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

Faith, Youthwork and Family…


December 2014

Taking things for granted, #GodIsGoodAllTheTime

I have been blessed so much! But how often do I actually stop and appreciate it all? I have wonderful children (I am proud to say that I get told how good they are by a lot of people!) but I am fully aware that I fail to give them as much of my time as they deserve! ūüė¶ It is easy for me (and I am don’t think that I am the only one!) to reply to their question of “Can you play/do/make… with us” with the answer “after i have finished…” to then realise something else needs doing, an hour later I still haven’t done much with them!

Ronan Keating once sang “If tomorrow never comes”

And the thought crosses my mind, “if I never wake up in the morning
Would she ever doubt the way I feel about her in my heart
If tomorrow never comes,¬†Will she know how much I loved her?”
“Did I try in every way, to show her every day, that she’s my only one?”
And if my time on earth were through,And she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past, Gonna be enough to last,
If tomorrow never comes’
So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much she means to me
And avoid that circumstance, where there’s no second chance to tell her how I feelSo tell that someone that you love,¬†Just what you’re thinking of,¬†If tomorrow never comes
I heard this song a while ago, and tried to make a conscious decision to be like that! But as time has gone on, I am conscious that I may have let it slip! I heard a talk at a wedding recently that talked about the bride and groom, trying to “outdo each other in expressing love“, we all should be getting into our respective beds at the end of the day, “worn out”, not just because it has been a long day/week, but because we have tried our best to consciously express and show our love to others how Christ would!
We can also take the love of God and the sacrifice that Jesus made for granted, there is a verse about not deliberately sinning so that we can be given more grace, by no means should we do that, but we should consciously try to live a life that shows that we have been forgiven, that we are a “new creation“. ¬†It is easy to forget, our lives are busy with family, work, friends, church and any other commitments that we have. ¬†How often ¬†do we stop to just “count our blessings” and thank god for all the things that he has done/given us? The only problem is that there is so much that he has done!!
As I wrote last week, as there is so much, surely we should “share the well“, our cup overflows with blessings (if you feel that it is not and you are struggling, then take a moment to look back and see the good things that have happened in your life and what you have got!)
In the western world, I am/we are lucky that Christianity is not under too much constraints by government and authorities, I often wonder how strong and committed some of us would be if we were threatened with imprisonment or death for meeting or for even owning a bible like those in the East and Middle-east!? We take for granted our “religious freedom“. ¬†Jesus said “Blessed are the persecuted“. If we are not being persecuted, does that mean we are not a threat to the devil and his will? ¬†I don’t want an easy life, if that means I am not being a threat to the powers of darkness, by not shining brightly enough with the love and power of God!
We take our safety for granted sometimes, at halloween, millions of people would have knocked on random peoples doors and asked for sweets and other treats, this always baffled me, as you cannot tell who is living at that home! ¬†Unfortunately, there are too many stories of children being taken from their families by people harbouring ill-will, and every time this happens, parents get more and more paranoid about their own childrens’ safety! ¬†I am not keen on walking anywhere in the dark, I used to have nightmares about being chased ¬†by hoodlums! (I sometimes sang this song¬†to myself on my way home, to remind me of god’s protection, I am not telling you how old I was though! ;))
I found it surreal, when I was on holiday in Tunisia, as my wife and I were able to walk through the streets around 10pm, without fear of being robbed or attacked, the streets were deadly quiet! ¬†Compare that to when I was flying back from South Africa via Johannesburg airport, during the daytime, and I was paranoid about anyone mugging me or “helping me with my luggage“!
I find it easy to trust God with “the big things”, I know for a fact that I alone cannot make them happen! But bizarrely, its the little things I worry about, like the minute detail of how certain things will start and work out. ¬†God cares about us, he sent a part of himself to die for us to restore our relationship with him! The best way for us not to take anything for granted is to make time for others, make time for God, and make time to just sit/lay down and think on all the good things in our life, there are awful, rotten moments in our past but looking on our blessings reminds of God’s Goodness! Whenever we were in a church service in South Africa the people used to shout “God Is Good” and the response would either be “All the time!” or “Thixo elungile amanxesha Onke!” Remember that this week!

God loves me and accepts me as I am, so why don’t you?

I was thinking this week about how people get offended in church, the reason was that as I sat in church, I saw someone wearing an item of clothing which was emblazoned with a famous film title, I was sitting there thinking “that’s a film about rape and violence! not the most appropriate clothing for church!” ¬†I realise that I discussed judging one another a few weeks ago, but I do not wish to judge that person as it is their choice, and to be honest I have worn a Borat t-shirt saying “high-fiiiive” not offensive unless you have seen either movie. ¬†I spoke¬† to my sister about it because I didn’t want to offend the person who was wearing the said item, and found out that there was a reason behind it which made sense!

I know that there is a verse about not causing your neighbour to stumble, and when I have been part of a prayer team I have dressed in a shirt rather than a hoody and jeans, as I was trying to be sensitive to not offend people enough to make them not want to come to me to be prayed for! Is that ridiculous or understandable?¬† I recently found out that my little sister was once asked to remove her “FCUK” jumper/hoody when she was in a church meeting as an old guy found it offensive, she then was so self-conscious that she couldn’t concentrate on worship for the rest of the service!

Now I cannot remember Jesus ever being offended apart from when the money-changers and market-owners occupied the temple courtyards preventing the gentiles from entering the temple.  So why do we think we have the right to be offended?  After a little research, I found a passage where Jesus avoided needlessly causing offence by paying his tax!

I am rubbish with conflict, I avoid it as much as I can! ¬†It took me about a month to talk to someone because I was desperate to not offend them, I also knew that as I often get tongue-tied, what I may want to say would not come out right! But after a “word of wisdom” from someone, I went and received prayer for it, then God gave me a way into the conversation and I was able to discuss it in a calm and confident manner! Praise God!

I have been talking to a couple of friends of mine who have been disowned/condemned by their relatives, one for getting a tattoo and the other for leaving a religion that they no longer believed in. ¬†I am amazed at the audacity of the “human condition” to be self-righteous and judgemental. ¬†“All have sinned and fallen short” so none of us have a right to judge anyone else for anything they do! ¬†We all have done something we regret, none of us are be able to say “I am better than you” because all our mistakes are the same to God, he cannot look on us in our sinful state without seeing us through Jesus’ death!

I once asked the question “when you go to heaven and you see a “gag reel” of your life how would you feel when everyone sees your mistakes?”¬† but I was wrong!¬† God does not keep “Record of wrongs”,¬†it’s like God has a video camera and records everything good that happens in our life and when we are about to sin, Jesus puts his hand over the lens saying “I dealt with that!”

So I want to know:-

  1. What have you been offended by recently? Were you right to be offended?
  2. Is there anyone who you have lost touch with due to them offending you or you causing offence? Is it time to forgive or ask for forgiveness?

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