For When You Are Feeling ‘Off’

I am feeling a little off today. The words of this Psalm then are the necessary uncomfortable reminder that is sometimes needed.

Am I making too much out of nothing?
Am I so focused on myself that I am forgetting to focus on the one who made me?
Am I forgetful of the friendship of God?
Am I allowing troubles to become enlarged in my heart?

Am I truly trusting God in everything?

I can reason one way or another but I don’t think that’s the point. It’s too petty and too selfish. I think I’m made to be bigger and better than that. One thing I do know is that I don’t know so much. Both I and others are often wrong, isn’t it how we respond in those times that matters most.

In You I trust Lord, don’t let me be put to shame [v2]

Maybe that right there is my fear, above all others. Never really thought of myself as insecure person, yet this might just be it. I don’t want to be put to shame. To be misunderstood. To be thought wrong of.

I trust God, despite myself. Perhaps I get in my own way when it comes to complete trust, no one else can, unless I afford them that opportunity. After all, if I am shamed, God has me.

In the midst of this strange feeling I look to the Lord. It is always the best place to go. When I am stuck and confused on how to find release or when the melancholy grows and the puzzle only becomes larger, I am earnest in my seeking Him, leaning on Him, and remembering my life verse in Matthew 6:33 ’Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’ 

So hear is my prayer, maybe a little like David wrote…

Don’t let me be put to shame. Instead Lord, make me know Your ways. Teach me Your ways. Lead me in Your ways. Forgive me. Help me stay humble. Preserve me.

My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sinsOh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. [Psalm 25:15-18, 20]

What Has My Attention?

How easy it can be to focus on the wrong things. Stuff catches our attention and then before we know, it has a hold on us.

Those recurring thoughts don’t have to be very big to feel big.

The small situations in life can easily become massive obstacles that seem insurmountable.

A little word can become large in the imagination if given room to grow.

The challenge for us all is to ensure we give focus to the good in our lives. I know and understand like the rest of us how difficult this can be when we are in tough times, have issues to work out, are feeling lonely, hurt or confused.

All I can do is encourage you that even though all these things may be happening, we should be doing our utmost in the midst of them to keep looking up, to keep looking to the Lord and to hone in on the best of all that God is doing in our life right now.

I know it can be easier said that done but here’s the reminder that sometimes we need ~ don’t give the devil any room, to tell you that things will never improve, that this is as good as it gets, that God isn’t really interested in you and your future. Remember he is the father of lies and that all he is about is wanting to deceive us.

This scripture comes to mind… ‘Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things’.  (‭Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭8‬ ESV)

What has your attention? Let it be these things. It can take some effort, some digging on part when the other stuff is easier to see but God is always at work. The rewards of what may need to be a very deliberate choice will bring its reward. Peace. Harmony. God on your side. A place to flourish

What you have learned and received and heard and seen…practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9 ESV)

Keep Doing the Right Things

Keep praising
Keep sowing
Keep serving
Keep giving
Keep loving
Keep walking in faith
Keep the Word of God in front of you
Keep doing what you know is right do to maintain your walk with God despite what the circumstances may be screaming at you to do.

Abraham obeyed God even when what he was asked to do seemed crazy.

Isaac sowed in a time of famine and dug wells when it hadn’t been raining for sometime & continued having struggles with others through that time.

Jacob kept working hard even though his boss kept changing the rules.

Job maintained his integrity .
David kept his heart right with God when confronted over sin.
The prophets spoke the Word of God despite untold opposition.
The disciples trusted the words Jesus spoke even though it brought persecution and difficulty.

The Bible and history is full of individuals who made a decision to just keep walking with God, to stick to those things they knew were right and to trust God for the rest.

I don’t know where you are on this journey but take courage.

Seek first the kingdom of God and right standing with Him, and all the things you have need of will be added to you [Matt 6:33]

This is my journey too. It’s an every day choice. The moment I think I know what’s best for me is the moment I begin to disconnect from the best that God has for me. I have learned the hard way, it’s very subtle. It can look good and even bring reward but still might not be God’s best for me.

I determine to choose every day to live by His incredible word and the promises contained within it. Some days I do great, other days I struggle but I’m not turning back or giving up on my God. He knows what is best for me. He knows what I can handle. The least I can do is keep myself in the best position and keep doing what is right for me to do.

How about you? How do you do at keeping on doing the right things?

Desperate For God

Yesterday we had no water. There was a broken pipe in the locality which meant when we woke up there was nothing coming out of the taps.

It’s amazing how you take something like water forgranted. It’s easy it is to forget how incredible it is that water is pumped into our houses everyday, something we need to remain thankful for. It’s part of being a civilian of the westernised world. It is still something many others don’t enjoy the privilege of without greater inconvenience.

My girls were horrified that they would have to go to school still. After all, they hadn’t had a shower. We hadn’t had an opportunity to get refreshed and ready for the day. With the last water from the pipe we filled a sink and we splashed our faces, cleaned our teeth. The house was full of the haze of body spray for some time.

Later in the day, I had a thought. Maybe it was God, but it was definitely a gentle nudge…
Don’t take me forgranted.
Would you notice if I’m not there in the same way you did when there was no water?
Be as desperate for me in your life as you were about having water.

The beauty with God…there is no broken pipes. His love, mercy & grace are new every morning. His forgiveness of sins knows no bounds and I for one am thankful for that. Maybe we put stops in the pipe. Maybe we put other supposedly more important things in the way of God moving in our life.

My prayer…Lord, never let me take you forgranted. Let me acknowledge your greatness ALL the time. Help me to be aware of your presence in ALL situations. Please show me what I’m putting in the way. Change me if you need to God because I NEED to be as close to YOU as I can be. Life without you would be like LIFE without water. Amen

Time to Switch Off?

I’m looking forward to my holiday very soon. Time to be with my family, to go to the beach, to refresh my soul, to read some books. It’s an important thing, taking a break.

But here’s the challenge. I need to switch off BUT not switch off.
It’s okay to turn the laptop off.
It’s expected that I will not respond to emails.
I may not even twitter.

So…one thing I will not switch off from is God. Lots of people do. Holiday mode kicks in so all the spiritual disciplines get switched off. DANGEROUS. Just because I’m holiday doesn’t mean I shouldn’t hang out with God too – in fact I might get more time. Plus it’s not NEED driven I can be with God…just because I can.

I’m so thankful that God doesn’t switch off for me.
That he doesn’t go on vacation but that He is ALWAYS there.
I will enjoy my time away, I will come back refreshed but I hope I keep that sense of God being with me.

I think this is more of a reminder to myself but please don’t switch off from God just because it’s holiday time.

Tipping in to the things of God

I am challenged.
I have a deep desire to make sure I am always tipping in to the things of God.
I know I AM changed. When I became a Christian I was changed. I was dead in my sins. Then I was made alive to the things of God. All because of what Jesus did for me.

The BIG THOUGHT I had was this…my Spirit has changed, is alive to God but maybe the rest of me needs to catch up. I either keep in step with the Spirit or I drift the wrong way. It’s easy to drift!

I have an ‘obligation’ to live according to the Spirit. Not according to the flesh. Romans 8 tells me that. Sinful nature is death. The spirit is life. Jesus is worth that much. I am indebted to him for everything he has done for me…right?

So I keep tipping into the things of God…
…in my THINKING
…staying FILLED with the FULLNESS of God
…in my FOCUS

I don’t want to just labour at somethings that is important from an earthly perspective but misses the mark when it comes to eternity. Christianity is my calling. So I ‘ought to labour after & pray earnestly for clearer insight into & and a fuller acquaintance with the great objects of a Christians hope’

My personal challenge: to be honest enough to look at my life and answer the question – am I truly dwelling with Christ? Am I tipping into the things of God?

Reasons to Never Assume

Interference.

Interference messes with the signal.
STORMS, PEOPLE, THINGS – they can all have an effect on your signal with God. With your ability to hear from God. To recognise His voice.

All are legitimate.
All happen to everyone.
All are normal in doing life.

But here’s the thing. We don’t know what interference people are dealing with, so never assume that just because people look okay that everything is okay. Never assume that they are NOT at Church because they are on holiday…maybe there is some interference. Maybe a STORM is hitting them hard, maybe PEOPLE are pulling them in all kinds of directions, maybe THINGS are becoming a distraction for them and filling their life.

If we don’t learn to recognise the interference for what it is then we will get knocked off course. We will find ourselves somewhere and wonder how we got there. Interference undealt with can see an individual end up in a DEAD ZONE and eventually SWITCHED OFF to God completely. Mature Christians should have enough about them to cope with interference. To hold on to their faith. To stand on a strong foundation, using the Word, moving forward, staying close to God. Younger Christians may struggle.

So here’s the challenge:
Watch out for others. Make a call. Send a text. Notice that people are missing. Never assume that someone else will contact them…YOU DO IT!! Help people travel on the journey. This is the responsibility of those further on in the faith. You may not be leading many to the Lord but you can help those who have made that great decision to stay on course. Think of someone who you haven’t seen for a while in Church and give them a ring.

I think if we do this the stories of people’s lives made stronger in God will demonstrate the power of such a simple act of connection. I wonder what the knock on effect to the local church might be…share your experience here.

Pushing Through…[Day 31]

I think God hit me this morning with some reminders. If I’m honest I was allowing some frustrations to start to dominate my thinking, maybe even infect my heart. Thank God for the slap – I must keep my heart right!!

Put a worship song on and got down on my knees and repented!! Ouch. Emotions are a defining part of being a human and is one of those qualities that means I am not an animal but they do get in the way of living right for God at times. Nothing wrong with being frustrated. Its what it makes you do that matters. I had the potential to get angry, actually I had probably crossed over.

Thankful for Gods word that reminded me this morning…
Thankful that God knows what I have need of. That I should seek first His kingdom and righteousness, then all these things will be added to me.
Thankful that He who has begun a good work in me will bring it to completion.
Thankful that my help comes from the Lord, that He will not let my foot slip, that he never slumbers, that he watches over my life, over my coming and going.

I am so thankful that if I confess my sins – He is faithful and just to forgive me of those sins.

To repent is not easy.
To repent is a must.
To repent keeps me right with God and therefore makes sure I don’t end up saying or doing something I might regret. (Realise that sounds really dramatic. I was just a bit out of whack this morning and God brought me back into line)

I am pushing through.
I am keeping on going.
I am keeping on believing.
I am standing in faith.
I am not letting the flesh rule me but being led by the spirit.

Hope that’s not too honest for you. Just where I am at. I may be a Pastor but I still feel things the way everyone else does. Any comment?