Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Barriers are man made, not God made!

Today I listened to a lecture about Jesus and his actions in the temple. It was very interesting. The temple was a series of barriers to God's presence. The first barrier was to the Gentiles and "unclean", then the next barrier was to the women, then the next was the men.... and so forth. I'm not here to talk about the ins and outs of the temple - but the fact that men put in place exclusions to God's presence. They had made God's presence - his Holy of Holies - unavailable to certain people.

When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain seperating the Holy of Holies - the place where God resided - where his presence was - was torn in two. This barrier was destroyed - God's presence was now for everyone.

Temple Curtain torn - b&W Pictures, Images and Photos

Here we are, some 2000 years later - and we still have barriers in place. Either we make them for ourselves, or make them for others.

We have to be careful that we are not guilty of behaving like the temple priests, but putting people in a place where they don't feel they can access God freely. We can do this by our actions - our condemnation of others, hypocrisy religious oppression, social oppression etc etc. It's our job, as people who are priveledged enough to access God whenever we feel like it, to make others feel they can too, if they want to. It doesn't matter what they look like, what their lifestyle, their choices in life, their personal hygiene, their race, their sexual preference etc. God is not off limits to anyone. We have no right to create road blocks and exclude others.

Jesus died that horrible death for ALL. None of us are worthy in any way, shape or form. But he died, to save you, to save me, to save everyone. Exclusion ended 2000 years ago when Jesus said ".. it is finished."

Crucified Pictures, Images and Photos


And it is finished! Thankyou Lord that there is not one single person on this earth that is not able to come to you. Thankyou that you died for every single person, whether they asked for it or not. Thankyou that everyone can be in relationship with you, no matter what.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I found this tool

Read the Bible in 1 year

So I am going to read it from beginning to end - starting October 1st.

I hope and pray that this will build my knowledge further and so I am better equipped to use my giftings and reach others.

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I'm quite excited about starting this. This is a good way to get into a regular pattern of reading God's Word - and hopefully I pick up some really good treasure as I go along. I can't wait to get to know God more intimately and know more about what he wants for his people.

As I glean, I'll write what I discover in here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reading the Bible right through...

I'm thinking I want to do that - from start to finish. Read it like one big book... which it is!! :)

Have any of you read the Bible from Genesis to Revelations? How did you do it? Is it better on audio or reading it yourself? One chapter at a time? One book at a time?

I was thinking I might do it as a 2010 thing - but I figure, why wait? Why not start now? So I am going to try work out the best way to tackle this (with your help!) and then jump in!!


PS: What do you think of the blog layout change? I figure I am going through a period of change in my life - and I also got sick of the stupid bug in my links. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Explaning the above two posts.

Now I am at liberty to speak freely of what has been torturing me this past few days. Tonight we had a meeting with my Pastor and have had to hand in our resignation. This is the church I have been with through thick and thin for almost 13 years. This is the church that my husband and I have been involved in, been in ministry in some form or other for our whole married life. We didn't leave because we were offended of that the church is going off track - the church is amazing and we are very reluctant to leave it.

My son has a neurological disorder coupled with anxiety. They are guessing that his complications experienced at birth have contributed to this. My son can't handle the noise that a group of people produce - his hearing is affected by this neurological disorder - so he feels like the world is screaming at him. When he starts crashing and freaking out, the church doesn't have the facilities for me to take him out and calm him down in a calm and quiet place. Every week he cries, screams and freaks out. Every week I spend most of the time I am supposed to be in church, trying to keep him calm and quiet.

For a month in the evening we have been visiting another church, and they have an amazing sunday school program. My son loves it there. After we deal with the seperation issue, he is really well adjusted to it, and loves being at Sunday School. He talks about it all the time. My daughter glows with excitement about this sunday school. It's such a positive place for them to be. I can sit in the service and not worry about my son at this church and actually participate from start to finish without having to leave the room!

To continue to take my son to our current church would be cruel. He can't cope with it. His psychologist did recommend avoiding places he can't cope with until he has had proper treatment. We came to understand this week that his condition won't get better in a few months, it could be years before he acquires the maturity to self calm and problem solve - but at the moment we are responsible to do that for him. So we are responsible to expose him to environments that he can cope with and that make him feel safe and secure.

So tonight we handed in our resignation. Last night I felt sick, I was so worried about leaving the place where I had been for so long. I was terrified of becoming a "nobody" after being a person of influence and leadership. What if my talents weren't recognised in this new place? What if my life in ministry is over?

I spoke to a dear friend about this (whose son suffers with a similar thing) expressing my fears, my worries and God used her to fill me with such a peace about the whole thing. I feel right in my spirit that this is the next step where God is taking us. This is a part of Donna's email that I dont ever want to forget...

.....the gifts that God has given you, you will soon make your mark in the new church. The last one was just practice, you know what you need to do now. It isn't all for nothing. You've gained new skills and you've used the gifts God has given you very wisely, He didn't put you through all that only to take it away from you.


...You WILL realise your dreams of preaching, God will see to that but you have to let Him guide you. You've found the perfect church for your boy, maybe it's really where God is leading you too???



Talking with my husband about this last night, I believe that this is part of growth for me - relinquishing control on my world, and just believing that all things work together for good. I believe God is stripping me of what I am basing my identity on and bringing me into a whole new era. I have turned a corner in my walk, and now step out confidently knowing that God will never leave me or desert me.

My prayer of "God help me deal with my spirit of pride" - has come to pass. God has ripped out the rug from underneath me, and I have been placed back at the bottom of the heap. I have no one but God to rely on. No one knows what I am capable of, except him. God has answered my prayer about stretching me and growing me. This will be a time of dependence on him as we grow and travel this new road.

So this is the start of a new part in my journey. As of November I start a new path, and walk with confidence, running the race that has been set before me.

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God speaks again...

You know that decision I thought I may have to make? Turns out I have to make it. I knew it. I will explain later in full - when I am at liberty to speak freely. But I was agonising over it again, my heart crying out to God, "What will I do? What will become of me? Will the visions and dreams you have given me happen now?"

Then God spoke to me. In the words of a song I remember vaguely from my early teens.

I Have a Destiny by Mark Altrogge
I have a destiny I know I shall fulfil
I have a destiny in that city on a hill
I have a destiny and it's not an empty wish
For I know I was born for such a time as this

Long before the ages You predestined me
To walk in all the works You have prepared for me
You've given me a part to play in history
To help prepare a bride for eternity
I did not choose You but You have chosenme
And appointed me for bearing fruit abundantly
I know You will complete the work begun in me
By the power of Your Spirit working mightily

© 1986 People of Destiny International/Word Music


Thankyou God!! I will remember this as I go forward.

Will be back in the next day or two to talk about this mysterious dillema! :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

God's whisper.

NOTE: This is not a Bible study - mainly personal reflection.

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Ever have those moments where you feel like life is on the brink of being shaken up BIG TIME! That things are going to change? That sooner or a later a decison will have to be made to change your life forever.

I'm at a place like that right now. There are circumstances in my life that are causing me to believe that I am going to have to make a huge change, for the greater good of someone else. I can't explain just yet what it is - but I will when the time is right.

I feel panic rise in my throat at the very thought of it. What if we have to make this change? What will happen to us? Where will that leave us? We will have to start all over again. Will we be ok? Will we be happy? Will we have the same opportunities? What will become of my dreams and hopes? I feel sick, sad and nervous. Too many urky feelings rolling around inside me.

Another thing - I don't know 100% if I even have to make this decision or not... I know you must be thinking why even worry about it when you aren't even sure it's coming? Call it gut instinct.

And in the middle of my whirling thoughts and rising fears and worries comes a small still voice that speaks through the confusions. "I am able."

God you are able to pave the way, to give clear direction, to ease my worry and to continue to be faithful - even if our life has to change. God you are able to prepare me for this and to honor it. God fill my heart with peace, help me trust in you and believe that whatever happens from now on is for the greater good. I pray that you comfort my crying spirit. I want to trust you. I want to know that whatever happens, your hand is on us, your spirit surrounds us and your blessing is poured out.

Amen.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Something interesting...

I watched "Son of God" (BBC) today and was absolutely blown away by their historical content relevant to Jesus. One thing the narrator said that really interested me was that Jesus sought out the suffering, the weak, the hurting, the sick and the afflicted. He hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors and other despised members of societs of that time.

The fact that Jesus didn't go out and try make a good name for himself with the rich, the wise, the priests and religious scholars says so much to the kind of God we serve. He isn't interested in social status, what your past or your present is, or how destroyed you feel. God wants to reach out and touch you where you are at - just like Jesus reached out and touched the people around him where they were at. He saw the bleeding woman's heart as well as her physical condition, reached out to her and met her needs. He noticed the blind man who would have been ignored and healed him. He saw where he was at, and reached out to him. He noticed the children, who at the time were not valued members of society - but yet he called them to himsself and blessed them. There are many many illustrations of Jesus doing this....

So to my point. We are called to follow Jesus. What should we be doing? Should we be trying to make a good name for ourselves with Pastors, ministers and other Christians? Or should we be out in the World, trying to make a difference. Offering people a hope in their hopelessness? Offering them a God who will meet them where they are at and touch them, heal them and save them?

We need to move outside our four walls of the church and do what Jesus would want. Bring them in. Help them. Speak to them. NOTICE them. Speak life into their situation. Love them.

We are not too good for them, because Jesus, the perfect Son of God didn't think he was.

MY PRAYER
Bring people across my path, Father, that I can speak to, show love to and show compassion to. Use me and give me the words to say to speak into their lives and give the best example of you. Thankyou for challenging me to move outside the church and reminding me that the church members already know about you, but there are more outside who don't. Thankyou for showing me what Jesus did, and help me follow his example.

Amen

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Run this race...

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Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

I want to focus on a few things in this verse.

1. ...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us
This race is set. It's destination, it's route, it's hurdles - everything is set before us. It's what God has set. You have no control of your race - or your spiritual walk - only if you run it or not and run it well.

1 Corinthians 9:26 ...so I run-but not without a clear goal ahead of me.

We know where we are headed in life, we have no excuse of getting lost on the way, unless you aren't paying attention. So pay attention!! Remember God's teachings, remember what God says to you and what he speaks to you about. Remember the promises God has given you. Remember that each hurdle you arrive at - the race doesn't stop - you don't halt and don't move. You leap over it with confidence and with the strength God gives you.

But the most important thing to remember that my race is MY race. You can't run my race, I can't run yours. We each have a race to run, and we can't expect another to finish it for us. We have to run and run with endurance the path that God has set for you.

Your journey is not my journey, my journey is not yours. You can learn from me, I can learn from you, but we race individually.

2....let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely

I don't know about you, but carrying around 10 bags of potatoes while I run around the neighbourhood doesn't thrill me. Carrying 1 bag from the shop to the car is exhausting enough. It weighs me down, it slows me down, it makes me feel awkward, heavy and tired. The weight of sin does the same thing, it slows us down, it makes us feel tired spiritually, we feel awkward and can't run our race effectively. But we are told to lay them aside and run with endurance. Get rid of the weight, get rid of our habitual sin that clings to us. We can run with endurance when we don't have a tonne of sin dragging us down.


MY PRAYER
Thankyou Father for reminding me of this scripture. Thankyou that I don't have to map out my own course but you have set it for me to run. Thankyou that you sent your Son, to show us the way and teach us how to run it well. I ask that you keep showing me the weights I can leave off so I can run it effectively and well. Amen

Thursday, September 3, 2009

You are what you think.

Proverbs 4:23 Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.

So what goes on in that head of yours?

In your mind there is a continual stream of thinking. But what kind of thinking? What is it saying to you? Because how you think, so your life will be.

When you see a Gothic person, or a prostitute - what do you think?
When you see someone you don't like very much - what do you think?
When you see someone who has done you wrong, what do you think?
When you hear a sermon that convicts you and stirs your Spirit, what are your thoughts?
When you hear a new idea what are your thoughts?

It says in the Bible that what you sow, you reap. What your thoughts are is what you live. If you think critically about people, you life will be one of criticism. If you think bitterly, you will live a life of bitterness. Do you play out arguments in your head? Do you think about what you SHOULD have said to that person? Do you think about how you can be revengeful? Do you think in truth? In love? With compassion? - This is how your live will be.

We have the ability to control how our live will be - by controlling our thoughts. It IS possible - so the excuse "I can't help what I think.." doesn't have a leg to stand on. You can control your thoughts by nipping the less than desirable thoughts in the bud and forcing yourself to think something more positive. If you start thinking critically, stop yourself and think something more constructive. If you are dwelling on past hurts, remind yourself that it's only destroying you - not the other person. Speak God's Word into negative situations - do anything you can to stop yourself thinking this way. This will soon become your habit. If you are used to thinking with love, with kindness, with compassion, your negativity will dissapear - and this will be shaping your life.

Matthew 15:18 But the words that come out of your mouth come from your heart.
What you habitually think, will end up flowing from your heart to your mouth. If you are a whiner, whinger, always complaining, then look very carefully at how you think. Whinging and whining all the time are not life-giving words. They bring people down, they are not uplifting nor are they showing that you are reigning in life. (If you have genuine problems and it's not your habit to whine and complain about everything, it's different!!!) If you criticize people, the church, the world, etc - then look carefully inside you. Criticism does not give life to it's hearers. It brings people down, it can hurt, it can destroy.

How much better it would be for love, God's Word, kindness, peace, and goodness to flow from our mouths!!

Phillipians 4:8 In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.

Who wants to live a noble, right, pure, lovely and honorable life?

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MY PRAYER
Lord help me bind the thoughts that I don't want to shape my life. Help me remember that it's your will that I live a life that is noble, right, pure, lovely and honorable - and that it is my own doing if I am not living that way. I take responsibility for my thinking and the way my life is. I own that it's my responsibility to change it for the better. Thankyou Lord for teaching me how I can have the best life possible. Amen

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