Category Archives: Christian

I met with my best friends yesterday. I have been unwilling to let go of resentment. As a result I have suffered spiritually. The wonderful thing about close Christian friends is that they can admonish with love. I needed that yesterday, and as they quietly challenged me about something unwise, I felt convicted. We meet in a coffee shop and then go and pray in the car. This is our pattern. As we walked to the car we were reflecting on psalm 23. Our shepherd King makes us lie down in green pastures and even uses his rod to enable us to do it. For me, this picture is so wonderful. God disciplines us. We see hurt and cruelty in it, and yet if we saw it from God’s perspective he is driving us from brown parched land, to lush green pastures, where the quiet waters are.


So as we got in the car, we all prayed that we would love those we don’t want to love, and that they would be made to lie down in green pastures. Since this prayer, my whole mindset has changed. Joy has returned to my soul. God is leading us beside the still waters and yet  for God to do it, it often causes us pain because just like stupid sheep, we don’t understand what’s good for us. 

We have such an amazing Saviour. Such a great God. The discipline we receive enables us to lie down in green pastures. I pray that when God disciplines us in the future we will have the green pastures in view, and thank God for the discipline and not rebel against it. 

Advertisements

There are many lenses I have viewed my husband through over the last eight months. The lens of anger and hurt, of bitterness and displacement. Even though the world would say that I have a right to all of these reactions, I am learning that we have to be very cautious about which lens we choose to view our life through. Viewing our life through a wrong lens distorts our understanding of the gospel and brings disaster into our lives. 

After many hard knocks I have come to understand that it’s only the lens of God’s word that should influence our lives. It’s the only way for true contentment and fulfilment with the one who knows us best.

When we are looking through a wrong lens, sin is crouching at our door.
 

Proverbs 17:9 says:

Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends. 

God forgets our mistakes, he hurls our iniquities into the depths of the sea. If we are loving God before ourselves, then we do the same when people hurt and offend us. 

James 1:25 says:

 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it, not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it, they will be blessed in what they do.

When we experience betrayal and hurt our instinctive reaction often turns to bitterness and distance, anger and unforgiveness. Looking through the lens of God’s  word  enables us to see that God reacts to us very differently. God  reacts with kindness and forgiveness, with tenacious love and with no thought to his own feelings when we have hurt and offended him. When we are looking through the right lens we begin to view those who have offended us as loved and precious to God. When we break it down, we begin to view ourselves as no better than those who have hurt us. We are all sinners that don’t deserve the outrageous kindness of our Heavenly Father. So, if  God reacts with love, grace and forgiveness when he is hurt and offended, so must we. 


Philippians 4:11-13

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

My life has plateaued, and the adrenalin that was frantically pumping in every direction has finally halted. Being in a constant state of high alert is finally over, and I am faced with my new life which I didn’t choose. I have struggled to find contentment with my life as it is now.

Rick Warren says:

“Contentment means my happiness is not dependent upon circumstances. Most people get caught in “when” thinking — “When I get such and such, then I’ll be happy.” ”

This morning, driving to work I  prayed for contentment. I also acknowledged that I didn’t want to pray this prayer, and I needed God to work In my life to enable me to mean the words that I was saying.  This took energy  and effort  because I was asking God to make me content with something I was discontent with.  Its hard to ask God for true contentment if  we don’t feel proactive about changing our attitudes.

Paul says in Philippians 4:11 that  He had to learn to be content. It wasn’t something that came to him naturally.  I’m sure he didn’t want to be in dire need or in prison or shipwrecked or hungry. Yet paul experienced all these things and through it, learned contentment.

I know my heart is rebellious and I know how wrong I am. I am struggling and grappling and trying to work through finding contentment in this situation I am now in. The key is loving God more and wanting every situation we find ourselves in, good  or bad to please God.

This is my prayer for today:

Lord,
I am discontent about many things in my life.  There is an unwillingness to accept the here and now. I am discontent over all I have lost. Forgive me for my rebellious heart that is so slow and reluctant to ask for contentment with the life I now have.

To know contemtement in every situation pleases you. You know best, and whatever happens in our lives, help me to trust you and understand that you are working out everything for my ultimate good. Help me to know that contentment can only come from you. It has  to be learned and applied as we look to you for help.Thank you for your willingness to forgive again and again. Thank you for Jesus who gladly gave up everything, and yet was content to submit to your will. Help me to do the same.

Amen.

My life right now is inconsistent.I am having ups and downs. Good days and bad days. Times of joy and times of melancholy. Feelings of hope and feelings of overwhelming despondency.

Acceptance is a big thing, and it’s so easy to look back and wish for what has gone. Even in the light of mighty forgiveness and overwhelming grace, I am bearing the right consequences for my husband’s sin. It could be no other way, because our Heavenly Father is a good parent, and there are always consequences for wrong actions. King David was forgiven, but he and Bathsheba always had the grief and sorrow of a son who died. Sin matters.

My prayer is that the experiences that I’ve gone through won’t be wasted. That all this hurt and pain will be used to help and support others. That many will be encouraged to understand that it’s possible to feel all of these overwhelming and debilitating emotions, and yet know God in such a wonderful and intimate way. It’s such a paradox. Grief and sorrow and hurt, yet at the very same time knowing joy and hope and such a knowledge of our saviour.

Eventually, this roller coaster ride with its ups and downs, twists and turns making me feel sick and disorientated will level out. But I will look back and I will be able to say:

Every miracle started with a problem. 

I have a screen saver on my phone which says “every miracle in the bible first started with a problem.” So countless times every day this is what I read. As I look back in the gospels and see all the miracles that Jesus performed, this statement is indeed correct. Jesus’ miracles are all about people in dire need and overwhelming despair.

They are about the dead raised to life, the blind seeing, and lives that are completely smashed and ruined by demon possession. We also see people who are treated badly and counted as nothing because of their physical disabilities, and the dreaded leprosy which separates loved ones. In all of these huge problems we see the power of Jesus smashing through it all. He loved, and had compassion on all people, and sorted the problem when humanly speaking there was no solution.

As I look at phone and reminded that every miracle started as a problem, I know that God is the same God and can smash through our problems when we see no way forward.

This weekend is a painful one as churches are meeting together where we live. We have not yet met people face to face after my husband’s fall from grace and I have hunkered down, got out of bed late, talked to a wise friend and my husband went to church with a heavy heart. Shame is an awful thing. We know that there is forgiveness at the cross, but facing people know us feels too much.

I felt for my husband and texted him, asking him if he was ok. His response was: “the sermon is on psalm 32!”

This is what it says:

1 Psalm 32:1-11 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’And you forgave the guilt of my sin. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding-place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

We were wonderfully reminded once again that God loves the contrite, and we felt his kindness to us in orchestrating this passage on this particular weekend. We often feel that we need to continue to be punished for something that God has forgiven. We often find it hard to accept the outrageous kindness and grace of God, in delighting to show forgiveness. Praying that God’s miracle of grace smashes through our problem and all its consequences, so that people will be amazed at God’s power and grace, and believe. What a wonderful saviour we have.

When we are overwhelmed 

“But my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is is made perfect in weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

There are many situations that I feel overwhelmed by. Sometimes it’s just getting up in the morning. Sometimes it’s the thought of having to find work after the trauma of the last months. I feel overwhelmed in the night when I wake up because I have a knot in my stomach and can’t remember why. I have been overwhelmed living in a new place. I’ve struggled in a new church and I am finding it hard to connect with strangers when I feel disconnected and grief stricken.

My heart hurts as my children go on this excruciating journey of working things through, and I have felt pained, and been in agony for them.

I am totally overwhelmed.

If my faith is real, God will eventually see me through. I may feel that my situation won’t right itself, but I know that God is using it to teach and to grow me.

So, I don’t need to fear, but I do need to trust in the one who knows it all. All I can do is take one day at a time and rest in the knowledge that I will get through this because his grace is sufficient and his power is perfect in my weakness.

Pray without ceasing.

My life as I now know it has overwhelmed me. It has devastated me on every level and without God, I don’t know what I would have done.

I have found that my only comfort has been talking to God. He has been my only constant and my only foundation. I have found myself talking to him continually.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. I have been unable to do anything else. I have muttered everywhere I’ve gone. When I have stopped talking to God, I have begun to sink into melancholy and despair. I have felt like a small child never taking its eyes off its mother, just in case all is lost.

At my lowest, all I have managed to mutter is “God, help me!” I have been unable to say anything more than that. It’s been so hard at times, I began to wonder if I would be able to stand under the weight of it. The feelings of isolation and bereavement have sometimes been so acute, that I have wondered if I will cope.

But, in all of this, I have found treasures that are precious. Even in the devastation of my life, I have known God to be faithful and kind all of the time. By leaning completely on God, my faith has been rooted in him and no other, which has been a help and a comfort. We are reading daily devotions on the psalms by Tim Keller. Today we read psalm 55 v 8, about David’s temptation to flee. Tim Keller says:

“But there is no shelter apart from God. We must continue to trust in him, because all other “shelters” will prove to be places of greater danger. There is no other place to go. He has the words of eternal life ( John 6:66 – 69)

When my life fell apart many friends failed, but God has stayed by my side. There is no situation too ugly for him to intervene. He is a precious and faithful God, full of mercy and abounding in love. He will never fail.

I know I can move forward with the confidence that only God can give. If God is with me, I need not fear. This is not the journey I would ever choose, but it’s the one that has been to given me, and my Heavenly Father knows best. I pray that I won’t waste this situation, but God would shape and mould me so that I become more like him.