advent, Christian Writer, christmas, Connected to God, Faith, God in control, God's faithfulness

FAITHFUL IN THE WAITING

Christmas stockings hanging on a fireplace

Well, a few days from now the wait will almost be over, and excited children will be putting out their stockings in hopeful expectation for them to be filled with goodies. For most children, I guess they have had very little to do once school is over, except to wait impatiently for Christmas.

For parents and most grown-ups, it’s a been very different scenario – frenetic being the word that comes to mind! Too much to do and too little time. It’s a very busy wait!

A KING OF DAVID’S LINE

The child whose birth we are celebrating, was born in the city of David, Bethlehem, and of David’s line. He was, as God had promised, a direct descendant of Israel’s great king.

Text of a carol...to you in David's town, this day, is born of David's line

We can learn a lot from David’s story, the lowly shepherd that became God’s chosen leader of His people. As a young boy, God had promised David he would be king, but he had to wait very many years – until he was maybe thirty years old – to see the fulfilment of that promise. In the meantime, he didn’t just sit back and wait. In the time that he was waiting for that extra-ordinary destiny to be fulfilled he continued to obediently and whole-heatedly obey God and serve others. David looked after his fathers sheep. He challenged and killed a giant. He served King Saul as court musician and as an accomplished soldier. He trained and provided for a group of mighty warriors, and served and protected his own growing family. He also wrote a whole heap of beautiful worship songs.

FAITHFUL IN THE LITTLE THINGS

Waiting well isn’t about just sitting back and letting things happen. Perhaps we are waiting for a promise from God to be fulfilled in our lives. Whilst we are waiting we need to be asking God what we can do with our time and energy. It’s about continuing to love, and serve, and being faithful in the small things.

Text of Luke 16 v10

The waiting period became a training period for David; growing and maturing him, proving his character, so that he was ready to take on the kingship he had been promised. While we are waiting, God is very likely doing the same with us; preparing us for the great things that He has destined for us to do for Him.

A BLESSED CHRISTMAS

I hope for you that the waiting for Christmas has been a blessed time this year, and that you are rejoicing already in the wonderment of the miraculous birth of our Saviour. I pray that if you are waiting for your own miracle, your yet-to-be fulfilled promise, whether it be for yourself or someone you love, that your waiting period will see you drawing even closer to the Promise Giver, who gave His very self out of love for you.

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. 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, will be published by Instant Apostle in July 2022

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

advent, Christian Writer, christmas

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY

It is only one week to go until Christmas Day! Has panic set in, or are you all ready and just willing for the wait to be over? I guess for children, and those among us who are children at heart, the last few days of waiting might feel like a lifetime. For others of us we might prefer to stop the hands of the clock, to suspend the wait, as we just don’t know how we are going to get everything done before the big event arrives.

WAITING FOR THE WAIT TO BE OVER

The Christmas story is full of those who had to wait. Simeon and Anna had to wait until they were well advanced in years to see their promises from God fulfilled. Joseph and Mary had to wait to hold their promised son in their arms, and their wait would not have been easy. Bearing the shame of what appeared to be a child born out of wedlock. The fear-filled journey to Bethlehem and the lack of a room when they arrived. Not to mention the physical demands of pregnancy on a young woman’s body.

And what about Zechariah and Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s parents? Luke’s gospel tells us that the Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah as he was fulfilling his duties as a priest and promised that he and his wife would have the son they had prayed and longed for, even though she was past childbearing age. Understandably perhaps, Zechariah had his doubts. The Angel tells him that because of his unbelief he would be struck dumb until the child is born. Have you ever wondered why?

OUR WORDS HAVE POWER

Luke 6 v 45 tells us that ‘out of the heart, the mouth speaks’. So what comes out of our mouths is evidence of the state of our hearts. We also know that what comes out of our mouths has the power to kill or to bring life ( Proverbs 18 v 21 )

When we are waiting, in the same way as we have to be careful what we think about, we also have to be so careful what we say. Moaning or complaining is in effect speaking out a lack of trust in God to keep His promises. Speaking out of doubt or fear has the same effect. I don’t want to give the enemy power over me by agreeing with his thoughts about my situation. I have to choose to speak with faith, or not speak at all. So my ‘if God heals me’ becomes ‘when God heals me’. I come into agreement with heaven with my words and faith is released.

SAYING NOTHING

Perhaps in Zechariah’s case it was better that he said nothing, rather than speak negatively about the situation he found himself in, while waiting for the Angel’s words to be fulfilled.

And the first words on his lips when he got his voice back? A Holy Spirit inspired song of praise, and prophetic declaration. His wait had been a silent one, but I believe he had drawn closer to the heart of God during it.

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. 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, will be published by Instant Apostle in July 2022

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

advent, Christian Writer, christmas, Faith, Thankfulness, The Word of God, Thought life

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?

A few years ago, around this time of year, I would be waiting for my son to arrive home from University, and getting very excited. We would be very much looking forward to seeing him. And hugging him, and feeding him, and even doing his washing! But he was at a university three hours away, had his own car, and would be driving himself home.

WORRYING THOUGHTS

Now I have to admit I could very easily have allowed myself to worry about that. The thoughts coming into my head might have gone something like this. The roads are going to busy. He won’t have slept much in the last few days,. Will he be careful and keep his concentration? He hasn’t driven a long way for a couple of months. The car isn’t particularly reliable; he won’t have checked the oil, water or tyres. He’ll drive too fast… I have to admit those were all thoughts that warred for attention in this poor mother’s mind.

If I had allowed those thoughts to settle and dwelt on them, then very quickly the excitement, anticipation and joy that I was feeling about welcoming my son home, would have been overshadowed with fear and anxiety. My wait would have been spoilt.

CHOOSE OUR THOUGHTS

We actually have a choice to decide what thoughts we meditate on and which we choose not to. This is a very important principle for every day of our lives but is especially important when we are waiting for God to fulfil His promises. That waiting period can be hard and there might be many valid negative thoughts we can allow to fill our minds. Does God really care? Will He keep His promises? What if He doesn’t? How much longer must I wait? Does He hear my prayers?

Phil 4 v 8 tells us to fill our minds with much more positive and life giving thoughts.

So, rather than let fearful and anxious thoughts dominate our thinking  we can choose instead to keep our minds busy with thinking about good, lovely, positive things. Reading scripture, listening to worship music, talking to an encouraging friend, can all help us re-align our thoughts when we feel overwhelmed by negativity.

THINK ON GOOD THINGS

My son has long flown the nest, but he still comes home for Christmas, and I will probably still be tempted to worry about him driving over. But I hope that my thoughts about his homecoming will be much more along the lines of how amazing it will be to see him, how we will enjoy his company over Christmas, and the fun we will all have together. And perhaps most importantly, my thoughts will dwell on how good God continues to be to us, and just how much He loves and cares for us all. My son included

.

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. 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, will be published by Instant Apostle in July 2022

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

advent, CHOOSING HOPE, Christian Writer, christmas, Faith, God's faithfulness, The Word of God

ADVENT 2 : FAITH

Today I will be making mince pies. I made the first batch last week and they are already gone. These are made with homemade mincemeat, a recipe handed down to me by my dear mum in law, and are so much better than anything you can buy in shops. It is one of the traditions we have continued in our family. For us, they are one of the ways we know Christmas is coming! And we have faith that they will taste good, because the recipe always delivers.

Tomorrow we will be celebrating with some dear friends, the imminent arrival of their firstborn child. Anyone who has expected a child knows what it feels like to wait, in anticipation and excitement, but also with a degree of uncertainty, and even fear perhaps. Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew this only too well.

WAITING WELL

Advent is about waiting. But how good are we at waiting? Not just for Christmas, or new babies, but for when the promise is yet to be fulfilled in our lives, or the prayer answered?

Very many of us know, or have known, what it means to wait – for a healing, for provision, for direction, to see a loved one come to the Father. The waiting isn’t always easy, but God is a God of promises and when we have a promise to hold on to, at least there is hope. Hope is a choice, and hope requires faith. Faith imagines the promise fulfilled and believes we will see it’s fulfilment.

Hebrews 11 tells stories of people of great faith. People who had their part to play in the story of Jesus’ coming. For Abraham and Sarah, David, and the Prophets, they never saw the fulfilment of ‘The Promise’   – the Messiah King (v39). But scripture tells us their faith never wavered, they died still believing.

FAITH IN THE PROMISE GIVER

Their faith was built on what they saw, heard, and experienced of the Promise Giver. They saw other promises fulfilled in their lives, they saw God do the miraculous, they saw answered prayer. These things built their faith.

So, like these heroes of old, our choice to believe has to be based on what we have seen, heard and experienced of the God who is ever faithful.

We need to remind ourselves of the promises we have seen fulfilled, the miracles we have witnessed or heard about, and the prayers we have seen answered. That will make the waiting far easier, as our faith is built, and our hope secured.

If you don’t want to miss a blog you can sign up to receive my blog link direct to your email address, here https://joymargetts.com/blog/

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. 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, will be published by Instant Apostle in July 2022

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

advent, Christian Writer, christmas, Seasons of life, The Word of God

ADVENT 1 : PEACE

For the month of December I am planning to post short blog thoughts twice weekly. These will hopefully get our hearts and minds ready for Christmas. I love this time of year. I love Advent, and I love Christmas. And whatever is going on in the world today, the wonder of this time of year is there for us all to grasp a hold of, if we choose to. I hope you will be encouraged to get excited in the waiting, as you follow along with me.

Image of a traditionally advent calendar

What does the first day of December mean for you? I guess for some it could mean an increase in panic and stress. A nudge to start to get organised with the realisation that Christmas with all its demands is rapidly approaching. For some I expect it will pass as a day like any other day. For some, I hope there is the slightest of stirrings of excitement and anticipation as we begin the countdown of these last few weeks of waiting to celebrate Christmas. Let’s face it, for some, today has just been the satisfaction of knowing that it is the one time of year that it is perfectly acceptable to eat chocolate every day for breakfast! (Have you got your Advent Calendar?)

THE NOTABLE ONE

The word ‘Advent’ means ‘arrival’, more specifically ‘the arrival of a notable person or thing’. Isaiah 9 v 6-7 describes the attributes of the notable person that arrived just over 2000 years on that first Christmas.

Image of text of Isaiah 9 v 6

One of the titles given Him is ‘Prince of ‘Peace’. Jesus was peace, the peace that calmed the storm and the peace that set captives free from torment. He said “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14 v 27).

HIS GIFT OF PEACE

You know He has never taken that gift of peace back from us? We however can do a very good job of replacing the peace with other things!

A Christmas tree ornament that spells out the word peace

His peace is always accessible, and it only takes a moment to focus our attention on Him, even amongst the stress, worry and busyness. Why don’t we purpose this Advent to ask Him to keep our hearts and minds in a place of peace, whatever is going on in our lives. His peace is rest, even when our bodies are tired and resources stretched. It keeps us grounded and focussed on what is really important. Every day (perhaps as you reach to open that little door) pray this: ‘God, thank you for your gift of peace in Jesus, may it rule over my heart and mind today.’

If you don’t want to miss a blog you can sign up to receive my blog link direct to your email address, here https://joymargetts.com/blog/

Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. 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, will be published by Instant Apostle in July 2022

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