Fresh Hope – 30th January 2021

Good morning!

In November 2014 I started to write FRESH HOPE as a means of giving daily inspiration and encouragement to as many people as possible.
Not long after, I was joined by a small team that shared the vision and helped me write for six days of every week. Together, we have written 1,930 posts and now have over 5,500 people that have downloaded the Champions app.

Today sees that journey come to an end, as we embark on our next season. On Monday morning, ‘Fresh Hope’ will be replaced by a daily Bible reading plan along with the whole of the Bible online.

It is my prayer that you will continue to take time to be inspired by God’s daily word for you. Remember, the Bible is ALIVE and ACTIVE.

So, on Monday, all you have to do is click on the tab that says ‘Alive and Active’ as this will have replaced the ‘Fresh Hope’ tab.

It’s now over to you to invite even more people to read the Bible each day, especially during this time of uncertainty.

Here’s one more fresh hope for you, as we excitedly move into the new season…

Today, we find ourselves living in a world that has been turned upside down. Emotions are running high.

How are you feeling?

For many right now, the feelings are one of pent up anger, sadness and frustration. ‘When is this all going to end?’ and ‘will we ever get back to normality again?’ are questions that no one can fully answer.

All of what we feel on a moment by moment basis, depends on how you see life right now. Could it be that this whole pandemic is helping us to gain perspective on what really matters?

Did you know that the entire population of the world, except for one minor exception, is comprised of others?

There is only one way to stop feeling hurt, frustrated, forgotten, unloved, discouraged, and broken—when you feel any of these emotions, help someone else to feel better and take the focus off yourself.

Life brightens up when you help others.

You cannot solve problems while looking at yourself all of the time.

A little saying is very helpful to remind yourself of each day, it goes like this: it’s so hard to see, when the focus is on me.

There have been many times when I have felt discouraged as I have taken to the platform of our church for over 30 years now. I’ve often thought, ‘how on earth am I going to be able to encourage all these people that have come to receive something from today’s message?’

Within a few minutes of standing there, I have regained my composure and given everything to help and encourage others. Almost instantly I would lose all sense that I was facing discouragement myself.

Today, when I feel like I need a friend, I will simply go out of my way and be a friend to someone else. It’s an amazing way of turning the tables on yourself.

If you’re feeling unloved today, stop feeling sorry for yourself and get out there and show love to someone else. You’ll be amazed at how good life can be when you make it your mission to be a blessing to others.

Proverbs 18 v 24
‘A man who has friends must show himself to be friendly, but there is a friend that sticks closer than any brother’

Remember, if you need further help you can always contact us on info@championschurch.org.uk.

I look forward to you joining us again on Monday!


Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 29th January 2021

Philippians 2 vs 9. “…and God gave Him the name (Jesus) that is a over every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow.”

A name is important. You think long and hard about the name you give to a child, if you’re like me you prayed over that decision also. Fortunately, my three children still like their names and all of them have a powerful meaning.

In Bible days, names were given that meant something.
Eg.
Abraham – Father of many (the fulfilment of a promise)
Elisha – my God is salvation
Esther – star (and she was)
John – God is gracious

Names are not only important, they are powerful.

Go back to the verse we started with… JESUS has the name over every name.

What is your condition today? Cancer? – His name is over that.
What is your situation today? Lonely? – His name is over that.
What is your bank account like today? Broke? – His name is over that.
What is your life like today? A mess? – His name is over that.


You see, whatever powerful name is over your life today, whatever name you have been labelled with, HIS NAME is higher, greater and more powerful than all of those names.

Depression, fear, loser and unemployed may be strong names, but they are not as powerful as the name of Jesus.

What a beautiful name it is.
What a wonderful name it is.
What a powerful name it is.

His name has no rival, no equal – so however strong that name is over your life, it’s no match for His name.

Thank Him today that He can write a new name over your life
Blessed
Forgiven
Free
Prosperous
Healthy
Champion
Saved

I love the name of Jesus!

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 28th January 2021

At the end of January, how many people have already broken their New Year’s resolutions?

News of a third lockdown coupled with snowy weather pushed people to break their January diets a little earlier than usual. A few weeks in and the idea of a ‘new me’ was put on a back burner until a later date.

Goals are great. It’s good to set goals and strive to do things that allow us to grow as people. But goals don’t work unless you really have the desire to do them. External pressures or expectations are rarely the driver for successful goals.

Why did you really want to lose weight this year? Because you want to improve your health or because a national diet is the norm in January?

Why did you want to make more money this year? To be able to give more or to portray the appearance of wealth to others?

Unless it’s the first, it’s done for the wrong reason.

We are told consistently by the media (social or conventional), by marketing companies and by society in general, that we should be something different – we should have more and we should be more than we currently are. We’re constantly told that we should want to be a new version of ourselves because the current version isn’t enough.

That’s not what God tells us.
He tells us we are enough; He created us as we are and loves us for that.

Luke 14:11 (MSG)
‘But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.’

The Message version of this verse tells us to be content in being simply ourselves. We don’t need to pretend to be anything more in order to succeed with God.

The NIV version says
‘For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled and all those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

We don’t need to glorify ourselves to impress God. When we live with humility, seeking God’s approval rather than the acceptance of people, we focus more on applying His wisdom than acquiring social position.

The only ‘self-improvement’ goal God sets for us is to be more like Jesus.

Give what you have to offer.
Be yourself.
That’s who God created you to be – and you were created in His perfect image.

Fiona Geary

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th January 2021

God never wastes a hurt!

It’s possible to believe that your hurt has only one dimension to it —to hurt you. If that’s the case, you’ve missed it. Your hurt is far more than that. Your hurt is often two, or even three dimensional.

First—it hurts you.

Second—it teaches you.

Third—it helps you to help someone else.

Your hurt is only wasted if you can’t see beyond its first dimension.

The greatest thing that you can offer someone else in a current difficulty is the past hurt that you came through and lived to tell the tale. Pain is a wonderful teacher. In fact I would say that you learn the greatest lessons in life through painful experiences.

You never know when you are going to get called upon to share what you learnt, but be sure that that day will come.

Just imagine if the only thing that you are willing to take on board from what you are going through is more hurt because you are hurt. That’s not the point of pain. The point is to squeeze every bit of meaning out of it and store it up so that you can lift someone else that is going through a similar experience.

If your only reaction towards to what you’ve gone through is bitterness, then that’s all you’ve got to offer—who wants a dose of that?

Today, make a choice to live and learn through life’s hard times and thank God for the experience that He’s allowed you to go through.

Someone is waiting for you to help them get them through what you went through earlier. Don’t miss the opportunity to give someone fresh hope and purpose to live another day.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 26th January 2021

Christians can be the best at playing it safe. In an effort not to seem weird, or loopy, we often ‘stay in the boat’, so to speak.

Ironically, Jesus came in the exact opposite spirit and calls us to do the same.

The Bible tells us that, ‘faith without deeds is dead’ (James 2). In other words, believing that God can speak to you, that you can do as Jesus did, and that the word of God is truth, but not living it, is dead faith – also known as religion.

We need to create a culture in our communities where it is okay to ‘step out’ in God. Let’s get confident in praying for the sick, sharing an encouraging word with someone, or speaking out what God is saying and doing.

Here are three things to help create a culture of risk in your life:


1. Be okay with feedback. You wont find a workplace that doesn’t offer regular feedback on what is or isn’t working with your job performance. Nor will you find a professional athlete who isn’t receiving constant coaching and feedback. Christianity isn’t a performance, but let’s be a Christian community that knows how to give feedback well, but also receive it well! Be open to getting better!

2. Don’t get offended. Did you know that Jesus was never offended? The Bible says that Jesus was ‘meek’, meaning that He had power, but it was under control and properly focused. The Greek word translated could also refer to a horse that is broken and all the power it possesses is focused in a productive way! What a picture of how we should manage the inevitably offensive moments we will have in our life! Are we focused on what really matters and who we really are in those moments of offence? Do we use our power to keep silent and focused, or seek revenge and justification?

You living on the edge of offense will hinder your ability to take risks as you will always be ready to take the place of victim, instead of a champion!

3. Be okay with failure!
LEARN from your mistakes. I have never seen a baby go from crawling to running! A lot of falls happen before they get there! There should not be such high stakes in the Christian community around people who dare to take a risk. I am not saying make deliberately poor or sinful choices, I am saying, challenge yourselves to do something that is risky. Encourage others also when you see them taking a risk! Celebrate the fact that they had enough faith to action it and ‘step out the boat’! Also watch your response when people fail. Create a ‘safe place’ for people to fall, learn, and get back up again.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 25th January 2021


I have recently been inspired again by the life and story of Joseph.

Betrayed by his brothers, falsely accused at times, sent to the pit, yet ended up in governance in a palace with incredible influence. There is so much to take from his story (which can be read from Genesis 37-50).

Joseph had the favour of God on him! Over and over God promoted Joseph. Things weren’t always perfect, but the hand of God was on ultimately on his life. The Bible even says that because Joseph was in the house, everything else was blessed!

God loves us totally and completely already, but the story of Joseph proves there are varying degrees of favour on life depending on how you handle/steward that which God has already given you!

Joseph carefully managed whatever was in his hands, and God saw to it then that he increased in influence and blessing as a result.

So what exactly did Joseph do that attracted the favour of God? Here are three of my thoughts:

1. He always said what God said, even when it was uncomfortably honest.

Right from the start of the story when he came out and told his brothers about his dream, he was sharing the word of God, even if it was crazy. When he was in the palace, he was the same – he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and prophesied about a season to come which didn’t make sense or seem reasonable in the season they were in – but Joseph was a faithful steward with the word from God and it ultimately saved a nation.

2. He served in the palace AND the pit! Yes, Joseph used his gift to minister/serve the top dogs, but he was also seen doing it in the pit / prison with the bread maker. He was faithful in the pit (the tough, unseen places), which gained him promotion, favour and influence in the palace.

3. He kept his heart soft. True to the nature of God and His desire for us to have healthy families, God brought Joseph’s brothers back to him for some relational restoration! Joseph could have easily been full of rage and revenge, but instead he was constantly weeping (tenderness of heart), and the Bible actually says that Joseph had compassion for them. I believe for God to use us, we must keep a soft, tender and forgiving heart!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23rd January 2021

Does it matter if I pray? Of course it does!
Does it matter if I have faith? Of course it does!
Does it matter if I worship? Of course it does!
Does it matter if my life produces fruit? Of course it does!
Does it matter if I give? Of course it does!
Does it matter if I serve? Of course it does!
Does it matter if I love my neighbour? Of course it does!

There are many things in life that are important to God and therefore should be important to me.
If my life is dedicated to God, then I will obviously have a desire to please Him.
However, it’s not just about living a life to please God, it’s about living a life that God has mapped out for me that will cause me to have the BEST life.
The things that matter to God, should also be the things that matter to me.

If you are happily married, you will know that you often have to do things that matter to the other person, but ‘naturally’ don’t always matter to you.
Eg. My husband knows a day out shopping matters to me, so he ‘happily’ comes along.
Selfish people will say “I don’t care if it matters to you or not, I’m not doing that, because it doesn’t matter to me.”
You know that that is not the basis for a great relationship.

However, when we do what matters to God, we are not just pleasing Him, we are putting principles into our lives that will actually BLESS us.

It’s in giving that you receive – Acts 20 vs 35
Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you – Matthew 6 vs 33

So today, I urge you, find out what matters to God and put it into practise.
We were not created to live selfishly.

He wants to bless you, He wants your relationship to be strong and He wants to grow your life, so that you will become the person you were created to be.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 22nd January 2021


I have always loved the words from the book of Numbers, in the Old Testament.
Chapter 6 v24-26 says

‘The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.’

What is robbing you of peace today?
Covid 19? Ill health, financial worries, relationship discord, loss of a job, pressures with your studies or education, loss of a loved one, loss of hope, fear of the future – the list could be endless!

Where is it that there is disturbance?
Where is there a loss of freedom and tranquility, a sense of ‘being at war’ in your life? In this season?

For me, I have come to find that when I have lost my peace it is because I have moved or strayed from my ‘safe’ place in God.
I may have neglected reading His word, grieved the Holy Spirit by my actions or thoughts or behaviour perhaps.
At the point where I realise this, I know that the only way to regain my peace is to reposition myself before my God.
To put right that which is not right in my life, by asking and then allowing the Holy Spirit to examine me. To allow the Holy Spirit to expose that which is not right, so that I can allow His work in me again.

It is always a very humbling place to be, and thankfully, a very reassuring and restful place to find myself.
Reminded of an eternal belonging and unconditional love. At peace.

Here is a short story:
A tiny child would often creep into his father’s bedroom to sleep.
In the dark knowing his father was present was enough to take away his sense of aloneness.
‘Is your face turned toward me, Father?’ he would ask.
‘Yes’, his father replied, ‘My face is turned toward you.’
Only then could the child go to sleep.

Today if you are struggling to find peace, reposition yourself. Look for the one whose face is always turned toward you.
Who longs to be gracious towards you, to shine upon you and bring you His peace.
God Himself.

Jacqui Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st January 2021


Let’s talk about sin!

When we become a Christian, scripture says that we are a ‘new creation’, meaning we are free from our sinful nature (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In Christ you are made holy (Ephesians 1:4, Colossians 1:22). You are seen as pure (Titus 2:4), and free from sin (Romans 6:7, 18, 22).

The Bible doesn’t lie. There is no middle ground. Either we are free from sin, or we are not. Either we are a new creation as the Bible tells us, or we are not. Either we are made righteous and holy, or we are not.

So why is there still sin? Why do Christians still sin if God promises us that we are a new creation?

I would like to propose that God has not done a half-working in us, but perhaps we are yet to come to the full-revelation of what God has done in us.

What you believe, you empower. If you believe you are still an old creation, don’t be surprised if you are still acting like one!

There are numerous verses in the Bible that present sin as a ‘personality’, an independent power, as not just actions we do, but an entity we engage with.

FACT: The two most prevalent Greek words used for sin are hamartano (Verb), and hamartia (noun). In the book of Romans, for example, the verb is used only twice; the noun however is used 46 times!

Romans 7, proves that sin is more than just missing the mark. It is a force that exists outside of us trying to influence us.

If Jesus conquered the sin in us, and it is still evident in our lives, perhaps it because we have let the very thing Jesus delivered us from, still have a say in our life. Sin is still in the world, it comes from the outside (noun), and challenges us with desires that our no longer in our new nature. When we believe these lies that is when we give into them and produce sin (verb).

Remember that sin is deceitful, not defining. Sin doesn’t define you, Jesus has already done that. Knowing not every desire you feel is yours makes dealing with the deceit of sin much easier.

Be aware that there is an enemy fighting for your identity. When you are aware of truth, it is easy to recognise a lie. The enemy will work hard at getting you to question the reality of what God has made you at salvation. Wash your mind in the word of God. Use it as the sword it is (Ephesians 6). Stop fighting yourself, and instead declare over yourself what God has already fought and brought for you! You are pure because you have been purified in Christ (Titus 2:14). Let your behaviour come into alignment with this reality.

‘Your fundamental desire is for Him, not sin’.
Mark Greenwood.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 20th January 2021

The definition of cynicism is ‘an attitude of suspicion where you believe the future is bleak and that people are acting only out of self interest. An example of cynicism is when you always think the worst and have a hard time seeing the good in anyone’.

The Bible is full of cynical people. People like Job, who struggled with pessimism in his pain (Job 3), and Jonah showed a cynical attitude toward the people of Nineveh (Jonah 4), or Nathanael who said ‘Nothing good could come from Nazareth’ (John 1:45).

Unfortunately a cynical attitude can be found even among Christians. It is usually a response to hurt or disappointment.

A cynical attitude does not produce fruit, hope or love. Here is what a cynical attitude attracts:
1. The bad. You attract what you focus on! If you focus on only the bad, you magnify it in your life. You miss the good. Instead, our minds should be focused on ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things’ (Philippians 4:8).

2. Exhaustion. You will physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually exhaust yourself with a cynical spirit. You drain the life out of yourself and out of others.

3. Ephesians 4:28 says, ‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen’. Unwholesome talk isn’t just gossip and swearing! It is anything that isn’t helpful or beneficial to anyone listening…. Like cynical comments!

4. Other cynics. You attract that which you are. If you carry a spirit of cynicism, don’t be surprised when other cynical people find you and feel comfortable around you! Now how joyless and draining is a group of cynics?!

5. Problems. A cynical heart is rooted in a powerless mind. A cynical attitude, adds to the problem, and does not contribute to a solution. It would rather stay bogged down and critical, than be powerful and free.


A cynical attitude will hold you back. It will leave you isolated, depressed, and hopeless. Jesus has called us to live full of hope and expectation that He can do ANYTHING, regardless of past hurts or disappointments! He has given us a hope! (Jeremiah 29:11)

If you are cynical towards people, Christians, non-Christians, the church, your work, your spouse, ask God where the cynical attitude stems from and ask Him to show you hope in the situation.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 19th January 2021

If you’ve never read the story of David and Goliath, it’s an interesting account found in 1 Samuel 17. Not only because of the underdog defeating a giant, but it introduces each of us to ourselves in a rather awkward way.


Everyone has a Goliath in them, an area of your life that like the giant, is projected as strong, yet always shielded from attack by many layers. A layer of friends who surround you and cover you whenever you are facing a battle. Then a layer of armour to protect your heart and your emotions from what could hurt you.


But more and more during this pandemic, we are finding ourselves increasingly isolated just like when Goliath moved away from the other soldiers to face David.


And in his increasing isolation, the one area he was vulnerable became more exposed, and David could see it.


If a family member, friend or stranger says something that exposes a hole in your armour, it’s normal to be defensive, but do you let that define who you are? Do you lash out and attack or cower and run to hide from anything that exposes the fears and anxieties that you have?


If you allow it, you will become a victim to your vulnerable side, much like Goliath who isn’t remembered for what he said about himself but how his vulnerability caused him to fall.

Your past failures, hidden weaknesses, losses, hurt, should not control you, or condemn you to a life of fear, anxiety, or death. Hidden pain will break your spirit then break your body.

We are reminded in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.


No matter where you find yourself today, God does not want you burdened. Leave it with Him, and enjoy the life He created you to live.

Noble Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 18th January 2021

I can still vividly remember the cold winter nights, huddled up in front of the coal fire when I was just a young boy.

My Dad would be out at the little church prayer meeting and my Mom would be at home unravelling an old jumper of mine that she had knitted a few years earlier. You didn’t just throw stuff away in those days, as times were hard raising three children, so instead she would unpick the stitching on the old one and use it all over again!

As the wool started to unravel from the old jumper, she would wind it around the back of a chair, or even my hands held wide apart, to keep it in an orderly fashion. It wasn’t an option to go and shop for a new jumper, so instead we would spend an evening looking at colour pictures of new sweaters in a pattern book. When I had chosen the new style, my Mom would frantically knit for hours on end. The night would eventually come when she would do the final sewing of the seams together and there it was, hey presto, my old jumper now in a brand new style. The wool was the just the same, but everyone thought that I had a brand new sweater.

As we contemplate and navigate 2021 with all its unprecedented challenges, I want you to think about having a new mind-set each day.

Let’s take a look at this important verse from the New Testament…

Romans 12:2 ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…’

Here we see the word ‘pattern’ and then we see the word ‘renew’. The actual meaning of ‘renew’ is to ‘re-do’. Just like my mom unravelled the old and re-did according to a new pattern…that’s exactly the picture.

You renew your old mind set by re-doing your mind.

Instead of keep wearing that old sweater with all its snags, pulls and holes…undo it and choose a new pattern.

The new pattern for living is found in the Bible. As you read it, a brand new way of thinking will start to form. If you would make a fresh commitment to read a few verses from it each day, you’ll be amazed at the new look.

Today, I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to help transform your mind —He will.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th January 2021

Please read and inwardly digest, 2 Kings 20 1-5.
Here are the verses for you:
‘In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death.
The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.”
And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
4 Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: 5 “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord.’

Wow! He had just been told he was going to die.
That’s quite final, maybe that’s the end of your hope…
BUT when all hope was gone for Hezekiah, his one hope was still in The Lord.

Here’s three things that I think will help you today as you read and meditate on these few verses:

1. Don’t focus on the problem, it only magnifies the problem.

He didn’t (like most of us would), focus on the fact he was about to die. Verse 2 “he turned his face to the wall and prayed.”
Don’t focus on the problem, just on Jesus.
Focusing on Jesus diminishes the problem.
I love the old song…“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

The strength of his prayer was only in Jesus. Put your focus on the one who is able.


2. Hezekiah prayed once
One prayer was all it took! Sometimes we pray for days, months and even years BUT know this: God’s perfect timing will always kick in.
God has the ability to answer your prayer after once.
Trust in His timing.

3. When you are weeping and praying, God is watching and listening.
God hears you immediately. He sees your heartache, He sees your tears, He knows your innermost thoughts.
BUT, don’t be so focused on the problem that you forget to pray.
God is right there.


Hezekiah did not die there and then! God heard his prayer and answered!

God added 15 years to his life.
It’s never over, until God says it’s over.

PRAY!

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 15th January 2021

You know it is perfectly possible to know exactly where you are but still be lost. I remember being on a family walk on some heathland. We had lost our way and all the paths started to look the same. After a while roaming around looking for the right way the kids were starting to complain. “We are lost” they were saying, “we are not lost, I know exactly where we are”, I was claiming, “we just need to find the right path.”

The reality is that both were true. We knew where we were, on the heath behind a National Trust house, probably only a few metres from where we were supposed to be. However, we did not know which way to go to get back. We may have known where we were but without a direction we would have stayed on that heathland all night!


It is the same in life, we can know exactly where we are but still be lost. We might be struggling with financial issues; lost in sickness; lost in grief; lost in broken relationships; lost in loneliness; lost in unemployment. We will be fully aware that this is where we are and even that this has become familiar, normal, comfortable even. Without a direction we will stay exactly where we are and have no idea how to get back to the life that God wants for us.


In John chapter 14:5 one of Jesus’ disciples says to him “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?.”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
The path back is what we need, the path to the life that God wants us to live, a life of freedom. Freedom from all those issues which hold us down, they are a weight upon us that Jesus wants to lift. Jesus says three things.


He is the way. Notice that Jesus does not say that he ‘knows’ the way but he ‘is’ the way. Focusing our eyes and thoughts on Jesus and lifting them from our own circumstances.


He is the truth. In a world of social media, fake news and deep fake video the words of Pontius Pilot at Jesus’ trial are more relevant than ever ‘what is truth?’. When there is so much noise going on around us it is hard to find the truth. Focusing our minds on the words, actions and person of Jesus shines a light on the true way of being.


He is the life. God does not want us to live in stress and anxiety. He wants us to live life to the full and Jesus came to show us how that life of freedom is possible. That does not mean that troubles will not come but that with Jesus at the centre of your life there we have a rock on which to stand. Making it possible to follow Paul’s exortation to ‘rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances’ (1 Thessalonions 5:16).


Oh, and by the way, we did find our way off the heathland, eventually!

Richard Ashmore

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th January 2021

James 1:22-24 says, ‘Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like’.

Practically speaking, do we spend time meditating on what we have learnt, or simply rush to the next thing? Do we seek out relationships that keep us accountable to the truths we know? Do we ask the Holy Spirit to activate what knowledge has been imparted through teachings? Do we make time to reflect? Do we seriously consider how we can practically apply the word of God to our life?

It can be easy to believe a message, but it requires work to actually apply it. It can be easy to feel like we are exercising our faith by listening and hearing, but don’t be deceived, it is the ACTION of our understandings that makes our faith come alive.

James 2 says, ‘My dear brothers and sisters, what good is it if someone claims to have faith but demonstrates no good works to prove it? How could this kind of faith save anyone?… faith that doesn’t involve action is phony… You can believe all you want that there is one true God, that’s wonderful! But even the demons know this and tremble with fear before him, yet they’re unchanged’.

These days, more than ever, are days for us to action out our faith! Christians are made for adversity! Now is the moment we can get out of our comfortable way of living, and actually activate the truth we know. Now we live by faith!

Take the time to consider how you can apply your next teaching to your life.


Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.
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Fresh Hope – 13th January 2021

Faith that is living and active, looks like something tangible. Faith without works is simply dead.

Let me be clear that works are not for salvation, but because of salvation! Because we have been saved, we get to do good! We don’t do good to get saved. In fact our good works in order to gain righteousness are like “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

This doesn’t mean we sit around being lazy though. As Christians we have been given the privilege to partner with God in doing good works for Him and with Him – what an honour this is when He is more than capable of doing it all Himself! We are in fact created to work! Ephesians 2:10 says, ‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do GOOD WORKS, which God prepared in advance for us to do’.

Mature faith, means we put into practice what we believe, and don’t just consume. We live in a day where we have unlimited access to a feast of information and resources – powerful podcasts, brilliant books, engaging speakers and entertaining preachers, and even phone apps for when we are on the go. But of what use is it all, if we are not intentional about applying the revelation we gain from them to our life? We all know that anyone who simply consumes and consumes and consumes, will inevitably get fat. A healthy person has an active faith, outworking and exercising that which they consume.

Let’s make sure we are outworking what has been put into us!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 12th January 2021

Being socially distanced, our mouths covered with face masks and quietly speaking the words of songs during worship, does not fill us with enthusiasm. The constraints, cause much disappointment and anger at the enemy, “he’s trying to stifle, even silence our worship!”

But as we are in what seems to be a very restricted way of offering up our praise and worship, it’s been great to discover that, despite missing some elements, our worship should not be dampened. Instead, at least for this time, it can become more reflective, and made more intimate and personal, ushering in a deeper sense of wonder at who our God really is: His might, His majesty, His goodness, grace and mercy. It’s truly awe-inspiring, and raises our faith levels, whilst at the same time, bringing us to a place of humility before the King of kings.

Dare I say, without the potential to be carried away by the sound of our own voices to the rhythm and beat of the music, we can become much more aware of the profound depth of meaning of the words and songs we sing. And spoken softly, they have become humble, reverent prayers: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty … merciful and mighty … only thou art holy, there is none beside thee, perfect in power, love and purity.’ … ‘My Jesus, My Saviour, Lord, there is none like you, all of my days I want to praise the wonders of your mighty love.’

The enemy might have had a plan (as he always has) to steal the praise and worship that belongs to Almighty God, but God has turned his plan on its head, and at the same time challenged our limited understanding of worship. I believe we are entering into worship from a deeper place in our hearts, which is surely what blesses the Father. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us, ‘The Lord doesn’t see things the way we see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’

How about looking up the words of your favourite worship song and speaking them as a personal prayer to God today? Repeat it if you have to and be attentive to each word as you say it, let it be a sweet fragrant offering to God, our Lord and Saviour who carries us through all seasons.

Christine Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th January 2021

A woman who had 15 children was once asked by an interviewer, “With so many children how do you love them all the same?”
She smiled and gave an answer that he wasn’t expecting, “I don’t love them all the same.”
Taken aback, the interviewer awkwardly asked, “Well…which one do you love the most?”
She gave a thoughtful smile and answered softly, “The one who is hurting the most, the one who feels the most loneliness, the one who is brokenhearted…that’s the one I love the most.”

God has a lot more children to love than 15, and I don’t believe that He plays favorites, but He does have a special place in His heart for those who are hurting. He’s with us always, but in our moments of deepest despair, I believe His presence is strongest.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

If you are in a place right now where you feel like you’re all alone, I want to reassure you that you are not alone. God is with you. Jesus has said, “Never will I leave you or forsake you.” God loves you more than you can imagine. He will be your strength until the pain passes and He will bring good out of it somehow. Trust Him and know that you are loved with an eternal love.

Isaiah 49:15-16 ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands….’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th January 2021

In Exodus chapter 4, we read that Moses was concerned about the future – (see verses 1 & 2). He was concerned about how he was going to be able to lead the people? What if they wouldn’t follow him?
Was he good enough? Was he clever enough? Was he bright enough? Was he a good enough leader? Did he have what it took?
God said “What’s in your hand Moses?” In other words, what have I already given you, what have you already got?

Too often, we worry about what’s to come and we concern ourselves with that.
God doesn’t want us to be worried about that, or in fact anything. He is our Father, He has it covered. But here is the thought: What do you have right now?

You see, a farmer may be concerned about his harvest. Is it going to be big this year?
Is it going to be enough for him and his family to survive?
The answer is in his hand.
How much seed he sows now.

Don’t worry about your bills or your future or your blessings to come.
The answer is what you do with what’s in your hand now.
The little bit you have will multiply when you sow it.

What gifting has God given you?
It’s important that you use what He has given you right now. This will lead to your gifting being multiplied and blessed.

God wants to shift your anxiety away from the future and get you to see what you have access to right now.

That’s what God did with Moses – averted his focus off the anxiety of what the future may hold and told him to look at what was in his hand at that moment.
Moses had a simple staff, but he used it for mighty miracles.

Thank God for what you have right now. It may seem small and insignificant, but when you sow what little seed you have today, that’s what will determine your future harvest.


Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 8th January 2021


I can still see it perfectly today—the place where I was standing when I heard God speak to me.

“Mark…ask me to use you”, He said.

After a stunned silence, for what must have been all of 30 seconds, I said something like this: “Okay, well if it’s alright with you, I’d like you to use me in healing the sick.”

I honestly didn’t think I’d hear anything more back about that, but I was mistaken. The God of the Bible is the God that speaks…I just didn’t realise it at the time. God spoke to me again, and said that He would let me know when I was to go and pray for my first sick person.

I honestly thought that I would be sent to pray for a simple headache, but that wasn’t God’s idea of easing me in. Just a few weeks later my heart sank, when I felt the strong urge to go and pray for a seriously ill young man of 14 that I knew.

For three days I resisted and rejected what I knew for certain I was being asked to do. On the third night, I couldn’t stand the pressure any more, and off I went and found myself standing by his bedside, surrounded by his mates. This young man was not just ill, he was pronounced incurable by the hospital and had been sent home.

He couldn’t get out of bed or even sit up; his physical frame was diminishing fast. I did pray the most simple prayer for him that night, laying my hands on him asking JESUS to heal him. On that, I confidently walked out and left for bed. My confidence was in God alone.

I hardly slept that night in full expectation that this guy was going to be miraculously healed by God. It was 6.30am on the very next morning that he jumped out of bed and cooked the whole family a big breakfast. He hadn’t eaten for weeks himself, but on that morning he got stuck straight into a fry up with no ill effects.

Today he is still perfectly healthy and never did go back to the doctors.

Mark 16:17-18 “And these signs will accompany those who believe…they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

Will you ask God to use you today?

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th January 2021

Where is your focus? You may be thinking ‘well, we’re only a week into the year, so it’s mainly work’. Or maybe it’s on new habits you’re trying to form. Or maybe it’s the news, as you’re keeping an eye on what is happening (which is a lot) in the world.

The dictionary defines ‘focus’ as ‘the centre of interest or activity’.

Therefore, when you focus on something, your attention, your time, your energy, your thoughts become dedicated to it, for a length of time.

Philippians 4:8-9 onwards teaches us something important about focusing our thoughts:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
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With so much going on and the busyness of life pulling us in several different directions, it can be easy to become distracted. But what you focus on, you feed. Let’s use the wisdom of God’s word to refocus today. Right at the end of those two verses is a promise – that when we train our thoughts on good things, God brings His peace.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 6th January 2021

What is the presence of God? The ‘presence’ of someone is when they exist in a space/place. God is actually omnipresent, meaning that He is present everywhere all at once! (Psalm 139:7-12).

We as Christians also ‘carry the presence of God’ (Romans 8:9) – God no longer exists behind a thick, curtain in a Temple. At the cross, that curtain was torn, and Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit within us, so we walk with the presence of God (even if we don’t always feel it). Yep! The God who created the universe, and raised Jesus from the dead, LIVES IN US!

Furthermore, there are times when we can experience the tangible presence of God.

The most common Hebrew term for ‘presence’ is ‘panim’, which is also translated to ‘face’, implying a close and personal encounter with God.

We can and should have a close and personal encounter with the presence and person of God on a daily basis.

The Holy Spirit (presence of God) is described in the Bible as being a person. Just as a person can walk into a room and change an atmosphere, carries an energy, and manifests something of their personality – so does the Holy Spirit. The Bible says that Holy Spirit has emotion too. The Holy Spirit feels! If we are going to be people who host the Holy Spirit in our lives, we have to be people who honour the feelings of Him and create a space for His presence.

Just as you would prepare a guest room for a special person coming to stay, or set up a beautiful setting at the table on Christmas Day for a loved one, we also have to create the space and place for the manifest presence of God in our lives.

What kind of environment and space do you have for the presence of God in your life? Do you honour the presence of God in your life by making room, and creating an atmosphere that His personality loves? If our lives are full of hurry, foul language, perverted songs, TV and media, anything and everything not lovely, we aren’t creating the space or lifestyle for the tangible presence of God. Purity isn’t popular to talk about. Holiness isn’t ‘cool’, but if we want to be people who bring other people into an encounter with the goodness of our God, our lives should host an atmosphere that He loves! This is not a ‘must do’ religious challenge. This is a GET TO privilege. Our lives get to host THE person of God!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th January 2021


‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland’ Isaiah 43:19.

As we sit on the cusp of a brand new year, we usually begin to reflect on the year gone by and consider the one to come.

I’m sure for many of you, 2020 can be defined as a year in which you saw and made it through many unforeseen circumstances and challenges. It is always encouraging to look back and see that which you once thought was impossible, but have now overcome. For some of you perhaps, your growth as a person can be marked. Perhaps there have been difficulties that you are sure will be carried into 2021.

This week I have been culling the cupboards of my house in preparation for a house move. I love the feeling of simplifying. Cutting back on what is not used and making room for the new. I believe in many areas of our lives we should regularly review, cut, and make space for the next season.

God is a God of new beginnings and His desire for all of us is to walk into the New Year with a strong sense of hope and faith for the future. We may not be able to change our circumstances or situations, but we can shift our perspective and attitude.

Focus on what you can do, and leave the rest to God.

Some good questions to ask yourself are:

What do I need to stop worrying about that is out of my control?

What do I need to start including in my day that feeds my soul?


Who do I need to unfollow – in life or on social media?


When is the last time I got lost in the wonder of the word?


What consumes too much of my head or heart space that is unhealthy?


When is the last time I did something for my husband, friend or work mate – just to see them smile?


When is the last time I set personal goals?


What did I do today to prioritise my health (mind, body and soul)?


When is the last time I did something for the first time?

What can I start today to make a positive impact on my future? (saving, investing, reading or writing).

Tune into what God might have for you in the New Year.


Be prepared for God to do a new thing. Cull and make space.

Jeremiah 29:11

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th January 2021

Does 2021 already feel all too familiar?

Have your hopes for a better year already been dashed?

Have the disappointments of 2020 started to present themselves again?

Do you feel like you are in a hopeless situation today?

Is there no sign of change in the natural?

Remember, we serve a supernatural God.

What looks impossible with man is possible with God.

In the Bible, God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations, but in the natural this looked impossible. Both he and his wife were beyond child-bearing years. They had no reason to hope or believe that it would happen. They had nothing to go on in the natural, but one translation of this account says “hoping in spite of hopeless circumstances, he believed.”

…And the rest is history as we say. Abraham finally had a son, Isaac, and his son, Jacob, had 12 sons who became the original 12 tribes of Israel, whose descendants outnumbered the grains of sand on the sea shore.

Today I encourage you to do what Abraham did and believe against all the odds. Keep believing. Keep praying and keep moving forward. Don’t focus on the impossible circumstances, but focus on the God who makes the impossible possible.

Keep looking through the eyes of faith, because …’He who has promised is faithful.’ (Hebrews 10 v 23)

Romans 4:18-21 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd January 2021


As a child I often heard the words, “stop, look and listen.” It was whilst I was being taught how to cross a busy road. It was better known as the ‘green cross code’.

It was there to teach me, for my protection and safety.

There are three things I want to share with you that I have learnt and am still learning this past year and they are:

“stop, look and listen”

STOP – sometimes we find it difficult to stop. I am a perfect example of that. A busy Martha rather than a Mary. This year probably like me, you have had to STOP. It’s like God pressed a big ‘pause’ button on life and we all in some way or another, had to stop.
Stop is good, as long as it’s not for too long. A full stop comes at the end of a sentence, indicating that a new one is about to come.
Something has finished and something else is about to start…Yeah!
Don’t look at the negative of stopping, look for the positive of something new starting.

LOOK – these past few months have made me realise how important it is to look. Look around at the things that really matter and be thankful for them. Look at the simple things in life, those we have always taken for granted and appreciate them greatly.

LISTEN – what is God saying? If you don’t take time to listen, you’ll not know. Many people get frustrated (me included at times) because we don’t listen. Stop getting frustrated or fearful or anxious and instead listen to God the Father (I hope He is your Father), listen to the voice of the precious Holy Spirit and get wisdom and guidance for the next chapter of your life.

If you, like me love to quote “the best is yet to come”
then today my friend, I’m reminding you to
STOP
LOOK
LISTEN

Happy new year to one and all.



Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st January 2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Could this year be any worse than 2020?).

I’m standing with you today and believing that 2021 will be an amazing year ahead.

No matter what the road ahead has in store for us, we all know that there is no magic number, day, or year that will make it a good year —it simply doesn’t have that power or ability to do so. However, what does have the power to do so, is found in your daily routine on each and every day of 2021.

THE SECRET TO YOUR SUCCESS IS FOUND IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE.

You may ask, ‘what difference does a few minutes make each day?’

Ask your teeth after you’ve brushed them.

Ask your body after you’ve exercised.

Ask your house after you’ve cleaned it.

Ask your kids after your spent time talking with them.

Ask God after a time of prayer.

The answer is huge—a few minutes changes everything when done consistently.

If you were to set your alarm clock just 30 minutes early for just five days out of seven this year, then you would not only get a much better head start on the day, but you would actually gain an additional 125 hours this year. Do you realise that one new habit will give back to you the equivalent of three 40-hour working weeks?! That’s three whole weeks to do something more with your life than ever before.

Even more amazing is this: if you watch TV/social media for just 30 minutes less per day, then you give back to yourself another three whole weeks— that’s six weeks just by adjusting your daily habits at the start of this new year.

I never start a day without spending the first portion of it in prayer with God. The only way I can do that is by getting up before the day does! You’ll be amazed at how that one thing will change your whole outlook this year. You decision has the power to change your future.

Discipline yourself.

Get into focus.

Make every moment count.

Live out your destiny to the full.


Psalm 90v12 ‘Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.