Wednesday, 17 January 2018

You cannot shake hands with a closed fist (Indira Ghandi)

You cannot shake hands with a closed fist - Interesting quote there by Indira Ghandi the assassinated Prime Minister of India who was killed by her two bodyguards on 31st October, 1984.

Interestingly she was voted Woman of the Millennium in 1999 years after her death.

When I was reading about her life I notice what she had said about not being able to shake hands with closed fist and it made me think of the all the "unlovely"people that I have come in contact with that I find so hard to love!

Jesus said if we are His then we must find it in our hearts not only to forgive them but to love them.

I'm  wondering if this so called love is the same for everyone - should I love them in the same  way that I love my wife and our kids? Or is there a special love that is reserved for the  unlovely in this world that makes it easier for me to love them?

I had to grapple with this question when I read in the Bible that God loves everyone. Personally I would find it hard to love terrorists and people who have really hurt others in abominable ways in the same way as I love my two children and five grandchildren

I wonder what God would think of this situation - after all Jesus died for the sins of all mankind and commands us to love as he does.

In my previous blogs I have related how I was sexually abused by my older bother and that fact alone makes me hesitant to love everyone as as I love my own family and as I love God - yes I may have forgiven him to an extent but to love sacrificially to Him?? I must admit I struggle with that.

I know that Christians emphatically are to be people who love, actually exuding love, communicating love and give sacrificial love - after all Jesus "demonstrated His love for us that while we were still sinners he died for us"(Romans 5:8) - so if Jesus could die for us sinners then we should imitate that love for everyone. Sadly I fail, as I reckon we all do, to an extent in  not imitating this amazing love for others.

It says in John 13:35 that people will know we are Christians and Jesus' disciples in the way that we love each other.

All this taken into account I still struggle with showing the same measure of love to everyone I meet.

I take my cue from the Paul when he wrote to the church in Galatia and told them to do good to everyone but ESPECIALLY the church - so Paul here is saying that ESPECIALLY the church - the ones who love God we are to show special love (Galatians 6:10).

I feel we are given family as a true gift from God - and because of that we have a huge obligation toward our spouses and our children as special gifts from God and true blessings. In fact it's a moral obligation as well. This moral obligation to my mind is far far greater than that extended to others.

In 1 John 3:1 John writes Think how much the Father loves us. he loves us so much that he lets us be called His children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, then they do not know who we are. (CEV).  The NIV version calls it a lavished love - WOW!

To my mind Jesus loves his children - the church - in a very special way - just like Israel held a  very special place in His heart - we His children hold a very special place there as well.

I believe there are distinctions in the love that we show to mankind and our families - We are to love our enemies - that is plain to all who have ever read the Bible (Matthew 5: 43-48) and we are to show goodness and kindness to all but there is in my mind a special love reserved for our spouses, children and families and our church families.

God has shown me in countless ways that I should love my brother, forgive my brother, even pray for my brother but God has also given me a family that is such a blessing to me and he has given a love for them in my heart that overrides all others. Is that wrong? I would heartily disagree and say in fact that it is a VERY special blessing indeed!

God loves His own people in very special ways - he loves us His followers intimately and intensely. In this way I feel we as Christians love our spouses, children and families in very special ways as well.

We are commanded to show God's love, humility, grace and mercy to others. Likewise we are to love Christ, our spouses and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in very special ways indeed.

I would be most interested to hear what you think and what you feel about this - please contact me or leave replies.

God bless you this week as you tackle the subject on unconditional love and to love and Christ does.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Doubt your doubts - not God

A one time friend of mine through twitter told me when I had confessed that I often had doubts about my salvation or in fact "is Jesus THE one?" that I had better re-think my whole faith experience.

She went on to say that if I doubted God then my faith had no substance at all and if that was the case she felt she had to move away from me and blocked my facebook and Twitter pages.

It was sad and quite discouraging in lots of ways but since then it has served as a wake-up call to me and I would just like to share just where I am coming from with my doubts.

My former friend quoted the letter of James to me and I quote the verses she threw at me back to you

"But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is  driven and tossed by the wind - for  that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" - James 1: 5-8

Well since that episode with my former friend I have come to realise that indeed we are not at the mercy of every wave that comes across our boat and we are certainly NEVER at the mercy of every DOUBT that often comes smashing into our minds.

On saying this, just like the waves, doubts WILL come - we can't just pretend that they won't and I really feel that most of us will have doubts from time to time - some of us more regularly than others. The thing is not to let those doubts undermine our faith!

I know this may sound strange but I feel that my doubt often drives me back to depend on the promises of God more and more.

Joseph Solomon first coined the phrase "Doubt your Doubts" and here is the link to his youtube clip which is very self-explanatory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSAFvm5KLyk

I was  very encouraged when I listened to Joseph on this very subject that often confuses and even drives people away, feeling like they are not saved at all!

The more we pay attention to doubt the more it limits what God has promised and the more we stop relying on His promises and the more we rely on our own interpretations of them.

Faith on the other hand builds confidence in the very promises of God - it sort of smacks doubt on the noggin and reinforces to us the very majesty and awesomeness of God and His amazing promises to us.

In his youtube clip Joseph explains that his faith could fit into the creases of his palms it was THAT small - But God has promised that as tiny as your faith maybe, that very faith can move mountains in your life - and some of the mountains may be the mountains of doubt.

My friend pointed out to me quite dramatically that my doubts about God overrode my belief and smashes my faith. She maintained that because of my doubts I can no longer claim my salvation.

But thankfully GOD IS BIGGER AND GREATER THAN OUR DOUBTS!

If we cast our minds back to the time when we first came to Christ in repentance and asked Him to change our lives - He came into our lives and changed us permanently regardless of any doubts that may sometimes invade our space.

The very fact he accepted us as His was only through the very grace of God and not because we had this vast amount of untapped faith just waiting to explode onto the world and dazzle us with it's amazing attributes.

NO! at the end of the day we are NOT saved by the amount of faith we have or do not have nor by the strength of our belief but by the very sacrifice of Jesus and what he did for us on that cross. We are saved by the very mercy and grace of God.

If we didn't have any faith then we wouldn't have come to Him at all

My mind travels back to that amazing miracle that Jesus did while here on earth and recorded for us in Matthew 9. A father brings his desperately sick child to Jesus who asks dad "do you believe that I can cure this child?"

Dad, says  "I do - but help my unbelief" - There are so many times in own life where I have prayed this prayer. Many many times others have tried to undermine our faith in God and they will continue to do so unfortunately and there are many who like me do not have a perfect faith in God.

But we do not have to concern ourselves with the amount of faith we have or how huge our belief in God has grown since handing our life to Him. What we do need to cling to is that through His grace, God has deemed to save us regardless!

The amount of faith we do have is a mighty weapon and can be wielded with accuracy and forthrightness in combating satan and his foes - we need to grab hold of the promises of Jesus, believe them and doubt your doubts and let our weak faith cling to the mighty arm of God.

This is a beautiful prayer by Bonnie McKernan from her blog the link to which follows here:-
https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lord-help-my-daily-unbelief

I am sure she won't mind me repeating it here in mine because it sort of says it all about our doubts and unbelief.

Like Bonnie and me - let's pray this prayer from our hearts and let's doubt our doubts rather than doubting our amazing salvation and the awesomeness of the very grace of God!

Lord, forgive me for not believing that your truth permeated every single layer of my life. Fan my tiny smoldering little spark of faith into a burning and consuming fire that will bring you glory and drive out darkness. But don't ever let me think it is strong enough or that I have any hope of stoking it and keeping it alive apart from you. I believe; help my unbelief! 

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Deep waters


When you go through deep waters,
   I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty.
   You will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression.
   You will not be burned up;
   The flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2 NLT

Wonderful verse to read in the Bible and most encouraging - a true word for our Lord and God  YET....

When we are actually going through some really rough times often it is so hard to keep trusting God.

When you have just been diagnosed with cancer and you are facing a huge operation or like my friend Rick who was told there was no hope and only had weeks to live, when your child is killed in a horrific accident on the way home from school - where is God?

When you lose your job and your whole family is depending on your income, when you, like me had been sexually abused as a teenager and the person responsible has never been brought to justice ~ in fact the other extreme has happened where he has seemingly gone on to bigger and better things in life - where is God?

When your siblings refuse to believe you, when your best friend suicides and you are left to wonder if you could have done something to prevent it, when you are accused wrongly of something and no one stands up for you - where is God?

It's hard to come to terms when all you hear is that God is loving and kind and He always has your best interest at heart.

The thing is that death and suffering is the punishment for sin - God said that would happen when Adam walked away from God way back after creation The whole world went bonkers after that and sin and death went wild.

Not our personal sin! - I believe strongly that God doesn't punish us by sending tragedy in our lives for our sins, past or otherwise - It's just that sin is rampant in our world and we are part of that world and with that comes all the other horrible things that happen.

We as Christians are certainly not exempt from all these things happening to us. It's part of being in a fallen world and living in a broken world where sin, death and tragedy reign supreme.

The real realty is that undeserved suffering can pounce on any of us at any time - often blowing us away with the severity of each and every blow. None of us not even one of us is perfect, bad things can still happen which are definitely not the direct result of some sin we have committed. This of course raises the issue of why God allows this to happen?

Seemingly undeserved suffering happens! In this respect, it's how we respond to God when it happens and how we as Christians react to this suffering is far more important. Jesus sets us an example to follow here recorded for us faithfully in 1 Peter 2: 19-23 quoted here in the Contemporary English Version.

"God will bless you, even if others treat you unfairly for being loyal to Him. You don't gain anything by being punished for some wrong you have done. But God will bless you, if you have to suffer for doing something good. Christ did not sin or ever tell a lie. Although he was abused he never tried to get even. And when he suffered he made no threat. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly."

We may never understand why bad things happen and why we have to face trouble and often the very unthinkable things that happen to us. But on saying all of that we as Christians also have something that the world with all of it's terror and tragedy can't take away from us and never will.

Jesus tells us that we will face these troubling things in the world but He goes on to say "but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" John 16:33. Jesus died to provide the solution to death and punishment - He rose again to smack death and punishment on the head, never to rule over us.

We have the answer this hurting old world of ours needs - we have hope in the risen Saviour, now and for eternity.

Life can be so so confusing at times. Unexpected bad things can happen in a twinkling of an eye just like good things can happen in exactly the same time. We may have to go through long long periods of struggle, anguish, grieving and flat out misery. There will be times when we just wish God would tell us what is actually going on here? But he doesn't - very frustrating but that is exactly what life here on earth is all about.

All this mystery and frustration can serve to reinforce to us that if we want to live this life of ours to the full, it's really not a matter of knowing why things happen: it's a matter of knowing THE God who knows why these things happen.

Life can be surprising and sad, confusing and happy ~ none of which we may never understand fully. I believe the way through it is not to try to nail down the meaning of every event and to have all the answers but to know the God who knows everything. The way to negotiate life is to know Jesus.

For this reason, when bad or good things happen to us is not to grapple with "Why is this happening to me? " Rather let's consider this:- "Since this is happening to me, how can I use it to know God better through Jesus?"

Life is about staying close to God and trusting Him even when bad things happen because staying close to God is far more valuable than not suffering.





Friday, 1 December 2017

No matter how deep the wound is

Wow! when I look back on my past (which is something I really try not to do) in lots of ways my childhood and teenage years were fraught with anxiety, confusion and a load of guilt that was often unbearable.

I had heaps of struggling times but through it all I reckon I have come out of it a better person thanks to the one who was my Saviour and Lord - only through the spilled blood of Jesus can I stand firmly today and proclaim that no matter what happens in the future I just know that God is with me 100% and even when I stuff it up I know He has my back and He will not let me fall away.

I had a pretty strict childhood with a dad obsessed with singing and cricket - and anything that got in the way of that......well it just wasn't worth even considering in his eyes. He was blessed with a magnificent voice that I grant and he did sing around a lot with choirs and solos and all sorts of gigs but only in churches and he maintained that he used his voice for God - which was amazing I must admit.

Going through and visiting all of these churches when I was a little tyke actually stood me in good stead spiritually I feel,  because it was there I actually heard a lot about Christianity and what it actually meant to be a Christian and I reckon it was a good grounding in what was eventually going to be my future life as it panned out. God has his plans.

All through this time there was a nagging question in my life and that was - there has to be more?

There has to be more than just going to church and going through traditions - singing - going to Sunday school and me just 'being good'.  In my mind there had to be more than that!

As I was feeling this way there was also the nagging question in my mind and hanging over me all the time and that was "I'm just not good enough to be a follower of Jesus".

Yes! I went through the motions of being a Christian. I could talk the talk with the best of them - I was great a putting on face and hiding my true feelings. In fact all of our family was and a lot of them still are unfortunately.

Being a Christian is far more than fronting up to church on Sunday - it is far more than direct depositing your 'tithe' each week or slaving your guts out working 'for the church' in some capacity that you really don't feel very comfortable in.

Yes! we can do all of that and feeling like we have to 'do' something to somehow earn your right to be called a 'Christian'.

I was a classic victim of religiosity - you know - that feeling of trying so hard to be good - doing the 'right' thing and being seen by others to be doing the right thing.  Which is fine on Sundays but living like that really has no depth and things just revert back to where they usually are through the week.

In lots of ways that's exactly where I was growing up! It was hard and as I discussed in a previous blog things hit the fan big time when I was thirteen.  Doctors and counselors now tell me that thirteen probably is THE WORST time trauma can hit a person, The brain of a thirteen year old is just on the grow emotionally and if a huge trauma comes along it is like a volcano eruption in the brain which can can have disastrous effects that can last a life time.

Putting all that aside God through his amazing grace spoke to my heart big time. He saved me and made me realise no matter how many times I thought I was garbage, through His grace, the cross of Jesus and in His eyes I am actually perfect.

The very day you came to Christ - you became a brand new person and took on a whole new persona never to be the same again. God sees you through the very person of Jesus the one who took the nails for you - the very one who rose from the dead and defeated death. We can have victory through him regardless of our past.

No matter how many wounds and scars we have - no matter who we have slept with in the past - no matter what we have done or where we have been - no matter how many times we have messed up we ARE brand new and we will remain BRAND NEW for eternity.

The evil one - our enemy satan will try so hard to tell us we are unworthy - that we have 'stuffed it up again' - that we are anything but forgiven and washed clean by Jesus BUT nothing can take the shine off our new life as far as God is concerned. Satan will also try to put as many obstacles in our paths to try to dissuade us that God is not real and even if He was you will have no part in His promises.

I can tell you from experience that satan is the father of lies and he will try to make your life absolutely miserable because he knows that he can do nothing about your eternal life with Jesus and what you have done in coming to Christ and calling on His name.

So the upshot of it all is that no matter what life throws at us the real truth of the matter is that the cross of Jesus, His sacrifice for us has really made us clean beyond measure. No matter how deep the wound is as Mercy Me's song FLAWLESS explains so well.

Google the song for yourself - it's there on youtube and it really does spell it out so plainly - that Jesus died and the grace of God is so amazing that we can be washed clean and that when we stand before God for real He will see us as "Flawless".


















Friday, 17 November 2017

Does that ring a bell?

"Does that ring a bell?" - How often have we heard that saying? - some long time memory forgotten maybe? Something that has just been brought back to your mind?

Maybe a phrase or a word or especially a name can bring good or bad memories flooding back to our hearts and minds - often overwhelming us with joy - or bringing us into dark despair.

My life has been one of topsy turvy feelings when I look backwards - which is something I do with uncertainty and often BIG regrets and something I try to avoid doing on a regular basis.

Just a few months ago I wrote about the elephant in the room and I figure sometimes it is so much better to address the obvious in your life so that we can eventually put it behind us - we can so easily dodge around the hard things in life - knowing they are there and quite clearly stopping us from moving forward as it were but so often we decide to ignore the truth and just press on anyway.

So it is with many of us  - never quite game to evict the elephant and grow stronger especially in Jesus - NO! we decide to dodge the obvious and let the elephant thrive and continue to grow until like my problem, it becomes really huge and hard to evict.

I was sexually abused as a child of 13 by an older brother and the guilt I carried around with that was enormous and it still is - now that I have grown old myself it has become even harder to expel from my life until I have had to admit that it really is time I have put it to rest.

I had no idea my guilt feelings were effecting my own family until just recently when all sorts of things and events start happening which pointed the light fairly and squarely at the good old elephant in the room and I found myself breaking down at the slightest provocation and finding it hard to continue.

My faith in God has seen me through probably THE most toughest year of my life so far and yet I still find myself needing reassurance and positive thoughts so that my immediate family is not scarred further with how my own life has played out.

Seeing professional help is certainly not a wrong thing to do and I know deep in my heart that God has given people amazing gifts and talents and I really feel that they may be able to help, to a certain degree, in outing the past and to live purposefully and in victory.

There are a lot of Christian psychologists and psychiatrists out there but even there they are unable to give you the perfect answer to complicated and long ago problems. They can certainly help us identify long hurts and grievances and maybe even to put to bed old wounds and scars that have tripped us up over and over again.

The real truth is that there is only ONE place that you will get the real answer to your problems and that is on the Word of the Living God - it is here that you will receive the tools and ability to really get behind that elephant and give it the heave ho out of your life for good.

I am just so sorry that I didn't realise the entire truth of the God's amazing Word years ago which would have saved me so much heartache and despair and also stopped putting my own family through turmoil and distress.

Do I blame the perpetrator? - I must say I have struggled with this question over and over again - I have approached him and tried communicating over the years to no avail whatever - I have, many times brought to it God in prayer. To be completely honest with you and myself, I often wonder what I would have done if he had reciprocated and returned my overtones? Would I have truly forgiven him?

Forgiveness and putting things behind us is amazingly and overwhelmingly HUGE and a problem that can only be solved through the incredible work of the Holy Spirit living inside of us - I honestly don't know how I would have survived these past years without His work in my life.

So where do I go from here? If you have faced or are dealing with your own elephant in the room, where do you go from here?

I personally am about to receive counselling which probably at my age can help - it's certainly not out of the question but ultimately it is really up to the individual. You and you alone are responsible for taking seriously the Word of God - you and you alone are the only one to allow God to transform you into the person He wants you to be.

Our personal growth in Jesus depends on just how willing you are to want God to change you which He can do in remarkable ways. I know because he has changed me.

Yes! I am still in the woods and sometimes my days can be dark and foreboding - but you know deep down - deep way way down is a real peace that this world and our pasts can never take away from us.

Jesus is alive - He is so willing to love you in such a special way that your past and what ever happened to you along the way will start fading in miraculous and spectacular ways that you would never think possible.

Yes! I will receive counselling and Yes! I am looking forward to it helping me somewhat - but the real lifeline through all of this is how Jesus is slowly transforming me into His likeness which I guess is what Christianity is all about anyway.

So as you trundle along in today's world, maybe carrying along with you your own guilt or trouble, if something keeps 'ringing a bell' with you, take it Jesus - I wish I had I earnestly do, because I really feel that He could have worked miracles in my life much sooner than I had let Him.

God bless you this week as you address your own problems or guilt feelings. Just please remember that any counselling you receive must be filtered through your own knowledge of the Word of God. Yes, people can assist, they can motivate and help us put things into perspective but it is ONLY Jesus that can ultimately put our hearts and souls at rest in Him.






Monday, 6 November 2017

Singapore, Australia, World War 2 and Radji Beach

In was 12 the February, 1942 and Singapore was in the grip of a mighty Japanese invasion that would see hundreds of people scrambling onto the wharves to flee.

Among those were 65 Australian Nurses serving their country through the last days of the fall of Singapore.

They boarded a coastal freighter called the SS Vyner brooke but it was not meant to be as the doomed voyage was attacked by Japanese aircraft and sunk.

A group of  survivors including the 22 nurses eventually were washed up on Radji beach a remote beach off the coast of Singapore and due to their onerous plight voted to surrender to the Japanese rather than to starve to death.

A Japanese patrol found the nurses but did not accept their surrender and divided them into three groups and the executions began.

The Australian nurses were in the last group and died in a hail of bullets as they walked abreast into the sea.

Miraculously, there was one survivor, Vivian Bullwinkel, who in spite of a bullet wound which actually passed right through her side, missing vital organs and feigning death she endured 13 days in the jungle before surrendering to another Japanese patrol.

Vivian was re-united with the other surviving Vyner brooke nurses in a makeshift camp and these 'beyond' courageous women went on to experience the internment camps, starvation and disease over the next 3 and 1/2 years. Twenty four including Vivien made it home to their beloved Australia.

(excerpt from ON RADJI BEACH  by Ian W. Shaw)

What a courageous, amazing and gutsy women these nurses were in the 2 World War, suffering so badly there in Singapore - not really all that far away from their homeland Australia.

Their story touched my heart enormously when I read it and filled me with an overwhelming sense of pride to be an Australian - what fortitude - what bravery.

Even while the SS Vyner Brooke was sinking these nurses were assisting the wounded and the dying. absolutely astounding!

During the bombing raid Vivien recalled how many many passengers and crews were thrown into the water. She continued "No sooner had the passengers hit the water than the enemy aircraft returned, firing into the water and causing utter chaos, devastation and torturous and lingering death to many"

Vivien eventually made it the shore of Radji Beach by holding on to the side of a lifeboat. Vivien had watched many of her colleagues swept away in make shift rafts never to be seen again, she had seen many of her friends brutally killed by machine gun fire and many others drowned horribly that fateful night.

After her remarkable repatriation to Australia Vivien was awarded numerous awards for her contributions to nursing, only accepting them to keep the memory alive of her fallen comrades.

I know it is hard to believe but after 50 years on from the massacre on Radji beach, Vivien returned with fellow nurses who were with her aboard the SS Vyner Brooke and unveiled a memorial on the beach to her friends and colleagues whose bodies were never recovered from the terrible massacre.

To my mind Vivien was a real commander in chief - a woman destined to lead - a women strong, brave and courageous - always putting others ahead of her own needs - keeping alight encouragement and always building up never tearing down - a positive and confident young woman showing incentive and fortitude in one the most horrible and soul destroying places on earth.

When I think of Vivien and her attributes I can't help but think of another young man who at only 33 years of age gave His all to save us - He was our very own Commander in Chief - our own Jesus Christ the Saviour of the world.

That same Jesus is coming again one day - he will come in a twinkling of an eye and every person will see Him - not sure how but Hey! I truly believe what the Bible says and that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is indeed the Lord the Saviour of the world.

During that horrible and horrendous experience that Vivien and her nurses went through one message kept them going and that was "just hang on". Even though they were brutally treated - even though towards the end their skin was stretched over their skeletons and you could see every bone - even though they were all sickly and frail that message of "just hang on" rang true and clear.

They did indeed hang on and were eventually rescued - we so need to 'hang on' through today's world.

Every day it seems it is getting harder and harder to be a Christian. Every day more and more of the world is turning against our faith and our beliefs. Here is Australia we are certainly getting the message of hatred and enmity against Jesus and what he taught and stands for.

My message to you is just to "hang on" we need to be true to Jesus and true to ourselves. We need to show the world out there that whatever they throw at us it will not dampen our wills and our love for the Lord who saved us.

Jesus will come back - we do not know when but we can rest assured that He will one day and when that day comes we can claim the victory through Him.

No matter what you have done or where you have been Jesus loves you with an amazing and constant love that can far outreach any human love here on earth.

Come to Him without delay, ask his forgiveness and accept His free gift of eternal life. It certainly isn't going to be an easy ride but what Jesus does do is give you a deep down peace that can surpass anything you have ever experienced before.

His very own Spirit will come and live inside of you giving you a joy and love for others that you never thought possible. Also your past is gone - gone and forgotten. You won't have to keep dragging it around behind you any more. Jesus died to take away that past with all of its twists and turns and guilt.

So hang in there and stride out with Jesus. With Him by your side your life can change in the most miraculous ways.

My prayer this week:-
Lord when the path seems crooked and I stumble, remind me that you are 
always just ahead of me leading the way. Amen

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

A clear conscious is a soft pillow (French proverb)

Ever gone to bed with this huge worry on your mind that gives you this amazing knot in your stomach?

I have and I know it can be an absolute horrible and trying night - that's for sure!

There are just so many things that can play havoc with our conscience. Addictions, offences to another, family breakups, violence, repetitive sin and even greed can mar our minds and give us anxiety and a sense of unrest in all aspects of our lives.

The world is literally awash with examples of man's feeble attempts to appease his/her consciences but I'm afraid to say all to no avail.

There are all sorts of people in this world and all of us have a conscience and whether that conscience is all clear is whether we can control what we say and do and whether we can really rest easy in our beds at night.

Maybe you are the type of person who has unhelpful self-statements and thoughts and they have become a habit hard to break. If we constantly use our unhelpful self-statements to ourselves we can cause ourselves no end of emotional stress and trauma marring and scarring our consciences which could lead to serious depression and even self-harm.

Personally I am a 'tiger' for catastrophising - that is blowing little things out of all proportion. I can view a small problem as huge, terrible, horrible, awful and full of dread and woe.

This can have a huge effect on my conscience and then the feeling of guilt of things gone on in my past often things I had and have no control over whatever. I can take on the responsibilities of people I hardly know and feel responsible for many and varied slip ups resulting in a huge burden of guilt that I carry around and again, can mar and spoil my conscience.

Maybe you are the type of person who places really unreasonable demands or pressure on yourself and even others. The "I should - I must" syndrome is alive and well and living in you. But putting these demands and pressures on yourself can create very unrealistic expectations and when you can't fulfill these unrealistic pressures,  huge guilt takes their place.

Once we start carrying around with us unrealistic and huge pressures, stress comes streaming in, causing us to have any number of side effects that could easily spoil our relationships, work life and even our home situations.

All sorts of things can cause us to have low moods and if it goes on unchecked can cause depression. Everyone has from time to time low moods caused by just every day living in this topsy turvy world of ours. But when that low mood is allowed to fester, then it can effect our entire body causing emotional and physical symptoms.

Depression can cause anything from loss of interest in activities to disturbed sleep - insomnia, poor eating or no appetite at all to overeating. Lack of energy and feeling 'the guilts' over nothing.

We can become obsessive in our behaviour. Letting our minds go to unwanted thoughts that occur over and over again with no respite.

Uncertainty over the future can cause a lot of us to spoil and destroy the harmony we had with each other. Guilt can also cause us heaps of troubles feeling like we are not what we ought to be.

If you are suffering from acute depression or anxiety, please don't try to control it on your own - you may need help from professional people and please don't put yourself down if that's what you have to do. There is really nothing wrong with seeking help from someone with the tools to help us cope.

Whatever has caused a troubled conscience, our Lord and God has an answer - we can come to him with anything and everything no matter what we have done, who we have upset, what symptoms we are showing and just how bad we can be feeling.

It says in the bible to seek God while he can be found. He does really forgive all of our sins. Please don't let a troubled conscience stop you from seeking God. He gives you confidence in his presence and restores joy to your life. Once you repent of your sins God can give you great confidence in your life - all fears can be gone.

Your conscience can be clean when you know God. Own your mistakes face your troubles with assurance and confidence.  God can completely clean the broken garbage of our lives.

So today if you are suffering from a seared conscience, maybe an absolute condemning of yourself, feeling that nothing you do is good enough or a  feeling of total guilt, please pour it out to God. Come to Him in confession and true repentance.

There is no need to put on a front with God, Faith in God is not just knowing - Faith is  responding in obedience to Him - remembering that "THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST CLEANSES US FROM ALL SIN".

That seared conscience that we can't get rid of ourselves, the blood of Jesus cleanses it all.

I pray that God will work in your heart today and that you will find peace, comfort and a deep down joy that can never fade regardless of whatever you have been or are carrying around with you.