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Posted By Nan

Psalm 51:7
Today God asked me to write on being in a season of forgiveness.
My immediate thought was to ask God what I could write. What do I know about forgiveness. I struggle to forgive the fresh hurts that pile up every day, and some of the old ones too. As I continue to unravel the terrible things my mother did to me as a child, I feel fresh anger and unforgiveness at her. I struggle to truly forgive my siblings for what they have done. And then there are the fresh hurts, visited on me by people who have spread their nastiness into my life. What do I know about forgiveness?
In the stillness of waiting for the answer there is God’s response.
I know that He asks us to forgive.
I know that forgiving others is not for them, it is for me.
I know that unforgiveness mars my life and keeps me from living in the peace God wants me to live in.
I know that I have a choice. I have a choice to release my investment in staying hurt and angry with those who have wronged me. I have a choice to continuously release that investment in staying hurt and angry.
I know that when I continue to make that choice, I open myself to God’s healing. I know that in time the hurt and anger behind the unforgiveness dissipates.
I realise the struggle to forgive my mother is not the struggle I thought it was. It is just that, with every fresh revelation I have to go back to the start and forgive that as well as all the other things I have had to forgive.
So now I know that forgiving someone may involve forgiving them for every fresh thing they do. That sometimes forgiveness is a progression of acts of forgiveness of acts of hurts.
I now know that instead of beating myself up because I can’t seem to forgive, I honour the forgiveness I have already given and gratefully seek new instances of forgiveness.
I am aware of the fact that much forgiveness is tied up with shame. More particularly shame placed on us in the past. Here is a gift of God. Jesus’ blood washed away all our shame and guilt. Humans like to place shame on us, God has no interest in that.
So let us never forget that on this earth we will never be perfect.
Let us remember that Jesus washes away our sin and shame and washes us whiter than the snow. He does this continuously.
And He welcomes our efforts to forgive and does not judge us harshly when we struggle. He sees better than us how hard we try.

 

It's Your blood that cleanses me
It's Your blood that gives me life
It's Your blood that took my place
In redeeming sacrifice
Washes me whiter than the snow, than the snow
My Jesus, God's precious sacrifice
(Michael Christ)
 

 
Posted By Nan
Today is a wet day. That may not seem remarkable to you if you live in an area where rain is commonplace, but this year our wet season never came. Today’s rain we can thank Cyclone Trevor for. And we can praise God that He has sent Trevor’s rain west to the farms and communities struggling with drought.
As I praised God, the hymn “We plough the fields and scatter” often known these days as “All Good Gifts” (thank you Godspell), came to mind. We do what we can to plant seed. In this modern age it can even be artificially fed and sometimes watered. But even irrigators cannot water when the rivers run dry.
Today, we can thank God that He has sent rain to much of Western Queensland and some of North Western New South Wales. And what better blog to write than about God’s provision of rain.
The original hymn was written as a poem by Matthias Claudius in 18th century Germany. In the early 19th century it was translated into English by Jane Montgomery Campbell and taught to the children in her Sunday School Class. From there it has become a hymn associated with harvest and thanksgiving.
The poem was based on Psalm 144, in particular, verses 12 to 14. The whole Psalm is beautiful to read. I actually love the first 3 verses and have never thought about these latter verses. But they are a treat to read.
Reading from verse 11 David asks God to deliver and rescue him from the hands of lying foreigners with deceitful hands. He asks for the rescue so that our children will grow up like well watered, sturdy plants. May our harvest be plentiful and fill our barns. May our animals grow and increase in numbers. May we live in peace, free from oppression. David ends by proclaiming that the people who live like that are blessed and their god is God.
It ties in well with verse 3’s question of why God cares for us so much when our lives on earth are so fleeting. I love the way the Message asks the question. “I wonder why you care, God – why do you bother with us at all?” We are troublesome, ungrateful, demanding, frequently walking away and yet God cares for us. He cares enough for us that He waters our crops, sends warmth to ripen the grain ready for harvest, and provides for our needs.
 (verse 3)
“…
Accept the gifts we offer
For all They love imparts,
And, What Thou most desirest,
Our humble, thankful hearts.”
“All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord,
For all His love.”
Amen to that.
 
Posted By Nan

Psalm 55:22
I am sure you have had a time or times in your life when a person/people you once thought were friends turn against you. There are rumours, lies and slander being spread around. You don’t know how long these lies have been spread about you and you don’t know who you can trust. Pretty dispiriting. I have found that when I seek to live my life according to God’s direction, this happens. It is happening now. I have peace with the events that have occurred, but I cannot erase that sick, soiled feeling of the nastiness. I leaves me feeling dirty.
My last blog series finished a short while ago and I have been waiting for God’s direction to start a new series. But instead, God has been giving me things to write about only when I sit down to write. I am going through a difficult time in one not very important area of my life. On a committee with a narcissist who turns her venom on the people who no longer play her game. Her behaviour has deteriorated to the extent that I will not go along with it so I am getting the venom. Some people know what she is like and are supporting me. Others don’t know and choose to believe her. And I am stuck in the middle not knowing who I can trust. It is insignificant, but it is still having an impact. I have been very hurt by the actions of others. And I haven’t forgotten the times in my past when terrible, damaging lies have been told about me.
That is why I spent a lot of time this week in prayer with God and am at peace with events. I guess the last of the negative energy about this is the dirty feeling I have been left with. Peace away from this woman and her negativity would be nice, but hard to find at the moment.
David was feeling like this when he wrote Psalm 55. His own son was stirring up discord about him. He didn’t know where to turn and who to trust. He wanted somewhere quiet to retreat to, where he didn’t have to remember the negativity. But there was nowhere he could go.
David took the only action he knew would bring him the respite he needed. He cast his cares on God. Knowing that God would sustain him and not let him fall because of his righteousness in God. David spoke these words knowing that God heard him. He placed his trust in God and waiting for the respite he sought.
When the event I needed to find peace with occurred, I felt invisible and unheard. That is the impact of nastiness. It leaves us feeling that way. But David is telling us in verses 22 to 23 that God hears us. God sees us. God cares about us. God will answer our prayers.
That is the peace He gave me, but as I write this I realise it is also how he removes that dirty feeling the negativity tried to leave behind.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall. … But as for me, I trust in You.” V22-23 NIV
 

 
Posted By Nan

When you need to hide in the shadow of His wings.
(Psalm 17:8)
“You still the hunger of those you cherish; … and I in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.” (v14b,15).
1 Kings 19:3-18
“… the journey is too much for you.” v7b.
v11-13. God displays His might.
We all have these days. Days when we feel invisible and worthless. When others ignore our attempts to communicate and act as though we either are not there or are of no value. It is worse if, like me, you had a childhood where you were invisible and worthless. Where there was no love or compassion. I always think of those days as “hiding in the shadow of His wings” days. Those are the days when all I can do is sit under His protection. On those days I turn to Psalm 17 and 1 Kings 19:3-18. Those are the days where I can remind myself that I can hide in the shadow of His wings. That Jesus will still the hunger of those He loves. That the righteousness He has given to me freely will allow me to see God and know how much I am loved. Not by worldly, corrupt men, but by God.
On these days I can also think of Elijah, for whom the journey became too much. God did not chastise him. Instead He sent His angel to offer Elijah food and speak kind words to him. Then God allowed Elijah into His presence so that He might experience God’s mighty power. So that He could experience how much greater than life’s events God really is. So that He could draw comfort from God’s love, and power and greatness.
We can know that comfort too. God loves us all. He knows there are days when the journey is too much. On those days, when we turn to Him, He will send us sustenance and kind words. And at some stage on those days we will experience how great God is and how much He loves us.
 

 
Posted By Nan

Psalm 42:1-2, 11.


In my travels through life I have noticed the song based on the first two verses of this psalm “As the deer panteth for the water” to be very popular. And it is easy to see why. The words bring such joy and comfort. It is the desire of Jesus’ followers to long for Him, to thirst for Him.


In my readings through the Psalms I have arrived at Psalm 42. It is my habit to read a Psalm until I reach words that strike a chord in my soul. Then I will stop and meditate on those words, re-reading them until I am ready to move on. So I stopped at these two verses. I love to sit in the peace of God’s love and hunger and thirst for Him.
But there are many other verses in this Psalm that need time to meditate on them. On that particularly strikes me is verse 5, which is repeated in verse 11:


“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God.” NIV.


That is how I have felt over the past few days. You may recall in my last blog I referred to things that kept me awake at night worrying about. I tried not to worry. I handed them to God and determined to trust Him, but I still worried. I worried that His answer would be no and I started making contingency plans for if that happened. But it didn’t. At exactly the right time God said “Yes”. While I danced around the house praising Him and sharing my joy and praise with my family, I was drawn to this Psalm, my current reading and was delighted that is coincided with God’s wonderful provision.


This is what comes after waiting in the darkness.


I have placed down below the words of the song, because they are so beautiful to read. I don’t know who actually wrote this song so have been unable to credit the writer, and I apologise for that.


“As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship Thee
Chorus:
You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship Thee
You're my friend
And You are my brother
Even though You are a King
I love You more than any other
So much more than anything
Chorus
I want You more than gold or silver
Only You can satisfy
You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye
Chorus.”


You are my God and I praise you with joy in my heart and thirst in my soul.
 

 


 
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Nan
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