Grateful

Tonight, my heart is full. Full of memories and moments. I am blessed, not because I have, but because I get to give.

 

I wrote this blog last night, at the end of Mother’s Day here in Australia. I wanted to share it with you.

 

“Today has been so many wonderful moments. Some funny, some wonderful, some brought tears and others made me laugh. All I know is that I have two awesome young men who enrich my life in so many ways.

Early hours this morning I was sad that I had to get up at 5am to work, and I was miffed at my boss in asking me to work on Mother’s day. But later that morning just on daybreak, I had the most peaceful moment looking at the sunrise and thanking God for the moment. I got to speak to a lady who was glad to work as she lost her only daughter to a car accident a few years before. I also got to see a number of men, with flowers and chocolates, rushing out of the shops when it opened. Today was a good day, because it made me a much more grateful person today.

For me, I spent time with my husband, my teenage sons, church members, and friends. I phoned my sister and mum and talked with them. I was treated by my husband and eldest son, who paid for a lovely lunch so mum did not have to cook. I enjoyed watching the antics of my friend’s children and my children, all now young adults. I received so many beautiful messages from friends, that I have spend a lot of time going thru tonight and answering them. Thank you to each and every one of them.

I laughed over my eldest trying to give me fashion advice and was amused by his horrified face when he found out what type shoes I was going to wear with my outfit. I was warmed by my husband’s words to me this morning and grateful that I now have a husband who sees me and honors me. I leaned into my youngest son’s embrace and laughed at him when secretly tried to use the time to see if he was still taller than me when I have high healed shoes on. Today I looked over their faces as saw the men that they all are and grateful for the chances I have right now.

Later on, I handed a wet washer to my eldest son as he walked out of the bathroom, annoyed and upset that he now couldn’t work due to a tummy bug, and then talked budgeting with my over enthusiastic 13 y.o on his type of spending. At bedtime tonight I got to give them a hug and tell them how proud I was of them.

I also chose today to spend time with two beautiful women who recently lost their sons. One will never be with her on this earth, and one will always look down the road for her son to return. These are mum’s whose hearts are missing a tiny bit.

Now, as the proud owner of a new box of chocolate, and very heart-warming card from my sons, and lots of good memories from today, I will cherish each and every one of them. Tomorrow when my sons are in school, I will open up their card and with fresh tissues read, “… To the best mum in the whole world, thank you for the way you support us and thank you for always trying your hardest…”.

 Tonight, my heart is full. Full of memories and moments. I am blessed, not because I have, but because I have the ability to give to others.  In my heart I am more grateful to my Father God who has been my parent  – loving and giving to me even in the years when I could not see life ever being good again. Now, I get to give to Him, my life..my all. 

Yes, tonight my heart is full and grateful , loving the moments in an imperfect life, surrounded by imperfect people in a world that is not always fair…because grateful is not depended on perfect of fair, but on a heart that sees beyond this.

So for all the mothers who are hurting, those that spent the day caring for family, for those who were not remembered and honored, and for those who have nothing. May I encourage you to look beyond things in front of you and look beyond the painful moments and lean on God. That is not a cliche, I know this to be true.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Mothers and …the dad’s who are being mum and dad, the mum’s to be, the ones who will never be mum’s and to those that were only a mum for a moment. To the grandmothers, mother, aunts, and women who there for children everywhere – have a blessed day today and be grateful. “

Gifts

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 NASB

 

Have you ever noticed how children love gifts? By the way, it is not just children that love gifts.

I love gifts. I love giving them and I love receiving them.

In my possession I have some very precious gifts that have been given to me, over the years, by my children, husband, and friends. I have also in my possession a number of treasured drawings given to me by my children, and I have every card my husband has ever given me. I not only have them, I hold them and have taken them into my heart. Even if I no longer had those as physical items, I would have them in my heart. I have received them fully and gratefully.

I want you to image something……

God has send you something. I arrived just when you needed it.

It arrives on your doorstep and you place it on the table in front of you. You know what is in the box because you asked for it. You know it is from God, because it has all the markings of something that comes from God. But you have concerns and doubts.

That afternoon, a friend drops by to see you. They point to the package on the table and the conversation goes like this –

 

“What is that?”

“It is what I asked for, God sent it.”

“Well, why is it sitting on the table. Open it.”

“Yeah..um… you see I am not really sure it is for me. I am not really sure that it is what I asked for. In fact,

I don’t think I should have asked for it.”

“Oh, so you don’t like it.”

“No.. it is more like I really wasn’t expecting God to answer.”

“Oh. (silence for a few minutes) But you have it now, and He did answer.”

“Yeah, I think I might sent it back.”

Would you think that this conversation is weird? The interesting part is that we probably do this to God all the time, we ask for something and then we either question it or don’t receive it because we don’t believe.

I was reading James Chapter one, the other day, and I felt to look up what a couple of words in what they mean in the Greek language. Now please understand that I am not a Greek scholar, but I can read what someone else says about a word.

The scripture I was reading was this –

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8 NASB

The two words I looked up were “wisdom” and “receive”.

According to Strong’s Concordance wisdom means “wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual)” Receive means “to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it. To take what is one’s own, to take to one’s self, to make one’s own” The Greek word that is translated into “receive” is the same word that is translated into “receive” in Mathew 7:8, “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

We have a generous God who gives us the wisdom not only for big spiritual things we don’t understand, but for both daily life and living.  We not only have to ask for it, but we have to take a hold of it as if it is yours.

King Solomon asked for wisdom, and God gave Him wisdom. People knew that the wisdom that he had was from God. In fact, the Queen of Sheba acknowledged that it was from God. 1 Kings 10:6-9

God is about giving His children good things, and I am not talking about money and possessions. I am talking about a life, a heart, a mind and a spirit that is different from what is in this world. This is why Jesus died on the cross, not only that we accept His salvation, but become new and constantly renewed with the Holy Spirit counsel and power.

It is not only wisdom we should ask for, we should ask for healing, understanding, fruits and gifts of the Spirit etc. We should eagerly and expectantly know of it’s arrival and receive it with open and grateful hearts, moving with faith into the character of person God knows we can become.

My questions are these-

How many times do you ask God for something and then do not believe?

How many times do you ask God to change you and then reject the change?

How many times do you receive from God, only to wonder if you are worth what He has sent?

How many times does He keep giving us His everything and we accept nothing?

God remains generous, giving, faithful and loving. He knows you and He knows me. Even after this life He offers us eternity but understand this… it is a gift that is only there to accept receive and take a hold of, before death.

When we need help it is all about the asking. When God gives, it is all about our ability to receive, to take in, to hold. It is about our unwavering faith in the One who sent it.

A little bit further down in James chapter 1 is this verse.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

Not only every good gift, but every perfect gift as well. God is not like the shifting shadows, and we can trust Him.

Many times, I have asked Him for wisdom, and many times I have been grateful of what He has given to me and shown me. As a mum of teenage boys, wife, women’s ministry leader, author, and friend I find that my own wisdom is lacking, but God gives insight (and sometimes the ability to say sorry) to help me through.

I had an incident the other day that really upset me. I had approached someone to speak to them on a matter, and before I had finished the person got very angry. The person presumed that I has talking about something entirely different, and no matter how much I protested and tried to finish what I was trying to say, the person just kept talking over me. I sat there shaking and trying to figure out what I was going to say to help the situation. Finally, when he stopped speaking, I told him I was sorry for upsetting him, because I realized that even though I had not done what he was mad about, he was obviously very emotional about what he thought I was going to say. He was hurting, defensive and unable to have the amount of self control that he usually had. Wisdom required that I walk away after that and leave it be.

In the days following, the rippling effects from his outburst has filtered through to me. Many people heard his words, but not mine. I have felt the pain of the gossip and presumption that often goes with a small community. For this I pray for wisdom, as there is nothing I can do about what others think. There is something that I can do about how I feel. Pray. I am not sure why this is happening, but it did. At the moment wisdom would seem to be that I let it go. Yet every part of me is wanting to defend myself. When we ask for wisdom, it is not about God seeing it our way, it is about what God sees and He wants to do with something. God will defend me, or give me the words to defend myself.

Later that day, another scripture came to mind. “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” James 3:17 NLT

Sometimes we receive what we don’t understand, and the words we speak seem to be not the way we would usually do something. Other times it is the ability to see something more and knowledge that we know is not ours. Whatever He places in your heart to say or do, just know that God is faithful to His promises.

I am so grateful that I have personally found Him faithful. Even when He didn’t answer my requests as I thought He would. Every time I have ever told God that He didn’t answer my prayer the way I thought He should have, I have later found He was right…of course.

My prayer for you is that you will know Him as the perfect gift giver and the one who knows you to give you what you need (even if it is not what you asked for). Don’t be afraid to both ask and receive. Receive in faith. Pick it up, take a hold of it and cherish the Gift Giver and the gift.

 

Be blessed. (Please read editor note below)

 

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Hi everyone, I want to thank you for taking time to read what God has laid upon my heart to write in these blogs. I apologize that the blogs are less regular then previously.

This year have revealed itself to be a new season of growth and change. The end of last year saw a lot of changes in so many areas of my life and to add to this I have found myself with a lot more writing and ministry. My life as a wife and mum has been so very busy as my teenagers take on work and extra sport and schooling and as my husband’s life has become busier. It has  been necessary to personally take on some part time work to help pay for the cost associated with both ministry and personal. Unfortunately this means that something in my life has had to be reduced.

My blog page and the writings will still happen, just not every week. At the moment it is once every two to three weeks.

Thank you for your continued support. I really appreciate hearing from the people who read this blog. I love to hear your comments and things you share about your life. I have had a lot of people ask for prayer, please do know that I do pray for you. Our God is a good God, and for this I am so very grateful. Be blessed and stand strong.

Ruth

Just a little reminder

Have you ever received a text or email and it starts with “This is just a little reminder…”

 

Have you ever received a text or email and it starts with “This is just a little reminder…”

Over the past few weeks there have been some … interesting moments and experiences. Some really good and some interesting and some bad.

I was hanging out the washing this morning, when the Lord placed each and every one of these time in my head. It seemed to go in slow motion, almost like movie in slow motion. As each memory passed through my head I suddenly saw God’s work across all of them.

Then (almost in the background) the Holy Spirit spoke, “ I have been reminding you how to live.”

Interesting indeed.

I know that each and every day I want to live the way God wants me to live, but God was showing me how He was living through me. Over the past 10 years God has been teaching me a “better way” of living. Showing me a “better me”. Revealing the He is the “better God” if I let Him. I have had to lean and rely on the “better Counsellor” and trust a “better promise”.

In each of these things it has required me to listen and be obedient to the Holy Spirit and to God’s Word. To trust, have faith and believe. It has also meant that I have to shut my mouth and watch how I speak and what I say. It has always been about a better

Very interesting.

I have been reading the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. It is all about a letter written to Jewish people about a “better way”. I was pondering yesterday the words. “the word of God is living and active” and “it divides between soul and spirit, joint and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitude of the heart.” It seemed that God needed to show me how this had worked.

Over the past few weeks as things hit my life in full force, I have had constant times when I went to do something or say something, and a lesson that I have learned came to mind. It seemed like all the things that God has spoken to me about, or had shown me, came to my mind.  I found myself following the thought and doing exactly that. I didn’t at any of the time realised that the it was the Holy Spirit speaking… it just seemed like memories coming to my mind.

Now here the Lord was telling me differently. God…living…in…me.

God is good. Amazing!

He loves me being a better me, He loves it when I follow His better way. The Holy Spirit has left imprints all over my life.

In Joshua, God speaks to Joshua and says, be strong and of good courage. God repeats it a few times (verses 5,7, & 9) but at the last He says to Joshua “have I not commanded you? Be strong and very courageous.” It was like God needed this to be very, very clear to Joshua. He said it, then he resaid it, then He reminded Joshua that He commanded it.

In Isaiah 46:9, the writer is speaking to a wayward and rebellious nation. I love the way the Message bible says this verse.

“Think about this. Wrap your minds around it. This is serious business, rebels. Take it to heart. Remember your history, your long and rich history. I am God, the only God you’ve had or ever will have— incomparable, irreplaceable— From the very beginning telling you what the ending will be, All along letting you in on what is going to happen, Assuring you, ‘I’m in this for the long haul, I’ll do exactly what I set out to do..”

Wrap your mind around this – God place in front of us all the reminders we need. Reminders of His love, of His mercy, of His Word, reminders that He was and still is Almighty God, Creator and King…even if it is of your own life. God seeks not only to change our hearts and lives, but for it to remain changed and keep on changing.

Thank you, Father God, for the reminders of You. Thanks for the newness of every new day when we find that we failed. Thanks for patience You have for us and how You long for us notice You and want You to be part of us in everything we do. Thanks for the memories and the reminders. Most of all Father, thank you for Your Son, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who counsels us so well. Amen

Ask God for the ears to listen and the heart to respond. He LOVES the better you, and so will you.

God…living…in…you.

Think about it. This is truly serious business.

 

 

 

Rough Seas

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1 (NLT)

 

Have you ever watched a movie where there is a small boat on rough seas?

Have you ever felt the need to change their circumstances so that they will be ok?

Do you know what it is like to know someone was in danger and unable to do anything for them?

Have you ever told someone that “it will be ok” not wanting to sound trite, but knowing that you have

survived the same tragedy and come out better for it?

 

A while ago, a young woman came to my house and was pouring her heart out to me about a situation that she had no control over. She was shaken to the core.

What distressed me the most is that she had lost hope. Lost hope in herself and lost hope in God. As far as she was concerned – the situation she had in her life right now was never going to be resolved. She had stopped sleeping properly and seemed very down.

I had spoken to her about going to the doctors and looking after herself, as I was concerned for her…very much so. Finally, she uttered these words “It will never change, there is nothing that anyone can do”.  My heart sank.

The only words I could utter was “Even if we cannot see or do anything, have you considered that God is able to change the situation?”

She looked at me and shook her head to the negative. Yes, she has lost hope in even God. I prayed for her then and still do now.

Her heartache was clear in my mind yesterday when I was reading Psalm 46 (which I have added in full at the end of the blog). The words in this Psalm struck home in my heart. A faith that is unshaken in an awesome and powerful Creator who is still Almighty God despite the raging, shaking and roaring. The Psalmist is sure that we need to be still and fully understand that He is God. It seems that the psalmist is not only speaking to the elements and enemies, but to our trouble soul.

While pondering this Psalm I was reminded by a song that I hadn’t heard for years. It was a song sung by Steven Curtis Chapman

 

God is God

 

And the pain falls like a curtain on the things I once called certain

And I have to say the words I fear the most I just don’t know

And the questions without answers, come and paralyze the dancer

So I stand here on the stage afraid to move

Afraid to fall, oh, but fall I must on this truth that my life has been formed from the dust

 

God is God and I am not

I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting

God is God and I am man

So I’ll never understand it all

For only God is God

 

And the sky begins to thunder and I’m filled with awe and wonder

‘Til the only burning question that remains is who am I

Can I form a single mountain? Take the stars in hand and count them?

Can I even take a breath without God giving it to me

He is first and last before all that has been

Beyond all that will pass

 

Oh, how great are the riches of His wisdom and knowledge

How unsearchable for to Him and through Him and from Him are all things

So let us worship before the throne

Of the One who is worthy of worship alone

 

Steven Curtis Chapman

Songwriter: Steve Earle God Is God lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

 

For many people their faith has been shaken by lives in trouble, and the hopelessness that comes to them in these times of deep heartache and tragedy. They cannot hear the words of comfort that you speak, or the hope that you have to share. The situation that is upon them seems to be greater than God, bigger than the anything they have ever seen, and more daunting than any high mountain climb. Even though they are aware that others have gone before them and that there is no new pain that someone has not faced before, they question God and demand to know why this is happening to them. When He does not fix the issue, or save them from the situation, they become angry and turn away from God – the One who could help them through the pain.

In the past few months I have seen 6 women go through stuff that no one should have  to go through. I am watching as three of these women are at peace, are drawing closer to God and become stronger in their faith. These three ladies all have something in common. They know, love and trust their Heavenly Father – no matter what they go through. The peace that they have been given, radiates from them. Their testimony is powerful. Their relationship with God cemented in love from and for Him.

Their relationship with God was strong before the heartache and it stood the shaking and testing. In many ways the relationship that they have with God is not very unlike the relationship in a marriage. If it is strong, it will remain strong even in the tough times.

I encourage you to develop the type of relationship with God that survives when the world shakes around you? I encourage you to read His word and ask the question of yourself – Do I trust God when things are rough or am I just in the relationship for the smooth times? Am I prepared to go have God at the helm of your life no matter what it is like right now? Or have you thrown Him from the boat a while ago, happy to be the captain of your own ship?

Hand Him the captaincy of your life before you hit the rough seas. If He is not God of all, He is not God at all.

I can’t answer those questions for you. Only you will know. Start now, to hang on to the One who knows the future and can be with you through it all. Get to know the God you believe in. Soak in the Word of God. Have faith now, live for Him now.

God is trustworthy – I know this to be true. Find it out for yourself and know His peace.

 

Be blessed

 

Psalm 46 (NLT)

1 God is our refuge and strength,

always ready to help in times of trouble.

2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come

and the mountains crumble into the sea.

3 Let the oceans roar and foam.

Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude

4 A river brings joy to the city of our God,

the sacred home of the Most High.

5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.

From the very break of day, God will protect it.

6 The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble!

God’s voice thunders,and the earth melts!

7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;

the God of Israel[b] is our fortress. Interlude

8 Come, see the glorious works of the Lord:

See how he brings destruction upon the world.

9 He causes wars to end throughout the earth.

He breaks the bow and snaps the spear;

he burns the shields with fire.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God!

I will be honored by every nation.

I will be honored throughout the world.”

11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;

the God of Israel is our fortress.

Eyesight

He places glasses over my eyes so I can see enough, takes me by the hand and says, “trust me”. Other times He puts powerful glasses on my nose, takes me by the hand and says “let’s go”. Then there are the scary times when I live by faith only taking step by step not seeing anything in front of me…

Last week I went for an eye test, ‘cause everything was getting blurry and I figured my eyesight needed some help.

Up until now, I had glasses that simply made words on a page a little crisper in shape. Over the past year I have been squinting, holding my page further away and sometimes guessing a word in hope that I get it right. Lately I have been getting headaches to which I would love to say was simply because I have been busy…or stressed. But no, alas, I have been forced to admit I don’t see very clearly and need help.

So, off I toddled to the Optometrist, who concluded that it was long past when I should have come for help, (I am shocked…not really) and that I now needed glasses that befits my apparent age (wince). An hour later I walked out feeling older, poorer and slightly bemused by the very youthful Optometrist and his efficient and matter-of-fact manner.

The glasses will take a few weeks to arrive in the mail, and in the meantime, I will be doing what I did before, squinting, moving pages to a distance and guessing…. sometimes badly.

Sunday morning in church, I was reading my bible – badly – as the minister spoke from God’s word, and God used this time to speak to my heart. This scripture came to my mind – I Corinthians 13:9-12.

You see, I have been struggling. Struggling with me, the busyness of my life and my human frailties. I want to know clearly, see clearly and understand clearly. There are times I know that I know, and there are times I guess that I know. I don’t want to just feel His presence I want to know His presence in every area of my life.

There are times I take one foot in front of the other not knowing what I need to do next, feeling like I am blind and unseeing, and trusting God to tell me if I am wrong. I have been talking to God about this… a lot. He has been quiet to my heart and my words. But one thing of know of my God, He loves to use practical example to show me spiritual stuff.

Two years ago, I prayed about two things that have been on my heart for a while, over those two years God has given me glimpses of what it is necessary to do these things, and why. This year they are being put into place. With final preparations needed to start the processes I have been talking to God about it and making sure that what I am doing, is right. I fact I am concerned with my eyesight – my ability to see correctly the life in front of me and what God has for me to do. I am doubting myself and what God gave to me.

Sunday morning, I woke with a clear mind and heart, and as I went for a walk, I found that God’s presence was there with me. A few hours later, I was sitting in church with God giving me this…

“But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” I Co 13:10 (KJV)

The scripture could not have been more appropriate. Paul says later in verse 12, that now he sees dimly (or in a glass darkly), but here he is saying that when Christ (the perfect) comes he will see more clearly. Right in the middle of the “love chapter” Paul is talking about his ability to see clearly, about prophesying in part, of not needing knowledge. We will not need these things when we are before Him and with Him for eternity.

God understands my imperfect, unseeing ways. He knows I sometimes do not understand, but live by faith in Him. If I was so sure of myself, I would most likely live with faith in me.

The Holy Spirit counsels and helps me, He places glasses over my eyes so  I can see enough, takes me by the hand and says, “trust me”. Other times He puts powerful glasses on my nose, takes me by the hand and says “let’s go”. Then there are the scary times when I live by faith only taking step by step not seeing anything in front of me, only knowing I must step forward, not in rebellion but in obedience.

People often have the presumption that I hear from God all the time. This is incorrect. I would love to have that relationship with God, I desire it and wait for more to come. That my heart’s desire, but I am not there yet. After reading the scripture this morning I suspect that I will always have the need for God glasses (the Holy Spirit) to be able to see anything.

Our God is good, and loves us imperfections, stumblings, mistakes, inability to see what is right in front of us, short sightedness and blindness. He sent the Holy Spirit to help us with all of that, and He gave His Son when we get it wrong.

I know that when I cry out to God and say “I can’t see properly” He has provided help until I become better at seeing through the spiritual eyes I have, or until I see clearly with His eyes. Knowing that God is aware of my human state, helps me to see clearly.

I am praying for your eyesight right now. I pray that you will not only see God clearer, but see the hope and the future He has for you. I pray that He will give you eyesight to see yourself and His mercy and love. I pray that you will see Christ and the forgiveness provided by His death, the hope that we have because He rose again, and that you will see to the future when He comes again. I am praying for your spiritual sight.

 

A bowl full of reflections

My bowl full of reflections are now in the hands of Almighty God- He knows what to do with them.

 

A bowl full of reflections

 

This morning I started to take down the Christmas tree, as per our usual tradition on New Year’s Day, as the heat of the day warmed the house. I took a wooden bowl from the kitchen table to put the brightly coloured decorations in, and it soon filled to almost overflowing. As I placed the last decoration into the bowl, I saw a reflection of myself in the shiny red surface. Suddenly, I realised that I could see lots of reflections. The reflections of myself, other objects in the room and my eldest who had walked up behind me. Not only did this bowl full of reflections, reveal the outer self, it also revealed a bit of my heart this morning…actually, revealing my heart for the past month.

I felt suddenly that the Lord moved closer and His Spirit ministered to me. The Lord had never left, neither had he ever stopped ministering to me, it was just that I needed something more right now…

I have been in a reflective mood for the past month.

This morning, I reflected on life, my marriage, my children, my friends, my God. I reflected on joys, loves, heartaches, and sorrows.  I reflected on my achievements, friendships, ministry, and family. I took time to admit failures, mistakes, sin… and acknowledge the grief that still sits heavily from the recent death of loved ones and dear friends.

There were some things I could look at but not stay reflecting on too long.

I sighed as I looked at the bowl. Some of the balls reflected because of the shiny surface and some did not, as the surface had matte finish. Yes… some things were worth the reflection and other things just needed to be acknowledged. I had spent the morning is deep reflection and I could do no more…the bowl was full.

I placed the bowl onto the table and walked away. Now was time to hand it all to the God of my past, my present, and my future – my Heavenly Father.

Every new day is a ability for my Father to create in me a new things. Every new year is the ability for my Father to create a new future in Him. Relying on Him and drawing into Him.

Right now, I sense His Spirit wash over me and I am grateful for the “new”. My bowl full of reflections are now in the hands of Almighty God- He knows what to do with them.

I pray that you too will place your past year in God’s hand today and thank Him for new days.

Be blessed.

 

Number 6:24-26

 

The Lord bless you, and keep you [protect you, sustain you, and guard you];

The Lord make His face shine upon you [with favor],

And be gracious to you [surrounding you with lovingkindness];

The Lord lift up His countenance (face) upon you [with divine approval],

And give you peace [a tranquil heart and life].’ (AMP Version)

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My prayer for you is that you will draw near to the One who knows and loves you, your Heavenly Father and Almighty God.

In Him is freedom, love and joy. In Him is strength for trials, hope in life and a future in eternity. Only He gives salvation, forgiveness, and acceptance through the work that His Son, Jesus Christ, did on the cross at Calvary.

I pray that this new year will bring a love for God, a desire to be near Him and blessings that come from knowing and living for Him.

The Prodigal Daughter

The Prodigal Daughter by Elizabeth Moldovan is  a book that is raw, honest and refreshingly open in the testimony shared on the white pages of the book. It often seems unrealistic for a person like myself who has never been confronted or overwhelmed by an addiction in my own life, yet for those in the grip of such death would only understand too well the cry echoed in the pages of this book. The downward spiral stopped by the outstretched hand of a merciful and loving God bringing life to a broken body, soul and spirit can only be seen as a miracle.

 

 

The past few weeks I have been reading a book called, “The Prodigal Daughter: My road from addiction to freedom.”. This book has caught my attention and I have found it hard to put it down as I read the pages, often having to go back a reread the words just in case I had read it wrong.

The Prodigal Daughter by Elizabeth Moldovan is  a book that is raw, honest and refreshingly open in the testimony shared on the white pages of the book. It often seems unrealistic for a person like myself who has never been confronted or overwhelmed by an addiction in my own life, yet for those in the grip of such death would only understand too well the cry echoed in the pages of this book. The downward spiral stopped by the outstretched hand of a merciful and loving God bringing life to a broken body, soul and spirit can only be seen as a miracle.

Elizabeth Moldovan shares her pain, her past and her present, allowing the reader to see the power of God in setting the captives free.

In one part of the book I held my hand to my chest and cried as I read these words –

“I was so lost and broken and raw. I looked in the mirror and the reflection showed my skin bleeding, my teeth decayed and missing, my face gaunt and my hair falling out. My feet were bleeding and my eyes were all bloodshot and zoned out and something deep down inside my soul said, ‘Enough!’ I grabbed the scissors and cut all my hair off. I cut it so quickly, as though in a frenzy, that I nearly sliced my ear off. My soul was in so much pain that I needed to show the world how much I was hurting.” (Italics edited by blog author)

Satan would always seek to destroy, but God comes to give life. Elizabeth speaks of this as God drew her closer and away from death –

“The devil wants to steal, kill and destroy THE IMAGE of GOD in us and he very nearly did to me. We are all born to reflect THE GLORY of GOD. We are NOT designed by GOD to be addicts and no one is born an addict. The devil is a liar and deceiver.”

Her testimony speaks for itself on the love that God has for each of us and His mercy and as He brought her through the final stages of addiction she shares this _

“GOD is FAITHFUL, JESUS is REAL and ALIVE and HIS POWERFUL HOLY SPIRIT lives in all who accept and believe in THE CROSS. ‘AMAZING GRACE how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now I’m found was blind but now I see’.” (3)

I have never personally met “Liz”, but I have chatted with her via Messenger and on Facebook. In this book I have met her life experiences and past, and really look forward to the day when I can meet her face to face in person.

This is a testimony of painful life lessons, sheer grit, courage and the power of God. I would recommend that you get this book and read it. Thank you, Liz, for the courage to share your story and your desire to reach others with the truth about addictions.

 

https://www.elizabethmoldovan.org/

 

 

 

  1. Moldovan, Elizabeth. The Prodigal Daughter: My road from addiction to freedom (Kindle Locations 2596-2599). Ark House Press. Kindle Edition. Used with permission

 

  1. Moldovan, Elizabeth. The Prodigal Daughter: My road from addiction to freedom (Kindle Locations 2889-2891). Ark House Press. Kindle Edition. Used with permission

 

 

  1. Moldovan, Elizabeth. The Prodigal Daughter: My road from addiction to freedom (Kindle Locations 3046-3048). Ark House Press. Kindle Edition. Used with permission

 

 

Peace on earth

Religions says go and find peace and there you will find God. God says come to me and I will give you peace.

 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

 

At Christmas time, you see the word “peace” written a lot. It is written on cards, you see it in shopping centres and in the community. It is often the time when people talk about peace in this world ..or the lack of.

 

Is peace just one thing, or it is many things to many people?

 

Ask those in war torn areas of the world – they would say that peace is the absences of war, the ability to have freedoms that should be the right of every human on the face of this earth.

 

As a businessman/woman – they would say that peace is the stock market steady and income coming in. They would also say that peace is happy customers and happy staff.

 

Ask a man or a father – they may say that peace is sitting quietly with no interruptions, or pottering in the shed with their own thoughts. They could also say that a having a happy wife is peace.

 

Ask a mum or a woman – they may say that peace is when the children are asleep of a night. Or when the house is clean and tidy and there is some quiet “me time”. They might also say that when hubby and children are fed, then peace reigns.

 

Ask a teenager what is peace – They may say that it is when they can stay in their room and not get annoyed by younger siblings, parents, teachers …or life.

 

Ask what peace is to those that protest for the rights of others – they would say that having rights is peace, or the removal of dictatorial governments, or even the rights of animals will bring order and peace.

 

Is this the peace of Christmas?

 

Is peace so temporary that we think of it so elusively? Is this the peace that God offered to us?

 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

 

Isaiah in his prophecy about Jesus referred to the coming Messiah as the “Prince of Peace”. Isaiah 9:6

 

So, what is this peace all about.?

 

A lot of people think that if God were truly God then peace would be on this earth, that babies would not die and people would not suffer. I have met a lot of Christians who think that Christ came to make their own world better. That He came to make their world a more peaceful place to live. That God would miraculously change the world simply because there are now Christians on this earth. Is this how we really think?

 

Why would God send His Son and not change the world? Why wouldn’t a God of peace cause peace to come to an unpeaceful world?

 

The peace we often seek is both self-serving and external. It is peace at all costs and superficial. It is a peace based on ideal circumstances and people. This is not peace. Peace that only reigns at Christmas is not peace. It is only a temporary ceasefire in a war that continues.

 

Is this the peace that is the awesome promise of an Almighty and loving God? I think not. God never intended that His Son should come, live and die for so little.

 

This world is becoming worse, not better. People love war and fighting, especially if it is to get what we think is best. Even in Jesus day they hated Him. They despised what He was trying to do – to tell others that God was not the God of that world and that God did truly love the world. Jesus was the testimony of that.

 

Later, the disciples told the world that Jesus had come to bring life and peace to the hearts of man. They hated them too.

 

This world is made up of hatred, greed, sin, and sorrow. Did God mean for this world to be so hard on the very concept of peace?

 

All that God did for us by sending His Son to this earth as a babe, was to give to each one of us a peace of heart that is will us no matter what is around us. It is the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) You cannot explain it, you can’t bottle it and drink it when needed and it is seen in it’s true light during the hardest times in our lives.

 

Yet there is this. If every man, woman, and child on this earth had the true peace of God within them, loved others and loved God in humility and obediance… then peace would truly be on this earth. Isn’t that the good tidings that Christ’s birth announced?

 

Peace could come to you and me… in our hearts. Deep down inside us. And from this should flow out to others around us. Not seeking to change them, but being a light and a movement and a change for the better in a world that does not seek peace.

 

Religions says go and find peace and there you will find God. God says come to me and I will give you peace.

I have been through some battles and still have many to go. The peace that I have had during those times can only be of God. Just like being in the boat with Jesus the disciples learnt that they could trust the Master. I am learning that the peace that God brings sometimes requires me to trust Him until He stills the storm, or to hang on to Him if He doesn’t.

 

Peace should not only be for after the storm, but in the storm. This is the promise of God.

 

The tiny babe of Christmas, Jesus Christ, was to allow the hearts of man to have peace not influenced by circumstances, not because of where I live, not because of the “I-am-better-then-you-therefore-I-have-more”. It is not conditional, cannot be bought and cannot be sold.

 

God gave His best, so that we could have the peace that we really crave.

 

There are so many wonderful scriptures in the bible that tell us what peace is…even peace with our neighbours. Peace is a good subject, even when it is not Christmas. It is even a better if we have peace with others and with God.

 

There was a little ditty I read once – “Know God, know peace. No God, no peace.”

 

I have heard so many testimonies on this very subject of peace, a peace that is far above our own understanding or eyesight. If you tried to explain it, people have trouble understanding it. My testimony is the same. God is good.

 

This week I have watched as a very dear friend grieve as her child passed into eternity. My heartreached out for her during this time and I watched her, praying. At first there was a broken-hearted mother, then came moments of tears, then came a serenity and steadfastness…all in a matter of 24 hours. But never, in any of that time, was there not a peace in her heart that radiated from the very depths of her being even through the tears. This is God within her and surrounding her. His peace that comes despite the storm.

 

God gives peace when your marriage falls apart, God gives peace when someone close to you leaves this world, God gives peace when people accuse you and tell lies against you, God gives you peace when everything seems to go wrong.

 

God gives peace, He is peace. God sent His Son to bring the peace that so lacks in the heart of mankind. The very heart of man that longs for its Creator. It is peace beyond the understanding of our mind and the sight of our eyes. Do you believe? Then ask for it and accept it.

 

My prayer for you this Christmas is this. That the peace of God may be given to you in your hearts and that God would strengthen you in your inner being.

 

Be blessed.

 

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If you don’t know this Jesus of our Christmas, and would like to, then say this prayer –

 

“Jesus, I don’t know you, but you know me. I am sorry for the way I have lived my life and I cannot do this anymore. I give you my life, forgive me for my sins and take them from me. Thank you for saving me, thank you for the change you will make in my heart. Bring your peace and joy to me and make yourself known to me. Thank you. Amen”

 

Please go and get a Holy Bible and read it, start with an NIV version or a NLT version (as these are easy to read). Start it by reading about Jesus, can I encourage you to start with the book of Luke in the bible and the book of Psalms. Start to find a church family where you feel comfortable and that teaches the Word of God. Ask God to show you where to go.

Interesting

Interesting (adj) – “arousing curiosity or interest; holding or catching the attention”

 

Interesting (adj) – “arousing curiosity or interest; holding or catching the attention”

 

Life can be interesting. My friends that know me well, know that when I use the word “interesting”, it is because I cannot necessarily think of another word to describe it…and sometimes it suits what I am trying to describe just perfectly.

My youngest son lives life to the fullest, there is no easy going with him. He is also very interesting. His “interesting” life causes much fun, chaos, and memorable moments within our home, family life and all the he is involved with. He is audacious, cheeky and, ohhh… so full of life.

My weeks lately are… well…interesting. Especially this week. At the moment I am typing this as I sit beside my younger son as he lies in hospital after an operation. The previous morning I knew something wasn’t right, and we soon had evidence proved this to be true. It was then a rushed trip to the nearest large hospital last night late (a two-and-a-half-hour drive) to speak to the surgeons.  It was then necessary to operate as soon as they were able today to save his finger.

At the moment he lies quietly, something that you rarely get to witness. He will awake soon from the effects of the anaesthetic. It is most likely that he will be hungry first and then asking questions next. Very soon, he will be wriggling around and complaining that he is bored and asking when he can go home.  Then he will be ready for the next misadventure that comes his way. And most mums of 13-year-old boys would know that is not always….um…safe.

I would have it no other way. I would never want him to be anything that he is supposed to be. He reminds me of his biblical namesake – Joshua.

Joshua, in the bible, was a man that from his youth was Moses assistant (Numbers 11:28). After Moses left the tent after meeting God face to face, Joshua would remain behind (Ex 33:11) He wasn’t afraid to stand up in faith despite the fact that the whole community wanted to stone him. (Numbers 14) Joshua, after Moses’ death, lead the people of God into the Promised Land.

Now that is an interesting man.

I want to be an interesting person. I want to be the type of person that people find it hard to describe me. I want my life to reflect God, to be faithful and to be interesting.

This world does not comprehend faithful people of God, and I am not talking about radical legalists. I am talking about genuine loving, humble, faithful, bold and courageous people of God. Peter in his letter to Christians in around 60AD, wrote these words –

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1Peter 2:9 NIV

Yes, we are meant to be interesting people.

Not only do I want to be interesting, but I want others to be so too. Not just my children, but the ladies in my bible study, the women in my church, other Christian women, and all Christian everywhere.

I want Christians be the type of people that when others try to describe you and your faith, they say – “I don’t know about that person, but they are interesting. I want to be interesting too. Tell me about your interesting God”

Be interesting people. Ask God what that is and what that look s like. Ask Him to make you interesting, like Joshua of the bible. Read the bible, His word. It keeps your heart and mind connected to our very interesting God and Saviour.

 

Be blessed.

Stand up, speak out and act

Saying no to violence starts within the hearts of average Australians, every person, every man, every woman, and every child. Everyone is worth something to someone. Saying no is the start. Standing up, taking action and speaking is the next.

 

 

Tomorrow (the 25th November) is White Ribbon day. It is a day where men encourage other men to not be violent, and not be silent about abuse that happens around them. It is about encouraging men to stand up, speak out and act.

I hear a lot of people talking about abuse and specifically about Domestic Violence. I think that it should be made clear that Domestic Violence is not entirely about the physical violence.

“An important piece in understanding the dynamics of domestic violence is the definition of abuse. Abuse is defined as the systematic pattern of behaviours in a relationship that are used to gain and/or maintain power and control over another. When one defines domestic violence in terms of physical abuse only they do not fully understand the dynamics that keep these relationships together.” (1)

 

Most people are shocked by physical violence when they find that it has been part of a Christian marriage. While understanding that physical violence is confronting, this is not the only type of abuse to look for. What most people do not understand is that the physical violence will often be the culmination of many days or months of every other type of abuse. Sometimes the only type of physical abuse is that of a push or a shove. Yet the verbal and psychological abuse goes on daily without restraint.

While the Christian home and church should be free from these types of behaviours, sadly it is not. The statistics are not good for women. On an average one in four women are physically abused by their intimate partner eg. Boyfriend, partner or husband. (2)

In gathering evidence to give some near enough figure was difficult indeed. The question has never been asked – How many Christian women are in or have been in abusive or domestic violence situations?

The statistics do not cover adequately the correct age brackets of 16-65 to cover the dating relationships and 19-65 (approx.) to cover marriage relationships. It does not give us information on those who remained in an abusive marriage until the death of their marriage partner and may not consider that what they lived with, was abuse. Statistics also do not cover domestic abuse and religions. For the sake of this article I wanted to give you some idea of the number of women in abusive situations. I cannot accurately state the correct figures, but for necessity sake it is imperative that I give you something to think on.

In 2016 it was estimated that the population of Australia was 22,992,654

“At June 2016, there were 187,100 more females than males residing in Australia, with 12.01 million males and 12.20 million females. The sex ratio (the number of males per hundred females) was 98.5” (3)

For simplicity sake I will remove a number of factors including children under 14 years old, people over 65 and half of those counted in the 15 to 24 years bracket. This leaves 59.86% of the population. This leaves approx. 7,302,900 women between the age of 19 and 65 years. The statistics are that there are about 52% of people that identify as having a Christian faith. This brings the number of Christian women to 3,797,000. Of those it is said that 1 in 4 women are living in or have experienced abuse. This brings the figure to 949,250 Christian women that either have been in or are in Domestic Violence situations.

Even if we want to be very conservative about this, and divide that by a further fifty percent to allow for those that think that this problem is more of a ‘worldly problem’ rather than a ‘Christian problem’ and also to allow for the Christian women who actually come to church or are regular attendees. We are still talking about 470,000 Christian women in Australia alone.

Just on those figures alone it is most likely that there are women in church every Sunday who need help and assistance. It would be reasonable to expect that in a church of 100 people, you would have at least 3 women who are experiencing domestic violence and/or abuse, and up to another 3 that have (in a previous relationship) experienced domestic abuse and violence.  This is being very conservative.

Even in 2017, it is concerning that the personal beliefs of those in church leadership could be hindering women from coming forward and seeking help. Many churches remain are unaware and uninformed on the issue of domestic violence, as they don’t see it as a church problem. Not only is the issue of domestic violence recognised, but when revealed or exposed, it is dealt with incorrectly to the harm and detriment of the victim.

People who are in abusive relationships need help, but they seemingly unware that –

 

they are not to blame,

that there is a way out,

and that they can get help.

 

The world they reside in, and the conflict within the relationship are emotionally and mentally overwhelming.

For 14 years I was once part of a relationship that included Domestic violence and abuse. The education to know about and to avoid such relationships was not available to me as a young woman. The help for women, like myself was not talked about. Domestic Violence was not openly spoken about in my circle of friends and acquaintances. And the community support was not readily available should I need to move quickly.

There was one other thing greater than all this. I myself did not think I was worthy of the respect, worth or better treatment, so I went into the relationship and I stayed. I remained the victim, until I chose to be a survivor.

Saying no to violence starts within the hearts of average Australians, every person, every man, every woman, and every child. Everyone is worth something to someone. Saying no is the start. Standing up, taking action and speaking is the next.

No voice should be silent and every voice heard.

This year, White ribbon has produced a brochure called S.T.O.P.  – See, Talk, Offer support, and Prevent. Please take the time to read and understand this very helpful information.

https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/day/stop/

Sometimes, men see, hear and do not know how to act. It is not that they don’t care, they are just not sure how to accomplished what needs to be done.

I would like to encourage you to take time tomorrow, White Ribbon Day 2017, to be proactive in helping eliminate Domestic Violence. See….stand….act… and speak.

Be blessed.