You are currently viewing archive for May 2019
Posted By Nan

I have not forgotten the hurting people mentioned in my previous blog. I am still praying for you. However today God asked me to write this blog.

O sons of men, how long will my honour and glory be [turned into] shame? How long will you [my enemies] love worthless (vain, futile) things and seek deception and lies? Selah.
Many are saying, “Oh, that we might see some good!” Lift up the light of Your face upon us, O LORD. You have put joy in my heart, More than [others know] when their wheat and new wine have yielded abundantly. In peace [and with a tranquil heart] I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety and confident trust. (Psalm 4: 2, 6-8 Amplified)

Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say. “More, more.” I have God’s more-than-enough, More joy in one ordinary day than they get in all their shopping sprees. At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep, For you, GOD, have put my life back together. ( Psalm 4:6-8 The Message)

Something that has been on my mind today is the obsession people have with money and possessions. This is seen even among Christians. I have mentioned this in previous blogs over the years. I have been to middle class churches full of complacent Christians. They are comfortable in their prosperity and seek to affirm that comfort in their church services. They may pay lip service to serving God but are not keen to actually do anything. Their prayers are about praying for prosperity for their children, success in their business ventures, not humble faith in God. They adhere to a doctrine of praying for all good blessings. If someone has something bad happen to them they attribute it to a spiritual attack or suggest to one another that the person has done something wrong. They see prosperity as evidence of God’s blessing. But that is not so. God’s blessing looks very different to the human idea of blessing.
These extracts from Psalm 4 express beautifully the difference between what the world expects blessing to look like and what God blesses us with.
In the Amplified Version the psalmist laments the love people have for the possessions and fake images of this world. He laments that people see “good” as being a good harvest and much wealth. The psalmist instead recognises peace and a tranquil heart as being the true blessing of God. He knows that God makes him dwell in safety and confident trust and that is the best blessing to receive.
In the Message the Psalmist laments the desire people have for more and more. He states he has God’s “more than enough”. That gives him more joy than having the money to buy more and more possessions. His more than enough is God putting his life back together and giving him sound sleep at night.
The world is becoming more and more obsessed with possessions. With the pursuit of money, which people believe will make them happy and help them to feel safe. But it won’t. This ravenous love of money is attributed to the tendency of world politics to lean to the right. People are becoming obsessed with the dream of making it. They obsess about being a “have” instead of a “have not”. They think this will give them peace and a good night’s sleep. But some of the most anxious and unhappy people are the fabulously wealthy. Money does not buy security. Once someone has much they fear losing it.
And with great wealth or the desire for it, comes great greed. Those who need help are not getting it. We are failing to look after the poor, the widow and the foreigner in our midst.

Psalm 4 tells us that it is God who brings us peace and a good night’s sleep. And God wants us to let go of our obsession with wealth and possessions and instead look to Him for peace and blessing. And in the process he wants us to remember those of His children who need our support.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 73

How hard it is, when everything in life seems to be going wrong. When those you love turn away from you and you are left wondering what you did wrong, or wondering when they will forgive you for something you have done. When people you thought were friends betray you. preferring the stab in the back, the malicious gossip, the character assassination instead of being your friend. When neighbours turn nasty and delight in excluding you from things you previously were part of. When you were an unwanted and abused child and you wonder when it will be your turn to be loved and wanted. When no amount of positives in the Psalms feel like they apply to you because they talk only about the arrogant and wicked in life, not those you love turning against you. When you read uplifting books about the lives of giants of faith and feel you are anything but one of those people.

What do you do?

What do you do when you search the Bible for comfort and find none. When tears blur your ability to read the texts. When you can think of nothing positive or uplifting or hopeful.
It can sometimes feel as though you are stuck in verses 1-14, where the arrogant and wicked have the ascendency. Where they have no struggles. Where they are healthy and slim. Where they have expensive houses, luxury cars and overseas holidays. Where they never have to worry about money. Where they can have what they want, whenever they want it. Where those who hurt and betray you continue to live their charmed lives, surrounded by people who believe every malicious word they say. Where it seems like you will always be on the outer, being hurt, vilified, unloved – even by those you love most.

What do you do?

You cling to God. You place your trust and faith in God. You be like the house built by the wise man, the one with firm foundations in the rock of God. When the storms come the house stands firm because it is anchored in trust and faith in God. It doesn’t wash away like the house of the arrogant and wicked, built in the sand. It stays firm.
You make the sovereign Lord your refuge, your home (v28) and you cling on. You cling on to the promises He has made that He will take you by the hand and wisely and tenderly lead you. And then He will bless you.
It may not seem it now, but that day will come when He will lead you with love and bless you will the abundance of His love for you.

For those who are hurting today, my prayer is for you to receive from God the strength to cling on. For you to know God’s great love for you, even if it is only a glimpse in this present darkness. Hold on to the glimpse and don’t let it go.

Posted By Nan
He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in His sight. Psalm 72v14 NIV.

When I was a child, I learned in history class about the dreadful treatment of the poor during Victorian times. I learned about the post world war 2 move to provide financial support for the poor, to change working conditions so workers were no longer exploited, and to ensure social justice for all people. Sadly those ideals have been replaced over the past few decades with increasingly harsh beliefs. Financial support for the poor has been eroded, homelessness is increasing, workers rights have been legislated away and social justice is not available for many people. Racism likewise is on the increase. The refugee is also suffering terribly at the hands of these policies. Many of the people who voice such harsh opinions claim to be Christians. They may even invite television cameras to film them standing in a church service with hands held high in an act of pious worship. Seeing these people reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 v 1-5:
“Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” NIV

It deeply distresses me that people holding such harsh, ungodly views, claim to be Christians. It angers me that they misrepresent God and bring Him to ridicule. It also angers me that they show so little fruit of the spirit in their actions. People like that deter others from faith in God.
I have been feeling such despair for those in the world God charged us with caring for. The poor, the widow, the foreigner in our midst. I have prayed for them and my heart has been broken at their plight. God’s answer? Psalm 72, especially verse 14. These people who are so in need will be rescued by God. Their blood is precious in His sight.
That has filled me with such hope.
I have been glad that I am currently reading through the Psalms. I have been able to see how David begged God for so long for relief from those who were harsh and intent on destruction of God’s work. I have also been able to draw comfort from the fact that God answered His prayers at the right time. I have been encouraged by this.

And my prayer for the ‘pharisees’ who hold harsh opinions and claim to be Christians is that they may have a road to Jericho experience (see Luke 30:30-37) or a road to Damascus experience (see Acts 9:1-19).
Posted By Nan

Psalm 71.
In the Bible, Paul speaks about being transformed by faith in God. It is something we all hear, but do not necessarily totally grasp, or remember.
We might occasionally remember transforming when we realise God is changing us. But there is a transforming that is not always so apparent. That is when God allows us to go through hard times. When God allows things to be taken away from us. When God allows us to go through dark times. When we feel God no longer talks to us and all hope is gone.
This is the aspect of change that is so often overlooked. Letting go in order to gain.
We do need to let go. We develop the more positive aspects of ourselves, changing them into what we believe is more acceptable in God’s sight. But those aspects still have a flawed foundation. If we clasp those aspects and don’t let go of them. If we do not allow God to transform them. Then we can never be transformed. We will develop a semblance of Godly behaviour, but we will not be fully transformed. We will always act from a flawed base.
It feels counter intuitive to release our hold on our behaviour when we believe that behaviour is positive. But holding on to that behaviour does not allow us to grow. Growth is what our journey on that narrow path is about.
Letting go of everything and letting God work in our lives is how we grow.
It is not easy to let go, particularly when we cherish the way we do things. But we can let go, knowing that God will take those beautiful behaviours and turn them into something more beautiful that we could ever have imagined.
God will transform each one of us into a beautiful person. We just have to hold on to hope and accept letting go, even when it is hard.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 70.

“Yet I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord to not delay.” (v5 NIV)

A short while ago I was reading the biography of a great man of God. Through the devotionals he wrote in his lifetime, I found him to be a man of prayer and great conviction of God’s message. In his book I saw the extent of his prayer life. He spoke of times when he spent all night praying and seeking God. I felt quite inadequate. I have never done that. I have spent an hour or so praying, but never all night. I felt I must be very poor in my faith and should be spending more time in prayer. But life has always prevented that. Raising children has certainly prevented me from spending that time in prayer. Back then I would pray while awake at times during the night. Later I would take the dog for a walk and pray for that blessed hour I walked the dog. These days there are so many demands on my time I cannot stay awake to pray, despite my best intentions.
So I felt very inadequate and worried I was not spending enough time in prayer and was falling away from faith. I tried to spend time praying and fell asleep. I felt I should be making time to kneel next to the bed and pray and keep that brain awake.
With those thoughts in mind I moved through the next day feeling quite down about all the busyness in my life and how it was encroaching on my time with God. I was feeling really miserable.
Into those moments of misery God spoke. He reminded me we each have a different path and mine is not the path of that man. He sent friends to speak to me and encourage me. He whispered “patience” to me. He reminded me of the need to find a place of stillness within me and stop all the rushing about. He reminded me of verse 4 of this psalm that says that all who seek God rejoice and are glad in God.
He knows when we seek Him. He does not demand we give more than we are able. He does not want us to measure ourselves against others. We all have our own unique journey and our own way God gives us to spend time with Him.
We are poor and needy and God does come to us. He helps us and has delivered us and His timing is perfect. As we seek Him, in the best way we can, we are able to rejoice in His salvation and exalt Him.
And we are able to stop comparing ourselves to others.



User Profile


You have 761740 hits.