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Today we have a choice.

How do we live?

Broken or whole?

Ruined or restoring?

Shadow or light?

Today God invites you to walk a new road, into wholeness and restoration.

He is the God who rebuilds the ruins and reestablishes cities.  He makes all things beautiful in His time.

In this process, of wholeness and restoration, we must choose the yes.  We are active participants in change.  We partner with God in saying YES and by taking a hold of the future He promises.

We renew our mind, aligning our thoughts with His Words, His truth, His love.  We take captive any thought that seeks to keep us adrift from His love and purposes, that seeks to entrap us in ruin and brokenness.

The Word of God is the truth we should write on our hearts.

Anything that doesn’t ring with that revelation and love and rightness must be discarded and a new thought, a new way, a newness must be adopted and embraced.

It is often said, that as you think – so you will become.

What a promise filled statement.  What you think so you will become.  Do you see?  That means we are not “stuck” in today, in the broken spaces, in the ruins of our life.  We are not held prisoner by our fears and doubts, by our rejections and disappointments.   We do not need to live in the shadows.  We can be more.  We can be whole, free, transformed.

What we think – we will become.

Choose to think free.  Choose to think new.  Choose to think loved.  Choose to think whole.  Choose to let light in.

Life life through the filter of God’s truth and love for you and through you.

Allow Him to write line by line a new story on your heart.

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Yesterday we had what I affectionately call an “allergy adventure”.

It involved a couple of firsts for us.

First use of an epi pen.

Followed shortly by first trip in an ambulance for Evangeline.

Today I phoned my fabulous allergy nurse.  She has been a source not only of great wisdom and information but great encouragement.  After walking through what happened yesterday she encouraged me as a mother, as an allergy mother.  Well done, she said.  You did the right thing.  You were awesome.

It did my heart good.

Yet at the same time, I knew I had done the right thing and handled the situation in all the right ways.

We have walked through in our heads and in conversations and in the numerous allergy talks that I have given at school about keeping our friends safe what to do if it was a bad reaction.  The check list was front and centre in my mind.  In my head I had made the decisions already.  I had put myself in the situation in my imagination.

When push came to shove I was made for this.  I was ready.

It’s hard to say that.  And I hope it doesnt come across as a #humblebrag but I was made for this.

I was prepared.

What crisis are you prepared for?

What conversations do you have to have with yourself to be ready?

What decision do you have to make before the moment arrived?

For me the decision to administer the epi pen was easy because I knew the signs and I knew the consequences both good and bad.  Once the boxes were ticked in my mental list the decision was made.  I was prepared.  Ready.  Decided.

Are you ready?

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“Research assistants posed as jam suppliers and set up sampling tables at a gourmet store. In one condition of the experiment, six flavours of jam were available. On another condition, twenty-four flavours of jam were featured.”

This experiment proved to be an ideal method of understanding career choices. By giving the customers a variety of options, they noted how the quantity subconsciously affects the pattern of purchase more than the variety of options.

After laying out the choices, the researchers noticed that the twenty-four-flavour table have attracted more attention from the customers, but very few went on to purchase from the set. While, at the six-flavour set up, more customers were able to pick their choice easily and proceeded on buying a jar of jam.

Twentysomethings hear they are standing in front of a boundless array of choices. Being told they can do anything or go anywhere.

Based on the study, Meg Jay explains that one of the reasons we feel stuck on our dilemma is because of the overwhelming thought that we can do anything we want, if we want to. “Twentysomethings hear they are standing in front of a boundless array of choices. Being told they can do anything or go anywhere.”

But she elaborates that the idea of a ‘twenty-four-flavour table’ is just a myth. This much amount of options hardly exist even for those gifted with multiple talents. At best, each of us is choosing from our own six-flavour set.

So how do you begin to decide, really?

Well, “you’ve spent more than two decades shaping who you are. You have strengths, weaknesses, experiences, interests, diplomas, hang-ups and priorities…You’re standing in front of six flavours of jam and you know something about whether you prefer kiwi or black cherry.”

You’re standing in front of six flavours of jam and you know something about whether you prefer kiwi or black cherry.

Each bottle of jam represents bits and pieces of your ‘self’ reflecting your past, present and desired future. Choosing your options is merely just laying out the flavours of jam in your life and picking the one that tastes best for you. You can even go back to pick another variety next time.

from CHOOSING A CAREER IS LIKE PICKING A BOTTLE OF JAM by Dreamlist

and first read in Meg Jay’s book THE DEFINING DECADE

::: check out her TEDTalk HERE

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Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
But happy is he who keeps the law.  Proverbs 29:18

The flipside of this proverb is the principal and truth that when you have a vision for your life you cast ON restraint – you have discipline and sacrifice in order to focus towards your vision and goal.

Dreams take action.  Hours.  Energy.

Dreams need nurturing and stoking, like a fire.

Dreams require doing and intentionality. 

Intentional dreaming results in intentional living.  There are choices you will make, both yes and no choices, that will influence the success of your dream and the timing of living it out. 

Sometimes we need to say no to things.  The greater YES within us should keep the dream alight.  Yes to the dream means no to distractions, passivity and living on cruise control.

 

What choices do you need to make to achieve your dream?

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“Big things are built one brick at a time.

Victories are achieved one choice at a time.

A life well lived is chosen one day at a time.”

– Lysa TerKeurst

And again He entered Capernaum and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.  Mark 2:1-4

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Revival changes our life

 

There are so many renovation shows on tv at the moment – mitre 10 dream home, house rules, the block is coming back and if you flick through the tv guide there are probably a trillion more on a trillion other channels… this week tony and I watched house rules and there are 6 teams and they’re competing while renovated one of the other teams houses. So they’re renovating jemma and bens house and one by one each team who have all being assigned different rooms, or zones, are pulling up the floors to lay this gorgeous dark stained wooden floor…. Only to discover the house doesn’t have a concrete foundation but is laid on sand.

When Jesus is in the house sometimes things get pulled up and exposed, renovated and rearranged.

The paralytics friends ripped the roof of the house to get their friend in. They did a bit of DIY to make a new entrance. They uncovered the ceiling to allow miracles and forgiveness to flow.

 

Our God does not simply point to our sordid past and say “don’t live that way anymore.” No, our God cups our face in His nail scarred hands and says “my child, you don’t have to live that way anymore. You are free.” // Lori Wilhite

A changed life is a RESPONSE to the grace of God given to us. God doesn’t expect us to clean our life up first before He’ll accept us. We don’t whack up some new paint, get a fancy new makeover and then open the door welcoming Him in.

 

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

 

But our response to that is that we say YES to life change, that we say YES to His renovations, to things being rearranged and exposed and uncovered. We can rest in the fact that God not only won’t quit, but He’s holding our lives together & making us more like Jesus through it all.

There are times in our life when God supernaturally and sovereignly readjusts things in our lives – it can happen on an altar call, or in our bedroom, or at housegroup, wherever where BOOM you encounter God and know you walk away altered. And sometimes you have those altar moments or those times – actually every time you make time with God – and you don’t know how God is changing you but believe you me when you’re encountering God He is at work! But there are other times when we partner with God in the renovating. When we’re agreeing with Him and as Caleb said this morning, making intentional choices for change.

About 4 years ago Tony and I decided to renovate our toilet room. The wall paper had been peeling off and little fingers had helped it and it looked a mess. So we ripped all the paper off and that was about it. Since then we’ve done nothing. No sanding. No colour choosing. No painting. Every now and then I look at it and think, must do something about that. Sometimes its like that in our lives… God is putting His finger on something, stirring us, sometimes uncomfortably, towards change. But until we say YES and make intentional changes we’ve just got blank ugly walls…

 

King Josiah, in 2 Kings 23, is a man serious about revival and renovating. Chapter 23 is the most verb packed chapter I think I’ve ever read. He is serious about rearranging things in Israel so that God is followed and glorified.

He brought out

Removed

Burned

Ground idols to ashes

Threw the ashes into graveyards

Tore down

Broke down

Threw their dust into the desert

Defiled high places

Pulverised

Broke into pieces

Filled the idols places with bones

Put away

Now before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him did any arise like him. 2 Kings 23:25

Josiah was a man of revival.

There are things that God will uncover in your life that are uncomfortable. Trust issues. Stinking thinking. We might not have altars to false gods in the backyard or idols in the wardrobe but we do have to deal with what the bible describes as our old ways, with all its fears, anger, hostility, lying, lust, hate. Old ways. Old habits. The Old self.

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:8-10

He is calling you to change, to put on the new self. It would be like the paralysed man, now healed, able to walk, set free to dance, to experience life, to be well and to live life to the max, to carry round his stretcher all the time, or to remain lying on the mat.

There are things that God might be saying Pulverise that and scatter it to the wind. You don’t need to live that way anymore, you’re free. There are things that God might be saying rip out and remove, put away the thoughts of the past and the destructive behaviours – replace them with a new way of thinking, His way.

Our mind is conditioned by the world to respond and react in certain ways. In a way our mind is conditioned to look else where for the answer to every question we have in any other place than God.

YOLO.

If it feels good, do it.

It’s just a white lie.

It’s the way I’m wired.

Feeling lonely? Get a boyfriend / girlfriend / new husband / new wife

A lot of people turn to food or alcohol for comfort. Others spend all their time and energy pursuing romantic love. We can spin our lives around sex or physical pleasure or escapism. Money, fame and accomplishment call to us. They look like a pathway to our best life, but when we let them displace God, they stop being good things, and become our master. An idol in Josiah’s day was a physical altar or statue or “thing” but really an idol is anything that calls to us so strongly, that we’d rather respond to that call than to God. An idol is anything that replaces the authority and position that God wants in your life. It’s the thing your life revolves around. Those are the things we’ve got to knock down and get change in.

 

The bible calls it renewing your mind: Do not conform 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

 

Romans 12 goes on to give us some blueprints of what that renewed renovated life may look like:

V 3 – what do you think of yourself? Do you like yourself? Do you like yourself too much? The bible says that you were paid for by the life of Jesus – that’s the price tag on your life. That the creator of the universe, the sinless perfect amazing Son of God chose to come and live and die, for you.

V 4-5 we’re in a team, we belong. We’re no longer alone but in a family with a common mission

V 6-8 we have a purpose – you are not here by accident, but you’re here by design.

V9 – choose what is good. The NKJV which entitles this passage “behave like a christian” tells us to let go of the crappy behaviour.

V 10 – love each other like family. Be kind to each other. Treat each other like we’d like to be treated. It goes on to say be humble, listen and care, be authentic and stop stirring. Your feelings are indicators, not dictators, you have a choice to be renewed and renovated or to carry on living with a hole in the floor and a leak in the roof.

V 11 – stoke the fire: Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. CEV. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. NIV.

 

Sometimes the renovation occurs when we find ourselves in situations we can’t control, or where people are difficult, or situations require a ramping up of our trust levels… the rubber meets the road when tensions are high and you cant see where to put your next step.

Or when we’re convicted to live counter culture – not following the pattern of the world when it comes to dating, to marriage, to parenting, to honesty, to whatever.

 

Where we have to CHOOSE trust, CHOOSE purity, CHOOSE peace, CHOOSE kindness, CHOOSE compassion, CHOOSE peace, CHOOSE humility, CHOOSE understanding.

 

God has been working on me a long time. I am totally different to who I was when I was 16 and got saved. But I am still a work in progress and am grateful for the grace of God, and the grace of each of you.

 

Personal revival comes with a personal awareness of things that need to be changed – greater conviction, greater sensitivity to the world around us and the things that please or don’t please Jesus. And with that comes the awareness that we cannot change ourselves but that Jesus has done it all, that as we continue to say YES we’re allowing Him and more into our lives, to action that which He has made provision for. Remember, Jesus forgave the man’s sin FIRST. Before he could pick his mat up and walk and do anything, before he could change anything. Grace came first.

 

Jesus died for your sin. Your guilt. Your shame. Your crappy behaviour. Your bad attitude. Your indifference. Your control. Your hopelessness. Your anger. Change comes with when I say YES to God.

The paralytics friends knew they had to remove the roof to encounter Jesus.

What do you need to remove or renovate so that you are more open and close to Him? What is standing in your way?

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“Christianity is not a sprint but an endurance run. Therefore it is not how we start the race that counts, but how we complete it. How we finish is determined by the choices we make, and those are often formed by patterns we develop along the way.”
~ John Bevere

lately i was reading in psalm 101 where it encourages us to sing to God and to celebrate his kindness and justice and again i was reminded that this is an intentional thing we choose to do, not just on a sunday but between sundays, in the every day of our lives. every day and moment we can choose to celebrate God, to in our heart celebrate and confident and happy that God is king and just. when we are living in celebration, living with hearts that worship God, i find that we tend to be more full of faith and trust, as we are worshipping God and seeing Him and His good attributes and power, instead of our navel or the dust on the floor… ya hear me??? now i am not talking about being happy clappy all the time, unless of course that is the way that you choose to exprses it, but i am talking about that in every day and in every space and season that we make that choice to believe and act upon that belief that God is good and worthy and holy and glorious and trustworthy. lets be people who say I WILL CELEBRATE God. lets make it a lifestyle

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