Tag Archives: Jesus

Casting All Your Cares on Him

Image by pucho from Pixabay

Jesus says, “Come unto me, all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Peter reinforces this idea when he exhorts us, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Nevertheless, we find it very difficult to give our burdens to Jesus without taking them up again and worrying about them ourselves. It is as if we want to be God, sorting out our problems ourselves.

It reminds me of my youngest grandchild. She loves to help wherever she can. Sometimes she insists on carrying heavy six-packs of milk. “Let me help you with that,” we’ll say as it is obvious she is struggling.

“I can manage,” she’ll say, struggling up the garden path with two heavy six-packs in her arms. She wants to be independent. She wants to be thought of as a big girl.

Don’t we do exactly the same with Jesus?

“Give Me your burden,” He’ll say. “It’s weighing you down. It’s slowing you down. It’s robbing you of abundant life.”

“No thanks,” we say, “I can manage,” and we continue to worry, trying to show that we are like God, we can fix things.

My Prayer

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that You are willing and able to shoulder my burdens. Please give me the grace and the humility to surrender them to You. Amen.

Above, Below, All around.

“Above and below me

Before and behind me

In every eye that sees me

Christ be all around me”

These are lines from Michael W Smith’s song, “Christ be All Around Me.”

I thought about those lines today. Everywhere I go, Christ goes with me. He encloses me. So when I sat in Mugg and Bean this morning, drinking bottomless coffee and fighting to try to get onto their internet to write this blog, Christ was with me. When I fetched my granddaughter from Brownies, Jesus was there too, smiling at the sight of happy little girls. When I prayed with my best friend and prayer partner, Jesus was there, as He promised, in our midst. (Matt 18:20)

He is closer than breathing, He’s privy to my thoughts and He abides in my heart. Unfortunately, a lot of the time I tend to forget that Jesus is right next to me. If I remembered more often, I would stress less, think of others more and revel in the wonderful life He has given me.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, please be the air I breathe and may I constantly be aware of Your presence. Amen.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday

The Alpha and the Omega

“The end of the world has arrived!”

Image by icheinfach from Pixabay

This was the theme of many social media posts at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Not long after came a batch of talks by various pastors and scholars showing how this was not the end of the world.

Most of this frenzy has died down recently (or maybe I’m being more selective of what I choose to watch and read. I’m wary of social media.)

In either case, Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.“(Rev 22:13 NIV)

Jesus was at the beginning of Creation (John 1:1-12) and He will be with us at the end of the world.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b NIV)

Even if it is the end of the world, if we walk with Jesus, we don’t need to fear. Today is the beginning of the rest of our lives.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, Keep me trusting You so that each new day can be a new beginning. Amen.

This post is part of JusJoJan and Streams of Consciousness Saturday.

At the Beach

I love the beach. My favourite holiday is to spend time on the Natal South Coast as close to the sea as possible. Beaches in the Western Cape or Port Elizabeth will also do but they are much further away so not as accessible. We are planning to go down to Scottburgh this winter, God willing, in our motorhome.

Beach near Hibberdene 2020

When I am in a contemplative mood, I sometimes spend my prayer time imagining myself sitting on a bench on a cliff overlooking the sea. As I sit there, I try to imagine feeling the breeze on my face, hearing the sounds of the waves breaking and the seagulls mewing, seeing the changing colours and shapes of the sea. I praise God for His beauty and majesty. Then I picture Jesus coming to sit next to me. The birds are silent in awe and even the breeze holds its breath in wonder. For a while He doesn’t say anything. I ask Him to speak to me and I tell Him where I am and what concerns or excites me at the moment. Then I just sit still and wait for Him to speak.

Almost always I’ve come away with a verse or a revelation and I feel renewed and at peace. In fact, I can’t think why I do it so seldom. Time maybe?

John says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14)

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, Creator of the sea and the land, the earth and sky, please quieten me so I can hear what you want to say to me. Amen.

This post is part of JusJoJan

Stormy Weather

We’ve all been hearing about Cyclone Eloise recently. Across Southern Africa at least 15 people have died, including two from South Africa.

It reminds me of the Covid pandemic. It sweeps across the world leaving death in its wake.

There were storms in the Bible too. Elijah was on a mountain and experienced wind strong enough to break rocks, an earthquake and a fire but the Lord was not in any of these natural disasters. God was in the aftermath – in a still, small voice. ( 1 Kings 19)

The disciples were in a boat in the eye of a storm that they, experienced fishermen, thought might kill them. They woke Jesus. I don’t imagine they woke him at the first sign of the storm or when they thought they could cope on their own. It was only when things were out of their control that they called to Him.

The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. (Matthew 8:25-26 NIV)

We are in the midst of a Covid storm. Maybe we think we can cope. Let’s not wait until we are out of our depth to call on Jesus. He’s not sleeping. He is only a whisper away. He has the power and the authority to still any storm.

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, all around me is uncertainty, fear and confusion. Please still the raging anxiety in my heart and bring me peace. Amen.

This post is part of JusJoJan.

Naming and Establishing

But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, O Jacob, who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God,…” (Isiah 43:1- 3a)

God knows my name. He has called me by name. I am not just one of the world that He loves, or one of the “Whoever believes,” or even one of the “All those who are weary and heavy laden.” It is personal. He calls me by my name, Jenny.

This morning I found out something I have never known before. One of the meanings of my name is “Yahweh is gracious.” I’m just reflecting on that.

God sets great store by our names – to the extent that He sometimes changes them where appropriate. Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter and Saul became Paul.

What does your name mean to God and are you living up to it? Either way, know that His promises are for you. Personally.

My prayer

Thank you, Father, that I am Yours and You know me by name. Hallowed be Thy name. Amen.

Image by Jackson David from Pixabay

Cloves and Bananas

Flavours are important. For breakfast I usually have a bowl of oats. Over the years I’ve made my own tweaks to my oats. I mush up tinned pie apples and add cinnamon and raisins to make a yummy addition. One tablespoon of this and one of yoghurt, mix it into the oats, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and you have oats-a-la-Jenny.

Yesterday my oats tasted funny. I had mixed up a new batch of apple mush the day before. I cast my mind back and tried to think of a reason my oats tasted of cloves instead of cinnamon. I went to the spice cupboard. My spices are arranged alphabetically. Cinnamon first. The bottle was empty. Next powdered cloves. Brown powder. I deduced what had happened.

Cloves can be used to spice apples. Baked apples often have whole cloves stuck into them. But it’s not the same. Luckily it wasn’t cayenne pepper or something. At least my breakfast was still edible.

Isn’t it amazing the different flavours God has created for us to enjoy? Isn’t it wonderful that He has given us the ability to differentiate between them?

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

My granddaughter doesn’t like bananas. I found a recipe on the internet for a healthy chocolate mousse using organic cocoa, avocado and a super ripe banana. My grandson helped me make this as our experimental pudding. He took his sister a taste without telling her the ingredients.

“It tastes like banana,” she said.

Flavours matter.

Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything…” (Matt 5:13 NIV)

He could have said the same about cloves, or bananas. If they lose their flavour, they are not good for anything.

God has called us all to certain things. We have different gifts, different callings.

I’ve been reading the Max Lucado book, In the Eye of the Storm. Today I read how, as a teenager, he had asked a friend to join him and his father on a fishing holiday. They couldn’t fish because of the rainy, icy, sleety weather. Cooped up together in a camper, he discovered flaws he hadn’t noticed in his friend before and even in his father. He says, “When those who are called to fish don’t fish, they fight.” Maybe that’s true of all of us. If we don’t do what God has called us to do, we lose our flavour.

I believe I am called to write. My spiritual gift is encouragement. What happens when I don’t write, when I don’t encourage? I fritter my time away on other things. I search the internet for bargains on the things I covet but can’t afford. I spend time on my cell phone allowing other people’s opinions to influence my mind. I laze around feeling depressed and even headachy.

I know life is a balance between various aspects, but I pray that I might never lose my flavour.

My prayer

Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the gifts you have endowed me with, for my calling and my ministry. Please help me keep close to You that I may never lose my flavour. Amen.

Wish upon a Feather

Image by Christine Sponchia from Pixabay

John 6:44 Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me.”

He also said, “…apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5b)

In other words, even coming to Christ is not at our initiation, but God’s.

Charles Wesley had a term for this action of the Father when He draws us to Christ. He called it “prevenient grace.”

Looking back in my past to identify signs of prevenient grace in my life, I remember an incident in my childhood which I count as my earliest possible memory of this grace.

I must have been quite young, but already at school, so possibly five or six years old. Somebody at school told me that if you stripped a feather of all but a top tuft of vanes and planted it in the ground, you could make a wish and the wish would come true. At that age I already felt inferior to others. I wasn’t as pretty, as comfortable socially, as interesting as other kids. I felt I was not good enough. My wish was that I could be good enough. In the back of my mind I had a sort of fairy story. I was actually a princess and had been swopped at birth and one day people would find out who I really was.

Peering back through sixty years, I can see that this was my first inkling that I was a sinner. At university I heard another variation on this theme from an Assembles of God pastor. “Wherever I go, I go too and spoil everything.”

I have now been a Christian for over forty years. I know that I have the righteousness of Christ since on the cross He exchanged my sin for His righteousness. Nobody can say that’s not good enough. Moreover, I know myself to be a daughter of the King of the Universe. In anybody’s book, that makes me a princess.

So it might have taken a while but my wish on a feather came true.

Aha Moments

You know those Aha moments – like when I first realised the line in the song Picnic Time for Teddy Bears was “Watch them, catch them unawares,” rather than “Watch them catch their underwear.” I’ve used the word “encourage” most of my life to mean support but I recently realised it means to imbue with courage or to talk courage into.

I had another such epiphany this morning.

Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “…No one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.”

I used to think this was some neat little test to find out which spirits or influences were from God and which were from the enemy. Now I realise that it is not a matter of saying “Jesus is Lord,” but rather making it true in my life.

I’ve been meditating recently on the difference between accepting Jesus as Saviour and accepting Him as Lord. The latter is a decision of the will and a commitment of my whole life. It is the act of putting myself, past, present and future – into God’s hands to do with as God pleases. (Adapted from Maxie Dunnam – The Workbook of Abiding in Christ.)

It means giving up the things I regard as mine: My life, my time, my abilities, my body, the money I have earned, the children I have brought up. Do you know how hard that is? in fact, I regard it as humanly impossible. That’s where the power of the Holy Spirit comes in. Nobody can make Jesus Lord of their lives except by the Holy Spirit.

My Prayer

  1. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Fill me with life anew,
    That I may love what Thou dost love,
    And do what Thou wouldst do.
  2. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Until my heart is pure,
    Until with Thee I will one will,
    To do and to endure.
  3. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Till I am wholly Thine,
    Until this earthly part of me
    Glows with Thy fire divine.
  4. Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    So shall I never die,
    But live with Thee the perfect life
    Of Thine eternity. (Hymn by Edward Hatch 1878)