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Compared to others

Christianity

A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. (Luke 1:39-49 NLT)

I know my shortcomings, my failures and my sin. I know that I’m not good enough, and I look at other Christians and think how much better they are than I. But I suppose that that is exactly where Satan wants me to be! It’s very easy to compare myself with others or with perfection and see how awful I am!

Then I look at really special people and I’m totally amazed. If I feel puny against other Christians, how miniscule I feel against the greats! Mary is an example – a wee girl, a lowly servant girl – and all nations will call her blessed! After all, she carried the baby Jesus inside her, so she should be held in high regard! She is so special – she readily accepts what the angel tells her and moves into the role which God has given her, without a single doubt, without a complaint and with no buts…

But then God reminds me of something. He tells me that he sent the Holy Spirit to me, that I can be filled with his Holy Spirit. I am a carrier too! I have my  shortcomings, my failures and my sin. God sees them and uses them; he takes away my sin. He didn’t choose me because I was perfect: he chose me because I am me. He took notice of me and has plans for me.

I should not compare myself to others – I just need to compare myself to the me he wants me to be and when I fall short of that, I should not call myself unworthy – all I have to do is to strive harder to be worthy. I am only unworthy when I stop trying to be worthy. That’s what Peter did after he had denied Jesus three times – he didn’t focus on his failure, but moved into his purpose.

I am chosen, just as Mary was chosen. I have a purpose, just as Peter had a purpose. God is the I AM, and I am me.

Possessed

Christianity

In this period of economic downturn there is much tightening of belts going on. There is the fear of losing a job, and the depression that comes from having lost one. People aren’t going out as much, aren’t buying as much. At a time of low interest rates, credit is very hard to get, and mortgages are only available if you have a substantial deposit and a secure salary.
Today in the UK, not having a television is one of the official measures of poverty. When I was very young, it was a mark of affluence – black and white affluence, but still affluence! Our standard of living has increased immensely in a relatively short period. We have more possessions than we ever had, and we throw them away faster than we ever did. Once they are out of fashion, they are out of the door. Once they are old tech, we are looking at the new.

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Oh me of little faith!

Christianity

Christmas Day was a busy one, calling in at our first round of visits at 11 am and leaving the last one at 11 pm. I could say that it was all go, but I would be more accurate if I said it was all eat. By the time Libby and I got home, we were very full and very tired. Boxing Day had an emergency start as we nearly slept in (as we would have loved to do) and we barely made it to church on time. Our church is very lively and, even when I am sitting down, I can’t stop moving in time to the music. The result was that I was very tired by the time I got home. We both were, and we settled down to be truly lazy relaxed.

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What brought me here

Christianity

There is a belief or custom in many societies that age brings wisdom. This gave rise to the role of Elder, where the older members of the family or society are in a position of leadership, and this has been incorporated into church life, though here spiritual maturity is normally the qualifying factor rather than physical age. Note that I have said the age brings wisdom, not intelligence or knowledge. I am sure that we have all met someone who is incredibly clever, but who shouldn’t really be allowed out on their own!

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Buried treasure

Christianity

Do you like a bargain? Do you feel really good when you find one? Earlier this year, Libby and I were in Lytham. We passed a very up-market shop which sells women’s, or perhaps I should say ladies, clothes. It is a very expensive shop, and normally we always pass it, but this time I noticed that a sale had just started about an hour earlier. Libby decided it might be worth a look, so we went in. Libby found a tee shirt was reduced to a slightly less than extortionate price, but then I noticed a coat. It was a very special, very different raincoat, and it really was reduced – 80% off. Libby looked great in it, so we bought it. It was so different and such a bargain that Libby tells everyone about it.

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