As I work with people who have life-controlling issues with various substances or lifestyles, I wonder about our free will. It is so interesting to me that God Almighty who gave us free will to choose whether we follow Him or not, is the only One who actually respects that free will. Everything else will trap you and bind you into slavery of addiction, stronghold community groups, gangs, “social groups”. If you try and walk away from these, there are so many hooks that have no respect at all for free will and freedom.
Even though I would so love to automatically love to do the right thing, eat and exercise the right way, etc etc, even this is a show that there are no hooks at all that pierce us when we choose life. We cannot get addicted to any good things as addiction in itself takes away our free will. Our freewill activated puts us in the driving seat to be intentional, disciplined and exercise self-control. When our freewill is over-ridden we will experience oppression, obsession, addiction and no control.
Let’s start this new decade aligning ourselves with Life so that we know how to live well.
When God gives you a word, this is like a seed that has a designated time of process and delivery. For me it is like a pregnancy, in which every single person has their own unique journey. Just as our natural bodies carry different babies with different needs, cravings, and take and make energy, our spiritual lives hold different ‘seeds’ that also have their own journey of guiding us into what we can and cannot do, in what we need to give up to protect the seed. In that secret place of forming, we would perhaps be wise to keep the knowledge and information of the seed protected from those who aren’t close to us.
During the process of life being formed there is always that time of ‘hidden’ and unseen. This is where, to the outside world, it seems like you are not your usual self, perhaps you yourself are feeling like an outsider to your normal self..? There is nothing that looks different on the outside but perhaps your taste has changed, your tolerance is changing, your vision and insight is heightened, you are cranky or feeling a bit crazy like you are becoming a different person and feel unsettled and freaked out..? Even when you have an idea that something new is happening, the reality of the process is still a shock and takes a time of adjusting.
It’s also a crazy emotional rollercoaster! Friends become like angels when they stay alongside us during all of this change, keeping us humble in the humanity of it all.
Then as time passes, what is unseen becomes seen but has still not ‘come forth’. There is that time of ‘process’ 🙂 what we all love! Yet, this time is so crucial to prepare us for change. It is uncomfortable and seems to take forever in coming to pass, but life is still being knit together in the secret place to come forth at exactly the right time. A time, as always, to be covered in prayer protection against all the schemes and plans to abort what God has designed to live. This is a time to be careful what your environment is. As the womb is now the most dangerous place to be, there is also risk of danger from the company we keep that would speak death to our ‘seed’ in the spirit. There are some that will not understand and, as James Aladiran says- “if no-one’s seen the treasure, they won’t understand why you will sell everything for it.” There will be some that would dissuade you as “it is impossible” and “why would God say that?”…etc etc… Stay, or become, wise to the company you keep.
In the day of Moses, midwives played a vital role to preserve life, and I believe that we all must make sure that we have our own midwives to journey with us, to hold our hand when it hurts and we don’t understand, to give us helpful instruction of encouragement, to know that the process of bringing forth life is an important and honoured role. But, like a good friend was telling me, it must be me alone that brings forth what God has given me. No-one can do that part for me.
I guess what I want to share, is that if God has spoken to you, then keep it safe and secure. Pray over it. Remember there will be times when “others may, you may not” and that is frustrating, but this is training.. Get your confidants around you to keep you in prayer when you break and crumble. Be careful who you share your God-seed with. And trust that God knows what He’s doing and is able. His ways are not ours, nor is His timing!
His ways, timing, and plans are perfect. Ours are not 🙂
Following is a song my friend sent me during a recent time of crumbling… Enjoy 🙂
Sometimes it may actually seem that God is using us as the bait to go fishing with, rather than us being the fishers of men! I’m not a fishing person, but I believe that it takes different bait to catch different fish. The reason why I’m sharing this is because I find it releasing when I have some clarity on my role and positioning. It helps me to relax into the process of the moment and remember that God is not only able to teach us to fish, but also able to teach us in how to be the bait.
I have one particular friend who is a total atheist and there is no “bait” that can be used. It is my open life and walking alongside each other that gives him total access into a life with God on a day-to-day scale of all the little things, instead of any talk or grand gestures..
I love these friendships. They are the ones that keep you accountable to walking what you’re talking. They are the ones who have no time for religion, but a desire and respect for authenticity. They are the ones who give us spades to dig deep into God and to get on our knees in prayer for His reality to be demonstrated- not only in our lives, but also theirs- and to show that His hand is not too short to save. Nor is He deaf to hear (Isaiah 59.1).
I love that HE IS ABLE.
No-one is beyond or too far from God Almighty.
And it is amazing that He desires us to co-labour with Him!
Over this last year I have been listening to various preachers and there seems to be a gorgeous thread reminding me of the power of emptiness.
I am sure pretty much everyone has had the sense of being emptied of themselves every now and then, and this does not feel good. Whenever I feel this, I feel like I have nothing to give. No energy to live. And therefore not good for anything.
When I am in an empty situation or ‘dead end’, I forget so easily that this is where God does His best creating expertise.
All through Scripture we see how God has brought us to the end of ourselves or to the deadest of ends, and then brought us through… Moses being emptied of his identity of palace living to go into the “emptiness” of the wilderness, and then later being in-between a raging sea and a raging army!.. Joseph in prison.. David being hunted down to be killed.. And all those who were desperate and at the end of themselves to cry out to Jesus for His healing in their lives..
One of my favourite examples is the story of a widow who sought help from Elisha in her desperate situation of debt. He ordered her to get all the empty vessels that were available so that oil could flow to filling each and every one- until every one of them was filled and enough to live with her family in freedom. The oil is symbolic of anointing, healing, light (for burning candles/fire), and provision (to help come out of the debt). How amazing is it that the oil needed to be poured into empty vessels like you and me to be useful?!
The emptiness gives way to the abundance!
The emptiness and void has potential-power.
The cross is the most powerful example of how powerful the void is… What looks hopeless and at the weakest point- death on the cross- we then see the empty tomb of where Jesus was placed. An empty tomb. The void of all life, and indeed Life Himself. Yet how powerful and life-changing is this void??! The emptiness of the tomb carries the greatest authority over hell and death (Romans 6.8-10). The greatest example of power is in the emptiness of the tomb- where the greatest show of power was in the lack of the body lying there.
What looks empty to man’s eyes can actually signify the potential for power and life.
What looks like lack is actually an opportunity for fulfilment, provision and power.
There is a great quote that says “may you be so empty of yourself and confidence in what you can do, so that God is all you have.”
Let us live so empty so that we can be full of God and Life Himself.
Thinking over these few weeks where I have started and getting into the work in which God has totally opened up for me, beyond even my own desire (see blog), I have been quite interested to find that my vibe for working here is struggling to fit and blend in with the flow. And then I am reminded of a devotion that I shared with the residents only a week or so ago..! (It is so much easier to preach than to practice!) I was explaining to them the parable of the mustard seed being likened to the Kingdom of God and that we need to take care and be intentional with the small beginnings, even when they “go underground” and we can’t see them, that is when we need to stay faithful in the process etc to encourage growth to start and develop. It is so interesting because from one mustard seed carefully looked after, it grows into a tree- the greatest of all garden plants- and then has yearly seed of tens of thousands! And so there being the lesson- if you are faithful in a little, you will grow your capacity to be faithful in LOADS more!
So then today, as I’m wondering (and getting a little bit attitudey about whether this is really where I belong), I am reminded that perhaps this is the time of being in the dark underground of small beginnings, and so therefore I need to fix my heart to be steadfast and faithful, and not to despise the small beginnings.
It is so much harder to do than to chat on about..! The reality is so much more of a slog then the nice picture that is painted..
So I guess I just want to share with you- please don’t lose sight of the bigger picture if you are wanting to quit because you’re uncomfortable and annoyed about things at the moment.
There is a greater plan and massive reward if we don’t give up.
Our identities don’t change alongside our bodies so when we
are looking older and more mature and wise, this can make us misleading. Jesus states that when we are young we drink
milk but as we get older we can eat food.
Our bodies show that we are ever-changing and growing and adapting to
seasons and times and I believe that God uses creation to teach us His
ways. Growing is a process that has
natural steps to help us grow and to build our strength for the next part. For example a child taking its first steps
from crawling to holding onto furniture to holding itself up to standing on its
own, then walking holding on, and then taking the first wobbly steps. From this the child then has the ability to
walk and then run and then discover everything within reach!
Some of us are desperate to run and discover but have not yet gone through the process of building strength and stability in our stance. Others of us are happy to be sat in our age old nappies(!) and enjoying watching the world go by.
Let us grow deeper and not just older.. And to know that authority comes with identity, not age..
During a mission-visit to Spain, it was interesting to feel the wall of resistance against us as they thought we were part of another religious group. Which is why it was so great to spend so much time prayer walking and blessing the town- so that we could work beyond the people themselves.
Then back in the UK I was able to meet, get to know and introduce Jesus to Javier while he was in England in a ‘protected by God and designated time’ to hear the gospel through relationship.
And so the church as corporate is so necessary to bind the strong man that is against the Kingdom of God. And also each individual Christian has the beauty of getting to know people, have a laugh, and introduce them to Freedom Himself.
Everyone is needed in both areas of infiltration of Light. Together and apart. Gathered and scattered.