Division

There’s a certain blog post doing the rounds today,stirring up heated debate with heightened emotion.

I guess at the heart of it, I would most likely agree with the writer of this post with the theology behind it, but the delivery and the polarizing that occurs with how what is said is delivered….that I take issue with.

Division. It ain’t just in maths you know. And I guess it is good to know where you stand on matters, and it is good to debate things and blah blah blah. But I can’t help but think that this all is just a tool from the enemy to stop us from just getting on with The Great Commission.

The longer we sit on our butts, behind our computer screens and toss around words that cause division and hurt, the less we’re out there doing. Doing stuff. Loving stuff. Knowing people – of all walks of life. Loving people – of all walks of life.

Yeah this is a simplistic view of life. But I am a simplistic girl.

I want others to know everlasting life because of me – because of my actions, because I took the time to look at them, and know their story. Because my God was attractive enough in me to show them their need for a savior too.

That Jesus light and love I speak of? It ain’t gonna happen by highlighting the errors of anyone’s ways.

I’m so tired of the ‘having to be on the right team’ mentality. Jesus came to earth and died an awful death so that none should perish. He wants everyone to come to repentance. Not just the pew sitters beside me every Sunday who sing the right songs and attend the Sunday school class as well as service. Not just the theologically sound who can back up every sermon or blog post or tweet with the right three or four verses. But everyone. We’re all on the same team. And seriously, I need to start caring more about the salvations of my team members, more than I care about what I am cooking for dinner, or the moving parts of our move across the world.

We’re so divided as a Christian population that our team doesn’t look appealing to anyone. And this must grieve the Father’s heart.

This life is so pressured as it is. So many things are constantly vying for our attention. Distractions are everywhere. Enough already.

My prayer this evening is that I stop giving my attention to things that are divisive. No more wall building from me. And in four months time, six months time or however long it takes us to get a dinner table..I want to fill that table with people from all walks of life. People who think like me, as well as people who don’t. People who love like me, and people who don’t. Not because this is what I want…no….this wouldn’t be easy for me in the natural, me in the flesh, but because this is what I believe God would have me do. Build my team, because it is really His team. And He wants that none will perish.

Enough of division. Here’s to addition and multiplying!

On the cusp…..

This is to you, dear lady who is standing on the precipice of a new direction in your life.

This is to you, dear man, who struggles under the weight of responsibility and concern for your family, yet you know, that you know, that you know, that you are being called into something new.  Something different.

This is for the couple that are just feeling more and more unsettled with your status quo.  Your life is ticking along just fine now, things are good, things are great, but there’s just something inside of you that hopes you’re not settling for less. Something inside of you wishes to expose your kids to a new dependence on God, a new level of trust having to be established.

You’re not alone with your fears, misgivings, second-guessing and concerns.

But this is what I know, without a doubt, as sure as night follows day, as sure as a baby poops as you’re about to walk out the door, as sure as a seven year old’s eyes leak as he’s learning the discipline of graciously loosing…….WHEN you step out in faith, WHEN you follow God’s leading, WHEN you choose to obey what has been asked of you, He will be faithful.

So very faithful.

One of the beauties of this world is we’re all called to different things. As a body of Christ we all have different ministries to serve in, different capacities to fill. What God has called my family and I to, will look completely different to you and your family has been called to.  There is no ‘better’, there is definitely different.  There is no ‘holier’ or ‘more worthy’, obedience is obedience.  Serving is serving.

At the moment we are starting to pack up our lives here in Southern Oregon, and we’re researching and planning for a move to fulfill our new calling (in Australia of all places! You can read about that here) So, while your family may not be called to move geographically, or you may not be looking at fulltime Christian ministry, what you are being called to is of equal importance in the Kingdom.

And if you’re peeing your pants at the thought of something new, if you’re feeling that sense of doom over details that are way out of your control…..please know…..God has this.

God holds you in the palm of his hand.

His will is perfect.

Sheer and utter dependence on God is a scary thing, but a blessed thing.  That walking step by step in His will…..that’s the kinda walking that brings miracle answers.  That’s the kinda walking that shows God as the hero – because of ONLY God.

How do I know this?  Because of God’s track record in my life.  Because it is in the stretch and in the pull, where I think I’ve lost it all, where I think this time I’ve really done it, really gone crazy, really lost the plot….His track record shows the Lord provides.  The Lord opens doors.  The Lord makes crooked paths straight.

As a parent and as a trained teacher, one of the biggest concerns I have for my children is for their schooling.  We were hugely blessed with a great experience of school here, and with moving that has been a concern of mine – where to put my boys in school, with not knowing the system, not knowing the options and not knowing areas etc.

A very legitimate concern in the natural.

But you know what?  We *think* we have a school sorted. An amazing school at that. I did some internet research, chatted to a very wise and godly friend who was familiar with this one particular school that stood out from the others immediately, made some inquiries and we prayed and left it in God’s hands.  And now…..because God has made a way, where there seemed to be no way….as long as this particular school accepts the boys we have been blessed to be able to make it so this will work for our family.  Now we may never be able to save for a deposit for a house (ha!) – but that is not our concern at the moment – this big deal for me of where to place our kids in school – after a big move and after leaving all they have known for the last four and a half years – is in the process of being sorted for us.

God is most certainly in the details.

If it weren’t for looking back at all God has done in our lives – all he has provided – all those details we’ve seen his hand at work in – it would be easy to say no to our next God adventure.  it would be more appealing to go back to where we’ve come from.  Back to familiarity and all the comforts that brings.  Back to what we know and to where we’re known.  But God.  But God’s track record shows He loves us and cares for us – for our every need and then some.  God’s track record shows I fret and I worry and I falter every step of the way – but He doesn’t.  He is patient and kind, his love is everlasting.

It doesn’t matter what the crowd thinks of what you’re called to do.  it doesn’t matter if your heart skips beats and you can’t sleep and you mutter grumpy words to yourself…..it doesn’t matter….because in and through our weaknesses, He is made strong.

What is God asking of you right now?

Live in the stretch my friends.  Allow opportunities for your kids to see you thanking God for his provision.  Step out into his glorious unknown – step from the cusp – into the scary.  He’s there.  It is not unknown to Him.

 

 

 

 

Five Minute Friday: In Between

Five Minute Friday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write. Simply write. So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

START –

In Between.

If there ever was a family that could portray the situation of being ‘in between’ that would my family. Right here. Right now.

Our run at our local state school has finished.
My commitment to a ministry to teenage girls has ended.
My responsibilities with the Mom’s group I’ve been a part of have been passed over.
I’m no longer on the nursery roster at church.

The things I do, the things that are part of the root structure of settling here that I’ve created……are falling off my calendar….and the days left here, in this little corner of Southern Oregon now number less than ninety.

My family and I are in between.

Piece by piece getting rid of furniture, appliances, toys and ‘schtuff’.

We know what we’re leaving. But not what we’re going to.

In between.

As hard as the uncertainty can be, as much as the unknowns can frustrate, what makes the ‘in between’ bearable is the knowledge that God is there. God is here.

In the stretch, in the learning and in the listening, while waiting for the next door to open, God is here.

While our ‘in betweens’ may seem hard and long, we have great hope in that God has no ‘in betweens’. He is present, always. In charge, always. Constant, always.

Jehovah Shammah – the Lord is There

El Olam – The Everlasting God

Not waiting for the next best thing – He is the best thing. Always.

STOP.
hallway

Five Minute Friday: Remember

Five Minute Friday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write.  Simply write.  So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

Remember.

I remember when the prophet man asked us to stand.  So stand we did, hand in hand.  He spoke words of life over us, words that gave us hope, words that gave direction.  Truth.  From God’s heart to our ears.

I remember the time in my student flat when I saw my friend’s leg grow before my very eyes.  And then this very month when my friend’s baby was healed in utero of a heart problem.

I remember seeing and hearing people being set free from different spirits.  It wasn’t freaky, weird or spacey.  It was right and good and honoring.  It was freeing.

I remember prayer meetings so loud that not one voice was distinguishable amongst the rumblings, all were raised in agreement, special languages and all.  From our hearts to God’s ears.

I remember the amazing feeling when people remember past conversations with me, when they remember to ask after things. When they want to know progress and results.  I remember that feeling that someone cares.  Someone listens.  I matter to them.

I want to give people the gift of caring.  I want to give people the gift of healing, of being healed and whole.  I want to provide hope and encouragement like no other, with words of prophesy and knowledge.  I want to help people to shift and ease closer to Him, because I remember them, and not because of anything I do – but because of everything He has already done for them.

Let’s always remember that people matter.

Jesus remembers. We have these precious gifts from His helper.  Let’s use them to show people that Jesus remembers them.  Jesus remembers.

Always.

Crossroads

‘He’s going to grow up not knowing who he is’.

We’re a real crossroads in our life at the moment.  Us, my family.  Coming to America was only ever going to be a temporary thing.  Our three year visa was actually extended and we were granted an additional two years.  We have to leave the country by early next year.  Which brings us to now – a crossroads point in our lives where we are exploring options for what to do next, where to go next.

‘He’s going to grow up not knowing who he is’ – those words were casually yet pointedly spoken out to me last week.  A warning of sorts, by someone who cares, but a critical spirit tends to prevail at times.

Yes we may end up in another country, and not back ‘home’.  That may be where God leads us – or the doors may shut.  We’re open to whatever.  What is most important for us is to be where God leads us, where my husband’s skills can be most useful.

Our lives are not our own.  And this is what our children are seeing and learning.  This is what we hope they pick up both intentionally and through the natural process of osmosis, sponges that they are.

And so, to the words spoken as a warning, I rebuke them.

My boys will grow up knowing they are citizens of New Zealand.  Part of the Ngai Tahu tribe.  They are members of a wonderful and large extended family.  But, more importantly, they are children of God.  They have skills and talents and abilities – God given – and it is up to my husband and I to foster in them a love for learning, a love for each other and the wider world, and to develop servant’s hearts.

We are their example.

How we do things in our home, right now, at this crossroads point in our lives, sets the tone.

And so, we talk about the options we have before us.  We talk openly about God’s ability to open and close doors.  We show them that we’re praying.  We remind them of how God has always provided.  We include them in the process.   Not with every, single thing, but with hopefully a bit of wisdom and insight on our part.

And yes we are going to stuff up.  We may have to backtrack on decisions.  We may have to disappoint.  I have no doubt that my children will see me impatient and frustrated.  They will learn that things happen according to God’s timetable and not ours.  As we begin homeschooling to tide us over the transition period, crazy Mummy will no doubt raise her ugly head.

But my prayer, more than anything, is that they won’t remember the frustrations, and the ugly.  My prayer is that they will remember the adventure. They will see what amazing things happen when God takes the reigns, when we let Him lead our lives.  They will see that even in the unknowns of this crossroads time, our faith stands strong and steady.  They will know that as a family unit we are tight.  Unshakeable.  That there is strength in unity.

We are at a crossroads right now, but with God’s help, my kids are always going to know who they are, because they are mine, but more importantly – they are His.

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A trip, a song and promises.

At the ripe old age of nineteen I decided to blow a big chunk of some inheritance money and planned a big trip that took me from my University town of Dunedin in New Zealand, to the USA and then onto visit the land I was born in, Nepal.

Being young and adventurous I decided to visit the places I really wanted to visit.  The things that were important to me at the time.  I started off in Arizona where my brother was at a University, completing his Ph.D.  From Tucson we were supposed to road trip to the Grand Canyon but an unfortunate incident in a little hick town with a sewerage truck not stopping at a stop sign and our rental car coming off worse quickly put a halt to that.  I went on to Colorado Springs to visit  Focus on the Family (this is an indication of how unique a thinker I was….I mean isn’t Focus on the Family HQ on all 19 year old’s bucket lists?), then I went to a summer camp way over on the East Coast that a New Zealander I knew was speaking at, and then it was on to my final American destination.  Brownsville, Pensacola, Florida.

Yep.  Right then, revival was happening at the Brownsville Assembly of God and I wanted in on it.  So I went.  And I participated.  I went to a school of intercessory prayer.  I learnt a lot.  I saw a lot.  I loved a lot.

So if you can remember what I’m talking about with this big revival, you’ll most likely remember some of the worship songs coming out of there led by Lindell Cooley.  One of my favs back then was ‘The Spirit of the Sovereign God’.  It is still is a fav.  Based on the words of Isaiah 61: 1 – 3  –

‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted.  He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, to announce liberty to captives and to open the eyes of the blind.  He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of God’s favour to them has come, and the day of his wrath to their enemies.  To all who mourn in Israel he will give: Beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness.  For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory’.

Now, I’m no bible scholar but I know that this is the prophet Isaiah speaking.  And I know that Jesus quoted these words in Luke 4.  And I know that the same Holy Spirit that was upon Mr Isaiah here, is also upon me.

Which really means…..

I am anointed to bring good news to the suffering and afflicted.

God has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted, announce freedom to captives and I’m also sent to open the eyes of the blind.

I have been sent to share with those who mourn that God will take away their ashes and give them beauty, and give them joy instead of mourning, praise instead of heaviness.

And you know what?

Acts 10: 34 tells us God is no respecter of persons, in other words, he doesn’t play favourites.

Yes I am anointed to bring good news – God’s good news to the suffering and afflicted – but here’s the thing…so are you.

You are anointed to bring good news.

You are being sent to comfort the brokenhearted.

You can announce liberty to the captives.

Yes there are always ways available to help us do these things ‘better’.  We can attend courses and do bible college lessons and attend sessions on ‘how to share our faith’, we can read up on the latest books of how to reach our generation, listen to the best podcasts, go the best conferences….and this is all very good and well, but sometimes there is the danger it just delaying the DOING.

This is my challenge to myself at the moment.  To just do it.  This.  It.  Walking and living in the knowledge that I am anointed to share the good news that I know so well.

Let’s just do it.

Let’s live in God’s many promises, and keep reaching out and looking up – knowing we’re not doing it in our strength but His and when we step out – He meets us and works in and through us.

isaiah

Revelation.

If there ever was such a thing as a typical blogger, it certainly wouldn’t be me.  There is no schedule or routine to the times when I post, I’ve never been to a blogging conference and even if I would (sometimes) love to, I could never go to one, I don’t do anything to draw traffic to this blog and I don’t partake in any of the blogging ‘trends’, apart from Five Minute Friday.

While I’m just not a typical blogger, if there was such a thing, one little trend that is doing the rounds at the moment, is for people to choose a ‘word’ for the year.  A word that has meaning to them and gives them a bit of direction for the new year.  So while I avoid most trends in my feeble blogging attempts……I’ve got me a word for the year.  Yep.  I know.  It just found me somehow.  I didn’t go out soulsearching, there was no pondering over a few lattes.  It just came to me.

Revelation.  I’ve realized I want and need new and fresh revelation this coming year.  Revelation of God’s love, His empowerment to me, revelation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and new revelation from His word.

We’re only a few days past Christmas.  It was a joyful Christmas for us this year.  We spent lovely times together as a family unit and with friends who opened their hearts, arms and home to us.  In the evening of Christmas Day, while driving home I couldn’t help but think. ‘It is all over’.  ‘And so this is Christmas?’.  Then the word ‘revelation’ popped into my head.  Christmas doesn’t have to finish when the last of the ham is eaten, the tree is put away and the carols stop being played.  No, we can have new and fresh revelation from the Lord every day, of every month.  The wonder of Jesus continues throughout the year, if we seek Him.

I’ve resisted blogging about the Sandy Hook shooting for the very fact that other people have already said much more eloquently than I ever could, the things I’ve been thinking.  But all of the gun debate that has surfaced since that awful event has been very eye-opening for this gal.  I get that people are into their rights, I get that people feel safer if they are armed, I even get that I live in an area where hunting is huge and enormously popular and the majority of people know how to use their weapons safely and are responsible.  But here’s my thing…..we all need to have our hearts and eyes wide open and not be too narrowminded to think our way is the only way.  Revelation.  We need to ask the Lord for new revelation and we need to know it is ok to maybe change our minds on a few things…..take into perspective other people’s opinions and learn from the mistakes of the past.  Let’s not be stubborn people, let’s not be pig-headed, let’s be open to new and fresh revelations.

At the start of December my family and I were hugely blessed to be able to travel to Northern California to meet up with friends from home, who were in the States on their way to the UK for holidays.  It was the best of times…we introduced them to all things American:  Costco, peanut butter m &ms, Cold Stone Creamery and we went to church with them.  To a very special church. We got to go to three different services and before we got to the first one my husband prayed that we would get ‘new revelation from the Bible’.  And, we did.  New food for thought, new meaning from verses, fresh insight, and even now, at home, many weeks later as I read a book written by one of the Pastors of this church, every chapter brings with it new revelation.  Wonderful!

For some of you the new year doesn’t fill you with much joy.  Some of you are facing hard times with health, family issues, financial struggles and a lot of uncertainty.  I’m sorry.  Life can be hard, there can be rough and tough curveballs thrown at us – but I know someone who loves you very much, and He is just itching to give you a fresh and new revelation of His love.  Of his provision.  Of his power and might.

If you need a bit more hope, if you’ve lost your jollies with the last of the Christmas fudge being eaten, if your future looks a little bleak and you know your worries will follow you into the new year…then join me in asking for revelation.  Revelation from on high.

Who knows what this new year will bring with changed attitudes and perspectives?  New understanding of those around us…….new commitments to being better wives, Mums, sisters, Aunts, grandmothers and neighbours.

Revelation.  I’m after it, I’m chasing it, I’m hungry for it.  Are you?