When I was a little girl, Dad was amazing! He knew everything and he could fix anything. When my toys broke, I didn’t break into tears like other kids. I just took it to Dad and he would fix it. Even if it meant putting a flame to the plastic and melting the parts together again. It may have only lasted for a day, but in my mind Dad fixed it for a day. Dad’s motto was: “If man has made it, then man can fix it.” Simple.
Dad was not pleased at all when I told him that I intended to go and study Social Work. He looked at me and all he said was: “My child, Man has not made it…”
I was 17. Need I say more? … After completing my studies, I started working as a Social Worker at a psychiatric hospital, in forensics. I quickly learned that man may not have made man but, boy, could we break it!!! After 10 years I walked away from Social Work, burned out and convinced that only God can help me and mankind.
But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
“The Lord says to me, “Is it right for you to be angry about ……? And I said, “Yes, it is. I am so angry I wish I were dead.” Then the Lord said to me, “That person you are so angry with, is my son. I love him. I don’t like what he has done either, but I want you to forgive him. I don’t like what you are doing, but I will forgive you.
Seventy times seven. Forgive as you have been forgiven. I think most of us know these words. We believe them. It makes sense to us and we probably realise that harbouring unforgiveness can cause havoc in our minds and even affect our mental health negatively. We know that forgiveness and forgiving is something that we need, but yet it doesn’t happen spontaneously. Yet, it is something that we have to do almost daily. I suppose it is a bit like hard physical work. If we want a healthy body, we have to work hard every day to buy food to feed our body.
What is forgiveness? Well, everyone (also Wikipedia) knows what it is:
Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so –but sometimes I forget, and sometimes I doubt ... and Some don’t know.
Jesus loves me… God does not only tell us that he loves us, but he also showed us His love by placing the wrath that was to fall on us because of our rebellious nature, on His son.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that HE loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9).
A month ago I went to Hillsong conference. At the time I was looking forward to the big hype, the music and a bit of great teaching and yes the days were just that; jam packed! It was all amazing; with some powerful messages, but for me the highlight of the conference wasn’t actually in all those sessions. For me, it was when I took time out from it all, laid on the grass in the Sydney sun, and just sat their praying to God. That is what I found the most rewarding.
We are often so caught up in the happenings of our own world we sometimes forget to take a break, to smell the roses. We can also forget to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37). Isn’t this the greatest commandment according to Jesus?
I have been at Bray Park now for exactly five years, and I think it's amazing how much the church has grown and expanded since I first stepped through the front door. During one of my first sermons, I heard Proverbs 29:18, "where there is no vision, thepeople perish". It is so true! God is a light to our path (Psalm 119:105) and we need to take what we currently see and prayerfully move forward, where God is directing and leading us.
Every now and again I run out of any logic or wisdom, then I go and see MY counsellor. The last time I went I told her that I would love to increase the peace in our home. She asked me whether I’m talking about Peace or “Absence of War”, which made me realise that there is a difference. She told me that a “lack of War” is not going to happen while I have two teenage sons in the house. I wanted to say to her: “Thanks! I didn’t come here to hear that there is no hope!” - She explained to me that it is apparently quite normal for teenagers, who are growing towards independence, to declare war at times.
So, does that mean that there is no hope?! Can we have peace even though we may have differences of opinions with the ones we love? Can Peace and Joy exist in the presence of difficult circumstances?
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. Today Jesus entered Jerusalem, not as a King on the back of a horse declaring War, but humbly on a donkey to bring peace, as foretold in Zechariah 9:
Do you have faith?
Have you ever been out of your comfort zone? Last year I took one of the biggest ‘leaps’ of my life, twice in fact! I went on the Canyon Swing cliff jump. Imagine standing a ledge, 150m above a rocky shallow river… then you take a step. Your heart is racing, palms clammy, and the thought of death might have crossed your mind. When you take that step, you freefall then swing on one of the biggest swings you’ve ever been on. It is refreshing, all those fears are gone, and you wondered why you ever feared.
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he [Jesus] said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matt 14:28-30.
I’ve just been to an amazing conference in Sydney called Oxygen – although, at times, I thought it should have been called hyperventilation – we had so much and such heavy input!
You probably don’t know it, but I sometimes have jealousy and envy issues. I envy all those who were part of the crowds in Matthew 5 – 7, when Jesus gave His sermon on the mount. Just imagine that – listening to God Himself teaching!!
You know the picture of the single row of footsteps in the sand implying the times when Jesus carried us through difficult times. I would love to say that that is true of my life: Me walking next to God at all times and during difficult times He picks me up. But the reality is different. At times I can really identify with Peter. In real life I sometimes get into the boat and cross the lake – leaving Jesus behind at the shore. Then the strong winds start to blow and I start to panic. During these times I find that my God comes to me – walking on the wa-ter. When I start to sink – He reaches out His hand and He catches me. Matthew 14: 31 says “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him (Peter).” And then I ask myself: “How did I end up in this situation.” Why don’t I wake up each morning and the first thing that I do is to feed my spirit with the words of Jesus? Why don’t I always dine with Him?