Everything has a purpose.

When I read about the horrific murder of the young 22 year old Korean woman in inner Brisbane city, I am really saddened and wonder why such horrific things happen to people of faith. There we had a young girl who was travelling the world with goals and aspirations. She even went to church on Sundays while here in Australia. It is hard to understand why she had to be sent to the slaughter.

Perhaps these riddles will be very hard to understand in the context of our faith. On one hand I know that God intimately works in our lives to guide and direct us, but it is hard to understand why she was taken from life at such a young age and in such a brutal manner.

Spiritually there is a reason for her departure, yet it seems so sad. Not only is it sad for her, but more so for her family and friends. My heart goes out to these people and everybody who is affected.

I could try and rationalise everything and try to make the upset go away, but this is not the reality of life. Some things in life are very distressing and we are not meant to wipe away the pain. Jesus died on a cross and this pain was felt by his followers and family. There was something very special about this girl and her death will not go unnoticed. Her death has already touch thousands of people and who knows what will come of that.

This morning I woke up at 3:56am and this was the time that she had left her home to walk to work. Ten minutes later she was murdered in a brutal way. I thought of her during the next 20 minutes as the first signs of day light grew. The birds were chirping and the morning seemed crisp. It reminded me of the death of Jesus yet in some ways I was reminded of the resurrection as well. This girl did not die in vain. There is a purpose in her dying. She is now in God’s care, and even though her life was short, it will serve a purpose.

I can thank God for her life and for the inspiration her life will give to us all.

We need to thank God for everything in our lives – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Do you ever wonder why some of our prayers seem to be answered, yet some don’t? Well, I think that I am beginning to understand why this is so.

I believe that God works through every detail in my life. God is forever there guiding and directing me, and if God wishes to change events then this will happen. I have witnessed changes in my life and events have brought about these changes. Yet sometimes I have wondered why some negative aspects of my character do not change when I really want God to intervene and to create a change for the better.

Recently I began to realise that some of my struggles and negative ways are there for a purpose. I realised that I can so often criticise others for their ways, not fully realising that they too suffer from addictive ways that control their lives too.

God wants me to let go of trying to control another person life, and instead trust him that he has it under control. Until I truly let go, I might never be released of my own afflictions. God uses every aspect of our lives in order to bring about positive changes.

We need to thank God for everything in our lives – the good, the bad and the ugly. Until we can get to the stage of truly thanking God for everything, including the things that we are not proud of, change might be delayed. True change happens when we thank God for everything.

We are being cared for every step of the way.

Just as a loving parent believes that they know what is best for their child, so too does God. Many of us try to do things our own way resisting the urge to listen to our inner wisdom. Having said that, God works in mysterious ways, often guiding and directing us through the maze of events that occur in our lives.

We all encounter annoying and difficult events in our day to day life, yet it is precisely these events that our heavenly father is guiding and directing us. As Jesus has said, what father would give his child a stone instead of a loaf of bread. Jesus was always promoting the love of his heavenly father who knows all of our needs and how best to help us.

We are not alone. Regardless of what happens today, we always need to have the faith that God is with us and guiding us through all of the events that come our way. Even if your day does not go the way you plan, give praise for it because you are being guided by God and it is the way it was suppose to have gone.

With faith, we know that God is protecting us and guiding us, even if we are not proud of the way we respond to events in our day. And when the bigger events happen that change the direction of our lives, we need to continue to believe that God is guiding and directing us along the way. Whether those events mean having to move home, or to lose your job, or to lose the life of a loved one through death, we always need to be thankful to God and full of praise.

Everything happens for a reason. We are not alone. There is no reason to be rebellious. God is always aware of our needs regardless of how differently it might appear.

Praise love for this moment in its perfection.
Thank love for my human experience in its perfection.
Love creates me in its perfection.

When I pray these above words, it is God that I am praising and thanking because God is pure love. And everything that has been created by God is perfect. Faith gives us the ability to believe these words and to know that regardless of what happens today and tomorrow, everything in our lives is perfect. In union with God, we are where we are suppose to be. Therefore we should always praise God for this moment in its perfection.

It is God who transforms, not us.

It is God who transforms, not us.

Recently I was doing some volunteer telephone crisis support work and I was reminded once again of how it is God who transforms, not us. I received a call from a lady whom I was struggling to communicate with. Initially she seemed very aggressive to me. I almost felt compelled to bite back but I resisted the urge. I was reminded by a supervisor a few months ago that these callers are people who are hurting and I also reminded myself that it is God who works through me to heal, not me through my own doing.

As far as calls go, it was a long call, and probably not a way to deal with every call. Yet this call has reminded me of something that needs reflecting on. Some of the most difficult callers are the callers who need the most help. Aggression and anger are signs of needs, and are signs that the caller is calling for help. After the initial onslaught of aggressive words towards me, this caller settled down and she seemed better at being able to share with me the things that were bothering her. By showing no aggression back to her, her aggression ran out of puff.

I approach all of these calls with the confidence that God is working through me to touch the lives of others. Even though I never refer to God during a call, I know in my heart that God works through everything to bring about transformations. My life has been transformed through every day events. I pray that my callers’ lives will also be transformed.

Trust is of the essence.

When Jesus talks about taking up your cross and leaving your possessions behind, it is such a challenging concept for most of us, regardless of our situation.

Taking up my cross means praising God for my difficulties, not renouncing them. It is so easy to complain and to wish difficulties away, yet these difficulties are the very thing that draw us closer to being in union with God.

And when I think about leaving my possessions behind, I am reminded of what God truly wants for us. God doesn’t want us to cling to our possessions. Possessions come and go, yet God’s love is constant. God challenges us to let go of clinging to our possessions. Possessions do not make the person; instead they can limit.

More and more I am of the realisation that we need to let go of our material preoccupations. Like many people, I have been caught up with wanting to solve my financial difficulties. I want for things and worry about my financial future. Yet Jesus asks us to leave our possessions behind. This doesn’t mean giving it away. It means that we need to develop an attitude that does not cling to material possessions. God knows our needs. God works through everything to guide us to happiness. Even though my life has its financial uncertainties, I know that God is guiding me and will be there every turn along the way. My financial needs will be met. All I need do is trust. It is a case of being responsible and to do my best, but to also know that God is there to answer our concerns.

Whether or not we win a prize home, or whether or not we have enough money to retire on, these are not for us to be worried about. It is for what God chooses for us that matters.

Salvation is a gift

I suppose I have never really thought about it enough, but now I see that salvation is a gift given to us for free. We do not need to earn it. We do not need to pay for it; it is entirely free.

Salvation is like receiving an inheritance that can never run out. It is such a joy to have, and something we will always be thankful for. Daily we give thanks for it and regardless of what happens in our lives, we are so thankful for it. All we need do is acknowledge that this gift has been given to us freely.

We are the ones who turn away from God, not God from us. Most of us will have difficulty understanding and accepting this, yet Jesus spoke about this free gift. We allow our intellectual understanding to get in the way. We need a child like faith to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus spoke so often about this, yet our intellectual understanding is the thing that stands in the way. The door to salvation is there before us, but we have a choice to avoid it if we want. Being saved means that we need to recognise the door to the Kingdom. And the only way we will ever recognise this door is by getting to know God and it is Jesus who helps us recognise who God truly is.