Thursday, 17 November 2016

When the light dims!

I was so sore and distraught and at the verge of tears, all around me my hope had faded, the light at the end of the tunnel looked even further away.  I had been really ill for a few weeks, a mixture of being bed-bound and house-bound and so I felt completely isolated, alone and overwhelmed. I felt this illness was just robbing me of so much and that I had been forgotten about by others.

I hadn't spent much time in prayer or the Word that week and so I realized how thirsty I was for encouragement from God himself. How easily it is to neglect God's Word and prayer. Nothing my husband or son could say would encourage me so I knew it was time to spend time with my Father God. I needed His help and no-one else. So I knew I really needed to read something that would make me think and lift me up. My first port of call was Psalm 40:1-4;

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

AS i cried out more to God; the line 'new mercies every morning' came to mind. I remembered that beautiful hymn, '' Great is thy Faithfulness' and my first thoughts were it was from a Psalm. However it isn't from a Psalm but from the very mournful book of Lamentations. After a quick concordance look-up I found exactly what I was looking for and that was;
Lamentations 3:22-24 

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassion's fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

So I went on to read the whole book of Lamentations! I know if you're familiar with this book in the bible it wouldn't be the first place you'd seek encouragement, as it is indeed quite a miserable read but important book as it details Jeremiah's mourning's from a literal pit of despair as God judged the nation of Judah for their sin. However on I went and read it and could see that Chapter 3 is indeed the gemstone of this book. It is then that Jeremiah looks up to God instead of the situation around him and sees hope.

As I cried in the acknowledgement that God indeed had not forgotten me I was also reminded of Revelations 21:4;

4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

God himself was reviving my heart of despair. As I came away encouraged and amazed at how God had led me to those Bible passage, I was lead to look up the hymn 'Great is thy faithfulness' and so I listened to a lovely rendition of it on YouTube. That lead me onto the Author and I read a short bio of Chisholms life.

He became a Christian when he was 27, went on to study to be a Methodist minister, in his mid 30s he graduated and then only went on to minister for 1 year until his ill health prevented him. And his ill health followed him for the rest of his life. However he went onto write many poems of which 'Great is thy Faithfulness' is one.
Now that stopped me in my tracks as my ill health has prevented me from going forward into full time ministry from my mid 30's as well. Not a coincidence but God intervening in my pitiful state to remind me, all is not lost, God will still use me no matter what life throws at me.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

If only you could read my mind!

I've been watching too much Sci-fi lately especially Star Trek
Voyager.  Recently I saw an episode all about a telepathic community and how they had to control their thoughts as they could read each others thoughts easily. As I watched I was thinking  how glad I was that nobody could read my mind.

I'm sure if others could read my mind they wouldn’t want to talk to me let alone be friends with me. 
We can have horrible thoughts about others, fleshly thoughts of anger, frustration, bitterness, where you come away from an argument or conversation and know what you should have said compared to what you actually did say! We think of vengeance and instead of acting that out because we don't want to face the conflict and instead we find that a good film on vengeance helps! (I know for a fact I'm not the only one who thinks like this but we're too afraid to admit it.) 
However there is someone who knows every single one of my thoughts good or bad and that one is God of course as we can see clearly in the verses from Psalm 139 below. I find it somewhat reassuring that God knows me inside and out. And He still loves me and desires a relationship with me!

Ps 139

1 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Is Christ Your First Love

Galations 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Recently while reading a book, reading the word and listening to sermons, the main question that has challenged me; 'is Christ my first love?'

 That is so challenging because straight away I know how short I fall in putting Christ first. I have an excuse for falling short; I haven't the energy to put Him first.
My fleshly self prefers to be anxious and fretful and then to depend on the wrong people or things.

 My put first list in no particular order; hubby, son, friends, internet, gadgets, food and the list could could on. 

 For example I've put gadgets before Christ, I remember a number of years ago talking to my hubby about a new mobile phone; his reply to this was that I didn't need one and neither could we afford one. I got it into my head that life couldn't go on without it. Obsession and desire took over and I went and bought one. Now it fulfilled a desire for less than a week, and then I realized it didn't fill that gaping void at all. Only Christ can fill that gaping hole in our lives.If I had put Him first  the mobile phone could have waited until I had saved up for it. Also I wouldn't have gone against my husband's wishes.

 The main problem; I was distracted by worldly things that I thought would fulfill my every desires and  even made excuses  for e.g, at least its not an iPhone as if that justified the sin. But who do I think I am making up the rules . Nothing justifies committing sin. I need to constantly come before Jesus and surrender all, repent of my sin and move forward in my faith. 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

His Word Is Truth

It was the summer when I was 18 years old that God brought me to Germany to teach me one of the most important lessons of my life. I was going through a hard time in University and my self-image was at an all time low. I was part of a church fellowhip and had been nurtured well in my Christian faith there. One woman from the church offered me the opportunity to go to 'Love Europe' OM Summer Missions. My church sponsored me to go. I was to travel across Europe on a bus. I remember thinking 'what do I think I'm doing?' and 'how could I share my faith in Christ with others, when I didn't have confidence in my own faith in God?'
However God had plans for me there. One evening the main speaker challenged us to question if we put barriers between us and God that were preventing us moving forward in our faith. The conviction I was under was real and the burdens I had been carrying around with me became very heavy. There was an opportunity to pray with counselors afterwards and I took the plunge and responded.
I was asked to think on a verse; that verse was Zephaniah 3:17

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

The questions I was asked with regard to the verse were; 'Did I believe this verse?' and 'Did I believe God loved me this much?'. I had until the next morning to ponder these questions and then I was to meet up again with the same women as the previous night. That night I couldnt sleep, there was a stirring in my soul and an over riding conviction of unbelief in God's Word. Did I believe what this verse was saying and if I didnt, did I not believe in the word of God? How had I not realized that until then!
The next morning I wearily met up with the ladies, we talked long and deep and I poured out my troubled heart to them, which at the time was alot. At the end of my time with them I was beginning to understand that maybe God did really love me.The ladies prayed for me and then it was my turn to pray and repent of my unbelief in God's Word and ask God for a revelation of his unconditional love. Amazingly God answered that prayer in that moment. The love of God washed over me, what Jesus had done for me was re-realised and I came away changed. I believed  Zephaniah 3:17 and nobody or anything could have convinced me otherwise. 
Its a long time ago now, over 20 years and that lesson has always stuck. I have let my emotions get in the way since, but God brings me back to this verse time and time again to firmly remind me that He is God and that He loves me so much He rejoices over me with singing. 
God's word is truth and in Him are no lies!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Lies, its all lies

I'm reading a book at the moment called Lies Women Believe (And the truth that sets them free) by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. (Thankyou to a good friend who introduced me to this book) As I journey through the book I am amazed at the insight from God the writer has and the honesty with which she writes.
I am reminded about how far short I fall in terms of repenting from my sin and seeking God's forgiveness and grace through his son Jesus Christ. Then I wonder why I struggle with so much but particularly at the moment I'm struggling with my own lack of worthiness. But if I'm not spending time with Someone who deems me worthy, how can I expect to be a confident child of God. I mean really, what do I expect??!!
I really need to read His Word, and focus on scripture that lifts me closer to God. Simples!!
I came across Psalm 147: 10 & 11 today and it was perfect for what I needed to hear from God.

10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy.

  How often I can compare myself to others; how often I find so much fault in myself, I'm not a good Mum or such and such is a better Mum than me, and especially at the moment such is such is a better writer than me, such and such is a better Christian than me. And the list goes on and I hate that I have a list of this kind at all. Stop!! Wait a minute!! God doesnt expect me to have a list like that where I'm comparing myself to others. 'He does not delight in' outward appearances, all He is concerned about is where my heart lies, do I 'fear Him' and 'hope in His mercy'. God does not compare me to others, His main concern is that I have accepted His Mediator, Jesus Christ in my heart which was what happened when I became a Christian at 15 which is 26 years ago (Wow). In all those years God has taught me so much and re-taught me so much and for that I am in awe of how graciously He deals with me daily.
Let us not forget that He takes pleasure in our hearts, hearts that have committed to following Jesus and daily we need to be pouring out ourselves to Him (giving Him our all).

Think About;

Am I struggling through today in my own stength or in God's?
Do I truly believe in Jesus as my Lord & Saviour?
What do I need to leave in God's hands today? What do I need to repent of?

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Nothing can seperate us

In the past week I've been focusing on these verses in Romans 8 : 35-39
'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'

There is so much in these verses I really don't know where to start apart from saying read over these verses a few times and soak them in.

I am a terribly distracted woman. I hate the things that can stretch me away from God , for me that can be endless , my ill health is very good at taking my focus from God, so also is any anxious thought.
 I am such a worrier. I worry about everything at times, my husband's health;my son's education; my son's future; my future; what's for breakfast, lunch or dinner; do I have somewhere to go this week? ;
Am I well enough to go anywhere? Will I have enough energy for a bath?; and the list is endless. Do I have energy to worry about all these things? Simple answer is no, of course not. Does my own self rationale make me stop? No!

Only focusing on God and His word makes a real difference. (Just to note when I refer to God, I refer to the trinity, God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit)
It's so easy to reflect on tribulation, distress, peril, death, present or future and think the worst but when you are a true Christian we have Jesus Christ rooted in our hearts and the word is clear. Nothing can separate us from God's love. We must believe this!

Think about

What distracts you from your daily walk with God?
How do you respond to the fact that nothing can seperate us from God's love?
Ask God to help you believe and soak in this passage of scripture !

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

To Soar on Wings!

I'm here sitting up early in the morning not really being able to get back to sleep.  I cried to God and said  'Lord God at times like this I feel I lack everything and I am a lost cause. My body is weak, exhausted, very uncomfortable and I am really sore all over. I want a break from this body. But yet the birds sing and my soul rejoices quietly in your creation. O to have the wings of a bird....'

So of course Isaiah 40:28-31 came to mind;

28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.

29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,

31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

God's character is so opposite to us human beings; He never faints He is never weary and He understands everything; whereas I'm weak, faint, weary and my understanding is so limited. The Psalmist declares clearly in verse 30 that even youths and young men grow weary, faint and fall. So what hope is there for me who suffers from M.E.! In verse 29 we see clearly that God gives power and strength to the weak and weary.
In verse 31 God promises that He will renew our strength, we will be able to run and not be weary, we will walk and not be faint. Thats what I need to hear but above all the lines in this passage  'They shall mount up with wings like eagles' speaks to me of such promise and vision. I can see clearly a picture of me soaring as an eagle. I desire that so much. That picture fills me with excitement and promise for the future.
I know that Heaven indeed will be a wonderful place but I know now that God can heal me here on Earth in His Time, He has the power and abiity to heal me I can only but hope for that day.
In the meantime I will praise Him forevermore!  

Psalm 104; 35b
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord! 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

I cried to the Lord

I cried to the Lord...He heard my voice

We all face difficult things in our lives, for me at the moment its mostly my ill health that concerns me and can drag me down. One of the main things effected by my ill health is socialising with others. Often I'm too ill to attend an event whether it be at church or with friends etc... Often after an invitation to dinner and I say no or last minute can't attend,  its annoying how people can easily misunderstand you and think the worst e.g. 'Couldn't be bothered' or 'not committed to anything'. In the end I don't get another invite, people give up on me. Its at times like this that you can feel that everyone and the world is against you and is lining up in a queue to attack you.
Its easy to get caught up with negative people who steal our hope. Its a part of life that we always will have those encounters with people who drag us down.
It says in Psalm 3:1-4

1 Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!Many are they who rise up against me.
2 Many are they who say of me,“There is no help for him in God.” Selah
3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
4 I cried to the Lord with my voice,And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

As we can see in verse 3, God is a shield for me, which connotes that we have to pick up a shield for it to protect us. Christ is our shield and we must lean on him and grip our shield tightly for protection. Using the analogy of the shield if we're not close behind it we are in danger of being hit by the 'fiery darts'

Action is required on our part; for example if were near drowning , we would cry for help and put our hands up to be saved. As in this Psalm we cry out to God and we see at the end of verse 4 'He heard me'!

I love verse 3:b 'the one who lifts up my head. This is such a vivid picture of a parent lifting up a child's head to reassure them that they are loved deeply. God loves us deeply and is better than any parent here on earth. He loves us so much he desires for us to trust in Christ and be completely shielded from 'the fiery darts of the wicked one'.(Eph 6:16)

Think about :

Are we laying everything at Christ's feet today?
How do you stay closer to God in your walk with Him?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

When I consider your heavens!

A vibrant rose after the rain

Recently at the beginning of June I started a wee challenge organised by the Wildlife trusts that has me considering God's creation every day. In my limited capacity I have been able to take a few photographs everyday to help create a wildlife blog.
Its amazing how looking around at our immediate environment has just inspired me and has continually given joy and calm. As a christian I can't help but be in awe of God's Creation 'the works of his fingers'...'the moon and stars'...

In Psalm 8:3,4 & 9 it states:

3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

9 O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

These verses clearly state that when we consider God's works our response is to praise and declare how 'excellent is Your name in all the Earth' !

Also though we are strongly reminded in these verses of our own humility. With all of God's work in creation why would He be mindful of us in comparison to all these wondrous things. Also the fact is He desires to draw close to us. Indeed how excellent is that.

Focusing on the word ordained (dictionary def: To decide in advance or order officially). Theres a great sense of the power and authority of God in creating creation. Creation is God's workmanship, no one or nothing else created it. He ordained it in order that we would bring praise to God, Himself.

Our response: What can we actively  do today to consider God's creation?                  
A question to reflect upon; How does creation bring you closer to God?

I hope this short blog encourages you, we did this as a family devotional this week. I read out what I was going to write in this blog. My son loved it so much he wants me to do two a week. Thats great feedback is all I can say.. :)

A Drooping poppy 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Whatever is lovely!

It was very encouraging to see so many people read my previous post. Since last time my health has been up and down as usual. Still a lot of pressure in my ears but taking it one step at a time as they say and even literally. Last Tuesday I had a very sensitive head to light and noise, so i was wearing my sunglasses inside and out. I was also dreading my son's birthday party, but survived it and was so happy that he had a great time with all his friends.

 I suffer from anxiety and depression as a result of my chronic illneses. And often I'm anxious about all sorts of things. I'm especially anxious about the new symptom I've gained a few weeks ago which I reffered to previously ;  'Vertigo' and i'm not talking about that trampoline place in Belfast either. Vertigo scares me, cos it makes you feel so 'out of control' . Over the years as new symptoms occurred I have gone through the stages of grief with them until I learn to cope with them. A peaceful state can be so hard to find in the midst of all this. The only peace that truly satisfies me is God's peace and the bible verses I want to focus on show us how to recieve that, because peace is a gift from God.

Philippians 4: 8&9

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

In verse 8 we see a long list of words, and below I have listed them again with dictionary definitions and my own thoughts on them)
TRUE (: Truth based in facts and reality:not emotion; No lie is found in Christ!.)
NOBLE (Fine personal qualities or high moral principles; also belonging to the aristocracy by rank, birth: Jesus' genealogy goes back to Adam, and Jesus practiced what he preached!)
JUST(Morally Right & Fair; or deserved (treatment). I have to add here that Jesus is indeed just, so much so he died on the cross for us, taking the punishment that our own  sins deserved.)
PURE (Innocent or morally good; complete; We are complete in Christ)
LOVELY (exquisitely beautiful; very pleasant; We see clearly in God's word how lovely Jesus is.)
OF GOOD REPORT ( Did you ever hear jesus gossip? No!)
ANY VIRTUE (behaviour showing high moral standards; quality considered good or desirable. It is desirable to be Christlike)
PRAISEWORTHY (Goes without saying that Jesus whole life praised God as our lives should too)

The source is  Christ ! We need to learn about Jesus, receive his words, hear his words, see his actions and study Him and His character through the Gospels.

Verse 7 of Philippians 4 states  "and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Everybody is searching for a state of peace, striving for peace.
 Peace according to the dictionary is;freedom from disturbance, anxiety and distress which gives us a state of tranquility or calm.
There is in every human being a gaping void, that we try to fill up with the things of this world, stuff, internet, tv...objects.. But they never satisfy ever!

So where do we start? My challenge is simply read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
and see what you learn about Jesus.
An to end this post let me quote from Colossians 3:15a 


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Its a Beautiful day!

Its a beautiful day outside and I have gone out with the aid of my walking sticks up to the Cabin to see how my hubby is getting on with painting it. The cabin is just across the yard and up a wee slope so it is a challenge to walk up there. Why I’m explaining this is because of ME and Fibromyalgia this is an achievement to me.
Its frustrating because I want to do so much but I’m only able to do so little.
I Did manage to have lunch outside on the patio set which is right at my front door. The last 2 weeks have been bed and sofa bound and I don’t like it at all. I came down with vertigo nearly 2 weeks ago and the pressure in my head since then is beyond description. Generally even on my best day going out is a challenge as I know the next day I will pay. Well actually the last time I was out at the shops with my rollater was the day before I got the vertigo. Needless to say that I can feel hopeless at times struggling with Chronic Illness.
However there is hope, real hope!
I read Psalm 13: verses 5&6 the other day and it states:
5But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6I will sing to the Lord , Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
These verses point out three things about God’s relationship with us.
1.God is merciful towards us
[Collins Dictionary states that Mercy is ‘compassionate treatment of an offender or enemy who is in ones power’. And we are under God’s rule so that means we have offended God and have treated God as our enemy ]
2.God saves us.
[The consequences of our sin deserve punishment but God has saved us.]
3.God deals with us with boundless Grace.
[In light of God’s mercy and salvation we see how generously he pours grace into our lives, like a well that never dries.
That’s allot to learn in 2 verses but the Word of God is the truth and here it is laid out in black and white. These verses also teach us what our response should be to God’s mercy, salvation and grace.
1.Trust (in God’s mercy. For me that involves leaning on God all the time because when I detract my eyes from God is when that feeling of hopelessness overwhelms me. It is truly only God that I can trust 100 percent.)
2.Rejoice (in God’s salvation, for he is the only one who can offer us that through the sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ)
3.Sing (a response from our heart to how graciously God has dealt with us)

I want to point out that these should be responses not just commands. There is a difference. To respond our heart should be in a condition that is open to God changing us from the inside out. So naturally or supernaturally we respond to God in trusting, rejoicing and singing based on the truth (not feeling) of God’s mercy, salvation and bountiful grace.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

A change

I've been thinking and praying for a while now and believe it is time to combine our Facebook page True Word Ministries with this blog. I have changed the title from 'chronicles of a chronic illness sufferer' to 'Rose Cottage; True Word Ministries Blog' to better encapsulate what I'll be blogging about. Simply put the blogs will be about everyday life and also what I learn from God along the way. I'm working on a blog that will be ready tomorrow so watch this space.