Lord, please don’t pass me by!


woman with binoculars

Is that you Jesus?  Please don’t pass me by!

What a whirlwind of a year!  Fun job, a position of authority (like I always craved), then bam!  I could not stand it any longer.  Great colleagues, good benefits that got better each year.  It just was not enough.  I really do not know what made it intolerable.  All I know is that I had no joy jumping out of bed, apart from driving our lovely daughter to school and taking the time challenge of navigating Nairobi traffic and heading into the city’s lovely suburbs to a shabby chique office, nestled under mature acacias and local bush.  Beautiful, especially when the Vervet monkeys trooped over the rooftops to feast on the figs in season.  At lunch, I could head off into the secret garden behind the kitchen and hemmed in by overgrown but neatly maintained bushes.  There I could listen to the trees creak in a gentle wind, lie on my back in the grass and watch the clouds float by.  Back at my desk, hummingbirds would dip and flit though succulent-plant’s flowers right outside my window.  Ants trekked single file over the path to the front door, loaded with captive (but dead) insects for a festive meal.  All sizes of wasps and bees flew into our open windows, seeking the shade in the high wooden beams. We often took time out to observe them, as they are no longer inhabit other parts of a city bursting at the seams.

And so I left.  No remorse, no dragged out goodbyes. An efficient handover, reminiscent of an efficient German engine!  It felt great to leave.  I smiled every day after that for months.  Another offer came and I leapt into it without a whisper of a prayer.  The conditions were tough and turned rough in an industry I endured but felt less respect for with each passing day.  It was as if the Lord allowed me to see the spirit of materialism, lust, envy and greed at work.  Sick to my stomach, I dutifully turned up daily.  Prayed up but unable to hear from God, with the din of hell ringing in my eyes and ears.  I would leave drained and miserable, like a wet cat crawling back into it’s basket.  My husband took note really early on and would ask for details of my day.  It felt like the Lord had shifted my place on the chess board and I was no longer a part of the game!  So I stood, idly by and unable to immerse myself in ‘the fun’.

Nauseated, I rose and put in my hours and returned home with less sparkle every day.  It got so bad, I would take every opportunity to leave the building every two hours.  Th The gimmick had turned into a full con-game for them.  When I tried to sort various out, I was promptly singled out for a telling off.  Modern day slavery. One day, a manager made an off colour remark and I packed up and left.  The nausea ended at the gate and the misery wore off as I joined the next main road.  i got home, smiling, relieved and refreshed.

I have no idea what is next and honestly some days I just want to sit and cry.  Today was one of those days.  I love my family and would walk the ends of the earth to bless them.  Selling my soul to the highest bidder is not part of the deal.  My spirit, my soul already sold out to Jesus.  Lord how can you ever forgive me?  How could I take such a wrong turn?

Thank you Lord for loving me, just as I am.  All you want is for my heart to remain yours.  It’s not about the-job-that-would-define-me, or clothes, bank balance, friends, social status or appearance! Jesus loves you for who you are!  It all belongs to you Lord and thank you for loving me just as I am. With that reminder, I need to put my face to the floor and worship the King of Kings,  He is more than worthy!

Lord, is that you?  Please don’t pass me by!

What a friend!


Micah 7:5-6 ESV Bible

Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

We are created for relationship and seek out friends and family in the course of life.  Sometimes our relationships suffer and in other seasons they flourish.  All in the path of life.

A lady I know told me when we first met, how her faith was the most important thing in life.  Her life demonstrated the joy of a close personal relationship with Jesus.  A few years later, after a rather tumultuous time in her marriage, she confessed she loved her siblings more than anyone else in the world.  They stood by her through a tumultuous time in her marriage.  She loved her siblings more than anyone.  I listened and failed to hear.  A few years later, one of her siblings passed away, rather suddenly. This dear lady was heart-broken.  There was little any of us could do, to comfort her.

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She spent the next few years working on her family relationships, bringing her siblings closer where she could.  Her marriage ended in divorce before her brother’s funeral.  This loving lady felt alone and isolated.  Consoling herself and her family in regular events seemed to ease her pain a little more each day.  In truth, she felt deeply lonely and hurt that God had taken her brother from them.  She set about doing what she could.  Sadly, her remaining siblings tolerated these sessions, privately airing their mutual distrust and disdain for one another.  She remained oblivious to this until another untimely death of her second brother, several years on.

Shortly after the second funeral, she noticed the acrimonious but deeply pretentious relationships in her family.   All her hard work at relationship building appeared lost, until she confided in a friend.  Eventually, she chose to accept the situation and put it to prayer.  During years of waiting, praying and watching, she learned these siblings had a deep mistrust for her, as a result of years of shameful attacks on her (life) failures by her parents in her absence.  Her heart, broken once more seemed irreparable.  She cried and raged at God, asking what she had done to deserve such treatment.

Visiting friends some months later, she shared her journey with me.  I could scarcely believe the frustrations she endured but promised to support her in prayer.  Days later, she came visiting and confessed that Jesus allowed her to see how she had allowed human relationships to take a greater place in her heart, trusting man over God.  She confessed this in prayer and today is able to share her story with others and asked that I share this with you.

Is there anything or anyone coming between you and your relationship with God?  Why?  Let the Holy Spirit show you and respond by putting your full trust and dependence in God.  He will never let you down, just like this worship song testifies.  Let this be your offering today and every day.

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Untangle


tangled rope

Romans 8:21  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Galatians 5:1  For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Our walk with Christ is to freedom, joy, fulfillment and contentment.  A good portion of this is available to us here in this life.  The perfect portion is for our time with Him in eternity.  About this life – we know life is a precious gift.  Every birth is a chance to enjoy various freedoms.  We are born with free-will, freely give to us by our Creator, Lord and Saviour.  Slavery does exist and it is the bane of our existence.  So when we choose a yoke, a bond or shackle that keeps us from God’s best and reduces us to something so far short of God’s design, it hurts.

aquare peg round hole

Surrender is a word that comes with baggage for me, conjuring images of  defeat and conquest.  Then I joined this wonderful upside down kingdom of the Almighty God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and their myriad of descendants).  Surrender to a God who loves, nurtures, grows and supports His people comes with a very different meaning.  Surrender here (in my heart) puts me in a position of strength, in His courts, where I wear His appointed crown as a member of His royal household; a princess! cushions

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Talk is cheap


sandpaper

Sandpaper.  Not a favourite subject and neither are the people!  More days with sandpaper folks this week.  God has stirred me up to dealing with them – one liners that are sweet but kill the conversation!  I feel like a powerful warrior woman climbing a hill with a massive iron-sword strapped across my back, curls flailing in the wind, sun at my face and the petty people down below, staring in utter disbelief!  Boudica has nothing on me at this point, clearly.

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As a child, I had two grown men humiliate and hurt with words every time there was a function.  The verbal abuse crushed my spirit and I cared little then, and less now!  Our culture across the continent is shame-based, as it is in the Middle East and much of Asia.  Trouble with that is, shame is a spirit and many have no idea.  It grabs a hold of people, crushes and crumbles them.  It’s companion is fear.  Another, is humiliation.

I have since learned that talk is cheap.  There is one source of information that never falls below the mark – the Word of God.

Genesis 1:27 ESV

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

1 Peter 2:9 ESV

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Galatians 3:27-29 ESV

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

Ephesians 2:19 ESV

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,

gagged lady

So next time someone speaks unnecessary words into your life – you know what mirror they hold up to themselves.  They see a reflection and they are not standing alongside you!  It’s just not going to happen unless you allow it!  When I see them coming, I ask the Holy Spirit to take control of the situation.  He has not let me down yet and there is so much more of life to come.  Thank you Jesus!  Rock climbed and mountain conquered and there is still more…

The line in the sand


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Matthew 8:24   English Standard Version

24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.

 

The picture of Jesus sleeping through a storm, all warm, wrapped up and cosy makes me smile and sometimes chuckle at the thought.  The disciples, in near panic notice Jesus in deep slumber, no fear and not a streak of worry.  Their panic, palpable, as one rushed to scoop and pour out  water seeping over the sides.  Another wrestles with a flapping sail, enlisting the help of others in shrieks and cries for help.  Others debate jumping into the Sea of Galilee to save themselves.  Others still aghast at Jesus’ peace in present danger.  Still He sleeps.   The disciples call out to Him, after trying to take matters into their own hands.

Jesus rises, then calls out, commanding the storm to be still. Immediately the elements obey.  Clouds drift away, rays of sun stream the sky.  The waters of Galilee ripple and the boat gently tease the boat.  The last bucket of water tossed overboard.  The disciples slowing their previously panicked activity to a halt, bewildered and now relieved.  Some take their seats, exhaling in pure exhilaration.  All eyes are on Jesus, the conqueror of the storm.  Slowly each one of the men recognize Him for who He is, Son of the Living God, the Messiah.

Like the disciples, I have kick myself at the realization Jesus is in full control of every aspect of all life, including my own.  It is so easy to respond to storms  with what the world teaches us.  I yearn to learn and fully grasp a response that keeps my Saviour first in everything.  Thankfully, He is patient with all of us, to allow us to take the test over and over.  Faith is the passing grade.  His Grace abounds in all situations, if we keep our focus on Jim, reminding ourselves of His promises.  He is trustworthy, every time, irrespective of our situation.  Jesus stood up to the storm, commanding the elements He created.  He let the disciples witness the power of spoken word.  He is the Word.  We are made in His image and He left us His Holy Spirit.  We need to speak into our storms, in the confidence that God is in control of our destiny.  This is the final line in the sand, against all fear.   Where will you draw the line?  Is this mess finally too much to bear?

lamu beachesSuddenly sleepy.  A peaceful lulll settles over mind and matter, drawing me to a quiet moment in His presence, to praise Him for His mercy, restoration and conquering Spirit.  My heart is glad at knowing the Creator owns my spirit and commands every situation to His glory and for my reward. Confidence restored, I hazard a smile, joy flooding my being.  Such sweet rescue and security.  Truly He is my Saviour!

Good Grief!


English: Photograph of an open Bible with focu...

English: Photograph of an open Bible with focus on a verse from the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16. “For God so loved the World that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have eternal life.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At one time or other, we must come face to face with our grief.  The best thing is to get to the heart of the issue and work it through – cry and grieve what is lost, so that you can look ahead and see God’s healing Psalm 147:3, rest and recovery.  Grief should not define us and we can learn from Kind David’s Psalms.  Life has its highs and lows.  Events should not define us, much in the same way that people cannot define us.

When you are done, close the door on grief, step into the light and bask in the love of God.  Enjoy His professed love in His Word.  Get to know that He is our security.


Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God. who loved me and gave himself for me.

Start again.  Shake off the shackles , exchange the dirty sheets of misery and past (and forgiven) sin.  Enjoy God’s delight in you and know that as Jeremiah 29:11 declares, He does have a grand plan for you.  You can trust Him at His Word!

Tears for fears


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He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

 Psalm 56:8 ESV

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

 Psalm 126:5 ESV

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!

Tears.  If only I had the patience and planning to bottle them!  God knows when we cry, collects every tear and stores them.  There is a certain relief and satisfaction in knowing our Father and King loves us so much, with great depth of caring and involvement in our every state of heart and mind.  I know I can rest in this assurance of his love.

There are seasons of our lives that are close to unbearable.  At times one feels alone and abandoned during such trials.  Reaching out and speaking feels like a wasted effort, when those you turn to see a very different picture.   As a friend put it, “my dear friends just sat there, telling how much they could see God changing my life and working through each [tragic] episode.  I just wanted to scream and remind them how much pain I was in!”  Her words nearly made me cry.  When did we become these cold, calculating Christians, devoid of empathy or loving care?

Looking up the word Indifference on Thesaurus.com ,I came across an array of meanings that both shocked and surprised me.  Here are a few of them.

-nouns
indifference, neutrality; coldness; anaphrodisia; unconcern, insouciance, nonchalance; want of interest, want of earnestness; anorexy, anorexia, inappetency; apathy (insensibility); supineness (inactivity); disdain; recklessness; inattention., anaphrodisiac, antaphrodisiac; lust-quencher, passion-queller.
-verbs
be indifferent; stand neuter; take no interest in (insensibility); have no desire for,have no taste for, have no relish for; not care for; care nothing for, care nothing about; not care a straw about, not care a fig for, not care a whit about (unimportance) [more]; not mind., set at naught (make light of); spurn (disdain).
-adjectives
indifferent, cold, frigid, lukewarm; cool, cool as a cucumber; unconcerned, insouciant, phlegmatic, pococurante, easygoing, devil-may-care, careless, listless, lackadaisical; half-hearted; unambitious, unaspiring, undesirous, unsolicitous, unattracted., unattractive, unalluring, undesired, undesirable, uncared for, unwished, unvalued, all one to., insipid; vain.
-adverbs
for aught one cares.
Back to my friend and caring!  Are we not one body?  If the leg hurts, does your arm not serve a purpose in massaging away the pain.  If your eyes will not look at the injured leg, does that not risk making it worse by a failed response?  If the body works well against such injury, then how much more important is this within the body of Christ?  Is it healthy to ignore or see past issues?
I think not, otherwise we end up with rugs piled high and dusty, mouldy issues growing right underneath them, as we try to ignore them.  This is clearly not what we are called to!

 John 13:34-35 ESV Bible

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Galatians 6:10 ESV

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

 James 2:14-17 ESV

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

1 Timothy 5:8  ESV

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

love is

We are called to love.  Love involves caring, not judgement or giving our perspective on the issue. This may sound strange but the world is in desperate need of God and the best way to prove He exists is through love.  There is terrible pain out there and since hurt people continue to hurt others, we need less medication for the heart issues and share God’s love with others. A few kind words go a long way in building friendships, mending fences and healing the heart.  You are loved more than you know.  So am I.  Can we go out to love a hurting world that little bit more and make a difference?