Tuesday, 15 December 2015

white Christmas

I get so excited about people opening presents that people often mistake me for the Birthday Girl at a party which definitely isn't mine. I love seeing peoples face as they unwrap something that I have picked with them in mind. I love being the giver of gifts. But there is someone who is a much better gift giver than me. 'Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who doesn't change like shifting shadows' (James 1:17)

I love Christmas. No if's or but's. 
I love Jesus, the story of the birth of the Saviour of the world, the beauty of the star that guided the shepherds and the wisemen to their new baby King.
I love Christmas trees, tacky jumpers, turkey, tinsel, mistletoe, santa, glitter, mince-pies and nativity plays. 
Like I said: No if's or but's. 

If you know me you'll know that I can't sing - literally not even one note in my head, this is unfortunate for everyone I meet because despite my true inability - I never stop singing. I think I have a problem - every sentence someone says to me, I can quickly and efficiently find a song that relates or fits the sentence. These constant blurts of lyrics 'sang' loudly out of tune has most of my friends sent round the bend. And at Christmas time it doesn't stop, in fact I think it probably gets worse. [Sorry to all my friends I love you all.]

I was wrapping my presents the other night and had some Christmas playlist on in the background. On came 'White Christmas', the lyrics of which go 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know'. and as I belted out these words in I'm sure a non-existent key/pitch/tone/whatever music word is correct in this context, something occurred to me.

We have already received our White Christmas. 

You see the Old Testament tells us: 
'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.' (Isaiah 1:18) 
This means that when we accept Jesus as our Saviour, He cleans our sin from scarlet to white.

And David actually takes it one step further and says: 
'Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow' (Psalm 51:7)
WHITER than SNOW? When you think of white - you think snow, but Jesus actually washes us more white than snow. If you don't know Jesus yet, and every time you think about God you imagine an angry, grumpy man who only cares about everything you have ever done wrong, let me tell you that He is your Father, He loves you and He wants to let you be free of that, He wants to wash you, from scarlet to whiter than snow.

That first Christmas when Jesus was born, We received the greatest gift of all. 
Through His birth, the world was prepared to see Him conquer death.
Through His life, the world witnessed the only perfect life. 
Through His death, the world could be saved.

So this Christmas, if you haven't yet accepted the giver of life, the King of heaven, the best gift giver of all. I pray that this year you'll have your White Christmas in accepting Him, and having your slate washed clean, from scarlet to whiter than snow. 

And if you have accepted Him, I praise God for that, and I pray that you'll join me in thanking God for His perfect gift to us, praising Him for His constant goodness and encouraging others to open their hearts to Him.

Saturday, 5 December 2015


Every Friday night I spend my time with a group of kids ages 4-11. 'Kidz Club' is my favorite time of the week, and although it has it's challenges, there is nothing I love more than hearing my wee kids' enthusiastically told stories about their beautiful wee lives. This week I sat on the floor and listened to an 'interesting' description of Mary Poppins - the fictional nanny who was 'perfect in every way'

How often do we think perfection means tidy hair or a freshly washed car or 100% on a test
When I think perfect - I think no faults, no flaws, no dirt.
But now I feel a wee nudge in a different direction. 

What was the perfect sacrifice? What was perfect obedience? What showed perfect love?

Jesus, the Son of God. 
Beaten, mocked, scorned. 
Hung on a man-made cross. 
Jesus is perfect, but His death was dirty. 

Sometimes I get scared of things, because they aren't clean-cut, my hands will get dirty or I'd need to pull my sleeves up. But the thing is that God's will is perfect and sometimes it involves us getting covered in muck. 

While away this summer with a super team in Tanzania, I met a beautiful friend for life, she will remain anonymous, but her story will not. She had a serious fear of illness causing her to constantly stress, worry and panic. One particular night she awoke me in a panicked state in the middle of the night - she felt sick. I tried to calm her down, gently reminding her to concentrate on what was real and what feelings were true and rational, but this time she assured me she was really going to be sick. So out into the pitch-black, mosquito-filled, African night air we went. As she shook in fear, I quickly prayed the most random prayer of my life - I asked God 'Father if she is actually going to be sick, please just give the sickness to me.' 

Now in the hustle and bustle of us going outside we had accidentally awakened the amazing doctor-to-be on our team, and she came out to help. As she sat down, and I stood up, I ran inside, got to the nearest hole-in-the-ground toilet and threw up, everywhere

I felt fine while outside, I felt fine while throwing up and I felt AMAZING straight after throwing up. Two minutes later in came the two lovely girls from outside, both calm, full of peace and ready to go back to bed. 

God is perfect, the way He works is perfect. Being bold here - our image of perfection is warped
The perfect way doesn't mean the easiest, neatest, most clean way.
The perfect way simply means God's way

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

God-fearing or God-afraid ?

Sometimes we think that the fear of God is just an 'Old Testament Thing'. The truth is that the same fear of God that the midwives had at the start of Exodus which made them spare the Hebrew babies, is the fear of God that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 10 when He told us 'Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28). Which is the same fear of God that Paul talks about in one of his letters when he teaches us to 'work towards complete holiness because we fear God' (2 Corinthians 7:1). Scripture is full of examples of fearing God being a positive thing. 

However, how many times does the Bible tell us to not be afraid? 365 times. 
And I know from my best friend's constant reminder that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). The problem arises when instead of fearing God out of reverence, we get afraid of God. Afraid of His perfect power. Afraid of His perfect will. I don't think that's what God has for us. He is our Father, He loves us, He doesn't want us to be scared of Him.

The Holy Spirit is God.
If you believe that statement please bear with me here.
The Holy Spirit is God. 
Perfect love comes only from God.
The Holy Spirit is God.
Perfect love casts out fear.
The Holy Spirit is God.
We don't need to be afraid of the Holy Spirit.
He is God. He is good. He works only for our good. 

Jesus told us as believers 'it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you' (John 16:7). Jesus told us that it was better that we have the Holy Spirit with us, than having Jesus with us. Jesus said that. Not me.

God is constant, He doesn't change.
This means that the Holy Spirit is constant, He doesn't change. 
He was there at creation, hovering over the water, and He is here now, within every believer. 
The idea that the Holy Spirit comes in crazy spurts here and there is just not biblical. Yes, sometimes the things that happen through the Holy Spirit are huge and crazy and miraculous, but that does not excuse the fact that He is ever present, ever working, ever comforting, ever counselling. I worry that when we constantly only seek God in the spectacular, we miss His beautiful work in our everyday, simple lives! The Holy Spirit is steady - always present and always at work, whether in the spectacular or in the simple.

I know how very human I am, I know this might not make sense to you.
My prayer as always is that if there is something that God would want you to take from reading this that it would indeed take root, and if not: you'd forget you even opened the page.

My prayer for myself and for anyone who reads this is:
a) we would never forget to fear God, but that we wouldn't be afraid of Him
b) we would trust God because He only wants the best for His children, always
c) we wouldn't be scared of the Holy Spirit, because it is Him living in us that allows us to show people Jesus in our everyday living, it is Him that brings the words of the Bible so completely alive and it is Him who guides, comforts and intercedes for us, always.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

will and grace

If you have ever talked to me, you will know I would love to be able to fast forward 10 years, just to see where I am, what I'm doing and who I'm with, then come straight back to the here and now. You see I tell myself that this wee fast-forward would give me peace, I'd know where I'm ending up so I wouldn't have to worry about whether to change uni course, or whether I should invest in that person. But as per usual, my ridiculousness is put in check by our good God, who promises me peace that surpasses understanding if I skip 10 years, trust in Him.

Something I have been struggling with since my eyes were opened to God is His will. Many times my best friend and I have discussed the free-will debate. God is sovereign, His will prevails, but we have free will, so whaaaaaaat? Round and round we go in circles. But the thing I would love to share today, is that God's will, will.

For the last few weeks I have been obsessed with working out God's will, I thought that if I could work out His entire will for my life, then I'd be able to write it down and tick off the boxes as I went along. Seriously keads? What kind of Father would actually let their child know everything they were going to do ever and then just leave them to it? Maybe this tick-box thing just always finds its way into my life because of how I was brought up, or maybe because even since Jesus' time we have realized that a check list is easier than relationship... 

'If only I knew God's will, then I could do God's will'. I admit that I have said this phrase, thought this phrase and heard this phrase without thinking much of it, in fact thinking it's a fair statement. While I'm left speculating continually over whether something is God's will for me or not, there is so much of God's will already revealed to us in the Bible.  I think that our duty is first to obey the will that God has already revealed, and not to ponder endlessly on what His hidden will for us might be. I really don't believe our God is a God of 'what if's'.

Then when we are living in line with His revealed will, we'll be able to start seeing the parts of His will that are just for us. 
Romans 12:1-2 says this: 
'Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.  

We have to offer ourselves up first and then God's will becomes clear. It's not like a job description and you can have God's will if the times and places suit you. It's more like once you truly say 'Here I am God, send me' then He'll start showing you the job description.

Something lovely to end on is that sometimes we know what God wants us to do, maybe it's obvious, maybe you've been avoiding it for a week, or even a year, I just want to encourage you in telling you that for these times there is grace. And I would urge you that if you know what God wants for you, do it, because in obedience there is blessing
John 13:17 says this:
'Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them'

Saturday, 12 September 2015

kings and queens

Don't get me wrong. I love the Queen, in fact I love everything royal (including but not limited to: Kate, Wills, Harry, George, Charlotte and Eugenie). There is something everyone loves about the British Monarchy, something that draws us to the fascination of royalty. Maybe it's the crowns they wear, the power they have or the seemingly perfect life they lead, we are fascinated in every move they make.

I'm so happy that Queen Elizabeth is Britain's longest serving monarch, she completely deserves it! And believe me, I write with all the respect in the world when I proclaim there is a longer and more faithful serving monarch that I know personally: 

  • A King who is higher than all other kings. 
  • A King who left His heavenly throne to come to His earth and save His people from their sins. 
  • A King who has time to know everyone person on this planet by name. 
  • A King who wants us to share His righteousness.
  • A King who will always be my King. 
  • King that wants you to call on Him.


Jesus is the only King who saves. His is the only name that will remain high forever. The fascination with royalty in this world seems far off. But if you declare Jesus as your King and as your Savior, if you have given your life to Him, if your salvation lies in His hands, He calls you royal. If you are a son or daughter of the King, you are a prince or a princess. 1 Peter 2:9-10 tells us about the royal inheritance we receive if we have given our life over to the Lord. It reads: 'But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.'

So while some celebrate Queen Elizabeth achieving reigning over Britain for the longest, I will celebrate my King, who has reigned from the beginning of time and will reign on high forever more

That King can be your King, you just need to ask Him.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

wee changes in my wee heart

In Bunda (rural Tanzania where I spent July) most people don’t have jobs and just live off their small amount of land, with their goats and whatever they can grow. Money just isn’t something people have in their pockets, yet nowhere did I see any homeless people and only in extreme circumstances are children orphaned. This is because everyone treats everyone as family, everyone is responsible for everyone. Everywhere I went I was greeted as 'dada' (sister). And I would greet everyone as mother, father sister or brother. 

You see when you start treating people like your actual family, you start to see needs that were invisible before and I really believe that this is Gods heart for his lovely church, in fact He tells us so in Philippians 2: 3+4 where it says Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.’

I learnt to give people what they need, rather than just what I think they need. Here in the west we often have it so wrong, we have an 'us and them' theory, we think it’s OK to differentiate between those we give to, and those we have the same as, I made that mistake too: 
  • I thought people needed us to build them toilets, but they really need us to teach them why it’s so important to use a toilet to stop run-off into the water that they drink. 
  • I thought people needed me to give them sanitary items, but what they really need is for us to explain to them that menstruation is a part of every woman’s life, and that they can have a normal life without being shunned or assumed to be sick. 
  • I thought people needed food but what they really needed was for me to sit and eat with them.
The only person who really knows what we need is God, and He never assumes.

Finally I have learnt that when you seek Gods will above all else through His word, praying and waiting on Him to speak, you will see MASSIVE prayers answered. A Pastor at my lovely church one time taught us from Psalm 5:3.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.’ 
He told us all, if you pray for rain, bring an umbrella
After witnessing prayers bigger than I could imagine being answered.  I would encourage you, that next time you pray for rain, stand outside in the street with your umbrella and praise our mighty God because He is a good and faithful father.

This summer has been so crazy for me, I have been used by my Father in so many ways, from Africa to the Sports hall, at my most energized to my absolute lowest, in my comfortable boat of our holiday bible club and out of the boat in Africa. We have a faithful God who loves us so much. If you open your life to Him, He will use you, wherever you find yourself. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

when rest is a test

So I just got back from a month in Bunda (rural Tanzania) and on Monday our Holiday Bible Club begins. I have 2349234 things to do, people to see, letters to post, but God is just calling me in to Him, to do one thing: rest.

Now you'd think that after 1 month of constant serving, busyness and early mornings, resting would be simple, that it would almost come naturally, and that I would definitely be happy to rest? Well yeah, that's what I thought too. However for me, giving myself over to God, to allow myself to be in his presence and rest, is a test. It's hard because resting involves meditating and thinking about the things I have seen, the people I miss, the projects I loved... and that type of thinking leaves me with feelings of sadness, anger and isolation.

There is a tiny snippet of scripture that is helping me and guiding my heart right now, and it is the lovely story of Mary and Martha, found in Luke 10:38-42: As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!' 'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things but few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'

In general when people discuss this story, Martha is renowned for being a silly, ridiculous, houseproud woman, because she misses the point. But the more I hear Jesus calling me to put everything down, to cast my cares upon Him, the easier it is to relate to Martha. You see Martha spent her time in the kitchen, while Jesus wanted her to relax with Him in the living room. 

There is a strange wee thought that the enemy plants in our head about this story, we think that before we can sit at Jesus' feet we need to sort ourselves out. But Jesus' easy and true response to this lie is that we can't sort ourselves out until we sit at His feet. It is only when we sit at Jesus' feet and allow Him to speak truth into our lives, that everything else starts to fall into place, things start making sense.

I can imagine how Martha felt, I mean if the King of Kings showed up at my door, of course I'd want the place to be tidy, the food to be tasty and the wine glasses to be tinkling. But when Jesus see's Martha's strain, her struggle, her stress: He rebukes her in the gentle and perfect way that only Jesus can. He tells her, 'Martha... Mary has chosen the better part, and it will not be taken away from her.' We don't know what happened next, we don't know what exactly Martha did, but my guess is she dropped her oven gloves, wiped the sweat from her brow, took her apron off and sat beside her sister by Jesus' feet. I think she would have then chosen the 'better part'.

And my prayer is that you too, along with myself, can leave the busyness of the kitchen and step into the 'better part' in the living room with our best friend and Savior.