A recent study found record levels of plastic pollution in the Arctic.
Discarded plastic seems to be getting everywhere, even in the Arctic Ocean.
We can't seem to do without plastic in so many aspects of our life. But when the first use is over, what then? We try to dispose of it responsibly, maybe in the recycling bin. A few uncaring people will just throw it out of the car window, so that the verges get littered and wildlife gets adversely affected, injured or even killed by it. Much ends up in the sea, blown by the wind, carried by streams and rivers. There it accumulates, a legacy of our carelessness.
So, what has plastic to do with this blog? The answer lies in taking things for granted and not seeing or understanding the whole world picture.
This Easter many chocolate eggs were purchased and enjoyed. The packaging, much of it plastic, becomes an unwanted item. Many ladies received flowers or plants, attractively wrapped or contained in plastic. We enjoyed the gifts, but had no use for the wrappings. Two sides of a wider picture.
All this made me wonder about the packaging of our thoughts, words and actions. You ask: what can such packaging be? It's unseen; our thoughts are wrapped tightly by our motives and emotions. Our thoughts influence our words and behaviour.
Just as plastic is getting to the very heart of our environment, so our motives and emotions are part of our hearts (our innermost beings). I wonder how many of my words and actions are products of my inner self? What are my deepest motivations that colour and package who I am and how I'm perceived by others? But if it were possible to strip away the outer cover of my heart, what would the real me look like?
Big questions for each of us. Let's try to be aware as much as is possible of out masks and motivations and become the gems of love that Jesus calls us to be, not only to those we love but to all around us.including the outcasts and unlovely in our communities. It's a big challenge for all Christians, that's each one of us.
21st March 2018
Occasionally I notice a person with a guide dog. This dog with special training and abilities will lead the one with impaired vision safely through all the obstacles of a busy street or a quiet country path.
I've heard several times from visually challenged people how their guide dog has brought them new life and immensely greater opportunities to enter into life more fully.
These wonderfully clever and intelligent support dogs go through months of training and then are carefully matched to the exact needs and personality of their sight impaired partner. They work as a team as if they were one integrated whole.
In our Christian lives we do not have 20/20 perfect spiritual vision. Yes we have the word of God, the scriptures, to guide us. However we need much more direct guidance moment by moment, day by day, if we are to live as the Lord desires for our individual lives.
Who is our spiritual 'guide dog' in this alien world where we find the true Christian way partly obscured from our sight and often our very limited comprehension? Of course it is the Holy Spirit residing within our innermost being.
What good is a guide dog if the person leaves home ignoring their dog sat at home? They open themselves to great danger.
How can the Holy Spirit guide our steps if we forget His presence or even ignore His promptings and directions? We put ourselves in danger too.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to reside in our hearts, our innermost being, to guide us through our Christian lives. If we don't allow the Spirit to help us and direct our steps, we're like the partially sighted person who walks out without their guide dog. Walking alone with limited vision and in danger of losing our way.
Let us be sensitive to the Holy Spirit within us, guiding, speaking, correcting and even convicting us of any sinful thoughts or deeds. As we open our lives to His guidance we will find the power to live lives pleasing to the Lord and we will be used by Him in greater measure. There is joy in serving Jesus!
18th February 2018
I WISH I HADN'T SAID THAT!
The other day I responded to a friend's comment too quickly without stopping to really listen to their deeper need, which was the actual reason for their comment. As soon as the words of my hasty response left my lips I wished I could retract them - but too late.
How often do we say things before we think about their effects? How often do we say things that arise from our self interest instead of the welfare of others? How often do we say things that condone or encourage thoughts and actions contrary to our Christian foundations?
I'm not immune to these lapses, it's all a part of our human nature. In today's modern culture speed is of the essence, and the pressure to respond fast to happenings, comments or questions is massive. But it need not be so.
The Psalmist made a vital request to God in Psalm 141 v3-4 (Contemporary English Version):-
Help me to guard my words whenever I say something. Don't let me want to do evil or waste my time doing wrong with wicked people. Don't let me even taste the good things they offer.
These verses, and others like them in the New Testament, go to the heart of our characters and deeper motives. These are frequently betrayed by our hasty words spoken without forethought. Rarely is a 'knee-jerk reaction' a right or acceptable response.
Over many years I've learned through experience to stop when feeling anger or hurt and keep quiet until the immediate feelings have subsided. Only then can a measured and appropriate response be formulated with thought and even compassion towards the other party.
Frequently a calm or understanding word can defuse a difficult or confrontational situation. Anger erupts in thoughtless hasty words and inflames conflict. But in the quietness, love and compassion can overcome anger or hurt. Then the words of calm and peace can prove that the love of God reigns in our hearts.
Let there be love shared among us
Let there be love in our eyes
May now Your love sweep this nation.
Cause us oh Lord to arise
Give us a fresh understanding
Of brotherly love that is real,
Let there be love shared among us,
Let there be love
(By Dave Bilborough)
Jas 3:5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
Let our words be gentle and kind and display the love of God