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

Why Did God Want A Family?

Please follow the link below to read my contribution to 3rdrace.org for the ongoing  series on God’s Eternal Purpose.  For the month of February, we are focusing on God’s Family.

 Excerpt from

Why Did God Want A Family

I have never had children of my own. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to, the timing was just never quite right. AT times I have really wanted to start a family. As I was preparing to write this post and contemplated the question of why God wanted a family, I asked myself ‘why did I want a family?’

Read on.

 

 

 

What Is God’s House Like?

nature-1984314_1280For the month of January, the awesome dudes on 3rdrace.org blogged about ‘God’s House’.  It was part of a series they’re doing pertaining to God’s Eternal Purpose – (God having an ultimate intention, desire and passion for obtaining a house and a family for the Father, a bride and a body for the Son and a temple for the Holy Spirit). For the month of February they are focussing on God’s desire for a ‘Family’ as the next part in this series and I will be contributing to that. I thoroughly recommend visiting their site to read the current posts.

As most of you would know by following my blog, Derek and I have just relocated to Perth. We arrived five weeks ago and are soooo blessed to be staying with a wonderful brother and sister who have welcomed us (and our dog Rocky) with open arms. We are truly so thankful to these guys. 🙂

Reading through 3rd race’s posts on God wanting a house and with us being in this situation of not having our own house just yet, has really opened my eyes to why having a house of His own is so important to God. So I’d like to share my thoughts.

Derek and I are looking for a rental but God doesn’t want a rental. He doesn’t want a Guest House or a B&B. He wants His own house. He doesn’t want your house or my house. As nice as it is when we cry out “You are welcome here today Lord”, He doesn’t want anyone else’s house where He can be a welcome guest. He wants His own house.

Why do you and I like to have our own house? Well, it’s where we dwell, right? We want a permanent place to dwell where we can rest, be comfortable, relaxed and feel completely free to be ourselves – hence the expression to ‘feel at home’ means all these things.  It’s in our nature to desire a home because it is in God’s nature – it is part of us having been made in His image.

In our own home we furnish it with things we like and furniture that we find comfortable and that works well for our needs. We set up the house to reflect our needs and pleasures. If you’re a handyman you probably like a shed where you can keep all your tools and have a great work bench to make things. If you’re a cook, you’ll probably want a kitchen that functions well for a lot of cooking and you’ll have appliances there that suit your needs. If you’re like us and you love to watch movies, you’ll probably want a comfy couch and a big screen tele so you can get the best cinematic experience you can. And on it goes.

So what about God’s house? Initially I was going to say that I don’t know Him well enough to know how He’d want to furnish His house, other than to say that I know He’d want it to be a place where He can rest, be comfortable, relaxed and completely free to be Himself. However, I think I actually do know how He’d want to furnish His house….(in fact, how He already is furnishing it).

Just take a look at these scriptures;

O LORD, I love the habitation of Your house and the place where Your glory dwells. (Psalm 26:8)

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23).

So the Word became human and made his home among us...(John 1:4)

We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.’ (Mark 14:58)

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:17)

As you come to him, the living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)

Your testimonies are very sure: holiness becomes your house, O LORD, for ever. (Psalm 93:5)

In my Father’s house there are many rooms…I go to prepare a place for you…(John 14:2)

Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples (Isaiah 56:7)

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'” (Matthew 21:13)

Reflecting carefully on these scriptures, I would describe God’s house like this;

God’s house is a spiritual house, not yet complete. It is being built together of living stones and not built by human hands but by the Spirit of God. It is an Owner/Builder one-off project. It’s foundations is Christ. It’s cornerstone is Christ. It’s capstone is Christ. It has many rooms in it. The Father and the Son both dwell there in love. Therefore its rooms are filled with  love and the presence of God permeates the walls, floors and ceilings with a heavenly fragrance. The Word of God lives there amongst the living stones. Its walls are decorated with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control – it is altogether beautiful.  Instead of a television, the light of God’s glory fills every room. It is a house that is set apart from all others because it is filled with God’s holiness – there is not another like it and never will be. Every piece of décor is a one-off original, and by design, a ‘Divine’ label.  It is a sacred place that is constantly filled to the rooftop with prayer and spiritual sacrifices where its living stones minister to God as priests day in and day out. It has an altar in the centre of it where the living stones practise the one-another’s of the New Testament (love one another, be kind to one another, carry one another’s burdens, lay down your life for one another, submit to one another in love and so on) reflecting God’s nature. It is a place that pleases God. He really, really likes it. He is completely ‘at home’ there and sees Himself reflected in every aspect of it. It is built and decorated to His own unique taste. It is filled with joy! And it has a huge ‘Welcome’ mat at its front door welcoming all people. 🙂

God’s house completely reflects and embodies His Son’s life.

The thing is, we ARE the living house of God – because His Son lives in us. The Father and the Son have made their home in us and so we ARE being built together* as a spiritual house for God, a place where Jesus Christ can lay His head, be comfortable and express Himself and His Father, freely.

Jesus said;

For whenever two or three of you are gathered together* in My name there I am in the midst.(Matthew 18:20).

As I meditated on this thought, I saw in my mind’s eye a picture of Jesus walking around amongst the two or three that are gathered. I realised that when we are gathered in His name, it is then that Jesus gets to experience being ‘at home’. In that brief picture it was as if the heavenly living reality of God’s house that exists now through the church reflecting Christ’s nature, was made visible and I could see that Jesus is ‘at home’ in that environment. When we meet in His name, there He is! He’s walking about in His own home because He is able to move around and express Himself in each one of us as He wants to – relaxed, comfortable, full of joy and at rest.

Does this change your perspective on the way you have always seen the house of God?

Oh Lord, build Your house, transform us, build us together as Your living stones, that You may dwell richly among us and be ‘at home’, for Your sake.

Amen.

*Note: According to scripture Christ does not appear in the midst of one singular separated member of His body but when two (more than one) or three are gathered together in His nameAccording to scripture one single separated member does not suffice as a spiritual house – we are a spiritual house being built together.

Christ Our All

carWell folks, it’s been a few weeks since I posted a blog. That’s because Derek and I have been packing, packing, selling, cleaning, moving out, moving my mother, visiting family, and more packing! We have moved out of our rental house, we’ve moved mum to my sister’s place into a new little portable granny flat which she is renting, and Derek and I have been sleeping at my sister’s place for a week, with Rocky the shitzu of-course!

Tomorrow we head off in our white chariot (1996 Toyota Corolla) loaded to the hilt with all our earthly possessions, to drive across the country to our destination of Perth, Western Australia where we intend to live until the Lord would say otherwise. We will be staying with beautiful friends until we both find work and can afford our own rental. For those of you that don’t know Australia very well, it’s about 5,000 kilometres or just over 3,000 miles I think.

Derek and I are making this move in response to the Lord’s call on our lives to be part of the body of believers over in Perth at this time in our walk with Him, so we can learn Christ more amongst the body there. As we have set our eyes upon His Kingdom first, He has truly taken care of everything else for us. I have so much to share about the Lord’s faithfulness to us both over these past couple of months. He has undertaken in miraculous ways – so mightily – I would definitely not do Him justice to rush it all into this post -not even in one post. So I intend to write again once we are settled interstate. I am really looking forward to sharing with you all, the Lord’s goodness to us and our family.

Until then, hope you all had a Merry Christmas and wishing you all a safe and purposeful 2017 in the purpose of God. May we all learn Him more, know Him more richly, and the power of His resurrection life.

Signing off from New South Wales Australia……. 🙂

 

What Is My Definition Of ‘Organic’ Church and How Is It Different To ‘Institutional ‘ Church? 

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Someone recently asked this question on Facebook. I thought it was a good question because there’s so many different types of gatherings that are calling themselves ‘organic’ which clearly are not. And so this was my reply with some added thoughts based on my experience and understanding.

To me, true and authentic organic church is simply, Christ. In ‘organic’ church, Christ is the Head and the life of the church. That’s what organic church is – His life.

It is the expression of Christ moving and expressing Himself, revealing the Father, the Father revealing the Son, the Holy Spirit administering the gifts amongst the priesthood of all believers as they are each functioning and being built together by the Lord Himself. It is a community of believers learning to live by Christ’s indwelling life. A community whose love for one another astounds the world and reveals Jesus Christ as God’s Son.

Any kind of structure that exists is there to support the body, not the body supporting the structure.

It is birthed by the Spirit and has God’s DNA in it because it is Christ in His body.

To me, it is The Way, as the believers in the New Testament called it. As believers lay down their soul lives for Him and one another Christ is being expressed in and through His body as He pleases – the most beautiful bride ever to exist!

It is simply, Christ as one with His own body.

😁👍🏼

Is Christ Enough? Power and Wisdom

In case you don’t follow the blog of Milt Rodriguez, I want to share with you this brother’s latest post. This post is part of a series called “Is Christ Enough?”. I pray that we are reminded over and again, how big and all sufficient our Lord is.

The Blog of Milt Rodriguez

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For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

(1 Corinthians 1:22-25)

Here, in this passage, Paul sums up the gospel that he preached in the face of insurmountable odds and extreme opposition.  It is a gospel that is so radical and so extreme that it called down unbelievable persecution upon his head everywhere he went.  This persecution was not only dished out by the heathen but more so by the religious folks, namely the Jewish nation.  It is a gospel that is so different and so outrageous that you can really only tag it…

View original post 1,400 more words

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.

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.