How do we know if we are really saved?

Sometimes scripture can take us off guard. A passage can surprise us, even shock us and
challenge our perceptions of what the Bible teaches. Matthew 7:21-23 is one of those passages, and the temptation is to skim over it and assume that it can’t really be teaching what it appears to be plainly stating. However, 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture is
God-breathed and useful for our teaching, reproof, correcting and training, so we cannot ignore sections of the Bible simply because they challenge our perceptions.

In this sermon Ste (my husband) confronts this difficult passage
and the question that inevitably stems from it…How do we know if we are really saved?

Click here to be challenged and encouraged by the amazing truths the Bible gives us.

Contact the Elderly

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Elderly people are underrated. All that life experience, wisdom, tales of times gone by, so many interesting conversations to be had, yet somehow, they seem to be a sector of society that are often forgotten.

For a while I’ve had an urge to get involved with an organisation that specifically reaches the elderly, providing social interaction, friendship and fun, because, let’s face it, what is life about if enjoyment isn’t a feature?

I did some research and settled on a fantastic charity called Contact the Elderly. The idea is that once a month on a Sunday afternoon (which is very often the loneliest day of the week for older folk as most other agencies are closed) volunteer drivers will pick up between six and eight elderly people from their homes and drive them to a volunteer host’s house for afternoon tea.

It’s a very simple concept which works wonders for the most isolated and lonely elderly people, injecting a bit of social interaction and fun back into their often insular lives.

I applied to be a host, but was told that unfortunately there weren’t enough volunteers in my area to warrant setting up a group. Never one to be deterred, I called on a few friends and local churches and lo and behold within a matter of weeks we had enough volunteers to form a group. We’re still in the early days, but are looking forward to our first tea party, hopefully in July.

It really doesn’t take much to make a huge difference in these precious lives. If you’re capable of putting on a simple afternoon tea spread, have a downstairs loo, and an easily accessible house then you could host. If you have a car and a spare Sunday afternoon once a month then you could drive. It really is that simple.

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I’d really like to encourage you to at least check out the website if not volunteer. I’ll let you know how it goes in July, and please do let me know if you end up volunteering in your area.

Easter Eggstravaganza cake!

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One for the (ahem) kids…. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Just decorate your favourite chocolate cake.
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Happy Easter. Enjoy the celebrations, and remember the real reason for the season… Romans 8:11 NLT

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Your favourite posts of 2013.

I posted my first blog article in February 2013, and have had just under 7500 hits to date.  I just wanted to say a big thank you to all my readers, for the kind comments, encouraging words and inspiration you give me; and I thought I’d take a moment to look back at some of the more popular posts from 2013. Click the links below and Enjoy! 

Cinnamon and Frankincense Winter Balm

Judged for being a Stay at Home Mum

Being the Bible

Cinnamon Swirl Scones

Pearly Gates

Wow Factor Chocolate Slab

Happy New Year to you all!

Hoping for good things in 2014.

Well, the dregs of the turkey are safely tucked away in the deep freeze, the central heating has taken its toll on the tree, and the last cracker has been pulled. This can only mean one thing… Christmas has passed and a new year is dawning.

I always find myself feeling rather sentimental in the week between Christmas and New Year. It’s a proverbial nomads land; reflecting on times gone by whilst eagerly anticipating what the upcoming new season may bring.

Generally around this time of year I’m even more thankful to God for His unwavering provision and opportunity in all areas of our life, yet hungry for more of Him, and more opportunities to serve and grow our ministry, being Kingdom builders rather than pew sitters.

One of my Christmas gifts from Ste is a new study bible. My old one was getting a bit battered and I was really touched that he’d thought to buy me a new one without me having to drop any ‘subtle’ hints (ladies, I’m sure you can relate…). Anyway, I was thinking about the word ‘hope’, and how it gets banded around a lot at this time of year. It made me think about how the meaning of the word seems to have changed over the years. Nowadays it’s a word we tend to use out of desperation, when we don’t know what else to say, when we’re trying to give an empathic word of encouragement to a friend, or sadly, even when we think the desired outcome is unlikely. In biblical times however this was not the case. Hope packed a punch. To hope was to be certain of, to be convinced, to have an  unwaveringly confident expectation.

Isaiah 40:31 was the ‘Verse of the Day’ on my bible app today. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”. This is my prayer for you this year. That you will have a confident expectation and unwavering believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to earth for one reason; to give you, and me, and all our other brothers and sisters here on earth a way to our heavenly father, through a divine relationship with him. By grace we have been saved.

I’m hoping for a fantastic 2014, are you?

Itches that need scratching

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take”

I don’t know who said that (I literally just saw it on Pinterest), but I love the truth it speaks. Sadly too many people approach their twilight years wishing they’d done more to make their dreams and ambitions a reality. I’ve seen it time and time again, friends, and even family members, wishing they’d persued ventures and not been hindered by their own insecurities or other people’s negativity. I really don’t want to end up in that boat.

I have itches that need scratching. I have dreams and goals that I’m literally chomping at the bit to launch. It’s frustrating! 

Thankfully, I was brought up in an environment that embraced and encouraged risk taking and boundary pushing. I’m quietly confident in my own abilities (not because I’m pompous or proud, but because I know my standing and inheritance as a child of the Lord, and trust his provision whole heartedly), and I’m not easily swayed by others negativity (if anything it drives me). I’m acutely aware that no one else is going to make my dreams happen for me, and although it’s not quite the right time yet, I should prayerfully be getting things in place, so that when the time is right I’m ready to go.

It’s important to remember that God gives us dreams and ambitions. It is not selfish to have goals, more often than not those goals will be intertwined with the gifts and abilities God has blessed you with. On the contrary, it could be argued that if we don’t pursue our dreams we’re not honouring God by using the abilities and gifts he has given to us. I’m not one of those Christians who will sit and wait for God to put things into my lap. I don’t believe it works like that. If you want to walk on water you have to get out of the boat. The onus is on us to step out in faith believing that God will either open or shut each door we push.

I guess I’d just like to encourage you to prayerfully scratch that itch!

Which army are you fighting for?

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It will come as no surprise to you that we don’t celebrate Halloween at home or in our church. Whatever its historical roots, these days there is no denying that it has evolved into a celebration of all things dark and evil, and I for one do not buy into the “oh, it’s just harmless fun” mentality.

The Word clearly states in Ephesians 6:12 that, “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen (spiritual) world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

Whether intentional or not, when we buy into the Halloween ‘celebrations’ we’re buying into something much greater, far more powerful and darker than just costumes, scary faced pumpkins and trick or treating.  However melodramatic it sounds, there’s no getting away from the biblical truth that there is a constant battle in the spiritual realm between good and evil, between God and the devil, and by buying into Halloween you’re stating, inadvertently or not, which army you’re fighting for.  That should make you think. You can’t be on both teams, you can’t pledge your allegiance to both rulers, you can’t fight for both sides.

There is enough darkness in this world already. As Christians we’re called to be salt and light, to add the God flavour in this otherwise tasteless world, and to shine light, goodness and the love of Jesus in dark places. Which army will you be fighting for this Halloween?

Cutting the mustard…Plant or tree?

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field.  It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32 ESV)

What if the popular interpretation of this well known parable is flawed? What if we’ve totally misunderstood the message Jesus conveyed through this story? What if the global church has become something it was never intended to be?

In Ste’s latest soon series ‘Your Kingdom Come’, he unpacks this parable in a way you may not have heard before. Have a listen here. His Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Living Generously.

gen·er·os·i·ty

noun \ˌje-nə-ˈrä-sə-tē, -ˈräs-tē\

: the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish : the quality of being generous; especially : willingness to give money and other valuable things to others.

If there’s one thing in this world which gets my goat more than almost anything else it’s miserly, bitter, selfishness. Attitudes that demonstrate narrow mindedness, lack of consideration for the rest of humankind, an ignorance that clouds our ability to see what someone else may need at that point in time, and more so a lack of faith, be that in other people or of course in God.

Unfortunately the society in which we live isn’t particularly conducive to generous living. We’re bombarded with information about how we can get x, y and z by doing a, b and c, and how by having x, y, and z we’re suddenly transformed into more valid and successful individuals, but where does this cycle actually end, when are we actually fulfilled by this material stuff, and the sense of accomplishment it promises to bring? I’ll tell you…never. 

In my experience, the happiest, most fulfilled people are not those that have the most, rather those that give the most, and give the best of whatever it is they’re giving. I’m not primarily talking about money here. When was the last time you dropped a meal off for a sick friend, called in on an elderly neighbour for a brew and a chat, offered to help a friend decorate, do the garden, pick their child up from school so they could indulge in some ‘me time’, bought a homeless person a hot meal or whatever else it may be? Generous living is about recognising a need without being asked and acting on that need to make someone else’s life a little easier, without expecting anything in return . It’s giving of ourselves for the greater good of someone else. It’s showing unconditional love for those around you, something that sadly largely opposes societies expectations in this day and age.

As you’ve probably realised by now this is a biblical principle. Matthew 6:19 instructs us not to store up treasures on earth. As my parents (and incidentally the most generous, in all senses of the word, people I know) often tell me, “you can’t take it with you”. In verse 21 it goes on to say, “wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be”. It’s simple really, to discover what your ‘treasure’ is you just need to examine what you want. Unfortunately, many of us want material and monetary things which we ‘can’t take with us’, when really our hearts desires should be to live generously, giving of ourselves and demonstrating the same love and consideration to those around us, that Jesus showed us.

I don’t know about you, but I’m working on storing my treasures in heaven.

Beauty in all things.

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As I was sitting outside this morning enjoying a steaming coffee in the balmy English summer sun, Phoebe ran over cradling something in her hands. Her face lit up as she presented her precious finds and exclaimed, “Mummy, I bought you fower!”, delicately placing a few carefully selected pretty little purple flowers in my hand. What struck me was that out of all the flowers in the garden she had chosen the weeds to pick. Had I been weeding I probably wouldn’t have looked twice at the flowers and sent them to an early grave inside the brown bin. This got me thinking; there is beauty in everything, we just have to open our eyes and look for it. In this shallow society we so often take things and people at face value without stopping to look properly, find and appreciate their best qualities. We often forget that we are all miracles, created by God in His image. There’s nothing more beautiful than that. Be blessed. Go about your business today with fresh eyes, appreciative eyes and eyes that endeavour to find the beauty in each person, situation or weed.