Tag Archives: Trust

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

rich:poor

There’s a thin line between a performance to yourself and one to an audience, even an audience of one. It’s weird because so much is the same; it’s you, doing what you do best( or at least pretty well) but the first is like a self assessment and the latter invokes enough fear to cause your fingers to cramp and your heart to beat rampantly in your chest. What changes things? In that moment after you’ve performed your heart out, when there’s an audience we either let out a sigh of relief or release one of disappointment depending on whether our performance is followed by applause or the lack of it. How good we feel is decided in a matter of moments as people shower us in praise or choose to avoid eye-contact.

Lesson of last week: In life we live for the applause, the glory that comes from our personal achievements but as Christians the purpose of our lives is to glorify Jesus. Everything that happens to us from birth to when we bow out is for God to receive heartiest claps and the loudest shouts of praise.

My all time bible hero is Job. Job had faith. Not the kind of faith that is here today and gone tomorrow when the going gets tough but the kind of unwavering faith that has chosen to serve God no matter what, whether there’s joy in his heart or pain, whether he’s at a loss or period of gain. Job had faith.

If you don’t know about Job I’ll set the scene. Imagine your rich. Not ghetto fabulous rich that culminates in having a Louis Vuitton belt and an enviable shoe collection. The type that sees your children study at the most expensive schools in the country and pays for your ten bedroom house and puts the petrol in your recently shined lambo, and even sees all of your extended family with food on their tables and money in their bank accounts. Job was that kind of rich, and to top it off, he loved God. He knew where his wealth came from and served God with all his heart. However, his story soon changed when the devil started teasing God.

Here Job is, chilling in his richness and acknowledging his father in heaven that he’s dependent on, while Satan is roaming giving him major side eye and looking for a way to disgrace God. So Satan says ‘Listen God, you may think Job loves you, but I guarantee he’s just like any gold-digging human out there. As soon as you restrict his access to his cash, take away that family he loves so dearly, leave him in a place of desolation and grief, he isn’t still going to holla like he does‘ what God says in response shocked me forever and changed my perspective on life. God says ‘Oh you think so, ok take ALL those things away from Job and see if he doesn’t praise me all the same.’

So that was it. While one messenger was being the bearer of bad news and telling Job that he’d lost his riches another was arriving to say he’s lost his children, until heartache by heartache, Job lost it all. His money his loved ones, everything he’d ever worked hard for in this life and not only that God had commissioned it.

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return there. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. May the name of the Lord be blessed!” In all this Job did not sin, nor did he charge God with moral impropriety. Job 1:21-22

We claim to live to give God praise but so many serve him in the hope that they’ll get enough things from God so that others will give them praise. Christianity is turned into a motivational too that is all about moving up in the world, but numbers of people lifting their hands depletes when worlds come crashing down. Last week was one of those weeks for me. I could see the world around me slowly crumbling and I had to decide if I was still going to seek God amongst the rubble. My logic was: You knew this would happen God, you gave me no warning and you didn’t save me, so why should I get down on my knees to praise you? My heart hurt and I didn’t feel like God was all too fussed. Just when I was about to have a sulk, my mind wandered to Job. Job wasn’t just attacked by the devil, his attack was commissioned by God, and when he rubbed his eyes in the midst of his own rubble, he didn’t see a God who had betrayed him, but a God whom he owed his life to.

So many of us lift our hands and claim that we’d serve God no matter what but are you ready for Satan to call your bluff and for God to agree. God was so confident in Job because God saw his heart, would God have the same faith in you being able to see yours? Are you in the faith while it’s rosy but ready to switch religion or give God the silent treatment as soon as things don’t go your way.

There’s a Newsflash that we can’t afford to miss: we live to bring God glory. If we also get a hand clap or some appreciation along the way then that is a bonus but it is not a requirement. Christ sacrificed his entire life for our sins but the moment we have to sacrifice our friends or our jobs or our families for him, it all becomes too much and we consider turning back on the road to him. But why? Glory belongs to God and we live as part of his masterpiece.

 

Let God’s will be done always, and glory be to him forevermore. Amen

 

Love Dani xxxx

 

 

Why I Stopped Talking To God

Lonely woman

It’s not very ‘Christian’ to admit that you stopped talking to God, is it? I wonder if any of you will admit the times you’ve had to just walk away from God for a minute because you just couldn’t understand why life kept dropping bombs on you. There are situations that occur that bring our worlds to a standstill and while we’re trying to hold ourselves together, other parts of our lives begin to fall apart.

Have you ever asked God “WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?” We don’t often talk about those moments that occur during our Christian Walk, (the questions, the angst and the fear) because they’re not as attractive as the relentless faith we are supposed to exhibit and the lifting of hands in worship, but life throws too many unexpected events my way to not have asked God why he is allowing certain things to happen to me. It has be a crazy year, an expect-the-unexpected-kinda-year and I have done my best to ‘keep the faith’ and ‘pray no matter how I feel’ but I think this week it all became too much and I didn’t connect to my Source. Despite knowing that in the moments where I feel most hurt and angry, I should run back to God, not run away, this time my feet wouldn’t move, my hands refused to turn the pages of His word and my heart stopped beating for him.

 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”

“Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.

Judges 6:12-13

When I read the response from Gideon this morning, I thought, “finally, someone asking the questions that I’ve been asking God!” His question was respectful, genuine but completely honest– if the Lord was truly on their side, why were they oppressed, abandoned and homeless?

I’m sure some of you have been in a tough season and asked God some real questions:

 Why?

How?

Where are you?

What are you doing?

Why me?

What have I done to deserve this?

I sat with the above questions longer than I sat with God this week because I couldn’t bring myself to admit how disappointed I was in Him. I also knew in my heart I knew I had no right to be disappointed. This was the same God that had allowed me to walk through beautiful seasons that I was also undeserving of so what right did I have to be disappointed?

Although walking away was illogical, I had more questions than I had answers and I needed time. In hindsight, the distance I put between God and I was a mistake because He was the only person that could have healed me, saved me and kept my irrational thoughts at bay.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

I think I forgot that being a Christian didn’t mean that my life was going to be flowers, sunsets, giant teddy bears and ‘happily ever afters’. My belief in God did not excuse me from the pains of life. The only difference between those with faith in God and those that do not believe is that when we face our problems we have God on our side; our faith alone does not exempt us from pain and sorrow. Through the trials and tribulations that we face, we are able to experience something new of God, a side of Him that we otherwise may not have encountered. It takes being poor to see God as our provider, it takes being sick to see Him as our healer and it takes heartbreak for Him to be revealed as our comforter. It has never been said that this journey would be easy, but it does say that His grace is sufficient for me and that His power works best when I am weak (2 Corinthians 12:9). I shouldn’t be afraid when I reach the end of myself because that is where God can begin.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

I’m still here with my questions, my disappointment and my pain; faith in my strongest moments and fear in my weaker ones. But I am also here accepting that God knows what is best for me (Isaiah 55:9) and He will always bring things together for my good (Romans 8:28).

I am learning what it means to be dependent on God. He is my security, He is my everything, He is my source. There is no walking away.

I am learning what I meant when I surrendered my will and asked him to take control of my life.

Learning that just because I want something to happen doesn’t mean it will and just because I don’t want something to happen doesn’t mean it won’t.

Learning how important it is to trust God.

Learning that I need to read my bible even when I don’t want to. I need to pray even when I don’t have the words.

Learning that I can run away from my problems or run through them with God.

Learning that even though I’m not as strong as I’d like to be, I’m not as weak as I thought I was.

Learning how to speak again. To connect with Him. Apologising for my absence. Admitting how lost I am without Him. Asking for forgiveness. Learning how to pray in hope and faith once more.

I am learning.

Joy x

Oceans – Hillsong

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour

At a time where my faith is being challenged, where I am being called to step out of the boat and walk blindfolded, unsure of my future and my destination, this song perfectly encapsulates the desire of my heart.


About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

“Yes, come,” Jesus said.

Matthew 14: 25-29

The Day I Abandoned My Baby

altar abandon

‘God said’ has got to be the most weighty way to open a sentence, and yet it’s thrown about willy nilly by Christians everywhere. The problem is the fakes  that abuse those words to guilt trip church-goers into putting an extra in the offering plate only so they can turn up next week in a shiny lambo. Needless to say, the words ‘God said’  have received some bad press. It’s not that we don’t believe God speaks anymore, it’s just that we feel that we have to be extra cautious when accepting someone’s Word from the Lord as an actual message from God. Things get tricky when people say that God has spoken to them concerning you. Nobody can claim infallibility (even the Pope, but we’ll have that discussion another day) and coupled with the fact that humans generally can’t be trusted, it becomes very difficult to decipher whether God has actually spoken to individual, whether they ‘heard’ the wrong thing or if they have an ulterior motive. When someone gives you a Word from God here’s the dilemma: how much can we believe what they say to be true. However, a whole new dilemma comes about when God speaks to you directly. The question stops being, how do I know it was God to ‘do I want to listen to what God has to say.’ When God told me to metaphorically speaking, ‘pick up my bed and walk’ I wasn’t expecting to have to leave my baby behind.

You don’t have to turn too many pages of your Bible to see that God says some seemingly outrageous things. Telling Abraham to offer Isaac his son as a sacrifice to him, can definitely be included amongst God’s most eyebrow raising utterances. I won’t lie, I thought all those seemingly outrageous commands were an Old Testament phenomenon. Little did I know that God was still in the ‘completely baffling you and forcing you to really question how much you are committed to him’ mood. Last year January, I asked God to have his way in my life, and he told me to abandon the very thing that fed my soul, warmed my heart and caused my eyes to overspill with tears of joy: my budding acting career.

No, I am not a celebrity before you start googling my name, but I did have big dreams of living The Dream; a life on the stage, screen, and the occasional red carpet appearance in between. For the longest time I have loved acting, and from the age 14 I have dedicated the my time to learning and crafting the kind of actor I wanted to be. I’m the sort of person who sets sights on a goal and works tirelessly until I see the vision fulfilled, and that was exactly the motivation in which I pursued becoming a successful actress. Training, agent searching, open auditioning, until hey presto! I found my agent and people started offering me money for doing the thing I loved most. I couldn’t wait to finish University so I could commit to pursuing the dream full time, until it dawned on me that becoming an actress had at no point been attached to the words: God said. You can’t get through a church service without someone mentioning that we live to fulfil what God has called us to do; one day I realised that I had no clue whether acting was what God wanted me to pursue as my day job.

I took to my knees to pray. I remember vividly saying ‘Lord if acting isn’t what you want me to do, then I don’t want to do it’,  ‘What would you like me to do with my time?’

What did I hear?

Nothing.

Weeks snowballed into months of waiting on the Lord but my prayer remained persistent. Two things  on waiting on The Lord while we’re here:

1) It’s not necessarily going to be a short wait so keep yourself entertained by  worshipping  God just because he’s great and don’t allow yourself to be consumed by the answer you’re longing for.

2) You might not like what’s on the other end of the phone.

 

What I didn’t realise when I was asking God to direct my life and declaring ‘if you can use anything Lord, you can use me,’ is that God was taking me seriously and that God’s plan wasn’t going to be a bigger version of the plan I had concocted for myself. I remember I was at church when I heard God loud and clear:

Business.

At first I was confused. Me? Business? When had I ever indicated to God that I wanted to do business? In fact it sounded like the complete opposite of what I wanted to do. I like routine and certainty and business has always involved a high element of risk.  I carried on praying, maybe half expecting God to change his mind, but mostly because business wasn’t enough to run with. So after momentary breakthrough I was back to my knees waiting on the Lord with ears open wide. This time I only had to wait weeks before God responded that I should read up on the financial market. Ok, I could run with that: Business and Finance. I was so glad to have found direction I almost didn’t realise that this meant no more acting. I had asked God what he wanted me to do and nowhere had he mentioned taking on a new persona as a day to day activity.

This week I was watching Orange is the New Black ( if you aren’t already hooked there’s no time like the present to start watching) and was reminded of all the dreams I had previously had that weren’t going to be realised.  I remembered how I had called my agent and told him that the the game was up and that there was a high chance I would never perform in front of people again. I wept all over again.

It’s been over a year and the pain that came with closing the door that would have allowed me an easy  return to the dream I had birthed,  still chokes my throat with tears and has me sometimes wondering, what if?

What if I hadn’t heard right?

Reading the Abraham story does more than enough to emphasise the importance of consistrntly seeking God  so that you’re always up to date on God’s will on a matter. For those who don’t know how the story goes : Abraham had been praying for a child for a very long time, after his wife goes past the age where she’s able to conceive God blesses them with Isaac, God tells Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to him and then just at the point where we could call it quits for Isaac, God provides a ram and tells Abraham to sacrifice that instead. It doesn’t bear thinking about what would have happened if Abraham didn’t hear God when he exchanged Isaac’s fate with the Ram’s. Imagine if Abraham had killed the son God had promised him. It would completely ruin God’s plan to make him a father of many nations. See I’m not deluded. I know that getting told you have to kill your son isn’t quite the same as having to bury your dream, but it’s the only thing I can equate how I felt/still feel to. It’s funny because we pray and fast to hear from God and don’t ever consider that we won’t actually want to hear what God has to say. Once we know it’s God speaking (being sure of his voice comes with practicing hearing him) then we’re faced with whether or not we want to obey.

What if hadn’t succumbed?

Life would be so different if I hadn’t followed God’s Business and Finance direction. I wouldn’t be about to begin a Business Services Graduate scheme in a bank in September; I’d probably be spending my whole summer auditioning and praying I booked myself a role on a Drama that would take me to the big-time. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful, just scared and overwhelmed all at the same time as I remember that I no longer have my whole life planned out, and that I’m going to have to seek God for the next steps of my journey. Sometimes, when we receive instructions that we don’t like, we stop being willing servants of the Lord and start wishing we’d never asked, all the while taking for granted that Christ actually wanted to give his life for us on the cross. The thing about Christianity is that nothing Christ asks you to do will ever compare to what he’s already done for you, and if you think it was easy for him to succumb to the will of The Father, you’ve forgotten the bit of the story where Jesus begged for the cup to pass him by. When God refused, Jesus didn’t have a sulk and start weighing up the pros and cons of obeying, He answered ‘ Lord not my will, but yours be done.’

To everyone praying those ‘have your way, you can use me Lord,’ I hope you’re ready for what is to come. To those that aren’t, God will still ask you to sacrifice the things that you never thought you’d have to let go of. Whilst you’re feeling hard done by and regretting ever including God in your life decisions, remember, Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice and anything you do in response to that sacrifice is an honour.

For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Living for Christ is the meaning of life and dying and getting to be with him is the only thing better than getting to live for him. You aren’t doing God a favour by serving him because getting to live for Christ is the best thing that ever happened to you. Stop letting pride stop you from choosing God’s will over your own, and start feeling privileged that you get to.

 

God bless and mucho loveio

 

Dani xxxxxxxxxxx

Why I Stopped Trusting Men

circle-of-trust

It makes you sick when you see people lie and steal and cheat their way into getting what they want in life. We’re told that it’s dog-eat- dog world but the last time I checked, no-one was barking and cannibalism was still frowned upon. FYI we are not dogs and there is no reason to behave as though we are. Is it true that we’ve got to sell each other down the river just so we can get a little further along the stream? It’s like life is one big competition and it’s not enough for a person to win, they have to see you lose. I guess I should put a disclaimer out now, when I say I’ve stopped trusting men, I’m referring to the genderless man: I have absolutely no trust/faith/belief in mankind (myself included).

I guess it would be interesting to hear about how this one guy broke my heart and how that has put me off all men, but we have bigger things to worry about than my love-life (which is non-existent just in case you were wondering! Jesus is my main squeeze, my side dish and my dessert- for all who were just about to begin a Facebook search to find out about my imaginary mystery men). What really scares me is that we’re living on a planet thriving with Judas Iscariots waiting to sell out their ‘bestie’ and ‘ride or die’ for less than 30p let alone 30 pieces of silver. It’s crazy because we’re all running individual races and yet people are still misguided into thinking that knotting other people’s shoe laces so that they stumble, will help them get ahead.

Newsflash: you won’t win your race because I have lost mine. We aren’t in constant competition. It brings me no pleasure to see you fail, and my success doesn’t make you any more or less of a failure.

The one thing I can remember from P.E (apart from Hockey is really difficult and Rounders isn’t fun unless you’re batting) is that during a race, you have to keep your eyes focused on the finish line. The speed of your neighbour isn’t of concern to you, the ground that you can cover is most important. What’s worrying is that we’ve become so focused on our individual races that we think our lives should revolve solely around pleasing ourselves. Every day on twitter it’s; “do what makes you happy” and “cut out the people who don’t bring you joy,” but what about loving your enemy and helping out those who hate you? We have switched focus from, obeying what God tells us to do, to, focusing on leading a life that brings us ultimate pleasure. What if Jesus had lived by that mantra? What if Jesus hadn’t put his desire to fulfil the will of God above his desire to please his flesh?

While I was reflecting during Easter weekend, I just had to give glory back to God. Jesus was sent to Earth, with a mission and a really important one at that. Jesus was tasked with taking on the sins of the world and offering himself as a sacrifice on behalf of all of us so that we’d have the opportunity to fellowship with him; it would have been catastrophic if he failed.

So often we’re given huge tasks from God, tasks that our bigger than ourselves, and when push comes to shove and it gets painful and the future becomes daunting and we ask God if the cup can pass us over.  Unfortunately some of us fail to emulate Jesus and put God’s will before our own; instead we withdraw into a quiet corner and tell ourselves we wouldn’t have succeeded anyway.

God doesn’t call us to specific tasks because we have great C.Vs  and impressive skill sets, he is giving us the privilege of being a small piece in the masterpiece he’s already created the blueprint for. Being used by God is such an honour and yet we’re so at peace with routinely letting God down, consequentially forgetting about the people that we’re inadvertently letting down by not following through. I don’t trust people because people are fickle. They’re like Judas; with you one minute, and selling you out the next. Promising they will be there one minute, and bailing on you the next.

I’m so grateful that I can put my trust in the only man that’s never let me down. He said he was going to give up his life for the Earth and he came through. He said that he was going to forgive my sins and everyday he comes through. He said that he was going to surround me with his love and everyday he fills my heart with it. He said that he was going to never leave me or forsake me and there’s not a moment when I don’t feel his presence. He said that he was going to wipe away my tears and when I’m weary he gives me rest. He said that he was going to use me to do great things and here I am writing this post.

I serve a God who is so much bigger than me, for who words aren’t enough to capture his unfailing love. I trust God because he said he’d do it and he did it, and if there was take-two, he would do it again.

Psalm 146:3-5

Do not put trust in princes, or in human beings, who cannot deliver. Their life’s breath departs, they return to the ground; on that day their plans die. How blessed is the one whose helper is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.

Love ya plenty

Dani xxx