Thursday, 7 May 2015

'Thank God For' Friday

Well, anyone living in the UK faces uncertainty as we wake up this Friday about who will be governing our country for the next five years and how they will be governing it. But I am so thankful to have had a say in it. 



This Friday I thank God for…freedom. 

On Thursday morning, before heading off to work, I was able to freely walk to my polling station, which was barely two minutes away. I walked in, my name was confirmed to be on the register and I went to the booth where I privately and independently placed an X in my box of choice. No-one questioned me, coerced me, pressurised me, bribed me or attacked me, and I am confident that once my ballot paper entered the ballot box it was not tampered with or falsified but kept for counting at the appropriate time. These things described above are sadly not a worldwide standard, but a privilege and a sign of the liberty we enjoy in this country.




Regardless of the outcome of this year's election - whether the party I voted for 'get in' in my constituency or form the next government or neither or both - I am satisfied and extremely thankful that my vote is valid and fair and worthwhile and I thank God for it. 




Furthermore I am beyond thankful that the freedom I experience as a British citizen is only a taste of the ultimate freedom of knowing Christ and being found in him. Similarly, I have confidence that the power given to any minister or government a mere shadow of God's ultimate rule over our world, and his rule is good, just, merciful and compassionate (although beyond my comprehension a lot of the time). 

Thank God for freedom in this land and in life with him, and I'll be praying that whoever the next government consists of, they will endeavour to rule with goodness, justice, mercy and compassion also.  

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Delight

My Mum and I have a bit of an ongoing joke about the word, 'delightful'. We know someone (who I can be fairly sure is unaware of the existence of this blog, I hope) who uses this adjective extremely frequently. We often find ourselves in a car with said person, and each time the word is used, we catch each other's eye in the mirror. Or maybe if Mum is filling me in on this person's news, I'll jump in before she can finish, to ask, 'Was it delightful?!' Now before I go on, there's nothing wrong with the word delightful, I guess it's just that it's not generally used very commonly, but in this person's case it's used excessively. I'd also like to say, as a disclaimer, that this person is actually very kind and generous so I don't mean to ridicule them at all, it's simply an observation. 

This evening at church I was both challenged and blessed in many ways. It was a youth service and they did so well; they led the sung worship, read from the Bible in three different languages, talked about missions in the UK and Brazil that they are going to be involved in this summer, shared testimony about their personal journeys of faith and 3 of them got baptised. I was amazed by how deep their faiths are and how mature and committed they are, it really was inspiring and so encouraging. 

Recently, I don't entirely know why, but I think I've been lacking in my trademark joy and zeal for Christ. One of the Bible verses shared with someone who got baptised I think may have unlocked the key to this rut I find myself in. 

Psalm 37:3-4 
"Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. 
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires."

God began to teach me about trust a little while ago, so that first part is still in the process of being worked out in my head, but that second part about delight really struck me. I haven't been giving God very much head space at all, let alone delighting in him. If anything, I've probably been hiding from him for fear of what he might reveal in my heart if I let him in. So, it's safe to say that I haven't noticed getting any of my heart's desires fulfilled recently. 

But this verse isn't saying that your heart's desires are dished out on a kind of heavenly reward scheme. Rather, when you are delighting first and foremost in how good and loving Jesus is-  how awesome the power of forgiveness is, how great the lengths he went to so that he might partner in our lives and knowing him so well that you are certain that his will for you is for the best, purest and most fulfilling version of your life - then the desires of your heart become the things he has in store for you. It's a similar concept to another favourite verse of mine:

Matthew 6:33 
"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."

It's so obvious really, if you start wanting what God wants, then of course he's going to give it to you!

So here's my resolution, to consciously, prayerfully and persistently, take delight in the God of the Bible. And I look forward to sharing with you how my heart's desires start to look and how God has fulfilled them. It will be delightful I'm sure.