Saturday, 25 April 2009

A week of tears

This has been a week of tears for me in fact today I feel quite 'cried out' (although I have cried as I have typed this!!!). Last Sunday was an awesome day of worship, teaching and Holy Spirit encounters for various people in our Church. In the morning one of our elders, Ken, preached - it was an anointed word that was delivered with fire and obvious Holy Spirit anointing. A few things struck me from what Ken said as he spoke about the longing that we should have for more of God, as He spoke about faith even as a grain of mustard seed being enough and the call of 'Lord I believe, now help my unbelief.' A cry that has been much on my heart for the last 13-14 years (no joke!) but yet I still struggle with stirring up enough faith to believe God for specifics in relation to me - I have faith for other people, other situations, etc etc but bring it to a personal level and my faith shrinks to the size of that tiny mustard seed and I have to stir myself to pray "I believe you Lord, now help my unbelief." One of the phrases that hit me as Ken preached was "The kind of people God uses, are just the kind of people that the World says are useless." I know what it is like to feel completely useless, to not fulfill what I think I should and total inability to alter that!

On Sunday evening again another anointed sermon but this time the speaker was my pastor, Peter, he spoke from Mal 1v6-14. Stirring us not to bring God our left-overs, getting us to take a look at our view of God, looking at God's view of blemished sacrifices and the transforming power of God. I have to say that much of what Peter preached on was hard hitting, poignant stuff. I cannot do the sermon justice and would not dare to try to. As he preached I felt more and more unwell almost faint and had to just get some air for a moment or two - the thing is some of what he spoke on hit the core of things for me. The whole area of praying and faith and viewing God as a the God of grace that He is...... there are certain situations that my husband and I face on a day by day basis and to understand God as a God of grace in light of those situations is mind-blowing. It is so hard to try and grasp God as a generous, loving, grace abounding God when a situation that you are in is seemingly impossible and one that God, although as a God of grace who gives what we do not deserve, witholds despite the pain that it brings, the questions that is raises and the heartache that it installs. 'Hope deffered makes the heart sick' scripture tells us but when a God of grace could stop the hope deferring and chooses not to - where does that leave us? This is where the rubber hits the road isn't it? When we trust and have faith in a living awesome God and yet we don't see what we long for, pray for, hope for, yearn for. Sunday night I sobbed my heart out with my husband, I do not understand, Monday night the tears flowed again, Tuesday night I was so tearful I stayed away from people. Every day I get up put my 'I'm ok' mask on and plough my efforts into having a good day at work - doing my job well and having a laugh with my awesome colleagues but when I get home realities hit home. This week my husband has had to pick up the pieces, pass the tissues and sometimes just leave me alone to cry it through. It has been a tough road and yet again I try to work out God's Father heart, sovereign power and awesome grace when the pain is deep and the tears so real. I am so grateful for a husband who stands with me in the realities of day by day heartache and so very many disappointments.

Recently I purchased a new CD 'A New Hallelujah' by Michael W Smith - I can't recommend it enough - I have nearly worn out our copy already! It gets played daily in our house and even today has been blasting as I type! There are some awesome songs on the album - but there is one that Michael W Smith talks before he starts to sing and I have managed to find the exact thing on youtube - so if you are finding life a struggle as I have done recently - play this and let hope rise that help is on the way, that He will never leave you or forsake you, He sees your tears and that His arm is long enough to reach you where you are................

Monday, 13 April 2009

Monday Morning!

It is Monday morning and I must confess that the last 24 hours have been a battle which I have blogged about elsewhere and as I have blogged I came across a prayer by A.W. Tozer and it has blessed my heart so I thought I would post it here:-

'O God, I have tasted Thy goodness and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, 'Rise up, my love, my fair one and come away.' Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus' name. Amen.' (A. W. Tozer)

This is the cry of my heart today in all the battles that I have been in recently; in the increasing longing for complete freedom and the desire to be liberated fully to enjoy grace I long to be hungrier and thirstier for Him cos nothing else will satisfy, nothing and noone else will do - how I need Him, how I long for a fresh touch from the King, how I desire an encounter with the lover of my soul.............

Friday, 10 April 2009

Reflections on "God is unfair"

Earlier this week I was in a meeting where the leader was talking about the Easter story. There came a point when there was discussion over the thief on the cross and when Jesus said to him 'today you will be with me in paradise.' The comment came that one of the things that this taught us was that 'God is unfair.' I must confess that I have been mulling this over for a few days and have talked about it both with my husband and a couple of others. The conclusion I have come to is that 'unfair' is not the right word! Perhaps it would be more correct to say that this shows us how merciful God is, how deep His love that rather than ask the thief to prove anything, He just displayed mercy beyond our comprehension! Such I guess highlights again the grace of God - something that I am trying to start to grasp after many years of walking with the Lord.

Legalism can't cope with the thief on the cross, faith with works cannot cope with the thief on the cross, treating God like He is anything like an ordinary man cannot cope with the thief on the cross - everything in us, humanly, cries that the thief did not deserve paradise! But this is the essence of grace isn't it - the complete opposite of what we the only 'unfairness' (in want of a better word!) that I can see is that rather than punish us, rather than declare us guilty, rather than condemn us - He bestows on us overwhelming grace and mercy, instead of despising us because of our sin, failures, mistakes, blunders and stupidty He lavishes us with His abundant love, instead of treating us as outcasts He not only takes us in but adopts us as His own and not only that but makes us co-heirs with Christ. When you look at it this way there is a grateful heart for that 'unfairness,' for that great mercy, for His grace. Next time someone says "God is unfair" I guess I will have to agree with them - if He was 'fair' then I would be on the scrapheap, I would be condemned, I would be facing eternal punishment, I would be without hope, but instead I have a Saviour, I have Jesus - the price is paid in full, no more to pay, I know that one day I will see Him face to face and it won't be facing Him knowing that He is angry with me and He will just be passing sentence on this sinner, but instead I will be facing Him knowing that He loves me and that He purchased my freedom at an awesome price - such love, such mercy, such grace...................

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Grace is Ridiculous!!!!!

What a bizarre title for a brief blog!
Last night my husband and I spent time chatting through the whole subject of grace. We were talking about how much easier it is to comprehend law and living under legalism. It is easier to accept to understand and to get your head round - BUT it isn't what God has given us under the new covenant. It is then that this phrase got mentioned 'Grace is ridiculous.' Think about it for a moment the awesome creator, maker, sustainer of the Universe - God - an awesome God, He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to not only die for us but to take the punishment that we deserved........everything that we deserved not only dealt with - but on top of that He lavished so much on each one of us - no wonder it is so hard to take it in!!!!!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Battle for Unlearning Law and Living in Grace

After my last blog about grace being confusing I was e-mailing my precious brother in the Lord, Dan Bowen about how tough the battle is for grace and one thing that he said to me really hit me, he said:-

I think it must be because the powers of darkness KNOW that here
is the key to freedom for God's people.

The reason that the battle for grace is that obvious! The enemy does not want us to free, liberated or passionate. I have seen and felt first hand over recent months the adverse reactions physically, mentally and spiritually when grace is preached. The last couple of days there have been other battles in my life - plans that I had made have not happened for one reason or another. I have tried listening to some of Rob Rufus messages from his archive but have been unable (as yet) to get my computer to open any of the files. Again I think that the enemy doesn't want me to hear grace, yesterday afternoon I sat at my craft desk which is right next to our computer and had the grace stream tv resounding round the study for a number of hours. This morning again I have had the grace stream tv on inbetween waiting on my husband (he's not well :-( )and doing things around the house - I am determined to get my brain and heart etc etc tuned in to being used to hearing about grace. I have been amazed at some of what I have heard. My pastor reminded me yesterday that I need to be praying that I would unlearn living in law and actually start praying that instead of the message of grace making me feel unwell that I need to ask the Lord to make the message of legalism detestable to me.
I need to surround myself with people that speak grace over me and I need to hear it and take it on board rather than living under guilt and condemnation because I haven't made the grade........ the journey for living free in grace isn't necessarily easy!!!!!