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.”

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.”

Matthew 6:24-25 “24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches). 25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?”

There are things we are told by Jesus, not to concern ourselves with, yet often these very things become the main focus of our thoughts and actions. I have been struggling with this myself and as I laid it all before the Lord this morning looking for answers, He showed me great and wonderful things in His Word. Hallelujah! These very same things were what Satan put before Jesus in the wilderness.

I have been reading Love not the World by Watchman Nee, and together with my bible study which has been working through Isaiah, God lead me to a passage from Luke this morning which complimented the thoughts presented in both, and gave me the answers I needed. Luke 14:1-13 takes us through Jesus’ experience in the wilderness being tested by the devil.

From Watchman Nee’s book, a point was made that in the last days, the World will be as it was in the Days of Noah and as Lot went out from Sodom. “They ate, they drank, they married, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.” see Luke 17:26-30. Scripture tells us not to concern ourselves with eating, with drinking, nor what we shall wear. Romans 14:17 tells us that “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Scripture bids us “first seek God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to us” Matthew 6:31-33. This point also resonates throughout the book of Isaiah.

I have been engrossed lately with “What we shall eat”. Being 28 weeks pregnant with baby #5 and a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding in 3 weeks, I have been concerning myself with trying to eat for the health of my baby but not the size of my backside. Add to this, struggling with cravings and a lack of willpower against all tasty treats that are bad for both! I have been utterly defeated despite my most ardent desire to succeed.

We are also looking to sell the house in which we live and the to-do list which must be completed prior to this becoming a reality is consuming beyond distraction!

Watchman Nee points out regarding Christians, “The undue attention to eating and drinking is far from normal; it is supernatural. For it is not just a question of food and drink that we are meeting here; we are meeting demons.” Heavy stuff! I had never considered this at all, but it makes perfect sense. It was clearly confirmed when I opened my bible this morning, but more on that in a minute.

Watchman Nee also states “the question today is not so much one of sinfulness as one of worldliness. Eating and drinking? Marrying and giving in marriage? Buying and selling? These things are so common and so simple, they are yet being used by Satan to ensnare God’s children into the great net of his world order.” He reminds us that, “There was a time when the Church rejected the world’s ways. Now she not only uses them, she abuses them. Of course we must use the world, but let us not want it, let us not desire it.”

When I read the passage in Luke 4:1-13 I saw the truth of Nee’s statements. Here we see Satan’s plan in action – he tried it out on Jesus first, yet Jesus “overcame”, let us take note!

The first temptation Satan presented was food! He suggests that Jesus should break from Truth and rely on Himself or His power to provide bread to eat. Rarely do I take the concern regarding “What I shall eat, drink or wear” to God but rather I plan and allocate finances (ultimately funds that are not guaranteed) sometimes weeks ahead. Jesus’ mind regarding this is evident in His response, a response taken from the passages of Deuteronomy 8:3. “Man shall not live by bread alone”. We live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of The Lord. Jesus lived His life this way and shows us this in action in John 4:32-34.

Satan then presents Jesus with an offer of worldly power, authority and the glory of man. This is ultimately what the world seeks after. Power, prestige, the never-ending striving for more. I see this within my own family – members who are not saved, strive and strive for what is never enough. It’s futile and easy even for Christians to slip into if we take our eyes off Jesus.

Jesus combats the offer with “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Striving after the world’s goods and glory is worshipping Satan, pure and simple – keeping your eyes fixed on The One True God in worship to Him only is the key to overcoming this trap.

The final temptation is one that was discussed in my bible study group this week. We did not see it as an influence of Satan but definitely as something facing Christians today. As I read the Luke passage, it became clear that the force behind this certainly comes from the pit of hell. In bible study we looked at Isaiah 32:9-11. The passage begins as follows: “9 Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; You complacent daughters, give ear to my speech.” The NIV translates this passage as: “9 You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; You daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say.”

In Luke 4:9-11 Satan then takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and tells Him to “throw yourself down from here” and have God save Him. As I read, again scales fell from my eyes and I saw the reality of what we had discussed in our group. It’s easy for today’s Christian to become complacent. We have no real “need” for God, being secure in our worldly endeavours fully able to provide for ourselves.  We also harbour an attitude of taking even our salvation for granted. We stand on the pinnacle of the temple, secure in our salvation but we often “tempt the Lord our God” Luke 4:12. When we live lifestyles in contradiction to God’s word, in hypocrisy to the grace offered to us, we “throw ourselves down” in opposition to the Truth of God’s Word.

In complacency we live each day with eyes set on the things of this world, showing little regard to redeeming the time as this age comes to a close. The salvation of unsaved loved ones does not weigh as heavy a burden upon us as it should and these passages have certainly been a wake-up call to me.

As Jesus stood firm against the wiles of the devil, He overcame him and the lures of “the World”.   Seeing who is behind these concerns certainly puts them in their proper perspective! 

As we take on the Mind of Christ and listen to the voice of God in all things, being willing to walk in His Way in obedience to His guidance, we too will overcome Satan’s schemes in the World and detach ourselves from it’s seduction.  We will discover the peace, rest and strength that comes from living by every word which proceeds from the mouth of The Lord.

 

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

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