Thursday, November 29, 2007

Last night I was running on a treadmill at the gym, and all of a sudden all I wanted to do was quit!
If you have been to a gym or done exercise you will know the feeling…

I was tired.
I was a little sore.
And I was running out of motivation!

But I kept going with what, I was not sure...
Maybe the thought of quitting in the middle of my run and how guilty I would feel afterwards?
Maybe also the knowledge that I would loose out on some sort of benefit?
Anyway I kept going. I pushed through. And eventually completed my programme.

As I drove home I thought about what I had just gone through.
That even though it was hard and uncomfortable, I did feel good that I had made it through without quitting.
At this time of year you can be tired, worn out and not feeling like you have anything else left to give…You may even want to quit or run away?

Galatians 6:9 says…
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Don’t give up even though you may be tired.
Yes be wise about how you live and the pace you live it at…
God promises us all to reward us if we will just hang in there and complete what we have started.

Something for you to think about...


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On Sunday I had the opportunity to speak at a church that I hadn’t been to before.
I wasn’t sure where to park so found a spot around the back and went on inside.

After the service there was a lot of commotion outside around the area of my car so I went to check it...dreading what I might find.
I didn’t know until just then but I had actually parked beside the worship leaders car...and his car had been damaged during the service by someone trying to break into it.

I drove away eventually not sure how I felt…
On one hand I felt bad for the guy.
I couldn’t understand why they attacked his car and not mine.
On the other hand I was thankful they hadn’t attacked mine.
At the same time I felt guilty for being thankful….
Aaaah! am I supposed to think?

In America this weekend they celebrate a holiday around being thankful called thanksgiving day.
It was started many years ago by some immigrants who were very thankful for what God had done for them. They had been through many hardships and were even still going through many. But they took the time out to focus on what had done for them so far.

Martin Rinkert lived in the town of Eilenburg in Germany 350 years ago.
The son of a poor coppersmith, he became a minister of his local parish in 1617.
Just one year later, in 1618, the Thirty-Year War broke out and Eilenburg was caught right in the middle of it. In 1637, the plague that swept across the continent hit Eilenburg and it is recorded that over 50 people died each day. The man called upon to bury most of the corpses was Martin Rinkert.
In all, over 8,000 people died, including Martin’s own wife, but his job was to keep on digging graves. His ministry spanned 32 years and all but the first and the last were overwhelmed by the great conflict that engulfed his town. It must have been tough for Martin Rinkert to be thankful. But somehow he was…he even managed to write this hymn?

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices.

In the midst of terrible darkness and death Martin Rinkert was able to write these words because he knew what it meant to be truly thankful.

Maybe it is not that we are ignoring the things that have gone wrong…it is just that focusing on what has gone right stops the bad things having the same power over us.
In the midst of whatever you have been through recently...
I am sure you have something you can thank God for!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sometimes I wish I was a bit more ‘gifted’ at gardening…
I am not completely useless in this department but I am far from being a David Bellamy or some other famous plant dude.

Our backyard is a mixture of things.
Some completed projects and lots of “I got it started” types.
One of those was an area of soil we moved many months a go, which left a large area of bear earth.

In my mind, I was quietly hoping that it would grow grass again on its own.
And for a while it looked like it might make it.
But as you can guess, different types of weeds crowded in around and eventually took over.
We have now started to rectify the situation with some proper grass seed.
But we also know that the weeds want to come back. We have to be on weed alert whenever we can to protect the new life that is coming through.

Jesus talked a few times about things growing and weeds.

Matthew 13:3-8 (niv)
A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root.
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.
Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

An area inside of us I think God plants ‘seed’ is in our heart.
It is this extremely fertile area of our lives.
God deposits the seed he needs to into our heart and waters it.
The trouble is our hearts can become unfertile if we don’t look after them.

A question for you today is…
What is the soil of your heart like?

Do you still keep your heart soft or has life hardened it?
Have you let things come in and crowd it?

Can I encourage to do as David did many years a go, to examine your heart.
Not so you can feel stink about something wrong.
But so you can deal with any things that need dealing with.
If you ignore them for too long it hurts even more to sort out!

God wants to produce a huge crop from our lives.
Our job is to simply look after the soul.

Something to think about...


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Once again I reminded about how complicated we are…

On one hand we love the idea of freedom.
We pursue it. We admire it. We even imitate William Wallace in the movie Braveheart, where he cries in the throws of death “freedom…”
One the other...we cry out for more rules.

When something is wrong we sometimes want new rules.
Something's not right and we want government legislation.
In the last few days, some innocent people got hurt by a couple of fireworks...and now the government is looking to ban them :(
If there is a chance something might go wrong, you will need a permit.
Even trying to get a simple bonfire is impossible without a $3,000 application fee. Crazy!

Can’t help but wonder whether as humans we are naturally confused?

When Jesus was on the earth, he addressed the religious leaders and gave them a hard time about all their rules. About how they couldn’t live up to them and yet they were expecting others too.
He addressed the fact that rules do not bring anyone closer to God or help people grow. A lot of the time I think they can help us fail.
God says he far prefers mercy to sacrifice. That if he has to choose between them...he will pick mercy over religious rules any day!

Elsewhere it says that Jesus is the fulfillment of the law (rules).
He completed them so we would not need them quite the same.
He completed them so we could have freedom.

The harder question to answer is how do you help?
How do you make things better without more restriction.

Jesus said that he wanted us to have life and have it to the full.
He also summarized the 10 commandments into 2, in a sense getting rid of some rules. Or did he?

The ideal to me seems to be relationship.
Right relationship with God.
Right relationship with People.
If they are right, we do right. It is then what we ‘naturally’ want to do.
Better relationships means we need less rules...

So instead of looking for more rules.
Look for more relationship.
More rules will not save our world or ultimately save you or me.
It is all about relationships!

Well that is what I think anyway...

God bless


Thursday, November 01, 2007

To be honest I was not sure what to say this week…
When you do these little devotional type things there is a little pressure you feel to make it exciting, so that you will read it.

Everyday you are probably sent things to read, and you have to decide whether they are important enough to look at.
You probably get bulk email forwards like I do, mostly with mindless entertainment. Sometimes you probably just delete before looking at it.

Just a few moments a go I got something.
A bulk email that I could choose to look at or bin 13.
I looked at it...and now it has taken me several moments to get over it!

People say all the time in ‘church circles’ that God is good and he is faithful and that he meets our needs, I think because we live in a place where we can get stuff and enjoy our surroundings to some degree, we do eventually take it for granted.
Because God is good all the don’t notice it simply because you don’t have anything to compare it too.

Contrast is what makes things stand out.
Think of a picture. Without contrasts in colour and shape it is really uninteresting and even hard to understand. In fact it is sometimes a blur.

Back to this email…
What I saw in the email had huge contrast to my life!
The life in the email was barren, pathetic and very uncomfortable.

My life is full.
I know God has blessed me!
While I may not be able to go down to Harvey Norman and buy a new 42 inch LCD...I am not hungry or without hope.
I am not like the picture of the little boy, licking (I guess that is what it was) a cows butt just to stay alive. Note—I am not trying to be sensational is what I saw!

So what I do when faced with this type of contrast in my world?
How should I respond to what I have seen?

It took me a few moments to recover and then this is my thought...

Thank God for what you have
Do something with what you have

Thank God today for what he has already given you.
You are indeed blessed no matter how blessed you might feel.

In Acts it says this about Jesus…
That he went around doing good and releasing people from oppression.
If you are in a position to it!
Jesus should we.



PS If you want to see the email let me know and I will forward to you...