Fresh Hope – 30th May 2020

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

A few years ago at the Special Olympics, the competitors lined up to run the 100-metre dash. Everyone took off, but as they rounded the corner one of the runners fell badly and was left in tears, knowing that the race for them was over. Suddenly all the others stopped, came back, helped him up, then locked arms and walked across the finish line together. It was an unforgettable moment. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

What made the Special Olympic runners all stop and come back when perhaps in the regular Olympics they would have just all kept going? Was it not because they realised that they all had weaknesses? They knew that it could have been anyone of them lying there on the track, so they reached out to him. In a very real sense, all the runners won the race that day.

During this current time of crisis, I pray that we will have all had a wake up call to help us appreciate once more, that it is more important to help each other win, than it is to just be a winner myself. In fact, God is more interested in how much we are lifting others up, than He is in just putting me on a podium. I pray that our new normal will be more about running together, stopping daily to lift and encourage each, and treating people with respect that they deserve — that way we all become winners in life.


Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 29th May 2020

I’m a person that likes to know what’s going to happen. I like to be prepared. I’d ideally like to know in advance what will happen next so I can be fully ready and tackle it to the best of my ability. In some circumstances this can be a good trait, however in life, it’s not always. 

I love how the words in the Bible challenge us when we don’t know we need to be challenged.
Recently, I was reading Daniel 3. King Nebuchadnezzar created a golden image and commanded all men to worship it—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship anyone but God. As punishment for their defiance, they were cast into the fiery furnace.


If I were one of them, I’d think God was going to rescue me but I’d want to know how. I’d probably be staring into the furnace working out whether something was going to swoop in and save me, if the furnace was going to suddenly become cold or if Nebuchadnezzar was going to change his mind. 
Daniel 3: 17 (NIV) If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.


Daniel 3:17 confirms their faith. They know God is going to deliver them. They stand affirming this to the man who is about to kill them.
The bit that gets me is the start of verse 18. ‘But even if he does not.’
It takes a lot of courage to be staring into the fiery furnace but then saying ‘BUT EVEN IF’ He doesn’t do what we are believing for, we still trust him.


They believed that God was going to deliver them one way or another. Either they’d get their earthly miracle and be saved from the furnace, or they’d be delivered home to God. One way or another, they believed God would deliver them from this situation.


Jesus guaranteed our rescue by stepping into the fire himself. He faced our choices and took our pain, and always trusted in God’s will. “Not my will, but yours be done.”


While we’d rather avoid suffering and the unknown, God promises to bless us and others through it. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire unharmed and as a result, Nebuchadenezzar believed; “for no other God can save in this way” (Daniel 3:29).


We might not understand what’s going on right now, things might not have gone the way we planned, we might not see where the story is heading but we do know that there will always be blessings as a result.

Fiona Geary

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 28th May 2020

In James 3:13, we learn that there are two kinds of wisdom – heavenly wisdom and earthly wisdom. Both operate very differently and have different outcomes. 

Earthly wisdom is decision making at the world’s standards – which is actually foolishness to God (1 Cor 1:20). The world’s wisdom is often based on whatever appeases the desires of the flesh – whatever feels good, and is most self-gratifying, which obviously is not always a good life compass.  

On the contrary, heavenly wisdom is out of this world – literally! It sees further down the line, it sees the bigger picture, and has a better outcome. It comes from God as we partner with Him. It puts God first, rather than self. The fruit is not destruction, but life and peace. It is limitless in outcome and sometimes seems irrational. 

King Solomon had the opportunity to ask for whatever his heart desired and he asked for wisdom.

God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honour, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honour, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” (2 Chronicles 1:11). 

What an example of how wisdom ushers in a life of success, peace and fruitfulness! As we seek first the kingdom, all the rest is added. Put another way, as we seek Godly wisdom first, ironically a successful life is a bi-product. 

Wisdom is more precious than jewels (Proverbs 8:11), yet the Bible says that if we ask for it, God will give it to us…and not just a bit… GENEROUSLY! ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him’ (James 1:5).

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th May 2020

‘Authority: the power or right to give orders, and make decisions.’

Perhaps our immediate response upon reading this definition of authority is to picture a person of control, someone abusing their power, someone restricting and restraining from freedom and happiness.

Unfortunately many of us struggle with the idea of authority and hold negative connotations towards the word and idea. This is not uncommon for people of this generation.

Historically, many a time, authority has been oppressive, and sometimes abusive. Consequently, we have a generation today that has mostly rebelled against the idea of authority. It is believed that freedom and independence are achieved by breaking away from those who try to govern over us. When we are able to make our own choices, unrestrained by anyone or anything, then we think we are most free. This is wrong. Becoming a slave to your own feelings, ideas and opinions is quite the opposite of freedom. Your allegiance has simply shifted from an all-knowing, all-loving, all-protecting God, to your finite, limited self. How scary.

Authority is essential in the life of the believer, both the authority of God and of certain people. Instead, we have a people today who are disrespectful (culturally and broadly speaking) to the law/government/police. We have children exercising power over their parents in the home. We have women trying to assert themselves above men. We have teachers desperately trying to behaviour manage their students, and we have a cultural mentality of ‘let’s break free from the controlling government’. In whatever sphere there has been a historical abuse of authority, today there is a generational uprising of people rebelling and suppressing that authority in the quest to find identity and freedom. Sadly, their efforts are fruitless as true freedom and identity is found in our submission to HEALTHY and BIBLICAL authority.

The Bible speaks a lot about the value of authority in our lives. Not the kind of authority like we may have seen been abused in the past. The Bible has a different picture of what authority should look like. God has actually designed authority for our blessing and protection. Authority over us equals covering for us. When authority is abused, it hurts those under authority. In such cases, God ultimately will judge the abuser. But when it is exercised properly, authority blesses and protects those under it. Authority does not imply superiority. ‘Coming under’ authority or ‘subjection’ to authority doesn’t make us weak. It puts us in a powerful, protected position of freedom. If subjection means inferiority, then it would mean that Jesus Christ is inferior to the Father, which is heresy!

So what DOES biblical authority look like? Being in a position of authority means that you have a responsibility and a level of accountability. Those in authority have the weighty call of serving, leading and loving their people toward what is best for THEM. Ultimately, the people in these positions of authority must give an account to God on how well they did this. If they used their position and power for their own advantage, rather than blessing and protecting those in and under their care, then they have God to face for that one!

Some positions of authority that God tells us to honour in our lives, as we come under their covering:

– The word of God / God

– Our Parents

– Our leaders (both Christian and non-Christian)

– Our pastors

Here are rewards that are promised to those who submit to the healthy authority in their life:

Things will be well with you (Ephesians 6:2–3).

You will have a long life (Ephesians 6:1–3).

You will bring delight to the Lord (Colossians 3:20).

You will bring joy to your authorities (Hebrews 13:17).

You will receive God’s reward (Colossians 3:18–24).

You will be given clear direction (Proverbs 6:20–22).

You will be protected from evil people (Proverbs 6:23–24).

You will gain discernment (Proverbs 15:5).

You will receive praise from your authorities (I Peter 2:13–14).

You will escape the destruction of pride (I Timothy 6:2–4).

You will receive the grace God gives to the humble (I Peter 5:5–7).

Now who doesn’t want all that!?

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 26th May 2020

Part two – Life is too short to be average (Continued from yesterday)


The Bible says that Daniel had an excellent spirit, and he stood out among his peers because God was with him (Daniel 5:14, 6:3).
A spirit of excellence will cause people to notice that there is something different about you, because you are living to fulfil God’s purpose in your life.


The fourth principle for success is to choose the people you let into your life. Your friends will influence your future. It’s better to walk alone at times, rather than walk with the wrong people. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ 

The fifth principle is persistence. You cannot succeed without persistence. Persistence can be defined as courage under pressure. I’ve found that it’s impossible to be courageous without fear. Fear gives birth to a courage that says “I won’t quit.”
 Remember: no one succeeds all of the time. You can’t live a significant life without living a persistent life. 

More or less everything in my life that has had any lasting value has been birthed out of a long hard slog. I call it the ‘God plod!’.


The sixth way for living a life of purpose is to have high values. Values are standards that you live by. They produce character, and character is how you act when no one is watching. Character means spending time alone with God, letting Him guide you and refine for your dreams and desires. 
My values come from the Bible. A long time ago I made up my mind that the most important thing in my life was to live for an audience of one – Jesus. 

My declaration today is this: ‘God’s power works in me every day, and I can excel at what He has called me to do if I will simply lay down my life and trust Him’.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 25th May 2020

Life is too short to be average – Part one of two parts. 

The world is filled with amazing people, but sadly most of us settle for being average. Living an average life is not annasset, as it simply means that you never reach your full potential. 


I believe that there are six principles that will help you maximise your ability to be more than average. 


First, you must discover God’s purpose for your life — you were born for a reason. You were not just born to make a living, you were born to make a life. There’s something that God needed done that required you. 

Second, you must develop a passion. Passion comes from purpose. When you discover your purpose in life, there’s a sense of passion that will follow. Martin Luther King Jr. became a leader long before his great speech… ‘I have a dream…’ and his dream came out of his passion.

He became a leader in a small church of 200 people when he spoke of his death threat on his life. He told his wife, “I’ve got a passion. Someone’s got to do something, and I’m willing to do it. If it kills me I’ll do it.” You wont change the world if you try to protect your life. Jesus said, “if you cling to your life, you’ll lose it; but if you give it up for me, you’ll find it.”


The third most critical thing for developing excellence is to make a plan for your life. Plan beyond what you’re doing right now. Find something that’s bigger than you. Don’t just make your plan; work your plan. Then discipline yourself to follow it. Pursue your dream with a passion to please God—you were born to make a difference. 

Maybe part of my story will help someone today…
I was just turning 20 when I felt that God was calling me to a very different life than the one I’d imagined. I was passionate about becoming a top chef in London and had already spent two years in training and was now climbing that ladder. I sensed that God was asking me to surrender all of that and to give my life to becoming the pastor of a church! I was shocked, as this was something that was never even on my radar. I just knew that I’d heard clearly from God.

Then came the crunch…would I follow through? In much the same way that I’d spent two years training as a chef, I now felt I would need to train for Pastoring at a Bible school. This took me so much out of my comfort zone, that I felt sick at the prospect of leaving home, and not least of all the girl that I knew I would marry.


I drove three hours for that first interview at Bible School, and got rejected there and then due to being considered too young! That was it, I drove home feeling elated that I wouldn’t have to go through with it. Twelve months later I was back again, and this time with a passion and a plan that it was now or never. I was accepted on the course and went home to tell my parents, my girlfried and my employer that I was leaving. The following two years came and went and two weeks later we got married.
I had followed the call, the passion, and the plan, and was now ready to completly change the direction of my life for ever. It would be five years before I became the full time Pastor of the now named Champions Church.

The last 30 years have been a roller coaster of incredible highs and lows, but I wouldn’t swap it for anything. I was doing what I was born to do — make a difference!


You will also have to make some tough choices in order for your life to count. They won’t be the same as mine, but nevertheless they will take the same kind of courage to do so. 

Here is my declaration today: ‘My life has a purpose and I will not settle for less than what God has for me.’

Would you like to make it yours too?

Part two tomorrow. 

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23rd May 2020

 

I am a firm believer in trust. I’m a firm believer in faith. I’m a firm believer in not doubting. My Bible tells me. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11 vs 6) I’d like to say, I never doubt and I never waiver in my faith. 

So… let’s be honest, sometimes when we do have doubts or questions, we wonder why? And then feel ‘bad’ or ‘guilty’ for doubting.

 I was reminded this week about Jesus. In Luke 22 vs 39-44, just before He went to the cross, Jesus took Himself away to a solitary place and He asked His Father this…“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” He was saying, “if there’s any other way” – in other words, “do I really have to die on a cross, the cruelest of deaths? Is this really Your will God?”

He was scared, He had doubts, fears even. We know that, because it goes on to say that He was anxious, so anxious that he sweat blood. (Vs 44) Now, I know He was going to the cross, something too hard to even begin to imagine (it makes our troubles seem like nothing) but if Jesus had a momentary lapse of faith, then how much more are you and I going to?


He addressed His concern to the Father. It says an angel ‘strengthened’ Him (vs 43) then He went on to pray some more. 
I think we all beat ourselves up if we doubt or get concerned or ask “why” questions. Don’t, it’s part of human life and we are indeed human. I am not perfect and neither are you. 
I love what Jesus says in full in vs 42 “…yet not my will, but Yours be done.”
Let’s get to that place of saying “okay God, I trust You, let Your will be done in my life.”

If you have concerns or questions, address them to the Father – just like Jesus Himself did. Get into His presence, because it is there He will surely help and encourage you. It is there you will find His peace. It is there in times of uncertainty, that you will receive strength. 

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 22nd May 2020

In the last few weeks, we have been teaching our son to ride his bike without stabilisers.  I say ‘we’ but it’s been mainly my husband, a keen cyclist; whilst I look on and cheer.  I must say, sometimes it has not been easy to watch – especially when Zachary’s fallen off and he cries, but my husband assures me that he’s looking out for him and a few grazes on his knee are part of the learning process.  Soon he’ll be skilled and will enjoy cycling more. 

It reminds me of how we are experiencing this new season, a season that is filled with uncertainty. I’m sure I speak for most when I say our lives have taken a complete turn in the last few weeks because of this pandemic and it seems like our stabilizers have been taken away from us.  Simple things we used to take for granted like going to the supermarket, visiting friends and family, going to work, college, school or church have suddenly changed.  The routines we had and things that perhaps made us who we are, are no longer relevant.  Some are in a place of constant worry; what is tomorrow going to bring?  Is my job or source of income going to be secure? When is life going to get back to ‘normal’ again?  We all have asked ourselves at least one of those questions at some point in recent weeks.

I am reminded of what we have a loving Father in Heaven, who’s always got our back.  Like Zachary, we may lose our balance a few times, fall and even cry, but one thing he knows is that “daddy is right behind me and he will catch me when I fall.”

God promises us this in the following verses 

Isaiah 41:10 “I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you.’ Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Deuteronomy 31: 6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”

Even after several falls, our son will be able to balance on his own and cycle independently.  That is how we will also come out of this season.  When we balance our lives but adding Faith and Trust in God through a relationship with Him, the process becomes bearable.  It will become a season of great strength and we will come out of it stronger and bolder than we have ever been. 

Christine Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st May 2020

Without a doubt, Corona has swept in and totally interrupted all of our lives to some degree. It has cut in and shut down our usual routines and systems. Interruption can really shake us. At the very least it can be uncomfortable. It contradicts our usual flow, order and natural need for control.

Sometimes, and I would dare to say, often times, the Holy Spirit doesn’t operate on what is convenient to us. Yes He works within our schedules, but often He interrupts them. Are we open to such interruptions?

Many of us hunger for God to break through in our lives, many of us desire to be ‘used’ by God, and yet we are so determined to get through our daily schedule and personal agenda no matter what! We pack our calendars so full that we leave little room for interruption from God. We get to the end of the day and wonder why we haven’t heard from God, or been aware of what He is saying or doing. Could it be because we aren’t living open to interruption? We are so focused on our to-do list that we haven’t been aware of God’s gentle prompts and opportunities.

Do we see the interruptions of God in our day as an inconvenience, rather than an invitation?

Perhaps we encounter someone with a need, and we process our encounter with them as a delay to our day rather than recognising that we were just given an opportunity to allow God to work through us.

If we look at the life and ministry of Jesus, he was often on his way somewhere and about his plans for the day when he was then ‘delayed’ by someone in need. What was Jesus’ response? Well, he saw the delay as an opportunity to partner with God and then perform a miracle. Interruptions are often the avenues for miracles. The disciples many a time watched people interrupting their planned agenda for the day and rather than Jesus rushing them away, he stopped and engaged with the opportunity to partner with God. Jesus recognised ‘delays’ as the very purpose for which they were there.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to-do lists. I love order. I love productivity plans and fulfilled schedules. And I still think those things have a place, BUT let us be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit in the day, and let us be flexible to where and when God may interrupt our day-to-day comings and goings. Let us be Spirit driven, not agenda driven people. God is always inviting us into a partnership with Him.

Often we imagine God will fantastically and supernaturally lead us to a person in need, but if you look at the life of Jesus, often, it was simply Jesus and his disciples going about their very normal day and then having very normal interruptions where a need would then present itself and Jesus would step in as the solution.

As Jesus followed the gentle nudgings of God, he would be ready to minister according to the need that arose. When a need pops up in our lives, we don’t need a booming audible voice of God to tell us to do something. As people of God, walking with the Spirit, we recognise a need, and we get to be a solution to the problem.

We get to be inconveniently interrupted, and we are open to that. We get to put aside our agenda for a moment and do the work of God.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 20th May 2020

Your heart is possibly the most important thing about you! I’m not talking about the organ beating inside your chest, I’m talking about the heart as your centre of hidden emotional-intellectual-moral activity.

Your heart plans, makes commitments, desires and decides. It is your inner forum where decisions are made after deliberation. It is where a person engages in self-talk.

The Bible says that while people focus on outward appearance, God is searching our hearts. (1 Samuel 16:7, Jeremiah 17:10).

Our words create our world, and our words echo what’s going on in our heart. It all starts with the heart.

PROTECT IT against bitterness, GUARD IT against attitudes, CHECK IT against the Bible, EDUCATE IT by filling it with God’s word (Proverbs 22:17-18), and OPEN IT to what is good!

Fight for a healthy heart. ‘Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life’ (Proverbs 4:23).

Before we start trying to make modifications to our life from the outside, let’s start with the inside. Let’s start with the condition of our heart.

Consider, what does our inner world look like? Our outer world manifests what started in our inner world. A healthy heart springs out to a healthy life.

I wonder what our lives would be like if we invested as much time on our heart as we did outward appearance. Studies show that on average we spend about 30 minutes a day getting ready. 30 minutes, ensuring we look outwardly presentable. Imagine if we took just half that time, each day, to examine our hearts and inner world? Our outer world would truly be transformed! The Bible speaks many times about self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32, 2 Corinthians 13:5, James 1:23-25, Lamentations 3:40).

Busy lives often keep us from facing the issues of our heart and inner world. As many of us are now in self-isolation, with perhaps some extra time on our hands, let’s use this season to process and consider the rooms of our heart. Many of you have been re-decorating, clearing out lofts, and cupboards lately. Maybe it is time to do a bit of that kind of work on our heart, and consequently – life. What needs to go? What needs to be re-built? What needs to have a break? What needs to grow? Once you have identified it, put in some practical steps to see it happen. It is time to work on some private matters, so when we go public, we are better than ever!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 19th May 2020

One of my favourite quotes is by Friedrich Nietzsche who said “He whose life has a why, can bear almost any how!”

Basically when there is a purpose behind the pain you are going through, it’s bearable. The pain of child birth is made bearable by a baby, the pain of studying is made bearable by passing those exams. 

But the opposite is also true, when your suffering has no purpose, it’s unbearable! Such as illness or loss of a loved one. In this current season where there seems to be so much fear and suffering, it can feel like ‘what possible ‘why’ can there be for this loss?’ and it may be unbearable.

The key is to (by faith) attach purpose to whatever it is we’re suffering. The story of how Doubting Thomas got his name can help. 

Imagine how confusing and disheartening it was for Thomas when first Jesus dies but then reappears to the other 11 without him there. Thomas must have felt, ‘this is Jesus? He knows all things, he knew I wouldn’t be there, couldn’t he have come two hours later when I was back?’ ‘I don’t understand, I’m hurting so I refuse to believe!’

Then when he finally sees Jesus, he worships him to which Jesus replies:
John 20:29 “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

We aren’t called to understand, we’re called to believe.

It’s difficult, I know, but when you’re in pain and confused, when you feel like everyone’s at the party except you, and it’s impossible to see how this loss could ever be worked for the good, stop and say to yourself, ‘hang on! This is an opportunity to believe without seeing!’ ‘I don’t understand, but this is an opportunity to be ‘really blessed!’

In this strange season we find ourselves in, remember: ‘he whose life has a ‘why’, can bear almost any ‘how’!’ Let’s always, no matter how things look, remember Jesus Christ is our why, and no one who puts their hope in him will be disappointed. We’ll never know all the answers, we just need to keep believing in the reason and put our hope in Him! 

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 18th May 2020


It was a defining moment when Joshua said to Israel, ‘…choose for yourselves …as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’ (Joshua 24v15)

First, in our lives, defining moments usually come as a surprise and happen during a time of crisis. The crisis that we are facing right now is likely to be one of them. There will be other times too, like times of personal failure, taking an unpopular stand, suffering without complaining, being asked to forgive or making a hard choice. Sometimes, defining moments occur when we don’t see them for what they are. It’s only afterwards, as we look back, that we understand their importance. Either way, they define who we are.

Secondly, defining moments show others who we are. During these times we will let go of any pretence and let our guard down, revealing the real me. Our image means nothing, neither does our connections, or any type of spin that we put on something to make us appear better than we really are. Whatever is truly going on inside us is revealed to everyone. If you’re a leader, defining moments tell the people following you who you really are, what you stand for, and why you’re leading.

Thirdly, defining moments determine who we will become. You’ll never be the same person after a defining moment. That’s because defining moments aren’t normal or usual, and what is normal doesn’t work in these times. Defining moments are like a crossroads in our lives, they give us the opportunity to turn, change direction, and seek a new destination. They present options and opportunities. In these moments, we must choose. The choice we make will define us.

Be careful in these unusual and uncertain times that you make the right choices — they will define your life either for the better or for the worse.


Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th May 2020

God is for community, He is for being together. God never designed us to be alone. In the book of Genesis, right at the start of the Bible, He declares over Adam “it is not good for man to be alone” (Chapter 2 vs 18). He is a God who designed community. A Community of people who together, though we may be different, are all important to each other. 

Romans 12 vs 4 & 5 says “for just as each one of us has one body with many members, and these members don’t all have the same function, so in Christ, we, though we are many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

You see, I’m better with two feet and both of my ears and my arms and so in the same way, we as the body of Christ, you and I, are better together. 

Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking that you are better alone, you’re not. The Church is God’s idea, we are His bride, He is passionate about us. 

Why is it good to be in a great Church Community? Here’s a few reasons…

Galatians 6 vs 2 says “carry each other’s burdens and by doing so, you will FULFIL the law of Christ.” We need to be there for each other, in good times and bad. You may not have natural family relationships that are good or strong, or they may not be there at all, but when you have a Church family, they are your community who will love and care for you…we love and care for each other.

 
Psalm 133 v 1 says “How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity.” It’s GOOD to be together. It does something for you in your heart and spirit. It builds you up and helps you to become the person God created you to be. If that wasn’t so, it wouldn’t be so clear in the Word of God. 

Matthew 18 vs 2  says “For where two or three are gathered in MY name, there I AM in the midst “This is a clear indication, that when you are together, God is there! And where God’s presence is, then His power is there also…and then, take note…anything is possible!

So in this time of forced ‘isolation’, do everything YOU CAN to get into a online Church community – -a support network of God’s Church. 

Join in Life groups & prayer meetings and online Bible Studies & Sunday services …and soon we will be back together ‘in the flesh’ and the community of God’s Church will have been strengthened in the process and we will come out better for it. 

LIFE IS BETTER TOGETHER.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 15th May 2020

One lesson I believe we can all learn from this unprecedented time of ‘lock down’ is that we are (or at least should be) our ‘brothers keeper!’


We live in a very independent society that struggles to give up individual liberty for the sake of others. There is a very common secular train of thought that goes ‘you can do anything you want as long as you don’t harm others ’ but this current pandemic has, by enforcing social distancing, made all of us act on behalf of others, to take a certain responsibility for ‘your brother’, so to say. 
I am talking about the government’s message ‘stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives!’ but actually I want to encourage all of you who follow Jesus to continue in your hearts and attitudes to be your brother’s and sister‘a keepers! To stand in the gap, and be prepared to take responsibility for others not just for yourself.


In Genesis 4, God enquires of Cain ‘where is your brother Abel?’ Cain having recently killed his brother out of jealousy responds with the words ‘I don’t know! Am I my brother’s keeper?’ 

Cain’s words have come to symbolize people’s unwillingness to accept responsibility for the welfare of their fellow human beings. The story of the Gospel is that Jesus took responsibility for ‘his brothers’ shortcomings (that’s all of ours) so that we can live in the wide open spaces of God’s goodness. But this is on the condition that we too are prepared to extend that grace to our fellow brothers and sisters, that we would in some way take on responsibility for them.


One of the easiest ways to duck this responsibility and exclaim in a loud voice ‘’am I my brother’s keeper!?’ is criticism. We live in a very critical culture where rather than take any responsibility or ownership for issues, criticism places the responsibility for them firmly on the shoulders of anyone else. Criticism is the opposite of taking responsibility, the opposite of being your brother’s keeper!


This is why Jesus taught ‘behaviours of grace’ like, ‘turn the other cheek’ ‘Go the extra mile’ and ‘love your enemies.’ He taught these at length not for the sake of our enemies but to help us to break the learned pattern of behaviour of always looking out for our own personal justices and freedoms, but instead to allow God’s ultimate justice and freedom to reign and bring peace into our lives. 
I encourage you, take responsibility today, don’t judge, look for ways to love and look out for your fellow brothers and sisters! 

Galatians 5:13-14 | NIV You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th May 2020

Continuing with our verse-by-verse study of Psalm 23, today we reach the last verse of this chapter.

Quick recap; David expresses in verse 1 how he knows the Lord to be his personal shepherd and because of that he is looked after. He understood that the Lord would lead him to what he needed and provided ultimate peace for the soul (Verse 2 & 3).

In verse 4, David explains how through the mountain-tops and valleys, the shepherd (God) leads him through both. Because of this, he does not need to fear. There is covering and protection in staying close and following the lead of the shepherd. This includes correction.

Verse 5 – even in the midst of struggles, the goodness of God stands. Joy, refreshment, provision, and gladness is still available throughout trials and it is important to remember this as we walk through the dark times.

Let’s finish with verse 6 – ‘Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever’.

Mercy represents steadfast love. The goodness of God and His love follows us. We follow the shepherd, goodness and love follows us! Some of us are searching for goodness and love, and all we need to do is follow God, and those things will then follow us!

As long as we are seated at the table, our cups are always overflowing… God is always our provider…David had the expectation that this was for him ALL THE DAYS of his life. Not just in some seasons, But ALL the days of His life. God does not have a limit on His love and goodness.

‘I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ – house of the Lord, means ‘presence of the Lord’. As we LIVE and abide in the presence of our Lord, all the days of our life, blessing follows and it doesn’t end. It starts here and now on Earth and follows us into Heaven!

In reflecting on the beauty of this chapter, I hope that you can read it in a whole new light. There really is no other way to do life than walking with our shepherd, Jesus. Regardless of the highs and lows that we walk through, there is blessing, protecting, provision and covering in staying close to Him, and being seated at his table.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 13th May 2020

A group of businessmen went to a remote mountain retreat for a weekend of leadership training. Expecting graphs, statistics and pep talks, they were completely surprised when their boss, Mr Clarkson, asked them to trade their laptops for spades. “I want you to dig a ditch one meter wide and half a meter deep around the perimeter of my cabin”, he said. And with those words, he disappeared inside it.

At first, nobody said anything. But soon their silence turned into questioning. Then they started arguing about the exacting measurement which they felt didn’t really matter too much. They complained about having risen to the top of the corporate ladder, only to be forced to do manual labour.

Finally, John turned to the others in the group and said, “who cares why he told us to do it – let’s just do it and let’s do it with a good attitude. With those words, the cabin door flew open and the boss reappeared. “Gentlemen”, he said, as he grabbed John’s hand, “I’d like you to meet your new vice-president.”

There are three things that we can learn from this story today:

1-When God doesn’t explain something fully, it’s because you don’t need the details.


2-When God doesn’t speak, it’s because He’s watching, waiting and working things out.


3-When He tests you on one level, it’s because He’s getting ready to take you to the next.

So don’t question what He’s doing today…just obey Him!

Deuteronomy 8:2 Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 12th May 2020

Are you fearful? Anxious? Worried? It’s possible that during the past several weeks, these emotions have played a role in your life.
Maybe you’re worried about finance, anxious about your safety, fearful of what the future holds for you and your family.


Today I want to turn your attention to what I believe is an antidote to your anxiety, and that is, going for a walk. Now hear me out…this is far more than a ‘the fresh air will do you good’ kind of encouragement. I actually believe that peace and assurance can be found in you simply stepping outside and making the following observation.


When Jesus addressed the subject of worry, in the space of just ten Bible verses, He used the words ‘do not worry’ three times. (That’s a high level of emphasis!). But not only was that His instruction, He then gave us an exercise.
He said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.“ He then turns our attention to another part of nature. “See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon (the richest man to ever live) in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.”


Then He poses a rhetorical question, “Are you not much more valuable than they?” The answer to that is yes friend, you are far more valuable to God than the birds and the flowers.


So what is Jesus getting at? The next time you start to feel fearful, anxious or worried, or even before those emotions try to work their way in, go for a walk. And while you’re on that walk, observe the birds and the flowers. Notice how the birds’ every need (who doesn’t have a savings account) is met. Notice how the flowers, who’ve never passed exams or held down a job look so incredibly stunning. And then ask yourself this: ‘If that is how God looks after them, despite them not being as valuable to Him as I, how much more will He look after me, who is of far greater value to Him?’


Today, allow fear, worry and anxiety to lose their grip over your life as you understand that what God creates, He takes care of.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th May 2020

Over the past few weeks our dear friend, Thembinkosi has been in Intensive Care with Covid-19. Sadly, he passed away last night (9thMay). Over the time he was fighting the virus, we prayed relentlessly for him. We all had such faith that he would get up off that hospital bed and yet again share another testimony about the goodness of God. 

Thembinkosi was a husband. He was a father to two boys, Timothy (15), and Titus (12). And he was a friend to many. He was always full of hope, a joyful smile and a word of encouragement. He loved God with all his heart and soul. He was the kind of person that touched your heart and stirred your faith. 

When we got word that this mighty man of faith had passed away, we were all heartbroken. God was meant to heal this man of God. It’s a massive blow. 

Right now it is easy to think, ‘God failed us’, but I don’t think He has. Ultimately, death has not won. Death has been destroyed. This is why God sent His son. Thembinkosi is now healed and has now entered into eternal life. He is in heaven (soon to be joined by us). 

God hasn’t let us down. He made a way. Sometimes He makes a way in this life, on earth. Sometimes, He makes the way in Heaven. 

We prayed with everything we had and the healing didn’t happen. The testimony we imagined didn’t happen, and we don’t know why. But we cannot afford to question the goodness of God in this moment. The nature of God is not defined by our circumstance. Remember, if we understood God completely, we would be as big as God. We have to learn to live with the mystery and the “WHY?”. I believe that God will honour the faith we had for Thembinkosi’s healing. 

Yes, not having him hurts, but can you imagine how much he is loving Heaven right now? He would be in his element, fist pumping in praise! 

In the end, we did get a testimony from Thembinkosi. His life was the powerful testimony. He lived surrendered to God. He held a posture of humility and gratitude. He knew what this life was really all about – eternity. 

I’m reminded yet again of how fleeting and brief life is for us all, in comparison to the weight of eternity. REALITY CHECK: Life is not about life. It is about where we are heading. Life is just the practice, the dress rehearsal, the entrée. The real game, the real show, the main meal, is Heaven. 

Just like Thembinkosi, we must live this life with our whole hearts, with joy, with unbridled passion, with deep gratitude, honouring and encouraging others at any opportunity we get. Let’s live light, free from offence and pettiness, because eternity is what really counts. 

As Thembinkosi would have it, let’s process his death through the lenses of eternity, knowing full well he is home with Jesus and we will meet again. 

We’re in this grief together. That is the beauty of being in community. Let’s live in light of eternity, and do everything we can to support his wife, Queen and their boys in the meantime. 

‘A Go Fund Me’ page has been created in honour of Thembinkosi, and in support of his family. We would love them to be financially covered and blessed during this challenging time. Please find the link here

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th May 2020

God’s timing is perfect! He is never late, nor early. We operate in time, God doesn’t.  Whenever I have been impatient about something happening, I always look back after the event and think “wow, God was spot on!”  Of course He was, He’s God. 

In Mark chapter 5 we read about a man called Jairus who came to Jesus because his daughter was sick and I mean, very sick. He pleaded with Jesus to go with him… in verse 24 it says that Jesus did.
However, en route, Jesus is distracted by a desperate woman who has been ill for 12 years. Her situation was hopeless and she was helpless.  Let me stop right there and tell you that Jesus is attracted to helpless & hopeless situations! So He heals the woman…awesome.  But then is late for the little girl and when He gets there, she is already dead. Was Jesus late, or was He right on time?


In our thoughts and thinking, He was late but to God, absolutely not. 
You see, Jesus can do whatever He wants to do, whenever He wants to do it and with whoever He wants to do it with.  

So my friend, never question the timing of God. Just trust. 

It says that people were wailing and crying and telling Him He was too late (vs 40). It also says that “Jesus put them out!”   He wanted no unbelievers around when there was a miracle to do.  

Today, be a person of trust. Be a person of faith.   And when you are tempted to think God has got His timing wrong, be reminded of this account and listen to the words of Jesus (in verse 36) to those who were worried and afraid “Don’t be afraid, just believe.”

God has never got it wrong yet and He never will.  

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 8th May 2020

Today is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, a day where we celebrate Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender and the end of World War 2. It marks the end of a period of fear and hardship for many families who had been living under the constant threat of death, and a day of hope, that news of the illness or death of loved ones would finally cease.


Today again, in the middle of a different battle, we hope to hear news that a cure for the Coronavirus has been found, so our lives can go back to normal, as we’re tired of living under the fear of losing loved ones, and hardship for many families who have lost their livelihoods once again.


The fear of pain, or loss, or death is not something you can run away from, but rather something, with God’s help, you can overcome. Living a life afraid of what might happen is not living.


In the first ten verses of the book of Ruth in The Bible, we read a tragic story of a married couple and their two kids whose story starts in a famine. Faced with severe lack and hardship, they make the brave decision to relocate their family in order to find food and shelter somewhere else.
The man’s decision to move his family from everything and everyone they knew and loved was an attempt to run away from what he saw as certain death. An attempt to run away from everything that caused him sleepless nights and made him afraid of losing his livelihood and his family. Unfortunately, when they arrive at their destination, the man dies, and never gets to enjoy the good things he had anticipated.
His running away in fear, and arrival in a different place alone was not enough to sustain him. That’s not to say that if they had stayed, he would have survived, but he defined his life not by the abundance or lack he was experiencing, but by fear.

The body’s response to fear is to produce adrenaline, which helps you to react much quicker, to run faster, and to fight harder than you could have done. All of which are reactions to help us during this time in our lives.

In Matthew 19:26, Jesus reassured us that whatever may seem impossible with men is possible with God. Ask God to help you overcome and turn your fears to your advantage until you have your victory day.

Noble Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th May 2020

‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.’

In continuing with our mini-study on Psalm 23, we are going to look at verse 5 today. 

When David speaks of a ‘table’, this represents food, feasting, blessing and provision. 

David, in the valley, envisioned that rich table before him. He knew God as his provider even in the darkest of valleys. 

It is so important for us as we walk through the valley, to have a vision, and rehearse the promises of God for our life. 

‘In the presence of my enemies’ – God isn’t there just when the enemies are gone, when the conflict is over, or when the virus is over. God is providing for you and wants you to enjoy His goodness IN THE MIDST of trouble, hardship, trials and ‘your enemies’. 

God’s goodness doesn’t mean the absence of enemies, in means IN the presence of enemies God’s blessings are manifest!

Are we able to enjoy the goodness of God NOW? Or are we waiting for everything to be perfect? 

‘You PREPARE a table’  – Preparation speaks of thought, effort, care, a going before us. God goes before us in provision and fulfilled promises, as we walk through the valley. 

‘You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over’ – In the east, people frequently anointed their visitors with oil or perfume and gave them a cup of choice wine, which would constantly be filled ‘until it ran over’. The overfilled cup showed that as long as they would abide in the presence of their host, they had an abundance of everything. This beautifully links with Verse 1 of Psalm 23 where David says, ‘I lack nothing’. As long as we are in the presence of our shepherd, all our needs are met, plus more. 

The anointing of oil was to show love and respect, and was also used as refreshment. Oil is symbolic of gladness. Even in the valley, you are anointed with gladness, you are refreshed, and loved! 

Oil is also used to protect. I recently discovered that shepherds actually use oil on a sheep’s head to protect them from a certain type of fly that can go through the sheep’s eye and into their brain!

What a powerful picture of how the oil of God covers our minds from those thoughts that attempt to take ground!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 6th May 2020

Recently I have been taking you on a mini-study of Psalm 23. So far, we have done a verse-by-verse break down of the following:

‘The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…’

If you have missed any of the studies, please feel free to go back and read them!

Today we will be focusing on the second half of verse 4,

‘your rod and your staff, they comfort me’.

The rod and the staff were tools of a shepherd.

The rod was a tool for protection, to defend the sheep from potential predators.

The staff was a tool for correction, gently pulling any straying sheep back into line and into the right direction.

When we submit to the leading of the shepherd, we come under his rod and staff, which offer us protection from predators, and correction.

We should welcome the correction of God into our lives. His staff is what keeps us from wandering off into danger zones, and his rod protects us from predators. They lead us to the green pastures that we want.

So why does David talk about the correction of the shepherd here, in the valley? Well, perhaps it is because it is the in the dark times that we can be most open to compromising – it is when we start questioning our shepherd.

When you are a child, your parents correct you when you misbehave, or ‘behave out of line’. Parents do this because the child’s misbehaviour is not in line with the values of the parents or what the family represents. It is loving, protecting, and a source of security for the child to be disciplined.

For example, ‘We the Smith family do not throw tantrums at the table, so we are correcting you so you come into line with what we as a family are about!’

Likewise, when we step out of line as children of God, there is security in knowing that God, by His Holy Spirit, pulls us back saying, ‘hey, as children of God, we do not behave like that. I love you enough to correct you. My correction will get you to where you want to go.’

In the valleys of life, welcome the boundaries and corrective rod of God. They will protect you. When you feel the Holy Spirit say, ‘hmmm that’s not what my son/daughter does’, take that as a reminder of who you really are.

There is protection in the correction!

As David said, His correction actually COMFORTS you. It gives you security because you know He cares enough about you to correct you.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th May 2020

One of the great mysteries of the universe concerns the much loved, or hated Avocado. Yes, before you ask, it’s a fruit — or more technically a single seeded berry! The avocado contains more potassium than a banana and is one of very few fruits that contain totally digestible protein – 4 grams per avocado.

Need to ripen your avocado? Sit it in your fruit bowl with apples and bananas – hey presto.

Now for the mystery…how to keep it from turning black once it’s been cut?

There are so many theories out there, some of which work, but my only point today is to mention that the ‘stone’ or seed inside is what actually keeps it fresh.

At the very heart of this amazing fruit is a large throwaway, dull-looking seed that once removed will ensure that your avocado goes black within minutes.

This led me to think about what is going on inside of you today.

Jesus said that your heart is the determining factor for whether you live a good or bad life.

Luke 6:43-45 ‘No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn-bushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.’

Keeping your heart pure and clean is one of the greatest ways of living a blessed and productive life.

If you store up bitterness and unforgiveness in your heart then it will eventually destroy your life.

If your daily focus is only on bad things then your life will suffer.

If you are consumed with watching pornography you will end up a very unhappy person with no ability to form proper healthy relationships, let alone be satisfied within marriage.

Your heart needs to be taken care of both physically and spiritually for you to remain in good health.

If you find yourself in outbursts of anger and fits of rage then it will be a sign that you need to deal with the issues deep inside your heart.

Today, don’t fool yourself in the same way that you try to fool others into thinking that you’re good when actually you know that you’re bad on the inside.

Confess your faults and turn from your sins.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to keep you pure and fresh, lest you become like the humble avocado that’s turning black because its heart has been removed.

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

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th May 2020

How’s your fear factor today?

Do you find like myself, that if fear is going to attack, it will usually be in the middle of the night?

Fear is very crafty, in that it knocks on your door when you are most vulnerable. When all alone and in the dark is when it will normally raise its ugly head.

It is especially true right now that many are reporting that the fear of catching the coronavirus is terrifying them. Maybe that’s exactly what is happening with you. At times, fear is nothing to be afraid of as it masquerades in the form of a lie that something is terribly wrong, when in reality there is nothing wrong. However, there are times like now that fear is simply pointing to something that really does exist and really is of great concern to everyone all over the world, yet its strategy is to bring you down to your lowest level and bind you with sheer panic and terror.

Whatever guise your fear may come in today, be sure of this one rock solid thing — God has got you covered!

There is nothing quite like the power of speaking out and repeating the verses and chewing on the Bible — this helps to stay focused in faith and overcome the fear that we all may face right now.

Why not join me today in starting the day with some incredible yet simple confessions from the Bible that will change the fear factor? Be warned, nothing may change in the outside world, but what will change is what’s going on in your inside world. Remember, your biggest enemy is often your inner-me.

The Bible records the words ‘fear not’ 365 times —that’s one for every day of the year. Have you ever stopped to ask why God continually has to remind us to fear not? Is it not because we fear so much?

Whatever it may be, here are just a few verses that will encourage us all to stay strong today. Here we go…lets do this together:

Psalm 91:1-7 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Psalm 118:6-7 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I look in triumph on my enemies.

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.

Deuteronomy 20:4 For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’

Proverbs 29:25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?

Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’

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

DO NOT FEAR!

Let’s each take these verses with us throughout the day.

We stand together — in Jesus’ name.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd May 2020

Easter wasn’t too long ago.  The two days that are most remembered are Good Friday, the day that Jesus died and Easter Sunday, the day that He rose. 
But what about the day in between?  What about the Saturday?

The Saturday would have been very quiet. People who knew and loved Jesus would have been mourning, maybe even fearful, wondering what on earth just happened? 

Before He died, He promised them that He would rise again on the third day. They had to cling to that promise, maybe some of them did, maybe some didn’t.  

Saturday is the day between the fear and the promise and that requires FAITH. 

I believe we are experiencing a ‘Saturday’ right now.  In between what has happened that has caused people to fear and what we are hoping and believing for.  

We can’t afford to keep looking back and around in fear, we have to believe the promises of God and be in a position of faith.  
If Good Friday had been a stand-alone day, it would have been the worst day in history… but it wasn’t, it was quickly followed by Sunday, which made those two days, the greatest days in history. 
If we only think Friday, fear, Friday, fear, we are missing out on living by faith which will lead to the promise. 

Yes, something may have happened that you’re not sure about, or you don’t understand and it may seem like “where has God gone?”

What do you think the disciples were thinking about on Good Friday? The one they knew and loved had gone!

Maybe some of you are in fear over health or finances or family. God wants you to be in a place of FAITH.  

Don’t let your home be a place of fear right now, instead be a cultivator of faith. 

Cling onto the promises of God that say 

“I will never leave you or forsake you”

“Even though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me”

“God works all things out together for good, to those He loves and are called according to His purpose”

My friend, it may be Saturday right now, but Sunday is coming!

“Saturday was silent, surely it was tough  

But since when has the impossible, ever stopped You?”

God wants you to know Sunday is coming. 

You’re in that waiting time for the miracle… 

They may not have been certain about the Resurrection, but Jesus promised them and He always keeps His promises.  

 If God has promised you something… it will surely come to pass. 

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st May 2020

More than ever today, prayer should be seen as huge privilege—a privilege God has freely given to us because He wants to spend time with us. Here is the truth about prayer…God wants to hear from you! 
Now of course, prayer by its very nature often carries with it a burden; if you are praying for someone that is fighting off the coronavirus, you will have a burden for them that is driving you to your knees. However, prayer should not be a burden but more so a privilege. 

Jesus died to destroy the barrier of sin that separates us from God, and when we surrender our lives to God we have a personal relationship with Him. In fact, we only have access to God through prayer because of what Jesus did for us in His death and resurrection. He opened the way for us once and for all to come freely to Him. 

Central to any relationship is communication. Whether it’s a father that never talks to his children, or a married couple that never speak to each other, it’s a recipe for a relationship breakdown. The reality is that a father will always be related to his son or daughter and vice versa, but the question is will you be in relationship with them and they with you?


At a far greater spiritual level, our relationship with God involves communication; not just a brief hello, but a much deeper level of sharing our cares, concerns and requests with Him. Prayer is a daily, ongoing, and developing walk with God. 
To put it simplistically, prayer is talking with and listening to God – it’s a two way street just like any other relationship. 

God could of course simply do everything on His own. He could make every problem go away, sort all your burdens out, and then just shower you with everything you need exactly at the time you need it…so why doesn’t He? Because that wouldn’t be a relationship; it would be a completely one-sided acquaintance. All that we would need to do is give Him a nod to acknowledge His existence each morning and then leave the rest to Him. 

God has given us the privilege of prayer so that we will have a moment by moment friendship and relationship with Him that is deeper than any human relationship we could ever have. When we understand that, every human relationship goes to a whole new level too. 

There are some things that my children have asked me for over the years that I haven’t been able to supply — I’m limited and flawed as a father. But then there are times when I’ve sorted things straight away, because it’s within my means and power to do so. Often my phone will ring and the voice on the other end is saying, “Dad…can you…?” The truth is that any Dad LOVES to be asked for things, or asked to do things by his children. It’s what makes the relationship work. Then there are times that I will ask things of my children (usually internet related) and they are happy to help. Once again it makes for great relationships. 

At other times, maybe I will need to talk to them about something or give them advice or encouragement —and so it is with God. He wants you to not only communicate with Him as a child to a father, but He also wants to communicate with you. 

Jesus demonstrated the importance of prayer by His own example…
Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 

Today, I encourage you to engage with God in the privilege of prayer. 


Did you charge your phone today? Of course you did! You remembered to do it because it was important and you needed it to get you through the day. 

Did you pray today? Are you praying throughout today? You have, and you will, when you come to the understanding that you need a spiritual re-charge not only at the start of my day but throughout everyday as day to day life drains me. 

Be a person of prayer. Be a person that’s plugged into the power of God. 

1 John 5:14-15 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him. 

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.