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Friday, 29 November 2013

God blesses those who are humble Matt 5:5

Knowing Christ takes us right back to basics, to the root of our being, to the root of our thinking, to the root of our judgments. How often when we have seen a gentleman or lady of the street have we winced, stepped aside, thought that they should be somewhere else other than on our street, felt uncomfortable, or enraged that they are begging when they should be out there doing a decent job like everybody else. 

But who are we to judge? What right do we have to make a comment on that person's living conditions? 

Yes I did say gentleman or lady of the street, because they still are people however we would prefer to see them. I expect when people saw Jesus with his rough clothes, unshaven, and disheveled appearance they were weary of him. But when he spoke all visual references to his person were forgotten, and people hungered for his word, works and compassion. Do we do that with our friends who live on the street? Of course not, most of us want to avoid them because they make us feel uncomfortable. They challenge our pride, the pride we have in our homes, our jobs, our family and our worship. They challenge our judgments, our belief that we are where we are because of our doing. They challenge our wisdom. They challenge our compassion. 

God blesses those who are humble. 

Our pride should take a tumble when we see face to face the thin line between the street people and ourselves. As the saying goes, 'there but for the grace of God go I.' And that is so true. We may believe that this couldn't happen to us, but everyday it is happening to us. We are on the streets if we are proud, because we are on the streets of Pride. We may not be visible or smelt from a distance, but we are there in a state of neglect, forgotten and an embarrassment and in a worse predicament than those who are visible. The streets of Pride breed contempt, arrogance, are full of self worth, are addictive and self absorbing. 

Can you see yourself, are you humble enough to recognise this street that you are walking on?

God blesses those who are humble. 

The people on the streets have been laid low by life and its challenges, we on the other hand have been laid low by our pride. 

In order to cross over and walk on the street of humility we need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) because unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. (Psalm 127:1) Our lives can grow in wealth and posterity but unless we have God at our center we become infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteousness deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6) 

Are we wearing the filthy rags of pride? 

"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength" (Mark 12:30) and anything else we worship is idolatry. If we do good deeds to show how good we are it is idolatry. Pride is idolatry as it feeds and worships ourselves. 

God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. What a promise. What a challenge, are we going to be ready for the question when it comes? For whom did you do your good works? 

Being humble requires that we give to those who cannot give back. (Luke 14:12-14) We cannot give God back what he has given to us, His sacrifice of His only Son was greater than the universe He created. However we can try to mirror Him by being faithful to Him and copying His example in our everyday life by giving Him the praise for our achievements and seeking Him in all that we do. By being compassionate and merciful towards our fellow man/woman by giving to them who cannot reciprocate in return. This can be in many different forms, through time, a listening ear, a comforting hand, a meal, money gladly given, a word, a healing prayer, a warm coat, a hug.  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength." 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

God blesses those who mourn Matt 5:4

Anyone who has lost a beloved parent, child, sibling or friend knows the pain that is associated with this event. It can be gut wrenching and almost unbearable. Not to have that person around anymore, to be reminded of them at birthdays, Christmas and family gatherings, can be very painful. 

Was this the type of thing that Jesus was talking about when he said "Blessed are those that mourn?"

What if he was talking about our sins, saying blessed are those that mourn over their sins? Do we feel this same kind of pain when we confess our sins? When we are told to go and sin no more? 

Have we felt that gut wrenching experience when we have mourned over our sins and finally handed them over to God? The woman who was almost definitely  going to stoned for adultery (John 8:4-8) by those around her received forgiveness from Jesus. She knew that she had been saved, she mourned for her sin, and experienced deep grief for it. By taking responsibility for it, and accepting forgiveness  I believe she went on to lead a good life afterwards. Blessed are those that mourn.

It takes great humility to mourn over our sins and to ask for forgiveness and healing. But the rewards are a hundred fold. Paul knew this when the scales fell off his eyes and he could see again. He regretted his sins and became an apostle of Christ. (Acts 9:17-18) With the conversion of Paul, Christ was able to use him to bring others into the light. (Acts 9:21-22) Seeing Paul's deep grief for what he had done, others were brave enough to follow. He was the epitome of a person who knew that only through Christ all things were possible if we confess our sins and move on to do God's will. Blessed are those that mourn over their sins. 

For they shall be comforted. God's comfort releases us from the state of sin when we confess it. How often have you felt that relief of feeling unburdened, of making peace with God. Not only does he comfort you, if you allow him, he will heal you too. He will breakthrough the chains that bind you to that sin. He will exorcise you from the effects it has had on your everyday life, so that you can walk away and sin no more. That freedom is however a responsibility because He will ask you to be merciful  and to bring the message of forgiveness to others. He will use you to instruct others to mourn for their sins and turn to Him for liberty. We shall be asked to become His hands of comfort through the power of the Holy Spirit. He will ask us to become determined apostles like Paul and to help others find the Heart of God. With this freedom we can stand justified before God. (2 Corinthians 5:15-21) 

Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Praise God.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him. Matt 5:3

For many years I thought I was in charge of my life. I was a foolish builder of my own destiny. I heard the word of God and still thought I was in charge. (Matt 7: 24-27) 

It was no wonder then that my life was a mess, I was stressed and dis at ease. If God didn't answer my prayers I would answer them myself. This God that I had been taught about was distant and unresponsive, or so I thought. Looking back it seems that I only ever tried to have a relationship with him when I wanted something, and even then it was a something that I thought I needed. 

It is easy to fall into this trap, "Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others". (Proverbs 12:15) I certainly was a fool. 

It takes courage to admit that you are wrong, that in fact trying to organize your own destiny is a fools game. A game for the proud of heart. A game of proof that states, 'look what I have done, my skills and expertise has made this happen.' This is opposite to the poor of heart.

The poor of heart understand that nothing would have been accomplished if that person had not been given the means to do such amazing things from their Creator. They know the true value of their talents and who to give credit for their success. They understand that without God their achievements would only satisfy the world and its desire for riches and success. That the Kingdom of God would not be glorified through these landmarks. The poor of heart know who their Guide is, showing them the path that He wants them to lead. They embrace the necessity for God in their life and accomplishments. "The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves". (Proverbs 14:8) 

"God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him". (Matt 5:3) When we make that step from the fool to wise we understand that we are God's offspring, "We live and move and exist" (Acts 17:28) because of God. "The Kingdom of Heaven is theirs."

Those around us who are proud and believe that their accomplishments are without God's help are indeed poorer than the poorest person on this earth. These people are loud, clashing their symbols and celebrating their own achievements, they have their reward, the praise of man, their place in history. I pray that they will one day give up their earthly standing and thank God for His abundant blessings that gave that person their ability. That they may throw away their self righteous clock and become 'poor in spirit'. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

God's poor memory

I love the fact that God has a poor memory. It makes me feel close to him as I too have a memory that remembers very little from day to day.

If a member of the family wants something done I tell them to write it down in the diary or on a piece of paper and put it in the kitchen. Funny thing is they too have poor memories and they forget to write things down!  The constant cry of 'I told you about that weeks ago' is reciprocated with 'Did you put it in the diary?'. The silence is deafening! So I cant really be blamed for not remembering. 

God's poor memory however is not about the everyday humdrum things of life but about our sins. By his Grace when we truly say sorry the offending sin is washed away, never to be remembered or brought up again by God. 

This is how I would like to live my life. I fail of course as I am rubbish at letting things go. Once the flood gates open everything pours out. All the hurts, the times I have been taken for granted etc. My teenage daughter stops me in mid flow and says 'you are doing it again, bringing up the past, why cant you just stick with the matter in hand and leave it at that'. Of course she is right and I stand corrected. If I am bold enough to tell people to copy God's bad memory, then I ought to as well. 

Now I see why others who do not have a faith look at those who do and say 'hypocrite'. My own daughter has called me this at times, and she is right. If I profess that forgiving is putting on God's poor memory, then I need to do and not just say it. If my family see that I genuinely forgive and seek forgiveness and leave the 'sin' to that day and not with a 'to be continued...' they are more likely to follow by example. 

Jesus was not tame in his words when he spoke of the pharisees and scribes (Matt 15:7-9) as hypocrites. He wants us to be binding in our following of his ways. He wants us be serious and not play with words. He wants us to do His will and not follow our will. If we truly want to bring others to Christ, we need to be Christ like, not me like. 

God, the Creator of the Universe, our Awesome Founder, Saviour of sinners, has forgiven our sins daily and forgotten them. He calls us to worship, pursue, praise and thank Him with a grateful heart, to emulate his Mercy and be restored to wholeness. This is my God, who knows my failings, and daily struggles, and loves me nonetheless. Grant me the wisdom of Your poor memory.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Love our enemies!

Toxic people are also creations of God. Their toxicity can be many fold and we do not know why they are filled with hurt, anger, jealousy, selfishness, or a desire to pull everyone down to their level of nastiness. We have all met these people whether in our family, work, leisure or perhaps church. They come in all sizes, shapes and gender. So often we are told to walk away from them, to keep them at arms length or just to ignore them.

But what did Jesus tell us to do in these circumstances. He said "Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect ,even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." (Matt 5:43-48)

So it is clear that we are to love our enemies and to pray for them as we are called to be like our Father in Heaven. 

But this is easier said than done you say!

I agree, but the greatest rewards are given for doing so. God is faithful to those who act upon these instructions. 

So how do we go about loving our enemies, particularly those that are toxic and are close to us either in our family or work, that we meet each day. Jesus is clear on this, we pray for them. 

Again easier said than done, but Jesus never ran away from a difficult situation and he is asking us to do the same. When that person is in our face yelling at us we are caught up in their vile words. When this happens to me I call on the name of Jesus silently, and say 'Thank you Jesus for this person, I place the cross of Christ between me and these lies and I pray into the angry and hurtful words that are meant to put me down and pray the protection of your sacred blood to destroy this attack. Thank you Father that you made them and love them.' 

However if the words do not come to you as you are being attacked, just say 'Thank you Father for (name) in Jesus'  name help them.' Later when things are calmer bring that person again to the Father and say, 'Blessings on (name) for you love and adore them. Thank you for (name) as you made them.' This blessing and thankfulness for that person brings Christ into the situation and does not allow the devil to whisper thoughts of revenge or bitterness into your life. 

If you give the situation as it arises into Jesus' hands, the devil will be confused, because you are not taking notice of his words coming out of the person's mouth. You are calling on the Greater Power, and blessing the person who is trying to hurt you. The devil wants you to respond back in equal heated anger, as he loves seeing us in battle. 

When we respond with love instead of anger for our enemies, we win the victory. It might take many times of thanking and blessing the person, and only God might see the small victories that are being won in this battle, but if we do not try and enter into the world of the devils lies, we will become dis at ease, peace less and bitter. Similar to the toxic person we are fighting with. 

Why does God want us to love our enemies? Because he loves them and wants us to pray for them so that they can be reunited with Him. We are his Bible and sometimes we are the only Bible that people ever look at. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

How do I know that God exists?

I believe that God is spiritual and that we all come from His spiritual domain, where hopefully we will one day return freely with one accord. 

During our journey we can either connect with His Spirituality or we can become lovers of the world and all its glitz. I know which I would prefer and I certainly know that it is not the easier option. For example 'take up your cross', 'blessed are the poor', 'love your enemies' to pick a few choices that a christian is asked to embrace. 

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen 1:1) This I find more acceptable than the idea that everything just happened to be in the right place at the right time and wow everything came into being, as this theory has no beginning nor end. God however had a plan of action right from the moment he created everything. And because He knew what He was doing and it didn't just occur, He allowed for man's pride to disagree with Him. Why, because he wanted his creation to freely believe in a Spiritual Creator, in a God who was big enough to take criticism, desertion, contempt, disbelief, inertia, and show that His Powerful Love transcends our limited opinions and sins. And He still does wants us to make that decision, and He will continue to do so until He decides that the earth has run its course. 

Another reason why I am confident that there is a God is that when we were formed in God's Kingdom, (Jeremiah 1:5) he made us in His image and likeness and able to receive the Word of God. Once we passed from the Heavenly realm to the earthly form of a baby, we became vulnerable and open to the world. There He knew that we would be subject to the lures of the world, to make our own kingdoms, to listen to the lies of the devil and to push down the Word of God that is at the center of our being. Only a confident God could do that. How often have you come across a manager who slaps you down because they lack confidence in their own abilities. They do it to hide their own inefficiency. God on the other hand only ever builds up his creation, He is so in love with us that He wants us to be successful in our lives as it honors His Name. (See Matthew 25:14:30) When we give thanks and praise to Him for the gifts and successes He has given us and use them to further His Kingdom amazing things happen. Miracles happen. However, when we take credit for our lives, actions, successes the only one who gets honored is you and the world you live in. You have already received the accreditation from man and it stays in this world, serving the purposes of this world. But we were make to return to the Father, to His Kingdom. This was his plan right from the first Word that was spoken.

So a universe that occurred on its own that has no design or responsibility for its creation, or a God made universe where we are adored and blessed, I know my preference. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Masks - Who am I today?

Getting up any day can be a chore, especially when you cant remember which mask you have to wear. But who are we really fooling when we wear a mask?

Jesus is the same today as he was yesterday, he never wore masks. While on earth he was faithful to who he was and to who the Father called him to be. 

Why do we feel unable to be ourselves? 

Why do we feel the need for masks?

Why is it so hard to be honest with ourselves and others? 

Who are we deceiving? 

God sees through all our facades. We cannot hide from Him. He wants us to be who we were born to be. Who He wants us to be. For some of us this can be a long journey towards the realization that we are not who we think we are. 

Stripping ourselves from our masks is painful. We need God's help because a lot of the masks are for self preservation. 

Yesterday I wore the mask of a victim,because I listened to the lies of the world,  but today with Jesus in my life I can be me. The daughter of the King, a worthy subject who is greatly loved. This does not mean that the masks don't attempt to slither back into my life, as they do, but by acknowledging and declaring them as false I can give them to God for his healing. 

So who am I today? I still get grumpy, frustrated, angry at times, feel misused, misunderstood, unappreciated and fat. I am human in other words, but my prayer at the end of the day instead of 'Oh God help me', is 'thank you God for helping me'. It is no longer a prayer of desperation, but one of thankfulness as I have tried and given the Glory to God for whatever I  have managed to achieve that day. It might only have been to get up, but in so doing it was an act of faith believing that the day has been conquered for God's honor and glory. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

You are God's blessing

No matter how we came to be born we are God's Blessing. Even if our parents wanted us or didn't want us, God did. He had already thought of you before the beginning of time. He knew your genetic line, when you would be born, what era, and in what circumstances.

We know this is true when we read Jeremiah 1:5 "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations" (Taken from the New Living Translation)

However our own view on this can very different. Our life's experiences may tell us differently. If we grew up in a battlefield of angry exchanges and bitter reproaches, if our successes were sneered or laughed at, our characters beaten out of us or if we were never good enough for parents expectations, our opinion of ourselves may not envelope that of being a blessing. If we lived without love then it can be very hard to understand or believe that there is something out there that can love us to distraction. That we are worth that love.

But we are because we were made in the image and likeness of God. In God there is no distortion of his image. When we were made we were made in Heaven, and were planted in our mother's womb. Once we are out of the Heavenly realm, sin can and does play its hand. How we are treated once we are in the womb of this world will determine our response. Everything from then on in is linked to a pattern that we learn early on. And it is only by allowing God into our lives that that pattern can be changed and healed. 

And how do I know this, because God won me over. He taught me where I had listened to the lies of the devil spoken through mankind, through his deeds and words. He opened my eyes to the things that I was doing that were destructive to my growth. He opened my ears to understand that what I listened to backed up the inaccurate message of death rather than life. He showed me my mouth that dished up words of criticism instead of encouragement because of a learned process that had dominated my childhood. He showed me that no matter what I had done in my life I was still his Blessing. He still loved me and I had a room in His mansion. When this truth hits you there is no going back. The Creator of the Universe and all that is in it LOVES ME, (enter you name here and breath in this awesome knowledge) and feel the power of this statement. And if you are still not quite there then contemplate the sacrifice that the Creator made by sending his only Son, who was pure and spotless to be humiliated and nailed to a cross for your sins, touch his hands, his feet, his shredded back and blooded head pierced with thorns and look at the mess of our nature for which he took upon himself in abeyance to the Father, in order to save us. That gets me every time. The brutalness of mankind and still so often we refuse to believe.

And yet we are still God's Blessings. He still LOVES US whether we believe in Him or not. It is this Love that has conquered death, that has opened the Gates of  Heaven. It is this Love that we reject when we do not believe in Our Saviour. It is beyond our understanding of love, it is so immeasurable that it cannot be fathomed with our human mind. It can not be calculated in a scientific or mathematical equation. It cannot be captured and examined under a microscope. It just is and always has been there and we have the freedom to accept or reject it. But we still remain God's Blessing whatever we choose to believe. He cannot change His nature as His nature is Love. He is in love with his creation, because it is the very nature of his Being.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

God's name

God’s name

Do you call God, Father, Dad or Daddy?
Have you ever thought about God’s name? How personal he is to you? My earthly father was distant, absent and judgmental so I had to find out over many years that my heavenly father was not like this.
My image of the word Father is one of authority, a bit like the Victorian version you see in Mary Poppins. But he ultimately loves you because he is your father. 
The idea of a Dad is more of an approachable person, who listens kindly to your problems and wants to suggest helpful answers to your questions. He is ready with his smile and gentle hand. He plays with you and enjoys your company.
Daddy is the ultimate form of a loving Father. He cuddles, and comforts, talks of and shows love. He is compassionate and merciful. He gives you infinite chances no matter how often you disappoint him. 
God in Heaven is to me a Daddy. He is not distant but constantly present which I find amazing. And no matter what I do, I can do nothing  that will send Him away from me. Now that is one cool Daddy.

God won me over

From a cradle Catholic to a lover of God and his amazing works has been an extraordinary journey. From believing that I was worthless to being the daughter of the King of Kings has blown my mind. I can never go back. My past is forgiven and my present and future are secured. I have been renewed, thank God.