Category Archives: Scripture

Guide Dog in Training

A friend of mine is a Puppy Trainer for the Guide Dog Association. She is an art teacher in the studio that is on the same property as our cottage and once a week she brings Jarvis with her. Last week, the dog galloped into our lounge, clearing out the old ginger cat who was lazing on the couch. My friend was close behind. I commented that this did not seem like a responsible Guide Dog and she said I should see him in his harness.  When he wears it, he knows what is expected of him so behaves appropriately. Jarvis is only a Guide-Dog-in-training but that doesn’t get rid of his doggy nature.

I am a Christian-in-training. I have consented to be in Christ’s harness and I qualify for all the benefits He died to secure for me: forgiveness from sins, His presence and involvement in my life, guidance, His inexplicable peace, and eternal life where I can be forever with Him forever.

However, I am not perfect. My human nature, or sin nature, is never far away.  I take comfort in Phil1:6 which says, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” In this life I will never reach perfection, but I trust my trainer for “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:12-13)

I am sure that Jarvis will become a wonderful Guide Dog, bringing independence to a sight-impaired person. His trainer knows what he is destined for and what he can become. Christ, my trainer, knows the purpose for which I was created and can help me fulfill that purpose and become the best version of myself.

 

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Wonderfit

I had a spare slice of time this morning so decided to go jeans shopping.

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Last week I had been attracted by some jeans in a shop window advertised as “Wonderfit.” They have special features to make one look slimmer. Last year I bought some of the same make and they were very comfortable, so I was quite optimistic about my success. I tried a size 40 … much too big around the waist. The 38’s fitted snugly and were fine as long as I stayed standing. As soon as I sat down, they dug into my waist.  Jeans are meant to be comfortable through all the activities of normal life.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)

One of the translations for my yoke is easy, is my yoke is well-fitting, comfortable in all phases of the journey.  The yoke is crafted specifically for us individually. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. No problems with fitting in some places and not others.

Notice Jesus doesn’t offer to remove our burdens but to give us rest. He invites us to submit ourselves to His yoke rather than the one we currently struggle under. His yoke is well-fitting, making the burden comfortable to carry.  He will not put anything on us that we are unable to bear with His help.

I needed this reminder because I have been feeling over-burdened and overwhelmed recently. Perhaps when I wear my new trousers, I will remember it. (In the end I didn’t even get jeans but something more comfortable.)

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Taste Test

Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8)

Every baby knows that one can’t tell what a thing is like unless one has tasted it for oneself. Unlike sight and hearing, where one can experience something in a big crowd, taste is very personal and has an element of risk. Anybody and everybody can admire a glorious sunset but, while it may be uplifting, there is no direct interaction. A rousing  overture can be heard by thousands of people at once but they are not personally involved. Smell is indiscriminate. Nobody has a choice regarding what smells might waft in and out of our nostrils although we can move our bodies to get closer or further away and we can breathe in deeply or block our noses.

Taste is normally a choice. We can choose to interact with something by putting it in our mouth or, if we are more cautious, putting a tiny bit on our finger and transferring it to our tongue. There is always some degree of faith required. Do we trust the person who is inviting us to taste something, or might they be trying to poison us or play a practical joke?

What we taste cannot be tasted by anybody else – it is changed in the process. There is real interaction. We make ourselves vulnerable to possibly find something that we never knew before and is really delicious.

The psalmist exhorts us to not rely on other people’s experiences of God to know He is good. Taste and see for yourself.

Prayer. Lord, I am willing to take a chance. Please interact with me and show me how good You are. Amen.

man holding ice cream cone under cloud

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X rays and Conditions

When I was in my early forties, my mother’s doctor suggested that I go for a bone scan to see if I had osteoporosis like she did. What a ridiculous idea! I was still young. I couldn’t possibly have an old peoples’ disease! Nevertheless the scan showed that I had, indeed, suffered from loss of bone density. I have a condition that I didn’t know I had and would have staunchly denied while I laughed.

person holding x ray film

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My daughter also has a condition. A different condition. Last week she took her three children to check if they had inherited it. They had.

We probably all have conditions. Or syndromes. Or illnesses. Or weaknesses. Many of them we inherited. Although they are many and varied, we all suffer from one hereditary condition. We will refuse to believe that we have this condition although it is usually obvious in others. The global expert will tell us we have this condition but because we don’t think we have it, we might not accept his opinion.

This condition is called Human Nature. God calls it SIN. We inherited it. It is in our DNA. None of us in immune. “All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned – every one- to his own way.” (Isiah 53:6a ESV)

Those of us who go to church and maybe read our bibles think we are immune. We are not. God’s X ray of our heart will reveal it. I was reminded again of my condition this morning. I had slept very badly and, twenty minutes before my alarm was due to go off, I was woken by my husband’s footsteps. He asked if I wanted coffee then of after seven. I felt grumpy and irritable. had not slept well. My sleep had been interrupted.  needed my sleep. A couple of minutes later when I did wake up, he brought me cappuccino and a rusk. He could not have coffee with me because he had to leave to do a Gideon Bible placement at a school. Later I found his coffee cup with a spoon of coffee powder.

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I had not thought of him, had I? Only of me, me, me. This is a symptom of my condition. Total self focus.

Fortunately, God has provided a therapy for this condition we all suffer from (or ignore.) Isiah goes on to say in verse 6b, “And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus had paid the consequences for our condition and, if we are willing, will give us a transfusion of divine nature that will slowly change us to the image of Jesus if we submit to his regime. That does not mean that our human nature disappears. It is still alive and kicking and only with God’s help can we tame it to some degree. I long for the day when my first waking thought can be Good morning , Lord rather than Good Lord, it’s morning.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you died for me. By your Spirit, please transform me into your image. I submit myself to Your authority. Amen.

Bunnies don’t purr

My grandchildren have got baby bunnies in the garden as well as kittens in the house. Bunnies are very soft and cuddly and the kids enjoy holding them and snuggling them.

baby bunny 2

However, my grandchildren spend longer cuddling the kittens. Both kittens are also soft and cuddly but they purr when they are picked up and cuddled. There is something very special about a cat’s purr. It warms the cockles of my heart. It tells me the cat is happy and is enjoying being with me. (I also cuddle the kittens whenever I get the chance.)

Psalm 9 says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all Your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in You,” (ESV)

I think the kittens are exulting in being cuddled. They make their pleasure known. I am sure that our Father loves to hear our thanks and our happiness in him, just as I enjoy a cat purring.

As grandparents we always try to choose presents that our grandchildren will like. We don’t always get it right. I know of a number of neglected dolls that I thought my granddaughter would love. Last Christmas we gave our grandson a Cat Boy Watch. Just before he went to bed that night he came downstairs just to tell us, “Granny and Grampa, I love my watch.” It made us feel wonderful. We felt like good grandparents who know how to give good gifts.

I am sure God loves to hear our thanks and appreciation for all His wonderful gifts to us. I am sure he revels in our happiness. Maybe we should purr a little more often.

Hope and Load-shedding

The following is an extract from an article from the Jesuit Institute. I found the whole article profound and insightful.

“Spiritually, this experience of the return of load-shedding is one where our tempers are tested and our patience practiced (or not?) But could we use this time of frustration to reconnect with those we love and model what grace under pressure looks like?”

The full article can be read HERE. 

Worry, worry, worry, worry

“Why worry, worry, worry, worry, when you can pray,” ended the old Sunday school song.

Paul put it more maturely, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NIV.)

Notice what Paul does not say. He does not say all your requests will be granted. Rather, he says you will have peace. Is peace the opposite of anxiety?

Jesus also had something to say about anxiety and worry. In Matthew 6:31-33 he says, “So do not worry, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Seeking God’s kingdom is no light thing. It means putting yourself under God’s kingship, letting Him reign in your life. As I have discovered from my attempts to be a servant, it is not easy and it does not come naturally.  Jesus emphasizes that God is our Father and he knows what we need.

When I was a little girl, sometimes on a journey home at night in our little car, one of my parents would say, “I think we are lost.” Being lost is a terrifying thing for a child, yet my brother and I didn’t worry. We knew Mom and Dad would find the way. We just went to sleep in the car. I think that is how our Father would like us to trust Him. Sure, bumps come along in life and sometimes we seem lost. But our Father has enough power, wisdom and love to get us home safely. So let’s not worry, worry, worry, worry when we can pray.

sleeping girl