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.”
“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.”
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
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
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.”
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:6
I felt troubled that day. My health was in disarray and my usual state of joy had jumped out of the window. I couldn’t shake off a feeling of dread and anxiety that lurked inside. I stepped out towards our garden shed when I saw it—a brilliant moon, luminous against a large bank of white cotton clouds. Its glow and radiance called out to me like the kiss of the sun’s rays awakening me at dawn.
I stopped in my tracks. Mesmerised. The moon was in a big hurry. Faster and faster it flew, passing cloud after cloud. Why was it going so fast and what was its destination?
Whenever I spot a crescent moon I enjoy God’s smile on me. If I see a full moon, I find His face of love and light beaming down on me. That evening, I looked up at the sky seeking His face in my hour of need. I prayed Number 6:24-26 over myself: “The Lord bless you and keep you, Nushi. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.”
God’s love fell over me like a warm soft mantle. “The Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you Nushi and give you His peace.” God heard me. His perfect peace filled me. I breathed deeply. Thankful. Grateful. Awed by His love. But then … as I looked on, the moon was all at once obscured by clouds. Had it been swallowed up? Fortunately not. A few minutes later, there it was again.
Bright. Bold. Beautiful.
Two thousand years ago, the world was in need.
In need of a Saviour.
And then He came. He gave sight to the blind. He caused the deaf to hear, the lame to leap and the sick to be made whole. No-one who came to him was disappointed. But after the innumerable miracles Jesus performed, after all of the teaching He shared with thousands of followers, after all the love that He lavished on the world, the unthinkable happened. Darkness swallowed up the Light of life. The bright moon was gone. Obliterated. Completely.
The world mourned. Three days of grief before the un-guessable happened. The first disciples who went to the tomb were surprised to find it empty. Where was He? Had someone stolen His body? But wait! Was there another explanation? There was. Jesus appeared to them. Alive. Whole. Well. The Risen Lord. The cross signified not an ending as they had imagined but a brand new beginning. And what a beginning! Jesus rose again from the dead, conquering sin and death. For all time.
The Kingdom of God had arrived.
A few days after my moon episode, I went for a walk in my new neighbourhood. And there it was again. The moon. Full and shining. Glorious. This time there were no clouds to obliterate its brightness. Each time I looked—I saw it shimmering in splendour. Steadfast. Immovable. Perfect. Like the Risen Lord Himself. There are seasons when troubles obscure my view like the clouds hid the moon from my gaze. But Easter reminds us that we have heart-stopping wonderful incredible news. The Lord is Risen. Jesus came to bring us back to God. Through His death, the barrier of sin and death has been broken. Forever.
Today, may you rejoice afresh at the hope of Easter. May His light blaze in your heart as brightly as the sun. Jesus has overcome. The world might seem to be a sad and scary place. But through His victory on the cross, we too are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. He promises those who turn to Him in repentance and trust that we will live with Him forever in glory. What better news than that?
Wishing you and your loved ones a Blessed, Beautiful, Bountiful Easter
celebrating the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that
whoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Two years ago, when we decided to move to greener pastures, I was filled with trepidation; loath to give up the beautiful views I'd thrived on for over seventeen years. Would we find an equally loved home the next time around? I confess to moments of not trusting God wholly. But I need not have worried. The instant we entered our new habitation, it became home … and there was no looking back. I don't usually thrive on change, so however did that happen? I had also been a little worried whether I'd be able to connect with God as easily as I did in our previous home. Again, God blessed me beyond my expectations. I discovered soon enough that our new home reeks of nooks and crannies which I call God-spaces!
Thank you Papa! There's plenty of magic in my home. I love it!
One of my God-spaces is our spacious dining room. It boasts of large glass windows which overlook our backyard patio. On weekdays, I have my lunch there in solitary splendour, partaking of a boring, healthy meal with my eyes (mostly) fixed on a good book. I face the backyard then—enjoying the view of the bright yellow flowers outside as they dance in the breeze. A few days ago, the light seemed dim, so reading became difficult. Should I face the other way, allowing the sunshine from behind fall on my book? But then … I’d have to give up my gorgeous view. Hmm …! Not a good proposition.
I tried hard to keep reading, but, after straining unsuccessfully to decipher the words, I knew I had to try another spot. So reluctantly I moved to the other end of the table—and what a wonderful surprise! No view? Silly me! A stunning scene of the hills from my kitchen flooded the room from ahead. I gasped in wonder, because on my left, I had yet another picture-perfect view of our front garden. Wow! Not one view, but two. What was I grumbling about?
Often in life, God calls me to give up where I’m comfortable and head off in a new direction altogether. Change isn’t easy for me. When we’d settled into our former home over 17 years ago, (after 11 moves in 4 countries in 14 years of marriage), I was ready to stay put for the rest of my earthly existence. But two years ago, it happened. We realised we needed to move for many reasons. In addition, I felt God’s nudge in my spirit that it was time to leave. Of course, I had to say ‘Yes’. The thing is … If I refuse to walk in His ways, I would never discover the treasures He has ready to shower on me. And when I stay in the safety of the known, I would never reach my promised land.
Our intense eight month adventure of moving house took lot out of me—I’m still suffering with pain and fatigue due to the nonstop physical work involved. But when I look back on all the effort, the physical distress and the extreme pain … then look around me at my present exquisite surroundings, I look up in heartfelt gratitude. It was all worth it. More than worth it. I’d do it all over again!
Is God calling you to something new? A career? A relationship? A tough assignment? Is He asking you to give up something you enjoyed? To try something painfully different? Do you find it too hard to turn around in the direction He’s pointing at? Friend, I feel your pain. Change is rarely easy and requires courage. The longer we’ve been settled in a job or home or church or wherever, the harder it is to move out of that sweet spot into a new habitation. And yet, as long as we cling to the old, the joys and delights of a new season cannot be unearthed.
Today I testify to a God who wants only the best for His children. Who leads us with an unerring Hand. A God who asks for our all but makes it more than worthwhile when we say 'Yes' to His plans for us. He will take you through winding pathways to your unique future as you place your trust Him.
As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18: 30
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure. Psalm 18:32
My purse broke the other day and I was forced to buy a new one. I had liked the way it fitted snugly into my palm when I used it. I liked its colour. I hoped I’d find a replacement when I spent the generous gift card I'd received at Christmas. But when I checked prices of purses at the shop the card belonged to, my eyebrows shot up. $175.00. Whew! I would defintely have to try elsewhere. Perhaps I might be fortunate enough to find a discounted one for $20.00.
Later, I stopped by at my favourite bag shop and was thrilled to find they had a sale on. A helpful shop assistant assessed my needs and offered me a suitable little purse. But ... it sported a black and white flowery pattern. I’m more a non-flashy-purse kind of gal. Black was what I was after. I looked and looked. I hunted and hunted. But she was right. There were no others of the size I liked in black. Disappointed, I thought I’d have to take the flowery one she’d given me, after all. As I walked to the counter to pay for it, I spotted a table next to it overflowing with bargains. Not expecting to find what I wanted, I had a quick look just in case. Eureka. I found it. A little black purse. And it only cost $12.99. Hooray!
These days, I enjoy using my unobtrusive little black purse. It reminds me how God takes care of my needs. That purse was no big deal, true, but I felt blessed because He provided for me. I’m thinking now about a far bigger need which God answered recently. In fact, my heart bursts with gratitude each day as I reflect on His lavish love.
When my beloved and I realised it was time to move from our cherished home of 17 plus years, it was a tough decision. What I’d loved most about our former home was that it was easy to connect with God there, mostly due to the beauty of its surrounds. I was filled by the glorious vista stretching far beyond our front door reaching sea views of 25 km away. The scene from my backdoor and kitchen window also fed my soul often as I drank in the lush green outdoors and the tall beautiful trees standing on our back yard. But our driveway was now too steep for this 60 year old; the garden far too big. We needed more living space.
Would we find a home that matched our needs but also nourished my spirit?
We started the long difficult process of house hunting, house cleaning, decluttering, work, work, work and hope, hope hope! People had told me it was a stressful journey and I’d laughed it off … until I too joined their bandwagon. They were right. The exhaustion, crushed hopes, never-ending hard work and long waiting periods all created a much tougher season than I’d envisaged. Anyone who’s sold and bought a home knows there are numerous factors in the process that are completely out of one's hands.
In October 2018, when our home was finally ready for sale, I scanned my computer looking for our next home, when a picture of one jumped out of the computer screen and took residence in my heart.
“This is the next home I have for you, Nushi” God whispered.
And so began a three month journey of working towards it. Of praying much, every single day. Did it come easy? Not at all. We faced obstacle after obstacle. We were exhausted. And often discouraged. But God. God was at work in the background. Twice, the price of the house came down till it finally sat smack bang in the middle of our price range. Amazing! While we waited weeks to sell ours, our dream home didn’t sell for 2 ½ months—nothing short of a miracle. There were other miracles too. Perhaps I’ll write a book about it one day.
On the 2nd of March 2018, the dots connected. Finally. Thank you God. So here we are today, settling down in our dream home, surrounded by boxes. Filled with joy. Thank you dear family and friends. Your prayers and good wishes have been answered. God showed me what persistence in prayer could achieve. And that He cares. He cares very much. He even gave me a little den to do my writing in. Not something I’d expected. A BIG bonus.
That’s what God is like, you know. No, He’s not a genie who’ll always give me what I ask for. But He’s a gracious, giving God who’s love outstrips me all the time. He asks that I seek His heart and pray according to His will. He loves it when I follow His lead. Just as I hoped, I now feel His presence in our new home. The little nature reserve next door, picturesque walking trails outside my front door, a view of the hills from our front yard and kitchen, proclaim God’s goodness and love to my soul.
My faith muscles were strengthened over these past few months as He surprised and delighted me with umpteen answers to prayer. So more than ever before, I’m filled with faith in a mighty God as I bring the needs of family and friends before Him.
Do you have a need today? He loves you more than you could ever imagine. Yes, He does. I pray that He will provide you with all your heart hungers for. And may He whisper through His answers how very much He loves you.
“Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103:2,5
Some years ago, I studied the book of Exodus, enjoying the riveting story of God’s deliverance of His chosen people, the children of Israel. I must confess that I felt a stab of envy when I read that Moses was called God’s friend. I’d love to be called a friend of God too!
A song on one of my CD’s has a catchy tune. “I am a friend of God” it declares in bright, breezy tones. The song sounds a little too brash for the likes of me. The words are spot on and based on scripture, but the tune didn’t convey what that truly means:
That He is a holy God and that we should fall down before Him in worship and awe,
thrilled but also amazed at the preposterous idea that He calls us FRIENDS!
How could I boast about it (as the tune implies) when it's only
His grace and mercy which make it possible?
I remember a time when someone I looked up to, called me friend. I was both surprised and honoured! How much more of a privilege it is to be called a friend of the Almighty God, Creator of the Universe! And yet ... how often do we stop to marvel at the incredible nature of such a gift?
There was once a troubled young man I encountered who was in dire need. I listened to him, feeling deeply for him as I sensed the confusion raging in his heart.
‘So do you know Jesus personally?’ he asked.
I nodded. “Yes.”
“Wow!” Amazement was scrawled across his face in large letters.
“And the Holy Spirit?”
I nodded. “Yes, Him too.” I smiled at Stewart (not his real name).
“Wow”. Stewart was clearly astounded.
I hastened to re-assure him. “No! No! No! It’s not just me, Stewart. God’s friendship is available to all people. Everyone who comes to Him in repentance and faith will find Him.”
Stewart sighed. “I’ve prayed the salvation prayer a hundred times but nothing has happened."
My heart ached for him. I had no doubt that he believed in God. I had no doubt he was sincere in his search for God’s presence. We prayed together. Stewart asked if he could repeat the salvation prayer after me and he did. I haven’t met him since but I continue to pray for Stewart that his perplexity would be replaced by new life, hope and God’s perfect peace.
The joyful truth is that God’s friendship is not for a select few. It’s for anyone who calls on His name. Yes, anyone! Rich or poor, old or young, sick or well, able or weak, clever or foolish, happy or sad, hopeful or hopeless, bubbly or despondent, whoever we are and in whatever situation, whatever our creed or world view, we are all welcome.
Did you know that the Omnicient Omnipotent God
who created the world, desires your friendship?
Best of all, becoming His friend is not difficult. He simply asks that we surrender to Him wholly, no holds barred. We seek His forgiveness. We repent of all our sin. We accept that Jesus death and resurrection has paved the way for us to reach eternity. We slide over to the passenger seat and ask Him to take the Driver’s seat. Yes, it is as simple as that! And as difficult as that. He does ask for our all.
I am not envious of Moses anymore. I’ve found the joy of having a Friend whose name is Jesus. I’d love to introduce my Friend to anyone who will listen. God desires your friendship and intimacy with you.
Will you respond? He is waiting for you.
“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me.
Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands,
you’ll remain intimately at home in my love.” John 15:9-10
“You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer
calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master
is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you
in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.” John 15:13-15 NLT
The first fourteen years of our married life included eleven moves in four countries. We took them in our stride, perhaps because we had youth and energy on our side. But during the past six months as we attempted a 12th move …. that was something else altogether. We had never sold a house before and what a learning curve! After slaving feverishly for days, weeks and months on end to create a showpiece home, I assumed that the hardest part of our work was finally behind us. How wrong I was!
Preparing our home for twelve Open inspections over the next eight weeks zapped my energy, as if I'd been struggling up a steep mountain slope with a heavy backpack on a 40 degree day. We’d spend hours moving stuff (brooms, buckets, slippers, chairs, tables and the like) to the garage, convert our home and garden into clutter-free spotless masterpiece for half an hour, then had to lug everything back afterwards so we could actually live in this masterpiece. Weariness hung on us, like heavy trench courts made of concrete. The constant emotional rollercoaster ride of being hopeful one day then having those hopes dashed the next, added rocks of tiredness into the pockets of those same trench coats.
At first, the sale of our home had seemed to go according to plan. Just five days after our first housing inspection, we received an excellent offer and we signed a contract. What joy! Perhaps this house selling business wasn’t so difficult after all. Alas, seven days later, the buyer (whose plans for our home were foiled by the council’s regulations) called it off. And … that was that! Nothing else for it but to go back to plotting, plodding and praying much. We returned to the tedious, tiring task of holding Open Inspections, week after week.
Fast forward a couple of months. Change of topic, (or so it seems). One day recently, I found to my chagrin that our toilet roll supply had dwindled. Hmmm! Would the toilet paper last till my groceries arrived next Monday? Moments later, I went to our laundry cupboard to fetch a clean towel. Imagine my surprise to discover inside it a roll of toilet paper! Unexpected. Timely. Just what I needed! Light dawned. I’d kept a few rolls in our cupboard during our open inspections. I had obviously forgotten to put this one back in its usual place afterwards. How amazing it was that I found it the very moment I needed it.
Sometimes God is silent. For days, weeks, months, years on end. And then … at the nth hour – when all hope has receded, He performs a miracle, the sound of cool welcome rains pattering down, after a long parched summer. My husband anticipated selling our home by Christmas while I’d expected to sell it well before. But there we were, preparing for the final open inspection before Christmas, our hopes receded to a far-away land, disappointment flooding our hearts. We wondered if we should take our home off the market and have some renovations done before trying to sell it again. But the thought was just too hard for me to contemplate. I was so tired—too tired to keep going.
As we trooped out of our home to greet the agent, he surprised us. We had an offer! Fancy that. A little candle of hope was re-ignited. Seven days and two more Inspections later, with an increase of the original offer, we accepted! Hope flew—an eagle soaring high. Like that one roll of toilet paper turning up at a crucial time—God answered once again with perfect precision, so we did sell it before Christmas after all. Perhaps those 12 inspections were to teach me patience, perseverance and trust. God must have known I needed to learn those lessons!
Today, you might be wondering if God has heard your prayers. You might be disappointed at His silence or even feel abandoned by Him. Please don’t give up. These past six months I’ve learnt all over again what an amazing, mighty powerful God we serve. It’s often in the desert seasons that He reveals Himself conspicuously to us. It’s when we are bankrupt of hope that He marches in, waving the flag of impossibility-turned-to-possibility. Your miracle is surely on its way. Hope for it. Pray for it. I am cheering you on. God is too.
“And my God will supply your every need according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
A few years back, I had a sudden change of calling. My church-based ministry of over a decade shifted into a do-life-as-it-happens kind of season. Our local shopping centre became my regular focus for serving others. As I walked around doing my weekly shopping, I prayed for strangers, throwing a prayer coverlet around them. I listened to sales people and checkout girls, opening my heart to them. That was how I met Dina (not her real name).
Dina is a courageous hard working single mum who does all she can to care for her lovely young daughter. I believed God asked me to look out for her, to mother her and to share His love with her. Soon Dina and I became friends. We caught up during the school holidays, chatted when she served me and communicated via text messages. Dina had a difficult life. I wished so much that I could help her in more concrete ways.
This past Christmas, when chatting to Dina I found that she’d experienced a tough year financially. It’s been a stressful season for us too with our house matters and I was exhausted. If I ever felt God’s nudge to reach out to someone, I’d do it, but didn’t have the luxury of time and energy to reflect on my actions. One day, I received a text from Dina, asking me to come to her shop to collect something from her on a certain day. I smiled, sure she had a gift for me as she’s done in the past. I wrapped gifts for her and her daughter, enclosing a part of my Christmas money in her card, asking God to multiply it.
When I reached the shop she works in, Dina was not to be found. She ignored my texts and calls so I kept going back to her shop to honour her request. Finally ... on my fourth attempt I found her. What a relief! I was very tired but it would all be worth it. I waited patiently as she served a customer. Then … Dina looked back and glared at me. With shock I realised that I was out of favour with her. I hadn’t a clue why. During a lull in her work, I was able to go up to her to give her my gift. She refused to accept it. I said “Please take it Dina”, smiled and left it for her. She in turn shoved an envelope at me. I took the envelope and left, not knowing why I was being treated that way.
Dina’s scrawled words on the envelope revealed all. I’d sent her a small portion of my birthday money as a Christmas gift—I confess I had no memory of it because life had been such a blur of late. Sadly, Dina was deeply offended. She’d written that she didn’t want any handouts. She was angry. My cash gift was returned in the envelope. A text message I sent to explain that it was a little gift given with love elicited an angry response with hurtful words. I couldn’t believe how a small caring act of friendship could be so badly misunderstood. She requested my postal address so she could post my gifts back to me. What really shocked me was that she also ended our friendship. Just like that. Whew!
Quite early on in our friendship I’d become aware that Dina is sensitive about receiving help from others. Unfortunately, this year my life has been on a crazy roller coaster ride so I was exhausted and time-poor, unable to think clearly. Small wonder then that I’d forgotten that fact. I love receiving cash gifts and offered it to Dina in the same spirit I receive similar tokens of love from family and friends. Unfortunately Dina saw it as an unforgivable insult. Oh no!
I was too shocked to even tell my husband—it took me a week to recover and before I was ready to unload my sadness into his empathetic listening ears and heart, and he encouraged me. Bless him. That day however, I simply let my tears fall, asking God for comfort, searching my heart. On further reflection I was still sure that my act was prompted by love. I had no hidden agenda—I simply sought to bless my friend. I’ve often felt that God wanted Dina to know how much He loves her—this gift was tell her so.
It was then that God spoke to my heart.
“This is how I feel Nushi—when you reject me or think wrongly of me!’
I gasped, understanding flooding me, a bright light reaching a dark corner. As Dina hurt me that day, I have hurt God. Countless times! I’ve forgotten to thank Him for blessings He daily showers on me. I’ve misunderstood His motivations. When He’s given me a present wrapped in unusual gift-wrap, I’ve got mad at Him and said things I’ve regretted. I have ignored Him or been too busy. I’ve placed him at the bottom of my To-do list. I’ve not listened to His whispers of love. I've hurt my Daddy God.
Forgive me Lord. Forgive me. I am so sorry!
His loving forgiveness wrapped itself around me like a soft cloak. I was comforted. I also felt I'd moved one step closer to understanding God's heart.
Richard Foster in his brilliant book, ‘Prayer’ shares a truth that you and I need to take seriously:
“Today the heart of God is an open wound of love. He aches over our distance and preoccupation. He mourns that we do not draw near to him. He grieves that we have forgotten him. He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness. He longs for our presence.”
God's heart is an open wound of love! When you and I are too busy to spend time with Him, God mourns. Every time we fill our calendars with mundane moments instead of asking Him what He requires of us, He grieves. When we cram our hours with pleasures that don’t satisfy, rather than turn to Him, the Author of Life, He is saddened.
This New year as we make time for family and friends, for work and recreation, for service and good deeds, let’s not forget what it is that God really asks of us. When Martha complained to Jesus that Mary was not helping her Jesus responded with these words:
"There is only one thing worth being concerned about.
Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:42 NLT
Over the past 10 years, God’s been wooing my heart. A lot of His wooing occurred through difficult moments and tough seasons. On occasion, I have been rude to Him, misunderstanding His perfect love which was behind it all - just as my friend Dina misconstrued my own act of friendship. But oh what joy God gave me through those very gifts that I was tempted to reject. Intimacy with God is EVERYTHING and my life is rich and full through all He has given me of Himself.
This New Year, let’s feast on His goodness and His love, His grace and His mercy. Let’s spend time with Jesus, the Lover of our souls. Let’s delight in Him and respond to His love.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul
and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone, hears my voice and opens
the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.