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  1. Philippians

    "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 [ESV]

    Philippians 1 verse 6 will forever be my reassurance, especially when I fail. Jesus has begun a good work in me and he will complete it - this means He hasn't yet, I am a work in progress... and that is okay! As much as I want to be that perfect superwoman of Proverbs 31, a perfect reflection of Christ here on Earth etc etc, let's face it, I'm not! Not by any stretch of the imagination. I am human and my ugly human flaws are here for all to see! I can be super stubborn when I want to be to name just one flaw, but trust me the list goes on and on. No, hands up, I suck at being a reflection of Christ here on Earth. I'm not even that dim reflection they talk about in 1 Corinthians 13 - more like a really muddy puddle! But I am trying, with God's help I am trying to be less of a muddy puddle and more like Christ. Sometimes this can be incredibly frustrating, I don't want to keep failing and messing up I want to be that perfect reflection that I am called to be right now! But Philippians 1:6 gives me hope, hope that I'm not perfect yet but I am on my way and Christ is working in me. So when I make mistakes, I do the wrong thing, actually it is okay. Let me be clear - I am not saying that this is an excuse to do the wrong thing, not at all! But when we do make mistakes, the wrong choices etc and come back to the cross with them, we can be assured God will accept us and it is not the end of the world that we didn't get it right at our first attempt, or even our second or third! We are working out how to be like Christ, and He is working on it with us. So next time you mess up, how about having a little grace towards yourself for a change.

    I am a work in progress and that's okay

    By the same token, this also means that those around us are works in progress too and that is also okay [I need grace towards myself when I mess up, but I also need it towards those around me who mess up - especially when their mess up effects me]. People can hurt us with things they say, don't say, do and don't do, because they too are human and works in progress. I think we often expect people in our church to be perfect, to do all the right things, say all the right things, and do what we expect and think is right - but it does not work like that. They are also a work in progress, even church leaders, the people around us we put up on pedestals and speakers at huge conferences who seem to have it all worked out - they too are still Human and still works in progress. Coming to terms with and accepting that the people around us are also in fact still works in progress too has brought a lot of peace to me over the years and peace brings healing.

    Reading through "The Little book of lent" compiled by Canon Arthur Howells, there is a section by Maria Boulding entitled "The Marked life". Part of the prayer at the end of this section says:

    "Take me into your peace, Lord -
    your peace which brings me healing
    "

    Which I think, even on it's own, is a great little prayer to embrace.

  2. Last night I took some time out for 'me time' and went back to my roots with some hand lettering in my journaling Bible after my recent fling with stickers! It was really nice to really focus on things and take my time, just what I needed to help me unwind on Sunday night. Then this morning I decided to be brave and use some watercolours as I see so many others do on Instagram... It was a little hairy at first as the water does make the pages transparent, but it's dried out fine. So I thought I would share my experience with you, just incase any of you fancied some watercolour fun but like me have been nervous too! So here is the process I went through...

    Process1Process2Process3Process4

    1. Sketching out the lettering last night

     2. Inking over the sketched lettering

    3. Got my cheap watercolours out of the garage this morning and began flicking paint like a child!

    4. Close up you can see the paper has gone transparent – eek!

    5. Whilst it’s still wet the bleed through looks pretty bad:/

    6. The finished product

    7. Bleed through once dry isn’t bad, it’s just the pen not the paint you can see. Pages are a bit crinkled but will straighten out once the Bible has been closed flat a while I’m sure!

    Micah 7:19 [ESV]
    He will again have compassion on us;
    he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
    You will cast all our sins
    into the depths of the sea.

    If you have any questions about my journaling Bible check out the info page and gallery hereand for info on my journaling Bible supply giveaway over Lent see here and search previous posts for update on what’s in the stash so far…

  3. Today in town I was walking through a food aisle and overheard one teenage girl say to her friend "I might give up food for lent", her friend half laughed "yeah" in agreement then after a pause asked "what is lent?" they both stopped walking for a moment, "I don't know," said they first girl "it's when you give up stuff isn't it?" It's moments like this that I wish I had more courage and more answers!

    Genesis 3 v 19b

    "For you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Genesis 3v19b [ESV] is a sobering reminder, but also a comforting reminder of my childhood in a much higher church, full of tradition and ritual. Personally I find the structure of lenten traditions helpful - ensuring preparation and time of reflection on things before we celebrate Easter. To really focus on the life Jesus lived and why he had to go to the cross to die for our sins, before we burst with joy as we celebrate the victory of the cross on Easter Sunday!

    (This verse was brought to my attention by today's reading from She Reads Truth if you have not come across them before I would highly recommend you check them out, fantastic study plans that you can access online, via their app or daily emails.)

  4. Rise and prayRecently I was reading about Jesus is praying on the Mount of Olives in Luke 22, and that heartbreaking moment when he returns to his disciples to find they have all fallen asleep and in v46 asks "Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray..." [come on guys, you had ONE job to do!] I really felt Him repeat that to me, "why are you sleeping Rebecca? Rise and pray!" I suddenly realised actually being at home with baby bear not having my brain stretched by a career is in fact an amazing opportunity for me to pray into all sorts of situations and petition God for things. Instead of sleeping away this time I should really enjoy and embrace this time (this privilege I have spending all day with my darling daughter) and I should be praying my socks off! Because at the end of the day, like on the Mount of Olives - someone's life could depend on those prayers!!

    So that's what I have started to do, I have started to pray more and actively look for things to pray for, people, situations, all sorts and there have been amazing things happen as a result.

    Right now there is so much going on in the lives of my family and I, for an outsider looking in it could well look like a chaotic nightmare! However to me (as well as that) I see prayers being answered all around me. Every day I see another prayer request be answered, that prayer might have been said six years ago, or six minutes ago! (I'm not saying every single prayer ever prayed in this family has been answered, one of the biggest prayers in our hearts is still being worked out and I do trust God is doing just that, working it out even now.) But in this time of upheaval and potential chaos we are seeing prayers both old and new answered and even old prophecies we didn't understand come to pass, which has brought real comfort in uncertainty.

    When I first got my journaling Bible and steamed my way through the New Testament two things really hit me. One of those was prayer - the number of times we are called to pray about/for things. That Jesus has given us everything, all we need do is ask. It seemed so simple and I guess in a lot of ways it is.

    Pray always - ASK
    As well as praying for the big things, I believe in praying for simple things like car parking spaces - much to the surprise of some around me. Some laugh, I've had a church leader not comment but give me a look that told me they thought I was being disrespectful, but it was a non-Christian friend who probably have the best response. "Aren't you worried you'll use them up?!" She asked, I was confused, "use what up?" I asked. "The prayers, surely if you waste prayers on car park spaces you will run out for the big stuff?!" This made me smile, the idea of prayer credits. You have a set number for life you could use gradually on small stuff of put several into getting an answer on a "bigger" prayer. I tried not to laugh and told her it doesn't work on a credit system, I cannot run out and God is interested in every part of my life (and hers) big and small. Then we found a space.

    I have to trust car park spaces to God, I find car parks too stressful otherwise. If I pull into what seems like a full car park with slow trawling cars all searching, it raises my stress levels and I just want to get out of there. I'd rather go pay to park on the street than go into the free busy car park! God knows this, because He knows me inside and out, quirks and all. He honours these prayers too. We went into town recently and I pulled into the car park to find it heaving, at least two cars slowly searching on each aisle - as soon as I see that I just want to turn around and leave. I said my prayer on the way in, but now I've seen the actually car park I want to go! So I take the way out before I've even started, following the slowest two space crawlers looking every which way for a space... I'm all ready to head off to the out of town shopping centre where parking is free and plentiful, when low and behold a huge space appears! Both slow crawlers have some how missed this giant space, as if an angel has been sat in a huge Hummer parked in the space until now. I cannot get over how the other two searchers missed it and how generous God is answering the smallest prayers, even when I've stopped praying them!

    Recently I heard an excellent talk the other day by Bill Johnson of Bethel, in which he explains the literal translation of the Greek for when the angel says to Zechariah "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John." (Luke 1:13 ESV) is actually "the prayer you no longer pray has been heard"!! That's just amazing! I heard that and literally stopped the podcast so I could just soak in that revelation!! The prayer he no longer prayed had been heard by God and was being answered. That isn't an excuse to no longer bother petitioning God in prayer, by no means - scripture is full of instruction to pray, always! But the idea that when we feel too weak and overwhelmed and tired, that we give up hope and stop praying - God can still hear and answer those prayers... Wow! I knew He loved me, but this still blew me away!! Thank you Jesus!!

    So despite being nervous about the weeks and months ahead with all the challenges it potentially holds as well as joys it could hold... I am going to keep focusing on and thanking God for all the answered prayers that surround us; As well as keeping praying knowing he bends his ear to listen to my prayers!