OLDER, WISER?

START

They say experience comes with age. There is some truth in that especially as I am about to experience another birthday next week

Am I wiser? I like to think so. Am I smarter? Getting there! But for me, experiencing the joy of how God continues to change me daily is what is exciting. I do have my highs and lows like everybody else but hanging on to Jesus through thick and thin is proving how faithful He is.

What will I be doing for my birthday? Nothing planned but I love surprises. Maybe He has something special around the corner waiting for me. Watch this space!

STOP

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SACRIFICE

 

This topic could not be more timely. As I write, this is what I am currently doing in my Bible study. The book of Hebrews talks about Christ’s sacrifice for us and the enormous benefits that brings.

 

Not only do we have eternal life, but He has opened the way for us to meet with God. Anytime, anywhere! Unlike the high priests in the old covenant who only went into the inner temple to offer sacrifices for the people’s sin once a year! Not only that but this is once for all, never to be repeated.

It is mind-boggling what Jesus Christ has done for us. Sometimes it is hard to grasp the enormity of that sacrifice. And what we do in response? Give Him all the praise, all the glory and live a life that honours Him.

 

It is not always easy living in this world but we have the only help we could ever have to help us accomplish that. His Holy Spirit. What a SACRIFICE!

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Direction

I have little or no sense of direction, geographically, that is. Asking for directions and someone telling me to go north or south, east or west, forget it. I’m lost! At times when inside a building and needing to leave, I have been given directions, go out this door, turn right, then left, go two streets down then turn right again. Before they are even finished I’m already confused. In my head the right becomes the left and visa versa. Well, to a point.

At times I blame not remembering my right from my left on this strange phenomena of ambidexterity. Yes, I am ambidextrous. I can write with both hands, paint a wall with my right hand but do a painting with my left. Something strange happened to me after having gone through school in my younger years writing with my left hand. I suddenly woke up one morning and wrote with my right hand without any practice and which hand I use mostly to this day. To explain this I wrote an article in a Christian counselling magazine entitled “On the Other Hand.” It didn’t bring any more enlightenment so my dilemma with respect to directions continues. But I digress.

Another thing is I hate driving to places I don’t know. Thank God for GPS devices!

Thankfully my spiritual walk is a different matter. Scripture says, “whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6 NIV).

I’m doing my best this new year to keep that spiritual compass, trusting God and walking in His way. I know I will get there finally, to that place He prepared for me when my walk in this life is over.

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Darkness

 

Darkness doesn’t always mean the absence of light. It can mean anything. For me it is not knowing what the future holds. I know we are not meant to know that in detail but if you think of it, we are always planning for the future!

Eleven years ago I was separated awaiting divorce proceedings after sixteen years of marriage. I didn’t know what the future held, and God in His wisdom and mercy didn’t show me. Much as we sometimes plead with Him to let us know what the future holds so we could plan the way ahead, He just gives us enough light for the step we’re on (Anne Graham Lotz). And that’s what He did. He gave me His word in Jeremiah 29:11.

This verse came in so many unexpected ways just before I had to make a big life change that I knew God was orchestrating this change. A beautiful hand-made bookmark landed on my lawn as I was walking by. Where it came from, I will never know except to say that I’m convinced it was placed there by an unseen hand just as I was walking by. A post card given to me by a friend with the words, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, God is already there.” A misplaced wall hanging found behind a dresser during that dark time. An email from a friend and a text from another, all quoting Jeremiah 29:11 and all graciously given within a couple of months before making this life-changing decision.

Here God was reminding me that His plans are always better than mine, than ours. As though He was saying “don’t forget, that’s my promise to you.” I held on to it  as though holding on to a life raft, knowing that I was safe but still unsure that I would get to shore, unsure that this uncertain change would steady my life. And to prove this to me, He kept reminding me of this verse even today and impressed it on my heart that it jumped out at me everywhere I went. Over these past six years since I made that change, life felt safe and steady and my trust in Him grew by leaps and bounds.

Once again, a time has come for another imminent big decision. So what does the future hold as I decide at this present time on where to call home? Although the future is still uncertain, God’s Word is sure and certain. Just as Jesus has been with me and brought me through and used these past six years to grow my faith, I know deep in my heart that He will bring me through the next six years and beyond for He is unchanging. He keeps His promises, He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

 

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WAIT…..ON WHAT?

WAIT……ON WHAT

 

I am not noted for waiting well. Waiting is not my forte. I’m always in a hurry to get where I am going, to accomplish what I set out to do for that day.

I speak fast, I walk fast, I think fast. I’m unto the next thing before you know it.

Take  the supermarket, I look for the shortest check out queue. All excited I’m nearly there. Great! I will have time to get to the next thing on my To Do List for that day before I get home. Everything will be done as planned. Then it all falls apart! The cashiers are changing station. Someone else is taking over, the cash has to be sorted, the verbal interchange during take over. The queue which I thought was the shortest, inevitably got held up. You’ve been there, haven’t you?

How about catching public transport? At the bus station if you don’t take the right bus, the one you get on will take you somewhere you don’t want to go. So I have to wait for the right bus as I don’t  have the time nor the inclination to go elsewhere. Didn’t I tell you I’m not good at waiting?

So how about waiting on God?

During my quiet time my brain is already thinking of all the things I need to do that day, this doesn’t happen often, but when it does, there goes my fellowship time with Him. I then have to tell Him I’m sorry, I’ll do better next time.

I have this big decision to make. A life-changing one and I keep praying about it but have I really been listening to God on making that wise choice? I mean, really listening even though some signs were beginning to become evident? Not until I once again picked up one of Bill Bryson’s books at 4’oclock one morning when sleep eluded me.

If any of you have read Bill Bryson’s books you’ll know how hilarious his writing is, the way he describes things will make you laugh out loud. That morning I had to stifle my laughter to avoid disturbing the neighbours but at the same time, I read something in that book that seriously helped me make a decision.

You see, when we don’t stop to listen long enough to hear what God is saying to us in answer to our prayers, being God, He can use any method to get our attention. He used my insomniac time and Bill Bryson’s book to get my attention.

 

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The Crossroad of Choices

I found myself coming to a crossroad. “Which path to take?” I asked myself. The one veering to the left or the one veering to the right? Both paths looked good, they both offered opportunities to accomplish my need at the time but I kept asking which one to take! Remember, they both looked good and appeared to be answers to my need. Finally, I made a choice. I took the one veering to the left.

I happily went along for a number of days, weeks, even months but all the time praying and saying to God, “Do not let me do anything that is not in your will for my life” But so much of what I thought was the answer to my need had such a pull, it made me determined to take the path I had chosen. The flesh is indeed weak!

Then along the way I came across an unevenness on the path that made me stop and wonder, is this God’s answer? I didn’t wonder for long so I kept going. Then a small pothole, but I kept going and, at the same time praying, but this time, more fervently. The path that seemed smooth for a while had become a fool’s paradise, but I happily went along, for days, for weeks, for months. Then further along the way I came across a hump, a larger pothole and a barrier up ahead. I stopped! Really stopped! Instead of looking down, determined to go my own way, I finally looked up, yes up! While I was enjoying the journey I wasn’t really paying attention! All along God wasn’t only hearing my prayers, He was answering them and provided His protection, grace and mercy along the way. I know it’s because I kept Him in the picture in spite of wanting to go my own way.

The paths, or should I say, the choices we sometimes make are not bad of themselves but if they are not in God’s will for our lives, we could end up in disastrous situations. Yet if we keep praying and listening for God’s answers, He by His grace and mercy, gets us back on the right path.

“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.’” (Isaiah 30:21-NIV)

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Knowing me, Knowing You

In our effort to come to know God, we are to remember that He first knows us. Here is what Scripture says:

Psalm 139:1-3 – O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Matthew 10:30 – And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

1 Corinthians 8:3 – The man who loves God is known by Him.

Galatians 4:9 – But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?

Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

John 10:14 – I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me –

1 Corinthians 13:12 – Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

…….and the list goes on………..

(Scripture passages from the NIV)

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A Renewed Perspective

 

I started blogging back in late 2017, then I stopped and began asking myself why was I blogging? Do I have anything to say that would be of value to anyone but myself? Was it for my own edification, that I would eventually get great readership? Although the latter is inextricably linked to why we all write, wouldn’t it be terrible if no one read what you wrote?

After some soul searching I realised that much of what was coming to mind, was how normal daily events synced with what God was doing in my life, and that these connections seemed to occur fairly frequently. Either through something I’ve prayed about the night before or that very morning. Through my devotional readings or just some daily task.

I can hear you say, “sounds like you have more than enough material to write about, so what is the problem then?”

It’s not writers’ block which happens to writers when we sit with pen and paper or at our computers and wonder why we can’t think of anything to write about. So, what is it then? Well, it’s thoughts of what should I write about. Would it be of value to anybody or just my own experiences. So I procrastinate in getting pen to paper, fingers to computer or iPad, as in my case.

But isn’t it our own experiences that shape our writing? And isn’t our writing as individual as we are?

We all know that there are stories everywhere. We just have to look around us or to stay still and listen for the internal stories to unfold. Those are our experiences. So I’ve concluded that since I do have things to write about I better push through and get on with it. Not only does it make practical sense, but as a fairly new writer, doing so will help me hone my skill but, more importantly, it is biblical to do so.

Do you have things to write about? Stories from your own experiences burning inside of you but like me, you hesitate to put it out there because you think it isn’t worthwhile or relevant to anybody?

Everybody needs encouragement at times. So hopefully, this is an encouragement for those who feel like I do – unsure, hesitant, a bit daunted. Press on with the thought in mind that God gives all gifts, whether natural or spiritual, one of which is the gift of writing and through that, we give Him all the glory.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:6-7)

 

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Breath In……Breath Out…..Aah!

 

Some of us tend to be more conscious about the things we do than being aware of ourselves. We’ve heard the expression, we are not human doings but human beings.

Well, I’m not the most relaxed person. I find myself doing things at a pace – walking fast, thinking fast to the point that my brain is already reaching for the next task before the present one is fully accomplished. And before I’ve completed one task, I’m off to the next. I tend to have three or four books which I’m reading, at the same time. And here is a biggy! I’m always trying to get to where I’m going on time and if I fail to accomplish that, I usually get annoyed with myself or whomever else got me to my appointment late.

It’s when I sit quietly talking with God or reading a book, where time doesn’t seem to matter, that I become conscious of myself, my body. Shoulders high almost to my ears, back taut, body tense and with this sudden realization I drop my shoulders, stretch my back and slowly relax.

Think of a spinning wheel, a merry go round that has momentum. The spinning is rapid at first and then gradually starts slowing down. It’s this slowing down stage that I’d like to achieve. This relaxed stage where there is not too much momentum but just enough to be able to achieve the things I set out to do. More with a calmness and thoughtfulness that makes everyone and everything around me have that same sense of calm.

Some reading this might suggest meditation or yoga, the gym or leisure centre. I’ve done all that. That’s still doing! What I’m talking about is just being more conscious of myself. That means stopping occasionally and taking stock of my body, my mind. This marvelous body with it’s outside and inside workings that God has created.

At the same time, I am thankful for who I am right now. It’s helped me to achieve a lot in life. But a time comes when it’s important to slow down, and yet still able to accomplish much.

I think settling down to my new career in writing would certainly help, don’t you?

 

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New Adventure – blogging

I’ve been putting off setting up my blogging website because it seemed so daunting.  Even though I am quite good with technical things like finding my way around computers, even fixing simple things, the task of blogging seemed so enormous and almost out of my reach.  I kept asking myself, what would I blog about yet knowing that I have much to say.  Whether anyone wants to read what I write, and I hope they will, I felt I needed to express my thoughts, feelings, adventures somewhere all in one place.

You see, I was used to documenting things in a diary, many of which I’ve amassed, but that’s mainly to do with my prayer life and what God was up to.  But there are many other parts of me I tend to express on bits and pieces of paper, on my iPad, even in conversations with others. I wanted to bring the many parts of me into one whole where I could see me as this one source generating all these ideas, and where others could see me in the same way. Not scattered or scrambling, not knowing whether I was coming or going.

So now, here I am.  I’ve joined the madding crowd of bloggers, dare I say, no longer far from it but right in the middle of this crazy crowd and loving it!

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