Monday, 26 December 2011

Life is a waiting room

Christmas was yesterday. The people, the carols, the presents, the stories all yesterday. All the build up was for yesterday. Isn't it interesting if you put it that way. We build up so much excitement for something that passes in one day! Liken it to a toy. you save up your money to buy a present you wanted so much and it lasts for one day and then is thrown out. All I can think of is "What a waste!"

I understand that Christmas is not just about the day itself, Jesus' birth is one of the best things to celebrate! My real point is that our lives often seem to be just like waiting rooms. Like the ones in airports. We spend our lives waiting for what we desire.

So back to the Christmas theme, when did you first notice that Christmas was the next big event on the calendar? When the shops switched their background music to Christmas carols? When cars try to mimic Rudolph with their red noses? Maybe when all your presents from last year were used up? For me it was the holidays. Summer (I live in the southern hemisphere) holidays started, and I noticed Christmas was coming soon. From then on my spare time was spent waiting for it. Imagining how the day would pan out.

Throughout the year there are many things we wait for. Weekends, payday, a delivery to arrive, a wedding, a birthday, a test result, a friend to come back. So I think my metaphor gives quite an accurate description of life. In the waiting room, we do have thing to keep us occupied like the magazines, but we are still essentially waiting for something in life.

It needs to be understood however, that this is in no means a negative look at life. Looking at the above list, most of the things we wait for and great! It is when we wait for the wrong things that our lives go to waste. Waiting for your wallet to be filled with $100 notes is not worth the precious waiting time. But waiting for a baby boy to grow into a fine young man is definitely worth spending your waiting time on.

So this Christmas. What are you waiting for? Is it worth it? Everyone only has so many minutes to wait, so make sure you use the wisely.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

My mind games

I get bored. You must get bored too. But I get bored quicker, well that's my interpretation anyway. Everyone else seems to find something to do and look like they are interested where as for me, my glazed eye look comes as soon as my mouth or hands stop doing something. So I resort to mind games. They do not increase brain capacity at all. No they are games. Exactly that. Pointless things to waste away the minutes.

1. My favourite is to imagine the area around me 1000 years ago.

Humans have really changed the surrounding landscape. Even green things, like ovals, were probably covered in trees instead of just being a clearing. I could say something meaningful about this, but nature is so overcoming over my senses that it blots out all my other thoughts.

2. Guess other people's thoughts.

Maybe creepy, but as I said, they are mind games, so I'm not going to blurt anything out. Usually I give people very depressive thoughts, and then I think, "Hey I'm not depressed? Why would they be?", so they become happier beings. But I usually think my depressive guesses are more accurate. It's just percentage wise. I think...

3. Finally, I trace my thought process.

So if I were to trace my thought process to this point it would be from:
Mind games --> Stuff I do while I'm bored --> When am I bored? --> When I walk home --> I trace my thoughts...
So I try to go back as far as possible. I remember once I traced my thoughts back to hearing a bee, and that had slowly worked into me thinking about funniest commercials. Whoever can try and guess how that came about, I may award something. Or just respect more...


So when your bored, (Probably after reading this post) try one of them. I assure you, boring times will be no more. And while I'm at it, Merry Christmas. I hope you won't need my tips anytime soon during this season...

Saturday, 10 December 2011

History through glasses

I have just completed reading through the Psalms, and as is inevitable, I have struck upon a favourite. Psalm 136. It is a song of praise, interestingly recounting most of the events of Israelites history. What I most like about it though is the fact that after each line comes the phrase "His [God's] love endures forever."

I should confess now that I love to study history. The events, the effects of that event, the people involved, the reasons involved, the legacies of that event. History is an endless flowchart, infinitely complicated, but still all connected by lines all heading the same direction. What I like most about history though, is that a tiny action can start a snowballing effect which leads to massive changes. A good example would be the Arab revolutions. The small group of protesters meeting in Tunisia would never had imagined such a big consequence from their actions!

History can also be very sad too. The wars with horrific stories of merciless killings, the news of devastating earthquakes and other natural disasters, the terror of continued oppression by the government. When we learn about such things we can often question God. "How can God let such things happen?" I think part of the answer is repeated throughout my favourite Psalm. As I mentioned before, every second line of the Psalm is "His [God's] love endures forever".

The title of this post is History through glasses because I often think we can look at every event in all sorts of different ways. We put on our critical glasses and start seeing all the flaws in people's plans, or wear our ethical glasses and get angry at all the wrongs being committed. Well, I think we should try and see History through the glasses of God's eternal love.

So, if we look at the events of World War 2 understanding God's eternal love, we see that, yes our world is broken. Yes, people do die unnecessary deaths. But we know that God's love never dies, so we know he will come to make a new heaven and earth with no more pain, no more wars, no more suffering. It gives us the strength to cope all the bad things in this life, knowing that we have something to look forward to.

History is the story of this world. But this world is not the end. So by God's love being eternal, we know that it will last forever, even when this world does fade away, he will still be there.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

November Resolutions


I have three things I want to do by next years November. These could be seen as cliche, but since I am saying it in November, not on New Years Eve, it's a totally unique idea! Sometimes I feel like we put too much importance on the new year. Why not think of it as a new day. Every day is a good day to make a resolution. Anyway, here are my three.

1. Write a book
Someone encouraged me to do this, but my first thoughts were "I'm not passionate about anything enough to write a whole book about it!" She quickly replied, "Write about yourself!" Although it may seem arrogant (It probably is), I could probably fill a book with stuff about my self.

But who would want to read that? Again, my friend came to the rescue, "You can write a book only for yourself you know." So other people might love it or hate it, I will try and write a personal memoir by next year's November.

2. Write a song
I've done this before, but although some are catchy, and I often hear my family humming the tune (Only because I repeat it 100 times over!), looking at real song writers, my songs seem fake. This is because, none of my songs are personal. I feint being depressed or being thoughtful, it is just a persona. So by November next year, I hope to write at least one song which is based on me personally. Then, it can truly be, my own song.

3. I didn't actually have a third one, but 3 resolutions is the norm isn't it?
Maybe it can be to be more outgoing. My sister gave me good advice that being shy can be selfish. I fear being embarrassed so I wait until others talk to me. They probably feel the same way, but they have enough courage to walk across the room and say hello. So by November next year, any time I see someone new, I will try and be the one who starts the conversation.

What do you think? Apart from the third one, all of them are very "me-centred" aren't they. Still they aren't just things that are one off, so you can keep reminding me of my promises...
Now it's your turn. What are your November resolutions?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Prone to Wander

I have been having some trouble thinking up new content for this blog. I don't want to talk about seemingly pointless things, but on the other hand, I don't want to come out and just preach all the time! Looking through my previous posts, they have really gone all over the place, and I still don't think I have found my own writing style yet. (Which I am kind of glad, imagine writing the same kind of stuff each week. Boring!)

I have come to the conclusion that for some time I will let my thoughts wander. Instead of forcing myself to maybe think about a certain topic or issue, my aim will be to improvise on the spot, with a blank page (or screen) in front of me. I hope that this gives a much needed fresh breath of originality to my blog, which to me seems to be getting a little too bland.

So I invite you on a journey into the unknown. Where curious metaphors and confusing analogies may lie, in the hope that I can edge a little more out of my shell.

I am always very thankful for your comments, and I hope you can continue to support (or disapprove) any of my humble writings.

Monday, 14 November 2011

A family of hypocrites

They know you the best; what makes you tick and what gets you worked up; you can be yourself around them; and they give you a chance to rest from putting on that "I am all right" face in society. I am talking about your family.

Image from Hoefi

Thankfully, I was blessed with a family that tolerates me as who I am. I cannot fathom the difficulty if I had to act sociably acceptable everywhere. I often let myself go at home knowing that none of my family will judge me, that they will understand. It's a cruel wor
ld, with society assuming the worst with whatever action you take. A little tear becomes a nervous breakdown, a short comment to self perceived as the first sign of madness, and a louder than normal laugh is turned into a disgraceful act of losing control. At home, it is different. With years of experience in understanding just me, my family does not distort the information, but takes it as part of me. Everyone is unique, right?

I am aware that many families do not work this way. With child abuse and neglect, the family can seem the place where your life is most tested, instead of being a break. However, there is another family that we have. A family based on a perfect father, who loves his children dearly, never letting them out of his sight. It is the church family.

Many visitors to my church are surprised to see how informal and friendly everyone is. Compared to the media's presentation, the church does actually feel like a real family. People are supporting each other in trials, rejoicing together in joy, and sharing their lives together. Most importantly, they accept each others faults and personality traits, and work on them together.

As I once heard "The church isn't full of hypocrites, there's still room for more!". The church family is one that looks at each other and says, "We BOTH are sinful aren't we", and together seeks to bring Jesus closer into their lives.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Just Keep Knocking!

Recently I heard of a girl who pressed paused in her walk with Jesus. She didn't deny him, but neither did she follow him, she just chose not to think about him for awhile. Her one reason for doing so was that she felt that Jesus wasn't doing enough in her life. She had waited for the holy spirit which she knew was promised to her, but after the initial "spiritual high" it felt that there was nothing there anymore. She thought Jesus had left her, so she chose to let go of him.

I always feel sad when I hear of people falling away or pressing pause on Christianity. Even though I have had a fair share of times when I thought "Why don't I just drop it all?", when I compare the world's values with Jesus' values, I see where real love comes from. What most makes my heart die a little is how the world can smother someone's senses, how it can entice so much their mind is clouded with a blinding haze, while God is trying to break through, blow the mist away to reveal the open sky of his unending love.

Coming back to my first paragraph, I initially heard of this girl's story in a talk at church, and my first thought was to ignore it and let all the "half-Christians" accept the challenge that he was giving. But God nudged me to look at her in terms of myself. It occurred to me that in the next five years, I could easily become like her. You could too. Slowly trying to take parts of my life away from God, until he has nothing. How can he mould his perfect creation if the clay runs away? Blaming God that he isn't changing me, when it is just because I won't let him.

What can we do? How can we continue to make sure God is present in our lives? Well, stealing from the man's sermon again, Jesus tells us exactly what we need to do.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will opened to you." Matthew 7:7 NIV

We need to ask God into our lives. But this isn't a one off thing. As irregular humans we are, our heart often throws fits and kicks God out. So we ask God again to come back in. Ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking!

Strive forward in asking and seeking God, maybe even everyday, because pausing on Jesus is not worth it. Giving up real love for some small thrills? Let God shine through, let him in, so he can let you out of the cage that sin has created.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Let yourself free!

The self help genre has increased tremendously in the past few years. "Live better", "Take control of your life" "Become the person you want to!" All these slogans I always pass off as a money making venture. I've got God thanks. I am already joyful to the max, because of what is to come in heaven.

A lot of people are turned off Christianity because they think it ruins all their prospects of having fun in this world. No getting drunk? Come on! Not allowed to crack crude jokes? But then I miss out! All the things 'normal' people would do seemed out of bounds to Christians. This is true for some things, such as getting drunk and being disrespectful, but I started putting many more activities in the "Not allowed to do as a Christian" basket, when really it should be enjoyed. This fault of mine came to my attention one afternoon with my sister.

In our front garden, visible to about 4 houses, my sister forced me to dance. Putting some music on, I just wanted to listen, but she took me out of my shell. At first it was just flinging my arms around with the music, but as I gradually began to leave my embarrassment aside, I took risks. Someone maybe could have said, "You look stupid!" but no one did. My sister encouraged me all the way, and after 5 minutes the song stopped but I felt great!

Image from Costi

I put "making a fool of myself", such as through letting myself go in music, in the "not allowed" basket. Other things I made myself think were not allowed as a Christian were enjoying non-christian hang outs, like youth centres; going to concerts where stupid things could happen, and having good friendships with people from the opposite gender.

My mind had automatically assumed the worst of these situations, such as me taking drugs, or me becoming impure in my actions, and so I rejected them completely. When essentially they are God given gifts we are meant to enjoy.

God set me free not so that I could wrap myself in my own little rules for life, but so I could enjoy life to the full. Love God and love one another, are the two rules I need to live by, without adding anything else.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

My Favourite Quotes

Since my mind feels a little shallow this week, I thought I could get inspiration from other people's writing. Specifically quotes. So here are some of my favourite quotes that made me see life and God in a brand new way. Which one is your favourite?

"A brook would lose its song, if God removed the rocks." - Unknown.
This quote really affected me as it reminded me again that everything God does has a purpose, and that even though they just look like stumbling blocks in the way, the obstacles he has placed in my life have shaped me to just the person he wants me to become.

"Footprints in the sands of time aren't made by sitting down." - Unknown
I always loved the footprints in the sand poem, but this quote also brought to my attention that God wasn't helping me do nothing. He wanted me to glorify him.

"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future" - Oscar Wilde
My personal favourite for now, as it really shows God's changing love can be at work in everyone. Just like in Les Miserables, one of my favourite books, the man's life is turned around with God's love. My life was turned around also. And is always getting lifted back on track frequently by God's soft but powerful hands.


Do you have any other quotes you really think shows God in a different perspective or that you just love? Please comment because I am a bit of a quote buff, and love hearing new ones!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

What God Gives

I experience many birthdays during the year. I like to consider myself as a little bit of a gift specialist as my friends say my presents are what they didn't know they wanted, but actually did. I usually never get what they ask, because that's boring. I like a little bit of surprise...

However sometimes I just need to get a quick something for someone. If I can't find anything suitable at home already a short trip to a dollar store usually fixes the problem. I hate myself for getting something like a scented candle or a weird deck of cards, because I put no effort into it. It sacrificed me nothing, money wise and time wise.

Imagine God choosing his gift for us. It wasn't like "my son, yes I can spare him. He's going to come alive anyway. Make the humans happy and I can live in peace." And then sends Jesus down. NO! Jesus was a sacrifice. A gift that we cannot pay back. Today's world has changed the meaning of "gift". I
f we give something, we expect something back. In Japan it is more extreme. Some people won't accept a gift because it would be too much of a hassle to "pay" the gift back. That is not a gift at all. It is an exchange!

One more thing, I'm so glad God gave us something unexpected. Imagine God giving us something we asked for? Money, power, such small things compared to his sacrifice! We often complain that God doesn't give us what we want, but he has given us what we most need, a chance to be saved. Nothing can be better than that!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The "Nothing" Holidays

Have you seen them lately? Or maybe you are one of them? Those who lounge around at home. Maybe in front of some screen entertaining them, a TV for example, and waste away their holidays. The meaning of holidays is to do no work. To do nothing. That is their dream holiday. Nothing...

That "Nothing" is always so inviting. When you have the freedom to stay in bed and you have the freedom to not give any thought to anything why would you bother about anything until you are forced too? Why not just slumber on, doing nothing?

I sometimes commit this crime of giving in to doing nothing in the holidays. Days waste away and before I know it I have to get up early again. Have to work again. Have to actually "do" something again. The happiness I experienced blew away with the wind, not leaving any trace that it was ever there. The problem with the "nothing" holiday is that it is just that. "Nothing". As I experienced, at the end of the holiday you have nothing to show for it.

Imagine a different example. Holidays where you start on a project. Maybe to build something, or to write a book, something which will need time and energy but becomes something special in the end. You strive to finish the project and you spend all your holidays concentrating on getting it done. You struggle sometimes, but in the end you have created something. You have not wasted your holidays doing nothing, but have done something. Made a difference.

Life is like that too. To some it is just doing "nothing". The necessities, the easy way out. The pointless things that will fade away. The warmth and comfort of the bed. But at the end, what have you got to show for it? Nothing. Why not "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." as Jesus says in Matthew 6:19. Do something productive and not pointless. Don't spend your time on things that will just fade away. Give it all to God, where he can use it to really make it worth something.

A life is a big thing to lose to nothing. Why not appreciate the gift and use it?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Songs of "love"

I have begun to write many songs in my spare time. Many are bad, some are ok, and only one or two make it into my memory for future playing. I noticed though, that the lyrics aways lean to what the world puts in its lyrics. Love, money, "happiness" which is just selfishness in disguise. Trying to break free from that mould was harder than I thought, which showed me how much what I listen to does affect what I think about.

Many songs I hear on the radio I pass off as wrong, and that as a Christian I have something more to live than what they sing about. However, a part of me longs for what they have, although I know it won't last, my mind gets distracted so easily. What is more dangerous is the fact that it so often gets veiled with my "Christian" face. I tell myself that it is wrong, it is just a breath, meaningless. But it is only a guise. In fact, I know that it makes me "want" which quickly makes me "need" which leads me further and further away from the life I was meant to live.

One topic that is so often sung about is relationships. Love dominates as inspiration for songs. A quick read through of the songs on the radio shows however, that the love they talk about isn't based on God's love. It is self-centered, uncaring, abandoned too easily, and unforgiving. Most of all, it is replacing the love that every human needs. God's. It becomes a "need" to have a girlfriend/boyfriend because they have no one else to love them. Thinking over it now, the love on the radio is something nobody wants. It tears people apart instead of building them up, it takes instead of gives, it is a source of pain instead of a source of joy.

As I sat in front of my piano the first words that popped in my head were:

"Us together feels so right".

Can that "us" be me and God? Can we restore love to its pure form, from God? I really hope so, because without it, we are getting a shell of what we really should be getting. Who wants that? It's like a song without any melody. Add some real joy to the world. Love as God did.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Friends and Aliens

A couple of friends and I formed a band, and we have been writing songs and playing for some time now, but not until yesterday did we finally decide on our band name. It took us so long to decide because we didn't want to get it wrong, we didn't want to regret anything. We wanted a name that would define what we were about, something we didn't have to hide from, a title that let us express ourselves as who we really were.

Many band names have come about in the matter of seconds, as my friends discussed over the "choosing period". One such band, chose their name while on a phone call to a prospective event organiser. They saw some mango nectar, and chose "The Nectars". As my friend remarked, lucky they did not become "The Mangoes"!

This doesn't really have anything to do with anyone, apart from the fact that we all want something that defines us. And we all find it in different ways, different places.

Some just don't bother finding a name, finding something that defines them. They are too lazy to figure out what they wanted to do with their life. However, this means at their shining moment, they fade away, are forgotten. I don't want you to be like these people who never truly consider why they are put on this earth, but just pass through, and in the end it is too late, they are forgotten, they have lived a life full of nothingness, a meaningless breath.

Then there are the people who choose their name in haste. Considering the importance, that it will define who they essentially are, choosing it in haste is not a good idea. It will crumble under pressure from all the struggles it has to put up with. Hold up for most of the time, and when it is needed most fail.

Finally, there is the ones who think carefully about their name, their meaning in their life. They discuss all the options, leaving no room for mistakes. Their name allows them not to hide anything, not to be ashamed of anything, it showcases who they really are.

God gives us this life as a blessing, and we shouldn't waste it. We need to stand up, as friends with God, aliens from the world, and live out our life, following God as he leads the way.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

A passionate tree

Today I heard someone say "It is such a beautiful day! Good job God!" and it stopped me in my tracks. I looked outside, to the sky, to the trees swaying with the wind, and noticed it was a good day. It was a day to be thankful for. It was a day where I could take a moment just to appreciate the fact that God had given me another good blessing in my life.

I was glad that someone made me noticed, because otherwise, it would have slipped away.

My title is "A passionate tree" because when I thought of the above, it caught my attention that my little acknowledgement of the beautiful day made life a little bit more fuller, more interesting. It could be said that it made me "Live life to the full" as Jesus wanted me to.

Many people think that passion is a feeling that naturally comes to you when what you are doing feels good. They aren't incorrect, but I think they have distorted a bit. I was challenged today that passion isn't just something natural, but something you can work for. You can make yourself passionate about something, even if at first it doesn't "click" with you.

Like my experience today, where I was jolted from my seat of dull living to a little more interesting life, I became passionate about appreciating God's gifts more.

A passionate tree never gets bored. In all it does, it exerts its best. It makes the dullest task an important mission, the most mundane life a life filled with blessings. It doesn't acquire any new items, it just learns to appreciate what it has, to live life properly, to the full.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Fire inside me

I was freezing as I walked home one day. I somehow managed to get by, by imagining a great big fire burning inside me. After a while, it felt so real that I could feel my whole body warming up. The tips of my fingers tingling with this funny sensation. Cold on the outside, but warm on the inside. It was an interesting experience, as I kept whispering to myself, "There is a fire inside me", over and over again, until I got into the warmth of my house.

What was it that kept me warm? It wasn't that suddenly the sun had woken up from hibernation and increased heat production, or that I had somehow put on some more layers of skin to protect me from the cold. Really, it was just me accepting the fact that I coouldn't do anything to change the situation, so I learnt to live with it, albeit for only 10 minutes.

Contentment is a hard lesson to learn, but once you have learnt it, it really frees your mind. You no longer are unsatisfactory with what you have. You no longer crave the next product release from Apple, or the new fashion item in Westfield. You are content with that small fire inside you, which doesn't need any upgrades, or attachments. It will keep you warm.


Sometimes we are not content with God too. We are not content with what he promises to us, we forget the fire that he has planted inside of us. The image above is one that is now my desktop picture, which I see everyday. Just that simple prayer to God really sets my priorities straight. Reminds me of the fire within, that will never be blown out, however windy the outside world becomes.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

A year of blogging

A new post,
A new week,
A new mind,
A chance to speak.

Something I made up just then, to express what I was thinking.

It is nearly a year since I started blogging, I am amazed at how much I have grown.

As a tree I am just about to put on one more ring of experience. Through the "winter of writer's block" where every word that I wrote seemed pointless, to the "summer of songs" where I just wanted to pour every thought into a post, I have struggled through. Through your comments I understand that I do sometimes bear fruit, sometimes encourage, sometimes say the right things at the right times, which I am really grateful of. As a tree, God is my water source, but your comments are like my fertiliser, without you I would not be as strong as I am.

As a human I am confounded. I do not understand how my words could mean so much to people. Over 100 people now are reading what I write, which is just indescribable! From the young one who "wanted to be like Peter" in the first post, to the person I am now, seeing how I have changed is very thought-provoking. As a human, I seek to keep on writing what I want to write, with the main purpose being to glorify God, who is my creator.

As a Christian I am grateful. I understand that it is God who has given me this blessing. I am humbled, looking to God for my inspiration. Reading through my posts, I see how he has held onto me all the time, shaping me into who he wants me to be. As a Christian, I will let God continue to do his work in me, leaving it up to the one who [as I seem to say all too often] "knows best".

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Freedom to fall but really?

Have any of you read or seen the play "The crucible" before? I just recently saw it for the first time. It made me really sad, angry, and emotional, which means it was a good play!

For those who haven't seen it, "The Crucible" is about a Puritan village in the fourteenth century. Where everything is very strict, and even the slightest hint of ungodliness, like not remembering your 10 commandments, can be seen as a sin. It shows a totally legalistic side of Christianity, with everyone saying they are "good Christians". The protagonist, John Procter, tries to convince everyone that Christianity is more than just accusing people if they do something wrong, but tragically ends up dying for his belief.

What first struck me was how wrong the village's theology was. Everyone believed that if they did not go to church on Sunday they were not a Christian, if they did not know their commandments they were likely to go to hell, and if the God appointed judge said something, it must be true, as the man is God appointed. As I pondered what it would be like living in those "dark ages" where being a Christian was just all about following rules, I was glad that I was born now instead of then. Now, we know that church is not what saves us, it is Jesus' blood. It is not the commandments that clean us, it is Jesus' sacrifice. Our world is so sinful we acknowledge that even God appointed people can fail and go into ruin.

But thinking that, I was challenged. Because now, we seem to go further. We make out that sin isn't as bad as we thought it was. That God's laws are just meant to be "tried to be followed" but that it actually doesn't really matter because we will fail anyway. That when temptation creeps up on us, God has forgiven us anyway, so we can indulge ourselves for a bit and then ask for forgiveness.

The freedom that Christ has given us is amazing but we have taken it too far. If we use an analogy of a cliff. We are like small children who have just been saved from a deep ditch by Gods hands. but instead of rushing to his safety away from the edge, we tiptoe back near the edge, asking God if we are still ok. We try and get as close to the edge of sin as possible. Then we slip, or the cliff edge breaks, and we fall into the ditch of sin again, where God has to extend his hand and take us out once more.

This just repeats on and on, and God keeps extending his hand. People will say "Yeah, God extends his hand, so it is all ok!". But what if once we fall in the ditch, and we get so caught up, we never look up into the hand that is trying to reach us and get us out. We forget our lifeline out of sin, we reject our saviour for other things?

The crucible is a very tragic story of a community that has taken God's law too far, but we are near the edge of the opposite, taking our freedom too far.

In 500 years or so, our period in time might be the setting for a different play, I just hope they have managed to find the middle ground by then, so they can gasp and squirm when they see our way of life, like we do when we see the totally legalistic society of the crucible.

If you can read this...

A friend recently went to India, and was inspired about what little things the Christians were thankful for. He said that prayer time was so long as they listed out all the good things that they could think of, and thanked God for them. Imagine going to church where the prayers are based on God's gifts to the human body?

"I thank God for feet, that I can walk,
For ears, that I can hear,
For eyes, that I can see,
And for a mind, that I can understand"

From this mindset, nearly everything becomes a blessing from God. When a car breaks down, "Thank God that we get a chance to walk!", when there is a robbery "Thank God that we have a house to be broken into!". A little over the top, I know, but in everything, we can thank God.

However, as the title suggests, one more blessing many of us forget is the simplest abilities that nearly all of us have. But, not only can we thank God for it, we can use it to glorify him too.

One encouraging story is of a man with down syndrome who told his pastor he loved reading through the book of Romans. His pastor replied "Wow! That is a very hard book!". To this the man said "I learn something new every time!".

My point is that we often skip the "lesser blessings" and say they are not important. We are proud of our skills in other things such as music, or encouragement, so who would want to just say they read as a skill?

Value God's gift of reading to you. Keep it valuable, give it a chance to shine. Maybe read a Christian book this month, read the Bible through from cover to cover. Use God's gift wisely. Don't just pass it off as unneeded.

If you can read this, you are blessed so much. But what are you going to do with that blessing?

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Singing with others

An out of tune guitar plays joyfully with the piano, while the singers just try and sing as loud as they can to block out the noise. A lone pianist plays four instruments at once in their imagination, trying to get the congregation to sing with more joy. People clap joyfully and sing a cappella because they can't afford any instruments.

Singing in church today wasn't the greatest thing I ever heard, nor was it that "spiritual" where I felt like God was right in front of me. It was just the same old singing songs to God and Jesus. It was good for me to be reminded by the words of what God has done for me, but I get reminded of that every week.

But, something special happened to me today. For the first time I understood that I wasn't singing alone, or just for the people around me to hear. I was joining in with millions of others, all singing praises to our awesome God. I could imagine everyone in different circumstances, in different languages, different instruments, all singing their hearts out. The persecuted, who continue to sing in severe trials and suffering, and the lonely, who feel like no one cares if they sing or not. Even the angles singing praises to God in heaven.

That really amazed me a bit. Actually, it just blew my mind away!

Worship through song to God became more than just something I had to do, but something I wanted to do. Something that meant the world to me. Imagine not being able to sing. That makes you appreciate worship much more. We can tell God how great he is, (and he is very great)! We can sing to the creator of the universe, that just is indescribably amazing!

Finally, to end my babble about worship, we are joining with the people in the bible too, as they sing praises to God.

This bible verse puts it well "Let them praise your awesome and glorious name-- He is holy" Psalm 99:3

So next time you are in a church service or somewhere boring, remember that you are joining with every Christian, singing praises to the most high in the Universe, our God.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Living in God's plan

I thought it might be a good idea to share with you one of my favourite bible verses. It is one of those verses that is really comforting, and helps you get through the struggles in life.

"'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the LORD, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'"

It sound nice doesn't it. But in fact, it was actually written in one of the scariest books in the bible. It comes from Jeremiah 29:11, just chapters after God pronounced his judgement on Israel. Just after God sent the Babylonians to capture the Israelites. Israel was plundered by the Babylonians. They were forced to leave to a foreign land. They lost everything, their country was destroyed, their possessions taken, and their traditions ignored.

Then comes this message from God. They still have hope! God has planned all along, taken care of them all the time. He is going to make them prosper! They now have a future to look forward to!

There was actually another story happening in the background. Many Israelites were planning for a revolution. To throw off their oppressors, to make themselves independent again. Imagine what they would have thought once they heard God's message. God was planning for their future! God wanted them to be free! They had God on their side!

Jeremiah steps in then, with another message from God. Don't revolt, but seek peace in Babylon. That is the future God has planned for you. The Israelites must have been surprised. They thought God was supporting their bid for freedom, but no, he wanted them to stay? What kind of plan was that? In fact, God's plan was on a much bigger scale than theirs. The Israelites could still do great things in Babylon. In another book (Daniel) it tells of Babylonian kings who turned to the living God, because of the Israelites. God wanted the Israelites to learn to trust him even in the hard times.

That was really all boring history actually, so what does that have to do with us? Why is it my favourite bible verse?

I used to be in a stage where I loved saying "God is in control". Whenever life was not working out, I thought "God is in control, he will sort things out." I got that from Job, where after he went through intense suffering, he still got all his possessions back and more. But looking at this story, I was totally wrong. Sometimes things just don't turn out at all. We lose something, and never find it again, we lose our job and are forced to go hungry days on end, we become lonely and never seem to find any friends, or we lose a loved one who we know will never be brought back to life.

How do we cope when we lose something we know we will never get back, how do we go on living life? We need to remember that verse, and know that there is a hope far bigger than worldly things we desire so much. We need to trust in God's plans, not to fix our problems completely, but to use our weaknesses to glorify him.

A person I trust put how we should view God's plans very effectively. "As Christians, we do not believe that God is on our side, but that we are graciously allowed to support God's side"

So I want you to remember Jeremiah 29:11, not to charge through all your problems in life, but so that you can lift all your problems to God, to see what he has planned with them.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Delving into the mirror

Mirrors are where people release themselves. Looking at their reflection, experimenting what their face looks like with different emotions, staring at the eyes that stare back as strongly, you gain insight into who you truly are. It is easy enough to deceive the world, and ourselves, but if we look into a mirror long enough, our true emotions will probably surface.

That might be a little far fetched, but for me, looking into a mirror is so calming, and helps me understand my thoughts more clearly. As I delve deeper and deeper into the hazy depths of my eyes, it feels like I delve deeper and deeper into my self.

The mirror is the place where change is discovered. My eyes look more tired, my hair is getting long, I am getting stronger. Although change can be measured through height, weight, in units, for me, it never quite clicks until I look myself in the mirror, and see it for myself. It always surprises me how much I have changed. It is a scary thought, but also comforting.

I have become more stressed, as the dark rims under my eyes show. My eyes seem to be more assertive, more observant, more thoughtful. A faint beard reminds me that I am getting older, (although I definitely do not have any grey hairs yet!) and my lips have become tighter. As I wonder what events brought about the change in my face, it gives me comfort that I got through them, with the help of God. Looking forward to the future, it gives me courage that God will lead me through the trials, like he has done before.

The change I saw in the mirror, however, did not come suddenly. My eyes gradually became darker and darker, and my beard inch by inch became more and more visible. Change is gradual. Not just with body parts though. Spiritually, we grow closer to God through small steps, looking back and seeing the sins and trials God has helped us overcome.

The future holds many things that will change us spiritually and physically, but looking how God has brought me this far, trusting him for the next part seems the best thing to do. Next time I look into a mirror, I hope I can see me even closer to God, as he guides me along his path.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Against The Sun

Blinded by the glare, the man continued to run. His eyes burned from the vicious rays of the sun, as they pierced through his heart. The sun illuminated the world beautifully, but right now, he would've given anything for the sun not be able to catch him running away. He felt exposed. No one could hide from the curiosity of the sun's rays, especially when the person has so much to hide.

His mind was becoming uncontrolled, drifting to where it pleased. Without the man's permission, his mind raced back to when he committed the deed.

Blood was splattered everywhere. Some of it was his own, but he was too scared to tie up the cut on his right hand. Blank eyes stared at his sweating face, accusing him, remembering what he looks like, if they ever were to meet again in the after-life.

The man kept running, away from the guilt, away from the consequences, but the sun kept him from forgetting, the sun kept him from hiding the deed even from himself. Whenever he tried to push it down, it surfaced to the top of his thoughts, impossible to throw away.

He could still feel the shock as the blunt weapon rebounded against the man's skull. Hearing the crack as bone became like shards of glass. The pulsing of the blood as it kept flowing out of the wound. The searing pain as the victim's final attempt of resistance sliced his hand.

Tears streamed down the man's eyes, a combined effort of the suns rays, and the beast inside him. His legs gave way, he hit the ground, and the ground swallowed up his face. He lay there, contemplating the evil he had done. The ground gave him strength, as though he had returned to the earth, was born again, and had a second chance on life.

He got up, and started running again. The sun this time, however, was behind him, supporting his mission. He was running toward his deed, embracing it, accepting it as his own. But he vowed to fix it. He did not want to live life with the guilt weighing him down. His mind worked overtime, forcing himself to remember all the details of the event.

He rounded the corner, entered the house, and stood exactly where he had stood an hour ago. Racing toward the bedroom, he fell upon the unconscious body. He knew he had no time to lose, he ripped his shirt, wrapped the wound, gritted his teeth, and put the man on his shoulders.

Again he went on running. He ran even when his legs were burning, even when sweat blinded his eyes. Still, the sun supported him, urging him to go forwards.

The hospital tower never seemed to get closer, but finally its doors where right in front of him. He laid the man down on the welcome carpet, kissed his forehead, prayed that he would be safe, and left, just as a doctor came around the corridor.


The man continued to run, the sun pushing him along.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Do I look like a weirdo looking up at the sky?

Another scene from the bus stop. I am again waiting for the bus, and since no one is waiting with me, I decide to look into the sky and marvel at God's creation. Anyway, if you think about it, that's what trees do don't they? Look upward to the sky, reaching for it with their leafy banches?

But, why? Why do I look into the cloudless mass of space above? Why does it leave me in awe? Why does it make me feel small? Why, why, why???

Before you know it, the wonderful serenity of the scene is crowded out by these logic missiles, stealing the scene from my heart, and placing it in my brain, dissecting it until there is just a pale shell of what I first experienced. Facts about the sky flood my brain, until all I see is what the textbook tells me what I should see, not what I actually see with my heart.

Society always wants answers. "There must be a reason to everything" I agree with this statement. There is a reason for everything. But sometimes, we don't have to know it. We lose so much when we try and "figure out" the meaning of things. I am so glad we still haven't got a definite "meaning of life", because like in The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy it might turn out to be 42, squeezing all the life of a person in such a small number. All their experiences, their relationships, their knowledge, into an understandable little ball. Missing out on so much.

Look up into the sky, what do you see? A mass of air that is blue because blue is the colour most reflected by the water particles? Or an indescribable testimony to God's creativity, glory, and power? Leave the reasons to God, just look at something, and see how you can see God through it. Suddenly, life becomes much more interesting again.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

A day is worth 100 words

I recently sent a submission to someone else's blog, where the restrictions where to have a word limit of exactly 100, no more, no less. It was quite challenging, but I was pleased at what came out. You can check out what he manages to do in 100 words at his blog
http://adayisworth100words.blogspot.com/

Anyway, here goes the 100 words!

What is a word? Does it restrict, or set free someone’s mind? The less words the more imaginative; the less words the more confronting; the less words the more moving.

Maybe like Jazz? You need to be skilled to play badly. You need to be creative to write concisely. Somehow, popular culture is wrong. (Amazing!) Intelligence isn’t to write long, it is to write short, but still explaining the difficult.

Like the boy who had to write a 20-mark essay on courage. He just wrote “this” on a blank paper and handed it in, getting full marks. The real intelligence.


What did you think? Anyway, I love all your comments, and read each one carefully, and appreciate any thoughts you might have. You might even want to suggest something for me to talk about, because sometimes my own thoughts get very repetitive after a while.

treebytheriver

p.s. I am still waiting on your "creative" things to hit my inbox, see my profile for my email, and I can't wait to see what you can come up with!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Waiting For The Bus

I write this as I stare blankly at the road, waiting for the familiar groan and puff as the bus comes up the hill. The wind blows on my face, but my scarf protects me well. Next to me is a woman, looking this way and that, anxious for the bus to get here. I just sit there, and do what I like doing, think.

We all have those times when we have a spare moment just to think. Usually it is forced upon us. I think it is ironic that however organised we are, there are still gaps in our timetables. So much so that a good organiser doesn't try and fill these, but they work around them. Some scientist has probably proven that if we didn't have those small times of doing nothing, we would not function properly, it acts as a buffer for all the information we get during the day.

When we have these spare moments though, what are we thinking? It's easy to complain, like the bus is late, or to worry about what will happen. But why don't we appreciate it more? Why don't we take it as a blessing?




That was what I wrote when I waited for the bus.

But something is wrong with that... While I wrote that on my iPod, I was cutting myself from everyone else. That woman, why didn't I just have a nice conversation? She might have needed a smile, something to lighten her day, but all she got from me was a blank look as I stared at my iPod. I think and like to encourage people, but do I ever do it in real life? To people I know, yes. But it takes more courage to just be that little more nicer to that stranger you have never met. And, I am never courageous enough.

I want to be able to talk to people, I am always amazed at my friends who will start up a conversation with anyone. I don't mind talking to people, but it will never be me who starts the conversation. I usually want to talk to someone, but never get the courage to speak, so I just wait until they say something to me.

This kind of thing can be seen as personality and all that, but from a different angle, it is just plain selfishness. For me, I don't want to put myself out on the line, maybe to get rejected, I don't want to sacrifice anything, by talking to a stranger. For two strangers to talk, one usually has to step out of their comfort zone. Next time, I hope I can remember that and be that stranger.


So, how was your day?

Saturday, 11 June 2011

A spark of creativity

There are many things that separate humans from other creatures. One that I think is important is inspiration; creativity. The ability to create something with our emotions, to express what we are thinking.

Many people, me included, don't think they are creative, or inspirational at all. But if you look close enough, and think long enough, a small spark of creativeness will surely surge through your body. And even a small spark of creativity can unleash amazing things.

I recently made an artwork, which was not planned at all, came from me wanting to do something fun, and to me was a masterpiece. Many people rejected it as pointless, but it held a special place in my heart. Most people who think they are not creative probably thought so because others told them. But, if you like it, then that is something only you can understand, so don't care what others think!

Creativity, and inspiration, never really seem to have a point, especially when no one appreciates it. However, that is not the point if creativity. The point if creativity is really to glorify God, to let him appreciate your work. When we create something, anything, we are expressing what God made us to express. Love of him.

So why not try to be creative? Show God that the skills he has given you has been put to good use. And if you want, send it to me at bobodo77 (at) hotmail (dot) com. It can be anonymous, or anything, and anything I get with permission, will be put up on a page. So others can see your creativeness too.

Glorify God, use the gifts he has given you, because he loves you, and loves to see you shine.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A Rainy Day

This is a poem I wrote when it was raining very heavily, and everyone seemed downcast. It is me trying to appreciate the rain more. I hope you can too.

The grass thirsts
the rain falls
A symphony
in nature's halls

I listen for
the great applause
But all I hear
is the sound of wars

I pray to God
for rain to fall
And wash away
these prison walls

To bring the joy
back to the rain
So we can enjoy it
Once again

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Praying with my eyes open

I sometimes pray with my eyes open. It is usually when I don't feel like praying. When I think that I need to sort my mind out before bringing it before God.

It seemed a natural thing to do. God didn't want to hear my thoughts as a tangle of mess. Writing it down now, I realize how wrong I was. God is the one who helps me untangle my thoughts. Without him, I would be in a total mess.

Going further, isn't that my excuse when I read the verse "pray continuously" 1 thes. 5:17? I think, "God just heard what's happening in my life, I don't want to overload him with information!" Again, I am very far from the truth.

God loves it when we keep him in our lives always. When we keep him out, we aren't doing anything good for ourselves. As always, God knows better. With him in perspective, worldly things are given a shove from God down the ladder of importance. They aren't erased all together, but they become less stressful. This usually means we can get on and do whatever we thought was "way too hard", because now we understand, God is there for us even if we fail.

So, now I think I should actually pray with my eyes open. Because, I should be praying; talking to God; all the time.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Letting the real you out

I had to write a memoir for the first time. A whole page, anything I wanted, something I would look back on and think, "That was so me back then...". I wrote random thoughts that were in my head. Looking back, it was totally me.

We work so hard to be someone we aren't, and sometimes we cover ourself with so many lies, we don't know who we are really underneath. A little burst of random thought, uncensored by the barrier of lies, onto a piece of paper, something readable, keeps you sane.

Try it now. See what your real self is like.

It is also useful in your core beliefs too. Write down what you feel about God. Sometimes our mind is filled with doubts or worries about what we believe in. They crowd around us, hemming us into a corner, not letting us talk back.

I wrote, God is good! He has forgiven me! He loves me! He cares for me! It pulled me back to the reality of the amazingness of God's love. I feel like shouting for joy! Go God! I don't have to make it sound good, he knows what I mean.

Doing this is a good foothold in the midst of a sinking faith. Remember what God has done for you, and try and get that through your barrier of lies. Hopefully, that might free you from your chains.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Pause for a moment

You probably are rushing while you read this. I am rushing while I am writing this! I have so many things to do, to write, deadlines to meet, events to plan, that I just have to rush! But is that true?

When we rush, what are we rushing for? What are we going to do with the few extra seconds the speed of our actions will acquire? I walk fast to my destination, and end up waiting longer because I was early. I rush through writing a post, and just waste the time watching TV.

When I am rushing, my mind blocks all thoughts that are coming through my head. I just mindlessly complete the task set before me, be it walking faster, or thinking more. This is where it gets sad. The mind virtually turns off to any outside source of information. So when we rush, we won't notice any hidden beauty while we walk, or miss an idea that is trying to get through to our brain.

Is the extra seconds or minutes, really worth turning yourself off from the world? Rushing may get you from A to B faster, but just remember what you're missing out on. God created the world so we could enjoy it. Why would we want to miss out on that?

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Letting God speak

Here's a bible verse.

"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts" Colossians 3:16

Just looking at this bible verse, it reminds of the dream I used to have. To be able to stand up in front of many people, and just give an superb talk off the top of my head. This verse makes it seem a natural thing to be able to praise God, and to talk about him, but so often we labour over writing songs of praise, or explaining a certain part of the bible.

Is this because the audience has become more demanding now? We can't just have a simple conclusion that everyone knows and we just remind them, we have to dig forever deeper into the passage. What about ourselves? Will we let the bible passage dominate our talk? Sometimes I think we are too afraid of what the bible says that we labour over making it less harsh, or nicer sounding. We should unleash God's word for what it is, a life changing spirit.

Like for the verse above. It says that Christ should dwell in us. We might want to change that to, that Christ should be with us. But that changes the whole meaning. Christ should dwell in us, so be inside us, be the king of our lives, his will should be our will. If he is beside us, his will is just another influence, just like the media which is beside us all the time. He doesn't have the last say in our life, we do.

By surrendering my life to God, only then could I stand up and speak off the top of my head. Because I would not try and take away the power of the gospel, or diffuse it with my own words.

Next time I try and speak, I'll let God do the talking, not me. I hope you can to.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Wasting our breath

'Two young fish were swimming along, chatting about life when they bumped into a older fish. He said to them "The water is so nice today, isn't it?". The two young fish were shocked, and replied, "What the hell is water!".'

So many people today either don't know, or don't want to know, what they are swimming in. Living life on the surface. Imagine what those young fish were talking about at first. "The weather is nice", or "I need to get that new fashion item!".

So often we just skim across the surface of anything that we don't want to know. We just don't care! Instead, we put all our effort in figuring out things that are really pointless in the end. Like our faces. We learn to beautify our faces in any way possible, spending large amounts of money, but in the end, it gets washed away, and you become who you were anyway.

Why are wasting our breath, money, our whole life, on things that won't matter anyway? Why don't we start doing something that does have worth, that will make a difference? Just small things like, spending time with God instead of watching some TV, or donating money to charity instead of buying a coffee.

Don't waste your life just swimming on the surface. Go deeper. Use your breath for something useful.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

When in doubt, believe

Everyone has doubts. Everyone has that nagging feeling that what they put their trust in might fail. Everyone has their vulnerable moments, where the supposably solid foundations they were standing on becomes sand.

Doubts are always pulling me down. Slowing me in growing closer to God, and playing with my mind. Fighting them off takes a lot of strength as I try and find the right answer. Sometimes my doubts are useful, to make me think twice. Like when I was thinking of buying another guitar. My doubts said "Do I really need one? Will I ever use it?", and in the end stopped me from making a rash decision.

When it is your core beliefs, doubts become a bit more complicated. Because, what you believe deep inside you will affect how you think about everything. So how you do survive when you are struggling in doubt? Believe.

Believe that you are in God's hands, believe that he will take care of you even in this patch of darkness, and believe God's love that smothers any doubts you might have. Remember the times you were joyful, the times you looked at God as your solid rock, and remember that as a rock, the foundation of God will never turn into sand.

Believing even in doubt might be a paradox, but it is a sure way of getting through those doubting phases. Hope for the day that you can look back at those patches and say "How stupid I was to doubt God back then".

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Drifting in thoughtlessness

I was sick the past few days. A sickness that is very hard to diagnose, and to cure. The sickness was thoughtlessness. Drifting in the world, slowly making its ideas sink into your mind, letting the world take control. A very dangerous sickness, leading to nothing but nothing, and taking you away from what was meant for you.

It started with just a few incidences of neglect on things that I should have been thinking about. Like a snowball rolling down the hill gathering snow, those incidences quickly grew in number until I was always thinking about nothing of importance, and instead filling my mind with anything and everything of the world.

I got jolted out of my slide of thoughtlessness with this verse. "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved" Hebrews 10:39. If I just let myself drift along with the river of worldly thoughts, I am heading for the dangerous waterfall. Even if we do nothing, we are still drifting towards the danger. We need to keep fighting the current.

As always though, God seems to know better than us. He knows that we are creatures that can think, to be able to determine right and wrong. He knows that worldly things have no real value anyway. Why would we want to sacrifice our thoughts on something worthless?

Thinking can get tired after some time, but the alternative, just drifting in thoughtlessness is much worse.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Quick post, quick thinking

A small thought that leads to an action is better than a big thought that leads to nothing.

I just want to challenge and encourage you to think of easy, quick ways you can serve, encourage, makes someone's day. You never know, that might be exactly what they needed.

From me to you, I hope you have a nice week, and that by reading this short burst of thought you have had a chance to reflect on your life. 

treebytheriver

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Compared to what?

I love comparing myself to others. I have a better computer, house, bike, (insert something here), than you! Saying these things to my friends or enemies gives me a boost in self-esteem. I have something you don't have, I can do something you can't. Only later do I realise that it is only a fake boost, my mind is deceived into thinking I am a better person than them.

Usually however, when I compare myself with others I get more bad results than good ones. They can play guitar, sing, blog, write, design, much better than me. Down goes my self esteem, down goes my attitude. To me, it seems like I am mediocre at lots of things, and have nothing that I am really good at. Unlike others, who are very good at everything!

When I compare myself with others, I usually start worrying. Why am I not good at anything? Why am I so impressed with things that aren't even good compared to others? Spiraling down the worried road, soon finds me at the bottom. Not wanting to do anything, knowing that someone will be better at it anyway. Not a good place to be...

Despite of all this moaning, there is a solution. It is in the title of this post, which is "Compared to what?". You might feel bad compared to others, but in God's eyes you are precious. That just throws your peers' opinion out the window! God, the creator of the universe, the most powerful being, the king of everything, thinks you are precious.

Remember that, and no matter how bad you might feel, how unskilled you might think you are, you can still be joyful, relishing in the fact that their opinion means nothing, compared to that of God's.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Smiling through life - Part 2

Last week I talked about how we should all put a smile on our face, and just by simply doing that, life will seem to get better. This is a part 2 to that post, because during that week, I noticed that smiling is good when you do it, but you have to stop smiling sometime. And for me, it meant all the happiness which came with the smile just slipped away.

How can I be more joyful, all the time? How can I see the lighter side of things, even when all seems to be dark as night? Thinking about these questions, many thoughts came into my mind which I'd like to share with you.

We are imperfect beings. As humans, we are emotionally unstable, we can will ourself to be happy for a short period of time, probably less than a day, but somewhere there, some part of grief or depression sneaks in, threatening to ruin our day. Never will be able to stay happy for a long amount of time.

After we understand this problem, what can we do about it? Nothing! But luckily we have someone who has done something for us. In our sadness we can always have the hope of a better time, when God makes the earth and heaven new again.

Still, we seem to forget this amazing hope, especially when we are too unhappy. The good thing is though, not everyone is sad at the same time. This is where encouragement comes in. By encouraging others, we can keep them hopeful, keep them looking forward, and not looking at their present state. This is probably one of the most powerful things we as humans can do. Not make them happy, but make them look to where they can find true happiness.

One more point, the difference between joy and happiness. To you, they might be synonymous, meaning the same thing, but they are quite different. The big difference is, happiness comes and go, but joy is much longer lasting. It is the core of your being that is joyful, and more your emotions that are happy. As I said before, we are emotionally unstable, but joy seeps deeper inside than that. I hope you can understand that and be joyful, even when you might not be happy.

Please read the page "Feeling down?" for some more ways to keep seeing the bright sides in life, and I hope that you can continue to be encouraged, and also pass your encouragement to others. May God fill your life with joy, as you continue to live for him.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Smiling through life

Here's a quote. It takes seventeen muscles to smile and forty-three to frown. But I used to add an extension of my own. "It takes seventeen muscle to smile and forty-three to frown, but it takes none if you are emotionless."

It kind of showed my mindset didn't it. Back then I thought being expressionless was better than putting a smile on your face. It kept me from having to explain why I was happy, and I could blend in with the crowd, who all went around with no expression. Only until recently have I begun to change my idea of what expression I should wear on my face.

This post is titled "smiling through life", because that is what I decided to do. Whenever I was just doing nothing, or just had no expression on my face I would smile. I practiced at home looking outside for awhile. When I didn't smile the scenery was just normal to me, but when I smiled everything seemed to gain a happy tinge to it. The scenery was nice now!

It became kind of like a game. "What smiling will do to what I am seeing". The long walk to the train station became a nice, relaxing walk, giving me time to think, the dishes became an act of servitude I was sure my mum would appreciate. It was actually quite fun!

Another thing I noticed was that even if you felt down, or just couldn't see any light in the world, by smiling something good would pop into your head. Like right now, I wasn't actually thinking much, and was worried about all the work I had to do, but then I smiled and I remembered all of my readers I have who actually want to hear what I have to say, and how lucky I am to have them. It seems so simple, even to me, but everyone time I did it, it lifted by day up.

So, what expression have you been wearing lately? Try smiling, right now! Tell me how it changed you view on things around you. Be a light in the dark world. Be different to others. Keep on smiling because it is a God given gift we too often take granted of.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Controlled by what?

As I was sleepily writing this post as I was about to go to bed, it seemed I was controlled by sleepiness. I couldn't think properly, couldn't listen, became grumpy, and just wanted to go to my room and go to sleep. It felt like my longing for sleep was controlling most of my actions. This made me think, what other things am I controlled by?

It is interesting to see people try and break free of all control. They rebel against authority, they rebel against their parents, they rebel against the warning signs of their own body even! Interestingly enough though, they still manage to be controlled by something or another. Such as a person who gets drunk. They rebel against life by being in such a stupor they cannot understand anything going on, but they now are controlled by the numbing effects of alcohol, which might seem a better alternative than life, until they wake up with a splitting headache and feel sick.

A human that rejects all control probably has no brain! Simply put, our brain controls our muscles, so they would not be able to move, breathe, or beat their heart. They would die in a few seconds, and then they would be controlled by death! Running away from one just leads to another! But not just physically, we are always controlled. Emotions influence our thoughts, society leaves it's mark on our decisions, and sin creeps up on us, so that we end up having a tiny say in what we do, with usually other things governing our actions. 

However, usually when we are controlled, we benefit from the control too. A leader builds up his country, benefiting it, our brain coordinates out body, so we can grow, repair and live. What I am saying is, what about society and sin? Do these benefit us in anyway?

Many people complain about the society we live in, some people even choosing to leave it completely through suicide, rather than trying to stand the pain of living. Sin is also a big destructive force. All too often after a big fight or argument, we end up feeling worse about ourselves, even if we maybe won the argument.

How can we stop sin from creeping up to us though? How do we stop ourselves from snapping at every wrong someone does to us, or being selfish, or being unforgiving. How do we run away from this control that doesn't benefit us at all? The only thing that works is to find an alternative form of control. That is God.

Many people say they do not want to be controlled by God, but if they aren't, they are controlled by sin instead! If I were to choose, I would definitely choose God for sure.

Monday, 7 March 2011

I don't care

I don't care about what you say, I don't care about what happens next, I don't care that I have something better to do, I just DON'T CARE.

I thought it was a good mindset to have. Not to care about anything, just to live my life without caring what others think, being able to do what I want because no one could make me care less. Wouldn't that be the perfect life?

At first I thought so too. My enemies' insults were passed away with a simple "I don't care what you think" cut down. I chose what happened in my life and made sure no one even thought of giving me advice because I just didn't care. I could stop a argument by saying "I don't care", and stop listening. All these things I did for a while, with great success. I got to live my life hassle free! Doing what I wanted, without the annoyance of caring about what others thought.

Luckily, I noticed soon enough that the way I was headed was just a down hill slippery slope. If I didn't care what others thought, I would have to live my life with no advice. Choosing my own paths in life might be fun for awhile, but it is hard to choose the right one if you haven't looked at all the options by asking other people! Also, sometimes, when having an argument with someone, you might actually be in the wrong (I know, hard to believe!). If you didn't care about what others thought, you would be stuck with the wrong idea forever, eventually making a fool out of yourself, or something even worse.

It is a hard habit to get out of, not caring. But it is possible to work through. I am starting today, just by listening to others, and understanding their point of view. I hope that I will not fall into the trap of not caring again, however criticising or annoying another persons views may be. God always cares for other people and their opinions, and I should too.

treebytheriver

Thursday, 3 March 2011

I won the award again!

Hello everyone,


I have again won the "Versatile blogger award", thanks to Carmen, of http://catstuff-carment.blogspot.com Last time I won this award, I did not send it off to others as I should have, but this time, I have seen enough good blogs to share this award with. But first, I need to say 7 things about myself. This is a good time to get to know the tree!!

  1. I love making songs, but can never write lyrics. I hope to write a song about a tree by the river soon.
  2. I write my blog in a special place reserved for writing, and I like being stinking hot while I write it... Somehow makes me get my  ideas out better
  3. I am very forgetful, so sometimes I have a great post idea in my head, but it never reaches the computer.
  4. I love my readers, and commenters very much! Without you, I would have stopped blogging ages ago. Thank you!
  5. I am very awkward about my blog to my friends. It feels weird for them to read something I wrote, as though it is important stuff! (It is on the internet, it must be important!)
  6. I actually made a website first, and then made a blog to support it,  but now the website has not been updated for months, and this blog is more important.
  7. I kept. changing my blog theme. From "Talking about the untalked things" to "Deep, thoughtful, encouraging, fun", and then finally "Living as a tree with God at my side". I appreciate feedback on anything you might want me to change.
Now, I have to award this blog to seven other people, so here goes.

  1. Stephanie at Diary of a creative teen
  2. Biohazard at My confusion theory
  3. CityGirlChic at Live, Love, Laugh
  4. Ella at Single Parent Faith
  5. Thom at To Gyre and Gambol
  6. Taylor at Penned By Taylor
  7. Vic, Lindsay, and Ashley at For The Love Of Blogs
These are very good blogs in my opinion, so please go check them out!

To all those people above, the rules of the award are to say 7  things about yourself, and share the award with 7 other people. Share the love people!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

If you were designing a God

"If you designed a perfect god, what would he be like?". That is the question I was thinking about throughout the week, and I came up with many versions of my "perfect god".

Seeing the tragedy in New Zealand, I would first make my god loving, and caring. I would not want my god to kill just for the fun of it, or abuse his power. I would make my god powerful too, so I knew that I had someone strong behind me in every battle I face.

My god would also have to be just. If he wasn't just, the world I live in would be chaotic! No rules, no safety, no comfort. He would have to be just for everyone's safety. He would also be involved in the world, not just making the world and leaving it to us, he would make sure everything was running smoothly.

Finally, my god would be eternal. He would live forever, so he could always be there for the world. He would care for the world, even if they reject him, and be like a father to the world, not a King. He would be merciful too, so he will never stop loving me, even if I did something terribly wrong. he would forgive it.

As I thought what my god would be like, I thought I made a good enough list of the characteristics that my god should have. However, looking back, some of those characteristics clash. How could my god be just, but also be merciful? What about being loving but also being powerful to my enemies?

As I poked holes through my "perfect god", two thoughts came into my head.

As a human, I could never think up a "perfect god". I don't know enough about life, I am clouded by my own selfishness, and I am too short sighted. I could never satisfy my need for god, by making up my own. I would never be able to rely on myself, even in my day to day life!

However, luckily for me and all of mankind, there is a God who is perfect in every way imaginable. He knows everything I need, even if I might not know! And cares for me in every way imaginable. He is indescribable. Some days, I am just so glad that I can give all my burdens into God's hands and he knows what to do with it.

So as you read this post, what would your own "perfect god" be like? Does the true God satisfy your criteria? Remember, the real God knows what you really need, even if you don't.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Sadness only lasts for a week

Today's post might be a little controversial, but I am going to talk about sadness. What I want to say is that, sadness only really lasts for less than a week. Please read on, and comment if you have any objections to what I say.

I thought about this topic, because yesterday for me was quite distressing. I felt sad, and just wanted to disappear from this world. It felt like I had a huge weight on my shoulders, and it was pushing me down into the ground. I couldn't look up and see anything good in the world anymore. However, when I woke up after a good night's sleep, everything seemed ok again. I was still sad a little bit, but not in despair, and I could see the good things in life again.

Some people might think that my day must not have been that bad, or I wouldn't have had a good night's sleep! But even the people with really bad days, like someone who found out a family member had died, or someone with depression, I think can still see the good things in life after a while. I am not saying that people like that will not be in grief of their loss after only one week, but I think they can still smile when they see some of the good things in life, not totally rejecting them.

Some things I think could bring someone to smile even if they were in grief are such things as the beauty of nature, the strength of some of their friendships, and most importantly, the love and care of God. Even though they might be in despair, these things give them hope, and can make them look forward to the better future.

As I thought about trying to get some hope in a time of despair, I came up with the idea of setting up a page with photos that give hope, or encouragement. I hope that they might encourage you whenever you are in the dumps, and you can be hopeful about the future, where you will get better. Here is a photo, just to show you what it will be like.




Thanks for reading this post! I hope that you were encouraged to think about sadness and depression. Please comment if you liked it, or not, so I know who I am writing to!

treebytheriver

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Back to the roots...

Today's post will be me going back to the roots... Things that sustain me, things that never begin to bore even after most worldly things have broken, or lost its value, things I might take for granted sometimes, but I rely on as I stumble in the darkness. Things that God has given me, that he knows I need, better than any marketer, or sales person in the world.

1. Rain
I love the sound of rain. The pitter patter of rain falling on grass, the soft smell of nature wafting to your nose, and the clean natural air cooling your tongue. To me, rain is one of the best gifts of nature that still can be felt anywhere in the world. Many times a month I hate the buckets of water falling over my head as I walk to and fro outside, but even with the hate, I always get to the stage where I am glad that it rains.

2. Fire
Looking into the depths of a simple fire as often intrigued me for ages. I love the way the fire moves with the wind, giving light into any darkness. The wood seems to be breathing, as it changes colour every few seconds. Fire is a puzzle that I will never figure out, but will keep me interested for ages.

3. Grass
I know this might not seem like a stimulating thing to look at, but when I lie down on my lawn and just look into the forest of grass, there is so much more than first impressions. Flowers grow in unexpected places, making a smile on my face; ants scuttle doing their work, making me feel encouraged to work harder; and finally just the intense depth of roots and earth, where tiny organisms sustain the things that can be seen. It is just amazing seeing a tiny ecosystem just in a small patch of grass.

Three things that keep me occupied after all other toys, games, and technology go out of fashion. I can just imagine me being a grandfather, still taking delight in the small things in nature, even just the rain, fire, and grass.

Thank you for reading my blog. Please comment about anything you want, and tell me how you felt reading my posts. I hope that you were encouraged by the simple thoughts I have on life. I hope that you keep reading, and that you will be joyful in your life.

treebytheriver

Saturday, 5 February 2011

What a tree thinks

As you should already know, I was named after a tree. As I was thinking about what I should write about, I day dreamed on the question, "If I was a tree, what would I be thinking?" These are some of the thoughts that I came up with.

In most books were trees can talk, they are portrayed as wise, calm, old, and slow to speak. So going from that point of view, I probably would be thinking not about petty human things, but just growing I guess... Every year, I would have come up with one thing worthwhile saying, said it, then gone back into the watching of the world. As a tree I would probably learn lots just from looking and listening, without having that much need to saying anything.

But, what would that once-a-year thought be? I just took a deep breath, so that counts as a year in my busy life time, and the super deep, profound, and wise thought I came up with was ...

"I am incompetent..."

In the end, as a human, I know that I will never be like that tree I was named after. I do get involved in petty human things, and all too often they take over my life! Nearly everyday, I seem to waste my day, and at the end of it I think, "That was pointless...!" The worst thing is, every time I try and fix myself up, I never can. In the end, my only worthwhile thought is "I am incompetent..."

But what about the river? Without the river, the tree will get withered, it will lose its majesticness, and fall into ruin, becoming a dead log. So, it isn't the tree after all. It is the river that supports it. If the river goes, the tree goes with it.

And what is the river in my life? You might be able to guess from my other posts. He made me with his own hands, he always is there for me even though I reject him so many times, and he doesn't care how incompetent I am, he is supporting me throughout my life. God.

So even though I will never be that tree with my own strength, with God's power, he will grow me up taller and taller, and keep me from falling.


Thanks for reading my blog! Please comment about what you think, and I hope that you can find God in your life, and reach out to him for the stability you need!

treebytheriver