Monthly Archives: September 2020

I Can See Clearly Now…

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Our fellowship group hasn’t met in person since the end of March but yesterday, now that we are in Covid Alert level one, we met for a bring and share lunch to celebrate the four birthdays in September. As I was eating my potato salad, the young man sitting opposite me stopped me and said there was a hair on my potato salad. I looked where he pointed but I saw nothing. My husband found the hair and removed it for me. My eyes are probably my weakest physical attributes. I wear contact lenses for distance vision and multifocals for reading.

This morning I read the words of Jesus from Revelation 3:17-18, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” NIV

As somebody with weak eyesight, I regard the eye salve as the most important treasure Jesus is offering. If I can’t see that I am poor and naked, I won’t see the need to buy gold or white clothes. If I can’t see that I am a sinner, I won’t repent.

I get a picture in my mind of a small girl in a forest. She makes a broom of branches and sweeps pine needles into lines to make walls of her imaginary house. She sweeps the interior clean and then gathers acorns for her treasure. She doesn’t know her family has no money, that her clothes are torn and dirty, that her hair is unwashed and unkempt. She considers herself rich because she has so many acorns.

I tremble to think that I might be like that little girl, blind to the reality of how God sees me.

My Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, please open my eyes to my sin, the poverty of my love, my uncleanness. Give me ointment for my eyes, gold so that I may be rich towards you, and clothes, white and spotless, that can only be obtained through Your sacrifice. Thank You. Amen.

The Life of a Daffodil Bulb

I love Spring. I love watching the emergence of blossoms, of flowers, of Spring bulbs. Our first sign of Spring in our shared garden is usually the jasmine, budding even before September and touching the air with whiffs of its heady perfume. Soon sweet-peas add their fragrance with freesias and yesterday-today-tomorrow joining the scent party. My favourite spring flowers are daffodils. They have such smiling faces. It makes me happy just to look at them.

Jesus said,

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith!”(Luke 12:27 – 28 NIV)

I considered the life of a daffodil. It starts as a bulb, not particularly good-looking but provided by God with all it needs to become a beautiful flower. However, it takes time. At first the bulb is buried under a heavy load of soil. It is dark. It is smelly. It seems like the weight of the world is pushing down on it. It might not be the life the daffodil had planned for itself. It might even question the existence of God. Praying doesn’t seem to help. Nothing changes. Things might even get worse. Winter comes. It gets colder.

The changes, when they come, are gradual. A stretching for the sun, a tentative reaching out to the dirty soil around it. At last a tiny breakthrough. Is that sunshine on its tip? God sends the circumstances, the rain, the sunshine that grow the plant. It is all His doing. When Spring comes, the daffodil, stretched and strengthened, is ready to bloom where it was planted. Again, it is no effort or straining on the plant’s part but only the grace of God that causes the opening of a beautiful flower bringing glory to the Creator and beauty to the world.

My Prayer

Father God, sometimes I find myself in dark and unpleasant places and the burden on my shoulders seems too great for me. Please help me learn from the daffodil that You have a plan for me. It might not be quick, it might not be painless but if I merely trust you and commit myself to your circumstances I will grow into the flower You imagine, bringing glory to You and beauty to the world. Amen.

Encouragement with Red Ribbons

A spiritual exercise I did recently prompted by Margaret Silf’s book, “Taste and See” encouraged me to imagine my life as a store topped by a living area. What product or service would my store offer?

On reflection, I decided my store would offer encouragement, bottled in pretty glass jars tied with coloured ribbons. Different sized and shaped bottles of encouragement would be displayed in the store window.

Image by Tesa Robbins from Pixabay

Of course, encouragement doesn’t last. It is like a bottle of sweets, enjoyed for the moment but gone by tomorrow.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 reads, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

That’s all very well, but I want something more concrete. How do I encourage others? I think it starts with my attitude towards others. If I accept others just as they are, if I care about them as individuals and see each as God’s unrepeatable masterpiece, I already create an atmosphere of encouragement.

Then it is concentrating on the good in people, regarding them as competent and trustworthy, and not focusing on their faults and failings. It is a word of appreciation or applause for something done. It is enthusiasm for what they love or are called to do. It is sincere words of support or agreement. It includes offering an apt word of scripture according to the circumstances.

To encourage means to imbue with courage. The Oxford dictionary defines it as to give someone support, courage or hope.

My Prayer

Father God, please give me eyes to see others as You see them and to accept them as they are. Give me ears to listen and understand so I may enter into their struggles, joys and sorrows. Give me a tongue to be able to communicate the hope I have in You, the faith that You are good and that You have everything under control. Amen.

Travelling Light

Jesus sent the disciples out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them, “Take nothing for the journey – no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.” (Luke 9:3 NIV)

He wanted them to travel light.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

I picture Jesus taking me on a long hike. “What shall I bring?” I say.

“Nothing. Just trust me,” He says.

That’s just scary. No hiking stick, no spare clothes, no food. What about a water bottle?

I used to lead a Girl Guide company. The Girl Guide motto is Be Prepared. It would be unthinkable to go on a hike without making preparations and being prepared. Trusting Jesus is no easy matter. It is certainly against all we’ve been taught. We feel we need to be in control. I would be inclined to ask Him for a map so I can see where we are compared to where we intend to go. But Jesus won’t give me one. All He asks is my trust and that I will stay close to Him, following where He leads.

In this Covid season we are in at the moment, everybody feels insecure. Matters have been taken out of our hands. Our well-prepared plans have been summarily cancelled and we have no idea what the future holds. With my mind I know God is in control but I still feel unsettled.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, it’s been a long time since I asked You to come into my life and take over. I am so inclined to try to wrest control back from You. Please forgive me and teach me to trust You and rest in Your love. Amen.