The Promise of Compensations and Persecutions

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A really vital truth and reminder of that truth……please read on…

By T. Austin-Sparks from: God’s Supreme Interest in Man – Chapter 3 

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:9,10 NIV)

Christ Himself, when He was here, never failed to let people know that when they entered that door, or that straight and narrow way, they were in for trouble. Now that may sound like a very terrible thing to say, especially to you young Christians who are not far inside the door, but be perfectly clear about it; the Lord Jesus never deceived anybody about this, never at all. He let people know that to “follow Him,” as He put it at that time, involved them in difficulty and suffering and persecution and trial and a lifelong thing. There is a cost here, a great cost. And we shall discover that while there are the compensations, for there are undoubtedly the compensations in this life and the mighty compensations for eternity, this is a way which is not easy for the natural man by any means. This work of the Holy Spirit is drastic, exacting, and very trying to the flesh. Make no mistake about it; it will take all the energy that the Holy Spirit Himself has to accomplish this work. It really will. So the Lord Jesus has not left us in any doubt about this.

But note, and I am glad the Apostle Paul puts it like this, because it is so true to experience, “The new man who is being renewed.” Notice, first there was a precise and definite transaction, “Ye put off” and “ye put on,” but now the work that is going on is not a single act of a single moment and a single day, but it is something that is going on in us.

 

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What’s wrong with Rocky?

 

Rocky on bed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And in Mark 8:35-36 we read;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

God Is Love

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What can you see in this tree?

What you see, is it Me?

Do you see I am more than one,

I am three?

Do you see in the centre

what there resides?

Do you see it is a sacrifice?

A trunk burned by lightening

from heavens I made

to ensure that our love

in this tree is displayed.

Our giving over

again and again

the Father to the Spirit

and back again

The Father to the Son

and the Son to the Father

The Spirit to the Son

flowing one to the other.

This is our dance

seen here in this tree,

our dance of love

flowing and free.

This is Love

a picture of Me

I must have an object

to give to you see.

I cannot exist

as one individual

I must pour out my life

this tree is a visual.

Look with intent

and see who I am

that I would give My life

to you –  man.

The Script Writer – The Unsung Hero

My sister is a writer – a beautiful screenwriter – a story teller. We were talking of how nice it was to see credits on a new Aussie movie for “Written by….” which doesn’t often occur. In this conversation she told me there’s a saying in the film industry that goes like this:

The director gets the money, the actor gets the fame and the writer gets the blame.

She spoke of the writer for films as being the unsung hero and when I heard this it reminded me of God – the greatest story teller of all and the one most often blamed if things don’t come across as we like it on the big screen of one’s life – and in our first world culture, especially if it doesn’t bring in the dollars!.

God is the greatest script writer and Jesus is the Word of God. Everything that has been created, has been created through, by, for, and in Christ. God’s story is magnificent. It’s the story of love, the greatest love story that ever was and it continues this minute and for all eternity. Frank Viola’s book From Eternity to Here gives a beautiful insight into this love story of Jesus Christ and His beloved bride.

Of-course God’s story is the overarching story of all our stories, since He is our creator of all that has been created. We are each characters with our own story within the bigger script, a little like in a Woody Allen movie. We are the actors, per say.

And don’t some of us just love the fame and glory? Some of us get the glory whether we want it or not but mostly we are all disillusioned into believing that we are the most important part of the picture. We can’t help ourselves. It’s our human nature. Me, myself and I. You, yourself and you!

When things are going as we hoped or expected they would, we are so happy and grateful. When things happen that we can’t understand and find difficult to accept what do we do? “God? Why didn’t you do this, why did you do that? I don’t understand You!’ and then our faith wavers. We simply don’t like the script.

Did we expect the story to be predictable? Have we been too focussed on the actors and not the overall story? Didn’t we see the twist coming?

Apparently, a well written script for film, sees the chief characters go through change. Apparently, they start the story with a certain outlook or perspective and through the twists, tragedies, let-downs, all the highs and lows written into the script, they wind up at the end having changed their outlook and perspective….they themselves, are in fact changed. Sound familiar?

When I reflect on my life, its ups and downs, the unforseen circumstances, the tragedies, losses and twists that turned me on my feet, the emotion, the drama, the rom/com, the horror and suspense – I see God is a very good writer. I think He is especially excellent because He has already told the audience how our story will end while yet at the same time, keeps us all in suspense so that we are never really knowing what will happen next.

Now, that’s great writing.

 

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There is Peace in the Eye of the Storm

Storm Brewing

Storm Brewing

 

Dear Brother or Sister,

If you feel like you’re in a storm right now, here is a link to what seems to me to be a very anointed song by a dear sister in Christ and a dear friend of mine.

The song will cost $1.79 AUS to purchase but I don’t post this to get sales for her (Kathy’s album has been out for over a year).

Rather I post this in the hope that you will find great peace, comfort and strength as the Lord ministers to you through this vessel of our dear sister, through His gift of music and words, by His most Holy Spirit who lives and dwells in you and me.

Never Will I Leave You – by Kathryn Mary Johnston 

Lyrics to Never Will I Leave You  

The Lord is my shepherd
I have everything I need
He leads me to the water
and into pastures green

Never will I leave you
Never will I forsake you

You’ll hear a voice behind you
Saying this is the way, walk here
You’ll have no need to worry
You will have no need to fear

There is peace in the eye
in the eye of the storm

The Spiritual Condition That God Blesses

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.…” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

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I am witnessing somebody walking a deeper walk in Jesus than this person has ever before. I am seeing that it is leading this precious saint to some very unfamiliar and disconcerting experiences. You, yourself, may be walking in those places at this present time, or relate to it completely. If so, I am so glad for you. You are blessed indeed!

This morning I felt the Lord lead me to read what we call “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:3-10) and I saw these words of Jesus’ in a whole new light, as never before.  I saw Jesus, having all knowledge of what His disciples (that includes you and me) are called to, speaking to them on the mountain (significant in itself) as ones already abandoned to Christ.

Jesus speaks to His disciples then, and today, of a spiritual condition ………..

That dear soul who is abandoned to Christ is BLESSED because he becomes;

One who is poor in spirit – emptied in his own spirit, empty of all else but a longing for a deeper knowing of Christ, even a sense of dryness as the Lord appears to hide Himself for the sake of being sought after earnestly.  Such a one finds himself empty except for what the Lord Himself brings forth into and from his spirit. To this one, the kingdom of heaven belongs – they walk in the reality of their ‘now’ place, seated in Christ, in heavenly places, being in Christ from eternity past to eternity future.  How truly blessed is this one.

One who mourns – mourns and laments for the abandonment of the entire church to God through His glorious Son alone, for the reigning and ruling of Jesus Christ to be made manifest in the lives of others, for the life of Christ the person to be the primary obsession of God’s people.  Such a one finds the comfort of God, He walks with this one and encourages him in his mourning, keeping His faith strong, assuring and comforting Him to believe against all belief that this is the will of God and is fulfilled through the prayers of such a one who bears this burden of the Lord. He is blessed to know the Lord’s heart and know Him so intimately.

One who is meek – holds no sense of self-importance or ambition, has given up on self, no longer defends self, has been subdued and quietened by the Holy Spirit in his life, seeing himself as ‘nothing’ but Christ as ‘everything’. This one inherits the earth, the Lord directs his path and provides him with greater responsibility in this life, to him is given the authority of the name of Jesus to subdue the earth under him. He is truly blessed to walk in such reverence of the Lord and for him, He will experience the new earth spoken about in the book of Revelation.

One who hungers and thirsts after righteousness – strives yet rests in the grace of God, to offer his life as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to the Lord, as is pleasing to God.  To such a one, transformation comes and his heart is satisfied with the righteousness of the Lord. He is blessed indeed and knows it to be true!

One who is merciful – is willing to bear the cross with others, is prepared to lay down his own soul-life, preferences, for the sake of another from a heart of compassion and grace, seeing them through the eyes of the Lord, even if such another is unkind and undeserving of such grace.  To this one, the Lord is also merciful, full of compassion and slow to anger, sustaining him in His grace, mercy and love, even when undeserved. This one counts himself blessed to share in the character of Christ.

One who is pure in heart – seeks first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, is single-eyed in the purpose of God being fulfilled, sold out to the purpose of God, forsaking all other distractions. To this one, God reveals Himself in the here and now, He makes Himself known to this child, and it is His great delight to do so. This one will see the Lord’s eternal purpose and be given revelation into the heart of God. He is blessed abundantly by the life of God in him and he seeks no other.

One who is a peacemaker – does all within his capacity to live at peace with others, has the courage to be vulnerable in order to bring peace where there is no peace, knows the Prince of Peace and allows the Lord’s peace to rule in his heart, imparting peace to the lives of others by the Holy Spirit. He has walked through trials in his life that have forged the peace of God into his character. This one is called the son of God, as he is a joint-heir with Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace. This one has become like his Father and The Son.

One who is persecuted because of righteousness – righteousness is not popular in the world of Satan, and the one who seeks after it is promised a cost indeed. He will suffer rejection, loss of all kinds and persecution even from fellow believers and those closest to him. But to this one, the kingdom of heaven belongs, because he will see it and live in it, he is blinded by its glory, in the here-and-now, in the spirit, in-time and out-of time, and eternity to come.  How blessed he is to be counted among those who have suffered for the sake of righteousness, he joins the many who have gone before him, a great cloud of witnesses.  

If this is where you are, dear brother or sister, know that you are most blessed.

The Edge of Tomorrow starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt..

I just love it when the Lord shows me Himself or something of Himself in movies.  My husband and I enjoy this experience alot. Many saints I know (I call fellow-believers saints because that’s what they are, that’s what I am! By the grace of God) enjoy this too.  There’s sooooo many movies out there that give us a real picture of the Lord and His Bride and His Eternal Purpose (* a post for another time).

Anyhoo, in The Edge of Tomorrow, here’s just a few things that stood out to me that related to the individual believer in the body of Christ.  If you see more in the film than what I’ve written here, please feel free to ad it in a comment so we can all see more of Christ!

So here goes…………..

1. Tom Cruise when he realises the REAL enemy he is facing, asks “How do we overcome this evil?” “Die” says Emily Blunt’s character. “Die daily!”. So are we called to die daily, take up our cross daily and follow Christ, laying down our lives for one another, no longer us who live but Christ who lives in us, having been crucified with Christ.

2. The more practised at this ‘dying daily’ that Tom Cruise became, the more his discernment grew in knowing where the enemy was, and how to fight the enemy.  – The same applies to us, in that the more practised we are at dying daily, dying to self and bearing the cross, the closer we will walk with the Lord and therefore grow in discernment, more able to discern between what is soul, flesh, the world, and what is Spirit!

3. Tom Cruise’s character had a hidden life that no-one else of the world knew about, although there was something about him that they believed in.  The only others who shared this hidden life with him, were those who also lived a hidden life, as those who had received true revelation.  So it is with us, we who have been given the revelation of Jesus Christ, are hidden in Him, (“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God -Colossians 3:3).

4. We may start off alone in our christian walk, as Tom Cruise did, being a bit of a lone ranger at times but ultimately the Lord will lead us to function as part of a body – as Tom Cruise had to call on the help of the whole team to finally defeat the enemy, so we are part of an army, part of a body, part of One New Man, corporate!

I may ad more to this in the future, please feel free to ad any more in ‘comments’. 🙂