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Posted By Nan

19:1-3
I am sorry I did not post my usual blog on Wednesday. My work week has become overfull with busyness and I was not able to sit down and focus on writing a blog. I realise I cannot do justice to this blog on Wednesday so I will only be posting a Saturday blog until my time can free up. I am sorry if this inconvenienced you.

Do you have times when you rush ahead without thinking? Sure of what you need to do? Only to do the wrong thing that leaves you mortified? Aware of what a fool you have been? Kicking yourself for not taking the time to think things through before you acted?
Do you sometimes rush in because of your enthusiasm? Not stopping to establish the facts? In your haste getting it wrong?
I certainly do. Fortunately less often than in the past. This is what I love about these verses. That simple truth. Nothing else in life is more important than being blameless. It is better to be blameless and have nothing else. Be poor. Than have all the wonderful things in life and do foolish things. It is better. But that doesn’t stop the foolish things being done.
And when you do foolish things, do you accept the blame? Or do you get angry with God? Angry that He didn’t stop you or allowed you to get into this situation?
I am grateful that over the years God has taught me to accept responsibility for my actions. That I don’t blame God. But there is more learning. I am very keen to blame me. And to not let go of that.
The path to wisdom is long and difficult. Along that path you need to learn to accept responsibility for your actions. Yes, when you do something foolish it often feels uncomfortable. And it is not nice sitting in that uncomfortable place of knowing you have done something that is possibly against your values. And the temptation to continue to chastise yourself, even after God has forgiven you, is a hard one to resist.
I totally understand. I have been there. But this I know. God forgives me. He takes the foolishness and buries it where it can no longer be found. I need to forgive myself. To accept that no, I am definitely not perfect. And that is okay. To lean on God to comfort me when I am feeling sad at not being perfect. At letting myself down by being an imperfect human. To trust in God’s plans for my future, including the foolish, imperfect moments. To trust God accepts imperfect me.
God wants all of us to acknowledge our foolishness. Our sin. He wants us to accept responsibility for our actions and not blame Him. And He wants us to let go of the self blame and trust in His forgiveness.
That is the wisdom of the blameless man.
 

 
Posted By Nan

18:16-24
The world we live in is not perfect. That perfect world was destroyed when Adam and Eve chose to disobey God. Now we live in a world that is corrupt, where people do not have pure motives and justice is often denied. In this corrupt world people often gain attention by buying favours. But is it worth it?
When hearing a dispute between two people, you hear the first person. He presents his case so eloquently and you believe it, until the second person presents his case! Then you realise there are always two sides to an argument and there is frequently right on both sides. So be careful how you judge. But how do you know who to believe? Frequently both are believable. From each person’s perspective their argument is right. And maybe that is how you must leave it. There are times when one person has evil intent and their silver tongued half-truths take a lot of discerning. That is one which requires a lot of prayer. In Biblical times people cast lots, believing that God would direct the lot to fall to the one He wanted it to fall to. Of course that doesn’t mean that person was the right one, just that each man has his journey. And sometimes a journey leads down a path where justice is delayed.
Beware in relating to another person to be careful in your speech. To allow the other person time to talk and to be respectful. Don’t set out to antagonise another person. So often a person is more intent on not listening and getting her own way than listening to the other person. When you fail to listen. When you offend another person. Then that person is hurt and angry and definitely not interested in cooperating with you. Better to avoid offense, but if you have been unwise and caused offense then address it. Allow the other person to speak. Don’t be afraid of their words. They have a right to say them and they have a right to be heard and to have your wrongdoing acknowledged by you. Apologise where it is appropriate. You do not become less of a person for apologising. Instead you become more of a person. Allow the other person time to heal. Maybe in time you will get what you wanted from them, or maybe you will never get that. Whatever happens remember, your actions and words have consequences and you must accept them and learn from them.
Of all the actions, words have the most far reaching consequences that must be accepted. Remember words can harm and heal and once unleashed the damage can never be undone. Words can harm and heal. When words harm there can be mending, but never complete healing.
Watch your relationships. Seek to be on good terms with other people. Seek a healthy relationship with your spouse and seek to be loyal to your friends.
Remember the folly of pleasing people. You may come to a place of difficulty and plead for mercy and be met with harshness from the powerful you sacrificed integrity to please. And all those people you set out to surround yourself with. They will either lead you astray or desert you when you need help. True friends never expect you to sacrifice integrity. They are friends who will stick by you just as a loyal spouse will also.
Be careful in how you relate to others. Not everyone will be a close friend. Honour your close friends and be respectful to all people. Do not sacrifice who you are, what you believe in, to make friends. A true friend will never expect that. Say no to peer group pressure. Be yourself. Honour God and He will be with you always.
 

 
Posted By Nan

18:1-15
When I read these verses John 18:4 came to mind – who are you seeking?
First we read about the person who isolates themselves. Many people, because of trauma in their past, isolate themselves when things get hard because they have learned that people cannot be trusted to help. Sadly for many people, that is what life is. But God made us for social connection. That is why he created Adam and Eve and said it was not good for Adam to be alone. A Neuroscientist will tell you our brains are hard wired for connection. God created us to be together and He intends us to seek help from each other. So if that is God’s intention then it is no surprise that satan loves to sabotage that. So people learn they cannot go to others for help and are denied the very help God intended them to receive. And sadly many people will not help someone who comes to them for help, and that includes churchgoers. But isolation lends itself to depression. Sometimes you need to ask God for help in finding someone who will listen, someone to turn to. Sometimes you have to make a herculean effort to put yourself in the dangerous position of asking for help. My prayer is that you will receive that help.
We read about the fool who doesn’t seek to understand others. That requires openness and a willingness to listen. The fool is only interested in his own opinion and in other people hearing it. But this unwillingness to listen makes the fool look foolish to others.
We can speak words that appear measured and calm and they are like deep water, but the writer of Proverbs refers to wise words as a rushing stream. This brings to mind the image of abundance, energy and life overflowing. In contrast the fool’s words lead him into trouble. He lacks the wisdom to know when to speak and when to be quiet. When to stand his ground and when to retreat.
It is not good to favour the wicked and deprive the innocent of justice. Sadly, this world does little to ensure justice for the innocent. In like manner we must avoid the wicked, not only because they can lead us astray but because of the words they speak. I have spoken often of the dangers of the gossip (or as one translation put it ‘whisperer’). The gossip sidles close with an air of bestowing the gift of a confidence. It makes you feel special. Her words are like choice morsels, delicious, moreish. They slip into your mind where you cannot get them out. Those words are malicious, intent on destroying the person they speak of. And we are fools if we allow ourselves to hear it. The whisperer is subtle. He may come with an air of deep concern about this other person, and you so want to fit in, to appear caring too. Before you know it you are caught up in lies about someone who may be a friend. And the relationship is ruined. You can never forget the malicious lie once you hear it.
God’s name is like a fortified tower that we can seek refuge in. It is our safety, our haven. Sadly, the rich person sees his money as a fortified city. He is convinced it is impregnable. Be careful who you serve.
We all know the saying pride comes before a fall but we rarely hear its flip side that humility comes before honour. Be careful in your attitude, to not be arrogant. To seek to acknowledge what you are good at and what others are good at. To seek to see yourself where you are worthy but also where you have much to learn. If you approach life humbly then you will know honour. So much of life is about our attitude. Our intention. Our awareness. If you live life believing in the importance of hearing others. Understanding them. Then you will hear those things you seek. If you seek to hear wisdom, then you will hear it. What you pay attention to is what you will seek out and notice. So guard your attitude. May it be one of love, respect for others and a desire to live in the fortified tower that is God.
 

 
Posted By Nan

17:7-28
Sometimes I get so tired of this earth. And I think about how wonderful it will be to be in Heaven where there is love, harmony, justice, cooperation and love. Where fools are not arrogant and leaders don’t lie. Where those who cheat and pay bribes don’t exist and there is certainly no reward for such behaviour, as happens on earth. Instead people seek to love, not offend. To learn. To live harmoniously.
Then I remember these verses that speak of the dishonesty of this world. That remind me to be careful to be wise. To avoid fools because they are worse than a bear whose cubs have been stolen. That teach me that responding with evil will condemn me to be trapped in evil patterns of behaviour. That acknowledges that people still use evil ways and prosper, but it is still better to be wise and avoid pride and deceit. It helps to seek wisdom, and show restraint with my words. After all, even a fool who keeps his mouth shut is considered wise.
And I know that although this world is not the perfection of Heaven, we still have Jesus and we are loved. Even in this fallen world we can still know the Joy of life with God as we wait for the fullness of life with God in Heaven.
 

 
Posted By Nan

17:6
One of the greatest blessings a person can have is children. In Biblical times to live to see your children’s children was an even greater blessings. One of the greatest blessings a child can have is wise parents. One of the saddest aspects of our fallen world is the destruction of the chain of descendants. And satan loves nothing more than to destroy a blessing also.
Families break up and the gnereations are separated. Family dysfunction leads to traumatised children and genetic changes that affect generations of descendants. A grandparent sexually a grandchild, a parent the children. A warring parent denies a child access to its other parent. A parent’s new partner abuses a child. A parent visits rage on the children physically, verbally…
Sadly dysfunction in families is more common than we like to admit and many are complicit in covering the abuse up. And this includes many in churches.
It is hard to believe in God when many fellow believers tell you it is wrong to cut off contact with your toxic family of origin. After all, it can’t be that bad. What would they know. But remember, they do not represent God. God is not angry at you. Many people seek God when making this decision and He tells them to go. God does not approve of the toxicity and He doesn’t approve of the cover ups. He doesn’t approve of those who pressure His precious children to put themselves in situations that harm them. God doesn’t tell all people to separate from their family of origin. But He does tell some to do so. And whatever He tell you, He is not happy at the bad treatment and He is with you, supporting, loving, approving and delighting in you.
It is a great blessing to have children and grandchildren. And it is a great blessing to have wise parents. But not all people receive that blessing. God has many blessings for people, and the one who does not have the blessing of wise parents or descendants need not feel they have missed out. God has other blessings in mind for you.
 

 


 
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Nan
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