How To Use Your GPS

For some of us, our life decisions can lead us down a path we didn’t really want to go and to a destination we didn’t want. A decision to take that job, move to that area, date that person, eat that kind of food, live that kind of lifestyle, hang out with those kind of people – these decisions can take us on a path that can leave us feeling lost or confused, disappointed or frustrated or much worse. We can find ourselves traveling on a really rough road that can take us a long time to ‘get back on track’. Even years sometimes!

Chatting with a dear friend the other day, we were talking about how God seems to always lead us back onto the right path in our lives, in spite of our mistakes. You know how sometimes we make silly decisions? Or maybe that was just me 🙂

I use a GPS a fair bit these days, to find my way around the streets that are all unfamiliar to me here in Perth. However, sometimes I still take a wrong turn or think I know better and find that I’ve gone off the path the GPS was sending me on.  Sometimes I’m just not paying attention or listening properly. Selah.

When this happens with the GPS, it has a momentary brain spasm to work out where I’ve gone and then it adjusts my route to re-direct me back toward the destination.  You see, the destination doesn’t change, and just like the GPS, God too, will always steer me back toward His purpose in my life.  This beautiful verse in Romans 8:28 says it all;

And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 

The thing is, that in God our destination never changes. Our destination is always toward God’s Purpose. Christ being known, revealed and expressed is always our destination. And God has this remarkable way through Christ who is our life, of always leading us towards that purpose, yes, even in spite of our mistakes along the way.

God is like our own spiritual GPS ( ‘God’s Perfect Shepherding’). Christ is our Google Maps! He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the way to the Father. So next time you use your GPS, perhaps you can see the Lord as your Perfect Shepherd in a new way. Using your GPS you can reflect on how in His mercy and love toward us, He is always leading us back onto the right path, toward His glorious purpose of seeing Christ formed in us.

 

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Christ Our Bridegroom

Sorry I’ve been quiet for a couple of weeks but we’ve had two different families from NSW staying with us over the last two long weekends for Easter and now Anzac Day.  We’ve had an awesome time and have been kept very busy with site-seeing, hanging out, walking the dog and entertaining the kids, and lots of eating!

However, I wanted to post my final contribution to the 3rdrace.org series on the Lord’s Eternal Purpose, which for the month of April has been focusing on The Bride. There are some beautiful realities posted there by the other contributors to the site and as usual, I recommend checking it out.

Anyhoo, please click on this link to read my post there on Christ Our Bridegroom.

Are You Hungry and Desperate for More of Christ?

“TO THE SAINTS” Conference 2017! If you have a real hunger and desire for a more biblical and life-giving expression of the church of Jesus Christ then this event is for you!

“TO THE SAINTS” Conference’ focus is spiritual depth, the centrality and supremacy of Jesus Christ, the ministry of LIFE rather than information, an emphasis on knowing Christ practically and expressing Him with others in close-knit community, connecting with others of like mind and vision, and equipping God’s people to fulfill His grand mission and eternal purpose in the earth.

Click on the link below which will lead you to the event website!

via Exciting New Event that You Won’t Want to Miss! — Blog of Milt Rodriguez

Is God Sometimes Silent? Part 2

 

(Click here for Part 1 Is God Sometimes Invisible? if you missed it)

For many months I had experienced a real sense of the Lord’s life in and around me.  It seemed He was definitely active in teaching me things, showing me more of Himself, speaking to me through others, through creation or things I read. My times of communion with Him had been rich and fruitful. Even through trials and challenges I sensed His life and purpose in it all. It seemed like it had become a new way of living and it felt solid and dependable.

But in this particular season He was all but gone. Or so it seemed.

I continued my walk through the park to sit down on the park bench. The bench was facing a large pond with a fountain in its centre.  The water was reaching high into the air, gushing and flowing as it had been every day that I’d been there to walk Rocky.

As I sat there still ruminating on how the Lord had just spoken to me of His hiddenness in the picture of the camouflage tree (see Part 1)  I was startled by the abrupt silence of the fountain stopping its flow. Suddenly everything was deathly quiet and I realised that I hadn’t even noticed how loud it had been until it stopped.

It came quickly to me in that moment that I had been pining for the noisy and active flow of the Lord’s life that I had known in recent months and that now, as with this fountain in front of me, it seemed all flow had ceased and all had gone quiet, if not silent.

Just as quickly, I sensed the Lord speak this into my spirit;

I am in the noisy flow of life and I am in the silence also. The noise and the silence are both aspects of Me. Don’t wish any part of Me away. 

I was astonished.

Lord, cause me to accept Your apparent silences and to not lose heart or faith that even that is part of who You are. You are in all things. You have so many expressions of who You are that even eternity cannot contain them. Help me to hear You and recognise You in the silence, that I might know You more. You will never be put in a box Lord. You are always far beyond how we have known You in the past, even the recent past. You are enormous and Oh! how You want us to know You in all of Your expressions. 

 

Are We Hidden Figures?

…For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)

Recently I saw the movie titled “Hidden Figures”. (Picture provided by Google Images). The synopsis as described on google reads;

Three female African-American mathematicians provide crucial calculations for NASA’s space race against the Soviets, all while dealing with the racist and sexist assumptions of their white co-workers.

It is a truly moving and inspiring account of the achievements that each of these three ladies made against incredible opposition and injustice. Although the story is essentially about Katherine and her friends’ hidden mathematical genius that is ignored by NASA for a great deal of their story, it is also the story of them being ‘hidden figures’ themselves.The three women were considered to be less than nobody’s  firstly because of racism and secondly because of gender inequality – i.e. they were black and they were women.

The main character Katherine Johnson was disregarded, shunned and undervalued yet she was the smartest person in the room. And she knew it! In fact, each of these ladies knew the value of their skill and expertise, if only the powers-that-be would put aside their prejudices and pay attention.

Eventually of-course, those powers-that-be did start to notice how smart Katherine was. And her friends equally in their different departments. It was their unequaled skill that shone through above all their colleagues and superiors that got them noticed eventually and saw NASA achieve the goals it was after. Even the life of an astronaut was saved solely because of Katherine’s God-given mathematical talents.

What really stuck out to me in this story was the balance displayed in each of these mistreated and under-appreciated ladies, of a quiet confidence in their abilities coupled with humility.

Although these ladies each had outstanding talent that placed them above their peers in respect of skill, it was only ever for the greater good that they wished to be noticed. They each had a quiet, confident assurance that if they were free to function then the whole of NASA would benefit.

This reminded me of who we are in Christ. When we are free to function in who and how God has made us the whole body of Christ benefits.

Though the world will never see it, we as members of Christ’s body, beloved of God, ought to always be confident of our reality as priests and kings in the Lord’s Kingdom.  Sure, the world may and will mock us, ridicule us, shun and reject us and even persecute us but this should not, will not and cannot take away from who we are.

We must know that we are sons of the living God, set apart to be made by Him holy and righteous in His sight. We are favoured and blessed by God to be members of His family, His royal household and to share in His inheritance. This is who we are. Herein lies our confidence.

Yet, coupled with this confidence that is ours to enter the throne room of God with all our prayers, petitions and praise and to face a world and an enemy that despises us, we have also been given the humility of Christ.

Though it is tempting sometimes, we have no need to put ourselves forward, to speak up for and defend ourselves, even when the world persecutes us. Nor do we seek promotion in the house of God, we seek only to minister unto the Lord Himself and to Him in one another. We needn’t bring attention to ourselves, our ministry, our talents or gifts. Should God ever choose to use us for anything at all, He alone will bring it about for His glory, not for ours.

So can I encourage you today dear brother or sister, to remember always who you are in Christ Jesus. You are a branch in that Vine. God the Vine-dresser, our Husbandman, cares for the branches in the very same way He cares for that Vine! Wow! You are part of His beloved Son. You will always be in that Vine because it is the Father’s work that has placed you there. You are there to bear much fruit for His pleasure and HE will see to it that this is accomplished in you by the life of that glorious Vine in you, who is Christ.

Christ in us, the hope of glory.

In the knowledge, peace and rest of our place in Christ and in the heart of God, we can with confidence and humility serve Him and wait on Him. We needn’t struggle, strive or push. Everything, even our very lives, belong to Him.

…therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time…(1 Peter 5:6)

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

Is God Sometimes Invisible? Part 1

During the first couple of weeks living in a new state, no home of our own, new folk, new places, new streets, (i.e. nothing familiar), I admit I felt a little lost at times.

Not only was I in a very unfamiliar place but it also seemed like God had all but removed Himself from the experience. And God was the very reason for our move!

One day when I took Rocky for a walk I really poured my heart out to God. “Help me to find you in this place Lord” I cried with tears. “But if I’m to be here and still not see you, give me Your faith to go on regardless”.

As I walked around the side of a pond I came to three trees. I instinctively felt the Lord was drawing my attention to the trees ( He hadn’t really left :-)).

As I walked up to one of the trees which at the time was heavy with luscious life, I stroked the trunk. I noticed it’s bark was coming off in little square-like patches, yet each piece that was lifting wasn’t loose. If I had pulled at a lifting piece I may have torn at the tree itself so I just studied it and ran my hand over it.

It had patches of different stages of the peeling bark so it was rather multicoloured- a patch of light green new tree trunk here, a patch of old darker brown bark there, a patch of pale grey bark in other places and patches of cream in yet other places.

“What is it You’re showing me Lord?” I asked through gentle tears and a downcast soul.

So I stood back a few paces from the tree and observed at a slight distance what I had just been examining up close.

The tree looked like the Australian Military camouflage uniform. In fact it was almost identical! One could be forgiven for believing the design for the uniform was actually fashioned from this type of tree. It’s camouflage pattern and colouring was perfect.

Then it came. ” I am alive and well in this place but I am hidden. It will take a trained eye to see Me”.

Sigh.  “Train my eyes Lord”.

13You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, (Jeremiah 29:13-14)

God brought Derek and I to this new place to learn Christ more in the body of believers here. We had known Christ a certain way before, yes in many different ways. However, we sensed that God wanted us to learn Christ afresh and in a way we never had before. This was calling for a ‘trained eye’ (of-course Christ is our Teacher) and a desperate heart to seek after Him where we are.

And so we have ’embarked’ on a new subject in this school of Christ, which is knowing Christ in His Body.

Stay tuned for Part 2…..

Transparency and Disclosure

Jesus never tried to hide who He was, what He had said or done or to hide anything at all about His life. He lived a completely transparent life despite the ramifications. And we know He certainly bore some ramifications.

I believe transparency is very important to God because it is part of His character. It’s a reflection of who He is. Here’s a little story for you that brought me to a deeper understanding of this characteristic of God’s and why it’s so important that His people share and display His character. (Of-course this can only be done by Christ’s life in us).

Story:

Derek and I had been living with different church folk over an 8 week period until he got work and we could find our own place. He secured  a job in our 7th week which meant that at-last we had an income and that meant we were finally eligible to apply for a rental. After two months I was eager to get our own home of-course and after some searching and applying, we were approved for what I considered to be the perfect house for our needs. I had brought this house before the Lord and had asked for His favour in letting us have it but also that if it wasn’t His best, that I would accept that we wouldn’t be approved and lay it down trusting Him for something else.

I had received notification via email from the real estate that our application had been fully processed and they were waiting on approval by the owners of the house. I was told that we should have an answer within 24 hours. So almost 48 hours later I still hadn’t heard anything. During these 48 hours and in particular the last 12, I was struggling to not give into anxiety because I was really keen to get settled in our own home.

I spent 48 hours or so going between faith and doubt, hope and letting go, obsessing and surrender, anxiety and rest. In the last hour I decided to have an afternoon sleep and was startled awake with a slight panic attack over the possibility of not getting the house at all.  I instantly cried out to the Lord and cast my cares upon Him and rejected anxiety as not mine. I am in Christ and in Him is no anxiety! He is the Prince of Peace!

I turned to the Lord and asked “What do you want me to learn of You in this Lord? What are You wanting to teach me?” I remembered that God’s ultimate goal in using all things for my good, is that I would  know Him more intimately. That’s really all God wants in anything, for us to know Him, to His glory.  Having been reminded of that beautiful, simple and yet profound truth, I gave up the house. I said “God, take the house. It’s Your house. Whilst I still believe You are going to give it to us, I give it back to You”. While I was still speaking, the alert rang on my phone to tell me a message had just come through and I knew it was the real estate saying we’d been approved. And it was. Yay.

Now this is all very wonderful but you know, something just didn’t settle in me. Yes, God had given us the house. He had heard my prayer and I had gotten to that place of sweet surrender where the highest priority in my heart was to simply to know Him. It was a very important lesson and experience in Him.

However, I felt nervous. Why God? Why am I feeling so anxious still? Why am I not excited and settled with this? Why don’t I feel I can relax and now just make the moving plans in joy? Nothing felt secure and I had no understanding as to why.

The next day (Friday before a long weekend) I received a call from the agency telling me they had just learned of a hiccup to do with our financial history and needed me to explain our history and they would then have to put our application before the owner all over again who may decide to not approve us in light of the new information.

Sink. There it was.

Well I provided a full explanation of-course and was happy to do so but with the knowledge that as the agent had explained to me, it was possible the approval may be revoked. (Just for the record, we hadn’t tried to hide any information, it had simply not come up in the application process).  I was a little confused that this had occurred after they had said almost three days prior, that our application had been fully processed? Anyway, this was the situation and I found myself feeling very uncertain, nervous and insecure.

As I write I am waiting on an answer from the real estate.

However, I can say to you in complete confidence that I fully expect that the Lord will grant the house to us again as a death and resurrection experience to give testimony to His Life, not mine. I feel I have been given the Lord’s faith now to believe so I have the sense of assurance, security and trust that I was looking for and that I knew I had been lacking.

Why am I now so confident? Well, I asked the Lord “Why Lord, has all this happened? If you’re giving us the house anyway, which I believe You are, why did I have to go through all this drama?”

Lesson:

God required full disclosure – and for at least two reasons.

Firstly, although we weren’t intentionally hiding our financial history because as I said it wasn’t asked for, God has a higher standard. God doesn’t want second best for us, His kids. He wants the best. He wanted us to have a fully clear conscience (perhaps this was the reason for my unrest) and enjoy the house knowing that in spite of our financial history, God had delivered. He didn’t want us to ‘get away with it’.  He wanted full disclosure and He even made sure that the real estate came across this information after they said they had already fully processed the application 3 days before! This way we could never have a guilty conscience in the future or any future concern. This was an act of God’s love, grace and mercy toward us.

Secondly, God orchestrated this so that He could be glorified. With everything out in the open we could say that in spite of our history and the knowledge the real estate and landlords had of it, we were granted the best house we could have been given. We could never say we got the house because it was never part of the application that we needed to disclose certain things. We could only ever give all the glory to God. In this situation God actually affirmed our past financial decisions which we believe we made under His direction, God overruled the world standard of what was acceptable, God gave us favour with man, God granted us the most wonderful house to meet all our needs and then some and God did it all His way as a testimony to Himself.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)

End Note: We got the house 🙂

Why Are So Many Souls So Hungry?

Cheryl McGrath writes beautifully about the hunger of the human soul for the Only satisfaction that is found in Christ.  – Please click on the link below and partake of the feast.

 

Within the recesses of the human heart there is a gnawing hunger common to all humanity. Whether one is unschooled or highly educated, whether we live in the lap of luxury or in a grass hut, whether we feast at kings’ tables or scratch for roots and berries, the hunger in our souls is common […]

via Everybody Got A Hungry Heart — Bread for the Bride

How Can One Have Peace In This?

hands-1209337_1920How can one have peace when facing cancer?
How can one have peace when a loved one is hurting?
How can one have peace when alone and isolated?
How can one have peace when homeless?
How can one have peace when separated from loved ones?
How can one have peace when misunderstood?
How can one have peace when all seems lost and overwhelming?
How can one have peace when all capacity to meet one’s needs are removed?
How can one have peace in this situation?

Because of who YOU are, Lord.

Your peace is beyond understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

Your peace is not as the world gives. (John 14:27) – it’s not psychology, counselling, meditation, mindfulness…

Your peace is You Yourself,  for Prince of Peace is one of Your many names. (Isaiah 9:6)

My hands are not my own Lord. They are Your hands.

My feet are not my own Lord. They are Your feet.

My life is not my own Lord. It is Your life.

For I have been crucified to this world and this world has been crucified to me. (Galatians 6:14).

I must decrease that You would increase. (John 3:30)

Your life in me is the source of all peace for God has given me all spiritual blessings of the heavenly realms, in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3) and I can do all things through You, Christ, who strengthen me. (Philippians 4:13).

And all of this is not wishful thinking or positive talk – all of this is my reality, our reality in Christ Jesus today. No matter what the situation, I am continually astounded at this peace that is Jesus Christ, that reigns supreme in every circumstance.

Where fear and anxiety are present, Peace reigns.

Where sadness and heaviness are present, Peace reigns.

Where it would seem absurdity and ignorance in the eyes of the world to have peace, Peace reigns.

Peace reigns and rules in our hearts…

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.… (Philippians 4:6-8).

Since Christ is now our life, Christ is our source of all spiritual blessing.  It is not only possible but it is our reality that in ALL THINGS the peace of God which IS CHRIST, will guard our hearts and minds.

As we continually turn our gaze toward Jesus Christ and come to the Father through Him, and by faith we take CHRIST as our peace we find these scriptures are alive and real in our experience.

The Word of God is LIVING and ACTIVE.  JESUS is the Word of God. JESUS is Peace. JESUS is our life.