Popular Posts

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Paths of Life

‘Make known to me the paths of life and fill me with joy in your presence.’ 

Sometimes it feels as if the path of life is leading straight into a dark wood, where it begins to disappear into dark holes and round knotty trees. It’s hard to see the way forward. 

In one aspect of my life I am at that point in the path. I am on a path I’ve not walked before, trying to make decisions for a loved one without being alarmist on the one hand nor negligent on the other. 

This line from Acts, quoting a psalm of David, was in my morning reading and is so appropriate to me. I shall be breathing it in prayer all day today, seeking the joy and peace only God can give.

May He acquaint you, too, with the paths of life where you are, and give you that deep joy as you recognize that you are in his presence, because he never leaves nor abandons you.


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Golden Lining

Only two hours to go until middle son arrives home. He hasn’t been home for a year, though I did see him in California in November. 

Excitement is palpable. The room has been washed down. The bed has been made up fresh. Carpets hovered. Drawers emptied in preparation for his arrival. Food bought in.

Jesus said he was going ahead of us to prepare a room for us.

That’s something to hang on to at the end of life. While it is so sad to leave behind those we have loved, the excitement of knowing that in heaven, Jesus is busy washing down your room, making a bed up fresh and getting in food for a feast is just amazing.

A golden lining to that very black cloud.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Treading Water

I am not at ease in the water. 

It took me two weeks to trust the swimming instructor, who assured me that it was safe to take both feet off the bottom of the pool, especially when I was still clinging to the floatation device!  I did eventually learn to swim, and even swim sometimes recreationally and for exercise, but water will never be a medium in which I am relaxed.

So. Treading water. It is supposed to be a relaxing way to bob along and catch your breath, renewing your strength for the next spurt of swimming. Not for me. I just don’t quite believe that if I stop flailing energetically I will remain afloat.

Just before Jesus returned to heaven, he told his friends to go back into Jerusalem and wait until he sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, he told them, would give them the power to go out and show and tell others about the Kingdom of God. The Spirit within them would be a miracle-working power who would draw non-believers’ attention to Jesus. 

So they waited. They tread water. Not desperately trying to stay afloat, but thoughtfully, prayerfully. They all prayed together – about 120 of them – and then Peter stood up and suggested they find a replacement for Judas Iscariot, someone who had been with them, in the outer circle, for the three years of Jesus’ public ministry. They prayed, suggested two men, and then drew lots.

They trusted that God was in the drawing of the lots. Matthias was chosen. 

They continued to tread water, waiting. 

I wonder if any of them felt slightly desperate. I wonder if any of them flailed and kicked, or if they all just rested in prayer, trusting that Jesus would do something soon. They hadn’t a clue what he would do. But already they knew him well enough to trust he would do something. He said he would, and he would.

There are unfulfilled promises in my life, as in everyone’s. Lord, help me today, to tread water peacefully. Not hopelessly. Not panic-stricken. But quietly, prayerfully, expectantly.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Technology - a Curse or a Blessing?

I guess it’s both, isn’t it? We all have experienced it both ways – it’s great when it works, but there are so many glitches that are possible, more than a technophobe could ever ask or imagine...

Money can fly around from one bank account to another without anyone ever touching it – which can be great, but can also be a horror if there is a misplaced digit. Computers can churn out the words faster than most fingers can fly, but they can also refuse to turn on, eat your data, stop talking to your printer, get a virus ...

Technology, in theory, enables everything to happen faster than it used to, so that theoretically, anyway, we should all be able to cram even more activities and tasks into each day. Wonderful, until we blow a fuse and experience burnout. 

Perhaps the best ‘fast’ to offer the Lord these days is not a fast from food, but a fast from technology, so that occasionally we can experience days at the tempo they were designed to run at. We might then have time to smell the roses, to enjoy a coffee, or to read a book in the sun. 

Technology is power, in a sense, and the church has just celebrated Pentecost, the anniversary of the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the church to share the truth about Jesus. Power to testify. 

I just read about a believer in Eritrea who was arrested two days after he became a Christian, detained for years in tiny, airless cells and sometimes in small containers with loads of other uncharged prisoners. He was offered freedom if he recanted. His parents pressured him, and he thought he would sign the document, but he had no peace of mind. So he decided he couldn’t deny the truth of who Jesus is, and the peace returned, the deep inner peace, though his imprisonment remained. He was given the power to choose to be true to Jesus, despite the cost. (He has since escaped successfully and lives as a refugee.)

That is Pentecost power. Power to stand firm in the truth despite the cost. Thankfully, the cost is not so high for us in the West. May we all be filled with power to bring the Kingdom of God to our communities.

I’ve made it all sound so miserably serious. But in fact, the power brings with it joy beyond description. Joy deep in the heart and soul. 

More power, and more joy, than technology could ever provide.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Drip drip or deluge?

Yesterday I wrote about the way a heavy rainfall runs off sun-caked mud, while a soft rain gradually renders the ground porous and able to soak up the water.

And I missed the point. I got close to it by thinking about our own individual witnesses as Christians to a non-Christian world around us. But tomorrow is Pentecost – the day the Holy Spirit drenched the early Christians in power from above and filled them with joy and love and confidence in the power of God to change things. 

There is a sense among many of us that God is preparing to move in a mighty way in this land of Scotland, and who knows – he might decide to start in Deeside. So it is our job to prepare the way, to plough up the ground, to cry out to God to soften the hearts of those who are so empty and lost in our area, so that they will recognize the reality and truth of God’s presence and love when he comes in power.

More prayer. Constant prayer. Hammering on heaven’s gates for our neighbours and friends and family. Drip-drip now, so when the deluge comes, many dry and thirsty souls will be refreshed and revitalised.

I’m off to pray as I walk the dog and enjoy the sun on another lovely day.