Is True Love Science-Fiction?

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Sometimes when I imagine what the gospel sounds like to someone who’s never heard it before, I imagine it would sound a little like a comic book, like science fiction. Accepting that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into time from outside of time, Eternity, and saved the human race sounds like a science fiction movie, doesn’t it? An awesome one, at that. But do we realise that it is the true original and authentic historical and eternal reality from which all science fiction stories (and love stories, actually) have been derived?

But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he is not able to understand them, because spiritually they are discerned.(1 Corinthians 2:14, Berean Literal Bible)

It seems like throughout the history of story-making, writing, film & television, that old Devil has weaved an almost perfect plan by blinding us with creative and entertaining science fiction stories to make the reality of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done, appear somewhat ‘comical’ and ridiculous to the ‘natural’ minds. To those minds, that do not have the Spirit of God in them, what we as Christians believe concerning Christ can be likened to believing in Thor, Superman, Batman and so on.

In the 80’s & 90’s there was an Aussie band called Divinyls who had a hit song called “Science Fiction”. Here are some of the lyrics;

I thought that love was science fiction
Until I saw you today
Now that love is my addiction
I’ve thrown all my books away
When I was young I was so naive
I didn’t believe no I didn’t believe
I didn’t believe
Never thought that we’d last this long…….
When I was young I was, so naive
I didn’t believe no di didn’t believe
I didn’t believe
I’ve been waiting for a man from space
To come to earth to meet the human race……….

In a way, a man from outer space did come to earth to meet the human race, didn’t He? We can look at those corny words to that corny song and see something of Christ in it can’t we? Of-course, He didn’t come from outer space, He came into time from outside of time, from Eternity.

Please bear with me now as I express a little bit of poetic license of my own, to build on my point;

In a land far, far away….. imagine a time when human beings exist but are filled with somebody else’s life instead of their own. Their own actual life died years ago.  One person had reached right into every individual and took their life out of them and killed it and replaced it with His own life. And this one person’s life is the very same life inside every human – they’re all living by the same one person’s life from then-on.

This One person let individual’s personalities and uniqueness remain because He wanted as many variants as possible to express His own life and He loved their individual personalities and uniqueness.  So each person remained an individual but living by the one life that they shared with every other human being, expressing that one shared life in many different ways. Each would think as He thought, each would do as He would do, each would express His characteristics, but differently according to their own personality and uniqueness. So in essence, all of humanity had become one man but with many expressions through the individuals, with the appearance of male and female, black and white, etc.

Why did this One person do this? Because He actually created them in the first place to live by His life, knowing that His own life was the One True Life and nothing could compare with it’s glory and power. But by their own naïve choice and independent nature, all their lives had been hijacked by a darkness from which He knew there was no return. He saw that they were all heading down a spiral of death and there was no way out for them. He actually loved them so much that He couldn’t bear to see them disintegrate and the only way He could save them was to give them His life in place of their own, as He always intended. The only way He could do this was to become one of them and die for them, giving His life to them. That way, He knew that they would have abundant Life to live by forever and ever because His Life was an Eternal Life, which overcame death.

So there’s a lot more to the story than that, I know. But in essence, did you know that the true and normal Christian life is that of Christ’s life being lived out in us? Did you realise that this is what happened when Jesus was crucified? Did you realise that’s when He took our old lives as fallen human beings and killed them, crucifying them with Him on the cross? And that when He was resurrected He became a life giving Spirit, placing His very own Life inside of us for us to live by from there-on-in?  This all took place outside of time in Eternity and inside of time at Calvary.  And it takes place on an individual level inside of time every time one of us human beings comes to believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son and make Him Lord of our life.

It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him!… (Romans 5:7-9)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20)

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13)

Although I imagine an awesome science fiction movie could be made to represent this story, this amazing love of God’s which is given to us through Jesus Christ, is not science-fiction at all. It is our reality!

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

Now, we who are in Christ, through faith in Him as the Son of God, by the grace given to us to believe, live by the life of another. What does this mean for us? It means so much that I could never cover it in all my life, let alone in one post!

However, simply in some practical terms, it means that His dream has become our dream. His purpose and vision has become our purpose and vision. His desires have become our desires. We have become one with Him, and one with His Father, and so Christ has become our All.

It means we can draw from His life on all occasions.  When we are tired, we can draw from Him as our strength and energy.  When we are afraid, we can draw from Him as our courage and comfort. When we are uncertain, we can draw from Him for His confidence and guidance. When we are hungry, we can draw from Him as our food! When we are tempted, we can draw from His well of Life as our way out. When we feel weak in faith, we can draw from His faith to believe. When we are tested, we can draw from His life to stand and persevere in hardship. When we feel we cannot go on, we can draw from Him as our endurance. In other words, Christ is All.

We are never left to our own wisdom, devices, resources. We no longer have to rely on ourselves or the world, to meet our needs in any way.  We don’t have to work hard to be a better person, to improve ourselves, or to achieve great things for Him or for anyone else. We don’t have to come up with the answers on how to live this life or how to help others. We have another life living within us which is all the resource of Heaven. In other words, Christ is All.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms(Ephesians 1:3)

Our own wisdom, devices and resources are useless.  Since we like Paul, have been crucified with Christ, there is nothing of us that can attain to anything of any value in this life. In other words, Christ is All.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)

But as for me, may I never boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. What counts is a new creation.…(Galatians 6:14)

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.(John 10:10)

Perhaps now we, just like in that silly song by the Divinyls’, can declare that once we were naïve and we didn’t believe that the gospel was true. Perhaps we thought it was only science fiction?

He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” (John 6:65)

But now, since we have been born of the Spirit, and no longer living by the capacity of our own natural man which cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit, we see that this blinding love of God through Christ Jesus, is real. We have now thrown away all our ‘books’ (to speak of our human reasoning, philosophies and human wisdom) that feed our natural mind that has no Life of Christ in it, and we are now led by the Spirit of God as the Father has enabled us.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. ……(Romans 8:14).

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that was made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness but the darkness has not understood it. ….the True light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. ……..The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1)

And that’s a love, that is not science-fiction.

Do You Have A Nose For Discernment? 

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Song of Songs 7:4 Watchman Nee

Thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus…

“The nose has not been spoken of until now. The faculty of smell is found only with the mature ones. In spiritual matters, many have bright eyes and sensitive ears. But not many have a nose that can smell. This sense does not come from spoken words or visible things; it is an inward ability that reaches beyond senses and words, which enables a person to differentiate good and bad smells. This is a kind of spiritual intuition that enables a person to identify the things that are of God. It is not by reason or logic, but by a spontaneous and inwardly accurate feeling, which enables a person to discern spiritual matters. At the same time, this olfactory sense enables a person to identify bad smells as well. Many teachings cannot be considered wrong, and many people have nothing that others can find fault with, yet you sense that something is off. This sense is what the nose is all about. “Thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.” This speaks of its height and sharpness. Today there are too many Christians with a flat nose.” (End Watchman Nee)

Dogs have got really good noses. They use their noses to detect whether or not something is good or not. I’m often amazed at how their sense of smell is so acute. In observing our dogs the other day I couldn’t help but notice the correlation between their sense of smell and our spiritual sense of smell in learning discernment.

Our dogs really make me laugh.  Rocky is almost 8 years old. Buddy (who belongs to my mother) is about 3. Their age difference really shows in their different behaviours.

Rocky is all about smooches, one-on-one time, even if playing with the ball he’d prefer it was just him and me playing. You might say he has two love languages – quality time and physical affection:-)

Buddy is all about activity! If it looks like a smooch, it’s really a wrestle. If it looks like one-on-one time, it’s really just to get to play ball. Perhaps his love language is …acts of service! – or maybe quality time aswell.

Typical of the age difference, when Buddy came along he was completely ready to attach to Rocky and pal up with him. But Rocky was stand-offish and preferred to observe from a distance, lol. But now, after a few years together, they’re really good mates. Looking at their differences as a pup and an adult dog, just prompted me the other day in seeing how we  grow and mature in the Lord.

For example, I picked up a mandarin and the two dogs were looking at me with great interest. Rocky cries a lot to communicate all sorts of things and Buddy just follows and copies Rocky a lot. So, although they were standing at the door to go out, I figured they were now side tracked with the interest of the mandarin. So I lowered it in my hand to their level for them to check it out and realise that it wasn’t really a food they would be interested in since it had a tough skin all over it.

Typical of Rocky as the older dog, he gave it a little sniff and then looked away. This meant “Ok, nuh, not interested, you can have it back now”. But not Buddy! He took one look at it and wrapped his mouth around it to grab and chew it – clearly thinking it was a ball! After a few teeth squeezes and squeals from me, he backed off but then came back for another go. It took him a few tries before he realised “Ok, it’s really not a ball? Really??” Then I said “Go! Go and get your ball!” And off he went, and grabbed the real ball.

This made me think of us as God’s family. We start off as pups just like Buddy in the way that we don’t often test things. We kind of take whatever is offered us as young or immature Christians (regardless of age) and just assume it’s good for us and what we want and that it’ll be just totally awesome.  Mostly, because we trust the person who’s handing it to us. Selah. Even after a few goes, even when it doesn’t feel quite right to us, we’ll still just blindly assume that it’s just still gotta be totally awesome and we’ll put up with it or persist with it until hopefully, we finally get the message that it really isn’t as it appears.

I’ve seen this in my own life. Critical thinking was something I was afraid of once. In the culture I was brought up in, one doesn’t question, does one? So I blindly took on many things that really weren’t truth, or complete truth, without question. But get this….even if they didn’t feel quite right.  So there’s the Spirit of God residing in me, encouraging and enabling me to test all things, but the paradigm of my culture would squash Him down and ignore Him, assuming blindly in my spiritual immaturity that because someone I look up to ‘said’, or because it looks similar to something else, that it just simply has to be totally awesome. And it wasn’t always.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

So then there’s Rocky. Dear old Rocky. Wise and learned, been there, done that. He just took his time, sniffed that mandarin (mind you, it only took one sniff, not a dozen) and knew instinctively that it was not a ball and not anything he was going to have success with or be interested in. This reminded me of the more mature believer.  God’s word says to test all things, test the spirit behind them. We’re called to be wise and discerning, in Christ.  Paul says we are not ignorant to the enemy’s schemes – one of them of-course, being deception.

…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Rocky didn’t argue, he didn’t have to think about it twice. So there’s the picture of the Holy Spirit in us again. The more we mature in the Lord (and the maturing is the work of the Spirit in us, we can’t mature ourselves), the quicker we are able to discern the spirit behind a thing. Subsequently, having done so, if we find it is a deception, not what it appeared to be at first glance, we easily walk away. We don’t even have to give it a second thought.

The other thing I liked about this little example, is the fact that the same tests are put before all believers, no matter the level of spiritual maturity. A more mature believer is not exempt from testing permitted or orchestrated by our sovereign Lord for our growing up deeper into Him, nor is he or she exempt from being tempted by the devil. But a mature believer will weigh up all things.

So, that’s my lesson today from the lives of dogs. Here’s a little video clip just to share a giggle.:-)

The Riches of Christ and the Richness in Christ

 

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In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ. (Colossians 2:9,10 NIV)

We have said that Christ is a heavenly revelation, but Christ is also a heavenly fullness. If God has revealed His mind, His thought in Christ; if all that God intended has been brought to us in a personal revelation: God has followed that up by the fullest provision in Christ for its realization and its attainment. So that every need of ours is supplied according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. In Christ there is not only a standard set, but every kind of provision for attaining to God’s standard. All the secret resources of God to reach His end are there in Christ for us. If He has come out with the mind of God in fullness, He has also come out with the resources of God in fullness. All the fullness dwells in Him, and we are made full in Him (Col. 2:9). God could never judge us at the end by His standard of revelation if He had not made all provision for our realizing of that standard….

By T. Austin-Sparks from: That Which Was From The Beginning – Chapter 1 

This Christ is so deep that His riches are unsearchable!

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ  (Ephesians 3:8)

This Christ is so enormous that He fills the universe!

And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself (Ephesians 1:23)

This Christ is so magnificent that the FULLNESS dwells in Him!

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him (Colossians 1:19)

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9)

This Christ is so beyond our wildest imaginations that He lives beyond death!

I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades (Rev 1:18)

This Christ is so mighty that all things are held together in Him!

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17)

This Christ is so wonderful that He continues to increase!

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever  (Isaiah 9:7)

This Christ is so vast that He is the beginning and the end!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.” (Revelation 1:8)

This Christ is so amazing that God chose us in Him before creation!

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes (Ephesians 1:4)

This Christ is so loving that He gave His life for us to be reconciled back to the Father!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:16,17)

This Christ is so high that His rule and dominion reigns over all other powers and authorities of the heavenly realms!

…who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. (1 Peter 3:22)

This Christ is so rich that His mercies are new every day!

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning (Lamentations 3:23)

This Christ is so creative that nothing that has been made, was made without Him!

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him(Colossians 1:16)

…but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe (Hebrews 1:2)

This Christ is so unconditional that He gives His life to whoever believes in Him!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)

This Christ is so full that He is the Head and the Body of the Church!

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12)

 THIS CHRIST IS UNLIMITED!!

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Is Christ Enough? Power and Wisdom

In case you don’t follow the blog of Milt Rodriguez, I want to share with you this brother’s latest post. This post is part of a series called “Is Christ Enough?”. I pray that we are reminded over and again, how big and all sufficient our Lord is.

The Blog of Milt Rodriguez

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For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

(1 Corinthians 1:22-25)

Here, in this passage, Paul sums up the gospel that he preached in the face of insurmountable odds and extreme opposition.  It is a gospel that is so radical and so extreme that it called down unbelievable persecution upon his head everywhere he went.  This persecution was not only dished out by the heathen but more so by the religious folks, namely the Jewish nation.  It is a gospel that is so different and so outrageous that you can really only tag it…

View original post 1,400 more words

Living A Simple Life In Christ

target-1414788_1280There seems to be a recurring theme coming up and staring at me lately and its the theme of simplifying our lives for Jesus. Now, that might sound like some kind of ‘Jesus People’ slogan (what’s wrong that anyway?) but it is really quite a profound call to God’s people, in my opinion. It’s a call for the church to let go of the materialism and pull of the spirit of this world and to live simpler lives that are devoted to Christ.

I’ve read blogs on this topic on 3rd Race :-) . Milt Rodriguez is doing a series of blog posts on the subject, (which I thoroughly recommend reading). It is also an ongoing theme of casual discussion amongst the saints here in NSW Oz, and it is an ongoing reality in my life.

A year or so ago, some of the saints here, organically, just started de-cluttering their own homes. Some were even reading books and blogs for tips on how to declutter, while at the same time Derek and I were working toward a garage sale to get rid of more stuff. This energy seems to have continued in our individual lives and even this week I have thankfully, managed to sell a few more items.  Just today I’ve finally completed that dreaded task of culling all my sentimental papers such as letters, cards, what-nots from my childhood. Time to go! Why? Because I’ve changed and they’ve lost meaning.

Getting rid of stuff really feels great. It’s really freeing. Seeing the pile in the garage getting smaller and smaller is great. Throwing out things that don’t relate to who I am in Christ anymore is wonderful! It’s almost like there is a physical sense of having offloaded something spiritually and I genuinely feel lighter. And of-course it’s an awesome physical representation of what the Lord is doing internally in His church.

I believe God is calling us, His church, to declutter from the religious things that have taken away our simplicity of living by faith out of the indwelling life of Christ. God Himself, when Jesus was being transfigured on the mount as He stood with Elijah and Moses, was decluttering the religious practises of all believers for all time by saying “Here is My Son, listen to Him”.  Right there, God was telling us to listen to Jesus. In that very moment, God cast His dart right onto the centre target for all of us to see and take note.  The centre of His target is Christ. Christ is God’s one obsession.

Since we are seeing and learning deeper God’s Eternal Purpose, His Magnificent Obsession, His Greatest Desire, His Eternal Goal, our lives are becoming more sharpened to His one purpose and we don’t need the traditions and rituals, of the institutional church, the law, man-made religion. And we don’t need so much material stuff to lug around with us. When Christ is our focus, we really don’t need to dance to the tune of this world by filling up our houses or wardrobes with the latest trend in furnishings or clothes. What are these things to Christ?

I love that God has a purpose, don’t you?  I just love it. I love that He’s not an aimless God, just going with the flow and changing with the tide, just waiting for the next thing to happen. I love His focus isn’t on a million different things. I love that He’s a very simple God.  Simple doesn’t mean not smart, oh no! Simple IS smart!

It’s like looking at that target symbol. Having time, focus and energy taken up with all the other things that just clutter our life such as works, ministries, religious practises, theologies, consumerism, entertainment, education, climbing the corporate ladder etc., is like focusing on all the red swirls on a target symbol. But God has revealed His One Purpose, His One Goal, His Target, and so we are able to focus on that Centre of the target symbol, which is Christ our Lord.  As a result,  everything becomes lighter, sharper, easier, simpler – because there’s only one goal – Christ! God only has one goal for Himself and so definitely has only one goal for us and it’s the same one!

How refreshing, replenishing, rewarding, satisfying, joyful, pleasant and wonderful it is to have only one thing to focus on in this life! When we focus only on Christ, as God’s Magnificent Obsession, everything else takes a back seat, loses it’s pull, its significance, it’s appeal. I know this to be true because it’s an increasing reality in my life and it’s actually bringing me joy. I can hardly believe it myself!

That’s not to say that we don’t go through hardship, trials, testing and difficulties. Rather, the fact is that when we do face those times we know exactly what the goal is in each one. The target is the same, it is Christ. More of Him. We don’t have to wander aimlessly through our trials anymore.

Christ becomes our All and in all. In other words, He becomes our everything in everything! And ultimately, this is the call to the church and the reality of the church all at the same time. He actually IS ALL in all of us!

Christ fulfils and satisfies EVERY desire in our hearts. He Himself fulfils every purpose and ambition that ever could be in us. He fills our cup to overflowing with His very own life. To simplify our physical lives is just a picture of what it is to simplify our Christian lives.

So let’s de-clutter, saints! In more ways than one.  Let’s declutter from all the physical old junk in our lives, the things that don’t relate to who we are anymore since we are now a new creation, and all the stuff we’ve held on to for years for ‘just-in-case’.

Let’s get rid of the old religious ways, the old traditions, the old ways of thought, the programs, the burdens, the expectations, the spiritual junk we’ve lugged around for years, the myriad of things that draw our attention and focus away from the Centre of God’s heart.

Let’s get with God’s program and live a simpler life in Christ who has done it all and achieved it all and completed everything in Himself! Let Christ alone be our focus. Let us listen to Him.

May Christ be our Central and Only focus and may He transform our lives into simplicity of faith in Him who is becoming and who already is, our All in all.

What if I’m Scared? 

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I have a friend who packed up from Australia and went to live in Ireland with his new wife at the time. I have another friend who has recently left Australia to live in the United States to be with her new husband. I know others who left homeland and family in South Africa to live in Australia. I have an Uncle & Aunty who left Australia on many occasions throughout their lives to live in other countries, as missionaries. I have cousins who left Australia to live overseas for different lengths of time and who eventually have landed living in different states of Australia from where the rest of their family still lives. Other cousins have also moved interstate.  Even my own mother lived in Canada for two years. All these moves have been for different reasons – careers, relationships, adventure, education, opportunity, even mission work etc. That all seems very acceptable, courageous and very exciting, doesn’t it?

But what about me and Derek? Why are we moving interstate, and to the one furthest from where all our family live? There’s nothing wrong with our lives here in New South Wales. Derek has a steady job. I am on a carer’s pension. My widowed mum is cared for, I don’t have to worry about who will look after her and if she’s safe and happy. We rent a reasonable home. Our kids are here, only an hour away. Our first grandson is on his way into the world. My only blood-sister and brother-in-law are only 15 minutes away.  Friends I’ve had for years, all live here. My Dad’s grave is here. All my old haunts are here. Everything is familiar.

What’s more, the body of believers we do life with as part of an organic expression of Jesus Christ, is awesome.  Many times over the last almost 4 years, I think each one of us could have given up and walked away.  It has been a long, hard road learning to live together out of Christ’s indwelling life and meet under His Headship instead of the old ways of religion and man-made tradition. Yet, God has been so faithful in teaching us and growing us together that now we have really come into a season of newness in the Lord and every time we are together it’s like going for an awesome ride in God’s River! We long to be together, we are sharing Him together almost daily and He is increasing in our lives both individually and corporately. It’s what each of us have been wanting for so long. (Of-course we understand the church goes through seasons and things will change again, but for now it is the season of Spring!)

So why on earth would we be leaving to live on the other side of the country?

I guess sometimes God puts something in our heart that on some level, that is the level of faith, the one level that matters, is undeniably from Him.

We wait, we test it with time to see if it diminishes or grows. We see if He confirms it through others. And once it is proven to be Him and not out of ourselves, we align our will to His and make our plans accordingly.

Then on other levels, or should I say times of doubt and fear, the same thing doesn’t make sense at all and we get all ‘earthly’ about the matter.

We’re not leaving for another 19 weeks and I’m already homesick.

Derek and I believe God wants us to move to Western Australia to be part of the body of believers there, that have been planted as an organic expression of Christ in Perth.  Are the believers there any more special than the body of believers here? No. Are they more special to us than our own blood? No. But we believe God has called us to go there for a time, and so go there we must. Just exactly what is the full purpose of this in our lives we expect will unfold in due course. But for now, this is all we know.

I’m caught between faith and fear at the moment. Faith and sentiment. Faith and dependence. Faith and familiarity. Faith and obligation. Faith and comfort. Everyone and most everything around me is starting to look and feel different as my heart is preparing itself for separation.

I know that as a human, as a daughter, as a sister, as a friend, as a step-mum and as a step-grandmother, I will be homesick. The grieving has already started and it is all very unfamiliar territory up ahead. But I have the absolute assurance in my heart, thankfully also confirmed by the saints we fellowship with, that this is God’s call for us at this time.

The thing is, we as believers, are called not to live as though we are citizens of this world. We are called to have our eyes set on things above and not below. Does this mean we don’t love, care for and enjoy the people in our lives? Not at all. We are called to love! But we are called to love God above everything else. Sometimes we are even called to leave our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, land, houses, for His sake. We are called to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.

Have you ever felt God has asked you to leave family and home for His sake? I know some of you have, and have stepped out in faith and obedience to that call and I am greatly encouraged by your journey. I pray that mine and Derek’s journey will be a strength and encouragement to others in time.

Please pray for us and our loved ones during this time of transition, that the Lord in all His faithfulness and goodness will bring forth fruit for His glory.

 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

In closing this post, I have a song clip and lyrics to share.

I rarely turn on the radio when I’m driving but yesterday I did for some reason. This song started playing that I’d not heard before and it spoke into the very state that I’m in right now, as described above. The song is called ‘The Fighter’ by Keith Urban and featuring vocals by Carrie Underwood.

In the song, I pray you’ll hear the voice and heart of the Lord as He answers the cries of His Bride’s heart. I am always amazed how the Lord touches us and speaks to us through so many different ways.

What if I fall lyrics 1 what if I fall lyrics 2 what if i fall lyrics 3

 

 

 

 

Christ As Our View

FullSizeRenderThis is the view from the patio out back of our place. The mulberry tree has lost its leaves at present so that’s it looking all yellow. 

Most mornings when I get out of bed I make my breakfast and go and sit outside. I’ve always done this. Even if it’s raining, so long as it’s not cold and windy. At the very least, I need a window by which to sit and stare outside. There’s just something about being outside and starting my day with a long, slow, gaze into the openness of the outdoors.

Some mornings I will sit there literally for hours, reading, talking with God, singing, receiving and sending encouragements in the Lord with the saints here via ‘whatsapp’ on my phone. Rocky is usually sprawled across my lap which makes supping on my cup of tea a little difficult but it’s a special time and it really sets off the tone of my day.

This past week our church group decided to focus on the theme of Beholding The Lord. So this morning a sister sent through this definition;

Behold – verb. see or observe someone or something, especially of remarkable or impressive nature. Synonyms: view, watch, survey, gaze at, gaze upon, stare at, witness, regard, contemplate, inspect, catch sight of, discern, pay heed to, lay eyes on…

As I meditated on those words – contemplate, survey….view…..I was reminded of how important it is to me to have a view to look at.  Every house I’ve ever lived in as an adult, I have sought the Lord’s provision of a view. It hasn’t had to be a magnificent ocean front or mountain ranges, though He has spoiled me with these at times. Even just a couple of trees will do and some open sky.  I just have to have somewhere to sit outside where I can look off unto something.

This got me thinking. What am I looking for? Why is having a ‘view’ so important to me?

Well, it gives me a perspective that is outside of myself. When it’s dark and dingy inside the house because of either the way it is built without natural light or because of the weather, I can look outside and see openness. I’m comforted and consoled somehow, that there is something bigger and greater than my interior world inside of the house.FullSizeRender (1)

This of-course applies to my internal world. Having a perspective of something outside of, greater and more vast than me, is an enormous soothing comfort. And of-course, that something is a Someone. It is Jesus Christ.

I feel that if I were to live in a house without a view, something in me would die. I feel I couldn’t do it. 

I see that as a picture of my growing desperation and need to behold the Lord.  I need to be able to see Him every morning. I need to look and gaze into His face, His vastness, His endlessness. I need to contemplate His bigness, His openness, His enormity.  When I do that, I am comforted, strengthened, rested – simply because I see Him!  If I cannot see Him, I feel something inside me will die. I feel I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t go on. Life would become dark and dingy, internal and introspective with no Light.

Since Derek and I are moving to the other side of the country in December, I am already praying for a house with a view. 

However, I have to realise that Christ is my view regardless of where I may live physically. He is the eternal vastness and wide open space that my soul longs for in the darkness of the winter seasons. He is the far reaching heights up into an eternal sky where I can soar on His heights. He is the greenery, the oxygen, the shade, the colour, the breeze, the Life of Creation all around me. He is the wideness, the depth, the enormity of God.

Wherever we live brothers and sisters, whether it’s in a humpy, in a 1 bedroom studio blocked in by tall apartment complexes and no natural sunlight coming in, or on a mountain top with views that go on forever, Christ is our View. He is our perspective. He is our vantage point. He is the One we gaze upon and survey. In Him we roam a vast land, flowing with milk and honey. Our boundaries have fallen in pleasant places in Christ and no man can adjust our view or take that away from us. Christ is our All.

So I pray you will enjoy the View that is Christ in your life today dear brother and sister. Behold Him all the day long. On the train, in the car, boxed in your office, running after your kids or while out on the tractor –  behold Him, gaze at Him, stare at Him, watch Him, contemplate Him, inspect Him, survey Him, lay your eyes upon Him.:-)

 

 

 

 

Do You Feel Like God Has Isolated You?

boy-441843_1920Have you ever felt like God has picked you up, removed you from society and tucked you away somewhere, just to leave you there? Are you struggling with feeling isolated and it seems to be by God’s doing?

Well in 2013 I found myself ironically, with so much freedom that I actually felt isolated. I actually found myself living a life that perhaps many would envy, even a place that I always dreamed of but thought was only reserved for the wealthy, which wasn’t us! I found myself not having to work.

I was able to stay at home all day while Derek went off to work. Awesome right?  Well, I can’t believe how hard it was to come to terms with this lifestyle. I felt isolated. However, I got to know something different of how The Lord does things in His people, as a result and I would like to share that with you.

Background

I worked in real estate for 12 years and then studied full-time for qualifications as a counsellor and got my degree in Applied Social Science. I was pretty chuffed. 

Following this I found employment as a caseworker in a residential women’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre where I was later promoted to senior caseworker. This too, gave me a great sense personal achievement. I guess I’d always been looking for that means of having a purposeful life in God’s eyes and thought this must be it. After all these years. 

However, after a series of events such as the loss of my father, the loss of the family home, restructuring of my workplace and the ensuing upheaval of living and financial circumstances I suffered an  emotional breakdown in trying to cope with all of the above.

So in December 2013 my life changed completely.  After 6 months off work, with the support of my doctor, I was approved by the government system, to become a full-time carer for my mother, who was now living with us. This meant I was able to receive an income, albeit considerably less than a working wage, without going to work. I became a full-time carer, at home.

Wow. Staying at home, no stress and still earning money? After a good length of time, this emotional upheaval began to settle but then something quite unsavoury started setting in.  ‘Guilt’. Eech. 

I started to really feel guilty for not working. I struggled to come to terms with it really being okay for me to stay at home. I ‘felt’ like I was cheating the system, cheating God, cheating Derek and even cheating myself. And I could hear my late dad’s voice in my head ‘Donna, you’ve got to go to work’!

Man, I seriously wrestled with this for about 18 months. I had no peace or faith in the circumstances I was in. And this was in spite of Derek’s constant reassurance that he had complete peace about my being at home and that he actually preferred it as opposed to having a stressed out wife to come home to each night:-)

Somewhere during those 18 months Derek and I sensed the Lord’s encouragement for us to each start reading the bible from front to back, something neither of us had ever done. Reading the word, whilst sitting out in the quiet and being able to meditate on what I was reading whilst gazing upon the hills filled with kangaroos and cattle, became a real meeting place for me and the Lord.  Soon, this became the larger part of how I spent my days.

Insight/Learning

I can’t even recall now but somehow it eventually became apparent to me that it was the Lord’s will for me to stay at home and use the time to commune with Him.  I suppose I was experiencing fruit as a result of spending so much time with Him. I began to see that this time of apparent isolation was more than just His permission or even a blessing from Him but that it was what HE wanted. God was isolating me for a season because He had some serious work to do and He had to stop me in my tracks in order to do it.

I just couldn’t tell you all the things that the Lord and I have walked through since I understood His intention. I can tell you however, that from the moment I realised it was the Lord’s intent for HIS purpose, and actually now a matter of obedience to that purpose, I received complete peace about being at home and not working. All the guilt left me, praise God! I had been given faith to believe there was a higher purpose for me being at home than just to have a so-called easy life. And this purpose was greater than any career could measure up to. 

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.  Romans 10:17

Sometimes when God speaks to us it is simply a knowing that rises in our spirit. But when it is Him, with it comes His faith to receive and believe what He has said. Then we have the faith to walk in what He has said, with complete confidence. He does the speaking. He is the message. And He gives the faith to believe.

As a result, my days became filled with rest and prayer and communing with God, going for walks, looking for Him and finding Him in nature and my surroundings, connecting with bloggers , reading and writing blogs. I read books that The Lord used to speak into my life and I discovered His life in the scriptures like never before. It became the richest part of my life in Him to date. God sure knew what He was doing, alright.

Being a Carer of someone living with me has really been used by God in a myriad of ways. He’s used my apparent isolation as a Carer to teach me about giving up so many preferences, my privacy and so much of my own space, which has always been so important to me. 

I’ve had to learn that sometimes a career is not what God’s after, but that He has something else in mind and a definite design for accomplishing it.  I can look back now over these last few years and see the value of what He’s done by keeping me hidden away and it’s still happening. It’s not over yet. He’s still got a lot to do.

God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

He pulled me out of that career path and job. It was Him who changed my location. He set me up as a Carer, He set me up at home to learn how to turn what I might see as isolation into communion. And He was right there waiting for me. 

I definitely feel that I know Him a lot better as a result of all the time He has given me this way but I sure need to know Him more! 

Dear brother or sister, my prayer today is that if The Lord has called you aside for a while and it seems it is Him who has isolated you –  perhaps you haven’t been able to work, or you’ve been single for a long time, or you’ve been placed in a job that seems hidden away and insignificant – that you will see that Christ is in it with you, for HIS purpose. He has a plan that He is working toward and it will involve every aspect of your life and certainly getting your attention so that He can reveal more of Himself to you and in you for His sake.

He needs you to know Him.

Wow. What a beautiful thing. The God of all creation needs and wants us to know Him. And He’ll do whatever it’s gonna take to get that done. We just need to be willing to get on board with HIS program.

So ask the Lord, is the purpose of this isolation to learn to commune with Him? What is He wanting from you in this season? What is He wanting to teach you at this time? 

And hang in there saint, look and listen, He is with you, He is for you, and holds you in the palm of His hand, and is leading you always deeper into Him. In Christ, we are never, ever truly isolated. That’s impossible. He is in it  with us.

 

 

 

 

 

When The Artist Is Omnipresent

Please view this 3.25 minute clip before reading on.

The other weekend at our gathering of saints, we were sharing about God’s unlimited creativity and reflecting on how Christ is God’s unlimited expression.  As we were all sharing aspects of the Lord, which was such a beautiful experience, the Spirit reminded me of the above clip that I saw a few years back, which I hadn’t thought of since.

When God reminded me of this I was moved to tears at what I was ‘seeing’ for the first time, in the Spirit.  Hopefully you have just watched this clip and now I can share with you what I saw of the Lord.

Oh Lord, how beautifully You have revealed Yourself in this picture. You, as the True Artist, who came and dwelt among us here on earth, as the visible image of the invisible God. How we long to sit with You and gaze into Your glorious face. You are far more glorious to us than anything You have created. We seek You, the Artist, the Creator, far over and above what You have created.  In seeing You, we see who we really are too- we receive Your life exchanged for ours and we are moved to the depths of our very soul. You transform us by Your gaze Lord. Your eyes are pools of endless depth and life. In them we are exposed and made vulnerable. You see all that we are and we are broken before You. Our masks are removed as You touch us. We receive Your love Lord. The life flow of the Life you have with our Heavenly Father by Your Holy Spirit, has been extended to us. We join with You in Your eternal dance of love, as You each give and receive love one from and to the other.

We are seated and rest with You as we behold You. All time stands still. All external spiritual pressures and worldly concerns become a mere mumble in the background. We are one just as You and Your Father are One. We are one in Your Spirit.  Thank You that we do not have to line up for our turn to sit with You but You are omnipresent, You have never and will never leave us. We have free access to You at all times by Your Spirit who indwells us. We find You most fascinating and captivating. You are our very breath, our life.  You exceed everything You have created in heaven and on earth.

Jesus Lord, I’m captured by Your beauty

All my heart to Thee I open wide

Now set free from all religious duty

Only let me in Thyself abide

As I’m gazing here upon Thy glory

Fill my heart with radiance Divine

Saturate me Lord, I now implore Thee

Mingle now Thy Spirit, Lord with mine.  (Ekklesiasongbook.com)

 

We are the shadow of the Rock

This is a timely word of exhortation and encouragement to the church from a brother who blogs at acalltotheremnant.com. I felt to reblog his post today and pray that we as the ‘moon’ reflecting the Son, will have our hearts given over completely to the reign and rule of Christ, our glorious and Eternal King. Look off unto Christ in all things, brothers and sisters.

A Call To The Remnant

Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. (Isa 32:1-4)

When Christ rules in the heart of a man or in the Body of believers then righteousness flows like a mighty river. When Jesus has His place among us then and only then are we salt and light to the world. In a dark world which grows darker by the day, the Lord has called forth such…

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