Fresh Hope – 31st August 2019

Atmosphere is very important. I can immediately walk into a place and know whether or not I’m going to like it.  It can be a restaurant, a shop, even a hotel room.


Did you know that YOU can set an atmosphere? By your attitude, your face, your spirit.

We have often said as parents that our children will not dictate the atmosphere of our home. When they are in a ‘mood’ or don’t get their own way or stuff makes them feel ‘down’, then the atmosphere can be changed into something negative.

You may have children like that. You may have a spouse like that. You may be like that.


There’s another saying in our house, “If Mom’s happy, everyone’s happy”.

That’s a lot of responsibility on me! However it’s very true.

I, like you, can set the atmosphere in my house big time.


Over the years I’ve learnt this: we are carriers.  When our heart is good, our face is good, our spirit is good and our whole countenance is good.  Our heart sets the atmosphere.

When things aren’t as I’d like them, is my heart good?

When things and circumstances are not good, is my heart still good?

When I feel sad or even discouraged, is my heart still good?


When my prayer life and my walk with God is right, then my heart will be right and then the atmosphere will be right.


Be an atmosphere changer for the better.

Walk into a room and carry the presence of God with you and it can suddenly change supernaturally.


In your work place, in your home, be the person who everyone loves to encounter because YOU are an atmosphere changer.


Be one for the better.


Pastor Gillian



A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 30th August 2019

Two weeks ago I missed a train by just five seconds! I had been waiting 40 minutes for the train to arrive and then they switched platforms on me in the last few minutes. I noticed too late. As I realised what had happened, I saw my train pending on the other side. I run up the stairs and to the other side of the tracks. My hand almost touched the door’s button as the train moved off, leaving me to cancel the tour I had planned upon arrival at my destination. Not what I had planned.

Another example of derailed plans… one week later and we were holidaying in France when my husband had a severe reaction to a mosquito bite! We thought we better get to A&E before the spreading bite went septic. For a doctor to issue a prescription of antibiotics would take less than five minutes, but we were left in the waiting room from 10pm to 4am! With no one speaking a word of English in a French hospital, communicating only via Google translate, the wait got very frustrating. Not what we had planned.

These two relatively minor set backs really are a bleep compared to the metaphorical missed trains and waiting rooms of life that many people are sitting in. Some people have been waiting for loved ones to come back, their bodies to get healed, break-through in finances, or for the arrival of a spouse or baby for years. Some people feel they have ‘missed the boat’ of opportunity in life and it’s too late. Time doesn’t feel on their side. Their life plans seemed to be derailed.

The good news is that God is beyond time. He is not bound by it. While we orchestrate our lives on man-made calendars, and clocks, and compare our stages of our life to the happenings of those around us, God is working in accordance to with the season of our hearts, coupled with His divine perspective. He sees what we don’t. Hence why it doesn’t always make sense to us. Sometimes time eventually explains to us what He was/is doing, other times we just have to trust in His good nature. God wants us to operate in the currency of faith, and trust. Knowing that he is perfectly good and faithful to us. God can do what takes months, in minutes. God can do what we think should be done now, later, yet never too late, because He knows what we need.

When we don’t have the answers for why our desires and God’s promises aren’t unfolding now, we must trust in the reality that God is FOR US. He is our loving Dad, with only our best interests at heart. Our job is to trust Him.

I ended up getting on the next train. I ended up getting on the next tour. I ended up having a day better than I could have planned. My husband ended up getting his prescription, and we ended up having a fabulous holiday, barely remembering the frustration of the waiting room.

What may feel like a forever season, is not a forever season. Things will change at some point, you will get on the right train, you will leave the waiting room… and God will work all things together (Romans 8:28). In the meantime, steward your heart and steward your wait.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 29th August 2019

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 are 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 what 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 – 28th August 2019

Here’s some load lightening encouraging words for us all: we have all thoroughly, comprehensively, exceedingly failed and come up short and always will when it comes to being right with God.

Romans 3:23| NIV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God!

Romans 6:23 | NIV
For the wages of sin is death!

It can seem unfair that there’s nothing we can do about the fact that we are born into sin as a result of the curse from Adam! How is it fair his actions thousands of years ago meant that sin entered the world and no matter how hard you try you fall short of the glory of God?

But then the great news is that the opposite is also true. Just as all are cursed by Adam all are set free by Jesus.

Romans 3:24 ‘and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.’

Romans 6:23 ‘but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

The biggest trap we can fall into as Christians is religion that seems to suggest that we can and should achieve some kind of acceptance of our own merit once we are saved and that we do gain some kind of self-righteousness.

It’s not true! We will always 100% need to completely rely upon his grace.

In Galatians 3, Paul starts off with the strong words ‘you foolish Galatians!’ Then goes onto explain, in verse 2 and 3…

‘2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?’

What Paul is telling us here is that what Christ has begun he will finish! We can’t finish what he begun but just as we’re saved by grace through faith so we must live in grace by faith! Read this today and don’t feel a failure because you’re still not perfect, but accept his grace that is all sufficient and that you are a beautiful work in progress!

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th August 2019

The older I get, the more I realise that to have a title is really nothing.

To have a position is something, but the way you live your life is everything.

For me personally, I have made a vow that my preaching must never be better than my living.

Title and position only ever carries weight if it matches your life.

You can say things to people til you’re blue in the face, but no one will ever buy into what you say if you’re a hypocrite.

You can wear the biggest badge or have a huge sign on your office door that informs people of your title or role but that will never hold sway with people that don’t believe your life..

1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Make it your daily prayer and ambition in life to let your mouth and your ministry line up with the reality of your private life.

Basically…we practice daily what we preach – all the rest is religious froth.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 26th August 2019

Some time back I spoke at our church on two evenings about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Many people turned up and have since spoken of the impact of those two nights.

One of the things that was highlighted was that many people seek the more ‘spectacular’ gifts of the Holy Spirit of which there are nine mentioned in the Bible; included in the nine are the gift of miracles, the gift of healing and the gift of faith, However, the Bible doesn’t just stop there as it says there are different ‘kinds’ of gifts.

It surprises many when to hear that amongst those ‘other kinds of gifts’ are administration, encouragement, mercy, serving and giving.

I’m sure that you’ll agree that these other gifts hardly seem like supernatural, spiritual or spectacular as on face value they seem to be pretty standard things that anyone would do.

The point is this: how many of us today are feeling that we don’t possess a spiritual gift because we don’t do spectacular things and yet we daily do mundane yet meaningful and significant things?

Did you realise that encouragement was a spiritual gift?

What about serving others? A person who serves at our weekly soup kitchen is using their spiritual gift.

Showing mercy to other seems a pretty basic thing to do for any Christian, yet here we find that a person that does so is actually moving in a spiritual gift.

Being in a position to be ‘over and above’ generous, is given to some as a spiritual gift. They may think of themselves as just doing what they love to do, and yet here we find that it’s a gift that God has blessed them with.

I would encourage today not just to look for the spectacular, but look to serve God and others in whatever area you find your gift in.

Take time out to pray about, discover and discern what gift God has blessed you with…then use it!

Remember an unopened gift is worthless.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 24th August 2019

You may be aware that when we obey, it always brings blessing.  

You may be a parent, then you will know that to be true!

Whenever God asks us to do something, it’s always so that we in turn will be blessed.   

When we are asked to give, it’s so that we can receive.

When we are asked to forgive someone, it’s so that we will actually be blessed, because we have let go of that unforgiveness.

When we are asked to love and encourage, it’s so that we in turn will receive many blessings back into our lives.


But what about when God asks us to do something that’s difficult? 

Then obedience isn’t as easy. 

Unless, we have learnt the principal that ‘God wants to bless me when I obey’. 


In the book of Genesis, we read the story of Abraham. 

God had promised him a child, even though he was old in years. Yet, God still fulfilled His promise and Abraham’s dream and blessed him with a son Isaac. 


When you read through the story, you will find that God tested Abraham. 

He asked him to take his son, (the one that he had been believing for and dreaming of) and take him up the mountain where he would sacrifice him.  

WOW, that’s an incredibly difficult, almost impossible thing to do. 

But I want you to notice what happened. 

In Genesis 22 1-3. It says that after God had spoken to him, the very next morning, Abraham got up early and started on his journey up the mountain. 


If ever there was a day to stay in bed, this was surely it! 

If ever there was a day to have several extra cups of coffee, this was it.  

If ever there was a day that Abraham wanted to talk to someone else first and get their opinion, then this was surely it. 

BUT NO. It says ‘he got up early and started out.’ 

Abraham knew that despite the difficult, almost impossible task, he was going to obey. 


I’m sure you know the end of the story.  

Isaac wasn’t in fact sacrificed, because God provided a ram instead AND Abraham was tremendously blessed. 


Because my friends, obedience, even though it’s hard, ALWAYS BRINGS BLESSING.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23rd August 2019

Nobody likes to wait!


When I think back over my life, I’ve wanted everything NOW. However, the reality is that I’ve had to wait for everything.


Without waiting, we are doomed to failure, or at the very least we are doomed to become unbearable. We will simply grow up with the very same entitlement mentality that we see in our culture today.


If you’re in a waiting season right now, then know that you are normal and that it is necessary. So before you throw in the towel, lose your mind or walk away from your dream, learn to appreciate that waiting is the principal part of living a life of faith.


In fact, if you refuse to wait, you will find yourself trying to force things to happen, and the only thing that will happen is that you either abort your dream or at the very least delay it as you have to go round again. The important lessons that you need to learn come only through waiting.


So why do we have to wait?


  1. For your protection – God wants to keep you from destroying yourself by wanting everything too early. Just because you think you are ready, doesn’t mean that you are.
  2. For your preparation – while you are waiting, God is fixing you. If He allowed you to have everything you wanted right now, you wouldn’t be able to handle it.
  3. For your production – waiting has the power to produce in you the character that you will need for when He releases into you all that he has for you.


‘Don’t give up what you want most, for what you want now’


If you’ll simply wait it out, God will simply work it out. When God moves it will be worth the wait.



James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


Thought that you’d be married by now?


Thought that you’d be further on by now?


Thought that you’d have that degree by now?


Thought that you’d have money by now?


Remember: a waiting man or woman is someone that hasn’t given up.


Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings and rise up close to God like eagles rising toward the sun; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.


Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

If this has stirred something within you, why not delve a little deeper? Head to the ‘Messages’ tab within the Champions Church app and search ‘Hate To Wait’ to watch the full-length message from Pastor Mark.

Fresh Hope – 22nd August 2019

When you become a Christian, you don’t kiss goodbye to your brains. How you steward your mind  as a Christian is vital.

Your mind is most healthy when in alignment with the word of God.

Your mind should be daily renewed into the reality and truth of who you have become in Christ.

‘… Be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:2). This scripture is proof that what you think is directly linked to how you behave. Want to change your life? It doesn’t start with behaviour and self-modification – it starts with what you believe in your head!

When your mind is fed on the word of God, embedded with scripture and truth, it is very easy to pick up on lies. Look at airport security. When you walk through the arch, if you are carrying metal, it will trigger off. Something illegal has approached a boundary. Should a weapon pass, harm could be done. The arch is sensitive to anything illegitimate and picks up on what should not be passed through.

A renewed mind, will quickly detect a lie when it attempts to get into a headspace. It is sensitive to anything illegitimate and illegal. It works as a protection barrier for your life. The word of God is its standard and before an action, temptation, or lie can violate your body or life, your mind, renewed by Scripture, will filter it, and signal that what is at the boundary should not be allowed in because it will bring death instead of life.

Who is responsible for the renewal process? You are. You are responsible for what you allow in based on your knowledge, gained through the word of God. This is why reading the Bible is important!

Often times when people find their lives in a mess, it can be traced back to a simple thought pattern or belief system that they allowed to get into their thinking. Sometimes these thought patterns are even passed on generationally, as at no point has there been a renewal of mind, or gaining of wisdom and truth.

You could have 10,000 pounds in your pocket, but if you don’t know it is there, you have no knowledge of it, so you aren’t going to be able to use it. You can only use what you know you have. If you have no knowledge of the word of God, how can you use it? Jesus said, ‘…you will know the truth and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). Yes the truth is there, yes it will set you free, but you have to KNOW it first.

The huge epidemic this generation is facing around poor mental health is evidence in itself that our minds matter. We must be intentional with what we are feeding our heads with. We have a responsibility to steward our minds in truth in order to be able to have strong lives.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ (Luke 10:27).

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st August 2019

I recently went to see the remake of ‘The Lion King’ at the cinemas and cried the whole way through. The first time I saw the film I was four years old. I then saw the stage show on Broadway in New York, and then years later in London on the West End. Every time, it evokes such an emotional response in me. I can’t help but see such an obvious correlation between the storyline and our relationship with God.  


If for some reason, you have never seen ‘The Lion King’, allow me to briefly summarise the plot for you (spoiler alert!).  

The African kingdom is healthy and thriving with the wise and noble Mufasa ruling as king. Simba, Mufasa’s son, is destined to be king, but his evil Uncle Scar and his little hyena helpers ensure that Mufasa is killed while saving Simba’s life. Unbeknown to Scar, Simba is still alive, but he is lost. Simba doesn’t know who he is. He has been told life should be lived for self and has therefore avoided facing the reality of his role and calling as king. It is not until he is reminded through the Baboon, Rafiki, that he is the son of a king, that he then has a fresh revelation of who he is, and then takes his rightful place as king, redeeming and restoring the destroyed kingdom.  


Knowing our true identity is perhaps the most powerful understanding we can come to as Christians.  

Just as Scar and his demons challenged Simba on who he really was upon his return to Pride Rock, similar words were said to Jesus by the devil in the desert, challenging him to throw himself off a rock, ‘IF he really were the son of God’ (Matthew 4:6).  


Why did the Devil challenge Jesus’ sonship and identity? Because if he could get Jesus to second-guess who he was, he could get Jesus to second-guess his authority. You have all spiritual authority as a follower of Christ (Matthew 28:18), the only way the enemy can convince you to not use it, is if he can get you to second guess your identity as a child of the King of Kings. Once you are questioning your sonship, you question your authority.  


As Rafiki pointed Simba to the truth of who he was, so the Holy Spirit gently nudges us back to the reality of who we are – that we have the DNA of power and authority (Jesus) in us. Jesus died in our place, so that we can carry a kingdom responsibly to restore that which is desolate, and operate as kings.  


Adult Simba: Father? 


Mufasa’s ghost: [appears among the stars] Simba, you have forgotten me. 


Adult Simba: No. How could I? 


Mufasa’s ghost: You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life. 


Adult Simba: How can I go back? I’m not who I used to be. 


Mufasa’s Ghost: [Now fully formed in the sky] Remember who you are. You are my son and the one true king. Remember who you are. 


Sometimes we get jealous because we don’t remember who we are. Sometimes we get worried because we don’t remember who we are. Sometimes we don’t operate in the signs, wonders and miracles that Jesus said we would, because we have forgotten who we are. Sometimes we second-guess our future, and ourselves because we have forgotten who we are! See how important knowing your identity is?


If you are a lion but believe you are a hog, you will think and act like a hog(Simba was so confused about who he was, he was a vegetarian lion at one point!) What you believe about yourself you empower. Remember who you are. Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you so you can walk in the fullness of your identity as the son or daughter of a king! Stepping up to your royal responsibility!  

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 20th August 2019

Imagine if someone had the money and technology to go back in time to the dawn of civilisation and leave a Ferrari as a secret surprise for someone outside their cave? I know random!

They would be truly amazed. The materials, the colours and design! They would never have seen anything like it. But after a while, the novelty would wear off and they would struggle to work out what exactly the point of it is? What should they do with it? Maybe they would use it as a storage facility?

They would never in a million years (well 6 thousand at least) realise just what the Ferrari could do! Never guessing there’s an internal combustion engine that could propel the car to speeds of 200 miles per hour!

This is a great picture of our lives and the difficulty in grasping just how amazing we are and the possibilities.

Society is more and more confused, they know the Ferrari (life) is amazing but just can’t quite work out what it’s for? Where did it came from and where is it going? So they start trying to utilise it completely incorrectly, like a caveman using a Ferrari as a storage unit or glorified caravan, the world has watered life down to a series of random events over billions of years!

It is vital we grasp there is a design to us that is to glorify God! Here are 3 areas to help us to use our Ferrari as intended:

Owner’s manual – knowledge

The caveman has no knowledge about the car. Ignorance leads him to believe that millions of years of high pressure on natural materials has produced the car. We must regularly read the owner’s manual to our lives – the Bible!
Ephesians 2:10 | NIV
We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Fuel – The Holy Spirit

Even if cavemen knew the truth about the car, they haven’t got fuel! We were created to run on the fuel of the Holy Spirit!

John 3:5 | NIV
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”

Race track – the Church

Cavemen had no roads. The environment we were created to live in is with people. The Church is God’s design for us to do life together and make the most of this amazing life.

Hebrews 10:24-25 | NIV
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

You are amazing! Believe it, take responsibility for it and make the most of this ‘once in a life time’ opportunity we have been given!

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 19th August 2019

Vitamin D is essential for our bodies to function properly, it helps us create calcium to form and strengthen our bones. However, vitamin D is something that we have to get from our daily diet and from sunlight, we don’t make it within our bodies. Without sufficient vitamin D, our bones get weaker and it can lead to conditions like rickets. Thankfully, just getting a few minutes of sunlight on your skin every day is usually enough.

The grace of God is very much like vitamin D.

There is nothing we can do to earn the grace of God, we can’t ‘manufacture’ it ourselves, no matter how hard we work. It is a free gift, nothing that we can do, think or say will change God’s grace towards us. It is free to us but comes at a great price to God, the price was paid by Jesus on the cross. It is free but certainly not cheap.

To stay spiritually ‘healthy’ we need a dose of God’s grace every day. Thankfully we are told that firstly, God’s grace ‘is sufficient for you’ (2 Corinthians 12:9) in order to stand strong against the trials and tribulations of this life. Secondly, that it is new and fresh every morning (Lamentations 3, 22-23). Every day we start with a clean slate and a new ‘dose’ of His mercy and grace.

We rely on God’s grace. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness’. Through his grace our human weaknesses are not important, God can use us to do amazing things despite our weakness (Philippians 4:13). But apart from His grace we can do nothing.

Just as sunlight is a gift of God’s creation, so His grace is a gift of God’s love – we need them both to be healthy.

Richard Ashmore

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 17th August 2019

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament (Bible in one year). When you read it this way, you have to read the hard bits as well as the ‘nice’ bits. There are so many favourite passages of mine in the OT, that I find myself going to them regularly. They are a wealth of truth. Like the book of Ruth and Esther, like the accounts of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, the stories of Joseph and Abraham, the leadership lessons from Moses…I have preached on these many times.

However, what I have found fascinating in this season, is the accounts of the many (seemingly hundreds) of kings that are recorded. David who was a great King after God’s own heart, yet he himself failed at one point. Hezekiah, a king who did what was right in the eyes of God and Solomon who when he could have asked for anything, asked for wisdom to lead the people and in return God blessed him mightily. “because you have asked for this, I will bless you more than you can imagine “ – see 1 Kings 3 v 11-14.
Some of the kings recorded, I’ve never really heard of, yet an underlying and exciting truth runs through them all. Some of them worshipped foreign gods and led wicked lives. Others pulled down those altars to foreign gods and led the people to worship the one and only true God. Those who did the latter were tremendously blessed. God was on their side and they won many victories. Those who didn’t, were taken out and God had the last say!

We may not be living in OT times, but the truth remains firmly the same. When you honour God, when you stand for what is right, God will surely bless you. When you don’t, mark my words, God will always have the last say.
On my journey through the OT, you would have heard me physically shouting out “yes” at times when I read such exciting truths of people who stood for God getting blessed and winning exceptional victories.

God’s word is rich.
It will bless your soul.
Make sure you take time to read it every day.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th August 2019

We live in times where we hear so much about human rights but very little on human responsibilities! Society is desperately trying to make life as fair as possible by levelling every playing field whether based on gender or race, the problem though is it places emphasis on what people are entitled to rather than what their obligations should be to each other.

You could argue the very purpose of life is to take responsibility for what you can.

The bible doesn’t talk about our rights, in fact it makes it clear ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ and that the wages of that sin is death! So the only right we have is to be punished! But the gift of God is eternal life. So we’re treated much better than we deserve and get called the children of God! If you believe this, you really can’t complain at the hand life has dealt you.

When Jesus said ‘love your enemies’ it wasn’t for the sake of your enemies, but for your sake. When Jesus said ‘turn the other cheek’, again, it wasn’t for the sake of the aggressor but the person being slapped!

Essentially, Jesus was teaching us not to be a victim, where bad things ‘happen to us’, but instead take responsibility in the circumstances and so choose to be a victor and remain in the grace of God that wiped our slates clean.

So when bad things happen, learn to turn the other cheek, don’t blame, or fight back but look to take advantage of the difficulty! Instead of joining in the ‘tit for tat’ rules of life, look for the unexpected gift that could come from the difficulty (love the enemy) rather than complaining and becoming a victim! Take responsibility for the events by looking to see why the slap came your way. Did you do something? Is this person struggling and needs help rather than being slapped back?

We live in crazy times, people don’t know who they are and have no understanding of a bigger plan for their lives other than what’s in front of them. If you’re a follower of Jesus and so believe by faith he gave his life as a ransom so you could live in wide open spaces of forgiveness, it means you are freed from playing by the same rules as the world. You’re a child of the living God and a co-heir with Christ to inherit everything. We have a duty to protect that reality, to take responsibility for your life and live in freedom.

Be encouraged today, stand up straight and push your shoulders back, be brave and take responsibility. Be the best you for your sake, your family’s and the wider community.

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.


Fresh Hope – 15th August 2019

There are several times in our lives, when how something looks isn’t necessarily how it actually is. Living our lives dictated by how something appears can stop blessings and lessons, if we don’t overcome that habit.

Remember, it doesn’t matter what it looks like, for instance…

1)…when you fall into the trap of comparison.

We live in an age where it is all too easy to compare our behind-the-scenes with the highlights reels of someone else’s life. That person that has a sparkling existence is facing their own personal battle. Don’t be disheartened because others appear to have what you may want.

2…when you’re being obedient.

In The Bible, before King David became a king, he was just a boy, doing as he was told. When he took Goliath on and went on to defeat him, he didn’t look like the obvious choice. Yet he was God’s choice. When you are living out your calling, not everyone will understand. When God has chosen you, that won’t matter.

3…when you’re waiting for your miracle.

In Genesis, we read the account of Noah and the Flood. You probably haven’t thought too much about how scary the great flood was but imagine relentless rain for 40 days and 40 nights and looking out to see the same thing, day after day. When we are waiting for our breakthrough, we may find ourselves in circumstances that have been the same for a long time. If Noah had been become impatient and left the ark before the water had left the Earth, he’d have drowned. Remember: the flood and the ark preserved Noah and his family; its purpose was never to destroy them. When you find yourself in a flood, wait on God.

Remember, God sees beginning to end in all seasons and situations. Don’t lose heart, when things don’t appear to be going as you had hoped. Take heart and know that God is working things out for your good.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th August 2019

Are you holy? It is not a word that we often associate with ourselves. We use it in connection with Jesus; God; prophets;great men and women of God, but what about you?

Peter in his first Letter says that we are a ‘royal priesthoodand holy nation’ (1 Peter 2:9) and he calls us to be holy ‘just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1: 15-16)

Jesus himself calls us to be like him, like God – in fact in Matthew 5:8 he says ‘be perfect therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect’ – now that is a challenge.

The word holy simply means set apart, set apart for God.

Paul in Romans 12 says ‘offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world’. In other words be set apart from the things of this world that would drag us back to sin.

When we say yes to Jesus, Paul tells us that we are a ‘new creation’, the old has gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). We receive the Holy Spirit and through that we are set apart for God, we are different from those who are still to find this truth. The action of Holy Spirit working within us means that we want to act differently and have different priorities. We are by definition holy.

Yes, we will all fall back and stumble (probably every day!)but the grace of God is new and fresh every morning. We should be striving to be different, to be set apart, from the secular world around us.

So the challenge for us all today is: how are we going to be set apart? In our thoughts, our actions, our words. How will we be holy today?

Richard Ashmore

A daily devotion for a better way of living.



Fresh Hope – 13th August 2019

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).
  1. 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.
  1. 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!
  1. 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?!
  1. 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 – 12th August 2019

The other day I locked myself out of the house. I was on my way to pick up a friend from the train station and just as I slammed the door shut, I realised the key was inside the house! I remembered that I left my windows open, but I live on the third storey of an apartment block! I spoke to a trusted neighbour on the bottom floor for an idea. Long story short, she ended up sending her son up two storeys to my apartment window, by scaling the wall, where he then climbed in through the window and rescued the keys!

Maybe we all we need access to something in our lives. Sometimes all we need is just one single, small key. Behind the keyhole lies a palace, a mansion, but to get the breakthrough, we need that simple key to gain access.

Maybe it is access to the heart of family member. Maybe it is access to a conversation with a work-colleague about God. Maybe it is access to a promise God has made. Maybe you need access to healing, provision or wisdom… and you are only one key away.

God has already promised us that we have everything (Ephesians 1:3), but accessing it is something we have to learn.

When I look at Jesus he always found the key to access. He found the key to a miracle, or a conversation, or to someone’s heart. The key to open the eyes of the blind man was to spit in mud. The key to calming the storm was his spoken word. The key to his disciples hearts was washing their feet. The key to transformingthe woman at the well was discerning and offering her what she really needed. I could go on and on. The only thing each of these keys had in common, is that there was nothing in common! Jesus had no consistent key. He used a different key in each situation!

The same is for us today. Jesus has doors for us to open personally, relationally, spiritually, financially. But it isn’t always a one key fits all situation. It requires walking with God and tuning into His voice, and asking Him what the breakthrough key is in your personal situation. Maybe your access into breakthrough, conversation with someone, and influence over someone is just one small key away. Ask God for wisdom on what key to use. Be open to the fact that access to the house might be different to what you expect. Maybe God will ask you to use the window, not the door!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 10th August 2019

We have a 4 month old puppy. We named him Bailey. He’s a chocolate brown labradoodle. He was born on Easter Sunday (surely a sign).  He was chosen from a litter of six puppies. He came to ourmhome at  eight weeks.
What a journey it’s been so far! It would be an understatement to say I was not enthused about having a dog.

However, this spring I finally caved in to the mounting pressure from my family (it only took three years!).

I was slightly nervous at the prospect of having what I perceived ‘a new baby’ in the house and I literally prayed that instinct would kick in and that I would not only love the new addition to our family, but that I would also feel a sense of commitment and love alongside the responsibility to see me through the potential sleepless nights, and  toilet training  that inevitably followed…as well as the ‘puppy behaviour’ like lost footwear / clothing, and destroyed furniture ….which in his breed apparently lasts 3 years.
In 3 years, the dog that is destined to be ‘our best friend’ for life, will emerge – for now, the puppy years stretch ahead and my parenting skills – albeit slightly adapted – are being tested and stretched again.

It probably comes as no surprise, that in the early days I would often question myself saying ‘what have I got myself into?’

Aren’t you glad that Romans 8 states the following about God?

Romans 8:29-30 The Message (MSG)
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.

God always intended and has been fully committed to His relationship with humanity.
From the outset…

– He chose each one of us
–  He called us by name
– He paid a high price to establish a relationship with each one of us
– He remains committed to us, promising to stay with us, in order to help us fulfil our potential and be the best version of ourselves that we could possibly be.

What a promise!
What a commitment!
On my worst days, when my behaviour or attitude or thought life ,
isn’t quite inline – God is still with me, He remains committed to me, helping me work out my life alongside Him, in order to become the finished product, the masterpiece…to be like His son Jesus.
It is the same for you!
God believes in us!
Of course, we are not the finished product and He is by no
means finished with us yet, but He is with us to make sure that one day we will be!

Jacqui Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th August 2019

‘Peter, do you love me?’ was a question that Jesus asked one of His closest friends, after this same friend had denied his association with Jesus three times. (It’s still up for debate as to whether He asked him the same way Drake asked Kiki…)


Not long after Peter denied all knowledge of being a friend of His, Jesus would be crucified on a cross. He would then rise after three days and make several appearances to His disciples in the time that would follow.


On His third appearance to the disciples would Jesus ask Peter this question.


Now it would be fair to assume that Jesus was questioning Peter’s loyalty based upon what He asked him. Or maybe Jesus was unsure about the answer, so He needed clarification. However, I want to suggest to you that it was none of the above.


In response to Jesus asking this question a third time, Peter responded by saying, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you…”


In other words, ‘You aren’t asking me this because You’re unsure…’

Which would lead us to conclude that it was in fact Peter who needed reminding, not the other way around.


‘Peter, you do love me’ was the message that Jesus was wanting to communicate to His friend that day. ‘I know you messed up, I know you made a wrong choice, and I know you feel like a fraud. But what we have, Peter, is real. You’re not a fake, you do love me.’


And in the same way that Peter needed reminding, maybe you also need reminding today, that despite what you’ve done, despite the wrong choices you’ve made, the love in your heart is still real, and better still, the love in God’s heart towards you is still so real!


Here and now, the doubting and the questioning can be put to rest, and you can know for certain, ‘God loves me.’ And for those of us who thought we once loved Him but maybe convinced ourselves otherwise, we can be reminded also, ‘I love Him too.’



Caleb Burchell


A daily devotion for a better way of living.


If this has stirred something within you, why not delve a little deeper? Head to the ‘Messages’ tab within the Champions Church app and search ‘Do You Love Me?’ to watch the full-length message.


Fresh Hope – 8th August 2019

I’m sure that many are familiar with the Old Testament account of how God supplied daily food for His people, as they wandered in the wilderness.

The food from Heaven was called ‘Manna’, and was described as being wafer-like with a honey taste – I have to say that I would look forward to receiving a daily supply of that!

That supply arrived on the ground every day until the people reached the promised land and then…it stopped, and was never repeated again. It was a one-off season that God chose to orchestrate in order that His very own people wouldn’t starve to death.

When they reached the promised land, He no longer needed to supply their need in that way, instead, there was enough provision in the land that flowed with ‘milk and honey’ that they could now work for and enjoy freely.

I wonder how many people thought to themselves on the first day that the manna never arrived…’where is God…why has He forsaken us?’

The reality was He was there just as He always had been, but this was now a new season, and in that new season a new form of provision was going to put food on their table – It was called ‘go out to work and provide for your families.’

Years ago, when Gillian and myself were stoney broke, we would pray for provision and God would send it to us; as if from Heaven, money, food, clothes, shoes, cars and holidays would supernaturally be given to us.

It’s been many years now since that kind of thing has happened. We could have started to think that God had left us, but instead, we realised that His provision in that way, was for our season of need.

God will no longer continue to provide the same kind of provision, in the same way, in a new season.

We may still not have much by this world’s standards, but we have enough to share with others and at times, have enough to help make other people’s dreams come true.

Remember this: ones man’s income can be another man’s miracle.

If you’re thinking that God has forsaken you simply because you are no longer getting cash pushed through your letterbox, then think again; it’s a new season, and you need to open your eyes to the new provision that may be staring you in the face every day.

By the way…true story…I once found a £5 note in a packet of Walkers crisps, but no matter how many packets I’ve eaten since then, I’ve only ever found sliced potatoes.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th August 2019

I was particularly excited to be going on holiday with our young family many years ago, mainly because I’d borrowed a small camcorder from a friend.

They were the newest gadget around at the time and the thought of being able to film the family holiday, rather than taking snapshots, gave me a buzz.

I began to think of myself as a film director and had already planned in my mind a family reunion for after the holidays, in order to view the footage.

Having arrived at our holiday caravan, I carefully unpacked the film equipment and began to look for my first film set.

Highlights ranged from Gillian’s dad having his annual ‘in-house’ hair cut in his string vest, to scenery of woodland and beaches that I later found bored everyone to tears.

I became obsessed with my new gadget and it was never far from being strapped around my shoulder.

After our seven day family break, I got home exhausted. I’d been on holiday, but had been absent at the same time. I’d become the distant figure that filmed the whole thing but had made a big mistake in that I had never been in even one of the scenes, enjoying the moment.

I’d watched everyone playing and laughing, but had never engaged myself in any of it.

You may have well done exactly the same thing at the school play or end-of-year concert.

Instead of being there in the moment, you were the distant onlooker that filmed it to watch later.

You never smiled or applauded with every other parent, as you were too busy looking through your tiny lens to be present in once in a lifetime stardom for your child.

This distant memory has served well to remind me of how we can tend to live our lives in just the same way.

We are present and we are seeing what everyone else sees, but we are never engaged in the moment. We are too preoccupied with what’s coming next to enjoy the scene that we are living in right now.

Before we know it, life has been and gone and we have never played an active part in much of it.

Before you live another day, make a decision to engage yourself fully in all that each moment has to offer.

Count your blessings.

Laugh every day.

Enjoy being with friends and family.

Be thankful for life and health.

Be present in every situation and refuse to only keep waiting for the next scene to unfold.

Stop worrying about what may happen and be grateful for all that is part of your life right now.

Don’t be distant from people because you are too cautious, but throw yourself into every situation with passion.

Don’t watch life go by through the small lens of your narrow mindedness, but be present in every scene in order to be a blessing.

King Solomon was known as the wisest man on the planet. After all his searching for the meaning of life, he had this to say…

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 ‘This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labour under the sun during the few days of life God has given them – for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil – this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.’

Let today be the first day of the rest of your life.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 6th August 2019

What’s your prayer-life like? Maybe a heavy question for a Tuesday but an important one, nonetheless. I’m only asking because I made an observation about how some of my prayers go.

When I pray, I split things into categories; whether your prayer list is inside your head, in your phone or on paper, I wonder if it’s anything like mine.

I tend to come to God with what’s on my mind but then I kind of give God pointers on how He could do it. As if God needs my help! I’ve noticed that this is the point where I start to get frustrated –  I’ve been looking for signs of something that I was never told would happen.

The times where I’ve felt discouraged are when I’ve prayed, then gone back to check on how it’s going. If you constantly open the oven door, when you’re baking, the cake will collapse. Leave it be. The same way you trust that recipe is the same way you can trust your prayers in God’s hands.

You may have seen someone else receive an answer to the prayer you’ve been praying. Just because it’s happened in one way for someone else, it doesn’t mean that God won’t make another way for you. He is limitless. Use other people’s story as an encouragement, not the blueprint.

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th August 2019

How many times have you made a snap decision based on your feelings? I know that I have. Spontaneity can be a wonderful thing but sometimes, throwing caution to the wind can have consequences. We all have the occasional off day.

Sometimes, when our prayers aren’t answered how we expected them to be, we spend time trying to figure out why. It’s easy to think that maybe God just didn’t feel like giving us what we asked for and we should try harder to convince Him, next time.

We serve an amazing God who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Every single thing that He does for us is out of His love for us which never changes.

Isaiah 55:8 says ‘“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,  neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.’

God created us with emotions and the ability to feel. However, we don’t need to try to appeal to God’s feelings. We don’t need to convince Him that we are worthy, or to listen to us. We don’t always understand God’s ways but He is never careless with His children.

The more we seek Him, the more we learn His character and the better we know His character, the stronger our faith and trust in Him grows.

We can approach God in the confidence that the way He feels about us never changes, He always acts in our best interest (even if it doesn’t come packaged as we expected) and He never has an off day.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 3rd August 2019

Summer is a beautiful season and it gets people out and about and is always time to fix up your garden so you can enjoy and make the most of your home. A few weeks ago, my neighbour had just completely landscaped his garden –  transforming what was once a derelict woodland, into a beautifully manicured garden.

A few days later, he knocked on my door and asked if we had seen any digging in the garden but I hadn’t seen this in our garden, and he went on to explain that some badgers had completely ruined his new garden, including the new fence.

After researching how to stop them coming into his garden, he realised he was in for a long battle, as they were a protected species. Suddenly, their plans of transforming their home to make the most of it were halted because of these creatures that roam in the dark that he’d never even seen but now held him at ransom.

There are a lot of things that are hidden from sight that have the power to stop us from fixing up different areas of our lives. Things in our minds and our hearts, old habits that we hold on to from our past that we file away in some dark cupboard hoping they will never see the light of day.

What are the protected species in your life? The badgers that come out when no-one is looking and destroy plans for new relationships, financial freedom, health and lifestyle goals? What are you holding on to and protecting because nobody knows it’s there, and you think you can be a guard over it forever, but every time you try to move on with your life, bam! It comes out and everything is ruined and you’re back where you started.

Jesus says in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Today I challenge you to take this light called Jesus and put it in those dark places, and allow Him to chase away the protected species that need to go. He has the power to evict those things that have been holding you back.

Take courage, be strong, remember where your help comes from. Jesus wants to set you free.

Noble Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd August 2019

Romans 8:18 ‘I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’

2 Corinthians 4:17 ‘For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’

You can’t achieve anything meaningful without some kind of sacrifice or payment. A famous philosopher said ‘To live is to suffer’ and the reality is ‘everything sucks some of the time!’

You cant become a doctor unless you are prepared to suffer years of revising. You can’t become fit unless you are prepared to go through physical pain to build muscles. You can’t build a successful business unless you’re prepared to work tirelessly and apparently you can’t even make an omelette unless you are prepared to crack some eggs.

Basically we need to learn to increase our pain threshold, if we want big lives.

I believe that though the problem

with a lot of the suffering we go through in life, is that unlike exercise or revision we struggle to see the point of it. How can you attach meaning to illness or broken relationships? So we suffer and worst of all, we feel hopeless and hard done by.

The verse in Romans I believe can help unlock some truth that can help us.

It states that the sufferings we face can’t compare, isn’t worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Firstly that’s not true of exercise, revision or sacrifice needed to be successful in the world’s eyes.

For example, I think it’s a good thing to exercise and get fit, but it’s definitely worth comparing. You have to give up money and time to join a gym, dress appropriately and then put yourself through pain, week after week, month after month, just so you look a bit better in your swimming costume on holiday. Now I’m not saying don’t exercise but the suffering is definitely comparable to the benefit.

But this verse in Romans states that actually the suffering, the hardships and trials we go through where maybe it’s very difficult to see any kind of benefit but just loss, that actually that’s not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us, the benefits resulting from what we go through.

When we can learn to live with our eyes fixed not on the temporary suffering but the eternal purpose that God has for us, we can start to attach meaning to the difficulties that are in our lives. When you struggle to understand how any possible meaning could come out of truly terrible circumstances we need to learn to look to the eternal God, that there is an eternal perspective which means after all we see with our natural eyes has passed, we will be left in such a great unimaginable wonderful place that we won’t even remember any of the difficulties that helped get us there, just like a mother’s joy at holding a new born baby forgets the pain of labour for the blessing of the child.

Whatever you face today, I encourage you to attach meaning to it; don’t feel your money situation, or family loss, or ill health is an attack and a loss, but look to God and trust Him, be confident that the God who created all things is forming you for an eternal party that will put all things in perspective.

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st August 2019

It’s the time of the year when people are jetting off on their holidays and nine times out of 10 if you go away, you come back with your batteries recharged. On this, the first day of a new month, it’s a great opportunity to hit refresh.

So today, I’m giving you three steps to hit reset a little bit:


  1. Count your blessings

Psalm 103:2-5 

Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


Being grateful is one of the simplest ways to shift your perspective and as these verses show us, counting your blessings only seems to create more! It can be hard, in your circumstances to maintain gratitude. Every day, it’s a choice but when you do, things start to change.

2. Surround yourself with the right people

Proverbs 13:20 Walk with the wise and become wise,
    for a companion of fools suffers harm. 

Assess the season of your life. When Jesus was starting His ministry, it had to choose the right people for His team. Who is on your team? Whose life are you adding to? Pray for the right people in your life; God knows who and what you need but also pray that you’re the right person. Who does He want you to come alongside and encourage?


3. Get by yourself

Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Loneliness often has negative connotations attached to it but in order to receive, sometimes it’s better to be alone. If God needed to get your attention today, could He whisper in your ear, or would He have to shout your name in a crowd? Of course we carry Him everywhere but there’s something special about the stillness of sitting with God, rather than rushing around.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.