Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit
Psalm 51 v12
I know it's here somewhere,
I just need to look.
I had it with me when I went to bed,
but am struggling to find it today.
I'm trying to connect through Worship songs,
reading my bible,
and praying in tongues.
I know its here somewhere,
I'm trying to be still.
Looking for Joy in my Heavenly Saviour.
Joy isn't found in my circumstances,
events, happenings or life changes.
My Joy comes from a man who died on a cross.
A man so Holy, so pure and true,
who took my place,
and did this willingly so.
His Spirit is with me now,
whether I can feel it abundantly or not.
So I cling to the promise of Jesus being near,
My hope. my joy, my all.
Experience is the prompt word from Five Minute Friday this week. This week’s word of experience. Join the fun here https://fiveminutefriday.com
Experience apparently comes with age along with wisdom. However in my 40 something years, the thing I have learnt is, the more I make decisions good or bad, the more God tends to affirm those decisions.
I am known for having rather a lot of jobs in my time. It can be the butt of many jokes! But today as I leave yet another job I feel reassured I am doing the right thing.
I am leaving a secure well paid job to take another job, which is temporary and minimum wage. Yikes I must be crazy! But I am trusting in God. I only have a family to support anyway!
I can’t see a future, I wonder if I have missed my calling. But one thing I feel reassured about is God is in control. As I went to my leaving get together, it was all about their future and past. It wasn’t a farewell. They may miss me but I am definatley not in the company’s future. God has made this clear.
I may not ever find my career calling, and I am committing financial suicide. But I am walking in faith. I cannot see the future but that doesn’t matter as I am walking in faith even when I cannot see. God is in control.
O’LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
Psalm 139 v 1-2
The thing about God knowing every part of us is that we can’t hide anything.
People around us can see if we are happy, sad, shocked or sick by our words and expressions. However sometimes we can mask our real emotions with others. We can smile while feeling empty inside. We can say we are fine when we are struggling with problems and conerns. It can be easy to fool one another.
With God however we can’t hide anything. He knows us better than we know ourselves. We can’t mask our thoughts, feelings or actions from him.
I love that I don’t have to pretend with God. That he will meet me in the happy, sad, awkward, and desperate. I do not have to pretend. We just need to ask. I love the second verse of the song Mighty to save by Hillsong.
So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
And fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
And now I surrender
Once we start to surrender and meet God where we are and not where we think we should be, something shifts. Our circumstances around us may not change but our hearts and attitudes do.
As we continue to get real with God, either in prayer or worship we get reminded by the Spirit that Jesus conquered everything for us and wants us to live in that freedom.
So wherever you are today, meet God where you are and let God fill you again with everything you need.
Talent – Aghhhhhhhh this is a word, that will cause me issues .
I confess that I do need to get a dictionary meaning (outside of my 5 minutes)
Talent – Natural aptitude or skill
Ok so this may seem an odd word to look up! We all really know what talent means! But do we all recognise and believe in our talent?
Let’s face it having a natural aptitude and skill for being clumsy and saying really dispy things, isn’t on most people’s wish lists! But here I am.
If I am not the winner of the world’s most unconfident and talentless person in the world, then I am up there as a contender!
I know this is wrong and I constantly repent for this, but this is something I constantly battle with.
But one thing I have learnt though, is that just because I’m not confident doesn’t mean I’m not talented.
I have also learnt that just because I have to work on things harder than some doesn’t mean I am less talented.
I have a post it on my desk at work with Phillipians 4 v 13 on:
I can do anything through Christ that strengthens me.
I have learnt in my Christain journey not to compare myself with anyone else because I am fearfully and wonderfully made for my purpose only. If you start comparing your talents to others you start to lose all definition of you and your purpose.
So if you are like me talented but it isn’t always easy, remember you are not doing anything in your strength if you let Jesus in.
You can do anything through Christ who is with you every step of the way strengthening you.
If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him.
Matthew 7 v11
How do you see yourself? ordinary or extraordinary?
We are all ordinary until that something makes us extraordinary!
Anyone can be good. Anyone can do good things and want good things. 99% of the population just want to live in harmony with one another. They just want to give their children the best start they can and lead peaceful lives with everyone. You don’t have to believe in God to do this.
As Christian’s we are called to be more than ordinary. We have the living breathing God living inside us.
The power that raised Jesus from the dead is also living in you.
Romans 8 v11
We can’t keep our faith in well ordered little boxes, being nice to one another. Scared to step out of our comfort zones. Scared to upset anyone. Scared of what others may think of us. We have to be bold, courageous and go where God leads us however scary that may be.
If we can’t show God in extraordinary ways as an extraordinary person, how can we shine our light as a beacon for God if we are just doing the same as everyone else who does not yet know Christ?
Is God calling you to step out of your comfort Zone. Be bold and courageous in prayer and trust and great things will start happening.
This is probably one of the most famous and used lines from the Old Testament. Even today a lot of Christians go to this verse in times of need. I had this verse at my baptism and constantly call on it when things get too much.
But what does it really mean? Living in the South East of England, I don’t really get to meet any shepherds. I can only Google to see if they still exist!
So if shepherds don’t exist, does it mean that this verse is outdated, redundant? Obviously no. But what does it really mean to us.
To me I guess it means that I am being protected. God is still there looking after me. Not letting me leave. As a sheep I stay with the pack, wander off or be under threat from predators, likes foxes.
As a sheep I see that I make good and bad decisions. When I am closer to my shepherd, Jesus through the Holy Spirit, I tend to listen more, leading to wiser choices in life. I am happy and content, whatever is going on around me.
When I start to wander, where the grass looks greener and lusher, I tend to ignore the shepherd and start to do my own thing, Normally leading to very unwise choices, anxiety stress and unhappiness.
But the thing that makes my shepherd different to any earthly shepherd is that my shepherd has already left the flock in search of me! He is missing me and wants to protect me from the predators of modern day life. He doesn’t scald me or shake his head at me. He lovingly picks me up in his arms and comforts me. He says it doesn’t matter because you are home now.
My shepherd knows that I won’t just wander off once, but many times. However this is not an excuse to purposely do wrong, let me make that clear. This is when I’m not paying attention and I wander aimlessly away, without even realising. My shepherd never gets tired of picking me up, bringing me home and tending to me in such a graceful and forgiving way, that can never come from anyone in this world.
That is what verse 1 of Psalm 23 means to me. Still so relevant today, tomorrow and forever. What does this verse mean to you?
I do not want because I have everything in Jesus the only shepherd we need.
The only thing predictable about life is it’s unpredictability
I am not sure how Ratatouille rates as one of life’s great philosophers but I do love this quote from this Disney rat.
Just because we believe in God why do we believe life should be predictable. God doesn’t promise an easy or predictable life.
The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, I have come that you may have life and have it to the full
John 10 v 10
God sent his Son for you and me! No easy ride. No promises of roses and chocolate everyday. You have to chip away at life one moment at a time.
Times will be easy and times will be hard but the one constant is we are not alone in this rollercoaster of a ride.
God left us his Holy Spirit. He his here, with us always we just need to let him in and lead us.
When life feels overwhelming and prayers haven’t been answered in a predictable way, we have to stand firm. If we don’t stand firm, doubt and fear get a foothold. Once doubt and fear have a foothold anger, hatred and other emotions from the thief creep in.
Jesus has given us life to the full. Not through worldly assets and riches, but by setting us free. Setting us free from doubt, fear, anger, hatred, jealousy and bitterness whatever our situations.
Whatever we are going through, however tough, the joy we have in Jesus is our strength and life. There is no unpredictably in this joy. We are free and can stand firm because the Holy Spirit is with us and helps us stand firm.
Life throws lots of curve balls, let Jesus turn them into home runs for you in any way, predictable or not.