Sunday, April 1, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Things I am Thankful For

Whenever I feel discontent, I make myself write a list of all the good things God has given me so that I don't get tricked into thinking I am missing out on something.

Here's my list tonight.

Things I am Thankful For (in the order that I thought of them):

My mum and dad, brothers, sister -in-law and nephew
A house to live in
Three beautiful housemates
A decent job
A decent wage
A biblical church
More than enough food
My bible-study leaders
GREAT friends.

Somehow it's easier to feel content when you see how long the list is.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kinds of Blue

I was very excited this morning to find a package on my doorstep with this book in it.

It's an anthology of comics about depression put together by various artists. Many of the comics are put together by Karen Beilharz, who also heads up the project. I found out about it through facebook, when it was a project searching for public funding on the site Pozible. I had a look at some of the comics and really liked the honesty of them, and decided to donate to help get it off the ground.

The cover art is so beautiful and tangible, it makes you want to put your hands on it straight away! All of the graphics are awesome, but I especially like how easy it is to relate to the ideas put forward in the comics. I've never had depression, but have been close friends with many people who have. I know that it's a sucky disease that takes away your energy and ability to think straight and sleep properly and that sometimes it can be very hard to express how you are feeling or even want to do that with other people.

Beilharz says, 'The pieces in this collection are the product of some of our (Karen and her husband Ben) experiences and the experiences of some of my friends who have suffered similarly. Certain aspects of living with depression ... have not been covered here because we could not write about such things authentically. But instead of comprehensiveness, we have aimed for truthfulness - in what depression looks like, what depression feels like, and the small gestures, strategies and people that sometimes help.' (Introduction).

If that sounds like something you might want to read then head to this website where you can read the comics at no charge:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Psalm 1

Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

I was really struck, encouraged and rebuked in a way by the sermon on Sunday night. It was on Psalm 1, and it was just one of those passages that was the answer to questions I've had recently, almost like God individualised this passage for me at this point in time, knowing that I needed to hear it.

The main question the speaker used to help us think through Psalm 1 was

'Is the way you are living causing you to flourish/make good decisions/build character?'

The answer for me was a definite no. I'll admit that given a chance to cruise through my Christian life, I will probably do it. Punctuated by times of flourishing, but mostly cruising.

But I think Psalm 1 has a lot to say about how we live our lives as Christians, and why it is so important.

Psalm 1 contains the fundamental truth that the other Psalms are based on. The Psalms appeal to our head so that we understand God. Psalm 1 makes it obvious that our lives are for flourishing with God's blessing by making Godly decisions. The first thing we should do is NOT do sinful things (v1). If we think garbage, we act garbage. God cares about our behaviour, but more the state of our hearts. A heart that justifies godless behaviour isn't godly at all. We shouldn't avoid people who partake in behaviour stated in v1, but we need to avoid behaving that way ourselves. The second part of verse 1 implores us not to sit in the seat of mockers (or scoffers in ESV) - a challenge for me. The first verse shows us that we are BLESSED if we don't live a sinful lifestyle, and we get the notion that God is pleased with us when we live this way. We should DELIGHT in the Lord, in His Word, in His guidance.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The speaker then said that just because you delight in God's word, doesn't mean you are sinless. Being called 'Righteous' doesn't mean you are sin-less, but it is a GIFT, a status - we are seen as righteous in God's eyes because of Jesus' perfect sacrifice.

The choices we make are important. People WILL notice - some will laugh, but other will notice...and store it away for later thinking.

Verses 3-6 contrast two types of lives:

1. The Substantial Life: where there is always a supply of streams of water. To have a substantial life we need to get the God's word central to our lives. We need a constant supply of water. If we aren't reading the bible, our priorities are massively out of order. Have a SUBSTANTIAL life.

2. The Lightweight Life: The life of the person who lives the 'way of the wicked' (v6) is lightweight. We were encouraged: Don't be like this! The ungodly person will perish and face judgement from God - he won't stand on the day of judgement.

God approves of those who walk with Him. He delights in them. He watches over us.

Our lives have real substance when we DELIGHT in God.


Ever have that feeling where you are so excited that you hype yourself up so much that your stomach hurts?
I got that feeling right now!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hymns IV

You should go to this website:
And buy this album: Hymns IV
Because: these guys do great covers of old Hymns
And: don't just stop at one listen and think, 'Nah, that doesn't work'
Listen to it: until you can't remember the original melody
AND THEN: you can make an educated decision about it.
maybe then you can comment and tell me what you think about it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I just had a big prayer session. I came to a realisation that there are so many things running around my head at the moment that I can't make sense of and feel no hope about. And yet, I had hardly prayed about any of them. In fact, my prayer life has been pretty sucky for a while now, and I think it reflected the way I had been feeling about God. Thinking, why isn't my life going anywhere? Why do I find no satisfaction with work? Why am I finding friendships and relationships so difficult and people so frustrating?
Then I realised, I hadn't prayed about any of these things. I just left them to stew in my mind with no input from God. I wasn't entrusting those things to God. I was entrusting them to myself.

So I had a big prayer time. And it was SO GOOD. Prayer is one of those things (for me anyway) that you know you're supposed to do it, but never put as a priority. For me, when I turned the light out at night, I'd suddenly remember, 'Oh yeh, I should pray.' But rarely do I ever just sit down and spend a large chunk of time just giving everything over to God.

There is something to be said about coming to the Creator of the Universe and saying, 'I am broken and I know it. I'm sorry, please help me' and knowing that this Great King is going to listen to you, not because of anything you've done or achieved or thought, but because His grace has secured a relationship with Him. Prayer is about humility, it's saying I can't run my life, God, I need you to intervene. And so prayer is something that I need to do in every area of my life. Even the stupidest smallest things. And definitely the bigger things.

So now I am feeling a lot better with the relationships in my life. I don't feel so down about where my life is at the moment. I'm not putting so much pressure on work to fulfil me. Because God is the only one who can do that, and making something GOOD that God has made and making it an idol will never fulfil me. Relationships, a family of my own, a job I'm passionate about - all good things but never things that will fulfil my ultimate need of forgiveness in Christ. Praise God for his goodness.

When was the last time you prayed?