What’s Inside That Sticky Situation?

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This morning I was watching an Australian Minor bird on our back porch.  There is a pergola out back where I sit in the mornings, and he often flutters about jumping from rafter to rafter under its roof. He is always alone and he is very intriguing to observe. While the magpies mooch around on the grass looking for a meal amongst the grass and dirt, this little fella is up in the rafters looking for a meal, only he seems to go for the insects that are caught in the spider webs under the roof.

When I first started watching him I thought how on earth does he do that? How does he get his beak inside all the web and not get stuck? There are so many trees around here and that means many, many spider webs. And the roof of the pergola is a pitched roof, you know, a triangle shape. So in order to get right up to where the spiders have tucked away their meals by way of beetles, moths and other insects, he actually has to flutter in mid-air sometimes. Other times he’s getting in tight corners from rafters and getting his bright yellow beak right in the corners to extract the insects from all the sticky web.

I watched him today as he snatched a live insect from inside one of the webs. I marvelled at how clever and quick he was to do that. Then I saw him do a very clever thing. He landed on a rafter and proceeded to wipe his yellow beak across one side of the rafter, and then the other side. He did this over and over, like a chef sharpening his knife on a strap. Of-course this little guy wasn’t sharpening his beak, he was cleaning it from the web.

As I watched this, I asked “Lord, what can I see of You in this?” And the thought gradually came to me about the ‘treasures found inside of sticky situations’. Wow. How cool is that?

This little feathered friend isn’t afraid of sticky situations. He actually embraces them! He instinctively knows that within those very sticky situations are something of great worth. And he’s prepared to go in there, boots and all, and alone if he has to, to take that treasure that is on offer. But he has to go through a fair bit of yucky stuff to get it. He’s not afraid or put off by the obstacles or the threat of getting his yellow beak glued shut! He goes in, grabs the meal and proceeds to wipe his beak clear of the sticky web. Done and dusted!

So, are we like this? Do we see a hidden treasure inside a sticky situation? Do we recognise that inside some of the difficulties (if not all of them) that we face, there is something of great value to be had ? It might be a lesson learned, a blessing, a reward greater than we could have imagined, something the Lord really wants for us. And if we do recognise the opportunity inside that sticky situation do we go in boots and all, with full confidence and faith to get it or do we stand back and avoid it because of the risks?

Prior to this little guys’ visit this morning, I was meditating on Proverbs 3:5-6 which reads;

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

I can see what the Lord was saying to me in the correlation between the minor bird and the scripture.  If I lean on my own understanding, I’ll avoid the sticky situation. But if I acknowledge Him in ALL my ways, He will make my path straight. He’ll cause my life to succeed according to His plan and purpose in my life and to His glory. I will find great joy and pleasure inside the situation. But I am to trust in Him with ALL my heart. I’m to face the sticky situations and trust that He’s got my back. I’m to ignore my own wisdom, which is no wisdom at all, and trust fully in Him. And as a result, I will find great reward in knowing Him more.

I also see this as a lesson in relation to the call of God to all His people. Paul was faithful to the heavenly vision God gave Him when Jesus revealed Himself to him on the road to Damascus and revealed His oneness with His body, the church.

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord? Saul asked. “(I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting”… Acts 9:4-5.

When Paul met Jesus after He had ascended to the Father, Paul was blinded and forever changed. He never looked back. He went through many a sticky situation being faithful to the vision He’d been given. And we are all called to be the same, to have that one-eyed devotion to the Lord’s purpose. The Lord is our true food and is worth going in and after, regardless of the obstacles and difficulties that we might have to endure in order to be faithful to Him and His purpose.

I was never very fussed on Australian Minor birds before. They’re noisy and they dominate the bird life at times, and they’re not particularly attractive in my opinion. I suppose they’re more like me than I imagined. I’m quite fond of them after this encounter this morning. 🙂

Lord, teach us Your ways that we might walk with You and know You more. Give us courage to trust You when we face a sticky situation, to believe Your promises to us that You will make our paths straight if we acknowledge You in all our ways and trust in You with all our heart.

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Is True Love Science-Fiction?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do You Have A Nose For Discernment? 

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Song of Songs 7:4 Watchman Nee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Living A Simple Life In Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What if I’m Scared? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Christ As Our View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

When The Artist Is Omnipresent

Please view this 3.25 minute clip before reading on.

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

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

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

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

Jesus Lord, I’m captured by Your beauty

All my heart to Thee I open wide

Now set free from all religious duty

Only let me in Thyself abide

As I’m gazing here upon Thy glory

Fill my heart with radiance Divine

Saturate me Lord, I now implore Thee

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

 

Are You Feeling Backed Into A Corner?

The movie ‘Invincible‘ starring Mark Wahlberg is based on the true story of an average guy, Vince Papale, who at the age of 30 earned a spot on the 1976 Philadelphia Eagles American Football team. The movie is available on Netflix if you have it.

Papale and his mates used to play football in the backyard on a regular basis and his mates thought he was so talented at it, that when there was a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles team open to public try-outs, they urged him to give it a go.

But Papale was down and out and had no belief in his capacity to do any such thing. He had just lost his job as a teacher and his wife of 15 years had just left him the same week and he went home to a literally empty house.

There is a scene in the movie where Papale is in his little empty house, and it had all become too much for him emotionally. He started bashing and kicking the walls and the only piece of furniture he had to throw was the telephone. After he’d blown off some steam, he sits on the floor against the wall in the corner of the empty room.

Instinctively, as an avid movie watcher, I knew this was his crisis point otherwise known as a turning point. He had no wife, no job, no means of paying his bills other than his few shifts at the pub – he was literally backed into a corner. He only had one option – to try out for the football team.

How many times have you experienced being backed into a corner? That corner is where everything we have tried has failed. Every direction we thought we were taking has closed. There’s nothing to turn to, to the left or the right and we can’t go back. We’re backed into a corner. The only direction we have to look at is the one right in front of us, which is the only way out of that corner.

It looks different for every person of-course, according to what direction it is that God has been trying to get us to go all along. For Papale, the only opportunity left for him was the one staring him in the face. It was the one that seemed the most ridiculous.  It’s the one in which he would have no self-belief.

Are you backed into a corner right now? Is there only one direction left that you had thought was ridiculous?

I firmly believe that God backs us into corners. We can try and be all about 101 different things. But when God is on our case to get us on board with His will for our lives, He’ll do whatever it takes to get us there. That means He’ll permit a lot of things at different times. He’ll permit hard times, failure, suffering, frustration, marriage breakdowns, sickness, bankruptcy, prison, homelessness, isolation, obscurity. He’ll do and let happen whatever needs to happen.

But you know what? The thing with God is that He’s always for us who are His, and never against us. Poor Papale’s wife was against him, she told him he’d never amount to anything.

Well, God knows who we really are. He knows that in His Son, we are something very special for God. He’s just gotta get us to that place where we see who we are in Christ, and we see what God is really about, what He’s really interested in and then get on board with that. And then it’s the most incredible existence we could ever have imagined.

So what is God really interested in? What is it that He wants us to get on board with? His will of-course.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. Eph 1:9,10.

The Headship of Christ – that’s the will of God. Of-course, that’s easy to say or write. But goodness me, what it entails!?! I could never comprehend all the applications and to the extent that Christ’s Headship reaches – must reach – will reach.  All things in heaven and on earth?! That’s a lot of things!

What about my things? What about your things?

That corner, or crisis, is what took Papale out of his comfort zone, out of his focus on his own self and his own failings, out of his ‘small’ thinking, and got him headed in the right direction.

Could that corner or crisis that you’re in right now, be God’s sovereignty in your life, to get you out of your focus on yourself, your failings, and out of your ‘small’ thinking and into His direction, even if you don’t understand it or you’ve been avoiding it or if it seems impossible or even too much to ask?  Could it be you’ve been going down all the wrong tracks and God has a certain track that He will not let you miss out on even if He has to shut everything else off?

If you’re backed into the corner at the moment, can I encourage you to really ask God what direction it is that is on His heart. Remember, our lives as believers, do not belong to us any longer, contrary to what many believers would think. There’s not one part of our life that belongs to us anymore. We went through the waters of baptism, the outward display of the reality of our having died with Christ and now living only in Him and out of His life.

Corners are crisis. Crisis are turning points. God is for us and not against us. God is faithful. God does the miraculous. God grants the desires of our hearts. God is trustworthy. Nothing is impossible with God. Seek first the kingdom of God and then He will take care of the rest.

 

 

 

When Jesus Speaks Through Little Children

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Today I was sitting in a waiting room and out from the doctor’s surgery came a young dad and his little girl who must have only been about 3 years old. She was wearing fairy wings. She looked very similar to the little girl in this picture from Pixabay so I was thrilled when I found this photo to compliment this post. Just look into those eyes!

Being a girl myself, though much older than 3,  I could relate to how special she would have been feeling as she walked around this mundane machine of human society, full of serious, busy and pan-faced adults, adorned with her beautiful fairy wings.

It seemed to me that in her little mind, she was a fairy and she was ever so attuned to her ‘specialness’ as she walked about unashamedly displaying her wings. There was no arrogance or pride about her having wings but rather an air of simplicity, grace and beauty, with a quiet confidence in who she really was, unperturbed, untouched or drawn into the earthly world of human adults she walked among. She knew that she was in this beige and grey world but that she did not belong to it. She carried her tiny self as though she knew that she was a different life-form to the rest of us.

As she walked past, she locked eyes with me and gave me the most beautiful smile. Her big deep beautiful brown eyes were very much like those of the little girl in this photo. Suddenly, it was as though she and I were the only two in the room, as though time stood still for a moment as we gazed into each other’s soul and ‘saw’ each other.

Capturing the quiet childlike confidence that she held in her ‘true identity’ as a fairy, set off a little spark of fire-works in my heart. It was as though in that moment as our eyes locked, she was reminding me that I too, was in this world but not part of it. I don’t belong here either. Of-course it was the Spirit of God whispering to me and then I became attuned to my ‘specialness’. No, I’m not a fairy, I don’t have wings, but I can soar as high as the eagles, in Christ as I am already seated in heavenly places.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, …(Ephesians 2:6).

 

 

 

Tea and Toast

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Yesterday, I was so greatly encouraged by a dear sister in Christ.  She encouraged me to simplify my spiritual diet when going through a spiritual storm/sickness, just as we simplify our diet when we are physically unwell.  So this morning, as I sat and ate my regular breakfast, I shared the moment with the Lord and this poem is what resulted.  You would be very blessed by going to this sister’s blog and listening to the Lord’s words of wisdom, encouragement and blessing through what she shares in her 9 minute video called Episode #10 “Spiritual Storms & Sickness” by clicking on this link Love, Bridget. It was Life to me. 🙂

Every morning as I eat toast and drink tea

I’m reminded of ‘Christ in me’.

I remember the brokenness of His body

the Covenant of His blood

The promise of His Kingdom come.

My daily bread with melting butter

Peanut butter and vegemite

Reminds me how He has melted my heart

And set things right.

He has made me the salt of the earth

and has smothered me

in His warm love

just like the tea.

With every sip that I drink down

I’m reminded of that Kingly crown.

That King of kings and Lord of lords

That One who died for us all.

His promise of return

To embrace His bride.

That blood that flowed out

from His side.

My daily bread

My daily drink.

Of His sufferings will I partake.

Of His joy and resurrected life

I share in these

My great delight.

Enjoy a simple day with the Lord folks! 🙂