Finding inspiration for everyday life in everyday life

Tag Archives: Jeremiah

Draw near

I’m sitting on my bedroom floor surrounded by pieces of duplo. My 4 year old has just finished playing with them and has run off to find other toys (to add to the collection on my bedrooms floor!). In those brief moments between his departure and joyful arrival back with another armload of toys was a sacred space today. Moments when I sat back contemplating the playtime with my little chap. A moment when my thoughts of how much I love him turned towards God. When in that place of momentary rest I found myself enveloped by the presence of God.

God is not constrained or restricted by time. He doesn’t hold back His presence until you have a sizeable chunk of time set aside for Him. He is always near, always present and always ready to encounter us. That brief moment encountering the presence of God was not my only conscious time with God that day, but it was a stand out, precious and memorable moment. It was as tangible as the all enveloping hugs that my grandmother used to give me. It was as precious as an hour spent in worship at church or time spent with my Bible. It was an ordinary moment turned extraordinary as I connected with God while sitting on my bedroom floor surrounded by duplo.

 “Am I a God who is near,” declares the Lord, “And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the Lord.
“Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:23-24)

 

 


mirror3

Ok, so the lyrics of a Christmas Carol have inspired me! It’s funny what songs you find yourself singing at random times! But it’s a good question! Although don’t worry the answer isn’t taking me down a Christmas inspired route with tinsel and bells, but rather to the mirror.

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see your flaws first, the things you don’t like about yourself? Do you find yourself doing a stocktake of grey hairs or wrinkles? Or bemoaning the shape of your eyes or mouth? What about the invisible parts of you? Do you find yourself looking at an invisible mirror that reflects back your personality, your intelligence? Maybe it reflects back how poorly you think you are doing as a mother, friend, worker….Do you have times when quite frankly you don’t even like yourself?

And believe me, the enemy loves it when we question and criticize what we see in the mirror. He’s at the ready with barrage of words to assist. Worthless…ugly…dumb…unnoticed….unlovely…failure…guilty….I could go on, but I am unwilling to assist the enemy with his negative adjectives!

The best defence is the God defence! You see, when I started singing (well in my head singing!) this song, I heard this phrase “do you see what I see?” as if God was saying it and not the night wind or the shepherd boy! But God saying it of us – “Do you see what I see?”

Do we? Do we really see ourselves as God sees us?

Straight away we can put a red line through the negative words that we say to ourselves or carry around in our hearts. For that is not what God sees when He looks at us. He sees a person who is beloved, treasured, fearfully and wonderfully made, chosen, called, greatly loved, purposed and predestined, redeemed, holy, a new creation, a royal priesthood.

I heard someone recently recount how they had taught “Siri” (Apple’s personal assistant app) to call him “Your majesty”. If I ever get around to installing Siri on my phone I might be tempted to do the same. A little bit of royalty in my day can’t hurt me! But laughs aside, make sure that you are letting the words you say about yourself line up with what God says about you – what He thinks about you and what He sees when He looks at you! We need to give the enemy no chance of rebuttal with his words of condemnation.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3)

“you are precious in my eyes, and honoured, and I love you” (Isaiah 43:4)


joy

This image, for me, immediately brought to mind the song “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart”. It was a song I used to sing at Sunday School. In Church Halls we gathered around a teacher playing the keyboard or a guitar, and sang the words written on large pieces of cardboard. No video clips, no power point slides, no ipod adding extra volume. But still it was fun,  we sang our hearts out and we encountered God. We sang lyrics of “If I were a butterfly, I’d thank you Lord for giving me wings”, “Peter and John went to pray”, and one of my personal favourites, “I may never march in the infantry…but I’m in the Lord’s army!”

All these years later, it doesn’t take much to bring these songs rushing back to my mind. I know I can never read in the Bible of Peter and John heading to the temple to pray without singing it in song! My children have endured (?) and learnt these songs too as I sing them in the car to them, eager to pass on these delights. That is until the 3 year old tells me “no song mummy, no song”. A reflection I think more on my singing than on the song itself!

There’s something about the eternal dimension of these songs that worship Jesus. It’s like my heart as a child grabbed hold of them, as much as it grabs hold of Scripture and engraves it on my heart. And there these songs and Scripture wait, ready to be recalled to mind when I need it.

“I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

With this song, with its verses of “I’ve got the joy”, “the peace that passes understanding” and “the love of Jesus”, it has all the elements of the life that God wants me to live! He wants me to live in peace in all circumstances even when the circumstances contradict the ability to be at peace. He wants me to live in joy, knowing that I can be content no matter what. And He wants me to live my life from the revelation and knowledge that I have the eternal,  everlasting and ever faithful love of Jesus in my heart and upon my life.

It’s certainly something to sing about!

I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
Where?  Down in my heart!
Where?  Down in my heart!
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart,
down in my heart
down in my heart to stay.

I’ve got the peace that passes understanding,
Down in my heart,
Where? Down in my heart!
Where? Down in my heart!
I’ve got the peace that passes understanding,
down in my heart
down in my heart to stay.

I’ve the got love of Jesus, love of Jesus
Down in my heart,
Where? Down in my heart!
Where? Down in my heart!
I’ve the got love of Jesus, love of Jesus
down in my heart,
down in my heart to stay.


birthday

Yip, yesterday was my birthday! I had a great day, and while I didn’t succeed in making it a holiday for everyone at work (I did try!), I did have a fun day! Amongst the lovely birthday cards was one with the word “May you live life fully, find happiness in little things, follow all your dreams, always realise how truly beautiful you are – and never forget how much you’re loved.”

Wise and true words I think! As I read them, I was reminded of Dr Seuss’ poem “Happy Birthday to you!”

If you’d never been born, well then what would you be?

You might be a fish! Or a toad in a tree!…

Or worse than all that…Why, you might be a WASN’T

A Wasn’t has no fun at all. No, he doesn’t.

A Wasn’t just isn’t. He just isn’t present.

 But you…you ARE YOU! And, now isn’t that pleasant!…

Today you are you! That is truer than true!

There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Shout loud, “I am lucky to be what I am!

Thank goodness I’m not just a clam or a ham

Or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam!…

I am what I am! That’s a great thing to be!

If I say so myself, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!”

 (Dr Seuss, Happy Birthday to me!, 1959)

God created each of us with an eternal and specific purpose in mind. He has a good future for us that He planned from the beginning. The purpose and plans God has for us were specifically planned for each of us, not our neighbour, friend or colleague. We can’t fulfil their destiny and they can’t fulfil ours. We were born by His purpose and for His purpose.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart.”  (Jeremiah 1:5)

  “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to me.” (Psalm 139:16)

We have a choice. We can either align ourselves and thereby identify with what is said about us and what the world thinks of us, or we can identify with Jesus. Jesus was secure because He knew His destiny. He said He knew who He was because He knew where He came from and where He was going. That is, He identified Himself with His Father.

“Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going.” (John 8:14)

Remember the fairytale – the Ugly Duckling? Just like the farm animals failed to see the Ugly Duckling’s potential and opted to judge him based on his outward appearance, today we are often tempted to do the same based purely on the natural realm. We can judge and be judged based on appearance, ability, education, status. But God knows what hidden treasure and potential He has placed in us.

When the people saw a Shepherd Boy, God saw a King. When people saw a common fisherman, God saw the rock upon which He would build His Church. The Lord looks on us in our finished state. His perspective of us is eternity. When He speaks to us it is as finished not as we are now. He calls us out, just like He called Gideon into his destiny by claiming him as a man of valour. When we know who we are in Christ, we then are secure regardless of our position. That is certainly something to celebrate!!!!

So Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to you! And remember you are loved – by our amazing God!



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