The Butterfly Touch

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by Caryl Moll

If a butterfly were to land on your shoulder, how would you react?

I have a feeling most people will simply lap up the moment for all its worth. Few people would shake off a butterfly, or swipe at it. The rarity of this little creature’s presence wouldn’t be lost on them.  Most of us would smile and sit still – absorbing the event for all its preciousness.  Some of us may even reach for our cameras. I personally would be awe-inspired – cherishing the moment.  And yes, it has happened to me.

I equate this particular feeling of a butterfly on my shoulder to the delicate touching of a soul when a friend offers a moment of real support and friendship – unconditionally. We sit beside on another and merely ‘listen’ to our reality without judgement. So special!

I truly believe that the greatest gift anyone can give to another person is simply to ‘be there’ for them – like Christ does for us. He is always available, always on call and always gently leading us. We can talk to him, spill our heart out to him and he will always be listening. It is only through our quiet relationships with him that we can find the guidance we seek.  We can learn from Him in how we treat others.

Although it’s difficult, we can sometimes offer a more enriched interaction with someone when we offer an honest, listening ear to their personal and unique reality – without judgement and with absolute unconditional acceptance, trusting that God is quietly working in their life.

I call this particular type of interaction: “THE BUTTERFLY TOUCH”.

Unconditional acceptance is not easy – simply because we all have agendas and  preconceived ideas – knowingly or unknowingly.  As humans we are often quick to apply our own perspectives, judgements and offer unsolicited opinions on the lives of others.  As Christians it’s usually a seemingly desperate Christian agenda too.

Sometimes, however, this preconception can be an unintentional stumbling block for the person we are trying to help. Indeed, by imposing our own views, we may also be hampering the will of God in that person’s life. He is ultimately in control of that person’s life. He has a personal plan for them – we need to be careful not to interfere. After all, “there is a time for everything,” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

The timing of God’s plan in a person’s life belongs to Him, not us! We are merely tasked with echoing how Christ would respond to them – in love. I acknowledge that it would take a concerted effort for the average person to really try to give a person this kind of gift. Can we truly accept someone’s reality ‘unconditionally’? How do we do this?

Some time ago, I adapted our Church’s statement of intent ever so slightly to make it really practical for me. It was my personal aim to quantify and qualify what could be construed as unconditional acceptance (“the butterfly touch”).  I think 1 Corinthians 13  illustrates it so well. It’s a beautiful guideline for true friendship and unconditional love!

This is how my personal, adapted passage goes…

“To you, my friend, I will exercise patience and kindness.  I will not be envious of your achievements nor will I boast of mine.  I will not be proud or rude.  I will look to your interests and try not to insist on my own.  I will not be easily angered.  I will not keep a record of your wrongs, but grant you forgiveness in advance.  Neither will I delight in your misfortune.  I will encourage the good in you and will let the rest die of neglect.  I will rejoice in all truth.  I will always protect you, always trust you, always hope in you and always persevere with you. My love for you will never fail, because you are a child of God”

(adapted from 1 Cor 13)

The parameters of this passage, if you think about it, are really difficult for the average human being. Without the ‘butterfly touch’ of Jesus, it would be absolutely impossible. We need His Holy spirit to fervently focus on these ideals. It is something that I personally strive for, although I usually fail dismally.

Prayer: “Lord, Father God, help me to apply your ‘butterfly touch’ to all those I interact with. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Help me to do the same for others.”

 What do you think? Will you embrace “THE BUTTERFLY TOUCH.”

 

With love, in Christ

Caryl

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God is Always Available to His Children

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by Luke Kincaid

Da Da? This is one of my favorite things that Seth says to me on a daily basis. He is speaking so much at the moment and he will often call out to me for a variety of reasons throughout the day. Sometimes he calls for me because he wants to know where I am in that moment. Other times he calls out because he wants to show me something and often he calls for me because he wants me to simply sit with him and partake in whatever activity he is busy with.

Seth has taught me so much about how I can be relating to and interacting with God the Father. I don’t know about you but God can sometimes feel far away from me. I don’t feel like this because I believe that He doesn’t want to spend time with me but because of how incredible He truly is. God is all present, all knowing and all powerful and sometimes I wonder why He would want to spend time with me.

But when I see how Seth confidently calls out to me and knows that I will be there I realize that I can be doing the same with how I interact with God. I want to be there for Seth when he calls and I want to spend time with my child as much as possible because I love him. Seth is comfortable in his identity as my child and we can also be even more confident in our identity as children of God because as disciples of Jesus we are God’s children:

“1 See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are!” – 1 John 3:1

You don’t have to earn your identity as a child of God – it is given to you when repenting and coming to faith in Jesus and this means that God the Father is always available to us. So if you are having a bad day and need someone to talk to you can call out to God and He will be there. If you are simply doing something you enjoy you can include God and share what you are doing with Him and He will be there with you while you enjoy yourself. We even have the amazing opportunity to ask God to reveal His presence to us while we are having some down time and share in that moment with Him. God is always available to His children so we can take every opportunity to spend some time with Him everyday.

 

Much love,

Luke

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“Bee” Sure to Share and Serve

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One morning last week, Olivia and I were walking around my Gran’s garden when I stopped to admire the beautiful pink blossoms on the Ornamental Plum Tree (Prunus cerasifera). As we stood and admired the myriad of pale pink blooms, I was pointing out the hive of activity, to Livvy, as the many bees danced and pranced from blossom to blossom collecting pollen. It was such a pleasant experience to watch the bees at their work, it somehow heralded the hope of Spring in my heart.

Bees are truly astounding creatures, not only do they play a vitally important role in our ecosystem – the Lord made bees for a very special purpose, more than just pollinating flowers, which helps us grow crops so we can have something to eat – we can also learn a lot from them about being better members not only in our own families and churches, but in the world. They offer us special insight into God’s nature and what He wants from us.

Here’s an interesting fact about bees, thanks Google, I bow to your superior knowledge!

Did you know that honeybees will fly as far as 13 kilometres in search of nectar? Apparently, it’s true. But here’s the more fascinating fact, whenever they find what they are looking for, no matter where they find it, they will turn right around and make a “beeline” back to their hive so that all the bees can join in the good news and go get some nectar. You see, bees like to share good news with each other. And they don’t like to waste time doing it. When they get back to the hive, they start doing an amazing little dance routine that tells all the other bees where they found the nectar. You’ll never find a honeybee saying, “I am not telling anyone else about this! I’m just going to keep it for myself.” And you know what? Christians shouldn’t say that about the good news either! The gospel of Jesus is something very sweet. And the natural, loving response to Jesus’ offer of grace isn’t to keep it all to ourselves.

When we taste the goodness of the Lord, we should want to share it with the rest of our hive. Bees love to share the good news, and so should we! The prophet Isaiah put it like this:

1The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” (Isaiah 61:1NLT)

Here’s another amazing fact that I stumbled across as I was reading up about bees, that relates quite nicely. Most bees spend almost all of their time feeding other bees, rather than themselves. And not only will you find a bee always ready to feed another bee, they’ll even feed bees from another colony. This is why scientists call bees a social insect. They like to interact and “bee” with one another; mutual feeding seems to be a part of that special relationship.

This is a great example for us as God’s people. Not only do we need to help other people in our “hive” to hear and understand and be encouraged by the good news, we also need to serve them. Of course, worker bees first have to feed themselves before they have the energy to feed others. Likewise, we need to read our Bibles and pray before we serve others. We first have to receive something from Jesus before we can give it to others. You’ve heard me say it many times before, we serve out of the overflow of what God is doing in our own lives. Jesus always makes our cups overflow so that others also might be nourished.

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honour me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.” (Psalm 23:5NLT)

At a time in world history when so many people are so depleted by current negative circumstances, let’s do our part as love filled, life givers to not add to the cauldron of negativity and pessimism, but rather seek to live to serve other people and share the good news. It’s time that we start sharing the amazing testimonies of what God is doing through us and for us at this difficult time, that we might feed one another and build one another up. 

 

Yours in Christ’s service,

Calven

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Change My Heart Oh God

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by Graham Mol

God’s timing is perfect. The older I get, the more times I see it happen, the more I realise this to be true. In the moment it can be difficult to see, it often feels like the Lord is taking forever to do something, but when you look back and reflect on what He has done you often see just how perfectly He planned and timed everything to work out. The one thing that I have come to see is that God often changes our heart before He changes our situation.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean by this. Before bringing restoration to a broken relationship, the Lord often works in our own heart softening it towards the person. Before bringing about a financial breakthrough or blessing, He teaches us to trust in His provision. Before bringing healing and restoration, He helps us to see that in Christ we are already whole.

I will always remember the time, about half a year into our marriage that Candice was longing to have a child. I wasn’t in any rush to have kids so soon, in fact I was pretty opposed to it, even suggesting we wait a couple of years! Yet I could see how much this mattered to Candice and asked the Lord to change my heart about having kids at that point in time. Somehow, in a way that only God can do, He changed my heart and gave me that desire to have a child. I remember agreeing that we could start trying for a baby at the end of that year. Remember what I said about God’s timing being perfect? Well not long after this change of heart Candice and I were both surprised to learn that she was already pregnant! I can only thank God that He had changed my heart otherwise my reaction to the news wouldn’t have been so positive at the time.

God often changes our heart before He changes our situation. Another way of looking at this is to see it as faith. It is trust in God, belief in Him and His promises that brings about that change of heart.

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. (1 John 5:14-15)

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24)

So often these statements get reduced to a formula, a name it claim it type of thinking. But what they are really about is having that trust that God hears our prayers, that He is already working in our hearts, and that the answer will come in His way and in His perfect timing.

 

God Bless

Graham

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