Shepherding

Crisp and clear, morning begins.

As light becomes all encompassing, the fiery glow on increasing cloud…recedes.

The morning will be fresh, if not a little heavy, foretelling of an over-shadow later in the day.

The sheep must be moved on; this temporary shelter – house of sticks – will not suffice as the sun moves across the sky, the cloud and all its company rolling in.

A rousing call, tap a few tails with a crooks end, perhaps a flap of the arms now and then…they’re up and on the move.

They’ll need nourishment early; storms may rumble in sooner rather than later. Well-fed sheep will be better able to ride out storms later on.

A graze in this fresh green gully; water the flock down below; shelter from inclement weather amongst established trees, enclosed within the secure boundary of a holding yard.

Yet holding yards, shelter and nourishment alone are not enough. Keep watch! Alert to risk and danger; ready and willing to act, to rescue, to protect.

Gates and fences blow over, are damaged by falling limbs, rushing waters…the onslaught of varied weather – predictable and temperamental; and the passing of time – worn and weathered, weary of bearing weight and strain.

Wild animals will seek prey; there are those who would take the flock for their own.

The Chief Shepherd, possessor and nurturer of this flock watches and enables the under-shepherds to fulfill the call to care, attend, cultivate, keep and cherish.

These ones know the voice, direction and undertaking of their Shepherd. They respond well when they perceive his influence in and amongst us.

So, a crook to keep within safe boundaries.

An eye out for fields of nourishment.

Safe spaces for rest and refreshment.

Wisdom, strength, compassion and the will to fight off those who would steal and destroy.

And when some are lost, taken, devoured, appeal to and rest in the Great Shepherd…who saw their wanderings, observed our distraction, allowed and curtailed the thief and false shepherd, and will pursue them and us in justice, mercy and all that is good, pure, right and lovely.

Gina Marie 21/7/2015

Love Your Neighbour As Yourself

I have been pondering a thought about ‘loving one’s neighbour as one’s self’.

Jesus said that if the Supreme Authoritative Deity is our own, we hold to Him, then He would be so much to us; completeness; our whole heart, soul and mind. He said that subsequent to that, we would in a similar manner view others as we do ourselves.

My thought is this:

Do we usually presume to have a similar whole, complete fondness for ourselves and are therefore being forced to feel the same way toward those within our spheres…

…or is it just a fact that we will ‘love’ others as we love ourselves (or not love ourselves, as the case may be)?

Is it a natural progression that if I am ashamed of myself, I will subsequently shame others?

If I loathe myself, I will subsequently loathe others?

If I hate myself, I will subsequently hate others?

If I don’t forgive myself, I will subsequently be unforgiving toward others?

If I pass judgement on myself, I will subsequently be judgemental of others?

Etcetera.

Further to this:

If my relationship to the Supreme Authoritative Deity of merciful justice, loving compassion and sacrificial provision is not one of love in wholeness, will my relationship with others be likewise – without love in wholeness?

I will endeavour to love my Designer, Creator and Restorer as He loves me. I will likewise endeavour to love myself as He loves me. I believe I will more naturally love you, similarly, as a result.

Please accept this as my love commitment to us.

Travel Observation

Well, been a little absent for a while but have had much time and opportunity to ponder. Here’s to teenage children who arrange themselves a trip to school overseas…and provide an opportunity for the mother as well!!

Been thinking about forgiveness, trust and respect.

A lot is said of forgiveness being something we do for ourselves, something we offer another (even if they don’t accept it, or deserve it), a gift rather than an entitlement. I’ve heard a lot more said of trust and respect being earned. I guess, in a sense that is true…someone is more likely to trust you if you have behaved in a trustworthy manner. But I think the three are gifts offered, not earned.

We may well respect someone who acts with integrity, and may actively find ways to demonstrate that respect. But respecting someone is a choice we make, and we may choose not to respect someone though their character and actions are deemed worthy of respect.

Likewise, trust is something we choose (or not) to offer another. Some will trust another without evidence of trustworthiness, or even in spite of evidence to the contrary.

Trust, respect and forgiveness are not things you or I are entitled to.

Trust, respect and forgiveness are gifts you or I offer another.

If you or I are trusted, respected and/or forgiven…we are the privileged receivers of some of the most generous and gracious of gifts. Endeavour to receive them gratefully and graciously; endeavour never to demand them.

Church

Can’t we all be united

Isn’t that just what You want?

Don’t let me be divisive

Make me patient, and patient a lot

 

Remould my heart with compassion

Cause persistence and patience and truth

To be my dominant features

Submissive and gracious as Ruth

 

Bring together all of our families

As with Ruth, You brought three to one

May we lead, submit, love and serve

As in You, when surrendered, we have done

 

We know there is change in our future

This can plainly and clearly be seen

But as for how and when and who it will be

You’ll reveal as each step becomes need

 

Cause our hearts to seek You as one people

By Your Spirit as one move ahead

In Your power and grace and provision

By one vision and purpose be lead

 

22/11/2009

Individuality, Originality, Eclecticism, Truth

I do believe there is absolute truth. I do not believe that I comprehend all of it, but desire to process through all thoughts, ideas, programs, systems etc. that I may come across and check them against that which I believe to be true, have observed or experienced to be true.

I am thoughtful of wanting to give credit of any thought or process etc. with its point or person of origin, but I also find as I go on that I am a complex mix of all I have listened to, observed, learned from in some way. The older I get, the more difficult it is to say where thoughts and actions had their origins. Ecclesiastes in the Bible says that their is nothing new under the sun; we ALL are a mix of where we have been, what we have heard and observed, and our own individual stamp.

I’m enjoying a re-read of “Scribbling In The Sand” by Michael Card and wanted to share a quote from a letter he sought from Harold Best.

Your work will always be “out of” what you have somehow come across and “into” what others will eventually come across.

Thus dont’ be afraid to borrow the best and grow from the borrowing…The best artists begin by being influenced and end up influencing…

It is…finding others who themselves have found others who in turn have found still others, joining humbly and hungrily with this vast community, then seeing the difference that individuality has made all around you and praying that you will end up making enough difference to warrant your citizenship in the same community.

I want to borrow from you. I hope that you will borrow from me. I will endeavour to attribute to you what I have gleaned. I hope you will attribute to me that which you have “borrowed” from me.

I desire to be part of a humble, hungry, vast, community. Ubuntu from my African friends, grounded in Samvedna from my Indian friends.

The Crocodile Farm

There once was a crocodile farm that had two swamps for the crocodiles to enjoy; one great big one, and one teeny tiny one (that a frog barely fit into).

The crocodile farmer had two beautiful crocodiles who loved to lay in the sun beside the great big swamp to get warm. When they got too warm the two beautiful crocodiles would slide down the bank and into the cool murky water to cool off.

The two beautiful crocodiles loved their great big swamp; they loved sharing it together; they loved it when visitors to the crocodile farm came to look at them from over the fence.

One morning a truck drove up to the gate in the fence, which kept the crocodiles in and the people out. The two beautiful crocodiles, lying in the sun, didn’t move, but kept watch to see what would happen.

The gate opened…and two more crocodiles were taken out of the truck and left inside the fence, with the farmer’s two beautiful crocodiles. One of the new crocodiles was very similar to the two beautiful crocodiles, almost the same size even. The other of the two new crocodiles was HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive!

The two beautiful crocodiles thought it would be great to have the HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile in their great big swamp with them. They thought that visitors to the farm would love looking at them even more with this HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile sharing their swamp.

But the first-of-the-new-crocodiles was a bit skinny. The two beautiful crocodiles thought he didn’t look strong at all and also thought it was best if this one shared the teeny tiny swamp with the frog.

The HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile enjoyed sunning himself on the bank of the great big swamp and sliding into the water when he got too warm. The two beautiful crocodiles were very glad he was in their swam, surely the visitors to the farm would love seeing two beautiful crocodiles and one HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile all together.

The first-of-the-new-crocodiles enjoyed being with the frog. They became great friends. But this crocodile couldn’t enjoy the teeny tiny swamp. There wasn’t even enough room or water for the frog and definitely not enough room or water for the crocodile. Some times the first-of-the-new-crocodiles became so hot that he got sick because he couldn’t slide into the murky water of the swamp to cool off. But the frog would sit beside him and they would share stories together about all the swamps and farms they had lived on and about their families. They were very great friends.

One day the crocodile farmer brought some visitors to look over the fence at his crocodiles. The visitors watched the two beautiful crocodiles and the HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile sunning themselves on the bank and sliding into the murky water. These three crocodiles heard them saying how much they liked being able to see them there.

Not many visitors looked over the fence at the first-of-the-new-crocodiles and the frog. But they were happy being friends and the first-of-the-new-crocodiles began to sing while the frog jumped a dance to his song.

When the visitors to the farm heard the first-of-the-new-crocodiles sing they moved to his end of the fence to listen. They loved hearing the song and watching the frog dance.

After the farmer and the visitors left, the two beautiful crocodiles had a think.

They thought that the visitors liked seeing that they were beautiful; and seeing the HUGE! ENORMOUS! Very Impressive! crocodile; and enjoyed hearing the first-of-the-new-crocodiles’ song; and were amused watching the frog dance.

So, the crocodiles and the frog all decided that they would share the great big swamp because they each were special – beautiful, HUGE!, musical and funny.

They all became friends and they all had visitors come to see and hear them at the crocodile farm. Which made the farmer very pleased.

 

6/7/2014

James 1:1-13

Gina Marie

 

 

Even In Refinement – Beautiful Gold

Though refinement will go on until I leave this earth, the last eight years have been especially hot. In the heat of the furnace of refinement, the last five have been particularly scorching. The last two – three…white-hot!

The scars are not yet healed over completely and are still easily pried open. I am still who I am, and more who I am meant to become, because of so many who have held me up; or cradled me; or stood beside me; or battled with me; or battled for me; or battled with and for my children; or protected me; or clarified for me; or waited for me; or directed me; or even rebuked me (very gently).

It is my desire to share some of this love and community with you. My hope is that you will find some encouragement and direction from those I consider family, and not all are my relatives.

This from my sister, AZ:

…but when everything around us fails to give us what we are looking for or need, we need reminders to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, the Lifter of our head, the Guardian of our soul, the Beginning and End, the Almighty, Most Powerful, the Defender of our cause, the Source of our peace and joy, our All in All…We need to be able to stand in Christ alone, without needing anything or anyone else, that everything in Him is sufficient for me and for you, even though we may feel sad and hurt and lost. And then to be found in Him, to be restored, to be healed and hidden in Christ through the blessed blood of Christ Jesus our Lord. You are hidden in Christ! He surrounds you with His whole being, with His love He has already enveloped you, He fights for you every single second of the day and night. He never falls asleep or grows weary, though you do. He knows that you struggle, that you struggle so much and you are tired, your body and mind are exhausted. His love for you is all that matters, when everything else falls away, you still stand with Him, and He enables you to stand, because your legs can’t hold you up any longer. Keep fighting the good fight for your reward is in heaven. Don’t let the devil get a foothold for he prowls around looking for someone to devour. Stand firm then in the mighty power of God and put on the full armour of God, then you will be able to stand, rooted and established deep in the soil of God’s marvelous love. And even though you still cry, God our Father will count all your tears as He wipes them away. Your prayers to Him will be like sweet smelling offerings. He will hear them and He will receive them. He will honour your faith. He will make you strong and you are worthy of His love. I love you and I pray for you, so that you have prayer even when you cannot pray yourself. Stand firm and God will deliver you.

The one constant is the Creator of all things. Things happen to us, and around us, and because of us as a result of our choices. Trouble is not the Creator’s fault, but he will allow it and use it to make us who we were designed, redeemed and restored to be. In this process we are delivered by him, which may not mean we get everything we want or everything we lost or destroyed. But we will get much beauty and peace and joy, as well as white-hot fire, throughout this process of refinement. Who wants to hold on to anything that can be destroyed with fire anyway? Only the gold, the pure gold. This will remain, this I will hold on to.

Can you see some of the gold? Focus on those things because they are here to stay, they are what makes you who you are, what makes you beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made.