The Divine Mentor

Life once again seems overwhelming it’s the little things that seem so huge in such perfect ways. The little things that constantly tell me God is with me.
This year I have joined the women’s Bible cafe Facebook group. Together we will be reading the Bible in 365 days.

The reading plan allows you to read the Bible in the translation of your choice. I have chosen The Message.
The guidebook for their 12-month reading plan is the Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro.
The book tells us to see the people in the Bible as our mentors and friends. Friends that have been through what we have been through.Friends that we can seek wisdom and guidance from. Biblical mentors for every event in our every day lives. Journeying with them they become our biblical companions.

It’s far more than just reading the Bible in a year. It’s about setting aside time to feed myself spiritually.
Before you start your selected readings for the day The Divine Mentor recommends you to pray asking the Holy Spirit to guide you to one text that shines out to you. One verse that whispers louder than the rest.
Then you journal the text using a method called SOAP :  Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer.
S. First you write the scripture in your journal.
O. Ponder the message God has highlighted.
A. How to put it into practice ( why and how does it apply to me)
P. Than write my prayer and ask God for help and guidance to apply what I have just learnt.

Today’s verse was all about not looking back and staying focused.
It’s in the past that God came into my life. It’s in the past that Life stemmed so dark.
The grief and pain must never stop me moving forward. Focusing on the past pain will limit my choices for the future.
I have been blessed to know love and care for many amazing children. Loving them unconditionally. Loving them enough to say goodbye and let go.

The pain of these goodbyes needs to stay in the past, But it’s that pain that’s given me a life filled with new possibilities!

Luke 9:62The Message (MSG)
62 Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”

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My One Word.

New year resolutions always seem so full of promise. The reality is they often are long forgotten by February.
From childhood my new years resolutions have always included to stop sucking my thumb.
The reality is this will never happen . The comfort my thumb gives me far out ways the new years resolution. It’s my built in ability to calm and relax myself at any place and time. Why would I want to stop !

“My one word is an experimental idea to move beyond the cycle of broken resolutions. The challenge is simple instead of making unrealistic challenges – You pick one word to focus on every day all year .
One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.

For 2018 my one word is patience .
God is patient , I am not. I have a acknowledged my lack of patience many times over 2017.
The patience of God is staggering, I think of all the times God has been so close to me yet I failed to look.
God is patient towards me as he refines, develops and strengthens me.
I thank God for the patience that is shown to me by others. The patience that at times I do not deserve.
I will blog more on patience as I explore what it means to me.

2 Thessalonians 3:5
And may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

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Roast For Twelve Weeks.

From December 1st our morning routine includes the opening a little paper door on our advent calendar. This non chocolate nativity scene is our traditional way to follow the Christmas story. For some this countdown involves the eating of chocolate. This early morning sugar high can often be followed by panic as they are reminded of how little time they have left to prepare for Christmas.
With Christmas preparations for some starting in September we should all have plenty of time to get ready for Christmas.
I am sure even the most disorganised households can’t take 12 weeks to prepare a roast diner, decorate a tree and buy a few gifts.
The commercialism of Christmas takes control. We are constantly being told to shop and indulge in Christmas . We loose the ability to pay attention to what is going on within us and to what is happening around us.

Late on Christmas Eve 1914, men of the British Expeditionary Force heard German troops in the trenches opposite them singing carols and songs they saw lanterns and small fir trees along their trenches. Messages began to be shouted between the trenches.
The following day, British and German soldiers met in no man’s land and exchanged gifts, took photographs and some played impromptu games of football. They buried the dead repaired trenches and dugouts.
They stopped for Christmas .

They stopped fighting I guess we will never know the motivations for such a complex event to happen. Some portray this event as a magical event. Romanticising
the laying down of arms.
I think it was far from magical but in the stopping it showed the humility of war.
The humility that is Christmas .

Christmas is a celebration of God becoming human: -That’s why I stop . To say thank you for Jesus .
The hugeness of Christmas is lost in the shops. It cannot been seen when we over indulge ourselves and others.

Advent for me means slowing down stopping; to make time to feel the silence and the stillness . Christmas for me is a time to rest, grow and pray . Stopping and standing away from the crowd allows me to journey through advent in a way that feels comfortable to me .

Christmas is a gift to us. A gift that needs to be received. Unwrapping such a special gift needs to be done slowly, taking time to discover its beauty and love.

I love writing and making Christmas cards . Its taking the opportunity to pray for and be thankful for friends and family .

To my elderly friends it’s not the card they are pleased with. It’s the time I spend with them when delivering the card.
The best gift I can give to my friends and family this Christmas is time. Given freely and not rushed.
Sharing with them and celebrating the joy of Christmas.

I can give this time because it’s really important to me.
It’s more important for me to take time away from work at Christmas than it is to have a summer holiday .
I don’t want to work flat out to pay for the Christmas that society believes I should have and enjoy.
I want the opportunity to connect with the community, have conversations invite them stop and engage with the Christmas story.

The beauty of creation is in abundance this time of year. Hedgerows are full of seasonal gifts that add colour and joy . Spending time outside walking and collecting greenery is one of my favourite Christmas activities . I give small gifts that if possible are hand made or made by someone else locally. When I do shop It’s making the effort to support local shops and charities so Christmas can continue on giving.

It’s very easy to quickly get caught up in the Christmas that I don’t want .
It takes a conscious effect to stop.

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Philippians 2:7-8The Message (MSG)
5-8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Bananas May Contain Children.

When I imagine a drive in movie, I think big American, cars rock n roll, poodle skirts and the movie Greece.

I don’t really think much past that image . Until I saw a shared post on Facebook . Cardboard box cars all lined up containing children watching a film. This allowed me to not only reimagine it but when shared it become a reality . On Saturday our community had its very own drive in movie night.

Its such a simple idea, children make cars out of cardboard banana boxes adding embellishments. With plenty of imagination the boxes were transformed. After making the cars and parking them up a tea was provided . The children soon settled into their cars and enjoyed the film.

It has made me think how we label and stereotype often not being prepared to see past what we already know.
The children sat in boxes clearly labeled bananas. To everyone in that room they sat in cars.
The boxes had been beautifully crafted by the children. Adding paper wheels, some even had cup holders. Cars were unroad worthy some even multi occupancy but they were obviously cars.
Sitting enjoying the film my mind started to wonder. It made me think how Jesus does not label us, and how much we label .
On the outside boxes are clearly labeled bananas . So we should expect to find bananas on the inside.
Why would we find anything else? Its obvious why we have to label boxes.
But why are we so keen to label people ?
No one wants their identity boiled down to one thing, even if the label is a strength, a talent, or a gift. Even positive labelling restricts us . Puts us in a box that’s hard to get out of.
The way we label people is something I have always felt strongly about even in my teenage years it frustrated me . Caring for a little person with additional needs and finding my faith has strengthened my feeling about the way we judge and label people without much thought or consideration to them.
We can make decisions so quickly. Putting people into categories because of their jobs, looks, religion or race. It’s easily to do, we have all done it. It’s only by getting to know people and genuinely wanting to be with them understand them do we remove those unwanted labels.

Labels can really hurt, keep you from being who you really are.
I need to live my life by what I feel inside. Not the labels that others give me, or even the labels I give myself.
The labels I have carried and given myself are no longer significant, they no longer limit me in the way they used to . I am learning to see and live beyond my labels.
Jesus set me free from my labels allowed me to peel them back.
I am so much more than a label. I am a child of God and that’s all I am and who I am.

We could have described our drive in movie afternoon afternoon as “A fresh expression of church lead by an evangelical team ” it could equally be “Community family drive in movie night” .
Its was all those things but it was just simply to me one thing God at work .
Its being involved in lives of the families in our community.  It’s The conversations we have, love we have for them, the love of Christ that we want to share with them. Jesus loves us and that’s the message I want to share. “ you are loved “ . Loved without labels, loved on your good days and bad days . It’s good to loose the long words that not everyone understands and think just about what’s at the heart of what we do.

Psalm 139:14Good News Translation
I praise you because you are to be feared;
all you do is strange and wonderful.
I know it with all my heart.

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Horologist Needed.

Only a few blogs ago pain suffocated and consumed me. Deep penetrating pain from the person I love. It hurt me in a deep way I never thought was possible.

The only way I can describe what happened is by thinking of it as a clock. A clock that keeps getting wound up. Winding it when it has not had time to wind down. Winding it when it did not need winding . Pushing and stressing the internal workings of the clock. Yet it keeps getting wound. It’s gets to the point as much as we try to turn the key it not longer turns. The clock cannot take anymore but we still keep trying to turn the key. All that that inward wound up energy and it has to be realised . Months and months of overwinding explode outwards. Bits of clock exploding at force in all directions damaging all that’s in its path.

The clock is painfully broken.

I don’t know how to mend broken clocks . I can pray and I know that prayer works. It does not work in ways I always imagine. I have been learning that . Prayer does not put right a wrong .

The clock is painfully broken spreading its broken pieces far and wide. But it’s not beyond repair. With love and prayer we can pick up the broken pieces .
I pray that that as a community, professionals and individuals we can all work together to find all the broken pieces of my beloved clock.
I pray that as each piece is put back with love and prayer it works better and stronger than before.
I pray that this new renewed clock will run on faith and love not anger and pain.
Prayer allows me to ask others for help without saying why? It allows me to say this is far to much for me to handle God please take this from me I can’t deal with it.
Prayer means I am not alone. It’s a place to cry to be held and fall asleep.
Prayer is the only time and place that I feel completely understood.

God feels my pain. I can’t completely describe my pain to others but with God it’s just known.
With God it’s shared without words.
Some days like today prayer and God is just all to overwhelming, words are replaced with tears.
Holding the broken clock and praying for it to be mended is sometimes all I have to hold onto.

I have just read for the second time Max Lucado’s book “Before Amen” through the pain and joy of the last few weeks it’s been the pocket prayer that has punctured my day .
Saying bits of it or all of it as part of my ongoing conversation with God thought out the day.

Father
You are good
I need your help, heal me and forgive me.
We need help
In Jesus name
Amen.

I am normally not very good at praying or myself. I pray for everyone but myself. I am learning that in order for me to take care of others I need to look after myself too.
Since the clock broke I have only had the energy for prayers for me and my clock. Each word and the silence that is God has only been for us.
Without us their is no moving forward . Its the us that helps make me. It’s the us that makes me smile and laugh. Its his honesty in all that he does that I love. His outstanding way of making sure everything he does is done to his best ability with fairness and accuracy.
I can’t imagine a world when my clock does not tick. We have to repair this broken clock with love and prayer. I pray when it comes to its first gentle winding I have enough strength left to turn the Key.

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Philippians 4:6-7The Message (MSG)
6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

I’m Drowning.

I’m drowning,.
Surfacing looking for clean love filled air – God air
Breathing in as much as my mind and heart can hold.
Suppressing the urge to breathe it out.
Holding, searching always looking for another pocket of love air.
You would have thought God would make love air so it never runs out, always plentiful and easy to find.

God air is everywhere if we breathe hard enough and want it.
It’s not for sale, infused to perfection, blended and mixed.
Personalized to the last second of time.
Air that heals, Air that says “I Know “ Air that cry’s with you. Air that holds you until the next breath.
Air that’s in abundance yet, takes time to make, craft and blend.

It’s easier to breathe the old stale air of me.
Tastes so familiar no need to hold it, put in the effort to seek and make more.
Its air that once belonged to me.
It sinks to the bottom and takes you down
Down to a place that’s dense with old me.
A place that God air is hard to find.

Breathing it in is lazy – breathing it out hurts.
It’s thick. Chokes my creative thoughts.
It drags, pulls, takes me to places I don’t want to go.
Holding my breath not tempting to breath the foul old air of me.

Standing up in the clean air of love.
Breath that fills and inspires.
The amazing thing about God air is when you breathe it in it’s for you.
When you breathe it out others feel it too.

Angry air, chocking air breathed out by others that cross my path.
Drifting swills of soupy murky dark filled air.
Blown and directed at me.
Dragging me pulling to places I don’t want to be.

It’s tearing me apart inside. It’s you I want at my side.
It’s all the love and peace you bring
I need to learn to walk away, not to feel the hurt I do today
Hurting like it never hurt before.

My prayer today is just for me
Help me listen and see what it is you what from me.
Help me stop just long enough to see your love among the pain that litters and fills my life.
Help me stand up so tall that it’s only your air that I breathe.
Please calm the angry waters give me the strength to come up for air and reach out to you.
Amen

God Tears.

God has been very much with me these last few days. I have been forced to slow up, giving more time for Prayer; for myself and others. Praying for myself is something I I find difficult; I pray for those I love, friends family, communities, those that live far away. It always seems selfish to ask for things for myself; I have food, a lovely home, I am loved. To ask for anything outside of this just does not feel right. This weekend I focused more on myself praying for help and guidance.

Trying to understand just because I don’t believe in myself God does. Images thoughts and dreams that come from God are so big and so real. Theirs no escaping them every time I pray the same things come to me.

They defiantly come from God because I don’t believe in myself enough to make these things happen. But I do believe God thinks I am capable; these things are strangely possibly achievable. I am overwhelmed by the thought of my future but excited at the same time.

The prayers have brought the tears that shape and change me. In church this morning tears were trying to escape at every opportunity. Tears that that needed to flow and happen . Some of the tears were full of Gods love, some sadness, but most of the tears this weekend were fear, afraid of what I might lose or never even get the opportunity to gain.

Sunday church service this morning caused a lot of tears . Being asked to think and pray about “ what does it take for me to follow Jesus” . The more I thought about this this the more the tears tried to leak out everywhere a few escaping .
Following Jesus produces tears, not sad tears; but God tears .
Gods love is bigger than pain, it does not stop the pain from hurting but protects me from the pain in only the way God can.
Following Jesus has changed my life in a way that cannot be reversed. It’s not as simple as starting to attend church it’s a complete inside person change. It’s following Jesus that has caused my pain and is continuing to cause me pain.
It’s standing up for what’s right treating another human with love compassion and grace. Staying with them and not turning my back on them when life goes the wrong direction.
Fighting for justice , not allowing something that is wrong to happen just because it’s easier not to fight.
Life would be so much easier if I was not following Jesus. I could think only for myself , not look beyond the four walls of my home and live a blissfully inward life. I would think I was happy convincing myself that retail therapy wants and needs would give me fulfilment.
But that’s not happiness; even when emotionally I am exhausted, I still smile it’s that beautiful inner happiness ; The joy of having Jesus in my life .
To follow Jesus for me is pushing forward to do Gods work alongside the people in our communities fighting and working with the unseen and forgotten families. By doing these things, I may hear Gods call to live a life that will let me love as only I can, and allow me to serve others with the special gifts I have been given.

Transformed