Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Category: Words for Lent 2016 (page 3 of 5)

Writing a post for every day of Lent 2016 using a word prompt from #rethinkchurch.


Me: ‘My word prompt today is silence.’

Adi: ‘Ha ha ha ha ha!’

I guess that tells you a lot about us….

I’m a typical woman, keen to use up my 20,000 words a day. The best sign Adi has of something being wrong is when I go quiet.

When I was ill, I was silent. Even on good days I didn’t have oodles of energy for speaking.

After Jesus completed my healing, our pastor caught up with us. He listened as I gushed about what had happened and how great it was to be well again. Then he turned to Adi.

‘And what do you think about all this Adi?’

‘It’s great, but she’s not shut up since.’

‘There’s a downside to every healing.’ We saw the twinkle in his eye as we all burst out laughing.



Photo used by kind permission of stockimages at freedigitalphotos



God sent Jesus to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law,
so that He could adopt us as His very own children.
And because we are His children,
God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts,
prompting us to call out, ‘Daddy Father.’
Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child.
And since you are His child, God has made you His heir.

These verses from Galatians are precious. They tell me how loved I am, how cherished by God.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all 100% committed to me.

I was a slave under God’s law but Jesus fulfilled the law for me. God the Son bought my freedom on the cross.


So that the Father could adopt me as His daughter. Imagine… the King of Kings wanted me in His family. Wow…. Just wow!

Father and Son were keen that I should know this in my heart, not just believe it in my head. So God sent the Spirit of Jesus to live inside me, and the Spirit tells me that this is true. God’s Spirit in me makes my heart leap for joy that God is my Daddy. Such knowledge sets my heart ablaze and powerfully changes the way I think.

I’m not a slave. He welcomes me into His palace and I get to sit on the best chairs. I belong.

As if that weren’t enough, I am a co-heir with Jesus. Everything He enjoys, I get to enjoy.

I love the Spirit. He gives me assurance. He brings me God’s presence. He gives me spiritual gifts. This glorious third Person of the Trinity loves me!

Celebrate: Women

It’s Mother’s Day.
I think I prefer the phrase Mothering Sunday.

There are many who ‘mother’ without ever having the official title.
If we use it as a verb, the term means to bring up a child with care and affection.
Millions of women do this.
Every day.
They mother those who don’t have mums.
They care for others without necessarily having a biological bond. They’re no less mothers, nor would we think of them as less.

Some ‘mothers’ are grieving today. Some because they wish they’d had a chance to own that title.
Some, because their children aren’t alive anymore. Others because their children are estranged or in other parts of the world they can never get to.
Some of our ‘missing’ is because our mums aren’t here anymore, and that hurts to our very core.
Mothering Sunday is important; a chance to say thank you to those that mother us.
Be thankful for your mum. Be grateful for those who mother you.

Look out for those today who feel the day more keenly and need a little care and love.
I’m so thankful to God for my mum, and also those that care for me with mothering skills.

Spare a thought right now for those who will smile today, but behind that smile are 1000s of tears. Weep with them if you need to, but show them you care.

Mothering Sunday is for us all.

Keren Baker


‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.’
Your love for me is steadfast;
You’re not moody,
And You don’t get cross over petty things (like slow drivers doing 20 mph in a 30 mph zone).
You’ll never change Your mind about me –
You chose to be my friend even before You created the world.
How mind-blowing is that?
You have Mandy Louise Johnson engraved on the palm of Your hand,
Your love for me endures forever.


Help is defined as making it easier or possible for someone to do something by offering them your services or resources.

Jesus promised His first disciples that when He returned to the Father, He would send a Helper – the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus died, we gained an inheritance; all the resources of heaven are at our disposal. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes these resources real for us, He brings God’s presence.

For example, Adi and I were in a counselling situation recently. We needed God’s wisdom and asked the Holy Spirit to help us. He gave us supernatural discernment and led us to different Bible passages that proved to be key in dealing with the situation. Without the Helper’s help, we couldn’t have seen the person set free from emotional and mental bondage.

God helps us in our time of need whether that’s providing a job or helping you find a loo when you’re out. His help may not always come in the form we’re anticipating, but He is completely faithful. His thoughts are higher than ours and His ways are beyond finding out. He’s infinite. We can never understand Him. But we can trust Him.


I’m being challenged by the verse ‘the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power‘.

I come from a belief system that was good at talking about God but He wasn’t ever expected to show up in power. I didn’t really believe miracles happened anymore. Thankfully, God proved me wrong by healing me a few years ago.

We need to talk about Jesus because faith comes by hearing. But the telling should be accompanied by signs and wonders, by God revealing His power personally to people.

This is something I want to grow in. That takes guts. And faith. I think it’s going to be a case of going for it and not being afraid of looking an idiot, but being someone that God’s power can flow through to touch others and bring them into His Kingdom.



Jesus told stories about lost things being found.

A sheep strayed away from the flock and got lost. The shepherd went looking for it. When he found it, he brought it home on his shoulders, rejoicing.

A lady lost a valuable piece of jewellery but she cleaned the house, moving every bit of furniture until she found it. She was so happy that she invited her friends in for cake and wine.

A rebellious son ran away from home and lived the high life before losing his money and his friends. He crawled back home hoping he might be taken in as a servant but his dad was looking out for him and rushed to give him a massive hug. Then his dad threw a party to celebrate that his son had been found.

The sheep, the jewellery and the son never became worthless or reduced in value because they were lost. They were still precious.

God thinks of you like that. If you don’t know Him, it’s like you’ve wandered off and got lost. But He will never stop pursuing you because He wants to find you, because He loves you. (If you don’t believe God is pursuing you, consider the fact that it’s no accident you are reading this blog post. He’s crazy about you.)


‘As God is my witness….’

People sometimes say that to assert their innocence or to show they really mean what they are about to say.

God is their witness. He is privy to everything we do and think. He knows the secrets in our hearts.

God knows when you’re hurting, when things aren’t fair, when you are so stressed with balancing stuff that you don’t have any head space left. Maybe you’ve witnessed something you wish you hadn’t.

If you are weary and feeling heavy with all the burdens you’re carrying, Jesus says: ‘Come.’

‘Come to Me, and I will give you rest.’

God isn’t a cold-hearted witness. He heals and restores, He mends broken hearts, He bandages wounds. He gives hope and peace and joy.

God is nice, and He likes you.


There are a couple of occasions that I remember being really thirsty.

The first was when I had my wisdom teeth out under a general anaesthetic in hospital. My gums had been stitched but continued oozing blood. The nurse checked them every half-hour or so but refused to let me have a drink until the bleeding had stopped. I was obsessed with getting a drink of cool water. I could almost feel it, taste it, I was desperate for it. But every time she shone her little torch into my mouth she said no. I felt like I hated her. I prayed. Water, water, water. It was all I could think about.

Oh the beautiful moment when she shone her torch on my gums, smiled and poured me a small glass of water with ice cubes clinking. It was the best drink I’ve ever had.

The second was when I was on a work trip in Al Ain and we drove out into the desert for a picnic. A few of us thought it would be fun to climb the hugest sand dune you’ve ever seen. It towered above us like high rise flats. My boss David manfully climbed to the top holding a two litre bottle of water. At first climbing up was fun. But about three quarters of the way to the top, I wondered if I’d make it. I’d take one step forward and slide several back. There was nothing to grip onto. Sand slipped from under my scrabbling feet and hands and it was all to easy to slide down. Desert sand is fine, almost like dust, and it got in my throat, drying it out. I sprawled on the steep dune and gazed longingly at the bottle of water far out of my reach, balanced on the ridge. (David heartlessly took a photo of my moment of desperation). I had to keep going.

Oh the exhilaration of sprawling over the ridge of the dune and reaching for the water. Mmmmhhhhh.

King David longed for God like that: as the deer pants for water, my soul pants for You.

Jesus said that if anyone was thirsty, they should ask, and He would give them the Holy Spirit so that they’d never thirst again. In fact, rivers of living water would flow from them.

God offers to give us drink from the river of His delights because He is the fountain of life.

The only requirement is to be thirsty. All you have to do is ask.

Celebrate: Jesus

I celebrate You, Jesus,
I exult in You because You’re worthy of praise.

You saw me in my mess,
and lifted me out of a pit.
You set my feet on solid ground,
and steadied me as I walked along.
You put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to my God – yeeee haaaaah! You’re ace!
Many will see what You have done for me, and will put their trust in You.

You’ve broken my chains of fear and rejection,
You’ve set this prisoner free.
My broken heart is healed and made new.
You give me a crown instead of ashes,
You pour Your oil of gladness into my heart,
I spin and dance for You in my robes of righteousness,
I didn’t deserve this, but You gave it anyway.

You call me an oak of righteousness,
a beloved daughter in whom You display Your splendour.

I celebrate You Jesus,
I exult in You.
I love You because You pursue me with relentless love.


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