DISCOVERY……….

As I grow older, I discover more and more that the greatest gift I have to offer is my own joy of living, my own inner peace, my own silence and solitude, my own sense of well-being”.                   (Henri Nouwen)

We can only experience that joy when we have a personal relationship with Jesus – as we spend time in prayer and meditate on God’s Word.  The more familiar we become with someone, the closer we tend to become to that person.  The same is true with God.  The more we read about what He has done for us and what He desires for us, the more intimate our relationship will be with Him.

10009841_10151852343222574_573645414_nExtract from “God’s Promise for Families”

 

KEEPING OUR HEADS ABOVE THE PAVEMENT

images

“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems that by keeping its dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared. You see you wouldn’t ask why the rose that grew from the concrete had damaged petals. On the contrary, we would all celebrate its tenacity. We would all love its will to reach the sun. Well, we are the rose – this is the concrete – and these are my damaged petals.”

-Tupac Shakur

I came across the above quote on the blog site “takingthemaskoff”.   The blog is entitled LOST AND NEVER FOUND:  AN ALCOHOLIC’S UNKNOWN STORY.

It is an incredibly well written piece and if you, or anyone you know, suffers from a mental illness or an addiction – depression, alcoholism, cutting, anorexia, gambling etc – this blog is definitely worth reading.  http://takingthemaskoff.com/2014/08/19/lost-and-never-found-an-alcoholics-unknown-story/comment-page-2/#comment-982

Just realized what a superfluous statement that is “if you, or anyone you know, suffers …….”

I don’t think there is anyone in the world today who isn’t suffering or who doesn’t  know someone who is suffering.

The majority of us have bruised leaves and we are all striving to keep our heads up off the pavement.

download images (2) images (1) resilience1
I look at the images above and marvel at the sheer determination and tenacity of these plants.  They have managed to grow and flourish despite the most severe odds stacked against them.

Despite the fact that they have no background, no knowledge of their parental seed, no grounding, no good role models they have still succeeded in growing into the most beautiful flowers that bring joy to most people who see them.

They have embraced the little they have – oxygen, sunshine and rainwater supplied by God – and have grown and flourished.

They have concentrated on growing every day instead of filling their days with regret and anger and bitterness as to where they have been placed!  Or constantly asking “why me?”  “Why could I not have been planted in beautiful fertile soil instead of just being dropped haphazardly onto the pavement and left there alone?”

I wish more of us could be like these plants and flowers.

Thanking God every day for what we do have and making the most of what we have been given. Continually looking up towards the Son.

Not looking at others and judging how they are doing, or being envious because it seems that they have more than we have.

But just striving to grow into the person God created us to be and in that way bring joy to those who pass us by.

Below is a link to a video that everyone should watch at least once in their life time.

learned to walk without having feet”

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153154817558902&set=vb.672878901&type=2&theater

Photos courtesy of google!

RELEASING OUR BURDENS WITH JOY!

IMG-20130216-00318

One weekend, our family attended a church camp.  During one of the morning sessions the speaker handed out a sheet of paper to everyone on which we were to write down our burdens.  In the last session of the day, we were to take these sheets of paper and put them into a bowl.  These sheets were later burned in a fire, symbolic of releasing our burdens to Jesus.  In Matthew 11:28 Jesus urges us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  I wrote down my burdens, folded the paper and put it in my notebook, which I then left on a table.  At the end of the last session, people started placing their papers into the bowl.  My notebook was not where I had left it and I frantically searched for ‘my burdens’.

“What are you looking for?” a friend whispered.
“My burdens!”
“I’ll help you look”, she offered.

We scrambled around looking for my lost burdens.  All of a sudden, we started to giggle uncontrollably.  Our laughter was magnified because everyone around us was so solemn and quiet. Here we were, desperately trying to find my lost burdens so I could take them up again only to lay them down again before God.  As our laughter continued, it struck me how gracious our God is.  As I had written my burdens, He had, in that very moment, taken them and they were effectively lost forever.

Also, the laying down of our burdens need not always be serious and solemn.  It can also be joyous and freeing.  Galatians 5:1 explains: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again.”

It also saddened me to realise how often we, as God’s children needlessly scramble around looking for the burdens God is already carrying for us.  As I lay in bed that night, reflecting on the day, I felt the laughter rise up again inside of me and Nehemiah 8:10 took on a whole new meaning:  “For the joy of the lord is your strength”.  Additionally, Proverbs 17:22 says, “A happy heart is like good medicine”.

(From God’s Promise for Families by Noelene Curry)

THE LORD’S PRAYER – WITH A DIFFERENCE!

prayer-conversation

Dallas Willard was once asked how he prayed.  He answered that he prayed the Our Father every morning before his feet hit the ground. I can just imagine Satan’s reaction whenever Dallas Willard put his feet on the ground in the morning.  It must have been something like this “Oh hell!  He is getting up – take cover!”

Prayer and faith go together.  You cannot have the one without the other.

In Biblical terms prayer is a personal communication or request addressed to God and faith is a strong or unshakeable belief in God without proof or evidence.

“Prayer is a necessity to man – it is a universal phenomenon; but while not exclusively Christian, it is most real in Christianity because the Christian life is a life of fellowship with God.  In Bilbical religion the relationship between God and man is genuinely interpersonal. Prayer is essentially communion;  God desires man’s fellowship, and man needs the friendship of God.1

What follows is an example of how Dallas Willard prayed the Our Father.  I am writing this from memory and have added a few of my own personal thoughts – this is basically a guideline of  how he prayed.  You can add your own relevant requests, praise, thanks-giving to the basic outline.  You can also spend a lot more time on each section!

Our Father

My God, my Dad, my Lord, my Pappa, my Father

whom art in Heaven

You are high above the earth. You are all seeing. You are omniscient.  You know all about me and yet you still love me

hallowed be Thy name

You are majestic and wonderful. I praise your Holy name. Your name is powerful and mighty.

your kingdom come

Lord, please fill me with your Holy Spirit. May I be your hands and your feet here on earth.  May people see your Kingdom in me.

your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven

I pray Lord that I, together with all other Believers, will be able to love others in a way that will ensureYour will being done here on earth through us.

Give us this day our daily bread

Thank you Lord for the abundance that you shower upon me.  For the home I live in – let me not take it for granted.  Let me share my abundance with others. Make me aware of the needs of those around me.

and forgive us our trespasses

Lord, please forgive me for not living a life of love.  For wanting my own way.  For judging others.  For repeatedly doing what I know is wrong in your sight.

as we forgive those who trespass against us

I need your help to forgive those who have hurt me.  Who have made me feel that I am not worthy.  Who judge and criticize me.  Help me Lord, to be able to forgive myself for the wrong I have done.

Lead us not into temptation

Please help me to be satisfied with what I have.  To be thankful for all I have.

but deliver us from evil

Lord, please break the chains that bind me.  Break the habit of me feeling worthless, angry, inferior, proud, judgmental.  Deliver me from addictions – be it alcohol, drugs, pornography, eating disorders. 

For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever

Thank you Lord that nothing can ever befall me that you are not aware of.  That no matter what happens you have already prepared a way out – help me to trust, grant me more faith to know that you are all powerful.  I glorify your mighty name.  I praise you.

Amen

So be it.  I go into this day with my hope and my faith firmly placed in You, my God, my Lord, my Saviour.

May each one of us be the kind of person that when our feet touch the ground in the morning, Satan says “Oh hell, they are up.  Take cover!”

1.  The  Handy Bible Dictionary & Concordance

Photograph courtesy of the internet.

DO LIBERTY AND GOD GO TOGETHER?

images (4)

Liberty is the “state of being free”.

In Isaiah 30:18 we are advised that “the Lord longs to be gracious to you”. The biblical definitions of grace are “the attitude of God toward men” and “the liberty that God gives men”.

If we bear in mind that liberty is the state of being free it stands to reason then, that if we accept God’s grace in our lives, that grace causes us to be free from the chains that have us bound – alcoholism, addiction to pornography or drugs, jealousy, anger, self-pity, pride, eating disorders, poor self-image. The list is endless. Graciousness is defined as being “courteous, kind, and pleasant”

“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 34:6)

“But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate…..” (Nehemiah 9:17)

What an amazing thought: God longs to be kind, generous and courteous to us.

I pray as the psalmist prayed: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us….” (Psalm 67:1)

(photo courtesy of the internet)