Thursday, December 31, 2009

Peace is... what you want it to be

“Finding our peace... each day, it’s mad.”

Peace is stillness, yet not devoid of activity—it rests in the thought of things achieved. Peace’s prerequisite is activity. We earn our rest then take it. Only fools relinquish their hard-earned peace for still more activity. We sow. We reap. Part of our reaping is peace.

Peace is emptying the mind of the burden, the spoil and the swarf of work, the lactic acid and cobwebs of a tired, redundant imagination.

Peace is hearing—being part of—the crashing white-noised waves at the beach. Purity of mind. A single accord.

Peace is looking all the way around. It is 360-degree-living.

Peace is learning to breathe again—yes, I really mean that. Breathing either reinforces or negates peace.

Peace is a movement into timelessness. No worries or concerns for where we might need to be or what we must do.

Peace is about learning, adapting, overcoming—those things that crowd in, threaten, and otherwise maim or destroy.

Peace is more of less. The fullness of lack. The lovely calm acceptance of nothing. Nothing to take, nothing to give.

Peace is abject neutrality. It has no thought to disrupt the status quo. It’s serenely and perfectly safe.

Peace is scarcely believing in the reality of time, for time has itself slowed, in keeping with peace.

Peace, taken further in, is a sacred place for the wise. Considered wise is the person who’s at true spiritual peace. Peace is an achievement.

Peace is truth. It can be no other way. Like the realm of virtue it stands unshaken by the hurrying winds and shifting sands of time.

Peace is gorgeous. It’s entirely what you want her to be.

Peace, finally, is knowledge and the Presence of God. It is his power all over us; his say and his will speaking through our being; our acts and omissions. God’s peace is wrought in humanity gracing itself with certitude, kindness, and joys of all genuine varieties.

Finding our peace—finding “my” peace, more aptly—has got to be about finding our individual essence. This is core to God. It’s his agenda. His plan. His ideas and schemes for our very selves.

Peace is simple. So simple we miss it over and over and over again. But, ‘no more,’ we say.

Courageously we take this simple opportunity to centralise on the only way to true peace. Our higher power. God.

Like our search for God, our search for peace will find it, eventually, provided we don’t accede to the mayhem in the meantime.

Are we willing to struggle for peace?

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

We Are More Than Conquerors...

“The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it.”

–Oswald Chambers.

The truth is, we’re restored by the love that sees us through all difficulties and trials in life—we are more than conquerors not in spite of these distresses, but in the midst of them. It’s because of them.

Just being there and surviving is enough for us to experience joy because we are capable, in Christ Jesus, to withstand the torrent of a life ambush, foundations intact (Matthew 7:24-27).

A thought for us on faith: life is never more inspirational than when we’re crowded in with our fears and hopelessness’s, yet we remain with an inexplicable hope, beyond even human understanding. Of course, this is via the blood of the Lamb—shed, yes, for us. That we would repent of our own self-sufficiency (a life excluding God) and face these torments with the confessing hope not known to anyone but the true Christ-lover.

The essence of Paul’s wonderful charge in Romans 8:37 is: the more that comes against us, the more we bear up and endure, the more God is glorified in and through us—but we don’t stop there.

It is God’s righteous wisdom that turns all our horrors and dire struggles and deep concerns—that joined with a smile within; a smile we can hardly manufacture, but we do—into heart-refining gold for the next part of the journey, and the next and so forth. And this is so others can benefit too.

When people and situations turn against us, we’re in a great position to allow the Spirit of God to fight that fight; we merely follow patiently and courageously in obedience, stepping out of the way where we must. And we hardly will believe how God will turn these plots that are against us to our very own salvation and glory—through him who loves us eternally.

We can now very easily see that nothing is actually against us; all is for us, in the name of the Lord Jesus. Joy upon sodden joy; what more is there? This is a victorious truth that holds us fast in the storms of life. It’s not a truth that only works sometimes for some people. It is universal if it’s applied in genuine faith.

We’re all potential surf-riders taking on Bells Beach, like in Point Break (1991). The larger the metaphorical wave—that which threatens our mental, emotional and spiritual stability; to our very lives—the more real is the spiritual blessing of God realised in actually riding ‘clean through it.’

If it weren’t for these struggles we would not know the hardened-bond strength of the love of God. How wonderful that thought is! It’s the very struggle that defines us!

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Planning a Successful 2010 – the Year of the Relationship

Successful living must necessarily be about getting our relationships right. This is about relating well with self, others, and ultimately, God (i.e. in time with the world, universe etc).

As the Facilitator of your life you need to wonder mentally what it is that ensures others are treated appropriately. How are they heard? How well are they catered for?

How well we relate with the others around us very much dictates how we relate with ourselves; whether we’re at peace or tormented and torn in conflict. Ultimately our tripartite relationships (self/others/God) are all mutually interdependent. They cannot be separated and are inextricably manifested in a way we cannot avoid in life.

So, what do we draw upon at year’s end as a catapult for New Year?

It’s got to be about the other person, excluding the self, so long as the self is propped up cogently by an all-graceful, all-sufficient God. We see in this a relationship with God who provides our needs, so we are able to spend more of ourselves on others.

This takes courage to do. Being abundantly tolerant, internally-calm, and exercising empathy for others, in authenticity, all require personal courage.

2009 was the Year of the Relationship. 2010 is no different. It’s more of the same. 2011 will be no different. The better our relationships function, and the more people feel “heard” by us, the more we attract peace for ourselves. We do this and God fills us. Not others; for they can’t.

The New Year’s Resolution is this: be there for others; once you’ve allowed God to be there for you. Be there for others: individuals and groups. With each person and each group important, the bearing of awareness becomes us. Awareness unto difference-making action.

And the M.O. toward our target is simple. We facilitate. We make things easier. We reduce the burden on others wherever we can.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

You’ll See – Indeed!

Walking home from late nights at the pub as a young man, I would often render this very disgruntled salutation: ‘You’ll see!’ I had the presence of faith and belief in myself, despite a disparaging time with so-called friends. They proved the making of me. And this is the motivating emotion that Susan Boyle, too, has drawn upon over her tumultuous months.

The chords and strains of Madonna’s song, powerfully rendered by Boyle on her debut album, shakes its collective fists at a deriding world—any lacking faith.

And faith’s the deal here. Yet, faith in this place, where? Try these words:

“All by myself... I don’t need anyone at all.”

This might inspire religious horror in some—for dependence on God is surely the only way. But don’t rest there. God blesses such an independence of self-found faith; an autonomy of spirit. To a point God expects it. Sure, we’re to depend on his all-sufficient grace and place our hopes in him, but a thriving faith is more dynamic than simply ‘resting in God,’ come what may.

Faith is a situationally-placed component of the good life. There are times when we charge ahead, knowing the way—Spirit-led we are. God has placed his Holy Spirit within us so we can take control over these situations. In times of strength we’d be lax to overly i.e. too meekly, rely on God’s Spirit. Imagine King David going into battle in submissive meekness.

At other dry and hopeless times—and we all have them—God’s all-attending grace pervades perfectly if only we let it. It’s a pretty simple equation. Different faith-responses to different situations.

Some of Boyle’s own words encapsulate exactly how I used to feel; you too might resonate:

“Doubt sows disbelief. This is about turning this around. This song is a kind of beacon. A way of keeping going. My productive anger. My way of getting rid of the labels which have been unfair.”

There’s a golden lesson here in fighting back against the injustices of life targeted at ourselves. Rather than attack the person or people affronting us, or the opposite—submitting and avoiding the issues setting up more bullying or ridiculing—we develop a stiff upper lip and get on with proving them wrong—without a word.

That’s faith personified. It’s a personal level of godly strength. Appropriately exercised, it’s a faithful use of God’s strength that can only make the Heavenly Father proud.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: Susan Boyle, “You’ll See,” (track 5) from I Dreamed a Dream – Compact Disc (Sony Music, 2009).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ebenezer – Stone of Help

“When asked if my cup is half-full or half-empty, my only response is that I am thankful I have a cup.”

—Sam Lefkowitz.

In the tradition of Samuel the prophet (in 1 Samuel 7) comes the time-honoured practice of placing a stone at a site of victory—an Ebenezer; the stone of help[1]—commemorating help received. It means, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.”[2]

Ebenezers don’t need to be stones so much. They’re anything that reminds us of the faithfulness of God in our tumults.

The final session of a wonderful four month series on rearing morally-sound children featured a warm couple who showed off their collection of ebenezers. Encased in a testimonial wooden box, this bunch of innocuous items—retrieved one-by-one—brought a tear to their eyes as they fondly reminisced over the times of God’s sweet deliverance.

The key to retaining joy in life is staying positive; and to be positive we need to consider meditatively i.e. habitually, the things in life that cause thankfulness—a deep-rooted gratitude. It is the very key to remaining positive, optimistic, buoyant, and yes, resilient.

When I’m least fearful, I have filled my life with golden treasures that remind me constantly of God’s grace, his Presence, mercy and faithfulness. When my spiritual spark has left me for a time, these golden treasures vanish from my conscious thinking.

Yet, these ebenezers are everywhere.

If we’re not yet creative enough to see them, we ought to reclaim them. They do exist in everyone’s life. Any person not doing so, and therefore choosing not to recover what they already have, could only truly be considered wantonly foolish.

But, situationally, we’re these.

We need to become more habitually aware of the ‘stones of help’ as they exist in our lives. The list is truly never ending. They’re the love of our lives. They’re the affirmative remnants of the battle-weary times we barely endured.

And then there’s the spiritual ebenezer. Stoic remembrances of happier times possibly. Hope of happy times to come also. The stone is a memory; anything we attach to our experience that helps us extract cognisance of God’s fullness in our comprehension.

Thankfulness of God’s resplendent helps in our lives... it bears much consideration—in obedience given and joy received.

Our eternal stone of help is surely the Cornerstone (Ps. 118:22 and Isa. 28:16 toward 1 Pet. 2:6-7).

He, Jesus, has taken us from the old Israel to the new.[3] The New Covenant—the overcoming Passover—that bears his name is borne in the fact of thanks for God’s thundering, life-impacting, humbling and sin-effacing grace.

And our chief Ebenezer? It is the holy Eucharist—remembrance epitomised in the tradition of our Ebenezer.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

[1] Dr. Gregory S. Neal, What’s an Ebenezer? Retrieved 28 December 2009.

[2] Ellen Vaughn, Radical Gratitude: Discovering Joy Through Everyday Thankfulness (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2005), p. 176. Vaughn is referencing directly 1 Samuel 7:7-17. She has a chapter in her book called, ‘Ebenezers Everywhere.’

[3] John R. Franke (Ed.) & Thomas C. Oden (Gen. Ed.), Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture – Old Testament IV (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press/Institute of Classical Christian Studies, 2005), p. 223. Citing Jerome and Augustine.

Still Too Much of Me/Others/the World

At this time of year, at each year’s close, I’m often reminded of a personal phenomenon that speaks to the heart of my personality—the planner, goal-setter, reflector. As a function of this introspection I often find it personally frustrating. I see a larger vision of God—with little old me in the context of that. I see my faults and my failings, but also what is ahead. It looks good, but not just now. There’s still too much of me, others and the world competing with my God-consciousness.

I’m then immediately reminded. John the Baptist said of Jesus’ initial coming:

“A person can receive only what is given from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.”

—John 3:27-30 (TNIV).

Jesus must become more; John less. That is the crux of what John is saying. And this is indicative also for us. God is to become more in our lives, and we (and our world) are to become less.

Not that we are less than ourselves; certainly not! For God came into our lives that we could be more with him than we could ever be for ourselves alone. Yet, we continually fight this life force of God which seeks for us—our own freedom—a freedom, however, that looks to threaten us—to take that freedom (of will) away. We’re deceived in this. And as such we miss the essence of what God’s got in store for us—in us, for us, but most importantly through us.

At this truth we arrive. Our freedom in God is not about what we want. It’s about what God wants. It’s about what God has come to give us, in his ways, at his appointed time. It’s our true and time-appointed destiny. We can only receive, for we have nothing (devoid of God) of worth to give.

When we finally realise we are the only “me’s” on this earth—God’s only human instruments of this time—we then see the eternal relevance of our lives, right now.

But, of ourselves, we’re almost nothing—just prideful, ignorant and arrogant, good for very little, corpses. God must use us. He must become more in our lives so we can be more for ourselves, for others, and the world at large.

Instead, we find the reverse is operative in life. We, personally, others and the world—in our consciousness—crowd out God’s Presence, truth and wisdom. It is all us; nothing of him.


We cannot take what we can only receive. We cannot force the pace. And we cannot predict what is coming. It’s never worked like that and it never will.

We, like John, are sent ahead of the Spirit of God in the context of others, in their pre-God consciousness. We’re emanations of his Spirit. We lead others with our light to the Light of the World, Jesus our Lord. It is inherent to our purpose.

And we have John’s joy, if we receive what heaven has for us, truly. But, this is only ever a moment-by-moment choice of will submission, of waiting on the Spirit; of trust... unto obedience.

Musing about these things, in the context of a mini-season of reflection, brings me to the fresh realisation that I am so spiritually needy. And not only that—the reason; we were always designed to live after God.

It reminds us of the most necessary Shema; the rendering of the Mosaic command for life in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. No wonder there is still too much of me.

When we’re not living the Shema, we’re not in the position or mood to receive from God. He turns his face not toward us.

We need more of God in our consciousness; less of us and others and a foreign world—all which entice us toward something that is less than our destiny.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: My thanks for the ministry of Pastors Sue Ludemann and Steve Ingram, amongst my own thoughts, for this offering.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avatar’s Spirituality – Paradoxes When the Cupeth Runneth Over

“It is hard to fill a cup that is already full.”

Mo’at (played by CCH Pounder) in Avatar (2009).

The mother of Neytiri in James Cameron’s Avatar, Mo’at, is the Tsahik (Righteous One, shaman or spiritual teacher) of the Omaticaya clan (the Na’vi). In the quote above upon meeting him in avatar form, she notes as others in the clan do, the overweening arrogant pride in Sam Worthington’s character, Jake Sully. And this is fundamental.

Human pride of conquest and Na’vi humility are divergently central to the plot of Avatar.

It is fascinating then how this film turns the viewer against their very own kind—the human race—by virtue of the fact that arrogant, ignorant pride is repugnant everywhere. We just can’t stand to see someone whose cup runneth over in selfish conquest; the know-it-all inability to learn; the arrogance of my-way-or-the-highway.

We’d normally expect to see aspersions to the ‘cuppeth runneth over’ phrase in the opposite genre—that of the spiritual phenomenon of being filled internally, though externally sourced i.e. not of ourselves, but of God—the inspiration of the Spirit.

The plot of Avatar effectively remedies the Jake Sully character kinks as he proves that his cup has indeed room for filling with the Na’vi’s traditions, skills and practices. Learning is central.

And it is hence a key tenet of the spiritually humble life—that ability to learn. Jake’s interest to the Na’vi was his heart. He has unprecedented heart. It is enough to ensure his ‘insanity [of spiritual pride] could be cured.’

And the fact that a vast majority would like to deny is this:

We naturally gravitate to the spiritual when our positive emotions[1] are keyed in. And we are creatures of emotion. This can be said definitively because our whole world intuits emotions—look at the things we worship. Everyone worships something/s.

The Na’vi (per Indigenous tradition) are incredibly spiritual, sharing a connectedness hard to describe. The sehalo bonds they establish with the creatures and the environment on Pandora prove this connectedness—a connectedness that implies interdependence i.e. the rejection of the cup running over due to sinful pride.

It’s interdependence that defines our togetherness, our teamwork; our collective contributions to the whole, which is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

The spiritual principle of Avatar is one of the basic principles of life. For the uninitiated it presents a pride-humility continuum, a paradox of humungous proportions.

When our cupeth runneth over, a vast world of difference is created, for at one end of the scale we can be detested; at the other, admired, set apart and honoured. One end, pride—the other, humility. At one end, there’s nothing to be learned—we know it all. At the other, something can be learned everywhere, in every situation.

Who could not simply admire the latter, the consummately humble person, the learner?

The character trait of humility—in order to learn, to aspire, to achieve, to honour—is inherent to the Indigenous peoples around the world and it is admired by the all due to the code of life it represents.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

[1] By ‘positive emotions’ I mean those devoid of selfishness.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Concept of Newness

EVER BEEN sick and tired of being sick and tired? Embracing the world is the quickest, most obvious way of denying the “I AM” in us. Welcome, at last, to the world of ‘your own being.’ Newness is a concept of embracing that thing you possibly hardly know—yet is there anyway—and has always been. The true “you.”

Do you think it’s possible to be robbed of your inner essence before even being born?

As the babe breaks clear of the latticed edges of the womb, it becomes known to a world that hardly knows itself and has scarcely little to offer it. This is a true paradox. Will the newly-sprung mother or father deny the fact that they’ll get lots wrong? Of course, we know they’ll generally get enough right not to compromise the life of the baby.

As an adult you’d have to agree there’s much of life that really doesn’t make any sense at all. Like, why must I work at a place where I loathe my boss? Or, why is it I feel depressed, ambitious, afraid, hopeless or like a black sheep? And why is life such a struggle all the time?

The cause of our problems is, however, so obvious it’s continually smacking us about the face. We’re entrenched to the world, our desires and the devil behind it all.

We get depressed because our expectations cannot possibly meet with the world’s. We’re ambitious and want promotion and “success” but we don’t know why. The promotion only brings another form of misery, but with more money and perks. We’re afraid at all sorts of levels from phobias to those unexplained anxieties—some of which have become so “us” we’re hardly even aware of them anymore. They hinder and control when they shouldn’t.

Hopelessness is a dear friend who visits quite regularly, upon which his cousin denial often breaks in five minutes later. Then a third person joins the festivities of the saddened soul—it’s something from the inauthentic world like a drink or a drug, food or television (usually both together), expensive toys, cosmetic surgery, retail therapy, clothing, video games and any other thing that takes our mind away from that painful stimuli of the truth barely dealt with.

The world cannot satisfy.

We’re missing something. Those who are true to themselves will not only know this, they’ll be doing something about it, even now. (Do you feel that call in your heart of hearts?)

Newness is a concept of embracing the true “you” that was founded before you were born—its source is in God and it can be no other way. You cannot get to be “you” without coming to be with God.

That’s (possibly) the ugly part out of the way.

The good part is this. Our lives are actually really very simple. Only we’ve made it complicated by going only the obvious ways forward. It’s time to outwit the world and climb out of the maze a different way; a way that aligns with our genuinely own understanding—an understanding we’re at times not even aware of yet.

Knowing Jesus is knowing God. It’s as simple as picking up the gospel of Mark or John and devoting one quiet hour to exploring what God came to give you. The only priceless thing that’s entirely free, notwithstanding your will.

Will is, and always has been (and always will be), the central source of your problems and struggles.

Newness is yours any time you want it. Take it. It’s yours, free.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Pressures of Christmas

SEX is said to be one thing that speaks volumes of a couple’s relationship. Good sex is generally had in a good, stable, loving relationship—poor sex, on the other hand, merely compounds what’s already wrong. Bad goes to worse. The same can be said for Christmas. It seems to highlight obvious family dysfunctions. It brings high highs or low lows and never the twain shall meet!

We’ve all got it, let’s face it. Family dysfunction, that is. There’s not a family on the face of the globe that can say they’re perfectly well-adjusted and never have conflict.

Christmas brings with it so many extra, loaded pressures… presents to buy, wrap and display, cards to send, functions to host or attend, people to please (including people we don’t like—some even in the family!), add to this a blowing of diets and the consumption of alcohol etc, and not to mention the hype of (a Christ-less) Christmas.

No wonder people are spent, worried, stressed and annoyed by it all at times. No wonder it exhausts us!

Yet, this is a sombre subject. Surely no one wants to truly admit how awful life is? But for some, indeed many, Christmas can reinforce what is actually wrong with life and their relationships.

Recently one of the free-to-air channels on television screened a movie called, Christmas with the Kranks (2004), and it featured a couple who decide to skip Christmas. It’s actually quite a weak movie, though the cast is star-studded. But, it gives voice to the vast amount of people who are exhausted (and daunted) by the pomp-and-ceremony of it all.

But, aren’t we missing something? What about the people in the world who know a different sort of pressure—not a pressure of excess, but a pressure of lack; a pressure of missing out. And then there are the people who suffer tragedy during the Christmas season. Death doesn’t stop for Christmas. There are those too who are in recovery mode. It won’t be a special Christmas for them.

It pays for us to consider the other “silent” side of Christmas. This is the side we never get to hear about, but is there anyway.

For just a moment, we could pay a moment’s silence or do something else solemn to remember those who are not so joyful, at peace or abundantly materially blessed. Better still, we could do something to offer them comfort, not simply at Christmas time, but all through the year.

After all, Christ—our example, was all for the poor, down-trodden, maimed, hungry and thirsty. Have we perhaps skewed, just slightly, the true message and meaning of Christmas?

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

Charity Begins at Home

It might be well-worn cliché but as I poked my last 45 cents into a Good Samaritans collection tin recently I suddenly realised a personal measure of joy I’d not noticed in a while. There was something in the smile of the person collecting my measly sum that made the transaction special.

And as I walked into the shopping mall I continued to be intrigued by this moment’s interaction—there was something mysteriously spiritual about it.

I thought about this transaction of love—a thing of so much more worth than every charity dollar, though perhaps not as tangible.

I find that when I pass up the chance to be kind and generous I often walk away loathing myself—at a deeper than conscious level. This then sort of contributes to my ‘miserability quotient.’ Yet, when I instinctively feel generous and give all I have it brings this spiritual magic into my heart, certainly as gauged by my interaction with the Good Samaritans collector.

Then, later, I reflected again. There was something that I’d missed in my initial reflecting over this earlier moment. As I hurriedly shoved those 45 cents (in five and ten cent pieces) into the tin, one of those five cent pieces dropped at the collector’s feet. We both instinctively bent down to grab the errant coin, but the collector let me get it. I actually felt even more generous for having saved him from the effort bending down himself. And he, as a result, seemed doubly grateful.

This very little event had a big impact on me. It helped me realise that charity does indeed begin at home, with our neighbours and friends, as well as our family.

“Home,” after all, is a place amongst everyone we live with. We have a much broader familial context. It’s beyond choice. Our home—charity-wise—is planet earth. And any act of giving cuts it, and especially when we give to those who’re truly grateful.

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

A Sign is Given – Immanuel, God With Us

Signs and wonders are the stuff of the Bible, though unbelieving persons will never believe. Unbelieving King Ahaz wouldn’t believe, even after God spoke with him. Then Isaiah, the prophet, prophesied about the far fulfilment, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth:

“Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of human beings? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

—Isaiah 7:13-14 (TNIV).

To all the unbelieving Ahaz’s out there—kings and queens of their own time and nobody else’s—our Father God did come through and send his Son to live with us—God with us—in order for a great many things to occur, not the least of which was to underscore the importance of relationship with a living God.

For God lived and breathed and walked and talked with us. Later he died a cursed person’s death—the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)—yet was resurrected and ascended, eventually (after about forty days of post-resurrection life [Acts 1:3]—many of whom witnessed this), to be with the Father in heaven, and with us again and continually via the Holy Spirit, which lives in us born-again believers, even now.

And every believer can testify to the difference the Holy Spirit makes; to have an existential, living, breathing relationship with the living God—One who is never conquered.

This is not a one-way relationship where God dictates or where we design our very own god to our particular liking, like many unbelievers are tempted to do. It is two-way. For God has shown us how to believe; and it is for our own benefit, not his. And we can now reap abundantly the blessings of relationship with the Creator and Mastermind of all things.

Truly the best thing about being genuinely Christian is the victory beyond ourselves. In the words of Spirit-inspired Isaiah, the enemies of God are told:

“Devise your strategy, but it will be thwarted;

propose your plan, but it will not stand,

for God is with us.”

—Isaiah 8:10 (TNIV).

God is with us. Where God is for us, who could be against us? And because God is with us—yes, even now—and I know he is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can human beings do to me? (Psalm 118:6)

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.