Wednesday, January 17, 2018

God made my life complete

GOD made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. I'm alert to GOD's ways; I don't take God for granted. Every day I review the way he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together and I'm watching my step. GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. Psalm 18:20-24 The Message 

God made my life complete ... what overwhelming gratitude I feel as I read those words. He made my life complete - that is exactly how I felt 22 years ago when I placed all the pieces of my life before him and I made the decision to invite Jesus into my heart and be my Lord and Saviour. And that is exactly how I feel today, 22 years later, despite the trials and tribulations that have come my way. 

At the time of that life changing decision all those years ago, it definitely felt like a fresh start. All that I had been striving for suddenly shifted to a lower priority in my life. This fresh start that He had given me meant that the top priority became learning about this Jesus that I had committed my life to, and starting to learn what that commitment meant in terms of how I lived my life.

I know it is a life long journey of continually learning something  about God's ways, we won't get the full picture until we get to heaven. I'm alert to GOD's ways; I don't take God for granted. I am learning not to assume anything, but rather to live from a place totally in awe of God, the Almighty creator of the heaven and earth, who rescued me.

But me he caught - reached all the way from the sky to the sea; he pulled me out of that ocean of hate, that enemy of chaos, the void in which I was drowning. Psalm 18:16-17 The Message

The hunger for His word and to hear His voice grows every day, along with a greater desire to be doing only what He wants me to do.

Every day I review the way he works; I try not to miss a trick. Psalm 18:22 The Message
But despite that hunger and desire there is failing every day in some way as Wendy's plans creep in, or the flesh takes over and impatience and frustration show their ugly heads. 

That's the time to return to Jesus with a humble heart, asking forgiveness and receiving and accepting His love and grace despite my failings. And I feel put back together.

What an intimate relationship it is with this Jesus, the Saviour of the world. He is stable and constant - 

Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today [yes] and forever (to the ages). Hebrews 13:8 AMP

I am anything but stable and constant! But He knows that because He created me. All He wants me to do is keep opening my heart to him, so He can do the re-writing.

GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes. Psalm 18:24 The Message

Thank you Jesus that you are the author and the finisher of our faith. 

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NKJV

Thank you Jesus that you are continually guiding and teaching us. Today help us to hear your voice and obey what you ask us to do. Amen.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

He sustains me

I lay down and slept, I wakened again, for the Lord sustains me. Psalm 3:5 AMP

We are more than half way through the Christmas holidays and praise God that he is sustaining me! 

But seriously in all areas of our lives, He is where our strength must come from if we are going to live fully and do all that He has called us to do.


But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall walk and not faint or become tired. Isaiah 40:31 AMP

Yesterday I had a child complaining about having to do exercises every day. My heart went out to her, I am sure I would feel the same way some days if I was in her situation. But unfortunately for her, the cost of not doing them is too great. So for me as the Mum, head needs to override heart.

This morning as I was thinking about yesterday's conversation, I started to wonder if the daily exercises were too much for a 10 year old girl.

But then our gracious Heavenly Father bought this to mind ... about six years ago two ladies came to our home to talk to us about support programs for Victoria. One of ladies had cerebral palsy and her right hand was unusable. While discussing the exercises we were doing to help Victoria's body be as functional as possible, she said to me, 'I wish my Mum had done for me what you are doing for your daughter, then perhaps I would now be able to use my hand.'

How grateful I was for that reminder. But then God went on to remind me of something else, that I can't help Victoria in my own strength, I need His wisdom and compassion. And He reminded me that Victoria can't maintain this exercise regime in her own strength either, she needs His strength to continue.

Together we need to call on His help, so we can stay the course, with Him sustaining us every day, filling us with His hope. It is a character building course with real rewards (and real consequences should we take the easy path of doing nothing and give up).

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 AMP


If there is something in your life that needs to be done, but perhaps you have moved into the sphere of doing it in your own strength, as I have with Victoria's daily exercises, why not pray this prayer with me today ...

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Please forgive me for doing things in my own strength, rather than relying completely on You, your strength and wisdom. 

Please help me to better recognise when I am working out of my strength, so I quickly stop and return to your way and allow you to sustain me. 

Thank you that you are continually building our character through troubles, suffering, pressure, affliction and hardship. Help us to keep our eyes on you during these seasons, and know that you are continually transforming us, so we can be and do all that you have called us to do.

Thank you for the hope and faith we have in you, and that you are always faithful. Thank you that you will sustain us.

In Jesus Name we pray.
Amen

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Psalm 54:4 - NIV




Saturday, January 6, 2018

Unfolding grace

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 The Message

His unfolding grace. 

As I reflect on my life I can see that not a day has gone by without His unfolding grace...

The grace of being born in to family where my mother took me to Sunday school. The grace that helped me to transform from a child who was too scared to ask the teacher if I could go to the bathroom and so often had a 'puddle' under my chair in the classroom (our children love that story!). The grace that provided caring teachers and Girl Guide leaders who took the time to input into my life, helping me grow in confidence. 

The grace that, even though I went my own way in my late teens and early twenties, loved and accepted me when I returned and re-committed my life to Jesus.

The grace that gifted me a husband who is just as strong-willed as me and never wants to give up. The grace that has enabled our marriage to continue despite our failings. The grace to be able to a child, overcome the disappointment of two miscarriages, and have three more children.

The grace that has given us the strength and hope to continually lift our eyes to Jesus during seven years of believing for a miracle for our daughter's health (and I am crying now). The grace that has carried us to a place where we can now, most days, live our lives abundantly in faith.

The grace that has surrounded us with family and friends who have continually prayed, encouraged and helped us. The grace that has held this family together, and is growing us day by day in our journey as parents.

His unfolding grace. The grace, that in each of these days, even when we didn't realise it, has drawn us closer to our Heavenly Father.

Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day.  2 Corinthians 4:16 AMP

Question for today, can you see how God's grace has  unfolded throughout your life? I pray that God will help us see that no matter what has happened or is going to happen, He has not left us. He will not leave us. He has not forsaken us. But rather His grace continues to unfold in our lives every day. Let's keep our eyes on Jesus.

Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting. 2 Corinthians 4:18 AMP


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Something a little bit challenging ...

God has no use for the prayers of the people who won't listen to him. Proverbs 28:9 The Message

This morning I was a little bit stuck on what to write. I had been reading through Proverbs 27 and found some scriptures that spoke to me about aspects of my life, but nothing that I felt God wanted me to write about today. So I thought, 'I'll ask the Holy Spirit for direction.' And He led me to the scripture above, in Proverbs 28 ...

God has no use for the prayers of the people who won't listen to him. Proverbs 28:9 The Message

Ouch! That seems a bit harsh, so I thought I'd have a read of it in the Amplified version .....

He who turns away his ear from hearing the law [of God and man], even his prayer is an abomination, hateful and revolting [to God]. Proverbs 28:9 AMP

Double ouch!  

What does turning an ear away from hearing the law, look like? Here's an example,

But they refused to listen and turned a rebellious and stubborn shoulder and made heavy and full their ears that they might not hear. Zechariah 7:11 AMP

Looks like rebellion and stubbornness.  

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me; Psalm 66:18 AMP

Sounds like sin. 

Which leads me to a song I started to sing yesterday on my walk. This was one of the first songs I heard when I became a Christian ...

Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me
Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord
And take not Thy holy spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me
Create in me a clean heart by Keith Green. 

Lyrics based on some verses in Psalm 51

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore me to the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-12

Sounds like this would make a great daily prayer, the type of prayer that is prayed in a quite place where we can be still and hear the small still voice of God. Not one of the on-the-run prayers, or the crying out in desperation prayers, or jumping for joy prayers of thankfulness. I am not saying those prayers aren't good - I pray those sorts of prayers throughout my day.

But I have found that the 'create in me a clean heart prayer' requires me to be still and quiet, giving God space and time to let God search my heart and speak to me about my sin.

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 AMP

I need to be still so I can hear what He has to say. My heart and mind needs to be focused on Him, nothing else, no-one else. I want my relationship with Jesus to keep going to an  increasingly intimate place. I know I have a part to play in the deepening of our relationship. It is not a one-sided relationship - I have responsibilities too. I need to listen and obey.

Questions for today, where is your relationship with Jesus at? Is He a stranger to you? Is He an acquaintance? Is He a friend? Is He a brother? Is He your Lord and Saviour? 

My suggestion, start talking to Him today, and remember to listen too. He loves you.

All believers, come here and listen,
let me tell you what God did for me.
I called out to him with my mouth,
my tongue shaped the sound of music.
If I had been cosy with evil,
the Lord would never have listened.
But he most surely did listen,
he came on the double when he heard my prayer.
Blessed be God: he didn't turn a deaf ear,
he stayed with me, loyal in his love.
Psalm 66:16-20 The Message









Sunday, December 24, 2017

Eternity

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also planted eternity in men's hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11 AMP

Eternity. Jesus. Made a way. For us. All of us. Each of us. You. Me.

Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us. Today. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second.

God alone can satisfy. Not people. Not money. Not things. Only God.

Our choice today. Let go. Yield. Repent. Draw nearer. 

Receive. Forgiveness. Love. Peace. 

The promise. Eternity with Jesus. 

Merry Christmas.




Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Live by Faith


But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him. Hebrews 10:38 AMP

Living by faith - sounds like such a wonderfully exciting way to live.  Living completely trusting God without a hint of resentment, disappointment, anger - just free floating trusting without any unbelief. Every moment of the day characterised by this scripture ...

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. Hebrews 11:1 The Message

For me, the reality of living by faith is a continual struggle to push back the fears that constantly want to take hold of my mind. It is always a choice to take hold of faith and fight the fear. It is a decision to respond in faith.

I was reminded of this response as I read through Hebrews 11 this morning in the Amplified Bible, and noticed (thank you Holy Spirit) the amplification of the 'by faith' statements regarding the 'men of old'.

[Prompted, actuated] by faith Abel .....

Because of faith Enoch .....

[Prompted] by faith Noah, ....

[Urged on] by faith Abraham ....

[Prompted] by faith he ....

Because of faith also Sarah ....

By faith Abraham .....

[Prompted] by faith Jacob ....

[Actuated] by faith Joseph ....

[Prompted] by faith Moses ....

[Aroused] by faith Moses ....

[Motivated] by faith he ...

By faith (simple trust and confidence in God) ...

[Urged on] by faith the people ....

[Prompted] by faith Rahab ...

Faith - simple trust and confidence in God. 

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Hebrews 11:1

Faith. I know I need it every day, to get up and keep going. Not faith in me and my abilities. Not faith not in my husband and his abilities. Not faith in other people. No, only faith in God is required. A confidence that He is, who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do.

But God - so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life which which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favour and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgement and made partakers of Christ's salvation).

And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favour) to [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.  Ephesians 2:4-7 AMP

AMEN! 

I don't know what happens to you when you read those scriptures, but for me, faith rises and I want to shout out an Amen - so be it! They so clearly remind me that God is on my side. He is in the midst. His grace is sufficient.

In Romans 10:17 it says,

So faith comes by hearing [what is told],  and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself). Romans 10:17 AMP

Today let's choose to keep God's truth first and foremost in our minds and on our lips, so we can be prompted, motivated, urge on and actuated by faith, faith in God.

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work in us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [indefinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes and dreams] - to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it). Ephesians 3:20-21 AMP

 







 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

We have a God who understands


We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all - all but the sin. Hebrews 4:15 The Message

We have a God who understands what life is like for us, the good times and the challenging times ....

For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to understand and sympathise and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Hebrews 4:15 AMP

We have a God who understands that we have weaknesses. He always knew we would have weaknesses. So He, in His love for us, provided a solution to fill that gap ...

'For My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP

Not our strength. Not our power.

'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:6 NKJV

His strength. His power. His Spirit. His Spirit lives in us.

But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. Romans 8:9 AMP

We need to yield, and let God show His strength and His power by His Spirit. 

So whatever the weakness, infirmities or temptations we are experiencing in our lives right now, we need to follow these instructions ....

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favour to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time and every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Hebrews 4:16

Take a moment to see yourself walking fearlessly, confidently and boldly to the throne of grace. We have permission to do this, not because of anything we have done, but only because of what Jesus has done for us. Jesus has made a way for you and me to return to God. He understands that we need grace and mercy, every day. Thank you Jesus. 

So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. Hebrews 4:16 The Message