Monday, 27 June 2011

Monday Manna: Perfect Peace

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose mind is fixed on you, because they trust in you." Isaiah 26:3

"There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because they seek to reach the world's standards. God bids us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and His promise is that all things needful to them for this life shall be added. Worry is blind and cannot discern the future but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honour of God supreme will find a plain path before their feet...

True happiness is found in learning of Christ. Those who take Christ at His Word and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence.

It is the love of self that brings unrest to our soul." -excerpts from my daily devotional by e.white

May God help us to keep the great law of His universe- love God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself. Yes it's natural for us to put ourselves first but when we do, we are going against the way God created us to be. The path to happiness is in keeping God's law. Though we cannot manufacture this love in our own hearts, by spending time with God, love will spring up in our hearts.

"We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

"Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and the patience of Christ." 2 Thess. 3:5

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Monday Manna: What to do with guilt

"Love forgives all wrongs." Proverbs 10:12

Who likes being wrong? Not I! Depending on the size of the misdeed, you either feel slightly foolish or deeply ashamed.

All throughout our day, God sends us impressions to do good through His Holy Spirit. How loudly or softly we hear His voice depends on how much we value His will for our lives.

When we resist impressions from God, we feel bad. No one likes feeling bad/wrong, so what to do? We were not created to bear a burden of guilt in our minds! Humans cannot bear this for long so we end up doing one of two things:

1. Give our guilt to God: confess/admit we've done wrong (1 John 1:9) and allow God to forgive our wrongs and to give us the strength and freedom to move on from those mistakes and learn a better way!


2. Put the guilt somewhere else: we rationalise and justify our mistakes away and play the blame game. If we keep doing this, we will become blind to our own faults and weaknesses. We will end up always minimising our own faults and responsibilities and our own contribution to our problems and we will maximise the faults and wrongs of others.  This distorted way of thinking is what causes conflicts in our relationships. 

If we will just come to Jesus, we can claim this promise: "He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way." Psalms 25:9.

If we want to have wonderful relationships, be that in the workplace or at home or wherever we are, we need to humble ourselves and come to God for freedom, forgiveness, peace and joy and only then will we be able to be the sort of people who love others in a truly selfless way. The great God who created the entire universe stands ready always to help us.  

Monday, 13 June 2011

Monday Manna on a Tuesday- Our worst enemy

I first read the diary of Anne Frank (well-known Holocaust victim) when I was 13 years old, the same age that Anne was when she started writing. I recently reread her diary and was moved so much by her story.

There are many other nameless people who have also suffered great injustice in their lives, not just during the Holocaust but throughout the entire history of the human race. The Roman philosopher Cicero said, "Man is his own worst enemy."  The sins and mistakes of those around us wound us but often we also sabotage ourselves. A small example is when we try to convince someone of our point of view (we want them to understand our hurt feelings or to better understand our needs and rights) but the more we try, the further we alienate that person. Perhaps it is because they are also busy trying to make us understand them. 

Anne Frank's last entry in her diary before she was found by the Nazi's has something very profound written in it...Consider that Anne was stuck in a tiny attic with 7 other people for 2 whole years! Hunger and also the tension created by their fear of discovery meant that the relationships grew strained. Anne writes, 

"I am trying very hard to change myself but I'm always up against a more powerful enemy... 

Keep trying to find a way to become what I'd like to be and what I could be if...if only there were no other people in the world."  (diary ends here).

In each of us is the potential to reflect God's character. However, in each of us is also a natural selfishness which makes it hard sometimes to relate to others. How can we win against our 'strong enemy'? I believe the only way is to turn to God for help. We need someone stronger than ourselves! Only by having a relationship with Him who is loving, patient, understanding, forgiving strong, courageous and kind can we also have those character traits in us as we relate to others.

 "Hear my cry, O God;
   listen to my prayer.
 From the ends of the earth will I call to you,
   When my heart is overwhelmed,
   lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
   a strong tower from the enemy."  

      Psalms 61.