Monthly Archives: February 2012

In the wars.

It has been one of those weeks.

The kind of week where on top of all your work, two stray six week old kittens end up in the bush by your office. and you end up taking them home. and paying $300 in veterinary fees.

Yup. You know that kind of week.

But this isn’t about me. This is about one of these kittens. After taking these little kittens up in my arms, I promptly named them Rosko and Roman (sounds like boy names but they are girl kittens). After getting them home I took them to the vet for a check up. He gave them the all clear, and gave them some worming tablets to rid the system of any bugs. That night, for the first time in their lives, these two kittens got to sleep in a warm bed, sheltered, with proper kitten food and fresh water. The next night something sad happened. Rosko started staggering around, walking into walls. She was losing her equilibrium and couldn’t see/react to anything in front of her. I took her to the vet to find out what was happening. The worming tablets were killing parasites, but because these parasites were near her brain they were causing inflammation, which affected her neurologically.

It was just temporary and today she is ok. She is on her feet, jumping around and eating well.

Sometimes, when we are on the verge of something good, things get just a little bit worse.

It is never the easiest thing to fix our eyes on Jesus – especially when things are hard. And more often than not it seems when we make the call to give everything to Him, crap really hits the fan. It feels like this time of hardship will never end.

I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering.

-Isaiah:48:10

However it is important to remember that in the midst of the hardest thing, there will come a time where we will be over that hurdle. And in this moment, the one where you feel like you are staggering, remember that for every valley, there is a mountain. Remember that Jesus is with you now, in this moment. He knows it is hard. He knows it will be challenging – yet He reminds you that the best, HIS best is yet to come.

There was suffering before resurrection.

Death before life.

Hardship is walked through, lived in, and experienced. All through the bible. And in every instance it refines the individual, and it brings them into the new place God has planned for them.

Being patient in suffering only lends itself to drawing you ever nearer to the best that Jesus has for you.

And. It. Is. Good.

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In a corner…

 

An intelligent person is always eager to take in more truth;
fools feed on fast-food fads and fancies.

-Proverbs 15:14

I”m not going to lie. As a young kid I got myself in trouble from time to time. My parents also wasted no time in dishing out an appropriate punishment. Occasionally said punishment involved leaving me in a corner face first. It wasn’t too bad though. After 15 minutes or so imagination kicked in  and I was piloting an F-16, travelling the seven seas and firing arrows from my bow in Sherwood forest.

All from the comfort of my (now noticeably, intricately painted) corner.

While awesome as a child, I think this mentality translates all too easily into our real life.

So often the things we believe about God and ourselves are shaped from the comfort of our corner. Other theologies, philosophies and opinions are neglected or battled with in an attempt to preserve what we believe and see in front of us. We may even convince ourselves that our corner is the absolutely right corner – or a whole room in itself. We believe that it in some way our little world in this corner is more powerful, more magical, more life-giving then anything else.

Then occasionally an idea comes along that we become passionate about, and we jump to another corner. We become fierce about defending that new idealogy.

What if God was inviting us to turn around? To keep leaning against our corner but face outwards. What might he invite us to? Perhaps there is a guitar to play, a sports ball to pick up, or a bed to find rest in.Whatever it is, there is something more, and it is REAL.

What if God was in all the things in the room? And not just the corner?

What if He was inviting us to learn about the different aspects of Him? to find truth about Him in all things?

What if we looked to take in more exotic foods rather then the same ones we are feeding on?

Theology. Opinion. Eschatology. Ideas. These are great things to study and learn, but they aren’t GOD. Only God is God, and he isn’t confined or defined by them.

I think that God continually wants our ideas of Him to become bigger and bigger. After all we are SO limited by the parameters of our mind, and the scope of truth that is in God lies beyond our comprehension.

Be challenged. Be wise. Live, listen, learn and grow. Be eager to take in more truth.

And as a final thought, I think that discernment is the key this process. Learning to identify what is truth in God and what is contrary to that truth. Don’t just take something on board as absolute, but chew on it, dwell on it, wrestle with it and be discerning about it.

Blessings.

Wisdom – simply a great meal.

Sometimes I look back on some of the seriously stupid decisions I have made in my life. Surprisingly I made some of those decisions more than once. And every time, instead of receiving the good advice offered by people who genuinely cared about me, I would get defensive and angry. I also would start justifying my decisions. A selfish and foolish decision quickly turned into an elaborate back story that masterfully weaved biblical scriptures with stories of ninjas and pirates and bears and other mythical creatures.

No one really bought it.

And yet I kept justifying. or trying to at least.

If ever there was a poster-boy for ‘learning the hard way” I possibly could be it. Over and over again.

Proverbs 9 paints an interesting picture of wisdom and folly that can perhaps help us learn in “right way”.

Both wisdom and folly are personified as women. These women each offer satisfaction to the simple man from the top of the hill. The invitation to come and eat is extended. Wisdom offers a banquet. a lovingly prepared meal, full of delicious goodies for all to enjoy. Folly offers only water and bread.

Yet the deceit of folly is hidden in her words. She justifies “stolen water” and “bread in secret” as being more enjoyable. She laces excitement, adventure and intrigue into a meal that quite simply is not nourishing, enjoyable or overly healthy. Nor has she provided this meal honestly – The ingredients were acquired through theft.

There are no secrets around Wisdom’s meal. It is simply and obviously a banquet. Honestly provided. Wholly nourishing.

Let me assure you that a wise, Godly decision requires no justification. It speaks for itself. In action it is a light to those around us. It communicates God for all to see. and it is wonderfully silent.

If you find yourself using too many words to justify your decision, chances are, it is not a wise one. As C.S Lewis might say, you are compromising the promise of a beachside holiday, convincing yourself that making mud pies is satisfaction enough.

Wisdom invites you to choose the great meal. Will you accept?

 

The anticipation…

Over the weekend we had a christian music festival called Parachute take place. It is one of those rad events where you get to run into people from all over the country that you haven’t seen in a while, eat a lot of deep fried goodies, and generally enjoy some amazing music.

The first day however is often spent waiting in line. people start queuing early on in the day, awaiting the open gates at 1pm. There is a huge sense of anticipation in the air. conversations about the bands, the food, the campgrounds seem to lend a certain electricity and energy to the atmosphere. The excitement is almost life-giving. Every single person is happy and excited and this energy is transferred from one to another.

No matter how long  you’ve been waiting, you just KNOW it is going to be AWESOME. it is going to be a celebration. A party.

Sadly though this doesn’t ring true of our own lives.

We know that our loving Father in heaven has amazing plans for us. On a wide scale He invites us to participate in His grand plan for creation, but He also has plans for YOU. Plans for you to use your talents and giftings. Plans for you to bless others. Plans for you to get connected with the right people and experience the right things at the right time.

Yet we get so impatient. Heck. I get impatient waiting. But we need to learn to trust Him. So often we end up trying to create something “good” for ourselves, never trusting or seeking the formative process He has us in – the process of leading us towards His “Best”.

Psalm 119:105 talks about the Lord’s word being a “light unto my feet” and a “lamp unto my path”.

Do you understand that a lamp all those years ago only provided enough light on a dark path for the next step?

Do you understand that a giant floodlight would provide more distractions then something fulfilling? That you would actually stop walking rather than moving forward?

Do you understand that God reveals things only in His timing, and do you trust that your very next step, guided by his light, is a step towards his desired destination for you?

The thing He is doing with you in THIS day, in THIS moment, in THIS breath is part of  an ongoing series of moments that lead towards the things He has in store for you.

I have to wonder that if we have a small and prayerful shift in our perspective and attitudes, we might no longer be impatient, but rather in excitement and anticipation, we take steps faithfully and patiently towards the big plans that God has in store for us.

And, just like Parachute, it is going to be a party.