Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Parenting - A journey of faith



As we continue navigating this role of parent, our daily need for God's mercy, grace and wisdom becomes more and more apparent. It is a tough gig, and we have only been doing it for 14 years! Sometimes I want to give up and return to my corporate life.


We need to be constantly reminding ourselves that this fight is not against flesh and blood, and that Jesus is LORD. He will have the final say.

Remembering daily, that as parents it is crucial that we stand firm, knowing that unity commands a blessing and daily declaring in faith that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is outworking in every member of our family. Faith. Holy Spirit. Let Go.

And as hard as it is, we need to be reminding ourselves that it is good to wait on the Lord, and in faith, trust that He is working all things together for good.

Here are the scriptures relating to these thoughts. Their truth encourages me and reminds me that God is with us, every moment on this journey of parenthood.

God's mercies are new every morning.
But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His [tender] compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:21-23 AMP

God's grace is sufficient for us.
But He said to me, My grace (My favour and lovingkindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP

His wisdom on how to parent is freely available to us.
For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity). James 3:16-17 AMP


Our fight is not against flesh and blood.
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.  Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger],and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Ephesians 6:12-13 AMP

Jesus is Lord. He has the victory.
Even as it is written, For thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we are regarded and counted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:36-39

Unity commands a blessing
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded a blessing - life forever more. Psalm 133:1-3 NKJV


Declaration in faith that the fruit of the Spirit is outworking in every member of this family
But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence), Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Remember it is good to wait on the Lord.
The Lord is my portion or share, says my living being (my inner self); therefore I will hope in Him and wait expectantly for Him.  The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him [inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God’s word]. It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord. Lamentations 3: 24-26 AMP

And have faith in the unseen.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 NKJV

Trusting that He is working all things together for good...
And we know that all things work together for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV

To finish, a prayer we can pray for ourselves and our families, thanking God in faith and expectation for what He will do ...

Thank you Jesus that you will help me keep my focus on You today, despite what is happening in my family. Thank you for your salvation for every member of this family. Thank you for your protection over this family. Thank you for restoration and blessing. Thank you for the fruit of the Spirit to be evidenced in each of us. Thank you that you have a plan and a purpose for each member of this family and that it is good. Please help me to assist your plans, not hinder them. Thank you that you are faithful and that your word does not return void. Thank you that we will stand firm, In Jesus Name, Amen.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Trust Him & Talk to Him

For I will not trust in and lean on my bow, neither shall my sword save me. Psalm 44:6

Who are you trusting in today? Are you trusting yourself to make things happen, to fix things, to sort it all out? Maybe you are trusting someone in your family, workplace or a friend to bring resolution to your problems?

I am constantly learning that in every sphere of life, there is only One who can really fix things. Only One who can bring the real victory.

You are my King and my God. You command victories for your people. Psalm 44:4 NLT

I know I certainly can't trust myself. I get caught up in my emotions, my thoughts, my pain and can easily lose perspective if I don't talk it out with God, quickly. I need to know what His truth is.

So what does 'talk it out with God' look like? For me it means telling God exactly how I am feeling - being the most real I can possibly be. He is a safe place.

God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. Psalm 46:1 The Message

Sometimes that safe place is when I am alone, verbally expressing, with a lot of tears in-between the words, releasing the pain that is in my heart.

Sometimes it is when I am writing in my journal, letting the words flow on paper, thought after thought after thought.

Sometimes it is putting on a worship song that expresses my brokenness in words I can't.

Sometimes it is in times of reading His word, asking Him to help me know in my heart, give me fresh revelation, that it is the truth and that He is trustworthy.

Questions for today, what does 'talk it out with God' look like for you? What do you do to remind yourself that He is your God, and that He commands victory for His people.

In God we have made our boast all the day long, and we will give thanks to Your name forever. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Psalm 44:8 AMP

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Creator and Repairer

Earlier this week our daughter had the cast removed from her arm. The doctor showed us the original x-ray of the broken radial bone in her forearm (did we really need to see that again?) and then he showed us an x-ray taken that day, six weeks later. The new bone had started to grow over the fracture. The doctor said that as she was young when the break happened, in a few years time, if we did an x-ray we the fracture wouldn't be identifiable.

Yesterday as I was giving God thanks for this good result, I started thinking about how intricate our body is, and wondered, how can anyone who has a human body, deny the existence of the creator? 

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous - and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. Psalm 139:13-15 NLT

But God is more than our Creator. He is our repairer. He knew that we would get damaged, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually too. He knows that when it comes to emotional and spiritual brokenness, we cannot repair ourselves. We need Jesus.

We need to be continually fixing our eyes on Jesus, meditating on the truth.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3 NKJV

Allowing God to renew our minds ...

And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude]. And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24

And know with confidence, that we are in a continual process of repair. The master restorer is at work.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Psalm 23:1-3 NKJV

Question for today, is there something in your life, physical, emotional or spiritual that needs repairing? Invite Jesus to do the repair job, no job is too big or too small for Him (and remember that He already knows what needs repairing - it is not new news to Him). Then trust that He is doing a good work, be expectant and wait until He tells you what to do next. This continual repairing process is so important as it allows us to become more of who God has called us to be and do what he has called us to do.

And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.  2 Corinthians 3:18 The Message




 


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Do you know how much you are loved?

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities and powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, not any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 NKJV

What truth! - We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ, WHO LOVED US.  Another version says,

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37 NLT

Another truth - NOTHING! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING can separate us from God's love for us through Jesus! Another version says...

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I'm absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. Romans 8:37-39 The Message

How differently would we live our lives if we had this full revelation of God's love for us? 

Every time I sing that line in Amazing Grace, 'saved a wretch like me' I get a little bit more of revelation of how great His love is for me. I think back to where I was heading before I was saved. Outwardly it might have looked like my life was going great, aged 24, owning an apartment in Sydney, 20 minutes walk from the CBD; a career that was moving upwards; completing my Masters Degree. But inwardly a different story - lonely, desperately looking for a purpose, trying to fill that void with material things and career achievement, neither of which were actually filling the void. And why not? Because that void could only be filled by God's love.

His steadfast and faithful love.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 136:26 NLT

In those times of doubting God's love for me, here are some worship songs that help me to come back to that place of knowing that I am loved by a loving and trustworthy God.

Good Good Father - Chris Tomlin
How He Loves - David Crowder Band
You are for me - Kari Jobe 
Pieces - Amanda Cook
Amazing Grace - John Newton

Question for today, do you know how much you are loved by your Heavenly Father? If you need some fresh revelation of His love for you, why not meditate on some of the scriptures I've shared today, or ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to others. Then take some time out to worship Him, and in that time open your heart to receive more revelation of His love for you.

We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 NKJV


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Devour, Determine, Demolish and Desire


Earlier this week I had the opportunity to talk to a group of women about faulty thinking - explain what it is and then to be vulnerable and share some of my faulty thinking. And I felt to share some of it on my blog this morning .... .

I believe there are two main areas of faulty thinking:
1. Faulty thoughts we have about ourselves and others. These are any thoughts we have that don't line up with what God's word says about us.
2. Faulty thoughts we have about our God. These are any thoughts we have that don't line up with who God's word says He is.

Faulty thinking is a problem because it limits our ability to be all that God has called us to be, and it can have very detrimental effects on those around us. 

Faulty thinking robs us ... it is the reality of John 10:10

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Faulty thinking often happens because:
A. We believe the lies of the enemy and generalise them to our entire lives.
B. We live with unprocessed pain and disappointment so we leave ourselves open to easily take offense and respond disproportionately
C. We don't trust that God is greater than our circumstances - we let fear take hold

In preparing this talk, I was asked God how to finish, and this is what He gave me .... the 4 D's - Devour, Determine, Demolish and Desire.

How to combat faulty thinking - 

Devour God's word to understand what He says about us - that we are lavishly loved by the creator of the universe; that we are fearfully and wonderfully made; that we have a sound mind, and the list goes on. Knowing this, helps us to identify faulty thinking - the lies when they come. Devour God's word to understand more of God's character - who He is, His authority, and the authority He has given to us as believers in Jesus Christ.

Determine to position ourselves so that we can learn from others. Church - Sunday services, Encounter nights, Healing services. Don't be scared to receive all that God has for you. Listen/watch teaching DVDs, YouTube and Podcasts.

Demolish the unprocessed pain and disappointment. Ask Jesus to show you if you are harbouring unprocessed pain and open your heart to let Him heal you - this may be a quick process, or a long process. We may need help from other people, but we need to stick with Him, persevere and let Jesus do a good work in us. 

Desire a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus. Know He is our closest friend, so we can trust Him no matter what the facts might say.
1. Give God time and space to speak to you daily, however that works for you. If you think you don't have time, ask Him to show you when is a good time in your day. 

2. Remember it is not just pouring out your heart and needs to Him, but also listening to help His voice become louder than your own, or that of the enemy.
3. Worship Him
4. Remember what He has done - starting with your salvation

So where to from here?  My suggestion would be in some quiet time with God, ask Him these questions,
1. What lies am I believing about myself?
2. What pain and disappointment am I living with?
3. What areas in my life am I living in fear?

If it is too overwhelming to ask these all at one, maybe ask one at a time.

Once God has given you these answers, ask Him what to do about it, and then do it. Remember God is with You always, He doesn't leave you to do this by yourself, and He wants to see you living in freedom, thinking His thoughts, not faulty thoughts, so you can do all that He has called you to do - loving Him and loving others in an emotionally healthy way.

I pray that these thoughts are encouraging help you to live more fully in the abundant life Jesus has given to each of us.

So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will see you free. John 8:31-32 AMP



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Brothers and Sisters

 How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! Psalm 133:1 The Message

This scripture paints a picture that hasn't recently been seen in our home! Entering into the teenage years has probably got something to do with, combined with years of living with stress and uncertainty. 

I know this scripture is primarily talking about brothers and sisters in Christ ....

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:AMP

But yesterday morning as I was reading this scripture in different versions of The Bible, God spoke specifically to me about the brothers and sisters in our home.  After Psalm 133, He followed up with Ephesians 6:10-18, with a focus on v12 and v18

For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 NLT

Amen.

Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. Ephesians 6:18 The Message


These scriptures are going on the back of the toilet door! It is a deep cry of my heart to see unity in this home. God hears the cry of our heart, sometimes before we even cry out to Him.

And it shall be that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 AMP

An aside, we have always encouraged our children to pray for each other, at home, in the car, and in the times when they are not with each other. I've said to them, if name comes into your mind, that may be God prompting you to pray for them, so stop and pray, even if it is a 3 second prayer, like please help name; please protect name; show your love to name. I an under no illusion that some of them do this, and some don't! But I will continue to pray that one day they all will.

But back to the story, so yesterday morning I felt that God was leading me to pray specifically into sibling unity for our home. So I did. Then I left it with Him and went on to the activities of the day and forgot about that specific prayer.

Until last night, when I went to bed and reflected on the activities of the evening .... some of the children and I found ourselves sitting listening to one do their piano practice. A rare occasion - the sitting listening, not the piano practice. When the practice was complete, a discussion started, a respectful discussion where they took turns listening and speaking! And then there was laughter, lots of laughter! About 30 minutes went by without an unkind word. 

Thirty minutes to treasure. Thirty minutes that gave me hope that God is at work, building unity between brother and sister. I know that there is a long way to go, but I am so grateful for what He orchestrated last night, and that glimpse of unity. I will keep trusting Him.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways, recognise, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and pain your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP


And I will keep praying, laying them down at the foot of The Cross, and believing that God is doing a transforming work, bringing beauty from ashes. We will keep leaning on Him for wisdom and the grace to love and heal.

Question for today, what is the cry of your heart? In your quiet times with God what has His response been? What has He asked you to do?

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Psalm 46:7 AMP


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Standing


Do you have those days when it feels as though all day you are resisting someone that is working to pull you apart, pull you down and literally destroy you and your family?

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10 AMP

We recently had a day like that, with three 'events' in one day, which indicated that there was something going on. Thankfully after the second event, which was so random (and would have been funny if not for the physical implications), we realised (thank you Holy Spirit) that something was afoot.  
Or as I recently heard someone say, we were being 'buffeted'. We called some praying reinforcements. So when the third event came along, as concerning as it was, we were aware of the bigger picture. Our God has the victory, and are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.

Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor things impending and threatening not things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 AMP

There is a song that has become like an anthem for me on those days when there is buffeting going on ...  Glory is Yours, by Elevation Worship.

Oh God, the glory is Yours
The kingdom is come and the battle is over
Jesus in Your Name we rise
The glory is Yours, the glory is Yours.

It is a great declaration of Who is the victor, and reminds me that we are not made to shrink back and be destroyed.

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. Hebrews 10:39 NIV

Question for today, do you feel like you are being buffeted? What are your strategies on those days, to continue living in victory?  I pray that some of these scriptures I've shared today will help you to stand firm on those days.

In conclusion,be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that Strength which His boundless might provides].

Put on God’s whole armour [the armour of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 

For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (super natural) sphere.

Therefore put on God’s complete armour, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].Ephesians 6:10-13 AMP