Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Podcast 007 - The Anchor

The anchor

As a child I had the blessing of spending many hours sailing on Auckland's Hauraki Gulf. 

However not all our sailing days were as idyllic as this image. Some days were stormy, and not only due to the weather! I was a very headstrong teenager who didn't always want to go away on family boating weekends (but that is another story for another day). 

Normally after a stormy day we would mostly find shelter in a quiet bay. The anchor would go down and the boat would settle in the stillness. 

Until the wind changed - in either direction or strength.

Sometimes the wind would build and the boat start to swing on the anchor, to the left (port), then back to the right (starboard). Most times the anchor would hold firm and we would be safe.

So why am I sharing this boating story?

Well, the other day I was watching some moored boats on the lake, the wind was rather strong, creating white caps. I observed the boats doing that swinging action, first to the left and then back around to the right, bouncing up and down at the same time as the waves rolled towards them. They were getting buffeted.

Aside from bringing back childhood memories of boating adventures, as I watched these boats I felt that God was saying to me, Wendy, watch how they swing, buffeted by the wind, but the anchor stays firm.

Then I found myself singing the words of the Hillsong's  Anchor,

I have this hope
As an anchor for my soul
Through every storm
I will hold to You ....

... There is hope in the promise of the cross
You gave everything to save the world You love
And this hope is an anchor for my soul
Our God will stand

Our God will stand Unshakeable. We will be buffeted. But in Jesus we will always have hope.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19 NKJV 

Hope. An anchor for the soul. Circumstances will come. In the midst of them we need to hold on to that hope - even if it seems like a pin-prick of light at the end of a very long tunnel.  That light is Jesus. He overcame the darkness.

In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it [put it out or absorbed it or appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it]. John 1:4-5 AMP  

Let's get that truth into our souls -

The Light shines on in the darkness .... for the darkness has never overpowered it ...
never put it out ...
never absorbed it ...
never appropriated it ...
And it is unreceptive to it.

Jesus, the Light of the world, your Light, my Light.

Once more Jesus addressed the crowd. He said, I am the Light of the world. He who follows me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life. John 8:12 AMP

Sometimes that light may seem dim to us as our circumstances try to overshadow it, but always remember Jesus will never be overpowered. 

So when that buffeting next comes in your life, or maybe you are being buffeted right now, let's choose to lift our eyes, look to the Light, putting our hope in Jesus.

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:18-20 The Message


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Podcast 006 - You are not abandoned

You are not abandoned

As some of you may know I am writing a book about our journey of having a child with a brain tumour. To say it has been an extremely emotional project, is an under-statement. The book is almost finished, so it's time to start thinking about marketing. 

Yesterday Ken and I attended a marketing workshop, primarily for our business, however there were many concepts that applied to my book project.

One of the exercises we did at the workshop was to imagine the ideal client for your product or service. With my book,  it is not too hard for me to imagine the parents who would read it, as I am one of those parents. 

During the exercise, we were asked to think about the unspoken desires and frustrations that your ideal client might have. Some of my notes for that exercise included phrases like...

I just want this all to go away. 
I can't believe this is happening to us.
I want to run away and go back to how life used to be. 
I am frightened of the future.

You may have had thoughts similar to these during a tough circumstance in your life. Or you may be thinking them right now.

As I reflect on those unspoken thoughts, I am grateful that during that time the spoken thoughts of my Heavenly Father were also running through my mind. Here are some of His thoughts that I clung to during that time.....

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Jeremiah 29:11 AMP

And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8 NKJV

And of course, Romans 8:28

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV

For years I spoke those words of Romans 8:28 in faith, as there was very little in the seen realm that indicated thing were working together for good. It was a choice to believe that God was at work, even in the times when the situation appeared to be getting worse. Sometimes it felt like a foolish choice as the facts did not support the truth of God's word.

But it was the choice to believe that truth that bought hope, and helped me to trust that we had not been abandoned, not our daughter, not our other children, not our marriage, not me.

The Message Bible puts it this way,

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right along side helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail of our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 The Message

So today, if you are thinking those thoughts like I want this all to go away, I want to run away, let's take a moment to be still and breathe in the hope and love of God. Listen to the words that Moses spoke to all of Israel before they crossed the Jordan river,

Be strong. Take courage. Don't be intimidated. Don't give them a second thought because GOD, your God, is striding ahead of you. He's right there with you. He won't let you down, he won't leave you. Deuteronomy 31:6 The Message Bible

Let's pray,

Heavenly Father, thank you for your truth in our lives. Thank you that your truth brings hope in the really challenging times. Thank you that you have thoughts and plans for each of us that are good. Thank you that you do not abandon us, and when it feels like You have, please remind us that You haven't. You are with us. Thank you for your peace to reign in our hearts every moment of today. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Podcast 005 - Calling on Jesus - the best decision ever

Calling on Jesus - The best decision ever

For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." Romans 10:13 NKJV

This morning as I read these words in Romans 10:13 I started thinking about when I was walking past Harry's Cafe de Wheels in Woolloomoolloo, Sydney, and I called on the name of the LORD. 

That was the day when I really started to live. In taking that step of faith, over twenty years ago, to believe there was a God who loved me and wanted to have a relationship with me, my life instantly had the meaning that I had been craving for. I felt a peace that I had not felt before. I knew I my heart had found home.

Scripture reassures us, "No one who trusts God like this - heart and soul - will ever regret it." It's exactly the same no matter what a person's religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. "Everyone who calls, 'Help, God!' gets help. Romans 10:11-13 The Message

I have not had one regret in asking Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour. There has only been an ever-growing gratefulness for His love and mercy in my life, combined with a peace of knowing that I don't have to strive anymore. I know the truth. 

I know there is a God is heaven who speaks to me every day through scripture, through promptings of the Holy Spirit, through people and through His creation. 
I know there is a Jesus who understands suffering and pain, and who made a way in His own suffering and pain for me to have that intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father.

I know there is a heaven, and that by the grace of God that's where I am going, one day, for eternity.

I know that today, while I am still here on earth, I am not forsaken, not for a second. And neither are you.

God, your wrap-around presence is our defense.
In your kindness look upon the faces of your anointed ones.
For just one day of intimacy with you is like
a thousand days of joy rolled into one!
I'd rather stand at the threshold in front of the Gate Beautiful,
ready to go in and worship my God,
than to live my life without you
in the most beautiful place of the wicked.
For the Lord God is brighter than the brilliance of a sunrise!
Wrapping himself around me like a shield,
he is so generous with his gifts of grace and glory.
Those who walk along his paths with integrity
will never lack one thing they need, for he provides it all!
O Lord of Heaven's Armies,
what euphoria fills those who forever trust in you!
Psalm 84:9-12 The Passion Translation 

Heavenly Father, thank you that your wrap-around presence is our defense. Thank you that you loved us enough to give us a way to come back into right standing with you. Thank you Jesus for making that way. Thank you that there are no regrets in living life your way. Help us to trust you more today, and receive your love and grace more fully so we can be the blessing you've called us to be. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Podcast 004 - Come and gaze upon Jesus