Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Treasure, Triumph and Tragedy

He was a man possessed!

He was more than possessed, he was also obsessed - obsessed about a certain treasure - he knew existed and he knew he would have to find!!

He had read about it, dreamt about it, researched it endlessly - he knew the story inside out - buried deep in the steep mountainside of a raging river embankment near the Guaira falls smack bang on the Brazil- Paraguay border.

It was gold and precious stones - hidden originally by the Chaco Indians, the first inhabitants of Paraguay. The Chacos had hidden their treasures when they had been overtaken by the Spanish Conquistadors early in the 16th Century.

He knew the gold existed, many others had tried and failed - the very place where the gold was hidden was precarious to say the least - the Spanish knew about it and had tried various times over the centuries but had failed - the treasure moved in the myths and legends of times BUT he KNEW it existed - he had to get that treasure.

The treasure (if it existed) would be worth and veritable fortune on today's market BUT it was more than money that drove him on - his obsession was unquenchable - HE would go.

He expertly planned his trip. His equipment, was slowly starting to take shape. The maps of the area where he figured would most likely be the hiding place were read and read again until he practically knew each and every crevice, cave and hiding place on the walls of the treacherous falls.

The time had finally come! flying over Brazil and then Paraguay he could hardly contain his excitement, then the falls - he could see them - he could actually see them - but getting there?

He had pre-hired a scout and a guide to take him to the very spot he knew would hold the treasure.

Years in the planning and preparation were finally coming to fruition. The time had finally come to prove to himself and the world that the Chaco treasure was real.

Years in the planning and only a six month visa to find the treasure and get out - getting the visa was hard enough and it would be impossible to extend it so six months was it - that was all he had.

Arriving in Paraguay he wasted no time, contacted the guide, climbing experts and the porters, found the transportation, secured his special licence and he was off - He was so close he could practically 'taste' success.

The falls were breathtaking, magnificent, heart-stopping and at the same time alarming, intimidating and ever so scary!

All the walls were scraggy and slippery wet, hiding 100 of caves, nooks and crannies - seemingly impossible to descend at all. The noise of the falls was a crescendo of crashing water, shattering anything that came in its way. The boiling water at the foot of the drop was just a mass of turbulence - no-one and nothing could survive falling in there.

His rappelling skills were going to be put to the test here but again he wasted no time - the climbing experts set the ropes and pulleys, the porters and guides set up camp as he climbed into his safety gear and the first expedition was off.

The noise was deafening - his body was already at breaking point as he tentatively dropped over the edge - and so his exploration began.

One day melded into another - His search seem endless - he was physically and mentally exhausted. His porters left - His guide abandoned him and yet he continued - the climbing experts stayed with him, their techniques pushed to their limits as he kept going on his seemingly impossible quest.

Week after week, then month after month, he methodically explored every crevice, every cave. His money and the visa were quickly running out and so it was that almost at the end of his time he once more dragged himself to the edge of the crevasse and dropped over the edge - "Just one more time" he said to himself.

Ahead of him was a huge bolder sticking out of the wall of the canyon and he had to dodge around it struggling with the ropes as he did so. He was almost past the rock when he noticed a small, almost insignificant crevice - he stared, he backtracked with the tangled rope and swung himself into this hidden little nook far above the raging water.

The hidden little nook behind this huge bolder that had tangled his rope in the first place turned out to be a small, dank, dark cave - his flashlight on he started to explore, his hands searched the walls, pulling back chunks of loose rock. He had almost given up when his eyes caught sight of a small yet obvious alter - could it be??

Above the alter was what looked like a smooth rock - slimy and dank like the rest but somehow different. He quickly tugged at the stone and the slimy surface gave way to shiny gold - he was trembling in unbelief could it be? Could it be?

The rock gave way in his hands and he found himself holding  the image of a god around two ft long and quite heavy - it was obviously gold from what he could make out in the fading light. The sounds from outside came to his attention - the crashing water - the dank smell of the cave - the spray - light was fading fast he had to make a move - what else lay in this cave?

Two days to go before he had to leave Paraguay - two days?? - He made a decision - he wouldn't let go of this - he had to have it - he would come back tomorrow before he left.

Quickly he made his way out of the cave to the ropes and pulley - he signalled to the rappelling crew who were getting anxious due to the failing light. But one rope was hopelessly tangled around the bolder at the mouth of the cave. His Transmitter/Receiver on his helmet crackled and the voice said "We can do this with one rope but you will have to use both hands."

That would mean dropping the idol or leaving it in the cave - He couldn't!! "NOOOO" he screamed I can't leave this now! I can do this he said and holding the idol under one arm and holding the untangled rope with one hand he told the rappelling crew to pull him up.

They pleaded with him to drop whatever he was holding as his rescue depended on him holding the rope with two hands to avoid the 'swing effect'. He couldn't do it - he had waited too long, worked too hard to lose it now.

The rope tightened - he felt the tug as he was lifted - the extra weight of the idol and the swing effect due to the imbalance sent him wide over the canyon - he felt his hand slip slightly - "let go of whatever you are holding and use both hands" came the directive. NO came the reply as he slipped and screaming fell to his death in the rapids below.

His utter determination to hang on to that idol is absolutely nothing compared to the vice-like grip we put on life.

If you think that was a pretty tough - why didn't he just let go? Or put the idol away until it was safer? Then re-think your own life - I know I did.

Try prying your own fingers away from YOUR earthly treasures. Try taking a superannuation package away from a retiree or a wardrobe full of the latest fashion from your teenage daughter.

The way we clutch at our possessions and our bank accounts we would think that we couldn't possibly survive without all of these material things.

Paul spells it out pretty plainly in 1 Timothy 6: 9-12 "That the root of all kinds of evil is love of money and many who have desired it have wandered from the faith and opened themselves up to many griefs."

But it is more than money - we hang on to all sorts of 'toys' in our lives - anything that comes between us and God is our 'idol'. When you think about it our idols come in all sorts of various forms - pride, sex, self-centredness, greed, putting others in God's place - even gluttony, the love of food can become our idol.

Our forthright and obvious love of possessions stand out in the 'idol' category, and we can so cleverly make them so important in our own eyes. Ultimately all 'idols' whatever shape or form they come in is rebellion against God. Is it any wonder that God hates them?

We can hang on to our 'toys' but we will alienate ourselves from our Lord and God and alienation eventually spells eternal separation.

So.... How are you at clinging to your earthly possessions? or... HOW am I??? OUCH!!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Little Miss Giggles

Luke 18:27

Jesus replied, "What is impossible with man is possible with God."

Can the impossible happen?  Short answer Yes - I know for a fact it can - I would have thought it was impossible for me to change - In fact I reckon I got to the stage where I didn't want to change I was happy, or so I thought, with my life until BAM! God changed me - I can't believe how I used to be.

Was I really like that and loving it?

When you read the Bible there are heaps of impossibilities happening - most of them mind blowing.

Although the biggest impossibilities happen in the lives of ordinary human beings I'd reckon - lives changed dramatically and permanently by the Spirit of God. Things that cannot be explained and quite frankly a bit hard to explain to the world at large out there.

Consider the case of Sarai who was to have her named changed to Sarah - an amazing lady of exceptional beauty, wealth, poise, self-assurance and grace.

Married to her half brother Abram (wouldn't happen today) Sarai was wealthy in the eyes of the world - beauty and wealth couldn't hide the fact that she was sad because she couldn't have children.

She would have been well into her sixties by the time Abram was called by God to 'go to the land flowing with milk and honey' the promised land that was later to become the home of the 'chosen' people of God - Abram and Sarai's descendants.

She was in her 'golden years' you could say and God had promised her a son - she is excited - she plans - she waits and waits and waits - still no son.

Decades pass so Sarai decides to take things into her own hands - after all it's impossible now for her to conceive - she is well into her eighties! She convinces Abram that time has run out!  it's impossible now. So she gives her maid Hagar to Abram and Hagar bears Ishmael and the rest is history.

We leap ahead fourteen long years, Ishmael has grown and he and his Mum are pretty entrenched into the family - Ishmael is Abram's heir, Ishmael MUST be the promised child of God BUT.... God had other ideas.

The amazing and impossible happens - God pays them a visit and tells them to get ready for a baby bundle, start choosing boy's names because this time next year you and Sarai will be bouncing a baby boy on your bony old knees! IMPOSSIBLE!

Sarai was 99 years old and Abram 100 -  impossible! - what do they do? - they laugh at the lunacy of it all. They laugh because it is just too good to be true and I guess they laugh because it JUST MIGHT happen!

Sarai laughed into her bony wrinkled hands her shoulders shaking with laughter at the very thought of bearing a child at her age. Hilarious on one hand, fear on the other, hilarity doubling her over turns to nervous giggles of apprehension at the very might and in the very presence of Creator God.

God works at accomplishing the absurd, the impossible, the unbelievable and sure enough by the time the year is ended, Sarai and Abram are changed forever - God even changed their names to Sarah (Mother) and Abraham (The Father of a multitude).

Their names aren't the only things God changed in that miraculous year, He changed their minds, their faith and how they looked at the impossible. He also changed Sarah's definition of trust in God - She trusted Him from then on - In His time not hers.

We so easily jump ahead of God - we tire of waiting on Him - how many times have we taken things into our own hands just like Sarai did those thousands of years ago, often with disastrous consequences.

Yes our God is a God of miracles - a God of the impossible. We can read about them all scattered throughout the Bible - from Sarai to Paul's amazing and impossible conversion.

What is impossible for man is possible only through God - He needs our complete surrender. All around us in this world is sin, sorrow, war and problems all of which are Satan's domain - BUT God is the God of the impossible - He is still on His throne, doing the impossible, changing people's lives and changing them for good.

If we surrender to God completely then like Abraham and Sarah we will become strong in faith, giving glory to God, because we trust in His amazing and often impossible ways.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Princesses, Princes and Paupers

Hypocrisy! Even the word sends chills down our spines.

Don't you just hate hypocrisy?

I have heard many many times when talking about my Christianity these words (and I guess we have all been on the receiving end of them at some stage) "I don't go to church - it is full of hypocrites"

You know - I have come to realise that they absolutely correct - Basically we are all hypocrites - none of us truly are what we say we are - we are sinful and disobedient to God - we have all fallen short of His standards and it is only through his grace that we are saved in the first place.

Cliff Knechtle wrote and I quote "We are all either trying to hide our bad sides or we try to make them look good. But deep inside we all know that we fall short of living the way we should. No one can escape the charge of 'hypocrite'. No one except Jesus who is the only one able to live to God's standards"

So, to the "I wouldn't darken the doors of the church because of so many hypocrites there" I say "We'd gladly make room for you there is plenty of room for us all." We don't offer "Christians' to our friends and neighbours we are offering the CHRIST.

Jesus is the only one who can really see the condition of our hearts  - what's really lurking there under the masks we love to put on.

Twice now I have seen churches ask people to leave because they didn't come up to some standard - I have heard sermons on how we should love everyone including the un-lovely, the left-out ones, the prostitutes and homeless, the drunkards and drug affected, which is wonderful and sounds just like Jesus until it actually happens!

What about the convicted murderer, or the paedophile, those who are addicted to pornography on a grand scale especially child pornography - what about those?

It's time's like these that our true colours are exposed and our hypocrisy can be seen by the world.

Being a grandfather of five I can certainly understand reticence on the church in admitting these seekers, heaps of things to consider, especially the safety and well-being of children which I am sure God would want us to consider very carefully.

On saying that, the question I am left pondering is this "How would Jesus have reacted to this type of situation?" Honesty on the part of these people can lead to exclusion from the church and ostracism from the membership. I am sure that we could come up with what is acceptable to God and to the church without having to resort to expulsion.

With God there are no 'grades' of sin - he hates sin especially hypocrisy - Jesus died to do away with sin - our sins are cleansed once we through faith claim the gift God offers us through his awesome yet amazing grace. ALL sin is cleansed through Christ's sacrifice regardless of what that sin is. NO sin is TOO GROSS to be forgiven.

Yes of course we have to be careful but at the end of the day, Jesus saves and satisfies. He and He alone took on the burden of our sin be it hypocrisy or Paedophilia, murder or offence, He and He alone was the only one worthy enough to pay that price. What right have we got to define who is admitted to His church.

So who are you when  it comes to hypocrisy the Princess or the Prince? - Looking really good on the inside, able to preach a WOW of a sermon that has the people out of their seats and all gung-ho ready to go?

Or are you a Pauper, which in fact we all are! We are all Paupers in the eye of God - all needing change and deliverance from our sins to make us into Princesses and Princes in the 'real' sense of the word. Royalty living as Jesus lived, loving EVERYONE as Jesus did, accepting and showing His grace, mercy and love to all.

Hypocrisy is an evil, sneaky and deadly little sin and one that won't ever be tolerated by a just God.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Jumping in muddy puddles

Peppa Pig just LOVES jumping in muddy puddles! - Makes me wonder just how many of us like doing the same?

Muddy puddles come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes we don't just love jumping in them but we wallow in them as well.

The muddy puddles of taking offence and hanging onto that offence is probably one of the biggest muddy puddles we will have to encounter in our lives.

Taking a guess, I would suggest everybody - every single one of us has at some point taken offence at some stage in their lives, some HUGE and some slight, regardless - offence is offence.

Some of us get so offended with others that we carry that offence or resentment for the rest of our lives. In other people the offence is hardly noticeable, they seem to able to brush it off like water on a ducks back.

Other people can put up with the most pointed offences, even personal attacks, bullying etc and can, even though they may get hurt in the process, recover quite quickly and seem to overlook it all and carry no spite at all to the offender.

So why do we get offended and what does God say about the 'wallowing in offence' that some us are prone to do?

Offence usual happens when someone says something to us, about us or about our family that we interpret or perceive to be insulting, wrong or just plain nasty! We could be blamed for something we didn't do or something we failed to do and so we take offence.

We could interpret someones actions to be negative to us, to be inconsiderate or even plain thoughtless towards us. Anything can make us offended.

So offence can be pretty dangerous - it can isolate us from people and friends but more importantly it can isolate us from God and have a real impact on our very salvation, depending on how we cope with the offence and what we decide to do with it.

Some of us even become offended with God; blaming Him for not taking into consideration all of the 'things' we have done for Him, or "I gave my heart to God and look what happened' syndrome.

We can see that offence is so wrong - in Matthew 18, Jesus tells us just how solemnly He looks at the sin of offence "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of sea" Jesus said of those who committed offence.

So what do we do when we are offended - should we reach for the millstone or do something about it?

Whether your offence is towards God or towards other people, the way you handle it can either make you  bitter and twisted or make you stronger and strange as it sounds the stronger you get the more humble you become.

Humility is the key to getting over offence! The proud find it so difficult and prefer to wallow in the mud of offence and unlike Peppa they don't just like 'jumping' into muddy puddles, but rather wallow in the mud of offence until it gets into the very pause of their inner beings.

Such people live in bitterness and anger, preferring confrontation with others and being the 'victim' in all situations. God can't work with people like this; there is no room for God to grow this person; there is no room for such people to reach out to God either.

Where there is bitterness and offence, there you will find, frustration, unforgiveness and all sorts of envy and strife.

Alternatively with God working in your life there are the gifts of love, humility, patience, kindness and self control as mentioned in the Galatians 12.

Maybe as you have read this, you, like me have been reminded of your past relationships and some of the offences that may have occurred with them. Are there any that need to be 'put right'?

If you have been 'convicted' of some offence in the past or present, make sure before you do anything to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through and to make your thoughts and your tongue pure before Him.

Ask God to give you the wonderful gift of humility; a humility that will see you accept what the other says even though inside of you it may feel offensive. Ask God to give you patience and endurance and to offer that person the wonderful gift of your real love.

It's definitely time to step out of the muddy puddle, clean yourself off, and like the prodigal son, come back to the Father. your relationship with him will be amazingly fulfilling; your relationship with others will never be the same - you will start to see them through the eyes of Jesus.

Stay quiet before God and allow Him to show you what you should do. Big blessings to you as you continue to grow in humility, forgiveness and in the handling of offence.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Keep a Zip on ya lip!

Ever shot your mouth off and then been very sorry? I have - it seems to me that I just maybe the King of sticking my foot in it - will I ever learn??

You know, God in His great and mighty wisdom gives us a few very plainly worded and choice pieces of advice on how to stay out of trouble, be humble and keep it "zipped" when dealing with all sorts of problems.

It is so easy for us to say what is on our minds, whether it be gossip or confrontation with another. So easy yet can be so evil. We can offend with a word - we can ruin a reputation with a sentence.

When Paul wrote to the Romans he pretty much summed up the very heart of God when he said "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." (Romans 14:19)

We should make it our priority to build others up - not to tear them down - to encourage others not to put them down and to build confidence in others not make ourselves look good at their expense.

Now on saying that, the very last thing I want to do is to 'preach' at anyone concerning this because to put it plainly, I am the very WORST at taking this on board myself.

Forgiveness is probably one of the biggest hurdles we will ever face in this regard. Confrontation, anger, taking/giving offence and unforgiveness - all hard stuff to cope with and all very much out of line with how God wants us to live our lives.

Makes me wonder how many of us would want God to forgive us in the same way that we forgive others - not many I would imagine, and yet this is how God will forgive us.

Luke 6:37 states "Forgive and you will be forgiven" and again Jesus says "And forgive us our debts in the same way as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12).

Couldn't get any plainer! - God will only forgive us if we are truly from our heart have forgiven others. The way we forgive is the way we will be forgiven.

We can live our lives in Christian fellowship, we can be baptised and say and mean the 'sinner's prayer', yet if in our hearts we haven't or can't forgive then Heaven will not be opened to us. God will say "depart from me - I never knew you" and why? Because we have refused to forgive and therefore cannot be forgiven. Strong words but true.

Forgiveness is usually denied to other people who have hurt us or who have been hurt by us but it is important to note that forgiveness can be withheld from us by ourselves. Yes, we can get to the stage where we cannot forgive ourselves. God has forgiven us; we can then forgive ourselves. Pretty Schmick eh?

All of us need to deal with the unforgiving spirit living in us now while we are here - it will be too late to deal with it once we are facing eternity.

Pride is another little sneak that can stop us from offering or asking forgiveness. Especially when the person we are so-called asking forgiveness of is someone who has hurt us yet they see it in reverse! They see it as us hurting them, yet the reality is that it is us who have been wounded by them.

God knows our hearts, He knows and understands our pride but also knows just how much Jesus paid for our salvation. On the cross Jesus cried out to God to forgive his mockers and not to hold it against them and guess what? God expects us to try to reconcile with everyone, even those who we feel are unjustly 'blaming' us for the problem in the first place.

I recall a person whom I feel unjustly blamed me for a lot of things that happened in our past - this person lashed out at me - I was told I was rude, selfish, egotistic, narrow-minded, mean and more. My first reaction was to try and defend myself, pointing out that it was him not me that caused the problems in the first place - I was the victim not him!

Would that have helped? Not at all - when we 'defend' ourselves it only makes the unforgiving spirit even more unforgiving - offence overwhelms both sides - we need to put a plug in it and try to listen to their arguments coolly and as calmly as possible. Reconciliation must take top priority.

We may have done nothing wrong but when it boils down and we get to the nitty gritty it is far more important for us to do as God says and 'humble' ourselves and reconcile if possible than to go out of our way and make things even worse just to prove ourselves correct.

So where does that leave us? Firstly I feel we need to 'button up'. Proverbs 12:23 states
"Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity" - and believe me calamity will strike - so we need to keep our tongues well under control.

Finally we need to be motivated by the love of God - His type of love never fails us. In Romans 12:18 Paul writes "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone". We need to do everything we can to be reconciled with each other and if that means humbling ourselves and forgetting our pride, so be it.

God go with you as you forgive and become a "Peacemaker" in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Nightmare on Straight Street.

Ananias was a great old guy - dedicated to Jesus and I imagine, living a pretty isolated life. After all every Christian in Damascus wore a target on their back and was open to persecution.

But first lest flip back to where the story begins..

Saul, later Paul, had just witnessed and condoned the murder of Stephen - the Godly new-elected 'deacon' of the first church - Stephen a man filled with the Holy Spirit was stoned to death for 'offending' the Pharisees and church elders because He preached Jesus, crucified and risen again for the salvation of the world.

Good old Saul liked the fact that here was yet another of those new fangled  "Christians" finally out of the way and a good job too.

That obviously spurred Saul on because in the next scene here he is with new vigour chasing down Christians, throwing them into prisons, torturing and murdering them - nice guy.

On the way to Damascus a miracle occurred and Saul was miraculously transformed by the sovereignty of God who halted his plans in one fell swoop.

Here we find Saul, the Chief opponent to Christianity being transformed into it's primary proponent! - In the process Saul was rendered blind, not only by the blinding light that accompanied his conversion but by the awesome power of God.

Lead by his friends to Straight Street, here he remained for three days, blind and not eating or drinking - I guess in a state of shock! - God had literally taken him and shaken him out of his so-called piety and told him exactly what was going to happen.

Meanwhile back in Damascus, here was Ananias virtually in hiding and I can imagine' so too was his family - They had obviously heard that Saul and his cohorts were on the march, rounding up Christians and turning them over to the authorities.

So in hiding they stayed - fearful yet trusting God. Then out of the blue a message from God Himself!!

"Get up and go to Straight Street, find a guy named Saul of Tarsus, lay hands on him so that he can receive his sight" GULP...

"Did you say Saul of Tarsus?" I can hear Ananias say - "that same Saul that has been rounding up the Christians? - I have heard of this man - he has done much harm, Lord, he has come here on the authority of the Chief Priests to arrest us!"

He must have been thinking as I hear his heart beating...

"Oh No! this is a nightmare" - "Straight Street - that's obviously where all the Christian persecutors hang out - I will be going straight into the lions den - I may as well stick my head straight in the lions mouth!" - God has got confused or forgotten what this terrorist has done - I can't put myself in this position!"

Poor Ananias, showed a bit of weak faith here - didn't trust God implicitly - A bit like me actually, when I put myself in his position, knowing what he knew, I figure I would have asked the same question, maybe even ignored the command.

But Ananias was told by God "Go! I have chosen this very man to carry my name to the gentiles."

Ananias obeyed, right to very letter - he went to Straight Street, I can just imagine him knocking on the door - so timidly, fearful yet strangely confident knowing that whatever happened, God was with him.

He found Saul, broken and contrite, blind and confused - Ananias did what he was told to do and Saul received his sight, when something like 'scales' fell from his eyes.

Saul immediately went about his mission and spent days with the disciples in Damascus, and I assume Ananias was there as well, but here Ananias's story ends - he fades from the picture.

Ananias's role is small but vitally important to the whole event. A man who questioned God, maybe going as far as to correct God but was obedient in the end.

When you think about it, Ananias's obedience launched the greatest ministry of all times - millions of people have come to know Jesus as their Saviour and Lord.

When I think of Ananias and his act of obedience it sort of puts into perspective all small acts of obedience by God's people - even when those acts seem so contrary to human understanding.

We never see the big picture, we only have to rely on and trust God implicitly as Ananias did. God will never let us down.

So Ananias's "nightmare on Straight Street," brought in a such huge harvest for God and turned his personal 'nightmare' into a dream fulfilled; greater than he ever knew.

Obedience to God no matter what the cost.  We are called to simply trust and obey His word.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The BIG Shake!

I have read lately from 1 John and in Chapter 2 and verse 16 it says (in the expanded version of the Bible)

"These are the ways of (all that is in/associated with) the world: wanting to please our sinful selves (the desire/lust of the flesh), wanting the sinful things we see (the desire/lust of the eyes), and being too proud of what we have (the pride of life/possessions). None of these come from the Father, but all of them come from the world."

Now reading all that - I started to think WOW! that's me - I'm proud, I desire things of the world and I want to please myself - where does that leave me?? I pondered.

I can tell you where it leaves me - open to the BIG shake in our lives - when the waves batter us down and the wind blows our little teepee to the far outreaches.

Pride and wanting to please oneself:  horrible, sneaky, crafty and so evil! -  These need to be rooted out of our lives. If not they can eventually destroy us.

We often come to Jesus on the basis of what he can do for us rather that for who He is.

Many have come to Jesus and gone to church for years and even prayed the sinners prayer yet when they have gone through the "Big Shake" in their lives become resentful of God and have the "I prayed and asked God to do this and he didn't" attitude.

These are folk who are serving Him for what he can give them - Mark 4:16 type people.

God never promised us an easy ride in life all we have to do is to trust Him wholly.

When bad things happen in our lives, we get the BIG shake up and we can't cope - things go haywire and we lose our focus on Jesus and look to the world to fix things.

It's so easy to blame God in these circumstances, we forget what He has already paid for us to be free. We also forget what our future would have held for us had He not saved us. We see through the eyes of the word - not through the eternal eyes of God.

Once we have given our lives totally to Jesus we are not our own - we have been bought with a HUGE price by Him - we are the apple of His eye - the pearl of great price - so in that context we cannot 'blame' Him because we are not ours anyway but His!

When we have that attitude we cannot see our true circumstances and our faith in Jesus is weakened if not dead already.

BUT... when we are truly His, completely and utterly then nothing can come along to give us the BIG shake. Our lives can't be smashed on the rocks of doubt and despair.

Yes we will be often confused and possibly a bit bewildered, especially if we look at our problems, grief and despair through the eyes of the world. Very often God does not answer us in the way we expect - it is then we have to pray - "I trust you Lord even though I don't understand."

Jesus paid a HUGE price for our salvation. We should never fail to acknowledge this and to trust him more and more each day - even in the little things that distract and often infuriate us to the point of frustration.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12 how he had pleaded with the Lord three times for a problem to be removed and the answer he received?

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" What an amazing answer!

God's amazing grace is sufficient for us as it was for Paul - if none of our prayers are ever answered in the way we want, then let us like Paul be content with that awesome promise that "His grace is sufficient" - That is enough - in that we can be content.

Nothing can shake us - nothing can alarm - no frustration, grief or anxiety can take hold and destroy us .
His Grace is sufficient.