Mercy failure?

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The mercy of the LORD is comprehensive. There are no limits for the people who love Him, and he will keep us as we travel along in the depths. There are many reasons why women find themselves in the dark. The pressures on us are often outside, and demanding that we look and behave in a particular way. The need to look good is a multi- billion pound industry, and the seemingly unending array of new products, keeps us spending money. The pressure to not look “old” is built every time we look at the TV. The idealization of a “fit” body shape, and the business of keeping it that way, causes all kinds of systems to spend money on the necessities of life, extra-expensive…

All this can lead women into dark mind sets and desires, that further fuel the need to work long hours, and focus on the outward appearance of themselves, family, home, car, the list is endless.

Is this how God would have us live for His glory?

“Cast your burdens on the LORD and he will sustain you..” This phrase does not sound like consumerist culture… We all have a choice to have lives that reflect God and his love for people, or lives that grasp and toil for things that do not last.

We all at some point, choose the wrong way, and we find ourselves slavishly treading the mill of work and career, and find ourselves over-burdened and unhappy. We may not even know why we are unhappy, so we must work harder to provide better and make it go away.

When we choose badly and end up suffering the consequences, we have a loving Father who is always there to show us and help us out of the ditch. As we draw near to Him, He draws near to us and as we read His word, He teaches us His way and His standards. Even when things are our fault, his forgiveness in right there when we confess.

So why are there so many still labouring under the heavy load? Perhaps drawing near to our Lord is not that attractive, and we like the idea and feeling that we are providing and organising life in our own way. We are kept bound by the things of this life, the physical, the temporal, and eternal goals are not beautiful to us. Our minds are earth bound and heaven is too far away.

So we can see the root of the difficulty. My eyes are set on this life, and not eternal life to come. We have lost our taste of eternal life, and it has become shuttered over with earthly concerns. Our desires are out of joint with God, our perspective has gone right off the prize we thought we wanted.

At this point we need to take ourselves in hand, and do some serious self-examination. We need to check again that we have faith and exactly how it is manifested In the life. What have I taught myself to be important? What am I teaching others around me? What am I showing my children about the sacrificial Christian life? When Jesus asks for ALL OF ME, what does it mean? Surely He can’t mean everything??

It can get to the point where it is quite shocking… How far up my list of priorities is GOD?Should I have a list of priorities? Who decides what is important? If I put GOD first, then I can put the other things in the list? What things?These are great questions and when we pray and ask God to show us the truths in His word, we are heading in the right direction….

“How great the Father’s love for us…!”

Going on

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We want to be motivated by the right things for the right reasons. If we receive praise from others that makes us want to perform, that puts our motives in question. Nor do we want their negativity to make us want to do the opposite of what is said.

Our focus and motivation must be on Christ. He must be real, close and intimate, so that our walk with him is obedient and sincere. All the strength of a Christian is in him and without him we are unwilling and unable to take the initiative and carry on, because without him there is no point.

Our love for him will fail, but his love for his people will sustain us and create circumstances so that we can continue each day. We  can rely on him and put compete trust in his truth and power and know his abilities running through our veins.

Let our ears be closed to the carping and criticism of the minds of others and ourselves. Listen to the truth of God and seek earnestly to comply with it, and apply it to the will, and then the heart will be warmed and love will grow, even for those who hurt, criticise, and ultimately have no regard for our person.

God has also ordained that we have other people – husbands, children, family, children and a whole network of support in our lives, to guide us, advise us and keep us accountable to each other. It is important that we make the right kind of friend, and listen to the right people and we also must be the right friends and family to those God has put around us.

All those who call themselves “Christian” are not necessarily true or reliable and we need wisdom to see the differences in people and insight so that we can read other people and situations that confront us. Our charter is the Holy Scriptures and in no other place is there to be found reliable teaching and guidance for every kind of believer and unbeliever alike.

It does not matter if what I do is unseen or unknown. The calling is to follow Christ at all costs and to turn our back on all others and cleave to him. His comfort is beyond all description and the comfort that comes from knowing and applying God’s word to my mind and life, is the ultimate joy for the believer.

Finding myself at the bottom, ignored, side-lined and rejected, is not an indication of lack of spiritual life, or devotion, perhaps the opposite, judging by the New testament. Let us remind ourselves to look away from our own position and to look up to the face of Christ. To know him as Lord, is the crucial motivation and that will keep me serving him and following him until the end of the difficult pathway of the Christian life.

Unrest

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A state of mind where beliefs, thoughts and emotions become jogged from their usual train lines and the train (the person) becomes a runaway. Thoughts are fast and dangerous (seemingly) and cause much pain. Belief, cannot be trusted because the ground is unreliable and full of threat. What can we really trust in? Who is reliable and trustworthy?

Thoughts circle in a spiral pattern and take the feelings up or down on a kind of cycle. The cycle repeats itself and a pattern can be noticed. Thoughts are of various types, and can also be identified. This is an insight into the seeming confusion, and gives real understanding of the processing of thoughts, emotions and motivations.

It can also be thought of as a ladder, an ascent into pleasant thoughts, uplift and inflated ideas. Then the mind turns into the descent, which brings pain, false guilt and deep sadness. The menu of blame is the long list of wrongdoings that we have may or may not have taken part in, that it can be used against us by the enemy. Guilt can be real, or false, and painful to sort out.

Only the scriptures can give and teach us the right way and how to deal with blame.  Jesus sets us free as he met all the charges of the accuser and the law, once for all. There is no punishment- only the liberty of Christ. All those who trust in him, know this a reality in their lives. The false blame and reminders of real or imagined sins, are not from God.

Jacobs ladder led him up to the glory of God and he met God there and enjoyed sweet fellowship. When he awoke, he was changed. Similarly a psychological episode can change a person and is like a new start. Sometimes a person might think they have become a Christian again. Throughout life we have a continued progress in the Christian pathway and in our characters, which should lead us closer to the Lord Jesus, and further away from ourselves.

To be like Him, is the Christians deep desire. All others fade, and yet those who also love Him, are companies in the spiritual journey to heaven. To meet a fellow sufferer, can be such joy. There is too much ignorance and rejection of sufferers from mind illness, and they are viewed as weak. We need to reevaluate this viewpoint and allow sufferers to readjust “normal” thinking.

The mind is such an amazing gift from our Maker, yet we fill it full of rubbish and abuse our consciences until they don’t work any more. Perhaps if we all had a taste of mind illness, it would show us ourselves in a new light. We might not like it very much… Perhaps it would jog us out of our complacency and into an invigoured state. We would definitely have to learn to fight better and value the presence of Christ with us.

Coping with trouble, and getting out of it

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There is a deep need to recognise our weaknesses and difficulties, but not to give ourselves an easy time.

Our thought patterns need to be changed, to teach us to fight the negativity, false guilt and blame, and to build good mental scaffolds around our mind.

There will be fears, doubts and anxieties, but these have to be faced, not avoided. This starts with small things and issues, and we must seek to teach our minds to go through the fear, rather than avoid it. As we face the pain, it will go, and we will get victory over that anxiety, which then strengthens us for the sake of ourselves and others.

If we fall down, start again, learn again, put lessons into practice, and gain strength and confidence for the future. Every time we go through the learning process, our spiritual muscles get stronger.

The mindset of the Christian is faith and we live as people who belong to God. His many promises are there to help support and remind us about what He does for his children. Our part is to know them, remember them, believe them and acts upon them. God cannot fail. Our stumbling faith fails repeatedly, but as we learn and act, we are strengthened to rest on Him and trust Him more as time goes by.

What is happening in our lives is for our good, because We are so loved by God. Through suffering we come to know Him better and more fully, and faith grows. He will not let anything happen that we cannot bear, and he will provide all we need to break through.

”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The weakness we feel and the debilitating negativity, will pass. This is an illness for some, and a spiritual fight for all believers, and it will go away. We do not have to continually linger in the dark valley. However, if we learn skills and thought processes, it will help us to fight the feelings, and hurtful thoughts, and we will be stronger.

We can train our minds to think rightly about our situation. God gives the strength to help us fight through, but we also learn the skills to use the sword of the Word in the power of the Spirit that dwells within. We live our lives learning and proving the power of God and coping with all that comes our way.

Focus:

Not everything I think is true. Every thought is measured against the Word of God, not by my own education or ideas.

Prayer changes everything – he promises to answer prayer, and my part is to believe Him.

Troubles

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Troubles make the believer long for Christ. If he should hide his face or seem to depart from our hearts and minds, it is painful and full of hurt. To be without Him is the worst possible state to be in, and to live in doubt of His love, is so hurtful. The trials make us fly to our precious Lord, and trust Him no matter what the feeling are that invade our psyche.

Lord, how much we love you, and how we desire to be with you and know your true comfort and presence, which is heaven. How deep the disappointment with self and the battles with selfish desires and godless thoughts and passions, which deny your love and power. May our minds be focused on you, and our vision be clear as to what you want from us- a heart like yours.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer..” Psalm 19:1

Only then will wanderers return to you and seek your face for cleansing and fellowship. That they will follow your path unreservedly, with joy unspeakable, and unflinching in its devotion. Our eyes are all too easily distracted from looking at you and training our minds to obey what you say. Only Jesus- is the cry of ever heart that has seen you and seeks to be like you.

Save us from blame and hate, and make all your people strong in Christ and resistant to the devils temptations. Lord, teach us all to watch for his schemes and the many strategies he uses to keep Christians down and miserable. I will work out a clear outlook of his motivations and keep myself from giving in to his plethora of devilish skills.

Prayer:

Lord, may I not baulk from my pathway nor be side- stepped from what you want me to do, no matter how difficult it may be. I ask that I will not be disappointed when others fail, and exclude me from their plans and systems.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken..” Psalm 62:2

The race for life

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We are all in a race, the race of our lives, and all heading for the finish line.

How we run that race will determine everything, and the stamina we need to complete it, is outside ourselves and belongs to someone else. We do not have to fret and worry about not making it, because we have someone who has been there already and will show the way.

We have a top athlete, who has gone down the race track before and has raced with complete integrity and purity, and he is the one we emulate and seek to be like. The way is hard, and often lonely and full of potholes and snags.

But there is a plan.

We are not left on our own, but have a training book that will, teach us everything we need to know and will show us the strategies to be used to keep on the right lane. It is foolish to ignore it and not make it part of our mindset. There may not be time for reading, in the middle of a tricky straight or sharp bend, so the words will have to be in your mind already. The coach will bring them to your thoughts at the right time.

We have a gracious companion who leads us in all right ways, and who will stay with us through the whole race and give peace and power to all who trust in Him. As we read the book and draw near, his influence and joy are felt and known. As we pray and seek his presence, we gain a heart of love and the power to run straight and to keep going right until the end. His joy and peace is in us and will strengthen every runner.

We cannot stop running. If we stop, we go backwards, like the current of the river that drags us back. If we don’t go forward, there will be lost ground to make up another time. If we do fall or fail, our merciful coach will guide us gently back and encourage us with his love.

For the trusting soul, the end is certain and will lead right up to victory. We do not have to be first, but we must finish the course, in the power of the Spirit. Those who finish the race, will get the crown, which is waiting for all those who race with Him and therefore qualify as true athletes, and winners to wear the laurel and the crown.

Continue to do right

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“Let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.” Revelation 22:11

There are times when our confidence becomes undermined, usually be a series of events that we have no control over. We don’t notice at first, but gradually we stop feeling what we should feel, and we begin to overlook our own needs as people.

It is not the confidence to do things, but the confidence we all need to live our lives and do all the usual things we do each day. We can become afraid of situations, find ourselves unable to function, become fearful of the future and seem to loose our faith.

At these times, we need to really look again at the promises of God, not just say them over to ourselves, but meditate on them and the implications for us as people. God cares for His people so much, and he knows our troubles and cares, and feels our hurt too. If we trust in him and just rest in his peace, He will support us and give us the strength to keep going, walk along the road with Him, and feel and exercise His power every day.

Sometimes we can become too focused on what we have to do, our work for God, and trying to step out for Him. When he means this for us, He will show us and give us the motivation and strength to do it. There are times when He wants us to step back and prove His power in another way. Our view of success is usually warped, and involves numbers, years and acclaim, but this is not His way. He requires that we are faithful in what He gives us to do whatever that might be.

In all circumstances I must trust and not be afraid. He will never leave you, or forsake you.

If you are a Christian and seeking to follow God in holiness and truth, and obey his holy commandments, Keep going with that. That is the pathway of blessing in the inner life of the soul, as well as the outer deeds and words show.

If you are seeking God, and seeking His face and His character in your life, this is the way…walk in it. When we seek Him truly, the other issues sort themselves out, because he will show you the truth, and you will be free.

Perceptions

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The way women are represented in some Christian communities, gives cause for concern.

Women characters the Bible are portrayed as weak, sinful and needy and none are ever the heroes. Every Bible character is weak and sinful, but the men can be held up as role models, but the women are often in the shadows. Women seem to come across portrayed as total failures in every aspect of life, and need a man to come along and support them.

Sermon illustrations with women in them position the women as supporting characters, and are usually silly and appear foolish, especially older women. I have never heard a sermon illustration story where the woman is the hero, and therefore we should all be like her. Perhaps I have not been listening to the right sermons..?

There is a difficulty when a woman displays virtues that could be paralleled with the character of Christ. This becomes a political nightmare, as our philosophy does not allow female strengths and virtues to be that of the Saviour of the world.

This has a detrimental effect on everyone, and because it is also psychological, it shapes attitudes in men and women, and gives rise to prejudice, misrepresentation and unfair treatment in the social situation. We end up regarding each other in a warped way, and the acceptance of this, causes a warped culture within the Christian sphere.

JESUS treated women very differently than present “Christian” culture. Women were the ones who cared for him in every way. They provided a place to rest, food for him and also the 12 men disciples who followed him. They laundered his clothes, mended his sandals, cut his hair and trimmed his nails. The Lord Jesus knew he needed them and he loved their devotion and attention.

Some used their profit in business to provide the things he required and he overlooked none of them. He spoke into their intellect, as He did with everyone.

As he died on the cross, a crowd of women who loved him, watched from afar as he hung there to pay for their uncountable sins. They fixed their eyes on his body as life left it and their loving Lord was gone. John was there- that dear disciple, who was always leaning on JESUS, and couldn’t let him go. The women took his body down from the cross and rubbed in some fragrant spices and put him in the tomb.

The tears that would have been shed, the memories recounted as they remembered how JESUS raised Mary and Martha’s brother- Lazarus, and how this man who needed them, could overcome death and rejoice with them, in the victory of his love for failures, that is, every man and woman who has ever lived.

These women were also the first to see JESUS alive again, and he gave them the first message to his disciples, to declare the good news that JESUS is alive. Surely the honours he bestows on his beloved women, and better that all praise or fame.

His love for them is so touching, as he meets Mary Magdalene in the garden of the tomb, and calls her name- so personal, so careful and full of love. What would you give to have him call your name? To be so loved by him in that way, and to know he loves you, as you. It makes every heartache worth it, and enlivens for every work that he calls you to do for him…

Do not take to heart the negativity and downplay of us as women, but rejoice to be counted worthy to be regarded as second best, even as he was.

The Kingdom of GOD

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The kingdom of God has come in weakness as a grain of mustard seed.
It establishes the Lord of Glory as the man to meet our need.
The use of force will not cause it to grow and flourish.
Only the love of God in the heart of its peoples will nourish.

Politics, force and economics will only drive away God’s gracious Spirit.
To belong to it is a gift, and not based on any kind of human merit.
It lasts far beyond all time and space and on into Gods eternity.
This is how we were meant to live, serve God and be truly free.

The words of the kingdom are only given to those who believe.
We must treasure it, listen and obey it and we will live.
Let the truth sink down into your very soul.
They will strengthen you and lead you on and make you whole.

May we humble ourselves and live our lives in true obedience.
Being subject only to the Word of God in our precious Saviour.
The seed will then grow and become a life-giving tree for heaven.
To shelter all who come to it and seek refuge and be truly forgiven.

Time and space cannot contain this kingdoms eternal destiny.
It transcends history and everything that pervades our human identity.
We were formed to truly live for another dimension.
Dwelling with God in the everlasting joy of Holy contemplation.

You will not reach it by the folly of flesh and blood.
It is freely given as a gift by a Saviour’s precious love.
Embrace its truth and turn away from your feeble trying.
And trust a man who bought your forgiveness by dying.

At the end of the existence of this planet, this race, this universe.
God alone is left to inhabit the eternal dimension of perfect love and justice.
The souls that he has rescued from destruction with the wicked.
Will dwell with Him forever in that home and never be rejected.

Why would you run away from this irresistible power?
He has revealed himself to us in His word as a strong tower.
The righteous run into it and are safe, but what about you?
If you would only trust Him you would see that every word is true.

Women who glorify God