Kindness without a cause

November 30, 2006

Kindness without a cause is worth nothing… or is it?

This morning a helpful gentleman give me a coin when the car park machine failed to accept my pound. I don’t know whether he was a Christian but due to the musing that followed in my mind i’d now like to know his faith status!

We’re told in scripture that we may be put to death for our faith, but if we don’t have love it warrants nothing.  It’s the same the other way round – if we sacrifice ourselves out of kindness but have no faith then we’re left asking – ‘What is it worth?’.  Is it nothing more than making one or more people feel good, and is that in itself an intrinsically wrong motive?

Good deeds alone don’t grant us the gift of having our sin forgotten and washed away, and it’s not the ticket to eternal life… the good deeds need to be done out of love and in faith.

I’ll be wary next time i go the the ticket machine at the station car park – who knows what theological musings it may stir up! 😉

p.s. Up tomorrow ‘Humble pie with blueberries in’!  Then at the weekend i’m thinking of having online confession time!  Mmm…

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Get out the chicken coup!

November 29, 2006

“Christmas is coming and the Turkey’s getting fat!”

Life on a farm at Christmas would be interesting, i’ve decided.  Having chickens in the garden laying eggs and beans sprouting outside the kitchen window ready for lunch (although i appreciate that it is possibly the wrong time of year for the latter!).  Farm life is slightly idyllic for some and the idea of a nightmare for others!

My sister and i had the privilege of flying concorde from Paris to London a number of years ago (as you do!).  It was all paid for by a generous lady in our town.  Turbulence ensued in the sky and i found it a rather fun rollercoaster ride.  You would think we’d been on different flights though because afterwards i raved about it while my sister said the storm in the sky was a terrifying and awful!

The story of our reactions to the concorde flight always reminds me that everyone experiences things differently, and therefore what brings one person joy brings dread to another (just like the idea of living on a farm!). 

It requires some effort to learn how those around you react in certain situations, what makes them happy and what causes anxiety, but i am determined to be more aware today and to rejoice in everybody’s differences. 

In acknowledging that we’re all different it might help me understand others more.  For example if i’m called to be an eye then i must try get on with being an eye rather than trying to be a nose.  If someone is called to be an ear then i must commend them for being a good ear rather than getting annoyed that they are not being as good an eye as i am. (If you’re confused blame Paul -although i try not to be part of the blame culture – see Romans 12:3-13!)

Don’t try to be a chicken if you’re called to be an eagle, but if you’re an eagle don’t try to make everyone else one!

Make way – No time today!

November 28, 2006

Our rush/punctuality culture hit me starkly this morning when the train to work was delayed by 8 minutes.  The delay was caused by torrential rain, and i guess the train didn’t much fancy getting up for work so had to be gently coaxed by its driver.

To be honest 8 minutes really isn’t much of a wait for a train, but because we have our days planned almost to the second this throws the entire day out of sync.

A monk i know once said that he had no problem with being late for something because in a fast paced timetabled life we can miss openings to ‘be God’ to others.  Today, have i timetabled for the guy who’ll stop me in the shop for a chat waiting for someone to tell him about God if only they’re open to the Spirit’s prompting to do so, or the friend who will phone for a listening ear?

Our time can be so structured that the spontaniety of the Spirit is stifled.  I must try to allow some space in my timetable for the unexpected today!

ps Thanks to those of you who enquired about my health – sparse posting of late was due to a bout of sickness but i am now back in action!

Mountains and Troughs!

November 25, 2006

We all have them – ups and downs!

This time of year I think there are more starkly noticeable mountains and valleys in society: there can be big build ups to Thanksgiving and Christmas, often followed by an anti-climax.

I am often guilty of getting caught up in commercial hype, in the excitement of preparing for something, finding joy in that.  God intends us to celebrate feasts and to enjoy the preparation of them, but somehow i must remember in the midst of it all that true joy comes from spending time with the one from whom all Joy finds its source.

Lord, when we have busy days ahead help us plan in advance as part of our preparations how and where in that day we will sit with you. 

It can be in the bear place of a cave or stable that we encounter You most profoundly, in that trough moment, rather than at the feast.  You are to be found up the mountain of transfiguration and in the valley of the garden of Gethsemene.

Praise God that He is unchanging as is the same when we’re up the hill or down in the trough!

Time travel

November 23, 2006

Time travel is often featured in films – either travelling back in time or into the future.  Our fascination with the future comes, i think, from a quest for knowledge and excitement and fulfilment, a wanting to know if there is a better quality of life for us than the one we presently live… so we ask ‘What will tomorrow hold?’, or we sing ‘Tomorrow, tomorrow, i love ya tomorrow…’.  The trouble is, i find myself living today caught up in tomorrow already!

I can become so caught up in planning for the future, being expectant about what God will do in the future that i can completely miss what He’s up to today!  If we spend our time living in the future then we’ll never to satisfied with today; but if we aim to be content with today then the hope the future holds will be even greater.

God has an amazing tomorrow planned for you, but don’t miss the amazing TODAY He has planned by dwelling on tomorrow.

 p.s. Yes, i acknowledge the need for vision and to look ahead, but that’s a separate point! 😉

I will not be moved!

November 22, 2006

Is your mood affected by the circumstances around you or by what’s going on in the lives of those you meet?  Mine is!

If those around me are in a good mood then i feel i can relax; if there is an issue i need to sort then i can lean towards a grumpy disposition.  It seems wrong that i change with the wind and lack stability. 

I think God intends us to be grounded on ‘the rock’ and not be moved by that which is around us, to not be knocked by the storms, but to remain in the truth that God has the victory and that i am loved by Him. 

At the same time as remaining unchangeable, i believe God intends us to relate to one another and share in the joys and sorrows those around us are experiencing.

It is our faith in Him that needs to remain steadfast and not be buffeted by circumstances.  Today i will try say to myself in all situations: ‘I will not be moved!’.  If someone shouts at me, then, ‘I will not be moved’…. i.e. not be moved to anger or retaliation, but i WILL be moved to love and patience and Christ like behaviour!

The Divine Ink Eraser

November 21, 2006

Sitting in a radio studio is not something every person can relate to, so let me explain:  More often than not you will have a foam microphone at chewing height & an attractive set of clumpy headphones to decorate your ears, rather like the ear muffs worn in days gone by on cold winter days. 

With live radio there is no rewind button, so if a mistake is made it is made forever – you can try patch it up or dig yourself out of the hole, but the stain will have happened and listeners will remember it – so it cannot be got rid of! 

In life we can try put plasters on situations, to patch them up, but a plaster is a mere counterfeit of real skin and simply hides a wound.  BUT GOD ERADICATES OUR MISTAKES and CAN WIPE THE PAST CLEAN!  He’s outside of time so can go back to the moment of the stain, of that mistake made on live radio, and get rid of it.  

Praise God for the victory over sin and death as won for us on the cross.  All we have to do is ASK and the Divine Ink Eraser will wash our lives clean!

Make a memory!

November 20, 2006

I was struck by a scene from a film i was watching with my little sister.  The girl in the film talked about ‘making a memory’: taking in the smells, the feel of the things around her, and the things she could see with her eyes in that moment, so she could recall it whenever she wanted to. 

Life doesn’t last forever and we don’t know whether what was in existence today will be here tomorrow – whether that’s a feeling of joy, a sunset, a building or a person.  The thing i took from all this is an age old saying: MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY MOMENT.  Each moment is a gift from God and there is something amazing in it even if it’s a moment of despair and anguish. 

There is something awe-inspiring about every second we live… let’s try to find the marvel of the moment and so live more fully!

Can you have brunette angels?

November 18, 2006

I had fun chatting to a new singing sensation group in the UK called ‘All Angels’ the other day.  They are 4 talented girls who have many titles including Young Chorister of the year, Composing titles, sporting achievements and more.  They have been thrown into the limelight and travelled from TV studios, to radio studios, to Rememberance services, to the Royal Albert Hall to Trafalgar Square….

The thing that struck me was how humble one of them was when i asked about her life prior to this album and she threw in passing some things and was very humble about it.  I was struck by her playing down what she has done rather than parading her accolades.

How many of us like to proclaim our ‘claims to fame’ whenever we have a moment… John the Baptist could’ve said ‘Hey, my Mum was mates with Jesus’ mum’ but he didn’t try to link himself to get favour.

Our favour lies in God’s blessing alone.  Our worth is not in what we do or have done but in being children of God.

You don’t know who i am!

November 17, 2006

We go through our lives walking past people in the street, working alongside people and often we know little about them yet draw conclusions about who they are. 

Someone we see on a regular basis can have a big dilemma happening in their life but often no-one around them knows.  Equally it works the other way round that we ourselves can have something going on that we keep to ourselves.

The person on the desk next to you, or a mother you chat to at the school gate… both can have difficulties going on in their lives about which you have no clue.  Why does this matter to me so much? 

Sometimes there can be someone in our life who appears particularly grumpy, or who fails to turn up when you arrange to meet, or who is rubbish at time keeping, or snaps at the smallest thing… my issue is that we don’t know WHY they are behaving the way they are.

The way i see it is that we need to love everyone as a child of God, and realise that their spouse may be at home dying of an illness, their child may be self harming, their family maybe be feuding, their finances may be in strain, they may be struggling with their identity and self worth.  We don’t always know, so my suggestion today is that we try to give those we meet the love God so patiently bestows on us!

God gives us the benefit of the doubt so let’s give to others what God has given to us.

Most people can say ‘You don’t know who i am or you don’t know what’s going on in my life’.  Reach out in love because in doing so you may prevent someone stepping into despair.