Dream Big! Be Bold!

Dream big!  Be bold!

These words seem to be consuming me at the moment, there isn’t a day goes by when they haven’t been at the forefront of my mind at some point, whether I am sitting in meetings in work, planning the year ahead with my GB Officers, discussions in church or chatting with friends about their hopes and dreams.

These aren’t the kind of words I would ever find myself putting into a sentence so why are they in my head all the time?  For a while I ignored the words as they fleeted in and out of my head, then  I started thinking, ‘there’s those words again’, someone is trying to tell me something.  So like it or not, I have had to accept that God is insisting I ‘dream big’ and ‘be bold’.  It sounds so simple, its only 4 words, they aren’t limiting in any way, but why do I find it so difficult?

Psalm 2:8 “Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession”

I have often been heard talking of how my favourite word is ‘challenge’, the dictionary tells us this word means ‘A task or situation that tests someone’s abilities’.  I LOVE this!  I believe being challenged is what makes me a better person.  God has challenged me a lot over the last several years, particularly in my GB life.  It’s rarely easy and is generally something I am not remotely interested in.  God literally drags me along kicking and screaming, but I have learnt as God takes me out of my comfort zone He never leaves me alone, He has surrounded me with amazing people who support and encourage me, He opens up opportunities for me to grow and develop.  A very lovely GB friend recently said to me “Stepping out in faith leads you to being at the centre of God’s will for you – no safer place to be!”

I have realised I am not very obedient to God’s dreams for me, but the bigger I dream and the bolder I am, the more exciting the journey becomes.  I know there are no limits to what God has in store for me, or you.  Put all your trust in God – dream big, be bold!

Ephesians 3:20 “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think”

Deborah McMahon

Captain, 334th NI Downshire Presbyterian

Incoming GBNI Chairperson

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In the storm…

tumblr_lydcnnwenr1qctbino1_500In typical Northern Ireland weather during the past week, I have worn flip flops, rain coats, boots and wellies on far too many occasions to still be sure it is July!  Northern Ireland weather can be typically changeable; especially on the North coast when all four seasons can happen in just one day.

There is the well known saying ‘life isn’t waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain’.  It’s a nice thought, that even when things don’t seem so good, you can always make the most of every situation and look on things positively.

But as a Christian, we don’t need to rely on ourselves to look at things positively.  We have God on our side, to shelter us when the rain comes, to strengthen us when we feel weak and to rejoice with us in our celebrations.  By committing our lives to Christ, we are relying on God’s eternal goodness and graciousness to guide, comfort and when necessary correct and chastise us.

If we look at the life of Daniel and possibly one of the most famous stories in the Bible.  When faced with the den of lions, Daniel knew without a shadow of a doubt that God would protect and shield him.  He refused to stop praying to God and when faced with what must have been a terrifying situation, Daniel stayed calm and secure in the knowledge that God would keep him from harm.

I don’t imagine many of us have faced a den of lions, but when you are faced with challenges and difficult situations, do you pray to God for help and comfort?  God hears all of our prayers and knows the depths of our hearts.  As we pray, give thanks to God for who He is; the forgiving, healing, compassionate, loving, victorious and perfect Saviour.  When faced with difficulty know that faith in God does not promise a life without trials, but rather a life in which through God all things are possible.

 “For with God nothing shall be impossible’. Luke 1:37

So, I pray that each of you will continue to not only thank and praise God but will rely upon Him in times of trouble and worry; when it feels that it is raining, seek shelter under His wings and be secure in the assurance that you are not alone.  God is looking out for you and will surely guide and comfort you always.

Blessings

Emma

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Summer is here – rest in Him!

SUMMER IS HERE… REST IN HIM!

Footprints of woman on the sand on beach

Whatever you get up to this summer, take time to rest in Him

Maybe school and university is finished or the madness of work is finally calming down and the summer is officially here!!!! WOOOHOOOOO!

When you think about the summer months what immediately comes to mind as your favourite things to look forward too?

My top things that I love about the summer are:

FLIP FLOPS – these are the only few months in the year that I get to live in my flip flops. I am such a lover of flip flops that I have 20 pairs, all in different colours, just so they can go with any outfit!

HOLIDAYS – who doesn’t love escaping normal life, going travelling, exploring new countries and trying different foods? I love the heat so sunbathing is a must and taking a dip in the pool just to cool off is bliss! Taking time to relax and recharge the batteries in the sunshine, there is nothing better!

FRIENDS – The summer is the time when we have plenty of time to hang out and catch up! We love to go to the beach up north, go to Bob and Bert’s for coffee and spend many late nights BBQ’ing and having smores in each other’s back garden.

FAMILY – this is the time when everyone is available! My cousins and I have an activity night where we compete Boy’s VS Girl’s for our Cousin’s cup! … Yes we have a cup, LOL but we love our competitions and it is always a great night for a proper catch up. During the year we are all so busy with families, church commitments and work that getting a date to suit everyone is just impossible! With a busy year just past, the summer will be the time for the activity nights to continue and for the girls to win the cup back from the boys!

Last but not least, MY TIME WITH GOD. I have always found the summer to be a very special time in my walk with God. The busyness of the year is done in work and youth. The summer is my time to update my worship playlist, talk and pray with friends, go to conferences/events, listen to talks and serve on Youth Teams. What does your summer look like? How much time do you spend with God, worshipping, praying, spending time in His presence and recharging your spiritual battery?

Finding your down time (from life), to spend more time with God is really important and my summers are always my down time where I can really listen, learn and rest in Him. One of my current favourite worship songs is Kari Jobe Breathe on Us. So as you go in to the summer take a time out at the start to consider what are you doing with your time, how much of it am I giving to God, not only in service (as many of you may have full summer with mission teams etc..) but in rest too. Take the time to listen, to read His word, and worship Him everywhere you go and allow God to refresh you this summer!

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11 : 28

Emma Trueick GBNI Events Officer

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Lists

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’

Deuteronomy 6 v 5 New International Version

 

I love writing lists lol!  I have a list for everything and even lists of what I need to make a list for.   I love the satisfaction of writing the list and then ticking off each item as it has been completed; to be honest it drives my friends and family a bit crazy but you know exactly where you are with a list.  At a glance you can see what has to be done and what still needs to be started.  I even like to colour code them but accept that might a step too far for most people!  Friends despair as I pull out my list when we are planning a trip and a day out but I know they humour me and just go along with it to keep me happy.

 

When I think about the list of things I do in a day, it is filled with chores, tasks and duties – do the dishes, tidy the washing, walk the dogs, make dinner etc.  My lists only seem to include things I need to do; not necessarily want to do (after all who wants to do dishes and washing?!) but how different would my list look if I added everything to it I want to do as well?  Maybe add on a few coffees, quick check on Twitter and Facebook, a couple of Whatsapp messages, watch the next episode of the current favourite series on Netflix, (isn’t it amazing how much time can be wasted doing relatively little?)  Anyway….

 

The thing is, when I make my list, sometimes I don’t always remember to include God on it.  God should be the first thing on my list; He should be right at top before everything else but so often reading my Bible, praying and thanking God can be shoved to the side as we get caught up in all the busyness of everyday life.  God is with us every waking and sleeping hour, He is our ever present and faithful defender, our strength and courage, our corrector and encourager, our Saviour; shouldn’t God be at the top of our list all the time?

 

So my challenge to you today and every day is to write a list (even just in your head) putting God at the top.  Put learning more about His love, spending time reading the Bible to help understand what God is saying to you, thanking God for all He does and all He is right at the top of your list.  Listen to Him, spend time in prayer and truly know that God loves you with a love that surpasses all understanding.

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Blessings

Emma

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Praying like Paul

praying like paul image “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in Him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

1 Corinthians v 4 – 9

I have been challenged, this week, when I’ve been reading and studying First Corinthians.  Paul writes this letter to a messy and broken church. It’s filled with obvious sin that’s being committed by obviously sinful people. As I thought about it, I was shocked. Paul is not only making time for these people; he starts his letter by encouraging them, praying for them, even giving thanks for them! But, verse four is clear.  This is only possible because of what Jesus has done for them.

The more I thought about this, the more I realised that we are still sinful people, struggling with all kinds of sin, today. We might not struggle with the same sins as people in Corinth – which makes it easy for us to judge them – but we can’t escape from considering our own sin. What’s amazing is that we, even though we’re not worthy of it, we are still God’s people because of His incredible grace to us in Jesus. Our own churches may look messy and broken, we might see obvious sin and obviously sinful people, but they are still full of God’s grace and love.

As we think about school friends, family, and our GB friends, we should pray for them in the same way that Paul prays in verse five: that their lives would be enriched by the love of Jesus, shown on the cross, and that all of our speech and knowledge would reflect this amazing love.

We might look around and think that people or things in our churches or GB companies need to change, but verses six and seven remind us that our churches are not lacking in any gift. God gives us everything we need to serve Him. In fact, we’re not even serving Him by our own strength. We’re serving Him with His strength as we are sustained by Him (v8).

So, as I reflect on God’s church and His people, I am reminded of His goodness and faithfulness to us. I am reminded of His love for us even when we or our churches or our GB companies or our Youth Groups seem so harmed by sin. In fact, we are told in verse nine that God is faithful. He has called us to be His followers and to have fellowship with Him.

With all this in mind, let’s be challenged when we’re looking at our fellow Christians: don’t judge, don’t get disheartened, but remember God’s goodness – goodness that was shown to the people in Corinth – is still being shown to them today. Let’s reflect on His faithfulness, goodness and love. Let’s push ourselves to pray for other Christians, to encourage them with God’s love for them in Jesus because that’s how Paul has encouraged the struggling Corinthians.

 

Laura Kelso, GBNI Admin Officer

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What are you waiting for?

925333e455f7fe6f9322cd0174ba6374As we approach the last few weeks of our Scripture course, what is it that you as a GB leader hoped to achieve with your girls? Is it just to reach the end of the course and be content in the fact that they completed the journals?  Or have you been driven to learn more about the Gospel and how you presented it to your girls to encourage them to have a complete relationship with Jesus?

A couple of weeks ago whilst talking with my Brigaders, we started going through the 9th lesson of our Believe course, where we heard about the true sacrifice that Jesus gave for us all. As we approached the end of the lesson I asked the question “What is it that you are waiting for, why are you holding back from knowing Jesus?” In that moment I thought about a dear family member that we lost just a few weeks prior to an eight month battle with cancer.  She was a wonderful, loving lady filled with a zest for life and a willingness to help and show kindness to everyone she met.  She showed such bravery in her fight against cancer and she is sorely missed by all those who love her.  Up until a week before her passing, she never gave an indication to her loved ones that she knew Jesus personally.  In the finally days of her life she recited the Lord’s Prayer and told her family that God was in her heart.  A moment of sheer joy and hope for the family and they now have the assurance that she will be in glory. She passed away two weeks before her 86th birthday.

86 years is a long time to live without having the joy of Jesus in your life. Unfortunately none of us know when our final day will come, it could be today, next month or in 5 years time.  Certainly we all won’t be blessed enough to be on this earth for 86 years.  But here is the thing, God doesn’t want us to waste a second away from Him.  Are we really prepared to risk our eternity, by holding back because we think we can deal with it later?

I can’t help but think about the life our girls could live if they were walking completely with Jesus today, to be equipped daily in God’s word; and how it would differ from a life without Him. Of course, they will still be faced with many seasons, some glorious and some turbulent but by putting Jesus at the helm, they are trusting Him to have full control of their lives.

As GB leaders, we commit ourselves to serve Jesus by sharing the Gospel and teaching our girls to seek Him. If we hold back in our outreach, we are preventing our girls from having that personal relationship with Jesus.  If we want our girls to be followers, then we have to be brave and honest enough to share the Gospel and highlight the importance of knowing Jesus.  Our mission is simple, so let’s be warriors for Jesus and dig deep into the final weeks of the Scripture course and any devotions you may share.

Pray vigilantly for our girls to engage with the truth of the Gospel and to seek Jesus in every aspect of their lives.

Leeanne Railton Officer 282nd NI Woodlands Presbyterian

 

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Whose party is it anyway?

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The day I was asked to write this column, the supermarkets had already all the boxes of sweets in stock for Christmas. When I see boxes of Celebrations I am reminded of:

What do we celebrate at Christmas?

December is coming with all the joys of Christmas. What is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, meeting with friends and family having parties?

Christmas is a season of great joy.

It is a time of God showing His great love for us by sending His Son Jesus into the World.

Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.

I read the following story a few years ago of how many can miss the real meaning of Christmas.

Two ladies were having lunch together when a friend saw them and came over to their table to greet them. The friend asked what the special occasion was. One of the woman said ‘We are having a birthday party for my daughter she is two today’. ‘Where is your daughter?’ the friend asked. The child’s mother answered ‘I left her with her granny. Granny is looking after her until the party is over’.

How ridiculous! a birthday party for a child who was not welcome at her own birthday party. Yet when we stop to think about it, it is no more foolish than going through the Christmas season with all the
parties, gifts, meeting with friends and family without remembering the one whose birth we are to
celebrate.

Every time we see a box of Celebrations or dip into a box of Celebrations let us remember whose birthday we are celebrating.

Margaret Megahey

GBNI Shop Supervisor
Captain, 22nd NI Sloan Street Presbyterian

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All change!

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…’ Ecclesiastes 3

I don’t know about you but I don’t have a favourite season. I love each one for very different reasons.  Summer sunshine with the excitement of holidays and long days with ice cream.  Then equally I look forward to cosy nights indoors wrapped up in woolly jumpers; again probably accompanied by ice cream treats :)

As we move from one season to another, it seems that not only the weather around us is changing, there are new opportunities ahead for some as they head to college or university; new subjects to be studied and at times wrestled with; new jobs and challenges in work; new friendships to be made; new cities to discover; for all of us a new GB session to look forward to and the unknown unexpected surprises we all enjoy!

But as we rush into the new season and all this brings, slow down and take time out to consider the one constant who remains ever present and unchanging.

God. 

His love for us, His everlasting acceptance and security remain unchanged.

It can be difficult to imagine sometimes things being different and coming to an end. Some events like exams ending we look forward to but others can be harder to come to terms with when they finish.  It’s okay to feel sad when something you enjoy ends but remember God has determined all the events of our lives, the happy and sad, the easy and the difficult.

God is in full control.

At a recent GEMS Roadshow when asked what they enjoyed about GB, a young woman said that she liked GB as it was through GB she learnt that God was always there when it seemed no-one else was. I was struck by her words and have been unable to get this sentence out of my head since.

How true!

God is unchanging, unfailing and ever present.  God is in full control.

No matter what we are going through, what season of our life we are in, God is there. He is simply always there.  From the moment we are born, God’s love and care envelopes us, as we grow in Christ we can stand firm and close to Him and His protection.

So as we begin to make plans for the next weeks and months; hold tight to God, know that He will always be with you no matter what lies ahead.

Look forward to the amazing next steps in your journey safe in the knowledge that you do not need to worry.

God has it all under control.autumn-leaf-with-verse

Blessings

Emma

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Building another generation of Esthers

She risked her life for her people….She prevented genocide!

This isn’t the tag line for a blockbuster movie but in fact it’s exactly what Esther did in the Bible.

Did you know that Esther is mentioned more times in the Bible than any other woman? Or that the Old
Testament book bearing her name doesn’t even mention God once? Esther is a remarkable woman, who did
remarkable things, and for us at Girls’ Brigade there is so much we can learn from her story.

A little bit of background….
Esther was a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin who grew up as an exile in Persia. Esther was her Persian name – her Jewish name was Hadassah. Her story takes place during the reign of King Xerxes and her Uncle Mordecai served for him in the palace. Esther was beautiful and after the Queen did not show for a public appearance the King selected Esther to be his new Queen. Mordecai warned her not to reveal she was a Jew, as Jews were held in suspicion. One of the King’s advisors Haman, decided that because of his rise to power everyone must bow to him. Mordecai refused and he appealed to the King to decree that all Jews must be killed.

This is where Queen Esther comes into the picture. Mordecai calls on her to intercede to the King but the only problem is that the King doesn’t know she is a Jew. Although God is never mentioned in the book we can see his hand and his presence woven all through the book. When Esther is reluctant Mordecai tells her:

‘If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?’  Esther 4:14.

Esther image

Esther does eventually appeal to the King, we all know the story and we all know she saved the Jews.

But what can we learn from Esther?

1. Your background does not affect your future with God
Esther was an orphan and God still exalted her and still used her. We see examples of ordinary people with an extraordinary God the whole way through the Bible. Look at the disciples – fishermen, tax collectors… You may sometimes feel like you aren’t good enough to lead in GB, or that because of your background there is no way you have anything to teach the girls. Just remember your background does not determine what God can do with you, your faith does!

2. We need the favour of God
Esther found favour with the King as did Mordecai. When we live a life pleasing to God, by obeying His will, we will find favour with Him. As we lead our girls week by week and help them to live in God’s will and find favour in Him we must remember to pray for guidance as we walk in His will.

3. God works in His own timing
Esther had her timing right; she was placed in her situation for such a time as that. To use her gifts and
abilities to speak into that situation to save those people. We need to learn patience and wait on God’s
perfect timing. But you need to remember that God has placed you in your section within your GB company for this specific time, it is His will that you speak into the lives of the girls you will have this year. Only you and your gifts can speak into the girls in the way he needs you to this year. He equips and sends you!

As we go along to our company each week can I encourage you to pray that you become more like Esther as you walk through the year? She was a woman of principle who was an outstanding example of serving others in difficult times, even willing to put the lives of others ahead of her own – and as we serve our girls let’s build up another generation of Esthers willing to walk with God no matter what their situation.

Vicky Flanagan
92nd NI Hillsborough GB
Love for Life

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Be the best version of you

Be the best version of youIt’s that time of the year again, when GB is finishing up and life starts to feel a little bit more normal after the madness of display time!

Girls’ Brigade is such an amazing organisation allowing us, as girls, to come together to ‘Seek, Serve and Follow Christ’. Recently I have enjoyed learning more about Ruth. I have found a few things about her that I feel we could put into practice in being Women of God. We may think that God is only watching the really important people of the world, or the people we think have the strongest faith, however the story of Ruth tells us that God is not impressed with our fame, our wealth or even our power. What God really is impressed with is the Quality of our Character!

1. Be confident with who you are!

Ruth never let any gossip or rumours affect her or her relationship with God and others. She always got what she needed because she ignored the whispers of others. She didn’t fit in but she accepted that as she didn’t worry what society thought. She had more important things to think about than what people thought of her.

This is such a lesson, God has created us each individually we are not and never will be perfect.
However, God has given us challenges that others will not understand the way in which we face them. It is OK to not be like everyone else! It is OK to not wear the latest high street trends! It is OK to be a Christian even if others in your work place are not! Be confident you are who you are for a reason!

2- Follow the advice of those who are wise!

Ruth knew Naomi was wise and so she listened to her advice and acted on it! This eventually lead to Ruth marrying Boaz. Society did not always treat Ruth the way a woman should be treated however, Boaz saw how great of a woman Ruth was due to her strength and determination.

It can be difficult to take advice from others whether they are younger or older than us! I know this is an area I find particularly difficult! However the ‘get up and go’ attitude that Ruth had is one that I would aspire to have. Advice from others no matter how mad it seems at the time, can in fact turn into such a blessing!

3. Be Willing to give up everything you have!

Ruth gave up everything she had, her pagan homeland and the pagan Gods that went with her culture. Ruth dropped everything and chose to become a believer of the true God – Our God! The Lord called Ruth at that time and she gave up everything to follow him!

It can be so difficult to say ‘No’ to those who maybe are not Christians, or to take ourselves away from tempting situations! Ask yourself a question – could you give it all up in the name of God? If you can’t, pray about it, seek help from others and read the book of Ruth!

Finally be strong women of God! Pray during the good times and the bad times and live a life of service – God will reward you!

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16

Nicola Watson
Officer 92nd NI Hillsborough Presbyterian
GBNI Executive GEMS and Youth Rep.

For He is faithful, and His timing is perfect.

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