I have felt tired this week, almost like I need a recharge button somewhere, I don’t know if its the need for half term but I do know that nowadays I know when I need a God recharge. I haven’t had a lot of time so I have been for a run with worship songs on, I’ve prayed outloud, I have studied one verse in the Bible, I have spent time with fellow Christians who fill me up rather than sap my energy, in essence, I have tried not to flap like a pigeon! Isaiah 40:31 says “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and no be faint.” We are meant to soar like eagles not flap like pigeons. If we are used to flapping it can be so hard to soar like an eagle but you can reset. You can be reminded that God has got you. God knows exactly where you are at. He knows if you are joyful and rested or the exact opposite shattered and feeling low. All we need to do is open our hearts, worship Him and be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can soar and in soaring enjoy the view, enjoy the moment, be present with God and allow Him to speak to you and reassure you that He’s holding you, He loves you and will give you only as much you can deal with. All circumstances have to pass across God’s desk before it is allowed to happen so rest in the knowledge that you are ok and God is holding You.
Why am I so quick to forget God? I read a book that likened it to a movie. The world from before creation to when Jesus returns is all about God. He is the main character from the start to finish and yet we make it all about ourselves. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says “so whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God”. We are but a mist in time. Throughout time, between 45 billion and 125 billion people have lived on this earth and we should be making sure our tiny fraction of time is used in the best way possible to glorify God. So would your life look much different if you stopped believing in God.
I decided to write down the answer to this question. I would have loads more time. Sunday mornings would be free to laze about. I’d have Thursday nights free to watch rugby and more time to watch Netflix and more sleep as I wouldn’t need to wake up earlier BUT I would lose my purpose, the reason for my gifts, no excitement of wondering what adventures God may give me, no faith, no best friend, no one who knows me inside and out, no belief that there is someone who wants the best for me and has plans for my good and no Holy Spirit to make me a better person. Sounds like the main character of the movie i.e. God, is an imperative part of my story too and worthy of all our worship and praise.
It is so easy to fill our loves with activities and leave the Lord out of it. then activity become dull and boring and we can begin to believe that this energy sapping activity has to do with God when actually life with God is an adventure. if we wake up each morning and invite God to join us in our day to day life we begin to see God’s hand in everything from answering prayers to little blessings you know only God could have done. Joh 14:13 says “anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. you can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Can you believe that? you can ask for anything. when you truly see God at work in your life and see the rich tapestry of life all connecting together, it is so exciting. It takes obedience and trust to take steps but it so so worth it. And when we do this we feel joy in so much more. One of my friends who is struggling at the moment said I made her cy when she was thinking about me and how excited I got over a drive through parking space. She said she saw how I take every opportunity to see good in everything and she would put money on that I feel God sends me those moments. This friend is not a Christian but if my joy convinces her that God is real and working then maybe she will ask God into her life. I was thinking about the film Peter Pan and how the adults stand up to thanks Wendy for changing their lives. How amazing would it be to see people finding God because our joy has convinced them that there has to be truth in it. I want to be so full of joy that it spills out to everyone around me!
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken says Psalm 62:2. I don’t know about you but sometimes I try and get help from places other than God first. Where have you been trying to get strength from recently? What have been your ways to cope with what life throws at you? God is our fortress but fortresses are not built overnight. They are built brick by brick. What bricks have you built this week? Have you spent time with God? Have you spent time listening to the small voice? Maybe you haven’t experienced that voice yet and it does take time to tune into it. It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you know what you are doing or not doing isn’t what is the best for you and others others. It can be little acts of obedience like picking up a bit of litter or praying for a friend and it can be big acts like coming to Worshipcise when you could have stayed at home or stepping out in faith. I just want to spend some time before we start in silence to reflect on what bricks we still need to allow god to build into our fortress. Ask Him tonight to become your rock in every area of worry or concern. Start with this day, what are you worrying about? What are you losing sleep over? What is hindering you from feeling joyful?
Now I know you won’t believe this, but I was a bit of a geek at school! I really struggled with having good friends who would stand by me. My Mum used to say I was an old soul and I guess that is still true now. I know I am a bit eccentric with the things I like and do and sometimes I still find it hard to feel at peace about this. I went away with a group of girlfriends last weekend and felt on edge a lot of the time. They are not Christians and I felt that during the weekend. I laughed a lot, but old insecurities reared their ugly head and I have been praying about this this week then God reminded me that he is my best friend and I am so lucky as he is the only best friend I actually need. I can go to him with every problem and know he won’t turn me away and will always listen to me. Jesus will always be honest with me. Jesus will never abandon me, or leave feeling lonely or let me fight my battles on my own. He will encourage me, lift me up and help me through good and bad times. I know that He will accept me for who I am because that is exactly how he made me…completely unique and that isn’t something to worry about, but something to praise Him for. Jesus wants the best for me and to become the best version of myself. It is safe and awesome to be different. A friend can only communicate with us in a few ways but God is able to manifest his love of us through countless ways like the wonder of nature and what I call nods from God, little things that happen in my day that only God can do like this weekend there always being a car park space easy to get into when driving Jim’s massive van or when the sun shone in my face when I was doing something for God. I have started to keep a journal of these little things so I don’t overlook the wonder that is having God as a best friend.
God is our best friend and that we don’t need anyone else except Him. Hebrews 13:5 says “God will never leave us or forsake us”. We can pray for God to help us to remember that we feel insecure or afraid that we are unique but that is how you created us to be. Help us to know we are loved and feel safe in that love to be completely ourselves. We can learn more about God so that we may become better friends and more like Him.
I had a client this week who said that she doesn’t have any time for herself each week. Another client said that she doesn’t have fun anymore, she can’t think of anything she does that is fun in her life anymore. It has really stayed with me all week. I then read a facebook post that I loved. It said,
“Sometimes I just want it to stop. Talk of COVID, protests, brutality. I lose my way. I become convinced that this new normal is real life. Then I meet an 87-year-old- who lived through polio, diptheria, Vietnam protests and yet is still enchanted with life. He seems surprised when I say that 2020 must be especially challenging to him. “No”, he said slowly looking me straight in the eyes. “I learned a long time ago to not see the world through the printed headlines, I see the world through the people that surround me, I see the world with the realization that we love big. Therefore I choose to write my own headlines. “Husband loves wife today” “”old man makes a new friend”
His words collide with my worries, freeing them from the tether I had been holding tight. They float away. I am a left with a renewed spirit. My headline now reads “Woman overwhelmed by the spirit of kindness and the reminder that our capacity to love is never-ending.”
It echoes the bible verse “the thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly”. What are your headlines this week? You choose them. You choose your mindset. You choose how much joy is in your life? We choose whether to be a Mary or a Martha! We can be so busy doing things, even doing things for Jesus, that means you don’t spend time with Him. It made me think about the goal to do 10,000 steps a day that people seem to create as a goal but are those 10,000 steps for God, or for you. I want my headline to be “Jo takes every step with God” and “Jo feels joy in every step she takes”. Take a moment to decide what your headline will be for this week.
It has been half term so the kids have been off school for two weeks which means a very different routine. We went on holiday for a week and I have then been working and decorating two bedrooms in the second week of half term so have totally broken my usual routine. I realise that my routine helps me feel connected with God. Every morning I read my Bible and when I do the 15 minute drive from school and then back without the kids in the car I have my Christian podcast on. When I am at home alone I have my worship music on in the background and spend an afternoon a week preparing for Worshipcise but all those things have stopped whilst being in the holidays. I felt like I had failed but then God reminded me that I met him in new ways this over the last two weeks:
I ran by the sea and that always makes me feel connected to God
I ate a picnic watching seals sunbathe
I smiled and laughed as my kids ran into the sea in their pants and coats
I went to church and had the courage to go to the front and pray victory for someone who I know is struggling
I prayed for help to release the expectation I have of getting all the painting finished and had an amazing afternoon with the kids that I will never forget
I carved a pumpkin with a cross in it with the kids
The devil had made me believe I had lost my connection with God but actually I haven’t. There is a reason that God says to put on armour and that is because we are in a war. Without the armour we can feel very powerless and alone. Without spending time immersed in God and flooding our brains with truth we can easily stray from the right path in our minds and feel uneasy. Galations 5:17 says “for the flesh constantly has a strong desire to suppress the Spirit, and the Spirit constantly has a strong desire to suppress to flesh, and these are entrenched in an attitude of mutual opposition to one another”. Worshipcise is another opportunity to give strength to the spirit and mind. Our thoughts and words are so powerful when spoken with God’s truth so let us pray,
Lord God, we thank you for victory and thank you for the tools you have given us to proclaim that victory even when we haven’t seen it come to pass yet in our lives. Thank you for fighting for us even when we don’t even realise that you are. Help us to hear your truths tonight in this time of fellowship and take those truths out into the world this week to we may help others also, in Jesus name, Amen.
How have you connected with God this week?
I bet there are lots of things you could be doing right now instead of reading this blog. Maybe you feel tired, or hungry or busy with other activities so that fact you are reading this is a victory for the Lord. The devil is continually giving us distractions in our lives. My head is often filled with what I think I should be doing. The devil uses these distractions to clog our heads when our hearts should be filled with God. This can be done in ways you may not even be aware of. For example, when you look in your cupboards for a naughty snack when you are not actually hungry, what are you looking for? You are trying to fill a God shaped hole with a chocolate bar shape…it will never work! Maybe, you are distracted by friends who you know do not bring out the best in you. You may have heard the phrase “You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.” Proverbs 27:17 says “as iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
The definition of doubt is distraction and it can be sneaky. It often isn’t recognised until we have already detoured like when you say you will spend time with God today and then you start cleaning out your kitchen cupboards. When we get distracted in all these ways, we lose our sense of purpose and identity in Christ so today let us be in the presence of God without distraction and let us be reminded of his promises to us. Read the bible, play a worship song, be still and reminded of God’s promises to you.
How have you come to this point today? Have you had an amazing week or have you had a week where you feel like in many situations you have failed God and failed to show Gods love to others. I have just finished reading a book called “A Woman’s Battle for Grace”. I never really understood what the term grace meant and often felt like I wasn’t a very good Christian. Even this morning I felt like I had failed when I shouted at the kids as I got them ready…my eldest son couldn’t seem to find any of the clothes he needed for PE and could only find one of his trainers. My middle son and youngest son still had their pyjamas on 10 minutes before we needed to be in the car and I ended up shouting at them, even though I had spent time with God that morning. I asked forgiveness and remembered a passage I had read in the book that said if we try to act like Jesus and try to live by the law of saying what would Jesus do, we will always fail. “Becoming like Jesus doesn’t happen by conscious effort, but rather by constant consideration of the grace of our Champion, Jesus Christ” (Broderson, 2018:129). God knows we will mess up, he chose the 12 disciples, knowing that they would fail countless times and he chooses us knowing we will need his grace to succeed. God loves me and you knowing that we mess up but our hearts are for Him. Just like in the story of the five loaves and two fish, “the grace of Jesus reaches the need and leaves leftovers of grace-more than enough grace for everyone to partake, be satisfied and take some home” (Broderson, 2018). One way to receive more grace is to remind ourselves in prayer and worship of his love for us and his promises. “the lord will take delight in prospering you” (Deuteronomy 30:9), “The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Exodus 34:6). God want to bless us, he wants us to have a grace story. He wants us to be able to change because of his grace so that others want to know him too. His love is like Niagara Falls, we cant comprehend how it can continue to flow year on year but is does. It reminds me of the Japanese art of Kintsugi, where broken pots are repaired with gold. It becomes more beautiful because it has been broken and we are like that with God. We are broken, we will make mistakes time and time again but God repairs us, makes us more beautiful and able to be filled with his Spirit.
In essence the Lord is our ultimate champion, the One our hearts desperately long for. He is everything we need. We should be asking God to open our hearts, our ears and our eyes to Him. We must allow God to repair our broken parts with beauty and love
Let us spend some time bringing our focus back to God by being reminded of the joy of our bodies. Let’s take something as simple as the feet.
In Born to Run Leonardo de Vinci said the foot is a “masterpiece of human engineering.” Hartman, a physical therapist said “Blueprint your feet, and you’ll find a marvel that engineers have been trying to match for centuries. Your foot’s centrepiece is the arch, the greatest weight-bearing design ever created. The beauty of the arch s the way it gets stronger under stress; the harder you push down, the tighter its parts mesh…Buttressing the foot’s arch from all sides is a high-tensile web of 26 bones, 33 joints, 12 rubbery tendons, and 18 muscles, all stretching and flexing like an earthquake-resistant suspension bridge (McDougall, 2010: 176-177)
We are not like trees. We are not tethered in place by roots like plants. We don’t have to wait for the world to come to us but can go into the world using our feet as Jesus commissioned us to do,
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19-20
We overlook what a superpower movement is. Instead of the worldly view of always wanting more, lets just move being thankful for what we do have. I remember a sermon so vividly from when I was younger and the speaker said if you only have tomorrow what you thanked God for today what would you have? Let us be thankful for what we do have so we may never take it for granted. We should be thanking God for our perfectly designed bodies, created to tell other about God. It is easy to focus on our flaws but lets try and be thankful that we are fit enough to go out into the world and make disciples of men.