New Flat!

Before I say anything else I just have to tell you all how amazing my God is. A week ago we received the keys to our new flat and we can totally and utterly say that this is a direct answer to prayer.

Let me set the scene for you….

When I was 18 I made the choice not to go to the university I wanted to go to but to stay at home and help my family whilst my Dad was ill in hospital. I think I made this choice more out of fear of what would happen if I let go than out of genuine selflessness but I made the choice none the less. The way that I coped with staying at home was that I would tell people when I move out I will move out FOR GOOD, I wouldn’t end up back at my parents house after uni like most of my friends.

After uni I settled down into any job I could find, not well paid but full time and I saved and I saved and I saved hoping to move out, but I kept finding that the rent in my area was far too high on my salary, so disappointingly I had to stay at home.

I battled and battled with this until eventually I let all my expectations go and just kept saving, I stopped planning or worrying, I just trusted Him that I was in the right place for me.

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Skip forward a year and me and my fiancé are praying about where to live once we were married and we decided that realistically we would need to move away so that he could find a job in a cheaper area. We both felt like we were in the right place however and that we didn’t want to leave, so we prayed for God to show us if He wanted us to stay. We were hoping for a job or a prophetic word to show us but it was a faint hope.

The next week we had news of an inheritance that we had no idea about – more than enough for us not just to rent but to put a deposit down on a small flat where we live! Gobsmacked we realised God could do SO MUCH more than we could ever hope or dream or pray.

So today I’m posting up a picture of our amazing view and I want the whole world to know that God still answers prayer, still does miracles and still provides today!

 

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Insensitive Christians

I once wrote a post about how we as Christians can be disgustingly insensitive and today I find myself fuming again about the way “Christians” act.

I work for a Christian Organisation helping vulnerable people. Sounds pretty selfless right? Wrong.

I have learnt it is ten times easier to TALK in a way that seems Godly than ACT that way.

The selfless part of looking after vulnerable people comes from your actions, NOT what you tell people you are doing. The selfless part comes from getting in the mess. Vulnerable people are messy, emotionally and physically in the case I am talking about. The people I work with will never be able to give anything back to the people who care for them.

My blood boils when I see someone who is claiming to work for Jesus, and dedicating their time for Him, yet at the same time is lying to staff, over critical and ignoring the vulnerable people around them. It makes me so angry to see a “Christian” shut the door on someone talking to them because “they won’t be able to remember it”, or lying about their mistakes because they don’t want to take the blame, or favouring those who can give you something back and scorning those who can’t.

If you are a Christian that means you follow CHRIST. You try to act like Jesus, you try to care about what He cares about, you live to try to please Him because you love Him and it starts to break your heart to do anything else. Just because you have called yourself a Christian for half a decade it does mean you follow Him.

How you act towards the people who would never be able to give you any praise shows who you are following.

Your actions not your words are what show your character – I am fed up of Christian Hypocrites! We aren’t perfect yet so lets stop talking like we are and acting like we don’t even have to try to be.

Where are you Standing

Yesterday in church I was praying about how I’m struggling with not knowing if I will have anywhere to live in September when I get married. My mind went back to my post last week. It’s a fairly dramatic post and probably quite immature.

You see I have a problem with dramatics – I like a good disaster.

I love the rush of adrenaline and pride of “look what I am going through!”. It is so wrong, it is so immature and just plain unhelpful. After my buzz of life shattering panic (much like a sky dive – exhilarating in it’s danger) I am left empty, dangling on a bungee cord, swinging back and forth in some deep ravine, helpless and stuck. Feeling depressed and exhausted.

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I saw a picture of myself on Sunday in church. Standing around in filth and rubbish, rubbing it on my skin, smelling all it’s foulness, focusing on the rot and mould around me.

Then I saw a picture of what God wanted to offer me – a clear crisp waterfall, to clean me, strengthen me and refresh me.

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This is what I learnt – if I want to feel God’s power, if I want to experience His refreshment and joy, I have to move away from basking in my problems. I cannot be calm in a situation if I study my problems in such detail! I can’t get clear perspective if I am consumed with looking at all that could go wrong.

I need to think about and focus on God, I need to read His instructions for troubles and then I need to LIVE by them, not just forget them.

I need to put the rubbish down, stop standing in it and do what God tells me to do – Trust Him absolutely.

I need to stand in God’s truth.

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Homeless, Broke or Burnt alive?

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My string of panic inducing, unpredicted, could-be disasters took another turn yesterday.

9 weeks to our wedding and a dodgy fire certificate means we can either pull out of the sale, losing our legal fees and ending up homeless. Or at least at the mercy of any friends and family who’ll take pity. Or we can pay for the work ourselves and end up broke (who needs food anyway right?). Or we can leave ourselves at severe risk if a fire were to start. Without a shred of insurance cover and a lot of debt….

What would you choose?

More importantly how would you react? Like me with fear, anxiety and fleeting thoughts of depression?

As I was praying and at the end of my seriously worn tether I asked God what was going on.

What I heard wasn’t really what I wanted to hear!

This is not the most unstable your life will feel, things will be less secure and far more stressful later – so I need you to learn to deal with it now!

*sigh*

But Lord that is difficult! I want to cry and snap and flounce around getting sympathy. I want someone to be angry at!

My plans are put on hold so I have a right to act badly!

Oh. Hello pride….. That’s not a good attitude is it?

Sorry lord help me trust you. Help me learn. Make me humble. Make me grateful – I am so much better off than most in the world. Lord you know how lazy and proud I am, please forgive me. Teach me your way through this.

God is a safe place to hide,

ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,

courageous in sea storm and earthquake, Before the rush and roar of oceans,

the tremors that shift mountains.

Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

Psalm 46:1-2

Puppets

So here’s the situation, life is going well, you’re feeling good, strong and confident and then BAM! Suddenly a jerk reaction you had no idea was coming has taken control of your emotions and you get dragged totally out of synch. You’re left thinking “where did that come from? Why did I do that?”

I have a nasty habit of doing this, and I was thinking to myself and praying about WHY I do this and the answer I was given was Puppets. Weird yes, but let me explain….

Imagine a person walking around, living their normal lives making their own choices and doing their own thing. Imagine that there is a string tied to their arm, maybe their foot, or head, or hand; the person can’t see this string, they have absolutely no idea it is there.

Imagine that it got there some time ago in the past, that day when they were hurt really badly, when they refused to forgive someone, when that sin crept into their heart, when they started believing something untrue about themselves. Imagine it latched on and quietly took root in their life.

Imagine that the person cannot see it, cannot feel it and cannot know that it’s there until YANK. The string gets pulled, they react like a crazy person, out of character, full rage or fear or anxiety. The string gets pulled and they become a puppet to the one who’s holding the strings.

Not God – the other.

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How many walking puppets are lying in wait ready for the enemy to use any time he wants to?

Lets cut off these strings! These ties to the past have to go!

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead,  14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NLT

Jesus I pray that you will cut all ties between us and the past and that YOU have control of those places in us. Cut off the work of the devil in my life and in anyone reading this, set us free to choose to live for You.

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Is saying I Love God the Biggest Lie I tell?

Am I a fraud? This is the thought going through my head today. Am I lying to myself when I say I love Jesus? Do I really, truly understand the shallowness of my wishy-washy relationship with God?

Yes, I mostly go to Church, yes I try to pray everyday, and yes I try to thank God when I remember to. I say I live for Jesus, I’ve been baptised, I tick “Christian” on forms. Hey, I even get pictures from God! I even do mission and youth work, my heart beats faster when I think of Jesus, sometimes though not always.

How long would a human relationship last if I treated the person the same as I treat Jesus?

If I gave someone the part of the day when I’m THE MOST TIRED. When I skim read their texts or emails? When I only half listen to what they want me to do and don’t often make the effort to do it. If I never really, really, properly spoke to other people about them, if I went through my whole day without even thinking to tell them how I am? What if I never, ever asked them what was important to them. Do you think this relationship would survive?

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Today I’m reminded of theses words, and I wonder if I am dangerously close to being the kind of person who hears them back from the Lord…

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ Matthew 7:21-23

This is my prayer today, that God will shock me out of this domesticated rut that I am in, that he will give me the electrifying passion he inspires in people to live life with God as the main focus. I want to live seeing God as my main meal, my breakfast, lunch and tea and not just a snack to fit in when I fancy it.

Jesus, show me what it means to know you, I don’t want to lie to you with my actions any longer.

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What Trouble can Teach us

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I’m not usually a fan of this kind thing…. The over analysis of difficult situations and trying to find the most tenuous link to meaning, all to help us feel in control. As the preacher mentioned at my church on sunday “In this world Jesus promised us two things; that we will have trouble, and that he will be always be with us“.

So I try not to focus on the why is this happening and look for the where is He whilst this is happening.

However through spending time with my fiancé who is going through a rough patch health-wise I have seen areas where he is growing and how trouble is growing and shaping him. Let me tell you how…

My fiancé is stripped of the things he is best at. He is in hospital after having part of his lung removed
and sewn back together. He is stuck to a bed in pain, he can’t play sport, he can’t work, he can’t do youth work and he can’t make a difference to people lives like he always tries to. His identity for the last few years has been taken….. Now he is having to find his identity in God.

He has always been a person who is upbeat, positive and jokey. He is so much fun to be around! Yet now he is on drugs that make him feel miserable and depressed. I can see his compassion and understanding growing- this man is maturing!

He is mostly alone, because he is two hours away from family and friends. God is the closest one to him and my fiancé is forced to rely on him.

There is so much blessing going on through this situation – Jesus promised us both trouble as this world is fallen, before I would have focused on the bad and collapsed but now that I am watching for Jesus I am strengthened and can pray my fiancé through this time even when I can’t be with him.

what difficulty are you facing? Have you been focusing on the why instead of the “where is Jesus?”; if so grab the promise that He is always there and look out for Him, it may take time but you won’t be disappointed.