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Posted By Nan

Anger. Despair. Hopelessness. Shame. Not good enough. Unloved. Alone. Failure. Letting God down.

Those are the feelings most of us feel at some stage in our walk with Jesus. We go through the harder times and the thoughts pop up. We feel angry at others, at ourselves. Then we despair of anything getting resolved. We feel hopeless that anything will ever getting better. We feel shame for not being a good enough worshipper, for not praising God during this difficult time. We feel unloved by those around us and wonder how God can ever love such an ungrateful, petulant child. We feel alone in our torment and others fail to understand. We feel we have failed to live up to God. We are sure we have let God down.

But none of this is true.

God’s feelings for us are unconditional. He knows we are never going to be good enough. He knows we are experiencing a range of emotions. He is not angry with us when we are angry, or ashamed, or feel we have let Him down. We loves us and longs to help us. Despite what many say or show in their own actions, God is not a harsh, punitive God. He knows how hard it is to be “good enough”. That is why we can never do anything to get into Heaven. We need Jesus’ sacrifice to cleanse us and make us fit for heaven.
We need to learn to stop being perfectionists. To stop thinking we are going to get it right all the time. To stop beating ourselves up every time we fall short of what we think God expects of us. We need to stop and accept some important truths about God. And we need to hold onto those truths and trust in our relationship with God. A relationship founded on His love for us.

The verses below are good reminders that God loves us, we are never going to be perfect, that is why Jesus came to die on the cross. God does not condemn us for dropping our bundle and running. Instead He sends us comfort and understanding. And finally, that we need to learn to wait in hope and trust.

“We love because He first loves us.” I John 4:19 (NIV).

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6 (NIV).

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.” I Kings 19:3-9 (NIV)

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” Psalm 130 (NIV).

Posted By Nan

Isaiah 49v15-16.
Psalm 103

In life there are the good times when we never think about how to do things. It just happens.
Sometimes, we remember to thank God for those good times. Other times we get so comfortable in the good times we expect them and forget to be grateful for them.
We get caught up in doing things without struggle and forget to depend on God.
Then the hard times come. We are lost. We may ask God for help, then run off and try to fix things on our own. But when we don’t allow God to fix things, we just dig a deeper hole for ourselves. We fight and resist and do not allow God to intervene. We get angry. We blame it on satan. We tell ourselves we are children of God and we shouldn’t go through hard times. But we are wrong.
Hard times are important. It is during the hard times we learn to increase our dependence on God. It is during the hard times we becomes less and He becomes more in our lives.
If we are sensible, when the good times return, we keep ourselves less and God more. At other times we slip back and need more instruction from our Father.
We make our walk with God harder than it needs to be.
God crowns us with love and mercy, wraps us in goodness and forgives and heals us. He does not treat us as our sings deserve. His love is stronger than the height of heaven over the earth. He separates our sins from us. This is the psalm with the no fishing zone. Where God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. They are buried where we cannot gain access to them again. And there is the no fishing zone to remind us we can’t.
God loves us as parents love their children. He knows us, warts and all, yet He still loves us. Both readings speak of how God loves us like a mother with a child at her breast. But He loves us more. The mother may forget the child, but God never will.
When it comes to worshipping God, we make it so hard. Instead of sitting and waiting, just opening ourselves to worship Him, we strive forward to do, do, do. We do faith. We do praise. We do worship. But God tells us faith is a gift from Him. There is nothing we can do to increase it. We need to step back and wait.
Some time ago I learned a lovely calming meditation. I sit quietly, eyes closed, hands clasped in prayer and breathe.
As I breathe, I breathe in God’s blessing of air. As I breathe out I breathe out into my hands all my worries, hurts and concerns. I hand them all to God.
Then I speak that for today, I am going to release my investment in staying hurt and angry. This is an essential step in forgiving.
I follow that by saying I release worry and stay mindful of the present moment. Jesus told us not to worry. Not to worry about the past or the future. So I hand those things to Him as well. In the present moment, I am waiting for Him.
Then I say I am grateful and appreciate all the wonders and blessings He has placed in my life. From that praise flows so naturally.
I continue by committing to work diligently and with love for God in everything I do, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant.
Finally I promise to show compassion to all God’s creation.
In the busyness of my day. Pausing for a short while to do that little meditation transforms my day into one walked with God. I connect to myself and can be honest before God. I open myself up to the changes He has planned for me and for the blessings He has for me. I allow myself to acknowledge how great God is and how much He has blessed me.
Then I am able to remember how much He loves me. I am able to easily feel praise and awe in His presence. He increases my faith. And I am able to continue my day walking in His way.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise - in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (NIV)
I have had a lot on my plate lately. I have had so much to do I have not had enough time in my day to do them. Each day the load has increased and the list of unattended tasks has lengthened. I have lain awake at night worrying about it. I have worried at moments throughout the day. I have held my body tight in an attempt to keep it in action ploughing through all the tasks. I have become so stressed about what I have yet to do that I have been unable to think or write the things I need to do. Something had to give.
Last night, I lay my weary body in bed and felt the tears of despair start to flow. I asked God to help me. Then I fell asleep. Today I woke up and told myself I had to rush because I had so much to do today. I was so tired I couldn’t rush, but I did push myself to keep moving. I completed the urgent tasks I had set to do today in record time. I didn’t notice I had done that. As I sat working through the next ones I got to my blog. Extreme busyness prevented me from writing my weekend blog and I had been trying to write it since.
My gracious, loving Father had other ideas. “Leave that blog, just write for today.” Okay. Thankyou. “I gave you the weekend activities to bless you. Don’t be too busy to notice my blessings.” I had been, I am sorry. Thank you for the weekend.
As I sat and prayed about todays blog, my gracious, loving Father reminded me that I had achieved so much of what I needed to do today. As I attended to some tasks I realised they were not the Mount Everests I thought they were, they were actually small ant hills and were not insurmountable, unachievable tasks at all. I realised my gracious, loving Father had answered my prayer. He was waiting for me to ask Him, to willingly hand my busyness over to Him. To stop trying to organise my life but let Him do it.
You would think I had worked that one out by now!
Once that realisation came, the tears of Joy and relief flowed. My gracious, loving Father was happy that I was now open to His blessings. And I was back where I belonged.
It is easy to get caught up in life and forget to hand everything to God. That is one of the difficulties we encounter on our narrow path following Jesus. When we stop following Him and His light at our feet, that is when the path becomes impossible to climb, and to follow. When we get too tired to carry on. When we despair and feel lost. When we lose sight of Jesus. We need to ask for help and realise He is still there, we just stopped looking.

Posted By Nan
For the past two days I have prayed about my Wednesday blog and have received no instructions. Today, they have come to me. It is a message I have encountered several times today, even spoken myself.
Jesus grieves with us.
He is the ultimate supporter. He comes to us in that place of grief and grieves with us. He doesn’t try to fix things. He doesn’t tell us to stop. He doesn’t offer platitudes. He simply grieves with us. He knows that is what we need. He gives us His comfort and sustains us.
The best example I can find in the bible is the death of Lazarus. This is found in John 11. When Mary comes out to Jesus she is distressed and cries. The Bible merely records that Jesus wept too. Earlier Martha had expressed her faith to Jesus and He had agreed with her, but now it is Mary. Mary expressed the raw emotion of her grief and Jesus wept with her. In each case, He met each sister at her point of need. Martha needed the discussion of faith, Mary needed to cry.
When you are sad. When you are in a dark place. Are you prepared to let Jesus grieve with you?
Do you know He is grieving with you? He is not speaking, just being with you in your sadness.
Can you allow yourself to be comforted by Him?
Posted By Nan

Colossians 3:1-17
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” v12
In my work I see hardship, the impact of hatred, injustice, nastiness, harshness and lack of compassion. In a world where so many leaders claim to be Christian, it is horrifying that this is what I am seeing. Some of these leaders invite the media in to watch them raise their hands in praise at their church, but condemn people to a lifetime of poverty, to homelessness, or indefinite detention in harsh conditions for no reason, to incarceration without mercy, to discrimination, to uncaring, harsh attitudes and a total lack of compassion.
As believers, we are God’s chosen people. We are the congregation. Those set apart, sanctified for God’s purpose and loved by God Himself. He commands us to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Amplified Bible).
Note the first word is compassion and the others all relate to it. What does compassion look like?
Compassion is feeling sad for the death of a young criminal who had an accident in a stolen car and was killed. His family deserve compassion, not the trolls of this world who will say and post nasty comments on their social media page.
Compassion is caring for the family whose daughter just died of a drug overdose.
Compassion is caring that your work colleague is homeless because he does not earn enough money to pay rent.
Compassion is caring for the asylum seeker trapped on an offshore island with inadequate nutrition, no end in sight, and non-existent health care.
Compassion is caring for the obnoxious neighbour who has had bad things happen to him.
Compassion is not unkind.
Compassion is not harsh.
Compassion is not arrogant.
Compassion is patient.
Compassion is active. Compassion calls you to do something.
I saw a satirical skit this week. In the skit an angel was working in the loading dock for heaven. He was collecting all the prayers and thoughts to read them before sending them into heaven. He commented on the emptiness of those ‘prayers and thoughts’. Words without action. Words that sound good but mean nothing. Words that are designed to placate but are intended to never be followed by anything constructive.
It is not compassionate to say “My prayers/thoughts are with you” unless you are backing that up with something else. Are you actually going to pray for that person? Are you in a position to offer them practical support? Are you prepared to sit with them and listen while they talk? Are you going to do something to improve their situation?
Compassion is something we all need to be more mindful of. To be prepared to take that time to be compassionate for others. Compassion is also for us. Never forget to show yourself compassion as well.



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