The Big and the Little

Big vistas are spectacular, filling our hearts with joy and wonder, drawing us closer to our Creator. Things in our heart just seem to settle when we see the big picture, giving us hope for the things that trouble us. Times of beauty, inspiration and rest help our minds let go of tension. Creativity is sparked, peace gets a foothold, relationships can grow. Many of us in lockdown are appreciating the beauty in our own backyards as we escape the four walls to find some balance to our unnatural circumstances.

Then there are the little things. They give perspective to the large. I mean, what is ‘large’ if you have nothing to compare it to?

I was wandering in my garden looking at the winter flowers, the dainty, yet so intricate beauty. It gave meaning to the whole. It taught me to honour the ‘small’ in its place, giving contrast and dimension. There’s power in the small things.

“If you are faithful in the little things, you will be faithful in large ones.”

Luke 16:10 (NLT)

When I was unwell in 2016 I was so encouraged by all the little things people did for me. Flowers, visits, gifts, meals, cards, even a hand embroidered gift. And of course, all the prayers and encouraging words sent to me as people surrounded me with faith. It taught me that the little things we do are so valuable in touching another’s life.

“And to one he gave five talents… So when he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more besides them.’ His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'”

Matthew 25:15-21

Talents were amounts of money, in this case entrusted to his servants to use for his benefit. In this parable, the lord is just as pleased with the faithful servant of two talents as he is with those who had five talents, v22-23. It’s not how much we have that is important, but what we do with what we have been given by God, to use, invest and work with, for His Kingdom.

I was changing the battery inside a clock recently that had been given to our family by two young men from America whom we had hosted. They had come to bring the Gospel to young people through music. Kurtis and Chris had inscribed inside the back, thanking us and reminding us of our small part in changing the lives of many young people. They performed eighteen concerts in eleven days reaching hundreds of students. 271 of those precious young people gave their hearts to the Lord. Our part was small – some bedding on the floor, meals around the table, the craziness of our large family and marshmallows around the fire pit. And yet our small part was important. It was part of the whole picture so that young people could hear about Jesus.

We see this in the Bible: women following Jesus, taking care of His needs, and Joseph of Arimathea risking his position as a member of the high council to ask Pilate for Jesus’ body so he could lay Him to rest – Mark 15:41-46; the Shunamite woman who created an upper room for the prophet, Elisha – 2 Kings 4:8-10; the financial support given to Paul by the Philippians, as he taught them the gospel and then travelled elsewhere to continue in ministry – Philippians 4:5.

Sometimes it feels like there is little we can do. The problems of our world seem so big. We don’t feel we can make a difference. But we can. No one could take away the cancer in my body, but they could surround me with love and care and encouragement. The impact of all those little acts of kindness was so profound. Our small acts of love, generosity, obedience, forgiveness, acceptance, help, and hospitality are vital in these days!

You have been given something from God to work with, to invest, to make a difference in someone’s life here on earth. And such joy that brings. To the person you bless, to Jesus, to you. Your little adds to the beauty and wonder of the big picture.

“Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”

Philemon 1:7 (NLT)

Blessings. Jenni x

Balloons

‘Jack of all trades, master of none’

I am surrounded by intelligent people. Ph.D.’s, Master’s degrees, CEOs, business owners, and so it goes. They are my family, my friends. So, I often felt like the lesser one. The jack of all trades, but not an expert at any one thing. Oh, I can sing pretty well, I scraped out a degree. I’ve done things I’m proud of, but I allowed others around me, allowed their gifts and achievements, make me feel lesser. Not enough.

They didn’t. I did.

God gave me an image of many balloons. Like the person selling balloons at a fair.

This was years ago. He didn’t want me to be like others. I’m me. Jack of all trades was just fine. Being pretty good at many things is useful anyway – wife, mother, teacher, worship leader, friend, helper, family member. I realized I wouldn’t have been happy mastering just one thing in any case. Realizing this took way too long, though.

He said, ‘Blow up your balloons.’ A puff here, a big blow there, bit by bit. And, bit by bit, I have. Believing God, holding onto His promises, praying for them, stepping out in faith… Here’s one of those promises that help me be who God has called me to be-

“Be strong and courageous… act carefully in accordance with all the law… Have I not commanded you? Be strong and very courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:6-9

This is one of several verses I pray and believe over my ‘balloons’, over me. A verse I’m doing life with.

Our lives are never just about one thing. We have to work out our priorities. Sometimes family comes first, sometimes church, sometimes our workplace. Sometimes we press into busyness, other times we must rest. Following God is the most important thing. Our pastor described it as a wheel. Jesus is the centre. Our life revolves around Him. All the spokes, our various responsibilities and activities all flow from Him.

Jesus is the centre

Brian Houston wrote recently, ‘The theme of your heart will ultimately determine the story of your life.’ (See link below)

“My heart overflows with a good theme.”

Psalm 45:1

As I reflected on that, I saw my balloons again, being blown up bit by bit. God reminded me that they wouldn’t pop.

‘Just keep blowing. Once they’re filled, they will lift you up.’

What an encouragement!

And I’m starting to feel that, after years of blowing. I’m feeling a lightness, a confidence, that I’m on track, that I’m doing what God has called me to. All those years of doubting who I was and what I should be doing, of thinking I wasn’t enough. As I look back, I see that I had the vision all along. I just wasn’t sure, I lacked confidence – I wasn’t doing what others were, so maybe I was wrong. I even spoke foolishness – ‘I still don’t know what I want to do!’ – when in fact, I was doing exactly what I felt God was showing me. Oh, I still have moments of doubt. But I keep my eyes on Jesus. He will show me.

He will show you, too.

Blessings,

Jenni

Actions

  1. What is the theme of your heart? Which promises/instructions/wisdom from the Bible will you hold onto?
  2. What lies have you been believing about yourself? Ask the Lord to reveal them, so you can repent and consider His truth, and renew your mind to His good plans for your life. Ask Him for courage to be you.
  3. How will you ‘blow your balloons’? What steps of faith can you take to help achieve what God has for you?

To check out Brian Houston’s comments, go to the link below.

https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/10498-help-me-i-need-to-change-my-life/day/6

Credit: Balloon photo from Pexels Free Photos

Captivated

When the mist sits in the gully below our property, I am captivated. Such a simple thing, mist, drifting, lifting, giving way to the sun rising and warming the air. I can step onto my verandah and breathe in the fresh air, then look out to the mountains beyond – to the trees, bushland, flowers and birds that surround me. As I sit with my morning cup of tea, I just look! It always fills me, always brings pleasure, always causes me to be thankful.

I feel the same about the Word of God. It is so beautiful, captivating my heart.

Psalm 19:7 (NIV) says,

“The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.”

As we read the Bible and seek our wonderful God, allowing the Holy Spirit to fill and renew us, we see Who He truly is, and who we are in Him, the veil lifted – against ignorance, lies, deception, fear – like mist giving way to the sun.

2 Corinthians 3:16-17 says,

“But whenever anyone turns to the LORD, the veil is taken away. Now the LORD is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is freedom.”

Mist and gullies can evoke thoughts of pain, trials, hard journeys. As we come near to the LORD, we feel His warmth, His sunlight, on the mist and in our gullies – those valleys, circumstances, or emotions that overshadow us with fear, uncertainty or discouragement. As we read, meditate, and pray the Word, His love, His Presence, His Light, His healing, His goodness flows to our hearts and minds, our souls and bodies. We see Jesus! We see possibilities. We find hope, answers, a way forward. Or, we may find grace and strength to trust Him when we can’t yet see the way ahead. But we are always heading toward that freedom He has for us. I’m praying you will find God’s freedom even today!

Welcome to Misty Gullies.

Blessings!

Jenni xx

ACTIONS:

Ask the Lord about some of your challenges, and how He wants to help you, and set you free. Ask Him how He can use you to bring this freedom to others.

Do you have spaces, places that help you to be thankful? Gratefulness, thankfulness, are such important attitudes. Thank Him for how He has provided for you – the little things, the big things. There is always something to be thankful for!

Are you captivated by Jesus? Ask Him to help you know Him better, seek Him, read His Bible, pray. The more you look for Him, the more you will find Him and be captivated by Him! He’s captivated by you. Let that love of God spill over you today.