Journal #3 – How Do We Have Abundant Life?

Jesus said “… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10)

He also said “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25)

Again He said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…” (John 14:6).

Elsewhere, He told us “Do not store up for yourselves, treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”(Matt 6:19-20)

And further, “…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”(Matt 6:21). 

He told the rich young ruler to sell everything he had and give the money to the poor and follow Him (Luke 18:21-23).

Jesus’ abundant life is He, Himself. The abundant life He came to give is His Resurrection Life given to us in our being crucified with Him – being dead, yet shall we live! His abundant life is found in our denial of our own life in the flesh – Having been crucified with Christ… it is no longer I who lives but Christ living in me (Galatians 2:20).

Jesus is clearly not telling us that the abundant life He came to give is related to anything earthly! The abundant life is His life in us! What life can be more abundant than His life?? What can exceed in value, the life of Christ?

So how do we have abundant life? We reckon ourselves as dead that He might live through us!

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:11)

We can join with Paul in saying that “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

That death is now and that abundant life is now!

Journal #2 – When God Pours In His Precious Oil

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Cor 4:7)

The Lord wants us to hold dearly in our hearts the things that He whispers to us, the revelations He gives, the insights and understandings – keep them treasured and secretly held in our hearts – as precious oil.

But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart (Luke 2:19)

Don’t be too quick to give them away – let them be worked into us first…. let them become us….then they are given by God to others through our lives – His Life in us, not our words.

Our own words can’t carry the precious oil, only an empty vessel can carry the Oil.

 

10.10.2014

 

To Compromise Or Not To Compromise, Is That Even A Question?

Compromise.  There’s just no place for it in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, there’s no place for it in the lives of believers.  Yet, it’s easy for compromise to sneak in even unnoticed at times. So here’s some examples in my life of how this has occured very recently and what I’ve learned from it, to pass on to you.

Example 1

Derek and I felt in our hearts that the Lord wanted us to move to a suburb of Newcastle called Mayfield. So we set off in this direction. We were staying with family for over three months while we looked for rentals in the Mayfield area.  We had certain requirements as in price, car spaces,  number of bedrooms and approval for a dog, that needed to be included in our search. However, we also had preferences such as natural gas, air con, two toilets, outdoor area and so on.  Now, this was before the COVID-19 restrictions and there was only a handful of rental properties coming up on the real estate websites that fitted the above description in Mayfield.  We looked at a few but they were on the main road and were very old and run down,  let alone over the top in price.

Things were getting a bit tight at the family’s house with literal dog fights (there were four dogs living in the house) and so eventually we took this as a sign that it was time to hightail it out of there and so our search became a bit more urgent. We applied and got accepted for a place in a suburb called Waratah that had the 2 car spaces we needed and all the preferences and was only a 2 minute drive from Mayfield. Mayfield was the very next suburb just over the railway track at the end of our street. In fact, Mayfield used to be officially called North Waratah.

The place was only 2 years old, fresh and modern and it was actually a duplex. We’d lived in a villa whilst in Perth and so had gotten used to a smaller space and the sound of neighbours quite close when you’re sitting outside. This duplex wasn’t joined by the garages, it was joined by the internal wall. After a day or two we came to realise that the internal wall hadn’t been adequately soundproofed when it was built. After 3 days, we had spent the entire first weekend listening to the constant drone of the neighbouring tenant’s TV and stereo through the wall. It went all day on the weekend & subsequently then went every night after she returned home from work. Our living room was up against her living room and we couldn’t even hear our TV! (First world dilema, I know :-))

Long story short, after some prayer, we ended up breaking our newly signed 6 month lease, which cost us money to do so (although the Lord gave us favour with the landlord even in this – His grace). After putting in our 14 days notice to terminate the lease, Derek and I asked the Lord to show us what had happened. What had we done wrong, if anything? What was He wanting to teach us in this? It was such an upheaval, we were in for our third move in 4 months.

An hour or two after asking the Lord these questions it became apparent to both of us that the problem was……you guessed it,  it wasn’t Mayfield. We had missed the mark. We knew in our hearts all along that He was calling us to Mayfield. We moved into Waratah. (Just so you know, with COVID-19 there were suddenly many more houses in Mayfield up for rent and the Lord quickly provided a house in Mayfield, 2.1kms away on the other side of the railway, right on time and that has everything we needed and wanted and we’re extremely settled and happy here!)

The point is, we compromised. We didn’t want to, we didn’t mean to, it wasn’t intentional, we just missed the mark. How? We were more focused on ‘our house’ than HIS house. Selah.  It was in fact, God Himself getting us out of that house.  It wasn’t the building and it wasn’t the neighbour, but God Himself – His grace to get us back on track for what He wants.

Example 2

A fair while back, Derek and I stopped drinking tea, as in black caffinated tea and made the switch over to lemon & ginger tea (which isn’t really tea anyway). One day I may share the reason but that’s not important right now. Suffice to say, it was a God thing. Ever since, whenever I’ve drunk real tea, (which I haven’t for ages)  it hasn’t brought me the same joy it used to. (I think I’ve even included my love for tea in previous posts, lol!)

Well, just this very morning I went to make myself a ‘real’ tea.  Now, I only had some in the house for my mum when she comes to visit. This morning I just felt like a little bit of ‘kick’ (oooh, I didn’t even realise that ‘kick’ is what I was after until I literally just typed that out right now!) and some comfort (more on that another time).

You know what? I just couldn’t bring myself to drink it. I stood there with it steaming in my cup, cup to lips just to smell it even, and couldn’t drink it.  I was having this conversation with God in my head, going “Oh, this is ridiculous. Is it You? Is it me? Is this really such a big deal? I can’t drink it if I don’t have faith, and I feel so guilty?! I’m trying to defy all the sense of false guilt I have over this, by now trying to make myself drink it….”. I stood at the kitchen bench with my hands cupped around the mug on the counter.

“Resident Boss” I heard in my spirit. I recalled Watchman Nee sharing a story about ‘Resident Boss’ as the government of the Holy Spirit within us.

When eventually the man was able to visit Shanghai he told me the story. Using an
expression familiar in Chinese: `Brother Nee’, he said, `Resident Boss[14] wouldn’t let
me have that drink!’ `Very good, brother’, I said. `You always listen to Resident Boss!’
Many of us know that Christ is our life. We believe that the Spirit of God is resident in
us, but this fact has little effect upon our behaviour. The question is, do we know Him as
a living Person, and do we know Him as `Boss’? (Nee, The Normal Christian Life)

And then to my thoughts came a list of things that I had recently started to take up again, just this week. A few chocolates at night time, a glass of wine 2 nights this week (I usually have a glass of wine two or three times in a year!) and I’d bought margarine instead of butter. Now, these things are not a big deal in themselves but the Lord, Resident Boss, was showing me where I had begun to compromise on the good health habits He’d graced me with. This was His story with me, personally. Now I began to see how I was about to let black tea sneak in again.

[Can I just say something a little odd right now in the middle of all this? For the past week I have had Paul Simon’s song ‘Slip Slidin’ Away’playing in my head. I’d listened to it on Spotify whilst driving last week, and was struck by that line “You know, the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip slidin’away”.  The tighter we are staying in the will of God towards what He’s asked of us, just one little slip and we can be gradually sliding away. There you go. Resident Boss].

Back to the story. I poured the tea down the sink. And it wasn’t even hard to do so. In fact, I almost did it without consciousness that I was doing it. The Lord’s grace had stepped in. That grace that is the power to say no to sin or temptation   The Lord is wanting to keep me in His grace, in the good health habits, in the obedience, in the tight place of ownership that He as Resident Boss has and needs to have in my life. If He can’t have first place and ownership in the little seemingly insignificant things, how can He in the bigger more important things? If he can’t trust me with little, how can He trust me with much?

These are enormous lessons to me.  They seem like almost nothing, but they are hugely important.

Don’t compromise folks. Even on the tiniest little thing.  A little compromise here, a little there and before we know it we’re right off track. Right off target.  Listen to that still small voice. It is His voice. He is caring for you and Shepherding you through the testing of your faith to see if He has a faithful servant who will work with Him for His purpose. He never leaves us, He is there to guide us and encourage us in His paths of Righteousness for His Name’s sake. We belong to Him. He is our Resident Boss. He lives in us. He calls the shots now. We don’t belong to ourselves or anyone else for that matter. We can’t compromise.

Praise God that Jesus never compromised. Jesus never even took the tiniest piece of the bread that Satan offered Him whilst in the wilderness of temptation, though He was very, very hungry. Jesus never did a thing to jeopardise the Life of His Father in Him.  He was a man without sin. He had all the temptations that we have and yet never sinned.

What if He had sinned? What if He had given in to one little temptation? What if He’d just chosen His own comfort over the Father’s government, just for one moment? I shudder to think. I really do. By the grace of God, go I. Go we. The grace of God protects and keeps us.

Press on saints, stay the course, hesitate before you do that thing you sense no peace about, take the time to put your flesh, comforts, and preferences aside to wait on and listen to Him. He will tell you. He will make His mind known to you. And if you get it wrong unintentionally, and humble yourself before Him, His grace to correct your course will come.  He won’t leave you hanging. But He must be Resident Boss. His church must be His and wholly His. She can’t compromise.

There is a church that compromises. That’s the church that has let the ways of the world into her midst, she is like Israel was in the old testament (who is still lost and suffers for this by the way). That church has let in the values of the spirit of this world ever so subtlely, so quietly, so slowly, so gradually, so that that church hasn’t even noticed. That church can’t even see or recall where she got off track. Like Derek and I moving into the wrong suburb, we didn’t even see what we were doing until we’d done it.

But there is a church that doesn’t compromise. She is the true church. She is the strong warrior Bride of our Lord Jesus Christ. She takes heaven by force (Matthew 11:12). She doesn’t muck around, she’s not playing games, she’s not concerned with the opinions or approval of this world, she is sold out to Jesus. He is her lover, her Lord, her King, Her Resident Boss. He lives in her and she will not be moved.

What church are you in?

Journal #1 – Are Thoughts of Others Getting In The Way of Your Prayer Times?

Sometimes we can be almost obsessed in our prayer times and thoughts with another brother or sister, who we feel something negative about. It may even be a genuine and godly concern for this person but even our concerns for our brethren in this way can become too heavy a burden and even a blockage or distraction to being able to sit and rest in the Lord’s presence. What we have done unwittingly, is fixed our gaze upon this brother or sister.

All that is needed in this situation is to say to the Lord,  “I give that brother/sister to You” and each time they return to our thoughts,  we only need turn from them and fix our gaze back upon the Lord Jesus. We can do this by thanking Him for who He is, declaring and proclaiming who He is, or just focusing our thoughts on His splendour and glory. Miraculously, we are then relieved from this burdening obsession and we return to a place of peace and joy in the Lord’s presence and are more able to hear from Him and enjoy Him again.

Glory to God for showing us the way out of even these matters!

 

A New Season & Out From Hiding

Hello everyone! It’s been a long time since I’ve posted and I’m very happy to be back at the desk today 🙂  I do pray you are finding rest and hope in the Lord Jesus during this time.

God has had me tucked away and hidden in Him in many respects for a long time, and also with regards to being a voice for Him in this type of forum. The podcast/website theancientpathways.com has also been on hold while God has been walking Derek and I through a totally awesome adventure with Him.   Perhaps He will grant  us a new episode for the podcast in the not too distant future so I’ll keep you posted. If you haven’t checked it out, please visit there and listen to the three episodes we have up so far. For now, it just seems like it’s the right time to return to posting on Drawing From The Well and it’s good to be back.

We have very recently moved to Newcastle in NSW on the word of the Lord to our hearts, for His purpose.  Whilst unpacking some things I had in storage whilst we lived in Perth for the last 3 years, I came across an old journal – it must be the only one I didn’t destroy when we left NSW for WA in December 2016 as a means of travelling light.

Looking through the journal this morning, I found there are a few things I felt I could share here. So, I’m going to share them under a category called Journal and I’ll post these regularly until there’s no more. There’s not that many, they’re not long but I’ve got an inkling that they will reignite the flow in me, to you, to the Lord, for the Lord.

So thanks for reading this, thanks for waiting all this time with me.  I hope you return to read my new posts and subsequently are refreshed and filled with Christ as the Living Water – ever fresh, ever new, ever vital, as we draw together from His Well that never, ever, ever runs dry.

See you soon 🙂

Donna

 

 

How Thirsty Are You?

Sometimes it’s not until I notice others around me are drinking water, that I become acutely or even remotely aware of my own thirst.

We all have the need to drink from the Living Water, that River and Water of Life that is Christ’s Life in us. The Fountain of Life, the Well that will never run dry.  Jesus said that for us who believe, out from us will flow rivers of Living water also, i.e. His Life.

“…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

In a way, one could say that the Samaritan woman at the well, drank from Jesus’ as The Living Water when she believed into Him, and out from her flowed His rivers of Living Water to others when she went and told her village about Jesus, and many came to Him and believed into Him also.

The Psalmist says ‘My soul thirsts for You like a parched land’. Land thirsts, plants and trees thirst, birds and beasts thirst, mankind thirsts. Every living thing thirsts for water. And this is a picture of how God made us, to need Him. All of creations’ need and thirst for water is a shadow and type of the innate need God has placed inside of humanity for the Life of His Son, Jesus, who is of-course, the Tree of Life, the River of Life, the Fountain of Life, the Living Water. It is also a picture of the reality that Jesus Christ is the One Source of All True Life. 

The thing about being a believer in the western world where we have suckled on man-made traditions, swallowing a camel but choking on a gnat, indulged in man-centered, individualistic Christianity, is we don’t recognize how thirsty for this Living Water we really are. We become like those the Lord chastised in the book of Jeremiah 2:13, who committed evil by forsaking the Fountain of Life for man-made cisterns that can’t hold water. 

Jesus said His life (blood) was ‘poured out’ for many – as one would pour out water. We are therefore, to ‘drink’. Jesus said He was our ‘real food’ and our ‘real drink’.

Thirst is an interesting thing. Physically it alerts us to the fact that we are dehydrated. Sometimes we are so unaware of our own condition physically, that we mistake dehydration for hunger pains, and so will eat something. But instead, our body is telling us we need water. Not a cup of tea, not coffee, not sugary drinks, not milk, not food, just water.

This too, is a picture of our spiritual condition at times. Sometimes we are oblivious to the fact that we are spiritually dehydrated. We have some kind of discomfort in our spirits that we don’t understand, we feel distant from God, spiritually bored, so we try and fill ourselves up with activity, entertainment, religious practices, socializing and so on. However, all along, we are in need of Jesus Christ, the Living Water, to quench our thirst. God has made us this way. As that beaut old hymn goes “For none but Christ can satisfy “. 

As believers, do we have the Living Water inside of us all the time? Yes of course. Jesus Christ lives and dwells in us. But a water well, needs to be drawn from. There’s an action, a doing, that is required on behalf of the thirsty one, to receive the water. We must actually ‘drink’.  So how do we drink this Living Water, this Christ, how do we draw from this River and Fountain of Life?

Let’s get back to basics.  Sadly, the basics are easily lost in our modern ‘christianity’ and we might need reminding. Both legalism and libertinism can rob the significance and power of ‘the basics’ in a believer’s life. 

When one drinks in the natural sense, the first thing one does is go to the ‘source’ of the water. It might be a tap, a river, a fridge, a bottle, but one makes the move toward the source. There is an action required. Secondly, one engages in the appropriate action required to drink. This might mean getting a cup, or cupping one’s hands to hold the water. You might call this the ‘taking’ part of the action. After taking, thirdly, one must do the most very basic thing, and no-one else can do this for us. We must take the water whether it is in a cup or in our cupped hands, and put it to our lips, open our mouths and partake.

All these basic natural movements toward drinking water, are a picture of the spiritual action we take to drink of His Living Water, and it is called ‘communing with God’.

In the spiritual, we must go to the One Source of Living Water, Christ. We have to take action to go to Him. This might be drawing aside from all other distractions, finding a quiet place, or simply in our heart of hearts turning to Him in a moment. Either way, it is an active response to our spiritual thirst. The ‘taking’ part in a spiritual sense, is our intentionality in what we’re doing. We turn to the Lord in faith, we set our eyes upon Him, we open our ears to His voice, we quiet our mind and heart before Him, sit with Him and wait upon Him, meditating our thoughts upon Him, calling on His Name.

The ‘engaging’ part in a spiritual sense, is our intimacy with Him. We actually ‘drink’. We, by faith, receive His Life, into us. We are spending this time with Him, we are communing with Him, fellow-shipping with Him, loving Him, letting Him love us, giving Him our time. We put everything else aside to be with Him in this intimate way. This is drinking.

And of-course, He does the rest. He Himself is the Living Water, not our activity, but He, the person, Jesus Christ. So He does the work of quenching our thirst, refreshing our spirit, restoring our soul, strengthening us in our faith and love of Him. And we are satisfied.

One of the interesting things about God making water and the innate need in every living thing to need it, is that He didn’t make it last. Rain doesn’t last forever. Rivers dry up. Droughts come. Wells run dry. Jesus said that whoever drinks from Him, will never thirst again, He is the well that will never run dry. In light of the exhortations and encouragements throughout the old and new testaments in scripture, I believe that He meant, because He is the ‘Source’ of the Living Water. We don’t just know and accept that He is dwelling in us and that’s it. We don’t go on in passivity toward this great reality! No, God always works with us and for us, to work with Him. We still need to go to the Source regularly in order to drink of this Living Water. Christ’s Well within us will always have Living Water available to us. His is the Well that will never run dry, we will always find water there, but we must ‘go’ there and ‘draw’ from Him.

Yes, Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches, but we need to keep abiding in Him. God said for us to draw near to Him, and then He will draw near to us! We work together with God, this is a two-way relationship we have entered into with God. All God’s promises in scripture are a two-way partnership. We do this, and He’ll do that. We abide and remain, obey, be true, giving up our lives for Him, lose our lives, and He will be faithful, He will grant the desires of our heart, He will make our paths straight, we will find our lives. It’s always a partnership. Of-course, He laid the foundation before creation and time, for our capacity to work with Him, and that is IN the Life of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Galatians 2:20 It’s no longer I who lives, but it is Christ living in me, and this life that I do live, I live by the faith of the Son of God.

But do we truly ‘abide’ in Him? Are we ‘walking’ in His life, under His reign and rule, as ones belonging only to God? Are we devoted to Him on a very personal and private individual level? Or are we living for ourselves, our own interpretation or preference of how to live a christian life?

One of the beautiful things about true body life, i.e. a community of believers devoted to Christ, and learning to live by the Lord’s indwelling life together for His purpose and glory,  is that we can discover by osmosis if we are not necessarily truly drinking of this Living Water on a daily basis as an individual member. When we see others spiritually drinking of the Lord’s life around us, we can become aware that we are thirsty and we also need to ‘move’,’take’, ‘engage’, ‘commune’ in our individual personal life with the Lord.

Being part of a community of believers is only as alive as the members of that body. If the members aren’t drinking spiritually, the whole community will be thirsty. It will become like a dried up river bed which can offer no Living Water to anyone else. But when the individual members are drinking, that Living Water, the life of Christ will bubble up and flow out from their innermost beings, and corporately all will find Christ as their true drink together. He will indeed be manifested as inner springs of Living Water flowing out from them and all thirst will be gloriously quenched and hearts drawn nearer to Him. 

As flesh begets flesh, so does spirit beget spirit. So does spiritual thirst beget spiritual thirst. None but Christ can satisfy. We thirst for Him all the time because He alone is our True drink, He alone satisfies.

Lord, teach us to drink of You. Show us our spiritual thirst. You lead us beside still waters and You restore our soul. You alone can satisfy.

Dear saint, if you are needing some inspiration toward turning and drinking of the Lord, I can recommend downloading this song called ‘I Thirst’ by Kathryn Mary Johnston.

https://kathrynmaryjohnston.com/track/541372/i-thirst

 

A Time For God’s Favour

The other week the saints we meet with were exploring various aspects of Christ’s character, revealed in the Old Testament saints. In preparation for our gathering, I was looking through the book of Esther, searching for the aspect of Christ’s authority revealed in her life.  It’s such an amazing story and there was much of the Lord’s character that I could see reflected in Esther, His humility, His calling, His willingness to lay down His life and His being the deliverance of His people. However, I did struggle to see our Lord’s authority characterised in her life at first glance.

If you’re unfamiliar with the story of Esther, in a nutshell, she was a Jewish girl raised by her cousin Mordecai and taken into the king’s harem, later becoming his queen. The king had no knowledge of her Jewish heritage.  Mordecai would sit at the gate of the king’s palace to hear of the fate of the Jewish people discussed among some of the king’s men. Mordecai got word to Esther of the plans that were being made behind the king’s back, to destroy the Jewish people and Esther was challenged to face the king to seek his favour on behalf of her people. Esther was afraid to go into the king’s inner court and sent these words back to Mordecai;

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden sceptre so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).

Mordecai, full of faith that God will deliver His people come hell or high water, sends a reply to her that if she remains silent at this time that the Jews will be delivered from another place but her and her father’s house will perish. He then poses the question to her, “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”

Upon hearing these words sent by Mordecai, Esther obviously ‘sees’ her calling in God, and that she indeed had a responsibility to respond on behalf of her people. She had been given the authority of royalty, she had been placed in a position where she could have the king’s ear if he showed her favour. So although clearly still afraid, Esther says yes and asks for prayer and fasting for her. She then makes this glorious statement in which we can really see the humility and sacrificial heart of our Lord;

“…if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).

Then, Esther makes her plans to approach the king. She puts on her royal robes and stands in the inner court of the king’s palace in front of the king’s rooms and when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, the bible says “… she obtained favour in his sight, and the king extended to Esther the golden sceptre which was in his hand... “(Esther 5:1-2).

Then the king says to Esther, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you” (Esther 5:3).

Well, four days after reading this story the Lord’s light shone into my heart to see Christ’s authority revealed in Esther.

We come into the Father’s throne room through the name of Jesus. Christ is our access to God’s favour. God’s sceptre is always held out toward us because Jesus has opened the door of the throne room for us to come in and fellowship with God, commune with Him and banquet with Him.

Through Christ, God welcomes us and says what is it you want? What is your petition? What can I do for you? More than just up to half the kingdom is offered to us, no, God has given us His entire Kingdom through Christ because of the Father’s love for the Son, and now we share in the Son’s inheritance.

Christ is the golden sceptre in God’s hand that is held out toward us. Christ is the favour of the Lord to us.

The year of the favour of the Lord has come in Christ Jesus, our living Lord.

To die, yet to live

A Call To The Remnant

The living Jesus empowers us to die. The cross is the symbol of sacrifice and death. To live for Him is to die to ourselves and the world. In the Spiritual we came, we died and we rose again as a new creature in Christ. As we move towards and become like Jesus, we die to ourselves. And so there is an important intertwining of dying to ourselves and living the resurrected life. It is the heads and the tails of the same coin.

If you focus on just one aspect to the detriment of the other, you will become imbalanced in your walk. We surely must pick up our cross daily. It is important to realize that this will produce an abundant spiritual life in Christ and while you may die to the flesh internally, the world should see your joy expressed externally and wonder and marvel how such…

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