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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

 
 

God will take care of You

30/11/2019 23:52
I got my driver’s licence nine years ago and at the ripe old age of 52. (Oops! Now you know my age! Actually … I'm okay with that!  I’m happy to say that I’ve lived – and loved - for 62 years! After all, the Bible says that long life is a blessing! With perhaps more wisdom acquired along the way and more goodness showered on the world around! What do you think?) Back to the topic at hand - driving and I! Those who know me are well aware that I am not a confident driver. After we moved to our new home last year, I’ve had a concern each time I drive home after a visit to the shops.
 
I have to pass through a set of traffic lights a short distance before the turn off leading to our street. It means that after I clear the lights, I need to slow down to turn left just as the traffic behind me starts to accelerate to 70 kmph. The car behind me would often be far too close for comfort—so as I’d slow down and then turn my car left, I’d breathe a prayer that the fast moving car behind me wouldn’t hit mine. After a few such prayers, I’ve enjoyed a number of mini miracles.  Often, the car behind is a good distance away. And sometimes ... there’s been no car behind me at all. Wow! What a gift! Thank you God. A reminder from my Papa that He’s got my back.
Yes, God’s got my back, so I don’t need to keep peering over my shoulder to ensure I’m safe, not only on the road, but on life’s journey as well. Isn’t that reassuring? A few days ago, as I parked at our local shopping centre, I noticed a large red four-wheel drive car was parked on my right. I knew I’d need to take care when I moved out, because the car completely blocked my vision. However … when I returned to my car twenty minutes later, I was pleased (like a toddler given an ice cream when she least expected it) to find the vehicle had disappeared. I drove out of that parking spot with a perfect view of everything around me. Thank you God. Not only did God have my back—He had every side of me covered too. What a God!
 
In fact, as I was moved towards the traffic light intersection that day, a car followed, very close to mine - too close. Would it be a risk to reckon with when I turned into our street? I heard God's whisper in my heart that I needn’t worry—the car would soon be moving to the next lane. And yes … it did move over and all was well. Hooray! I zoomed home safely with no car speeding behind me. God had me covered. On every side. God has me covered. All the time. All I need to do is ask!
It’s that busy busy season isn’t it—the season of goodwill and cheer. Sadly, it can be a tough season for many people—a season when people spend too much, eat too much, do too much, wearing stress like a heavy garment, when tempers are frayed and exhaustion mounts. It is a time when lonely people might feel extra lonely. A time when life twirls around like crazy on a treadmill that won't let up.
 
Are you tired? Are you sick of it all? Are you troubled and worn and weary? If so, this word is especially for you. From God Himself. He knows. He understands. He feels with you and for you. He came to the earth for you. To give you peace with God and peace with your neighbour. To bring you abundant life in the here and now. To bring you hope amidst the bleakness and joy amidst your shattered dreams.
Reach out to Him again this Christmas. He is waiting for you. And He loves you. Oh how He loves you! So very very much. God’s got your back covered. And your sides too. Your future. Your today. Your moments. All of them. Come to Jesus. He is the Saviour of the world. He is your Saviour and mine. No circumstance however bleak is too big for Him to handle or overturn. He is with you. 
 

He will take care of you.

 
This Christmas, may you look up and re-discover His love and His help in a way you have not experienced before. May He fulfil your heart’s deepest desires. May He walk with you through the fire. May the peace He came to give you be yours every day of the New Year.
 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, 

and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

Matthew 11:28-30

 

Beauty out of Brokenness

13/11/2019 21:46
I was heart-broken. No—I hadn’t lost a person I loved. In the big scheme of things, my loss was minute. But … I had lost something precious. When we moved to our new home last year, I had found a dear little place where I’d commune regularly with God. I’d sit there every morning in our backyard, drinking in the scene of lush vegetation that covered our tall backyard fence, delighting in its colour and beauty.
 
A large expanse of emerald leaves covered the fence. Little purple flowers dotted the rocks below with a burst of petite white flowers that danced around it, completing the picture. It was my special place to meet with my God. And ... it gave me something more. If ever I felt anxious, this little patch of beauty soothed me, so I spent time soaking in its loveliness, tucking the joy I received from it deep in my heart. It soon became medicine for my soul.
Unfortunately, my Quiet Times were rudely disrupted. Our neighbour needed access to his fence, so we had no choice but to cut down our foliage. Oh no? Oh yes. Sigh. A big one! The leaves had only grown in the past two weeks after the winter ended, and I was just beginning to enjoy them again! But now … but now, we had to cut them all down. How sad I was!
 
That evening I walked into my kitchen to get myself a drink of water. As I peeked out of the kitchen window, I was in for a surprise. An enchanting, colour-splashed rainbow  smiled at me. Rainbows are my thing! Love them! After a short while, it disappeared, but God immediately shone more beauty into my kitchen, a pink and grey sunset this time that flashed across the skies, dazzling me with its splendour. And guess what! That wasn’t all. As the sunset faded, a radiant moon arose from beyond the hills—sparkling, shining, silver, serene. It winked at me. I was mesmerised. God whispered into my waiting heart. “I know you’re sad today, Nushi. But see what I can do! Trust Me, dear one.” I smiled. “Yes, Papa,” I said “I will trust You.”
As the weeks passed by, God continued to surprise me. A stunning display of red and yellow roses greeted me from beyond my kitchen window. They clambered into my heart, filling me, like an empty flask being topped with cool refreshing water from a fresh gurgling spring. Whenever I gazed through our dining room windows, I’d view tiny pink roses and small white flowers, set against the lush green foliage left on the fence, creating a magnificent contrast. What thrilled me was that it looked much like the scene I used to enjoy in my special place … only this was better. My cup was full.
 
And here’s the thing. I didn’t have to go and sit in my garden to be filled with this beauty. I could gaze at it countless times a day—simply as I walked around my house. My heart was soothed, not only during my Quiet Time but all day long. Thank you God!
The story of Job reminds us that when tough times loom, Satan  might seem to have the upper hand, but in actual fact it’s God alone who holds the keys of the kingdom. Hallelujah! He is King. He is Lord. All the time. Even when it doesn't look like it. And just as God did for Job, one glorious day He will turn things around for you and me too. For now, we may not understand why God permits our losses and griefs, our tough seasons and our tears. But we know that this, here and now is not all there is. No, there is more. 
 
As I gazed on the chopped trees and foliage, saddened by the sight of their brokenness, I was reminded that life in the here and now comprises of brokenness. But in the midst of the barren chopped foliage, there sprouted exceptional beauty. And that’s exactly what God does. He uses broken things to bring a new beauty and blessedness into our lives. If life was always rosy, we would not even realise much we needed Him. If we did not need deliverance, how would He prove Himself as our Saviour?
Is your heart broken? Have you lost something of value? If so, I feel your pain. I am so very sorry. Last week’s horrendous bush fires here in Australia reminded us that how fleeting life is. We grieve with those who have lost so much, realising afresh how life can change in an instant. My loss was miniscule compared to those who have lost everything. Life will never be the same for them. But even as I view life in the here and now with it's sadness and broken dreams, I also cling to HOPE. I  do know with certainty that my life is but a brief moment in time. Eternity on the other hand, will last forever. Our losses will be replaced. Yes, the years the locust has taken from you will be recompensed in full, if not in this life, then in the next.
 

Be assured that God knows. God cares. He is with you. And ... as you yield to Him, 

out of your brokenness and arid places will grow something of beauty that will last forever.
 

“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:19

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being 

renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal 

weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen 

but to the things that are unseen. For what is seen are temporary, 

but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:16-18

 

 

The Place of deep JOY

17/10/2019 15:14
Two years ago, when in quest of our next home, my beloved went for numerous open inspections. His wife  however partook of the search mainly from the comfort of her computer chair—call me lazy if you like! One momentous day, as I clicked links on my computer, gazing yet again at more houses for sale, I saw one which I didn’t think was suitable. But then … I felt God’s nudge to look again, so I did! My eyes opened wide and my heart thumped loud. Shan and I went to check it out—and just one inspection was enough. We knew we need look no further.
 
Finding our Dream Home was heart-warming, but buying it was another matter! Problems abounded, assaulting us every day, like bombs being dropped over unsuspecting victims during war-time. Over the course of the next 75 days, I battled in prayer daily, using the Word of God as my ammunition. This gorgeous house was walking distance from my church, so every Sunday, I’d drive there, park opposite our Dream Home, and sit in an adjacent reserve, praying and seeking God’s heart for us.
 
A small oval encircled by trees whispered peace and God’s presence. Glowing green hills peeked at me from behind tall houses. I loved spending time there, as the autumn sun shone bright and tall gum trees hummed. It was like a second garden to our desired home, because it was only a stone’s throw away. I was certain I’d spend every morning in this God-breathed sanctuary with an open Bible and a hungry heart. But strangely enough, that did not occur.
 
Instead, I’ve spent many idyllic hours in our own little backyard, revelling in God’s company and in His creation. You see, when I frequented that little park, I had zero access to our new home, so this reserve was as close to it as I could get. But after we moved into our Dream Home—I had everything I needed right where I was, so there was no reason to look further.

We human beings seek comfort, joy, peace and meaning for our lives. Unfortunately, we often look in the wrong places—in riches or in relationships, in acquisitions or in accolades, in fame or in fortune, in good works or in golden moments. Some of them might deliver what we are seeking but they are often a far cry from what we really long for! The Word of God tells me that Christ within me—is my hope of glory. He alone is all I need.
 
Here in this beautiful home God gave us, I find countless spaces that give me joy—my little den where I write and pray in and study His Word; our dining area which overlooks a backyard that’s ablaze with pink and purple blooms; the spacious kitchen where God’s peace envelops me as I drink in the sight of verdant hills; our little garden where breezes sing to me all day and a million stars wink at me each night, the cosy patio where we enjoy the company of family and friends over a home-cooked meal, during long lazy summer days.
 
In the same way, following God’s ways brings me a deep and lasting joy. Spending time with my Father, soaking in the truth of His Word, fellowshipping with other believers, worshipping our awesome God, allowing His Spirit to lead me, caring for others, receiving forgiveness, forgiving others, enjoying the blessings life brings, being thankful no matter what, praising Him often, deepening  relationships with loved ones, overcoming adversity, trusting God, being obedient to Him—all of these are like the places in my home that I relish. These are indeed the spaces of my heart where God meets with me and nourishes me and makes me whole.
 
God is closer than I realise. Like the morning sun which sheds light and new life every day, true joy is found in Him, the Son of God whose radiance illumines the darkest night. The things of the earth rarely satisfy for too long. People are human and one day they will all pass away like riches and fame which too are here today and gone tomorrow.
I linger in the reserve nearby revelling in its loveliness. But my joy, my deepest joy comes not from any place outside, but from within my home where I am deeply content. In the same vein, when I search for a joy that’s found outside of God, it falls far short of all I yearn for. I know then what I have to do—simply turn to JESUS, to re-discover that He, He alone, is my One Secure Place of deep and lasting JOY!
 
 

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

I have told you this that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

John 15:10-11

 
 

While You were Sleeping

12/09/2019 18:54

I recently read a book titled ‘While you were sleeping. The story centred around a young woman who was engaged to be married. Sadly, on the eve of her special day, she was knocked down by a car and fell into a coma. When she woke up, the young lass assumed she’d been out of it for a brief moment. She was horrified to discover that it had not been a matter of days or even months, but that she’d been ‘sleeping’ for six long years.
 
To make matters worse, her fiancé, after several years of faithful waiting at her bedside, had fallen in love and got married to someone else. What a shock! It was a lovely story and I enjoyed it, but the ending I’d hoped for didn’t happen. I love happy endings  so I felt cheated. I’m so glad there is an Author who gets it right every single time—the Author of your story and mine. The Bible tells me that when I place my trust in Jesus as my Saviour and Lord, I can be certain that the end of my life's story will reach its perfect fairytale ending, not because of my own goodness but because of His great love. We are told that Jesus the Bridegroom is coming for His Bride, His people. It will be a glorious end to the story of the world and the remarkable beginning of the story of Eternity.

The other day, errant spring breezes had been up to mischief, stripping young maple leaves from my neighbour’s tree and tossing them all over our driveway. I started to clear them up, realising too that it was time to tackle another job I’d put off all week. I swept the maple leaves through our garage and into our back section. There’d been a large collection of other leaves over there as well, dancing around our patio. But now, as I looked to sweep them … where were they? The paving looked spanking clean.

 

I took care of it while you were sleeping, Nushi’.  God’s smile warmed me.

“You did?” I looked around me, incredulous. 

There was not even one leaf to be seen!
 

 

I always do. Didn’t you know that sweet daughter?”

 “Of course!” I smiled back at my Daddy God. 

“Thank you Papa. Thank you so very much.”

Like a cool refreshing breeze, Gods kindness enveloped me. As God’s truth seeped into my being, my spirit soared like an eagle in flight. And no, I wasn’t thanking Him for cleaning up the leaves. God knew that my heartfelt gratitude was for the assurance He gave me (through what He did that day) that He is always working for my good; even while I am ‘sleeping’. I bent down, gathered the leaves I’d collected and tossed them into our green bin. 
 
I’d been praying fervently regarding a tough circumstance I faced. In response, God had assured me through His Word that all I had to do was to keep looking at Jesus. He had also been letting me know that as I focussed on His goodness and greatness, He would fight my battles. What happened now was another poignant reminder. Yes, He does take care of my every need, even something as insignificant as the leaves that littered my patio. What a God we serve!
The Bible gives us numerous examples of how God worked in spite of circumstances. He caused a woman in her nineties have a baby, He delivered a whole nation from slavery, He made the sun and moon to stand still, He breathed fire on Elijah’s water-soaked sacrifice,  He cured a man of leprosy as he bathed in the river Jordon, He delivered Shadrack Meshach and Abednego from a fiery furnace, He saved Daniel from a den of lions, He ordered a whale to swallow Jonah so he wouldn’t drown and … I could go on and on. In fact these are but a tiny snapshot of all He did over the ages. As I turn the page over and open the New Testament, I consider all that Jesus did and I am brought to my knees in wonder, awe and praise.
 
Are you grappling with a tough situation? A difficult person? A chronic illness? A challenging season? Have you been unfairly treated? Has life thrown lemons at you? Let’s you and I look up at the face of Jesus. As we focus our attention on our mighty powerful awesome God with thanksgiving and praise, we will know that as sure as night follows day, our faithful Father will continue to take care of all our needs.

While I was sleeping God was awake.

While you were sleeping God was on your case.

As we rest in Him, He will make all things beautiful ... and in His time!

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14

 

 

Zooming Out

29/08/2019 16:03
I packed my son’s lunch before he left for work, pulling open a kitchen drawer to grab a bag for his lunch box. It was the last bag in the package, so after I removed it, I found myself holding a little cardboard cylinder. I started to turn the cylinder over in my hands—when I heard a whisper in my heart. 
Don’t throw it away—it’s a gift from Me
 
Oh? What did God mean? I took the little ‘gift’ into my den and looked through one end. Through it I spotted part of the French door that led to our kitchen and family room. I moved my head, peering inside my den this time. The picture for August on my calendar beamed at me—a scene of the night sky now viewed through a little circular frame. I looked down below it, and saw the soft head of my baby giraffe as he sat on a chair to my left. I next checked my desk and found the book I was studying during my Quiet Time: "Let God fight your battles" by Joyce Meyer.
Gazing nearer, I saw through my binoculars the small smiling man who hangs in front of me. On his chubby yellow body is inscribed ‘JESUS LOVES ME'—a great reminder that  God loves me. I looked further away and saw a good portion of my guitar as it sat on the ground waiting to be played. I looked down in front of me, seeing only a few letters of my computer keyboard—I was too close to it to see more of them. I turned my head and spotted a little keepsake that has ‘Every new day is a new start, this one in its totality, because it was little. I looked in front of me to beautiful words on LOVE that I’ve hung there—and read all of it.
 

“LOVE – Love always protects, always trusts,

always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  

1 Cor 10:7-8

 
The further away an object sat, the more opportunity I had to see the whole of it, even if the diameter of my binoculars was small. Items physically closer showed only parts of themselves—naturally. I heard God’s whisper again, this time asking me to zoom out. I removed the little ‘toy’ from my face and viewed the room. What a difference! All the bits and pieces that made up my little den joined together to make it a warm and wonderful place.
Some months ago, as I sought God’s help in facing a battle against the Enemy of our souls, God gave me six vital keys to fight with. Not least of them was the command to zoom out of my current circumstance.
 

 

Zoom out of the small picture Nushi’, God seemed to say. 

 
“Zoom out of what you think is important—your present situation, the difficulties that weigh your down, the little moment in front of you, the sadness or pain you carry today. Instead, zoom into life from My view. What’s really important. Eternity. My love for you, which never fails. Heaven’s values as opposed to earth’s. See the big picture, Nushi. The real one; the lasting one.”
I loved the lesson. Now here He was, re-iterating its importance through my cardboard toy. As I focussed my mind on things above, the little moments filled with anxiety slipped away. As I began to see my life as God saw it, I discovered that what I was griping about was not worth the trouble. As I focussed on the face of Jesus, His glory and grace overshadowed all else—an  enchanting rainbow brightening a dark world, splashing its surrounds in shimmering splendour.
 

Today, do you need to zoom out of your circumstances?

Do you need to zoom instead into the face of Jesus?  

Do you need to gaze on life as God sees it through fresh eyes of faith, hope and love?

 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, 

who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

 

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. 

 
 

Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up and be alert to what's going on around Christ - that's where the action is.

 

See things from His perpective."  Col 3:1-3 (TPT)

 
 

Waiting

17/08/2019 17:06

It was a joy to catch up with a friend recently at my favourite bookshop in the city. The hours disappeared in a flash as we sipped steaming mugs of tea and coffee, catching up on each other’s lives. When it was lunch-time I chose my favourite meal there—a hot chicken roll with sweet chillie sauce. Yum. It has never failed to satisfy me, just as my special friendship with Melissa has never failed to bless me. Later, we hugged each other goodbye, my soul richer for having spent that time together.
 
After a happy browse in the bookshop, I reached the bus stand energised. I discovered that my bus would be there any moment—a glad surprise! I stood there expectantly, ready to hail it, but the moments ticked by and no bus came. With a sigh, I sat down on a bench nearby and checked my purchases, my heart thumping with delight as I scanned the books I'd soon dip into. I then got up to check how long I had to wait for the next bus. This time, even before I could reach the real-time screen, my bus turned up. Hooray! I hopped on, found my favourite seat and sat down, smiling. My wait was over.
How do you manage life’s waiting seasons? Are you able to relax and go with the flow? Or do you find it too taxing? I remember peering down the highway of life when I was young, tapping my fingers till Mr Right arrived but he seemed to take forever. I was a ripe old 26 years old when he did—my first and only boyfriend who soon turned into fiancé then husband. It seemed a long wait at the time, but during that wonderful season I’d enjoyed learning what it meant to do life with Jesus. I’d also made many precious friendships, adding layer upon layer of joy into my being, like a delicious multi-layered cake.
 
When my beloved and I went to England as newlyweds, finding myself a job seemed to take forever. My husband was a student so we desperately needed the money. Consequently, my eight month job-hunt felt like eight difficult years. Now I look back and smile - I had a lot to learn then. I still have much to learn. Decades later, I continue to wait on God for other promises to be fulfilled. He knows it takes a great deal to make someone like me more patient, for my soul to grow, for my character to be refined.
Yes, I’ve discovered that my waiting periods have a purpose. I’ve learnt that God’s not a genie who's there to do my bidding. I've learnt that this faith walk is one to be grasped and lived out one day at a time. I've learnt that He asks me to trust Him completely.  Recently, when praying with a friend, God reminded me of a special request that has been on my heart for 28 long years. My friend had a word of knowledge for me—a perfect gift from our Father. As she prayed with conviction, my present day angst fell away, a heavy winter coat slipping off my shoulders, because now with eyes of faith I saw as God saw. Her words had the Spirit’s anointing and God’s truth transformed me, like autumn rains that filled a dry parched creek.
 
Are you waiting on God for His answers? You can trust Him. We don’t always understand His ways but we do know that His heart is good. God’s nature is love so we can be sure that our waiting periods will bear good fruit as we lean on Him. In fact waiting seasons are often growing seasons and the rewards only experienced later. Don’t forget—He who calls you is always faithful. May God give you hope, strength and courage to look ahead with eyes of faith. And as you wait, may you be transformed into His likeness, the likeness of Jesus.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, 

are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, 

which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18

 
 

Spelling Matters

01/08/2019 21:30

I tried to send a message to an acquaintance, but I couldn’t find her text messages on my phone. I then checked my contact list, but her name seemed to have disappeared from there as well. Hmmm. A bit later … I picked up my phone to send an sms to another friend, but her name was not in my phone either. Had all my contacts been erased? A few minutes of focused reflection brought me the answer. I’d apparently spelt their names wrong—using an ‘a’ when I should have typed an ‘e’. I’d looked for “Marilyn” when my acquaintance’s name was “Merilyn”. Silly me.
 
Is spelling important? Of course, it is. You and I know that. Do you spell names correctly? But no, I’m not talking of the letters of the alphabet anymore. I’d like to think I spell another’s name right when I show her respect. When I listen to her. I spell her name correctly by not making hasty judgements. By hearing what she doesn’t say. I spell her name the way it should be spelt by trying to understand her point of view. By being kind.
Take today for instance. While doing my grocery shopping, I passed by a certain check-out lady. She glared at me, then turned the other way. Rejection streamed in, creating a sad pool in my heart. A few years ago, I’d made friends with this lady seeking to bless her, because her life was difficult. At first all went well and we’d meet often to catch up. But one Christmas, I sent her a gift of $20 in her Christmas card to buy herself a present. Who would have known that such an act could be so badly misconstrued? She didn’t want me as a friend any more. I don’t think she knew how to spell my name—she didn’t know my heart. Perhaps I didn't know how to spell her name either?
 
But there were also other interactions today, first with an older lady who regularly serves me at the meat counter. She never fails to flash a bright smile at me. She treats me as if I were royalty. Today, her kindness made my heart sing. The next encounter I had was with another young checkout girl who chatted to me as if I was an old friend. I was glad to discover that she is a Christian and that she worships at my church. What a small world! A fountain of joy bubbled up in my heart as we talked. Both these ladies spelt my name aright.
It happened last week as well. I was on my way to the city, and when I reached my bus stand, I spotted a young lad standing there. When the bus arrived, I moved aside so that he could get onto the bus—after all, he’d reached the halt first. But … he signalled me to go first. I was warmed by his kind gesture.
 
Once inside the bus, I took my seat and got out my prayer diary and my mp3 player. Feeling hot inside the heated bus, I left the two items on the seat beside me while I removed my jacket. A moment later, now cooler and less encumbered, I looked for them. The prayer diary was where I’d left it but not my mp3 player. I peered here and I peered there, but all to no avail. It wasn’t near my feet. Could it have fallen behind me? I turned my head, and was glad to see it lying on the ground behind—it would have dropped through a gap in my seat.
I couldn’t reach it—contorting my body didn’t help and manoeuvring my arm through the small space wasn’t a good idea. Not feeling too safe to walk in a moving bus, I hesitated, but a lady seated two rows behind me, moved immediately to the seat behind. It wasn’t easy for her to reach my mp3 player, but after exerting some effort, she retrieved it for me. For the second time that day I was moved by the kindness of a stranger.
 
I thanked her profusely and prayed much blessing over her in my heart. That lady spelt my name correctly. She spoke words of life over me by her actions. In fact, both people I encountered last week and the two life giving folk at the shops today spelt my name perfectly—by being gracious and kind.

The strange thing is that … not one of the four knew my name!

 

Whose name will you spell correctly today?

Be kind and compassionate to one another.

forgiving each other, just as God in Christ

forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

 
 

Undressing for the King

11/07/2019 15:58
When I was young, I was blessed with a shock of wavy black hair which was easy to manage. But then … I grew up, got old, even older … and keeping my hair well-groomed was like growing exotic colourful blooms in the height of a cold dark winter. The masses of hair I once boasted of dwindled. Thick hair turned thin. I was told that blow-drying hair damages it, so I had to stop the practice. I discovered though, that if I had a shower last thing at night, my straggly mop of thinning hair would retain some of its bounce and would be fairly presentable in the daytime.
 
So for many years I’ve been enjoying a bedtime shower—it kept my hair in some kind of shape. Until recently that is. Lately, I’d be aghast each morning to find my hair sticking out in all directions, like a crow’s nest pulled apart in a storm. It was so embarrassing when I had to go out and meet people! No amount of brushing or combing helped—not even when I smoothed those disobedient tresses with oil and water. Drastic measures were needed!
So … I thought up a new plan. I continue to have my bedtime showers, but do NOT wet my hair at night anymore. Instead, I have an additional morning shower three times a week, blow-drying my hair afterwards. At long last, my hair looks combed—at least most of the time. Whew. Thank you God. My beloved needs the use of the shower in the mornings, so I wait to wave him off to work before I get under the shower. Which means I need to dress (in several layers because it’s winter), perform my morning chores, then undress later (out of all those layers), have my shower and dress again (in all those layers) once more. 

What a lot of dressing and undressing!

 
But …I’ve found a way to make it all worth my while. God’s been asking me to make worship a way of life. What better use of my morning routine then, than to incorporate worship as a big part of it? When I undress before my shower, God calls me to strip my heart from all the stained apparel it has on—pride, anxiety, worry, self-will and the like. He asks that I stand naked before Him in my spirit, empty of all pretense. And then, as I worship Him in the shower, singing praise songs at the top of my voice, His blood washes my soul and spirit and cleanses me from deep within. 

What a great start to my day!

When I put on layers of clothing afterwards, God asks me to put on Christ. He hands me my new nature—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self control. He also reminds me to put on the armour of Christ so I can fight the powers of darkness—His breastplate of righteousness, shoes that proclaim the gospel of peace, the helmet of salvation, a belt of truth around my waist, the shield of faith held firm to keep away darts of the enemy. And in my hands I brandish the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.
 
When did you last undress for the King? What did that feel like? And what did you put on to replace it? Let’s pursue our faithful loving God, laying aside all that hinders our walk with Him. Let’s make worship, praise and thanksgiving a way of life which resounds to His glory!

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, 

clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, 

gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love, 

which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12,14

 

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling 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

 
 

When Grace Surprises

14/06/2019 15:43
I saw the postman arrive as I left home and I drove off without another thought. When I returned few hours later, mulch and sand tarnished our once clean driveway. I shook my head. The postman must have messed it up! He usually drives by our letter box, pops the mail in, then drives out again, the back wheel of his motorbike scattering dirt, leaving a muddy mess behind. I went to our mail box to collect what he had left for us, but to my surprise it was empty. That’s strange! I looked again. Nope. Nothing there—nothing at all!
 
The next morning, when I opened our front door, two pigeons strutted around purposefully in our yard. They dug the ground with their beaks, throwing mulch hither and thither. Ah! That explained it! I should have known better than to jump to premature conclusions! And truth be told, it wouldn’t be the first time I’d blamed an innocent party. For instance, there was a day I couldn’t find my pair of nail scissors. I was in a hurry to leave home for an appointment. I checked the drawer where I kept it but it wasn’t there. I shoved aside an umbrella, our sewing kit and a few other odds and ends but no, there was no sign of what I was looking for. Shan must have used it, I thought. I went to his bedside cupboard and checked his drawers one by one. Not there either. Grrr.
It was then I remembered. The day before, I’d taken my brush, perfume, scissors and lipstick to my son’s bathroom. I was going to church early that day. My hard-working husband  caught up on his sleep during the weekends and I knew I’d disturb him if I used the mirror of our ensuite. Now, I ran to my son’s bathroom, opened the draw under the mirror and voila! The little nail scissors sat patiently, waiting to be found. I hung my head in shame.
 
I’m sure there must be plenty of occasions over the years when I’ve blamed my husband or son for a misdemeanour when in reality the blame lay squarely on my shoulders. Thankfully, I have not received my just deserts. My sins and foibles have usually been met with forgiveness and grace - from God and from others. Even when I least deserved it. Especially when I least deserved it.
 

 

A few months ago, I did the unthinkable—I reversed into a pole at the shopping centre. In an horrifying instant, my car’s back windscreen was shattered; the parking lot strewn with hundreds of glass shards. I could not believe what I had done! I phoned my husband with trembling fingers, and he came at once; bless him. After some deliberation, we went home to get our broom, dustpan and brush and returned to the scene where my beloved helped me clear up the mess. I felt terrible—not just at the unexpected accident, but also that it had occurred during Shan’s long-deserved Easter break. It meant that instead of relaxing the next day as he’d hoped to do, he now had to fill insurance forms, make phone calls and take our car to the garage. I had spoilt his holiday! My beloved man was truly amazing—he assured me that it was OK and he comforted me.
I was so grateful that Shan lavished my undeserving heart with grace. His kindness in not making a big deal in what actually WAS a big deal blessed me immensely. Grace often walks in where it is needed, shedding light into our darkness. God Himself lavished us with grace through the death and resurrection of His only Son. If that wasn’t grace in all its fullness what is? God’s grace is the key that unlocks our fettered lives so we can walk out of our self-made prisons in freedom, gratitude and joy.
 
So … what does God expect of me as I deal with the sins, failures and mistakes of others? I can make a big deal out of my neighbour’s actions when he sins against me. Or … I can, as one sinner to another, shower him with grace. After all, God pours His grace over me every day. And grace begets grace. Every time.

 

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has

 a grievance against someone. 

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 

 
 
 
 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds 

them all together in perfect unity. 

Colossians 3:13-14

 
 

To whom can I extend a garland of grace today?

 

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