Thankfulness that leads to Joy!

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I’ve just returned from serving with friends at an Encounter Camp in Worcester and where we’ve been deeply impacted by the experience.

Early in the morning before we arrived, I had been reading Luke 15 and hadn’t been able to get past the first verse… ‘Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to him.’ Later I saw this with my own eyes in a room of people as many who have struggled with life-controlling issues and trauma were joyfully worshipping Jesus. Hearing one after the other calling out their heartfelt prayers of thanksgiving to God for saving them, giving them a second chance and healing, and rescuing them has left a mark on me that I don’t want to forget. What stood out was how God’s presence felt so tangible in an atmosphere of such thanksgiving.

This morning as I was reading a familiar story in Luke 17; the story of the Ten Lepers who were healed by Jesus, God highlighted many parallels to me.

Jesus entered a village and was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance, and it says, ‘lifting up their voices they said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ As lepers, they stood at a distance because they knew they were outcasts. Their leprous condition meant they were very familiar with shame and rejection but as they cried out for mercy Jesus saw them. He sees those who are outcasts, who stand at a distance knowing they are sinful and broken. Jesus sees those who are stuck in shame and rejection. He saw me and he saw you. When we stood at a distance, He saw us and loved us even before we saw or loved Him and when we cried out, he heard us. He is the Prodigal Father who runs to restore us and celebrates us as we come home to Him.

In the story, the 10 lepers are healed as they go on their way, and I was reminded of a time when I saw Jesus do the same. I had spotted a girl across the road who was holding onto some railings because she had just badly sprained her ankle and my husband, and I went across to help her and ask if we could pray for her. At first, she was shy and embarrassed and reluctant to receive any prayer but after a while, she agreed. With a rush of faith, I told her that I believed she would be healed as she went on her way, the same words Jesus had spoken to the 10 lepers, and as we crossed over the road and looked back, we saw that she was no longer limping but walking normally.

What has spoken afresh to me from this story in Luke 17 and from my time away this week is how our thanksgiving attracts Jesus. In the story, it was only one who turned back to thank Jesus. When he saw that he was healed, it says, he turned back praising God with a loud voice and fell on his face at Jesus’ feet giving him thanks. That is what I saw and was deeply impacted by this week. Not that these people are perfect they are broken vessels like you and I, but they were so thankful, loudly praising God, dancing, waving, and shouting their thanksgiving to him without any hint of performance.

Over the two days we were there we saw many signs and wonders that remind me of why Jesus said in Luke 5:31-32, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.’ Jesus loves to heal and in just one night we saw 19 people touched and healed from many painful conditions. One lady received Christ in the afternoon, her first word of knowledge in the evening and then she too herself was healed.

I think Jesus loves to come when we simply say, “Thank You”.












Marvellous Faith


This morning I was re-reading the story of the centurion’s servant who was healed and struck again by Jesus’ response to the centurion’s faith. It’s the only time in the gospels that records such a response from Jesus.

The centurion had sent an urgent request to Jesus via a group of Jewish leaders. The servant he loved and highly valued was sick and close to death and he was asking if Jesus would be willing to heal him. He wasn’t a disciple; he was a Roman soldier and a Gentile and everything about this story is unusual. Jews were not fond of the Romans and even telling Jesus how honourable the centurion was, was highly unusual. When one of the representatives approached Jesus with the message from the centurion that he was not worthy to have Jesus come to his home but that he just needed to say the word and his servant would be healed, Jesus discerned this moment of extraordinary faith and marvelled at him. Turning to his disciples and those who had followed him, he said, “I tell you not even in Israel have I found such faith”

I don’t know about you, but I want to have that kind of faith that causes Jesus to marvel. Faith that believes Jesus can and will do what he has said no matter how impossible it might seem in the natural, where I trust God and take him at his word as the centurion did. I believe this is the kind of faith that pleases him; where it leads us to run to him like the woman who was bleeding and reach out to touch him and like the faith of Jabez who refused to let go until God blessed him. I want to have faith like those who broke through the roof to bring their friend to Jesus and like the blind man who called out for mercy. I want to keep taking risks of faith and believe more deeply than I have before.

From the moment we believed and put our trust in Christ we each began our journey of growing in faith in Jesus and his promises and Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that ‘Without faith, it is impossible to please him”  Paul writes in Romans 10:17 this faith ‘comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.’  Jesus who is the living word is the substance of our faith and in Luke 18 where Jesus told the parable of the persistent widow reminding us to pray and not give up, he asks this provoking question…’ when he comes, will he find faith on the earth?’

There was a time when I heard of signs and wonders happening in faraway places and believed they only happened through specially anointed people. I listened to stories and heard of miraculous healings and marvelled at people’s faith. I am so thankful for the journey God is taking me on where I now fully believe this is the supernatural life Jesus intended for us all to expect to live out as his disciples and I’m thankful for the  miracles I have now seen, heard and even been part of.

As I have been encouraged, I want to encourage you too. Keep stewarding and exercising the measure of faith he has given you and you will see it increase and grow. Wherever you are on your journey of faith and whatever miracles and breakthroughs you are waiting and trusting Jesus for, keep standing on his word and pursuing childlike faith. Keep being full of awe and wonder at who He is and taking risks knowing that all things are possible to those who believe. As with the centurion may Jesus marvel at our faith.




Leaving the door open

A friend of mine who had to stay in hospital for a few days following an operation prayed for an opportunity to talk about Jesus to the lady she shared the room with. The lady was shy and it took a while to have any meaningful conversation but when they finally did she told my friend that she did use to believe in God, how her Grandma had shared a lot with her when she was young but since watching a family member suffer and then die she had since stopped believing. It was after this conversation, that my friend noticed the lady didn’t want to talk about God anymore.
On my friend’s last day in the hospital, she asked God for a word to give to the lady. She’d noticed how she had talked a lot about her little daughter who meant everything to her and my friend said to her, “Isn’t it interesting that when you gave birth and saw your baby girl for the first time you discovered that you were capable of so much love; a love that would do anything for her? And when Jesus looks at you he feels exactly the same yet with even greater love. My friend then told her, ” You may not feel ready for this now but when you open your heart to him you will experience this love”
Even when the door seemed closed, my friend didn’t give up. Paul told Timothy, ‘Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season, when it’s easy and when it’s hard because God never gives up on us. He is always working!

Photo by jan-tinneberg on Unsplash

What lens are you looking through?

Recently a friend sent me a prophetic picture that she’d had whilst praying for me. It was of a pie and like when we’re served dessert we often get asked, “How much would you like?” she saw me replying, “Yes, that’s the right size for me. In the picture, she saw the Father serving the pie and he kept increasing the size of the slice, saying to me, “No, there is more, try more, expect more” and as I got used to the size he offered me, he kept increasing it again. This picture excited me because God has been speaking about expecting the unexpected and seeing him change things, I haven’t seen him change before.

It was also a provocation because when I’m feeling discouraged or disappointed, I know I can take my eyes off who God is and expect too little; maybe you can relate. When we think like an orphan, we only expect a small portion, even crumbs or scraps; we’re just thankful for anything. When we think like a son or daughter, we wait with expectation because we know the Father always has more. He is a Father who delights to give us more than we can ask or imagine. He doesn’t just give us crumbs. His resources are unlimited.

In the desert, God provided food every day for his people instructing them not to keep any back but to trust that he would supply all that they needed. When Jesus fed the multitudes, he took their humble offering; the boy’s lunch, and multiplied it so that everyone was fed and satisfied. So satisfied that there were twelve baskets left over! Jesus wanted them to see that nothing is impossible with him and that in his Kingdom his supply is unlimited not only in terms of food and provision but in every way because He IS the Bread of Life!

I love this story from my friend Dan who is a paediatrician. Dan knows he’s a son and that he carries the Kingdom and partnering with the Holy Spirit he regularly steps out in his surgery to share the gospel.

Recently, a mother came in with her 3-month-old baby and he felt prompted to ask her how she was. Unsure at first if he meant her or her baby, she went ahead and told him how she was suffering from depression and that she wouldn’t be able to see a psychiatrist for another two months. After taking care of the baby’s medical needs, Dan said to her I would love for you to encounter God’s help, and stepping out he offered to pray for her and she said, “Yes please!” As he prayed, he told her how precious she was in God’s eyes, and at the end, he introduced her to the Bible and Jesus’ words in John 10:10 about how the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy but Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness. I’m looking forward to hearing what happens next in this mother’s life. I think everyday stories like these of sharing the good news of Jesus and his Kingdom are meant to be normal for us as believers when we live with an expectation of his goodness.

I wonder if like me, you have to regularly adjust the lens you look at God through. It might be when trusting him for financial provision or a breakthrough in an area you are facing, or it might be to do with promises he has spoken over you of how he wants to move through you.

Bill Johnson writes in his book, ‘When Heaven invades Earth,’ “It is abnormal for a Christian not to have an appetite for the impossible. It has been written into our spiritual DNA to hunger for the impossibilities around us to bow at the name of Jesus.’ Jesus taught his disciples to pray God-sized prayers. He said, ‘When you pray, pray like this, your Kingdom come; your will be done on earth… as it is in heaven’ Introducing people to Jesus and praying bold prayers for impossible situations comes from us knowing and believing how good God is. Let’s encourage one another to keep looking at God through eyes of faith expecting to see the impossible because He is the God of the impossible!

Paul prays in Ephesians 3:20-21, ‘Now to him, who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Photo by Edi Libedinsky on Unsplash