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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!

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!

I Believe …!

I believe … in the living Creator God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ) & Holy Spirit (3 in 1).

I believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father, therefore I get to know him. For he is the exact representation of the Father. It is through the Holy Bible that I learn about God and also hear from him. He speaks to me in a variety of ways and tells me things unknown to me, by the Holy Spirit who lives in me. My conscience is pricked when I do wrong. My thoughts can often be of love and good-will to others for when God speaks it is to guide me to know and do what is right to help others, not for my benefit, however I am often blessed by my obedience to him.

I believe that we all sin (do wrong) and that this has been done against a holy and pure God who demands justice but desires mercy. So out of his love for us all, he sent Jesus to live and die for us that he would take our punishment for our sins upon himself. Then Jesus rose again after 3 days, for our justification. Showing us that we too will live eternally. Through Jesus we can now have a relationship with God. We can live in union with God the Father, Son & the Holy Spirit.

I believe that when we ask God to forgive us for our sins, that he forgives us – this is grace, that we receive his favour, that we do not deserve. By his grace alone are we saved. We cannot earn our way into heaven because we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Good works alone will not save you!

I believe that it is our choosing not to believe in God that is the greatest sin and hindrance to salvation for how can we enter the gates of heaven if we don’t  know the owner? We cannot receive from him if we do not believe in him. Thank God for people who pray!

I believe that there is an enemy of God – Satan, and that he and his armies cause havoc upon this earth because we allow him to. When we lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, and gossip about others, etc, (sin), we cause harm and give ground over for Satan to use against us and those we hurt. Have you ever noticed how a little white lie can turn into an epic?

I believe that Jesus is currently seated on his heavenly throne and that he will come back here again and that when that time comes those of us who believe in him will be taken up with him (some people call this the rapture). In those times there will be great trials and tribulations before Jesus’ coming. After that time, judgement for all mankind will also come.

I believe that we never know when our time is up, it could be any day! People have said I will wait until I’m old before I look into that, but you may never reach old. The time is now, not tomorrow, or next week, next month, next year or 20 years time – there is no guarantee that you will live that long or that Jesus won’t come back before then. Each of us should do our searching and seek God out before it’s too late.

I believe that whether you have read this or not, whether you agree or not, that you have free will to choose your own way. I also know that every choice has a consequence. I respect your beliefs and freedom to live as you so wish. I will not harm you or pressure you with what I believe to be true. I believe that God’s grace is there for all those who call on his name.

Yes I am a Christian – If I speak of love and want to share the way of love with you, should that result in violence against me?

God is love, truth, justice and mercy, full of power and grace! When we see him then we will know for sure but until then let us live a life of love and walk blamelessly before our God. Let us treat each other as we ourselves would like to be treated. Let us make a vow to love one-another as God loves us!

I believe … and my beliefs may differ from your own but why should this offend you if I’m not hurting anyone?

During my growth as a Christian I struggled at one point to see who God was. There seemed to me to be so many ideas of who God is that I began questioning his character. My thoughts were ‘who is God’ and ‘how do I know he is good like the bible says he is?’ Also I wondered at the variations of people’s ideas of who God is. It was a difficult but rewarding time as the Holy Spirit began to reveal the truth to me. This is what i learned:

 

Jesus is the way – he is the only way. If we don’t point to Jesus, who is the exact representation of God (Col.1:15), then we are not pointing to God. Anything other than Jesus is man’s symbolic way of describing a God in an attempt to get people to understand. The sad thing about it is that if we tell others that God is how they interpret him to be in their own minds then we are feeding a lie. But if we point them to Jesus, he reveals who the Father God is by his character. Jesus himself says “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” (John 14:7).

 

Jesus is the truth – when we look to Jesus the truth is revealed to us. When people look at their own ideas of who God is he fits their lifestyle. Everything about their God suits them and so they can accept him. Unfortunately this God happens to be different from their neighbours’ God because their God doesn’t like the other person’s ways and opinions. So as far as we can see, this God that each person claims to be ‘their God’ is a mixture of different ideas and often opposing beliefs. What kind of a God is this that he should be so at war with himself? Yet if we look at Jesus, the only one to ever claim to be ‘the Son of God’, the only one to ever be resurrected and this witnessed by 500 people at once, we see the character of God the Father and Creator. His character is not at all one that fits our lifestyles (a nature that is prone to sin, greed and self-gratification). He doesn’t fit into each individual’s mould because he is God! ‘His ways and thoughts are higher and holier than ours’ (Isa. 55:8-9). Just because he doesn’t align himself with what we want and value and believe, it doesn’t mean he then isn’t God. On the contrary, he is the truth, all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present and everlasting God. He created us! He will live on even when our mortal bodies die! We didn’t create or invent him! So why do we insist that God be the way we want him to be. He knows what is right and good and best for us.

 

Jesus is the life – when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we become united with him in spirit. Life here on this earth passes and our bodies die but what about our spirit? If you don’t believe that we are made up of body, mind and spirit then you probably won’t have read this far down anyway. But if you do you will want to know what happens to your spirit when your body dies. This is vitally important for we have one life in the body and then an eternal existence in the spirit and where that happens to be spent is actually your decision. You can have spiritual life (light) where you are connected to the source of life – Jesus (John 1:4); or you can have spiritual death (darkness) where you are still disconnected from the source of life because you haven’t acknowledged that source for who he is. God doesn’t send people to hell! He never did and never will, it is us who send ourselves there. How can God save us if we don’t acknowledge that he is the one who has made us and saved us. We can’t claim our inheritance if we do not turn to the one who offers it to us.

 

So there it is. I may have waffled on a bit but I hope the point has been made clear. We as Christians need to acknowledge the truth for what it is. If we don’t point to Jesus as being the only way to seeing and knowing the true God then we are not pointing to God at all! Our ideas and interpretations of who God is amount to nothing in the light of this truth that is ‘Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through him!’ (John 14:6).

Whether you call yourself straight, gay, bisexual, trans-sexual, or you are just not sure, let me tell you that Jesus loves you!

Maybe you’re seeking something new and refreshing! Life seems dull unless you’re partying the night away! You seek pleasure and fulfillment in; sex, relationships, wealth, alcohol and maybe drugs. Whatever your life’s circumstances you are searching for something that brings long-lasting satisfaction. This kind of contentment can only be found in God.

God loves you. He loves you so much! He knows your every need and desire. He knows how you feel. Every thought and feeling, every motive of the heart, God knows it! God sees you, knows you and loves you! God accepts you and invites you to know him through Jesus Christ his Son!

It’s no wonder that many people are reluctant to come to Jesus when all they hear from Christians is what they must and must not do and how they should and shouldn’t live. It seems like they have to give everything up and where is the sense in that? But seriously people if you want to know God then the first thing you need to know is that he loves you and knows what is best for you. He is a loving Father (many of you may not know what that means if you have had a distant or abusive dad). He doesn’t want to take anything from you, he wants to give you an abundant life.

There has been a lot in the news lately about ‘gay marriage’. So i felt that as a Christian woman who has a past life (been there done that and got the t-shirt), that i may have something to offer on this subject.

Firstly let me tell you that i have experienced a very intimate, loving relationship with another woman that lasted nine years. We were very close to the point where we often knew what the other was thinking and feeling. But as was often the case in my life i was not satisfied and was seeking something else. So i moved on. There was always something missing, something more to know, something more to find out and experience. My life was full of experiences, fun and adventure. But deep down i felt empty, alone, unknown and dissatisfied. That is until Jesus came. He poured his love into my heart and filled me with joy and peace. The experience was so huge that i was brought to my knees. Since then i have had an on-going relationship with God that is all-transforming and renewing! It was God that i was seeking all those years before, i just never knew it!

I have reflected on the relationship i had with this other woman as i felt a great loss when we separated. God has done a lot of healing in this area of my life since. Through meditating on God’s word and looking closely at the relationship i had had with her, i have come to these conclusions. This is my personal view on what i believe God says about ‘gay marriage’.

Our bodies were created male and female and are designed naturally to fit one another in the area of the genitals so that we may pro-create and multiply.

 

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” – Genesis 1:27-28 (NIV).

 

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” – Matthew 19:4-6.

God says that we must love one-another, in-fact he commands it. But love and lust are two different things. Sex is meant for marriage and when we lust for anyone other than our marriage partner, we sin ‘we have already committed adultery with them in our hearts’ – (Matt.5:28). Now some of you may say that is the point. You don’t want to be sinning against God by lusting so marriage seems like the right answer. But in both the old and the new testament God says that same-sex relationships grieve him:

 

“If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” – Leviticus 20:13.

Now before you go off on one about the above quote it is important that you know that this applied to adultery and other sexual sins. The penalty was death for us all from the moment Adam and Eve sinned. We all sin and deserve death in accordance with a holy God, but thanks be to Jesus Christ that he has taken the penalty of our sins upon himself, on the cross. He died that we might live.

 

“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is ever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one-another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” – Romans 1:24-27.

We are being deceived and trying to explain away things so that they fit our wants, desires and life-style:

“When tempted, no-one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” – James 1:13-15.

It is good and right to love others no matter what their gender, sexual preference, race, religion, background and life-style. God loves us all the same and so we should love others. It is our acts that are sinful which come from wrong motives of the heart and deception in our knowledge, belief and understanding.

Marriage is a union in the presence of God, according to God’s desire and word. If you take God’s truth out of the situation and then ask for his blessing, you are asking him to contradict himself.

I am not here to judge you. I understand the desire to marry the one you love and lust after but i love God more and what he says is right and true. Ask yourself ‘Is this consistent with God’s word?’ We all have genuine needs to be met but are we allowing Jesus to meet them or are we trying to meet them in our own ways?
‘Is what you are doing honouring God?’ I am sure that we can all say that at times we dishonour God in the things we do but by God’s grace we can come to him in repentance, confess and receive forgiveness. But if we choose to live a way of life that is in direct rebellion to God’s word, how then can we be repentant?

 

“Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of heart, which leads to a change of life.” – Pastor Mark Driscoll.

I am thankful to God that he gives us guidance on these matters and i pray that what i have said here has been said in love and truth. I also welcome other people’s views on this matter. This has been my own view on the subject of ‘gay relationships’ and what i believe God says about such relations.

Whatever happens, know that God loves you and desires that you love him. We love him by being obedient to what he asks of us. If you truly love God then i would suggest you seek him yourself for answers and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I pray that God will bless you and guide you into truth.

(Genesis 1:27-28)

Below is a link to a book on the subject of same-sex relations and God’s word.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Bible-Homosexual-Practice-Hermeneutics/dp/0687022797/

Feeling Redundant!

What are you doing to try and earn God’s approval? Stop! God’s love and favour cannot be earned. He gives to us all this and more, because of who he is. God is full of grace.
I have been learning a lesson myself just recently. As things that i passionately enjoy doing for God are being stripped away from me and redundancy seems to have been setting in, discontent, frustration and deep sadness have impacted me. My questions to God have been:  “Why are you taking these things away from me when i do them for you?” and “Am i no longer wanted by you?”; “Have i nothing to give?”; “Have i displeased you so much that your favour now falls on those around me and misses me completely?” How self-centred i have been.
God does as he pleases and he does not desire me to try to earn his affections by being task-orientated. I have been desiring to do ‘this and that’ for God and to be great and ‘all out’ for him, that it seems my will has become a high priority. God wants me to know that he loves me even when i’m not doing stuff for him. In my state of redundancy i have thought about what little things i can bring and give to others as i still long to give back to God. In just giving where i can and listening to God while others are busy ‘doing’ i have realised that God can and does still use me. I am still significant to him whether i am ‘doing’ or just ‘resting’ in his presence. I can still serve him but this comes from a humility of knowing that it is in God’s power, strength and timing and not my own. The desire to give back out of a thankful heart is good and God knows the heart with all its good intentions and its wrong motives too.
So from now on i will try to be more of a listener and wait, like Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet and a little less like Martha who busied herself to please the Lord.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:41-42.