Friday, November 14, 2014

True friendship...

Wishing all my friends around the world a happy weekend, in Christ Jesus.
May God bless you as you serve Him.
With love

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Three boxes ... waiting ...

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures along the ground’.” (Gen 1: 26 NIV)

It’s time…

Three wooden boxes on my bookshelf…waiting… gathering dust.  The oldest is 4 years old. Inside are the ashy remains of my three beloved furry-friends – Tammy, Toffee and my beloved Maxdog .

Three boxes on my bookshelf…waiting. 

I’ve been holding onto these boxes all this time; I’ve simply not been ready to release them. It’s the last thing that remains of my beautiful, departed dogs. Up until now; my latent grief has simply been ‘boxed’ up together with these three boxes. Closure has been delayed.

But today is the day! Finally, I am ready. It’s time to release them to whence they came.

2014 has been my year to be at Bible school. It’s been a year where I felt I was been called to a period of studying God’s word.  It was an opportunity to uncover a clearer picture of what my faith was all about.  Although I have been a Christian for a long time, my soul hankered after answers.  I needed more knowledge about my faith so that I, in turn, would be able to encourage others who struggle like I do.

In January this year, when I started at Bible school, I was very aware of a statement that many of my animal-loving, blogging friends had so often repeated to me.  
  “If my dog doesn’t go to heaven, then I don’t want to go there either!”  
I had few answers and even fewer words of encouragement for these mourning friends.  I understand their pain and their deep connection between them and their beloved furry-friends.

The loss of a companion animal is devastating. The loss of my own beloved Maxdog was devastating too. It’s been four years since I said good-bye to him.  After all this time, my tears still well up when I think of him and the blessings that his presence brought into my life. There are so many memories – some happy, some sad.  We spent ten whole years together – with Max constantly by my side.  Without him in my life, I may well not have been here today.

Nowadays, I have a much better understanding of that time of my life. I am absolutely convinced that Max’s presence in my life was directly ordained by the God, Father and Creator of the Universe.  The word of God tells me that He has always known me –  that He “knitted me together in my mother’s womb”(Ps 139:13). He has always known my deeper emotional needs too. And he knew, just when Maxdog was needed in my life.  I believe strongly that Max was sent to me – a buffer against the world and the difficulties I was having at the time.  He was a gift from God at a time I needed it most.

So now …three boxes remain… and it’s time to let them go.

For me, scattering these ashes in my garden is symbolic of my trust in God  -  for Him to receive the spirit of my three beloved companions. It’s clear that these animals never really belonged to me in the first place – I was simply their ‘steward’ during their lifetime here on earth.  They were my helpers. But they belonged to God and to God they must return.  Scattering their ashes is my gesture of “thanks” and acknowledgement to God.  I am eternally grateful for the role these animals played in my life.  I know now that I no longer need to rely on their memories, but instead I can turn to Jesus – who understands and faithfully loves, cares and protects me. (from myself)

At last, here are the words of encouragement, I have longed to share...

I have learned during my Bible studies that God cares deeply for the animals of this earth. He gave them to us – to name and to use for our purposes on earth.

 “Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air.  He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” (Gen2:19 NIV).

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen 1:31 NIV)

God’s covenant (after Noah), I believe, also extends to the animals. And this is why I say this: scripture tells us:  

"Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him:  'I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth.  I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.' " (Gen 9: 8-13)

“I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all the living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Gen 9:15-16)

So now it's time...and I've scattered their ashes in my garden.

Fly free, sweet Tammy…
Fly free, sweet Toffee…
Fly free, sweet Maxdog…

"Thank you Father, for the blessings these beautiful animals brought to me.  I release them to you now in love and trust.  You are an amazing Creator and an amazing God!"

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
(Revelation 22:12-13)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Great is His faithfulness.

Dear friends
Here is a little verse - just to encourage you in whatever you are facing.

With love, in Christ

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Do we really need to be fearful?

Can you remember a time when you were very, very afraid? 
What happened?

This is the question that I asked my husband some years ago.  The imagery of his answer has remained with me ever since:

He was small: three or four years old.  It was the middle of the night. He remembers clearly sitting on his mother’s lap, with her arms around him…Her presence and quiet reassurance allowed his fear to eventually dissipate.  His trust in her was absolute.

This picture of a child sitting in its mother’s lap is something I can relate – especially if I visualise myself sitting on God’s lap with my own fears.

“There is no fear in love.  But love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1John 4:18)

In 2006, at the lowest point of my journey with depression, I remember fearing life itself… In my darkest hour, I reasoned that death would be an easier choice. My God, faithfully, brought me through that dark time of my life – something I will always be so thankful for.

Jesus identifies with this kind of fear. He also had His darkest hour – in the garden of Gethsemane – just before facing his horrifying crucifixion.  It was during this moment, that He resorted to prayer:

“Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’ Going a little further, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” (Matt 26:38.39 NIV)

Having studied the bible this year, I have come across numerous passages which deal with fear. Yes, a healthy fear of our God is very wise (Job 28:28); but this kind of fear is a respecting, reverent fear of God. It’s describes the time that we stop and consider, in awe, God’s immense majesty and power. This is, indeed, the beginning of wisdom – when we know that everything – even our fears -  is under His control.

In contrast, however, I am talking about the kind of fear which is crippling and which hinders our lives. What are we afraid of? Is it the unknown? Is it because we are scared of being harmed in some way? Are we scared of what others think?  Or is it financial fear? Abandonment? Physical threat? Illness? Politics? For our faith?  All these fears stem from past experiences we have had in our lives. Dwelling on these experience have fueled them
It reasons therefore, that the more we experience Christ in our lives, the less fearful we will be. If we focus on Christ and pretend that we are sitting in His lap, sharing our fears with Him and focus on the LOVE and protection which He offers us, then surely our fears will dissipate?

 “Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Gen 15:1)  It’s not fear that God promises us, but great REWARD!

 “...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:6-8 )  (English Standard Version Anglicised)


Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you that we can come to you with our fears.
Please help us and grant us the strength to face those things that we fear.
You are our shield, Lord.
We love you.


Have a happy day, dear friends...and celebrate this life that God has given us
in Christ.
With love

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

An analogy of "FAITH"

“Faith” is a concept that may be vague to many people and it may be valuable to explain it more clearly.  In order to accomplish this, I would like to introduce an analogy which I have considered for many years.  

It is really interesting to look at ‘the relationship of us Christians to our Lord God; Jesus Christ’ and compare it to ‘the relationship between a companion dog and its Master’. There are some strong lessons we can learn from dogs and their behaviour. Indeed, we can apply some of these lessons to our understanding of our own Godly ‘faith’.   Let me explain...

Let us first consider the definition of ‘faith’ in Hebrews 11: 1(NIV)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

A well-trained animal that has been trained by using ‘positive-reinforcement' methods, will follow the commands of its master happily, diligently and efficiently…simply because it knows that it will get a reward in the end.  In the case of a dog, these well-trained furry-friends will even go so far as to initiate action (like picking up an item off the floor for its owner, or bark, or do a trick) in the knowledge/belief that there is a biscuit or other reward at the end of the process. Their training gets to a point of total and absolute devotion. They become singularly loyal and will take a fall for their masters in the blink of an eye. In total faith, they will run through fire, endure the most dangerous of situations (eg taking people out of the Twin Towers, displaying loyalty at grave-sites, etc ) – because they have 
total trust in their master’s plan! 

I have had the privilege of experiencing this kind of devotion from an animal and consider it to be one of the most beautiful examples for us - of ‘absolute FAITH’ -  by any non-human creature on this planet.

So, let’s look now at us human-beings.  In the same way, if we believe and have total faith in our own Master, Jesus Christ, and if we follow His commands and trust Him completely, we too will be rewarded.  Our rewards, however, may be delayed and we may only experience them in Heaven, once we leave this life. In contrast to the dog, however, we are challenged to a higher call.  We are asked to have faith in eternal life and the promises of Jesus Christ. Many of these promises are ‘unseen’, but through faith, we are certain of their truth. 
“I will put my laws on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
(Hebrews 10:15)

God Himself is faithful, and our trust in this fact serves to affirm our own faith:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
(Hebrews 10:23)

Just as I have highlighted the faithfulness of some companion dogs, the author of Hebrews 11, (Paul and/or others), highlights various bible characters who have demonstrated great faith for us to learn from.  These people have done things (demonstrated faith), in the knowledge of a Godly promise and their certain reward (even though this reward is an ‘after death’/eternal one).  Here are a few examples:

1.    Abel: by faith, offered a better sacrifice than Cain because of his ‘attitude’.
2.    Enoch: by faith, was taken from this world and didn’t experience death. (Gen 5:25),
3.    Noah; by faith built an ark and suffered the ridicule of his generation prior to the flood, and the promise of a brand new world.
4.    Abraham (and Sarah): by faith, left his country into the ‘unknown’ in obedience to God – believing that God would make him the father of many descendants. In his old age, he continued to believe this too.  Indeed, God granted him a son – Isaac – in Sarah’s old age. By faith, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his one and only son in obedience to God.
5.    Joseph:  by faith, spoke about the exodus from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones after his death.
6.    Moses: by faith led the Israelites out of Egypt and instituted the Passover.  He regarded disgrace for the sake of God as a greater reward than the treasures of Egypt. By faith, he turned his back on the Pharoah’s anger.
7.    … and there are many, many more bible characters who are examples to us of incredible faith…

The message of Hebrews chapter 11 is simple: 

God has planned better things for us, that through Him, together with us, it would be made perfect.”  (v40) 

We merely need to trust and have faith.

God wants us to practice our faith, by demonstrating obedience to his commands…so that we, ultimately, will spend eternity by His side.

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-2)


What do I, by faith, want to accomplish this week?

This week, I want to focus on totally believing God’s promise to me:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29: 11)

I have, by faith, nearly completed my first year at Bible School. There were times, during the year, when I wanted to give up, but in my heart, I believed that this is what God wanted of me. God is my Master, and I believe that Bible school is the first step that he wanted me to take in his plan for me.  I am still not clear on what direction He wants me to go next year, but I have faith that He will reveal it when His time is right...  and use it for His ultimate glory

So, dear friends, what do YOU want to accomplish, by faith this week?

A note: 

Everything on earth is accountable to a Master and there is a subtle hierarchy of command amongst all living creatures on this planet. 

 In Genesis 1:28, God commands man:
Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  

In other words, we have been appointed God’s ‘stewards’ of this earth for the creatures living on it. This is the reason that I feel I can present my chosen analogy of the dog and it’s Master for this particular blog post today.

God has made us accountable to Him for everything we do and don’t do. Our relationship with the creatures of His creation is pertinent to this accountability.  He will judge us at the end times for these things. His creation is a precious thing. 

Although we constantly fall short in our behaviour and our spirit towards these things, there is good news: God offers us a Saviour, a Mediator and a Counsellor in the form of his precious son, (our own earthly steward) Jesus Christ, who bears the brunt of our failures. 


"Father God, 
thank you for your beautiful creation. 
Help us to be faithful to your message, your commands and your promise.
Please help us to develop our faith in You.