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  1. While spending a week in the north east of England visiting our family, we were invited out by friends for a meal and a walk through the old and original part of Hartlepool where we were staying.

    It was very much more picturesque than I had expected and some interesting things were highlighted during our walk.

    John Wesley

    b_Look up_Wesley

    We passed a little plaque on a wall marking the place where John Wesley once preached over two hundred and fifty years ago, back in the days when the good news gospel message would have been preached to a crowd of interested people. Some of whom would have responded favourably and are in heaven today for sure.

    I wondered if someone were to preach the same message with the same fervour in the very same place how many would receive the message with gladness today?

    The message that changed the lives and destinies of people back then can do the same for folks today. Those who long for peace with God and the promise of a home in heaven must begin with the right response to this message, which, by the way happens to be the very same message that the Apostles preached back in the days just after the Lord Jesus died, rose again and was received back into heaven from whence He came.

    The Gospel message is all about the reason why He came in the first place. The Bible tells us that He "came into the world to save sinners." 1 Timothy 1: 15. And He came because the Father sent Him! (See 1 John 4: 14.) He saw a world of guilty sinners in need and came to the rescue with an amazing Salvation plan. No one else could have thought of such a plan like this. It involved the death by crucifixion of His beloved Son who came to die on the cross in our place as our substitute, paying the price our sin deserved!

    Why would God do a thing like that? All because of love, supreme love which is best expressed in these 25 beautiful words from the Bible:

    "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: 16.

    God has expressed His great love, and done all the work that needs to be done. But we have the responsibility to respond favourably to God's offer of Salvation, and repent from the sin that separates us from God, trusting solely in Him ... or perish!

    Everyone in heaven today is there because they did just that and for no other reason. How about you, what will you do?

    Mizpah

    b_Look up_Mizpah

    As we moved on we saw a single word etched into the rendering on the front of a house looking out to sea. That one word was "Mizpah", which is a word that appears in the Bible. It means "God watch between me and thee whilst we are absent one from another." Genesis 31: 49. These words have often been used in endearing terms between loved ones who are separated for a while and is in fact a favourite of my Mum's for that very reason.

    Separation is a painful thing between absent loved ones and even more heartbreaking between us and the living God, but when we become one of His people by faith in His beloved Son we have a direct line of communication with Him. How wonderful! However, in a sense we are still separated from Him because we live on earth and God is in heaven. We have never seen Him before but have the blessed hope in our souls that we will do one day soon.

    Until the day when we shall be with Him and see His blessed face we are phisically absent from the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. We have a longing to be with Him which is far better but we remain to live out our lives in preferred faithfulness to Him. And while we do, God watches between us and Himself. What a comfort it is to know that we are never alone.

    Look Up!

    b_Look up

    Towards the end of our walk our friend expressed his great interest in the history of places like old Hartlepool and said something very interesting which is in fact the inspiration behind the thoughts conveyed here today.

    He said: "if you walk looking at the ground or straight ahead you'll miss it - you have to 'look up' and you'll see things that others will miss." And he was right you know: at eye level the buildings had been altered with the passing of time but above eye level where no one often looks you see all sorts of unaltered parts of buildings that are probably original features.

    There's one thing for sure, when we are going through trials we will not find a satisfying answer to our need anywhere else than in the Lord Himself. We must have an upward look at all times if ever we would walk in wisdom. The Lord who has never altered in the slightest is the One upon whom we can safely rely. The moment we try on our own we leave ourselves open to failure.

    But there is another type of 'looking up' every believer ought to be occupied with. That is the gladsome anticipation of the promised coming of the Lord Jesus who is going to come one soon day for His people to take them and us to be with Him where He is ... Forever!

    "Look up" are faithful words encouraging everyone that no matter where you are, no matter what you've done there is a Saviour for lost sinners. "Look up" are comforting words for every believer; for there is coming a day very soon when faith will give way to sight and every sorrow we know here will be gone forever.

    Therefore dear soul, whoever you are - Look Up - and you will not be disappointed!

    "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
    My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth."
    Psalm 121: 1-2

     ~~~~~

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  2. I work for some rather lovely people you know! When I'm not writing things for Rest a While or composing music and songs etc, I do a little bit of domestic work to help make ends meet. It is work I rather like doing not only because it 'makes things better' but because I work for the most part when everyone's out, I have a lot of time on my own to think, pray and even write a few thoughts every now and then. While I'm busy with my hands I'm usually creative with my mind, so this is the perfect type of work for me :-)

    While busy at work in the home of someone I've been working for a long while I was just about to engage my thoughts when they were interrupted by my friend / employer: 'It's a lovely day Amanda, take a bit of time out and enjoy the garden,' she said. I hesitated a bit before I said to her that I might take 10 minutes out and do just that, upon which she smiled with approval before leaving for the rest of the morning.

    I got to a point when most of my duties were done and I was feeling ready for my walk in the garden. I stepped out into the sunshine and began to walk down through the tailored garden into an orchard and beyond into a semi wild area where a bench was strategically situated under overhanging trees looking back towards the house. It was lovely :-)

    I sat taking in a deep breath of fresh autumnal air and listened to the sounds around me and taking in the incredible view. Ripe crab apples clung to the branches of the smaller trees I passed earlier. Leaves were already beginning to colour the freshly cut grass and a robin made an appearance every now and then. An old limp black hen was foraging through the undergrowth looking for 'treats'.

    I was secretly thrilled in my heart to know that no one but God knew I was there!

    I couldn't be seen or overlooked by a single soul except the wildlife close by. It was wonderful, and I can't remember the last time I felt such a feeling of almost excitement and pure joy. I could have stayed there for an hour or more, but I only had a few minutes before it was time to return and finish my work. But there was something about that unexpected moment of time out that did my soul so much good I'm still living in the good of it even as I write.

    b_Ten Minutes

    Most of us work for a holiday and well deserved rest once a year for a week or two. But I was reminded today of how important it is to take mini vacations away from the hustle and bustle and get alone with God.

    Sitting there amidst all this natural beauty reminded me of a beautiful verse in the Bible that says:

    "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons.
    I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste."
    Song of Solomon 2: 3

    What a picture of absolute delight and contentment. A woman's description of the love of her life and a very fitting description of my beloved Lord and Saviour.

    There is something about Him that is so very different from among all others. His wonderful ways and words display before us the character of this lovely Man. Everything about Him is so precious, even to His inmost thoughts! If we ever wanted to know what God is really like all we have to do is take a good look at this lovely Man because the Bible tells us that:

    "God ... hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
    whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
    Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person

    and upholding all things by the word of his power,
    when he had by himself purged our sins,
    sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
    Hebrews 1: 2-3

    Here we have in these verses something quite profound. They not only tell us Jesus is the expression of what God like in person but they tell us clearly that when Jesus died on the cross this was the expression of what God's love is like in all its fullness!

    If we were to continue to read we would soon discover that He is better in every way. Better than all mankind. Better than all angelic beings. Better than the very best and greater than the greatest that has ever lived!

    Just like the woman describing her beloved one, so it is that every one trusting fully in the lover of our souls will find all that He gives is sweet and satisfying.

    Who wouldn't want to be closely acquainted with such a one as this?

    Well, it seemed like a moment of time before my ten minutes was up and I rose to finish my work. Just a few precious minutes to refresh my soul.

    Perhaps you might take a little time out to discover something of great value to your soul as well. Remember, Jesus saves and satisfies all those who are prepared to 'rest under His shadow', and trust in Him fully.

    Just ten minutes well spent in the presence of God may very well change your life forever.

     

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  3.  b_The Best Type of Rest

    We have just enjoyed a week's break and a whole week of beautiful sunshine in which we have walked, picnicked, sat, read and dined.

    I can't remember the last time we had a holiday at home when we didn't have unpleasant weather, but this time it was perfect :-)

    We have been so much in need of some quiet and rest and actually got it this time that I feel very humbled at the care and kindness of the Lord who so graciously ministered to our needs.

    In fact, it's been so lovely, I think we could have done with another week for good measure. Never mind, it was very good while it lasted and very much appreciated.

    On the last day of our 'staycation' we spent a while at one of my favourite places on the Island. It is a reservoir that has been beautifully landscaped all the way around providing a long country walk under overhanging trees filled with chattering birds. The waters, which are a little down due to dry weather glistened in the sun and provided a cool place for the larger birds to bath and paddle for a while.

    Dotted along the walk are benches positioned strategically where the view is best. Each one has been dedicated to someone who has appreciated the beauty of this place when they were alive.

    I sat for a few moments on one of them and enjoyed the view, the warmth of the sun, and the rest. Just before we moved off I took a moment to read the dedication, which to my great surprise read as follows:

    b_The Best Type of Rest_b

    I had to take a picture of this dedication for I loved the sentiment: 'Just for you, Rest a While, Meditate, With Tranquillity and Peace, Thank God ...' This rather reminds me of my little corner of the Internet.

    When Rest a While website was first launched over six years ago this was its value statement: 'Words in Season, Just for You'. Short, simple and straight to the point. Rest a While was (and still is) created to provide something just right for you and your need, whatever that need might be.

    Now of course the website has undergone changes to meet the demanding and changing trends in browsing the Internet and changing technology, but its content is still the same. It offers the same timeless content to give help, encouragement, comfort, and hope to all who come to visit. It now has a new value statement which emphasises the fact that the message of hope it communicates has the ability to not only enhance your life but secure your destiny! This is the reason why -

    It points you to the One who never changes and is always ready to receive a genuine soul in search for the truth.

    "[Jesus] said unto them,
    Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place,
    and rest a while: for there were many coming and going ..."
    Mark 6: 31

    "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
    Matthew 11: 28-30

    The world around us, including ourselves, is rushing to and fro. Everyone has opinions and ideas about what they feel is the satisfying life but if we are seeking the satisfaction our heart craves for, we will never find it apart from the Lord Jesus Himself.

     The only place where we are going to find true rest is where God finds rest.

    His rest is the type of rest we need, and He rests in a work that is finished. There is nothing we can do to contribute to this work - it is already done!

    The unease we experience is due to the fact that sin has separated us from Him who is holy. And the work that Jesus accomplished on the cross has removed that separation from all who truly turn away from their sin and trust fully in Him.

    The little bench plaque mentioned "Thank God for water, and for those who made it possible. With tranquillity and peace. With love in your heart ..." I am reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus who said:

    "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink."
    John 7: 37

    How many of us have been found hungering and thirsting after that which is good, wholesome and satisfying? Well, here is the answer to all those longings - It is the Lord Himself!

    Jesus said:
    "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink;
    thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
    John 4: 10

    Wouldn't it be a thing most wonderful if you found yourself in possession of a heart full of thankfulness for water that quenches the thirst of the soul, and for the One who has made this possible. The Gift and the Giver!

    O, that you might find it in your heart to bless God: for while there is still breath in your lungs and while your heart is still beating, there is hope. While you are still alive each day, there is hope. Don't waste a precious moment, come at His invitation away from the din and distraction, come to Him with your thirsty and weary soul and trust in the work in which He rests, and see what He will do. His promise is as good as His person, He cannot lie, and to all who come in true repentance and sincerity He says: "I will give you rest."

    Rest a While
    Bringing to you the truths of the Bible and the message of hope it contains home to your heart -
    Enhancing your life - Securing your destiny!

     


     

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  4. "I'm afraid the prognosis isn't very good!" Said the veterinary practitioner as he finished examining the limp body of our faithful old cat of 19 years. He had suffered another stroke like episode leaving him without the capability of using his back legs. He was helpless and very stressed.

    My husband and I had earlier discussed that if ever this type of thing happened to 'Teddy' we would have to make the decision to have him put to sleep. And here we were at that point and I was the one asking the vet to attend to Teddy at home instead of the surgery. 

     It felt as if I was giving my consent to end the life of a child of ours!

    Teddy came into our lives when our children were young. He has been there all the way through those troublesome teenage years. And now that our family have left the nest to marry their own loved ones Teddy is still with us. By the way, Teddy is STILL with us :-)

    You see, it was arranged that the vet would come to our home at 5:00pm, so we had the best part of the day to do all we could for our beloved furry friend. Our son came and spent some 'quality' time with Teddy - on the floor where we had been spending most of our day. He was groomed, petted and fussed, which Teddy appeared to relish while time ticked on relentlessly to that dreaded hour.

    To anyone who has never owned a pet our behaviour might appear to have been rather peculiar but it's at a time like this that you realise just how attached to a pet you can become.

    I glanced at the clock for the umpteenth time, it was just gone 5 but no one had showed up yet! After a few moments the phone rang - it was the vet calling to enquire about Teddy and about ourselves.

    b_A VERY Close Shave 1 

    "Well," I told him, "Teddy still seems the same to me but he has calmed down after the injection he was given in the morning. He can do everything a cat does but only with assistance and he's hungry! As for us - well, we are in a dilemma! Earlier, having him put to sleep seemed the right thing to do but as the day has progressed we're not so sure."

    I asked if he would come anyway to see Teddy for himself, and help us to know what to do to which he agreed. I no sooner closed the conversation when Teddy surprised us all with an impressive effort to rise to his feet and head over for a drink of water! What a pitiful sight, Teddy looked like he was well and truly 'tipsy' but he made it - well, after a fashion :-)

    When the vet arrived we told him what had just happened. He took a look at Teddy now lying back on the floor like he had been doing all day and to our surprise and encouragement he told us:

    "Do you know, I think he is going to recover!

    I'm not sure to what degree his recovery will be but I believe that if you are prepared to wait 24-48 hours you will have a clearer idea what to do because Teddy will let you know."

    After a further small conversation the Vet left. And so 5 o'clock came and went but our Teddy remained. I'm not sure how many lives he has left but he surely had the closest shave I have ever known in a long while.

    On that sad day I lost a day's pay, and paid an extortionate veterinary bill and although Teddy has made a partial recovery he is still very wobbly. I wonder why all that happened a few weeks ago. But even as I am writing about it I realise that all this may have been for your benefit; for as you read about the events in our family you may recollect some 5 o'clock events in your own life.

    ~~~~~

    Everyone's life is very precious you know, but there is something you possess that is even more valuable than life itself, and that is your soul and spirit! If '5 o'clock' was the time of the day when your life was going to end where would that part of you that is eternal be the moment after your body has died? The Bible puts it like this:

    "What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
    Matthew 16: 26

    Did you know that you may have been preserved by God Himself from many a close shave without you even realising it? And you are still here! Isn't that amazing? If only you would value your soul like God does then you would make sure that all is well with your soul for time and for eternity.

    God values it so highly He has made all the provisions for its eternal well being. He sent His only Son into the world to ultimately go to the cross and die in the place of sinners like you and me. When He died He took away the power that sin has to separate us from His very best and a home in His glorious heaven. All that for you and for me! What amazing grace! What love!

    "The redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever.
    Psalm 49: 8

    Seeing as you and I do not know when our 5 o'clock is going to come, it would be wise to turn from the sin for which He died and trust Him wholly for the security of your never dying soul. You will be eternally glad you did :-)

    "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth."
    Proverbs 27: 1 

    b_Teddy

    Teddy ♥

     


     

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  5. Passion! Well, we've seen quite a bit of it lately haven't we?

    For the last few months and more intensely for the last few weeks we have been listening to the passionate campaigning of both the 'remain' or 'leave' the EU parties.

    Each side has put forth their arguments and expressed viable points and as a result, the British public have now voted to leave the EU once for all!

    A long period of transition will occur before we all discover whether or not this was the right decision. However, whether right or wrong, there's no turning back. We must trust that the turmoil within the high levels of government will soon settle and that a strong and sensible leadership will prevail.

    Personally, I feel that if everyone had of brought the living God into the equation, then as a country we would be guaranteed to have made the right decision and would look forward to the promised blessing of all who seek to give to Him the preeminence!

    Because this has been such a emotive subject, resulting in such great impact on all of our futures, I couldn't help but notice the amount of passion behind the campaigners appeals.

    It is understandable of course, that from their standpoint there would have been nothing more important than persuading the public to decide either to remain or to leave the EU - depending which side of the fence they were standing. But I wondered if any of these people were just as passionate about the destiny of their never dying souls! 

     In fact, I wonder how passionate you are about yours!

    Time is running out you know! It's running out for all of us for varying reasons.

    Firstly - because we are, after all just human and we are not going to live here forever. Wouldn't it be a wise thing to make sure all is well with our soul before we leave?

    Seeing as I am writing to some who are clearly ready and to others who aren't, I appeal to you from the bottom of my heart to value your soul like God does and trust fully in the One who paid for your sin on the cross when He died there as yours and my substitute.

    There's nothing on earth more important than seeking to get on the right terms with the living God who is waiting to richly reward those who search for Him diligently.

     b_Passion

    Secondly - those of us who are God's people have been left a promise from the Lord Jesus Himself:

    "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
    In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
    John 14: 1-3.

    Now, that is an amazing promise indeed! 

    But did you notice that He didn't tell us when He was thinking of coming again?

    He did this on purpose because if He were to have told us when this great event was to take place, then we would have been complacent; because after all ... we are just human!

    And because we don't know when He will come again, we are expected to be ready every moment of every day. We have the grand opportunity to be passionately occupied with His business while at the same time be on the lookout with expectation for His promised return. Isn't this also something worthy of our passion?

    To all I suggest that it is the very best thing to be among those who are joyfully anticipating His imminent return rather than to be found among those sorry folks who will find to their great and eternal loss that they have been left behind.

    The Bible teaches that when all is well with our soul and we have the coming of our Lord and Saviour to look forward to we will really know what it is like to live!

    Don't waste a moment; for He could come ... PERHAPS TODAY!

     


     

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