Led to Christ by ISIS — A Lawyer’s Prayers

I pass along to you an amazing story by Yuliya Talmazan of NBC News about how ISIS is – inadvertently – leading Syrian Muslims to Christ. Praise God! “Four years have passed since the Islamic State group’s fighters were run out of Kobani, a strategic city on the Syrian-Turkish border [northeast of Aleppo], but the militants’ […]

via Led to Christ by ISIS — A Lawyer’s Prayers

This post by Anna Waldherr strengthens and encourages a community reeling and grieving from horrific bombings – three churches and three hotels targeting those celebrating the Easter message.

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not put it out.” John 1.5

 

 

 

 

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January slipped by … and I have grown

A full month of the new year has gone by.  Did I catch even a part of it as it slipped away…?

If I were count  my ‘productive days’ by the measure I used before, I am sure I would barely add up a handful of days when I accomplished everything I set out to do.

But today,  I somehow don’t feel like counting successful’ days by what I have achieved externally but rather by what I have become.   Sure, completing tasks that have been on my to do list for ages, does give a feeling of satisfaction, completeness, even fleeting joy. The wall that I was thinking of raising  to hide an unpleasant view has been completed.  How can I not feel content?  Car registration papers which the department had messed up finally sorted after 9 months of to and fro.  Real relief!  Pursued my love of clay by joining two programmes – one with restricted studio time, the other unlimited mucking around time.  Therapeutic fun.   Many other things got done too  including moving back on my own after being with my sister for six years,  so yes … last year as a whole was fairly productive.

It also had some real jolts – like me falling 12 ft off  a safari truck onto rock hard surface due to  sheer carelessness (a,k,a, stupidity.)   I should not have stood on the side bars to start with and then I was so engrossed in clicking, I stopped holding on.  The cosmos came to meet me as I fell backwards and my head bounced off bone dry ground,  My neck and spine felt separated from my body as I  lay inert, frozen, unable to move. As I slowly regained awareness, and kept whispering ‘Jesus help me‘ I thought the angels were calling me to enter into His presence,  but it was only the guide frantically urging me to get up and move – FAST – as  water buffaloes, disturbed by the commotion, were stampeding towards us.  Technically, I should not have moved until I was checked out, but given the urgency,  allowed them to move me in the best way they could before the buffaloes stamped my body-print in the earth. 

So …. 

“As I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen 
In meadows flowers and butterflies
In summers that have just been”

I realise that incredibly, I came out of that incident and the last year unscathed.  I could so easily have been a “has been” –  dead or crippled – but that was spared me.   Did it change me?  Perhaps it did.

Other incidents too have worked on me.   I tried to wish my friend in Jamaica on her birthday only to find out I was a tad too late.  She had succumbed to her cancer the previous week. That was quite a punch in the solar plexus or what ever it is that knocks you out. And then,  just when I  decided to make contact with seven or eight other colleagues  from my stint in Jamaica, I found that ALL were  ‘no longer around’.

They had not been in my life – though oft times in my thoughts these past 23 years since I left,  so why did I feel despondent, futile?   I guess it brought home to me how fleeting is this life that we try to hold onto and make something of with external goods and possessions without being mindful of the things that really matter.

My brother bought the house next door to mine and we had such joyous expectations.  Now, he is not even certain he will be residing here but is thinking of returning to Australia.  Another sinking feeling.  It is not even a permanent farewell but reminds you of the pain of severance which will come one day.  Life is evanescent . How much attention do we pay to the things that really matter? 

I used to measure what I achieved externally. Now I feel the need for a different measure. The measure of our inner dispositions, the love and joy we spread, the relationships that we build and foster, the care of the environment around us (people and nature)  and the journey – the route – by which we are arriving at our final and eternal destination.

And so Yes  … January has gone by.  It has been most productive for I believe I have grown.

(Tolkien’s poem which reflects my thoughts and from which I quoted earlier is given below . minus last verse for I am looking ahead to the rest of the journey not for the past to return.

“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

― J.R.R. Tolkien”