I present to you………God!

Genesis 9:13-14

‘I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds’

rainbowI think I got a bit too excited by this rainbow I saw on Saturday. I saw it on my way back to the hotel and when I went through reception I urged the bellman and the receptionists to go and look. They meandered outside but didn’t seem too impressed. The picture here is not doing it justice. The bellman saw the picture on my phone and said it was ‘okay’!

If we don’t know where the rainbow is from or who it came from then I suppose it’s easy to pass it by. But It was God. Staring at me. I was amazed. I always have been amazed by rainbows. Why? God is present all the time through all of his creation. But rainbows? They only come along occasionally and there are specifics about it in the bible. Think about it….all those colors joined together. And it’s shape. Like a bridge between us and God. Doesn’t it feel like something not of this earth? Because it’s a rarity?  He said He would place a rainbow in the sky and here it is…proof. Real time. Not just a beautiful 200-year-old Oak tree that’s always been there but a 2013 rainbow from God. And that’s it. Of now. Like a text. look out 4 the rainbow 🙂 He’s with us now. Look at the way the artist portrayed the people below. In awe. Not like the bellman. Look out for something from God today!

rainbow

What’s on your mind?

Proverbs 3:6

‘In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success’

That’s an amazing promise. But how easy is it to put God first?…in everything we do? One of the things I’ve struggled with while being wrapped up in this massive project is continuously having God on my mind. Praying and reading daily scriptures is one thing but always thinking about Him and talking to Him is another. An ongoing conversation that involves Him in our daily challenges, plans and ambitions. This is a continuous theme in these posts, similar to the ‘knocking on our door’ image from last week. What does it mean to put God first? One answer is to not play by the rules of this earth but instead follow the word laid out in The Bible. Easy? Not really. Proverbs 3:9 ‘Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce.’ Even now, I still sometimes struggle to tithe each month, to write that check or click on ‘donate’ especially now that I don’t know where the next check is coming from. God has never stopped providing for us, in good and bad but still I hesitate to put Him first. Proverbs 15:1 ‘A gentle response turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.’ And I still occasionally say things I shouldn’t to people I work with when things get pressured and stressed. This isn’t about self-criticism because it’s easy to drag ourselves down with our failures. It’s about being aware of our behavior and actions. It’s actually a good thing! It means we’re closer to God if we have ‘awareness’. And the closer we get the more like Him we become. There’s a million examples of how we don’t put God first but I like to think that He blesses us and shows us His grace anyway, if He knows what’s truly in our hearts. And minds!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we know you long to have a relationship with us. We pray that we can have you on our minds in all that we do so we can live a life with you in us through the power of your Holy Spirit – Amen!

Go where?

Genesis 12:1

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go out from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household to the land that I will show you”.

The title of this part of Genesis is ‘The call of Abram’. Also known as ‘Abram’s obedience’. And what obedience it was. What faith. Read it carefully….‘to the land that I will show you’. Abram didn’t know where he was going! But still he went!

I can’t deny that I have had a sense of this ‘not knowing where I am going’ feeling over the last 6 months. But each time I get that feeling God seems to direct me very clearly or things seem to fall into place. I can only talk about in association with my work as this is generally what this blog is about but, safe to say, it affects all aspects of my life and my family’s. Only last week I was thinking about where the next project will come from. Curious really, as I’ve been on this path long enough now to know God will provide. And when I think I tend to do it in a way that I’m talking to God. Wondering. Daydreaming! It’s quite a peaceful feeling. No panic or anxiety. Rather like stopping for a rest on a long country walk, breathing in the air and deciding what way to go next. No choice is a bad choice. Anyway, something did come up that’s kept me in London for a few more days that I believed to be God’s will. It’s not the path I would have chosen to take as I was looking forward to heading back to Connecticut  but as the passage says…‘go to the land that I will show you’ I’m in no position to say no!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, thank you for having the plan all laid out. Give us the faith and strength to live it out – Amen!

Is your door always open?

Revelation 3:20

‘Here I am! I stand at the door at knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me’

'Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, i will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends' - Revelation 3:20

‘Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, i will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends’ – Revelation 3:20

As I’ve probably said before this is one of my favorite images of Christ. Knocking on the door of a thorny, overgrown doorway. How many doors do we have into our lives? The office door. Our front door. The train door. The elevator door. The list goes on. We may let Christ into one but of them but slam another one on him. Happy to let Him into our homes perhaps but not into the meeting room? Into our bible study but not a restaurant, taxi or hotel room? It’s been a challenge for me being on the road a lot and out of my routine. So many doors that I’m going through. It’s a discipline to let God not only come through with me but to go before me and to already be there. Praying that He will be somewhere that I am going to like an edit suite, meeting room or business dinner. When I forget to pray about that I sometimes have a feeling of dread going into those places but when I do remember it’s a much more pleasant feeling. It’s a child like feeling that’s difficult to explain. A little like the security and comfort I had as a child when I jumped off the top of the stairs and my Dad would catch me. I had no doubt he would. A child like faith! That’s the best analogy I can think of!

Heavenly Father, We open all our doors to you. Guide us every step of the way and be there to catch us when we have to take a big leap! – Amen!

The world’s problems are our problems.

Galatians 5:14

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The world revolves around the bible. Or should do, if we’re Christians at least.  From how we treat others to the way our leaders run the country, there is good advice on all things worldly. If house prices and mortgage rates get so much out of control that they leave families homeless then that is a Christian concern and our responsibility. We don’t want people homeless because they are our neighbors and we love them. Just like we don’t want children hungry or others persecuted for their beliefs. Therefore it is up to us to help them, pray for them and pray for those who can have influence in this world. Our work is a good example. Is what we’re doing helping others or just ourselves. Is it serving and glorifying God? It is improving the world or just our own situation. How can our work and the way we go about our work make a positive impression on the world? Or is it our skills that can help? The same work skills but for the common good outside of the work place. Complaining and doing nothing about something we care about won’t help anyone or anything. Praying, taking action and living out the word can!

Heavenly Father, we pray we can live out the word as though it was only written yesterday.  Help us to remember that it’s relevant to our lives and not something written for another time or place – Amen!

All you need is love.

Matthew 5:44

‘But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’

 

ThatcherI saw this today in London and was saddened. How can people hate so much? These are people who have lived with this hate for over 30 years. It’s been 20 years since she resigned as Prime minister. All we can do is pray for them and pray for those in the world and in business that put themselves in a place to lead but, for some reason, are hated for it.

Heavenly Father, We pray for those that are full of  hate. We ask that their hearts soften through somehow getting to know you. Fill them and us with your love Lord – Amen!

 

Are we making God Laugh?

Matthew 13:22

‘The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful’

I read a quote that you may have heard before – ‘If you want to make God laugh, show him your plans’. Thinking about it now, when I decided to move my family from the comfort of Southern England to freezing cold Minnesota it’s possible that God was rolling around with laughter. And then once He had calmed down He must have just sighed. I can’t remember praying much about that decision or other rather dubious decisions that went with it but I could be wrong. But, rather like a GPS, He gets us back on the right route. Since then He introduced my wife to a ministry in Minnesota called Feed My Starving Children which has since turned into an annual event in Connecticut (Don’t ask how we ended up here). He has also opened up doors to other ministries and churches. So, we feel like were kind of back on the right path. But we know we need to get better about turning to God when we attempt to make plans. But as a word of encouragement, don’t dwell on past mistakes or bad decisions. If we’re truly looking for a relationship with God, He will get us back on the right path. He promises that. Otherwise, it’s a little like walking around a maze. One wrong turn after another.

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, Even when we wander away from you we know you don’t wander away from us. Help us turn to back to you  and remain with you – Amen!

What do you have in common with God?

Proverbs 8:17

‘I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.’

Getting to know God means having a relationship with him and not just believing in Him. I’m sure God has everything in common with us but, as human beings. it’s probably good to find something that allows you to see God or something that sparks up a conversation with Him. Perhaps your work is that? I think it is definitely mine. I’m blessed to have my work evolve around creation, light, form and beauty. All of which has come from God. When I see something I like, I try to credit and think of God. And thank him. When I have an idea (good or bad) I know it’s from God. But it’s really just a conversation starter for me. A reminder that He exists and is everywhere. And like any relationship, it grows stronger as you find more things to talk about and more in common. You may become more open to Him. So, God wants to connect with you! He has similar interests!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, we know you long to have a relationship with us, we pray we can seek you and realize that you want us to talk to you about everything we do, like children do. Help us find those conversation starters – Amen!

Now what?

Psalm 29:11

‘The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.’

I really enjoyed my 4 days back in Connecticut. I was able to spend time with my wife and all 3 of my children. It was definitely a blessed time. I enjoyed the Easter church services and, like most people, I was reminded how much of a sacrifice it was for us. I can’t deny that I feel a slight emptiness and even sadness now that I’m back at JFK watching the sunrise yet again over Terminal 4. Who can I get close to now? Where’s the warmth? Where’s the love? Where’s the joy? I’m so glad that I can turn to God in prayer to find that love and strength. I feel pain for those that don’t know him. Those that are feeling the same as me this morning. Those on planes, in cars or on trains and buses, but they don’t know who to turn to or even remember who they should turn to! Even as Christians it’s easy to let life carry us away. We’re in the moment on Sunday shouting Christ has risen! and on Tuesday we’ve forgotten how that connection with Christ felt. The feeling has gone. Everyone and everything has gone! The church building, friends, the Pastor’s words, the singing, the smell of the flowers, the joy and the peace. But God remains with us. Steadfast, unwavering love. And he loves us more than anyone can love us and he’ll never leave us. It’s written in Psalm 121. It seems ridiculous that I’m sitting here feeling a little sorry for myself when I have that promise! Chin up Andrew! Sunny London awaits…

He walks with you!

He walks with you!

Pray with me

Heavenly Father, give us strength and peace on our early morning commute to work. Help us to feel the same joy that we felt last Sunday and allow us the opportunity to spread that joy to others – Amen!