Christianity

Discover the many names of God

Recently, I have been sharing with the UCB team some of my own discoveries about the names of God. I have often said: ‘If you want to know who God is, look at His names’. Throughout the Bible, God is given many names, and each of them reveal a precious truth about his qualities and character. I find it very encouraging to read these names as they help me to understand more and more about God’s ‘character’ and what He feels about us, His creation.

Jehovah-raah – The Lord is my shepherd (Psalm 23)

In Psalm 23, David describes the Lord as ‘my shepherd’. I love the way David personalised it by saying not the Lord is THE Shepherd but MY Shepherd. Praise God that He is our Shepherd too, for God is a relational God. This picture of ‘The Lord Our Shepherd’ reveals some of His characteristics: He is good, He protects, He guides, He nurtures, He lays down his life. And in times of confusion or grief, let’s never, ever forget that He is OUR SHEPHERD too.

Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will provide (Genesis 22:14 and Philippians 4:19)

In Philippians 4:19, it says ‘My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’   We are reminded that Jehovah-Jireh knows our every need because He sees everything, including what you need. If the Lord was able to meet Abraham’s need by providing a ram caught in the thicket that was offered in place of Isaac, He’s also able to meet our needs at just the right time. Fear not, the name Jehovah-Jireh guarantees that your Heavenly Father is able to provide any need you have.

Jehovah Shalom – The Lord our peace (Judges 6:24)

The Hebrew word ‘shalom’, translated as ‘peace’, not only speaks of the absence of noise, strife or conflict – it speaks of wholeness, completeness, trustworthiness, and happiness. True and ultimate peace is found in God alone, and this comes to us when we focus our lives on God and put our trust in Him. His Word says ‘Are you weary and troubled? Well why not place your total trust in Jehovah-Shalom, and He will keep you in perfect peace’ (Isaiah 26:3).

Jehovah Rapha – The Lord who heals (Psalm 23 and Exodus 15)

It was in the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites that God first revealed His name as Jehovah-Rapha. After crossing the Red Sea, Moses led them into the Wilderness of Shur, where they went 3 days without water. Eventually, they came across the waters of Marah, but they could not drink from the waters, for they were bitter. So the people complained against Moses, and Moses then cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which he cast into the waters. In a moment, the waters were made sweet. The Lord does not only heal waters, He heals people too. If the Lord was able to heal the waters at Marah so that His people could drink, He is also able to heal us from any disease (Psalm 103:3). When we’re weak, Jehovah-Rapha will renew our strength the same way He did for David (Psalm 23:3 NLT).

Living in a stressful and chaotic world in these unprecedented times, the name Jehovah-Rapha speaks to us that our bitter experiences can be transformed into sweet ones, and yes, we are confronted with new problems every day that make us sometimes want to give up and give in. But we can count upon the Lord to heal and renew our strength. Jehovah is the Great Physician who not only heals our physical and emotional needs, but He also heals and restores whatever spiritual needs we may have.

Stand upon God’s promise today! His Word declares that ‘The Lord is Your Keeper/ Your Provider/ Your Peace/ Your Healer.’ Don’t ever allow the enemy to tell you otherwise.

Christianity

When the disciples were in isolation…

Right across our world, we have not just a physical pandemic of sickness but we also have a ‘pandemic of fear’.  Right from the start of Genesis, fear has always been used by the enemy of our souls, but praise God that His Word has so much to say about how we can face fear with faith! As we are approaching Easter, it is a good time to reflect on the death of Jesus and how, even after his execution, the close disciples became imprisoned in fear and went into hiding and isolation. And one could even say ‘and rightly so’ because there was a very real threat to their lives.

John 20:19 tells us that on the evening of the first day, they were together, not just hiding in a room, but in self isolation ‘behind locked doors’. It must have been a very distressing time. Their best friend and Saviour had been publicly executed, and they must have been very shocked by all they had witnessed. In fact in fear for his life, Peter had denied knowing Jesus, and now they were all hiding behind locked doors, isolated from the whole world.

This picture hidden away in a room is an illustration to me of what the enemy tries to do in our lives – he wants us to isolate from each other. I am not in any way belittling the pandemic that we are currently facing, but I believe the enemy knows that fear is his greatest weapon in all of this. With just one news headline or a phone call from a friend repeating something they have heard, whole families and communities can become paralysed by fear of ‘what might happen’. It might be the fear of the coronavirus, any other ill health, or losing your job, etc. It does not matter, for it all has the same outcome – it holds us back from all that God wants us to do. It was the same for the disciples in this account in John. Just a few days before, they had been enjoying a Passover meal with Jesus, and now they were in hiding, trying to preserve their lives. They were unable to move forward, and they were in total isolation.


The amazing part of this story is that when Jesus appeared to them, He asked them ‘Why are you frightened?’

In Luke 24:36, Jesus asked them ‘Why do you doubt that it is really I? Look at my hands! Look at my feet! You can see that it is I, myself! Touch me and make sure that I am not a ghost! For ghosts don’t have bodies, as you see that I do!’ As he spoke, he held out his hands for them to see the marks of the nails and showed them the wounds in his feet.

Luke 24:41 says ‘Still they stood there undecided, filled with joy and doubt.’ Even when Jesus appeared to them in power and wonder after being so brutally killed, they were still not sure whether they could believe their eyes!

In whatever situation we find ourselves in, even if we are in total isolation, Jesus has promised to be with us in every situation, for His Word declares: ‘I will never leave you nor never forsake you’ (Heb 13:5).

From my own experience, I found His manifest presence to be the strongest when I have been in the middle of the fiercest, raging storms of life.

The journey of faith is not always an easy one, and sometimes even when we know and experience Jesus in the middle of the situations we face, we wonder if He really will save us.

This story speaks to us of the heart and mercy of Jesus. He appeared to the isolated disciples in the middle of all their doubt and confusion, and then he ate a meal with them. As they listened to all that he said, the Word of God tells us that they ‘opened their minds to understand at last the Scriptures.’

I believe that faith is a journey. We do not always feel full of faith, but we can make a decision to trust in all that God has said to us.

Faith is not the absence of fear – it is the mastering of fear.

For me, the story of Easter speaks to us of hope, of life, and of Jesus meeting us in the middle of our confusion and reminding us that we have nothing to fear.

Christianity

Watch your words…

When I was a child on my first day at a new school, a teacher asked the class what we wanted to do when we grew up. When it was my turn, I told her I wanted to be a surgeon, and she laughed. She said ‘Do you realise David, that is a lot of studying? I can’t see you doing it. I can see you emptying bins.’

For many years, those words stayed with me and sometimes informed the decisions I made. Was there any point in trying if I wasn’t capable of achieving much? However, when I rededicated my life to the Lord when I was 18, everything changed! I discovered what God thought about me, and I discovered that His Word could delete the past and delete all the harmful words that had impacted my life. Although I had no educational qualifications, the Word of God showed me that man’s labels do not matter. The only labels I should be concerned with are God’s labels!

Over the years, I have discovered that while God’s words are the most important, the words we use and what we choose to believe as a result can also have an impact on our lives. Proverbs 23:7 says ‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he’, and I believe it’s important to be aware of the reality of our words and our thoughts.

Our thoughts will affect what we say and our words will affect who we are. Proverbs 18:21 says: ‘Death and life are in the power of the tongue’, and so we should never underestimate the power of our thoughts and our words to shape destinies and our own future. Words can kill marriages and relationships and destroy churches and ministries. But words can also bring life, hope, healing, and reconciliation.

In a world which seems to be more divided than ever before (especially on social media), we need peacemakers and reconcilers, believers who will use their words to reflect the life and peace that is found through Jesus. Luke 6:45 says: ‘A good man produces good deeds from a good heart. And an evil man produces evil deeds from his hidden wickedness. Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.’

I want my heart to be full of God’s Word, full of praise to Him, for what is in my heart will flow out into my words and then out into my actions.

Can I challenge you today? What are you thinking about? What are you saying? What are you believing? Are they words of life and hope that reflect what God says about you and the situations you are facing? Or are they words of death and despondency?

As a young man, another person’s negative words could have shaped my whole life, but I am thankful for the revelation of God’s Word which showed me the truth.

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith

Don’t live in bitterness

I have been thinking this week about the subject of bitterness and how much it can impact lives (yes, even the lives of Christians).

In Exodus 15, the Israelites (led by Moses) had seen a tremendous victory, and they were celebrating and thanking God for their deliverance. They were singing ‘I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted…the Lord reigns for ever and ever.’

But just three days later, they were in the desert, and their water supplies had run out. They came to the waters of Marah, but they couldn’t drink from it because the water was so bitter. The same people who had been praising God just a short time ago were now grumbling and complaining. Moses cried out to God, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood which he was able to throw into the water. Verse 23 says ‘The water became fit to drink.’ Later, God led the people to Elim, which had ‘12 springs and 70 palm trees,’ and they camped there near the water.

In our lives, many of us face difficulties which could leave us feeling bitter. When faced with tragedy or hard times, we have a choice to walk through the situation (with God’s help) and get better, or we can stay in that situation and camp out in our bitterness. The story in Exodus paints a clear picture of how I believe God wants us to respond when faced with life’s hardships.

Don’t camp at Marah

The word ‘Marah’ (the place of the bitter springs) actually means ‘bitter,’ and it is interesting that in the Exodus story, although Moses led the people there, God did not command them to camp and stay there. It was just a passing through on their journey.

Later when they arrived at Elim (which means ‘roots’ and also means ‘a place of refreshing’) they were able to stop and set up camp. We all go through times of feeling bitter, but I believe it is important to not camp in that place and instead view it as an experience, a place we have to walk through, with God’s help.

We already have the answer

When Moses cried out to God for an answer, the Lord provided him with a tree branch which would make the water drinkable. Trees take decades to grow, and long before Moses and the people encountered this problem, God had already provided a way out, a growing tree which would be used to solve the problem.

We see this again later in the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19. Zaccheus was the chief tax collector and was not well-liked. Luke says he was a man of small stature, and because of the great crowds (and his height), he was not able to get through the crowds to see Jesus. Zaccheus climbed a nearby sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, and later, he met with Jesus personally. We do not know how long it took, but it is likely that the tree had been growing there for a long time. I like to imagine that maybe God even sent an angel to protect that tree, knowing that one day it would be used as an important tool in allowing a man to hear the life-changing words of Jesus. It reminds us that whatever we are going through, God has already provided the answer.

Believe the promise

In our world today (maybe you are going through this yourself), many people have become stuck in a place of bitterness. Bitterness can be like a spiritual cancer, and if we allow it to, it can overtake our thinking and lives.

If you are experiencing that today and wondering how you can break free, can I encourage you to go back to the promises of God. Whatever you are going through, I believe that God has already provided the answer (even if you cannot see it) and that if you walk diligently, God will eventually lead you to ‘Elim’: a place of rest and security.

The tree in the stories of Moses and Zacheus are also a symbol of the cross. If you look to the cross and look to the promises of God, He will lead you through.

It may not be easy, but living a life free of bitterness is living life to the full. And this is how I believe God wants us to live.

DLH-BlogAugust2017 (002)

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Devotional, Faith, Hope, Miracles

Pick your team wisely

This week, UCB’s Board of Trustees met together to review UCB’s activities and accounts for the year so far. It has been a busy few days with our Board travelling in from different areas of the UK, but I am so thankful for each of our Trustees – for their wisdom and ability.

In any leadership position, it is important to have a GOOD team around you. We are blessed at UCB to have a Board and Executive Team made up of Godly, skilled men and women who have the right balance of professional skills and a heart for ministry. When we look to appoint new people to our team, we are, above all, looking for people of integrity with a heart for UCB’s vision and who can help and support UCB to stay focused on the big picture and keep us accountable in all things.

Our Board meetings are a mixture of time spent together with God (this is a non-negotiable) and time spent going over the business and operational side of UCB.

This meeting was no exception, and we began by looking to God’s Word. Although we are governed by a great Board, ultimately God is our chairman, and we always start with worship and devotions. This time, one particular area of scripture stood out for me: 1 Samuel 15.

The prophet Samuel gave Saul an assignment from God. He was to destroy the Amalekites and all their possessions because they were a people who had dishonoured Him. Saul accepted the challenge and defeated the Amalekites, but He preserved the life of king Agag and saved the best of the cattle. Knowing that Saul had been disobedient, Samuel went to confront him. Saul declared that he had ‘carried out the command of the Lord’ but (perhaps with a hint of humour) the prophet Samuel said ‘What then is the bleating of sheep I can hear?’

Saul had been disobedient, but he argued that all these fine lambs would make an even bigger and better sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel reminded him that ‘to obey is better than sacrifice.’

This story reminded us all of the need to be obedient. It is easy sometimes to be focused on matters of business and governance, but it is important, first and foremost, to fear God. This is not a kind of terrified fear, but a reverent fear which ensures we stay close to Him, and when He tells us to do something, we do it!

That is why, for me, it is important to be surrounded by Godly, discerning people such as our Board, for they bring an ‘outside’ perspective and help to keep us on track. In all areas of life, we each need a ‘team’ of people who will support us in the good and bad times, and also, if needed, provide a voice of correction. Do not be tempted to surround yourself with ‘yes men’. Find a Samuel.

Our trustees have now gone home, but we will be meeting again soon for prayer and updates.

Can I ask you to join us in prayer for a few issues? For wisdom and discernment for our Board and Executive team? And also for a breakthrough in UCB’s finances. We continue to experience many challenges with UCB’s income stream, but we are looking to the future with faith (not fear). 

Please could you stand with us and believe for a breakthrough?

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Forgiveness

How to have hope

Our country has been rocked by a terrorist attack.

Although I am from France, I have lived here for more than 40 years, and my wife and I raised our family here. The UK is our home.

I was in France in November 2015 when terrorists attacked Paris. I was in the middle of an exciting week of mission at my brother’s church, and we were seeing incredible miracles, lives set free, and people commit their lives to Christ.

We were full of excitement at what God was doing, and then we heard the horrific news. Our hearts were broken, just as they are today, for the people of London, for all those who have been injured, for all those who have lost someone.   

We have seen some incredible acts of bravery, a MP who fought to save the life of an injured police officer, doctors, nurses, police and ordinary members of the public who have put their own lives at risk to help protect ours.   

We are so thankful to live in a country that is able to respond quickly and with deep compassion in the face of a tragedy.

As Christians, we sometimes wonder what to say in the face of such a terrible situation. But on the Sunday morning after the attacks in Paris, our church in France took great comfort from God’s Word in Psalm 37:

Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong 

Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.  

The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him. 

Let us always go to God’s Word for our answers. His Word (John 1:5) says that the darkness in the world will get darker, but that darkness will never extinguish light. In fact, that light (His light) will continue to shine brighter, and the darkness CANNOT overcome it. 

That is where I get my hope.

Let’s pray with passion for our world and all those who are suffering and grieving today.   

And may God’s light, His inextinguishable light, shine ever brighter in the middle of the darkness we see.

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith

Let’s pray and believe for our breakthrough

Recently, we had our Prayer Breakthrough Day on UCB Radio. We invited anyone who was listening to contact us with their prayer requests (or praise reports), and we dedicated the whole day to sharing and praying for those needs on air. It is a sobering day for our team as we receive many requests from people desperate for a breakthrough in their circumstances. But it is also a great privilege to be trusted with these needs and to be able to stand together in prayer.

I am sometimes asked: why is prayer important? Is there a particular way I should pray?

I feel so passionate about prayer. It is such a wonderful way to engage with God and with each other and to see God’s power and grace released in our lives.

In the early days of UCB, the ministry was soaked in prayer. The situation our founders faced was so difficult that every breakthrough, every month of finance, had to be ‘prayed in’. We are so grateful for the army of people who, over the years, have faithfully prayed for UCB’s ministry, and days like these are our way of ministering in return to our listeners.

We know that many of our listeners will have key difficulties and issues in their lives and will need someone to ‘stand in the gap’ for them. We receive hundreds of calls and emails from people who are struggling with poor health or facing financial difficulties or marriage problems. Each time we pray for the individual, we are praying for everyone who is facing those situations too.

I visualise the day of waves of breakthrough as a result of those prayers, of our phones lighting up with listeners telling us they have been set free or healed. Prayer works, and it is incredibly effective (I have seen this many times in my own life), but we do not always understand the importance of prayer or how to pray effectively. Prayer meetings at churches are usually the least attended of all services, but if we truly believed that prayer works and that through it, God can deliver and set us free, then we would never miss a prayer meeting again!

Prayer is an invitation

If we go back to Genesis, we will read that God gave man the authority to rule the Earth. He delegated the authority and His power to us. As a leader, I know that when you delegate authority to someone, you should not interfere unless you are invited.

I believe that prayer is an invitation. We are asking God, inviting Him, into the situation, into our lives, into whatever we are facing. When we invite Him in, that is when we often experience His presence most powerfully. This is the structure God has given us. But how many of us fail to invite God to manifest himself into whatever we are facing?

Prayer is a trigger for God’s grace

In many senses, prayer is like a weapon and a bullet. Prayer is the trigger to release God’s grace in our lives. If we look at how God’s grace was released in the lives of people Jesus prayed for, there was often a step of faith, an action required. He told a disabled man to ‘pick up his bed and walk.’ In other parts of the Bible, people are told to stretch out their hands, to dip in a river, to do something. To see God at work, we need to take action, and that action is prayer. As we step forward, do something, and invite God into our circumstances, His grace, His healing, and His provision is released.

Pray for us as we pray for you

UCB is growing, and because we believe so much in the power of prayer, we have increased our prayer on air. We now have Prayer Breakthrough Days four times a year, and we are committed to praying for the needs of our nation.  But as a ministry, we need prayer too. We face many exciting opportunities (especially as technology advances), but we are not immune to sickness, problems, or attacks from the enemy. Just as it took 23 years for the founders of UCB to see the breakthrough of national Christian radio becoming a reality, we know it can take time to see breakthrough in other areas too. But I believe that for you and me, breakthrough comes when we pray and invite God into the problems, issues and situations we all face.

Let’s stand together to see a breakthrough in this nation. Would you be willing to pray for UCB? Click here to sign up for Prayer Emails, and we will send you ministry updates with different prayer needs. Tell us too, how we can pray for you by contacting our Prayerline Team. Together, let’s release the power of God in our lives by inviting Him into all we face.

*(Prayer requests are passed on to UCB Prayerline who will pray for your needs. If you would like to pray with someone on the phone, please ring 01782 36 3000)

dlh-blog-dec-16

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith, Healing, Hope

Don’t trust your feelings. Ignite your faith.

I was recently reading 1 Kings 19, which tells the story of Elijah and the enormous personal battle he fought after winning a great victory against the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.

Elijah had called on the name of the Lord and saw fire fall from heaven. The disbelievers in the crowd fell on their faces and worshipped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The one true God had been glorified, and the Godless prophets of Baal had all been killed. This extraordinary day of miracles shook the country, and without a doubt, Elijah was operating out of the anointing of his calling. He was serving God and was at his very best.

But then Elijah received news that Jezebel was after him. She was enraged by Elijah’s ‘rebellion’ and sent a messenger to say: ‘May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life, like that of one of them’ (1 Kings 19:2). Elijah had been full of faith, sure of his identity, and yet, those few words plunged him into fear and into an identity crisis.

At this point, a few things happened:

He became deeply emotional and fearful – his mind was affected.

He became physically tired and exhausted – his body was impacted.

He could not hear God’s voice – his spirit was drained.

A few days before, he would have sought God for the answer, but now he was depressed, despondent, and Scripture says he’d had enough and wanted God to take his life. He was being attacked by an unseen enemy which wanted to steal the victory, kill him, and ultimately destroy all of God’s work.

As I look around me, I see this so often in our churches. I believe that one of the biggest attacks of the enemy on the church today, is the attack of depression and despondency. The Word tells us that the enemy’s weapon is to steal, and there is no greater way to make an army ineffective than to steal their joy, their confidence, and their identity and replace it with fear and exhaustion. This often happens too, just after a big victory.

The story of Elijah shows that the enemy often works through our feelings. The enemy tries to mentally suck us dry and create a battle ‘between our ears’ of being overwhelmed. I believe if the enemy can win the battle ground in our mind, he knows he will successfully distract us from God’s plans and get us to focus on the problem and how we feel about it.

If you are in that place of feeling despondent, depressed, overwhelmed, or in fear (just like Elijah), you might be wondering if there is a way out. I have been there, and I know it can be a difficult journey, but there is a way out, and there are many great guidelines to be found in God’s Word.

Deal with the physical

Firstly, on a very practical level, God dealt with Elijah’s physical needs. I love that God is a God of practicalities! Immediately, God sent Elijah some food and water (delivered by an angel) and then allowed him to sleep. Once Elijah had been strengthened on a very physical level, God began to speak to Him. He did not give Elijah all the answers, but He asked him questions and allowed him to experience His presence. If you are feeling overwhelmed by situations in life, it is first good to check all the physical, practical causes such as lack of rest or proper nutrition.

However, it is also important to deal with the spiritual causes, and here is some advice based on things I have learned in my own life.

Instigate disciplines

Discipline is a part of discipleship. If you have the discipline of regular devotionals in your life (so that it becomes a daily habit), you will be able to continue reading God’s Word even when you are in a dry patch. If you create frameworks of discipline in your life before you experience despondency, you will find that you have a ready-made oasis just when you need it.

Phone a friend

Find a friend you trust and ask them to do the journey with you. For many years (until he passed away), I had a wonderful friend who knew me so well that he could detect even a change in my voice and understand if something wasn’t right. He was great at provoking me to speak out and to share what was going on. He and I were often able to travel the journey together and support each other in prayer when the other was going through a difficult time. Having good, strong friendships is very important.

Practice the presence

Jesus was led into the wilderness for 40 days and was tested in many different ways before His work could begin. Often, the enemy will try to attack our identity (just as he did with Jesus: ‘If you are the son of God…’ he said). Jesus knew His identity and He knew God’s Word and He was able to stand firm against the test. At the end of the test, He experienced God’s presence, and He left the wilderness refreshed, anointed, and ready for His assignment. Often in church, we work first and rest later, but I believe that God wants us to operate from a place of rest. When we work and live in God’s presence, we can act from a position of faith rather than what our feelings tell us.

Go back to God’s Word.  

I love Psalm 13. To me, it sums up a feeling of despondency and downheartedness so very well.

How long Oh Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day, have sorrow in my heart? (Psalm 13)

This Psalm is wonderful because after David has poured out his heart to God, a switch happened. Something changed. By verse 5 and 6, he says ‘But I trust in your unfailing love. My heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise for He has been good to me.’ 

As he wrote and cried out to the Lord, his heart started to move toward praise. One minute, here we have a guy who feels forgotten and forsaken, and then as he cries out to the Lord, he moves into the realm of praise.

It is ok to feel forgotten, forsaken, despondent, depressed – none of these things are a sin. But it is important to not rely on these feelings and instead go back to the reality of God at work in your life. God has never failed you (or me!) in the past, and He will not fail you now. Ask Him today to help you move beyond your feelings and instead into an atmosphere of praise and faith.

It is in His presence that we can find true rest and also once again begin to find God’s purpose in our lives.

faithblog

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Devotional, Faith

How to hear God’s voice.

Some years ago, I was facing a personal storm in my life. I asked God to speak to me, but it felt as though I could not hear His voice. A short while later, we had a guest speaker at church, and I remember he spoke on Hebrews 13:5, where God assures His people: ‘I will never, ever leave you nor forsake you.’ At the time, although I heard the words, my mind wandered, and it was only later that I wished I had listened more closely.

Almost one year later, the same speaker came back to church, and he began his sermon with the exact same words from Hebrews 13:5. This time, I hung on to every word; I did not let my mind wander, and I knew that God had really, really spoken to me. He had given me a second chance to hear His word!

At times in our lives, we struggle to hear God’s voice, but I believe God is speaking all the time. I have a TV on the wall in my office. Some days it is switched on, and other days it is not. If the screen was blank, I would not ring the transmitter and ask why I could not see any pictures. I would first check the television to see if it was switched on or defective. Serving in a media organisation, I understand that we are surrounded by invisible TV and radio waves. We cannot see them or hear them unless we switch a receiver on. I believe our lives are the same – to hear God’s voice, we have to switch the receiver on or be tuned to the right frequency.

God’s voice can be heard in the silence

I was raised in the Pentecostal tradition, and our prayer meetings were always exciting, with a lot of fervent prayers. In that situation, sometimes it is easy to think that if we are silent, we are not praying. It is great to pray out loud, but at other times, we also have to tune out the background noise and understand that God does not need to shout in order to be heard. 1 Kings 19 says that God spoke to Elijah in a ‘gentle whisper’, and Psalm 23 says that He leads us beside ‘still waters’. God’s voice can often be heard most powerfully when we take time to be quiet, ready, and willing to listen.

God’s voice is distinct

There are many voices in our lives, and if we do not learn to recognise them, we can confuse the voice of God with other voices around us. There are many voices we can tune into. There’s the voice of our flesh, the voice of our conscience, the voice of our reasoning, the voice of God, and the voice of the enemy (to name a few). There are two important distinctions. The voice of the enemy has one agenda: to kill, to steal, to destroy. The voice of God, on the other hand, is there to lead us to our ultimate destination. His voice may not always tell us what we want to hear (sometimes He disciplines us), but His voice will always be focused – like the GPS in my car – on leading us to the place He wants us to go.

God speaks in more than one way

God speaks to us in many different ways. He can speak to us through His Word, through timing and circumstances, and sometimes, He can speak to us through other people. God’s voice is always accompanied by ‘the peace that passes all understanding’. When we are at peace, we will know that we have heard the voice of God.

I have known this peace in my own life on many occasions, even during the time when we lost our son Jamie. As I went to see Jamie in the Hospital’s Chapel of Rest, I did not want to hear or believe what God said in that moment, but yet, I knew it was the voice of God.

On another occasion (a few weeks before Jamie passed away) I felt strongly prompted to go and pray for a friend’s daughter who had been taken suddenly and seriously ill. I knew, that I knew, that I knew that I needed to go and pray for this little girl. I will share more about this story soon!

If you are listening for God’s voice today and struggling to hear what He is saying, can I encourage you to ‘tune in’ your receiver. Even if you are looking for direction and cannot clearly hear God’s voice (like I was), keep believing and trusting.

God is speaking all the time.  Are we listening?

David-Blog25 (004)

Christian Media, Christian Radio, Christianity, Evangelism, Faith, Forgiveness, Healing, Hope, Miracles, Spiritual healing

Faith is like a muscle – it has to be exercised

Last week, I shared some stories of the incredible miracles which have been happening at my brother’s church in France. We felt that God started to move in the church about two years ago during our first missions week. A lady came asking for prayer for pain in her hips, which was caused by deformed bones. She was completely healed, and this opened up a door for God to do more.

Over the last two years, we have heard many more incredible testimonies: a man healed of complete deafness, a woman healed of paralysis in her leg, another lady who had severe pain and even discharged herself from hospital for an hour to come to the service. She was completely set free and later declared free of disease. Others have been restored from tumours, depression, restless leg syndrome, chronic insomnia, and addictions. There are so many stories I could share, and in the future, I hope that some of these people will write guest blogs and tell you their stories themselves. There is so much to thank God for!

I have been asked a question which is close to many people’s hearts – why are some people healed and others not? I do not have all the answers, but I can share from my own experience what I believe is true. I wrote last week about the need for expectancy and how we should approach God believing that He will do something.

Here is an illustration: if one of us was sick, we would go to the doctor for a check-up. Often, we will not know the doctor, but we will take their advice, and when they give us a prescription for medication, we will then take that to a chemist. At every stage, we usually trust the doctor we do not know, we trust the chemist we do not know, and we trust the pills, even when we do not understand how they work. But when it comes to trusting God, we often struggle, and we question if He is capable of giving us what we ask. We have no trouble believing that He could die for us, save us, and give us eternal life, but we do struggle to believe that He could do the miraculous.

I believe that faith is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in our bodies, if we do not use it, it will eventually become weak and useless. As believers, we are children of God’s kingdom, and just like being a citizen of the United Kingdom, we have certain citizenship rights. If something was wrong in our country, we would have the right to take a petition to 10 Downing Street, and in the same way, we can take our petitions to God.

As citizens of God’s kingdom, we have a constitution (God’s Word), and we can stand on that and petition God to do what no one else can do. Just as with politics, we don’t always see answers right away, but we should keep standing on God’s Word, believing His promises, and asking Him to bring about a miracle. God’s Word is the instruction manual for life. If you or I bought a new mobile phone, we would go home and start reading the instructions to make sure that we got the best use from the phone. If we pay that much care and attention to our phones, how much more attention should we give to our lives? God’s Word is the instruction manual – without understanding it, our lives do not work properly.

Now it is true to say that not every one gets healed, but I believe that God is sovereign, and we are not here to dictate to Him how He should do things, but to be obedient to His Word. However, I have also seen great things happen when a person didn’t get healed.

Last year, a lady came to a meeting during the mission in France. That very day, she gave her life to Christ and asked us to pray that she would be healed from terminal cancer. We prayed for her, but sadly just five days later, she died.   When the church went to visit her family (they were not Christians), her husband said that in the days before she passed away, he had never seen his wife so happy and peaceful since he had known her.

He said: she spent her final days praising her Jesus, and she left this world in total peace, knowing that she would soon see Him face to face. So although she did not see physical healing in this life, she was healed when she stood before Jesus and was given a new body, free of disease. There is no sickness or ill-health or cancer in Heaven. Praise God!

If you are trusting God to heal or set you free, can I encourage you to persevere? Stand on His word, trust Him, and practice exercising your faith muscle. Whatever happens, you can be sure of one thing: your life will be changed for the better. I have never met a person who wasn’t changed by spending time with God. Follow God’s instructions and wait to see what He can do in your life.

David-Blog7