Fog

The fog had set in overnight, and by 11am it was still hanging around. We were driving in the car on our way somewhere, and were all a bit frustrated at not having had more than 150 metres of visibility for the entire morning. Suddenly our five-year-old daughter asked, “Mummy, why is the sun covered in fog?”. I replied, “Well, the sun is actually not affected by the fog at all. We can't see the sun because the fog is around us!”

Have you ever had a fog surrounding your heart or mind? You can't see clearly, can't make good judgments, can't get a perspective, because there's a heavy fog clouding it. It can take many forms… but it always comes with quiet whispers in our mind that try to make us lose our way.

Recently I've had a fog set in… it came suddenly, quietly and unexpectedly, as fogs often do. It was called “stuff”. Now, I'm not a light-packer (despite my mother's best attempts to teach me how to pack-light on our holidays!), but in general I don't buy a lot of things. But recently, I've had this increasing desire towards materialism and, well, just buying things! Nothing too crazy expensive, just a new magazine from the supermarket here, another shirt from the thrift store there, more toys for the kids, another cute mug for the kitchen… and then I realised that slowly I was getting in a habit of thinking about wanting more, bigger, better… in my mind was the quiet but persistent whispering thought, “if you had more, you would be happier”. Then, like a fresh breeze, this verse helped to blow the fog away:

Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Our preoccupation with accumulating things in this world can cloud our perspective on what really matters, and what we really need. Jesus didn't tell us to ignore our physical needs on this earth (Matthew 6:30-32), but comforted us that our Heavenly Father would provide all our needs as we continued to focus on and depend on Him: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”, Jesus said (Matt. 6:33). When we leave this world, we can take nothing with us except what we have done with our time and resources on this earth (2 Cor. 5:10). It's a challenge to keep this fog from setting in in our consumerist, materialistic world, but He is faithful to bring His truths to our mind when we need them to blow the fog away!

What is clouding your mind today?

‘Sorry for the Inconvenience’

Sue’s Views

Do you ever wish you could put up a sign like this? About this time of year we can feel tired and depleted. The demands made of us physically ….. mentally ….. and emotionally can seem too much ….. and we just want to shut the door on the world and have a break! Sometimes a short break is enough ….. but renewal requires a lot more. This garden will not only be allowed to rest. It will no doubt be dug up ….. and nutrients will be added to the soil. It may even be redesigned! Sometimes ….. unwelcome change is forced upon us. It doesn’t feel good at the time ….. but the designer knows what he is doing! He sees a better layout ….. and a healthier environment. As it says in the small print ‘Sorry for the inconvenience!’ 

Olympics

Sue’s Views
One thing I love about the Olympics is how it shows that ….. no matter where we come from ….. we all have so much in common. Our eyes well up when our national anthem is played ….. we all feel the same nervousness before the event ….. the same disappointment if we lose ….. and the same elation if we win. But I also love how it levels the playing field! It proves you don’t have to come from a ‘wealthy’ background to be a winner! I love it when someone who can hardly afford running shoes wins the race through shear giftedness and determination. Congratulation Fiji! You definitely deserve this one! May it bring much joy and hope to those back home!

Time to Choose

Sue’s Views
If you are alive and breathing on planet earth ….. you must be wondering what’s going on! The world news is full of natural disasters ….. floods ….. fires ….. wars ….. pestilence ….. earthquakes ….. to name a few. Then there is the increasing rise and tolerance of immorality. Laws are being passed to allow things God hates ….. and now if we speak truth we are guilty of ‘hate’! It’s time to open our eyes and look to the Heavens. We talk so much about God’s love ….. but He is also a God of judgement. It’s His love that has patiently waited for mankind to repent and turn back to Him. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. But it’s His righteousness that will one day say ‘Enough’! What side will you be on on that day? This is ‘love’ speaking ….. not judgement! I am no better than anyone and that is exactly why I rely on Jesus. He is the only answer. He will give you ‘strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow’.  And yes! The rainbow belongs to God!

Let’s Face It!

Sue’s Views
Is there someone you would rather not face? Someone who has hurt you ….. or is it someone you have mistreated and feel ashamed? Two of the main pillars of the Gospel are forgiveness and repentance. We all need to forgive those who have wronged us. It sets us free and allows God to deal with the perpetrator. And we all need to acknowledge our own wrongdoing to others. Don’t let pride stand in your way! Humility will open the door for the relationship to be reconciled. ‘I’m sorry!’ ….. and ‘I forgive you’ ….. are two phrases to keep at the front of our minds.

Magnolias

Sue’s Views
Yay! It’s magnolia season! These beautiful trees remind me that ….. in every season ….. there is something beautiful! Just as most trees have lost their leaves and blossoms ….. these beauties do their thing. The same God who waited for the wine to run out at a wedding and then made the best wine out of water ….. the same God who waited four days after Lazarus died to bring him back to life ….. is the God who waits till things seem hopeless and then shows up in amazing ways! If you are in a winter season ….. look out for the magnolias!

Salt and Light

Sue’s Views
If ever our world needed salt and light …..it’s now! Salt adds flavour to a dish that is otherwise bland ….. and is also a preservative. But in Bible days ….. it was also used as a disinfectant! It’s properties can cancel out nasty bugs! Light ….. of course is necessary to be able to see. It is able to penetrate through darkness ….. and expose things that are hidden. Jesus calls His followers to be salt and light in a world that is full of ‘nasties’ ….. and hidden agendas. We are not here to compromise or tolerate! We are here to eradicate the lies and demonstrate truth!

Reality

Sue’s Views
As much as we love to see the trees adorned with blossoms and leaves ….. there is a beauty in the starkness of winter. We get to see the true shape and 
uniqueness. We too ….. go through seasons where our true inner self is exposed. Times when our emotions are so raw ….. we can no longer hide them or pretend they don’t exist. Our natural response is to push them down ….. cover them up with a superficial facade ….. or drown them in a temporary  fix. But God sees through all that ….. and He longs to come in and bring meaning to our reality. Only He can meet you where you are ….. and take you to where He wants you to be. The twists and turns of life make us who we are ….. and enable us to identify with others going through their own journey.

Faith and Works

Sue’s Views
This is an oldie but a goodie! A man in Scotland had a rowboat in which he transported passengers across a lake. He had ‘faith’ written on one oar and ‘works’ written on the other oar. When a passenger asked him why ….. he explained with a practical demonstration. He would put one oar in the boat and row with ‘faith’ only. The boat went round in circles! The same result when he rowed with ‘works’ only. But when he used both oars ….. the boat quickly reached the other side. A great example of why we should show our faith by our actions!

Truth

Sue’s Views
This sundial will only work when it is set right. It has to be facing true north for the sun to do it’s job. True north has never ….. and will never change! In our world today ….. truth has been ‘adjusted’ to suit our desires. We are seeing the consequences of that! Jesus said ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ That too ….. will never change!