Mandy Baker Johnson

Living without Shadows

Page 3 of 36

Believe

More and more, I’m coming to the conclusion that believing God is the most important thing we can do. It’s more than believing on Him – for salvation. Or believing in Him which may not have any impact on your life.

Believing God. Beth Moore, in her book Believing God, has five statements that I’ve found useful to speak aloud regularly. It helps me to think aright about God and myself, and faith rises up in me as I speak them out.

I believe that God is who He says He is.
I believe that God can do everything He says He can do.
I believe I am who God says I am.
I believe I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
I believe His Word is alive and active in me.

Without faith, it’s impossible to please God. Which means that faith pleases Him. Jesus loved it when He found someone with extraordinary faith in Him in the gospels, and He commended those people. I want to be someone who has extraordinary faith in my God.

Jesus said that for everyone who believes in His name, He gives the right to become a child of God. That’s utterly astounding. It means putting our trust in His faithful character and staking everything on Him being who He says He is.

I’m not sure whether I’m really expressing what’s in my heart. But believing God – truly holding fast to Him because He is steadfast love and faithful and righteous – is the greatest honour we can do for Him. And I think the more I believe God, the more I will grow towards extraordinary faith in Him. Because it will impact my life more and more. How could it not?

Hear

When I stop and think that the Creator of the universe listens to me when I talk to Him, wow. It’s beyond comprehension! I’m so small and insignificant; He says the nations are like a drop in a bucket compared to Him. But He hears me. Just wow.

I spent March reading almost daily Isaiah 58. There is so much in this chapter that I’ve made the decision to linger awhile. The Holy Spirit is the best Teacher and I love that He is showing me more and more in this passage and taking me deeper.

But what I really wanted to say from Isaiah 58 for this particular blog post is that when I delight myself in God – truly enjoying Him, not trying to impress Him or strive for His attention – He promises that when I talk to Him, He will answer me. When I cry out, He says: ‘Here I am.’ As comforting as a mum (or dad) taking her young child in her arms and soothing them with the reassurance that she is there when they cry out in the middle of the night.

It’s not just my voice He listens to either. He hears the inarticulate cries of my heart. When I’m unable to voice what I think or feel, He hears the silent plea. So many times I’ve seen my Father answer my wordless prayers, when He’d simply heard the longings of my heart.

Breath

We sometimes say that there’s nothing like a breath of fresh air, usually if we’re in a room that is stuffy and hot, or if we’ve been really busy. To have a breath of air can feel so refreshing.

Spiritually-speaking, the Holy Spirit is rather like a breath of fresh air. He brings the presence of God, and that is refreshing. The Bible says that those who wait on the Lord renew their strength. How many times I’ve dragged myself to home group or a prayer meeting, feeling tired and achey and wishing I could spend the evening in the bath. It’s amazing how much better I feel – refreshed, rested, exhilarated – afterwards.

Even spending a few minutes praising God in my kitchen during the day makes such a difference. Sometimes I bounce into the kitchen, excited and looking forward to meeting with my Father. But on other days, it’s an act of the will. I never regret it and often emotion follows as my will urges my soul to focus on God.

The words of this song express it so well:

Let Your breath come from heaven,
Fill our hearts with your life….

Light

Your light is brighter
than the sun in noon-day strength.
In You, I see Light.

I’m a child of light.
You’re changing me from glory
to glory – whoop whoop!

Trying to Fly

I loved this new book by Annie Try. The first chapter reminded me of a cross between Emma Donoghue’s The Room and John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. A chilling event is seen through the eyes of six-year-old Jenny Drake, whose life is forever changed by what she witnessed and experienced.

From chapter two onwards, we follow fifty-six-year-old Jenny as she works with her psychologist to try and find healing and wholeness by facing her past. The tragedy she witnessed as a child left her with all sorts of problems, probably the most significant being agoraphobia. An important part of Jenny becoming free is to return to the beach where the event took place.

At the beach, Jenny meets Jim, who witnessed the same event as an eleven-year-old boy.

Jim becomes a solid friend for Jenny and he persuades her to join him in a spot of sleuthing to get to the bottom of the mystery. The police had closed the case but there are many loose ends. Together, they begin to search for the truth and to clear the reputation of a good man.

I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. As well as the mystery-factor, my eyes were also opened to the hidden issues people around me may have. As I followed Jenny’s progress in battling the fears that sometimes threatened to overwhelm her, it helped me to see that people act oddly for a reason. She evoked my sympathy, though at times I got frustrated: You’ve come so far, don’t give up now! I also wanted to scream at her not to be so trusting (no spoilers!).

Annie Try is a psychologist as well as an author and she really knows her stuff. Her expertise when revealing Jenny’s mental and emotional struggles shone through, and made this book all the more special.

It’s a gripping read and I heartily recommend it.

Instant Apostle provided me with a free Kindle copy for the purpose of writing a review, but I will also be purchasing a paperback copy that I can lend to friends.

Darkness

Light is most clearly seen when darkness is at its darkest.

The darkest day in history was one Friday a couple of thousand years ago in the Middle East. A young man in his early thirties was unjustly executed. Talk about the biggest miscarriage of justice. His mangled body was laid to rest in a friend’s tomb.

Saturday was silent, dark and hopeless.

But on the Sunday, light exploded into that tomb as Jesus came back to life. He rose from the dead in glorious might and power.

Jesus went down into the darkness of death and beat it. He emerged as the ultimate victor holding the keys to death and the grave. Jesus defeated the one who has the power of death – the devil – so that He, Jesus, could deliver everyone who is afraid of death. He doesn’t want anyone to be enslaved by fear; He came to set us free.

Jesus is life. His life is light. This light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot – ever – overcome it.

 

 

 

With

Jesus, You are here,
Your Spirit’s presence with me.
My Emmanuel.

Will

This is the last will and testament of me, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of Man and Son of God.

I give to all who will believe in my name the right to become children of God.

To all whom my Father has adopted, we give the Holy Spirit. We want them to know they are beloved children of God, and the Spirit will tell their spirits that this is who they are.

Every child of God becomes an heir of God and a co-heir with me, the firstborn.

I give to each child every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Everything I have enjoyed, I bequeath to them. They are citizens of heaven and my Father’s home is their home. I joyfully share with each one the unending blessing that is mine.

Each child of God is seated in heavenly places with me. The Father will lavish His grace on them for all eternity: showing them how abundantly rich His kindness is to them.

I, Jesus, have died to give them life because I love them with outrageous and extravagant love. Their worth is far above the price of rubies. I have cleansed them from sin with my own blood. I’ve taken all their dirty rags of striving and rebellion, and clothed them in my glorious robes of righteousness.

Open

When I was a young teenager my then church joined up with a church in Derby for a joint youth camp on the Gower Peninsula in south Wales. The Derby youth group were old hands at camping on that particular site: an old army barracks (from what I remember).

The leaders had prayed much for the week of camp and thought that all the young people would become friends.

That first weekend proved them wrong. They prayed desperately on Sunday night for God to move.

He did.

The next day, Monday, the Lord opened the heavens. Literally.

There was a terrific storm with lightning, wind and flash flooding. Rain fell in sheets, drenching everything. Our one road in and out of camp was flooded such that we were cut off from the mainland for a day or two.

At lunchtime the leaders gave up on trying to keep us dry and organised a football match in the rain.

There are some experiences where we can’t help but end up friends with the people with whom we’ve shared them.

God sent rain and changed the atmosphere.

The following summer, we teens eagerly anticipated meeting up again with our good friends for camp.

 

Grace

I heard a lovely quote the other day: ‘Jesus is the Good News.’

The gospel (good news) is a person: Jesus.

Jesus is the One I love and adore. He is my magnificent obsession. He is the only person with whom I can be utterly besotted without feeling empty, as though I’ve been robbed. He gives and gives and gives. He is wonderful. He is love. I’m thrilled that He’s my friend. I’m thankful – so thankful – that He’s my rescuer and saviour. He is the best master. He’s always fair and absolutely trustworthy.

Jesus is full of grace and beauty. He is the most beautiful person I know. His goodness and love shine from the inside out with purity and radiance. When I eventually get to see Him face-to-face, He will be beauty personified.

God is rich in kindness to me: this is called grace.

I know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Though He was rich, yet for my sake He became poor,
so that by His poverty He could make me rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

 

 

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2017 Mandy Baker Johnson

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑