Sunday, 14 October 2018

Keep going no matter what...

What an amazing book is Hebrews - it was set when the Jewish Christians were being persecuted probably by both Jews and Romans, and they were growing weary. I guess you know the feeling only too well.

Not 100% sure who wrote The book of Hebrews - I doubt anyone knows for sure but it is jammed full of great advice mainly about persevering in the faith and keep on going no matter what.

August 5th 1984 - the Los Angeles Olympics - the unforgettable Marathon finish of Gabriela Andersen-Schiess was a prime example of perseverance - here is the link to watch her and her memories on that unforgettable day

She copped a lot of criticism after she finished but to her it was THE most important time of her life - she was at the olympics and she finished the marathon - she missed the last water stop which she blames for her dehydration but she kept on going no matter the consequences - she was determined - she was tenacious - she was resolute and single minded in her purpose and she finished the race.

Hebrew 12: 1-2 "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out before us, fixing our eyes in Jesus; the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand at the throne of God".

Right through Hebrews, the author's chief concern is that we finish the faith race with Jesus triumphantly and we are all so equipped to do so by the power of the Holy Spirit given to each of us once we have committed our life to Jesus.

According to legend, John Chrysostom, the Bishop of Constantinople (now Istanbul) was threatened by the rulers to be banished if he did not renounce Jesus Christ.

He replied "you can't banish me - my Father's kingdom is the whole world. You can't take away my family - because I am with my father and he is with me - you can't kill me because my life is eternally promised to God the Father - so do with me what you will".

Chrysostom was prepared to finish the race - why? Because he knew where he was going - it didn't really matter what they did to him even if it meant death. He knew for certain that God was with him and who he would be with eventually regardless.

Sure it's going to hurt, and sure we will, maybe, get distressed and confused as we persevere with Christ - especially in the crazy world we are in at the moment - but God promises us far more than we can ever know.

Right through this amazing book are warnings about the risks and dangers we face in our faith race. Let's not resist these warnings thinking they will inhibit our freedoms in the world - The freedoms the world gives are great and we can have a fabulous time but they are so very transient.

God's warnings here are for a very special reason to keep us focused on Christ and what he has done for us. We can grow more and more sensitive to God's voice if we only take the time to heed His warnings and directions for our lives.

In chapter 3 of Hebrews - the writer emphasises the tragic fate of the Israelites who perished in the desert and even today serves as a warning to us in 2018 that we persevere in our faith and take seriously into consideration these warnings that can give us spiritual success or failure.

In other words we can give up or persevere - we can haul ourselves with God's amazing help into the keep-going stream or we can simply turn up our toes and give up - being all-too-hard. Which one are you going to be?

We can't just question God's way - else we run the real risk of ending up like the Israelites - lost and wandering in a wilderness of self-doubt and unbelief.

Last month in my blog I talked about trust-v-belief so it is interesting to note here that the Israelites unbelief was not a lack of belief in God, but questioning God's way and lacking trust in Him which in the long-term was their undoing.

We should keep our eyes on Jesus in the way Gabriela Andersen-Schiess focused on that finish line way back in the Olympics in 1984. Our faith has both its beginning and completion in him. Jesus is also the supreme example as one who has already completed the race.

Let's not lack trust in God - we can believe all about him but if we don't trust him our belief is like the Israelites of long ago trudging in the wilderness of self-despair. Trusting in God and what Jesus did for us that day on Calvary is really the only way we can fully persevere with whatever is going to be dished up to us in the future.

God bless you as you persevere and hang onto Jesus this week. Chin up - chest out - deep breath and move ahead with God.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Angels among us

Had a knock on the door recently and two men and one lady wanted to talk to me about ANGELS - I was gobsmacked to say the least because Angels were far and away from my thoughts at that moment.

They chatted about this amazing new world that was coming and the mighty part that Angels will have on that day - I was taken aback a tad and struggled a lot in what they were saying.

Right at the outset of this blog I must admit that I don't know a lot about angels - all I do know is that they are heavenly beings created by God and worship Him constantly - also they are there for specific reasons such as announcing very special events such as the birth of Jesus and many more events recorded in the Word of God.

Getting back to my visitors that Saturday morning, and I must add here that they did sweep me away with their knowledge of angels and their purpose.

I had nowhere to go really except to say that I did indeed believe in Angels and their purpose specifically granted to them by God almighty.

I did say however, and I suppose this was the reason they left my home shaking their heads, convinced I was way out of line and utterly wrong, was that I truly believed that Jesus was higher than the Angels and in fact he was equal with God and part of the triune Godhead being the Father, Son and Spirit. I quoted John 10:30 when Jesus spoke to His disciples saying "I and the Father are one".

Before they left, they told me that "Jesus is like God - He's close to God BUT he is not God". It was at this point that I said to them "Jesus is Jehovah to me" - and that's when they left me.

In Isaiah 6:1-7 we find angels in the vision of Isaiah touching his lips with burning coals in an act of consecration. In this vision we see the primary acts of these amazing creations of God standing or flying around and above God's very throne continually declaring God's holiness. They exist simply to attribute worth to God. announcing the perfection of His character. These powerful, majestic beings are perfectly fulfilled doing nothing other than worshiping God.

It's amazing, when we think of it, that the very act of worship and praise that we offer to God is resoundingly upheld by the angels in God's presence doing exactly the same thing. We are not alone in our worship, Angels are continually before God's throne.

Throughout the scriptures, as already mentioned there have been a lot of recorded instances when we see angels visiting. Sodom and Gomorrah is a prime example - appearing in human form these heavenly creatures rescued Lot and his family from the destruction that befell those cities.

Another example is when an Angel appeared to Elijah suffering from an acute bout of depression and hunger when Jezebel was out to execute him. Angels appeared to Abram and Sarai announcing the impending birth of Isaac in their old age. And so it goes on many times recorded for us.

There doesn't appear to be in the Bible a mention of personal or guardian angels mentioned in the Bible but there have been recorded plenty of instances when people have actually seen angels guiding them and in all sorts of situations.

In her book Tramp for the Lord, Corrie Ten Boom that amazing woman arrested by the Nazi's for protecting and hiding Jewish people during the holocaust was convinced that angels protected her when she was openly on a bus smuggling bibles. Apparently guards boarded the bus she was on and searched everyone looking for contraband of any description.

If she had been caught she would have been arrested, imprisoned and even death was a possibility. As the soldiers approached searching everyone seated there, she closed her eyes and literally felt a presence guarding and protecting her - the searching soldiers went straight past her and continued the search.

Hard to explain but surely if our powerful God sent angels to protect and guide people thousands of years ago the same can be said of today.

Esther Mass, well known to dozens of missionary kids around the world, was on her way to church on April 13, 1988. A short distance from home she was involved in a car accident. Almost immediately a man approached at her van door. He took Esther's hand and at his touch a comforting peace spread over her. The man was in his thirties, he wore tan work clothes and needed a shave. He asked one bystander to call 911.

When Esther asked his name, he said he couldn't tell her his name but that she would be fine. He stayed until the emergencies crew arrived and then was gone. He may not have been an angel but his ministry fits with what we know from the Bible about what angelic care is like.

Then of course we see hundreds of times when no matter how hard we may pray we are not spared the trials and tribulations we may be going through.

All I know is that our God is awesome, holy and so mighty - How can we puny humans put our mind into the mind of God - of course we can't.

We just have to have faith knowing that our mighty God is the mighty God who saved us and that there are tens of thousands of angels surrounding his throne glorifying His holy name and that one day we will know for certain just why and how these amazing events take place.

As Christians we live in a world of crisis and security alerts - every day we seem to face some new threat. Even spiritual enemies are out to deceive us. We should take heart because our strength is in the protection of the Lord no matter in what form it takes.

Friday, 14 September 2018

OK... Time to Jump in the Wheelbarrow

According to Wikipedia, Jean Francois Gravelet AKA Charles Blondin was born on 28th February, 1824 and was renowned as a tightrope walker and an acrobat.

He toured the USA and was known for crossing the 340m Niagara  Gorge on a tightrope often wheeling a barrow.

Apparently he crossed the raging divide from the Canadian side quite a few times with differing theatrical variations to his feat. Once blindfolded, and as mentioned trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts and carrying his manager on his back.

He even sat down half way while he cooked and ate an omelette and believe it or not stood on a balanced chair with only one leg on the rope.

A story is told (not sure how true it is) of how he trundled his barrow across the divide from the Canadian side of the falls full of bricks approximately weighing the average weight of an adult male.

When he got to the US side he was met by a crowd of well-wishers all applauding his great accomplishment. Among the crowd, so the story goes, was the Lord Mayor who promptly congratulated him.

Blondin asked the mayor did he believe that He could carry him safely over to the Canadian side. The Lord Mayor said that he truly believed than Blondin could do just that. "Well hop into the wheelbarrow" said Blondin. I really feel it would have made headlines if the Lord Mayor had indeed climbed in but I'm guessing if that story is true he wouldn't have (and I can't blame him).

When I heard this story I thought of what is the difference between TRUSTING God and BELIEVING in God? In other words I really feel we all have to TRUST enough in God to JUMP IN THE WHEELBARROW.

Believing about or believing in something is fine and good and just - like I believe when I am climbing a mountain that my safety harness will hold - I also TRUST in my safety harness that it will hold me if I fall.

When I go swimming I believe that my swimming ability will keep me afloat - that I am safe with what I believe that my swimming instructors have told me that is true and will keep my from drowning - I not only have faith in what I have learned but I trust in my ability to carry it through.

Believing in and about something is certainly not the same as trusting and having faith in that something - In James chapter 2 it says in the New Living Translation:-

"You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and tremble in terror".

A long time ago I met the girl of my dreams - I reckon it definitely was  love at first sight - I was struck by her piercing blue eyes and her strawberry blond hair. Did I want to marry her? YOU BET I DID!! As I said it was love at first sight - Did I know her? NO I DIDN'T (not at that stage anyway), but I trusted her and I had faith in her that she felt the same about me as I did about her

It was the same when I became a follower of Jesus - I believed about Him and I believe that when I made a decision to follow Him I believed IN Him and I reckon it was a faith, small as it may have been at that time, that allowed me to put my trust in Him.

Over the years I have come to a pretty awesome conclusion and that is the Great God that I first put my trust in through the faith that he gave me originally, wants us all to know Him better and better and the more we get to know Him the bigger and better our trust through faith in Him will grow in us.

When SueAnn and I were first dating and newly engaged I tried all ways to make her think and feel that I was way and above anyone else she'd ever met - bracelets and flowers, perfume and all things pretty - I went above and beyond to prove myself to this amazing girl of my dreams that I loved her and she was the world to me.
We now don't need 'things' to show each other our love although it is nice to celebrate it when the time comes around

God loves us with an everlasting love and He wants us to love Him that way too - He doesn't want all of our "pretties" he doesn't want our good works to make us love Him - he doesn't need the incense and the candles nor even our money. What he does want is our trust fuelled by our faith and surprisingly when that is in our lives we do want to show His love by the works we do - so in lots of ways one stirs the other and we can live our lives to show his love.

So how are you in trusting Jesus? Are you still in the believing about Him stage, but haven't come to the realisation that you don't really KNOW Him at all? God wants us all to know, trust and love Him more and more and all it takes is a simple prayer - simple but from the heart - similar to this one:-

God, Creator of the universe, You made me - You love and you want me to know you better. Thank you for sending Jesus to take my sins away - Forgive me for my brokenness which has been brought about by my own sin. I don't just want to believe ABOUT you, I really want you to transform my life so that I can trust you by the faith you have planted inside of my soul.

If you have prayed that prayer from your very heart, why not contact me through this blog or through and we can chat about our commitments in more depth.

So like the Lord Mayor - it's no use just 'saying' you believe he can get us to the other side - it really is time to trust through faith and jump in the wheelbarrow. Make a stand today - God can change your life for the better and even better.

God bless you this week as you consider the difference between believing ABOUT God to trusting IN God through faith.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

The Art of Doing Nothing

The art of doing nothing has been perfected so well by a lot of us here in the Western world of our so-called civilisation

It's just so easy to turn our backs and do nothing when all we have to do is to turn on our television sets to see what is happening to the world as it spirales seemingly out of control.

I personally seem to have perfected the art of doing nothing to the nth degree - so to that end I have decided to stand up and be counted and help us much as I can to supply not only material things to those in need but also to cease taking a back seat and keeping my faith to myself.

Where we live in New South Wales Australia we are undergoing one of the worst droughts ever recorded and I can never remember such a winter that has been as bad. Our farmers and our food bowl which we all rely upon is in desperate need of rain which hasn't fallen in certain areas for well over eight years. This web link will let you know exactly what is happening here

We are all pulling together to help each other with donations of food and water being trucked from other Australian states. Through this time it has been a wake up call to me of just how bad it can be. Yet, we are blessed that we have a government with the resources to assist and rally us all around to support each other during the crisis.

While I was challenged to help our farmers and so many others affected far more than we, I was also reminded of just how bad it is in other parts of the world who have no clean water at all, children and adults dying through starvation and thirst - we are so blessed.

Once more the art of doing nothing came home to me big time - the scenes of war are devastating - children and adults alike being persecuted and killed horribly for their faith on God - we really have no idea.

I was gobsmacked here in Australia for example when I see that Indonesia is hosting the Asian Games costing tens of millions of dollars yet other countries support poverty stricken children and families there through World Vision, Compassion and other aid organisations. YES The art of doing nothing is alive and well.

At our Growth group meeting this morning we talked about the REAL love of God and what it means. In 1 John 4 there is a lot to be said about loving your brothers and sisters in Christ - to make sure they are coping with life and all that it throws up to us often on a daily basis.

John doesn't pull any punches when he writes that those who don't show love to their brothers and sisters, then the love of God isn't in them at all.

To be persecuted and hated by another is really tough - to forgive that person is tougher still but that is what we are commanded to do - we are also commanded to "turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5: 38-40). Does it mean that we have to go out time and time again turning the other cheek and being hated continually by the person or bully doing the hating?

I feel God doesn't mean that - to forgive is great and actually releases you from the stranglehold of the chains of self-pity and even depression but I also feel that going back to try to regain a toxic relationship is not what God meant at all. Of course it all very much depends on the circumstances for each effected individual.

We certainly don't want to engage in physical violence and we definitely don't want to get caught up in the blame game and seek revenge.

With all those things in mind what can we do as Christians to stop ourselves from sitting back and perfecting the art of doing nothing? So easy to do if you have been on the receiving end of unfairness, hurtfulness and even violence.

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is prayer - Prayer for those in real need and also prayer for those who hate, bully and persecute. Some of the VERY bravest, courageous and bold warriors of Jesus are often those who have been hurt both physically and emotionally. They have realised that prayer is the answer for every problem.

So armed with heaps of prayer and knowing that God has forgiven us even considering all of the heartbreaks we have had and all the mistakes we have made what can we take away to help others going through similar experiences?

Love! Love when you are scared to love!

Give - Give when we are scared to give even if giving seems unfair to us - like in the case of Indonesia, lavishly dishing out millions of dollars when their own children are dying in poverty. Does it mean just because we feel it is unfair that we shouldn't assist these children - of course not! That is definitely not what it is about.

Fight - Fight for the weak and helpless - take time and effort with a brother or sister who are struggling , emotionally or financially. Keep an eye out for the sickly and the needy - think of creative ways we can help them while constantly praying eanestly for all.

Speak - Speak out for those who can't speak - those in slavery or those in mental anguish - let's not be satisfied with sitting on the sidelines and perfecting the art of doing nothing.

It takes a soldier to walk the walk of faith - it's so easy to just talk the talk - anyone can do that while at the same time doing nothing. So let's live life for others always aware of their needs making sure we are prepared to stand tall for Jesus and them.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Breaking down walls

Been reading lately about Nehemiah the guy behind the wall - what a mighty man of God - He went way out of his way to do God's will - to re-build the wall around the Holy City after the great desolation of city by the Babylonians and most of the Israelites had been taken captive.

He was indeed a real warrior of God and he was used mightily knowing that this was God's calling on his life to re-build the City of God.

Well this blog is not about re-building walls but knocking a few down!.

When I look back on my past (which is something I often don't do because God has moved me on greatly) I am astounded just how much things have changed and how God has worked in not only my life but those of my wife's also.

I, like Nehemiah had built walls around me. Walls to me were pretty essential,they were what I thought were walls of safety and secrecy. Walls I could hide behind and not show the world. Walls where I could hide my true feelings and what I was deep inside.

I liked my walls because they didn't let the world in - I reckon I could keep all my idiosyncrasies and foibles that the rest of humanity didn't need to know about. I was and still am to a degree a private person and during the time before God called me, my secrecy and hiding the REAL me was oh so important!

When I came to Christ and really surrendered all to Him, I slowly began to realise just how many walls I had built over the years - not only that, but I was overwhelmed by just how thick and reclusive my walls had become.

It seemed that over the years I had re-enforced my walls over and over again and I was staggered to realise that my walls had made me so inward thinking and really very selfish - nothing like what God had called us to be.

I had to start breaking down my walls and even now I am still working at doing just that -even after all these years.

Please take heart, if you are like me and built heaps of walls - you really need to pick up that hammer and get to work. SPOILER ALERT!!!! You won't be even able to contemplate starting without your foreman helping you and advising you how to go about it - YOU CAN'T DO IT ON YOUR OWN!

The great part about it is that after God came into my life, His Spirit opened my eyes to my magnificent and so well built walls - they were so well made but I suddenly realised they really had to come down.

So with God's amazing help I grabbed the hammer and between God (who did most of the work) and myself we started on the first wall. I would like to share just some of the many walls that I had constructed over the years and we, that is God and myself, are still working hard to knock over.

The wall of jealousy

this one was the 1st one the HS directed me to - what an awesome wall it was - we both laid into it with vigour but it seemed as soon as we started to knock it down that it was so old and so well built it started to grow again!!! It had to take us both several years before we finally started to make some headway - even know there are remains of that stubborn wall still remaining.

No sooner had I started to make some progress with this huge wall - God brought to attention just how many walls  there were for us to work on - it seemed that as soon as we started on one wall there seemed to be more and more and more - I felt like giving up but God encouraged me and reassured me that his love for me was true.

The wall of worry

Was the next one. Worrying should not be part of the believers life - on saying that how do we overcome worry?

God clearly teaches us in 1 Peter 5:7 to "cast all anxiety on him because he cares for you". It's not in God's plan for us to cart around our worries and anxiety. He is so prepared to take them from us.

Now if you are anything like me and that wall has been around for so many years - please don't think you can't ask for help with this one - it takes a fair bit of effort! - Try as I might this one was pretty stubborn. There is medication available and if your worries are causing your anxiety, please don't think you are letting God down to go and ask for extra help - I did and I feel so much better.

The wall of self-pity

This one was a doozy! Not sure about you but I reckon we are all born with a wall of self-pity just waiting for us to grow it bigger and bigger - we love to protect our egos and our rights and the "what about me" syndrome. The wall of ME is a toughie!

When we keep on indulging our SELF we start living for SELF and take our minds off God completely. In Philippians 2:3 God says to us "do nothing out of selfish ambition and vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others ahead of yourself

The wall of doubt or non belief

Doubt can be so disabling!  James 1 tells us that when we pray we should pray without doubt using our faith - so doubt can be a destroyer and satan loves to use our doubts to destroy not only our minds but our bodies also.

I was a tiger for doubting - and may I say that doubting can be a normal set of circumstances, at some stage or other we have all doubted, and our enemy knows that and tries to use it against us time and time again.

Of course the remedy for doubting is faith and Romans tells us that faith comes from hearing the Word of God and acting upon it - cool advice!

I have learnt over the years to trust God and DOUBT MY DOUBTS - that has helped me no end - Doubting my doubts instead of doubting God is a sure way of being able to see your way clearly to where God has become a faithful and trustworthy friend even when things take a really bad turn your faith and trust in God will definitely see you through.

The wall of pride

WOW!! this was a toughie for me as well and still is!

Pride can be such a downward slippery slope, if you lose your footing it can be so so hard to regain your balance - Pride in lots of ways is OK - we can be proud of a job well done or in our case of our Grandblessing's achievements - then there is the other sort pride - the pride that God hates!

That's the sort of pride that conceives sin such as conceit or trying to woo the pat on the back - wanting to get the limelight and giving ourselves the credit for something that someone else has achieved or more importantly what God has achieved!

It can be such a stumbling block for a lot of prideful people - narcissism and self-adoration are two main pointers to pride in oneself and totally abhorrent to God.

These are just a few of the walls that God and I are still working on - I can't help but to look over my life and I am awed by how God has worked in my life and what He has done so far - but on saying that we both have a long way to go.

My clear advice is to get right with God (that is essential) pick up that sledge hammer, and get to work - you may be like me and realise just how many walls you have built around your life - Ask God to clearly show you where to start.

It's a very powerful prayer and one you should not undertake lightly! It can have amazing and huge changefull effects on yours and your family's lives.

So God bless you as you drag on your Hi Viz safety overalls, your trusting sledge and even your wrecking ball - Get going but be prepared for a real lot of work - just like the PANTENE add - "it won't happen over night BUT it will happen".

Friday, 3 August 2018

Turning Failures into Victories

I shared a few months ago about the kids book called THE COW TRIPPED OVER THE MOON - based on old nursery rhyme. Here is the link if you are interested.

Written by Tony Wilson for his son Jack, it tells the story of how the cow tried so many times to jump over the moon and failed miserably every time - but the thing is she kept trying until amazingly she succeeded.

The message I was trying to get over in that particular blog was perseverance - the cow never gave up - this month however I have gleaned yet another message from the same book and that is how we can turn our failures into victories.

The moral behind this funny but poignant children's book is to keep going and keep starting over no matter how many times you seemingly never seem to hit the mark that you wanted to in the first place.

Have you ever had to start over and felt you can't possible do this?

Keeping that in mine I was thinking as I write this blog how few things are more traumatic than saying goodbye to close family and old friends that you have known for years and a place you have called home.

Even the most adventurous among us get's knots in our stomachs at the thought of starting over.

Making new friends, learning a new job, finding a new church and getting familiar with a new area - can cause stress and trigger all sorts of nervous conditions.

The 'UP' side of course is being able to make a fresh start - a clean slate - a brand new beginning that can offer us all sorts of delights - we can even ditch a bad reputation if it comes to that!

Jesus' amazing sacrifice on Calvary that dark but beautiful day made a way for us puny humans to find the miraculous gift of God's on-going forgiveness as long as we have accepted that forgiveness and traded in our old life with all of it's foibles, frailties, revenge-seeking and anger.

Believing and trusting in God teaches all of us that a new start is constantly available and possible with Jesus by our sides.

Unfortunately forgiveness is not perfection and making a new start as a follower of Jesus can be an on-going struggle and there will be many times when we have to come back to the cross asking for forgiveness and repenting and 'starting over' with God.

With God we have a constant supply of "new starts" provided to us with all love, mercy and grace from an all-giving, all-consuming God - provided of course by our own personal encounter with the living and ever-saving Jesus Christ.

One of the satan's greatest weapons against us is tempting us to believe the lie that we are too sinful for God. Everybody makes mistakes, and some mistakes are bigger than others. But no sin is too great that God can't or won't forgive it.

It's truly magnificent that a 'new start' with God can liberate you and me from the powerful hold that guilt and fear and yes! even memories of failure or how you 'used' to be can have over our frail humanity!

The Bible is full of stories about people who were antagonistic, even openly rebellious toward God, but humbled themselves, repented and were forgiven.

Whatever sin you may have committed, true repentance that comes directly from the heart can bring you back into a relationship with God - no matter how bad or serious that sin may be.

Of course we all are governed by the laws and we may have to pay the price humanly speaking for actually breaking the law of the land, but in God's eyes a true repentant sinner, saved by His amazing grace is forgiven if we come to Him in true humility and earnestness.

The promises of God as described in His Word as "new every morning" (Lamentations 3: 22-23) sort of says it all as far as I am concerned.

The very nature of God through His grace and never-ending mercy, gives us all the perfect way to make our failures into victories - awesome and amazing is our God!

So instead of giving up or thinking that the situation is hopeless, turn your life back to God and earnestly seek His forgiveness. Jesus' sacrifice has covered your sin and mine and He is waiting to accept us back with loving arms.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

GOD is contagious

2018 hasn't been the best year for us personally down here in Australia - We  have had a tough year - it seems we have lurched from one crisis to another.

Recently, after recovering from a scam that would have been devastating financially we were then hot with the news that our youngest grandblessing is suffering from a mild form of epilepsy called Absence Seizures.

It means she has to undergo a battery of tests just to make sure that everything is OK and that there is no underlying serious condition that needs addressing. A worrying time for all. 

Then we had the phone call that sort of tested out faith and our well being. 

A friend of mine whom had I thought was pretty close and who had contacted me six months prior and confided that he was suffering from a mental illness, phoned me again and wanted to meet up for a coffee.

It was during this meeting that he told me that my sense of humour and my personality traits were the two main reasons triggering his mental problems and it would be best if I changed to suit his condition or else we would have to terminate our friendship.

As you can imaging I was pretty shocked and disappointed - he also told me that he was terminating the friendship of a member of his family for something that happened 20 years prior and for very similar reasons.

He was pretty stark and REALLY harsh in his condemnation of me and through the conversation (if you could call it that - it was pretty one-sided) I could feel my heart beating faster and my anger rising in my throat as he accused me over and over of the things that happened in our friendship that had triggered his illness. He also attacked my faith in God.

But alas that wasn't all - I was then faced with fall-out from a family incident that has driven doubt and a would-be wedge between my siblings that could see us all floundering around trying to take sides!!

What do we do when our world is suddenly shattered and people try hard to bring you down - How do we react when MEANNESS rules and keeps getting fueled by more and more anger which seemingly knows no end.

Well something inside of me wanted REVENGE with a capital "R." I wanted so much to defend myself and to tell the aggressors just where to get off! I wanted so badly to be mean back to them in  a BIG way.

The thing is Jesus in His amazing wisdom can override our human instincts to attack and keep on attacking! God is SO much bigger than our desire for revenge - He is actually CONTAGIOUS in His love.

In return for His contagious love - he makes our attitudes also contagious!

This is something that I am still coming to terms with even though I am getting older and older - Contagious attitudes can quickly spread to others around you - I could have so easily had two GIGANTIC arguments just in the last two weeks alone - I am certainly praising God that His contagious love stopped me from doing just that.

On saying all that - does this mean that we become 'doormats' for everyone to walk over at their will? Not at all!!

BUT we definitely don't have to take their attitudes onto us. We don't have to use their way of 'fighting' and adopt it as ours. Our GOD is so much bigger than man's attitudes.

Without God our attitudes can be so contagious. Meanness breeds meanness - hostility breeds hostility - revenge breeds revenge. Oh what a sorry world we live in! BUT.....

With God our very attitude can be ruled by Him. God's graciousness and Mercy can overrule our desire for revenge and retribution.

Let's be grace-filled by the very mercy of God - and if really nasty and vindictive people don't want to and are so very negative and mean towards you to accept that then there MUST come a point in time when you HAVE to walk away.

There are so many positive people who love Jesus like you do and there are also so many needful projects in this flawed world that really do require our love, kindness and compassion that we should be focusing our efforts there to the very glory of God.

So not only are bad faults contagious and if we spend long enough with mean and distrustful people there is a real possibility we will catch their negativeness BUT on saying that the opposite is more than true!

God Himself is contagious!

If we let His grace, mercy, truth and love into our lives then can be spread about to all we meet - it's in our faces and in our lives just who we belong to.

So let's choose God - HE'S CONTAGIOUS!