Vantage Point – How We Look At Life

Our point of view is our point of reference affecting how we see everything.

Most human beings tend to develop around the society we each live in. Our minds are focused on knowing all we can about life, nature and the world around us. We all want to know who we are, where we came from, how we fit in and what purpose we have for living.

Social rules have changed somewhat from my teen years and they continue to change. One of the many talks my father about the changing world he said, “Sandra, what was right will always be right and what was wrong will always be wrong no matter how trends change.” He was saying in the 80’s that what is in right now doesn’t make it right.

Immediately all the lines which I tested and crossed as a young girl were bought to mind. He said, “We are all born with a measure of right and wrong.  There are no blurred lines.” In that he was absolutely right.

Then he went onto say, “That guilty feeling you feel inside, it’s borne of your character. Listen to your inner voice, trust it and if it feels wrong, then it’s wrong for you.” Yet in all his wisdom in this was where he erred.

There have been plenty of times where I’ve done the wrong thing and it felt absolutely right at the time.  Like taking revenge for instance.  It felt right and it felt GOOD! But, deep down inside I knew it was wrong.  We can’t escape the truth no matter how much we try to justify it.

God gives me a better vantage point than any earthly wisdom.  Each boundary is for my own protection and the lines are never blurred. In Him I trust. Just look at the ten commandments.  Do you know anyone who hasn’t broken one of those?  Yet it’s God’s standard for holiness.  It’s humanly impossible to be good all the time. We live in a fallen world that is broken and unholy.

So how can we ever face a holy God when we are so riddled with sin?  Jesus made a way and it’s in God’s grace through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection that we have forgiveness.

Most of all God is stable in all He does and all He is. He is the same yesterday, today and always. His wisdom is eternal and he is a father to the fatherless.

If you’ve never read the bible or you don’t own one and want to learn about Jesus who is known as ‘The Word’, visit The Bible Gateway

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing With A Past We’d Rather Forget.

Recurring thoughts happen for a very simple reason.

Most of us have done things in the past or have had things done to us that we’d rather not think about.   These recurring images and thoughts can bring about mixed emotions. Numbing the pain with addictions and substance abuse in order to forget will just make us repeat or ‘groundhog day’ until the next time the brain gives you another nudge jolting your memory.

These thoughts just don’t and won’t simply go away.  They are written deep within the hard drive of your memory as being, “undealt with.”  So they’ll just keep popping up until you file those thoughts in the right spot which is behind you. The only way to do that is to forgive yourself, forgive others and forgive God! Whatever method you’re using other than forgiveness won’t work and the cycle of recurring thoughts will keep going until you forgive.

You might still be angry, but if you don’t let go you will be stuck in a level of emotional immaturity and your character and actions will form around that bitter root.  To get past it simply make a choice to forgive even if you don’t know how to. Let it go. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and bitterness leads to illness.

NOW FOR A SPIRITUAL TRUTH
The bible talks about the importance of forgiveness which is releasing someone from a debt and choosing to forgive, even if you don’t know how, to forgive them and no longer hold them accountable.

Matthew 6:14 – “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

If you read the passage above you may have picked up on the fact that YOU are attached to that unforgiveness.  By forgiving others you release yourself!

WIKIPEDIA
Forgiveness
is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.

ONLINE
I’ve read that unforgiveness is like swallowing poison hoping the other person will die.

WHAT FORGIVING IS NOT
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with or associate with the person you’re forgiving.

Pray the following prayer if you want to forgive but don’t know how.

Lord Jesus,  today I make the choice to put the offense of (name the offense) behind me and to forgive (name the offender/s) that hurt me even if I don’t know how to.  I ask for your forgiveness and love to flow through me and  I ask you to forgive me for the unforgiveness and release me and (names) from effects of the sin and from bitterness and resentment. Cleanse my heart and make me whole. Amen.

Now you’ve prayed,  the decision you made might not match your feelings right now, but they eventually will.  If those thoughts come up again, simply tell yourself that all is forgiven and move on.  Don’t dwell on the past because when you entertain those thoughts they tend to move in and take over.

The Old Man’s Wisdom

Some things that our parents say to us stick. Their words become our inner voice.

dad-on-left

Watch your step is what my father said,
being a person of your word’s a must
Once your credibility’s lost you’re toast,
& what you say, others will distrust.

I learnt a lot from my old man
who valued others before him
He gave me an understanding
that beauty lays within.

Unless you’re as sweet as honey
flowing with love as if on tap
there’s no amount of money
that can sweeten the sour sap.

By Sandra C.

Image:  My father on the left with his brother in Uruguay.

Thanks for always being there!

Faith – Even The Intelligent Need Hope

No matter how intelligent or strong a person is, faith and hope will carry them through the lowest points in life.

maldives-850508_1280My mother grew up as a Christian attending churches in South America.  She prayed to God every morning and Every night for all of us. My father was and had always been an atheist believing that we die and that’s it, there’s no afterlife.  He was a good honest and hard working man, we didn’t pray or talk about God in the house.  I’ve heard him say religion is for who live in the dark ages and that good intelligent people don’t have a need for a God.  While mum believed that no matter how intelligent a person is that faith will carry them through their lowest points in life filling them with hope.

In Australia the only connection to Christianity my non-English speaking mother had was through a letter sent by a nun (which I interpreted) from a compulsory scripture class at my school.  That letter was an invitation to all 8 and 9 year old children to take part in their first Holy Communion which was something like a dedication of our purity to Christ.  Not wanting to be left out I agreed to go through with it. So mum put her signature on the permission slip.

Although mum wasn’t a Catholic, she thought that any connection with God was better than none.  Communion practice began and so did my interest in learning more about Christ.  Eventually I got to dress like a bride in a ceremony.   Not understanding exactly what it was all about at the time, I really enjoyed being dolled up for the occasion.

Growing Faith

Even though I believed the bible story of Jesus’ birth, life and death on the cross as an innocent holy man, I had no idea who he really was.   I had no relationship with Christ and prayed to a statue in my room that glowed in the dark of the Virgin Mary.

Years later as an adult, I learned about Grace and Holiness.

I asked God in prayer to lead me to himself.  Soon after my sister came to my door inviting me to attend a Pentecostal church with her.   Thinking that this could be an answer to my prayer or just a really weird experience I went along.  It turns out that both assumptions were correct!

The Pentecostal church was a little building tucked away in the middle of suburbia with only a small number of people in the congregation. Immediately blown away by what I didn’t see due to the absence of statues of Mary holding baby Jesus, no huge cross with a dead crucified Christ on it, no paintings on the walls or decorations to speak of as such, I thought, “what a weird church this is!”.  But I also understood that a church should be a house of prayer.  Taking my surroundings in I quickly noticed there was a room full of chairs with people sitting in them, a microphone, musical instruments, speakers and a pastor dressed in ordinary clothes holding an open bible as he read passages to the audience straight out of it.  He spoke about loving one another like brothers and sisters in the purest sense of the word.  Accustomed to rituals that I didn’t understand, this was certainly different but it all made sense.  It seemed real.

At one time the pastor read the bible quoting Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth and the life and nobody goes to the father except through me.”

As I looked around there were families with happy faces and arms raised offering  prayers to God.  That started me thinking about what the early church might have been like.  During the service prayers were said from the heart that weren’t scripted out of a book.  It dawned on me that we had a real God and that we needed to be real with Him.   Discovering there’s nothing I could ever hide from God and I started feeling transparent but also felt empowered.  I learnt about Salvation and who I am in Christ.  Trusting my instinct that God wanted me there, I said a prayer out loud and invited Jesus into my life and into my heart.  Immediately there was peace and joy present and a burden was lifted off my shoulders. It was tangible.

Confession was replaced by real repentance of sin.  My prayer comes right from the heart and I now believe in the liberating power of forgiveness, repentance and loving others as God loves us with the desire to do God’s will in obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my daily life.  That’s what salvation is to me and the reason Jesus died so that we can be reconciled to God through his sacrifice on the cross.

The Greatest Commandment Mark 12: 28-30
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognising that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”

Jesus answered, “The foremost is,  Hear oh Israel! The Lord our God is the one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.   The second is this, ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”

If you believe, Pray, acknowledge your sins and repent.  Ask him to cleanse you and forgive you. Confess to God that you believe in what Jesus did on the cross for you and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit who will lead you into all truth.  Read your bible, get to know God and His word in order to avoid making the wrong choices for your spiritual walk with Christ.

If you’d like to know more about Jesus, watch a full movie here on the Life of Jesus from the book of John as written in the Bible.

FULL MOVIE – Gospel of John – The life of Jesus.

Growing up in Sydney’s West in the 70’s

bikes

Photo: Here I am on my sisters red bike and she’s on my blue Malvern Star in the middle with our cousins on their bikes at Stanwell Park NSW.

My parents decided that we needed a change from the constantly flooding townhouse they rented in Granville.  Every time it rained our bottom floor became inundated in a torrent of water.  We were all relieved and excited about the move.  Although looking back, it was a bit of fun swimming in that dirty water that ran from our flooded small courtyard out the back, through the house gushing out the front door and spilling us kids out onto the footpath.

So in 1973 we packed all our gear and moved to Fairfield in Sydney’s West.  I was 9, my sister Vivian was 8 and Patricia was almost 3 years old.

There were about 10 units in our apartment block with people from all different nationalities and walks of life residing in them.  Many families lived there, so there was never a shortage of people to hang out with.  The twin set of units across the concrete driveway with their garages and overhanging balconies faced each other allowing us to communicate & socialise with the neighbours without leaving our unit.

Life was a social affair most days in Smart Street as the flats we lived in weren’t the only ones on our block.  Italians, Assyrians, Maltese, South Americans (like us); Greeks, Iraqis and Yugoslavians (as they were known at the time) populated the area amongst a handful of Aussies.

The only Aussie that I actually remember well on that block in Smart Street, Fairfield was Mrs. Stone who everyone knew as the delightful and friendly old lady who lived in an old shack up the road with her Shih Tzu.  She took daily walks with her little dog allowing everyone to pat him. Her sweetness brings a smile to my face to this very day.

Every morning on the way to school we’d pass the local shop that was metres from the crossing to the public school we attended.  Wonderful and friendly people have come and gone throughout our lives there.  Mr. Zoric was one of them.  He was our local shop owner whose little tuck shop was across the road from the school on my side of the road.  He sold, milk, bread, coke, some grocery items, ice cream, chocolate and lollies.  While he was very popular with everyone in the neighbourhood, the kids just loved him. He was known mainly for his kindness and his huge bright and cheerful personality.  Back then we hardly got any pocket money and I remember the excitement of taking the empty glass bottles of coke for a refund of 10 cents to spend on lollies.  That was a lot of money back then!

Playing outdoors was a way of life for us kids. After school the children were everywhere riding their bikes, playing handball, hide and seek, playing elastics, doing handstands, cartwheels and skipping.   When we didn’t know what to do we improvised and enjoyed life.  We didn’t have the technology that kids have now.  We learned how to be imaginative and creative making things with our hands or making up games.

Our New Bikes

For Christmas that year we all got bikes.  Vivian’s was a new orange bike.  Mine was a dark blue Malvern Star Dragster with gears, long seat and a sissy bar. I had been asking my father for that bike for ages and was over the moon with it.  It was the latest rage with the kids, it was beautiful and I couldn’t believe it was mine!

One morning my father discovered that our garage was broken into. The bikes were missing and I remember that I was heartbroken.  That bike was the only thing I ever really wanted.   Dad assured us that everything will be alright and that his insurance will replace our bikes.  But one day before our bikes could be replaced, I was visiting a friend in a neighbouring apartment building when I saw two boys downstairs sanding down bike frames that had been sprayed black.  Immediately I knew that our bikes had been stolen by these two Assyrian boys who didn’t have bikes of their own and I was angry and felt sorry for them at the same time, knowing that mum was poor and had 4 kids to look after.  Telling my father about it brought out my emotions.  He assured me that even without the bikes that we adored, we are still better off than those two boys because we have each other.  He made me see that material things are replaceable but people aren’t.  I had to let it go and decided to forgive them, though it took a while.

We never did get the same bikes back.  Although I was grateful to have a bike to ride, the replacement bike was a bit too sissy for this tom boy.  It was white with reddish-pink love hearts stickers.

Years later when I became a Christian I realised that my earthly dad was reflecting my heavenly father by choosing mercy over bitterness and revenge.  In Matthew 9:13 God says, “I desire mercy not sacrifice.”

I love you dad!  You always taught us to be content with life itself and that the most important thing in life is to love the people we share it with.  Because of it we have a very close and tightly knit family unit that loves each other dearly.