26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #8

In each post in this #AtoZchallenge, I’m highlighting one facet that God has revealed about Himself in the Bible. Most are metaphors (I am the Bread of Life; I am the Good Shepherd etc.) but they aren’t always.

This one isn’t.

FullSizeRender (4)In the book of Psalms, Chapter 103 verse 3, the Bible says, “[the LORD] forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…”

God is a healer. The cross-stitch sampler to the left shows a man leaping for joy, no longer needing a walking stick; he’s been healed of his physical illness. Stories abound throughout the Bible wherein people are healed physically; and also emotionally and spiritually, when their sins were forgiven.

It’s taken me a while to decide what ‘life example’ *I* could give here, to illustrate my point. I mean, I’ve never really suffered any physical aliment from which I needed healing. Nor, to my knowledge, have any close friends or family, so I can’t relate their story here either.

Emotional healing I’ve had a little more experience with though, and long-time readers of this blog might remember the roller-coaster ride that was the time when my youngest was diagnosed with autism.

But the biggie was probably when God healed my marriage.

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 10.10.01 amI posted this photo on Facebook earlier in the week. Hubby and I were out, and I managed to snap a selfie of the two of us – where he was SMILING! This would be the first ever smiling selfie, in over 20 years of marriage.

And I’m sharing that piece of information so you can see how completely He healed us.

You see, we broke up after just 18 months of marriage.

It was pretty bad. And I was the cause… well, to be specific, it was my experiences with a cult a few years prior, which had screwed me up BIGTIME, that had driven us apart.

Anyway, SUPERlong story short, we patched things up and got back together again.

This was only possible because of God. No, really.

The story is too long to tell here – you’ll need to read the longer post here instead – but suffice it to say, God healed us. And look, twenty years later, we’re still together. And I’m proud of that.

That’s not to say we haven’t fought in the meantime. I’m a stubborn thing, and a control freak, neither of which do me any favours. We’ve had some doozies of arguments. But we’re in this for the long haul, and are both committed to that. No matter what. God healed us, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

So that’s my lesson for Day 8. God Heals. He’s healed others, and He’s healed Hubby and I. I can take comfort in the fact that He’ll heal again, whenever and wherever is needed.

That’s pretty awesome 🙂

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #7

As a teacher for *cough* over twenty *cough* years, I’ve had a few student teachers in that time. You know, the people who study ‘teaching’ at Uni, who come and practice teaching for a few weeks, or months, to learn the ropes of how a classroom operates. Or should.

Some of those student teachers were fantastic. Dedicated, willing to learn, like little sponges eager to hear and absorb ‘the pearls of wisdom that dropped from my lips’. (Ha! I just quoted from my own Film and TV teacher, from my own days as a Senior. She was a fervent teacher, Nicky Bricknell.)

Other student teachers? Not so much.

But when it boiled down to it, they weren’t in charge. I was. The responsibility for the cherubs in my classes lay entirely with me.

Likewise with God.

FullSizeRender (3)In the book of John, chapter 10, verses 11 to 14, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”

I like the idea that I’m not in the class where the student teacher has assumed entire responsibility. I’m in the class where my teacher is the Head Honcho. So I can be confident that my needs – all of them! – will be attended to. He’ll look after me, because I belong to Him.

And that’s my takeaway lesson for Day 7. Because God is the GOOD shepherd, I can be confident. (And if you’re interested in seeing what BAD shepherding is like, and how God feels about it, read Ezekiel 34. But be warned: He doesn’t like it!)

So on that note, have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #6

Luke 7:34 says, “The Son of Man [Jesus] came eating and drinking, and you say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”

I’ve read that verse dozens of times. But this is the first time that the word ‘friend’ has stuck out for me.

FullSizeRender (2)This post, number 6 in the series of posts in my current #AtoZchallenge, has the letter ‘F’ as it’s topic. And in the A to Z cross-stitch that sits on the console table in the centre of my house, the letter ‘F’ shows ‘Friend’ and the Bible verse quoted above.

I tend to not think of Jesus as my ‘friend’. I guess there’s too much reverence there, or something. My mental pedestal is too high.

When I think of my ‘friends’, I think of laughter. Of the sheer joy in being together, of spending time delighting in each other’s company.

And I guess, when I stop and reflect on it, that *is* how I feel about God. I *do* find joy in his company; in reading His words to me and in speaking to Him (praying). [I bought myself a new Bible for Christmas and have read around 4 chapters per day since January 1st. If I continue, I’ll have read it through in a year. Cool challenge, hey! I’m up to 2 Kings at the moment. And LOVING it 😀 ]

And that’s what friendship is about, isn’t it? ‘To have a friend, be a friend,’ they say. Well, that verse above says that Jesus was ‘a friend to tax collectors and sinners’. I’m both. (For more on my tax-collecting propensities, you might like to read here.) And the sinner part? That’s pretty obvious. I stuff up ALL the time!

Jesus was quoting others’ words when he called himself ‘a friend to tax collectors and sinners’. So He must have been seen – by them – as one. And if He could be a friend then, when He was in the physical world, there’s no reason why He can’t be one now, to me… or you!

‘To have a friend, be a friend.’ I’m going to use that as a challenge to view Jesus as my friend. A friend that I still revere, and worship, but a friend nonetheless. I already delight in His company, after all!

So that’s my takeaway lesson for Day 6 of this A to Z blogging challenge: that Jesus is my friend. Well, He can be, because that’s what He’s offering. I’m accepting the offer 🙂

Have a great day, dear reader!
— KRidwyn

 

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #5

I’m fortunate enough to have two parents still married to each other. They’re in their seventies now; still healthy, still happy. My Mum is inspirational, and I love her to absolute bits, and I’ll post ‘why’ on here at some stage.

But this post is about my Dad.

I’ll be the first to admit, our relationship hasn’t always been smooth sailing. And some – maybe even most?! – of that, was my fault. But that’s life, and I’m older (and maybe wiser) now. And now, we’re doing well.

You see, my father’s a retired lecturer. His area of lecturing? English. Literature, and creative writing.

As in, yes. The same topic that has me up late nights, or in the early mornings, as I struggle with the whole “I want to be a published author” path I’m on.

He’s one of my guides on this journey. And through him, I’ve learned SO much; far too much to even contemplate, let alone relate here.

But I’m also aware that time is limited. As much as I’d like to ignore it… the reality is, he’s only human. He’s not eternal. So it’d be wise for me to receive as much guidance as I possibly can, now, before the inevitable happens.

Yes, this is sad. Writing about it like this may portray me as callous and mercenary. Am I? I’m too close to the situation to answer reliably. I’d like to think I show my appreciation to him, for what he does – whether or not I’ve made that clear here. But that’s not the point.

The point is, that although I fail at things constantly, and my Dad is there to help fix stuff and guide me in the right ways, I also have a Heavenly Dad who fixes stuff and guides me, too.

And the difference is, this Heavenly Dad is everlasting.

Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

[Aside: As soon as I read this verse, I immediately get Handel’s Messiah in my head. Do you?]

God is my Everlasting Father. I don’t need to worry that at some point in the future, He will cease being there for me.

I can continue to stuff up, to fail, and to need guidance, every single day until the day I die, knowing that God will continue to be there for me, every single day, leading me and guiding me, and helping me to fix the stuff-ups that I make. And I like that idea.

(I’m also thinking that my Dad would have a field day with that run-on sentence that I just wrote! Not to mention following it with a sentence fragment which started with a conjunction!)

FullSizeRender (1)So that’s my takeaway lesson for Day 5 of this A to Z blogging challenge. God is our Everlasting Father, so I don’t have to worry about there being a end-point. Which is pretty cool!

Have a great day, dear reader!
— KRidwyn

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #4

By day, I teach classroom music in a primary school. By night, I’m a shy, retiring woodland creature who swims on the reef presided over by Her Sharkliness herself, also known as the Queen Of The Known Universe [QOTKU]. And for those of you saying, “Huh? What’s a woodland creature doing on a reef?” I’m referring to the website that WritersDigest listed as ‘Best of the Best’ just last week, the blog run by New York literary guru Janet Reid. (Hi, any visiting Reiders who were also convinced by Colin to do this #AtoZchallenge!)

The Reef is her blog. And the majority of the people who follow are writers. Most of us are shy and retiring. Woodland creatures.

You see, entering the world of writing and publishing is nerve-wracking. I’m the first to admit that I’m a writhing bundle of nerves when I hit ‘send’ on an email query to a prospective agent. Even clicking ‘publish’ on a comment on her blog has my heart racing, for fear I’ll show the world what a complete and utter fraud I am; and how exceptionally laughable it is that I’m aspiring to be a published writer.

But Janet gets that. She understands us. And the Reiders who swim her Reef are honestly the most supportive group of online people you could find anywhere. Bar none.

“So how does that relate to God’s metaphor?” I hear you thinking.

Well, the QOTKU delivers writers from the depths of despair on a daily basis. Needing advice on querying? How about contracts? Pen-name conundrums? Thoughts on self-publishing? We Reiders are treated to fascinating insight into the publishing industry; we absorb the latest in relevant information; AND we get to derive comfort from companionship with other reef dwellers. Because of her, we have a better chance of negotiating the tricky waters of the writing industry.

And that’s what God does. He’s our Deliverer, too.

Psalm 18 verse 2 starts: “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer…”

We don’t need to worry about any fearful situations we get ourselves into; God can deliver us. He already has.

When He died on the cross almost 2,000 years ago, he delivered us from the consequences of our sinful lives. He gave us the opportunity to come back into relationship with God again. He paid the penalty for us, so that we might be delivered. We can stand strong; Jesus has done the work for us.

FullSizeRenderAnd that’s my takeaway lesson for Day 4 of this A to Z blogging challenge. God is our Deliverer. Which – for me – means I can hold my head high; because Jesus Himself paid the price for me! And you know what? He paid the price for you, too! 😀

Have a great day, dear reader!
— KRidwyn

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #3

A couple of weekends ago, Hubby and I took our three cherubs to Rainbow Beach for a long weekend. It’s one of my favourite places in the world.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 2.20.04 pm

Being there, in bright sunshine with sandy toes and wind-swept hair, I could relax. I could breathe deeply, and know that things would be okay. That everything *would* eventually work out for the best. That the God who could make such a perfect place, could also look after little ol’ me with my little ol’ problems.

And I feel that way every time I take a moment and look out at the wonderful creation that God has made for us to live in. I look at the ‘rainforest stream’ on my computer background, or at my wall-calendar featuring a photo of the Great Barrier Reef, and know that He’s an all-powerful God with an incredible imagination. [One of my favourite Facebook videos recently was the chameleon walking past coloured sunglasses. Absolutely spectacular!]

Colossians 1:16 says, “for through him [Jesus] God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see – such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.”

Which means that I can relax. God created everything, including creating me. He has the perfect plans for me; he created them! I don’t have to worry about my little ol’ problems; they’ve already been taken care of. That’s NOT to say “I can goof off now”; not at all… but instead the little amydala inside my brain doesn’t need any more of a workout than it’s already getting. Amy Grant’s “All I ever have to be” springs to mind 🙂

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And that’s my takeaway lesson for Day 3 of this A to Z blogging challenge. God is the Creator of all things. Which means I can ‘Keep Calm’ – for real; because God’s got it covered!

Have a great day, dear reader!

-KRidwyn

 

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #2

Miss11 was studying Antarctica with her class a few weeks back. And something I learned during the inevitable “Can you help me with my assignment please, Mum?” was that back in 1961, 27 year old Russian doctor, Leonid Rogozov, gave himself an appendectomy. He was the only doctor, and he needed one – otherwise he’d die.

And now, every doctor who plans on wintering on an Australian Antarctic station must have their appendix removed prior to their departure. An interesting fact, but one which’ll always remain a piece of trivia for me because a) I’m not a doctor and have no intention of ever being one, and b) I dislike the cold. So there’s ZERO chance of ever voluntarily  going to Antarctica, even if I *were* a doctor.

I quite like the idea though, of doing something once, early, and then forgetting about it because it’s over and done with – for good.

Back when I was a teenager, I used to hate that I *had* to eat. It irked me that there were things in life over which I had no control: breathing, eating, and sleeping, for example. If I could, I would have happily forgone them, if it were possible to do so and go on living. Weird, I know – but that’s how I felt. If I could have eaten one HUGE meal, and never ever had to eat again, I would have. And that’s where God comes in.

Because He said I could.

The book of John, chapter 6 verses 47 to 51 say: “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the bread of life! Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever, and this bread which I offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”

Now Jesus, who was speaking here, was NOT talking about cannibalism – although His disciples questioned him very closely about this immediately afterward! Rather, he was saying that if we believe in Him [Jesus], then we don’t have to keep on following the old way of doing things. We don’t have to follow all the rules and regulations for sacrifices and feast days etc. which the Jews had needed up until that point. Because instead of eating bread on a daily basis – instead of following the pattern of regular sacrifices – we now only need one. Belief.

Sounds simple, yeh? That’s because it is. Just believe.

But its needs to be the kind of belief that made Dr Rogozov give himself an appendectomy. He knew that if he kept his appendix, he’d die. He chose to give himself surgery so that he might live. I’m choosing to believe in Jesus so that I might, too.

FullSizeRender (1)And that’s my takeaway lesson for Day 2 of this A to Z blogging challenge. Jesus, God’s son, is the Bread of Life. So I’m going to believe in Him.

Have a great day, dear reader!

-KRidwyn

26 lessons from God’s metaphors: #1

I think I was born with a book in my hand. I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. The joy of opening a front cover for the first time; the anticipation, not knowing where it would take me; the thrill of discovery that a favourite author had written a sequel – or better yet, a series! And woe betide anyone getting in between me and that final page…

Recently though, I’ve started looking at novels from the other side of the cover. I’ve been writing. The change of perspective has brought with it a far deeper appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship of the story.

It’s crucial to know where the story I’m writing is heading. Equally important, where the story should start. And to craft it well, I must know my characters intimately. But I can’t inhabit my characters’ world with them. Rather, I sit apart, outside their time dimension.

Likewise with God. The book of Revelation, chapter 1 verse 8 says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God.  “I am the One who is, who always was, and who is still to come – the Almighty One.”

If I was writing a letter to my characters in my novel, I think those words above, is exactly what I would say. I existed before them, and will continue to exist after them. They have ‘life’ only because of me. To them, I am all mighty.

And that’s what God is, for me.

God is the one who wrote me into being. He created me. He knew at exactly what point I would enter the story, and at exactly what point I will also leave it.

How then, could I do anything other than trust Him?

FullSizeRender (2)And that’s my takeaway lesson for Day 1 of this A to Z blogging challenge. God is the Alpha and Omega. So I’m going to trust Him.

Have a great day, dear reader!

-KRidwyn