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Be Bold, Be Strong for the Lord our God Is With Us

Faith, Youthwork and Family…

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August 2012

The Incredibles and The Old Testament

I am still working my way through the bible from cover to cover, (thanks to a useful bible reading app on my phone). The first section of books in the old testament, give the historical account of the Jewish people, I have recently been reading about them leaving Egypt, being disobedient and not trusting God, for them to go through a long period of ignoring God, sinning, needing to be helped by a king/judge/mighty warrior, as soon as that person died, they returned to their wicked ways!

This scenario reminds me of what Mr Incredible says “Being a super hero, I feel like the maid, I just cleaned up this mess, can you not keep it clean for 10 minutes!”

God must have unending patience! Having to anoint different men, convince them that they are good enough to rule, guide, lead his people, forgive them when they mess up and then he had to start all over again when that one passed away!

He sent Jesus as the final sacrifice (must have had enough of all the aromas from the burnt meat! Guessing he’s not a fan of barbeques?!) Jesus, gave all of us a new way to live, so we no longer have a need for an inspirational warrior/judge/king, as the Holy Spirit within us has enabled us to be inspired by God’s word, the wisdom to make the right judgement but the authority (where the buck stops!) belongs to God!

I keep hearing songs about acknowledging God’s majesty and bowing down to him, and then I get a vision of being one of an innumerate crowd just kneeling in front of his throne with Jesus at his right hand!  I imagine this would be like being at a performance Handel’s Messiah, when the “Hallelujah Chorus” starts and everyone in the opera hall stands up, but infinity times better!

There is part of me that cannot wait to be in heaven, the other part of me knows I still have things to do on earth, I am reminded of the book “the shock of your life”, where some young people go up to heaven and it describes their experiences and reactions to what they discover! The first things that happen to us when we get to heaven, according to the book are:-

  1. Is your name on the list?” -The book of life, the names of those that God has called to serve him are in there!
  2. All your lifes work has been recorded (thoughts & deeds), but then all of that is burnt up, anything of worth (things that have shown ghod’s glory and been for his kingdom) is turned into a golden crown!
  3. You go to enjoy an amazing banquet and worship God forever with a host of others!

At my baptism, we sang:-

“I will offer up my life in spirit and truth, Pouring out the oil of love, as my worship to you In surrender I must give my every part Lord, receive this sacrifice of a broken heart
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring To so faithful a Friend, to so loving a King? Savior, what can be said, what can be sung As a praise of Your name for the things You have done? Oh, my words could not tell, not even in part Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart

You deserve my every breath, for You’ve paid the great cost Giving up your life to death, even death on the cross You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin Open up the gates of heaven and have beckoned me in

When we realise all that God has done, all that Jesus death actually means, then we cannot but desire to respond somehow, Deuteronomy 10:12-16 says

12 Now, people of Israel, listen to what the Lord your God demands of you: Worship the Lord and do all that he commands. Love him, serve him with all your heart,13 and obey all his laws. I am giving them to you today for your benefit.14 To the Lord belong even the highest heavens; the earth is his also, and everything on it.15 But the Lord’s love for your ancestors was so strong that he chose you instead of any other people, and you are still his chosen people.16 So then, from now on be obedient to the Lord and stop being stubborn.

That is what God requires! Stop being stubborn (yes I have to stop too! 😦 ) and do what he commands, we need to read his bible as much as we can to find out what that is, serving him wherever we go (if you want to be great, you need to learn to serve! Jesus said it himself!)

Proverbs 12 verse 3 says – “Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly                                                 have deep roots.

When we are busy doing our own thing and not God’s, we don’t create anything lasting,

  • we will worry about our money if we store it up and be greedy! and it can be burnt/stolen or lost!
  • If we spend all our time wishing and pining for things others have we will miss the blessings we have got and may get!
  • Being apathetic and spending all our time on frivolous things, most likely wont get us anywhere! Not many skaters/gamers become professional! “Not doing” is as bad as “doing bad”!
  • Being proud and not being willing to “lower yourself” to the level where you deem others to be, will help no-one!
  • Anger is not always helpful, unless its against injustice and inequality, being angry is ungodly, and will only make you feel worse!

Soul Surfer & The Lord’s Prayer

My mum text me last weekend saying that her car wasn’t starting and she was concerned it was the starter motor, which was a big deal for her as she does a lot of running around for our family!  My immediate thought was the memory of a friend of ours who had a “pray and push” car. If you wanted it to go, you couldn’t just pray, and you couldn’t just push-start it, you had to pray AND push!

One of the aspects of living the Christian faith that I find hard is that I don’t know when to struggle on, and when to acknowledge “maybe this isn’t what I am meant to be doing!” The problem is that when you get into the habit of doing something or if you felt you should be doing it, then time has gone on and you suddenly realise it isn’t “fulfilling you” or making you feel “alive”, you may have forgotten to persist in prayer about it!

I joined an after-service prayer team at a church once, and I began to get frustrated that no-one seemed to want to come to me to be prayed with, most of the time I sat and prayed in my head for the congregation, as a whole, as they left the room! After discussing it with one of the church leaders however, it dawned on me that I wasn’t praying enough about the situation before the service started!

I have been involved with other christian-based work, and I have come to realise that when we have prayed beforehand, things are better! It’s not that we have got God’s help solely because that time we asked for it, but our attitudes and mindset was more God-centred and openly aware that we are not doing it in our own strength but in his!

Last night I watched Soul Surfer, this movie is about a young female surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack, but had an overwhelming desire to get back on the surfboard, at the first competition after the attack she fails to stay on the board long enough, so she gets disheartened and disillusioned. She goes on a “mission trip” to Thailand and in an attempt to encourage a young boy to enjoy the water she borrows a surfboard and shows him that it’s ok! She suddenly realises that her accident had enabled her to “embrace more people than she would have been able to if she had both arms” and perseveres to become a professional surfer!

Situations, are in our lives to mould us and make us who we are, when the struggles come, our spirit and determination is put to the test. If our first point of call is a prayer of “Ok Lord, I need your help!” that’s a good start but we need to act too! Or we will be like this:-

Each week a pastor kept saying “Please Lord, help me win the lottery I need the money” and then because he didn’t win he asked “why didn’t I win this week?” after the tenth time God eventually replied “meet me halfway! Buy a ticket!”

What I want to know is:-

  • What excites you?
  • What skills do you have?
  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • Are you in a church that you are able to use these skills, abilities, talents or desires?
  • Are you in a job where you can?
  • Have you been involved in one area of life/ministry/church team for a long time and it no longer feels enjoyable but more like a struggle each week?

When we each look to our future (which always looks to me like I am looking into a mist!), We should look out for opportunities that appear to need the skills, abilities and experience that we have acquired through life and gifts from God, but sometimes disappointment and disillusionment cause us to doubt those skills, abilities and gifts, it even could make us doubt our calling, purpose or faith!

I heard of a guy (honestly I have never met him!) who was involved in working in a church, he apparently completely lost his faith due to disagreements with the church! Now I cannot comprehend anyone’s actions taking my faith in God away! “nothing can separate us from God’s love” so nothing is going to take away my relationship and adoration of him! We are servants of God, wherever we are whatever we do, we should do everything to glorify him!

When we pray the Lord’s prayer “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, we have to take an active role in that! It’s actually not a passive statement, despite the innumerate times it is spoken (sometimes as if we are drones, monotone, void of emotion and passion!). For God’s will to be done, we need to know what it is and do it!

The only way we will know when to persevere and when to walk away is by:-

  • reading God’s word as much as i can,
  • Praying always
  • Seeking God in every situation
  • and listening to the Holy Spirit convicting you

The only way we will truly enjoy life is if we are doing something and God is in it too!

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