Thursday, 31 July 2008

Surprised By God

Have you ever been surprised by God?

I have- a number of times and tonight He did it again. I have spent much of the week battling and at the same time as the battle being on I have been saying 'Lord please make me pliable in Your hands.' The more I have asked Him to be God to me, to work a miracle in my heart, to transform me, to soften the exterior of ok-ness and melt my heart, the more I have prayed the more He has spoken and as He has spoken I have written what He has said on a post-it note and stuck it on the wardrobe door which is right next to my bed!

I have been surprised in a week the stash of encouragements on my door so I thought that I would share them with you - they may just bless and encourage someone else as they have me this week!
I have already blogged about Sunday morning and the
'Not just to survive, not to strive but time to thrive'
but also on Sunday in my quiet time I read this by Billy Graham:-
"A victorious Christian is one who, in spite of worries, inner conflicts and
tensions is confident that God is in control and will be victorious in the end. Whatever our difficulties, whatever our circumstances, we must remember
as Corrie Ten Boom used to say 'Jesus is victor!'"
Then before the service I was in the Psalms and I read these verses 21-31 from Psalm 109:-
v22 "For I am poor and needy. And my heart is wounded within me"
v26 "Help me, O Lord my God! Oh save me according to Your mercy,
that they may know that this is Your hand - That You Lord have done it!
Let them curse, but You bless; when they arise, let them be ashamed,
but let Your servant rejoice. Let my accusers be clothed with shame,
and let them cover themselves with their own disgrace as with a mantle.
I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth.
Yes I will praise Him among the multitude.
For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor,
to save him from those who condemn him."
Monday morning I was reading Billy Graham again and this is what he said:-
"Even when our way seems unclear, God gives us light.
He gives us His Word, the Bible, He also gives us wisdom
(sometimes through other people) to understand our situation,
and He gives the Holy Spirit to guide us."
Billy Graham
I have to say that I was so encouraged that God does use other people - yes He gives us His Word and His Holy Spirit but He also gives us one another. He knows what we are like!
Then also on Monday I read these precious words from Psalm 6v8-9
"Depart from me, all you workers of inquity;
for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication.
The Lord will receive my prayer
Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled;
let them turn back and be ashamed suddenly."
Tuesday I read this verse in Isaiah 41v13 and it jumped out of the page and grabbed me:-
'I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand,
and I tell you, "Don't be afraid. I will help you."'
And over the last two days - these verses have blessed my heart as I have read them:-
"The Lord will also be a refuge for the oppressed.
A refuge in times of trouble.
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
for You Lord have not forsaken those who seek You."
Psalm 9 v 9 & 10.
"Before they call, I will answer:
And while they are still speaking, I will hear."
Isaiah 65v24
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal
but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds."
2 Corinthians 10 v 4 In fact I read this in the morning and
someone gave read it to me again this evening!
You see the thing is the battle this week has been different - different how? I hear you ask! Well the enemy has tried to whisper all kinds of lies but rather than being occupied with them I have been asking God to speak, to give me peace, to come and do something where the striving and just surviving mentality are cut off and the thriving can begin - this evening it happened! Something changed the weight of so many things that I don't even want to bore you with or even to spend a moment thinking on were replaced with a lightness in my spirit, in my mind - a transaction took place this evening and I am astounded afresh with the goodness of God, but challenged afresh even by the title of my blog - I want this to move from my head to my heart, to be thrilled again, to be romanced again by the Lover of My Soul. The timely post-it notes of this week have led up to God tangibly moving along with my yielding to Him and my request before Him to do something new................... and now I hunger more than ever for more of Him!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Surviving, striving - no more! Time for thriving!

Yesterday morning during the worship at Church there was a moment when we really broke through and you could tangibly feel the presence of God, it was like fresh air blowing over me and it was a moment of really intimate time with the Lord. For that moment I forgot where I was and even that anyone else was in the room and it was just me and my Abba.

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:-
Not just to survive,
Not to strive,
But it is time to thrive.

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'm fine, how are you?"

I wonder if you have ever been really desperate for something to happen?
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

Broken Heart

This song sums it up - only Jesus can heal a broken heart.............. I need Him to do that for me!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Draw Me Close To You Lord, help me know you are near.

Anyone that has read my previous recent posts will know that I have been on a journey recently - a journey of feeling that I know the direction that God is leading, the next steps as it were. There has been a sense of encouragement over various things and for a first time in a long time I have heard the Father singing over me after a period where I felt almost spiritually deaf and seemed unable to hear anything but the condemning voices - however there was a break in the darkness and a lightness in the atmosphere - awesome.

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

In light of my last post

Well I have to say after my last post and a few days in - the plant that we have nurtured and re-potted and fed has today flowered a new - in just a few days she has picked up! What a wonderful picture of when the Chief Gardner takes special care of the one that the blessing and the potential come to fruition!
He is awesome!