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

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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Can there be Joy in the Judgement of the Lord?

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Kookaburra sits in the old gumtree

Merry, merry king of the bush is he.

Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh!

Kookaburra gay your life must be.

(Marlon Sinclair, 1932).

The Kookaburra is a beautiful Australian bird, of the ‘kingfisher’ species, famous for his laughing song. He is also known as the ‘laughing jackass’! In a time before wrist-watches and clocks, Kookaburras were once referred to as the ‘Bushman’s alarm clock’ because they start laughing very early in the morning just before dawn.   Their chorus of laughter starts softly and works its way up to being quite loud and to an extremely cheerful and infectious sound. (Click here to hear his sound).

The other morning as I lay in bed in the darkness of the early hours, I was having a bit of a cry over some things that were weighing heavy on my heart.  As Derek and I lay there talking about things before the Lord together, we heard the Kookaburra start up his little trill just outside our window. He worked up to a loud and joyful belly laugh it seemed. He was announcing the breaking through of the day, the light breaking through into the darkness and he was doing it with a joyful spirit. I was reminded of this scripture verse;

Psalm 30:5 reads “Sorrow endures for an evening but joy comes in the morning”.

The sound and image of this little kookaburra also quickly reminded us both of creation’s joy when the Lord comes to judge the earth.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity. (Psalm 98:7-9)

Now, I used to correlate judgement of the Lord upon the earth with something dreadful and fearful, and for some it will be.  However, it hadn’t occurred to me that the day of the Lord’s coming to judge the earth also means freedom for creation! That’s for all the critters, trees, mountains, birds of the air, fish of the sea, plants and all the animals! Because He will judge in righteousness and equity, He brings freedom and the setting of things right.  No wonder the rivers will clap their hands and the mountains will sing on this day!

Many scriptures speak of the joy of the whole earth – that’s the WHOLE earth, everything in it….

Psalm 48:2  – Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.

Psalm 65:8 – The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy

Isaiah 14:7 – The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing.

Psalm 66:4 – All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.”

That day that the Lord comes to judge the earth will be a glorious day indeed! And the Kookaburras will laugh and laugh with songs of joy and celebration as they see Him coming to deliver the whole of creation through His righteous judgement.

…that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:21).

So next time (my Aussie brothers and sisters) that you hear the kookaburra laughing, or any one of us hear the joyful songs of the birds, sounds of leaves clapping in the trees, or waves applauding to the skies, we can be reminded of the glorious day when the Lord comes to judge the earth and set all of creation free.

Yes, laugh Kookaburra, laugh! For sorrow may endure for the evening but oh the joy that will come in the morning!

 

 

 

Letting Go and Not Looking Back!

woman-737439_1920This post has been a long time coming. It is one of those posts I felt would be shared as a result of some of the things I learned in and about the Lord, whilst going through the transition from our old house to the one we’re in now.  In my blog post “An Abundant Land“ I mentioned a few thoughts on posts that I might write and so finally, four months later, here’s another one of them.

Sometimes God puts us in a place, geographically and/or environmentally that we just absolutely love. It has everything wonderful about it. For me and Derek, it was the wide open space, animals and the quiet of rural life on acres. The house we lived in at Wyee from 2013 to 2015 was an absolute God-send. It was a blessing beyond our wildest dreams.

When it came time to move at the landlord’s request, we were expecting it but nevertheless pretty sad about it I guess.  The Lord had done a lot of healing whilst living there and the peace and beauty around us was certainly a massive part of that.

As you may recall (if you follow my blog), the landlord of the property there and his son who worked diligently toward their goal of developing the property, were an incredible picture to me of the Father and Son relationship as they are, from eternity past, working diligently toward their purpose of developing their kingdom! It was amazing and awesome and will never ever leave me.

By the time we were preparing to leave, the Lord had revealed so much through the father and son landlords of the relationship with Jesus and His Father, that almost all their actions that were visible to me, seemed to reflect something of God’s nature.

The track/road they would drive along ran from the road next to our driveway and along- side the house and up to the hills to the other end. So I would always see them whenever they were driving past.  When it came to the last day of cleaning and handing in the keys, as I looked out the back windows of the sunroom I could see the landlord’s son driving up the paddock toward the house. He’d done this a number of times during that day, looking over and I suspected he may have been checking that we were on the move.

When Derek and I finished the final task of the cleaning, I saw him driving up and so I went outside to wave him goodbye. However, this time, he never looked over once. I stood there waving, in full view, but he didn’t even offer a glance. He had his hand on the wheel, eyes fixed straight ahead and he was eating an apple. I’ll never forget it.

This reflected the heart of our Lord to me in a way that took my breath away. It was as though God’s fingers took the corners of the invisible curtain of this earthly realm and pulled them back to reveal the Son of God just getting on with His work of the Kingdom. As a reflection of Christ the Son of God, there was no sign of sentiment. There was no sign of looking back. There was no sign of giving me any glory in the matter. He was getting on with his task, the will of his father. And he was delighting in the fruit he was eating.

Just like with the landlord’s son, Jesus knew I was there alright. God knew what I was looking at and what I was seeing. He had seen all that had taken place whilst living there and He knew that this final event was good and right.  I needed to see that He wasn’t sentimental and He wasn’t stopping what He was doing in order to get what He is after. And He was telling me that neither should I.

The earthly realm would say to me “You’re so sad to leave this place, it’s been so wonderful, and you’re so ripped off to have to leave. Think and dwell on how sad you are that you’ll never have this place again. Look back on it, look back, look back!” 

But the spiritual realm, the heavenly realm in which you and I are already seated in Christ, says something altogether different. It cries out “DON’T look back! Don’t be like Lot’s wife. Put your hand to the plough and be faithful with what is in front of you right now. Keep your eyes set on the Kingdom of God and God will take care of everything else.”

In Matthew 8:28 and Luke 9:60, when they told Jesus they needed to go to a funeral before being able to follow Him, He replied “Let the dead bury the dead”. That might sound harsh and He may have been commenting on their spiritual condition as being ‘dead’ but it sure shows Jesus’ focus. In the account in Luke 9:60 He says “Let the dead bury their dead, but you go and proclaim the Kingdom of God”. Jesus had His hand on the wheel, His eyes fixed straight ahead to do the will of His Father, and He enjoys the fruit of that and only that. He wasn’t interested in looking back and He was calling them to the same attitude.

What’s more, once those who were called to follow Him actually did leave everything immediately and follow Him, He didn’t stop to congratulate them and tell them how wonderful they were for doing so! He didn’t stop and analyse with them what it was like for them to leave people, places and things behind, He just kept walking and they just followed.

I like this. Sometimes Jesus is so incredibly simple, it’s a relief. He’s uncomplicated. I like that Jesus is so fixated on His Father’s will and isn’t sentimental about earthly things. And I love the image forever burnt into my spirit, of the landlord son eating an apple. It speaks to me of the simplicity and joy of Christ’s life in following His Father’s will. And since we’re called to live by Christ’s life just as Christ lives by His Father’s life, then perhaps this is a good indication that our life in the Spirit is also meant to be simple and a joy.

I don’t pretend it’s an easy life but ease and simplicity are two very different things. Of-course none of this Christian life is easy for us, that’s why we can’t do it. But if we realise we are inside of Christ and He is inside of us, it becomes ‘simple’. Looking off unto Christ, having our eyes fixed on Him, we have one direction and one goal that we are working towards, by His life in us. Our hand is to the wheel, to the plough, we’re fixed on the goal, the prize. It’s seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness! And the fruit of this is joy, joy, joy! 

 

What’s wrong with Rocky?

 

Rocky on bed

Some months back while we were living at the old house, our little dog Rocky, started some odd behaviour. It started happening quite out of the blue. He’s always been a smoocher and a lapdog. But all of a sudden, he would get up from off the lounge or off the bed or wherever he was sitting/lying at the time, and start pacing around in a rather hunched over way – you know, tail tucked down, ears back, back arched. He would walk behind curtains, under tables, up against the lounge. He’d sit down or stand still for a moment and then be on the move again. He would start slapping his gums as though over-salivating although there wasn’t any druel. Sometimes he would end up shaking, as though he was cold and that would last up to half an hour before he’d go back to normal.

I took him to the vet and they took blood tests which showed he was in perfect health. Fantastic. They said it must be behavioural because he has an anxious temperament anyway and if it doesn’t change in a fortnight to take him back for further tests and to see what they could do behaviourally for him. So after a few days things settled down and it seemed he was ok. Until recently.

In the last 10 days or so, the same behaviour has started up again. However, it has become more intense. When he starts, he has become extremely clingy and lies all over me or Derek or my mum, across our belly, legs, up against us, along our backs and heads if we’re in bed, over our feet, over our chest, as though he almost wants to get inside us! He doesn’t stay still, he’s up and moving to another spot in just seconds. This has been incredibly difficult when it happens during the night because it means both of us or one of us can’t sleep. Yes, we could put him out of our bedroom but then he would cry and we would feel too concerned for him, he is our baby after all :-). Following this manic behaviour, he starts shaking and this might last up to 15 minutes or so. Following that, he pants profusely for another ten minutes or so and then collapses, exhausted.

Now, based on this information, it may be obvious to you what’s wrong with Rocky. You may be a vet and know exactly what these symptoms indicate. But for me and Derek we didn’t have a clue. We weren’t sure if it was behavioural because he was upset that there’s two other dogs living here or because after 2 months or so he’s feeling anxious about living in the new house, or what.

However, with the growing distress of the situation for him, last week in the middle of the night as he lay in my arms panting and then finally collapsed, I prayed to the Lord and said “If You’re going to take him home, please don’t let him suffer and just take him quickly”. The next day, Derek told me he had prayed the same thing that night.

You see, Derek and I are finally coming to realise that we can’t hold on to anything in ‘this life’. Even the dearest little innocent loves of our lives that bring us such joy and comfort. Even these little ones, we cannot hold onto. Everything in ‘this life’ comes to an end. Nothing here, lasts forever.

We also understand that sometimes God needs to remove things that we would hold onto in such a way that we may neglect or reject His calling in our lives. For example, if God wanted Derek and I to move to another state or were in a situation where we could only live in a unit or a caravan, our love for our little Rocky just might be the very thing that would prevent us from following in obedience.  I’m just talking hypothetically here, but you get the picture.

The thing is, God knows what it is in ‘this life’ that will hold us back from following Him wholeheartedly and with full abandonment.  Just look at the rich young ruler in Luke. Of-course, it will be different for each one of us. But Jesus said;

“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life…(Mark 10:29, 30)

And in Mark 8:35-36 we read;

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?…

Well, to continue with my story on Rocky, as I’m sure you’re worried and upset now, wondering what’s happening with him! That very night that I prayed that as he lay in my arms, completely passed out, I heard a voice. A calm, definite voice rose from within my spirit, saying “they’re seizures”. I knew this was the voice of the Lord, my God, who cares for the animals so evidently seen in the Psalms.

So the next day I called the vet and told her his symptoms again and that I was certain he was having seizures. She instructed me to bring him in immediately and as a result she put him on epilepsy medication. It’s only been four days since he started his morning and night medication, but he’s been 3 days without a turn. He is playing with his favourite red ball and is sleeping soundly and is almost back to his old chipper self. Great news huh? Thank You Lord. 🙂

The thing is, everything in this earth is temporal. Jobs, houses, relationships, health, possessions, riches, Rocky’s little body and my body and your body, the bodies of all we love and those we don’t even know, are all temporal. They are mortal. That is how it is here. However, for us who are in Christ, the Word tells us that  one day, the mortal shall put on immortality. The corruptible shall put on the incorruptible.

This is because Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. Jesus, having been resurrected, and the first-born from among the dead, is now in His incorruptible form and we too, will take on an incorruptible form as He has. Though we are not and will never be divine, we share in His Divine Life.  We live today as believers, by His Divine Life in us.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die (John 11:25,26)

…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead (Rev 1:5)

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. 21For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.…(1Corinth 15:20,22)

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power (1 Corinth 15:42,43)

I know the day will come when God will take Rocky home. He will take my mum home, my husband home, my sister, etc, just as He took my dad home. It’s painful. It’s going to be painful. Perhaps you’re going through that same pain right now. Or perhaps you’re being asked to give something up that stands in the way of God’s call on your life. Only you know. But I pray that all of us, God’s people, the church, will learn to not hold on to the temporal, but enjoy what we have while we have it, treat it well, love it well, and let it go when we’re called to, for Jesus’ sake and the sake of His gospel.

 

 

 

 

Why is God called the God of the eleventh hour?

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This post is a little more lengthy and detailed than normal because I want to highlight how Derek and I have experienced an aspect of the Lord we had not understood before – that is God as a God of completion – down to the final hour of the final day. So if you’ve got the time to read through, I hope you can appreciate the fullness of this testimony.

Story:

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll recall that my family and I were given notice to move out of the rental property we lived in by Friday 27th November.  We had been given 3 months’ notice (plenty of time right?) to find somewhere else but the 27th was our absolute final date to be out by, although we had permission from our landlords to take the weekend, that would be the 28th and 29th to clean the old house and hand the keys in.

Having unique needs to house my mother, my step- daughter, Derek and I and three inside dogs, the challenges were great whilst looking for a new place.  In order to give greater glory to God, let me share what was on our hearts to believe for…

  • Close proximity to my sister
  • Close proximity to the rest of the saints we fellowship with
  • Separate living area for mum
  • Room for mum to keep her baby grand piano
  • Mum to have her own bathroom
  • Mum to have her own external access
  • Preferably an ensuite for us
  • Single level and flat block to allow easy access and safety for mum
  • Fenced yard for dogs
  • Approval for dogs to be inside house
  • Parking for 3 cars
  • Preferably not straight out suburbia since mum has lived on acres since 1989

Just a small order, right? But we have a great God, right?

Now, with our last move 2.5 years ago I had distinctly heard the Lord’s whisper calling me to come and ask Him for what I wanted for our move. I told Him all the things I felt in my heart that we really needed, especially in taking mum with us from her family home less than a year after my dad had passed away.  The very next day I drove past a real estate I’d never called into before and felt to do a u-turn and go inside. They had one rental that had just come up and wasn’t on their list yet. It was the house we lived in for the last 2.5 years, just around the corner from my dad’s grave at a christian camp facility called Bethshan, where he had given his life to Jesus at age 14. The house met beautifully, all of our needs on a practical sense and the Lord taught us many precious things while living there.

Derek and I both felt strongly that this time, the Lord would do a different thing. We had no doubt He would provide for our needs but we had a strong conviction that the Lord doesn’t always do the same thing in the same way. Just because He did something a certain way once before, doesn’t mean we can hold Him to a formula for every similar event in our lives. We knew this time would be different.

We’d also come to understand the value of losing our preferences in order for Him to get what He wants in us. So whilst we would pray for and believe for the Lord to meet all our needs, we knew that He was the only one who truly knew our needs. We went through all the ups and downs of surrendering our preferences whilst holding onto faith that He would provide what He knew was best.

Somewhere in those last 3 months, we applied for 3 houses that really didn’t float our boat. However, as time was running out we were beginning to realise that we might just have to take something that wasn’t all we had hoped for and make the most of it, believing that it would be the Lord’s choice for us and He would have much to teach us through such an exercise.  And so with each of these applications, there was a resignation in our hearts to the point of giving up and being prepared to take whatever He had in mind.

In fact, each time our application was rejected, there was a sense of disappointment for us, particularly for me. With each house I had gone through the process of disappointment, then acceptance and learning to embrace whatever it was and then mentally I would imagine living there and how it would work until faith entered my heart to be happy about it. So when we were knocked back, there was a little episode of grief each time as I had already gone through the process of embracing it as our new home.

Well, we got down to the final three weeks, still not having found anything that ticked all the boxes, and not approved for anything that even ticked some of the boxes. Derek had said at one point that he wouldn’t be surprised if the Lord took us right down to the 27th November, so that we would truly take the current land for all it’s worth, as He had told us to do, in April of this year (2015).

Personally, I was horrified at that thought! He suggested a few times that I book the removalists but I said I couldn’t book them because I didn’t have an address for them and they will need to quote on where we have to travel to and consider the access to the new place.  However, with just over two weeks to go, I decided to get some removalists quotes and eventually booked one for the 27th without an address. I simply told them the general whereabouts we intended to end up!

I also booked the carpets to be cleaned and the lawns to be done the week before the 27th. I made a list of things to do and Derek and I worked off that list. The list included a garage sale (as we had felt the Lord tell us to hold one), packing last minute things, cleaning and undoing furniture the night of the 26th in preparation to move on the 27th.

Well, on Sunday night the 14th, I received a real estate alert email with a new listing. It was in the suburb of Narara and it provided the following; (Hint: it’s the same list…)

  • Close proximity to my sister
  • Close proximity to the rest of the saints we fellowship with
  • Separate living area for mum
  • Room for mum to keep her baby grand piano
  • Mum to have her own bathroom
  • Mum to have her own external access
  • Ensuite for us
  • Single level and flat block to allow easy access and safety for mum
  • Fenced yard for dogs
  • Approval for dogs to be inside house
  • Parking for 3 cars
  • Rural/suburbia on large private block

It also had a pool and air conditioning and it was only $50 per week more than what we had been paying. And it’s availability date? You guessed it …Friday the 27th November.  So toot sweet, I got hold of the agency to arrange an inspection.

For a myriad of reasons that I won’t bother you with, we were unable to view the property until Friday 20th. This would mean that the real estate wouldn’t even begin to look at our application until Monday the 23rd, , in turn meaning, that we wouldn’t have an answer until at least the 25th. What if the application was rejected? How would we find somewhere within 2 days, knowing how lengthy the application process is? Still, with boxes packed, garage sale complete, carpets cleaned, lawns mown and removalist booked, we felt sure that God would provide in time.

On the afternoon of Wednesday the 25th, the real estate called and said “Well, I have good news, I’ve put your application to the landlord and you’ve been approved but on one condition….that you can move in this Friday”. What? Who says that? I worked in property management in real estate for 12 years and I’ve never heard of such a thing!

What a glorious God! So through all these weeks the Lord has been walking us through learning to live by faith and not by sight, to cast our cares upon the Lord, to not be anxious, and to trust Him right up to the last minute, and to find joy in Him no matter how impossible circumstances might appear.

So, we moved out and moved in on Friday 27th November. J  My mother and step daughter hadn’t even seen the place. I was so impressed with their trust. On Saturday and Sunday the 28th and 29th, Derek and I went back and cleaned the old house to hand in the keys to the landlords on the Sunday.

Now, if you recall, the Lord had shown us much of Himself and His Eternal purpose whilst living at the old place over the last 2 years, through the actual land we were living on. He did a lot of work in me and Derek during that time and we needed Him to! He still is of-course and we still need Him to! And during those years, we as a little group of saints that are being built together, have really walked through some body-life and experienced the Lord in increasingly beautiful and meaningful ways.

After walking together with these precious brothers and sisters for a good time now, and experiencing the Lord’s leading and teaching in my own life and in my life together with Derek, I can see how each of us walk through things in our personal lives, that reflect the life of the corporate church but on a smaller, individual scale.  It’s become a fascinating exercise for me to reflect on personal circumstances and see what it is the Lord is showing us through them, concerning His church. What we have walked through as a little ekklesia seems to have given more room for the Lord and we are certainly seeing His life increased in and amongst us.

So it was interesting, that a few weeks prior to us moving out, one of the sisters enquired as to why Derek and I were planning on cleaning the house when we moved out, since it was supposed to be pulled down for development. I then informed her that we had only recently been informed that the old landlord’s son was intending to move in there while he used the place as a site office, for selling off the vacant blocks for the development.

However, it wasn’t until Derek and I were pushing the mop across the dining room floor and working our way down the hallway to back out the front door, (our final task to the big clean-up), that it hit us both. We were in essence, preparing a place, where the son could lay his head.

Selah…..

How can the Lord be so intimately and intricately involved right up to the last half hour of the last day? How could He reveal such an intensely and breathtakingly beautiful insight? Needless to say, we both stopped the mopping and wept, praising our Lord who had opened His heart to us to reveal the condition of this little group we are being built with – that as a tiny ekklesia here on the Central Coast, NSW, Australia, the Lord has finally got a place to lay His head.

Even reading this again, I find I have to pause and reflect on what the Lord has done. He has taken our breath away.

So. What we have learned and experienced of the Lord, is that when He speaks, there is Life in His words. When the Lord said in April to take this land for all it’s worth before He moves us on, He sure meant it. And in following His instructions, He has more than satisfied and fulfilled our hearts with more of Himself in ways we could not imagine and in even more ways than I have shared.

There is not a minute or even a second wasted in God’s economy. He is the God who fills every breath, every moment, every season, to the full. He is the God of around the corner, and the God of right here and now. And yet somehow, everything He does and says has to do with His Son. His obsession is His Son – Christ.

We didn’t come to the last hour of cleaning and find the Lord reveal something to us about our future, jobs, or finances, or goals, or anything else, but He revealed more to us about His Son Jesus Christ. He revealed the heart of the Father, which is for His Son.

I think God is often the God of the eleventh hour so that He can display Himself in more glory. And now, He has brought us to a land covered in shade, fruit trees, a well and a pool for refreshment, yet coupled with its own unique challenges. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that this too, is a reflection of His Son yet to unfold.  🙂

 

 

 

An Abundant Land

Narnias mulberry treeG’day there!

It’s the 12th of the 12th, 2015 and here I am sitting in my new office for the first time, in the new house the Lord has given me and my family. God has been faithful as always. We moved in here on the 27th of November and what a ride this last month has been. Some of you have been following my blog posts on our situation regarding moving house and how the Lord has been revealed to us so beautifully through it all so I am delighted to now share the next chapter (but not the last) on our move.

For a re-cap if you haven’t been following, you can read the following posts ……

https://donnaleebatty.com/2015/05/18/the-land-where-i-live/

https://donnaleebatty.com/2015/10/02/is-god-preparing-you-to-move-on/

https://donnaleebatty.com/2015/11/09/when-were-down-to-the-wire/

https://donnaleebatty.com/2015/11/30/he-did-it-again/

We have moved from a land of wide open space looking out onto plains and paddocks ready for development by the father and son landlords, to an established land of fruit trees and shade, tucked away in semi-suburbia. It is a large block of land offering refreshment with the biggest shadiest mulberry tree I’ve ever seen. There’s an apple, a pear, a lime and a lemon tree, a pool for this Summer season we’ve just entered here in Australia and water from three different sources. Water is sourced from town water, tank water and a well :-).

apple tree

To the right of us is an agricultural farm for the high school (yes it does get a little noisy) and so our neighbours are sheep and chooks, literally at our window and I think soon there’ll be baby lambs arriving, it’ll be our very own navity scene in time for Christmas! To the left of us is a long vacant block at the rear of a house which is down on the street, while our house is on a battle-axe block with the vacant land down on the street.

Funnily enough, (and praise the Lord that I am learning to see the funny side of His ways) the vacant block at the front of our house currently has a development application in council and we are told that ‘eventually’ our landlord will develop our block also. So once again we have come into a land that is intended for development – and as a sister from our group commented yesterday, this is a reflection of the life of the church and how the Lord is always about development, change, transformation, moving us on in Him and taking us wherever He leads us. Great stuff!

Derek and I are really beginning to get the picture that we do not belong to this earth and are not settled here but rather we are nomads on this planet for our home is in Christ Himself and His body (which are one anyway) and ultimately in His heavenly kingdom, the full resurrection after this earthly life. So we have a six month lease and I wouldn’t at all be surprised if we have to move at that time or shortly after, although we’ll wait and see. It’s up to the Lord after all!

My mother has her own area of the house for herself but still allowing for interaction, our daughter has her own large bedroom, we have our ensuite and the three doggies are all very happy with so many trees to choose from! Ahhh….the God who meets all our needs 🙂

The most exciting thing for me and Derek on a practical level, is that we are now pretty much centre of the various geographical locations where the rest of the saints live, whom we are sharing community life with. Yay!! A big yay!!! This means we can be together more often, sharing a quick or lengthy drop-in coffee and chat, can pick each other up for gatherings, can more readily change venues if a hosting family has to cancel, and generally be much more available for body life. Just yesterday I was able to meet a sister for lunch at her favourite café and it was only a 15 minute drive at 60kms per hour instead of 40 minutes at 110ks! And how much easier this will be for our brothers and sisters than having to pack up their kids and travel out to the sticks where we used to be.

While we are still getting used to our new ‘temporary’ dwelling, with all its new sounds, smells and layout, still boxes to unpack etc (although we are continuing to cull) there is much the Lord has done in and shown us over this period of transition and I would like to share some of these with you over the next number of blog posts.  Here’s some of them….

  • Letting go & Not looking back
  • Taking the land for all it’s worth before HE moves us on
  • Letting go of anxiety and remaining in Rest – Christ as our Rest
  • God as a God of completion –the final day – the final hour
  • A place where the Son can lay His head

I’m not sure what order I’ll write these posts and whether or not more will arise or I will feel not to share some of them as the weeks of reflection go on, but I know the Lord has done significant work in both Derek and myself through all of this and so I want to wait on Him about what and how to share. I am still very much ruminating on what the Lord has done!

So until my next post, I hope you like the few pics of the new place, a picture of Christ as our Land of Refreshment (sorry they’re only taken on my iPhone so they’re only a reflection, not as crisp as The Real Life!)

Rammy big mulberry tree

mulberry tree arch

He Did It Again

Hi all, 

This is just a short post-it-note really, to keep in touch until I get internet connected from our NEW HOME! 

That’s right folks, God has delivered and provided for us and blown us away AGAIN! 

I can hardly wait to write what The Lord has done over these past weeks and these past days and even hours. He NEVER ceases to amaze me. 

Until then however, thank you to all you dear brothers and sisters who have prayed for us to find a new home suitable for my mother and in time. 

We moved in 3 days ago to the perfect house for our needs and with added blessings on top of course! 

I hope to post over the next week or so, the glorious ways we have been privileged to see our Lord through this experience, not only as a family nucleus but in His church body. 

Write soon, 

In Him who is our Eternal Home!! 

When We’re Down To The Wire

Hi All,

I’m just writing a short post to let you know that over the next couple of weeks I may not be able to post as often as I normally would, which is generally twice a week. In fact, I think I only posted once last week.

That’s because I’m packing house and waiting on internet searches, applications and phone calls to inspect houses for rent and hopefully move! We have 18 days left before our termination notice expires to leave this house, as the owner wants to use the house as a site office for the development of this property.

You can read my previous blog posts This Land Where I Live and Is God Preparing You To Move On to give some amazing insights in what the Lord has shown and taught me through this experience of living here whilst the property is being developed and we are needing to move out.

In the meantime, Derek, my mum, and Caitlin my step daughter and our 3 little dogs are walking by faith and trusting that our incredible God, through His amazing Son Jesus Christ, will see us moved into the house and area that is just right for His purpose.

Derek and I believe at this time it is very important for us to be closer to the rest of the saints we do church community life with so we can be in each other’s lives much more, that Christ can have more opportunity to be expressed amongst us all. And fortunately, that would also mean mum can live closer to my only sister (biological that is, as I have many sisters!).

So, as we count down these last days and continue to pray for the Lord’s guidance and provision, we are packing all the bits and pieces and tidying things up, while we co-labour with Him in the endeavour to find somewhere else to live.

This is an incredible opportunity for us in our faith, to not give into fear or feelings and to remain in rest, trusting our Lord to deliver right on time. Although there are anxious moments and thoughts knocking on the door of our minds for sure, we are comforted that we know the God of our salvation who is also our Jehovah Jireh, our Provider.

A dear brother lent me a book the other day and in it the author refers to 1 Samuel 14:1-15. This scripture is a wonderful account of the faith of Jonathan and his armour-bearer moving out against the enemy believing in advance that the Lord was going to give the Philistines into their hands. The author writes this line;

Their hearts must have been pounding as they sensed what God was about to do.

This one sentence really touched my heart. It’s the kind of faith I want to have in those ‘hairy’ moments in life.  When things are really on the edge, and my heart is assured of God’s deliverance in a situation though with my physical senses I cannot see how or when deliverance could come, I want my heart to pound with excitement and anticipation at what God is about to do!

This morning I was greatly encouraged singing to the tune of Walking In A Winter Wonderland, the following words put together by some saints in the US;

We go on, never tired

’cause we’re filled with His Fire

We face unafraid the plans that He’s made

Living in the Body of the Lord …..

I can’t wait to write that post that will tell y’all about how miraculously God has provided and glorified Himself and what we have learned in the process.

Catch you soon from a new location,

Donna 🙂