Posted By Nan

Isaiah 40:21-31
Sometimes in life, the stresses and struggles of living in this world get too much and you just feel bone weary. I found myself like that today. Working on a committee of a community organisation with a former member who is doing everything in his power to hamper the work of the organisation and a stressed President constantly ringing me, texting me and emailing me about the latest message she wants me to send when the solution is already in progress. I just felt bone weary. So I turned to God. He gave me His peace and comfort and the instruction to ask the President to not contact me about this matter. Spiritual support and practical advice. And if you follow the practical advice, He is able to intervene in the situation. The poem by Loretta Burns is a beautiful reminder of the need for us to let go so God can intervene in situations.


As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend.
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my Friend.
But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched the back and cried,
"How could You be so slow"-
"My child," He said,
"What could I do? You never did let go.


I read that poem often, as well as these verses from Isaiah 40, when I want to remind myself the importance of letting go and trusting God. God does not grow weary and he can give strength to us and refresh us when we grow weary.
Another verse I love to meditate on when things seem overwhelming is Psalm 4:6-8:
“Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth (Isaiah 40:28a). In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8).

May you know God’s peace and strength when you grow weary.
 

 
Posted By Nan

Psalm 19
This psalm is so beautiful. It is one that is best read out loud, slowly, with great emphasis. It brings me to my knees in awe of God. If there is any justification of why we should do things in God’s name, any encouragement to do so, then it is found in this Psalm.
I love the way it starts by reminding us that all of God’s creation declares God’s glory. They do it not just once, but continuously day and night. Their praise is understood in all languages and by all people. There is nowhere on earth where that praise cannot be heard.
Are you listening? Can you hear it? Be still and sit in the praise of creation for God. That praise is something you hear with all your senses. So sit and be still and open yourself to hearing the continuous glorification of God.
As we sit in the glorious praise of God, we can also remember that God’s law – not legalism, but His law – is perfect and revives our souls. His statutes can be trusted. All that God directs us to do brings joy. His commands are radiant. Fear of God is pure. God’s directions are righteous and more precious than anything in all creation. God will guide us to do what is right.
We know we are not perfect. And we know that the birth of Jesus we will shortly celebrate happened so that Jesus could live among us, then die to cleanse us from our sins and make us blameless. God knows we sin at times without realising it. He also knows we sin at times knowing we do it. God loves us and forgives us.
What a beautiful reminder this Psalm is of all God’s glory and greatness. What a wonderful Psalm to just be still and read out loud.
Here is a beautiful challenge. Take time over the next few days to sit quietly, where you cannot be interrupted, and slowly read this psalm out loud. Allow yourself to hear the glorification of God and join in. Rejoice at the way God watches over us and has provided the means to make us blameless and able to enter into his presence.
Finally, may the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart be pleasing in God’s sight. Always remember that God is your Lord, your Rock and your Redeemer. (v14).
 

 
Posted By Nan

Colossians 3:12-14
When writing this blog, I have referred to three Bible translations because I love the richness of their language around these verses. They are the NIV, Amplified Bible and The Message.
It is easy to read these verses, but how do we apply them to our lives?
The first thing verse 12 does is call us God’s chosen people. We are living this life because God chose us. Ponder that. Sit in stillness and meditate on that. Take in the awesomeness that you, an insignificant person amongst billions, was chosen by God. Not so insignificant after all.
But God did more than choose you. He purified you and made you Holy. Not only are you purified and Holy but you are dearly loved. You matter so much to God that He loves you dearly. You are purified, Holy and dearly loved. This is another fact to ponder. Another time in still meditation. Look at all God has done for you. May you feel the full impact of God’s great love for you and the blessings He has poured out on you. You are definitely not insignificant.
Now God wants you to change your clothes. He wants you to put on the wardrobe He has picked out for you. You are chosen by Him, purified, made Holy and dearly loved. Now he has chosen your wardrobe. And what a wardrobe!
First He wants you to put on compassion, tenderness of heart and mercy. Not judgement, not condemnation, not a critical spirit, but tenderness of heart and mercy for others. A tall order in a world where many churches are quick to judge those who fall short of God’s glory. But, don’t we all fall short? We want God’s tenderness of heart and mercy. And He wants us to clothe ourselves with that same tenderness of heart and mercy.
Then God wants you to put on beautiful Kindness. Imagine the colours of Kindness. I always think of it as something light and flowing. Something beautiful to see. As beautiful as the act of kindness to the person giving the gift of kindness and the person receiving that gift. But Kindness is more than an act, it is a feeling. This feeling is one we must wear and share.
Humility is the next part of our wardrobe. Beautiful, simple, classic humility. It adds beauty to God’s beloved chosen one and fills others with a sense of being in the presence of someone who seeks to accept them. Someone who gives them respect. Someone who does not think they are better. Such classic beauty.
Then there is the garment of quiet strength, gentleness. It fits together so well with humility. Together they make a wonderful pair. That beautiful gentleness that gives out of its great strength in a quiet, gentle way.
The last item in our wardrobe is that tireless, long suffering that has the power to endure whatever comes with good temper and discipline. That is patience. To be truly patient requires discipline. I think patience must be a strong fabric that wraps itself around our body. It sits lightly there but gives us definition and feels secure.
Once we are wearing our wardrobe we are asked to be gentle and forbearing with one another. That is love. Our wardrobe is love and all those pieces are aspects of love. Love is our basic all-purpose garment. We should never be without it (The Message).
Finally, we are asked to remember that an important part of the garment of love is to decide to forgive others. Remember, that does not mean the other person does not have to face the consequences of their actions. It definitely does not mean we have to remain friends with them if the grievance is a relationship breaking one. It just asks us to forgive.
Imagine that beautiful aethereal garment of love. Light to wear, comforting and sustaining and beautiful to behold. What a beautiful gift of God.
 

 
Posted By Nan

Psalm 17 especially 4-5, 14
This life is never the peaceful life we all dream of. So often, we travel along, happy and settled. Then our peace is shattered by events. Often that involves someone who is against us. We may never face the extent of opposition David faced, although there are many people of faith in this world who are persecuted horribly for that faith. For the rest of us it is the difficulties with friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours – even people we don’t know that we face.
Whatever we face we all come to a point where we turn to God for help when those difficulties arise. When we have exhausted all the tried and true ways we have learned from Jesus to approach these difficulties. We may even have sent up a quick arrow prayer for wisdom. Now we need to give more attention to the way forward.
We may have avoided the paths of the destroyers, the violent ones who hate God, and held closely to the paths of God, the tracks of the One Who has gone on before. We may have remained firmly on that path and our feet will not have slipped. We will have followed confidently, knowing that Jesus has prepared the path for us. (4-5).
We may find that the destroyer path is threatening to topple us from the path of God. We may need that extra help to remain on the right path. We may need to devote more time in prayer seeking God, allowing Him to adjust our minds to better understand and follow His path.
And we can seek God in confidence, knowing that those who trust God and take refuge in Him from those who oppose them, will receive God’s lovingkindness. (7).
God is the One Who saves by His right hand. He will hide us in the shadow of His wings and we will be safe there (8).
It may involve putting one foot in front of the other and not giving up, just trusting Him for guidance and support. (7)
God will rescue those He loves, and He will watch over them and the generations to follow (14). And the beautiful promise is that when we awaken from this life and find ourselves in the life to come, we will see His face and our likeness to Him.
That is His precious gift.
As we battle through our lives, with all the difficulties we face, our faith in God opens us to allow God to transform us into His likeness. How wonderful it will be to arrive in Heaven and see the extent to which we have been transformed. How encouraging as we struggle on in this world to realise that through faithfully seeking to follow God we are being transformed into His likeness.
 

 
Posted By Nan
Colossians 3:5-11
“Put to death … whatever belongs to your earthly nature … which is idolatry.” NIV
The Message described the way we used to live before being reborn in Jesus as our old dead life. Our new life is one of obscurity. We are to stop doing the things that belong to our old life. These things constitute doing whatever we feel like doing whenever we feel like it. It means chasing after the baubles on offer in our heavily commercialised world, even when we don’t need them. The old life was shaped by things and the possession of them.
The Amplified Bible describes this process as depriving of power all those impulses to do whatever we want or feel like doing. Of lacking the self control we need to make wise choices to follow God. The earthly behaviours we are to put off are described as those things that deify self and other created things rather than God. That is of course Idolatry.
Remember the old clothes of the way of death. You have taken them off. Burn them. Don’t allow yourself to put them on ever again. Remember to be honest and do not lie about others. That was something you did in your old clothes, not in your new clothes of the way of life. Remember that now you are in your new clothes you have entered a time of being renewed and remoulded. Not just a once off occurrence, but a lifelong process of moving towards God.
Remember, in the new clothes of life you are to live a life of love and wear the wardrobe of compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, even temperedness, content with obscurity unless God chooses to make you the centre of attention in the moment, and willing to quickly forgive offenses against you. All this is love.
Lastly, remember that in your new clothes there are no distinctions about this denomination or that denomination, Jew or non-Jew, this nation or that nation, church goer or non church goer, well educated or poorly educated. The only distinction that means anything is Jesus. He defines us and gives all of us worth.
So wear your clothes of love and remember to strive to not live a life where you do whatever you want. Temper your decisions with what God wants you to do and be content with that. If it hurts in your new life, as God for help. He longs to help us but won’t do that unless we ask.
Wear your clothes with love and revel in how beautiful all who wear those clothes of love are. And that includes you.
 

 

 
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Nan
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