Sunday, 11 February 2018

Wanna settle that score?

Oh Man! - How many times throughout my life and I'm guessing yours as well have we sought or longed for revenge - we need to desperately settle that score that's been hanging over our heads for so long.

Thing is when we take revenge it is 99.9% with impure motives - God has told us countless times in the Bible that it is His job to take revenge not ours!

We know deep in our hearts that awful feeling when we feel so defeated - we are bruised we are beaten and honestly it's like a constant battle - we are up against this never-ending feeling of anger mixed with self-pity and a desperate need to get back at whatever or whoever have hurt us so badly.

When we are feeling like this it is so so tempting to to try to take the role of God and heap vengeance on the heads of the hurtful ones - I guess that's why God gave us this command in Leviticus somewhere that we should not seek revenge against those who hurt us and we shouldn't even bear a grudge - instead we should love our enemies and pray for those who treat us badly PHEW!!

Non-retaliation even non-violence is discussed in the Bible- I found Matthew 5: 38-42 where Jesus points out as plainly as the nose on your face that vengeance is wrong and as far as seeking to 'settle that score" well enough said - in fact Jesus says that if we are the victims of malicious or violent attacks we should go to the opposite extreme.

Of course that doesn't mean that we should stand idly by and let someone beat-up on our family or not try to protect or property or our country but what Jesus is saying here, is that there is no place for wrath in our dealing with everyday people even those who we feel need to have our vengeance extracted upon them.

I have struggled so hard with this over the years and as I have got older, more and more have I come to realise that even in our thoughts we can play the vengeance game - you know, thinking of all the things we could say or do to 'that' person. In lots of ways I call this self-vengeance where I get a sort of satisfaction for a few seconds from reliving and thinking about what I would say or do. Believe me it doesn't work!

Being and thinking like this only re-enforces and implants those negative and damaging thoughts firmer in our brains where we get to the stage where we can think of little else.

Self-vengeance like this really has no place in a Christian's life at all. If we are truly committed to God then we need to trust Him that He will deal with any retaliation that needs to take place - and we have to rest assured that that retaliation will be done fairly and justly not at all like we would have carried it out had we had our way.

We need to knock those feeling of retaliation of the head firmly when they appear in our lives. Saying that I realise that that is not such an easy thing to think about let alone do.

When someone has really hurt us our very inner being cries out for justice. This is brought home to us time and time again when we see that person seemingly 'getting away with it'.  It hurts us it really does. So what do we have to do - how do we overcome these wretched feelings that can override our thoughts day and night?

We HAVE to rely on God - we just can't become vengeful people - it says in Ephesians 4:32 that we have to forgive in the very same manner that Christ forgives us - I know and realise that it is such a hard thing to do and the only real way of dojng it is to give it over to God.

Truly evil people will pay in the end that's for sure. BUT the thing is, we should be trying desperately not to condone our consciences with that fact - NO! not at all. Actually the opposite is what we should we doing.

The people who have hurt us may feel like they have skirted around God and have won a battle BUT the war isn't over yet not by a long chalk. They may be feeling very satisfied with what they have "achieved" and feeling like they are some sort of champion but we are the ones who are still in the war - we are the ones who are still not giving up - we are the ones who are still not giving in.

We should be trying so hard to win these people over to God. In that way, they will see how their actions and their words have hurt or even maimed. We need to pin our hopes on the only one who can save them - Our Lord and Saviour. We need to pray that they will turn to Christ, repent and be saved. Only He can change them - we certainly can't.

We are in a battle here on earth. Satan and his hoards are out to get us at every turn - and yes! we mess up time and time again BUT we are over-comers not by what we have done or achieved but by what Jesus did  all those years ago.

So lets not waste our time and our lives banging our heads up against a brick wall here and certainly not let our hearts get so heavy that we lose the fight and give in to these feelings of vengeance and retaliation.

Jesus has won the battle - let's concentrate on changing these people so that they can see their mistakes and come over to the winning side. At the same time let's make sure that we are right with God as well - confess to Him our feelings of revenge and retaliation and turn over a new page and restart winning this battle.

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Friday, 2 February 2018

just the tip of the iceberg

The sinking of the RMS Titanic happened on the night of the 14th April 1912 when it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic, The huge ship listed until it finally sank in the early hours of the 15th April claiming the lives of 1500 people making it the biggest peace time maritime disasters at that time.

The Titanic was labelled unsinkable at the time of  it's construction and launch with, as everybody thought, every conceivable safety precaution in place. But they didn't reckon on the iceberg.

Most icebergs in that area usually calved off  fjord lands in Greenland and from calving to melting usually is around two to three years. All that taken into account and where the ship was it is likely that the iceberg that sunk the Titanic was calved off around 1910 to 1911 and became just a final little splash of fresh water in the huge Atlantic Ocean by 1912 at most.

There are a few pictures of the iceberg in question if you care to search google - and the red paint of the Titanic clearly visible.

I must say that I have been an avid fan of the Titanic and also the Olympic and the Britannic her sister ships. All had a huge and very interesting history. So I was very surprised when they finally located the Titanic which lies about 600 Kilometres south off the coast of Greenland in about 3,800 metres of icy cold water.

It's amazing isn't it that there was the iceberg carving in 1910/1911, the noise of which must have been horrendous like all huge icebergs are when the calve, and there was the Titanic in slips of the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast Ireland - what a destiny awaited them both.

The people boarding the Titanic on the fateful voyage had no idea what awaited them - that out there in the dark Atlantic 1000's of miles away that iceberg was already on her collision course that would actually change the face of history.

Reading afresh about the Titanic got me thinking just how many times I have been on a collision  course with what the world calls FATE? I'm not a big fan of FATE and DESTINY but in lots of ways that is the direction the world of today is heading.

They are rudderless and Captainless in huge, dark and icy oceans - drifting along and often lurching from one crisis to anther - a situation in which we would all agree. I doubt any country is free from crises and foreboding and at the whim of seemingly and often confused governments and politicians.

My own personal icebergs surrounded me ceaselessly often crashing into my flimsy little barque over and over again causing mountainous seas and great caverns of seemingly never-ending valleys of deep dark icy water then only to be thrown and crashed once more by another huge monster wave I didn't see coming.

I was rudderless and had no hope struggling to keep my head above water and hopelessly bailing for my life. - then JESUS....

It was when I was about to sink and become another victim of the oceans ravages when out of my darkness came this amazing and incredible light - the very fact that Jesus found me was miracle enough let alone doing what he did to save me!!

I was so buried in sin I had no idea that my life could be changed so dramatically. I was definitely on a collision course with my own personal iceberg. It would have shown the red mark of a collision just as the Titanic's ice berg had all those years ago and I like the Titanic would have sunk to the bottom of the sea.

I figured my past was beyond saving! I was carrying this incredible burden of  sin and guilt.

Things had happened in my past that in my own opinion was unforgivable, totally wrong and deserved an excruciating death and punishment. No one, I thought, could possible forgive such a wastrel as I,  but how wrong was that thinking!

I had been to church for years, concealing a lot of my past, burying it along with my own self confidence and abilities - I had listened to the good news of Jesus and thought that it was great for someone else but not for me.

The Jesus came - He showed me that even the VERY worst of sinners can be forgiven - THE VERY WORST!!

I gave Him my everything - I held nothing back - he grabbed me as I was slipping over the edge and hauled me back to Him.

I realise that absolutely YES and Hallelujah!!! another big YES!!! THE most VILE and disgusting sinner can come to Jesus and he will wash you clean.

You can be forgiven and your life can be dramatically turned around regardless of WHAT you have done or where you have been or even who you have been with!

The most consistent and corrupt person can come to Jesus and find at Calvary, the place where Jesus shed His blood as a sacrifice for sin, the very place where your sins can be covered over never to seen again and forgotten (how about that) by God the Father.

So when we finally come to God, we don't come on our own holiness and goodness but we come in the very holiness and goodness and righteousness of Jesus Himself.

I praise God for that day in 2010, the Monday after Father's day would you believe, that the very light of God's amazing grace finally got through to this brain and heart of mine and changed me for good and for eternity.

The very worst of sinners, me included, can be saved by the all-sufficiency of Jesus. His sinless life encompassed mine and I will never be the same again. HALLELUJAH

So where are you on your collision course with your personal iceberg? I now know that mine has been melted by the very love of Jesus and the extraordinary grace of God.

My personal ocean although pretty rough at times can be negotiated every single time with the right hand of God with Jesus at the tiller. Sure things can go pear-shaped so easily and yes! I have lost it a lot since 2010 BUT HEY!! God is still the Captain and I hang on tight to Jesus through the roughest seas and He definitely sees me though.

Happy sailing to you but make sure you hand the tiller over to Jesus.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

You cannot shake hands with a closed fist (Indira Ghandi)

You cannot shake hands with a closed fist - Interesting quote there by Indira Ghandi the assassinated Prime Minister of India who was killed by her two bodyguards on 31st October, 1984.

Interestingly she was voted Woman of the Millennium in 1999 years after her death.

When I was reading about her life I notice what she had said about not being able to shake hands with closed fist and it made me think of the all the "unlovely"people that I have come in contact with that I find so hard to love!

Jesus said if we are His then we must find it in our hearts not only to forgive them but to love them.

I'm  wondering if this so called love is the same for everyone - should I love them in the same  way that I love my wife and our kids? Or is there a special love that is reserved for the  unlovely in this world that makes it easier for me to love them?

I had to grapple with this question when I read in the Bible that God loves everyone. Personally I would find it hard to love terrorists and people who have really hurt others in abominable ways in the same way as I love my two children and five grandchildren

I wonder what God would think of this situation - after all Jesus died for the sins of all mankind and commands us to love as he does.

In my previous blogs I have related how I was sexually abused by my older bother and that fact alone makes me hesitant to love everyone as as I love my own family and as I love God - yes I may have forgiven him to an extent but to love sacrificially to Him?? I must admit I struggle with that.

I know that Christians emphatically are to be people who love, actually exuding love, communicating love and give sacrificial love - after all Jesus "demonstrated His love for us that while we were still sinners he died for us"(Romans 5:8) - so if Jesus could die for us sinners then we should imitate that love for everyone. Sadly I fail, as I reckon we all do, to an extent in  not imitating this amazing love for others.

It says in John 13:35 that people will know we are Christians and Jesus' disciples in the way that we love each other.

All this taken into account I still struggle with showing the same measure of love to everyone I meet.

I take my cue from the Paul when he wrote to the church in Galatia and told them to do good to everyone but ESPECIALLY the church - so Paul here is saying that ESPECIALLY the church - the ones who love God we are to show special love (Galatians 6:10).

I feel we are given family as a true gift from God - and because of that we have a huge obligation toward our spouses and our children as special gifts from God and true blessings. In fact it's a moral obligation as well. This moral obligation to my mind is far far greater than that extended to others.

In 1 John 3:1 John writes Think how much the Father loves us. he loves us so much that he lets us be called His children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, then they do not know who we are. (CEV).  The NIV version calls it a lavished love - WOW!

To my mind Jesus loves his children - the church - in a very special way - just like Israel held a  very special place in His heart - we His children hold a very special place there as well.

I believe there are distinctions in the love that we show to mankind and our families - We are to love our enemies - that is plain to all who have ever read the Bible (Matthew 5: 43-48) and we are to show goodness and kindness to all but there is in my mind a special love reserved for our spouses, children and families and our church families.

God has shown me in countless ways that I should love my brother, forgive my brother, even pray for my brother but God has also given me a family that is such a blessing to me and he has given a love for them in my heart that overrides all others. Is that wrong? I would heartily disagree and say in fact that it is a VERY special blessing indeed!

God loves His own people in very special ways - he loves us His followers intimately and intensely. In this way I feel we as Christians love our spouses, children and families in very special ways as well.

We are commanded to show God's love, humility, grace and mercy to others. Likewise we are to love Christ, our spouses and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ in very special ways indeed.

I would be most interested to hear what you think and what you feel about this - please contact me or leave replies.

God bless you this week as you tackle the subject on unconditional love and to love and Christ does.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Doubt your doubts - not God

A one time friend of mine through twitter told me when I had confessed that I often had doubts about my salvation or in fact "is Jesus THE one?" that I had better re-think my whole faith experience.

She went on to say that if I doubted God then my faith had no substance at all and if that was the case she felt she had to move away from me and blocked my facebook and Twitter pages.

It was sad and quite discouraging in lots of ways but since then it has served as a wake-up call to me and I would just like to share just where I am coming from with my doubts.

My former friend quoted the letter of James to me and I quote the verses she threw at me back to you

"But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is  driven and tossed by the wind - for  that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" - James 1: 5-8

Well since that episode with my former friend I have come to realise that indeed we are not at the mercy of every wave that comes across our boat and we are certainly NEVER at the mercy of every DOUBT that often comes smashing into our minds.

On saying this, just like the waves, doubts WILL come - we can't just pretend that they won't and I really feel that most of us will have doubts from time to time - some of us more regularly than others. The thing is not to let those doubts undermine our faith!

I know this may sound strange but I feel that my doubt often drives me back to depend on the promises of God more and more.

Joseph Solomon first coined the phrase "Doubt your Doubts" and here is the link to his youtube clip which is very self-explanatory

I was  very encouraged when I listened to Joseph on this very subject that often confuses and even drives people away, feeling like they are not saved at all!

The more we pay attention to doubt the more it limits what God has promised and the more we stop relying on His promises and the more we rely on our own interpretations of them.

Faith on the other hand builds confidence in the very promises of God - it sort of smacks doubt on the noggin and reinforces to us the very majesty and awesomeness of God and His amazing promises to us.

In his youtube clip Joseph explains that his faith could fit into the creases of his palms it was THAT small - But God has promised that as tiny as your faith maybe, that very faith can move mountains in your life - and some of the mountains may be the mountains of doubt.

My friend pointed out to me quite dramatically that my doubts about God overrode my belief and smashes my faith. She maintained that because of my doubts I can no longer claim my salvation.


If we cast our minds back to the time when we first came to Christ in repentance and asked Him to change our lives - He came into our lives and changed us permanently regardless of any doubts that may sometimes invade our space.

The very fact he accepted us as His was only through the very grace of God and not because we had this vast amount of untapped faith just waiting to explode onto the world and dazzle us with it's amazing attributes.

NO! at the end of the day we are NOT saved by the amount of faith we have or do not have nor by the strength of our belief but by the very sacrifice of Jesus and what he did for us on that cross. We are saved by the very mercy and grace of God.

If we didn't have any faith then we wouldn't have come to Him at all

My mind travels back to that amazing miracle that Jesus did while here on earth and recorded for us in Matthew 9. A father brings his desperately sick child to Jesus who asks dad "do you believe that I can cure this child?"

Dad, says  "I do - but help my unbelief" - There are so many times in own life where I have prayed this prayer. Many many times others have tried to undermine our faith in God and they will continue to do so unfortunately and there are many who like me do not have a perfect faith in God.

But we do not have to concern ourselves with the amount of faith we have or how huge our belief in God has grown since handing our life to Him. What we do need to cling to is that through His grace, God has deemed to save us regardless!

The amount of faith we do have is a mighty weapon and can be wielded with accuracy and forthrightness in combating satan and his foes - we need to grab hold of the promises of Jesus, believe them and doubt your doubts and let our weak faith cling to the mighty arm of God.

This is a beautiful prayer by Bonnie McKernan from her blog the link to which follows here:-

I am sure she won't mind me repeating it here in mine because it sort of says it all about our doubts and unbelief.

Like Bonnie and me - let's pray this prayer from our hearts and let's doubt our doubts rather than doubting our amazing salvation and the awesomeness of the very grace of God!

Lord, forgive me for not believing that your truth permeated every single layer of my life. Fan my tiny smoldering little spark of faith into a burning and consuming fire that will bring you glory and drive out darkness. But don't ever let me think it is strong enough or that I have any hope of stoking it and keeping it alive apart from you. I believe; help my unbelief! 

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Deep waters

When you go through deep waters,
   I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty.
   You will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression.
   You will not be burned up;
   The flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2 NLT

Wonderful verse to read in the Bible and most encouraging - a true word for our Lord and God  YET....

When we are actually going through some really rough times often it is so hard to keep trusting God.

When you have just been diagnosed with cancer and you are facing a huge operation or like my friend Rick who was told there was no hope and only had weeks to live, when your child is killed in a horrific accident on the way home from school - where is God?

When you lose your job and your whole family is depending on your income, when you, like me had been sexually abused as a teenager and the person responsible has never been brought to justice ~ in fact the other extreme has happened where he has seemingly gone on to bigger and better things in life - where is God?

When your siblings refuse to believe you, when your best friend suicides and you are left to wonder if you could have done something to prevent it, when you are accused wrongly of something and no one stands up for you - where is God?

It's hard to come to terms when all you hear is that God is loving and kind and He always has your best interest at heart.

The thing is that death and suffering is the punishment for sin - God said that would happen when Adam walked away from God way back after creation The whole world went bonkers after that and sin and death went wild.

Not our personal sin! - I believe strongly that God doesn't punish us by sending tragedy in our lives for our sins, past or otherwise - It's just that sin is rampant in our world and we are part of that world and with that comes all the other horrible things that happen.

We as Christians are certainly not exempt from all these things happening to us. It's part of being in a fallen world and living in a broken world where sin, death and tragedy reign supreme.

The real realty is that undeserved suffering can pounce on any of us at any time - often blowing us away with the severity of each and every blow. None of us not even one of us is perfect, bad things can still happen which are definitely not the direct result of some sin we have committed. This of course raises the issue of why God allows this to happen?

Seemingly undeserved suffering happens! In this respect, it's how we respond to God when it happens and how we as Christians react to this suffering is far more important. Jesus sets us an example to follow here recorded for us faithfully in 1 Peter 2: 19-23 quoted here in the Contemporary English Version.

"God will bless you, even if others treat you unfairly for being loyal to Him. You don't gain anything by being punished for some wrong you have done. But God will bless you, if you have to suffer for doing something good. Christ did not sin or ever tell a lie. Although he was abused he never tried to get even. And when he suffered he made no threat. Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly."

We may never understand why bad things happen and why we have to face trouble and often the very unthinkable things that happen to us. But on saying all of that we as Christians also have something that the world with all of it's terror and tragedy can't take away from us and never will.

Jesus tells us that we will face these troubling things in the world but He goes on to say "but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" John 16:33. Jesus died to provide the solution to death and punishment - He rose again to smack death and punishment on the head, never to rule over us.

We have the answer this hurting old world of ours needs - we have hope in the risen Saviour, now and for eternity.

Life can be so so confusing at times. Unexpected bad things can happen in a twinkling of an eye just like good things can happen in exactly the same time. We may have to go through long long periods of struggle, anguish, grieving and flat out misery. There will be times when we just wish God would tell us what is actually going on here? But he doesn't - very frustrating but that is exactly what life here on earth is all about.

All this mystery and frustration can serve to reinforce to us that if we want to live this life of ours to the full, it's really not a matter of knowing why things happen: it's a matter of knowing THE God who knows why these things happen.

Life can be surprising and sad, confusing and happy ~ none of which we may never understand fully. I believe the way through it is not to try to nail down the meaning of every event and to have all the answers but to know the God who knows everything. The way to negotiate life is to know Jesus.

For this reason, when bad or good things happen to us is not to grapple with "Why is this happening to me? " Rather let's consider this:- "Since this is happening to me, how can I use it to know God better through Jesus?"

Life is about staying close to God and trusting Him even when bad things happen because staying close to God is far more valuable than not suffering.

Friday, 1 December 2017

No matter how deep the wound is

Wow! when I look back on my past (which is something I really try not to do) in lots of ways my childhood and teenage years were fraught with anxiety, confusion and a load of guilt that was often unbearable.

I had heaps of struggling times but through it all I reckon I have come out of it a better person thanks to the one who was my Saviour and Lord - only through the spilled blood of Jesus can I stand firmly today and proclaim that no matter what happens in the future I just know that God is with me 100% and even when I stuff it up I know He has my back and He will not let me fall away.

I had a pretty strict childhood with a dad obsessed with singing and cricket - and anything that got in the way of that......well it just wasn't worth even considering in his eyes. He was blessed with a magnificent voice that I grant and he did sing around a lot with choirs and solos and all sorts of gigs but only in churches and he maintained that he used his voice for God - which was amazing I must admit.

Going through and visiting all of these churches when I was a little tyke actually stood me in good stead spiritually I feel,  because it was there I actually heard a lot about Christianity and what it actually meant to be a Christian and I reckon it was a good grounding in what was eventually going to be my future life as it panned out. God has his plans.

All through this time there was a nagging question in my life and that was - there has to be more?

There has to be more than just going to church and going through traditions - singing - going to Sunday school and me just 'being good'.  In my mind there had to be more than that!

As I was feeling this way there was also the nagging question in my mind and hanging over me all the time and that was "I'm just not good enough to be a follower of Jesus".

Yes! I went through the motions of being a Christian. I could talk the talk with the best of them - I was great a putting on face and hiding my true feelings. In fact all of our family was and a lot of them still are unfortunately.

Being a Christian is far more than fronting up to church on Sunday - it is far more than direct depositing your 'tithe' each week or slaving your guts out working 'for the church' in some capacity that you really don't feel very comfortable in.

Yes! we can do all of that and feeling like we have to 'do' something to somehow earn your right to be called a 'Christian'.

I was a classic victim of religiosity - you know - that feeling of trying so hard to be good - doing the 'right' thing and being seen by others to be doing the right thing.  Which is fine on Sundays but living like that really has no depth and things just revert back to where they usually are through the week.

In lots of ways that's exactly where I was growing up! It was hard and as I discussed in a previous blog things hit the fan big time when I was thirteen.  Doctors and counselors now tell me that thirteen probably is THE WORST time trauma can hit a person, The brain of a thirteen year old is just on the grow emotionally and if a huge trauma comes along it is like a volcano eruption in the brain which can can have disastrous effects that can last a life time.

Putting all that aside God through his amazing grace spoke to my heart big time. He saved me and made me realise no matter how many times I thought I was garbage, through His grace, the cross of Jesus and in His eyes I am actually perfect.

The very day you came to Christ - you became a brand new person and took on a whole new persona never to be the same again. God sees you through the very person of Jesus the one who took the nails for you - the very one who rose from the dead and defeated death. We can have victory through him regardless of our past.

No matter how many wounds and scars we have - no matter who we have slept with in the past - no matter what we have done or where we have been - no matter how many times we have messed up we ARE brand new and we will remain BRAND NEW for eternity.

The evil one - our enemy satan will try so hard to tell us we are unworthy - that we have 'stuffed it up again' - that we are anything but forgiven and washed clean by Jesus BUT nothing can take the shine off our new life as far as God is concerned. Satan will also try to put as many obstacles in our paths to try to dissuade us that God is not real and even if He was you will have no part in His promises.

I can tell you from experience that satan is the father of lies and he will try to make your life absolutely miserable because he knows that he can do nothing about your eternal life with Jesus and what you have done in coming to Christ and calling on His name.

So the upshot of it all is that no matter what life throws at us the real truth of the matter is that the cross of Jesus, His sacrifice for us has really made us clean beyond measure. No matter how deep the wound is as Mercy Me's song FLAWLESS explains so well.

Google the song for yourself - it's there on youtube and it really does spell it out so plainly - that Jesus died and the grace of God is so amazing that we can be washed clean and that when we stand before God for real He will see us as "Flawless".

Friday, 17 November 2017

Does that ring a bell?

"Does that ring a bell?" - How often have we heard that saying? - some long time memory forgotten maybe? Something that has just been brought back to your mind?

Maybe a phrase or a word or especially a name can bring good or bad memories flooding back to our hearts and minds - often overwhelming us with joy - or bringing us into dark despair.

My life has been one of topsy turvy feelings when I look backwards - which is something I do with uncertainty and often BIG regrets and something I try to avoid doing on a regular basis.

Just a few months ago I wrote about the elephant in the room and I figure sometimes it is so much better to address the obvious in your life so that we can eventually put it behind us - we can so easily dodge around the hard things in life - knowing they are there and quite clearly stopping us from moving forward as it were but so often we decide to ignore the truth and just press on anyway.

So it is with many of us  - never quite game to evict the elephant and grow stronger especially in Jesus - NO! we decide to dodge the obvious and let the elephant thrive and continue to grow until like my problem, it becomes really huge and hard to evict.

I was sexually abused as a child of 13 by an older brother and the guilt I carried around with that was enormous and it still is - now that I have grown old myself it has become even harder to expel from my life until I have had to admit that it really is time I have put it to rest.

I had no idea my guilt feelings were effecting my own family until just recently when all sorts of things and events start happening which pointed the light fairly and squarely at the good old elephant in the room and I found myself breaking down at the slightest provocation and finding it hard to continue.

My faith in God has seen me through probably THE most toughest year of my life so far and yet I still find myself needing reassurance and positive thoughts so that my immediate family is not scarred further with how my own life has played out.

Seeing professional help is certainly not a wrong thing to do and I know deep in my heart that God has given people amazing gifts and talents and I really feel that they may be able to help, to a certain degree, in outing the past and to live purposefully and in victory.

There are a lot of Christian psychologists and psychiatrists out there but even there they are unable to give you the perfect answer to complicated and long ago problems. They can certainly help us identify long hurts and grievances and maybe even to put to bed old wounds and scars that have tripped us up over and over again.

The real truth is that there is only ONE place that you will get the real answer to your problems and that is on the Word of the Living God - it is here that you will receive the tools and ability to really get behind that elephant and give it the heave ho out of your life for good.

I am just so sorry that I didn't realise the entire truth of the God's amazing Word years ago which would have saved me so much heartache and despair and also stopped putting my own family through turmoil and distress.

Do I blame the perpetrator? - I must say I have struggled with this question over and over again - I have approached him and tried communicating over the years to no avail whatever - I have, many times brought to it God in prayer. To be completely honest with you and myself, I often wonder what I would have done if he had reciprocated and returned my overtones? Would I have truly forgiven him?

Forgiveness and putting things behind us is amazingly and overwhelmingly HUGE and a problem that can only be solved through the incredible work of the Holy Spirit living inside of us - I honestly don't know how I would have survived these past years without His work in my life.

So where do I go from here? If you have faced or are dealing with your own elephant in the room, where do you go from here?

I personally am about to receive counselling which probably at my age can help - it's certainly not out of the question but ultimately it is really up to the individual. You and you alone are responsible for taking seriously the Word of God - you and you alone are the only one to allow God to transform you into the person He wants you to be.

Our personal growth in Jesus depends on just how willing you are to want God to change you which He can do in remarkable ways. I know because he has changed me.

Yes! I am still in the woods and sometimes my days can be dark and foreboding - but you know deep down - deep way way down is a real peace that this world and our pasts can never take away from us.

Jesus is alive - He is so willing to love you in such a special way that your past and what ever happened to you along the way will start fading in miraculous and spectacular ways that you would never think possible.

Yes! I will receive counselling and Yes! I am looking forward to it helping me somewhat - but the real lifeline through all of this is how Jesus is slowly transforming me into His likeness which I guess is what Christianity is all about anyway.

So as you trundle along in today's world, maybe carrying along with you your own guilt or trouble, if something keeps 'ringing a bell' with you, take it Jesus - I wish I had I earnestly do, because I really feel that He could have worked miracles in my life much sooner than I had let Him.

God bless you this week as you address your own problems or guilt feelings. Just please remember that any counselling you receive must be filtered through your own knowledge of the Word of God. Yes, people can assist, they can motivate and help us put things into perspective but it is ONLY Jesus that can ultimately put our hearts and souls at rest in Him.