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Jesus is calling…

The sobering truth. I will let the statistics speak for themselves. Please read carefully each number and where it is related to. This is the total number for that place that has died. Every single person that has died of this horrible virus that is ravaging through our population. Also consider those that are yet to be accounted for that have not been found yet because they didn’t even make it to the hospital, or are yet to be tested for cause of death.

Since 31 December 2019 and as of 04 April 2020, 1 082 054 cases of COVID-19 (in accordance with the applied case definitions and testing strategies in the affected countries) have been reported, including 58 142 deaths.

The deaths have been reported from Italy (14 681), Spain (10 935), United States (7 157), France (6 507), United Kingdom (3 605), China (3 330), Iran (3 160), Netherlands (1 487), Belgium (1 143), Germany (1 017), Switzerland (607), Turkey (425), Brazil (359), Sweden (333), Portugal (246), Canada (187), Indonesia (181), South Korea (177), Austria (168), Ecuador (145), Denmark (139), Philippines (136), Romania (133), Ireland (120), Algeria (83), Poland (71), Japan (69), Dominican Republic (68), India (68), Peru (61), Mexico (60), Greece (59), Iraq (54), Czech Republic (53), Malaysia (53), Egypt (52), Morocco (44), Norway (44), Panama (41), Israel (39), Serbia (39), Argentina (37), Russia (34), Hungary (32), San Marino (32), Luxembourg (31), Pakistan (31), Australia (30), Colombia (25), Ukraine (23), Chile (22), Saudi Arabia (21), Finland (20), Slovenia (20), Thailand (19), Bosnia and Herzegovina (18), Albania (17), Andorra (16), Burkina Faso (16), Lebanon (16), Honduras (15), Puerto Rico (15), Bulgaria (14), Democratic Republic of the Congo (13), Tunisia (13), Estonia (12), North Macedonia (12), Cyprus (11), Bolivia (10), Lithuania (9), Cameroon (8), Croatia (8), Moldova (8), United Arab Emirates (8), Armenia (7), International conveyance in Japan (7), Mauritius (7), South Africa (7), Bangladesh (6), Cuba (6), Trinidad and Tobago (6), Azerbaijan (5), Ghana (5), Jordan (5), Niger (5), Singapore (5), Taiwan (5), Afghanistan (4), Bahrain (4), Belarus (4), Guam (4), Guyana (4), Iceland (4), Kenya (4), Sri Lanka (4), Uruguay (4), Bahamas (3), Congo (3), El Salvador (3), Jamaica (3), Kazakhstan (3), Mali (3), Paraguay (3), Qatar (3), Syria (3), Togo (3), Venezuela (3), Angola (2), Costa Rica (2), Guernsey (2), Jersey (2), Montenegro (2), Nigeria (2), Sint Maarten (2), Sudan (2), Uzbekistan (2), Botswana (1), Brunei Darussalam (1), Cape Verde (1), Cayman Islands (1), Côte d’Ivoire (1), Curaçao (1), Gabon (1), Gambia (1), Gibraltar (1), Guatemala (1), Isle of Man (1), Kosovo** (1), Kyrgyzstan (1), Latvia (1), Libya (1), Mauritania (1), Myanmar (1), New Zealand (1), Nicaragua (1), Northern Mariana Islands (1), Oman (1), Palestine* (1), Senegal (1), Suriname (1), United Republic of Tanzania (1), Zambia (1) and Zimbabwe (1).

Cases have been reported on the following continents:

Africa: South Africa (1 505), Algeria (986), Egypt (779), Morocco (708), Cameroon (509), Tunisia (455), Burkina Faso (288), Côte d’Ivoire (218), Senegal (207), Ghana (205), Nigeria (190), Democratic Republic of the Congo (134), Kenya (122), Niger (98), Rwanda (89), Madagascar (65), Guinea (52), Uganda (48), Congo (41), Djibouti (41), Togo (40), Mali (39), Zambia (39), Ethiopia (35), Eritrea (22), Gabon (21), United Republic of Tanzania (21), Benin (16), Equatorial Guinea (16), Guinea-Bissau (15), Namibia (14), Libya (11), Mozambique (10), Seychelles (10), Eswatini (9), Zimbabwe (9), Angola (8), Central African Republic (8), Chad (7), Liberia (7), Sudan (7), Cape Verde (6), Mauritania (6), Somalia (5), Botswana (4), Gambia (4), Burundi (3), Malawi (3) and Sierra Leone (2).

Asia: China (82 527), Iran (50 468), Turkey (20 921), South Korea (10 156), Israel (7 428), Malaysia (3 333), Philippines (3 018), Japan (2 935), India (2 902), Pakistan (2 291), Indonesia (1 986), Thailand (1 978), Saudi Arabia (1 885), Singapore (1 114), United Arab Emirates (1 024), Qatar (949), Iraq (772), Bahrain (643), Lebanon (494), Kazakhstan (460), Taiwan (355), Kuwait (342), Jordan (299), Vietnam (239), Afghanistan (235), Oman (231), Uzbekistan (227), Mauritius (186), Palestine* (155), Sri Lanka (151), Kyrgyzstan (144), Brunei Darussalam (133), Cambodia (114), Bangladesh (61), Myanmar (20), Maldives (19), Syria (16), Mongolia (14), Laos (10), Nepal (6), Bhutan (5) and Timor-Leste (1).

America: United States (277 965), Canada (12 519), Brazil (9 056), Chile (3 737), Ecuador (3 368), Mexico (1 688), Panama (1 673), Peru (1 595), Dominican Republic (1 488), Colombia (1 267), Argentina (1 265), Costa Rica (416), Uruguay (386), Puerto Rico (378), Cuba (269), Honduras (264), Venezuela (144), Bolivia (139), Trinidad and Tobago (100), Paraguay (96), Aruba (62), El Salvador (56), Jamaica (53), Guatemala (50), Barbados (45), United States Virgin Islands (40), Bermuda (35), Cayman Islands (29), Bahamas (24), Guyana (23), Sint Maarten (23), Haiti (18), Antigua and Barbuda (15), Dominica (14), Saint Lucia (13), Grenada (12), Curaçao (11), Greenland (10), Suriname (10), Saint Kitts and Nevis (9), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (7), Saint Barthelemy (6), Montserrat (5), Nicaragua (5), Turks and Caicos Islands (5), Belize (4), Anguilla (3), British Virgin Islands (3), Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba (2) and Falkland Islands (1).

Europe: Italy (119 827), Spain (117 710), Germany (79 696), France (64 338), United Kingdom (38 168), Switzerland (19 706), Belgium (16 770), Netherlands (15 723), Austria (11 525), Portugal (9 886), Sweden (6 078), Norway (5 208), Ireland (4 273), Czech Republic (4 190), Russia (4 149), Denmark (3 757), Poland (3 383), Romania (3 183), Luxembourg (2 612), Finland (1 615), Greece (1 613), Serbia (1 476), Iceland (1 364), Croatia (1 079), Ukraine (987), Estonia (961), Slovenia (934), Lithuania (771), Armenia (736), Hungary (678), Moldova (591), Bosnia and Herzegovina (586), Latvia (493), Bulgaria (485), Slovakia (450), Azerbaijan (443), Andorra (439), North Macedonia (430), Cyprus (396), Belarus (351), Albania (304), San Marino (251), Malta (202), Faroe Islands (179), Montenegro (174), Georgia (148), Kosovo** (126), Jersey (118), Guernsey (114), Isle of Man (114), Gibraltar (95), Liechtenstein (75), Monaco (64) and Holy See (7).

Oceania: Australia (5 548), New Zealand (824), Guam (87), French Polynesia (39), New Caledonia (18), Fiji (12), Northern Mariana Islands (8) and Papua New Guinea (1).

Other: International conveyance in Japan (696).

* This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.

** This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244/1999 and the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

source:
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/geographical-distribution-2019-ncov-cases?fbclid=IwAR36rL1jpsyAN3yjey-oscLQZEyT1N1BheDTmkyZxVMYTIIv4IODc-UCzkQ

It is times like this when I truly realise how important my decision was to hand my life over to Jesus. I wrote this prayer while worshipping. And shared it as far as I could!

Lord have mercy, praying for us all today. Father I plead with you to open the eyes and hearts of the unbelievers, help them to see the believers and Jesus working through them. Lord I lift up to you my concerns today, through worship and prayer, for protection our families, friends, friends of friends, family of friends of friends, every person with a link to us in life, either physically or spiritually.

Lord help people to understand that they need you, to turn back to you, no matter what they have said to hurt you, or hate you. We all so desperately need your comfort, your presence and guidance during this time of uncertainty, confusion, and just indescribable sadness, pain and loss.

Lord help them to return to you, Lord help us to be strong like anchors in the storm you have reminded us of recently. Feeling like a small boat against 100ft waves, I am strangely calm facing this all, because I trust you! I trust you when you said to me through the bible that you would never leave me, forsake me, or stop loving me and being there for me.

You reminded me this morning in the song Good good Father, of your love for me, despite what I was and what I am, when I get things wrong, upset people because I cannot fix everything and be there for everyone.

I thank you sincerely from the depths of my heart for what you suffered on that cross, not just for me, but for all of us, all our sin, and as I look today, through the social media feeds, all the sin and all the hatred still exists towards you Father, blaming you for all this, people saying what a sick and twisted God you are for killing innocent and vulnerable people.

So here I am, a living example of the one you didn’t leave behind all those years ago when I took 125 paracetamol and just wanted to go to sleep because I didn’t feel that I belonged here. The day you woke me up face down in the hospital bed before I went over the very high cliff into blackness. The day I am certain and sure that you caught me, cradled me in your love and comfort and used people around me to introduce yourself, in simple words. A quiet room, quiet conversations, patience and good humour. That is when you saved my life.

In this time at home I am doing the best I can, standing strong in my faith, a soldier standing proudly for you in my armour of God you have blessed me with. Standing shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world. Sharing songs of worship, scripture, words of encouragement, words of comfort and sharing your love Lord in all I am doing today, and for however long you want me to continue to do this.

(** distracted while writing this by 10000 reasons playing on the radio Ali Dewsbury)

I pray today that I am doing what is your will and not mine, and I pray for knowledge and guidance if you think that I’m not. If I have said something out of misunderstanding, please let me know. if there is something that I have not forgiven, please let me know. Bring things to my attention that I need to fix please Lord, I need your help in this.

I lift up prayers every day, at any time, short and long because I love my family, I love my friends, I love the people I used to work with, I love my old work colleagues, I love the people that used to be regulars in the pubs and clubs I worked in, I love the people that have taught me all the things that have provided the skills I need to call on today, I love the people who are working tirelessly to make a difference to someone else, I love the people who have contacted me privately for prayer….

I thank you for choosing me to help them Lord! I thank you for your love and compassion so that I can do this. Your strength and promises make me everything I am today, and your guidance from the Holy Spirit just amazes me. You lift me when I’m tired but someone needs me, you make me feel loved when the house is silent, you wrap your love around me when I’m feeling anxious and scared. Thank you, thank you Lord Jesus, because if it wasn’t for you, I would not be here today.

Lord I plead with you today to out pour your love, and for people to understand, so that we may stand even stronger, louder and proud to worship you, because you deserve all the praise.

I pray today in the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

If you are struggling today, listen to the words in this song. Let’s encourage and support and show the love of Jesus in all that we do.
Lean into Jesus at this time. Surround yourself with love, worship music, prayer and encouragement for each other.
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Saturday morning thoughts

In 2000 I gave my life to Jesus, surrendered all to him and asked him to take control in my life.

On 24th November 2019 I made the decision to lean completely into God and completely trust him with the path I was to take.

To demonstrate just how serious I was about working for him I sealed this gesture in paint to show that I was willing to be his hands and his feet from now on in everything I do, and to ask him daily in prayer what he would like to use me for today.

Upon reflection I can look back and clearly see how he has worked in me over the last 20 years, and shaped me into the person you all know today.

Some may dismiss it as a load of b@)(0#&£ , but to me it was a decision that saved my life, and could do the same for you if you just let Him in.

This is not religion, I cannot stress that enough, it is a personal relationship with God. I pray that very soon God will open all our eyes and our hearts to see so that we can all understand…. I pray in the powerful name of Jesus! Amen

Jesus said “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one that knocks the door will be opened.

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? Of you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

You can find this in the bible, under Matthew, in chapter 7, look for the little number 7 and read through to the end of the sentence with the little number 12.

Let’s use this time wisely, to get ourselves in a relationship with God. He loves you very much and just wants what is best for you and those around you. And the great thing is you can be completely honest with him in prayer, talk to him in the same way you talk to other people. He is with us every hour of every single day and knows exactly what we need, but needs us to talk to him about it so that we can re establish our relationship with him.

Stay safe, I am praying (with millions of others) for us all, so if you have been thinking about this but not sure I strongly recommend that you start today as soon as possible before it’s all too late.

I strongly believe that what is written in the Bible is the truth and God’s word, and if what had been shown to be true in the old testament to the new we really are beginning to see signs of the end times.

I’m no expert, I’m fairly well educated, I’m not stupid and I’m certainly not (nor have been) perfect. I did some terrible things in the past that I’m not proud of and I have also forgiven so many people who have treated me badly.

I couldn’t understand until I started through each thing step by step, asking God for help to understand.

Slowly over the years God has really began to open up and show me the power of prayer, the amazing love and peace, and most importantly what a sacrifice Jesus was when he died on the cross for all of our sin. Past, present and future.

I am at peace, life is still hard, I still have to deal with anger and frustration at things, I still have to face things and deal with situations like everyone else but the only difference is that at any time I can sit in prayer and speak to God about anything and everything, and can be honest and tell him when I’m not able to deal with the situation, and he provides a solution that he sees fit. Sometimes this is not necessarily what I think I need, but absolutely what God has in his plan for me (and every single one of us if you start to look closely enough).

I have so much love and compassion for other people like nothing ever before. And because I love you I so want you to see it too.

If you want to ask me anything, please just ask 🙂 God is really moving right now, it’s pretty hard to miss it! Look for the love and compassion that has massively grown for each other in comparison to last year. And before you go blaming God for the bad things happening, stop, get your facts right in scripture, because you will realise that we are truly living in a very fallen world that has turned its back on God and turned to the self importance, arrogant, inconsiderate attitudes toward God and other fellow human beings.

It’s time to stop, time to turn back to God and time to accept Jesus onto your hearts.

I thank God every day for the protection he has provided for those who I know and associate with. I thank him daily for answers to prayers. And I will continue to do this because I genuinely feel this is critical at this time to all that I know and love.

Sending love, huge air hugs and blessings to you all. Xxx

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God said Go! So I did!

I’ve been putting this off… until now

Distracting myself with other things, making excuses, avoiding the obvious, fearing the failure, scared to look stupid, wasn’t sure how to do it, thinking what if it’s not what he wants, but I did the research, set it up and here we are, the first official post! Welcome to my blog.

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see!

John Newton

It is by the grace of God that I am writing this today, and quite possibly the reason why you have been drawn into reading it. It is through Him I can do all things, and all praise goes to him regarding this work.

I am feeling strongly driven to share my experiences with you through this blog, so that his glory will shine through and you will learn how different life is when you re-establish your relationship with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the future posts, I will share with you my life experience, the good, the bad and the downright ugly. You may not like me very much when I share with such honesty, but I have been reminded that my life with Christ requires me to be humble, love the Lord with all my heart, and to help the most poor and needy. And I feel that by sharing my experience honestly may help others who have found themselves in similar situations and don’t know where to turn or what to do.

What do you mean God said Go!?

Yes, it may seem a bit strange or weird to make such a bold statement, but trust me, I’m learning to listen to God on a daily basis. When I see a pattern of advice or repetition of something that would bring praise to God, then I know that I need to act on it. I’m not boasting, as any other ‘born again’ Christians will confirm, sometimes it is impossible to miss when He’s trying to tell us something.

The signs to start writing began last year, when a very old friend told me “I think you should write a blog”. I agreed it would be a good idea, but life got in the way, and the motivation and drive to do it fizzled out, until a few weeks later.

“You are a really good communicator, you should write a blog, it would be great”, to which I replied “Yes, my old friend told me that a few weeks ago. I really must get around to setting one up”. Then life got in the way.

I had heard several things on the radio, in conversation, and on TV, about sharing your experience with others to help them, this began to feel a bit weird, to say the least. But yes, you’ve guessed it, life got in the way.

And last week, when I was on holiday, there I was, starting my day in the sunshine with a lovely cup of coffee, reading my UCB Word for Today, scripture for the day, praying and taking notes in the garden, and there it was, in black and white “Get some rest”. I laughed out loud, and showed my friend, who had very kindly agreed to allow us to stay with her for a break away from home.

The following days word and reading were related to working out what God wants me to do, and I took notes to record my findings of what I thought I should and could be doing for God’s purpose. I continued my study during my time away.

Later I was talking to my friend, and the conversation came up about how I didn’t feel as if I was doing what God intended me to do with my life. I told her about a few ideas I had, and I was clearly told to just pick one, and run with it. So here we are. My first official blog.

Upon reflection I can clearly see that this is just one example of God was working through people to get this work started. I have so much to share with you, and I look forward to doing that over the following posts. Some may say this is simply coincidence, but I have said that so many times over the last 19 years, and nowadays I don’t doubt it being anything but from God.

You can subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

A Chilling Wake Up Call to Us All

Poised and ready on Sunday 22nd March 2020 – Worship at home

A few months ago, it didn’t seem serious. We continued about our days as the news continued to report increased cases in China but it didn’t seem to be a problem, or even on the radar in most people’s lives.

We gathered at churches, embracing each other, with the love, care and compassion we were so used to. The shops were full of everything we needed. We went about business as usual. The church I attend did some fantastic work on outreach into the community.

Little did we know that in just a few weeks, things would take a turn for the worse, and like nothing I have ever seen in my lifetime. Tonight, the reality of just how very serious the situation is was made very clear when I heard the national TV address by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on the TV.

“Good evening

The coronavirus is the biggest threat this country has faced for decades – and this country is not alone. All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer. And so tonight I want to update you on the latest steps we are taking to fight the disease and what you can do to help.

And I want to begin by reminding you why the UK has been taking the approach that we have. Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.

And as we have seen elsewhere, in other countries that also have fantastic health care systems, that is the moment of real danger. To put it simply, if too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it – meaning more people are likely to die, not just from coronavirus but from other illnesses as well. So it’s vital to slow the spread of the disease.

Because that is the way we reduce the number of people needing hospital treatment at any one time, so we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope – and save more lives. And that’s why we have been asking people to stay at home during this pandemic. And though huge numbers are complying – and I thank you all – the time has now come for us all to do more.

From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.

Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households. That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
  • Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home. You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no. You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home. You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine – and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

To ensure compliance with the government’s instruction to stay at home, we will immediately:

  • Close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship
  • We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with
  • And we’ll stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals

Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed.

No prime minister wants to enact measures like this. I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs. And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.

And I can assure you that we will keep these restrictions under constant review. We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to. But at present there are just no easy options. The way ahead is hard, and it is still true that many lives will sadly be lost and yet it is also true that there is a clear way through.

Day by day we are strengthening our amazing NHS with 7,500 former clinicians now coming back to the service. With the time you buy – by simply staying at home – we are increasing our stocks of equipment. We are accelerating our search for treatments. We are pioneering work on a vaccine. And we are buying millions of testing kits that will enable us to turn the tide on this invisible killer.

I want to thank everyone who is working flat out to beat the virus. Everyone from the supermarket staff to the transport workers to the carers to the nurses and doctors on the frontline.

But in this fight we can be in no doubt that each and every one of us is directly enlisted. Each and every one of us is now obliged to join together. To halt the spread of this disease. To protect our NHS and to save many many thousands of lives. And I know that as they have in the past so many times, the people of this country will rise to that challenge and we will come through it stronger than ever.

We will beat the coronavirus and we will beat it together and therefore I urge you at this moment of national emergency to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

Thank you.”

“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home.”

Boris Johnson in his national TV address. Monday 23rd March 2020 Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52011928

A chilling and sober wake up call to all of us. The UK death toll has reached 335.

I am so thankful to have the ability to lean into the Lord at this time, thank you Jesus! Psalm 91 has been particularly poignant for me at this time. The situation also reminds me of when the angel of death passed over the houses in the Old Testament. I recommend reading Exodus 12 if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

This terrible outbreak globally has forced the churches out of the buildings and forced us to think quickly about how to get the message of good news and comfort for us into our homes.

I watched an interesting TED talk the other day, by Alanna Shaikh. She explains things well, facts, broken down and really helped me to understand the facts in comparison to a lot of the scaremongering on social media. It also carries some clear messages of what will continue to happen if we carry on destroying our planet.

I have a feeling that one good thing to come from this global lockdown is that the affect over a period of weeks will highlight even more (with facts and data to compare against) when the man is caged, the animals and ecosystems get a chance to recover. I pray that a global health system is put into place that is fair for everyone to stop this happening again, or at least reduce the risk of it happening again.

I pray that the decision makers start to look at the priority of care, not budgets, is the least we can do. Because once they total the loss from this outbreak, I have a feeling they will wish they had spent less time trying to save the pennies and invested in the health of all countries.

This is definitely worth 15 minutes of your time!
https://www.ted.com/talks/alanna_shaikh_why_covid_19_is_hitting_us_now_and_how_to_prepare_for_the_next_outbreak?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare

I thank God for His promises, I thank God for being a good Father, I pray for those who blame God for what is happening to realise that he is a loving God who loves his children and He is waiting for them to turn back to Him. I trust God is in control and take some reassurance and peace from that, because it helps me to provide words of comfort to others too.

I pray to God for all of us globally during this time, regardless of whether they are believers or non-believers. I pray for them to see what I see in Him too. I thank God for the miracle of technology that enables us to stay connected while being stuck at home. Where we are able to somehow keep our spirits up despite hearing increasing numbers of deaths every single day.

I have been praying, a lot! In Jesus name. I repeat on my facebook wall often to let my friends and family know to just message if they need to, so that I can pray for specific things too. It is a very strange position to be in right now when death has no sting. I’m not scared, I’m not anxious, and I’m not worried because I TRUST that when I ask for protection and peace in prayer, the Lord always provides.

I am thankful, every day, that despite the situation, it is glaringly showing the real heroes in our countries. The health workers, carers, shop workers, volunteers, the servants who keep things going, usually with the lowest hourly wages per hour.

I thank God that in our country we still have a National Health Service. I know quite a few people now through facebook who are not so fortunate. So blessed we are to have free healthcare at this time. I pray for peace, blessings and the Lord’s protection over them as they go about their essential works that save lives and keep things going in our communities, despite the challenges they have faced over recent years.

I pray that all the key workers are rewarded and respected more when we eventually get on top of this pandemic, and things begin to get back to normal. I pray that all things that are glaringly obvious are fixed when we come out the other side of this. I pray that we learn during this time locked in to reflect on what is truly important.

Sending love, hugs and blessings. Stay safe, don’t take unnecessary risks, don’t be too proud to ask for help. Wash your hands! Clean your devices! And don’t touch your face! And most importantly get yourself right with God if you haven’t already. You need Jesus in your life, don’t leave it until it’s too late.

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 91:1 Hebrew Shaddai
  2. Psalm 91:14 That is, probably the king

The Fragrance of God’s Grace – Fri 20th Sept 2019

An envelope came through the door the other day, on the front it read ‘Here is how you can spread the fragrance of grace to the world – Chuck Swindoll’ and this got me thinking.

The fragrance of God’s grace.

Fragrance is a word I would associate with a beautiful smell, aroma, like a flower, or perfume/aftershave as someone walks past. A smell that attracts our attention through our curiosity. What is that? Where can I get that? I would like to smell like that.

So when I look at the sentence in full, I see ‘The fragrance of God’s grace’ as being how the world sees us differently. Our different attitude, care, love and compassion that attracts other people to us because they like what they see/hear/smell.

A fragrance that is so attractive that they are drawn to us, to speak to us and ask us questions. Where did you learn to be like that? Why are you so nice when they are so horrible to you? How can you hold your temper when people rant at you like that? Or compliments such as I wish I could be like you, the patience you have when other people blow their top! or shout and complain to you.

I have discovered that the power of the Holy Spirit in us, and the fruits it provides adapts and changes us internally over time as we we grow and learn as Christians. I know because I have seen the change in me personally over the last 19 years. Most noticeable of these changes has been my increasing ability to control my tongue and anger.

I was watching YouTube the other day and came across this on auto-play Controlling the Body’s Strongest Muscle – Charles R. Swindoll. (Click the link to watch it later).

I love to listen to this guy, he’s definitely got the fragrance to draw people in when he speaks, like Apollos in Acts. I was drawn in as he spoke about the tongue, and the power of it.

This made me stop and think about how often, in my old life, my sarcastic and smart mouth had got me into trouble in the past, or how I had caused myself embarrassment (after fully jumping in to say my piece with my size 8’s without even pausing to think of the consequences of what I was saying). It literally was a case of the old saying ‘loose lips sink ships’!

The tongue in my head had the ability to tactfully and deceitfully convince others to do things for me, under the guise of a friendly and smiling face, all for my personal selfish wants or pleasure.

I had the ability to mesmerise and manipulate the male and female of the species to carry out some outrageous things for my personal entertainment and gratification, all of which, I now realise, came back to hurt me in the end, when I began to hate the person I had become, and started to self-medicate to release and escape from the reality of everyday life.

How blessed I was that Jesus came into my life to save me, and save my life. He welcomed me with warmth and joy, I no longer needed alcohol or drugs.

I had made some truly awful decisions and made so many mistakes when I tried to live my life my way, without him in the centre as my shepherd.

I smile as I write this, an ex-addict, no longer controlled by the synthetic lies the enemy pedals. Jesus protecting me when the enemy tries to take me out with my racing negative thoughts. You see, he’s very clever, and plays dirty! So be aware of that.

The enemy tells me I’m useless, that Jesus is not real, that I’m weak, I’m mad, and that he is waiting patiently for the day that I break and come back to him – he’ll be waiting with the drugs I miss when I fail. He tells me that I’m a rubbish parent, I am a rubbish Christian because I don’t do enough to help other people… the list is endless and the barrage of insults is continual.

But Jesus…. well he is my protector, he provides me with the power , through Holy Spirit, to just blow him away like a dandelion seed from a stem. To remind me that my past sin has been paid for, by him, he died for me to pay for it, and it’s no longer relevant.

Jesus puts things back into perspective, in the BIG PICTURE, he’s always with me at my side, speaking up for me when I am weak, fighting my battles when I am not functioning, and providing me with the promise of eternal life, through the gospels that I read, hear and see.

The attacks from the enemy are powerful, they are horrible to experience, but are temporary (even though sometimes they can last for hours), because when they start, I use the power that the Lord has provided me, I can pray to him until the thoughts subside and stop.

As soon as I read scripture, the enemy flees, I love to read his promises of protection, I write prayers to him in my journal, and even by singing or helping others I can literally now have the strength to put the enemy in his place – under my feet, and the same way the enemy made me feel before Jesus saved me.

We are so blessed to be living in times where we have so much access to his Good News, the bible in multiple forms, encouraging ministry, videos, audio, radio, TV, podcasts etc. through the amazing technological advances over the last 20 years. We can access it, on demand, any time of the day or night, any day of the year, it never takes a day off, a bit like God really.

So when I am having a non-functioning day (depression related) I can still access anything to worship God, or learn something about the Gospel, or the Bible to provide peace and reassurance. We can also reach out and communicate to our brothers and sisters all over the world (even those who do not speak our language using translators) to share our love and encourage each other. What an amazing blessing! Thank you Lord!

I think it’s very important at this time to communicate the message of Jesus as much as we can while the resources available are free, especially on the world wide web. Let’s take this amazing resource back for good, and stamp out the evil it is being abused to carry out.

Something that has also come up in conversation a few times recently is the sadness that some of the people (who do not have access to social media) are experiencing because they feel like they are missing out on the groups setup for our churches, and that they are missing out on the joy that we can easily take so much for granted.

Let’s take for example, the much older generations, who don’t have phones and PCs, but have a huge knowledge of life experience as a Christian and of the scriptures applied in everyday life. This is worldly real life information that desperately needs to be passed down to the younger generations.

It’s wonderful to hear of some countries, who value so much the older generations, and make it their priorities to take care of them during their twilight years, because they have so much that they can teach us! Sadly, and frustratingly this is not the case in so many other countries and I pray that these things can be addressed very soon Lord!

We are living in times of fast food, convenience, and when it’s broken dispose of it rather than try to fix it and sadly it seems to be seeping into our way of thinking when it comes to humans.

This has made me think about what we can do to celebrate our older generations, and not write them off the day they retire from work. One thing I have started doing is writing letters (yes handwritten) to share the good news, for encouragement in Christ and share examples of experiences with Jesus to encourage each other. I strongly encourage doing this, because it brings such joy to receive a hand written letter through the door.

Email has made us blind, we get so much email sometimes (through automated processes) that we cannot see the wood for the trees! I know personally I look at the fact I have 3000 emails still outstanding in my inbox and it puts me off even opening them to read. We can so easily miss important or personal messages, or don’t read them until it’s too late.

I feel that we need to take the time to learn from our older generations, reconnect with them, around the table, over a short visit for a cup of tea. We need to listen to how they managed to exist with the bare necessities in the past, how they coped, what was important, what were their models and procedures for living on basics.

This will not only build valuable and essential human interaction, but will also help the older generations to have value and their voice heard, to motivate the next generations of youngsters to solve the environmental and industrial issues that are destroying our planet and it’s inhabitants.

Good communication is the key, sharing our love for Christ, shining our lights in the world, and our beautiful fragrance, for free, no catch, no scam! Just good old fashioned caring and looking out for each other, sharing our stories and experiences and encouraging each other with our stories of how Jesus has helped us, and can help them too.

I am going to schedule myself a task, not sure when it will happen because often when I try to plan something goes wrong, but my aim is to interview one of the very older members of our community church and publish her story. (with her permission of course!) She is an amazing lady, and full of Holy Spirit, so as users read I pray that they may see how God shines through her, as she shares her encouragement, advice and her undoubted love of God and Jesus.

I was given this key verse this morning. Which links quite nicely into what I just said about interviewing my amazing sister in Christ.

25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor[a] and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

Acts 18:25,26

Back to the fragrance…

So picture this…. I can imagine, a TV/cinema advert, top budget, like Chanel or Gucci fragrance, where a man and a lady prance around in beautiful floaty light coloured clothing. The audio begins to whisper (you know the voice, in a husky gentle way) lines from the gospel, showing the people being attracted by the fragrance from the man and the lady.

The people hugging and embracing, and entranced by the beauty of the fragrance… “love… joy… peace… everlasting life… Holy Spirit… you love him… you love her… you need this…” then the bottle appears and boldly announces Jesus (pour elle et pour homme).

Ok back to reality!

So the scripture took me in my study bible to information about Apollos, who was a great communicator, so good in fact that when he had been updated to all the wonderful message of the gospel, not just the Old Testament half of it, he became so popular that the Colossians setup a fan club for him! So he had to leave, because they were worshipping the messenger, not the message. And that was not God’s will.

So lets not fall into the same trap with our wonderful learning resources. When we use non personal bible reading resources focus on the message, not the person delivering it. Focus on Jesus, and what we can apply from his examples to our lives today.

Let us share the beauty of Jesus in our lives, the Gospels, the messages, why they are still relevant today, compare examples of fallen cities and practices to current living. Let’s share how we put the enemy in his place when he tries to put a spanner in our works, let’s remind him that we have been saved by Jesus, that he has been condemned and he has no place here.

Let’s get together in prayers, making it as normal as conversations when we meet, let’s share what God has revealed to us this week, instead of discussing the latest storylines in the soaps, and let us make our thanksgiving LOUD and CLEAR to our amazing and awesome God for every single thing he does for us.

I’m off now to read the Gospel of John. I’ve had this task on my list for a few weeks now, and really need to get on and do it!

All praise to the Lord our God, thank you for the blessing of this message today, and for the tools and ability to take the message from prayer to thoughts, to paper, to here for the public domain to read. You are a truly amazing God and I thank you every single day for the joy, peace and motivation you bring to share your Good News! I pray in Jesus’ precious name. Amen x

Let us share our ‘fragrance of God’s grace’ far and wide.

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Sunday 1st September 2019

” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. “

John 3:16 NIV

It’s a beautiful day

I wasn’t feeling great after a restless night’s sleep. I’ve got a bit of a cold, and kept waking up coughing. However, I felt a little happier when I opened up the curtains and the sunshine was blazing in. So warm, and welcoming. For this blog today I thought I would go over what I jotted down at the service today.

We were reminded of How God’s loving kindness is everlasting, with reference to Psalm 118.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,

    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense;
    he has become my salvation.
15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.

21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.
25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever. “

Psalm 118 NIV

We have all been invited to be part of God’s kingdom. We are all invited, but some, even though invited still make excuses not to attend and come to Jesus.

Before the prayers, we were referred to Isaiah 54.

Though the mountains may be removed and the hills may be shaken, My loving devotion will not depart from you, and My covenant of peace will not be broken,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:10

I have a Lord that loves me, I can feel complete and secure. We, as a fellowship, come together to God in prayer. Prayer for anything and everything that happens to come up. Today we prayed for our schools, and people who have converted from other faiths to turn to Christ, and have been persecuted for it, individuals and families in the church needing prayer.

“We thank you Lord that you do not leave us, you are always there, with your amazing sense of presence. You stand firm for us. We pray for our children, who this week are going into first days, new years and new levels of education and first jobs, we pray to you Lord for your peace and guidance in this new season for so many, to know your heart as we move forward, with wholeness. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

To stand side by side, praying to our God to ask him for his help is so empowering. To provide that reassurance that as a fellowship, we can make so much difference to so many by doing this, is just amazing. Just being in the presence, in time of prayer often gives me goosebumps and an overwhelming feeling of peace and joy.

and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.

Colossians 2:10 NIV

After prayer our pastor began to look into Mark 10:46

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Mark 10:46-52

He emphasised the point that in the story it was Jesus that had said to the blind man “What do you want me to do for you”.

He explained that the ministry of Jesus is loaded with questions, and the fact that Jesus asked a lot of questions, who, why, what etc. e.g. What say ye of Christ? Is He the Son of God? Is He Saviour? Is He the Messiah?

All of the answers are there, in the bible, in the gospels, if we look closely enough. Eternity has been put in our hearts, it’s in our human nature. The bible asks us questions that dig deep into who we really are, questions which pose us to face up to ourselves, or question others.

He went on to explain how sometimes we need to ask simple, clear and direct questions to make people think. He talked about how often his wife would just come out and ask people ‘do you know where you are going if you die tonight?’ It reminded me of the story of Frank Jenner, the George Street evangelist.

“If you were to die today, where would you spend eternity?”

Frank Jenner

The pastor then went on to speak in further depth about the story of the blind man. Think about this, Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he must have known that he was on his way to his crucifixion, and being human, this must have affected his concentration and focus of what was happening on the way.

We often find ourselves doing the same, we get so preoccupied getting to the destination, that quite often we miss things along the way. The same applies to spending time with God in prayer and worship and reading the scriptures, life often gets in the way.

In Luke and Matthew, Jesus told the disciples not to take a staff or a stick with them, as there would be things that would happen along the way.

Sometimes it is important to stop and help others if they need you, even if it could change your plans last minute, as you may be the person that God has assigned to help them. The Levite and the priest didn’t stop, they were too busy to help – but we need to be more like the good Samaritan.

Bartemeus was a blind man, sat at the roadside, had no voice, and often referred to as the unclean one. He cried out to Jesus and was told to shut up, but he didn’t. He continued to cry out as Jesus passed by, and Jesus heard him, stopped and answered.

There is an old saying, seeing is believing, but in this case it was not seeing and still believing. Think about a blind person, due to their lack of sight, often their other senses are heightened, so he would probably rely more on his hearing and it is quite likely that he must have heard that Jesus was on his way, through the conversations of people that passed or stood near him.

So this was an event! When Jesus passed by, things fell into place, as you can see if you refer back to the verse Mark 10 above. As soon as he realised that Jesus was passing he referred to him as Son of David, and asked him to have mercy on him, the One who sits on the everlasting throne. It’s quite that he would have been hearing the word of God every day and the book of Romans declared Christ.

Sometimes the enemy (Satan) will use anything and everything to stop us declaring that Jesus is Lord! or stop us listening to the word. In this case the people were telling him to shut up as he called out, thankfully it didn’t stop him and Jesus replied as a result of his tenacity.

Back in those days cloaks were precious, and if you had two cloaks you were asked to give one away to someone that needed it. So in verse 50 of the scripture it says he threw it off to go to Jesus so that he could experience his love, that was a huge gesture of how important it was to that blind man to get to Jesus.

Some have also referred to this as the man throwing off his cloak to mean throwing away and leaving his old life to go to Jesus.

Jesus said to Bartemeus “What do you want me to do for you?” How amazing, and we need to remind ourselves that he says this to us too. He wants us to call out to him when we need help, he wants us to tell him what the problems are and what we want him to do to help!

We must always remember that God does not always answer our prayers, a good example was Paul, one of the greatest apostles for the Christian faith, who referred to the thorn in his side. Paul asked for help three times and God’s response to him was “My Grace is sufficient for you”.

Don’t think that your problems are too small, God wants us to go to him for anything and everything, from the smallest requests to global scale.

He finally finished up with the line, don’t be an ask not have not. Take everything to the Lord in prayer, whatever is troubling you. He loves you, and wants to hear from you.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. “

Matthew 16:24-25

Who am I?

I am not worthy

I’m no one special, I often swear out loud when I know I shouldn’t. I’ve had a pretty shady past compared to the ‘average person’, I work hard, I’ve got a couple of kids, I’ve had a fairly good education, I am an ex-addict to lots of things from obsessive TV to excessive gym and a kaleidoscope of recreational drugs. I’m prone to bouts of depression and self-hatred, I’ve been violent and experienced violence, survived two suicide attempts and I battle cravings for junk food on a regular basis.

I have always written a lot, but not online, so I thought I would start to share my findings in the public domain to encourage and help others. If I can change one person’s life – the time doing this will not have been wasted, even if it’s just to make them smile or laugh for a few minutes.

I thank God every day for everything he does for me, and can clearly see just how much better life is with Jesus at my side, and the blessings of some wonderful family and friends.

I have been saved by God’s grace

One day, back in 2000, I had a life changing experience as my sister read to me from the bible. It was like a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ moment, a blindingly obvious statement that changed the way I saw faith, God and Jesus.

My sister was always very good at putting things in the bible in a way that could easily be understood, she made me laugh when I was deeply depressed, and on that day I went from wanting nothing to do with faith to not being able to get enough of it!

She explained to me that the way to heaven was through Jesus Christ. It is written in the scripture in the New Testament in John 14:6

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.

And it didn’t matter what you had done in the past, your sins have already been paid for by his crucifixion and resurrection, he loves you and wants you to turn from your ways and live in his way, as God intended.

She explained that Jesus was special, he lived a faultless, caring and loving life here on earth and for that got killed in his 30s! Jesus was God in human form so that when we speak to him he understands what it’s like to be human, I thought there must be something in that. My curiosity increased the more I read.

All I had to do was to say a simple prayer, turning away from my old life and ways, inviting him into my life, into my heart, and hand over all my sin to him in prayer in his name. Then take up my cross and follow him. So I did.

After praying the prayer, I could not believe just how much I could understand when reading the bible. It all made complete sense! The grass was greener and I felt a huge feeling of peace and joy.

I could not believe how much of a difference it has made in my life having the ability to pray in Jesus’ name, having a personal relationship, and the influence and things that would happen as a result. All because of God’s wonderful grace.

I want to share this with you

During a sermon last week I heard “By sharing our testimony we strengthen our faith” which has driven me to start this.

I have decided to take the step to blog publicly, taking examples from my personal journal because I feel as if what I have experienced so far in this life could also help others who are going through similar circumstances. I stand in absolute awe some days at the things that happen and I want you to know about them too.

Don’t get me wrong, life is still hard, being born again does not instantly change things to be faultless, stress-free and perfect, and you’ll see that as you begin to read the blogs.

Unfortunately there are so many misunderstandings and presumptions of what being a Christian is, and more importantly what it is not, so I want to give you my point of view to break down the barriers that prevent communication, and stop the misconceptions about what people think going to church is.

I’m not really sure what the content of this blog will be until I start writing, but here are the sort of things this blog will contain:

  • Real life stories of what has happened in my past life.
  • My personal relationship with God.
  • What it’s like to walk with Jesus.
  • Real life stories relating to living life as a born again Christian.
  • Things that have happened since using prayer and worship regularly. God’s blessings and examples of proof that prayer works!
  • How I have applied what I have learned from scripture in my life.
  • What I have been learning about this week.
  • Other people’s testimonies I have heard.
  • I would love to connect with believers and unbelievers via my blog.
  • I would also love to connect to people who would like to hear more about my faith, and how to start their own journey with Christ.

I look forward to sharing my blog with you.