Monday, 31 March 2014

Jesus Culture - Come Away

Dwell in the land

"Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture" Psalm 37 We have an internal garage. And the sliding door from our house, to the garage, has a gap underneath it. And although it seems insignificant to others, to me its the point of much heart quickening. You see, as my day is going about, and Im in the busyness of washing dishes or instructing the kids, I sometimes miss the sound of the garage door going up as Sam arrives home.. be that for a quick cup of tea, a bite for lunch, or because he is home. But as I am 'doing', I will hear a noise and I think to myself "hmmm, that sounds like a Sam noise". Most often its a little whistle or the sound of a paint tin being put back in place. And if I want to be sure its him, I peek down at the gap... How do I know if its him? Light peeks through. Sunshine basking through the doors sends a shaft of radiant light peeking under our internal door. I slide back that door with a smile on my face and the kids come running. As I was meditating on what is "safe pasture", I glanced at that shaft of light and knew. Safe pasture is the security we have, in knowing who is 'home'. How do we know? The light shines. Our security doesnt rest upon the circumstances in our lives and the people around us. Psalm 37 specifically commands us "not to fret" of those who are doing wrong. It commands us not to "envy" them. Why? Because sometimes it can look fairly impressive whats going on in their lives. Their apparent success can look like something worth emulating. We begin to doubt whether doing it Gods way is worth the while. After all, their kick back way seems to yield profit. What does God say? "TRUST IN THE LORD". When youre wondering where the "safe pasture" is.. look for the evidence of Him. Look for the light. Keep on doing what is right and rest your security entirely upon Him. Then you wont just dwell in the land... it will become your inheritance; "Wait for the Lord and keep His way, And He will exalt you to inherit the land"

Sunday, 30 March 2014

And They Crucified Him - Art Katz

Dear Fleur

A letter to self. Dear You, When God whispered upon your soul "I will enlarge your heart" at the beginning of this year.. you knew, undeniably, that fast beating organ in your chest had heard His voice. Did you think that it would come about, without some measure of discomfort, some removing of those self layers that tend to keep your heart small and in shape? You will never know a heart enlarged to the capacity God intends for it, till it matters more to you to have your heart broken by the things that break His. You will never know how much an enlarged heart can endure pain, till it matters more to you, what Your saviour thinks, than what the world thinks. You will never know the capacity of an enlarged heart, till your heart beats more for His cause, His truth, His righteousness, than it does for your own. If you want to experience what it is to know His heart, dear Fleur, you must embrace the experience of pain, being misunderstood, rejection, forsaken, loneliness, and bear it with His grace. For it is only then, it is only then that you are willing to hold up to Him a broken and yielded heart and say "GIVE ME YOURS" that you will stop meandering in your injustice, and grasp the Heavenly taste of victory. If He carried His cross, so you must carry yours. Dear Fleur. Dont give up. Dont lose sight of the hope and truth of Gods Word. Let it strip you bare. Let it render you broken. Let it send you to the farthest and darkness corners of the earth and to be to others, what He is to you.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Robe of Righteousness.

I woke up that morning as if the light had been turned on in my heart. I could think of nothing else to do, except come down stairs, and write. And so I did. I had been asking God for the longest time, how to walk the situation out. Often silence seemed to reflect back at me. Sure He'd spoken to me many times. But the things He'd shown me, I couldnt marry up to how the circumstances were. On that morning, I saw myself, walking into the same situation as per always. With self raised courage and a stomach in knots. Only, I noticed something that I hadnt noticed before.... I was wearing a grey blanket. Like those old boy scouts army one. A sort of survivor emblem. There were no badges on mine. It was just grey, and blah. Scratchy even. I looked at her, who was me. I mused quietly "what an ugly colour, you never looked good in grey". And then I just as quickly reprimanded myself. "You should be thankful for that grey blanket, it was an offer of grace". Anger flashed a little in her eyes as she pulled the grey blanket closer. Everything in her wanted to shed it, wanted to cry out "you can have your blanket back".. but she didnt know how she'd come to obtain it. How did it become hers? She vaguely recalled some scrawny, skinny, life stripped arms - handing it to her accusingly as if to say "naked isnt any good isnt it?". She whinced to remember. Yes, she had been naked. She'd been raw and real as she knew. She'd tried with everything in her, to walk over the bridge and see it from the other side. She wasnt prepared for how they would simply stand there and mock her nakedness. No, not with words. Just insinuations and cutting her off. She struggled not to wonder how it was that she had felt so pursued, so valued, so known, only to then feel so discarded. Perhaps she deserved it. Perhaps it was just her naivity. Probably both. No one had really come along side her to say they knew different. They didnt. And so that day, some 'thing', anaemic and pathetic, had given her this grey blanket "Is this yours?". She didnt lift her head enough to notice who he was, she just accepted it, "I think it is". ... If she'd paused long enough, she would have noticed the words "shame" branded imprudently across it. She knew later they were there. But she'd tried to pretty them up a bit. Turn them into something good, embroider some hope, some joy, something a bit more her colour onto them. I mused to her; "familiarity is a strange comfort". She shrugged a little and then answered defensively; "I have more sympathy for others who were grey blankets too". That she did. I couldnt help but notice how something in her however was agitated. She kept glancing at others in grey blankets with a look like she wanted to yank theirs off them too. Like she knew something, that she knew a truth that was beyond the dull shade of lifeless grey... And then I noticed something. A little room to the side, where all the chairs usually stacked, was a door a little ajar.... She walked in a looked around. There it was, that white robe. It was a stark contrast to her grey one. She'd already seen it and tried it on a few times. Once when she was in the middle of worship, God had draped it over her. She had felt pure and valued, washed of the insinuation and shame she was carrying. And there was that robe again. Hanging up on its hook. It had her name embroidered on it. Only it wasnt her name. It was a new name. Something that meant "Fearless". She walked over to Him in the dressing room and He draped it over her once more. She twirled a little in it, enjoying how it felt under her shoulders, the way it reflected His love for her. Its price was high. She knew it was a gift. She could never afford it, or pay Him back for it. She looked at herself in the mirror and how free her countenance became in it. She met His eyes in the mirror. His look spoke more than can be passed in words. An affection. A knowing. A truth. A freedom. A love that measured more than all the accusations in the world put together. She lowered her head and gently slipped the robe off her. Handing it to Him she quietly said "thank you". "Its yours to wear" He nudged her. Her foot already in the door to exit, she turned back "I know, but I dont know how to wear it out there". He nodded. And her heart sunk as she felt for a moment that He might let her go. She turned to go and He whispered "Hey Fleur!"... "yes Lord?"... "why dont you stay in here with me and wear it for a while till you get the courage to walk out in it?" She blinked back the tears "Id like that", as His tender arms wrapped around her weary shoulders. "Id like that". Her husband stood beside her in the room. She hadnt noticed him come in. His shoulders braced up a little in protection and admiration and she giggled a little. She whispered to him "thank you for standing beside me". He always had. How wonderful he had been. She leaned against him and noticed something... ... a little like courage... Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

Monday, 10 March 2014

"Captivated" Official Trailer

My friend loaned me this DVD last night. Sam and I promptly watched this
together. This may have just brought an entire new change into our
lives.. not that we have TV, or even now, Facebook. We barely watch
movies and Sam is doing an entire year, internet free... yet, it was
profoundly relevant and challenging: to be sold out. For Jesus. Glory to Him!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Life Beyond Facebook

Today I spent half the day completely re arranging furniture. I moved almost the entire contents of our learning room out. Moved my sewing closet into the upstairs bedroom, and moved the boys beds into the learning room and sat back feeling entirely pleased with myself. I nodded in achievement in creating more space for the boys. Tonight the boys are all away camping, so as I tucked Amy down into bed, her and I, and my newly arranged home, I had time to just stare around. I found myself thinking how they were a whole flight of stairs away from my cuddles, my listening ear, my attention. Sure, in their teens, the idea is great. But they are still fairly young.. Deciding I wasnt ready for that, I promptly kissed Amy goodnight and set about completely rearranging the furniture. Sweating and heaving beds and bases up and down the stairs, I asked myself what was I thinking. Another hour or more later, the furniture is back to as it was this morning. The whole experience had me pondering how Id been so ready to arrange our lives around this theory of needed space, but had overlooked how togetherness matters most, right now. I thought about how Facebook had been a bit like that for me. The tendency to structure my life and time there, around things that arent for me, at least now. And in doing so, to miss what matters most. One evening, back in early Feb, God drew me to a verse.. 1 Timothy 5:13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. This verse is written specifically for young widows. However, many in our culture can identify with a young widow. We are not widowed of husbands, per say, but widowed of our role in society, a sense of purpose. Widowed of a calling which the world no longer deems so important. Widowed of a sense of fulfillment. Perhaps then, our struggle is no different.. the void of belonging.. the emptiness of something which gave us meaning. And the temptation to find meaning in keeping linked into the lives of others. To be busy in everyone else's 'stuff'. To talk about things which should remain hidden in our hearts. How easy it can be to find ourselves restructuring our lives, our time, around that which seems important, but misses the true needs here and now. The risk in sharing that, is in sounding as if Im saying, that Facebook is entirely wrong and that I am better than those who still have Facebook. The decision to close my account wasnt because I have this internal fortitude against needing to belong, or because Im so Godly a person that 'that' place, isnt tempting for me to dwell. It was simply this: God showed me something more. Something worth the risk of 'disconnecting'. Something worth the sacrifice of not being in the know. Something far more precious than any minute, hour or moment I can spend getting to know others through their pages..... He showed me the calling I have. Right here. Right now. These precious lives in my care in the now. My family. I reflected how fast the years have already passed. I reflected with brutal honesty my tendency to get up in the mornings and jump on Facebook for ten or so minutes. Just ten minutes. But it wasnt just. It was ten minutes that I was spending doing something other than making my husbands lunch, or fixing him a hot drink before he headed out the door. Ten minutes to minister to this man of mine. To smile at the kids, to engage with them around the breakfast table. The question of having a Facebook page isnt how Godly your page is, and how encouraging your writing can be, or how wonderful a platform of ministry it can provide. There are many good and valid reasons to have a Facebook page. A whole list of them. But there is one question that we should ask ourselves: When we say yes to something, we are saying no to something else. What are we saying "no" to? For me, ten minutes of me time on Facebook first thing in the morning, was saying "yes" to being busy in others lives, and "no" to taking a wonderful opportunity to minister to my hubby. Answering the phone in the middle of the homeschool morning says "yes" to the person on the line, and "no" to being at my kids side in the learning. Taking on awesome ministry opportunities is exciting and hugely tempting.. but even those can be "yes" to ministry outside the home, and "no" to ministry right within your own walls. I had a friend recently ask me "How are you getting on staying connected with people?". I thought it over for a while. I realized how my needs had changed, I strangely felt less lonely, and less out of the loop. It wasn't that my time was filled instead with coffee catch ups or long phone calls, but rather, the sense of fulfillment my heart was feeling to be completely engaged with the here and now. I will have hours to burn in years to come, for coffee, chats, phone calls and even ministry.. but I will never have the time again, watching these precious lil ones grow up, hearing their stories, making their breakfast and having them come down the stairs bleary eyed in pajamas wanting porridge. I wont lie. It is hard work. It doesnt always feel fulfilling. But when Im saying "yes" to them, I know, Im saying "yes" to Jesus. And you can bet, I know thats worth it all.