Sunday, 22 June 2014

"If it feels good then I will do it...."

Recently I have been challenged into a role I am not used to or specifically want to do and I am finding it difficult and at times want to run, but it is really good for me as I am learning and growing and learning to draw on Jesus in a whole new way.  But there have been times when I have wanted to run away and just be ‘free’ to do what I believe I am called to be.  But then the Lord reminds me that actually Sarah, this is what I am calling you to right now.
I am continually reminded of a quote that Heidi Baker says “Lord I don’t do children”, and He replied “you do now”.
But in the process I am seeing around me  some people in the Christian church that this is very much the case that when challenged with something that they don’t want to do, then they move on instead of sticking with what the Lord has called them to or the place He has put them in.  And in this process we have to ask ourselves, is this actually about us, or is it about doing the will of Jesus, the one who calls us and equips us for every good work that he has put in front of us?  Many a time as I look around me, I find a very ‘selfish’ body that really in reality it is all about them and what they can get out of it, rather than about what they can do and serve or give, in order to see the Kingdom of God advance and Jesus name be lifted high rather than their own.

I asked someone recently, “if I asked you to clean the toilets for a month, would you do it?”  The answer was interesting.  It posed the question of serving one another and of giving not expecting anything in return.  And is Jesus in me, the person in whom was asking her to help?  Poses lots of questions really.
Often I find myself seeing people willingly giving when they want to give and grudgingly giving, if at all, when it doesn’t benefit themselves in some way.
Lets be a people who rejoice in all things and serve
God cheerfully
I see it is very much a case in society in general today and I hesitate that it is rubbing off in the Christian church.  This sense of “if it feels good then I will do it” but if it doesn’t, then they wont.  So how does that line up with my precious Jesus who of course didn’t want to go to the cross and cried out to the Lord for it to be taken from Him, but submitted himself to the will of His father and to those persecuting him, as we are called to submit to those around us and more so to those in authority?

I want to encourage you from my own experience that when I have submitted to those in authority over me and humbled myself and cleaned a bathroom for a month, or done what people have asked of me when I have just wanted to run, then I have found I have always learnt precious lessons in what Jesus was showing me through those times.   I have also found that when my attitude was in alignment to the will of God, that of rejoicing in all circumstances, then His supernatural grace has come and given me everything I have needed to help me walk the journey.  But when my attitude has not been that encouraging, it has been a very difficult journey.  And so I have learnt through all situations and I encourage people to give and serve out of a grateful heart of everything Jesus has given us,  a heart full of thanksgiving and allowing His grace to come in your time of need and not to run when it ‘doesn’t feel good’ but rather be a people who others can rely on,  a people who serve one another as if serving the Lord, and when you do, God will lift you up.

Col 3:24  "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

Eph 6:7  "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free."

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Grand Design

The Lord has been talking recently to me about houses and different states of houses.  Some are quirky with all sorts of really cool things that are happening in them, some are being built and are yet unfinished, some the windows are boarded up and need the boards on the windows removed.  Some don’t yet have the power on and it is dark with a thief in the  darkness waiting.  There was one  that was perfect on pretty much everything except the fridge (often represents the heart) was too small.
The initial plan

In the process of thinking about different houses and the different stages each house was at, I thought about the British Programme “Grand Design”.  I love watching this programme and seeing the ideas and the plans and where it originally starts with the dreams and the vision of how it will be, but along the process the building often takes longer than expected, costs run higher than projected, workers come and go, the question of whether to continue comes up and eventually pushed through as they cannot give up and walk away on everything that has already been invested. Often the owner will end up himself finishing the work as they cannot afford to hire anybody.  Everything is put into finishing the project amidst a lot of stress, a lot of questions, a lot of highs and lows as the journey continues.  But in the end you see this finished house, just amazing and you sit there and say – yes it was worth it to see what they have now.   Just beautiful and amazing and as you watch someones else dream become a reality you wish you had the money you could afford to buy it.  
In the process

I believe at the moment the Lord is wanting to encourage people to keep going and to continue to believe in and see the grand design that the Lord has for you in your life and the call he has on your life. It is not yet finished and as it says in James  that ‘perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything.’   The Lord doesn’t want us lacking anything, and like the Grand Design buildings, each one is unique and different from another, none the same and it takes time to perfect, for it to be all that it is meant to be.

I believe there are people who:
  • feel discouraged for whatever reason whether it be a lack of money or a lack of workers to help finish the job.
  • There are those whose hearts have been hurt and broken in their vulnerability and so in the process have put up walls for protection but the Lord wants to come and replace those walls of  protection and make you transparent again trusting in Him for His protection not in the walls that you have put up to protect yourself.
  • There are those who are lacking the power at the moment and have no light and it is dark and the Lord wants to come and bring the light into the darkness.
  • There are those who seem like everything is great and just about perfect but the Lord wants to expand the capacity in your heart.

I believe The Lord also is wanting to teach and cement in us to be a people who walk in the Truth of the Word and not base everything on how we feel or on what we see.  That we need to be a people who walk by faith in the word and not by sight.  Many of us can function from a place on how we are feeling emotionally and emotions are not wrong, but when they take us down a path that does not line up with the truth of God and what He is saying about you or to you or into life, then you are functioning from an emotional place rather than a place of victory in Christ.
Sometimes you can come into a place of self pity instead of looking at Jesus and giving thanks for your situation and your circumstances which when you do this, lifts you out of the miry clay and sets you on a solid foundation, which is and can only be found in Jesus.

I too am seeing that there are those who live from one encounter to the next encounter in the Lord and so when we are not experiencing that ‘encounter’ we believe we are not in communion in Christ and that is a lie that pushes us looking for the next encounter and discouraged when you are not feeling His presence as you have before.  He is always with you and He has never left you, just because you may not experience him or feel Him in a way you want to, does not mean He is not there.  And I believe He is wanting to take people deeper in this arena and teach people to live from the word and truth of His word and not just from the experience or the encounter.

So Lord I pray for each and every one in the different situations.  Lord come and minister to the broken hearted, to those who have been discouraged and needing your encouragement right now.  Meet them today with you love and your provision and your grace, which is enough to meet all our needs.  Lord release breakthrough where breakthrough is needed.  Lord give them joy in the journey.  Bring around them people who would encourage and help in whatever way they need help today.  Thank you Lord that you hear our cry.
Psalm 10:17;
The finished house!
“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted, you encourage them and you listen to their cry.
Lord thank you that you fight the battles for us and so we hand them over to you our every situation and we trust you to come and refresh and renew us in your love.
Zeph 3:17  
"The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you in His love; He will exult over you with loud singing" (NRSV)
Thank you Jesus that you are teaching us not only to live from encounter to encounter but from the truth of your word that sustains us and encourages us on in you.
Thank you Jesus!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Young and Naive : I Choose to Believe!

The past several weeks have been rather challenging for me and with the things that I find I am hitting in the spirit, it is difficult to not to 'retailiate' back.  (Not altogether successful I might add).
I have been praying and asking The Lord for a long time now to 'open my eyes so that I would see' and now that prayer is being answered, but perhaps not in the way I had hoped but I know that it is good for me as it will grow me more in The Lord.

Years ago I got called 'young and naive', words I have never forgotten as it made me look at myself and question if I was.  I have just today realised again that I am and want to continue to be. In fact I pray that I will remain young and naive in my spirit, that I remain childlike all the days of my life in faith toward God.  To me this morning young and naive showed me that it was a place that I believed in what the Word says.  I believe we can have a christian society where we love one another, forgive one another, don't judge one another, where we can serve and love others above ourselves.  A world where I believe that we can have a community of believers that provide for each other in times of need.  A community of believers that don't just attract people who they like or are similar but one in which we see a cross section of people from all different walks of life, living and loving together.  I believe God is my Father and as such is my provider, not man.  I believe we can have relationship with my enemies in such a way we can lie down together and if that means that I am young and naive then praise God!

Why my eyes are being opened is that I am realising that there are very few people who not only believe it with their head but also in their heart and in their actions and it makes me cry as I am seeing a body of people fighting for their rights, walking away when offense is given or it gets too difficult and not willing to work it through, giving something to somebody but actually in their hearts expecting something in return and when they don't get back what they give then they hold it against people and withhold in the future.  My eyes are being opened to the state of the bride of Christ and I cry, I cry for a people who will not humble themselves to one another, let alone God.  I cry because I see broken relationships and hardness of heart and I cry because I find myself becoming the very thing that I don't want to become because of how people are not treating me as I would treat them.
As I open my heart to them and share the very depths of everything of me, and yet others withhold their heart to you and then use what you have given them in your vunerability and trust, against you.

And I cry out to The Lord and I say Lord what do I do with this.  I want my heart kept soft, I want to remain childlike and yet He is answering my question in my eyes being opened.  It makes me cry and if it makes me cry and I only see a bit, how does God handle it?

And then he reminds of of His son on the cross crying out "Father forgive them for they do not know what they do".  Oh how I need more love, more unconditional love, how I need more of His love in me in such a way that His mercy, his patience, His long suffering, His forbearance, His grace is sooooo abounding.  I don't want to be hardened in my heart and yet it is so easy to become like that when people use you, when people abuse you or misunderstand you and judge you, and yet in Hebrews 3:12  "See to it brothers and sisters that none of you has a sinful unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.  But encourage one another daily as long as it is called today so that none of you may be hardened by sins deceitfulness.  We have come to share in Christ if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the end."

And once again I am taken back to the cross and His mercy poured out for me, His love poured out for me, His paitence poured out for me, His very life poured out for me which gives me strength to keep going, to keep loving as He loves, to keep  believing in my thinking, to keep hoping for a bride that will love as He loves, that will forgive as He forgives, that will pour out their lives for the unlovely as He did and once again I surrender it all at the cross and give it to Jesus and so turn my eyes back to him and not at the things that take my eye away from being 'young and naive' , childlike in Him.  He is faith, hope and love and without these we have nothing.  I choose to believe by faith, in hope and in love for a bride, beautiful and shining, walking in unity, in restoration, in reconciliation, in surrender and giving to one another.  I choose to believe!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Passion and love for Jesus that changes the world around you.

The other day I had a vision and in this vision I saw curtains being pulled on windows from the outside and I saw this other lady taking over ministering to someone and she was shouting in 'love' to this other person.  As I have pondered on this and what it meant I believe  there is a warning and a reminder of what is important that The Lord wants me/us to take heed of.  Especially as we enter into times of seeing more miraculous things taking place around us, as we see the spirit moving in lives or the giftings being released in increase,  and we get 'busier' in the things of God, please take note of what I believe The Lord is wanting us to be aware of, which is to maintain and keep alive that 'first love' relationship with The Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

The windows that had curtains being pulled on it was the prophetic gifting being shut down and it led me to thinking of the scriptures in 1 Cor 13 about the gifts.  "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbol.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.....v8 "But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away...."

Unadulterated passion for Jesus - what does that look like?  It looks like a passion that effects everyone around you.    I remember as a young women in love with my soon to be husband, I was annoying in some ways to the people around me because I was so 'sickly in love'.
Often I can look around me and in churches there is good learning and teaching going on, good ministry happening in the lives of people around, but the passion and 'first love' for Jesus is rarely seen.  People want to serve Jesus which is great, people want to grow in giftings and see the miraculous happening around them, which too is great and so there is a certainly a love there that wants to serve Jesus, but the 'first love' that is infectious and consuming to those around you, I often struggle to find.   And yes we are all different, but whether your an introvert or an extrovert, you can tell someone who is passionately on fire for something whether it be a rugby match or Jesus.

I know for myself this is a reminder and a warning for me as recently some stuff has been happening in my world, things challenging those very things talked about as to what 'love is' and so I say to The Lord, please renew my 'first love', please keep me in a place of radical love that only comes from you.  That I don't want to be a server of God and a 'doer', but to remain a lover of God above all because out of being a lover all things flow in the right order.  By being a lover of God His love overflows in us which is "patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs.  Does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

We cannot do it in our own strength once again but it can be something we desire, something we pursue like any thing, there are things you decide you want to focus on, whether it be a date night with your husband so you maintain a good marriage, or a coffee with a friend or watching a movie, I can decide that I want to invest my time in and for my first love to be kept in a place of passion then I need to spend time with my lover of lovers, the King of Kings and in that my love and desire is renewed, my passion restored.  If we are not spending the time with the source of life, then how can we love and give life to the ones around us.  We can once again become busy spending time learning how to move in the gifts, learning to serve The Lord in all sorts of ways and see the fruit of that, but in that forget to spend time with the lover of our souls,  which in turn will effect the things that you may be currently seeing happening around you.

As we move into a season I believe of great  signs and miracles from Heaven,  please make sure you continue to spend time with the Lover.  Please make sure that in the busyness of what The Lord may be doing around you, please continue to make Him the number one in your life not what happens because of Him.