Tag Archives: Jesus

Am I Growing In Love?

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Yesterday, I listened to a talk on these verses in 1 Corinthians 13: Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

What a lovely image of what love is!  It’s easy to read along these lines and nod in agreement that, yes, this is what love is, but it doesn’t go further than that.  The talk was a challenge that the sign of our change and growth as Christians came in how well we were loving others.  And the longer the talk went on the more I started to squirm in my seat as my heart was convicted.  As I asked myself truthfully how I was doing in this area, the resounding answer was not very well at all.  In fact, I have become extremely stagnant in this area.

The speaker talked about how love covers a multitude of wrongdoings.  He used the example of an oyster who upon getting a grain of sand inside their shell, weeps an emolient over it.  The sand hurts; it aggravates; it irritates, but the oyster weeps an emolient over it giving it a covering and the end result is something precious and valuable.  in the same way we are to cover others’ faults and failings with love because love changes all.

It’s so easy to grumble and complain and pick at people’s faults.  We live in a selfish, me first, society, where if someone does us wrong we take care of ourself first; we judge others by our standards instead of seeing them as Christ sees them.

So, how am I doing?

Long suffering: I am so short tempered and snappy.  I have no patience whatsoever.

Kind: hmmm, erm, I find it much easier to spew unkind words and without from doing kind deeds.  It is my natural bent.

Does not envy: I envy a lot.  I envy other people’s success, their career maybe, their domestic skills, their crafting skills, the list is endless of what I envy.

Does not parade itself:  Fail again

Is not puffed up:  Yeah, I like to boast and be proud and conceited sometimes, ok a lot of the time.

Does not behave rudely:  oh boy, this is an area where I need a LOT of work.  Again it comes so much more easily to me to be rude to other’s to ensure my own needs are looked after than it does to be gracious and kind.

Does not seek its own:  Well, I think it’s pretty clear that I can be quite selfish.

Is not provoked:  I am too easily provoked and I fly off the handle far too often.

Thinks no evil:  I judge, I huff and puff about people, I resent, I hold on to wrong doings done against me

Does not rejoice in iniquity: Ok, so I don’t rejoice with evil acts in this world like murder etc, but when something bad befalls someone I don’t like very much it’s easy for that little voice in my head to think yeah, well, they had that coming or they got what they deserved.

rejoices with the truth:  Truth and honesty are big things for me, so by the grace of God I do rejoice in truth.

Bears all things: DO I always protect?  Yes, myself, but I am not so good at doing the same for others.

believes all things:  Do I trust?  No, experience has taught me to be suspicious, so this is a major area for me

Hopes all things: I rarely hope.  I currently prefer wallowing in despair that nothing will change etc so why bother.

Endures all things:  For me it is far easier to give up and quit than to keep at it.

 

Wow, that’s me; a horrible person when I really start delving into my true heart.  I want to love this way.  I want to be characterised by 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, but I can’t on my own.  I may succeed for a few days…probably more like a few hours, but in my own strength this would be exhausting to do.  To change myself into this, I need time everyday in the presence of Jesus.  I need to spend time in prayer and reading the Bible to allow him to transform me with His love flowing through me.  Only then can I even have  a hope of loving others like this in His strength.  So the first big change for me is setting more time aside in my day to spend in prayer and study.

The speaker in his talk told us of these words that someone (I don’t know who) has written:

 

Joy is love enjoying

Peace is love resting

Patience is love waiting

Kindness is love reacting

Goodness is love choosing

Faithfulness is love keeping its word

Gentleness is love empathising

Self-control is love resisting

Lord, help me to love like this. Amen.  I think I may do something with these words so that they can grace the walls of our home and be a daily reminder.

 

Be with Jesus

Happy Easter

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I would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter; that time of year when we celebrate Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. May you have a wonderful time with your families.

“He is not here; for He has risen just has he said he would.”

 

Gift Giving

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Christmas is a wonderful time of year, isn’t it?  All those gifts sat wrapped under the tree awaiting distribution to the receiver; the eager anticipation of what gifts we will get in return.  Hmmmmmm, or maybe it’s a stress trying to get all those gifts bought and trying to make the budget stretch to cover the cost.  Maybe you are lost in a sea of wrapping paper and gift tags willing the whole thing to be over.  Since having my daughter, I have been forced to take a step back and really evaluate my life, the things I do and why I do them.  Christmas has probably seen the biggest revolution so far for us.  But gift giving, this is an area where I’ve felt most challenged and an area that’s caused me to face up to the selfish person I like to pretend doesn’t cohabit this body.  I’ve always given gifts, but the thing is, I have always given gifts to those who are going to be giving to me in return.  Selfish or what?!   Or there’s that other gift giving sin I am guilty of, buying a gift in a price range that I think the other person will also pick mine from.  What is the point?!  We both may as well just keep our money in our bank accounts and spend it on ourselves.  I am not writing this to say gift giving is bad, far from it!!  But, as we set our hearts and minds towards advent, and we started thinking about what we really wanted to teach our daughter from this blessed time of year, we built in something we have never done before………….giving a gift to someone who isn’t going to give us one in return.  Gasp!!!  It’s never happened before, but it’s going to be one of our advent traditions.  It’s not a big thing we’re giving.  In fact, we’ve started of pretty small; the gift is homemade cookies, but the point is not the gift itself, it is in the selfless giving.  We are giving these treats to our neighbours, who we barely know.  I have made the cookies with no expectations in return, just for the sheer joy of giving something freely and out of love.  Where does this stem from?  Well, from both of us looking back at our childhood and seeing how selfish we were.  Christmas is about Jesus’ birthday and yet, we thought the day was all about us and those heaps of presents coming our way.  But we want to teach our daughter, that, yes, it is GREAT to receive, but it is BETTER to give, and in giving to those who are not obliged in any way to return the favour we are sharing a little bit of Jesus with them and also giving a gift to Him as well.  It’s his birthday, afterall, and after coming to earth and giving us the ultimate gift salvation and life eternal asking nothing in return, a plateful of cookies to strangers sharing the same street really is the least we can do.  What about you?  Do you give to people just for the sake of giving and not expecting in return?  Is this something your family has been doing for a while, maybe?  Let me know, and share your inspiration for great gifts to touch hearts at Christmas and throughout the year.  I can’t wait to distribute my gifts this evening when people get home; my gift in return will be the smile on their face.  That alone is gift enough.

Advent

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It’s that time of year when we turn our hearts and minds to preparing for and celebrating the most wondrous birth story and love story ever.  All around the lights and decorations are going up, Christmas trees are gleaming away through people’s house windows.  Everyone seems to be filled with a little more joy and a little more love while Christmas music fills the air.  I love Christmas music, and I try and add to my collection of it on a regular basis. Today, while reading this over at Keeper of The Home, I discovered the album Behold The Lamb.  A song that has just struck me to my core on there is Labor of Love.  So often we paint nice, cosy images in our heads of the Saviour’s birth.  Christmas cards depict warm, clean stables, Mary and Joseph pristine and glowing, no signs of tiredness or sweat upon them.  This song really brought home to me, especially now as a mother, just what Mary went through.  Imagine more the terrified young girl birthing her first child in the dead of night without the help of experienced women, and a frightened young man by her side supporting her through it all.  Imagine instead the grimy stable, the filth, the manure, the stench of animals, air probably filled with the eye watering vapour of ammonia. Imagine the lack of washing facilities to allow Mary to freshen up after the birth.  There were no midwives or caring female relatives here to take and clean the baby and make sure Mary had a fresh bed with plump pillows and warm covers to lay down in afterwards and a nice shower or bath to soak in.  There were no high tech emergency services just a phonecall away just incase there was a “worst case scenario”.  Wow, I am in awe of Mary laboring away on a floor of dirty straw, as she puts all her might, heart and soul into bringing God’s own son into this world.  Jesus could have been born in a palace to royalty, but instead he chose to be born in a filthy, dark, stable surrounded by animals and chose a young, insignificant woman as his earthly mother; a woman who may not have had much by way of earthly riches, but she had a strength of character and a faith far richer and more beautiful than all the riches money could buy.  From the outset, He chose to identify with the least of us and the worst of us through his birth story.  What amazing love!  This year, when I celebrate Jesus’ birth and why He was sent down, I will choose to paint a more accurate image in my mind of the cicrumstances surrounding his birth, and not a prettied up one.  I will choose to fully appreciate the wonderful gift of love which was placed in that grimy feedbox on that night.  May His grace and love touch your heart and soul during this advent season.

Unexpected Visitor

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Last night, we had a very unexpected visitor to our home.  One of my dogs was barking incessantly in the garden.  This is not unusual, so I went out to tell her to be quiet, but I found her barking at a hedge near the bottom of the garden in such a way that I knew there was something in there she wasn’t quite sure of but that she wanted me to see.  Down I went with baby to find the cause of all the commotion.  I saw nothing, nothing but a grey something that could possibly be a football come over from the neighbours’ kids.  Again, that is quite a regular occurrence, and I thought she had just scared herself by seeing the ball in the hedge.  So I laughed, told her to be quiet and walked off.  She continued to bark, and then I turned around to find her pulling a pigeon out from the hedge.  I assumed it was dead at first, and my dog, being a Flat Coat is quite partial to finding a dead bird or two, though she usually doesn’t bark and go crazy.  I thought I knew the drill, she’d hold it expecting me to chase after her like she normally does upon finding a dead bird.  But, wait, she’s carrying it up the garden and setting it down and looking at me expectantly waiting for me to come join her.  So I trek back down the garden and she backs off from the bird, not her usual game.  I take a closer look and find the bird is alive but looks like a cat has tried to attack it.  I take baby inside and ask my husband to come down and put the dogs in their bed as I felt the poor pigeon had had enough commotion.  I got an old towel and gently draped it over the bird and scooped it up.  It was still alive, but quite frightened.  My husband found a box and we punched loads of air holes in it and lined it with newspaper put a dish of water in and some bird seed.  I carefully placed the bird in the box, we set the box somewhere quiet and called the RSPCA.  They had told us they would be out soon to fetch the bird.  Two hours later, we had heard nothing, so we called again, and someone called us back to say they were very sorry, but it would now have to wait til the morning, but we had done all the right things and the pigeon would be fine like that til they got there.

I checked on the pigeon twice before going to bed and it had moved a bit and on the last occasion it seemed more relaxed and its breathing had steadied.  This morning, my husband went to check on it, and, sadly, it had passed away.  We weren’t able to keep the bird alive, but we were able to create a safe haven for it to pass away in without the risk of further attack from any animals in such vulnerable state.  It got me thinking of a verse in the Bible in Matthew 10:29-31, where we are told that God cares for each and every bird.  He ensures they have food, He knows when one dies and He cares.  But oh, how much more He cares for us!  And just liked I provided the bird with a safe haven, a shelter in its time of need, so God does the same for me.  When life wounds me in some way, which it does, He is there to gently swoop me up, and He holds me in His arms, a safe haven against the storms of life, He comforts me and nurtures me and gives me the time and space to recover from whatever trial came my way, the same way I comfort and care for my daughter.  How awesome a God we have.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Refrain

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Refrain

Patience and Grace Needed Here Please!!!

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Ever get those days as a parent when life just seems to be against you?!  I’m now into my second day of that.  I’m currently rather ill with a cold and chest infection(the weather round here’s been so changeable that viruses etc are having a great time with people’s immune systems), so am not really feeling up to the job of being mum.  I wish there was an option to call in sick to work because right now I could really use some time to recover!

Yesterday, my daughter screamed all.day.long.  No matter what I did.  She refused to go down til 10pm and I was so exhausted I followed to bed shortly after.  I was feeling exasperated.  Today, I woke up hoping things would be better, but NOOOOOOOOOOOO.  I’ve tried feeding, cuddling, playing, dealing with any underlying teething pain, wrapping her, but nothing will pacify this child today!!!!  Except, of course, sitting out in the blazing sunshine, which she then got fed up with and cried but screamed even more when I brought her in to bring her bouncy chair etc inside so the dogs wouldn’t destroy it.  This is made all the more embarrassing and frustrating as both sets of neighbours are outdoors and can hear her scream like I’m causing her some harm.  I was so stressed out, I ended up slipping on some water spilled by the dogs and twisting my knee and ankle.  So, I have placed her safely upstairs, still screaming at the top of her lungs, closed the door (and the windows to save the outside world from having to suffer the same fate as me), and come down here for a quick 5 minute breather as this tired mama is at meltdown point.  I hate listening to her crying alone, and I rarely leave her like this, but I felt for my sanity’s sake right now it was best to get some space between us for a few minutes so I could just breathe before going to try and find a solution.

My husband’s unhelpful solution was to have patience…………..clearly he couldn’t see that my patience tank is running on empty with being sick, exhausted and having already listened to her screaming for a whole day previously!  So, if there is any patience out there to be had, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease send it this way.  And if you can’t find any then please, please say a prayer for God’s grace right now.  We sure would appreciate it.

Do you ever get days like this?  How do you get through them?