Pause to Ponder

 

Cross

Easter.    It’s that time of year again when the world slows down just a little, and there is time to pause and ponder on the things of God.   He has been around forever, and will be with us even when we are unaware of His presence.  He just is, and yet we miss Him, if we do not look for Him, or take a little time to listen for Him.

There is more to life than just living, and not everything is as it seems.  There is a mystery at play, a mystery in full view, if we were to pause, to ponder and to perceive.
Easter time is a good time to ponder on The Great Story of God, the story of righteousness, redemption and restoration, and all things good.  And for that we need to look at the cross, and the finished work of Jesus Christ.

aaron-burden-76177-unsplash

The cross is a place of brutal suffering – where Jesus was lashed with a whip of seven tails, that tore and ripped the skin off his body; where a crown of thorns mockingly pierced the flesh of his skull.   And so when we are in pain and suffering – God knows.
He was nailed to a wooden cross and crucified by a people that was called to be His own.
And so when we are betrayed – God knows.
The cross is a place of sacrifice – where God deemed it fit for His Son to die for the sake of mankind,  – that is you and me.  And so when we sacrifice for the sake of others – God knows.
The cross is a place of rejection.  He was rejected by man, and abandoned by God.
And so when we are rejected, abandoned and all alone – God knows.

Rejected rose

As the song goes   “Like a rose trampled on the ground, He took the fall and thought of me above all”

The cross where the significance of self and its sin, melts into the sacrificed life of Christ Jesus, that makes us acceptable, and worthy, and beautiful before a Holy God.

The cross, is a place of salvation – where forgiveness is given, but so often not received, because we do not ask for forgiveness from God, from others, even from ourselves and are hard-pressed to give forgiveness to those who have done us wrong.

So often are we pre-occupied with only ourselves, and don’t listen or  ask after the promises, and the ways of God.

The cross, is pivotal to the story of God, and to history itself.
The cross is a place of death, and death has to be breached, so that new life can begin.  The cross is a place of life – the place where heaven opens and righteousness and restoration happens.   The veil is lifted between earth and heaven –  and so He opens the way, for those who choose to believe in God and in His story.

holycross
Jesus died,  and rose again.  The miracle of all the ages.   He is the resurrection to the new life, the new creation, through a new covenant – a covenant of the heart !
And the new creation is what it is all about !  He is the beginning of our story, and He is the end of our story.   But it is not the final end, for if we receive His invitation to heaven, and ask Him to come and live in our hearts today, we join Him, and reign with Him in His resurrected life, and continue into the new creation that is coming.  A new beginning – a new story !!

So take time to ponder the old old story of Jesus and His cross, and accept His invitation today to real life, life bought by His sacrifice and His blood, and by His love,  for mankind, that is you and me, to shine before God.

John 14:6    Jesus said to him  ” I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

This Easter, pause to ponder,  and to pray … Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me for going my own way, and not following You.   Thank you for dying in my place.  Please come into my heart, and live Your life through me.  Thank You for the precious and miraculous gift of salvation.  Amen.

Red rose    Easter blessings to all.

God said No

 The colourful little sticker says :

“Casual Day Celebrate Diversity with Persons with Disabilities”  

Butterfly SA

The purpose of the sticker serves as a motivation for the South African
public to be aware of those with disabilities, and the many kind-hearted charities that work hard to ease the life of those who know and live with disabilities.

So on the first day of September you will be excused for wearing your “takkies” to work, as long as you display the sticker you bought to support those Disabled among us.   A lovely fun gesture, that knits community together.

I remember watching the TV broadcast on the Para Olympic Games held in London in 2012.    Among the nations of the world there is none that can hold pageantry like the English.    It was  a magnificent display of courage and of hope to see those with Disabilities reach for their dreams.

Hope is intrinsic to human beings.   God has designed us that way.  He has built into each one of us faith hope and love.  And when life happens, to some harshly, to others not so much, and when things don’t work out the way we had planned , we are still left with hope.  There is always hope, that helps us to carry on regardless.   And this is what we are given by those with Disabilities.   They are hope-carriers.

They are a very costly gift to humanity.

Observing those with disabilities brings us to the threshold of suffering, and the age-old question arises “why does a good, loving God allow suffering ?”

broken glass

Just for today,  I hope we can pause, and remember those with Disabilities in our own families, in our communities, see them through new eyes, and be a little kinder to them.
The following little writing was sent to me, and I am passing it on to you.  Unfortunately I cannot acknowledge the writer as I do not have a name.  When I read it, it brought to me a smile and a tear, all at the same time….. and perhaps too a little more understanding.

GOD  SAID  NO !

I asked God to take away my habit,
God said, No it is not for Me to take it away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole
God said, No his spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience,
God said, No patience is the by-product of tribulations, it isn’t granted, it is learned.
I asked God to give me happiness,
God said, No, suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to Me.
I asked God to  make my spirit grow,
God said, No you must grow your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.
I asked God to help me love others, as much as He loves me.
God said,  Ahh,  finally you have the idea.
This day is yours, don’t throw it away.
God bless you.
broken mug

 

LOOKING FOR … PEACE

 

images.jpg PEACE

What is Peace ?
If I know what I am looking for I might be able to find it.

Before I further explore Peace may I just mind fully state I believe Peace is found on the high mountain tops of the spiritual life.  I cannot do justice to the beauty and magnificence of Peace, and will not even try, I merely want to simplify what a sense of Peace is, what it means to me, and provoke others toward it too.  For we all want Peace in our hearts.

So what is Peace ?
Peace is a sense of knowing that everything is going to be okay – no matter what the circumstances of life dictate to me.  Peace is linked to trust, no fear or insecurities welcome. Trust is linked to faith, faith is linked to Almighty God.   I, for one, need to know that there is something much bigger and more powerful than the I, me and mine. That Power is God, who loves me and has my back!  It’s going to be okay!  So life can throw its diversities and devastations at me, but because of the Peace of God, it’s going to be okay.  He knows, He sees, He cares, and believe it or not, He is in control.  It’s going to be okay!  Peace is knowing and trusting the God who created me.

But where do I find it?  Peace starts in the soul.  At best our souls are in a state of disrepair, empty, often bruised, sorely fragmented sometimes even broken and lost. That is why soul-care is so important.  Don’t neglect the soul – and be mindful of the souls of others too.  Words, said or written, can cause havoc to the soul.  “Sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words cannot harm me” –  is just not true!  Words have consequences !

Peace – wholeness of being, this is good soul health, and good soul-keeping will be required.  So, slow down, less hurry, live simply and simmer in the Scriptures to come to know God ... and the Peace He offers as a gift.
Peace  I leave with you, My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you.        Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.   John 14:27
In other words, don’t worry, don’t be anxious, or fearful because …. everything is going to be okay !

But I need a little help here.  Peace is far more than that.
Judy Pohorille,  a friend from a writing group I attended some years ago, coincidently sent me this message on Peace – so timely, that I need to  include it in this post.  It captures Peace far more eloquently than my technical version of it. She is a remarkable woman, who writes beautiful crisp crackling English prose and poetry.
Judy has seen and known much suffering in her life and therefore I suspect can fathom the depth of Peace far more than many.   Here is her writing :

“There is a part of the sea known as “the cushion of the sea”.  It lies beneath the surface that is agitated by storms and churned by wind.  It is so deep that it is part of the sea that is never stirred.  The ocean floor reveals evidence of having remained completely undisturbed for hundred, if not thousands of years.   The Peace of God is an eternal calm like the cushion of the sea.    It lies so deeply within the human heart that no external difficulty or disturbance can reach it.  Anyone who enters the presence of God becomes a partaker of that undisturbed calm.”

The peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7.

StnNuVLbpURtBxJxTpC4QYmm (1).jpeg Ocean bed