Tuesday, 6 October 2015

EVERY WORD...

Apologies for the day long delay.... But better late than never!! 


This is a hard verse to write about. And yet it's a very easy concept. Tell people - and make sure to tell them everything - not just the nice bit. Unfortunately today's world is so PC that we are too worried to do this. 

Let's go back to the start. In the passage above God gives Jeremiah a task. He is to go to the courtyard at the front of the Temple and tell all the people God's message. God wants them to turn from their evil ways and repent. All Jeremiah has to do is tell them the entire message and if they repent God will change His mind and stop the punishment for their evil. But they don't act favourably and he has to flee for his life. Not the outcome Jeremiah would have wanted. 

So now to modern day. We have a task as Christians. And this is a task ALL believers should be involved in - not just Pastors or youth workers or missionaries... EVERYONE. We are tasked in Mark 16:15 to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation", sharing the good news about God's plan for salvation and His amazing gift in Jesus. We are told to tell everyone. To share with all of our families, friends, co-workers, neighbours... everyone. 

And what should we be sharing? We are told in John 3:16 that "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." We need to share that while all humans are born with sin inside them that separates us from God, He has an almighty rescue plan and sent Jesus to take our punishment on the cross. We need to share God's love, His compassion, His mercy and His grace. Yayee - we get to share all the wonderfulness of God. 

BUT we also need to share everything else too. We need to share that sin is a problem - and that it comes in many different forms. We need to share that the consequences of sin are way more than being grounded or getting caught doing something wrong. The wages of sin are death. Plain and simple. If we don't repent we are going to die and spend eternity separated from God. 

This is the hard part. When was the last time you told someone about hell? Or about sin in their lives, or your life, that needed to be confessed and turned away from? When was the last time we shared the ENTIRE message and not just the amazingness of our Father? God is righteousness, forgiving and loving but He is also judge and cannot abide sin in any form.

People need to hear it all, God gave us the entire message to share. But in today's society we are so completely obsessed with not offending anyone that we've missed the point completely. We don't want to offend people who don't share our faith so we stop saying prayers, say  'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Happy Christmas' and don't help people to understand their sinfulness for fear of being labelled judgemental, hypocrites or narrow minded... 

It's a sad day when we change the Gospel to suit our hearers. Because when we do that it ceases to be the Gospel and instead becomes a fairytale. God gave us His truth to share and we need to get out there and tell people the entire message no matter who is going to be offended. Jeremiah had to run for his life. The Christians in Oregon paid the price for their faith and the fact they admitted it. Chances are the most we'll get is being taunted, called names or told we are narrow minded bigots. 

What are you going to choose to share? Part of the message or every single word? 
Keep shining xx 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

TEST ME...


Today's verse is one that used to scare me. The idea that I'd actually pray this and willingly let God test me, try me and look into my heart and my motives wasn't a notion I was comfortable with. 

And if you were me, at that stage in my life, you'd have felt the same. At that point in my life my Christian walk was wavering a lot. I struggled with a lot of things, but not what we'd consider the 'big stuff'. I never drank, swore, smoked or dabbled in drugs. 

On the outside I was this good wee Christian girl. But underneath I was lying, full of envy, boasting, acting full of pride, lust, being disrespectful, rude and generally not a nice person. Underneath I was not living a Christian life at all. And there's no way I wanted God to see that. 

I mean I know that He already knew, that He could see into the depths of my heart and yet He still loved me... but the shame was too great. 

Then I realised that the only way I was going to get better, turn my life around and actually live the way God wanted me to, was to confront the person in the mirror. The only thing I could do was pray this verse and ask God to test me, try me and tell me where the problems were in my life. 



And boy did He ever!! I've already written about my love of books and that was one of my first big purges! God helped me see that I wasn't reading the right things - too many sex scenes that I didn't need to pollute my mind, or two much romance that was unrealistic and made me feel dissatisfied. 

Then came the watching TV and my choices of movies... While I could read lovey dicey scenes I never watched them - so smutty films/TV programmes weren't my problem. No - I had to stop watching anything that has a supernatural twist - from Buffy to Harry Potter to Charmed... Not good for my gullible mind. And film wise my problem was violence. I had come to not even really 'see' it. That all had to change. 

And then my big issue - my body. This is a battle I'll fight for life because I know what my natural tendencies are - but God loves me so much more than I love myself and He gently reminds me every so often, what I'm doing to my body with my sedentary lifestyle. 

I am not the same person as started out on my Christian journey - and praise God I'm not yet the person who will be finishing it. He has the power to test me, try me, challenge me and change me, and I thank Him daily for changing me. 

In this Psalm David was asking God to test me, to prove His love for God and so that God could see His heart. When was the last time you prayed this prayer? When was the last time you allowed God to seriously audit your life? 

I'll be looking more at this personally - I need to do it again much more often. 

Keep shining xx 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

GIVING THE FIRST

So I've made it to day 3!! (Only just!!) And what a verse we have today... 


At the start I had lots of ideas skipping round my head to write on, but this is one of my favourite times of year, so I want to share it with you. 



'Harvest' is traditionally the time of year where we thank God for His provision after we've brought in the first crops and give back to the One who made it happen. It brings back many fond memories - from bringing fruit and vegetables into school for the annual Harvest assembly, singing hymns like 'We plough the fields and scatter...' And going on Autumn walks gathering different coloured leaves. 


But the idea of harvest - of giving our first fruits back to God - is a much bigger idea that we need to really think about. When was the last time you gave your first to God? 

What about in your money? Do you tithe? 

What about in your time? Do you give to God first? 

And what about your focus? What are your first thoughts when you wake? Facebook? Emails? Or God's Word? 

Lisa Terkeurst recently spoke about her daughter giving her first 15 minutes to Hod - 5 minutes to read God's Word, 5 minutes to pray and 5 minutes to worship. It really did change her daughter'a perapective and I know it changes my whole day when I get up and give Him my first moments. 

So my challenge - when did you last do that? And if you've never tried it - give yourself a week of giving God your firsts and tell us how it's changed your life! 

Keep shining xx 

Friday, 2 October 2015

SUNDAY WORSHIP...

This is a verse that I have never heard before, but one on a topic that I desperately need to be reminded of. 


I have a couple of big problems in my life and unfortunately they all come together on this issue. I attend a wonderful church just outside the town I live in, and it really is home for me. We have a relatively new Pastor who is fantastic and really easy to listen to, while not shirking at challenging individuals or the church as a whole. I've gotten so much out of his ministry to us - and I'm just one of the congregation. 

Why am I telling you this? Mainly it's so you don't think my next confession is because of my church. It's not. 

But those issues I mentioned - oh boy do they beat me up. I have three main problems. 

Post-natal depression - realistically I'm wondering if I can still call it this when my 'baby' is 7, but this has been a real struggle for me. The main problem was the way it manifested itself in my life. I had panic attacks and a fear of having to see and talk to people who I knew would be asking me how I was, or praying for me. In other words I had a fear of everyone in church. Totally illogical since I needed their prayers more than ever, but that was it. So even now I often feel the urge to hide up in my bed with my duvet over my head, and let my husband take the boys to church on his own. 

A horrible attitude of laziness - I am a naturally lazy person unfortunately and Sunday mornings have become a time when I get to laze around the house, watch a little tv and not get dressed until the boys are on their way home. Not an ideal routine for someone who claims to love God, but a spiral I've fallen into. I need to purposefully get out of it and let Sunday  mornings regain their proper purpose - as a time to worship my Father in heaven. 

A lack of self-discipline - when you add this to the top two points you can see why attending church regularly is a problem for me. It's not that I don't enjoy it - I'm just stuck in an endless battle, every Sunday morning, where I fight to get out, only to fall and stay home. I know things like being better organised, having all the church clothes ready the day before, and lunch sorted and prepared can all make a big difference, but I also need to work on having the self-discipline to just do it, especially when it's so important. 

And I truly do believe it is. We need the fellowship, the meeting together as a family of believers and of course the getting into God's Word together that church provides. It helps us grow, it helps us to remain on fire for God and ultimately helps us to worship and get to know our Father better. 

So my excuses for not going? Non-existent. My issues? Pathetic. My attendance at church? Necessary for my spiritual growth and vital to encourage my friends and fellow believers. 

So what am I planning to do about it? 

I'm delighted to be able to tell you that I'll be out at church on Sunsay - because it's my turn to be on Senior Bible Class!! But I'll take any chance I can get to get me out and worshipping God. So this is my desire - to start this week and work through the whole of October, going to church each Sunday - enjoying it, worshipping God, respecting everything about our great wee church, and moving forward from there. I know it won't be easy because the devil loves to hit you where you're vulnerable, but I'm determined. 

I'll let you know how I get on at the end of the month!! How is your church attendance? What problems do you have to overcome and how can we pray for you? 
Keep shining xx 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

STOP RIGHT THERE!!

I know I was going to share more about my inspiration boards but guess what... It's that time again. The month of October is traditionally the month that bloggers all around the world link up and write a "31 days of..." series. And every year I start with the greatest of intentions, only to fall a couple of days into it!! 

So while I am really excited about doing it again - or at least attempting it - I'm also realistic enough to know that I won't be posting every day, and while I'd love to do one of the many series ideas running through my head, I'm just going to share a few verses and what they mean to me. I'll also be sharing more about the boards during the month!! :) 

So my first verse that I want to share is this. 




In the chapters running up to this we read about Isaac and Rebekah having their twins, Jacob and Esau, and learn how they fought and bartered over their birthright. Then, at the start of this chapter then, there is another severe famine which causes Isaac to move. As he moves, he has plans in his head - plans he is thinking about and that he has mapped out - he's  going to take the family to Eygpt and settle there... But God has other plans. 

God speaks very clearly and tells him to STOP. He tells him that he is to stay where he is because this is where God was going to fulfil His promises - this was where He was going to honour His promise to Abraham. God had big plans for Isaac and his wee family, bigger than even Isaac could imagine. 

I don't know about you but I often set up my own plans and map them out in my head - exactly as I want them to go, and exactly how I think will work best. But the best times in my life are, without a doubt, when God comes in and says "STOP! This is where I want you and this is what I want you to do, " 

I have so many examples I could share with you, but I want to tell you about the time I was doing too much, trying to do every idea that came into my head, and not really letting God have any control - even though it was all ministry - for Him!! I wasn't really listening to His still small voice, so He came and said "STOP" in a way that was very noticeable! Everything I was doing - and I mean everything - stopped within a week or two, and all for reasons totally beyond my control. God had my attention and it was one of the best and most exciting times in my life as I regained my perspective and really found out what He wanted me to do! 

So next time you are tempted to over-plan or go off on a tangent by yourself, remember that God's plans are always better and if you don't listen, He will get your attention in some way!! 

Keep shining xx