Russell’s Monthly Newsletter – February 2017

Dear Friends, 

According to Shakespeare ‘all the world’s a stage’.  It is a good thing, for some, that the stage is not that for a lavish, big budget musical.  Many of you will have heard of (or seen by now) La La Land – the modern day rom-com musical taking Hollywood by storm. Nominated for a record-equalling 14 Oscars, it’s been billed as a film which will “whisk you away from reality for a short time in the colour, music and romance of it all”. 

For most of us, however, day-to-day life is not like that at all. I think it is probably more akin to living in a pressure cooker. From a young age, we experience huge pressure, and as we grow up this only increases, compounded by the burden we put on ourselves to ‘succeed’ in careers, as parents, friends, Christians… the list goes on. Sometimes I feel this pressure like a crushing weight on my shoulders and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you feel the same. 

So what’s the answer? Is there a way to maintain the wonderful rainbow colour and joy of life as so well depicted in films like La La Land – without breaking out into song every few moments which, let’s be honest, is bound to attract some odd looks?! 

I believe there is and it starts when we get our doxology right – which sounds pretentious but just bear with me. 

Doxology is about praising God, and I’ve found it’s a crucial component in my daily conversations with God. It’s certainly not rocket science, but sometimes it’s good to be reminded of simple truth in the craziness and busyness of life. To remember that when I set my eyes on God again, when I take them off the many and various pressures of life, these do grow dim in the light of God’s glory and grace. My praise is often the breakthrough in my circumstances because even when nothing physical changes, my heart and my perspective does. 

God abounds in grace and love and promises good things for us who love God. God is also big enough to hold me, and you, up under all the pressures that we face, good and bad. 

So today, when 2017 is already throwing up challenge after challenge and the daily news threatens to undermine the hope by which we live, I would encourage you to look to God and offer God praise. I truly believe that as we look up and get some spiritual perspective, you will reflect the glory of God to those around us who I expect are very much in need of the same. 

With love and prayers 

Russell J Furley-Smith

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