Contentment, Inspiration, Personal Growth, Timing, Uncategorized

How Many Pages?

IMG_3213Every night, my 6 year old (who dislikes most things about school and sitting still), reads a book as part of his home reading program. He’s doing well, but every time he opens the book, he gets that disgruntled pout on his face in anticipation of how lengthy it will be. The inevitable moan comes with, “how many pages are in this book?”

Sometimes, there are only one or two sentences on a page, but there might be 40 pages total. This makes him VERY UPSET! So much so, that I can hardly persuade him to keep going. It wouldn’t matter if every word was easy to pronounce and the plot of the story was thrilling.

The mere thought that there are a lot of pages makes him cringe. If there are tons of words on each one but only 15 pages in total, Sam is happy to proceed… even if the words are challenging and he doesn’t quite understand the storyline.

He equates the length of the book with its difficulty level.

Confession: I’m the same in this chapter of my spiritual journey. If a goal seems like it’s a long way off, I tend to lose heart. I get discouraged and I find it arduous to concentrate on the day ahead, even if its pages are filled with fun! I worry more and find myself dreading what’s to come, rather than embracing the “now.”

However, if I must tackle something really difficult but I know it’s tomorrow or the next day, I’m ready to flip the page and bring it on. I don’t shy away. I’m ready for the fight.

Somehow, I, not unlike my 6yo, have fooled myself into thinking the future, that which is out of reach, is more difficult than the “now.” However, the future becomes the now in a few days time. We have to go through it either way.

There are spiritual principles at work as we navigate the stories of our lives, today and everyday. The pages of life keep turning and sometimes our issues stare back at us like the bad 1980s photography in some of Sam’s home readers. We don’t want to look at them!

I’m aiming to be at peace even when the words are unfamiliar.

Our most desperate times, the moments when our worlds are blurry and our endurance is tested, are no different than the more concise, easily simplified issues of today. If we believe God is with sometimes, then we must believe he is with us always.

Full Stop.

Finding rest and peace when our externals seem formidable can be challenging. Trusting a God who exists outside of linear time is hard too. But, if we pause, breathe, take life one page at a time, line by line, not rushing ahead or dreading the future, rather enjoying the present, we will make it to the end.

God doesn’t come and go. God lasts.
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired,
gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out,
young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired,
they walk and don’t lag behind. (Isaiah 40:28-31 MSG)

Devotion, Fasting, Series, Uncategorized

2015 Fasting Devotion, Day TWENTY

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Everyone loves the smell of a new car, the feeling of stepping out in a spiffy new pair of shoes, having a fresh haircut, or a embarking on a new opportunity! What joy we experience when we gaze at a precious baby, the miracle of brand-new life so tangible.

We can easily appreciate what’s unblemished in the world around us, but we forget that being born again as Christ followers is actually better than anything money can buy.

We, in all our messy mistakes and silly shortcomings, are considered NEW CREATIONS in Christ! Everything we ever did to fall short of perfection no longer has a grasp on us because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The blood of Jesus has washed us white as snow.

Unfortunately, the world we live in taints us and this newness can wear off if we aren’t careful. Our salvation might be secure, but the pressures of the world can cause us to drift. The Apostle Paul is imploring us to be reconciled to God, meaning we must continually come back to Him.

God, I am so very thankful for the gift of salvation and the fact that I’m a new creation in Christ. As our time of prayer and fasting is coming to an end, I’m totally committed to reconciling myself to you each and everyday. Help me to never lose sight of the miracle of my salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Fasting, Series, Uncategorized

Fasting Devotion, Day Twelve

(Post submitted by Janine O’Rourke)

John 10:10: “I came that they may have life, and life abundantly.”

Fasting is a journey of discovery and lingering in God’s presence, not an activity to tick off, or a discipline to be endured. In spending time with God, I’m reminded of the verse in Psalm 46:10 where he tells us to “be still and know I am God.”

As we take time to sit and ponder God’s word, “abundance” takes on fresh revelation.

Abundance means:

  • A very large quantity, amount or volume of something.
  • To have more than you need.
  • Excessive, liberal, an extravagant portion.
  • Overflowing, profuse, over-and-above.
  • An extremely plentiful or over-sufficient quantity or supply.

Abundance isn’t just for each one of us personally in various areas of our lives, but it is given to us because we are salt to the earth, flavour to the world, the fragrance of Christ in us and through us as the world cries out for his bounty.

Sometimes our heads can know this, but as we truly plant this word in our hearts, it comes more alive. No longer do we secretly think we don’t deserve this abundance, but we now long to live in it and watch for it to unfold daily in our interactions with others, in our daily habits.

We don’t have to hold back because we barely have enough for ourselves, but we have overflowing and surplus of whatever it is – love, mercy, compassion, finances, peace.

Jesus, I am so blessed that you came down from heaven to give us life abundant. I choose to see your excess everyday. I make agreement with it; I walk in it; I listen to it; and, I will look for it always. You are an awesome God of “more-than-enough.” Whatever area in my life that feels lacking, I trust you are going to fill it up to overflowing. In your name I pray, Amen.

Australia, Social problems, Uncategorized

Emily’s Voice

baby-in-womb

The issue of abortion is one of the most polarizing subjects of our time.  People’s strong opinions on both sides of the issue make it difficult to have an open and honest dialogue.  Usually, someone’s agenda is at stake.  Politicians have votes and money on the line; doctors and abortion clinics do too.  Women in crisis have emotions, fear and stress affecting their judgement.  And, many Christians have a “holier-than-thou” judgemental mindset that widens the gap between those who consider themselves “pro-choice” and those who are “pro-life.”

We celebrate medical technology advancements like intrauterine surgery to save a baby’s life on one day; and the next, we see medical professionals advocating killing a “fetus” that’s the same age or older in the name of Women’s Rights.  The prevalence of lies surrounding the subject is one thing.  The absence of truth is another. I believe if most people are given the facts on both sides of an issue, they are competent and capable to make a wise decision on the matter.  When rhetoric and emotion are involved, this is hard to accomplish.

The facts are that at LEAST 80K babies are aborted annually in Australia alone.  And, there is a MAJOR lack of information and resources out there to actually help women (and men) facing a crisis pregnancy situation.  Contrary to popular belief, more than half of abortions are for social reasons, not because a mother’s health is in grave danger or because the baby suffers with a disability. 97% of aborted babies are PERFECTLY HEALTHY.  (Click here for references or to read more facts about abortion.) Sadly, abortion is often the only option a lot of women feel is available to them. We want to help change this in our community.

We have recently personally partnered with an amazing organization called Emily’s Voice which exists to help Australians fall in love with the unborn.  Motivated by love for the mother and her unborn baby, Emily’s Voice uses a clever and beautiful marketing campaign (30 sec commercials, bus ads, billboards) to portray real life stories of people who were faced with an unplanned pregnancy or with the news that their baby had a disability.  Sometimes the ads just remind us that “long before our first steps, first haircut and first heartache, the journey’s already begun in the womb.”  By highlighting beautiful facts about our unique features like hair, feet, or hands, we are reminded of the miracle that is LIFE.

Sadly, one in three Australian women will have an abortion.  This means one in four pregnancies are terminated.  However, 70% of women who had an abortion say they would have continued the pregnancy if a significant “other” had encouraged them. We believe Australians mindsets about abortion will change over time.  Much like the major government marketing strategy to highlight the dangers of smoking (no one actually thinks it’s a wise decision to smoke due to the influx of truth about this disgusting habit), Emily’s Voice will help Australians become aware of the fact that abortion is bad for more than just the baby who loses its life.  The emotional and physical ramifications for the mother are dangerous too.

Because of our own personal experience and passion to see these stats and mindsets change, Greg and I want to help others affected by this issue.  We have a vision to see a crisis pregnancy centre in our city which will provide education and support to women facing difficult situations. After all, if we really care about women’s rights, they deserve to have emotional support and correct information to make their CHOICE.  If you would like more information about Emily’s Voice or to partner with them now, click here.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made! Psalm 133:13-14 (MSG)