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Monthly Archives: July 2011

[Guest Post] Overwhelming love

Mrs B is back!

Thank you so much for your comments on facebook and twitter in response to my first blog. I’m really glad you liked it and have come back for more. So here’s ‘Love’ part two…

When I was a youthworker I used to do an exercise with the girls I worked with where they had to complete the phrase “I know I’m loved when…”. With the younger girls it often took them a long time to get started because they found it difficult to articulate how love was shown to them. They just seemed to know, somehow, that they were loved – by their parents, sibilings and family. As they got older the responses changed, and I particularly remember one which read something like this;

I know I’m loved when…my parents say they are proud of me even though I do things that wouldn’t make any parent proud. They forgive the bad stuff and love me anyway.”

I was taken aback by this very insightful response – which seemed to perfectly sum up the love a parent has for their child. It’s an overwhelming love. An unconditional love. An unending love.

I also remember sitting one day with another girl, Zoe, telling me she was having an abortion the next day. She was 16 years old and 8 weeks pregnant. Zoe was intelligent, beautiful and an exceptionally talented singer and performer. She exuded warmth and fun, and had a magnetic personality. There was SO much about Zoe that made her parents proud. But as the tears streamed down her face she explained that her reason for terminating the pregnancy was not because she didn’t feel ready to have a baby, or was worried about ruining her future – but because she felt like she had let her Dad down. That he would be angry and kick her out of home. That he would be ashamed and disown her. That he wouldn’t love her anymore.

And even now, some years on, the memory of that conversation makes me desperately sad. I didn’t know her Dad, and I don’t know how he would have responded. But I suspect that the love he felt for his daughter would have remained – even through the arguments and anger and disappointment.

According to wikipedia,

 Unconditional love is a term that means to love someone regardless of the loved one’s qualities or actions. The paragon of unconditional love is a mother’s love for her newborn.”

For many people, the love they are shown by a parent, or the love they show to their own child, is the only example of unconditional love in their lives. Even the love of a spouse or partner might come with conditions (“I’ll love you for as long as love me…for as long as you’re faithful to me…for as long as you don’t hurt me…)

I want my boys to know that no matter what they do – anger me, disappoint me, betray me, stop loving me – I will ALWAYS love them unconditionally.

And my love for them is just a tiny reflection of the kind of love that God shows to us. It’s not based on whether we love Him. It’s not based on whether we ‘do the right thing’. It’s not based on whether we make Him proud. God loves us because we are His children and he created us to be in relationship with Him. And furthermore…

I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8: 38-39 NIV

Nothing, nothing can separate us from that love.

So, what does that mean in the reality of day to day life? Is it just a warm and fuzzy feeling that makes us feel better about ourselves? Or does it make a difference to the way we live our lives?

Have a think…I’ll come back to those questions next week!

Let me know your thoughts

Big love,

Mrs Blunders

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Taste and see…

taste and see...

Morning,

Here is a prayer based on some of the themes developed in Psalm 34 that you may like to use in your prayer times this week on your own or when your gather with others.

Grace and peace,

Steve

Father God, Lord of all creation,

In your great name we stand,

We will praise your name forever! Yours is the Glory!

We will discover for ourselves that you are good,

We will seek you and look to you for our strength,

We will praise your name forever! Yours is the Glory!

We will stand on every promise of your word

You have heard our cries; you have heard our forgotten prayers!

We will praise your name forever! Yours is the Glory!

We will use our tongues to bless not to curse

We will speak peace in your name, we will pursue justice

We will praise your name forever! Yours is the Glory!

Holy Spirit, draw near those who are broken hearted,

May we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.

We will praise your name forever! Yours is the Glory!

We know that you have saved us through your Son, Jesus Christ.

Who will come again in glory, we trust in Him!

We will praise your name forever! Yours is the Glory!

We will declare the goodness of God,

May we encounter and witness His grace and love this and every day!

We will praise His name forever!

Yours is the Glory!

 
 

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[Guest Blog] Look over there…

So…It’s called ‘blogblunders’ and I’m Mrs Blunders – so I thought I might have a go too. Two things will identify this as my writing and not that of my lovely husband

1. It won’t be nearly as theological, profound or concise as his (I am a woman, I like to waffle)

2. There will be a reference to musical theatre within the first couple of paragraphs

I’ve been trying to tie together a number of recent thoughts, and have decided to stick them under the heading ‘Love’. I’m trying to understand more about the magnitude, the inclusivity and the unconditional nature of God’s love, and how we show that to other people in our day to day lives. I’ve got lots of say…so this is just part one!

Recently I was involved in an amazing production of La Cage Aux Folles. The plot in brief – Albin is the star of a drag club which he runs with his partner Georges. Georges has a son, Jean Michel (a result of a one night stand twenty four years ago) whom he and Albin have raised together. Jean Michel intends to marry Anne, whose father is a homophobic, ultra conservative politican threatening to close all the drag clubs on the Riviera. The two families are to meet, and Jean Michel requests that Albin (and his iffeminate ways) stay away, that Georges ‘play it straight’ and that his biological mother is invited. Albin, who has raised the boy as his own, is devasted at being pushed out like this. Much comedy and farce ensues (and of course there is a happy ending eventually!), but in a particularly poignant moment, Georges sings to Jean Michel about the love Albin has shown him…

How often is someone concerned

With the tiniest thread of your life?

Concerned with whatever you feel

And whatever you touch?

Look over there,

Look over there,

Somebody cares that much.

How often does somebody sense

That you need them without being told?

When you have a hurt in your heart

You’re too proud to disclose?

Look over there,

Look over there,

Somebody always knows.

When your world spins too fast,

And your bubble has burst,

Someone puts himself last,

So that you can come first.

So count all the loves who will love you

From now ’til the end of your life,

And when you have added the loves

Who have loved you before,

Look over there,

Look over there,

Somebody loves you more

Interestingly, the scenery during this song included a huge wooden cross, which Albin sat in front of – meaning that each time Georges sang ‘Look over there’ and indicated to Albin, he was inadvertently pointing at the cross. Wow.

Doesn’t this song describe God’s love beautifully? Doesn’t John 3:16 talk of a love that puts himself last so that you can come first? Doesn’t Psalm 139 talk of a love that is concerned with the tiniest thread of your life?

It’s a beautiful song, perhaps one worthy to sit alongside the worship songs on your iPod* – download it and have a listen. (La Cage Aux Folles (The Broadway Musical) – Original Cast Recording).

See, musical theatre can encourage you in your walk with God. Who’da thunk it?!

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section,

Love

Mrs Blunders

*other MP3 players are available 😉

 
 

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Greater things have yet to come…

Greetings fellow prayerjourneypeeps,

We are continuing our series through the Gospel of John, passage by passage and trying to express one of the main points in a written prayer.

Today’s section from John is the last part of chapter 1 entitled; Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael.

So, without further ado here is the passage;

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:44-51 ESV

As always, much could be said.

But, I want to focus in on the end of this narrative.

The basic outline is that Nathanael knows that Jesus is the son of God because he prophecies over him about him sitting under a tree. I love the ever so slightly sarcastic tone to Jesus’ response, “Pah, that’s nothing your going to see much more than that!” (blogblunders paraphrase Bible).

There are links here to the story of Jacob back in Genesis 28:10-22, where Jacob has a vision about the angels of God ascending and descending to earth. Jacob wakes from his vision and declares that surely God is this place and yet he did not know it.

The vision itself points to the tabernacle/temple, where God would dwell with his people. John is making the link (as he does through the whole of his Gospel) that Jesus is God dwelling with his people. Jesus has come to make permanent the links between God and man (1 Tim.2:3-5).

But, not only this, but all the disciples (the you, in “You will see greater things…” is plural) will witness much more than Jacob witnessed. In fact they get the next instalment at a wedding in Chapter 2, but much more on that next week…

All this led me to this verse, which is from John 14:12

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

As Jesus goes to the Father, he leaves us the Holy Spirit, along with a promise that we will do even greater things than the works of Jesus.

We WILL do greater things!

Then verse 13 of John 14 says this;

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

The greater things will happen when we ask for them, so that they might bring Glory to God.

So, when was the last time any of us asked for the greater things? How much would/do we pursue God and him alone to see Him glorified?

How will we pray in the greater things?

As always I’d love to hear your thoughts,

Grace and Peace,

Steve

Prayer;

Amlighty God and Father,

We worship you! We give you praise and thanks!

We want to see the greater things promised by your Son

We want to be part of the greater things promised by your Son

We want those we meet to be part of the greater things promised by your Son.

Lord God of Heaven, teach us to pray!

Teach us to pray Your Kingdom come and Your will be done

May we bring glory to you and your name,

As we pray in the greater things!

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

 

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Dwell…

20110717-204754.jpg

Good evening, I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Here is a prayer based on Psalm 15 which you may like to use during this week.

Dear God and Father,
May I dwell with you and live my life with you.
I will walk closer with you this and every day.
May I dwell with you and live my life with you.
I choose to speak your words of truth, to build up, not tear down.
May I dwell with you and live my life with you.
I will bless those I meet in your name, through my deeds and my words.
May I dwell with you and live my life with you.
I choose to see your face in all who I meet, may I not judge but discern where your Spirit is at work.
May I dwell with you and live my life with you.
Whatever I do, may it bring glory to your name and your kingdom.
May I dwell with you and live my life with you.
I will stand on the truths of Jesus,
May I dwell with you and live my life with you.
May I live a life in humility, living justly, loving mercy,
In Jesus’ name
Amen

As always, let me know your thoughts. May you know that you are blessed in your journeys,

Grace and peace,

Steve

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in God, Jesus, Prayer

 

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Seeking or being sought…

Greetings from Blogblunders Land,

Just as an aside thank you to all who are reading this blog and checking back regularly, I hope that you are finding it helpful, stimulating and such like. Please feel free to leave comments on the prayers you have used or any thoughts relating to the posts, it is great to hear from you.

Also, if you are super eager you can sign up to the subscription part of this blog and get notifications each time a there is a new post.

Anyway, today we continue on our adventures through the Gospel of John.

Our verses for today our from John 1:35-42:

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. 

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said,”So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

Up until now in our journey through the Gospel of John, we have been introduced to Jesus and John. A few side characters have crossed our path, but only really to give us a fuller picture of John the Baptist and his pointing to Jesus. From now on in the Gospel we start to get more ‘named’ characters appearing, more people we can relate to.

Ordinary folk, some might say.

What is interesting about these people that we are introduced to are also on a journey. We can see from the conversation that  takes place between Andrew and Simon Peter that they have been looking for the Messiah. They have been waiting for the promised one, the one who will redeem and save Israel.

Little do they realise that Jesus has been looking for them.

He knew that he was going to need disciples to fulfil his mission. A group that he could train, equip and ready for the continuing spread of the good news – that they can have a relationship with God.

How often do we come sheepishly come to Jesus and mutter something along the lines of, “Sorry I haven’t spoken to you in a while”, only to hear him say; “I’ve been waiting for you!, come let us talk!”

The truth is that our journey with Jesus is always two way. We are called to seek after Him and yet it would seem that He continues to seek after us (Ezekiel 34:12). He is looking for his sheep, those who have gone astray, those who He can transform this world with.

Jesus was looking for his disciples, they made themselves known to Him by seeking Him.

Now, we still have a choice in the matter and I believe this choice is the one we do minute by minute, day by day.

So, will we seek Jesus?

He is always seeking us.

As always let me know your thoughts,

Grace and peace,

Steve

 

Almighty God; Father,

Thank you for seeking me,

Thank you for your grace that extends to me.

May I be known as a follower of Jesus.

In this moment I choose to seek Jesus,

I know that you are always seeking for a relationship with me and that you are interested in me.

You are for me not against me,

You are seeking to save me, to restore me, to reach out to me.

May I take the gamble in this moment and risk it all to know you and your love.

Holy Spirit make your presence real to me in this moment.

May I set my face to seek the Lord and by His grace may I find Him.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

p.s. You may also like to check out some additional stories of God seeking us:

Parable of the Two Sons     &   Parable of the lost sheep

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday morning blues…

Monday morning blues

Hello,

How’s the prospect of Monday feeling?

That good, eh?

On Saturday morning, several friends and I gathered together to pray for our work and for the work of those who are apart of Living Stones Church. We prayed for various business, new and old, for schools and other places that were represented in the group.

We shared a variety of thoughts with one another and I would like to take five minutes of your time to share a few thoughts on work and leave you with prayer that you may like to use tomorrow morning before you go to work/while you are there.

I saw this quote on a friends Facebook wall just this week, which I believe may be from Rob Bell’s book Velvet Elvis. (I will double check tomorrow,whenI find my copy!)

The Earth is filled with the Glory of God, He never has to turn up, we have to notice Him.

Whoever said it, it is a great quote and fits in with one of the themes that is coming through my posts which is the theme of moment by moment living. Living under the Lordship of Jesus in everything that we do – this therefore must include our work. For too long it has been the myth about God, that secretly he wants all Christians to form holy huddles and all become full time missionaries to Africa or worship leaders.

But, the truth is that God does not see one job more important than another. What God is interested in is our hearts, He is far more interested in asking us to follow Him in everything we do. It is the same question to a cleaner, a government official, a full time mum/dad or those of us who are worship leaders. Jesus asks us to follow him, to be Him in the places we live, the homes we visit, in the shops we use and especially in the places we work.

We are called to be a blessing to those around us, to share God’s love, to be hard workers and serve others.

So, as we go to work tomorrow. May we know that we do it not only with Jesus but for Jesus. May all the glory go to Him.

Be blessed in your Mondays, God is with us!

Grace and Peace,

Steve

Here is my work prayer – there are several other excellent prayers on work and the workplace that can be found if you google work place prayer or click this link and it’ll do it for you. Work Place Prayer Search

Work Prayer
Father, I thank you for my work, especially in this time.
Open my eyes today that I might see you at work.
Show me where you are at work in my colleagues lives,
That I may be a blessing to them and serve them.

May I stay awake to your presence with me today.
Bless those who I work with, those I like and those I struggle with.
May I be your grace and peace to them.

May I through your strength,
Put away all gossip, bitterness and anger
So, that I may be able to see you face in all that I meet.

Holy Spirit speak through me today,
Be in every conversation that I have
May I be a true and faithful witness to you at work today.
In Jesus’ name
Amen

 
 

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