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

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February 2016

Expecting the unexpected

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About a decade ago I kept having trouble sleeping as for some reason, I had an overwhelming feeling of expectancy that something was gonna happen but I had no idea what!

Ten years or so later I am not sleeping well, as I am being woken up by our cat, my kids, or a whole host of other things. But more recently expectancy has been more prevalent in my life, mainly because we were expecting our third child to make an appearance (I was hoping our baby might have been born on my birthday but it wasn’t to be!)

The Jews expected the messiah to come as a commanding, handsome, unmistakably kingly man, riding a strong steed but they forgot what Zechariah prophesied

Jesus was the “unexpected“, he kept challenging the beliefs and rules of the Pharisees and Sadducees, not because they were “old fashioned” but because they were taken too far and made to become a burden on the ordinary person!

It is hard when you pray about a situation and find yourself wondering when and if, you will get an answer and if it will be the one you want, but God never promises to meet your expectations, he promises to exceed them! I had my life planned out when I was in high school and then college, but then I hit a proverbial “wall” with my plans, the thing is God doesn’t want the mediocre for us, he wants the best!

If anyone asked me 15 years ago where I thought I would be, I would have said

  • working In a laboratory or as an environmental health inspector,
  • hopefully in a relationship, (if not married with children)

But I have much more than I could have imagined, especially as we have another baby due any day! But the little babe is making us wait!

I mentioned to my parents that I kept having the phrase “expect the unexpected!” in my head, and I was puzzled as to “how on earth do you do that?”

I find it easy to trust God with the things that I know are out of my control, because I know I have no choice, but the smaller things I try to control or fret about! This is crazy especially as Jesus said “look at the birds and flowers, they are fed and clothed yet they do not store food!”  Trust in god that he loves you even more and wants to provide for all your needs!

I was chatting this week to a young Christian (both in age and “walk” ) and I heard his conviction of what God wants him to do!  I suddenly remembered that at a similar age, I had that passion! I have to admit that I am far too doubting of my ability to fulfil the “calling” God has for me and I am constantly thinking “o maybe this is it, or this?” I just pray i haven’t missed it!

It is only when we “do” that we find what we are good at and not so good at, life hinders you and gives you excuses for why you haven’t done or aren’t doing something and events “spring up” which cause you to put “life on hold” but God has life in abundance waiting for us, so why are we happy with the mediocre?!

Preparing for the unexpected is not easy, when I was a cub scout we had to keep a handkerchief with a 20 pence coin with us at all times (for the meeting at least!) as you were meant to “be prepared!”  I have never been great at too much forward planning, I can think of a few weeks to months ahead but talk about some time further in the future and I am fully happy to leave it to God! Anything can happen, my plans are not his plans! I know that they are to prosper me and you, but it does make me curious as to what is in store!

The only way to deal with the feeling of expectancy is to make sure you are ready when God opens the door to the next stage of your life and says “this way“!  Keep knocking, keep looking for “God’s hand” and one day you will find out what you expected was microscopic compared to the massive opportunity you will get!

Don’t just give up, give out! #Lent

One of the things that really annoys me with the Christian Faith is how we compartmentalise things, the christian calendar (not taking saints days into it) looks like this

  • January – Thanking God for the past year, praying for the new one
  • February- thinking about love
  • March/April- easter and the days leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus as a man
  • July/August – holiday clubs, challenging children to take a step into a relationship with jesus
  • August/september- harvest/God’s provision
  • October- The light in the darkness, anti-hallowe’en, thinking about our loved ones who are no longer with us
  • December- Jesus as a baby, gifts,

Now for one it took more than three months for Jesus to go from a baby to a fully grown man, but we never think about that?  I led a devotion session last night and in preparation for it, it dawned on me once again how some of us see “lent”, for some it is another time to try again at “giving up” but I was inspired to challenge and even inform those listening that there are families in our city that would have struggled to make pancakes as they may not have had the money to buy milk, flour or eggs to make them let alone money for the toppings!

I was taken aback when I looked on this website and saw on the poverty map, that my home is almost slap bang in the middle of the poorest area in my city!  Now when we moved, we realised that it wasn’t a rich area, and there is lots of need around us but it still stirred something within me and I was almost brought to tears!

The local foodbanks have their occasional “requests” but it appears that the only time some churches and/or Christians even think about those going hungry is at harvest time!  I realise that church services need planning and it is helpful for those preaching to have a “series” or theme but we all need to wake up and look outside our four walls!

I have become very conscious of the fact that most of my blogs are about church and social action, but things cannot continue as they are, the government is tightening their belts (rightly or wrongly, I know which i think) free school meals and doctors pay is being cut, local councils are reducing provision for work with children and young people, now is not the time to lament and shake our fists!

  • Now is the time to act!
  • Now is the time to get involved!
  • Now is the time to donate!
  • Now is the time to care!
  • Now is the time to pray for God to ignite a flame within you to make a difference in the world!

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