Archive for the ‘belief’ Category

In the run up to Christmas each year millions of pounds are spent on gifts. So in the last few weeks I, like many of you will have started to think about what gifts to buy my family and friends for Christmas this year. So out of curiosity I wondered how much on average we spend on Christmas presents each year, in the UK. It turns out that the figure varies dramatically depending on who you ask or where you look, but the average seems to range from between £350 to just under £1000!

Whether we are planning on spending anything like those amounts of money on gifts this year, or our budget is much less, the gifts we buy can still be fantastic and memorable for the receiver.

The most meaningful presents we receive might not come wrapped in shiny paper or frilly ribbons. They are often the ones that lift your spirit, brighten your day or trigger your imagination or memories. So I wonder what was the most memorable or best gift you have ever received for Christmas?

I decided to ask some of friends what was the best gift they ever received for Christmas. Here’s some of the answers I got.

  1. I would say for me it has to be between the laptop I got last year or the ps4 I got two years ago.
  2. I was given a gift bag filled with little stuff (a cd, stud earrings, a little book etc) that probably wasn’t worth much to anyone else. But each gift had a little post it note explaining why they’d brought that or what it was about the thing that had made them think of me. It was so thoughtful and made me feel special.
  3. A Levi red tab denim jacket I got when I was 12.  We didn’t buy or wear “things that had labels”. I remember sleeping in it in case my parents decided to return it. We also didn’t have masses of money and I had an idea that it must have been quite expensive. Honestly, best present ever – I still have it and I’m now 40! My nieces now fight over who gets to wear it as it’s now ‘vintage’.
  4. The huge big teddy bear I got when I was 7 – it was almost bigger than me – I still have him.
  5. A few years ago in my last job I had a really tough year because of a serious health problem but carried on working when I could. When I was in the office some of the guys would put bits of paper on my desk with positive quotes, and I loved that. Then that Christmas, one of them sent me a Happy Box – It’s a box containing lots of bits of paper with lots of positive quotes. So now whenever I am feeling low, I just open the box and take out one of the. And yes, it’s not solving my health problems but at least I always end up with a smile on my face.

Have you thought of the best Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

The real message of Christmas is not the gifts that we give to each other. Instead it is a reminder of the gift that God has given to each of us, the gift of Jesus. There is one final ‘best gift’ story from a friends that I want to share with you

  • My mother-in-law gave my family a stocking with the name “JESUS” written across it. Each year on Christmas morning my family writes a letter to Jesus and puts it into the stocking.
  • This is a tradition my husband and his family have been doing since he was little. They have yet to open and read any of these letters, but they are a constant reminder each year as we begin to decorate our tree and wrap our presents, that the greatest gift we have is Jesus.
  • This gift has guaranteed my family will take time to focus on the Lord during the festive season.

I was really touched this – the way they start each festive season by focusing on Jesus is such a great way to ensure they never forget the reason we celebrate Christmas.

2 Corinthians 9:15 (TPT)

Praise God for his astonishing gift, which is far too great for words!

The best Christmas gift we will ever receive isn’t a gift someone placed under a Christmas tree for us, but was a gift of great sacrifice, the best gift from God, of His Son, Jesus Christ, who came into this world in the simplest and humblest of surroundings.

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 5:11 (NIV)

This is the true testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son.

This year as we look forward to opening the gifts we’ve received from our friends and family on Christmas morning, remember that no matter how great or meaningful those gifts may be, they will never be comparable to the best gift we can ever receive – God’s gift to us of his Son. So next time you’re asked what the greatest gift you’ve ever received is, I hope like me your answer is

‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;
at his feet, we humbly fall,
crown him, crown him Lord of all!

Imagine your life was in real danger, and just when you thought all hope of survival had gone, someone found you and rescued you from the danger you faced. You would be grateful to the person or people who saved you wouldn’t you?

It’s not just when your life is in physical danger that we can be in need of a rescuer, because let’s face it, life can get on top of us these days. I have been there. I’ve had some very dark times and felt I couldn’t face another day physically or emotionally, but someone kept telling me to keep going. God kept telling me to hang on because he was there for me, through it all. I may be in a better place these days, but I still have days when I find it physically and emotionally difficult, but the difference now is I have no doubts that God is with me. I know he is my rescuer and has saved me.

Came to My Rescue
Falling on my knees in worship
Giving all I am to seek Your face
Lord all I am is is Yours

My whole life
I place in Your hands
God of mercy
Humbled I bow down
In your presence at Your throne

I called You answered
And You came to my rescue and I
I wanna be where You are

In my life be lifted high
In our world be lifted high
In our love be lifted high

Shine His light

Posted: November 20, 2019 in belief, bible, faith, life, love, music, quotes, religion
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Light is used to symbolise God, faith or holiness throughout scripture.

For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Acts 13:47 (NIV)

When you’re at school, if a teacher asks you to do something, you should do it.

When you’re working and your line manager asks you to do a task, you should do it.

If you’re in a club and the person in charge asks you to do something, you should follow their directions.

God has given us an instruction in the above bible verse, to tell others about the love and peace that can be theirs if they give their heart to God. So just as we should do what other leaders in our lives, ask us to do, so we should follow God’s instructions to share His message with those we’re in contact with.

Are you shining God’s light to those around you?

Light is used to symbolise God, faith or holiness throughout scripture.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:15-16 (NIV)

You wouldn’t turn a light on in your house and then cover it with a thick blanket to stop the light from shining throughout the room. Therefore, when we know just how much God loves us, we shouldn’t hide that away either. Instead we should be sharing that knowledge with those around us. i.e. We need to shine God’s light in this dark world.

Faith to believe

Posted: November 18, 2019 in belief, bible, depression, faith, life, religion, stress, trust, words
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Light is used to symbolise God, faith or holiness throughout scripture.

The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1 (NIV)

This bible verse is all about faith. Faith to believe that God will look after us, no matter what problems or circumstances we may face.

Do you trust God to look out for you in every situation? If not, maybe your faith isn’t as strong as you think it is. I encourage you to put your faith and trust firmly in God, because he alone can guide and strengthen you.

A flare can be used to either highlight your position to anyone who sees the flare, alerting them that you are in need of assistance. A flare can also be a sudden burst of bright flame or light, which can be used to give those that see it, direction to safety.

Ever tried to find your way in the pitch darkness?

Ever stumbled along in the darkness just wishing that you’d find some sort of guiding light to help you find your way?

In each of those situations, wouldn’t it be great to get some sort of light on our current situation, so that you can be guided to safety? In many ways God can be that ‘flare’ that we need in times of trouble, as if we put our trust firmly in him, no matter what we’re going through, God will be with us, and will guide us through those tough times.

So next time you see a flare or a beacon of light shining brightly, think of God – Is He shining a flare to help you find your way? Are you following?

Won’t let go

Posted: November 8, 2019 in belief, bible, faith, hope, life, music, quotes, religion
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John 16:33 ~ 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.

I think we can all agree that “in this world you will have trouble”. However not everyone agrees that God can give us peace because He has overcome the world.

Yes, many do not believe that God exists or choose to ignore Him. That’s why we must show those who don’t believe in God, that they too can find peace if they accept God, and give Him all their troubles.

I’ve shared the following picture with you before, however I’d completely forgotten about it until I came across it yesterday while searching for something else. It’s picture which to me, sums up our relationship with God – He’s always contactable, he’s still my friend even if I don’t talk to him for ages, and because of all that, I follow him.

following gods plan

We rely so much these days on social media to communicate with others, sometimes too much in my opinion. God however doesn’t need to be on social media for us to be able to communicate with him. God hears our prayers without us having to say a word, or typing a post or tweet onto social media, all because He knows what’s in our hearts.

We don’t need to press a big ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ button to become followers of God, we simply have to give Him our heart.

Truth be told by Matthew West

Lie number 1 – you’re supposed to have it all together
And when they ask how you’re doing
Just smile and tell them “never better”

Lie number 2 – everybody’s life is perfect except yours
So keep your messes and your wounds
And your secrets safe with you behind closed doors

Truth be told
The truth is rarely told

I say, “I’m fine, yeah I’m fine oh I’m fine, hey I’m fine”
But I’m not
I’m broken

And when it’s out of control I say it’s under control
But it’s not
And you know it

I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit it
When being honest is the only way to fix it
There’s no failure, no fall
There’s no sin you don’t already know
So let the truth be told

There’s a sign on the door saying “come as you are” but I doubt it
If we lived like it was true every Sunday morning pew would be crowded
But didn’t you say the church should look more like a hospital
A safe place for the sick and the sinner and and sick and the scarred and the prodigal

Truth be told
The truth is rarely told
Am I the only one who says…

Can I really stand here unashamed
And know that you love for me won’t change?
Oh God If that’s really true
Then let the truth be told

Wow! Powerful words aren’t they. For me however they are words I can completely relate to.

I’ve lost count a long time ago how many times when asked if I was ok, I’ve replied that I was fine, when inside I’m trying so hard to keep it together in public.

I also know that it often appears as if others have a fantastic life and have no problems or challenges, so I wish I was them. However I know that in reality they are doing just the same as me, putting a brave face on their life when in public, telling everyone they too are fine.

The words of the song that struck me most were these

I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit it
When being honest is the only way to fix it
There’s no failure, no fall
There’s no sin you don’t already know
So let the truth be told

Yes, it’s hard to admit when we’re struggling, but it really does help to be honest with yourself and will God. He already knows what’s troubling you so won’t judge you. You simply need to tell Him, and He will be there for you always.

 

In yesterday’s blog (Not good enough)I shared how some think of themselves as a nobody, often because that what others have continually told them. But the good news is, not everyone thinks

Nobody but Jesus, loves everyone who others think are nobodies.

Nobody but Jesus, accepts everyone who others consider nobodies.

Nobody but Jesus, knows and understands why you feel like a nobody.

Nobody but Jesus, can rescue you.

Nobody but Jesus, know what you are capable of.

So believe in God, because He always believes in you, and knows you are not a nobody.

Why You ever chose me
Has always been a mystery
All my life I’ve been told I belong at the end of the line
With all the other Not-Quites
With all the Never-Get-It-Rights
But it turns out we’re the ones You’ve been looking for all this time

‘Cause I’m just a nobody
Trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody who saved my soul
Ever since You rescued me
You gave my heart a song to sing
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus

Moses had stage fright
And David brought a rock to a sword fight
You picked 12 outsiders nobody would’ve chosen
And You changed the world
Well, the moral of the story is
Everybody’s got a purpose
So when I hear that devil start talking to me, saying
“Who do you think you are”
I say…

I’m just a nobody
Trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody who saved my soul
Ever since You rescued me
You gave my heart a song to sing
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus

So let me go down down down in history
As another blood-bought faithful member of the family
And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus

So let me go down down down in history
As another blood-bought faithful member of the family
And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus

‘Cause I’m just a nobody
Trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody who saved my soul
Ever since You rescued me
You gave my heart a song to sing
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus
I’m living for the world to see
Nobody but Jesus