Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Attitude of Age

Continuing on the theme of perception, I thought I’d talk about that dreaded thing called old age. Why are we so obsessed with age? Why do we spend ridiculous amounts of money on make up, chemicals, surgery, even airbrushing, in the never ending search for youthfulness? What are we so afraid of?

Some days I feel like 101 and yet other days I still feel like a teenager even though those years are long gone. Is it all just a matter of perception?

The European Social Survey (the ESS) polled 40 000 people to see the differing opinions of the definition of ‘old age’. Apparently those aged 15-24 thought that youth ended at just 28 and old age started at 54. However, those in their 80’s regard the final year of youth to be 42 and old age began at 67. These numbers also varied in differing countries. For example, in Portugal they were no longer young at 29, but in Cyprus it was 45. Even climate, education and types of jobs factor in the equation. If you feel younger then old age seems further away.

I often wonder what it will be like when my knees give out, my bones become brittle, my eyesight worsens and the wrinkles take root. And then I remember that regardless of how old we feel, despite the fear we carry deep down inside, our Lord reassures us that He will be there. He will be our strength when we are weak. He keeps us young in spirit.

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4 (NIV)

Are you struggling with that label “old age”? What is the best thing about growing older? How do you keep young?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Attack of the Mutant Carrots

Do you like my carrots? Yes, they are carrots. No, really. I grew them and then yesterday I harvested them. I’m very proud of these carrots. They may be too embarrassed to show themselves to the other shop-bought vegetables, but I love them because I grew them. So what if they aren’t perfect? So what if they are a little strange and very stumpy?

Even though I’m not a skilled gardener, I managed to grow these little nuggets of sunshine all by myself. I think they are beautiful.

God thinks we are beautiful for the same reason. He made us and He loves us. It doesn’t matter about the environment we grew up in. It doesn’t matter if we have physical defects. It doesn’t even matter what we think about ourselves. We can be a little strange. We can be a little stumpy. We can be considered outcasts. And God will love us anyway.

Because God sees our beauty, we are free to be ourselves. We are free to allow God to shape us, rather than society.

Do you allow society to guide the way you think about yourself? Are you influenced by all the beautiful models and celebrities we see everywhere? Do you really believe you are beautiful because God believes you are beautiful?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Show and Tell

One of the more important, and frequent, tips I’ve heard for writing narrative is to show the readers, rather than tell the readers. If a reader is ‘shown’ a scene, they can fall into the story more easily, otherwise they will remain disconnected from that story. No one likes to be told what to think. If they are shown, then they have the freedom to make up their own minds, the freedom to get to know the characters as they would normally get to know a new friend. The readers are pulled into the scene and they become involved in the story.

This too is the case when we share our faith. No one can gain any true understanding if they are simply told about Christianity. Unless they can see it for themselves, people can’t comprehend the phrase, “Jesus makes a difference to my life.” Words are empty without being able to witness the active reality of the power of God.

This is why Christ became a living example for us and why we are called to live as examples for others.

How are you a living example of the difference God makes in your life?

photo: taken while fishing at sunset at Kurnell, NSW, Australia

Sunday, March 28, 2010

World Prayer

As part of my Sunday Prayer post, I thought I’d pray for the hundreds of millions of people from more than 120 countries and regions who got involved in yesterday’s Earth Hour event.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come together and praise your Holy name. We thank you for inspiring us to look after the gifts you give us. These gifts include this very earth. The lands, the seas, the skies, and the animals, birds and fish, all provide us with the sustenance and protection we need.

And your gifts don’t stop there. You have given us each other. This includes not only our close friends and families, but also our neighbours. It includes the people we don’t know and the people we don’t understand. We thank you for all of them because we can all encourage each other, teach each other, and love each other in your name.

And Lord, we praise you for bringing so many people together to gain awareness of our environment. We praise you for the work you continually do through us and for us, whether we know it or not. We pray that this Earth Hour event stays in our minds for a long time so that we remember the little things we can do to make a difference.

In your name we pray,


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wallpaper of the Week - Philippians 2:5

I've actually forgotten where I took this. I know it was taken during another driving holiday I enjoyed with my husband. It was definitely still in NSW, Australia, but I'm not 100% sure of the exact location. That will teach me not to label my photos!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Earth Hour

Tomorrow, Saturday March 27th, between 8.30pm and 9.30pm, will be Earth Hour. We are encouraged to turn off all our lights during this hour to conserve energy. It is hoped that by doing this we gain awareness of climate change and understand the importance of looking after the environment.

Earth Hour is an Australian initiative that began in Sydney in 2007 but is now an international event. Last year thousands of cities and towns in 88 countries took part to demonstrate their commitment to this cause.

I don’t see myself as an activist and I don’t follow many causes, but I do think that looking after our environment is important. Our Lord calls us to be the earth’s custodians. In Genesis 1:28 he names us rulers over all the living creatures. To be a good ruler we must look after all that God has given us, and this includes the environment. Let’s start treating it as both a responsibility and a gift.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Faith Exercise

Because I’m a writer I spend a lot of my time sitting in front of the computer. I don’t lead a physically active lifestyle so I’m very conscious of the need to take the time out to exercise. I’m not a great fan of jumping up and down, stressing my knees, or getting all hot and sweaty, but I know ultimately it’s good for me. When I just get on with it and do it I always feel so much better. The blood rushes through my body, my muscles stretch, and the cobwebs in my brain get washed away. I feel more alive. I feel more awake.

The same thing happens when we exercise our faith. Sometimes we may not always want to spend any quiet time with God. We claim we are too busy and don’t have the time to read the scriptures. We rush prayer rather than quietly sitting at God’s feet. But we must make the time. When we exercise our faith muscle, we feel more alive and more awake. The more time we spend with God, the more we learn about Him, the stronger our relationship with Him grows.

So, exercise your faith muscle today and don’t let “daily life” get in the way of life with God.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Best Years of Your Life

When I was growing up I really didn’t like school. I was an easy target for the bullies because I was little and shy and couldn’t express myself clearly. The lessons were boring and I couldn’t read out loud without stuttering. However, when I complained about my troubles, I was always told by my parents, friends of the family, aunts and uncles, “Enjoy school while you can. These are the best years of your life.”

It always sent me into a panic. This is the best I’ll ever get? Oh no, I’m doomed! I’ve got nothing to look forward to if this were true.

Then I left school and joined the work force. There were no bullies, no homework, no boring lessons. No one told me I was ugly. No one told me I was stupid. When I got home after work I could relax and switch off. I could do whatever I wanted to do.

Then work became boring. I had to work late some nights and I had to work some weekends. The pay was terrible and the stress levels began to soar. Then I thought about what I’d always been told: “School is the best years of your life.” I caught myself pining over the loss of my school days!

Well, I stopped that real fast. No, I thought, now is the best time of my life. God has blessed me with the now. Regardless of my circumstances I have God and I have now. I can see God’s power in my life. I can feel God’s love. I am blessed. I am alive. I am here, now.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Once Every 3000 Years

I found a brief article hidden away in a back corner of the local newspaper. After some further research, I thought it was interesting enough to merited a post here.

The article was about the discovery of a rare flower found by a Chinese woman in Lushan Mountain, Jiangxi province, China. It is called the udumbara flower or youtan poluo. According to Buddhist legend it blooms once every 3000 years and supposedly marks the coming of a future king.

Rare and unknown things will almost always have legends and myths surrounding them. This flower is no exception. It is extremely tiny and they grow in white clusters which look very much like the eggs of lacewings.

I don’t know if it is true that this flower blooms so rarely or even if it exists. As Simone Preuss notes in her article I found here, “It is interesting to note, however, that the first sighting of an udumbara flower was in July 1997 at a Buddha statue in a temple in Korea, exactly 3,024 lunar years after Buddhism first emerged.” It is also interesting to note that, according to David Emery “they don't match any known species of plant life…”

Do we find things only when we look for them? Is it about being aware of the possibilities and opening our eyes? Or is it a matter of wanting so desperately for something to be true that we close our eyes to other facts? Or do we even disbelieve because we don’t want it to be true?

For me my faith in God is so much more than simply wanting something to be true. Admittedly I did only look for Him when I became aware of the possibility of Him. I looked for Him because I needed Him. But our Lord asks from us more than blind faith. He asks us to learn of Him. He asks us to think about Him. He asks us to be prepared and aware, and He gave us the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to guide us. He reassures us that He is the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Made Special

Meet Cortana, my gorgeous eight year old cat. She looks like a spoiled member of some ancient royalty basking there in the autumn sunlight, but she’s not. She is neither royal nor spoiled. She is just a common household cat, who frequently has to be reminded of the rules. Regardless of her behaviour, what makes her special is that she is loved and she accepts this love.

We too are made special because we are loved by God. We aren’t special because we might be blessed with a high level of creativity or drive. We aren’t special because we are successful in life, or because we might be rich or even because we might be poor. Beauty doesn’t make us special, luck doesn’t make us special and influence certainly doesn’t make us special.

Only God makes us special because he loves us. And, just like Cortana, even though we need to be reminded about acceptable behaviour, that doesn’t change God’s love for us. While we accept His love, we can bask in His light.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Prayer for the Teachers

A friend of mine has been asked to preach to the congregation tonight. He’s fantastic with people, he’s just come back from a year of missionary work in Japan, and he’s done brief talks to large groups, but he’s not done something like this before.

And so my prayer today is for Andy and for everyone else who is called to stand in front of any kind of group and declare God’s Sovereignty, teach God’s word, and encourage others in their faith.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I humbly ask that you encourage the encouragers, teach the teachers and guide the preachers and ministers of your Word. You have given them a huge responsibility to care for your flock, so they need your strength and your wisdom so that they are able to honour you in their work.

I ask that you help all of us to remember that even if we aren’t called to teach, we will always be living examples of your Love. Help us to be the best examples we can be. Help us to shine with your light in everything we do.

And most especially, Lord, I ask that you help all of us to persevere - even when we feel like we are making little difference, even when we feel discouraged or alone, even when we are lost for words.

In your Son’s name,


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wallpaper of the Week - Romans 1:20

This photo was taken on the southern coast of Victoria, Australia. Even though there were few people around, I had to wait ages for a clear shot. I didn't mind the wait because it was so peaceful there.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Looking for God

It’s important to look for God even when we know He is here. I find God in creation, in the vast blue Australian skies, in the rocky coastlands, in the white sands of our beaches.

I find God in the vibrancy of colour, in the perfection of a rose, in the sunrise over water and moonlight on a quiet night.

I find God in the taste of foods, in the smell of summer rain, in the creativity of the human mind.

I find God in a smile, a tear of joy, in an act of kindness and the sound of worship.

But God is also with me when I suffer, when I grieve and when I ache. God is there when I am lonely, when I struggle and when I’m afraid. He is everywhere at all times. If I look for Him, I will find Him.

Where do you find God?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our Gardener

I’m a terrible gardener. Plants are always dying on me, flowers hardly bloom, and my vegetables come out looking like mutant runaways from another planet. I did, however, have brief success with a succulent. I managed to grow a small carpet of pigface amongst the weeds of my garden. It bloomed into the most vibrant orange flowers I’d ever seen in my life.

This photo is not doctored in any way. It shows their true colour in sunlight. They seemed like little flames of glory in my broken garden. They didn’t last long but afterwards I successfully grew a pink batch. These are the flowers you see all over my blog.

Needless to say, God is a better gardener and we are even more beautiful and special to Him than the pigface was to me. Our Lord carefully tends to our needs, ensuring we never grow thirsty. He removes our weeds and makes sure we grow strong in Him. When we bloom, we shine with His glory. We stand out amongst the ruin like beacons to His nurturing love.

Praise be to God.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick’s Day

Even though this day is not a public holiday in Australia and the celebrations tend to only be seen in the local pubs, I have been known to wear a small amount of green for the day. It never really meant more to me than that. I didn’t know who this Patrick guy was, I didn’t know what he did to become a saint and I didn’t know why we wore green except that it was an Irish thing to do. And so I thought it was time I found out.

St Patrick was born into a wealthy Romano-British family in the fifth century. Apparently he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland to become a slave. He managed to escape, but, rather than hating or fearing the Irish, God called him to become a priest to convert them instead. He spread the word of God in Ireland for almost thirty years and is held in such high esteem that he is now the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland.

The tradition of wearing green on the day started by wearing a shamrock on clothing, since it was believed that St Patrick used a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. And so the celebrations began as a reminder of God’s work, God’s love and God’s grace. And it reminds me that through God’s guidance and God’s power, one person can make a difference to countless lives.

Below is a traditional Irish Blessing; origin unknown, although some attribute it to St. Patrick.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I was in a car accident a couple of years ago. Three cars were involved because someone was in a hurry and thought that cutting across traffic in peak hour would be a good idea. As accidents go I guess it wasn’t a major one. No one was killed or seriously injured, although I did suffer a neck injury and had to go to physiotherapy for 6 months. One car was scrapped, my car was in the repair shop for over two months and we were all shaken up for a long time.

I had to question God. Why did this have to happen? He could have prevented it. He could have ensured I wasn’t there in that lane at that time. He is all powerful after all. He is supposed to protect me. He is supposed to love me. So, why? Did I do something wrong?

Well of course I did something wrong. I continually do the wrong things, and even think the wrong things. I am not perfect and will never be perfect. Only Jesus was and is perfect. And it’s a mighty good thing for all of us that perfection is not a condition of God’s love or even of his saving Grace.

God doesn’t punish us when we fail to be good people. Bad things happen to the righteous and the wicked alike. Bad things happen to the innocent and the guilty. Bad things happen because we live in a fallen world. We all have the freedom to make choices both good and bad. Bad things happen as a consequence of our poor decisions, our pride, our self-reliance. When anyone moves away from God bad things will happen and everyone around them will feel the effect. This is why we must always humbly rely on God in everything so that our influence on others is only good and uplifting and strengthening.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March according to the Roman calendar. It is a date best known as the day that Julius Caesar was killed in 44B.C. For me however this date is best remembered because I had to study Shakespeare’s, “Julius Caesar” in school. For some reason what stuck in my head was the soothsayer’s warning to Caesar, “beware the Ides of March.”

I was never a fan of Shakespeare in school. It was filled with convoluted wording and difficult to understand concepts. I only learned to appreciate it later in life when I wasn’t forced to write boring essays on the subject. Now, however, I can genuinely say I like this particular play because it focuses on the main character’s struggle between right and wrong, friendship and politics, and the powerful influences of society.

These are the struggles we all face every day. We struggle with so much because we are human. It’s a part of who we are. Of course, we should never let that be an excuse to make the wrong choices or to allow society to influence us in a way that turns us from God. Instead we should always be aware of this weakness, to pray for strength so that we can continue the fight, and to always remember how much we need our Lord.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

With Thanks...

Postscript to the Rainbow Faith post on Friday (and matching wallpaper):

The very next day I did see a rainbow after more than a year without seeing one. It was bright, it was beautiful, and it was there for only a moment. I thanked the Lord and reminded myself again that it’s not about me, but rather it’s about God. And so today’s prayer is one of thankfulness.

Loving Father,

Your Greatness is immeasurable, your Power unfathomable and your Love is all encompassing. I thank you for your patience when I look elsewhere for solace, for encouragement, and for approval. I thank you that these things you give freely and in full measure; I have only to accept them.

Thank you for continuing to teach me of your Glory regardless of my pride. Thank you for continuing to love me, regardless of my faults. Thank you for continuing to remind me of how wonderful you truly are and will always be, regardless of my blindness. And most especially I thank you for your faithfulness which will endure forever and ever.

In your Son’s name,


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wallpaper of the Week - Hebrews 10:23

This was taken near the Twelve Apostle rock formations on the southern coast of Victoria, Australia.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Rainbow Faith

I love rainbows. They are beautiful and rare and they hold a special place in my heart. For me rainbows are a connection with God. That probably sounds odd since we are surrounded by God, all of creation sings His name and the Holy Spirit Himself lives within me. But whenever I see rainbows, whether they are huge or small, amongst the clouds or in the garden sprinkler, they remind me of God.

That was their original intention. God created them after the Great Flood to remind us of His covenant with all living creatures on this earth (Genesis 9:1-17). I’d see them and think of God and smile and thank Him. Then I started to see them when I was stressed or worried about something. The rainbow would remind me that God is here and He will look after me and carry me through my problems. Then on my twentieth Christian birthday I saw the hugest, fattest, brightest rainbow I’d ever seen in my life and it hadn’t even been raining. What a marvel, what a blessing. I was so delighted I felt like a little child again.

But then I started to rely on the rainbows. I went looking for them when I needed reassurance. I sought them when I needed to know I had God’s approval. When I didn’t see them for a long time I feared God’s disappointment in me. Then I realised that I was searching for signs rather than approaching God himself.

I’ve stopped seeing rainbows altogether now. I believe it’s God’s way of reminding me that my rainbow faith had become a crutch. It stopped me from putting all my trust in God. Oddly enough, by not seeing them even when there should be one, I am now reminded that God is continuing to look after me, continuing to love me, and continuing to be faithful to me even when I’m not faithful to Him.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Be Prepared

When I first became a Christian I was all passion and very little actual knowledge. Then someone asked me why I became a Christian. Well that stumped me. “It’s because Jesus died for me,” I’d say. Then the person would look a little baffled and say, “Yeah but what does that mean?”

I knew in my heart what it meant. I knew that Jesus was Lord in my life. But I was hopeless at expressing myself. I just knew it was right for me and I knew it would be right for them too if only they understood what I understood. The problem was learning to say it in a way that offered confidence and clarity rather than stumbling over vague explanations.

In 1 Peter 3:15 we are told to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Not only are we to do this for the people who might ask, but it’s important to do this for ourselves as well. The more we know about our Lord, the deeper our relationship grows.

I remembered hearing something said in a bible study group about a part of my faith I’d never thought about. The person said it with such eloquence and even though it was a thing I already knew in my heart, it made such a difference to me to have it said out loud in easily understood words. It clarified my thoughts. It confirmed my faith. And it gave me a real buzz.

This is why it is important to think about our faith and to be prepared.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Monkey Trap

I recently watched an old documentary about instinct verses intelligence in primates. The show noted that chimpanzees were highly intelligent. However, even though they could make rudimentary tools to achieve certain things, instinct still ruled them.

Scientists placed a treat inside a cavity with a small opening. The monkey could smell the treat and knew it was good. He reached in and grabbed his treasure only to discover that he couldn’t get it out. The monkey’s closed fist was too large to get through the hole again. All he had to do was let go and he’d be free. But he couldn’t do this. He wanted the treat. He tried forcing the treat through the hole. He tried shaking it and yelping, but nothing worked. He became oblivious of any potential danger. He didn’t even realise he was trapped.

We too rely on instinct. We hold onto things and refuse to let go. We worry and fuss. We stick to our hold habits rather than following God’s way. We think we know what's best for us and pursue the wrong goals. In our stubbornness, we become oblivious to the danger that arises whenever we do anything without God.

This is why we must learn to let go of the worldly things. We need to learn to listen for God’s direction, and allow Him to carry us along the right path. This is a thing to be practiced, with daily reminders through prayer and fellowship. The more time we spend with God, the more His desires become our desires, and the less we rely on instinct.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Best Days

What is the best day you’ve ever had?

My most memorable and wonderful day would have to be my wedding day. It was a day filled with excitement, good food, and, most especially, it was a day spent surrounded by the people I loved. It all came together after a few months of courtship and a year of planning. God blessed this day and he blessed our union.

Generally favourite days are the days that we look back on and smile. We treasure the memories, we share the stories and we delight in our blessings. These are days we long for, plan toward, or unexpectedly receive.

But even the best day that we could possibly conjure up in our thoughts can’t compare to God’s Glory. Nothing on this earth can compare to God. Not our best days, our best moments, or even our best imaginings. God makes our best days even better and yet still they don’t compare to His Glory.

Our days are mere moments, but God is forever.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I am Yours

Yesterday I needed to interrupt my husband from an involved job so I could gain both his attention and his help. He immediately stopped what he was doing, smiled and said, “I’m yours.”

It was such a simple phrase but it meant so much to me. With those words he told me I had his complete attention. He showed me he was eager to help, and he waited patiently for me to ask him whatever it was I needed of him. Because of this his words spoke volumes of his love for me.

Then I realised that these are the words we should regularly say to our Lord. I am Yours. These words tell our God – and remind ourselves – that we are eager for his direction, that he has our full attention, and that we love him so deeply that we are willing to do the things he asks of us.

But the most wonderful thing is that these are the words God says to us. We are his and he is ours.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shared Prayer

The other day someone sent me one of those PowerPoint presentation email prayers. I am not normally a fan of these things. I usually have trouble getting past the really bad artwork and the terrible music that never seems to come with an off switch. The prayer however had spoken to the person who sent it to me so I gave it a second chance – after I unplugged my speakers. Well, it turns out I liked it enough to share it. Unfortunately it’s anonymous so I can’t credit who wrote it or note where it originally came from. Below is the prayer without the pixilated art, without the strange punctuation and without the jangling music.

Dear Lord,

I thank you for this day. I thank you for being able to see and hear the beauty of your creation. I thank you for your blessings in my life.

I humbly request your forgiveness for everything I have done, said, or thought in contrary to Your will.

Please protect me, my family, and my friends from all danger and support me with Your wisdom to gratefully accept all things that come my way.

Let me not whine and whimper over things beyond my control. Let me recognise any sin and acknowledge it as evil. And when I sin give me the courage to confess and repent for my wrongdoings.

Give me strength so that I can provide direction to those who have lost their way. I pray for all my near and dear ones to know You intimately. I pray for those misjudged and misunderstood to have mercy. I pray for peace, love and joy to dominate my family and friend’s lives and that all their needs are met.

Even in those moments when I don’t pray, I ask You to please listen to my heart and continue to use me to do Your will. When this world closes in on me, I pray that you make me go as clean as the way You created me. May the words of this prayer be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly.

In Jesus’ name,


Wallpaper of the Week

This is Mount Gambier in Victoria, Australia.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Wandering Mind

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."
Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

This is one of my favourite verses in the Bible. It is also one I have struggled with for many years. I may be able to sit still for a long time, I may not fidget very often, but I am one of those people who suffer from a wandering mind. I think, I worry, I fret, I plan, I ponder. How can I be still when all this is going on? How can I remain focussed on God? How can I let him fight for me when my mind churns in chaos?

The first thing I’ve found that helps is to ask God for forgiveness and then to forgive myself. There is little point in worrying about the worrying. It only adds to the worrying.

The second thing that helps is to thank the Lord for making me the way that I am. I have a crazy mind that can lead me astray, but it can also lead me to wonderful places. And so I thank the Lord for that.

The third and final thing that helps is prayer and persistence. What all these things do is turn my thoughts back to my God – and back again to my God. They teach me patience and humility and most especially reliance on the Lord.

What helps you to be still in our Lord?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Beyond the Yotta

I was reading recently that scientists are looking for a new name for a thousand million million million million. That is, a number with 27 zeros. Currently the highest prefix we have is a “yotta” which is 24 zeros. Impressive, but apparently it’s not impressive enough.

Our advancement in technology has allowed us to count phenomena way beyond the giga, the tera, the zetta and now the yotta. Such high numbers can be found when measuring the distances between galaxies or counting the atoms in large samples. But who is to say 1027 will be sufficient?

For me all this simply reminds me how vast the universe is, how little we truly know of it, and how small we seem in comparison. It reminds me of God’s infinite power and how we can’t even come close to quantifying it or even replicating it. And it reminds me that despite how small we might seem, God will never lose us in the immeasurable expanse that fills the universe.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Danger Bay

A few years ago my husband and I took a meandering road trip down to Melbourne. Along the way we decided to stop for a picnic lunch. We turned off the main road and travelled down a winding dirt track. According to the maps we were headed towards Danger Bay. It was the name that enticed me. It promised adventure. The ever-present child in me thought up images of pirates and stormy seas.

What we discovered was even better. We found a secluded beach that was perfect in every way. It had the white sands and the jewel-like ocean sparkling in the sun. It had dappled shade for a picnic and sandstone walls to shelter us from the wind. No one else was around and I delighted in making fresh footprints in the soft sand.

What captured me the most about the place was the peacefulness. It didn’t fit the name. Where was the danger? Then I realised a strong wind was blowing out on the sea. Jagged rocks lay hidden under the waters. Ships could easily get wrecked on this shore.

This world we live in is very much like Danger Bay. We aren’t always able to recognise the danger that waits for us. We might think we are safe. We might think that we are in a good place, especially if things are going well for us. But the truth is, God is our only safe haven. He offers us peace and protection that we can rely on. All we have to do is trust him and then we will enjoy a place within ourselves that is as perfect as that beach.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Big Picture

Would you know what the first image was if you couldn’t see the second image?

Often we think we know what the big picture is. We carry on living as if we had all the answers. We bravely make plans on what we think we know and we rely on this knowledge above anything else.

And then something happens and we realise we don’t know everything. We remind ourselves that we are fallible. Then we turn back to our Lord and humbly ask for forgiveness because we have learnt – yet again – that we can only rely on Him. Only God can see the big picture, the whole picture. Only God understands everything. Only God can guide us through our blindness with a steady hand.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Friend for Hire

In countries such as India and Japan there are a number of companies that have actors for hire to attend weddings or any other social event. It sounds like a strange concept to hire fake guests for your special occasions but apparently it is becoming more popular. This is because the more people you know the greater prestige you are perceived to have.

This strange fact comes to me as a reminder that we live in a world where appearances often matter more to us than the truth. This is why Jesus says we do not belong to the world.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19 (NIV)

Jesus is our Truth. He is our Comforter. He is our Salvation. He is what really matters.

Monday, March 1, 2010

When We Were Young

The year is marching on with an ever increasing pace. Time seems to slip through our fingers. Suddenly we find ourselves with demanding jobs, countless responsibilities, and mounting debts. We wonder what happened to our youth, what happened to our dreams and what happened to that chocolate cake I cooked three days ago?

When we were young we had grand plans and our hearts and minds were filled with so many dreams. I wanted to be a ballerina, a famous actor, a skilled artisan. Then time moved on, dreams changed and the Lord carried me in other directions.

Both my dreams and my circumstances are very different now, but life remains an adventure. I may not know what’s around the next corner, everything might seem to be speeding by in a heart beat, but I do know that our Lord has everything under control.

And this brings me great comfort and peace.