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  1. b_blue sky thinking

    "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance:
    but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."
    Proverbs 15: 13

    We have had more than our fair share of gloomy weather this winter. It has rained almost constantly for weeks and often been accompanied with strong to gale force winds! It was difficult at times not to allow the gloomy weather to affect my mood.

    A very welcome break in the weather came a few days ago for a little while. Three days of unspoiled sunshine brightened up everything and brought a welcome relief to those long gray, wet and windy days ... and nights!

    I thought 'what a difference a bit of sunshine makes!' it makes everything look so colourful and brightens up our spirits. Everyone it seemed was sighing with relief and feeling the benefit of the warm rays of sunlight. Even the birds had something to sing about :-)

    I looked up into the clear blue sky remembered how wonderful it is to have an unsullied walk and relationship with the living God.

    How wonderful it is to be truly 'born again'!

    There are plenty of clouds in the life of someone who needs to be saved from their sin and reconciled to God. So much comes between a lost soul and the sunshine of the Father's love. So many poor folks in this sad predicament. But thankfully there is a wonderful remedy and separation the Father's care need not be something that is permanent.

    The precious Son of God came to the rescue when to the cross He willingly went in the place of lost sinners separated from the love of God by their sin. There He felt all the waves and billows of the wrath of God we deserved.

    There He felt keenly the clouds of separation when He suffered, bled and died all alone.

    But thanks be to God, the Saviour in whom we need to trust in order to enjoy a relationship with Him now lives in the power of an endless life. There isn't a soul living today that ever needs to live or die separated from God. All that He requires from those for whom Christ died is:

    "... Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
    Acts 20: 21

    Though this is in essence something very simple it is also profound because God is looking for repentance and faith that is sincere, and no one who ever comes to Him with a sincere heart will He ever turn away!

    Now I know that the phrase 'blue-sky thinking' is an expression used, (courtesy of Collins English Dictionary), to define 'creative ideas that are not limited by current thinking or beliefs', but it seems to have a perfect place right here in expressing an unclouded frame of mind. What a difference a frame of mind like that makes personally and to the lives of those around us.

    Lest we should lose our focus as believers and  become 'puddle glums', it is important to look beyond the clouds as it were and adopt that 'blue-sky' way of thinking. Therefore; let us allow the promised presence of the living Lord Jesus warm our souls. And may the promise of His coming again fill you with joyful anticipation.

    Remember, He could very well come - 'Perhaps Today!'

     ~~~~~

     

    Related Thought from Choice Gleanings Calendar

    "Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah.
    But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head."
    Psalm 3:2-3

    David’s foes were saying there was no hope for him,
    but he confronted this notion by declaring that God was his “shield” and the “lifter” of his head.
    It is our natural tendency to hang our heads in discouragement during difficult trials.
    But David chose to peer heavenward and to wait for deliverance.
    The Lord uses pain so that believers may better identify with Him in His sorrow.
    Exercising deliberate confidence in the character of God when it seems unreasonable to do so,
    delivers our minds from the grip of depression.
    W. A. H.

     

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  2. "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary,
    there they crucified him ..."
    Luke 23: 33

    Some years ago we had the opportunity to host the Ayrshire Exhibition of the Bible at our Gospel Hall. In fact we had that privilege on three occasions over the duration of six years. We saw much blessing during these special events and have lots of lovely memories to keep and treasure.

    Each time they came they stayed for two weeks which allowed us to invite parties of School children to come for guided tours around this extensive display of Bible History, interesting facts and intriguing accounts, all with the aim of introducing each soul to the Lord Jesus Christ, God's answer to the greatest need of mankind.

    After the sessions for Schools were ended the exhibition was open to the public where many interesting conversations were had with all sorts of people from many persuasions.

    One Saturday morning a certain gentleman came in and viewed the exhibition with great interest. One of our friends offered to him some refreshment and opened up a conversation  and the gentleman introduced himself to our friend as a 'time traveller'!

    I'm not altogether sure what type of conversation they both had; for my memory fails me but I do remember asking our friend after he recalled this account if he asked the 'time traveller' the words of the spiritual song that asks:

     Where you there when they crucified my Lord?

    We smiled together at the thought of it and the supposed foolishness of such a claim to be a time traveller. As if he was like the fictitious character Dr Who!

     

    But when we read of the account of the crucifixion of our beloved Lord Jesus I think that we can safely say that we WERE there at that shocking scene! But how could this be seeing as we live in the twenty first century and the Lord was crucified over two thousand years ago?

    Let us take a look at who was there at the time.

    • There were some high ranking religious people there.
    • There were unbelievers and atheists there as well.
    • People from other nations were there.
    • There were military men there and others from differing trades.
    • Men and women were there as well as the young and the old.
    • The wealthy and the poor folks were there.
    • The strong and the weak, the healthy and the infirmed were there.
    • The brave and the fearful were there.
    • His mother and siblings were there.
    • Some of His disciples were there.

    The list of people who were there is diverse, and if it was possible for us to become 'time travellers' and have the ability to observe without being seen, I believe we would find somebody in that great crowd that is just like you, and just like me! There were certainly people in that great throng representing the likes of you and me back then.

    Of course we were not really there when our dear Lord was crucified outside the city walls of Jerusalem but we might as well have been! He, who is God manifest in the flesh knows no time and when He was suffering in the sinner's place, He saw you and He saw me ... there! Before we were touched by God's extravagant display of love we were represented by one of the scoffers who witnessed this momentous event that altered the course of history forever!

    The question is: How does that display of undeserved love effect you?

    Does the cold indifference remain there still? Does it touch your heart and bring you to repentance?

    The fact remains is - He was there. He really suffered, He really bled, and He really died to save poor sinners like you and like me.

    May our hearts overflow in adoring love and praise for such a One as this

     25 03 16_where you there


     
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  3. b_a mother knows

    One special day in the month of March, Mothers in the UK and in the British Isles, and possibly further afield wake up to breakfast in bed, gifts and perhaps lunch out or cooked for them. A special day set aside to show appreciation to the mothers in our lives for all they have done for us and just for who they are.

    Now, in the Bible we are told of a mother who knew something life changing about her Son. She had some very sound advice to pass on to those who she was addressing at the time. We would also do well to regard her well spoken words.

    A wedding in Cana was the scene of much joy and merriment but there was a crisis going on behind the scenes – the wine was running out and it was still early on in the celebration. This was a serious social dilemma in the Jewish culture of that day! What were they going to do?

    There was only one person who could possibly have the answer to such a problem at a time like that. Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus knew He could do something about this and after a small conversation about the matter she turned to the waiting servants and told them:

     "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."
    John 2: 5

    Jesus was about to give to the servants some rather unusual instructions that would result in an abundance of the very best wine to last as long as it was needed.

    This, the Bible tells us is the first miracle Jesus did; the first of many that manifested the glory of God and changed the lives of many people back then, the accounts of which we can read, enjoy and learn from even to this very day.

    One among many lessons to be learned here of course is that wine in the Bible speaks to us of joy. Life has a tendency to bring to us a type of happiness that does not have the ability to last. And human nature seeks for more, trying all kinds of ways to find something to satisfy but that drive is never fulfilled.

    That is because the human soul was never made to be satisfied outside the will and ways of the Lord Jesus Himself. He knows just what each person needs and just how to meet and satisfy that great need in each individual. But this can only be accomplished His way, which brings us to that little and yet profound sentence uttered by Mary the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.

     "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."
    John 2: 5

    Nothing complicated about that is there? So what is He asking us to do in order to know the peace and contentment in our hearts that we so long for? Have a little read of the following verses and then apply the precious truths of these words of the Lord Jesus to your own soul; for there is a wealth of blessing awaiting all those who obey His instructions.

    The Lord Jesus said:

    “... Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
    But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;
    but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
    John 4: 13-14

    “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger;
    and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
    John 6: 35

    “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
    That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
    that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    John 3: 14-16

    “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
    and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
    John 10: 9

    “These things have I spoken unto you,
    that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
    John 15:11

    On closing, please notice if you will that Mary was drawing our attention to her Son and not herself! She had watched this promised One who had been entrusted into her care grow from a tiny infant into a fine young man - the best this world has ever seen! She had spent long enough with Him to know that He was able to meet the need of the people at that place and time and indeed the need of people from then on worldwide.

    So when she was telling the servants: “Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it,” we would do well to heed her advice; for after all ...

    A Mother Knows!


     
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  4.  

    Valentine's Day is almost upon us - a Season of Love!

    This year being a 'leap year' traditionally gives to the ladies the opportunity to proposed to their loved ones and I trust that no one will be disappointed with the reply and all that there is to follow <3

    Love is indeed a very special thing. It has so many facets depending upon the way we see it.

     The love of a parent for their child

    There is the precious love between parents and their children and this is so beautifully modelled for us in the Bible when we think of Abraham and his beloved Son who was promised to him by God. One day he was asked by God to offer him up as a burnt offering! What a tremendous thing God was asking of Abraham, and yet we never read of him striving with God about this issue. Instead we are told that he rose up early with all that he would need, a few servants and his beloved son, and off they went on a three day journey until they saw afar off where the sacrifice was to take place.

    From there on only father and son proceeded until they reached the place. Abraham believed the promise that God made to him about the future of his son and knew that somehow everything would work out good in the end. God would have to raise Isaac from the dead if necessary.

    There they were at an alter he made for the purpose. Picture this moment - his son bound and laid on the altar, the knife raised and Abraham is ready to make his offering! Suddenly the voice of God calls to him to do the lad no harm. Isaac is spared and a ram caught in the bush by its horns is used as a substitute.

    Did God really want the life of Abraham's son? Of course not. It was Abraham's heart he wanted and the love for his God was proved there at the very place where sometime in the future another Son was to be offered. This was to be the Son of God. This time there was no substitute for Him because He was there as our Substitute and bearing in His body the punishment against our sin.

    The love between kindred spirits

    There is also the love between siblings and a similar love in close friendships. My mind goes back to the Bible account of the friendship between David who was to be King and Jonathon who humanly speaking was the actual heir to the throne. Theirs was a kindred spirit, which is somewhat of a rarity nowadays.

    Jonathon's love for David was one that was hard to excel. He described it in his lament for his deceased friend as a love that surpassed the love of women! In his short life he admired David, looked up to him and was loyal to the end even though this greatly angered his raging father. Unlike Saul, Jonathon's father, David was a man of God and described by God as 'a man after my own heart'.

    Although the love between these kindred spirits was precious, both were at best only human and even David the man of God knew what it was like to fail his God miserably.

    One day there would walk on this earth a Man who was God's true Man who was totally incapable of sinning. His wonderful life from beginning to end brought total satisfaction to His Father. He desires all who trust in Him to follow Him closely, with great admiration and loyalty.

    The love of God

    But when we think of love, could there be a greater love the true and pure love between a man and a woman? There's nothing he will not do for her and there's nothing she will not do for him!

    I remember hearing my mother in law's secret to a long and happy marriage with her husband of 53 years. She said that: "I always put my husband first, and he always put me first. If you want a long and happy marriage, then this is the recipe for success."

    It is easy to understand why this love works because their feelings for each other are mutual. But what if this is not the case? The love between a man and a woman is very powerful but the love of God is infinitely greater!

    There is nothing in us that is desirable to God because He is holy and we are sinful. But He loves us even though we are undesirable! How can this be? It is because the love of God does not operate like human love does. God is merciful and out of grace He -

     "Commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
    Romans 5: 8

    This is an amazing demonstration of love that cannot be surpassed by anyone ever!

    What should be our response to such love and mercy? We should in true repentance of the sin for which He suffered bow the knee and acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour, and sincerely thank Him for the cleansing and forgiveness He offers freely. Then rise up to walk in the new life He has promised to give to who trust Him fully. This is just the beginning - the best is yet to come!

    What a wonderful time of the year in which to appreciate His amazing love. While others soon may be all caught up with a season of love that will quickly pass - the love of our true Valentine is eternal and we can live in the good of His amazing love every day of our lives continuing on into eternal ages.

    john 3 v16 valentine

    The above picture is also a link to a pdf file which you are invited to download for your personal use.

     
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  5.  b_step out and trust

    Here's a word of encouragement for you at the start of a brand New Year.

    ~~~~~

    "My, how fast the time goes by! Already we are at the very beginning of a brand new year. Perhaps the past year has brought to us fond memories and perhaps some memories we would rather forget. But such is life and we must move on!

    The thing is, how do we plan to do that? Seeing as the future is uncertain, it is not recommended that we venture forward on our own? If we were to place our trust in the One who knows the end from the beginning we will be sure to reach our desired haven. Now wouldn't that just be a wonderful thing?

    This is the One who in the fullness of time came into this world on a special mission He came to save sinners from their sin and span the gulf between us and the living God!

    That's what the festive season was all about. It was to celebrate the coming of this precious One who absolutely delighted His Father's heart and finished the work His Father gave Him to do.

    And it is incredible to think that coming of the Lord Jesus so long ago can impact our lives here at the beginning of 2016, but that all depends on what we do with what we know about this most precious One.

    Did you know that when He lived here on earth He was demonstrating to us what God is like ...

    "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
    (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
    full of grace and truth."
    John 1: 14.

    And when He went to the cross and died in our place He was demonstrating what love is really like ...

    "... God commendeth his love toward us,
    in that, while we were yet sinners,
    Christ died for us."
    Romans 5: 8.

    Knowing these wonderful facts and embracing these precious truths in total trust will bring priceless treasures to all who own this altogether lovely Man as their Lord and Saviour.

    How about this for a treasure indeed - it is a promise from the beloved Lord Jesus to all His people:

    "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
    Hebrews 13: 5.

    He loves us too much to ever take his eyes off of us or ever to leave us alone for even a second!

    So now as we enter into 2016 with all of the paths yet to travel there is one thing of which we can be certain: we will never be truly alone, He will always be with His people and is worthy of all our trust.

    I know not what awaits me,
    God kindly veils mine eyes,
    And o’er each step of my onward way
    He makes new scenes to rise;
    And ev’ry joy He sends me, comes
    A sweet and glad surprise.

    One step I see before me,
    ’Tis all I need to see,
    The light of Heav’n more brightly shines,
    When earth’s illusions flee;
    And sweetly through the silence, came
    His loving “Follow me.”

    O blissful lack of wisdom,
    ’Tis blessèd not to know;
    He holds me with His own right hand,
    And will not let me go,
    And lulls my troubled soul to rest
    In Him Who loves me so.

    On I go not knowing,
    I would not if I might;
    I’d rather walk in the dark with God
    Than go alone in the light;
    I’d rather walk in faith with Him
    Than go alone by sight.

    Mary G. Brainard

    You are invited to join our Subscribers and sign up for Rest a While's Newsletter which will keep you up to date with what's happening here as well as bring to you encouraging little thoughts in your inbox each month. I look forward to welcoming you :-)

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    With every blessing

    Amanda

     

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