Gifts from God · My Faith

Hope in the midst of depression and anxiety

Revelation21 4:2

I had no intention of taking a couple of weeks off in the gifts of God study but as it is February, winter is still here (though we have had some sunshine!) I want to keep going with this to encourage myself and anyone else who may struggle in the winter months.

Despite being very tired I am actually not feeling too bad. I have been spending more time in the Lords presence and He has guided me to make some changes which have helped my fellowship with Him so much. This really does help me in my difficult days.

I have thought about the next gift and prayed about it and want to talk about hope. Something that the Lord gives to all who have repented, follow and love Him.

Vines Expositor Dictionary says:

Hope (Noun and Verb), Hope (For):

in the NT, “favorable and confident expectation” (contrast the Sept. in Isa 28:19, “an evil hope”). It has to do with the unseen and the future, Rom 8:24, 25. “Hope” describes

(a) the happy anticipation of good (the most frequent significance), e.g., Tts 1:2; 1Pe 1:21;

(b) the ground upon which “hope” is based, Act 16:19; Col 1:27, “Christ in you the hope of glory;”

(c) the object upon which the “hope” is fixed, e.g., 1Ti 1:1.

In Rom 15:13 God is spoken of as “the God of hope,” i.e., He is the author, not the subject; of it. “Hope” is a factor in salvation, Rom 8:24; it finds its expression in endurance under trial, which is the effect of waiting for the coming of Christ, 1Th 1:3; it is “an anchor of the soul,” staying it amidst the storms of this life, Hbr 6:18, 19; it is a purifying power, “every one that hath this hope set on Him (Christ) purifieth himself, even as He is pure,” 1Jo 3:3, RV (the Apostle John’s one mention of “hope”).

I love the fact that the hope we have is a happy anticipation. It is going to happen! The Lord is coming back and we will be with Him!

It also says that in Romans 15:13 that God is the God of hope. He is the author of it. So this means that when we repent and turn to Him then He gives us hope. Hope in our salvation and hope in the Lord Jesus, that one day we will be with Him in glory.

I don’t know about anyone else but it’s this hope that keeps me going, it’s this hope that gives me joy as it means that I am saved! No more searching, no more looking for answers as Jesus is the answer!

This gift is the reason I get up in the mornings, the reason why I keep going through the tough times, because I know one day it will be over and I wont be dizzy, anxious or depressed anymore. It also means that I can live joyfully now in this wonderful anticipation of being with Jesus in glory. It means that I need not worry (though I still do sometimes), I can be grateful and see all the wonderful things in this life that Jesus has given me. It means that I can lift up my voice in praise to my God, the author of my Hope! I can look to Him with love and follow Him, knowing that He is leading me home. That everything I face in this life is ultimately so I can grow, become more like Him as He desires to spend eternity with me.

I have heard it said that we shouldn’t just focus on ‘this bus ticket to heaven’. And while we must remember that our life for Jesus starts now, for those of us who find life really hard, who struggle to face some days, this bus ticket is  what we hold onto tightly as we look to Jesus. Don’t ever let go of your ticket and don’t let anyone tell you that your hope is not important, we are there a lot longer than we are here. Gods word is what matters and this is what it says:

 

   For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1Thessalonians 4:18)
Sweet brethren, are you depressed? Is your anxiety gripping you so tightly that you can’t breathe? Are you worried? Tired? Don’t want to be here anymore? Be comforted be these words as I am, just hold on, don’t let go for He is coming and then:
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

 

 

Testimony

Comfort one another (a testimony of Christs love to a depressed heart)

In October 2018 I fell and hurt my ankle, it was quite impressive as I fell off a step in soft play with little A and landed full weight on my ankle. One hospital trip later and I am hobbling about on crutches. I pulled the ligaments in my foot, my foot and ankle swelled up and was pretty painful to walk on.

So why am I sharing this today? Because something struck me that I really wanted to share here.

When some people saw my foot they looked very concerned and said things like ‘oh dear, that looks painful’. Which is lovely and I am so grateful for peoples concern and their help.  And they are right, it is was very painful (and still does hurt, 3 months later). However, it is not as painful as the anxiety and fear my dizzyness causes, not as painful as the depression that just keeps coming back and makes the smallest task almost impossible. Because you could see the bruise on my foot you could see the pain I was in. But you can’t see my anxiety, my dizziness, my depression. You can see me hobbling around with crutches trying to do things but you can’t see me fighting the internal things I am dealing with.

Being a Christian with mental illness can be hard, the difference between an illness and fear from not trusting Jesus is hard to understand for some people, even if they have experienced it themselves and are better. I’ve heard a lot of theory’s from many well meaning brothers and sisters in Christ.

But only Jesus knows. He made us, He knows what chemicals make up our bodies and what is wrong with them. He knows what happened to us that has made us like this. He sees all. He sees our pain, He sees our anguish. He sees our heart. Only He knows what is borne out of bitterness, envy, strife and what is not.

I need to say this to myself as well, but God does NOT punish our sins with illness. This is not a punishment for personal sin. It may be a consequence of the fall or even a consequence of sin (which is not a punishment and of which there is always forgiveness available) forgiveness is there for anyone who wants it and being ill does not take that forgiveness away. Our feelings are not an indicator of our salvation as It has nothing to do with us, if you have repented and trusted in Jesus as your Savior, then you ARE saved. And, it is totally possible to have joy and peace in Jesus and still suffer from this, I know because I do have that joy and that peace in me. Even if some days I need to remind myself of that fact.

I do not know why The Lord has not healed me, I don’t know why He let me fall so spectacularly so I pulled all the ligaments in my ankle. I do know that He loves me, that Jesus died and rose again so that I could be forgiven of my sins. I know that He takes no pleasure in anything bad that happens to me, that it hurts Him to see me in pain. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

And I know that He is coming back and when He does, there will be no more dizzyness, depression, migraines, anxiety or pain, I will be free in body as I am in spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:52

So if you are reading this, having a bad day and know The Lord please remember that this is temporary and He has a great plan that involves you:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians: 17-18

So tomorrow I will wake up and pray for help to get out of bed as I always do, I will face the day because He lives and He is with me. And if you want Him to be, He will be there with you too.

 

Christian growth · Lessons from Motherhood

That flat

Recently my husband and I invited some friends over for dinner and the subject of our first flat came up. We loving refer to this flat as ‘that flat’. They were curious as to why so we told them about our first home.

To put it nicely it was a fixer upper, the landlord knew this and told us to do what we wanted with it. The walls were crumbling, the windows leaking, the doors falling off, it had a huge hole in the toilet wall looking out to the street. It was also very cold and damp so every morning there were trails all over the carpet from slugs and snails roaming around, we could hear rats in the basement but it was our first home and we think of it fondly.

As we talked about this my husband said that it was an opportunity to learn about DIY and I loved this because its true, he learned how to fix the windows, he rebuilt one of them, he learned how to seal in the bath, put up shelves, he rebuilt a door frame, we decorated and put in door fittings, plus other things I can’t remember now.

As life has gone on I had forgotten about this and how those first experiences have shaped our lives today, hubby is very good at DIY now and confident in learning how to fix things. Because our home is a lot nicer now I think it is easy to forget how those more difficult circumstances shaped us for good.

Gods word puts it a lot better than I ever can, in Romans 5 it says:

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

My husband could’ve just seen it all as bad and not used it as a way to learn but he didn’t, he chose to learn and grow and this is what the Lord wants from us, He knows that it isn’t easy and we can’t do it without Him so He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us. (John 14)

At the time living in that flat was very hard, and there was no way I would’ve seen it as a positive thing like I do now and I know one day I will lovingly look back on my children’s early years and when I do I hope I can see the growth in me from allowing the more difficult days to shape me and teach me about how to be more like Christ.

Meanwhile I find this promise helps me:

Philippians 1:6

Christian growth

New year, fresh start.

This is the time of year when there is a lot of talk about fresh starts. We look forward to a new beginning, to a better year, a better me. We make resolutions to change, we make goals to grow.

I used to do the exact same thing and even now I find myself thinking about changes I want to make but I put pressure on myself and I get to February and the diet is gone the goals forgotten as life takes over, surprises happen. I feel bad and like I have failed.

The bible says:

“There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Making plans is not a bad thing but we must remember it is God that is in control, we must pray and involve Him in all we want to do. His desire is that we have close fellowship with Him and He cares about everything we want to do, He wants to guide our paths. I find this so humbling as I don’t need to pressure myself I just need to seek my Lord first. His burden is light, anything heavy is of our own making. Matthew 11:28-30

I have no idea what is going to happen in 2018, all I want is for my fellowship with Jesus to be the forefront of my life. I ask for Him to change me to be more like Him, for His peace to reign in all aspects of my life. I pray that He gets the glory in everything I do.

The new year may be a fresh start for many but when we know the Lord every day gets to be a fresh start.

The word saysLamentations 3:22-23

No matter what happens God’s mercy and compassion is fresh every morning, how awesome is that? I don’t need to pressure or burden myself, I can start again anytime of the year. Everyday is brand new when we know Jesus!

Christian growth

Water

Woman by the well with Jesus John 4 bible verse

 

I have a confession to make, I am really bad at eating and drinking what I should. And when I feel under the weather the first thing I do is stop eating and drinking. I know, right when I need it most as well.

This week I’ve had a bit of an illness, high temp and sore throat and, true to form, I didn’t eat enough and didn’t have enough water. I woke up feeling very weak and dizzy which frightened me. I finally had a bottle of water mid morning and some lunch then realised I was feeling better. This really made me think and start investigating what happens when I don’t drink enough water.

Apparently if we don’t drink enough water we become dehydrated and just mild dehydration causes headaches, fatigue, foggy brain, dizziness, anxiety. Chronic symptoms include poor digestion, increased hunger and weight gain (as your body starts to mistake thirst for hunger). The more severe symptoms are scary and include brain swelling and seizures (source).

John 7:37-39 says this:

37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Here the Lord describes the Holy Spirit as living water and what does water do?

It refreshes, it restores, it keeps us alive, our body uses water to maintain our temperature, to keep all our organs working properly. It is very very important to keep drinking water.

It is also very very important to keep drinking of the living water as it will keep us spiritually healthy, it will also refresh and restore and fill us with the joy and peace that only comes from knowing the Lord.

All that the Lord requires of us is to be thirsty, however as we can ignore our thirst for water and start to mistake it for hunger we can do the same spiritually, ignore that thirst and don’t seek and ask for the Holy Spirit then that thirst will go or we will seek fulfillment elsewhere (which will leave us unhealthy and unfulfilled). I am so grateful that The Lord gives us as much of His living water that we ask for, we never have to go thirsty again and I pray that as I need to remember to keep drinking water I will also keep asking the Lord for His Holy Spirit and receive all the wonderful gifts that that entails. Thank you Lord

 

 

Lessons from Motherhood

Tantrum

Romans 5:8 Christ died for us

We are going through a season of tantrums. Since little A was born little S has been pushing his boundaries more and more.

Most of the time he just has a little moan but sometimes he will go off with full force on the floor screaming, arms and legs flailing oblivious to everything around him. I have tried to comfort him but that seems to make things worse.

It breaks my heart to see him like this and no amount of talking or offering comfort seems to work, all I can do is sit and wait for him to calm down and realise I’m there.

The Lord says,

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)

But, like little S I ignored His offer of comfort and got myself into such a state that I felt there was no way out. It’s only now I understand that that would have broke His heart.

Are your circumstances overwhelming you? Has sin and guilt got you so tight you feel there is no way out? Are you desperate for comfort but all you can do is hit out at those around you?

He’s waiting for you, He knows your pain, He has the answer. You just need to go to Him, ask for forgiveness and you will be saved. Believe me there is no peace like it.

Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Thankful

Psalm 100:4I was chasing Little S around to put on his jumper before we left the house, he was not happy with me and protested vigorously.  Finally I was able to distract him and get it on, after many tears once it was on he tearfully and quietly said ‘thankyou Mummy’. I smiled and gave him a hug and said ‘thats ok, sweetheart’.

Gratitude is something that has been on my mind recently, its something that has been bought up in my fellowship group also.

In the Bible it says in 1 Thessalonians 16:18:

16Rejoice evermore. 17Pray without ceasing. 18In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

It is Gods will for us to give thanks in everything, whether pleasant or not. Little S thanks me and others a lot, weather its because we’ve given him a drink, an ice-cream and sometimes when I’ve done something that’s good for him even if he didn’t want it at the time.

In life we go through different seasons, somethings are just rubbishy and we don’t feel very grateful, but the word doesn’t say we should feel grateful, it says we should give thanks and that’s a different thing entirely. Jesus understands our pain and suffering and He does not enjoy it when we do suffer. However sometimes things are good for us even when we don’t want it. And God is always good, even during those times.

For me, gratitude isn’t an automatic thing but I’ve been thinking about ways I can be grateful and try to look for things to be grateful for, remembering that its the giving of thanks that we are commanded to do. Sometimes it helps to even write things down, then we can revisit when things get tough. We are not to be religious about it we don’t need to force anything, we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us and help us have a grateful heart towards Him. Anything that requires us to lean on Him, is a good thing.

I pray I can be like Little S and give thanks even when I feel grumpy and I am very grateful to The Lord for my little boy and the lessons I learn from being his mum. And the fact that he says thank you!

What are you grateful for? Give thanks to God today and remember His goodness in all things.

Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Temptation

Being a Mum has taught me a lot about my walk with the Lord, it has shined a light on many things I do that I had no idea that I was doing.

Little S is now a full on running about, into everything toddler, we have found ourselves moving things higher and higher until even we can’t reach it.

We have a cupboard that had DVDs in it, once little S realised how to open the cupboard he was finding it loads of fun to pull them out, take of the covers and run around with them. So obviously I had to tell him to stop, a few times but eventually he got the picture. One day I watched him slowly move over to the cupboard, open it, and stand in front of the DVDs jumping up and down and getting upset because he knew he couldn’t touch them. I was right behind him telling him it was OK and showing him all his toys that he could play with but he wouldn’t acknowledge me. He got himself in such a state that I decided to move them elsewhere and put his toys in the cupboard instead.

It made me think… How many times have I been faced with temptation and refused to look around to my father who is waiting to help me?

The word says: 1 Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

I was right behind little S ready to help him he was surrounded by his toys all of which he was allowed to have but he still stood in front of the DVDs getting very stressed. How many times has my Father been waiting to help me? How many times have I forgotten all the wonderful gifts and joys knowing Him has brought me because I was so focused on something that I shouldn’t have or do, something that would cause me harm. Forgetting all I had to do was turn to Him?

I ultimately ended up moving the DVDs and I know there are times that The Lord has removed something from my life that was interfering with my relationship with Him and if we do fall The Lord is so gracious and merciful as:

Lessons from Motherhood · My Faith

Treasure

Little S has a small money box where he puts his pocket money from his Mama. He has learned that if you give him a coin, to wait until you get his money box and then he will put in into the slot.

The other day he found my purse and in it where some coins, he sat and waited so I let him put some into his money box, he turned it over and discovered that he can open it, take them out and put them back in, which was a very fun game. While he was doing this he found a note in there which he pulled out, examined then threw it behind him.

This got me thinking. Because little S doesn’t understand money yet he had no idea that the note was worth more than the 20ps he was taking out and putting back, but they where shiny and more interesting to look at, so, in his mind, they must be more important of his attention. I have been thinking about all the things that I am drawn to in life, things that take me away from the more valuable time I should be spending with Jesus. Unlike Little S I should know better, but I still find myself logging into Facebook or putting on the TV instead of going to my Bible.

In Gods word it says:

19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Matthew 13:44-46

It may be shiny and endearing and even make me feel a bit better in that moment, but it does not last, unlike the peace and joy of knowing Jesus. The Lord has promised so much to those of us that accept Him as their savior and that should be where my focus is, that should be my treasure, He should be what I desire more than anything.

It is hard, because I am a Mum and I am very tired, and when I get a moment I do tend to fall asleep. But I think  thinking about him, focusing on Him in daily life is seeking Him above all else. At the moment I have been guilty of focusing on problems, meetings, housework, crafts, social media, news events, my weight and what I eat. God  desires a deep relationship that involves all aspects of life, I can talk to him no matter where I am or what I am doing I can read and meditate on His word one verse at a time and its OK if I forget what I have read in the brain fog of changing nappies and dealing with tantrums. He understands that I have to deal with Little S, I have to cook meals etc but its where I point my heart that matters, that’s where my treasure lies and, like Little S’s notes that treasure is worth so much more that what I do focus on.

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A Christians guide to the internet

Search Engines

There are a lot of search engines about, the most popular one is Google so its best to always start there. Another reason to start there is that when someone creates a website they have to register it with search engines and Google has the most sites registered to it. Google also owns some of the largest sites on the internet now such as YouTube and blogger (so do not worry if you have a blog on there, Google knows it’s there you don’t have to do anything)

I thought I would share a few facts on search engines then I will give some tips on how to use it effectively.
1. Search engines cannot search the whole internet, they only have access to less then 10%, one reason is because sites have to register with them to be found but also because a large part of the internet is behind a or is private so search engines cannot go there. If you wish to know more this site has some good information: http://netforbeginners.about.com/cs/secondaryweb1/a/secondaryweb.htm

2. When you put your search term and click search what happens is that the search engine sends out data packages called spiders to crawl the network to find the information you are looking for. They then bring that information back and index it according to how relevant it is for your search. This site shows a good overview of what happens when you use Google to search the internet. Google: How search works

3 Different search engines can be useful depending on what you are searching for, for example Google scholar searches for journals and papers and is useful for researching, plus there are sites dedicated to just finding jobs in certain areas and fields etc. Also when you use a site, that has a search facility that only searches their site. So without realising it you are using probably using many other search engines as you look around the internet.
Using Google

As Google is the best known and most used I will give a little advice on searching on there to get good results.
It actually does help to know a few things on using Google to help you find the site you need. When you begin a search be as specific as you can be and once you have the results look at what you have and refine your search accordingly.  For example if you are looking for a chicken recipe put in the term: chicken recipes then if you need something for a dietary requirement put that in too. So chicken recipes could become gluten free chicken recipes, you might find that gets a lot of results so you may need to refine a little more. Depending on the results you get depends on how you refine maybe you get a lot of results from a specific country so could try to put in your country. Then your search term becomes gluten free chicken recipes UK. Maybe you find a nice ingredient in a recipe, pop that ingredient into your search term and search again. As you go along you will find you get more and more specific results to what you are looking for. Eventually you should get a list of sites that are more manageable to look at.

If there is something you do not want to come up in your searches then put a minus sign before it and Google will not return with pages with that word in.

Its best to keep your search term specific as Google doesn’t read words such as ‘and’ or ‘it’ in sentences. Nor does it read punctuation. However if you wish Google to search those terms you need to put quotation marks around them.  But be aware it will search each word on its own so will come up with a huge amount of results that might not be relevant.  If you wish Google to search the whole sentence as a whole, say a title for a book then you put quotation marks at the beginning or the end of the search term. This means you can be very specific about what you wish Google to search for. This page has some good and simple tips to get the best results. Google: Basic tips on searching

I hope these tips have been some help. Searching can be quite daunting if you have never done it before and next time I will go over some safety features on Google and other sites so we don’t get any sites that we don’t wish to see. Obviously as Christians we will come across things that we might not agree with or things that might be offensive as the world sees things very different to us. But the Lord understands and sees our hearts, He knows when we are searching for something that we shouldn’t be and if we have just come across something we didn’t want to find.

According to Google there are 60 trillion web pages on the internet and we know the Lord knows every single one of them, He knows who created it and what and who is looking at them, we cannot escape Him even here and He will protect us if we ask Him. The internet can be a great tool for us to glorify Him and learn about Him if used correctly and He will guide us on here like He does in all aspects of life. We must make sure what we look at is not damaging to our fellowship with Him or leads us to sin and the temptation can be very strong, but the word says if we resist the devil he will flee so take heart as you use the internet as the Lord knows your intentions and your weaknesses and He will help you.

 

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