“I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.” Giving up your past and all the scars of it, is a tough choice. We tend to hold onto them because we think it is what defines who we are. The past always have a way of creeping up on us and reminding us of our former self. The moment we take our eyes of Jesus, we can easily fall back into our former ways. Jesus wants us to look to Him and let go of whatever is holding us back. During tough times, when the past keeps knocking and you are overwhelmed with this world, remember this. “I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back.” Look straight ahead and keep going.
“Though none go with me, still I will follow.” Sometimes when we make the choice to follow Christ, it can lead us on a lonely road. We can loose friendships even family. Worldly people tend to think that God’s people are boring and we fear to be labelled. We are so afraid of how others will see us and we fear isolation from the pleasures of this world. Regardless of this, choose Christ. Be faithful to Him even if that means walking alone. Be brave in your walk. Knowing that with God, you never walk alone. He is always with you, even to the end of this age. So remember, “Though none go with me, still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back.”
By Stella Ashworth
God at work can be powerful. Have faith during the storms of your life. Count it a blessings and thank God for His presence. Lift up the fallen as you walk in prayer with them. Reach out to others and put your faith into works.
You have to learn to pick up your cross and face your battles. Face your giants and overcome them. Fight the good fight of faith. Put on the full Armor of God, keep getting up and don’t give up. Fight back with all your faith and trust in God. Even if that faith is “as small as a mustard seed.”
Face your battles and overcome them. God is with you and will never leave you. God at work is a powerful sight. So have faith during the storms of your life and overcome them. Count it a blessings and thank God for His presence. Learn to praise Him in the mist of storms and chaos and I promise that you will see the Glory of God come shining through.
I have learned that sometimes, God calls us to give up what we love the most. I remember on the 7th of the 7th, 7 years ago this year, God asked that of me. He showed me what was going to happen and He wanted to prepare me for it. I tried to fight Him. I wrestled day and night with Him. Praying and asking for a different outcome.
Maybe God is asking that of you today. Maybe He is reaching into your heart where it hurts the most. Maybe He is asking you to make that sacrifice to Him. Maybe He is asking you to end that toxic relationship. Maybe angels are standing by to take your loved one home. Give to God what is God's. Give Him your heart and give Him what He is asking of you. He is your Father and He will hold you together.
By Stella Ashworth
Many times in life, our faith gets tested. Circumstances seems to drown us and we don’t know where to go. God calls us to stand before Him in faith. To speak His Word only so that He can move into our circumstances and do what only He can do.
The prosecuting attorney is Satan. Standing by to break you and create in your heart and mind, reasonable doubt why you are doomed to fail. His assignment for you is to give up and not trust your “evidence” (the Word of God). His is the father of all lies and out to condemn you.
Only you can stand up and tell the Judge what you choose to believe based on His Word. Regardless what circumstances the enemy might come up with.
Trust in the Word of God. Be bold and courageous before the Greatest Judge of All. Stand firm with Jesus Christ beside you.
By Stella Ashworth
The Bay Friendship Club - Christian Networking Group
One of the greatest things that I love about Jesus is that He knew how to pray. I have learned that the thing that holds us together in this world, is prayer. Jesus knew how to pray to His Father. He knew that nothing could separate Him from His Father’s Love. Let us reflect on a few verses that teaches us how Jesus prayed.
1. Mark 1:35
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
2. Matthew 6:9-13
"This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'
3. Matthew 11:25-26
At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
4. Matthew 14:23
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.
5. Luke 6:12
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
6. Luke 22:32
But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
7. Luke 22:41-44
He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
8. Luke 23:34
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
9. John 11:41-42
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
10. John 12:27-28
"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."
11. John 17:1-26
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. "Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
12. Hebrews 5:7
During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
The Bay Friendship Club - Christian Friendship Group
The Bay Friendship Club - Christian Friendship Group
What is faith?
Paul defined faith clearly for me: Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Faith means trusting God’s power to change our circumstances. Faith means that we don’t focus on our problems but that we focus on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Faith teaches us to trust in God’s invisible power. Faith means that we believe that God is true to His Word and that He will not fail us. Faith means that we will honour God by believing that He is who He says He is.
Jesus said in Matthew 12:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Jesus teaches us to speak to our mountains. We need to face them and not run from them. When we stand on our faith and face our “giants”, all things are possible with God. We remind our giants that our God is far greater than them.
Faith teaches us to focus on the desired outcome of our situation according to the truth of God’s Word. Faith teaches us to thank God, even though we can’t yet see the outcome.
Faith means trusting God in everything, not only in somethings. Faith comes from believing that God is perfectly good and that He knows what is best for us.
How do we start developing our faith in God?
We start by learning and knowing His Word. We need to ask Him to help us to understand His will for our lives. We ask Him to reveal truth to us and we learn to speak that truth into our lives and into the lives of others.
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”
We cannot please God without faith because if we lack faith in God we lack trust. Faith is absolute trust. When we believe God, we act according to our faith in Him because faith without works is not faith at all (James 2:17).
We believe that He is able to strengthen us to go through and overcome our circumstances. He is with us, helping us every moment. He has the power to change our circumstances.
When we have faith, we must trust God and believe that everything will have a good outcome because He can see what happens in the future and so guide us to the best possible result for our situation. (Romans 8:28)
’16 I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’ (Ephesians 3:16-21)
“True faith rests upon the character of God and asks no further proof than the moral perfections of the One who cannot lie.” A. W. Tozer
“Faith engages the person and promises of God and rests upon them with perfect assurance.” A.W. Tozer
‘’Faith honors God by counting Him righteous and accepts His testimony against the very evidence of its own senses.’’ A.W. Tozer
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Extract from Remembering God's Promises Volume 1
Faith, Hope and Love
By Stella Ashworth
For this reason, the shield was both a defensive tool and an offensive weapon.
The shield of faith has a very specific function, which the Bible makes abundantly clear: quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Not some of them but all of them.
In the book of Psalms, David compared the protection of the Lord to a shield.
Our shield is God and faith is what the Holy Spirit dropped into our hearts when we received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Faith is what allows us to call God our Father.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Each of us will face difficult situations and temptations of the enemy at one time or another. Satan can cause us to doubt God and by succeeding, gain temporary victory over our lives. Faith prompts us to believe in God.
I John 5:4 “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”
What does wearing the shield of faith then means?
Your faith will grow stronger as you read God’s Word and see how He has sustained believers in every imaginable kind of difficulty.
Taking up your shield of faith implies that we are not in the fight alone.
2 Chronicles 20:20 “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.”
“having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15).
Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.”
Mark 1:14 “ After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.”
Romans 10:15 “ And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Romans 3:17 “And the way of peace they do not know.”
1 John 2:6 “Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.”
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
When we truly allow ourselves to take comfort in the good news promised by God, there is nothing from outside ourselves that can trouble our hearts or give us reason to be afraid. Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33), and so we have nothing to fear from it.
Luke 10:19-20 “19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
When Satan attacks with a flaming missile of doubt, such as “If God really loved you, He wouldn’t have let this happen,” we dig our peace shoes into the turf of God’s Word and reply, “It is written: All things work together for the good to them who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
From the cradle to the grave, life is war. Your soul, your mind, your body, your family, your career are fields of conflict. Until Satan is finally thrown into the lake of fire, our peace with God will have to be a vigilant peace. Because Satan will certainly give us no peace if we are at peace with God.
The gospel of peace is good news (Luke 2:10). God forgives and then He gives. What could be greater?
Paul was convinced that nothing could separate him from the love of Christ. He understood the love of Christ. He knew the good news and no bad news could ruin it. The time he had spent preparing himself in the Word was bearing fruit during time of trouble.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
Colossians 1:13 “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.”
He has put His spirit in you that you might work the works of GOD.
Romans 5:6-11 “6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”
God intends us all to be walking vessels of His goodness. Spreading the love of Christ to others. As we familiarize ourselves with the gospel we shall discover a message worth living for. What is the gospel? Make sure you understand the message we are to take to the world.
Putting on the sandals is not just knowing what the gospel message is, but rather having a plan to share it with others.
The Bible is very clear. A person receives eternal life simply and only by believing in Jesus for it. Faith alone in Christ alone. That has always been and always will be the clear Gospel message.
Bring good news of peace to a world that needs to hear!
By Stella Ashworth
The Bay Friendship Club
When you live with purpose and know who you are, where you are heading, it changes the course of your life. You have found your compass. You have found a sense of belonging. You have found your forever home. The old has passed. The new has come.
His plans for your life are far greater than yours could ever be. He has set before you blessings and curses, life and death. By accepting His Son into your life, you share in an awesome inheritance. You are a child of God and you are accepted, loved, chosen and forgiven.
The world may tell you who you are not or what you should be, but to God, you are perfect. Just where you are. No matters what happens, He loves you.
God wants you to know the truth about your rebirth and about your destiny. Listen to Him. Let His Word wash you, His Spirit fill you and change you so you take your rightful place in His Kingdom.
Jeremiah 29:11 - “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Know that NOTHING can separate you from the love of God that is revealed to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing.
When thoughts of destruction come at you. Thoughts like… “You are hopeless. You are useless. You’re not good enough. You’ll never measure up.”
God sees us as perfect because He sees Jesus in us and not our imperfect selves. . Valuable. Loved. It’s how we see ourselves that holds us back.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” –Deuteronomy 3:10
By Stella Ashworth
The Bay Friendship Club
The devil knows your weaknesses. He knows your need for love. To feel accepted, to be chosen, to be seen, to feel that you have worth. To feel like you matter.
He crushes your heart. He breaks your spirit and always try to steal your dreams.
Well, it’s a new day. Jesus has stepped in and placed you under New Management. He came so that we can “have life and have it abundantly”.
Our mind set, which is how you think and feel about things is very important. It can put stumbling blocks in your way that you need to overcome.
It’s never too late for you to turn your life around. It’s never too late to start believing God’s Word. To believe His Promises. He meant them for you and for me. For all of us. We are His children and what He does for one, He does for all. He shows no favoritism. He is a fair, just and righteous God.
Don’t believe the devil’s lies. Don’t listen to Him. Know your true worth in the eyes of your Heavenly Father. Ask God to protect you from the lies of the enemy.
James 4:7 - “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
1 Pet. 5:8-9 - "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith."
Luke 10:19 - “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”
Rev.12:11 - “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.”
Deut. 3:22 -“Do not fear them, for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you.”
Don’t allow the devil to destroy your life. Don’t allow the devil to steal your hope or kill your dreams. Take up the authority you have in Jesus Christ.
Your life only begins, when you start living in God’s Presence and in His Promises and in His truth.
Claim your identity back. Step up and take your rightful position in Christ.
Who you are as decided by the world or other people does not matter at all. The only thing that does matter is what God says about you. It is essential that you be who God called you to be.
A God who has such great faith in you. He created you. He loves you. He sees so much potential in you. He believes in you more than you will ever be able to know or understand.
Your true Identity in Christ
Meditate on God’s Word. Think about what God is saying about you. Learn it. Confess it.
One of the most important things you can learn to do is to discipline yourself to align with God’s Word. Align your thinking, your feelings, your actions and what you allow into your life.
“As a man think in his heart, so he is” - Proverbs 23.7
As I get up, ready to face the day, three words echo in my mind and I confess them.
I dwell on that thought for a few seconds and I affirm them again. I am persuaded.
I am persuaded that if God is for me, who can be against me? I am persuaded that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. I am persuaded that I can do all things through Him that strengthens me. I am persuaded that no matter what may come against me, God is with me and He will fight my battles for me, I only need to stand still and trust in Him.
I am persuaded that I am forgiven. I am persuaded that in Jesus Christ there is no condemnation.
How we start our day is our own personal choice. I have learned that in every new day lies a great opportunity for us to turn our lives around. To do better and greater than before.
By Stella Ashworth
Most people don’t understand the importance of burning bridges. They try and hold onto every little detail. Just in case. Just in case they might need something from someone one day. I am always reminded by what happened to Lot’s wife when she looked back.
Letting go means that you are brave enough to trust God. You are risking it all because you are obedient to Him. Abraham was asked to sacrificed his son. Jesus sacrificed His life for a greater purpose.
Burn those bridges. Watch the fireworks as it lights the way to a sky full of lighters. Just for you. Cross your bridges in faith. Trusting in “what lies before you” is, more important than “what lies behind you”. Having faith in things unseen. That is courage.
By Stella Ashworth
Ephesians 1:4 - “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes”
Ephesians 2:4-5 - “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved...”
How do you turn your thoughts around? How do you believe in yourself when there is no one around you to tell you that you are loved. That you are good enough. That you are accepted. That you can achieve anything you set your heart to.
God tells you that you are loved. Chosen. Forgiven. Accepted. You need to believe His Word. The love of God changes you. Heals you and restores you. God’s love makes you new. And it awakens your soul.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2
We become restless, thinking that God doesn’t hear our prayers and we start to question our worth. Asking, why is everyone else’s prayers being answered and not ours? God is not distant. He is not angry and you are not being punished. He hears your prayers. He sees your tears and He witness your battles.
“My child, precious to Me. I love you with an everlasting love and nothing you do can separate you from My love. Return to Me and I will show you great and wondrous things. I am your Father and when you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. Come home to Me.”
My message to you today is that God knows your name and He sees what you are going through.
Don’t look at your circumstances and why prayers aren’t being answered. Look to God and praise Him for all that He is and that no matter what bad choices you have made in life, He can overwrite them all.
By Stella Ashworth
God has not left us alone but has given us armor to protect us and to help us in our fight, so that we might stand firm.
Psalm 86:11 - “Teach me Your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to Your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor You.”
“Truth is in Jesus.” Truth flows from Jesus, the King of the Universe and God, Himself. As the second person of the Trinity, He created all things. So any truth finds its roots, its source, in Jesus Christ.
The truth refers to Christ Himself and all the truth He embodies. But what do we actually do to put this armor on?
When it comes to decisions I’m making, to how I navigate relationships, to how I parent, to how I work, to how I worship and believe, who or what has the final say in my life?
To fasten on the belt of truth is to give Christ the final say in our lives (v. 14).
Truth keeps us secure in Christ and makes effective all the other pieces of armor in place. Truth is a person. Jesus Christ.
By Stella Ashworth
The Bay Friendship Club
You have be accountable for the life that you lead. The road that you choose. The choices that you make. You can’t stand one foot in the world and one foot in Christianity. If you are friends with the world, you are enemies of Christ. You should then expect your life to be difficult.
You have to believe that you are who God says you are. It’s a choice to believe Him. Then choose to act on that belief. When you submit to God and to His will for your life, you will learn who you are in Christ.
No one else can choose for you. You have to choose for yourself. If you are unhappy with yourself, the only way to change that is to choose to believe the truth about yourself declared by your loving Heavenly Father. No person can provide enough affirmation to make you believe that you are okay and keep you happy with yourself.
Choose life. Choose Him. Choose Him with all your heart, soul, mind and body. Choose to believe Him when He tells you who you are. That you are His Masterpiece. Fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose and abundant life in His care.
By Stella Ashworth
"And without faith it is impossible to please
God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He
rewards those who earnestly seek Him."