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Reflections and Poetry

Personality Matters: a reflection

at-t-endowment-aug-2013“Good Grief”

When we loose someone we love, it is natural to grieve.


I’m in the grieving process, not because a loved one has died, but because I have decided to have a personality overhaul. Inevitably, parts of me will have to go…

I’ve discovered that personality matters. Call me slow! I didn’t realise how much it matters until recently. I’ve focused my entire adult life on growing in character. Based upon plenty of scripture, my priority has always been to take the right path – even if it’s the hard path (and it usually is), to be sincere (which sometimes is intense or less than vivacious), and to work hard (demonstrating determination which sometimes spills into wilfulness). I’ve always been willing to grow and learn, in order to become a better person.

But do you know how sometimes a new idea begins to dawn and you feel drawn to think about something in particular? Well, lately I’ve been looking around me at other people, people who are no more skilled or capable than I am but who seem to have more success with others or projects, and I wonder: Why not me?

I recognise what most of them have is consistent cheerfulness; their personalities light up a room… and it makes a difference to their lives!

Now I realise: We can choose our disposition and our attitude. We can choose our personality. And we can make a difference in our lives.

My close friends love me because I’m trustworthy and loyal; others come to me because I’m knowledgeable or supportive. But, I suspect, no one enjoys my company specifically because I’m fun!

So, I’m going to be fun: cheerful, a bright spark, a person who brings joy into a room as I enter.

My grandmother, Sarah McPherson, was that sort of person. Everyone loved her, across all generations. I admired her so much I took her name. That was over twenty-five years ago. But now, it’s time I gleaned more from her than her first name. It’s time I adopt personality traits that she had. It isn’t so I’ll be loved or admired by the way, but so I can sow more joy into others’ lives.

Last night as I weighed up my personality and found it wanting, I reckoned I had three choices:

  1. I could drown myself in the Mediterranean; it’s not far from where I live.
  2. I could write about how I was feeling.
  3. I could watch Sky News and eat a chocolate bar.

I chose the latter… and that brought me out of myself, gave me good cheer, believe-it-or-not, and a hope that now I’m on a good track to something lively, for myself and for others too.

This personality make-over could require some attention and energy in order to reboot and relaunch. But what will make it relatively simple is one tweak: to take a change in attitude.

When I was young, life wasn’t perfect (who’s is?). I became a serious sort of person, perhaps as a result of sad encounters or difficult experiences. Although I’ve always been an optimist, I’ve also safe-guarded myself with worry and anticipation of crises in case they happen. An optimist, my personality has not been upbeat to match my overall outlook.

Now, I choose to change my attitude. I choose to trust people more, and take courage to embrace each day and encounter knowing the past is over, the present is now, and the future is in God’s capable hands.

I can change my personality simply by changing my attitude. In fact, I already have 🙂

Readers: may you have a great day ahead!

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

In A Rut: a reflection

In A Rut…

When I was 30, I had been teaching for nearly a decade (and loving it), was single (divorced), and unhappy. I didn’t realize it but I was in a rut.

I had a career I loved, was exploring acting – which for a university Drama Grad was typical but also belated, because I had focused on directing as an undergrad –  and dealing with personal and family issues which would never really go away. In spite of the family issues, I had two fabulous cats, a super best friend and several other very good ones, and had much to be thankful for.

But I was literally in the shower one evening and told myself, “I’m not really happy.” I wondered, “What should I do? What would make me happy?”

I reasoned that what would make me happy would be to go to New York and study acting. And so I began a process that would change my life forever.

As a born again Christian, I prayed about this idea. Given that I’d never been a radical sort of person and this was making a fairly radical change to my life, I told the Lord I would move forward on this until May, when I’d have to give notice at my job in order to be granted a sabbatical. If circumstances suggested “You’re clear to go,” I’d go, and if they weren’t by then, then I would stay where I was and continue living as I was living.

By May I’d been offered a place at Neighbourhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City, and my current job was being shifted from a school whose drama programme I’d developed to another school. I took the former as encouragement to take the risk and go to New York, and the latter likewise.

So I gave notice, gave my rented apartment over to a good friend, and left.

Life would never be the same. I ended up in London, England after that year in New York, where I married a wonderful man and remained for two decades, eventually re-settling – surprisingly – near the same town in Ontario that I’d left.

Whew!

Now I’m in Spain. And I think I’m in a rut.

How could anyone get into a rut who has lived on 3 continents (briefly including Asia where hubby and I spend some months while he was on secondment), had several careers, given birth at age 45, delighted in the intimacy of the Holy Spirit, and befriended folks from all over the world (New York and London are hugely international cities)?

Currently, I feel as though I’m stagnating.

I love what I do, which is to write, write, write – when I’m not raising my son and standing in support of my husband. I pray daily, that God would show me the pathway I am meant to tread, and engage with the people I’m meant to engage with. I spend hours on the computer (and my eyesight suffers for it), sharing with others on blogs and diving into imaginary people’s experiences through fiction. And yet, I’m not living.

What is the problem this time? Whereas the first time I was in a rut was because there were more people to meet and more things to do in the big wide world than I could do locally, now having done all that, I realize it all boils down to community.

Community is vital to one’s emotional fulfilment (see final written blog post at Revelation TV under presenter’s blogs). And I haven’t got much of it in this foreign country of wonderful people, sights and features of art.

It isn’t really a rut… it’s more like a crater. I’m stuck inside an empty space where only people – real life relationships beyond family – can fill.

I’m feeling a whole lot better now than I did a week or a month ago. That’s because I’ve engaged with a few people, face-to-face, on some level of heart-to-heart, and that has made all the difference.

At the end of the day, whether you find yourself stagnating – in a rut, or in a crater – good friendship is probably the cure. If “Home is where the heart is” then surely the heart can only be where there are people in your life with whom you can connect, and feel you make a difference in their lives as they do in yours.

Thanks to those who’ve rescued me this week.

Now I wonder who needs a rescue? Who can I reach out the right hand of fellowship to, and make a tiny difference to their lives today?

Blessings… It’s good to be back at A Life Examined (formerly: http://www.sarahtunexaminelife.blogspot.com and now http://laruspress.com/category/larusblog/a-life-examined-continues )

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Handling Unwarranted Criticism: Preparing for God’s Call

When we take a stand for Jesus, we will face opposition. Some will criticize us; much of the accusations will be unfair or untrue.

Although it is one of several hurdles we face when we seek to fulfill God’s Call, there is a good feature about criticism, even the unwarranted variety.

If we are slandered, it can be heart-breaking. But if our character is held in question without justification, the good aspect to it is that we learn to sift and to use attack as a touchstone. Whatever the criticism, we can lean against the accusation and check ourselves to ENSURE it is invalid. We can look at our relationship with the Lord and praise Him, thankful that the attack is invalid. (Or where there is validity, we can repent and be set free from it.) As we delve into our conscience and recognize the accusation is untrue, we become stronger and more confident in who we are.

The voice of unwarranted criticism tries to tell us we are supposed to be perfect and points to a crack in our character.

Well, there are cracks in our character so long as we are on this journey of life. We are not perfect, but nor is the attacker giving his uninvited critique. And thanks to our surrendered life, we are seeking to be perfected and can be hugely thankful for that process, against which no attack has ammunition.

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:17)

Knowing who we are in Christ and who God is shaping us to be, does not set us above error nor correction. But it does shore up defense against unfair attack upon our motives or behaviour, and enables us to rise above the judgment. We can face opposition, even nasty criticism, knowing God is the perfecter of our faith, personality and character.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

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Reflections and Poetry

The Roots of Self-Condemnation: Preparing for God’s Call

We can be pretty hard on ourselves. Failure is inevitable and we must persevere through our mistakes in order to reach the goal: Fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives.

One of the last things we need do, when we are aiming to live in the fullness of God, is to put ourselves down, condemning ourselves for our short-comings.

Often self-condemnation is seen as a form of pride. That may be. And pride comes before a fall. So, better to be aware of our pride. But pride isn’t always the reason behind our being overly-self critical. Some of us may have heard criticism from a tender age and so we automatically hear it in our heads as adults.

Recently, I received a letter from someone who doesn’t think well of me. In reading the opening sentence of the letter, I realized I was about to receive a series of criticism. There would be grains of truth in some of the accusations, because I’m not perfect.

Then I realized, while my imperfections do not excuse my past mistakes, neither is the accuser perfect. I had a EUREKA moment. I realized that I don’t have to feel shame for being imperfect and nor do I have to defend myself, but rather I can accept the imperfections both of myself and of the other person. That’s a move of God’s grace within me.

Please don’t confuse my meaning. I’m not saying we ignore our failings or excuse them. Being aware of our faults and wanting to become better people is healthy; it’s part of the process of maturity. But that is not the same as living in condemnation from ourselves or from others, because we are not perfect.

As an aside, I’d also say, the accuser (the devil) loves to make us think about our shortcomings, and he’ll use others to do it. But let’s remember that the other person doing the accusing is also flawed. Part of their flawed nature may well include the skewed vision they have of you.

“There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) If you are experiencing condemnation from within or from another, it is not of the Lord. We are responsible to take on board our faults and repent, learn and grow. But condemnation is a sign of criticism that is, at least, exaggerated and purposed to oppress.

Overcoming condemnation will teach you to know the difference between valid complaint and invalid accusation. And it will enable you to move from darkness to light, in the pursuit of fulfilling God’s Call on your life.

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Reflections and Poetry

Coping with False Assumptions: Preparing you God’s Call

Those of us who seek to walk in our Calling will face opposition. Opposition makes us stronger, but in the natural, it is unpleasant and undesirable.

There are all kinds of hurdles we must overcome; it is in the overcoming that we are prepared to fulfill the Call. No matter what the plans and purposes for our lives, there are themes of opposition which we must face. So, I’m beginning a Series which will seek to address several of these areas in the attempt to prepare you for them before they arise, so you can recognize them and tackle them from a position of awareness and strength.

One hurdle to overcome is Facing False Assumptions.

When Assumptions are made about us, how do we respond?

First, I think that people have a natural tendency to define one another, and to group people based on their own past experiences. Have you had the experience of encountering someone new who reminds you of an old friend or relative? Perhaps you’ve assumed they are very similar in character because they look, sound or behave similarly. And yet, this new person will have a whole set of different experiences and DNA that will define them, and probably they are very different from the person they remind you of. You many well have grouped these two people together and may have unconsciously made assumptions about the new person without even realizing it.

Or, have you a person in your life with whom you have shared a series of experiences, and have therefore defined how they will probably respond in a new set of circumstances? If so, then you are making assumptions about the person. They may be correct assumptions, but they are still assumptions.

Now, let’s look at how others form opinions about you. We know that first impressions are important, because that sets the tone for a relationship. It is far easier to gain someone’s respect when we make a good first impression than a poor one, and poor first impressions create an uphill battle to a good relationship. We have some influence over how to create a good first impression. But with cultural differences, even the way we meet and greet can be misconstrued. All we can do is to be loving and sincerely interested in the other person, be respectful and polite, and aim to begin a positive and life-giving relationship.

When we know we have done our best to be courteous and considerate, we can stem the tide of self-condemnation (another hurdle I’ll address next time). But from time-to-time through no fault of our own, wrong assumptions – negative assumptions – will be made about us. We will face judgment and criticism. Knowing we are innocent is one way of preventing guilt and shame. But still we face a hurdle because of someone else’s false assumption.

How do we respond to the false assumption? Do we ignore, confront, side-step or become oppressed by it?

If we allow ourselves to be oppressed, we will prolong the time it takes to enter our Calling.

If we ignore or side-step it, we might be able to demonstrate, through our courage and conviction, that the assumption has been false. Or the filter through which we are seen may distort their perception of us even further.

If we confront it, we run the risk of making things worse – making the relationship more strained.

It isn’t easy to overcome false assumptions.

If we pray, we will act out of spiritual wisdom and not natural, and will find the way forward.

People will limit your Call, ability, gifting, with their assumptions. We face opposition in order to grow in faith and confidence. As we listen to God’s voice, He will guide us, and help us to navigate through the blockage. Wait upon the Lord. Be still and wait upon the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)

“But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Blessings to you!

 

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Reflections and Poetry

An Examined Life Re-Launches: a reflection

Hello.

I live an examined life. It’s simply who I am: introspective, reflective, prayerful. I used to blog about my life. Then I stopped writing about my observations and the lessons life was teaching me. The last post on “A Life Examined” Blogspot was in April 2015. Now I’m starting again… picking up where I left off, to share my life with you.

I moved to Spain from Canada nearly two years ago, and in the early days of adjusting, I put on hold a lot of my writing projects. “A Life Examined” blog was one of them. Over the last eighteen months or so, I have been making new discoveries and now it’s time to share again.

So, have a look at SarahTunExamineLife-Original-BLOGSPOT and then come back here. What will I write about? Me! In what context? I do not know.

But we’ll explore together – Spain, God’s Call, Raising my Son, Marriage, Living Spiritually, Making Progress – then Regression, and so on.

Join me on an adventure called life. In this case, it’s my life – A Life Examined – for you to discover, share and expand alongside me.

Every blessing.

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Reflections and Poetry

Facing Opposition: Preparing for God’s Call

“Without opposition we never become strong.”

This quote – which is actually my own – hangs beneath a magnet on the fridge and is referred to by members of my family periodically. As we continue to wrestle, and to fight the good fight, we need to remember the reality of opposition.

When we seek God’s Call and choose to walk in His ways, our flesh tends to resist surrender. Or sometimes people throw doubt our way; our faith can be shaky and vulnerable to opposition. And then there’s the enemy himself, throwing problems and complications at us, trying to force us to give up.

But God is sovereign. He knows our Call and everything we face is preparation to enable us to fulfill it.

Thankfully, it isn’t in our own strength that we are called to fight. Instead God gives us what we need to face the opposition: He gives us grace, the fruits of the Spirit and the gifts as well.

“It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts” (Zech 4:6)

Quite simply, in order to be prepared for God’s Call, we need to face and overcome opposition. It is through opposition that our character is built. It is through opposition that we learn to rely on God. It is through opposition that we discover the authority and power of God that is within us.

This is my perspective on the Christian Journey. My ambition is to enable all of you to move forward on that journey.

Today I want to start with a rallying cry. We may face hurdles but none we can’t overcome. Where there is opposition, there is triumph. Where there is pain, there is breakthrough. And where there is the LORD’s will, there is abundant joy.

The Call of God is to be discovered, embraced, and lived. Therein is fulfillment – both for God’s purposes and to our reward. I hope and pray that each reader will receive what s/he needs in order to continue on the path to perfection: fully human, fully alive, fully satisfied that s/he is living the life God has created.

___________________________________________________________________________

This newsletter marks the re-launch of “Soaring Post”. It has been dormant for many months, as I focused on fiction and on making guest contributions to other sites (see below for links).

Many new people have joined. Welcome to each and every subscriber, old and new. I hope this new phase of our adventure with Jesus will bear much fruit for God’s Kingdom.

In Christ we are all on the same page 🙂 but I’d like to take a moment to introduce the newsletter and LARUS PRESS, so that we are all in the same paragraph.

“Soaring Post” at LARUS PRESS exists to prepare you for God’s Call.

If like me you believe time is short, there is no time like the present to give God our All. We rely on the Bible, the inerrant Word of God. We depend on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who dwells within every believer. We are called to “be strong” and to persevere against inconveniences, obstacles and opposition, so that we can grow in love and overcome fear.

Isn’t the goal for every believer to become all loving and completely fearless?

My passion is to be prepared to be all God has called me to be. I want that for you as well, so that you can achieve your purpose, as you grow more and more like Jesus.

There is no greater satisfaction than to fulfill God’s Call in our lives. There is no greater peace than in knowing we are in His perfect will. There is no greater joy than to experience fully the life we’ve been given to lead.

God’s Call on my life is to discern, watch and pray. My call to action is to write my discoveries in order to encourage, prepare, illuminate and motivate all of us, so that we can bring God glory and we can experience the satisfaction, peace and joy God has for us.

“Sarah Tun @ Larus Press: Building the Kingdom one Reader at a Time” means recognizing the challenge to become the persons God has created us to be, so that we do all God has given us to do.

Let us allow the LORD to unveil His plan and timing for each of us. Please embrace with me: the beginning… God bless.

And if you have 3 friends for whom you’d like the same, please forward this on, that they too might board this new train.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Ephesians 6:10-11

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Parenting Our Children’s Abilities and Disabilities

What do we do when our perfectly good children behave consistently badly?

There are so many identified conditions now that effect children … autism, Asperger’s, ADD or ADHD, OCD, ODD, specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, … shortcomings that effect their social awareness and / or interaction as well as their educational growth. Does your child still throw tantrums at age 8? Can she not sit still? Does he seem fearful or dismissive of peers? Is she finding learning or socializing particularly difficult and getting overly frustrated with herself? Why does your perfectly good child behave badly?

When children misbehave as toddlers or young children, we see it as typical, at least to a degree. Tantrums are meant to gradually wane into cooperative behaviour, so long as parents are vigilant in their training. But what about family situations where a child’s heart or a teen’s desire is clearly to comply, but her behaviour doesn’t follow your direction? We can teach or discipline a child into an attitude of – and behaviour of – responsibility, but only to the degree they have the desire or skill to follow. What if a child seems to have the will to behave appropriately, but not the way, despite all your efforts to show her?

When they have the desire then we’re all in a very good place. But what about those children who want to cooperate but seem to unable to ‘get the message’?

When a child has a mild handicap – a lack of ability to cope socially, academically or emotionally in certain ways – then we need to maintain our expectations so they can grow into responsible adults, but modify our practices so they can discover and learn what most children absorb naturally. I’ve been discovering this myself within my own family.

We can, as people of God, have our children tested and labeled for disability. However, we can also research their symptoms ourselves and pray for God’s healing and transformation.

I write to encourage all parents: children may or may not have a condition such as the above, but they will have shortcomings. How do we cope when a child is consistently ‘difficult’?

If you suspect something may be lacking in your child’s equipment to socialize, moralize, learn or emote in a way that is constructive, teach him how do to it. Research to uncover any descriptions or symptoms that match your child’s behaviour. Be patient. Share your frustration but keep your anger, and lavish love on him. Prayer (and fasting) are tools the LORD provides for breakthrough.

The most important aspect to raising children is to integrate their faith-life with their secular. For example, Jesus is the healer, and as Paul says, our bodies are a living sacrifice and our minds need to be renewed by faith (Romans 12:1-2). This truth is for any person, including a child. As you learn about your child’s learning difficulty or shortcoming, apply God’s Word to your methodology to help him. Teach him that as a child of God, he is chosen by God, and victorious in all things (Phil 4:13). Pray about his identity in Christ and then sow that identity into him. For example, I believe my son is called to be a peace-maker. So, I will share with him what God says about peace-making, and that it needs to be a part of his behaviour to sow peace. In this I am encouraging him to rise to his identity and purpose in Christ, even at an early age. How I put it to him will depend on his age, of course, but I will use it as a means to motivate him beyond his fears or frustrations.

As you unveil a disability in your child – if you unveil a disability in your child – the discovery will, inevitably, uncover wounds that have developed because she has been misunderstood up until now, or because too high a level of expectation was placed upon her, given the shortcoming.

I believe in healing for the family as a whole, both of the disability and the trauma that comes with unmet expectations. I recognize that healing may not be the course for all children with a disability. God has reasons for allowing ‘thorns in our sides’ (2 Cor 12:7-10) too. But I believe, in this age of Google, where there is a library of information in your home, we can study and identify the issue, learn and work with our children through the difficulty. With the quality and quantity of responsibility placed by God on our children, we can – and must – raise them to their calling, nurturing them in the process.

Ready: Discover God’s call for your children.

Set: Raise them to that call. Don’t allow a disability to rule, but use it as a tool to teach your child blessing, humility, grace, courage, and perseverance.

Go: Be realistic, be faithful, be steadfast, be optimistic, be patient, be loving.

 

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Reflections and Poetry

Seeking Breakthrough: A Practical Faith

ADVICE ON BLOGGING: SEEKING BREAKTHROUGH

Seeking Breakthrough in our work: Each of us has some form of work – industry that consumes our time and hopefully allows us to express and blossom in our gifts. I am a writer, so I’ll talk about blogging, but this could be applied to any artist, or any career for that matter, where you find you are not experiencing the fullness of what you have hoped and aspired to achieve.

How do you find the breakthrough you’ve been praying for?

“On blogging, getting discovered and God’s grace”

Blogging takes time. First, it takes time to develop a personal style, theme and voice; and then it takes more time to establish your audience. For the Christian, we can lay aside all our ideas, pray, and ask God to lead us by His Spirit, to show us the prophetic words, images and timing that we can develop in order to reach the audience He has for us.

But, like everybody else, then we practice. We practice the craft of writing because that is who we are. As fiction author Ana Menendez writes, “But writing, like reading, is an intensely personal act. If I could no longer create a world, then all possible worlds suddenly <would be> lost to me.” (Searching for the Real and the True, “Poets and Writers” Magazine, ‘The Inspiration Issue’, Jan/Feb 2011, pg 26).

In addition to the joy of self-expression, we need an income for our exertion. Or, if we are financially self-sufficient, we at least want the results of our creative efforts to be seen by others; success may not be measured in money, but usually we create and desire to share our creations. The overarching reason we blog is to be read – to be seen, to develop a profile – so our work is marketed. It isn’t easy to ‘be discovered’.

How do we get breakthrough? I’ve settled on three particular patterns for success. One may be for you…

Pattern I: The shortcut to your discovery on the world stage may be through the serendipitous moment. First, you receive inspiration, which provokes you to ‘write now!’ Then, knowing when your ‘defining moment’ has come and acting upon it is fundamental to success. Many who have achieved notoriety in any range of fields have expressed an experience that led to success which can be condensed to the following*:

  1. Listening for the ‘call’
  2. Believing in what they ‘heard’
  3. Taking Action
  4. Serendipity – the divine ingredient that took them ‘over the top of the hill’

These people were alert to their own talents and asserted themselves at the key moments when their efforts and the ebb and flow of humanity would collide, pointing the way to their discovery.

Pattern II: An alternative ‘key’ to unlocking your visibility may be in writing to a large audience with a specific need. You title the message perfectly in order for Google to pick it up through their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and your post or blog or book or video promo goes VIRAL!

Pattern III: Discovery may come through the ‘surrendering of all your effort’ and by yielding your time and work to God. Then you wait for His call… wait until He issues it. This supernatural approach will probably involve more work than it may seem, with fasting, prayer, intercession and acts of service being ingredients.

As for me, I’ve chosen the surrendered approach, yielding to the LORD as completely as I can. I’m discovering that, as I increase my time in fellowship with him, as I fast sometimes, pray always, and wait, I begin to hear Him and His direction for my work.

Most recently, I discovered in this process that, while I thought I’d surrendered my work to Him, most of the creative work that I was doing was based on my will. I thought I was supposed to do “X” because it’s part of the general procedure I follow as a writer – which God has clearly called me to do – and as an entrepreneur of my work. But most of this, in my case, was of my own making and has so far born relatively little fruit. Now I realize: Ah! No wonder it’s been too much for me to manage! It’s been my workload, my burden, not His. I know, “His yoke is easy and His burden is light.” Now I’m realigning my theology with my practice. Time will reveal the impact this will have on my outreach.

For me, this third pattern is the most fundamental. It is all-important. Allow me to take you back to the place in prayer that I was when I made the discovery that has changed my work day competely. Here, I believe, is an all-important kernel for transformation toward Christ.

I was in the third day of a three day fast. I was alone in my study, a place of calm and focus. I reached out to the LORD toward the end of a long, busy and rewarding Sunday. It was about 7 pm.

I told God I wanted to yield everything to Him (including my personal and work life), and to surrender completely. Immediately impressed upon me was the fiction writing project I’m working on currently, a project which was initiated by the LORD many years and several projects ago. Then as I continued in prayer, my long list of writing projects came to my mind, and along with them, a glimpse of various responsibilities surrounding them. Only then did I hear in my heart,

‘The fiction project is a project which comes from my heart. The other work comes from my mind – from my will, not His.’

My world has changed with this revelation. All the activities and responsibilities I had put upon myself to be busy, to tick the boxes, to stretch toward my goal of having my work read were my burdens, not those of the LORD. In this, I have discovered the edge of the knife that divides the supernatural agenda from the natural. It’s as the scripture in Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (NKJV)

I am recognizing the division between my ideas and God’s, my inspirations and His.

Next I wondered, did Jesus feel tempted by Satan after the 40 day fast? Or was that perhaps a less difficult battle than the temptations he faced daily in his ministry. Did his heart go out to someone, his thoughts to another, but His Father pointed him in a third direction and say ‘go there’, and Jesus went?

My journey began with a prayer, asking God to help me to surrender completely. It was not the first time I’d prayed this prayer and it probably won’t be the last. But this time, when my attention again merged into the present world, I realized I knew Jesus better than I had before I started. As well, I’d discovered I’d been sidetracked from the main purpose of my work. Though I’ve worked diligently at my projects, I was living my agenda instead of His.

I hope that I am now changed permanently. I hope this transformation of my mind will ensure my ordered steps are His, and that the labour of my hands and my mind draw closer to the work (and timing) God has ordained for me.

Will my new direction stick? And will it gain me exposure, ultimately? I hope it will stick, not so I gain exposure, but because my relationship with my Father is deepening. If He wants my work to be seen, then I have to believe He’ll guide me to the people, the projects, and the strategies that will work to get the job done, and make the exposure happen.

And, I hope the sharing of my experience will inspire others who are still looking for breakthrough. Let’s take courage, ‘let go’, and to do the work God has implanted in us to do. It isn’t easier to walk the supernatural path than the natural one, but it is the one I choose because I know God is faithful.

In Jeremiah 29:11 scripture says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

Joshua was encouraged before he entered the promised land. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (NKJV, Joshua 1:9)

Ready: Choose the method you plan to use in order to have your words, music, inventions, discoveries, work validated.

Set: Have a focused mind and a clear eye for the pathway before you. Love those around you as you step out to complete the work set before you. Be bold, be confident, and be sure – this is your time and your strategy and your moment. Give it all you’ve got!

Go: God’s grace, love, assurance and passion are within you. May you discover the blessings awaiting you.

*Kurt Kettner-Borough, Pastor of The Wave, Puerto Banus, Spain (c) 2015

OTHER OF MY BLOGGING CAN BE SPOTTED AT:

http://sarahtunexaminelife.blogspot.com Useful insights and related thoughts drawn from my personal day-to-day journey

and http://lifefromthelighthouse.wordpress.com Sharing what I learn from God when I manage to listen

 

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

New Perspective for the New Year: How God shapes us into His image

Do you want to be and do all God has for you? I do. And I’ve discovered that in order to be ready for God’s call on my life, I need to be changed into his likeness.

How does God change me?

“Process Events are when God orchestrates circumstances in order to get a development phase in your life that moves you from where you are to the next level.” (Lance Wallnau)

How does God shape us and perfect us?

One way is that He uses experiences and people to teach us, even in the hard things in life.

God wants to s-t-r-e-t-c-h us in order to prepare us for His next assignment. First He prepares us in order, to ensure we are ready for higher places of responsibility. Discomfort – while it may not be nice – is a good sign that He is maturing us and reshaping us to make us more like the person He created us to be.

Ready: Does God cause us to suffer? No. But sometimes we need to suffer in order to get ready to hear Him.

Is He unaware when we experience discomfort, disillusionment or injustice? No, he it totally aware and loves us enough to be ready to hear our prayers and supplications toward Him.

Is the enemy able to attack us and God is unable, unwilling or unaware of our circumstance? I believe not! Rather, He allows uncomfortable things to come our way in order to penetrate our own will.

Set: Do you know those times when you are really uncomfortable with your circumstance and you are convinced the devil has a grip? You are convinced it is not God? Well, it most probably IS God, right at work, in you.

Instead of rebuffing what is in your path, you may need to consider taking on a new attitude toward discomfort. As for me, I choose to trust in God in all my circumstances.

Go: The next time we are in an uncomfortable situation, rather than rebuking the enemy or asking God to ease the suffering, can we remember God is sovereign and trust that there are no accidents? He is preparing a good work in us and for us. Seek Him, Ask Him, Praise Him.

For, “If God is for us, Who can be against us.” (Romans 8:31)

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Reflections and Poetry

Idolising Christmas

Is there any such thing as ‘too much of a good thing?’ when it comes to Christmas? There may be.

The heart of the matter of Christmas is love (see: What Is Christmas), and I’ll never think there is an excess of love in the world. But apart from the obvious ‘too much’ of food, drink or commercialism, I believe there is a potential threat to our spirituality at Christmas.

“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” said Joshua (Joshua 24:15).

It is important, I think, to ‘split a hair’ with regard to the celebration of Christmas.

Christmas is about love. Jesus was born and we celebrate his birth on 25th December. We thank him that he relinquished his place in heaven, in order to come to earth to sacrifice himself for us. And so we celebrate his birth at Christmas.

But there may be something more we celebrate that isn’t really of God.

We may celebrate – that is worship – Christmas.

Worship is devoting one’s attention. When we focus on Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we worship and celebrate God. When we sing Christmas Carols – which, by the way, I love! – we are celebrating God and the gift of Jesus to the world.

Or are we?

Just as we enjoy creation, we who are Believers in God are mindful of the Creator and we revere Him, not his creation.

So too, as we celebrate Christmas, let us all be mindful of Jesus, and to worship him, and not the day we’ve designated as his birthday.

Ready: As we search our hearts, let’s consider that we are worshiping the Saviour of the World.

Set: Confess if there has been any unwitting Christmas worship in our hearts.

Go: Enjoy the festive season, loving Jesus and all whom we meet. ‘Worship the LORD in the Spirit of Holiness’, aware of the potential ungodly ‘pull’ of Christmas on our spirit.

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Reflections and Poetry

Finding our place in God’s Kingdom on Earth

We have skills, we have talents,  and we have gifts that God has given us. We want the opportunity to use them. But it isn’t always easy to fit ourselves into ministry.

How do we find our place in God’s Kingdom building?

To surrender our identity, our time, activity and desires to God, is the first step to receiving the place God has reserved for us in ministry. Surrendering our gifts and abilities – whatever we have in our hands – is the starting point, and through this surrender, we’ll find and fulfill our purpose in life.

I can do nothing (of significance or meaning) in my own strength; nothing of real value to God’s Kingdom is done without the supernatural. Our gifts and talents are God-given, and we work hard to develop them. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration.” And yet, after the hard work, what comes next is to wait.

As we wait upon the LORD, He renews our strength and prepares us for the vision He has for us.

God will take the unique package which is us and use us in a meaningful way. We must prepare – that’s the perspiration; then we must surrender.

Surrender is an act of worship. It is an act of faith. I’ve discovered it requires as much – or more – discipline to surrender as it does to develop our talent. But without it, we wrestle in our own strength.

Whether or not we are significant on the World’s Stage is in God’s hands. Whether we seek significance or insignificance, God will step in and draw us to the people and places where our calling will become a reality, when we live a surrendered life, allowing His will to be done ‘on earth as in heaven’.

Learning to yield to God’s Spirit is both a process and a destination. I live the journey daily. As Paul said, “I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1 Corinthians 15:31)

What do you hope to accomplish in this life? What gifts has God given you to develop? How will these two aspects come together?

Prepare and watch God move!

Ready: What gifts has God given you to offer back to the LORD?

Set: Develop your gifts to the best that your time and effort will allow.

Go: Trust in the LORD, wait upon Him and allow Him to direct your paths toward the fulfillment He has in mind for you.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 

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Reflections and Poetry

Deep Prayer: How to get closer to Jesus

“And the word became flesh…” (John 1:14)

My heart is aching, LORD. My heart aches for you, Lord. Hearts Cluster

Does this expression resonate with you? Have you ever wondered, “How do I pray when I’m hurting?” Do you find relief and intimacy with God, or do you often get stuck at times of pain, depression or challenge?

How to go deeper in prayer is the subject, because it is in going deep into prayer that we get closer to Jesus.

I am residing in Spain. It is a recent shift from Canada. My husband’s work and our desire to be in full time Christian service has led us here. (To learn more about my personal journey, you can check out my blog: A Life Examined.)

After my husband and two of his colleagues were doing a Bible study on 1 John recently, we discussed it.

I said, “John (including John’s Gospel, the three letters, and Revelations) is so different from any other Biblical writing. All the writers are different from each other. But John is different in that LOVE is so clear: Jesus’ love, and John’s love for his audience as well. The gentleness and commitment is pervasive.”

Alan replied, “John just says in every way, “Just get to know Jesus. Just get to know him and everything will make sense. Just get to know Jesus.”

In prayer, just get to know Jesus and everything else –  even the pain, frustration, and hurt – will all begin to make sense.

In prayer, I feel empty, and tell Him of the ache I feel. In this instance, it leads me to confession. (Another time it may lead to request or forgiveness or the release of sorrow from another’s hurt.)

My example of a dialogue with Jesus:

“I’m sorry, Lord, for losing my temper. I’m sorry. You feel far away.” I pause.

I wait.

Then comes a feeling of release and peace, of residing in his presence.

“I’m ready, Lord, for this next chapter.”

I’ve met with him and he with me.

Ready: Deep prayer requires honesty. Deep prayer requires time, patience, and faith. It includes a sense of responsibility. The conversation could go in any direction, once you’ve laid down your burden. Be open and prepared to follow whichever way he leads you, and you will be restored.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3)

Deep prayer starts with where you are now and takes you to where God wants you to be.

Deep prayer releases, frees, answers, comforts, and moves you forward.

Set: Settle yourself with Jesus. “The word became flesh” and that has made all the difference. He understands.

Go: Wherever you now, start here. Hide nothing, and take your time with Jesus. He’ll move you, from where you are to where you need to be… for him, for yourself, for your family, witness and calling.

It’s all about connecting with Jesus.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Why do we Pray?

The deeper I want my relationship with God to be, the more often and the longer my prayers will be.

I don’t pray to get what I want. I used to and it was effective, because God gives us the desires of our hearts. But by God’s grace, I’ve grown, and now I pray to be more intimate with God.

Why do I pray?

If I want to be more like Jesus, I pray.

If I want more of the Holy Spirit’s fruits or gifts, I pray.

If I want more of God’s glory to fall on earth, as it is in heaven, I pray.

Prayer is for comfort. Prayer is for communion. Prayer is for inspiration.

If every step I take is bathed in prayer, I am a greater blessing to others.

That’s why I pray.

When my spirit soars, I am renewed, refreshed, rebuilt, and I am more loving, more faithful, more free.

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Reflections and Poetry

How to be more patient?

I would like to be patient and I want it NOW!

How do I grow in patience?

Everything around me rushes past and it’s hard not to be swept along.

Do you long to stay calm under stress? To take your time when there seems little of it?

To trust God’s timing, yet find yourself worrying?

You ask yourself: How do I become a more patient person?

I have discovered that almost everything I struggle with boils down to my own impatience. And so, I am determined to grow in patience, no matter how long it takes!

The key:

To have a goal but not to be concerned with when it will be achieved is a key to patience.

I have observed my son, and have discovered that almost every time he gets upset it is because he is impatient with himself… or he’s felt my impatience with him.

The single thing that causes difficulty in my life is my own impatience.

How do I become more patient?

Ready: I see the goal and I ask to achieve it.

Set: I consider the consequences of my own impatience, remembering key situations in the past, and choosing to surrender this weakness to God.

Go: I remember the joy I feel when the family is in harmony, versus the discomfort, distress and disappointment when we are not.

  • I recognize most problems are rooted in impatience and
  • I determine to be patient instead of being impatient with others.
  • I pray, surrendering to God, asking for the fruit of patience.
  • I recognize it is a gift and not something I can ‘work up’ on my own.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”(Galatians 5:22-23)

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Reflections and Poetry

What is my calling in Christ?

Do you know that you have been called for such a time as this?

We all have a calling to love God and to love one another, to love our enemies…. our first calling is to love.

But, “how do I discover my calling in Christ?”is a question we yearn to have answered.

Beyond love, do you know what God has put inside you that makes you shine?

Ready: God has given you a purpose, a calling, and spiritual gifts to enable you to fulfill it. You can discover the destiny God has for you.

Set: Whatever makes you feel passionate is a key to what your calling is in Christ. You have been put on this earth at this time to fulfill a purpose.

1. What is a desire you long to see fulfilled?

2. What is a sensitivity you have that you realize others don’t share?

3. What is a scripture that sticks out for you personally, that seems to wrap itself around you or helps to define who you are?

4. If you could change one thing in your culture or surroundings what would it be?

5. Through prayer and meditation, search for the connection between 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Go: Explore through prayer, fellowship and creativity, what God may be saying to you about who you are. Ask Him to show you how He sees you in light of this purpose for your life.

And for an even deeper challenge, look at Finding my Life’s Purpose in Christ.

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Reflections and Poetry

How can I find my identity in Christ?

The World is full of people yearning to fulfill their destiny. Those of us who are in Christ know where we are going when we die. But do we know how to find our life’s purpose while we are on earth?

All of us are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the Universe. He knows us intimately (Psalm 139) and has a purpose and calling for each of us. But how do I discover what that calling is? We begin by asking, “How do I find my life’s purpose in Christ?”

Wisdom of SolomonReady: Wise Solomon advises us in Proverbs 3:6, to seek the LORD for his plans and purposes: “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (NKJV)

Set: A number of years ago I decided I was going to find out who God had made me to be. It took me two years in discipleship training (for a Diploma in Theology) to discover I was uniquely made for a particular purpose, and a further two years of personal study, prayer & fasting, with deliberate tuning and analysis, to find out what that purpose was. I write this post as a springboard for others to seek and discern their personal calling more easily.

There are 9 spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12, where you can begin to connect with God and His word to find where your spiritual strengths lie. Also, listed in Romans 12 are God’s 7 gifts of grace. The five fold ministry gifts of Jesus are listed in Ephesians

“The most successful Christians are those who come to know their calling, understand their special gifting, and faithfully stay with that calling until they fulfill their membership ministry.” (Dr Bill Hamon, The Day of the Saints, Destiny Image Publishers Inc (c) 2002, p211)

Study:

1. Read the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, God’s gifts of grace, Jesus’ gifts to the church, to learn what gifts God has offered us.

2. Pray and “earnestly seek” God’s gifts. (Hebrews 11:6)

3. Consider your own passions for the LORD. What gifts have you got? What talents and abilities? What gifts do you yearn for. Ask.

4. Deepen your lifestyle of prayer, fasting and eagerly seeking His will to be fulfilled in your life.

bush road with 2 men5. Connect with others. Pray with them. Together, seek the LORD for His gifts, calling
and purpose in your lives.

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6 NKJV)

6. Be diligent and be patient. God is faithful!

Go: Study, pray, seek, knock: God has plans for you, and a purpose, and in due time He will make them known to you.

 

 

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

How do I surrender to God’s will?

Ready: When I want God’s will in my life, how to I overcome the urge to have my own way? How do I surrender to God’s will? How do I find God’s will and yield my day-to-day life to Him?

Set: I know God’s will is superior to mine, in power, in goodness, in wisdom. But sometimes I just want to do it my way. Sound familiar? Even Paul wrestled with his will, “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” (Romans 7:19) How can I surrender to God, when my will seeks its own way? Our flesh is strong – not just the physical part of us but our soul as well. Our soul or mind is made up of our will, emotions and intellect. But we also have a spirit, which is that which separates us from all other living beings, and is revived through our faith in Jesus. Though the will may seek its own way, our spirit hungers for God. Our spirit is superior in wisdom to our soul, and just as we can be led by our will, so too can we learn to live by the spirit.

1. Daily, hourly, moment-by-moment, seek for God’s will to be done in your life.

2. Surrender your soul (will, emotions, intellect) to your spirit

3. Surrender your spirit to the Holy Spirit

4. Discover the power of your living spirit over your willfulness. Therein is life!

Go: Be refreshed now, and be willing to allow your living spirit to lead you closer to the LORD God and to life as He wills and purposes for you.      DSCF4160

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Reflections and Poetry

Why make Jesus your Lord as well as saviour

What is the difference between Jesus as Lord and as saviour?

Life is a journey of decisions and experiences, achievements and mistakes, victories and defeats. When we choose to live a life surrendered to the creator of the universe, we have peace with God, man and ourselves. We have the assurance that every outcome is within His purposes and for our ultimate good. There is a difference between Jesus as Lord and as saviour.

Ready:  If you have become born again, you are saved by God’s grace,  and you have received eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8) Jesus is your saviour. But have you surrendered your life to his Lordship?

Set: When we allow Jesus to be our Lord it means we follow him, we surrender our lives to his will and direction. Jesus as Saviour means our spirit is reborn; Jesus as Lord means we allow him to lead us, even into the valley of the shadow of death; yet will fear no ill.

To receive all God has for us, surrender is the key. While salvation leads us in to eternal life in Heaven, surrender ensures life on earth is within the Father’s will. When we know we are within the sovereign will of God we have peace – peace that passes all understanding.

If you have hard decisions, are stressed or confused, suffer persecution or prejudice, you can rest assured that the LORD God, in His sovereignty, is aware of it. He has allowed you to be in your current situation for your ultimate benefit. He does not will that any perish. When you surrender to Him, you can be certain that the creator of the universe, with ultimate authority and power, has things in hand. There is nothing that passes His gaze or awareness.

1. Choose to place your life into His hands, surrendering your will to His.

2. Trust God. He loves you; he knows you intimately, and has placed the deepest desires and passions within you and wants them to be fulfilled.

3. Search even the nooks and crannies of your will and yield them to the Father. In this you will find peace.

Go: Surrender! God has the best plans and purposes for us. His protection is complete. He even watches our backs! So, we surrender, knowing ‘not your will but mine Lord’ is the safest place we can be.

“Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 58:8 NKJV)

 

 

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Love: Let’s Not Take Love Lightly

How much does God Love? Let us live by the Law of Love. Let us learn and live in the width and length and depth and height of the Love of Jesus and Father God.

Lillies

Ready: Can we contemplate the extent of God’s love? And can we measure how that enables us to live in love too? Can we receive the Father’s love and allow it to build us, shape us, heal us and save us?

Set: God lavishes His love upon us. What does lavish mean? It means: to expend or bestow with profusion; to expend without necessity or use; to waste; to squander… profuse; liberal to a fault, wasteful… superabundant; superfluous. (The New Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of The English Language, Consolidated Book Publishers, Chicago, C (c) 1971)

Wasteful? I’ve never thought of the LORD GOD as wasteful, but there it is in black and white. He loves us so much that He wastes to excess His love toward us.

Knowing this, why do we suffer?

We suffer in order to grow. We suffer in order to learn. Sometimes we suffer chemical imbalances in our brains. We all suffer, from time to time.

Wholeness is not refraining from the experience of suffering. But wholeness is the absence of doubt, knowing His love and His truth abound in the universe and in my life, in your life.

Wholeness is knowing there is purpose in each moment of every day, and a purpose to our being here, and a purpose even in our suffering.

Wholeness is rejoicing even in our suffering. Wholeness is trusting God unconditionally. Wholeness may not be attainable this side of Heaven, but I’ll continue to reach for it, knowing God is the author and finisher of my faith and of my life.

3 Steps to living in the Father’s love:

1. Thank Him, even when you don’t feel thankful. The mind is fallible, the heart is not.

2. Praise Him. Praise Him some more. How you praise, where you praise is up to you. I encourage you to be authentic and free, sharing with Jesus your praise.

3. Receive blessing. Whatever follows from your thanksgiving and praise is from the LORD. Believe He loves and honours you. He only sees the beautiful person He has created. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

earthGo: With every breath, know He loves you and is the all-powerful. There is nothing He does not know and cannot do. There is nothing He has created that is not perfect. The Christian Life is a journey between self-discovery and the realization that we are made perfect in His Love.

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Reflections and Poetry

A Time for Spiritual Maturity

A Revelation about Spiritual Maturity, Physical Reality and Miracles: Spiritual maturity means facing challenges without contest. It means fighting the good fight and finishing the race. Today, I believe it also means God enabling us to see into Revelationthe future and into Heaven at a deeper and broader level than ever before. We are in a new age. Old things have passed. New things have begun. Let’s begin to allow God to use us to shift them.

Ready: God is doing a new thing in His people and we need to be prepared to be ‘blown away’ by His power and presence at work in us. We need to prepare ourselves for a paradigm shift.

Set: We live in a material world. Reality is tangible. But I believe our awareness of reality needs to expand – at least for the spirit-filled believer in Jesus Christ, hungry to mature and see God’s purpose fulfilled in his life. This is a time for a paradigm shift.

What is a paradigm? A paradigm is a way of thinking, a way of perceiving our reality based today on our previous experience and the assumptions we’ve developed from those previous experiences.

For example: We base our thinking on certain assumptions, which in turn leads us to make certain decisions. For example, the thought “I’ll eat lunch at noon today because I’ll be hungry at noon today” is based on our previous experiences which established our eating habits . We usually feel hungry at noon and so we assume we will feel hungry today. Because of a pattern in our previous experience, we anticipate or expect we’ll be hungry at noon today.

A paradigm shift is a shift in our thinking, our expectations and assumptions. The example above is trivial. But it leads us somewhere… As we walk out our faith and grow in maturity, God will use us when are prepared. Studying the Word of God, learning to give and receive love and forgiveness, surrendering every moment of our day to the Holy Spirit – all of these are signs of our growing spiritual maturity. Our character is being built. But there is more to this faith-walk. What about the miracles?

For what are we being prepared, if not for more of God’s glory on earth as it is in Heaven? 

Friends, I want God to move mountains for the Glory of God and as a witness to the world! Jesus said with faith we could.  How about you?

I believe there is something new on the horizon for the disciples of God who wish to fulfill their purpose in Christ. What it is and how it effects our walk with God has to do with our concept of physical reality. There is more to be learned about our physical world and it’s boundaries. In order to move in God’s miracles we need faith. To move beyond our assumptions and limitations and into an understanding of different dimensions, we will be enabled to move in God’s miracles.

Today, humankind’s suspicions about other dimensions and ways of perceiving our world is growing. But we must stay God-centered. Isn’t it time to fully explore the supernatural and otherworldly nature of His universe? How do we move mountains? How do we do greater things than we saw Jesus do?

I believe it has to do with our understanding of reality. Perhaps it is through a Godly-supernatural transcendence of reality that the limitations of our physical world are overcome, and the sort of miracles that Jesus accessed we also will be able to do. Individuals in our secular world today assume what we touch is real. In fact, some people believe “if we don’t see it or can’t touch it, it’s not real.” I’d like to propose a paradigm shift.

What is most real, Believer, is that which we cannot see. Until we live and breathe this truth, we are limited in our faith and action.

Consider scriptures such as the following: “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) Anointing of Christ Clearly the literal/physical meaning of weapons is being replaced by the concept of spiritual weapons. I suggest that this transcendence into the spiritual realm can be discovered elsewhere in scripture to help us deepen our understanding of, commitment to, and maturity in Christ.

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”(Luke 9:52)

When we read scripture from the 1st Century church, do we filter everything based on our current understanding? Let’s consider Jesus’ words carefully, and put it in the in light of a paradigm shift. Let’s go back to what Jesus and the hearers knew.

First, we need to be fit for the kingdom of God. How do we know if we’re fit? For one thing, we look forward (not backward). For another, we relinquish the plow (and the provision by self-effort that it symbolizes).

I have nothing but an inner sense of revelation; I believe the plow also represents the confines of physical reality.

Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” (Acts 4:32) Jesus encourages us to let our possessions – or family members or significant persons or things – go. As we become unfettered in our mind and will, God may move us into a different dimension where the tangible cannot hold or limit us. But in order for that to happen, perhaps, first we have to let go.

John transcended our reality when he saw the Revelations. Philip was translated in order to meet the Ethiopian Eunuch. Jesus walked on water; he moved through walls when doors were locked, he was translated to be with Moses and Elijah on a mountain. Might it be that, through faith he overcame physical reality so that he was able to accomplish these miracles?

Understanding how his faith worked does not change the fact that Jesus worked miracles. But perhaps in order for us to do ‘greater things’ for the Kingdom, we need to alter our perception of reality so that we can overcome physical – and mental – limitations, and allow God to increase our faith.

Jesus promised ‘greater things would we do.’ The Church seeks to operate in the healing miracles and the food multiplications and to ‘move mountains, but relatively few of us are doing these things. I’m wondering if a key to this is a paradigm shift to our understanding of reality. Can we begin to operate more effectively in the realm of God’s supernatural power when we have an improved understanding of God’s different dimension(s)? Is it through this revelation that we can defy the natural world and it’s natural laws – which are subject to God’s laws? Are we being called to overcome the physical world in a Godly way?

The 1st Century believers may well have done this; perhaps we need to do this in order to bring the fullness to earth as it is in Heaven, the fulfillment of what Jesus promised for his Church, and bring it all of the glory to God.

Steps to enabling a paradigm shift from a tangible focus to the supernatural: 1. In God’s timing, willingly surrender your worldly goods in principle (I’m suggesting you don’t literally give away everything, but through Holy Spirit’s conviction upon you – if it should come to you – surrender all of your worldly goods to God). This way you break free of any hold they may have over you. 2. Pray and ask God to bring us all into a deeper experience of His love and glory. 3. Seek the will of God: Does He want you to move in the supernatural? Ask Him to take you there in the Spirit. 4. Go (physically, literally) to a place local to you where a miracle is needed. Ask God to show you Truth and how to bring it closer to whomever you are with: in hospital, in the street, or in your home or workplace. Be open to whether the miracle will be measurable in the physical realm or internal. 5. Pray for a miracle.

Go: We can’t manufacture miracles. We can’t even manufacture faith. But we can ask God for both, and we can grow in our understanding of how He can make these as accessible to us in a greater way, as He did for the 1st Century Church.

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Reflections and Poetry

What is God’s Will for your life?

Are you in the habit of hearing from God His plan for your day? In the hustle and bustle of our lives we are full of ideas and tasks, and short on time. Prayer might be a deep part of our lives, but are we praying as effectively as we could be? Are we seeing God moving in our lives? Is His will being done on earth?

Ready: I’d like to suggest that in God’s wisdom and power, He knows better than we do how best to use our time and energy. So, this week, let’s pray God’s Word and His Will into our lives.

Set: The LORD’s prayer is so familiar, and so full of guidance and wisdom. For example, we pray, “Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.” But why do we do that? Beyond the advice of Jesus, we pray this because God is sovereign; He knows what is to happen before it happens, because He is outside of time. There is nothing on this earth that escapes His notice, and everything that occurs gives us an opportunity to grow. It’s common sense then, to invite His will to come to pass in our lives. When we pray, let’s pray ‘not my will but Yours’, because His will is full of insight and goodness.

maintenance-background-1920-10801. Be still and ask God what He wants to say to you.

2. Wait. Listen. Look. Where is God directing your attention?

3. Pray as you feel led to pray – even if, and especially if, it’s something you hadn’t been thinking about.

4. Ask God to do His will and invite Him to use you as a means to executing it on earth.

5. Take courage in the fact that you may have a surprise today. Be on the alert and surrender your time and attention to the possibility.

Go: Rather than asking for our ‘to do’ list to be accomplished or for our needs to be met, or even for His direction in our lives, let’s ask ‘What is Your will?’, be ready to follow His lead and pray, ‘Your will be done’. Then, let’s watch what comes to pass in our lives!

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Reflections and Poetry

Discovering What God Wants

Praying for what God wants – Interceding for God’s Will on Earth: What does God want… and how do we know? As we walk with God, we learn His word and His thoughts as He has expressed them in the Bible – and to us personally. We deepen our relationship with Him and our understanding of who He is. Then, we learn to hear His voice and to pray how He wants us to pray. Ready: Let’s deepen our relationship with God and our knowledge and understanding of His Word.

Set: There is a time for war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3) and we as intercessors must learn the difference. Whether we Wisdom of Solomonare a very new Believer or have prayed for family members for as long as we can remember, each of us has a call to pray. What does God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven” actually signify? There is so much to say about intercessory prayer. It is different from personal prayer in that it is tapping into God’s will for the moment, isn’t it, and praying His desires for the earth. We might be called to pray for our nation, for another country, or for circumstances beyond our full comprehension or experience. But whatever the issue, we are called to prayer. In Heaven, there is no pain, no suffering, no conflict. In Heaven, the victor is enthroned and angels bow before Him in worship and adoration. I for one would like the same to be on the earth. It will come one day (Revelation 21:4) and in the meantime we can pray that God’s will is done so as to hasten the time when the earth will be full of the glory of the LORD. In order to intercede we can do the following in the long term: 1. Become abundantly confident with scripture. Memorize verses that you enjoy as you read. Study the Word so that you know the law, history, poetry, prophets of the Old Testament/Old Covenant. 2. Learn the stories Jesus told, the miracles he performed and the difference between the Two. Learn how the Holy Spirit moved after Jesus ascended into heaven. Discover how Paul communicated to the various churches so that they would learn God’s will for His church. 3. Find the similarities and differences between Paul and the others’ who wrote letters in the New Testament/New Covenant. 4. Pray with fervor, enthusiasm, commitment on issues that you care passionately about, asking God to lead you in understanding His will in the situation.

Go: Study the Bible, pray as you feel led and don’t be concerned about ‘getting it right’. God wants us all to grow. Growing means trying and being willing to learn as we go. If everyone waited until (s)he was ready to pray, there’d be precious little praying going on.