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A Glimpse into God's Heart

11/01/2018 19:32
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, ‘Prayershares 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.

Rev 3:20

 

 

Let's cherish the Old as we welcome the New

27/12/2017 20:27
Over the last 6 months we’ve been swept along on an exhausting Roller Coaster Ride. I’m told that moving is the next most stressful event after divorce. From what we have been through, I can now testify to it. It’s been a voyage filled with highs and lows, mountain top views and sugar crashes. The number of variables out of our control cause the stress to rise—like the heat of an oven on a 40 degree day. But … I’m glad to report that there’s also been the faith-inspiring and comforting assurance of our being led, slowly but surely by a faithful, loving God. 
 
And oh how He’s blessed us!  
 
One such blessing came through two little plants I bought for our Open Inspections. I placed them beside our front door by our ‘Welcome mat’ to greet visitors. Our new blue beauties did not fail to deliver. I’ve given them plenty of TLC, moving them into the shade each afternoon and quenching their thirst every evening.  Every time I tend them, my eyes feast on their loveliness and my heart gets filled.
A few days ago,  I noticed something unusual—hydrangea flowers don’t turn brown when they dry up—did you know? They turn green. How amazing is that! It’s especially interesting because I call this my ‘Green Season’. Our Dream Home (which I hope God will secure for us) has green carpets and curtains. Not my favourite colour for carpets and curtains but God’s been whispering into my heart that this is the home for us and I am excited. (Actually, that’s putting it mildly. I’m dancing the Cha-ha-cha with rings on my fingers and bells on my toes!)
 
Green’s also my colour for good health and vitality and answered prayer. Whenever I take notes of my health to manage my chronic illness, I colour my bad-fibro-days red and my good days green. So yes, it’s my Green Season and I will look forward to it with eager anticipation. In fact I’ve dubbed 2018 (in faith), as my “Year of Promises Fulfilled”.
In a world which increasingly seems to value the young over the old, older people can easily be discarded. If you feel unwanted or that you have outlived your usefulness in the world, please think again. The Word of God offers encouragement and hope for us as we age. ‘The righteous will flourish like a palm tree … they will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green’ Psalm 92:12. Isn’t that a lovely picture? For disciples of Jesus, there is no retirement—we have exciting work to do until the day we go home to Jesus be it at 80, 90 or 100 years of age. The type of work changes of course as our bodies get tired, but no matter how old we are - at age 3 or 103, in God's kingdom there is much we can contribute to.
 
I love connecting with people and it’s a joy to make new friends. But thankfully, new friends will never replace ‘old’ friends. Friendships begun in childhood have lasted and added joy to life's tapestry. Those begun in my teen years as a new Christian have deepened and thrived, giving rich substance to my walk with Christ. 
 
Recently, It was good to throw out the clutter in our home, but not every old possession was clutter. I treasure a little mirror gifted me by my Dad when I was 9, because it brings him closer. I rejoice in the 5000-odd emails written to me by my beautiful Mama—refusing to delete even one of them. I delight in cards my beloved has showered me with over the years because they add layer upon layer to our love.
How thrilled I was to find a love note from my son written when he was 7 years old – it made me cry. Equally delightful were little notes I’ve written (some in my mother tongue) to my parents when I was growing up. So despite what we may imagine, there are a number of old items which have lasting value. Recently, I found a torn piece of paper with scribbled words—written by my accountability group in YFC – almost 40 years ago. I shed tears of joy, because even now, so many years later, as I read their loving words, I still felt deeply valued and that my life mattered.
 
Of course, some old “possessions” are best thrown out—old ways of doing life that have no place in the future. Old habits which are better replaced with new. Unforgiveness and bitterness, doubt and discouragement, negative attitudes and hurtful ways. But … there are other old belongings which will add to our lives. Happy memories give us a springboard into the future with added joy and added wisdom. People at any and every age matter. Faith, Family, Friends, Old Books, Old Songs and Good habits will continue to be cherished as I make space for new ideas and new friends, modern music, new books and healthier ways of doing life.

Not all old things need to be kept.  

But not all old things need to be thrown away.
 

Let’s discard what we must discard but keep back that which is helpful.

Let’s not forget that every person, both old and young has significance.

Let’s welcome the New Year in, with glad anticipation and hope.

Let’s cherish the Old as we welcome the New.
 

A Bright and Beautiful 2018 to you, filled with much blessing.

That is my New Year wish for you. And don’t forget … do enjoy the Journey!

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy

good health and that all may go well with

you, even as your soul is getting along well.

3 John 2

 

When Clouds Gather

15/12/2017 18:23

11 p.m. Wednesday 13th Dec 2017

I stand outdoors at in the cool night air, watching the skies with my beloved. A Spectacular Sky Show is expected—the Geminids Meteor shower 2017. Aaaarrrgh! Mosquitos feast on me and I am covered in bites. But ... as my eyes adjust to the night, I am mesmerised by the brilliant stars studded in the dark heavens—sparkling jewels on black velvet. And beauty wraps its soft cloak around me. Shan and I  are able to make out a few constellations in the region—Taurus, The Seven Sisters, Orion, but we need to strain our eyes to locate Gemini from where the meteors would burst forth. Our long wait is rewarded as two meteors shoot across the sky. Ooo! Beautiful! This little lass can now scuttle off to bed very happy.

 
I was happy because I anticipated viewing an even grander display at 4.30 next morning, when the meteor appearance would peak to 22 an hour. How exciting! I put out my reading light at midnight, and set my alarm for 4.30. I’d usually sleep through ... but not this time. When my alarm jolted me awake, I jumped up half asleep. Unfortunately, in my clumsy attempts to turn it off, I knocked the clock from its perch. The loud screech however continued to penetrate the quiet night. Oh no! My man badly needed his sleep after his extra busy week.
“So sorry darling!” I groped around the carpet, hunting in vain for that dratted (pardon my language) alarm clock. My beloved was very gracious even in his drowsy state. ‘It’s OK” His loving assurance in sleep-filled syllables made me feel even worse for spoiling his much needed sleep. I scrambled around on hands and knees now, desperate, and in my haste, I banged my head. Ouch! There was still no clock to be seen. I HAD to put the light on. More fumbling, and whew … at last I found the clock, squawking rudely, wedged between the mattress and my bedside table. I turned it off, then slipped out to our family room where I got dressed. I opened our front door and stepped out. Now for the brilliant sky show. I rubbed my hands in glee and looked up at the stars!
 
Stars? What stars? The sky was full of clouds. Oh no! You drew the curtains on my spectacular night show, God! I’d awoken my tired hard-working husband, received a painful bump on my head, was covered in mozzie bites … all for nothing? Muttering to myself, I undressed, got back into my nightdress and went to bed. The one bright spot was that I had not disturbed my beloved after all—he was sleeping peacefully. Thank you God.
Sometimes life’s like that isn’t it?  Hopes and dreams crumble. Eager desires come to naught. Clouds gather and the future is uncertain. My mind reflects on what that first Christmas must have been like. Hundreds of prophecies of a coming Messiah had been preached by many prophets sent by God over more than a thousand years. But then … a sudden silence. God was absent—or so it seemed. 400 long years of silence. Four Hundred Years! 
 
Where was God? 
What was He doing?
 
The curtains may have been drawn, but the stage behind them was being set. Like the cloud filled skies during my meteor-watch, the skies over God’s people were filled with the dark clouds of doubt and uncertainty. But ... that period of silence did come to an end. At the appointed time, God flung open the curtains to reveal the mystery of His plan. The mystery included a tiny baby boy born in a smelly stable. He had been a conceived by a virgin and His first visitors were a band of poor shepherds. 
 
A bit unorthodox don't you think?
Have clouds of uncertainty been filling your skies lately? Has all hope receded? Do you wonder why God is silent and where He is? Do not despair dear friend. The world is sometimes a sad and lonely place, true, torn by suffering, sin and strife. God might seem to be absent but I can assure you that He is always present and always at work, often behind the scenes. The answer to our quest is found as we tiptoe into Bethlehem. There in a manger we will find the Saviour of the world.
 

The Son of God came that the sons and daughters of men would become sons and daughters of God. In a dark, cloud-filled night, Jesus Christ is the Bright Morning Star

 

Let’s hurry to Bethlehem to worship Him, King of kings and Lord of Lords. 

In Him, You will find in Him everything you ever need.

This Christmas, may you experience and know the love of God in all its fullness.

 

"It came upon that midnight clear,

That glorious song of old.

From angels bending near the earth

To touch their harps of gold:

“Peace on the earth, good will to men

From heaven’s all-gracious King.”

The world in solemn stillness lay

To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come

With peaceful wings unfurled,

And still their heavenly music floats

O’er all the weary world.

Above its sad and lowly plains

They bend on hovering wing,

And ever o’er its babel sounds

The blessed angels sing.
 

 

For lo! the days are hastening on,

By prophets seen of old,

When with the ever-circling years

Shall come the time foretold,

When the new heaven and earth shall own

The Prince of Peace their King,

And the whole world send back the song

Which now the angels sing."  Edmund Sears

A very Blessed Christmas to you and your loved ones. 

 

Seeking Sovereign Solutions

30/11/2017 17:07
Ten years ago, my wayward stomach decided to play fun and games at my expense. Foods it coped with before and even thrived on, turned into arch enemies. For decades, I’d drunk three cups of tea a day, but now, all at once, ingesting caffeine gave me a belly-ache. I was forced to cut back to just one cup of tea a day and had to sadly bid farewell to coffee for good. My mid-morning cuppa was one I now looked forward to eagerly, as one might yearn for a cold glass of lemonade on a warm summer’s day. 
 
Recently however, my naughty tummy surprised me. Apparently, it could cope with a bit of extra caffeine once again. Hooray! So after 10 years of total abstinence, I was able to have a cup of coffee again, just once a week. How good was that! I created my new weekly caffeine routine.
 

Monday – my weekly cup of coffee. Yay!

Wednesdays and Fridays – (when catching up with friends) - 2 cups of tea each day

Sunday -  Tea after breakfast, followed by a weak cup of tea after church

It worked well and life was tickety-boo. A few months ago, there were a few changes in our church kitchen. This meant that I now had to buy a cup of tea rather than make my own. No problem at all—after all, it only cost me one dollar. I started ordering a cup of tea after service. Unfortunately, the tea (made by others) contained too much caffeine (to my temperamental tummy) and I had to stop having it. Sigh! What could I do?
 
After some thought and prayer God whispered a solution to my listening ears. There just might be a different way of getting my Sunday caffeine kick! So the next Sunday, I tried it—a weak cup of tea as I woke up, after one glass of water (rather than my usual two), followed by my regular cuppa after breaky about 2 hours later.

A Perfect Solution! 

 
My Quiet Time was better than usual with that caffeine rush inside of me. My worship times at church were also more exotic than before with the extra caffeine swirling within me, before the service rather than after. I didn’t even need to waste time getting myself a cuppa after church anymore and could concentrate instead on connecting with people. Wow! What a great solution, God!
 
Rarely is life filled with smooth pathways and sunny skies. Problems have a way of sneaking up on us uninvited. People can be demanding. Life can be hard. Solutions are not easy to find. God has blessed me with a Treasure Chest of riches—His Word. No matter what the problem, when I come to Him with an open heart, listening for His still small Voice, He drops sparkling jewels of rich promises and hope into my heart, and gives me a fresh understanding of which path to take. The answers don't often come as easy as my caffeine-solution did. They are usually found only after much prayer, hours of seeking and months (or sometimes years) of waiting on Him. But they do arrive at the perfect time. Always.
Today are you standing at cross roads? Are solutions as hard to find as the prospect of finding a purple kangaroo in your backyard? Don’t forget that the Creator of the Universe is for you. His wisdom is available 24/7 as are His listening ears. 
 
So no need to polish up your act. No need to wonder if He will meet you at your point of need. Simply come to Him as you are with a heart open to His Voice. His Spirit and His Word are an unbeatable combination and supply us with wisdom, truth and the way to life.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? 

If God is for us, who can be against us? 

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—

how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” 

Romans 8:31-32

 
 
 

Make Every Day Count

17/11/2017 08:12
I’m often late to bed on a Saturday night, so getting up early on Sunday is a challenge. A few months ago, one Lord’s day, surprise, surprise … I woke up bright and early. Rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I ambled across to our family room. When I looked out, I noticed a towel I’d hung out to dry the night before had fallen, so, still in my night-dress, I went outdoors to put it back on the clothes-line.
 
The air was fresh and cool. Birds twittered. Leaves rustled in the wind. I felt a tug in my heart—an invitation it was, from God Himself. I dressed quickly, slipped on my shoes and hurried outside. Sitting on our lawn that quiet rosy dawn I chatted with my Papa God, joy draped around me like a soft cloak. A precious time it was! The sun rose, spilling golden sunbeams. Winds played symphonies to awaken a sleepy world. Parrots screeched and soared. God whispered His love into my listening ears.
 

To live in the moment! To make every moment count! Isn’t that something to aspire to? 

 
All too often though, life whizzes past and I forget what’s important, so God has to remind me. When my son was little, I knew I should enjoy his childhood. I did—mostly. In the blink of an eye, he turned into a tall thoughtful young man and I was surprised his little-boy-days had vanished so swiftly. I made far too many mistakes with him, alas, (I’m so sorry God) but one thing I did right was that I didn’t wish his childhood away. I loved being his mum. My little boy was a good good gift from a good, good Father.
 
I was walking around our community Oval one day, when a burst of colour flashed into my line of vision. I caught my breath in surprise. What a big crop of flowers for such a small plant! It reminded me of someone I knew who had made his brief life blossom—my  brother in law Nirup. His life was cut short when he died of a brain tumour at age 51.
Nirup had a number of challenges to deal with throughout his life but he lived fully using all his talents and skills. Nirup loved God. He never complained at his lot though he could have. He was a wonderful big brother to my husband Shan in their childhood. And then, in later years, he cared for his aging parents, freeing our own little family to migrate to Australia. Nirup was faithful and diligent, a hard worker. I loved his bright smile and kind, caring ways. Sadly my sweet mother in law—Nirup’s Mum, died after a brief illness in 2003. It meant that his best friend and confidante was snatched away all too suddenly. It must have seared his heart but he carried on with courage and continued caring for his Dad.
 
Two years on, his Dad too passed away, with my beloved husband back in Sri Lanka to care for them both. Just 10 days later, Nirup went home to Jesus. It was a very sad time for us, and I wept often for a life cut short. But deep within my spirit, I knew that Nirup's work was done. I knew there would be great rejoicing in heaven. I could picture God’s smile as He welcomed him home. ‘Well done good and faithful son. Enter into the joy of your Father.'  That little plant blooming bright was a perfect picture of the way Nirup lived, using his gifts to the full.
Will I too be able make my life count the way Nirup did? I hope I will. I don’t know how much time I have left on earth. All I have is this moment, but I can use it to be the best wife and mum I could be, to work hard, to use my gifts, to encourage and bless others, to be generous and kind, to let His light shine through me, to grow my character, to please my Papa God. 
 

So as I enter the best decade into the sizzling sixties, let me live well. 

 

Let me love God and love others. 

 

Let me make every day count.

 

Will you join me?

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, 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

 

 

A God who GIVES

03/11/2017 16:12
The year was 2012, the month was April. My world tilted suddenly and precariously when my beloved Mama turned gravely ill. I was off to Sri Lanka in a week, praying I’d reach her in time. In the midst of the uncertainty, I wondered if God was asking something of me. Was He requesting that I’d throw out a special souvenir from my past? Having it tucked away in my home reminded that that part of my past existed. That it had mattered. Then … why did I feel so uneasy?
 
Was it God? Or was it The Enemy? One morning, I got ready for the support group meeting I ran in my church. To my surprise, not a single person turned up.  Oh well—it was an excellent opportunity to spend time with my Heavenly Father, bringing prayer requests of family and friends. I tried to do that but … the question which  had plagued me that week buzzed noisily in my brain like a persistent irritating mosquito. During the next hour, I waited before  my Papa God. I listened to Him, searching the scriptures for His answer.
The peace I craved eluded me. There was a tap on the door and my beautiful friend Valerie walked in. We hugged. We smiled. Valerie handed me a card. She didn’t utter a word. She patted me; she turned and left. I blinked. Once. Twice. Thrice. What was the card about? It wasn’t my birthday!
 
I opened it and my jaw dropped. Nestling inside the card was a present. All of $250.00. Whew! What a generous gift! It was for my trip to Sri Lanka. I was speechless. Blessed. Amazed. Valerie is an older lady; a widow. She was not giving out of her abundance. She was giving sacrificially. How could I accept it? But ... Valerie gave it to me with a heart of love towards God and towards me and I could not say ‘No’. Through her loving act, God provided for my needs, He also answered the question that had plagued me. Did He want to take something away from me? Absolutely not! He’s a God who gives. 

 

A God who delights in showering me with blessings far more than I deserve.

My beloved husband was providing for my needs in Sri Lanka. However, I did need some urgent help for other important things. Like … sending in my unpublished manuscript into an important writing competition. I now had the means to do so. My story “A Frog by any other Name” became a finalist  in the competition. I could not have reached that point in my writing life without Valerie’s generosity. I pause with deep thanksgiving today (to God and to Valerie), as I remember.
 
 
 
I’ve also been looking back in wonder and gratitude these days at the Author of all the kindness in the world—who has lavished His love upon me for SIX decades of life. What a faithful God He is! He died for my sins at Calvary and gifted me with life in all its fullness. There may be times He’s emptied what I care about (both tangible and intangible) from life's plate and cup–but then … He’s exchanged them for eternal riches and my spirit has feasted on heavenly bread. My cup of joy has run over.
 
Are you looking back in sadness at what life’s stolen from you?  Or looking with dread at a scary future that looms ahead? Let us look up instead into the face of Jesus. He knows our every need. Anything that He asks of us is like a tiny grain next to what He offers us—beautiful, golden sands on all the vast beaches the world over. So let’s come to Him with open hands. Let’s find (as I’ve often done)  riches beyond compare—sparkling jewels of:

Beauty, truth, Goodness

Hope. Love. Life.

 

He is a God who gives lavishly. Let’s go to Him.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, 

so that in all things at all times, 

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

 
 
 
 

You are the Only One

12/10/2017 17:44
A few months ago, I caught a bus to the city. The driver saw me waving frantically from the other side of the road and slowed down—bless him. He waited with utmost patience ‘til I crossed the road. Panting, I climbed onto the bus. “Thank you so much!” He responded with a cheery smile. I validated my bus pass and walked to my favourite seat. How thrilled I was to discover that I was the only lady (or gentleman or child) on that bus. Apart from the bus driver of course. And God. I enjoyed a ride in solitary splendour.
 
My time in the city that day was a productive, happy one, enjoying a cuppa and chat with a dear friend at my favourite bookshop. Afterwards, with a glad heart and a few new purchases, I made my way back to the busy city streets. And then … it happened again. I hailed my bus, (this time I wasn’t late) and it stopped. Just for me. Because … you’ve guessed right. Once again, I was the only person on that bus. I revelled in a ride in solitary splendour for the second time that day. Twice blessed. Thank you God.
 
It couldn’t be a coincidence that it happened twice on the one day! Perhaps it was a whisper from God that when I come to Him, I have no competiton. I’m the ‘Only One’ riding His bus. It is a difficult concept to fathom, because my own limitations scream at me constantly. I’m no good at multi tasking. I delight in connecting with others, but if I have an overload of it, with five people clamouring for my attention at the same moment, my brain sizzles and my heart pounds. I simply cannot give my total undivided attention to more than one person at one time. 
 
A physical  (and mental) impossibility!
 
 
But God! But God can. And He does. When I approach Him, He waits for me as if I was the only person in the whole Universe. He listens to me as if I was the only one desiring His attention, in spite of there being perhaps 1,749,246 others pounding on heaven’s doors that same moment. How does He do it?
 

There was a little girl (in an imaginary world) who returned from school one afternoon to find her mum very ill. Little Lucy panicked. She picked up the phone. It was dead. She rushed out to call a neighbour. On Dorothy’s house was a sign Gone to help the homeless. Be back at midnight’. Lucy gulped and ran to the next house down their street. Celine’s door had a different message. 'On the phone counselling people. Do not disturb.’ Lucy’s fought back tears. She bit her nails—hard. She ran on, sweat dribbling down her back.

 

Mr and Mrs Brown’s house had a large notice. 'Praying for the world. Sorry no time for visitors.' Lucy’s heart raced. She clenched her little fists. She ran to the other side of the street. There stood a little house with new Tenants she’d never met. She’d heard there were Three of them and that their door was always open. She peeked through the window and her eyes opened wide. The home was filled to capacity and strains of soft music came to her ears. A party? Tears pricked her eyes and her breath came out in shallow gasps. Wiping her tears with the back of her hand, she turned to walk away ... when the front door opened. A kind faced man with piercing dark eyes walked outside. He smiled at Lucy and her heart was strangely warmed.

 

Come in Lucy. I was waiting for you." Lucy gasped. “Jesus?” He took her by the hand and led her in. As if she was the only person present. Lucy received the help she needed that day. Her mum recovered. Yes! A happy ending. For her. And indeed for all who’d come to God’s house that day.

 
That was just a little story. Only a wee parable? Yes, but … it’s true. God’s doorbell jangles every second. His phone never stops ringing. His front door is pounded upon, day and night. Millions clamour for His help at the very same moment. But the amazing truth is that He is able to respond. To all. He is everywhere at the same time, so He takes it in His stride. His home is always full but He treats you as if you were the Only One present. His ears are always attentive to your cry, ready to rescue you. There’s only one person in His bus today. And that person is YOU
 

So clamber aboard with glad expectation. He hears your call. He is mighty to save.

 

Every. Single. Time.

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
    he hears their cry and saves them.

Psalm 145:18-19

 

Never Give Up

29/09/2017 15:32
Each week, my son diligently places our wheelie bins out on the kerb for collection. Recently he was sick with a nasty flu so I assured him that either his Dad or I would do the needful. My beloved, when he returned from work said he’d put them out after his Thursday night swim. The problem was that since we are both fast approaching 60, our memories are not what they used to be! Shan returned from his swim an hour later. We went to bed that night not giving another thought to our wheelie bins.
 
Next morning, I waved goodbye to my man, still with no memory of that must-be-done chore. It was not until close to 1 p.m. when I heard the pick-up truck rumbling down our road that I remembered. I leapt to action, adrenaline coursing my veins. It didn’t help though, that I’d injured my knee some weeks before and was limping. A recent decluttering of our home had filled our recycling bin to capacity. I HAD to get rid of it all. Fast. I moved like a baby caterpillar who was climbing Mount Everest … or rather descending Mount Everest in this instance.
Numerous attempts at getting that wheelie bin in motion proved fruitless—it was just too heavy for the likes of little me. But … I was determined. And so I tried. Again. And again. The truck passed our home and started to empty my neighbours’ bin. It was then that I finally managed to get it moving. Those who’ve been to our home know that our driveway is pretty steep. To push a heavy wheelie bin down a precipitous slope needs muscle. And the strength of an ox. Despite my chubby proportions, my strength is more akin to that of a rabbit! But I knew I HAD to do it. So I did. As I rolled the bin down our little hill it picked up speed. Oh no! I would soon be dragged downhill. Help!
 
Praying all the way, and with great difficulty, I inched the hefty bin down the slope. Our home is three houses from the end of our street, so I had a few minutes grace as the giant truck wheeled around the cul de sac picking up a couple more bins. I rushed across the street and placed our bin by the kerb just as the truck came racing by. Would it stop? I held my breath. It did. A big sigh of relief whooshed through my lips as the truck’s large electronic arms plucked my bin and emptied its contents. Thank you God!
But when the bin was placed back, it tipped over, sprawling ungracefully across the road. Should I pick it up? I hesitated. If I didn’t, the rear wheels of the large truck would crush its bright yellow lid. But if the truck started off at once, I could get hurt. I held up my hand hoping the driver could see it and stepped forward. I lifted the bin onto its feet, my heart in my mouth. The vehicle stayed put. Whew. I waved my thanks to the driver, very grateful. What a patient, kind man! I could have hugged him. After the truck moved away, I pushed my wheelie bin back up my steep driveway, my heart dancing with thanksgiving at the remarlable little miracle I’d been part of.
 
An impossible task made possible. Persevering against the odds is never easy. But the only way to live; or so I have discovered. After my first book was published 7 years ago, my hunt for an Australian publisher for my next book was a long, arduous journey. The harder I tried, the more rejections I received. Would I ever make it, I wondered. But God. But God worked it out. First … I had to keep hoping. To keep going. To keep on keeping on ... in spite of. Last year, a beautiful, kind and generous friend paid for me to attend our annual Writer's Conference, another miracle. There, God led me to show my manuscript to a publisher. And now ... all going well, my next book, ‘Dancing in the Rain’ is set be published in 2018. Hooray! A gift from God? Absolutely. When God is at the helm, perseverance pays rich dividends.
Sometimes I get weary. I am tempted to stop trying. But like the glowing embers of a fire which will never be snuffed out, there shines an eternal truth. There is always hope. There’s a Special Someone steering the vehicle of life, a gracious Driver who waits patiently for me, even when my life collapses. He gives me the time and space to pick myself up. He heals my broken heart. He helps me realise my God-inspired dreams. He will never leave me nor forsake me.
 
Today, dear friend, if you are struggling to reach your goals … please don’t give up. Keep pushing through. You are closer today to finding your answer than you were yesterday. You CAN make it—not in human strength alone but with the supernatural power, wisdom and leading of your Heavenly Father. When you reach out to hold His Hand, anything (and everything) becomes possible.

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

 

Let us not become weary in doing good,

for at the proper time we will reap a harvest 

if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

 
 

 

He will make Your Paths Straight

14/09/2017 17:01
When I first got behind the wheel, as a mature 50 year old, I trembled Could I do it? Would I actually be able to steer a car? I wasn’t sure. The young inexperienced instructor who tried to teach me was appalled. He said my steering was the worst he’d seen. Talk of encouraging a novice! Besides, he’d asked the impossible of me. He made me spin the car round and round a car park at high speed. As I steered wildly, I’d clung onto that wheel as if my life depended on it. Which it did. A gruelling way to begin my driving lessons!
 
Two years of instruction, a different (and  thankfully competent) teacher, one accident, plenty of experience and finally … I received my driver’s licence. Whew! What a journey. Now, 7 years later, I have progressed a little and even enjoy driving on occasion. However, I still remain cautious when in the driver's seat. As I do my weekly shopping, I’ve been parking my car far from the shops, in a quieter area with less traffic. Recently though, my body has been protesting and coping less and less with exercise (due to chronic illness) so I had to park closer to the shops. The other day, I got as near as I could to the mall and parked my little Mazda between two cars. I noticed a large four wheel drive vehicle was on one side of me, obstructing my view. I would need to be careful when I reversed later to go home.
 
When I emerged an hour afterwards, there were four empty spots to the right of my vehicle and four empty spots to the left. What a pleasant surprise!  Perhaps they had been warned about my driving? Bliss. I could now see clearly around me and reversing out of my spot was as easy as jumping into a clear blue lake on a warm summer’s day. Splash! I sped home with joy in my heart and the wind in my hair.
 
A Bible verse flashed into my mind. “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18. Other words from scripture waltzed right in as well, like frisky, happy puppies who energised me with their love of life. 

 

The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, 

make the way of the righteous smooth.” Isaiah 26:7

 

In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs  3:6

 
 My exit out of that car park that day couldn't have been easier.
 A reminder that on life's journey too, He would clear the path before me.
Sometimes the future is uncertain. We don’t have much light. I’ve found (as no doubt you have too) that what’s required of me then is to trust Him as He leads me, one step at a time. Psalm 119:105 reminds me: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God often clears our path but not the whole expressway. Three years ago, I found myself in an unusual season of life. Much of what I’d worked towards in the preceding decade seemed to have disintegrated before my eyes.
 
Earlier that year, God had spoken to me distinctly through Isaiah 30:21 well before I needed its truth. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  Psalm 32:8 confirmed it. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.Now, months later, I knew why God had impressed the two verses on my heart.
Just like He told me, God led me that season, one day at a time, one footstep at a time, one hope realised at a time. He whispered each day what to do and where to go. He brought new experiences, new places and new people into my life. He shed light on the patch of road in front of me—no more. But … it was all I needed and forced me to trust Him completely. Out of a place of deep sadness and loss came the brightness of new beginnings and much blessing. I look back now with joy, knowing afresh through experience that trusting Him is always worth it. Life might bring unexpected losses and sad situations. But our faithful God is an expert at using those same losses and turning them into masterpieces of His love.
 
Are you sad and bewildered today? Is the road rough before you? Is there little light on your path? Fear not. He who leads you sees you, is with you and will never let you go. So cling tight to His Hand. Turn to Him and His Word - His light will shine on your path. One day at a time.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; 

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5,6

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, 

shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18

 
 

Who are YOU?

31/08/2017 14:38
I was scrolling through Facebook when a young friend’s comment stopped me in my tracks. She’d responded to my wishes with a ‘Thank you Uncle’. Uncle? Me? It was a first—the first and only time I’ve been called an uncle. And you know what? I’d rather remain an aunt. I’m glad I was born a woman. Not that I have anything against men, you understand. But … I’ve been a woman for almost 60 years and I love being one.
 
I remember the first time I was called an ‘aunt’. In Sri Lanka, the terms ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle’ are used to address a person from an older generation (even if she or he is unrelated), as a sign of respect. I was closing our front gate when it occurred. A young pair of dark brown eyes from across the road fixed their gaze on me. “Why are you closing the gate, aunty?”
 
Was she talking to me? She must have been 12 or 13 years old. I was perhaps 18 or 19, and didn’t feel that much older. What a shock! Did I look old? Some years later when I was a young mum it happened again. ‘Hello aunty’ said the strapping young man who was about to wed my cousin, a bright smile adorning his cheery face. Aunty? Surely not? Did I look like an aunt? He must have been only a few years younger than I!
 
Isn’t it interesting that we all have opinions about others, often incorrect. Sometimes I bask in people’s loving words. Occasionally though, their observations are a shock to my system. Is that how they view me, I think. Or … oh no – I’ve been totally misunderstood! I once spoke well of a man we both knew to a friend (let’s call her Sally). Sally however had a bad impression of him, so we had a whopping disgareement that day. What was worse, she began to attack my own character as well. She told me that she knew that I thought I was better than her spiritually. I gasped as if she’d thrown a bucket of icy cold water over me.
 
The truth was that such a thought had never occurred to me, because after all—there is no need to compare myself with others. We are all different and walking our own life journeys. I believed I’d been a good friend to her. I’d expected that my warm feelings towards her were being reciprocated. Sadly, our friendship of almost 10 years tottered over the brink of a crumbly wall and collapsed over the other side, a bit like humpty dumpty.
Though her assessment of me was a sad surprise, her view of me didn’t alter my own view of myself or my evaluation of the kind of friend I’d been. Perhaps it were her own insecurities which made her feel that way? I don’t know. I did know that we human beings are a complicated species. Who are you? Who am I? Are we a sum total of what others say of us? Or something else altogether? Psychologists tell us that our sense of self worth is usually formed in the early years of our lives by the significant people around us. As little people, we believe those who care for us. We carry that view of ourselves into adulthood and it often colours how we live our lives and even what we think about others.
 
Since I became a believer, I’ve taken as my identity that which Jesus came to bestow on every person in the world. I am a child of God, dearly loved by Him. Nothing I can do, can make Him love me more. Nothing I can do can make Him love me less. It has freed me—because His grace (His undeserved goodness) has changed my life. 
The only Person who really knows who I am, is my Creator. He knows me better than I know myself.  In spite of my murky insides, He still cherishes me. Amazing! He knit me together in my mother’s womb. Make no mistake—the same goes for you too.You are unique—and greatly loved by your Maker. You are more than a collection of arms and legs, teeth and ears, thoughts and feelings. You have a soul and a spirit which are of intrinsic worth. You are the only YOU in the world. And when linked to your Divine Architect, the sky’s the limit! Did you know that?
 
Perhaps today’s the day to take stock of your life. To accept yourself. But also to make a few changes. To see the reflection of your face in God’s eyes as you gaze up at Him. Perhaps today's the day you decide to do that special thing which God called you to. It’s never too late. And the right time might be now! 
Here are five questions to get us started:

1.     Who am I?

2.     Do I like myself?

3.     What makes me unique and special?

4.     What gifts do I bring the world?

5.     What is His heart for me this season?

 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—

and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

not by works, so that no one can boast. 

 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus 

to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

 
 
 
 
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