As a child did you ever break something by accident and try to hide the evidence to avoid getting into trouble? I did. I broke a drinking glass. I watched it as if caught in a bubble of slow motion. It slipped out of my little fingers, turned elegantly in the air, and shattered on the floor.
I have no idea how long I stood there and stared at the broken pieces at my feet. There was nothing I could do to fix the damage. The discovery of the crime was inevitable. The fear, the guilt, the certainty of doom, all clouded my thoughts. Of all the things I could have done, I picked the stupidest: I remember trying to stuff broken glass down the drain. I was, of course, caught. And I did, of course, get into deep trouble – not because I broke the glass, but because I tried to hide it.
God loves us so much more, and He is eager to forgive us when we make mistakes, so why do we continue to hide things from Him? Why do we carry the guilt and fear when we could easily give it all over to Him? We need forgiveness and God will give it, but we have to come forward and ask Him for it.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) is a prayer that can help us do this:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
By saying this prayer with an honest heart, we begin to put an end to our childish responses. It will begin a maturity in our spiritual lives as we learn to trust His will, His power, and His love for us. It will help us to open our souls to God and allow him in. Through God’s guidance, our desire to change will build and our need to leave behind old habits will grow.
Our Lord knows what we bury deep within our hearts. His love surrounds us. When we truly understand this we will become more able to accept his guidance. We will know that our Lord has forgiven us. We will know that he is not towering over us in judgement, but instead protecting us from evil. There is no hiding, there is only God’s love.
Did you ever try to hide anything as a child in an attempt to escape getting into trouble?
As some of you may have already guessed, I am taking a break from this blog during the month of April. I'll be back in May. In the meantime you can find me on my writing blog: W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey. I will be taking part in an A-Z Challenge.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)
This week this blog turned one year old. In celebration I will repost one of the original posts -- one of my favourites:
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.
Are you familiar with the story of Tyre? Tyre was a powerful city in its time, known for its skilled artisans and its great wealth. It was the jewel of ancient Phoenicia. The people there, however, became beguiled by their own greatness. They congratulated themselves on their power, their knowledge, their beauty, and they grew prideful. They denied the Lord in favour of their own personal glory. And so they fell (Ez. 28:18).
They failed to remember that everything they had was given to them by the Lord. They forgot that the most important thing in life was not wealth or splendour or recognition, but a relationship with God. They thought they were secure in their grandeur. They thought their power and influence made them mighty, but instead it made them weak.
We should always be careful to avoid such snares. We should always remember that it’s God’s strength and wisdom that we borrow, not our own. Because of this, we should never neglect our time with our Lord, nor think of ourselves as too grand, too smart, or too independent. We should always keep God in the forefront of our thoughts, our actions, our whole lives, and we will not fall as Tyre did.
Do you ever wonder what might happen to our current civilization?
note: photo of Pompeii. If you look carefully you can see Mount Vesuvius in the background. It's the only photo I have of the place before my camera battery died.
Because it’s Valentine’s Day, I felt I should publish a love theme post. What greater love is there than God’s love?
No matter how wonderful it can be, we all know human love is flawed. Even in the strongest relationships, there will be moments of impatience. There will be the occasional unjustified anger. There will even be instances of unkindness. It’s because we’re human and why we need forgiveness.
However, we can’t judge God by this flawed love.
God is different to us. He doesn’t love us because we loved him first. He doesn’t love us because of our appearance. He doesn’t love us on the condition that we’re successful and doesn’t love us for our money. He doesn’t even love us because we have somehow earned it.
God is love and it's in his perfect nature to love us, regardless of our flaws. God’s love is forever and will never fade with time. He will never neglect us or grow bored with us. Love will never be a duty for God. God’s love is pure. It is whole and it is perfect.
And God loves you. Wholly and deeply and eternally. How awesome is that?
What are some little things that make you certain of God’s love?
I remember the first time I saw the flowers pictured above. I was amazed because I’d never seen anything like them. They looked strange to me and they looked plastic from a distance. It was only when I took this photo that I realised they don’t have a waxy shine, but a soft fur.
My mind boggles at the thought of all the amazing and wonderful things our Lord has created. There is so much variety, so much beauty, in this world. When we grow arrogant enough to think we understand all that He created, He shows us something new and reminds us we can’t even begin to understand.
These flowers took my breath away. What takes your breath away and reminds you of God’s wonder?
The story of Jesus waking on water has always captured my heart. It’s an amazing miracle that sets Jesus apart from us. But the thing is, He isn’t apart from us. His power is with us always.
Many forget that Peter stepped out of the boat as well. He too walked on water, however brief. The only thing that stopped him was his fear and doubt.
What I love best about this story was that Jesus didn’t hesitate to save Peter from drowning. The scripture says, “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” (Matthew 14:31 NIV)
Jesus didn’t wait to watch Peter splash about or gulp in gallons of water. Jesus didn’t punish him for his failure or lack of faith. Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.
This is what Jesus does for us every day. He reaches out his hand. He will catch us when we need to be caught. He will carry us when we need to be carried. Yes, through Jesus’ power we too can walk on water, but we are no less loved if we can’t. So there is no reason to hold back. There's no reason to be afraid.
Have you recently held back because of fear or doubt?
With the recent flooding we’ve had here in Australia, lives have been lost, homes destroyed, crops devastated. This has been a terrible time for many of us. It would be all too easy to blame God. He has the power to save us, so why doesn’t He?
In times of tragedy, heartache and misery, we have to remind ourselves that God has already saved us. He is in control and in all things He works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). He loves us too much to let us fall.
We may never understand why He protects us from some tragedies and not others, but we can trust that God will work even the worst of things for our good. Already we have seen the community come together to help those in need, we’ve seen amazing acts of bravery and selflessness. Though it might be hard to believe, many of us will forever be changed for the better.
Please pray for all the people who have been touched by the terrible floods, pray for those who grieve, and those who are on the verge of giving up. Pray that they find strength in God’s comfort.
When I first became a Christian all those many years ago, I thought I didn’t need to do anything else. I knew we can’t earn our salvation so I thought all the hard work was done. I was a shy little thing with mostly non-Christian friends so I also told myself I didn’t need to share my faith. My life didn’t change at all except that I quietly believed.
But then I learned something remarkable and wonderful: our Christian faith is not a passive thing. Our faith is not meant to be contained. It is not meant to be hidden or quiet. We are made alive in our faith and so we are called to live that life.
And that requires action.
When we live fully and openly in God, our lives are enriched in ways we could not have imagined. We are called to be no less than holy so only our best efforts will do. We no longer need to drift aimlessly through life. We no longer need to pretend we are our own masters. We can shout out God’s praises with joy and be proud of our membership in His Family.
There is something special about this time of year. Everything seems new, with a fresh dose of hope thrown in. Possibilities are grand and the feeling of positivity is strong. This is the time of year we can put aside our past mistakes. We can change, be better and start anew. This is what we tell ourselves.
But what generally happens is our resolutions hold for a couple of days, maybe a couple of weeks, and then we begin to fall back on old habits. Old reactions surface, old thought patterns return. We begin to lose hope. This is because we have it wrong.
The true hope we have doesn’t come from us. We can’t fix ourselves under our own power. It’s God’s power that changes us. And it’s not just this time of year we have new hope. God offers us new hope every single day, every single minute. We constantly live in new hope because of our Lord Jesus.
He gave us this hope because He has already forgiven us. He has made us perfect in His eyes. All we have to do is accept His forgiveness, embrace Him in our lives and Trust Him.
Yes, we will make mistakes. Yes, life won’t always be easy, but He will always, always be there for us. Our natural response to Him is to keep trying, keep striving, and keep sharing our joy of Him.
How does God's offer of a new beginning every day change your life?