Fresh Hope – 31st January 2019

The roots of a tree are undervalued. We admire a tall, strong tree from what we see on the outside, but what in fact nourishes the tree, sustains it, gives it stature, growth and beauty is the root system established deep within the ground. In a world that often applauds and adores that which we see on the outside, developing a deep, strong root system in our lives can seem unprofitable. It seems more beneficial to focus on what is seen on the outside.

Paul talks in Colossians about being ‘rooted and established’ in love. God is love! In other words, let your private life, your inner life, the parts you don’t see on the outside, be deeply rooted in Him. In the wording of The Passion Translation, Your spiritual roots go deeply into his life as you are continually infused with strength, encouraged in every way. For you are established in the faith you have absorbed and enriched by your devotion to him!’ (Colossians 2:7-9).

We are all looking for lives that are enriched, encouraged and strengthened. Our answer in not in fluffing up our leaves (what we see on the outside), but is found in the private place of our hearts, in the strengthening of our innermost parts through Him…from the inside out! Then we can expect glorious fruit, stature and strength, AND be a safe haven, a resting place for others.

Take the time and make the space to focus on the inner workings of your heart. Strengthen your inner man in God. Dig your roots deeper this year, rather than focusing on external modification, and anticipate the growth!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 30th January 2019

In 2 Chronicles 1, God appears to King Solomon and says, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you’.

I wonder what we would ask for if we could have anything we wanted right now? A million pounds? A new car? Some friends? Family? But Solomon asks for something that isn’t tangible. He says, ‘Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people’ (1 Chronicles 1:10). Wisdom?! Seems a little boring doesn’t it? You see, Solomon understood the power of wisdom. He knew that nothing could be established without it. Money would fade, riches would fade, but wisdom would establish and build for generations.

We aren’t talking about intelligence. Intelligence is valuable, but it is limits us to our own earthly mind. Wisdom is heavenly. It is the mind of Christ and the heart of God and therefore unlimited. To build anything of value and impact requires your own brain, but also the wisdom of God. In Proverbs 24:3 we read, ‘Wise people are builders… and through intelligence and insight their enterprises are established and endure’. It takes both a logical brain and the brain of God (wisdom imparted to us), to establish something that is lasting. This is freeing for us because it means that it isn’t up to us to solve problems! It is up to us to rely on God for the answer to the problems, as he imparts his knowledge to us!

Proverbs 24 continues, ‘Wisdom can make anyone into a mighty warrior’. This tells us that to be a hero, it is better to have the wisdom of God, than just mere physical strength. ‘And revelation-knowledge increases strength’ (Proverbs 24:5). Knowledge is wonderful, but ‘revelation’ is when the nature and wisdom of God is revealed to us – and that is FAR more powerful than just head-knowledge.

We are fools if we believe that we can successfully navigate life, and build something that will endure all by ourselves. This mentality will sell yourself out of the depths and endless opportunities that are available to us through the wisdom of God.  

I love this definition of wisdom, ‘Wisdom applies knowledge and takes creative and courageous action to solve problems, create opportunities, and increase the well-being of all’. How productive, creative, courageous, and fruitful will we become when we apply the mind of Christ to every problem or situation we face? Seek out the wisdom of God today, for it is worth more than gold (Proverbs 16:16).

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 29th January 2019

I’m quite handy when it comes to DIY and have, over the years, been willing to try my hand at most things. I was shown how to do plumbing by a friend of mine and then I tried to teach myself how to do electrics, that was until I gave myself one too many shocks and nearly blew someone else out of their shoes in the process.

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

As I look back over my DIY days, I realise that a change has taken place, as I now approach things with a view to make sure that the finished job is 100% and that it will stand the test of time. The big difference in this change is all in the amount of time taken in preparation. The more thorough the preparation, the better and more lasting the finished product will be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 28th January 2019

For centuries, people have believed and understood that plants have feelings, much like those of humans. We have often heard it said that if we talk to our plants they will grow so much better, bigger and stronger!

In order to take this advice seriously, or not as the case may be, a school conducted a month long experiment and arranged to have two identical plants situated in the foyer of the school.

In front of one plant, they posted a sign that told every pupil to talk down to the plant. Each pupil had to tell the plant that ‘no one likes you, you’re useless, no one even notices you, you are hopeless and you are not even alive’.

In front of the second plant, a very different sign was posted. On it, pupils were told to tell the plant that it was well liked in the school and that it made them happy seeing it there. ‘You are a difference maker and you are beautiful’, it heard day after day.

After one month the first plant that was verbally abused started to wither and die, whilst the second grew strong and healthy. Photos were taken as proof that plants really do have feelings and what they are told makes all the difference! It appears that whoever originally came up with this idea was right.

Knowing that plants have feelings is one thing, but how much more does it matter what we say and what is said to us as people? No wonder that we thrive under words of affirmation, but words that criticise and discourage are responsible for many a person’s downfall.

How do you feel about yourself today?

What has been said over your life?

How many unkind and cruel words have been declared over you, so much so that you have begun to believe that you are actually surplus to requirements?

I am convinced that you will thrive today if only you could hear words from someone that has the power to change your life around. Well, here they are, straight from the highest authority, direct from heaven to earth, coming right out of the mouth of your creator…

Psalm 139:13-18 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with you.

Wow…that’s what God thinks about you!

If you will start to look into the Bible and use it as a mirror in which to see how beautiful you are, then you will start to flourish and gain strength. Out of that, your whole life will take on a new dimension of encouragement towards others too. Instead of pulling people down to make you feel better yourself, you will start to lift others up to the place of security and strength that you yourself have now found.

Be lifted today.

Be a people lifter today.

Flourish, and help others to do the same.

Proverbs 16:24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 26th January 2019

Have you ever had situations in life, challenges, relationship problems that can really knock you down and discourage you – you want to give up or even run away from those situations? I’m guessing that will be a ‘yes’ from most, if not all of us. There is another way we can get through these times- by standing- yes standing;

* standing in faith,

* standing in love,

* standing in hope,

* standing on His promises because His promises are yes and amen,

* standing on His Word because His Word never fails.

Standing can be the most powerful thing we can do because greater is He that is within us and we know the battle is not ours – it’s the Lord’s. Ephesians 6.10 – 18 mentions standing four times, in different ways.

1. STAND AGAINST

Verse 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

We are encouraged to put on the full armour so we may be able to stand against the devil’s schemes. Every morning you get up, the devil is waiting to do three things to you – to kill, steal and destroy – your peace, joy, your relationship with God, your confidence, your identity – all the good things that we know Christ has given us. He wants you to divorce, he wants you to be in lack, he wants you to struggle with addiction and destroy your life. He wants you to suffer from unforgiveness and bitterness. He wants you stressed, depressed, anxious, angry, guilty –  he wants you to be a mess! And he will use anything – your job, your health, finances, social media and he especially uses people to get you to these places. So because we know the devil’s plan,  we are in a position of power and we can stand against it. John 10.10 tells us that Jesus has come to give me life and life in its fullness. So anything that comes to stand in the way and try to prevent me from enjoying that life Christ came for me to have, I will stand against it!

When temptation to sin comes, we stand on His word – that we are free because He who the son sets free is free indeed!

2. WITHSTAND

Verse 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand when the evil day comes, and having done all, to stand.

Withstanding is to hold out, to resist- remaining undamaged or unaffected. This verse is giving us a heads up that an evil day will come one day. This could be that day when you are accused of something you didn’t do, it could be redundancy or an unfair dismissal at work. But rejoice because the word “day” means to me that it’s something that won’t last forever – it’s a season that will pass. All we have to do is withstand. Buildings are built to withstand storms and strong winds. So when strong winds and storms come, we can withstand.

3. TO STAND

The same Verse 13 says, ‘…and having done all, to stand.’

Now after we have managed to stand against, and we have just about made it through the stormy winds by withstanding,  we still have to stand!

Have you ever had a season where nothing is going right for you – finances, in marriage, children are doing their own thing, issues and strife in family relationships, sickness and death – all sorts of things? And you get to a point where you are almost numb to it all and you even ask yourself if anything worse can happen? Then something worse does happen! Sometimes the enemy can really give you his best shots – then you make it through them because by God’s grace you managed to stand against and withstand it all. At this point, you exhale and you want to enjoy the new season after all the challenges – and I get you –  but you cannot sit down at this point. Because having done all, you’ve got to Stand. You see, the enemy is always scheming and fashioning weapons against us. We’ve got to keep on standing. Though your seasons may change, standing is not seasonal but continual. Keep on standing in your faith, on His promises, in your praise, in your worship, in your loving, in your giving.

4. STAND FIRM

Verse 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place. and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

This clarifies that we don’t just stand but we stand firm because we are equipped with the following:

  •  Truth
  •  His righteousness
  • Salvation
  • Peace
  • Faith
  • His Word

You are powerful standing. Do not sit down, do not run away. Keep standing strong in the power of His might.

Abby Moyo

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 25th January 2019

Our chocolate Labrador is in the same family as the well known golden retriever. He’s designed to retrieve. He’s called a retriever for a reason. It’s what he does and it’s what he does best…apart from eat that is.

He’s never happier than when you throw something for him to fetch and find. It doesn’t matter what it is, he’s not fussed.

The problem is however, when you involve more than one item in the game.

He refuses to let one thing go before trying to retrieve the other.

You may think that’s no big deal, but when you consider that the one item maybe a piece of old drain pipe and the other may be a tennis ball and yet another a tree branch that’s a metre in length, then you know what I’m talking about.

It’s like as if he’s afraid of letting go of one thing in order to fully embrace the new thing.

Ring any bells?

How many of us today have got exactly the same problem going on deep down inside of us?

We hang on to what we have and refuse to let it go, not realising that we can’t pick up the next thing until we do.

I wonder if the frustration that you feel today about never moving on is connected to you not being able to let go?

Holding on to stuff is stopping you taking something that God has got for you in His hand.

Ask yourself right now…what do I need to leave behind in order to fully grasp the new thing that God has coming to me?

You can’t hold on to the past and fully embrace the future at the same time.

Matthew 16:25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 24th January 2019

Often when we think of worship we imagine singing, music, clapping, declaring, dancing. All of the above are most definitely acts of worship, ‘Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation’ (Psalms 95:1). But the Psalms also mentions another form of worship – the pause. In the Psalms the pause is written as Selah, meaning, ‘Pause in his presence’.

David often incorporated these Selah moments” in his songs. And it wasn’t just in joyful songs. The pause moments were put in the prayers for help too. ‘God, you are my righteousness, my champion defender. Answer me when I cry for help!’ (Psalm 4:1). He also put in “pause moments” in moments of despair. ‘Yahweh my God, I turn aside to hide my soul in you. Save me from all those who pursue and persecute me’ (Psalm 7:1). In moments of thankful worship, he paused, ‘You haven’t withheld a thing from your betrothed one’ (Psalm 20:2). In songs of remembrance, ‘All at once the guilt of sin washed away and all my pain disappeared’ (Psalm 32:5).

David knew how to worship and he knew the power of pausing in worship. When you pause, you begin to meditate. You aren’t lost in an action. You aren’t distracted. You aren’t performing. You are simply being. You are resting. David understood Selah moments to be powerful moments of worship for these were the moments of true surrender. In the pause you are able to hear back from God. David understood that worship wasn’t one way. It was relational. It was speaking out, and then being still enough to hear back.

As a culture, we struggle to pause. We feel bad for pausing. We don’t know how to do nothing. That’s if we even get the time to pause! I particularly am the worst offender. But when I pause, I find that this is when I find the voice of God again, and as a result, where I find myself again. Worship isn’t just about doing and doing and going and going. It is about being. It is about pausing in his presence. Take a moment today, in the good or the bad, to just pause in His presence.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23rd January 2019

In the Bible there was a unique group of people. They were a group of people who were surrounded by paganism, idolatry, unrighteousness, and fear, but this group always knew what to do, and when to do it. They had such perception and wisdom, that a whole nation would watch them carefully for their example. This group was called ‘the sons of Issachar’.

The Bible says that the sons of Issachar ‘understood the times’ (1 Chronicles 12:32). Yes, they were indeed very clever in understanding chronological time, but more that that, they understood the spiritual and political times they were in.

They were able to understand what God was going to do and when. They knew when one spiritual season was ending, and a new one beginning, and they could recognise up and coming leaders and whom God was moving on.  

So sharp was the wisdom, and astute their discernment, that they supported a women leader (Deborah) when it certainly wouldn’t have been popular. They knew God’s hand was on her to rule.

Before King David was even in rule, the sons of Issachar were the only united tribe, fully supportive of David. They recognized that God had called David and sure enough, he became king and the most famous one at that.

The ability that the sons of Issachar had to discern the times that they were in, gave them influence. The inside knowledge that God gave them, allowed them to know what should be done and when. As a result, the nation followed.

We also are to carry a sons of Issachar spirit – the ability to discern the spiritual, and political climate we are in today. What is God doing? What is he saying? Where is he moving? Both in society, in the church, and in our personal lives.

In the words of C.S Lewis, “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” You may feel like you are living the same old, same old, day in and day out. But the truth is, that God is ALWAYS up to something new. One day you will find yourself in a very difference place to the place you are in today. Learn to discern what God has for you in this season, in this day. Discern the time you are in now. For every season has a purpose.

See, I am doing a new thing!
 Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?’ Isaiah 43:19

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 22nd January 2019

There is a huge difference between having power, and having authority.

Power is something that we really don’t possess. We may have strength, physical ability or brain power, but very few can honestly say that they have real power. Authority is something different, it may look like power, but it is not.

Imagine Wembley stadium filled with 90,000 football supporters. They are viewing 22 players, each with individual skill and ability that far outweighs the one man known as the referee.

The referee has no power over the 90,000 or over the 22 for that matter, and yet he rules the field with his delegated authority.

One player alone could take this man down and yet no one can dispute his authority. When he speaks, waves a hands or blows his tiny whistle, the whole place is under his influence.

The Christian has no power in and of themselves, neither do we profess to have such a thing, but yet we have been given authority over ALL the power of the enemy. ‘How can this be so?’, you may well ask.  It’s been delegated to us by God Himself.

Luke 10:19-20 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’

We are no match for the power of the enemy or anyone else for that matter, but our delegated authority surpasses them all.

When we pray, we add the words ‘in Jesus name’ at the end. Have you ever thought why? We are actually saying that my prayer will be answered on the basis that I am coming in the name of the highest authority given to us …JESUS.

Don’t just settle today for whatever bad stuff is heading your way; rise up in prayer and take authority over it.

Your size, age, background or feelings don’t matter. What does matter is that you are a believer in Jesus- with that comes the authority that He has delegated to you right now.

Luke 7:1-10 When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was ill and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, ‘This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.’ So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: ‘Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, “Go”, and he goes; and that one, “Come”, and he comes. I say to my servant, “Do this”, and he does it.’ When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’ Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st January 2019

I love travelling by plane, as in a relatively short space of time, you can go from a cold, gloomy place to a beautiful, sun-kissed destination. One thing I’ve always found as an inconvenient delay to starting the journey are the safety announcements that in the event of something going wrong, oxygen masks will drop from the panel above my head. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced it. Although the plane could have been flying through a hot desert, over the freezing cold alps, or a tropical thunderstorm, the atmosphere inside the plane has always been controlled and maintained at a comfortable level.

Just like the airplane, our lives, relationships, jobs and finances go through many seasons and storms. The temperature and pressures around us are always changing and have the power to disturb our hearts and minds, and we can very quickly lose control and end up feeling overwhelmed and practically unable to breathe.

In Mark 1 vs 32-39, Jesus had been healing people overnight and early the next morning, his disciples went looking for Him as there was a crowd that had come for healing as well. Jesus surprisingly decides to go to a different place leaving the crowds that had come to see Him. What moved Him weren’t the miracles He had performed the previous day, but the faith of the people in a different town who had not seen Him yet who were expectant for a miracle in their lives. Faith today moves Jesus, not what He did yesterday.

If you find yourself being knocked by the storms outside, take a deep breath and keep that consistent atmosphere of faith, expectation and thanksgiving. That is the invitation for Jesus to perform a miracle. Guard your heart and mind, and when things come back down to earth as Jeremiah says in Chapter 29 vs 11, you’ll find Jesus has flown you to a better place than where you started.

Noble Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 19th January 2019

God wants to greatly bless you.  He doesn’t just want to bless, He wants to greatly bless.

When you read Genesis, you hear how He promised Abraham that He would GREATLY bless him. (God wants that for all His children).

He told him He would make his name great and all his descendants would be thoroughly blessed also.  See Genesis 12 v 2 and Genesis 22 v 17.

The problem was, when God made the promise, Abraham had no children. He and his wife were past child-bearing age.

Yet, when God promises something, it will always come to pass.

The important thing here is to keep HOPE alive in your heart.

There was 20 years between the promise and the fulfilment (the birth of his son Isaac)… some of us give up hoping after two weeks of waiting.

We must not give up!  What God promises, He will always fulfil.

When Hope is gone, you may as well give up. Because Hope brings life.

You have to see something, before you see it…even Walt Disney believed that.

I love this verse in Romans 4 v 18.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him.

Against all hope – there was no physical sign. It seemed impossible. Does that sound familiar to you today?

Abraham in hope believed  – I love this, (against all hope) in hope he believed. Wow. That’s faith right there.  He still believed, even though there was no sign.

Watch this…

And so became the Father  of many nations  – I love it, because he believed against all hope, he received!

It’s as simple as that… today – believe. Have hope.

Don’t let doubt and fear crowd your thinking.

Then you will be able to see the promises of God fulfilled In your life. Just like Abraham.

KEEP HOPE IN YOUR HEART.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 18th January 2019

Don’t just make a living ….make a life.

If there is no meaning to life for you right now, it’s not that life has no meaning, but maybe the problem lies in that you are living to make a LIVING rather than living to make a LIFE.

If making a living was the key, then why is it that the highest rate of suicides per square mile is found in areas containing the most millionaires? They have no needs, they could afford to never work again, they made a living…but they never made a life. Real life.

Think about it for a few seconds…am I making a living to just get by?

Is that what I exist for on this planet – to live and die, having ‘just got by?’

Why would God have given you a life just for you to get by til you die?

I want to encourage you today to think about living a life with a new purpose.

There has to be a reason why you are alive right now. It’s not just to survive, it’s to thrive and make a difference.

Start today by giving over your life to God, and then seeing His amazing plan unfold as He lives His life through you.

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.

Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 17th January 2019

The story of Noah and the Ark teaches us a lot about dreams and more importantly, how to bring them to fruition. It’s one thing to have a vague idea of what you want to see happen in your life but what about the plan?

A few things to consider today…


You have to be positioned correctly


Genesis 6 v 9 says ‘This is the account of Noah and his family.

Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.’


Noah’s walk with God was free from distractions. Give yourself time with God, to see what He wants to say to you.


Vision requires detail


There is power in being specific. God is big on detail. How do we know this? The Bible is filled with examples of where specific instructions brought about miraculous results. In Genesis 6, He instructed Noah on how to build the ark; verse 15 says, ‘This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.’


Maybe you’ve envisioned what the end result will look like but are fearful because it’s uncharted territory in life. Ask God and He will guide you.


Dreams don’t work unless you do


You’ve probably seen this phrase printed on mugs and notebooks but it’s true. The physical act of building the ark was difficult. God could have made an Ark appear in the back garden but Noah’s trust in God saw him go to a new level of faith. God will never ask you to do something without equipping you to do it.

Maybe your ‘ark’ is just an abandoned pile of wood at the moment because you got discouraged, distracted or even overwhelmed. I want to encourage you today to start to dream again. Be bold and ask God what He wants you to do. Start to get excited again.


Deuteronomy 31 v 8 “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th January 2019

The next 12 months will give you 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes!

Right now, the next 12 months are like a clean sheet of paper; what ends up on that paper is very much governed by the decisions YOU make, more than what you allow others to make for you.

Are you going to want to throw it away within a few weeks or are you going to want to frame it because it has so many great things recorded? great memories and great decisions made.

Why not start today with one simple phrase: ‘DO THE RIGHT THING.’

When being confronted to do the lesser of two evils…do neither.

When being asked by your boss to lie…do the right thing.

When being given too much change at the cash till…do the right thing.

When being tempted to cover up your mistake…do the right thing.

When being tempted to cross the line with your girlfriend/ boyfriend…do the right thing.

When being drawn into gossip…do the right thing.

When you need to say sorry and ask for forgiveness…do the right thing.

When you see someone in need…do the right thing.

If you’ve made a promise to someone…do the right thing.

When God speaks…do the right thing.

Matthew 5:38-45 (NIV)
“You have heard that it was said, `Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ [39] But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. [40] And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. [41] If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. [42] Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. [43] “You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ [44] But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.

James 4:17 (NIV)
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

It’s quite easy not to do the wrong thing…just don’t do anything! Don’t go anywhere, don’t be anything. However, that is not an option. God calls us to today to write one simple heading at the top
of our paper – ‘DO THE RIGHT THING’.

Be blessed.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 15th January 2019

There’s a reason why people employ a personal trainer. When you become serious about about staying or getting fit, you recognise that you need a plan.

 

A personal trainer helps you establish an order for your workout according to the health goals you have set and the results you want to achieve.

 

Once you have a plan in place, getting to the level of physical fitness you want will take time.

 

Setting your priorities in order in an area of your life, becomes like having a personal trainer.

 

When your life is not in order then you feel discomfort. A little speck of dust in your eye can give you unbelievable pain, and so can an area of your life in chaos.

 

How many times have you looked at the clutter that’s gathered in your spare room and have vowed to do something about it for at least the last two years, but have now opted to just keep the door closed so as not to make you feel bad about the junk?

 

Your life may be in total chaos right now, but that just means now is a good time to start setting some priorities for 2019.  You can’t change everything at the same time and you can’t change everything quickly, but you can make a start.

 

Our bedroom was in major need of re-decoration ever since we moved house a few years back. Every time I walked in there, I would promise that it would get tackled…but it never did. That was until I made a plan and took the time to chose the wallpaper with my wife. I then took a few days holiday to get it looking beautiful again. The truth is that no amount of thinking, praying or good intentions was ever going to get the job done. I had to make a plan and then plan to carry it out.

 

Today, for instance, you may want to start a financial plan by setting a budget, cutting up a couple of your credit cards, increasing your giving or getting someone in that’s good with budgets and finance.

 

The key is to start.

 

Ordering your life doesn’t happen by magic, but by sheer dedication to staying on top of things every day.

 

We function best when there is structure in our lives, but it often takes time to get your life in order. Ask yourself today, ‘what chaos in my life needs to be given priority, so that I can focus my energy on that one thing before moving onto the next?’

 

Often we get paralysed by the amount of things that we need to address, so much so that we end up doing nothing. Everyday, we just get more and more overwhelmed with the clutter in our lives.

 

What do you need to give your attention to today?

 

Here are four simple steps…

 

Focus.

 

Plan.

 

Work.

 

Done.

 

Proverbs 24:30-34 I went past the field of a sluggard [habitually lazy person] past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

 

Let’s get to work!

 

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th January 2019

There are two types of people when it comes to opening a box containing a new gadget, device, appliance or piece of flat pack furniture.

There’s firstly the type that just rips off all the packaging and totally ignores the instruction to ‘read this carefully before doing anything’. After all there’s no time to waste reading through a manual, when all you want is to see the product up and running. It’s so much quicker getting on with the job rather than wasting precious time deciphering all that information for dummies.

The second type of person is the one that carefully opens the box, lays everything neatly out and then makes a cup of tea. Whilst drinking the tea, they then sit back and read from cover to cover the instructions in order to fully understand what to do, what goes where and which way round it all goes.

We all know of course that the latter takes so much more time…but does it?

I have to admit that I’m in the first group, and I only look at the instructions after I’ve got five pieces still left from completing an IKEA wardrobe.

I suppose I apply a simple principle that says…if I get it wrong I’ll then read the instructions.

Over the years, I’ve come to understand that the words of the old proverb are really true…’More haste, less speed’.

In fact, the reality is that the slow starters in group two are going to not only finish quicker in the long run, but what they have established is going to last longer too.

Often, we just want to assemble our lives according to the law of ME. We want to see things quickly happen, so there’s no time to get wisdom or advice; but in the long run, what seems to be a head start, actually ends up as a false start.

Whether it’s a new phone, washing machine, car or wardrobe, the principle is still the same…’for best results follow the maker’s instructions’.

How much more should we apply that basic principle to life itself?

The maker’s instructions come in the form of the Bible, and then of course by listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit Himself.

Don’t rush ahead today, giving no thought, time or importance to God’s instructions for your best life, instead put the kettle on each morning, sit back and take in what He wants to say to you.

Read the Bible and pray every day.

You’ll find that instead of getting behind everyone else, you’ll actually get ahead and into the bargain will build something that will last.

Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash”.

BIBLE – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth


Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 12th January 2019

Here’s a great encouragement for the new year…you probably will have to encounter a storm!

“Thanks very much you may say.” Sorry, that’s life.

The great thing about being a Christian, is that God will be with you.

Read the following verses…

Luke 8:22-25. MSG

One day he and his disciples got in a boat. “Let’s cross the lake,” he said. And off they went. It was smooth sailing, and he fell asleep. A terrific storm came up suddenly on the lake. Water poured in, and they were about to capsize. They woke Jesus: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” Getting to his feet, he told the wind, “Silence!” and the waves, “Quiet down!” They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.

Then he said to his disciples, “Why can’t you trust me?” They were in absolute awe, staggered and stammering, “Who is this, anyway? He calls out to the winds and sea, and they do what he tells them!”

Here’s 3 things about this passage:

  1. Jesus told them to get into the boat and to cross the lake. Which tells me that often God can direct us straight into a storm, it’s in HIS plan. The Bible says He is the author of my life, He planned it out and sometimes He will take us that way. The presence of problems doesn’t mean the absence of God.
  1. When we go into a storm, we tend to think Jesus is testing us…no, he is trusting you. If He is leading you into a situation, then He is trusting you with it, start to see it differently and say “ok Lord, what do you want to teach me here?” He’s trusting your words…what will you say? Your actions…how will you act? Your heart…what is it like? Your serving…don’t stop in a storm. He is trusting you.

3. Don’t forget that Jesus is with you. The disciples panicked and asked “what will become of US?” They forgot that Jesus was with them. Sometimes we can be so consumed with worry and fear that we forget who is with us. Don’t turn away from Jesus in a storm, remember He is with you.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th January 2019

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.

Some time back 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 man 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 in life? Do you have what it takes to see something through?

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.

Don’t quit in life. Don’t quit in love. Don’t quit in forgiveness. Don’t quit in prayer.

Luke 18:1-8 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: ‘In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.” ‘For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, “Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!”’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 10th January 2019

Colossians 3:23, ‘Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord himself and not merely for others’.  

This scripture tells us two things about how God wants us to work:

1. We aren’t supposed to be ‘bare minimum’ people – just doing whatever will keep us out of trouble with our boss. There is a big difference between the taste and quality of a homemade cake made from scratch, and a cake that a machine has produced in a factory. The difference is that one is made with heart and soul, the other without.

When we work, God has told us to do it with our heart and soul. Your heart and soul are the sources of your mind/thinking, and emotions/feelings. In other words, God wants us to do our job with feelings, emotions, desire and thought attached! We aren’t supposed to do our work as mindless robots, rather with PASSION!

2. We aren’t supposed to be working for approval from man. Too easily our work can become about working for a response from people. You work hard for your bosses’ affirmation, your leader’s approval, your friends’ accolade, or a sense of self worth. While working hard for people isn’t itself bad, when we do it to get something FROM them, we actually sell ours efforts short. When you instead work for the Lord, your focus and motivation changes. Your standard rises. When you put your heart and soul into your job for God, you are no longer governed and swayed by man’s thoughts and opinions, but are instead guided by something higher and better. Ironically you end up blessing others in your work more, because youseek first the kingdom’ (Matthew 6:33), and do your best by God, not merely man. Who do you do your work for?

When you work for God you aren’t easily offended. Your security isn’t wrapped up in how you feel others think you are doing, because you are more concerned with how God thinks you are doing.

God hasn’t called us to be ‘bare-minimum people’. He has called us to be people of passion. People who put their heart and their soul into their work…. And we dont do it for man, we do it to for God!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th January 2019

A couple of months ago, my husband and I went for a fancy high tea at the famous establishment of ‘Fortnum and Mason’ in London.

It was all things wonderful – bottomless pots of varying tea flavours, cascading stands of savoury delights, and detailed sweets – all beautifully presented and unlimited. If you fancied more of one particular treat, you only had to ask the waiter to bring out another roundand another… and another! Oh and did I mention that at the end of it all, you can choose an additional cake from the cake trolley?! My idea of heaven!

Yet in-between waiting for my second serving, I found myself picking at the crumbs on my plate from my first serving. I had as much afternoon tea as I so desired available to me, and yet here I was eating the crumbs on my plate!

Often we have this crumby mentality. We have been given all access to the unlimited goodness of God. The depths and heights to be explored in Him know no bounds. We are called to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’ (Psalm 34:8), and yet we settle for what we think we deserve. We settle for the crumbs of life, all the while God invites us to feast!

Why do we settle for crumbs? Because we are willing too! Very few are committed to getting the best. As long as you can live with less than best, you will!

I read recently, ‘You have to have a holy dissatisfaction with mediocrity before you can experience all that God has for you. It doesn’t happen accidentally or automatically. If you don’t pursue it, you won’t get it’.

When Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life and life to the full’ (John 10:10). He wasn’t saying ‘I have come that you may have crumbs’. He wasn’t even saying, ‘I have come that you may have life’. He said that we would not only have life, but also have it in abundance! We wouldn’t just have crumbs, we would feast.

Anything in your life that doesn’t align with the fullness of Jesus and the gospel is quite simply… crumbs. Contend for more!

In the words of Matthew 7:7, ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 8th January 2019

Isn’t it nice when someone calls you their friend?

It’s a lovely feeling and we all long for this acceptance from others. Friends share, listen, care and help each other. Without friends, life is tough. But with quality friends, great people who choose to be with us, we can handle almost anything. Friendship is a two-way street of course. It’s not nice to be in a relationship that’s meant to be a friendship, but, in reality it’s more like one-way traffic. Whether the other person is completely self-absorbed, or whether they are ‘all about you’ and won’t share their own heart, either way is grossly unsatisfactory.

It’s the most incredible thing to me to know that we can be friends with Almighty God. Scripture says that, Abraham was friends with God and it is possible for us to be friends with Him as well.

What stands out for me is that friends share their heart with each other. They feel they can safely entrust their inner thoughts to their friend. We know that we can share our hearts with God and can be assured that He listens to us. He is a great friend indeed, but what’s more touching for me is that He also wants to share His heart with us, just as any friend would.  Jesus said to the disciples ‘I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you’ (John 15:15). He shared His heart with them because He knew they were true friends. They didn’t just care about themselves; they cared about Jesus and what He had to say.

Psalm 25:14, it says The LORD confides in those who fear him’. How amazing is that? When we start caring about the things God cares about, He’ll start sharing His heart with us. It’s almost too hard to believe that God Himself would desire our friendship, and longs to share His heart with us. It should really make us long for a deeper friendship with Him.  He has done so much for us and it’s incredible that He loves us that much.

What a blessing it is that He brings us into His counsel, and we can have the enormous privilege of being called His friend! Let us ask Him to help us care about the things that matter to Him, so He might safely share them with us.

 
Christine Mudenha
A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th January 2019

There’s a part of me that really doesn’t like winter: the short days, the wet, the cold, the mud, the bare trees – I could go on. Whilst every tree looks glorious in spring with all the new growth and fresh green leaves and blossom, in summer when they are at their fullest and richest, and in autumn when they change colour to reds, yellows and golds, in winter they still have a beauty of their own, albeit perhaps a less obvious one. Without their leaves, the shape of each tree becomes clear and one type can be distinguished from another simply by its outline. But even then, no two trees look alike, each one is different and beautiful in its own way.

 

Reflecting over the years, I realise that one of our greatest problems in our walk with the God is not knowing who we really are in Him. We often underestimate our value and worth.  Recently I was speaking to my niece who started high school a few months ago and for a little while was caught up in trying to fit in with everyone else and being cool. I love our very open conversations and I’m so glad she has quickly come to realise that she doesn’t need to be like everyone else, she can only become a better version of herself. I might be biased but I believe she is the most loving, charismatic, vibrant, beautiful young person one can ever meet.  How wonderful it is that she is coming to the realisation of how very precious and special she in as an individual.

God doesn’t make clones. He is a wonderful Creator who makes individuals, each one different from the other, but all infinitely precious and special to Him. Each one of us is a masterpiece! Knowing that we are unique should humble us. It should make us realise just how much God loves us. We understand that no two people have the same fingerprint. That blows my mind just to consider that there is no other one in the human population who has the identical pattern that I have or you have. It doesn’t end there. We are told that one’s DNA is strikingly different as well. No two people have the same identical DNA.

It’s amazing to read that ‘He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world’ (Ephesians 1:4), that He watched over us as we were growing in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) and that He has a plan and purpose for every one of us to fulfil that nobody else can do as well as we can.

We take so many things for granted and always think of things that others have that we might not have. With each passing day, we should gain a new appreciation for how He has blessed us individually. God did not make us on a mass production line. He took great care in making us who we were meant to be. He had a purpose in mind for us even before we came into being. David tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Today, may we just take time to appreciate who we are in Christ,  may we be thankful for his amazing love for us and allow it to penetrate our hearts so that we may know and understand his plan and will for our lives and that he can show us how to fulfil those plans he has for us.

 

Christine Mudenha

 A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th January 2019

Here’s a true saying: the more thankful you are, the more you’ll receive. The more you appreciate, the more will be entrusted to you.

We all want more, but are we willing to be grateful for what we have? Are we happy to count our blessings ahead of what we don’t have?  If so, you are a candidate to be blessed.

Blessed people are grateful people, they are also generous people.
God blesses the generous. (see Proverbs 22v 9).

In John chapter 12, we read the story of someone being very extravagant. Unfortunately, Judas didn’t like it, because he was keeper of the money bag and he was stingy. Yet Mary spent a whole year’s wages on Jesus, as she was extremely and eternally grateful.
Judas was critical of her generosity.

Here’s a few things about stingy people… (hopefully you won’t recognise yourself):

1. If you’re stingy, you’ll analyse the cost of everything

2. If you’re stingy, you’ll object to spending

3. Stinginess justifies selfishness

4. If you’re stingy, you’ll rarely be free to do random acts of kindness

5. Stingy people often criticise the generous

God wants us to be generous with what we have.
He wants us to do random acts of kindness out of love.
Not everyone is naturally generous, some of us have to work at it. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But practise make perfect. Because generosity brings blessing and at the start of a brand new year, I want to live a life of blessing.
I may not know everything, but I do know this, “it’s more blessed to give, than to receive.”  (see Acts 20v 35).

Don’t ever give out of guilt, give out of love and gratitude…
Just do it and be thankful.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th January 2019

In John 4, we read the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, where someone whom society had shunned gave Jesus a drink of water, and received the ‘living water’ – the gift of eternal life.

I’ve read this story a number of times but a few things stood out to me recently, that we can learn from.

God wants to reach in 

We’ve all done it at times, conveniently not prayed about the things we’re ashamed to bring before God. Maybe we think we’ve got it handled but Jesus wasn’t afraid to reach in to this woman’s life and meet her exactly where she was at.

She was used to her lifestyle and being an outcast. Maybe you’re used to your circumstances but allowing God in to those broken places can change them forever.

There can be a temptation to hide our struggles and challenges because they are ugly.

In their conversation, the Samaritan woman was confronted with who she really was, not to condemn her but to set her free.

Use your testimony to reach out 

Out of her testimony, many others became believers.

The Samaritan woman, with her five ex-husbands and now live-in lover had been looking for love and acceptance in all of the wrong places.

Yet her encounter with Jesus caused two things to happen: it healed her brokenness and led others to the saviour.

(v 28-30) “Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, ““Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” They came out of the town and made their way toward him.”

God’s unconditional love and grace are what change us forever.

When you’ve encountered Jesus, other people will find their way to him. Don’t be ashamed to use your testimony; it’s a powerful tool.

Reach across 

Jesus was a controversial figure, during his time on Earth. He was seen with those who were rejected, diseased, looked down upon and outright hated.

Look around you. Who in your world is God leading you to? Maybe they’re not glamorous. Maybe they’re difficult to communicate with. Maybe you disagree with their lifestyle or they seem like a lost cause. The Samaritan woman was one of the lowest in her society and was someone who the Jews especially would not have associated with – yet Jesus went out of his way to speak truth and life into her world.

Let’s be willing, this year, to be open to allowing God in to our broken places, letting His love transform us and then seeing God use our changed lives to lead others to His love.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 3rd January 2019

Deuteronomy 7:9, ‘Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations…’

A contract and a covenant – two opposites.

God’s love for us is a covenantal love, not a contractual love. Contractual love is based on terms and conditions, clauses and asterisks. Contracts are built upon the grounds that ‘if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’. They ensure that you are protected, and you get what is rightfully yours. Covenantal love operates on another level. A contract is based on earthly law, but covenant is a spiritual promise.

Nothing is more selfless than covenantal love. Why? Because covenant love is all about giving without terms and conditions. It’s not out to self-protect. It doesn’t think about getting its end of the deal. Covenants are about YOU fulfilling your promise to another party regardless of whether the other hold up their end of the deal. In fact, so selfless is covenantal love, that it will actually SUPPORT the failing party so they can meet their obligations.

501 years ago, Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenburg, Germany. This document challenged the theology of the church at the time when it was taught that their sins would only be forgiven and punishments removed by giving money to the Church…essentially – salvation through “good acts”.  Luther called church leaders back to the truth and reality of the gospel of grace –that forgiveness, freedom from punishment, and restoration of relationship were free gifts that only God Himself gives because He loves us. God’s love wasn’t and isn’t a contractual agreement. It was and is a covenantalrelationship. He fulfils His promise to love us, regardless of whether we hold up our end of the deal or not! God isn’t out to self-preserve, self-protect, ensuring he gets His end of the deal. So secure is He that He can give without clauses and asterisks attached. He doesn’t scratch our back, based on how much we scratch His. He is just giving and forever will be fulfilling His promise to us.

‘Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen’.

1 Corinthians 13:7-10 

“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.”
‭‭

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd January 2019

A test – ‘a procedure intended to establish the quality, performance, or reliability of something, especially before it is taken into widespread use’.

I remember when I finally went for my driving test. It had been a long road to get to this point. I had taken 28 driving lessons, just in an automatic, at 55 dollars a pop. It was time for the final test before I could be issued with my license and have independence on the road. This test was the chance to prove myself. I needed to demonstrate my knowledge, skills and capabilities. If I failed the test, I wasn’t ready for the road. It wouldn’t be safe for me or anyone else if I were on the road having failed! Good news is that I passed my test, and finally got to enjoy the freedom and responsibility of being an independent road user!

Did you know that God tests us? He isn’t testing us to judge us or cause us to trip. He tests us to see what is really going on in our hearts and the real strength of our faith. It is a test of capacity. Can we handle more? Are we reliable? Are we quality? Ready for greater use?

In both the Old and New Testaments, the word “test” translated means, ‘to prove by trial’. Trial doesn’t sound fun, but it was actually something that mature believers hungered for. They knew a test would result in maturity and greater depths in God. James saw testing as a blessing! Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials … so that you may be mature and complete’ (James 1:2, 4). David asked to be tested too. In Psalm 26:2 he said, ‘Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind’.

God tested the Israelites, by exposing them to trials in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:2). If our faith is weak, it may not be obvious when life is going smoothly. Sometimes it takes the pressure of a trial, or test, to see what we are truly made of. Tough times will show our faith for what it really is.

God is all-knowing. He knows exactly what we are made of and where we are at already. So why test us? Because He wants to expose us to ourselves. He wants us to recognise our weaknesses not for judgment, but rather for greater reliance on Him.

Life is constantly presenting us with opportunities that test us – small trials and big trials that expose what we are truly made of. God wants to expose us to our heart response under pressure. Are we ready to handle more responsibility, blessing and greater influence? Be aware that God is watching for your response. He wants to take us into the next great thing, but are we ready?

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st January 2019

Happy new year!

Those very words will have been spoken 100s of times already, but the question is do they have any power? The answer in short is NO!

Nice though they are, and in comparison to saying to someone that you hope they will have a rotten new year, ‘Happy’ new year comes out on top, nevertheless those words are still powerless.

Wishing, hoping and dreaming are all good, but may never change any given year as you’ve already found out from the one that’s just ended. In reality, the sooner that you realise that you need God in your life the better.

Here’s the key to success in 2019: ASK FOR HELP!

God always has and always will be attracted to a person in need of help. He is not repulsed by your need, but is in fact drawn to your need.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Are you simply going to have yet another year of living to merely survive or are you going to desire to thrive this year?

What you can tolerate in your life, you cannot change. Live being mindful of how brief life is. “It feels like only yesterday when I…” is a statement that we all make quite often.

Remember that the definition of insanity is ‘doing the same thing time and time again whilst expecting different results’. A better year is not going to happen by chance but by change.

Before us all today is a brand new sheet of paper. You and I have the opportunity to write a new chapter with our lives. What will it sound like? What will it look like? What will it read like? Ask yourself right now, where am I going? What am I doing?

If you’re looking for the kind of life that you’ve only ever dreamed of, then look no further. Jesus is the answer. You don’t have to understand everything about Him or the Bible, you just have to reach out to Him with an open heart and desire to know Him personally. Call on His name right now.

Isaiah 9:6 ‘For to us a child is born….And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’.

Here’s to a brand new you!

Why not make a plan to join the Champions family at Church this coming weekend and make a fresh start. Every Sunday 9.30am or 1130 am.

I look forward to welcoming you and your family.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.