.
Jesus however, defended her action, knowing that she did it out of a heart of GRATITUDE.
You see Mary had been forgiven much by her Saviour (it was believed that she had previously been a prostitute) and wanted to express her gratitude at the forgiveness she had received.
Maybe we should take a leaf out of her book?
When was the last time you were overwhelmed with gratitude for what God had done for you and what He has saved you from?
Honour was given because she was thankful.
Thankfulness led to generosity.
Forgiveness led to her healing and her becoming whole again.
She knew, whatever the critics said, that she needed to do what she did and be generous.

Be a thankful person today, it will lead to your wholeness, healing and restoration.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23rd November 2018

I was taught a very simple bedtime prayer by my parents who prayed with me from the earliest recollection of my childhood.


I don’t remember the transition from being prayed with, to me being left to pray by myself, but I do remember the feeling that I must never go to sleep without going through the prayers that I was taught.

Even at a young age, I can recall thinking that I wish that I could now pray with a little more meaning, rather than just going through the motions, but I didn’t know how to escape the same old phrases that had been ingrained into my young mind.

Although not a real Christian at the time,  I was around 15 or 16 when I felt the urge to move forward into praying each day for things that bothered me.

I kept a secret prayer folder that I would even take on holiday, and at certain times in the day I would find a quiet spot to go through my prayers.

It was quite a burdensome thing really when I think about it; I was praying to God…but I didn’t know Him.

Now, more than forty years later from those early teenage prayers, I am still learning about prayer, and today I share with you my following experience…

At around 17, I had become a follower of Christ and many years later, having seen many answers through my daily prayers, I started to feel that the little ritual of praying as a child had now become a bigger ritual as an adult.

Feelings of guilt would come over me if I would even so much as miss a day without praying in a morning. Every prayer list that I kept over the years had to be prayed through systematically. I had countries of the world to cover, children’s names in Africa and beyond, problem people and people’s problems, not to mention personal things known only to myself. I would cover a whole array of things, and to be honest I was trapped into believing that if I didn’t pray daily for them, the whole world might come to a standstill, well not quite, but at least the people that I prayed for might.

It has only been in recent years that I realised that prayer is often a burden for people and circumstances, but prayer isn’t a burden in itself. It’s a wonderful daily two way conversation with God.

Every morning I’m still keeping my appointment in prayer, but instead of that weight of responsibility that was all mine, is now understood to be fairly and squarely on the one that gave His life for me – Jesus

Prayer is not just a ritualistic working through a set of requests, but is so much more; it’s an hourly, moment by moment relationship with God.

Smith Wigglesworth, a plumber from Bradford that was used mightily by God in early 1900’s, said that he rarely prayed for more than ten minutes at a time, but there was rarely ten minutes that passed without he prayed.

Today, I still love to focus my prayers by having very definite names and circumstances to pray over every week and I’d encourage you to do the same, however, be mindful that you don’t get caught in the trap of going through the ritual of prayer without the relationship of prayer.

John 15:7, 13-15 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

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 – 22nd November 2018

Nothing is more real and relatable to people today than the matter of STRESS! We feel the weight of financial commitments, work demands, relational complexities, health concerns, the ‘what if this’? The ‘what if that’?We are under pressure!

Did Jesus ever get stressed? If so, how did he manage it?

Well he did get stressed. Just as you may feel like you are going through a baptism of fire, Jesus also did. ‘I have a baptism to undergo and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!’ (Luke 12:50). Jesus knew that he had a huge responsibility on behalf of mankind. He was feeling the weight – emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually…but Jesus wasn’t stressed OUT. He managed his stress … how?

HE KNEW THE WORD OF GOD. Meditating on the truth of scripture calms us. It readjusts our perspective. It refuels our tank and sharpens our mind. The Bible is a powerful tool that the Holy Spirit uses to ‘build us up’. What better remedy when we feel like we are crumbling in a heap?

Psalm 119:165 says, ‘those who love your law have great peace’.

REST. ‘Stress is negative psychological pressure, which comes from the crushing demands of our fast-paced lifestyle’.

There were times in the ministry of Jesus’ life that he truly felt the pressure and demands of people. There were moments when literal crowds were following him, each person, wanting something from him.

The first thing to go when we are stressed is rest, but it is the very thing we need. Jesus would often actively seek out isolation to get with God. He knew his ministry would be unsuccessful without the active pursuit of the presence of God (Luke 5:16). In these times with the Lord he found strength, wisdom and direction to then manage the realities of his everyday life.

In the words of Philippians 4:6-7 ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer present your requests to God and the peace of God will guard your hearts.’ 

Let’s start with these two fundamentals the word of God, and rest in Him. Once these two aspects become part of your busy life, you will find a shift in heart and mind. As always, Jesus is counter-cultural. He causes us to stop. Bible reading and alone time with God are usually the first things to go when we are short on time, but what if we made them the first things we do when we are stressed? This is the key to peace-filled living.

John 16:33 ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.””
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Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st November 2018

What do you say yes to when it’s hard? Maybe it’s getting up off the sofa and going to the gym. Maybe it’s ‘yes’ to helping out a friend or family member when you really don’t feel like it. Maybe it is to being generous when you think you can’t afford it. When you say ‘Yes’ to something, you are sacrificing your ‘no’. You have given up something.

One of the biggest ‘yeses’ in scripture was from a woman who made a big sacrifice.

Matthew 26:6-9, Mary came up to him (Jesus) with a flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at the table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, ‘why this waste?’… But Jesus aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me.”’

This perfume was expensive, but cultural context will tell us that this perfume was more than just expensive in monetary terms. Yes, it was worth over a years’ wages and she spent it all, in one shot on Jesus, but, with no male remaining family members, this perfume would have been her dowry – an expensive wedding gift that she could give in exchange for a husband. By pouring it all on the feet of Jesus, she was pouring out her future. Who would offer her security now? Who would she bear children with? Would she forever be on her own? Mary was truly surrendering it all to Jesus in an expensive act of worship. She wasn’t constrained by cultural norms, she was positioned to sacrifice. Paul in Romans encourages us to be ‘living sacrifices’. Surely that is a contradiction? How can you be a sacrifice (dead), but living (alive)? Romans 12:1, ‘what should be our proper response to God’s marvellous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices’.

To be a living sacrifice is to be dead to yourself. Dead to your own ‘yes’, dead to your own selfish gain. Dead to your own pride. We are to live in a constant state of giving up and giving over to God. Laying things down, pouring things out for the sake of Jesus.

Fire rests on sacrifice. The power of God rests on sacrifice. The influence of God rests on sacrifice. When you give something over to God, you are inviting the power of God to do something with it.

So maybe the disciples did have a point. Why did Mary have to waste a whole bottle of this perfume on Jesus’ feet? I mean, she didn’t have to use all of it did she? Maybe you’re thinking that it is pretty selfish of Jesus to insist on receiving such an extravagant gift. Why does God even require sacrifice? Why does he delight in such expensive worship? Is it because He is insecure? Does He need us to be worshipping Him to feel good about himself?

…. No! The answer is because sacrifice is good for US! People become like whatever they worship. Jesus was applauding the heart of a worshipper in receiving Mary’s gift, for he recognised true surrender, true sacrifice, a true ‘yes’, when it wasn’t easy. But furthermore in Mary giving it all to Jesus, she was actually doing the best thing should could have done for herself.

If we are to stay on the edge of growth and development in God, sacrifice is required. Perhaps what was a sacrifice 5,10, 15 years ago, has just become convenience for you now. What is it that you are giving to God that is costing you something? It may cost your pride, your reputation, your money, your life even! But watch what God can do with true sacrifice!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 20th November 2018

Even the smallest of problems get God’s attention.Every detail of your life is a matter of concern to Him.

Some time back, I felt that I should pop in to see my Mom and Dad. Although I’m very close to my parents, who are fast approaching their nineties, I don’t really pop in unannounced very often. However, on this occasion I was passing by their home and strongly felt the desire to go in and have a few minutes with them.

As I walked down the side of the house, my Dad was fixing a new gate around the back.

I asked him if everything was ok, to which he replied that he was frustrated at trying to drill a hole through the new gate in order to fit the lock.

“I can’t understand it” he said, “I’ve used two drill bits now and the wood is so hard that I can’t get through it”.

I asked him if I could lend a hand, and started to hold the door in place for him. As the drill started to get up to speed, I immediately spotted the problem.

“Dad”, I shouted over the noise of the drill, “the drill is going backwards!”

Sure enough the drill was in reverse and the cutting edges of the blade were unable to do their job.

I took the drill from him, put it into forward gear and drilled a hole in seconds. Before long the new lock was fitted and we were laughing together as we cleared up.

“I’d have been here for hours”, he said to me, to which I replied, “God cared enough about you struggling with the lock on your gate to send me to help you out.”

That story helps us to appreciate the level of detail that God goes to in order to look after His children.

If you’re not convinced then take a look at the following verses from the Bible…

Matthew 10:29-30 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Now that’s what you call attention to detail!

Are you caught in a world than only values size and significance? Today, learn to appreciate that God not only sees your seemingly insignificant need, but He is able to send someone to meet it too, no matter how small it may seem to you.

Worried and troubled about so many little issues?

God’s got it all in hand.

Philippians 4:5-7…The Lord is near. 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 – 19th November 2018

I was doing some much needed repair work on one of the kitchen cabinets at home a few nights ago. In order to do a proper job, I needed to pull the cooker out from what was a very tight fit in a very tight space. I had decided that the only way to get it out, was by grabbing the handles on the front of the oven door on one side, and the smaller door to the grill on the other. As I pulled, the grill door shot out of place an ended up in my hand, but no longer connected to the cooker!

I reasoned with myself that this came off pretty easily, so it will go on pretty easily too – wrong. The more I tried the more I got frustrated. Have you ever been in that place where one job leads to another? This was that. Not only didn’t I really have much time to complete my first job, I was now needing to fix another.

The more I tried the more I failed. By now I was getting angry with myself, so I decided to forget the grill door and complete the cabinet job that I’d set out to do.
After calming down for half an hour or so, I reasoned with myself that I should just find the cooker manual and see if that gave any clues as to how to put the door back on. It was my only hope. Sure enough it gave me the most incredible yet simple solution imaginable – yet without the manual I’d have still been trying to fix it today. I could have never known that the solution was so easy by myself, yet with one simple step of reading the manufacturers’ handbook, I was sorted in less than 5 minutes.

As you wake today, it’s possible that you are feeling about your life in much the same way; broken and yet having no clue how to fix it. The more you try, the more you get frustrated and angry.

The great news is that the manual is sitting on a shelf somewhere right now. Go and find it and open it up. The answer to your life and to your predicament is found right there – the Bible.

Try as you might, you won’t fix your life without it, for the Bible is God’s handbook for life. It may not seem much to you right now, but in just the same way that my cooker handbook had been sitting and gathering dust for the last 5 years, it still held the key to fixing my dilemma.

You may not have read the Bible for a while or even ever, but your lack of pulling it off the bookshelf and dusting it down has not diminished its power one little bit. It’s always  been God’s word to you and always will be.

Here’s the simple truth that you need to know right now: owning a Bible is the first step, but unless you read it, it won’t change your life. Battle things on your own if you like, but I know from experience that you will end up humbling yourself and pulling out the good book in the end. It’s the maker’s instructions and is the most extensive manual on how to fix a broken life.

Today…take a moment. Read the Bible. Discover Jesus. Discover his plan for your life. Find the answer. Sorted.

Luke 24:45 ‘…Then Jesus opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures’.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 17th November 2018

What are you doing to move your life forward?

I read this recently: “You’ll never achieve what you’re capable of, if you keep hanging onto things or people you’re meant to let go of.”

How true. Stuff and people can often hold us back. Wrong thoughts, bad decisions and the past are classic things that will hold us back.
Also there may be people in your world who are not risk takers and are more comfortable with ‘same old, same old’, these people can be detrimental to you progressing.
Are there people in your world who think you don’t need to change, or tell you that you should stay in your comfort zone? The list is endless.

Remember this time last year, November 2017?
How much further have you advanced this year?
How much have you grown, developed and moved forward?

Here’s the thing: life definitely moves on, time flies. Yet the question has to be, are WE moving forward?

There are a few scenarios…You are either moving backwards or you’re standing still or you’re going round and round
OR you are moving forward.

Give yourself a great reality check and ask yourself, ‘which direction am I moving in?’

Don’t get stuck in a rut today, crave after something fresh.
When you’re planted in a great church that’s moving forward, you will have a head-start.

Isaiah 43 18-20 “behold, I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? The old has gone the new has come!”

My challenge to myself and you today is – TAKE STEPS FORWARD.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th November 2018

When was the last time you had a good laugh?  Yes laughter!  A good belly laugh. I have a friend who I think is in the wrong career as she has the ability to make anyone and everyone laugh.  I have travelled with her several times – what a great gift and it is always so good to be around her.  I find laughter therapeutic; life can throw so much at us but one thing it should never do is stop us from having a good laugh.

Even the bible prescribes laughter. Proverbs 17:22 – “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”.  The woman described in Proverbs 31 certainly figured out the value of laughter. That’s how she remained carefree even with everything she had on her plate.

Laughter is the fruit of joy. “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy” (Job 8:21). To every Christian there is given the fruit of the Spirit including an inexplicable joy from God. This joy isn’t only expressed in times of happiness and accomplishments, but also in disappointments and hurts. Even in the midst of persecution there can be joy expressed in the form of laughter because of the visions, expressions, and encouragement fed to the spirit of man through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times a day, but as adults life tends to be more serious and laughter more infrequent. By seeking out more opportunities for humour and laughter, you can improve your emotional health, strengthen your relationships, find greater happiness—and even add years to your life.

Sure, it’s fun to share a good laugh. But did you know it can actually improve your health? Scientifically, it is proven that laughter is good for us, it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.

·         Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh is said to relieve physical tension and stress.

·         Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.

·         Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

·         Laughter burns calories. Ok, so it’s no replacement for going to the gym, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories.

·         Laughter lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared laugh. Looking at the funny side can put problems into perspective and enable you to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.

·         Laughter may even help you to live longer. A study in Norway found that people with a strong sense of humour outlived those who don’t laugh as much.

Two lessons I’ve learnt: first, life rarely goes as planned.  Second, it’s okay to laugh! Maybe life has been a bit challenging for you lately. Or, maybe you are in a great season where the laughs can keep going.  Either way, we have to remember to keep laughter and more importantly joy at the centre of each day.

Christine Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 15th November 2018

There’s a reason that the rearview mirror of a car is far smaller than the size of the windscreen. When moving forward in the car, you need an optimum view of where you are going. A quick glance up at the rearview mirror to see what is behind you is all that you occasionally need.

Likewise, as we journey onwards in life, we should only be taking a quick glance up to what is behind us, to see where we’ve come from, to see how far we have come. If we are safely and efficiently moving forward, then we cannot have our gaze fixed on the past, paying no attention to where we are going. Our vision needs to be forward focused. The rearview  mirror of our lives should be far smaller than the windscreen of our lives.

Yet if we are honest, many people are bogged down in what happened to them and how it’s hindered their life, or maybe the opposite they are stuck in “the good old days”, when things seemed better.

Proverbs 5:25-27 talks about watching where you are going:

‘Set your gaze on the path BEFORE you. With fixed purpose, look straight ahead, Ignore life’s distractions. Watch where you are going! Stick to the path of truth, And the road will be safe and smooth before you. Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment or take the detour that leads to darkness’.

Maybe you know someone who isn’t in the best place in life at the moment. Things aren’t safe or smooth for them. Perhaps it is someone who you never thought would be in the position they are in now. Challenging life circumstances happen to all of us, but I’m talking about the kind of place where distraction, and choice got them there. Maybe you are that person.

This Proverb invites all of us, to be fixed, determined and sharp in mind and spirit about not getting distracted. Not even for a moment.

To stay forward-focused requires three things:

1. To let go of the past
2. Be intentional about your vision for the future. Let your purpose and mission daily be at the forefront of your heart.
3. If you are going to stick to the path of truth– you need to know the truth! This is where the word of God is vital for our progress, and safety! If you’re not following the map, don’t be surprised when you’re off track and in a tricky place.

 

Stay the path!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th November 2018

Do you have something burning inside of you? Do you have a fire in you? Maybe you once did, but now it just feels like smoke.

 

A good way to see what fire God has put in you is to ask yourself these questions:

What makes me feel alive?

What am I most passionate about?

How was I before the grind of life wore down on me?

The answers to these questions are the parts of you that you should be working hard to protect. When you let job pressures, expectations, or monotony of life take away from these things, you are not protecting your fire!

Paul talked to Timothy about this very thing.

‘I’m writing to encourage you to fan into flame and rekindle the fire’ (2 Timothy 1:5). Other translations say, ‘Stir up the gift of God which is in you’. To stir up is the idea of actively keeping a fire burning bright and strong. The Greek meaning of the words, ‘stir up’, anazopureo, means either ‘to kindle afresh’ or ‘to keep in full flame’. These are active descriptions, not passive. It takes careful intentionality to protect the fire in your heart!

In the natural, there are three elements that are necessary for a fire to keep burning; heat, oxygen, and fuel. As soon as one of these elements are removed, the fire dies.

Spiritually speaking, our inner fires operate in the same way.

We need to add heat to our heart. A fire left to itself will burn out. A heart left to itself will die. Nothing heats things up like the Holy Spirit! As you actively partner with him, he will keep your fire burning bright!

Oxygen. You need air to keep your heart’s fire alive! Remove the lid and allow your heart some breathing space! Guarding your heart doesn’t necessarily mean blocking it off. In fact for most people, it means opening it up! Stop keeping it closed off! Open it up to the right people – people who will fan your sparks into flames.

Lastly, your heart needs fuel. If you are going to get your inner fire going, then you need to feed with the right stuff, or it will dwindle out. Find things that set your passions, and who you really are alight. Be intentional about this, for this is what it means to protect the fire placed in you!

 

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
‭‭

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 13th November 2018

Beware of the few.

 

I’ve found over the years that the phrase ‘everybody is saying‘ doesn’t actually mean what you think! On the occasions that that was said to me, it actually meant ‘one or two are saying’ at the very most.

 

Be careful in life, when confronted by those standing against you, that you don’t over estimate how many are in the army of the few. They tend to be one or two pretending to be many.

 

If you are leading something or just simply leading your own life forwards, then beware of the few that want to sound like so many. They make a lot of noise!

 

The few tend to employ their tactics when you find yourself doing either of the following:

 

When you want to take new ground.

 

When you want to regain lost ground.

 

When you need to take the higher ground.

 

Their scare mongering tactics include:

 

It will never work

 

We’ve never done it this way before

 

Everybody is saying that this is not a good idea

 

No one agrees

 

We like things the way they are.

 

People are not happy.

 

Whilst we should listen to good counsel, we should always be mindful of who is saying what. You wouldn’t listen to someone’s advice about how to manage your money if they themselves were broke.

 

In the Old Testament, Ezra was laying the foundations of the new temple. Everyone was getting ready for this long awaited and magnificent occasion. Celebrations were planned and people were coming from miles around. As things got under way it became apparent that there were two cries going up. One was the shouts of praise and the other the wailing of those that didn’t approve…

 

Ezra 3:10-13 When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests in their vestments and with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals, took their places to praise the Lord, as prescribed by David king of Israel. With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: ‘He is good; his love towards Israel endures for ever.’ And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy. No one could distinguish the sound of the shouts of joy from the sound of weeping, because the people made so much noise. And the sound was heard far away.

 

There were ‘many’ that didn’t approve, but in reality they were drowned out by those that did.

 

Make sure today that you don’t bow down or bow out to the voice of the few.

 

Put your head down and walk right on.

 

You have a job to do…don’t let the noise of one or two stop you.

 

 

Pastor Mark

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 12th November 2018

In the book of John, found in the New Testament of The Bible, Jesus encounters a man by the name of Simon.

Simon is brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew, and shortly after meeting him, Jesus informs him that his name will no longer be Simon, but Peter (meaning ‘rock.’)

In the space of one conversation, one encounter, this man gets given a new name…

Like Simon, you too may have a name attached to your life that is contradictory to the name that God has for you.

You may have been labelled ‘ugly,’ ‘depressed,’ ‘failure,’ ‘unwanted,’ and it’s possible that you have begun to believe the names you have been given by life, by people and even by yourself.

You need to know today that you are not what people say or don’t say about you. You are not what you see when you look in the mirror. Your value is not found in what you do or in what you’ve done, your value is found in who Jesus says you are.

God wants to remind you that you’re loved, that you’re chosen, that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. He knows the plans that He has for you, plans for your prosperity, plans to give you hope and a future.

What names have you been wrongfully given in this life?

Make a decision to take off those labels and begin to declare a new name over yourself today.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 10th November 2018

Recently, I heard a story of a young boy who was asked to write down his dream by his school teacher. He said that one day he wanted to own a huge ranch and keep lots of horses. His teacher marked his work and gave him an ‘F’, telling him he was stupid and that his dream was unreachable. The boy was not deterred by his teacher – his reply was, “you keep your F and I’ll keep my dream!”

Many years later, that young boy’s dream came true and the teacher met him one day and apologised. She also said that she had regrettably squashed and ridiculed many young people’s dreams and she was thrilled that he had taken no notice of her.

Many times in your life, people will tell you that your dream will never be a reality. Maybe it won’t, however, if it’s a God-given dream inside of you, don’t let it go…it can surely come to pass.
Take Joseph for instance, his brothers ridiculed his dream and almost killed him because of his dream, yet Joseph kept that dream in his heart and it came to pass.

The more you focus on the dream doubters, the more unlikely your dream will seem, however, the more you focus on the dream giver, the more likely you will realise your dream.

Joseph was a prisoner at one stage in his life due to an injustice, however, one page later, he was living in the palace!

God can take your dream and make it into a reality.

Today, if you don’t have a dream, ask God for one and if you already have one, go for it with all your heart.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th November 2018

For the last few years, my wife has come up with an ingenious plan to create more wardrobe and drawer space in our bedroom.

At the end of the winter, we pack all our winter clothes neatly away in plastic bags, label them and put them up in the loft.

Now that we have just gone into the Autumn, and we know that there’s no turning back towards a very late summer, we have just done the reverse. We have put all our summer stuff in bags up the loft and in turn have filled up all the empty wardrobe space with our winter clothes.

Gillian, you are a genius!

With the onset of each season we have known instinctively when it’s time to reach for that extra layer and pull out that thicker jacket.

Not so easy are the seasons of our lives whereby we have to gauge and discern when a new season is upon us.

If you don’t know you’re in a new season, you won’t be dressed correctly for it, and equally so, if you don’t realise that one season has turned into another, you can miss its beauty.

Life for all is made up of differing seasons; some of them are warm and summery, whilst others are cooler and bring with them a sense of loss just like leaves falling from a tree. Greater still are the cold long winter days that sees everything lying dormant within the ground.

The key is to understand the season and therefore understand the appropriate response towards it.

Take for instance the spring time where everything is bursting into new life. You may well have a friend that is in that very season right now and everything shouts life, health and growth. However, you may well be in the winter season of your life where everything is seemingly dead or dying. If you don’t know your season, then the tendency will be to compare notes with your friend and walk away feeling that God has deserted you and favoured your friend.

That’s not the truth at all, as it’s just a simple matter of seasons.

Don’t try to live in a constant summertime as it’s never going to happen, but understand that if you’re going to have an amazing and fruitful life you have to appreciate and go through each distinct season.

Today, I encourage you to ask God to help your discern which season you’re in so that you know how to respond.

Hebrews 10:35-39 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’ And, ‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’ But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 8th November 2018

I loooove charity shopping! I know God determines the times and places in which we should live (Acts 17:26), because when I moved to England I moved into a house that is about a two-minute walk from about five charity shops! Heaven on earth!

Here are some reasons why I like charity shopping:

1. You are recycling clothing, and thus putting less demand on the environment.
2. The money you spent is going to charity.
3. You are saving money.
4. You are forced to think creatively as you hunt through rails and piles of clothing for something good, rather than walking into a shop with a mannequin telling you what you should wear.
5. You have one-off pieces that no one else is wearing.
6. I enjoy showing people that you don’t have to spend a lot to look good!  

I know that not everyone appreciates charity shops the way I do (my husband for example isn’t a fan of the mothball smell!). It takes a certain type of person to see the gold in a second-hand environment.

The other day I found two beautiful wine glassesin a charity shop. They were very detailed as the glass had engravings all through it.  I took them to the counter and paid 1 pound each for them! Bargain!

Once upon a time those beautiful glasses were just piles of sand. That is how all glass starts. Simply sand heated to high temperatures, then molded to serve a purpose.

It takes the vision of someone special to see a pile of sand and envision what it has the potential to become.

There are people all around us that might be viewed like a boring, beige, pile of sand. It takes you, someone special, to see that person for who they were made to be, to recognise a greater purpose and put in the effort to allow them to become a beautiful, detailed glass with a purpose.

God specialises in taking nothing and turning it into something. He takes a Shepherd boy and turns him into king. He takes a prostitute and places her in the lineage to Jesus. He takes jars of clay and stores treasure. He takes a manger and births the king of kings.  He takes an orphaned Jewish girl and makes her a Queen who saves a nation. He takes food scraps and turns it into a feast. He takes water and turns it into wine! And the list goes on and on, story after story.

As God’s children, we too are to look for the average things in our lives and make them great! In your quest for grandeur, don’t bypass the ordinary people and things that you can turn into something extraordinary! When someone dismisses something as trash, look for the treasure. When the first hand dismisses, be the second hand to redeem, reclaim and restore!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th November 2018

Where do you go when you are feeling down? Where do you go when you feel weak, weary, and defeated? Our first instinct is to look to someone else. God actually encourages us to build ourselves up!

In Jude 1:20 we read, ‘…constantly and progressively build yourselves up on the foundation of your most holy faith by praying every moment in the Spirit’.

We can definitely find hope and comfort in the people around us – our spouse, our friends, our family, and our church community. But we also have a responsibility to build up and establish ourselves.

As we head into the chilly winter months, some of us are very much taken by surprise at how cold it is. The icy winds, the darker mornings, and shorter days – no one is really ever totally ready for it. Some animals however can spend all year prepping for the winter season. They start eating more food long before the weather gets colder, ensuring that come winter, they have an extra layer of body fat ready for hibernation. Some animals like squirrels, even store food to keep themselves going through the winter.

Inevitably there will be some seasons of life that feel a bit like winter. You could feel lonely, tired, and weary. It is wisdom to prepare for such seasons of life by building yourself up when you are feeling strong. Feed yourself on the word, in every season, even when everything is going great. Pray when you aren’t in lack, so when you are in need, your inner-self is strong. Make spiritual deposits in every season, so when tough moments come, you are prepared and have something to carry you. When you build deep wells in God, you have something to draw from when drought comes.

Don’t rely solely on church meetings, and other people to build you – they can create an atmosphere for growth, but it is totally our responsibility to manage our relationship with God. Expecting others to be responsible for your faith, or strength is like having a baby and waiting for someone else to come over to your house and feed it! We have a responsibility for our walk with God, our gifts, and our wellbeing.

If we are feeling weak, don’t blame others, or look to others to rescue you. Rather pray in the Spirit, connect your heart to the love of God and receive! (Jude 1:21). Speak out in the weak times the truth that you sowed into your heart in the good times. Take ownership of your heart and inner state.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 6th November 2018

Under coach John Wooden, the UCLA basketball team won the US national championship for seven straight years.

At the start of each season, he would sit his team down in their locker room and, for a long time – a very long time – they would learn how to put on their socks!

“…Check the heel area. We don’t want any signs of a wrinkle about it…the wrinkle will be sure you get blisters, and those blisters are going to make you lose playing time…”

The lesson wasn’t really about blisters or playing time, it was about doing the basics right, taking care of the details, looking after yourself correctly and being humble enough to sort the small stuff.

So often, we overlook the small details that really matter.

As I write, we are just embarking on the mammoth task of preparing 10,000 Christmas boxes for our local community.

Inside each box are some goodies and an invitation to our ‘Champion carols and Christmas village’.

Hours of planning have already gone into this event on Sunday 9th December*

To the average person coming through the gates, the village will appear to have just magically landed on the one acre site of our church car park, but I know different. The smallest of details have all had to be worked on, so that the magic and sparkle will be evident to all…especially the children.

Seemingly inconsequential stuff, if overlooked, will be a ‘wrinkle’ that will end up giving us ‘blisters’ when the crowds roll in.

To me, the smallest details, even in how the bow is tied on the base of the huge Christmas tree is important.

Life itself is made of many small details that many of us overlook, failing to realise the importance of doing little things really well.

If you only ever look to make a huge impact with your life, then I encourage you to work on the small details first; from there on in, you will build a reputation that will take you far beyond your wildest dreams.

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?

*Tickets for ‘Champion Carols’ including the Christmas village and the all new grotto for 2018 are NOW on sale.

Order your tickets online https://www.championschurch.org.uk/carols/ 

Or call 01384 457923

Please note that there are 2 identical service options that include the village and grotto – 12noon and 5pm

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th November 2018

I’m sitting writing today in one of the local coffee shops that I find lends itself to inspiration.

It’s pretty cold outside and there’s a large notice on the door asking customers to make sure that the door is closed behind them. It literally takes no more than a minute to suck out all the warm air inside the shop once the door is open.

Over the past three hours, I have personally had to get up and close the door a couple of times. Other customers have done the same. Then there’s the staff that have had to walk from their positions with a look that says it all. I’ve lost count as to how many times the door has been left open, but at one stage I could feel myself wanting to shout out…’will you please close the door!’

The question today is not one of cold and heat in the physical sense, but is one of how much you are leaving yourself vulnerable and out in the cold, simply because you can’t be bothered to close the door.

Are you keeping the door wide open in terms of your relationships? Are you to scared to wait for Mr. or Mrs. Right, so you end up keeping your options open for Mr. or Mrs. Anyone?

Are you contemplating taking that higher salary or that next level opportunity, but at what cost? More money but no life, family, friends or Church? That’s a pretty cold move, and one that you could end up regretting if the only motivation is financial.

There are certain non-negotiables that you should have in life, and it is these that you should keep the door firmly closed on – if you don’t, your life is quickly going to go cold.

Ask yourself some searching questions today that will help you understand what keeps your life warm.

When you or anyone else opens the door on those, make sure you get up and shut the door as quickly as possible.

Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 3rd November 2018

There are some scriptures that are easy to love and put on the favourite list, such as Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Or Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Lately I have come across this scripture several times and have thought this is not one of those scriptures that is music to the ears but one that we all find ourselves needing to hear at some – if not many – points in life.  James 2:4 – Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way

We all have pressures in life, we cannot escape them.  We have the pressures of work, families, households, friends, and dreams. Also, we have the pressures of balancing and trying to do it all at the same time. We go through trials in life that feel like breaking us. We have challenges and don’t understand why and life can seem out of control. We get frustrated waiting for God to move yet God is waiting for us to move.

Counting it all joy during times of pressure is surely not the easiest thing, but if we are to overcome, we sometimes have to live out James 2:4.  It shows that you believe that God’s word is true no matter what the situation is. It demonstrates that you believe God is for you, in you, and with you. It affirms that you know with full assurance that He will never leave nor forsake you. God is with you in the test and with you when it’s over. Our faith under pressure is a teaching point that we need to experience in life. Even though it’s hard, we will be better people for it. I for certain have found my times of difficulty and despair to have become my times of personal growth in faith.

Temptations and tests come to all of us. But God is faithful to always provide a way out. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

Maybe like the song ‘New Wine’ by Hillsong Worship, ‘In the crushing, In the pressing’ God is making new wine.  Maybe changing how we perceive trials will help us live through them and make the best of them.

  1. Pressures are a gift. It may not feel like a gift at the time, but it helps us grow our faith.
  2. Pressures show what you are made of. Your actions under pressure show what’s in your heart.
  3. Pressures build character. It is under pressure that we learn who we are and that develops us into the people we are today.
Trust God in this season that he is faithful to His word that He will see you through. During this time, align your heart and your mouth and confess His Promises to you.  God will get you to the other side of the test if you’ll maintain a spirit of faith and refuse to waver.
Christine Mudenha
A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd November 2018

Be careful what you ask for!

Billy Graham was one of the most well loved and respected Christians in history. His wife, Ruth, told the story that she had asked God on many occasions to give her a husband. She had had several of her prayers ‘turned down’ by God…something that she was not happy about. Later in life, after being married to this most incredible man, she said that she was forever grateful that God didn’t answer any of her prayers that she had prayed as a young woman. He had only answered the one that gave her the husband that was right for her. They were happily married for almost 64 years.

In the book of 1Samuel, the Bible records that the people kept insisting that they wanted a King. Their current leader, Samuel, was now well advanced in years and they felt that a younger guy needed to replace him. No matter how many times they were counselled that a new king would lead them into disarray, they still insisted that wanted a new leader.

1 Samuel 8:10-22 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, ‘This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: he will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plough his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’ But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We want a king over us. Then we shall be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.’ When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, ‘Listen to them and give them a king.’

In the end God gave into their request and gave them Saul as their king.

Saul was not the right man or the right choice. God only gave him to them because they insisted that they knew better. Remember, you have a free will, and at times God will allow you to make decisions, and to ask for things based on what you think is right for you. Before you make foolish decisions, seek wise counsel and be open to God to change your mind.

A lifetime of misery awaits those that insist that they know what’s best.

Be careful what you pray for and insist on…God may just give it to you!! If He does, don’t blame Him when it all goes wrong.

Ask yourself some simple questions today:

What am I insisting on because I believe I know best?

Am I seeking counsel from anyone wiser than myself in this matter?

Do you sense that the Holy Spirit is telling you to back off?

Is one of your traits that of being ‘pig headed’?

Remember, God knows what’s best for your life; If you get your own way you are actually pushing away the very best that God has for you, if you’ll only wait.

Remember, if Ruth Graham had have had her prayers answered according to what she felt was right, she may have had a life of misery! Instead, she waited for God’s best and had the most incredible life.

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 1st November 2018

You can’t live your own way and expect to experience your best life. Your best life will only come when you follow God’s ways.
If you buy a new appliance, you will need to follow the maker’s instructions to get the best out of that thing… that’s like your life.

Deuteronomy 28 vs 1-2 says this… “if you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all His commands that I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God.”

Just like the manufacturers instructions, God has a perfect way for us to live our best life. When we follow His ways and His rules and His commands, they won’t be things that bind us, they will in fact set us free to live our best life.

The following verses go on to say all of the blessings that we will experience
Vs 3. You will be blessed in the city and in the country – in others words, wherever you go, in your car, on foot, on an aeroplane.. He will bless your travels.
Vs 4. The fruit of your womb will be blessed – that’s your family, your children, your spouse…your family will know God’s blessing when you choose to follow God’s plan for your life.
Vs 4/5 Your cattle, your crops, your kneading basket will be blessed – that’s your possessions. They will be blessed!
Vs7. Your enemies will be defeated before you – whatever battle you are in today, or tomorrow, don’t worry… God has blessings on all your battles! You will be victorious.
Vs8. Your barns and everything you put your hand to – that’s your job, your career, your work. It will be blessed!

Today, stop and thank Jesus that you have the opportunity to live your best life.
When I choose to follow God’s ways I can truly say.
“I AM BLESSED.”

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.