God Does Guide

I can’t deny that God is in my life right now. Throughout all that’s been happening. And it’s a comfort.

Yesterday i missed the fast train to Waterloo by seconds. I got to the bottom of the station steps and the doors closed on me. The next train on the adjacent platfrom was the one that stopped at every station. I was late for work.

I’d already woken up feeling really down; and being a little consumed by it i couldn’t decide what carriage to sit in. I stood at one door, and then, at the risk of the doors closing on me again, ran to the next carriage and sat in that.

I was listening to music, debating on whether to pull my bible and study out when a man sat infront of me. He was reading a book called The Archer and the Arrow by Phillip Jensen & Paul Grimmond…it was a Christian book, as catching some of the chapter titles i could see that is was about the Gospel.

I know i’m so needy right now. But the thought of another Christian being near nearly made me sob. I took out my reading then, and it was on Psalm 73:1-28..God does have a plan for our lives. ‘You guide me with your counsel, and afterwards you will take me into glory.’ v.24

What then, do i have to worry about?

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Joy

Inspiration: Luke 15:11-32 and Prodigal God, by Timothy Keller

I think I’m missing something; seriously.

My Facebook post yesterday was “Has lost ‘Joy’ somewhere between duvet and workplace?? If you see him…please redirect to me, here 🙂 Thanks x”

And, reading back my post from this afternoon has made me realise that the joy is seeping between the cracks in my faith.

It may just be a spot of PMT, impacted by the fact that we’re embarrassingly broke after the wedding. All the planning and spending – looking back makes me feel a little like the ‘second son’ in Timothy Keller’s book. Whattafake.

Me, that is.

Pride comes before ‘I told you so’…

So my boss has been dumped (again). This time it IS over – she came into the office in floods of tears again today. Dark glasses on, hair swept up…

I really didn’t know whether to sympathise with her, which would be exactly what she wants – or to give her some tough love. This would mean reminding her of all the name calling and hurt feelings over the last year or so. It feels a little like a scene from Groundhog day around here!

The only tie she has with this man is his £1m house and long weekend lifestyle. I’m not judging… at least, I’m trying not to. But there’s more to life than hurt pride, isn’t there…?
I’d started Fellowship Group last night with a mixed bag of feelings.

1. Disappointment: New Hubby had been off work ill. I’m not unsupportive of him, or unsympathetic – but i sometimes find him somewhat ‘woosified’. I can only put this down to my dear old dad, who would get himself to work and graft a full day even if he had the flu, or a smashed up finger. I think the only time he took time off, and that had to be booked as holiday, was to bury his mum and dad when they passed.

2. Anxiousness: I was ‘cooking’ for the group yesterday evening – and had planned the meal, roasting a chicken to have cold with salad that evening. I grew more anxious as i bustled around the kitchen, calling on NH to carve up the chicken, and drafting in another to chop cucumber and spring onions while i prepared cous cous with avocados. I couldn’t get the Jesus’ story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42 ) out of my head. Even as I was invited to say the Grace before we ate, part of me felt that I needed to pull myself together and get in the right frame of ‘Peace’ to accept God in our evening.

3. Indignation: Now I didn’t feel fully indignant, and I should also add ‘part judgmental’ to this. We’ve had a new member start and she’s having an awful time of it. With work and personal life crossing into one another she’s seriously stressed. So, most of the evening was taken up by her story – and why is God not answering her when she’s asking him what to do about her situation?

I was sobered out of my selfishness by a couple I admire so much it hurts. He wouldn’t tell our new lady what to do, or give advice as such, but directed her to what God may be saying to her. He picked out passages from the bible (he knew them from memory) that seemed key in her situation; while his wife kept directing her back to not beating herself up about the situation, but to take note of what her husband was saying and be prayerful.

Will I ever learn to be as gracious?

“The heart is deceitful above all things…” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

It’s almost two months since our wedding, and after the chaos of organising, booking and a depleted bank account, you’d think we’d settle back into a life more ordinary. Not so: one particular aspect which seems to be the arch nemesis of my perfect Christian Life just won’t crawl under a bench and go away – Alcohol.

So now it’s not just me I’m worrying about – but my new husband. We’re not long back from honeymoon when he goes out for a ‘quiet’ drink after work one Friday for a colleague’s leaving do. We have ASLAN early the next morning – and so i remind him not to ‘overdo’ it.

Even he’s not sure how this happens, but after texting me at 1am-ish to say he’s on the way home, he goes missing for 10hours, waking up in a police station in Greenwich on Saturday afternoon.

I’d gone to serve at the day centre on Webber Street that morning, thinking that he would join me there, but no sign. I had had to ring round hospitals before I could report him missing to the police. This left the ASLAN team two men down with 60 or so homeless men and women that could not have a shower that morning.

My team leader there had prayed for me before sending me home. And we both thanked God after, that he was picked up by the police, and that nothing awful had happened.

In my heart I know I’m only half listening to this lesson. If I’m totally honest with myself I’m one of ‘those’ Christians that says I can drink/do/wear what I want because I’m not under law. I’m under grace.

But how does that show my love and devotion to HIM?

I made the Midweek service at All Soul’s today, and Rico spoke on Mark 14:1 -11 – the woman with alabaster jar, who poured £20k worth of perfume over Jesus’ head. Those at the dinner table with him reprimanded her. But Jesus said of her, “8She did what she could.” Meaning, she lived for Christ. Shirking what people thought of her to show her devotion to JC.

Paul’s letter to Titus teaches: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,” Titus 2: 11-12

I led a bible study for Fellowship Group for the first time the other week. It was on 2 Timothy 3: 10 – 17: Here Paul is teaching Timothy to lead by example. He’s telling Timothy to ignore the ways of the world, just as he had. “10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured.”

I’ve an inkling that Paul never got home after one of these stressful occasions and cracked open a bottle of red wine with the words, “I’ve had SUCH a bad day! A glass or two should relax me a tad!”

Ephesians 5:18: ” Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit”.

In my heart I love God and, like my earthly father, I want him to be proud of me always. But I also know that that very same heart justifies a lot of the bad that I do. I fail ALL the time. EVERY day! I wonder sometimes if it’s worth me trying at all.

Jeremiah 17:9: “ 9The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Carrots, Eggs and Coffee

A young woman went to her mother and told her
about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know
how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of
fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new
one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots
with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to
boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed
eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit
and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She
fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the
eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out
and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘ Tell me
what you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the
carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then
asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the
shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.
The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then
asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced
the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The
carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being
subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg
had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid
interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside
became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however.
After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity
knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or
a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems
strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and
lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but
changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death,
a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become
hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside
am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes
the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the
water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are
like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and
change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and
trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee
bean?

************

This was sent to my inbox today – most poignant to me because of yesterday’s lunch-time service at All Souls Church, Langham Place (every Thursday from 1pm) which was taken by Heewoo Han on Luke 12:22 – 34 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+12%3A22-34&version=NIV). Then, my reading from Every Day with Jesus today was from the VERY same reading. Incidentally, yesterday’s reading was Matthew 6:25…yes – the SAME teaching again, but from a different book/disciple!

I’ve been praying and praying as a lot has been happening this month. Not just with the wedding plans and worrying how we’re going to pay for everything; but also with my sister splitting from her husband, my Grandad being ill and work issues.I think someone is trying to tell me something, and this puts these little things sharply into perspective!

God bless
x

Love Thy Neighbour

With Christmas over I’m thinking of the people i should have contacted, but have not over the festive period. Guiltily, those few are probably most in need of a friendly phone call; and I’ve purposely not called as i know the conversation will be stilted and leaning towards them venting their unlucky lot in life. That’s not very ‘Christian’ is it?

I’m torn between the ‘worldly’ view of surrounding myself with ‘good people’ who will in turn give me good vibes; and my fundamental need to give, and so finding myself gripping moulded plastic to my ear wishing i was anywhere but listening to the depressed monotone at the other end. If it were family it would not be a problem. (i would give my right arm to help my family) But with some people it’s not so much the ‘being there’ as a friendly ear, but knowing that they take advantage of me, using me knowing that i will try my best to help where i can.

And so, in berating myself – and quite possibly being given a hearty ‘push’ from my new friend the Holy Spirit, I’m exploring what does God say about helping the needy. Not just the physically needy, but those in emotional turmoil as well. In looking at the Cross – and all that God has done, and given to me…who the heck am i to moan about emotional baggage?

  • Galations 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ”.
  • Proverbs 11:25 says, ” A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
  • Romans 12:6-8, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us..if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously..
  • John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

S
x

Finding my Passion

All Souls has been talking up ‘a Passion for Life‘ – the Nationwide initiative starting in March next year that’s set to draw churches together for a series of evangelical events. I’m looking forward to it. It reminds me of Billy Graham, back in the 90s, the reason that my family started going to North Cheam Baptist Church.

And so I picked up a couple of ‘London’s Biggest Survey Ever’ leaflets and gave it them to the girls back in the office. The younger, a Celebrity Exec, was genuinely inspired by it. “Only one questions?” she asked..”But what if I have more than one?”
I laughed, “Fill in two surveys then!”

I’m still waiting to hear what my boss thinks of it all? She says she’s Catholic..

We got to talking about what ‘a Passion for Life” would be like, and she watched the short film on the website which explains everything – and eventually the conversation turned to Christian music. – would there be celebs there? Famous Christian bands? We counted a few, sorry to say, uninspiring celebs we knew who are Christians; Cliff Richard, Whitney Houston (but she’s probably not a practising Christian? right?..Unfortunately she’s not heard of the likes of Tim Hughes, Delirious? or Casting Crowns

She’s into rap..and found a REALLY bad video on Youtube – i’ve been traumatised, sorry and can’t remember who it was, but then she found this fantastic rapper called God’s Block.

I listen to the Worship Central podcast every month – which i think is mainly for Worship Leaders (of which i’m not) – but i LOVE it! I only know of one UK Christian Radio station – Premier Radio doesn’t feature more contemporary – i know they pop a couple medium paced worship songs into Inspirational Breakfast – but what of Christian Rock, or Rap? I’d love to get the survey results on who the Premier Radio listener is.