The Tree

A tree stood outside of the village.

Few noticed the tree as they went about the business of their days and nights.

But of those few who saw the tree, and stepped aside from the road to look closer, none would remain as they once were.

All who came to the tree saw their names carved into the timber.

All who kneeled before the tree and reached out to touch and own that they recognized their own name on this tree, grateful that they were named there, found they were washed by the tree’s life-blood, till they were clothed anew, white like light.

By this light were these few of the few given to see their gifts beneath the tree – once again, named with their own name.

Of these few clothed in white light, some would never open their gifts, some would open, but never use that contained within.

But a few of these few would receive, open, and use their own named gifts. They would provide for each other by use of these gifts. They would provide for those whose gifts remained unopened or unused. They would even provide for the passers-by, on the road and in the village.

As these few, of the few, of the few accessed and used their gifts, their gifts increased in depth and beauty and strength – and the few grew themselves, in strength, beauty, joy, insight and peace – their light shone brighter with every use of their gifts.

And those who came to the tree, saw their name engraved there, but would not acknowledge it as their own, nor embrace the tree and its gifts with gratefulness, wandered endlessly.

Unsettled in the village, unsettled on the road, and resentful of the tree…

…The tree stood outside of the village, off the oft-travelled road, but high and lifted up on the hill…

the bestower of life, gifts, restoration and purpose.

22/5/2015

The Tree

 

Growth Group Highlights – 14/8/2014

James 4:13-17

God is forgotten about, but he is not absent.

Urgency doesn’t equate to rush. Jesus didn’t rush.

My expectations can inhibit my willingness for change.

Most important thing for all eternity is Christ.

Death/physical absence of the other doesn’t discount all that went before in the relationship.

Hard for us to depend on the Lord’s will because we have to put ourselves in God’s way, to go deeper into him.

I need an accurate/truthful picture of God to trust him and be willing for his will over mine.

Why I boast – no appreciation of God’s sovereignty, will, provision. It helps to see each other at eye level, equality.

Do I replace God with myself? Up and down – sometimes yes, sometimes no. Therefore I need accountability – going to church, Bible study, intimate relationships etc.

The Word of God is the yardstick.

Happiness is a by-product, not a goal.

“The thing is, as Christians we know we struggle with sin and we often forget about God. Sin is a big deal before God, yet we don’t often see our sin as that big of a deal. We profess and believe in God, we know God is supreme, we know what his will is and yet we often go and disobey him. The desire to do the will of God is the mark of a transformed life.

Impressions during a difficult week.

Thanks to Leslie, Tom, Neil, Alison and Lecia.

Grace

I see the struggle in your face, it shows

You’re mad and cross at grace, I know

To calm your fear, you try control

But fear’s driven out by love, that’s all

 

When other’s fail, you have no time

Acceptance comes when they toe, your line

But as God measures you by what Christ has done

So your measure of others will to Christ succumb

 

When the pride of your praise and abstinence fails

And you see your weakness is akin to ours

May the grace God bestows on you because He chooses

Flow to those you have judged and heal all bruises

 

22/11/2009  Gina Marie

Perfect Love, Casting Fear

Perfect love, casts out fear.

All your plans for me are good.

You will all my boundaries keep.

I will step where you have stood.

 

Help my unbelief, while trusting.

Even others, in your will decide.

You will still meet my provision.

See you working from the other side.

 

It’s hard! It’s hard! You know I want to.

You know I know you’re making sweet.

Everything works accordingly to,

Your purpose, pleasure; all complete.

 

I’ll never understand how coming

To your perfect good must be

So painful, cloudy, all-confusing.

Exhausted, lonely, messy me.

 

I know that faith is like a muscle;

Work it, stretch it, push, increase.

But adding onto faith and virtue’s

Not all that it’s cracked up to be.

 

And even Christ in humanness

Requested, if there ever be

A way to vict’ry over darkness

Other than what he could see.

 

But in his asking, full submission.

Never did he seek escape.

From end and goal, stayed fully focused,

On my release from my death state.

 

You’ve never said you like to punish!

Or see us with pain, inflicted on.

But when there is no other passage,

To life and light, then struggle comes.

 

I want to have an end-goal focus.

I cannot see those in between.

Lead me to the painful, joyful.

As all is goodness, unforeseen.

 

Gina Marie 17/7/2014

James 1

Peter Craft – 6/5/2013

…the Bible shows us who we really are. It tells us who we are without Jesus and who we are if we are devoted to Jesus.

When we read the Bible we see our true selves reflected back to us. We see ourselves with all our faults and failures and all that we can be in Jesus.

So if we forget what we hear from God’s word, and if we fail to do what it says, we are really forgetting who we actually are.

Forgiveness, Repentance

Repentance is the means by which one accepts forgiveness already offered.

Not the means by which forgiveness is earned.

Forgiveness is a gift given; not a right deserved; nor a commodity bought.

Repentance is the way in which one holds out their own hand to accept the gift of forgiveness offered freely.

Forgive. Repent. Accept. Be changed.

Shared and Sharing Experience

I have just listened to Wes Moore speak at TED on how to talk to veterans about their wars. 

His comments directed my thoughts to other individuals and groups whose communities and families may or may not approach them, or may unintentionally offend or wound through ignorance.

Social media and other communication mediums are replete with those who have endured war, abuse, rape, disability, pain, physical and mental illness, job-loss, moral and financial bankruptcy, child-loss, widow-hood (I could go on), all looking for others who have shared in a similar experience and/or a place to be heard and valued.

My simple hope is that we each would take an interest and the time to discover what another’s experience has been like, and share our own experiences so that someone else may not feel alone in theirs. Talking about our lives is healthy for the speaker, the listener and our social connections. Not talking, asking or listening only breeds our sense of isolation, negative identity assumptions (of ourselves and others), and disconnection from each other when we all have a desire to belong – somewhere.