Nothing to Declare?

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High,  to declare Your loving-kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night…Psalm 92:1-2

Do you remember that film where the butler is in love with the lady of the house?  The trouble is, it’s not really appropriate for him to tell her.  So he represses his emotion.  It’s totally obvious to the viewer.  We can see it all over his face!  It’s nearly bursting out of him – every look, every glance – but dutifully, he just keeps on keeping it in.  Aaaagh!  It’s so frustrating!

The praises of God are not meant to be like this!  No way!

And my tongue shall declare your righteousness and Your praise all day long – Psalm 35:28

Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips will praise You! – Psalm 63:3

God’s goodness is too wonderful to keep to ourselves!  It’s got to be declared!  Sure, there are definitely times when it’s right to meditate on God’s goodness internally, to mull it over within our hearts…But think about these things for long enough, and pretty soon, it’s all going to come bubbling up…out from the spring of your heart!

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And there’s something powerful about actually SPEAKING it out!    When we speak something out, it carries an added weight….it’s powerful!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue – Proverbs 18:21

Declaring God’s loving-kindness is powerful!  It does our souls good.  It does others good too!

If a problem shared is a problem halved – then a blessing shared is a blessing doubled!

God’s praises are better out than in!

Declare:  proclaim, announce, make known, state, communicate, express, make public, circulate, publish, broadcast… 

All these synonyms involve action:  Sing it, shout it, blog all about it!  But whatever you do, let it out!

All creation praises Him!  Scripture says that if we don’t praise Him, then the rocks will cry out!  Rocks don’t even have mouths!  Let’s not be the silent ones.

I’m probably showing my age here, but I’ll finish with the lyrics from an old Cat Stevens song …

I can’t keep it in, I can’t keep it in,
I’ve got to let it out
I’ve got to show the world, world’s got to see,
All the love, love that’s in me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toby’s Tale

 

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Toby (left) and Cleo (Right) on the day we adopted them.

 

I’m so grateful to God this morning!

On Thursday night, one of our year-old Grey Rescue Tabbies, disappeared.

I was a little concerned on Friday morning, when I opened the back door, and only Cleo came running in for her breakfast.  Where was Toby?

I had that real sinking feeling when I returned from work, and there was still no sign of him.

My girls and I pulled on our shoes and went off round the block to look for him, searching every little alleyway and the path down by the allotments, calling his name the whole time.

Not a whisker!

We returned home with heavy hearts.

Saturday morning came.  No Toby.  Sunday morning….This wasn’t looking good.

 

I went out for a walk and began to pray – when the words from a Psalm began to buzz around my head:

For You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing – Psalm 145:16

Every living thing!  Not just people…that meant Animals too!

It was a beautiful morning, bathed in warm sunlight.  The trees were alive with the chirping of birds.

I stopped and noticed a Sparrow.

Didn’t Jesus talk about the Sparrows too?

Are not five sparrows sold for five farthings?  And yet not one of them is forgotten by God – Luke 12:6

Not one Sparrow is forgotten!

Wow!

Comforted by these scriptures, I was able to pray with faith.  If God cared about the tiny sparrow, then surely He cared about our Toby!

As the warm sunrays beamed down on my face, it felt like God was reminding me of the sheer magnitude of His faithfulness.  I don’t think we’ve even begun to grasp it!

The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time.  You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

If God makes sure the creatures of the earth are fed, then how much more will He take care of us?!

Suddenly it hit me.  I knew that God’s eye was on Toby.  I knew that God was more than able to protect him and bring Him safely home.

 

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Butter wouldn’t melt…

 

It was just before 6:00a.m. this morning, when my husband heard a familiar miaow-ing coming from our back garden.  It was Toby!  God had answered our prayers.

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds…

I want to remind you this morning, that God is so much kinder than we realise.  He truly is a good, good Father.  He is tender-hearted and compassionate and gracious!  He cares about the things that hurt us.  He cares about our difficult days and our stressful circumstances and our lost Tabby Cats!

 

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He cares so much more than we realise.

 

 

This Is Jesus!

Story-Teller,  (Matt 13:34)

World-Holder,  (Heb 1:3, Col 1:17)

Sky-Painter,  (Psalm 19:1)

Man-Moulder!  (Gen 2:7)

 

Storm-Stopper,  (Matt 8:27)

Star-Breather,  (Psalm 33:6)

He’s The Alpha and Omega!  (Rev 1:8)

 

Wave-Walker,  (Matt 14:25)

Debt-Payer,  (Rom 6:23)

Rock, Redeemer,  (Psalm 78:35)

What a Saviour!  (Luke 2:11)

 

Cross-Bearer,  (John 19:17)

Grave-Breaker,  (Luke 24:2-3)

Key-Holder,  (Rev 1:18)

Earth-Shaker!  (Heb 12:26)

 

Life-Changer,  (2 Cor 5:17)

Truth that frees us,  (John 8:32, John 14:6)

Coming King,  (Rev 22:7, Rev 22:12, Rev 22:20)

THIS IS JESUS!

 

My kids and I had a go at writing a ‘Kenning’ style poem about Jesus a few years ago.  This is what we came up with!  Hope it blesses you today.

A Heart Like Enoch!

2 Chron 16v9

A few years ago, buried in a rambling geneology in Genesis 5, I discovered Enoch.

Enoch lived sixty-five years and became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.  So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years….

This is pretty much the standard pattern for a biblical genealogy:

  • The name of the father
  • The number of years they lived before the birth of their first born son.
  • The name of their first born son
  • The total number of years they lived.

Job done and on it goes – each record ending with the dismal words:

“And he died.”

Deep joy.

But wait a minute.  There’s something different about Enoch’s account…have you ever noticed it?  It’s in verse 24:

Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Excuse me, can you say that again?

Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

There’s nothing here about anyone dying.  Enoch simply “was not”.  He was here one moment, gone the next!  The footnotes in my bible suggest that Enoch did not taste death, but went straight to heaven to be with God!  Wow!

So what did he do differently?  Well, the only clue that we’re given is that “He walked with God.”

We were created to walk and talk with God, just as Adam and Eve did before the fall.

I felt so stirred when I read this!

Enoch must have pleased God’s heart so much, that he just kind of by-passed death.  I cant say I fully understand what happened to Enoch – and I don’t think I’m meant to.  Because that’s not the point of the story.  I think the main lesson to be learned, is that God really wants our company.

My relationship with God is meant to be the MAIN THING in my life.  It’s not some kind of added extra –   Oh Hi, I’m Angie, I’ve got red hair and green eyes and I’m married to Nathan…oh and I’m a Christian – no way!   That’s settling for something far less than what’s on offer.

God is there to be experienced!  We can walk and talk with Him…like Enoch did.  We can encounter the Living God.  What are we waiting for?   Like David, I want my heart’s cry to be this:

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple – Psalm 27:4

God is after our hearts.  I believe in these dark days, He is calling us to come up higher – to climb the mountain of His presence.  And where else would I rather be, when one day in His courts is better than a thousand elsewhere…?

Chronicles 16:9 says that “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, seeking those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.

The pure in heart shall see God.  Those whose have a heart like Enoch!

 

 

 

 

Risen!

He is risen

Very early,

Sunday morn,

Grief rising up like a gathering storm.

Day-break,

Hearts ache,

As the weight of it all begins to dawn.

 

Thorns, nails,

Mournful wails,

Laid in a tomb that wasn’t His own,

Laden with spices,

We make our way,

Not even knowing who’ll roll back the stone.

 

Earth quake,

Guards shake,

Heavenly beings in dazzling white,

Our hearts pound with fear,

Too scared to draw near,

We bow to the ground at this dazzling sight!

 

“You needn’t fear!

He isn’t here!

“Why search for the Living among the dead?

Hurry, go!

Let everyone know –

That Jesus is risen, just as He said!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Give Up!

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Beautiful Agapanthus

 

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations” – Isaiah 61:10-11

I’ve been praying and longing to see Revival in the UK for many years now.  Perhaps you’ve been praying for your nation too?  Or perhaps you’ve been praying for years to see someone come to faith.  If so, I want to encourage you today!

One morning, a few years back, I was talking to one of my daughters about how committed I am to praying for revival in this land.  Just before rushing out of the door to school, she looked at me, a little perplexed and said something along the lines of:

“Mum, this world is so awful.  I’m not sure that one person can make that much difference…”

(But more of that story later!)

When I inherited the garden in our current home, it was literally two strips of weedy,  unyielding earth.  The soil was full of stones.  The ‘garden’ had not plant nor flower, just hundreds of very deep rooted weeds.

The only thing it did have, was potential…it was a blank canvass really.

So, determined to have a garden, I began.  Digging, weeding, removing stones.  It was pain-staking, back-busting!  I tried adding sand into the heavy clay soil in order to improve the claggy, ‘stick-to-your-boots’ consistency.  I bought bags of rich compost and literally poured them into the beds, digging and turning the earth again and again, to try and provide a more habitable environment for plants and flowers.  The groundwork took time.

But eventually the condition of the soil improved.

Then came the long job of buying and trying – going to garden nurseries and coming home with car boots full of perennials and shrubs.  I remember placing the plants in the soil – and frankly, being a bit underwhelmed.  These puny little plants would just look so insignificant, so small in all that earth!  They didn’t make much impact.  They certainly didn’t look like the garden magazines I had been browsing through!

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Pretty depressing!

Was all this hard work ever going to be worth it?

Fortunately for me, my mum’s garden is full of flowers!  So much so, that she was able to give me clumps of Geranium and Sedum from her own beds.  Every now and then she’d pop round with a tub full of Iris or Day Lilly – and we’d dot them around as fillers.

All of this activity went on for several years.  Planting things.  Trying things.  Moving things.  If I’ve learned one thing about gardening – it’s this:  No pain, no gain.

But then suddenly…years down the line, you begin to see your garden taking shape.  Suddenly, there’s colour and form.  People start to notice: “Isn’t your garden looking lovely?”  But best of all –  you notice!  One warm summer’s evening, you sit outside,  sipping a mug of tea, realising that all your hard work is starting to pay off.  And you smile…because somehow, the fact that it took time, years even, makes it all the more rewarding.  I tended this garden!  I kept going year after year, even though – to start off with – nothing much seemed to change.

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Yes, it’s the same flower bed!

Looking back, all those years that I’ve spent tending my garden, have run parallel to the years that I’ve spent praying for this Nation.  Isn’t God great?  Don’t you just love the way He weaves the natural and the supernatural together to teach us things?   What a prophetic picture lies within all of this toil!

Because the thing is…whatever you sow into a garden, you’ll eventually reap.

Put in a Climbing Rose and come July, you’ll have Climbing Roses!  Plant a pot full of Daffodil and Tulip bulbs in September, and POP – there’s your first bit of early spring cheer!  Fill your low wall with Geraniums, and hey presto – Geraniums it is!

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Today I want to remind you of the wonderful principle that  God has set in motion.  Sowing and reaping.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.  He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him!” – Psalm 126:5-6

I know that if you’ve sown seeds of prayer for your nation, or your loved one’s salvation – perhaps tears at times – then no matter how long, no matter how many years it takes, some day, one day…you will see your reward.

If you’ve been praying – particularly for revival or salvation –  and you’re on the verge of giving up…please don’t!   One fine day, when you least expect it, you’ll turn around and your garden will be filled with beautiful blooms!  And what a wondrous reward it will be – the fruit of all your labours!

Can I tell you the rest of the story about my daughter?   A few days later she came downstairs in the morning and said: “Oh by the way mum, I had a dream about you last night….”

“Go on,” I said, intrigued.

“You were trying to start a fire by rubbing sticks together,” she said.  “At first nothing was happening.  But you didn’t give up.  Then all of a sudden, there was a spark, and then the whole thing just burst into flame!”

My mouth was almost agog as she added:

“And I think it’s to do with you praying!”

So today, here’s God’s message to you (and me):  Keep going!  Don’t you dare give up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zacchaeus

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! – Psalm 32:1

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So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a Sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way…Luke 19:4

 

The streets of the city were crowded that day,

The Teacher was coming – He was heading this way.

My heart leapt within at the sound of His Name,

This man who healed lepers, the blind and the lame.

 

But the crowds all around me were blocking my view,

And try as I might, I just couldn’t push through.

Not much to be said for my stature – it’s true,

So I ended up right at the back of the queue!

 

Then ahead of the crowds in the distance, I see,

Down the long dusty road,

There’s a Sycamore Tree,

I was desperate to see Him,

It had to be done.

I kicked up the dust and I started to run!

 

My robes snagged on branches as I scrambled up high,

And I hoped, against hope, that He’d not pass me by,

Still my heart skipped a beat when He stopped by that tree,

And He peered through the leaves,

Looking straight up at me!

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What would He say to a man such as me?

What was I doing here?

How could it be?

That this wonderful stranger should call me by name?

In that moment, I knew, I would not be the same.

 

The people were outraged- He was going to eat,

At the home of *Zacchaeus, the swindler, the cheat!

But whenever He spoke, all my pride fell apart,

And something was changed in the depths of my heart.

The tears started falling, my heart overflowed.

I would pay it all back, every penny I owed.

I would give it all gladly,

I would do anything,

For this wonderful Man,

For this beautiful King!

 

The love that He showed me,

The grace that He gave,

Swept over my being, like wave after wave,

What joy filled my soul, and what gladness within,

When the Son of God cleansed me,

From all of my sin.

 

 

  • Amazed to discover today that the meaning of the Hebrew name Zacchaeus means, “Clean, pure!”