Friday, October 25, 2013

Sand between my toes

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I am awake, I am still with you
. Psalm 139:17-18 (NIV)

Hubby and I decided to go to the beach this week, since summer has visited us early this year.  After a quick dip in the cool water, I sat on my beach towel and looked down at the sand between my toes.  

The grains of sand on my feet reminded me of the verses in Psalm 139 which says our Father God thinks good thoughts towards us all the time.  He doesn’t just think about us some of the time, or the times when we are in church or when we’ve been extra ‘good’ but all the time.  

I then lay down on the towel and listened to the waves pounding on the shore. I began to think about how waves are always heading towards the beach even when the tide is going out.  The waves never stop coming, even if don’t see or hear them they continue to land on the beach.  The relentless motion of the waves heading towards the beach is reminiscent of God’s love for us.  His love never stops coming, no matter if we are awake or asleep, if we are working or playing, if we are thinking of God or thinking about ourselves, His love never stops.  Our Daddy God loves us relentlessly and with a passion all the time.

The idea that God is always with me, always loving me and always thinking good thoughts about me, even when I am not thinking about Him is nothing short of mind blowing.  Don’t you agree?

Friday, October 18, 2013

This is Love

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.1  John 4:10-12

This past week saw widespread devastation around the area of Australia where I live, due to bush fires.  As I write this post, many fires still burn across NSW.  It’s been a tough week for residents in fire affected areas and a tough week for fire fighters.  Most of our fire fighters are from the RFS, the Rural Fire Service and are volunteers.  Without the heroic efforts of these firefighters, I’m sure more homes would have been destroyed and lives lost.  These courageous men and women have given up their own time for people they don’t know and who they may never meet.  

I know of one young man who was out fighting the fires in Salt Ash until 3am, managed a quick sleep before leaving for school to sit the first of his Higher School Certificate (HSC) exams. (The HSC is the highest award in secondary education in New South Wales. To be eligible for the award, students must complete Years 11 and 12, satisfy HSC course requirements and sit for the statewide HSC examinations.  The results of these exams determine the students elligibility to enter certain university courses or some job positions after school).  This young man could have been studying and worrying about his future, but instead, he spent the day and night protecting the property of strangers.  No one would have thought badly of him if he had ignored the call from the RFS but instead, was prepared before the alarm was raised.

This young man giving time so generously, made me think of the generosity of Jesus.

Jesus came to this world to show His love for us.  Jesus didn’t give a little of himself, he gave 100% of himself for those who may never acknowledge Him or may even claim to hate Him.   He knew this even when He was on the last journey to Jerusalem.  Jesus was well aware of the cross before Him but it didn’t slow Him down  one bit.  And he gave of himself generously for our past, our present and our future.  

I reckon the selfless acts of these firefighters should inspire us show love to those we don’t know and to do kindness for those who can never repay us.   Even if it costs us time, energy or money, even if we don’t know them, even if they are our enemy, because that is precisely what Jesus did for each and every one of us.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Weeding our Thought Patterns

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  1 John 4:10
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  I John 3:1

I was weeding my lawn this week.  I know that sounds insane but we had bindii and dandelion weeds running right through the back yard. At a distance my grass looks nice and lush but up close you can see the weeds.  I don’t like using sprays and besides, I find digging out weeds immensely satisfying when I manage to get the whole plants out, roots and all.  

It occurred to me that we can be like that.  We may have been holding onto wrong ideas because of something we had heard years ago.  These thoughts may look good from a distance but up close we can see they are pretending to be Biblical truths when in fact they are the opposite. 

We can have an idea that we have to do behave at all times to be loved by God and if we do something bad, God will punish us.   We have it set in or minds “Do good, get good; do bad, get beat.”

These lies can become rooted in our minds and our lives without us even realising it. It can take a bit of work to remove them but we can do it with a little bit of effort and time.   

We start to remove these lies when we meditate on the truth that God has always loved us, even before we knew about His existence.  God loves us simply because we are breathing!  

And we remove more of these lies when we remember that we don’t have to do anything to get God’s attention because we already have it.  

Every time you sit and focus on God’s unconditional love for you are digging out a weed of wrong thought, and every time you sit at His feet allowing His love to flow over you, another weed has been removed.    And you too will find it immensely satisfying when you get rid of a wrong thought and realise God is hanging out to lavish some love on you and all you need to do is accept it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Choices in Tough Times

We all go through tough times. We can be disappointed in ourselves or in others. Medical reports can be less than positive, those we trust can betray us, and relationships we thought were unbreakable can be shattered in the blink of an eye.

Sometimes we can feel that life is like swimming through treacle: lots of effort only to end up feeling you are going nowhere fast.  When you’re mired in the sticky swamp of hurts, how do you climb out?

Denial doesn’t make things better, feeling sorry for yourself leads you to focussing on the problem and bartering with God never works. 

I’ve found that what does work is making a choice.  We all have a choice between holding onto hurts or letting them go, a choice between embracing offense or forgiving the one who hurt you, a choice between growing bitter or overcoming and being better,  a choice between hiding in the shadows of despair or walking in the light of Jesus our Saviour. 

In tough times we have choices.  The question is…what will be your choice?