Earlier in the year I wrote about 'a rainbow moment' when the Lord sends to us little hints to remind us of His tender loving care over us. For me on more than one occasion He has sent a song bird to sweetly serenade at the time when birds don't usually sing - right in the middle of winter! Now that the spring time has arrived at last, the air is filled with birdsong and I am spoiled with the beautiful calls of the blackbird, song thrush, and little robins calling for suitable mates.
Well, just the other day we had a surprise beautiful sunny day to treat us after what has seemed like an endless winder of grey drizzle or pouring rain! It was actually warm enough to open the windows for a while to let some fresh air in and there on my window ledge was a beautiful butterfly with its wings spread open in the warmth of the sun.
I watched it for a while as it partially closed and opened its wings over and over. As I walked away from the window I had to smile; for I was thinking: 'talking of butterflies' that's what my tummy is feeling a lot these days as the time of my channel re-launch was fast approaching :)
But I almost missed it you know! I didn't get it at first but there it was in all its glory right in front of me just at the time when butterflies don't appear. Could this be another 'rainbow moment'? It would not be an uncommon thing to see a butterfly around the months of July and August, but at the beginning of April after an endless winter? Now, that was something very unusual!
I was talking with a friend the other day who was telling me of those 'God winking' moments in his life when the Lord had somehow gone to the trouble to give little tokens of His personal care for him during troubled times and dark seasons.
So I stopped and whispered a prayer asking the Lord what was He trying to tell me when He sent that little butterfly to perch itself on my window ledge.
We all have them, don't we? Seasons of obscurity, dark valleys, sleepless nights, memories of better times, and we wonder if we as Gods people will ever be of any use to Him again or will we ever be of any benefit to someone else once more. Perhaps some of you might be feeling like the best times are over and all you can do is to wait to go home to heaven or wait for His glorious appearing when He comes to take those who have trusted in Him home to be with Himself forever. He's been gone a while now, and has been preparing for us - surely it won't be long before we hear His call to 'rise up ... and come away.'
Perhaps that little butterfly before he grew his wings thought that life was drawing to a close as a cocoon slowly started to grow around its failing body. If it were possible for bugs to get depressed this would have been a justifiable reason for him to be so.
But while hidden for a while and out of sight something incredible was happening. A change was taking place which would alter his appearance and manner of living forever. No turning back!
We might not be aware of it at the time when we are enclosed in a dark world and cut off from what we are familiar with, but if we look carefully we will see that God is at work
“When you find yourself cocooned in isolation and cannot find your way out of the darkness,
I have often asked the question quietly in my heart: "How can any good thing come out of this circumstance or this experience?" It doesn't make any sense at the time but looking back I can now trace the hand of God upon all the events in life that appeared to defy logic.
There are priceless things to be learned during times of obscurity, suffering and trial. And if you are a child of God please be assured that not a sigh, not a tear will ever be wasted. The Lord has a divine purpose in every event of your life, even those uncomfortable ones!
Well, there's been a fair amount of 'uncomfortable' moments in my life, and although I wouldn't want to relive them over again, the knowledge I have acquired of the Lord I would never have known otherwise makes every disappointment and heartache worthwhile.
"I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able
So what do we do with what we know? Do we hide it, or do we shout it from the roof tops?
Well, what does the butterfly do? He spreads his wings and flies!
The promise of the coming of the Lord draws near and: "yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry." Hebrews 10: 37. It's not long before we who are God's people will hear the call and the sound of the trumpet that heralds His coming and our departure. What a day that will be - home, home, home - at last!
Time is passing and there is much to do. Some can do a lot, while others can do a little but we certainly must be doing something! Something that will bring pleasure to the heart of God and bless others as well. This is the kind of life that springs from an eternal sources, and the only kind of work with eternal value.
We all have that opportunity you know - Today, it's my turn, and it just may be yours also :)
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"The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness;
but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
1 Corinthians 1: 18
It just so happens that the very day in which we celebrate the resurrection of our beloved Lord Jesus is on the 1st day of April - commonly known as April fool's day!
I find that to be quite an intriguing concept, because the good news Gospel message is all about what the world system would consider utter foolishness!
But what does the Bible have to say about this?
* Who would ever have come up with the idea that God would come to visit the earth in a human body, via the article of a virgin womb?
* And if God was going to do something like this wouldn't He have chosen to be born in to nobility?
* Who would have volunteered to suffer ridicule and rejection by those near and dear to Him and by those who ought to have known Him better?
* Seeing as He as God chose to live in a human body - why would suffer the ill manners of those He came to save and allow himself to be taken by wicked hands and nailed to a cross?
* And how He got there is almost beyond reckoning because this Man who did no wrong was set up and suffered the humiliation of a trumped up charge in order to have Him done away with!
* Then suspended on the cross by nails pierced through His hands and feet, and bearing on His brow a cruel and mocking crown of thorns, who would have ever thought of a plan like this to reach the dire needs of mankind?
* Who would ever have thought that spectacle of suffering and shame on Calvary's hill was the very means that God intended to pay the debt we owe to Him?
If we were going to formulate a rescue plan for the needs of the human race we wouldn't have come up with a plan like this I'm sure!
But God did!
So much needless pain and suffering, apparently! But this was exactly what God had designed even before the beginning of time. One day Jesus would come and live His perfect, pure and beautiful life, and demonstrate from His demeanour the wonder of the very nature and character of God, and then go to the cross and demonstrate for all the world to see the wonder of the love of God.
Some would say that this is a foolish message: "Why did all this happen so long ago, and how could such a extreme set of actions have any effect me - personally?
I don't suppose we will ever really know the depth of the answers to these questions 'why?' and 'how?' Except for what the Bible tells us. It's a simple message really, and yet so very profound.
Because of love
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son ...
Through faith alone
... that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3: 16
This might seem to be a foolish message by those in the world, but those of us who have taken that step of faith and trusted Him fully have discovered that this seemingly foolish message actually is powerful with a capital 'P'.
Why is this?
It is because this is this message is a message from God! He is the power behind this message of love and the power of that message is the ability He has to transform the destiny and the lives of those who are prepared to put their complete trust in Him.
So what about us? Or should I ask ...
What About You?
How much of yourself are you prepared to give to Him in return; for such 'love so amazing, so divine, demands our hearts, our lives, our all?
Although the world might think that we are utterly crazy, the fact is that the more of ourselves we are prepared to give in response to such love, the richer in spirit we become!
A famous missionary who was martyred by the people he was called to take the Gospel to in Ecuador once wrote in his journal:
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
The principles of victorious Christian living and the principles of being successful in the world are polar opposites. Be prepared, if out of love for Christ we are going to follow Him and serve Him, because most people will think you are a fool. You may not get the applause, fanfare or even the appreciation you hoped you would get. But take courage dear one; for at the end of the day it is what is precious to God that is most important. Being appreciated and approved are passing fancies but God's reward is certain and eternal.
Who is the real fool in the light of the things that we now know? Is it the person who is trusting in a God he cannot see? Or is it the one living for the here and now with the rewards of today which he cannot guarantee to keep while denying the existence of the invisible God and His supreme love?
Here's your answer ...
"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God."
Psalm 53: 1
"Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness."
Ecclesiastes 2: 13
So, why not now at this particular time when Easter Sunday just so happens to fall on the same day as April fool's day, choose this particular time to take the plunge and trust in the Man who once died on the cross to save you from the sin that separates you from His eternal good plans for you?
Prove to yourself, and to those round you and that this is the business of the prudent, diligent, and the wise; for your soul is eternal and its value is beyond measure.
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"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha,
which by interpretation is called Dorcas:
this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.
And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died:
whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there,
they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.
Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber:
and all the widows stood by him weeping,
and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made,
while she was with them."
Acts 9: 36-39
There's something about this woman that touches my heart and challenges my soul.
Dorcas had made an impression on the women folks so much so that the evidence of her acts of kindness and talents were left behind for all to see and handle. She had made an impact on the lives of these people, and now she was gone, and they missed her.
Somehow by showing to Peter the garments she had made while she was alive were symbols representing her value as someone they looked up to as an example.
But what impressed me about this account was not so much the fact that there was something of this woman's work left behind to display, but in emphasis of the wise use of her time and talents is the little phrase:
"while she was with them,"
She did what she could while she had the opportunity and didn't wait for a later time and more favourable conditions. The young man in the following example was asked a seemingly ordinary question repeatedly, which led him to some deep soul searching. You might like to do the same:
A man asked his grandson who was a young graduate:
"So what are you going to do now?"
The young man replied: "I guess, I'll look for a job."
"And then what?" said his grandfather.
"Well, once I get a job, I'll work hard and try to go up the ladder a bit and get a promotion."
"And then what?" Replied the man once more.
"Well, I would like to get a nice car, be able to pay for a home of my own and support a marriage, all the things that money can buy."
"And then what?" Continued the older man.
"If I find the right girl, we will get married and have a family."
He was asked again: "And then what?"
"Watch the children grow up and get them a good education."
The young man was starting to feel a little uncomfortable by now, but he continued to answer the repeated question.
"See our children married, and enjoy the grandchildren."
"Retire and go on holidays"
It was getting towards the young man's perceived end of the journey and his grandfather continued: "And then what?"
"Well," he said with hesitation, "I guess the kids will take care of us or we'll go to a retirement home!"
"And then what"
And for one last time the man asked his grandson softly: .... "And then .... what?"
So many of us make plans and think of the here and the now with no thought of eternity. With a mindset like this we leave no legacy of lasting value for those left behind. We might have accumulated some wealth to pass on but that is all!
What kind of an impact are we really leaving behind us when we leave the work place each day, when we leave our relatives after a visit, after we have spent time with a friend. What lasting value are we passing on to our children or grandchildren?
Here and now is the time to make an impact. Here and now is our opportunity to preserve and pass on values that are eternal. While we are here is the only opportunity we have to take hold of what the eternal and living God has to offer lost individuals like ourselves.
And this is all because there was called Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came here with a mission 'to save sinners' from the guilt, the power and the consequences of their sin. And while He was here He lived a beautiful and fragrant life leaving behind wonderful legacy for us to enjoy and feed our souls this day. While He was here His mission was to go to the cross to suffer, bleed, and to die as our Substitute.
He was only here for a little while and yet He changed the course of history forever.
And He has the ability to change the destination of repentant souls forever.
Everyone who trusts in Him with all their heart has the ability to make an impact while we are here. Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if each of us were known by others as the Christian who lives in the house with the lovely garden, or the person who is always sharing her faith with the people on the bus on the way to work, or the only one in the office who doesn't engage in a dirty conversation. Wouldn't it be wonderful if people when thinking of you were to remember the kindness, and compassion and Christ like character that ought to adorn every true child of God.
Because I have a small public profile it is easy for those who follow and those who are subscribers to associate my name with Christian interests. But what about those with whom I rub shoulders almost every day? And what about those who rub shoulders with you?
Am I known as the woman down the road who is always in skirts or dresses, the one who doesn't come out of her apartment very much, or the woman who drives the dark grey car, etc? I would very much prefer to be known for who I am as a Christian, and what I stand for in Christ. The Christian woman who lives in the apartments at the other end of the estate. The one who writes and sings Christian songs. The 'no nonsense' woman who talks a lot about Jesus when she can!
I remember being approached by a young lad who I used to teach in Sunday School a long time ago. He recognised me but I hadn't recognise him until he told me who he was. When he introduced me to his friend, he said: "this is Amanda - she's a friend of Jesus!" I took that as a compliment. In the light of what I am trying to convey I think you can understand the reason why.
Just a week ago the news came to us of the passing of Billy Graham the Christian Evangelist whose ministry covered seven decades. The Lord used this man to reach almost 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. He also reached hundreds of millions more through television, video, film, and webcasts faithfully proclaiming the Gospel message. As a faithful servant of God He passionately declared the message of the Bible, which tells of the saving grace of God through the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
Though human just like the rest of us and subject to diversions, faults and failures along the way, this man like King David; was "a Man after God's own heart." He will always be known as Ambassador for God, 'Chaplin of the Whitehouse', 'advisor to world leaders', Christian evangelist, faithful husband, and loving father. Someone has recently said of this man: "When someone gives their life to a Divine calling, amazing things happen - That is the legacy of Billy Graham."
What is our reputation, and what is the legacy we will leave behind?
>> Please feel free to leave a comment below - it would be lovely to hear from you ♥
Has there ever been a time in your life when God has sent to you a token of His promise?
A little reminder of His concern for you personally?
Perhaps you have been left wondering if that with which you are presently occupied is really what God wants you to do. Perhaps you are floundering in uncertainty and you need a little confirmation to restore your faltering faith.
The following few thoughts might be just the very encouragement you're in need of right now.
I remember a time like that a while ago. I was about half way through editing songs for my second CD, but I felt like I was walking a very lonely path. Now, don't get me wrong, I loved what I was doing and I was in no doubt that what was being created would ultimately be used by God to bless all who heard the songs being crafted.
But I was going through a bit of a hard time and I was starting to feel isolated and forgotten.
I sat in a spare room upstairs one cold grey miserable February morning to have my alone time alone with God. I had just read something of particular interest and paused to think a while on the lovely words, when I heard an unusual noise coming from outside.
"Was that a bird singing?
No, surely not!
This wasn't the time of the year for birdsong!"
It had snowed a few days earlier and it was one of those days when the snow was melting very slowly and everything was very grey, very wet, and very cold!
But I could hear a lonely bird singing!
I opened the window to confirm I wasn't just 'hearing things', and sure enough just a stone's throw away in the tree just opposite me a blackbird was singing softly and beautifully.
I leaned out of the window and the chill caused my breath to rise in billows of steam but it was worth getting cold just to drink in those moments of absolute beauty while they lasted.
Mr blackbird sang sweetly for a few minutes and then flew off never to be heard again until the spring time.
I was quite possibly the only one around to hear, because everyone else from home and in the neighbourhood was either at school or at work. I felt very privileged.
I felt as if God had sent a rainbow moment to me when He sent a bird to sing in my earshot at a time when the singing of birds is not usually heard.
He brought to me comfort and joy in the midst of troubled times and then I knew that I was on the right track after all.
Incidentally, featured on the CD I was working on, just so happens to be a song about the singing birds which I was planning to work on sometime ahead, and although this is not the reason why the song is there, it gives me great pleasure whenever I remember it is there for someone else to listen to.
I would like to share with you the incredible story behind the creating of this particular song, however, I think that I will keep that for another day. Perhaps I can use this as a subject matter for a video at 'Amanda's Corner on YouTube later on in the year :-)
But believe it or not - the very same thing happened to me a little while ago! It was New Year's day, and unusually the home was very quiet. I would have been preparing to entertain for this special day if it were not for the fact that my husband was very unwell with a chest infection and severe asthma and was spending the day sleeping as he had done the day before. So the home was quiet and I was in a deep reflective mood which had been with me since the day before. I had been wondering about God's plans for 2018 and preparing myself to take yet another giant step of faith - alone, if necessary. And that's when I heard it again!
Was I hearing things?
No, I definitely heard it - a lonely bird singing in the large fir tree right outside our apartment window.
Once again I found myself opening the window to appreciate his beautiful singing :) I listened and listened for good ten minutes until the bird sang no longer. I swallowed a huge lump in my throat and got all teared up. What did all this mean?
It appears to me to be something of significance
and by no means a coincidence ...
that on both occasions I happened to be reflecting on something I knew to be what God wanted me to do accompanied with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and isolation, and the dreaded doubt that caused me to question what am I doing and the reason why.
Now, in the Bible as recorded in the book of Genesis, God sent a flood to judge the human race because of sin for which they revelled in rather than repent of. Noah, his wife, three sons and their wives were the only members of the human race to survive because they sheltered in the Ark as God commanded them to do.
And after the flood started to dissipate and a new life was about to begin, God gave to Noah and his family a token in the form of a beautiful rainbow. Whenever they saw a rainbow they would remember God's provision, His care, His shelter and His promises to them of His everlasting care.
"I do set my bow in the cloud,
and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth,
that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you
and every living creature of all flesh ..."
Genesis 9: 13-15
God promised them that He would never again flood the whole earth to judge the human race again. When they saw the rainbow they would remember His promise. Today we are privileged to still see the beautiful rainbow in the cloud during a time of rain if the sun should be exposed to shine its rays through the rain fall.
Today, we have the Word of God and all His promises contained therein, and if we desire to spend our lives walking with Him and pleasing Him, then we certainly need to allow His Word to dwell in us richly. (See Colossians 3: 16.)
But every now and then He gives to His people a token. It might be just something small and personal as a sweet reminder of His loving care and interest in every detail of our lives.
For some it may be the words of a song or hymn. For others it might be a certain scene or sound, and for others it could be a certain fragrance that evokes all sorts of memories of the never failing care and promises of God. It might simply be a hand on the shoulder, the love of a child or a simple word of encouragement.
Just a little personal token from the heart of God to verify His promise.
Well, the race and the goal has already been set before me, as I am sure yours is set before you. The question is: do we know what it is we must be doing, and do we know the reason why?
Whatever God has entrusted you with, treasure it with all of your heart, and invest it wisely. In due course the Lord will come and before we know it, and He'll be on the lookout for the fruit of our labours.
But please be warned - you can be sure that once you have set your heart to walk with God and serve Him you will be met with opposition, which can lead to personal questionings and the feelings of doubt. But remember, if it is Him you are seeking to honour and obey, He will give to you what it takes to remind you of His tender love and care to you personally.
Those rainbow moments will serve as reminders of His promises that He will always be with you no matter what!
"Therefore, my beloved brethren,
be ye stedfast, unmoveable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
1 Corinthians 15: 58
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"Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool,
which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk,
of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water:
whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in
was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case,
he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled,
to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked ..."
John 5: 2-9
This is perhaps an unusual account to think about at the beginning of a brand New Year but I have good reason to refer to it at a time like this.
Last November marked 38 years since by the grace of God I was saved and began my heaven bound journey. Life has taken a few unexpected turns along the way, where there have been prolonged periods of suffering and fiery trials to endure. But I can confidently testify that through them all I have learned that God is able in ALL circumstances -
- He is able to save all that come to God through Christ, (Hebrews 7: 25.)
- He is able to keep our souls safe in His loving care, (2Timothy 1: 12.)
- He is able to keep us from falling, (Jude 1: 24.)
- He is able to provide for all our needs according to His riches in Christ, (Philippians 4: 19.)
- He is able to comfort us in our trials and deliver us from temptation, (Hebrews 2: 18.)
- And He is also able to do far greater than what our hearts could even imagine or ask for, (Ephesians 3: 20.)
What do you do with the precious metals that emerge from the furnace or with the jewels that survive the blast of the hammer? Are these things not to be displayed for all to see and admire?
When God permits a person to go through a crucible experience,
it is with a view of making them better, and not bitter!
Therefore if the result is better, then something very precious has been acquired and must be handled with great care - not to be hidden but displayed for all to see and benefit from.
The result of my personal crucible experiences is the outpouring of treasures gained from the depths so that others can benefit and be encouraged via this website with its varied content and via some of the many wonderful resources provided freely for our use.
Some years ago I struggled for a long while concerning the publication of my music and songs but eventually it all happened after I was prepared to finally trust in the Lord every step of the way. As a result two albums have been created and published which are blessing dear people worldwide :)
But for a long while now there has been another personal struggle going on. And this has been to take the work the Lord has given me to do one step further from music and songs to ... videos!
Like the man at the pool waiting for someone to help him reach the pool for healing, I feel that I have been looking in the wrong direction at the many circumstances that appear to hinder my progress. One by one pressures arise which distract and fog my view of what I am hoping to accomplish.
Because of some sort of superstition the paralysed man thought the pool was the place where he ought to be but the Lord had other plans for him. The answer to his problems was not to be found at the pool and the reason why he had to wait so long to be healed did not lie in the fact that there was no one to help. The answer to his problems was to be found in the command of the Lord alone: "Rise, take up your bed, and walk." And that was it! No fuss. No drama. No more excuses. The Lord was in effect saying to the man:
'What are you waiting for? - Just get up ... Just do it!'
Perhaps for these past thirty eight years I have been making a few excuses of my own, but I know from past experience that: 'I have no resources', 'I am not qualified', and 'I am afraid', 'I have no time', are not viable reasons for not doing what He has told me to do.
At this present moment I could offer to you a whole long list of reasons why I don't feel ready to do what I have been preparing several years for but time is marching on and after 38 years of waiting I hear the promptings of the Lord saying to my heart: "Just do it, and I will take care of everything".
And so in the will of the Lord I will endeavour to add to my little collection of as yet unpublished videos a few more in readiness to publish in time for Rest a While's Anniversary at the end of April. They will consist of song videos showcasing a few songs already known from my two albums and some songs never heard before, as well as music, and inspirational thoughts. All with the intention to encourage God's people in these gloomy days and also to interest other people in the wonders of the Lord and Saviour who is able to save precious souls from a lost eternity.
Well, this is all in His hands and we will see what will be the result of all this waiting.
But how about you?
Is there a burden on your heart to do something in your life of lasting and eternal value? It is never too late you know! You may be feeling that life has passed you by and now the best of your years are behind you - but it is not too late.
Dear friend and follower of the Lord, don't be afraid to say a little word of encouragement to a fellow Christian. This is something that the Lord values very highly indeed. Don't be afraid to say a good word about the Lord to someone who needs to hear the good news Gospel message. Don't be afraid to give out a little leaflet containing the Word of God to someone who needs it so badly. Don't be afraid to open your door to your neighbours, your home might be the only place where they will encounter the goodness of the living God. A simple compassionate act may all that is needed. Just do it!
Dear friend who is still in need of God's full and free Salvation - what are you waiting for? Don't make up excuses in an attempt to justify why you haven't trusted in Him yet. He came into this world just for you as an individual to demonstrate His love for you personally. There on the cross all that time ago He had you in mind and suffered in your place because of the sin that is separating you from the unspeakable wonders that God has in store for you. Don't be afraid to trust in Him ... Just do it ... you will be eternally glad you did. Believe me - I know!!!
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5: 17
So here we are on the threshold of a brand New Year and what is in store for each of us we do not know. But I trust that as a result of reading this you will be challenged in your heart to get some alone time with God and do some honest soul searching in His presence. Ask Him for the help and wisdom you need in order to live a life that is of eternal value to Him, which will in turn guarantee a full and satisfying way of life for you. Don't let a moment more of wasted time slip away forever ... Just do it!
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy
filled with all of the wonderment that comes to those who walk closely with the Lord.
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