What’s the fuel to your fire?

Ever had that moment when someone catches you off guard, says the rudest thing and then walks away? Then you’re left completing the conversation in your head of how you imagine it ending? “Damn it! I could’ve said…”. Maybe you imagined it so that you even put in a “yo’ mama” insult in there somewhere? Don’t lie!

Honestly, there are many times that I am so angry that it chokes me and I come up with nothing to say. Just the frustration is enough to eat at me. I’ve realised a few things after becoming a mum. Anger doesn’t fuel you; it stops you dead in your tracks. Anger doesn’t refresh you; it only gives you sleepless nights and a cluttered mind. Anger is not the key. Anger does nothing to get the job done.

Compassion. Compassion makes us respond. Compassion brings on momentum. Compassion is not sitting down and feeling sorry for someone…it’s strong. It’s action.

After forgiving and healing a paralysed man, raising a dead girl, healing a sick woman, healing the blind and healing the mute, “…he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36). Jesus was full of action and He still is today. Because, although God can get angry, He is not fueled by it. He is fueled by compassion and love for people.

One thing that makes me absolutely sick to the stomach is when humans use humans. We’re surrounded by it every day. It appears in small forms and escalates very quickly. Watch children play and you’ll notice quite early on that it’s imbedded in us to use others to get what we want. It starts off small but when a heart is not guarded, it can easily inflate to something much more serious. Bullying, child abuse, sex-trafficking, slavery, forced labour, terrorism. The list is quite extensive. But anger should not be our stance. It wasn’t Jesus’.

There are people who are strategic, purposed and make it their life to speak up for the oppressed. The story of Malala is definitely an inspiration. She speaks up for women in Pakistan to be educated. She makes it her life and even her name is prophetic. I really recommend you watch her story! Here’s the trailer. People like William Willberforce, Nelson Mandela, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Amy Carmichael…just to name a few, who dared to speak up for the weak.

Jesus is the greatest of them all. His Spirit was the one who spurred some of those I mentioned above and the one that can spur us on too. It’s in our nature to oppress for selfish gain. Heck! It’s easy to do good things for selfish gain too. But when we speak up for justice simply because we are moved with compassion and love…that’s when we seriously make a difference.

Our Jesus is good and it takes guts to be like Him. But we don’t do it alone. We who believe in Him have the same power that raised Christ from the dead within us (Romans 8:11). Who is it your heart beats for? May it beat and be filled with compassion for the oppressed and the captive all around the world. Lean in to His word, be filled and speak up!

“…for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,

that the blind will see,

that the oppressed will be set free.” —Jesus (Luke 4:18)

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I just want to watch you do what you do…

How I long to sit beside you, watching. Hoping you won’t notice me.

That I could just watch you do what you do.

I’d love to just watch you from the side, observing every outline of you. Watching your eyes blink and lashes flutter as you pray to your father. I’d love to watch your hair move with the wind as you stare out across the land and tear up with compassion for the people. I’d love to see the early morning sunrise kiss your face. Just don’t take notice of me.

I just want to watch you do what you do.

As crowds come from near and far to see what all the fuss is about and religious leaders come to watch you fall…

I want to watch you do what you do.

My gaze will follow you as you get down and write on the sand. I’ll watch you…and long to know your deepest thoughts. Don’t take notice of me.

I just want to watch you do what you do.

I want to watch you sigh and look up to heaven. Pleading for heaven’s healing to fall. I long to see the kindness in your eyes as you look upon sinners. I want to watch your arms reach to the sick, the dying, the poor and the leper. Not a shake, not an ounce of hesitation…just love acted out in strength. Don’t take notice of me just yet,

I just want to watch you do what you do.

I just want to be a witness of your service. I want to watch you get up out of your seat, wrap a towel around your waist and wash their feet. I want to watch you laugh, eat and share stories around the table with tax collectors.

I pray they would never take notice of me.

But teach me to do what you do so well. So when others see me…they would just sit and stare…seeing you instead.

Not wanting to be noticed,

but happy to sit and watch YOU do what you do.

Crossing Boundaries

fence

Boundary |ˈbound(ə)rē|

noun ( pl. boundaries )

“a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line.

the boundaries of acceptable behavior”

When I was young and free in my mind, there was a particular place that seemed so spacious to me. I felt free to explore it and run freely in it. I longed to go to its deepest corners and rest there. Nothing, absolutely nothing was considered out of bounds or unopened to me. Even in the farthest edges, I never felt lost or far from home.

However, life has moved me far away from this place and I have been taught there are boundaries that I had apparently crossed time and time again. I was told the key to being free was logic and the way to be safe and secure was to build a shelter in the midst of my hurt.

Bounds, limits, margins, edges, fringes, periphery, perimeter… I feel my breath getting shorter and restricted…partition, fenceline, division, confines, borderline.

There is a place far from here, but it seems too far from the shelter I’ve built for myself. What if I get tired on the way? What if that ‘other’ place really doesn’t exist and I’m just let down again? What if that place is strangely not as comfortable as being here…in my confines? What if, like they say, I’ve experienced too much hurt to ever really be free again? So I’ll sit here and convince my self that this place is the best for me. These walls are protecting me and helping me live out these days the best way I possibly can. I’ll be…well. I’ll be ok. I’ll be fine right here. I may not be missing out on anything at all! Yeah, I’m probably not.

I feel a soft breeze dance into my shelter and surround me. Can I really risk staying here and never knowing what lies ahead…just beyond that boundary? What if it’s ultimate freedom and I miss out because my fear leaves me here; trapped in despair? I’m going to give it a try… It might actually be really quick and I’ll be back before anything goes wrong.

Squinting my eyes from light I have not known in so long; I can only just notice a figure in the distance. It seems like he’s waiting for me to come closer. Maybe he’ll help me to freedom. Maybe he’ll help me find better shelter. I hesitantly walk closer to him, hoping…wondering.

I am freedom

I could hear the words in the wind like they were meant just for me.

I am the way to freedom…follow me out of your darkness and into my light.

But…has life not taught me that I’m too old? Too weary and have known too much? Freedom surely is not for me to have.

I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly

My legs are weak. I’m afraid and unsure I can even go any further. Comfort is back there and the unknown surrounds me now.

With me there is freedom and I have come to set the captive free.

I don’t feel like a captive…I was absolutely fine. I was told I shouldn’t cross the boundaries and now I realize I should’ve obeyed. I should’ve done all the ‘acceptable’ and ‘right’ things.

The boundaries you’ve had were no more than prison bars. My burden is light and my yoke is easy. The world has put heavy burdens and back-breaking yokes on you…take mine.

He’s right. I feel strength come back to my feet and I can breathe freely again. As I get closer to him, I can see his face more clearly. His eyes are filled with tears. He sounded so strong and sure…why is he crying?

How I’ve longed for you to break free of the bondages that wrap around your neck. Now you are free…free indeed. Follow me.

I will follow you. Past the edges, confines, perimeters. Past the fence and way past my shelter. I will follow freedom; I will follow HIM.

A lady long ago pressed out of the boundaries of religion and rules. She found healing there. She found freedom there. SHE FOUND JESUS THERE.

Luke 8:42b-48

Clean thinking

If you’re anything like me, you think a lot! About…everything! My husband would know this better than anyone else. He’s always told me not to think too much.
But…how can you not?
If I just had a conversation with you, chances are an hour later I’m still thinking about what you said and if I can manage to find a hidden meaning behind your words. 😉
We all have thoughts that plague us. I know I tend to find myself staring at the ceiling some nights; unable to fall asleep.
This week, I’m making a resolution to pray about everything that goes through my mind. I know there are some thoughts that will last for a second, and I probably won’t even remember thinking them. But my worries and my recurring thoughts; I will resolve to give them up to God. He cares for me and I have to believe that it will make a difference.
I guess you could call it food for thought!
Jesus had His thoughts focused on the Father’s will…

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:34 NIV)

My resolution is to feed my mind with the things of God. My husband recently took to memorising Philippians 4:8…

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8 NIV)

His way of doing that was to write it up on our mini blackboard…

I’ve noticed just a little before that verse, the apostle Paul encourages us to bring our prayers, petition and requests to God. Guys, we can’t think on the things of God when we’re too busy being anxious about other things.
So clear the junk and think on the truth! I’m sure our lives would be much more pleasant if we resolved to speak to Him more and think on Him more…after all… What is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy more than Jesus Christ Himself?

Resolution Sunday… Clear the junk, feed on good thoughts.

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Finding it hard to pray?

20130822-111736.jpgEver had that niggling feeling? Like there’s something you need to do, but you don’t want to? I have this experience a lot. Especially in the car with the radio on. Sometimes it’s just background noise to help drown out the thought going through my head… “Pray”. It’s just a thought. But, I don’t know about you but it takes so much strength to turn that radio off and even more strength to start speaking to Him.

I struggle to pray sometimes. However, even when I do finally muster up the courage to pray, I ask for things that are spiritual only. Believe me…that’s not because I’m over spiritual! I get scared to pray for something that I can actually have evidence of. Just in case He doesn’t come through. I don’t ask for things that require a dead-line, so that I don’t get disappointed if He doesn’t answer. When I do ask for something tangible… I feel stupid for even asking in the first place.

I was reading Daniel 9 this morning and I only got up to verse 4 because something stood out to me and I couldn’t ignore it…

“Darius, son of Ahasuerus, born a Mede, became king over the land of Babylon. In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, was meditating on the Scriptures that gave, according to the Word of God to the prophet Jeremiah, the number of years that Jerusalem had to lie in ruins, namely, seventy. I turned to the Master God, asking for an answer—praying earnestly, fasting from meals, wearing rough penitential burlap, and kneeling in the ashes. I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God, my God: (Daniel 9:1-4 MSG)

If you didn’t get that…just read through it slowly. Honestly, this is crazy!
Daniel read the book of Jeremiah and when he understood from the text that the desolation of Jerusalem would last 70 years, he was filled with sorrow and he asked God for an answer.
Don’t you think that whatever is written in God’s word is pretty final? Set in stone? But even then, Daniel gets on his knees and prays to God.

Now that is faith! I wouldn’t even start…I’d feel stupid for even thinking I can talk to God about this. But what I’m starting to realise is ‘faith’ is based on God and God alone. It’s not on how good I’ve got things figured out. It comes down to how I see God and who I think He is.

When I was younger, there were some nights that I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t feel too well. In the middle of the night, I wouldn’t hesitate to go to my father and complain. I didn’t feel like I was being a burden, I didn’t feel like I was asking too much. I didn’t feel stupid! I was just being a daughter.

And when I opened his door and called to him… You know what his response was?

What is it, apple of my eye?

That was dad’s response every time. That’s my earthly father.

How much more?! I can’t even begin to explain. I’m not going to try. All I know is our God is loving and He cares for us.

Praying with ease comes when we get the right perception of God. He is loving, ready to give and shower us with good things. Things that are good for us.

So when your radio is on and you have a few moments out on the road…don’t be afraid to turn the radio off. Don’t be afraid to be His daughter or son…you are not a burden and you’re not asking too much. He waits for you to call on Him…He will answer…

What is it, apple of my eye?