Power In Weakness

When I’m sick I want to curl up in a blanket and wait to quietly slip away, I can never do anything for myself, even when I need urgent medical care I’m always reluctant to move. Last year I was ill on and off for months after repeatedly being prescribed the wrong medication, I eventually ended up with an infection that triggered a painful joint inflammation in my lower back, I was in so much agony I could barely walk. I was sat in A&E shifting positions every minute that went by. The pain was all consuming and as I tried having my head down to my knees I heard a woman agitated and wailing in distress as she returned to her seat. I’ve done my time in London, sit still long enough and pick a point to stare at, preferably have some reading material to hand and avoid all eye contact and before long, the commotion usually dies down. I heard the man opposite her tell her to try to smile and be strong but no one else budged. So I got up and shuffled my way over to sit next to her and asked her if she was okay. She looked straight at me, she had no face mask on, and the shock of what she answered at full volume made me gasp. Firstly because it was horrific and my heart was so sorry for her, secondly because the same had happened to me and thirdly because everyone in that room must have heard. I went out with her for her to have a cigarette and I looked her straight in her eyes and told her “I know what it’s like”. Without anymore words we both stood knowing we both understood each other’s pain. She had been left, stranded miles away from home, by the team who’d brought her in so I called her a taxi and while we waited I asked if she’d like me to pray for her, it was like I’d offered her a cool glass of water for severe dehydration, she responded with an unexpected eagerness saying yes she really would. She sat down and I crouched down infront of her stretching out my hand. As the Holy Spirit began giving me the words, an incredible prayer began to flow, details of protection around her home and powerful words spoken against any effects of trauma. Mid prayer I opened my eyes as I was speaking and looked at her, she had her eyes shut and silent tears were streaming down her face. Jesus was here and her spirit knew, in between the automatic doors, crouched down on the entrance door mat next to the vending machine, there is no where Jesus won’t go to find us. After I walked her to her taxi and returned to wait for my name to be called, I met a teenager who had been beaten up and thrown out of her house, after I was discharged I continued to sit and talk with her and helped her make some phone calls.

When I got home that evening I lay flat on my lounge floor absolutely empty, emotionally and physically drained and I still in so much pain. I lay on the floor and prayed simply “Jesus, give me a song”, the song was a song I’ve never heard before, “Closer” Lifepoint Worship. I was at my end and unable to move and the Holy Spirit began to refresh me, coolness and healing washed over me and through my body. There are no worldly words that can come close to describing the beauty of this moment.

Adventure awaits us every day we say “yes” to Jesus. I did not have the strength to tend to myself, let alone anyone else but somehow these two people in desperate situations had my full attention and care, which was Jesus’ love and care poured out in abundance for these rejected, attacked, distressed, abandoned, lonely and forgotten two people.

“But you will receive power and ability when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses [to tell people about Me] both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

As the body of Christ, this life we are called to is not one of striving, it’s not our power that we live by. We lay our lives down so Jesus can have His way.

“My power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:9

We marvel at what we can never do ourselves and as He’s working in others that we meet it is always a blessing for us because at the same time He’s working in us. He is our song in every situation, He’s is why we sing, He is our breath, our everything, He’s the reason we can not stop rejoicing.

“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep!” Psalm 92:4-5

Rejoice

From Moses, Hannah, David, Isaiah, Mary to the “numerous as the stars” people of the Lord, the song of our hearts has never changed because our God has never changed.

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” Malachi 3:6

Something not covered in nativity plays is that when Jesus was born, King Herod wanted Him dead. Unable to hunt down the messiah baby he ordered the death of every male under two years of age in Bethlehem and surrounding areas. Warned by an angel of the Lord Joseph took Mary and little Jesus and they escaped to Egypt during the night. Prophesy after prophesy was brought to fulfilment and night raged as Light came into the world, the war was on.

The One who spoke the universe into being walked the earth as one of us. And right on time, night was allowed it’s way, Jesus was innocent but attacked, the One who was sinless was put to death by the schemes of religious leaders because of His authority, the threat to their religious traditions and for being the one before Abraham, the “I Am” – God himself. Then the time came, the time that was predestined before the beginning of the world. Jesus hung on the cross taking the battering of God’s punishment for the sins of mankind. All our sin, the depths of our depravity, the filth of our hearts was put on Him. Only until He could proclaim “it is finished!” did He choose to give up His spirit. He battled with death, leaving it defeated as He was raised to life, powerfully fire paving the way for resurrection life for all who believe.

We rejoice everyday for the gift of Jesus coming as one of us (John 1:14). We rejoice everyday that our sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). We rejoice everyday that death has been destung, death has lost its poison that is sin and sin’s increased power through the law; (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). We rejoice at the fulfilment of the law in Christ, that we don’t strive to do God’s will but we have a new nature, and now it come easy, freely and lightly to us (Matthew 5:17 & Ezekiel 36:26) We rejoice everyday that this life is not the end, that we have a future better than we can ever begin to imagine (Hebrews 13:14). We rejoice everyday at the magnitude and goodness of God’s love (Romans 5:8) and the multitude of ways He shows up, time and time again in every area of our lives. Christmas and Easter are two days that highlight what God has done but we carry all he has done in our bodies, every single day blazing the glorious good news through our lives. And not subject to time, circumstance or even death, from generation to generation the Spirit continually causes our hearts to rejoice.

“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

Signs and Wonders

What a season this last year has been. I went to church one Sunday late 2019 and I was so distressed I could not even stand, my legs were so weak and all I could do was sing with my arms up from a sobbing heartbroken crumpled mess on the floor. Worship is never as sweet as when we are given every earthly reason not to. There is nothing better than to be wrapped in the goodness of our Heavenly Father.

There was a moment in the weeks earlier I had just wanted to be numb and I chose to drown myself reading online gossip, which worked to distract me from my own life. It surprised me how very much like drinking this was. I know I totally grieved the Holy Spirit at this time, I deliberately chose to reject the Comforter. But even in our faithlessness He is faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). He allowed me my choice for some time and then He permanently freed me from it by speaking just two words to my heart; “sully” and “scuttle”, I had to look up the words in the dictionary and when I did, there was no going back.

Earlier than all that I went to the beach to pour my heart out to God. I was looking at the sea and Holy Spirit was reminding me to look to the joy ahead (breathing Revelation 21:1-4 into my heart) As I was looking at the horizon I looked up and some birds were flying overhead, they caused me to look intently because they were small birds but they were flying at a height that was not usual for that type of bird. They were flying the height that birds of prey soar, I watched them and found it so strange they were so high. As I watched they flew and formed the letters R Z W , I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and all I could do was gasp the word “what!”. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was a vision with my spiritual sight, but this was taking place in the natural with my physical eyes!

There have been so many moments this year that I’ve thought of those letters in the sky, I think I know what they might mean because four years ago God spoke to me of something that will happen, He began “I will give you ….” In the midst of all the chaos and pain these tokens of love are something I’ve held onto, they have helped me look ahead, to look forward to a better time. Everything, and I mean everything, seems and has seemed to go against His promise. But hey this is God, the God of the impossible! We know how this goes!

I just wanted to leave these letters here. He is so good. He is so so kind. All the time, in our doubt, in our fear, in our faithlessness, in our pain, even as everything is falling apart around us, even when we are falling apart ourselves.

I’ve been through a painful refining fire this year, I’ve been tested in ways that have broken me. My saviour has done battle with my pride, my pain, my self pity, my anger. And my faith has been greatly strengthened, there has been a greater intimacy in my relationship with Jesus. The living God is not far off, he is right with us in the many storms and He delights in revealing heavenly secrets to us because He calls us friends (John 15:15).

Mountains

Mountains. We all face them at various points in life. How we choose to climb these mountains will make the difference in how much we enjoy the difficult journeys.

Most of my life has been a series of treacherous mountain ranges, I’ve wearily travelled through the black valleys of depression, faced the frightening jagged edges and avalanches of PTSD, the sweeping storms of self destruction, the fog and mist of abandonment and numerous blizzards of grief. My problems governed me, ruled me with fear, held me hostage, dictated how I lived and convinced me the best I could ever have was to work on myself to be able to manage my pain for the rest of my life. What a self-centred life sentence! But the wisest of man or darkest of demons can not contend with the supreme power of our Lord.

When we stand at the foot of a mountain, we beg for it to be got rid of or we plead for a way around it. We tend to limit God by our limited understanding. Impatient for answers. We ask why a righteous, powerful, loving God allows us to go through these terrible times. But our Almighty God doesn’t move our problems out of the way because he IS mighty. He shows us he is by safely, joyfully and peacefully leading us through them. When we put our trust in him, these difficult journeys allow us to experience his awesome power. A power that is far greater than can be described by human words.

It’s often these difficult times that break down our barriers and leave us so helpless that they push us to go from depending on ourselves or others to depending solely on him. When we open our hearts to know Jesus, not only in part with our problems but trusting him with our whole lives, we are set free. He freely gives us the fullness of life. He takes our burdens, extinguishes our worries, he shows us the footholds, pitches our tent, shields us from the storms, provides an abundance of healing and comfort, we can rest always safe and warm in his unfailing love.

God absolutely delights in every single one of us. He wants nor needs absolutely nothing from us. Love is not earned, it is freely given. He will never let you go, he will never leave you and he will always carry you through the storms.

 

Truth

Truth brings peace, calm and security. When I have lied; it made me feel guilt and shame. When I have been lied to; it was confusion and anger. Lies always need and breed more lies, this causes even more confusion. Some money went missing at work once, it caused suspicion, division, blame, anger, conflict, worry and unrest amongst colleagues. Even though I hadn’t taken it I found myself filled with fear that someone might think that I did. When the truth came out it restored unity and calm and no doubt brought freedom from fear and guilt to the person who had been dishonest. Only truth opens a way for forgiveness. Lies don’t allow this process, a lie keeps a person a prisoner in shame and guilt. When I’ve told a lie, I can see that my initial feeling is wanting to appear as truthful as possible. A lie always tries to imitate the truth. When we’re conned we have no idea we are being lied to until we find out the truth, only then do we see the trail of deceit and destruction. 

Unrest, division, panic, confusion, anger, fear, guilt, shame and insecurity are all symptoms of lies. In life, in relationships, our marriages, our families, in society, in how we feel about ourselves or in our behaviour. These feelings, however mild or intense should never be tolerated as a normal part of everyday life.   

By my pathetic self judgement and preconceptions about Jesus I thought I knew the things I had done wrong but I could never even begin to comprehend the extent of my sin, until I was shown. When I decided to put all my trust in God he breathed truth into my life, only then was I able to see my trail of destruction. I was able to see how utterly imperfect I am. Despite this God forgave me, drenching me with love, mercy and grace the instant I asked for forgiveness and gave my life to him in the quiet of my bedroom. By choosing to have a relationship with Jesus, he helps, teaches and makes it possible (by instilling a desire) to always walk in truth whatever our weaknesses and whatever situation we face. What a wonderful peace, calm and security he gives because He IS the truth. 


“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6