The path

IMG_1290

Imagine with me for a moment as together, we stand on the path…

Look! I see Jesus… He is standing there up ahead at the bend in the pathway! 

Of course Jesus has been with you all along! Did you know that? Or did you not recognise that it was Jesus who was with you all this time? Is it possible that you have been so intent on just getting to where you think you must be, that you paid no attention to Who it was that has been offering to equip you, help you and guide you on your journey in life?

Did you not know that if only you would come close to God, He promises to come close to you?

Or have you been so focused on the path itself—trying to work out how and where every part might fit in (does it even have a place?), that you lost sight of Jesus?

In perfect and loving harmony with God the Father, Jesus has not lost sight of you.

Did you notice the wonder and the beauty of the unfolding story contained within the path?

Did you see that even the smallest piece of rock has its own place and is held securely together in the cement?

Or did you think He did not care?

Did you think He did not treasure even the smallest part of your life that you thought would not matter? Did you think He was just watching—from a distance? 

You are loved by the Father-heart of God! He sees you. He knows you. Intimately. 

The Father’s plans are all about Jesus. He loves you with the same love He has for His Son Jesus! There is no other pathway to God except through Jesus.

Beloved, just like every one of your tears and sorrows is lovingly, carefully collected and treasured in the heart of God, so has every one of the steps you have taken this far in life been lovingly, intentionally and creatively brought together.

It is all there and there is more yet to come! 

Worked together. Held together in the embrace of Jesus who is The Way. The Truth. The life!

It is the only wise thing we can do. Leave everything to be where Jesus is. Go where He is going. Choose to partner with His Spirit wholly surrendered to God’s plans!

It is all for the glory of our redemptive and sin-forgiving God who is love and has the gift of life to freely give and invites us to join Him!

Through Jesus. For the fame of the name of Jesus Christ!

By the way… did you notice in the picture that the day is drawing to a close? The mercies of Godwho is I AMare new every morning.

“… we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning.

He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.

After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself.

And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.” (Romans 8:28-30 The Message) 

What else might the Holy Spirit want to speak to you about or show you as you reflect on my photo (taken in Athens, Greece)?

I see something different every time.

I see that there are gum trees and I am comforted by the grace of my compassionate God who has transplanted me into another land and gives me visible memories of my home in Australia.

I see the dry ground scorched by the summer heat and am reminded that by God’s grace, I am like a tree planted along a riverbankwith roots that reach deep down into the water. Such a tree is not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. The leaves of such a tree stays green and never stops producing fruit. (Jeremiah 17:8 NLTparaphrased)

God has so much to show you. Get your journal out. Take the time to be still with Jesus and listen to His Spirit and receive all that He has to give you. 

Peace. Hope. Freedom in Christ. Healing from the inside out.

To love God is to trust and obey.

All for Jesus!

Home

So I’ve been thinking about home a lot lately. But where is my home? Is my home in Eltham in Australia? Is it in Athens in Greece? Or is it found in all of the places in which I’ve lived during my 58 years of life? Maybe home is where I was born…

What does ‘home’ mean to you? It might be a haven of security and belonging that even now draws you back to an atmosphere wherein love, peace and rest prevail. On the other hand, it might be somewhere you dread being even in the distant shadowy memories of long ago years shoved away in a dusty ‘don’t go there’ room in your mind.

I need home to be a haven where I get to relax having tuned out the cacophony of the voices in the world all clamouring to exert their influence on my mind.

After a day spent navigating my way through life with its accompanying intersections each demanding a decision (which way is the right way?) or deciding what to do about the roadblocks, detours and confusing one-way streets where my forward momentum seems somehow even temporarily threatened… I just want to go home!

But what if ‘home’ no longer feels like home?

What do I do? Where do I go?

Maybe the better question is, “To whom do I turn?”. I discovered long ago that I am a traveller on a sojourn passing through this world with all of its brokenness and beauty…

My real home is in Jesus in the heart of God—the great I Am who asked me to call Him “Daddy”.

So it doesn’t matter where I am in the world when I practice resting back into His presence. It doesn’t matter who I’m with… or not with. It doesn’t matter whether the language is different. It doesn’t matter.

It’s in God where my place of security and belonging rests. The guarantee of an eternity lived ‘at home’—one with Jesus where I am forever healed, forever content, forever fulfilled and satisfied, forever tuned in to the sound of heaven—is the beloved Holy Spirit who made His home in me when He drew me to Jesus.

That day when I believed what I was hearing within the hidden depths of my being—that Jesus loved me and wanted to make His home in me—that day when I said “yes” was the day that I found out where my real, forever home is…

No matter where I am in the world.

Heather Henson

20th July 2017

 

Ross and me

Where?

Have you ever wondered where all the people are going? Have you ever sat in the safety of your dwelling place and wondered…?

Here I am on ‘day 3’ in Greece—downtown Athens— and I’m wondering. How do I do life in this place mostly unfamiliar to me? The explorer in me is weary from all the preparations of just getting here. The courageous part in me wants to hide for a few minutes, maybe even a few days. The observer within me is watchful and alert, working hard to interpret and process all that I see around me through the lens of my personality and experience of life.

So many questions with an accompanying cacophony of emotions… What is happening around me? How do they do it? How do I do it? What do you call that? How much is that? Where does it go? What does that mean? What must I do? How do I ask for that?

I don’t fit in. Yet. Will I ever?

I witness the uninhibited joyful response of the woman behind the counter as I use her language to say “Thank you for your help” and I know I will keep going…

Life. It really is all about relationship and not so much about the task after all.

And I know I will explore—one step at a time. Where the people are. How they get there. Where they are going. I will join them on their journey even if my steps are a little tentative at first.

My dwelling place is a safe and secure one. In this place of belonging I am daily prepared and equipped for exploring the world around me.

I go out. I come back in. I go out… The very air I breathe—the very atmosphere in which I have my being—in this place I am utterly loved and accepted.

So I will remember to live and love well for life is not a guarantee but a gift. And I remember.

I follow Jesus and when I follow Jesus, life happens…

Man in alley

Perspective and life…

IMG_7370

Perspective is a funny thing.

Standing side by side, two people can look out on to the same scene—yet they can focus on two different points of view.

Same picture. Different perspective. 

I believe it is not possible to focus on two different things at exactly the same time—even though there might only be a fraction of a moment in time between moving one’s focus from one thing to another.

So, I wonder… In this picture of mine (taken in 2015 at a Morning Peninsula beach, in Australia), what do you see? What does the Spirit of Jesus Christ want to show you from the depths of the Father’s heart?

Some questions coming to my mind include…

Is my focus drawn to the approaching storm front? Or has the sun in the middle of the picture attracted my attention? Why?

Am I drawn to the lighter clouds dancing their way across the blue sky?

Is my focus drawn to the ocean? And why? What is it about the ocean?

I look at the picture where the sun is shining in the centre of it all and I remember…

I remember that God—my heavenly Daddy—powerful and gentle, righteous and holy, gracious and loving, kind and wise, the always-good Lord of Heavens’ Armies says, “Be still and know that I AM God.” (Read Psalm 46.)

I remember that even if the storm clouds come (and they do come), the sun will always be there—hidden but not gone. The light of the life of God’s one and only unique Son Jesus Christ—who exactly represents God—will never ever be extinguished by the darkness. Never. It is not possible.

I remember that the Spirit of Jesus will always be with me. Jesus did not return to heaven (to his Father) and leave me and you as orphans. He promises to always be our secure place of refuge. And it is impossible for God to lie. His promises are forever. His kingdom is unshakeable. 

I look at the picture and remember. Jesus Christ is, and must be, the centre of it all.

You might like to use the photograph and ask Jesus… “What do you have as a gift to give me from the Father’s heart—about life? From his perspective? For your sake.”

Yes… There might indeed be issues which we each see from a different perspective but… we must meet together in Jesus. And yes… We need the Holy Spirit to empower and help us be the sort of relational community where we are free to explore life together within the good and pleasant and secure boundaries of God—who is truth and love.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom… Freedom to be live the rich and satisfying life that Jesus came to lead us into. 

God calls us to be one—united in love in (and with) the Prince of Peace—by the power and work of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

For HIS glory!

That the world would know that God is good!

Second-hand Shoes

The ‘year of the shoes’ stands out in my childhood memories. That year my mother passed on to me a secondhand pair of ‘Sunday-best’ shoes (‘hand-me-downs’) complete with the unspoken expectation that I would and could walk in someone else’s footprints. It was never going to work for me. Not only were the shoes too big for me but into them had been imprinted a legacy that did not fit me. Instead of taking delight in going to Sunday School, I became overly-conscious of my feet—anxious and fearful that I might fall down. I tried so hard to fit into those shoes…

Using this story (of the shoes) as a metaphor, have you ever been expected to walk in someone else’s ‘footprints’? What legacy has been handed on to you? Has it been a positive experience? Is it bearing good fruit? Have you been freely walking—taking delight in following Jesus—living the ‘rich and satisfying’ life that He came to lead us into? (John 10:10) Or… have you been so focused on maintaining your balance to avoid stumbling and falling down, that now you are beginning to recognise just how weary you have become?

Or was it you asking another person to accept something that no longer fits you or someone in your care? Maybe in that moment when you first tried to walk in those ‘shoes’ never designed with you in mind at all, you began looking around with a burning question in your mind, “Who can I pass this on to?” “How can I get rid of this…?”

What do you do with a legacy which you have inherited and are perhaps even now trying to operate under? What might be the expectations wrapped up in it? Has your identity been entangled or even somehow lost in it? How has your attitude—your stance in life—affected your behaviour? 

With the eyes of your heart (your mind), let God’s Spirit help you to re-focus on to Jesus. Who does God want to be for you? What does He need to do? Take courage! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there really is freedom. Is today the day the Lord has made for you to surrender to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit fit you with ‘shoes’ lovingly, wisely created by Him—tailor-made for youwith a Kingdom of God calling and purpose.

Our gracious, merciful and creative Father God calls you to trust Him and follow Jesus walking in His footsteps. His grace means that His Spirit will help you to do this daily. Your footprint is unique to  you as it is to every single person, but we each discover in Jesus, a perfect fit—the ‘sweet-spot’! Freedom in Christ!

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me (Jesus Christ). Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message —emphasis mine)

I wonder how God our Father through the work of His Spirit—the Spirit of Jesus Christ, plans to apply this in your life? Have a conversation with Him today. Ask questions. Be prepared to listen and watch for the answers…