Friday, 27 April 2012

What is it you want?.

What is it you want?

I want everything!  I want nothing less!  I want the fullness of God made manifest in and through me where nations are healed and come to the full saving knowledge of God.  I want like Peter who carried the presence of God in such a way where people were healed as he walked past them.  I want to walk like Stephen waiting tables where miracles happened as he waited tables, and then under persecution would shine like Jesus, as stoned to death.  How much do I want it?  How much I am willing to sacrifice to get it?
I have seen some of this but I want to see more.  

Recently we have been coming under persecution and the Lord said to me "Sarah, what did you pray for?" and so like Smith Wigglesworth who held meetings where Pastors would walk out, who was not altogether liked for his 'style of ministry' but was known as the "Apostle of Faith", liked much better after death than life at times.  The Lord reminded me - Sarah what did you pray for?

I keep thinking lately of the scripture in Matt 11:7  "What did you go out into the desert to see?  A reed swayed by the wind?  If not, what did you go out to see?  A man dressed in fine clothes?  No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings palaces.  Then what did you go out to see?  A prophet?  Yes, I tell you and more than a prophet?"
What are we looking for?  Are we looking for signs and wonders or are we looking for Jesus made manifest, where signs and wonders followed those who believe.  It has to be Jesus!  - 1 John 1:5  God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness we lie and do not live by the truth".

Kathryn Khulman a woman known as one of God's generals and  "The Woman who believed in Miracles"  would cry out "whatever you do do not hurt the The Holy Spirit".  I am coming to understand a depth of this cry that I have never had before.  When you grieve the Holy Spirit he cannot work. You don't give him permission to come and take over.  You limit all he can do and wants to do in you and through you.

Eph 4:17-31 is a wonderful passage of how we are to live as Children of the Light and in not grieving the Holy Spirit - really worth a read, it is powerful.

When we grieve the Holy Spirit we miss out on so much that the Lord wants to give us and do through us.  When we hold onto sin, whatever shape that takes, unforgiveness, judgement, offenses etc it hinders the Holy Spirit coming in fullness because actually we are walking in darkness.  We need to humble ourselves unto the Lord and unto each other and allow God's healing, forgiveness and strength to come into our lives.

Is our want of all of Jesus in our lives and those around us higher than our want for the sin in our lives that we hold onto.  Is our desire for the blessing of God to be on our lives in such a way that we have favour wherever we walk?  If so, then fantastic because God will give you the desire of your heart - but it may not look how you want it to look, but in that there is fullness of joy that surpasses understanding!
If not then that too is okay - just ask the Lord to do it in you, to make his desires your desires, his heart your heart.  You cannot make yourself passionate for God, he first has to put it in you.  You cannot do it, but you can ask the Lord to do it in you and allow him however that looks to work it in and through you.  Just in the process don't forget your prayer as I was reminded the other day - Sarah isn't this what you prayed for?  When it doesn't happen how you expect.

When you walk in the light as he is in the light, the darkness has to flee.  We have darkness in our lives but when confronted with the light we realise our sin and we can either run from it or chose to bring it into the light where there is no shame, no condemnation, just healing and forgiveness and then the fullness of life where it brings life wherever it goes.

I want to be a channel for the river of the Holy Spirit to flow through me in fullness, not half measure and in this have to come to him daily and ask him, Lord show me if there are things that are hindering the fullness of you flowing through me.  I want to have full fellowship with him and with others in openness and truth in such a way that the light shines out of me convicting others of their own sinfulness that leads to repentance without me having to say a word because the Holy Spirit is speaking through me.  I want to see Nations turn toward God and how can that happen unless I first turn to him.
Eph 5:1  "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God"

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Oh yeah - the flood came!

After writing the blog yesterday boy did the flood come to my house it seemed and we are still recovering after the water has died down!.  Yes we are still standing, but boy it is a great reminder of the grace that the Father gives and where sin abounds grace abounds all the more!  And such a learning  time for me in loving without judgement for the same measure we give, we will receive.  And I realise with great thankfulness to the Lord that actually I have grown and moved from the place that I have been in the past and into a new place and am finding it much easier to love and forgive and not hold judgement over someone, a whole lot less conditional in my love - oh yeah - thank you Jesus!

Now I have loads of things going around my head and I am reminded again that without grace and forgiveness I could not stand.  And in that reminder am able to give it to others where they sin and fall short of the glory of the Lord and stumble in their own walk.  And I realise afresh that I cannot do it in my own strength hold onto the word of God or what he calls us to without his enabling to do it.

But in this there are a few things I would like to share that helps me overcome in areas of weakness that I normally wouldn't be able to stand in.
Firstly, I need my husband and we need each other in the body of Christ.
The word says in Mark 3:23  How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand...."
Now I know we can get all theological about this and I possibly may be using this out of context but for me last night it was very much the word that kept coming to me and I took hold of this and where two or three agree in my name it shall be done.  If you are not alone and you have someone standing with you especially in prayer, it is much harder for the enemy to get a stronghold in your household.  One can send a thousand to flight but two can send ten thousand.  Thank you Jesus!

Something else that came was about our different weaknesses.  One is strong in one area, another is strong in a different area, same goes for our weakness's.  We don't all have the same weaknesses.  And I know sin is crouching at the door but I have to choose not to open that door or to look at that thing that is wanting me to look at.  James 1:14 "says 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."
Each of us have areas in our lives where we can be enticed away in and for each person it is different.  And I am so getting the scripture where it talks about "if something causes your eye to sin it is better to pluck it out then go down a path that leads to death".  Sometimes I totally get how if my eye was plucked out then I would not be enticed to look at some things which leave an imprint on my mind or  something that wants to take my attention away from God and onto it.  And I know I would be better off because of it.  Its like an alcoholic going to a bar and being enticed by people drinking whereas if they didn't see the drink, it wouldn't be such a problem.  We all have areas, whether its alcohol, pornography, smoking, eating, anger, swearing, slothfulness, dvd's etc etc.
We need each other and the word says to confess your sins to one another and you will be made clean.  When we don't confess our sins to each other we open a door to the enemy getting a stronghold in our life, whereas if things are out in the open it leaves no room for judgement and sin to come in because those things are exposed to the light, no longer able to give the enemy the hold it has in deception and lying and we can come into freedom, health, healing and overcoming.

Where sin has got a hold we need to come to the Father who forgives us all our sin and cleanses us from all wrongdoing.  We need to humble ourselves to those around us and ask for help.  This morning as Jim and I prayed and the Holy Spirit was asked to come into those areas, that thing that was trying to get a hold in me could no longer get the hold it wanted, the enemy was defeated.  And my eyes were turned back on Jesus and away from the desire wanting my attention and in looking at Jesus those desires started to fall away again in his enabling, in his grace coming in, in his cleansing of sin, and it felt like the river that washed away all the rubbish off me.

Each day we are growing more and more.  Those things that were once issues in my life are no longer issues, yet at the time it felt like I could never be free from them.  But the Lord is gracious and compassionate, full of mercy and love and his love leads us into repentance and over time we realise those things that were strongholds have fallen off and we have stepped into a whole new place.  And now I have different things that the Lord shows me that needs his grace in which I am so thankful for as I realise how much those things continue to be able to keep me in a grace towards others recognising my own weaknesses.    In the word it talks about when you get into the promised land, don't forget where you have come from.   And I realise that in my dreams that I shared yesterday, this was the third part of the dream, when you think you have it all together, be careful lest you fall.
It is so funny how God teaches us things, warns us of things and helps us to overcome when we come to him.

Monday, 23 April 2012

If a flood came would your house withstand?

I had some snapshot dreams the other day and the first one was I was putting up a tent, people where helping me, but then I was left alone to look after it at night.

Then the next day I was walking with others through a town that had had a flood come through it and I noticed that some houses had been completely wiped away, some had their foundations of the house on a lean and people were still in them but were looking at alternate accommodation because their houses were going to be condemned and yet others were not even touched by the flood.

Then I was doing this quiz with other people but I was on my own and hadn't fully understood the question yet I thought I had it sorted and so when the time came to hand it in I was completely on the wrong track and the people let me know.  I felt a bit stupid, but there was this sense it's okay, you'll get it next time.

In reflecting on these snapshot dreams I realise that the tent is our human dwelling, that people help us establish the truth & reality of God in our lives,  but then there comes a time when we are left on our own to look after the dwelling that has been established.

The second dream makes me think of Luke 6:46  "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?  I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.  When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.  But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who build a house on the ground without a foundation.  The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
The second dream I believe is talking about a time of testing of our foundations, things are going to come at us that is going to challenge our foundations of what our 'house'  or tent if you like, is built on.  Is our house built with solid foundations that will withstand even the strongest flood or will our house need to be condemned because the foundations have not withstood.  The Lord has been taking Jim & myself through a process of ripping up the carpet, the layers that are on the original foundations to see what is actually there and I believe it leads into the third dream about being tested.

In the testing we find out sometimes what we thought was right actually is not right and we go through a time of lifting up old carpet or old things have to get done away with that have come on top of those original foundations.  You feel a little silly sometimes and embarrassed but the Lord would say, don't feel condemned about it, convicted yes perhaps, but remain teachable and willing to learn because he has placed people around us to help us, but sometimes we are too individual and think we know the way and therefore find ourselves going down a path that is not right, but when we are in relationship with other people it opens the door for us to learn different things and to find out the truth that keeps us strong and steadfast in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 10:12  "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it".
God has taken me through great testings at times in my life (and continues to) that challenge everything I have believed in, everything that I have put my hope in, but I want to encourage you that he has always provided a way out for me to stand up under whatever testing has come my way.  I have totally felt at my end at times but in that place the Lord has come in where I could not find a way through, and he has made a way through as I have trusted and waited in him being unable at times to do anything else.

Some of those things that might test us or I know has been a challenge to me is our heart toward giving to others, or our family relationships that don't bring honour or respect, or our financial situation, a promise of the Lord still not yet coming to fruition, or relationships with people who have hurt me or stolen something from me, physical sickness, depression etc - all and many more are ways of different testing in our lives that can show us where our foundations in the Lord are really at and the truths that we actually believe.   The Lord has help in each and every situation that we are in - whether its through other people who we need to listen to their advice about something, whether it is through supernatural provision, whether its a word from scripture that brings hope and faith into something,  all is from God.  Lets be a people who are willing to learn, remain teachable and know that our foundations in the Lord are firm!  Bless you all.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Step Up & Step In - Fan into flame the gift of God 2 Tim 1:6

The mini conference that we are having at Life Church is titled "Step Up & Step In" - why?  Because we believe the Lord is calling for the charge to go forth.  There is an army ready and waiting to move forth together in the power of God to see transformation come into our nation.  And I believe that now is the time that He is calling those who believe to stand up in what they believe and step up into it by faith and action and see what He will do.

It is no longer a time of needing to know your salvation is in Him which is all good and necessary but there is a call for maturity happening at the moment to take our salvation, everything that the Lord has deposited into us and step into seeing His Kingdom come here on earth as it is in Heaven.  We have a responsibility as children of God, as sons and daughters of the Kingdom to make His Kingdom known.  He has given us - you and I - the earth as our inheritance to rule and reign over and now he is saying to take hold of everything I have taught you and take what is rightfully yours.   We have been found by him and we are found in him and now he is saying rise up people of God and take hold of the authority that I have given you and step out by faith and speak to those people who don't know him, to rise up and lay hands on the sick and believe for them to be healed, to set the captives free.  To speak with truth into injustice etc etc.

2 Tim 1:6 says "For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.  But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, has has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace...."

Something the Lord is showing me at the moment is that as I step out sometimes having nothing in mind or thought or feeling but step out in faith that his power is released in a powerful way.  It is no longer about me, what I feel, what I have or don't have, but simply a knowledge that God has it all, that God can do it all, that God knows what he wants done in a situation.  I simply have to act in faith and step out literally and then I see His Kingdom come in way that just excites me and blows me away.

I love to preach.  I used to have really good sermons with a three point plan type thing.  But now I struggle to do anything like that as I lend more and more on the spirits leading believing that God will give me what I need when I need it.  There are times now when we are going to preach somewhere and I have done everything I can in preparation, I have prayed, sought the Lord on the word, everything for a couple of weeks prior to going, but the Lord has not given me anything to actually speak on. Then the morning I go the Lord may give me a dream which speaks straight into situations and we see really exciting things happen in a way that I never would have dreamt.  In this I have had to come to a rest and a peace that God will give me what I need when I need it.  We pray in the Lords prayer for the Lord to give us our daily bread - this is actually a prayer I believe for his provision for us for the day.  We have all sorts of needs and we need his provision in everything and if we believe that and step out believing he will give us what we need when we need it, we will see God move in ways we never expected or dreamt.  

Last week we had a man arrive at our home to sell insulation.  It was Gods appointment for us for that day.  It was so special.   He spoke into our lives and we spoke into his.  I felt the Lord say "Bless the man, ask him how you could pray for him" and so I stepped out in faith and asked him and we were honoured and blessed as he shared his story and how we could pray for him.  It was a very powerful time and a time where I know the Lord worked powerfully showing His love for this man.  But I had to step out on what I believed the Lord said to me and as I did, the man shared his heart and his needs.   So many people come into our lives and every one of them have needs that we can stand together in, but sometimes we just need to step over the "chicken line" and ask the questions, and out of that relationships are formed, seeds of the Kingdom are sown, and we look foward knowing that those seeds will bear fruit in due season.   

God brings people into our lives, whether its the man selling insulation, whether its the woman selling Life Insurance, whether its the Jehovah's Witness that comes to our door, whether its the workmate in the cubicle next door to us, whether its our family members - all are opportunities for Gods love to meet their needs through us.  And as Paul says in Timothy above, he did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.  I want to encourage you today that it is no longer about you but about the free gift that is within you - God.  We have something special, we have the good news that people need, in whatever way they need it.  Whether its just a hug of compassion in their grief, whether its a word spoken that brings life and encouragement, whatever it is, step up in the faith that you have and step out and see what the Lord will do through you.

Lord I ask that today you would encourage people in faith to step up and step out in what you say to them, in the small quiet voice, that we would be obedient no longer worried about ourselves but looking forward to what you will do through that bit of obedience.  Lord I pray encouragement would come as people step out, that they would see that mustard seed of faith in that situation become a mighty tree.  Lord thank you that you will multiply the work of our hands.  Take what we offer and use it mightily for your Kingdom.  Thank you Jesus that we can do all things through you who strengthens us!