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In Your presence there is freedom
In Your presence there is hope
In Your presence there is healing
Love restores me, I am whole
No matter how far I run
You are with me
No matter how far I fall
Your love is everlasting
Your kindness never ends
God You never leave me
Your presence goes before us
Your glory has no end
God You never leave me
In Your presence there is power
Through Your spirit, strength will rise
In Your presence there is mercy
And in Your presence I’m alive Read the rest of this entry »
firstly, i have to say i have always wanted hair like the chick in Brave. curls like that. colour perhaps not as red but more dark red. nice.
but secondly, brave is something i would like to be.
or rather i think i am, sometimes.
is that a contradiction?
or rather perhaps, my request is that i am more aware of Him, who makes me brave, who is within me, who rises up on the inside and fills me with fearlessness…
there are times when i face my giants and i am aware of His presence and hope
that carries me
there are times when i am riding a storm and i am aware of His presence and hope and grace
giving me peace
despite the waves and the wind swirling around me
there are times when i am curled in a foetal position, ear plugs in, aware of His presence and hope and grace and comfort
singing over me
bravery isn’t found in the quiet space or the sunny day
it is found in the midst of opposition and pain
on the darkest days filled with thunder
on the days when you scream out loud, or silently
brave can be meeting new people, trying new things, climbing new heights (or jumping off them!)
it is found on the days when you have to make difficult decisions and have difficult conversations
it is in tackling evil and indifference, it is in standing up for the weak and rising up for justice
it is in sacrifice and unsureness, trust and wisdom
it comes from having a history with God, seeing Him stand at His word, fulfilling His promises
it comes from wrestling bears and lions, staring giants in the eye, rudder to the storm
bravery comes from not knowing what to do next, but stepping out anyway
it comes from knowing that if God spoke it, He shall accomplish it
and that He uses vessels like you and me, ordinary people, to do extraordinary things
The chasm between talking about something & doing something about that thing is only bridged by a willingness to forsake comfort & ease. Our fundamental unwillingness to have our own plans, schedules, or balanced lives interrupted or inconvenienced is what limits us. ~ Christine Caine
@BestMovieLine "It’s an imperfect world, but it’s the only one we got." -Robert Downey Jr. ‘Iron Man’ 2008
@CharlGambill Don’t let guilt, mistakes, hurts keep you from the things of God. You are needed, forgiven & loved. Get back involved!
@ChristineCaine You are not what you did. Don’t define who you are by a season, action or event in your life. Define who you are by the word of God!
@biancaolthoff If we allow other people to tell us what we are and are not qualified to do, we will limit what God wants to do with us. You are qualified.
@PastorTullian Our sacrifices for God do not gain us God’s acceptance; God’s sacrifice for us in Jesus does.
@ElliotQuotes Lord God, give me the spirit of ‘numbered days,’ a spirit of wisdom and a sense of destiny. Let Thy beauty be upon me.
@JohnBevere We must not allow the allures of this world to deaden our resolve or our commitment to Christlikeness in all things.
@RonEdmondson Integrity in leadership…when who you claim to be is who you really are…
@timkellernyc Weep, trust, pray, think, shift, hope, grow. Ways to handle suffering.
@PaulTripp Biblical faith enables you to look huge difficulties in the face and not panic because you know the God you serve is much, much bigger.
@PuritanQuotes Let your words be the genuine picture of your heart. John Wesley
@nickygumbel Let your faith be less of a theory and more of a love affair.
@JeremyTreat5 God expresses his majesty most powerfully through his mercy.
@cmullinsmusic With God, there is hope even in the most hopeless situation.
"My God is not just Someone I believe in. He’s Someone I know. I’ve felt His presence. I’ve seen His activity. I’ve experienced His deliverance. I’ve been touched by His healing. I’ve witnessed answered prayer. I’ve heard Him speak straight to me through His Word. Yes, I believe.
But more than that, I know."
~ Beth Moore
***** notes from my preach this morning @ The River
The word of the Lord came to Jonah ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, ‘How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.’
Then the sailors said to each other, ‘Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.’ They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, ‘Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?’
He answered, ‘I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’
This terrified them and they asked, ‘What have you done?’ (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, ‘What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?’
‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea,’ he replied, ‘and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.’
Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried out to the Lord, ‘Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.’ Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Running From God
First lets all get on the same page here, we are all JONAH. We’ve shared his thoughts and we’ve made similar decisions. We’ve run from God, we’ve gotten angry at Him and we’ve chosen our own way.
He’s said one thing and we’ve done the opposite.
He’s said go and we’ve said no.
He’s said stop and we’ve put our fingers in our ears.
He has set the standard and we’ve compromised lower.
Let me tell you one thing I’ve learned, in my brief life, I may not understand WHY God is saying something, but He is God and I am not. His go has all of His eternal wisdom and insight behind it. His no has all of His eternal wisdom and insight behind it. God sees the big picture.
We may not have hopped on a boat to tarnish… but we all have our different escape routes…
But the good news is though Jonah ran from God, God never left Jonah
In a good way you can never escape the presence of God.
He loves you too greatly. His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ.
If you are saved, if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Saviour, He will never let you go. You may run for the hills and rebel and live in complete opposite to His ways, but He is your Father. He doesn’t unadopt His kids.
Now there is a lot of conjecture about whether it was it a fish or a whale that swallowed Jonah ? To me it doesn’t matter as it was in the right place at the right time. God provides a way where there seems none.
The whale was God’s rescue mission to save Jonah… Imagine the slush and the filth and the acid and the dead fish! The whale is like the worst worst worst case scenario you could be in. Now we know the end of the story, we know Jonah gets spat out and lands back on the beach… but Jonah has no idea of this. Any moment could be his last breath.
God has personal holiness programme. Our happiness is on His agenda too, God does want you to experience joy and peace and hope and life – but in within the boundaries He, our loving Father sets. He is at work shaping us to make us more like Jesus. Because He knows that is good for us, our best life. But we, even as Christians, forgiven, given a new life, transformed have this part within us that runs after things that will never satisfy, that are hurtful, that will only end in brokenness and heartbreak. And that includes trying harder. You know, everyone has their own distinctive running style. I saw a photo of my brother, who had done really well in a half marathon and I was “oh my goodness! He runs just like dad”! They have this arm thing they do that means I could spot dad from the finish line a couple of hundred metres away. We all run our own way. For some of us running from God involves getting into wild living, drugs, alcohol, partying, or into wrong relationships, serial dating, or into climbing the corporate ladder or blatant disobedience. Anything to fill the void. But sometimes running includes looking like a good church person on the outside but there is something not connected on the inside. I read this great quote last night:
“Why do people persist in their self-destructive behaviour, ignoring the blatant fact that what they’ve been doing for many years hasn’t solved their problems? They think that they need to do it even more fervently or frequently, as if they were doing the right thing but simply had to try even harder.”
Instead of running FROM God we need to RUN to God.
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you.” Jonah 2
So how do we stop running?
1. STOP: Like Jonah we’ve got to stop – and acknowledge that we’re running. We’ve got to put our hand up and get real. This is an open invitation. You might be 3 steps out the door, 3 miles down the road, 3 days in the belly of a whale. But the invitation is there. Our God is compassionate and merciful.
Let me tell you, you are never too far away from God. Jonah was in the belly of a whale. He had run as far as you could away from the will of God. He was a prophet – his job was to hear from God and he stuck his fingers in his ears and rebelled.
2. IDENTIFY: Jonah was identified by lot as the cause of the massive storm. And then he gave answer to the sailors questions. What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?’ They asked. Jonah answered, ‘I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.’ This terrified them and they asked, ‘What have you done?’ (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.) Just as Jonah identified what the problem was, we identify the running behaviour and contributing factors. Identify what it is standing in the way of your obedience. Then kill it.
Is there rebellion in our life? Disobedience? Are we living more into the shadows than in the light? Are we skipping church? Are we avoiding certain people? Ie caller id
But again more importantly, identify what God says about you – you’re His beloved child, He has a plan and a purpose for you, His mercies never fail, nothing can separate us from His love.
3. CHANGE: We’ve got to change that behaviour, repent, make a lifestyle change, make relational changes, do whatever needs to be done to get back on the right road. The sailors asked Jonah what they should do. Now, most of us will not have such a drastic response such as “toss me in the sea” but we may have to make some radical changes to realign ourselves with the purposes and will of God.
And let me tell you, its worth it. Its worth it to walk with God, it’s worth it to follow His ways, its worth it to be in relationship with Him. Somewhere along the way we’ve dumbed God down to an lifestyle optional extra – full cream, extra sugar and Jesus please. But wow, we can have relationship with God! Jesus died on the cross to set us free from guilt and open the door to supernatural reality and connection with the amazing creator of the universe! That’s like winning every jackpot of every lotto in every country every day of the week plus infinity plus one.
From what I have learned in life if I put anything up on a scale vs God – God wins every time.
Who knows what we might be missing by running from what could very well be God’s means of steering us towards the most magnificent outcome of our lives. Priscilla Shirer
When GOD Ran
In Luke 15 Jesus tells the story of a man who has two sons. The younger son asks his father to give him his portion of the family estate as an early inheritance. Once received, the son promptly sets off on a long journey to a distant land and begins to waste his fortune on wild living. When the money runs out, a severe famine hits the country and the son finds himself in dire circumstances. He takes a job feeding pigs. He is so destitute that he even longs to eat the food assigned to the pigs.
The young man finally comes to his senses, remembering his father. In humility, he recognizes his foolishness, decides to return to his father and ask for forgiveness and mercy. The father who had been watching and waiting, receives his son back with open arms of compassion. He is overjoyed by the return of his lost son! Immediately the father turns to his servants and asks them to prepare a giant feast in celebration.
So the younger son goes off, parties it up, looses it all. So he decides, at his lowest, the whale belly moment so to speak, that he will return home. He stops running and identifies what the problem is and makes a change to put things right with his father.
He leaves the pig pen and begins the journey home. One step at a time. Bracing himself for whatever he would receive when he got home. He left in style, he arrives, in sty.
But watch what happens when he comes in sight. His Father is there, watching from afar. He is keeping a lookout for his son. He hasn’t given up. While the son was a long way off, his father saw him coming. And he ran.
Now we think, that’s nice. The father ran.
But put it in a cultural context here. Middle Eastern men didn’t run. Especially middle aged Middle Eastern men. Ever. It was undignified. Unacceptable. But this father ran.
It says so much about the love the father felt for his son. Extravagant lavish love, so much so that he ran, he forgot about his social standing and social rules and expressed with his whole self how glad he was his son was home.
He saw his son, was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms round him and kissed him. He bear hugs him. Everything he does speaks love.
Remember, the son left in style, but arrived back weary, dirty. He is malnourished. Probably ill looking. Smelling of pigs. Smelling of sweat. He hasn’t probably washed in at least a week, and I’m being generous. He would have slept on the ground. No morning hygiene routine. No toothpaste! He has walked from wherever to here. His feet would reek and you might not even be able to tell what colour his skin is by the ground in layers of dirt.
Yet his father looks beyond that and sees his son and cant get close enough to him. He kisses the dirt. He kisses the stinky son.
Oh and then the son remembers his speech. The one that he has rehearsed in his head with every step closer to home.
Father, I’ve messed up, I’m no longer worthy to be your son…” midspeech his dad stops him.
Worthy? Worthy? Stop right there!
We have 2 kids, Caleb aged 11 and Evangeline aged 7. They’re great kids. But there is never a time we’d disown them. As soon as they were “there” inside me, they were mine and I was their mum. We share blood and dna that can never be extracted. Sure we’d like them to be good kids and grow into great adults and live a life pleasing to God and us but the reality is, they’re our kids. They’re McLean’s whether they like it or not.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says “for by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Being a child of God is not based on our performance but upon what Jesus did on the cross.
My worthiness isn’t based on anything I can earn or do. I have nothing to boast about apart from the grace and mercy of God, demonstrated in Jesus upon the cross, that while I was still rebellious and running away, Jesus died for me to rescue me.
We are all that son. We are all like Jonah. We have run away from God. We have ignored Him and rebelled against Him. But the invitation of God is to come home. And there He is, watching from afar, filled with compassion, ready to run.
For me that moment happened 20 years go. On Wednesday I celebrated 20 years as a Christian.
I grew up in what could be called a semi religious home. my mum took us to the catholic church. i made my first communion and confirmation. my dad stayed at home and cooked amazing roast lunches. i DID really want to know God though and there are several experiences that i know have shaped my faith, expression and relationship with God from childhood but church was boring and irrelevant. In saying that I follow the new pope on twitter and he says some awesome stuff about Jesus!
In early teens though I decided that God must not be real, as He didn’t seem to be “there” – so I figured I would live my life without the “hassle” of thinking about Him and “His laws” (very catholic way of thinking) and so did that. i chose to live my own life my own way.
Our family moved quite a bit and when I was 15 we moved from Gore (the 5th place I’d lived already)… where I went from a 300 student co-ed school to Blenheim, where I had to go to a 1000+ all girls school! Talk about freak out! It was major culture shock! one of my new friends then casually asked me during classics class if i would like to go to youth group with her. I went along with her one night for one reason and one reason only. There were boys there! Great reason for going to youth group eh lol!
Anyway on that first night someone PRAYED and I KNEW God was REAL and I knew I wanted to know Him. i had seen people pray my whole life when i went to church with mum – and this was like it was real, and that he was really talking to a real God, that i could know, not far away, but near and personal, and not grumpy and angry, but loving and filled with grace.
so i went along to easter camp and i think for the first time heard clearly about who Jesus is and why he died on the cross and that you could have peace with God, peace on the inside.
i went forward when they asked if anyone would like to give their lives to God and had what can only be called a supernatural experience. i felt God. i felt a warmth and a heat that couldnt be explained by the room i was in. i felt happy and peace. i felt loved. i knew that i had crossed a line, that 10 minutes before i was not a christian but then all of a sudden i was.
God loves you. Just as He ran towards me, He runs towards you.
Running WITH God: Perspective
Jonah ran because had a different perspective from God. When God called Jonah to preach to Ninevah Jonah disagreed with God’s perspective.
A bit of background: NINEVEH was the famous capital of ancient Assyria in seventh century BC, a economic and trade hub for the Assyrian empire. Its ruins can be found in modern day iraq. It was also famous in the ancient world because it was a centre for the worship of Ishtar (Astarte) the fertility goddess. The Assyrians brought many scientific, philosophical and practical advances to humanity including many inventions that we take for granted today. Everyday most of us lock our doors when we leave the house, locks and keys were invented in Assyria. They also invented a system that kept time and ascribed 360 degrees to a circle. They are given credit for inventing paved roads, the first postal system, the first use of iron, the first libraries, the first plumbing, flush toilets and aqueducts.
Jonah saw Nineveh as a barbaric terrorist state – the Assyrians were their worst enemy – but God looked at Nineveh and marked them for repentance and salvation.
Just as in Hosea 1 it says about the people of Israel – In the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people”, they will be called “children of the living God”. Hosea 1:10
In a way Jonah looked at Nineveh and said THEY ARE NOT MY PEOPLE. That’s not my calling! They are not my target demographic! I don’t relate to them! I have nothing in common with them! I am not going to THEM!
No darkness is too dark for God to shine His light in.
God calls things differently than you call them because He sees things differently than you see them.
Are you seeing your situation the way God does?
What is God’s perspective on your past? Do you see yourself the same way?
What does God say about your workplace? You are positioned there to be salt and light
When you’re screaming hopeless can you hear the heartbeat of God declaring hope?
What is God saying about your family? What strategy has He given you to repair your marriage?
Who or what is your Ninevah?
Will you let your perspective line up with Gods… and then what will you do about that?
Recalibrating . . . My eyes to His vision, my ears to His speaking, my heart to His heart’s beating.
So what do you do when God calls you and everything within you screams RUN in the opposite direction?
1. STOP. I saw a funny picture the other day on facebook, and I’m not sure if its true or not, in my vast experience of facing off against wild bears in the wild, but it was of a guy playing dead on the ground when a big brown bear is sniffing around him. Like I said, no experience bear hunting, so I googled. And yes. If faced with a bear in the wild, apart from all the obvious things like STAY AWAY, you should lie facedown, to protect all your vital parts and protecting your neck with your hands laced behind the neck. Apparently the bear will think you’re not fresh and walk away. There you go, you learned something. But, segway here, when faced with the freak out moments from God we should stop.
Stop and breathe.
Stop and remember who God is. Big. Powerful. Creative.
Stop and remember who we are. Called by God. Children of God. Anointed by God. Appointed by God.
Stop and remember His promises and that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
2. IDENTIFY. Indentify what it is that is freaking you out. Fight the fear and respond with faith.
“Instead of hiding from the world or being overwhelmed by the evil of it, we need to strengthen our spiritual cores and trust in the power of the spirit at work in us.” Christine Caine
My dad is a runner. He would run marathons all the time. He would take every Wednesday afternoon off, and run. For fun. He explained to me what the phrase hitting the wall meant after one run. You get to a certain milage and then boom. You feel like you’re going to puke. Or die. Or both. Your legs hurt. Your arms hurt. Your neck hurts. You want to give up. At that moment you could choose to pull out of the race… or keep going. You know you just have to push through a little bit more and then boom, second wind. I asked him what would get him through the wall? His reply was very insightful. “I did what I knew I could do. Run. One step at a time. And I knew the end wasn’t far away.” He identified what he could do and what the purpose of each step was.
You are in a race. I sometimes have jillian Michaels, from the biggest loser, as my life coach on my shoulder. “unless you faint, puke or die, then keep going!”
I love what lois said last week Don’t tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is. My God is the one who said “peace” and the storm stopped. My God is the one who made the wind and the water in the first place! When David faced off against Goliath he couldn’t believe that no one had stood up to this measly teeny tiny giant up till then. David said in 1 Samuel 17:45 “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel” Identify God’s perspective. Change. Change the behaviour from flight to fight. Step out in faith. Step out of the boat. Pick up your slingshot. Face towards Nineveh. If God has called you to slay giants He will make you a giant killer. Trust God. Trust God. Trust God. Brennan Manning says “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God.” Let this be your identity. Let this inspire you to run with God. God’s perspective of you is that you are His child. That means you carry the mission of a child of God and the authority of a child of God. Greater is HE in you than he that is in the world.
3. CHANGE. Here are 3 questions we can ask ourselves – questions to propel us into change and action.
#1 – What is the next step we need to take in order to stay in step with the vision the Lord has given us?
#2 – Are there any obvious problems that we are trying to deny that simply need to be dealt with? (There are some things you cannot “pray away!”)
#3 – What if you truly began to believe and live like you were created, positioned, empowered called by God to?
Wherever you are today, God loves you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life. He invites you to run with Him. He invites us to stop running and to say Yes to Him.
God is faithful.
God is true.
God will never let you down.
Take heart today, let faith arise
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
the most powerful thing i’ve read
and you know
what strikes me
is i have no problem believing and accepting and receiving the first 7 lines
help me to have faith in line 8, jesus
By His stripes we are healed.
your love amazes me
though i search to know its depths, i know it is more vast than i can comprehend
so i rest in it
i dwell in it
i find hope it
i trust in it
that you love me, simple
you love me.
i give up my way, my earning, my striving, my working, my running
i can do nothing, but respond, but receive, but rest
i will call upon your name
believe in your grace
i will rest
at peace with God
that you love me, simple
you love me.
i feel sometimes that i live my life
holding your hand
walking ever closer with you
i need you
i need your love
i’m grateful i don’t have to earn it, and it is forever
because even in my failings you love me
you love me, simple
you love me.
So, let’s do this thing. Let’s write.
Set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.