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The Mystery of Healing

16/03/2017 15:15
One day last year, I was listening to a new CD when one of the songs tiptoed into my heart and stayed there. It was a hymn by ‘George Matheson, O Love that will not let me go”. I was deeply moved by it. George Matheson was only 20 when he went completely blind. His fiancé left him because she said she couldn’t face life with a blind man. What a cruel double blow it was, but he courageously went on to fulfil his calling.
 
 
Matheson lived with his sister. When she married 20 years later—it brought him to another big crisis. She had been his eyes. How could he manage without her? This defining moment led to his writing the hymn - in about five minutes. He says it was as if Someone dictated it. As I listened to the words, my tears flowed and I found myself sobbing—crying for the brave blind young man whose heart must have broken when his fiancé left him. For the middle aged pastor whose life reached crisis-point when his caregiver got married. And yet … Matheson’s life was a fruitful one as a pastor. He blessed countless people (myself included) through his ministry. My tears that day were also a work of the Holy Spirit as He spoke to me through the poignant words and music.
I’ve been reflecting on the mystery of healing from time to time, more so since my own battle with chronic illness has dragged on interminably. Why does God heal sometimes and not all the time? Didn't Jesus heal everyone who came to Him? So does the fault lie in us who are not healed? Is it a lack of faith as Christians often suggest? Jesus said He came to bring us abundant life. How does Cancer or Chronic fatigue or MS or Blindness or Quadriplegia provide life in all its fullness?
 
 
My journey as a believer has been greatly enriched by giants of the faith who have preceded us. Fanny Crosby was an American mission worker, poet, lyricist and composer who wrote over 9000 hymns. She was blind for most of her life. Was her life hampered by her blindness? Apparently not. Listen to what she wrote at the tender age of 8.
 
 

"Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world contented I will be,
How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't,
So weep or sigh because I'm blind, I cannot - nor I won't."

 
 
What a challenge for us who can see but who complain all too easily! Fanny Crosby lived a full life till the age of 95—hers was an inspiring testimony of what God can with a life totally yielded to Him. 
 
Did she not have sufficient faith to receive healing? 
Or did she radiate an abundant life in spite of her blindness?
Psalm 103 tells us that God heals all our diseases. What does it mean? If I’m not healed, it must be due to my sin? Or is it? The Bible instructs us to ask and receive—what happens when we ask but do not receive? The fault has to be mine. Or is it? If I know anything about this walk with God, it is that there is much that God does not reveal to us. After all, an essential ingredient of this faith journey is trust. If we had all the answers, would trust be needed? God doesn’t always remove all trials from us, does He? And what would our characters be like if God pampered us with easy, comfortable lives?
 
 
I’ve been blessed recently by an uplifting true story—‘The Untold Love Story of Joni and Ken Eareckson Tada. Joni has suffered more than most of us. She became a quadriplegic at the tender age of 17. After decades of living in a wheelchair, she went through a season of intolerable pain when she was tested more than she could bear. Then, as if she hadn’t suffered enough, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. How much could one person take? How unfair it seemed. And yet, Ken and Joni consider her cancer journey a gift from God. It had drawn them closer together and they found God’s love afresh through it. Their story inspires me.
 
 
But … questions remain. Perhaps your healing and mine are marked ‘Later’! Yes God desires wholeness for us. Yes, His death has won the battle. Yes, we can ask for healing and expect it. But in life's classroom, there's never enough space for short glib answers to be scribbled on God’s blackboard. We do know that God loves us. We do know that He is good and that He is always faithful. These three glorious truth can be our resting place as we struggle up the mountain of hope. We do know that often it’s in times of suffering that we can see His face more clearly (as we seek it) because tough times are usually treasures wrapped in ugly wrapping paper. We do know that we can ask boldly of a Father who loves to lavish good things upon us.
So how do we respond when life’s not the peaceful stroll in lush surroundings that we envisioned it to be?  Like Joni and Ken Tada (and countless others) we can be a powerful witness to Him, as in our weakness, we choose to lean on Him, praise Him in the hallway and live a different kind of abundant life—one that brings glory to God in spite of our suffering.
 
 
Today if you feel discouraged, do keep holding onto Him. We don’t have all the answers, but we do have a Saviour who loves us. Satan’s plans are never permanent—God has a habit of using them to accomplish His own purposes. Jesus overturned the Enemy’s tables and transformed death into LIFE. One glad day He will surprise you. Your suffering will fade into insignificance as you marvel with joy how He worked it all out all for your eternal good.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"

 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; 

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5,6

 


"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 

'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 

plans to give you hope and a future'" Jeremiah 29:11

 
 
 

Becoming Whole

03/03/2017 14:31
My son’s been using a stainless steel water bottle. He fills it each night, tucks it into his backpack and takes it with him to work. This sleek silver bottle is long and large and houses an ample supply of water—750 mls of it. It lasted a long time—but as it often happens, one day, it cracked. I soon bought him a replacement. The new bottle was identical to his previous one and Asela was very pleased.  Unfortunately his new shiny acquistiion didn’t enjoy the same life span of its predecssor. The very next evening my son came to me, an apology etched across his face.

 

“I’m really sorry, Ammi, but my bottle broke today!”

“What? Already? But … it’s a brand new bottle, Asela!”

“I know. I really am sorry. I bent down to tie my shoelace and the bottle fell out of my bag. The lid broke. I can’t use it.” 

 
I examined the bottle. Hmmm. It was just one of those unfortunate happenings. An accident. The bottle had no use, the way it was. “I know what I’ll do.” he said. “ I can fix the top of my old bottle onto my new one.” Voila! And so it was, that we fitted the old bottle top onto his brand new bottle. Did it work? Yes, it did. Perfectly.
Blaise Pascal was a French Mathematician, Physicist, Philosopher and Scientist who lived in the 17th century. Listen to what he said: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing.  It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.” At the tender age of 16, I discovered that what Pascal said was true. I pondered then if life’s little round was all there was. Not that I lacked anything. I’d enjoyed a very happy childhood with parents who loved me dearly. Life was good. But … surely there was more?
 
What do you and I need to be complete? If I look inside my heart, I see a dark stain of sin within.  And there is a space inside each of us which cries out to be filled. We need forgiveness. Hope. Renewal. We need a Saviour. The glad news is that a Saviour did come to show us the way back to God. His Name is Jesus. He lived a sinless life, but but He was put to death on a cross. On that rugged cross, sin was defeated once and for all time, and Jesus rose again to live forever. His death and resurrection cancelled the debt of all our sin. 
 
What a gift - the undeserved goodness of God being lavished upon us. Jesus said ”I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. And here's a promise for all who come to Him in faith. John 1:12 tell us “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, to them gave he power to become children of God.
 

Do you call yourself a child of God? If not, would you like to?

My son’s broken new bottle was almost complete ... but not quite. Without its top it could hold water. It even looked new and shiny but was ready to be thrown away. What a waste! Thankfully, the old bottle-top made it whole again. Is there something missing in your life? The Saviour of the World is waiting to connect with you. He longs to bring you into His Kingdom. 
 

Will you step out in faith and reach out to Him today?

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 
 
 

Waiting patiently

16/02/2017 15:55
Lately, our weather patterns have been a little different. South Australian summers are usually sunny and dry so the unexpected spattering of showers has been most welcome. The humidity was another matter—something I could have done without. I discovered that our wet clothes were not drying indoors as they would  in the winter because the air was now soggy and damp. I thanked God for my dryer, transferred all the clammy clothes into it and set it whirring noisily.
 
Later, as I folded the dried clothes to put away, I discovered that (as usual) three socks had disappeared. I tracked down two of them quickly enough—they were still reposing inside the dryer. But where oh where was the third sock? I was sure its partner was lonely. One difficulty in having our dryer fixed above our washing machine is that it’s too high for me to reach into all sections of the dryer. I made a mental note to ask my husband to check the its large belly one more time.
Some hours later, I went into the laundry to fetch something, when my eye spied a blob of grey contrasting against the cream coloured heater. Oh, it was the sock. Hooray! That little fella was staying quietly on our stashed away heater, waiting patiently to be found. I connected it with its partner and placed them in my husband’s sock drawer. Mission accomplished.
 
Do I wait patiently? Not always. Not often. Not when I should. Patience has never been one of my strong points and has been very difficult to acquire. Now, after almost 60 years of life, I may be finally getting there. Perhaps that’s why God has given me many opportunities throughout my life of growing in the area of patience, because I was so slow to attain it.
I’m still waiting on a number of blessings. 12 years of chronic illness has made me more than aware that good health is something to be prized. So I continue to wait and hope for better health even as I take some positive steps towards achieving it. I’d love to publish a few more books—and am working towards that end too, after striving for many years without success. There are prayers for loved ones on my heart each day. There are prayers I’ve prayed for more than 25 years. When will God answer?
 
We all have our lists of hopes and dreams don’t we? As I look back on my recent past, I rejoice as I’ve reflect on how God has rewarded some of my waiting seasons. Many of His answers have far exceeded my expectations—blessings that fell into my open palms as I looked up to heaven, like large welcome drops of rain falling thick and fast on a dry and thirsty land. Blessings I did not deserve. Blessings that were like an extra gift on my birthday—unexpected and better than any I could have asked for. 
 
Are you waiting for a special miracle? Don’t give up. God’s waiting room is a unique place where we learn many intricate lessons and where our characters are refined. I studied the life of King David last year. It was a surprise to realise that after he was anointed King, David had to wait for 15 challenging years to reach that status. One commentary says that it’s because often God tests us before He fulfils His promises to us. I think too that during those harsh waiting seasons, He also changes us to become whom we were created to be.
 

Let’s wait before Him with trust, hope and love shining in our eyes.

And let’s never forget—our God is a faithful God. Always!

“Commit your way to the Lord;

Trust Him and He will do this:

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

The justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently before Him.”

Psalm 37:5-7

 
 
 

His Door is Always Open

02/02/2017 15:12
It was a bad fibro day. I couldn’t muster up enough energy for my evening walk. Again. Sigh! It was happening too often these days. In days of yore, I’d go walking 7 days a week. These days it’s often an achievement if I am able to walk one day a week.
 
Oh well … the good news was that although I felt weak, I had sufficient strength to potter around the garden. So I pulled out my garden shears and tackled a job I’d been putting off for months—pruning the overgrown creepers that hung down from the large grey rocks in our backyard. They crept along the ground in a number areas like wandering puppies sniffing a trail for crumbs. It felt good to cut off all those creeping (but not creepy) creepers. I fetched a bin to collect all the trimmings and then trundled off to empty my container.
 
After I tipped the clippings into our green bin, I opened the little side-gate to return to our back garden. I thought I’d keep it open because I knew I’d need to do a few more trips back and forth. On my way to dump the next lot of cut foliage into our green bin, I turned to walk along the side of our home when it happened. I stopped. I stared. I stared some more. Wow!
Beyond the gate, a shaft of dappled sunlight fell on dark green foliage lighting it and enhancing its beauty. A laughing tree danced to the breezes’ music. My heart quickened. It was the first time I’d walked that way with the gate open. So the sight and view was new. Enchanting. It now looked a different place altogether. How surprising it was that such a wee change could make such a huge difference. And how attractive the view as I stood there drinking it in.
I praised God then that His door is always open to us. Nothing mars the way. Jesus called Himself by seven unique names, and each one gave us a fresh glimpse of Him! The Light of the World. (John 8:12) The Bread of Life. (John 6:35) The Way, the Truth, the Life. (John 14:6) The Good Shepherd. (John 10:11) The Resurrection and the Life. (John 10:25-26) The Vine (John 15:5)  
 
And the seventh?
 

I am the Gate,” Jesus said. “Whoever enters through me will be saved. 

He will come in and go out and find pasture”. (John 10:9)

 
Yes, we have free access to our Father through Jesus. Through Him, the sin that separated us from our Father in heaven was hurled far from us as the Gate swung wide open. So like a child skipping with glad excitement to her father’s room to be swooped onto her Daddy’s lap, you and I too can now run in boldly—to commune in intimacy with the Creator of the Universe.
Are you in need today? Seeking refuge? Or answers to life's conundrums? Are you desperate to quench your spiritual thirst? Why not approach our Father God in prayer. Nothing is too hard for Him. His door is wide open. Perhaps today is the day to experience the grace and the freedom God promises all who call on Him?
 

Will you come?

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will honour me.” Psalm 50:15

 “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

 
 

 

ONE THING

14/01/2017 13:01

In December 2016, a number of my extended family converged in Sydney. We arrived from America, England, Sri Lanka, Whyalla, Darwin, the Blue Mountains, Canberra and Adelaide. There were nineteen of us in total. My amazing brother Rohan and his equally amazing wife Swen showered us with warm hospitality in their beautiful home, ensuring we were pampered and well fed, gifting us with a time to remember. What a special Christmas day—filling 3 pews at church with 3 generations from 4 continents. We revelled in times of family togetherness, picnics, dinners, chatter, laughter, games and fun and the days flew by in a happy blur. We returned to Adelaide after Christmas with full hearts and joyful spirits.
 
And then, as the New Year dawned, we had the pleasure of having my big sis Ranmali, her husband and their younger son visit us. What joy! Adelaide gave them an especially warm welcome in 40 degree heat! Aaaarrrgh! Thankfully the heat quickly waned, allowing us the freedom to roam further afield, basking in the beauty around us. We filled many picnic baskets and enjoyed numerous meals under the blue South Australian skies. Once again, we were deeply blessed, packing our kaleidoscope of memories with more colour and beauty.
Last Friday, after that precious, long, busy busy month, I finally had time to quieten my soul. I’ve been looking for songs which brought me into God’s Presence, but finding the right music wasn’t easy. What a gift it was then, that when my sister and I visited my favourite book shop, I found just what my heart longed for. Meditative Worship“ stated the cover and I knew my search had ended. A few days ago, I sat still as quiet worship songs ushered me into His Presence and I communed with my Creator, the Giver of all good things. Like a refreshing dip in a cool forest pool on a hot summer’s day, He renewed and transformed me from the inside out.
 
A verse quoted in a book I’m studying in my Quiet Time, (‘Satisfy my Thirsty Soul’ by Linda Dillow). grabbed me and spoke powerfully to me. 
 

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek; 

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, 

to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in his temple.” Psalm 27:4

What one thing would I choose this year as my main focus?

 
I enjoy spending time in a group of like-minded individuals—be it a large family gathering, an invigorating Christian Conference or a companionable evening with friends. I also revel in deep meaningful one on one conversations. Groups are great. Individuals matter. But the truth is that while good times with family and friends do satisfy me, other human beings (like me) are human. They (like me) have their limitations. They (like me) are not designed to be all things to all people. If ever I’ve contrived to fill the empty spaces in my life with others, God has gently emptied my hands in order to show me Whom I really need.
 
In his book “Renovation of the Heart” Dallas Willard writes: “The secret of all life-giving relationships with others lies in the fact that the primary other for us, whether we want it or not, is always God.” Willard expresses it so well. Jesus alone is sufficient to meet my deepest needs. He alone is able to be there for me all day, every day, for all of my lifetime. God alone knows the future and can guide me in the right path. And so … the best way to cultivate a meaningful relationship with anyone else is by first pursuing an intimate walk with God. 
 

He is the blazing Sun around which we all must travel.

As I look ahead to 2017, I will decide to live with intention, joy and purpose. I will set myself goals to reach. I will plan on deepening my relationships. I will reach out to care for others. But FIRST ... I will seek God. I will spend time in His Presence. I will set aside the choicest portion of my day to gaze upon His beauty and to worship Him.
 

 

ONE THING 

I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek; 

that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, 

to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in his temple. 

 

For in the day of trouble  he will keep me safe in his dwelling; 

he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." 

Psalm 27:4 - 5; 13 - 14

 
 

Will you join me?

 
 
 

A Better View

31/12/2016 13:19
I rushed to catch the 9.59 bus from the village but reached there a little too late. Oh well, the fault was mine. There was nothing to do but to wait for the next bus. I caught one going halfway to my destination and then, surprise surprise … hopped onto the very bus I had missed earlier. “All was well then?” you ask. No … not quite. You see, the bus that trundled off from the Village was empty. The same bus that left the Plaza was packed as tightly as a lady's handbag. It seemed as if every man, woman and child in the Adelaide’s Northern suburbs was intent on catching my bus that day. I had to stand all the way, not something I’d ever done on a trip to the city.
 
It was a bad fibro day and my body screamed in protest; weakness sighed in my bones. It was not the peaceful, ride I’d envisaged. So there I stood, swaying a little, clutching two poles tight, not sure if I’d survive the journey. But then … I looked out of the window and everything changed in an instant, like a candle lit by a single match. My heart was set alight by the beauty of the spring day and my view expanded.  I saw gurgling rivulets bubbling on their way. Trees danced  to nature’s music. Dappled sunlight fell through the trees and birds swooped from tree to tree. A moment of truth. In spite of intense physical discomfort, I was glad I was standing so I could drink deep of that thirst-quenching view.
My view of God has often been acquired through discomfort and pain rather than through sunshine and blue skies. Tough times, sickness, brokenness and tears have helped me experience and know His compassion and love, His kindness and beauty, His blessings and goodness in a way that the good times did not. Like a sad child quieted in her Daddy’s arms, I’ve been comforted at my Daddy God’s breast, over and over again. 
 
It is true that we often wander around in the dark when tough times arrive, bewlidered as to where God is when we are hurting. But like a parent desires that his child to mature and reaches his full potential, God permits adversity in my life and grows me through each circumstance, if I but let Him. His promise has been that He would be with me through every storm. When difficult seasons have arrived, attempting to pull me down to a deep dark hole, His love has swooped down to lift me up like an Eagle carrying her baby to safety. And my view and knowledge of my Father has grown rapidly as I have glimpsed His heart of compassion, love and goodness.
Today, as I pen my first blog for a New Year,  it’s the right time to reflect on God, my journey and His ways. If I had a choice between a life of ease but with no knowledge of God or a life of pain and suffering but one which woos me into a closer walk with Him, which would I choose? Life’s pathways are often filled with immense pain, dashed hopes and sun-less corridors. But the truth is that all things do work together for the good for those who love God. He will one day weave our life's threads into a beautiful masterpiece.  It is only then that we will understand all that perplexes us now. 
 
And so, at the dawning of 2017 may your view of God expand as He leads you into a brighter tomorrow. May His joy abound in your life. May His Presence be your resting place. May He lavish His grace upon you as He goes before you. He who promised us is always faithful!
May our view of our Good Good Father be enlarged. And when we gaze into His beloved eyes, may our sorrows slip off our shoulders like a cloak, as we thrill to His Presence and His Glory.
 

"You will show me the path of life;

in your presence is fullness of joy;

 

at your right hand are pleasures forever more." Psalm 16:11

May 2017 be your best year yet!

 
 
 

He will Satisfy Your Desires

09/12/2016 18:17
A verse from a favourite Psalm grabbed me recently. 

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him.” Psalm 145:19. 

 
But … what does it really mean? He’s fulfilled some of my desires, yes, but not all of them. My unanswered prayer list is long. And when I gaze at the suffering in the world today, the verse doesn’t always seem to match reality. 
 
As I’ve pondered on its truth,  I’ve made a few glad discoveries. Last year, while on holiday, we visited an enchanting lookout that afforded a brilliant view. Tall trees stood serene and still; green pastures stretched before us and the air tingled with the freshness of spring. I was awestruck. As we tucked happily into our picnic lunch, I wished I could spend all day enjoying its charm. It was my “Perfect Picnic Spot of All Time”.
Some months later, back home, I had to return home from a walk one day because I couldn’t cope with the heat. On my way back God reminded me of a path I’d traversed before. In fact, the track started right across the road from our home. The warmth of the sun’s rays didn’t bother me this time, because it was a was a tree-lined pathway, offering me ample shade. I frolicked down the slope and then up into a secluded spot. I stopped in my tracks and gazed in wonder. Wow! What a stunning discovery—almost as good as my perfect picnic spot. How could I have forgotten its existence?
 
It was God’s gift to me and came in time for my month long writer’s “retreat” seeking God’s heart on my calling. And so during the month of May this year, I’d often disappear down my new-found walking areas breathing deeply of the fresh air and delighting in God and His world. How He blessed me through it! I couldn’t get away to a retreat as my heart clamoured for—so in its place God had brought to me my own private retreat, one I could reach in minutes. What a loving Father!

He satisfies my desires.

 
Last year I found myself asking God to bring a new friend into my life. It was a strange and unusual request because I do have plenty of friends. The problem though is that most of my kindred spirit friends live in other cities and far flung countries, so I can’t have a cuppa and chat with them whenever I’d like. I wrote down this special request in my prayer diary and prayed over it often.
 
A few months ago, as I chatted to friends after church, I spotted a lady I’d not met before. Melissa and I connected right away. We talked … and we talked. Perhaps for an hour! God nudged me to gift her a copy of my book. And all the while I heard God whisper in my heart ‘Here’s the friend you asked for’. Just like that. Now, five months later I’m enjoying refreshing prayer times with my beautiful new friend. I’m loving ‘doing life’ with her. What an amazing blessing. What a gracious Father He is!
 

He satisfies my desires.

 
What then, are my deepest desires in life? Joy. Contentment. Peace. Wholeness. All of which is I’ve found in Jesus. Because of course, like a new born baby’s deepest need is to be connected to her mother, our deepest need is to connect with our Creator. The problem is that we often don’t know it and we look for fulfillment in all the wrong places.
God’s answers are often different to what we envisage. I ask God for joy and He throws me into deep water, making me cry out to Him—a desperate drowning woman gasping for air. And then … I find Him in all His fullness and in Him is the gift of JOY.  I ask Him for hope and He points me to the cross. I ask Him for love and He strips the idols from my heart so I can discover the One Source of True Love.
 
May God warm your heart with His Presence today. And as you look ahead to a New Year, trusting the Giver of all good things, may He fulfill your deepest desires.
 

He satisfies your desires.

“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits …
 

who satisfies your desires with good things 

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1,5

 
 

Your Perfect Shape

28/11/2016 17:46
A few times a week I have an egg for breakfast. First I poach it in the microwave. Next I mash it well. Then I mix in some salt and pepper. Finally I add bits of cheddar cheese to complete the delicious paste. Now, I’m ready to eat it. I spread the mixture on my rice cakes and enjoy every mouthful. Delicious. I've learnt a different way of saying grace during breakfast. Grace is before a meal, right? Not my newest kind of grace though. I thank God while I'm  munching away with relish. “THANK YOU God” I say to Him at the end of my meal. Constant thanksgiving creates sweet fellowship.
 
One day not long ago, one of my kitchen bowls broke into two as I was washing it. I found a replacement in the shops, but then …I had a strong impulse to buy a second bowl. A smaller one with a flat middle. I had no idea why I needed it, but the compulsion to buy it was very strong. Back home next day, I decided to try mashing my egg in my new flat bowl. To my satisfaction, I discovered that the process was much easier in the new bowl than in my former round-bottomed dish. It's obvious now that a fork can work far better on a flat surface, rather than a round one. 
 
Why then had I always mashed food in round containers? As I mash my egg these days I marvel at my lack of common sense for the 30 years. Shape matters, doesn’t it? And … if you don’t mind my asking, here’s a question for you.
 
What is your shape? And are you happy with it?
 
We human beings are a strange lot. Usually we hanker after things we don’t have. I've heard women with wavy hair say they wanted straight hair and those with straight hair long to have wavy locks. I've had thin people tell me they want to put on weight and well-filled people lament their size. I've done a lot of weeping and wailing over my own proportions of recent years—my ill health has caused my exercise to lessen dramatically with an equally dramatic packing on of kilos. Aaarrggh!
The truth is that God loves us just the way we are. Yes, we need to work on whatever needs to be changed. I need to keep plugging away at my health so I can get leaner and stronger. But if I think I am not good enough the way I am, I need to think again. God loves me just the way I am. Fat, thin, tall, short, dimpled, pimpled, plump, cute, not so cute, funny, bald, skinny, big, gigantic, itsy bitsy, drooping, long legged, short legged, muscled … God loves me, full stop. Not when I get leaner or when I put on some muscle. Nothing I can do can make Him love me more than He does right now. His love is unconditional. And will last forever.
 
Don’t forget that chubby arms create comforting hugs. Don’t forget that lean arms are often wiry and energetic. Don’t forget that true beauty is what’s inside and will spill out like a squeezed ripe mango dripping delicious juice. Don’t forget that it was God Himself who made you, unique, special and dearly loved. Don’t forget that if you are doing our best to live well under God’s direction, it's enough.
And more importantly, what’s the shape of your heart? Is it always open to allow God’s love to keep flowing in? Does its valve work perfectly so that His compassion can flow out of you to a hurting world? Take a long hard look at yourself today. Smile at that beautiful or handsome face in the mirror. Accept that youthful or aging body. Know with joy that it’s a container for the LIVING GOD. We are each the perfect shape for the Holy Spirit. After all, He made us. And God knows what He’s doing.
 

Go on ... be YOU!

You’re the perfect shape for God’s dwelling place.

 
 
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power
 is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

“So then, just as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord, 

continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him 

strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and 

overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6

 
 
 

Enjoying the Journey

17/11/2016 18:24
Music and writing have been two major passions in my life. In the first half of my life I sang my way through every season. In the next half of my life however, it hasn’t been quite so obvious. But let me assure you … I'm still singing. As I've travelled on life's highway, the beauty of God’s Creation and His rich gift of music have helped me experience, know and connect deeply with God. 
How grateful I am!
 
My blog today is a bit different. In fact, it's not even a blog. Instead I bring you music. I composed  this song six years ago to sing at the launch of my first book. It describes my life’s journey. God's been calling me to a new season of song, so perhaps this unusual blogpost might be the first of many. I hope you enjoy it (and as you scroll down, do make sure your speakers are on!)
 
Enjoying the Journey
1. Standing at the Station called Life,
The train came by and I got on.
It’s a long and winding journey, sometimes great; but so often not,
Problems, heartache, disappointment,
Sickness, Sadness, Failures, Troubles,
Is that all we’ve got? //
2. Riding on a Train called Life,
On a rail-road that stretches far ahead,
It’s a long and winding journey, but I met a special Guide.
He provided Strength and Courage,
Love and Goodness, Truth and Beauty,
Jesus is my Guide. //
So Thank you Lord, I’m enjoying the journey,
You’ve planned it all; You’ve provided all I need.
It’s one I can enjoy, all the way,
Not just when life is grand, but e’en through the darkest day.
Your love has saved me; Your grace has changed me,
And the One who knows the way, is leading me.
Your love has healed me, Your Grace has freed me,
And the One who knows the way, He's leading me.
3. I’ve found a map, it's God’s sure Word,
The Word’s a lamp that lights my way.
My journey’s long and winding, but He’s worked it out for me.
There are fellow pilgrims on my journey,
Giving help and strength and comfort,
What a glorious way. //

So Thank you Lord, I’m enjoying the journey,

You’ve planned it all; You’ve provided all I need,

It’s one I can enjoy, all the way,

Not just when life is grand, but e’en through the darkest day.

Your love has saved me; Your grace has changed me,

And the One who knows the way, He's leading me.

Your love has healed me, Your grace has freed me,

And the One who knows the way, He's leading me.

Wishing you God's love and light on your Journey.

May He also bless you with His Joy, His Peace and most of all His Presence.

 
 
 

Surprised by GOD

03/11/2016 17:27
Over the last five years, I've had the pleasure of attending an Aussie Christian Writers’ Conference each October. At the first four events I was thrilled to be a presenter as well, which enabled me to afford the trip. This year (as in past years), I eagerly sent in an expression of interest for 10 possible workshops I could present at conference. I prayed diligently over them daily, asking that God’s choice be picked. I was so excited. But my bright balloon of hope was soon pricked and deflated, when I heard back from the conference committee. Surprise surprise!  I wasn’t chosen to present this year. Really? That meant I couldn’t attend the conference. Was I sad? Yes. I was. Very.
 
That was when I received my first surprise. I’d spent the month of May at a personal writing retreat (at home) seeking God on my calling. During one week, I enjoyed a daily Google chat with a lovely writer friend from the US. Robyn grieved with me that I had not been chosen but the next day, she shared an unexpected insight. She told me that God wanted me to know that I was going for conference. Oh? She was all choked up. Robyn added that there was a purpose to my going but she didn’t know what it was. “Thank you” I said. My damp grey cocoon of sadness was transformed into a dainty lttle butterfly of anticipation. 
What was God up to?
 
I awoke next morning to my next surprise. A precious Aussie writer friend emailed me to tell me that she and her husband wanted to gift me the money for the conference. I was blown away! Gob smacked, shocked, joyful, amazed, dancing. Wow! How could I accept it? But God had laid it on their hearts, so it didn’t seem right to refuse. I humbly said ‘Thank you”. The rejection I’d felt over not being accepted as a speaker gurgled down the drain-hole, thanks to my beautiful friend’s generous offer. How grateful I was!
A few weeks later came my third surprise. My brother in Sydney heard of my trip, and he bought me my plane ticket. Yes, it gets better and better doesn't it? Not only that, my brother and sis in law warmly welcomed me to to their lovely spacious home before conference (and afterwards too if I wanted). Of course I said ‘Thank you” once again. Two weeks ago, I boarded my plane for an action packed thrilling six day holiday in Sydney, kissing good bye to my beloved husband who dropped me off at the airport, plying me with plenty of spending money, bless him. What an exhilarating time it was! Rohan Ayya and Swen Acca pampered me from start to end, seeing to my every whim, not allowing me to lift a finger, driving me hither and thither, feeding me scrumptious meals as we relaxed together. I connected with a few close Sri Lankan friends too and their loving kindness was lavished over me. How blessed I was!
 
The conference was packed with gifted writers and speakers, helpful sessions to learn from, good food to digest, prayer times to relish, beautiful surrounds to enjoy, ministry opportunities to bless, fellowship that invigorated, new friendships and a whole lot more. But my final surprise, when it arrived could have knocked me over with hummingbird's feather.
Why had God taken me to conference?
  1. Was it to minister to others at conference, as I love to do?

Yes, but not the main reason.

  1. Was it so I could support my writer friends?

Yes, but not the main reason 

  1. Was it so I could finally get a few of my books published?  

Perhaps, but not the main reason.

  1. Was it to learn from all the brilliant writers and speakers?

Yes, but not the main reason.

  1. Was it so I would find inspiration for my writing life?

Yes, but not the main reason.

 
On the last day of conference, I spent a refreshing time with God in a restful chapel outdoors designed by Him under a canopy of trees. He led me to study Psalm 1—a passage that’s always been close to my heart. 

 

“Blessed is the man (or woman) whose delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3

 
 
Of course. The Book of books. Thank you God for the reminder of which BOOK at conference was most important. It was then that God revealed to me why He had brought me there. In the blink of an eye I knew. Simple. He brought me there to meet with Him. I was amazed. And awed. He filled me with great joy as I shed copious tears in His Presence. The great God of the Universe desired to spend time with me. How was that possible? With me? Insignificant little me? Wow! Thank you Father.
 
Of course I knew He could do that anywhere, any time. But this was a special tryst! You see, I’d been longing for a retreat with Him all year. I’d had two so far, one in May and one in August, for my writing life and my life’s journey. But they had been different - in between carrying on with life’s trivial round. This then, was a unique gift from our Father. And what a gift it was. As I met with Him, He filled my cup and my joy overflowed. Jesus was enough for me. Jesus is enough for me. Always.
 
A bit later that Sunday morning, He confirmed it as I worshipped with the rest of the group in a stirring service of celebration. I sat with a writer friend from New Zealand, sharing a hand fan (because it was hot)! As Catherine and I praised Him together, we discovered God ministering afresh to our hearts. And for the first time during  communion, I felt I really understood what it was about. I wept quietly—joyful tears of course, orchestrated by the Holy Spirit as we worshipped our God in wonder and awe and delight. I returned from conference with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face, a river of God’s joy bubbling within. What a gift! 

Intimacy with Jesus. I couldn’t ask for more.

 
How are you doing today? Is there something missing in your life? 

Jesus knows you. He loves you. He wants to meet with you too. Come to Him. Just as you are.

Let's trust Him. Let's meet with Him. Let's remain with Him.

‘But blessed is the man (or woman) who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 16:7- 8

 

 

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