Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Feeling Disqualified, Ruled out, Suspended?

Following Jesus was never meant to be an easy road!

We are told that God wants 100% of our lives not just lip service - not just some ordinary howdy doody kind of faith that saps your energy in TRYING to do 'things' that will get you in the back door . NO! God means it when He says that he wants 100%.

God is so so serious when He says that we must "count the cost" of following Him before we make a commitment to Him - If we aren't willing to sacrifice everything that we have then it's absolutely no use in following Him at all.

Strong words indeed  - but in Luke 14:27 Jesus Himself says 'and whoever does not carry their cross and follow me CANNOT be my disciple'. If we commit to Jesus - we must give Him ALL of our allegiance.

Lack of allegiance, lack of commitment, occupied with other things and other lives and not handing them over to God are things of which we MUST count the cost before giving our allegiance to God.

Of course we love our families, our spouses, our Grandblessings and many other loves - Jesus Himself loved in many and extraordinary ways and we are indeed commanded to love BUT when the rubber hits the road our ultimate allegiance MUST go to God.

Once we have decided that we are indeed His and accept Him as our personal, and I mean PERSONAL, Saviour and Lord - once we have come to the cross of Calvary and left our burden of sin there - once we have asked God's forgiveness of our sins no matter how obtuse, disgusting, scandalous or obnoxious they may be - once we have decided that to follow the Lord is to gain freedom the likes of which we have never known, then God won't let us go.

I know I walked away from God for 14 long years- I thought I knew better than anyone else and I knew deep down that how I was living was wrong but I wanted to 'do it my way' - Praise God He brought me back to Him! - In lots of ways we can walk away from God - it is a dangerous and stupid thing to do but many have, and alas, many have just 'gone through the motions' of being a Christian with no real 'heart change' at all.

If you have truly become of Christ's followers then you WILL change - your life will be completely different - you WILL have the Holy Spirit living inside of you. Sure we have the old life living there as well but you will find that when you are tempted or fall into a sin trap then the Holy Spirit will immediately convict you and you really can't continue until you have confessed your sin and repented (turned away from) that sin and asked God's forgiveness.

So let's re-hash what we have chatted about here:- If you have truly turned to God and given to Him 100% of your life - If you have given to Him your total allegiance. then He won't let you go, even if you think your finished, even if you have felt that you have 'hit your limit' and that it's all over - you WON'T  be disqualified - you just won't.

If you keep on falling into sin and keep on being convicted of it over and over again - if you reckon deep inside your heart that you  'just can't get past this one' - if you feel like you are fighting a constant war - then please take heart - that is exactly what it is all about - we are in constant warfare.

Satan walks around trying to persuade us to 'give it up - throw in the towel - you are just TOO bad' - that's exactly why we keep on fighting - and if we do that's exactly why we won't get disqualified!

God is saying over and over again to us that HE is manifestly GREATER than our sins - Romans chapter 5 says that 'where sin abounds, God's grace abounds much more'. God's amazing grace and forgiveness is HUGELY greater than our sins not matter how gross those sins may be. God can QUALIFY us even if the world out there DISQUALIFIES us. P
pretty cool eh?

Please don't get discouraged in your walk with God - keep trusting Him - don't let your stumbles tell you that you are somehow disqualified from a life walking and trusting in God.

Take heart this week as you walk with God - Let His Holy Spirit guide and direct you as you go - Take heed to listen,  ready to act on the promptings that He gives - He only wants to best for you - Let Him encourage, inspire and restore you to Himself - no matter what you are going through.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Assumptions

I heard once that "assume makes an ass out of U and me".

It has been brought home to me recently just how easily we can assume something and so easily be so wrong in our assumption.

We can assume someone is guilty and then so quickly we can judge - we may not mean to but there it is ~ we can assume almost anything and sometimes assumptions can take us down some really scary paths indeed.

Because sin is offensive, intolerable and unacceptable, God opposes it. He punishes and judges.

Just as fire consumes all that is combustible, so God destroys all that is contemptible. BUT we must let God be the judge of others NOT US!!  It is not right for us to ASSUME we are so right and others are so wrong - even when we know that God has led us through His Holy Spirit to come to a place where we know that he is living in our hearts and souls.

We just can't ASSUME and we certainly can't JUDGE.

In proverbs 18:2 King Solomon writes "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing their own opinion" ~ in other words it is so foolish to ASSUME you understand other people and then turn around and find huge delight in airing your opinion to all and sundry around the place.

Judging and assuming can lead us into sin quicker than we even know.

We have NOT been called to judge others, much less punish those who oppose our God, however, we should develop a strong and vigorous aversion to sin.

Matthew 7:1 tells us NEVER to JUDGE because if we do then we will be judged accordingly ~ pretty sobering thoughts.

In our daily lives, as we more and more rely on God's wisdom and might, we can love ALL people - un-judging and un-assuming ~ without ever approving of their sin.

As a BIBLE based Christian I believe what it says - and try to live my life according to God's principles set down in the Bible - God is emphatic when he says that we DO NOT JUDGE - and assumption can be virtually judging!

God is the Judge and he alone - we cannot even ASSUME to put ourselves in the seat of judgement over anyone! There is certainly a HUGE amount of evil in this world of ours ~ there is absolutely no denying this but we can overcome evil ~ not with our fiery judgments, but with good (read Romans 12: 17-21)

Another dangerous path in ASSUMPTION is ASSUMING that God will lead us down amazing and wonderful paths of fulfillment - we are NOT and never have been guaranteed health, wealth and success!

We often ASSUME that if we obey God then all will be well for us in this life  ~ that our marriages will be perfect, that new jobs will come easy or that our family will grow in love and harmony.

God has never promised us a life of happy-ever-afters here in fact quite the opposite - we will suffer here and we can't ASSUME otherwise.

Another HUGE ASSUMPTION we make when we come to Christ is that we will live perfect lives for Him constantly - we all fall and sometimes we fall a looooong way - I know I did for fourteen long years  I walked away from the Lord who saved me.

In fact we mess up all the time - in this life we will never be perfect for God not ever - BUT the thing is we can come back to Him each and every time we do mess up and return, repent and be restored by the very grace and mercy of God.

OK so where does all this leave us? - Assumption can be dangerous - assumption can lead to judging - assumption can lead us to misunderstand God and His plans for us - Assumption can often, through misunderstanding, lead us away from God and assumption can quickly lead us down wrong, dangerous and very scary streets.

God alone is our strength and our understanding - Give to God what he wants most of all - our lives and our very souls - he wants 100% nothing less.

Let's not assume anything as we go this week - Let's not judge anything either - at the same time let's not bury our heads in the sand. Let's trust God openly and honestly, being very aware that His plans for us give us hope not rejection regardless of what happens around us.










Saturday, 17 June 2017

We are all so unique

We are all individuals and all unique - something that has come home to roost with my brain this week.

How can God in this vast universe with our planet just the tiniest speck in the hemisphere know or even care about one unique individual with all our faults and foibles?

Well He does! How about this is Psalm 147?

"He counts the number of the stars and calls them all by name - He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds - He lifts up the humble and takes pleasure in those whose hope is in His mercy!"

WOW!! all that in one Psalm - God knows when we fall and when we are really struggling - He knows when we feel we just can't go on and we feel like giving up.

Everyone is unique in their own way - some, like me, have tried to blend in with the majority but here we are - we are all still unique! Some people actually 'wallow'in their uniqueness - they accept who they are and are unconcerned with any 'labels' the world might try to stick on them.

How many times have we tried to 'fit the mold' of the world and then get depressed because we just can't - speaking personally I have tried countless times to try to fit in - I've tried to change myself and my lifestyle all to no avail whatsoever - I am just different - I feel it and I know it. Are you the same?

What makes us unique? Well, we can be anything - we can be introspective, or an idealist or caring & hospitable - maybe driven by success or spontaneous in our life and thinking. Maybe  an extrovert or an OCD specialist.

Whatever is in our genes can make us individual and unique we can be funny, intense, boring even threatening. We can be pacifists or violent - we can be a daydreamer or a go-getter. Our entire makeup can be in-built or learnt from an early age.

God says that He knows all about us in Luke 12: 7 God says that the very hairs on our head are numbered - that means that he is intimately aware of every aspect of our life - our uniqueness and our individuality.

In families most of us are unique and we love our children for their uniqueness - so just imagine how God loves us even the more. After all He created us with our uniqueness and all of our differences.

God even says in the Scriptures that we are indeed one body of believers but that one body is made up of many vital parts or individuals. God is saying here that we are indeed all different.

God has wired us all differently to that there is no question! but He also says that each of us are wonderfully yet fearfully made. Made in the likeness of God Himself - so if you see yourself just as as ordinary or even above average - then take a closer look.

Look at your individuality through the eyes of God - you are the result of a divine creation and that truth is overwhelming - You are God's UNIQUE design.

God's design goes way beyond physical appearance - it even transcends the dimensional, setting us all apart as the most amazing and unique of God's Creation. Even in the face of the evolution theory that we have all grown up with, we as humans are vastly unique.

So even if you feel you are in a minority group in this topsy turvy world of ours - take heart - you are indeed unique probably in more ways than you will ever know.

God bless you this week as you look again at your uniqueness and then praise God for those very special things that go to make you the person you are.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Seeing the heart

Have you heard of the saying "Talking the talk but not walking the walk" - well that can just about sum it up for a lot of us Christians.

Many of us are in that situation as Christians and that was brought home to me just recently as I sat in church listening to a pretty blistering sermon.

Many of us just go from day to day - many of us don't even think about what it cost God to send His Son to die for us - Many of us live completely different lives from Monday through Saturday as we may do on a Sunday when we put on the face mask and become HOLY.

I include myself in this situation so please don't think I am judging anyone when I say this . The whole idea of this blog is to accurately as possible write down how the Lord is dealing in my life and to be completely honest in that valuation.

So here we have it - do I just talk the talk without really walking the walk??

I wonder how my non Christian friends would react if they heard the lyrics of songs I sing as I worship in church?

Would they nod in agreement, having seen me living the truth that I profess on a Sunday? Or would they shake their heads in amazement at the way I am able to turn my Christian commitment on and off as it suits me?

Do you sometimes feel like a Christian impersonator? You know the right words to say, the right things to do in church and the right image to present to the world - but are you just putting on an act?

If so, your performance may be good to fool the people around you, but there's one who can see straight through you and into your heart.

If our faith isn't pure and genuine God knows it.  Maybe it is time for us to look at whether we are being hypocrites to ourselves and to our Creator God.

In Amos chapter 5 and verses 21-24 God signals very much what He hates and despises and guess what?? Hypocrisy is way up there on His hit list.

Yes! when we put on a face and live completely different lives to what we profess as being Christians then that is exactly what it is - Hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is not only loathsome to God but it also has a HUGE negative impact on any unbelievers and it can totally ruin churches, dividing and splitting Christian communities.

Our hypocrisy can cause other people to doubt the very saving grace of Jesus and His amazing ability to change lives for the good.

As I am writing this blog I am becoming more and more aware of just how slack I have been personally and I have been praying right now that God will cleanse my heart and forgive me of my sin of hypocrisy and that He will come afresh into my life and fill me anew with his Holy Spirit.

I have been really thinking hard about the way I live. That is the things I say versus the things I do - do they line up?

We can't possibly change this on our own - I'm not even going to try. It is only through the very strength of God that we have any hope of changing.

Hypocrisy is a tricky thing  - Its so easy to spot in another persons life but really hard to spot in our own - I have been so convicted lately of this very thing! I have deiced that the very time I am tempted to dismiss someone as being a hypocrite then I am going to turn the spotlight fully on me.

We can't go easy on ourselves here - and it certainly won't be an easy process.

Thinking all of this through, Our best bet is to cut the act completely and ask God to work in our hearts so that we can serve Him, worship him and live for Him with every part of our being.

God bless you this week as you take up the challenge and rid yourself of any hypocrisy in your life.

Repent of the past and turn to Him - asking Him to take over your life completely, holding nothing back.



Sunday, 21 May 2017

Temper tantrums, Vengeance and God

How amazing is God? This amazing!!

He takes arrogant, openly rebellious, messed-up, broken, weird, quirky and imperfect people like me and uses then to accomplish his purposes.

Just recently I was registrar for a men's weekend retreat come convention in a little place about an hours drive from my home.

Being Registrar can be very stressful and seeing as how it was my second time round in the job I went into with my eyes open. I certainly don't mean to generalise but  it can be quite humorous working with a bunch of men, so unlike the very organised womanhood I have had the privilege to work with on previous occasions.

With men it is an entirely different situation, I received application forms with no payment - I received payment with no application form and had no idea who it was from - I had guys ringing me promising they would come but couldn't afford the asking price and me doing deals. I had other guys determined to come and then at the last moment pulling out and vice versa with guys turning up who I had no idea was coming at all.

Overall it was just a bit of laugh really and we all got there in the end - with God working miracles at every turn.

Dealing with the convention site was altogether another story - the volunteer person had taken a HUGE dose of rude pills and became a really hard person to deal with. The guys themselves were more than happy to come along but the person involved made my life as registrar a bit miserable to say the least.

That's when my temper tantrums, and feeling of vengeance reared their heads and I found myself fuming and planning all sorts of counter attacks - I found myself taking the same rude pills as my friend at the convention centre yet God worked in my life in spectacular and awesome ways.

The fact that God is able to work despite our flaws doesn't men we should adopt a "no big deal" view of sin.

I was certainly humbled at the weekend when God drew my attention to my behaviour and the could-have-been consequences of my actions. If I had had my way there would have been a 'show-down' of sorts with the booking clerk - pistols at dawn would have been nothing compared to what I had in mind.

But God had other plans for me!

Dragging me into his love and compassion, his patience and long-suffering made me focus more on His power and grace and far less on my own short-comings. temper and calls for vengeance, which were running rampant through my head most of the weekend away.

I don't know about you but I want to be a strong person, able to handle anything, to be a brick and not show any weaknesses at all. But deep down I know it's all an act.

Only God can handle everything. What is more amazing is that when we are really pushing it - our nerves and inner beings cry out for vengeance and when we are really under the gun and we feel we have no resources left, God is there - He is PURE STRENGTH with a HUGE capital "S"

I had to come to a VERY big decision over that weekend - when everything was crying out to me in the midst of my temper tantrum  to get back at this person, after all look what they said and did??

A decision that made me take a long hard look at how I was reacting - did I prefer to call my own shots? Was I confident in my own strength? Was I prepared to really hand it over to God?

I'm praising God that I was spared not only the embarrassment of maybe making a scene and ruining the weekend for myself but I could have stopped the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of some of the men attending the weekend.

How about you? Are you letting your temper run away with you?Are you letting your past failures dictate to you on how you are reacting to your present situations?

One of the things I learned the hard way over this weekend was not to let my weakness, bad temper and feeling of vengeance interfere with the work God wanted to do in and through me.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 9 it says "God's power is made perfect in our weakness" something that I learned a lot of over that weekend and something I hope to take on board as I try to keep walking in His footsteps.

Let God replace your weaknesses and inabilities today and with His divine power resolve in your own heart to move powerfully ahead with Jesus by your side. This is a mighty promise to men of faith by God Himself.

Even when we are weak we can be strong in Jesus.





















Sunday, 7 May 2017

Two left feet? Keep on dancing

Listening just recently to the Aussie group "For King and Country", I was again hit by the magnitude of what following Jesus and indeed Christianity is all about. Loved their song LONG LIVE and listening, was taken again on just how important it is to keep on following and pressing on toward the goal that was given to us when we became one with Christ.

I have included the link to their song and I guess you will work out for yourselves exactly what I mean. In short, what I took out of that song is just keep pressing on with Jesus.

No matter what is happening in our lives we can still be followers of Jesus and praising His name through the most horrendous times in our lives. This is something, as Christians, we can do to keep in touch with our Lord and Saviour

When those dreams of ours come crashing down and we feel we are really up against it and our hopes for the future are shattered by some unexpected turn of events we can, so often, be ready to just throw in the towel and give up.

Often in times like this our faith is tested beyond what we even thought possible. It is then that we may stop praising God and stop worshipping with other believers. We can exclude ourselves and get to the point of believing that we are not worthy or that God doesn't care about our own personal situations.

In the Bible in Hosea 6:3 he implores us to do just this - I love the way the New English version says it.
"Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us PRESS ON to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."

YES! He does know, he does understand and he pleads with us to just keep going ~ through our doubts, through our trials, through our uncertainty and through our grief.

Appearances can be deceiving. Have you ever seen the morning fog hanging low in a valley? It may look impressive, but in a few hours in the sun, will make it completely disappear.

The same can sometimes be true for us. It's easy to appear devoted to God on Sundays, but what happens during the rest of the week when we face temptations, doubts and struggles?

Do we fade away like the fog or will we have the encouragement and support of Christian friends? We actually should start being that kind of friend to others and we may find the reciprocal support we are indeed looking for ourselves.

Often we do need a great big dose of courage and boldness to keep following Jesus - He himself said it wasn't going to be easy following after Him. We need to count the cost of our discipleship before we embark on the journey of our lifetime. YES! Often it will cost us perseverance and energy, dignity and even stubbornness to keep following our Lord, but with Jesus as our example we can do this.

When Stephen was being stoned to death for his faith in Christ, what did he do? He looked to heaven - he didn't backpedal, throw his hands in the air and plead innocence. I'm sure he could have and walked away without a scratch.  He didn't try to soften the blow that was coming.

Stephen looked beyond his immediate circumstances to what lay ahead. That's what gave him courage to endure.

When our moment of truth comes, when the waves that crash upon us are SO HUGE that we really can't see how we could possibly get over this one, will we be able to face it with the courage and faithfulness of Stephen?

Recently a dear friend of mine passed away with Motor Neurone Disease. Better known in some countries as Lou Gehrig's Disease. David was such a great friend, his faith was amazing and he never gave up. he faced his death boldly and courageously knowing that he was in the safe hands of the Father.

He wrote a book of his journey through MND called COMING TO LIFE. At the time of writing he could barely move and wrote most of it with his left ring finger, the only one that would work with some dexterity, pounding away at his computer. I was so privileged to be part of his life through his journey and I learnt so much of what it actually MEANT to REALLY follow Christ.

He, like so many others, faced his problems with boldness and courage. Sure he had his doubts, his tribulations and his failings but he PRESSED on with his Lord and Jesus never left his side through it all.

Along with the title of his book, he included that this "was a journey of emotional and spiritual awakening through terminal illness." David faced his trial and pressed on with his Lord. Maybe he stumbled and fell many times BUT he kept going. Like Stephen he saw the goal and he was striven hard to make it to the finish line.

So where does that leave us? I titled this blog as TWO LEFT FEET? KEEP ON DANCING. That's exactly how we should be travelling with God - even though we may often think we are overwhelmed by life and we couldn't possibly go on - we can! Even with our two left feet we can still dance and keep pressing on to the conclusion holding tightly onto Jesus our Lord and God.

Here is the link performed by fellow Aussies  FOR KING AND COUNTRY called Long Live - hope and trust it touches your heart as it did mine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7LT3vJQEmQ

God bless you this week as you press on with Jesus.













Monday, 17 April 2017

Is it REALLY all about the bunny?

WOW!! I've been staggered by the invasion of the BUNNY this Easter time - it seems to me that more and more and more and more emphasis is on eating and chocolate and so-called Easter bunnies.

I was gobsmacked last Thursday when Sue and I ventured to the supermarket to do our weekly shop to be confronted by signs everywhere informing us that IT IS ALL ABOUT THE BUNNY!!

This was the Thursday before Good Friday and many people refer to this holy day as Maundy Thursday - the day Jesus was betrayed by Judas and the time of His impending torture and horrible death on the cross.

So you can imagine my surprise and disappointment to see these signs, especially when I know deep in my heart it has nothing at all to do with bunnies but with the grace, love and mercy of an all loving all embracing God.

So what is it about Easter and Christmas that make so many people go out of their way to exclude the real reasons for the seasons and substitute anything at all to turn attention away from the holiness of the occasions and spend all their energy and dollars on things that won't last.

Surprising as it may seem the word EASTER does not appear in most Bibles - I think in the American King James version it does mention Easter in Acts 12:14 but that apparently is a variation of the word pascha which actually refers to the Passover - the feast Jesus was having with His disciples in the upper room before his trip the Gethsemane.

Also the word EASTER can be traced back to the old Saxon goddess Eostur - not sure what she was supposed to have done but it is something my atheist friends love to throw up at me to prove that we as Christians are completely "off the mark" in worshiping Jesus' death and resurrection when it is obviously a pagan festival after all.

This old goddess may have been a fertility symbol to some hence the bunnies and eggs etc. Absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the horrible and tortuous death of our Savior and Lord and what He went through for you and me.

All that aside I personally don't really care when or what particular day we set aside to worship and honour our Lord and consider exactly what He did for you and me on that horrendous day over two thousand years ago. The main argument for me is that WE DO celebrate, worship and praise our God for his great love shown to us through His grace.

Easter for me is a time when we can meditate on His word, reflect on His amazing love and actually rethink where we stand with the one who created us in His image.

Maybe for you it can be a time to rededicate your life to Him - have fun with the Easter eggs, and bunnies etc BUT above all else the MAIN point of all the Easter joy is a remembrance of Jesus and his mighty act of self-denial on that day way way back.

Of course resurrection day is the ultimate day for us to celebrate the life of our Lord - it was on this day that he rose triumphantly to knock death a fatal blow - this day above all others was THE day that Jesus secured for us a place with Him for eternity.

All we have to do is come to Him - confess our sins in humble repentance - ask Him to lead our lives and commit everything to Him. He did everything for us - all we have to do is to accept His gift of eternal life, free from the burden of sin.

So I say a HUGE thank you to Jesus for saving me and giving me a life where deep down, through whatever comes along, I know for certain that He will never leave me or forsake me as He has promised over and over again.

Take this life-changing step over this Easter break and dedicate your life to Him - come to Him right now where you are. He has promised that your life will never be the same again.