Faith

Where is your security?

We recently received some income and felt like we finally had a financial buffer. Then today we were hit with a huge car repair bill that wiped out all bar a couple of hundred pounds of it. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and I’m guessing this is how the Israelites felt in the wilderness.

In Exodus 16 we read that they had left slavery in Egypt and were finally tasting freedom when they found themselves without food in the wilderness. The Israelites grumbled and felt sorry for themselves – in Egypt at least they had all the meat and bread that they wanted!

Moses went to God and His response was to rain down manna each morning and meat by night. But there was one caveat – they weren’t to store any of the provision.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. This way I will test them to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.” Exodus 16:4

Regardless of the instructions, the Israelites were fearful and kept some behind, but the next morning the manna and meat were rotten. Regardless of God’s promises to meet their daily needs, they tried to take control.

Why would God do this? He was testing the Israelites trust in Him, that He alone would prove His love by providing for His people.

Every. Single. Day.

Each time we feel a little bit financially okay as a family something seems to go wrong. Just when I think we have a handle on things, our savings are depleted again. I confess that I went to God in floods of tears about our unexpected bill. He simply said; “the money I provided you with was to cover the repairs that you needed. I will give you what you need when you need it.

The One who breathed life into my bones brought the funds that we needed.

Talk about a reality check. The One who breathed life into my bones brought the funds that we needed. God knew we needed a safe car to transport our most precious cargo. He knew the repairs were more than we could finance so He covered it. God also knows what I need next week, and the week after that. And He gives me daily bread.

God reminded me today that if He can raise £1500 for car repairs then He can provide for my family and I. All too often I place my security in my savings, but God reminder me today that I need to place my security in my Saviour. I hope that if this message finds you in a tight spot too that you will be encouraged. God’s got this and He’s got you.

R x

The Choice – part 3

What is a good romance story without a rags to riches tale? In The Notebook we see Allie and Noah; a rich uptown girl and a working class boy. They should never have crossed paths, they were told they would never make it yet their love surpassed surpassed the doubters. They chose each other.

Ruth and Boaz should never have crossed paths, and indeed, we read that there is an age gap which suggests it should ever have worked. But God.

During this series, we have looked at the choices of the people in the story of Ruth, but today I want to look at the choices of God.

God chose Ruth & Boaz

Why would God choose a moabitess – not an Israelite woman – to begin the line that led to an ancestor of Jesus? Why would God choose Boaz – a man who was not a Jew, was the son of Rahab the prostitue? Both were unlikely choices to build a Royal bloodline, but God saw beyond their circumstances and looked straight at their hearts. Ruth and Boaz were faithful, loyal and generous.

God chooses broken people

Time and time again we see God use ‘broken people’ inthe Bible. Paul the persecutor of Christians, David the adulterer, Moses the murderer, these are just a few examples of men who did great things becuase of their great God. These people lied, stole, hurt, betrayed, yet they all gave their hearts to God and sat with Jesus.

Jesus is the greatest love story. He is the kinsman redeemer, like Boaz, and we the bride, like Ruth, He is coming to redeem. Boaz wanted the lady not the land – Jesus wants you not the prestige of position. Lets look at the comparisons:

Ruth returned with Naomi to Bethlehem – Jesus returned to Earth
Ruth reached out to Boaz – Jesus reached out to us and for us on the cross
Boaz redeemed Ruth – Jesus redeemed us by paying the price for our sin
Boaz restored Elimelech’s name – Jesus restored our relationship with God

Jesus chooses you

Despite being the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus lowered Himself to a baby born in a filthy stable, growing up as a tradesman’s son. He died the most ugly, cruel and despicable death, even though He could have commanded the angels to rescue Him at anytime. e did that for you, and He would do it again even if you were the only person on earth. That baby that was born in stable and wrapped in dirty rags is now clothed in glory, as the King of Heaven.

Now that is a rags to riches story for the ages.

R x

Hope with Habakkuk

We could all do with a little bit of hope right now. The world is unsettled and uncertain, nothing is sure and things feel a little bit hopeless. This is just how Habakkuk felt.

600BC Israel was being invaded, the fig trees did not bloom, the fruit did not grow, the crops failed, the flocks disappeared. Sound familiar? Right now we are being invaded by a virus, lives have been taken, jobs have been lost, income has stopped, food is scarce, the future uncertain.

Habakkuk had gone to God with his requests. He had watched to see what God would do, he had worked on his faith as he waited to see what God would say, and now he was faced with an answer that he hadn’t expected.

So what did Habakkuk do next? He worshipped.

His response astounds me, and challenges me. It is not easy to thank God when your prayers are unanswered. It is not easy to praise Him when your problems remains, yet this is exactly what Habakkuk did.

Yet I will celebrate in the Lord – I will rejoice in the God of my salvation! The Lord my God is my strength; He makes my feet like that of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights. Habakkuk 3:18

The key to Habakkuk’s response is in the first line of this scripture; I will celebrate IN the Lord. Not when He has fixed my problems, not if He provides the miracle, not once He has removed me from the place of danger. Habakkuk celebrated IN the Lord, right where he was, with unanswered prayers and an uncertain future. Why? Because he knew God and he knew Him to be good. He knew that God had his best interests at heart.

Even though Habakkuk did not understand what God was doing,
he understood who God was.

Do we praise God even when our problems remain? Do we sing of His goodness even when we are still surrounded on all sides? Do we raise our hands even when the rain is still falling down?

God doesn’t always remove us from the mountains that we face, but in verse 19 we see that He gives us HIS strength and makes our feet surefooted like a deer and ENABLES us to walk on mountains. Have you ever seen deer on a mountain side? They look so precarious on craggy cliff edges, just a step away from a fatal fall, but they are surefooted. Why? Because they were designed to navigate this terrain and because they know the terrain.

The mountain you face right now may seem unpassable to you, but know that the God of the heavens and the earth knows every inch of this terrain. He will give you strength, He will lead you forwards and He will show you where to place your feet.

Habakkuk had confidence in God because he knew Him. Even though, still God.

The book of Habakkuk is a story of waiting and it reminds us that we are not required to be motionless while we wait. Habakkuk encourages us that we need to go to God with our prayers then do three simple things;

WATCH + WAIT  |  WORK + WAIT  |  WORSHIP + WAIT

Watch and see what God is doing, how He is weaving this into His bigger story.

Work on your faith, deepen your relationship with God and download His peace.

Worship God for He is good, and He works all things together for our good.

I don’t know where this finds you today, but I pray that you would be encouraged and equipped to keep pressing in in prayer, keep pushing forward in faith and keep praising Him in everything.

R x

HIIT with Habakkuk

Do you love HIIT? I do because I don’t have time for hour long workouts and need something that is going to give me the most impact. I have discovered that approaching my Bible as a HIIT workout right now is super helpful too. Let me explain why.

I have been studying the book of Habakkuk in the Bible and learned so many lessons about life in lockdown. Habakkuk had to wait. A LOT. Much like us right now.

Here is a recap; In chapter 1, Habakkuk complained to God about the Assyrian takeover that was causing chaos all around him. He waited for God to respond but God’s reply was to send an even crueller race – the Babylonians – to sort the men from the boys. Habakkuk was horrified, and complained a second time, before watching and waiting to see what God will do. In Chapter 2, God responds to Habakkuk and says that the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God. Another way of saying this would be that those who remain faithful while they wait, who don’t give up or give in, will survive this season. Why is this important? Because being faithful requires hard work.

Being faithful requires hard work.

I don’t need to tell you about hard work. You are already doing it. From navigating social distancing in supermarkets to teaching kids a curriculum, while managing businesses, keeping in touch with relatives, and trying to hold it altogether, you are already doing a lot of hard work. But I believe that above all this, God needs us to keep our eyes fixed on Him while we wait this out.

Right now, we are under pressure. We are facing a global pandemic, a crisis like the world have never seen before. People are losing their lives, their loved ones, their jobs, their homes. There is utter chaos all around us as everything that we took for granted now slides into uncertainty. While under pressure, it can be so easy to cut corners, to compromise, to let standards slip.  But God tells us that the righteous live by faith, so we need to exercise our faith while we wait for God to move.

We need to exercise our faith while we wait for God to move.

The best way I know to get to know God, and find out what He wants us to do is to spend time reading His Word. Time is precious right now, especially if you have a tribe of toddlers or teens in tow, and this is where HIIT comes in.

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training which shocks your mind and body into action. HIIT workouts increase your metabolism and your energy levels, while strengthening your muscles and cardiovascular system. Each workout typically takes 15-30 minutes max and are designed to repeated daily.

I believe that God wants you to approach your Bible like a HIIT workout, getting the maximum impact each time. He wants His word to shock your mind and body into action in order to strengthen your spiritual muscles. How can we do this? Here are some tips:

Be Intentional. Create a welcoming space somewhere in your home, with a candle burning, essential oils diffusing, coffee brewing, music playing; whatever works for you. Grab your Bible, a notepad and pen then set a timer for 20 minutes.

Bring Intensity. Pick a book and begin to work through it one verse at at time. Don’t just snack on the Bible or skim read through passages. Take your time and use different bible translations or commentaries online to help you draw the most out of each verse in a chapter. If you don’t know where to start the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are a great place!

Show Integrity. Make a commitment and stick to it! By choosing to show up with God each and every day you will discover the transforming power of God’s word for yourself. Because when we do the hard work, He does the heart work.

When we do the hard work, God does the heart work.

I believe that by bringing our intentions, our intensity and our integrity, each day, even if only for 15-30 minutes, God will reveal Himself to us. As we stretch ourselves He will strengthen our hearts. As we get into the Word, God will give us insight in to His plans and this will get us through the next few weeks of waiting.

It’s time to dig deep into the Bible so we can start flexing those muscles of faith.

R x

Hold on with Habakkuk

The UK has been in lockdown for three weeks and we have just been told that this will be extended by at least another three weeks. Halfway can seem like such a hopeless place. Not at the beginning, no where near the end, and it can leave us asking where is God in all of this?

The good news is that we are not alone in thinking this. Habakkuk had a pretty hard time understanding God’s plans back in 7th Century BC. The Assyrians had overpowered the Israelites and corrupted the Holy City. The prophet, Habakkuk, was distraught and couldn’t understand why God hadn’t intervened.

There are a couple of things that you need to know about Habakkuk. Firstly, his name meant ‘someone who embraces’ or in more informal terms a ‘clinger’. Habakkuk was clingy, and he chose to cling to God. This is important, because you don’t cling to just anyone. (If you do, the chances are you will be thrown right off). To cling to someone, you must know them really well, know them intimately, therefore the fact that Habakkuk clings to God shows that he knew God.

Habakkuk clung to God because he knew God.

Because he knew God, he could get close to God, and bring complaints before Him in confidence. My kids don’t whine at their aunts, uncles or adults in the shops or at church about what isn’t fair. They whine to me (unfortunately!). Why? Because we are close, we have relationship, they know me and they trust me. My children can be real, honest and authentic with me, bringing me their deepest concerns because they know I can handle it, and I will love them regardless of what they say or do.

God is big enough to handle your complaint. Furthermore, He wants you to bring them to Him, because He is your heavenly Father. He wants you to take your problems to Him so He can fix it, because thats what Dad’s do.

God wants to take on your problems, because that’s what Dad’s do.

So Habakkuk brought his problems to God, and God said “Don’t worry, I am sending the Babylonians in to take care of it”.

This horrified Habakkuk even more! The Babylonians were know for their idolatrous ways, their injustice and their inhuman treatment of others. If the Assyrians had overpowered the Israelites, then the Babylonians would straight up obliterate them.

It is not always easy to see God’s hand at work. Right now we are int the middle of a global pandemic, a crisis such as the world has never seen. We have endured lockdown, but things aren’t getting any better. We have isolated from our loved ones and practiced social distancing but still jobs and lives are being lost.

Where is God? Habakkuk asked the same thing. But he didn’t do it from a place of fear and frustration. He put his problems before God, then he climbed into his watchtower and waited.

We need to watch and wait to see God move.

While the storm is raging, it is not clear how God is going to use or control this situation. But just like Habakkuk, we need to put our problems before God, climb into our spiritual watch tower and wait for the dust to settle. God wasn’t finished then, and He isn’t finished now. There is an unseen battle happening all around us, God is at work even when we can’t see how, or don’t understand why.

It is in the stillness that God speaks. It is when we come before him in quiet confidence, clinging to our Father that He whispers into our situation. We have access to God through Jesus Christ, we are His kids, and He wants us to climb into His lap and hold on to Him.

What are you holding on to? The news bulletins? The bank balance? The Doctors report? Whatever you are facing right now, at this halfway point, I pray that you would take a leaf out of Habakkuk’s book and choose to hold on to God and hang on His word.

 

R x

Consuming content or choosing content?

Staying home has meant more time on our hands. We are scrolling more, reading more and watching more. But what are you watching?

God has been really speaking to me out of Proverbs 31 and I wanted to share some thoughts from verse 27 with you.

She carefully watches over everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness ~ Proverbs 31:27 NLT

She carefully watches. She watches what is going on in her home, what her children are watching, what they are watching her watching.

Over the last two weeks I have found it so easy to mindlessly scroll, reading reports that bring fear and despair, watching programmes that make me angry or on edge. What we watch has an impact on our soul.

Jesus said “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body.” What He meant by that was that we need to be mindful of what we look at. Be careful what we watch, because we cannot unsee something we have seen. The truth is the world is a scary place right now. But rather than consume content which further heightens our anxiety, we need to choose content that fills us and builds us.

The dictionary tells us that the noun content is a thought, a subject, or subject matter. Content can be a burden; as we consume it it can sit heavily in our hearts, dominate our thoughts. Jesus doesn’t want us to hold these burdens, He wants us to exchange them for His peace. But even more than that He promises to show us how.

Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fighting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly Matthew 11:29-30.

I won’t lay anything heavy on you or ill-fitting on you.

There is a lot of heaviness in the world, but we aren’t called to hold it. There is a lot of darkness in the world but we don’t have to be a part of it. If the eye is a lamp to our body then we need to make sure that what we are watching floods our soul with light not darkness. Watching movies and scrolling Facebook isn’t the problem, but what we are looking at can be.

As Christians, we can choose to be content despite the chaos. To choose to be still when the storms rise around us. But to do that we need to be carefully watch everything in our household.

R x

Speaking from Faith or Fear?

The threat of lockdown is now a reality. The ‘what ifs?’ are ‘what nows?’, and suddenly we are faced with a endless sea of uncertainty stretched out before us.

While I was doing my house work today, I noticed areas that had been overlooked for too long; cobwebs in corners and dust gathered in dark places. As I began to clean, God spoke to me so clearly and downloaded a message in my heart. He challenged me, as I was ‘keeping house’ at home and asked me what I was doing to keep house in my heart. What areas in my soul were dusty, what habits need to be addressed and what attitudes need to be swept out?

Proverbs 31 talks about a godly woman, and God drew me to verses 25-26; She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.

I know I haven’t spoken with kindness this week. Fear and frustration have crept in and I have snapped. I have spoken harshly and made curt demands over kind instruction. It is easy to get fearful in this current climate. Coronavirus is sweeping the world and taking not just freedom, but finances, friends and family members. It threatens to devastate hundred of thousands of households physically, financially and emotionally. Yet we know that God is greater than any virus, and we know that God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love and self-discipline. 2 Tim 1:7

We need to dive into God’s word and spend time in His presence to be filled with faith for this season.

We need to practice being in His presence to be filled with faith

When I start to feel overwhelmed by the news reports, I need to turn to God’s report. I need to open my Bible and open my heart, and let the Holy Spirit fill me up so that I have faith to face the day. This needs to be a daily practice. Jesus knew this when He walked the earth and that’s why He modelled it for us by setting aside time to pray each day.

When we spend time in prayer and worship we are changed. We are clothed with God’s strength so we can laugh with no fear of the future. God’s love pours into us and flows through us, so we can better respond to news and better relate to others. When we are filled with faith we can better lead our families.

Take a few minutes today to consider how you are feeling, to consider what you are saying online and to those in your home. If you are overwhelmed, angry or frustrated you are likely speaking from a place of fear. Don’t worry, Jesus loves you too much to leave you that way. Hey into the word and into His presence and ask Him to fill you afresh so you can speak from faith.

R x

You are not alone

“Are you scared Mommy?” My wide eyed ten year old looked up at me from the sofa, where he has been watching the latest news unfold. I thought for a moment and took a deep breath before I answered him. I am a firm believer in telling our kids the truth, where appropriate, and I wanted to honour that while protecting my 6 and 3 year old who were also listening in.

Here is what I know; Covid-19 is gathering pace. The global pandemic is far from contained, and there is no telling what the true fall out will be in months and years from now. People are dying, grieving families are unable to mourn properly, and the elderly, infants, pregnant women and the infirm are facing months of solitary confinement. Right now we are facing some of the most challenging times in world history, with the government response being likened to a country at war. Only we are fighting an unseen enemy. The truth is, we have been fighting an unseen enemy since the beginning of time.

We have been fighting an unseen enemy since the beginning of time.

When the Devil was cast down from heaven, he made it his life’s mission to take us all down with him. He has been fighting tooth and nail, summoning all the powers and principalities to wage war against God and His children.

That means you.

You were created by God, for relationship with God and He loves you with every fibre of His being. Whether you believe in God is irrelevant, but you better believe that Satan believes in Him. The Devil is busy whipping up a perfect storm right now; stealing people’s joy, dripping doubts and fear into their every day and distracting them from God.

So what can we do? We need to be on our guard and we need to know what God says about adversity. Get in to your Bible, because lets face it the early Christians had their fair share of persecution, plagues and pestilence. We need to keep pressing in to Jesus, asking for guidance, praying for protection and resting in His peace.

Knowing Jesus isn’t going to guarantee you an easy ride. But when the storms come, it is far easier to keep putting one foot in front of the other when you fix your eyes on Him.

Peter and the disciples were facing the perfect storm; the waves rising, the boat capsizing. At first glance it looked like Jesus was doing nothing – He was asleep in the back of the boat! But when the disciples turned to Him and woke Him, He stood up and spoke to the storm. (Mark 4:35-41)

Jesus is in your boat, you just beed to ask Him to speak to the storm.

You may feel surrounded on all sides, you may see the water pooling at your feet, you may even feel the waves pulling you under. But look up, fix your eyes on Jesus and ask Him to speak.

Why did He let the storm happen? I believe that Jesus was giving the disciples a wake up call. He needed them to be shaken up to get their attention, and when they finally turned their attention to Him, His power could be revealed.

When our lives are shaken, our focus shifts.

Friends, Coronavirus is here and I believe that God wants to get our attention. The whole world is being shaken and we need to turn our attention to HIM. Am I scared? No, but we are facing scary times. We are fighting an unseen enemy, but please know that we are not fighting alone.

“The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14:14

R x

My weapon is a melody

I was about 9 or 10 years old when my Nan bought me a guitar. I wish I could say this one pictured was my beloved original but it got left behind when I left Welwyn Garden City many moons ago.

I still remember sitting on my bed at my Nan’s house, learning chords and writing my own songs. My Nan loved country music and I think I fancied myself as a British Dolly Parton.

I lost music for a while, but in 2004 when I first stepped into church and heard worship, I fell in love with it all over again. As I sat in the rows of plastic chairs circling a school stage, I was immersed in the most beautiful sounds – melodies, harmonies, keys, strings, percussion. I was drawn in to the sound of worship and the presence of God surrounded me. It was something that I wanted more of, and when I moved to a different church two years later I joined the worship team as a singer.

Music is my me-time with Jesus


Music is so much more than just a hobby. To me it is my escape, my ‘me-time’ with Jesus. It is where I can feel close to God and truly free. I have turned to worship in celebration and in sorrow, in fear and in faith. The words I sing to lift Jesus higher would life me also.

In recent years mental health issues meant that I couldn’t sing a single note, but I could play. So I would pick up my guitar or lay my fingers on the piano keys and just let my soul pour out.

As I played I prayed. And my praise began to break through the darkness, break strongholds off my life, and break into areas of my heart that had been shut off for too long.

Praise brings breakthrough


I am living proof that praise brings healing and it brings hope. I am living proof of a loving God and over the last sixteen years worship has played an integral part in my life. Certainly at times, the lyrics ‘my weapon is a melody’ have never been more apt. Now I get to wield my weapon with a smile on my face instead of tears.

If you don’t know how to pray, or what to pray, can I encourage you to put on some worship music? YouTube, Amazon Music and Spotify are full of incredible artists including some of my favourites Kari Jobe, Natalie Grant, Lauren Daigle, Bethel, Hillsong and more. Let the music play and the let the Holy Spirit move.

R x

Christians and Climate Change

Yesterday I had the greatest privilege of attending the Live Lent launch at Lambeth Palace. I was invited by The Church of England to learn about the climate crisis and how we can step up to make a change.

As a family we actively work to reduce our waste and recycle wherever possible, but I have never thought about the importance of bringing my faith into the future of our planet.

Faith and our future

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby chaired a panel discussion with Christians who were passionate about sustainable living, serving Jesus and preserving the planet that God has given us. This Lent, he urges the wider church to step up and start fighting against climate change.

The climate crisis

I was humbled and challenged to learn that our world is heading for a three degree climate change by 2050. This rising temperature will lead to heatwave summers as standard, increased flooding due to hotter, humid conditions and catastrophic conditions for millions of people. Those in already warm climates face prolonged extreme weather, which can lead to failed crops, lack of food resources and adversely affect geopolitical systems.

This is more than just being a degree or three hotter, the climate crisis is a global emergency that we must take action on now.

Justin Welby shared how The Church of England will lead the way in the net zero campaign, to end carbon emissions, by reducing carbon emissions across their churches by 100%. He stressed the importance of climate prevention rather than church preservation, and it was encouraging to hear that The Church are tackling the climate crisis head on.

Creation and the Creator

Perhaps one of the messages that struck a chord with me was the passionate speech given by panel member Ali Angus from St Leonard’s, Streatham. She implored is to take our faith into conversation into the climate crisis because loving our neighbours looks like loving the environment they are in.

Loving our neighbour looks like loving the environment

We are made from the earth, formed by a Creator to live in and live off the land. Without the planet, we cannot survive and we need to look after the one we have been given.

After the panel discussion, we had an eventful Eucharist, which, due to a fire alarm, was finalised on the law a of Lambeth Palace. Ruth Valerio spoke warmly of her revelations when writing her book Saying Yes to Life, sharing how in scripture, God is in every single detail of nature, from the birds in the air to the deer crouching down to give birth.

We were challenged that as Christians, maybe we have separated the creation from salvation, yet the Bible is actually a huge nature book. With so many details of creation recorded in scripture, it makes sense that as His children, God would call His sons and daughters to protect it.

What can we do?

This year we will see the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) where decisions will be made for our planet’s future. What we do now as a people will determine the kind of life our children lead, and the kind of world they grow up in.

Now is the time to petition and pray for our politicians. We need ambitious and bold plans from the UK government on climate change. Current plans still lead to a 3.2 degree increase across the world. Aiming to halve this at the very least could help, but will still be disastrous for many.

The only real solution is to end carbon emissions and stop global warming.

This seems like an impossible task but we can all do something.

We can rise up as the Church, with one voice, to pray for our MP’s.

We can implore and encourage our government to bring forward policies on transport, heating, energy and diet.

We can vote with our feet by not using plastics.

We can choose zero carbon travel to reduce our footprint.

We can reduce waste and recycle wherever possible.

We can restrict consumption of animal products.

We can buy ethically sourced and fair trade items.

We can educate our children on the beauty of God’s creation and why we must do everything in our power to protect it. This Lent why not take time to prayerfully consider Gods creation and pledge to make a change? There are some incredible resources available including Live Lent 40 day challenge booklets for adults and children.

We all have different spheres of influence and can each share what we are doing to change the climate crisis. Love is the greatest commandment, so let’s love our selves and our neighbours and the environment we are in, in order to save our precious planet.

Are you in?

R