Devotionals, Blogs, Encouragement

See the Beauty that Surrounds You

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Ok, so this morning the rain is heavy, it’s not exactly a morning that is encouraging me to jump out of bed and  I’m convinced it’s the reason why my daughter woke up so early.

The wind is strong, it’s dark and it’s definitely one of those days where I would rather get all the blankets and cuddle up with my family on the sofa with a film than go outside, even the umbrellas don’t suffice when it’s this wet and windy.

But, this morning, I was taken back to the words that were on my heart last Autumn.

‘See the beauty that surrounds you.’

What a focus for the day! Our perception of beauty varies from person to person, but the beauty that surrounds us in what God has created is undeniable and His beauty always stays the same. His beauty shouts out from the tops of the mountains, from the crashing of the waves in the sea, from the array of deep shades of colours as the sun sets and the wonderful reminder of God’s promise in his rainbow. There is no doubt that His beauty and His glory is so evident when we looks at what he has created.

So even though we might look out of the window this morning and all looks grey, we can remember that God’s beauty will always stay the same, God’s beauty will always surround us and you can always look around and see His beauty that surrounds you. 

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Never mind the kids……. is your heart thankful???!

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

‘Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’
(ESV)

Prayer can easily become a list of requests. We don’t necessarily go out of our way to make prayer this way, but in the same way our children come to us as parents, we naturally as God’s children have a tendency to only ask for what we want or need in prayer. It seems that even our prayers can unknowingly be filled with selfish desires.

The more that I ask Jesus to guide me through His spirit to teach and discipline my children, the more I see the parallel between my relationship with Jesus, and my childrens’ relationship with me. When our eyes are opened to the understanding that we too can behave in this way towards our Heavenly Father, we are able to give more grace during the times when our children push us to our limits!

We would all like our children to appreciate everything that is given to them and be thankful for all that they have, in the same way our Father wants us to be thankful in all circumstances. As parents, the very people our children model themselves on, we should ask ourselves, are we thankful in all circumstances and do our children see our thankfulness shining through in our home, during times we are surrounded by friends and family, and perhaps more challenging, in difficult situations. Can they see thankfulness in action? How are we demonstrating our appreciation for answer to prayer, for others and for our children?

If we can make every effort to display thankfulness, I believe that our children will respond. Giving a thank you card to a friend, thanking your child for doing something immediately after being asked, or for offering to help with a job, and going a step further to tell them why your are thankful and how it impacted you. Thanking God in our prayers and involving the children in this, making a thank you basket and during family time, asking each member to write down something they are thankful for and take it to the Lord together. There are many ways that we can implement thankfulness into our family life.

Until we start making changes in our own personal prayer time, in family prayer time, in our home and asking for the Lord to lead us by His Spirit into wisdom and guidance in the way we train and discipline our children, we will continue to struggle through in our own strength to maintain consistent foundations. Have you ever noticed that consistency fails without the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we begin to live in thankfulness, we allow the overflowing joy that is promised to us to consume our hearts instead of focusing on the disappointments. We can live in joy no matter what our circumstances because our thankfulness is not overshadowed by what may at times seem like mundane duties that we live through each day. We can be thankful in all circumstances as God always intended.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

‘Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you to belong to Christ Jesus to live.’

(MSG)

Little Children

 

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Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.’

(Matthew 18:2-3)

NLT

 

Imagine each day, waking up and being ready to live according to the will of God. Having a heart that said, ‘Lord, I want to do everything you have set before me, Lord, I want to be just like you, Lord I want to do your will, please help me to be obedient, and to know you more deeply so that I can live according to your ways.’

 

Many times, this can seem impossible, in reality, we often wake up thinking about our responsibilities, our families we take care of, jobs to complete, and endless other situations that can take our focus away from God. We can go through the day quite easily without drawing near to HIM. Perhaps we might have a little pray over breakfast or manage a little devotional with the children before the school run, a quick family prayer.

 

We are not perfect, God knows our hearts, He is our compassionate God.

 

Thankfully we are continuously being sanctified and many will say we are a ‘work in progress’.

 

What does Jesus say about us?

 

Jesus says, we are forgiven, we do not live by our sin anymore, we are set free! All because he did the will of His Father, and died for us. We didn’t need to do anything, but when we know in our hearts that this is the sacrifice that has been made by Jesus, and the Holy Spirit lives within us, it is no longer us that lives, we are a new creation, children of God, we died with Jesus on the cross (Galatians), and now live a life of sanctification, a life that is led by the Holy Spirit, and are being transformed to have a willing spirit. The question is, how much do you want this truth and how much do you believe this truth?

 

When we look inwardly we won’t like what we see, because we have been born into sin and continuously need the Grace of God and His new mercy that he pours upon us when we come to Him in repentance. However, if we keep seeking the will of God, we keep searching and thirsting for His guidance and keep longing to grow into a deeper relationship with our Father, we will allow the Holy Spirit to work within our lives, we will see God more clearly and be a reflection of His light so that all who see it will glorify and praise our Father (Matthew 5:14-16).

 

Just like little children who love their father, who are always seeking to like what he likes, to want what he wants, to be more like their daddy, God also wants us to come to Him as His little children, seeking our Father in heaven as children of God.

 

So let’s pray,

 

Lord, I want to do everything you have set before me, Lord, I want to be just like you, Lord I want to do your will, please help me to be obedient, and to know you more deeply so that I can live according to your ways. Amen

 

‘For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, ‘I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the Kingdom, let alone get in.’

(Matthew 18:3-4)

MSG

3rd January 2020 Hebrews 4:13-15

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Hebrews 4 13-15

(NIV)

 

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

 

For we do not have a priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin.

 

When I discipline my daughter, she puts her hands over her ears and tells me to stop talking. She hides her face away and doesn’t want to be part of the discussion. She just wants me to go away and behave like nothing has happened.

 

She is feeling upset, shame, and is uncertain of the consequences she will face, making her uncomfortable and wanting the whole situation to be over with as fast as possible…………

 

Does this bare any resemblance during times like this in our own personnel life? Are there situations in our life that we are hiding from? Are we afraid of the consequences if we face the truth of our circumstances?

 

Going back to my daughter, she wants the situation to be over with as soon as possible, and as a parent, so do I! I also want my little girl to know that even through these times I still love her so so much, and I know that I must continue with the consequences so that she is ready to make the right choice next time, or not! Let’s face it, how many times do we make the choice that fits our own desires instead of listening to our Father God, and he’s the one who created us!

 

At least through the discipline, the consequences and moments of hurt, we are directing our children in the way they should go, (Proverbs 22:6) through disciplining our children in love, the love that comes from God.

 

Let’s come to our Father in prayer as his little children, examine our hearts, and ask the Lord to reveal to us what we might have buried deep within. God’s compassion love and forgiveness will break us free from our hidden ways and bring it to light. We do not need to hide away like our children do for fear of the consequences. God will always direct us in his ways and his ways are always good. Let the Lord wrap his loving arms around you today, lift your head up to the Lord and let him see your face. He knows our hearts.

 

Hebrews 4:13-15

 

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defence, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it – no matter what.

 

Now that we know what we have – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin.

(MSG)

1st January 2020 Mark 12:30

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Mark 12:30

‘Love the Lord Your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

(NIV)

I sat on the sofa early one morning having some time to myself to prepare my heart and mind for the day ahead, the children were still tucked up in their beds, which I was thankful for! I love taking these opportunities to meet with Jesus. I take so much pleasure in looking out of our living room window from the second floor of our town house. When I look out over the roof tops of the town and beyond, to the sea and the mountains, taking my view across to Harlech I am in awe and wonder of the beauty that surrounds us.

Autumn is my favourite season, I particularly enjoy seeing the changes in the colour of the leaves and the gentle winds blowing against the branches of the trees, and if the rain comes down, I love to appreciate being in a warm house whilst listening to the sound of the drops of rain on the windows. This time of year is the time of the starlings and their beautifully created murmurations, performing with an almost meditating display of dance.

These moments are special, and to share them with the children is a wonderful blessing. I can not deny that having these moments to myself as a mum of two very lively, young children, is also a true blessing and a necessity for my walk with the Lord.

Suddenly, in a moment, I am brought back into the living room. My little girl woke up and daddy was the first thing on her heart and mind, racing straight past the door of living room, she ran up to the top floor of our town house, determind to reach her daddy. She wanted to see him, be close to him and cuddle him. Once she had seen him she was at peace, settled in her heart. What a picture of our relationship with our Father God.

She settled in the living room on the sofa opposite me next to her brother.  I was drawn into a conversation she was having with him. She was playing a game where she had to make cupcakes, colouring them in, adding the sprinkles and candles for a birthday celebration, her big brother watching her create this perfect cupcake for her daddy. She spoke about how this cupcake had to be decorated with all the things her daddy loved. This game wasn’t just about the cupcake, it was about the love she had for her daddy and the desire to please him was shining out through her in an innocent child like way.

‘What would daddy like?’ she would say,

‘Daddy would like this, daddy would like that,’

Her big brother was encouraged by his little sisters desire to love her daddy in this way, and the love spread.

‘Daddy would like blue, he loves blue, he said.

I could see so clearly how well the children knew their daddy, and how much it meant to them to bless him with their cupcake creation. The children wanted to please him so much.

How can we please our Father today? Let’s wake up each morning and ask the question. Ask your Heavenly Father, what would he like you to do today, what would be pleasing to him? How can you show him your love for him today with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. What action will you take to diligently seek him (Heb 11:6 KJV) and devote your time to him in the best way you can amongst the serving you are doing through lovingly taking care of the precious gift he has blessed your with, your family.

How can we learn to know more of our Heavenly Father today?

Mark 12:30

‘The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy’

(MSG)

Psalm 143:8

‘If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, i’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; i’m all ears, all eyes before you.

(MSG)

I wish I was a Smart Phone

 

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It’s a boy!’ said a very proud father whilst he was on the phone to his mother.
I’ll take a picture and send it to you via Whatsapp. Don’t put it on Facebook yet, i’ll let you know when you can share it!’

…….

‘Hi mum, i’ve shared a picture of him on Facebook so feel free to share on your Facebook and I don’t mind if you put it on Twitter. We haven’t named him yet but i’ll let you know, can’t wait to tell everyone his name on Facebook. I bet he’ll get more ‘LIKES’ and ‘LOVES’ than any of my other posts!’

There it is, from the moment a child is born, many of us want to share with the world how beautiful they are, we are proud parents, we can’t wait to tell everyone. Our smart phone storage capacity is very quickly filled with precious moments of the children we adore and would lay our lives down for. Snap shots and selfies of so many occasions so that we don’t miss those moments that go by so quickly. They hit the first year and suddenly we’ve accumulated so many of these photos, many of them repeats of the same picture – just to be sure that we get that perfect shot.

‘I’m going to print these pictures soon and frame them, put them in an album…………’

Year 2 and more photo’s accumulating,

‘I’ll make sure they are backed up for when I print them………’

So many beautiful precious moments not to be missed, but how many of us, without realising, are missing the precious moments with our children because of our smart phones???

Take a 4 year old boy, it’s the beginning of the summer holidays, so much excitement in his eyes, so much joy in the knowledge that he will be spending extra time with his family. Maybe an outing together, or a holiday or enjoying his family home playing games and surrounded by those he loves most.

‘Mummy’, he says

‘Just one minute sweetie, let me just finish……..’ Mummy replies.

‘Wow’ the little boy thinks, ‘Look at that shiny phone and all the buttons, I wish I could play with it as much as my mummy does’.

The little boy is thrilled, he is going to a farm to see and learn about all the animals, and may even get to hold a rabbit. He can’t contain his excitement.

‘Johnny’, says the mummy,

‘Come here and stroke the rabbit’ mummy says whilst she holds her phone in one hand and the push chair in another.

‘Sit there next to the young boy that looks after the rabbit’s, that a good boy’ mummy says.

He sits, and mummy watches her little boy through her smart phone for a split second and takes a picture, making sure she ‘captures that moment’.

‘Good boy Johnny, come along’, and before Johnny knows it they move onto the next opportunity for a photo snap.

‘Oh’, Johnny thinks to himself, I thought that young man would tell me all about the rabbit, I thought my mummy would ask me the rabbit’s name, I wanted to tell my mummy what the fur felt like, I wonder what rabbits like to eat………’

A little girl goes to the park with daddy, she can’t wait to show him how high she can go on the swing.

‘Weeeeeeeeeeeee, look at me daddy’ the little girl loves it when daddy pushes her and helps her get REALLY high.

‘Daddy’s quiet’, the little girl thinks, she turns her head,

Daddy is definitely there in person, he is pushing with one hand and with the other holding his smart phone, scrolling through all the important stuff.

Another little girl is in the park, she is happy to play on her own but knows that her mummy and daddy are watching so makes an extra effort to impress them as she plays.

Mummy and daddy like taking their little girl to the park, she can run free and burn off all that energy she has built up that morning.

Mummy and daddy stand in the park whilst their little girl makes extra effort to impress them and take the opportunity to check their emails, whilst they are on their phones they ‘check in’ to let everyone know how much fun they are having with their little girl.

‘It’s time to go on holiday today, wahooooooooooo!!!!’ said the young boy.

‘I’ve packed my toy bag and books for the journey, can we get sweets on the way Mummy, pleeeeaaaasssee!!’ He said.

‘Yes love.’ Mum says.

In the car Dad is concentrating on the road, mummy is sat in the passenger seat quietly with her head down. Music is playing.

‘It’s a long way to the caravan’, the little boy thinks.

‘I’m starting to get bored’, he continues in his thoughts. As he thinks, he remembers when he was very little when mum and dad used to play I Spy with him, and sing songs to pass the time, or EVEN have a little chat.

‘Some of my friends have ipads to watch a film when they go on holiday’, he thinks.

‘Maybe because i’m a bigger boy we don’t sing songs together in the car anymore, i’d still like to play I Spy with my mum and dad, that was fun, but I won’t say anything in case they think i’m a baby. Maybe because i’m a bigger boy i’m supposed to sit quietly and keep my thoughts to myself. Yes, that’s probably what makes me all grown up. Anyway, my mum is very busy on her phone, I probably shouldn’t bother her, it must be really important. I can’t wait till i’m old enough to have a smart phone so I can sit in my room and play with it. My mum doesn’t read books in the car like she used to.’

If I were a child now, I would wish that I was a smart phone, they get so much attention, and seem so important and special.

I can personally relate to some of the examples above, I am not proud of it, and would even go as far as saying that there are addictive tendencies in my nature when it comes to the smart phone. So, after my experience today, my eyes being opened to the potential ways in which the smart phone could be impacting my children, i’m putting it away, i’m not going to allow those ‘quick checks’ on facebook, emails, twitter and all the rest, to subtly have a detrimental effect on my children.

These examples are just my perception of what I could see from the outside looking in on different situations, of course, we may be waiting for a call, needing to check an important email, wanting to make sure someone we are meeting knows where we are and i’m sure there are many other reasons why we might have to take that quick look at our phone, but I also believe that we need to be wise and remember that our children are watching our every move. We set the examples.

‘Our children are watching us live, and what we are shouts louder than anything we can say.’ Wilfred A. Peterson

‘Children are natural mimics – they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach the good manners. Anonymous.

Glorify Him!

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Glorify Him! http://www.saviourloveforjesus.com

 

Glory to our King,

Glorify Him,

Glory to our Saviour,

Glorify Him,

Are we not disciples of the King?

Do we act to glorify Him?

Praise His name!

Sing with joy!

Glorify Him!

Let’s not hesitate,

Let’s not hide!

Let’s be uncomfortable and get rid of our pride,

Glorify Him!

Be humble,

It’s not for us,

God says ‘I AM WHO I AM’

We do not question,

He asks the questions,

It is the Lord, by his blood, that we become pure,

Glorify HIM,

He is the truth,

We fall on the rock,

Who, with his right hand lifts us up.

His compassion in our weakness,

The forgiveness from the throne,

Know HIM through his word,

Glorify HIM in all that we do,

Take away the ‘I’,

Replace with the King,

Glorify HIM!