A love letter from God to our newborn and unborn babies…

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.

Psalm 127:3-4

I couldn’t stop looking at each of my babies when they were born, the tiny details of the palms of their hands, and souls of their feet, tiny finger nails little toes, big long eyelashes, the sounds they made whilst sleeping, that cute yawn, or windy smile….

It so easy to see God in all of the detail staring in to the face of a new born baby…

Thinking about the promises He gives to us I wrote a love letter for you to speak over your babies each and everyday ….

Precious one, you are knitted together in detail from the very hairs on your head to your tiny toes tucked perfectly in my womb. God has formed your inmost being. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-16)

Each and every hair on your head is numbered (Matt 10:30)

Before He placed you in my womb God knew He would set you apart (Jeremiah 1:5)

You are a good and perfect gift from above (James 1:17)

Beautiful one, you are heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb A REWARD! (Psalm 127:3)

He will bless you and keep you, He will make His face shine upon you, the Lord will turn His face to you and give you peace (Numbers 6:24-26)

You will grow and become strong, be filled with wisdom and the favour of God will always be upon you (Luke 2:40)

Sweet child, you are God’s handiwork created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepares in advance (Ephesians 2:10)

You will never ever be looked down upon for in heaven your angels are always in the presence of your Heavenly Father (Matthew 18:10)

The lord will always fight for you beautiful baby, you need only be still (Exodus 14:14)

He will give your strength when you are weary and increase your power when you are weak (Isaiah 40:29)

Never fear precious one God is always with you (Isaiah 41:10)

He has great plans for you, to make you prosper, give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)

My God will always meet all of your needs (Philippians 4:19)

Ask and it will be given to you; precious child seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

I pray that you grow to hold on to each and every one of these beautiful promises, you will be loved beyond all understanding in in fathomable ways.

Thanks be to God – Amen.

How do you fix a fence?

Let it go!

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Every day we have 86,400 seconds of time, the biggest proportion of that time is spent with other people. Jesus commanded us to love one another, really love one another, not just to give each other empty words and promises, we are to show one another in our actions that we really, truly DO love one another.

I think as a church we do a really good job of loving those in need, we help the poor, counsel the grieving, give, give, give but I really think that we fall down on actually loving one another! To be honest, I’m not surprised, after all we are family, brothers and sisters in Christ, and what happens in families? Arguments! Some get sorted out, others go on and on then eventually divide the family. As Christians we have the same spirit within us that raised Christ from the grave, so why do we find it so hard to let go of things?

Let’s face it, if an outsider was looking in to our church would they see Jesus shining through our relationships with one another? Or would they see a replication of the world, bitterness, anger, hurt, betrayal, jealousy and all the other lousy things that make us sad?

Ephesians 4:1-6 in the message version says this:

1-3 In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

If we are sitting around hurt, bitter and holding on to a grudge how on earth can we run the road we’ve been called to travel? Surely this just causes apathy, a bad attitude and sitting around on our hands. It says here, we aren’t to do that.

We need to be quick at mending fences. Let the offence go, fix it, sort it, get rid of it, even better give it to Jesus, ask Him to deal with it. When I think of some of the things I’ve been hung up over in the past they are all irrelevant, pointless and have totally wasted my time, I look back and wonder why it really mattered.

The world is divided, offence causes division, division causes a battle, the world is looking for peace, but how do we show the world peace if we are at battle with one another?

We are in the world not of the world, we are called to be different, 1 John 5:19 says we know we are from God and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one, does our behaviour reflect this truth?

My husband and I quite often differ in opinion, it doesn’t mean I’m right and he’s wrong, it just means we are different. Oh, how boring it would be if we were all the same!

as believers one thing we do all have in common is ONENESS.

Everything we are, everything we do, and think is permeated with Oneness, it says so in the scripture above. Permeated means that we are saturated, soaked in this Oneness that seeps out of us to those we meet on the road we’ve been called to follow, the road we are told to run. We don’t have time to sit around on our hands, let us wipe away the apathetic attitude and get going!

We all have ONE mission, ONE cause all in the name of the ONE that died so that we might have life and an abundance of joy, that ONENESS permeates us, lives in us, and even lives in those we don’t like!

UNITED TOGETHER WE STAND IN ONENESS!

When Jesus began His ministry the first thing he did after battling satan in the wilderness was to go and choose people to work with. Even He didn’t go it alone, He chose 12 people taught them, encouraged them, built them up, empowered them and sent them out.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:12-14

He tells the disciples here that they will go on to do greater things than He! I’m not sure about you but I like that sort of encouragement, and even more so I like to see people go from being encouraged to doing great things.

We are called to UNITE

We are called to ENCOURAGE

We are called to EMPOWER

We are called to LOVE

We have One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. We are each travelling the same road with unique giftings and callings but overall WE ARE ONE! Let us come together as children of God and do what the world so needs to see. We can not change the world alone, but together we can do greater things than He.

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Are we perishing?

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For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. John 3:16

Jesus was fully man, he experienced all the trials and tribulations we have daily, he knew how it felt to be let down, hurt, angered, everything we feel today He too has felt.

I enjoy learning about Jesus and especially like to look at how he is described in character, in the book of John when He first meets Peter, I love the way it’s described:

Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking Intently at Simon, Jesus said “Your name is Simon, son of John – But you will be called Cephas” (Which means Peter) John 1:42

I love that, Jesus looked intently at Peter, gazed right into his eyes. I believe in that moment Jesus’ spirit spoke to Peter’s and I believe Peter’s spirit was leaping for joy at the new life that was about to unfold.

It reminds me of how I came to know Jesus. My husband and I walked into a Pentecostal church one Sunday to see arms raised, people talking in tongues, bellowing out prayers and prophetic words left, right and centre! I thought to myself “What on earth are they doing??!!” My flesh wanted to run a mile! But my spirit knew that there was something there that would change my hopeless life for the better.

The first time Jesus did something miraculous He was at a wedding and the wine ran dry. This can be likened to our faith, it runs dry, we stop trusting and start to take our lives into our own hands until we come to the end of ourselves and turn back to Him, there are so many stories in the Bible of people taking there lives back into their own hands then realising they can’t do it in their own strength, why do we do it?

The good news is He turned water in to an abundant supply of wine, when we turn to Him, He will turn a pointless empty life filled with temporary objects into a life full of hope and joy, inner peace and comfort in everlasting supply……WOW!!!

Shortly after this awesome miracle we see a story about a religious leader Nicodemus. He goes to see Jesus in the night, he goes in the night because he was ashamed of wanting to know Him, the other religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus, they were frightened that they would lose their political power over the people.

I think Nicodemus was conforming to the world around him, he was allowing other people’s opinions have control on his destiny. When I read this story, it makes me think about my own walk with Christ,

What higher powers are keeping me from the fullness of His love?

Am I ashamed of Him?

Am I scared to admit that His love keeps me, what will people think when I say it’s Christ who lives in me that sustains my joy?

Will they think I’m crazy?

Does it even matter?

During a conversation about how to enter the Kingdom of God Jesus tells Nicodemus that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son so that we might not PERISH but have EVERLASTING LIFE, it’s one of the most quoted scriptures there is but do we really know what it means?

Do we understand what this means for us?

Let’s look more closely at John 3:16 –

We often think of God as angry at us for our shortcomings, we think He’s annoyed at our constant mistakes, so we look at this first part of the scripture and think that Christ came to redeem us to remove that anger….. BUT….. I don’t believe that this is the case. God always intended for Christ to come He so loved us that He gave, He created us and saw that it was VERY good. He loved us more than anything in creation, we are His pride and joy.

GOD LOVES EVERYONE – HE LOVES US ALL BECAUSE HE LOVES US EACH – UNIQUELY – INDIVIDUALLY – SEPERATLEY – APPART FROM – SINGULARLY – His own singular love for you and for me!

John 3:16 is in 4 parts, the first 2 are God’s actions to us.

1 – For God So loved the world – This statement was profound, it had never been said before, The Old Testament and other Jewish writings have only ever talked of God’s love for His people, the people of Israel, the revelation that God loved EVERYONE was HUGE!

We are each made individually and unique and just in the same way I love my kids, God loves us (differently and uniquely). I don’t love any one of my boys more than the other but I love them in a unique way, there are different things I love about each of them.

No matter what we do, how we act, how far we run from God, He still loves us, He created us to love us:

Zeph 3.17  – For the Lord your God is loving among you, He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in your gladness with His love He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs

Psalm 139:13 – For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 

Here’s how unique we actually are!

I read a booklet created by Miles Witherford called, Is there a reason to believe?

In it there are some discoveries made by a former atheist, Dr Francis Collins, he spent 15 years actually ‘reading’ and ‘mapping’ all the complex details of the Human DNA Genome.

He and his team discovered that the nucleus of every cell in our bodies contains more data than 30 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica!

Even more importantly, all the individual pieces of data need to have come together simultaneously for the cell to live, not gradually developing a little a time over many centuries!

DNA is present in every cell of our bodies and contains billions of parts, many of which interact with one another like a complex computer, and determine our physical characteristics. Scientists programmed a computer to calculate the probability of DNA evolving by random chance…..

The computer came up with the staggering sum on 1 chance in 10 followed by 57 zero’s, can you imagine what a vast number that is?

Scientists generally believe that any chance beyond 1 in 10 followed by 57 zeros is deemed impossible so this is 10 million times impossibility!

Can you really and honestly believe that such a vastly complex and minutely detailed structure such as DNA evolved by mere random chance, without thought, planning and design?

The average human body has some 3 trillion cells, and in the nucleus of every cell reside the chromosomes into which DNA is packaged. Each strand of DNA consists of a 3 billion-character long text of a strange cryptographic four letter code, and is different for every individual person! – To read it along at one character per second would take 31 years!

We really are fearfully and wonderfully made!

2 – That he gave His one and only son

The 2nd part of John 3:16 again is an action from God, We have to do nothing for it.

God’s love for the world wasn’t just sentiment but it led to a specific action – HE GAVE HIS SON, HIS ONLY SON, to suffer and die and bear the penalty for our sins, restoring us fully into a relationship with Him.

1 John 2:2 – He Himself is the sacrifice that atoned for our sins – and not only our sins but the sins of the world.

Despite knowing that we may not turn and follow Him God still sent Christ to die for us,

Romans 5:8 – But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Jesus, came so that we could be in a relationship with God, despite knowing that we might not turn to him He STILL gave His life! He was ridiculed, battered, flogged, whipped, made to carry the cross that He would be hung on so that I might live?!

My friend recently gave her life to Jesus after a real epic encounter, she had a glimpse of what He did for her, she couldn’t even say thank you Jesus for giving your life for my sin through her choked tears, after this encounter she started to read a Bible plan from You version, one of the scriptures that struck her was:

Mark 1:11 – And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”

She texted me after reading it and the devotion that went with it and said: “it blows my mind that God loves me this much, despite all I’ve done, does He realise what bad I’ve done in my lifetime!?”

We can’t comprehend His love for us, we don’t understand it, but that’s why we are given the instructions in the next part of this scripture.

These next 2 parts are our actions to take.

3. That whoever believes in Him.

WHOEVER! Not just people that are religious, not leaders, not Holy people, not just Israelites, this love is for WHOEVER!

WOW! Whoever, anyone, everyone! We can all turn to Jesus and have an abundance of peace whilst we walk on this earth, no matter what our outward circumstances. All we have to do is choose in!

The amplified version says this: So that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on)

Believing that Jesus died for our sins is not enough.

We’ve got to, trust in this with all we are, cling to the very fact that God loves us so dearly that he gave his only son for us, and we must rely upon Jesus as our saviour to receive our reward which is the next part of the scripture.

4. Shall not perish but have eternal life.

I find it interesting that perishing is placed before eternal life, you would normally see perishing once someone or something has died and no longer has life. Could it be possible that something could perish whilst still alive?

Every day we see, hear and experience things in the world that hurt us or others, people can speak words that kill dreams, intentionally or not, there are desires to get status, promotion and be somebody, but at what cost to others?

People compete with one another for promotions, we are judged on what we earn, what car we drive, the size of our house, the brand of our clothes ….. as a result we end up like Nicodemus, conforming to the world, – PERISHING!  It’s hard work to gain approval from man, but Jesus is a different story, he wants to take our lives and replace that emptiness with everlasting peace and joy.

Jesus said in verse 17, God did not send His son to condemn the world, but in order that the world MIGHT be saved through Him.

Might, be saved, see Jesus knew that we may or may not turn to him, we still have free will…Which means we have a choice, God won’t force us into making that choice, but He loves us anyway!

Eternal life does not just mean life after death. Eternal life is a life of abundant joy, filled with immeasurable blessing in the presence of God forever, no matter what our outward circumstance.

God’s plan always has been to have His people in His place under His blessing, that’s a picture of Adam and Eve in the garden, that’s just what God wants for everyone, here on earth and in heaven.

So, over to you, how can we remember on a daily basis, how much Jesus loves us and what that represents in our daily walk?

 

 

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They Made A Name For Themselves.

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In Genesis chapter 11 we see a group of people building a tower to heaven to ‘make a name for themselves’ – but why?

That’s always my question whenever I delve into the word of God, I’m an avid study freak and love to pull things apart when I get the chance. I thought I’d share the things I discovered.

Genesis 9:1 we see God blessing Noah and his sons, he tells them “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the Earth”. I’m not sure about you but I’d say that was an active order to Go! Move, make it happen. Then, fast forward to chapter 11 and we see something that doesn’t quite align with what they were instructed to do.

Now the whole earth had one language, and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another “Come let us make bricks and burn them thouroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then They said “Come let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we dispersed over the face of the the whole earth.” – Genesis 11:1-4

Do you see that word in bold in the extract above? They ‘SETTLED’there – I will come back to that bit!

They started to build, with bricks! This country was a plain, it produced neither stone nor mortar, but this didn’t discourage them in the least, they made bricks serve instead of stone and slime or tar instead of mortar. The lengths that they went to ensure that this happened was amazing, the resources they pulled together, the encouragement they gave one another, they must have felt such an amazing team by the end of the project – I think that’s what happens when you have a purpose for your efforts.

The trouble was though, the purpose they had wasn’t God’s purpose for them. The people decided that they wanted to build a city for ‘themselves’and lift up a tower to the heavens, making a name for ‘themselves’. – As always my question is “But why?”

So I started to delve into my study Bible and The New Matthew Henry commentary to find out, here’s what I found:

Skip back to Genesis Chapter 10 in verses 8-10 and we see the birth of Nimrod, it says this;

Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

Looking forward again to chapter 11:2

And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and settled there. The study bible suggests that this could be the beginning of Nimrod’s Kingdom.

Hold on a minute isn’t it God’s Kingdom? Who’s Nimrod and why would he have a kingdom?

From what I read in my study Bible it suggests that the descriptions used for Nimrod, Mighty Man and Mighty Hunter before the Lord are used in irony and are probably viewed as a negative description. Nimrord’s aggression as a person runs totally counter to what God had intended for creation and suggests that he was a very proud man as well as extremely ambitious in building his own kingdom.

Now I’m starting to see the whole tower building versus earth filling issue!

So now I see, these people were being led by the ‘mighty man’ Nimrod, with their eyes fixed on him a mere man! They were all so happy together, all speaking the same language, they all understood one another, no difference of opinion.

Oh, how easy it is to love one another when we are all of the same language and opinion! How easy it would be to help one another and stick together, no wonder they wanted to build upon this, and not out as God had told Noah.

Led merrily along by a mere man with a reputation for being mighty together they found a plain and ‘settled‘ there…..

Hang on a minute is that what God instructed them to do? I’m sure he said, “Go! be fruitful, multiply and fill the Earth!” What are they doing settling in one place that will be big enough for just them?!

God wanted them to EXTEND their borders, EXPAND, MULTIPLY, INCREASE, outwardly, under divine protection. BUT, what they did was to stay tightly knitted together in their group, all of the same opinion, same background, same culture, elite and powerful, a great people in a great city with a great tower reaching the heavens!

How can we reach out far and wide with restricted borders?

How can we multiply and be fruitful in a plain just big enough for us?

How can we fill the earth being stuck above others in a tower?

If we are all in one place, speaking the same language and of the same opinion how can we reflect His glorious character?

If we never differed in views or had a difference of opinion how can we radiate His beautiful Grace?

God wants us scattered, He wants us unique, He requires our differences in opinion. Despite the language we speak, the background we have, the culture we are from, the knowledge we are gifted, the experience we have gained, the gifts we are granted, the length of time we’ve known Jesus, we are all instructed to expand as ONE, joined together in unity, in love for our beautiful saviour that resides within each and every child of God.

Let us not fix our eyes on the mere men of the world, those that ironically are seen as mighty, let us “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”

Let us widen our reach, elongate our borders, stretch out our hands, touch everyone we meet with the glory of God!

Out the mouths of babes

I love my kids, they never cease to make me smile, each and every day there’s something they do or say to make me stop for a moment and just wow at how God perfectly knits us together.

Their beautiful detailed faces, their tiny finger tips, their uniquely coloured eyes, their expressive minds, and their giving hearts, I just love being a mom.

This morning I’m getting things ready for school and work when my husband comes in to me to tell me the conversation he’s had over the breakfast table with our eldest son who is 7.

For the past few nights he’s been taking his bible story book to bed with him and reading the stories, which melts my heart in itself, not only that he chooses to take it to bed and read it of his own accord, but to read it to his 5 year old brother that shares the room with him.

So over Frosties this morning he shares with my husband the story of Adam and Eve, he then goes on to say,

“Daddy, I think I’m going to ask my teacher if I can tell this story at the front of class. I think it will help the kids because Adam and Eve didn’t do as they were told and it all went wrong, if I share this they might do what the teacher tells them and she won’t have to shout so much!”

Which leads me on to this verse from Matthew, if only we all thought the same way as my 7 year old and used our mouths to speak the word of God.

If only we refused to speak words of hurt, malice, pain, negativity, if only we were all so full of Gods perfect Grace that we all lifted up one another with our words, encouraged one another with our actions, if only we lived in a world that was for one another and not against, a world that put others before themselves.

If we each put one person before ourselves everyone would be ahead, no one left behind, we each giving out a hand to say come on I’ve got you, I believe in you.

That’s a world I want my kids to grow up in.

Stop striving

“”Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.””

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NASB‬‬: http://bible.com/100/psa.46.10.nasb

How often do we get on with things in our own strength? Busying ourselves with Kingdom business because that’s what we are called to do? Is it busyness or a busy mess?

How often do we STOP, rest and reflect on what God promises to us?

How often do we play God in the world? Making decisions we don’t need to and carrying burdens that don’t belong to us.

We say we love God and want to follow Him but then find ourselves steaming on ahead without Him, or filling our time with things to escape Him.

What if we stopped that? What if we decided to be still and know that He is God? What if we trusted God so much that we lived in a peace that surpasses all understanding?

God wants us to stop, listen to that still small voice and reflect on His promise in comparison to thoughts bought on by the world.

The bible tells us to not be conformed to the world, but without consistent assessment this can be overlooked, we need to be still, we need to think, we need to pull out those thoughts that are limiting our relationship with God.

Our thoughts repeated over time become our beliefs that in turn provide our actions which then gives us results, what fruit are we seeing?

Let us STOP striving and be still, let us allow God to be God and work in our lives, let us live in peace and know that He IS!

Love and Blessings,

Rach xx