Fresh Hope – 29th June 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 John 11:25-26 Jesus said …‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 28th June 2019

Our neighbours had a very large tree that had grown to such a height that it was blocking the light to the back of our house. I thought long and hard about whether to approach them, but decided that I didn’t want to risk spoiling our good relationship; after all, it was their tree and I was about to ask them to chop it down or at least to drastically trim it back — I decided instead to specifically pray about the tree.

Each morning I would look into the garden, point at the tree, and tell it that it was about to go! Just in case you think that I’m completely crazy, I learnt this from Jesus, who also spoke to a tree and saw it wither…

Mark 11:12-14 ‘The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig-tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard him say it’.

After months of praying about the tree, you can imagine my excitement when one night my neighbour stopped me and told me that he was going to be cutting back an overgrown tree in his garden. My persistent prayers had been answered. I would never have to approach him about it after all…or so I thought.

A week later I could hear sawing and chopping taking place with branches flying everywhere. At last, we would get light streaming through to the back of our house once again.Unfortunately, the tree that they were taking down was the wrong one and made no difference to us whatsoever!

Once again I was back to addressing the tree problem in prayer each morning.

Weeks had now passed by, and I was yet again thinking about talking to the neighbour, when seemingly out of nowhere three men arrived with ladders, ropes and chainsaws and within an hour the very tree in question had completely gone. Light came streaming from the sky and I stood there amazed at how something so specific had happened without me mentioning a word …apart from privately to God that is.

Do you have something that is standing in your way today?

Is there something or someone that is blocking the light from penetrating into your world?

Speak to that situation…take it to God in prayer…He’s more than happy to deal with it.

Mark 11:22-25 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th June 2019

A screaming baby doesn’t know what it wants or needs, it just screams. Fortunately a mother or father is sure to be close by ready to tend to their infant’s needs. As the child develops into adulthood, the child grows in responsibility, becoming more self-aware, finally being able to recoginse what it needs for themselves and then tending to those needs accordingly. If we saw a screaming adult, in hysterics, crying out for food, then another adult spoon-feeding them, we would all be very concerned! An adult should recognise that they are hungry for themselves, source some food for themselves, and be able to feed themselves. This is evidence of maturity!

It’s the same process in our spiritual lives. As we mature in our faith and grow in our relationship with God, we should grow in our self-awareness – the ability to understand and tend to the needs of our soul health (Mind, heart and emotions). An immature Christian needs constant spoon-feeding, constant instruction, and others to tend to their every soul need, unable to recognise what is going on for themselves.

I am not discouraging the need for help from community, rather, encouraging us to grow in responsibility in sourcing for ourselves what our soul needs.

When you need direction, source it from God. When you feel hungry, feed yourself on the word of God. When you feel drained around certain people, find healthy community. When you feel emotionally burnt out, give yourself the strength you need by drawing from God. When you feel bitter, recognise the unforgiveness in your heart and deal with it. When you feel insecure, feed your mind on truth. When you feel overwhelmed, position yourself in prayer and worship.

Recognise what your spirit needs and tend to it! This is spiritual self-awareness and evidence of maturity!

Don’t just scream for attention from others. Don’t just cry and complain. Don’t wait for a leader or pastor to solve your problems. Develop the strength and maturity to give yourself, by God, what it is that your soul really needs!

1 Timothy 4:16 says, ‘keep a close eye on yourself’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 26th June 2019

Christ died for the world (John 3:16). But He also died to save us FROM the world. The world is trying to win us for the very thing Christ saved us from. There is a fight for our soul – our mind, desires, and emotions – Christian or not!

Throughout the Bible, the lines are definitely drawn between the world of unbelievers and the world of the children of God (James 4:4).

Purity starts well before our behaviour. It starts in the heart. Our behaviour is an overflow of what is in our heart. Purity is a heart desire to set yourself aside from the cultural norm of the world and to pursue God’s intent in any given area of life. Purity is the desire to honour the spirit of God – hence the name HOLY Spirit. It is not being counter-culture for the sake of being different to the world – it is about bringing the heart and ways of God to an earth steeped in dysfunction, brokenness, and dissatisfaction. Purity, therefore, has power!

We are in a world saturated with the mockery of faith, obsession with material success, hunger for instant gratification, and constant glamorization of sin. Even Christians can fall into this trap. Does the devil hold a banner over these things saying, ‘WATCH OUT…this is bad, comes, from me and will lead to destruction!’? NO! In fact, he comes as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He comes looking good! He is the master of deception.

The truth of the matter is that true freedom and wholeness is not found in the abuse of your mind, body and soul, but in the presence and principles of God (Psalm 16:11). God promised us a FULL LIFE (John 10:10) as a result of purity. Purity is not a killjoy, but rather produces prosperity!

A lot of us live like decaf coffee. We look like coffee, we smell like coffee, we taste like coffee, but we have no POWER. We look like Christians, we smell like Christians, we taste like Christians, but we have no power. We are not committed to holiness, and we’re still trying to convince everyone we’re Christians! I don’t want to be an artificially flavoured Christian. I want to be one of power and purity, distinct from the world, offering it what it needs, not merely blending into it.

I love Billy Graham’s words: ‘We come in contact with the world, and yet we retain our distinctive kingdom character and refuse to let the world press us into its mould’.

Esteem the word of God above all else. Remove whatever junk you’re carrying that is contrary to your new nature as a Christian. Give the Holy Spirit full reign in your life as his role in the life of a believer is to lead you to into holiness. Pursue whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable (Philippians 4:8), and leave the rest with your buried old-nature!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 25th June 2019

The Bronner Bros. Enterprise is one of the largest private African American hair and skin care producers in the United States. Founded in 1947 by brothers Dr. Nathaniel H. Bronner, Sr. and Arthur E. Bronner, Sr.

Bronner Bros. has over 300 full-time and part-time staff members.

Bishop Dale Bronner is one of six Bronner sons born to Nathaniel, and is Founder and pastor of the Word of Faith Worship Center with around 20,000 in attendance.

He has seen incredible success in the family business, as well as in leading his church to outstanding growth.

This is what he writes in his recipe for success…

Get up early

Stay focused

Watch less TV

Read more books

Avoid time wasters

Invest in your health

Take calculated risks

Write down your goals

Work smarter, not harder

Do something you believe in

Connect with God through prayer and reading the Bible

Share your faith

Help somebody

Realise yesterday ended at midnight.

Psalm 111:10 ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding…’

Proverbs 4:5-8 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honour you.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 24th June 2019

I was getting frustrated as the queue of traffic seemed to be taking forever to get moving. Into the bargain I also noticed that several cars kept overtaking me. I was getting more and more annoyed that some people couldn’t even have the decency to wait like every other law abiding citizen. Then, as I took a closer look at the car in front to try and establish what the hold up was, I realised that there was no driver, or anyone for that matter, sitting in the car. It was at that point that the penny dropped…I was actually sitting behind a row of parked cars —I was going nowhere fast!

Have you ever stopped and asked yourself the all important question about who you are following in life? The answer will ultimately reveal where you will end up, or as in my case, where you will park.

Take a quick glance at what’s going on around you as you start out this brand new day. Who’s overtaking you? Why are you standing still?

Could it be that you thought that you were waiting for something to happen when all along you have inadvertently parked your life and are actually going nowhere? If that’s the case, you are going to have to do what I did when I realised that I’d made a wrong judgment.

I admitted to myself that I’d made a mistake.

I reversed out of the queue.

I got back into the right lane.

I got to my destination.

Is it possible that you have parked your life up alongside any of the following…

Your failure.

Your anger.

Your bitterness

Your shame.

Your pride.

Your unforgiveness.

Your doubts.

Your selfishness.

You’ll never move far whilst being parked up, no matter how much you want to believe that you are just in slow moving traffic. If you really want to make progress today you need to be honest about where you are and change lane as quick as possible.

It’s amazing how quickly you’ll get to where you want to be if you’ll just get on the right road that leads you there.

Hebrews 12:1-3 ‘…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart’.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 22nd June 2019

I believe that we all want to succeed in life, we all want to progress and be prosperous . We all should have a desire to go for greater, to reach higher and to live blessed.

As a Christian, here are six things that I strive to include in my daily life. Six simple steps that will help me not plateau, but in fact go to a higher level in my walk with God and in my life.

How are you doing with this checklist?

Prayer… you can’t have a relationship without communication. If you want to know God and all that He has for you, then you have to communicate with Him.

What you do in private will be evident in public

Reading our bible… this is key to knowing Jesus, His will for our life, daily wisdom and how to follow Him.

The right people Life is like a mountain. What you do, what you can achieve yourself, will take you half way.

Who you have with you will take you to the top and help keep you there. People are important. The right people in your life are crucial. Those who believe in you, want the best for you, those who inspire and encourage you and those who can help you be a winner.

The right attitude. It’s not about my circumstances. It’s about my attitude to those circumstances.

Attitude determines altitude every time.

Generosity. Giving will result in receiving, as sowing results in reaping. You need provision to keep moving forward. You won’t see good provision without being a generous person.

Thanksgiving. What if I only woke up today with the things I gave thanks for yesterday??!!

Ask yourself that again. It’s quite sobering. Be a thankful person. Be grateful in every season. Be thankful each moment of each day.

Gratitude determines altitude!

Pastor Gillian

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st June 2019

Information information! As commented by the American psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, “never in human history, our brains had to work so much information as today. We have now a generation of people who spend many hours in front of a computer monitor or a mobile phone and who are so busy in processing the information received from all directions, so they lose the ability to think and feel”. Apparently we’re now exposed to more data in a single day than someone in the 15th century would be in their entire lifetime.

What types of messages do we allow to enter our homes on a daily basis through television, social media, internet magazines smartphones or even our own conversations? Do we take time to really ponder and evaluate the ideas that we absorb even subconsciously?

The effect is that all this information we absorb goes into our sub-conscience and affects the way we think, view things or even behave in the long run.  Therefore we must be intentional and selective of what we take in.  Choose carefully the words and images that enter your home and your heart. The ears and eyes serve as a gateway to your heart.

There is an African Proverb that says: ‘if the ears don’t hear the mind will not be bitter.’   It is very important as God’s children we mind what we pay attention to. Jesus warned us to be careful of what we hear and take heed of His Word more, for there is a reward, and this reward is wisdom.

 

Mark 4:23-24 says “If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend.  He said to them, “be careful what you are hearing. The measure of thought and study you give to the truth you hear will be the measure of virtue and knowledge that comes back to you—and more will be given to you who hear”.

Therefore there is the need to give our ears to things that are profitable to our lives. We must give our ears to productive words that will produce great fruit in our lives. Let the messages in your home be messages of hope, love, peace…  Let your loved ones see and hear the words of life and truth above those of sin and death.   The Holy Spirit is your greatest ally when determining what is healthy for your spirit, He will prompt you if you allow Him to.

Christine Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 20th June 2019

Money talk can be a taboo topic. We see money as a private matter and consequently many people suffer in silence, never developing a healthy relationship with their finances.

Money is a God matter. Money is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible. Strategic, intentional, savvy, stingy, stressed – we all fall somewhere on the money-management spectrum.

If we don’t follow God’s model on money, then we may struggle to find freedom in finances. God has called us to be masters of our money, not let money master us.

Money is a tool to do good things. Yes it can be misused, like anything, but when it is surrendered to God, it can have a powerful and positive impact on the lives of others and generations to follow.

Some creative ways to empower you in your money situation:

1. Start small. Whatever is in your hands, do the very best that you can with it. Don’t despise small beginnings. God will watch how you manage the small, to test if your character can handle the big. Are you thankful, careful, and intentional with whatever you have now?
2. Think long, not short. Never does the Bible talk about debt being a positive thing. We live in an age where you can purchase anything you want by instantly pressing your fingertip on your phone! And if you don’t have the money now, don’t worry, you can pay back after! It is easy to think short, and instant, rather than hard and long. Buy only what you can afford.

3. Consider your motivation for buying something. Is it to prove something? It is to gain approval or status? Is what you a purchasing an investment (beneficial for your long term), or a liability (temporary gain, for long-term loss).

4. Get God’s mentality on money. Romans 12:2 says, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ – This includes your mentality on money!

God has called as to adopt a wealth mind-set. Wealth is more than riches or money, it is believing that God has the ability and the desire to provide for you – money, resources, strength, and wisdom in any area where there is lack!

Remember whose you are. You are a child of the King of kings, not a child of a pauper!

 

Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 19th June 2019

If you wear glasses, you know how annoying it is when you’ve got something on your lenses – a mark, a smudge, some dust. Anything in the way of your vision, you just want to clean off, rub off– so you can see with clarity – see everything, and know what is going on without limitation.

Very rarely though do we get to see the whole picture in our lives. Very rarely do we have absolute clarity. Story after story in the Bible we see characters who had to move before they knew. They had to step out, before they had full clarity and vision.

Abraham had to walk his son up the mountain, not knowing God would intervene in his willingness to sacrifice. The woman with only one jar of oil was told to collect empty jars before she knew how they would make her debt free. Noah was told to build an ark before he saw the rainbow. The disciples had to wait for the Holy Spirit Jesus had promised before they could operate in power. On and on there are examples of people who lacked clarity, the whole picture, but had to move in a direction.

If you are desiring direction, and lacking clarity here are some tips:

1. Accept a different norm not seeing it all is normal! Others may look like they have it all together, knowing their direction, but often they are themselves trusting God and contending with the next steps. Accept the fact that not seeing the whole picture is often a normal part of faith life and God uses that position as an opportunity for you to rely on Him, trust Him and operate out of faith.

2. Consider what you loved when you were young. Go back to when you were 5 years old, what were you drawn to? What was most natural to you, before society told you what you should be doing? How has God wired you? This will give often give you insight into your purpose!

3. Take one small step in the direction of what excites you. Don’t be overwhelmed by the whole picture, start small and steward well, then move onto the next opportunity when it arrives.

4. Deal with fear and excuses. Is there fear around that small step? Are you afraid of risk? I know of people who are afraid of driving lessons, or visiting another country, or experiences outside of their comfort zone. They want to do these things, but are essentially bound by fear. Ask for God to guide you through fear to freedom so you can step into what your heart desires!

Isaiah 30:21, ‘Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it”.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 18th June 2019

My wife and I wanted to do something extra special when we were about to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. In advance I booked us into a really nice hotel in London. I decided to call ahead of the date and asked them for one of their best rooms.

We were not disappointed on the day as we walked into the lobby of the hotel. The lady at reception said that she had a wonderful room for us with a great view. We were shown to the room and given our cases. As we looked out of the window, we looked at the beautiful view—a brick wall and an air conditioning unit.

We had a quick discussion with each other and decided to challenge the fact that this was definitely not a great view!

They apologised and said it was a mistake, but they had no other rooms available. ‘Leave it with us’, she said, so we went upstairs and put the cases on the bed.

We fully expected something to happen so we never unpacked. We didn’t behave like we were staying. We just sat and looked at each other and chatted for an hour or so. ‘Shall we unpack?’, we asked each other back and forth as time passed by. We decided that the answer was a definite NO! We are not staying in this room. As we chatted, a knock eventually came at the door. ‘I’m really sorry’ said the hotel manager, but we don’t have anything available, apart from the top floor suite with a balcony’.

‘Do you want to come and look’ he said. ‘It’s very expensive, but we will give it to you at no extra cost.’

It was more than perfect and we set about unpacking and settled in.

It’s possible that you too may have found yourself in the wrong place. Not in a hotel —but more so in life.

Are you living the life that you feel that God has promised, or are you looking at a brick wall with no sign of an upgrade? Ask yourself an honest question right now:  have I decided that this is where I’m staying? If so, have you already unpacked? If you have, put your stuff back in the case and get ready to move. Get ready for that knock on the door.

You may say…

“But the Dr said that I’ll never get better.” Don’t unpack.

“But I don’t think I’ll ever break this addiction.” Don’t unpack.

“But there is no cure for my condition.” Don’t unpack.

YOU ARE NOT STAYING. THIS IS NOT YOUR PERMANENT ADDRESS. PUT YOUR CLOTHES BACK IN THE CASE. GET READY TO BE MOVED. GOD IS ON HIS WAY.

Psalm 23:4 ‘Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…’

Notice it doesn’t say, ‘though I park or sit down or camp in the valley.’

Don’t stop! The valley is real. The shadow is real. But don’t stop. This is not your permanent address.

In the Bible, there is a wonderful story of woman that had been ill for 12 years…

Mark 5:25-34 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned round in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ ‘You see the people crowding against you,’ his disciples answered, ‘and yet you can ask, “Who touched me?”’ But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’

One day…just like THIS DAY…she refused to stay there any longer. She made up her mind that this was not the room she had booked.

You also have to do something…reach out to Jesus right now.

Pastor Mark

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 17th June 2019

When Ethel Lang from Barnsley died she was aged 114.

Her daughter at the time was just 91!

She had lived through 6 Monarchs and 22 Prime Ministers.

She was around for the Wright brothers’ first flight, the maiden voyage of the Titanic and twoWorld wars.

She saw the first ever TV, the creation of the mobile phone and the introduction of the credit card.

The day after her death, a national radio station was talking about Ethel who had lived to be the 8th oldest person in the world.

What came next was a shock…or was it?

The Radio presenter said this…’why would you want to live that long… I’m 41 and I’m bored already.’

Maybe he was speaking on behalf of you too?

Boredom in life comes from a lack of purpose, and a lack of purpose comes from not understanding that there is a reason why you exist.

Maybe you’ve never comprehended this before and therefore it may come as a shock…but it’s a necessary shock and ultimately it’s a shock that we all need.

Here it is – our ultimate wake up call is when we understand that God has a plan for your life.

You are on this planet today for a reason. You may feel that you were born by mistake, but you are not a mistake.

When you popped out and was held for the very first time, God had already designed and destined you for a very special reason.

You are here on purpose, for a purpose.

Don’t waste your life wondering why any longer.

The two greatest days of your life are the day that you were born and the day you find out why.

Let these moving words inspire and challenge you to know the God that decided that He wanted you to be alive; not just to survive, but to thrive.

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.

The rest of your life is the best of your life.

Make a connection with God today through His son Jesus… He’s only a prayer away.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 15th June 2019

I’m sure you have all heard the phrase ‘in the meantime’…

It means between one thing and another, when one season has finished and another is yet to begin, a time of waiting.
Often ‘the meantime’ can actually be a MEAN TIME!  But it doesn’t need to be.
In the Old Testament we read how Abraham was childless, he had received a promise from God that he would be the father of many and yet here he was, waiting for that promise to be fulfilled…that’s a meantime.
We all go through them.
One friendship finishes, another is yet to begin.
One job finishes and we’re waiting for another.
Maybe we are in financial need, we have brought our tithes and our offerings and we are still waiting for the blessing. We have sown the seeds, but are still waiting for the harvest… that’s a meantime.
Here’s a few things we should beware of in the meantime
  1. We get a lack of decision – we cannot decide
  2. We suffer from procrastination – we keep putting things off
  3. We compromise – we go with the flow instead of waiting
  4. We settle for a quick fix – a quick answer instead of the real thing  (like Abraham, who couldn’t wait for the promise of God, so he tried to fix it himself and got into a mess)
  5. We get involved in wrong things – we try to find fulfilment in lots of different areas. 
  6. We get anxious about our waiting and we start to worry, which can then lead to fear, if we’re not careful. 
Here’s what the meantime should look like…. make sure that during your meantime you do the following…
  1. Stay focused
  2. Shut out all the negatives 
  3. Know that He has a purpose for you
  4. Keep trusting 
  5. Keep your channels open by praying and reading God’s word – that way you will be open to His encouragement 
  6. Learn quickly – the quicker you do, the sooner your meantime will end and you will be on to the next season of your life. 

Use the meantime wisely. 

Let God use it as a time to teach you and for you to grow.

Maybe, you are having a ‘meantime’ because you are not quite ready for the next phase or maybe God wants to bring something out of you and work something through you. 

Don’t despise the meantime. Learn and grow, have a great attitude. God will move you to that next season as soon as you are ready.

Pastor Gillian
A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th June 2019

We all want to live a stress-free life without having to work at it — but it can’t be done.

Here are a few simple things that we can remind ourselves of from time to time so that we can live a longer, more balanced and blessed life.
  1. Make time each day to spend time in prayer and reading God’s word.
  2. Eat right – a balanced diet isn’t having a biscuit in each hand.
  3. Exercise 3-5 times a week for 30 mins – it’s the great stress reliever.
  4. Develop better time management habits for home and work.
  5. Make room in your life for fun.
  6. Get enough sleep – 6 hours is a recommended minimum.
  7. Start counting your blessings.
  8. Maintain your sense of humour.
  9. When you talk to yourself say nice things.
  10. If you look like your passport photo, you probably need a holiday
  11. Forgive…grudges are too heavy to carry.
  12. Don’t just be blessed…be a blessing wherever you go.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 13th June 2019

Sunday just been is known as ‘Pentecost Sunday’. Pentecost Sunday is a commemoration and celebration of the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the early church.

Jesus had died, and the disciples were left behind. They were probably understandably scared for their lives, since their leader had lost His. But Jesus had told the disciples to wait for the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit, from whom they would receive power to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:3-8). 

After Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, the men returned to Jerusalem and joined together in prayer in an upper room. On the Day of Pentecost, just as promised, the sound of a violent wind filled the house and tongues of fire came to rest on each of them and all were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:12-14).

The disciples were already believers, but there was an empowering of the Holy Spirit that had to come upon them in order for them to become truly effective. It was an empowering not for themselves, but for a greater mission.

They didn’t just stay in that room, they went out into the world! Thus the birth of the early church! 

This is the model that God intended for his church today. A church that would not just stay in its comfy bubble of believers, but rather a church filled with power, going out into the broken world carrying God’s very life, and breath! The church is not destined to be passive, boring, weak and ineffective. We have a mandate, empowered by the Holy Spirit to bring light to darkness, healing to brokenness.The LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners’ (Isaiah 61:1).

Acts 1 is proof that we aren’t just to receive the Holy Spirit at salvation, but be regularly FIILLED afresh by the Holy Spirit, in order to accomplish this mission on earth.  And we need it! 

There is much brokenness around us, and the world unknowingly is awaiting for the church (you and I) to rise up do what it is designed to do! Knife crime, fatherlessness, drug and alcohol abuse, theft, violence, lack of healthy relationships, sexual promiscuity – these issues are all manifestations of BROKENESS that we the church are called to reach, under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

The church of the Acts was a church who went OUT. They didn’t stay in their upper room bubble. Likewise, we are co-missioned  (meaning mission with Holy Spirit) to receive, in order to GO OUT and make disciplines of all men! (Matthew 28:19).

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 12th June 2019

Current UK statistics on people’s poor mental health are astounding.

1 in 4 people experience mental health issues each year.
At any given time, 1 in 6 working-age adults have symptoms associated with mental ill health.
Mental illness is the largest single source of burden of disease in the UK. Mental illnesses are more common, long-lasting and impactful than other health conditions.
Mental ill health is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year.

With statistics like these, we can conclude:

1. That either we ourselves are experiencing mental health issues or know someone who is!
2. That you are not alone!

No matter how “normal” mental health issues have become, they are never God’s desire for us, the people he loves. Without being insensitive to people who are in the struggle, I believe we should be intentional about preventing mental health issues, to avoid finding ourselves arriving at a place of anxiety and depression.

Our spirit, soul, and body are all connected. It is impossible for there to be a problem in one aspect of our being, and it not affect another. For example, we may have physical pain that soon wears thin on our emotions.

Kris Vallotton offers some advice from his personal experiences, ‘Problems can originate in one dimension of our being, but before long, we experience resulting symptoms in all three realms of our personhood’.

Having the courage to care for yourself (all three parts of you) is important. Here are some very practical ways that we can practise self-care:

1. Watch what your head eats! Just as we watch what we eat to look after our physical selves, and stay in the best shape and condition, so we also need to watch what we think in order to stay in the best mental condition.

We’ve all heard the saying, ‘You are what you eat’. Well Proverbs tells us that you are in fact what you think! (Proverbs 23:7).

As the Bible strongly urges, be relentless about guarding your thought life, and filling it with truth!

‘If you are dealing with anxiety, torment, fear, low self-esteem, depression or any other negative emotion, it is very likely that you have forgotten that God loves you. Do not entertain the enemy’s questions about how valuable you are’ (K.Vallotton).

To further fill your mind with tools of truth some books that may support you and/or a struggling friend:

‘From Panic to Power’ By Lucinda Bassett

‘Who Switched off My Brain?’, By Caroline Leaf.

‘ReNew: Breaking free from Negative Thinking’, By Julie Winter.

‘When God becomes Real’, by Brian Johnson.

2. Laugh.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Be intentional about finding things that make you laugh! Laughing produces dopamine, a God-given, feel-good chemical, in your body. Have friends that support you and bring positivity into your life. Be open to their influence in your heart.

3. Look after your body!

Get sun, routine sleep, exercise, rest, and look after your body. Remember, the mind and the body are connected!

4. Look after your connection with God. Keep your spirit strong! Stay connected to God – your source of hope, strength and healing!

Matthew 11:28 – ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest’.

 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th June 2019

Did you know that there is one question that God will never ask you — He will never ask you the question…’can you?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 21:28-31 (NIV)

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, `Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ [29] ” `I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. [30] “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, `I will, sir,’ but he did not go. [31] “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.

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

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

It’s a simple question of obedience.

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

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

They are depending on you.

If you will, you can.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 10th June 2019

‘Fake News’ was named ‘word of the year’ in 2017. I know it’s two words, but nevertheless…

This speaks to what a prominent role fake news plays in our society today, and it’s not just fed to us through our television screens, but in our playgrounds, our offices, through our group chats, and even in our homes.

Here’s the thing you might have noticed about fake news… it doesn’t come packaged that way. You don’t turn on the TV to locate the ‘fake news channel,’ it’s on our ordinary news channels that we’re fed incorrect information.

So how do we identify what is fake? By first knowing what is true.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a question relating to my iPhone, so I decided to go to the Apple Store and speak to one of the team there. After a few minutes, I was given the answer that I was looking for and walked away knowing exactly what to do next.

My successful outcome was largely due to me going to the right place. After all, those most qualified to speak on my iPhone were the ones who created it.

It’s true for me and I’m sure it’s true for you, that when I have questions about life, faith, myself, I can tend to go searching in many different places instead of going directly to the God who created me.

Today, you and I (the created) need to hear the truth from God Almighty (the Creator) so that when we’re fed information that is contrary, we can call it out for what it is… fake news.

Have you ever been told you’re ugly? It’s fake news.

You say, ‘how can you know that?’

Because the people who told you that didn’t create you, therefore their word is not final over you.

Here is some truth that your Creator wants you to hear and speak over your life…

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭NIV)

His works are WONDERFUL. And guess what? You’re one of His masterpieces!

Has somebody ever led you to believe that your life will never amount to anything? It’s fake news.

Here’s what God, the One who knew your last day from your first, before you were even born has to say on the matter…

“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.” (Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NIV)

That sounds like a pretty bright future to me!

And the list goes on and on…

I wonder today what you and I have begun to believe as truth that is actually fake. Can I encourage you to turn to the source of truth, Jesus and His Word, The Bible, filled with truth about life, faith, you and everything in between, and watch as the One most qualified to speak on you begins to remove the lies that you’ve been believing and inserts the TRUTH.

I’m telling you, you’ll never be the same.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

 

Fresh Hope – 8th June 2019

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths”

A beautiful couple of verses from Proverbs chapter 3.

What we quote and what we read, doesn’t mean we actually believe.

What happens when a door of opportunity closes that we thought would open? What happens when something doesn’t quite work out the way we’d hoped? A job that we applied for, a home that we wanted to move to?  Our immediate reaction is to get upset or annoyed or fearful or disappointed…but why?

If we trust Jesus, if we know Him to be our Father, if we believe that He has the best for us, then every “NO” that we get, should really be a “THANK YOU”…  because God obviously has something much better for me.

One of my favourite verses: “many are the plans in a mans heart, but it’s the Lords purpose that prevails”
(Proverbs 19 v 21)
reminds me that I may think my plans are the best plans, but HIS WAY and HIS PLAN is far better.

So the next time a door closes, don’t be tempted to be upset, instead be thankful.
Something or someone far better, is on its way.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th June 2019

There is not a single person reading this today that will be exempt from temptation; in fact, everyone at some time this week will be tempted.

Someone right now reading this will be battling with the most severe temptation of their lives and you are doing everything you can just to stay afloat.

Temptations are like presents – they come gift wrapped and they come in all shapes and sizes right to your door. The urge will be to open them as soon as possible.

Temptation also brings with it many misconceptions, so that it gets you down on yourself, even if it can’t get you to open the whole parcel.

Here are some misconceptions about temptation:

Temptation is sin – No it isn’t! Jesus was tempted but never sinned. Temptation’s job is to lead us to sin, but it is not sin itself.

Hebrews 4:15 Jesus…has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet He did not sin.

I’m the only one struggling with temptation right now – No, you’re not! Temptation is common to all people.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

There’s no way that I can overcome this temptation – Yes you can!

1 Corinthians 10:13 …But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it

I’m a very strong person, so I’ll never get pulled down by temptation – be careful!

1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

I’ll be glad when this phase of my life is over – This phase will pass, but beware that temptation will be part of your life until the day that you die!

Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him [Jesus] until an opportune time.

Whatever you’re going through right now, be sure to know that you are not alone. Jesus has gone through it all for you so that you can overcome. Ask Him to strengthen you right now.

Remember: there’s always free cheese on a mouse trap…so walk on by.

Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Pastor Mark

 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 6th June 2019

Over 44 times in the book of Romans we are told that our old, sinful nature is dead and buried! At salvation, we are no longer a sinner! Jesus didn’t just die FOR us, He died AS us! 

Romans 6:6, ‘Could it be any clearer that our former identity is now and forever deprived of its power? For we were co-crucified with him to dismantle the stronghold of sin within us’.  

Unless we are digging it out of the grave, our old nature has truly been dead and buried! We are a new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17). Therefore it is no longer in our nature to sin! Many Christians still believe that they are sinful people, and worthless! This is not only theologically incorrect, it is offensive to the price Jesus paid on the cross for you to have a new nature! In the words of Paul, ‘a dead person is incapable of sinning’ (Romans 6:7).  

 

So why then do we still make mistakes? Well, because we have forgotten who we are! We forget that we were also ‘RAISED with Christ … so that we could be empowered to walk in the freshness of new life’ (Romans 6:4). That is why we repent. Repent means to ‘return to the higher place’. Meaning, return to the higher way of thinking! Remember you are a new creation, it is no longer in your nature to sin. 

 

When we fully understand grace, we don’t wrestle with sin. Grace not only pays the price for our sin but also empowers us to live free from it. It gives us the power to do what we couldn’t do before.  

 

We are ‘immersed into union with Christ’ (Romans 6:3), so when we make choices that are contrary to our new nature (when we sin), that is when the Holy Spirit in us convicts. Conviction is a beautiful thing and the opposite of condemnation. Conviction reminds us of who we really are in Christ, while condemnation tells us that our behaviour is who we are. Conviction tells us we weren’t made for the sin we are engaging in and we are better than it, while condemnation uses shame and a sense of ‘worthlessness’.  

 

What you believe, you will attract in your life. If you believe you are a sinner, don’t be surprised if that is what you are attracting.  

 

At salvation, we are transformed. Our old nature died. It is impossible to be saved and still the same! 

 

If you are struggling with sin, instead of wrestling with something that Jesus said is dead, ask yourself:  

  • Do I truly understand the love of God towards me?  
  • Do I view myself as a new creation?  
  • Am I living in the finished work of the cross?  

 

There is nothing too big and bad in your life that God hasn’t killed, and buried! 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th June 2019

Romans 5:17, ‘But now, how much more are we held in the grip of grace’.

You’re speeding down the road 20 miles over the speed limit. Your attention is suddenly interrupted by the blue and red flashing lights in your side mirror, and the piercing sound of a police siren behind you. You’ve been done for speeding. As the police officer approaches your window, you expect the worst. “Justice must be served, a price must be paid”, says the officer to you. You nod your head in shame. How could you possible afford the fine?

“So I will pay the price, so you can go”, says the police officer.

Salvation isn’t the absence of justice. It is the fulfillment of it through Jesus. It isn’t just a “letting off the hook”. Grace isn’t just freedom from sin. It is the empowerment to do what you couldn’t do before.

Here are three things grace releases into your life when you step into it:

Grace = rest.

When Jesus said, ‘It is finished’, he wasn’t just talking about the hold of sin on our lives but also the need to earn righteousness. No perfect performance necessary anymore!

Romans 5:1 – ‘We enjoy lasting peace’.

Romans 5:2 – ‘he has given us PERFECT relationship’.

Romans 5:9 – ‘You will never experience the wrath of God’.

Grace = Confidence

Romans 5:1 – ‘He declared us flawless in his eyes’.

Romans 5:17 – ‘We continue to reign as kings in life, enjoying our regal freedom through the gift of perfect righteousness’.

Jesus died not because he wanted something from you, because he wanted to fix you or change you, but simply because he loved you!

View yourself through the lenses of the cross and walk in Godly confidence. Stop saying you are worth nothing – this is false theology!

Grace = power

The law will kill you, grace revives you.

When you understand grace and the price paid for you, you develop distaste for sin.

Romans 6:1-2: ‘Do we persist in sin? … We have died to sin once and for all”.

We are a new person, the old man is dead!

Romans 6:4 – ‘So that we could be empowered to walk in the freshness of new life’.

Romans 6:8 – ‘We could not live one moment longer submitted to sins power’.

Romans 6:11 – ‘View yourself as dead to sin’s appeal’.

Focus less on your shortcomings and instead fix your focus on the finished work of the cross, for it is there you will find your rest, confidence and power!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th June 2019

I was just a young boy when I got stuck in a lift at our local department store. I can still feel the fear as I stood holding tightly on to my Mom’s hand. Amongst the eight of us that were trapped for about half an hour, I can recall one elderly lady that was gasping for breath as the heat became unbearable in such a confined space.

That experience left me both scared and scarred for years. I know it sounds stupid now, but I would never go in a lift for years after that, not to mention that I developed an intense and irrational fear of heights following that episode.

I guess we privately all have some hang ups that we find hard to admit to, for fear of looking stupid, but to those that have them they are nevertheless very real. Taking the stairs rather than a lift, was pretty easy to disguise. But when you’re now married and cannot even stand on a chair to change a light bulb that’s another matter!

I was under the impression that what had entered my life as a result of my childhood experience was now here to stay. I just had to mask it as best as possible, and to those closest to me I would just have to admit defeat in certain areas.

The last thing on my mind was that my fears were a concern to God. I desperately wanted to get up step ladders like most other men, but every time I did, my head would go into fainting sensation that meant I would have to close my eyes and hang on for dear life until it passed. I just couldn’t overcome it.

That was all until one night when I sat in a church service. The guy at the front announced that God had told him that there was someone in the service that had a fear of heights and that God was going to heal them. I looked around waiting to see who else responded but no one did. I realised that it was ME! I got out of my seat and walked straight to the front. I was prayed for and then went and sat back down. It was not until I went outside following the service that I realised that something had happened. I had the sensation that I wanted to walk on the rooftops of the houses in the street. Something that I will never forget. Instead of being bound by a fear of heights, I was now wanting to do the very opposite. I actually wanted to get up a ladder and find out if this was real.

It was real. I started getting more and more adventurous and decided to paint the front of the house. I reached right to the top of the guttering and did what I would have never imagined to do before. Over the years I’ve been in the outside lifts of two of the tallest buildings in the world and walked on the viewing decks.

I wonder if you are facing some very real but irrational fears today? No matter how long they have been with you, you don’t have to be bound by them. God is interested in setting you free and He can do it right now if you will simply give that problem over to Him.

Take courage today from my own personal story and reach out to God right now—allow Him to eradicate your secret fears.

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

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 3rd June 2019

One phrase that I’ve heard quoted a lot from my youth goes “you can run faster and further looking ahead than looking behind you”. This was a firm favourite of one of the school’s athletics coaches who used to say when you are in front in a 100m sprint, if you decide to look behind you to see how far the competition is, by the time you look ahead again, they will be in front of you.

Sometimes as Christians, we are guilty of looking back rather than pressing ahead towards the goal that is in front of us. Our prayers are focused on trying to get away from the past or getting answers about our current situation, rather than praying about and envisioning the future we want to create.

We pray “Jesus, why is my life like this?”, or “Jesus, why did you allow this terrible thing happen to me?” To put it simply, we are praying backdated prayers, and worse still, getting frustrated when the situation doesn’t seem to change.

In Genesis 1, we are told the story of creation. God had been moving in the dark and declared “Let there be light”. That decisive moment when God spoke gave way to transformation and nothing was ever the same again. When you make a decision to break from the past, and declare the future you want to see, things start to move differently in your life.
It may take time for a ship to change course because the rudder has changed its angle, likewise, changing the angle of your prayer from questioning why is, to praying let there be. That small act of faith on your part will change the course of your life. Proverbs 18 vs 21 says we have power in our words to create, or to destroy life – literally life and death, and because we are created in the image of God, we have the power to create the future we want to see by changing our prayers.

Make a decision not to be overtaken or overwhelmed by your past because you keep looking back at it. Change your prayer from “Jesus, why is my life…” instead to “Jesus, let my life be…”, and watch as your life starts to move in alignment with the plans that God has for your life.

Noble Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st June 2019

In the book of Isaiah chapter 55 and vs 8 & 9, it tells me that God’s ways are higher than mine and His thoughts are higher than mine.
That reminds me that whatever way I may think is best, He has a better one and whatever my thoughts are, He wants me to think higher ones, because His are higher. He challenges me to raise my thinking.

When something doesn’t go the way that maybe you wanted it to, thank God, instead of blaming God and say “Thank you, your ways are higher than mine.”
God always has a plan…you just need to wait and trust Him.

Once I become a Christian, if my thinking stays the same, then my life will pretty much stay the same also. Your thinking has to change.
When faced with a situation, a difficulty, a crisis, we can often think like we have always done so. Yet my Bible teaches me there has to be a higher way – God’s way.
My first thoughts may not always be God’s. Don’t always act on your first thoughts…ask God for His.
When something doesn’t go the way you’d planned, ask God for His thoughts. Ask for His wisdom, He will give it you.

If you’re a parent, your child may not see your ways or understand your thoughts on the parenting front. But you know they just have to trust you , even though they may not at first like it.
Today I say THANK GOD that He didn’t and doesn’t always agree to ‘MY WAY’ or allow me to be ‘boxed in’ by my own thoughts.
I’m thankful for the times things didn’t go as I had planned, because He had a far higher way to show me.

Start thinking higher thoughts today, start thinking God thoughts. Start trusting Him that His way is best.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.