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Shower

22 Feb

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At 11 years old my little Thomas just took his first shower at home!!!
Words can’t quite express how amazing this is… Believe me it’s a big deal.
He has been terrified of showers for his entire life, but has been ‘training’ at school – and this morning, as I prepared to get in the shower for my daily ablutions, he announced he was going to get in there first.
He promptly popped on some swimming goggles and bravely stepped under the water.
I am so proud and moved by his courage.

Funny how little things most of us see as completely mundane can be such enormous milestones for others….

Never, ever take anything for granted.

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Some notes on Grace

6 Dec

Billy Graham’s grandson, Tullian Tchividjan, speaks on grace. His hope-filled words are phenomenally powerful and resonate deeply with my feelings on church and ‘Christianity’ today.
Have a read…

If we’re not careful we can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice we make for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us; our performance for him rather than his performance for us; our obedience for him rather than his obedience for us. – 

Furthermore, it seems that the good news of God’s grace has been tragically hijacked by an oppressive religious moralism that is all about rules, rules, and more rules;

Christianity is perceived as being a vehicle for good behavior and clean living and the judgments that result from them rather than the only recourse for those who have failed over and over again. But if anything, it is good news for bad people coping with their failure to be good. 

Eugene Peterson has wisely said that “discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own.” The way many of us think about sanctification is, well, not very sanctified. In fact, it’s terribly narcissistic. We spend too much time thinking about how we’re doing, if we’re growing, whether we’re doing it right or not. We spend too much time pondering our spiritual failures and brooding over our spiritual successes. 

Preoccupation with our performance over Christ’s performance for us actually hinders spiritual growth because it makes us increasingly self-centered and morbidly introspective—the exact opposite of how the Bible describes what it means to be sanctified. Sanctification is forgetting about yourself.

As J. C. Kromsigt said, “The good seed cannot flourish when it is repeatedly dug up for the purpose of examining its growth.” Unless we go to the Bible to see Jesus and his work for us, even our devout Bible reading can become fuel for our own self-improvement plans, the place we go for the help we need to “conquer today’s challenges and take control of our lives.” 

The Bible is one long story of God meeting our rebellion with his rescue; our sin with his salvation; our failure with his favor; our guilt with his grace; our badness with his goodness.
the Bible is not first a recipe book for Christian living, but a revelation book of Jesus who is the answer to our unchristian living. 

Grace is thickly counter-intuitive. It feels risky and unfair. It turns everything that makes sense to us upside-down. It’s not rational. It offends our deepest sense of justice and rightness. It wrestles control out of our hands and destroys our safe, conditional world.

These are the main points I picked out from this valuable article – I was lazy and just literally ‘copied and pasted’ but I’m not arrogant or pretentious enough to think I could have put it any better myself.

You can read the whole interview here.

Canvas

23 Oct

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I painted my first canvas today.
It’s beautiful – because God painted it through me.
I am totally ecstatic about this new thing…..

Yes, YET another new thing!!

I am beside myself with excitement to have discovered another way of expressing my love for Him, my joy to be alive – and my deep desire to see people come to know Him and be set free by Him.

Wow.
Thank you, Lord.
Oh – and thank you, James. What a godsend you are!!

I will post a picture of my painting once my gorgeous hubby’s birthday is out of the way and he has his present – wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise…. 😉

Although I suspect he has seen a photo of it on Facebook. But then I wouldn’t know about that now, would I.

WE ARE NOT FINISHED

4 Sep

#2 in the series “Punch-Packing
Not my words but these echo 100% where I feel the Church is at in this day and age and what I am called to as a devoted, adoring follower of Jesus Christ.
The world so desperately needs us to ‘stand up and be counted’…
So – listen up!

I am deeply concerned that those who inherited freedom have lost sight of its high cost! I grieve over a gospel that is cloaked in benefits but requires no responsibility. Some bask in His victory while the nations continue to live in oppression, poverty, and despair.

I don’t doubt our victory nor do I question our great calling…but I wonder at lack of resolve that many Believers have to engage society at the level of their greatest pain and carve out a path through the snake invested jungle, carrying the weak to a place of safety.

We are not called to polish our armor or hold a Body-building contest! We have been left behind to transform the world. Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus said He was finished, He didn’t say we were!

When Paul spoke of his apostolic credentials he unleashed a list of beatings that would have scared Arnold Schwarzenegger. The very man that taught us about great grace was entrenched in a battle that scared his body and troubled his soul. Yet many Believers are convinced that we will tip toe through the tulips, or win the nations through some garden party.

Where are the women and men with radical faith and outrageous courage? When will the righteous reign and the demoniacs flee at the very sight of a child of the King? How long must we stumble through this darkness before we rise with wisdom that stuns the kings of this world? Who will step out from the crowd and dare to leave the cesspool of unrighteous living to embrace a life of purity?

These are the questions that plague my very soul. As for me, I wasn’t born to live near the sound of church bells…I was created to destroy the gates of hell! Are you ready to incite a revolution?

(K. Vallotton, senior associate leader at Bethel Church, Redding, CA)

On Sleeping Less and Sinking a Little Deeper….

21 Jul

…but clinging on to God with every ounce of my strength weakness.

The anxiety is building, the knot in my stomach is tightening, and I feel, I don’t know, WIRED (yes, wired NOT weird. I CAN spell…)
The adrenaline coursing through my body makes me unable to switch off, sit down, go to sleep. I cannot REST.

I am four days into my first pack of tablets. So far, my prayers that the side-effects would be minimal are being answered… I am going from hour-to-hour, meal to meal, sunrise to sundown like a zombie but suspect it’s more to do with sleep deprivation than the drugs.

However in the midst of this inner chaos, I have an anchor. He is holding onto me. Loving me. Soothing me with the balm and the truth of age-old promises: His plan for me is good and it is not to harm me, it is to give me a future and a hope, to prosper me and to bless me and my family.

How do I know He is right here, that He is dependable, and that I can lean on Him, trust His plan?

This is how I know: the love that He is pouring out on me through my amazing husband, kids, through true faithful friends… The way he is speaking to me through every single verse I read in the bible. Trust me that is a miracle!! Not that he is speaking but that I am hearing, loud and clear.

The stunning beauty of his creation around me.

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Wow.
He is here alright.

See, depression and anxiety are real. This is a real illness, which affects the whole of me. It’s not something I can just “get over” by just “getting a grip” or telling it to go away. It’s really not that simple! But I trust His purpose in taking me through this, here and now. I need to go through a process to get well. The process is part of my life’s journey, and He will use it for His glory, just the same as He has used the other painful parts of the journey so far.

God’s Not Finished With You Yet!

20 Feb

God Is Not Finished with Us by Rick Warren
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)

We humans are great starters but often bad finishers. We leave unfinished symphonies, unfinished buildings, unfinished books, unfinished projects. We may not always finish what we start, but God always finishes what he starts.

God doesn’t create a bird and give him half a wing. He didn’t create an unfinished flower or an unfinished star. He puts the finishing touches on everything he does, and then he says, “It is good.”

The Bible says when Jesus Christ starts working in your life, he will complete what he started, in spite of the hang-ups, faults, bad decisions, sins, and circumstances that we face. One day, when we get to Heaven, we’re going to become just like Jesus, because we will see him as he is. And that’s the goal.

In the meantime, if we want to enjoy the people in our lives, we need to be patient with their progress. We must allow for their growth and development. Paul could say, “I’m not the man I used to be, thank God. But also, thank God, I’m not the man I’m going to be. I’m growing and changing.”

If you want to enjoy your marriage, you’ve got to learn to enjoy your husband or your wife right now while allowing for growth and development. Otherwise, by the time they meet your conditions, you will have still another condition for them to meet.

Parents, if you’re going to learn to enjoy your kids, you’ve got to learn to enjoy them in the process while they’re growing, because there is no such thing as a perfect kid.

And there’s no such thing as a perfect adult. If you demand perfection of the people in your life in order to enjoy them, you’re going to be miserable for the rest of your life. Nobody’s perfect.

Talk About It

– To whom do you need to show grace today, understanding that God is still working in his or her life, in his own time and his own way?

– Knowing Christ will finish what he started in you, what role do you think he wants you to play in your progress? What steps do you need to take toward spiritual growth?

I’m happy and God is good

10 Mar

I know these kinds of posts can be a touch abrasive. But bear with me; I’m celebrating, not bragging

In the past two weeks,
1. it has been mild enough to eat ice cream and take close-up pictures of beautiful flowers.

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2. We found out our Sam has been offered a place at the prestigious (and outstanding) grammar school literally a few yards up the road from us… So we gave him a polka-dot, lime green-wrapped present to reward him for doing so well.

Not that I’m proud or anything.

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3. Our Ben lost his first tooth (which, in Devon, rhymes with “book” and “cook” rather than “booth” and “smooth”. DON’T ASK)
He was so excited about the tooth fairy that he insisted on having his window open so she would be able to get in.

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4. Our insurance company was generous enough to provide funds (again – d.o.n’t a.s.k…) for me to finally acquire a KMix mixer 🙂 Meaning I can now bake the fluffiest, yummiest cakes EVER!! Move over Nigella.

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5. My gorgeous Mr Wibbs has been ‘gigging’ with a newly-formed jazz band, much to my delight. I love to see him do things that fulfil him so deeply… It’s rather beautiful.
Praise God.

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6. My children have been playing together, making things, and generally enjoying life. What more could a mama ask for?!

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So there you have it.
A tiny snippet into some of my thanksgiving right now.
I am blessed.
Beyond measure.

What do YOU have to be thankful for…?

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