Is Not Judging Enough?

4:45 am Wendy van Eyck 5 Comments

{Guest Devotional by Maria Gladwin}

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12 

God  would wrap his arms around the worst of us.
Photo: Matt Gruber (Creationswap.com) | Design: Wendy van Eyck
I live in a picturesque mountain village with my family.

Even though at times life is pretty laid back here, we face challenges, as you would anywhere else, just on a different level.

Pulling up at our village supermarket for supplies, is a very predictable experience. 

There are, without fail, a few beggars that gravitate towards me as soon as I pull up the handbrake.

I have often become convicted of how I treat these men. 

How does God see them? 

How To Stop A Fight

5:18 am Wendy van Eyck 8 Comments

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22 (NIV)

Prayer is not about me
Picture: Creationswap.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck
It’s amazing what God can teach you while cutting broccoli. 

Ever since I can remember my younger brother has been the one of those people who knows all my trigger points and can have me angry in a few seconds. 

A few years ago we shared a flat together and while I was cutting broccoli I realised that the main reason my brother and I fight is because he is essentially narcissistic and lazy. 

Problem is so am I. 

Neither of us is prepared to serve the other; we both want to be served; we both want to be the most important person in our sibling relationship. 

We are both consumed with sin.

I discovered at the time that I could prevent the quarterly fights between my brother and I. 

I realised I could change my entire attitude towards my brother if I only prayed for him instead of dwelling on how annoying I found him.

Sing a New Song

5:58 am Wendy van Eyck 1 Comments

{Guest Devotional By Renee Fisher}

“These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” Isaiah 29:13 (NIV)

Appreciate and thank God
Photo: Jackson Latka, Creative Commons | Design: Wendy van Eyck
Worship should be less about pressing the play button on your iPhone and more about learning how to sing a new song.

Listening to worship music on replay feels like eating a McRib from McDonalds for every meal. It’s almost impossible to grasp the fullness of worship by listening to somebody else’s song.

Don’t you think?

David in the Psalms exclaimed over and over to sing a new song–six times to be exact.

Life Is A Gift

11:46 am Wendy van Eyck 2 Comments

Still, it's what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he'd see life come from it - life, life, and more life. And God's plan will deeply prosper through him. Isaiah 53:10 (MSG)

Sometimes we need to slow down and thank God
Photo: Aaron Burden @creationswap.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck
Sometimes I rush through life like it’s a competition where the first person to finish wins.

Other times I hurry through life like there is an emergency that only I can solve.

I’ve been reminded lately that life is a gift.

It’s a gift on the easy, happy, blue-sky days and it’s a gift on the days when it’s hard, depressing and cloudy.

It’s easy on the days when life isn’t wrapped up prettily to forget that life is a gift.

It’s easy to forget that Jesus hung on a cross to give us life, life and more life.

So much harder to remember that he didn’t have to do it, that he didn’t have to die so that he could live with us forever.

How Do I Know If God Is In Control?

4:45 am Wendy van Eyck 11 Comments

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. Isaiah 40:26 (ESV)

stars in the sky
Picture: Hubble sees Galaxies Galore ESA/Hubble (Creative commons)
 NASAESA, and S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team
Design: Wendy van Eyck
“There is an unusual group of cells under your right arm,” the doctor looks my husband in the eyes as he says it.

It is the second time in 10 months that we’ve heard the words there is a 50/50 chance it could be cancer. 

This was meant to be the appointment where the doctor looked my husband in the eye and told us that after 6 months of chemo he can’t find a trace of cancer. 

But that wasn’t what we heard. 

Instead we are sent to the biopsy department to find out if it’s just reactive cells or cancer.

In the biopsy waiting room I look up and an old friend I haven’t seen in four years walks in. 

She can’t believe I’m there. 

She can’t believe it because she’d just prayed, “God, I want to pray for someone to be healed today. But could you make it someone I know because it’s a little awkward when you don’t know the person.”

She flings this prayer up to God and he uses his power to make sure we’re sitting in that waiting room, at that time.

He answers her prayer and reassures our hearts that he is still holding us

Right there in the waiting room she prayed for my husband. 

I think what thrilled my heart the most is that God used us to answer her prayer and show us that he’s still there; he’s still in control.

This last year cancer has taught me many things about God and now in the midst of uncertainty I’m relearning that God is in control.

God knows the beginning and the end. (<-- Click here to tweet this)

God knows it because he flung stars in the Milky Way like chocolate chips in cookie dough. 

And if that went according to plan, and the stars still dazzle and shine for him. Then shouldn’t I trust that when God says he has the last word on our plans he really, really does, no matter what the outcome

I remind myself that if God can send an old friend to pray for us in a biopsy waiting room then he’s in control of everything else in our lives.

I remind myself that if God can fling the stars into the sky and have each one land exactly where he wants it, then being in control of all the hard stuff in my life isn’t so hard for him.

Do you believe that God is in control of your life even when you feel out of control? Does realizing that God orders the stars make you feel he can order your life?

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Four Words That Changed Me

5:29 am Wendy van Eyck 8 Comments

But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 6:8 (MSG)

Wooden Heart
Photo: Creationswap.com | Design: Wendy van Eyck
Cancer teaches you stuff. 

It teaches you that you don’t always get what you expect in life.

Cancer teaches you stuff about yourself, about God, about love.

It’s taught me love grows like a weed. 

Love grows in places where you don’t expect it and in ground that isn’t hospitable. And when you’re think you’re done, you discover there is more.

Loving more is often the greatest gift. 

I realized this on one of the days when cancer had tried to take not only my husbands’ life, but also our joy and hope, and my good mood.

To be honest I’m not the best nurse. 

I’ve shouted at my husband at 2am when he’s throwing up for not letting me sleep and I’ve burst into tears because I have to do “everything” while he just lies in bed.

Immediately afterwards I feel bad and realize how ridiculous I am and on each of these occasions my husband hugs me, and whispers to me,
“I love you more”.

He’s not trying to win some competition in which we’re competing to see who can profess the most love for the other.

He’s simply saying that despite my temper tantrums and childish moments he loves me…more.

He loves me more than he did 3 seconds before. More than in the moments just before I lost my perfect nurse status. More than the day he said, “I do”.

Love breathes life into our relationship each time. 

I love you more: These four simple words that tell the other that whatever they have done it’s not bad enough to stop loving them. These four syllables remind us that love grows where you don’t expect it, that it can thrive in cancer wards and on honeymoons.

It’s taught me how God can say he loves me even when I’m covered in sin.

I used to think that God could only love me when I was perfect; or when I consistently did good things. But this last year I’ve learnt that isn’t true.

If my husband can love me at my worst how much more can God love us when we’re covered in our sin?

God always has more love for us. (<-- Tweet this)

And God offers it to us in the times, places and moments when we least deserve it.

Let His love come and breathe life into your relationship with him.

Has there been a moment in your life when you received love even though you knew you didn’t deserve it?

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What A Clean Slate Looks Like

12:37 am Wendy van Eyck 1 Comments

He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. Psalm 103:2 (NLT)

Etch-a-sketch
Photo & Design: Wendy van Eyck
I was playing with an Etch-A-Sketch the other day. 

I was drawing funny faces and then wiping them away. Amazed at how with just one swipe the picture disappears.

Gone.

There is no trace of what was there. Just whiteness. There is only the opportunity to start again as if for the first time. 

You are literally given a clean slate. Over and over again. 

I don’t know when the last time you played with an Etch-a-sketch was, but one remarkable thing about it is that once you’ve wiped it clean there is nothing you can do to get the picture you’ve just cleared back. 

And you can do this as many times as you need to. 

Mess up a picture. Wipe it clean. 

Want to start again? Wipe it clean. 

This ordinary toy got me thinking about sin.

Terms And Conditions Don’t Apply

12:01 am Wendy van Eyck 4 Comments

I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never – I promise – regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is Kind, you be kind. Luke 6:35-36 (MSG)

Luke 6:35-36
Picture: Filip Ologeanu (Creationswap.com) | Design: Wendy van Eyck
There is a beggar that I see every other day. He stands right where I turn to head home after work each day. We fist bump and laugh and sometimes I hand him lunch or dinner or a snack. 

On Tuesday, this beggar asked me for money to pay for his rent.

I drove off. 

I was planning to drive off, and he knew it, so asked me to think about giving him some small change on my way back to the office so he could pay for his rent. 

I wondered if this was true. This guy always a story for why he needs some money. Sometimes it’s for a trip to visit his mother or to get a painful tooth pulled out at the dentist or for a taxi home. 

He always has a story. 

I can never tell if it’s true. 

On my way back to the office I decided I would give him some money for his rent.

I decided to give. But I’d put conditions on it. 

Tell him he has to use it for rent. That he can’t take my money and use it for food or drink or maybe even drugs.

Then I stopped. Or rather God stopped me.

How To Deal With Whatever Hard Things Come Up

3:33 am Wendy van Eyck 12 Comments

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, & don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:34 (MSG)

Matthew 6:34
Photo: Marian Trinidad (Creationswap.com) | Design: Wendy van Eyck
This last month I've been focused on one thing:  getting a television channel going from scratch to on air in 6 weeks.

I’m leading the team and my to-do list is long and detailed. 

One moment I’m choosing channel logos, the next I’m hiring a new producer, and a few minutes later I’m writing a treatment for a new show.  

When I sit back and look at the big picture, and see how much still needs to be done, I become overwhelmed.

I see this task as impossible.

But when I focus on the next thing to be done I begin to think this channel will get on air if I just tick one task off at time.

And through it all I’m beginning to understand why Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 6:34, why he told us to give our entire attention to what God is doing right now, and not stress about what happens tomorrow. 

There is so much in our lives that we can’t control.

One thing we can control is what we focus on and what we give our attention to. (<-- Tweet This)