Saturday 30 September 2023


What ever David bought to the Lord he waited expectantly, assured that the Lord would hear, acknowledge the prayer and act appropriately according to His will. This is faith!
As part of my daily readings this week I was directed to a few verses in Psalm 5, these verses have blessed and challenged me all week. Psalm 5 is one of King David's Psalms and starts with a plea from his heart. `Oh Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly` (Psalm 5:1-3 NLT). I have found that starting the day with prayer is by far the best way to start every day. On days when for different reasons that does not happen somehow the day never quite feels balanced, it may go well but somehow there is the feeling that something is missing, that I’m not starting from a place of stability.

The psalm shows us that David was very aware of the need to ask the Lord to listen to him and pay attention to his cry for help. It also confirms that David acknowledged that even though he was King and could command anything he liked, his dependence was on God and no one else. I also realise that this is the position I need to take in coming before the Lord, to humbly ask Him to listen to me and to hear the cry of my heart, rather than just blundering into His presence with my requests and not recognising who He is and the awesomeness of His presence. The Lord is very gracious and sometimes in times of need a quick cry of “help me or help them Lord” is all we can cry and the Lord hears those prayers of desperation and answers. But in our morning prayers time is needed to really come into his presence knowing that he is our Father in Heaven and Hallowed is His name.

`Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly` However this was my greatest challenge. Do I? Do I really bring my requests and wait expectantly? I know I pray and offload all my cares and worries onto the Lord, I know I express my frustrations, fears and feelings to Him, I know I cast all my cares on Him for he cares for me, but do I really wait expectantly. And yet King David says I wait expectantly, wait for the answer, wait for direction, wait for guidance, wait for a miracle, wait for peace. What ever David bought to the Lord he waited expectantly, assured that the Lord would hear, acknowledge the prayer and act appropriately according to His will. This is faith!
The writer to the Hebrews tells us that `Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen, it gives us the assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation` (Hebrews 11:1 NLT) Wow, what a revelation. It was their faith not their deeds that earned them a good reputation. Hebrews 11 then goes on to list some of  the great people of the Old testament that put their faith in the Lord against all odds and saw His hand move in amazing ways. `All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do that by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith` (Hebrews 11:39 – Hebrews 12:2 NLT). It is hard to imagine that even as David prayed each morning and waited in expectation for the Lord to move, and we have lots of evidence of how God moved in his life, God has something better in mind for us. And that was a personal redeemed relationship with God the Father through Our Lord Jesus Christ!

This is an even bigger challenge to my sense of waiting expectantly. Because not only do I know that God is the great creator and can do anything but he also is living in me through the Spirit, and I have a living relationship with Him brought with love. So, in the light of this, me waiting expectantly should be an amazing journey of waiting to see how the Lord will work in to answer every prayer rather than hoping that He might.

This was the reading taken from `Jesus calling` its written in the form of Jesus speaking directly to us and goes:-

Wait quietly in my presence while My thoughts form silently in the depths of your being. Do not try to rush this process, because hurry keeps your heart earthbound.  I am the Creator of the entire universe, yet I choose to make My humble home in your heart. It is there where you know me most intimately; it is there where I speak to you in holy whispers. Ask My Spirit to quiet your mind so that you can hear My still small voice within you. I am speaking to you continually; words of Life...Peace…Love. Tune your heart to receive these messages of abundant blessing. Lay your requests before Me and wait in expectation (readings were 1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 5:3)   

So today Lord please help me to still my heart to come into your presence, so I can fully acknowledge who you are; the creator of the whole universe; and who I am; your child who you love. Help me to wait for you to speak to me in your still small voice and guide my prayers, and help me to wait in expectation for your will, your direction and your answers to my prayers. Thank you in faith filled anticipation.

Author: Jan Pearson

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Saturday 23 September 2023

Give me also springs of water 2

We in the body of Christ should honour the ministry of the Spirit, and pursue Spiritual gifts
In a previous blog, we discovered how the newly established state of Israel prioritised the supply and delivery of water to growing communities of settlers across the country. They recognised that in southern desert areas, the annual rainfall was only 100mm, whereas the mountainous region in the north of Israel recorded approximately 1000mm. There were ambitious plans to bring large areas of unproductive land into agricultural production and to provide water for the growing population.

The Water law of 1959 has been a key policy in Israel: ‘The law regulates the matter of water and determines that all water sources in Israel are public property. The ministry is in charge of the water quality and pollution prevention’. So the abundant water in the north belonged to everyone in the Israel. These considerations led to the development of the National Water Carrier (NWC) infrastructure, including pumping stations, purification plants reservoirs and pipework.

For many decades, water from Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) flowed through the NWC to supply the local population. But there were increasing concerns about the decreasing water level in the Lake. The red line signalled that action was needed to prevent the level descending to the black line. At this point there would be permanent ecological damage. Hence with intermittent rainfall, two generations of Israelis grew up with water scarcity and trained in water conservation.

Israel, as with all the Middle East, have been faced with the challenge of increasing the efficiency of water utilisation and looking for other sources of water. The national water company in Israel, Mekarot, has continually improved the recycling facilities, with the recycled water being utilised for agricultural irrigation. Today they estimate that 90% of water is recycled, being the highest rate in the world. Similarly, Israeli irrigation technology is recognised as the most efficient in desert climates, it is exported to many African countries.
However, the need for more water finally prompted the construction of 5 large desalination plants along the Mediterranean coast with others planned. These are linked with a New Water Carrier system, with a pipe diameter of approx. 2.5m. The plants are desalinating sea water by a process called reverse osmosis, and then pumping the fresh water to supply much of the national municipal water. Water is even being pumped into Lake Kinneret to maintain its water level. The desalination plants are also taking brackish water from aquifers and steadily improving the quality of underground reserves. The capacity of the new system means that it can supply the water to Jordan, as well as meeting increasing demand over the next decades. Before our very eyes, there has been a sea change!

And so, some brief reflections on this:

If we think of those living in Israel as a picture of those who have come to trust and share in Christ as saviour, then the land and its people represent the body of Christ. Everyone has spiritual gifts to help the body grow. All are invited to drink from the life-giving Spirit. Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 12:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

When water is scarce it is precious and requires careful stewardship, but it has resulted in remarkable technological innovation and a determination to meet the needs of the population. Its a reminder that we in the body of Christ should honour the ministry of the Spirit, and pursue Spiritual gifts as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 14Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy…So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

Finally, let’s consider desalination, which has completely changed the water equation in Israel. It has been realised after decades of research and at a tremendous financial cost. As I think of the fresh water being pumped eastwards into Lake Kinneret, I’m reminded of Ezekiel 47 where the prophet sees a river flowing east from the throne in Jerusalem

And he said to me, “This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh.

What a picture of the Spirit being poured out on all flesh, prophesied in the Old and New Testament:

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams".

Author: Richard Windridge

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Saturday 16 September 2023

Don’t forget who you were.

When we look back at who we were and realise how far the Lord has brought us it helps us to realise the mercy of God and helps us to stop being arrogant.

VAGA magazine
I am sure we have all looked at photos of ourselves from years ago and thought, ‘How could I possibly have chosen to wear that outfit.’  or ‘Why on earth did I have that hairstyle? It looks ridiculous!’ But along with those thoughts can come, ‘Thank the Lord I am no longer that person anymore.’ My husband quotes the example of his passport photograph. Before he came to the Lord his face looks haunted and his eyes look dead. When he renewed it after his decision to follow Jesus the difference was astounding. 

It is a good thing to remember who we were before we accepted salvation through Jesus. In an article by John Piper he says, ‘It is of great spiritual benefit to remember the hopeless condition in which we were and would yet be without salvation by grace alone through Jesus Christ.’ 

It is easy to forget who we were before we met Jesus, when we lived in the world and not for Jesus. Remembering who we were does not mean dwelling on and feeling guilty about the terrible mistakes we made. It means remembering what sort of person we were. If we do this it will greatly affect the way we treat and interact with believers and non-believers. If we remember who we were we will not be so quick to judge people who do not know the Lord. How often do we say, ‘How could they do such a thing?’ when we would have easily ‘done such a thing’ and would maybe capable of even worse things, if we had not met with Jesus. 

Paul himself called to mind how he and others were before Jesus came into their lives. In his letter to Titus chapter 3 verses 2-7 he reminds Titus and the church in Crete how they were before they became believers and he tells them:  'to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.' 

We have nothing to feel superior about, because we would be in the same position as an unbeliever, if it were not for Jesus dying on the cross for us. Jesus, who had no sin had such a compassion for sinners, how much more should we, who are sinners washed in the blood of Jesus.

When we look back at who we were and realise how far the Lord has brought us it helps us to realise the mercy of God and helps us to stop being arrogant. It becomes clear to us that none of this is our own doing. The Israelites, whilst in the desert were told by Moses on many occasions that they should remember how God had brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They did not remember however. In Psalm 106:13-15 says: But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold.14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test.15 So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them. Again in Psalm 106:21-23 it says: They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt,22 miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.23 So he said he would destroy them—had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them.

When we read in many places in scripture that the Israelites forgot what the Lord had done for them, we can say to ourselves, ‘How could they not remember all those miraculous things the Lord performed for their benefit,’ but aren’t we just the same? We too were taken out of slavery, slavery to sin. We too have had a miraculous transformation in our lives so let us never forget where we have come from.

Recently at an event arranged by our fellowship we heard a poignant yet heart- warming testimony from a dear lady in our church family. We know by the reaction that it touched the hearts of many people there. Who knows what seeds were sown that day?

When we remember where we came from, as that lady did, it makes us dwell on the preciousness of forgiveness and when we share with others about our bondage to sin, our delivery from that slavery and that gratitude for our forgiveness, then it glorifies God and puts the devil in his place. Satan would rather we kept quiet about these things but when we share our testimony it is a great blessing to others and makes them think about the reality of God and often sows seeds that could lead them into their own journey of salvation.

Phil Ressler
In an article by Dr Bill Widen he argues that so many people want to jump straight from Ephesians 2  verse 10 straight to verse 13. He says that 11 and 12 about remembering are so important.

Ephesians 2:10-13For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Dr. Bill Widen says, "The greatest thing in the world is to be saved"? Why isn't the experience of salvation like the first morning of vacation, with the sun rising over the lake, and the air crisp and clear, and the fish biting, and the bacon sizzling, and all the family healthy and happy, instead of being like a grey drizzly day with a hole in the tent and everyone grumbling? Why is lukewarm love for Jesus so common and white-hot devotion so rare? One of the reasons is this: You can't bring the burner of commitment and affection up to white-hot if you short-circuit God's heating element and jump the current from Ephesians 2 verse 10 to verse 13. Part of God's heating element to intensify our affection and deepen our devotion is the command, "Remember! Remember! Remember that we were hopeless!"

Lord, we pray we will always remember who we were before we met with you and not forget the miraculous transformation you have brought about in our lives. Amen

Author: Thelma Cameron

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Saturday 9 September 2023

Don't Let Your Lives Become Dry and Barren

Is it time to reset, draw a line, repent of our apathy and once again get the excitement in our spirits that we had when we first gave our hearts to the Lord.

I was driving through parts of Birmingham a few days ago and it suddenly dawned on me the different look and feel as I drove through each of the areas. 

Some areas looked grey and barren almost as though the land was cursed and other areas looked alive and full of life. As I thought about this, I realise why it was and remembered seeing something similar as we drove through the different areas in Israel in 2012 where it was commented upon.

This made me think of the scripture in Deuteronomy 28 and especially verses 1-3 & 8 NIV

Part of the blessing:

If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all His commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: 3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country...... 8 The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

And also Deuteronomy 28:15-17,38-39 NIV

Part of the curses:

However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: 16 You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. 17 Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. 38 You will sow much seed in the field but you will harvest little, because locusts will devour it. 39 You will plant vineyards and cultivate them but you will not drink the wine or gather the grapes, because worms will eat them.

It occurred to me that as a nation we have forsaken God and His Word and are reaping the consequences of our actions. There is another part of that chapter that talks about how the land will be given to others and how they will rule over Israel. I fear we are seeing the same things starting to happen in our nation.

So, what's the solution? Well scripture is clear that the only remedy for such curses and disaster is repentance and seeking God’s forgiveness. A scripture that has been mention a lot during and since Covid is: 2 Chronicles 7:14 ‘if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’ (NIV).

This clearly puts the responsibility on the church’s shoulders, ‘if My people’ the scripture says. 

The other thing that came to mind was our own walk with God, and are the times that we live in causing our souls to become grey and barren? Is it time to reset, draw a line, repent of our apathy and once again get the excitement in our spirits that we had when we first gave our hearts to the Lord. I’m sure none of us want to hear Jesus speak these words to us ‘But I have this against you: You have departed  from your first love!’ (Revelation 2:4 NIV).

The good news is we don’t have to, Jesus is alive! He is and always will be in control, He won the victory on the cross, defeating death, hades and satan so that we can walk in freedom and victory. We have the hope of our salvation, we can walk in that freedom and victory so that even in these crazy times when people are rejecting the truth of the gospel and doing as they want, including parts of the so called church, we can keep rejoicing because He will guide us through in paths of righteousness for His own Name’s sake. We should be the happiest people on earth, but some of us need to tell our faces of this fact because quite often that’s not how we look.

Jesus never promised us an easy life “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV). Though we may have troubles in this world, and oh boy! do we ever sometimes, nevertheless if we stand firm to the end one of the many promises God has given us is;
‘’Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:19-22 NIV).

Come on Church! Let’s not give up or allow our lives to become grey and barren, but let’s keep rejoicing in the promises of God over our lives and be ‘a people of promise’ and a hope for those around us. Let’s shine Jesus and the hope of His glory.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1 NV).

Let the river of God set your feet a dancing and remember Paul’s exhortation to the church in Philippians 4:4-7  ‘’Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Be encouraged, be a people of power, be a people of blessing, and let your praises to God never cease.

Author: Kevin Hunt

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Sunday 3 September 2023

Doing the right thing.

We know more and more in this secular world we live in that the right thing to do, a life of righteousness, is not always the most socially accepted.

Psalm 23 is very likely the most well known and quoted psalm of the Bible. Read and sung at many a wedding or funeral by believers and non believers alike. 

Every verse is beautiful reminding us of God’s faithful love and care for us through the picture of a shepherd leading his flock. Sheep follow the shepherd in total trust, they don’t know the way ahead but he does. He’s prepared it for them knowing the pastures with the best grass and the tracks or pathways between them to move his flock around throughout the seasons in the safest way. Always putting their well being first. His livelihood and reputation depend on it. 

To those familiar with the Bible this is such a well known image that I hardly need to expand on it here. We have so much to learn in both the Old and New Testaments about shepherds and their flocks from Abraham to Jacob, Moses and David through to the wondrous night on the hills outside Bethlehem. 

Jesus knows we wander, just like the sheep. He knows we can be silly like sheep and easily distracted by the next bit of juicy grass (whatever that “grass” is in our lives). Isaiah 53:6 puts it very simply, “all we like sheep have gone astray”.

And so in verse 3 (Psalm 23) Jesus offers us paths of righteousness, right paths, the right thing to do whatever the situation. 

The dictionary tells us that Righteousness means adhering to moral standards, honesty, justice and uprightness. For Christians it means all of that and more. Faith in Jesus brings us into right standing with God, for His Name’s sake.

Put another way as in the verses of Psalm 145 our chief aim is to glorify God with our whole being which is just not possible if we are walking on the wrong paths. Our lives are our testimony. 

So what do these right paths look like in our everyday life?  We can start with Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. (Galatians 5 v22)

We know more and more in this secular world we live in that the right thing to do, a life of righteousness, is not always the most socially accepted. But we must persevere, we will wander and stumble but if we truly know Jesus and we are saved He will bring us back on track by the help of His Holy Spirit to guide us and then we bear fruit for Him and give all the glory to Him. 

Proverbs 4:12 promises us that when we walk in these paths our steps will be unhampered and if we run we won’t stumble. 

They are paths to the light, giving us clarity out of the darkness of confusion, stress and wrong decisions. V18


God means it when He says He wants to shepherd us towards good things in this life. This may seem trivial but I am often blown away with thankfulness by the small details of my life that He blesses…leading me to a bargain in the shops in my favourite colour or style, finding a car park space or changing plans for me when I’ve made myself too busy and then feel overwhelmed. He shows me how much He loves me and He knows my need even before I so much sigh a prayer. I can say too that I haven’t got to the age I am now without several testimonies of amazing life changing things He’s done for me (which may be the subject of another blog) but like those sheep who need to be kept well and safe, it is the day to day guidance through the routine of life that often is the most real and leads us onto the right paths. Then we must give all thanks and praise back to Him. 

 I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me.  John 10 v 14

Author: Margaret Riordan

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