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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
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
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

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

Posted By Nan
Have you every felt so overwhelmed by the things people are throwing at you that you can’t even find space to sit with God and find His peace?
I have been going through a time like that this past week. Even my nights are invaded by echoes of the day that invade my prayer time and really frustrate me.
There has been a lot of grief about the abuse I suffered as a child. This has been brought up by discussions I had with a school friend who asked me if I was thinking of going to our school reunion. I replied that I had no wish to visit the past because of the abuse I suffered at home and the bullying at school. She replied by telling me something about her own abuse. I was sad for what she had been through and sad that the veil of secrecy our parents trapped us into prevented us from drawing comfort from each other as children. Then I rejoiced that God had given both of us wonderful husbands who have been the best men to allow us to heal.
Then there was being caught up in small community organisation politics. For some reason I am the impartial one everyone wants to dump their gripes on. I have been overwhelmed by communications from people that amount to little more than gossip. God recently warned me to avoid being caught up in gossip and here was the gossip He warned me about. I can’t totally ignore it because some of it involves inappropriate behaviour that I have a responsibility to address. The cost of me addressing it is screaming abuse down a telephone line. And nobody wants that.
So I am sitting here feeling battered and bruised and wondering why the morning I took off to sit in the trees and relax and focus on God feels like it never happened.
And I am wondering what God wants me to write about when I can barely hear His voice for all the clamour.
God’s answer has been to write about this.
We all have times like this. Times when the goings on of the world are exhausting and overwhelming and there seems to be no way to get off the roller coaster.
As I wrote this, God whispered in my ear to turn to my favourite Psalm – Psalm 130. So I read it. As I read, God’s peace washed over me, cool and refreshing (we are in the middle of an autumn heatwave so that is very apt). And I am drawn back to the theme I have been writing on for the past few months about waiting for God. Waiting in the darkness.
I have placed Psalm 130 below. I ask you to read it and particularly pay attention to verse 6. May it bring you the peace you need.
Psalm 130 (NIV)
A song of ascents.

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
2 O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

3 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness, therefore you are feared.

5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7 Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
Posted By Nan

Ephesians 6:10-20
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” v10 NIV
As we encounter change in our lives. As we wait for God’s direction and action in our lives. We need to maintain a focus on God. We need to focus on being strong in Him. Being strong in His mighty power.
But how do we do that when we feel so weak and ineffectual? There is an answer in 2 Corinthians 12:10. This verse tells us that when we are weak we are strong because of God in our lives. Put another way, we are strong and our focus should be more on that strength. It doesn’t matter where the strength comes from. We are strong when we are in God and His mighty power. Our weakness is transformed into Godly strength by God acting in us.
This strength is one of the biggest changes we make in life. God causes us to change and grow. We go from realising our weakness and total dependence on God to being strong in Him. To realising that we are strong because we are surrendered to God in our lives. That when we let go of our lives and allow Him to intervene, we become strong.
I spent a lot of my life feeling powerless and weak. This was the toll of abuse and bullying in my life. So I arrived in adulthood feeling disempowered. I did not have any power, any sense of strength in my life. I see that same sense of powerlessness in people today. I see it when people become angry and abusive when frustrated. They act out their sense of powerlessness. I see it when people become manipulative and controlling. They try to steal their power from others by controlling the actions of others.
On a larger scale, I see it in societal structures and in Governments, Government departments, businesses, the health system, the education system and so on. Mankind is weak and craves feeling strong. So mankind devises systems to build up system power and then individuals try to climb to the top of those systems.
All this is just chasing the wind. It doesn’t advance us as people and it doesn’t work to give us the strength we crave.
God has gently guided me through change in my life. From the first time I allowed Him into my life at 15, He has led me on a journey of change. I am not completely changed. That completion will not happen until I move from this life into eternal life with Him. But He is transforming me. And one of the biggest transformations for me has been becoming strong. Being strong means I can let go of situations and allow God to work in them. Being strong means I can forgive others (I am still working on that one – my sense of strength is still a work in progress!). Being strong means I can step out in faith to do the things God has asked me to do. Being strong means I do not have to hold tight to me but can instead give my self to God for His purposes. Being strong means I can confidently hold on to my faith, even when others challenge it. I haven’t come into full strength yet, that transformation is continuing, but I am strong enough to wait in the darkness for change to come.



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