Blessed

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:1 [ESV]

Blessed. 

It’s not really an every day word but don’t allow that to reduce its significance. 

We are blessed. 

We have a God who forgives. We have a God who covers our sin. We have a God who does not keep count of how many times we have messed up. 

We are blessed to be able to confess. 

If we hold onto our sin, our hurt, or our pain, we bring heaviness, weariness and groaning into our world. Yet when we bring them all to God and ask Him to deal with them we are released, we are made free. 

We are blessed with a safe place. 

If we enter in and do not remain stubborn, the place where God dwells can be our place of safety. We will be preserved and be delivered. 

Definitely something to be glad about. Don’t you think?

Acknowledge What God Has Done

And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.” [Genesis 21:6-7]

Ever used the phrase ‘Who would have thought?’ I know I have. You know, when something you are wanting to happen suddenly happens or something unexpectedly good happens and we are like, ‘Woah, who would have thought?’ It’s that questioning phrase indicating surprise and amazement. In other words, ‘I know that ‘thing’ has just happened but how did that ‘thing’ just happen?’

I like to imagine Sarah, son in her arms with a kind of bemused look on her face as if to say, ’Who would have thought? We’ve had a son, at our age. I’m literally holding a baby. This gobsmacking!! I mean I know these things happen but how has this just happened?’

As we walk with God, I think it’s alright for us experience some moments like these. I might go so far to say we actually need them. Moments where God truly astounds us. Moments where we are lost for words. Moments when our jaw hits the floor.

Why do we need them? They remind us about the character of God…

He loves us and loves to bless us.

God is God and we are not.

Nothing is impossible with God.

If God says it will come to pass, then we best be ready for Him to bring it to pass.

When such things happen,we must remember it is God who brought it about.

Joy and life come to us through such moments.

Think about your own walk with God. Take a minute to ponder, stand amazed even, at the hand of God moving in and through your life. What has God done for you? Is it healing, reconciliation, forgiveness, opportunity, favour, protection? Perhaps it’s simply the fact that through the work of Jesus you have been redeemed, set free and saved. All are moments of awe and wonder, any of which might have caused us to say ‘Who would have thought?’

A Place to Run

I have never known a time of war.
I have never known what it is like to feel threatened. Really threatened.

I have never been pursued by another which has put my life in danger.

I have only ever known safety.
I have only ever known comfort.

I have only ever know security.

I am very thankful for that.

Yet I am aware that it may mean that when I look at the world in which I live it can be easy to become hardened to problems, maybe even dismissive of the struggles and pain that others are experiencing. Comfort can make me immune to the discomfort others are feeling living with right now.

Everything is going well.
I don’t need a refuge.
I don’t need a safe place.
I don’t need protection.

At least not in the way that many across the globe would desire them.

Psalm 7 tells me that the Lord is my refuge. He saves. He delivers me. He protects me from my enemies. I may not be under fire from weapons or war but I can be under fire from situations and circumstances. Under fire from those around me. Perhaps under fire from myself, my own thinking, my own lack of wisdom. In those times I have a God who is there to help me, to shield me, to judge me, to keep me upright in heart, to protect my integrity, to not allow me to fall.

Lord, I am thankful that You have done this many times without me even realising. You have been my place to run to. You have been my safe place. You are all that I need when I need it. Therefore, just like the Psalmist wrote, ‘I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

Happy Christmas!!

Hope you are enjoying a fantastic Christmas with family and friends. Thanks for dropping by through the year and checking out my thoughts.

How ever you choose to celebrate your Christmas, just make sure that it’s not only about food, pressies and for many people, lots of alcohol.

Hit the pause button on all the other stuff that’s going on and remember to say thank you to Jesus. Don’t allow your Saviour to be pushed out on the day we choose to celebrate His birth.

My prayer for you in 2015 is that you may know His peace, His counsel, and His mighty hand on your life, that 2015 will truly be ‘your best year yet’.

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. [‭Isaiah‬ ‭9‬:‭6‬ NKJV]

One Turn In His Presence

It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, working the shift assigned to his regiment, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense. The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering. Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense. Zachariah was paralysed in fear. But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John. You’re going to leap like a gazelle for joy, and not only you – many will delight in his birth. [Luke 1:8-14]

This was ‘his one turn in life’ to enter into the presence of God. But what a turn it was. He could never have imagined it would be like this. Perhaps he just went to work that day hoping he would get it right, not drop anything, or make a fool of himself.

Yet this one moment changed his life forever. I reckon he changed from someone who was just going through the motions of life, disappointed about the lack of a child, to someone with a new spring in his step because of Gods word to him. It was like he was born again. Good news can do that to you.

One moment in Gods sanctuary is often all we need. Good news from God changes us. God speaks, we listen, then we do as God has said and our life is transformed forever.

I am thankful that this encounter begins the story which leads to the coming of Jesus and the access we now have to ‘turn everyday’ to God because of what He did for us.

Take a moment to thank God for sending Jesus and that through his birth He was working out the greatest plan of redemption the world has ever seen that means we can now enter into the presence of God every day. 

A Thankfulness Challenge

Why is saying ‘thank you’ so difficult. We all know what it feels like to receive gratitude from someone else, yet so often we struggle to give it.

How’s your thankfulness? I’ll be honest, mine is not always that great. I can hurry through life without pausing long enough to show some gratitude. Sorry.

2 things have challenged me on this over the last few days. Firstly, I watched the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games. Men and women from the Armed Forces of different nations, who are thankful to be alive. Thankful for an opportunity to compete. Stories of gratitude in the midst of incredible adversity I doubt I’ll ever experience.

Then I read the story of Jason Kralik and how thankfulness changed his life. He set himself the goal to say thank you for something every day. 365 thank you’s. It changed him. He began noticing things. He helps us understand that gratitude is a choice, a deliberate act on our part, it doesn’t occur by accident.

Sometimes I wonder if God will give us what we want when we can come across so unthankful for what He has already done and all that we already have.

How about taking up our own thankfulness challenge. Over the next 7 days, set an alarm of gratefulness, then send a message, post a status, make a call, say ‘thank you’ for someone and what they did for you that day or thank you for some thing that happened to you.

#thethankfulnesschallenge

Thankful for Gods Mercy

Ever taking time to think about what God has done for you. How amazing his love is. How much we don’t deserve it but still receive it. Ever thrown yourself at the feet of God when you know you have messed up.

Thankful that his mercies are new every morning and never run out.
Thankful that God is able to keep me clean.
Thankful that you never give up on me.
Thankful that my life does not escape your notice.

‘Generous in love – God, give grace. Huge in mercy – wipe out my bad record’. [Psalm 51:1]
‘Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life’. [Psalm 51:7]
‘I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.’

Thank you God for loving me.
Thank you God for loving me, despite my best attempts at time to test that love.
Thank you God for your unfailing love.
This is my prayer….everyday. How about you?

Thankfulness…Day 27

Today I have a smile on my face.

Took a while for it to get there.
Early wake up call, tired, restless night, swollen gland, headache because of it but God is good.

Just doing some household chores, praise & worship blasting, shouting out to God with a voice of triumph…makes all the difference. There is breakthrough in praise. Joshua brought the walls down when they shouted, Jehoshaphat sent the worshippers ahead in battle and the victory came. It doesn’t make ‘natural’ sense but why does that always surprise us…God is SUPERNATURAL. His ways are not like our ways.

Thank God today for something.
Give Him a shout of praise.
See the difference it makes to your outlook on the day.
I wonder what victory it might bring for you?