Refreshed

I love my showers! I have a shower every day and when I do not have one I feel quite depressed at not feeling clean, it effects my mood so much, it’s a little crazy. I do not feel that I can face most things without getting into the shower for a good old clean.

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It is refreshing to be clean!

Just as it is refreshing for our bodies to be clean, it is refreshing for our souls for our Spirit within us to be clean.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

It is important to be cleansed so that we can have a right relationship with our Lord. Confessing our sins to Him and asking for forgiveness, is a simple step, although pride can get in the way. Sometimes, I can hold on to my sin, but when I realize that I am sinful and ask for forgiveness, it is such a comfort that we can all be presented blameless to our Lord.

I love this prayer written by David: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. When we have a clean heart, we do not have that horrible feeling of guilt hanging over us, we are set free from sin. Our Lord wants that for us.

When pride gets in the way and we hold on to our sin, we are going down a road to destruction. If we humble ourselves before the Lord, confess our sins and follow Him, life is so much better! We have a Saviour who died for us, who paid for all our sins and we can live free because of Him. We have hope because of Him.

So… “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22.

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Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

Do you ever feel that a truth that you’ve known for a while is given to you as a fresh revelation? This week I felt the Lord say to me, “Fix your eyes on Jesus.” (Hebrews 12:2). I know this truth, it is something I’ve been taught since an early age, but this week this truth was spoken to me as a fresh revelation.

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I was grateful to the Lord for the sense of peace that it gave me. Sometimes my own thoughts overwhelm me. I’ve spoken before about my fear of death. I was thinking about that again this week. I thought about people suffering persecution in the World and the torment they face. I thought how would I handle that? I have things in my life that I am worried about and I think: how will I cope?

That is when I felt the Lord whisper to me, “fix your eyes on Jesus.”

It gave me a sigh of relief.

In Matthew 14 verse 29 Peter saw Jesus walking on the water and Jesus said to Peter: “Come.’ And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” When Peter fixed his eyes on Jesus, he walked on the water.

But, then it says in verse 30 “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”

Isn’t God amazing! He has given us this visual illustration to demonstrate what we can expect when we fix our eyes on Jesus. We can literally walk on water.

In crazy circumstances, if we fix our eyes on our Lord Jesus, He will pull us through. Sometimes we have to admit our weakness, so that we give up trying to be strong in our own strength, we need to give it up so that Jesus can be strong for us. We need to not focus on the bad and focus on Him so that we can walk on water towards our Lord Jesus.

Condition of the Heart

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

In the World we are told to follow our hearts, but in Jeremiah it tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things. Our hearts are broken, they need fixing and only our Heavenly Father can mend them.

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Following our hearts will get us into bad situations, the heart relies so much on feelings. I was watching ‘Look Who’s Talking’ a few weeks ago and one of the characters said, “I’m going through a selfish phase.” He was being honest, and I had to laugh, but it made me think about following our hearts, it does turn us into selfish beings.

It is easy for the heart to be offended and hurt. The heart would rebel against God’s command to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44) because it feels awful when someone is being spiteful towards us, our natural instinct is to retaliate. But this is not God’s way, we need to show love to those who persecute us.

I am learning the importance of this prayer that David prayed:

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King David asks the Lord to search His heart and see if there is any wicked way within him, so that God can deal with his sin and give David strength of heart through the Lord.

To follow God’s way everlasting and overcome our heart’s feelings is impossible for us to do alone, it is only possible with God.

Matthew 19:26 “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Let’s have hearts after the Lord’s own heart and not hearts that follow other gods. To follow His heart is the only way to life everlasting in Him.

No Distractions

I had the privilege of visiting ‘New Hope Uganda’, an orphanage in Uganda, when I was sixteen years old. Missionaries there had requested a team of young people from our Christian school to come over to thatch a roof and build a maze.

I had never been to Africa and I was nervous about going over there. I had to have quite a few vaccines and I had to take anti-malaria tablets. With these precautions I became more nervous, we had to be protected from a lot.

What I found when I got there, was that it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. It brought me closer to my Lord Jesus and I am so thankful for this experience!

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The orphanage was set up into a very small community, with a school, little mud hut houses and a clinic for treating any sickness. In this little community I felt safe, I know that is not the case in all of Africa, but the missionaries had set up this community for these children to be safe and I felt it too.

It was a lot different to what I was used to, no TV, no phones, no social media to keep up with. This was the key to bringing me closer to Jesus. There were no distractions to keep me from reading my Bible and praying to our Heavenly Father.

We entertained each other by singing and talking with each other. We had devotions in the morning and we prayed with each other throughout the day. There was not even any light pollution, I’ve never seen the sky look so glorious with all the stars shining so brightly.

textgram_15111216911583260775.pngIn America and in Britain, we have so many distractions! Distracting us from reading our Bible and praying. Our children are distractions that are unavoidable. But when I think of no distractions, I think of this verse Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

We should have a time where we have no distractions, no phones and anything that can take away our focus from the Lord Jesus. We need to find a time where we can go into our room and humbly come before the Lord Jesus. I guarantee it will bring you closer to our Lord Jesus, because as it promises us in James 4:8a “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Love Costs

Our great God, the God who made the universe. The one who is sovereign and good. The one who sent His son to die on a cross for us, so that we could have eternal life with Him, says that the greatest commandment is: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind. The second is: to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37&39).

When our awesome God calls us to love in His scriptures, we can be certain that to love Him and to love others is His will for us.

Love comes in many forms. God made us unique, we all show love in different ways. It is sweet to see the many ways my family and friends show me love.

Sometimes, love is shown by being honest with someone. I think this is a true test of how much someone loves us. When it costs them to tell you their concern over you. Something that could be painful to hear but it is for our good. To save us from slipping into sin and being drawn away from God.

I had this experience in my early twenties, I will never forget this act of love. A Christian sister took me for coffee and took the opportunity to be honest with me. At the time I reacted to it, irritated. I had worldly answers to give back to justify myself, but now, now that I am out of the situation, I thank my Christian sister for being brutally honest and showing me love in this way. I pray that she is blessed because of the love she showed me. I realise it was not easy for her to say.

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We are called to love, love is not always lovely and happy. Love costs! For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (KJV).

Jesus is our ultimate example that love costs. And so, we see it should cost us too. Love can be painful, there is heartbreak in loving sometimes.

I find that I can hold back from saying the truth, occasionally it is wisdom from God because it would hurt them unnecessarily, but sometimes it’s because I think I do not want to be the one to tell them and have a confrontation. However, it could be necessary to save someone from sin.

It’s hard! It is so hard to show love in this way. But, we are called to love, we need to remember the example of our Lord Jesus and remember that love costs. It is good and it is right to show the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Careful of Our Tongues

I am somewhat of a quiet person, those who know me well know that I can be loud, but, especially at the beginning of getting to know someone, I am shy.

There is an advantage in being quiet, I can really think of what to say before I say it. I can listen and consider what would be helpful in this situation. So, I have prided myself on saying the “right thing”. However, that famous phrase: Pride comes before a fall! Is so apt for me. I cannot be prideful in this because I have failed so many times in this. I cannot do it by my own strength, it is only by the Lord’s strength I can be an “encourager” in my words.

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

I have caught myself recently saying something that when I thought about it afterwards, I regretted it. It was not kind and it was not helpful. Have you read Jane Auten’s Emma? I felt a “Badly done, Emma!” moment and I felt sick about it.

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Then, I think about all the moments I have said something that could have offended someone, and I think ‘oh I haven’t got a clue!’ I should not pride myself in gentle, good words when I make slip ups all the time. I am thankful for a forgiving God, and I am thankful that my Christian brothers and sisters are forgiving too.

In this I ask the Lord to give me humility, to humbly ask the Lord to help me always with my words, as the tongue is a dangerous thing:

James 3:4 “Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!

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While humility is a hard lesson to learn, it is a quality that the Lord encourages us to have. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” I thank the Lord for encouraging me to be humble this week, to remember it is not by my own strength that I can encourage people, it is through Him and His Word that I can lift people up.

Be Prepared

If I do not prepare things the night before a day out, things just do not get done. I have every intention of doing things in the morning, but life happens. Often, my two-year-old boy and my almost one-year old girl wake up at the same time as me and they need my attention right away.

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I have learnt the hard way that I need to carefully plan the night before. Making sure we have food, clothes and enough diapers and wet wipes. If I need to take food, it means making it the day before. I am sure you would agree, you cannot plan to do things last minute when babies are involved.

When going on a day trip this Saturday, I was so relieved I had been prepared the night before! It meant I could enjoy my day. This got me thinking about our Christian walks and how we need to be prepared for our Lord Jesus coming back.

In Matthew 25, the parable of the ten virgins, the Lord Jesus gives us a clear message: that we should be prepared for the Lord Jesus’s return. There were five that were prepared and five that were not. The five that were prepared were let into the marriage “…the bridgegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”

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When I read Matthew 25 verses 11 to 12, I shudder “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”

We need to be prepared, we need to be in God’s Word and praying to Him. We need to live for Jesus every day and be right with Him. We need to be prepared so that when he comes back we are found doing good and not evil.

We cannot do this by our own strength it is impossible. It is only through our Lord that we can be prepared for His coming.

Luke 18:26b to 27 “Who then can be saved?” But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

We need to ask our Lord Jesus to prepare us for His return, so that we can be found walking with Him. We need to be prepared so that we can look forward to the day our Lord Jesus returns, and we can have peace that we are accepted and we can enjoy the presence of our Lord Jesus for eternity.