Sunday, 11 February 2018

Wanna settle that score?

Oh Man! - How many times throughout my life and I'm guessing yours as well have we sought or longed for revenge - we need to desperately settle that score that's been hanging over our heads for so long.

Thing is when we take revenge it is 99.9% with impure motives - God has told us countless times in the Bible that it is His job to take revenge not ours!

We know deep in our hearts that awful feeling when we feel so defeated - we are bruised we are beaten and honestly it's like a constant battle - we are up against this never-ending feeling of anger mixed with self-pity and a desperate need to get back at whatever or whoever have hurt us so badly.

When we are feeling like this it is so so tempting to to try to take the role of God and heap vengeance on the heads of the hurtful ones - I guess that's why God gave us this command in Leviticus somewhere that we should not seek revenge against those who hurt us and we shouldn't even bear a grudge - instead we should love our enemies and pray for those who treat us badly PHEW!!

Non-retaliation even non-violence is discussed in the Bible- I found Matthew 5: 38-42 where Jesus points out as plainly as the nose on your face that vengeance is wrong and as far as seeking to 'settle that score" well enough said - in fact Jesus says that if we are the victims of malicious or violent attacks we should go to the opposite extreme.

Of course that doesn't mean that we should stand idly by and let someone beat-up on our family or not try to protect or property or our country but what Jesus is saying here, is that there is no place for wrath in our dealing with everyday people even those who we feel need to have our vengeance extracted upon them.

I have struggled so hard with this over the years and as I have got older, more and more have I come to realise that even in our thoughts we can play the vengeance game - you know, thinking of all the things we could say or do to 'that' person. In lots of ways I call this self-vengeance where I get a sort of satisfaction for a few seconds from reliving and thinking about what I would say or do. Believe me it doesn't work!

Being and thinking like this only re-enforces and implants those negative and damaging thoughts firmer in our brains where we get to the stage where we can think of little else.

Self-vengeance like this really has no place in a Christian's life at all. If we are truly committed to God then we need to trust Him that He will deal with any retaliation that needs to take place - and we have to rest assured that that retaliation will be done fairly and justly not at all like we would have carried it out had we had our way.

We need to knock those feeling of retaliation of the head firmly when they appear in our lives. Saying that I realise that that is not such an easy thing to think about let alone do.

When someone has really hurt us our very inner being cries out for justice. This is brought home to us time and time again when we see that person seemingly 'getting away with it'.  It hurts us it really does. So what do we have to do - how do we overcome these wretched feelings that can override our thoughts day and night?

We HAVE to rely on God - we just can't become vengeful people - it says in Ephesians 4:32 that we have to forgive in the very same manner that Christ forgives us - I know and realise that it is such a hard thing to do and the only real way of dojng it is to give it over to God.

Truly evil people will pay in the end that's for sure. BUT the thing is, we should be trying desperately not to condone our consciences with that fact - NO! not at all. Actually the opposite is what we should we doing.

The people who have hurt us may feel like they have skirted around God and have won a battle BUT the war isn't over yet not by a long chalk. They may be feeling very satisfied with what they have "achieved" and feeling like they are some sort of champion but we are the ones who are still in the war - we are the ones who are still not giving up - we are the ones who are still not giving in.

We should be trying so hard to win these people over to God. In that way, they will see how their actions and their words have hurt or even maimed. We need to pin our hopes on the only one who can save them - Our Lord and Saviour. We need to pray that they will turn to Christ, repent and be saved. Only He can change them - we certainly can't.

We are in a battle here on earth. Satan and his hoards are out to get us at every turn - and yes! we mess up time and time again BUT we are over-comers not by what we have done or achieved but by what Jesus did  all those years ago.

So lets not waste our time and our lives banging our heads up against a brick wall here and certainly not let our hearts get so heavy that we lose the fight and give in to these feelings of vengeance and retaliation.

Jesus has won the battle - let's concentrate on changing these people so that they can see their mistakes and come over to the winning side. At the same time let's make sure that we are right with God as well - confess to Him our feelings of revenge and retaliation and turn over a new page and restart winning this battle.













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Friday, 2 February 2018

just the tip of the iceberg

The sinking of the RMS Titanic happened on the night of the 14th April 1912 when it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic, The huge ship listed until it finally sank in the early hours of the 15th April claiming the lives of 1500 people making it the biggest peace time maritime disasters at that time.

The Titanic was labelled unsinkable at the time of  it's construction and launch with, as everybody thought, every conceivable safety precaution in place. But they didn't reckon on the iceberg.

Most icebergs in that area usually calved off  fjord lands in Greenland and from calving to melting usually is around two to three years. All that taken into account and where the ship was it is likely that the iceberg that sunk the Titanic was calved off around 1910 to 1911 and became just a final little splash of fresh water in the huge Atlantic Ocean by 1912 at most.

There are a few pictures of the iceberg in question if you care to search google - and the red paint of the Titanic clearly visible.

I must say that I have been an avid fan of the Titanic and also the Olympic and the Britannic her sister ships. All had a huge and very interesting history. So I was very surprised when they finally located the Titanic which lies about 600 Kilometres south off the coast of Greenland in about 3,800 metres of icy cold water.

It's amazing isn't it that there was the iceberg carving in 1910/1911, the noise of which must have been horrendous like all huge icebergs are when the calve, and there was the Titanic in slips of the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast Ireland - what a destiny awaited them both.

The people boarding the Titanic on the fateful voyage had no idea what awaited them - that out there in the dark Atlantic 1000's of miles away that iceberg was already on her collision course that would actually change the face of history.

Reading afresh about the Titanic got me thinking just how many times I have been on a collision  course with what the world calls FATE? I'm not a big fan of FATE and DESTINY but in lots of ways that is the direction the world of today is heading.

They are rudderless and Captainless in huge, dark and icy oceans - drifting along and often lurching from one crisis to anther - a situation in which we would all agree. I doubt any country is free from crises and foreboding and at the whim of seemingly and often confused governments and politicians.

My own personal icebergs surrounded me ceaselessly often crashing into my flimsy little barque over and over again causing mountainous seas and great caverns of seemingly never-ending valleys of deep dark icy water then only to be thrown and crashed once more by another huge monster wave I didn't see coming.

I was rudderless and had no hope struggling to keep my head above water and hopelessly bailing for my life. - then JESUS....

It was when I was about to sink and become another victim of the oceans ravages when out of my darkness came this amazing and incredible light - the very fact that Jesus found me was miracle enough let alone doing what he did to save me!!

I was so buried in sin I had no idea that my life could be changed so dramatically. I was definitely on a collision course with my own personal iceberg. It would have shown the red mark of a collision just as the Titanic's ice berg had all those years ago and I like the Titanic would have sunk to the bottom of the sea.

I figured my past was beyond saving! I was carrying this incredible burden of  sin and guilt.

Things had happened in my past that in my own opinion was unforgivable, totally wrong and deserved an excruciating death and punishment. No one, I thought, could possible forgive such a wastrel as I,  but how wrong was that thinking!

I had been to church for years, concealing a lot of my past, burying it along with my own self confidence and abilities - I had listened to the good news of Jesus and thought that it was great for someone else but not for me.

The Jesus came - He showed me that even the VERY worst of sinners can be forgiven - THE VERY WORST!!

I gave Him my everything - I held nothing back - he grabbed me as I was slipping over the edge and hauled me back to Him.

I realise that absolutely YES and Hallelujah!!! another big YES!!! THE most VILE and disgusting sinner can come to Jesus and he will wash you clean.

You can be forgiven and your life can be dramatically turned around regardless of WHAT you have done or where you have been or even who you have been with!

The most consistent and corrupt person can come to Jesus and find at Calvary, the place where Jesus shed His blood as a sacrifice for sin, the very place where your sins can be covered over never to seen again and forgotten (how about that) by God the Father.

So when we finally come to God, we don't come on our own holiness and goodness but we come in the very holiness and goodness and righteousness of Jesus Himself.

I praise God for that day in 2010, the Monday after Father's day would you believe, that the very light of God's amazing grace finally got through to this brain and heart of mine and changed me for good and for eternity.

The very worst of sinners, me included, can be saved by the all-sufficiency of Jesus. His sinless life encompassed mine and I will never be the same again. HALLELUJAH

So where are you on your collision course with your personal iceberg? I now know that mine has been melted by the very love of Jesus and the extraordinary grace of God.

My personal ocean although pretty rough at times can be negotiated every single time with the right hand of God with Jesus at the tiller. Sure things can go pear-shaped so easily and yes! I have lost it a lot since 2010 BUT HEY!! God is still the Captain and I hang on tight to Jesus through the roughest seas and He definitely sees me though.

Happy sailing to you but make sure you hand the tiller over to Jesus.













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