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The Look

March 13, 2014

Psalm 32:8-10 (New King James Version)

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.

We’ve all experienced getting “The Look;” that silent gaze which communicates displeasure with our behaviour: “you’re being naughty and I know it!” Even a small child recognises the warning glint in the eyes of a parent when they’re unable to verbally reprimand them for their actions. Likewise, we have (hopefully!) also experienced the look in someone’s eyes that says “well done!,” “I’m proud of you!,” or, “I love you.” The closer we are to someone, the more sensitive we are to receiving the messages from their eyes.

This morning I was meeting with someone at a cafe. A blind man came into the cafe, led by his golden Labrador. I couldn’t help but look at the gentle, patient animal and the way it so carefully guided its owner in the way to go. He completely trusted the eyes of his dog to see for him, to the extent of allowing it to lead him through a busy Square.

Our Heavenly Father desires such intimacy of relationship with us that we’re sensitive enough to be “guided by his eye.” The example of the opposite in Psalm 32:9 causes me to think of more painful forms of guidance…a yank here and a yank there to get our attention and keep us on track. How God must delight when we come to him and learn from him willingly. How it must grieve him when we don’t “come near” out of heartfelt desire.

Father, help me to be a person of understanding. Teach me to train the eyes of my heart recognise your face and be sensitive to your direction, your encouragement, and even at times your displeasure. Teach me to hear your voice as I commune with you in your Word, in prayer, and walk with you in this journey of life. Help me to delight in you for your sake. Captivate my heart, Jesus!

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Easter

April 26, 2011

For the second year in a row I just spent my Easter long weekend camping out in a field with over 1,000 teenagers at Easter Camp. Having been to many such events over the years I’ve become somewhat cynical over [what I perceive as] the “hype” involved -The creation of expectation that following Jesus is always fun and exciting and will cause us to lead a happy, successful, prosperous life. The omission of any theology of suffering or sacrifice.

This year’s experience was a positive surprise. Yes, there was hype. Yes, there was the constant noise of loud, pumping music and endless activity from 8-12am each day. In the middle of it all, though, was a refreshing theme:

Dying to self.

Following Jesus call for the giving your life in service to the poor and broken of this world.

Finding yourself requires that you die to yourself.

Following Jesus isn’t easy. Some people die for it.

Etc.

A local contemporary Monastic community had set up a portable chapel at the camp where they continued their usual rhythm of three services a day. They were a great blend of Bible readings, chanting, prayer, silence and liturgy. I’m not certain, but they seemed to be a blend of New Zealand Anglicanism and Taize styles. It was very encouraging to see people taking time out in this quieter atmosphere and for me it helped make the loud, hyped up services not only bearable but enjoyable!

The young people had mixed reactions to the chapel services. Some loved it while others felt threatened by the quietness. One said, “it’s too quiet. I can’t stand the lack of noise.”

His comment got me thinking about how that is so often true of my own life and how my soul at times craves noise and activity in order to avoid the still, small voice of God and what are often his challenging words.

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God and Fairies

July 14, 2010

This week I’m running a children’s holiday programme at the church. Half the children are 5 and 6 year olds. I’d forgotten how cute, innocent and downright HONEST children that age are!

Near the end of each day’s programme we divide the children into small groups with leaders and talk about our favourite parts of the day’s story, what new things we learnt about God, etc. I asked my group of 5 and 6 year olds, “In today’s story, who did God send to protect Elisha and the Israelite army?” One little boy very quickly replied, “Oh, He sent the fairies!” Fairies…Angels…I guess they have wings in common.

We talked about how Elisha wasn’t afraid of the Syrian army because he knew God very well and knew He would take care of him. I asked the kids, “How can we get to know God better?” One replied, “We have to go to Auckland. God is in Auckland.” It was a pleasure to reassure him that, yes, God is in Auckland but He’s also right here with us in our city, too. Another little boy quickly moved over, patted the empty space beside him, and said “here’s a place for God!”

Help me be so quick to move over and invite You to sit beside me, God.

“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”
(Matthew 19:13-15)

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Lost Days

June 1, 2010

“Believe me, count as lost each day you have not used in loving God.” – Brother Lawrence

That is all.

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Rain

May 25, 2010

This morning I attended  the first of regular monthly city-wide youth workers’ prayer gathering. Considering it started at 7:15am, there was quite a decent turnout. We sat in a circle in holy and/or sleepy silence with the odd verbalised prayer being expressed. Then the rain came. Torrential rain, pounding on the roof. In the middle of the almost deafening noise, I felt God’s quiet reminder: “Jesus is the Living Water. Your Living Water.” The sound of the rain brought refreshing to my soul as I sat and became aware of the streams of living water within me. May they truly be streams that flow out. Not a pond that stagnates.

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” – John 7:38


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Warmth

May 18, 2010

I sit with a cup of

warm coffee

encircled

by my cold hands.

It causes me to ponder

the warmth

of Your presence, God,

in my heart.

A heart which is sometimes

cold

with worry, fear, sin or shame.

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God’s eye

May 5, 2010

Psalm 32:8-10 (New King James Version)

8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
9 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.

We’ve all experienced getting “The Look;” that silent gaze which communicates displeasure with our behaviour: “you’re being naughty and I know it!” Even a small child recognises the warning glint in the eyes of a parent when they’re unable to verbally reprimand them for their actions. Likewise, we have (hopefully!) also experienced the look in someone’s eyes that says “well done!,” “I’m proud of you!,” or, “I love you.” The closer we are to someone, the more sensitive we are to receiving the messages from their eyes.

This morning I was meeting with someone at a cafe. A blind man came into the cafe, led by his golden Labrador. I couldn’t help but look at the gentle, patient animal and the way it so carefully guided its owner in the way to go. He completely trusted the eyes of his dog to see for him, to the extent of allowing it to lead him through a busy Square.

Our Heavenly Father desires such intimacy of relationship with us that we’re sensitive enough to be “guided by his eye.” The example of the opposite in Psalm 32:9 causes me to think of more painful forms of guidance…a yank here and a yank there to get our attention and keep us on track. How God must delight when we come to him and learn from him willingly. How it must grieve him when we don’t “come near” out of heartfelt desire.

Father, help me to be a person of understanding. Teach me to train the eyes of my heart recognise your face and be sensitive to your direction, your encouragement, and even at times your displeasure. Teach me to hear your voice as I commune with you in your Word, in prayer, and walk with you in this journey of life. Help me to delight in you for your sake. Captivate my heart, Jesus!