Blog

Lessons from a Pandemic

02/08/2020 19:05
A few days ago, I ran out of my front door, my arms filled with library books. It was an epoch day— after more than four long months, our local library was finally open on a Saturday. To my dismay, I saw that I’d forgotten to change my shoes. I ran back, yanked our screen door open and dashed into our hallway. I forgot to hold the screen door open as I waltzed back in—big mistake! Our screen door banged shut, trapping my left foot and pulling me back. I screamed. As my body still tried to move forward, my foot got free of its shoe and I was thrown forward, falling down with an ungraceful thud. My handbag was tossed aside, my books scattered all over the floor, and my little pet giraffe gazed at me perplexed. What’s going on, Mummy? My beloved heard his wife’s shriek and came rushing indoors from the garage where he was just getting into the car.
 
“I’m OK” I assured him with a groan and a grimace. I was okay ... but had pulled a hamstring—my thigh hurt like crazy. Ouch! After a few moments, thankful that my bones were intact, I got up with care and made my way to the car (wearing going-out shoes this time), my knight in shining armour helping me.
I learnt a few lessons that day:
  1. Always hold the screen door open when I walk in, at least until both feet are safely in.

  2. When in a hurry, do NOT hurry!
  3. It only takes a second for things to go pear-shaped.

  4. Be thankful—it could have been much worse.
  5. My body is not as youthful as it once was!  

What a lot of surprises 2020 has brought us! Like a hurricane tearing uninvited into a peaceful paradise, the Pandemic has forced its way into our world. So … what have I learnt these past 6 months? A lot. Yes, a lot! I’ve learnt that life is unpredictable. I’ve learnt that there’s nothing certain in life apart from the fact that nothing is certain! I’ve learnt that Pandemics, like other difficult seasons bring out both the best in people and the worst in them. I’ve learnt that seasons usually pass but some seasons drag on too long. I’ve learnt that enemies are not always visible—some are too small to be seen by the naked eye.
 
I’ve learnt that life is precious. I’ve learnt that sometimes we have to do away with every known rule—caring for people might even mean keeping away from them. I’ve learnt that pandemics come uninvited and are clever at outstaying their welcome. I’ve learnt that one selfish person can impact many lives. I’ve learnt that life can be fun even in the midst of a pandemic. I’ve learnt that if we each do our part, the world can be a much better place. I’ve learnt that there are many courageous people in the world today who have been a gift to our world.  I've learnt that everything I do has a ripple effect and can cause dire consequences to the rest of the world!
I’ve learnt that no matter what, life goes on. I’ve learnt that we are sometimes compelled to step into a pandemic movie and we all become film stars overnight, every one of us! I’ve learnt that today may be my last day on earth. I’ve learnt that I can’t do everything but I can do what I need to do. I've learnt that I need to be less judgemental and more patient. I’ve learnt that our world’s and our nation’s leaders need our support and our prayers. I’ve learnt that I need to be part of the solution.
 
I’ve learnt too that what I’ve believed about deeper issues of life are still true. I’ve learnt that human beings don’t have all the answers. I’ve learnt that science has helped us reach the moon, but science isn’t everything. I’ve learnt that there is one place I can look to for security in this world—and that place is a Person. I’ve learnt that a pandemic can kill our bodies, so knowing what lies beyond death is vitally important. I’ve learnt that God is always good—I may not understand why He allows suffering but I know I can still trust Him. 
 

I’ve learnt that in Jesus alone, I have my eternal security and hope.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. 

In this world you will have trouble. 

But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

JESUS  (John 16:33)

 

Waiting!

02/07/2020 19:13
Recently, I made a happy discovery. I used to hide away  from the sun for years, because heat caused those fibro symptoms to flare badly. But one gloomy week when my body became unbearably fatigued, I wondered if there might be a connection between the lack of sunlight and my deteriorating health.  I checked on the web … and voila - there it was. Apparently a lack of Vitamin D3 caused muscle weakness—just what I was experiencing.  It was the breakthrough my body needed. I soon gave myself 20 minutes or more of sunshine on my bare skin and as often I could. Like a life-giving infusion of saline, it brought revival into my weary body as never before. What a thrilling discovery!
 
Since then, my life has revolved around the Son and the sun! I worship the sun’s Creator, the Son of God, as I turn my body towards the sun's and the Son's healing rays. This new life-giving tonic never fails to provide me with a fresh dose of energy. One day last week, sunny spells brightened our world from time to time through a curtain of bleak wintry weather. It felt too cold to bare my arms outdoors, but to my joy I discovered that sunlight filled our bedroom, transforming it into a sun-room! Hooray!
I stripped down to my undies and sat on the carpet in a patch of sunlight, legs outstretched. How good it felt on my skin! Ah! Nice. But then … it lasted only 30 seconds—the sun was intent on teasing me! Clouds filled the sky and it soon vanished behind them. I waited a while, but finally, with a sigh of resignation, I got up, piled on the many layers of winter garments my body needed and trundled back into my den for my Quiet Time with Jesus. A few minutes later, I looked up. Oh? The sunshine had returned. So back I went, Bible in hand to that patch of sunlight in our bedroom. I sat on the carpet, trying my best to catch all the sun I could get. But once again….after a few brief minutes, the sun hid and grey clouds filled the skies. This time however, I decided I’d be patient. I waited. And waited. And waited some more.
 
I was glad I did. In time, the dark clouds drifted and the sun peeked in through my window bringing light and hope and joy to both body and soul. I sat there lapping it all up, continuing my Quiet Time in songs of praise. The sunning session lasted for 25 minutes, a huge blessing considering the grey kind of day it was – and I was so grateful that my body had received all the sunshine it needed. Waiting had brought me rich dividends.
2020 has been a year of waiting, has it not? Waiting to know what’s going on, waiting to hear better news, waiting for the end of lockdown, waiting for a vaccine for COVID-19, waiting for life to improve. Waiting for life to begin again. 2020 has been probably the year when all of humankind had to change their own agendas and wait. 
 

And perhaps ... there are other kinds of waiting too? 

 
Are you waiting on God? Has He given you a promise that is yet to be fulfilled? As I wait on Him, It helps me to know that the Bible gives me story after story when God made a promise to His followers, but it took many years and sometimes decades before each promise was fulfilled. God promised Abraham that he would be father of many nations but Abraham was an old man before Isaac was born. God made David king, but it was all of fifteen years or more before David overcame a long season of struggle to finally reign as king over Israel. Isaiah prophesised the birth of Jesus but it took 700 years before those prophecies were fulfilled.
 

Seasons of waiting often seem to be part of the Divine plan.

 
Waiting is rarely easy and I know the road is long. It takes courage and perseverance to look ahead with faith and hope, when the tough reality that surrounds us is like a deep dark forest that holds us captive. The truth however is that waiting is a needed for our own good, and its importance cannot be over-stated. Waiting is often a place of growth—growth in maturity, growth in character, growth in faith. We are reminded in the scriptures that waiting will in due season bring all we hope for and more. So even as you wait today for the fulfilment of God’s promises to you, do not give into despair. He has not abandoned you. He loves you too much to give you what you need too soon. He is working behind the scenes in ways you will not dream of.
 
He who has promised never slumbers nor sleeps. He is for us, not against us. He is with us every moment of every day. He is faithful. Always faithful. His timing is rarely ours and His ways beyond our own. But as we look to Him with childlike faith and trust, He will sing over us sweet songs of deliverance and gift us with melodic songs in the night. And one beautiful day, you will step into your Promised Land with great joy knowing that your long wait has been more than worth it.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7

 

“Now faith is being sure in what we hope for and certain about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. 

And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” 2 Cor 1:20

 
 

It's Time to Declutter!

31/05/2020 18:58
When there’s the slightest hint of my catching a cold, (especially now, during this COVID-19 season), I reach for my trusted remedies—vitamin C, lemon lozenges and a Sri Lankan herbal concoction that keeps any germs at bay. The other day, a tickle in my throat had me running to my pantry to secure effective armour for my battle.
 
Unfortunately, the four boxes of herbal remedy sachets had disappeared from their usual habitat. It took me a few minutes to work out where they were. My beloved, in an attempt to reach an item which sat behind them, had moved the packets to the shelf above. Relieved to find them, I placed the contents of one sachet in a mug, stirred in boiling water and sipped my steaming drink, knowing that all viruses in vicinity would be zapped immediately.
My hunt for the herbals remedies made me keenly aware of a new challenge—it was obvious to me now that my larder was now too full and it was time to do something about it! I had planned to be careful about my spending this year. And I was. Mostly. But …! Yes, there was a teensy ‘but’. I haven’t spent money on clothes, trinkets or luxuries, but I HAVE spent more money than desired on one essential commodity. Groceries!
 
When the COVID-19 pandemic found us shoppers unable to able to purchase certain necessary items, it meant that after they were available again, I’d bought too many of them … for safe measure. Tissue boxes. Vitamin C. Strepsils. Long-life milk. Disinfectant wipes. Hand sanitiser. My larder now has lots of them, filling up its nooks and corners! No wonder my beloved had been unable to find what he needed and had been forced to move things around.
The pandemic has been a call to declutter not just my home but also my life. In this technological age, a thousand and one things clamour for our attention all day long. It’s too easy to get distracted, and we fill our lives and our calendars with frenzied activity. The items on our To-Do lists are long, but ... are they all essential? We make umpteen connections—having one thousand Facebook friends is easy to do but growing deep friendships is another matter and needs care and perseverance to be cultivated. In this 21st century world, being ultra busy seems to be something to be proud of. But ... is that what our God calls us to?
 
It’s time to throw aside bad habits, wrong attitudes and negative ways. Meanness, anger, worry, anxiety, envy and the like has to go. Apathy, selfishness and greed needs to be cast aside. Instead, lets ask the Holy Spirit to pour large quantities of love into our thirsty souls so we can overflow with that same love and bless others.
What’s in your life that God hasn’t called you to? And is there something that needs to be shed? Maybe it’s time you and I stocked up on faith, hope and love and dispersed of what we do not need. What do YOU think? What are your loves? Your hates? Your wants? Your dreams? Are they in keeping with the Father’s plans for you?
 
Let’s help each other on this journey. Let’s declutter our lives so we shine with childlike faith and trust. How much lighter we will become! Let’s go to Him. Let’s do only what He asks of us. Let’s walk freely and lightly in fields of grace, learning to love as Jesus loved.  Much of what the world offers us are like glittering trinkets that will disappear in a trice one day. Only what’s done by saying ‘Yes’ to Christ will last. So come on, dear friends! Do join me. 
 

It’s time for us to declutter!

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.”

Col 3:5

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Cor 13:13

 

Safety during Troubled Times

01/05/2020 16:55

Who would have expected 2020 to bring us what it did? True, life’s full of surprises and has a habit of dishing out unwelcome seasons when we least expect it, but I’d never envisioned this level of suffering—the world over! Usually, if one country experiences a disaster, others rush to their aid. And that’s why this pandemic’s been so difficult. It’s not just one little incident in one small country. But like volcanoes erupting in every sphere, causing mayhem, death and destruction, everyone in our world today is experiencing the shifting sands of change, uncertainty and trauma—all at the same time. When help is needed, we are informed that the best way to bless our neighbours is to stay away from them even if they are in dire need. How cruel is that?
 
On a lighter note … who would have thought that a trip to the shops would be such an adventure? Whenever I come home with groceries, I disinfect my car—its steering wheel, the door handle, my gear stick, my handbrake, my car keys. I ensure that the items I bring indoors are virus-free—with disinfectant wipes to clean the outside of my re-usable grocery bags and every item I’ve purchased. I wash my hands meticulously with an antiseptic hand wash and change my clothes. 
 

But I don't need to tell you all this! 

YOU do the same!

 
I enjoyed a novel catch-up with a friend recently. I dressed for it with care, slipping on a colour-splashed blouse and putting on a pair of slacks. I wore a nifty pair of black shoes. I brushed my hair and sprayed on my favourite perfume. My lips were painted with gloss. It felt good, as if I was going out to have a coffee—not just a few steps into my den to sit in the chair I spend most of my waking hours in! Yes, I was meeting my friend via a Zoom conversation! The best part of that visit was that later, no disinfectant wipes were called upon to perform their cleaning act. I changed back into my home clothes minus my handwashing ritual. No cleaning of goods were needed, no removal of shoes. I was safe. Secure. Happy. All was well.
 
In these uncertain times, you and I can zoom out of our lives and zoom into another Safe Place, which, like my meeting with my friend that day is a Sanctuary for such a time as this. It’s one visit we can return from, with no need to disinfect ourselves. My friend prayed with me that day and God gifted me with two inspiring pictures. In the first, Jesus gave me a large heart to hold onto. There was no room for anything else (like fear for instance), because the LOVE He offered, took up all available space in my hands. 
The second picture given me was broader, deeper, wider. I was carried by God the Father. Jesus His Son, stood before me reaching out to me in love, while the third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit whizzed around us, sealing me in God’s holy presence. I was secure. It was an intensely powerful image and one I will revisit often, especially when I feel afraid.
 
The world IS a scary place at present, so if you feel unsafe, your feelings are perfectly valid. Know today that as you look to Him, He is able to carry you. Gaze on the beautiful face of Jesus—His arms are outstretched towards you. Cling to His love. Like the radiant sunrise that follows each sunset, God’s LOVE is always sure, a brilliant light that shines in the darkness. Be assured that His Holy Spirit lives within those who follow Jesus, keeping you safe in the shelter of His wings. Life at present might seem like a scary walk in a deep, dank, dark forest, but hold onto His Hand. He cares. Deeply. And nothing, no nothing will ever separate you from His love.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, 

neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth,

 nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of 

God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)

 

 

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”

Psalm 18:10 (KJV)

 
 

The Hope and Glory of Easter

11/04/2020 23:55
Recently, when my last bottle of dishwashing liquid had reached its end stages, I prised open its lid and peered inside. There was a decent quantity of thick green liquid still in there after all. It was a shame to throw the bottle away but the liquid wouldn’t flow out of it. And then … like a dainty bird that landed on my window sill, a wee idea popped into my little head. I opened a tap, filled the empty-is bottle with water and swirled it around.
 
Surprise! Surprise! My new-fangled watery dishwashing liquid was much easier to use than the original un-adulterated version. The instant I turned my bottle upside down, liquid spurted out of it like a hose being squirted at full throttle. It made my washing up super easy.
 
There are times the smooth flow of life comes to an abrupt end and it’s easy to feel we’ve lost the plot. Like … this moment, for instance? Life as we knew before COVID-19 has been thrown out of the window. A strange apocalyptic world is our new normal. How do we navigate ourselves in this bizarre new territory?

Is God on holiday?

Has the Easter message been emptied of its power?

Why does God not step in?

Is it time to discard our faith, like I was ready to toss out my empty bottle?
 

No! No! No! 

 
And NO! Like the brilliance of a star in a cold dark night, the hope of Jesus shines brighter than ever! Lately, my bottle of hope had been emptied. But as I re-fill it now with the refreshing waters of God’s Word, there gushes forth the glory of an Easter miracle. Early on Easter Morning, Jesus’ disciples went to His tomb in deep grief.  Their Lord and Master had been crucified. All hope was gone—like our world today, where a tiny virus has caused chaos, death and destruction!
But then ... it happened. 

The Unexpected. 

The Unprecedented. 

But ... unprecedented not as in COVID-19 but unprecedented as in miraculous

Death had stared those disciples in the face and they’d  been heartbroken. 

 

But not anymore! 

Jesus burst the gates of hell. He was alive! 

He IS alive. 

Death and sin have now been defeated for all time.

So here’s the best news ever:

 
COVID-19 brings …             The Good News of Easter brings …
  1. Death                                      Life

  2. Isolation                                  Reconciliation
  3. Loss of Hope                       Sure Hope of Eternal Life

  4. Fear                                        Perfect Love that never ends
  5. Sadness                                 Joy

  6. Temporary Tragedy                Everlasting Victory
  7. Financial Ruin                        Eternal Riches

  8. Broken, shattered lives          Peace with God and peace with each other
  9. A Changed Life                      A New Life—the best is yet to be!

  10. Meaningless suffering            Beauty. Truth. LIFE Eternal

Perhaps today is the day to move into the reality of God and His Truth,

as you consider His offer of Eternal Life. 

 

Perhaps today is the day when He will surprise you with the joy and 

hope of the Easter story? 

 

Perhaps today is the day you have been waiting for all your life?

 
And for us who believe in Christ, COVID-19 is not the end of our story. We have a God who weeps with us. We have a God who has promised to work all things together for the good as we trust in Him and look to Him. We have a God who is never surprised by the worst of circumstances because He is bigger than the Universe and holds everything together by the power of His Mighty Hand.
 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, 

since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:18
 
 
So you and I can rejoice through our tears!  The cross has not been emptied of its power and never will. Death has been transformed into Life. Sadness has been over-turned to joy. Earth's misery will only point us to the glory of God our Father and the joy-filled Eternity that awaits us. 

 

 
Thomas said to him “My Lord and my God!” 

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;

blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not 

recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the 

Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 20:29-31

 

Answers to the Real Questions

03/04/2020 22:29

A couple of times a week, I pop a tasty treat into our oven for my family. Sometimes the delicacies are accidentally kept too long and become a tad browner than they should. A jarring siren alerts me then that there’s trouble brewing. If it occurs early on a Saturday morning while my men are both still asleep, I rush to our family room where the alarm resides, hands clamped on my ears. I then wave a dish cloth below it with much vim, vigour and vitality to hush its strident voice before it awakens my family.

 

One day last year, in the mood for a snack, I shoved a few spicy nibbles into my oven. A short while later, I went to our kitchen to turn over my munchies but discovered that I’d forgotten to put on the exhaust fan. Oh no! That would surely make the bell toll! But then … I remembered. It was Tuesday, and both my boys were at work. I breathed a sigh of relief and opened the oven, secure in the knowledge that if the alarm did scream out loud, only I would hear it. And I could handle that commotion!

Loud sirens are going off in our world right now. Unfortunately waving my kitchen towel at them won’t make them stop. We’ve been ambushed—forced to turn actors and actresses in a horror movie that goes on and on. When I walk along empty corridors in our local shopping centre at 7 a.m.—(the only time I can get toilet paper), I spy a couple of masked men and women who move as far from me as possible and I from them. Am I dreaming?
 
When I watch the news, I realise with shocking clarity, that the news being reported today sounds exactly like news reports in disaster movies! Rich and poor, celebrity and each person on the street, man and woman, adult and child, we’ve all been kidnapped by a horrendous organism too small to see with our naked eye.
 
Oh Lord! What’s happening? Where are you?

We seek answers to combat the tiny invader that has stolen our once peaceful lives. We shake our heads dumbfounded, as we hear the numbers—thousands upon thousands—myriads of sick people, multitudes dying and there is little we can do to stop the pandemic. Are we dreaming? Surely it’s not true? How do those who have lost loved ones cope? How do medical personnel keep their sanity as they continue their brave fight against the enemy?
 
 
Knowledge is armour, knowledge is a weapon in this battle, so we try to ask the right questions. What can we do to curb the spread of this terrible disease? How can we ensure we won’t get it? What are the symptoms? Who is most vulnerable? How long would we be in this state of Emergency? What can we do to help? What is our role in all of this? Will we get out of this alive?

There are other questions though, which have NOT been addressed by the TV newscasters.

 

Is this life all there is?

Is there a God I can turn to for comfort and strength?

Is there life after death?

 

Over four decades ago, I encountered an all-consuming Love which pursued me. One afternoon, in the quietness of my bedroom, I knelt down and surrendered my life to Him. My life has never been the same since. Like refreshing rains that formed a lush garden after a season of drought, God's presence turned my apathy into excitement, my dry places into green pastures, my season of tears into songs of joy.
 
And so, my blog today is written for those who dare to ask these crucial questions. 
 

Is there life after death? 

Is there a God? 

Is there hope? 

Can I find comfort?  
 

My answers to all four questions is a resounding YES!  I have experienced the love of a faithful God through life’s changing circumstances. I have been blessed by His comfort when the world spun madly out of control. The eternal truths He revealed to me through His Word are those that even a pandemic so horrific as this one could never steal.

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. 

 

 

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,

but to save the world through him. John 3: 16-17

 

If this life is all there is, then all we should be concerned with is how we can keep humanity safe during these dark difficult days. But if there is LIFE after life, then perhaps this pause in history may be the right moment to discover the truth about life. It may be time to seek and find Treasure of an eternal kind, one we can never lose, even through death.
I grieve with all of humanity at the tragic loss of life. History has been changed forever by this pandemic. We will find it hard to recover from the upheaval of it all for a long time. Let's continue to cry out to our Father on behalf of our world. In spite of all the unanswered questions, I do know with certainity that our God has not abandoned us. He loves us. He is with us in our pain and anguish. He grieves with us. 
 

I don’t pretend to understand the complexity of the whys and wherefores of suffering.  

 
But this I do know.

There is a God. He loves you.

And He wants you to live forever.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. 

He has also set eternity in the human heart.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

 

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ,

whom you have sent. John 17:3

Matthew 11:28-29 - The Passion Translation

 
“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? 

Then come to me. I will refresh your life, 

for I am your Oasis.

 

Simply join your life with mine." JESUS  

 

A Song for the Season

15/03/2020 20:18
Worship with my church family last morning was, as always, a thrilling experience. As we belted out ‘How great Thou art with deep conviction, my eyes filled with tears of gratitude, as I was carried on the wings of an eagle, to God’s precious Throne of grace. How grateful I am that there is a Friend who is always with me. No matter what the circumstances, we who know Jesus have a sure and steadfast hope. He is the Light of the world—the Great I AM. He is the Alpha and the Omega, King of kings and Lord of lords. The whole world rests on His shoulders.
 
Today, in place of my usual blog, I’d like to offer you a song—a song for this troubled Season. God whispered it into my heart two months ago (long before the Corona Virus came knocking at my door) to remind me that no matter what happens, He is always with me. It’s a song you and I can continue to sing after this present season, because its truth is for all time. The Corona Virus might have changed our world. Life is uncertain. Trouble looms. Change is on the horizon. Sickness bangs loudly on our doors like a drunken man in a rage.
 

But the wonderful news is that we have God. He is still in control.

And He is with us.

You’re with me Always                                                                                Jan 18th 2020

 
Chorus:
Jesus, You’re with me, You’re with me today

Jesus, You’re with me always.

You go before me,

You stay beside me,

You walk behind me,

Your Spirit’s within me,

You’re with me always.
 
  1. So why should I worry, why should I sigh,
            The God of Creation is here by my side,
            No need to wonder, no need to ask why,
            When life is uncertain, there’s no need to hide.

            For … chorus

 
  1. And life’s little problems are best kept aside,
            All worries and cares can be shed by the way,
            I will trust and obey, I will walk by His side,
            I will praise His Great Name all through each day.

            For … chorus

 
  1. So Virus Corona, you can’t steal my peace,
      Sickness and trouble can’t throw joy away,
            My Father’s rich blessings never will cease,
            His Love and His Goodness are mine, here to stay.

            For … chorus

 
  1. O how can I tell of how precious You are.
            How can I sing of all that You’ve done,
            I can’t help but declare to the world that’s out there,
            The sweet Presence of God’s only Son.

            For … chorus

 
 

In this world you will have trouble. 

But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

And surely I am with you always,

to the very end of the age.” 

Matt 28:20

 
 

Showing Hospitality

29/02/2020 18:00
I’d been dreaming … and a happy dream it was! My beloved and I were apparently on vacation. As part of our holiday, we'd spent one night in my friend Pen’s beautiful home. I couldn’t remember the details of my dream when I awoke, but I did recall the emotions it had evoked. Friendship. Love. Warmth. Joy. Blessing. It caused me to reflect. Perhaps, just perhaps, my dream was a reminder of a glorious truth—one I had never considered before?
 
Pen (aka Penelope, aka Penny) and I have been friends for over 7 years. At our first Writer’s Conference on the Sunshine coast in Oct 2012, the cabin I occupied was next to hers, so we’d caught a glimpse of each other during our time there although we had no contact. When we said our goodbyes however we discovered that God had already linked us in spirit.
One year later, at our next Writer’s Conference, we met again. This time, we made sure we connected. We shared a cuppa at tea time and we discussed our writerly challenges. Most importantly, we spent a precious time in prayer, talking to God together about our needs—and our friendship was cemented. Pen lives far away in New South Wales but distance is no barrier between Christian writers. A flurry of emails have been hurled through cyberspace over the years as we shared our lives, our hopes, our dreams. We’ve become prayer partners.
 
My recent dream reminded me that although I have yet to take up Pen’s generous invitation to visit, I believe I have already enjoyed her hospitality. Just as a gardener’s hard work produces blossoms that sprinkle joy on their beholders, prayer for others in the secret place brings similar returns and rich dividends to those we pray for.
Pen extends to me her kindness in the spacious rooms of her heart where I am welcomed and loved, where I am prayed for and blessed. I rest within her heart, sipping a cup of Earle Grey tea (which she assures me is worth drinking) and am introduced to her Chief Guest – none other than Jesus. She tells Him of my needs. Jesus turns and looks at me. He smiles in agreement and nods. “It shall be done!” He says. I am restored through my friend's loving prayers.
 
So here’s something that might encourage you. You may not always have the means and the time to offer hospitality to family and friends as much as you would like. But prayer? Now, that is another matter. You can host your family and friends within the unique rooms of your heart. You can shower them with your loving hospitality in God’s presence. You can invite your family and friends daily into the living room of your being where with God’s help you will enrich their lives and bring healing, help, comfort, strength, blessing and hope simply by talking to Jesus on their behalf. Isn’t that an inestimable privilege?

So … let me begin!

Who needs my hospitality today?

Who could be invited inside my heart to be loved, nurtured and blessed?

 
 

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, 

 just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thess 5:11

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. 

With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” 

Eph 6:18

 
 

At the feet of JESUS

31/01/2020 13:53

Last year, my lovely backyard was desecrated (in my eyes) when we were forced to cut down the lush green foliage that grew in front of our back fence. It had to be done so our neighbour could redo his fence, and for weeks afterward, I grieved our loss. In fact, I stopped my habit of spending time in our backyard each morning, Bible and cuppa in hand—the sight of that bare ugly fence in place of our green glory was too much to contend with.
 
It was a happy surprise then that only three months later, one morning, (a day when I sorely needed God’s touch), He wooed me back into our special place. What a precious time it was that day, but … that is a story for another day. Our fence is still patchy in its green attire but more dressed-up than before, (thank you Papa), so I’m now back in our yard each morning cuppa in hand for my precious time with Jesus.

One morning, a few weeks ago, I couldn’t find my pen cap. It wasn’t in my den; it wasn’t on the dining table where I had sat just before I missed it. It wasn’t on the carpet. But … next morning, before I had even looked for it, I found it. The little pen cap lay nestled on the grass in our yard, waiting for me, close to the place where I meet with Jesus. It was only a small pen cap but I was thrilled to find it.
 
Have you lost something? A dream? A hope? A vision? Something tangible? A relationship? A job? Or something else that’s dear to your heart? Some losses are irreplaceable I know and if that is you, I grieve with you. I’m so very sorry. But there are other losses which can be redeemed by our Master’s touch. I found what I had lost when I did what I always do every morning—

retraced my steps into the presence of Jesus.

I should have known  that that’s where I would always find all that I ever need. Love, joy, peace, wholeness, wellness. Shalom. Beauty, truth and goodness. It’s where I find something even as mundane as a pen cap. And of course, for a writer (which I am), a pen is an important implement. Without a pen cap, a pen could well lose its sharp neat point. Without a pen cap, a pen (if it fell), might not write again.  So even a little pen cap is important in spite of smallness, in spite of its seemingly mundane existence.
 
Whatever your hopes that have been fallen by the way, may they be picked up and pursued with passion in 2020. Whatever small forgotten dreams have been shed in 2019, this New Year may be just the right time to ignite them. Whatever your heart is crying out for, retracing your steps to the feet of Jesus may be the answer you need.

In Jesus is salvation. In Jesus we find strength. In Jesus, we find our bearings. In Jesus, all we lost will be replaced or restored if not now, then in eternity. In Jesus, we re-discover the music to our lost songs. In Jesus are blessings such as the world cannot give. In Jesus is life and hope and peace. My own journey into a deeper intimacy with Jesus began years ago, when He allowed cracks and challenges to appear in my ordered existence, so that my closer walk with Jesus was fuelled not by my gains but my losses. The truth is that, I would not know how much I needed Him if I was all sufficient. I wouldn’t know that He was the All sufficient One unless He removed other props that had brought me joy.
 
So what matters today is that although I cannot change the past, I can change the future. I cannot undo the wrongs I have done, but I can choose right actions, thoughts and words today. I may not forget the pain others caused me, but I can choose to forgive them. I cannot re-write my past but I can choose what my future might look like.

In spending time with Jesus every day, we are rooted and grounded in all He desires for us and of us. In Jesus, we set the pace of our lives—we fret less and we whine less. We even do less, but we also achieve more. We bring joy to our Father’s heart by pleasing Him. We rejoice as we savour His Word. We delight in His presence. We find the tools we need to tackle life’s challenges with. We grow roots which will not get shattered by life’s storms.
 
So it’s time today to choose what matters—to spend time daily listening to Him, delighting in His Word, worshipping the One who loves us. In placing that cap on my pen, I completed it. In retracing your footsteps towards time with Jesus, you will be completed; settled with the One who came to give you abundant life. And together you will forge a life that is beautiful.

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

 

 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

I am the vine; you are the branches. 

If you remain in me and I in you, 

you will bear much fruit; 

apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

 

20 Nuggets to take into 2020 starting on 20.01.20.

16/01/2020 15:47

The year is 2020. A special year has begun. 

We have entered a unique decade as we run forward into the 'TANTALISING TWENTIES'!

 

What are your aspirations for the New Year? Your hopes and dreams?

 

On this 20th day of January, here  are 20 Nuggets of Wisdom to take with us into 2020:

  1. God loves you. Very very very very much! More than you can imagine.
  2. LOVE is what life’s journey is all about. Learn to LOVE well.

  3. God is God. God is good. God is eternal. Seek Him. 
  4. Make time for Jesus every day. Plan for it.

  5. The Word of God is a smorgasboard of delicious soul-food! Feast daily.

 

 

  1. There is a lot I don’t know. Be humble. Learn. Daily. Ask God for His wisdom.

  2. Most people are doing the best they can. Show compassion. Often.
  3. Life is hard. But life is GOOD! Life is also short - prepare for Eternity!

  4. One day the jigsaw puzzle pieces of life will fit perfectly and you will be amazed.
  5. The values of this world are very different to the values of God’s kingdom. Don't forget!

 

 

  1. God has forgiven me. Forgive freely. Shower His grace on others.
  2. Allow Him to take care of life’s conundrums. He is able. More than able.

  3. Become a listener. Give others the gift of my ears, time and concern.
  4. Bless others. The ripples will go far and wide.

  5. Words are powerful. Speak wisely. Declare His promises boldly.

 

 

  1. Be generous. Give freely. Love lavishly.

  2. Laughter is good for the soul. Laugh often. Laugh at myself.
  3. God’s world is filled with wonder. Delight in it. 

  4. Work hard. Play well. Live with purpose. Find rest in Jesus. Be led by His Spirit.

 

and finally .....

 
  1. God is with me. Choose LIFE. Every. Single. Day.

 

Wishing you an exciting New Year of LIFE - 

the abundant LIFE that JESUS came to give us.

 

 

May this New Year 2020 be marked by:

His JOY! 

"The Joy of the Lord is your strength." Neh 10:8

And may we bring glory to Him who loves us.

 
 

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 glory in the church 

and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 3:20-21

 
 
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 >>