The role of sin in our lives, but there is good news!

I bet the headline of this  blog post has you anxious that I’m going to write a post about all the sins you’ve committed in your life and harp on about it and makes you want to either scroll on by or click the x at the top of the screen or close the app on your phone, please don’t as that’s not what I’m going to write about.

I’m sure many of you today have been chomping away on chocolate Easter eggs or something like that,  the closest thing I got was a mini egg on one of Easter nest cakes at church  and yes many of you may feel guilty for over eating and berating yourselves for eating too much and some may even think I’ve just sinned.  Many times the message of the cross is that Jesus died for our sins.  Many of those reading this already know what your sin is and the consequences but WHY is sin such a big deal it’s because of it’s role in our lives.

The role of sin

There are 3 roles to sin that are worth knowing about and even many Christians don’t see this either.

1 Sin causes us to think we are separated from God

Most people have heard sin separates you from God but the truth is that sin and the resulting guilt, shame and condemnation causes you to think you are separated from God.  God was has and is always with his creation, he is not separate from it at all, when Adam sinned in the garden Adam hid himself FROM God, God was still present, when God called where are you Adam,  it wasn’t because God couldn’t see him he knew where he was but he wanted Adam to know he was there and very present indeed.  It was sin that convinced Adam to run from God and that there was a veil there between them.  When Jesus died he cried out “my god, my God, why have you forsaken me” he cried that out when he became sin, sin caused him to think that, he was God in the flesh after all there was no separation, at that point on the cross he knew what sin causes us to believe in our separation from God.

 

2 Sin causes us to believe the worst about God

There seems alot of folk who have real misconceptions about God. That he is distant, angry and one favorite expression of mine the unmoved mover.  He’s ready to whip,  beat and catch us doing wrong at any time and ready to throw judgement at us, nothing could be further from the truth, first of all Jesus told his disciples to call God Our Father.  A real good father is not remote or ready to lash out at you whenever you do wrong.  God is the best Father and wants everyone on this planet to relate to him in that manner, sin and will tell you otherwise. the Father that does not want you to be anxious for anything to provide for and love you though thick and thin and allows you to make your own choices and trusts you like any Good father does  and wants you to come to him freely. Sin will rob you of that notion believing the very opposite.

3  Sin causes you to think that there is absolutely nothing good about you as well as God.

Yep when God created  man (man and woman) he declared it was very good and not  just that he created man in his image and likeness, we are like God, we are not God but like him, just like when you look at a family member and see your eyes, or you hear them say something a certain way you think I’d say it like that.  They aren’t you but look and sound like you.  We are like God in that we look and sound like God and portray his nature in different ways.  The serpent in the Garden like sin convinces us we are not like God and we are dark humans walking the planet and there is nothing good about us.

The good news

The good news is Jesus when he died on the cross he wanted us to know three things

1 We are not separated from God,

2 Our Father  is love personified and is not mad at us at all rather he is mad at sin and it’s destructive nature in our lives and it’s purpose, putting distance between us and his love.

3  You are good, very good, he created you and is much good in you, your sin is masking that reality of your true nature.

For any reading this your wandering I get this but now what must I do,

Talk to Father God, he loves you he knows you intimately, you don’t have to do it in a religious fashion just be yourself, he loves you like that.  Ask him to remove the veil between you in your thinking and in your heart towards him.  Tell him what you think of him and that you need help in having a revelation of who he is, ask him to come alive to you on the inside and simply be open to receive the revelation of love because Father God is love.

A very happy Easter to you all

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Review, Reflections and Resolutions

Well 2016 has begun, already we are on day 4 and I already have a few plans, but first a summary and  reflection on 2015.

A year of firsts

In April  and May I had 3 firsts, my first visit to Scotland not cold weather at the time either, I attended my first political hustlings which apparently was the most lively one in my area and I started my work at the hospital. June I baked banana bread for the first time and August baked Chocolate Caramel shortbread with two of the Bubble family whilst they visited me

A year of outings and events

Three visits to Middlesbrough, one to Manchester and a trip to Blackpool, and visits from my friends in Middlesbrough, a friend form Yorkshire, and a  visit from my friend in Scotland.  A trip to the theatre with my friends Mr and Mrs Bubble, several trips to cafe’s, restaurants and pubs with friends.  I didn’t have 4 weddings and a funeral rather it was one of each, both were impacting for different reasons.

Old and new

Bumping into friends I hadn’t seen for years and meeting new people, also creating a couple of groups one that had been in the planning for a long time, another almost done on the fly.

That was my review of 2015 now my reflections, in particular what I’ve learnt.

1  A year of firsts

A realisation that I still enjoy learning new things and experiencing new places and meeting new people. Scotland wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be and letting the Scots know I’m not anti Scottish.  I can still try new things when baking even if it doesn’t taste quite as nice as you think.  Some of the people I have met have been lovely.

2 It’s still ok to be vulnerable

When I was ill I lay thinking that I felt vulnerable but I also knew that it’s ok to feel that way.  I will write a post on vulnerability in the future. The fact is vulnerability isn’t something to be feared rather it is something to be embraced.

3 Surprised by reacquainting with others

Surprised because Two people I hadn’t seen for a while had been through some bad times which was saddening to see and hear about, one other person I hadn’t seen for years I hardly new and was pleased to find that although when I first knew them I didn’t think I  had much in common with I found they had more in common with me than I originally thought at the time, they also were informative and fascinating.

4 I can enjoy weddings or rather the receptions

I learnt at weddings or wedding receptions Joy has a way of spreading, people meeting in happy circumstances can create a great atmosphere and openness with others, it’s a bit like those who get drunk their inhibitions come down and they become more extrovert or feel relaxed and happy, that’s what an atmosphere at a wedding can do.

5 Getting more comfortable being myself

Embracing more and more of who I am, still more work there but I’m making progress. Celebrating my overall introverted nature but at the same time knowing that at times I do have an outgoing streak which I’m comfortable with too.  Knowing I’m a  peacemaker and the one that keeps going when things are tough.

6 Losing and finding your way and letting go

It’s ok to lose your way and you can find your way back whatever situation you maybe in from losing my way in Manchester to losing a sense of direction in my work situation. Letting go of not knowing, and to some degree of control again of outcomes.

Now to the resolutions.  Well I’m no fan of those, instead I have a few aims.

1 Walk more

I started walking yesterday so I aim to walk everyday, weather and whereabouts permitting.

2 Hone in on my communication skills and seek to widen their sphere of influence.

I want to write more expand on what I’m doing, my dream is to expand in the oral side of communication too not just the written, but it’s finding the vehicle to hone those skills  is the difficult one.

3 My relationships

I hope to see more of my friends this year and allow those relationships to grow or diminish just let go of what’s not important to be able to hold on to what is.  I hope some reading this will stay in touch.  I saw a good quote stop thinking more about personal ends rather than personal friends. I hope to see more of my family too.

4 Still visit more places

I want to visit more places both old and new, I hope if I get work to go on a proper holiday.

5 Try and get work.

I got something rolling towards the end of last year but with my health hiccup it has got put back lets hope that isn’t stalled for long.

6 Continue to be grateful for what I do have in life.

The gratitude project was a good plan but I didn’t keep it up as I’d wanted to much more important is to have a grateful heart and when the chips are down  to focus on what is good.

Well we’ll see how that goes in the meantime Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Losing my way

I haven’t written a blog for a while here’s why, I feel lost, well more accurately I’ve lost my way.

I had one of those weeks last week where I felt let down and blocked at any progress I was trying to make.  So I come to a full stop.  How do I proceed and where the hell am I going?

As a child I would get lost, who wouldn’t, my solution find an adult or more accurately I would have lost an adult and try to proceed finding them, it would result of tapping someone on the shoulder or shouting Dad or mum at somebody only discover it was someone else, embarrassing.  Sometimes I’d be looking for a vehicle only to get into the wrong car that would look very similar, that’s happened to me about three times.  I’ve lost my reading glasses a million times or more I’m sure.

In times past I felt I’d lost my faith born out of dryness, disappointment or doubt, the truth there is God knew about the feeling of being lost when he shared the parable about the woman who had lost the coin, the interesting thing about the other two parables and that one is that the people had lost something that belonged to them, something that was already in their possession I’ll let folks think about that one.

The thing is I’ve lost my way, my direction in life, but I’ve not only lost my way or direction, I’ve lost my destination, what is my destination? Is it true that having lost my way I’ve lost my destination?

Destination determines something way off in the future, as human beings we are programmed to think ahead, destination determines outcome or achievement.  That notion of achievement is thought provoking,  should achievement be the end game of everything we do?

My problem has always been I may have a destination but my strategy in getting there is poor, I’m not really a strategist, it’s not really my strong point.  In some situations your destination can seem like an agenda and not a good one.  How many of us for instance in order to arrive at our destination we try and manipulate people or circumstances in order to arrive at the most beneficial outcome to us?   We may not be the only ones on that particular course of direction or destination.  Athletes compete in a race for the prize  they are heading the same way, their approach and strategy determines who wins, but it also determines who loses.  Is life about winning and losing, or rather should life be about winning or losing?

Believe me I’ve thought a lot about some of the things I’ve wanted to do, my motives for doing them are they pure, justifiable.  My search for work is difficult because I’m not the only one wanting work, so do many others, Is it arrogant to think I could be better than someone else to do a job?  To be fair having a dual disability means I’m further down the food chain of desirables from an employers perspective as being the best choice.

For all the advice people give me in my life, there are no simple answers.  and my problems can’t just be fixed.  There’s nothing worse coming away from a conversation feeling as though that person has it all worked out and you feeling as though you don’t measure up to those standards they are inadvertently setting.  To be fair I’ve done it too , come up with solutions for people when it’s not what they need at that time, when they have lost their way, or they don’t know what to do, in those circumstances all people need is empathy,  a listening ear and most of all encouragement, not solutions, pat answers or questioning.

In the meantime what do I do?  Well the only answer I have right now is rest, I don’t mean do nothing but not strive for answers, let go of trying to come up with solutions that are depressing which a lot of them are.  Just let go of trying  to work it all out.

I have to trust that somehow, somewhere or someone, will bring some light into my pathway, so I can move forward.  In the meantime I stay lost.

Three words

There’s a statement I’ve been thinking about that contains three words that I don’t think we use enough, it’s not the phrase that most people think of, I bet your thinking it’s that phrase I love you.  No it’s not that one.  Speaking of that phrase I’ve noticed that most people will say love you and miss out the I, is that because they don’t really love the person they are speaking too or is it just laziness, it’s more likely the latter rather than the former in my view  and it depends on context I suppose.  Anyway those three little words aren’t the words I’m thinking of.

I’m thinking of a statement or phrase I should use more than I do, and I know why I don’t.  Anyway , here’s  examples of where it might be used, or more likely when I should use it. You ask yourself what your response would be to these questions.

Do you think the Conservatives will get in again at the next General Election?

What do you think of penal substitution?

Should milk or water be put in a cup of tea first when making it?

What most of us tend to do when answering a question is come up with a positive or negative opinion on these kind of questions, but there is a third option that many of us rarely use because we are expected to have an opinion on anything and everything yes you’ve guessed it I’m sure, the phrase I was referring to earlier was I DON’T KNOW.

How many times people have asked you something expecting an answer of some description from you and rather than saying I don’t know you come back with a yes or no, or some convoluted answer that’s meant to sound intelligent when in reality you simply have no answer, you  haven’t thought about the question long enough, not had the experience or never really thought the questions was necessary.  I certainly have been in that position.

We as human beings thirst for knowledge, knowledge means power and to a large extent gives us a sense of security.  None of us want to look stupid in front of our friends or family when we simply don’t have an answer or an opinion to something.  Our problem with our thirst for knowledge though is that it can lead to pride.  Ever come across someone who seems to have an opinion about everything, do they get on your nerves, it’s happened to me, mind you when I was in my early 20’s I could be just as bad.  I’m more careful now not to get into arguments where the need to be right all the time is the goal.  Because at the end of the day none of us know everything.  It’s freeing to sometimes say I don’t know, yes it’s disconcerting to others, leaves you with a sense of uncertainty but that’s ok.

Over the last few years I’ve learnt that it’s ok to not know everything, I’ve found it very liberating personally.  Does it really matter that I don’t have the answers or that people don’t look to me for an answer or be the answer.  The truth is that sometimes there is no right or wrong answer there is the unknown, we can’t possibly know everything about anything or anyone for that matter. So don’t be afraid of using that phrase no matter what others might think.

Regarding the questions I listed above the first question is speculative, the second question involves some theological knowledge and the third question I ask is it really that important whether the milk is put in before the water for a cuppa?

OK I suppose you want to know what my answer would be to the three questions I listed above.

Well, the answer to all 3 is I just don’t know.

Musings from an introvert

If I say to you how do you describe an introvert and if I told you I was one what would you think and say.  Most people when you say your an introvert they naturally assume that an introvert is quiet and unsociable, doesn’t have a lot to say and are not leaders or change makers.

The truth is an introvert is someone who gains energy by being on their own and finds social situations overwhelming and draining.  Whereas an extrovert is energised by social situations and is probably the sort of person who cannot cope with silence for too long and would get edgy and bored.  There are those who lie somewhere in the middle (they are known as ambiverts) but normally there is a dominant trait of being either primarily an extrovert or introvert.

I’m now going to address some of the misconceptions about being an introvert. One  assumptions is that they are not sociable.  In a group for instance if an introvert is quiet it is deemed they are not engaging.  Not true in a group an introvert is fully alert, they are observing, listening and waiting patiently for a spot to put their point of view across or a make a comment.  I remember a time when I was at a friends house quite a number of years ago and we had some kind of party I think. After the food we all sat around and plenty of chatter was going on It may have appeared to some that I wasn’t happy, but on this occasion far from it, I was basking in the happy atmosphere of my friends, I was also feeling the joy of the connection I had with the group, I didn’t feel I needed to speak just being in the presence of that particular group of people made me feel content.  So don’t assume that if someone you know in a group is quiet don’t assume that they are bored or antisocial , but just make sure that they are ok and having a chance to speak if they want to and most important of all enjoying themselves.

Another occasion where a similar thing may occur is in meetings in a workplace or any other place where a more serious discussion is taking place where important decisions are being made. If a colleague or friend is being quiet don’t assume the misconception I mentioned above.  Here’s what happens when I’ve been in meetings, a discussion takes place, I’m taking everything in, observing the interactions between different people, listening to what people are saying and how others are responding, mulling, analysing and processing all that’s being said, by the time I’ve come to some thoughts of my own the chair has moved on to the next topic, this is common amongst introverts, I only learnt this recently, I thought this was me being slow, far from it I just process and handle information differently from external sources.  What I used to do in situations like that a few hours or days after that meeting I would go to my boss and share with him or email him some of my thoughts regarding that meeting.  So if there’s anyone in your office/church/group who doesn’t appear to be engaging in meetings, either give them a chance to speak or ask them to see you if they have any comments to make regarding the meeting that’s just took place or  to send them in an email or speak with them later.

It’s easy to assume from observation that an introverted person should not be considered for promotion or take charge of a particular project that involves other people.  Introverts given the right dynamics can really shine in groups, they make good chairs in meetings as that truly is an observational role, they can set the pace, and tend  not to shoot from the hip as much as an extrovert is likely to do and consider a decision carefully before opening their mouth.

Introverts love people it’s just the way they interact with others is different and the amount of time required.  Introverts generally prefer one to one conversations rather than group discussions, they can become more extrovert in those circumstances and anyone can see that an introvert has a lot to say on many subjects, introverts are less comfortable with small talk and prefer to get into meaty topics of conversation but  also like diverse conversations, where the topics are stimulating.

For me as an introvert it can be difficult in groups the conversation flows and I can’t get a word in edgeways, the extroverts are constantly interrupting each other with hardly a breath of space.  I can’t tell you how many times I start to say something in a discussion group and I’ve been interrupted or over talked.  People will say they don’t hear me, others say that’s not the case they can hear me fine.  So I can sit in silence knowing full well that a conversation will take place that I can’t enter into much as I want to.  I then feel drained because I’ve say spent a few hours listening to everything everyone else has been saying digesting it all etc, without feeling I’ve participated.  People then have the perception that I’m antisocial or aloof, which is not the case.

The additional hearing loss I have doesn’t help, I’m having to concentrate more in noisy environments, I often think if I wasn’t hearing impaired I probably would be more of an extrovert.

Another misconception is that introverts don’t know how to have fun.  Well that’s not true. I certainly love having fun, just not in public places and only with friends who I trust, who I can let my hair down with, in those situations I can be just as crazy and silly as any extrovert.

A recent experience for me is a great example of how I can interact as an introvert.  Every couple of months or so myself and 3 fellow female friends go to a local Chinese and have a meal and chat.  It’s great, it’s a small number of people in not too busy environment (although the environment can be noisy sometimes) we all get chance to chat, share and laugh while having a nice meal.  I find my conversation flows easily with others and I don’t feel drained when I go home.  I can enjoy myself with a group of people being sociable and its possible in certain situations that people would not even realise I was an introvert because even I can be loud and outgoing.

So next time you see someone or know someone who seems generally quiet but pipes up on a one to one, your most likely dealing with an introvert.  If that person tends to refuse invites to large parties or gatherings you may well be dealing with an introvert.  If a family member tends to be seemingly passive in a crisis they may well be an introvert.

Generally introverts are better at speaking than writing.  I can speak well sometimes if I’m prepared, but not if I’m put on the spot.  Introverts are great communicators their style is just a little different.  So please don’t assume they can’t do public speaking or write for a publication, you may be surprised what they can come up with, if given some warning!!

Introverts don’t really feel comfortable  being in the limelight and find it hard to do self promotion, but again I think it’s down to preparation and timing, just being thrust in the limelight is difficult for an introvert, but if they are given time to emerge gently then they can handle it better.

Finally  a note to my extrovert friends.  I value you very highly, those bubbly outgoing  social butterflies, I think you are awesome.  It’s easy to assume that extroverts are thoughtless individuals.  Well many of my extrovert friends are pretty thoughtful and caring people.  Have recognised my need for one to one time, so I respect their need for loud open spaces.  Some of them will recognise that I’m quiet and will ask me if I’m ok or if I have anything to say.