eric says please

Mum on a mission reviews “Eric says please” 

review of eric says please

I really do love seeing all the fantastic resources that are available for us as parent to teach our children more about God.  This week I received another exciting parcel from the Good Book Company.  One of their authors, Dai Hankey, has just released a new book in his Eric series and they wanted to share it with me (yipee!!)

eric says please

The third in the series of Eric books, Eric Says Please is all about learning to ask for help, and through everyday adventures learning more about God’s grace.  Using rhyme and comic style illustrations, the book is an easy and fun read for the younger audience.  It is probably a bit too old for my youngest, who is almost two, but it is perfect for my four year old who is just starting to grapple with who God is and how to relate to him.
eric says please

I think the story is very clever, as it uses Eric’s real life to link in with God.  The metaphor is not forced, but just really clear for younger children to understand.  I love the way that Eric prays at the end with his Grandpa and then the answer to prayer is shown.  This has really helped my son to understand how God answers prayer through the normal everyday things.

If your child still loves picture story books then I would highly recommend buying this for them – it is A4 sized and perfect for bedtime reading.  There is also a memory verse and a prayer at the back to bring your child into the story, as well as a fun game to play (involving cheese!!).

The book is currently £5.99 on the Good Book Company website (discounts for if you buy multiple) and you can also get “Eric says thanks” and “Eric says sorry” to complete the set.  I’ll leave you with this video of Dai himself revealing a bit about the inspiration for the book.

prompt 28

What is #Prompt28 all about?

prompt 28

I am sucker for a digital campaign that aims to try to connect me with God or the community more (you will already know how much I love 40 acts each lent!).  So when I heard about Prompt 28 I was very intrigued.  I signed up straight away with only a few days before it started the first Sunday in June.

What is the concept?

The idea behind Prompt 28 is that for 28 days you will ask the Spirit a question.  Being aware of what we are asking the Spirit (and taking our prompts from the daily text/email from Share Jesus International) will hopefully make us more open to opportunities and aware of the Spirit moving in our daily lives.  Some of the prompts are “Who can I pray for today?” or “Who could I eat lunch with today?”.  Some are practical and some are more spiritual, but all are eye opening if you let the Spirit use them.

has it helped me?

Yes and no.  The prompts haven’t been especially imaginative so far, and I have found some of them hard to fit into my lifestyle (I work from home on my own so have no-one to invite to lunch!).  But some of them have been very powerful and pushed me to pray things I might never have.  I have spotted opportunities to reach out that I may have ignored.  I have offered prayer to those on my facebook feed, I have been inspired to write notes of encouragement to those in power above me, and I have jumped at the chance to feed a family in need.  I prayed that I would have the chance to say sorry in person to someone who I never see, and then the next day their car was outside my house and I was able to clear the air and apologise.  I spent one whole day praying peace over my estate and I made an extra effort to be cheerful to all those I interact with during my day.

What has the spirit answered with?

The tag line of the Prompt 28 campaign is “Ask the Spirit a question, see what happens next..” and I love this!  You know what, when you invite the Spirit into your everyday life it is always a little bit scary.  You never know where He is going to lead you or what he is going to prompt you to do.  But it is exciting too!  To know that you could be used to bring someone one step closer to knowing Jesus is exhilarating.  To know that your prayers could change someones world, or your gift of love be influential in someone’s life is so exciting.  I really want to live like this everyday, for it to be Prompt 365 if I’m honest.  Don’t we all need that little kick in the morning to remind us what potential the day has to make an impact for Christ?  No day is a write off.  No day doesn’t hold something unique.  And if Prompt 28 does nothing more than remind us of that, then it is amazing.

But I know that it has done much more than that.  This is only its first year, and Share Jesus International have started off well.  I hope and pray that even more people take part and it becomes more widely known, so that more of us can be prompted to include the Spirit in our everyday lives.

whatsapp with God

Lets start a Whatsapp with God…

whatsapp with God

Technology.  Whether you love it or hate it, it is here to stay.  And I for one chose to embrace it and see how it can improve my walk with God as much as possible.  Recently I was challenged in my prayer life.  I was one of those people who would regularly say “Oh I’ll pray for you” or “I’ll pray for that” and then by the time I got home had completely forgotten.  So many lost prayers, so many opportunities to invite God in to situations lost just because of my poor memory and inability to do it in the moment.

So I start carrying this around:

It is just a notebook (admittedly with an awesome cover that also reminds me to pray – thanks God At My House!) that I document my conversation with God in.  Its hard sometimes to pray, because often it feels like we’re talking to thin air.  But we’re not!  We’re talking to our amazing Father in Heaven.  For me, having the physical book there in front of me to write down my side of the conversation was really helpful.  It was almost like I was whatsapping God.

And then I thought – what if I did start whatsapping God?!  We all have our phones glued to our persons at most times, so why don’t we start texting/whatsapping/facebook messengering (whatever it is that works for you) to ourselves with our prayers?  That way, we have a physical reminder and action to do whilst we are praying.  It takes it from just thoughts in our heads into the real world.   And yes, I know God can hear our thoughts, but prayer is about more than that.  It is developing a relationship.  And nowadays we conduct a lot of our relationships through our phones, so why not do the same with God?  Lets not separate him from modern life, but INCLUDE him in it!  Lets make God the ruler of our phones and the number 1 in our whatsapp list (I was going to say speed dial but who uses that nowadays?!).

 

Thinking about my funeral…

Well this is a cheery title for a blog post isn’t it!  Now I want to start off by saying that I am not dying (well no more than all of us are by getting older every year) but I watched something this week that really challenged me.

In our Lifegroup we are currently going through Crazy Love, an audio book and dvd series to help us discover and get to grips with the true love of God.  The chapter in question was number 4, and the audio book had spoken a lot about being a luke warm christian – you know the kind that is talked about in revelation that God will “spit out”.  But it was the video that hit me.  Like a tonne of bricks.

In the video, Francis Chan talks about different kinds of funerals he has officiated at, and how joy filled some can be when you know for certain that person is now up with Jesus in heaven.  Contrast that to those where there is no hope, or those where you couldn’t really be sure.  When I leave this earth, I want everyone to be sure where I am going!  I want there to be everyone there who I have spent time with and influenced over my lifetime, and I want there to be a gospel message that doesn’t leave a dry eye in the house because everyone knows its the truth.  I want to live out a life where Jesus shines through so much that there is NO DOUBT in who my trust is in.

But in order for that to happen, I have to start now.  I have to start making sure I don’t hide my faith.  I have to start making sure prayer is central and that I find joy in every circumstance because I know my God is faithful.  I have to start making every opportunity count to share the love of Jesus.  I have to start stepping out into scary things and doing the extra-ordinary, because if I don’t then who will?

Sometimes people ask you the horrible question of “what would you want written on your gravestone?”.  Well this is what I would want:

Woman after God’s own heart and daughter of the king.
Spiritual mother to many, advocate of hospitality and evangelist.  may the angels celebrate her arrival into heaven with a cup of tea and cake, and us on earth do the same!

Now I just have the hard part of actually being that person….

tiny prayer in planner

A tiny little prayer….

Last week I prayed a tiny little prayer.

It was half finished.

It was rushed.

But my heart was in it.  My desire was felt through it.

And God answered.

tiny prayer in planner

This tiny little prayer, when I looked back in my planner, reminded me of how much of prayer is about aligning our hearts with God.  Powerful prayers come from places where we are desperate to see God’s Kingdom worked out here on earth.   Powerful prayers are the ones where God knows we truly mean it.

And I did.  I meant it.  Every last word. I wanted to have the chance to talk to people about God.  I wanted it not to be awkward to talk to people about my love for him.  I wanted it to come up naturally so that people can see that I’m not trying to ram things down their throats, but that it is just a part of me that I can’t contain!  And God came through (with a little help from my little man dressed as a wise man for world book day…).

Why am I sharing this story?  Because I want you to be encouraged to pray the tiny small prayers that are really whats on your heart.  If I’m honest, sometimes I don’t care about the big picture – sometimes I just want to have that one meaningful conversation with someone.  Sometimes I’m too tired to take in all the problems of the world, so my heart focuses on one.  And God hears my heart for that thing.  I love that about God.

the wrong miracle

What if we’re looking for the wrong miracle?

the wrong miracle

Are you looking for a miracle in your life right now?  Are you praying and petitioning for healing or over-turning of a decision or something else completely?

Well what if you’re looking for the wrong miracle?

On my way to a prayer meeting at church last night I was listening to this song by Jesus Culture.  At the beginning of the song the worship leader shares that earlier that year him and his wife had lost a son.  He talks about how they were waiting for a miracle, believing that God would save their son.  But unfortunately it didn’t quite turn out the way they hoped.  In the midst of losing their son, they turned to song writing and wrote this really powerful song.  This song has moved more powerfully and spoken into the lives of more people than if God had done the miracle they asked for.

So maybe the miracle you want isn’t the one that God needs.

Jesus was expected by the Jews to be a warrior.  To be a fighter.  To physically free them from the grips of the Romans.  But that wasn’t the miracle that God needed.  If that is what Jesus had done, then yes the Jews would have been physically free on the earth for a few years.  But then another adversary would have come along at some point I’m sure.  The miracle that God did through Jesus was to spiritually free everyone on earth for eternity.  Now isn’t that just a little bit better!!!

what about my prayers though?

I am not trying to say that God won’t answer your prayers – perhaps the miracle you are asking for IS the right one.  But God knows infinitely more than me, so I am willing to trust that his miracle is the right one.  He always works for a greater purpose – to build up the church and gather more of his children back into his arms.  I am willing to accept that I might not always have those motivations at heart.

I have prayed for HS2 to not come through my estate. But I know that if HS2 coming through my estate means that more people are gathered back to their father and know his love and care that it is not the right miracle.  I am praying for my motivations to be aligned with God’s, so that as I pray for a miracle, I am praying for the right miracle!

 

 

mummy meditations - spiritual fruit of peace

Mummy Meditations – Peace (Week 4)

mummy meditations - spiritual fruit of peace

Hello Mummy Meditators, and welcome to our fourth week looking at the fruit of peace.  As January is a long month, we have an extra week on peace (yey!) so it is not our last look at this.  Naomi will be picking up the baton next week to summarise and you can find last week’s post on her blog here.

peace that transcends

This week we have had the pleasure of pondering over this verse:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7

In our Mummy Meditations community I asked everyone to look at five questions, taking into consideration the verse that comes before (“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” verse 6), so I am going to talk through each of these and my thoughts on them.

what is it?

What is it that we are talking about here?  Well, it is peace (obviously!) but not just normal peace.  Not just an absence of war or things being hunky dory with our families.  This is a peace that TRANSCENDS all understanding.  I love that word – transcends.  It means to go beyond, rise above, surpass, exceed or outdo in excellence.  Wow, what a peace this is!

There are times when everything is spiraling out of control in our lives, but inside we actually feel ok.  Somehow, for no reason explainable to man our souls and spirits can feel calm.  That is peace that transcends.  It makes no sense to us logically, but supernaturally God can settle our spirits down with a peace that only he can comprehend.

who gives it?

It is only God who can grant this kind of amazing peace.  Even though we must strive for peace (like we talked about last week) it is pointless if we are looking in the wrong place.  We must look up to our Father in Heaven to find this peace that transcends, and it is only because of the work Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross that we are able to have it.  Jesus was the ultimate peace-maker in restoring our relationship with God by taking our judgement on the cross.  Now, not only can we approach God as his children, but we can ask him to settle our spirits and give us peace in our lives.

How do we get it?

This is where verse 6 becomes really important.  The only way to get this peace is to approach God in prayer.  Paul tells us that we should be praying and asking in EVERY situation.  Anything that might possibly cause us anxiety should instead be turned into a prayer, and a thankful prayer at that!  We should be thanking God for the answer and for the peace that he will give that crosses out our anxiety.

That is a HUGE challenge to me.

I know that I need to invite God into my everyday life more, but somehow I end of putting him only in charge of the big stuff – of the house move or the job applications.  Why do I not pray when I am late or stressed over the kids behaviour?  Why do I decide that I don’t want peace in those little ordinary situations instead of doing what Paul says and praying in EVERY situation?  Surely then I would be completely free of anxiety and so full of peace and thankfulness!!!

why do we need it?

Anxiety and stress is one of the huge problems in our society today.  Wouldn’t it be amazing to know that we had something up our sleeves to protect ourselves from it?  Verse 7 says that the peace of God guards our hearts and our minds.  Peace is not just a nice feeling or a nice calm place to sit for a while before entering into everyday life.  It is essential for protecting ourselves from this world – it is our GUARD.

when do we need it?

Like I said earlier, we need this peace all of the time and we should be asking for it in EVERY situation.  I think this ties in nicely with the aim of Mummy Meditations, which is to bring God’s word into every part of our lives rather than just focusing on a daily devotional time.  If we had a running conversation with God throughout the day, chatting through our weekly verse but also praying and thanking and petitioning him over everything (no matter how big or small) that we come across then we would know this peace all of the time.

 

bible journal page from philippians showing the word transcends with butterflies around it

NEXT WEEK

Wow, well that was a challenging verse wasn’t it?!  To finish off our month on the fruit of peace please join us in meditating on the following verse:

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” Romans 12:18

If you would like to join our Mummy Meditations Community online and receive free resources, videos and discussion during the week then please sign up below:

[contact-form to=’rachel.ridler@gmail.com’ subject=’MM sign up’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

New Year’s Habit

new year habit balloons

According to statistic brain, only 8% of people are actually successful in achieving their New Year’s Resolution.  Some of the main reasons for this include:

  • Doing it alone – accountability creates success and if you have a buddy to do it with you are more likely to succeed
  • Unrealistic resolution – if you set the bar too high then you are guaranteeing failure, why not choose something a bit of a challenge but within reach.
  • No plan–  if you have no idea how to go about doing it, then how on earth are you going to succeed!
  • Don’t enjoy it – if you hate doing something then you are more likely to give up.  If your resolution is fun then you will have fun achieving it!

So I want to invite you to make a New Year’s Habit to spend more time with God instead by taking part in Mummy Meditations, a weekly habit of meditating on a verse a week.

what is a new year’s habit?

A habit is something that becomes part of your normal life, a repeated action that then becomes normality.  In May 2016 I started a new habit called “Mummy Meditations” where I committed to look at just one bible verse a week, but to properly study it and meditate on it throughout my whole week.  This was manageable and has made my time with God more regular and more enjoyable.  Over the last 8 months this has become part of my normal week and I have gotten deeper into these verses than ever before.  I am inviting you to develop this same habit and to commit to look at one bible verse every week throughout 2017.

why will this work better than a resolution?

This will work way better for 4 reasons:

  • You’re not doing it alone. By subscribing below you will receive an invite to a special facebook group where you will become part of the Mummy Meditations community.  This will include me and Naomi, blogger hosts who have committed to write up our thoughts at the end of each week.  It will be a safe place to discuss the verse, share ideas on how to get the most out of each verse and have access to some free resources that we will be developing (printables, phone lock screens, videos etc).  You will become accountable to a group of other mums doing the same thing and will journey together
  • It is realistic.  Daily devotions can become a chore, and when life is busy as a mum they can soon go out the window to make way for household tasks and needed rest.  Mummy Meditations is different in that it is realistic – you can think about the verse and have time with God throughout your whole day.  Often it is in the busy family times that God speaks through the verses in a new and unique way.  One verse a week is realistic and it is achievable for all of us.
  • We have done the planning for you.  Me and Naomi as the blogger hosts have already mapped out some great verses for us to look at over 2017 so you don’t have to.  We are starting off by looking at the spiritual fruit of peace.  All you have to do is read the weekly blog post to pick up next week’s verse, so it is minimal effort and requires no extra planning (just follow all the posts in the facebook group and you won’t miss those weekly posts!)
  • It will be lots of fun!  Things are always more enjoyable when you do them with friends, so come along with us and I promise it will be fun!  I will be sharing my random thoughts (which so far have mostly centered around Inside Out) and we will be having lots of fun thinking about the verses together.  If you don’t believe me then just sign up and see!  What have you got to lose?

So why not sign up to make a New Year’s Habit this year rather than a resolution?  Just put your email address in below and I will send you all the details.

[contact-form to=’rachel.ridler@gmail.com’ subject=’MM sign up’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Mummy Meditations – JOY week 4

joy

I am pretty sad to say that this is the last week we are looking at the fruit of joy in our mummy meditations.  If you missed last week then do hop back over to Naomi’s blog.  It has truly been a joy to delve deeper into this often misunderstood idea of joy.  To finish off (and because IT’S CHRISTMAS!!!) we chose the following verse to ponder this week:

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11

was there joy before jesus?

My meditation this week got me thinking more about the causes of joy.  We have already learnt that joy is not an emotion (as much as Disney likes to think so in Inside Out!).  That joy is a sign of spiritual maturity and that we can be joyful through trials as it gives us perspective.  But what should be the cause of our joy?

The verse this week is the exciting announcement from the angels that the news of Jesus being born will cause great joy for all people.  When thinking about it, I know that there was joy before Jesus. I am sure Noah was joyful throughout the flood as he knew God has promised to save him.  I  am sure Abraham was joyful even through the barren years because he knew God had promised him descendants.  But that joy wasn’t freely available for everyone.  And I think that is why the angels are sooooo excited at Christmas time.  This joy is now for ALL PEOPLE!!!

All people!

Sometimes I get a bit used to the fact that anyone and everyone can be a Christian and have a relationship with their creator.  But back in Jesus’ time, it was the Jews and no-one else who could have that kind of special relationship.  So for the angels this was a revelation, it was a celebration and it was worthy of them putting on a show to break the news!  All people.  Everyone.  Every single person can now have a relationship with God because Jesus, who was to become the saviour through the cross, was being born.  Wow.

So what is the cause of joy?  Being able to know your creator, to know you have a hope in heaven through Jesus’ death on the cross, to know that despite what happens here on earth there is something greater waiting for you in heaven.  That is joy.  And Jesus being born is what brings that joy to us – the regular people.  All people.

you can have it too

Are you excited about Christmas tomorrow?  Maybe you are worn and weary from the preparations.  Perhaps 2016 hasn’t been kind to you and you are just finding it hard to have any reason to be joyful.  Maybe passed Christmas’s have brought bad news so the memories are painful. Whatever reasons you have to not enjoy tomorrow, try to connect with the Holy Spirit inside you and really grasp that joy that Jesus brings.  Look past the preparations, look past the hurts and pain of the past, and look to your bright and glorious future in heaven, all because of a little baby boy in a manger.  How beautiful.

Next week

Well Merry Christmas all our Mummy Meditators!  I hope and pray you have a fabulous Christmas week.  We will now be moving into the fruit of peace, looking at this verse to start.

Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but those who promote peace have joy” Proverbs 12:20

what’s your new year’s resolution going to be?

To celebrate the New Year I would also like to invite you to make Mummy Meditations your “New Year’s Habit” (not resolution!) and to commit to joining me and Naomi in this wonderful journey of getting to know our God even better during the busyness of motherhood.  If you would like to join us, then please fill in the contact form below. We will then invite you into a new mummy mediations community, where thoughts, video, and ideas can be shared safely throughout the week, keeping us accountable in between these posts:

[contact-form to=’rachel.ridler@gmail.com’ subject=’MM sign up’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

 

 

The Answer’s NO!! Mummy Meditation – Week 17

I have a toddler.  If the answer to his question isn’t yes he has a tantrum.  But quite often his answer to my question will be no.  I am sure most parents will have come across this and find it just as frustrating!!  Not every question needs the same answer – as adults we can accept this.  But how come when we pray, we act like toddlers and expect every answer to be yes (just like my toddler does everytime he asks for ice cream and chocolate)? 

This week’s meditation verse (well the last fortnight to be correct as I was on my holidays!) was Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion.  

Abba, Father,” He said “everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Mark 14:36

Does it surprise you to realise that actually God didn’t answer Jesus’ prayer with a yes?  Jesus prays here that his Father would take away the suffering of the crucifixion.  Jesus prays it honouring and recognising just what God is capable of.  And yet God still answers him with a NO.  

Why doesn’t Jesus have a big tantrum?   Why doesn’t he kick off when he gets dragged in front of Pilate?  Because of the last sentence in this prayer – Yet not what I will, but what you will.  Jesus acknowledges that God knows better than he does – that God can see the bigger picture, he knows the master plan and he is wiser than he is.  

Toddlers don’t have the mental capacity sometimes to accept that their parents know better than they do – that the 10th chocolate bar will probably make them sick or that they might get hurt doing something, and that is why they tantrum.  They don’t get their own way and they can’t see or accept the bigger picture in things.  

So I guess we have two options when it comes to our own prayer lives. Do we act like toddlers, think we know best and have a tantrum when God doesn’t answer in the way we want (usually a yes to all our nice requests).  Or do we humble ourselves like Jesus, accept that God has a better viewpoint on all this than we do and that he is wiser than us and say “not what I will, but what you will.”

No prayer is unanswered, but are we ready to accept that the answer might be NO?  


NEXT WEEK:

I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands” Psalm 119:131