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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Challenge



Early morning challenge today. I read Luke 1:45: You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said. Elizabeth said this to Mary, mother of Jesus, while both were expecting special babies promised by the Lord.

It led me to ask myself, where am I disbelieving? What of God’s specific promises to me am I doubting? I was able to identify one which I’ve let slide out of sight, as I’ve sought to avoid disappointment, and one other where I am ‘fearfully believing’ – an oxymoron because there is no fear in faith. And after that I was stuck.

I realised that most of the time I am praying my preferences, or praying open-ended, woolly prayers because I don’t take time to listen to what God’s vision is for whatever the situation or person. 

So today I challenge myself to do less begging on my knees and more listening for the Father to reveal his heart to me, and then stepping forward into the vision with strong and sure prayers and firm faith that God never breaks his promises.

Why should I presume that the Lord of heaven and earth would reveal his heart to me? 

Amos 3:7: Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

May you hear the Lord’s promises to you today, and believe him.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Grown like Topsy



The vegetation at each side of the drive has grown ‘like Topsy’ for the last couple of years, neglected by the man with the strimmer. The good weather drew him outside and he’s now spent a good three days working on the verges, with, he assures me, another few hours with a lawn mower to go.

What’s remarkable is how brown the remaining plants are. Mosses, weeds, probably a bit of grass in there – it’s all looking like a California hillside in summer. Brown. Dead.

We imagine that now that the sunlight can reach it, and fresh air, (and the usual rain), we will soon see green shoots springing up again. 

One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control, or self-discipline. I know that when I neglect spending time with the Lord, weeds of doubt and busyness shoot up, obscuring the Son-light and the fresh wind of the Spirit and leaving me, inside, brown and barren.  The Lord can help me ‘strim’ away that canopy of stuff so that I can see him face to face, if I invite him to work with me. The invitation is out.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Hills and Heaven



I lift my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? Not the hills, that’s for sure! But saying that, I often feel closer to God when out in nature, perhaps on hills, and his quiet reassuring voice of peace penetrates deeper there than in the melee of life.

I’ve been thinking about heaven, because I was asked to share some thoughts on what I consider to be ‘divine’ in ordinary life, and as I began to think I realised just how often heaven intersects earth and offers a sneak preview. There are the spectacular intersections which we can visit: I’ve been blessed to see the Grand Canyon and to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, and both of those experiences felt like ‘thin places’ where the consummate handiwork of God was visible in its raw form. Then there are the more everyday but still awesome sights of rainbows (I love them!), dramatic clouds and skies, herds of deer on the hills or a dog just let off the lead and running free. But I suppose these are just backdrops for what is really heaven, and that is when relationships are good, when love is visible and when words can be few. 

I lift my eyes to the hills, and remember who made them, and give him my love and my worship.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Tick Tock



What lovely weather we had over the weekend! Don and I both spent time trying to re-take the garden for ourselves by weeding out, cutting back and strimming. This morning, I noticed a wee black spot on my upper leg. Don noticed one on his, too. Ticks. Tiny, but poised to grow. We quickly dealt with them, but the thought of these creepy beasties keeps coming back.

They sneak up on you and latch on, and suck the life out of you as they grow bigger. They can carry disease, too, which is a horrid thought. But as I sat with the Lord this morning, I was thinking about the spiritual ticks which also can sneak up on us, latch on and suck out the life. I thought of Matthew 7: Don’t judge. That’s an insidious one which, in my experience, needs to be dealt with again and again. 

So, on this Monday morning, I pray that the Lord will help me to remove the spiritual ticks which have latched onto me, sucking out the Life. Create in me a clean heart, o Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

How can that be?



Today my baby is turning 30. How can that be? He and his wife and two wee kids are visiting my Mom in California – my Mom who is going to turn 93 this summer. How can that be? Mhairi, my daughter is with them and they plan a grand day out to Catalina Island. They are swarming over my own birth place and starting place while I am thousands of miles away. How can that be?

These are the normal things that happen as life opens out one day at a time. 

But this morning we awoke to news of an horrific tower block fire with numerous casualties. People leaping from the building and shocked and bereaved wandering the streets below in gut-wrenching grief. How can that be? 

This is not a normal thing. This should not have been. Something has gone wrong somewhere to turn a modern, newly-refurbished apartment tower into a blazing inferno. No fire alarms to awaken sleeping residents. Other shortfalls hinted at in the first reports.

Praying for London this morning.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

In the Moment



Connections

Pictures, even a video, coming in from halfway round the world of the instant emotional connection between Mom and two of her great-grandchildren. The pictures are heart-warming and the exuberance shown by Mom, at nearly 93, as she bounces wee Gregor on her knee is amazing. If I live that long, I hope to be as strong and able.

There is such an infectious joy at watching these precious people at the extreme ends of our life cycles, living in the joy of the moment. Worries which consume us don’t touch them as they trust others to look after their best interests. This is how life ought to be, where young and old can trust relatives to nurture and care for them, but of course reality often falls far short.

This is a picture of how God our Father wants us to be, trusting him to look out for us as we launch ourselves into life with vigour and unfettered joy. As Jesus taught, who can add a single minute to our lives by worrying about things? His advice is to be part of kingdom-building here on earth, and as we do that, he will look out for our needs. 

So may we live in the moment today, trusting that God has our back.