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Being Renewed

18/02/2019 09:46
My body is aching. My limbs are weary. I’d love to get back into bed and sleep for a week. Pain and fatigue have hit big time; my brain feels like sludge. But no, I’m not complaining. How can I complain? I’m grateful. Oh so grateful. I was richly blessed with two exhilarating weeks in Sri Lanka and I have much to thank God for. I enjoyed a heart-warming reunion with my six awesome sibling and extended family, celebrating my Mum’s writings and my big sister’s special b’day. I was pampered no end by my beloved sis Sal (and her family) who cared for my every need, from mouth-watering meals to rides in their air conditioned car in the heat of Colombo to getting my Internet working. (Thank you Sal, Chandran and Chandri. You are the best!)
 
Family and friends were incredibly generous and lavished Sri Lankan style hospitality upon me. I was blessed with a zillion joyful moments of connectedness and friendship, scrumptious food and fellowship, laughter and meaningful moments. So yes, I’m very grateful. After I got back three days ago, I’ve been trying hard to write my next blog. But … sleepiness, pain and fatigue joined hands to laugh at me like a pack of drunken hyenas. During my vacation, numerous blog ideas had hijacked my brain, but in the midst of unpacking, settling back and reconnecting with my men, I was just too tired to write.
Seven years ago, in Feb 2012, God had led me to embark on blog writing, a ministry I have relished. A question wafts into my fatigued brain. Is it mandatory that I not disappoint my blog readers? I had skipped one blog post in early February. Would it be OK to skip this week too? Now it strikes me. Seven years of blog writing did I say? In that case … I’m due for my sabbatical!. Hooray!
 
So as we ponder on what a sabbatical means, here’s a question. Do you cram as much as possible into each day like packing sardines into a can, or do you savour them slowly, like delighting in each bit of a delicious chocolate dessert? In my youth, I rushed through life, fitting in as many commitments as possible into my days, striving to make a difference for Jesus. But as I have grown older and wiser, I have slowed down because I wanted each moment to count for Jesus but not through feverish activity. Over time, I changed from being an over-active Martha to a quieter Mary who liked nothing more than to spend time at my Saviour’s feet, loving Him, listening to Him, and doing only what He asked of me. Obedience to God I believe is the key to an abundant life.
Do you feel guilty because of the needs around you? Do you feel tempted to do it all? Would you like a moment to stop and stare, to reflect and be revived? Success in this modern world is often equated to a busy life. Life can often feel like a treadmill of To-dos that are never completed. But is that how God views life? I’ve made the freeing discovery that I do not have to be all things to all people. That’s God’s job. I’ve learned to take my orders from Him and to let Him take care of His world.
 
Sometimes life is full and I have no choice—as was my two exciting weeks in Sri Lanka. And we all have those busy spells. At other times, like now, I don’t need to fill every waking moment with activity. My body is tired and I need rest so I refuse to go on a guilt trip. Aeroplane safety rules inform us that we first use our own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. It’s now the right time for me to reach for that oxygen mask so I can be once again be able to take care of others. We all have different temperaments and giftings so what’s too hectic for one person could be just what God requires of someone else. But each of us needs to slow down enough to hear Him before we act.
So … please take a break when you need it. It’s OK to care for yourself; in fact it’s needed. Sleep for 12 hours. Let dust collect and do nothing if necessary. Spend 24 hours with God and really listen to Him. Have a play date with your spouse. Take a sabbatical. Ensure that weekly Sabbaths are part of your routine. Retire from a job that drains you to do what you are passionate about. Being refreshed in His presence is vital for our spiritual health so God’s idea of a weekly Sabbath makes total sense.
 
Having a daily Quiet Time renews me as I allow Him to speak to me and He nourishes my soul every day. Being still reminds me of Who is in charge of our world, (and no, it’s not me.) Savouring life helps me enjoy my journey and to accomplish what God requires of me.

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

 
 
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Isaiah 30:15
 
 

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

 
 
 

To Rush or Not to rush, that is the Question!

17/02/2019 19:02
 
My body is aching. My limbs are weary. I’d love to get back into bed and sleep for a week. Pain and fatigue have hit big time; my brain feels like sludge. But no, I’m not complaining. How can I complain? I’m grateful. Oh so grateful. I was richly blessed with the gift of two exhilarating weeks in Sri Lanka and I have much to thank God for. I enjoyed a heart-warming reunion with my six awesome siblings and extended family. We celebrated my Mum’s writings and my big sister’s special b’day. I was pampered no end by my beloved sis Sal (and her family) who cared for my every need, from mouth-watering meals to rides in their air conditioned car in the heat of Colombo to getting my Internet working. (Thank you Sal, Chandran and Chandri. You are the best!)
 
Family and friends were incredibly generous and lavished Sri Lankan style hospitality upon me. I was blessed with a zillion joyful moments of connectedness and friendship, scrumptious food and fellowship, laughter and meaningful moments. So yes, I’m very grateful. After I got back three days ago, I’ve been trying hard to write my next blog. But … sleepiness, pain and fatigue joined hands to laugh at me like a pack of drunken hyenas. During my vacation, numerous blog ideas had hijacked my brain, but in the midst of unpacking, settling back and reconnecting with my men, I was just too tired to write.
Seven years ago, in Feb 2012, God had led me to embark on blog writing, a ministry I have relished. A question wafts into my fatigued brain. Is it mandatory that I not disappoint my blog readers? I had skipped one blog post in early February while away. Would it be OK to skip this week too? Now it strikes me. Seven years of blog writing did I say? In that case … I’m due for my sabbatical!. Hooray!
 
So as we ponder on what a sabbatical means, here’s a question. Do you cram as much as possible into each day like packing sardines into a can, or do you savour them slowly, like delighting in each bite of a delicious chocolate dessert? In my youth, I rushed through life, fitting in as many commitments as possible into my days, striving to make a difference for Jesus. But as I have grown older and wiser, I have slowed down because I wanted each moment to count for Jesus but not through feverish activity. Over time, I changed from being an over-active Martha to a quieter Mary who liked nothing more than to spend time at my Saviour’s feet, loving Him, listening to Him, and doing only what He asked of me. Obedience to God I believe is the key to an abundant life.
Do you feel guilty because of the needs around you? Do you feel tempted to do it all? Would you like a moment to stop and stare, to reflect and be revived? Success in this modern world is often equated to a busy life. Life can often feel like a treadmill of To-dos that are never completed. But is that how God views life? I’ve made the freeing discovery that I do not have to be all things to all people. That’s God’s job. I’ve learned to take my orders from Him and to let Him take care of His world.
 
Sometimes life is full and I have no choice—as was my two exciting weeks in Sri Lanka. And we all have those busy spells. At other times, like now, I don’t need to fill every waking moment with activity. My body is tired and I need rest so I refuse to go on a guilt trip. Aeroplane safety rules inform us that we first use our own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. It’s now the right time for me to reach for that oxygen mask so I can be once again be able to take care of others. We all have different temperaments and giftings so what’s too hectic for one person could be just what God requires of someone else. But each of us needs to slow down enough to hear Him before we act.
So … please take a break when you need it. It’s OK to care for yourself; in fact it’s needed. Sleep for 12 hours. Let dust collect and do nothing if necessary. Spend 24 hours with God and really listen to Him. Have a play date with your spouse. Take a sabbatical. Ensure that weekly Sabbaths are part of your routine. Retire from a job that drains you to do what you are passionate about. Being refreshed in His presence is vital for our spiritual health so God’s idea of a weekly Sabbath makes total sense.
 
Having a daily Quiet Time renews me as I allow Him to speak to me and He nourishes my soul each day. Being still reminds me of Who is in charge of our world, (and no, it’s not me.) Savouring life helps me enjoy my journey and to accomplish what God requires of me.

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

 
 
"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust your strength." Isaiah 30:15
 
 

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

 
 
 

Don't Wait Too Long

19/01/2019 16:05
When we moved house last year, we acquired a new freezer. This stand-alone unit made it easy for me to sort my frozen foods, thus simplifying my life a great deal. We buy bread on Saturdays and keep several loaves in there to use as needed through the week. Having extra space in our new freezer meant we could store several weeks’ supply of bread in there. Pretty cool (both figuratively and literally)!
 
One day, as I took out a block of bread for thawing, I found ice inside the pack. Hmm. The bread must have been in there for a while then. I had omitted to use an important principle in storage practices—FIFO or “First in First Out”. I soon thawed a few slices of bread in our microwave but was surprised to discover that while one part of each slice turned soft, another section of it had now turned as hard as concrete. Oops! I’d never seen that happen before. It re-occurred with each new slice I attempted to thaw. Oh Ohhhh!
Fortunately there was more bread in the freezer.  I soon had soft slices of wholemeal bread to use for my son’s lunch time sandwiches. In addition, I had learnt a good lesson. There are times in my life when I wait instead of doing. I should have taken out that loaf of bread months ago! Is there a dream that has been stirring in your heart for a while? And is it time to set it in motion? Sometimes we wait too long and there are consequences. 
 
 
Bread gets too hard. 

Relationships wither and die. 

Our waistlines grow too big. 

People change. 

We may not get a second chance. 

And … life’s too short to have regrets.

 
 
Ten years ago, the three of us enjoyed a fabulous trip to America, one of our best holidays it turned out to be; visiting special places, connecting with loving family and friends and enjoying the journey. When we returned home, I filled a bag which bulged like Santa’s sack. It contained souvenirs from our trip—train tickets, brochures, tickets to Disneyland and what-not! My plan had been simple: Create a scrapbook of memories. Did it occur? Umm …! What do you think? Last year, when I sorted out my belongings prior to moving house, I came upon the said bag said and knew at once what it contained. 
I brought it, lock stock and barrel to our new home but now, a decade since our trip to the US, my enthusiasm for the task has waned. It wasn’t a hugely important project so I’m not sorry I let it go. But there are other projects which are important enough to see them through.
 
So as I look ahead into 2019, let me stop procrastinating!
Instead let me jump into the deep.
 
First, I shall …
  1. Listen to God. Listen to God. Listen to God. Psalm 143:8 (He knows the way)

  2. Give Him my burdens.  1 Peter 5:7  (Ah! I feel so much lighter now)
  3. Let go of past failures. Phil 3:13-14  (He’s got them too)

  4. Discard past sorrows. Psalm 55:22 (No room for them now)
  5. Learn from my experiences. Proverbs 4:5-9 (Oh yes!)

  6. Trust Him for all. Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Only Way to live)
  7. Surrender to the One who loves me. Romans 12:1-2 (YES!)

 
 
And some New Year thoughts so I stop the ice from freezing my dreams.
 
  1. Listen to God. Listen to God. Listen to God. John 10:27 (Let Him lead)

  2. Be intentional with my life. Col 2:6 (A few Goals would help)
  3. Figure out my priorities. Heb. 12:1-3 (What does God ask of me in 2019)

  4. Make plans … but be flexible. Proverbs 16:1-3 (Dream with a surrendered heart)
  5. With God’s help, set those plans in motion. 2 Cor 9:8 (It’s time to act!)

  6. Live daily in the present and walk daily in His ways. Prov 4:18 (One day at a time)
  7. Aim to glorify God. 1 Cor 10:31 (Always!)

 
 

 

Do you have any special dreams percolating in your heart today?

(Would you like to share them with me? I’d be glad to pray for you.)

 
May 2019 be Your Year, a year when your dreams come true.

May it be a year you will look back on with joy and thanksgiving.

 
May He inspire you and bless His world through you.

He is Lord, He is good and He is always faithful.

 

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Cor 10:31

 

Take the letter G with you

03/01/2019 22:08
So it’s a New Year! I love new beginnings, don’t you?  It means hope, anticipation, excitement. It means I get to turn to a new page in life’s book. It means that the past is left behind as we reach for a brighter tomorrow. It means that the unwanted baggage of the year can be discarded and only what's needed retained for 2019.
 
One of its best aspects of our house move last year was that my husband and I were each blessed with a space to call our own. In our former home, my computer sat slap bang in the middle of the family room where our TV also resides, so there was constant noise around me. Writing was difficult. But now … I have my own special space to write in, dream in and pray in. (Wow! Thank you God.) When my boys are home and the TV is on. I’m able to close two sets of doors which shut out all sound and distraction. I then retreat into my quiet happy place, a room where I can not only write and pray in, but where I find renewal and refreshment every day.
Some years ago, a lady we loved dearly went home to heaven. Her daughter (my lovely sister in law, Swen) discovered a beautiful card among her possessions, dated May 1999. Sweet, smiling serene Aunty Rosa had written just two words inside the card: ‘Dearest Anusha’. That was all. But although there was no letter from her as she’d obviously planned to write to me, now, 20 years later, her empty card still speaks volumes, deepens my faith and encourages me. The words on the card convey all that is needed.
 
 

“With God, all things are possible” 

I came upon it again last year when sorting my belongings for our house move. And you know, I found it when I needed it most because our house selling and buying season turned out to be a very stressful one. Seven months later, the truth of the promise 'With God, all things are possible' was proved afresh, when in spite of umpteen challenges, God triumphantly led us to our dream home. Recently, as I sat at my desk one morning in prayer, I noticed that one of the letters on the card had a long picturesque twirl under it, undergirding the quote. The letter ‘g’ is usually not a very artistic letter, I don’t think.
 
But this one was eye-catching enough to cause my eyebrows to shoot up and to bring big dollop of joy to my heart. And then ... over the twirly simple ‘g’ was the capital G from the word ‘GOD’! They were both reminders that I should take the letter ‘G’ with me into 2019, because I know that when God goes before me, all will be well. In fact, I can testify with joy that for almost 45 years, God has gone before me into each New Year. And not once has He failed me.
 
G stands for other alluring aspects of my Daddy God too.
  • God is GOOD. He is also the Author of all that is GOOD.

  • His GRACE brings life, hope and new beginnings.
  • His GLORY is my life’s aim and my goal in 2019.

G might even stand for Gentleman, because God is a Gentleman and will not intrude if I don’t want Him to. Scripture reminds me though that I can never run from God. And no matter what’s going on in my life, when I seek Him with all my heart, I will find Him. He is always here, right beside me. He grants me (and you) my (and your) heart's desires, the hopes and dreams of what humanity yearns for—Freedom, Joy, Love, Peace, Eternal Life, all of which are found only in and through Him.
 

Today’s blog was brought to you by the letter G

So … would you take the letter G into the New Year with you? 

Would you place your hand in God’s strong Hand? 

Would you give 2019 into His safe keeping? 
 

Would you declare His Goodness, soak in His Grace and live for His Glory

My words today are prompted by and brought to you by a 

Generous, Gracious, Giving, Glorious, Good Good God who is also our Father.

Let 2019 resound to His glory as we live for Him.

 
His divine power has given us everything we need for life 

and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us 

by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious 

presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, 

majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages,

now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 1:24-25

 
 
 

A Surprise for YOU!

14/12/2018 14:30
When we moved to our new home earlier this year, I delighted in the beauty around us. I even began to enjoy what used to be a boring chore. Now, when I hang my washed clothes out, my eyes feast on a picture-perfect view of distant hills and my spirit is renewed. An old style clothes hoist stands tall in our yard, doing yeoman service with our laundry—it spins around like a ship going full steam ahead, its sails billowing out. I’m so pleased that our clothes dry quickly (especially on a windy day), as they twirl around on their carefree merry-go-round. 
 
One day, not long after we moved in, there was a knock on our front door. When I opened it, a new neighbour greeted me. She smiled and handed me a shirt belonging to my son. What? How? When? Our hoist had apparently flung items of clothing all the way from our yard to my neighbour’s. How embarrassing! She was very gracious but my ears turned red. And … believe it or not, a few weeks later, it happened again. There stood my kind neighbour at my front door again with yet another item of clothing. Oh no!  Our disobedient washing was determined to gallivant around our neighbourhood so I had to do something. Fast!
My clever husband found the perfect solution. Following his advice, I pegged each clothes hanger to the hoist and was very relieved to find that his suggestion worked  pretty well, (didn’t I tell you he’s clever?) because even on a windy day, although my clothes spun around like crazy, my neighbour did NOT turn up with more runaway clothing. One day recently however, I returned home after an outing to find our backyard strewn with clothing. Wild winds must had been galloping across our yard.
 
I was sure that a few of my washed clothes would have taken flight into my neighbour’s garden. And sure enough, a few days later, as we were relaxing in bed, reading on a  Saturday afternoon, there was a knock on our door. I jumped out of bed and put on my slippers.
 
 I grinned at my beloved.  “That must be your shirt or my blouse!”
 
Shan acquiesced with a return grin and nod. But when I opened my front door, it was not that neighbour who stood there—it was a different one. In her little daughter’s hand was a wrapped package which she held out to me.
 

“Why, THANK YOU” I said with a smile. A Christmas gift! What a lovely surprise! 

(And not my runaway laundry after all! Phew!)

 
A bit like the surprise God handed out to us when we deserved something different. At the beginning of time, when Adam and Eve began life on the earth, they tripped badly, and the perfect world God had created became stained with sin. Like intruders who'd taken possession of a house not their own, sin, death and strife took residence in our world. Nothing we could do could make it right. Was there a solution? The world waited. It groaned. It hoped. It prayed. The years passed. God called a man named Abraham to follow Him, to obey Him, promising Abraham that out of his seed would come redemption.
 
And then … and then … one day, many years later, in the little town of Bethlehem, there was a knock on a door. An Inn keeper opened it. He found outside a young man with his very pregnant fiancé. The Inn keeper sighed. The inn was full—too full. He was about to shut the door when he saw Mary, tired and big with child, looking at him with beautiful wistful eyes. How could he turn them away? He beckoned the couple and led them to a stable in his yard. And there that night, Love was born. Love came down at Christmas. Love invaded the earth and the world has never been the same since.
 
What a surprise! What an astounding event! We didn’t get what we deserved. After all, sin demands judgment, sin demands punishment. But instead, we got GRACE - the goodness of God, gifted to us in the form of a little baby, a baby who changed the course of history. A Man who walked in humility to a cross even though He had lived a perfect, sinless life. How could this be?

The Son of God become the Son of Man so that 

the sons of men may become the sons of God.

 

Have you met this baby? And have you knelt at His crib? Have you made friends with the Man He grew up to be? Is He your Saviour and Lord?
“The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” 
Luke 2:10-11
 

This Christmas may you be filled with holy awe and expectancy as you hear His knock on the door of your heart. And as you open it, may He surprise you with His love. And may you surrender to Him with all your heart, for Jesus truly is The Saviour of the World!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, 

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 
 

The Shortest Pencil

27/11/2018 22:00
A long long time ago at my very first Youth for Christ camp, I made a grand discovery. That cold bright April morning, I sat on the green grass, soaking in the beauty of distant hills and for the first time in my young life I reflected on God’s Word, being drawn into a place of wonder and delight. Soon, my sessions with God sprouted wings, soaring to dizzy heights. Those daily times with the Father have been the life-giving roots of my tree, the anchor beneath my ship and the wind that drives my sails.
 
What I do during my Quiet Time has changed over the years. I’ve rarely used devotionals, preferring to study something more meaty. For the first few decades of my walk with Jesus, I’d study a book of the Bible till I completed it, pouring over a small portion of it every day, using commentaries for passages that were difficult to understand. About twelve years ago, I decided I wanted more, so I turned to in-depth Bible studies. I’ve also studied non-fiction books that have stirred my soul, meditating on the Bible passages given in the book as well as on the author’s insights.
This year, as we began life in our dream home, God’s been calling me to many new ways of doing life with Him. For a start, He nudged me to get up earlier— so I’d spend time with Him before engaging with anyone else. I love it. The sunrises He’s lured me with have been first-rate motivation and I’ve basked in the sun as I’ve worshipped the Son. God now leads me to contemplate on different passages each day, to memorise His Word and to declare His promises over my life and the lives of those whom I pray for.
 
He’s also prompted me to buy a set of colour pencils. I’ve been filling up a little notebook, as I've contrived to understand the depth of God's love for me, colouring the words to bring out their meaning. I have created another booklet with pictures of the blessings He’s showered on me this year. There’s nothing like a burst of colour to open one’s heart to beauty, truth and goodness and the abundant life that God offers us.
I’ve called this new chapter of my family’s life, our ‘Green Season’, firstly due to the green carpets in our new home and next because green is the colour I use to symbolize good health. But most importantly, green for me is a colour of life, growth and wholeness. A few mornings ago, I pulled out my colour pencils for use during my Quiet Time. To my dismay, I found that my dark green pencil was very short—oh dear—it was half the size of the others—there’d soon be nothing left of it.
 
And then … realisation dawned on me slowly but surely—a bright beam that shone truth into my spirit. Of Course! When you and I are used for God’s kingdom, we too can become battle weary and our outward bodies might diminish. We may feel we have little to offer God and the world, because we are getting older or tired or are battling ill health. Like my little green pencil, we might even seem to shrink in the eyes of the world. Is that a bad thing? On the contrary, my little green pencil by its very being, tells a tale of a fruitful useful life. And the wonderful truth is that its existence still has both meaning and purpose in spite of its small size.
Today, if you feel ugly or useless, discarded or jaded, I’d like you remember my little green pencil. It will need to be replaced well before the other pencils, but It’s not because it was not as good as the others. Oh no! It’s because I needed it and used it more often than the rest. Have you worked hard for the kingdom and got singed in the process? The Refiner’s Fire may have purged the outer you but the inner YOU (the real you) sparkles and shines like a jewel in the sun. I can see it. The Master Refiner sees it. And He smiles at you.
 

Don’t forget … the outer is only a whisper of your inner life.

God sees your heart. And God, (dear friend), likes what He sees. 

He is pleased with you. Very pleased.

For the Lord does not see as man sees;

for man looks at the outward appearance,

but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

"Now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, 

so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold, 

which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise 

and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

1 Peter 1:6-7

 

The Day I Didn't Fall

15/11/2018 21:53
It was a busy morning. I enjoyed a coffee with a friend, then did my weekly grocery shopping. Afterwards, I scurried home as fast as I could to take my son for a blood test. We'd planned to catch a bus to the hospital, so we set off after a quick lunch. It was a pleasant day and a special joy to travel with my son. We walked to our halt and the bus arrived. I hopped on and validated my free senior’s bus pass then spotted my favourite seat and made a beeline for it, my son following me. The bus took off at once.
 
I held on tight, but all of a sudden, the vehicle lurched, my hands slipped from their grasp and I found myself flying in mid-air. “Euwww”!  The sound I made as I performed my circus act was a cross between a yelp and a screech. My ungainly body did a kind of twirl and the next moment, I found myself sitting slap bang on the step I’d been mounting. Surprisingly I now faced the front of the bus. 
How did that happen?
The driver (poor man), stopped the bus and came across to check on me. I felt foolish ... and my body hurt all over, but I assured him I was fine. Which I was. What a relief that the fall hadn’t been worse! My bones were all intact. Had a guardian angel placed his hand on me as I flew in the air, turned me around, then seated me on the step? Shaken but deeply thankful, I stood up and found myself a seat. You’ll be happy to hear that I got off the bus without incident. My son had his blood test completed in no time and we were back home safely within the hour. For the rest of the day, my muscles ached but otherwise I was in good shape.  
 
I remember a time, years ago when I had a different kind of tumble. I was 18 years old and due to sing a solo at a Youth For Christ Rally. How I loved those events when we knew God would work, bringing many young people to Himself. The day arrived and there I was on stage excited, ready to share my song with the world. Unfortunately the sound system didn’t work properly so I couldn’t hear myself sing. I did the best I could—but from the feedback I received afterwards, it had been a dismal performance! Several friends asked me what happened to my song. I had no idea. It was obvious that I’d failed miserably.
I felt small and ashamed and I wanted to hide. Perhaps I been too cocky? Perhaps God was humbling me? But did I fall from grace? I don't think so. I did sing the best I could in the circumstances—and in God’s reckoning—doing one’s best is more than enough. I checked the words of the song. Interesting! Right there in the second line appears a familiar word. It says that her hopes kept ‘tumbling down’ till she finally found what she needed—God’s love.
 
 
What had taken a tumble the day of my solo were my hopes and dreams of singing like a nightingale and touching hearts. I was humbled, but I’m glad God is still able to accomplish what He wants to even if I mess up. He can use anything, even my failures. I once listened to several testimonies of young people who were getting baptised. The polished word-perfect testimonies of most of them didn’t speak half as eloquently to me as a young girl who stammered and stuttered her way through her story. Her moving words touched my soul and brought tears to my eyes. I have never forgotten it.
Do you feel like a failure today? Let me encourage you. All God requires is that we love Him and obey Him. If the results of our obedience are not what we expect or hope for, it’s OK. Really. Really OK. God was able to transform the tumble of a sixty one year old lady and to help her face the right direction again. He was able to touch lives in spite of an 18 year old’s pride and failure. Indeed, in God’s economy disasters turn into successes when they are yielded to Him. I’m sure He has put out His Hand to catch you and has even turned you around to face the direction of where He’s leading you. I can tell!
 

So rise up with a smile and be joyful.

You are still the apple of His eye.

You are enough.

 All is well.
 

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 

though he may stumble, he will not fall, 

for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23-24

 
 

“Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again. “Psalm 24:16

 
 

The Day I Threw a Tantrum

03/11/2018 18:17
Oct 31st 2018 will be tattooed into my brain as the day I threw a tantrum! Oops! Did I shock you? I’m sorry. I really am. I didn’t mean to throw a tantrum. But life happened. And well … I happened too. Let me start at the very beginning for as you know, it’s a very good place to start.
 
I was looking forward to my birthday. And let me assure you--I don’t often seek big celebrations. What I really like to do is to spend a quiet day at home, connecting with the many wonderful people in my life. My phone rings nonstop and Facebook bursts with good wishes. My email in box is full and my mobile keeps beeping text messages. It’s a joyful 24 hours where I am reminded of God’s amazing creations not only in nature's grandeur but even more in the unique people who inhabit our world. And by the way, that includes YOU who are reading this blog too—I hope you know that? Thank you for being here.
 
November weather in Adelaide is usually mild and cool, so I was shocked to discover that the weather outlook for Nov 1st was 37 degrees! Thirty Seven degrees? What? That could not be! It was! Every other day that week and the one after promised perfect weather, but for some reason Nov 1st was different. I was deeply disappointed so I sought God about it. He is a gracious Father and He knows how much I dislike the heat and that my body struggles to survive in it. But … it seemed like he had made up His mind to give me a sizzling hot day.
As if that wasn’t enough, my Internet began to play up, disconnecting from time to time all week long. And the day before D day was the grand finale. With a cruel jeer at my expense, it died on me. Just like that. No Internet! And tomorrow was my b’day. I promptly dialled the help-desk, spending hours on the phone with our Internet provider. I tried to be patient, as they shoved me from one support person to another. The end result? They could not help.
 
A technician would come two days later and that was that. What? "But TOMORROW is my birthday", I said. "I need the Internet TOMORROW!"  A lady on the other end of the phone-line added insult to injury through her platitudes and her indifference. I blew up. Yes, I threw a tantrum. I told her in no uncertain terms that I was very annoyed. I said that I was not happy with their service. My voice sounded loud and angry. I didn’t even say goodbye before I put the receiver down.
Afterwards … I knew I had blown it. I hadn’t acted Christlike under duress. “I’m so sorry Lord” I whispered. Too late. This little pressure cooker had erupted and its irate contents were scattered over that help desk far away. Call me selfish if you like. I was selfish. After all, that lady was only doing her job even if her customer skills were a bit wanting. My feathers had been ruffled and I had behaved badly. Not a good way to end my old year.
 
The 1st of November dawned warm and grey like the weather forecast had predicted. No last minute change of heart on God’s part. But … our house was cool. Hooray! The air conditioner had done its magic through the night so I didn’t even need to have it on. Even more surprising, God had fixed the Internet for me. Wow! A miracle, no less! The technician who turned up the next day told me that there was old wiring and he replaced all of it. So yes, it was a miracle. I enjoyed a perfect birthday and was showered with good wishes all day. The connection remained as firm as a house built on the Rock. 
Wow God! Wow!
It was clear that my tantrums had been unnecessary! I felt as ashamed as a puppy who was tucking into his master’s dinner and was caught in the very act. But it was a great way to start a new year—eating humble pie. I do know that God always has my best interests at heart. I do know that He can be wholly trusted. And I’ve had plenty of evidence over the years to prove it. Sad to say, I don’t always live like I believed those truths. So today … my tail is tucked between my legs as I make my confession.
 
I am penitent for having let God down—I was a bad witness to Him and His love. I am a long way from the holiness I desire. But I am wiser. At the ripe old age of 61, I know that I’m still a work in progress. Alas, it’s when the chips are down that my real nature comes to the fore. And then, I saw again firsthand that seeming obstacles are never a problem to the great God of the Universe. He often tests me and refines me, only asking that I have faith in Him. Because it’s when earth’s provisions are limited that His manifold power can be displayed.
If only I had trusted Him! But you know …through His mercy and grace, I re-discover how great He is and how unworthy I am; how incredibly loving His forgiving heart and how much I need Him. So I stand corrected. And yet … deeply loved. God gave me far more than I deserved that day—as He does all year long. I had a wonderful birthday filled with the love of family and friends.
 
 
The day I threw a tantrum made me humbler and wiser, sadder but more grateful, in awe of Him who does all things well. The day I threw a tantrum made me more patient with others’ foibles and more dependent on His grace. The day I threw a tantrum I discovered that His love covers all my sins and that He will always come through for me, even when I fail Him.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us 

according to our iniquities. Psalm 103:8

 

 

If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 1 Tim 2:13

As a father has compassion on his children,  

so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. Psalm 103:13

 

 

The Day my Plans got Cancelled

13/10/2018 19:59

I relish my trips to the city to catch up with friends. One day there was to be an added bonus—20% off all stock at my favourite bookshop! I rubbed my hands in glee as I anticipated another trip. Unfortunately, my friend got sick, so we had to postpone our time together. I didn't feel justfied in spending a day out just to attend a book-sale, so I regretfully decided to stay home. Never mind. It was a rainy day so perhaps it was just as well. Besides, I now had an unexpected gift of time. How exciting was that! 
 
“Lord, help me use my time wisely”, I prayed.
 
Confession time. I don’t always use my time as wisely as I could. I procrastinate. I dawdle. Sometimes a day passes with little done. Blame it on my health. When chronic fatigue and pain get the upper hand, my ability to do the simplest task is found wanting.
But that particular day was different. What a glorious day it was! I made lots of calls—I often avoid the phone, so that was an achievement. I spent hours writing my next blog, refined it, found pictures for it then posted it on my website. A deep sense of satisfaction seeped into my bones like a cup of delicious coffee that invigorated me. I wrote a number of emails which had been shelved for far too long. I spent time in prayer. I poured over my small group Bible study homework and completed it. I went for a walk. I did my laundry. I planned how I could help a friend in need. I was on a roll.
 
And so … the day my plans got cancelled turned out to be one of my most productive days. Isn’t that encouraging? Life often seems to be what occurs when we are planning something different. But …perhaps that’s a good thing? Of course it’s a good thing. For when God is at the helm, our cancelled plans morph from good plans into great plans and we get to do life His way. Many decades ago, when I sat for my Year 12 exams (twice over), I hoped to get into University. But my results were not good enough, and my hopes were dashed.
 
But … it led to a unique season in my life. The four years I thought I’d spend at Uni I spent instead in the laboratory  of a Girl’s High School in the daytime as I studied to be a Laboratory Technician in the evenings. I thrived on it—both the studies and my first working environment. God brought me ministry opportunities in plenty as I made close friends among the school girls and shared the gospel with them. That chemistry lab became a hallowed place as one after another many teenagers found Jesus. My heart swells in gratitude to Him as I reflect on it now. After that four year stint, I studied Computer Programming and found employment. I loved my work and made more long lasting friendships. I even fell in love with a young man who was a computer whiz. The friendships I made during my girlhood have lasted to this day 40 plus years later and have added layer upon layer of richness to my life. How grateful I am to God for overwriting my plans with His wise ones.
 
Here in Australia, I sought employment but after several long years of seeming failure, God led me into the joy of becoming a Christian writer, In fact, can tell you story after story of how I sought one plan but God led me to another. Every time a dream goes pear shaped, I feel sad. At first. But you know what! It’s OK. Because God’s got this too. He does. So you and I can relax and enjoy the ride. When God closes a door it’s all it should be because we know He will soon open the right one, not the one we thought was the right one.
So if you are glancing back at a closed door wondering what that was all about, wonder no more. God’s got this. Really. Let’s look ahead with thanksgiving. He is, as I speak opening yet another door for you to walk through. It will be a grand adventure. I know it. So let’s join hands and follow His heart for us. He know what’s best. And we can trust Him.
 

"A person’s steps are directed by the Lord.
    How then can anyone understand their own way?"

Proverbs 20:24

 
 

"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

 
 

The Mystery of the Disappearing Slipper

29/09/2018 21:53
My boys and I zoomed off on meandering roads last week in search of new horizons, enchanting vistas, rest and relaxation. We were not disappointed. What I love most about travelling at springtime is being able to view Nature’s incredible artshow where  the strokes of God’s paintbrush are vivid and visible. Rolling green hills, bright yellow carpets of canola rippling in the wind, winding roads that sang songs to us as we journeyed - these were some of the blessings we enjoyed. Fluffy cotton clouds smiled at us from the heavens. The sun shone warm on our skin. The road welcomed us and carried us effortlessly across the miles.
 
After a few hours, we arrived at our destination, (the pretty town of Clare), and soon settled in. Our little cabin was spotless, furnished with everything we needed ... except perhaps sufficient space to stretch our legs. Thankfully, it didn’t matter because we were located in spacious parklands that were filled with tall beautiful gum trees and plenty of walking areas. It even boasted a flora and fauna park right next door that included deer, sheep and emus. That evening, Shan and I went on a little exploration of our surrounds, revelling in and drinking in the interesting sights and sounds that assailed our senses.
At night we enjoyed a home cooked meal, relaxed with books, then turned in. As usual, I had to get up in the wee hours to use the washroom, so donned my soft striped slumbies on my cold chubby feet. I got back to bed afterwards and fell into a deep sleep. The next morning, I looked around for my footwear. One little slumbie looked up at me coyly, awaiting instructions, but its partner was missing in action. That’s strange! Had I accidentally kicked it under the bed? The bed was low, and there was very little space under it.
 
My husband and I did our best to find my wandering slipper. We moved our bed hither and thither in the tiny crowded space and peered under it from every angle. I even poked a broom under the bed trying to push out the hapless slumbie. But no! My slipper had mysteriously disappeared. We wondered then if a burglar had got in, so checked our wallets but thankfully nothing else was missing.
Finally, bewildered but determined to get to the bottom of the enigma, I began looking on TOP of the bed. Perhaps I’d accidentally got back into bed with it? I pulled the sheets and duvet but there was no sign of it. Strange. A second search coupled with a hefty dose of determination finally cracked it. There lay the disobedient slumbie – hiding in the crevices of my covering sheet. Hooray! At last. Problem solved. What a relief!
 
During my Quiet Time that very morning God led me to study a portion of the Proverbs which extolled the virtues of wisdom.

“If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:3-5

Wisdom has never fallen into my lap as I sat waiting for it. No, I had to run after it; I had to seek it out with all my heart, just as I hunted for my wandering slumbie that day. The good news is that acquiring wisdom isn’t dependent on how clever I am or how high my IQ. Wisdom is available to anyone and everyone who desires to have more of it. The only requirement is that we pursue it with all of our being like drowning men and women gasping for air. 
 
 
Are you looking for an answer to life’s challenges? Has the solution eluded you no matter what you did and where you looked? Jesus often spoke in parables, so it was only those who were serious about finding the truth who found it. Let’s seek God’s wisdom as if our lives depended on it. Next to seeking God Himself, the Word is a wonderful place to begin. Wise friends are helpful as are books, pastors, professionals, teachers or family. The best part is that the Author of wisdom is right beside us in our quest and we will find more of Him as a bonus. And He, after all is the key to the wisdom  that we seek.
 
 

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

Proverbs 9:10

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 

 
He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 

for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.” 

Proverbs 2:6-8
 
 
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