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  1.  

    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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  2.  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

     


  3. christmas card 2015

    Here's a seasonal thought with warmest wishes for you
    trusting that you will know great blessing during this special season and for the coming New Year.

    ~~~~~

    "Who among the sons of men can be likened unto our Lord?" What a question indeed! Of course, we know the answer don't we? No one can be compared unto our altogether lovely Lord and Saviour!

    He stands alone in the uniqueness of His coming into this world. Who else but God could have thought of entering into this scene of time via a virgin womb to a birthplace under the night sky in abject poverty? It seemed as if no one cared and wouldn't have bothered if it were not for a few shepherds to whom angelic beings came and announced His incredible coming.

    "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
    And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
    And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

    For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
    And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
    Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
    Luke 2: 8-14

    He stands alone in His fragrant manhood. His beautiful life displayed the likeness of Almighty God our heavenly Father. Everything He did and said, and even His very thoughts were the manifestation of Almighty God. After all, the Bible tells us that He was God encapsulated in a human body!

    "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh"
    1 Timothy 3: 16

    And of course no one ever loved like Him! His love for people like you and me took Him beyond what was otherwise what was humanly possible. He was prepared to suffer, bleed and die - alone! Our precious Lord Jesus who forever enjoyed unbroken union with His Father was alone on a cross outside the city walls of Jerusalem. He endured the separation from God that was our due, He endured the wrath of God our sin deserved, He went into the very depths of darkness we will never be able to contemplate so we might live forever in the goodness of our sins forgiven and the joy of the promises of God's promised presence with us daily. May the Lord enable us to be truly thankful for His love, for His mercy and for His "unspeakable gift."

    Alone!

    A little maid, a virgin womb,
    A place for Someone special - soon
    Who'd come from glory to this earth
    Filled with all His Father's worth.
    A journey to old Bethlehem
    Where folks would find 'no room' for them.
    And underneath the starry sky
    No coming to the earth like His - alone!

    With power He calmed the storm so wild
    Yet tenderly He held a child.
    His life was full both night and day
    Yet never turned a soul away.
    And as each brand new day began
    This 'altogether lovely' Man
    Brought pleasure to His Father's heart.
    No Man had ever lived like Him - alone!

    The table's turned, He's now despised,
    And in the darkness Jesus cries:
    Father, if possible to Thee
    Please take this awful cup from me!
    Instead in scarlet was adorned,
    A mocking reed, a crown of thorns,
    A cross for suffering in our place -
    No one had ever loved like Him - alone!

    For the first time in eternity
    He was alone at Calvary
    So we might never have to be - Alone!

    Excerpts from “Alone!”
    A song for Christmas 2015 by ALeB

    This time last year I had intended to record last year's Christmas song but circumstances didn't allow me to do that back then but in the New Year I would like to try to make recordings for YouTube and share with you on video what I have been privileged to share with others in my locality.

    You are invited to sign up for Rest a While's Newsletter which will keep you up to date with this progress as well as bring to you encouraging little thoughts in your inbox each month.

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    With every blessing

    Amanda

     


  4. We enjoyed a trip recently to see our daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren across in the UK. It was a full on week beginning on Sunday morning when the children didn't know we were there because we arrived late the evening before when they were all tucked up in bed. It was lovely to see the surprise in their faces when they discovered we had arrived.

    It was my birthday on that day and they were exited as if it was their birthday. I must have had 'happy birthday to you' sung to me at least five times that day :-)

    After the busy week of walking to and from school with the oldest, reading stories and watching small videos and playing games with the middle one, and lots of cuddles with the youngest of the three who is just over three months old, and many other things in between, we reached Saturday morning.

    Just outside our bedroom door I could hear the little ones getting ready for swimming lessons, and we listened to the antics from our bedroom. Our daughter gently opened our door and asked if we could look after the baby while she got the others ready because she was running out of time. The little man was as good as gold as he sat between us enjoying all the fuss from his grandparents.

    In a little while our little granddaughter joined us followed by her Mum. We chatted for a moment or two before our daughter took the little one by the hand to hurry her for breakfast before they would be leaving. But on their way out of our room she started to giggle and pull on her Mummy's hand and said to her in her cute northern accent -

    'Mummy, you forgot your baby!'

    The baby had been so quiet and content sitting with us that Mummy forgot that 'her baby' was even there! :-) It was a comical moment for us all made even funnier by the wit of a little girl not yet three years old, coupled with her comical phraseology :-)

    When we got back home the incident was recollected to waiting family and friends who were anxious to hear about our time in the UK and everyone found this was so funny.

    It is a good idea to write down those priceless things that children say because time passes by and those precious things are soon forgotten!

    Incidentally, our daughter is probably one of the very best of mothers when it comes to caring for her little ones and any thought of truly forgetting her children would of course be entirely out of the question!

    But while I was reflecting on this I couldn't help but remember and be encouraged with these words from Scripture:

    "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?
    yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
    Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands ..."
    Isaiah 49: 15-16.

    You see, It is completely unnatural for a woman to forget her baby because there is only one thing that is stronger than the bond between a mother and her new born child - that is the love of God for His children.

    It is completely impossible for our heavenly Father to forget those who have trusted in Him. His children are even more precious to Him than an infant is to its mother. Why is that? It is because of the price He has paid to make us His own! It cost Him the most precious thing He had. It cost Him His beloved Son!

    Out of love and obedience He went all the way to the cross to bear away the penalty for our sin in His own body. He became the very thing that God hated most so that all who trust Him fully are freely forgiven and made fit for the Father's presence. The evidence of the price He paid is eternally visible for all to see; for graven upon the palms of His hands are the marks of Calvary's sufferings, so that His mighty act of redemption will be remembered and appreciated forever.

    These wonderful verses serve to assure us that once we have become His children through faith in His beloved Son who loved us and gave Himself for us, we are forever secure and forever in His mind and interest. There is never a moment of the day when we are overlooked or forgotten by God. Rest assured dear fellow believer in case this is a day when you are feeling all alone.

    b_never forgotten_

  5. We have an incredible cat! Teddy is his name. He's now 18 years old and apart from a few health issues he's still going strong and looking very well for his age :-)

    He's been through a lot you know! We have been re-located three times within two years a little while ago, which would have been enough to shorten the life of a normal cat considerably ... but he's still with us! He's had a few operations recently which can be risky for an old cat ... but he's still with us! Earlier this year he even had a stroke from which he recovered very well ... and is still with us! We think that he has probably used up his nine lives and is borrowing a few from the cat next door :-)

    How is he managing to live so well against all odds?

    Well, he doesn't actually have a care in all the world because someone else is taking care of all his needs. He is protected, homed, fed, and groomed every day. He is a much loved part of the family. He's quite possibly a bit like a child who is cared for by loving parents.

    A child doesn't have to care or worry about a thing because all of its needs are or rather should be met. A child ought to be loved and protected and know it! A little one can probably teach us something about the kind of faith that God is looking for in us more than we could ever learn anywhere else.

    The love of God is infinitely greater than we could ever comprehend and He:

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

    What an amazing demonstration of love this is! None of us deserve to be loved like that but we are because God has chosen to do so. Therefore, what should be our response to what He has done in the sinner's place? The Bible has the answer to this:

    "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved ..."Acts 16: 31
    "God ... now commandeth all men every where to repent." Acts 17: 30

    Sin is a serious business and needs to be acknowledged before God who is holy and it needs to be repented of if ever we are to avail ourselves of the forgiveness and Salvation procured by the death of Christ.

    Sometimes we have a tendency to complicate things when it comes to having a saving faith enough to assure our sins will be forgiven and to give us the knowledge that all is well with our soul. However, the Lord Jesus tells us of the kind of faith, belief or trust that He is looking for is like that of a little child. (See Mark 10: 14-15.) It is an unquestioning, untroubled and complete resting faith in someone bigger than us to take care of all our needs. When it comes to the saving of our souls, who bigger than God could we ever go to?

    As for our everyday lives on our heaven bound journey, our faith and trust in Him ought to be unquestioning as well. After all if we have trusted Him with our soul for eternity, couldn't we completely trust Him with our lives, and live a life of value to God? And let us remember that unlike cats who have 'nine lives', we only have one! Someone once said that life is like a coin which can be spent anyway we like - but we can only spend it once! Once we're gone we can't come back and do it again!

    b_9 lives and counting_teddy2
    And as for the life and well being of Teddy our cat, we'll keep on taking care of him for the rest of his days and I will always be in the wonder of the trust of a little animal in our care. Thank God for these wonderful lessons of faith I see lived out before my eyes each day <3