Fresh Hope – 31st December 2020

In this past year, thanks to lockdowns, like many, I’ve had more time on my hands to do jobs around the house. One of these jobs was to replace some solid double doors between our hallway and lounge with glass french doors. I actually just wanted visitors to be able to view the Christmas tree in the lounge from the front door.

What surprised me was how these doors truly transformed the feel of the house. When in our hallway, despite its dimensions not actually changing it felt so much more spacious because your line of sight is taken into the lounge. And vice versa when in the lounge because you can see into the hallway now it too feels so much bigger despite not changing in size. 

This is a great example of how we too can feel so very differently about our lives without them having to change. All we need to change in our lives for them to feel so differently is our line of sight! 

Hebrews 12 2-3 cev
‘We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God’s throne! So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won’t get discouraged and give up.’

Whenever we struggle whether with jobs, disappointments, broken relationships, poverty, illness, it naturally takes our focus. And the house in which we live out our lives, our souls, becomes compartmentalised. Our world in which we experience m this life feels smaller, and we feel we can’t appreciate life again until we have dealt with this issue closing us in. The problem with this is you, for as you have a pulse, you will have issues. So by this rule you can never truly be happy. 

But! When we focus on Jesus, make him and not our issue the line of sight in our lives, we take down these temporary walls in our homes (our souls) and even though we will still have issues we feel so different! There’s space, light and hope in our lives! 

God wants us to enjoy life, however you may be struggling, you can make the change to enjoy the open plan living! What do you need to pull down so that your line of sight is Jesus? So you can live with the open plan joy in all you do, enjoying the wide open spaces God has always intended you to live in?

Luke Cartwright

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 30th December 2020

Often the more wealthy people get, the less they value their money, and the more they value their time. They realize that wasted time can never be replaced. You can make more money, but you cannot buy more time. It is an irreplaceable resource. 

I’ve watched a lot of people over this last year complain about the ‘loss of time’ Corona has seemingly caused. Single people upset that a year of going out and mingling in the search of a soul mate, wasted. Business people devastated that a year of opportunity and growth has been – wasted. A year of travel experiences or precious moments with family far away – unfilled, again, time wasted. 

What I love about God is that HE has the upper hand on even time. God is outside of time, not bound by it. As impossible as it seems, God is able to redeem lost time, because He is God. What in the natural takes years, God can do supernaturally in days. 

Read this from Joel 2:25-27, 

‘So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust (Corona) has eaten,
The crawling (Corona) locust,
The consuming (Corona) locust,
And the chewing (Corona) locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
am the Lord your God
And there is no other.
My people shall never be put to shame’. 

The context of this scripture is that Israel’s crops had been destroyed by a locust invasion, and the impact lasted more than one year. This could indicate that locusts invaded in consecutive years. However, it is more likely that the damage of one invasion had a multi-year impact. When locusts destroyed a crop, they wiped out the seed saved from the previous year, the harvest of the current year, and the seed that would be used the next year. Locust devastation of grape vines and fruit trees would take years to redevelop.What a waste of time! Sounds a bit like the effects of Corona doesn’t it?

Whatever time and opportunities Corona has seemingly ‘eaten away’ in 2020, God can work for your favour! God manages time, time doesn’t manage God! The redemption of time isn’t just evident in Joel. Time stood still for Joshua, God redeemed time for Joseph too. God can fast track a delay! 

Do not be disheartened by time that seems to have been ‘wasted’! God will waste nothing. He will not put His people to shame. God will redeem what Corona has stolen!

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 29th December 2020

A key element of the Christmas season is the gift giving! Christian or not Christian, exchanging gifts is easily one of, if not, THE biggest aspect of the Christmas season (just ask the retail industry). 

Yet behind the generous exchange of giving someone a gift, is something deeper. We’ve heard it all before. ‘The real gift is Jesus’. As cliché as this is, I hope we can understand the truth of the statement once more. 

Jesus was not birthed on earth for a cute nativity scene. Jesus’ birth came with a mission and a mandate – to save the world. Jesus was birthed for His death – our death – the death of our despair, hopelessness, fear, sickness, eternal suffering, disconnection from God, and poverty. 

If Jesus Himself was not the greatest gift of all, God continues to gift us in our lives as Christians. He left us the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-31), He left us Spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12), and He encourages us to ASK for gifts as we go about life (Matthew 7:11, James 1:5)! 

Generosity always has been and always will be at the centre of our Father’s heart. That is why we give gifts – an ultimate reminder that we were given the highest gift from our heavenly father, and that gift keeps on giving!  

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 28th December 2020

Isaiah 9v6, ‘For to us a Child shall be born, to us a Son shall be given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, And His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’. 

Wonderful counsellor – professional, Christian counselling is excellent, but how incredible that God has also gifted us with a ‘wonderful counsellor’ to walk with us 24/7. The Holy Spirit is also defined as ‘counsellor’. Not many religions, if any, serve a God who reminds us who we are, creates a safe place for us to process our issues, reminds us of our core values, and imparts wisdom and advice on how to find healing and wholeness. 

Mighty God – Let us not forget in the heat of 2020, that Jesus is still MIGHTY. He still sits on the throne. He is still in control. 

Everlasting Father – Many of society’s problems come down to the root issue of fatherlessness. Fatherhood has become one of the most undermined roles of our society – strong men who lead and establish the household, and thus the next generation and our society! We’re in a world hungry for quality fathering! We have an EVERLASTING father – constant and never-ending in His love, guidance, provision, protection and wisdom. 

Prince of Peace – Jesus, son of God, came as a prince, carrying the royal mandate of bringing PEACE to a world in turmoil. This is who He is. This is His mission. When we say ‘prince’ – we aren’t referring to the kind of prince who sits in a palace sipping on tea, being waited on. A real prince carries authority and a mission. A prince has a title to fulfil…and that He has. Jesus, Prince of Peace. 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 26th December 2020

The word “celebrate” means to enjoy a special occasion or to praise. Maybe Christmas for you this year is a little different, less people, missing those you love, maybe it’s a time of quiet reflection and maybe you don’t feel much like ‘celebrating’.

I hope that’s not the case, as when I think of the word ‘Celebrate’ – I also think about the ONE whose birthday it is…and whatever your life is like right now, God is still worthy of our Praise.  

Christmas is a time to celebrate Jesus. It’s HIS birthday.  My Bible reminds me that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He will never leave me or forsake me and that He will work all things out together for good for those who love Him. That’s something to celebrate right there!

You see, when stormy times hit – and they always do – stand on the ROCK which is God’s word. Read it, remind yourself of it and declare it. Declare over your life and those you love this season that the best is yet to come. The wise man in the Bible did not lose his house or his life when the storms hit…BECAUSE his life was firmly built on the rock that is Jesus. 

My friend lost her husband to COVID this year. She still declares that God is good. She is still celebrating His goodness and faithfulness. So come on, you can do it too!

Enjoy this special season as you celebrate HIM, for God IS GOOD.   

Happy Christmas to you all.

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

Fresh Hope – 25th December 2020


If your family is anything like ours, then Christmas isn’t complete without a good old amicable argument about the correct answers or scores to the family quiz!  In fact, this year, one of the ways of connecting with family and friends that you couldn’t physically have in your home is to organise an online quiz.  With the competitive nature of some people (mentioning no names) this is guaranteed to liven up the most dreary household this evening. Here’s a question to get you started…
What were the very first words that God spoke in the Bible?
Answer: Let there be light.

It’s one of the biggest clues to the fact that God doesn’t want you to be in the dark. There’s a little more to it than meets the eye too; the word translated light from the original text is the word ‘order’, and the word for dark came from the word meaning ‘chaos’.
Think about it for a moment: the first thing that God wanted for this world was light so that the chaos could be brought to order. In fact, 740 years before Jesus came to earth we read these words…
Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. 

Now skip to the New Testament and we find the fulfilment of that promise…
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ (John 8 v 12)

Have you ever wondered why, when everything seems to working in your life just fine that there’s still a longing for something more? Have you ever wondered why, in a very bright and shiny world, that you feel as if you’re lost?

Maybe you would describe your existence like this…everything is working, but there’s something missing.

That ONE thing is what Jesus called the ‘light of life’. He said that if you find it you will never walk in darkness again. WOW! That, my friend is the greatest Christmas gift that anyone could ever possibly give to you.

I’m sure that we’ve all been in a power cut from time to time. 
What’s the first thing that you reach for? A candle? A torch? The light from your phone? The truth is that everything comes to a standstill until the power comes back on. Whilst it’s off, your life is disorientated and even quite fearful, yet just one light can dispel the darkness. Having the ‘light of life’ means that your life comes alive and you begin to see clearly where you’re going for the first time; Your life literally comes alive.

My question to you on this Christmas Day is simply this: Have you got it? Have you found it? Or is life just one big puzzle?

When a popular town plans a date to have its Christmas lights switched on it usually invites a celebrity to do so. The greatest thing that you could do today is to invite the greatest person that ever walked the earth to switch your light on so that you will never walk in darkness again.

Invite Jesus to switch on the light in your life so that this Christmas day will become the greatest one ever for you.  

Everything changes when the light goes on.
Invite Jesus into your life right now. He’s just waiting for you to ask.

It’s corny, I know, but JESUS is the very REASON for the SEASON. 

Have the most amazing day…no matter what.  

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 24th December 2020

Christmas in 2020 is going to be a very unique one. On second thoughts, maybe not that unique, but actually quite similar to the very first Christmas in that stable in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph would have been filled with a sense of fear and isolation, the same feelings that are surrounding a lot of people this Christmas Eve.

I can only imagine Joseph’s fears and anxieties about being a midwife, the fear of King Herod’s soldiers searching for them, anxieties about becoming a first time dad to a child who was anything but ordinary, and the cultural pressures at the time of being a father to a child who wasn’t his biologically.

From these, His first few moments on earth, until the days of the denial by Peter and His death on the cross, there were many instances throughout Jesus’ life where the people around Him, those who believed and trusted in Him went through isolation, afraid of something or someone that was going to kill them.

In another instance, in John 11 vs 7-16, Jesus and his disciples have fled from, and are hiding from people who had attempted to kill them. The disciples are trying to dissuade Him from leaving their safe environment and going to the town where Lazarus has died, but Thomas says “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Jesus says let us go so that you may believe, Thomas says let us go so that we may die.

Such a contrast, but the disciples are actually convinced to go by what Thomas said, not what Jesus said. Whose words are you believing and relying on at this time?
On the face of it, Thomas’s words are simply the words of one who did not want to see a close friend suffer and die alone whilst they remained safe and unharmed.

But Jesus can use anything for our good, and He uses Thomas’s words to remind us that although we are in a time of fear and trepidation, the only way out is to continue walking into the unknown with Christ. By letting trust in our own strength and abilities die, we will see Jesus work miracles in our lives.

From the isolation and fear of that first Christmas Eve, Jesus was revealed to the world. Choose faith, choose hope, this isolated Christmas, and Jesus will be revealed anew to you.

Noble Mudenha

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 23rd December 2020

What are you anticipating this Christmas? Joy? Excitement? Your favourite time of the year? Or more along the lines of sadness? Loneliness? Just another ordinary day?

Growing up, Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year, and I just assumed it was the same for everybody. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realised that is not always the case. It’s because our feelings towards Christmas are often based on our individual experiences of Christmas.

There is a difference between a thermometer and a thermostat. A thermometer tells you the temperature of a room, a thermostat dictates the temperature of a room. One reflects what is already there, one decides what is going to be there.

Christmas for many of us this year is going to look different, but the good news is that the kind of Christmas we experience is actually up to us.

A thermometer says, ‘I have no control over the atmosphere’, a thermostat says, ‘the atmosphere is set by me’. YOU get to determine your experience of Christmas this year. YOU get to control the atmosphere within your own heart and within your own home.

Don’t settle for being a thermometer, choose to be a thermostat, and make this Christmas the best one you’ve ever had, both for you and those around you.

Caleb Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 22nd December 2020

I’m sure many of you are very familiar with the famous Christmas song, ‘Joy to the World’. Often we sing these Christmas songs, paying little attention to the words we are actually singing! 

‘Joy to the world the Lord is come 

Let Earth receive her King 
Let every heart prepare Him room…’ 

Joy by God’s definition is not a sweet, little, polite cheer. Joy is radical and powerful. Joy can be defined as a deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart of the person who knows all is well between himself and the Lord. Joy is not conservative. Joy causes us to SHOUT! 

Psalm 91:4 says, ‘Shout for JOY to the Lord, all the earth…’

From 100 references to joy, the first time it is mentioned in the New Testament it is coupled with the birth of Jesus:

‘When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy’ (Matthew 2:10). 

Our level of joy has nothing to do with the circumstances surrounding 2020 – our disappointments, our heartache. Our joy has everything to do with our King. 

Let the earth REJOICE for our king is here! 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 21st December 2020

Grandad was feeling his age. He found that shopping for Christmas gifts had become too difficult, so he decided to write a cheque to each of his family and friends instead.
In each card he wrote, ‘Buy your own present’ and posted them out nice and early. He enjoyed the usual flurry of activity leading up to the big day, but noticed he had received very few cards from his nearest and dearest. 

Puzzled and feeling somewhat upset over this, he went into his study, intending to call a couple of his relatives and ask if all was okay. It was then, as he sat at his cluttered desk, that he got his answer. He was horrified to find under a stack of papers, the signed cheques, which he had forgotten to enclose with the cards.
The empty Christmas cards that he had sent out to all his loved ones now simply read…’BUY YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS PRESENT’.  

Hopefully, this Christmas amidst all of the lock downs, tiers, confusion and restrictions, will go somewhat better than that. Just in case you need a little help, here is my Christmas recipe for a blessed day ahead:

-Focus on what you can do and not on what you can’t. 

-Make the day all about others. 

-This year is different, so think ahead about how you can be creative in communicating your love to family and friends. 

-Be thankful, for even the small blessings in life. 

-Put yourself out for someone less fortunate than you. Drop a gift/meal/cake on their doorstep. 

-Be bold enough to say a few heartfelt words, along with a prayer of thanksgiving around Christmas lunch table, no matter who is and who isn’t present. 

-Do something this week on the spur of the moment—call up a person you know that is on their own and ask if they need anything. 

-Plan to make some memories. You may never have another Christmas like this one in your life time. 

-Go over the top with love. Jesus did. Forgive and overlook your differences.

-If you still have them, serve your grandparents and somehow make it their best Christmas yet…even if it is from a distance. 

-Stay awake as long as you can and be grateful that you’re alive on another Christmas Day. 

-If you are battling with sadness, grief or loss, remember JESUS cares for you and is in every movement that you feel alone. 

-Remember the Inn keeper! His B and B was full, but he made room for Jesus. No matter how full your life is with stress, trouble, lack, family tensions or even your own importance. Make room for Jesus. Invite Him in right now. 

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Your friend and Pastor,
Mark x

PS. Why not tune in on Wednesday night at 7.30pm for our final part of ‘Hope for Christmas’? on YouTube and Facebook. 

Fresh Hope – 19th December 2020

Watch out for distractions. You can be driving a car and get distracted and have an accident. You can be watching a football game, get distracted by one of the family and miss the goal. You can get distracted by a pretty girl and find yourself out of the will of God. Distractions come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some have more serious consequences than the other.  

John 12 vs 1-8  is the account of Mary spending money on expensive perfume and pouring it on Jesus’s feet.

Judas however wasn’t happy; read vs 4-6  “but one of His disciples Judas Isacariot, who would later betray him, said “why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money used to give to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages. He did not say this because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, as keeper of the money, he used to help himself to what was in it.”

Here are two important points I want to leave with you:

1. Judas had got distracted by worldly things and lost sight of his calling to Christ. He was called as a disciple, yet went on to be the one that betrayed His Master and friend. Be careful that worldly things don’t take you away from your calling to Christ. It’s easy for you to get distracted by money etc and lose who you really are and what you were called to do.   
Some people right now are getting distracted by fear and situations and are not where they should be. Beware of distractions!

2. Be careful you don’t let people who have got distracted influence you. Judas had a big voice telling the others and Jesus what he thought about the perfume situation! Yet behind the scenes, he was the one in sin.  Be careful of people who have gone away from God, or not in relationship with God trying to distract you.  

I love how Jesus in vs 7 & 8 shuts the situation down and tells the others what they need to hear.   Today my friend, watch out for that distraction and if relevant , tell it to “shut up and go away!” 

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 18th December 2020

With just one week to go, there’s no doubt this year the celebration of Christmas is going to be so different for millions of people around the world because of the Pandemic. We are in the period of Advent (awaiting the arrival of a notable person), in this season, although it’s with a sense of uncertainty, people are making plans and preparations and buying things to celebrate this special season.

As we make our plans, however limited they may be, let’s not forget those for whom this will be a particularly difficult time coping with fear, loneliness, ill health, the loss of loved ones, employment, livelihood, and homes. May we be able to bring help, support and encouragement wherever we can.

Traditionally, the four weeks leading up to Christmas are recognised as a period of waiting and preparation. We prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus (His first coming), but we also wait for His return (His second coming). As we look forward to Christmas this year, let’s not allow the present circumstance to distract us from the marvellous message that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:15). God so loved us that He sent Jesus to die on the cross to save us.

As we look again at the crib and the wonderful gift of God to mankind and what it led to on the cross, let’s remember that was not the end. May this Advent be a time for us to take our eyes off our immediate circumstances and look beyond the pandemic with its struggles and uncertainties. Instead, may we look to His promises to us. This is a time to reset our focus on the truths we can celebrate, and what ultimately lies beyond.  Let’s point our loved ones and those around us to the greatest gift of all (Christ), so they may find eternal life. 

Paul gave this exhortation to Titus, ‘We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ will be revealed’ (Titus 2:12b).

Christine Mudenha 

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 17th December 2020

We are all familiar with the Christmas story. We all know the part about the three wise men, following a star. 

Just to give a bit of context, these wise men, better referred to as, ‘astrologers’ may have visited Jesus a number of months after his birth. 

King Herod, not the star, was the first to direct the astrologers to Bethlehem. When he heard of a rival “king of the Jews,” Herod investigated where the promised Christ was to be born. On learning that it was to be in Bethlehem, he told the astrologers to go there, look for the child, and report back to him.

Only then did the three wise men/astrologers go to Bethlehem. The Bible says, ‘After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when they were in the East went ahead of them until it came to a stop above where the young child was’ (Matthew 2 for the whole story). 

I love the idea of a star or light leading the way in the dark. Jesus was born at a time where there was much political and religious unrest. He arrived during a dreadful time in history to a turbulent land. Sound familiar? Maybe a bit like 2020! Historically, tension had been building for years and years and a saviour was anticipated and needed. 

Yet amidst the trouble, amidst the darkness and unrest, there was a light – there was a star – guiding in the dark to the saviour of the world! 

Likewise today, there is a light, a star, leading us through the dark, to our hope and saviour – Jesus. 

You may be in the darkness, but there is the guiding light of the Holy Spirit, going ahead of you, to your hope and saviour. 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 16th December 2020

4 lies the enemy wants you to believe for 2021: 

Here are four lies that the enemy will use to keep you stagnant and stale in 2021: 

1. The world is an awful place. 

Watch where you are getting your information. The media thrives on fear breeding and disaster focused reports. If you are using the media to form your opinion of where the world is at, instead do some more research into all the good things going on in the world. Shift your focus. Seek out the good. Remember that God loves the world so much that He DIED for it. There must have been something worth dying for! We should therefore continue loving the world, giving our lives for the world, and being the culture shifters we are called to be in our spheres of influence, in order to bring redemption. 

2. New year, same stuff

Every morning God promises new mercies (Lamentations 3:23). God is always doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:19). Are you ready to partner with God on what He wants to do next in your life? 

3. My joy level is determined by where we are at with Corona. 

The biblical definition of joy has nothing to do with circumstances. ‘Be joyful in all circumstances’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), includes, be joyful in a pandemic. Joy stems from an inner, steadfast security in the nature of God – not your happenings. 2021 will not make you happy. Jesus will. 

4. Don’t get excited about anything because it probably won’t happen. 

The world is feeling hopeless. This is the Church’s finest hour! We were made to be bringers of hope on days like this! Be the dreamers, the visionaries, and the hope-givers in your spheres of influence. In the words of Proverbs 31 – ‘laugh at the days to come’. Carry the lightness and freedom that you have in Jesus, into places that are dark and heavy. 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 15th December 2020

I’m pretty sure that you’ve had to face some problems over the last months that you never bargained for when the year began. In fact we’ve all had to navigate 2020 like no other year that we’ve been alive.

Think about how many unique problems that the population of the world faces right now, and then think about how many different answers to those problems there must be out there. One thing is for certain, there is no shortage of problems, but there always seems to be a shortage of answers.
It’s almost guaranteed that you will be scratching your head today about something and asking what on earth is the solution to my problem. The great news is that there is no such thing to God as a shortage of answers—you just need to know who to ask and where to look. 

Believe it or not, God has the answer to your most difficult and detailed problem right now. Many people believe that knowledge solves everything, and though that is good, you can be highly intelligent, know loads of stuff about loads of things and still be clueless. Higher than knowledge is wisdom. Wisdom can use the knowledge that you have and instruct you as to how to apply it in any and every situation. 
But you may ask yourself, what if I don’t have any knowledge to apply?

Once again…great news! There is even a much higher way than wisdom itself, and that is the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God, does not rest on any knowledge that you may or may not possess, but rests solely on what God already knows about every detail on the planet, let alone in your small world right now. 

Listen to how James put it in the New Testament:
James 1:5-8 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. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. 

Stuck for an answer today? Simply ask God to show you the best solution. You’ll be amazed at how much He knows. In fact He is the sum total of all wisdom and knowledge. 

Think of this story for a moment…
A lady called out an engineer to come and repair her washing machine. He arrived at her home and within five minutes had finished the job and swiftly presented her a bill for £100. She argued with him about the cost and asked how he could charge such an extortion price, knowing that he had only taken the front off the machine and hit something inside with his hammer. He replied,”I’m charging you only £5 for hitting the part with my hammer, but £95 for knowing where to hit.”
His knowledge was vast about every part of the washing machine, which enabled him to wisely and accurately give an instant solution. Anyone else could have spent days on the very same job, and still not have solved the problem. 

God has the answer right now to every single problem that you will ever face. Why not ask him to download His wisdom to you today? He’ll be only too happy to help you for free.

Take time to read the fascinating few verses below—they have been a massive blessing to myself over the years:
Isaiah 28:23-29 Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say. When a farmer ploughs for planting, does he plough continually? Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil? When he has levelled the surface, does he not sow caraway and scatter cummin? Does he not plant wheat in its place, barley in its plot, and spelt in its field? His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Caraway is not threshed with a sledge, nor is the cartwheel rolled over cummin; caraway is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a stick. Grain must be ground to make bread; so one does not go on threshing it for ever. The wheels of a threshing-cart may be rolled over it, but one does not use horses to grind grain. All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent. 

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 14th December 2020

‘Putting your foot in it!’

Several years ago we were renovating the upstairs of an old night club that we had rented as extra space for our Church. 
Rewiring the place meant that some of the floorboards had to be taken up and had just been placed back in position after the electrician had finished for the day. 

That night, I went upstairs with a couple of guys to see how the work was progressing, and before we could switch the lights on, I walked onto the end of a floorboard and got the shock of my life…my one foot went straight through the floorboard and subsequently appeared through the ceiling tile in what was a shop beneath. What made it worse was the fact that the shop opened late at night and had several customers. They got the shock of their lives as a leg appeared above the cash till!

If was not only a very painful experience in that I was bruised for weeks afterwards, but also a valuable lesson in taking note of where you’re walking.
Paying attention to where you walk in life is important to the degree that many people fall down holes that they never get out of. Maybe that hole is a something you never saw coming, but now you feel embarrassed and trapped by the compromise and sin that you’ve got yourself into. All sin and failure starts off pretty innocently and spirals downwards much like this:

Don’t ever say that you are beyond falling because you think you are so strong—that’s exactly the time that you become vulnerable. 
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 
If you’ve stopped walking in the light and fallen into the clutches of sin, then remember, there is a way back and you need to take it right now before you leave it too late to be rescued. 
Ask a close Christian friend to help you get out the mess you’re in. 
Face up to the truth about your situation and confess it.
Ask Jesus for His forgiveness and receive it. 
Forgive yourself for making such a hash of things. 
Turn to God and get back on track.
Don’t walk in the dark any longer, but bring everything out into the light.
Walk on firm ground again.
Live a forgiven and blessed life. 
Thank God that His forgiveness is total and complete. 
Start to live again. 

1 John 1:8-10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 12th December 2020

I’ve been thinking this week about the role of a cheerleader.

They are there to encourage (energetically) and support a team.  It doesn’t matter if that team is winning or losing, playing bad or playing great, those cheerleaders cheer!

Too often we stop cheering in life if things aren’t going great. If we’re having a bad day or if we sometimes feel we are on the losing side and the battle is too great. We even think about switching teams when things aren’t as we’d want them to be. NO! That’s not the role of a cheerleader  – they cheer and support no matter what, they don’t switch teams!

Encouragement is powerful and so is praise. If the enemy can shut you up when you feel ‘the game’ is not going well, then he has succeeded. Because he knows what power it carries.  

Maybe you know someone today who doesn’t seem to be ‘playing well’ or the game for them is going not too well – stick with them and cheer them on, your encouragement will make all the difference. 

Maybe today you feel that you are ‘flagging’; cheer yourself on! Start to praise and worship and lift your voice towards Heaven. Cheerleaders never stop do they? They rehearse and train for hours. Cheerleading is not for the faint-hearted, but it’s so important. 

We are all meant to be cheerleaders. It’s powerful.  Who can you cheer on today?

1 Thessalonians 5 vs 11 “therefore encourage each other and build each other up”

Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 11th December 2020

We all have a story. The fact that you are sitting and reading this means that you have experiences completely unique to you. Even this year, where it feels like we have collectively faced similar challenges.

It is human nature to want to present the best sides of ourselves. It can be tempting to hide our struggles because we want to be perceived in a particular way.

A challenge for all of us today is to be our authentic selves, flaws and all. The Bible says that where we are weak, God is our strength. Your struggles could encourage someone else today.

That redundancy that you overcame? It may push someone experiencing unemployment to their breakthrough.

Those children that you prayed so hard for? They may just show other couples God’s faithfulness.

Your past mistakes and how God changed your life may show someone the way out of their sin.

You never know whose faith can be lifted by your story. The greats that we read about in the Bible faced major struggles and made huge mistakes – God still uses their stories to encourage us today, on our own journey.

‭‭‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬ ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”’

‬‬Never be ashamed of your testimony. God can use it in the most amazing ways. Nothing is wasted.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 10th December 2020

For every situation, thought or circumstance in life that could potentially pull us under, there is a ‘but God’, in His word. In fact there, there are plenty; I’ll start you off:

“I feel weary” – but God says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭NIV‬‬).

“I’m worried about my future” – but God says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” (Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-12‬ ‭NIV).‬‬

“I feel like I’m fighting on my own” – but God’s word tells us…“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭NIV). ‬‬

“I don’t know what to do” – but God’s word 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.” (James‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬).

I hope you’re encouraged today. There is nothing in your life that is a surprise to God or that His word can’t help you to navigate.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 9th December 2020

I am 21 weeks pregnant. Last week I went for the routine 20 week scan where they check every possible organ in your baby’s body (which can be quite a nerving experience) – the face, the spine, the bones, the stomach, the kidneys, the lungs, the brain and the heart. Praise God, everything is healthy and strong! 

What struck me most after the scan was how this baby at just 20 weeks was already a fully formed human! It may not be fully developed (but then, neither are children), but it was a complete human, that just needs to grow! 

The heart is one of the first organs to develop in human life. In fact, at just five weeks, a heart is beating. Life is evident. At an ultrasound, one of the first things you look for is the flicker of a beating heart – the sign of life. The heart beats at double the rate that my heart is beating as it works hard to pump blood to sustain life. The heart is the vital sign of life. 

It is no wonder that God mentions our ‘spiritual heart’ so much in scripture. 

Just as our physical heart is one of the first signs of life, so is our spiritual heart. The condition of our heart is EVERYTHING as from it our life flows (Proverbs 4:23). 

I wonder if I put my spiritual heart on an ultrasound, I would be as nervous to see the condition of it, as I was our baby’s heart? I wonder if I would care about the health of my spiritual heart that much? We should, because our lives stem from it. 

Our hearts should be beating for the things of God. They should be healthy and whole, free from bitterness, resentment and anger. Broken hearts, or hearts with holes, will compromise the quality of our life. God, as the life giver, wants our hearts to grow big and strong, delivering life to ourselves, and those around us at double speed! 

Although unseen, let us never neglect the condition of our hearts – our emotions, our mind, our will, and desires.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 8th December 2020

As we approach the end of a turbulent year, let’s reflect! 

You don’t have to be a genius to point out what has ‘gone wrong’ this year. A lot. Many of us are hanging out for the fresh start that 2021 might offer us. 

Instead of wishing away the challenging year that has been, instead of wanting to forget 2020, instead of expecting 2021 to solve all of your 2020 problems, how about coming to the end of the year and reflecting on the following: 

– What did you learn about yourself this year? 

– What did you learn about God this year? 

– How did God speak to you this year? What did you learn? 

– How did the challenges shape you? 

– How will the lesson learnt in 2020, change how you live in 2021? 

I think a far bigger tragedy than 2020, would be leaving 2020 behind having gained or learnt nothing. 

A new year will never be your saviour. I don’t want to be negative Nancy, but troubles will always be present. Let God be your fresh start, your hope and your promise, not a new year. Life is not about reaching this utopian standard of living (impossible). Life is about journeying alongside Him in EVERY season. 

Let’s be people of faith who can stand in every season and storm. 

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 7th December 2020

Put a man behind the wheel of a car and he’s always right!  

His way is the best, the shortest and the smartest. Any form of interference or challenge from anyone inside or even outside the car is very unwelcome! Really? 

Driving out in the car with my wife one night, the sign ahead said ‘road closed’. Being one such man, coupled with the fact that it was a quiet Sunday evening, I boldly continued the journey believing that I would be vindicated for being such a brave fella in risking the ‘closed’ route.  

After a hundred metres or so, I settled back into my seat, filled with pride that I’d beaten the system! And then…you’ve guessed it…after a complete mile of full steam ahead, the road was closed.

I suggested to Gillian that I could mount the pavement, dodge the barriers and the occasional street light, but after a sharp rebuke and slap on the leg, I turned around and went all the way back. 
Interestingly, instead of arriving at our destination early like had planned, we actually arrived later than anyone that presumably had obeyed the warning signs. Lesson learnt.

If you want to add time to your journey, simply ignore the warning signs. 
Warning signs and diversions are placed in our lives for a very good reason. They seem like a hindrance at the time, but actually are there to help. 

Getting ahead in life will never happen if you chose the ‘I know best’ attitude. In fact the longest distance between two points is a short cut. 
A short cut around integrity will always lead to a very long road ahead. If you are ever given a choice between doing the lesser of two evils, choose neither. Always choose the higher path. Do what’s right. 

In the Old Testament, the followers of God had just been released from Egypt, the land of slavery. Every one of the three million or more people were very anxious to get going to their land of freedom. At last, they would soon be there. 
Surely the best way would be the quickest way?
God had a plan. Not the quickest way, but the best way. A way that would guarantee their safe arrival. 

Exodus 13:17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ 

Ironically, the shortest way can often get you to a place too quickly. A place that’s ready and prepared for you, but you’re not ready and prepared for it. 

What signs are in front of you today?
They come in many ways…through a friend, circumstances, a Bible verse and of course the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. 

If you want to live a significant life, then don’t ignore the warning signs—God has placed them there for a reason. 

Pastor Mark

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 5th December 2020

The Power of 10 minutes 

When a 10 minute walk is better than a 10 minute sit down.

When a 10 minute sit down with a book is better than a 10 minute sit down with the PlayStation.

When 10 minutes of reading your Bible is better than 10 minutes reading social media.

When 10 minutes talking to someone by phone is better than 10 minutes of texting.

When 10 minutes of talking to someone face to face, is better than talking on the phone.

When 10 minutes of preparing food, is better than a 10 minute drive to the take away.

When 10 minutes writing a note to tell someone how special they are, is better than 10 minutes of thinking how special they are.

When 10 minutes of talking to someone face-to-face about an issue, is better than 10 minutes of talking to someone else about the issue.

When 10 minutes of thinking through what you’re about to do, is better than 10 minutes of just doing it.

When 10 minutes of doing something, is better than 10 minutes just thinking about doing something.

When 10 minutes of being helpful to someone, is better than 10 mins of being selfish.

When 10 minutes of talking to God, is better than 10 minutes of talking to yourself.

When 10 minutes of declaring God’s truth over your life, is better than 10 minutes of worrying.  

When 10 minutes of telling your soul to worship, is better than 10 minutes of being miserable.

There are lots of ‘10 minutes’ in a day. 

Use them wisely. 
Pastor Gillian

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 4th December 2020

In Philippians 4 v 8 (NIV), it says ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.’

You may be looking at 2020 and be struggling to find anything excellent or praiseworthy. And you wouldn’t be the only one.

The truth is, it is much easier to be negative than it is to be positive. Why? Being upbeat takes just that little bit more energy at times.

I want to set a challenge this weekend. Use the verse at the top as a guide and begin to count your blessings. Write them down, to read at a time when you need encouragement.

Think of something true that God has said about you in His word and declare it everyday. He has a plan for you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. The list goes on.

Begin to thank God for even small things that you consider lovely.

Instead of the scary news that is constantly reported, dig a little deeper and find out something good that has happened.

If you’ve seen a breakthrough, no matter how minor, be thankful.

Reflect a little and think of a time when an opportunity arose that you couldn’t have made happen for yourself. That was God.

Who are the people in your life that lift your spirit? Thank God for them. In fact, why not reach out and let them know?

God has a promise for us, when we are deliberate about filling our minds with good things; verse 9 goes on to say ‘that the God of peace will be with you.’

Counting your blessings will change your perspective and I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 3rd December 2020

I have the car insured, I have the house insured, I have my life insured, I even have the dishwasher insured. We all understand insurance. We pay the price and if it all goes wrong someone else gets us out of trouble.

I think I can sometimes also be guilty of treating God as if he is insurance. I give my tithe, I serve in Church, I try to be good. When it all goes wrong I pray to God and he sorts it out for me and gets me out of trouble!

The problem is that faith in Jesus is not insurance! Firstly, we all know that bad things happen to good people. Jesus himself tells us that ‘in this life you will have trouble’ (John 16:33). Not may or perhaps but definitely will have. Secondly, our relationship with God would be a bit one sided if it only consisted of ‘please God get me out of the mess that my decisions and choices have created’. I am afraid that sounds a bit like most of my prayers!

Now don’t get me wrong, God loves every one of us, is gracious and forgiving and so he gives us a new start every morning. However, our relationship with Jesus is not about ‘paying’ for insurance but about something far more powerful and life changing. It is about Assurance. 

The definition of assurance in the dictionary is:  a promise or pledge; a guarantee; full confidence; freedom from doubt; freedom from timidity; self confidence and even presumptuous boldness. I love that last one – presumptuous boldness. When was the last time I was presumptuously bold about my faith?

So now we know what assurance means let’s apply that to the word of God.

‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see’ (Hebrews 11:1). What the writer of Hebrews is saying is that our faith in Jesus brings us a promise, a pledge, freedom from doubt, freedom from timidity and presumptuous boldness about the things that are currently hidden from us. Having assurance that God is there working, even when we cannot see of even feel it.

‘let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings’ (Hebrew 10:22)

It is easy to have assurance in things we do see but God says we should have the same assurance about what we cannot see – now that is a life-changing word. Right now there are a lot of things in my life that I ‘do not see’ but God’s word says that I need to sincerely draw near to him with faith and know that I can be free. Free from doubt, free from timidity, be self-confident and even presumptuously bold because God is with me and therefore who can be against me.

Richard Ashmore

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 2nd December 2020

Christmas is coming! Christmas at its essence is a celebration of the hope, joy and peace found in Jesus. 

Ironically, for many it is the exact opposite of joyful and peaceful. The season can become a stressful flurry of functions, blowing budgets, navigating busy shopping centres, and attempting to orchestrate family gatherings. It can be stressful! 

Stress is actually a modern day word for fear and pressure. Let me find your greatest stress points, and I will probably find your greatest fears. 

Stress will do the following if you let it: 

1. Compromise your health. 
2. Increase your irritability and anger. 

3. Hinder your ability to hear from God. 

4. Cause you to lose perspective about what Christmas is really all about.

 5. Impact your connection with others. 

The purpose of Christmas should be literally the opposite of the above:

 1. It should be a time for your body and soul to rest, relax and get refreshed. 

2. It should be a season of rekindled joy in Jesus. 

3. It should be a time to hear from God and find fresh hope. 

4. You should be able to maintain focus on the reason for the season.

 5. It should be a time of connecting with others on a deeper level. 

Stress is far from what God intends this up and coming season to be about. In fact, God invites you to step into new levels of hope, peace and joy this season! 

Can I encourage all of us, to not just accept the culturally normal ‘stress’ of the season and to choose a better way? Protect yourself from stress. Eliminate anything that robs you from the true meaning of Christmas.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.

Fresh Hope – 1st December 2020

This year many people have been living under an incredibly heavy sense of fear, worry and anxiety. 

I have intentionally chosen to face fear head on in this season. 

I have been reading a book by Mark DeJesus, called ‘I Will Not Fear’. Let me save you some time and give you a quick summary. 

One of the keys in overcoming fear is renewing your mind/changing the way you think. 

DeJesus poses five questions: 

1. What are you focusing on? 

Whatever you give your attention to grows. 

2. What is the narrative you are listening to? 

You choose what story you are listening to – the news, the negativity from your colleague, or the truth of the word. 

3. What do you look for? 

You will be taken wherever your expectations are. If you have a radar for fear and drama, you will find it. 

4. What do you talk about? 

Your language reinforces what you think. Your words also speak things into being. Pay attention to your words. 

5. What actions are you taking? 

Making decisions based on fear is not faith living. It is not the life God has empowered you to live. Consider what is motivating you in your day-to-day decisions. 

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

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.