Meditate on these things

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The Collins online dictionary says that if you meditate on something, you think about it very carefully and deeply for a long time.

One of the keys to having a successful Christian life is having a sanctified mind. The Bible says in Proverbs, “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. What we fix our mind on shapes who we are.

If we are constantly dwelling on thoughts of our failure, the person who did us wrong or ungodly activities we aren’t going to know the peace God has for us.

First, God wants us to think about the things that are true. The enemy may try to whisper words of inadequacy to you, telling you that you’re not good enough ;don’t listen to that.

If you read God’s Word you will find out the truth – that if you are a Christian you are a child of God, you are precious and beautiful in His eyes; you have purpose and you can do all things through God who strengthens you.

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Forget Me Not

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These beautiful flowers called Forget Me Nots are growing in my garden. Forget Me Not flowers symbolize remembrance.To me, they remind me of how God has promised never to forget us.

We are always on God’s mind.

Psalm 139:17-18 says “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I am awake, I am still with you.” God’s thoughts towards us are too many to be counted.

Isaiah 49:15 says,  Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you”

I nursed all four of my children. For a large proportion of their early life I nursed them, sustained them and met their every need. It was impossible for me to forget about a tiny, hungry, needy baby. Such is a mother’s instinct and love. Yet God is saying surely some mothers may forget their children (unlikely but possible) but God will never forget about us. Yes, sometimes we’re loud and needy but God will never turn us away. He is compassionate. God’s divine remembrance to us is even more tender than a mother’s love and He is ever mindful of us.

Sometimes when we are going through things, we are tempted to think that God has forgotten about us. That is not the case at all.

Isaiah 49:16 says “See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands”

Your hands are always in your view. We wear rings on our fingers, often as a symbol of affection, promise etc and the right hand  in the Bible, is a symbol of strength.

God is saying how often He thinks about us.

Furthermore, in John 20:20 the risen Jesus showed the disciples His hands  which had been pierced by the nails of the cross-showing the sacrifice He made for us.

2 Timothy 2:13 says “if we are faithless, He remains faithful ;He cannot deny Himself.”

It is not in God’s nature to be faithless. He is a faithful God. And He will not forget you.

God’s Protection

primorskaya-metro-stationPsalm 91 talks about the safety of abiding in the Presence of God. It says the person who abides in the secret place of the most High, who expresses trust in God will be protected. It says that person will be delivered from the snare of the fowler and the perilous pestilence; they will not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday; no evil shall befall them and the angels will have charge of them and will keep them in all their ways.

Many different times of the day and night are mentioned, so essentially God’s people are under 24 hour protection. Nothing happens to us unless God has allowed it. In Job we read that he was under a hedge of protection , so the devil could not penetrate this without God’s permission (Job 1:10). God has placed that hedge of protection around those who are walking in fellowship with Him. Nothing happens to us unless God has allowed it.

I want to share a few instances when God has protected me.

As part of my degree in French and Russian I lived for about six months in Saint Petersburg in Russia. I attended a Church there , which was not far from the Primorskaya (Приморская)  Metro station on Vasilievsky Island. I used to travel home from church on Sundays with a Mexican ex-gangster and drug dealer who had become a Christian and was the leader of a men’s home in Saint Petersburg. There was a small group of Russians also and we had some great fellowship on the Metro. I felt quite safe with such a group, to be honest.

At some point on the underground network we would all part company and I would make my way alone to the Aftovo metro station, which was near where I was staying in a hostel with other British students.

One Sunday I came out of the metro station and was surrounded by some drunken, Azerbaijani men. They were all jostling me and speaking unintelligible things and I felt extremely threatened. Around this time one of my fellow students had been carried off by an Azerbaijani man (although she managed to escape). I carried on walking and praying and I met two women. For some inexplicable reason God told me to speak in French to them, and they answered me in perfect French (although they were Russian). I asked them for help but they were unwilling to help me. Anyway, when I looked around the men had disappeared, and I was a few minutes away from my hostel so I ran there. I can’t explain why they disappeared , but perhaps because we were speaking in a different language they thought that these women were my friends. The most important thing is that I escaped danger.

 

When I stayed in Moodymmai, in my husband’s village in North East India, I was walking by myself and encountered a drunken man who had never seen a white-skinned person before. He thought he was seeing a “Puri ” – a  ghost! He was so afraid of me that he was about to throw stones at me, when some children who had been following me told him, “No, this is Bah Airforce’s wife. It’s not a Puri”! So he left me alone.

Once, in the town where I live now, I felt led to read Psalm 91 out loud, which I did. That same day I was driving down a busy road and a crazy driver pulled out from a side road and nearly hit my car! I felt a hand on my head, and I believe it was an angel. Amazingly the car did not hit me.

One time I was late setting off from home and I was taking my children to their breakfast club a bit later than usual. My eldest daughter was giving me a hard time as she was upset that we our arrival had been delayed. That same day I learnt that there had been some armed robbers at the local shop, and if we had been on time we would have been right in their path!

There are probably many more instances where God has protected me that I don’t even know about. I believe sometimes God has arranged timings so I have avoided certain incidents. If you are a Christian and in fellowship with God, I believe you are protected too. Part of that protection is being obedient – if you hear God saying, “Don’t go there” , then be obedient – He may be wanting to protect you from something. If you feel uneasy in your spirit about doing something, then heed that feeling. It may be a warning.

There are , of course, things that we simply cannot understand. For example, I cannot explain why God allows some people to die at a young age and , we would say, before their time. We often hear about young people passing away tragically from cancer, meningitis and car accidents or Christians dying because of their faith in God. This is something that God will have to explain to me in Eternity. All I can say is that God sees things from a Heavenly perspective, not from our Earthly perspective. He knows the end from the beginning. Psalm 48:14 says, “For this is God. Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.”

God is our guide. If you are a Christian, then God is guiding you even right up to the day of your death on Earth. God is in control. Until it is your time to die, you are protected on this Earth. The Bible says in Psalm 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

Death is an appointment we all must keep, at one time or another. But, the death of a saint of God (i.e. a Christian) is viewed by God as something special. It is a time of rejoicing as they leave this world of sin and go to Heaven to be with Him. When your loved one has been on a long journey and you feel happy that they have  returned safely home to their loving family, friends and their warm bed – that’s how God sees it when one of His children finally reaches their Heavenly Home – safe, secure and at peace.

Cast all your cares on the One who cares for you

1 Peter 5:7 says, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

In 1985 I attended the Billy Graham crusade in Sheffield, England, with the youth group of my Church . There, I recommitted my life to Jesus. I was given a sheet with some important Bible verses to learn and this verse was one of them.

One definition of “to cast” is ” to throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction.” eg. a fisherman casts his fishing line into the river or a boy casts stones into the water.

God cares about you and nothing that worries you is too insignificant to Him. God can handle any anxiety you have and here you are invited to give everything that is worrying you to Him – in fact, throw it on Him, He will catch it!  He already knows what you are going through but He’s waiting for you to talk to Him.

You were not created to shoulder all your burdens by yourself – give them to God. Let Him handle them.

I can’t count the amount of times that I have given my concerns to God in prayer and He has answered. But more than that, as soon as I have unburdened myself I feel peace. I am confident that God has heard me and He is undertaking on my behalf. People say, “A problem shared is a problem halved.” When you know that Almighty God has the problem in His hands you can relax. You are in safe hands. Turn your cares into prayers.

Philippians 4:6,7 says, ” Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Are you feeling anxious today? Are you worried about the future? Are you sick? Do you have financial problems or relationship problems? Are you feeling suicidal? Are you feeling upset? Cast your care upon Jesus. He loves you so much and wants to help you. Exchange your cares for His peace.

The Shade of God

Isaiah 25:4 says, “For You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat.”

When the sun is overpowering, oppressive and beating down it’s nice to be in the shade – it’s cool, refreshing and protective. It’s the safest place to be in the heat of the day.

“I am shading you”, says the Lord. “You won’t be overwhelmed, I have caused my shade to spring up.”

Let’s look at the story of Jonah. Jonah had just finished reluctantly preaching to the great city of Ninevah. First he had run away from the calling of God, ended up being swallowed by a great fish (a whale) and then was spat out onto dry land. Eventually he decided to follow God’s command and the people of Ninevah, having never had a preacher like this at all before and no doubt astonished by someone probably bleached white in appearance by the gastric juices of the whale, all repented.

Amazing! Yet Jonah was not very happy. He knew this would happen! He was obviously the most reluctant preacher ever. Most preachers would be happy that the whole town repented – not Jonah! He went into a massive sulk! (Another example of how God uses even the weakest of us to accomplish His purposes) So Jonah went out of the city and he made himself a shelter so he could sit and wait and see what would become of the city.

God, in His mercy, provided Jonah with a plant that would provide a shade for Jonah. Jonah was very grateful for this plant.Even in his impetuousness and anger God was there to provide for His needs. How good God is! How kind of Him to look after us even on days when we are not all we should be. He is a faithful God. Jonah was a fallible human, very prone to change and very moody, but God still used him and took care of him.

In 1 Kings 19:4-18 Elijah had had a mighty victory , having executed all of the prophets of Baal. Now he was running for his life and was extremely depressed and discouraged. He wanted God to take his life. But God hadn’t finished with him yet! An angel provided some food for him. The angel said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you”. Then, in the strength of that food he was able to travel forty days and forty nights.

God knows what we need and when we need it.

Maybe you have got so fed up of the things that have happened to you that you have asked God to take your life. Yet God has not done that. Instead He has prepared a shelter for you, a little comfort and encouragement. It might be all you’ll get for another forty days, but in the strength of God’s Word take heart that He has not finished with you yet. If He was, He would take your life. We don’t get to tell God when our purpose on earth is finished. Maybe you feel you have really messed up (and maybe you have) but God is merciful. He can turn a mess into a message. He can turn a trial into a testimony.

God sees your trial and He has prepared a shade for you. You are not facing an onslaught by yourself – you are shaded from the heat by Almighty God. If God is on your side, who can be against you.

You are loved

John 3:16 says,  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”

God loves you

If you were the only person in the world God would still have sent Jesus to die for your sins,  so you could be made right with God.

You are important and precious in God’s sight.  You are loved.  Jesus promised to never leave you and never forsake you,  so you are never alone either.

God says, “Your Maker is your husband”  in Isaiah 54, and He says with everlasting kindness He will have mercy on you.

The Lord is your refuge and your fortress. When the troubles of the world get too much,  run to God for help.

Cast all your cares on God,  for He cares for you.  He is never too busy to listen to you.

“As the heavens are high above the earth,  so great is His mercy to those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11) God is rich in mercy towards us,  His creation.

You can rest in God’s loving arms right now because you are treasured, valued and secure.