God desires that we move forward – going on in Him – looking to what is ahead. I have been wanting to go “back”. “Back” to Queensland, our old home. “Back” to family and friends. “Back” to familiarity. “Back” to convenience of living. “Back” to bearable seasonal weather. This is dangerous ground.

If going to Queensland is part of my future, according to God’s leading, then well and good, but my heart must be for what lies ahead in Him, not what is behind.

Genesis 19:17b
“Do not look behind you…lest you be destroyed.”
Genesis 19:26
“But his (Lot’s) wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”

Jeremiah 7:24
“But they harkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.”

The perspective God would have us maintain is one of pressing on in Him, following His leading, and being willing to walk wherever, whenever.

Ezekiel 1:12
“And they went every one straight forward: wither the Spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.”

Philippians 3:13
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,”

God knows my heart and love for my family and friends, but I must…no, I AM willing look forward to what is ahead for myself and my family, whatever, wherever that may be.

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Psalm 1:3 “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

I find that if I stay outside working in the garden long enough, God is surely going to reveal something whether I’m looking and expecting it or not.  Such was the case yesterday after a few hours, yes…hours, of watering (we really must sort out our irrigation system! – and no, that wasn’t the revelation!)

This is how I did it!

This is how I did it!

As I gave each  valuable plant a thorough soaking, careful not to simply wet the surface of the ground and move on, but hosed the earth (using the exact technique displayed in the above photograph 😉 ) s0 the water went down deep to the roots, God showed me that just like the life-giving water to the plants, so is His Word life-giving water to His valuable children.

God’s Word often speaks of “watering”, “planted and watered”, “washing with the Word”, and “quenching thirst”.  Soaking in God’s Word brings life, quenches thirst and cleanses believers; but we must drench ourselves with it.  If we do not thoroughly immerse ourselves in God’s Word but rather just taste a snippet occasionally, it will encourage shallow roots.  And this was God’s point – it must be deep watering.  Shallow roots do not produce an enduring church.

Mark 4:17 “and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time.  Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.”

The image of a tree beside a river is a perfect example of deep watering and a constant supply coming from God’s Word.  The verse preceding Psalm 1:3 explains who will be like this tree; it is the person whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His Law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:2  This is not just watering the surface, but a saturation!

Just hearing the Word at church on Sundays, glancing at a daily verse on a calendar, or even reading a daily devotional penned by someone else, is not going to encourage the steadfastness and surety in God’s promises that really seeking in God’s Word provides.  I know that after opening God’s Word with a heart to receive from Him directly, I am refreshed and strengthened in my faith.  It is essential, like the air we breathe, and wonderful!

Be open to God’s Word. Seek His counsel in His pages with a heart open to the Holy Spirit’s teaching.  The roots of your faith will find depth and strength so that you will not be shaken in this dry and thirsty land.

Jeremiah 17:8 “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”

Psalm 4:4b – 5 “Meditate within your heart on your bead, and be still.  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.”

This week my bible study group looked at the passage of Isaiah Chapters 30 and 31.  It’s a message of God’s judgement on those who do not put their trust in Him, and throughout the passage you can read of God’s earnest desire for His people to look to Him and find their true security in the face of adversity, which only He can provide.  These chapters echoed the message of last week’s passage, Chapters 28 and 29, which contain a wonderful parable which portrays how God desires us to walk in His guidance. (Isaiah 28:23-29)

Trusting in God in the face of adversity, or any situation in which we find ourselves uncertain about future outcomes, or that cause us fear or anxiety, can be difficult.   Clearly we see from scripture that God’s people have always struggled with complete reliance on God in spite of His continued proof of ability to come through seemingly insurmountable odds.  While I didn’t identify with the people in the Isaiah passage who wanted to ignore God’s truth and would rather have their ears tickled, I could identify with them in the sense of  their “planning”.

“Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit.”  Isaiah 30:1

I’ll admit it; I’m a planner.   And further to that, I confess that at times, God has been my “back-up plan”.  But God’s word is clear on how He wants His people to live – in complete reliance on Him, seeking His counsel, and listening and obeying Him as He leads.  God’s plans rarely, if ever, resemble man’s plans or the seemingly logical ways of the world and so-called experts.  We are called to reject these ways, which ultimately are the “Ways of the World” and walk in God’s Way.

“Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh and not Spirit.” Isaiah 31:3a (Israel was looking to Egypt for protection from the Assyrians rather than seeking God).  This passage highlights the futility of looking to earthly means and reasoning rather than God who is sovereign above all things.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” Isaiah 31:21

God has told them previously in Isaiah 30:15, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quiet confidence shall be your strength.” 

My morning reading reiterated the truth presented over the last couple of weeks; given that this message is being resounded, I guess I need to have it solidified in my life…being presented with situations in which we must trust in God is not an overly pleasant thought, it’s not something one would look forward to, but certainly one that is unavoidable and will ultimately be for our own good in the end.  Just a “reminder to self” here for when one is in the thick of it!

The Bible tells us to wait on the Lord for His wisdom, in quietness and with an obedient heart, and to trust in Him.

Psalm 4:4-5 “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.” The outcome of this – Psalm 4:8 “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Proverbs 4:21-26 “My son, let them not depart from your eyes – keep sound wisdom and discretion; so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck.  Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble.  When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.  Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.”

The reaction of God’s people in the face of trouble in the Isaiah passage was to flee.  But God’s word tells us we are to trust.

Taking time to seek God, in quietness, in waiting on the Lord, being in His Word and with an open heart and an obedient spirit, we can rest and have confidence in Him.  He is our proven hope. not just in the face of adversity but in our everyday lives; in our everyday tasks (like in the parable of Isaiah 28) He gives us wisdom and guidance to live in this world but not be “of the world”.

When we fully embrace these truths and walk in them, those around us will look and know that we walk with God.

 

 

 

See the Light

Revelation

1 John 2:6 “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

How are we to walk? What are we to do each and everyday? As He did in the world.

When we spend time with God, waiting before Him, meditating on His word and listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in His presence, we know Him, His heart, His love, and His character.  We will “see” Him and know Him.  We cannot do “the will of the Father” nor “be about the Father’s business” if we do not seek Him first.

1 John 2:17 “The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Jesus walked “doing the will of God”.

John 5:19 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.”

1 John 4:17 “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.”

Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

THOUGHT FOR TODAY – 1 John 4:8b “God is love.”  BE love in the world.

 

 

 

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

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 😛 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. 😀 )

Well, my first Facebook shout-out was sent today. The message was a basic gospel one as showed in my last post.  A couple of responses came quickly. A member of my family requested that she be removed from my sender list.  She “didn’t want to receive messages that didn’t line up with her personal beliefs but really didn’t want to delete me from her facebook friend list”; and another friend from years ago (try 18!) requested the same; she stated that she “found my views offensive”.  Ahh the offense of the gospel…quite something.  What I said really wasn’t that offensive, I thought; I didn’t go on about how people are gross sinners who deserve death and to be tormented in hell – I thought I was quite gentle! Apparently not!

My reply to those who requested that they be exempt from such further “offense” 😛 was: 

“I’m sorry that you feel that way 😦 you are free to make your own choices. The message that I just sent out, is the basic gospel message that everyone has a need/right to hear/read at least once in their life…you are also free to reject it.  And yes, I know, it is offensive to many.

As I stated in my earlier message, I will be sending these out to everyone on my list and you are free to delete them (even without reading them if you want) but, how about you hang in there and see what comes up?

Alternatively, there is only one a week so it shouldn’t clog up your inbox too much. But otherwise, please know that there would be no hard feelings should you delete me. 🙂 I feel so strongly about this, as I’m sure you can appreciate, so I cannot bear to not share it with those who I count as friends (both cyber and in the flesh).”

It is a little hard to take…sad that people so utterly reject even a mention of Jesus. One must remember that:

“15 We are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.  16 To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” 2 Corinthians 2:15-16

I suppose the aroma of death isn’t a very pleasant smell 😛 .

I did receive a little encouragement too, but this was by one whom I already fellowship with.  No surprises then as yet, but I shall continue to pray and refuse to be discouraged.

It will be interesting to see how many “friends” I have left next week.  I will update you if I receive any other reponses that stand out.

Thank you to all who stop by here, you are such an encouragement to me, both via your comments and your own blogs.  It’s wonderful that we are able to build each other up in spite of being “worlds” apart.