Someone asked me a while ago if I ever thought of changing my repertoire! Apparently I have a good voice for singing love songs and it was suggested that if ever I thought of taking this up I might be more 'successful' as a singer instead of singing all that 'religious stuff' that nobody wants to hear!
Considering where the question and suggestion came from I could have been tempted to tinker around with songs of another genre other than the one I am dedicated to.
I once again found myself asking a few questions to which I got the same answers as I always did before. "Why do I do what I do?" And "What do I hope to get out of it?"
We live in a world where success is measured by something that people can see, and if they can't see any results it's obviously a waste of effort, move on and try something else!
But what if you are obeying the call of God? What does success look like then?
Anyone seeking to walk closely with our beloved Lord knows that it is far better to follow Him totally by faith and walk alone, rather than living for the here and now with everything we could ever crave for, but without the sunshine of His smile daily - and tragically without His approval to look forward to in a soon coming day.
They say, only a fool would choose to refute the tempting offers out there. Only a fool would choose not to operate in an almost guaranteed successful realm, choosing to follow a path very few dare to go.
Or is that true? Is this what a fool does? What does it mean to be a fool in the first place?
Well, the Bible's definition of a fool is very different to the secular's definition. The secular view of a foolish person is not to take up a good offer even if it is staring you in the face! However, the Biblical view of foolishness is living life without any thought of God all day long! Just like the man in Luke ch20 who planned to create larger barns to house his accumalated harvest but did not account for the fact that he might not see tomorrow. He made no plans for his future beyond this life!
"And God said unto him,
Everyone who is truly 'born of God' knows what it is like to walk on foreign soil and move about in enemy territory. We live in the scene of Christ's rejection and all who follow this Man are considered to be foolish and out of place and time.
But nothing's changed, nothing at all! Since the earliest times of written history, those who walk with God are considered fools ....
Let's think of Noah for example - he had 120 years to change his mind or his approach - but he didn't. Against the judgement of those around He preached and worked on and on until the time came for him and his family, and two of every species of animal to shelter in the ark he had spent so long building from this strange wet stuff falling from the sky. (It had never rained before!)
Elijah, a lone man on the mountain declaring against all odds against the false prophets that the God in whom he was trusting and serving was indeed the living and true God. He must have looked pretty stupid all on his own while the angry mob geared at him, but he boldly declared that 'the God who answers by fire let Him be God.' They all had an offering of a bullock and the false prophets did their incantations to provoke their false gods to consume their offering, all to no avail. Then came Elijah who called on the living God who did wonders before them all!
The world has seen many so called fools come and go over the millennia since Old Testament days but being a fool for the sake of God is by far better than being considered a fool for no good reason. Here's what how the Bible defines what a fool really is ...
"The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."
It is the living and true God who has placed in the heart of every human being a void that only He can fill. Those who bring their empty vessel for Him to fill are able to be thoroughly satisfied.
But the real fool is the one who has already decided within his heart to deny the only One who can answer all their needs and freely give to them a living hope for the future.
'No God,' say they, so that there are no consequences for the sin that rules their life. But they only deceive themselves. Just like those who say 'no sin!' (See 1 John 1: 8.) But no one can escape the consequences of sin: "For the wages of sin is death" Everyone dies, don't they? Well this is the consequence of sin we cannot escape!
But bless God, this is not the end of the story.
God has provided the escape. Let's now read the previously quoted verse from the Bible in full for God's remedy to this rather depressing prognosis -
"For the wages of sin is death;
A price has been paid for a gift beyond measure to be given freely to undeserving individuals like you and me. Why would God do a thing like that? I guess this is what love does if we are to believe what the Bible says:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
The ultimate gift freely given to all who are prepared to place their full trust in Him completely.
So here's the answer to the questions I ask myself many times in case you are interested:
Why do I do what I do?
What do I hope to get out of doing what I do?
Back in Genesis God said something to Abraham that resonates with my soul and is the primary reason behind all I do -
"Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward."
He is the One who protected Abraham and motivated him, and He does this for me also. He is my reward, and it is because I have Him, that I have a message, and the passion and ability to communicate this wonderful message. Because He is my reward I am motivated and encouraged to make Him known. You can't stop me you know, I just can't help it :)
Call me silly if you will. Call me a fool if you must but I know whose fool I am.
But the all important question is ... whose fool are you?
Something for you from Amanda's Corner
Another video for you featuring a song from my album "A Whisper in the Wind"
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The world is looking for someone to rectify all of its problems. Someone who has all the answers to the mess we are all in.
Great campaigns are held in order to find that one special person with what it takes to rectify the multitude of dilemmas we are currently in.
But have you noticed, every elected man or woman is never able to measure up to their own personal standards let alone the goal they set for themselves while campaigning. It is impossible for them to do so because there is either not enough people to back them up or simply not enough time to implement their cause.
Earlier this month we had a general election. There were several weeks of door knocking, banner raising, public meetings, and flyer distributing in the effort to win supporters. Each stated their claim for our vote but many of them were in favour of questionable trends which appears to be sweeping the scene, and I personally didn't want to be associated with the trends and groups these candidates were promoting and supporting.
Someone asked me on voting day who I was going to vote for.
Here in Jersey every person has the right to either vote or not to vote. I am one of those people who do not exercise my right to vote. Needless to say when I told them that I do not vote that went down like a lead balloon!
This gave to me the opportunity to tell them why, and to speak about my beloved Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ of whom I am sure has everything under His complete control. 'My Man is In', I told this person.
I believe in the power of prayer and this is why the Bible tells us to pray for the folks in Government, not to vote for them!
Prayer power is mightier than people power.
The person who was clearly agitated with me for not voting told me that this is possibly why we have the problems we do in society today. I had to kindly but firmly disagree.
You see, the problems we see in the world today are not there because we did or did not vote, or because we did or did not have an active interest in politics but solely because the living God is not welcome in most of society today. Sin in the heart of mankind is the root cause of the problems we have and will never be solved in accordance with human reasoning.
The living and true God is the only One with the answers if only we as individuals were prepared to humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to lift us up to be the people we were meant to be.
He is the source of all the life we could ever long for and so much more. All this is acquired in, and through faith in His beloved Son who is the demonstration of the character and supreme love of God to us in our helpless state.
I feel like a bit of a lone campaigner in a hostile environment at times, but that doesn't matter to me. This doesn't stop me from wanting to shout from the housetops that:
'There IS a Man' and I know Him.
>> We don't need the empty promises of men but the: 'exceeding great and precious promises' of God. 2 Peter 2: 14
>> We don't need to see the right people 'in' to make us happy, we need the One who is the giver of: 'joy unspeakable and full of glory' even though we cannot see Him. 1 Peter 1: 8
>> There is no one in this world who can establish the peace we're all looking for like the One who is the giver of: 'peace that passes all understanding'. Philippians 4: 7
>> And freedom does not come with democracy it comes through God's remedy to all oppression - the Son of God who said: 'If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed'. John 8: 36
So, there you have it - God's remedy for the needs of the human race if only we would accept it ... or should I say ... Him!
Well, the campaigners have come and gone, candidates have been voted in or voted out, banners and posters have all been removed and its 'business as usual', as if nothing happened. So much expended passion for so little reward!
What the world is missing out on! Only those who dare to trust in Him against all odds know what is really like to not only 'have a life' but to revel in the One who said:
"I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly."
John 10: 10
Here's my latest video,
which is not altogether unrelated to the subject of this Blog.
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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,
remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.”
Of Unknown Origin
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
to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
2 Timothy 1: 18
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!
You see, he knows he only has a little while ..... and so do we!
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 :)
"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?
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