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Archive for October, 2015

“I am familiar with all your ways!”

14/10/15

I saw a large and depressed young girl in her late teens – early 20’s. She couldn’t find the motivation to help herself. She was so sad and down, helpless and hopeless. The foods she kept eating were keeping her body sluggish so that she had little energy to do things. It was so much easier for her to shut herself away at home and eat comfort foods while watching ‘Jeremy Kyle’ and other programmes that displayed a life outside of her own. Such entertainment was a distraction for this girl from her own troubles, until she sees something she identifies with that brings her to tears.

She makes many promises to herself that she will try harder and each time she fails she dislikes herself even more. This adds to the vicious cycle of self-harm through comfort-eating and prolongs the depression. This is not the life she wants; the self-hate is so intense and she often fantasizes about taking her own life – “Then they’ll be sorry; then someone will love and miss me!”, she says.

Where is the message of hope for this girl? Who is the one that tells her ‘You are beautiful!’ and ‘You are made in God’s image!”? Where is our witness of Jesus Christ to her?

This is what followed:

Psalm 139:1-16 (from God)

“My child, I have searched you and I know you. I know when you sit and when you rise; I perceive your thoughts from afar. I discern your going out and your lying down; I am familiar with all your ways. Before a word is on your tongue I know it completely, my child. I hem you in – behind and before; I have laid my hand upon you. Such knowledge is too wonderful for you, too lofty for you to attain. Where can you go from my Spirit? Where can you flee from my presence? If you come up to the heavens, I am here; If you make your bed in the depths, I am there. If you rise on the wings, if you settle on the far side of the sea, even there my hand will guide you, my right hand will hold you fast. If you say “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to me; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to me.

For I created your inmost being; I knit you together in your mother’s womb. I am praised because you are fearfully and wonderfully made; my works are wonderful and known full well. Your frame was not hidden from me when you was made in the secret place. When you was woven together in the depths of the earth, my eyes saw your unformed body. All the days ordained for you were written in my book before one of them came to be.”

Prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you that you are familiar with all our ways and you still love us. Help us to witness to the lost. May we give hope to the hopeless as we share the truth of your gospel. Teach them that they are chosen by you, wanted and loved by the one who truly knows them. May they come to realize that they are uniquely created and fearfully and wonderfully made. In Jesus’ name – Amen!

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Without vision the people perish!

9/10/15

The vision:
I saw a man in his late 20’s – early 30’s who was prone to aggressive behaviour. He had many domestics with his partner, they would argue until he lashed out at her. Although he felt an immediate release from this action, inside his heart felt heavy, he wanted to change so much. He had an addiction which wasn’t helping him at all and only fuelled his angry outbursts. This was an on-going thing and the sad thing was that the more he gave way to his feelings of anger, the more annoyed he got with himself – it was like a vicious circle!

Anyway I saw this man do the right thing – he was strengthened in his heart and mind with vision and hope for a better future. He walked away from his screaming girlfriend. He left her calmly and in his heart and mind he decided to walk away from all that was negative in his life. He was a changed man!

“In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” – Eph.4:26-27.

“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” – Prov.25:28.

It is hard for us sometimes, to ‘be the light in a dark place’. But so many people need the love of Jesus to break into their lives and help them to overcome these strongholds. People are desperate for freedom from addictions and aggressive behaviour. They are crying out for help but often silently. The church has a responsibility to be a support to the community. Working together with local charities we can give people the help and hope that is required to ‘make a change’. We have the resources (Holy Spirit) to guide us in providing loving support, practical coping strategies and support groups for those in need. We can offer hope and encourage creativity and vision for those who are stuck in destructive behaviour patterns. Don’t we want to see our community transformed? Don’t we want to see people strengthened with the knowledge and love of Christ to live a life of abundance?

“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” – Prov.29:18 (KJV).

“Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” – Hab.2:2-3.

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1/10/15

The Vision:

I saw the desert with many large wind turbines across it, turning and generating great power – the Holy Spirit wind was moving. A huge tidal wave appeared about to crash in behind the wind turbines and with mighty power, flooding and refreshing the dry barren wasteland. A little girl bowed down low, humble and tiny; trusting God to save her, others followed, doing the same. As they done this green trees began to grow up around them, the waves crashing past them and dispersing with a gentle refreshing flow, over the desert. Grass and plants grew around into a garden of beauty. I saw the land being healed, refreshed and renewed. There was a lot of light and a lot of joy.

Soldiers in the same desert were looking into the sky at a bright light, a light so bright they had to shield their eyes. The wave was coming but it was over-bearing and its power was threatening destruction.

‘The same power that brings life to the land can also bring destruction.’

“I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.” – Isaiah 45:5-7.

As I opened my bible following the vision, I turned to Isaiah 43-44. Two very significant passages struck me:

  • Isaiah 43:18-21 and
  • Isaiah 44:3-4.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honour me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”

There was certainly water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, in my vision, and God was being honoured.  This next passage spoke to me because of the grass and trees that grew up in the vision as well:

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.”

Isn’t this wonderful, that God is doing a new thing? I don’t know about you but I have felt like I’ve been in the desert for a very long time. So I am looking forward to this time of refreshment. Actually I believe it has already begun. The time has come for revival and it starts with us! God is pleased to bless us and our children. He will refresh us as we trust him in the desert! We are already filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and as we soak up the Word of God we are cleansed deep within. With humility we can approach our Father and trust in his goodness and faithfulness to forgive us because of who we are in Christ. Then we will see God’s hand at work as he brings healing to our land.

Prayer

Father God, thank you for your promises and your loving patience towards us. May we be like little children coming to you in trust and humility. Thank you that you are making a way in the desert and for the refreshing streams in the wasteland! We are grateful for the many blessings you pour out on us and our children. May you fill us with your Holy Spirit, guiding us in all wisdom, knowledge and truth that we may be fully restored. Bring revival, Lord! May it start with us! Come heal us, we pray, in Jesus’ name – Amen!

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17/04/2014
As we reflect on our Saviour’s love for us and the suffering he endured we know what his purpose was and so are more able to understand why he had to suffer; ultimately so that we might be saved.
But what of our own lives? We tend to struggle to understand why God allows us to go through times of suffering. In the bible we are told in Romans 5:3 that ‘suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.’ Romans 8:17 says ‘we as heirs of God & co-heirs with Christ, all share in Christ’s sufferings that we may share in his glory.’ And in Hebrews 12 it talks of how as children of God we are also disciplined, which is a painful process but produces a harvest of righteousness & peace.
I would like to tell you a little of what I’ve learned about God’s purpose through our suffering, as I have come to understand.
In my work as a care assistant I have often questioned God about the suffering that people have to endure, especially in old age. I wanted to know where God was working in their suffering. In the home where I work we had a resident who constantly remained on bed-rest. She could not move around, not even in her bed. She could only move her eyes and her mouth. She was unable to speak or communicate in any manner, but occasionally her eyes would fill with tears or show some expression of sadness. For years she remained in this condition and I thought that this was one of the worst existences you could possibly imagine. I questioned why God would allow her to exist in this way for so long. What purpose could God have for this woman who was living as a prisoner in her own body? I thought about how God must be doing a work in her.
Then one day not too long ago it dawned on me. When I looked at her I felt compassion & would be moved to tears. I also found myself being thankful to God that I could just move about with ease (something so many of us take for granted). This woman, just by existing & yet without saying or doing anything, was having an impact on my heart, mind and soul. She could melt the hardest of hearts, teaching compassion; she could arouse many a question, pointing to a greater purpose than herself; she could move a person to tears while at the same time causing them to appreciate what they had got. Yes God had a purpose for her & although at first glance you might think he had abandoned her & that her life had little or no purpose anymore, yet you would be very much mistaken.
Through our trials and tribulations it is easy to only see our problems & suffering & to lose our focus on God. But God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us. Just by existing we can impact others’ lives, even when there is no interaction, just like the resident I’ve mentioned. I find my heart is moved whenever I see a homeless person who is in need of comfort and the basic necessities to live on. Their suffering can motivate me to act, so that I want to reach out and help, which in turn can bring about change in people’s lives.
Through enduring long-suffering such as in illness, we can gain a deeper knowledge of our Lord’s love for us. When I have been in pain and have felt so ill that I couldn’t take it anymore, I would have taken a way out of that pain as many of us do when we take painkillers for a headache. But Jesus not only suffered ‘for us’ but he chose to ‘remain’ there in agony on that cross, enduring the pain & anguish and the mocking of those who had beaten and crucified him. Rather than call on the angels, free himself and reveal his true identity in all his glory, to them. Jesus could have opted out at any time. But in the garden of Gethsemane he resisted that temptation and made his decision to fulfill the purpose of giving himself over as a sacrifice for us. What extraordinary passion our Lord & Saviour expressed when he said to the Father “yet not my will but Yours be done.”

So the next time you find yourself in painful circumstances try to see where God may be using the situation for good. I know it’s not easy but ask yourself:

• What greater purpose could God bring about from this?
• Is there something God would have me learn through this?
• Who around me may have something to learn from this, that God may use it for good? and
• Could this be an opportunity for me to spend more time seeking & pressing into God, depending on him for all my needs & receiving his comfort & healing?

And if you are still lost for answers remember Isaiah 55:8-9 that says ‘His thoughts are not your thoughts & neither are his ways, for his ways are higher than your ways & his thoughts than your thoughts.’

Prayer

Thank you Lord Jesus that not only can you identify with our suffering; and not only are you with us through it all but you took our place and suffered for us that we may live with you ‘eternally free from suffering’. Lord when we go through such trials in life, may we be reminded that you are right there with us and that no matter how bad things may get, You will bring about good out of that situation. Amen!

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