Fear not, I will help you

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
— Isaiah 41:13 (NKJV)

There’s something inexplicably comforting about holding the hand of your child. I wouldn’t dream of letting Grace cross a road or car park unless her 5-year-old hand was safely enveloped in mine. You see, when we’re holding our kid’s hand, we’re in a position to protect them; if they stumble, we can right their step, if they get a little too close to the kerb we can bring them back and if any danger approaches we can pull them close and shield them from harm. There’s few things more agonising to a parent than seeing your child afar off and being helpless to intervene if they head into a road or start to fall 😩

In today’s verse we can clearly see God’s heart toward His children, toward me and you. He wants to protect us, to guide our paths and stop us wandering down the wrong ones and falling into situations we don’t want to get into. He wants us to be assured that He is always right there, never absent, never distant, an ever-present help in our time of need (Ps 46:1). He tells us to not to fear, for as long as we trust in Him He will help us 💪🏻

In the Bible the right hand symbolises power and the ability to provide. When God has hold of our right hand we become powerless to do life in our own effort but learn to lean into and rest in Him who can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or think (Eph 3:20), we trust in Him for our finances, our health, our career and our relationships. We seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and He gives us all we need (Matt 6:33) 😀

See God’s almighty power at work in your life, see Him holding your right hand, protecting, guiding, loving and providing, see Him always there at your side whatever you’re going through. In the midst of the most devastating circumstances praise Him that He isn’t on the sidelines routing for you, He’s right there beside you, holding your hand in His and saying to you “fear not, I will help you.” ❤️

Focus on the source, not the lack

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
— Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭(NKJV‬‬)

I’m pretty bold when it comes to asking God for the big stuff. Throughout my life I’ve gotten myself into numerous pickles and relied on Him to get me through. Not sure what I mean? Try planting a church 😜

In today’s verse Paul encourages us to be anxious for nothing, but to pray about everything. But there’s two words in this verse that we can easily overlook - “with thanksgiving”.

If we wait until every part of our body is in perfect health, every area of our career, relationships and finances is exactly how we’d like it to be, then we’ll find ourselves very rarely giving thanks at all 🤔

When Jesus fed the 5,000, His disciple Andrew said of the 5 loaves and 2 fish “...but what are they among so many?” (John 6:9). He was focusing on the lack. Just two verses later Jesus lifted up the bread and sardines and gave thanks for them. Rather than focusing on the lack He focused on the source.

If you have a painful shoulder, give thanks for the other 98% of your body that’s not in pain. If you’re struggling with a mountain of debt, give thanks for the fiver in your wallet. If you can’t seem to find peace about an area of your relationship, give thanks for all that’s good about it.

Giving thanks doesn’t cause God to release health, peace or prosperity, that’d be works. Giving thanks causes you to be open to receive health, peace and prosperity. When we have a thankful heart we let go of anxiety and put our trust in the only One who can truly save us ❤️

Passion Church Launch

Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
— Isaiah 43:18-19 (NKJV)

Last Sunday, July 14th, saw the launch of Passion Church Norwich 😇

After four beautiful years of preparing, planning, learning, correcting and connecting, the time finally came for God’s will to be done in Taverham. And what an evening it was! I was totally overwhelmed by the commitment from all those who were serving, how they self-organised and worked together seamlessly to make Passion’s first ever meeting an outstanding success. I was truly humbled to see these mighty men and women of God step up - whether they were on the worship team, welcoming people in, doing those technical things that no one seems to notice until they go wrong or making teas and coffees ☕️

We had way more people there than I could ever have hoped, dreamed or imagined and it’s been clear from the beginning that God IS in this. We’ve faced opposition, there’s been frustration, stress and uncertainty, but when I (finally) decided to stop doing things in my own strength Holy Spirit totally took over and made everything simple. We rest in His love and the rest becomes easy 😀

So Passion Church is now very much a reality, and I literally cannot wait until our next meeting in August. Last night was very real, not perfect, just real. And that’s totally how I’d imagined it. I pray that our next meeting is just as wonderful 🙏🏻 Thank you.

Everything comes to pass

“…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer…”
— Romans 12:12 (NKJV)

Let’s be real for a moment. Sometimes life can be hard. It can be a struggle. Everything seems to be against us and we can’t see an end to our problem 😐

Maybe you’re in a financial crisis, in the midst of a relationship breakdown or grieving the loss of a loved one 😥

In Romans 12:12, the Apostle Paul tells us to rejoice in hope, have patience during the trial we are up against and continue faithfully in prayer. In Philippians 4:4, he tells us to rejoice in the Lord always, and to hammer the point home repeats himself and says again, rejoice.

Is it really that easy to praise God when everything around us seems to be falling apart? Well no, and yes… You see, when we look at the physical, it’s hard to see how our situation will be resolved. We fear the worst, the financial issue we’re facing will leave us bankrupt, destitute and homeless. That relational issue will never improve and we’ll end up single, alone and unloveable. The loss of a loved one will leave a void in our hearts that can never be filled 😞

But that’s not what God’s word tells us. Philippians 4:19 tells us that our God shall supply ALL our needs, not according to the world’s economy, but according to His riches in glory. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God knows the plans He has for us - to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future, and Psalm 34:18 tells us that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit 😀

When we renew our minds to what the word of God says, we can see that whatever situations we’re facing, however bleak it may look and however hopeless we might feel, God’s got this. We just need to believe. Hebrews 11:1 tells us faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see 🧐

The Kingdom of God is counterintuitive. It says the last shall be first and the first shall be last. It says when we give we'll receive more. God’s favour is on those who don’t try to earn it, and not on those who strive to serve Him perfectly in their own effort.

I could go on for days about this, but for now I’ll just say have faith in what you cannot see, rejoice in the midst of the mystery and know that we pass through the shadow of death (Ps 23:4) - we don’t dwell there. 

Everything comes to pass - not to stay. Happy Monday everyone 😘

First, believe...

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
— Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)

In our daughter’s reception class they have this little song that goes “I can’t do it...yet, yet, yet.”

We live in a time of immediacy. Music, film and television are delivered into our lives ‘on demand’ and we expect more and more from shopping online. Recently I was horrified when I ordered a book and received an email saying it would be delivered within 5-8 working days 😮

At times we don’t see an immediate answer to prayer. The breakthroughs in healing or provision we pray and believe for can take time. Hebrews 11:1 tells us to have faith when “I can’t SEE it...yet, yet, yet.”

Mark 11:24 and Hebrews 11:1 go together beautifully...

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Believe that you HAVE, and you WILL receive 

Lightly Salted Christians

Lightly Salted Christians

Matthew 5:13 tells us that, as believers, we are “the salt of the earth.”

Christians are called to season this tasteless, fallen world; to add flavour to the lives of the people we touch.

A crisp without salt is bland - you’re just crunching your way through a fried potato slice 🥔 

A crisp with too much salt is overpowering - after eating two or three your mouth dries up and your body screams of the sodium overload 😨

A crisp that’s lightly salted, perfectly seasoned, is another matter. It’s enjoyed. It’s savoured. You want to keep on eating and before you know it you’ve demolished the whole bag 😮

Step by Step

Step by Step

Throughout the Bible we find numerous references to God making our paths straight and directing our steps, to leading us on paths of righteousness and in the way we should go 👉

To be really honest I've struggled with this at times. How do I know what those paths are? I know my righteousness comes from Jesus alone (2 Cor 5:21), and when I'm delighting myself in Him, in His Word, He will give me the desires of my heart (Ps 37:4). But all too often I find myself trying to second guess what God wants for my life; what direction I should be heading in - business or ministry? Or maybe both? 

He saves, He hears

He saves, He hears

If you’re anything like me, well done! 😂

Just playing with you. If you’re anything like me you sometimes feel that God is far off, out of reach and somehow earshot, that maybe a seemingly unanswered prayer is an unheard one.

And maybe it’s unsurprising, particularly if you’ve been brought up, as I have, religiously reciting the Lord’s Prayer 🙏🏻 “Our Father, who art in Heaven...” implies He is a long way off, somewhere above the clouds and the stratosphere. Sometimes Hannah can’t hear me when she’s upstairs and I’m in the kitchen - what hope does God have? 😐

But Isaiah 59:1 addresses this beautifully for us, telling us His ear is not heavy, that He cannot hear us. We find confirmation of this the other side of the Cross in 1 John 5:15, that if we know that He hears us we have what we ask of Him.

Another in the Fire

Another in the Fire

Nebuchadnezzar was a king who was used to getting his own way, so you can imagine just how furious he was when these three young men defied his orders to worship the image he had made 😡

The preceding verse ends with Nebuchadnezzar asking them who the god was that would deliver them from his hands. And we’re all familiar with who that God was, and how faithful He was to deliver the three from a toasty-end, so much so that even the hair on their heads wasn’t singed nor did their clothes smell of fire (Dan 3:27) 🔥 

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego told the king that their God would deliver them, but even if He didn’t they wouldn’t serve or worship any other god. It sounds like they might have been in two minds as to whether God would deliver them, so…were they being double-minded? 🤔

Don't forget the bread

Don't forget the bread

How many times have we found ourselves in need, and forgot that the last time we were there God brought us through it? That we focus on what we can’t see rather than the One who sees all and promises to meet all our need (Phil 4:19), to never leave us (Heb 13:5), to deliver us from traps of the enemy (Ps 91:3)?

Could it just be that God moves in such a supernaturally natural way that we sometimes miss it?

The Hebrew word for testimony simply means to “do again”. What God has done for us before He will do again. As you enter a new season or a new challenge, when you’re right there in the middle of it - unable to look back at where you started from or see far enough ahead where it will end, remember that God has already brought you through it. He did before and He will again. Testimony.

Blessed indeed

Blessed indeed

I love the prayer of Jabez 😍

Seemingly tucked away in the midst of genealogy that is 1 Chronicles 4, we find a single, power-packed verse in which this man Jabez prays such a simple prayer of relationship, provision and protection. And not only does our Heavenly Father count him as more honourable than his brothers, but He also respects this prayer and “granted him what he requested”.

I believe Jabez had a real heart for God, and had a true revelation of just how good He is, and how ready He is to meet the desires of His children.

Getting into Harvard

Getting into Harvard

Harvard University is the most respected in the World. In its 380-year history it has produced 47 Nobel Laureates, 32 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer Prize winners. A quick search of Google reveals a plethora of websites offering advice on getting into Harvard; which entails a whole lot more than ‘just’ being academically genius – extra-curricula activities, sporting ability, voluntary and community work and a top-notch application may get you an interview, but with less than 6% of applicants accepted you’re going to have to ace the rest of the process.