You are currently viewing archive for April 2020
Posted By Nan
Many years ago, I was attending a tiny church with my family. A new curate gave a sermon one Sunday stating that you must speak with authority and that authority is from having a piece of paper that says you have studied for a specified time at a bible college! I was astonished and disappointed. He turned faith in God into something that imprisoned and caged faith, instead of it being the glorious walk in uncertainty and faith that it is. It sounded like the legalism of the pharisees in Jesus’ time.
I have not posted a blog for some weeks due to renovations on our house forcing me to live elsewhere and divide my time between my home, my temporary residence and my work place. Life has been busier than ever.
During the pandemic lock down I have been anything but locked down. I have spent the time living between two residences and my place of work. I have found time to walk along the beach, because the temporary residence has been metres away from the beach. And I have found myself berating myself because I wasn’t spending enough time naming God as I have walked in wonder among rock pools and the waves rushing to greet me. In the stillness of the night God has answered me by reminding me that I have been doing exactly what He wants me to do. Spending time with me, with my spirit and from that with God. Connecting with the creation and through that with God. As I swam in my pool last night and gazed up at the sky in awe, with its high cirrus clouds making spectacular patterns across the sky, I heard God speak to me of my contemplation being exactly what He wanted to teach me about Him.
I read many online devotionals and I have learned to be discerning about what I read. Some I discount without reading. I can see from the opening what they will say, and it is not about the foundations of our relationship with God, but rather about Churchianity and the legalism encompassed in that.
What I read celebrates the simplicity of faith in God.
What I have found in the last few weeks is confirmation of the simplicity of Faith. We have made a legalistic cage for our relationship with God. As the Jewish faith did in the time of Jesus, we have come up with rules that tell us how we should and should not relate to God. These rules make a cage for us and separate us from God. They make us, as Jesus said in Matthew 23:15, children of hell:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15 NIV
Legalistic churchianity tells us we can’t do this and that. One of the worst of the legalism is telling us we can’t hug trees, or spend time feeling our connection with the earth, because they believe that is not of God!!! Not of God!!! God created all this and He expects us to connect to it because it is His creation and carries the Holy Spirit in it, just as we do when we come to faith in Jesus.
In the past few weeks I have met God in the tiny waves rushing up the beach to kiss my feet. I have met God in the waves crashing over the rocks as I explore the rock pools full of the wonder of creation. I have met God in His artwork in the sky as spectacular cloud after cloud drifts by. I have found God in the simplicity of connecting with creation, of connecting with myself and my feelings, in my constant conversations with God. I have explored with God what prayer is and He has shown me that the connection in the moment I have with His creation is part of that. He has shown me that my ongoing conversation with Him throughout the day is part of that. He has shown me that rather than making prayer a rod for my back that I find impossible to find time for, it should be part of my ongoing conversation with God.
He has taught me that in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve connected to all the creation and to God and we need to reclaim that. Maybe in this time of lockdown, people can come to appreciate that. In this time of churches being closed, people can begin to find God themselves and relate directly to Him.
Maybe in this time we can become children of God rather than children of hell.
Posted By Nan

Psalm 67

This is a particularly appropriate blog for Easter Sunday. This is about not just the individual, but all of humankind. I explain more below.

Once again we have a psalm that is pure praise to God. The content is interesting. It is not just about praising God for what He have done for them. It is also about the wish that the rest of the world would see how much God blesses His people thus bringing glory to God. In that declaration there is also the sentiment that as people praise God they will accept Him.
For the psalmist there was the double source of joy. There was the Joy of the people in praising God. There was also the Joy of the rest of the world in understanding God’s greatness and his joy at seeing all people acknowledge God.
Thus far, this blog has been about individual joy and a little about corporate joy. But it has never touched on the Joy of all humankind. This is the first time I have found a Bible verse that specifically mentions this. Joy is about worshipping and acknowledging God. But it is also about seeing other people worship and acknowledge God. This includes the unbelievers amongst us.
This is a strong call to us to not become so caught up in our worship of God that we forget to love and rejoice in the relationship of unbelievers to God as He draws them close.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 66 especially verse1

This psalm of pure praise and acknowledgement of God’s greatness is a call to the praise that brings Joy. The first and last verse are ones that I feel are particularly important. The first verse calls on us to shout with joy to God. Well, not just us, but the entire earth. Every stone, every creature, every tree, everything is called on to shout with joy to God. Then follows the verses that speak of all the greatness of God. This psalmist has experienced a great deliverance from sin and wants everyone to know about it. He wants the world to know he has been forgiven by God. This leads to the last verse. In this verse he praises God who has not rejected his prayer or withheld love from him.
When we find it hard to feel Joy we can feel that God is rejecting us and withholding His love from us. We stumble desperately trying to, under our own strength, find God again. But the more we try in our own strength, the further away God seems. It is a hard lesson to learn. It is at those times we need to let go and wait for God to come to us. To let go and wait in the promise that He is there and we will feel His presence at the right time.
Here in the waiting is the promise of Joy.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 65

This psalm has a different approach to joy from psalm 51. In this psalm, the joy that is described is that of all creation. In this I am reminded of Isaiah 45:23 where it is proclaimed that every knee shall bow and tongue confess Jesus. In this psalm the joy is that of every knee bowing and tongue confessing and all people feeling great joy at the presence of God and the knowledge of who He is. At the end of this psalm, there is the statement that all creation will feel joy at God. Pretty powerful statements. They establish very clearly that Joy is in the knowledge and presence of God.

What more can I say? True Joy is a response to God.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 51

In this psalm David has been visited by the prophet Nathan, who reminded him of his sin in taking Uriah the Hittite’s wife Bathsheba as his own and killing Uriah. David realises the horror of his sin and begs God for forgiveness. He is so appalled at his sin that all joy has left his life. He begs God to cleanse him of the stain of the sin so that he may again feel joy. He begs God to restore the joy of God’s salvation to him. He feels no joy because of the enormity of his sin and the knowledge this has separated him from God. His joy is in God and his relationship with God.
Looking at this psalm, it is clear that true Joy is found in God and is from God. That joy can be found no matter our circumstances. However, when we are aware of committing a great sin, our horror at what we have done will not allow us to feel joy. Joy will only come when we seek God’s forgiveness and allow Him to wash us clean.
So there are times when we will not feel joy.
When we find ourselves in such a time and understand it is because of a sin we have committed we need to come before God in repentance. Then we need to accept His forgiveness and forgive ourselves. If we hold on to unforgiveness, we will not be open to feel God’s Joy. Remember. He instructs us to forgive as He forgives. This includes forgiving ourselves. When we do, then we can feel God’s Joy again.




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