Short Thoughts 2016

Space for God

 

Ahead of this New Year I purchased a weekly planner.

I love getting a new diary.

It’s in pristine condition....

 “Christmas!”

It's a word that either fills us with joy at the thought of all the fun that is to come,

or with dread because of all the strife that we know inevitably accompanies this season.

It's a word that either fills us with the excitement of getting ready for a special time,

or with the worry of how to finance such an expensive month....

                                                                       

Cultivating that Glow

 

I realise that a lot of my recent frustration comes from the fact that

I do not like what I have been seeing in the mirror!

 

I hate being so superficial and vain, yet

To You I Call, Your Hope I Find

 

There's a time of pain in my life which I've always tried to tuck away,

never wishing for the memories to rise.

Experiences I wish I could erase. 

However the love and hope I have found in my Father God 

are things I know I should share, so hence I'm sharing my poem…

Seize the moment!

 

Something terrific has just happened!

 

Speaking to my parents about their move, from a country that has been

their home for over 40 years, to the UK, the sadness turned to joy.

 

They know they are being led to this new season and have confidence in God

for the future, but, nevertheless, the move away from what they have known

and loved is like grieving for the loss of a loved one....

What has God placed in your hand?

 

As Moses and the Israelites stood at the edge of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army hunting them down, Moses cries out to God for help. God commands Moses to

‘“Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea.”’ (Exodus 14:15 NLT) 

Moses listens to God and faithfully obeys His command....

Open Wounds

 

A very good question was posed to me recently:

Can we live and be the person God has called us to be whilst still having open wounds?

Flying

 

A friend once made me an origami bird and on one of the wings it said:

‘Never be afraid of flying. Flying is learning to fall to the ground and not hit it.’

 

When a baby bird learns to fly it has to pass over this huge and very scary threshold

– it has to get out of the nest....

My Backpack

 

I like to go on long walks, walks that take me out all day, especially along coastal paths or up mountains.

When I walk I never travel light, I carry lots in the backpack on my back… ‘just in case’!

 

For many years I have had to drag around another kind of ‘backpack’

one which had become heavy with the weight of depression...

Around the campfire

 

‘When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it,

and some bread.   Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 

So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore.

It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.  

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”

 (John 21: 9-12)

 

I would have loved to have been on that beach sat around the campfire with Jesus and his friends....

Where is your Rehoboth?

Isaac, the son of Abraham, had been living as a foreigner in Gerar.

The Lord had blessed him with an abundance of crops, flocks, cattle and servants; he had become a wealthy man.  King Abimelech of the Philistines in Gerar found Isaac to be too powerful and requested that he move on.

 I don’t imagine this being a simple move for Isaac...

Waiting in uncertainty

 

What is my response when I feel I have damaged a relationship by the words I have said?

When I think they have been hurtful, caused pain or created unrest?

When I have spoken out of ignorance, clumsiness or self-centeredness?

When I am unsure if I am making this up yet felt the chill that descended between us

after my words were uttered and a perceived negative response had followed?

Breaking through the darkness

 

A seed, one as tiny as a mustard seed, can be planted in the darkness of soil,

from this place it breaks through the darkness to grow towards the source of light.

A plant is stimulated and uses energy from the sunlight to grow; light is essential for its survival.

It will search for the light, find the light,

grow towards the light and flourish in the light....

Seeing through the Fog

 

Many of us, at some point or another, hit that wall of not knowing what life is about or what lies ahead. 

What we once knew and felt secure about now seems but a shadow,

and we are left staring at the nothingness that sprawls in front of us and seems to engulf us. 

We might catch a glimpse of an answer here and there,

but we still feel lost in this sense of void and hopelessness.....

The Subtle Seduction of Social Media?

 

It started innocently enough; a ‘ping’ on Messenger from a male ex-colleague,

enquiring about how life was these days.  It seemed innocent.

 

Then the questions became more personal and, without realising, I found myself...

Restore and Renew

 

An eagle can live for up to 120 years.  Half way through its life, at the age of 60,

the eagle goes to its favourite place high up on a rock where it sits and

pulls out all of its feathers.  It bleeds profusely.  Being bald, it does not

look like the beautiful majestic creature that it usually is....

Coming into God's rest

 

I was frustrated, agitated and restless, and I didn't even know why.

I did know though that I wanted to take my mind off whatever it was

that was bothering me and that I wanted to treat myself

to something to make myself feel better.

I was very close to going off and watching some random thing on TV for distraction

or eating something unhealthy for comfort.

 

Then I remembered that I had started a new “experiment”:...

Enjoy or Endure

 

How much do we allow ourselves to be super-busy or distracted

with things that we don’t enjoy or want to do?

 

 

Faith and Courage

 

‘As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road.  

When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening.  

They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. 

 So he began shouting,  “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”.....

 

Great Expectations

 

We appear to be living in a world where bigger and faster appear to mean better: advertisements which suggest the expectation of transforming our home in a weekend is achievable; TV programmes which raise the bar of expectation every year; work performance targets which are set with the expectation that far more than

last year will be achieved.  If such expectations are not met, labels of disappointmentor failure loom. 

We are surrounded by them!

 

Such expectations can influence us and we can be drawn into feeling pressured n many areas of our lives....

 

God will…

 

Life has a knack of throwing unexpected changes our way, changes which are beyond our control.

For Naomi, the changes began with a famine which resulted in relocation,

followed by the loss of her husband and sons, and continued with a 

homecoming filled with uncertainty and insecurity.

Yet God provided for her along the way and in particular during her homecoming.....

 

What's the Secret?

 

I came across some Jewish families not long ago.  They were distinctive by the way they dressed in black suits

and white shirts, and the boys and men had long curls by their temples.  They stood out by their conspicuous difference. Children around them stared and laughed, not knowing what to make of them.

 

Then I saw her.  She was the young bride of a young Jewish man.  She walked gracefully with a peaceful dignity and confidence. .....

Holding Hope

 

She came into the room, head down, looking anxiously around.

Her eyes darted back and forth, taking in the unfamiliarity of her surroundings.

Her unspoken words hung in the air: ‘Can I really trust you?’

 

She began to tell her story, unravelling life’s events and concern flashed across the contours of her face.

Her question tugged at my heart: “Are you really hearing me?”

 

Giving and Receiving

 

This morning was a home-cleaning morning and, if I’m honest, it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing. 

As I spent precious time tidying and cleaning, my mind drifted towards trying to see these chores through a different perspective: what if a well-ordered, clean home is my gift to my family?

Thresholds

 

"But forget all that - it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.”

(Isaiah 43:18 NLT)

 

Whilst in a sabbatical period, I read a journal article about thresholds. The writer, a messianic Jew, spoke of the importance of the mezuzah on the doorpost of Jewish homes, a reminder of God’s protection and holiness.

On one side is written the Sh’ma – the great Jewish prayer beginning ......

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