atheistic insight

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Today I was sent a youtube clip from an atheist talk show radio station. 

As I listened, there was (what seemed to be) an older woman who had phoned in and talking from a Christian angle.  As she spoke, one of the guys on the show became so irate and often swore in his comments back to her.  She amazingly was soft toned the whole way through, but the way she was spoken to was full of disrespect and arrogance and rudeness. 

During the conversation the two guys mentioned that they had both been Christians- one training to be a minister, and the other was already a minister before they turned atheist.  It was so interesting because the one that got angry and rude said that when he was a Christian, he had tried to be the “best Christian ever so that when he died, he would be able to meet God and have done his best at converting as many as possible to Christ”.  This interested me because the whole Gospel and Good News of Christ is that it is by GRACE we have been saved, not that anyone can boast from works. 

Our identity is not about what we can do for God, because what can we actually do for the Almighty Creator of earth and all the galaxies??!  Our identity is based on who He is, not who we are!  What He has done, not what we can do.  In our weakness is when He is strong.  This is totally opposite to human ways and thinking.  We want to be the strong ones.  We want to work hard and be the best.  We want to have the answers and make sure we are in control.  None of these are generally bad in themselves, but we are limited.  In everything.  God is not. In anything.

We must really pray for those who are against us.  And we must constantly understand and remember that it is not flesh and blood we are fighting against, but the powers and rulers of spiritual darkness. 

It is also interesting to see that they are still wanting to ‘evangelise’ what they believe and it seems that the Bible is true when it says that the gifts and call of God are irrevocable.

Let us not give up fighting for a lost and broken and pained world. Let us ask God to break our hearts for what breaks His.  And be bold enough to mean it, and withstand the heartbreak.

hannah’s example

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Have you ever had a time where, whether it is a promise or a heart’s desire, you have gone all out and spent every last bit of yourself on pursuing and taking hold of it?

I think about how these times can be like Hannah and how crazy we can look to others who are watching on. We can be totally misunderstood and perhaps even condemned for our behaviour (like Hannah was) from those on the outside. 

We can also be questioned about our contentment by those on the inside (like Hannah was). 

If we are not careful enough to listen (and respond) through filters of the Holy Spirit- who is constantly honouring and loving – then we may get stuck in places we don’t need to be. 

For me, if I had Eli telling me off for being drunk, when I’m fact I was heartsick and desperate, I’d be fuming and respond with self defensive and angry words. Hannah shows us an incredible humility to filter the offence and goes straight to the matter humbly sharing her heart! 

And if my husband wasn’t understanding my heart’s desire and would use manipulation to try and disturb my contentment with him, I would weaken into depression and give up the fight. But Hannah shows us her non-engagement of communication that goes nowhere, and persists in moving forward to take hold what God had put in her heart.

Even within ourselves, maybe depending on how long we have been pursuing, we have become another voice that we need to filter. “it’s been too long now” etc etc.. 

How many times, do we want something so bad that we make deals with God? Hannah made a deal- that if she was given a child, she would offer him back to God. What an incredible, and possibly heart-breaking, fulfilment was that?! A pain of another kind, on the other side of the promise. 

Let us not be naive when it comes to promises and heart’s desires: their process, their delivery/arrival, and their outworking. In every season there is a cost. And there is heart. And there is continual need for filters.

But let’s also never give up and settle for less than what is available to and for us. 

It is never just about us. It is about the next generation, the future destinies of kings and queen’s, about cities, families, workplaces. 

Let us live and worship to have our names in the lineage of sons and daughters (beyond blood) who bring the Kingdom of God to this earth when we are long gone.. 

not my will but Yours be done

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How many of us have rare/occasional/frequent ideation of suicide to just “leave”..?

Oftentimes, I can feel so overwhelmingly low or despair or weak, that I can allow suicidal desires to engage in my thinking.. Sometimes I don’t feel I have any capacity to cope with and in life.

This week has been like that; totally draining of life; despairing over the state of horrendous brokenness all around that impacts so damagingly; and drained of energy to be hopeful or enthused.

An amazing friend, who got some of my emotional baggage this morning(!), told me that Jesus can relate to all of our emotion, that He Himself prayed that the cup would be taken from Him, but ended with “but Your will be done”…

This is such a game changer of prayer.

Sometimes I will pray for release of what I believe God has called me to because it is just too heavy/painful/crushing for me to bear. I remind myself of my free will and tell myself that I can or don’t have to do anything.. But my deepest and greatest desire is to live for and with and in and from God. And this means submitting my freewill to Him. I have to choose to remember that He wants and has the best for me. And He is not afraid of me hurting along the journey and wanting to give up.. As much as I can hurt, this is my most favourite attribute of God. He is trustworthy and so secure in His love for us.

So from my amazing friend’s encouragement, my submission of will now is localised to a certain burden/promise/placement instead of a generic submission of life. Now I will have to choose “His will, not mine be done” in every different area and path, and to keep walking the paths that I believe He has put me on, and not look for ways out or off.

Jesus understands emotion. He went through the whole range I’m sure more than any person ever has and yet His example, when wanting to get off His path, was submission to God which included incredible pain.

As much as He is not manipulated by our pain, cries and discomfort, He is surely not indifferent to them. He loves us. As mere humans, we are able to love and know that we feel the pain of others when they are hurting. How much more then does God? He sees even the hidden and deep pain that is unrevealed to others. He is very present and aware of our pain. He understands completely. And He also knows the road ahead. That He has plans that are greater and unimaginable to us in their amazingness! He understands that the pain we face is a cost of something for so much greater. That is so much wider, and deeper, and eternal..

Let us never give up. We don’t have to be fake about pain, or try and cover it up, but let us keep walking the path that He has put us on. It will hurt, but He is the Healer. It will cost, but He is the provider..

Keep walking- steady or unsteady- but keep walking. 

it only takes one

The ONE thing your reef needs to be successful... | REEF2REEF Saltwater and  Reef Aquarium Forum

There’s a quote that says “if you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito”.

When we feel spiritually small, we need to adjust our thinking to remember that the God of all creation is with us and He uses ‘ones’ that are available- even if they stutter (like Moses), orphaned (like Esther), rejected and forgotten (like Joseph), young (like Timothy), old (like Sarah)..

Run your race. Focus on what God has for you. Don’t compare. You have been created for your own story to show off impossibilities being made possible because of Him in your life. Give Him everything you are.

the power of example

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Daniel, like most of our Bible brothers and sisters, shows us that the power of example is absolutely incredible (and costly!).

If we live by example in our relationship with God, it will perhaps at first be something that gets us some credit, perhaps promotion, status… Until the day that we are asked to renounce it for the kingdom of the workplace, of culture, of community, or even for ego.

One Christian is quoted as saying that “it is not so much persecution that is an issue for Christians, but praise”.

Let us be wise to learn deep lessons from those who have gone before us. We have been shown the common pitfalls and pressure, and the many many challenges that are for every believer in Christ. Let us take care to be mindful and careful in our walk of faith.

Our audience should always be The One. The Lord God Almighty. The Maker of Heaven and Earth.

are we growing under the Light of the world or something other?

Growing Plants Indoors with Artificial Lights: All You Need to Know - The  Practical Planter

In some farming there is fruit grown in and under artificial lighting and surroundings. The fruit still grows and has colour, but what nutritional value does it have? The same is for us. We all grow and develop, but do we have any nutritional value or are we just “puffed up”?

Artificial lighting is for mass consumption. As long as you look the part, no-one really cares about your inner value/content. And even better that it is so much cheaper! Quick, same-looking results, mass-made and cheaper. Sound like any of our societies??!

Under the Light of the World, the Gardener is not interested in getting rich quick with cheap produce. He is interested in quality, health, and cost. He is interested in developing fruit through/using the crap and manure of life. He is interested in inner-growth and development so that when the fruit is eaten, we (and/or others) can taste and see that the Lord is good.

God knows the importance of protecting the seed and not allowing any corruption or ‘lessening’ of the nutrition. He is and has been there for every part of growing. He is invested and always has been.

The appearance of things do not manipulate the Gardener. He knows that content supersedes size. He also knows the cost of things. He Himself paid a great cost and so does not do anything cheaply. He does not negotiate a cheaper price or give discounts.

It is massively important for us to know what environment and lighting we are growing under. We need to live intentionally otherwise our ground will slowly move towards culture and away from Kingdom and we will start to come under a different system of value, content, cost.

Stay under the Light. Grow under the mighty hand of Love. Stay in the atmosphere of Peace.

don’t miss the moments

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The first (and I think only) time I have been inspired by God with a Spanish song of worship was a few years back when I was on my way home from work. I was singing in my head while on the bus and then softly to myself while walking home. The words seemed to just flow as I sang and they were all in Spanish (the language that I am forever trying to learn). I was so amazed that I was then distracted in wanting to make sure I could remember the lyrics but had nothing on me to write them down with. As I was distracted with trying to make sure I could remember for later, I had a sense of God being gutted that I couldn’t just live in the moment and sing freely without distraction. I felt that if I couldn’t enjoy the spontaneous moment of worship now then I would miss the moment. Inside I had to make the decision (the ones that happen in split seconds) about whether I wanted to live the true moment of pure worship and connection, or risk it for trying to take note to perhaps use to show off to others, show off to myself, sing again from a more “polished” heart. I chose to live in the moment and realigned myself to be 100% fully present with God. It was like I was being gifted with Spanish and creativity to then offer back to Him, and there was just a union of relational buzzingness!

By the time I got home, I had no words at all in my memory of what I had been singing- absolutely nothing! It was like I was given words and song for a moment in time to use- for just the two of us- and, as much as I was a little bit feeling “ah, that’s a shame”, I was so chuffed to have spent that time in authentic worship and union with the God Almighty, Creator and Father.

I love connecting with God through worship and music and song and am not against any of this at all. My desire on top of all of that would be that when it is just meant for the privacy between the Father and his kid, let’s not miss those moments of connection. Of course we are all family as the Body of Christ, but God is also a Father who sees, knows, and loves each and every one of us as individuals.

Just like in every relationship- not everything has to be shared with everyone. Sometimes songs, words, wisdom is for us alone to cherish and ponder these things in our hearts.

Let’s keep ourselves aware we have an audience of One, not of a crowd.

homeless faith

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I have found that to develop faith and position ourselves in honour of God, it can sometimes feel like we end up ‘homeless’ and that we have nowhere to go but Him- the only place where we are understood, or just simply at peace when we don’t understand ourselves, never mind being understood by others!

Jesus has told us that foxes have dens and birds have nests, but that the Son of Man does not have a place to lay His head. As co-heirs with Christ, He is our example.. And so as encouragement(!), let’s not be surprised when we find ourselves facing trials that bring loneliness or being cast down and out. God had promised that He will not fail nor forsake us.

When we don’t understand, when we’re cast down, when we are alone and feel down and out- let’s stay the course and know that even when we feel alone; we aren’t. We have a great cloud of witnesses- people gone before and those who are alongside running their race also.

Keep going.. Don’t compromise what isn’t negotiable. Stay true, authentic, and keep wrestling and pursuing Truth, Life, and Love. It will cost us everything. But everything costs- let’s be wise with how we spend our life and not regret spending cheaply.. 🙂

Let’s make it count. Here is not our home.

plugged in and turned on?

This photo is a question for us: Are we plugged in and turned on to the power source? Or is the power source waiting for us to get plugged in? We can also be plugged in but the power is not turned on.

There is only One Way in which power flows through us and that is being plugged in and turned on. No other combination can produce power to bring the flow of the Source.

Let us check regularly what our status is. It may be that distractions, ego, religion, self talent/independence, whatever, will bring the plug out with or without our awareness.

is it out of duty or desire…?

I have a great friend who sometimes I wonder if their behaviour towards me is out of their feelings of duty towards me, or if it is from their desire to support me. It is such an insecure and weird feeling. It makes me feel like I’m ungrateful for their support, but then I also don’t want someone to feel that they have to support me out of duty..

I understand the whole ‘faith and works’ and that sometimes honour needs to serve whether we feel like it or not. I also know that in marriages it does not always feel great and therefore decisions to love need to over-ride other feelings. And therefore this is a current wrestle that I have within me, not only in my own relationships but also with God Himself.

I do not want to serve God out of duty but desire. But the actual service of love takes discipline and choices that can be challenging or uncomfortable.

I’m not really sure.. Maybe these words are even friends..? Maybe duty takes position when desire is low, and desire takes place as duty starts to fade..?

Either way, I so want to live life from and in the freedom of desire and not the command of duty.