Conceived By Love

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Have you ever wondered WHY God loves us? WHY are we included in His purpose and plan?

In this episode we chat about the reality of God’s love and how this is the backdrop to all that He does.

Please click on the link for the latest podcast episode over at The Ancient Pathways.com.

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Death Becomes Her

In the early 1990’s there was a film called ‘Death Becomes Her’. It starred Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. Basically, it was about a woman who took a potion to keep her looking young but it actually meant she lived forever even after being killed and while her body decomposed.  The title of this old movie came to my mind during the week reflecting on the life that the Lord has called us to as believers.

As believers into Christ Jesus, we were crucified with Christ and buried with Him. Christ rose from the grave and we are now only alive in Him. It is now no longer us who live but Christ who lives in us. We have been crucified to this world. No longer “I” but “Him”. This death that we have entered into by way of faith in Christ Jesus as Son of God has made us beautiful in God’s sight.

Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16)

In the Song of Songs we see how Christ our King (represented in King Solomon) speaks of His death and resurrection in chapter 4 verse 6;

Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh (death) and to the hill of incense (resurrection).

He then tells His Beloved (us) that there is no flaw in her. In other words, through His death and resurrection, we have become flawless in His eyes. She was/we were always beautiful to Him but now through His death she/we have become flawless!

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:4)

His death and resurrection has done it all and the church is brought forth as His bride. It is at that point that He addresses her as His bride in verse 8 & 9;

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride…You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride…

As she begins to know Him and express Him, she ministers to Him. And then in Chapter 5 verse 5, she experiences the cross;

I arose to open for my lover, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the lock…

This cross-like experience leads her into a time of searching for Him desperately because she has come to see who He is and how she loves and longs for Him more than life itself.  In Chapter 6 & verse 5 we read how she has been transformed through the experience of the cross in her life and in her pursuit of Him above all else.  As a result of this transformation the King says these words to her;

Turn your eyes from me, they overwhelm me…

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Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)

Death becomes us, saints. Our death in Christ and His resurrection Life in us, and our daily taking up of our cross, makes us beautiful in His sight.

How beautiful you are and how pleasing, O love, with your delights! (Song of Songs 7:6)

 

 

How Can One See Christ in IKEA?

 

Well, you know about IKEA, don’t you? It’s that Swedish store (that’s more like it’s own planet!) that sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories?  It’s extremely popular. Not just what they sell, but their stores! Their stores are crazy places – massive, exciting, they’re almost like Disneyland for furniture shopping!

Well, I first visited an IKEA store here in Perth, WA last year.  Yes, it is an amazing place, quite extraordinary and very interesting. I don’t think their stuff is all that brilliant but I get what all the fuss is about considering variety, quality, price, and the fair dinkum adventure that is just walking around the store! A lot of people are crazy for it.

The thing about IKEA, at least in Australia, is that they’re not very common. While a lot of popular chainstores can be found in almost every suburb these days, not so with IKEA. In fact, they only have one or two at the most in the states of QLD, NSW, VIC, SA and WA. That’s like, 10 in the whole country! They don’t have a store in the Northern Territory (which kind of makes sense since it’s mostly desert), or the ACT and they don’t have one in Tasmania.

So how do I see Christ in IKEA? I see that where a Christ-centred community is, is not that common. They’re not found in every suburb, on every corner, or every 20kms apart, not even in every town, or every city, or even in every state and more than likely not even in every country!

If you’re part of a truly Christ-centred community where Jesus Christ is actively THE HEAD, and the only Head of that community of believers, then you are as rare as IKEA. Probably rarer. And I strongly encourage you and your community to seek the Lord continuously on His plan for your community toward HIS purpose.

IKEA sells the furnishings and gadgets but CHRIST-centred community/ekklessia is THE HOUSE. Saints, we have so much more to offer the world than IKEA does. We have the Creator of all things, the Centre of all things, the Head of all things. We have the One whose only motivation is LOVE, to offer the world.

So here’s to praying that more and more of these Christ-centred communities/ekklessia’s start popping up all over the world, in every country, every state or county, every city, every town, every suburb and in every street!

The Two Gardens

Did you know that God revealed His purpose in two different gardens that we read about in Scripture?

Please click on the link below to listen to the 2nd episode of our podcast on http://www.theancientpathways.com to discover more of Christ in these two gardens.

https://theancientpathways.com/the-two-gardens/

New Podcast -“What Does God Want?”

Welcome!

It’s here! As promised, we (that’s me and my better half, Derek) have officially launched our new podcast site called  “The Ancient Pathways.com”.

It’s been three months or more in the making and we’re super excited to kick off on this little adventure with you all!

Our introductory and first episode is now uploaded and ready to listen to, titled What Does God Want? You can go directly to the episode by clicking this link https://theancientpathways.com/podcast-2

Or you can go to the homepage and take a good look around the entire site by clicking here  https://theancientpathways.com/

Hope you can join the journey with us 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Expression Is Coming To Drawing From The Well

Although I appreciate that blogs, like people, are evolving and changing shape as the writers mature and discover new things, change is always a little awkward, huh? So changing the direction on Drawing From The Well is the last thing I want to do. I want this blog to always be pointing to Jesus Christ, His Headship, His glory and His Freedom that God has given to us in Him. I always want this to be a place where souls can drink and eat of Christ and receive even just the tiniest expression of His Life on the pages here.

Still, I have to be honest with you. I have struggled over the last number of months with what and how to write. At first I thought there was so much going on in my life that I just needed a little time to settle and it would all find it’s way to the blog posts (and maybe that will still happen at some point). After another little while I thought perhaps I was experiencing writer’s block.

So I’ve been asking the Lord about this. Blogging was definitely a direction from the Lord to me when I started in 2014 and I have never wanted to just write for the sake of writing. I’ve only ever wanted to express the Lord’s life in me, to you and anyone who’ll read or listen. So when I’ve not sensed any life in my writing, I’ve hit the delete button or the ‘save draft’ button and left it for another time, in the hope that something of Christ’s life would come forward at another date or in a new way. Well, the Lord has answered my prayers and now it is clear to me that the writing isn’t what He’s into for me right now.

So What’s New?

It seems that the season for writing has tapered off considerably (for now) to make way for a season of ‘speaking’. That means I will be posting podcasts here from now on, until if and when I believe the Lord changes things again. I will probably write a post here and there as I feel led to but it certainly seems to me that podcasts is what He has on His mind for a new season.

What If You Prefer Reading?

For those of you who prefer reading to listening, each podcast episode will include a fairly in-depth written summary of the content so you can still read. I know sometimes I don’t feel like listening to something and it’s great to read a general synopsis and get an idea before I make the time to sit and listen. Of-course, the beauty of podcasts is that you can listen to them in the car or when you’re cleaning the house or going for a walk or training it to work. 🙂

Exciting…

Something else that’s very exciting is that I won’t be doing podcasts on my ‘pat malone’ (for anyone who is not Australian or English ‘pat malone’ means ‘alone’). My husband Derek and I will be doing these podcasts together. Yay! We’re both really looking forward to this adventure together and thinking it will be a lot of fun for us – and hopefully for you the listeners! (and readers).

We’re actually both pretty nervous as we’ve never done anything like this before so be prepared for us to make complete fools of ourselves, which is highly likely! 🙂

The content will of course be focused on the centrality of Christ and I continue to hope that He will be revealed through the content. 

How Will It Work?

While Drawing From The Well will continue, we have a whole new site currently being built and that’s where all the action will be happening.  That means that I will link the content from the new podcast site  to Drawing From The Well. So each time an episode is released on the new site it will show up here as well. In other words, folk can access the podcasts through both sites. Make sense?

We expect to launch the new site early October 2017 . We already have a few recordings ‘in the can’ as they say, so I guess we’ll just start there and see how we go.

I will confirm the launching date of the new site as we get closer!

How Does This Change Reflect The Life of The Lord?

I love that the Lord is always changing things up – He’s always calling us on further. And yet, almost paradoxically, He Himself never changes.  I also love that He is full of variety and there are endless ways of expressing Him because He is endless.

So Just To Recap 

  1. Drawing From The Well site will continue 
  2. It will mostly publish podcasts as from October 
  3. The podcasts will be linked from a new podcast site being developed by Derek and myself
  4. The episodes/content will continue in the same vein as Drawing From The Well 
  5. I will continue to blog here occasionally 
  6. This may be only a seasonal change – we hold on loosely to all things 
  7. Stay tuned 

Brother, sister, may you always be refreshed, encouraged and built up in Christ who is the Head of His church who calls us all onward in Him to know Him more and the power of His resurrection life and to fellowship with Him in our sufferings….which most definitely includes tackling change.

Thanks a million for following this site and commenting, I really hope you’ll see/experience much more of our glorious Lord through the coming adjustments here on Drawing From The Well.

Watch this space…..there may be a post or two before change arrives….;-)

We’re Kept In The Vine

So, in our little backyard there is a vine. The vine by all appearances looks dead to me. In fact, I thought it was dead and some months ago endeavoured to untangle it and pull it off the other tree and off the fence that it is all wrapped around. It looked very untidy because it was just a brown stick-like vine all coiled between the ground plants and the foliage of the tree next to it. It was very hard to pull at and undo, so typical of me, I gave up :-).

Then the other week I noticed – there’s this cluster of beautiful bright purple flowers in the middle of it! There’s bright fresh green leaves in the same cluster. When I first noticed it through the window, I had to do a double-take. I thought “what?” There’s flowers growing on that vine? And they’re so beautiful, and rich in colour! It’s quite odd though because there’s no other signs of life anywhere else on the vine.

I would have expected if there was new growth, it would start coming through all over the vine, not just in one section alone. Looking at it again today when I took this photograph, I was reminded of how it is God’s job to keep us in His Son – the reality of the picture Jesus gave us of Him being the Vine and us being the branches. Looking at this cluster of flowers where it seems there’s no other life on the vine, reminded me that God is faithful to Himself and therefore faithful to us.

Ephesians 1:4 tells us very clearly that it was God who placed us (believers) inside His Son;

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. 4For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love 5He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will,…

Jude 1:24 tells us that it is God who keeps us in His Son;

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

Philippians 1:6 tells us that it is God who perfects and completes in us what He Himself started;

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns

Dear saint, be assured that these promises are yes and amen because Christ is the Yes and Amen of God. You and I are in Christ. We are as in Christ as the life is in that vine to produce beautiful flowers. We share His royal blood – the colour of purple. And although there may be seasons and times where it appears there is no life at all, the Life is always there. The flowers are always there hidden inside that vine until God Himself brings them through as a beautiful display of His Son’s Life and for His very own glorious inheritance.

Wow. What a God we have. What a Christ.

A Post From Erroll Mulder’s Blog

I have enjoyed listening to RSG (Afrikaans) radio for many years, and got to appreciate the input of senior radio producer and journalist, Suna Venter, whose body was discovered in her flat in Fairland, Johannesburg, very recently. Just thirty two, she had been diagnosed with a cardiac condition known as Stress Cardio-Myography or ‘Broken […]

via WERE YOU BRAVE?? — Erroll Mulder’s Blog

What is the heart of the Gospel?

I just read an article that highlighted five signs of ‘Progressive Christianity’. I’d never heard that term before. The article was interesting and informative and when it exampled sentences or expressions that might come out of this movement, I realised I have actually heard of it before but didn’t know there was a name for it.

However, what I found interesting was that the article stated how ‘Progressive Christianity’ had moved away from “the heart of the gospel being sin and redemption” to now being about social justice. Firstly, let me say that I get what they’re saying. I’ve certainly noticed a strong diversion away from the gospel toward social justice and social issues from within the church. Social media is saturated with it.  But what disturbed me most was that the author of the article said the heart of the gospel is sin and redemption. I sincerely beg to differ.

The heart of the gospel is Christ. From beginning to end it is about Christ. The entire scriptures from beginning to end are about Christ. All of time and creation is about Christ. Before time and creation, was Christ. Outside of time and creation, is Christ. The church exists for Christ and is in Christ, and is the body of Christ. In fact, all things exist in and through, by and for Christ.

Sin and redemption are realities for all humanity, pointing out our need for Christ. Redemption is available to all of us, through faith in Jesus Christ. Sin and redemption are not the heart of the gospel. The gospel is Christ. He is the good news. He is the purpose of redemption. Saving us from sin is not the purpose of redemption. We are redeemed, that we would know Christ, that He would have a body and a bride, through whom He can be expressed. Christ is the All in all. Christ is the One in whom all things will be summed up.

So the heart of the gospel is not even a matter of ‘what’, but ‘who’.

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1

And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ–everything in heaven and on earth. Ephesians 1:10

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through the blood of His cross. Colossians 1:20

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36

Wasting Jesus

These are photos of our olive tree. We didn’t plant the olive tree. It was here before our time. We have never had access to an olive tree before and subsequently have never educated ourselves on how to harvest or cure olives. As you would know, olives are used for consumption as well as for their oil.

When we realised we had an olive tree, there were only a few very green olives showing. After some online research I discovered that the season for ripening and harvest was coming up. I researched different ways of harvesting or curing olives. I’m still not efficient in my understanding of the processes and what to call them.  However, I quickly learned that there are a myriad of ways to prepare olives for consumption as well as for oil.

As Derek and I watched the olives gradually getting more plentiful and darker, I began to feel it would be a crime to just leave them on the tree and not have a go at harvesting them. Although there is a lot of spiritual imagery in the process of harvesting/curing olives (the use of salt, time, hidden places etc) I’m not going to focus this post on those things.

The thing is, Derek and I had a go at harvesting them. We tried two different methods and then I went away for a week to see family. When I returned I checked how they were going (they can take up to 15 weeks or something crazy like that). Derek and I checked on them periodically but they just didn’t seem to be working. I hadn’t done things properly I’m sure of that.  When I saw they weren’t working how they’re supposed to, I threw them all out in the garbage. After that, I pretty much lost interest, even though the olives on the tree this very day are sitting there ripe and ready for harvesting.

That’s the point of this post. The waste. The tree is full of olives, purple olives. Some are even sundried already, they’ve been on the tree for so long. Many have turned black and fallen to the ground. There’s an abundance of olives just ripe for the picking.

But you know what? I can’t be bothered. The process is beyond my comprehension. The process is too lengthy. There’s too much information on the internet on how to harvest or cure them. I can’t even get the terminology right. I have no understanding. I’m lazy. And as a result, they are being wasted. Every time I look at the tree I see the abundance and I see the waste. This is the point of my post today.

Sometimes, isn’t that just the way we are with Jesus? When I looked at the tree today, I just saw how Christ is this abundant Tree of Life ripe for the taking. He is full and glorious, rich and tasty, available for consumption and for His healing oil. And like our olive tree, He was always there, even before we arrived. His life was existing and increasing without our help, He just was. He just is.

And now, what are we doing with this Christ? Are we just walking by Him every day and ignoring Him? Are we letting His glorious life go to waste, so to speak? Do we think it is all too hard to get know Him so we just don’t bother? Are there so many opinions from experts out there on how to get to know Him that we are overwhelmed and so we shrink back?

The nature of Christ, is that regardless of whether or not we draw from His life or even acknowledge Him, He will still be there. Season after season, He will produce all the goodness that we need. He is an endless supply, THE endless supply. He is there for the taking. But just like the olives don’t just jump off the tree and cure themselves and pop themselves into an oil jar or a pickling jar in our fridge ready for consumption, Jesus doesn’t just do everything for us without our involvement.

Jesus wants us to work with Him. There’s a relationship involved. There’s not a labour of our own life, but His life within us as we make ourselves available to Him and actively participate in His life. We are co-workers with Christ. Yes, He has done it all, and yes He is sufficient in and of Himself, but it is the will of the Father that we might participate and partake of His Son’s life.

Are we actively participating in the process of getting to know our Lord? Are we desperate enough for His glorious life to be lived through us that we will put in the time and effort to walk through the hard stuff so that He gets what He wants in us? Or would we rather just go to the store (passively sit in a pew) and buy what’s already been prepared and packaged for us?

God help us. God forgive us for wasting the Life of Your precious Son.  Lord, do what You must do in us, to shake and move us out of our comfortable seats to really get to know You – who You are – and participate and partake in Your glorious Life. Have Your way oh Lord.

You know, one of the really great things about getting to really know our Lord Jesus? It’s that we are not motivated any longer by guilt. I could race off now and try and harvest/cure the olives off that tree out of guilt. But you know what? I’m totally chuffed and satisfied that the Lord has used all of this to point me to Him, to show me about His life. And just as I’m not led into guilt about not labouring in harvesting the olives, the Lord doesn’t lead me into guilt over not getting to know Him more. He is simply as that olive tree, He is there. He waits. He continues to display His available life to me. He draws me to Him. He speaks to me and reveals Himself to me through things like an olive tree in our front garden. And by doing so, He continues to woo me to Him. I begin to long for more of Him.

This is the life of God folks. He draws us by His life and by His love revealed to us in His Son. What will we do with this life of His Son?