Tag Archives: Love

Prayer

This is a prayer by Nicky Gumble.

“Lord, thank you that you use even weak, vulnerable and sinful people like me. Thank you that, although you love me as I am, you love me too much to leave me as I am. Help me to take responsibility for my life and at the same time trust your sovereignty.”

Image by ThuyHaBich from Pixabay

This post is part of One Liner Wednesday.

Christmas without Trimmings

When I was a little girl, we would often have hot dogs or boerewors rolls for supper. We could choose whether to have it with trimmings or without. The trimmings usually consisted of fried onion and tomato, sometimes with grated cheese, or maybe mustard. Quite often the trimmings made the hot dog more messy but added to the enjoyment of it. However, the fried onion and tomato were never a substitute for the meal.

When I got old enough to start making my own clothes, I learned to use paper patterns. The pattern guide would list how much fabric to buy for each size and then at the end it would list the trimmings:- buttons or lace, ribbons or embellishments. These added to the satisfaction with the final product but lace and buttons can never be a substitute for a dress.

Christmas has trimmings and they vary from culture to culture. Some are universal. Time with family is often considered non-negotiable. The media has contributed to this belief that Christmas is not Christmas without family. However it is no more true than the fact that Christmas trees, cakes, crackers and presents are essentials for Christmas.

These Christmas trimmings add to our enjoyment of the celebration. Families forge their own traditions for Christmas. For some it means going to church together on Christmas morning, for others, having waffles for breakfast.

Some of us have had to do without trimmings this year, perhaps because of Covid lockdown restrictions, or geographical distance or the absence of loved ones who have passed away. Some have faced financial difficulties and can’t afford presents in wrapped boxes, or trees, or crackers.

Just as fried onion and tomatoes are not the meal, nor lace and buttons not the dress, Christmas trimmings, as enjoyable as they are, are not Christmas.

Christmas celebrates the fact that God, the Creator and Master of the universe, set His love upon us. He moved the line between infinite and finite so He could be with us. Forever. So that we can be with Him. Forever. He became flesh and for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame (Hebrew 12:2) so that He could remove the barrier of sin that kept us from being able to be with Him, where He is, forever.

No wonder the shepherds left their sheep and raced to Bethlehem, no wonder eastern astronomers followed a star that foretold a king.

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us.” Matthew 1:23 NIV, quoting Isaiah 7:14)

God with us. That is Christmas. God with me, warts and all, because that’s where He longs to be.

Let us never confuse the Christmas trimmings with the real thing.

This post is part of Streams of Consciousness Saturday.

Who are We?

What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? (Psalm 8:4 NIV)

We have made amazing advances in technology, communication, medicine, astronomy and other fields of science. We have carried out successful organ transplants, put men on the moon, and have made information available to the man in the street with a click of a button.

Yet, at this time in history, our civil society and economic empires are crumbling because of a virus 125 billionths of a metre in diameter. One thing it has shown us, is that man is not invincible as he tends to think. We act as if we are God. We make the rules and mores. We decide what is fair and what is unfair. As history unfolds, morals and customs change according to the outward circumstances and who’s in power.

The nature of man has not changed, has not improved. Excellent systems are put in place. They all fail because of human nature. Give food parcels to the poor! We have seen how human nature has corroded that noble endeavour! We all think human nature is something other people have. Yet we are quick to confess, “I am only human. This is how I am. This is how my father was, I got it from him.” In this dysfunctional world, we tend to excuse bad behaviour by early experiences of brokenness.

We can do nothing to fix ourselves. All our technical advances can’t save us from ourselves.

However, amazingly, God has set His love upon us and for love of us Christ died to rescue us from sin.

I love the end of Psalm 91.

The Lord says,
“If you love me
    and truly know who I am,
    I will rescue you
    and keep you safe.
15 When you are in trouble,
    call out to me.
I will answer and be there
    to protect and honor you.
16     You will live a long life
    and see my saving power.”
(CEV)

Meditations on Sunshine.

Sitting in the sunshine this cool autumn morning, I enjoyed the touch of warmth on my skin. I thought of it as an embrace of love from God. I meditated on sunshine and love.

Sure, the sunshine was warm and comfortable like warm fuzzies. However, sunshine also has power. We all know the danger of sunburn. I have a solar cooker. I have potatoes cooking in it at the moment for lunch later. The sun has sufficient power to cook food. It can heat water for bathing. My daughter and son-in-law have a solar geyser. Sometimes it gets so hot steam comes out of the escape pipe. We haven’t got to the stage of electricity from the sun yet, but many households have. The sun is powerful.

Likewise, love is powerful. It is not only warm comfort. Sometimes it can hurt. Love kept Christ on the cross. Love for us. For me. A line from a hymn came to me, “strong as death.” I battled a while to find it on the internet because I incorrectly remembered the three words that came before the phrase. Finally I got it and I thought it was worthwhile posting it here. It was written by William Cowper in 1768 so it’s not surprising that some of the words are a bit archaic.

 Hark, my soul, it is the Lord;
’tis thy Saviour, hear his word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,
‘Say, poor sinner, lov’st thou me?

2 ‘I delivered thee when bound,
and, when wounded, healed thy wound;
sought thee wandering, set thee right,
turned thy darkness into light.

3 ‘Can a woman’s tender care
cease towards the child she bare?
Yes, she may forgetful be,
yet will I remember thee.

4 ‘Mine is an unchanging love,
higher than the heights above,
deeper than the depths beneath,
free and faithful, strong as death.

5 ‘Thou shalt see my glory soon,
when the work of grace is done;
partner of my throne shalt be:
say, poor sinner, lov’st thou me?’

6 Lord, it is my chief complaint
that my love is weak and faint;
yet I love thee, and adore;
O for grace to love thee more!

Lockdown Day 33 Through the Window.

I love looking through my study window and seeing my grandchildren play. Even when it’s raining they can have such fun. They are being what they are:- Children.

In the same way, God loves looking at us being who we are. He didn’t create uniformity. He loves our individuality and smiles when He sees us becoming the people He created us to be.

A.B. Simpson said,

“Let us but feel that he has his heart set upon us, that he is watching us from those heavens with tender interest…that he has set his love upon us, and in spite of ourselves is working out for us his higher will and blessing, as far as we will let him – and then nothing can discourage us.”

Lockdown Day 18 Birthday Preparations

Tomorrow is my granddaughter’s sixth birthday. Being in lockdown, we can’t have a party, we can’t buy balloons and it’s going to be a very different birthday for her. However, we are all going to make the day as festive as we can.

Her ten-year-old sister has been working on a pretty dress for her for four weeks, coming over to Granny’s house twice or three times a week to use the sewing machine. She finished it today.

My daughter is planning a picnic lunch and the other children are going to be wrapping surprises. Everybody is expressing their love by thinking of different things that will make the day special for the birthday girl.

If we, being evil, know how to prepare a special day for a six-year-old, how much more love will Jesus put into preparing a place for us in His Father’s house. He knows what we like, He knows what makes us happy and He knows what we need.

He promises, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”(John 14:2 New King James Version)

Our Father loves us so much more than we love our children or grandchildren. He loves us more than we are capable of understanding. Let us rest in His love, and trust his promises.

Lockdown Day 3 A Kiss of God


Yesterday morning, as I was bathing, the sun’s angle changed in such a way that the sunshine streamed through my bathroom window and caressed me. I felt it was a kiss of God and I felt loved and protected. It got me to thinking about God and light.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5 NIV)

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Light has often been a symbol for God in the bible.

A friend’s young baby of four months suddenly had convulsions. Doctors found a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins (AVM). She needed brain surgery to remove it from the deep brain regions. My young friend was anxious and afraid. As she stood next to her beloved baby girl in the recovery room, suddenly a shaft of natural sunshine streamed through the window, outshining the sterile hospital artificial light. She knew in that moment that her daughter would be all right and that God was with her.

Of course, God is with us all the time and loves us all the time but sometimes me need a reminder, just like we will sometimes give our child or grandchild an impulsive hug.

I got another kiss of God a few days ago. A few days before lockdown, a beam of sunlight shone straight through our ventilation brick, again reminding me that God is with me.

burst

So in this time of darkness and fear, let’s keep our eyes and ears open for the touch of God in small almost unnoticeable ways.