Posted in Christian living, health and wellness, Life, Love, Parenthood, Uncategorized

The Birth of

I wrote this while waiting for my 6th grandchild to be born in 2012. What was it? Tell you later…

Well today is D-DAY Delivery day. What a long 9 months it has been. But we have so much to be thankful for.

Where do we begin with this past 12 months? Josiah’s diagnosis of A.L.L. Acute Lymphatic Leukemia saw us in and out of hospital until just recently. We have traveled a long road; diagnosis; shock, treatment, ecstatic as responses to treatment, and pain of watching him go through the distressing mucositis which ulcerated his entire mouth and esophagus down to the anus; loss of hair; ballooning and gorging from the steroids to all the fevers and sicknesses from a compromised immune system.

After finding out in April this year intensive chemotherapy was over and maintenance would begin we were shocked to discover Sherri was pregnant.

They were not sure how it happened. Come on – after 3 children! But the treatment of Josiah had caused a bit of a mental block as is often the case with parents with children undergoing treatment. So number 4 is being awaited. We are sitting here in the labor ward as I reflect on the past year and its highs and lows.

After the high of Josiah finishing his intensive program early, and discovering Sherri was pregnant, we were hit with another blow. Sherri was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension: A disease of the heart and lungs that ultimately and worse-case scenario ends in death of the mother, or perhaps requiring a heart lung transplant. However, after weeks of levels climbing we called for prayer!

Doctors were amazed when after only a few days in hospital undergoing bed-rest and no other intervention, her levels came down! Doctors went back to the drawing board because the levels of this disease, NEVER go down. Despite another diagnosis of some “Anomaly”  levels have not gone back up over the past 9 months. After a projected delivery date of 28 weeks, here we sit at 36 weeks awaiting the birth under very calm, happy conditions with Sherri’s strength intact and in fact stronger than at the beginning of the pregnancy with no symptoms of breathlessness or fatigue.

So we stand amazed at the hand of God over her life. I remember after spending a night of research lying, crying in the arms of my husband saying, “I wish I could take this on myself – I have had our family she has 4 little ones.” When all of a sudden even as the words came out of mouth I remembered that I didn’t have to take it on myself…that is what Jesus did at the cross. He took our sicknesses and infirmities upon Himself!

That same morning Paul came in to my office and said, “No one has to die to give her a new heart and lungs – Christ died to give her those.” With those two revelations we have been able to stand in faith and in her healing, praying and believing for safe delivery for not only her but her child also.

We also heard a tape on how Satan wants our Seed. But that is another story…Oh by the way – it was a boy!

 

Posted in Christian living, communication, cross cultural living, Life, Parenthood, Philippines, Uncategorized

Philippines Journey – Whose Your Daddy?

Philippines Journey – Whose Your Daddy?!!

Again this post was written in 2014 after a nice trip up to Manila having a hot shower and sleeping on a comfortable bed (actually a bed and not a piece of foam on the floor) as well as putting on some glad rags for an amazing evening of celebration of the work accomplished in East Samar.

2014 reflections continue….

This week we had the privilege to meet some amazing world changers. The Alverez Foundation set up Pinoy Relief as their disaster relief foundation.  They have affected change using their influence to raise dollars towards amazing projects including, rebuilding schools, homes, and boats to re-establish the fishing fleets lost to the typhoon.

Appl.D.App was there cheering the family foundation on. Who is Appl.D.App I hear you over 50’s ask? Oh…Oh…(hand raised) I know……A singer from the Black Eyed Peas! You know the ones who sing, “Tonight’s going to be a good night!” I have to admit I didn’t have a clue. I know the song and had heard of Black Eyed Peas but didn’t know who Appl.D.App was. But what a nice guy! His story is amazing. He is a Filipino boy who was sponsored by an American and grew up to see his dreams fulfilled.  It’s a great story and he is now giving back to his homeland through promotions and support.

He was just one of the rich and famous at the “Thank You Gala” we attended on behalf of Pinoy Relief and Operation Blessing. So many influential people and for the two of us from the land down under it could have been just a little intimidating!

Paul and I arrived early (actually the first to arrive) which we didn’t mind. We had met the Alverez family the day before as they came for a tour of the work their support had made possible in the Guiuan area. We met the sons and daughter and other family members from New York- A world away from our “place.”  They were lovely people and keen to make a difference in their worlds.

As we sat on the open roof top of the building, only knowing a few people, everyone rocked up and we were feeling a lot like fish out of water – Then we looked up..

We saw the moon and the stars and the reality hit both of us at the same time! We may not be famous or have worldly wealthy but our Daddy made the heavens and earth that we are all sitting under and on: He measures the UNIVERSE in the palm of His hand!

Is 40:12 asks the question, “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, marked off the heavens with a (nine-inch) span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance..?”

Whose my Daddy? The one who does that! How big is He? He marks off the heavens with His hand width. That’s pretty cool!

God really doesn’t have a problem with people being rich. His problem is when they forget who enabled them to get wealth and also warns us not to be consumed with riches. He instructs those with wealth to use it well and not wastefully. But we must all realize how infinitesimal in the scheme of the universe we all are!

Our God is big but also cares for the smallest sparrow that dies and knows the numbers of hairs on our head or lack thereof in some cases.  How can we ever feel intimidated by anyone in this world knowing who we belong to?

Today look up see the sun, see the moon, see the stars, smell the air, watch the waves, and know that Your Daddy is the one who made all that and you are His Heir!

Until next time

Look up and remember He’s your Daddy!

Blessings Narelle

A fun video for a fun night – Appl.D.App working the disco for the night!

 

 

 

Posted in Christian living, grandparenting, health and wellness, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, travel, Uncategorized

Achieving Goals – Change Now!

Again I wrote this in 2015 but still as relevant today two years later!! It doesn’t have to be the New Year to start to change your life!

The way to achieving your goals – START

I saw a great post the other day that basically said , “In 2015 I am going to complete the goals I set in 2014 that I didn’t finish in 2013 that I had set in 2012 etc”

How many of us do that? Set goals and then life gets in the way and bang before you know it the year has flown and nothing has been done to get you toward your goal. We should say we are setting up our good intentions!

One day a few years ago when I was jalking (jog-walking) along the beach I noticed something about focus.

As I headed up the beach I kept my eyes focused on a cliff that overshadows the beach area. Whenever I stayed focus, I could look behind me and see my footprints in the sand were fairly straight. When I strayed in thought and started to wander off , I could look behind and see my foot prints straying all over the place. I was still heading the right direction but I was deviating off course considerably without noticing.

I realized how important focus was to not waste time or energy or direction.

Last year was one of those years. As a couple we had determined a few goals. However, immediately, I became sick in the first few weeks of the year and was flat on my back. I read a book by an old missionary, Praying Hyde. It was inspiring to hear of the amount of prayer this faithful intercessor did: Praying all night, for hours, for days. I was inspired and determined. Things were going to change.

I set myself to focus on prayer, fasting and studying the Word. The days turned to weeks, turned to nearly 2 months. In that time I can honestly say I really didn’t “feel” like I had broken through to any great degree yet within a couple of days I was amazed how quickly God moved. One of those areas was for Paul to get work he loved and opportunities to open up before us.

We shouldn’t have been but we were surprised when literally a day after praying that way the phone rang and he was asked to go to the Philippines to help with the rebuild after Typhoon Yolanda.

He headed off while I planned to go to him after getting a few things sorted in Australia. Then a few weeks after that we received some very challenging news – our grandson Josiah had the leukaemia he had been in remission from, return. It was a blow to us all but our daughter told us to continue to make plans to go thinking they had another 2 years left of chemotherapy. However, a few weeks later it became evident the cancer was not going into remission as well as the doctors liked, enough to say it would never come back.

Bone marrow was really the only option in the natural to follow up on for him to survive – in the natural.

In the spirit we continued to believe that as his name says, Healed by Jehovah. Josiah was an amazing little trooper and literally from March through to October his life and the family’s life revolved around hospitals and doctors. For a 4 year old he was inspirational!

As I reflect on just what goals I set myself during that time of prayer I realize just how much we did achieve what we set out to do despite the challenges and forced change of direction!

Reflecting on goals these are my 5 steps to achieving them in 2015

  • Check your progress.

One of the keys to setting goals is to look behind.  Watch just how far your footprints have deviated off course or stayed on course depending on your focus.

  • Celebrate the victories along the way.

One of my goals was to lose 20 Kilos by Dec 2014. I managed 17. Am I unhappy with that? Of course not but I am still inspired to complete my goal this year and in fact need to add another 5kg on to that amount to achieve my final goal weight.

  • Be realistic.

A building has to have a plan, projections, a budget, a time frame and resources to see it happen. A plan doesn’t happen just by writing it down but that is the start and you need to start. Be realistic in terms of what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve. But by the same token – dream big. 

  • Let go.

  If it turns out you didn’t really want to do or become something, be prepared to let it go. Keeping on keeping on for the reason of staying the course is senseless. 

  • Don’t Give Up or In.

 Just as important as step 4 is to keep moving forward despite road blocks and humps. Despite life’s challenges goals can be achieved they just might look a little different or be on a different time line.

The Chinese are calling this the year of the sheep…We proclaim it the year of the Lord’s favour. As you wait on the Lord you will be successful in all you do!  Let’s get started. Blessed in 2015….

Now that I look back over that year I am in such amazement at just what that year produced…more on that later!

 

 

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Achieving my goal to walk every day! Something I struggled hard to achieve after years of inactivity. 
Posted in Christian living, Life, Love, Marriage, sexual issues, Uncategorized

A Good Marriage Does Good Like Medicine

I wrote this at 39 years married. We are now approaching 42 years! I wrote this blog in health and wellness for a reason. Having a healthy marriage can improve the health of people – note I say healthy; as a sick marriage can cause some major health issues, both physically and emotionalley. Here are my thoughts on maintaining a healthy marriage.

I think if you have a good marriage you are less prone to many of the other stresses of life which cause dis-ease and sickness. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. I am not saying that married couples are healthier than singles I am just saying that being in a happy relationship is definitely a healthy way to live.

Someone asked me the other day what did we do to have a good marriage?

I had to stop and think about it. There are quite a few answers to that one but I guess the first one comes from what I carried down the aisle on our wedding day 39 years ago instead of the traditional wedding bouquet – A Bible. A bunch of flowers is lovely but are a bit like some expectations after the wedding – Nice for a day but die quickly thereafter. I wanted something that would reflect what I wanted from my entire marriage not just the wedding day…a foundation of Truth.

We had decided that at the very outset, the Word of God was our foundation. We also really only sang one song during our service – Turn your eyes upon Jesus which is what we have done over the 39 years (41 now).

Has it been easy? No. Have there been tears – on both sides? Absolutely! Have there been fights? For sure! Has there been anger? Of course! Has there been love? Lots!  Fun? Insane amounts!

We never started off on an easy footing. We were both young. I was 17. He was 20. We were dirt poor. We both carried incredible baggage. We were both insecure in many areas. We both were determined – in good and bad ways. We both loved the Lord.

There have been some really hard times where divorce could have been an easy out. I guess I was particularly proud and determined not to have my parents and others say, “I told you, you were too young.” I was also determined that the enemy would not have his way in destroying yet another marriage.

I believe the enemy, Satan, has been trying to destroy two institutions ordained of God for millennia – marriage and the church. So we did not want to be a statistic and we have fought hard to keep our marriage together and strong.

I also know we are often our own worst enemies, desiring our own ways, living for ourselves and not desiring the best for others above our own needs. This spells disaster to any relationship.

There have been a lot of learning experiences but these would be my top 10 steps if applied, for a relationship to survive .

  1. Keep Christ number ONE – by being in relationship with Him and keeping the Word of God as your guide and praying together. We always say to each other there is Someone we love more than the other. He is our #1.
  2. Forgive, forgive, forgive, Keep short accounts – 1 Corinthians 13 saved our 4 year old marriage when I realized I didn’t ‘love’ my husband anymore – meaning I didn’t feel like I loved him. I had to learn what true love is. I learned not to keep a record of wrongs…more on that in a later blog. Never forget; You are not perfect – neither is your partner!
  3. No/Know you can’t change the other person – you can only change yourself and how you behave or react.
  4. Give 100% without expecting anything back – When you give with that kind of love you will receive it back. I know we are told it is a 50:50 arrangement but when you only give 50% there are bound to be some issues down the track.
  5. On the same token – love yourself – Don’t neglect yourself and become a doormat. Know what you want and express that as well. Don’t lose yourself in the other person.
  6. Communication is a must. Learn how to communicate effectively with your partner – we are not all the same and have different ways to express ourselves.
  7. Keep passion alive – This is a blog in itself..but if you lose the passion in your relationship you set yourselves up for looking elsewhere for excitement. After the kids leave home the two of you are left and that is a lot of years looking at each other if you don’t find fulfillment in each other anymore. Don’t let the kids and life, dictate your passion. Fall in love with each other frequently.
  8. Keep intimacy alive – different to passion…Non-sexual touch and kind words are important. Learn to do things you like together.
  9. Be kind to one another – Spiteful, critical, demeaning words do damage and are hard to take back.
  10. Keep humour alive in a marriage – have fun! Life is hard enough without losing your ability to laugh at yourselves and the situations you face together as a family.

Keeping your marriage healthy and fun will aid a long way to keeping you each healthy. So plan to make this year a turning point in your marriage and enjoy the experience.

 

Until next time

Narelle

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Celebrating 40 years with our zany Josiah and family!
Posted in Christian living, Life, Philippines, travel, Uncategorized

Philippines Journey – Bucket Baths and Bombs

It was fun remembering this time! The “war” of fireworks were fun although possibly a little reckless due to the nature of housing surrounding us including bamboo walls and the Nipa (or thatched roofs).

Recently we had our 39th Wedding Anniversary and decided to take two days over the holidays to visit a nearby resort – hot showers, different food, good signal…or so we thought!

The food was gourmet Italian, with lots of it and no rice! The shower..well let’s just say our bucket bath gives us much more pressure than their cold shower heads and I have a great husband who boils my water for me in the bucket to take the edge off, especially when I am washing my hair. No such joy from a cold shower!

What is a bucket bath  I hear you ask? It is just that – A bucket of water with a small ladle usually, to tip over yourself whilst standing on top of a small toilet in an concreted area for a bathroom.

So the method goes something like this.

  1. Soap up all over.
  2. Once soaped ladle water all over; as quickly as possible if slightly chilly.
  3. Continue process until clean.

Here is where the going gets tough at times though especially married to my pyromaniac husband.

  1. Dodge firecrackers or have a heart stoppage as he sets them off in the small CR (comfort room) while you are bucketing the water over yourself.

He is having a ball with all the fireworks he bought “for the village kids” for Christmas and New Year. So far we have had wars between himself and the carpenters in the bunk house below us; Firing rockets over the tops of the village kids and shooting at them them across the housing.

I have loaded a few of the carpenters and kids up with boxes to retaliate but think it will not be to my advantage as no doubt they will come back to terrorize me as they attack Paul.

You hear it all over the village. “Kuya (Respectful Uncle) Paul!!!!” as we drive, walk or stand on the verandah. Everyone knows it’s him setting little bombs off around the village and town.

But he loves it! The carpenters all cheer each time he bombs their room. He led his little apprentices today with their Picalos and Weeties (the rockets that go Weeee and then explode) showing them how to light them with mosquito coils and send them out through PVC piping!

I am to the point where if I take a bath I try to do it with him in the cubicle next door at the same time, just so I don’t have to experience the shattering of ear drums.

These are some of the happy challenges we face here on our Philippine’s Journey. I really don’t mind doing life with this crazy pyromaniac but just remember if you are anticipating coming for a visit don’t expect most of the creature comforts you may be used to – not here in Pagnimetan anyway..bucket baths and bombs await!

Happy New Year! And enjoy your fireworks wherever you are..

Until next time

Narelle and Paul

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Great Tiramisu but cold showers to celebrate our 39th Anniversary 2 and bit years ago!
Posted in Christian living, Life, Philippines, travel, Uncategorized

Philippines Journey – Monkeying Around

In 2014 Paul had been asked to help rebuild a village in the Philippines for Operation Blessing, after one of the largest typhoons on record wiped out many villages and islands. Separated for many months as I stayed to assist our family in Sydney, Australia, I finally joined him in the September of that year.

These are some of the blogs I wrote and posted on another site during that time. I share them again in no particular order.

It’s raining – still! Another tropical storm has caused torrential weather for the past week or so and our tiny room provided gave us little shelter from the wind and rain.The previous nights were hilarious as we woke during the night shifting our small foam mattress and mosquito net around the room, to find a place that was dry and no potentials for drips from the roof or over-spray from the driving rain coming through the walls. Yesterday between wind gusts Paul and one of the boys surrounded two weather walls with tarpaulins. Oh blissful sleep!

I woke this morning dry, with dappled light of our sawali walls beaming little spots of light and was so excited! “The sun!” Grabbing my sarong I raced outside to see grey clouds rolling in from the sea from the north and the sun trying pitifully to shine through the clouds from the south.

sawali
Sawali walls

We took a chance and decided to get out and climb to the top of the hill where the evacuation cave is situated. Paul used to climb near to the top with the boys and help them carry all the chain-sawed coco-lumber, down to the village below. The most he said he could do was five times up and down! He became a bit of a legend as the other guys only managed a couple or so times up and down in a day. It is a long way up and even longer coming down carrying timber on your shoulders. They were some of the challenges they faced here in Pagnimetan as they rebuilt the village.

We set out to walk up the hill, check out our evacuation cave and just get fresh air. Our walk was a bit slippery over the jungle grasses and vines scattered across the coral rock and fallen coconut trees but not too difficult.

To our delight we spotted a couple of troops of monkeys higher up the hill – babies and all. The main issue though was making sure we didn’t step into hidden sink holes or cave openings in our excitement to follow them trying to get a decent photo.

Huddled under our umbrella, perched on large coral rocks, sheltering beside some trees to shield us from driving rain, I felt the ghosts of past “explorers” in these hills.

These areas were navy bases for the Americans during the war and there are still remnants of their building foundations and pathways in the village area. I am sure they would have set out on more than one occasion patrolling in the region and perhaps up this hill for a good lookout position.

We heard and saw a monkey coming down one of the coconut trees and decided to follow him, except he disappeared over the cliff to his family further down. It was worth the detour from our trek up the hill to see the view out over the reefs and toward “my” radar hill. We always look towards this hill from Radar Hill, but this morning we turned the table.

It was a spectacular view but we were a bit concerned with the continuing showers and after exploring a little further up the hill decided not to risk losing our footing and falling into a sink hole so started to trek back down. Paul couldn’t resist and pulled a couple of his Piccolo fire crackers from his pocket throwing them down two sink holes – in the name of exploration of course just to see how deep they were! The smoke billowed out of various hidden openings so guess it did prove a point. Just not sure what!

Back to Operation Blessing base for a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs, beans and swamp spinach and a warm coffee..a great start to a couple of days enforced holiday due to the rain and holidays for New Year.

Until next time

Narelle and Paul

Posted in Christian living, internet marketing, Life, sexual issues, travel, Uncategorized

Haiti – Quick visit

Recently I paid a return visit to Haiti. As an Australian staying in the United States we are required according to our visa waiver conditions to leave the country for an unspecified period of time every 90 days. My daughter who runs a not-for-profit organization in Haiti had been trying unsuccessfully for quite a few months to get back down to see her girls. So we all decided to head down there as our exit strategy.

The last time I was there it had been an extremely challenging year with our grandson newly diagnosed and under treatment for leukemia and I was exhausted. I was also not personally feeling well so this trip was nice to follow up with.

Haiti is a country that defies many minds and hearts. It was the first country where slaves gained their freedom but it came at a great cost. Countries set embargoes against them, during that period in the 1800’s until recent times, causing incredible challenges to this small country.

Slavery although abolished still thrives though with children and women at risk of exploitation. Greater minds then mine have tried to find a solution but despite all the huge financial amounts of aide this country has seen come and go, it still suffers with insane poverty and all of the issues that festers.

Naomi and the many other organizations though that create work and good working conditions for her girls, including health and regular income, is helping to change the lives of those around there.

There are so many complex situations though including the one of escouad  or pooling of finances. One person gets it all one month and so one. So virtually you would get paid once a year in the case of Naomi’s 12 girls!

My heart breaks when I see the hardship of so many families around the world who all they want is a better life for their children!

I loved visiting with them but now starts the hard work of selling their goods so that we can send more of the profits down to them. Our next goal, is to build them a functioning kitchen that will provide a place for them to cook out of and sell food.

They are also keen to learn hair dressing skills to supplement their incomes and help provide skills to improve life for the next generation.

So lots to consider. If you can consider purchasing some of the amazing jewellery and metal work from our site! You can change a life!

https://www.facebook.com/KadoGift

Until next time enjoy the laugh of this little one. He was tickled with the blocks of wood cast offs Paul gave him!

Blessings Narelle

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Posted in Christian living, Life, Parenthood, Uncategorized

Love Does Not Envy – Part 4

Envy: a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc. ill will.

Love does not envy! This is an interesting statement. I always try to look at the Word as a mirror. What is it reflecting or pointing out in my life? I was a bit stumped as I looked at envy,  thinking I don’t feel like I envy or covet others’ things but then I looked at the dictionary definition and the other words for envy; discontent with regards to others’ success or possessions or even ill will towards them.

Now that hits a little closer to home. How often are we discontent with what we have, where we are, what we are doing or even who we are? If someone offends us do we wish them ill will or despise them being blessed in some way or  for succeeding to a greater degree than us?  How many times have I sat watching as others seem to have their lives together while I seem to be struggling in so many different ways or watch as someone is more successful and feel like a failure? How many times do I look in a mirror and despise parts of my body?

I remember discussing with a group of ladies about how we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. The general consensus was that it is sometimes easier to weep with people then to rejoice with them! Interesting thought! Is that because we find ourselves secretly envying the good things happening to others?

It’s a challenge when we look at it. Love doesn’t do that. It believes the best of people even when we think or are sure they mean differently and are intending to be nasty or even evil!

We know we are not walking in love when we allow envy to rise up.

An interesting phenomenon happened this week to my daughter’s car. We have a beautiful red bird here in Virginia called a Cardinal. The males are brilliant red with a cap like the cardinals of the Catholic Church. They are nearly always in pairs, male and female and are fairly territorial. This one took to Naomi’s little mini in the mirror, attacking it and becoming very distressed as the attack of the mirror continued. This morning it is taking on the other vehicle in the yard! Strange behavior!

Just as I was thinking about envy, I was told about the new attack and reflected that perhaps he was attacking a perceived enemy. He didn’t want anyone on his territory trying to take his mate from him! So many times we can react toward someone not in love but with ill will or anger, out of a motive of trying to protect others or ourselves. However, really we are only looking at our own reflection; perhaps seeing what is really some area of weakness within us.

Let us determine to throw off envy and walk in perfect love. Ask for God to pinpoint areas where it might be a weakness and give you wisdom and strength to overcome it.

This is the time to put off the old man of envy, and strife, feelings of ill will, insecurity and wrong perceptions. Thankfulness is a great combatant to envy; being thankful and verbalizing it. Thankful for everything that you have, are and are doing. Thankful for the success of others, and thankful for those who have said all manner of evil against you or harmed you!

Look to the Word as your mirror not your own reflection! I know I am freshly challenged!

Until next time!

Blessings Narelle

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Posted in Christian living, Life, Uncategorized

Love Is ? Part 1

20170112_153645Let me just start by adding here a disclaimer. I do not claim in any shape nor form to have conquered my own insecurities, pains, failures etc  to be perfect in love.  What I do have is the power of Christ working in me to bring about His will and pleasure in my life. He is wisdom and Love and is working these things out in my life as I become more like Him. Do I get in the way? Often! My old man rises up and I struggle, but this does not deny the truth that we can walk in this type of love and should never stop aspiring to live in that place of Love that casts out fear.

So here goes.

What is love?

We say we love food, dogs, cats, children, grandchildren, the weather, our jobs, our cars, our new hair-do, our families, our spouse, our new lounge, our new makeup, our God, our country, or our new phone. Love or that feeling of love can be assigned to the most important things in our lives and to the most mundane, side by side and in no particular order. Usually what is top of mind and bringing US the most happiness at that precise moment in time is what equates with love.

LOVE defined in the dictionary is – a strong positive emotion of regard and affection and devotion; A deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction; A score of zero in tennis or squash.

I know the last one doesn’t relate to my discourse here but sometimes love can be a zero in terms of relationships so guess it does fit!

The world describes love as an emotion, a feeling, while the Bible describes love in terms of 1 Corinthians 13 as an action.

Love should be the measure stick for our lives.

First let me start with defining love according to Corinthians 13.

AMPLIFIED BIBLE.

1 Corinthians 13: 1-3

If I can speak with tongues of man and even of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as inspired by God’s love for and in us, I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose, and understand all mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have sufficient faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing – a useless nobody.

Even if I dole out all that I have (to the poor) in providing food and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory but have not God’s love in me, I gain nothing.

Wow! I don’t know about you but if I look at what is important to people in life most would be amazed if they could prophesy the divine will and purpose of God, If they could move mountains in faith or provide food for the hungry or in fact give our lives for any noble cause, yet here it is saying that none of that matters if we don’t have love.

Ok. I don’t know about you but that to me is a tall order  in terms of what appears to be successful living, Christian or otherwise, to have all knowledge etc. how powerful is that? Love changes the perspective from how the world perceives success to how God does.

According Galatians the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience or long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

God is more interested in our being, our character, not our doing or achievements.

Corinthians continues:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

I am nothing.  I gain nothing.  I am a useless nobody. I am a sounding cymbal, sharp and annoying if I don’t have love.

This love is not the same love as for my dog or cat or even child. This love is AGAPE an amazing form of Love from God.  A God given, inspired love that never fails.

Agape is – Affection or benevolence, feast of charity, dear, love, plural – is love feasts.

I will tire of my new phone, lounge, lover but this love supersedes these emotions. They are not just a feeling, they are a commitment:  An act of devotion.

2 Thessalonians says that God is wholly love. His nature is summed up in love.  He is Love so when we are trying to walk in Love we need His help and His love permeating us. We have to put off the old man and let Him shine through.

So what is love?

Let’s start with patient – something most of us are not.

Think you are? What happens when we have to wait in long lines – or when our power goes off and we have to wait a full day or week for it to come back on? What about when the airlines have a delay or the traffic lights take that little bit too long? Or the person in front is distracted and misses the green light!! Doesn’t the patience disappear when that happens? How do I know? The horns start. The finger motions increase, especially when someone cuts us off. It also turns quite blue in some cabins as people drive along. Patience!

I am not trying to condemn just challenge us all. Whenever anything interferes with our time or situation how we react is evident – really fast.

Please assign thankfulness in events notwithstanding time – my well thought out anagram!

The Bible says, “Tribulation works patience.” You don’t know how much you are not patient until you face a situation that takes or interrupts your time; or just annoys us!

My husband is a very patient man. I have seen others who are not. One man in particular comes to mind who having trouble with his motor bike took to it with a hammer! Paul shook his head and said to him, “Now you have more to fix.”  Lack of patience and the ensuing reactive behaviour will undoubtedly require a greater effort to remedy! So best to start practicing now in the smaller instances of life!

So what does walking in love – being patient look like on a daily basis?

I Thessalonians 5:13-14 Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  

When your 3 year old or husband whichever, asks you for what seems like the 1000th time where something is or why? Take a deep breath. Reply as patiently as you can and as slowly as you can, keeping the tone low and sweet.

When you are forced to wait in the check-out line and it closes, one person down from you, smile and be thankful. The delay may have some other greater reason than just trying to tick you off!

Be thankful! Take off complaining about the car that cut you off. Pray protection for them – they need it! Take off to put on. Now being reasonable here, sometimes the emotion outweighs the brain and we don’t have time to analyse the “what should I do”. That is where we need help. Pray and start with the small things to build the habit into our being.

I haven’t even touched on major issues that require patience. When the doctors report comes back negative, and tests prove serious. How do you remain patient in those situations? It takes prayer and effort. We have to start with the little situations to form a habit of thankfulness in every situation. We have to come to that place where we realize that not all things are good but to those who love God and are called according to His purposes, ALL things work together for good!

So today let’s start with the small tests of patience with our spouse, our neighbours, the dog, the cat, the machine playing up, driving, so that when we do face the life and death issues we have such an ingrained reactive process, thankfulness for the delay, the trial, the episode, will be instinctive and patience will prevail. If you fail and loose it – apologize, ask for help from Holy Spirit and get up and keep going! Be patient with yourself.

Please assign thankfulness in events notwithstanding time – too long I know but you get the drift!

Until next time put Love in to practice

Blessings Narelle

 

 

Posted in Christian living, Life, travel, Uncategorized

Faces on the Wall part 2

I wrote this earlier in the month but have been staying at a farm with no internet and snowed in…It is still relevant though.

Someone commented on my first post “Faces on the Wall” and said she couldn’t wait for the second installment of which I had not intended to write one. However, the last few days have prompted me to yet again contemplate just how our lives are a vapour.

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David’s famous Faces on the Wall.

My daughter started it with news of a young mum killed in a car accident leaving her two young children fighting for their lives, around Christmas. Then we saw all the faces of those in the entertainment industry or “famous” people who have passed this year including Prince, David Bowie and George Michael to name a few. Then in the past few days Carrie Fisher and for those who remember her Zsa Zsa Gabor. Carrie’s mum, Debbie Reynolds, one of my all-time favourites from the past, followed her daughter quickly afterwards.

So many famous faces fading away! Some are only youngish, in their 50’s and yes that is young despite the under 30’s disbelief. Some are in their golden years, 80 plus. But whatever the age their lives have all come to the same end, death.

Now this is not a great subject to bring up amidst the celebrations of Christmas and New Year but it is the most “real” reality there is! We will all face it. We all will only face it once! We will all have to suffer the absolute pain of losing a loved one. Death was not meant to be! We were created for everlasting life. Death came through sin, and the pain of death, physically and emotionally will be with us until the end of this age.

We all try to avoid the subject. We all try to avoid the inevitable, believing somehow that it will pass us by. But the bitter truth is that we will all go the way of death.

However, the truth of everlasting life and resurrection is what we are promised through Christ. He told Lazarus’s sister that if she only believed in Him, the Resurrection and the Life, she would see her brother again. By this time Lazarus had been dead for 4 days and had even been placed in a tomb. Martha was confused and thought Jesus meant at the end of time Lazarus would be resurrected, but in this case He meant He would raise Lazarus from the dead. Can you imagine the absolute fear, joy and wonderment of having your loved one come back to life after having buried them?

Our western culture is very anesthetized to death and sickness, keeping it all very secluded, separate and clinical, requiring anyone who has suffered a loss to complete their grieving as soon as possible so as not to make other people uncomfortable.

Other cultures are not so emotionally detached from death with various celebratory stages of grief continuing long passed the death of the person. Choosing to remember, celebrate, commemorate, and cry over their loss and the life of their loved ones.

But at the end, no matter how we do or don’t grieve death, I am much more concerned with how I live. Have I lived with purpose? Have I loved with purpose? Have I impacted my world to the best of my talents and abilities? At the end of time when I stand before my God, I want to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant!” In the end that His approval is all that matters in life.

I can be rich; I can be poor; I can travel and do amazing things; I can stay in the same place all my life; I can be famous; I can be nobody that anybody recognizes; but if He doesn’t know me then my life has been in vain. It’s His voice I want to hear say, “I know you”.

My prayer for you today is that you will come to know Him so that you will be able to experience the Resurrection and the Life.  He is Life and without Him we are dead even if we are alive.

Talk again soon

Blessings Narelle

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A WW2 relief on the memorial in Washington. Death is a reality of the Battlefield.