5 Reasons to be Hopeful

It is all too easy for all of us to follow the example of some in our world, to panic buy, stock pile and look only to our own needs. But when we read God’s word, the Bible, we realise that God is with those who believe in His promises to them. We have a protector like no other and a very real hope of eternal life in the kingdom of God on earth.
Here are 5 messages from God that we can focus on every day – I hope that they will help and comfort you.

  1. God is in control 

“Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.”
1 Chronicles 29:11-12

  1. God is with us and will not forsake us.

    “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
    Isaiah 41:10
    “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.”
    James 4:8
  2. We have each other.

    “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.”
    Philippians 1:3-5
  1. Jesus Christ  has told us that he is coming back.

    “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
    Luke 21: 25-27
  2. We’re nearly there!

    “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
    Luke 21:28

And finally, as frightening as these uncertain times may be, let us remember what God tells us,”Be anxious for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7  

(Quotes KJV)

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Life is a Gift from God

As I write this, around 210,000 people have died worldwide as a result of the coronavirus. Many people find it difficult or impossible to believe that a loving God can exist when something like this happens. Why wouldn’t he do something about it?


As a Christian I see life as a gift from God.
Today we tend to think that life is a right, something which we are entitled to simply by virtue of being human and which nobody has the right to take away from us.
This can lead us to believe, even if only subconsciously, that God is somehow obliged to preserve our lives and keep pain and death away from us.


As I see it, he isn’t obliged to do any of those things. He gave us life as a gift, one which we do not deserve and which is given on his terms, not ours.
Nowhere in the Bible does God promise that human life will be easy or free from pain and suffering. Not even to Christians does he promise that. In fact, he warns that becoming a Christian may actually lead to life becoming more difficult than it was before.


“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have
become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is Godbreathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:12–17)

Here Paul describes the two priorities for a Christian’s life.
First, to receive “training in righteousness” by learning from God’s message and from the example of Jesus and other Christians how we ought to live, so we can be ready for “every good work”.
Second, to accept that happiness and comfort in this life is not our goal. What is? “Salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”.


What does that mean? It means that a Christian’s hope lies in the world to come after Jesus returns from heaven, not this one.
For a Christian, this life is really a time of preparation for the day when they meet Jesus. How we respond to the pain and suffering in our lives, and in the lives of others, will shape our character and determine the person Jesus sees in
us when that day comes.


At a time in his life when it looked likely that he might die, Paul wrote:
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:21–24)


For a Christian, life is an opportunity to prepare oneself to meet Jesus and to help others do the same, and death is simply the last waking moment before we meet him.
Suppose you were to be given a trial or probationary period by an employer with the promise that after a certain period of time your performance would be reviewed to determine if you were to be offered a permanent position within the organisation. While this isn’t a perfect analogy (Christians don’t earn eternal life from Jesus through good performance!) it does illustrate that the life we have now is only a temporary time of testing which will (and should) inevitably come to an end.

God gives us this life as a gift, but that gift comes with certain responsibilities and instructions on how it ought to be lived. It isn’t for us to do whatever we like with and indulge ourselves. God is perfectly entitled to take it away again if we haven’t used it responsibly or if we’ve ignored his instructions.
Moreover, God isn’t being unjust or unkind to take away this life if he has an even better one to offer.


But where do our priorities lie?

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A Family in Lockdown

Family in Lockdown – How is your family using this time?

Just a few weeks ago we had the announcement that all schools across England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland would be closing for an unknown amount of time. This move, to try and slow the spread of Covid 19, is something none of us has ever experienced in our lifetime.

It brought about lots of different questions, emotions and feelings:

  • How will my child be educated?
  • How will they sit their exams?
  • How will I cope with my children at home 24/7?
  • How am I going to entertain them?

There has been an amazing effort put in by people all over the country to help parents who are now having to home school their children. From teachers who have spent hours putting together work for pupils to access via online platforms, to celebrities who have taken to social media to teach children everything from PE to baking and even gardening.

Many have embraced the change and have chosen to view it as a positive move in order to protect their children and their wider community. It is a welcome opportunity to have more family time. However, we would be lying to say that even as adults we are not finding the situation strange and worrying. We must remember that there are many struggling to cope with what’s going on in the world right now. So how do we think our children are feeling?

They went from their ‘normal lives’ going to school, playing with their friends in the park and going to clubs, to being told that they can’t leave their house or garden other than for maybe a short walk each day and the only way you can see your loved ones is by video messaging. Children have an amazing ability to accept new information, they are resilient, and they have embraced this as their ‘new normal’.

How can we help our children, how can we make this ‘new normal’ a positive and empowering experience for them?

Open and honest conversation is the best way to start. When we understand the reasons behind things it makes them easier to accept and hopefully makes them seem less frightening. In our house we have had lots of conversations with our children about what is happening, and it has also allowed us to talk with them about the hope we have through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For example, in John 3 v 16-17 we are told, “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.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

We have been able to reassure them that, yes, this is scary and we don’t know what is going to happen next. But really, do we ever? We know from the Bible that God is in control and we have nothing to fear if we put our trust in him. In 1 Chronicles 29v11-12 we are told, “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.”

The fact that these events are all coinciding with what would have been the Easter holiday (the time of year when Christians around the world think about the death and resurrection of Jesus) has given us even more opportunities to talk to our children about God’s purpose. It has also given us lots of activities to be able to do; craft activities, puzzles, even baking some delicious hot cross buns (keep an eye on our Facebook page – we will be sharing some of these activities with you over the next few weeks)! Small things that we as a family can do together, both entertaining our children and giving us plenty of opportunities to teach them about God’s plan for our world.

Have you considered starting the day by doing a Bible reading together as a family? It is a lovely way to begin the day. Personally, it sets me up for whatever lies ahead by strengthening, calming and focussing my mind – plus, it’s a great way to get your kids practicing their reading with you! Here is a link to our daily readings. It’s a good place to start, just pick one a day if you want to.

Life right now is scary and challenging but we know that God is with us and will protect us, if we put our trust in him, as we are told in Joshua 1v9, “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

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Rainbow Safety

While on my daily walk, I noticed a rainbow with clouds painted on the windows of a number of houses. Most of the paintings illustrated the seven colours of the rainbow with the words  ‘stay safe’ above.

It is kind of these people to think of others. They are concerned that we must all remain at home as much as we can to try to be safe by not spreading the virus. But why the rainbow? These days most people do not know the true message of the rainbow. Yes, some can explain how the rainbow appears but they may not know when it first appeared and why.

We have to go to the word of God, the Bible, for the answer. After the flood which God brought upon the earth, Noah and his family emerged from the ark and God said to Noah, “I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant, that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” (Genesis 9:13 -16)

The message is clear. God is not going to destroy all life upon the earth by a flood again. God has kept his promise. There has never been a worldwide flood since the time of Noah. Noah and his family and the creatures in the ark were saved. They were in the ark, in ‘lockdown’ for a year, because Noah had followed God’s commands. 

Jesus believed that the flood took place, he said in Matthew 24:36 – 39, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”  

Jesus also taught that, before he returns to the earth, the situation will be similar to that of the time of the flood. People will be caught up in the affairs of this life, not aware, and sadly, not wanting to be aware that Jesus is going to come back suddenly. Look again at the verses quoted above in Matthew 24.

So, for us to ‘stay safe’, we must try to be like Noah. We must listen to Jesus and follow his teachings in our lives. Then, if we lose our lives because of this virus or any other disease, or if, by God’s grace, we are alive when Jesus returns, we may be blessed to experience everlasting life on this earth, when all disease and sadness will be no more.  

Quotes ESV

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Who are our Neighbours?

We live in a small village.  Before the advent of the Coronavirus and in this age of the internet and social media we were rarely in touch with our neighbours except to say, ‘Hello’. Many of them were working. We knew, in theory, that we could ask them for help but, thankfully, we had no reason to ask.

We are the oldies in our group of houses. I hadn’t realised this until now but our neighbours had. As soon as we were told we must stay at home we have got to know our neighbours so much better. They are falling over themselves in their eagerness to help us! We have no worries about whether we’ll have enough food. They ask us what we need every time they go shopping.  We have all started to chat and share our news, keeping a safe distance away, of course! We can help our younger neighbours by accepting their help and by showing interest in their news and listening to their concerns.

I am reminded of the story Jesus told when he was asked “Who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:25:37)

The parable of the good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’

26 ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’

27 He answered, ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

 (NOTE: The  man who asked Jesus was a lawyer. As a Jew, he had been taught all about the Law that God gave to Moses many years before. Most of us know about the 10 Commandments in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:1-17)This man had realised that they could be summarised in 2 commands, 1. to love God with all our being and 2. To love our neighbour as much as we love ourselves.)

But, he asks, “Who is my neighbour?”.  So Jesus tells the parable. The meaning is very clear. We must all be willing to help anyone, no matter who they are. ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’

30 In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”

36 ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’

37 The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’

Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise’

(NOTE: To understand this parable it is important to know that the Jews and the Samaritans had nothing in common and nothing to do with each other. Jesus was teaching the lawyer and all who were listening that they should help anyone in need. We must also learn the lesson of compassion. If we see anyone in need and distress our hearts should be moved to do as much as we can to help. We shouldn’t make distinctions because of race, belief or because we don’t like them. The Samaritan didn’t pass by on the other side. He attended to the man’s wounds and cared for him. He paid the innkeeper to look after him.)

The meaning is very clear. We must all be willing to help anyone, no matter who they are. It is a lesson for the times we live in. Jesus and his Father ask us to be kind and to help everyone when and wherever we can. If everyone followed this simple law our world would be a wonderful place. The Bible tells us that day will come. Jesus will return to set up his Father’s Kingdom on earth.

Quotes NIV

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Coronavirus, a message from God – are you ready to listen?

In what feels like the blink of an eye, the world as we know it has changed. It is no longer a place of relative safety, where we luxuriate in comfort, routine and excess, but it has all too quickly become a perilous place, where men’s hearts are failing them for fear.

Mankind has come to recognise that we cannot control world events. Day by day each news report brings another tidal wave of uncertainty. Leaders of countries are changing policies as quickly as they made them. Hospitals, banks, businesses, shops and families are struggling to keep up with events.

In amongst the chaos, we begin to wonder, will we ever find the calm?

Perhaps we ought to use this time of isolation to stop, reflect and search for the answers from a power greater than ourselves.

In the Bible, God tells us “that in the last days perilous times will come.” Are we not certainly living in perilous times? The chapter carries on to tell us, “For men shall be lovers of themselves, lovers of money and boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving unforgiving, slanders, without self control, brutal, dispisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3 v 1-4)
All this is sadly true of the world around us.

God made a promise to King Solomon, that he would always be with him, but only as long as Solomon walked in the ways of the Lord, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send an epidemic among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7 v 13-14)


So we may ask ourselves what is the answer for us today?

The Bible in the book of Ecclesiasties gives us the answer, it is very simple: “Fear God and keep His commandments.” (Ecclesiastes 12 v 13) This is all God has ever asked for, it’s quite simple really, but for thousands of years people have turned their back on Him.

We are getting close to the time when He will send His son back to the earth. In the book of Matthew  we are told, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24 v 29-30)

What does that mean for you?

Don’t stress about what tomorrow will bring, as Jesus tells us in Matthew, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Tomorrow is another day, worrying about it will not change things. Rather turn to God and seek his coming kingdom, when goodness and mercy will prevail,”Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? … For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6 v 31-34)

If we do this we have nothing to fear.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

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Please Wash your Hands!

The threat of catching Coronavirus has made us all aware of the importance of washing our hands. Every time we listen to the news or read a newspaper we are reminded of the importance of making sure we wash them thoroughly.

The washing of hands is not a new idea. In the last century one in four pregnant mothers who entered hospital died from some form of infection. Philip Ignaz Semmelweis , an obstetrician, had a death rate of only eight women in a thousand. That was less than 1% !! What was the secret ? It was very simple. Dr Semmelweis washed his hands! In the 19th century doctors often went from the mortuary or from the dissecting room straight back to their rounds of the hospital wards. They hardly stopped to wipe their hands on their already soiled aprons. Dr Semmelweis had realised that doctors were spreading the disease from the infected patients to the healthy ones.

But the washing of hands and personal hygiene was stressed 3,500 years previously in the Law given by God to Moses in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Here are just two examples.

Preventing the Spread of Infection.

A man or woman who had a bodily discharge was considered unclean until investigation by the Priest.

Their bed and anyone who touched the bed or touched them were considered unclean . Moses writes: “Anyone the man with a discharge touches without rinsing his hands with water must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening”

Leviticus 15:2-11

This is just one illustration of many cases of treating infection.

Isolation and Quarantine.

People are being advised to stay at home if there is likelihood that they may have been in contact with anyone who may be able to pass on Coronavirus The Law of Moses states “ When anyone has …. an infectious skin disease , he must be brought to… a priest…. the priest is to put the infected person in isolation for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine him, and if…. unchanged…… he is to keep him in isolation another seven days”

Leviticus 13:2-8, 46

Once pronounced clean the man had to “wash his clothes, shave off his hair and bathe in water..

Leviticus 14:8-9

How did the people of Israel know about these vital matters? Because God told them and Moses reminded them to obey what God had commanded them. (Deuteronomy 4:5-9).

Do keep washing your hands to help to combat this new virus! Meanwhile we must remember that the God of the Bible knows about the problems we all face. When Jesus returns to establish his Father’s Kingdom those who have made God’s Laws rule in their hearts will be invited by him to share in the perfect and everlasting health of his reign.

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You can have the greatest love of all… if you choose it!

 February, the month when cards, roses and chocolates appear in our stores for Valentine’s Day. Restaurants advertise special meals. Many enjoy the gifts and expressions of love they receive. We all want to be loved and we blossom when we feel secure in the knowledge that we are indeed loved by those we love in return. Sadly human love inevitably passes away.

 Those who follow Christ follow a crucified and risen Lord who defined love by his sacrifice. This amazing gift of love should prompt Christ’s followers to consider how they may love and serve others. They should not expect others to serve them in return.

In the history of humankind there is only one Man who deserves to be made much of, to be worshiped and celebrated every waking moment, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the one who was entitled to be adored but instead chose to be abhorred, despised, and rejected, a man of sorrows, bearing our griefs and sins. “…he was wounded for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)*

Rights forfeited, griefs and hardship accepted, putting others’ needs before our own. This is the way of true love. Human love will so often fail us and leave us disappointed and disillusioned.  

 Why not search for the true love shown by God and Jesus? By deciding to try to understand this everlasting love it will lead us to put others before ourselves. A love willing to sacrifice its wants, desires, and dreams for the joy of others. A love of the glory of God, not of the glorification of self.

Before we can truly love others, we must first  love God.  Such love for others can only be developed by understanding the nature of God’s love towards humankind.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

The only ones who can  truly love are born of God and know God. Without understanding God’s love in sending Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sins, we are not capable to give out such  love to those in our lives. “…while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person….God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.(Romans 5:6-8)

“We love because he (God) first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

While we were still sinners, Jesus loved us. When we had done nothing for Him, He loved us. His love for us is shown in his sacrifice on the cross. Jesus, by his death, opened up the way to everlasting life to those who truly try to follow him. Only the heart that treasures this love is capable of giving it out. To love, not to get but to give, not to use, but to be used.

To receive the love of God is to accept our bankruptcy. We have nothing good to our name, only sin. We deserve death but by the love of Christ we are spared. So when it comes to our relationships, we must put to death any thoughts of entitlement. ‘I deserve better’ has no place in the mind of a Christian. “For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

It’s far too easy to focus on what we think others should do for us, especially those who are closest to us. When they fail to meet our expectations we are tempted to punish. Remember that in the hour we were most undeserving, Christ died for us. So when those we love let us down, we must put to death our preferences, our selfish ambitions, our desires and wants.

So, let us be reminded of who we are. We are sinners with a Saviour, Jesus,  children with a Heavenly Father, beggars with an abundance of treasure, entitled to nothing, yet possessors of everything. We are learning to be free from self. We try to love unreservedly. As such, we can reject cultural ideas about love and about what we deserve. We can believe in our God and Jesus who are more than enough for us, today, tomorrow and every day.

In  God and His Son Jesus Christ alone true love is found, and through them alone true love is given.

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Forget about ‘New Year, New You’ … God loves you just the way you are!

It’s a little like being Cinderella. The moment the clock strikes midnight everything changes. Except that rather than rags to riches we go from feast to famine, and instead of losing a shoe we lose the will to live.

The minute New Year’s Eve turns to New Year’s Day a peculiar change takes hold of the world as we know it. It throttles us until we bend to its will: NEW YEAR, NEW YOU.

Adverts that preached excess and indulgence at Christmas swiftly change their tune to discipline and determination. Bookshops mutilate their gift and humour displays, leaving in their wake dieting and de-cluttering manuals.

It is like falling victim to cultural whiplash. One minute we are festive, family-orientated and telling ourselves to be merry and bright. The next we are told we are nowhere near thin, pretty or talented enough. In the blink of an eye we have become desperately in need of a total lifestyle overhaul.

We fall for it every year, even though it makes us miserable. It’s another sales tactic. We know it, yet our fingers inch towards the self-help pages as if they have a mind of their own. Surely we realise that we aren’t striving for God’s ideal?

God didn’t create the world to breed jealousy, dissatisfaction and self-hatred. Jesus didn’t rise from the dead to sell something. No! He is GIVING us something. Not something we dare ask for because the gift of everlasting life is too great, and certainly not stocked in the John Lewis catalogue.

He gives us GRACE.

Yes, I find it difficult too. In a world where self improvement is an art form, where people have built their livelihoods on making us feel inadequate, where we are defined by our weight, our Facebook friends, Instagram likes and bank balances, it seems implausible that God loves us just the way we are. All he asks for in return is our commitment of obedience, faith and love.

Everywhere we look in the story of our Saviour this message is repeated.

We do not have to be strong: The apostle Paul wrote, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

We are not made whole by great works or achievements: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

We don’t have to transform: “No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (Acts 15:11)

‘New Year New You’ may be a good tag-line, perhaps an even better sales pitch, but it cannot buy you happiness, hope, or a happily ever after.

Our happily ever after lies not in guilt, or sacrifice, or resolutions, but in the acceptance of grace, to allow our imperfect selves to be loved, just as we are, by our Creator and his Son, who died, that we may live.

Quotes NIV

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The Thanksgiving Spirit

Ok, so we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in the UK but we are all aware that it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year in America and Canada. This year it is Thursday November 28.

It’s great that a day is set aside so that people are reminded to count the numerous blessings in their lives.

My question is “Why should this be restricted to just one day!?”

For me, trying to live a Christian lifestyle it’s supposed to be a state of mind. Thanksgiving should be more from the depth of our spirit and not just for a limited time.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

If we think carefully about this verse it tells us to be thankful in all circumstances as this is the will of God.

How often do we stop and give thanks for all we have in this life?

The Apostle Paul puts forward the challenge. We must maintain an “Attitude of Gratitude.” This can be a real struggle. Life is hard and there are many circumstances where being thankful wouldn’t be our first response. It isn’t natural for us to maintain gratefulness when life gets tough. We can become discontented. We want something different, better or more.

How easy it is to fall into that trap!

“When this happens … then I will be happy!”

“When I get married, get that car, get that job, that home, then I will be happy.”

We can be so busy trying to get more that we have can forget what we do have.

The apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:11, “I learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

So, let us think on this throughout the whole year and try in all circumstances to remember the many blessings God sends us every day we live and to be content and thankful.

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