Happy Australia Day!

“We know God only to the level that we love like God” – Judah Smith

HAPPY STRAYA DAY!

Happy Australia Day to everyone who calls this country home…

I haven’t really got up to much this Australia Day and I think I definitely needed it… I do love the culture of a BBQ or a beach trip, a game of cricket and a good feed. I also love that it’s a day to relax and watch a movie or one of the many sporting events on TV. I do also stop and realise that, for many, this culture I’ve grown up with and have learnt from my family and friends growing up is hard to connect with for various reasons.

So with the green and yellow donuts, lamingtons, bonds singlets and thongs, drinks by the pool, sixes over the neighbours fence and long weekend celebrations firmly ingrained in my mind, I sat down and opened my bible to James 4, by the guidance of my fiancée who was reading through the book herself, and stumbled upon this verse…

“You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them.” – James 4:2

Immediately as I’ve read this verse, thoughts of wars and conflict across the world spring to mind. Even individuals I see on the news waging their own personal wars against someone, or something, due to urges they’ve lost control of.

But upon dwelling on it further I know it’s much more than this, and and at the same time much less. It’s for me…

For example, as I compare even the seemingly most insignificant parts of my life to someone else’s, and my actions towards them become motivated by emotion, I’m fighting against their joy and freedom. It could be jealousy or envy over what they have that I don’t, frustration or anger that they don’t understand something I’m passionate about, or just un-dealt with emotion from the past that’s manifesting itself towards a person or people in a similar situation.

Whatever the case, even by simply withholding an encouragement from someone as they get excited about something, or because they have differing values to me, I’m waging a war that limits not only their joy, but to a much greater degree, mine too. Especially when I know it’s only because I’m envious or frustrated at them. Not only that, but I’m not loving. If Gods love truly knows no boundaries then why should mine? And why should someone’s like-mindedness determine whether I love them or not?

“We know God only to the level that we love like God” – Judah Smith

Thanks to all those who stand up for what they believe… I don’t necessarily understand your position but I understand your passion. Australia wouldn’t be the same without you!

Thankful that I was blessed to be born and bred in this amazing country!

HAPPY STRAYA DAY!

Triple-braided cords

Of late I’ve been reminded so much about how two people can come together, fall in love and, if they can grasp what it is to love someone as they are, their strength can multiply because they embrace every part of who their partner is. God has blessed me with the most wonderful and beautiful human being and I get the privilege of marrying her, my Danielle, in April 2016. I can’t wait to see her walk towards me in that little church, seeing her in her dress for the first time. But together we’ve spent a lot of time talking and thinking about how God not only brought some pretty amazing stuff out of the mess of our lives, most notably bringing each of us to the other in some crazy circumstances, but he also makes our couple a trio. In Ecclesiastes 4:12 in the bible I learnt that the only thing stronger than two people who have a sacrificial and selfish love for each other, is a couple who love because they have been loved first and accepted that love from the creator of it! God forms a triple-braided cord, and while we keep our relationship with him strong, we will be strong and can be strong for those around us when the times come.

Seeing as I do get creative sometimes I thought why not share a couple of things that have come out of these thoughts. One being a short poem, the other a song I composed! I hope you can enjoy and/or connect in some way. Thanks for visiting my blog!

God bless, and pz!

‘Woven’

 

‘Triple-braided’

Triple-braided

RUOK M8?

It’s ‘RUOK’ Day…

I’m reminded by incidents just in the last few days and even just this morning that when things are left undealt with over periods of time within a person, they eventually catch up with us in some way.

It’s easy to point fingers when we see the end result of a violent outburst. We find it hard to fathom that a human can do such things. We find ourselves blaming a person, writing them off as a statistical anomaly or even inhuman because ‘we would never go to that length to make a point’

The way we deal with our emotions or hurts has never lead us to kill or maim so we stand in judgement of those who do. It doesn’t lessen the tragedy or seriousness of a persons actions when this occurs but on a day like today we stop and ask why…

Sometimes there really is no explanation, and we simply shake our heads and maybe pray for a lost soul or simply turn our heads away so we don’t go insane trying to figure it out, but then there’s cases where an angry man decides he must take his unresolved inner anger out on his ex by brutally maiming them or hurting them to a point where they are scarred for life or lose their life.

How does one human become angry? How does a man who loved show such perceived hate? Why couldn’t he have chosen another outlet for his anger? Where was he freedom to ask why when the emotion first birthed in his mind and heart? Where were the ears to listen when he might have needed them back when it was a small issue? Why did he feel like he couldn’t? Why is a man still said to be weak for crying tears and being vulnerable about his emotions? Why can’t a man be strong, masculine, protective and a provider while still being open and real? Why does he think that the only way to overcome inner grief is by an outward exertion of physical energy, not conversation or worded communication?

So I ask myself… Am I asking enough questions to my close mates? Am I demonstrating commitment to those friendships that when I ask they trust me enough to answer with vulnerability? Am I listening or do I try to much to preach and give advice when it’s best just to be an absorber and encourager?

It’s not about comfort. It’s about awkward. No conversation of this manner will be comfortable. It’s something we always sugar coat at first and we push away because we are afraid of what others think and how they might change the way they treat us. We are lost thinking the only people we should love most are those who love us most, but it’s those who feel loved the least who need it, and those who have fears and/or shame so deep they can’t express it that need someone to hear them and stay with them, not pull away.

Men and women are different but we share one similarity… We won’t be honest straight up most of the time.

A man will most often say ‘all good mate’ when he’s not, and a woman will most often tell you the bits that only expose what she feels will keep you beside her. As time goes by if we/I can be open, real, trustworthy and comfortable enough to be awkward with them, then they will be more open.

RUOK isn’t a social media experiment. We can send impersonal messages to people thinking we’ve participated. It’s about doing what social media has caused us to substitute real conversation for. Face to face or at least audible, awkward, real and uncomfortable chats without judgement or criticism.

Maybe then less people would be hurt or lose their lives because a silent issue went unheard until a man snapped. We could use our full scope of human ability to be a wingman to someone who feels like they’re flying solo, helping them unwind before the tension got a chance to build up.

It’s not fair that innocent lives be ruined or lost. But it’s also so tragic that they be ruined or lost when there’s ways many can be prevented before their potential offenders even realise they are capable of committing their crimes.

It’s my responsibility too.

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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I don’t need to agree with people to love them any more than God had to agree with me to love me…

I have an amazing sister who happens to be gay, an awesome sister-in-law, two amazingly cute nephews and a friend, who is their biological dad, and who they call daddy…

My sister doesn’t have the same beliefs I do or agree with all the values I live by, yet she loves me unconditionally… She does this while standing for what she believes is right and we don’t argue over it. We don’t post rude, provocative or argumentative statuses on Facebook, or start heated debates over lunch, yet people still know where we stand without too much trouble…

The God I believe in, the Jesus I follow has always loved me. Before I believed, it’s obvious that I didn’t have the same beliefs or values as God did. I stood for what I believed was right. God didn’t speak to me in rude or provocative ways or debated with me in prayer. But I still knew where he stood all along. He responded with love and I was drawn to him and I felt peace and joy because of it. He accepted me despite not accepting all of my ways or decisions.

Why would I act any differently just because I feel I need to ‘stand for what I believe is right?’
The most effective form of standing for what I believe is right is replicating this unconditional love God showed me. My faith becomes no less powerful if I accept and love the people around me.

I don’t need to agree with people to love them any more than God had to agree with me to love me.

If anything this little family have taught me some things about unconditional love and selfless support seeing me go through some dark times. And I don’t need to change my profile pic to a rainbow for them to know I love them, just like they don’t need to change theirs to a cross for me to know they love me. They stand for what they stand for and love me wholly and completely…

I often ask myself why many Christians are not, at the very least, doing the same, but then I realise that when my sister first told me she was gay, I had no idea how to respond as a new Christian. Early on there was tension and misunderstanding between us and we grew apart. We are all growing and our understanding of our faith and our Gods love for us isn’t well communicated at the best of times because it’s a very deep and mysterious love. We do get it wrong and we offend people sometimes, but we’re just human…

So does what I’m saying and my acceptance of my sister, my sister-in-law, my two nephews and their birth father make me a luke-warm follower of Jesus who has watered down his faith so that he is accepted by more people? Does it make me an ineffective Christian?

I’ve prayed, talked to many people, read my bible so many times and I can honestly say that my conscience is clear on this.

This is not about me being ‘right’…

It’s about me thinking I was right at the time my sister and I grew apart, and God showing me differently.
It’s also about me thinking I was wrong when I saw Christian groups and leaders contradicting that way He had showed me, and portraying this argumentative and very abrasive nature on social media and through other media sources, and God showing me differently.

I can’t find one thing in the bible that would contradict anything I’ve just said… My faith and my love come from God who loved me first.

I stand for Gods definition of marriage. Yet I love and accept those who don’t, and I even believe that if same sex couples want equal rights by the governments laws, then they are entitled to them. If the law changes, Gods definition will still exist, and I will still live by it and stand for it. My wife and I will explain to my kids our belief and they will decide where they stand. They will need to accept God for themselves, not have us tell them they have to, and understand his love hopefully through the ‘stand’ we take and example we set.

We need to ask ourselves, how it is we are ‘fighting’ for our beliefs. Are we just letting off steam? And is our stand for Gods definition about faith in God or about bitterness? Is it really necessary for us to sign petitions or to campaign and protest for our way, or is it more valuable for us to live our way and be an example of that way of living? Let’s get our marriages working right and let God into them before we get too focused on anybody else’s relationship choices.

God saw me living in a way he didn’t agree with yet somehow managed to show love and not abrasive, quick tempered approaches to changing me, guilting me and causing division between us. He chose to love me despite his opposing opinion between what he knew to be good for me, and what I had chosen to live out and had decided was good for me.

He still stood clearly for his way and I knew his way had not changed, but he also loved and accepted me in the midst of my personal ignorance. This was not a luke warm, watered down, ineffective message He was delivering in loving me this way, but the most potent and effective catalyst to living with more purpose and love that I’ve ever experienced. It brought me to the place I am now, where I feel closer to God and sense more peace and joy than I’ve ever felt before in my life.

I pray that more Christians everywhere would learn, like I am still, to relax and stop thinking that by loving and accepting people, we are somehow becoming less potent in our faith. Other people in life may not accept our faith as truth but most, like those in my life, can accept us, and we should be doing the same as a bare minimum. Plus we can still hold onto our marriage belief and tradition and it can still hold its full meaning for us even if the law changes! We might then be able to celebrate with heterosexual or homosexual friends and family when they choose to commit to each other for life, while still representing our faith wholly and fully.

Somewhere over the rainbow, beyond the banners and flags, maybe there’s something we are all missing, and we haven’t quietened ourselves for long enough before God to realise what it is…

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