The Ultimate Illogical Rescue

If you’re wondering what good friday means here’s my interpretation….

His death, His pain, His undeserved punishment is what has set me free. I should be ruined by the things I have done and what’s been done to me. I should be locked up in chains of pain and hopelessness.

His death is what makes hope bloom in darkness. He broke the chains your circumstances should be strangling you with.

What should have happened to you happened to Him when He died. Now you get what He deserved, love, favour, freedom.

This is the ultimate illogical rescue.

My words are nothing compared to these words. Have a read they will knock your socks off!

““I’ll put muscle in the people of Judah; I’ll save the people of Joseph. I know their pain and will make them good as new. They’ll get a fresh start, as if nothing had ever happened. And why? Because I am their very own God, I’ll do what needs to be done for them. The people of Ephraim will be famous, their lives brimming with joy. Their children will get in on it, too— oh, let them feel blessed by God! I’ll whistle and they’ll all come running. I’ve set them free—oh, how they’ll flourish! Zechariah 10:5″ The Message

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathangibbs/446094424/”>nathangibbs> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

Advertisements

Of Course I’m not Sensible – I’m a Christian!

I don’t think Jesus was a sensible guy. The people He chose to work with, were not the sensible choice. The things He said to the pharisees, were not the sensible things to say. The people He hung out with? Prostitutes and thieves aren’t the typically sensible choice of companions.

He was a risk taker, a massive risk-taker.

Somewhere along the line in my head sensibility became synonymous with godliness. The sensible choice of education is the Christian way, the sensible use of money is the Christian way. The sensible way became my rule for living.

What I misunderstood was that Christianity is not about being sensible, it’s about being wise.

large_5434541912

My fiance is also a risk taker and because of it is the most godly man I know. When he was on a mission trip to South Africa he felt God say to him to take the young people from my home town back with him. He didn’t ignore God he took Him at His word. 8 months later and he began to plan the trip and no one, to my shame myself included, really believed he could do it. However my fiance knew God is a God of the impossible, He’s a provider and miracle maker so he kept on moving forward with the plans.

To everyone’s amazement – the trip happened! £27,000 raised in less than a year. 16 young people went to Malawi and I was so lucky to be able to go with them.

It was risky and although they were supportive our churches thought the way we did it was too risky, not planned out enough, not sensible enough.

I have learnt that nothing is too risky with Jesus. It is wise to take radical action because of God’s word. If you tell me Jesus is sensible then I will show you the cross – the most illogical thing for God to have done, but the most amazing.

I am not sensible; I am a follower of Jesus.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/paxson_woelber/5434541912/”>Paxson Woelber</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

Hope Burns

This blog is about HOPE.

Many people have come across this word in a weak, sugary, “I hope it doesn’t rain today” sort of way. I’m not writing about that type of hope, I am writing about God’s hope.

The Hope that Jesus brings BURNS. It’s a fire that nothing, nothing can put out. It is POWERFUL.

It’s what drags us out of darkness.

It’s what tears our hearts from depression.

It’s what keeps us living in a world full of ruined dreams and dead possibilities.

large_5700041153

“We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 18-20 The Message

Do not give up hope! Grab the promises God has for you, He has a future for you, He has a purpose for you, He has people to love you and people for you to love in return. He has blessings to give you, He has lessons to teach you and fears to rescue you from.

No Matter how dark your life is right now His HOPE will burn through your situation untill all you have left in your heart is flame seared love, and knowledge that God, Your God, is greater and more powerful than anything you could ever face.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/robnwatkins/5700041153/”>-RobW-</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Antiseptic Love

 Have you ever met someone who is bitter? Someone who is prickly, the type of person who has been treated badly and uses that as a license to wreak recompense on all who come near. They are miserable, and though the wound which made them this way may have been dealt years ago they are even more controlled by it now than they were then. The hatred, selfishness, cruelty and viciousness that came into them at that time has been left there to fester, grow and corrupt.

Their wound has become infected and is even more painful now than it was at the start.

large_1751072828

I once had a wound that was beginning to become like this; I had been hurt badly by many people when my Dad started trying to kill himself. People abandoned me, took advantage of me and abused me. This was so painful that I would not let anyone near me talk about it, I have even lost most of my memories of those years.

Over time my behaviour started to change, I believed I could ignore people because they would understand how much pain I was in. I thought I was within my rights to demand more from the innocent people around me because of what I had been through. I allowed my pain to turn my care onto myself, I became selfish and in turn inflicted many wounds on other people.

I am so glad to say I am no longer living like that, and if you would like to know a bit more about where I am now take a look here or to read about my life growing up check out this post here.

The secret to how I overcame this is written in Isaiah 58, and I think of it as an Antiseptic Love.

“this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
 Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.” Isaiah 58:6-8

In this verse is says that before our wounds can quickly heal we have to forget ourselves and focus on making life better for other people.

In simple terms STOP demanding special treatment because you have been hurt, and SEEK OUT GOOD to do for others because you believe that EVENTUALLY you WILL BE HEALED.

Love is the antiseptic which stops bitterness, selfishness and cruelty growing out from your wounds.

large_5447732257

Are there any wounds in your life where you feel you are beginning to become infected? Bring them before God to heal and then leave them there. Distract yourself with other people. Of course, we can’t immediately cure world hunger or give all homeless people homes but we CAN smile at the checkout lady, we CAN ask how a friend is, we CAN give to charity/volunteer/invite people into our homes. Start small and watch the love grow big.

There are SO many blessings to be found walking this way. An example of this in my life is that if I hadn’t started volunteering I would never have met my husband to be.

Obey God, conquer evil with Good, Forget about yourself.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/parapet/1751072828/”>Recovering Sick Soul</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/james_sickmind/5447732257/”>Mitya Kuznetsov</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

A Slap in the Face

“Why don’t you just slap me round the face and be done with it already!?”

This, and many other thoughts similar to this one, have been running through my head recently. The sarcastic, barely concealed, internal monologue has been the only thing keeping me from snapping, shouting, crying and running from my office as fast as my (little) legs can carry me these past weeks. Some days I feel like I work with a monster… the constant demands that no human could meet, the lies about what I have and haven’t done, the blame shifting, stress fuelled ranting, and full on shouting have just escalated to the point where I am rubbed raw.

The nice place within me, which provides me with the sugar coated attitudes and answers which I need to appear “holy” and “spiritual”, has broken. And what’s left inside me is just. not. nice.

I come home stressed, irritated and nasty. Suddenly I have developed full on road rage and if you dare leave a plate that isn’t scraped by the dishwasher I will verbally decapitate you.

This is NOT what I expected to find deep within myself!

I am so glad I prayed about this, I could have, and was tempted to, excuse this behaviour as I was stressed and “had a lot going on at the moment”. Thankfully I decided that I probably needed to deal with this before I got married for the sake of my poor husband-to-be. Crazy-dragon-lady was probably not the wife he had in mind when he proposed!

My problem is pride.

“But I thought the problem was your horrible boss?” I hear you ask. Nope, I should actually be praying for my boss, covering up her bad behaviour with forgiveness, and simply acting like Jesus asks me to. I should not think myself too good to be treated like this, after all Jesus was treated much worse than me and He never sinned. Never snapped or took His frustration out on someone else.

medium_4979160955

I am called to wash peoples feet – to do the thing no one else wants to do. So I should not bristle when people ask me to do those things.

When I decide her behaviour is just too awful for forgiveness, when I feel as if she does not deserve my kindness, when I judge her behaviour and refuse to show her love, I am being God.

Can you see how HUGE my pride has become? I have put my own opinions above God’s opinions! My job is to LOVE because He told me to, and He is in charge.

“Why don’t you just slap me round the face and be done with it already!?”

I have found that Jesus has a direct answer to my thoughts this week.

Turn the other cheek.

My prayer is that I will allow God to be God. To judge nothing and love everyone regardless of what I feel. I’m praying for humility, and that I will never again be so blind to my pride.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/lars_in_japan/4979160955/”>quantumlars</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

The Smartest Person in my Church is a Child

The smartest person in my church is a child……. ok not quite, I mean the children as a whole.

Now before you think I am calling all adults stupid and having a dig at my church please read this….

“The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.” Mark 10:12-14

Yesterday I was helping with the childrens work at my church, they’d been learning some really deep truths, things that adults struggle with. Identity, the Holy Spirit and discipleship. We gave them the opportunity to “soak” and listen to God. In a room of about 25 kids, several of them had the courage to tell us they weren’t sure they belived in God, yet by the time they left that morning they had stood up to share with the whole room pictures and words they had heard from God.

medium_3405971322

There were no complex worries about what people would think, they did not waste time doubting God, they had asked Him to speak and when they heard Him they believed.

When I hear God, I doubt it’s His voice. I worry about how people will take what I am saying, I question why God has told me and not another. Now don’t misunderstand, me I know there is a place for discernment and wisdom, that is not quite what I am saying.

What I mean is that even when I am certain I have heard from God sometimes I do not share it because I care more about how people will see me than how God does. The problem is that I’m being an adult; I need, I want, to believe like a little child.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/babasteve/3405971322/”>babasteve</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>

Stress

The world around us would tell us that Stress is inevitable. Work pressure, home pressure, time pressure, pressure of expectations and pressure from our fears.

So many of us are running around trying to survive, in a constant battle with tiredness, worry and fear. We want to support our families and spend time with them, but in order to support them we are so tired we can’t enjoy them! We want to have good relationships but the faint buzz of adrenaline steals some, if not all, of our joy.

Does God have an answer? I believe He does. Do I still struggle with stress? I most definitely do. Why am I writing this post? Because the things I have learned from Him so far have helped me so much.

The first time the human race sinned God said that men would have much toil in producing food from the earth. To us that means we will struggle to make enough money for our mortgage, supporting our families will not be easy, we will constantly struggle to survive. Which is, lets face it, a bit of a bummer, if God says that about life what hope do we have? Thankfully for us, God didn’t leave it at that, He fixed the problem.

Jesus is the answer to the fall. He cancels out our sins and bears our burdens for us. Jesus in my life is the answer to my stress.

medium_3996683276

Whilst Jesus was on the earth and teaching His disciples He taught some amazing, life altering ideas. Here are a list of some of them that help me handle my stress.

  • Give what you have back to God. When I am squirreling money away in my bank account I am controlled by it. In the time that I was saving for my deposit on my flat the stress my savings account gave was HUGE. I would check it every day, despair how slowly it was growing and not enjoy anything that required me to spend money. I was out of balance, Stress was the result. It was only when I followed the prompting of God to give a large chunk of it away that I really felt peace. The control of my finance now belonged to God, so did my deposit, I didn’t worry because I knew He was in control. I didn’t lose out because out of the blue my fiance and I received 10 times as much as I had given away to use for our deposit. True story, amazing God!
  • Do what you can today, don’t think about tomorrow. If you have a huge job ahead of you and you imagine all at once what it will take to get there you will feel overwhelmed. If you are stuck in a situation you hate and can’t see a way out, if you constantly focus on your rubbish future you will have no hope. Jesus told his disciples that today has enough worries of it’s own, I also believe it has enough blessings too. When I have a big job ahead of me, rather than collapsing under the belief I can’t do it, I now try to simply do the little I can each day. I tackle what’s in front of me and enjoy the things I have right then. Taking time to enjoy a cup of tea, trusting God with tomorrow (or even the next hour), and simply not thinking about it has given me so much peace.

  • Take responsibility for your own life, don’t try to judge or control other people’s. If you are surrounded by lying, cruel, gossiping, nasty, selfish people it is so easy to be stressed and controlled by them. I have to admit that at this moment in time my BIGGEST stresses are coming from both living and working with people like this. Jesus is teaching me, and this is very much a work in progress, to let their actions go. I am not responsible for how they behave, but I am responsible for forgiving them, not going to bed angry with them, showing them love, believing the best in them and not gossiping about them. When I take my eyes off what they are doing and focus on reacting to them the way Jesus asks me to, I find peace to wash the stress away.

  • Have hope for the future. The biggest and BEST way I have found to do away with stress is to believe the best out life. The whole meaning of this blog is show that it’s when you hope in the darkness, in the hard and stressful situations, that this is how you let light in. Hope can be found anywhere because Jesus is our answer to any problem. Believe he come to bring you life, to set you free, to be your joy, to give you a future and a hope, NOT to bring disaster. My recent post The Black Spot explains how I still have trouble fearing the worst in my life. My answer to myself is to believe in Jesus to work everything for my good. Simple but effective.

I really hope that these suggestions will be able to help you as much as they are helping me, if you have any more please let me know! I would also seriously encourage you to spend time with God talking about what is happening in your life, why you feel stressed and telling him what you will believe He can do. He’s not a distant God, He loves to hear about us, our lives, and our struggles.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/dexxus/3996683276/”>paul bica</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a>