Monday, 30 June 2008

The Everlasting, Eternal, Ceaseless, Awesome God!

I was thinking this morning as I walked to work about the phrase 'everlasting God.' I had my 'sounds' on and it was practically the first song on the play list this morning! The phrase from the song 'strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord'..........

.......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,
His position of being seated on the throne will not come to an end,
no one can contest 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...........................
we serve an everlasting, eternal, never-ending God!

I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn't slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God. Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God, turn your backs on the world's "sure thing," ignore what the world worships; The world's a huge stockpile of God-wonders and God-thoughts. Nothing and no one comes close to you! I start talking about you, telling what I know, and quickly run out of words. Neither numbers nor words account for you. (Psalm 40 v 1 - 5 The Message version)

Sunday, 29 June 2008

A New Day

This week has been an interesting one! Have you ever had the experience of a 'divine appointment' when you meet up with someone and as you chat it is like God is in the room and very gently the conversation gets to the point when you know, that you know, that you know, what your next step forward is, something you should do or something that needs sorting once and for all in your life. I do - because it happened to me this week. An ex-neighbour came round to catch up - we have done this before ended up praying and just known the presence of the Lord! I have prayed for years for a woman that I could be honest with, a kindred spirit - too often when I have trusted women what I have said has been passed on so rightly or wrongly I am a bit cagey! Anyway this dear sister in the Lord could identify 100% with what I was saying - I think even Malcolm was surprised! A sense of direction seemed to cut through confusion and in the midst of everything I could at last hear the Father's voice calling me - the last few days the more precious that relationship with my Father has been as again and again it seems to have been that He has re-assured me of the present and the days ahead.

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.............

Who can cheer the heart like Jesus,
By His presence all divine?
True and tender, pure and precious,
O how blest to call Him mine!
All that thrills my soul is Jesus,
He is more than life to me;
And the fairest of ten thousand
In my blessed Lord I see.
Love of Christ so freely given,
Grace of God beyond degree,
Mercy higher than the heaven,
Deeper than the deepest sea!
All that thrills my soul is Jesus,
He is more than life to me;
And the fairest of ten thousand
In my blessed Lord I see.
What a wonderful redemption!
Never can a mortal know
How my sin, tho red like crimson,
Can be whiter than the snow.
All that thrills my soul is Jesus,
He is more than life to me;
And the fairest of ten thousand
In my blessed Lord I see.
Every need His hand supplying,
Every good in Him I see;
On His strength divine relying,
He is all in all to me.
All that thrills my soul is Jesus,
He is more than life to me;
And the fairest of ten thousand
In my blessed Lord I see.
By the crystal flowing river
With the ransomed I will sing,
And forever and forever
Praise and glorify the King
All that thrills my soul is Jesus,
He is more than life to me;
And the fairest of ten thousand
In my blessed Lord I see.
Thoro Harris 1931

Monday, 23 June 2008

Settling or Continual Chasing, Gratification or Godly Discontentment

This has been a week of thinking and mulling over some recent conversations with different people. Sunday was a time of some precious times of worship at Church and some anointed and courageous preaching.

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

Healing Stream

Tonight I was reminded of a song that someone sent me when I was going through a really dark time in my life. I was about 16 - 17 and living away from home and confused by life generally - without details it was a particularly dark, lonely, hard and frightening season. I had much correspondence at the time with an older chap - never met him and probably never will - lost contact a long time ago, a distant friend put me in touch with him and for a season this man was a real encouragement to me. He was a faithful man of prayer, a faithful writer of letters and I think God provided him for a season to come alongside in some dark days. I will never have the opportunity to thank him in this lifetime but I will in the next.
I am home alone this evening and was thinking through some things from recent days when a song came to mind and I remembered that this chap had sent me the tape and it arrived on a day back in 1992/1993 when my world was crashing in - the timing I will never forget!
It did make me smile tonight when I realised that we don't have a tape player downstairs in our home and I had to play the song afresh on a personal stereo (even that took some finding! Ha! Ha!)
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

Lay It All Down

If I am really honest the last few weeks have been incredibly tough - I don't really want to go into details but it has been a constant battle over different things and situations. There have been many tears in the lone hour and much straight talking from my husband, it feels like each day is a battle and each day presents itself with the challenges of getting on with what the day holds. I long desperately for answers to prayer, I watch Todd Bentley on TV with miracle after miracle and I sit empty handed waiting and wondering if a miracle will ever come to this home.

Last night I received an e-mail from 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.............