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Thursday, 19 April 2018

195 - God using the crooked things

Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked? (Ecclesiastes 7:13)

Life ain't easy.

Our family, for example, in just this month, have seen

- Broken appliances
- Faulty cars
- Ended relationships
- Jobs being made redundant
- The threat of ill health

I don't say this to moan, to say look at how hard we have it.

I say it because the verse I quoted at the top of this post was a verse I heard in a very timely sermon.

A sermon that reminded us God is sovereign and His way is best.

That reminded us He uses crooked and imperfect things in our life to work out His perfect will.

We would like life to be simple and straight-forward.

We would like to glide from one job to another without the uncertainty of unemployment.

We would like easy relationships with mutual feelings and no drama.

We would like perfection now, with no work at all.

But that's not how God works.

It's when fear tries to grip us that we learn how to pull out of its grasp and cling to the Rock who never falters, Jesus Christ.

It's when the things we lean on are whipped out from under us that we realise God will catch us even when we think we have been left without support.

And it's when the things we try to find our happiness and identity in our removed, we realise one thing is true.

We are God's children.

He will never change. So that will never change.

His ways are higher.

His methods may seem confusing. Unfair.

But when we look at His dying Son on the Cross, we can be sure.

We may not know what He is doing with the crooked things.

But He loves us.

Because His Son endured it all first.

Thank you God for using the bad to create the good.

Monday, 12 March 2018

194 - Tears

'You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?'  (Psalm 56:8)

And I'm back! First post of 2018. Whoops...

Tears may seem like a strange subject to start with on a blog all about being thankful. After all, what's good about tears? Your eyes go red and blotchy, your nose runs, your cheeks are wet and your voice is all hoarse.

Well, it's because they are a kind of release. A way of being honest.

Tears say 'No, I'm not alright. I can't pretend I'm alright anymore.'

Tears get rid of that tight ache in your chest and the overwhelming misery in your heart.

The Bible assures us that God sees and cares about each tear we shed. When we hide in the bathrooms and feel like no-one else sees or cares, He does see. And He does care. Oh, He cares so much.

He weeps with us.

But He will do more than that.

The Bible promises us that there will be a day when we shall never again cry tears of grief. God Himself will personally wipe them away.

And if we do cry again, you can bet it will be tears of laughter.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

193 - Constantly amazed by Nature

'For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.' (Romans 1:20)

Isn't it amazing that the world we leave in is the same world, every day, and let there are still aspects of Nature that never fail to amaze us?

The other day, I was coming back from work. It was raining and the sun was setting. I was standing at the top of the hill we live on and see the sun's light against the rain clouds - the rays falling in beams across the horizon - the pinks and the golds. And it was beautiful.

I must have seen hundreds of sunsets in my lifetime. And I imagine I'll see many more.

And yet they never cease to amaze me with their beauty.


Maybe there's something a little different about each one. Or maybe its the was y God uses the objects He created to work in a way that reflects His glory.

Maybe its the appreciation of beauty that He put inside us. Or the recognition that Nature is a pale reflection of something better yet to come - Heaven itself. 

So admire the sun on morning dew. Stare up at the stars. And be thankful that God made a Creation that constantly amazes us!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

192 - Size of the Universe

'When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?' (Psalm 8:3-4)

Apparently it's estimated that there are around 400 billion stars in our galaxy alone. Just our galaxy. 400 billion stars.

Estimates also say there are 350,000,000,000 galaxies. If all those galaxies, contain the same amount of stars as our galaxy, then that's...a lot of stars.

Planets, black holes, suns, nebula and more.

The Hubble Telescope has only captured a tiny portion of our universe.

And Earth is just a tiny blue planet among it all.

Have a look at the Pale Blue Dot picture. It says it better than I can.

So, why is the Universe so big? Why are we, as far as we know and as the Bible tells us, the only beings made in God's image in this massive space?

Maybe it was to remind us how big God is (big is putting it mildly).

Maybe it was to remind us how small we are (small is also putting it mildly)

If we ever need to put life into perspective, we can look at the Universe. 

It humbles us when we're getting too arrogant.

We can remind ourselves that the One who made this enormous and beautiful Universe is the One who also made us and loves us deeply.

It doesn't matter how small we are. The infinite God knows each of us. And He has a plan for each of us.

That's something to be very, very thankful for.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

191 - Fostering

'Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy;deliver them from the hand of the wicked.' (Psalm 82:3-4)

Written in tribute to my amazing sister and brother-in-law who have recently ended their time as foster parents, due to their choice to adopt the children in their care!

Foster carers are incredible people.

There are so many children out there in desperate need of safe homes and loving families. Children who have endured things no child should have to.

Foster carers see that need and do something about it.

They take children into their homes, families and lives, sometimes risking having a very troubled young person in the house.

They endure well-meant (but sometimes annoying) remarks.

Some single foster carers raise several children alone.

And they say goodbye, over and over, as the children they've protected and loved move on to new homes.

Were it not for fosters, there would be many more needy children in the world today.

Thank you God for the kindness, sacrifice and love of foster carers.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

190 - Responding to Tragedy

' For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
(Matthew 25:31-46)

It sometimes feels these days like you wake up every morning and there's a new tragedy on the news.

The Manchester Bombing.

The two terrorist attacks in London.

The Grenfell tower fire.

We live in a broken world and we see evidence of that everyday.

But, we also see the incredible ways many respond to tragedy.

The supplies and donations contributed by thousands.

The celebrities who hold concerts and record songs to raise more money.

The fire-fighters and the NHS who saved so many lives.

For these people who respond to tragedy in the right way...For these people who reflect the compassion of Christ, whether they know it or not...For the God who is with us in tragedy...For the promised future when death and suffering will be no more...

For this, we can be very, very thankful.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

189 - Working with a good team

'Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.' (Proverbs 27:17)

I've been in my current job for nearly a year now. During that time, I've seen my team change a lot. Some have left and some have joined.

And I realised recently that the team I work with at the moment - I am happy working with them. We chat easily. They make me laugh and I make them laugh. We help each other out.

It's a gift of God to have a good team to work with. I know in some jobs, there would be people who annoy you, or who you don't get on with.

A good team makes it easier to go to work.

A good team is easier to work with.

Thank you God for the times you give us pleasant colleagues in our jobs.

May we glorify You to them!