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Thinking first, Acting later

26/08/2016 15:45
When my big brother in Sydney heard I was coming to Sydney this year for a Christian Writer’s conference, he stepped in quickly and bought me my air ticket. Wasn’t that generous of him? A week ago, he emailed me the e-ticket and I printed it off at once. The only snag was that I forgot to check how many pages the file contained. Too late I discovered page upon page being churned out of my printer when all I’d intended to print was the itinerary. A thick wad of 10 pages was my prize. What a waste of ink and paper.
 
A pity that I forget to use my brain sometimes! One thoughtless moment and things swiftly turn pear shaped. A few years ago, I made an error which had dire, prickly consequences all because I’d forgotten to put my thinking cap on. A friend and I had emailed back and forth a few times when she’d asked me for my then boss’s email address. I found it by typing his name in the ‘copy to’ section, pasted it inside the email, and sent it off. What I’d omitted to do before I hit reply was to erase his name from the ‘copy to’ area.
 
A few days later, when I went merrily to my volunteer job, my boss, looking unusually serious, called me into his office. Puzzled by his expression, I walked in and sat down. Imagine my horror on seeing reams of pages of my email correspondence presented to me. He’d printed them all out, assuming I’d wanted him to read our emails. Nothing was further from the truth. Was I embarrassed? You could say that. Was I mortified? Yes, yes and YES. Oops! A blunder I thought I’d never recover from!
 
Thankfully the end result was favourable. An issue we'd discussed in our emails had been brought to my boss’s attention, so he kindly offered his listening ears if I wanted to discuss the problem with him. After some thought and prayer I did go back to talk it over and felt a lot better for it.  So happily, God used my blunder to settle an issue I’d struggled with. And I learnt that day to be extra careful when sending emails.
Acting without thinking—it happens to all of us. I sometimes react badly to a negative situation when I don’t stop to think. I’m ashamed to confess that when my son was little, I’d yell at him for a misdemeanor without counting to ten or thinking things through. A reaction rather than a response often takes us to places we’d rather not visit. How important then to cultivate a habit of thought and to seek God amidst our day to day life.
 

Have you ever offered advice when your job was to listen?

Have you ever made a decision in haste that you regretted later?

Have you hit back at someone who was unkind to you before weighing your thoughts?

Have you jumped in to ‘rescue’ someone when it was not your job anyway?

Have you judged someone in a moment before you knew all the facts?

O Lord, teach me to use the mind you’ve blessed me with. Let me not rush into quick judgments or hasty decisions. Let me wait on you for answers. Show me how to listen before I speak. Help me use my heart, mind, mouth and actions in a way that glorifies you. Always. Amen.

 

 

The Author of Life

12/08/2016 15:54
I have three email addresses—the first which I use all the time. Next is my “junk” email address which is useful when I travel. The third address is linked to my blog. Every so often I receive surprise emails from unknown folk that plop into my blog-linked email address. I’m honoured and blessed to hear how God has used my writing to touch strangers’ lives. What a privilege that He uses broken vessels like me to share His love with His world!
 
A couple of weeks ago, I received yet another email from a stranger. I read it twice to understand it, then wrote back thanking him and wished him well. I was still puzzled though as to what the writer wanted to convey, so read it a third time. The email implied that its author could show me how to make Jesus my Lord and Saviour. I was surprised. Surely I’d made it clear that He already was? Will also mentioned the importance of acknowledging God as the Source of my writing. Oh? Another surprise. It made my brain whirr like a ceiling fan at high speed on a hot summer’s day.
 
 
A few emails later, Will asked for my help in writing a book. I wasn’t sure where his long, vague emails would lead me, so after much thought and prayer, knew it was time to end the correspondence. But I'm very grateful for Will's letters because he reminded me of the importance of giving credit where credit was due. (Thank you Will.) I’d like my readers to be clear about my motivations in writing and to meet the One who inspires it.
 

42 years ago, the Author of Life burst into my life with startling suddenness, splashing joy into my life, like the glorious flowers that bloom each spring, bringing colour and beauty to our world. 

Jesus forgave me, cleansed me and started me off on a God-breathed journey, teaching me what life is all about. His death and resurrection bought for me salvation, freedom and the hope of life with Him eternity. But that's not all. Ten years ago, He took me to a crossroads, then pointed to a new fork in my journey—that of becoming a Christian writer. How I've loved it. My first book was published through a series of unexpected events—all orchestrated by God (that’s another story) and I give Him all the glory. Four year ago, I began to write a weekly blog, and found very quickly that it was a gift from God with which to minister to others. Pursuing hard after God is my life long passion. How exciting then, to encourage others to do the same.

And so today I throw the curtains wide open at the Theatre of LIFE. I walk on centre-stage to sing of Him who loves me. I make known in no uncertain terms, the Truth whom I stand on, Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Lord. It was He who called me to write. I am humbled and blessed to be used for His Kingdom. It is the Holy Spirit who inspires me and guides my writing. There are times when writing doesn’t come easy, but as I wait on Him, the words begin to dance at my fingertips because He steps in and guides my thoughts. He makes me work hard and teaches me to depend on Him. And as God often reminds me through His Word: 

"Apart from me, you can do nothing." Jesus (John 15:5)

 

Sometimes, I plan to write about one aspect of life but God changes it to something completely different—as it occurred in the last blog I wrote. Yes, it’s God who gets the credit for any 'good' I do—be it in the writing sphere or in any aspect of my walk with Him. Without Jesus, I am nothing. My blog today is dedicated to the Author of Life. He began my life—He will complete it. He creates the words that flow into my mind as I write. He is the Author, Editor, Publisher and Advocate of my life. So as the curtains swing wide open and the spotlight beams—it’s not directed at this little singer who struts on the stage, sprouting glad melodies but on the Author of Life who writes her music. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and End. He writes my story as He’s written the amazing Story of Life and the wonderful Story of God!
 
“You killed the Author of life, but God raised him from the dead.” Acts 3:15

 

“I am the true vine…. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain the vine. 

Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” Jesus (John 15:1, 4)

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

 

                                                                                                    

Learning Empathy

28/07/2016 16:19
I’m not ardent shopper. No, I’d rather walk in nature’s bounty rather than in shopping malls. The lights that attract me are not neon lights. I’m drawn instead to the glittering stars that twinkle in the velvet sky, the majestic sun which rises high, spilling golden beams in its wake, the friendly moon as it sheds silver moonlight abroad a sleeping world. Doing my weekly shopping is one way of taking care of my loved ones, but I’m relieved when it’s done.
 
Some months ago, as I cruised around my local supermarket, I found changes were afoot—too many of them. I didn’t know where anything was any more. I stopped to ask for items umpteen times. When I walked into another supermarket half an hour later, you might understand my irritation. They were doing it too. There were plenty of bewildered shoppers, looking here, looking there, looking everywhere. Our grocery shopping experience had turned into a nightmare.
The next week the groceries had been moved again—in both stores. I sighed. I stomped. I sizzled. The shopping got done. Eventually. But I trusted that it would be sorted out by my next shopping trip. One could only hope. Alas, the following week it was no different. Perhaps a little more confusing. But then …something strange occurred. As I watched the electricians fixing one part of the store, as I gazed at workers scurrying to and fro moving grocery items, as I glimpsed some of them in deep consultation, it struck me with force what was going on. They were in my writer’s jargon, editing. Editing? Yes, editing.
 
For the past few weeks, I’d been trying to figure out why the supermarkets constantly shifted things around. Was it just an unnecessary ploy of the 21st century world to modify everything all of the time, no matter if change was essential or not? Didn’t they realise that when their customers couldn't find what they needed, they would buy less, not more?
That blinding flash of realisation placed clear glasses on my nose. The supermarkets were refining their stores, in the same way I love to refine my stories. I have the luxury of doing it in the comfort of my home without a hundred people walking past me, demanding this or that. But their amendments have to take place while life goes on. Not an easy job is it? It’s like my story being read while I was editing it. A generous dose of understanding warmed my heart. What was previously an annoyance was now taken in my stride. Perceiving the why behind their doings, made all the difference.
 
Isn’t life like that too? Other people’s actions might sometimes seem alien and hostile to us. Perhaps we need to ask God to remove our blinkers. Life improves with empathy—both on the giver’s side as well as the receiver’s. Has your neighbour angered you by her actions? Has your co-worker’s behavior stumped you? Has your spouse or child annoyed you? Perhaps we need to walk in their moccasins for awhile. There’s always a different perspective—one we don’t readily see.
 
Are you ready to put on new glasses?
I could lend you my new pair if you like!

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, 

as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

 
 

 

Guarding my Heart

14/07/2016 13:29
Two years ago, I thought I'd lost everything. I was forced to leave a job and ministry that I was passionate about. What was God doing? Why did He call me to work for Him, then call me out of it? I grieved deeply for a few months, but as it often happens, my season of loss turned out into one of infinite riches. As I’ve rebuilt my life afterwards, I have been aware of God’s gentle nudge to grow deep strong roots into my inward spirit.
 

And so … the direction of my life has been changing.

  • From one of intense activity to that of seeking God more.
  • From one of busyness to that of contemplation and purpose.

  • From one of being ultra connected to that of being rooted in God.
It hasn’t been easy – this swim against the tide. And yet, I know that the main thing is to keep the main thing as the main thing. I've had to stop jogging through a rose garden and to turn my footsteps instead towards a wilderness. The rose garden beckoned because its flowers were colourful and fragrant, with velvet petals and bright new hues. But the roses would wilt in summer heat, while the cactus flowers would bloom for eternity.
 
The modern world with its umpteen connections and busy lifestyle continues to beckon me. I have to often say ‘No’ to many good things in search of what God requires of me. Saying ‘No’ to others is never easy. I don’t want to seem aloof and unfriendly. I want to be liked and appreciated. So there’s often been a tussle inside.
  • Is it OK to say ‘no’ to her Lord?

  • Was it wrong of me to guard my time with you, Jesus?
  • Is it selfish of me not to do as he asked, Father?

A few weeks ago, God answered my heart’s questions in a surprising way. A church member was giving away many of his books for free, so guess who piled her arms after church one day with a stack of Christian books? One of them was Gordon MacDonald’s book ‘Ordering your Private World’. It was like finding a nugget of gold in my backyard.
 
I’m presently reading it a second time and studying it during my Quiet time. I've lapped up his words eagerly like a thirsty puppy. It’s as if the author had heard of my struggle and had run swiftly to my aid. I now know that when I choose to say ‘No’ to many important pursuits that are ‘the done things’ in today’s world, I am guarding my heart and my inner world. The guilt I’d sometimes indulge in is not needed. No—I hadn’t been selfish. God was actually pleased with me. Choosing to guard my heart and time and space was a good thing and one He applauded.
I think of Jesus’ gentle rebuke to Martha as she complained to Him in Luke 10 verse 42. “Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” In our 21st century world today it’s very easy to be swamped by many demands on our time, and we often bustle around like Martha accomplishing a host of good things. The problem is that we are called to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, but we are often in pursuit of being conformed to the ways of the world. 
 
The pressure’s in doing rather than being,
in success not in becoming.
 
Is God calling you to furnish your centre with the solid core of His Presence? Perhaps this present season’s the one to begin deeper growth of your spirit? Perhaps now’s the time to make a change that will have eternal consequences. Perhaps today’s the day to say ‘No’ to something good to make room for something better.

“Above all, guard your heart for it is the well spring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

 

No Rain, No Rainbows

29/06/2016 15:36
After a very soggy squishy start, it was turning into a beautiful day. Rain clouds had blown away before lunchtime and the sun beamed down on the world. Parrots raced around screeching in joy; galah birds swooped down to nibble on the wet grass. I’d endured a tough week with fibro weariness, so hadn’t enjoyed my usual daily walks for many days. But the sunshine melted my misgivings. I knew I might feel worse if I went out walking that day. But how could I resist nature’s allure?
 
And so after lunch, I popped two Vitamin B12 tablets into my mouth for energy and started on my way. It was cold and brisk outside. I wore three layers for warmth and my sunnies to counteract the bright sunlight. Would I need a raincoat? Surely not? After a couple of laps around the Oval, I treated myself to walking down a magical track I’d lately re-discovered, replete with lush green grass, winding footpaths and inspiring views. I feasted my soul on the fresh enchanting world around me. I revelled in the sight of the shimmering leaves of the gum trees, which responded eagerly to the sun’s bright rays. Every few minutes, I stopped to take a few more pictures. I soaked in the beauty and praised my Creator.
But as I reached the summit of my walk, the sun disappeared. Oh no! Thick grey clouds were gathering fast. I should have worn my raincoat after all. Regretfully, I turned back and retraced my steps, praying that God would hold the shower off until I returned home. Too late—large live luminous raindrops spattered my blue jacket, splashing merrily on my nose. As I rushed down the footpath, a flash of colour greeted me. I looked up, and there it was. God’s gift to me. A rainbow. Wow God! Wow. Thank you God, I whispered.
 
Thank you for not answering my prayer, Lord. If the rain hadn’t arrived, the rainbow would not have made an appearance either. Thank you God for the rain. Sometimes I expect to get through life without any rough moments. But think how drab our world would be if there was no rain and no beauty that followed it.
No problems, no opportunities.

No tough times, no soul growth.

No rain, no rainbows.

 
I've found that every thorny season in my life has brought me a reward. Interestingly, each one’s different. A long, painful spell in my life brought me very close to God and for that I am forever grateful. My extended job hunt revealed zero results, but I acquired a marvelous prize—that of my becoming a writer. The precious gift I've received through my long battle with fibro, is empathy. I view the suffering of others with different eyes now, because suffering is suffering, no matter how it’s wrapped. Each harsh obstacle I encounter might first make me whine and sigh, (I’m ashamed to admit), but when I turn to God for help in humility and surrender, He transforms my pain into a unique blessing—one I would not have received, had my life been easier.
 
What’s a little rain?

I saw a Rainbow!

Thank you God for the rain.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

 
 

Don't take it for granted

15/06/2016 14:00
I remember the day so well. My right foot had been operated on and I’d been placed afterwards in an airy hospital room. Unfortunately, the painkillers I'd swallowed had only increased the throbbing pain in my foot to excruciating proportions. To distract myself from its discomfort, I sent a text to a friend. Immediately, I received a comforting response. We chatted a bit via more messages. As the familiar ping of another text’s arrival reached my ears, I heard a step in the hallway beyond and looked up. Hooray. There stood my beloved. He’d come to visit me during his lunch hour.
 
“Hey. Are you OK?”
“Yep” I said, “Look at my foot!”
Shan examined the interesting contraption that held my foot. He smiled in sympathy, kissed me, found a chair and sat down. It was good to see him and a blessed relief to be distracted from my PAIN. After a few minutes, I realised I’d forgotten to check the last text that had come in, so looked around for my phone. It wasn’t there. That’s strange. Shan stood up and checked my bed, the floor and its surrounds. No sign of it. He called me but there was no sound of my phone’s ring.
 
It was then that I had an inkling of its fate. Perhaps I’d set it down my lunch tray and it had been whisked off to the kitchen? Oh no! Shan rushed off to check and kept calling my number as he walked. Ten minutes later, I heard it—the musical tones of my phone. A stranger walked into my room. And yes, you guessed right. He had my phone. Yay! I breathed a sigh of relief. A lot of "what-ifs" had run through my mind before he arrived. 
 

What if the phone had been thrown away with the rest of the stuff

What if I never got it back? 

What if I lost all my contact numbers?

 
There are lots of what ifs in life too, if you stop to think about it. 

What if there was no God? 

What if I couldn’t see? 

What if I couldn’t walk?

 
I possess a myriad blessings in my life which I often take for granted. It’s when I’m in danger of losing them that I discover their true value. A quote by Marcus Aurelius changed my life this year: 
 

"Think of what you have rather than of what you lack. 

Of the things you have, select the best and then reflect 

how eagerly you would have sought them if you did not have them."

I've made a gratitude-building game of it. I frequently think of something I have, then imagine life without it. It’s made me aware how rich I am. Here’s a tiny smattering of what I’m talking about. My faith, joy, peace. The Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. My husband, my son, my home. God’s Word, my sight, my hearing. My hands, my feet, my strength. My guitar, my computer, my camera. Our garden, our bed, our neighbourhood. Caring friends, wholesome food, thirst quenching water. Love and laughter, music and song, books and writing. Do you get the message? I have everything I need and more.
 
Sometimes I forget how wealthy I am. I focus on what I don’t have and forget all that I do. 

What if everything I have today was taken away next week? 

What if the sun didn’t rise tomorrow? 

What if I woke up a different person? 

 
Today, let me savour God’s love. 
Let me look up with eyes of gratitude. 
Let me not take anything or anyone for granted.
 

Today (and always), let me be thankful.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,

for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:16-18

 

 

He Restores my Soul

03/06/2016 15:38
We welcomed the autumn showers when they finally reached Adelaide. A large bush in our front yard almost died when summer ended, but now had new life fed into its veins. The verdant autumn green around us was deeply refreshing compared to the stark summer brown. I bought myself a smart little raincoat to wear for my wet weather walks and my sneakers have been already wandering in muddy, squishy haunts.
 
The problem with hiking in rain is that the crevices of my shoe soles are soon filled with mud, grass and lots of gooey stuff. Cleaning them becomes a thankless chore. Some weeks ago, when I noticed that my sneaker bottoms were encased in dirt, I decided to walk in them a few more times before I cleaned them. There was no point in doing it too soon since the very next walk would bring the messy stuff right back in. Finally … a week of dry weather arrived. It was time to clean my shoes.
I returned home after a happy ramble one day, and undid my sneakers. I turned them upside down to have a look, expecting to see more grime. What a surprise it was to find that the soles were clean. A miracle? Well, not exactly. It wasn’t that a shoe goblin had come at night and cleaned them while I was asleep. No, the answer was pretty simple. As I walked, the dried dirt and sand and mud must have fallen off my shoes, just as it had previously clung to the soles when wet. Voila. An unsoiled pair of shoe soles again—and I hadn’t needed to lift one finger to get them clean. I liked that. I liked that a lot.
 
Sometimes it happens in my spiritual walk as well. There was a season when life had been hectic and frenzied. I’d been too busy to spend sufficient time with God and I was burnt out and spent. As I walked into church one Sunday morning, I breathed a prayer in desperate longing: “Lord, please renew me. I need you so.” As we sang to God that day, I did something I’d never done before—I raised my hands in worship. These days, I do it all the time, but that Sunday many years ago, with my staid Methodist upbringing, it was something very hard to do. Could I raise my hands? Would people stare at me? I knew I had to obey. As I lifted my hands in total surrender, the Presence of the Lord enveloped me and His love rained upon me. He revived the wilted flower that I was. I walked out of the church that day, invigorated and joy-filled like a once thirsty, lifeless branch, now transformed and green and glowing, after  the winter rains.
There are seasons when my soul collects dirt and grime. Fear, anger, impatience. Envy, guilt, shame. Despair, unforgiveness, pride. But when I linger in God’s presence, the damp dirt is dried as the winds of the Holy Spirit blow through me, and all the yucky stuff falls off my spirit. What a blessing it is to be set free again. 
 
Are you in need of refreshment today? Come into His presence with an open heart. He will do the rest. May we then, restored and whole again, go forward with joy to serve His world.

 

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside quiet waters.

He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1, 2

 

 

God's got it covered

12/05/2016 15:40
Some weeks ago, I drove off to the village on my weekly shopping expedition. I parked my vehicle and got down. But as I slid my car keys into my bag, I couldn't feel my house keys where they usually reside. So I double checked. No sign of them. I knew I had to find them fast. If I’d dropped them, someone could pick them up. Besides, I’d need them to get myself indoors eventually. I drove home at once. Yellow-gold autumn leaves fluttered in the air, tossed around by playful breezes, decorating the surrounds with a crunchy golden carpet. I jumped on the leaves, enjoying the delicious sound they made in protest. Then, I hunted around for my keys.
 
One pink heart key ring and two shiny keys winked at me from under the leaves. Yay! I was one happy girl as I drove back to the village. “Well done” said my beloved when I told him about it that evening. You’d have thought the incident would have taught me to be more careful with my keys, but alas not. A week or two later I was about to lock our front door at night, before going to bed, but I couldn’t find my keys. (Sounds familiar?)

After hunting for them without success, I grabbed a torch and walked out into the cold night air. God was gracious to me. As soon as I reached the road, the torchlight uncovered two silvery keys, nestling comfortably on the fallen autumn leaves. What a relief! I used to keep my keys in a section of my bag closed via a vertical zip. Vertical? That’s right. Unsuitable? Definitely. If I forgot to zip it up, the keys would easily fall out. It was time to look for a safer place for them. Eventually, I did find the perfect spot—a secret pocket in my bag.

 

Sometimes I place my life’s keys in an unwise compartment and my foolishly held world falls apart. Why don't I hand over my troubles to God instead - His wings are the safest Hiding Place I know. A few days ago, I opened my bag’s secret pocket to retrieve my house keys. Oh no! I’d done it again. Panic. Consternation Where were they? I finally found them. I’d accidentally placed them in their former comparment.

I do that sometimes with life’s difficulties too—forget and grab them back from God after having given them over to Him. Silly me. As I was writing this blog, a piece of bad news, sailed indoors, landed on my head and knocked me out cold. Ouch. What a huge disappointment! After shedding a few tears… I remembered! Of course. God’s got it covered. Isn’t it just like Him? He loves to give me practical lessons in what I write about, so that my story would ring authentic in your ears.
 

Is there something in your life which is out of control? Has a place of security become unsafe and wobbly after all? Please don’t forget. God’s got this one too.

 

Yes. God’s got it covered.

Let’s trust Him.

“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:3,4

 

 

The Best is Yet to Be

28/04/2016 17:02
I love travelling on the O bahn—a bus in Adelaide which travels at 100 kmph on special rails. A few months ago, I sped off to the city, feasting my eyes en route on the lush green foliage, the dappled sunlight as it fell through the trees and the gurgling stream that ran by. I breathed in the the view of the rising mountains, the blue green reservoir as it sparkled in the morning sun, the chattering birds flying against the azure sky. But as I drank of nature’s bounty that day, I knew my pleasure wouldn't end when my journey was over. There was much to look forward to at my destination. I met up with friends for lunch and we had a great time together. It was an experience I cherished.
 
Last year, when going through an arduous journey with ill health, I struggled to keep up my usual passion for life. To even consider living to an old age, battling daily pain and fatigue as I did then, seemed too difficult. My eyes which till then had been fixed on earth’s fleeting joys were fast turning towards the life hereafter. I longed for a new body in a way I'd not done before. I yearned for our Christian hope—LIFE after life, where God reigns and where disease and suffering are no more.
Thankfully, a few months later I enjoyed better health and began to have a few good days at last. Hooray! But deep within, I knew that something within had changed forever. I was ready for heaven’s shores in a way I’d never been before. In days past, I’d think it was preposterous that the world would carry on after I died. (Does that sound vain?) But now … a life-switch had been turned on, flooding me with new longings. I could say ‘Come Lord Jesus, come’ and really really mean it. I reflected on the change in me. Was it wrong for me to feel this way? Was I ungrateful to God for the life He had given me? What was God’s take on it?
 
A short while later, I received my answer. I've been studying Rick Warren's ‘Purpose Driven Life’ this year with my Bible study group and I've relished the experience. A sentence from his book jumped out and thumped me hard. The author wrote that God often allows difficulties in our lives so that we don’t get too comfortable on earth. I saw very clearly then, as if I'd put on a new pair of (much needed) reading glasses, and the words on the page were finally legible. (Thank you Rick.) Yes. That’s what had occurred last year. My spiritual eyes were being opened at last to spiritual realities. And no – I wasn’t dishonouring God by thinking this way after all. It was in fact, a God-thing.

My journey to the city on the O bahn, delighting in the beauty around had brought me much contentment. But the real thrill that day lay at my destination. That’s where I got to meet my friends. That was where my body was fed. That was where I rested. I had arrived. Life’s like that too, isn’t it? We can partake of life’s thrills and spills and enjoy it (or sometimes struggle through it as I did), but the final destination we are headed for will be glorious; well beyond our imaginings.

 
Are you going through a tough season? Is heartache, loss, pain or suffering your portion? Do not despair—you who are in Christ, are not home yet. The deepest joys are yet to be, in the presence of The One who made you and loves you with an eternal love. Today, as you walk through your forest of darkness and pain, lift your eyes to the light of the sun; the brilliance of God’s truth. 

The best is yet to be.

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelations 21:3,4

 

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor 2:9

 

 

When your heart is broken

14/04/2016 15:24
We spent a few happy days away last year, in the picturesque town of Mildura. I brought back a little momento from there but it wasn’t a souvenir; neither was it an ornament for my mantlepiece. The keepsake I bought in Mildura resides in my kitchen and I use it every day. Have I piqued your curiosity sufficiently? 

Here’s what it looks like:

Yes, my keepsake is a little bottle of Olive oil. What made it unique was its dimensions. Petite. Just right for my ‘little’ hands. I'd not seen one so small before, not in Adelaide nor anywhere else, and I've continued to use it. I find its cute size is just right for my fingers, much like I enjoy the petite steering wheel in my “baby car” compared to the big steering wheel in what I call Shan’s ‘Daddy car’. When the oil runs out, I buy a large bottle of Olive oil which I use to fill up the little one. "Small" suits me well.
 
One day some weeks ago, I was dismayed to discover that the plastic piece on the top of the bottle was broken. Oh dear! Now, I had to be extra careful when I tipped the bottle, in case too much oil flowed out. A trifle annoying. To my relief, my hand quickly got used to holding the bottle at exactly the right angle.
There’ve been times in my life when I've found that something far more signficant was broken—like my heart. (Have you experienced that?) I recall seasons when the pain was unbearable. I thought then that I’d never recover, a ship’s masts that has been torn by cruel winds, or a beautiful cutglass vase smashed into smithereens. During those seasons, I've clung onto God for dear life, just making it through one day at a time and one moment at a time. Wouldn’t it be simple if we could experience God’s grace through a life of ease rather than through our seasons of suffering?
 
The truth though is that the painful seasons are the times I’ve experienced God’s love in fullest measure. Times when I’ve discovered for a fact that a loving God did exist and that He cared for me. That no matter what happened, Jesus was sufficient and always would be. It was during such a time that Jesus became my Treasure. One day last week I realised with surprise that it was actually a good thing that the plastic top of my little bottle was broken. You see, it made pouring oil from the larger bottle into the little one much easier. Nothing obstructed its flow anymore.
It’s the same when I've nursed a broken heart. The cracks in my heart have permitted God’s love to seep in. How blessed it’s been to experience His joy in the middle of difficult circumstances, His love when the world has turned its back on me, His peace when the storm clouds darkened, and His Presence when I sorely needed it, the balm of soothing oil that healed my broken heart.
 
CS Lewis reminds us of this truth. Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Has God shouted out to you lately? What did He say? I pray that His love will flood your broken heart today and that His peace will permeate each crack. Soon you will be a stunning masterpiece of God’s grace and beauty. And our God of awe and majesty and holiness will be glorified through your life.
 
"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him." Psalm 91:15,16
 
 
 

 

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