Fresh Hope – 31st May 2019

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


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

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

Although not a Christian at the time, in the truest sense of knowing Jesus, but I was around 15 or 16 when I felt the urge to move forward into praying each day for other things that bothered me.

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

It was quite a burdensome thing really when I think about it; I was praying to God…but I didn’t know Him. It was a good ritual, but was not born out of relationship.

Now, more than forty years later of knowing Jesus, I am still learning about prayer Today I share with you my following experience…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Pastor Mark


A daily devotion for a better way of living

Fresh Hope – 30th May 2019

 Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the skyas you hold firmly to the word of life’ Philippians 2:14-16 


When someone tells us not to complain, and ‘live a cheerful life’, we can take it with a sense of criticism. “Do they not understand real life?”, ”That’s just not possible!”, “Isn’t it fake to just pretend that everything is ok?”, “Life might be good enough for you to suggest living a cheerful life, but not for me!” 


Complaining isn’t about being honest about how you feel, it is a heart posture of contempt, and hopelessness.  


If anyone was qualified enough to encourage us to ‘do everything without grumbling or arguing’, it was Paul himself. I have visited the very prison in Rome where Paul wrote this letter to the church from. I can assure you that he had plenty to complain about. The cell is small, dark and damp. For Paul to sit on that prison floor and instead of complain, encourage the church to ‘shine like stars’, speaks of his courageous hope in God, for the church, despite his circumstance.  


What in our lives do we have attitudes against?  



The state of the world 


When complaint and hopelessness fills our hearts, there is no room to love or bring hope. We offer nothing different from the world. We blend in. We aren’t shining. But when we demonstrate a non-complaining spirit, we show ourselves to be people of hope in a generation desperate for itWe stand out.  


Note that Paul doesn’t encourage Christians to be lights, he says that we ARE lights, the only question is: how brightly do we shine?  


Lights are used to make things evident. 

Lights are used to guide. 

Lights are used as a warning. 

Lights are used to bring cheer. 

Lights are used to make things safe. 


Just before Paul encourages us to live a cheerful life, he says, ‘God will continually revitalise you, implanting within you the passion to do what pleases him’ (Philippians 2:13).  It is the presence of God that refreshes us, and allows us to shine! We don’t have to fake up a shine. Meet with God, get in His presence, let Him build in you hope that with transform your heart and allow you to shine like you were made to.  

 Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 29th May 2019

Have you ever bitten into a chocolate that was bland and boring on the outside, but rich, textured, and layered on the inside? Or maybe gone to a restaurant that looked really average from the outside, but served incredible food inside? Or maybe finished a book that was so much better than it looked?

I want what is on the inside, to be better than what is seen on the outside. I want a private life that is even better than my public life. I want what happens behind the closed doors of my home, to be even better than what others see on the outside. I want the inner state of my soul, to be more beautiful than any outward attraction. I want the health of what is unseen to overflow to what is seen.

I want to have a powerful private life. By “private life” I mean the inner parts of our lives that no one else sees. This may be your home, your heart, your mind, your relationships with those close to you, and above all, God.

The thing with what we eat is that at some point it will show on your body. What is consumed in private will certainly show in public one day. We can secretly consume our snacks and have our private binges, but at some point, it will show.

Equally, if we eat with discipline and exercise consistently, our bodies will manifest what has taken place in private. My point is that whatever we cultivate in inner world flows into our outer world.

Unfortunately today we have the order reversed. Many focus on outer appearances and projects first, paying little attention to the inner workings of their lives. Things like their home, mind, emotions, heart condition, and their close relationships are placed secondary to things of outward importance.

God is a God who works from the inside out. Like a tree that bares outward fruit only by the tree digging its hidden roots deep down, to nourish our private life we must be established in the springs of the Spirit of God, the Word of God, and in a life of prayer – things that aren’t seen and hardly celebrated. We may not get a public praise for these things, but by extending our roots deep in these things privately, we can become productive and authentic people in public.

As Isaiah would say, as the remnant would take root downward that they might bear fruit upward, so believers today need to do the same in their person lives (Isaiah 37:31).

Our public life consists of various works, service, labour, ministry, and personal activities, but it is our private world which becomes the fountain of supply and foundation of support (Psalm 36:9, Proverbs 4:23). It is our private time alone with God and his word that nourishes the inner world of our spiritual lives, which then governs the outer world.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.



Fresh Hope – 28th May 2019

…(Continued from yesterday)

Let’s focus further today on a number of healthy ways to resolve conflict in any relationship:

How to talk to the person you’re struggling with is where many people struggle. And those conversations often go sideways because people begin with blame. Don’t blame. Explain. Instead of saying “You always” or “You never” (which might be how you feel like starting), begin by talking about how you experience them.
If you’re dealing with an ‘angry person’ for example, you might frame it this way: “John, I just want you to know that when you get upset in a meeting, it makes me feel like the discussion is over and I can’t make a contribution.”
If you’re dealing with gossip, try something like:  “Rob, on Tuesday when you told me what happened to George on the weekend, I felt like that was something George should have told me directly.”
Do you hear the difference between explaining and blaming?
Blaming others is a guarantee that the only person who won’t grow is you.

Giving one or two specific incidents is much better than making general accusations or commenting on personality traits. “The other day in the meeting” or “In your email yesterday” is much more helpful than “You just always seem so frustrated.”
The more specific you are, the more you de-escalate conflict and move toward a hopeful ending.

What the person you’re confronting needs is hope.
At this point, they probably feel defensive, ashamed and (hopefully) sorry.
Let them know the gifts they bring to the table and the good they do.
Tell them you are looking forward to the future and want things to work out.

I know this sounds trite, but it’s not.
Don’t pray about them. Pray for them.
It is almost impossible to stay angry with someone you pray for.
It can also give you empathy for them, and at least in your minds eye, it places you both firmly at the foot of the cross in need of forgiveness. It will take any smirk of superiority out of your attitude, which goes a long way toward solving problems.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:7-11‬

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th May 2019

Over the next two days, let’s focus on a number of healthy ways to resolve conflict in any relationship:

Conflict and even bad chemistry is almost never 100% one person’s fault.
Thinking you’re not part of the problem is often the problem.

One of the best expressions I’ve heard of how to figure out the extent to which you might be part of the problem is to ask a compelling question: What’s it like to be on the other side of me?!

Often issues are mishandled because we talk about someone rather than to someone.
Jesus was crystal clear on how to handle conflict, but very few Christians follow his practice. In the name of being ‘nice’, we become ineffective.
Talk to the person you have the problem with. Directly. If you haven’t got the courage to do it, maybe the problem isn’t even big enough to worry about.

When you’re in conflict, stop talking about people. Start talking to them.

It’s easy to assign bad motives to people. Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt.  They might not realize how they are coming across. Believe the best about others; don’t assume the worst.
Believing the best can help you address an issue directly without ruining the relationship. It can turn hurtful into helpful. Here’s an example: “Rachel, you might not realize this, but sometimes your emails can come across as demanding or even demeaning. I’m not sure you’re aware of that, but I just wanted to let you know how they leave me feeling sometimes. I know you probably don’t mean to do that.”
That gives the person an out, and frankly, many times, they probably had no idea they were coming across negatively.
When you believe the best about others, you tend to get the best from others.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:6‬ ‭

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 25th May 2019

Be careful that you don’t forget the good things that God has done for us. We may say that we are thankful, but do we show it?

In the New Testament we read about how Jesus healed ten lepers and yet only one came back to thank Him. How sad is that?

It’s easy to take for granted that today you have breath in your body, that the sun is shining, that you have eyes to read this devotional and a new day ahead of you filled with blessings and opportunities.

In Psalm 106 vs 9-13 (Message version), we read the following…

They were barely beyond the Red Sea
 when they defied the High God
 —the very place he saved them!
 —the place he revealed his amazing power!
He rebuked the Red Sea so that it dried up on the spot
 —he paraded them right through!
 —no one so much as got wet feet!
 He saved them from a life of oppression,
 pried them loose from the grip of the enemy.
 Then the waters flowed back on their oppressors;
 there wasn’t a single survivor. Then they believed his words were true
 and broke out in songs of praise.

But it wasn’t long before they forgot the whole thing.

This is a sad account of how awesome God was, how He saved them from their enemies, how He did many miracles.

It says they praised Him, but then they soon forgot – “but it wasn’t long before they forgot the whole thing.”

Don’t be like the healed leper who forgot to thank, or like the Israelites, who praised, but then forgot.

Our best life, is one that is full of gratitude and continual thankfulness for the goodness of God.

Your thankfulness and gratitude will open the door of your life to many more blessings and take you to a higher level in your life.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 24th May 2019

12 signs that you are intimidated

1) If you are avoiding something that you need to deal with.

2) If you are avoiding having a conversation that you need to have.

3) If you apologise too little or too much.

4) If you make excuses for yourself

5) If you feel uncomfortable or critical around successful people.

6) If you won’t make a decsion that needs to be made.

7) If you won’t look people in the eye.

8) If you feel uncomfortable asking people to do something for you.

9) If you feel insulted when someone offers you a suggestion.

10) If you don’t have a relationship with people beyond your level.

11) If you know that something is right for you to do but don’t do it for fear of what people will think.

12) If the person on the other end of the phone gets you to agree on something that you don’t want to do.


It comes in the form of three things…Intimidation, manipulation and domination.

It’s like a leaking roof; drip, drip ,drip…and then a flood if you don’t deal with it.

We are not supposed to cope with intimidation, we are to recognise it, expose it and deal with it.

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

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23 May 2019

Leaves were piled on top of each other. Petals, stems, and sticks, scattered across the table. I had arrived home to a beautiful bunch of white roses from my husband. Only to showcase them in a vase, I needed to do some serious pruning, trimming, and chopping. My hands had to be pricked many times by thorns. A considerable mess was made on the dining-room table in preparing these flowers.

Once the stems were trimmed to an appropriate length, and the leaves pulled off, the roses were ready to be displayed in the centre of the room. When people come over, they certainly will notice these gorgeous flowers, but they will never see the messy process that got them there. They will admire their arrangement, and their beauty, but not know the hard work, pricked fingers, and cut sticks and stems required.

In life we are quick to recognise the wonderful. We want the wonderful. We feel sad if we don’thave the wonderful. What we can easily misunderstand is the messy process that often leads to true beauty and wonder. Most messy work is done in the privacy of our hearts in order for something beautiful to be cultivated in our lives.

You should see the mess I make in the kitchen in order to produce a good meal. Or the mess I make when I’m in the process of creating a piece of art. Or the mess in the middle of sorting and clearing out a room in the house. It is always a messy process that leads to something beautiful.

People don’t post about their processes, they don’t display the mess. They don’t often enjoy the cutting and the chopping, the molding and the shaping. Some don’t even recognise it’s happening. But process is not to be despised, rather embraced as a necessary in our lives.

John 15:2 says, ‘He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful’.

Bearing fruit, or not, be prepared – you WILL be either cut or pruned.

If you feel like you are in the process of a private mess, if you feel you are getting pruned and painfully shaped, rest in the reality that your beauty is on its way.

Don’t merely seek the glorious, and despise the messy process that gets you there. People may only see the beauty that stands on the outside, but it is the careful, refining process of the Holy Spirit trimming, cutting, chopping, and clearing our inner lives, that will get you there.

Emma Burchell


A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 22nd May 2019

In Christ’s Letter to the church in Revelation 2, we read, ‘I know all that you’ve done for me – you have worked hard and persevered. I know that you don’t tolerate evil. You have tested those who claimed to be apostles and proved they are not… I also know how you have bravely endured trials and persecutions because of my name, yet you have not become discouraged. BUT I have this against you: you have abandoned the passionate love you had for me at the beginning. Think about how far you have fallen! Repent and do the works of love you did at first.

This church was a tried and tested church. They had done many good things in the name of God. They worked for the kingdom. They persevered. They were not tolerant of sin.  They endured trials bravely. Yet they had lost something. Their witness was weakened because they missed the main ingredient. In all their good works, they had left behind their love for Jesus. They had lost their passion. They had got caught up in the commission, and missed the connection. They had got distracted in the function of God, and lost their friendship with God.

Another translation says, You have forsaken the love you had at first’. The Greek word for “first” (protos) means “best” or “number one”.

I’m reminded of Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha. Martha was busy working for Jesus, running around doing good things in themselves. Martha was angry that her sister Mary was enjoying simply being with Jesus, rather than DOING for Jesus. “You should tell her to get up and help me”, she told Jesus. Much like the letter to the church, the Lord then answered her, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I wont take this privilege from her” (Luke 10:40-42).

Mary had the passion. She knew what was best. What was ‘number one’. She had not forsaken her first love.

If you are feeling disillusioned. If you are feeling burnt out. If you have lost that inner fire and passion for Jesus and people, may I encourage you to do as the letter goes on to say … ‘Repent’ – meaning to change your thinking… ‘and do the works you did at first’ (Revelation 2:5).

Do what you first did when you first had that passion for Jesus…Make the time for him. Seek out the connection, and desire friendship. Choose what is better.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st May 2019

There’s an old saying that we all know…’time passes quickly when you’re having a good time’.


It’s an accurate assessment and is very true.

We can all remember that week away on a family holiday where we saw everything just fall into place. The accommodation was great, the food was great, the weather was great and the icing on the cake was that no one argued and fell out. The down side was that the whole event came and went in what felt like an instant.

No matter how you tried to slow the whole thing down, time would not stand still.

However there is another truth and it is this: ‘time passes quickly when you’re having a bad time.’

Now I know that you’re going to argue that this is not true, as you’ve experienced the worst month of your life, and it’s felt like it would never end – I do agree.

You want time on these occasions to hurry up don’t you, but it’s seems that every hour is like a day.

Think about this…whether in a good time or a bad time, time passes at exactly the same rate. It’s quick.

Another old saying becomes reality…’time stands still for no man’.

I was wanting to give a wake up call to a group of young leaders some weeks ago, and so I asked them how many remembered the Millennium celebrations.

Some were barely out of nappies (at the millennium that is) but many recalled the events of that night.

That night was almost twenty years ago now. How incredible that time has raced on for every single one of us no matter what.

I went on to tell the group that if we take that same amount of time again from today, then I will be approaching seventy eight years of age; I will be the age that my grandparents were when they were really old!

For everyone today that’s living a dead-end life, doing a dead-end job and feels no passion to get out of bed in a morning, then I remind you that ‘time passes quickly when you’re having a bad time’.

Why keep doing that which clearly isn’t working?

Why keep being miserable doing what you hate doing every day?

Why keep merely surviving when there is a life to be had that will see you thriving?

Someone once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again whilst expecting to get different results.

There comes a time in life when you need to give yourself a check up and ask those searching questions about ‘why am I doing what I am doing?’

Don’t be afraid to change careers. Go with your passion.

Maybe you need to change your set of friends that are holding you back?

Maybe you are resisting the spiritual element of your life and are refusing to surrender your life to God?

Is fear holding you back from a great future? Then take a step of faith today.

Always remember: fear looks, but faith leaps.

Luke 13:6-9 Then Jesus told this parable: ‘A man had a fig-tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” ‘“Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down”.


Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 20th May 2019

Jeremiah is a one of God’s major spokesmen in the Bible. His role, like any other prophet, was to declare what God wanted to say to a person or to a group in any given situation.

In Jeremiah 20, he is sent to speak to the leader of the temple, and to tell him that he needed to set things straight in God’s house or else! Everyone was doing their own thing and totally disregarding the laws of God.

As Jeremiah brings this strong word, he is rejected and the following day is beaten and chained.

Now you would think that Jeremiah would be really made of strong stuff as he was used to delivering pretty harsh words to bring people back to God, but notice what he says after delivering such words…

Jeremiah 20:7-9 You deceived me, Lord, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, ‘I will not mention his word or speak any more in his name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

It’s what I call the pain of speaking out.

Speaking out on Gods behalf brings with it a very real sense of pain and even insult and reproach at times. You can make a lot of enemies as well as friends for saying what’s right.

Have you ever felt like giving up because your words are seemingly always met with disdain?

Do you feel that the cost of being a mouth piece in this generation is too high?

Jeremiah certainly wanted to just bury his head in the sand and say ‘enough is enough…I’m not opening my big mouth again’.

But no sooner had he said it when he described a feeling of Gods word being like ‘a fire shut up in his bones’. He couldn’t stay quiet, he had to speak out. That is exactly what God had called him to do with his life.

If you feel like quitting from time to time, then Join the club…you’re normal.
Jeremiah was no different to you or I today. One day you feel like speaking up with boldness and couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks and then the next you are totally sidelined with such forceful negativity that you just want to die.

Listen to his further thoughts about his life, after communicating exactly what God wanted him to say….

Jeremiah 20:14-18 Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! Cursed be the man who brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying, ‘A child is born to you – a son!’ May that man be like the towns the Lord overthrew without pity. May he hear wailing in the morning, a battle cry at noon. For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged for ever. Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?

My friends, take a lesson from Jeremiah’s book; if you speak up, you may well get shot down by others, and if not you may well want to shoot yourself down.

If you can identify with this today, then don’t dismay;They are just feelings, and they will come and they will go.

God needs your voice.

Don’t be silenced – speak up!

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 18th May 2019

Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands ona few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

There’s a problem called ‘familiarity’. It happened to Jesus.

We read that he couldn’t do any miracles (vs5) because they were too familiar with Him . “It’s only Mary and Joseph’s son.”

We can be so close to something, so familiar with something, that we don’t really see it, or get it or appreciate it. It’s called familiarity and it leads to complacency.

Familiarity will cause us to be blind to the obvious, not see what’s in front of us, take things for granted, have an entitlement mentality and treat as common that which is sacred.

You’ve all heard the saying “familiarity breeds contempt”, which means disrespect.

A few verses later, we read that many people rushed to Jesus and many miracles were performed.

Same Jesus. Different attitude.

Same Jesus.  Different spirit.

Same Jesus. Different heart.

The people recognised Him.

Make sure you recognise Jesus for who He truly is.

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The healer. The deliverer.

The restorer. The all powerful one.

Don’t become blind or ungrateful or treat with contempt that and who is in your life.

For if you do, you won’t be able to receive either.

Vs 53 – 56 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognised Jesus. They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.


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

Fresh Hope – 17th May 2019

For many years now I’ve motivated myself to get up and believe that today is going to turn out to be a good one, and if it’s not a good one, I’m going to turn it into one.

Some of those days have started out and even ended up as some of the most painful days of my life…

Some of those days I’ve felt totally inadequate for what lay ahead…

And some of those days were some of the greatest days of my life.

But no matter what, we all have to be motivated to keep going and break through with faith and a smile.

Here are some simple yet helpful pointers to help kick start everyday…no matter what lies ahead.

1) Set the start time of your day…otherwise everyone else will.

Instead of racing around the house getting ready, having no time to eat breakfast or to compose yourself, ask, what would the ideal time be for me to get up in a morning, so that I can find peace before the day kicks off?

That’s the ideal time then for you to rise. Get up!

I bet you charge your phone over night….every night.

That’s because you know you’re going to need it to be on full battery when you leave the house.

So why do we leave the house emotionally and spiritually empty most days of the week?

Get up in the morning at the time you have set as and  once you’ve done it for a month you will form a new habit for the rest of your life.

2) Prepare in advance for everything you do.

E.g. If you are going for a jog when you get up, then get your running gear out the night before so that you remove the excuses that will be impacting your mind when you wake. Just a thought!

If you have a meeting the next morning, prepare for it the night before.

Anyway…most importantly, when you wake, make a cuppa and prepare a special quiet spot in your home that you get into the habit of being drawn towards. Spend ample time in reading the Bible and in prayer. If you run out of things to pray about then make lists of concerns and needs that you can bring before God each day.

Don’t be afraid of the silence. Enjoy it, and allow God to speak to you.

Don’t just hope for the best…pray for the best.

3) Have an I can do attitude towards everything

Do everything with enthusiasm.

At the same time be flexible when unforeseen problems come your way. See them as opportunities rather than hindrances.

Every difficulty is an opportunity in disguise.

Let your attitude determine the atmosphere, no matter where you go and what you do.

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.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th May 2019

A tower stands tall in a city. It overshadows neighbouring buildings, offering protection in its structure, advantage in its height, and strength in its stature.

Proverbs 18:10 says, ‘The character of God is a tower of strength, for the lovers of God delight to run into his heart and be exalted on high’.

In a tsunami, where do people run? To higher ground. People seek refuge in towers. When waves of trouble rush into your life, where is your higher ground? Your safer place?

Proverbs calls us to find our higher place, our safer place, and our strong place, in the name of the Lord. The name of the Lord represents the character of God.  The character of God is his unfailing, ever-present and perfect nature of which we can totally trust.

Simply saying and believing:

Lord, You are a God of love – so I find refuge in your love.

Lord, You are a God of mercy – so I find refuge in your mercy.

Lord, You are a God of strength – so I find refuge in your strength.

Lord, You are a God of righteousness – so I find refuge in your righteousness.

is moving to higher ground.

When a flood is closing in, you don’t meander to higher ground you RUN! When an animal is being hunted, they don’t cruise on back to their hiding place, they RUN!

When our troubles close in, don’t meander around complaint, depression, and negativity… RUN to the character and heart of God in order to find your safety!

God provides a wonderful and strong defence. This is rooted not in a magical saying of His name as if it were some kind of charm, but in the name of the LORD as a declaration of His character all that He is and all that He stands for, Yahweh (the LORD) is a strong tower.

Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved! (Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, and Romans 10:13).

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 15th May 2019

‘Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life’ (Proverbs 18:21 TPT). 

Our words are more than just sound frequencies released into the atmosphere. Over and over the Bible reminds us that there is power in our words. From the creation of the world through spoken word, the miracles Jesus released through declaration, the warnings in the epistles to control your life by controlling your tongue, and the life-giving wisdom in the proverbs cautioning us that we will eat the fruit of our mouths. It is clear that what comes off our tongue, moulds, forms, creates and shifts our environment. 

Like a ship is steered by a small rudder, so our lives are steered in the direction of our words (James 3:4). 

We cannot afford be passive about what we speak out. We must be conscience of our words and intentional with them.

BUT words don’t actually start in your mouth. They start in your heart. Like a meal isn’t made on the dining table of a restaurant, rather first concocted in the hidden kitchen out the back, so our words were prepared somewhere well before they are spoken out. They start in the privacy of our heart.

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’ (Matthew 12:34).

Because your mouth and your heart are connected, managing your words, without checking your heart, is like pulling a weed out the ground, but leaving its roots in the soil – allowing the weed to grow again in a couple of days. If our world is going to change, our words need to change, and if our words are going to change, our heart needs to change. 

If we manage our hearts, our words will follow, and then our world will follow.

If you mouth is projecting gossip, negativity, judgements – check your heart. What is going onin there? No doubt, you will find hurt, insecurity or bitterness that hasn’t been dealt with. In the wisdom of Proverbs 18:8, ‘The words of a gossip merely reveal the wounds of his own soul’. Deal with the issues of your heart, and your words will follow suit. 

‘So above all, guard the affection of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life’ (Proverbs 5:23).

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th May 2019

Life can be tough but be encouraged by these words from the film ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel!’

“Everything will be all right in the end and if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end.”

The reality is, no matter what we’re facing, there is light at the end of the tunnel! If you have faith in Jesus Christ, rest assured He has overcome the world and He won’t disappoint! What really matters though is, what direction are you headed in? Are you facing toward the light and moving out of the tunnel or are you facing the dark of the tunnel, and things are getting darker?

Often I believe it’s not about where we are, orwhat we have, but it’s our direction that has a huge bearing on our lives, and how we feel about our circumstances. Two people could have very similar circumstances, but one is happy as they have hope and is moving closer to God, where as the other is struggling as things feel they’re getting darker and more hopeless.

Take for example the spring and autumn equinox. Two points in the year when day and night are the same length.

In the Spring equinox it feels light, the birds are singing, summer is on the way and you feel great. The autumn equinox feels dark, the nights are drawing in and you want to sit in front of a fire and drink hot chocolate. But what’s amazing is the amount of light is exactly the same at both points (they have the same amount of light at the end of the tunnel) – it’s just that one is heading in the direction of summer (the light) and one towards winter (deeper into the tunnel) and it completely changes how you feel about the season you’re in!

This is great news because it means whatever is going on in your tunnel today, wherever you find yourself, you don’t need a genie to magic up a long awaited answer, but by keeping your eyes fixed on the light, and shuffling little by little forward, you’ll soon start to see things a little clearer. Don’t panic;  will be alright in the end, just make sure you’re heading toward the light and not away from it.

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

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 13th May 2019

When I was younger, I loved cycling with my friends, and distance was never a hindrance to our adventures. My curfew was sunset, but I regularly miscalculated the time it would take me to get back home and more often than not, I had to take a shortcut through dark alleys and cut across some fields to get back before it was too late.

My prayer at the time was firstly not to get in trouble for staying out too late, that the Holy Spirit would hide my absence from my parents. My second prayer, that God would protect me as I hurried home in the dark.The first prayer was never answered, and I got into trouble every time, but the second, thankfully always, and I’m still here!

Recently though, I was reading Genesis 1, and it dawned on me that the first thing the Bible records God as saying is “Let there be light”. So, the very first thing God did was to turn on the light switch before He started making the oceans and the mountains? Did this mean that God couldn’t see me all those times I was walking in the dark?

After puzzling over this for a while, God gave me a lightbulb moment. The first time God spoke, His intention was to create something that would GIVE life and SHOW the way to everything that followed.

God’s first words that everyone would hear from Him aren’t instructions on how to live a life that, in our minds will be acceptable to Him.  We tend to think when we first encounter Him, He is going to point out our failures but it’s quite the opposite!

We all go through dark patches in our lives…in relationships, finances, physical and mental health where you too can start to think maybe God cannot see you. When the prayer to get a way out of a dark situation doesn’t seem to be getting an answer, Jesus says in Matthew 5:14-16  “YOU are the light of the world”. He has empowered you to be a problem solver! To create the way out of your situation, and, by trusting that He gives seed to the sower, believing that whatever you commit to Him to get out of your situation, He will give you what you need!

No matter where you are in life today, Jesus is speaking to you to create something inside you that you will light the way through the dark times. We are created in His image to be creators of solutions, even when it may not make sense.

Noble Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th May 2019

How many times do we pray “Lord, use me” then when an opportunity comes to be used, we dismiss it immediately, because it’s not in our comfort zone or maybe it doesn’t suit us?

Your life is like a set of tools, you don’t need the same tool for every job. Most men think a hammer will do for just about anything. There’s a right tool for each job.

Your life is like the surgeon’s instruments, not all get used in every operation, however, everyone of them has to be ready, clean and sharp whilst you are waiting.
If the operating instrument isn’t ready for the surgeon, it could cost time, which in turn could cost a life.What will the surgeon do? He will have to call for another one quickly, and I’m sure there are plenty ready and on standby.

If you want to be used by God, whether it’s in a small way or seemingly large, remember this: every one of those instruments that gets used is vital for the operation to be a success.
Remember God will only use you according to your purpose, He won’t ask one instrument to do the job of another.

I think we probably confuse God at times. “All to Jesus, I surrender” is what we sing, but don’t ask me to get involved with anything that doesn’t suit? NO. God will use you according to your God-given purpose and nothing else.

He has called us all to be ready.

He’s called us to be shiny and sharp, which is what we are responsible for ourselves.

Today, ask God to use you and ask Him like you really mean it.
And guess what, HE WILL.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 10th May 2019

Take a look at your hands. Are they big? Small? Well manicured? Are they worker’s hands? In truth, it doesn’t matter because whatever they look or feel like, God wants to use them.

Be the one who reaches down to someone who has fallen. Are yours the hands that comfort those who are mourning? Or will yours deliver the handshake to welcome the lost and lonely into God’s house?

Jesus has no hands and feet of His own on this earth, so we are called to show God’s love in a practical way. So how will you use your gift? What is in your hand today? How can you set about blessing others? Have you ever been searching for your keys, only to discover they were in your hand the whole time? Sometimes, we don’t even recognise what we already have. Ask God to reveal it to you. His resource never ends.

Much of the time, we neglect what’s in our hands because we feel like we don’t have much to offer. Or our hands are already full because we are carrying things that God never intended for us to hold on to. Namely, our pasts and our present circumstances. We waste our times being burdened by worry, shame, regret.

Today, I want to encourage you to lift your hands before God. When we lift up our hands, a powerful exchange takes place. Not only do we surrender but it gives God a chance to get things into our hands that we otherwise wouldn’t have the room in our hearts and lives to carry. I pray that you begin to walk in His peace today and recognise that His hand is upon you and that He holds your world.

When we let God set us free, He can begin a new thing in our lives. Psalm 145:16 says ‘You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.’

God’s hands are open and generous and He has called us to be the same!

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

Fresh Hope – 9th May 2019

What one demographic or culture finds appealing and praise-worthy, another finds repulsive. What one culture finds attractive and worth attaining, another finds very unattractive and not a priority. 

You very easily begin to prioritise what the culture you are in prioritises. 

I can first hand testify to this idea having moved from one country/cultural climate to another. Things that were a high-priority in my home country aren’t necessary on the radar for much of the culture here, and vice versa. 

I’ve seen the same in sub-cultures too. What my church values and upholds, is very different to what my office at work upholds. Both have entirely different priorities. 

Depending on who I imitate, will determine the culture I cultivate:

1. We imitate those close to us. We pick up habits from those around us. One groundbreaking study tracked twelve thousand people for 32 years and found that a person’s chance of becoming obese increased by 57% if he or she had a friend who became obese. The Bible warns us that our social environment has an automatic and invisible pull on us – taking us in their direction. (1 Corinthians 5:33). 

2. We imitate the many. Many studies and social experiments have proven that in an effort to conform to social norms and be accepted by the majority, people will deny what they know deep down is right under the weight of peer pressure telling you it’s wrong. There is tremendous internal pressure to comply with the unspoken rules of your group/culture. Most often, humans would rather be wrong to themselves in order to be right by the crowd. Running against the grain of culture is hard work, it contradicts our nature.

3. We imitate the powerful. We subconsciously scan our environments looking for the most powerful and influential leader. We copy the behaviour of successful people because we want to be successful ourselves. 

All this to say, whom are we allowing to set-up our internal culture? Who are we allowing in? Who are we imitating? We may not be able to control who we work with, but we can certainly control their influence in our lives and the culture which we give in to. When we become consciously aware of who is close to us, who the main-crowd is in our lives, and who we have made powerful, we can become more intentional about who we let shape us! 

If you feel you are alone in your values, be sure to belong to a tribe where your personal quest isn’t just a lonely journey, find a tribe who can walk it out with you. Find friendship and community that reinforces your true identity! Not the cultural norm, but the cultural right!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 8th May 2019

Vision is vital, goals are great, ambition is amazing, but being present over perfect is also essential. 

Our brains are wired to anticipate and desire. Your brain has far more space allocated for wanting, than for liking. In other words, the dopamine hit (feel good feelings) we get for anticipating something, is actually far greater than the “hit” we get from actually getting the very thing we desired. In support of this, often you’ll hear of successful people who honestly admit that when they finally attained the goal they had been working toward, it didn’t feel as good as expected, followed by a “now what?” moment. 

The lesson for us is to not spend our lives striving and straining for something else, at the expense of today. Honestly, we probably never will reach a “ah we made it” moment on earth. Why? Because we’re made for something beyond earth – anything earthly cannot totally fulfil, no matter now ambitious. Philippians 3:20 says, ‘Our citizenship is in heaven’. Heaven is our home. Home is where you feel totally settled and at rest. Don’t expect to have your being totally satisfied on the journey.

So should we bother to desire more? Yes. Should we stay as we are? Definitely not. Is there always more for us on earth? Yes. Can we have a full and wonderful life? Of course!

Desire more…but not at the expense of despising the season you’re in. There is more for you IN the present, not just the future. The God of your future is the God of your present. 

Don’t look to the fulfilment of external goals to fill internal holes… because when you meet your external goals, you’ll find that the internal holes are still there, and you’ve just spent a lot of time striving instead of enjoying the ride. 

Let God complete you in your present, regardless of where you are at with your “goals”.  Then you are free to enjoy the ride and journey. Take a breath and enjoy today! 

Hebrews 13:5 says, ‘Keep your life free … and be content with what you have’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th May 2019

I’m sure you’re familiar with the names David and Goliath. Possibly, you’re even familiar with the story also.

In a nutshell, David defeats Goliath using a sling and a stone, despite being the obvious underdog.

Now to us, David was the underdog, being just a young boy squaring up against a near 10 foot giant of a man. But in David’s eyes, Goliath was the underdog in this fight.

What many wouldn’t realise is that David had spent hours upon hours practising with his shepherd’s sling. Was it simply a hobby? Something he did just to pass the time? Or was it something he needed in order to protect his flock?

Either way, I don’t think David ever anticipated that he would require this skill for such an occasion as this, but he was ready nonetheless.

As he approached the enemy, he simply saw him as another target that he had already hit countless times before.

It amazes me how David had spent so much time in preparation, despite not knowing what he was preparing for… and I wonder today what it is that is in your hand, that may seem mundane, and it may seem as though it has no relevance to your future, however you just never know what it is that you’re being prepared for.

I want to encourage you not to despise what currently sits right in front of you, but instead give it everything that you’ve got, as one who’s preparing for something great.

If you dig deeper into David’s life, you will discover that he was called upon by the King of his nation, his nation itself and by God. And the separate things that each one required of him were all things he ‘just so happened’ to have been working on throughout the course of his life.

David didn’t know when or if he would ever be called upon, but he made sure that he was ready if ever the time came.

I wonder, will the same be said of you?

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 6th May 2019

Today we take a look at the 5th decision that will affect the quality and outcome of your life.


How do you see yourself?

Jesus told it like this…

Mark 12:28-31 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’

Now we know that we should all love our neighbours…right? But how many of us know that there is a far deeper issue at stake here that can be often overlooked. This issue has been frowned upon in many Christian circles for decades, and it’s this: how much do you love yourself?

The reason it’s frowned on, is because no one wants to be known as a lover of themselves. We already live in a very narcissistic world, and the last thing we need is an encouragement to go even further down this road. However, this is not that.

Let me ask you a question — do you love yourself? Do you even like yourself? Your answers will be very revealing, as it would appear that those that don’t like themselves, cannot be free to love others in their world; they are just too consumed with disliking themselves. Now you would think that it would be the opposite, in that those that love themselves wouldn’t have the
room to love anyone else, and yet Jesus said…love your neighbour AS you love yourself.

Think about it — when I love myself, I’m no longer SELF conscious, as I’m happy with ME. In turn I’m actually free to be OTHERS conscious.

This scripture is helping us to see that loving myself just the way that God made me, is the most freeing thing in the world, yet self-hatred is to dislike or even hate the very way that God made you.

What image are you painting of yourself right now? That image will determine how you see others.

When Moses sent out 12 spies to a survey the promised land, 10 of the men came back and this is what they said:

Numbers 13:32-33 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, ‘The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.’

Question: how did the 10 men know what they looked like to the enemy? Did they ask them? Of course not, the only way they perceived this was because of the self portrait they had painted of themselves in their heads; therefore the biggest ENEMY that you face right now is your INNER – ME.

Change the way you think about yourself and you change the way that you think about others.

To truly love your neighbour starts with dealing with this issue once and for all — do I love myself in the way that God intended?

Want to know if you come across as self-conscious or people-conscious? Be brave, and ask a close friend what they see when they look into your life. It will be the quickest way of helping you grow into the person that you were intended to be.

Start by loving yourself…and you’ll end up having the capacity to love everyone else.

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

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th May 2019

We live in an easily offended culture.
It seems like it’s trendy to be offended and if you’re not you should be and apparently you should let people know if you are!
However, God is looking for us to be different… we should pass up opportunities to be offended.
God is looking for that in us.
Here are a few reasons why it’s best not to be offended:
  1. It’s exhausting. It takes your energy. It drains you and can even take your sleep and health.
  2. It’s distracting. it stops you focusing on what you should be focusing on and what matters most will lose our focus and that’s sad, because we were created on purpose and with a purpose and it wasn’t to get distracted by offence.
  3. It creates collateral damage. It will spill out into your family, your relationships, your work environment, your home. When you get offended, if you’re not really careful, you’ll drag others into it also.
  4. You will attract other offended people into your life. You’ll build alliance with others who are offended also. Beware…offended people can be exhausting, distracting and draining.
  5. Healthy people will start to avoid you. They’ll steer clear. Be careful, because you don’t want to eliminate those people. You need to associate with healthy people.
So…. turn away from the opportunity to be offended.
If you feel an offence coming, just say NO.
Choose not to live offended.
Push through it.
Pray through it.
Press through it.
Choose to take your focus from it. Turn away from it…and in doing so, we will live as God intended.


Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 3rd May 2019

There’s a programme on TV called ‘Come Dine With Me’ where a small group of strangers take it in turns to host a dinner party in their home. A prize is awarded to the best host after voting by the other guests based on the food and the atmosphere.

Occasionally, there’s usually an ill-mannered guest who ruins the atmosphere, but this just makes it more entertaining for us!

In Luke 11 vs 37-52, there’s an account of a very awkward dinner party where, from the very start, Jesus was the nightmare guest. Not only did he sit at the table without washing his hands like everyone else, but he started to point out the many flaws He saw in the host.

So bad was Jesus’ conversation that at one point in verse 45, another guest says “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” That was an open invitation for Jesus to lay into him for the rude interruption!

I can only imagine the host must have been thinking he should have brought out paper plates and plastic forks instead of the polished silver!

There are some areas in our lives that Jesus has to address. When you invite Him into your heart, He will show you some of your old habits or personality traits and you will feel uncomfortable. This isn’t to judge or condemn, but to help you out of that habit which will be hurting those around you.

Psalm 32v5 says “Then I confessed my sins to you; I did not conceal my wrongdoings. I decided to confess them to you, and you forgave all my sins.”

When He rose from the grave, Jesus went looking for Peter who felt the same conviction after having denied Him when He was going to be crucified, to show him that He loved him, and help him move on.

Jesus is that friend who will have an awkward conversation with you to save you, rather than leave you to die. Open your heart to Him, and He will help you move on from the past.


Noble Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd May 2019

Yesterday I wrote about the desperate widow with one measly jar of oil. In obedience to God, she collected empty jars and trusted God to fill them from her one jar of oil (2 Kings 4:1-7). After Elisha had given her a word of instruction, the scripture said that ‘She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons’. The shutting of the door was a key part of the process as Elisha has specifically asked her to do so.

What is the significance and connection between her breakthrough and shutting the door? Maybe there is something to be said for door shutting!

Shutting of a door implies privacy. Seeking breakthrough requires us to shut the door on the comings and goings of life and meet with God. The widow’s public success was a direct fruit of her shutting the door, and positioning herself privately. There was work to be done in the “secret place”.

Author, Bob Sorge wrote a book about “the secret place” – the private place and space we set aside to hear from God. ‘Until you attend to this responsibility first, you will be constantly frustrated in your inability to uncover the joys of radical obedience. Works of service gain their spiritual energy from the furnace of fiery love and relationship and Jesus’ feet’.

The word “closet” that Jesus uses in Matthew 6:6, comes from a Greek word that can be defined as ‘a secret chamber’ – a place separate from the comings and goings of the house.

Remember that before Jesus is functional, He is relational. That means that He desire is first us, before he does. He wants us to shut the door on things, get us in the closet, with our empty spaces and fill us!

We see many powerful people in the Bible, including Jesus himself, who stepped away and into “the closet”, to make space, and meet with God in the depths of their emptiness and on the cusp of their breakthrough.

As Christians, we cannot underestimate the power of shutting the door, and making space for God to fill our empty jars!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st May 2019

We want God to do a working in our lives, but God is waiting for us to make the space.

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we meet a widow desperate for a breakthrough. You see, she has nothing but a jar of oil and is in debt. Mosaic law required that if she didn’t pay her debts, then her sons could be taken from her. In desperation she sought advice from Elisha. Elisha gave her a word to collect jars from neighbouring people, shut the door, and pour out whatever oil she did have into the empty jars.

As she poured out, into the empty jars, the space of each jar was filled with oil that she could now sell to free herself from her debt.

Like oil poured into empty jars, in order for a space to be filled, there needs to be a space! You cannot fill what is already filled. Often we seek the oil, the gift, the breakthrough, the answer, but have we made the space? Making space may be clearing your heart of hang-ups, or your head of worries, or your time of hurry. As you do so, you give room for GOD to fill the space!

God loves an empty, desperate space for He can do far more with that than a space that is filled with pride, attitudes, fears, busyness, and self-righteousness.

Coming to God with an empty space is a position of humility. In the words of Bob Sorge, ‘Humility says, “Lord, I am empty without your fullness; I am broken without your wholeness; I am helpless without your strength; I am clueless without your wisdom. Apart from You I am nothing. I need you!”

Like the woman with the jars, come empty, and watch this space!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.