What a Lovely Man

I’ve been reading this week about the Roman officer in Matthew 8:5-13, and I saw something I’d never noticed before.  Verse 8:  “Lord, I do not deserve to have You come under my roof.”  The officer called Jesus Lord – a huge thing for him to do!  There were certainly some Roman emperors (like Dometian) who wanted to be thought of as a god, but here was this man, calling Jesus his Lord, putting Jesus in authority over him instead of his boss – the emperor.

 

And who did he do it for?  Was it his son, lying at home paralysed and suffering terribly?  You could understand a father being so desperate for his son’s healing that he would rethink his whole belief-system, … but no.  It was this man’s servant – someone with no standing in the household, but obviously very well-loved by the officer.  I read it and I thought:  “What a lovely man!”

 

If you’re an employer, would you do that for one of your employees?  Would you literally think twice about those in authority over you, in order to help them?  Aren’t these events in the Bible still so amazing?

Advertisements

heartsreflection

Walk a mile in my shoes
My one pair of shoes
Broken soles and
Walked off heels
A mile or two,
maybe hundreds more
Through the narrow streets,
Swamps and dumps
To the place I call my own

Stay a while in my home
One room shack
Leaking roof and broken walls,
patched with pieces of wood
Not much shelter against
rain and cold
Four huddled together for warmth on a foam bed
A terrible raft when floods start to flow
But come on in
I am sure there’s place for one more

Share a meal from my plate
A spoon full of rice,
A sliver of meat you will find
Only on special days
It’s nothing much, but fills a hole
In the rumbling tummy
Growling for more,
Oops was that mine or yours?

Take a look through my eyes
The windows to my soul
What do you see…

View original post 199 more words

Belonging

Status

Jesus belongs everywhere, because everywhere was created through Him.  So, because as a Christian I have Jesus living in me, that means there’s nowhere I don’t belong.  Going to try to remember that when I feel like I don’t fit in.  Don’t rely on your feelings, but be comforted by truth.

This is Poverty

I love to see how we’re all given the same assignment – to write from the perspective of a sponsored child, and yet we all do it in different ways. A great piece of writing here from Juli. 🙂

Sheep Droppings

Listless days

Miserable nights

Constant noise

Danger around

 

Rumbling belly

Parched throat

Unmet needs

Hunger, thirst

 

Hopelessness

Unfulfilled dreams

Fear of failure

Struggling daily

 

Disbelief

Insecurity

Worthlessness

Feeling trapped

This is Poverty

Purpose, meaning

Restful nights

Peace

Safety

 

Nutrition

Clean water

Basic needs met

Satisfied

 

Hopeful

Dreaming big

Success

Fulfillment

 

Trust

Security

Feeling worthwhile

Released and free

This is Compassion

View original post

Catching the Rain

The night is dark and I can’t sleep.  I climb over the sleeping bodies of my younger brother and sister, and tiptoe to the doorway.  There’s no door.  We had one, but Father chopped it up for firewood when we were all sick and couldn’t go out to find any.  I shiver.  It’s always cold, but snuggling up to their little bodies does make a difference.  I won’t stand here long.

 

I’m watching Mother, holding the cooking pot above her head.  She looks funny, … and then I hear it.  Drip … drip.  The roof is leaking, and Mother catches the drops of water.  “Let me take a turn,” my father whispers.

 

“No, please, go to sleep.  It’s another long day in the field tomorrow, you’ll need your rest.”

 

I can’t believe what I’m seeing.  I never thought to ask where the water came from for the cooking.  I tiptoe back to the mattress on the floor.  I settle down without waking the others, but I don’t want to be cosy under this sheet.  I want to catch the rain so Mother can rest.  I let the tears fall until I go to sleep …

* * *

I always loved the freedom of running, but my pace is slower this morning.  I kissed Mother goodbye and left the house as usual to go to the project.  I pass a market stall and think they must have been working for hours.  I wave to Auntie, because today it’s her turn on our stall.  Tomorrow Mother will leave home early with some of the baskets she’s made, and I’ll have to feed the little ones their breakfast.  There are so many treats at the market – bowls of steaming-hot rice, toys, knitted blankets …  I wish we could afford a blanket.

 

I turn a corner and now I can see the church.  I make my way through a gate in the fence, as other children play in the street with any pieces of rubbish they can lay their hands on.  I try not to look at them.  I know it’s an honour to be here, and I know I’ve done nothing to deserve it.  I hear the love in their words and see it on their faces as we’re welcomed into the building.  There’s a door here, and windows.  Even a room full of computers.  I only sit at one of these once a week, but they tell us that one day, we can use them to write to people all over the world.

 

They tell us lots of things here.  They read from the Bible, giving us little bits to remember, and they tell us we can dream.  We can have a future, they say.  I didn’t like that at the start.  I sulked.  I thought they wouldn’t say the same if they really knew how we lived.  They visited us once.  I didn’t think they’d come back, … but they came back.  They visit often now – every few weeks; they know how we live, and still, they say, we can dream.  What if they’re right?  What if there’s more to life than catching the rain?

* * *

Will you show a child there’s more to life than catching the rain?

He’ll Make Sure

“Brothers and sisters, we don’t want you to be ignorant about the suffering we experienced in the province of Asia.  It was so extreme that it was beyond our ability to endure.  We even wondered if we could go on living.  In fact, we still feel as if we’re under a death sentence.  But we suffered so that we would stop trusting ourselves and learn to trust God, who brings the dead back to life.  He has rescued us from a terrible death, and He will rescue us in the future …  Then many people will thank God for the favor He will show us because many people prayed for us” – 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (God’s Word Translation)

 

I just read these verses, and then I stopped.  “Then many people will thank God for the favor He will show us”.  Have you thanked God for the favour He showed Paul?  That got me thinking of the legacy Paul left for us, and I realised something.  “He has rescued us from a terrible death” – God knew this letter to the Corinthians needed to be written, so although the threat of death was very real, He made sure Paul didn’t die.

 

Be encouraged.  If God has promised you something, no matter the obstacles, He’ll make sure it comes to pass.

Letter to God

Dear Father, it seems strange to write to You like this for the whole world to see.  I wouldn’t do it normally, but it’s Compassion Blog Month, so I expect lots of people will be writing to You on their blogs this week.  I wanted to be one of them.

 

Thank You for the 837 children sponsored last week!  I wonder if some people sponsored more than one, or are there 837 new families now on the same journey as me?  Such an amazing journey.  To think that before I even knew You, Mum and Dad were sponsoring a child, and I was thinking I’d like to one day.

 

You’ve shown me so much.  I’ll never forget the time You told me to give to Cindy when it didn’t make sense.  She wasn’t even in the area where the typhoon was, and then I found out later that the weather did get colder where she was, and the money had been enough for them to repair their house.  You know that just the other day I was thanking You again for that gift, as I reread Cindy’s letter about her mum’s pregnancy and thought about the bad weather again over there.  So I ask You again:  Please keep them safe.  Thank You that they’ve got a better place to live now.

 

I can’t help feeling I don’t pray enough.  How can I put into words this privilege of sponsoring a child?  I never understood poverty until I was told about a boiled egg between 7 people, and only after becoming a Compassion-sponsor did I really see Your heart for the poor.  I can read those verses and feel at-peace, because I’ve taken the opportunity to step in and help in a small way.  I’m so grateful that I’m able to.  Finances have changed this last year and I didn’t know whether I’d be able to carry on sponsoring, but You made it possible.  You know how much these children mean to me.  Jesus, I think of how You want children to come to You, and I want to point mine in Your direction.

 

So, to the God who knows everything about me, I give You thanks and all my love.  And as I don’t pray enough, I wish You would take every prayer I pray and times it by a hundred … or a thousand!  Or a million!  You’re an amazing God.

Let Go, Hold On

Do you ever read articles and listen to sermons, and one person says one thing, one person says another and you end up totally confused?  Or is it just me?

 

I listened today to someone saying God is an abundant God – a King with finance, healing and so on under His authority.  Then I read about someone else, who gave away 15 boxes of clothes, including a pair of heeled shoes she found it hard to part with, because she felt God was convicting her to have less.  So which is He:  A God of abundance or a God of necessity?

 

Another example:  I heard someone say he looked at people living their ordinary lives and feeling small, and he saw a cage around them and wanted to grab hold of the bars and set them free.  Then I read about how sometimes there’s a reason God doesn’t move us out of situations.  So what does He want:  For us to let go and move on, or persevere and hold on?

 

I think the first question’s easier to answer than the second.  “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” – 1 Timothy 6:17-18.  Be generous, but don’t forget God loves you and wants to be generous to you, too.  He is ok with you enjoying things, as long as things aren’t your priority.

 

Now to the tricky one:  If you see the situation you’re in as a cage, do you ask to be freed from it, or to stay as you are in hope that the way you live will speak to someone’s heart?  If you’re unsure, can I give you my answer?  Take … one … day … at … a … time – something God told me a few years ago and reminded me of again today.  It’s a great piece of advice.  Sometimes we can get so worked-up about what we think we should be asking for, it can rob us of our joy in the present.  Didn’t Jesus tell us not to worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34)?  Just like parents don’t tell children everything when they’re too young to understand, maybe we’re not ready and God needs us to wait … but let’s enjoy the waiting.