Sunday, 23 November 2008

Me, Me, Me

I have spent the last few months thinking a lot about the roots of my faith, and what it really means for me. There are a whole series of posts on 'These things I know', as I went back to basics and built up from there.

One of the important things as a Christian is to know where you stand with God. He has made promises to those who will follow Him, and who will accept the free gift of forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Sometimes in the rush of life it is easy to forget these things and to allow the worries and strains of the world to blur your vision. Self esteem is a fragile thing, and yet there is a fine line between good self esteem and arrogance. Knowing who we really are in Christ is an antidote for that, because we know what we would be without Him and what we are with Him.

I have found it very useful to meditate on sections from St Patrick's Breastplate (Google it), which talks about all the things God can and will do for me each day. It is a great encouragement.

Then recently I pulled up short and reconsidered. Maybe it's a good sign that I'm moving on. All this affirmation is great in its place, but where should my focus lie? Is it all getting a bit me, me, me? Jesus saved me, God loves me, I can do all things through Christ, etc, etc. Am I getting a bit too self centred? Do I only talk to God when I want something?

The Bible says over and over that God is worthy to be praised. Not just because of what He has done, but because of who He is. I have decided that it is enough about me, and time I focussed on who this God is that I pray to, that has made me all these promises. After all, a promise is only as good as the trustworthiness of the one who makes it, and the God I am relying on has to be reliable. I think it is good to remember how great He is, and pray to Him in thankfulness and worship for a change, not just in want.

Scripture says, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." (sorry about the archaic language, that's the way I remember it, and I don't have my Bible handy). Jesus said that the first great commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength." I think it's time I looked upward instead of inward.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Weekend Away

Last weekend I went away with my new church, Pantygwydr Baptist Church. I thought it would be a good idea to get to know people better. It really worked. I will feel much more comfortable going to church in future, now that I know a few people.

We went away to a Christian centre in mid Wales called Cefn Lea. We stayed in chalets and had to walk to the main building for food and activities - which was a bit rough when it rained! But there was good food and lots of fun and games, and I had a great time.

Unfortunately, the roads are so narrow that although it was only 90 miles, it took 3 hours to get there. By Sunday when we came home I was already tired, and we had another 3 hour journey, but this time through the worst storm I have ever seen. The rain came down in sheets, hammering so hard on the car roof we could hardly talk, and visibility was only a few yards in the dark. There was sheet lightning, and we drove through 4 floods, which was scary. I was so impressed with the driver - she was marvellous. By the time I got home I was exhausted. I was already stressed out before I went, because of work, so I had to ring in sick on Monday.

Having said that, it was definitely worth it. Because of my health, I don't get to church and housegroup very often. This has made it difficult to feel like I belong. This weekend helped a lot. They are a really friendly, caring bunch.