Saying No is Ok….

Sitting on my sofa, snuggled up watching Nascar. I got thinking about some of the stuff I say No to, and why. Sometimes, or like at the moment, most of the time, we have to say No to people we love, friends, church family or others when we are asked to do something. I dont know about you, but after 2 and a half years of illness, I still feel mean about it.

My church family are wonderful in that they dont really ask me to do much, especially if it will make me more poorly, and most of the time they are just as loving if I say No. We as a family, have been called to the church we are at. We are part of a family of believers and we are there for a reason.

Saying No, is very, very Ok when said with love and sometimes the touch of the Lord that we are not to do that something we have been asked. We may feel guilty for saying No or feel that we are being manipulated to change our answer. If you know the answer has to be No, stand your ground, and if still unsure, make sure you talk to the Lord to see if you are still hearing right.

Saying No is ok.

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.

Lord, make me an instrument

Watchman Nee says “If the life of a christian is to be pleasing to God, it must be properly adjusted to Him in all things.”

God measures the changes we make in our lives and thoughts against His own Son, Jesus and His most precious blood. He is the kind of plumb line on which how we live can be measured. Its a very high calling and if we try to stay as close to that line as we can, everyone we meet or who has contact with us will see the difference in us. They won’t be able to miss it. We will be oozing our love and trust in Jesus and our lives will demonstrate how much we want to be more like Him.

When I look in a mirror, I still find it hard to see Jesus reflecting back at me. I am made as a beautiful image of God himself, and am wonderfully made. My hair, my eyes, every lump and bump even down to my little ears, which are really small! I am made perfect. But to walk in that perfection?

I need to rest in Him more, and then I know which way to go, because God has had the time to talk to me, without the distractions we can place before our time with Him.

My Father wants to express the love of His Son through us. What an amazing idea!! Our life is the life of Christ. If we want to be more like Him, and see Him more and more each day in the mirror when we look into it, we have to stay IN Him. We think we can live our lives without our quiet times with our Lord, or our times reading His word. We can’t. We never could.

We need to be ready instruments, waiting for Him to play His aweome tunes through us. To play His spiritual music through us and our lives and thoughts.

Sanctuary

Sorry I have been absent for a few days. Went for a week to Wales with the family. The area we were in was so oppressive! It was such a sad place to see how the recession has hit the area. So many houses, shops and churches all boarded up. I cant see how we can be told that Britain is on the up when in a first world country I can see so much deprevation and poverty! Maybe we need to pray more for these areas to see and feel a touch from their Maker and Father. Life is hard but much harder when we see no way out of the poverty and situations we are in.

On a different note, I was reading Joshua while away, and got to Chapter 21 and verse 45. “Not a single one of the good promises the Lord had given to the family of Israel was left unfulfilled; everything He had spoken came true”

What an awesome verse!! Every promise God makes He keeps, even though we are disobedient and rebellious children who spend our lives pulling and pushing boundaries set out for us for our own good. We are like young children given boundaries by our parents and breaking them all the time, even though our parents want our safety and happiness.

Throughout the Bible we see promises given. Those promises are there within the bounds of relationship. We have a two way relationship with our heavenly Father, which is how it has been from day one. God had a very special relationship with Adam and Eve. He came to the garden in the evenings and walked and talked with them in a way that has never been done since, except for those few precious times we read about in the Word. Thats a place I long to be in. My Father coming and talking to me, just me for that time, where I could see Him and hold Him. I know He is always with every one of us all the days of our lives. He never goes anywhere. We do the walking away, not Him.

I am very proud to be grafted into the amazing Israel in such a beautiful spiritual way. I see how they messed up, and I also see how they were forgiven over and over when they repented. It gives me the hope to keep going, to keep my faith when life is hard. My Father will forgive every single time I come to Him for love and repentance. I have my Sanctuary in Him. My place to go in the storms that rage and the waves that seem to cover. My sanctuary, my safety is in 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.

The ancient ways

Reflecting back to March, when on a very cold, snowy day, we travelled to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) and the Priory with the kids to show them where Christianity was first lived out in our area. With the weak sunlight desperately trying to push through the freezing clouds which were heavy with unshed snow, we went to the old priory ruins.

As we walked round the old walls, its not hard to wonder what St Aiden or St Cuthbert would think of modern day Christianity. It is so different from the Celtic Christianity, based around fellowship and communion with God throughout the whole of their lives. Their prayer times were near constant as was their love of the poor and needy. The cutting themselves off from anything that would distract them from their Lord, meant that St Cuthbert went to live on an island all by himself. No one to talk to but his Lord, only his Lord to help him make the island liveable for himself, including sowing and reaping vegetables and corn.

How would we cope if everything was taken away from us? Would we know how to live, and to only live for God?

In some ways over time, the old Celtic ways of living and loving God have been watered down and weakened. Was it right in the first place to only live for God, and cut themselves off from everyone? I don’t know, but I do know that in a lot of ways, it would focus our attention and stop the life distractions from stealing the time away that we give to God.

I thank God for all the early Christians who gave their lives for what they believed.

Communion

Beautiful service in the warm, but nice breezy hall. Windows opened to let breeze in, but know that neighbours could hear us praising our Lord with joy. We had communion in both ways today, with our Lord, and by our remembering what He did for us, and what we are grateful for.

I love taking communion. For me, its one of the main reasons I go to church. I want to praise and thank my Father for all He has done for me and for the whole world, past and present. The actual service itself is more given over to Him, than some services. Its very easy to fall into the trap of taking from the service you are in, and God not getting much from it at all. We are there for Him. We were made to worship Him. If we do not worship Him, what do we worship? If we don’t have a life walking with the Lord, then who are we walking with?

Everyone is born with a part of their soul missing. That part was the part that sin took away. The only way to get it back and to feel a whole person is to be with God and to live for and with Him. Nothing we do can fill that hole. Even though we look very hard, nothing can take its place. When we stop looking for other stuff, and come to God, the hole gets filled and we see that it all makes sense now, all we have strived for, fought for, desperatly tried to buy, was the wrong thing. The gift that fills us is free, and always has been. Someone else bought it for us and packaged it up for us. It was bought with a very precious, one of a kind, unique item. Jesus.

Aside

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