endurance: a gift that develops in us as we persevere #thedailyhaiku 27

 

Do you have dreams and desires in your heart that are yet to see the light of day? Me, too, my friend. And it’s hard to wait, while we ache with longing, isn’t it? Yet God isn’t as absent or silent as we sometimes think He is. Rather, He is actively developing spiritual fruit in us, such as endurance, which comes from patient perseverance.

There is a Holy purpose at work to prepare us for what lies ahead. Although we may not be able to fully see or sense it yet, when we surrender to God, and acknowledge that He is Lord over all, we can trust He is working hard in the background of our lives.

Holy Spirit quietly refines our mind, hones our desires, readies the ground, encourages us to sow our seeds of faith and prepares us to receive at just the right time, in line with God’s eternal plans for our lives. We may want to see fruit straight away but it grows slowly as we root ourselves deeper into Christ.

“So that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience” 

~ Colossians 1:10-11 NIV

endurance

trust in the longing
have faith while it’s being stretched
endure for Christ’s sake
©joylenton

The tilling and unearthing that may be necessary to build a good foundation can feel uncomfortable to our souls, addicted to ease and comfort as they are. But if we are willing to yield, open to receive and able to cooperate with God, we will find our Holy Spirit-enabled endurance has paid off, helping to produce Godly character in us.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” 

~ Romans 5:3-5 NIV

grace: a drenching in holy rain #thedailyhaiku 26

 

God is lavish with His Love, magnanimous with His Mercy, perfect with His Peace, jubilant with His Joy, free with His Forgiveness and wildly generous with His Grace.

We don’t have to beg for it. We don’t have to worry that it will run short. God’s grace is freely available to all of us, all of the time. How good is that?!

We can easily become saturated by grace, like a drenching in Holy rain. This is no mere trickle or a small shower. This is more like a flood, a pounding waterfall that roars with power.

What does it do? Here’s a brief description:

  • God’s grace takes, breaks and remakes us.
  • We are washed clean from our sin.
  • We are changed from the inside out.
  • Grace sustains and strengthens, knits together and mends.
  • All that is weak and wounded, flawed and faulty, broken and bent in us is gradually rewired, renewed, restored and refreshed.

Why do I call God’s grace wild? Because it’s so indiscriminately and generously given, untameable , out of our control. We don’t have to pass a test or do anything else to be deemed worthy of being washed in God’s grace. All qualify. Period. For all time.

In a very real sense, you could say that God’s grace is wasted on us because that’s exactly what it is. Not one of us has done anything to deserve grace. It is literally God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense, bought and paid for at the Cross, poured out freely on us.

wild grace

there’s a wildness here
a drenching in holy rain
we are rewired, changed
©joylenton

equilibrium: where our best soul peace comes from #thedailyhaiku 25

 

It doesn’t take much to rock our world or spoil our day, does it? With 24 hour news reports, lives that are increasingly fractured and eminently distracted by pinging phones and tablets, we can quickly sway from delight to despair, from joy to sadness, from feeling carefree to being consumed with fear.

And that doesn’t include our own internal make up and body chemistry, plus our propensity for self-preoccupation and concern, which can play havoc with our feelings on the best of days.

So how do we find and maintain a state of measured calm in all of this? How do we avoid being at the mercy of our feelings and subject to change because of shifts in the world around? Where is the equilibrium we all seek?

What works may vary from person to person, but the major stabilising thing in my life is my faith in Christ. Not that my faith doesn’t shake or falter at times. The vital part is what and who we place our faith in, not how great our faith might be in and of itself.

Trusting in Christ is how I achieve a measure of balance, composure and calm, despite what might be happening in my life. It’s not a state of switched off bliss, ignoring the things that disturb my soul while I meditate or something. It starts with a conscious awareness of my need.

It’s a willing surrender to God as loving Father. He cares deeply about what hurts us, and has the ability to keep us stable instead of falling apart, to give us wisdom, equilibrium and strength whenever we need it, and remind us that He is in charge of everything.

Though I may come to God in a state of turmoil to begin with, once I have stilled and rested myself in His presence, prayed and handed over my worries and concerns, He fills me with His supernatural peace, calm and contentment.

It’s a gift. Pure grace, in fact. Freely available to us all. And the best thing? We have access to it as often as we need. There are no limits to God’s willingness to meet with us and calm our fretful hearts.

equilibrium

equilibrium

we become happy and calm

focusing on God

©joylenton

let: when wishes become a way of life #thedaikyhaiku 24

 

As I reach the tail end of this October writing marathon, I must confess that my reserves are very depleted. No surprises there. 😏 But I don’t want to allow discouragement in or let myself become derailed by fatigue. Those things can so easily define my days.

Here’s the thing. I want to go out on a cloud of grace. Same way as I came in, in fact. God carries me each day, holds me close to His chest and whispers words of reassurance whenever I feel defeated by life.

If I am wanting to let anything affect me during these oh so weary days, then let it be joy. Let it be love. Let it be peace. Because I’m done with yielding to my SAD feelings and allowing my body’s state to dictate how my days are shaped. I want to surrender to God most of all, hard as it can be sometimes.

Will you join me? if your health or life is less than tickety-boo, then give it over to God instead of giving yourself a hard time, or wallowing in hurts and slights. Yes, they are a pain, quite literally. Yet what God is willing to give to His children far exceeds those things.

Whatever is troubling your soul, let it be, my friend, and let God be who He wants to be in your life: a rock-steady Hope, a force for Good, an Anchor to hold you firm, a sea of Grace, a river of Peace, a Saviour and your closest Friend, and so much more than we can ever imagine.

let it be

let joy permeate
let love be my calling card
peace be my heart’s state
©joylenton

If my words are insufficient, then why not let the Beatles song above persuade you to let go of your cares? PS: John Lennon was my favourite!  🙂

moon: developing daily gratitude toward created things #thedailyhaiku 23

 

As I watch silvery traces of moonlight (or golden splashes sometimes), I marvel over God’s provision of sun by day and moon by night to light the way for sojourning earthly pilgrims.

It’s a great reminder of the Pillar of Cloud, as Holy presence hovering close to guide during daylight hours, and the Pillar of Fire to light the way for the children of Israel when darkness of night closed in on them.

God led and guided them in this way for 40 long years in the wilderness. Years, decades even, when their clothes and footwear didn’t wear out. Now that’s a miracle all by itself!

So why do we become fretful when we fail to see or sense God’s hand at work? Are we forgetful of His faithfulness and trustworthiness toward us in the past, perhaps? Can we not believe in miracles when God whispers to the sun each morning to do it again, to shine for His glory?

We are apt to go through life with blinkers on, failing to truly see the glory markers God strews in our pathway, or appreciate the daily marvel of life continuing on day after day.

But each time I do remember to stop and look, become rapt with wonder over the sheer loveliness and beauty of a flower or plant, maybe, delighting in cloud patterns travelling across the sky or the flame of sunset setting my heart alight, it feeds my soul with gratitude and a deeper awareness of God’s immanence with us.

Shall we try to be those who notice? Not dwelling heavily on the badness that exists but focusing most on developing holy wonder in connection with those everyday things we can easily take for granted.

moon

a golden-faced orb

hangs low in inky-dark sky

waiting for sun’s sigh

©joylenton

superfluous: clearing out soul clutter #thedailyhaiku 22

 

During recent weeks of attempting to clear out the tangled mess of accumulated clutter in my home, it soon became clear that it was only a fraction of what is superfluous in my life.

I also carry a lot of internal baggage, heavy weights I have assimilated over the years, almost without thinking. They’ve made their presence known in various ways but tend to get pushed into a corner, left to gather dust.

Just as our homes differ from one another, so do our hearts and minds and those things we allow house room to. My excess stuff may not match yours, and that’s okay. Sometimes we are unaware we are carrying extraneous luggage in our souls.

Allow me to name (in no particular order) some of my unwanted stuff that needs shifting. The list is by no means conclusive. There is always more to be found if we ask God to search our hearts. You might even spot a familiar item here….

My personal 7 deadliest sins list…. gulp!

  • Perfectionism  –  definitely a work in progress
  • Insecurity  –  writers are prone to attacks of this
  • Impatience  –  not proud of this one… moving on…
  • Selfishness –  aided and abetted by needing (expecting?) help from others
  • Envy –  that horrible pang inside when you feel left out of this or that
  • Pride –  insidious, often masks as self-preoccupation/introspection
  • Anger –  usually self-directed, but not always

Once our excess, soul-burdening baggage has been identified, we require time for contrite confession and honesty before God, plus asking Holy Spirit for help and grace to act and react differently, while we learn to release this clutter compassionately into His hands.

 

superfluous

it’s superfluous

this excess internal stuff

still weighing me down

©joylenton

shadow: hope for when your past clings on today #thedailyhaiku 21

 

Try as we might, we cannot erase our past. Only God can give us a clean slate, fresh start and a new heart. We soon discover that the worst of events tend to continue to haunt us in the present like a ghostly presence. They cling like an unwanted second skin, clammy and cold to our souls.

I’ve had to learn to relinquish my past to God, mainly because some of it is just too heavy and painful to carry alone. This doesn’t mean that it never enters my thoughts. Far from it. The enemy is always whispering venom to our hearts and minds. He loves to remind us just what we were, where we came from and how we’ve been wronged.

And when that happens we can get drawn back into the feelings we had back then, sucked into the swirling vortex of pain, while our minds relive it all over again like a never ending cinema reel.

But we have a powerful weapon against the enemy’s  wiles. As we read God’s Word it not only reminds us just who we are in Christ, it saturates us with beautiful, holy Truth and Light that drives out the dark and ugly lies we’ve bought into.

 

The more we believe the Bible over what our fearful hearts have clung to, and allow the Lord access to all areas, the better prepared we are to fight with spiritual weapons instead of caving in to pain, and accept we are redeemed and washed clean, a new creation in Jesus Christ.

It’s what gives us the resources and strength we need to move on, dwell on God’s mercy, forgiveness and grace instead of on our guilt-ridden and shame-filled past, while learning to live more joyfully in the present day.

a vanished shadow

a vanished shadow
yesterday clings ghost-like, grey
while we live today
©joylenton