Bible, Casting our care on Jesus, Christian Writer, Grief

AN ENDURING PRESENCE

A PRESENCE

Image of Monty -a small white hairy dog, with brown and black patches. Monty has a blanker on his head.

When I first started writing this blog, way back in December 2020, I thought that I would try and encourage reader engagement by featuring pictures of our dog. Christmas that year Monty even got a whole post dedicated to his enjoyment of the season. My blog has changed and morphed since, and the dog has long since stopped appearing as a regular feature. But he was always here with me as I wrote. An enduring presence. Until he wasn’t.

Monty was definitely a presence. A Jack Russell Terrier cross with an attitude five times his size, he genuinely ruled the roost. He had his chair, and his schedule, and his opinions, and we learnt to abide by them all. He barked at everyone who came to the door, and had a special vehemence in his reaction towards the postman and the Tesco delivery driver. He would bark at people visiting the neighbours, bark at birds in the garden, bark at nothing in particular. During lockdown he even learnt to bark at the telephone, or during Zoom calls – the word ‘hello’ set him off. When he wasn’t barking, he would be snoring, or moaning, or just breathing heavily. It is quiet without him. Unbearably quiet.

LOSS OF A PRESENCE

So we are in grief, and slowly readjusting to life without the bothersome old dog. He was an enduring presence through some of the hardest moments of our life. Someone for me to talk to when I found myself home alone more often than not. A reason for me to get out of my bed on the days I really didn’t want to. A constant source of laugh aloud moments. We miss him. Even his exasperating traits. And his smell.

So how are we coping? We are being kind to each other, and spending time doing things together, and getting out of the too quiet house, and enjoying our grandson. We are starting to think about planning things to do that having a dog stopped us doing easily. We are looking at photos and videos and laughing at the memories. And shedding tears too.

Image of Monty -a small white hairy dog, with brown and black patches. Monty has a wrapping paper on his head.

Image of Monty -a small white hairy dog, with brown and black patches. Monty is sitting in an armchair, smiling.

ENDURING PRESENCE

For me personally, I have found myself clinging to the One who is the true enduring presence. A scripture verse that I have found myself saying over myself, over and over, particularly when the sense of loss has left me physically and emotionally exhausted is from Exodus 15:2

The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;

And then yesterday this verse popped up on my daily Bible verse app, and it is just what I needed. Psalm 18:2

Image of an outline of a  mountain range in shades of blue, with the text of Psalm 18:2 superimposed

We have had a hard few weeks, and I know we are not alone in that. Covid, the flu, financial concerns, dark days, wet weather. Loss. I have friends who have lost loved ones, other friends suffering life threatening ill-health. All these things take their toll. But what a blessing to know we are not alone through any of it. God is an enduring presence. He never leaves our side (Hebrews 13:5) He walks through the mess with us. He understands, and knows, and can carry our burdens. He collects every tear we shed (Psalm 56:8).

Even the tears cried over a dog.

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com


advent, Bible, Christian Writer, christmas, Glorifying Jesus, Jesus, Redeemer, The Word of God

ADVENT 24: LOVE CAME DOWN

LOVE CAME DOWN AT CHRISTMAS

He has many Names

And the greatest of all is Love.

Love came down at Christmas

Love all lovely, love divine.

Love, He is Love.

Love incarnate

Love clothed Him with human flesh. Love planned it before the beginning of time. Love humbled Himself and crept silently, yet powerfully, into a troubled world. Love challenged hatred, fear, shame and oppression. Love took a willing girl and grew within her. Love spoke to a troubled man and calmed him to obedience. Love drew shepherds in wonder and kings in worship.

The word LOVE in a white heart, on a background of all the Names of Jesus in lilac coloured script.

Love opened His arms wide and embraced a world yet to know Him, giving all of Himself. Love that was, and is and ever more will be. Love that saves, redeems, restores and sustains. Love that embraces us still, every day and into eternity.

Love came down at Christmas. Wonderful Love, we embrace you, we bow in reverence before You, we worship You, we give ourselves to You.

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com


advent, Bible, Christian Writer, christmas, Jesus, Names of Christ, The Word of God

ADVENT 23: JESUS – I AM

BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS

In John 8 :58, Jesus said something extraordinary which astounded His listeners; ‘Before Abraham was, I Am’. This would have shocked them because He was claiming to have existed before Abraham lived on earth. The Jewish leaders and scholars could make no sense of that, how the man who stood before them could claim to have also been alive before the man who was the great father of their nation. Unless… He was claiming to be more than a man.

Text of John 8 v 58 on a blue background surrounded by Christmas tree decorations

I AM WHO I AM

His wording was no mistake. He did not say ‘Before Abraham was, I was’. He said ‘I AM’.  In fact He had already used the phrase ‘I am’  twice in this discourse, in John 8:24, and John 8:28 (the ‘He’ is not there in the Greek). If they hadn’t got it before I believe they would have heard it for sure the third time. And it angered them so much that they wanted to stone Him. Because His listeners would have known those two words as the title God used of Himself when He talked to Moses from the burning bush, ‘I AM who I AM’ (Exodus 3:14). That is, the One that just exists, the One that is, and always has been, and always will be. The eternal One who is all and holds all in His hands.

THE GREAT I AM

Jesus was claiming deity. He did it again in John 18: 5-6, when the soldiers came to arrest Him in the garden, and either consciously or sub -consciously, they knew the power in His words. When He said, ‘I AM’ (again, the ‘He’ is not there in the Greek), the soldiers fell back to the ground. God in human form allowed Himself to be taken by cruel human hands and led to His death, for our salvation.

Image of a blue sky with white clouds that have taken the shape of a lion and a lamb. The words 'I Am alpha and Omega' in blue text

Be in no doubt, the baby that shepherds ran to find, and kings knelt to worship, was and is the great I AM. The same God of the burning bush, who delivered His people from Egypt and parted the Red Sea, came in the form of a baby to Bethlehem. God the Son was not a lesser version of God the Father. He was, and is, God eternal. ‘I Am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End’ He declares from heaven (Revelation 1: 11).  This is the One who deserves all our honour, all our praise, and our very lives in worship this Christmas. So, so much more than a baby in a manger.

Text of Revelation 1 v 11 on a blue background surrounded by Christmas tree decorations

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com


Bible, Christian Writer, Jesus, Names of Christ, The Word of God

ADVENT 22: JESUS – THE WORD

THE SPOKEN WORD

John’s gospel begins with the familiar words, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’(John 1:1). To know he is speaking of Jesus we jump down to v 14, ‘and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father.’

Text of John 1 v 14 on a background of an open Bible and Christmas lights

 I wonder if you have ever struggled to understand this description of Jesus? I certainly have. I love words, I love reading them, writing them and the beauty words can portray when used creatively. How does this relate to Jesus? The Greek meaning of ‘word’ here isn’t so much the written word but the spoken word, ‘logos’. It is the expression of a thought. It makes much more sense to describe Jesus in this way, as the spoken, outward expression of God’s thoughts.

Scripture tells us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12 : 34). God had so much in His heart that He wanted to express to mankind – of His love, joy, truth, holiness, grace and mercy. So He sent us His spoken message in the person of Christ. In effect Jesus was the embodiment of all that God wanted to say to us. How beautiful is that!

An open Bible against a background of soft focus Christmas Lights

THE CREATIVE WORD

But there is more. John 1 : 2-4 tell us that Jesus was there in eternity with God and through Him all creation happened (Colossians 1:16). We know that God spoke creation into being, it was in His heart, but speaking the words had the power to bring what was in His heart to life.  In and through Jesus, God speaks the desire of His heart, to bring life, eternal life, life in abundance. He is ‘The Word of Life ‘(1 John 1: 1). Pictured on a white horse in the book of Revelation, the all victorious one, Jesus is given the name ‘The Word of God’ (Revelation 19 : 13). He shed His blood and wears the victors crown to purchase life for us; ‘In Him was life’ (John 1: 4), and in Him IS life.

Text of John 1 v 2-4 on a background of an open Bible and Christmas lights

‘I believe that God speaks all the time to us, brother, but often our hearts are closed to hearing Him. Perhaps you have consciously opened your heart towards God more as you have journeyed on this pilgrimage, and so you have heard Him speak. Not in an audible voice, perhaps, but through the things you understand and relate to.’

‘So, I might hear God more from now on?’

‘I pray so, son. That’s why you are on this journey, after all. We are all on a journey closer to His heart. For you, it is treading the path of pilgrimage; for others, like me, it is serving Him in the everyday and doing the best with the life He has given us.’

‘How do you hear God speak, brother?’

‘Like you, sometimes in the things I am doing, just naturally; a thought comes to me that I believe is from Him. Other times He speaks to me through the wise words of others; sometimes through songs and liturgies, most often when reading and meditating on His word.’

THE PILGRIM

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com


advent, Bible, Christian Writer, christmas, Names of Christ, The Word of God

ADVENT 20: JESUS, ‘SON OF MAN’

SON OF MAN

How did Jesus refer to Himself in the Gospels, more than any other title? According to biblical scholars He refers to Himself as the ‘Son of Man’ 78 times. I haven’t counted! But it is interesting that Jesus chose to associate Himself with mankind in this way, rather than calling Himself the ‘Son of God’. He who created humanity, loved human beings so much that He chose to humble Himself to come to earth to live among men. To experience life as we do and to ultimately die for us. He describes Himself, the Son of Man, as coming not to be served but to be served and to give His life for many (Mark 10:45).

Text of Mark 10:45 against a white background with wrapped Christmas parcels on the left side.

HUMAN CLAIMING DIVINITY

But in Mark’s gospel Jesus also describes the Son of Man as having the power to forgive sins (Mark 2:10) and to be ‘Lord of the Sabbath’ (Mark 2:28), so even as Son of Man He claims divinity. He tells his followers that the Son of Man will suffer and die (Mark 8:31) will rise from the dead (Mark 9:9), will one day return (Mark 13:26) and will sit in judgement with the Father (Mark 8:38).

Photograph of a stone carving of the face of Christ wearing a crown of thorns.

EXALTED CHRIST

This is where we see that Jesus was not just using the title to emphasise His humanity, but also because of a prophecy in Daniel 7 :1-14. Daniel saw an image of the Ancient of Days (God the Father) on His throne (v9). And then someone else is brought into the heavenly throne room – ‘ one like the Son of Man’. And it is to Him that all glory and dominion over the nations of the world are given. A Kingdom that will last forever. This is an image of the exalted Christ, prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus even walked on the earth, and a familiar prophecy to those of Jesus’ time who were awaiting their Messiah. They knew that when Jesus used the term ‘Son of Man’ Jesus was claiming to be the Anointed One.

Daniel’s vision echoes that of John’s in Revelation 5. The Lamb is brought forward as the only one worthy to take the scroll, because He was the one who died and rose again. To Him is given all the glory and honour and praise.

Text of Revelation 5 v 13 against a white background with wrapped Christmas parcels on the left side.

Jesus, the Son of man, came as the servant of humanity, but is also the forever exalted One, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Later, as they lay looking up at the stars through the branches of the trees, listening to the river lapping gently on the shore, and to the horses munching contentedly close by, Philip sighed.

‘Now, this is peace. It’s amazing how the things around us can either make us feel at peace inside, or can steal our peace. Storms without can cause storms within.’

‘It is true,’ Hywel replied. ‘The kind of peace I want more and more is the kind that Jesus had, that He promises can be ours. A peace that stays true despite our circumstances.’

‘The peace that Jesus experienced during that storm; how do you think He came by that?’ Philip was keen to know the answer. Was that a kind of peace available to him, he wondered?

‘Several things, I think. It was a gift from God, obviously, but I believe Jesus accessed it by His own will. He trusted God to protect them. He knew enough about God’s plan for His life to know that it wasn’t His time to die, and also that God had a reason for wanting Him on the other side of the lake. He had a God-designed destiny, and a God-arranged destination, and an appointment with a demon-possessed man needing to be freed. He also knew who He was, and that He had the God-given authority to calm the storm. He chose to believe in those things, and not the evidence to the contrary that the storm seemed to present.’

‘So,’ Philip thought out loud, ‘inner peace comes from faith in God.’

THE HEALING p 94

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com


advent, Bible, Christian Writer, christmas, Jesus, Names of Christ, The Word of God

ADVENT 19: JESUS – THE VINE

I AM THE VINE

In John 15 :1 Jesus makes another statement about Himself; ‘I am the Vine, and my Father is the Vinedresser’. In v 5 He repeats the statement, but this time He says to His followers – ‘you are the branches’. Branches that need to stay connected to the main vine in order to produce fruit for Him.

Text of John 15 v 5 on a white background with Christmas baubles of assorted colours hanging to one side

GOD’S VINE

Have you ever wondered why Jesus used the picture of a Vine? Could he not have said that He was an olive tree, or a fig tree, perhaps. The picture still would have worked for a plant with fruit yielding branches. His listeners would have understood why. In the Old Testament, vines and vineyards were often used as pictures for Israel. Most notably in Psalm 80: 8-19 we have the description of a vine, brought out of Egypt, planted so that it took deep root and flourished. This is an obvious reference to God’s chosen people of Israel. Yet the Psalm goes on to lament that God has let the hedges surrounding this vine/vineyard be broken down so that the fruit can be stolen, by thieves and wild beasts. The cry is for God to restore His vine and His vineyard.

Israel had been God’s chosen people, to carry His presence and declare His glory. But they had failed to do so through their sin and disobedience. Here in the New Testament we have Jesus saying ‘I am the Vine’, and you can be a part of Me. He was the new vine that God had planted – and those who believed in Him would become the God’s chosen people to carry His presence and reflect His glory.

Photograph of clusters of grapes hanging from a vine, with the words 'I am the Vine'

BEARING FRUIT

Vines are planted in order to produce fruit, so it is with the Vine that is Christ Jesus. It’s branches must bear fruit, fruit that glorifies God. As branches of the Vine we don’t produce fruit of ourselves, He produces His fruit from our submitted lives, the fruit of His spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Sometimes He needs to prune things from our lives that prevent us bearing fruit. Sometimes He has to bind up the branches so that they can bear the weight of the fruit. Always His Word brings the truth we need to keep our lives clean and attached to Him (John 15:1-7). Jesus, the Vine, asks us to abide in Him. To make Him our first focus and be willing to submit everything to Him. Then we will see His fruit flourish in our lives.

What does abiding in the Vine look like for you?

Text of Galatians 5 v 22-23 on a white background with Christmas baubles of assorted colours hanging to one side

‘Huw, do you know my story?’

‘In part. You considered taking vows yourself, did you not?’

‘Yes. Truthfully, I did. I too thought it was the only way to live a life of devotion to God. And God had spared my life miraculously, so I believed it was my only reasonable response to Him. And then Efa came back into my life.’ Philip paused, a look of quiet joy crossing his face. ‘A wise friend showed me then that a life of devotion to God does not always have to be inside abbey walls. I realised that my path lay in being a husband and a father. And that I could still live each day serving God and others.’

‘You and your wife are well known and loved for the way you serve others, and care for the needy. And for your godly lives and wisdom,’ Huw said with quiet respect.

THE BELOVED

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com


advent, Bible, Christian Writer, christmas, Jesus, Names of Christ, The Word of God

ADVENT 18: JESUS -THE DOOR

THE DOOR TO THE SHEEP

In the same chapter of John’s Gospel where Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd, He also describes Himself as the Door, or Gate, to the sheep (John 10:7). This would have conjured up a wonderful picture for those listening to Him. Sheepfolds of the time were roofless, and constructed of stone walls with a gap left for the sheep to enter and exit. This gap would have no physical gate. Once all the sheep were safely herded in, then the shepherds would take turns to sit in the gap. They would protect the sheep with their own bodies, keeping them in peace and safety, and only letting other shepherds who they knew near the sheep. They were a physical barrier against thieves and wild animals. So the door and the shepherd were one and the same thing.

The text of John 10 v 9, on a white background surrounded by Christmas decorations

THE WAY

The Greek word for door used in John 10 :7 and again in v 9 can also be translated as ‘entrance, passage, or way’. In calling Himself the door, Jesus was re-emphasising the truth that He had come to be the only way to the Father. In John 10: 9 He states that those who ‘enter’ through Him, will be saved, and be a sheep of His sheepfold. Free to go in and out, following Him to the best pastures, and following Him to the best places to rest. In John 10:10 He promises those who become His that they will have life in abundance. In John 14:6 Jesus says ‘I am THE WAY, the truth and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except by Me.’

The text of John 10 v10, on a white background surrounded by Christmas decorations

THE NARROW GATE

There is a warning though. The gateway is a narrow one and not always easy to enter. It might be off-putting to some. Believing in Jesus demands we lay down everything else at His feet. Yes the life He promises is one of abundance, a life that will last for eternity, but it might cost. It may not be easy to follow the Shepherd. Luke 13 :22-28

How beautiful a shepherd He is that He laid down His life to be the Doorway to the fold that is His kingdom!

Painting of a rectangular ancient sheepfold, with stone walls and sheep within. A Shepherd sits across the doorway. The words beneath are I am the door.

How wonderful that we know we are secure in Him, and that although following Him might not always be easy, He will always protect and guard us. And His gift to us is life in abundance.

Pray today for those you love who have yet to find Jesus the Door.

image of front cover of the book, The Healing

‘We can all know God’s love and blessing, but some of us choose to take what He has given us and squander it, while others live with ingratitude and a feeling of entitlement and self-righteousness. All He wants is for us to come back to Him with repentant hearts and He will embrace us and celebrate us, and restore us to right relationship with Him. Living as God’s son in a close, love relationship with Him, is the absolute best. It is what we were designed for.’

‘But that Father in the story didn’t even care what the son had done. He didn’t judge him for it or hold it over him. That boy didn’t get the punishment he deserved, and instead got the honour he didn’t deserve. God surely can’t turn a blind eye to our sin?’

‘That is the point, Philip. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that you or I, or anyone has done that will stop God from loving us and welcoming us back to Him with open arms. We need to repent, to admit our wrong, but He couldn’t stop loving us and wanting us, not for anything. He is calling all His sons back home.’

THE HEALING p 71

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com


advent, Bible, Christian Writer, christmas, Jesus, Names of Christ, The Word of God, TRUTH

ADVENT 17: JESUS – THE TRUTH

I AM THE TRUTH

Jesus said in John 14: 6, ‘I am the way, the TRUTH and the life’. He said He was the way, and the life, in response to Thomas’ inquiry as to how they could follow Him where He was going. But what did He mean when He said He was the truth?  When Jesus stood before Pilate, He declared Himself the One bearing witness to the truth, and that the only those knowing the truth would hear His voice (John 18 :37-38). Pilate’s reply echoes through history, the cry of a searching humanity, ‘What is truth?’ The irony for Pilate was that truth was standing right before Him in the person of Christ.

Text of John 14 v 6 within a wreath of evergreens and berries

I AM THE REAL THING

The word ‘truth’ here isn’t just the simple opposite of a lie. It means much more. In fact, the closest Greek opposite to it would be ‘illusion’. ‘Truth’ was reality, genuine, the embodiment of moral truth and rightness, the proof of what was true. When Jesus declared He was truth, He was in effect saying, ‘I am reality, everything else you know or believe is an illusion, I am the real thing, genuine, right, certain, the only truth worthy of your complete trust’.

Image of an open bible with the words 'What is truth?' circled and the words I am truth below

KNOWING THE TRUTH

Knowing the truth isn’t just about gaining enough head knowledge to persuade ourselves to believe, knowing the truth is knowing and trusting Jesus. John 8: 32, says, ‘you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free’. The context of this is believing in the Word of God, but it applies equally to the One who declared ‘I am truth’. We trust those who are truthful and operate with integrity, but even those we are closest to will sometimes let us down. It is difficult to always be completely truthful and genuine, because we are flawed human beings. But there is one who is perfectly true and genuine, and He can be completely trusted. He is the answer to the world’s search for truth and reality. He is the victorious, glorious One, riding on the white horse, whose name is ‘FAITHFUL AND TRUE’ (Rev 19: 11).

The only true thing in our lives should be the One we trust with all things.

Text of Revelation 19 v 11 within a wreath of evergreens and berries

Image of front cover of the book 'The Pilgrim'

Hywel leaned into Brenin, who stood and let him, just for a moment, before reverting to his more normal skittish state and trotting away. Hywel smiled to himself. He was making progress with the horse at least, little by little gaining his trust. He wondered if it was the same with him and God. As this pilgrimage went on, the things that were said, the people he interacted with, the words he was reading… Little by little, he was learning to trust God more, lean into Him more, accept that He might really care about him. Gracia had said that Brenin would be happier once he learned to submit to kind leadership. What was it she had said? ‘He will be happier and more content for learning to trust another, and in realising that he does not have to be in control. Perhaps the same is true for you?’ If he understood her meaning, she would have been praying for this. For him to trust God enough to give Him the care and control of his life and its direction. He was getting there.

THE PILGRIM pp 210-211

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com


advent, Bible, Christian Writer, christmas, Jesus, Names of Christ, The Word of God

ADVENT 16: JESUS – BREAD OF LIFE

BREAD FROM HEAVEN

In John 6 we have the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. A day later Jesus is being mobbed by a crowd demanding that this ‘magician’ do another miracle for them. They try and spiritualise their request by referring to the manna, or bread from heaven, that God had sent to feed the Israelites in the desert (Exodus 16). Jesus’ reply is blunt; that sort of bread will never satisfy you. They are looking to satisfy their natural desires, but they need to be much more concerned that they have the food that will give them eternal life.

Text of John 6 v 35 on a background of white washed wooden planks, with a row of iced Christmas cookies below.

BREAD OF LIFE

 ‘I am the bread of life,’ He tells them, and if you feed on me you will never hunger again (John 6: 35). What stands before them is much more than a miraculous loaf of bread but the very source of eternal life. He urges them to feed on Him, He is the living bread, sent from heaven to satisfy every need and desire of their hearts (John 6: 48-51). Every time we take the bread at the communion table we are physically sharing in His body broken for us. We remember that the Living Bread was broken so that we could have life in Him (Luke 22:19).

Text of Luke 22 v 19 on a background of white washed wooden planks, with a row of iced Christmas cookies below.

FEED ON HIM

Now, I love bread. It is the hardest thing for me to give up when trying to lose weight! There is nothing so tempting as a fresh loaf of crusty bread, warm from the oven. It looks good and smells wonderful, but if I just set it on the table in front of you and told you to just look and smell, that would be cruel! Bread is to be eaten. The bread of life is the same. He urges us to feed on Him, to have every spiritual and emotional need met (John 6:57). How? Well in the same way as we ingest bread, we need to take Him into ourselves. First, we invite Him to be Lord of our lives, invite Him into our hearts, and accept His gift of eternal life. But then, just as the Israelites needed daily manna, so we need to feast on Him daily, by spending time talking with Him, worshipping Him, and reading and meditating on His word. He is the only thing that can feed our spiritual lives and keep us healthy, strong and growing.

Spend time feasting on Him today.

Photo of a part sliced loaf of crusty bread on a bread board. With the words 'bread of life'.

Image of front cover of the book The Healing

‘Hywel has asked to be released from work duties while he is here in order to spend his time alone in prayer and fasting.’

‘Probably just thankful for a break from me,’ Philip muttered under his breath, but not so quiet that Julian did not hear it.

The abbot smiled kindly. ‘Not that, brother. I can assure you. Hywel has a very special relationship with God, and when he has been on the road and busy in the world outside of abbey walls, he finds the opportunity to take a day or two, and be in close communion with God, a necessity. He will come back to you when he has finished doing what he needs to do with God.’

THE HEALING p123

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com


advent, Bible, Christian Writer, christmas, Jesus, Names of Christ, The Word of God

ADVENT 15: JESUS – LIGHT

YOUR LIGHT HAS COME

In Isaiah 9:2 we read the prophecy that a great Light will come to transform the lives of those who walk in darkness and live in the shadow of death. This is one of my favourite prophecies of Jesus; Matthew quotes it about Him in Matt 4:16.

Isaiah 42:6 tells us that this same Light will bring revelation truth to the Gentiles (nations), and Luke attributes this prophecy to Jesus in Luke 2:32. And then in Isaiah 60:1-3 the cry comes ‘Arise Shine, for your Light has come!’, and the promise that gentiles will come to this Light.

Text of Isaiah 9 v 2 on a royal blue background, with a Christmas candle in the corner.

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

The themes of darkness and light run throughout scripture. Darkness is evil, sin, godlessness, fear, hopelessness, anxiety, despair, oppression, lack of sight, lack of wisdom or direction, and death. In contrast Light signifies goodness, holiness, hope, joy, peace, vision, revelation, life and glory. Jesus came to turn darkness to light. John the Baptist called Him ‘the true light which gives light to every man’ and the light that darkness could not understand or overcome (John 1:4-9). Jesus said of Himself ‘I am the Light of the World, He that follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life’ (John 8:12)That’s good news! There is no power of darkness that His light cannot dispel.

A large lit candle to the left of the image, against a dark background, with the words 'Light of the World' above

WALK IN THE LIGHT

If we follow closely after Him, then all darkness must bow to His light. We can live in hope, joy, and revelation light, even when darkness is all around us. But it is a choice, Jesus warned His listeners in John 3:19-21 that darkness is powerful, and many still choose darkness over Light. It is still a choice, even to those of us who already belong to Him. To be dragged back into walking/living in darkness, or to choose to stay close to Him and walk in His light (1 John 1:5-7).

 His call to us is, ‘Arise Shine, for my Light has come to you.’

Text of Isaiah 60 v 1 on a royal blue background, with a Christmas candle in the corner.

‘Do you believe that I can really be free of this darkness inside of me?’ Philip sighed. The feelings of despair were not far from the surface again. ‘I have witnessed much suffering, death and cruelty, and I have been the cause of some of it. I have suffered betrayal, and I have betrayed my own beliefs. I have taken out my frustrations on the undeserving, God included. I have done much that I am ashamed of.’

‘As have we all.’

Philip doubted very much that Hywel had, but as he glanced up, he saw a flicker of pain cross the monk’s face.

‘I can assure you,’ Hywel continued, ‘sitting here with you, that as sure as the sun there will set and rise again tomorrow, there is hope that you can walk free from all of it. From darkness, into life-giving light. That is the message of Easter is it not?’ He held Philip’s gaze. ‘The followers of Jesus watched in horror as He was interrogated, tortured, and hung on a cross to die, all by those who were supposedly acting in the name of God. As He hung there on that tree He uttered those extraordinary words: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”[1] It is supposed that He was referring to the soldiers tasked with His execution, but what if that forgiveness was being extended to all who had played a part in His death? To those who had orchestrated and ordered it, those who stood mocking Him as He died, even to His followers who had denied and abandoned Him?’ Hywel paused briefly to let his words settle, watching Philip’s face all the time. He continued, ‘And then, after three days buried in a tomb, the women came to grieve Him and found He had risen. Jesus had passed from death to life, defeating darkness and rising into glorious light. And so, yes, I believe each of us can be free of the power of darkness, because of the resurrection. God offers forgiveness and light to us all.’

THE HEALING pp 56-57


[1] Luke 23:34, NKJV.

Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.

The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022

More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com