God hurts too

Psalm 51 vs 4 says “Against you, you alone have I sinned.”

Its hard to imagine sometimes that when we do something wrong, God hurts. We may feel that we have to defend our actions, we may be aggressive, we may be sorry, but how often do we say sorry to God for the hurt we cause Him? We may hurt others by our actions or by our words, or in some cases lack of action. Yes we hurt the other person or people, but God is hurting even more. How often are we more concerned with straightening things out with the other person, trying really hard to get back in their good books. How about we straighten things out in a spiritual sense first? We never know, but it may be easier to sort things out with the people concerned.

Does it affect us that our Lord God can be so hurt? My God is full of emotion which we can see right through the Bible. Can we learn to see things in Gods perspective? Can we learn to improve our spiritual reflexes to understand the hurts we put on Him, and when we need to get on our knees first before running to others to get them to “like” us again?

God is “slow to anger and abounding in love”. Thats for us, every day, every minute, no matter what we do. We can hurt Him over and over, but He will never stop loving us. We are made in His image. He set us apart for Himself. Is it any wonder then that we wound Him?

Maybe its time to let God shine His torch into our hearts and let us see the things we hold on to, the things that are wounding us and we won’t let go of. Let His light shine right through all the dark places in us, showing us the things we are ashamed of, so He can clean us out and let us feel new again. Spring clean the dirty, dark, horrible bits.

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Love with a bit of bacteria!

I heard a quote yesterday that really spoke to me. “Bacteria grow in warm water, but die in hot”. Loving this. It was in relation to the state of the Western Church, that it is the same as the Laodicean Church of the book of Revelation.

There is a lot of good stuff going on in the 3rd World Churches, through persecution and hate and possible death. It makes me wonder where our faith is. Faith and submission are doing things you dont want to do, but doing them anyway because you have been asked to do them by the Most Holy God. There is no persecution in the Western Church, but if there were, would we then be a ‘hot’ church and not ‘lukewarm’ anymore?

God is definitely on the move in this country. We are seeing revivals in our churches, healings, forgiveness flowing. This is all the stuff that comes to the surface before God moves mightily within us. We call it the ‘dross’. The bad stuff in metals that come to the top when it is heated up to massive temperatures. It is skimmed off the top, so that the metals like gold can then be pure. Without some of our dross, we can then learn to be pure, and to live more like Christ in all we do.

We are called to love, but how many of us actually do? Real love. The love that doesnt care who it is, how they smell, what they look like. The love that doesnt care what mistakes they have made and continue to make. The love that can correct and accept both at the same time. The love that doesnt want us to sit in our quiet little homes, but to spend our time with with our church family more than anyone else. The love that looks after others in a quiet, sensitive way that wont cause offence or embarrass.

We can only do this when the temperature rises, and this becomes normal for us. When this is normal, we will see more of God, in such a huge way, we will just go and do more and more for Him. So much more, that the revivals we have seen in Wales, or in specific churches, will be normal. We will be letting our lights shine for the whole world to see, not just one or two people. If we are the city on a hill, lets act it. Lets be showing how much we are forgiven, loved and saved. When we understand what we are saved from, we can go out and help others by living our salvation. Be the city on a hill. Be the light that shines. Be so much more than just lukewarm for Him.

Just sit

I don’t know about you, but just sitting, not doing anything, just being, is really hard to do. At least for more than 5 mins! To sit, and just be, with God is vital, and very important. It is difficult in the busy world we live in and the busy lives we lead, to take the time to sit and do nothing. Learning the joy of being with God, and just letting Him be with me in silence and allowing Him to speak in complete peace is something unusual in our lives.

We feel that we need to do something all the time. Busy church, doing spiritual things, on the go. It can be good things that we fill out time with. Maybe things that actually need doing, because if we don’t do it, it will not get done properly. Well, maybe it wont. So what?

Jesus said on the cross “It is Finished”. So why do we feel that we need to keep busy and do lots of things to fill our lives? If it is finished, we dont need to buy or do anything. It was given freely and we can’t run around before we sit with the Lord so He can minister to us and give us the resources we need for the lives we live. He will never ask us to do anything without making sure we are equipped for that job before we start.

Jesus expects high standards from us, but only because He expected it of Himself in His own life. He knows we can do it or it would never be asked of us. In everything, sit first, and then live the life you have been given with strength and purpose. Above all with the faith that He never leaves us to do anything alone.

When all is said and done……worship

We are all on a journey through life. We are on a journey of worship. That is what we have been made for, and that is what we crave to do.

It is not about one service or one prayer meeting. Its about all of them, and about life outside of the four walls of where we hold our Sunday/Saturday services. The journey eventually leads us to God and the biggest worship session we could ever imagine!

In a way this journey is about how we see God and how we view worship. If we don’t look at how everything we do can be for God, then we may be seeing our worship wrong.

If you are called to a job, it might not be within the Church body, but could be anything the Lord gives you to do, then do it as though He is stood next to you doing the job along side you. That is where He is, we just need to realise this. He is everywhere, and with everyone and in heaven before we were born and after we are gone at the same time. We can worship Him in all we do each day at a time if we do it for Him.

Not everyone is called to upfront ministry, or to lead thousands in worship. We are not all called to be Ministers or leaders in the church. We might be called to foster vulnerable children, volunteer at the local food bank, run a counselling service or work in a bank. Do it for the Lord and worship Him all through the working day, and then you will begin to see that life is a worship journey from beginning to end and you are on the ride of your life.

The reason that I live……

We have been made for worship. We are built to worship. We can choose the right worship with and in God, or the wrong worship, idols who we choose to place before the Lord. This can be anything we cherish more, love more or someone we want to be.

Out of the abundance of our hearts, what we worship we speak of. What is the first thing on our lips. What is the last thing on our lips. What do we talk about or meditate on most of all.

Worship to God is creative and we have been made to be creative. We get set in our ways and ruts in how we spend time with God at home, and this can spread to our churches.

My Pastor and husband are very good at making sure the worship in our church does not get boring or rut like. It could be a different worship leader for a week, or a different way of bringing the worship across. How about a new song, or an old song? Just because a song is old, never means that if we use it in worship, we are going backwards. The songs of old were all based on scriptures and words of wonder. They had a depth that many of today’s songs seem to struggle to achieve. Maybe try the same old song or hymn with a new way of singing, a new tune.

We like to look at the amazing words of David and his worship leaders in the book of Psalms, and see the chapters and verses that are lifting and full of life and joy. Around half of the Psalms though, are psalms of lament and sadness. We have the book of Lamentations, which is full of creative worship along with the Psalms of sadness and distress. We have been made by a creative God who feels sadness, anger and will lament over us. This can also be our worship to God, if by realising we are in a wrong place we cry out in pain to the Lord. Worship in lament then becomes worship into the joy of knowing that God never leaves us or lets us do life or situations on our own.

There are so many forms of worship. If God tells you to worship in a slightly unusual way, go with it. There will be something He wants to show you, or somewhere He wants to take you, which ultimately will be closer to Him.

More than 10,000

Reading a book by Tim Hughes and listening loads to Matt Redman’s album 10,000 Reasons this last week. In a way, both are good teachers of worship by different methods. One by singing, one by reading. There are many different forms of worship, but all should get us to the same place. A place where we have put God first and fallen to our knees in worship, mentally, physically and spiritually.

Worship for the Lord can be by putting other people before ourselves, maybe by letting them take credit for something we may normally feel we deserve the credit for. If we are putting Gods desires first, maybe life and its struggles dont feel the same. Worries dont feel so bad, stresses dont feel quite so stressful. We can love rather than feeling resentment, hate, dislike, sarcasm, critisism.

Serving God and our fellow members is a big part of worship. Yes, we may not get to much thanks for putting chairs out, tidying the kitchen or cleaning after coffee time, but it can be worship to the Lord when we do it for Him. Does it really matter if we dont get thanks here, but when we get to heaven there is our Lord, telling all around the same as He said of His own Son, “Here is my child, who I am well pleased and love”. I want that. I really do. Its just so hard to keep those bad emotions and feelings about other down and to make the decision to feel different and to push others forward to the rewards we may feel we deserve more than them.

We really do have 10,000 reasons to thank God for. But we also have thousands and thousands of 10,000 years to worship Him and be with Him. I cant wait, and sometimes feel the same as Paul. I want to go and be with my Father, but feel that He has more work for me to do with my children and church. How hard is the choice?!?!? Worship forever, or fulfilling His work.

Masks

Just back from a gorgeous week away with my youngest and husband in the borders of Scotland, around the areas of the original Celtic Christianity. Always being there is amazing for me, learning more about St Cuthbert and St Aiden and the work they did to promote the Gospel in this whole area of North East England. Seeing St Cuthbert’s island where he went to live on his own looked very inviting and isolating at the same time.

No distractions and no internet was an interesting time for all of us. It made me more aware of how much time I spend on the internet or being distracted away from the Word or in prayer. Understanding what distracts us or takes our time can be very revealing. Sometimes the masks we put on to show what we think protects us or makes us look better to each other can take a lot of time and effort. Lowering masks and showing each other and more importantly, God, who we really are is a freeing of us. He knows who we are anyway, we just try to pretend we are someone else. The masks are not of Gods making. They are a protective response to something that has happened to us or said to us in the past that has hurt us. We raise a shield that pushes us further away from others and God every new mask we create out of pain or trauma.

Thinking back to Holy Island and how small the community is, and how the whole island is cut off from the mainland twice a day seems a world away from me here. Learning what masks we can use can make us feel vulnerable and open and naked. Holy Island feels a good place to move to at those points for us! Me in particular! Opening up to God brings us back to where we should be. God cant begin the work in us of freedom, until we are ready to start to walk towards Him and say that we want to be back with Him.  

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