I Wish I Knew What She Knew

 

woman-1031508_1280There is one story in the bible that I have always struggled with, a story that has made me aware of my faults, and made me want a deeper understanding of God. That is the story of Hannah.

Hannah had a hard life, she was married to a man named Elkinah, but Elkinah had another wife as well, Peninnah.

That for one is something I couldn’t even begin to imagine, there is no way that I would want to share my husband with another woman. And then imagine what it would be like having to live with her, having to see her every single day! Continue reading

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How NOT to Read the Bible

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Reading the bible is, in fact, really simple. But I am just so good at making it complicated! Here are just a few of the ways I have managed to do that.

Thinking I need all the right equipment. Bible journaling seems to be the real in thing at the moment. All the cool kids on Instagram are doing it. (If you don’t know what it is search bible journaling on Pinterest, it’s definitely worth a look) Of course I you can’t possibly do this until you have the perfect new bible with the extra wide margins; a full range of colouring pencils and sharpies; some of that ridiculously overpriced patterned sello-tape and maybe some stickers, glitter and a set of stamps.

Now I really think this is a great idea, one that I want to try my very un-artistic hand at, and one that I believe really will help people engage in reading the bible. But do we really need all that stuff to be able to read the bible. Can’t we just pick it up and read? After all, to read the bible, all we really need is the bible!

Sticking with a bible reading plan or devotional book, just because I feel bad for quitting. How many times have I done this one! And then just end up getting bored and wanting to give up. News flash! Reading the bible should be fun! Do it how you want to do it. One reading plan or devo might work for a while. But then it just becomes samey. Don’t be afraid to try something new, or even do something different each day of the week. Maybe one day use a devotional, one day go back over a favourite bible verse and the next write out a passage. Just make sure you choose to do it in a way that you find interesting.

Leaving reading the bible until last thing at night. (And then just reading a Psalm so I can tick it of my list.) Oh this is a bad idea, a bad, bad idea. But this is probably the one I am the most guilty of. somehow reading the bible gets pushed to the last thing at night, when I’m too tired to even watch telly. I know I can’t get much out of reading it at that time of day, when I am at my least productive, but yet I still do it!

Why don’t I realise that forcing myself to read the bible when my eyes are shutting just makes it more difficult? I don’t think I’m ever going to be someone who can get up and do it first thing in the morning. But I really do need to find a better time to do it, give it the attention that it deserves. to give God the attention he deserves.

At the end of the day, we just need to be reading the bible, lets not over complicate something so simple. Lets not make something that should be fun into a chore. And lets not be made to feel guilty if our way is different to any one else’s.

 

 

Eleven Reasons Why I Love Reading the Bible

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Sometimes reading the bible is easy, other times it’s more of a struggle. I think I find it harder to read the bible when I allow myself to forget just how amazing and powerful it is. To combat this I thought I would make a list of reasons why I love reading the bible; to encourage myself when I am finding it hard.

1 It’s the word of God, when I read it I hear from him. I hear the voice of my creator speaking. To me

2. When I read the bible, I learn more about God, about how amazing he is, and how much he loves me.

3. It’s relevant. It doesn’t just apply to people who were alive years ago, but to today as well.

4. It strengthens my relationship with God. When you spend more time with someone you get to know them better, and become more intimate with them; it’s the same with God.

5.It helps me make decisions. Sometimes it can feel like we’re walking through the darkness without a guide. The bible shines a light on our path and helps us know which way to go.

6. When I read the bible I find peace. I often used to feel afraid at night, reading the bible and praying would be the only thing to take away that fear.

7. There is literally something in the bible for every person and every mood! It’s not just one book but a library full! No matter how your feeling, there is something in the bible to suit that mood! (I’ve even written a guide to help you choose which book of the bible to read here.)

8. It shows me that I am not on my own in my circumstances. Characters in the bible faced so many struggles, yet managed t overcome them and worship God. Reading about this shows me that I can do the same.

9. When I read the bible I grow in wisdom, helping me make the right decisions and helping me to help other people,

10. It enables us to defeat the temptations and lies of satan. Jesus overcame the devil’s lies with scripture. And so can we!

11. It’s life changing, there’s a reason why the bible is the number one best seller of all time!

These are just some of my favourite reasons, I’m sure that there are many more!

Do you love reading the bible? Why or why not?

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Whose Minion are You?

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The minions travelled the world searching for the most evil of villains to serve. It’s what they lived for. They were minions, underlings, followers. Without someone, or something to follow they were hopeless.

When they finally found the one they would serve, they found their purpose, they were complete, fulfilled and finally happy.

Me and Joe went to see the Minions movie a couple of weeks ago, after looking forward to it for over half a year. We had been big fans of the minions for a while, I even managed to crochet Joe one for Christmas last year. He got left on an electric heater over night, the heater was switched on. Now that minion is looking pretty sorry for himself!

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Watching the minions spend their lives searching for a master made me think of us, in our humanity.

We are all like minions, serving someone or some thing. It’s an inbuilt desire everyone has. Whether we like it or not, whether we admit it or not, that desire is there, deep inside all of us.

For some people it’s obvious, they are clearly serving something which is bad, maybe greed or sexual desires. In other people it might be less obvious, maybe they are serving their friends, or their parents, they have a deep need to please. A need which more often than not is left unfilled. Their friends or parents always wanting more than they can give.

Much more than servants, we are all slaves to something. We are in bondage, tied up. We are so like the minions. But unlike the minions we are not fulfilled in this. We seek to serve, but end up serving the wrong things and find ourselves trapped, with no way out.

The truth is, there is only one way out. One way that we can be set free. And that is through Jesus. He can set us free from our bondage, our slavery to the wrong things.

Once we have been set free, we will still have that desire to serve though. That’s because it is God who put that desire in us. He put that desire in us so that we would choose to serve him.

When we serve him, we find ourselves, like the minions: finally fulfilled, complete and secure. God has our best interests at heart. He loves us. Serving him is the best thing that we can ever choose to do, it’s what we are made for.

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

Protect Your Heart with the Breastplate of Righteousness

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In economics I was taught that there is no such thing as a free meal.

As people, we can so often be suspicious of things that are free. “What’s the catch?” We ask ourselves. It can’t be that good anyway. We find it hard to believe that anything worth having is free.

And yet, knowing God personally, the greatest gift we could ever have, is free. We literally have to do nothing to get it. God gives it to us, for free, all we have to do is open our hands and hearts and accept it.

When we do that, all the bad things inside of us are washed away, and we are made right with God. We are made righteous. This is not something we deserve, it is not something we can earn, and yet it is something God decides to give to us, for free. All we have to do is put our lives in his hands, in the hands of our creator, who really knows what is best for us.

And yet so many people fail to do this. They cannot believe that this gift can possibly be free. They spend their lives trying to earn it. They strain and strain trying to earn God’s love, if only they are good enough.

If I’m nice God will love me. If I’m kind and helpful; if I never swear, or gossip or even think bad thoughts; if I never get jealous or annoyed or frustrated; if I never cheat or lie; if I am truly good: then God will love me.

This is impossible.

We cannot make God love us on our own. We cannot make ourselves right with God.

Only Jesus can do that. When he was nailed to that cross, all of our badness was nailed right there with him. When he was nailed to that cross we were made right with God.

Do you really think that God would have made his son do that if there was any chance that we could have made ourselves right with him, on our own?

The truth is, we cannot save ourselves. No matter how hard we try.

Please share any thoughts you have on the subject of Righteousness.

Dressing for Battle

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There were people everywhere, probably thousands of them. The most unlikely of people, they represented all nations, all ages, all classes. Some were ill, some were poor, some were small children, but all had been chosen. Chosen to fight in the battle.

A man walked to the front of them, he looked both ordinary and special at the same time. He was man and God. He commanded authority. “This battle is not for the half hearted.” He said. “Once you are committed, there is no going back and no giving up. This will not be easy. It will last your entire life. You must be alert at all times, the enemy will attack when you least expect it.” For a second I wondered why anyone would want to take part in this battle, then I looked at him, and I knew.

He continued to speak, “I have prepared you with armour and only one weapon, that is all you will need.”

Around my waist appeared a belt. “This belt is truth, speak truth and remember my truth at all times.”

Next, a breastplate, on my chest. “Righteousness! You are righteous because of me.”

Sandals, upon my feet. “My gospel, which brings peace.”

A helmet covered my head. “My salvation, which I have given to you, work it out for yourself and never forget it.

A shield appeared in my hand. “Your shield of faith. Remember to be sure of the things you hope for and certain of the things that you do not see.

Finally, a sword, in my other hand. “Your only weapon, my word, use this to fight against the attacks you will receive.

“Carry these things with you at all times, they will protect you.

“Finally, remember, the battle may be hard, but you do not need to be afraid. I am with you. Always”

Please join me as I share some thoughts on the armour of God over the next few weeks.

There’s No Place Like Home

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Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong, as if you had no where to call your own? As if you didn’t really have a home?

I think that everyone feels like this at times. I certainly felt like that when I was nineteen. I had just finished a gap year in London, and really didn’t know what God had in store for me next, so I moved back home for a while. The only problem was my home had moved. My parents were no longer living in Essex, but had moved half way across the country to Liverpool. I really didn’t know where my home was, where I belonged.

Eventually I realised that my home isn’t the place where I live, not really. My home is in heaven.

As Christian our home isn’t really earth, we are only passing through. Our home is heaven. I used to think, well when I die, I will have a place to cal home. That’s what people say at funerals isn’t it? “They have gone home.”

This is true, heaven is our eternal home and earth is only temporary, but whilst we are on earth we can still have a home. A true home. Our real home is found in God.

Some of my favourite bible verses are found in the Psalms of David, and if there was ever someone who knew what it felt like to not fit in, it was him! Yet he is able to say “In the Lord I take refuge.” He knew that His home was really found in God, and our home is too.

If you ever feel lonely, unsure of where you belong, as if you do not really have a place to call home. Remember God is always your home, he is your stronghold, your refuge, your place of safety and you do not have to be afraid.

No matter where you are, how far away from friends or family you are, how far from everything you know, you always have a home. Your home is in Jesus.