Hurry Sickness

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by Calven Celliers

This morning a congregant called to say that he needed to make an appointment to come and see me. I responded by saying, “Sure, no problem. Quickly pop into the Church office, and come have a chat.” He then asked me, “Does it have to be quickly?” We had a good giggle, but the conversation left me thinking about one of the biggest enemies of our spirituality: hurry! We are so busy, so distracted, and so preoccupied in our fast-paced culture; never mind COVID-19, there is a pandemic of hurry sickness.

One of my favourite authors, A.W.Tozer mused, “May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the kingdom like little children through the market place, chattering about everything but pausing to learn the true value of nothing.”

Stroll down the street in any major metropolitan city and you’ll see it: stressed-out, chronically overtired business people running to the next obligation without stopping to breathe, eat, or think. It’s just as prevalent in suburbs where parents drive their kids from activity to activity without pause, and in workplaces where employees work for 70-hour weeks with just two weeks off per year. This go-go-go mentality is what researchers call “the cult of busy”. It’s pervasive, it’s unavoidable, and it’s damaging our lives. If you feel as though you are always running behind and wish that your day could be 36 hours long, you are probably suffering from hurry sickness. The results? Constant stress. Frustration. Fatigue. Strained relationships. Mixed-up priorities. And most important, neglect of time with God. That neglect can rob you of the abundant life that He wants to give you.

Maybe you can relate. Maybe your life is filled with constant motion — sports, academic obligations, church, work, meetings, cleaning, keeping tiny humans alive, chauffeuring kids, or managing a home or office. Our hectic, fast-paced, ‘Energizer-Bunny’ lives of constant going and going and going can fool us into believing the lie that busyness equals productivity.

Let’s hit the pause button of our lives for a few seconds, take a deep breath, and briefly reflect on these three searching questions that blogger and Bible teacher, Sophie MacDonald asks, in an article of hers that I read, with regard to evaluating our schedules:

  1. What do our schedules say about the God we claim to follow? Our activity flows directly from our view of God. Does your schedule reflect your belief that He is sovereign, omnipotent, and all-sufficient? We cannot reflect the beauty of our limitless God if we’re too busy trying to be Him, or too busy in general. Though followers of Jesus are not to be lazy, we should be the most at-rest people, as we serve the God who has complete sovereignty over every atom in the universe.

 

  1. Are you being faithful? There are always more committees to join, things to do, and people to meet with. But what have you been called to right now? Maybe you can’t say yes to as many things in this season as you could the last, or maybe you can say it more. But what is priority? Essential? What has God called you to be immediately faithful in?

 

  1. Have you surrendered your schedule to Christ? The core of our frenetic lives is not dependence on God, but a desperate urge to control every detail of our lives. We don’t like depending on His sufficiency, but rather, flexing our muscles to show our worth. A surrendered schedule demonstrates dependence on the Holy Spirit, who is to lead and govern our days. Not having a jam-packed day creates availability to go, do, and be, as the Lord intended for His ambassadors.

 

10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”” (Psalm 46:10NIV)

 

God bless,

Calven

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In the Beginning

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Guest Post

by Dave Griffiths

Life is full of questions. Health, Family, Finance, the Future. And there are deeper questions such as, Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? Does life have any purpose?

Some of these questions are serious, and some are tremendously important.

But the greatest, the ultimate questions, are about God and your relationship to Him.  Nothing in life is more important than this. Good health, financial stability etc. are things that we need, yet, even all of these are temporary and eventually are pointless unless we have a living relationship with God, one that is clear, and certain, and will last forever.

God’s reference book, the bible, answers our concerns, and teaches us how to live meaningful lives. Perhaps our first question then is, Is anyone out there ?  This is a fundamental question. If God does not exist, searching for Him is pointless. The Bible states, “Anyone who comes to Him must believe He exists”  (Heb. 11:6).

It’s not possible to prove God, in a mathematical sense, but there is a lot of very convincing evidence. Take the universe. To call it an accident, raises many questions, and answers none. The same applies with a Big Bang theory. Where did the materials come from? You can’t make something out of nothing! Evolution is an another idea. How can nothing evolve into something ?

Just look at all the earth’s amazing complex forms of life. All these theories are weak, and the only satisfactory answer, is from the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1.)

Our world is not a random fluke. The universe was formed at God’s command. (He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm). (Psalm 33:9).

Design demands a designer, The Bible tells us who the designer is, “The God who made the world and everything in it, is the Lord of heaven and earth”. (Acts 17:24),

The strongest creation evidence is man himself. He is unlike other creatures. Man has something called Personality; he makes intelligent choices. He has a Mind, has Emotion, and a Will.

Man has a conscience; he can distinguish between right and wrong, and is capable of Love and Compassion.  Above all, man has an instinct to Worship. All religions want to worship a god.

Where did all these qualities come from? No other smart ideas can produce these qualities.

The clearest answer is, The Lord God formed man and gave him the breath of life, and man became a living being. (Gen. 2:7)   Man is not an accident; “He is fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).  What is more, he has the characteristics of God.

In order to answer all of life’s questions, we need a personal relationship with the Lord, and it’s never too late to have that relationship.

 

Dave Griffiths

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Puppies!

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by Graham Mol

There was a big event in the Mol household this past weekend. Our one dog, Lexi, who was pregnant, gave birth to her litter of puppies. It has been, as the saying goes, a roller coaster ride of emotions with there being complications with the birthing and needing veterinary intervention, to now having 8 happy and growing puppies. Having never gone through this kind of thing before we were nervous. Candice had done a lot of research into what we as owners could do to ensure that we were prepared to look after mother and pups once they arrived.

There were a number of things we could do regarding providing a safe place for Lexi to have and look after her puppies but when it came to the daily care of the little ones, mother dog does it all. We all know about the concept of animal instinct, and yet witnessing it at work as our lovable but “doff” doggy became a capable mom right before our eyes, we marvelled at how amazing it really is. How could she just “know” what to do? It seems almost supernatural!

Lexi in her “whelping box” with the puppies

Clearly a dog (or any other animal) has not the ability to sit in a class, or do some “googling” to find out how to care for a litter of puppies. Therefore it is essential that she has the inbuilt knowledge within her so that she can successfully raise her young.

Where does such knowledge or wisdom come from?

Let us consider God’s own words to Job:

“Can you raise your voice to the clouds
    and cover yourself with a flood of water?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
    Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who gives the ibis wisdom
    or gives the rooster understanding?
37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
    Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
38 when the dust becomes hard
    and the clods of earth stick together?

39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
    and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
    or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
    when its young cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of food?

39:1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
Do you count the months till they bear?
    Do you know the time they give birth?
They crouch down and bring forth their young;
    their labor pains are ended.
Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;
    they leave and do not return. ( Job 38:34-39:4 NIV )

As believers we know that it is God who carefully handcrafted the universe, and in particular our world with all the plants and creatures upon it. He is the one who bestowed such wisdom upon the animals, that instinct to know and do what they should. Although we can observe these behaviours and seek to understand them, I don’t think any can quite explain just how it all works. Like many of the awe-inspiring and yet mysterious aspects of creation, the “wisdom” of the animals declares God’s glory and sovereignty over all things.

How great is our God!

 

God Bless

Graham

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Wild Child

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by Caryl Moll

I’m not one for serious poetry, but there are a few simple, children’s poems that sit very deeply with me.

Some years back, I came across a poem from a children’s book – “WILD CHILD”, by Jeanne Willis. Although I’ve not read the book, I’ve read all its reviews. They are all encouraging. Apparently “Wild Child” is a fictional, children’s story of a spirited, curious, fearless and free child – the last child in a dramatic landscape where anything can happen. The imagery of the poem and the overview of the book transports me straight back to my own childhood – my idyllic Eden – a rural setting where I remember feeling totally free to explore God’s creation – unhindered from the demands of the large, wider world.

It brings me to the point of this blogpost…

We are all different, made uniquely by God within His overall blueprint. Scripture tells us that we have been ‘knit together in our mother’s womb’. (Ps 139) I believe that it’s our individual characteristics – talents and gifts that God has given us – that make us stand out and thrive. It is these gifts that cause our ‘light to shine’ and make a difference to our world.

As parents, our prime responsibility is to nurture our children. We are tasked with disciplining them but ultimately to encourage them in the way we’d have them go. Most of all, however, we are to help them unravel their own unique personalities and give them space to be themselves.

I am always saddened when I come across people who have been shaped into a vision of what the world expects of them. Somehow, their own uniqueness is shadowed by false social norms. They shy away from sharing their unique self (Admittedly, we all have a bit of this in us – it’s called ‘culturalisation’). But how many of us are carrying a big mask that covers up our real selves. Why are we hiding?

Over the past year, during lockdown, I have explored this process for myself. I’ve tried to embrace my own unique gifts and talents. This mainly involves my creative side – painting, drawing, writing, crocheting, etc. The question, uppermost in my mind, however, has been…”How can incorporate these gifts into a process of encouraging others?”  It’s been an incredibly enlightening period as I’ve used what I have – including social media to try and touch others. I’ve discovered ‘Bible journaling’ too – a more creative way of spending my quiet-times. Quite simply, this has been an wonderful time of self-discovery and reaching out. Some of my talents have been unleashed and I am ‘delighting’ in the process.

So, I’d like to encourage you today, dear reader, to look for your own ‘wild child’ again. It’s time to share your real self. It’s time to unleash what God has gifted you. It’s time to really SHINE FOR GOD – to be the ‘Wild Child’ you were meant to be!

Psalm 37:4

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

With love, in Christ

Caryl

 

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