Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Do I matter?

Trying to be ever alert for the slightest nudge from God, I got the second of two almighty knockout punches this week. And a great and unwelcome revelation of the error of my ways…

I should have heeded the first sign but I didn’t want to. A lovely young woman was leaving work and had invited me to her leaving party. As the day came nearer I started to make excuses to myself. It’s twenty miles away, we can’t afford it, my husband needs me to cook his tea...
But the real reason was that I didn’t think I’d be missed. Didn’t think I really counted. With the fifty other people invited who would notice me.

The next day my friend said to me, “I’m so glad I made the effort to go. A dozen of us had to split the cost of a buffet for fifty as no one turned up.”  Well, I felt sick. I couldn’t make it right. I apologised but…

I know I matter to God. My name is written on his hand. Sometimes I can’t seem to get that I matter to other people too.

This week my church had thirty visitors for tea. The Pastor had mentioned that she might need some help. My mum was making cakes. Again I thought that there would be lots of people to help - the real important church members would turn up and I wouldn’t be needed. Poor mum popped down with the cakes, found Sarah alone making sandwiches and ended up serving sixty cups of tea and clearing up.

I don’t know when or how I started to feel so negative about myself. I know I would have been wanted at both occasions and would have enjoyed them. But I also know that it’s going to be hard to convince myself that I’m really wanted when the next invitation or request comes.

Here’s my plan. I hope it works. Paul says the church is a body. So even if I’m the tiniest smelly little toe, if I’m not there I will be missed. If God provides the opportunity for me to serve and the time free to do so, then I will serve.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands Isaiah 49 16

 linking up with Michelle at Hear it, Use it.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Recently I’ve been praying for discernment. I wanted the ability to understand the signals, the nudging that God was giving me. It’s been a scary time for our family as my husband was made redundant at such a bad time in the economy. We were provided for financially and it was a blessing for him to escape an abusive work environment but just to wait on the Lord was hard.

All I could pray for was for God’s will to be done..

Over the last twelve weeks, as my husband has gone for interviews, I’ve prayed for each one to be the right one. Okay I didn’t like the one that involved a two hour drive home every night but maybe God thought that was right for our family.
When he didn’t get what we thought was his perfect job, I prayed for understanding. Well, I didn’t need that much understanding as the company went into receivership the next week.

The thing I was afraid to ask for, or even to hope for was what I thought this family needed - a local job, no late nights, a good employer.

"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do,
For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him."
Matthew 6:7-8   
 Well, God gave my husband a job. He can walk to work, finishes at 5.30, (unusual in his line of work), has had a training course and there’s a pension. And, (and this is practically unheard of in retail) they close Christmas Eve!  God  answered our unasked prayer and provided just what was needed.

 linking up with Pages in Your Heritage of Faith . I don’t feel like I'm as eloquent as the other great contributors but this is my witness to answered prayer and God’s faithful provision. 

And also linking up with Hear it, Use it .I love reading everyone's encouraging words.

Monday, 15 August 2011

What would Jesus do, hug a hoodie?

Terrible events have shocked our nation. The police have stood by watching while people’s homes have been burned. Angry mobs have ransacked and destroyed people’s businesses. A sixty eight year old man has died after being attacked for trying to put out a fire.

The perpetrators have faced up to us in their designer clothes saying they are entitled to protest because they have nothing.
The papers want to evict them from their social housing, take away their benefits. Our taxes are supporting their bad choices.

Returning early from his holiday the Prime Minister says
There are pockets of our society that are not only broken, but frankly sick"
   He adds  ‘We needed a fightback and a fightback is under way.’ I find a Christian colleague has started a vigilante group to fight  ‘the yobs’. Other people set out to clean up the community with brooms. There is a peace rally in Birmingham led by the father of  someone who died defending his community.

Someone asks what would Jesus do?

My pastor shares this link on facebook
Jesus came not for the righteous but the riotous

And I understand what Jesus would do, what he did.

10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’a For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”  Matthew 9

Glen says it so well I'm going to quote him
Jesus is the Doctor for the sick.  Only for the sick.  Don’t spend your time pointing the finger at others.  Don’t spend your time thinking, thank goodness I’m not like those bad people.  Don’t pick up a broom if you think that by it you can clean yourself up.  Confess your sickness: “Jesus I am sick, heal me.”
Jesus is a Doctor for sick sinners. He did not come into this world to congratulate the healthy, He did not come to condemn the sick.  He came to heal the sick – that’s what a Doctor does.
He did it by taking our spiritual sickness into Himself.  He deliberately contracted our terminal illness.  On the cross he died the death of sick looters, sick politicians, sick policemen, sick journalists, sick hypocrites, sick me and sick you.  That’s how much He is for the sick.  Then He rose up again and offers to meet you in your sickness – not with condemnation but with healing.
And that’s the only power to change rioters, and politicians and police and the media and you and me.
I’m not just broken, I’m sick.  Thank God there’s a Doctor!  Call out to Him now to receive His care.  And take this Gospel from me to read about Jesus who came for the sick."

linking up with Michelle at Graceful

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

My first amigurumi

Found the pattern in an old knitting magazine from a charity shop.
I was quite pleased with how he turned out as I am pretty much self-taught.

The dog and youngest son both seem to think I made it for them!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

What does God want?

I was a bit worried when Pastor Sarah said we were going to look at Malachi. I’ve never read it and I couldn’t have told you where to find it. Although I am aware of the stories of Exodus and some of the prophesies of the Old Testament, I do tend to disregard it as ‘the old covenant’ with all its dietary rules and an eye for an eye.
In my defence, although my Bible study notes include the Old Testament, in my previous 10 years attending the local Parish C of E church, I don’t remember hearing a Bible talk on the Old Testament.

So, on to Malachi 1.

“When you bring injured, lame or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14 “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.” Malachi

God is telling the priests how unhappy he is with their sacrifices.
They are bringing to God the blind, diseased animals that they don’t want.
The priests are then complaining that they have to tend the defiled table. God says it would be better that they just shut the temple door.

Worse, they are promising God the best of the flock and then keeping it for themselves.

 It says in Samuel ‘to obey is better than sacrifice’.  And in Mark, Jesus commends the man who says “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Sarah went on to say that it is really important that we understand who the God of the Bible is and we don’t pick out the bits we want. I am very comfortable with the father God who provides for us and forgives us. I prefer not to think about giving everything up and taking up my cross. I read a couple of blogs this week that discussed how we can be obedient to all of God’s word and obey Jesus. .

I love to sing the chorus ‘I surrender all’. And I really mean it. Then, as the week goes on, I rush my Bible reading to check out my other emails, I find excuses not to get up for an early prayer meeting, I take a couple of pounds out of my tithe money to buy the Sunday paper. God is not getting the best ram. Sacrifices rather than obedience? This week I am praying for an obedient heart.

To obey is better than sacrifice
I don't need your money
I want your life
And I hear you say that I'm coming back soon
But you act like I'll never return

Well you speak of grace and my love so sweet
How you thrive on milk, but reject My meat
And I can't help weeping of how it will be
If you keep on ignoring My words
Well you pray to prosper and succeed
But your flesh is something I just can't feed
Keith Green

 linking up with Hear it on Sunday

And this is my first attempt at joining in a blog hop - I've enjoyed reading everyone's blogs. Hope you like mine.


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