Are You Really Vulnerable? 

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Have you ever seen a movie where a submarine is submersed in the ocean and the enemy above is dropping depth chargers? I saw this in a movie the other week and Derek explained to me how the depth chargers worked and what they were intended to do. Basically, the closer they explode to the sub the more damage they will do. But it’s all about creating pressure. When the charger explodes it creates incredible pressure on the sub so that eventually there’s enough pressure that it starts to split, generally starting in its centre which is the prime place for damage.

Sound familiar?

Well over the last ten days or more I’ve had various things happening and changes occurring in my life – death of a friend, substantial financial adjustments and emotional issues – things that have been impacting my internal world. You might say my ‘centre’ has seemed somewhat vulnerable?

 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26)

I had a picture of those depth charges come to mind yesterday and subsequently I realised there is some enemy activity trying to sink me with building pressure. Have you ever felt all that pressure pressing so hard against you that your head actually physically hurts? Looking at the submarine picture again, it’s like a tin can being gradually crushed. Have you felt like that? child-1439468_1280

So something else I realised about this kind of enemy activity of creating and building pressure in order to break us, is that it is all external. That’s right, it’s all outside of us. It’s not us, and its definitely not from within.  It doesn’t mean the situations and circumstances aren’t real and valid, but there’s a pressure that is so strong and powerful, and not of this world. It ‘feels’ and ‘appears’ to be beyond our capacity to cope with. That’s something else folks. That’s external.

But you know what? Christ isn’t vulnerable. Christ doesn’t succumb to pressure. He’s completely solid and secure. He’s not in any danger of any pressure or of drowning or of any type of enemy activity. Christ is the overcomer!

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

That world that Jesus is talking about there, is the spirit of this world.

And guess what else? I’m in Christ! And you’re in Christ, if you are a follower of Him.

For in him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

That means we are inside of Him and so if Christ is not vulnerable (and He’s not!), then neither are we!

Abide in me, and I will abide in you…” (John 15:4)

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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 🙂

Help! I can’t seem to unload my burdens!

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I don’t mean to carry burdens. Sometimes I don’t even see them coming and its not until weeks later I realise I’ve been labouring under them. Burdens are cares, right? They’re worries, anxieties, concerns. They are matters that weigh heavy upon our minds and hearts.

But Jesus said to cast ALL our cares upon Him for He cares for us. He said to come unto Him all who are weary and heavy laden, to learn from Him, that He would give us rest because HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light.

Obviously, the Lord knows we have burdens, He knows we carry them. But He has a burden of His own that He wants us to carry which is the matter of His own heart and His own mind. (I’ll post about this another time). His burden and my burdens are very, very different. In fact, they are literally ‘worlds’ apart. His burden is of His Father’s heart and the Kingdom of God whereas my burdens are of my flesh/soul and this earthly kingdom. My burdens are loaded with care, concern, anxiety, worry, fear but His burden is light!  So clearly, there’s an exchange of burdens that’s meant to take place.

Now I’m not talking about having problems. We all have problems. Problems are a part of life and very often they are the very means by which the Lord changes us. What I’m talking about here, is the ‘burden’ and the ‘carrying’ of that heaviness that weighs us down to the point of despair.

In the same way that I am called to exchange my burden for His and therefore clearly can’t carry both His burden and my own at the same time, I am reminded that I can’t live in His Kingdom while I’m living in the cares and burdens of the kingdom of this world. How can I live in the Kingdom of God, in which I belong, while I’m carrying cares and anxieties that belong to the world? That’s right, they belong to the world, which means they do not belong to me for I am a citizen of another Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. If I’m carrying burdens of this world, it’s a good sign of my attachment to the place, of my being bound to it in some way, and there’s something wrong with that picture. Sounds like I’ve been hoodwinked!

This introduces the word ‘yoke’ that Jesus talked about. What is a yoke? It is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plough or cart that they are to pull”. We see this referenced in 2 Corinthians 6:14, where the Lord tells us to not being unequally yoked. So if I’m all loaded up with burdens and cares of this world, I am clearly yoked to this world, I am fastened to it and it’s ways, its cares, its burdens and I’m going to end up walking around in circles or standing still. But I don’t want to be like this and neither does the Lord want me to be.

So here’s the thing. How can I cast my cares upon the Lord? How do I unburden myself and take on His burden instead? I’ve come to the conclusion after years of practice, that I can’t. Oh yes, I’ve even wrangled and wrestled many weeks at a time with this overwhelming reality that I cannot unburden myself no matter how much I want to. It seems at times that no matter how much praying, resting, escaping, I cannot unburden myself. Yes, even my prayers are filled with anxiety and doubt and I feel I am wasting my time because I can’t stop myself. So what is the answer?

In Christ! I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me! What incredible news! What is impossible for man, is possible with God, through Christ! He has taken all my cares and burdens and placed them on Himself and took them to the cross! If only I could see this as the truth! But that would require faith!

So in faith, in living by the Kingdom of God of which I am a part, I can turn to the Lord Jesus who lives in me, and ask Him to hand my burdens over to the Father for me. In my flesh I can do nothing but in Christ, I can do all that He asks of me. He asks me to come unto Him, learn from Him, find rest in Him. He asks me to cast my cares upon Him. I can do this only in Him!

Now Christ is in me and He is in you believer! So you and I both, can turn to Him who lives and dwells in us and ask that in Him, we would hand over our burdens to the Father, the God of all comfort, the Father of compassion, to the One who cares for us.

Remember, we cannot but He can. Flesh cannot deal with the things of the spirit, only spirit can deal with spirit. Anxieties, worries, concerns, fears, doubts and burdens are matters of the spirit of this world, not the spirit of the Kingdom of God. We who are led by the Spirit are unequally yoked if we are being burdened by the things of this world. So it is by the Spirit of God, that we are called to live by faith. It is by faith we turn to our Lord and say “I cannot but You can”. “I cannot hand over these burdens but Christ in me can”!

No matter what burdens you are carrying in your heart and mind today dear brother or sister, I encourage you by faith, to turn to the Lord Jesus and ask Him to enable you by His life which indwells you, to hand them over to God. He is willing, He is able and He is waiting.  I can guarantee, as is my testimony, that the word of the Lord is true and that you will find rest for your soul.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28 -30, NIV).

In Christ! Again, I say, in Christ!

 

 

 

 

Is God Preparing You To Move On?

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Hi folks.

This morning as I was doing my usual thing of sitting outside in the sun to spend some quiet time, I was feeling considerably harassed by the fact that only metres from me, was our landlord and his son. They were right there at the wire fence, yet again, measuring out and hammering posts into the ground. They have been doing this with great diligence on a daily basis now, in preparation for developing the large acreage.  There’s little white sticks with bright pink ribbons on them, all over the land. Alas, we have finally been given notice and have to be out in 8 weeks time.IMG_1524

Over the past couple of weeks, their presence has been really felt by my mother and me, as we are home all day most days. Also, the dogs are constantly on guard and rearing to go, yap yap yap, all day long. Since the landlords don’t actually come on to the block where our house is, they’re not required to give us any notice so they come and go right at the fences on all sides, any time of the day.

However, on the occasions when they do need to come onto our block, they generally just grab my attention over the fence or yell out at the front door “Anyone there?” and subsequently say something like “We’ve just gotta put some posts in, that alright? We won’t be long”.

Sigh.

So I sat there this morning with dogs barking at them right at the fence and caught my temptation to grumble and complain….again. I decided instead, to do something other than get cranky and asked the Lord to show me Himself in this situation.

Instantly, the beautiful Holy Spirit reminded me of what the Lord had shown me concerning the landlord and his son, some months back. (See my previous post The Land Where I Live) .

Working all round the four boundaries of where I live, I can observe them daily. It’s almost like they are here to provide a daily reminder that God the Father and His Son are relentlessly labouring together in their eternal purpose and it is their one obsession. It reminds me that God has a purpose and He has graciously and lovingly permitted me to see it.

While the old man stands still holding the roll of string the young man takes the string, and walks some metres, measuring it out as he goes, much like the use of a plumbline. Then he hammers the post into the ground. The two of them are together all the time, for they are a team.

This is like our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ working together on the one purpose. Together they labour in the intention of their heart. And if I remain in Him and look through God’s eyes, I can observe their beautiful relationship. It actually comforts me as I write this, to see it this way. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.

The fact that they don’t always give me notice of their arrival or it’s a last minute thing, can really urk me if I let it. I could go on about the rights I have as a tenant, but then that’s law isn’t it? I could quote the law to them in some kind of misguided perspective that I can hold onto this place which isn’t even mine to hold onto. So I’m reminded, that as a Christian I don’t have any rights to hold onto. I don’t belong to myself, I belong to God. And when God says “I’m here”, well, He’s just here. He doesn’t have to give me notice.

Nevertheless, the mere presence of the landlords around the place makes me feel a little ‘pushed’. I don’t feel very comfortable living here anymore. In fact, with this ‘gentle’ push I am more inclined than ever to get out of here. There’s a greater sense of urgency in me to move, whilst at the same time a sense of rest in the fact that I still have plenty of time up my sleeve. Funny how God can cause an agreement in our hearts with His movements.

Yup, I’m being prepared. He’s getting me ready. I’m getting uncomfortable. I can feel His movements, He’s here on the doorstep telling me it’s time and not to delay in getting ready. Yet He’s gentle, merciful and full of grace and patience. He’s doing it just right. It’s His land. His house. My life is His life to do with as He pleases and I know I can trust Him. He’s God the Father and God the Son, He’s the true Landlord. He’s the one that moves me on. He’s the one that prepares the way. And He’ll be the one to provide the next place.

A few months back God had clearly said to me “Take this land for all its worth before I move you on” (see The Land Where I Live). So I guess this is the ‘moving on’ bit. I’ll look forward to sharing with you what He teaches me through this season of change and where He takes us to from here. Instead of feeling a bit put-out, now I feel excited.

Thanks Lord for reminding me of Your ways, Your words and Your purpose. There you are every day right in front of me, never relenting from securing your purpose is being fulfilled. And as a result, I am at peace.

 

You Can Find Rest Even When It Seems Impossible

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;

my hope comes from him.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation;

he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

My salvation and my honor depend on God ;

he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in him at all times, you people;

pour out your hearts to him,

for God is our refuge.

(Psalm 62:5-8)

Sometimes my soul is very noisy. It is sometimes easily rattled. I can always tell because I get this gnawing feeling that something has disturbed my inner peace and there’s no obvious reason for it. At that time I have to stop what I’m doing and turn my spiritual eyes to the Lord Jesus and behold Him in my spirit as gazing into a mirror.

I don’t want to be easily rattled, I want to remain in the ascendency of the spirit with my soul submitted to the Spirit of God at all times, don’t you? It’s so much better there.

I thank You Lord that at any moment of any day or night, I can turn inward to You, seek Your face and there find rest and quietness for my soul.

You are ever available to me. You have made Yourself truly as a spring of living water that bubbles up inside of me. You speak from within, Your word rises within me and washes over me, refreshing and cleansing.

Your Word is life to me, for Jesus, You are the Word and You are the Life. Your life never ends in me, it begets life again and again. Your stream is endless and has no limit to its depths. It truly is as a fountain.

You are deeper than the oceans and higher than the highest of heights above heights. O Lord, one glance toward You and I am returned to rest.

Exalting the Lord is a powerful thing. When we exalt Him by proclaiming out loud who He is to all the powers of the air, that Spring of Living Water comes bursting forth.

One thing that always encourages my heart toward the Lord and enables me to exalt Him, is to hear it through others. This happened for me recently. I was reading through some comments made on another believer’s blog and the reader went from commenting on the content to exalting the Lord! Oh how my spirit was lifted and my gaze turned toward Christ! And right there I was washed in His spring and my soul was rested.

I pray that your spirit is lifted today friend and that your soul finds rest in Him alone 🙂

Come, glorify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together (Ps 34:3)

We’re Still Eagles

 

Today I saw a wedge-tailed eagle flying not far from where I live. I see them often around these parts.

As is common, this eagle was being pestered by two smaller birds. I’m not sure what type of bird they were – perhaps a magpie and crow as captured here in this photo on flickr –  but it seems these pestering birds so often go hand-in-hand with eagles flying around here. It’s very rare for me to spot a flying eagle without it being pecked at and harassed by smaller birds.

However, I do love it when the eagle catches the thermals and begins to rise up higher and then so high, that the little pesty birds can’t get to him or her anymore. Gradually, the harassing smaller birds lose the battle.

Today it really reminded me of us as believers into Christ.  When I saw the eagle today, I was driving home, and had been praying for someone very dear to me who is going through a really tough time.  This person is a sister in Christ, and has really endured some emotional upheaval lately, only to now be faced with it all over again. I had been asking the Lord to teach me how to pray for her.

When I saw this eagle, it was such a picture of our lives as genuine surrendered believers. It was such a picture of this precious sister of mine.  It was as though the Lord was saying loud and clear – “Look at that eagle. See how he is tormented. But also see how he is not swayed or perturbed. See how he is so much more beautiful, strong, courageous and nothing is distracting him from his path as an eagle. Those little birds that are pecking at him, cannot compete. Look at his confidence. He is so sure of who he is. As long as you’re alive, you will always be harassed, pestered and pecked at but you will always be the eagles”.

So I pray for my sister in Christ, that she will see herself as an eagle. Strong, courageous, majestic, beautiful and confident in who she is in Christ and that in spite of the pests that peck at her, she will continue to soar with You Jesus – as with the wings of an eagle.

But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

 

My Resting Place

Jesus You fill me

Like a childhood imaginary friend,

Like a baby in its mother’s tummy,

Like a newly acquired love interest that consumes my every waking moment

You are with me, everywhere, always,

Ever in my thoughts,

Consciously present with me.

I go to sleep and you are there

I wake up and you are there

Truly, as in the words of the Psalmist,

Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Where can I hide from Your love?

You are Teacher

Lover

King

Friend

Brother

Counsellor

My imaginary friend who is not imagined

My solace, peace, comfort

You are my health, my healing, my joy and my strength

You are that River in my dreams

In which I jump, and ride its rushing streams

You fill me completely

I am immersed in You Oh Lord,

In You I rest at all times

You are underneath and You cover me

You hem me in