Forget Me Not

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These beautiful flowers called Forget Me Nots are growing in my garden. Forget Me Not flowers symbolize remembrance.To me, they remind me of how God has promised never to forget us.

We are always on God’s mind.

Psalm 139:17-18 says “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I am awake, I am still with you.” God’s thoughts towards us are too many to be counted.

Isaiah 49:15 says,  Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you”

I nursed all four of my children. For a large proportion of their early life I nursed them, sustained them and met their every need. It was impossible for me to forget about a tiny, hungry, needy baby. Such is a mother’s instinct and love. Yet God is saying surely some mothers may forget their children (unlikely but possible) but God will never forget about us. Yes, sometimes we’re loud and needy but God will never turn us away. He is compassionate. God’s divine remembrance to us is even more tender than a mother’s love and He is ever mindful of us.

Sometimes when we are going through things, we are tempted to think that God has forgotten about us. That is not the case at all.

Isaiah 49:16 says “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands”

Your hands are always in your view. We wear rings on our fingers, often as a symbol of affection, promise etc and the right hand  in the Bible, is a symbol of strength.

God is saying how often He thinks about us.

Furthermore, in John 20:20 the risen Jesus showed the disciples His hands  which had been pierced by the nails of the cross-showing the sacrifice He made for us.

2 Timothy 2:13 says “if we are faithless, He remains faithful ;He cannot deny Himself.”

It is not in God’s nature to be faithless. He is a faithful God. And He will not forget you.

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Sunday’s coming!

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It was a very sombre time after that Good Friday. Jesus’ mother and friends were mourning; hopes of the Messiah liberating Israel were dashed; things had not turned out as hoped or expected; Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb tightly sealed with a stone and guarded by a soldier. There was no hope left.

Jesus’ disciples, who had given up their livelihood to follow Jesus, were devastated. They lost their faith. (see Mark 16:11)

Just as Jesus had felt forsaken by God whilst He was on the cross, so did His followers.

What none of them knew at that time was that Sunday was coming! The day between Jesus being crucified and resurrected was a day of transition. From their earthly perspective the disciples’ situation looked grim. They could not imagine the sort of victory that was being wrought. Resurrection from the dead. Victory over sin and death.

My friend, if things look bleak for you at the moment, just wait a while. Sunday is coming! Your victory is on the way! God will not leave you in the midst of despair – you might pass by there for a season, but you won’t stay there. There are brighter days ahead. Trust God and stay at peace.

Cast all your cares on the One who cares for you

1 Peter 5:7 says, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

In 1985 I attended the Billy Graham crusade in Sheffield, England, with the youth group of my Church . There, I recommitted my life to Jesus. I was given a sheet with some important Bible verses to learn and this verse was one of them.

One definition of “to cast” is ” to throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction.” eg. a fisherman casts his fishing line into the river or a boy casts stones into the water.

God cares about you and nothing that worries you is too insignificant to Him. God can handle any anxiety you have and here you are invited to give everything that is worrying you to Him – in fact, throw it on Him, He will catch it!  He already knows what you are going through but He’s waiting for you to talk to Him.

You were not created to shoulder all your burdens by yourself – give them to God. Let Him handle them.

I can’t count the amount of times that I have given my concerns to God in prayer and He has answered. But more than that, as soon as I have unburdened myself I feel peace. I am confident that God has heard me and He is undertaking on my behalf. People say, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” When you know that Almighty God has the problem in His hands you can relax. You are in safe hands. Turn your cares into prayers.

Philippians 4:6,7 says, ” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Are you feeling anxious today? Are you worried about the future? Are you sick? Do you have financial problems or relationship problems? Are you feeling suicidal? Are you feeling upset? Cast your care upon Jesus. He loves you so much and wants to help you. Exchange your cares for His peace.

The Shade of God

Isaiah 25:4 says, “For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.”

When the sun is overpowering, oppressive and beating down it’s nice to be in the shade – it’s cool, refreshing and protective. It’s the safest place to be in the heat of the day.

“I am shading you”, says the Lord. “You won’t be overwhelmed, I have caused my shade to spring up.”

Let’s look at the story of Jonah. Jonah had just finished reluctantly preaching to the great city of Ninevah. First he had run away from the calling of God, ended up being swallowed by a great fish (a whale) and then was spat out onto dry land. Eventually he decided to follow God’s command and the people of Ninevah, having never had a preacher like this at all before and no doubt astonished by someone probably bleached white in appearance by the gastric juices of the whale, all repented.

Amazing! Yet Jonah was not very happy. He knew this would happen! He was obviously the most reluctant preacher ever. Most preachers would be happy that the whole town repented – not Jonah! He went into a massive sulk! (Another example of how God uses even the weakest of us to accomplish His purposes) So Jonah went out of the city and he made himself a shelter so he could sit and wait and see what would become of the city.

God, in His mercy, provided Jonah with a plant that would provide a shade for Jonah. Jonah was very grateful for this plant.Even in his impetuousness and anger God was there to provide for His needs. How good God is! How kind of Him to look after us even on days when we are not all we should be. He is a faithful God. Jonah was a fallible human, very prone to change and very moody, but God still used him and took care of him.

In 1 Kings 19:4-18 Elijah had had a mighty victory , having executed all of the prophets of Baal. Now he was running for his life and was extremely depressed and discouraged. He wanted God to take his life. But God hadn’t finished with him yet! An angel provided some food for him. The angel said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you”. Then, in the strength of that food he was able to travel forty days and forty nights.

God knows what we need and when we need it.

Maybe you have got so fed up of the things that have happened to you that you have asked God to take your life. Yet God has not done that. Instead He has prepared a shelter for you, a little comfort and encouragement. It might be all you’ll get for another forty days, but in the strength of God’s Word take heart that He has not finished with you yet. If He was, He would take your life. We don’t get to tell God when our purpose on earth is finished. Maybe you feel you have really messed up (and maybe you have) but God is merciful. He can turn a mess into a message. He can turn a trial into a testimony.

God sees your trial and He has prepared a shade for you. You are not facing an onslaught by yourself – you are shaded from the heat by Almighty God. If God is on your side, who can be against you.

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!

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.!

God is still on the throne

There are a lot of changes afield in education. Examinations are changing – many which had a large component of coursework are now 100% exam, also the way schools are run are changing.

In particular, my child’s secondary school is becoming part of a multi-academy trust, and a new Church school is being created in our town.

Change can be a good thing, similarly it can be a bad thing. People often become unsettled when thinking about change.

However, when thinking about this I am reminded that God holds the destiny and purpose of my children in His hands. He is not on the throne panicking because things have changed in education. God knows the end from the beginning. He knew about all of these things when my daughter started attending secondary school, in fact even before she was born, and His purpose is not going to be thwarted because of these changes.

God knows the plan He has for my children , and nothing will stop Him from accomplishing that purpose in their lives.

Relax! You can trust Him. He is still on the throne and His purpose will not change.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

 

Rest for the weary

I have had a really busy day today. I left the house at 7.30am; dropped my children off at breakfast club; drove for 55 minutes to work; spent all day at work with about 100 young people ; then drove 55 minutes to the children’s music parents evening;  collected three of my children from the after school club; as soon as I got home I cooked dinner; as soon as we’d eaten I dropped off my eldest daughter at her band rehearsal; I returned home at 7.30pm and could finally relax with a cup of tea. My husband returned home from work at about 8pm. Some of my days are busier, and some are quieter, but this is typical of my life at the moment with four children and bills to pay.

So now I am feeling weary and soon I am going to sleep.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Life is busy and, if we’re not careful, it can weigh us down. We can be tempted to carry our burdens ourselves. We were not designed to carry heavy loads. Jesus says, in His Word, unburden yourself. Give Him your burdens and He will give you rest. It’s a good deal.

New Experiences

There are new experiences waiting for you in 2017.

In Acts 3 when the lame man was healed he experienced things he never thought he would experience: –

  1. He walked – which he had NEVER done in all of the 40 years of his life
  2. He went into the temple instead of being an outsider ,as he had been for all of his life
  3. He was touched by Peter, hence he touched and experienced the anointing of God through the Holy Spirit (one of the first recorded in the New Testament)

The Bible is full of stories about people having new experiences

Elizabeth , who was barren and very old, experienced the joy of childbirth; blind people became able to see; people were healed and raised from the dead; Joseph experienced prison and then promotion. Many things happened that they couldn’t plan and were not prepared for. They could never have imagined these things happening to them.

You cannot say that you are old now and there’s no time left for new experiences

Moses was in his eighties when he saw the Burning Bush; lead the Israelites out of Egypt; witnessed the parting of the Red Sea and wrote the Ten Commandments.

Serving God is exciting, there are always new things around every corner – for all of us.

But, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 2:9, ” Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (NKJV)