We can stay silent no more

We cannot stay silent, we surely have so much joy in our hearts that it bubbles over in praise and worship to God.

Psalm 96:11 –Tell the heavens and the earth to be glad and celebrate!  Command the ocean to roar with all of its creatures

LOVER OF MY SOUL

The source of all that is good, the provider of all water and food, the artist of creation, the ruler of all nations, the name above all names, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, the God who promises no more tears and no more sorrow, the lover of my soul, the one who made me whole, redeemer, Messiah, God incarnate, my helper, my friend, the good shepherd who left his sheep so he could rescue me, Jesus of Nazareth, model of righteousness, my intercessor, forgiver of all my sins, the wind beneath my wings, divine and holy, crucified for me, why would the heavens and earth not sing to our King, how can they not celebrate and demonstrate their praise and awe, we can stay silent no more, let the ocean and all creatures roar their approval of our God and King, let all creatures great and small stand up, give praise and sing,

I remember where I was when God chose me

Sadly, in this world, we are often judged by our outer appearance.  There are unrealistic pressures imposed by elements of the press and society to look a certain way, making many people dissatisfied or unhappy with themselves.

With God there are no such pressures.  In fact, God looks at the heart.  Check out the story of how David was anointed, youngest of eight brothers God chose him.  He was probably pretty insignificant within his own family, not the strongest, the most intelligent and probably not even the best looking (but that’s speculation!) as the youngest he would have been overlooked on many occasions for one of his older, more experienced brothers.  But God chose him, God knew he was the right person because God saw into his heart (1 Samuel 16).

Isn’t that great news for us.  God sees into our hearts and chooses us for service based on our heart.  It doesn’t matter what you look like or what you see as your faults, God bypasses that and goes straight to the important place, your heart.

1 Corinthians 1:26-30 –  My dear friends, remember what you were when God chose you. The people of this world didn’t think that many of you were wise. Only a few of you were in places of power, and not many of you came from important families.  But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame.

What the world thinks is worthless, useless, and nothing at all is what God has used to destroy what the world considers important.  God did all this to keep anyone from bragging to him.  You are God’s children. He sent Christ Jesus to save us and to make us wise, acceptable, and holy.

I REMEMBER

I remember where I was when God chose me, I remember how the world scorned me for my sexuality, I recall the shame heaped on me, the blame I put on others who scarred me, I remember that empty feeling, the nights just staring at the ceiling, angry feelings overwhelming me, fear and anxiety crippling me, the enemy gripping onto me and I failed to see that anything good would come out of me, but Jesus you saw my heart, you saw the treasure deep inside this clay vessel, you saw beauty rising from the ashes, flashes of potential which you knew with gentle handling could be fashioned into something outstanding, a glorious reflection of your power, a transformation like no other, you the potter took the clay and made it what it is today, you looked past my flaws, opened the door of my heart took all that was good and made it better, you searched deep within to find the treasure.

Don’t let me take the reins and gallop in the wrong direction

I was listening to the Casting Crowns song – Love you with the Truth today.  These lyrics are powerful:

When we love, we earn the right to speak the truth When we speak truth, we show the world we truly love I’m not pointing my finger, I’m holding out my hand I lay it all on the line now to see God save my friend Let my life and my words be the proof I’m gonna love you with the truth

As Christians God calls us to speak in truth.  Sometimes that’s tough.  Sometimes we shy away from that conversation with a friend for fear of looking like we are judging or meddling.  But should we stand by and watch our friends floundering or walking down the wrong path.  When friends are unable to make sense of things should we step in with support and encouragement.

I think that’s exactly what God calls us to do.  Let me be the first to say to my friends, love me with God’s truth.

LOVE ME WITH THE TRUTH

Love me with God’s truth, I beg you don’t stand and watch me fail, don’t ignore my actions, don’t ignore my pain, don’t let me take the reins and gallop in the wrong direction, I’m not adverse to some Godly correction, I have no fear of open talk, I won’t balk at your support when you court me with the truth, when you speak of obedience I won’t go on the defensive, I’m here to learn, I’m here to grow, I don’t pretend to know it all so if I fall (and fall I may) don’t stay silent, don’t spend your days questioning your motives, when you speak in love the truth is a gesture, a hand outstretched to a friend, I don’t see it as judgmental in fact it’s fundamental to our calling to support those who are in danger of falling, when I stand too close to the edge, provide a hedge of love around me, speak lovingly remembering these words, God is the truth living in me, God is truth and the truth sets us free.

 

I am the disciple who Jesus loved

John 20:2 – So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

The Bible refers to “the disciple Jesus loved”.  Today I was thinking that is actually each and every one of us.  The Bible doesn’t give exclusivity to one person and I truly believe that the love of Jesus is enough for each of us to be in the position to say, I am the disciple whom Jesus loves!”

Psalm 93:4 – Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the Lord on high is mighty

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

THE DISCIPLE WHO JESUS LOVED

I am the disciple who Jesus loved, I am that person, the wonderful thing is he calls me beloved, loved at my darkest, loved as an outcast, he loves the ones the world loves to hate, he takes ashes and sees beauty, as he looks at me his love is mightier than the waves of the sea, he knows that I’m broken and I know I’m not perfect, but I am forgiven, seeking to live my life in such a way that those who know me will come to know God, I want to be recognised as the girl who knows Jesus, I want to go out into the world and keep his commandments, humble myself and seek his face, be impactful when I pray, be unafraid, I want to stop comparing and start celebrating, for if God is for me, who can be against me, if God loves me what more do I need, I am his and my gratitude overflows, my joy is of infinite worth to Jesus, my love reciprocated by the man who died to save us, who died for me simply because I am the disciple who Jesus loves.

I need more of my God and less of this world

After the resurrection, Jesus appears to his disciples on a few occasions.  How blessed they were to see him in the flesh and hear from him.  They don’t recognise him though in the way they did before, his appearance has changed, yet in their hearts they still know it is him.

John 21:12 – Jesus said, “Come and eat!” But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord.

I suppose this got me to question whether I always recognise when God is talking to me.  Sometimes it’s clear and other times I question, was that me or was that God?  God can appear and talk to us in many different ways.  I believe that it’s important for me to recognise that so I remain open to hearing from him at any time, in any place and in any circumstance.

SURROUNDED

Surrounded by persuasive voices, voices that shout, voices that whisper, condemning, accusing, voices that whine and voices that whimper, strong words, weak words, meaningful and meaningless, as I listen my head’s a mess, I need more of my God and less of this world, more truth, less lies, more love, less despising, praise is rising in my soul, the Lord is close to all who call, discovering his ways nourishes my soul, they bring me joy, I stand strong and beautiful in his presence, no longer oppressed, the voices that drowned out my joy silenced forever as I hear directly from my heavenly Father, I’d rather spend one day in his presence than a thousand elsewhere, I know that he is near, I know he hears my cry, I wonder, do I hear every word he speaks to me, do I allow him to release me from the chains of humanity, do I believe consistently, do I seek him as desperately as my need to breathe, Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me, fill me with a new found ability to hear you in my time of need, to hear you in my time of plenty, knowing your words are never empty, never condemning, never accusing but always words of love, words of wooing, words of a God who is forever pursuing.

Avoid the temptation to trade fundamental truths for approval

Are we scared to speak out?  Are there times where someone says something about Christianity and we try and merge into the background, not wanting to comment for fear of judgment or ridicule?  Are there times we avoid those conversations altogether, steering the conversation away from anything challenging?

Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats refuses to answer directly the question, does he think homosexuality is a sin.  Tim is a Christian politician and avoids the direct question by answering that we are all sinners, which is indeed the truth.  But how much stronger would his message be if he spoke out about his beliefs and the word of God.  God tells us it is a sin and if we are followers of God then we are called to be obedient to his word.  More important than calling out people’s sin is the message that we should not judge, God calls us to love others as we love ourselves, to forgive others as God forgives us and to be salt and light in this frail world.

I’m not condemning Tim, indeed he has been open about his faith, I’m just maybe a tad frustrated that we are so beaten down by the secular world we seek to fit in with their views rather than shout out God’s message of love and salvation from the rooftops!

2 Timothy 1:8 – So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God

Romans 1:16 – 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 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

RUFFLE SOME FEATHERS

Don’t conform, born into this world not to fit in but to ruffle feathers, not born simply to indulge in earthly pleasures, born to fulfil a plan, born of man but a citizen of heaven, stand firm in your faith, avoid temptation to trade fundamental truths for approval, renewal of the mind is liberating,  negotiating life’s potholes not a problem when moving in the right direction, swimming against the tide it’s better to abide in God’s truth alone than stand with a crowd who will never know him, I have absolutely no desire to fit, refusing to let the world corrupt me, God didn’t make me different to be indifferent, he didn’t give me freedom so that I would join those beaten down by the need to conform, harmony with the enemy not part of my story, I will never influence the world by trying to be like it, never effect change if I remain silent, I won’t be compliant or anxious to match my opinions to earthly dominions, I am a Christian, proud of the Gospel, stand with me in truth for the fight is colossal.

I will praise you from here to eternity

I was reading Psalm 63 today.  Because God’s kindness is better than life, my lips will praise him.  What a great lesson for us all.  Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in life and forget to praise God, yet thinking of all the things he has done for me there is no way I should ever forget the importance of praise.

I wrote my version of the Psalm below:

MY LIPS WILL PRAISE

Yes, you are my God and that brings praise to my lips, I worship you with songs and poems, with prayers of devotion, there is an ache in my heart, a place reserved for you to fill and I long for you, without you it’s like I am in a scorching desert devoid of water, scanning the horizon for an oasis until I see a stream of living water reflecting your power and your glory seen only in that place of sanctuary, your love means more than life to me and I praise you relentlessly, I will praise you from here to eternity, singing joyfully as one excitedly awaiting their invitation to the banqueting table, I am unable to sleep without thinking of you, in the silence of the night I speak to you, reflecting on your sheltering arms, knowing that I’m safe from harm as I sing happy songs of adoration, I lay my foundations close to you, knowing that it’s you who supports me, you are my tower of strength, shielding me from those who would seek to drown out my praise, to stop me from making a noise for you Lord, you lift up your sword and protect me from evil, because of your love I celebrate, one of your faithful followers, one of the Lord’s own warriors, protected from lies and deceit, reprieved because of my beliefs.