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.

https://itsbygracealone.blogspot.com/2017/09/andthe-cow-tripped-over-moon.html

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.

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