Generosity – continued!

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Hand glowingA few weeks ago I posted a blog about being generous.

Some more thoughts to take to our hearts:

Considering we love people being generous towards us… in their gifts, and manners and speech… it makes me pose the question, how generous are you and I toward our loved ones? – To our spouse, our children, parents, siblings?

They say “charity begins at home” and as charity depends on people’s generosity… I dare ask … how generous are you to those in your family… to your spouse, children, siblings or parents?

It’s so easy to love people being kind to us, but how easier it is to be kind to strangers (or friends!) than to be generous in our kindness to those we live with!

And so I send out a challenge to you today… are you really kind to your loved ones?

What would it take for you to lay down your expectations of being treated well and kindly and actually starting to consider them and making them the recipients of your kindness and generosity?

Think about it… it could change your world – if you dare to act upon it… without expecting any reward!

OUCH!!!

Love Heals

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Scottish FlagWe woke up this morning to a conclusion to the long debate on Scottish Independence. Living in Scotland, we’ve seen the debate first hand; it’s been powerful and inpassioned, especially over the last couple of months. Now the people have made their verdict, it’s really important that our communities unite again for the future.

The big question is how to bring about reconciliation, whether it’s amongst people on the different sides of political opinions, or between rivals af any sort. What matters most is one to one relationships. Everything comes down to the attitude we have to the individuals we meet on a day to day basis. I found this great couple of verses in the New Testament this morning, which is so pertinent today and every day:

1 Peter 4:7b-11 (Message).  “Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!”

Love is the oil which makes reconciliation possible – not a passive do-nothing love, but a real type of love which affects how we talk and act to each other. That type of love comes from God. It’s so important to pray for His love to empower all we do, so we can build for the future.

Keep in lane!

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running in my laneRecently I heard a message about running the race, and keeping in lane!

Great reminder… I needed to hear it!

How easy it is to run a race and tip into another lane… trying to keep up with someone else or trying to be like them.

I thank God He has called us to run our own race!

St Paul says, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” Hebrews 12:1

It made me really look at what MY race is – it’s part of the race of life, doing the race with others, and running as to win… but it is also about me… keeping in my lane and not encroaching onto another person’s lane because it seems a better, or easier lane to run in.
God tell us that He has called us by name and that He knows all about us,(Isaiah 43:1, Psalm 139) and that He directs our paths.

As I look at those around me … I can be encouraged by their running the race, but I can also take courage and hope in running mine… which most probably has some similarities, but may also have some differences. I need to stay close to the Lord to know how my race looks and how my responses, my “way” of running is the one I need to concentrate on. I don’t need to compare myself, try to run the way Jack or Jane does it… in the “rightest” sense – I need to run it “my way”… my way that is the way God has set out for me.

Then I can run as to win… safe, secure in this: “ May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (1 Thess 5:23-24)

Note to self: must get my running shoes repaired!

Welcome Home!

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Amazing – my daughter, herheart hands 2 husband and their daughter(my granddaughter!) have returned home.

They went to Australia about 21 months ago, when my granddaughter was 3 months old.

They went to work and be with family there for a season, and now they have returned – to a new adventure… not certain of what is next, but ready for the next stage of life!

At our home , here, we have been preparing for them, re-arranging bedrooms, sorting, clearing, decorating, getting rid of junk and making this home ready for them to feel welcome and at home. We’ve shopped and bought in things they will need and we have worked hard to make a place for them. When they arrived and are here now – we are so happy, so excited and so ready for the part they will play in our lives… and ready for them to grow and develop in their own family unit as they are here.

I am reminded of how God prepares for those who have been away from Him! How the angels rejoice when “one sinner repents”. How Jesus says He goes to prepare a place for us, and how He knows the way we take and is not worried or stressed when our journey ‘s not smooth.

How wonderful to know there is a “Welcome home” for us as we return to the Father’s love.

My family, returning, don’t fully know what is next… ideas and thoughts but nothing definite.

They don’t have all the answers and everything is not all settled and certain… but one thing they do know – things are ready for them, we have made preparations … and they are so very welcome!!!… Welcome to come, live, grow and plan…. Oh that we would understand the Love of the Father to those who would return… no condemnation, no retribution… just an open- arms welcome and preparations they had no idea that had been done… in readiness for their homecoming.

So – how about you?… ready to come home?… The Love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have made preparations for you … they welcome you back with open arms.

How wonderful this is … whether you understand what has been prepared or not, whether you are aware of the anticipation of heaven, or not … you are so very – “Welcome Home!”

Good News/ Bad News

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NewspaperWe all love good news… we love the excitement and the joy an engagement, a birth or a surprise brings us. We love the relief of a happy announcement or the all clear from the Dr…. we are happy to give thank s and praise when the sun is shining and the weather is favourable.

God is good, and we are happy to say so!

But what happens when the news is not so good? When the pronouncement is sad or disappointing?

How do we feel and react when we get a poor report or we are left feeling shocked and uncertain?

Well… God is still good!!

His promises change not!

His Love endures forever!

His Mercy is new every morning!

His Grace is abundant!

Maybe the “not so good news” is an opportunity to tap into His Abundance and Presence.

Our faith is more than the fair weather sort… Our faith can find its hope, its rest and its future in Christ alone.

Tough days? Great God!

My prayer today is that instead of being brought low by bad news, we rise to the love of God and find our peace our joy and our strength in Him!

Somebody shout Amen and Hallelujah!!!

Finding my place

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clematisI’ve been really enjoying my garden this year… I’ve had a lot more “oomph” to work in it and make it look good and produce good stuff!

Lovely to see the vegetables growing strong and healthy and I’m enjoying the shrubs and climbers that are looking very happy!

I was admiring my clematis earlier in the week… it took a few years before it felt “at home”, and earlier this year it was damaged by a couple of dogs digging around it! As I was looking athe beautiful flowers I was aware of a couple of Chaffinches creating a fuss on some of the trees and seats around the patio… I stood back and watched what was going on… and discovered, there was a wee nest in the clematis and the parents were anxious to get me out of the way so they could feed their chicks!

What a treat… so close to my windows I could see the coming and going from my living room!
Then I wandered round the house and discovered sparrows flying in and out of 3 of the 4 corners of the house!

Obviously the birds enjoy my home and have made it theirs.

I was reminded of the Scripture Psalm 84:1-4 

What a beautiful home, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
Always dreamed of a room in your house,
where I could sing for joy to God-alive!

3-4 Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God!
How blessed they are to live and sing there!

I was reminded how precious it is to find your place, to be near the heart of God and to dwell in His presence, in safety and security.

I thank God for His lesson to me from my own back door!

 

Generosity 2… Pay it Forward!

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generosity 2You reap what you sow!

Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Principles from Scripture… worked out in daily life.

What goes around comes around!

Pay it forward!

God’s principles are in operation, whether we believe them or not, but I’ve discovered that when you harness the principles of God with faith in His provision and goodness… then amazing things can happen.

Because our trust is then focussed on Him, and not on the “stuff”, not on the money, or the time, or the effort… but on the fact that He is faithful to His Word, and that He loves His children.

Some people say – you give, because you have, but I say we have because we give… it took risks – many times, but God has always proved faithful and generous… It’s His nature !

We will never really know the provision of God our Loving Father, our Provider and Generous Giver, until we begin to trust Him enough to give of ourselves, our love, our lives and our resources to Him… which is most  often worked out as we give to those around about us, often through our local church.

We will never really know the rich blessings of God in our lives until we begin to be a blessing to others.

Nice thought?… even better when we live it and see it!

What’s in a Name?

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poppiesYesterday, Mark and I had some hours off work…. We drove around the countryside and went to a garden centre, then had a lovely meal in the evening. It was such a beautiful time; we saw rabbits and deer, hawks, voles; myriads of trees in their fresh spring dresses and pretty, wild flowers that were  too numerous to count.

I love trying to remember what they are called… the rabbit and deer are fairly easy!, but the trees and flowers I manage maybe half of their names… elm, oak, birch, larch horse chestnut, hawthorn, blackthorn, willow, laburnum, lilac … and many more! Wild garlic and daisies, dandelion and cowslip, bluebell and campion… so many!  And so many more that I have no idea of!

I was pondering over these amazing natural things… so commonplace really, but all have a name!

The stars and planets are named! The beetles and bugs are named!

Animals are named, flowers are named, trees and grasses are named, bacteria and tiny unseen things … all have names!  Amazing!… some of these named things are only known by a few specialists, some are known to us all.

I was awed by the vastness of the naming of things and to think that babies when they are born, in most countries, need to be registered and named within a few days of being born.

They need to be known!

God says of me “I have called you by name – you are mine”! Isaiah 41 v1

“Before you were born – I knew you!” Psalm 139 v 16

AWESOME! God knows my name … of all the named things in the world… HE knows my name!

.. and He loves me… despite my failings!… Amazing Love! Amazing Grace!

Amazing God 🙂