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Posted By Nan

Colossians 3:3-4
The Message puts these verses powerfully.
“Your old life is dead.” v3 The Message
That is what faith in Jesus is all about. Our old life is dead. The new life we have received. The one The Message describes as our “real” life is what we are living now, even if imperfectly. It is invisible to those watching us, but it is still there. The real life is with Jesus in God. Jesus is now your life.
Jesus is your life. Jesus is my life. Jesus is our life.
The Message describes Jesus as being our real life. Not just the life we live in Him but that He Himself is our real life. Think about that. Jesus is your real life.
The section ends with the admonition to be content with obscurity, like Christ.
When I was a child, my mother was jealous of me. She never missed an opportunity to put me down. To make me think I was worthless and no good at anything. On rare occasions, I would do something so remarkable she would give me a few minutes attention. So I had to perform exceptionally to feel seen. To feel I existed.
As an adult I found my own place in life, with Jesus, and discovered I was good at many things. I discovered the life God had planned for me. Sometimes God asked me to do things that were unacknowledged. As a child who felt she didn’t exist, that lack of acknowledgement hurt. How could I reconcile the child who didn’t exist with the instruction to be content with obscurity?
Of course, the two things were unrelated. All people, especially children, need to feel seen. It is part of the way God wired our brains. Being seen and being content with obscurity are two different things. Being seen means people notice you exist. It doesn’t mean you always get attention for what you do. But when you exist, it doesn’t matter.
The next verse in Colossians talks about what we need to put off to live our real life. Without pre-empting a discussion about that, this includes the need to receive accolades for the things you do. This is what being content with obscurity is referring to. It is about not needing to always be best at everything, or to be made a fuss of because of what you do. The pursuit of that type of response is idolatry. The need to feel seen is not.
So how did it work out for me? God healed me, and continues to heal me, of the hurt of not being seen. He did it slowly and carefully. He sent counsellors across my path who were able to help me. He healed the hurt child so she was able to feel she existed. To feel she was noticed. And when He directed me to do things, I was happy to have served Him and content with obscurity. Sometimes I received accolades for what I had done. That felt nice, but it wasn’t necessary any more.
There are still times when it hurts to be overlooked. On those occasions I sit at God’s feet and reflect with Him on my real life. On how much He loves me. On the wonderful plans of glory He has in store for me when Jesus returns. But me being glorified won’t matter, because I will be with Jesus and that is what matters.

Posted By Nan

Colossians 3:1-3
“See things from His perspective” v2 The Message.
There is a great temptation in life to get caught up in what is happening now. Although attention to the present is a good thing, total absorption to what is happening in front of you to the point of obsessively thinking about is not. That obsession encompasses mulling it over in your mind. Or constantly discussing it with others. This is not a good thing. We need to keep an eye on God. True mindfulness involves being aware of everything going on around you. True mindfulness includes an awareness of God’s presence in your life and a readiness to hear His voice. As the Message says, that is where the action is. A God mindfulness allows us to see things from His perspective. God’s perspective sees that lost job differently to your own perspective. God knows how to turn it into a positive. God knows how to take each situation and transform it to His glory. How to transform it into a situation that causes you to grow.
With God, choosing to forgive someone allows Him to show you His perspective on people who have wronged you. This allows you to transform the situation into an opportunity for forgiveness and to be freed from bitterness.
With God, learning to hand over to Him the horrible turn your life has taken allows Him to show you His comfort and His direction. This allows the situation to be transformed into an opportunity to grow and better serve Him.
With God, learning to acknowledge all the good things He has done for you, never forgetting to thank Him for the many ways He intervenes to help you, allows you to learn to trust God and to learn to live your life closer to Him. His interventions range from the mundane of getting to that appointment on time to the amazing act of saving you from a certain car accident.
Lifting your head from your concentration on daily life allows you to live your life with God, to transform that life into your new and real life. It allows you to live with Jesus in God. That is where life is at its best.
Easier said than done? Definitely. But it is worthwhile making that effort to remind yourself frequently through out the day that God is where you life is. And in the meantime He will send things across your path to encourage you to turn to Him.

Posted By Nan

"The man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God." Genesis 3:8, NIV
I was reading this verse today and was struck by something I had never noticed before. Adam and Eve hid from God because they knew they had done something wrong and were afraid to face God. They hid just as we hide from anyone we feel ashamed to face.
We do something wrong. And we hide. We hide from the person we have wronged. We may hide behind anger at what we claim the other person has done to hurt us. We may hide behind busyness and be unavailable to meet with that person. We may ignore them, as though they are the one who has done wrong. When we are asked to discuss the matter with the other person we find myriad reasons for why we can’t do that. We even pick fights with other people and leave the group we have been in.
All this comes from our inability to face up to having done something wrong.
While we are avoiding the other person, we also avoid God.
We may avoid Him by praying for Him to fix the other person. After all, we haven’t done anything wrong, it was them. Therefore we ask God to heal them and change them.
Because we know what God’s answer will be, we don’t listen to God. But we tell ourselves He has heard us and we haven’t done anything wrong.
And then we become more afraid to stand before God because, like Adam and Eve, we are ashamed and frightened of what God will say to us.
But if we hand our wrongdoing over to God and ask Him to heal it, He will. He will treat us with love and tenderness. He will forgive us. He will heal our shame, and cause us to grow and transform closer to His image of us. He will give us courage to face the person we have wronged.
Never forget that God will never be too terrifying to acknowledge our sins before Him.
Never forget that God loves you and knows you will do wrong things. Yet He still loves you.
Never forget that Jesus cleansed our shamefulness. We are not horrible people. We are cleansed and loved and forgiven.
Learn to face God and those you have wronged with love and God’s courage. Welcome the opportunity to grow as a person and in knowledge of Him.

Posted By Nan

Colossians 3:1-17.
Over the course of my holiday, I have had the opportunity to spend time away from the normal busyness of my day at home and focus on God. Coinciding with the time I was to be away was an unpleasant incident with someone I know who avoided resolving a misunderstanding that had come up. I have spent much time in prayer for that person. An individual who is lost and hurting and far away from God’s comfort. Like a wounded animal, she hits out and wounds those who come close. I so want to help her more than just holding her in prayer, but I don’t know if I can. God used my time away to prepare my heart for the long haul and to accept that help for her may not come from me and the rupture in our relationship may never be healed.
I had to deal with her accusations that I had done something wrong, even though I know, and witnesses confirmed, that I had done nothing wrong.
I have had to deal with my hurt at her behaviour and the fact that we may have to continue to be in close contact with her trying to avoid me. Difficulties between people are never pleasant and it is not always possible to resolve those difficulties.
I have accepted and thanked God for the opportunity for me to grow through this. Grow by learning not to mind what others think or say about me. Grow by learning a new dimension of patience. Grow by learning to wait on God’s timing and continue to pray through the uncertainty of the outcome.
In the course of this praying I was led to this section of Colossians. This is what I am going to base my next blog series on. I will largely be focusing on verses 12 to 14 but will include the other verses where relevant. As I am currently reading through the Psalms in my own quiet time, I will occasionally include comments on the Psalms I am reading as well.
For today, Verse 17 struck me as important. That is the message God has been giving me over the past few weeks. Whatever I do. Whether it is an action, or something spoken. I must do it all in the name of my Lord Jesus. I must do all giving thanks to God, my Father, through Jesus. Ultimately that is all we can do in life. The Bible does not have a passage to clearly cover every eventuality. We rely on prayer and meditation and being open to listening to God to understand how we are to respond to life events. We are to always remember to wait, and when we act to do it in Jesus’ name.
As verse 15 and 16 remind us, we are to allow the peace of Jesus Christ to rule in our hearts. We are to be thankful for what God has placed in our lives. We should encourage one another when we can, but if you find yourself without access to encouragement, look to the psalms and join with the psalmist in crying out to God and praising Him. Allow the psalms to instruct you in experiencing gratitude to God. Allow that gratitude to fill your heart and transform you. Most of all, allow that gratitude to fill you with the peace that God blesses you with.
Never forget that your confidence is in God through Jesus Christ, the source of your salvation.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 3.
“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.” Psalm 3:5 NIV
Having finished my blog on Following Jesus, I have no idea of what direction my blog is going to take. I am about to take a long needed holiday, so this is my last blog until 17 November. As I was praying for direction on my blog, I was directed to look to the Psalms that I have been reflecting on for the past few weeks. Psalm 3 sprang to mind.
The historical setting of Psalm 3 is at the time in David’s life when he was forced to flee from his son Absalom after he was deposed by him.
David had fled. He did not know what the future held. He had many enemies who threatened him. Yet he had great peace. He knew that God was watching over him. He knew that God was protecting him. He knew that God answered him when he called. He knew that God would protect and watch over him as he slept. He knew that God would deliver him from his enemies in His timing.
We all have times in our lives when the world, or part of it, seems to be against us. We feel alone, vulnerable and isolated. We feel we are in a dark place with no way out. Yet we can know one thing. When we lie down to sleep we will wake up again because God watches over us. When we surrender to the vulnerability of sleep we do not need to fear, because God is the one who protects us and keeps us safe. Deliverance may seem a long way away. Deliverance may come in a way that does not resemble your idea of deliverance. But deliverance will come. Because God sustains us.




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