Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Rishie's Ramblings 28 July-4 August

Thursday, July 28, 2011 11:27:40 PM
Today would have been my Father's 63rd birthday. He died when he was 57. It still hurts though the pain is dulled by time. Grief like that never goes away completely I guess, it just gets dulled by time.  I'm a little sad but I know he's in heaven and I know he's happy.

11:29:35 PM
[ my reply to a prompt sent to one of my Christian journalling groups]
Are some of your friends so precious that you hold them to be as dear to you as family?  
O definitely. I call them my online family. I won't list them all but there are several of them. I have  some online sons, 2 online Mums, a few online sisters and quite a few online brothers as well as 1 online dad. I'm blessed.

11:57:46 PM
this quote was sent to one of my Christian journalling groups, here is the quote and my thoughts about it:
"Where your feet take you, that is who you are." Frederich Buechner

I like this quote it made me think about where I want my feet to take me, what I want to be and do with my life that god has given me.

My feet take me to my keyboard a few times a day to sing and praise God. I am passionate about singing, I would sing all day long if I didn't have other things to do. I have always loved to sing and I used to dream of being an opera singer. I would love to use the voice god gave me for some purpose. O Lord, show me what you want me to do and give me the strength and the willingness to do it. Amen.

Monday, August 01, 2011 9:12:52
A new month, what  does it hold? sometimes I think it would be nice to look ahead an know what was coming and at other times I'm glad I don't know. At least I know that god knows exactly what is going to happen to me this month, he knew all about my life from before the world was created. I can trust him in good times and bad times because he sees the bigger picture. The bible says:
 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.
[Isaiah 55:9]

so i know he knows everything and how each situation will turn out. I find that thought very comforting. I hope this month will be a good one for all of us but if it isn't at least I know god has his hand on everything that happens and his way is always best.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 03:07:46 PM
It claws at my gut and makes my heart race.
A hundred "What if"  scenarios fill my mind,
my peace goes out the window.
"God, are you out there?" 
but the noise in my mind makes it hard to hear him.
the world says "don't worry be happy".
what planet are you from?
Do you think its as easy as that?

 the bible says "Fear not" 
but Lord that is so hard!
Maybe if I did this or that
then maybe you would help me?
If I promised not to do ...
or if I promise I'll do ...
won't you help me then ?

The choice is ours.
will we worry and stress and fret?
or will we trust and have faith in god?
worrying, what good does  it do us? What help does it give us? it only puts our blood pressure up and keeps us awake at night. Jesus has this to say about worry:

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
[Matthew 6:27]

I was confronted by this today when I got a call that my doctor wants to see me. I had a blood test last week and I guess he wants to discuss it with me. fear immediately seized  me and hit me with a heap of reasons why the Doctor wants to see me, none of them good. I had to make the choice, do I give into fear or do I trust God? It's not easy, it's a moment by moment choice. Fear doesn't give up easily, it keeps coming back and trying to take control, so we must keep choosing to trust god and ask his help to deal with our fears. Meditating on scriptures like this will help:
fear not, for I am with you;
   be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
[Isaiah 41:10]

god tells us several times in scripture to "fear not"  so I guess he wants us to  take it seriously.
 God, give me strength to resist fear when it comes knocking. Help me to trust that you do know what you are doing and you know exactly what is going on with me. I give you praise because you said in your word:
 "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
[Hebrews 13:5]
 Help me to cling to promises like that when I am tempted to give into fear. Amen. 

Thursday, August 04, 2011 1:33:03 AM
Well it's time again to upload this to my blog. It has certainly been an interesting week. i heard a Christian comedian describe the Christian life as interesting. I think I can agree with that. God doesn't want us to get caught in a rut of routine, he wants our life to be interesting, as we grow in maturity and know more about God and do what he says. It requires  faith to live like that but god has given us the measure of faith.

well I will leave you with that thought and go and upload this. God bless you for reading.

Monday, 1 August 2011

dressed for success

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
[col 3:12-14]

We recently did a study on the armour of god and this seems to be the logical next step to that. Remember we saw in that study that the bible sometimes uses imagery to explain spiritual truths. We don't go around clad in physical armour and we don't go around dressed in compassion kindness humility gentleness and patience either, I don't know what sort of clothes they would be, do you? But we are to let these characteristics define who we are, they are to become part of us, like our favourite piece of clothing, our favourite dress or skirt or shirt or pair of trousers, that we wear as often as we can get away with, until someone throws it out.  The difference is, the more we put on these characteristics the better fitting and more comfortable an nicer they are.
So let's take a look at these characteristics and see how we can put them on:

Compassionate hearts::
We are all part of one family. if our brother or sister  is going through hard times shouldn't we sympathise with them? Shouldn't we pray for them and try to help?  Jesus wants us to love each other in this way.  the bible says:
that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
[1 Corinthians 12:25-26]
Just as if we have a pain in our physical bodies, like a headache or back pain, the whole body suffers because of it, so we should suffer with those who are suffering and do what we can to encourage them and support them. We can't sympathise and suffer with others if we are selfish and self-absorbed, we need to ask god to help us develop compassionate hearts.

When Jesus was on earth he showed compassion, there are so many instances of it but we are just going to look at one example.

Now when Jesus returned, the crowd welcomed him, for they were all waiting for him.  And there came a man named Jairus, who was a ruler of the synagogue.
And falling at Jesus’ feet, he implored him to come to his house, for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying.  

   As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all
her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. And Jesus said, "Who was it that touched me?" When all denied it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!" But Jesus said, "Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me." And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace."
[Luke 8:40-48]

there is a lot I could say about this passage but I'll keep it brief. Jesus was on his way to heal a man's dying daughter and yet when this woman touched his garment he took the time to hear why she had touched him although he already knew.
. I used to wonder why he prodded her to tell her story of why she touched him but now i have a couple of ideas. Imagine if she had slipped away straight after the miracle and went home, she would have been happy for a while but after some time she may  have felt guilty for touching him. She was unclean because of her illness and she deliberately touched this man whom the people considered a prophet, which most people would have condemned her for doing.  The enemy would not have been able to let a  bad guilt trip pass by, so she would have been deeply troubled. Jesus wanted to spare her that and let her know that what she did was ok. He even commended her because of her faith. He called her "daughter"  the only person he said that to. his gentleness and compassion towards her makes me want to cry.

Isn't' there someone we can show compassion to today? Maybe being kind to someone who hurt us in the past? Maybe you know someone who recently lost a loved one, or someone who's going through a really hard time. We don't always have to do  or say a lot, Just knowing that someone is with them praying for them and supporting them can be very comforting. When my father had a stroke a few years ago and  there was  not much hope of him living I was, as you can imagine, very upset and I had to try and pack some things to take away with me. My best friend came into my room and just sat with me, letting me talk and helping to keep me calm. She didn't say a lot but she was there and I really appreciated it. I hope I can help someone who is in need like she helped me that day.  We should ask the Lord if there is someone   to whom we can show compassion today. . There are so many lonely and hurting people out there in this world that need a hug or someone to talk to or some other help that we can give. We may never know how much a little compassion and kindness will do to help someone.

Kindness is an inner mercy and love for others put into  action. We show kindness when we do something to help someone who is in need. here's an example  of it: For the last few weeks the people I lived with were away from home. Every week during their absence the Pastor of my church came every Sunday evening to pick me up so I could attend evening service.  He is a busy man yet he took the time to come and get me each week except for the week i was away.  he called me up during the week to ask if everything was ok.

When we are kind we show the love of Jesus to people.  god had mercy on us and because he wanted to save and help us he sent Jesus to this earth who died for us  on the cross, which is the ultimate act of  kindness! ! Jesus didn't just do nice things for people, he sincerely cared about them as well. The to aspects, caring for them and helping them, are the components of true kindness.

 Humility involves considering others as more important than ourselves and putting the needs of others above our own needs. those who are humble do their good works quietly and discreetly, not wanting to draw attention to themselves but wanting to glorify god.

Again Jesus is our example of  humility and the best-known bible passage about this is Philippians 2:5-9.
 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be
grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every
Jesus could have stayed up there in heaven but  he chose to humble himself and come to earth as a baby, as a human being. He humbled himself  so that he could save us, that is how great his love for us is! 

We need to ask god to help us grow in humility. He is willing to help us.

 Meekness is similar to humility. It is a quiet submission to the will of God. The meek person realise's that on their own they can do no good thing and  they rely on God to help them do all that god wants them to do. They can see their friends being promoted or being praised without jealousy or envy. For an example of this, think of the story of David and Jonathan. Jonathan was the son of King Saul and he had every expectation of being the next king of Israel but he knew that God had taken the kingdom from his father's house and given it to David. The bible says this:
And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. And he said to him, "Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this." And the two of them made a covenant before the LORD. David remained at Horesh, and Jonathan went home.
[1 Samuel 23:16-18]
Jonathan loved god and knew it was God's will for David to be the next king. He deliberately came into the desert where David was and encouraged him. We should be able to do that to our friends, even if they get a promotion or they get praise or  compliments we feel should be ours. Once we have found our own place in god and we know how much he loves us we will be able to support and encourage our friends instead of being jealous of them.

Meekness and humility walk hand in hand. A proud person can't be meek.

I've heard a patient person described as "one who has a very long fuse". We all know people who have a short fuse, they blow up at the slightest provocation. People like that are uncomfortable to be around because you never know when your head is going to be snapped off.

Patient people are able  to bear with insults and unkindness without lashing  out at the one hurting them. I have to admit that I'm not as patient as I'd like to be. If we have a short fuse we need to ask god's help to deal with that.

Patience is also one of the fruit of the spirit and God is willing to give it to us but we need to stay connected to the vine, that is, we need to stay connected with Jesus.

none of the other characteristics we are considering can be worn with an unforgiving heart, it's like throwing a dirty t-shirt on over a party dress, not a good look. Jesus gave us a parable about forgiveness that we are going to look at briefly here:\

"Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, 'Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and
said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant,
as I had mercy on you?'  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
[Matthew 18:23-35]

think of the master as god and the fellow servants as fellow Christians. if God has forgiven us a debt that we can never hope to repay then shouldn't we forgive those who hurt us? If we do not forgive we will not be forgiven. It's a very sobering thought but one to keep in mind.

The type of love we are looking at here is brotherly love. If we have all these other traits and don't have love for each other we have failed. The bible says:
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

[1 Corinthians 13:1-3]
The book of 1 john tells us to love one another in a few places, here is one of those:
 We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
[1 John 4:19-20

the other traits we looked at spring from love. If we love we are compassionate, kind, gentle and patient and  our love and gratitude to god keeps us humble. Love also gives these things meaning.

I hope that our study has been helpful to you. God bless you and thanks for reading.


[these questions are just  between you and god, they may help you reflect more on the subject we have discussed.]

1. why did Paul describe these characteristics as things that we put on?
2. a. Do you have any  unforgiveness in your life? Search your heart carefully before answering.
B. How should we deal with unforgiveness in our lives?
C. Why is God angry with unforgiveness?
3. A. Are there any of these characteristics you are having problems putting on?
B. Are there any of them  you  are having some success with?
4. A.  Why do you think it is impossible to put on these characteristics with an unforgiving heart?
B. why do you think that love is so necessary if we want to develop the other characteristics?