You stand in the fire beside me

God gave me a message today, the message was, “God is near” and I wanted to share this because I think there are more than a handful of people who need to hear this.

Sometimes I think it is good to remind ourselves of how close God is in every situation.  It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the things of this world.  It’s easy to forget that actually in the midst of everything, God is near.

  • Psalm 56:3 – When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
  • Psalm 139:5 – You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me
  • James 4:8 – Come near to God and he will come near to you

 

YOU STAND BESIDE ME

You stand in the fire beside me, stalked by demons your angels surround me, lonely and afraid your arms enfold me, tortured by mistakes that don’t define me you remind me of my true identity, when I sit in the darkness your light illuminates the darkest corners, when I wake you are with me, when I sleep you protect me, when I mourn you comfort me, when I cry you collect my tears, when I am fearful you tell me, “do not be afraid” when I doubt my worth you tell me “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”, when I ask, you tell me great and wonderful things, you delight with singing over me, you created me, this masterpiece, you left the ninety nine so you could find me, you’ll never leave me nor forsake me, you are the God who goes before me, the God who hems me in before and behind, you lay your hand upon me and I am blessed, God draw near to me now and let me rest.

Truth is he doesn’t need your support

Have you noticed how often you read a passage in the Bible and something jumps out at you as if you’ve never seen it before?  Today I was reading about the arrest of Jesus and how he tells one of his companions to put away his sword..

Matthew 26:53 – Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 

That message links to a message I was watching in a video of Rick Warren teaching which illustrates how we often try and fight the battles for God instead of allowing him to fight them for us.  God can call on legions of armies to fight the battles, God is able to do anything and everything he wants to do, the battle is his – relax.

  • Psalm 56:3 – When I am afraid, I put my trust in you
  • 2 Chronicles 20:15 -He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.

 WORRY TO WORSHIP

 From worry to worship, battles become blessings, everyone who lives in Jesus shall be persecuted, but we don’t live a secluded life, we are not alone in the fight, it is not right to be afraid or discouraged, instead be encouraged for the enemy is damaged, we have the advantage, we face a defeated enemy, God’s army at our disposal, and not being boastful but even Jesus spoke of the mighty army that surrounds us, be victorious, be confident as you approach the throne of Grace, boldly make your petitions known, believe that your God has already heard your cry, he has his eye on your situation, he fights your corner so raise your expectations, increase your faith, watch mountains moving as God moves in to your circumstances, relax as God exchanges beauty for ashes, let God fight this, the truth is he doesn’t need your support, he is King of Kings and he is Lord of Lords.

Am I prepared to die to self?

Had a lot of help and support yesterday both from God directly and from God through my prayer group.  I needed to confront issues head on and to release my inappropriate coping tools to God, he died for me so I could have life and that life should be good, I believe that I have taken that on board, God is working for me and with me and I feel today that I am a new creation and yes I am prepared to die to self, hand it all over to God and grab passionately all that he is offering to me after all he is the greatest King of all and the most powerful Lord of all, why wouldn’t I want the best he can give me?

Galatians 2: 20 – I have been crucified with Christ it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, the life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me

Revelation 19: 17 – the greatest king of all and the most powerful lord of all

DIE TO SELF

Am I prepared to die to self?  Am I ready to pay the price and sacrifice myself, just like Jesus did for me, does that unnerve me, strike me as hard, have I thought about discarding my plans and dreams cos it seems like that’s not a lot to ask, my task to hand it all to God, to say OK God I’ve given you my life but now I see there’s a sacrifice, I have to give up those things I cling to, handover my comfort blanket, handover my issues and let God in and let this sink in, Jesus died for me.  You know the story, the one where Jesus is crucified on a Cross because, well because he loves us, because he wanted to make all things right, he wanted to use his might and influence so that we could have a different sort of life and when Jesus died on the Cross think of it like this he died for no reason except to save us so how much more should we be prepared to die to self and if only for one reason, to become more like Christ, he died with nails in his hands and a spear in his side, he put aside his heavenly throne, came to earth all alone, he sacrificed perfection for our imperfection, our shortcomings and deficiencies, he faced hostility from every quarter, from every corner of the earth people sought to put him down, find fault in his teaching and malign his preaching but Jesus stood firm, faithful and true, he died for me and now I see that I have to pay it back, no longer I, but Jesus living in me through Christ I am redeemed, set free to be a child of God through my faith, don’t mistake rule keeping for faith, If a living relationship with God could come through rule keeping then Jesus died unnecessarily, it’s not about dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” it’s about me, my identity as a child of the risen Saviour, not about my behaviour, my joy or my suffering but about bringing the glory back to Jesus whose death on the cross has won for me the victory, Jesus my Saviour not my religion, I live by faith, belief and a strong conviction that death could not hold him, he is risen, God is at work in me, he died for me in public so I live for him publically, I am his completely and as I meet with him today, here’s what I’m going to say, God take my life, no longer I but you, all conquering God, no longer my will but yours be done oh awe inspiring one, I die to self, I die to me I open up my heart and ask to be more like you the greatest King and powerful Lord of all, to reflect your grace, shine your light, speak the truth and do what is right.

Old to New

Another poem written which kind of covers again the worry I had about my testimony which I have since addressed (this poem was written before my previously posted testimony poem).  I know now that I can use my past as my witness and am blessed to be able to address how I will share my new found faith with those I love and care for, friends and family alike.

Just to say since writing this only a few weeks ago, God has already blessed me with a number of new Christian friends, my facebook contacts are rapidly growing!!!

OLD TO NEW

My transition from old to new, from condemnation to salvation, my heart sings out in praise, I raise my hands to the sky, sing worship to my God on high.

Transition is a difficult phase, in truth, my challenge now, to raise awareness of my choice, use my voice, turn my past into my witness, be ambitious not inhibited, ready to share the message of forgiveness with family, friends and acquaintance.

So how to tackle the issue of coming out (once more), not a sexuality confession this time, but an expression of a changed obsession, my progression from darkness to light to possessing love and forgiveness and a certain promise of resurrection and eternal life in heaven.

Help me today God to follow your path, listen to your guidance in order to silence my internal fears of rejection from old and new.  May I learn to fit into my new life, feel comfortable that by your grace I am saved and may my spiritual journey be paved with new Christian friends to raise me up along the way.

Lord help me witness to those I know from my past.  Give me an inner strength, fill me with your Holy Spirit, make me fearless, untouched by any careless comments and unafraid of silence. May I recognise this is where you have called me to serve.  Help me not to swerve, or duck out of your calling, no more stalling or falling down for fear of earthly rejection.  Give me opportunities for connection, to give my friends direction that you may gain ground, make connections and may my testimony help others gain redemption.

What would you say if…

Having now come out within this Blog, in this post I would like to share a poem I would have loved to write to my parents many (30plus) years ago.

If you are ever in a situation where your child or family member rocks your world in any way, I pray that you will remember this poem and support, love, cherish and most importantly continue to pray for them

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

What will they say, I am so scared, do you think they’ll be prepared for the multi layered complexity of what I will tell, should it cause them to recoil and say, surely our child cannot be gay?

I’ve heard them talk, I know their thoughts and after all they love the Lord, so this is not the time to say, Mum, Dad hello, I think I’m gay.

But then the dilemma, how can I go on, I’m sorry if I seem withdrawn but this is big, it’s huge it’s vast, it’s never going to go away unless I find the nerve to say, Mum, Dad hello I think I’m gay.

What will you say when your child speaks out, I urge you now to think about your response to this immense admission, so you will not fail in your recognition that love and acceptance are the answer not condemnation and opposition if you are to maintain open conversation.

My prayer for you is that you’ll find that you can keep an open mind, place your child in the Lord’s hands.  Don’t lose the relationship you once had for pride or shame or fear such as, what will the ladies say at church, what will my colleagues think at work, for after all what really matters is our God provides for every chapter and even if your life’s in tatters he holds you and your child so close and never ever will let go

In illustration of God’s glory here’s a glimpse of my story.  When I came out I felt so lonely and turned my back on all his teaching, never had much time for preaching, stopped attending church at all, didn’t realise quite how hard I’d fall.  But thanks to prayer and love and care, over many years he was always there whispering quietly in my ear, always ready to forgive and always ready to help me live the life he had planned for me, thank God you died to set me free and brought me back to life as me.

Recognising my weakness and the need for support

I have always been an independent type and not one to ask for help.  However, once I came to faith I was convicted that I couldn’t do this on my own and I really did need to step out, make some Christian friends and connections and actually admit that I needed support.

So on one particular Sunday God spoke to me and I took what was a difficult step for me and went to the front to ask for prayer.

Wow, I was blown away by what happened next and as soon as I got home from church I wrote this

YOU PRAYED FOR ME

When you prayed for me, did you understand the significance, the magnificence of that act in my Christian journey?

You see, I’m not sure how you could hit the nail on the head so perfectly, get it so utterly right, but of course that’s forgetting the might of our Saviour Christ.

God gave me strength to ask for help, to take that step of faith, to recognise I am not an island.

I was frightened to show any weakness but God teaches us that meekness is OK and I guess that what I did today, ask for your help was God’s work at play.

But when I asked for help, I didn’t anticipate your compassion and kindness which blew my mind, your mute understanding that I was only conveying part of the story, just a fraction of my dissatisfaction, you got it, you understood me.

You radiated God’s love for me, you gave me a kind of certainty that this was God’s will, for me to reach outside my comfort zone, to reach out and know I’m not alone.

So thank you for your prayers, the depth and layers of your obedience and love, the way you serve your Father above.

Through your way of being, caring and listening, you opened my heart to no longer distance myself from the love of my sisters and brothers, to seek help and guidance, no longer in hiding, my fear of judgement subsiding