Monday, 21 November 2016

Keepers of the fire...

Yesterday I watched a 4 minute 58 second live video segment by one of my former pastors who now leads a church in Pekin, Illinois. It was short. It was powerful. It spoke volumes to me. "I am a keeper of the fire".

Reflecting on it I remembered the book of Acts when the Holy Spirit was first poured out on those prayerfully waiting for the promise of the coming Helper...the Spirit of Truth. Always been my prayer: Lord lead me into Truth! That fire burns within me. I must keep it a healthy, vibrant flame. 

One of my favourite parts of scripture is the disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24, how Jesus walked and talked with them along the way. In verse 32 after they realized that it was Jesus, they said "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road". Even so, Lord, let Your word be a fire that burns ever brighter within me, a fire so bright and hot that it cannot be contained. I am a keeper of the Fire.  

Saturday, 19 November 2016

There's More...

More...that elusive something we're all searching for. What is it exactly? If we only knew what we were looking for that would help, would it not? It is beyond ourselves, within our grasp but seemingly out of reach. A beckoning to come. We hear it, sometimes faintly, sometimes thundering in our minds...there is more, more. Can you hear the sound? The call from the Eternal One - come, seek Me, find Me, know Me. There is more.

Lord, just as I am, I come.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Waiting for Heaven on Earth...

Acts 1: 4-7 NKJ

Reading in Acts chapter 1 this morning. Jesus, just before his ascension is with his disciples telling them to wait for the promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit that will come upon them  "not many days from now".  Upon hearing this the disciples question to Jesus was however not related to the coming of Holy Spirit, how He would come, what exactly would His coming look like, feel like - rather it was this: "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"  This jumped off the page at me. To my mind they were asking 'Will life get easier for us now? Will we finally be delivered from our evil rulers? Will the wicked be put in their place? Will we finally be able to rest and be at ease? Will suffering and injustice end? Will it be heaven on last?'  Ever ask those kinds of questions?

What did Jesus reply? Ahhh...was it what they wanted to hear? 

He replied: "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Insert the name of the place where you live).

Did you catch it???? "You shall receive POWER...and you shall BE witnesses".

Holy Spirit power to live and thrive in the midst of evil. Power to overcome evil with good. Power to be at peace in the midst of the storm. Power to proclaim deliverance to captives, to give sight to the blind, to heal the sick. Power to love, forgive, have mercy, goodness, kindness. Power to encourage. Power to impart a word to the weary. Power to proclaim the gospel message with signs following.

So friends it is not the time to be hidden away waiting for heaven. It is time to rise up and live your best life in Jesus now. (Please know that I speak these words to myself as well) I love these verses in Isaiah 60: 1-2 "Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you."  

We do live in dark times and sometimes that darkness tries to overcome us. The Word says we are overcomers. He has given us His Spirit. His light in us expels darkness wherever we go. Shine!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Making things new...

I make greeting cards. I have a small home business (emphasis on the word ‘small’). Recently I was going through my inventory and there were several cards that I just wasn't satisfied with anymore. I didn't throw them out, no, but I did do a make-over on them. So as I was ripping off some pieces and re-working some embellishments, or adding a new design or ribbon, it really made me think about how our heavenly Potter works on our lives too. There was one set of cards that I literally took everything off and was left with the basic embossed card base. I made something really pretty out of them.

If I could have spoken for the card I was working on I would imagine it saying “Ouch, what are you doing??? I’m down to bare paper, who will want me now?” As I cut and bent and unglued and re-glued I couldn't help but think about how we feel when our lives are seemingly bent out of shape, or seemingly have lost their usefulness. We may be at a time when we are thinking “I know there is more than this”. When we turn to God he will reshape and remold us and make our lives meaningful and purposeful again and we will be filled with joy.

He is the potter and we are the clay. Is this not what the Word tells us? Yes, it is. Let’s be honest, how many of us like being turned on the potter’s wheel? Yes, I thought so, not pleasant is it? However it is necessary and He who created and formed us, He who had a plan and a purpose for each one of us before we ever saw the light of day knows best when it’s time to do some re-shaping. Isn't it wonderful to know that our Father loves us so much that He will continually transform us as we yield to His working in our lives. Nothing is wasted in God’s economy! Even the pain we have suffered He will shape into something that will be powerfully used to comfort and bless others.

Do you need to have some renewing in your life? Just ask the Lord to do what needs to be done. There is no fear in love, remember that God IS love.

Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” NKJ

Isaiah 40:28-31 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding. He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; 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 run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” AMP

Thursday, 14 March 2013

On to Plan B...

“Whoa, this isn’t how I planned it. This isn’t how it was supposed to work… not what I had envisioned, not what I expected.”

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve set your goals, you’ve seen into the future and you have a plan. All of a sudden the plan is out the window so to speak, and you are thrown into a whirlwind of confusion and maybe even despair thinking ‘what happened?’, ‘what do I do now?’

Here is something to remember, a word from Psalm 92:1-2 It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night.” In your times of confusion and searching get up in the morning and praise God, even when you don’t feel like it – especially when you don’t feel like it! Declare His lovingkindness towards you. Know that He will not ever fail you, that His love and care for you is eternal and unchanging. Then you are ready to face the day trusting that He will guide you in your steps. At night declare that God is faithful, because you will know that He has been faithful to you during the day. One day at a time, every day, get up and declare His lovingkindness over you and declare His faithfulness every night.

So now you think you’re on to Plan B, or C, or D. God says in his word that His plan for us is good, a plan to give us a future and a hope. He says that when we call upon Him, when we pray, He will listen. When we seek Him we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:11-13). So whatever you encounter, bring it all to Him. If you have given your life over to His Lordship and you are trusting Him with your life; then He will bring you back in line with His plan, Plan A. All things do work together for good, for those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Looking back we see how faithful God has been, how great is His mercy, how wonderfully He has brought us through trials in our lives. So in the present circumstances, as you declare His lovingkindness and faithfulness, remember that someday you will look back and see how God has brought you through to things you couldn’t have dreamed up for yourself, good things because He is good.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Soul Searching Time...

Our church is a few days into our annual Daniel Fast. It is a 21-day fast based on the book of Daniel in the Bible (Daniel 9:3 and 10:2-3). It is a time of seeking the Lord, of desiring to take on ‘spiritual food’ instead of physical food. By spiritual food I mean more time spent reading God’s word, more time communicating with Him through prayer, making sure He is priority number one. It is a soul searching time. I’m reminded of Psalm 139:23 which says: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”. Also I have been thinking of Psalm 19 which ends with this verse: “Let the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my redeemer”.

I remember a story I wrote a few years ago after another soul searching time. It came to my mind today as I am asking God to search my heart once again during this time of fasting. I thought I would share it with you dear readers. Here it is:

* * * * * * *
What a beautiful day!  The maiden decided to get away by herself and think, and so she ventured out to explore the fields and wooded areas surrounding the village.  “Ah, if only He was near”, she thought.  As she started down a sun-lit forest trail, the very one in whom her soul delighted came and walked beside her.  As was his way, there was no rush for words.  Just his presence was enough to enliven and energize her.  Whenever she looked into his eyes she saw sheer joy, strength and love, LIFE, but today she also noticed a look of fierceness that she would understand better as the afternoon wore on.

As they walked he pointed out a meandering stream that ran along parallel to the path they were on.  He remarked that the stream was once, not so long ago, a swift flowing river.  She knew him well enough by now to know that he never engaged in idle talk but that he had something important to impart to her.  Therefore, she was intrigued by his remark.  They walked on.  She began to wonder what had happened to stop the flow of water.  Then they came upon a beaver dam.  “Ah”, she thought.  “So this is what stopped the flow”.  The beavers were busy closing up the last little breach on the opposite side.  My how hard those beavers worked!

After standing in silence for a while, watching, he asked “Have you noticed what the beavers are building with?”  “Why, yes Lord” she replied, “wood and small sticks; branches and leaves”.  “Have you noticed how strong the dam is, that it is able to hold back the force of the river?” 

It was then she understood that the fierceness in his gaze was the fierceness of his love.  This fierce love was ready to confront, with the revealing of his truth, any obstacle in the hearts of his own, that would prevent them from receiving his love, prevent the flowing of rivers of living water from their innermost being, no matter how much pain it initially caused.

You see, her heart had been heavy lately.  She had allowed small things to cloud her heart – sticks, leaves and branches.  She saw now that the precious river of life flowing in her own being was in danger of being stopped up by the seeds of stress, worry, unforgiveness and bitterness that had taken root and germinated; all of them still small, but together being compacted into an impenetrable wall.  Looking into her Master’s eyes she understood and was grieved by her sin, the sin that was threatening to block the flow between her heart and the heart of her beloved.  She was ashamed.

“Yes Lord”, she whispered, “I will remove these sticks, leaves and branches from my heart.  I choose to forgive, I choose to keep no record of wrong, I choose to love with your love, to be merciful and kind.  Wash over me and I will be clean.  Restore me and remove my shame.”

As the maiden returned to the village her heart was free.  From then on, whenever she walked by a stream or a river, she stopped to take account of her own soul, to see if there was any build-up of debris.  She wanted nothing to prevent her from walking freely in the Spirit, nothing that would prevent the flow of the river of the Shepherd’s love through her to those who were yet in need of His grace.
* * * * * * * * * *

What have you allowed to build up in your heart? Why not ask God to search your heart also. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Picture...

We have heard the phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words". So true, one could write pages and find that a simple picture of the event would convey the same information. 

Something unique about a picture I find is that a picture allows the person looking at it to process what they see through their own background, mindset and value system, evoking different observations and meanings, whereas words on a page are less open to private interpretation. Pictures do speak.

Recently at a ladies breakfast I placed a picture at all the tables with some pencils and notepaper. I told the ladies that as a picture is worth a thousand words I wanted them to find the words that went with the picture! They could give a title for the picture and/or write what the picture spoke to them. I was amazed at what they 'saw'.

The picture was one that was taken by my niece Rachel. As soon as I saw it, it spoke volumes to me and I was excited to see what these ladies would find. Would it be similar to what came to my mind or would they see something completely different?

Here are some of their thoughts:

  • Beauty among the ashes
  • Solidly planted and grounded
  • Beauty
  • Romance
  • New Beginnings
  • New Birth
  • Being used in the season that you are in
  • Climbing higher
  • Blossoming
  • God's love for us
  • The Michael W. Smith song "Like a Rose trampled on the ground"
  • Rich damp earth accented by flashes of brilliant colour, deep roots feeding leafy extensions - just like life
  • The petals are still not wilted or dried up. They are beautiful even though they have fallen from the flowers.
  • Enjoying nature helps me to be closer to God
  • Reminds me of the scripture where Jesus reminds us on how we are not to worry - how well He clothes the flowers which are here and gone. He will also take care of us.
  • Surrender - a life surrendered to the Lord - that our lives would be fragrant, His fragrance emitted through our daily walk.
To me the exercise emphasized the importance of fellowship and our need of each other. It reminded me of Proverbs 11:14 "Where there is no counsel the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." One person may have an idea but look at what happens when many get together! I was so encouraged by all of their comments.

God is amazing! He does speak to us through His creation. How much do we miss because we don't take the time just to gaze upon the glories of all God has surrounded us with in nature! God is always and forever GOOD! His voice comes to us in so many ways. May we have ears to listen!

What do you see? What do the picture and/or the accompanying ideas written above speak to you? If you would like to share your thoughts please leave a comment.