Monday, 26 December 2016

Hand it over

Just recently I was chatting to a friend of mine and we both agreed that so often we take our eyes off the goal. We know how important it is in life to have goals and to set our boundaries. Being in Human resources I found it particularly essential that we had goals to work to; to achieve and to maintain.

But further to our conversation:- we both agreed as Christians we so often take our eyes off the BIG picture, which is our future with Jesus and that's when we flounder and try to do things on our own.

Many many times we just won't hand things over to Jesus - the very person who gave everything for us and has asked us just to bring it to Him in prayer.

We discussed why and how do we let this happen? Don't know about you, but I reckon I am probably one of the THE most easily distracted people I know - I'm so easily distracted by what is going on around me that I can be quickly become un-focused and start the thinking process on anything but the topic on hand.

But as a CHRISTian, taking out eyes off Jesus is one of the most dangerous things we can do and probably when you take time to think about it probably one of the easiest.

I have come to the conclusion that I must 'love' worrying and letting past hurts, mistakes and troubles keep surfacing in my life. WHY? I really have no idea. All I can say is that since becoming a CHRISTian I have found that my old nature actually 'conspires' against my efforts to keep my eyes solely on my Saviour JESUS.

I figure I must love wandering off to pursue my own desires and get carried away with cares and troubles. So it  REALLY was good to talk to my friend and we both found out that we pretty much were 'singing from the same page' in our walk with CHRIST.

Our ultimate prize is JESUS and in Him we find comfort and rest; In Him we find solace and peace in times of troubles and strife: In Him we find the reason for living and breathing and being here in the first place.

We both decided to ask God, even before setting feet to the ground in the mornings, to infill us with His Spirit for the day ahead, that we would indeed walk in His footsteps and be led by His Spirit and not be swayed by our own human nature which so often has only brought us misery and worry.

When you look at the life of JESUS and just what He endured and for what? The big picture! ~ the JOY that was set before Him - (Hebrew 12:2). That's what we have to look forward to as well  ~ not the trials from here.

So what has my friend and I learned lately? ~ To hand things over to God on a moment by moment basis! That's right when things overwhelm us we say to ourselves "Hand it over" ~ I have found myself saying that many times throughout my day.

Will it make it go away ~ probably not but it is a great reminder just who has control of your life and who is looking out for you.

Handing it over to God can release you from the worry that so often besets us. God is so much bigger than our worries and trials that every one of us suffers.

So here we go ~ how about taking one step at a time ~ Praying for the in-filling of the Holy Spirit to guide us ~  read or listen to His word, learning 'fighter verses' that we can meditate on when crisis' try to flatten us.

So maybe 'handing things over' to Jesus may be simply submitting to Him in our day-to-day living and asking Him to in-fill us moment by moment throughout our day.

God bless you this week as you 'hand it over' to God, whatever it is in your life. Keep focused on Him and that way you will be ready when troubles explode and trials suddenly pop into you life as they most certainly will.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

He's still out there

Appalling news from Nigeria. This week while worshipping their Lord, hundreds of people were killed when the roof collapsed in their half built church.

When I heard of this horrible tragedy, I couldn't help but think back to the ancient book of Job in the old testament. Poor old Job had more than his fair share of tragedies in his family. Among the many horrible things to happen to him was that a roof collapsed and killed all of his seven children.

Satan is alive and well and, I feel, starting to get desperate in trying to dissuade God's people to turn from Him and rely on the world to save them and give them lasting happiness (which is exactly what everyone is hoping to find.)

Once we have given our lives to Christ ~ repented of our sins ~ accepted His gift of forgiveness and started our walk with Him on a daily basis, then deep seated and lasting joy and yes even happiness can be ours.

Of course God has never promised as a trouble-free life. On the contrary, He said whoever comes to Him must be prepared to 'take up his/her cross and follow Him.' This obviously involves putting ourselves out there in the world ~ acknowledging that we are now Christs and obeying Him no matter what.

Once we have made that commitment, then in lots of ways, all hell will break loose in our lives. As sure as there is God in Heaven, there is satan here on earth, just waiting for us to let our guards down so that temptation and disaster can come our way. In lots of ways we become even more vulnerable to all sorts of trials when we stick it out with Jesus and become His.

But on saying all of that, there is still that contentedness and peace in our souls deep down because underneath off all the tragedy that life throws at us we know that God will never leave us ~ He will never let us down to the point of no return to Him. He has promised us that even when the very worst things happen to us, He will be there to guide us and set us back on the way with Him.

Satan loves to throw us curved balls and temps us constantly in areas which he knows are our weaknesses ~ he seems to hone in on them especially when you feel confident, in your heart,  that God and you have conquered this and just when your heart feels free ~ Whammo! he strikes.

Many many Christians have unfortunately given up on their walk with Christ due to this very reason -~ exactly what satan wants to achieve.  My last blog was centred around this very point ~ don't give up ~ keep walking with God no matter how many times you fail ~ Grab hold of God's promises and keep stepping out boldly with Him.

There was an episode in my own family where a very close relative was so hurt that they weren't invited to an event, that their hurt manifested itself in the extreme. As the years went by the hurt turned to anger and resentment.

Anyone from the 'offending' family daring to contradict or communicate in any way to the offended was quickly 'shot down in flames' and was secluded. Satan used this time to whisper, cajole, accuse and lie to the detriment of all concerned, Finally the offended person decided to believe the lies and went about isolating the family from the rest of the siblings. A horrible and degrading time and one where satan wallowed in his success and continues to turn family members against each other.

Yes! satan is still out there roaming around as a roaring lion seeking who to devour next (1 Peter 5:8).

Looking at the world today, you would have to be totally immune to satan and his wiles not to recognise his schemes and activities. They are all around us and today more than ever we need to be forever watchful ~ forever aware of the nearness of God and our even mounting need of Him. We cannot achieve living here in satan's domain if we take our eyes of Jesus ~ even for a fleeting moment.

I personally have been so blessed by social media ~ it was during one of my lowest times that I turned to twitter to see what I, just maybe, could glean from other Christians. Surely there were others that were struggling with what I was struggling ~ surely others going through the same times of testings and doubts.

That was when God directed me to and I was led to a very special family of which I am now totally indebted and one where I have been truly blessed. Just yesterday during one of our many Bible chats we talked about the many many ways satan gets us to move away from God and doubt His amazing saving grace.

My beautiful friend Christie tweeted this and I quote
" One tactic of the devil is to twist Scripture to confuse us. We battle that with knowing the Word ourselves"

Christie points out to us that satan even uses Scripture to confuse and bewilder us into disbelieving His Word.

And then this quote from Cheri, again which confirms that satan is everywhere and attacks us when we are weak and have taken our minds and wills off God.

"Satan is a liar, he prowls to attack us when we are weak or builds us up so we think we don't need God"

WOW! So here Cheri reminds us that he actually can build us up ~ giving us self-confidence in ourselves. A very slippery slope indeed.

While out jogging today I heard this song from Mercy Me and it sort of says it all for us Christians ~ we HAVE to keep moving on with Him, singing and praising God no matter what is happening in our lives. We can't let satan dictate to us and start believing his lies. He is the master of deceit ~ the master of lies and the master of implanting doubts in our minds.

God bless you all this week as we take up the armour of God and surround ourselves with the promises and grace of Jesus.

Mercy Me ~ Keep Singing lyrics:-

Another rainy day
I can't recall having sunshine on my face
All I feel is pain
Al I want to do is walk out of this place.

But when I am stuck and I can't move
When I don't know what I should do
When I wonder if I'll ever make it through
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising Your name

Your the one that's keeps my heart beating
I gotta keep singing
I gotta keep praising your name
That's the only way that I'll find healing

Can I climb in your lap
I don't want to leave
Jesus sing over me
I gotta keep singing

Oh you're everything I need

Thursday, 1 December 2016

It's not over yet

Oh! I wonder just how many times I have struggled with me myself and I saying to me myself and I that "You won't get past this one?" - "You have done it now" - "You have gone beyond that line in the sand that you know you couldn't cross and yet you crossed it anyway" - "You won't win any freedom from sin now - you have muffed it, stuffed it and gone beyond the pale"

Well, I am writing this to all of you who have felt exactly the same way as I have - those of you, who like me never seem to be able to walk in a straight line - always deviating either to the right or to the left - putting a brand new "I wouldn't do anything wrong" face yet crucifying yourself because of your own stupid waywardness.

You know God knows all about us - our wantonness, our sinfulness, our stupidity and a straight out waywardness. So let's, you and me, not throw in the towel just yet. Let's not quit because you know it's just NOT over!! - Not yet - Not until God says it is.

It may appear to the likes of you and me that all hope is gone we have completely and utterly hit the limit of God's patience with us - we have gone to that place where we just know we shouldn't have gone again and again and again and each time we come crawling back and asking for forgiveness, repenting only to fall again.

These voices inside our heads telling us to give it all up and just go on your way - drag your heavy heart out the door - you are beaten, defeated so just accept it and go.

We have to keep on fighting out of our dark places into God's amazing light where there is His hope - His life - His truth - His grace and His eternal faithfulness.

He will never let us go - His promise not mine (John 10:28) so even if you think "my time has come" please don't despair and PLEASE never give up. God has us covered no matter how we are feeling. It's more than time to forget your past and claim the future that God has in store for us. Jesus died that we might have this eternal life with Him - Our past is dead and buried with Him and we have risen to a new life once we have come to Him and repented of our sins and asked forgiveness.

So whatever is bangin' on your door, lust, jealousy, self pity, victimisation, worry, bullying, deceit whatever it is if you know immediately when you have sinned and need to do something about it that's so great IF it leads you to repentance but feeling sorry for your sins can be bad if it doesn't help you to turn away from them. Being 'sorry' is so different from being 'repentant'.

Repentance is turning away from sin, trusting that God has forgiven us and reminding ourselves constantly that he has. In 2 Corinthians 7:10 we read:- "Godly sorrow brings REPENTANCE that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, BUT worldly sorrow brings death"

So what do we do with our on-going sins - those things that bring us to the point of believing that God just can't forgive us this time? We lay them and us at the foot of the cross - we let them and us be washed clean AGAIN by the blood of Jesus - he died so that we can live anew in Him.

We will go through hard times - it IS a part of life that no-one can avoid - and hard times in life are different for most people BUT the trick is please PLEASE don't let these times blind you and let them define your mind into thinking that is exactly who you are because Jesus death and your repentance and forgiveness have decreed otherwise.

My profile name on Face Book and Twitter is "Itsbygracealone" and when we have truly asked God to forgive us and come again to the cross, laying it at His feet then that amazing GRACE comes again rushing into us like a flood!

Remember that you ARE forgiven - you ARE a brand new person! We don't give into the lie that we are somehow disqualified from His presence - like demerit points on your drivers licence - 9 points and your lost for eternity! NO Way - no matter what we have done that's not who we are - Through Jesus Christ and the very GRACE and MERCY of God, He has promised to finish what He started in us to make us that brand new person he promised we would be.

Keep looking to Jesus, keep stepping out with Him, even if it's 'baby steps' keep following Him - praying that he will forgive your sins, but please don't 'wallow' in the past - they have gone, paid for and forgotten. But as you find yourself falling each day, keep asking God to renew you until you become more like Jesus.

Please take heart that it is not over yet and that there are a lot of Christians out there going through the very same situation as you and me - be encouraged in your walk with Jesus in helping you to say a big fat 'NO' to sin whatever that sin is. There IS hope to carry on - Our God IS able to do abundantly more than we ever thought possible.

Love this verse in Philippians 1:6

"Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you WILL carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

 In closing:- Remember YOU ARE FORGIVEN! and IT'S NOT OVER YET!

And as my tennis obsessive beautiful wife says:- "It's game, set,  match!"
You're forgiven and your sin is now in the past. Write 'game, set, match' over them and welcome that GRACE that comes in like a flood, washing us clean for a new day with Him.

Many blessings to you this week.

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