Funny how when we ask God to lead us or grow us in an area, it can be asking for serious trouble! Such was the outcome of a challenge presented to me (and our fellowship) by a dear friend and mentor in Christ.  The scripture was presented and the question posed as follows:

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom throught the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

“What manifestion of the Spirit would we like to see more of in our lives?  The more we are active in the gifts and minstries that God works through us, the more the Church will be encouraged and built up. These things are not for ouselves but for the Church.”

My answer, foolishly :P was… “faith”.

And so began a walk that exposed my lack of faith, which is why I really can’t call this post “My Faith Walk” but rather “My Walk Into Faith.”

And this is what it was all about:

Meet the newest member of our family, baby Sophie.  She’s a happy, content, perfect little girl who has no idea of the ups and downs I went through while the Lord carefully knit her together in my womb. And what a fearful and wonderful job He did!

There was never any concern for Sophie’s health (or my own), the only issue was that she spent the entire second half of my pregnancy in the breech position.  This was a new one for me…fourth baby and never faced this before. You can now ask me lots of questions about breech babies…I’ve given Dr Google a workout!

I have discovered that much faith building is done in the mind; it’s here that the battle for our heart is fought. I could trust God in some areas, and to certain extents but my faith was limited by my mindsets. I also discovered that while I could confidently trust God to do His part, I wasn’t certain I could do my part.  I was afraid to stand up in opposition to what medical society would deem as “good medical standard practices” to wait for God.  As it happened, I didn’t have to stand up for my right to not have a C-Section, as Sophie turned thanks to an ECV (external cephalic version) proceedure. (This was another faith building exercise!)

I would now estimate that my faith is approximately the size of a mustard seed, but at least I know it is there! I also know that it is there “for the profit of all,” and I must share it whenever I can; and oh! how I want to!

“Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Ephesians 6:16

I experienced faith in all it’s protective glory one afternoon during my 37th week of pregnancy.  My baby  remained stubbornly breech after a failed ECV when, through a “well-meaning” relative, the enemy’s darts came thick and fast.  But I trusted God.  In my heart I knew what God was capable of, and not one of those poisonous words meant to bring fear and doubt were able to penetrate.  It was exactly like I had arrows falling uselessly to the ground at my feet.  The imagery at the time was so vivid.  Even as she was speaking it was as if I could see the spiritual world at work.  This is what a mustard seed of faith can do.  It is not that we must stand up for our faith, so to speak, but that our faith stands up for us.  When we need it most, it is there! Hallelujah!

Another amazing point that has come out of my “study” on faith,  is that it is not faith that we seek…it is God!  As we look at Him our faith grows and builds.  It is not something we have to work on – we work on our relationship with Him.  It is not our faith that we trust in, but Him!  Such an obvious thing but revolutionary when it drops solidly into our hearts and is etched there.

One final point that was a major headline in my 40 week walk (well, 41…she made me wait – patience was worked on too ;) ), was that “fear is the opposite of faith.”  The weapon to counter fear, I found, is love.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

When you can say “God loves me” and you know it in your heart, you can trust Him.  He does love us, so we can trust Him! At this, fear flees! (Saying it out loud helps. ;) ) Again, when it is etched more deeply in your heart, then it is revolutionary to our minds and our mindsets!

This experience has been a preparation.  There are faith testing times coming as the day of our Lord draws ever nearer, and I know that now I am more ready to face whatever lies ahead.  Learning to use our weapons (and dress in our armor) of warfare is ever needful as the end of the age comes upon us. This is what the Lord does as He completes His work in us.  As we spend time with Him, he dresses us; first in a robe of righteousness, then we can put on His armor!

Sophie is nearly four months old already, to give you an indication of how far behind I am in getting to my blog, but I am still reading my favourite blogs even if I don’t comment often.  Perhaps as I get used to the new routine of life I can be a bit more active in the blogging world; I love the encouragement I get from you all.  Thanks for your patience and your continued diligence to your own blogs.

(I didn’t make this post a complete pregnancy testimony, however I will probably write one in the near future as I discovered there is not a lot of positive information on the internet regarding breech issues.  People are pleased to post negative experiences and comments under the guise of “warning” people, but this only feeds fear and anxiety for those with breech presenting babies.  The options I took were positive experiences with favourable outcomes contrary to what people on the net said I should expect. But more on that in my pregnancy post…in the meantime, if anyone has any specific questions or if you are pregnant with a baby presenting in the breech postition and have come accross this post, feel free to comment or ask a question, I’ll be more than happy to share directly. :D )

This morning I read from Matthew 24:3-51. It is such an interesting passage, spoken by Jesus, regarding the end times and His return. There is so much we can glean from this passage and many applications for our lives today.

The particular verses that spoke to me this morning were Matthew 24:42-51. After describing the signs of the times and the events leading up to His return Jesus speaks these words:

(42) “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.

(43) But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

(44) Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

(45) Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?

(46) Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.

(47) Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.

(48) But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’

(49) and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards,

(50) the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,

(51) and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The faithful servant has been called to give his master’s household food “at the right time”. We are all called to feed the sheep as it were. Jesus is talking about the entire household of faith. This is a picture of what our lives are to look like now in these last days; feeding the Word to our fellow brothers and sisters – the members of the household of Christ. Dwelling in and feeding on His Word in communion with each other.

The evil servant (notice this person is also a “servant”) begins to beat, or attack, fellow servants, that is, brothers and sisters in Christ who are faithful, and to eat and drink with the drunkards. This servant discredits what the good servants are doing and partakes of the world’s offerings. Jesus says this servant will have his apportionment with the hypocrites and then makes reference to hell! This is a serious warning!

It is interesting that this portion of scripture leads into the parable of the ten virgins. Now is the time – the last time – to fill our lamps with oil and have them trimmed and ready as we watch. Let us not take our eyes off the road as our bridegroom approaches. Let us be about the Father’s business – feeding each other with the Word, building each other up while it is yet day in these last hours!

Paul writes in his first letter to the Thessalonians regarding the coming of and the day of the Lord. (1Thess 4:13-5:11) He exhorts us to “watch and be sober” and twice in the passage he speaks the following verses:

1 Thessalonians 4:18

“Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

And again in 5:11

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

In these last days, it is important to encourage one another with the Word of the Lord. We know these things are coming to pass before our very eyes and we are to be a comfort to each other and most importantly, to speak truth to the members of the Lord’s household. Some may not wish to hear it as the world lures their attention away from watching for Him. Many grow weary as we know, but as good and faithful servants, we are to be found feeding, feeding, feeding. Speaking, exhorting, and lifting up the Name of Jesus as we keep our eyes lifted and fixed on Him. The time is short!

“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” Matthew 24:34

“It would be easy to think that somebody up there has got a grudge against us!” (Queensland Premier Anna Bligh) Ah, now you’re getting it!

We have seen the mighty acts of God being displayed in Australia.  The media, and our leaders have repeatedly ascribed credit to Mother Nature for these things; but God will not be mocked. For all the power of these events that we have seen, nothing is more obvious than the display of God’s mercy. These events had the potential to inflict massive fatalities, however, given the widespread destruction, there has been relatively minimal loss of life. God is showing his hand to Australia and giving the nation opportunity to repent and return to Him. Make no mistake, Australia is the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit, and we are seeing Him do a work in His land.

Australia has seen floods, cyclones, fires, and now…MORE flooding and fires! We can be sure that the Lord is passing by;

“11…And behold, the Lord passed by and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:12-13

May we be watching and listening for that still small voice of the Lord.

“Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Malachi 4:5

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.’”

“1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!’” Matthew 3:1-2

Many Christians believe that prior to the Lord’s final return, the Spirit of Elijah will be manifest. In a recently completed study of this prophet, God’s Word offers a clear view of the heart of this humble man of God. Whether you believe that the Spirit of Elijah, or Elijah the man will return, one should know Elijah’s message. What will be the message prior to the Lord’s return? It will be the same.  Really, it has always been the same.

“And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.” 1 Kings 18:21

Elijah was a man who openly declared the goodness and mercy of God, however, he also spoke the words of God’s judgment. There are many instances in the books of the Kings when Elijah pronounced God’s judgment; the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18); Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 21); Ahaziah (2 Kings 1). It is my hope that Australia does not “answer Him not a word” when God has given us this opportunity to return to Him. Throughout the Bible when we see the mighty works of God displayed, His judgment is sure to follow.

In our home meeting, we are working our way through the Book of Acts. Last night we read the passage in which Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and were struck dead. (Acts 5:1-11) The discussion which followed brought up an important observation. When the Holy Spirit is poured out in such a measure, power follows. It is clear from this passage that God does not tolerate hypocrisy and the Holy Spirit power is strong in judgment against it! We often think of walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, of miracles and wonders such are mentioned in early church scriptures, but we must also remember, it is a power that can and will be deadly!

There is a message in the current acts of God that we are seeing here in Australia and around the world, and that message is simple; “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” For all the mighty power displayed, may we not miss His still small voice leading and calling those who are His to The Way. I believe that we are in the final hours.  People get ready!

“In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.” Matthew 24:33 (NLT)

“PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD” Isaiah 40:3

 

I have been rejoicing in the Lord this morning…He has given me a wonderful gift (to be revealed in time). This gift allowed me to present myself before the Lord with a heart overflowing with greatfulness and yet knowing that I would need his strength and mercy more than ever because of it.  So, on one hand, I was overjoyed but on the other, fully aware of my need for His sustenance.  Confused yet? ;) Sorry, but just wanted to set the scene a little.

I commenced today’s prayer time with the allocated prayer topic (from the 31 days of prayer and fasting program I’ve been following) which was “A call to pray for and eradicate POLYGAMY spirits in the church.”  As this is a program from PNG I understand that having more than one wife is relatively common practice over there.  In Australia, however, divorce is the outward evidence of this spirit at work.   This topic is one which is close to my heart as I have seen the restorative work of the Holy Spirit in my own marriage, who is willing and able to transform our lives as we hand our life over to Him.

This post is not actually meant to be focused on the topic of marriage per se but rather our hearts before God and the sin problem which is what ultimately leads those into this destructive situation.  One of the points to pray was that the sin/spirit of fornication, adultery, lust, uncleanness, covetousness will not creap into the church and destroy Christian marriages.

Here in lies the problem.  Sin.  Fornication, adultery, lust, uncleanness, covetness can affect every area of our lives, not just our marriages.  The next point to pray, was that the Word and Spirit of God will rule and the desire of the flesh will be crucified.  This is the only answer for deliverance and salvation.  We must continually allow The Word and the Spirit to rule and crucify the desires of the flesh as the flesh is nailed to the cross.

One of the verses pertaining to this topic this morning was Matthew 19:3-9.  In verse 8 we again see problem which leads to this situation.

“Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”

My prayer this morning, for those that are His, is that our hearts would not be hard so that we would look for permission to sin, but that our hearts would be soft and we would walk in submission to Him.

What an awesome time I have spent with the Lord this morning!  I am overwhelmed by His goodness and His willingness to draw near to us as we draw near to Him.

I have been working through a comprehensive 31 day Prayer and Fasting program supplied by a church with which we are affiliated.  They complete this program as a church every year.

As I began the program late, (I didn’t start on the 10th of January like everyone else in the PNG church), I have been covering two topics a day to catch up.  This morning’s topic was:

Repentance from Pride

“Pride is the root of ALL SINS”

1.  Fear God and hate evil.

2.  Hate pride and arrogance.

3.  Evil behavior, perverse speech.

4.  Salvation of those who allow pride to rule.

Scriptures – Proverbs 13:10; Proverbs 8:13; Isaiah 2:11; Isaiah 12:2; Jeremiah 49:16; Psalm 29:5; Zephaniah 2:3; James 4:10.

As I read James 4:6-10 one of the headings inserted in my bible was “Humility cures worldliness.”  Everything in the world feeds pride and “self”.  Life here is “all about us.”  Humbling yourself before God and drawing near to Him is the only way to loose the bonds of worldliness and walk free from the temptations/lures of the world.

Zephaniah 2:3 states “Seek the Lord all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice.  Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger.”

We are to SEEK humility – it is not something that we can produce ourselves; our nature is “self-seeking” thus, only through spending time with the righteous Lord, and beholding his glory, may we be humbled before Him.

I am also reading through “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis, and last night, I read a sentiment he wrote which should be the desire of all believers:

“When will I fully gather myself in You, so that above all sense and measure, in a way not known to everyone, I will, because of my love for You, not be aware of myself at all but You alone.”

Desiring this state, where He is our all in all, is the only way to prevent the rise of self and to be free from desiring anything this world offers.  Kempis also said “Use temporal things, but desire eternal things.”

My two youngest children were awake early this morning, and quietly lay beside me on my bed as I repented, meditated on these things and prayed.  After about three quarters of an hour, I was finishing up when the elder of the two (my son, who will be 5 next month) said, “I was going to get you to read Isaiah 53.”

This was truly a blessing from God.  I opened my son’s bible and read the entire chapter aloud.  Jesus is our perfect example of humility and as I read Isaiah 53, we see the picture of Jesus humility and suffering for our sakes.  Here we see humility in action!  This brought me to tears as I thought of my own shortcomings and pridefulness…it brought me to a place of deeper repentance.  I thank God that our hearts are exposed through His Word, and as we seek Him, He does speak to us.

I turned on a CD as I made breakfast for us all and one of the songs sang the following words:

You lived, You died,

You said in three days You would rise,

You did, You’re alive.

 

You rose, You reign,

You said you’re coming back again,

I know that you will,

All the earth will sing your praises.

Praise God that what He says, He will do!  My son’s bible has little extra thoughts to consider throughout it.  Regarding Isaiah 53, it noted that Isaiah wrote this prophecy 700 years before Jesus was even born. (This impressed my 4 year old immensely!) It also said that prophecies like this one prove that the Bible really is the Word of God.

Jesus life also proves that we can trust Him to do what He says.  He IS coming back again…and my heart races in anticipation! “Come Lord Jesus, Come!”

 

Australia is wet! And the parts that are not wet are…on fire!

You may have heard of the terrible disaster that happened at Toowoomba, Australia which then spread to The Lockyer Valley. This floodwater then progressed onto Ipswich and hit Brisbane earlier this morning. I live in the Lockyer Valley. Gratefully, my house is not in a low-lying area, however the end of my street and beyond is now a water wasteland as Lockyer Creek became a massive river. I am sharing a few photos as this is something that I hope I may never see again.

The End of Our Road and Beyond

Houses at the lower end of our street suffered as the flood water rose.

 

The Torrent Rushing through a house down the road.

 

Neighbour directly across the road has this torrent rushing through her yard

I don’t think I would want to move into this house…

 

New houses were not spared

 

This is what Lockyer Creek became.  The first photo is from the end of our road  and the second is from the other side with our road in the distance.

 

Lockyer Creek now touching our street

Lockyer Creek - our street is somewhere in the distance

 

My littlies looking at the "creek"

No-one will be following this sign to the shops…

Neighbourhood Shops Inaccessible

After looking at our local flooding, we headed into Town (Ipswich 30 minutes away) via other local country towns.

Roads lifted resemble waves

This part of the road is now on the shoulder!

Aftermath, local destruction

This is understating it!

Speaks for itself

Someone's back yard

Alternative Transport

Alternative mooring - There is a road through that debris

Shed roof with house roof just visible behind

Through these trees, the cows have nowhere to go

Our local Woolworths Grocery Store car park became a fueling depot for rescue helicopters.

Rescue Helicopter in Woolies Car Park

Black Hawk in vacant lot next to Woolworths

We headed on into Ipswich to watch the floodwaters rise there…

Ipswich main crossroads

Ipswich icons (Ipswich Heritage Lodge) under water

Ipswich houses, there is a car totally submerged in front of this house

New school building now under water

No public transport available now.

No busess going in or out of the transit centre today!

Train tracks in ipswich

We walked the main bridge into Ipswich as the water lapped at the bottom.

And then...a rainbow over the David Trumpy Bridge

A full, double rainbow...God remembers.

Our premier has been quoted as saying “While these events may break our hearts, they will not break our will.”  I pray that as hearts are broken, wills would instead be broken and submit to God;  that His children would turn from living for themselves in a nation clearly forgetting God, and lift up their voices as they cry out to Him.

At the end of last year, I read a book called Radical, by David Pratt. One point the reader was challenged to do was to pray for the entire world in a year. He listed a website, http://www.operationworld.org offering information on all individual countries and readers could print out a list of countries in alphabetical order. This is what I had done, and as of New Year’s Day, I began praying for each country systematically, a different one each day. It was interesting to note, as two major cities of Queensland braced themselves for water inundation, and 75% of Australia was declared a disaster zone, that this day was the day to pray for Australia. Incredible!

Please remember this nation in your prayers, particularly that souls would be saved as God’s power is displayed here in a mighty way.

God has called us to preach the Good News to the poor.  It is REALLY Good News! Christ has done what we cannot…he has paid a debt beyond our means.  He has brought us to the throne room of the Father and we may enter freely, totally reconciled to Him! Hallelujah!

But what about the poor?  Do they get the Good News?  Are we to force it on them? Heaven forbid that we would change it to ensure its acceptance! I have been conversing recently with a young man who knows not the Lord Jesus.  He has been attending our home meetings but, by his own admission, has “Authority Issues” and is not prepared to set Jesus as Lord of his life.

He is still logically seeking answers and reading the Bible, finding it difficult to stomach some of the Old Testament.  We know this will remain a difficulty for him while “the veil” still remains.

“Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” 2 Corinthians 3:16

One may think that the presence of this young man in our meeting may suggest that he is indeed turning to the Lord, and I hope that such is the outcome; however, in our zealousness to see a soul saved from the eternal tragedy of hell, oftentimes we can find ourselves being…well…soft.  Not loving…SOFT.

After much ineffective appealing, questioning, and presentation of scripture by all present at the meeting, as the young man was leaving still dead in his sin, someone asked him, “Would you like it if everyone present prayed for you everyday this week?”  I was a little surprised by the question and I certainly didn’t expect much of an answer, however, his response presented an opportunity to put things into perspective (whether the young man caught it or not, it was a great reminder for me!).  In response to the question the young man replied, “It would be better if you all prayed for a more worthy cause.”  Immediately I responded, “The fact is, Jesus is worthy to have your life, it’s not actually about you, its about Him.” 

When one refuses to receive the Good News for their own good…we must remember, Jesus has paid the ultimate price for all of us and deserves to receive what He has paid for! 

I was listening to some teaching yesterday by John Bevere and he stated that the word “Lord” means, supreme master and includes the meaning of ownership.  We have been bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus and He deserves all that we have and more!

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