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Taize-Silence

Have you ever had that moment, you’re on the phone, having a great conversation, sharing your heart and then you realize it’s really quiet on the other end.  The mmms and ahhas have stopped and there isn’t even any background noise.  Silence.  Disconnection.

Doesn’t it sometimes feel like that with God.  You’re talking away, sharing your heart and then you wonder if there really is someone on the other end of the line.

 

Hello?  God are you there?

 

David felt like this.

In numerous psalms he cries out “God do not be silent to me!”

Psalm 28:1-2 says:

To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock:

Do not be silent to me,

Lest, if You are silent to me,

I become like those who go down to the pit.

Hear the voice of my supplications

When I cry to You,

When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.

 

And like he says: When God is silent it’s the pits.

We wonder what has caused the disconnection.  What went wrong?  Was it something I said?  Something I did.  Someone I am?

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Faith is the only currency accepted in the Kingdom of heaven. The church has often courted the wealthy and powerful but in God’s kingdom the truly great are those “poor in the eyes of the world (but) rich in faith” (James 2:5). They are God’s somebodies. He has big business to transact but only with believers. His purposes are rather greater than those of politicians. When God wrote a roll of honour He never mentioned one king or an emperor. Every golden name was a man or woman made famous by faith. (Hebrews 11). Believers are God’s begotten children. The natural abilities of these men and women were not the qualities of greatness. They were ordinary people. Only faith made them extraordinary. “By faith the elders received a good report” – nothing else. Faith is the new notation from which they composed songs of triumph no one else could sing…. Jesus said “only believe”. Reinhard Bonnke

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there are defining moments in each of our lives that put us at a fork in the road.

the choice is faith or fear.

the choice is faith or freaking out.

the choice is trust or tragedy.

in those moments we have grace to choose God, to choose faith, trust and hope.

 

two such moments we faced were when my husband was made redundant and i was reminded of these moments reaching a blog post by Rick Theule – I Was Fired where he shares his own experience of being let go from a job, the worst day and the best day of his life.

 

my awesome hubby has being made redundant twice – we have sacrificed so i can be a SAHM.  on the first time he was made redundant there were rumours and then we found out in a meeting that i was invited to, on the day that we then gave birth to our 2nd child.  evangeline faith was born.  yes, i had a baby on the day my husband was made redundant.  in a way it was a brilliant distraction for both of us and within 3 weeks my hubby had a new job.

the 2nd time he was made redundant though we had our freak out moments (as we did too with the first, we were just in new baby bliss), we also knew that i wasnt having a baby that day or any time soon and if we could do it back then, we could do it again.   i threw on a cd that a friend had just given me and let the words wash over me, reminding me that God is good, God is great, i can trust Him, all my hope is in Him.  my hubby had been looking for a job, knowing the company was dwindling, for about 6 months before that redundancy and had had no replies, no interest, no responses.  that day, as i listened to a song about the goodness of God he rung me… and had a job interview.  the day he got made redundant he got an opportunity.

they were the worst days, and best days of our life.

defining moments.

these moments are moments of trust, growth, hope.  even joy yes, if you allow them to.

 

how do you choose faith?

1.  KNOW the promises of God – aka read your bible regularly so that when its hammer time that you KNOW them and have the promises at your fingertips, and most importantly, in your heart

2.  WORSHIP God and remind yourself of His goodness and greatness.  Let worship remind you of the truth our feelings forget

3.  FIGHT fear with faith.  Have a truth that counters any fear that comes into your mind

4.  SURROUND yourself with good people who will practically help but purposefully pray for you

5.  PREPARE to walk through circumstances with grace and faith – take practical steps if need be

6.  RESIST the temptation to fully freak out.  freaking out momentarily is okay, but don’t let that control who you are

7.  RESPOND don’t react

 

what will you chose today?

what fork in the road have you stood at?

how did you chose?

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The heart is capable of responding to things the mind can’t yet perceive. Bill Johnson

Faith isn’t passive – and sometimes it contends against the mind and flesh and lies – it  smacks up against the lie of the enemy, the lie of the world that doesn’t even believe that God is real, and the lie of our flesh.  It contends for the promises of God.

Faith sometimes inst understood in our mind – our mind tries to rationalize it away (Martha – but, he stinkith – in regards to Lazarus been buried in the tomb for 4 days and Jesus command to roll the stone away!) but faith is RIGHT.

We need to renew our mind and align it with the truth of God in the Word, and then hold to it. 

As we renew our mind it gets easier in some manner to discern the direction and leading of God because we know His heart and His ways and His promises. 

Faith refuses the lie and believes the truth and promise of God.

 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  2 Corinthians 1:20

Faith overcomes fear.  It punches fear in the face!  Fear looks but faith jumps! 

Faith overrides the mind and its fears and what ifs and buts! 

It acts and just does. 

It believes that God is bigger than the circumstances and that His promises are sure.  It believes that nothing is impossible for God.  With God all things are possible.  With God all the promises are YES in Christ Jesus!

 

which voice are we going to listen to?

the doubting voice of fear?

the old nature that died?

Or are we going to believe God who has proven Himself sure and true and right and all powerful – Creator of the universe, who breathed out the stars and has all the power and is the first and the last and who was and is and is to come?

 

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

“It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. The faith that changes the life and connects to God is best conveyed by the word “trust”. Imagine you are on a high cliff and you lose your footing and begin to fall. Just beside you as you fall is a branch sticking out of the very edge of the cliff. It is your only hope and it is more than strong enough to support your weight. How can it save you? If your mind is filled with intellectual certainty that the branch can support you, but you don’t actually reach out and grab it, you are lost. If your mind is instead filled with doubts and uncertainty that the branch can hold you, but you reach out and grab it anyway, you will be saved. Why? It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. Strong faith in a weak branch is fatally inferior to weak faith in a strong branch”   — Timothy Keller

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My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

james 1:2-5  NIV

 

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.

You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.

So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.

james 1:2-5  MSG

 

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.

Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. 

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

james 1:2-5  AMP

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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:3-7

God will eventually test you in all areas of your life, but He will not let your trials become greater than you can bear. Let God use trails to help you grow. Do not try to measure your progress, your strength, or what God is doing. His work is not less efficient because what He is doing is invisible. God does not transform you on a bed of light, life and grace. His transformation is done on the cross in darkness, poverty and death. Francis Fenelon in 100 days in the secret place

 

I think what strikes me most about this quote by francis fenelon is the call to NOT BE DISCOURAGED that rings behind the words.

Growing as a Christian can sometimes be hard. We think we should be “past” this, and are surprised we still react with anger/fear/insecurity/envy/pride etc.   In a way we’re like an onion… as Shrek would say… with many layers…  and it takes time and experiences to remove those layers as we grow. 

There is no magic click your fingers and you’re perfect switcharoonie when we get saved.  we get saved and then we get transformed.

We can struggle against the work of God to refine us and make as us pure gold.  We can struggle against God’s work in us of transformation.    Sometimes we don’t mean to, i mean we all pray that God would work in our lives, but when we go through life experience and hard times, our soul resists.  our natural default leans towards wanting ease, not character formation in all its process. 

its not fun to suffer and go through difficult times.  its not fun to have relationships strained, or work environments uncomfortable.  its not fun to be ill or to have financial issues.   its not fun to have unexpected pain.   but these are some of the invisible tools of God.   joseph’s time in prison.  jacob’s time serving his uncle laban.  peter’s denial of Christ.   Paul’s beatings and arrests.   Daniel’s exile.  Esther’s predicament.    David in hiding from Saul who wanted to kill him.  Hannah’s barrenness.  mary and Martha’s brother dying….   all painful experiences.  all times of suffering.  all used by God for transformation and glory.  would all those people be who they “are today” without those experiences?  would they have risen to be so used in the kingdom of God without those experiences?  would their character have formed on other easier roads?

 

"God often uses our challenges as stepping stones to the higher purposes of God." – James Robison

Proverbs 17:3 The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, but God tries the hearts.

The work of God in our hearts is in secret. He uses all types of situations good and bad to shape us. He uses all types of people to give us life experiences that will form the character of His Son Jesus within our hearts. He roots out our secret desires (sins…) and plants good things instead. He forms new habits and new characteristics that resemble Jesus.  as we continue to choose jesus, to choose His ways above our own desires and leanings, as we surrender, we are transformed. 

This all takes time.

We have a lifetime ahead of us.

"If we can know the beauty God is forming in us, we can bear the pain He allows in our lives." – James Robison

Most of us (ME) want it done NOW… we want to be perfect NOW… but experience and life lessons take time to LIVE and learn… I love how Romans 5 in my bible says the word EXPERIENCE instead of perseverance or endurance. Life is lived in experience. If you breathe you are experiencing. If you are experiencing you are been shaped by God.

 

 

And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience, and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. Romans 5:3-4

 

We can have hope and confidence that God “knows what he is doing”.

He knows us inside and out, how many hairs we have on our head and how many hairs we have on our toes.

We can rest completely in the security that even though we face hard times and are refined in the FIRE that God is with us and working in our lives.

Hard times are NOT in vain, they have a purpose.

Good times are not in vain, they have a purpose.

Trust God in good times and hard times, and pray and let Him have His way.

Surrender and let him work his beauty through your life.

Ask Him to shape and mould.

Do not be discouraged. God is changing you!

He is the Creator of the Universe, God Almighty. His love is everlasting and his mercy stretches our sins from the east to the west, just as the arms of His perfect Son stretched on the cross for our salvation.

Do not be discouraged. Take courage in the knowledge that God is a good God, all the time He is good.

what is the motivating hope that peter talked about – the “In this you greatly rejoice”? – it is salvation and grace, eternity – the reality that we were lost but now are found, that we were far away from God but now are near, innocent, holy, accepted.

 

 

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  1 Peter 1:3-5  NIV

By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time.  AMP

God is so good, and by raising Jesus from death, he has given us new life and a hope that lives on.  God has something stored up for you in heaven, where it will never decay or be ruined or disappear.  You have faith in God, whose power will protect you until the last day  CEV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  NKJV

*** church notes from this morning with pastor peter preaching @ The River

 

 

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Matthew 17: 1- jesus transfigured

They have an amazing encounter with God at the top of the mountain, them they come down and meet the disciples praying for a demon possessed biy with no success

V20 speak to the mountain

We need faith
Jesus wants to help us build our faith
Faith and expectation = same thong
God wants to increase our expectations

Our lives are a training ground and God is actively building faith through difficulties

1 if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can speak to the mountain

Joshua was small vs jericho
Davis vs goliath
Gideon vs midianites
Moses vs red sea

Faith speaks TO the mountain
Doubt speaks about the mountain

Mountains only move when you speak TO the mountain

No limitations on what kinds of mountains we can speak to incl mountains that are consequences of sin, self created crisis

Jesus doesn’t tell us to moan about to analyise the mountain but to speak to it

Some mountains are easy to move but some mountains need more speaking and persistent prayer

Keep on speaking until they move

Instruction 1: speak to the mountain
Instruction 2: if the mountain doesn’t move refer to instruction 1 and repeat

Our job is to speak – its God who MOVES the mountain

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Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

 

the word or concept of “gift” communicates the idea of no obligation, no paying back, no strings attached

think of kids and how they receive gifts on Christmas day – joyfully, openly, willingly, with no compulsion to pay the gift back

 

what do we do to try and repay God’s free gift?

being good and nice

not swearing

trying hard to be a good christian

helping others

* yeah how pathetic is this list!

 

but remember, none of those things sway the balance of God’s grace towards us.  there is no amount of helping or being nice that can earn the love of God.  it is a gift.   realizing it that God’s love and grace are a gift lifts the burden of “doing” off us, freeing us up to respond, willingly, to receive His love.  it washes over performance anxiety and takes us into relationship.  the gift of God’s grace is such an undoing concept.  there is nothing i can do to rescue myself or improve myself, but Jesus loves me regardless and died to set me free and restore me.

 

Romans 5:15-16 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God

 

 

Why do we typically feel the need to earn someone’s gift to us, or at least pay him or her back for it somehow?

What’s God telling you today about His free gift in Jesus?

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"in the future you will walk out in the fruit of your faithfulness" kim walker smith

 

finding your devo time hard, stuck in Leviticus?

KEEP GOING and KEEP COMING BEFORE GOD – keep being faithful and storing His Word in your spirit – because one day you’ll walk out in the fruit of your faithfulness…..

as we draw near to God, he draws near to us, this is his promise – James 4:8

sometimes we can feel our quiet times, our personal devotional time, that it doesn’t have any significance.  we come and read the Word, we come and pray and worship and talk to God but sometimes it doesn’t feel like we’re connecting much.  sometimes we really feel His presence and encounter Him and He speaks, but other times it can seem like He is silent and that we’re just reading and not being transformed spiritually. 

We live by faith though, not feelings, not by sight. 

each time we come and spend time with God matters, for us and to Him.

as we are faithful our relationship with Him grows.

one day we will walk and live out the fruit of our faithfulness.  we will live in the fruit that comes from spending time in the Word, in spending time in prayer, in spending time in worship. 

our quiet times are not waste times, they’re not dead space.

when He speaks something comes alive in us – His Words bring life to our spirit.  They water our soul.  They satisfy our heart.  They bring strength and hope to our lives.  They guide us and help us to navigate temptation and the war waging in our flesh. 

God is speaking always in our quiet times, and in a way – its like our spirit IS receiving His word in even the “dull times” and the times when He seems quiet and there is no great revelation and no great power.

don’t give up.

don’t give up.

don’t give up.

the time you spend with God matters.

and it matters because HE loves to have that time with YOU.

you are His beloved child.

He delights in YOUR presence, as a Father delights in their child.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

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