Friday, 15 August 2014
There's a fresh buzz in our home right now. For the first time in over two years there's a growing positive movement back towards where God has had us directed.
The difference is a new business, re-learning communication skills and remembering who we were created to be.
It's been a traumatic time for us as a family over the last few years. The loss of a business, selling our home, illness and hospitalisation and the passing of dearly loved friends and family have taken a heavy toll. But we can begin again. It's not too late.
It's coming into spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Everywhere I look I see a reminder that after the death and devastation of winter, life grows back and beauty is reborn from the seemingly dead landscape. The branches of the trees that have been bare are budding, flowers beginning to bloom and a massive display of colour along the roadside serve as a reminder that even the harshest of winters is followed by new life.
Our Spiritual life is often the same.
There's a new church plant locally to us that I'm (hopefully) going to visit. Spiritually it's important not to isolate ourselves from other Christians. It's why I write and want people to respond with comments and dialogue. If every reader agrees with everything I write I'm obsolete. I want to make people - including myself - think about Faith. Consider the real Jesus and build a relationship with Him.
It's a difficult thing to do; come back to life after so long. It's painful. In many ways it would be easier to stay where I was. We are all tempted to do that. We wallow, get into a self-pitying mindset and mope around feeling sorry for ourselves while the world keeps turning. There's nothing to stop us staying there, either.
Except our Spirit.
Our Spirits, joined with Christ, long for rejoicing. We long to exchange ashes for joy. Our hearts yearn for it. We were, after all, designed to worship God with our whole being. There's no flaw in the design, so despair and depression become seasons which can and inevitably do pass.
My heart broke for the family of Robin Williams this week after he lost his personal battle with depression. We are all tempted in the same way as he was. Many lose the fight in the same way.
I'm not judging him. It's not my place to. Not too long ago I suffered depression badly enough that I not only considered ending my own life, but I attempted it no fewer than four times. My doctors couldn't explain how I didn't succeed. But I lived and the winter eventually became spring. I met my wife after the worst time of depression I've had was ending. After almost 11 years I'm still Blessed by her daily, and although we have struggles with health both mental and physical, we fight through because we have the strength of Christ powering us.
In fact, we have more power than we can imagine. We limit it ourselves. Jesus wants to give us far more than we believe we are worthy to receive. In Ephesians 3, Paul points to our lack when he reminds us that God is "able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (3:20 - emphasis added). We can limit the beauty of the spring in our lives.
Nature overflows in springtime. Colours and life in a way not seen any other time of the year. After a spiritual winter, a beating and pain we can also experience the springtime in the same way. In fact, we are able to see more than we can imagine is we will only allow Him to give it to us.
It's a time of changing seasons wherever we live. Summer becoming autumn in the north and winter becomes spring in the south.
Either way, it's a time for a new start. Preparation, healing, recovery and life's abundance are only a small step away.
Take it. Start again.
Allow yourself to have a new beginning and shake the dust and ashes from your heart.
Friday, 8 August 2014
A while ago I wrote for an online Christian website as a volunteer writer.
It set my mind thinking as it has been a challenge to write for them. On this blog I can write whatever I feel, an invitation they extended to me as well, but with a caveat of a 1000 word limit. I had last had a word limit to writing over 20 years ago when writing for English Language projects at the age of 16. It's made me have to think about how to deliver a concise and yet meaningful piece of work.
Our wings as Christians need to be given room to grow. This project, a weekly column, has challenged me to expand my writing ability beyond where it has been. I am forced to devote more time and effort to editing my pieces and making sure all the pertinent details are included.
As I've been writing it struck me that this is a great exercise for my walk in general. Not everyone will take kindly to my full testimony as after almost 30 years as a Christian there is a lot to it, so I need to learn to be concise and salient to get the message across when people ask why I believe in Jesus.
I'm still working on a short version.
I believe God wants us to spread our wings and stretch out faith every day though. And not only in how we express our beliefs, but in how we live our lives. Every action needs to be a calculated act to demonstrate the Love God has for the person we're talking to or being observed by.
It's critical in fact.
We need to grow in our understanding. Growth and life are synonymous in the Christian walk as we never stop growing in our likeness to Jesus this side of the grave, and we have eternity unending to fathom the depths of His being beyond, such is His love for us. He did die so He could have our company after all.
So don't be afraid to step out in Faith about things you may be nervous about. I am terrified to speak to the people I am closest to and love dearly about Jesus, so I try to write to them - paper not email - to express things God speaks to me in my prayer time. It's easy and comfortable for me to speak in front of a group as there is an anonymity there. Mostly the group has no personal knowledge of me so I am free to relax and speak my heart. But in a one-to-one with preople I know and care about I get tongue-tied or worse I remain completely silent. Hence the letters!
We all need to have our boundaries pushed and our limits expanded. We all need to take steps of faith to achieve the dreams God gives us.
We all need to learn to fly on the wind of the Spirit of God by Spreading our Wings.