Chatting with some friends over coffee yesterday morning, I mentioned that I have absolute vision and clarity about some aspects of my life that were unclear before. Let me be clear (if you’ll pardon the pun), life for me has its foggy days, that’s what makes this sense of clarity so amazing. I have a new clarity that God is good and that He is for me, not against me. I’ve become clear that for every situation that I find myself in, God is enough and He has equipped me for the situations I must face and what He has called me to do. I’ve become clear that, whilst my feelings are real and important, God’s word is more important and true. I have a new clarity that when God doesn’t seem to answer my prayers it’s because to answer them would not be good for me. You see, sometimes I ask God for a stone but He wants to give me bread, I ask for crumbs from the table but He wants to give me life in all its fullness. I’m learning that means letting Him answer them His way, not mine. It’s also become apparent that I’m a very slow learner J. So, how did this clarity come about? Well, it didn’t waft down from heaven one day as I wandered lonely as a cloud, though that would have been nice and does happen to me at times. It’s come about from a year of struggle, uncertainty and disappointment. Faced with the choice of allowing circum-stances to harden my heart or strengthen my faith, by God’s grace I chose and continue to choose the latter. I pray that God would keep me tender hearted towards Him and others. I pray that He would help me to walk in trust, forgiveness, mercy and hope. What has helped the most is making the ongoing choice to share this journey with others. As I continue to process Kairos moments with friends, I am seeing the kingdom of God come more fully in my life, and the lives of others. That’s where the clarity’s coming from. I am so profoundly thankful to God for the work He’s doing in me and for the deep, honest Christian friends that He has surrounded me with and who journey with me through both the foggy and the clear days. Blessings Di Hooley Parish Councillor, Prayer
Prayer – love it, don’t understand it, want to do it, can’t see the point, wonder if it works, intrigued by it. These are just some of my thoughts and attitudes about this fundamental aspect of my faith. Despite this seemingly ambivalent approach, I have, for many years, longed to have the time to learn more about prayer and to spend more time doing it.
After prayerfully and accountably arriving at the decision to change career direction, this year I find myself with a little more time on my hands than before. Actually, that’s not strictly true: what I have a bit more of is both flexibility and the headspace to engage with prayer. Resisting the temptation to read 101 books on prayer and intercession, I came to God and told him that I would like to learn how to pray more effectively and I asked him to lead me and teach me as he saw fit. I was conscious that I could read books, feel encouraged or condemned and actually never move forward in this area. I was also concerned to not limit how God might lead me to pray.
This week has been a week of breakthrough. In different areas of my life I have reached a point where there is absolutely nothing I can do to change certain things. For example my dad is still very sick in hospital 5 months after an operation; certain relationships are proving challenging. God’s response to my prayers has been clear – “Leave it with me.” I’ve found this an uncomfortable and yet comforting response, an invitation to trust that God is who he says he is and stop trying to control situations that are, quite frankly, beyond my control. Simple but hard, yet strangely liberating and in this place of recognised helplessness I am seeing God break through.
The situations themselves don’t seem to be changing (at least not as quickly as I think they should) but I can clearly see that he is changing and strengthening me and giving me the grace to trust him. Let’s be clear, this is a daily, sometimes hourly choice and at times feels too hard.
The really cool thing is what else is happening almost on the side as I relinquish control to God. He has given me words of knowledge about eyes that are impaired or torsos that are aching and, as I stepped out and prayed for these things, people have been healed…just like in the Bible!!! A non-Christian friend calmly announced the other week that she would like to read the Bible with me, so we’re reading Matthew together and God is meeting both her and me in that place. In a particularly tumultuous week, friends and strangers alike have commented on the sense of peace that I seem to carry.
In all of this, all I can say is “Praise God!!!” I know beyond doubt that it is he who is at work in me and is transforming me. And I know that I have done nothing, other than to come to him and surrender.
My role on the Parish Council covers Prayer and Intercession, essentially aiming to ensure the PC remains prayerful. Each month every member of the council is asked to respond openly to the following two questions: What is God saying to you personally? What is God saying to you about St Philips? We believe that, as an elected representation of the congregation, what God is saying to us will in some way reflect what He is saying to the church. Generally, [continue reading…]
DISTURB US, O LORD Disturb us, O Lord when we are too well-pleased with ourselves when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, because we sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, O Lord when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the water of life when, having fallen in love with time, we have ceased to dream of eternity and in our efforts to build a new earth, we [continue reading…]
http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/podcast/media/SR20100808-001-Malcolm_Potts.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 24:45 — 9.9MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe?Your Testimony – How is God with you? Psalm 8, John 1:29-34 9.30 Baptism Service Sermon and Testimonies from Sally Howe , Cathy Kiernan, Dianne Hooley and Nick Lockwood