Monday, 27 October 2014


Twice in two days I have heard two people, two men, confess to having pride.  And when it happened the second time it struck me that it was very brave for both of them to say so. 

Our culture doesn’t do this kind of confession.  Our culture doesn’t like showing personal flaws.  And definitely not by men. 

It’s because they are Christians.  Recognition of personal sinfulness is part of being a Christian, confession of this (sometimes to others, but always to God) is also part of being  a Christian.  But it still takes guts to admit it. 

The example of these two men has encouraged me to be real about my own sins.  I too am proud, though it may be in different ways than those friends.  And I need to recognise this and other things in my heart for what they are.  And I need to confess these sins to God, and perhaps to others too. 

I’m so thankful that I’m part of the Christian family that confesses sins and receives forgiveness from God.  That supports and encourages each other in personal struggles.  That doesn’t condemn but points to the cross of Jesus. 

If this hasn’t been your experience of the Christian family I am sorry.  Please don’t give up on us, or on God.  We are all sinners and we won’t always get love right.  I’m sorry for the times that I haven’t been this Christian family.  But I pray that God would keep making his children more and more like Jesus, including me. 

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Throw away decisions

I’ve never been very good at making decisions.  Big decisions, small decisions.  Often with small decisions I simply don’t have an opinion.  “Where do you want to go out to dinner tonight?”  I’ve never been good at answering that question. 

But I’m not good with big decisions either, life decisions.  I’ve been reading some of my old prayer journals and I was struck by one that I wrote during year 12.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  I didn’t know what to choose to study at uni.  I just wanted God to tell me what to do.  I wanted someone to be able to look into the future, tell me what I was doing, just so I didn’t have to make the choice.  I remembered that desire.  I still have it sometimes.

I think this was and is because I don’t trust myself.  I didn’t trust myself to make the ‘right decision’.  I didn’t feel that I knew myself well enough to choose something that would be good for me, or would be what God wanted me to do. 

It also shows that I thought there was a right and a wrong decision for my life’s direction.  I thought that God had a plan for my life, and what if I got it WRONG?  Somewhere along the line I was taught, or picked up the idea, that God had a plan for my life.  If he knows the future, and he  knows my every decision then he must have a plan for my life, right? 


Of course these things are true, but not in the way that I thought they were.  God does know what will happen and he does have a plan for my life.  His plan is for me to live a life that loves and obeys him, the rest is just details that he has given me the freedom to choose.* 

God does not have a SPECIFIC plan for my life that I have to discover. 

I’ve had to fight with this idea a lot.  It has paralysed my decision making.  It has stunted my trust in myself.  I’m still fighting this idea.

Sometimes I still wish that God would make decisions for me.  But I’ve realised that making my own decisions is part of growing up, maturing into a well-functioning adult and a well-functioning Christian.  I pray that God would give me wisdom to help me in making decisions and I’m learning not to throw away my decisions.


* Discussion about free will obviously fits in here but it’s too much for me to address properly here.  Perhaps in another post. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Thankful Thursday

Here are the things I’m thankful for this week:

Assignments are over!
On Saturday I submitted my last assignment for the year.  It was meant to be submitted Friday.  Oh well.  It was a big assignment so I’m just glad to have finished it.  I think a number of students were relieved it was done.  On Monday morning back at college I had more than one deliriously silly conversation about the assignment  with a friend. 
But the year isn’t finished yet.  I’m thankful that this was the last assignment so that I can now concentrate on exams.  We’ve got two more weeks of classes, a study week and then exams. 

A family visit
This weekend J’s mum came to stay with us.  It was lovely having her with us, being able to show her our place, our community, church and college.  She was a wonderful house guest, she even did the dishes for us!  J and I are both thankful for her love and kindness and support.  We were glad to be able to share with her what our life is like here. 

Catching a leak in the act
On Tuesday night there was a big storm that hit our city.  I was at home watching NCIS.  (there are three NCIS series on at the moment, how am I supposed to watch them all?  Yay, for catch-up TV!) 
Our front window leaks in heavy rain and drips all the way down the venetian blind.  But it wasn’t just dripping Tuesday night.  The water was practically pouring down the wall and behind the couch.  I had to dash upstairs for some towels to soak it all up. 
The wall looks like it needs a bit of a clean, but I think I caught it before it got too out of hand.  If I hadn’t been home who knows what our couch would have looked like.  So thank you NCIS for distracting me from study so I was home to catch the leak.  Well, more like: thank you God for your providential timing. 

What are you thankful for this week?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Thankful Thursday

I’ve been thinking about this Thankful Thursday series this week and I realised that it has turned out to be an easy way of summarising my week and my thankfulness for the things that have happened through it.  This is of course one way that this series can be expressed. 

When I started it I thought I would write about ordinary things in life, like “I’m thankful for my toaster”, and so I would be reminded (and also be a reminder to you) to be thankful in even the little things of life. 

But instead I’ve most often been thankful for things that have happened.  This has made me realise just how blessed I am that my weeks comes with events I can thank God for.  I don’t have to search very far to thank God. 

But I do want to be reminded and be a reminder to be thankful in even the little things, so I’ll be trying to include some of these in my regular posts.  Perhaps one remedy is to blog more so that I share the events with you outside of these posts, but I’m not sure how easily that will happen.  We’ll see. 

So with that out of the way, here are thing things that I’m thankful for this week:

Rides to and from the airport
As previously mentioned I flew back home this past weekend, and I was extremely thankful to have family drop me at the airport and pick me up on the other side.  I’m thankful that my family love me and show it by doing this.  When I arrived my sister was there to greet me with open arms.  Dad even came into the terminal with me when I was leaving.  Thanks family for your generosity with your time. 

Our washing machine
I’m so glad that I don’t have to wash all our clothes in buckets or in a laundry sink (particularly because we don’t have one of those!).  I’ve done more washing than normal this week because we’ve had two occasions of people staying with us and I’ve washed their sheets and towels after they’ve gone.  I’m thankful for the way washing is made easier by being able to just throw it in the machine, set it going and do something else while it washes.  We only have two or three loads of washing a week and even with that little amount I am thankful for the washing machine. I’m sure I’ll be thankful again and again for a washing machine if our regular load ever grows. 

Bread Run
Once a week our college community collects the left over bread from a local-ish Bakers’ Delight.  I’m thankful that having this means that our grocery shopping is a little bit cheaper.  I’m also thankful for the banter that happens around the bread bags and the way that our community has fun together. 

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Bible verse chain mail

There’s a thing going around on Facebook at the moment where Christians are sharing their favourite Bible verse or verses and then nominating others to share theirs.  I was nominated today.

My friend who nominated me wrote about it as spreading God’s word.  And it got me thinking.  I wonder who started this Bible verse chain.  What was their purpose?  There are a number of purposes they could have.  Encouraging Christians.  Sharing the Christian hope with non-Christians.  The Bible has verses for both of these things.  But what you share will be different based on what you want to achieve. 

I don’t have a particular favourite Bible verse so I’ve decided that this frees me to choose any. 

The verses I chose are 1 John 4:9-10

9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

I want to share the Christian hope.  These verses tell us that God loves us so much that his son Jesus died in our place, as a sacrifice to pay for our sins, which separate us from God.  If you have questions about this, if it doesn’t make sense to you, I’d love to discuss it with you.  Give me a call.