Sunday, 29 April 2012
What captures your enthusiasm?
For what are you zealous?
At the beginning of this challenge I'm sure we were all filled with zeal. Then we flagged a little in the middle as it seemed to be going on for ever. Perhaps you have regained your zeal now we are at the end.
Zeal. Energy. Enthusiasm. They are not things that we tend to sustain for long periods at the same levels. There are times when we want to quit. Our energy levels sometimes plummet.
But God is zealous for us. He works enthusiastically to keep us and cause us to be the best that we can be. His energy never fades. He is as zealous for us at the beginning as He is at the end.
Do we pursue God with the same zeal?
And now Z is for zzzzz as the challenge is over.
Saturday, 28 April 2012
Yearn: to long for; to have an intense desire for; to feel tenderness or affection.
There is a yearning inside us for meaning. Will my life have meant something when I reach the end? Do I matter? We don't want to go through life without making a difference.
We yearn for affection. Are we loved? Does anyone care for us?
God also yearns. He yearns for us to know Him. He loves us even if we don't know or understand it. He made us to be social creatures, living life together, in community.
So yes, you are loved. Your life has meaning. And unless you go through life without interacting with a single person, you will make a difference. The question is, will you make a difference for good?
Thursday, 26 April 2012
X is a hard letter to find words for!
I searched the dictionary (which didn't take long) and decided that X-ray would fit because God can see through us. He cuts through all the rubbish to the heart of the matter. We cannot hide anything from Him because He sees our motives even if we cover up well with everyone around us.
And, in a way, that is comforting.
When someone knows you that well you can be who you really are. There is no need to wear a mask as we so often do. He knows how good and bad we really are - and still wants to spend time with us.
Yes, He can see right through you - to the person He made you to be.
Lots of people believe it comes with age.
Not so. Wisdom is not something that everyone automatically has. You know people who should know better. You also know those who seem 'wise beyond their years'.
Wisdom is knowing what to do in a situation. Knowing what will be the best course of action (or inaction).
Some of us don't feel wise. Don't worry about that - there is a remedy. Wisdom is available to those who ask for it (James 1:5). But those who receive it must trust and believe, not second-guessing.
Will you trust God's wisdom?
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Vanquish - to defeat; to overcome; to conquer..
Death has been defeated.
Sin has been conquered.
Fears have been overcome.
It doesn't always feel that way, but feelings can have a way of lying to you.
So when you feel that death, fear, and sin are winning, remember that they have already been dealt with.
They are vanquished.
Monday, 23 April 2012
U is for Uncompromising.
Sometimes we see this as being a bad thing. We apply it to people who will not bend to meet us in the middle on something. They can be seen as rigid, unyielding.
God is uncompromising in His holiness, in purity, in love.
More comfortingly, He is uncompromising in wanting the very best for His children.
When we are being sanded down, reshaped, it can seem uncomfortable. We can feel that actually, we are fine as we are. So we're not as good as we could be, but does it really matter?
Yes! It matters. There are certain things we should be uncompromising about. As I heard it described once, we should be like peaches - soft and malleable on the outside, and rock hard on the core things that really matter.
How far are you willing to compromise? And what things are you completely firm on?
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Today is the only day I need to worry about.
Today His grace is sufficient for me.
Sometimes we worry too much about the future. What might happen. But we can't jump hurdles we haven't reached yet. Don't worry about tomorrow, it will come soon enough and you can deal with it then. Concentrate on getting through each day. Remember the Lord's Prayer: give us this day our daily bread.
One day at a time.
Friday, 20 April 2012
Even without a flash this black paint reflects a lot more light than I would expect.
Anyway, S is for Saviour. And Sinner.
When we finally surrender, recognising our need for rescue, Christ reaches down and pulls us out of the pit of our own sin. We are saved. Then begins the great adventure of faith.
Thursday, 19 April 2012
R is for Refuge. A place you run to when in trouble, in danger, or exhausted.
God is my refuge. My fortress. My strong tower.
The place where I may rest from anything that is pursuing me.
The place where I receive comfort and renewal and everything I need to go back out to face the world again.
Where do you go for refuge?
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
Q is for Quiet.
We don't get much of that in our busy lives. So much noise competing for our attention. Yet God speaks in a still, small voice. How can we hear Him amongst the din?
We need to deliberately take time to pray. To become quiet in ourselves and listen carefully, focussing on Him so that we can pick out His voice.
Spend some time in quietness today and see what He has to say to you.
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
P is for Patient.
A scary word. If we pray for patience we are sure to meet lots of situations where we need it.
Sometimes we need to be patient in waiting for something to happen.
Sometimes we need to be patient with someone else.
Often we are not very good at either.
But God is patient with us as we stumble along, make mistakes, get turned around, and are just plain stubborn. He picks us up, dusts us off, forgives us, and sets us on the right path again. And again. And again.
Patience. Something we never seem to have enough of.
Monday, 16 April 2012
Friday, 13 April 2012
Sorry about the glare on the photo. The black acrylic is a bit shiny.
So, M is for Maker.
God likes to make things. He is a maker rather than a destroyer. He builds us up rather than tearing us down. Even when we are rebuked it is in a gentle way that is designed to build us up.
I hear lots of people say that they are not creative. I take issue with this. We are all made in God's image and the first thing we hear of Him doing is creating. So how about instead of the word 'create' we use the word 'make'? Do you make things? It could be a pie, a nice garden, a good meal, making someone feel good about themselves, a friendly and encouraging environment for people to work in.
All of these things are creative in their own way. They build up. They come from an attitude of love for others.
Make someone's day.
Thursday, 12 April 2012
This was going to be L is for Light, but when I looked at the background I'd made there was a splotch that looked just like a sperm, so I added the egg and had L is for Life as well :)
Light is a wonderful thing. One candle can banish the darkness. The darkness cannot overcome it because darkness is actually a lack of something, rather than an entity in itself. Once a little light is introduced into a dark room it is no longer dark. Once a little light is introduced into our lives, we can no longer ignore the things that can now be seen. There is no more hiding.
And with the light comes life. We may not like the things that are revealed once the light is shining on them, but we will be more fully alive when they are dealt with.
Let a little light into your life and truly live.
A key is defined as: something that provides access or control or insight.
Following that definition, Jesus is the Key to the Kingdom of God. He gives us insight into the kingdom and access to eternal life if we will let Him unlock our hearts.
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Managed to get a photo that shows the true colours of the page, but you can't see the words properly. C'est la vie.
Anyway, on to the word for the day: J is for Justice.
God is the perfect judge - He can see our hearts, our motives, and knows both sides of every story. Where we see injustice in the world we can rest assured that it will not go unpunished. Everything will be brought into the light. Everything will be weighed against the sacrifice of Christ. Justice will be served.
So ask yourself, have I lived a just life? Have I watched impassively as injustice goes on around me? Have I cried out against it?
How will I measure up?
Monday, 9 April 2012
Immutable. Unchanging. Consistent.
How comforting in this world where people don't always do what they say they will. Where people can be pressured into doing or saying things because of what others may think of them.
God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I can count on Him.
H is for heavenly home.
Where I am accepted just as I am - but with room to grow.
Where I can just be, without any demands on me.
Where I always come back to.
Where my heart longs to be.
It's what you're looking for.
Friday, 6 April 2012
I was really pleased with the way this double-page spread came out. Enjoyed getting messy with the fingerprinting of grapes, too...
G is for Garden and Gardener.
I am so glad that God is a better gardener than I am. I have been wrestling with the lawn and the vegetable beds for the last couple of weeks, but the weeds still seem to be winning. When I prune things, they don't always take on the shape I anticipated and aimed for. No matter how much I cut things back, they keep on growing at an alarming pace. Unless they are the things I am trying to grow. Then, of course, they are slow to grow and require patience to wait for the fruit of my labours.
If I view my life as a garden, it is much the same. If I try to root out the weeds in my own strength, they keep on coming back. If I let God be the gardener, He will plant something else where the weeds have been ripped up. Gradually my life garden is coming under His care and being set in order. Slowly it is becoming fruitful where before there were only thorn bushes and things that entangle.
How's your garden doing? Are you letting God be the gardener or are you labouring in your own strength?
Thursday, 5 April 2012
Through all the ups and downs in life, big or small, God is faithful. Through turmoil and storms, He is there. On this Good Friday let us remember the price that was paid. Jesus was faithful to His mission.
How faithful are you?
|There is a green hill far away...|
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Envelop, embrace, enfold.
How do those words make you feel? For me, they are warm, cosy, safe, reassuring. They are all the things we do to a child to let them know that they are loved; to offer comfort when they are distressed; to protect them when there is danger.
This is what the Lord does for me. He embraces me with His love, envelops me in His protection, and enfolds me with His comforting and reassuring arms. All of those things encourage me to step out and take risks, to reach out to others, and to stand up to fear.
Are you letting Him do that for you?
D is for dialogue. A conversation.
God longs for us to engage in conversation with Him. He wants us to listen as well as speak. He wants us to speak as well as listen. That's what prayer is - a conversation.
How many times do your prayers sound like a shopping list? So often we pray along the lines of 'I want...' or 'I need...' or 'help'. There is nothing wrong with this because God wants to hear what is on our minds. But He wants to speak to us as well. We go to Him with our needs, but do we listen to His answer? Sometimes we are so intent on spilling out what is on our hearts that we fail to hear what is important: the Lord telling us that He loves us.
Next time you pray, remember - speak and listen. Listen and speak. Build up dialogue.
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
As you can see, 'caring' was the word I prepared for today. But everything I'm reading at the moment started to talk about community. So, here goes: God cares about the church being the pattern for community in the world.
Instead of conforming to the worldly ideas about relationships, the church should be modelling the ideal - a community of believers who care for one another, sharing the ups and downs of life, celebrating and commiserating together.
How far short we fall.
My prayer is this: that the church will return to the model shown to us in the Trinity. That we will be the place that the world looks when it wants to know how to live together with grace, love, joy, and forgiveness.
Monday, 2 April 2012
God is the beginning.
The starting point.
But more than that, He is also the end.
How many times do you start things that you don't finish? There are lots of reasons: lack of time, lack of resources, the enthusiasm wanes. Whatever the reason, sometimes we begin things and fail to follow through. But God doesn't do that. Whatever He starts, He will also finish.
He has started a good work in you. You are in the middle of it right now, and it might feel uncomfortable, never-ending, overwhelming, or just plain hard. But hang in there, because God is the beginning, but He is also the end, and He will finish what He has begun in you.