My Father in Heaven

I never knew my biological father growing up. I had a great childhood with a loving mother, step-dad and brother, but when I got older I sought out my birth father. I wanted to learn more about where I came from. When I met him he wasn’t interested though and he disappeared again out of my life.

Then I sought out God, wanting again to know where I came from, but this time I was not let down. In God I found my true, spiritual Father, the one who made me and formed me. And he made right every wrong.

Sometimes I get distracted by philosophy, approaches and books about God, and I forget that He is not a system or a ritual or a philosophy, He is my Father who loves me and desires to know me.

It was never about a system of belief, it was always about a person.Thank you Jesus for the new life you have given me, in relationship with you.

He is with you in the pain

I heard of a man who lived his life in darkness. He did not want to know God, and he did many evil deeds. He had many opportunities to change his ways and walk in the light, but he failed at every turn. At the end of his life, he was finally to face the consequences for his actions. He was convicted and sentenced to death.

On the day of his death, the Roman soldiers nailed his hands and feet to a cross, and they crucified him. And as he hung there, not long from death, he knew his punishment was just. But then he looked over to see another man who was crucified next to him, and he knew this man was Jesus.

When all seemed lost, he found God there at the end waiting for him. God was with him in the pain, suffering alongside him. After everything the man had done, the Lord had not given up on him.

‘One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”’ (Luke 23:39-43)

When all feels lost, remember the Lord. “How wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”, oh that we would “know this love that surpasses knowledge”. Do not wait until the last moment of your life to find him, as we may not be as fortunate as this man. Seek Him today with all your heart, and today may be the day that changes everything in your life.

Good Food for the Mind

“Moreover, my son, guard yourself, for there is no end to the making of many books, and much study is weariness of the flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

I rarely get mentally tired of studying. My body can be shutting down, while my mind is still keen to keep on going. And I often overdo it, and find myself feeling run down and with a migraine. Now, there is nothing wrong with study and being well informed, it’s pretty important, but when I overdo it, it messes up my equilibrium and it has a negative effect on my mental health and inner peace. I think especially in the west, we have this strong tendency to over-intellectualize our spirituality. It’s not hard for us to focus too much on the theory, rather on that which forms us and has a practical effect in our lives. But there is a better way.

There is a saying in Latin: ‘non multa, sed multum’, which translates as, ‘not many, but much.’ The meaning is that it is the quality of what we read that is most important, as oppose to the quantity. This idea can be likened to how we put food into our bodies. The healthiest approach is not to eat large quantities of whatever we find. It is better we carefully select that which is most nutritious to us, and consume that.

It is the same with knowledge. It is better to put into our mind that which is the healthiest for our souls. For me this will mean prioritizing reading the Bible first, and secondly those authors that aid me in spiritual formation and developing those qualities that God desires to see in me.