Warning: Use of undefined constant yes - assumed 'yes' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/andtheng/public_html/wp-content/themes/breathe/index.php on line 25

The violence of our pain and the goodness in His hands

Wednesday, 13 October, 2010

It’s hard to put the words together right now… life is a canvas of colors we can only name.  We can’t influence the strokes or the splats.  We can’t even control the mediem used… but what we can do is release, and rely on the Hands that KNOW the subject He is painting.  We don’t understand the scene or the base colors He chose, but He does.  Pain and beauty are in His signature… Once completed and framed by His gentle, pursuing love… we become pictures of hope to others.  The process was long and hard… and sometimes very slow… but God didn’t leave anything out.  He hasn’t left anything out… right now your world may be shaking… but heaven stands.  Your heart may even be breaking… darling, you Never leave His hands.

Know that you are in process… even when you feel knocked out of the easel by the violent storms of life or when your paint never seems to dry but strays across the canvas, you never leave His hands… and YOU ARE PRECIOUS.  Now, allow yourself to be.  For some us, we feel our interferring hands have marred the scene of God’s choosing, never to be reclaimed… the Hands that are intricately crafting you are the same hands that pulled the stars out of nothing and set them to SHINE, the same hands that threw a universe into His heavens, the hands that had glory out of spit and mud, the hands that willingly were peirced, the same hands that bled…

With God nothing is impossible… that means you aren’t impossible.  God paints in strokes of grace and mercy… with hands that know, with hands that love, and with hands that never leave.

Written in loving memory of Charlie Harris. The lessons he taught me about God will never leave my heart.  He was and forever will be one of the best companions and sojourners I was honored to walk beside through some of the darkest hours of our lives.

He never gave up on me.

Time

Sunday, 10 October, 2010

I was fine just where I was, everything was just fine…
I had organized the tangles
And laid them out into a line.

I had plotted out a story
For every action I had a mime
I had taken scattered words
And wove them out into a rhyme.

But then before I knew it
I saw an empty stage

No matter how hard I tried

I could not turn another page

Time – who were you
To take what I had made and leave me standing in the dark?
Time – who were you
To leave me without sight – holding on to just a spark?

This ticking clock erodes away
The stage I set, the perfect play!
No matter how the actors stall
The lights will dim, the curtains fall…

And yet, Time – who do you think you are?
You are held by One who stands outside
All those you quickly stop and bind
He is the One who made you see –
He stops you with eternity!

Anchor

Sunday, 10 October, 2010

I’m clinging to this storm-tossed boat –

as waves beat down to where I am

So many drowning, but will not turn –

to the Light I see – glimpsed beyond this storm.

All their crude little self-made rafts have not weathered –

So they find their “salvation” sunk

I hold out grace from my Captain –

But they cling to their shifting debris.

Why should I fear?

Though waters tremble beneath

My boat yet stands unmoved, attached;

Firmly, to the Captain’s Son

Be Strong

Friday, 1 October, 2010

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Our blessed Lord God of heaven and earth came to Joshua, who, looked at the promise land, and battles ahead. More than likely, his heart, was while trusting in God, somewhat overwhelmed at the size of the task ahead.

Four times in Joshua chapter one, God reminds Joshua of His promises, commands and  ” to be strong and of good courage. In our own lives, we cross so often the path less desirable. It wains our physical and emotional strength thin. In and of our flesh we are spent, and found at the “end” of our very existence (or seemingly). It is in these moments of absolute end, that we find the True Giver of strength. Beginning from our hearts into the rest of our being.

We are reminded to be strong : (Taken from the 1828 Websters Dictionary)

• “Having physical passive power; having ability to bear or endure; firm; solid; as a constitution strong enough to bear the fatigues of a campaign.”

• “Well fortified; able to sustain attacks; not easily subdued or taken; as a strong fortress or town.”

• Powerful; forcible; cogent; adapted to make a deep or effectual impression on the mind or imagination; as a strong argument; strong reasons; strong evidence; a strong example or instance. He used strong language.

• Having great force of mind, of intellect or of any faculty; as a man of strong powers of mind; a man of a strong mind or intellect; a man of strong memory, judgment or imagination.

How are we to be strong? In the strength of our own might? Certainly not! We are to be strong IN the Lord alone, and find our all sufficiency in Him. Strength is found in knowing that wherever we go, He is there with us, ready to hold us, help us, even pray for us. He wants us to tap into His endless strength. This strength comes from being on our knees, in the closet of prayer, where no one sees, no one listens but God.

We know that when we are weak, this is when He can be strongest, because the Spirit that dwells within us over comes this dastardly flesh. For myself, I have come to relish the moments of weakness, because in them I find the most peace and rest, knowing that my control has been relinquished out of necessity, but should more often be out of my love for my Savior. In these states of supposed “weakness” we get to truly experience God’s greatness. Oh Lord may we always be weak to live continually in Your greatness and strength.

Another act of being strong, is living in assertive faith, which does not waiver. Should God place a battle, or a promise land before us. We ought to RUN towards it, in faith that is real, trusting that the pace of our strides will bring us where we ought to be. This faith is not timid, or held back. It acts, it moves, it does… It fears only God alone and nothing else. Taking our tools, well honed into battle, or even enjoying the spoils of a land conquered is all part of experiencing the act of being strong in the Lord.

We are reminded to be of good courage : (Taken from the 1828 Websters Dictionary)

• Bravery; intrepidity; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution. It is a constituent part of fortitude; but fortitude implies patience to bear continued suffering.

Courage that grows from constitution, often forsakes a man when he has occasion for it; courage which arises from a sense of duty, acts in a uniform manner.

It is interesting that courage is for the most part an act within our minds, a determination in spite of all odds to continue on. It is not merely an act, but the resolution of a duty to act which compels the courageous soul on to … an end. This purposeful, focused action is calculated by looking only forward, ignoring all the (worldly) distractions to the right and to the left. This courage comes from a completely surrendered, completely reckless faith and trust in the God who made the land, who made the way for us to travel.

Take strength and courage in knowing that God is with you, knowing that He does what He says He will do. That He always completes what He has started. ACT upon knowing the strength that has been offered to you. Calculate knowing the courage you are allowed to have as you move forward in battle or even into the promised land of your life.

It has to go through His hands

Friday, 17 September, 2010

Before a heartbreak touches our lives… it has to go through His hands. 

She had stepped into the sunlight, laughter dancing in eyes.  Her face was always strange to me… there were no shadows, no gaurded look of pain.  She was Summer, who knew nothing of fall, or the even harsher winter.  Her days were those of brevity, to shortly here, to swiftly gone.  She makes my heart ache to remember her perfect joy and childlike wonder…

I feel like this girl is gone.  Lingering only in the back of my mind.  Something penetrated that lovely heart and shadows hacked into her features… distance flickered in her eyes… and summer was over.  Had God really chosen this for her?

To the heart that has been broken, to the soul that carries scars… if you turned your heart over to Christ, then this too is His.  He perfectly created seasons… some don’t always hold the weather that leaves us untouched.  I know.  But whenever a pain or hurt enters your life, know that it had to go through His hands first.  Imagine a God who has felt every splitting emotion, every throb, and every cutting heartache… your present pain went through His hands on the cross.

Then why do we go through it? Ultimately these hard seasons, struggles, and trails teach our hearts to beat His way.  Teach us to hold the Hands that are far more scarred than we dare to realize, and to know that He didn’t mean for us to walk… alone.  He walked alone so we wouldn’t have to. 

I would have you be summer again… but if this is your winter, catch the snowflakes on your lashes… and hold His hand… in hope.

God, Us, Time

Saturday, 11 September, 2010

God is not bound by time, this is an infinite concept that is difficult for our finite minds to understand. 2nd Peter 3:8-9 Remember that day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day to the Lord. God is not slack concerning His promises, but longsuffering towards us not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance à God fulfills His promises in His time, not ours. Often we get discouraged in waiting for His promises to come to pass in our live, to be realized. We being bound by time just want answers.

We are creatures of time, our lives revolve around time and the management of it. Often we have to ask ourselves if we are pushing God’s time in our lives. We get tired of waiting (time related). We wrap ourselves, our time with everything but God. It might be work, school, a relationship, even ministry or fellowship. What are we giving our time to in comparison with the time we spend with the Lord?  We need to “make time for God”, time for personal devotion, prayers for real genuine Jesus time… Ask yourselves friends.. When was the last time you had some real, personal, one on one Jesus time? Maybe it can start NOW. Isa. 55:8 says “For my My thoughts your thoughts nor are your ways My ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts … In relation to God’s timing this is ecclesial to understand, we have our time for things, God has His promises which exist outside our time. Ecc. 3:11 “He Makes all things Beautiful in His time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end !”

If we could just grasp God’s promises, understanding.. Rom. 8:28 all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes  Phil 1:6 that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. Jer 29:11 That He has promised to give us a future and a hope… Ps. 139 that He knows the thoughts, the plans He has for us are more than the sands of the sea.

Maybe if we would remember these things, and better manage our time with the things that matter, namely our Jesus time first, everything else would fall into place.

Dumb Sheep

Wednesday, 8 September, 2010

I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, For I do not forget Your commandments. Psalmns 119:26

All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6

Sheep, it is a wonder that our blessed God compares us to sheep all through out the holy scriptures. Did you know that sheep are the dumbest animal on the planet? No kidding here, they drown in water and have no problem walking right in. They would explode from overeating if someone wasn’t there to make them lie down to digest. They follow…. whoever, whatever, anytime. If one walks off the cliff, the rest have no problem following. When something attacks the group, instead of spreading out to make it harder to be caught, they huddle into a group becoming easy prey! ahhhhhhhhhh dumb sheep, they are their own worse enemy!

Sheep require a caretaker for their mere survival. Did you know that sheep could not exist or survive without a man to watch over them? They would be completely extinct. We like sheep, require a Caretaker. We need protection, not only from ourselves, but from the world around us. How often do we practice self destructive behavior? How often have we become our own worst enemy by living in guilt, bound up in chains of the past, or even failing to remember that we have a GOOD Shepard to watch over us.

Do we know His voice my friends? Are we familiar with His ways? His pastures? His rod? His staff?

The idea that Christ our Lord is a GOOD Shepard is so fascinating when we look at the role and place of a shepard over his sheep. Any good shepard knows to lead his sheep by still waters. (see Psalms 23) Why you might ask? Because sheep, easily drown, their fur becomes wet and heavy quickly. Still waters pose less of a threat to the sheep. The sheep, will only drink (well) from still waters. Water movement scares sheep….. to death!

Sheep cannot be left alone or they will get into all sorts of trouble. How thankful I am that our Shephard will never leave is or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) . Taken from Psalms 23, David writes that “Your rod and your staff the comfort me”. Interestingly each of these has a purpose. The rod, is for correction, the staff with its crocked head is for protection/direction. Wherever we are lead, be it over the mountain our through a valley, that has a shadow of death, we have nothing to fear! Because our Shepard is there with us for protection, direction and correction. A whole different study could be written on those 3 characteristics alone of our Shepard.

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18:12-14

Sheep, tend to wander. We are easily distracted by “shiny” things. How does the old hymn go? Prone to wander Lord I feel it Prone to leave the God I love. Fortunately, shepherds know their sheep well, by name in fact. Our Shepherd comes after us and rescues us from the brambles of life. An interesting picture is painted when the lost sheep is found. The shepherd breaks the sheep’s legs, and carries it. While the sheep is healing it my rest upon the shoulders of the shepherd. As it rests upon the shepherd’s shoulders the voice of the shepherd echos in its ears, so gentle, strong and true. By the time the sheep has healed it essentially has become one with its shepherd, and its desire to be near the shepherd has grown. Now the sheep longs for his voice, and knows it well.

How our God in heaven does all of this and more for us, His sheep. Do we trust and hope in Him, that He knows better.
When He rescues us from ourselves, from the world, from circumstance, do we take the time to know His voice? Or do we shut Him off? Whether you are on the mountain, or in the valley right now. Let God be the Shepherd of your life. Let Him protect, correct and guide you. Stop fighting with the brambles of life, and trying to find your own ways. There is something sweet, about full and complete surrender to the Maker. Letting go and letting God is the best choice I ever made. Is it fearful and uncertain at times, sure. Does it at times cost something, yes. It isn’t always easy, because we dont know all the details, but I can tell you, it is worth it.

Come into your Shepherds fold today, curl up at His feet, listen to His voice as He sings a glorious song over the plain. Enjoy the pasture He leads you to by the day. Sip the cool, still waters, and find your rest.

Dream Again

Wednesday, 8 September, 2010
If you feel you’ve lost that sweet place of hope… your beautiful dreams… Dream again.
A friend accidentally, and quite unknowingly pointed out that I had let go of this beautiful treasure we call dreams. I realized that I was afraid to dream again. My dream had been so beautiful. I had thought nothing could shatter or break this precious hope so cherished and so dear. But something did. Have I lost hope? I did. But hope, the Person of hope, never lost me. God is the one who sings over us in our sleep, the author of romance who creates these sweet dreams we treasure… and He is the same Person of Hope who takes our broken dreams and makes them like our hearts… whole. It’s a process, and for some of us, a long journey. I’ll admit… I am still just at a place of daring to hope… letting myself hope has also been a process… of forgiveness.
Allow yourself to dream. You were meant to.

Beautiful

Saturday, 4 September, 2010

He has made everything beautiful in its time, He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

What is beautiful to you? We all have a different picture in our minds of what beautiful is. Maybe it is someone special to your heart, or maybe it is that sunset which never grows old. Maybe its that car in your driveway or the rose in the yard. What about the dad walking his daughter down the isle? Or the birth of a child? There is so much beauty around us day in and day out that I think we almost take it for granted.

Time consumes our daily lives. All that we do revolves around it. We are bound by time, there is a time for us to be born, and to die. There is a 100% probability that this will happen to each one of us. Outside the rapture of course. Understanding God’s time is something, which is somewhat beyond our comprehension, because God is not bound in our time. In fact in this passage we see that God makes ALL things beautiful in His time. Do you know what all means? All, means all, and that is all, all means. Often times we see the ugly of our lives, and even have a human tendency to focus on the ugly around us. And yet there is something beautiful that can be taken from any and all circumstances. Especially when we understand that the God above, truly can and will make all things beautiful in its time. Be this something in this life, or the life to come. There will be a point where beauty comes.

I am reminded if so many things around us n God’s wonderful creation that each have a time, and a season for beauty. The blooming desert flowers, the butterflies, the small stream, and the … seed… . Each is a pointed a time and a season for beauty. Each goes through a process of transformation, a process of life and death. All seeds actually die first, before coming to life. Beauty often requires a process of life, death, pruning, bearing and so on. Friends, we all have our time, it is different and unique for each one of us. Its a special time to be beautiful, in our own ways. It is a time that is designated by the Lord creator of the universe.

Believe the promise found in this short verse! God keeps 100% of His promises. He will never forget the good things which He has in store for those that love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Part of experiencing beauty is understanding eternity. It is interesting here that linked with beauty is eternity in the heart. Often it is said that we are to heavenly minded to be any earthly good. I would contradict this statement to say that … We ought to be SO heavenly minded that others around us would see it and want what we have. Our heavenly mindedness and hope should be so powerful that we are of “earthly” good. When we are focused on the goal, on the finish line, we forget what obstacles are around us. Why? Because we know, remember and focus on the hope that is given to us beyond this life. This stay here is so short, and God has given us a choice. We can enjoy the beautiful things we HAVE, or we can be miserable in self pity of our short existence.  Today my friends I encourage you to write down all of the beautiful things that are in your life right at this moment. You will be shocked to find the list to be rather LONG.

Just a little note about life. We can go through life complaining that beautiful roses have thorns. Or we can go through life thanking God that thorns, have roses. See, He does make things beautiful, even the thorns. Did you know that a thorn is actually a malformed bud? Someday in eternity, even the thorns will bloom! Sweet huh? So take the time to stop, look, listen and feel all the beauty that is around you.

Unseen

Wednesday, 1 September, 2010

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Good morning everyone,

After seemingly endless, restless nights I woke up this morning after about 4 hours of quality sleep. I wonder why am I so restless, why is my soul upon the stormy seas. What is concerning my heart that keeps me up all night. Me, measuring this morning who is in control here? Who is the captain of my ship?

So very often I find myself over thinking the things God is doing in my life. He is the one who starts the works in our lives, we get half way and it seems I am wrestling Him for control through the night. My fears and anxieties getting the better of me. Much like Jacob did, then at the end of the night I grab hold of Him and command a blessing from the Almighty God. He blesses me and leaves me with this limp. why the limp I ask? Because He knows that if He did not leave me with the limp, I would run much faster, beyond the perfect time of His better will.

So many verses speak to this effect. Be anxious for nothing, but in all things with prayer and thanksgiving…. Perfect love casts out fear… The Lord stood with me and strengthened me…. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own (so why bother)…. What can a man add to his stature…. What good father gives his son a stone when he/she asks for bread.

Calm our hearts Lord. Take control Lord.

May our faith in You be magnified in the things we cannot see. May our hope be in YOU alone and nothing else. May we have hope in life, trusting the hope You put into our hearts and hold onto it. That our faith in you be evidential to others. Open our eyes Lord today, to the things unseen.

Give Jesus full control today of the things, you can’t see, the things you cant understand, give Him your hope, dreams and desires. See what He does with what you give to Him. Live this moment with excitement knowing that the good God is in control and that you have fully given it to him.


Warning: Use of undefined constant yes - assumed 'yes' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/andtheng/public_html/wp-content/themes/breathe/index.php on line 124