He Didn’t Have to But He Did

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He didn’t have to wake you up this morning. But he did.

He didn’t have to give you breath. But he did.

He didn’t have to die for you. But he did.

Some times we take these things in life for granted. As if God owes us life. As if he owes us forgiveness.

As. If. He. Owes. Us. Anything.

How self-absorbed? What kind of distorted thinking must we have to think that the God of the universe, the creator of everything, who holds it all in the palm of his hand, actually owes us a single thing.

And yet we go through everyday, acting as if we deserve life, as if we derve forgivenss, as if we deserve any kind of blessing.

How dare we. How can we forget the chasm that exists between us and God. The cost of death that was required to bridge that gap between us and him.

We should be living every single second of every single day filled with wonder that God would even bother to remember our names. Let alone love us. Let alone send his Son to die for us. Because of us.

How dare we forget to scream to the whole world about what God has done for us. When we really didn’t deserve any of it. When a girl will shout about a boy buying her a few cheap flowers that will die in a couple of days. Why are we silent about the God who did so much more for us?

How can we possibly be so preoccupied by the pointless inane things of this world instead of getting down on our knees and worshipping him.

God didn’t have to save you. He doesn’t have to keep on blessing you. But he does. Because of who he is.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

 

 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

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If Not This, Then Something Better

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At the moment I am going through the rounds of applying for a new job. It is a tedious as it is time consuming. The thing is: every now and again, I see the job that I really like the look of. I can’t help but get my hopes up and pray, Lord is it this one? Is this the one that you have for me. Sometimes I think I pray that, just because I want to have a permanent job, and a little more certainty about the future, because working through agencies is a pretty unstable way to live. Continue reading

Three Things

 

Try harder. Do better. Don’t be so stupid.

These are the words I tell myself.

Over and over again every single day.

I don’t know about you, but often it feels like I’m about three steps behind every one else, just trying to play catch up.

But on top of that I can also be lazy, I know I could try better. (I think most of us do.) So we try to criticize and nag ourselves into submission, and only end up feeling about a hundred times worse.

Stop worrying, Care less. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

This is the advise should take.

These words sound like good advise, don’t they? At least, they’re definitely words that I need to hear! But, in my experience, they’re definitely a lot harder to put into practice.

I mean, how are we supposed to stop worrying when there is just so much stuff to worry about? Sometimes I start to relax, and then I remember that there is just so much that I need to be stressed about, that I make myself start worrying again!

I know I shouldn’t compare, but when other people’s lives are so much better how can I not. And anyway, if I didn’t compare, how else would I know just how badly I was failing.

We can try and try and take this advise, but unfortunately, on our own, it’s simply impossible advice.

You’re chosen. You’re loved. You don’t need to worry.

This is what I really need to know.

If we don’t understand that we are chosen, and truly loved. We are never going to be able to take that advice. We will never be able to relax and just be.

The only way to break free from worry is to know the peace that we have in the knowledge that it’s all in God’s hands.

The only way we can let go of comparison and feel like we are enough is in knowing just how much God loves us.

We could never work hard enough or be good enough to make God love us. Instead he freely chooses to, just as we are.

The Crazy Kind of Christian

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Sometimes, when I walk past that man standing on the corner with his bible in hand (the one screaming and shouting about salvation) God speaks to me, and says: “One day, that’s going to be you.”

I laugh. I tell him I have my own ways of doing things. (Ways that don’t involve me looking like a lunatic, embarrassed,  being either ignored or laughed at.)

God says to me again. “One day, that’s going to be you.”

I argue, and tell him that I prefer to speak to people who I know about him. People I already have a relationship with, not complete strangers.

Truth is: I’m lying. I’m not afraid of looking like a loon. I’m afraid of sharing the gospel.

I’m afraid someone will ask a question I won’t be able to answer. I’m afraid I’ll look stupid. I’m afraid they’ll reject me. I’m afraid and I’m ashamed.

But what if they need me, and I don’t tell them? What if they go home tonight and sleep forever? What if they have to live the rest of their life without knowing they are truly loved: Without experiencing real peace and understanding hope?

Would my embarrassment be worth them having to live a life without Christ? Would it be worth them having to die a death without him?

If we can’t imagine a life without him; why should we expect anyone else to live without him?

I think a lot of us have forgotten just what we have been saved and set free from. If we truly knew we wouldn’t be able to help but be the crazy kind of Christian. The kind that just can’t shut up talking about Jesus.

The kind that knows that action do speak louder than words; but doesn’t use that as an excuse for not speaking out.

The kind that isn’t afraid to look daft sometimes, and who knows that when they take a chance on sharing their faith, that God always comes through for them, and gives them the right words to say.

The kind of Christian who knows that sharing the greatest message is the most exciting thing that they can ever do.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)

 

 

A Secret Garden Devotional

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A couple of months ago I recently re-watched my favourite films from childhood: The Secret Garden. What wasn’t to love: children who are wiser than their parents; secret cousins hidden away; and, of course, the Yorkshire accents!

But deeper than that, the story of orphan Mary, sent to live with an unaffectionate uncle, is one that we can all relate to. Her longing to belong, and have a place to call her own resonates, no matter what your age.

There are so many things that I could take out of this story, but it’s her invalid cousin, Colin, that have chosen to focus on. (Forgetting the slightly creepy scene where he tells Mary he wants to marry her!)

Colin had always been told that he was an invalid. He spent his whole life believing that he was unwell. Unable to leave his room or have contact with other people for fear of spores. His legs have become so weak that the can barely walk, and looks pale and sickly. As if he were really unwell. Until Mary comes along, and sees through the lies that he has been told, literally pushing him out of his comfort zone and into the daylight.

Before she came along he was barely living. He had believed the lies he had been told all his life, living in the dark, barely seeing the sunlight. But when she come into his life, she broke the power of those lies, by telling him the truth.

Maybe there’s some lie you believe about yourself. Maybe you believe that you can’t achieve anything, or that you are useless. The only thing that can break through those lies is the truth.

When you shine the light on those lies, you begin to realise that they had no power in the first place.

This might be hard at first. In a sick kind of way, you, like Colin, may have become used to this half-life. Maybe these lies have been attached to you for so long that flesh has grown around them, and they have to be ripped out.

Facing up to the lies, and accepting the truth can be a painful process. And, like Colin learning to walk, it may take time. But when you have been set free you will experience more life than you could have ever imagined possible.

1To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 31-32)