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.
 

 
Posted By Nan

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart. And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].”

When we go through life, particularly when things are stressful and we find ourselves facing dark places, there is a temptation to rush to solve things. To interfere. To forget to ask God. To not be willing to wait. But that can be counter productive.

Trusting in and relying on God, with the confidence that He has a plan and will bring it to fruition, is really hard. We think we can fix this easily. It is not that big a deal, but when it goes pear shaped, as it tends to do without God’s input, it is a big deal. God will fix the mess we have created. It will not be an easy process. It will involve much pain that could have been avoided if we had just waited.

We may for a while be chastened and wait patiently for God, acting only when He directs us. Then we will forget and will trust our on insights and understanding. We will fail to acknowledge God by not even asking Him for advice. And we will be back in that dark place waiting for God to intervene. Chastened, we will humbly learn His lessons. Then we will dust ourselves off and try again.

Each time we fail we will learn a little more. Each time we will learn to trust God more and to trust our own actions less.

God is so patient! It must be frustrating for Him when we fail time and time again. Yet He still loves us. He still gathers us in His arms and comforts us. And He still expects us to learn our lesson. He knows better than us how to do things. He knows when we fail to listen to Him we will be exposed to more pain. And somewhere in all this mess we do start to learn. We do start to trust.

Be open to His learning. Learn to wait. Learn to let go of your own insights and understandings. Learn to acknowledge Him and recognise Him and trust that He knows the best response, the best decision, the best timing.

Trust God and wait. Learn to sit with the uncertainly of waiting. And in that uncertainty you will find trust in God and His reliability and His promises.

 
Posted By Nan

Psalm 98
That was a regular refrain of my childhood. All the songs we were taught in Sunday School, the choruses we sang in the youth service. The bumper stickers. This was something that was drummed into me as a child.
Yet when I look around, I wonder how many followers of Jesus really believe that. Do they sit in wonder and awe at God’s greatness. Or do they just recite rote phrases that have long since become too familiar to even think about.
Today I was the scribe at an Eisteddfod. One of the sections involved children under 10 reciting words they had written. In one, the child lay down on the stage and looked up at imaginary clouds and spoke of how her teacher told the class to go outside, lie on the ground and look up at the sky, then write about what they could see. The girl reciting this story said she could see nothing. There were just clouds in the sky. So she went to the teacher and told her that. The teacher told her to go back outside and look again. To look for the wonderful things she could see because there was more there than clouds. So the little went back and looked up at the sky and then she saw it. Castles with towering turrets. Mighty horses galloping. A ship in full sail. A dog. She was amazed.
This little girl’s experience reminded me of the wonder with which children, left to explore their imaginations, see in the world around them. They see this while adults have mostly ceased to see such glory.
We as adults can still see the wonder in the world. We just get so caught up in the busyness of life and the demands of work and family and other responsibilities, that we forget to take those moments to see the wonder. To remember that God is great.
Here is a challenge for you. Some time over the next few days stop and look up at the sky. If there are clouds in it, look at the patterns they make. Look at the sunrise or sunset and marvel at the colours the clouds take on. If there are no clouds then sit by some water and watch the water flowing. See the ripples spreading out in the water and rebounding on and on. Take the time to see that God is great and remember the wonder of His creation.
 

 

 

 
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Nan
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