Doubting It   Leave a comment

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“Doubt is not always a sign that a man is wrong; it may be a sign that he is thinking.”
— Oswald Chambers

I’ve met lovely, honest people who tell me that they wish they could believe in a loving God of grace, but it is a struggle for them. I’ve also met people who believe in God but are not sure about Jesus, or who believe that Jesus is real and He was willing to lay down his life for them, but they don’t want to get close to an angry Father God. Others think God is great but they have trouble with the whole history of Christianity thing.

Some of us journey on this road doing the best we can with the doubts that make us feel too small for the task. When we read expressions like “man or woman of God” or “giants of the faith” we know that it is not referring to us.

Sometimes it’s a matter of needing our hearts healed or enlarged until we can receive. A child whose birth dad left on her second birthday is going to find it hard to believe that a heavenly father promises to stay involved in her life. A boy whose parents were impossible to please will likewise assume that God is angry and disappointed in him. A person who was betrayed by a so-called Christian, especially an older brother, or worse a clergyman, will wonder where this so-called loving self-sacrificing Jesus disappeared to when the going got rough, and is this a set-up to be used again? A person who has been lied to will not buy every story they are told, and if believing every ancient account of events in the Bible is a requirement for a relationship with God they have a large evidence-based fence to climb. Others believe in Christ and do all the expected life-style things, but are skeptical that he talks to people today or heals them or miraculously intervenes in their lives because, after 40 years of doing the church thing, they have never seen it.

Here’s the thing. Walking by faith does not require truckloads of faith. Faith is exercised; that’s how it grows. It starts with baby steps. As we take risks and find that God is not like the authority figures who berated,  beguiled and betrayed,  we can take another step. When we give up trying to appease an angry God, and he doesn’t smite us, we take another step. When we see an important lesson in one of Jesus’ stories we take another step. When we dare to pray to him to find lost car keys and have a picture in our minds of them lying under a shrub by the back door, and there they are, we take another step. When we trust another person on this road and are nakedly open about our own scarred story of pain and they treat it like a precious privilege to be protected, we take another step. We are healed inside bit by bit and enlarge our capacity to think and feel differently.

Paul, the guy who distrusted the stories about this Jesus of Nazareth character so much that he had his followers dragged off to prison, later wrote that his prayer  was that people, who were like he once was and who have huge doubts, would be strengthened with Jesus’ power in their inner being enough to have the capacity to be able to start to be able to comprehend his love. Our wounds have left holes in our hearts that love just pours through. We all need him to move first. So he did.

Jesus understands and is relentlessly kind. He is not shocked by our doubts, and understands the barriers religious people have left in the way in attempts to protect themselves from their own doubts (and tossed them over himself.) If all you have is one tiny little speck of faith it’s all you need to start this journey. Eventually it will move mountains.

Darkness is Only Threatened by Light   Leave a comment

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The Darkness is not threatened by religion,

spirituality,

doctrine,

loud music,

preaching,

crowds of Christians,

spiritual warfare,

prophetic conventions,

or revivals.

Darkness is only threatened by Light,

and to the extent that we have Light,

to that extent the Darkness loses its power over us.

When we abide in perfect Light then Darkness has no power whatsoever.

And light is nothing more or less than the revelation of Christ in His Glory.

—Chip Brogden

 

Posted September 29, 2014 by Charis Psallo in Photography, Sky, Uncategorized

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Cultivate Faithfulness   2 comments

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A heavy frost has already finished off most of the plants in the gardens at Fort Steele Farms, but I was surprised to see a row of Swiss chard (or “squished hard” as one of my grandchildren calls it) glowing in the sunlight. It was the inspiration for this work. It was also the inspiration for remembering this scripture:

Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:3,4)

Cultivating faithfulness with joyful, trusting vulnerability leads to the freedom to become who God knows you to be, full of life and delightful colour long after others have given up in adversity. Perseverance builds hope -the kind of hope that does not disappoint.

Posted September 28, 2014 by Charis Psallo in Art

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Sail   Leave a comment

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“The wind of God is always blowing… but you must hoist your sail.”
― François Fénelon

The End of the Beginning   4 comments

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As summer ends I watch the exchange of green to gold and orange and red with mixed feeling. Autumn is probably my favourite season, partly because of the bitter-sweetness of it. I feel a need to grab every moment and soak in the colour craziness before the monotone of winter descends

Old age can be a time of bitter-sweet beauty as well. I’ve watched some elderly people fade into bitter grey resentment and I’ve watched some press on in colourful joyful hope. It’s a choice often made in the spring.

 

It is you, not I, who have been carried from before you were born.
        Indeed, when you were still in the womb, I was taking care of you.
     And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you.
        When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak,
    And your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have.
        I will carry you and save you.

(Isaiah 46:3,4)

Posted September 26, 2014 by Charis Psallo in Uncategorized

Changes   2 comments

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He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding
(Daniel 2:21 ESV)

Posted September 25, 2014 by Charis Psallo in Photography, Water

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L’Shanah Tovah   Leave a comment

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I saw this pomegranate tree growing wild near the place where Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened. From that moment he did not see merely the surrounding threat that wished to destroy them, he also saw the Lord’s greater reality.

At Rosh Hashanah, the head of the Jewish New Year, I pray, “Open our eyes to behold your plans, Lord.”

To You we give all the glory.

Posted September 24, 2014 by Charis Psallo in Flowers

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