Category Archives: parable

Sunshine

We moved into our cottage almost ten years ago. We added on some rooms and enlarged some. The renovations were planned by an architect. Although we have a large French window and a smaller window facing north, our lounge always seemed dark. We have a magnificent paperbark tree outside which gives beautiful shade in summer and we always thought that was the reason our house seemed dark. We had two sky lights put in and that helped a bit. However the lounge light stayed on during the day while I was home.

The house next door had five tall conifers growing against our north boundary wall. When the house was sold, I made a point of informing our new neighbours that I would love the trees cut down and we would pay half. Well, they had other things to attend to and repair and I didn’t want to nag them but I talked to the Lord about them. I even talked to the trees! (I remembered what Jesus had said about mountains throwing themselves into the sea.)

While we were away last week, the trees got taken out. The neighbours are doing some renovations and building on to make room for their parents to stay with them.

The difference is amazing. Sun streams into the lounge almost all day. We no longer need the light on in the daytime. I am just wallowing in the sunshine.

John said about Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5NIV)

Sometimes we miss out on the light of God in our lives through circumstances that are beyond our control. They are the things that cast shadows on the abundant life that Christ promised. They are like those five trees, seemingly invincible. They could be an early family tragedy, an unhappy childhood, a disability we were born with, or even poverty. We are totally powerless to remove them. They are not in our garden.

God is not powerless. We can do what we can to improve the light in our lives but then we need to call on Him to take away the trees. It won’t be easy and it won’t be immediate. But our God is faithful.

Jesus promised, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” May we not become so used to living in the shadow that we miss out on the Light of Life.

My Prayer

Lord, please open my eyes to the things with which I have been living, that are casting shadows over my life. May they be rooted up and cast aside. May the Light of Your Life and Your Love bathe me every day. Amen.

Beach Memories 2

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Once my six-year-old granddaughter had had enough jumping in the waves, she decided to try her hand at digging a swimming pool. After a while, her father came to join her but left her to lead the project.

When God created us in His image, one of the attributes He implanted in us was creativity. We all have some of the creativity of our Maker whether we like to design engines, do woodwork, create a garden, paint a picture, write a book or…(fill in the blank.) It is our Father’s gift.

He would love to be with us in our creativity and He can inspire us with ideas, but He leaves us to manage the project and He takes as much pleasure in the finished work as we do – even is it’s only a sand castle.

My Prayer

Father, thank You for the gift of creativity. May I seek to glorify You in everything I do so I can bring everything I make to You like a preschooler bringing home his artwork and say, “Look Daddy, I made this for You.” Amen.

Beach Memories 1

Just before Easter we went to Port Elizabeth, mostly to visit family but also to enjoy being at the seaside. We overlapped with the younger family for three days and made a plan to go spend a sunny morning at the beach.

I love watching my grandchildren enjoy themselves.

Watching them relate to their father spoke to me about our relationship with God. The six-year-old didn’t venture into the waves on her own, but only when holding her father’s hand tightly. It must have been scary for her. Her Dad told her when to jump and helped her bounce over the big waves.

I picture myself as a little girl going into scary waves of life. My Father holds me tight. I must listen to His voice and obey promptly. Sure, He could calm the waves and make them flat but mostly, He doesn’t. He could also keep me out of the sea altogether but then I wouldn’t grow, or learn or have the adventure of the seaside!

This is illustrated in Matthew 14:22 and Mark 6:45

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. (NIV)

Jesus knew a storm was going to blow up later that evening and the disciples were going to struggle to get to shore. He could have prevented it. If He had, we would not have the account of Jesus walking on water and Peter would never have learned that to take his eyes off Jesus is to sink. Jesus was glorified and the disciples faith grew.

My Prayer

Father, when I am afraid of what lies ahead of me, please hold me tight and tell me when to jump and when to hold my breath. Amen.

A Princess Story

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Aster. She was an orphan and lived in the streets stealing, fighting and hanging around with a group of outlaws. Her clothes were dirty and tatty and her hair was matted and unkempt.

One day Aster was thrown off a vegetable cart where she had climbed to help herself to a free meal. She landed in the street and broke her ankle.

As it happened, the king of that country was being driven in his royal coach behind the cart and the king saw what had happened.

He took the girl home to his palace to care for her. He called for the royal doctor to treat her foot and apply ointments to her scratches and bruises. The king told Aster he wanted to adopt her. Aster couldn’t believe it. She was dirty, had never been taught to be polite or kind and did not even like herself. How could such a magnificent king want her in his household? There were many princes and princesses in the king’s family already, all clean, well mannered and beautifully dressed.

As soon as Aster agreed, the king called for the documents to be drawn up and he signed them and put his seal upon them.

Aster became a princess at that moment.

The king arranged a bath for her and bought her beautiful clothes. Although Aster was now a princess, she didn’t feel like one. She used bad language and fought with the other children. But slowly, from watching the behaviour of the king and the other royal children, and wanting to do everything she could to please her new father, Aster learned to behave more and more like a princess.

At church we are looking at the Household of God from 1 Timothy. On Sunday we looked at 1 Timothy 3:15 and 16.

Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness flows is great:” (verse 16a)

Pastor Richard pointed out that we often confuse godliness with goodliness. We think being godly is being good, upright, moral, honest. But that is goodliness. Paul goes on in verse 16 to talk about Jesus. He is the mystery from which true godliness flows.

Other Bible passages agree. “The secret is simply this: Christ in you! Yes, Christ in you, bringing with him the hope of all the glorious things to come.” (Colossians 1:27 Philips translation.)

In my fairy tale, there might have been many little girls in the kingdom with beautiful clothes who were taught to behave like princesses, but they were not. Aster could do nothing to become a princess. It was a free gift of the king. In the same way, we cannot strive to be godly. We need merely to agree to Christ coming to live in us. He does the rest and it is not an overnight transformation.

But He has promised, “…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ.” Phiippins 1:6 NIV)

Fingers

I fell in church last week and damaged the ring finger of my left hand. i didn’t think it was broken. As soon as I got home I applied a cold compress then later I immobilized it by bandaging it to my middle finger.

“Lucky it’s not your right hand,” everybody says. And they are right. I would be much worse off if it were my right hand. But it’s only my left, the less important one. Moreover, it’s not like it’s an important finger either. A ring finger is only good for putting rings on, after all. Don’t you hate it when you get labelled and categorized by that label?

That’s another thing. Wearing a ring on a damaged finger is a problem. It took me ten minutes or more to give a thought to the fact that my finger might swell and I should get my ring off. It was too late. My finger did swell and the purple moved down but I made sure every day that my ring could swivel.

This whole experience has given me a different view of my fingers. They work together, like a well-oiled machine. Inactivate one gear or cog and the machine no longer functions correctly. Just try eating while holding your fork with a thumb and index finger! It seems to me that the ring finger is more useful than the middle finger although our hand can’t function well without all our finger supporting and helping each other. Some people have to, but it requires a lot of time and therapy relearning, practicing and strengthening.

The Bible says, “God has put the body together, giving greater honor to those parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Cor 12:24b-27 NIV)

No matter how insignificant and unimportant we may feel, we are all part of Christ’s body and if we hurt, the whole body suffers. God is constantly aware of every one of us and we can trust Him to take care of us.

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday. The word for today is “different.”

Artistry

“You are the ARTIST of your own LIFE. Don’t hand the paintbrush to anyone else.” (Little Georgia.)

Those of us who are Christians have already handed over our paintbrushes to Jesus, the master painter who created us as amazing, unrepeatable masterpieces.

This post is part of One-Liner-Wednesday.

Holiday Snaps

We are on holiday at the moment in Port Elizabeth (Now Gqeberha) visitng family. Yesterday I took my Mom for a pedicure. Her toe nails have calcified and she wasn’t sure the beautician would be able to cut them but it turned out to be a positive experience for her.

We then went out for lunch at a quaint coffee shop called “Little Georgia.” The walls were punctuated with pithy and uplifting sayings. I’ll be posting some of them in the days to come.

These memories are like holiday snaps to hang in the gallery of my mind.

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday.