We are often encouraged to ‘build the life we want’ or to ‘create the identity we desire’, but life can have it’s way of reminding us that it is complex and has it’s hardships for everyone. Do not believe that everyone else is okay – trust me, they are not. The person next to you in class or in the queue may look sorted, but they will also be fighting their giants and wrestling their own demons! Show grace to those around you – they might need it right now!
Life is in reality, made of ups and downs – one day you will be smiling, and the next you might just be hit by bad news. Don’t worry. It will be okay. Bad times pass just as good times do. You will be dumped by partners; you might fail at some stuff that’s important to you – it will be okay. You will get through the shit (if you are willing to pick yourself up! Let other people pick you up if you need that – it’s okay to depend on other people. The world will tell you that you need to stand on your own two feet; that you need to walk independent of others – this is rubbish! We as humans are made to be INTER-dependent – you need other people to bring their strength to your life, and you need to also be willing to give your strength to help those around you. Please do not be a lone wolf. Do not be an island. You are meant to enjoy deep relationship with other trusted people around you.
When life is hard do not be afraid to ask for help – asking for support and help is not a sign of weakness- it is a sign of great strength – lions do not hunt alone, but in groups. Be a lion! Life has it’s great mountaintop moments, but it also has its dark days -expect both and decide today how you will handle them.
Jesus invites us to follow him and to receive his love, but He will all challenge us to live as forgiven people. Looking at many churches today you might think salvation is for the talented, the hipster and the Uber-religious. It’s understandable to think so, but it’s still not true.
For Jesus ALL ARE INVITED into his great kingdom. Jesus seemed to call people who were a ‘pain in the arse’:
1. The blind beggar making his living off the kindness of others
2. A tax collector who worked for the Romans
Just like blind Bartimeus, Jesus asks us ‘what do you want me to do for you?’
Just like taxman Zacheus, Jesus asks us if he can come to be with us.
God wants to know our needs and he wants to meet them in ways that bring us closer to him; in ways that change us from lost to found; in ways that lead us back into community and kingdom.
Jesus wants to know us; he wants to be with us and spend time with us. Why? Because he came came to seek and to save those who are lost; because he loves us unconditionally; because he cares about us.
We all carry scars with us. But do we remember the pain, or have we received Gods great unconditional love.
Whatever you’ve been through, God carries you.
We need to see our scars through a new light. The invisible scars of our painful experiences don’t exclude us from receiving God’s love – his grace is sufficient – our scars can draw us closer to Jesus, who has the scars of the cross on his hands and feet.
Scars qualify you – they don’t disqualify you from God and his work in the world. We see this in the bible stories of Moses, David, Jacob, Hannah, etc.’
Psalm 34:18 tells us ‘the lord is close to the broken hearted and those with crushed spirits’
We have to know difference between wounds (that still need healing) and scars (that are already healed) and invite Jesus in time heal and restore our lives.
Scars remind you of whose you are – in John 20 Jesus shows his scars to the disciples – he is reminding them that he was wounded for their salvation. Jesus scars remind us he is God who died to save and restore us.
Have you been broken or wounded by the world? God is very close to you. His heart of love is wide open to you – receive his love today. Pray to him and listen for his voice. Stop and wait for his healing presence. He is close to the broken hearted and those who have been crushed in the world.
Ever felt like you are stuck in a dark place? Then this post is written just for you….
Gods first words in the human story were words spoke in the darkness – words from the darkness. Spoken by God. Spoken to breathe life into the darkness.
Out of the darkness these words were uttered:
“Let… there… be… light!”
And there was light. The first light in the universe came from the voice of God in the darkness. Gods first breathe in the universe created light.
This was the beginning. The first beginning. The first of many beginnings. This is the work of God in our lives. God enters into the darkness, unperturbed or disturbed, to bring light, growth, love, joy, peace that surpasses understanding, and all other manner of blessings as he wills.
Whenever God wants us to grow he leads us into the darkness where we are led by the spirit into the place of deepening faith and holy trust. And into our darkness He speaks ever so gently… let there be light, and Christ enters our darkness. He walks in it with us to lead us through the dark wilderness into his promised land for our lives.
Where there is darkness today God is already at work. New life will spring up at the sound of his gentle voice. Do not listen for a booming voice in the darkness. Look for the still small voice of the Spirit speaking and breathing the new life of God. God is speaking light into your darkness.
So it’s Christmas (almost!). That time of year when parental stress peaks temporarily; family conflicts fly off the handle; the busyness of consumerism feels like it will drown us!
We cannot deny that for most people the time of glad tidings and joy is more like a giant tidal wave of tasks! This seems to be the accepted norm of this time of year – “we’ve just got to keep going until Christmas and then we can flop” becomes our mantra.
But is this the way Christmas is meant to be?
As a I look at the original Christmas story there is definitely a lot to be stressed about.
Mary is travelling on a donkey! Joseph has been considering a silent divorce. They have no hotel booked – I mean, how negligent is that! There’s no hospital to give birth in – the best they can find is a stable! They are miles from their families and support structures (now that’s something many of us can identify with in todays’ working market!!). Stress, stress, stress.
Yet despite this they manage. They manage to get digs for the night. They manage to have a healthy birth in the stable. They are not short of helpful visitors. They cope.
Sometimes you just need to keep on going and you’ll find that you actually can cope.
For Joseph and Mary their coping mechanism was found in God. They found faith in what he told them, and surprisingly it did all work out. Maybe not as they intended. Maybe not as nice as they wanted. But it did all work out in the end.
Keep on Keeping on simply because…you can”
Perhaps like me, you just need to keep on keeping on. Perhaps we do need to just keep going until we can have the rest that Christmas provides us with. I’m looking forward to spending days with my wife and kids where we can just BE. Days with close friends to just laugh, and eat and drink and be fun!
Whatever you are facing I trust that you will keep on going. Keep going because you can. Keep going because somehow, in it all, you will grow stronger in life and faith.