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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.

Who owe who?

Christianity

Money, debt, crisis! That’s all the news now. Panic and bedlam, disaster and doom. Agreement turns to disagreement, fix turns to flux.
There was a time when millions were a lot, but now we talk only of billions – except on the growing number of occasions when we talk in trillions. Politicians – many of whom have had no training in economics – talk of mind-boggling schemes to save the Euro, to save Europe and to save the world.

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Light relief

Christianity

Today there were more riots in Athens, with a lot of very angry people getting even angrier, at police who will also get angry.

Tomorrow there will be strikes in the UK as public sector workers protest about changes to their pensions. Many of them are angry. Many people think they are wrong in what they say, and that they are wrong to strike. No doubt, many of them will get angry too.

Whatever the cause, people often get angry for it.

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No forgiveness, not this time!

Christianity

I just love what Judah says! “Joseph is family, so let’s not kill him – it will only make us feel bad. Instead, let’s do the decent thing and sell him.” Some families really know how to look after each other, eh? Caring just comes naturally! The best thing is that Joseph wouldn’t have been able to phone home, or go on Facebook to tell them that he was missing them, because that would have made them feel bad too, perhaps!

I’m sure that none of us has been sold into slavery, but I’m also sure that we have all had a dirty done to us. Some of us will have suffered at the hands of brothers, sisters or parents; some at the hands of husband, wife or partner, some by friends, some by strangers. We carry the scars and the pain. Often that pain is so great that it changes us, changes our lives, changes our whole direction. We often become slaves to the consequences, perhaps just in the way we behave, the way we relate to others. Sometimes we become slaves to drugs or drink, just to hide the pain, or to hide from it.

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If it’s broke, don’t fix it?

Christianity

Last week at Celebrate Recovery, one of the guys said something which was interesting, alarming and funny, all at the one time, but I think “alarming” is the right description.

For the sake of confidentiality, I shall call him Dave, but his real name is Steve. No it’s not, that was a joke – his real name is Charlie. No it’s not!

We are getting to the stage in the programme where we start making a moral inventory. We look at the things in our lives that have had a major impact on us: things that we have done, things that have been done to us. They are the stuff that have built our hurts, hang-ups and habits. As we deal with them one at a time, we reduce the influence they have or have had in our lives. As we reduce their influence, we reduce their impact on us and their control over us.

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