Be Kind To Taxi Drivers

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Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the most high, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. Luke 6:35 (NLT)

The first time I read Luke 6:35 I thought, “God, I don’t really have any enemies…this doesn’t really apply to me!” 

Then God sent a taxi driver… Anyone who drives regularly knows the frustration of finally accelerating in bumper-to-bumper traffic only to have a taxi driver nudge his vehicle in front of yours.

The other morning exactly that happened, a taxi came towards my lane and I thought about accelerating to close the gap but at the last minute I slowed down to let him in. He drifted in and disappeared into the flow of traffic – unthankful and wicked I thought - then this verse floated into my mind.

He’s not asking us to do anything he hasn’t done before. God loved us first. He loved me (and I am certainly unthankful and wicked) and he loves you. And he has done this without asking for anything in return; in fact he’s embraced us with one hand while wiping our sins out with the other.

More Blessed Than You Think

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Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

MY HUSBAND AND I lay in bed last night, cuddling as we fell asleep, and I just couldn’t stop myself from saying to him, “We’re so blessed!”

I know most people are probably thinking how can you say that when your husband is struggling with cancer

But honestly in the midst of this storm I just feel held, buoyant and incredibly blessed to be living this life, right now.

Perhaps this is one of the most valuable lessons that watching my husband beat cancer has given me; the ability to realize that being blessed isn’t connected to being given good things. 

So often in our Christian worlds' we call ourselves blessed when we’ve received a new car or been given free tickets to a concert we really wanted to go to or got a really cool job. 

When we do this it is easy to forget that we are blessed all the time - whether our circumstances are a bed of roses or whether they are filled with thorns. 

When we realize that blessings are not dependent on the situations we find ourselves in, it’s easier to lie in the midst of all our problems, battles and struggles and say, “We’re so blessed!” 

What can you thank God for today?

This post orginally appeared on my blog in June 2012. You can stay connected with me on facebook & twitter too. You can subscribe to this blog by clicking here.

Can Worship Be Improper?

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So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Romans 12:1 (MSG)

I READ OF a church that was worshipping actively, boldly and experientially the other day. I read of them because people were upset. In fact they had made the paper because their worship was so improper.

This church had decided to honour God by providing bread and soup to people in the neighbourhood whose stomachs were empty but word spread and soon starving people were coming from all over to take part in their worship. This church was upsetting the neighbours by making God look good to the ravenous, the redundant and the destitute in their community.

The neighbourhood did not like that. The neighbourhood felt they were increasing crime and causing trouble in the community. When I read about that church I thought of Jesus, I thought the church sounded a lot like him (I also thought his neighbours must have complained like theirs).

Jesus did not talk much about worship but his life taught us a whole lot about what worship means. This carpenter taught us that worship is simply obedience and sacrifice. Jesus showed us that worship means loving even when it means you will have to sweat blood for that person and that worship requires everything we have to offer God. He taught us that its more than the songs we sing, or the words we say, its about how we live life, every day, all the time.

What do you think true worship looks like? When is the last time you gave everything in worship to God?

Did Jesus Really Mean NOTHING Can Separate Us From His Love?

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For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

THINK OF THE most obnoxious, mean, horrible man you know. Think of the man you know, who drinks too much, yells too much and hits too much. Think of THAT man and you’re probably thinking of my former neighbor. 

One night, he was verbally abusing his girlfriend (again). He was screaming about missing car keys. He stopped yelling but I could hear him on the phone getting directions to a friend. To be honest, when he hung up the phone, I wanted nothing more than for him to go fetch his friend and never come back. I thought, he might die in a car accident being that drunk and that angry, but I didn’t care, I just wanted to go back to sleep. I felt no love for the man at 2:00am.

But God did.

Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

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You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20
I RECEIVED A text message from a friend the other day. She was upset because a friend had just been raped. She wanted to know why God let this happen? 

I didn’t know how to answer, truthfully I still don’t, I can’t explain why God “lets” someone be raped or why my husband has cancer or why someone senselessly shoots someone. 

I don’t really think anyone can. 

I did read a story about a man called Joseph once, which helps me to remember that the part of our lives which we see is much smaller than the part which God sees.

Following in Jesus' Footsteps

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“Come, follow me…” Jesus said. Matthew 4:19b (NIV)

A FEW YEARS ago in the Philippines I was given the opportunity to climb an active volcano. 

On the way up I struggled and sweated and slipped my way uphill through sand that could only have been made of ash. 

The view at the top was magnificent but I didn’t find God there. 

I edged down towards the crater with our guide and almost slipped on a corner but he caught my hand and steadied my feet. He was in rubber flip-flops but his feet were as steady as a mountain goat.

The time came to descend and I decided that I would follow in our guide’s footsteps.

I would literally put my feet where he had stepped. 

That’s how the descent started, as he lifted his foot, I placed mine in the displaced soil. The plan worked really well, till I was about half way down, and decided that if I just put my feet in the vicinity of his, I’d be safe and I wouldn’t slip and fall.

I stopped being so careful, stopped walking in his footsteps and the ground slid out from under me and I just managed to stop myself from landing in the dust.

I returned to the rhythm of placing my feet in the guides’ footsteps.

Beautiful People

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Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. Matthew 6:19-21 (MSG)

TAKE A QUICK inventory of the things you own. Now list them according to what you treasure most. My list of treasured things goes something like this: my wallet, my car, my phone, my passport and my guitar. Maybe your list looks a bit like mine, maybe it doesn’t. Next take a permanent marker and write in large letters across each item on your list: LOVE.

Okay, I do not actually expect you to do this but do you think looking at your possessions, as an opportunity to show love to others would change the way you lived? Do you think it would change the way you view treasure? If you doubt it, then take a single note (of any currency or denomination) and write, “LOVE” on it. Put it back in your wallet and see if it changes the way you spend your money, the way you view possessions and treasure, the way you fight over an item of clothing at the next sale.

How Not To Be Afraid

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The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)

I WOKE UP from a deep sleep to heavy breathing outside my window.

There had to be bad man standing outside waiting to hurt me or my family.

I could hear my heart beating. Fear and adrenalin were running hand-in-hand through my veins.

I took a quick peek to see what I was dealing with.

And saw the biggest nose. 

As my eyes began to adjust to the darkness I noticed that the criminal had beautiful eye lashes - eye lashes like a dairy cow.

I pulled the curtain back further and saw I was afraid of a cow.

And I didn’t feel afraid anymore, just silly.

When you are afraid of something it’s like putting your hands up and saying, “I give up, you’re in charge here fear, do whatever you like.”

Which is pretty silly given the things we’re often scared of (like dairy cows).

Finding God In The Silences

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10b (NLT)

Photo: | Design: Wendy van Eyck


Hodgkins Lymphoma to be exact, he’s been fighting it for the last 4 months with the help of chemotherapy. 

After a chemotherapy session my husband finds maintaining conversation tiring.

We don’t talk much in the minutes and hours and days following chemo. 

At first I found the silences hard. 

I felt like I needed to fill them, I kept trying to find the words that would make everything better, the syllables that would make his cancer go away. I haven’t found the phrase yet but I found the beauty of silence.

Often in the days following chemo my husband and I just lie next to each other in silence for ages. Sometimes I’ll hug him or hold his hand. 

Other times just knowing that I’m there in the same room is enough. 

I don’t tell him about my day or ask about his, we don’t talk about how we wish he wasn’t sick, or that it looks like we need a new washing machine. We just lie there. 

It’s weird because I used to think that the only way I could help him was to do stuff but I’m learning that one of the things that helps the most, that makes him happiest and gets my husband through the hard times, is simply being there.

I’ve begun to realise that maybe this is what makes God happiest too. 

That what makes God smile isn’t only our busy lives or good deeds, or how much of the bible we read today, but it’s when we just crawl up next to him and say, “Do you mind if I just sit here with you?”. 

He doesn’t need fancy words to know how we feel, or actions to tell him that we love him, sometimes I think God’s heart is warmed simply because we want to be with him.

Is there space in your life to just be still with God?

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Deadends, Snapshots And A Wild Gesticulating God

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

SOMETIMES TRYING TO find your purpose means you take the type of road that is marked “dead end”. I don’t know about you but I usually take this road because I miss the signs. I miss the whisper (or sometimes the shouting) of God. When I miss him jumping up and down like a mad thing saying don’t go that way I usually end up at a deadend.

Other times, I stand where a view of beauty and splendour rushes to the horizon and I marvel at God’s grace. I wonder that even in the midst of my wrong turns he is there (and more often than not that he makes something beautiful out of something that should have been a disaster). In moments like this I’ve learnt to pause, take a snapshot, and head back to the start. I have begun to grasp that the same God who is pointing madly at the dead end sign while I drive past, is the same God who is waiting to share the view or skip stones upon the lake.

Lessons From My Father

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“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40 (NIV)

A FEW YEARS ago my brothers and I began chatting about things to do before we die. Our ideas were wild and exciting and went something like this:
1. Watch the great migration in Kenya  
2. Trek in the Himalayas
3. Learn ballroom dancing and waltz in Vienna

After a while my dad joined the conversation. We asked him what he would put on his list. He said, when he was young, his list would have been similar but years of living had changed what he would do. His list  began:
1. Find jobs for all the people who live my parents village
2. Provide our gardener with a nice house and a pension
3. Find ways to assist those who can’t afford medical care

Do The Thing You Fear

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For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 1 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

WHENEVER I AM asked to give advice on making good decisions I share the words of a 19 year old convict that I once wrote letters to. He advised that I should listen to the advice of those older then me because they have been where I have (and often where I do not want to go); and that when something does not feel right I should run as fast as my feet can carry me. I have recalled that advice countless times. Sometimes I have paid heed to it but many times I have rushed head long into something new or bad or beautiful, without a second thought. 

Does Jesus (really) like me?

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O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. Psalm 139:1 (NLT)

I ONCE SPENT what seemed like days writing the same words over and over. I wrote these words in big letters, I wrote them in small, I wrote them in journals. I scribbled these words in pencil and painted them in scarlet red and wrote them on my heart:
“God, you know when I can’t get up and when I spring out of bed; you recognise my thoughts from among millions. Nothing about me is strange to you God. You could start my sentences you know me so well…there is nowhere I can go to get away from you God, nowhere I can crawl that you could not find me and follow me into…You created me, stitch by stitch, moulded my arms and legs and liver and placed jewels in my eyes…all the days you have given to me were planned before I drew a breath.”*
I knew only one thing at the time. Even today there are times when I know nothing else. I do not understand it. I cannot easily explain it. The one thing I knew then, that I still know now, is that when I am stumbling through my life (and when you're finding your way through yours) Jesus is with us and he likes me and you very much. I do not know how he happens to be there, and I do not know how he finds us, all I know is that he is there.

Do you believe that Jesus is with you even in the darkest times of your life? Does this change the way you live?
*(Paraphrase of Psalm 139 my own)

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Qhilt photo credit: Cut To Pieces  & pincushion photo credit: incurable_hippie via photopin cc
Design: Wendy van Eyck

No Regrets

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)

ONE SATURDAY AFTERNOON I stopped at a cemetery.

The graveyard was small and most of the tombstones were dated before my 98 year old grandfather was born. 

I cannot recall what was inscribed on most of the tombstones but I do remember one inscription:

A Place To Be Honest

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"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." John 8:11 (NIV)

Church isn't meant to be about people who mask their brokenness with good acts.

Church isn't meant to be about perfect people but about confessed people.

We should be able to say these things, our secret things, our sins, our mistakes, and receive love and acceptance from Jesus (and church people) when we do.

Think for a moment about Jesus.

About all of the confessions, secrets, mistakes and hopes He must have heard.

Death, Stars and God's Goodness

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When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8:2-4 (NIV)

Sometimes I don't accept death gracefully.
I am angry with the pain I see in the residue of death. 

I wonder why the young die, why the healthy die, why the ill hang on so long and why evil people thrive. 

I feel angry when I forget that death is really just an invitation to a much better life: a life where there is no need for tears or tombstones or ambulance sirens.

In the meantime I have to learn what to do when I drive around a corner and grief finds me.

 I look at the stars: the stars God strung just to astonish us, the stars He named to reveal His bigness, His majesty and His sovereignty.