This is a picture I have just taken, a beautiful sunrise. A fresh day, to live in the present and appreciate the glory of creation. Praying for everyone facing challenges today, know of several personally,and remembering God’s faithfulness is new every morning.
At the moment on clear mornings there is the most amazing bright, lone star in the sky, it seems so apt at Christmas, the sky often fills me with wonder. I also enjoy this time of year when I see the sun rising and the beauty of all the colours. When I look down our road I see such beautiful colours on those rare days when I am here at the right time. This is today’s photo and again I was reminded of these beautiful words from the Bible:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
If you know us in real life you will get that this is a picture of us not our old friends! We didn’t quite get round to doing a selfie with them. It was a joy to catch up with Ray and Gill who have known Paul longer than I have. At the moment we see them every couple of years but you pick up where you left off last time with news, views, debates, discussions all framed by great food and drink! The morning was an even bigger surprise when Ray’s sister walked up to Paul saying hello Nashie boy! They hadn’t seen each other for something like 40 years! We return to our writing week recharged and with a fresh sense of what it is God calls us to do and of God’s faithfulness through the years.
When we think about changes in our personal or professional futures, it is easy to be tempted to try and make it happen. To push, encourage, or otherwise seek to influence the situation. One of the lessons I learnt very early in my Christianity and ministry is that it is good not to seek to always micro or macro manage all the outcomes. We are on holiday this week, amongst other things, playing golf in
Cornwall. This lesson is a bit like playing golf. The way to play one’s best
golf, is like the lesson in many sports, to stay in the moment. Not to think or plan ahead too much. Most good golf is played by concentrating on the next shot, not getting ahead of ourselves. To say to myself, I am going to play this hole really well, is not about having confidence, it is getting ahead of myself. I played well today, for those who understand golf, I had 3 birdies today on a very hard golf course. I am not good enough to plan to do this I have found all I can do is to do the basics well, to focus on putting a good swing on the next shot and living with whatever happens.
During lent, I am seeking to be faithful to the next small step. To do the right thing in the right way and not try to manage what the outcome might be.
I was reading someone’s testimony this afternoon and it really moved me. In my twenties testimony was pretty much an every week experience at church. People’s faith was encouraged by sharing what God had been doing in their own lives – sometimes it is only when you look back and speak something out that you really see what has been happening. Faith was also encouraged in hearing what God was doing.
Quite often I start a day’s teaching by asking does anyone have anything to share with us which has happened since last we were together – some of the responses are inspiring and encouraging. This doesn’t mean that testimony has to be full of positive statements, sharing the faithfulness of God through difficult times or the faithfulness of friends at those times you don’t feel close to God still builds faith.
I was once asked to review a book which talked about testimony in one of the chapters – I like this quotation:
Testimony is an approach to storytelling with a long history and tradition and can be seen as a liberating and community building practice which helps [young] people “not to be ashamed of their experiences, but to share their experiences in the hope and knowledge that their stories will be received by an encouraging community, and will also serve as encouragement for others” (Wright 2008:195).
I like being part of such encouraging communities.
Wright, A. W. (2008). The Power of Testimonies. In M. E. Moore & A. W. Wright (eds.), Children, Youth and Spirituality in a Troubling World. St Louis: Chalice Press, 182-195.
This was the view around 7am one morning this week, dawn breaking over the rooftops and the River Tamar. I look forward to the lengthening days when I am no longer driving to work in darkness and I see the sun rising and the hope of a new day before me. Lamentations 3 22-23 reads:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
This is an encouraging thought to begin any day with…
I have always loved looking at lights in the darkness, Christmas lights, pier lights, stars… sitting eating afternoon tea and looking out at this beautifully lit pavilion made my mind wander and wonder. I am drawn to light metaphors and stories and have a beautiful pair of menorah earrings, bought in Israel over twenty years ago that I am wearing today to remind me that it is Hannukah, a festival of lights, and the bit of the story that I resonate with is how the pot of oil that should have kept the light burning for one night, lasted for eights. To me it speaks of God’s faithfulness and how God takes the little we have to offer and blesses it in ways we might never have imagined.
There was also the tiny bit of me that looked out and thought what a lovely place to conduct a wedding!