A Place to Belong

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“Where are you from?” A question that should be easy to answer. But it isn’t always is it? Do you reply with the place where you live; the place you were born or the place you lived for the longest?

When I walked out of an abusive marriage, I had to move back in with my parents. To a place I had never lived and knew no one. I felt that I really didn’t belong. I had just left my marriage, the one relationship that is supposed to last a lifetime, on top of that, I had to start all over again. Yet again.

I think that many people experience this kind of confusion, whether they have lived in dozens of places, or in the same house their whole life. We are all searching for a sense of belonging, and often struggle to find it.

I think that this is a longing God has put into all of us. And when God puts a longing in our hearts; he loves to fulfil it.

For years I have known that my home is heaven. That one day I will live there, and find my home the in place where I will belong forever. This is a great hope for the future, but what about now? I have (hopefully) many years between now and the day I find myself in heaven.

The great news is, this home isn’t just a promise for the future. It is a promise for right now as well.

I love that throughout the book of Psalms, David refers to God as his home. No matter what troubles he is facing, who is hunting him down, he is able to God his refuge in time of need. He is that same thing for us. You hear soppy couple’s tell each other that their home is where ever the other one is. Well that is true of God as well, and since he is everyone, you cannot escape your home. No matter how far you travel, God is always your home.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Phillipians 3:20)

Notice that this passage doesn’t say that our citizenship will be in heaven, but that is is on heaven. Right now.

You are already a citizen of heaven. You might not live there, yet. But you already have the passport.

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We already have all the rights that come along with being a citizen of heaven, and all the protection as well. We find our identity in this citizenship. We already belong.

No matter how unsettled or lonely you feel you have a home and an identity; you belong.

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How to be #Blessed


When, exactly, did the word blessed start appearing all the time? It used to be the kind of word that was the preserve of grannies and rural vicars. Now it seems to be just about everywhere. It’s as if everyone is, or wants to be #blessed. But what exactly does it mean?

As I was thinking about this the other day, I decided to have a little search on Instagram to see what it was people were hashtagging as blessed. And I have to admit, I was kind of surprised by what I found.

It seemed like that particular hashtag was most associated with women with rather large breasts. Probably not what the grannies or rural vicars were referring to. And, unfortunately, leaving me feeling resigned that I most definitely am not blessed!

Of course there were a load of selfies (including a couple of fit men) some pictures of babies and plates full of food, and a whole lot of some what inspiring quotes.

Not exactly what the word blessed brings to mind.

Not exactly what Jesus meant when he said blessed are the poor in spirit in that sermon on the mount.

How have we managed to misunderstand this word so much, that big boobs and hot bodies have become synonymous with the word blessed?

How has this holy, bible word become so distorted.

Blessed is about none of this. Not at all.

How can it be about expensive jewelery when Jesus says that we are blessed when we are poor in spirit, because this is when we realise how much we need him.

How can it be about cute kittens when Jesus says we are blessed when we grieve, because that is when we find comfort.

How can it be abouut posed and edited photos when Jesus says blessed are the humble. He even says that the whole earth will be theirs.

How can it be about plates full of food when Jesus says we are blessed when we hunger and thirst for justice, when we want to do the right thing for people. That is when we will be satisfied.

How can it be about pictures of our latest purchases when Jesus says we are blessed when we are kind, when we show mercy to others, because he will show mercy to us.

How can it be about half-naked bodies when Jesus says we are blessed when we think pure thoughts, because that s when we will see him.

How can it be about clothes which have been made in sweatshops when Jesus says we are blessed when we seek peace, because then we will be called his children.

How can it be about semi-inspirational quotes when Jesus says we are blessed are those who are persecuted for doing the right thing, he even says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

How can it be about seeking likes when Jesus says that people will insult us, that they will say evil and hurtful things about us, but even then we are blessed. We can even rejoice in this pain, because the rewards will be waiting for us in heaven.

Being blessed, and getting blessed, has nothing to do with stuff, or hot bodies. In fact, what Jesus tell us is the exact opposite. He tells us we are blessed through what many would consider hardship, because that’s what brings us closer to him.

None of these #blessings are true Blessings, they do not bring us closer to God, they actually turn our eyes away from him they are like a barrier between us and him.

Today I am thankful that I am not #blessed, with a fit body; that would only distract me from what God has planned for me, but that I am truly Blessed by my heavenly father.

 

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)

How To Be Nice, But Not A Pushover

design-3Do you ever feel as if other people are draining the life out of you? Like they are constantly taking from you and not giving anything in return?

I know that I have felt like this in the past in both friendships and relationships. Something in me has screamed out, THIS ISN’T RIGHT. But I haven’t known how to make it better. Part of me has felt guilty for having this feeling in the first place. Aren’t we supposed to lovely Christian people who are kind all the time? How can we do that without letting other people down? How can we be kind without being a pushover?

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.

This Moment

IMG_1002Most of the time we spend most of the time worried about what we need to do, or worrying about what we didn’t do.

One foot in the past and one in the future and our head full of worry and confusion.

The sick thoughts of mistakes and what ifs, the questions for tomorrow and the fears for the future take over and we forget to actually live today.

Right now. This moment. You can take your mind of the worry and you can find peace. Continue reading

Emotions of Easter: Guilt

IMG_0597-0It’s almost impossible to put into words the greatness of what Jesus did for us on that first Good Friday. I know that I definitely am unable to do it justice. However I start to explain it, it somehow feels weak in comparison to the power of what Jesus has done for us.

As I was reading about Jesus crucifixion, one of the things that struck me were the actions of some of the disciples leading up to it. A lot of people had a lot to feel guilty that day, not only Judas, but the other disciples as well.

Peter had a lot to regret, not only had he denied knowing Jesus. He had also fallen asleep, along with James and John, when he was supposed to be watching over him.

Imagine how the three of them must have felt, when just a short while later, Judas approached to have Jesus arrested. This was the last chance they had to spend time with Jesus, before his death, and they had just blown it!

Imagine how they must have felt when he was sent to be crucified, knowing the suffering that he was going through, and realising they didn’t take their last opportunity to support him.

Imagine how they must have felt as he was dying, realising just how badly they had let him down.

Looking at the cross, it’s sometimes hard to remember that we share in that same guilt. That it’s our sin that put Jesus on the cross. Like the disciples, we have taken our eyes off Jesus, we have been selfish and we haven’t trusted him when we should have.

When we look at the cross this Good Friday it should convict us, we should feel guilty about the things that we have done. If we don’t feel this way, our faith must be very shallow indeed. After all Jesus took the punishment that we deserved to endure, and that is not fair.

But Jesus did it because he loves us.

We should take time to reflect on our guilt and shame, because without it, the cross is meaningless. Without it we would never be able to understand just how much Jesus loves us.

We shouldn’t stay in that place of guilt though. We have been forgiven from all the things we have done to put Jesus on the cross. We can open our hands and let go of them. The disciples were given another chance when Jesus came back to life again. And so are we.