My Sheep Know My Voice

By Sarah Houston

John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them,  and they follow me” (NIV)

I was walking in Cornwall Park enjoying seeing the new lambs in the fields, so carefree and content having their mother close by their side. This reminded me I have a Good Shepherd too, who takes good care of me. He is loving, caring, patient, kind, my helper, friend, protector

Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (ESV)

Luke 12:32 “Fear not little flock” (ESV). Jesus has promised that he will always take good care of us.

In the bible, we read passages about sheep, lambs, flocks, and the good shepherd. Many times, we are liken to sheep.

Below are some examples:

  1. Sheep don’t have any sense of direction they will just follow each other. That’s why we need a shepherd to guide us.

Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray” (ESV)

  1. Sheep are helpless, they need a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (NIV)

Sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice.

John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.”

  1. Sheep cannot carry heavy loads.

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you.” (ESV)

  1. Sheep will take the easiest way, not necessarily the right path.

Psalm 23:4 “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

  1. Sheep cannot look after themselves when hurt.

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (NIV)

  1. Sheep are valuable to the shepherd; they provide for all his needs.

John 1:29 “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (ESV)

Jesus has provided a way to heaven for us through His sacrificial death on the cross. Remember to give thanks today for our gentle and loving Good Shepherd, and to always stay close by His side.

The shepherd knows his sheep. He calls them by name. When we see a crowd, we see exactly that, a crowd, filling a stadium or flooding a mall. When we see a crowd, we see people, not persons, but people. A herd of humans, a flock of faces. That’s what we see. But not so with The Shepherd. To him every face is different. Every face is a story. Every face is a child. Every child has a name. The one with the sad eyes, that’s Sally. The old fellow with one eyebrow up and the other down, Harry’s his name. And the young one with the limp? He’s an orphan with no brothers, that’s Joey.

The Shepherd knows his sheep. He knows each one by name. The Shepherd knows you. He knows your name. And he will never forget it. “See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands” – Isaiah 49:16 (NLT).

Sarah Houston is the Activity Coordinator at our Drop-in Centre in Auckland. She brings great amounts of wisdom and amazing bible teachings to the Drop-in Centre meetings.

What is in your hand?

By Margie Willers

So the Lord said to him, “What is in that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” Exodus 4:2 (NKJV)

God had chosen Moses to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt. But Moses immediately began to enumerate all the reasons why he was not qualified to assume such leadership. Then the Lord asked him, “What is in thine hand?” When Moses looked at his hand, what did he see? A rod – a dead stick. What could be done with it? It was only a rod in Moses’ hand, but when it was given to God it became a rod of power to deliver the Israelites.

Through the years God has challenged His people with the same question. “What is in your hand?” Many have answered and accepted the challenge. An inspiring example is David Livingston who came from the coal mines of Scotland. When God said to him, “What is in your hand? He offered him his heart of love for Africa and accepted His challenge to missionary service. Through him that continent was opened to the Gospel.

God is saying to you today – What is in your hand? He sees your talents and ability. Placed in God’s hand these can be a ‘rod of power’ for Him to use. Your answer to Him may be “nothing – nothing that you can ever use.” But little is much in the Master’s hand – He doesn’t look at our hands as we do. Lift your seemingly empty hands to Him – He will use you. He uses the weakest instruments to accomplish His mightiest works. When God calls, He enables!

The great violinist Paganini was to give a concert. As he was about to begin his programme, to the horror of those present, he deliberately broke all but one string on his violin. Then as he held up his instrument, he said, “One string and Paganini”. What indescribably beautiful music the great musician played on that violin with one string.

What glorious harmonies the Great Musician can bring forth from a life – with its ability and inabilities – when it is completely yielded to Him.


Margie Willers is co-founder of Elevate and lives with cerebral palsy. She has written two books and was a regular guest speaker before retiring.





Faith Journey

Faith Journey

By Jean Griffith

I gaze at my “Steps”, yet again. What a wonderful way to meditate on the journey God has for me.

I have this beautiful glass sculpture representing a flight of steps which has much significance to me. This piece stands at 180mm x 110mm. It has 17 steps curving upwards. It starts off wide and narrows to a point as it distances off. It is made of translucent glass and is a golden colour. The steps are cobbled looking giving the impression of a Middle Eastern /European location.

My first thought when I first saw it, was “Steps to heaven” and then so many other images floated in, and I got excited at how God was speaking to me through this art piece.

There are many scriptures pertaining “steps” in the bible.  One of them is Prov.16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”.

We plan our lives to a tee sometimes without a thought of asking God for his guidance and that can surely lead us the wrong path.

What can these steps be and how can they be turned around for good when we ask him? They can be step of despair turned to step of hope. Step of doubt to step of assurance. Step of unbelief to step of faith.


Another verse is Prov. 20:24 “Since the Lord is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way” This scripture speaks about trusting the Lord, as some things are just too difficult to fathom out. To step out in faith means to take a risk for God, knowing that He is going to catch you and be there with you if anything should happen. As we step out, we are letting God know that we want change.


It signifies our journey, our character building, our hopes, dreams, trials, sufferings, joy and relationships. The journey of our life has been developed into whom we are now.


I love the word “faith” because it challenges me to get out of my comfort zone. I have the assurance that Jesus will help me through the valleys and over the mountains.  We can triumph when we fix our eyes on the next step and upwards.  This is why I have called this sculpture “Faith Journey”.


Another image reminds me of the empty tomb with the backdrop of the sunlight filtering in, with the glory of God shining through.  Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb, he climbed those steps and made a way of salvation for us and giving us a purpose to live.

Acts 4:12 says “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

He gave us life – eternal life.


And of course, my favourite scripture is from Rev.21:21 “…The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.”  Every time I look at my “Steps”, I imagine walking those steps in heaven – walking the golden pavements, the purest of purest – wow!

This is something to look forward to because this is where we will spend eternity.


Jean Griffiths is a wonderful volunteer based in Auckland. She’s the communication liaison for CFFD branches as well as serving on Auckland CFFD committee.

Spirit of Power, Love and a Sound Mind

Spirit of Power, Love and a Sound Mind

By Teremoana and Aukilani Va’a


Today we are doing the devotion and we are going to be using the example of a tree.

People often look at trees for their beauty. However, trees are important in a number of ways. Trees are used to represent life & wisdom like us trees grow and change with every season, just like me I grow in resilience and strength.

Like you have leaves on a tree, the righteous man shows evidence of being alive like the fresh green leaves on a tree that has been nourished. Leaves are like people. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and they change colours according to the seasons.

And just like the roots of a tree as well, people cannot see what is going on under the ground, but there are unseen roots that are firmly planted below the soil. Roots serve a very important purpose. They hold water and nutrients and disperse them to all parts of the tree. The righteous man, the righteous person thrives the same way as a tree does because of strong roots.

The tree that you see standing tall above the ground can endure storms and strong winds because of its underground work. In the weather and conditions, trees might bend, but they do not break because of their strong roots. The Godly man is strong and stable with roots that grow unseen. When we look at people, we cannot see what is going on underneath. However, that is where the real work takes place.


I’m going to share about the verse 2 Timothy 1:7, it says that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” You see people, God does not give us anything that we can’t endure or is not good in our life, but God will bless us with the spirit of power, the spirit of love and the spirit of a sound mind. So, we going to share about the sound mind.

I thank God my Lord Jesus for blessing me with a sound mind. A sound mind that is in me that knowing when a storm or problem that will come my way, I am ready for it. The reason. It’s not because of me but my God is for me. The Bible says that if God is before you or before me who can be against me. So, people take that and apply that into your life. Because you know that whatever situation or problem or storm that comes your way you know that God is for you.

So have no fear, don’t fear the world or fear what’s happening around you. But apply what God has promised you because you know Gods’ promises are yes and amen. So, when God says I’ll give you a spirit of power, love and a sound mind then glorify and ‘say yes Lord please I receive that’ because that can be powerful in your life. But to have that you got to want it, you know, it’s like serving God not because you must, but serving God because you want to. So, if you really want what God is applying to our lives, please just open your heart, open your hand and say Lord I receive that because that really can play a big part in our lives.

Like I say people, God’s promises are yes and amen. So, if God says He’s going to give that to you and me, hey, rejoice and praise the Lord, and say amen thank you God I receive it. So people, don’t fear what’s happening around the world, don’t fear because what happening in your situation now but just glorify God and praise Him and say thank you Lord. Thank you for the power, for the spirit of power. Thank you, Father God, for the spirit of love. Thank you, Father God, for spirit of sound mind. Now I don’t fear nothing because I know God is for me and you know God is for you. So, people, have a blessed day and know that God loves you so much and God’s promise are yes and amen.


Teremoana Va’a Is our receptionist who loves welcoming people into our Centre. She is also the Volunteer Coordinator for the Drop-in Centre.
Aukilani Va’a is a general volunteer in Auckland. Everyone enjoys his joyful spirit.




Meditate on the Glory of God

Meditate on the Glory of God 

By Margaret Thomson  

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”  Psalm 19:1

This is a true revelation of God’s glory that displays His power, creativity, artistry, mercy, and wisdom, among other things. Meditating regularly on the words and works of God takes us a long way toward being engulfed in His glory. The universe is a revelation of God’s creation.  The verbs “declare” and “proclaim” express the continuous revelation of the heavens. I love looking at the sky and being engulfed by the mass area of creation which reflects God’s glory. This area is forever changing at different times of the day and night. The sun makes different reflections on the clouds through each day. At night, the sky becomes a reflection of the awesome glory of His glorious love. Words can’t described how God displays His presence in creation of the sky!     


I am always seeking to understand and delight in the glory of who God is, the character of His holiness and mercy, and His strength seen in His love for the plans and purposes for His people. When I see the work of the Lord in and through my brothers and sisters in Christ, I see a manifestation of His glory. God is a relational being who is seeking to form His beloved ones into a people of God together. Glory to God is expressed beautifully by John in Revelation 21:23 – “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” What a miraculous place heaven will be, illuminated by God’s glory 


Margaret Thomson is an avid student and preacher of the word. Her involvement with Elevate has been varied over many years. She also has Cerebral Palsy and a wicked sense of humour.  

I Will Not Be Shaken

I Will Not Be Shaken

By Cherry Lewis 

“Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 16: 8 

Have you ever worried because you have failed? done the wrong thing, thought wrongly about someone, omitted to do something, and then regretted it?   

Once you have confessed these things to our Heavenly Father, they are gone from His memory. He doesn’t even remember them, because He delights in setting us free, not having us weighed down with guilt. But how is it that we can often be plagued with regret? 

There is a conflict going on-the enemy of our souls is intent on pulling us down, whereas Jesus, who is the lover of our souls, said that He came to give us life and that more abundantly [John 10:10] 

We need to be alert to this enemy of ours who prowls around, looking for someone to devour. If we find negative, condemnatory thoughts such as…”Now you are in a mess. What will happen if….” Or “You messed it up there-that was terrible. Things are only going to get worse. How do you expect God to use you?”….  

Then, what can we do? 

We have a mighty weapon at our disposal, and that is the name of Jesus. Let me tell you of an incident that happened to me and that I will never forget. I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night, gripped by some incredible fear that was worse than anything I had ever felt before. Strangely enough, there was no indication of what the fear was about, whereas normally we are afraid of something. The thought came to me that I needed to call on the name of Jesus, but I couldn’t speak. So, I thought I will just think His name and as I did, I felt immediately a slight lessoning of the power of this fear. So, encouraged by this, I managed to call out His name and immediately the fear left.  I can only liken it to being gripped by an octopus and having its tentacles release you from its grasp. 

A few weeks later, exactly the same thing happened again, but this time I was confident about what to do. I called out the name of Jesus and instantly the fear was gone. 

So, how can we strengthen ourselves in the Lord so that we are able to deal with these worrying thoughts that can plague us? What I have found to be very helpful is to get a notebook and build up a selection of favourite verses that talk about how amazing our Father is, how He cares for us, He is our strength and shield, He is right there with us at all times. The Psalms are wonderful for this.  

So, next time you feel weighed down with some worrying thoughts, you could recite one of your verses and think about the game of cricket! Picture yourself as a great batsman-the ball comes towards you and with one of these verses and a mighty swoop of your bat you send it flying to the edge of the field!! 

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken” – Ps. 62:2 

Cherry Lewis has been a long-time volunteer at the Drop-in Centre, our camps and Auckland CFFD. 



By Olivia Shivas

1 John 4:9-11 NIV 

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

When I was four years old my great-aunt made a teddy bear for me. The bear had light brown fur, a pink bow around its neck and a little flower in its ear. I called her Honey. 

Image of a worn teddy bear with one eye missing and a pink bow around its neckHoney went everywhere with me as a child – I cuddled her to sleep and she came to church camps with me, and to sleepovers at friends’ houses with me too. She needed repairing when her head broke off once, and my grandmother helped patch up the material on her hand when it started to wear thin. But I loved her just the way she was. 

Despite all her wear and tear, she’s still very precious to me; she still sits at the top of the wardrobe in my old bedroom at my parent’s house. Although I could buy a new teddy bear that’s shiny and new, I’d still choose Honey. 

When I think about how much God loves me, it’s a bit like how special Honey is to me. Yes, I am imperfect and tattered in some places, but Jesus would prefer me that way and loves me just as I am. 

He loves us so much that he would sacrifice his perfect only son to forgive the sins of a person like me. When you love something or someone so much, like I did with Honey, of course you would do anything for them.

So my thought for this Easter is a reminder of how much God truly cares for you, and how can we respond to that love? In my own life, I want to love others and model the way Jesus treated others when he was on earth. He loved others by serving them and had grace for all people. 

If God can so freely love me, I should be able to love others the same way.

Olivia Shivas is a reporter at Stuff, covering disability issues. In 2021, Olivia received two Attitude Awards including the Supreme Award in recognition of her advocacy work. Olivia volunteers her time and talents at our camps and in several projects for Elevate.