All posts by hp-tiddledum

On gratefulness

I have a lovely little app (called Presently) on my phone which daily in the evening reminds me to consider the things for which I’m grateful in that day. I’m finding this a good way to end the day.
With so much happening in the world which has such a depressing effect on us it is good to look at those things for which we can be grateful. It does lift the spirits!
It may be things such as:
It’s spring and the garden is full of colour, or I had a lovely chat with a friend over Skype today, or my bed is so comfy, or I finally got some good weeding done in the garden.
There is much for which we can be grateful… really the possibilities are endless.
A grateful heart is a healthy heart.
Be blessed today and think of the things for which you are grateful.

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Our new normal – face masks!

Since the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be showing no signs of abating, I guess this means our new normal is really just normal now.
How are you affected by it?
In Australia the push to be wearing face masks is growing since it looks as if we’re really moving into a second wave of infections. Too many people have been flouting the health recommendations. Rather sad. In NSW we were doing fairly well until some infected visitors from Victoria came north and have been spreading the virus as they go. Batemans Bay has become a latest casualty which means it spreading in all directions as so many Canberrans visit the Bay frequently.
So, if you’re in the group who feel the need for masking as a protection, why not go as fancy as you like?
Fine Art America has a lot of face masks from which to choose… so, go for it. Click the link below.
Masks at Fine Art America

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A year to forget, perhaps…

It’s been too long since I wrote anything on Hope Today. Life seems to have had a way of slurping up the available hours in the day. Now, I have to say that this past 12 months have been a challenge in so many ways. Here’s a little review of what that has meant…
1) Australia has been experiencing a drought, a rather long one. Everything was so dry, so dead looking. The grass crunched beneath my feet as I walked around my garden. I didn’t need to mow since nothing was growing. Gardening was mostly at a standstill except watering a little in an attempt to keep the garden alive.
2) In September we had a snow storm, the first I’d experienced in the 9 years I’ve lived here. Such a beautiful sight even though it melted away too quickly. It provided some much needed nourishment for the soil and plants.
3) Then came the bush fires!! What can I say? What an awful time that was for NSW and Vic. The fires came so very close from several sides over the summer months. The winds blew fiercely making things much worse. Each time it looked as if we would ‘get it,’ the wind changed and we were safe again.
4) With the bushfires came the smoke. It was so thick and there was no escape. Going outside proved a challenge for breathing. I stayed inside most of the time and dealt with life from there, though the smoke smell permeated the house long after the fires were gone.
5) Then early this year the Corona Virus appeared on the scene. COVID-19 has disrupted life across the world in ways we could not have imagined this time last year. Australia has fared better than other countries (thus far). Living out in a rural area has been a blessing for me so that lockdown has not been as traumatic or stressful as it has for those in the cities. Also, we have had no postive cases in the region. Sad to say the whole economy has taken a huge hit. And, it seems there is no end in sight for the pandemic coming to an end. Will they ever develop a vaccine?

So, what does the future hold? I don’t know. What I do know is that through it all God has given me peace. My times and my life are in his hands. He is well aware of what is happening all over the world, AND he is still God.
My prayer is that God will bring good out of all the awful things that have been happening.
I am continually pressed to trust Jesus, and not to look at the wild storms all about me.
May you be able to do the same.
Came across this on the web and it about sums up what most of us feel, eh?

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God’s Great Love and Mercy

We have such a merciful heavenly Father! It’s hard to believe that he still loves us when we sin. It’s hard to believe that he really cares when we go off on our own way. It’s hard to take in that he loves us no matter what. It’s hard to comprehend how he knows every single thing that is going on in the whole universe… that’s everything to do with every star and planet, everything to do with every black hole and whatever else is out there, everything to do with absolutely everything on this earth–us humans and our thoughts and actions, the birds and animals, all of nature itself (remember he knows about every sparrow that falls to the ground). I cannot keep track of anything much, yet he sees it all, knows it all intimately, and loves all he has made.
What a thought! He loves all he has made… even the caterpillar that snacks on my vegies! He takes delight in his creation… and I suspect is longing for us to be able to enter into the beauty of all he has created.
I am so little, so small in my understanding and appreciation of God, and yet he is not daunted by my wayward ways. His love and patience with me covers the many years since I became a Christian, and even longer because he planted the seed in my heart and into my family line. Oh, that we would turn to Jesus and find the life he’s intended for us.

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Father Heart of God

Back in 2003 I was thinking about God as Father. I was particularly struck by what Jesus said of his own relationship with Father God all through the gospel of John. It seems like it would be good to come back to what I wrote all those years ago. May Father God bless and encourage you as you read and think about God as your heavenly Father.
We need to experience God’s father heart towards us. What we know of a father’s heart is pretty pitiful. For some it’s as a tyrant who demands unquestioning obedience and who uses physical force or verbal abuse to achieve that obedience. For some it’s as a slave driver who requires “work” to pay one’s way. For some it’s like a school teacher requiring perfect scores. For others though there may be a physical presence, the father is emotionally absent. For many there is no father because of death, divorce, or other circumstance causing separation of the family.
Our experience of our own fathers’ hearts becomes our view of God’s father heart so that our sense his heart may be one or more of the following:

He’s a tyrant waiting for me to put one foot out of place
He’s violent and vengeful
He’s distant and disinterested
He’s unapproachable
He doesn’t listen
He only pays attention if I get all my ducks in a row
He doesn’t care about me or what I feel
He won’t help me, I have to figure it out myself
He doesn’t like me (because I’m ugly, stupid, slow, lazy, fat, careless, a girl, a boy, not like him, whatever)

Here are some scriptures to help you meditate on Father God. God is emotionally present, kind, loving, gentle, and understanding of our limitations. Our minds may know this but our hearts don’t.

Psalm 103:13, 14 says, “The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust.”

Isaiah 9:6 “Mighty God, everlasting father …”

Matthew 6:9 “Our Father in heaven may your name be honored …”

*John 10:30 “The Father and I are one …” Look at Jesus to get a view of the father heart of God.

Romans 8:15 “Father dear Father …”

Hebrews 1:5 “Today I have become your Father …”

Ephesians 4:6 “Only one God and Father …”

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Time

Time. In some respects time is so against us. The older we get the more quickly it scurries away… a month comes and goes like it is just a single day. Why, just yesterday it was New Years day, wasn’t it? How could it have become the end of April already?
There are days when I feel as if I don’t have enough time to complete all the projects I have on my list, even for that day let alone the rest of my life This has become especially so as I’ve gotten older. Physical limitations have become sadly apparent. Once I could easily and quickly chop wood, change a tyre, fix a broken window! Now even simple tasks have become a challenge. And, oh, how I ache in places I wish I didn’t. If I sit awhile my muscles freeze up. If I stand in one place too long then my back aches. Where has the agility and flexibility of youth gone?
So, time is in my thoughts today.
A friend has just reminded me of these verses in Ecclesiastes 3:1-4,11 (NIRV)

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance. … He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

My friend goes on to say:

Time in this life is brief. Take the time to dance. Take the time to love. Take the time to pray. Take the time to laugh and to sing. Take the time to give hugs and kisses. Take the time to watch the sunset. Take the time to cherish each moment you are given. Take the time to thank God for every day you have.

And, I do agree. Our times are in God’s hands. I am so thankful! My hope is in him.

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A Safe Place Whenever Chaos Reigns

One thing I’ve learned over many years of walking with Jesus through my life, is that God has provided many places of safety for those times when life throws us a curve ball.
These are places where we can take refuge (Psalm 31:1). Such places are described throughout the Bible, and especially in the Psalms. Here are a few examples:

  • a fortress – Psalm 31:2; Psalm 91:2; Psalm 94:2; Zechariah 9:12
  • a strong tower – Psalm 61:2; Proverbs 18:10
  • stronghold – Psalm 9:9; Psalm 37:39; Joel 3:16
  • a hiding place – Psalm 32:7; Isaiah 4:6
  • a rock – Psalm 31:2
  • under his wings – Psalm 91:4; Psalm 61:4, 7
  • in his shadow – Psalm 91:1; Psalm 57:1
  • a refuge – 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 91:2

I wrote about having a safe place back in 2001 and posted on another website I host. I realise it’s as relevant to me today as it was back then:

Recently I’ve been reminded about the validity of having a safe place where one may retreat to take a breather from the stresses and strains of life. I was reminded of the safe place concept through my reading in a book about EMDR where a lady was taught to create a safe place inside where she could go to calm herself when intense feelings came up.

I was reminded that I’d come across this idea before. It is used in many kinds of therapy and has proved effective in providing respite from intense emotional pain. I’ve also seen the concept used in psychodramas.

The director of the psychodrama will often have the person who is dealing with intense trauma create a safe place somewhere in the room to which them may retreat during the weekend if their distress gets to be too much.

Recently during healing prayer ministry with one person I felt as though God reminded me about safe places in order to share it with them. This client had had two profound experiences with Jesus. The first occurred while this person was looking at the painful memory scene and feeling excluded, out of the picture. Jesus came picked the person up and held them in his arms – a sense of deep comfort and calm were immediate. The second again occurred while the person was looking at a painful memory scene and feeling the intensity of being unloved. Jesus appeared to the person on the cross. He showed his feet, his hands and his side and then told the person that he loved them – the effect again was immediate calm, and a strong sense of being loved. I had a sense that these two experiences were more than just for healing, God was also wanting to give the person a safe place to which to retreat any time they needed. Other places still had pain and weren’t yet safe. These two places are safe because Jesus is there and He has vaporised the lies which had held the person in deep pain. Jesus brought His peace – a lasting peace.
A safe place may be a secret place that is just between the person and God. It is symbolic rather than a real location, though for some there may be a real location. Folk I know have reported the following safe/secret places where they know God is and when they go He is always there for them: a beautiful garden, a castle, a cottage, a cave, a hollow tree, etc. The particular place is frequently meaningful to the person in some way and maybe invoking happy memories or beauty.

I have a safe place. God took me to it several years ago. It was deep in my imagination. I knew it had to be a God-thing as up till that time I had no imagination and found it hard to see pictures inside me. This place is very precious to me so excuse me if I don’t explicitly identify it here. Every time I go there I find God – sometimes it’s Jesus, sometimes Father, sometimes Holy Spirit, sometimes all three. In this place I experience no pain. It just disappears as I arrive, sometimes I leave the pain at the door, sometimes God washes me clean or picks the pain off me as if it were bits of straw or prickles poking into me. Here in this place He talks with me and I with Him – often there are no words but we talk nonetheless.

As a child I had a safe place. It was my bed which most nights I would turn into a boat (sort of like a tug-boat) by scrunching up the sheets and blankets all around me so that my boat had sides to keep me safe from the stormy and unsafe ocean of my life. In my imagination I would sail off to another place where it felt calm and safe. I have no idea how long I did this but I think it was over a significant period of time.

Last year (2000) God showed me that my present safe place is actually inside, in my spirit – that part of me where Satan cannot dwell because it’s where God Himself dwells. I can go and be there any time. It has been and is really helpful as I’ve been learning to listen more to God and pay attention to His perspective on what’s happening around and in me.

There’s a great little song that sums up something of the sentiment of the safe/secret place. In that place there is safety, rest and healing, and yet, there’s so much more. Our longings for God are stirred, our perspective is changed:

In the secret, in the quiet place, In the stillness You are there.
In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait.
Only you are there, only for You, ‘Cause I want to know you more.
I want to know You,
I want to hear Your voice.
I want to know You more,
I want to touch you,
I want to see your face,
I want to know You more.
I am reaching for the highest goal, that I might receive the prize.
Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside, out of my way
‘Cause I want to know you more.

Finally, I’m reminded of a saying I heard or read some years ago:

“Though I may tremble on the rock, the rock never trembles under me.”

Whatever our safe place, Jesus is there. The fantastic thing is that since Jesus is in us, in our spirit, our place of safety is there with him.

Copyright 2001-2016  Fran Woods

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Be still, be quiet…

We are living in a very chaotic world. Our senses are continuously assaulted by noise… whether the noise of traffic, machinery, radio, TV, or via our ear buds as we listen to the latest and greatest music. Our senses are also assaulted as we hear of natural disasters near and far, or by news of horrific terror attacks, or by hearing of the abuse of the many vulnerable in our communities. It is so very distressing. Oftentimes numbness descends as our only way of coping, and in some way to block out or minimise the senseless pain and suffering.

It is difficult to deal with.
It is tempting to think there is no hope.

However, there is…

Psalm 46:10 has a great word for us in this age in which we live even though written so long ago:

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Be still… know that God is still God. Nothing that happens today will change that. Listen for him.
Take heart!

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A Christmas thought

Jesus said of himself as he talked with Father God:

You have given him authority over everyone in all the earth. (John 17:2 NLT).

I find this a comfort and encouragement as I ponder world events. It has been very eventual these past couple of years. Terrorist attacks can occur at any time and in any place and be perpetrated by just a single individual or by a group. For many people fear and anxiety have become their daily fare as they watch the medias reporting of tragic events.

However, no matter what is happening out there, Jesus still has that authority over everyone, and the evil one cannot succeed in his plans or in any way thwart God’s plan.

Take heart, my friends. Read more of what Jesus prayed in John 17. There is much to encourage those who do know Jesus, and who live their lives consciously under his authority. For any who don’t as yet know him, the door is wide open for you to find your true home in his heart.

Finally, I have found John 14-17 to be just great. Jesus is talking about a lot of things here. Clearly, this world is not our home, and we can enjoy a relationship with Father God like Jesus did. Soak in these chapters. They are life changing and you will be blessed.

May you be blessed this Christmas as you worship the Christ.

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