24 September 2014

notes to self | #heishere

"...in the chaos, in confusion, I know You're sovereign, still..."


(lyrics from None but Jesus, by Hillsong United)

29 August 2014

Jesus May Be Sleeping but He's Still In The Boat | Mark 4

During my time living here (two years in a few days!) I have been fortunate enough to see the amazing provision and perfect timing of God.

I'm reading through Mark at the moment and just got to this story. I love this account because Mark mentions water coming into the boat:

"And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He [Jesus] was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, 'Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?'"

Now when you've read this and you get to verse 40, Jesus asks the disciples a question which honestly, seems ridiculous under the circumstances:

"But He said to them, 'Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?'"

I'm sorry, what?

Why were they so fearful?

How could they not have faith?


Water was filling their boat. Enough water in the boat meant they would sink. So why would Jesus even ask that question?

I think Jesus was genuinely asking because He was trying to understand how their minds worked.

Yes, their boat was sinking. But Jesus was with them. And yes, He was asleep. But He was the same Jesus they had seen heal and forgive a paralysed man, heal a man with a withered hand and cast out demons. Was there really any question as to His abilities?

Yes, Jesus was asleep. But that didn't mean He couldn't save them. He was still there.

Sometimes we look at our situation; a bill that needs to be paid tomorrow and an empty bank account, a job that we should have heard from last week that we still haven't heard from, a place to live in a little over a week and no money for rent; and we act like the disciples.

We scream, 'Hello! God! Are you even awake? Don't you see what's happening? Everything is falling to pieces and you aren't doing anything!'

But He is. His presence is enough. Just by being there, He is doing something. And when what you've been waiting for comes through, you too will feel as though Jesus is asking you 'Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?'

I'm not writing this to judge or condemn anyone, because I kick myself every time Jesus 'comes through' with something great and I had thought He'd forgotten. I'm writing this to encourage you and I in our waiting, watching, hoping times, when we're waiting for our breakthrough or our miracle. Because even though it might seem rather quiet when you would like lights and action, Jesus may be sleeping, but He's still in the boat.

10 July 2014

notes to self | in all your ways acknowledge Him

Hi all,

It's been a long time since I posted. Life has been busy, and whilst I've still had things to share, they've more been personal revelations for me, that I've scribbled down somewhere and never quite gotten round to sharing. I'd like to share them as I think they can bless for you too, so that's what I'm posting today, notes to self

If I've decided to trust God with my life, then I should be able to trust Him with every aspect of it; the really big things, but also and maybe especially the small things.

'In all your ways acknowledge (include) Him'
- Proverbs 3.6

So when I choose to do my own thing, knowing God has said to do otherwise, what I'm essentially saying is that I don't trust God with every aspect, and that I know better.

And a lot of the time maybe this is subconscious. We just do things the way we always do them...but there is gold to be found in asking God for His opinion, His knowledge and understanding are far greater than ours.

4 April 2014

Falling in Love

I have yet to be in love, but I think I can safely say what it is to be loved.
Often I wonder if that may be the reason I'm still single. When you know what real love is, it's hard to settle for anything less, and so it should be.

When I first began to understand what true love was I was fourteen. I'd had my first sexual experience with a boy who had been pestering me for a year or so. I'd said no several times over but on this particular evening he said all the right things, and surprising even myself, I gave in.
Young, naive fourteen year old me thought sexual intimacy was true intimacy. That the only way to be loved and show love was through baring and sharing yourself physically to and with another person.
Conversely, I felt very alone. The act itself, that physical show we had put on, had in fact changed nothing in reality. Instead of feeling closer to him, I felt we were miles apart, and all I wanted him to do was hold me. This wasn't what being loved was supposed to feel like. Being loved was supposed to make you feel special, intimately known; not a baring of the flesh but a baring of the soul, real, raw intimacy rather than an elaborate ceremony of make-believe.
Real love was romantic.
There was someone I hadn't paid much attention to those fourteen years. He'd always been around, and although I'd seen and heard a lot about him I'd never really taken the time to know him. In the days following he was with me, holding my hand, telling me he didn't think any less of me, that conversely he wanted me to be his more than ever before, so that he could protect me and love me and know me and be loved and known by me in return.
You see whilst I had barely taken notice of him those fourteen years; busy being caught up in my own superficialities, he'd been at work loving me from the very beginning. All this time he'd been putting himself in my way,  getting himself talked up by my friends, working tirelessly to make me notice him, and I'd ignored him at every turn. He'd pursued me passionately and relentlessly, never giving up, not caring if in the end all his love was unrequited, and instead had just loved me and loved me and loved me unceasingly; like a parent loves a child.
And now here we were; me at my worst and him the same as he'd always been; waiting patiently, loving and loving and loving me, looking out for me.
And this time, I looked at my situation; my experience of love, how I saw myself, how I felt, and I realised I needed that radical love in my life, I needed him.
He loved me the right way; not doing so because he would gain anything from it but because he couldn't help it. Loving me came as naturally to him as breathing came to me.
So I said yes to loving him. I made a decision that I'd be his as he had always been mine.
Like any other relationship, it requires work, but nine years on we're still together; him loving me in the same relentless, passionate and purposeful way he always did, and me trying to love him right back.

You see when I realised the lengths God had gone to get my attention and to steal my heart, I had no choice but to accept him, no other decision made sense. God was a romantic; paying attention to every detail so that it was just right, chasing me down at every turn, even at the risk of me rejecting Him.
And so maybe my expectations of love are too high, but now that I have experienced, raw, unselfish, devoted, kind, forgiving and generous love, nothing less will ever suffice.

9 December 2013

End of Days - Hillsong Young & Free

"You authored life and wrote yourself in,
You dwelt in time that you designed.
Creator lived in His creation,
Completely man, completely God."

7 November 2013

Riches to Rags: The Story of Joseph

I'm reading through the Old Testament at the moment and keep being astounded by seeing how God moves throughout it. The way He acted on Sarah's behalf when Abraham's lies landed her in another man's bed. The way He appeared to Jacob who was running away from home to escape the punishment he deserved. The mercy He exercised on Judah when He slept with His daughter-in-law.

Right now I'm reading about Joseph, in Genesis 39. Jacob, Joseph's father is rich. Very rich. He amassed a lot of wealth working for his father-in-law (because God was with him). So Joseph has grown up fairly cushty (comfortably). We don't read anywhere before the slave situation about Joseph doing any kind of manual labour, and in fact, when he was out in the desert in his specially made coat (Jacob, his father, had commissioned a special coat for him because he was his favourite) he was only there to check on his brothers and report back, he wasn't even out there helping them!

And then all of a sudden Joseph finds himself working as a slave. Riches to rags. Everything he has ever known is gone...except God. (The following verses I am translating from my Svensk Folkbibeln Translation into English)

Genesis 39.1-2'Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. And Potiphar, one of Pharoah's officals and the commander of the guards had bought him (Joseph) from the Ishmaelites who had brought him. The Lord was with Joseph and in everything he did he succeeded. He was in the house of his Egyptian Lord...'

And then as if Joseph hadn't been humiliated enough, going from a wealthy, luxurious lifestyle to one where he was a slave, he gets accused of attempted rape and finds himself in prison.

Genesis 39.19-20 (Summation) - 'When Joseph's master heard..he became furious and put Joseph in jail...'

Genesis 39.21'But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him grace and let the prison manager respond well to him.'

Genesis 39.23 - '...because the Lord was with him and let him succeed in all he did.'

I always think Joseph's is such an amazing story. He starts off like a big shot, gets dumped in a well, sold as a slave, accused of attempted rape and thrown in jail...but he ends in triumphant fashion. He ends up saving his entire family from famine...not to mention all of Egypt.

I like his story for a number of reasons:
  1. God just seems to be with him all the time. And not only that, it says continually that he succeeds irregardless of where he is physically because God is with him. That's pretty cool. To be a slave, and be a success. To be in prison, but to still be a success and have special kindness given to you.
  2. His prison background didn't stand in the way of God's plan for his life. God is so much bigger than our pasts. He is in the business of shaping big futures for people whose lives at one point looked hopeless.
  3. No time is wasted time with God. Later in the story when Joseph explains the dreams of the two court officials in jail and they forget him when they come out, it seems like it was a waste. But God is always true to His promises, and when He says that all things will work together for the good of those who love Him, He means it.
  4. His great beginning was only a shadow of his extraordinary ending. Yes, Joseph's life started fairly comfortably, growing up in a wealthy family, nice coat and so on, but at the end of his life he is governor in a land, second only to the king. In Christ our futures are so much richer than our humble beginnings. As CS Lewis once said 'There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.'
God has such great things planned for each of our lives that go way beyond our own needs, happiness and comfort and touch the lives of others. Sometimes we can be on our way somewhere great and it doesn't quite go how we thought it would...but it goes as He knew it would...and the best thing is that in those 'hopeless', 'wasted' seasons, He is most at work in the things we can't see preparing us for the futures He sees for us.