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……. 🙂

 

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What if I’m Scared? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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.  🙂

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

Why Being a Christian Can Seem Hard Sometimes

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Being a Christ one, is all about a surrendered life, isn’t it? And so there are costs we never even knew of. Sometimes I sense the Lord doing something in me and I can’t even really tell what it is. I’m generally experiencing some kind of discomfort, pain or suffering in a way that I can’t put into words. It’s not necessarily that my external circumstances have changed and by anyone’s account my life appears to be going along swimmingly. But there is an apprehension that something is being pulled at, perhaps pulled out, or prodded, deep within me. Perhaps it’s another death of some kind, more learning to let go of my own soul-life on a deeper or further level.

However, I’m learning that during these times I can remain confident and assured that He is right beside me and is in fact leading me in it all because it’s as though I can hear the craftsman busy at work. Chiselling, bang- bang! with the hammer. I can just imagine Him there covered in dust from the stone He is carving into, sawdust from the timber He is sanding. I can even imagine power tools grinding away at times and all the while not knowing what He’s up to. But He is working away diligently without telling me anything.

He might be breaking things apart in order to change the shape or chiselling away at a better design. He might be hammering in nails to connect pieces to other pieces. He might be sawing off sections that need to be discarded. He might be sanding and polishing. Whatever He’s up to, He’s working to a plan. And that plan is ‘Him’. HE is the plan. God the Father, by His Spirit, through the life of His Son in us, is always conforming us more and more into the likeness of His Son Jesus, the Christ.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; (Romans 8:29)

He has one goal in mind and that is to see His Son gloriously expressed as head over all things.

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. (Ephesians 1:9-10)

God has already achieved this outside of time, since He is not subject to time and dates, though we may not yet see it manifested with our earthly sight. This is why the scripture above says “when the times will have reached their fulfilment”. This is also why we must live by faith and not by sight.  We remember the words Jesus spoke on the cross when He breathed His final breath, “It is finished”. How has God done this already? What did Jesus mean when He said “It is finished”?

…by setting aside in his (Christ’s) flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two (Jews & Gentiles) thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross… (Ephesians 2:15)

God has created this one body, this new humanity, this one new man in His Son, through Jesus’ death on the cross. There Christ conquered the power of sin and death thereby making the way open for all who believe in Him as God’s Son, to be reconciled with God the Father. This new humanity is the body of believers, i.e. the church – whether Jews or  Gentiles i.e. Greek, Chinese, Australian, Italian, Lebanese, African etc, male or female.  This is a new race in which Christ dwells as it’s head.

And in Him you (plural) too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22).

We see and experience with our physical senses a fallen world all around us that is rapidly increasing in darkness. So one could ask just how is Christ manifested as head over all things in the heavens and the earth?

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:10-11).

It is through the church that God displays His manifold wisdom to all powers and dominions, and this has been accomplished in Christ because it’s only in Christ that the church exists.  As members of His Church, His body, this one new man, this new race – we are the bearers of Christ’s image. This is the plan. Christ is God’s plan. And God, through Christ, is having each one of us, each member of this one new man, being conformed more and more into His image so that Christ is expressed for who He is, head over all things.

Now Christ is the head and no head exists without a body just as no body exists without a head. So the head and the body are one. Just as your head and your body are all part of you, so Christ’s head and his body are all part of Him. So He is in fact both the head and the body. So it stands to reason that we, who collectively are also His body, are being conformed into His likeness. 

This means ongoing work inside of us as individuals. Is it any wonder Jesus’ earthly vocation before going into ministry was as a craftsman? Some say He was a carpenter, some say a stone mason, but either way He was a craftsman, a builder. It was a reflection of His spiritual ministry. Jesus created new things while working as a young man for his earthly adopted-father Joseph. In Jesus the Christ, the resurrected son of God, we have been made a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV)

Our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ are all about being conformed into His image. This means being spiritually chiselled, broken, repaired, refined, re-shaped, hammered, sanded and polished so that His church becomes a glorious masterpiece. Not displaying us, but displaying Him!

…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10)

Jesus showed us the way of the Christian. He worked as a skilled craftsman. He ministered as a skilled craftsman and He still does. What is He building? He is building a dwelling place in which He and His Father can live and He can express Himself as Head, to the glory of the Father.

Lord, build Your dwelling place. Help us to both corporately and individually, live a surrendered life in the hands of the Great Craftsman, that we the church might be Your masterpiece so that Your manifold wisdom is displayed to all the heavens and all the earth. Amen.

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.

 

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

 

 

Jesus – the River of Life

Follow the streams that lead to the River, I heard Him whisper.

When it seems you’ve lost your way

look for the streams, though small.

Follow the streams, trek through the thicket

you’ll find your way to the waterfall.

 

(And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it – 1 Corinthians 10:13).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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