Fresh Hope – 30th November 2020

Smith Wigglesworth was born on 8 June 1859 to an impoverished family in Yorkshire. 

As a small child, he worked in the fields pulling turnips alongside his mother. 

He was illiterate until, at the age of 23, he married Polly, who taught him to read. He often said that the Bible was the only book he ever read.

He was a successful plumber by trade, but left it behind it after God spoke to him and called him from his small beginnings to a world-wide ministry of preaching and healing. 

There are accounts of at least a dozen people being raised from the dead after he prayed for them. One such person was his wife, who complained that heaven was far too wonderful to come back. He said on one occasion that he would rather see one person come to know Jesus through his preaching than 10,000 healed.

Life was not always easy for Smith Wigglesworth. He went through some very hard times. He wrote, ‘Great faith is a product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.’

The Bible is very realistic when it comes to describing how we all have to go through hard times, stating that it is these very trials that make us rather than break us. 

Smith Wigglesworth’s life inspires us to understand that out of the some of the most difficult beginnings, an amazing plan can unfold if you will simply hand your life over to God. 

Stop thinking that something is wrong when you go through difficulties; stress and strain are all part of life’s rich tapestry of forging something deep inside of us that can never be bought.

What does an obstetrician say when a pregnant mother complains about morning sickness and her clothes are getting too tight? They simply say that it’s all part of the process of giving birth to something very special.

Today, don’t try to escape the pain, the conflict and the problems of your life, instead embrace them as your best teacher and your best coach. You are about to give birth, not only to a next level you, but to a next level life.  

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.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 28th November 2020

How you enter a place is very important.  You can usually tell in the first few seconds about a person by the way they enter.  
“Hello!”  “How are you?” Happy smiling faces… usually indicate good things are ahead.  
I’m sure we’ve all dreaded the person who has entered a room and we’re wondering what they are going to be like today? Good mood? Bad mood?  You know the ones.

Psalm 100 vs 4 says “enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, give thanks and praise His name.”  

Even the writer here knew how important entering was. 

When we come into God’s presence (and that in itself is an absolute privilege), we should do so, with thanksgiving and praise, 
not straight into a list of “God I need or want this.”  

This week is thanksgiving. A time to remember how thankful we should be and how blessed we really are.  
We shouldn’t however, just wait until thanksgiving to be thankful.  

Being thankful will take you to a new level in your life.  
The way you start a sentence, the way you enter a room, will set the scene for what’s to come.  
So when we come into God’s presence, let’s do so with thankfulness.  
When we enter into a new day, let’s enter with gratitude.  
When we enter into bed at night, let’s do so with a thankful heart.

When you walk into someone’s home, you should be careful how you enter…with respect and thankfulness that you have the opportunity to be there.  
The way you enter says a lot about you.  

If you as a parent, see your children enter into your presence with thankfulness, think about how that impacts you as a parent and does your heart good. 

Today, I want you to really think about the word ENTER and whether it be going to a place, walking into your own lounge, 
or entering into the very presence of God, let’s enter well.  

It will determine the blessings and the experiences that are to follow.

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 27th November 2020

One of my husband’s main jobs in our home is sorting out anything to do with the cars such as taking them for service. I remember a few years back when he had to take my then car for its annual safety check, which is known as an MOT Test. As the car was only a few years old, and had had no issues on previous test occasions, and was running well and feeling safe to drive, the thought of failure didn’t cross my mind. I had every confidence that everything was alright. I was therefore surprised and saddened to  hear that the car had failed the test and that certain parts had to be replaced before it would pass the test and be considered safe again.

It made me think of how we can be going along in life quite happily, oblivious to things in our hearts which have the potential of taking us off course and causing harm to ourselves and others. I thought of unconfessed sin, past hurts, wrong attitudes and mindsets, beliefs and thoughts that are contrary to God’s word. In certain circumstances, any of these hidden issues could be triggered and cause problems.

As with an unsafe car, it is not only the driver who is in potential danger, but also those travelling with him and other road users. There can be those issues in our lives past or present, which can cause us to act, speak or behave in a certain way. In this way we harm ourselves, those nearest and dearest to us, and those we meet and spend time with. If undealt with this can become a cycle or pattern in our lives. 

I have heard a teaching once on how we often need something similar to a spiritual MOT. This is an opportunity to allow God (the divine mechanic) to lift the bonnet of our lives and, in the words of the Psalm 139 vs 23 -24 it says ‘search’, ‘test’, and ‘point out’ those things which ‘offend’. Then, as David’s prayer would suggest, when these things are exposed, the Lord is able to help us deal with these problem areas in our lives, as He leads us along the path of everlasting life.

If we come to Him in humility, acknowledging our need of Him, in His grace and mercy, He will help us identify what is not right, and show us what we need to do about it. Then, as, in obedience, these matters are dealt with in the way He directs, we will become a stronger, safer and a person of integrity on the roadway of life, as we honour and serve Him.

Christine Mudenha 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 26th November 2020

We don’t do things for God, with a selfish ambition. That would not be doing it for God, and God knows the motives of our heart. 

But there are biblical promises and principles that are in the Bible for the very purpose of releasing blessing over your life. God wants you to be blessed, so he gives you some pretty clear, and practical handles on how to be. 

Here are five things you can do for others that the Bible promises will release blessing on your life: 

1. Be kind. Kindness goes a long way. Kindness is not this soft and passive attribute, it is actually very powerful in the kingdom of God. The promise of kindness according to Proverbs is that ‘those who are kind benefit themselves’ (Proverbs 11:17). 

2. Be generous. There is more than enough evidence in scripture that living an open-handed life will release blessing into your life. ‘One person gives freely, yet gains even more…a generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed’ (Proverbs 11: 24&25). 

3. Be forgiving. This one can be a tough one. Letting go of what others have wrongly done to you is a challenge. The Bible is clear though that if you cannot forgive others, how can you expect God to forgive you. If you have truly had a revelation of God’s grace and mercy toward your shortcomings, you should have the ability to extend it to others. By forgiving others, you release blessing in your life and save yourself from the destructive power of bitterness. 

4. Have a heart for the poor. We are called to have a generous lifestyle, but more than that, have a heart for people in lack and need. God says that when we serve those struggling, we are honouring God himself. Isaiah 58:10 says, ‘If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday’.

Proverbs 14:21 says, ‘blessed is he who is generous to the poor’. It seems that as we look after the poor, God looks after us. 

5. Promote peace. Proverbs 12:20 says, ‘…those who promote peace have joy’. Someone who is not promoting peace is someone whose words are reckless, and lips cause division through gossip or lies. A peace promoter, is someone with a tongue that instead heals and builds. A peace promoter is someone who is trustworthy and ‘God delights in people who are trustworthy’ (Proverbs 12:22).  

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 25th November 2020

What is your Red Sea right now? 

The Israelites stood on the edge of what seemed an impossible barrier – a sea. (Exodus 14:29-31). 

The Egyptians were closing in on them from behind. 

There came a moment where the Israelites had to trust their God to do the impossible. To defy natural order. God had to make a way – literally. And He did! A miracle wind blew the Red Sea into two walls of water, allowing the Israelites to walk through the impossible, before the water crashed in on their enemy! (Sound crazy? Well they have actually discovered in recent years the weapons and armour of the Egyptians at the bottom of the Red Sea!). 

Perhaps you are standing on the edge of a Red Sea so to speak – an impossible situation where only God can make a way. 

Perhaps you’re feeling claustrophobic as you feel the enemy closing in on you. 

Our God is the God of the impossible. He can defy natural order. He can part your Red Sea, but there has to be a moment of trust. A moment where you call on God to do what is far beyond anything you could do. Have faith that He is able. 

Don’t forget that timing is everything. Had the Egyptians been any closer, and they would have got the Israelites. Had they been too far off, and they would not have been swept away. God’s timing for a miracle is never late, but always on time.   

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 24th November 2020


According to the laws of aerodynamics, the bumble bee should not be able to fly as its body mass is too heavy for its wingspan. One problem—the bumble bee has not been informed.

The world would come to a standstill if it were run by those who say ‘it can’t be done’.

Today, refuse to let the word ‘impossible’ stop you.

Do you feel you are in a hopeless situation? Is there no sign of a change in the natural? Hold on in there—what looks impossible with man is possible with God.

In the Bible God told Abraham that he would be the Father of many nations, but in the natural this looked impossible. Both he and his wife were beyond child-bearing years. They had no reason to hope or believe that it would happen. They had nothing to go on in the natural, but one translation of the verse (ROMANS 4 v 18) says ‘…hoping against all hopeless circumstances he believed’, but just as he was promised they eventually had a son named Isaac.

Most of us are persuaded into believing for too little, rather than believing for too much.

Today I encourage you to go against all the odds. Hold on to your promise by faith.

Keep believing. Keep moving forward.

Don’t focus on the impossible circumstances, focus on the God who makes the impossible possible.

Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.

Matthew 19:26 “…With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23rd November 2020

The story is told of a man who kept a private list of 15 men that he prayed for every day of his life.

Each day he would pray for all 15 by name.

Some of them alcoholics, some of them criminals and some of them just plain old atheists.

His prayer was simple: “JESUS, I want each of these men to be transformed by you and for them to acknowledge you as their Lord and Saviour in my lifetime.”

The years rolled by and one by one he was able to tick the names of the men off his list, as they came to know Jesus and have their lives transformed.

As he lay dying, he was perturbed that his prayer for just one remaining hardened man, had still been unanswered.

Would it be that this man would escape his prayers? Sadly, he never lived to find out.

However, the day of his of funeral came and at that very service the man that had seemingly escaped his prayers, surrendered his life to Jesus.

Fifteen out of fifteen! 

Sometimes you can pray for something, but you don’t see the answer right away or maybe not even in your lifetime.

It’s possible that the thing that you’re praying for is not ready, or is not God’s perfect timing yet. Your prayers will not be ignored or discarded.

Prayers don’t have an expiration date, so keep praying for that loved one that seems a million miles away from God; keep praying for that impossible situation, keep believing for God to move.

He is doing much more behind your back than He is in front of your face.

Hold on in prayer. 

Hebrews 10:35-36 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st November 2020

Elijah asked the widow in 1 Kings 17 to bring him something to eat and drink. “I have nothing she said, except a little…”

The widow was about to die. No husband to care for her and a famine in the land. She had nothing!! (Or so she thought). Maybe she had prayed for a miracle? 

God sent the prophet Elijah to ask her for some food, this was actually a test. When you’re in the middle of a great need and you’re praying, remember this: God is already up to something!
So Elijah came and asked her to feed him “I don’t have anything” she said “except…”

Don’t say you don’t have anything.  
We will always have something. It may not be money, but it may be a little food, or even if there is neither, you may have time or a skill. We all have something. God wants to use you in the miracle! Did you hear that? 

So often we sit around waiting for God…and God says “I want to use what you have.”
Here she practised the principal of FIRST. Before she died (because she said this was her last meal before she died) God wanted to know if she was willing to give what she DID have.  

A little oil and a little flour, to FIRST make the man of God some food. 
God always wants to know what we are doing with what we have and are we putting God first with it? Are we returning our tithe to God? Are we bringing an offering?  

For it’s in what we have and the principles that we apply from God’s word, that will bring about our miracle. 
Today, ask God what He wants you to do, what He wants you to give. 
It may not be much that He is asking for, it may be everything you have, but know this: He is about to bring your miracle into play. 

The widow was saved and her son, her food supply didn’t run out (even in a famine) because she put God first and applied the principles of God’s word. 

So the next time you think “I dont have anything” think again.  
God wants YOU to be part of the miracle. 

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 19th November 2020

The benefits of wisdom are priceless! I am not talking about book-smart knowledge, or worldly wisdom. I am talking about the wisdom of God – thinking the way God thinks. 

Proverbs is packed with truth after truth on how wisdom will save your life, add to your life, bless your life. 

Proverbs 4 alone says that as you gain wisdom, ‘you will live’, ‘wisdom will protect you’, ‘wisdom will watch over you’, ‘wisdom will exalt you and honour you’, ‘it will add years to your life’, ‘it will allow you to run and not stumble’, and it will ‘give health to your body’. 

It is funny how we don’t always stop to hear God’s ideas on things, or pick up the Bible to get Godly perspective, but we will constantly hustle for things like life, peace, health, protection, honour in other (less secure) things like; insurance, CCTVs on our houses, multi-vitamins, careers, approval of others. I am not saying all these things are bad, BUT there is a promise from God that hungering after Godly wisdom and applying Godly wisdom will offer you all those things that you are after (and sometime pay a lot of money for)! Wisdom will safeguard your life and allow it to thrive. Attaining the wisdom of God should be our absolute priority! 

It gets even better! God offers us wisdom generously! As priceless as it is, it isn’t this rare diamond that you have to hunt down! James 1:5 says, ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.’

Come on! Who doesn’t want or need the wisdom of God in their life?!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 18th November 2020

Sometimes as Christians we forget the spiritual authority that we have been given! 

Jesus said that we would do all He did PLUS more (John 14:12)! The authority that Jesus walked in is available to us. We already have it, some of us just need to access it. It is like having a bank account that you aren’t withdrawing from (it’s a limitless bank account too).

The Devil knows the only way he can rob you of your God-given authority and position in Christ is if he can get you to doubt it. A doubting Christian makes for a very ineffective one. Just as he would like it. We blend in with everyone else that way. 

Look at what the Devil said to Jesus in the desert … ‘IF you are the son…’ (Mathew 4:6). The enemy’s first tactic is to get you questioning your position, leaving you passive in exercising your heavenly authority. 

A few weeks ago my husband and I were in Scotland on the hunt for some highland cows! We finally found three on someone’s property and they were HUGE, beast-like creatures. You certainly would not want to go near one. Funnily enough, they were enclosed in this pathetic, tiny little wire fence that they could tear down in an instant! If only they knew their capacity and ability. The same goes for many passive Christians. We have no idea of our capabilities in God. We struggle with identity and doubt, ‘maybe I’m not really a son or daughter of God?’ As a result we have relinquished our power to walk as Jesus walked.

Remind yourself of who you are in God, and your position in Christ. Step into all that God has called you to. Walk in your heavenly authority. 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 17th November 2020

Do you wrestle with comparison? Me too!

I want to try and help you today to see the reality of comparison, and I think it will help me as well!
What brought this to light recently was a story I came across in the Bible, where a guy by the name of Jacob wants to marry a girl called Rachel. Jacob strikes a deal with Rachel’s father where he can work for him for seven years in return for his daughter in marriage.

So Jacob completes the seven years of work, but instead of being given Rachel, he is given Rachel’s sister, Leah. The Bible says that ‘Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful’ (Genesis‬ ‭29:17‬). So Jacob makes a second deal with Rachel’s father where he can marry her in return for another seven years of work. Now Jacob has two wives! (Cultural differences… don’t get any ideas).

Then here is where the reality of comparison hit me… Genesis 29:31 says, ‘When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.’

In other words, Leah had something that Rachel wanted (to bear children) and Rachel had something that Leah wanted (to be loved). And isn’t that the truth of comparison? While we’re envying what others have, without even realising it, they’re envying what we have.

While we want their influence, they want our friendships. While we want their earnings, they want our joy. While we want their career, they want our family…

So here is what I propose to you today… be content with what you have!

I am confident that life becomes so much more enjoyable when we are content with who we are, rather than focused on who we’re not, grateful for what we have, rather than wishing we had what we don’t.

I’m not saying not to have dreams and aspirations, but please understand that what is celebrated in others always has a cost attached to it.

So today, let’s be thankful for who we are and what we have, remembering that many of the things we overlook are on somebody else’s wishlist.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th November 2020

Anyone that knows me will know that I don’t like the cold. The circulation in my hands and feet has always been pretty poor which means I have to endure the winter months. I also have an aversion to cold water. My family laugh at me standing at the side of a swimming pool on holiday as I pluck up the courage to get in, even when on such occasions the weather is usually hot.  They shout from the pool ‘it’s okay once you’re in’, to which I reply, ‘I know, but I’m not in.’

I’m frustrating to watch, but I prefer to take my time to acclimatise rather than feel the sudden shock on my body.  I know I’m a chicken, but I have my reasons — two in fact. The first came as a result of being pushed into a freezing cold pool as a child and being unable to do anything about it. The second was much more serious. A school friend of mine died of shock through getting into a freezing cold reservoir while his body had baked all afternoon in the sun.

Both events have affected my life by instilling fear into me.

FEAR robs us of doing simple things that normally wouldn’t have been a problem. Fear is a limit-setter for your life. It’s not something that you were born with but is something that you pick up along the way.  My two grandsons know nothing of my fear, so they are happy to be thrown into water as many times as I have the strength for.

I also feared flying, but have overcome that by ‘feeling the fear and doing it anyway.’ Many times my wife would have to hold my hand on a turbulent flight just to reassure me, however, I refused to allow it to limit the opportunities that were coming my way. 

The simple question that I had to ask myself was this: are you going to let fear rule your day or your destiny? My answer had to be NO!

What pool do you have to jump in today? What plane do you have to fly on today? I don’t mean literally, but in the sense of what fear do you have to conquer today?

Whose hand are you holding?

Perfect love drives out all fear.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

The simple meaning of this verse for you today is this: once you know the hand of the one that’s holding you, loving you unconditionally, and refusing to let you go, then you can step on fear and use it as a springboard to move forward.

DON’T allow fear to cripple you, defeat you, or destroy you.

Trust in Jesus. He’s waiting to catch you as you jump into the pool of your greatest fears.

It’s okay once you’re in!

You’ll never look back.  

Deuteronomy 31:8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th November 2020

Joseph had a great destiny. How do we know that? 
Because God told him in a dream that one day he would be great and that people would bow down to him. 

It seemed to all go horribly wrong, because a short time later he found himself fighting for his life in a pit at the hands of his very own family. 
Life can suddenly turn, but what happens to us in that hole is very important. 
Had God changed His mind? No. Did He still love Joseph? Yes. Would He still fulfil His purpose for Him? Yes.

Just because life doesn’t always run like we would want it to, doesn’t mean that God has left us. 
Why is it that the minute something ‘seems to go wrong’ in our eyes, we thinks it’s all over? No my friend, it’s called life. God uses any and every situation to ‘work things out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to HIS purpose’. (See Romans 8 vs 28). 

Joseph did not die in that hole and neither should you. Keep trusting and believing God. He is the master builder of our lives… and to build something ‘master class’ takes time. 

Your responsibility is to keep a great heart and a great attitude in the meantime. Whatever ‘hole’ you find yourself in. 

One day Joseph was in a pit, the next day he was running someone’s household. One day he was in a prison cell, the next day in charge of everything and living in a palace!

It doesn’t matter what today looks like, tomorrow can be different. 
Trust God and keep a great heart and attitude. 

Pastor Gillian 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 13th November 2020

There’s a great documentary called ‘The Great Whale Rescue’. In it comedian John Bishop follows the story of the relocating of two Beluga Whales from captivity in a small water park in China to a wild sanctuary in Iceland.

What was amazing was the amount of effort and cooperation needed by so many to fund the project, build specialised harnesses and transportation tanks, get correct authorisation for transport by lorry, ferry and planes to go 6000 miles around the world. And not to mention the six month acclimatisation needed in a bespoke tank in Iceland to help the whales put on enough blubber to cope with the new temperatures.

Not only did it take this colossal effort on the part of people but also the whales themselves had to go through a process of real discomfort. Travelling for days in a tiny transport tank, being separated from each other for the first time in their lives. 
So, was it worth it? The vast funds it took and effort, the stress on the whales themselves? 

When you finally see them swimming in the wide open spaces that God had always intended for them, compared to the 10 years they had spent in a small circus tank, certainly for the whales it was well worth the cost. 

This I felt is a great picture of what our lives are. We were uniquely created to live in the wide open spaces of a relationship with God. You may have spent many years suffering and frustrated in the smallness of a fruitless and at times confusing life. But God made huge plans and fulfilled them at a great great cost in the person of Jesus Christ to pave the way for us to enter into a new life, one we were always created to be in. 

You may at times feel like you are in the wrong place, a square peg in a round hole, swimming in circles to please people and ultimately feeling disappointed at lack of progress. I want to encourage you today, you are uniquely designed to thrive in the wide open spaces, to soar like an Eagle looking down on all creation with the ultimate peace of knowing you are home.

At times we have to, like the whales, put ourselves in situations we naturally don’t want, like a harness lifting us into a smaller tank. The Church is God’s chosen transportation device to help relocate us to our natural habitat but we have to be brave and have faith that He will work all things to our good!

With all that’s going on in this season, keep believing, keep trusting, stay connected to the church and know that he has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future!

Romans 5:1-2 | MSG By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 12th November 2020

Are you desperate for a holiday? Did Corona cancel your trip? Struggling to find the motivation without the promise of your next break? 

Can I encourage you in that there is refreshment available to you? There is respite for you. 

And it is not just a physical rest, it is deeper than that, it is a refreshment of the soul. A soul refilling. A rest for your heart. 

God says, come to me if you are tired and weary and I will give you REST (Matthew 11:28).

God didn’t say come to Hawaii for rest, come to a spa for a break, (as necessary as these things are), He said come to ME for deep rest. 

If you are exhausted from 2020 (most of us I imagine), if you are drained and dreary, if you are quite simply – ‘just over it’, then I encourage you to go to the Father for what you really need. 

Spend a few minutes now, receiving a fresh infilling from Him. 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th November 2020

Proverbs 29:18 says, ‘Without revelation people run wild, but one who follows divine instruction will be happy’. Another translation, ‘Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.’

Restraint is really good for you! Is it always fun? NO! Does it always FEEL good at the time? NO! Just ask a screaming three year old being held back from a busy road by a parent, or an engaged couple waiting to move in together. 

Saying ‘no’, setting boundaries, have restraint is not always a feel good experience, but it is biblical and leads to great satisfaction, blessing, wholeness, favour and health! 

Resisting the urge to eat badly and going to the gym instead, will earn you the body and health you want. Honouring God’s word and keeping sex for marriage will reward you with blessing, protection and favour in your marriage. Withholding from buying that outfit you ‘must’ have will reward you with financial freedom from debt and allow you start saving for things that really matter. 

Restraint = reward! 

Restraint could also be called ‘self-control’, which happens to be a fruit of the Spirit! In other words, when you are walking with the Holy Spirit, self-control should manifest in your life! Restraint should be one of the hallmarks of the Christian life! Which means that the subsequent blessing, health and freedom should also be one of the hallmarks of a Christian life. When the world looks at you, they should see you thriving in the safety and security of restraint! Don’t let the world fool you into believing that true freedom is following your feelings. That’s not freedom. Quite the opposite in fact – you are a slave to your feelings and wants. 

So how do you practice restraint according to proverbs? You get a vision. Get a God-given goal for your relationships, finances, health, and job. When a vision from God is propelling you forward, it is easy to say no to anything that is not in line with that vision – you know what you want, you know what you are running towards!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 10th November 2020

Psalm 118 is the exact middle chapter of the entire Bible.

Psalm 117 is obviously before Psalm 118 and is the shortest chapter in the Bible.

Psalm 119 is obviously after Psalm 118 and is the longest chapter in the Bible.

The Bible has 594 chapters before Psalm 118, and 594 chapters after Psalm 118.

If you add up all the chapters, except Psalm 118, you get a total of 1188 chapters. 

1188 or Psalm 118 verse 8 is the middle verse of the entire Bible.

Is it hardly surprising that the very central verse of the whole Bible should contain a very central message for every human being on the planet?

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” – Psalm 118:8.

If ever there was a time to trust in God rather than to put our trust in mere men it is surely now.  
There we have it. Beautiful.  

Proverbs 3:5-10 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honour the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th November 2020

Be careful what you ask for!

Billy Graham was one of the most well loved and respected Christians in all of history. His wife, Ruth, told the story that she had asked God on many occasions to give her a husband. She had had several of her prayers ‘turned down’ by God—something that she was not happy about. Later in life, after being married to this most incredible man, she said that she was forever grateful that God didn’t answer any of her prayers that she had prayed as a young woman. He had only answered the one that gave her the husband that was right for her. They were happily married for almost 64 years. 

In the book of 1Samuel, the Bible records that the people kept insisting that they wanted a King. Their current leader, Samuel, was now well advanced in years and they felt that a younger guy needed to replace him. No matter how many times they were counselled that a new king would lead them into disarray, they still insisted that they wanted a new leader. 

In 1 Samuel 8:10-22, Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, ‘This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: he will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plough his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. ‘We want a king over us. Then we shall be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.’

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, ‘Listen to them and give them a king.’
In the end, God gave into their requests and gave them Saul as their king. 

Saul was neither the right man or the right choice. God only gave him to them because they insisted that they knew better. Remember, you have a free will. At times God will allow you to make decisions and to ask for things based on what you think is right for you. Before you make foolish decisions, seek wise counsel and be open to God to change your mind. 

A lifetime of misery awaits those that insist that they know what’s best. 
Be careful what you prayer for and insist on. God may just give it to you!

Ask yourself some simple questions today:
What am I insisting on just because I think I know best?

Am I seeking counsel from anyone wiser then myself in this matter?

Do you sense that the Holy Spirit is telling you to back off?

Is one of your traits that of being ‘pig headed’?

Remember: God knows what’s best for your life; If you get your own way you are actually pushing away the very best that God has for you if you’ll only wait. 

 If Ruth Graham had have had her prayers answered according to what she felt was right, she may have had a life of misery! Instead, she waited for God’s best and had the most incredible life. 

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th November 2020

In this time of restriction and being unable to do certain things, let’s remember again how important it is, to not concentrate on what we can’t do, but concentrate on what we CAN do. 

Prayer & Worship are two things that you’ll always have the privilege of.  Even if you find yourself in a jail cell (like Paul & Silas) you will still have the opportunity to pray and worship. And remember: those are the best two things you can do, they are the most powerful and the most effective. 

Never take for granted the opportunity to talk to God at any time and always make the most of every opportunity to open your mouth in worship. It’s prayer and worship that brings miracles, opens prison doors and sees the impossible become possible. 

In Luke 18 there’s a blind man sitting by the road begging, he hears a commotion from the people and asks what is going on. They tell him that Jesus is passing by. He sees his opportunity (not with his physical eyes) but spiritually and internally,  to call out to Jesus.  Jesus hears him and asks in verse 40 “what do you want me to do for you?”

“I want to see”  he says. Jesus would have known he was blind, but he wanted him to speak out his desire and need.  Jesus immediately heals him and says “your faith has healed you.”  Wow.  That’s what Jesus can do for you!

In these days of commotion and rumblings, take every opportunity to call on Jesus.  He’s waiting for your shout.  Even in the midst of all that crowd noise, he heard that blind man! Have you thought about that?   

Prayer & Worship are POWERFUL.  They will change situations and bring down those walls.  They will bring about your breakthrough, deliverance and healing. 

No wonder, the enemy tries to shut us up. 

Call out for Him today. 

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 6th November 2020

Psalm 121:1 ‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth.’

In this crazy time of uncertainty, it’s completely natural to look to the world for help and security. We can easily look to circumstances as a solution and a safety net for our lives. This makes perfect sense! And yet this psalm tells us not to look to the obvious for help.

The hills represent worldly strength, or the logical place of help. I.e. You have a health issue, look for a doctor. You need more money, look for a pay rise at work. You’re lonely, look at getting a pet.

It makes sense in life to look for help in the obvious places (the hills) yet this psalm encourages us to look up past the hills and to the creator of the hills.

He is where our help truly comes from, and he wants you to trust in him, to look to him as provider. God loves it when he sees his children choose him over the easier more logical solutions to their problems.

This also then encourages us in our needs to actually see them as opportunities! An opening for us through faith to make God’s day by looking to him, the maker of the Heavens and the Earth!

I encourage you at this confusing and uncertain time of lockdown to look to God for help. It doesn’t mean we forsake helping ourselves or being reckless but that we seek Jesus first.

Also when we look to him for our help it takes pressure off our jobs and relationships. We stop seeing our job as the only possible provider of cash and achievement, we stop seeing relationships as the only place we get acceptance.

Shift your focus today and put your hope in Him – the maker of Heaven and Earth.

‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.’

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th November 2020

Nothing that is happening in your life right now is a surprise to God. An obvious statement, you may think but sometimes, I find myself relaying the details of my life to Him as though he wasn’t there.

Uncertainty can have the potential to derail us emotionally. A lot of the anxiety that we experience in life is caused by feeling out of control.

Today, I want to remind you that the burdens you’re carrying were never designed for you to carry. Naturally, when we’re faced with problems, our instinct is to want to fix them. But Philippians 4 v 6 tells us otherwise: ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.’

Our relationship with God doesn’t require solutions, it requires trust. Start by inviting Him into your day today, talk to Him about what you’re carrying and then make a conscious effort to lay it down. And watch peace sweep in, where your troubles once were.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th November 2020

Yesterday I was trying to keep a dwindling log fire going. 

I regularly had to poke the fire, prod the embers and add on logs. The fire was lovely, but a degree of maintenance was involved. 

It reminds me of when Paul encouraged Timothy ‘to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you’ (2 Timothy 1:6). 

You may feel a bit flat in your faith. The fire once burning in your belly is perhaps dwindling. 

There is a spiritual responsibility for us to “fan into flame” that which has been imparted. The flame of our faith isn’t going to roar if we aren’t feeding it fuel.
If you’re feeling weak, disconnected, and cold, can I encourage you to add fuel to your faith? Connect with the Holy Spirit. Spend time in prayer, worship and the word. Reflect. Connect with others. 

Your flame is your personal responsibility. It is not the job of your pastor, leader, spouse or parent to keep your spiritual fervour alive. Your relationship with God is personal. 

The flame of your faith needs feeding. Don’t neglect it. Keep on burning!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 3rd November 2020

I’m writing from the Scottish highlands – surely one of the most beautiful parts of the world! 

We’ve been driving around for days, marvelling at the majestic mountains, teeming with waterfalls, the on-top-of-the-world-views, and the vibrant autumnal colours. 

On day one of the trip we found the most basic river absolutely stunning and had to pull over for a photo. By day four we were so used to the vast, grandeur of beauty that we actually started to lose our sense of awe (despite the scenery being far better than what “wowed” us at day one!). We got used it. It became familiar. 

It’s really easy to lose our sense of wonder. It’s easy to lose our sense of gratefulness. We get used to the wonders in our life and start to just see them as the familiar normals of our day-to-day. Dare I say it, we can even become entitled about them – I expect my pay, I expect to come home to a heated house with food, I expect to wake up healthy, I expect to have everyone in my life for another day. We expect that which is actually a gift from God. 

Especially in these times, I would encourage you focus on what you do have. Remain grateful for the beauty in your life already. Don’t miss what is special because you expect it and are used to it. Be thankful. Be careful of what familiarity can breed in you. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18, ‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd November 2020

Do you find yourself worrying about the future? What’s more, do your find yourself fearing that something bad is about to happen to you, your spouse, your children and your family? Do you keep thinking about how your wonderful life could all be swept away in an instant for no apparent reason? Do you always stop short of enjoying your life for fear that it all may be taken away? If so, you are not on your own —this is a very real fear that millions of people face on a daily basis. 

Now, of course those thoughts that plague you are a possibility, as we do not know what tomorrow may bring. However, in reality they are more than likely to be sent to your mind in order to keep you paralysed with fear. Think of it like this —rather than being set free to live, you are bound by worry that is keeping you chained in the prison of your own mind. 

My Dad confessed to me some years back that he was overwhelmed by the fear that something bad was about to happen on the family holiday that he and my Mom were about to go on. This was completely irrational for my Dad as he had never been the kind of person to think like that. In the days that led up to the holiday he was privately battling with the thoughts of not going away, but couldn’t really pull out. He was convinced that should they go ahead as planned then it would surely end in disaster of some kind. 

Well, the holiday did go ahead, and upon his arrival home I asked him how it had gone and if any of his worst fears had been realised. He started to tell me that it was one of the best holidays that he and my Mom had ever been on, and that he had come back feeling totally refreshed. ‘I can only think that this was the devil trying to stop me from going somewhere that he knew would be so enjoyable and so refreshing’, he said. Agreed!

Corrie Ten Boom helped more than 800 Jews escape the Holocaust and said about worry: “Worrying about the future is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength. It is carrying two days at once. The truth is each day has its own problems, pressures and concerns. Yet, so often we are tempted to add to the strain of today, with anxious thoughts about tomorrow; regarding things which may never happen.”

How many days so far have you lost worrying about tomorrow’s problems that have never even amounted to anything? I guess the answer could be as many as several years worth. 

The opposite of worry is faith and trust in Jesus that cares about you. He never promises that you won’t go through pain, difficulty or hardship, but He does promise that He will be with you no matter what. 

For nine months a certain Bible character by the name of Job lost almost everything in his life. Listen to his confession, ‘What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.’ (Job 3:25-26)

He confessed that his fears had resulted in no rest and plenty of turmoil. We can’t say whether his troubles came to him almost as a self fulfilling prophecy, but what we do know is that they had kept him bound long before they happened. 

Today I encourage you to think like this: No matter what may come my way in my life, I’m not going to let what may stop me from living in the now of today. 

Listen to the words of Jesus:
Matthew 6:25, 27-34 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’

Think about it — worry is worthless. 

Now, get on with making a difference today. 


Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.