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What is your View of God?

14/09/2018 17:06
I often drive to a street nearby, park at the end of it, then wander down to one of my favourite places.Tall gum trees whisper secrets to each other. A bold breeze stirs. Gravel crunches under my sneakers as I walk towards my happy place. I stop, I breathe in the sights and sounds. The sun warms my skin. Ducks swim ahead, gliding effortlessly. I lift up my eyes to heaven and thank God for the wonder of His world. Peace surrounds me. All is well.
 
A few weeks ago, I strolled around the lake, finding with surprise that every spot afforded a different view. In one place, there was mud and shallow water, in another I saw ducks waddling by the water’s edge, and moving eagerly into the lake. In a different area was a vast expanse of blue, shimmering as the sun’s rays caused jewelled flashes that blinded my eyes. Another spot was hidden and offered a log for me to sit on. In yet another area there were countless trees blocking my view so I couldn’t see the water beyond. I even found a desolate spot where the trees were browned and dying and no grass grew—had there been a fire?
Amazing! The lake was just one place. But that one place had a myriad different faces.
 
As I gazed on each of those dissimilar views in turn, truth shone bright within me like the sun’s rays at break of dawn. How we perceive a person or place is dependent on our perspective. When life is good, it’s easy to believe in a loving God. But when life is challenging, the truth of who God is, is too often swallowed up by our negative experiences and emotions. 

 

Actually, I'd say that our view of God changes many times as we journey through life. 

But do we see Him as He really is?

This past week I went through a minor crisis of faith as my ongoing battle with fibromyalgia  reached a new high and my suffering became intense. Pain screamed in my ears so loudly that my perception of God was bruised by its strident tones. “Where are you God?” I pleaded. “I can’t bear this pain Lord. Please help me.” But God was silent and I was crushed. My view of His goodness, His compassion, His love and His power was distant due to my discomfort, like a large imposing wall which blocked the view of a flaming beautiful sunset.
 
God did not heal me. Neither did He respond. I cried for a long while, being sucked into a current of despair. I went to bed that night wrapped in a torn blanket of ragged emotions. Where was God? Why did He not respond to my cry for help when His Word promises He would?
The next morning God wooed me into my garden. As I sat down, cuppa in hand, He turned springtime’s button on. The world began to celebrate with bright splashes of colour and joyful tunes. Purple, orange, yellow and white blooms danced to the sound of the breezes. The sky was adorned with crisscross patterns made by white cotton clouds. I sat mesmerised, and His peace gently settled into my bones. It was then … that God finally spoke.

“He has made everything beautiful in His time." Ecclesiastes 3:11

 
 
A few moments later He spoke again. A second time. Soft. Distinct. Personal. 
 

"I make all things beautiful at the right time, Nushi. Didn't you know?"

 

I heard Him and looked around me. My garden, awoken from its wintry slumbers was ablaze with the truth, A creeper formally  bereft of leaves laughed at my surprise. “Look at me” it said. I did, fascinated. Tiny green leaves sprouted all over the once-dead creeper. Yes, God was making all things beautiful in His time and I was privy to His awesome secret. A butterfly darted from flower to flower, drunk in springtime joy. “Be like that butterfly.” God whispered to my heart. “Live. Trust. Be joyful. Because ... I make all things beautiful in My Time”.

So now … nothing has changed. But everything has

 

If I had not believed in God before, this experience would have turned me into a believer. Instantly. Because it was one of the happiest days of my life. Yes. My health is still a battle. Yes, pain still prods me often like a rude uninvited guest trying to have her way. God hasn’t healed me … yet. But as sure as the day follows night, I know with fresh assurance that His love for me is abundant. Abundant even in the midst of pain. Scripture tells me who He really is. Memories of His faithfulness echo that same truth in a voice louder and more powerful than my pain. 
 
When life is good (and I enjoy the beauty around me) I can trust Him completely.
But … even when trees obscure the view of the lake (and Him), I know it (and He) is there. When the ground is parched and the leaves are brown, I can still know His reality. Feelings might distort my vision. Circumstances might block my view. But the Truth remains. God is God, no matter what. Holy, compassionate, full of mercy, love, acting on my behalf, generous, majestic, powerful. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
 
When I walk around my lake I can choose what I focus on—the arid places or the lush green ones, the burnt grass that speak death or the rippling waters that speak life. I can focus on pain or feast on His goodness, concentrate on my feelings, or the truth of His Word, dwell on negative circumstances or the knowledge that He will work it all out for my good, think about my present trials or focus on Eternity which He promises to all who love Him.
What is your view of God? Has it been submerged under life’s hard places? Let me encourage your heart dear friend and lift you up. God hasn’t finished with me yet. He hasn’t finished with you either.
 

He makes all things beautiful in His time.

Let's trust Him.

 

“He has also set eternity in the hearts of men."

Ecclesiastes 3:11

 
 

Are You Ready?

30/08/2018 16:58
Confession time—I often struggle with being on time, especially in the early mornings. The other day I was looking forward to catching up with a friend at my favourite bookshop in the city. I got up at 6.30—three whole hours before my 9.32 bus. I'd planned to leave by 9.25 giving me four minutes to get to the bus stop with a few minutes to spare. As I stuffed my mp3 player into my bag and got out my senior’s bus pass, I was sure I was making good time. However, a glance at my watch revealed otherwise. It was already 9.30. Oh no! Too late.
 
The next bus would  take another 15 minutes to arrive but I’d still be in time for my date. So … should I wait at home and leave six minutes before the bus as I’d usually do?  On reflection, I decided that it was better to leave immediately, and wait at the bus stand rather than at home, because I couldn’t risk missing the next bus as well. I enjoyed a walk along our lovely scenic pathway, breathing in the cool fresh morning air. There was no need to hurry because for once, I had plenty of time. The sun greeted me with a cheery hello as it splashed my face with its warmth. Birds chirped excitedly. Trees murmured their blessings as I passed by and winter’s green garb refreshed me. As I got close to the main road, I hesitated. Should I go for a little walk first? But something (or Someone?) made me change my mind.
What if I would miraculously catch that 9.32 bus after all? What if? I lengthened my stride. The first inkling that my miracle was on its way was when I spotted someone seated at my bus stop across the road. My heart thumped a little faster as my footsteps quickened. I reached the main road and looked to my left. Lo and behold … there it was—a large yellow bus moving purposefully  towards my halt. With a whoop of delight, I scampered across the road as fast as I could. Panting, I arrived at the bus stop …just in time. My miracle had occurred! Hooray!
 
The ride to the city was all it promised, with the bus track across gurgling streams and lush green foliage and my soul was richer for it. As I got closer to my destination, I picked up my phone and got busy sending a few urgent text messages. That done, I put my phone away, ready to get up to leave the bus. That’s when I got my second surprise of the morning. The road looked totally unfamiliar. Where was I? Had the bus taken a different route? Surely I hadn’t missed my halt?
I had! Panic rose within me like the rising tide. Breathe Anusha. Breathe! I called my husband at once, declaring I was well and truly lost. His soothing response calmed me at once. My wonderful man quickly told me where I was and how to get back. (Isn’t he amazing?) I had planned to be 15 minutes early. Now, I would be 10 minutes late! I texted my friend to let her know and walked hurriedly to my destination. I scurried into the café, breathless and full of apologies. But … my friend was nowhere to be seen. I called her but she didn’t pick up. Oh dear. I checked Facebook and discovered she’d tried calling me via Facebook but I don’t have FB Messenger on my phone, so I hadn’t heard it.
 
Ten minutes later, my friend turned up. She too had had a stressful time getting there, finding it hard to find a place to park her car. One digit in the mobile number I had for her was incorrect—which was why she didn’t pick up when I called or respond to my text messages. The interesting truth was that if I had got off at the right bus halt—I may have actually have given up waiting for her after 20 minutes and moved on, so my getting off at the wrong halt was actually a good thing. Another miracle really—that we both did meet up after the hassle we both had encountered in getting there. We had a refreshing time together and God warmed our hearts.
Sometimes, God has a miracle for me but I’m not looking for it so I miss it. Sometimes I am unaware that circumstances not going according to plan could be God working His purposes for my good. Sometimes I don’t listen to His voice and lose out on what to do and how to reach His best for my life.
 

Am I walking in the light so I would hear from God today?

Am I surrendered and ready for what He’s about to do?

Am I positioned for what God wants to work in and through my life today?

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

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

strengthened in the faith as you were taught, 

and overflowing with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6,7

 

 

Listening Matters

17/08/2018 16:03
It had been a long day and I was exhausted. I rested for a short while before I began to cook dinner, but my body still felt unspeakably weary. To distract myself from my body's screeches, I pulled out my mp3 player (which I told you about in my last blog) and was soon lost in “A Lifelong Love”, a non-fiction audio book by Gary Thomas, about building a great marriage. I’d really enjoyed it the first time. Now, God was challenging me to absorb its truths a second time. I thought it would be a good idea to take down the questions given at the end of each chapter to reflect on and learn from.
 
So every time I reached the end of a chapter, I'd wipe my hands dry and scuttle off to my den to type out the discovery questions being shared. The first three times all was hunky dory, but as I pressed play after typing the fourth lot of questions, there was a problem. No voice boomed in my ears, no teaching sounded, sharing another helpful aspect of what constituted a perfect marriage. Hmmm. I cranked the volume up. Loud. Still nothing. Oh dear. Was it broken? I stood up dismayed. 
 
It was then I made my big discovery.
I’d forgotten to put the ear buds into my ears. Oops! I chuckled … then laughed out loud. What a relief that my mp3 player wasn’t broken after all. I went back to cooking and listening to Gary Thomas’ wise words. Later, I wondered how many times I was guilty of not putting on my listening ears in order to pay attention to family and friends.
 
I usually love listening to others. In fact, I think it’s one of my God given callings in life—to listen to people, to really listen—to help them feel better about themselves and about life as they share. Most of the time, I hope I do it well. But … there have been occasions when I have failed. I have sometimes tuned out of my son's lengthy babblings when he was little and he was a nonstop chatterbox. There are times when I have been struggling with an issue or battling ill-health and my concentration has not been all it should be as I listened to others.
Listening matters. Doesn’t it? I feel blessed when someone (often my beloved) listens to me with understanding, giving me his full attention. I feel heard.  I feel validated. I feel loved. But even now—at 60 years of age, when you’d think I’d be an expert at it with all the practice I’ve had (for over six decades of paying attention to others), listening well is still something I need to work on.
 
 
I read a story about a lad, (let’s call him Frank), who prayed every day that God help him get a Bible. The shops in his country didn’t stock them so he needed Divine Intervention. Nothing happened ... at first. For days. For weeks. For months. Didn’t God hear his prayer? Actually, God had instructed a believer to take a Bible to Frank. Sadly, this man hadn’t obeyed God for a long while. So Frank was kept waiting! And waiting ... and waiting! It made me realise that if God asks me to care for someone and I don’t obey, the job may not get done. Sometimes God might not have a plan B! Scary isn’t it?
 
How often do I listen to someone half-heartedly with my mind on my own concerns? How often do I listen instead with all my heart, spirit and mind in order to bless and serve? How often do I remember to put on those listening ears when God desires to commune to me? How often do I open His Word and listen intently to what He seeks to share with me?
Does listening matter? Absolutely. Let me love well by listening well. Let me listen to my spouse today. To my child. To my friend. To my neighbour. To the stranger on the street who desires to connect with me. To the person in need. To God Himself. Let me listen with my heart in order to hear, obey, bless and build God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
 

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

 “My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen closely to my words … 

for they are life to those who find them.” Proverbs 4:20, 22

 

Be Still

03/08/2018 16:10
Many years ago, when I longed for extra spiritual nourishment, a wise friend suggested I buy an mp3 player so I'd be able to listen to sermons and audio books with ease. My first response was that I hated sticking anything into my ears! But … on further reflection, I realised I could buy headphones which covered my ears rather than ear buds that went inside them. A few weeks later, my beloved gave me the perfect gift for our wedding anniversary—a lovely little mp3 player. I was thrilled. And oh the sustenance and joy I’ve received through it!
 
Best of all, mindless chores don’t bore me any longer—as my hands get busy with a task, my soul feasts on scrumptious spiritual delicacies. I love it. A few weeks ago, I was shocked to witness the sudden demise of my wonderful mp3 player. A search on the internet revealed that mp3s are not fashionable any more—phones seem to have replaced them. I was desperate to get another. What to do?
 
My son had an extra Creative Zen I could use. Hooray! Problem solved. I immediately downloaded audio books and CD’s into it and have been enjoying it to my heart’s content. My new player is similar to what I owned before, but while my old player came on instantly,  I had to keep pressing the ‘on’ button many times in this one in order to turn it on. One day, after I pressed the on switch, I got busy with another task for a few moments. What a surprise to find that my player did come on soon enough without my aiding the process. So apparently, all that extra pressing was completely unnecessary! Fancy that! I only needed a little patience!
In this digital age, we often demand quick responses and don’t like to be kept waiting. You and I have forgotten what it is to be still. What does it mean to be still before God in prayer? Does it mean that I only pray once about a need and then leave it to God? In Luke 18, though, Jesus tells His disciples a parable of a widow who kept coming to a judge till he finally gave in—a story about persevering in prayer. In my own experience too I have discovered that God asks me to keep pressing on in prayer for needs of the world and the needs of my family.
 
What then does it mean to ‘Be still’ as we come before Him? Perhaps it means that we remember that only God can make a difference to the situation we are praying about. When I am still before Him, I acknowledge His Lordship; I give Him total freedom to bestow His answer in His way and His time. It’s not my pressing the ‘God button a dozen times that summons God’s help. No—He is working on my behalf even before I cry out to Him. He is always in control, even if evidence seems to point to the contrary. All my efforts won’t make His answers arrive faster. But when I pray in dependence on Him, with thanksgiving, my trust in Him grows and deepens. Perhaps what God expects of me is to pray once about it—then, to thank Him often in faith for His answers that will arrive at His appointed time. After all, prayer is more about developing a love relationship with God more than anything else.
The book of James reminds us that our well made plans often will go awry unless they are  part of God’s purpose for us. Perhaps being still means coming to Him first—before I make my plans—so  that I can hear Him and follow His lead. Perhaps being still is allowing God to have His God-hat on? Perhaps being still is knowing that without His Presence in my life I can do nothing of value or significance. Perhaps being still is learning an inward stillness or finding a peace that nothing could destroy?
 
 
Is God calling you to ‘Be still’ today?

Are you up to the challenge?

“Be still before the Lord  and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:4

 

 

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

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

 
 
 

My Neighbour's Tree

14/07/2018 21:06
My beloved and I are enjoying this new season of our lives, in a home that’s just right for us. It’s set amidst a maze of meandering walking trails and lush foliage, with views of distant hills which eagerly beckon us. We delight in our little garden, its flat driveway and the picturesque views that surround us. We drink in the sunrises and moonrises from our kitchen window with a song in our hearts. Thank you God for blessing us far more than we deserve.
 
Walking the length of our home umpteen times a day keeps my feet moving and the blood in my veins pumping.  In this larger home I get far more exercise than I did before, just by performing my routine chores. I’m glad because I need to lose weight so perhaps having extra work is actually an answer to prayer? I think my health is better for it too. My trusty broom has a greater space now to dance in—with my help of course. But … have you noticed, that like prickly thorns on a rosebush, blessings sometimes arrive with a challenge or two attached? I discovered one such snag at the start of autumn. Our front yard boasts no tree but our neighbour’s garden does—a large lovely maple tree that stands tall. Its leaves scatter each autumn creating a crunchy carpet at its base.
Unfortunately our driveway is in line with my neighbour’s tree. It means that when the autumn breezes tug at its leaves, the dead leaves come rushing down to take residence on our squeaky clean driveway. So each morning when I step outdoors to wave goodbye to my man, I find leaves strewn over it—like large sized brown confetti adorning the path of a bridal couple. It means my garden broom receives a turn to compete with my house broom. As I sweep the leaves, I’d often give a few disdainful glances at THE tree—sighing over the leaves still present, wishing I could stop their arrival in my little patch.
 
One day as I swept the leaves, I stopped. I looked. And then … it dawned on me. Instead of being annoyed by the extra work the tree gave me, I decided I should simply enjoy it. Immediately there was a shift. I began to look at it with new eyes as if I had put on a new pair of glasses.

And that made all the difference.

 
The beautiful maple tree soon gave me immense pleasure as I gazed upon its loveliness. 
 
There are moments in all our lives when our ‘neighbours’ annoy us in different ways. Relationships are complex. Stuff happens. People irritate me. Their actions might make me growl. Misunderstandings occur. But … there’s a moment of decision if I seek it. I can choose to look with eyes of grace at my neighbour and her tree. With eyes of love. To accept the bad with the good. To see beyond the difficulties into something wholesome. Even beautiful! After all, my neighbour probably needs to do the same with me!
 
Is there a “neighbour” in your life who causes you angst? What would God ask you to do today? Forgive him? Accept her faults? See the good amidst the bad? Is your “neighbour’s tree” shedding untidy leaves on your life today? Do you sigh and mope when it occurs, just as I did? Perhaps the way forward may be through acceptance of him, with the good, the bad and the ugly? The grace of God is available to us every moment of every day. Would you extend it to your neighbour? Would I?

Come on. Let’s do it.

 

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

with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 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 3:11-14

 

 

Every Single Day

28/06/2018 17:47
Outlook is a dandy program for sending emails. I enjoy creating numerous different folders to categorise and store my messages. I like it that its emails are not bunched together because stand-alone emails are much easier for me to deal with. Its Calendar is brilliant, reminding me of appointments well ahead of time (provided I remember to put them in, of course)! Yes, Outlook is my first and best choice in email-writing and my life’s simpler for it.
 
When my beloved bought me a brand new computer last year, I had to change from an old version of Outlook to a newer one. But … as it often happens, I ran into a little snag. Every few days, I was forced to manually change the default font I use in my emails, three times over. I wasn’t happy with that but what’s a girl to do? Well, it only could get better, right? Wrong. A week ago, I discovered that Outlook had decided to annoy me further. I found I now have to change the default font each time I start my computer. Hmm! Did the program inventors think I was bored and needed a distraction?
Yes now, (in case you didn't get that) I have to change it every single day. Or else, I will be stuck with the colour and font chosen by Outlook. Not happy! Not happy at all. But then … there are other habits I should cultivate and work on every single day aren't there? I need to spend time with Jesus, saturate myself in the promises of His Word and seek intimacy with Him every single day. Being an occasional believer isn’t sufficient. I need to surrender to Him who loves me when I wake up every morning. I need to make a choice to listen to His still small voice and to obey Him. Every single day.
 
Satan doesn’t have a day off so he needs resisting every single day. I need to stand against his wiles and temptations. Every single day. As St Paul informs us in Ephesians 6, I must wear the breastplate of righteousness, have my feet fitted with the shoes of the gospel of peace, put on my helmet of salvation, hold the shield of faith to withstand Satan’s arrows, take up the Sword of the Spirit, (God’s Word) to fight him when he advances. Every single day.
Simply hoping I will grow as a person without intention or seeking times of reflection won’t help me. I need to read books that will feed my spirit, spend time with those who encourage my walk with God, give ear to wise counsel, allow God to change me as I open myself to His Holy Spirit. A lifetime can pass in the blink of an eye, so I need to ensure I am consistent every single day.
 
Blessing my family is a choice I must make daily—to love them in practical ways, to sacrifice my time to serve them, to be there for them every single day. Choosing to enrich the lives of those whom I encounter is needed, not just on days I feel good but also on days I don’t. Love doesn’t depend on the weather or my feelings. Love is a result of my being filled with His Spirit every single day. Daily choices will lead me to the person I become and the kind of life I will live. My life has to be lived wisely, every single day.

 

But ... in case it all sounds too much, let me encourage you.

 
We have a God who is with us every single day. (Heb 13:5)

He is also for us every single day. (Romans 8:31)

His love is available every hour, every moment, every single day. (Psalm 103:17)

He died and rose again to give us life abundant for our every single day.  (John 10:10)

Life’s not a quick sprint; instead, it's a long marathon to be run with purpose, hope, strength and courage. Let me not reach the end of my journey with a heart filled with regret. 

 

Life is too short not to seek be wise and loving, good and kind, every single day. 

Life is too precious not to aim to become the person He has created me to be. Every single day.
 

So … let me choose Jesus and His ways, let me choose the life He asks of me.

 Every Single Day.

"Therefore my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give 

yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour 

in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Cor 15:58

 

Life is a Treasure Hunt

15/06/2018 19:31
Every morning, I put on my favourite worship music as I prepare to enter into God’s presence. Music draws me closer to Him, it adjusts my heart’s spiritual thermostat warm enough so I can hear Him. A few days ago, I found that the plastic cover of a set of CD’s I prized was cracked and broken. Time then to find a new home for them. I’d collected several empty CD covers last year while packing boxes to move house and had kept them safe for such a time as this. But now that I needed them … where were they? I had no idea.  
 
Oh well, I would hunt for them later. I opened a drawer in my den to get the box of chocolates I’d placed there (a gift to a friend). But oh dear! There was no sign of it. I tried the other eight drawers in the unit until I found it—and guess what – it was in the original drawer I’d looked in after all. I’m happy to say that my hunt through the those eight drawers had not been in vain. One of the them contained a bunch of CDs. Oh? Could my CD covers be in there? They were. Eureka! Three perfect plastic covers presented themselves to house my precious CDs. And without even my searching for them. Wow! Thank you God.
Life’s like a Treasure Hunt don’t you think? We’re constantly on the lookout for goodies that enhance our lives—spouses, houses, careers, money, children, jewellery, cars … and that's just for a start! It’s interesting though that the treasure we find is often not the treasure we seek. Or the treasure we’ve found is a by-product of seeking other treasures. Know what I mean?
 
When my son was 1 year old, I missed being part of a  Christian ministry. I sought God about it and soon, He led me to begin a support group for mums and toddlers. Two years into that beautiful season, my son faced challenges at his pre-school. We home schooled him as we searched high and low for the right kind of setting for him. A friend at Mum and Me told me about a little pre-school with an exceptional teacher who had a very small class of students. It was just what Asela needed and he thrived there.
The little snippet of information was treasure. It was found not by looking for it. No. It was simply a by-product of my obedience to God. If I hadn't started Mum and Me, I would not have found it because I would not have known the new friend who shared it with me. That wonderful truth encourages me—even now, over 25 years on, as it reminds me that Obedience is the way to live this Christian life. Jesus commands us in Matthew’s gospel not to store treasures on earth that are easily destroyed. He asks us instead to store treasures in heaven. I must admit that I have sometimes pursued earthly treasures in place of heavenly ones. God has gently prodded me then… reminding me where my joy comes from. Not from possessions, people or places but from God Himself. He is my Treasure.
 
When I follow Him in sincerity of heart, I find new riches. I reach out to help another and find my own emotional tank is topped up. I sacrifice my time, treasures or talents to bless another and discover that I’ve grown in maturity and learnt how to love. I forgive one who hurt me and find peace in my soul. I spend time with Jesus and He gives me deep joy. I give away something I value to someone who needs it and soon wear the golden crown of contentment. Yes, the treasures we unearth from our walk with the Lord are priceless.
The Word of God is the best Treasure Map I know. In it, I find riches beyond compare, a road that leads to life, guidance on how to travel that path, magnificent promises that enlarge my boundaries, life in all its fullness. 
 

What kind of treasures are you seeking today? And what kind of treasures have you discovered? I’d love to hear about them. Wishing for you the kind of treasure that will bring lasting joy into your life and into the lives of those you love.

 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, 

he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” 

Matthew 13:44

 
 

“The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; He will be the sure foundation for your 

 your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of

 the Lord is the key to this treasure.” Isaiah 33:5,6

“I will give you hidden treasures,  riches stored in secret places, so that you 

may know that I am the Lord,  the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” 

Isaiah 45:3

 

 

The Inside Matters Most

01/06/2018 16:17

My kitchen needs a decent stock of curry leaves to complete it. The said curry leaves come from what we Sri Lankans call ‘a Karapincha tree’. The curries that bubble merrily on my stove are made more delicious by this magic ingredient. In fact, numerous health benefits are attributed to this unique plant which grows in abundance in Sri Lanka.
 
Here in Adelaide, on our regular trips to the Sri Lankan Spice shop I ensure that I stock up on curry leaves. I put them into an airtight container which I keep in the fridge. When I prepare a meal, a few leaves are washed and added to each dish, tempered in a little olive oil together with sliced onions and garlic. But I often find that the lid of the plastic box is covered in a watery mist because the leaves must be emitting water when they ‘breathe’. The problem though is that those little liquid droplets fall back on the leaves. Leaves which are ‘rained on’ grow black, losing their lovely green freshness.
The other day I wondered if I should remove all the brown and black leaves which lay on the surface. I parted the leaves and was glad to find that the leaves underneath were still green. Of course! The top layer prevented those below from being ‘rained on’! I kept the darker leaves as a protective sheath over the rest. Next time I checked, the spoilt layer of leaves was even darker in colour. But the leaves below were still fresh and green and usable. Hooray!
 
When life throws mud and slime my way, it’s often only the tough circumstances I perceive. But beneath the grime of my present circumstances, God breathes life and makes my soul thrive. The very circumstances I balk at might be just what I need to grow me. They keep me humble. They will prevent my being self-centred or self-absorbed. They will open my eyes to others’ needs. They will help me empathise better. They might even protect me from situations and people that could hurt me even more.
So when I go through tough times, it’s worth remembering that as I patiently endure, God’s working on my character and refining my soul. The book of Hebrews expresses it well. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
 
Are you going through a challenging season? God often seems to be far away when we suffer, but the Bible assures us that He is with us through each difficult moment and that our temporary afflictions are working for us an eternal weight in glory. Jesus Himself was like that top layer of curry leaves. The sins of the world rained down on Him. He covered us and our sin, enduring much pain and anguish that He may give us LIFE.
And so today, as you persevere through your difficult season, let me encourage you. For now, the rain might fall, the storms might rage and the world may grow dark and sad. But be assured that you safe under the Saviour’s wings. The Refiner will polish your soul as you patiently endure. May He give you the strength to keep going. Praying today that a blessed season of singing will be upon you before long. You will then rejoice at all God has perfected in you. Because we in Christ know that He makes all things beautiful in His time.

 

 

“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will, should commit 

themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:19

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that 

the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect 

work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:3-4

 
 

Unravelling Those Knots

25/05/2018 18:31
After a year of frenzied activity, we’d finally unpacked all our boxes and were settling down in our enchanting new home. But one day I felt overwhelmed. I’d discovered that my Book launch was only three short weeks away. 21 days. Help! For months, I hadn’t had the time nor the energy to spare much thought to it. But now … with the event so close, I was forced to get cracking.
 
The launch of Enjoying the Journey had been in Sri Lanka with a willing band of helpers—my family, friends and Publisher. But this time … I felt I was alone. Who could help me? As I got ready for church that morning, I saw that the chain I’d hoped to wear was knotted several times over. Sigh. I didn’t have the patience to unravel knots! It was then that the Holy Spirit whispered  “Let me help you Nushi’.
I managed to unravel two of the knots (with His help) but there was one more. I didn’t want to get late to church, so left it for my beloved to help me with later. I donned a different chain, picked up my Bible and handbag and climbed into my car, when God spoke to my heart a second time. 
Watch me as I unravel the knots of your book launch, Nushi”.
 
Hope flowed into my heart, like gushing waters that filled a dry creek with cold winter rain. I slid into my seat at church a bit later and spotted my lovely, exuberant, accomplished friend Debbie at the end of my row. God spoke to me a third time. “Ask her.” Of course. Debbie was the very the person I needed! After the service, I approached the lady of the hour. ‘Yes,’ she said at once. Debbie hands are often full, occupied in a hundred admirable projects but she willingly says ‘Yes’ to God, so He uses her skills and her caring heart to bless His world. Thank you Debbie.
Later that week we caught up for a cuppa and I shared with her my dreams and plans for the launch. Most importantly, we prayed together. Yes, God was unravelling those knots of impossibility, one by one. Over the next 21 days, He continued to unravel every knot that presented itself. My beloved took over as the Project Manager of the launch—hooray! It released me to do a zillion other things that had to be done—sending  invites, counting heads, planning food, purchasing goodies, practising my song, preparing my talk. And more. Lots more. I was amazed at the amount of work needed for an event!
 
On the week of the launch, I received a thrilling surprise—a package from my caring, creative sis-in-law Charmalie, all the way from Sri Lanka. Cute red umbrellas she’d crafted—(what lovely décor to adorn the hall!) and a splendid shining banner. She’d even made one hundred unique bookmarks to give away at the launch. Wow! What a wonderful gift!  Thank you sweet Charmalie. I’d been praying for finances—a generous gift from my loving big sister Ranmali covered it. Another gracious gift from my beautiful daughter-niece Ashi helped me buy sufficient books to sell at the launch. Thank you God! 
I’d hoped to have some fresh flowers on the stage but with the expenses mounting, I’d bought a few artificial flowers instead. Of course God provided for that too. My loving sister Sal sent me a stunning bunch of roses—delivered by my brother. In fact, my two brothers and their wives, Rohan and Swen, Ranjan and Niranji arrived the day before from Sydney and  Whyalla—showering me with more lavish gifts and cheerfully jumped in on the action.
 
They blew dozens of balloons, arranged the hall, greeted our guests, spoke at the launch, served the refreshments, sold my books. Wasn’t I blessed? My amazing friends Melissa and Sherreen helped set up the hall and ushered in our guests. They, together with the lovely Lesley, a writer friend, contributied to the formal launch with flourish! One attendee told me that being greeted by their captivating smiles was the perfect start to the launch. Debbie  provided me with music and sound for the event, produced more décor and was our spectacular Compere for the afternoon. Her low modulated tones and her great sense of humour created a picturesque bow tied around the exciting package of my book launch.
My beloved whizzed around doing a 101 things that were needed, while my son taped the event. Not only were the knots on the chain of impossibility unravelled, exquisite chains of fresh possibilities now adorned me. The hall was filled with eighty plus guests who supported me. I thank each of them for taking time out of their busy schedules to be there. My former pastor Rev. Jeff Noble iced the cake of the moment with a well thought-out, well-delivered message as he launched Dancing in the Rain. My present pastor Rev. Andrew Hogarth blessed me with a beautiful prayer to end the formalities. Family and friends who couldn’t be there supported me through their loving wishes and prayers.
 
The fifty books I had on sale disappeared in no time—a good problem for a book launch! God gave me a gift that day which only He could give. Cloudy skies had been predicted and I’d grizzled to Him. “Voila!” He said that morning as He presented me with a bright beautiful day replete with dazzling sunshine. Wow, Lord! Wow! Not only that, but after a day of pain and fatigue the day before, I awoke fibro-free. Yay! The best gift of all, Lord. Thank you.
Needless to say, I was overwhelmed. But not as I’d been three weeks before. Then I was overcome with apprehension. Now I was (and am) overwhelmed with joy. Surprise. Jubilation. Thanksgiving. Awe at all God did. Awe at people in my life who chip in to bless my world. Yes, I’m talking to you—the readers of my blog as well. Every single one of you! 
 
I am especially grateful to my Publisher, Armour Books and the gifted, faith-filled person behind it, Anne Hamilton, not just for publishing my book but for all her support without which there wouild be no 'Dancing in the Rain'.
 
Is there a knot in your life you would like Him to untie today? I’d love to pray for you, so do write to me with any requests you might have. Our God is a gracious loving God who gives far more than we deserve. He lavishly blesses us when we least deserve it or least expect it. He reminds us to ask, seek and knock, assuring us that he who asks receives, he who seeks finds and that when we knock, the door will be opened. 
 

May He unravel every knot in your life, placing around your neck 

a garland of grace & goodness, beauty & truth, love and life.

 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, 

so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

 

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, 

having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Cor 9:8

 

 

Pressing that Brake Pedal

20/04/2018 21:45
It was a busy busy day; yes, one of those days. I swung out of our home by 8 a.m. to have a blood test, returning an hour later for breakfast. After my rumbling tummy was gratified, I was ready to brave the shops to get my grocery shopping done. Once that was over, I turned my little car into our driveway, smiling in contentment as I approached our home.
 
Moving my foot onto the brake pedal, I eased along our driveway. I stopped a moment to open the garage door then moved my car with care into my allotted spot. I can’t stop thanking God these days for our beautiful new home. I can’t stop thanking Him for our lovely level driveway. I feel grateful to Him that I can now park my car inside a garage rather than out on the street.
 
I’m new to this facet of driving in and out of garages. In my former home it was way too steep to even consider going up our driveway. When I needed to wash my car, my husband had to drive it up for me. As I turned off the engine that day, I said Lord, thank you for teaching me to use my brake pedal.”
There was a time when I should have pressed that brake pedal but didn’t. I was then an L-plate driver. We’d gone for a picnic and on our way back home, my beloved suggested I get some needed driving practice. It was the first time I’d reversed when starting my drive. It did not go well. In fact … it was a disaster. As I swung out of my parking space, I realised with surprise that I was on the wrong side of the road. I tried to rectify it as fast as I could, but forgot to turn my steering wheel first so it would stop pointing towards the parking space we’d just left.  That parking space had a little white car next to it.
 
I pressed my brake pedal. Or thought I did. What happened next was the stuff nightmares are made of. My husband’s large beautiful white car galloped like a horse, shooting back into where it had already been. Apparently I was pressing the wrong pedal. Unfortunately I couldn’t change it.  “Stop” said my husband. Did I listen? Not really. Well, I knew I had to stop, but I couldn’t. The next moment, I’d swept the little white car away. That wasn’t all. I kept going. Our car was a powerful steed—rising and moving with an agility and a swiftness to be reckoned with. Oh no! I saw a pond ahead of us. Would we land inside it? My heart was pounding. My eyes were large pools of molten lava. My husband spoke again, louder ‘Stop!’ Finally with great effort (and God’s welcome help), I managed to force my foot left and stopped the car. I was trembling.
The owner was angry. Very angry. Very very angry. Naturally. Fortunately her Mum and Grand mum were kind. It actually ended very well for them with the owner getting a brand new car. I shudder as I think back on the incident. I did learn to press that brake pedal, but what a costly lesson! It has made me extra careful when I drive, knowing that my car could well be a deadly weapon in my hands. Whew!
 
 
There are times when I need to use a different kind of brake pedal. Know what I mean? The moments when someone’s rude to me and my instinct is to retaliate in kind. When my son was little and his behaviour challenged me, I'd often forget to press the right brake pedal to stop me from saying things I didn’t mean.
There are times God says ‘Wait’ and it takes a lot of courage and patience to press that brake pedal. There are times I want to act rather than to listen. I have to press the brake pedal on my desires so I can stop to pay attention to my Guide. After all, He knows far better than I do what life is all about. There are seasons when it’s someone else’s turn to take over and then I have to press that pedal again in order to allow her or him to have the parking spot.
Sometimes pressing my brake pedal may be necessary. Sometimes (like what happened with my learner driving), pressing it is absolutely essential for survival. Oh that I might learn to press my brake pedal when the Holy Spirit prompts me. So that I drive not my own little car of self-importance but the vehicle of a God-honouring life to the praise of His glory.
 

Did you need to press your life’s brake pedal recently?

What did it cost you when you didn't?

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”

James 1:19

 

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:6

 
 
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