Putting on the Armour of God

How are you going to be starting today Believer?

How will you be strong enough to fight temptation, doubt and fear?

Will you ‘be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’?

Are you battle ready?

No soldier with an ounce of common sense goes into battle unarmed or without testing his weapons.

Physical soldiers fight earthly battles, battles for territory or principles.

We enter a far greater battle each day, the battle for our souls!

Photo by Bex Suckling

Friends, we fight in enemy territory against a formidable foe!

An enemy far stronger than we can ever defeat alone. Do you go into battle prepared because you can’t expect to win if you leave behind the weapons God has given you or forget the armour He’s given you to defend yourself with!

Friend, take a moment each morning to reflect on your armour, test each piece and use it to defend yourself.

First remember that belt of truth that surrounds you, tie it tight so your fears don’t flap about and hinder you.

Now don’t forget that breastplate of righteous, take time to reflect on the righteousness of Christ that covers you, remember that it protects your heart from the lies of the enemy and gives you access to God!

And then remember those sturdy shoes of gospel peace and truth, they help you to stand firm in your faith. Shoes to walk in and carry the gospel of peace with you wherever you go.

Then we get to the armour you have to pick up and wear or use each day.

The shield of faith, pick it up Friend and have it always ready to use when the fiery darts of unbelief and fear are fired at you.

Photo by Georgina Hickman

Hold that ‘I believe’ firm between you and those poisoned darts, the lies, the what ifs and the imaginations!

Then protect your mind, protect that hope that you have in Christ by putting on the helmet of salvation remembering whose you are and who you serve.

Then pick up your sword, God’s word, the word He has preserved over thousands of years so that He can speak through it to YOU Friend!

This is your sword, Jesus used it and with an ‘it is written…’ fought off Satan and it has the same power for you today!

Did you pick it up before you started the day? Do you have those truths hidden in your heart ready to attack relation, doubt and fear?!

And finally how does Paul wrap these commands to Christ’s soldiers up?

We pray! We pray for ourselves and others…

‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;’

Friend, are you ready for battle today?

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Eph 6:10-18

God Will Provide

Abraham didn’t know why God asked him to offer up his son Isaac. Abraham didn’t understand how God could fulfill His promise if he killed his son through whom God’s promise was to be fulfilled.

He didn’t understand why or how but he obeyed regardless!

It’s easy to forget that faithful obedience includes obeying when we don’t understand why or how.

Maybe the Lord has asked you to do something that feels impossible. Maybe you feel as though you haven’t the time or the strength or the means but God has Friend!

It was faith and grace that enabled Abraham to go forward wondering how he could fulfill God’s will and why God was asking him to do this.

It was faith and grace that caused Abraham to say ‘God will provide…’

And Friend the same grace is available to you in Christ if you’ll just grasp it by faith, however small that faith may be and go forward in cheerful obedience trusting that God will provide!

Can we not trust the One who died to save us?!

‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.’

Are you willing to sacrifice your will to God’s even when it doesn’t make sense trusting Him to provide along the way?

Friends, ‘he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.’

‘God will provide.’

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Rom 12:1, 2 Cor 5:15, Gen 22:8

Goodness and Mercy…

‘Goodness and mercy’!

These three words keep running through my mind so I thought I’d dig a bit deeper with you today.

‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.’

I’m sure most of us are very familiar with these words and probably know them by heart but how often can we say them, believing them with faith as David could?

Surely… see how certain he is!

David went through some incredibly hard times yet through it all he trusted God.

The saying says that ‘seeing is believing,’ but for the believer, ‘believing is seeing.’

Do we really believe that God will work all our hard things together for good? Because if we do then God will open our eyes and we’ll start to see Him at work in even the tiniest circumstances in our lives.

Photo by Abi

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: …’

Wherever the child of God goes God’s goodness and mercy follows! Surely…!!

It’s a certainty Friends!

Surely God’s goodness and mercy will follow His children all the days of their lives!

So what is this goodness and mercy?

Goodness – towb – good, beautiful, best, bountiful, gracious, kindness, loving.

Mercy – checed – loving kindness, favour, goodliness, pity, merciful kindness, steadfast love.

Friends, just look at all these words that describe the goodness and mercy of God that follows us!

It’s His loving kindness in our hard things, it’s His steadfast love that carries us through the trials, it’s His kindness and love that holds us up in our grief and His pity that comforts us in our distresses.

Do you believe it, will you trust it? Will you rest in His loving arms both now and for ever?

‘Surely goodness and mercy SHALL follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.’

Psalm 23

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Encouragement in the waiting…

However old we are waiting is hard and waiting patiently is even harder!

I wonder how many of us have prayers that we’re still waiting for the answers to?

But we’re not the only ones waiting…

‘therefore will the LORD wait…’

When our prayers aren’t answered straight away God is waiting too!

He’s waiting for His perfect timing. He’s waiting until we’re relying only upon Him for the answer, He’s waiting for His own wise purposes, He’s waiting so…

‘…that he may be gracious unto you and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.’

The Hebrew word translated here as wait means ‘to adhere to, long, tarry, wait: through the idea of piercing’

This doesn’t make waiting sound easy does it but it’s a clinging waiting, it’s a persistent waiting!

Friends, God hears our prayers but sometimes the answer is wait but that doesn’t mean give up, it means keep pressing in, keep clinging, keep pleading, wait ON the Lord, trust Him and don’t give up!!

Again I think of the children of Israel, what if they’d given up marching around Jericho on day six?!!

Friend wrestle hard with God in prayer, don’t give up, keep waiting on Him and He WILL answer in His own perfect way and time!!

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Is 30:18

They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength

As I stood looking out at the pink tinged clouds yesterday morning while thinking about God’s faithfulness, I spotted a cloud that looked a bit like an eagle and it reminded me of these words…

‘they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.’

Photo kindly donated

It’s a passage full of encouragement…

‘Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?…’

It’s as though God is saying stop and think a moment, He the One that ‘sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:’ is in control!

Lay down all your burdens for a moment at Jesus’ feet and consider… ‘Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.’

‘Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God?’

Look around Friend, look at the sun and consider how God has faithfully made it rise again. Watch the little birds and remember that God is also watching them for ‘are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?…’

Photo kindly donated

So what about you Friend?

‘…even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.’

‘Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.’

Friends, God sees, God knows, God understand and God cares about even the minutest details of your life! Even down to how many hairs fell out when you brushed it this morning!!

He knows the new number!!!

‘He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.’

There’s no doubt here, He does and He WILL if we’ll just believe it!

‘Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength…’

It’s only when we acknowledge our weakness that we are in a position to prove the strength of God!

Photo kindly donated

It’s those that wait on the Lord, seek Him and lean upon Him, whose strength He renews, so lean in Friends, lean in again and again!!

Lean into His strength in your weakness.

The grace of Jesus Christ is always sufficient, it’s a river that is always flowing, kneel down and drink all you need, He’s the Water of Life for thirsty souls and will give you His inner strength and carry you through!

‘… they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.’

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Is 40, Luke 12:6

Perfect Peace in Christ

Peace, perfect peace!

Isn’t it what, in some way or other we all are striving for?

Is it possible? Yes! ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.’

Who will be kept in perfect peace? The one whose mind is stayed on God, resting and trusting in Him alone!

This Hebrew word ‘camak’ translated as stayed also means to prop, lay hold of, lean upon, lie hard, rest upon, support, hold up.

Photo courtesy of Abi Lockey

Friends, where is your mind, your thoughts, your trust resting today?

Is it running with all the what if’s or is it resting in Christ?

Is your imagination working overtime or are you ‘Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;’

Friends, perfect peace is found in resting in Christ but you’ll have to fight for it!

Your old independent nature wants to work to solve all the problems itself: the devil wants to keep your mind fretting over the unknown, the world wants to distract you and deceive you into thinking peace can be found there!!

Photo courtesy of Abi Lockey

And all the while Jesus stands with wounded hands stretched wide waiting for you to run and find that perfect peace in resting in Him and all He has done for needy sinners!

Friend, run to Jesus, tell Him all your fears and troubles, literally pour them all out in a heap at His wounded feet and lean your weary head upon His loving breast!

And when the world distracts or you listen the the lies of the enemy then run to Him again and again.

‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.’

Photo courtesy of Abi Lockey

Because ‘In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.’

Friend, His grace truly is sufficient!!

‘Be careful 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 passeth all understanding, SHALL keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’

Don’t let the enemy steal your joy and peace Friend, lean in and find rest in Christ, He came to give us an abundant life!

‘The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’

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Is 26:3, 2 Cor 10:5, Ps 62:8, Phil 4:6,7, John 10:10.

Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away…

As I listened to the dawn chorus this morning these verses came into my mind…

‘My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.’

Her lover has come so joyfully to meet her ‘leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills’ and he looks through the window and invites his beloved to come and enjoy the spring with him.

Friends, each day Jesus invites us too, He comes joyfully to greet us, looking in at the windows of our soul with these gentle, loving words…

’Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Come away from the cares and anxieties that this world brings, come away from all that is crowding into your life and sit a while with Me.

‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’

Come and find rest in His presence and joy in His love!

Will you come Friend? Will you choose Jesus over your phone, that book or your to do list?

(Friends, these things are not necessarily bad but they are if they come before God.)

Go with Him Friend, talk with Him in prayer and hear Him speak to you through His word until you can say with the Beloved ‘His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.’

There’s no greater joy here on earth than to experience the sweetness of His lips and the love of His words!

Friends, let’s be always seeking these blessings, so that we can say with Jeremiah ‘Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.’

And with the psalmist…

‘How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!’

Friends ‘His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend..’

Is He yours?

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Songs 2:10-13, 5:16, Matt 11:28, Jer 15:16, Ps 119:103.

Rest in Christ

There is rest in Christ! If God says it then surely he means it!

God promised Abraham that He would give to his descendants the land of Canaan.

Sometimes because of their sin and unbelief, the fulfilment of this promise was delayed. But the day came when they entered the land.

Orange fluffy clouds behind a tree silhouette

Friends, God’s promises never fail even though our sin may delay the fulfilment of them.

‘And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein.’

Friends, GOD IS FAITHFUL ‘for He is faithful that promised’!

‘There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.’

If God has promised, He’ll do for us just as He did for the children of Israel.

When they fully trusted God, putting aside their doubts and fears, the promise was fulfilled and they entered into that place of rest.

Friends, there’s rest to be found in Christ. He’s the fulfilment of that Sabbath rest and if we don’t enter into it it’s not because of His unfaithfulness – never!! It’s because of our doubts and fears.

‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with (or rest in) God through our Lord Jesus Christ:’

(This Greek word translated here as peace is translated in other parts of the NT as rest!)

What about when they had entered the promised land? There were still pockets of Canaanites in the land that they by God’s help were to drive out over time.

This is where things began to go wrong. They didn’t drive them out, in fact they started to copy some of their ways. They became influenced by them and their gods and the evil of other nations surrounding them. Then God left them to their sins and they lost that rest.

When they returned to God, rest returned and He helped them to win any battles. When they turned from God to the idols they were surrounded by, He also turned His face from them and left them to be overcome by their enemies.

‘If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.’

Friends, there’s rest in Christ if we’ll just believe it and lean into it.

Has He not said ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’

They had peace and rest in the land all the while they rested and trusted in God and His sufficiency!

There’s peace in Christ if we keep our eyes of faith fixed on Him and don’t go after the gods and distractions of this life.

Friend, if you’re a true believer you already have this place of rest in Christ, you are IN Him and He in you, all that remains is for you to constantly lean into that!

Lean into the fact that Christ is enough.

Lean into the truth that He is faithful.

Lean into the fact that all you need – Christ – is IN you, always ready to help you.

Lean into and rest in that abiding place you have in Christ Jesus!

Jesus said ‘I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.’

Do you believe it? Will you rest in it?

Trust in Him to drive out the enemies and rest in His sufficiency for each battle you face!

REST IN HIM!

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Josh 21:43, Heb 10:23, 2Tim 2:13, Heb 13:5, John 14:20, Rom 5:1.

Encouragement in the If Onlys…

If only…. then….

Ah Friends, those if onlys! If only this had or hadn’t happened then things would so different.

Sadly this world isn’t perfect, it’s full of the effects of sin and that makes life hard, very hard at times!

Martha and Mary knew this, their brother Lazarus was ill, they’d sent for their Friend, their Jesus, the miracle worker but He didn’t come straight away and now their brother is dead.

When Jesus finally comes after waiting two more days first dear Martha meets Him saying…

‘Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died….’

And then that previously busy, over burdened Martha has the faith to add…

‘But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.’

Martha then calls Mary and she goes to Jesus and says…

‘Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.’

Ah Friends, these women had learnt a sweet lesson. They’d learnt to pour out their hearts before God, to give Him their if onlys. They’d learnt to turn to Him for comfort and help.

How does Jesus respond? Does He reprove them for their if onlys?

No, He goes with them to the grave and He weeps with them!!

Friend have you an if only? If so then give it to the Lord just as these dear women did.

‘Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.’

Give it all to Jesus, give Him your if only, ‘Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.’

He knows, He sees, He understands, He cares and He’s with you in the fire!

Give it all to Jesus Friend…

‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’

God may not remove those hard things but He WILL give you the grace to go through them, leaning upon your Beloved Jesus!

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John 11:1-44, Ps 62:8, Phil 4:6-7.

Glorifying God in the mundane…

Have you ever wondered how you can glorify God in the mundane of day to day life?

How about starting with this…

1 ‘Give thanks unto the Lord;

2 Call upon his name:

3 Make known his deeds among the people.

4 Sing unto him,

5 Sing psalms unto him:

6 Talk ye of all his wondrous works.

7 Glory ye in his holy name:

8 Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

9 Seek the Lord, and his strength:

10 Seek his face evermore.

11 Remember his marvellous works that he hath done…’

Why?

Because ‘He is the Lord our God:’

This is how psalm 105 begins before continuing with a long list of all God’s goodness to the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Photo by Anna Kerley

Friends, glorifying God isn’t a to do list but each of these things draws our hearts away from the distractions of the world and up to God!

It’s as though God through these verses is saying to each believer, this is how you can glorify me.

Feeling discontent? Thank God for all the many things and people He’s already blessed you with.

In trouble? Ask God to help you…

‘call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’

Wondering if God will appear?

Tell others about all God has already done for you and see if it doesn’t help you trust Him for the future too!

Feeling down?

Sing praises to God for He is always worthy and sing until those praises are coming from your heart, He will cheer you up.

Wondering how you can share about God?

Talk about all his wonderful works in your life. Don’t boast of your own achievements but rather glorify God for all He has helped you to do and in all has done for you.

Seeking God? Do it with a joyful heart for ‘The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.’

Feeling weak, wondering how to continue?

‘Seek the Lord, and his strength:’ His grace is sufficient and His strength made perfect in your weakness!

Friends, by God’s grace let’s live our days remembering all ‘his marvellous works that he hath done…’ Because ‘…He is the Lord OUR God:’

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Ps 105:1-7, 50:15, Lam 3:25,