Kirsty Gerlach is an amazing woman who recently got diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.
She shares her testimony with us and it will challenge and inspire you and lead you to Jesus.
Please take the time to listen to her story.
Sometimes the things we go through we think aren't God, and whether they are or not God, God uses everything for our good, (if we allow it). And often we are tempted to walk out or walk away from God and His people in the process when things become too tough. We don't know how to handle it, we think all sorts of things that don't line up with the bible, with truth, we question, we doubt, we blame, whatever it is that is being challenged in our life when it becomes too hard, we are often tempted to quit or to walk away from the situation/s that is/are causing pain. I know I have several times spat the dummy so to speak, in my marriage, in my church, with my daughter, in relationships, when I have wanted to quit and walk away. But thankfully the Lord holds me, I have my bad day and then something will come that will encourage me to keep going. A word in season, someone encouraging me, a reminder of the good things, whatever it is there is often something that will come to help me keep going. I have found there is always enough grace for the day, maybe not for tomorrow - yet - but for today, for the next minute, the next hour. Like bread being baked in the oven, if the bread came out half way through it wouldn't be complete and it would be uneatable. So I encourage you to not give up but keep going in the Lord. 1 Peter 1:6,7 says; "In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer various trials, so that the authenticity of your faith—more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Oh Lord help us to walk through the fire so that the testing of our faith may prove genuine resulting in praise and glory to you. Give us your grace and your strength for today and whatever situations may arise today. Thank you Lord.
While Jim & I were in bible college training to go on to the mission field, one thing we learnt was that we needed to be continual learners. And over time I have found if I am not learning, if I am not growing in the Lord in some area of my life, then more than likely I have stepped into a place of pride without even realising it or have become 'comfortable' and content with where things are at.
To be a continual learner is to position yourself that you are continually growing, being challenged in your thinking, perhaps being called to step out in something you have never done before that you know God is speaking to you about. It's a place of questioning yourselves "why am I not seeing what I believe for yet?" in the Lord, those promises perhaps that He has already spoken about, and then stepping into them in faith trusting that God will lead the way.
Samuel Rodriguez say's "Today's complacency will lead to tomorrows captivity."
I have found this statement to be true in my life, the things I have become complacent in are the things that hinder me or hold me back from stepping out in the other things that the Lord has yet for me to take hold of in Him.
For example for me the Lord has been talking to me for several years about writing books, I have had many confirming words that I should be stepping into it and that it would provide funds for us and yet I don't know how to do it or seem to find the time to do it. We daily still struggle for finances while in ministry and yet God has shown a way in which finances can come. So I somehow need to make the time, find the people who can help me step into this arena by faith, gain the wisdom and understanding, stop being complacent and putting it as less a priority than everything else and then we might see the situation change in our finances.
Prov 3:13 "Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding." Often there are things we don't know what to do or how to do it, but there is wisdom and understanding all around us, in people who have done it before, in the word of God, in studying, whatever it may be, step out and find the wisdom that helps you.
Prov 1:23-33 "For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them, but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."
If I become complacent and do nothing about what the Lord may be speaking to me about then we shouldn't be complaining when our situations don't change.
I believe God is wanting us to step out of the comfortable boxes we are familiar with, whatever they may be and surrender ourselves to him and what He is saying trusting that He will lead the way as we step out in faith. So I encourage you, don't let todays complacency be tomorrow's captivity, be a continual learner in the Lord.
This morning in prayer the words "Patient in affliction" came from the Holy Spirit.
Patience is something a long time ago I asked that the Holy Spirit would teach me and the way He has seemed to have done this is through affliction, through trials and testing of my faith, through learning to love people even when rejected by them or misunderstood, or persecuted. But the joy that comes in the growth in the fruit of patience, the 'rest' and 'peace' that comes through learning to be patient in affliction, is one I am thankful for as I start to see an unshakeable faith coming as I learn to trust in the Lord to deal with the issues I can't deal with, to trust in the Lord to work things through and see His hand come into situations and circumstances.
James 1:4 talks about the fruit of patience being one that we will be lacking nothing "perseverance must finish its work in us so that we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything" but that perseverance comes with the cost of learning, to wait, to trust, to entrust, to hope, to continue to believe in spite of where things seems to be at in the moment.
Romans 12:9-13 "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality".......
So I encourage you and myself this morning in the Lord to continue to be patient in affliction, waiting, believing, hoping, trusting in all that the Lord has said he will do knowing that in due season we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:9).
The other day Jim was driving the car and began crossing an intersection then decided he couldn't do it as a car was coming toward him and so he backed back, unfortunately touching the car's number plate behind him as he too had moved forward.
Many of us are stepping out and believe God has spoken, but when things start to come toward us decide to step back into what we think is the place of safety, but in so doing find things have changed and we cannot go back to the place we once were.
Fear often causes us to go back instead of forward and for me in the past when we have stepped up into the new things that we believe the Lord has said, often something will come that will try to intimidate us, make us think we have made the wrong decision, that encourage us to go back the way we were going, but in the Lord we keep going from glory to glory, advancing and not retreating.
It's in the hesitation that those around us may get hurt.
Often when we are unsure of the way forward and we step into trying to work it out logically, reasoning things out in our heads rather than in the spirit, which first prompted us to move originally and when we do this there are many good reasons for not moving into it but which may not be of faith or what the Lord has been saying.
So I encourage you today and I do myself in the Lord daily, I cannot go back the way I came, I press on toward the goal of which Christ has called me, I believe by faith and not receive the doubt and questioning that would like to come in its place. I choose to believe and move into knowing that God works all things together for good, no matter what it may look like now or come to look like in the future, but trusting in God that He knows the beginning and the end and that He directs my steps.
Those in Egypt who were taken and led out of slavery with Moses and crossed the Red Sea saw the miracles of God, they saw their God working in mighty ways before their very eyes and yet not long from where they saw these things take place, they come into quarrelling and times of testing and in this place they forget the miracles, they forget the bigness of their God and all he can do and has done and they harden their hearts.
Many of us through times of testing, through trials, through believing for things and not yet seeing it happen, find ourselves unintentionally hardening our heart to what we have seen or know that our God can do. We stop moving in faith in which we first did at the beginning in our relationship with the Lord and we end up living along like all those around us and accepting our states in life and no longer step out in faith on the bigger things in which the Lord has called us to. Perhaps we have stepped out in faith before and God 'seemingly' didn't come through the way we thought he would, or perhaps we think we heard wrong or for whatever reason we no longer step out the way we once did.
And in this place we have 'hardened our heart' as it says in Psalm 95:7
"Today, if only you would hear his voice,
Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah
as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me,
they tried me, though they had seen what I did. (Mariah means quarrelling, Massah means testing)
Today I believe the Lord wants to soften your heart to believe again, to believe again for the miraculous, to believe again for those dreams and promises He has spoken into your lives, to rise up once again and to step out in them, not in what you can do but remembering who our God is and that He is able to exceedingly and abundantly do more than you think ask or imagine.
Many have become tired and weary through the past year or so but it is a new season, it is a new day and to step out in faith again, not to give up.
Recently I have picked up a book by Rolland Baker called "Keeping the Fire" and he brings out 5 main points which he believes has kept their heart in revival, which through our lives can testify to be true and in these encourage us to put ourselves into a place that will stretch us again, that will put us in a place of dependancy in God again for the miraculous. His 5 points are:
1. Find God
2. Depend on Miracles
3. Go to the Least
4. Suffer for Him, if necessary
5. Rejoice in the Lord.
I encourage you to pick up his book, its a small easy book to read.
Its a new day, lets not rest in our current positions but to keep on pressing in to all that God has for us in Him and for His glory and in so doing you will be encouraged as you see the testimonies come because of the steps of faith that you step out in, it may be talking to your neighbour where God has helped in the past with a similar situation they might be walking through. But lets arise people and shine, so that the glory of God may be revealed and we will be refreshed and encouraged once again.
Pondering this morning how easily we put 'yokes' of slavery or burdens upon people in our thinking, in our demands, in our expectations and yet it is a two way giving and receiving that happens - we can place a yoke upon someone but they have to pick it up in order to receive it.
We put yokes of bondages on people when we expect them to do a certain thing, behave a certain way, when we judge them in our hearts, when we decide what is right or wrong and start walking out of 'law'. It is so easy to do with one another without even realising what we are doing.
Yet on the other side we as individuals have to learn to walk in a place of freedom and like the scripture says in Gal 5 "don't let yourselves be burdened again with a yoke of slavery". People can put things upon us, but in Christ we are set free, we are not subject any longer to yokes of slavery unless we allow it, unless we receive it.
So individually we all have a part to play - as a people to try to live in the grace that has been given to us, that we can give that grace to others and not place yokes of burdens on people and allow people to live their own lives in the Lord and in what the Holy Spirit will teach them and for ourselves not to pick up things that are not ours to pick up.
Because of this, I see many christians walking away from other christians because of the various yokes that 'seemingly' and 'mistakenly' get put on one another and yet I believe when we all take responsibility for our parts of giving and receiving yokes, we can all learn to live in freedom in the place the Lord has with those people and love one another as we should, giving and receiving grace and forgiveness, allowing the Lord to change us all on the journey together.