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

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If they only knew!

There are times in life where you think “if they only knew!”
If they only knew what was really going on in my life!
If they only knew what that person was up to!
If they only knew how I felt!
If they only knew how how great life can be, when God is a part of it!
If they only Knew what I was thinking!
There is so much about life, the universe and everything we don’t know (and the answer is not 42!)
I often have thought “if I only knew what God wants me to do

Jeremiah says “my plans are to prosper you and give you a future” “my plans are not your plans
A recent event made me realise communication was the answer to a potential issue that was building and getting worse, I was fortunate that I could be on the outside of this and see both sides of the issue.

These four words have a challenge for me/us in a secular sense as well as in a Christian sense.

  • If people don’t know what we’re struggling with, then how can they help/support us?
  • If people don’t know what we are feeling, how can they empathise/counsel us?!

It is a challenge in the sense of “if they only knew God loves them and the sacrifice that Jesus made for them” it is down to us to share the love of God and blessings we receive from God, we all struggle with life events, but it is our responsibility and role in life to be there for other people in those times as well as trying to be “Christ-like” in those situations.

The other challenge for Christians, is to live life in a way that we will not worry about “if they only knew what I have done!”  You cannot change the past, you may need to seek forgiveness from those who you have wronged, the flip side of that however is forgiving those who you feel had wronged you! I can think of two people that I don’t think I have forgiven for annoying me (and they are both fellow believers), one person doesn’t even know who I am and when I saw them recently, the memory of what they did was vivid in my mind, but they are no doubt clueless about how I felt about the incident! How would they have reacted if I told them? Probably confused about what on earth I am on about!

Too often our response to “hello, how are you” or “alright?” or other local colloquialisms is “yeah  not bad!” When in actual fact we may be struggling, stressed, depressed and or physically sick!  Some people over share, you may know people that seem to be constantly suffering with one ailment after another or one trial after another.  There are some people that do truly have calamity after calamity but they are few and far between!

My family live in the poorest area of my city, our neighbours are oblivious to this and were almost indignant of that fact when my wife informed them of that fact!  My church (like many others throughout the UK) runs a foodbank and has access to vouchers to enable families to purchase food from supermarkets, which is great but unfortunately it is like a bandage or sticking plaster on the problem of poverty!

There are individuals and families that do not know what support they can call upon, there are benefits and charity funds for the needs of people who require such financial aid but even that doesn’t solve their problems!  We have what some people call a “throw away society”, less people know how to “make do and mend”, less people know how to budget and not spend more than they have!

I am glad that the UK government are cracking down on “payday loan” companies that charge 1000’s of percentage interest on loans for those in need, that’s just despicable thing to do to those already in financial problems!  But it is still far too easy to “borrow” money!  I once phoned up to see about getting a loan and I got asked the usual questions until they asked “so if you get sick and cannot work, how will you continue the repayments” I stood there thinking “I don’t know!, we don’t have a car or our own home so they would have nothing to repossess or claim from us!

My children both have SPD, sometimes they get overwhelmed and anxious and all that seem to be able to say is “I don’t know!“, simple things like “Do you want pizza or a burger?” or “say sorry or you will have to go on the naughty step!”  A while ago I had to take our youngest into our creche, she wanted me but I knew she would be fine after a minute or two as she knew the ladies in there with her, even if she didn’t know that herself! Then my son was in tears, couldn’t explain what was wrong but didn’t want to go into his Sunday school group, as I was consoling him I suggested that he went in and then if he wanted to come back and sit with me he could, he stayed put and seemed happy when the service finished.  When I came back to the main hall after taking my son in to his group, I looked back and saw my wife sitting with someone who was in tears, I didn’t know what was wrong but she seemed to know the right things to say, and hopefully helped that person to feel better!

Those of us who do go to church week on week, we are virtually no different to those outside our churches apart from two major things:-

  1. We have a God who loves us, who cares for us, whose son knows what pain, sorrow, rejection and injustice feels like.
  2. Through our church “family” we have a group of people that are called to love and encourage one another.

No one in church should feel alone or unable to get support from other believers, yet it happens. No one in our communities should feel desperate, lonely and without hope but it is widespread!

Please think about who needs to know you care, then they will care about what you know!

 

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I want… P’s, Q’s, good manners and Christianity

I am sure that I am not the only parent who wonders at what point your children will catch on to the “I WANT doesn’t GET” theory.  “Good manners cost nothing” is another phrase that is bandied about, for your children to say please and thankyou when they are out in public or in someone else’s home is what most parents desire (I hope!).  They may want a chocolate bar or the toy they have just seen on the shelf or the TV but do they actually need it?

There is a difference between the “seven deadly sins of desires” and “righteous desires”.  I want to be a good dad/husband/christian/friend/brother/son/employee, and I am sure no-one would condemn me for wanting that, but when one want/desire overwhelms your time it becomes detrimental to your spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing!  i.e. wanting to be a good employee so much that you become a workaholic, so your family life suffers and you do not make time to pray/read the bible/sit and wait for god to speak, so your spiritual life suffers.  You need to ask yourself, “do I really need to stay an extra hour or would that hour be better tending to my family’s needs

In some ways, spending too much time running around after your children/family is not good either!  You may want to be helpful, or it may be your way of showing that you love them but doing so at the detriment of spending time with God or even giving yourself time to think!

We have unintentionally created a family version of the American thanksgiving meal, every meal my son wants everyone around the table to say thank you for something, which is great but it is funny to see other peoples faces drop when he says “STOP, we haven’t all prayed yet”, his prayer has developed from “Thank you for my trains” to “Thank you for my Gruffalo, my trains, for looking left and right so we don’t get run over and thank you for nanny, grandad, (the names of anyone else in the room at the time)”

I truly believe that we should thank god for things before we ask for our wants/needs.  I once prayed  for my wife’s headache and by the time I finished thanking God for a few things the pain was gone, I hadn’t even asked for healing yet!  It says in Psalm 139 v23 that God knows what we desire, he knows what we are anxious about, so in a way we don’t actually need to request anything as he knows already!

When I was little, I used to pray over and over the same few words, which God always answered. But it wasn’t because I badgered God into submission like I tried to do with my parents, but because he knew I was desperate for it!  About 6 years ago, my wife got food poisoning, we were staying  in a South African village, an hour away from the nearest hospital!  All I could do was thank god for bringing us there, blessing us and then I prayed for healing until the taxi arrived (it was struggling to get to us due to electrical problems, the headlights were flashing on and off). Once in the taxi, I felt like I was going to be sick so all I prayed was “thank you for Lord for looking after us, please don’t let me be sick!)

God cares about the little things, like headaches. I love the thought that “Things we consider to be mountains become only molehills when we look up and gaze upon Jesus!”  So when you are stressed, sick, desperate or lost, STOP and ask for God’s help, he WANTS to and you NEED to!

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