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.

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God or Chocolate?

First off let me tell you, I am totally and utterly in love with food. I love the anticipation of an amazing meal, I get such satisfaction out of cooking something amazing for my family and food for me is a real life comfort, something like a warm fuzzy blanket for my stomach which snuggles right into my soul. Why is this important? Because last week I attempted my very first fast day.

How did I get on?

I did it!!!! Woo Hoooooo!

My version of fasting involved cutting down my calories to a quarter of what I normally eat. I am quite hypoglycaemic and have a very demanding job, so I felt to jump in cold turkey would be irresponsible.

Here is how I found it……………

I thought that I would be hungry – I was, but once you reach that hungry feeling it honestly doesn’t get that much worse.

I thought that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate – I had oodles of energy and more concentration than on a normal day!

I thought I would feel faint – I felt mildly faint, but after a drink of water that disappeared.

I thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep – I slept fine and fell asleep properly focused on God.

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All in all I was amazed at how easy I found this. My day was a really hectic, stressful and actually quite upsetting one and the lack of food really didn’t feature too much in my thoughts, maybe the lack of my comfort food drove me closer to God! I feel free from this sugar addiction/dependence/love-hate relationship with sweets and chocolate. I feel clean.

I honestly believe God asks us to fast for a reason. I think it has real power. My day had a focus, and that was to control a natural urge to honour God. I thought about Him so much more. I prayed so much more.

I felt so peaceful.

Today I am fasting again, and my prayer request along with this fast is that God would bless me with some deep, deep healing in my broken places. I can feel an electric current flowing from me to God and I am so certain he’s going to do this for me.

So as I finish this post I want to leave you with a verse

29 And He replied to them, This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting” Mark 9:29 The Amp Version

Is there anything stubbornly sticking in your life that just isn’t budging no matter how you pray? If you have never tried it and are physically able, why not give fasting a try?

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No Shame in Brokenness

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Yesterday was the first day in about a year that I felt like my depression had come back. Everyone has something they struggle with and this is the main temptation I face.

There is a part of me that feels ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian and can spend a whole day crying, fighting thoughts of self harm and thoroughly doubting that I have a good future. But I have no reason to be ashamed. Jesus has taken my shame away; in my weakness He is strong.

So I am praying that Jesus catches your attention through what I’ve admitted. Your deepest darkest parts, your lying, stealing, jealousy, pornography, unforgiveness, bitterness, reckless and any other temptation you fight is His strength.

Keep rejecting your temptation, keep trusting in the grace of Jesus to pull you through. Keep on telling Him how you feel. Yet at the end of the day come back to praising Him. He is our strength.

1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13 Niv

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How Depression stole my Faith

This is my testimony about how my faith was affected by the illness depression. Another blogger (who also focuses on hope!) asked me if I had any posts about how my depression changed after I met Jesus and so here it is!

The first thing I have to say is that becoming a Christian did not heal my depression, I was a Christian before it happened. In fact, my illness causes me to completely lose my faith.

I suffered from reactional depression caused by watching my dad and sister battle with suicide, my stress levels rocketed and my brain chemicals got out of balance. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I stopped feeling any emotion apart from despair and simple things became impossible to me. Getting out of bed felt like the hardest thing I’d ever done.

Why did I lose my faith? Because I had conditions attached to being a Christian. Life had to make sense, life couldn’t be difficult and Jesus had to answer my prayers the way I wanted Him to.

I walked away because my faith was shallow and I started to play games with God. I put myself in situations I knew would hurt me, surrounded myself with a relationship that I knew was abusive and thought “if I stay here God will have to break in and rescue me”. He didn’t and all that happened was I got hurt really badly.

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When Jesus didn’t rescue me I decided He didn’t exist. I turned my back on him and things got worse, oh so much worse. I toyed with suicide and lived a secret but very reckless life.

I lost my faith and religious set of rules to this illness. I got secular help in counselling and medication. I never once mentioned to my counsellor that I used to have a faith.

I was empty; even when the drugs worked and I could function again I was so, very empty.

I am so glad my story doesn’t end there! Jesus found me, not religion or faith or a massive conversion experience but a relationship with Him saved me.

I became so down trodden I was ready to either end my life or try one last thing. I had a feeling deep down that if I read the bible all the way through maybe things would change. So I started, manically, hectically and angryly to read and underline any verse that spoke of suffering and God turning His back on people. I didn’t like the promises and praises but I read the verses none them less.

Slowly, but by bit, chain by chain, lie by lie, my mind got clearer. I had started reading in a place where I wanted to throw my life away; I chose to give it all to Jesus rather than just kill myself. The more I read about Jesus the more I could see He understood the things I was struggling with.

He suffered more than I did and I couldn’t argue with that. He didn’t need to suffer but He chose to so He could trade places with me; so that He could pay the price for my mistakes. It felt like He hadn’t turned His back on me, but that He knew I would go through these things so thousands of years before they actually happened He suffered and died so He could help when I needed Him.

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I wanted nothing to do with clichés and religion and the prosperity gospel but I wanted Jesus. I read books and books by missionaries who really knew Jesus and knew that to really know Jesus you had to understand suffering.

Everyday since then it has been a two-step forward one step back type of journey of knowing Jesus. The man who died and came back to life. The man who knows me in and out. The man who rescued me.

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Circumstances do not Change Who He Is, Who He Is Changes our Circumstances

My head started to swim as he collapsed back onto the hospital bed. Suddenly nurses and doctors were crowding in all around me and I was pushed to the edge of the room. As I saw how pale he became and the panic on the doctors face I, in turn, started to lose control and panic. This was not how I expected to spend this Monday night and my familiar doubts started to take control of my brain. “Why is God letting this happen?” “Why is He letting me face this situation again?” “Why am I on my own?”.

You see, I’d spent other nights in this very same hospital, waiting on news of a loved one and whether they’d survive the overdose. The circumstances were different this time, different person, very different reason; but the fears were same, the doubts were identical.

I was back in my nightmare, the one that turned me away from God, and I had a choice to make, to trust or to turn away.

Through the electric grip of adrenaline on my stomach I made that choice and I said a prayer that no matter the circumstances I’m in I will praise Him. No matter the outcome He is still good.

His glory is independent of my situation. Circumstances do change who He is; Who He is changes our circumstances.

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So this present-day trip on my merry-go-round of hospital visits I made the choice to trust Him, and strangely, over and above my feelings (which were no different from the time before) I felt a peace and calmness.

Thank you God for being greater than my circumstances. Thank you for giving me the chance to choose you over doubts and fear. Thank you that my fiance will be ok. Thank you that you take us back to the past so that we can choose you and be set free from it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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