My Newsletter...from the perspective of my budgie, Peanut.
As I was sitting down to write my newsletter, my co-worker, Theo decided to grace me with a newsletter he’d written for me…from the perspective of my bird Peanut. Enjoy. :)
"Day 5 and the water is running low. All the food is gone and my home has not been cleaned since the brown hair giant has left. O how I desire the free outdoors. The new world outside my cage, full of wonder and awe but I am crippled by fear. Outside the safe havens of my current abode roams terrible monsters! Giants coming and going as they please, making unnatural noises, and not just from their flat beaks but from small boxes that flip into L shapes and smaller rectangles boxes that shine bright blue light. They sound as if little giants are trapped inside. It baffles me that these giants would do such a thing to one another. Their ways are brutal and frightening; if it weren’t for the arrival of my darling Sunshine I would have been lost in my own fear. Crippled by its grasp, crushed by its power, and swallowed by its unrelenting utilization. Her love reached out to me like a sparrow reaches for a worm, her beak closed around my frail beating heart, consumed it and fed it back to me like a mother feeds her coddling child. She has renewed, refreshed, and gave me new strength to escape this clenching hole and start anew with her by my side. But until that day comes we wait. In the filth, the smell, and indignation of having to poop on paper we wait."-Theo Devries
“Imagine that Jesus is calling you today. He extends a second invitation to accept His Father’s love. And maybe you answer, “Oh, I know that. It’s old hat.”
And God answers, ‘No, that’s what you don’t know. You don’t know how much I love you. The moment you think you understand is the moment you do not understand. I am God, not man. You tell others about Me - your words are glib. My words are written in the blood of My only Son. The next time you preach about My love with such obnoxious familiarity, I may come and blow your whole prayer meeting apart.
“What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”—Pedro Arrupe (via rainydaysandblankets)
12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3 I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.
6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.
17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
“I was told
The average girl begins to plan her wedding at the age of 7
She picks the colors and the cake first
By the age of 10
She knows time,
She’s already chosen a gown
And a maid of honor
She’s waiting for a man
Who wont break out in hives when he hears the word “commitment”
Someone who doesn’t smell like a Band-Aid drenched in lonely
Someone who isn’t a temporary solution to the empty side of the bed
Who’ll hold her hand like it’s the only one they’ve ever seen
To be honest
I don’t know what kind of tux I’ll be wearing
I have no clue what my wedding will look like
But I imagine
The woman who pins my last to hers
Will butterfly down the aisle
Like a 5 foot promise
Will be so large that you’ll see it on google maps
And know exactly where our wedding is being held
The woman that I plan to marry
Will have champagne in her walk
And I will get drunk on her footsteps
When the pastor asks
If I take this woman to be my wife
I will say yes before he finishes the sentence
I’ll apologize later for being impolite
But I will also explain to him
That our first kiss happened 6 years ago
And I’ve been practicing my “Yes”
For past 2, 165 days
When people ask me about my wedding
I never really know what to say
But when they ask me about my future wife
I always tell them
Her eyes are the only Christmas lights that deserve to be seen all year long
She thinks too much
Misses her father
Loves to laugh
And she’s terrible at lying
Because her face never figured out how to do it correctly
I tell them
If my alarm clock sounded like her voice
My snooze button would collect dust
I tell them
If she came in a bottle
I would drink her until my vision is blurry and my friends take away my keys
If she was a book
I would memorize her table of contents
I would read her cover-to-cover
Hoping to find typos
Just so we can both have a few things to work on
Because aren’t we all unfinished?
Don’t we all need a little editing?
Aren’t we all waiting to be proofread by someone?
Aren’t we all praying they will tell us that we make sense
She don’t always make sense
But her imperfections are the things I love about her the most
I don’t know when I will be married
I don’t know where I will be married
But I do know this
Whenever I’m asked about my future wife
I always say
…She’s a lot like you”—
Two important corollaries flow from this life-changing revolution. First, if we continue to picture God as a small minded bookkeeper, a niggling customs officer rifling through our moral suitcase, as a policeman with a club who is going to bat us over the head every time we stumble and fall, or as a whimsical capricious and cantankerous thief who delights in raining on our parade and stealing our joy, we flatly deny what John writes in his first letter (4:16)-“God is love.” In human beings, love is quality, a high-prized virtue; in God, love is His identity.
Secondly, if we continue to view ourselves as moral lepers and spiritual failures, if our lives are shadowed by low self-esteem, shame, remorse, unhealthy guilt, and self-hatred, we reject the teaching of Jesus and cling to our negative self-image.
In the fifth century, St. Augustine write this lyrical line: Quia amasti me, fecisti me amabilem. (In loving me, you made me lovable)
I wish I had spoken up more for what I knew was right and for the opinions that God had put in my mind.
I wish I had pursued gifts and talents instead of fitness and “beauty” for the sake of others perceived ideas.
I wish I can not allowed the world to convince me that my body is not right the way that is has been made. That some things to thick and some things too thin make me imperfectly ugly instead of uniquely beautiful.
I wish I had not submitted to others invitation to “sleep in” instead of wake-up and spend the sunrise with my Saviour.
I wish I had cared more about pursuing my love for Jesus and less about how other people viewed my walk with Him.
I wish I had fought more for goodness and less for selfishness, cried more for others hurts and less for my own.
I wish I had prayed more often causing me to speak in angst less.
And as I wish all of these things I know that I can not have the time back that I spent. I cannot get back the time spent anguished in front of a mirror, sleeping in, crying for myself, or hiding from the truth. I cannot get back those moments, minutes, or monuments in my life. That is the truth.
But there is another truth that I cling to as much as I know the last. I cling to the dream of a blank canvas. I cling to the dream that all of those things I wish I had done can be brought to pass today or tomorrow.
Gungor sings a song called beautiful things…in which the lyrics go, “You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.” If I, as a follower of Jesus, truly believe these things to be truth, I also believe that Jesus will make beautiful things out of me. He will wipe away the stark black of mistake on my canvas and give me something new. Something blank. Something ready for what I wish.
“1. push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.
2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.
3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.
4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.
5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.
6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.
7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.
8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.
9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.
10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.
11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.
12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.
14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything.
15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.
16. lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. open your eyes. take small steps to make it happen for you.”—
Father, as we come before you this evening we ask that you would open our hearts to be ready to receive whatever you have for us, that we would willing to respond to the challenges you put in our lives and act upon them, whatever they may be.
We first want to thank you for your faithfulness to us. It is impossible to find a friend that is like you.
You have been patient. You have been kind. You have never failed us. You have sustained and provided for us in all ways. You have never ceased loving us and have always hoped for us and believed in us even when we could not believe in ourselves. You have always held us in your hands and You have never failed us. You have always rejoiced in the good that we have done and forgiven us when we have done wrong. You have been the perfect friend even when we haven’t seen You. Let’s take a moment to thank God for a specific time that He has been a friend us.
Father although we believe that you have never failed us and that you are always near, we also admit that at times we feel as though you’re far away. We have missed your friendship because we have chosen not to draw near to you. Let’s take a moment to share a time with God where we’ve felt we needed Him and ask Him to draw near to us and to reveal to us the way that He was there in that situation.
And Father we know that being your friend begins when we choose to obey you. Help us to seek you out in all things and in all circumstances. Help us to draw closer to you and love your more. Help us to trust you and through this trust to learn to obey you. Lord, I pray that we would become like Nehemiah who prayed to you in a time of trial. He trusted you would come through. Help us to believe in your goodness for us like David, who never doubted in your great plan for him even as he was tested in great trials. Help us to love you in all things and to choose to be comforted by you instead of others. And Father help us to believe that you are able to fill the void in our lives that we believe others should fill. Help us to relinquish anyone in our lives that we’ve put in that place and instead trust you fill our lives with Your love.
Lastly Father we want to ask that you would teach us how to BE a friend. We ask that you would instruct us in the ability to see the best in others; that you would show us how to accept others where they are at, as we recognize that we are all in need of your saving grace. We pray that you would teach us how to recognize Your great love for others and that you would help us to be courageous as we choose to walk alongside them and love them with Your love. Father help us to be purposeful and persistent on behalf of others in prayer as you give us a glimpse of what Your plan is for them. Let’s take this time to allow God to place a specific person on our hearts that we can be a friend to.
As we think of this person and others that we are friends help us to be willing to listen and hear them with our hearts when they choose share their lives with us. Take away our tendency to store up assumptions, opinions, and defensiveness in all situations and simply be a friend. Help us to learn how to love like you and leave others feeling whole, heard, healed, instructed, corrected, and gladdened. We ask all of these things in Your faithful name, believe that you will do it.
A Peace that is For Real-Jesus Christ: Prince of Peace…Jesus the One who makes peace.
Jesus Christ IS my Prince of Peace.
As I prepared for this talk I wrestled with this statement. Clouds of doubt and struggle have rolled around my world this past week in addition to showers of rain and tears when a friend of mine decided that life was not worth living if he could see Jesus today instead and have all of his troubles disappear. Jesus had become his only source of peace and he wanted to be with Him. There has been lighting shots in a dark sky as family members and loved ones have been so sick they could not get out of bed. These things blew like a harsh wind in my life and yet the pain doesn’t stop there. Does it? In addition to all of our personal trials our world experiences difficultly. With bombings and shootings we find our minds filled with confusion and yet…there is hope. Isn’t there?
Jesus Christ. Prince of Peace. A Peace that is for real.
As I look at and experience the world around me I see a peace that is NOT for real. An attempted peace that is based on a persons ability to free themselves from the trouble around them. A young non-Christian friend of mine has been struggling with anxiety and has been kicked out of school. I asked him how he would describe peace and he said that peace would be ultimate happiness. Although this may be the world’s definition of peace it is unattainable for them.
When the Hebrew Christians used to greet each other they would say Shalom. I learnt at a very young age that this means “peace be with you” The word shalom is not simply peace as the world sees it, but instead: completeness, soundness, and welfare. The Greek word for peace is Eirene and it refers to inner tranquility and poise of a Christian whose trust is in God through Christ. And so this is the difference for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our saviour… We believe that peace is not just found when life appears to be free of trouble: when there is absence of war or freedom from disagreement or quarrels. We believe that amidst those things because of our hope in Jesus Christ we can find ourselves complete. Psalm 119:165 says, "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
As I was think about peace I was reminded of the story of Paul. Paul exuded this Godly peace all throughout the book of Acts. He says in 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked…I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked." Although most of these things are only things we can imagine we can empathize and often experience the feelings that Paul probably went through himself. I know that I’ve personally been sent into a spiral of feelings of rejection or inadequacy. I’ve gone without sleep and often gone without the things that I felt I needed. But amidst all of these things the only time I’ve gone without peace is when I’ve chosen to go my own way, without Jesus Christ.
Paul says…We have peace with God through our LORD JESUS CHRIST.-Romans 5:1
And so this is where our belief as followers of Jesus differs from the worlds definition of peace that pleads for freedom from difficulty and trouble. We believe that Jesus is our Prince of Peace. We believe that regardless of the trials in this world, Jesus has won the battle, that when He rose from the grave He defeated spiritual death because he broke the divide between us and God. And we believe that His love in large enough to overcome the pain and suffering that we experience in this world if we will just choose Him.
I can find myself believing all of these things until it effects someone that I love. When I found out that my friend had decided to try and end his life I felt I had the right to give God a good talking to about my feelings. I told Him very clearly that He had hurt me because He had allowed someone to be hurt that I loved. At that time when I was choosing to doubt God’s love for my friend and God’s sovereignty in the situation I felt anything but peace. Of course I would say that I believed God knew what He was doing. I would also say that I was trying to understand the situation. But the reality was that I doubted that God knew best and that I doubted that God loved this young man as much as I did. Can you empathize with where I’m coming from?
Although we often say that we believe that God is good and that Jesus is the Prince of Peace we refuse to acknowledge the things about God’s character that come with those statements. If Jesus is the Prince of Peace He must also be all knowing in the ways of justice and abundance in love, even when we can’t comprehend why He allows suffering in the world around us and in the lives of those we love. If Jesus is the Prince of peace He must be able to understand our hurts and hearts as we experience the world that He once lived in even when we feel alone. And if Jesus is our Prince of Peace we must believe that He was the perfect peace treaty between us and God, even when we don’t feel redeemed. We cannot separate the truth of God’s sovereignty with our situation while trying to find peace. We are given peace when we can trust in a God and Father who does all things because of His great love for us. And while we are not promised a perfect world for today but we are promised a Saviour who is able to bring peace because of our hope in Him through the trials. Jesus said "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
There’s a story in the book of John, in the 20th chapter that I’d like to tell before I finish off. The story begins after Jesus’ resurrection. The disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side. The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.” Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,”…But Thomas (a man I can often relate with in his doubt) was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”
Jesus pleads with Thomas. Don’t be unbelieving! Believe in Me. Believe in who I’ve told you I will be and believe in all I’ve taught you.
Thomas then replies, “My Master! My God!”
Up until this point the disciples were in turmoil because their saviour had been murdered right in front of their eyes. This is a great turning point for the disciples as Jesus appears in a room that has been locked and sealed. My mind wanders to reasoning that if Jesus can appear in a locked room without any struggle and command, “Peace be with you.” Then Jesus can appear in my life and do the same. Now while the other disciples believed as soon as they’d seen Jesus, Thomas needed proof. Jesus said to him, so, you believe because you’ve seen with your eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”
And so the same is for us. At times we may feel as though God isn’t in control and that this Prince of Peace isn’t bringing peace at all; but what we see and how we feel are often different than the truth. The lyrics of a song that I love go like this, “I lean not on my own understanding, My life is in the hands of the maker of heaven. I give it all to you, God, Trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me.”
“A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves. Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your weakness.”—Mother Teresa (via blindeyeswillsee)
“The idea of bittersweet is changing the way I live, unraveling & re-weaving the way I understand life. Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken & something beautiful, that there is a moment of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, & that rejoicing is no less rich even when it contains a splinter of sadness.”—Bittersweet | Shauna Niequist (via outcamethesun)
“I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn’t come in an envelope. It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live…”—Bob Goff // Love Does (via meggielynne)
I wanted to reblog this because I am learning to live this way in thankfulness.
A young wise man asked a beautiful lifetime friend of his if she would begin a relationship with him. Although “dating” isn’t the final product of a relationship it can be the beginning of a life-lasting one. And although these two didn’t say, “I do.” they said, “I will.”
I will cherish the friendship we already have. I willcontinue to accept you; mistakes and all. I will be there througheverything.
Because, you see, this didn’t spring from a couple of teenagers who thought that someone appeared vaguely attractive to them but from two children who became friends a long, long time ago.
And so, as this relationship began, I was humbled with the beauty of our LORD’s love for us in His long and Awaited journey in our lives. These two, like the LORD and us, know each other’s struggles, faults and frustrations and have still decided to begin a relationship. Like the Lord and us, they don’t expect perfection and have many times seen the fight of opposition. Like the Lord and us, they have not gotten scared away by family situations and honesty. They have not become bewildered in finding out each others pasts or fears because they have been in each other’s lives all along. They fought each other but never fled and because of that they have persevered to the place they are at now. And although I know this isn’t a perfect example of God and us, they, like God and His church, have found that love always hopes, always endures, and never fails.
They are beginning the journey of the long and awaited, the one that is being continued between us and God everyday.
“Don’t waste your time consuming what makes you weak. Spend your time pressing in for the Presence. Become so intimate with Jesus, so full of Him, that it does not matter what challenges in life present themselves to you. You will be so spiritually full that you can feed a multitude of other people’s needs. Jesus will give you more than enough.”—Heidi Baker (via missgreenwalt)
39-40 “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly because you think you’ll find eternal life there. But you miss the forest for the trees. These Scriptures are all about me! And here I am, standing right before you, and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.
41-44 “I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?
This week I will be choosing to face that which I have come to dread the most over the past few months. Silence. Instead of the voice of others opinions: silence. Instead of the congratulations of a job well done: silence.
For it isn’t in the winds, the fire, and the flood that God is heard as much as the still small voice and it is that still small voice I have been missing for so long.
“A Christian man who takes the lead in sexual purity, and who tells the woman that her heart means more to him than her body, and her purity is more valuable to him than his own pleasure, liberates her from a cruel bondage and gives her a blessing that words can hardly describe.”—Richard D. Phillips and Sharon L. Phillips (via lookupatthebirds)
“I am learning to believe better things. I am learning to believe that other people exist, that fashion is not truth; rather, Jesus is the most important figure in history, and the gospel is the most powerful force in the universe. I am learning not to be passionate about empty things, but to cultivate passion for justice, grace, truth and communicate the idea that Jesus likes people and even loves them.”—Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz (via yesdarlingido)
“A woman in her glory, a woman of beauty, is a woman who is not striving to become beautiful or worthy or enough. She knows in her quiet center where God dwells that he finds her beautiful, has deemed her worthy, and in him, she is enough.”—Stasi Eldredge, Captivating (via hopefisch)
"The Thief (the devil) comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full."-John 10:10
I was just thinking about how easy it is for us to have our joy stolen by something in our lives. More often than not for me it’s the frusteration with not being good enough that steals my joy. I think, “oh I wish I could be better, look better, act better.” and God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power made PERFECT in your weakness.” Just thinking upon these things I had to take a second and recognize that we allow he devil to have those strongholds in our lives. Actually more often than not we get hopeful about what we think he can do us. I need often to remind myself that the devil came ONLY to steal, kill, and destroy and Jesus Christ came that we may have life…and that is not just some boring, ignorant, ugly, tiring life but life to the absolute full.
Think of a glass of water overflowing or a icecream machine that just keeps on pushing out soft icecream. Full and overflowing LIFE.
So the question I have for me and for you is do you know that life in every area of your life? If not take the time to think why not and how you can choose to allow those barriers to be taken down between you and God.
I remember when I was 8 and I wouldn’t be able to sleep. My first reaction was always to climb into my moms bed and snuggle with her. As soon as I did my problems disassembled and I would drift into a peaceful sleep, content and sure that in my moms arms I would be able to sleep through the night.
I can also remember as I got older I chose to stay in my own bed and “deal” with it when I couldn’t fall asleep. I would fill my mind with books and movies, Facebook, texting and twitter. As time has gone on I think it’s become easier and easier to ignore the need for peace and security and fill our lives with distraction…
I know I too quickly lose the focus of what it means to be a child in faith, to walk in simplicity and purity to Christ. I’m so blessed to be reminded by a 12 year old sweetie that we all need the security and peace of “mom” sometimes and the simplicity of only trusting in the one who holds us in His arms.
As the month of December rolls around we seem to find it easier to become less patient in grocery line ups and find it more difficult to find a parking spot at the store. We’re bombarded with the stress of getting the perfect gift and finding the perfect New Years meal that we begin to forget that there IS always something to be thankful for.
This past Sunday as I was driving home from church a woman happened to scrape my car as she was attempting to pass me. As I got out of the car with an attitude of resolve she got out of the car with an attitude to win. And win she did. I was quiet as she told me that it was my fault that she scraped my car while passing me. As I got back in the car to drive away a mournful word to The Lord escaped my lips being something along the lines of… Why me Lord?
A couple hours later as I was driving to the same place for gas I heard a big “POP”. Rolling into the gas station I quickly discovered that my tire had popped… My immediate reaction was to laugh and then, to my shame, complain. We find it so easy to ignore the things to be thankful for. A moment later a man who worked at the gas station had my out of the car, my car jacked up, and a spare tire replacing the popped one. All for the price of none. You see where I was choosing to complain God was choosing to show me mercy and open up my life to a person that may need Him. I don’t believe in coincidence so frankly I don’t believe that this man, who lives in a trailer in the gas station parking lot, helped me for no reason. I believe he may need a friend who knows Jesus.
All that to say that my prayer for you, as this Christmas season approaches quickly is that you’ll choose to keep your eyes open for “something to be thankful for.” God is so good and there is always something.
How thankful I am for all of you. If my thankfulness could be counted as the sands of the sea I would hope that it would cover beaches. Thank you for your encouraging notes!
….I was struck this week by the beauty of friendship and family; the blessing in the colourfulness of the body of Christ. As some know this transitions hasn’t been easy for me. I find myself struggling more often than not to allow God to hold me together and have His way with me but this week I was so encouraged to choose LIFE.
Jesus IS being shown.
2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But thanks be to God,who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledgeof him everywhere.”
AND THIS IS TRUE!!!
To all of you who are downtrodden…who say, I can’t do this anymore….read the beautiful words of a man who lost his two daughters in a flood and was rowing past the wreckage of the boat where they died trusting God…
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Refrain: It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul.
Is it well with your soul? I am learning for it to be well with mine. And the beautiful love of all of your notes encourages me in the fact that there is a sweet aroma.
As for news from this week….How thankful I am for new adventures. Cross Your Eyes, the girls group that Katie and I have started began with a wonderful hit. We had our first official gathering this past Friday and there were 10 of us there altogether and we had a marvelous time of getting to know each other and baking Oatmeal cookies. Even in the simplicites how thankful I am…
“Don’t struggle and strive so, my child There is no race to complete, no point to prove, no obstacle to conquer for you to win my love. I have already given it to you. I loved you before creation drew its first breath. I dreamed you as I molded Adam from the mud. I saw you wet from the womb. And I loved you then.” Desmond Tutu
I don’t know if you have ever seen a cross stitcher at work. When they are starting out their work looks like nothing and from the back it usually looks like an unfinished mess. They put a needle through a tiny hole a million times and come out with a tangled mess of thread on one side and a beautiful piece of art on the other. Messy, messy, messy. Now I don’t know about you but if I was a cross stitcher and I could only see the back side of the stitch I would probably give up within the first couple days.
We had a speaker come in to one of our YFC events called UNDERGROUND. She and her husband had been married for just over 20 years and had done many missions trips together and as she told her story she explained that life was like pieces of thread for a cross stitcher. Many times we only see one side of the art…we only see the messy, uncompleted side, where as God sees the fully completed, beautiful side. And then she asked us what would change if we were to see ourselves the way God sees us…
Oftentimes we see ourselves and the world as incomplete. We look around and see messy people with threads everywhere and God sees His completed work.
My LIFEGROUP and I (about 10 girls from the different highschools around here) have been working on Pajama Onesies and everyone wants to be finished so badly that it’s difficult to get the group to sit down and study the bible. I’m learning though that as I see uncomplete work in their lives and mine, in our lack of excitement to study the word of God, God sees an ability to become a finished work of art…perfectly crafted by Him. This coming week we’ll be studying the book of Mark and asking the questions, “Who is Jesus?” and “What does this mean to me?”.
Please pray for us as we learn to become crafted by God. He is good! And He promises to complete the work that He’s begun.
Hokey Dinah do these days go by quickly…After visiting home with the siblings on Monday I spent some good time thinking about my attitude. How easy it is to complain and wish that we could be somewhere else or be someone else. In the past couple weeks I’ve been struggling with feeling alone; in that “feeling” the knowing that I am not alone. Wondering why I cannot be stronger or smarter, more savvy with electronics, asking the LORD why I cannot catch on quicker or be kinder or more patient…why I cannot find comfort in knowing that He is near even when I feel alone, why I cannot find strength in knowing that HE IS when I am not… and quietly in the depths of my heart I could hear Him whisper…
My grace is sufficient…My power made perfect in weakness.
This week I had an interaction with a friend of mine who used to be a part of YFC. She was sharing with me about how easy it is to become washed away in thefaiththat the people around us hold instead of coming to know Jesus Christ, who is our KING and SAVIOUR. She went on to tell me how much she admired me for the freedom she saw in my life…while I was looking at her and thinking, “Girl, you do not even know the captivity that I feel at times.” But it is true. His grace is sufficient. His power made perfect in my weakness…and His freedom made perfect in captivity. If not for trials and struggles I would not know the unrelenting love of the LORD. A song by Cody, Carnes called “All He says I am” say,
"He whispers in my ear and tells me that I’m fearless. He shares a melody and tells me to repeat it. It makes me whole, reminds me…I am ALL He says Iam. And He says I amHis own. I was blinded by scales upon my eyes and He came like a light and burned up all the lies. He set me free and reminded me,I am ALL He says I am. And He says I amHis own.”
In this past as I’ve struggled with being alone in the midst of ministry and wondered why I couldn’t just be free I was encouraged with these words. So today, on this beautiful foggy Thursday, I want to ask you, Are you free? Are you living in the truth of who He says you are?
“I am learning to live in the chaos of grace; that is daily and sufficient:exactly as it needs to be. My attitude, on the other hand, is not always as it needs to be. Thank-You God for Your patience.”—
2 Timothy 2:3-5 says, “Join with me in suffering,like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.”
I believe that as Christians…whether in full time ministry or in no ministry at all find it particularly challenging to understand what it means to endure in the LORD’s will and trust that His plan is the right plan. We run on the expectations of society; of parents, family, friends, co-workers, the media and many more things.
A friend of mine drew up a scary picture for me of what a life lived in response to God’s goodness looks like in comparison to a life lived in the sinful attitude of man. He said that the LORD had given him two pictures of my life…one where I was walking along a road with my arms outstretched praising God with many others following behind…and one where I was walking alone arms crossed in rejection of the goodness of God. I believe that was a way that the LORD was reminding me to seize hold of the chance I have to praise and glorify Him.
I went for a run after I heard about the 2 pictures and went from running in frusterations in the rain to running with my arms outstretched in praise and surrender to God to running home, a little cold but confident that God had understood what my hearts intent was. I simply desire to glorify and serve Him but lack the ability in my flesh to give up my stubbornness and pride. I lack the perseverance and endurance to following Him and not get entangled in the affairs of everyday life and in the wrong battle.
Thank God that His mercies are new every morning…every afternoon…and really anytime we need them.
I am so thankful for this opportunity that I’ve been blessed with the worship and serve the creator of the universe and also so thankful that He desires a relationship with me. I ask that you pray for the work that He is doing here with the youth of Courtenay but also in the hearts and lives of the staff here with YFC. God has great plans in store and only He knows what they looks like…
My response must be to walk…arms out in surrender and praise to His goodness. I pray that I will have the humility to learn and be vulnerable and the endurance to allow Him to work His way always.
Let it all out get it all out rip it out remove it don’t be alarmed when the wound begins to bleed
cause we’re so scared to find out what this life’s all about so scared we’re going to lose it not knowing all along that’s exactly what we need
and today I will trust You with the confidence of a man who’s never known defeat but tomorrow, upon hearing what I did I will stare at you in disbelief oh, inconsistent me crying out for consistency
and You said I know that this will hurt but if I don’t break your heart then things will just get worse If the burden seems too much to bear Remember the end will justify the pain it took to get us there
and I’ll let it be known at times I have shown signs of all my weakness but somewhere in me there is strength
and You promise me that You believe in time I will defeat this cause somewhere in me there is strength
and today I will trust You with the confidence of a man who’s never known defeat and I’ll try my best to just forget that that man isn’t me
reach out to me make my heart brand new every beat will be for You for You
and I know You know You touched my life when you touched my heavy heart and made it light
Barely Breathing Above-The honesty of a follower of Jesus
Barely breathing above water I KNOW that God holds the world in His hand.
Trying desperately to walk step by step because I know He sees,
He sees my struggle for diligence and longs for the simplicity of my trust.
And I am a broken vessel before Him…
It isn’t that I haven’t tried, and it isn’t that I’ve failed,
I’ve walked a line of serving Him for years and I’ve never prevailed;
Because He sees…He sees my sin and shame laid out as plain as the sea.
He sees my sin and shame when the world cannot.
So I wait. In a silent prayer of pleading and begging…
Knowing that He hears, forgives, and sees the depths of what He desires to make new.
I know that He can make me new.
O’LORD You see the things I’ve done. My every thought and each path and way is not hidden from your sight nor do you pretend to ignore the problems I make. You detest the sin that I so frequently hold close to my chest but you love the helpless human that I am. You hate the fear that holds me back, you despise the bitterness of my brokenness but you want to love me back to completeness before you.
If only I will let You…if only I will let you mend the fear, the brokeness and the hurt. If only I will allow you to expose the light that you don’t want to hide. If only I will realize that you will not relent until you have all of me.