your scars bring you closer to God

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.

Are you a doorkeeper or a God-seeker?

In psalm 84 David expresses his heart for the presence of God. He says:

“Better a day in your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God than live in the tents of wicked people.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:10‬

Do we yearn for God like this? Are we wanting to be close to where God is?

David is happy to have even one day on the presence of God than none ever. He would rather live at the threshold, the doorway, the edges, of Gods presence than to live anywhere else.

Notice also that David isn’t saying he wants God to be where he is – he wants to be where God is. There’s a world of difference in these two desires.

Where is our longing for Gods presence today?

Where is our desire to be where God dwells?

Will we seek the presence of God in our lives today?

A voice in the darkness

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.

The Onslaught of Christmas Stress

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!

Image result for crazy shoppers
Crazy consumer Christmas!

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.

Image result for mary and joseph
Couldn’t have been an easy first Christmas

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.

Be an encourager

There’s a guy in the bible called BARNABAS – he had a great reputation. Why? Because he was a great encourager.

To encourage someone us to give them strength and courage. It is to lift them up.

How can we encourage those around us?

Here’s three ideas:

1. Pray for them

2. Help them practically

3. Give them your time and positive words

What are some other ways can we be great encouragers?

Ancient prayers and renewed thoughts

I came across this Franciscan Prayer on a memory stick when looking for some research notes – it struck me that sometimes ancient words have the power to create new thoughts within us. With all the pain in the world at the moment words of encouragement, hope and inspiration are medicine for our souls.  I pray that today these ancient words of prayer will resonate and reinvigorate your soul:

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers,

half truths, and superficial relationships,

so that you may live deep within your heart.

 

May God bless you with anger at injustice,

oppression, and exploitation of people,

so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

 

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who

suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,

so that you may reach out your hand

to comfort them, and to turn their pain in to joy.

 

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

to believe that you can make a difference in this world,

so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

Things Jesus Modeled and Taught – Love

I had a chess set a long time ago, and I loved that little chess set. It was a rather funky, electronic board that meant I could play chess even when no one else in the family wanted to play – and that was always. So I played against the computer – an unseen opponent way smarter than myself (because truth be told, I ain’t that smart most of the time!). Anyway, I loved that chess board until way beyond the day it gave up the ghost and it could play no more.

Now I have different loves: I love my guitar (although I neglect it often). I have a strong attachment to my guitar and I’d be sad if it ever left me.

I love tasty food (but I don’t neglect that love!). Yet, I can live without food. I can fast; I can miss meals; I can go without – it truly doesn’t bother me. I love food, but I recognise that even when it’s tasty, It’s a means to an end of survival.

I am part of a family consisting of me, my wife, and my three children – I love my family beyond words. They are my deepest loves on this revolving planet in this great universe! If I ever lost them I would be a wreck, devastated with a hole in my heart. But despite my love, I still find that I do not treat them perfect, much as I try. I will let them down. There are times when I’ve not been there for them. There will be times when my love alone doesn’t seem to be enough for them. This is a deep love, but it is also an imperfect human love.

Jesus taught, spoke and modeled a life of love a LOT! But what he taught about love differs from the loves I’ve described above. He taught that there is a love so much MORE than the love we show. Many in the past have described or called it the unconditional love of God:

When you look at the love of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) it is clear that God’s Love is a big love; a boundless love; a better love – it has no end to it. According to the God Book no matter what you do in life God never stops loving you. This does not equate to us acting how we want and God shrugging his shoulders with a ‘doesn’t matter what you do’ perspective – what we do really does matter to God, but what you do DOES NOT stop God from loving you – as already written: God’s Love is BOUNDLESS. I have seen this in my own life.

  • I have experienced loss and grief – God held me in his loving hands.
  • I have been an idiot and let people down – God gently led me lovingly back along the pathway called repentance into the wide street of reconciliation
  • I have experienced many failures – God loved me in the ditch and reached down many times to pick me up and set my feet on a secure path despite my failings
  • I have lived through horrendous abuse – God healed and restored my soul so that I could experience the joy of living well and happy

There is no part of your life that God cannot reach with his love if you will let him. He longs for you to open your heart to His goodness. The good book (the bible) tells us that Jesus ‘knocks at the door’ calling out for us to open our lives to Him (Revelation 3:20). Even while suffering on the Cross of crucifixion Jesus was still revealing boundless love – he cried out to God to forgive those who caused his suffering and impending death; he sees to it that John the beloved disciple will take care of of his mother; he assures the criminal on the cross next to him that he will enter paradise. This is the boundless depth of the love Jesus taught, spoke of, and lived out in his short time on earth!

The Good Book talks about how the invite to know God’s love is open to all today – it is an inclusive invite for all to come to God and experience His transforming love personally. Maybe today you can open the door to Jesus; open the door of your heart to the love of God; open the door to his healing work; open the door to happiness with Jesus in your corner.

His love is more. More than we have ever experienced – can you hear his love calling to you today?