Friday, 17 June 2011

Aaron and Hur

Exodus 17:8-16 has to be one of my most favourite passages in the Bible and I have been thinking about it a lot recently...:

"So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword."

This is a really small verse in the Bible, but in my head, it just means so much and it has been a massive part of my journey this year. It's got nothing to do with the fight, but everything to do with the actions.

Sometimes I think when we read verses in the Bible, our reaction is a bit like "aww that's nice" and then we sort of move onto the next one, without even realising the impact of what is said - I think this verse is probably one of those verses.

Have you ever tried to hold both your hands up for a long period of time? Well after reading this passage, I gave it a go and I think I gave up after 10 minutes and 38 seconds - not a particularly long period of time - but it actually felt like forever and my arms were still aching for several hours afterwards.

I don't know exactly how long Moses held up his hands for - but I can assure you that it was definitely a lot longer than 10 and a half minutes... and whilst he was holding his hands up to God and keeping his eyes on him, their army were winning the battle. The most incredible part of this passage for me is where it says : "
When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset." When Moses' hands get soo tired and he just doesn't have the strength to hold them up on his own anymore, Aaron and Hur are there to lift them for him, to keep his eyes focused on God and not only does that help Moses, but it also helps Joshua and the army to defeat the Amalekites.

This verse made me think my life and about the fact that through the hardest parts of my life (when I haven't wanted to lift my hands anymore.) - I have had people who have been a constant support and encouragement to me, who have helped me to keep walking forward and keep my eyes fixed on what God is doing and ultimately, to keep winning the fight. They are most definitely my Aaron and my Hur... but who are yours?

Who are the people in your life, that when things get tough, will stand beside you and hold your hands up for you? Who are the people that you can tell absolutely anything to and know that they won't judge you but they will continue to love you and to walk with you?

But also, if you flip reverse all that. Who are or can you be those things to?

Because the comforting thing is that
we weren't created to walk this journey alone, we're not meant to just 'cope' by ourselves. We're supposed to let people in through the barriers and help us through the things that we struggle with... and when we become Aarons and Hurs for others and allow them to do the same for us, then we can all hold each others hands up and win.

Monday, 4 April 2011


I've been thinking a lot about what being Unique actually means recently, it almost feels like in every part of culture today you have to try and fit in somewhere, that you have to be like everyone else and if you don't fit the socially acceptable criteria then all is lost, even in church I think that sometimes we're pretty bad at trying to get everyone to conform to our ways, if someone shouts out during a service maybe something niggles away at us... but is that just maybe them expressing themselves in a unique way?

For a number of years now, I've really struggled with self image and have not really liked being me, I see magazines and know that I don't look like those girls and in the back of my mind I know that they probably don't really look like that either, but it's too late... the spiral has already started. And I know that i'm not the only one that's ever felt like that, like I need to be like everyone else.

A couple of years ago, God really broke into how I was feeling about myself by giving me a picture - I was in a room full of mirrors, like the ones at a fun-house and each one I looked into gave me a distorted image of myself, in one i'd be bigger, in one i'd have shrunk, in one i'd be the size of a house and more, i just kept spinning round and looking at all these mirrors and feeling hopeless, they were everything that I thought about myself in my head, everything that I didn't have the courage to speak out but silently ate away at me. It felt like the mirrors were getting closer and closer to me, they were the only thing that I could see now...but then God broke in and smashed them all. He told me that it doesn't matter what I think the world thinks, all that matters is the truth of what He says about me. Wow - the Truth of what He thinks, that's the only thing that matters... Try reading what he thinks of you here

This is the clearest picture i've ever had and I think it really changed me right there and then, it gave me a hope that there was more than what I was feeling for life, but it's been a journey and i'm only now feeling freedom from what I felt chained to. It's funny but I finally feel unique and i'm alright about that.

but what is unique?

In the dictionary Unique is defined as:
"having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable"

So basically something that's unique has nothing else that's like it. It's different, there will never be an exact replica. That's quite a scary thought really, we don't like being different do we?

But the fact is that we ARE all different and we're meant to be that way, even identical twins aren't the same. When we had the 24/7 prayer room at church (which is basically what it says on the tin - a room where people go to pray that is open 24 hours a day) I remember looking at the walls full of written prayers and songs and words and thinking wow, not one bit of writing is the same as another, not one person writes the same - Out of all the people in the world - that's amazing!

I used to compare myself with everyone about absolutely everything - always thinking I was never good enough because I didn't sound like this person or because I didn't think the way that this other person did, but that's exactly the way it should be - God didn't make us all completely different so that we would compare ourselves to each other - He made us completely different so that we don't have to - You're never going to be the same as someone else - no matter how hard you try, but how refreshing is that? How good is it to know that the way you are is exactly the way you're supposed to be - you have talents and gifts that are God given and yeah, so they might not be the same as everybody else, but when we use our different gifts for God it will be harmonious because we'll be using them for the same purpose. Running a restaurant requires all sorts of different people working together for the same purpose, you need waiters, chefs, front of house staff, bar staff, cleaners and if one of those jobs aren't catered for then everything falls through. If everyone wants to be a chef then no one will be served and if everyone wants to be a waiter then no one will get food. It's the same with God, if we all try to be the same person doing the same job then we'll never be any good together.

For those people who think that what they have to say doesn't matter... who else has a voice like you? Can you name someone..? because I know that I can't... It seems like such a little thing sometimes, but think about it... how incredible is it that you are the only person in the world with your voice? Your voice needs to be heard because you're the only person that has it, your voice can make a difference.

So I am unique and you are too, but never think that it's a bad thing because only you can live up to the purpose that is put on your life and that means living of the fullness of your uniqueness and STANDING OUT for God not just FITTING IN.

So try being yourself for a change, you never know - you might enjoy it!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Walking with me

I like to have some quiet time on the piano most days (you may say quiet time on the piano - does that even make sense?) But in my head it totally does... there's nothing quite like feeling your fingertips glide over the keys and hearing the amazing noises that come from that and knowing that without me there those noises just wouldn't exist. I like to make up my own wee songs as well when i'm just chilling out with God and a lot of the time I find that is where I meet Him most, we have this connection that is so strong...

and then I remember....

It's not just then that God is with me, he's with me all the time. Just like with the piano, if i'm not there then the sound doesn't exist, I think if God wasn't with me, then I wouldn't really exist either... I mean i'd still be an instrument, but I would be missing the vital part, the artist who works with the instrument and knows just the right notes to play at just the right times.

It really occurred to me that looking back over my life, God has been there through thick and thin. He has walked with me through every decision that I have made - whether that be good or bad and He has always made the bad notes in my life change into a song that sounds so incredibly simple and beautiful. I have not always known Him in my life, but even so, He has still always surrounded me with His love and now I choose to live in that love, I choose to take His hand and walk hand in hand forward together... "If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" Romans 8:31 - How that knowledge truly warms my soul.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Making Assumptions?

Something that God has been speaking to me about a lot recently is encouragement.

I had a wee look at what encouragement means in the dictionary(as you do...) and there was a few definitions, but the one that I really liked was - "To inspire with courage, spirit or confidence". I really feel like this captures some of what encouragement really is about... because it's not just about saying some nice things to people for them to maybe say something nice to you... it's about something a lot deeper than that, it's about expressing truth to someone about the really awesome stuff that you see in them, and not only that but expressing it with weight and realism behind what you're saying to inspire courage with in them, to make them know that they are worth something and that they have a purpose.

I've thought a lot about encouragement and what that means because one of the biggest themes that carry throughout Pauls letters is the fact that we need to be encouraging each other. Hebrews 3:13 says "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that none of you may be hardened by sins deceitfulness."

Encourage one another daily... wow, that's pretty radical?! Some of us may even think we're quite good at that, but do we just assume that people know how we feel about them rather than telling them? I Love my mum to bits, which i'm sure she knows because I always tell her when i'm on the phone or when I see her... but that's not the only thing I think about her - I love the way she can start up a conversation with a checkout cashier and it's like they've been friends for years, I love how caring and kind she is, I love the fact that she always has time for people but I don't think i've ever really told her that... so does she really know that's how I feel about her? probably not... Have I encouraged her? I doubt it.

I've also realised that i'm quite a sarcastic person and that means that I make fun out of situations and people a lot without meaning the words to go particularly deep. If i'm not telling my mum that I love how caring she is but I'm telling her in a funny way that "I can't believe you used to give us the wooden spoon when we were younger" (which she didn't - just to clarify) then is she going to know that she's a great mum or is she going to think that she's a bad one? She's probably going to think that she's a bad one because instead of encouraging her as well, i'm just assuming that she know's how I feel about her, then i'm saying funny, slightly negative things about her, so i'm not affirming her with words of truth but i'm actually giving her something bad to think about herself....

Encouraging words make such a MASSIVE difference. In the second part of the verse in Hebrews, Paul says "So that none of you may be hardened by sins deceitfulness" - what does that mean? For me, when things have all come tumbling down on me and I feel like i'm in this pit of nothingness and start questioning my self worth, when someone i know, love and trust encourages me with words or scriptures it's like something clicks and I can see God and hope in those situations... not because they've just said stuff but because they've broken the lies that I've started to believe and question. They almost help to pave a way forward.

Don't ever doubt the power of encouragement - you might never know the effect that the words you say may have on someone, but believe me... they will definitely have an effect.

So why not try encouraging one person every day and see God bless you and move in that?

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Walk with Authority

Because YOU have been commissioned to go.

Really struck me today when I saw 2 policemen walk across a zebra crossing today with such authority knowing that there was no way they were going to get knocked over that that's the way we should be when it comes to telling people about God.

Meanwhile, i was on the other side of the road, trying to make a deliberated decision of whether to cross or not...

Why are we like that in our walk with God, Jesus commissioned us to go in His place, to make disciples of the nations and to go with power and authority knowing that He is with us.

So let's do it! Let's be like the policemen crossing the street, knowing that we have the armour of God and are safe in Him.