To God be the glory!

Well it certainly has been a while since I last posted an actual post to this blog.  In truth, this is for two reasons.
Firstly I have been so busy, as always.  However the real reason for my silence is because I had to temporarily suspend myself from writing these posts, because I knew that of late,  whenever I sat down to write something, no matter how noble my intentions beforehand, venom and anger would always flow out. So I’ve deliberately given myself a bit of time and a bit of a break from writing to give my mind a chance to get back to a place of joy, peace, holiness, humility….humility….and a genuine focus on Christ.

Also, (and this is something I am so happy about):  I have been able to focus a little bit more on editing my translations of the New Testament into ebooks, and I am so happy that as of today, I have been able to publish the complete Gospel of Mark as an ebook, available free here.  Translating the Bible, and working with the inspired word of God is such noble work that I feel so fortunate and privileged to be involved in.  It fills me with so much joy, and it gives me such a sense of accomplishment to have completed a second Gospel. Work has already started on Luke but to be candid it is quite a way from completion.  By the grace of God I am greatly looking forward to the time when all the Gospels will have been completed and will be available together as a single ebook – (please Lord!) To be honest, I don’t even feel particularly “called” to translate the Bible. It is just a fun side project that I decided to get involved in.  I am so grateful for the facility to be able to self-publish these translations and make them available to an online audience.

As I write this blog post, my heart is so full of joy. God has been so good.  During my “time-out”, He has been teaching me so many things.  He has been bringing me back to a place of understanding and genuine joy and positivity before Him. I might ramble or waffle a bit (more than usual) in this post, so I apologise beforehand.
I feel that God has given me the tools to have a heart that is genuinely full of joy towards Him, towards life, and compassion towards these people where previously I was struggling with such dark anger.  Seriously, there were times when I was so angry that I was scared that I would be consumed by my own bitterness.
I had been struggling for so long. I had been wanting to get my heart back to a place of holiness and purity and love.  All along, I was always so aware (and I remain so aware) of the possibility of basically being used very effectively as an instrument in the hands of the devil through my own anger, to cause all manner of destruction and devastation.

So this what I believe that God has done, in the most practical, down-to-earth terms. He has helped me to understand that the solution to this kind of negativity (and indeed any kind of negativity) is the Word of God (that is, the Bible) – as of course it must be, as of course it always was going to be. Also, He has helped me to understand just how to go about applying the Word of God and sowing it into my heart to overcome these other thoughts. Where I am at currently is the place of understanding what I need to do.  However, I still need to go ahead to do it.  So I still need to be very watchful to make sure my heart does not get dragged “back into the darkness”.

How it works
As a Christian this should all be very obvious.  In a way it is obvious.  However meditation upon the Word of God has always been something that I plan to do but never seem to get around to doing. My attitude to meditating upon the Bible is similar to the attitude of many Christians towards prayer.  It just does not seem substantial enough to make any significant difference in real life.  And yet I know that prayer definitely works, and from that I can be sure that the Bible works too.  The Bible teaches that the Word of God is a powerful sword. When it is sown in our hearts then it can cut down these strong bonds of anger, bitterness (and depression and sadness and loneliness and whatever else we might be struggling with internally).

anger

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I am a Christian.  The preceding information should be so obvious!  I am so embarrassed that I actually have to be writing this out.  When my heart is full of love, then my behaviour is full of love.  When my heart is full of anger, then my behaviour is full of anger.  Now the question is how to fill my heart with love.  This is the part that is most important, but I just could not work out how to express it in a diagram. And yet it is so, so easy, that I am totally kicking myself that I could have let myself wallow in such destructive emotion for SO LONG. This is all we have to do.  Find the relevant verses of the Bible that deal with bitterness, anger, love, joy… and just say them to ourselves, think on them, concentrate upon them, invite God to plant them into our hearts. This is what the Bible calls “meditation”.   Because the power of God is in the very words themselves, when these words are sown into our hearts through constant meditation, reflection, like seeds they can grow to pull down anything else that might be wanting to control our hearts. Seriously, how easy is that?!!! When the word of God is sown into our hearts, that also produces an atmosphere that is conducive to the Holy Spirit, and then He can produce His fruits of joy, peace, kindness…everything good!

I think I’ve discovered that the main issue for me is to deliberately and systematically make time to meditate upon the Bible.  Bible meditation is something that I’ve been aware of, as a need to prioritise into my spiritual life, for possibly ten years, if not longer. And yet, I’ve somehow never really managed to get around to doing it. There always seem to be so many urgent prayer requests which take up the necessary time for things of longterm importance like this. And once again, it requires real concentration. I am ashamed to admit that I have completely mastered the art of thinking of a million things other than God when I’m supposed to be praying. Now it is so unavoidable that I have to finally break this dreadful habit.

So at any rate this is why I am so happy at the moment!  I am so excited at the thought of having a heart that is genuinely full of Bible.  I am excited at the thought of coming back to being a person that is full of joy.  I want to be so full of joy that it just spills out of me, like light and laughter, everywhere I go – which is the way we should be as Christians, no?!  At the moment as I say I am more at a place of “knowing what I have to do” than having actually done it. However I have done a little.  I am a person who likes to be happy, so the first I did was to dig out some of my favourite praise psalms (as I call them) which are all about the majesty and the glory of God (Psalms 96-98).  So I’ve been trying to meditate on Ps 96, and that has already been having an effect.  I love meditating on the majesty and the splendour of God because it is unchanging.  No wonder what else might happen in life, God will still be God.  He will still be magnificent. He will still be all-powerful.  Nothing can compare to His glory, now, nor at any time in the past, nor at any time in the future. In a way, it cannot fail to fill me with joy to think that my God is so amazing.   Thankfully, that has another amazing effect as well. Being full of joy just makes me want to meditate upon God’s word more. It makes me want to be in His presence.  It makes me want to be holy, and to be full of beautiful character before Him. Seriously, knowing God is the best gift I could ever have received, and it is the best gift that I could ever give myself.  As I have the most unapologetic sense of self-interest, I am just liberally helping myself to as much of God as I possibly can!

Oh my darling Father!  Thank You so much for loving me.  I thank You so much for Your patience with my stubbornness and pride. I want to live to know You, to spread Your love and Your truth.  Please take complete control of my life now and always.  Amen! Your favourite daughter, Tosin (nb – we’re all His favourite!)  😉

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