I heard of some lovely things happening yesterday at a small, local Christian school.
1)The first to give, a traveller family who’s children were attending donated a big Christmas tree, but as school broke up it needed a home.
2) One of the pupils had recently lost his father to an unsuspected medical problem and it was discovered his mum had been too busy and upset to think about a tree etc. so the school decided to give them the tree – adding all the lights and decorations.
3) As it was a large tree there was a problem getting it there, till one of the school families offered the use of their truck.
4) The mum being busy, the school caretaker offered to come along and set it up and help with the decor.
All this was on top of their planned Christmas good deeds – inviting lonely old folks in for carols and a Christmas dinner, and distributing gifts to needy families. God bless them in their giving.
God said, not made. This often-overlooked detail of Genesis is of earthshattering importance. Throughout mankind those that would help others, change the world, improve their life or heath etc. focus on the doing, the works. There is nothing wrong in this, it’s good, proactive, but because of this, we tend to overlook the incredible power of speech.
Ever noticed with those that continually gripe and grown, prophesying worse to come, life tends to meet their expectations? Similarly, the sunny souls who seldom speak of their troubles and ailments tend to fare far better.
There is a reason for that over and above our perceptions. This is particularly true for Christians. The God that spoke creation into being dwells within us and our words have His same power. That is how and why miracles and healings happen. Like God, we have the power to speak things into being. Waking this dormant power within us takes faith and, faith for healing for example, more often begins with healing a cut finger or headache than curing cancer or aids. Like a muscle, it must be exercised in small things first, but even for non-believers, words work to a degree, which is why these self-help techniques can be so effective.
The modern trend in literature and media is for “realism”, happy endings are frowned upon as unrealistic. I’m happy to say that has not been my experience of life, (and believe me, my life has been very adventurous, often dangerous, and if I were to go by the “reality” the world promotes I should be dead or at least destitute lol!) Instead I seem to lead a charmed life. I’ve been challenged about this before, why, though we have our share of troubles etc. our family eventually come out “without even the smell of smoke” in fact better than before. I would say it was due to Rom. 8:28 (if you don’t know it look it up, it’s one of the best verses to claim!)
So if life is not treating you well, speak change, speak health, provision, love, a relationship, whatever you are lacking, into being. Think of it like building a wall or dwelling each positive statement of faith, each verse claimed, each promise proclaimed is like a brick you set in place. Sometimes the enemy will come in and try to tear down your wall, especially in the beginning, but your word is stronger than his because you have God’s power inside you. Don’t run scared, speak his attacks into oblivion, wield the promises of God aloud and unrelentingly till he is forced to give up and leave. He cannot stand the word, nor can anything evil in this world.
“Work is not always required of a man. There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” George Macdonald 1824 – 1905)
I wonder what he would think of modern society?
I notice it most on my walks when, awestruck, I stand and gaze enthralled at some spectacular aspect, the light through the trees, reflections in the water, tall, pale grasses against the sky, vibrant autumn leaves, dewdrops on a web. On and on my list goes, without limit, any time, any weather, such wonders lie about us if we will only stop and ponder. I watch others, blinkered, pass them by. Joggers, minds set on goal fulfilments, earphones crowding out the sounds of nature, women endlessly chatting, engrossed with each other, couples whose eyes turn upon each other. Only dog walkers pause to look sometimes, trapped by their canine associates, whose world revolves on scents and smells.
We rush to accomplish and neglect to be.
- It’s what’s inside that counts.
- To be about to carry “hot stuff” you must have endured the heat of the kiln.
- If the spout is blocked no matter how good the tea, no one gets to taste it.
- Don’t judge the tea by the pot that contains it.
- You don’t need to be pretty, new, expensive or something special to be of use.
- Even with a few chips and worn pattern you can bring refreshment to people.
- Being of familiar use every day trumps special glorious accomplishments.
“We have this treasure in earthern vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2nd Cor 4:7)
I love that word “earthern”. Having studied pottery I understand just what that clay went through to become a pot – the slamming and cutting of the wedging process, the intimate touch of the potters hand, being “abandoned” pushed into the fiery kiln etc. Something of the earth, taken from the earth, shaped by the potter’s hand to become a vessel to hold the living spirit of God. Earthern vessels hold no glory of their own but into the vacume formed within God pours His lifegiving spirit, which, like the tea, we share with others. The simple, teapot, at home with friends, family and neighbours pouring forth comfort and refreshing.
- First has to be the sunrises! It rises later so I shuffle sleepily along to open the balcony blinds and stop awestruck, suddenly awake to the beauty of creation.
- Toasting my back against warm radiators mmmm nothing like it!
- White vistas, whether snow or frost, white light and sparkling edges against pale blue skies.
- Changing wardrobes to cuddly sweaters, hats and gloves.
- A change of foods – pies, soups and stews suddenly become attractive.
- Hot chocolate after a long walk in the cold.
- Last but not least snuggling into my comfy warm duvet on a cold night.
A while ago my precious friend and prayer partner and I had, what I must confess was close to an argument, during our prayer morning. She’d asked prayer for a long-standing and very sensitive problem. Many well-meaning friends had tried to help her in that area, but she wasn’t ready to receive their advice and I in clumsy, insensitive manner “hit a nerve” in my prayer for her.
We are from very different backgrounds and the Lord uses this to give rich, well-rounded prayers but these things can grate on us sometimes, and that morning resulted in a flare-up. She was hurt by my prayer that she’d be able to give the situation to God and leave it in His hands (something she insisted she’d done to no effect). I was hurt, as my prayer had been well-meaning, and was rather shocked she’d interrupt a prayer to insist it wasn’t the kind she wanted. Worse, this was in front of a new Christian that had recently joined our group.
Amazingly he intervened, praying the kind of prayer she wanted which enabled us to continue with other requests thank God. I didn’t have a peace in my heart about it though, feeling the disunity just there under the surface, so at the end confessed I was feeling under attack and asked if we could pray and rebuke the enemy. My friend was a little hesitant but thankfully went along with it.
As soon as we began to pray and rebuke the enemy the spirit fell heavily, and the Lord spoke. We felt like naughty children, pride and hurt vanished and deep abiding unity was restored. My friend and I hugged, expressing our love for each other. We’ve been close for a while, but this brought us even closer. The young Christian friend was encouraged that he’d been of help, saw we weren’t perfect, and got a firsthand example of the unity only God can give.
Walking home, everything seemed alive and glowing like my vision had been enhanced somehow. In prayer, I’d commanded anything that was not of Jesus to go. I’d been having a little trouble with my eyes for a while and I realized whatever it was had gone. Later my friend confided that she’d from that time felt peace about the situation we’d prayed for, that she truly felt able to give it to God – a huge victory. Jesus turned our human frailties into wonderful victories.