Thursday, 20 November 2008
Last week I continued to get pains down my arms and to lift my hands in worship was just either impossible or so painful that my focus was quickly removed from God so in times of worshipped they hovered as low as possible and I was desperate for God to act!
On Sunday morning last week I went to Church and had already said to my husband I must get some prayer about this pain - being dependent for weeks on any painkillers I could get hold of and a muscle relaxant meant that when the tablets wore off I returned to pain. So Sunday morning after the service my pastor, my husband and a lady from the Church prayed for me - I left the Church being able to lift my hands above my head and returned home feeling like I had a new neck and back. This week I have felt 'twingy' on and off and this morning I managed 3 hours in the office - am hoping for a few more tomorrow! But I know that since they prayed on Sunday I haven't taken one single tablet and all I can say is that God has made a difference to this healing process.
Yesterday the new car arrived and at last I feel like I can move onwards and upwards knowing that even if there are bumps in the road nothing is too big for my God to handle!
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
OK just for Lydia after her comment on my facebook wall I have changed the profile picture but the only other pictures of me are with family - so this is what I look like with a niece and at work!! Ha! Ha! Obviously in my defence Facebook is much easier for photos than blogspot!
Monday, 27 October 2008
Anyway back to Friday! We had decided the M25 would be a good route but when we found most of it stationary we headed off and I did my map reading through the countryside so that we kept moving. Out for a meal at 6 and knowing that I really wanted a shower and to iron my husbands shirt before we went out plus bad traffic made us eager to get there! We came to a junction on a road - the car two in front stopped to turn right, the van in front of us stopped, we stopped but the van behind us didn't and without warning suddenly my day changed. The impact flung us forward, the bar under my chair went into my ankle, the van behind embedded into the back of our car. It wasn't a fair fight - he was bigger, he was moving......
When we arrived at my Mum's I said to her that I could not believe how quickly our day had changed - one moment all was well the next I was just grateful that other vehicles, signposts, ditches had all been avoided, grateful that I was alive and so was my husband - sounds melo-dramatic but it's true!
Malcolm is running an Alpha Course at the moment at the Church with a wonderful team of people - we always wonder at the beginningof the course what is going to happen - usually something happens that disruptes our lives, takes our attention or seems to take us out of action - but this is an all time classic doing all at once! Our car will probably be written off - time will be needed to deal with insurance and organise courtesy cars while it is looked at, both us have whiplash and sleep doesn't come comfortably, we need to look into getting a new car and this will take time and money - everything changed in those few seconds. I know that God is bigger than all of this - when we purchased our car which came out a huge blessing from someone the guy in the garage described what we needed as a 'miracle car' and on Friday it lived up to its name and miraculously we were not hurt more than we were. My husband tells me it is though God had said 'so far but no further' to the enemy. God had His hand of protection upon us of that I remain convinced!
Friday, 17 October 2008
This morning we shut the door to our house, looked at one another and realised that between us we had a car key but no house key - I rummaged through my bag desperate to find the house keys to no avail. Fortunately we have had some work done on our bathroom and we knew that we could get a key from our builder - but not until several hours later!
What was strange is that we still owned the property, it still belonged to us but for those hours we couldn't get access! It felt weird - we didn't need to go home as we were at work but if we had of needed to or wanted to we couldn't!
Sometimes I feel like that with my relationship with God - He is there, I still belong to Him, there is no question that He is Lord of my life but I feel like I am 'locked out' unable to break through and enter in to all the things that He has for me.
This week I have been reading more sermons by Smith Wigglesworth and he really is straight down the line - he calls a spade, a spade but I can't quite grasp that if the Bible says things then why doesn't God seem to do what we think His word is saying, why is it that at times I feel locked out - like the blessing is not for me.
This afternoon my husband and I sat and watched two DVD sessions by Louie Giglio on Hope and where is God when life hurts the most - I would recommend anyone to get them but warn you to watch with a tissue box near at hand - I did cry and so did my husband! Louie pointed out that Jesus said we will have trouble in this lifetime - and we do but he went on to point out that when the depths are at their deepest to look at the cross - he explained that when you look at the cross even if everything is falling apart you will realise afresh that Jesus died for you because He loves you....... tonight at the music practice we sang a song that has a line 'I stand forgiven at the cross.' It was hard not to weep all over again - He went to those lengths for you and for me and even though life is tough, even though this week has been an exhausting struggle, even though I have felt really low - noone can alter the fact that He loves me (even when it is hard to feel it!) indeed He went that far, to the cross for me!
Tuesday, 30 September 2008
I have sat here tonight pondering things - all sorts of things - how can I change this, how can I share this load, this heartache, how can I let the lid of this can without the contents spurting out, hurting others, myself and actually not being helpful.
I look at my circle of people I trust and it has grown smaller over years - and now I feel like sharing is just too risky - better to keep up the masquerade - but is that healthy or helpful? I just wonder.............
Monday, 29 September 2008
Saturday, 27 September 2008
I have highlighted a few of the phrases that have been so true for me in the lyrics below - I wonder if I am the only one that finds Church one of the hardest places to be really open...........
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong
So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the heart again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage
The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart
But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be
Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay
"Stained Glass Masquerade" Words and Music by Mark Hall and Nichole Nordeman Performed by Casting Crowns
Monday, 25 August 2008
In recent days I have found myself more and more hungry for just being in that place of intimacy with God - I have been to Church services and have left feeling disappointment that I came sang, listened and left - there has been a growing sense of desperation not simply to be in His house but to be in His presence - to know a deeper encounter with the Lord. Then last night my pastor brought a word about the presence of God and I must confess I left feeling more hungry than ever, I am so desperate for the Lord. I long to be in His presence and last night at the end of the sermon I was reminded of an old chorus by Noel Richards that goes like this:-
I have been awake since about 3am and this song has been going round my head - this desire to just be with Him almost throbs in the core of my being - I cannot be the sort of Christian that is happy simply for encounters with God at designated Church meetings! How does anyone rely simply on a weekly or twice weekly or even three times a week encounter with Him - I can't go on at all unless I know an encounter with Him!
A few weeks ago I had a major encounter with God (funny how we scale these things) but I have to say that I have not known such a deep rooted encounter with God on such a scale for a long time - I cannot describe it other than to say I know that God stepped over the threshold of all the stuff in my life that I had fenced up and He stripped it away, He healed some areas of my life and since then I have known a lightness and a release unprecedented than any other time I can recall. What strikes me though is since then, I was talking with my husband about that night and he said something that hit me - he said, 'it was a start, God needs to do more.' In my juvenile moment I was like "more, but God has dealt with so much, surely I am OK now...." that was my honest inward feeling. But over the last three weeks or so as I have read various books and been in the Word the more I realise that encounter is and was not enough..........
..........I just had a breather to get a glass of water and it struck me that some may not understand this wonderful, awesome touch from God and then a realisation that what I have experienced is not enough. I had a glass of water before I went to bed but now I need another one - last nights glass of water is not enough for now or later......... it is like that with our walk with God I guess. It's an ongoing need. Yesterday I really sensed God's presence during the Sunday services at Church - but I need to know fresh encounters with God, I need to know His presence more and more. I am desperate and hungry and thirsty and longing with my whole being to be in His presence, to just sit at His feet, to know His love, to know that 'completeness,' to have the courage not to rush on (something I am too good at!), to learn to tarry more and just 'be.' I am with the Psalmist when he cried out 'better is one day in your house than a thousand elsewhere.'
I have to be honest and put a health-warning on this desperation for the presence of God - His presence is totally addictive! I kid you not! Once you have tasted of that intimacy, that moment when He waltzes in to your situation and lifts your burdens, when He cuts through the mess of your life with a prophetic word, when in the silence of the moment there is that 'I love you' song emanating from the throne, the brief moment when your despair turns like a click of the fingers into hope, when your heart ache turns into a new ache of gratitude and love, when you know His prompting and you have no option but to read what He lays on your heart or to sing that song when all of a sudden you seem transported from the city of this Earth to the city where all the worshippers sing one song, where things of this earth don't seem to matter any longer. I am so hungry and I am so desperate - I long, I feel parched for His presence, I cannot go on without Him. There are more encounters scheduled - He knows my days - but I long for them, I hunger for Him, I am simply laid bare and desperate for Him. No other touch is like His, no other voice is like His, no other presence is like His, I feel like I am in a dry lock of a canal and the other side of these gates is a mighty potential - the gates seem to open and for a time there is an abundance and an overwhelming and an exhilaration but then it seems like the lock drys up again and I am left looking for these gates to be opened afresh - I have had enough of the canal - I want the constant stream, the river - the constant flow with no lock, no damn, I agree with the song-writer! This is my desire O Lord, this is my desire - to be at His feet, to know His presence, to hear His voice, to hear His love songs over me, to not rush any longer - to just be in His presence.......
Sunday, 17 August 2008
Although my journeys are linked I pray that there will be a fresh anointing of fire both for the understanding and acceptance of the grace of God as well as the daily walk with God through the ache of experiencing God giving and then taking away and seemingly not giving again...........
Saturday, 16 August 2008
One of my favourite groups is Casting Crowns - they are awesome - they have written songs that echo so much for me so many times - 'Praise you in this storm' and 'I am yours' are some of my favourites but recently the song that has been on the top of my playlist is 'the voice of truth,' which I will put here in case you haven't heard it!
Anyway recently I have found myself having to stand against the stuff that the enemy has had a go at me over or just simply acknowledging that some things that I have thought about myself or situations are actually contradicting that voice of truth! I have even found myself singing at the enemy 'but the voice of truth tells me a different story....' etc etc!
What has struck me in recent days when I have looked at e-mails that we have received from our website Hope When It Hurts that I have realised that time and time again folks have felt the same way as me, have been afraid of the 'what ifs.' The Casting Crowns song goes on to say 'the voice of truth says do not be afraid.'
Now is the time for listening more to the voice of truth than the stuff that people in this World and the stuff that the enemy throws at you! When the enemy places the next day, week, month, year or even decade before you and threatens you with 'what if this happens or doesn't happen' and you feel overwhelmed with the whole idea of the future and what it holds, when you feel like you can't go on and that the battle is not worth it, when you get discouraged and disheartened with life, with your job, with your walk, with the lack of answers to prayer then sing along with me 'but the voice of truth tells me a different story.....'
Someone reminded me fairly recently of a quote (and forgive me I can't remember who originally said it) that "when the enemy reminds you of your past, remind him of his future." Let's stand on the truth of the Word of God no matter what others say, no matter what our circumstances say, no matter what the situation - let's listen to the voice of truth rather than the nonsense that so easily overwhelms us! Easy to post I know and much harder to do in the dark times (I know it too well!) but take heart my friend - the voice of truth remains true!
Monday, 11 August 2008
Monday, 4 August 2008
I heard a sermon recently where the preacher's ending line was 'God is both gracious and severe' but then he went on to emphasis the severe and seemed to me to just mention the 'gracious part.' My husband and I spent some time afterwards talking about the fact that we are under the New Covenant and even though the wrath of God and the Justice of God are very real - we do need to comprehend that God IS love - it doesn't just say that God is loving - it is His nature - you cannot separate God and love. But also His character is shown through grace - through the fact that God sent Jesus to deal with all of our punishment - His amazing grace stooped and saved us.
We are on holiday this week and I have brought a stack of books with me to read! (And I brought Todd Bentleys from CLC London on the way through on Saturday! Should be interesting!) anyway - a book that I am half way through travelled with us and yesterday I read some and again this morning and it is an adventure! The book is called 'Grace Choices' by Jeff Lucas and I simply want to share with you some of the things I have read in my adventure of learning about grace even in the last 24 hours! The chapter that I have read is chapter 4 entitled "I will refuse to argue with God's gracious forgiveness" and this is a chapter full of meaty, really helpful stuff - I would highly recommend it to anyone who is on the same adventure as me!
"Condemnation and shame all too often blight our lives and eclipse the light of grace.
Typically shame overshadows us when:-
- We have been raised on a constant emotional diet of being told that we are no good.
- We are part of a local church that is more of a 'guilt machine' than a community of grace.
- We have sinned in a specific area and have repented, but can't forgive ourselves or accept that we have been forgiven.
- We have a faith that is dominated by subjective feelings rather than trust in what God says to us about our being forgiven in Scripture.
Lucas goes on to say:- "When we choose shame over grace, moments of 'spiritual high' are blighted by mental 'video replays' of our embarrassing and shameful history. And we begin to lose hope, because we are blinded to any steps of growth and change........"
"Even the most proficient can be unaware of any giftedness or progress in their lives if they are preoccupied with shame. Whatever their accomplishments, they remain on the treadmill of failure. One committed Christian wrote of how she 'lugs around inside of me a dead weight of not-enough-goodness.'
(Grace Choices by Jeff Lucas)
All I can say to this part of Lucas' book is how it has hit me - how much of this is spot on for me! Condemnation and shame are something that I have battled with since my earliest recollection - Sadly it is true. But things are due to change and this adventure of delving into grace I can see unravelling things in my head and in time I am praying that it will saturate through from my thinking to my heart! Lucas is so helpful in describing the 'video replays' after a spiritual high - I am sure that I am not the only one that has an encounter with God - something tangible has happened and a weight lifted and then within minutes or hours the goodness is robbed by those mental replays of some sin, some attitude, some lie of the enemy that I haven't met the grade or let people down etc etc - this is a time for change and those that know me are welcome to challenge me if they see me slipping back to living under condemnation or shame - I am a grace daughter - birthed and living under grace!!!! The dead weight of 'not-good-enoughness' has to be cut off and the simple declaration that 'I am, what and, who I am simply under the grace of God.' The relief that this brings no more striving - the thriving will come - I can almost feel it rising up!
Jeff Lucas goes on to deal with 'Choosing Freedom From False Guilt' and he gives some very helpful steps that although "not offered as a simplisitc solution to deep psychological scars but offered to help us to begin our exodus from shame." I found this very helpful which is why I wanted to include them on my blog:-
- Realise that there is a strategy to rob you of grace: you are not abnormal or alone in these struggles - they are very common. We must not be ignorant about the tactics and schemes of the enemy (Eph 6:11), as well as the general struggles that human beings have with grace and free gifts.
- Be clear about the issue - if you feel guilt because of current sin, then deal with that - do not try to reject genuine conviction by calling it shame.
- Recognize that our feelings are not the final arbiter of truth. Scripture is - and God's word about His willingness graciously to forgive is our final authority (1 John 1:9). As Christians, we say that we believe in the inspiration of Scripture - why not accept and believe what God has to say about grace and forgiveness?
- Refuse to argue with God's verdict - when He pronounces us clean, when we choose to rest in that decision.
I just found these so incredibly helpful - I know that the enemy so often tries to make me feel that I am abnormal with the battles that I face and even that can bring folks down and make them feel isolated - I have been there! If we bring this sort of thing in to the light and admit that it is a battle there would be many released from feeling alone in the battle! The enemy isn't very good at trying new tactics - in fact he doesn't need to because the old strategies that he has used time and time again prove still affective on God's beloved! I like the fact that Lucas does highlight that there is still genuine conviction - we can't simply dismiss things as condemnation or attack if in fact we have actually sinned! Feelings don't tell us the truth - this is where I struggle so often and why my prayer is that God would take stuff from my head into my heart so that my feelings are more in line with what He says! Finally the challenge not to argue any longer with God's verdict - the price is paid! I am clean - I need to learn to live and rest in this unalterable fact!
Finally Lucas ends this chapter with a quote from John Newton in his latter years although he has adapted the quote from Kenneth W. Osbeck Amazing Grace (Grand Rapids;Kregel Publishing 1990) and I want to also end on this quote for indeed we are great sinners but He is a greater Saviour:-
'My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things:
that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour!'
Thursday, 31 July 2008
Monday, 28 July 2008
I had a real sense of God speaking and I wrote this down as the worship carried on, this is what I felt God was saying to me:-
I have been mulling this over along with some verses from Psalm 109 and some awesome stuff that Billy Graham has written and it all seems to weave together. I realised on reflection of that moment in worship yesterday that in recent weeks, months and perhaps even years I have been living just to simply survive. The masquerade, the mask of I am ok - all in place simply to get from one day to the next and at the same time there has been this huge effort to keep going, to make sure that things are in place - striving and striving simply to survive not even to grow or to move. Then the final line - time to thrive - I feel like I am on a threshold, on the edge of something taking place to move from just making it by - to growing, to flourishing, to thriving.
There is a mix of excitement and fear - excitement that God is going to bring me into a new season, fear that I will miss it and stay in the cycle of just surviving - I pray that it will all be God that He will do a new thing and will help me to move in step with Him into the new thing!
Saturday, 19 July 2008
I have known this so much in most of my adult life, a real desperation for a miracle to take place for me and for my husband. Sometimes I have been more desperate for a miracle for him than for me.
I wonder if you know what it is like for God to give and that moment when your heart soars and you are so thrilled and delighted and so grateful....
I wonder if you know what it is like for God to take away and that moment when the bottom seems to drop out from under your feet........
I wonder if you know what it is like to place expectations on yourself of how you should be and then realise that what you have expected is beyond what it should be? I wonder if you have then realised that but not been able to be free from those expectations?
I wonder if you have felt hollow and alone and unable to break through?
I wonder if you have ever considered where you have been, where you are now and what the future looks like and felt completely overwhelmed?
I wonder if sometimes we do feel so trapped that we don't share with people and actually we feel the same way but cannot break through.....
Yesterday a friend of mine asked me in a an e-mail the question 'How are you doing?'
It is a phrase that generally I will answer 'fine, how are you?' or some non-descript reply but I realised that the person asking me wasn't asking merely to get a 'pat' answer. They were asking because they wanted the truth! I wasn't actually sure how to respond - I couldn't say fine because recently things have been tough going, I couldn't say 'I'm fine' because they knew me too well to accept that. As I sat at my keyboard I found myself typing "That's a hard one to answer at the moment but I am so glad that I have a faithful God who will not let me down."
My friend responded quickly saying that actually that was a good place to be. It got me thinking!!! - With all the struggles of life if we just realise how faithful our God is - that He isn't a God of mood swings or change - that He is the same, yesterday, today and forever - that His very nature is consistent then for that moment it puts everything we face into perspective!
Even in the last 24 hours there have been battles, struggles and discouragements - everything seems to pile in but last night I committed in the car on the way to a meeting to put God in the centre, to let Him be my focus, to have all my concentration, to have my focus - to begin with I thought that the evening was going to be terrible, but you know what happened - just in praising the God who 'gives and takes away' just praising my faithful God who will never let me down - just realising afresh that He cares about all the baggage, stresses, cares, He cares about all the details, He cares about the midnight hour, He cares about the discouragements, He cares about the knock-backs, He cares about they way others treat me, He cares about the longings and desperation's of my heart........ doesn't mean to say that I don't hurt - no way! I have spent the last week battling to subdue tears, battling to put on a mask of ok-ness - believe me it still hurts but I have to come afresh with all my brokenness and praise Him in the storm with all the stuff that continues to be so tough! As the Casting Crowns song says that 'you are who you are no matter where I am' - it is an awesome song that gives the challenge to praise in the storm anyway and even when it is hard to find Him because of the darkness and the rain and the thunder - anyway here is the song to bless you whether you are in the sunshine of blessing or the battle of the storm............
Saturday, 12 July 2008
Friday, 4 July 2008
In the last few days it seems that it has been one thing after another that has pulled me down and reminded me that once again I need to ask my Heavenly Father to do a new thing, to come and ease things - there needs to be that tenacity that says even though things are tough and perhaps I am struggling I will still worship Him, I will seek His face, I will hold on to Him - noone else will satisfy. I was thinking about that song 'Draw Me Close To You.'
I know there are some folks that question the theology of this song but today it feels like my heart cry - that longing to feel His closeness again to know the Lord bringing me near and the request for the Lord to help me know that He is near, even in some of the difficult things that I face - just to know that He is nearby and that He cares about my tears and my hurts.
The chorus goes on to say 'You're all I want, you're all I've ever needed' and this in itself is a fresh declaration that in fact He is all I want, need, long for - none other will satisfy - noone else will do. At the end of the day - He is all I need, all I want - everything else is counted as loss in the light of who He is.............
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
He is awesome!
Monday, 30 June 2008
.......and all day it has been on my mind this phrase that so casually trips from our lips - the everlasting God.
It got me thinking about this word everlasting so I looked up some stuff about this word everlasting! The dictionary says 'lasting for ever' the dictionary also says this: 'the same as God' so I thought "Wow - that's amazing" so I looked in the thesaurus and there were words like eternal, endless, ceaseless, never-ending, perpetual, undying, unending, interminable.
Then I started to think about the World in which we live, just think about some of this for a moment:-
- we are offered a job, a permanent position and then given a contract that expires in so many months or years.
- we have permanent pens but after a while (admittedly a little while) they fade and come off and you have to re-write what you had written their originally.
- we are given a life-time guarantee on some products but after so many years either the supplier is out of business or the guarantee is not honoured.
- when you buy a house built in wardrobes are listed as permanent fixtures or built-in and yet so easily they are removed.
- remember the battery advert with a certain pink drumming bunny and the phrase 'they go on and on and on' - well they eventually run out!
When things in this day and age are listed as permanent or long lasting very often they are temporary, we live in a non-permanent society, a throw-away society and so we get used to things not lasting but just for a moment let your mind stretch to this:-
God has always been,
God WILL always be,
He is the ancient of days,
He was around before the planet on which we live was formed,
He will be around long after us, long after the next generation, or the next, or the next, or the next, or the next, or the next.......
He is not restricted by time,
He does not age,
He will never cease and neither will His reign,
He will endure forever and ever and ever,
He will not have an end,
God will not die,
God will not be phased out and a new King of Kings and Lord of Lords introduced,
God will not be voted out of office,
He has the pre-eminence,
there is no one like Him,
nothing and noone compares to Him,
He is outstanding, He is the best,
He is awesome, He is excellent,
He is mighty, He is full of compassion,
He is faithful, He is impressive, He is beautiful,
He is love, the Bible says that He loves us, but it also says that He is love,
He is strong, He is great, He is almighty, He is all-powerful,
His Spirit is intoxicating, He is magnificent,
He is beautiful, He is breath-taking, His is truly like no other,
God is totally set apart - in a league of His own!
He is wonderful, He cares, He is gentle and yet so powerful.
He is to be feared but also to draw near to and love and to not be afraid,
He is vast, He is gigantic, He is big! He is immeasurable!
God is limitless, He is GREAT and greatly to be praised, He is truly wonderful -
This is our God!
And in all His wonder and splendour and majesty and glory and love and awesome-ness, in all His uniqueness and fantasticness, in all His compassion, mercy, love, favour to the wretched, in all His qualities that we cannot even start to describe with only 26 letters and one alphabet....... in all of this ................................... He is the same, yesterday, today and FOREVER!
He is unending, He will not cease, He will not decline, He will not expire, He isn't going anywhere, He is eternal, never-ending, undying, He is endless, He won't die away, there won't be a conclusion - eternal praise belongs to Him - He owns it, it is His!
Awesome - awesome - awesome - I can't get my tiny brain around His magnitude, I cannot fathom how wonderful He is, I cannot take in the glories of my God, I am humbled by weakness and wretchedness in the light of His glory and His holiness, I am staggered afresh by how immense and awesome He is. Nothing escapes His notice, nothing in our lives is beyond His care, the smallest, horriblest wretch like me has been plucked from nothing, from the gutter, from the pig sty and seated on a throne, adopted as a child, an heir, my sinful rags have been replaced with the righteousness of Jesus, my unwanted status to dearly loved, precious.
He has lifted me from the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock and given me a new song to sing...........................
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Yesterday we went to get a new trellis for my garden - some of my clematis' seem to have gone mad and we desperately needed to sort them out. While we were at the garden centre I saw a new climber plant apparently new for 2008 - she was reduced from £10 to £2-49 and although she had one purple flower she looked very sad, this plant won my heart - you could tell she needed some plant food, a new pot, new soil, some regular watering and a little love and attention so I brought it!
When my husband had put up the trellis I had the enormous task of unravelling the old clematis' and guiding them along their new path of growth - it was no easy task! The plants had wrapped themselves tightly around the existing trellis, themselves and other plants - it was a case of very gently unravelling the knots and straightening it out. I wondered if the plant may be shocked by the change but at the end of the day there is much more room for growth, expansion, more room to blossom and flourish - it reminded me of my life: all the knots and confusion that the chief Gardener is slowly unravelling, the mess that I have got myself into and showing me the new path of growth. I know that in the days ahead there will be some pruning and it won't be easy and it may hurt but He can see the bigger picture, He can see the potential of growth, of fruitfulness, of blossoming to be beautiful for Him, so that people look at me and praise the Gardener for how He has nurtured me, pruned me, shaped me, fed me, enabled me to grow.......
Now to the new plant - the one that I purchased knowing that it needed care and attention, before the day was done she was in a new pot, a bigger pot with brand new compost full of added minerals etc, she had slow release plant food mixed in with the soil, she was put up against the new trellis so she had more than just the bamboo cane in her pot, she was watered. Some may have picked up that pot and said that there was no hope for that plant, some may of thought that they would rather purchase something in perfect condition, laiden already with flowers and perfect with no defects. When I looked at this plant bizarrely I felt compassion - (OK so I love plants and I am the sort of person who will go and pick up ones that are knocked over in the garden centre and yes I will talk to them! Crazy huh!) Anyway I felt compassion - she needed some care and attention, I looked at this plant and I saw the potential - she may not be able to produce more flowers this year, but next year when she has had a year of care, a year of finding her roots in this new pot, of being fed and nurtured - next year I am confident that she will burst forth with beautiful blooms. See where I am getting at?
When we were puchased at the cross it wasn't because we were in perfect condition - in fact it was the opposite we were purchased because of the mess we were in and in that state of mess we won His heart, He loved us! He paid the ultimate price, took us in re-potted us, fed us, nurtured us, watered us, He saw the potential. This morning the first thing I did when I came down the stairs was go to the window and look out on my new plant - excited by the possibility that she may look a bit better even for yesterdays bit of care.
I believe that the Father is excited over His children just as the Gardener is excited over the adopted broken plants that He carefully tends. Once again I am at the point of listening to the Father's song, of hearing Him sing 'I love you, I have chosen you to be mine.' And yet at the same time I feel a sense rising in my heart that this is a new day - there is something bursting forth on this Sunday morning - something is about to break forth and surprise me, expectation rises in my heart that this new day that yes involves pruning, that involves some untangling also involves some moving forward, of growth and it is laiden with potential in His hands......... expectation is rising............. my heart leaps at the thought of His touch............. noone else is like Him (they don't even come close!)........... He is coming to unravel, to touch, to heal, to make whole, He is coming to bless, to restore, to feed, to water, to nurture.......... His love is unrivalled, His grace unmatched and His awesome power unequalled........... no one else is like Him, nothing this World can offer can satisfy like He does, no one else thrills my soul, my heart, my being, like The Lord does....... I wait for Him and long for Him and yearn for Him and my whole being cries out to Him ........... I hear His call to me to come away with Him and there is no fear just ecstasy, just delight.............
Monday, 23 June 2008
I have come to a strange point as I have pondered things - am I happy to settle with things how they are, how they have been or am I going to continually chase after more of God and plunge the depths of what He has? Am I going to be satisfied with things as they are or am I going to have a sense of 'Godly discontentment' where I simply want more and more of God. Am I going to stop being concerned with what others think and simply be obsessed, addicted and caught up with the One? What challenges are laid at my door as I have pondered, mulled, prayed and opened my mouth simply saying 'Lord fill it.'
I have to say that I long to make a greater impact on my neighbours, my friends, I long to see many swept into the Kingdom - we possess wonderful news and yet so many of us as Christians are captive by situations, by the past, by other people and so on and so on..... On Sunday morning a Godly man was preaching in our Church literally an elder in the Church but also in the faith - a man who has walked closely with God and as he closed his sermon with some honesty he declared that he was no longer going to be worried about what others thought about the way in which he talked and praised God - he was deciding to be more concerned with what God wants. Afterwards I was thinking about how easily we are frightened by other Christians - perhaps they are older people, perhaps they dominate, perhaps they even put us down. There is a call coming through to me again and again to simply be caught up with the Holy One, the awesome God, the One who right now reigns on high where the myriads of heaven constantly and continually worship and declare His worthiness, His glory.
Let me clear up that by Godly discontentment I am not saying a negative - the negative would be an ungodly contentment where I simply say "Well this is as good as it will get, I can't and won't go any further.' If a preacher in his latter years can stand and declare 'Lord I need to change' then surely a woman in her early thirties equally can say 'Lord change me, Lord mould me and shape me, don't leave me in this place right now at this stage, take me further, take me deeper, make me more and more like you, transform me, heal my wounds, heal my past, heal the aches, make me stronger in the battle, give me courage to stand in the heat of the battle, help me to combat every temptation, help me to undo the accusations, help me to thwart the enemy, be my shield, my rampart, take over every detail of my life, enable me to tell every evil thing where to go, atune my ears to hear your voice and to identify the liar, the accuser.'
Today is not a day for remaining in the depths but deciding to reach for the skies! I used to have a principal at the school I went to and he would say "Aim for the moon and you will hit the sky, aim for the sky and you will hit the roof of the barn, aim for the roof of the barn and you will hit the tree, aim for the tree and you will hit the barn door, aim for the barn door and you will hit the bottom of the door, aim for the bottom of the door and you will hit the ground right in front of you, aim for the ground right in front of you and you will hit it." Well something like that anyway - I need to aim high and that has to change with immediate affect - I can't live compromised any longer, I can't live with scrapping by - that's not what God says about my destiny! Yes there are things that I need and want to get sorted and I feel a stirring in these days that I need to deal with things head on and see victory come over them. The enemy still presses in hard (and will do I am sure) but now is the time to see this determination lit like the fuse of some spiritual dynamite! I am going to start to take God more at His Word - if He says it and He promises it then what am I doing wittering about in the trenches!? We have an awesome, capable, almighty, all-powerful, omnipotent, good, faithful God - there is no question over who He is or whether He will still be in office tomorrow - His reign knows no end, there is no one like Him and His position cannot be contested. The continual chasing after Him, the Godly discontentment where every fibre of my being says 'more Lord' comes not out of condemnation or out of legalism but it comes fired from passion for Him, for a depth of thankfulness that can only come from a redeemed wretch, who was clothed in filthy rags but now stands in the robe of righteousness, the ring on her finger, shoes on her feet coming to the banquet held in her honour where the fatted calf is just the start.........
The strange thing is that when you simply get a taster of how wonderful He is then you just want more and more of Him, of the Holy Spirit, of the bounties that He has lavished. I for one have spent too long in the pit of the pig sty when I am destined to be the heir. I see my Father standing at the gate longing for my return from the trenches, the pit and I see Him running in the sight of all towards His beloved wretched daughter who has made mistakes, who has thought that she had received all that He could give to her but now as I see Him taking every stride towards me my heart beats with the expected embrace with the longed for moment when He takes me in His arms and loves me not for what I have done or achieved but for just being me. This is the moment when the transaction from beaten, sodden, weary, wretched, miserable slave turns into accepted, cleansed, forgiven, redeemed, restored, adored, loved, treasured child takes place - this moment when all else fades into insignificance that moment when my Father sings His love songs over me - can you hear Him singing..................
Thursday, 19 June 2008
Anyway these are the words to the song it is on a cassette called 'Healing Stream' by Lou Lewis:-
Are you hiding, buried away inside?
Frightened, thinking you just can't survive?
I know you, and the things that you're going through
And I just want to carry your pain
Carry it all away.
Are you hurting, all broken up inside?
Disappointed or discouraged for all of your dreams have died.
I love you and I know what you're going though
I love you and I'll carry your pain
Carry it all away.
I am the Healing Stream, come and bathe in Me.
I can wash you clean and set you free
For in my body there is the spirit and the blood.
Believe in Me, believe in ME, believe in Me, I am your God.
Let it go ..... Let it go ..... Let it go to Me.
It is no surprise that this whole cassette is laiden with precious gems for the hurting soul but I pray that whoever you are when you read the words of that song that you will know that the Healing Stream is there and there is a call to come to Him the Healing Stream Himself. I know I need it
- the Healing Stream would be so welcome!
Tuesday, 3 June 2008
Last night I received an e-mail from www.hopewhenithurts.co.uk our website and although this is not unusual - what was said to me was a timely encouragement, with a song mentioned that the person concerned had found really helpful. So this evening I looked it up on you tube and discovered a song that I can understand the depths of and long for the heights and celebration of - meanwhile I know that I need to lay it all down and anyone who knows me will know that this is not something I do easily, in fact it is something that I really battle with because at the end of the day I still hurt. I pray that one day I will know what it is to lay it all down and just know God saturating my life with peace and ease and no condemnation................ this is the song that the person told me about.............
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Saturday, 17 May 2008
I have seen a blockage to the message of grace in my own life in recent weeks as it has been preached on - one time I felt really unwell mid sermon - I was fine before and even after but during the sermon my concentration was on not being ill.......another time the sermon was on 'no condemnation in Christ' and I just knew an overwhelming sense of condemnation and talking on the way home from Church realised that the message thrilled me for everyone else in the room but personally I felt it wasn't for me and that condemnation overwhelmed.
This morning in the last few pages of Virgo's book I read this:-
I just wonder if the blockage to Christians (me included) living in the fullness of the grace of God is some (or all) of these:-
- because the message of grace is so good as Terry puts it 'We who had nothing to commend us and everything to disqualify us are invited to enter in and participate in the consummation of the ages.' It's an awesome message - for us who are so undeserving to be given so much.
- because legalism has been drilled into us - do this and don't do this, you should be like this but this comes from a position of 'have to' rather than 'I want to, I am so grateful, passion etc'
- Law is much easier to accept than grace - we find it easier in this society to work towards something rather than just receive - we are a suspicious society of anything free (or even good)!
- Law is easier to teach than grace! In all the reading and teaching on grace it seems that without the question that Paul asks in Romans 6:1 arising 'What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?' - it seems that if true grace is taught then folks do ask the question 'does this give us license to continue sinning?' Of course the answer is No - we are given freedom not to sin but if we do then there is grace for that. It is a tricky one and would be far easier to teach that as born again believers we MUST do this and be like this and we must .......... rather than receive and live in the fullness.
- The enemy isn't happy about grace - he loves condemnation and law - if the enemy can keep us trapped in a state of condemnation and legalism then grace is nullified and passion is sapped - we end up weak, weary and on the treadmill of the christian life and sadly our witness, furvour and prayer life are compromised.
We have a dying world to reach - one full of pain, suffering, anger and sadness - we have a glorious news, an amazing hope, an awesome Saviour but we are trapped by the blockage of accepting grace completely and fully so we don't dance on the streets with the passion of one plucked from hell, we remain laiden with condemnation, battling, struggling to continue to keep going on a circuit of doing our best, failing again, condemnation and doing our best again. How we need the Holy Spirit to liberate us and to make the blockages melt in the light of His awesome power..............
Monday, 12 May 2008
This has been my repeated experience over the last month or so - really hit a low time and then God stretched out His hand and touched me afresh - precious tangible, awesome encounter and in that moment such a sense that everything was going to be alright, such a sense of the awesomeness of God. Then in the space of a week or so and things are really tough. My husband and I were supposed to go to an event on Sunday but for days before hand I felt so anxious over it - Sunday morning came and Malcolm and I talked for some time over it - when he told me that we didn't have to go I cried with relief. But in these days when so many things are a battle I receive e-mails from folks so helped by a book that I wrote 4 years ago - strange that in the struggles and the tears of today other folks on this planet has been encouraged by what we have been through. Yet I sit here and still weep.
I wonder if life will ever cease to be one extreme or another - is there a level of OK-ness that can be reached and then kept without mask or pretence? I wonder....................
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
Anyway the doc gave me some antibiotics and basically instructed me to rest for at least 5 days but that it could take longer. On telling me to rest up the thought that went through my head was 'Can't you give me something easy to do!' My husband will tell you that I don't often rest there is always something to do and if my hands aren't busy my brain usually is!
Today I was thinking though that rest is a biblical thing isn't it? I did a really basic search on Bible gateway and found that in the NIV the search comes up with 496 results in the NKJV the results are increased to 540. OK I know that this was kind of a crude search and some won't apply to rest in the manner that I am thinking but from God resting in Genesis 2, to Jesus resting in the boat on the sea of Galilee - perhaps this is something I need to learn to do..........
Tuesday, 8 April 2008
Two weeks today while on holiday I spent the day in bed sleeping as I felt so rough - I haven't been right since and now see my husband going through where I have been - he is a few days behind me with symptoms. I have been praying for complete restoration of health for both of us - there is so much on and I really want to be 100%, I am missing out on things and feeling quite isolated and I really want my man to be 100% - I see him carrying so much and under a huge amount of things that he HAS to do, I know that over the next month or two he is working weekends and weekdays and his evenings are stacked and I just can't see a break coming up for him; so I know that he needs to be at full health for work, Church, Alpha, home etc so I have been praying that he would know that one single touch - that would be all that it takes if God touched him. In light of this prayer this song has been often on my heart, my CD player and my lips in the shower in recent days! One touch from the King changes everything - one touch, just one touch!
Saturday, 5 April 2008
Sunday, 23 March 2008
The beach there is very rocky and my nieces and nephews and I started to build a small wall against the sea gathering the rocks from near and far!
It was hilarious to see some of them carrying large rocks to add to the wall, some too heavy for them to lift! The tide was coming in quickly and no matter how large the stones it didn't stop the sea coming and it reminded me of God's grace upon us - it doesn't end, it doesn't reach a certain point and say that it would cease and that it would come to the point where it would just fail. No way! Legalism can try and stop God's grace - it can stifle and try to stop it but in the grand scheme of things - legalism is as effective as the stone wall my nieces and nephews built against the ocean against God's lavish grace!! Struggling with what I mean......? Let me put it another way then:- Whether or not folks receive it or live in the fullness of it - it just keeps coming! We are saved by grace and if folks are under legalism they are still saved by grace alone - Scripture says that any that call on the name of the Lord WILL BE saved. It doesn't say any that call on the name of the Lord may be saved but it is all dependent on whether they do this or this or this! Even in all the legalism that is rife in the Church and in the people of God today the Lord is still a God of grace - a grace that allows us to be imperfect, a grace that covers all our shame, our sin, our mistakes - past, present and future. God's grace is an undeniable part of being saved!
I am currently reading God's lavish grace by Terry Virgo and I read this earlier today:-
I have been struck afresh today of the magnitude of God's grace - people don't understand grace because we try and equate it - we try to work it out - we try to make it make sense but it doesn't - the awesome One, the Creator of this Universe has a love that stoops down, stoops to the sinner and lavishes, floods the undeserving with acceptance, with love, covers the sinner with robes of righteousness, spotless and no matter the mistakes in the future will remain spotless - not because of the sinner but because the Lamb of God was acceptable, because the blood of Jesus goes on cleansing and the blood of Jesus will never loose its power - Jesus was a complete sacrifice - He satisfied the requirements, we are saved because of that one sacrifice.
This morning we went to Bude Christian Fellowship http://www.bcf-elim.com/ and it was an awesome time of celebrating that Jesus is reason and alive right now! The pastor mentioned Spike Milligan's quote on his grave stone that says:-
and then later in the message was saying that if there was an inscription on Jesus' grave it should have said
It was a great celebration this morning and I bless God for what He has done and am anticipating and expecting some wonderful things in the future days! J.I. Packer once said that
Yes indeed He is loose, at large and will do some mighty things in the coming days - feel expectation rising!?!?
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
But I have remembered something from an awesome sermon that Peter Day
http://www.peterjrday.blogspot.com/ preached on Sunday night - I would really encourage folks to listen to this! It is available from the following link for the 16th March and entitled 'Perseverance' - you will find it really helpful I am sure!
http://lans.strikinglysimple.co.uk/4wright.php?chinnor=Sermons/Talks&chosen=http://lansaudio.64asa.co.uk/uploads/peter16march2008pm.mp3&hook=off&marshall=&harper=1410&laura=15&bounce=no Anyway! The thing that I remembered is when he said something along the lines of
In other words when the going gets tough and the enemy comes in like a flood don't forget what you know to be true, what the Lord says in His Word, who He is like, what He has done.
Was reminded this morning in the face of the pelting to remind myself that He hasn't altered - He is the same God who came and touched my heart and melted me with His love over this weekend, He is the same God who reigns on high, who is exalted, who is King of Kings, totally majestic, awesome in power and mighty to save and to the pulling down of strongholds - He is the same God who is singing over me on a week day as He was over the weekend, He is the creator, sustainer and saviour of this World. He alone has made the way for me to be cleansed, healed, restored and forgiven - He is good and He is faithful and that will not alter or change - and right now I choose to stand firm in the battle on the truth!