Listening to stories

During COVID-19 our business slowed down, so Ken and I took the opportunity to learn some new skills, specifically in relation to video recording. A week ago Ken told me about a one month challenge he was going to do with a group Live Streaming Pros, about telling stories and listening to stories.

The 31 Day Challenge

The challenge, 31 Days to being Youniquely you on camera, involves doing a live stream to a private Facebook group, speaking to a question/topic provided by Live Streaming Pros. For example, ‘What is holding you back?’

One of the important aspects of the group is the giving and receiving of encouragement to other group members, of which there is 543 globally. It is a fascinating environment with plenty of stories to listen to. There are lots of Christians in the group, learning how to tell their stories in a more effective way. Actually that’s why I decided to join Ken in this challenge, to improve my communication skills on video so I can more effectively share stories about Jesus.

However the other morning after I had completed a live stream, I was doing the dishes (because the mundane activities of life have to be done!) and was thinking about how interesting it was listening to people learning how to share their faith and their dreams etc in this group. And I felt God say to me, “I want you to listen to the other stories too and learn from them.”

Listen to the other stories

By ‘Other stories’ I knew God was referring to the people in the group who were obviously from other cultures and religions – remember this group has 543 people from all over the world who want to tell their stories more effectively, mostly with the goal of helping others.

This instruction from God about listening to the stories and learning from them, reminded me of recent messages I had heard at church in relation to The Stolen Generation (Donna Meehan) and Gender-related issues. How easy is it to only listen to the things that make us feel comfortable, rather than the stories that challenge our thinking and hopefully our actions.

So my response to God was, “Okay God, I will listen to the other stories too. Give me insight to hear what is being said and understand more about people. Please help me to listen with my heart.

Of course this ‘listening’ doesn’t only apply to the videos in the lifestreaming group, it applies to all areas of our lives.

Listening to my children

As a mum I haven’t always been a good listener, either because I have been too busy to listen, or I have already made assumptions about what I would hear from the mouth of my child, or about the scenario that has played out.

Over the years though I have learned that when I hear the words, ‘Mum’ it is best to stop and completely shift my attention to the person. Even if sometimes only to say, ‘I will just finish this job and then I can speak with you.’ Of course I am not perfect at this and sometimes its a couple of hours until I ‘finish the job!’ But most times I do try to respond with that initial acknowledgement.

Stopping making assumptions has been a little bit more challenging for me, especially as the children grow and change. Sometimes after my ‘assumption response’ they have had had to say to me, ‘Mum, I’m not like that anymore. I don’t do that now.’ And I’ve had to say sorry, and make a mental note to myself that they have changed. We can all be better listeners, especially with those closest to us.

But who is going to listen to me?

On the flipside, have you ever felt like, ‘Who is listening to me? I am listening to my husband, my children, etc, but who is taking time to listen to me?’

There is One who is always available to listen to us, and doesn’t make assumptions about what we are going to say. Yes, He knows us completely, but He listens graciously and loves us unconditionally.

Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
And you know all the words I’m about to speak
before I even start a sentence!
You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.

Psalm 139:1-4 TPT

How wonderful is it to know that. Before I go to sleep I can chat with Him, leave my concerns with Him …

Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 TPT

When I wake up I can ask Him for direction for the day …

Show me Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.

Psalm 25:4-5 NKJV

And then the onus is on me again – to listen to God’s teaching and instructions.

God, please help us to listen well

I wonder how much have we missed about life and people because we haven’t listened properly? At home? At school? At work? At church? In social settings? Are we listening to stories people want or need to tell us?

Let’s ask God today to help us to listen well, listen with our heart (bypassing all the assumptions), and listen for the actions God wants us to take in response to what we hear.

Looking for more encouragement?

Are you looking for more resources to help you draw closer to God, please check out my other blog posts and podcasts.

If you have struggling to trust God with something or someone in your life, my latest ebook may be of help to you, Choosing to trust God. It’s a short summary (only 18 pages!) of what God has been teaching me over the past 10 years about moving from a place of fear to faith. It is now available on Amazon for only $4.64.

Choosing to trust God By Wendy Robinson

Are you a praying person?

Are you a praying person? If not, perhaps today is a great day to start. Keep reading and hopefully, if I’ve communicated well, you will learn a little about prayer.

If yes, then I really want to encourage you that prayer matters. But remember, the ‘how’, ‘when’, ‘where’ of prayer doesn’t matter. Any-way, any-where and any-time is suitable for praying. Even the ‘why’ doesn’t really matter, as God sees our heart. He knows our motives and will respond accordingly. God is gracious. But the ‘who’ does matter. Who are you praying to? John 14:6 tells us that we are to connect with God the Father, through Jesus Christ, his Son.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 NIV

Hence we pray, ‘In Jesus Name.’

So a few thoughts on prayer …

Praying for our nation

Now is the time to pray for our country, if you haven’t been already. There is so much need, and so many hurting people, what do we pray for? Protection? Provision? Forgiveness?

Yes, all of those things, and perhaps a prayer for everyone in this nation to have greater revelation of God’s great love for them, because remember the Bible says,

Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us. 1 John 4:19 TPT

Imagine what our country would be like if we all loved each other as God loves us.

To help me pray for our nation, I have set up a music playlist ‘City and Country’. It includes

God of this city (Chris Tomlin)
Good Grace (Hillsong United)
Revival’s in the air (Bethel Music & Melissa Helser)
Here is as in Heaven (Elevation Worship)
The Blessing Australia (Churches UNITE to sing the blessing over Australia)

Pray for our Governments

A little story… since March 2020 when COVID-19 started to impact more and more on our life in Australia, I began my day with praying for our Prime Minister. Praying for things like wisdom, protection and rest. Then one morning God said to me, ‘Why aren’t you praying like that for your husband?’ So now, I pray those things for Ken, and then our Prime Minister and State Premiers.

But back to God’s word and what it says about praying for our governments…

1 Timothy 2:1, in the NIV says,

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1 NIV

The following verse then tells us that it is pleasing to God when we pray for people in authority. Here is The Passion Translation …

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. It is pleasing to our Saviour-God to pray for them. He longs for everyone to embrace his life and return to the full knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 TPT

Yes, God wants hearts to return to Him and His truth.

Praying for our Christian brothers and sisters

We can also be praying for our Christian brothers and sisters. The Apostle Paul is a great example of praying regularly for those who love Jesus. We know this by what he writes in his letters. Here are a couple of examples.

God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son. Romans 1:9 NLT

Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called – his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. Ephesians 1:15-19 NLT

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! If the Holy Spirit prompts you to pray for someone and you don’t know where to begin, perhaps Paul’s prayer is a good starting place!

With some churches still unable to practically meet for ‘normal’ Sunday services due to COVID-19, it is important that we pray for each other, encourage each other and keep finding ways to stay connected, just as Ephesians 6:18 reminds us.

In the same way, prayer is essential in the ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:18 The Message

Another little story … when our lifegroup (homegroup) meetings had to transition to online due to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the Holy Spirit prompted me to invite a friend from church, who wasn’t currently in a lifegroup, to join us. She doesn’t live close to us, and it was too far for her to come to our home each fortnight for the meeting. However, the establishment of the online lifegroup provided an opportunity for her to join and connect regularly with other women from church. Now as the social distancing restrictions have eased we are using a hybird approach with both face to face and zoom meetings (as I am sure many other groups are too) so she, and others who are unable to physically attend, can be at the meeting. That’s our God – always working things out for good.

So let’s be asking God to show us ways to keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out, especially in these interesting times!

Praying for yourself

There comes a time in life when we realise we can’t do this life well alone. We need help, someone bigger than ourselves and our world. I recently watched the movies of the true story of Louis Zamperini in Unbroken and Unbroken – the path to redemption. They were a great reminder of this truth.

I remember the day when I had that revelation, almost 24 years ago. And most days since, probably at least once a day, these words have come from my lips, ‘God I need your help’ for many different reasons, including relationships, finances, health and peace.

We need to be honest in our prayers and ask God for His help. Because of Jesus, we have direct access to God, our Heavenly Father. Hebrews 4:16 says,

Let us therefore come boldy to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in the time of need. Hebrews 4:16 NKVJ

The Psalms are full of examples of David telling God how he feels, oscilating between fear and faith, and acknowledging where his help comes from. Here is one of my favourites, Psalm 121:1-2

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength come from GOD, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. Psalm 121:1-2 The Message.

So if you are wondering if God really understands how you are feeling, I suggest that you take some quiet time to read through the Psalms. There will be at least one Psalm that will reasonates with you. If you are wondering where to start, here is a helpful resource from Jennifer Rothschild, Four Psalms to pray when you need God’s help.

And remember, Jesus is praying for you!

Always remember, just as we are praying for others, there are people who are praying for us! And that includes Jesus. Romans 8:34 tells us,

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, who was raised – who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:34 ESV

Yes, Jesus is interceding for you and me. The Passion Translation says it this way,

“Who then is left to condemn us? Certainly not Jesus, the Anointed One! For he gave his life for us, and even more than that, he has conquered death and is now risen, exalted, and enthroned by God at his right hand. So how could he possibly condemn us since he is continually praying for our triumph? Romans 8:34 TPT

What a glorious thought, Jesus is praying for our triumph!

The Holy Spirit is also praying for us, as The Passion Translation’s footnote for Romans 8:34 reminds us …

Not only does the Holy Spirit pray for us, so does Jesus Christ. Two divine intercessors are praying for you each day. Two-thirds of the Trinity are actively engaged in intercession for us. This is typified by the incident of Moses interceding on the mountain for Israel’s victory with one hand held high by Aaron (the high priest, a type of Jesus, our High Priest) and Hur (or “light,” a metaphor for the Holy Spirit, who prays with divine illumination for our good). See Ex. 17:9-13Heb. 7:259:24.

Are you feeling encouraged? I sure am.

Are you a praying person?

So I’ll ask again, ‘Are you a praying person?’

If not, perhaps today is a great day to start. Begin by saying hello to Jesus and telling Him how you are feeling, and asking for His help.

If yes, you know that there is no shortage of situations and people to pray for, so let’s continue to pray feverently and be expectant that our God will answer.

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 The Voice

Looking for more encouragement?

Are you looking for more resources to help you draw closer to God, please check out my other blog posts and podcasts.

If you have struggling to trust God with something or someone in your life, my latest ebook may be of help to you, Choosing to trust God. It’s a short summary (only 18 pages!) of what God has been teaching me over the past 10 years about moving from a place of fear to faith. It is now available on Amazon for only $4.64.

Choosing to trust God By Wendy Robinson

The patience journey

When do you get impatient? I remember years ago someone saying that you know when you are in a hurry when you put a frozen meal in the microwave, turn it on, and then get impatient because it takes 4 minutes to defrost and cook a meal. When I heard that I gained some insight into myself!!!! Yes, it seems like I’m continually on the patience journey.

I wonder if we did a little stock-take of our patience levels for one week what the results would show. For me I’m sure there would be some impatient moments related to technology, my husband and our children. Although by the grace of God, thankfully not as many as there used to be! If we let Him, God will continually transform us.

But the moment one turns to the Lord with an open heart, the veil is lifted and they see. Now, the “Lord” I’m referring to is the Holy Spirit, and wherever he is Lord, there is freedom.

We can draw close to him with the veil removed from our faces. And with no veil we all become like mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus. We are being transfigured into his very image as we move from one brighter level of glory to another. And this glorious transfiguration comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 TPT

The Holy Spirit

The New King James Version says it this way,

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed in to the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV

On this patience journey, there has been one scripture that the Holy Spirit often leads me to when I can feel myself getting frustrated and feeling like I want to step in and take control …

So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6 NKJV

This scripture always stops in me my tracks.

And I am reminded of a situation a few years ago with an organisation I am connected with, where there was a lot of might and power happening, it was very ugly. After months the situation was resolved, not by the might and power, but by the Spirit.

And I am reminded of situations in our family, where using my own resources and wisdom (my might and power) I have tried and tried and tried to resolve issues. But then one day, by the Spirit, change comes and the issue is resolved.

Developing patience

In this season with three teenagers and one pre-teen, patience is certainly a virtue, and one I am relying on the Holy Spirit to develop more within me.

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. Galatians 5:22-23 TPT

Mary, the mother of Jesus

As a parent, I want patience that endures. I was thinking of a couple of parents we read about in the Scriptures, such as Mary the mother of Jesus. She knew before she became pregnant that the child she was carrying was the Son of God.

But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear; Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift. You will become pregnant with a baby boy, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be supreme and will be known as the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God will enthrone him as King on his ancestor David’s throne. He will reign as King of Israel forever, and his reign will have no limit.” Luke 1:30-33 TPT

How patient would Mary have been, knowing that her son had this future ahead of Him, but having to wait on God’s perfect timing. I’m sure I would have had many moments of impatience and frustration thinking, “Why don’t you just get on with it and do your job now!”

God’s timing

We know from John 2, that eventually Mary does ask Jesus to do a public miracle when the wine runs out at the wedding in Cana.

And when Mary realised it, she came to him and asked, “They have no wine, can’t you do something about it?’ John 2:3 TPT

The footnote from The Passion Translation says, “This is a dilemma that Mary is hoping Jesus will solve by performing a miracle. Mary has no doubt about the power and anointing of her Son.

The story goes on …

Jesus replied, “My dear one, don’t you understand that if I do this, it won’t change anything for you, but it will change everything for me! My hour of unveiling my power has not yet come.” John 2:4 TPT

Again, lets read the footnote from The Passion Translation, “For Mary, it will change her very little, but for Jesus, this will be his first public miracle and will dramatically change his ministry from this moment on as the crowds see the power he possesses. Jesus knows his miracle ministry will “come out of hiding” by performing a miracle. Yet with Mary’s encouragement, Jesus proceeds to do just that.”

God knows all the implications

There is so much for us to learn from that story. In relation to patience it shows how important it is that we gain understanding that God’s timing is perfect. He has the full picture, and knows all the implications for everyone involved.

For me as a mum I am always learning that God is at work in our children’s lives, even when I can’t see the physical outworking. Not by my might or my power, but by His Spirit, the transformation is happening. My role is to love and encourage – often with no words, just actions, and sometimes no actions either, but just interceding for them in prayer.

The father of the Prodigal Son

Another story in Scripture that came to mind is the parable Jesus told about the prodigal son. I wonder how long the son was away from home, and how often the father thought to himself, “Come on son, why don’t you just come home!”

But the father knew the son had to make his own decision to return home. It was another ‘not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit’ time.

I found this commentary from Oosterzee, regarding the father …
“The father has, however, been indirectly working for his recovery, by allowing him to bear all the consequences of his transgressions; he has, besides, been waiting patiently, and keeping both his heart and his house open to him.”

Theological and Homiletical Commentary on the Gospel of St Luke, Volume 2. Johannes Jacobus van Oosterzee, edited by Johann Peter Lange and translated by Sophia Taylor. Edinburgh, 1867.

The father in the parable is just like our Father in Heaven, who keeps His heart and house open to us. He allows us to make our own decision to return to Him, first through salvation, and then each day as we continually yield to Him in different areas of our lives. God is love, and love is patient.

Love is …

I’m sure you know this scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, often read at weddings (how interesting that Jesus did His first public miracle at a wedding, an event celebrating love) …

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honour. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, it never gives up. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 TPT

When I read this scripture and think about God, these are all the qualities I picture in Him. And these are the qualities He wants to develop in us, including patience, not by our might, not by our power, but by His Spirit.

And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognised as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 The Message

The patience journey, only made truly possible when walking in His Spirit. Let’s walk that way today.

Looking for more encouragement?

If you are looking for more resources to help you draw closer to God, please check out my other blog posts and podcasts.

If you have struggling to trust God with something or someone in your life, my latest ebook may be of help to you, Choosing to trust God. It’s a short summary (only 18 pages!) of what God has been teaching me over the past 10 years about moving from a place of fear to faith. It is now available on Amazon for only $4.64.

Choosing to trust God By Wendy Robinson

Love and disappointment

Earlier this week I was having a conversation with one of our children and she said to me, “Mum, they just need to know that God loves them.”

God’s love for us

God’s love. It’s freely available for you and me. It is the love that doesn’t come with strings attached. It doesn’t change depending on what you do or don’t do. It doesn’t stop and start depending on how God feels. It is complete and forever love.

It’s available to us because of what Jesus did for us. It is comes to us via the Holy Spirit.

And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us! For when the time was right, the Anointed One came and died to demonstrate his love for sinners who were entirely helpless, weak, and powerless to save themselves. Romans 5:5-6 TPT

Derek Prince, in his book, The Flow of Divine Love, says,

“Hope, or love, is never disappointed when it is fixed in God because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts – the totality of God’s love. God withholds nothing. He just turns the bucket upside down and pours out the whole thing when He gives us the Holy Spirit.” page 39

Disappointment abounds

There are so many things in our lives that cause disappointment. We can be disappointed in ourselves – our reactions, our choices and our inability to change (probably because we are trying to change in our strength, without letting God lead the transformation). We can be disappointed in other people – their reactions, their choices, and their inability to change! Oh yes, many opportunities for disappointment to set in.

God’s love abounds more

But when we get a revelation of God’s love for us…

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. John 3:16 The Message

His grace given to us …. that is sufficient for every situation

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

His mercy available to us … as an on-going daily gift

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

Yes, when we have that revelation of God’s love, grace and mercy, then we can process disappointment in ourselves well.

God’s love for us does not change

The more we understand that God’s love for us does not change, we are able to have authentic conversations with Him, hear His guidance for our lives and act on that advice as best we can. His still small voice oozes love for us, and our acceptance of that love, helps us to better love ourselves, and ultimately move from that place of disappointment.

And when we get that revelation that God loves everyone in the same way – unconditionally, and that His grace and mercy is available for everyone, then it becomes easier for us to process our disappointment with other people. We are all sinners.

For we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. Yet through his powerful declaration of acquittal, God freely gives away his righteousness. His gift of love and favor now cascades over us, all because Jesus, the Anointed One, has liberated us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin! Romans 3:23-24 TPT

God’s love enables us to love well

But before we can love others well, our personal revelation of God’s love for us has to come first …

Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us 1 John 4:19 TPT

Once we understand God’s love for us, we are more able to love others well and let go of the disappointment because we know that they, just like us, are in that transforming process. His grace is sufficient for everyone; His mercies are new every morning for everyone.

And when we are in that place, our heart is more aligned with God’s heart for people, what a beautiful place to be. A place of love.

If you would like the PDF printable version of these devotions, please email me at

For some more thoughts on living life with Jesus please visit this post: It is finished – Day 30 – Drawing Closer to God devotion

If you are looking for more encouragement today, check out my podcasts.

What would you have done?

It can be so easy to read or hear about a situation and think I wouldn’t have done that! It’s easy because we are reading or hearing about it after it has happened. We are not the ones in the moment having to make decisions under pressure. We rarely know the full story, yet we judge.

This morning I was reading Matthew 27:11-26, the story where Jesus stood before Pilate. Here is the story …

Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?”  But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Now I am no Bible scholar, but as I read this story I thought about the pressure Pilate would have been under in this situation. Pilate knew the outcome that was expected of him from the religious leaders.

(Now, Pilate was fully aware that the religious leaders had handed Jesus over to him because of their bitter jealousy). Matthew 27:18 TPT

He watched them persuade the crowd to choose to free Barabbas.

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. Matthew 27:20 AMP

He even had his wife giving him advice.

Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.” Matthew 27:19 NLT

But he also knew in his heart that Jesus was innocent, and he didn’t want to take responsibility for Jesus’ death.

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.” Matthew 27:24 The Message

I guess you could say that Pilate abdicated his responsibilities to the crowd. Other than Pilates thought a riot was imminent, we don’t know what other thoughts he was having at this time. Clearly he wasn’t listening to his wife (joke!).

And this it the point of today’s post, to remind each of us, including me, that we don’t know the full story behind people’s decisions, and it is not our place to judge them.

God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? James 4:12 NLT

Also keeping in mind that Jesus came to so that none may perish …

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT

It is not our job to judge, but it is our responsibility to pray for others including our brothers and sisters in Christ …

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:18 NIV

… our political leaders ….

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 TPT

… and those who persecute us.

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Matthew 5:44 NKJV

Just as Jesus prays for us.

Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Romans 8:34 NIV

So today, let’s take hold of those thoughts that want to judge others and instead say to ourselves, “No, I am not going down the judging path. Instead I am choosing to pray for that person today, Jesus bless them and draw them to Yourself.”

When your kids teach you …

Over the past three days I have had the blessing of being away with two of our children. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how the three days would go. All the practical preparations were done to make sure we got to the right place at the right time with the right gear, although that didn’t always happen! However, I was completely unprepared for what God was about to show me and teach me through these two beautiful children.

Lesson 1: Be courageous

One child has overcome many challenges, and knows well that ‘things‘ happen, and we have a choice to retreat in fear or pain, or we can press on and go after the desires of our heart. As I watched her courageously press on during the first day of the swimming competition, I felt God say to me, ‘Be courageous too.’

I knew exactly what He was talking about.

I thought about all our daughter has been through, and all the choices she makes every day to keep getting up and just doing it.

And I thought about some of the songs we used for our ‘Be Brave’ concert last year for the children’s creative ministries program at church …

Courageous – by Casting Crowns …

We were made to be courageous, it starts with us tonight …… Lord make us courageous …

Lions – by Skillet

Today we live, today we breathe
Today we know that we are strong when we are weak
Today we trust, we overcome
Take every chain that kept us slaves and throw em’ off

We’re not waiting for permission
We defy our inhibition
Like our middle name is “fearless”

And I thought about Joshua 1:9 (how many times have I spoken that scripture to our children???)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

And I thought about what God has directly spoken to me about a couple of weeks ago. I needed to be obedient to what He had said.

So I phoned my husband, explained what I was going to do, and asked him to pray for me, which he did, and he gave me some words of advice. And off I went – like my middle name was fearless, trusting that God had gone before me, with a picture in my mind of a young girl with a left leg that doesn’t work properly, wobbling on the swimming blocks, holding on so tightly so she didn’t fall in and false start, then finally dive in and swim her heart out, achieving a personal best time. All the time saying to myself, “Be courageous Wendy, believe that God wants this story told. It is His story. He wants people to hear about His faithfulness, His goodness, the victories that come in Jesus Name”

Thank you Jesus, that indeed when we are weak, You are strong. Thank you that you gave me eyes to see that truth again this week through my daughter. Thank you that you gave me the opportunity to live out of that truth this week and be courageous.

Lesson 2: People matter, love well.

Through these blog posts, or if you know me, you have probably gathered that I’m quite task focused. Give me a task and I’m all over it! Sometimes though I forget about the people and it takes a purposeful stop and a considering of where I am, who am I with and what their needs are. Along with a gentle reminder from the Holy Spirit that relationships with people are not tasks! God very clearly reminded me of that through our other precious daughter that I was away with.

This is the daughter who has from an early aged looked for opportunities to help, lovingly anticipating the needs of others in her family – Mum, Dad, Sisters, Brother. She has a heart ready to love and serve.

I had the blessing of seeing that love in action many times over these three days. But two of these times especially stood out to me – probably because they were actions of love directed towards someone outside of our family, that I, the adult should have initiated, not the 9 year old child. And why didn’t I initiate them? – because I was too busy with my tasks!

On both occasions she quietly came to me and said, “Mum, could we …..”. She had seen the need. She had come up with a solution. She had taken action to make it happen. I had been humbled by her love for others compared to my love of tasks!

Thank you Jesus for reminding me to “stop, look around, listen and love well.” Thank you for a daughter, who probably for the rest of her life, will be reminding me by example, that people matter. Thank you God that you set the example of how to love people. Please help me to follow these examples well.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 NKJV

A final prayer ….Thank you Jesus for the people that you bring into our lives, children, family, friends, pastors and preachers, and for all that we can learn from them. Please help us to always be humble and have a teachable spirit. In your Name we live and pray, AMEN.

Have you built a wall recently?

Earlier this week one of our children was preparing a talk for school. Part of the talk was about walls in her life. This started me thinking about the walls in my life, in particular a physical “wall”, probably more accurately called a divider (a Bunnngs 4×4 cube bookcase), I built so I could have my own “office” at home.

I desperately wanted a space of my own that at least looked something like a serious working space, not at all pining after the 22nd floor window desk with a glorious view of Sydney Harbour that I used to have! I guess a window with a view of God’s equally magnificent roses will have to suffice.

But at least I had created a space that the children could recognise as “Mum’s working space”. Although it was missing one vital component, a door, on which I could hang a ‘Do not disturb’ sign. But it seemed that sometimes my body language adequately conveyed that message.

Anyway, in June last year due to the need for me to help one of our children review some of their schoolwork, I had to remove the “wall”, transforming my “office” into a pseudo mini classroom with 2 student desks, chairs and my desk and chair.

As I adjusted to the physical rearrangement of the room I was surprised at my emotional response to the change. Rather than being resentful about having to share my space, I was actually enjoying engaging with our children in this focused manner and working towards a goal together. It was as though pulling down the wall that I had erected to provide myself with peace and space, and let’s be honest, in some cases to hide, enabled me to reconnect with our children in a completely new way.

Perhaps though I did need that time with my own space to re-establish boundaries that are now still respectfully in place, but also to re-define this space as one where serious work is done, where ideas and concepts are discussed and where meaningful life conversations take place and sometimes tears are shed. It has been a blessing for me to now have the emotional and physical space to come alongside our children in their learning.

So what’s the point of this story? Sometimes we put up walls, and they may be necessary for a period of time, but let’s always be open to when God wants us to pull down the walls and re-engage! Be expectant of the blessings that will flow to and from others when the walls do come down.

Our reconciling “Peace” is Jesus! He has made Jew and non-Jew one in Christ. By dying as our sacrifice, he has broken down every wall of prejudice that separated us and has now made us equal through our union with Christ. Ephesians 2:14 TPT

Praise God for the breaking down of walls.