Being Ready

I was reflecting on the armor of God this week, praying for friends who really need to be equipped with the full armor of God right now. In my head I could quote all the pieces of armor apart from the “readiness of the shoes of the gospel of peace.” I realized that this is something I should really remember, it’s so important to remember to be ready.

Matthew 24:44

“Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

We need to be ready for Jesus, living each day for Him. This World is not it! This isn’t the end of the story, this is not our home, our home is with Jesus. We need to be ready to be called home and know that Jesus will say those wonderful words to us, “well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)

Being ready with the gospel of peace also means we need to have verses in our mind to use in times of trouble. The devil wants us to feel worthless and alone, he throws his fiery darts at us so that we will turn away from the Lord. But, God’s word has the authority and the power to deal with these attacks.

When our faith is questioned, we also need to be ready with Bible verses to support our faith, we have a hope to share with others and abundant joy in knowing Jesus, but often our faith is dismissed as foolishness.

1 Peter 3:15

“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

I love this verse, we cannot argue with people to love God we need to tell them with gentleness and respect that we have such a magnificent hope. This wonderful hope we have means we do not have to fear death and the evil of this world because the Lord Jesus is our Saviour. He saves us from this. There is freedom from sin knowing that we can spend eternity with him in paradise. He can make us ready with His gospel of peace for anything this world throws at us.

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Saying No to Bitterness

I was recently faced with someone with a lot of bitterness and as a result of being truthful to them, I was hurt by their response and their cruel words to me. I doubt that the person meant the hurtful words that they said, but they were obviously hurt themselves by what life has thrown at them and I got the brunt of it.

When my emotions got the better of me and I found myself playing out what I could have said in the shower, I realised I need to be really careful, really careful that I do not become bitter myself.

Bitterness can suck people in, when someone is bitter and angry lashing out at others, it can be easy to be bitter towards that person.

Prayer to our Heavenly Father is vital in these situations, to know how to forgive and not let bitterness overcome. I need His strength to forgive, it is possible only through Him.

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

God forgave us, he has forgiven us all our sins and so I need to forgive any hurt I might feel. Jesus Christ even showed love to his enemies while on the cross, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). I want to be more like Jesus and forgive those who hurt me, I know that it will set me free. I want to ask the Lord, to help me to say “NO!” to bitterness.

Being Active for Jesus

Now that I have shared my weight loss story, you can probably imagine I was not a very active teenager.

I hated running in particular and walked when it was cross country at school.

I tried running short distances when I was told to at school, but everyone was faster than I was! Even my two younger sisters.

I was lazy, but I also had worked it up in my mind that I should stay away from running and all sports.

I was lethargic and didn’t want to move, it was miserable. The Lord does not want this for us, in the Bible Proverbs shares a lot on laziness, giving wisdom that it will not make a profit and in Colossians it talks about working heartily for the Lord, you cannot do that if you’re lazy, which I was.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

As well as losing weight, God helped me to overcome my laziness. I got into exercise classes and that gave me energy to work heartily for the Lord.

After a few years of doing exercise classes, I decided to revisit running. Not putting myself under any pressure to compare myself to others and how fast they were running, but running on my own. I found I had worked up a lot of endurance.

After a while of practicing running, my friend asked if I wanted to join her to do the 10k race for life. I jumped at the chance to have something to work towards.

I not only completed the race, I did it well. My parents had come to support me and were so proud.

God is so good helping me to overcome this aversion I had to do anything active, especially as my children take after their Dad and are extremely active. God knew I needed to be active for them and he gave me the strength to do it. And, He still is giving me the strength to run with my kids.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Our Own Relationship

I compare myself to others a lot, as I am sure many people do, it seems to be the way of the world, but it’s not helpful. When I was 14 years old I compared my relationship with God to my friends’ relationship with Him and I thought, ‘I am not like them. Am I a Christian?’

As I pondered over my differences between myself and my friends, I thought for a moment, ‘I do not think I can be like them, so maybe that does mean I’m not a Christian. Okay, I’m not, maybe life will be easier.’ But then, in that moment, the realization of what that meant hit me. It would mean that my Lord would not walk with me through this life, I could not pray to Him, I could not have the hope of eternal life with Him and I would receive the punishment of sin, Hell.

I immediately said to the Lord, “No, I want you to be my Saviour, I do not want to live without you. Please forgive me for thinking I could even live one second of this life without you.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ went through separation from the Father for us, something that would have been far worse than anything man could do to him.

Mark 14:36
And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

He took the punishment of our sin upon himself, so that we can have a direct relationship with Him. An individual relationship that is precious.

Having realized it was ridiculous to compare my relationship to God to other people’s relationship with Him, I took great comfort in knowing that everyone has their own individual relationship with Him. We are all unique, God made us that way and so of course every relationship with Him is unique.

Rather than compare my relationship and look around me to other people, I need to fix my eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of my faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2

“…looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

God Given Determination

I was so touched by the kind response to my ‘God Inspired Healthy Eating’ blog post, that I thought I would continue a bit of my weight loss story.

God definitely helped me lose the weight, because I had no self-control when it came to food. I remember being at a friend’s house and she had chocolate in a drawer, she offered me some and I remember thinking, “how can you let chocolate sit in your drawer? I would have eaten it in one sitting.” Or, pancake day (is that exclusive to Britain?). My Dad had to beg me to stop having too many pancakes.

Overeating was a huge weakness for me. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10b. In my weakness God gave me strength and determination to lose the weight.

In Galatians 5:23, one of the fruits of the spirit that is stated is “Self-control”. It was not good that I gauged myself on food, but how would I stop? God wants me to have self-control, I knew He wanted me to over come this weakness. So I continued to pray.

Then one day after praying I found I had a God given determination, I thought “I am going to do this” and I told my sister Susan and she was excited for me and she knew from the way that I spoke that I was going to do this.

I have had to educate myself in food. Everyone is different, but food is a huge issue for everyone. When getting healthy, I researched food and tried different plans to maintain my new weight. It is a learning curve for everyone.

Our Heavenly Father loves us and being in a relationship with him means “praying without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). My Mum has always taught me to pray about EVERYTHING. God cares about the little things and the big. He’s helped me work through a huge weakness of mine and workout how to eat well. And, he cares for each and everyone of you too.

God inspired Healthy Eating

This week, as I suppose a bit of an experiment, I thought I’d share with you something that’s been on my mind. See if it is helpful, I truly hope that it is. That is: God inspired healthy eating.

As a teenager right up until I was 20, I was overweight. I wasn’t just slightly over-weight, I was obese for my height and although it didn’t get to an extreme, where my health could have been severely affected, it would have been quite dangerous to continue the way I was going.

I tried fad diets. At one point at 18 years old I was on the Slimfast diet, which gave me the worst hunger pains I’ve ever experienced, and it did not work because when I ate my dinner I ate too much to make up for it.

Then one day, I prayed about it. I prayed quite persistently too. I didn’t want to feel so low anymore and it was affecting everything, my confidence to speak to people and my energy to do anything.

And, I did it, I lost 30Ibs. It was an answer to prayer, because NOTHING else had worked. And, I’ve never gotten up to that weight again. Although I did struggle after my daughter was born with losing excess weight and my health, but that’s another story.

Sometimes, I have gone the other extreme and eaten too little and exercised too much. It is very easy, once you get into the swing of loosing weight to be obsessed about it.

1 Timothy 4:8

for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

I see this verse as an encouragement to be healthy, but to not make it a god. It is of some value to be healthy for life in general. But, most of all a healthy relationship with the Lord, regularly reading his Word and praying to Him should take priority.

Letting Go of Baggage

Last Sunday before church, I was putting our children into the car, while my husband Aaron locked up the house. I hadn’t taken out any of my bags, my diaper bag, my cool bag for drinks and snacks and my own handbag, with my Bible and notebook. I told Aaron, “You need to open up the door again, I need my stuff!” He asked, “Really? Do you need all that? Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have anything and you were free?”

For most Mothers, especially for babies and toddlers, without all your stuff, new diapers, spare pair of clothes etc. we would be lost. I panic when I haven’t got a lot of stuff. I am not very good at economizing, but I know that if I did, my burden would be so much lighter!

Matthew 11:30

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Through this illustration, the Lord reminded me of how He is the one that carries our burdens. I feel that burdens sometimes seem impossible to let go of. One of those burdens for me is forgiveness. I do try to forgive having my feelings hurt, but what someone has said slips back into my mind and I have to forgive all over again. But, who am I to hold on to that when the Lord has forgiven me so many times.

Worry is another burden that I hold on to. Worrying about anything will not make the situation any better, more often it will make it worse.

Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Just like walking out of the house with no bags would give me lots of freedom, giving my burdens over to Jesus would free my heart of things that take my focus away from what is important, our Heavenly Father. And, Jesus wants to take our burdens from us. He cares for us.

1 Peter 5:7

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

I am praying for the Lord to help me to cast my burdens on to Jesus. And, I pray that for you too my friend. It would give us so much freedom in Christ Jesus.