Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sick

My youngest boy Alex was concerned about me on Monday. He asked whether the fact I had not been well that day was because I had just turned 40?
While I don’t think that number had anything to do with my health, he was right to notice I wasn’t so well.
In fact I still feel pretty nasty.

Because of my lack of energy and inability to move around it has given me plenty of time to consider what being sick reminds me of.

Being sick reminds me of what it is like to be someone who is sick.
I find it is easy to forget what some people face each day. Being this way reminds of others struggles with their health, and it stirs some compassion inside of me.

Being sick reminds me that I need others in my life.
Having an inability to totally look after myself reminds me that life was not meant to be ‘self done’.
It works better with others around me.

Being sick reminds me that I can’t do this life thing with God.
He is my help. My sustainer. Without Him I would be lost!

The Bible says that we don’t serve a saviour who does not know what we go through as human beings.
He was tempted. He was saddened by things.
He understands sick and He understands pain.

I know that we have someone we can turn to and rely on when things are hard.
He is here for you!
I hope you don’t need some sickness to remind you.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Circumstances

Why is it that we can easily say sometimes that God is in the blessing we receive, while not sure whether God is in the trickier things of life?
Is it that we find it easier to think of God as only bringing good stuff to us?
Do we normally struggle to see God at work in all our circumstances?
For most of us the answer is Yes!

I have lost track of the times that I have heard people say how blessed they feel by God, when things seem to be going well. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I have also heard people blame the devil a lot when things don’t go as well as they had planned.

Not all circumstances are ultimately bad...
I have learnt and are still continuing to learn, that not everything that seems bad is there to ultimately do me harm. Sometimes God needs to let some things happen to us to help grow us. To help grow our character.
To help us be who He dreams we can be...

When Suze got severe post natal depression years a go my first comment was...WHY GOD?
Now I have a better understanding of why.
We now have genuine empathy for people struggling with issues affecting their mind.
Suze has ministered to plenty of mums and their struggles effectively, all because of some tough circumstances in her past.

Trying to avoid or ‘praying away’ our circumstances would have ultimately made us less than what we are now. When you decide to follow Jesus it is not a free ride ticket. It is an supernatural opportunity to grow here and now for something better in the future.

Maybe that is why faith and trust as so critical to our living our lives for Jesus.
Without faith and trust we can easily be tossed around by life and what it appears to bring. We can easily misinterpret what is really happening and why?

God promises us to guide our steps...even the steps through the difficult circumstances in life.
Whatever you are facing this week, don’t forget to press into the one who is wanting to lead you through them.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Decisions

We are fast approaching that time of year…
Or maybe you are already in it?
No I am not talking about getting the Christmas ‘spirit’.
I am talking about making decisions.

Around this time of year many people make big choices regarding their futures, the direction they are going to take in the new year.
I think that is great!
It is a good thing to be purposeful about the direction of your life.
With that natural desire though, you need to do your best to make sure the decisions you make are good ones.

Personally I don’t think making a major life altering decision on your own without contact with anyone else, is very wise at all.
If you are afraid to ask others about it before you do it...that is a big red flag as far as I am concerned.
If you only ask people who are guaranteed to agree with your proposed decision, maybe you are restricting good counsel on purpose...just a thought…

Proverbs 24:6 NKJV says this...
For by wise counsel you will wage your own war,
And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

The writer recognises that our own life journey or even ‘battle’ is our own. That it only goes well with good advice. That good advice needs to come from many around us...

Counsel helps cut down on the paralyzing effects having to make life changing decisions can have on us.
Counsel helps give you some security, even some sort of a faith boast.
And counsel is there to help keep you on track in life, not there to hold you back and limit your opportunities.

Whatever big decision or decisions you maybe facing, make sure you get some good counsel.
Use the best of what God has placed around you…

Something challenging to think about…

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Angry

How angry is too angry?
Because most people get angry at some stage, and so many seem to get in trouble with it…
From the person who has over disciplined their child.
The person who has lashed out over some grievance.
To the person who thinks that things have to change.
There is anger in a lot of places these days.
Maybe even in your life somehow?

Most Christians are taught these days that anger is ok.
They read stories about Jesus getting angry at the money lenders in the temple, whipping them out with his home made disciplinary device.
They read stories about how God got angry with His people at different times for the silly things they did.
Anger is part of our existence.
It is na├»ve to think it won’t be.

So again, how angry is too angry?
Because it seems to be where all the pain kicks in...

Maybe too angry is when it takes you beyond what you would in hindsight think it should have gone?
Maybe too angry is when it inflicts pain disproportionate to the original offence?
Maybe too angry is when it makes someone else around uncomfortable with the level it got too...not why you are angry?
Maybe too angry is when you can’t sort it out quickly?

Ephesians 4:26 simply says...
“In your anger do not sin”:
Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.

If you have been struggling with this recently, it is the day to start sorting it out.
Check in with God.
Check in with others you can trust to talk it through with.
Please don’t let anger get the better you.

Something to think about…

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Compare...maybe it could be a good idea?

When I read about people like Elizabeth Gaunt, I can’t help but compare their life, their choices to me and my life.
Many say comparison is a bad thing.
I agree most of the time.
But when it comes to looking at others, their choices and their relationship with God...then comparison can be a nice challenge to our senses.

So who was Elizabeth Gaunt I hear you ask?
She was someone who lived during the ‘wonderful’ 1600’s in England. The word wonderful is something I am using sarcastically if you hadn’t already guessed...
This was a time in history when people were regularly punished or even killed if they were seen to even remotely challenge the authority of those times.

Elizabeth Gaunt unwittingly became the scapegoat from a failed coup attempt.
A guy called James Burton begged for her help when he was on the run after his plans failed. He begged Elizabeth to help him because he had a family.
As someone who loved God she felt that charity was how she should respond, and even gave him her savings.
In the course of time James turned himself in to take advantage of a plea bargain type arrangement that had been publicised. He handed over Elizabeth, the woman who had taken pity on him, to save his own skin.

She became known as the last ever woman burned alive in England for treason. Apparently she arranged the straw herself to help speed the burning to death process.
Beyond that little history lesson, how does that make you feel?
Beyond feeling maybe some anger that she was unjustly punished...do you feel a little challenged?

I know I do!

I want to make sure that I am that serious about my relationship with God, that I would hopefully make the right choices, not matter the consequences.
Anything else just seems lame compared to what people like Elizabeth considered ’normal’.

Something challenging to think about…
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