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.

 

Categories
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
Examining Biblical Scripture

Walking in the New Man… permanently

The New Man

What is the ‘new man’? How can I walk in the new man every day, all day, forever? I’m saved by grace, but don’t I have to work hard to be a Good Christian? The answer is simply, “No, you don’t.”

“Give me back my stuff,” said Jesus to Author and Prophet Graham Cooke in a personal encounter.

What is stuff? Stuff is the anxiety, worry, anger, hostility, fear, bitterness, resentment…. Stuff is all of the negative thoughts and feelings that are not a part of the Kingdom of God. They are dead, as dead as Jesus was on the cross. And they belong to the Old Man, the man you were and the man I was before accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. The old man is dead (Romans 6:6). The new man lives (Ephesians 4:22-23) and we can allow him to reign in us, by the power of the blood of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit.

We can discern the thoughts and the feelings of the old man versus those of the new man easily enough. Negativity is from the old man. Whatever is not holy, heavenly, delightful, life-giving is not the new man’s thinking or emotion. The fruits of the Spirit which are: love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, patience, faithfulness, self-control, are linked with the thoughts and feelings of the new man.

When Jesus died he took all of our stuff, so that we wouldn’t have to carry it anymore. When we fall into negative thought or emotion, we are taking back what Jesus died to overcome; we are taking back the stuff he died to have, so we wouldn’t have it anymore. He wants us to live in the new man, and let him keep the stuff of the old man.

Although the old man rises up inside of us, we don’t have to allow what is dead to be resurrected. We have the authority and the power to reject the dead man. It is not true that it is a part of us.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Recognizing the old man as dead and that his negative emotions and thoughts are not actually a part of us is an understanding that comes to the transformed mind. We are no longer ‘dead’ in our sin. Saved by grace, we have access to the thought-life and emotional life of Heaven.

The old man, as cited in Romans 6:6 is, “crucified with Him,that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”

Continuing, “For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:7-11 NKJV)

Meditate on this. Allow it to sink into your mind and spirit, to transform you from the inside.

Paul’s reference to sin includes thoughts and emotions that are not life-giving.  They are dead, just as we were dead before we knew Jesus. And we do not have to accept them as a part of us any longer. Instead, we choose to turn a corner and to walk full of the newness that life with Christ offers.

The new man is described as, renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” and we are to ‘put him on’ (Colossians 3:10). Now, “The new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24 NKJV) is described as, “as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” (Colossians 3:12) is the person we have become through salvation, whether or not we realize it. We no longer need to walk in the futility of our minds but we have a new mind. Saved by grace we no longer live in despair or darkness except by ignorance.

Becoming Christ-like isn’t about wrestling with our bad habits to overcome them so we can behave more “Christian”. Becoming like Christ is living in the new mindset we’ve already been given supernaturally. We are not only saved by grace, but we are also sanctified by grace. And so let us with this information, walk in the new man, leaving behind the patterns, habits and trappings of the old man. Let us run the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1) with joy, peace, faith and love, knowing the old stuff is false and the new is our true identity, already accessible. We are alive in Christ. So, let us help each other to walk in that new life, knowing the old has passed away and the new is here to stay.

Studies in the world have proven that we will often manifest what we expect. Let us expect a life free from strife, filled with joy, and moving toward the Kingdom of Heaven which has come down to Earth and has already saved us from sinful selves so that we can live in the freedom of our true selves, free to be the people God created us to be.

My favourite scripture is this:

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14

Ready: Take time to unclutter your mind and discover who you are in Christ.

Set: Choose to be resolute. Trust and surrender is letting go of hard work and doubt. It is tenacity at it’s best. It is hope and faith in action.

Go: With faith and focus like flint and with a face to match, I’m going forward in the knowledge and love of Christ, to be the new man, full of God’s grace, truth, hope and joy. Please, will you join me?

 

One sure-fire way to find clarity of mind is to rest in scripture and consider letting go of any insecurity you may carry.

 Sarah Tun: Free to BeFree to Be offers you just the structure and strategy to go through the letting go process:

see and buy US: http://laruspress.com/free-to-be-defeating-insecurity-transforming-relationships-building-character

buy UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Free-Defeating-Insecurity-Transforming-Relationships/dp/1554527317/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1407125539&sr=8-2&keywords=sarah+tun

 

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture

Parenting is Tough, Jesus is our Role Model

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

When I look at Jesus I see a man of infinite patience. I see the Son of God who loves me to no end. I see the Father’s face and am moved to tears of gratitude, joy and hope. I am safe in love, mercy and peace.

When I look at myself in the mirror I do not see Jesus, but I know I am Jesus to my child. And I want my child to see the Jesus that I see: daily, hourly, moment by every precious moment.

Parenting is tough. How do I represent God to my son, so that he will grow up full of love, and into a follower of Christ?

Many children want two things: to please and to have their own way. Often, these two desires are not compatible. When we parent our children, we have the responsibility to guide them to truth and responsibility, and to enable them to enjoy the life they’ve been given. Whether in joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure, we mirror God and His universe to them. We want them to grow, knowing they are imperfect, they are loved and they are to love.

I’ve asked myself many times, ‘Am I getting this right?’ How, as a parent, do I lead my child to Christ, to be a confident person, humble before God?

Ready: First, I pray. Pray when the child is in the womb, that s/he will grow into the person God has created. Pray and let your child see you praying for her, for your family, friends, colleagues. Pray for your city, country, world. Pray that you will have strength to parent your child wisely, and with compassion, strength and integrity.

Set: Next, enjoy. Play, challenge, encourage. Build his sense of right and wrong, his knowledge of Father God, his delight in others and in you, his parent(s). Discipline when necessary, with both firmness and gentleness.  Be consistent in your expectations, follow through with your promises, be tender when he fails and kind. Know that one day, in the fullness of time, you will want this person to be your friend.

Go: Be confident in your calling, even when you feel full of self-doubt. Jesus, by his Spirit, is within you and surrounding you with love. Love covers a multitude of weaknesses, both yours and your child’s. Know that just as Father God has led you this far, He will never let you down. Lean on Him, be strong for your child, and take courage. Your child will grow into the man or woman s/he was created to be.

My son and me: Photo

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture

How is it that Jesus is the only way?

Jesus is the son of God (Matthew 1:18). He is the Word of God (John 1:1). He is the immaculate conception (Luke 1:30-35). He died and rose again from the dead (Mark 16:6).

We who follow Christ know all these things to be true. But each of these facts may not convince a seeker who wants to believe that good people go to heaven and that those who’ve never heard of Jesus but are faithfully religious in their culture will ‘be saved’.

How is it possible that only one person can be the gateway for a relationship with the Creator of the Universe? How is it that Jesus is the only way to God?

Only one person was able to defeat death, so that others could piggy-back on His triumph, and be forgiven their sin and regain the relationship with God that was always intended. That one person had to be pure, so that others could attain that purity through their faith in him. That person could not be the son of a man, because any who are the son of man have inherited the sin of mankind, through Adam. That person happened to exist outside of time, before the world began, when he spoke words and the elements came into being and obeyed his voice.

Jesus was a baby, then a boy, who became a man. Before time and before he was born in Bethlehem, we know the Word of God existed because he spoke and there was light, and life. But his name wasn’t Jesus. His name was Word.

There is so much to grapple with in trying to understand how Jesus is the only way (John 14:6). He said it and so it must be true because he would not lie. But how is it true?

The theology of the truth of Christ’s power is not difficult, but it is profound. The reality is that no one else has the right to save. Adam forfeited the world God had given to him, and his immortality, to Satan when he disobeyed God’s will; God allowed Satan to tempt Jesus so he – and we – could see for ourselves he would not be tempted or tricked into disobeying God. Jesus did not inherit sin by being born in sin, nor did he become sinful through disobedience. Further, as he was totally surrendered to God, so he was a perfect model of surrender for us; he even surrendered unto death, the most painful form of execution in history. Then he rose from death to complete the task of enabling us to have eternal life.

Jesus has claim to be the only savior because he was the only one who walked the walk of a savior. He was only able to walk that walk because he was totally surrendered to God. And he was the only one able to be totally surrendered because he had the Spirit of the living God inside himself, speaking and working through him to do the will of the father.

When you witness your faith in Jesus, know the theology of who Jesus is. It isn’t particularly whether he was fully man, fully God or a mixture that needs to be resolved. What matters to the unbeliever is where Jesus got his authority. He was perfect, and so the ‘buck stopped with him.’

Ready: Know the why’s and how’s of your faith in order to answer questions intelligently and with the authority God has already given you as one of His children.

Set: Prepare your testimony and be ready to give an account of your faith.

Go: Live, love, laugh, knowing God has set you free from your sin and seeks to save others through who you are and how you live. You may never be drawn into an argument, but in case you are asked, you’ll want to be able to explain answers to the profound questions of salvation by God’s grace.

God bless. See you next Thursday. In the meantime, how about investigating another of my blogs:

refreshing lifeA Life Examined is a woman’s view of life as it unfolds. It is a more secular viewpoint and so can be a useful tool to offer to others who don’t want ‘God talk’ but who do want a healthy, sincere perspective on life as it unfolds.

 

 

Manitoulin LighthouseLife from the Lighthouse shares 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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Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture

Does the Church need the Holy Spirit at Christmas?

It is Christmas! It is the day that so many of us around the world have marked to celebrate that Love came down to earth, to set us free from the despair in our own sinful lives.

Nothing can minimize the huge blessing that was the arrival of baby Jesus, nor does the amazing significance of his death and resurrection have any equal. Jesus came from on high and was baptized into ministry at the age of thirty. He did only the will of his Father, and all that he did, he did through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Does the Church need the Holy Spirit at Christmas? The Need for God’s Holy Spirit Anointing is evident at this time in our history. The Church needs the Holy Spirit at Christmas and every day.

In Bill Johnson’s book, Dreaming with God, he makes it abundantly clear we need the Holy Spirit to fill us, in order to live the life the LORD has for us. And Geoff Shattock of WorkTalk Weekly says, “your work consists of these same energy consuming characteristics, and you will need the same Spirit to equip you. Please don’t be tempted to believe that you can work in any meaningful way without the sense of the Spirit being upon you, anointing you and sending you” (post date: 8th September, 2014)

For far too long, far too many believers have been walking out their lives in their own strength and power. But we see in God’s word that Jesus was equipped for service through the power of the Holy Spirit:

Isaiah 61 and Luke 4 read:

“The Spirit of the LORD God is upon Me, because He has anointed Me…” (NKJV)

With the call and responsibility as Believers in these times, can we afford to think the Spirit is no longer available, is dormant or is only a connection point at the moment of salvation? No, the Spirit is active in and through you, and is available to the level of your faith, study, and willingness to receive. He is the power and the presence of Father God. He rested upon prophet after prophet in Old Testament times and filled many a believer in the New Testament church. We need him now, in these challenging and surprising times, no less than at any other time in history.

We need an awakening, an activating, an infilling of the Holy Spirit throughout the Body of Christ, as it was with the Apostles, as it was in the New Testament church. We need the Spirit of God actively working in us in order to function effectively for God’s Kingdom in these End Times.

Recently, I moved country, and the process hasn’t been easy. God’s adventures are never dull; there are so many blessings I’ve experienced through the people I’ve met and the challenges I’ve faced since the beginning of the process to move from Canada to Spain. But I have failed many times, particularly as a parent in these last few weeks, and I know I am only as ‘good’ as the Spirit who dwells within me.

How do we receive Holy Spirit’s power? We seek, ask and pray. What do we do to safeguard ourselves from the occult? Know the Word and the fellowship of other believers. How can we trust it is God working in us, rather than Satan? We shall know by the fruit our actions produce. The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, Patience, Faith and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Ready: Seek deep intimacy with the Father. Ask Him for a baptism of His Holy Spirit, because the power of God resides inside you, and is meant for leading, guiding and equipping you in your walk through life.

Set: As you ask in Faith to receive God’s Holy Spirit power, wait. As a Believer, the Spirit is already within you. Ask God to make you abundantly aware of His presence within and around you. Pray for His protection if you feel fearful, and trust He hears your prayer.

Go: Do you recognize your need? Do you experience God meeting you? In the power of the Holy Spirit, follow God’s lead to live, to witness and to minister to others to whom God will lead you.

In subsequent weeks I plan to dig into more depth about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

May this special day marked on the calendar be the beginning of deeper intimacy with the Father and His Son, through the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Categories
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.

Categories
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)

 

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture

When is it the time to witness our faith?

Sharing our Faith

When is it the right time to share our faith with unbelievers?

Recently, I heard David Wilkerson preach. It was a clip from You Tube, broadcast on Revelation TV. 

In essence, David said,

“When was the last time in church you felt the conviction of God, drawing you to repentance, drawing you closer to Him, drawing you?”

It’s so easy to live our lives day-by-day, as though we have all the time in the world to get to know Jesus.

But we haven’t.

And neither do our friends.

As the world spins around, anti Christ forces are pulling hard, and media, education, politics, and much of western society is speaking such anti God propaganda that it’s closing minds before they’ve even had time to consider Creation and the Creator.

I had the experience of losing a friend to cancer well before her time. Thankfully, she was a believer. But it taught me, the time truly is short and not to be taken for granted.

I don’t believe we are all called to be Evangelists. But we are all called to be ready to give an account of what we believe and know of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. (see 1 Peter 3:15)

When is the time to witness our faith? Now. And always. With meekness, gentleness, shamelessness and confidence in Christ.

When is the time to draw closer to God. Now. And always. With meekness, gentleness, shamelessness and confidence in Christ.

Ready: Prepare your testimony. How did you find Jesus? (How did he find you?) What difference has he made to your life? Why are you talking about him now?

Set: Pray for God’s occasion and calling, for you to speak on behalf of your faith in Him.

Go: Know the Holy Spirit of God resides in you, and will give you the time, the audience and the words to speak.

“Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” (Acts 5:20)