A New Name

Names are very important. In Old Testament times a name expressed the essence or identity of a person. Isaac’s name means “he laughs”, describing the response of his mother Sarah when God told her she would give birth in her old age; Moses’ name is from the Hebrew meaning “to draw out” after he was pulled out from the River Nile; Jesus (meaning saviour)  was so-named because He would save the people from their sins.

My name means “a song of joy”.

There are many instances in the Word of God where God changed a person’s name to reflect a new status. For example, Jacob became Israel; Saul became Paul; Abram became Abraham.

Revelation 2:17 says, ” To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it”

Isaiah 62:2 says ,”You will be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will bestow.”

We will all receive a new name in glory, a token of what the Lord sees in us.

To some of us, our present name might be horrendous or we may have had nicknames linked to our name which made us feel bad. You may have had a label put on you by other people or had things spoken over you. You might even have thought these things about yourself. For example:

“You’ll never make it”

“Too old”

“A foreigner”

“Stupid”

“Ugly”

“Swot”

“A failure”

“Rejected”

“Fat”

“No mates”

We cannot internalise these names.

The only label you have to live up to is the label that God has put on you:-

“Child of God!”

“Victor!”

“Redeemed!”

“Not forsaken”

“My delight is in you!”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”

“Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart”

“Beautiful”

“My child”

“Brave”

“Honourable”

“Noble”

I believe our new name in Heaven will be a constant delight to us and it will be a token of our acceptance with the Father. It will be known only between us and Him. Perhaps it will reflect some very personal and deep things that God has done in our life. It will reveal our character.

In Hannah Hurnard’s book, “Mountains of Spices” Pride and Superiority became Meekness and Lowliness-of-Heart; Much Afraid became Grace and Glory; Umbrage became Bearing-with-Love or Forgiveness; Tit-for-Tat became Acceptance with Joy; Spiteful became Compassionate and Craven Fear became Fearless Witness.

Often God takes our biggest weakness and makes that a glorious strength in our lives.

2 Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness”

 

 

 

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Jesus wants to heal you

In Matthew 8:1-4 a leper came and worshipped Jesus.  He said,  “Lord,  if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

What’s interesting is that the leper did not doubt Jesus’ ability to heal him,  but he wasn’t sure whether Jesus was willing.

Isn’t that just like us!  We believe Jesus can heal the sick.  We know He is able.  The thing we often struggle with is whether Jesus is willing to heal us.

Jesus said to the leper, “I am willing ;be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Please receive this message today that Jesus is willing to heal YOU! The devil comes  to kill,  steal and destroy but Jesus came so you can have life in all its fullness.

Jesus is saying to you, “I am willing,  be cleansed”

“I am willing, be healed”

“I am willing,  be delivered”

Receive this today and be blessed.

Abide with me

dsc_0095Tonight at my children’s brass band rehearsal they played this beautiful hymn, so I’m just going to pen a few thoughts about it.

Abide with Me” is a Christian hymn by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte most often sung to English composer William Henry Monk’s tune entitled “Eventide”. Lyte wrote the poem in 1847 and set it to music while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.

The definition of “abide” is to accept or bear (someone or something bad, unpleasant, etc.),to stay or live somewhere or to remain or continue.


Abide with me, fast falls the eventide

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide:
when other helpers fail and comforts flee,
help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see:
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour;
what but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s dark sting? where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

, , ,

There are three additional verses which originally followed verse 2 (rarely used after the nineteenth century)

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
but as thou dwell’st with thy disciples, Lord,
familiar, condescending, patient, free.
come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
but kind and good, with healing in thy wings,
tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
and, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
thou hast not left me, oft as I left thee,
on to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

This beautiful hymn is often sung at funerals; it was very popular in the trenches of the First World War, and was sung by Nurse Edith Cavell  the night before the Germans shot her for helping British soldiers to escape from occupied Belgium. It has been played at a few Royal Weddings and was played at Ground Zero on September 21st, 2001 by a Salvation Army band during the commemoration of the September 11th attacks.Traditionally the first verse is always sung at the opening of the FA Cup.

God is there when other helpers fail and other comforts flee. When we are facing eternity, there will only be God – there won’t be our earthly comforts, our mobile phones, our nice food, our social media. There will only be God. As we face our own mortality we realise this. The writer is looking into eternity and asking God to abide with him, to stay with him. All the joys and glories that the man has experienced have faded away in the light of eternity. He celebrates the God who never changes – our bodies grow old, relationships change, society changes – but God never changes.

God is our guide and stay – through cloud and sunshine He will abide with us. He is the one who steadies us through life’s turbulent times. He is our true North.

Finding true north is essential for accurate navigation.

Hence the metaphor. In life’s journey we are often uncertain where we stand, where we are going and what is the right path for us personally. Knowing our true north would enable us to follow the right path.” (from Websters online) When we know God personally and let Him guide us He will lead us in the right way to go.

With God in our corner, we need not fear our enemies and death and the grave have no victory over us. The Bible says that because of Jesus’ death on the cross He overcame the power of sin and death. We have that assurance that in death, just like in life, we are with God and He is with us. Heavens morning breaks – our death signifies our new life starting in Heaven. Our life on earth is classed as vain shadows, compared to the glory of eternity with God.

As Christians, God is with us in life, in death and in Heaven for all eternity.

“Not a brief glance” etc. The writer doesn’t want the Lord to sojourn, just visit him, but to abide with him – to have that same personal relationship as Jesus had with His disciples.

“Come not in terrors, as the King of Kings” – Jesus will be coming to us in judgement or as our Saviour. That is our choice. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour it will be the latter. If Jesus is our Saviour we have nothing to fear – He will come to us as one kind and good with healing in His wings.

Today let us use this song as our prayer – that God will abide with us and give us that assurance of His continual presence in our lives, both now and for eternity.

Stir up your spiritual gifts

Tonight I watched my daughters play their instruments at their school music concert. I saw a variety of instruments being played by players at different levels of ability. Instruments included the keyboard, cornet, tenor horn, guitar, flute, viola, saxophone and cello. There was a young boy who could just play a simple tune and some more experienced players. Together, in the diversity of their music, they made a superb concert.

But they all had a go. Some made mistakes, but nobody minded and parents waited with bated breath when a child struggled with the notes and applauded loudly when they managed to finish!

I think this is the attitude we should have when exercising spiritual gifts. God has distributed spiritual gifts to all believers in the church – In 1 Corinthians 12 it says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit , to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things , distributing to each one individually as He wills”

Sometimes, people hold back from exercising their spiritual gift because they’re afraid of making a mistake. I have done this myself. I really think God, like those proud parents, just wants us to step out in faith and try. It doesn’t matter if we make a mistake. Everyone, when they first start out learning an instrument, makes mistakes. That is no reason not to learn or to give up. They need to keep practising and develop their musical gift. Similarly, as we keep using the gifts of the Spirit, we will develop those gifts and they will grow and we will get more confidence.

It might mean praying for a sick person to be healed. You might think, “What if they don’t get healed?” Well, what if they do? Let God handle the results of your prayer. It’s not your responsibility to heal someone (and you can’t). That part is up to God. But it’s your responsibility to pray and present someone to God.

It might mean speaking out a word that God has given you. Just speak it out, You might only get a sentence. That doesn’t matter, It could still make a difference to someone’s life.

I read a story on Facebook recently about a woman who was praying for a friend with cancer. She asked God to send  words of wisdom for her. What God spoke to her was, “Let there be light.” She did not understand this and it seemed strange but she shared it with her friend and her friend prayed into it. Her friend kept praying, “Let there be light”.  Later, when she went for an appointment her doctor told her that , “What we’re looking for are flashes of light because that’s where your antibodies are defeating the cancer.” The woman didn’t know that, but God knew that. So, maybe God will give you a word to share that doesn’t make any sense to you, but if you’ll just have faith to speak it out, it will bless someone.

 

 

Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a says,  “Love suffers long and is kind;love does not envy; love does not parade itself,  is not puffed up;does not behave rudely,  does not seek its own,  is not provoked,  thinks no evil;does not rejoice in iniquity,  but rejoices in the truth;bears all things,  believes all things,  hopes all things,  endures all things Love never fails ”

Could you put your own name there instead of the word” love”? This is the sort of love we should be aiming to have.

You are loved

John 3:16 says,  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”

God loves you

If you were the only person in the world God would still have sent Jesus to die for your sins,  so you could be made right with God.

You are important and precious in God’s sight.  You are loved.  Jesus promised to never leave you and never forsake you,  so you are never alone either.

God says, “Your Maker is your husband”  in Isaiah 54, and He says with everlasting kindness He will have mercy on you.

The Lord is your refuge and your fortress. When the troubles of the world get too much,  run to God for help.

Cast all your cares on God,  for He cares for you.  He is never too busy to listen to you.

“As the heavens are high above the earth,  so great is His mercy to those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11) God is rich in mercy towards us,  His creation.

You can rest in God’s loving arms right now because you are treasured, valued and secure.

Change your perspective

To us,  when we see someone technically dead,  like  Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5, we see no more hope.In verse 39 Jesus said,  “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead,  but sleeping.”

If Jesus says you are only sleeping,  there is hope! If Jesus says “You are healed!” there is hope!

Perspective makes such a difference. Don’t look at the circumstances,  look to Jesus!

Some people see only the impossibilities – let’s be people that see the endless possibilities that we can have with Jesus.

All things are possible with God!

Daughter

Jesus called the woman He healed in Mark 5 “daughter”. This woman had been excluded from normal family life and had become an outcast in society.  So Jesus,  by calling her daughter was reaffirming her,  bringing her into that close relationship.  The woman with the issue of blood was restored physically,  emotionally and spiritually. She had suffered rejection because of her condition,  but Jesus accepted her as his child.

Jesus commended her faith in Him and said to her “Go in peace and be healed of your affliction” The Greek word for peace here is “eirene”,  which means peace,  prosperity,  rest,  set at one again.  This lady had been set to rights again.

A girl healed and a woman restored to life

It was a lovely meeting at Restore, the worship was powerful and I spoke about a girl restored to life and a woman healed from Mark 5.  Some points – The woman with the issue of blood was a hopeless case – the doctors couldn’t heal her. She was also classed as ceremonially unclean and anyone she touched became unclean. She knew when she touched Jesus’ garment she would, according to the Jewish law (Leviticus 15:25-33) make Him unclean, but she was desperate and she touched Jesus anyway. Here’s where grace triumphed over the law – instead of the woman making Jesus unclean, He healed her and made her clean. The law says, “You:re unclean,”. Grace says , “I’ll make you clean.” Also, Jesus was already on His way to pray for a girl who was dying, yet He delayed that to heal this lady. IT IS NO MORE DIFFICULT FOR JESUS TO RAISE A DEAD PERSON THAN IT IS FOR HIM TO HEAL A SICK PERSON! It doesnt matter to God what stage your illness is – He can heal you at any stage! God holds our eternity in His hands, if He says it’s not over IT IS NOT OVER!! JESUS HAS THE LAST WORD ON YOUR LIFE!! Arise and be healed, arise and be set free, arise and be restored.!

This is the way, walk in it.

Today I drove out on the country lanes to get to the school I’ve been working in this week.  Every time I get to a particular intersection something unusual happens – the voice of my satnav says,  “Take a sharp left” but the map indicates to turn right.  It’s very confusing.  The first time I followed the voice and got completely lost; the second time I followed the map and reached my destination.

Often in life we hear  conflicting messages and we don’t know who to believe. We don’t know where  to turn next. The good thing is that God can guide us.

Isaiah 30:21 says,  “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ” This is the way, walk in it, ” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left”

If we ask God,  He will guide us always.  There may be a clamour of voices,  but the still,  small voice of the Holy Spirit is all we need to hear.