Philippians 3:18-19 “18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is their shame – who set their mind on earthly things.”

These statements are referring to people who are “walking”, those who know The Lord, and are supposedly following the Way of the Cross; but through their misdirected focus actually war against it.  Let us not be “enemies of the  cross of Christ” but fix our mind on Jesus and eternal matters of the Spirit – not the things of this world.

1 John 2:15 & 17 “15 Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

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It’s been a long time coming…

I’m here, on my knees thanking the Lord for the Grace which brought me here.  Life has been a distraction – excuses abound, busy-ness reasoning my heart away but the truth remains…somewhere along the line, I traded the Lord’s plans for my plans and His strength for my own.  The Well-spring has not dried up but I realise, I haven’t drawn from it for a while, and I’m REALLY thirsty! Now where did I put that bucket?

The last year has seen us move as far away from family and friends as what remaining in Australia would allow, to face challenges of all kinds – some good, some bad, all extremely trying!  When I left familiarity I had a firm grip of God’s hand and knew He was doing the leading.  I relied solely on His strength.  I recently joined a women’s bible study group which is studying the Book of Isaiah.  It’s heavy stuff! And while God’s merciful character and Father’s heart shines throughout all the devastating judgement, I realise just how much I need to sit a Jesus feet and restore my (His) joy in my life.

My children have also been caught up in this chaos that I call life…and while they all know the Lord, I have not been training them for the Lord in the way that I desire to.  My priorities have been reflecting my own plans, not the eternal plans that have been purposed for me.

I read over some of my previous posts and paid a visit to some of my favourite blogs around here (it’s been a while!) and it has reminded me that the Lord’s plans don’t change.   The time is drawing near, this age is coming to a close, and I have been busy “sleeping”!  I hope this post is the first of many, to restore my blog into action and record insights and leadings to encourage and keep my focus on being about the Lord’s business.  I am so thankful for my Brother’s and Sister’s in Christ who I see are still manning the blog-o-sphere and resounding the call, who are good and faithful servants of our Lord Jesus Christ.  May God bless your words and your lives as you continue running this race for Him.

“…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b  It starts with me.  If I’m going to train up Watchmen for the Lord, I’m going to have to climb that watchtower and take the first watch!  May I “be steadfast and immoveable, abounding in the work of the Lord” 1 Corinthians 15:58 and may my  mind be stayed on Him as I return to my First Love and give Him the fullness of my attention.

“You will keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

“Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” Proverbs 16:3

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 was shopping at a local bookstore today when my friend spotted a strange screen attached to the counter.  She queried the shop assistant about it and we were told a little about what is ahead.  This screen was a “pay pass” device.  Have you heard of this?  You just swipe and go…no signature, no pin.  Apparently “they” are looking to completely phase-out eftpos and everyone will be using “pay pass” within the next three years!  My friend asked the clerk, “What if someone else has your card?” The clerk nodded in understanding of the safety concerns associated with what she had just described.  We know, however, that the answer will be to simply keep it under your skin!!

Have you seen this?

www.paypass.com

But wait…check out the snapper!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW3Qk8FHcfs  (I can’t believe their icon!)

We know how this story ends folks, but if you somehow hadn’t noticed…we are well into the final act! Now is the time to LOOK UP!

“Incline you ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips, so that your trust may be in the Lord;” Prov 22:17-19

As we ponder on the sayings in God’s word, the simplicity of the Gospel becomes a stark reality. Jesus has done for us, what we were unable to achieve for ourselves. God made the Way and we are now equipped to walk in it.

Discussions at our gathering yesterday revealed that the Christian walk comes down to one thing – the state of our hearts. Are they wholly set on God? While this post touches on two topics, they are really inseparable. Firstly, the futility of trusting in earthly assurances, and secondly, what it is that enables us to walk securely in Christ.

That night, as I meditated on the truths presented in our meeting, and sought God as to what to post here, the following words were planted in my heart:

“Let go of anything whose roots are in this world. (James 3:14-15) Let go of anything which has been elevated to a level of importance above God. These things will be shaken. Your trust, security and faith must be rooted in God alone lest your heart fail you. Your heart must be wholly His.”

“Lest your heart fail you…your heart must be wholly His”

The securities originating from sources within this temporal world will be shaken so as to reveal to us (God already knows) the true state of our heart. Many of us have not had to totally rely solely on God for our provisional needs. It is easy for our hearts to remain in a state of deception. Thankfully, God will not allow this to remain, and will cause the true affections of our hearts to be exposed lest we deceive ourselves. Let us therefore, examine our hearts thoroughly so we may stand boldly and confidently during any time of trial, trusting steadfastly in the faithfulness of our God.

Right through the Word of God, we see a common cry of God; He sought a people whose hearts were wholly His. (2 Chronicles 16:9, Jeremiah 24:7) This is the heart of a Christian. A Christian’s heart is Christ’s. A heart that is wholly God’s, is one that desires continual fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Yes, there is a time for solitude and waiting on the Lord – essential to renew our strength and gain wisdom from above (Isaiah 40:31); but the heart that walks with the Lord is one in communion with the Holy Spirit.

We often talk of the Fruit of the Spirit and living righteously – we cannot produce this. The righteousness we are called to display, is the righteousness of Christ and the Fruit of the Spirit. These only become evident in the lives of those who are willing to listen and obey the Holy Spirit moment by moment.

Someone who changes from “spiritual” living, to clear outbursts of the flesh does not have a heart wholly turned to God. When James states “My brethren, these things ought not be so” (James 3:10) he is saying that a Christian whose heart is wholly turned to God, just as it should be, will display righteousness and speak life. This is reiterated by Paul in his letter to the Galatians (5:16) and John in 1 John 3:6.

Those who have committed their life to Christ, have committed to following Him. Their heart’s affections are set after Him alone. A love for God will be evident by a willingness, or even more than that, a desire to listen, obey, change, forgive, love.

Friends, let us all examine our hearts, that we may let the Light of Christ expose every corner. (2 Corinthians 13:5) Let us also be in continual fellowship with Him, listening and obeying His promptings. This is how we prepare and make ready for the moment we all long for; that moment when we will stand face to face with Him who holds the world in the palm of His hand. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our Life.

“Nevertheless, the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19

I am thankful that God has been painting the sky again.  After a week of emotional turmoil (both highs and lows), God’s touch of splendor was a sight worth beholding.

I am comforted to know that our God is in control.  I am comforted to know that despite what we see about us – tradgedy and heartache – nothing takes God by surprise.   I wonder how people who know not The Comforter manage to go on under such circumstances.

For those of us who know the reality of eternity and the Creator of all things, our sorrow may be turned to joy, and we have a hope that does not end at death rather, it begins.

You may have heard about the recent toddler drownings in Queensland.  There have been three in the last week.  One of whom, I was personnally aquainted with.  This father and daughter had left an impression on my heart right from the first introduction.  Here was a dad, standing up in his role as father, wearing his “father’s heart” on his sleeve. 

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers,” Malachi 4:6a

In this day and age of separated families, many mothers are leaving their God-given role of nurturer and home-maker (Titus 2:5) and oftentimes leaving their families (this is unfathomable to me) in search of self-fulfilment and desires. I am seeing many fathers, young fathers, stand up.  We have come into contact with a number of young dads whose heart for their children is clearly evident.   They have, coincendently been the father’s of daughters and have displayed a sweetness toward them that was emphasized by their (seemingly) rough exteriors.  It was one of these fathers who pulled his little girl from their property dam last Friday.  I remain shocked and in disbelief.

While this young man knows not the Lord Jesus, he has joined us in a few of our “house church” meetings.  He was present at my parent’s property with his daughter only the day before this tradgic incident and one wonders what the Holy Spirit would have been prompting had one been listening.  (I was not present at the time, but even then, God knew what tomorrow was to bring).  It begs the question – are we walking with the Holy Spirit moment by moment – listening intently for any and every opportunity.  Did he have a word for this young man?  We shall not know. 

While this loss still lingers in my mind each day, I am able to hide under the wings of my Father, I pray that this family might also come and find The Comforter.

I am headed interstate this week for an extended “holiday” to see family.  I expect to be absent from the blog-o-sphere during this time so will have to catch up when I return.  I may be gone for as long as a month and I hope to bring encouragement and perseverance of faith to my brother’s family as he battles a serious ongoing illness.  I pray that the Word of the Lord would be brought to him, and that I maintain open ears before God. 

I would appreciate anyone who is willing, to remember both of these families in their prayers as God works and moves in their lives.  May we remain good and faithful ambassadors of our Lord Jesus Christ and hold fast to that blessed hope we have in Him.