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


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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


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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


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ADVENT 14 : JESUS – LAMB OF GOD

LAMB OF GOD

This is how John the Baptist announced Jesus in John 1:29, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ The next day he declared the same, and two of his disciples immediately left him to follow Jesus. John could have said, ‘behold the Messiah’, or ‘behold the Son of God’, but he didn’t make it that obvious. We can’t know for sure, but I wonder if those two disciples understood the description? Something made them follow after Jesus.

Text of  John 1 v29 on a white background, surrounded by pine branches and tree decorations

WITHOUT BLEMISH

For them ‘lamb’ signified sacrifice, they had grown up under a covenant where lambs were routinely offered as sacrifices for the atonement of sin, as laid down in Levitical law. John was describing Jesus as a sacrifice for the whole world’s sin. They would also know of the importance of the ‘lamb without blemish’. Before even the law of sacrifices was established, God had told His people to take and kill a lamb without blemish and paint its blood on the doorposts of their homes, to protect themselves from the Angel of death, at the first Passover ( Exodus 12:3-5 ). The blood of the lamb was their protection and salvation.

photo of a new born lamb lying on a pile of grass with the words 'Lamb of God' above.

ETERNALLY WORSHIPPED

Jesus offered His blood as the price for our redemption, ‘as a lamb without blemish and spot’ (1Peter 1:18-19). He that ‘knew no sin’ (2 Corinthians 5 : 21) sacrificed Himself to make atonement for our sins. His blood was spilt and stained on the uprights and crossbeam of a wooden cross, so that the punishment of death would pass over us. We don’t see this description of Jesus anywhere else in the Gospels, but it is an eternal theme.  In Heaven that is how Jesus appears – as a Lamb that had been slain (Revelation 5 : 6), and it is as the Lamb of God that He is eternally worshipped: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honour, and glory and blessing’! (Revelation 5 :12)

Let’s worship along with heaven today!

Text of  Revelation 5 v 12 on a white background, surrounded by pine branches and tree decorations

Image of front cover of the book the Pilgrim

 Here all was simplicity, and as the service progressed, so the simplicity of worship also became evident. There were no written words of liturgy, no formality, no separate area for monks and lay people, male or female, as Hywel was used to. All came together with one purpose, to praise their Creator together. The priest began to recite, and the words were from a psalm. The people in the congregation added their voices. They knew these words by heart, and they were spoken with conviction. One by one voices began to sing along with the responses, until there sounded the most beautiful of symphonies, voices coming together in sweet harmonies, rising and falling together. Their worship filled the space, until it felt as if heaven itself had leant a choir of angels to the realm of humans.

Hywel looked about him in wonder. All around him faces were lifted in adoration, bathed in peace and joy. Some knelt and spread their hands in devotion. One or two lay prostrate on the floor. It was a deeply moving experience and Hywel wished for it not to end. Could it be that God Himself had presenced Himself there, as a response to their praise, as He had in Solomon’s great Temple?[1] Hywel found himself on his knees, overcome by the heavy sense of the Holy in that simple place, among those simple people. He could not even pray, but where he knelt he was aware of tears coursing down his cheeks and falling to the cool stone floor beneath him.

THE PILGRIM p 214


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


[1] See 2 Chronicles 5:13-14.

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ADVENT 12: JESUS – SON OF DAVID

SON OF DAVID

The genealogies at the beginning of the gospels of Matthew and Luke both show how Jesus was physically descended from King David. This was the fulfilment of the promise given to David in 2 Samuel 7:16, ‘your throne shall be established forever’. The people of Jesus’ time knew that the Messiah would have the title ‘Son of David’ (Matt 21:9). As a descendant of David’s royal line, in human terms He had a right to the throne of Israel. The Angel told Mary that her son, although the Son of God, would also be given David’s throne (Luke 1:32)

Text of Luke 1 v 32 against a background of weathered wooden slats, surrounded by Christmas lights and pine cones

MAN AFTER GOD’S HEART

But why was it so important to God that Jesus was called the ‘Son of David’? 1 Samuel 13 : 14 tells us that God chose David to be King, as a man after His own heart. David was far from perfect, but held a special place in God’s affection, and knew a closeness with God that was ahead of his time. He was obedient to God, sought His will and direction, submitting himself to God’s care and protection. David was a warrior King who brought peace to Israel and established a strong Kingdom. But He was also a worshipper, giving us most of the Psalms, establishing 24/7 worship, and overseeing the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. Jews of Jesus’ time would have looked back and revered David and his reign.

Text of Matthew 21 v 9 against a background of weathered wooden slats, surrounded by Christmas lights and pine cones

GREAT DAVID’S GREATER SON

And then the Son of David appeared. I believe David was a picture of Christ, albeit an imperfect one. Jesus was a man whose heart was completely and perfectly after God, He lived His life in submission and obedience, a life that worshipped God. A warrior king He would fight, to the point of giving up His life, in order to establish a new and eternal kingdom. David brought the Ark, the presence of God back into the heart of the kingdom of Israel. Jesus came to bring the presence of God into the heart of all who would receive Him. David was a man after God’s own heart, Jesus was the heart of God personified.

What does it look like for us to have a heart after God?

The star of David in blue and gold, with a stylized blue crown above, and the words 'Son of David' below
Image of front cover of the book The Healing

‘God gave everything He had for our salvation. He gave his only Son. Then, when we return to Him as Father, He loads us with even more good things: peace, joy, hope and many more blessings besides, as you are just beginning to experience. What then is our rightful response to all He has given us? What could we possibly give back to Him?’

‘I have nothing apart from my horse and a few meagre belongings now. What could I possibly give to God?’ And then he knew the answer. ‘I have nothing to give Him but myself,’ Philip whispered. It was the realisation of a powerful truth.

‘Which is all any of us have to give Him,’ Hywel replied softly, ‘and all that He ever asks of us.’

THE HEALING p 85

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 11 : JESUS – IMMANUEL

IMMANUEL

Immanuel means ‘God with us’ and we know that from Matthew 1 :23. The gospel writer, Matthew, quotes from Isaiah 7:14 as he tells the story of Joseph, and his dream encounter with the Angel. Joseph had just been told that the child Mary carried was the Son of God. In this context ‘Immanuel’ is a name, the name given to the child born of a virgin, who would be the Messiah, the Saviour.

Text of Matthew1 v 23, on a background of whitewashed wood, bordered by red and gold Christmas decorations

GOD AS A MAN

God Himself, in the person of His Son, descended into humanity so that He could live among us. We can put from our minds all thoughts of a distant, uninterested God. He was born into poverty, hardship, shame, fear and uncertainty, under Roman oppression. He chose to experience these things, as well as injustice, hatred, misunderstanding, loneliness, physical torture and death. He suffered these willingly, for our salvation, but also so that He could fully understand our pain and suffering (Hebrews 4:15).

SImple painting of Joseph and Mary, cradling the infant Christ, beside a manger. With the word Immanuel below.

OUR COMFORT

He truly made Himself ‘God with man’, and this is our comfort. There is nothing that we can face that He has not experienced Himself. We can never believe that He does not care, because He truly knows how we feel. He also had no problem identifying with the undesirables – from the shepherds, to tax collectors and prostitutes. He came to be with those who needed Him most, God with every man, whatever their status.

OUR BATTLE CRY

But ‘Immanuel’ occurs elsewhere in Isaiah, in chapter 8, verses 8 and 10. Here it is not a name but a cry of trust, from a nation facing humiliation and defeat; it is a yell, ‘Our God is With Us!’. Immanuel is our comfort but also our battle cry. Whatever we face, He, Almighty God, is truly with us. ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5) is His promise.

Is Immanuel both your comfort and your battle cry?

Text of Isaiah 8 v10, on a background of whitewashed wood, bordered by red and gold Christmas decorations

‘Were you afraid on the ship?’

‘Honestly? Yes. Fear in itself is a normal human reaction. You would expect to feel fear every time you entered a battle?’ He glanced over at Philip who nodded in response. ‘I was afraid, but I have learned to do the things God requires me to do, even when I feel fear. He promises to ride the storm with me, every time.’ He continued, ‘I prayed the whole time that God would help me, to not let my fear become greater than the faith I had in Him to keep us safe. My mind was eventually able to find a degree of peace, unlike my stomach.’ He smiled wryly.

THE HEALING p 95

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

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ADVENT 10 : JESUS – SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

There are lines in the carol ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’, that you’ve probably sung many, many times:

 ‘Hail the Son of Righteousness, Life and Light to all He brings, Risen with healing in His wings’.

The scripture it comes from is Malachi 4 : 2, and it is not the ‘Son’ but the ‘Sun’ of righteousness. It makes more sense when you realise that ‘wings’ can also be translated as ‘rays’. The picture is of a bright shining sun, whose rays are full of healing life. Sunlight is necessary for all life and growth. As the sun rises in the morning it brings light and warm. In the same way, Jesus the Sun comes, and His rising brings – light that dispels darkness, warmth, healing. He brings life itself to all who will fall under His rays.

Text of Malachi 4 v 2 against a background of  Christmas tree lights in soft focus

JEHOVAH TSIDKENU

 In 2 Samuel 23: 4, David speaks of a just ruler to come, with ‘light like the morning sun’, whose appearing will dispel the clouds, and dry the rain off the grass so that it springs back to life. This is the Sun of Righteousness; the Hebrew word translated ‘righteousness’ is the same word God uses to describe the one to come, the Branch, in Jeremiah 23 :6 –  ‘the Lord Our Righteousness’, Jehovah Tsidkenu. He is altogether right, just and Holy.

Photo showing a rising sun with it's rays dispelling dark clouds

HEALING IN HIS WINGS

This Sun is He whose face shone like the sun (Rev 1: 16). His coming was the dawn, the dayspring (Luke 1 : 78) that a jubilant Zachariah (the Father of John the Baptist) sang of. So now when you sing that carol and get to those lines you can sing with understanding  (you have my permission to change the Son to Sun, no one will notice!).

In His sunshine rays, spreading out from His glorious brightness are your life, and your healing.

Text of Luke 1 v 78 against a background of  Christmas tree lights in soft focus

Image of front cover of the book, The Pilgrim

What was he doing on this pilgrimage? Yes it hadn’t been his choice to come, but now he had got this far, now he had seen what this journey meant to so many of his fellow travellers, he found his own heart purposed to complete it. It felt now like it was a necessary part of his own life journey, his own soul healing perhaps. His life up to this point had not gone as he had planned, and as for the future, he was more unsure of that than he had ever been. At least this journey had a purpose, and physical end point. But it wasn’t just getting to the Holy Island – Hywel knew that he needed to end this journey knowing the answer to the questions Gwrgenau had sent him away with, if he ever hoped to return to Cwmhir.

He longed for peace for his soul, and freedom from the burden of guilt that still plagued him. He wanted to know what his life purpose was; had God really called him, and for what? He could not turn back now. He could not return to Cwmhir unchanged, he knew it.

THE PILGRIM pp 185-186

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

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ADVENT 7 – JESUS – THE BRIDEGROOM

THE BRIDEGROOM

One of the most beautiful descriptions of Jesus for me is that of the bridegroom.

John the Baptist exalted Christ, describing Him as the bridegroom coming for His bride. He described himself as the friend of the bridegroom (John 3:29). Jesus also described Himself as the bridegroom. He did so in response to the Pharisees who were criticising His disciples for not fasting . Why should they be fasting and miserable when the time they have left with the bridegroom was time for celebration (Matt 9: 15)?

The bridegroom theme was one that Jesus’ listeners would have been familiar with; God Himself described Himself as the bridegroom, the one who rejoices over His people as His bride (Isaiah 62: 5).

text of Isaiah 62 v 5 within a red heart. Above the heart is a string of Christmas lights, below it pine cones and berries.

COMING FOR THE BRIDE

In Hebrew tradition the bride would get herself prepared on her wedding day, and sit beautifully dressed waiting patiently at her home until her bridegroom and his friends came calling. Her bridegroom would then come and take her back with Him to His own home. What a wonderful picture for us. Jesus our bridegroom is coming for us to make us fully His.

Do you not feel you are worthy? Well in Rev 21:2 He tells us that the bride (the church) He is coming for is already beautifully adorned, dressed ready for her bridegroom –  because He has made us pure and spotless for Him.

Photograph of the upper body and hand of a bride, in bridal dress, taken through a thick veil.

BESOTTED BY THE BRIDE

And how does He feel about us His bride? Well just turn to Song of Solomon, which is a beautiful love song between the bridegroom and His bride, and a glorious picture of Christ wooing us. Song 4: 9 says ‘you have ravished my heart, My sister, My bride’. He is completely besotted with us. The romantic in me loves that Jesus is described in this way. He is the lover of our souls. Transfixed by our beauty, He can’t wait for the day when He comes and makes us fully His for all eternity.

Do you struggle to see Jesus being besotted by you?

text of Song of Solomon 4 v 9 within a red heart. Above the heart is a string of Christmas lights, below it pine cones and berries.

Image of front cover of the book, The Healing

‘He wants me to have it all, doesn’t He?’ The realisation of that truth was beginning to sink in. ‘God wants me to be happy, to be loved, to be fulfilled, to be useful. For me that could be as a husband, a custodian, a father, even. I still can’t quite believe it, that this is the reason He restored my life? I wanted to believe there was some great act of service I was to do for Him, some noble sacrifice on my part, a life of devotion to Him to pay Him back for what He has done for me.’

THE HEALING p 205

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


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ADVENT 1: JESUS – SERVANT

This year I am going to attempt to do something I have never done before, on this blog at least. Today marks the first day of Advent and I am going to attempt to post a blog every day, right up until Christmas.

A few years ago I did a series of studies on the names and descriptors of Jesus, primarily taken from the Old Testament Messianic prophecies. I have long wanted to develop these and so this year I am going to include them in this blog, in association with quotes from my books. I want to focus on Jesus, more than ever this Christmas, when there are so many difficult things going on in the world. I hope that you will follow along with me, and be taken up with the myriad ways Jesus is presented in Scripture. That you will see more and more just how wonderful He is.

SERVANT

Isaiah is an Old Testament book full of prophecy, and within it’s pages are many references to the coming Messiah.  These use many different names and ways of describing the coming Saviour. The one I want to focus on today on mentioned in Isaiah 42:1, and echoed in Is 43:10 and Isa 49 : 6.

Image shows the words of Isaiah 42 v 1 surrounded by a wreath of evergreen and holly berries

Through Isaiah’s prophetic words God describes the one to come as ‘My Servant’. We know this was a prophecy about Jesus as Matthew quotes it in Matt 12:18-21. Reading Isaiah 42:1-4  we can see that this Servant will carry the Spirit of God and will bring justice  – a form of justice that doesn’t crush the already bruised. In Isaiah 49 : 6 it tells us He will come bringing light to the gentiles, and salvation to the ends of the earth.

Image shows the words of Isaiah 49 v 6 surrounded by a wreath of evergreen and holly berries

BOND SERVANT

In the New testament, in Phil 2:7, Paul describes Jesus as the one who came as a ‘bond servant’ – one who knows they have no rights of their own and yet are willingly submitted to obey and serve the one in authority over them. Jesus willingly left behind any rights He had as God’s Son and took the form of a servant, demonstrating this in the washing of the disciples’ feet in John 13. He came willingly submitted to God’s authority and lovingly enslaved to Him, obedient to the cross. It was His choice and God honoured Him for it ‘my elect one in whom my soul delights’ (Is 42:1).

Image shows a mans hands holding and drying another man's foot with a rag

Image courtesy of freebibleimages.org

He came as a servant in order to bring about our salvation, and in doing so Jesus gave us the supreme example.  But did coming as a servant lessen His power, authority or kingship? No! That is the most amazing thing. He came as a servant, but also as a king. He showed us that true leadership requires humility, compassion and a servant heart. To those we are called to serve, and towards the One who calls us.

The Servant King shows us that we are called to be lovingly enslaved to God, and lovingly enslaved to one another.

In the areas of your life where you have authority, how can you follow Christ’s example of being a servant?

But kneeling to serve doesn’t lessen Father Abbot’s authority, or the respect he engenders. In fact, it does the opposite. We watch him pour himself out and we want to follow his example. He leads us with a quiet and loving authority, even disciplining us when necessary. But because we know the goodness of his heart, his inert humility, his love for his fellow man, we take the discipline and the encouragement with equal gratitude. He is being as Christ was, you see, the Servant King. He does not abuse his position of authority by lording it over us, rather he uses it to teach us a better way. The mark of a true godly leader.’

‘The Pilgrim’ pp 176-177

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, Faith, Holy Spirit, Revelation, Seeing as God sees, The Word of God

THE PRISM OF HOLY SPIRIT

Last month I had to visit the optician. It was only a routine visit, but as suspected my eyesight had deteriorated, in line with my age, and I was going to need new glasses. This time however, the optician noted that my eyes focussed slightly differently from each other, so he suggested adding a prism to the lens of my glasses. He said it wasn’t essential to have it, but that I would notice the difference. He was right. My new glasses make things a lot clearer, and my eyes are less tired.

My experience of prisms in school was playing with a solid piece of glass, in the shape of a pyramid, shining a ray of light through it and creating a rainbow. Prisms split, bend and redirect light, or so I believe. I am not sure exactly how prisms in reading glasses work, but I guess they help bend light to reach the retina more efficiently. Help make the image clearer to see.

Image of a prism - a solid clear glass pyramid, with a single ray of white light being split into all the colours of the spectrum

Revelation like reading glasses

When I read my Bible, I can now see the words ultra clearly! But I also trust Holy Spirit to help me see beyond the words, to reveal to me the things He wants to teach my heart and spirit. I think revelation works a bit like reading glasses. Just like my prescription is personalised to me, so the things that God reveals from His Word are the things that He needs me to take hold of personally. Truths to help me understand who I am in Him, who He is to me, and how to navigate the season I am in.

It might be that many others have the same revelation as me. There are fundamental truths that all believers need to have an understanding of – the Father heart of God, the completeness of our salvation, the power of the cross, how deeply we are loved. But there are sometimes nuances within those revelations that are definitely personalised. Just like the addition of that prism to my lens. There are sometimes things that God needs to highlight with pinpoint precision, so that we really get a truth into our souls. The prism of Holy Spirit perhaps.

An open Bible with a pair of reading glasses resting on the pages

Pinpoint Precision

I know that God loves me, but recently I have been drawn to reread SONG OF SOLOMON again. It is a love song. Some say it is just about Solomon and his bride, most commentators agree it is a picture of Jesus and His bride, the church. But just recently I have been reading it as if it is a personal love letter from God to me. I read that I ravish His heart.

You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart With one look of your eyes

Song of Solomon 4: 9

I can just read that  – oh yes, He loves me, loves the way I love Him – but then I have to stop and refocus. The way I look at Him (my worship) ravishes His heart? He is besotted by me? That is an extraordinary truth to comprehend. In the season that I am in, I need the prism of Holy Spirit to focus that truth, to amplify it and direct it straight to my heart.

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