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i sometimes ask myself why am i so forcefully drawn and magnetically drawn to jesus – what is it that makes me unsatisfied with religion (and in fact if Jesus wasnt who he is and so real and personal i wouldnt be a christian!) and seeking for relationship….

his compassion
his glory
his love
his beauty
his comfort
his normalness
his humility (philippians 2:5-11)
his wisdom
his mercy
his acceptance
his leadership
his faith
he knows me
he knows me yet he loves me
he calls me
he believes in me for good
he never fails
he never gives up
he is with me
he is with me always
he is with me in the flood and fire
he gave his life for me
he lived his life for me
he lives even now for me
he prays for me
his goodness
his greatness
his knows what to say to the right people-ness
his cut thru the crud-ness
his stand-against-forces-of-evil-ness
his determination
his restorationness
his power
he can do it
he has done it
he will do it
you can trust him
you can talk to him
you find answers with him
you find hope with him
he is the way
he is always honest
he cares
he serves
he laughs

everything Jesus is amazes me. he is the everlasting lord and king, he is the shepherd of my soul, the one who walks beside me, the one who lives within me, the one who died for me that i might live.

can you not be drawn to one so amazing? can you not want to live and know all you can about him? is this not more real than any ritual or form? Jesus is the alpha and the omega, the first and last, the coming king, the lamb of God.

i am his and he is mine…

All around us Christians are seeking to convert the lost to Jesus.  What is the best way to do this?  And once men having been converted, what is the best way to aid them in attaining full perfection in Christ?

The way to reach the lost is to reach them by the heart..  If a new convert were introduced to  real prayer  and to a true inward experience of Christ as soon as he became converted you would see countless numbers of converts go on to become true disciples.

Burdening the new Christian with countless rules and all sorts of standards does not help him grow in Christ.  Here is what should be done:  The new Christian should be led to God!

How!

By learning to turn within to Jesus and by giving the Lord his whole heart.  If you are one of those in charge of new believers, lead them to a real real inner knowledge of Jesus.  Oh what a difference there would be in the lives of those new Christians!

Or a new Christian, for all of us in fact , the heart is all important if we are to go forward in Christ.  Once the heart has been gained by God, everything else will eventually take care of itself.


Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

I can relate to this both by experience and by theological thought.  My own experience as a new Christian in 1993, and since then, was that my heart was won first and then once I was captivated by God it meant that he ruled and reigned and by love could correct me and change me and change the outward things that I was doing.  I didn’t know what a Christian should and shouldn’t be doing.  But God showed me bit by bit and revealed his heart to me and thus my desire was to follow and obey.

I think it is really important for new Christians to really encounter God.  Not rules.  Not church.  But the one true living God who loves them and knows them and saved them.

New Christians don’t need to have their brains filled up with head knowledge, they need to develop trust and faith in God.  They don’t need to know the meaning of the 3rd toe on the left foot of the beast, just that God is mighty and able to save and that he has a plan and purpose and works His good in all things.  They need to know that when they pray God hears them and works in their life.   There are complex things in christianity.  God doesn’;t heal always because he is working the big picture.  God sometimes says no as his answer to prayer.  Life is hard and God uses experience to produce hope and faith and good things in our lives.  Being a Christian and knowing God isn’t happy happy joy joy all the time.  BUT do new Christians need the weight of all the negativity that older Christians sometimes have about such things.  Nope.  They need the truth in love and light and hope.

They need the opportunity to discover for themselves the complexity of the plans of God, but aalso how he is always GOOD and GREAT.  They need to know that sometimes the answer is no, but that God always is with them and walks through the fire and flames with them.

When our hearts are devoted to God obeying Him is easier.  All of us need to stir our hearts to love towards God, keeping the love fresh and real.

You cannot give place to the world, to your passions or your laziness. Words are not enough to claim the kingdom of God. It takes strength and courage and violence. You must violently resist the tides of the world. Violently give up all that holds you back from God. Violently turn your will over to God to do His will alone. This violence is what I pray you will come to know, for how else will you know anything of the life of the Lord Jesus? Fenelon from 100 days in the secret place

The violence that Francis Fenelon is talking about in this above quote is not about arrogant rough hit and punch violence. It is the passionate pursuit of ones goals – in our case – the Kingdom of God. With force and decision and resolve we must resist the desires of the flesh and hold onto the course before us – the narrow path of holiness and surrender. It takes guts to follow Christ. Jesus himself said:

Matthew 16:24-25 If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it.

Sometimes following Jesus isnt all happiness and roses… it is loneliness and suffering, discipline and sacrifice. There are times when God works on our character that just arent pleasant… when we feel like we are walking through the fire and flame, and feel like we are walking those paths alone. God seems distant and prayers unanswered.

Take hope in the words of the Bible, that say that God IS with us through the fire and the flame (Isaiah 43) and that He does hear our prayers always.

1Peter 1:6-7 in which you greatly rejoice, yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold temptations; so that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than that of gold that perishes, but being proven through fire) might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

Our faith is regarded as being much more precious than gold to God. It does go through the fire of refinement as we are shaped into the character of Jesus.

We must be committed to following God, to allowing His way in our lives and to walking one step at a time forward. We must be committed to making God-decisions, not just good ones, and to rejecting the things we must reject. No one ever said it would be easy, just worth it. Eternally.

“there is nothing better than knowing we’ve been redeemed”

there is nothing better than knowing we belong to God, that we are part of his family, that we are forgiven and clean and righteous. there is nothing better than knowing we are loved and liked and secure with God. and the awesome thing is we can be assured and confident in being saved and knowing God. we can be confident of his everlasting love and grace.

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10

“When you stand the tall trees and mountains bow
When you speak the fiercest of oceans is still”

God is almighty! he sees all and knows all and is full of love and compassion. he is interactive and personal in our lives, near – not far away. creation sees and shouts of his glory – the heavens declare the creativity and wonderfulness of God. i look at creation and i see a creative God who has the universe in his hands. i see how he cares for the sparrow, the flower, the fruit bat, the zebra, the goldfish, the house cat, the seagull, the spider, the tiger… i see how he cares for his creations and know that he cares for me above all others and that i am loved and precious to Him. and so i trust Him.

“I will take up my cross and follow Lord where you lead me”

so how do we respond to this awseome God? how then shall we live? in worship and surrender. obeying God. learning about Him. knowing Him. we should live our lives to please Him, to know Him and make Him known.

its good to have a time when we determine to sit down and connect with God, reading our bibles and praying.  some call it a quiet time.  others personal devotions.  whatever it is labelled really it is just teh practice of spending time with God, learning about Him and relating to him.

in our church we are teaching people HOW TO have sucess in having “quiet times” (to label it) – giving keys and strategies and taking it past a boring ritual that gets dissed into a vibrant, living relationship building “thing”

Reading The Bible:

“we’re not reading for everything… we’re looking for the One Thing” = Illumination

we’re not wanting to absorb or learn everythign in a passage, we are wanting to hear God through his Word as he challenges, encourages, teaches, corrects, guides and speaks to us.  we want to find the one thing that jumps out at us.

we then:

believe – believe this is the Word of God and that means it is truth

chew it – think about it, ponder it, dwell on it etc

pray it – talk to God about it

do it – live it out!

Why i read my Bible

  • Know God
  • Know His ways
  • Know His promises
  • Know His will
  • Know Him
  • It has the answers for life and godliness
  • To have an answer for what i believe ( and to be able to communicate that to those who are lost or those who are in other faiths who want to try and cause me to doubt and change )

The Word of God is both an OFFENSIVE and DEFENSIVE weapon

Above all, taking the shield of faith you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy…  And take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God… Ephesians 6:16-17

The Word of God is both an OFFENSIVE and DEFENSIVE weapon

The Word of God builds our faith which we use to defend – because we trust in the Almighty God and His power to keep and save us

The Word of God is used as an attack weapon to speak the truth into a situation and to declare the will and power of God

Lets get practical:

have a plan

Bible
Pen
Journal/paper/laptop…. etc

When & Where?

Early in the morning, lunch time, night time, after school, before school, “smoko time”, in bed, at the table, on the sofa, at the beach….

= the important thing is the Nike Principal – JUST DO IT!

You can read and pray any time….
BUT
Find somewhere without distraction
where you can REALLY connect with God

I was reading again in 2 Corinthains today and came across this wee snipit. I love how you can read the bible many times and then discover something that your eyes may have skipped over too fast or that didnt register to your brain and heart. Today this registered and my eyes were caught. “I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls…” 2 Corinthians 12:15

This is written by Paul – who definately knew what it was to pour his life out for souls, those who yet didnt know Christ and those who were saved that he cared for. Read earlier in chapter 11…

2 Corinthians 11:21 “What anyone else dares to boast about”I am speaking as a fool – I also dare to boast about. 22Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. 27I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”

FLogging Hard work Prison Whipping Beaten Shipwreaked Homelessness Dangerous travel Dangerous ENcounters SLeeplessness Hunger Thirst Nakedness Worry about the belivers

Gee what a fun life.

What surrender – Paul had a lavish secure lifestyle pre Christ. He was a respected scholar. He was a Pharasee. THe world was his oyster. But he gave it all up to follow Christ and save souls.

Paul said in Philippians 3 ” 7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

ONe translation says I count it as DUNG…. so that i can know Jesus.

That is a true example of one passion and one devotion…

I know I dont live up to this…

I know I live like my time and my life are my own, with its comforts and regularity and schedules and safe friendships and safeness. I know as a Mum and wife that I do have other priorities (not saying motherhood and wifehood are MORE important – but they are right up there as of course i have responsibilities to care and nurture and provide the physical and emotional requirements of my family) but I know that i could pray more as prayer avails much. I guess there is always more to do eh. SO I lay my life down again. Open before God to be his vessel, in prayer and in action. I pray for opportunties to share the glorious message of Good News. And I ask that my heart not shrink back into complacincy.

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1000 Things

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