ACT

ImageI’ve been enjoying the fruits of last week’s painting labours in my wee summer house (aka fancy shed with windows). It’s the perfect “spacious place” (Psalm 18:19) to rest, read, write and relax. And the Easter weather was so great. A real sense of a new season.

As in the natural, so in the spiritual …

Winter is over. Aslan is on the move again.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19 NLT)

Maybe you’re praying for this to be a new season in your life too. For the winter and wilderness to be over. For it to be a season of new beginnings, new life, fresh opportunities, fresh hope.

Last week I mentioned about starting to write. For some time different people had been encouraging me to start a blog. This wasn’t a complete surprise as I had felt God’s whispers and nudges about that too. These friends confirmed His seed thoughts. But for some time that’s where the seeds stayed …. in my thoughts.

The awareness of what God is saying and the confirmation from the mouths of others doesn’t equal accomplishment.

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try” writes Nicky Gumbel.

Awareness
Confirmation
Try

It’s time to ACT.

We need to act by planting the seeds so they grow. We need to act by taking first steps, no matter how scary or wobbly they feel.

In January I decided it was time to stop just thinking about writing and time to start taking steps towards making it a reality. It was time to sow these seeds in obedience and faith (spelt RISK).

The honest truth is I still feel vulnerable every time I click that little POST button!! But when I get an email or message that my ‘random’ thoughts have come at the right time and my written words have really spoken to someone, it makes the risk of vulnerability so worthwhile.

Maybe for some time you’ve been aware of His whispers and nudges about the new things He’s laying on your heart and these seed thoughts have been confirmed in many different ways.

It’s time to respond, to try, to take steps, to sow those seeds …

Take new steps into creativity: maybe painting, songwriting, new instrument …
Or community: join a new group or take up a new sport …
Try a new challenge: when you hear someone at work say they’re not well, offer to pray for them …
Or a new commitment: sponsor a child, volunteer, instead of feeling discouraged, encourage others …
Maybe even a new career …

It will look so different for each and everyone of us, but we will all share one thing in common –

The perfect time to start something never arrives.

So just go for it. The difference you take could be the difference you make for someone else. ACT now!!

What new accomplishment will you decide to try? I would love to know 🙂

What’s more …

image8pm, Easter Monday and I’m writing this in my newly painted summer house with the chiminea burning just outside 🙂 I am solar powered and made for outdoor living so this weather has been just perfect – I am one happy Easter chick!!

The application of 5 litres of paint has not been conducive to blog writing. I heard a phrase recently ‘wrapping discipline around creativity’ and I felt that summed up what I’m trying to do by posting every Monday.

So to keep the discipline and the deadline, I’m going to share a wee thought from my journal this week …

I have a habit of waking up during the night and my mind is instantly more alert than my body. I used to get so frustrated when this happened but a couple of years ago I discovered a way of turning this round for good.

Whatever time I woke at, I would read that Psalm. So if I woke at 2.31am I would read Psalm 23 especially v1. It’s much easier to get back to sleep thinking about words of life rather than dwelling on the worries of life.

One night last week I woke at 3.35am and read Ps 33:5 in the Message “Earth is drenched in God’s affectionate satisfaction“.

To be honest last week I felt more desert-like than drenched so it was a very timely reminder that my Father wants my life and my heart to be ‘drenched in His affectionate satisfaction’.

God’s eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times; in lean times he keeps body and soul together. We’re depending on God; he’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own his holy name. Love us, God, with all you’ve got— that’s what we’re depending on.” (Psalm 33:18-22 MSG)

As I read on, I knew He was reminding me that whenever I focus on Him and look to His love, His eye is on me, He is watching out for me. He is there for me in what feels like the bad times and the lean times as well as the good times. I can always depend on Him, He is everything I need. But it’s not just a life of getting by, of hanging in there, it is a life of JOY!!

What’s more …” He is a God of abundance. Not just sufficiency but extravagance. Not just existence but celebration. I’m not just quenched but drenched in His love 🙂

And hearts that are saturated in Him, brim over and spill into the lives of those around them.

And “What’s more”… we can share that more with others.

I would love to hear verses you wake up at this week.

 

 

HOPE

imageIt’s hard to beat getting a message of HOPE through your letter box first thing on a Monday morning!

I love our Easter service at Causeway Coast Vineyard. It’s always a wonderful celebration of the victory of the risen Christ and the hope and life His resurrection brings each one of us.

We have the benefit of knowing the full story, of having read the end of the book but the days leading up to that first Easter Sunday would have felt very different. The disciples felt the weight of hopelessness and despair as they saw their Lord led away, and then crucified. They had to live hour by hour, day by day with the fear of the unknown, feeling they had lost everything. They had no way of knowing that the One who lost His life would rise from the dead so they could have new life, fullness of life. Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him, and the devil could not defeat Him.

The enemy didn’t know the end of the story either. He mistakenly believed the victory was his! He made a grave tactical error. He is the one who is now defeated!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)

A thief can only steal what you already own.

If you don’t have a car, you can’t have one stolen from you! The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy … the thief can only steal what you already own; he can only kill what is already alive in you; he can only destroy what is already in existence.

“Even what the enemy means for evil, You turn it for our good and for Your glory”. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV) or as The Message says “we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

His attempts to defeat us are a reminder of the victory Christ has won for us.

Maybe he has been trying to steal from you – your peace; your joy; your health, physical and mental; your identity; your dreams, vision or purpose; your … but his attempted robbery is an affirming reminder of exactly what is yours, what you already own. Plus Proverbs 6:31 says if a thief is caught, “he must pay back seven times what he stole”!!

Graham Cooke writes “In a weird way we should love negativity, because it’s almost like prophecy. The anointing you have in the spirit immediately looks at that negative and thinks, ‘What is the opposite? That’s what God is giving me.’ List every negative against you. What is the opposite? Make a second list of opposites and destroy the first list. You now have a record of all that God is relentlessly doing in your life. Enjoy this process; it will turn you into another person!”

What Satan intends to use to destroy you can in fact release you into a greater place of faith.

For as surely as Easter Sunday is coming, so is HOPE.

I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)

 

Doctor appointments and Divine appointments

imageThis morning was supposed to be free for a date with my hubby but I ended up having a date (of sorts) with the doctor instead. I’ve been ‘barking’ more than an over alert watchdog! Andy kindly treated the patient to breakfast in bed. He’s a good man 🙂 He’s also a very wise man who often gives me food for thought as well. I’d like to share a wee taste from this weekend with you.

In the last 6 weeks more than 300 people have come to Christ in our town. Some of this has happened in our gathered church environments but mostly it’s been through ‘scattered servants’, ordinary people like you and me, who are carrying the Kingdom wherever they go, in schools, supermarkets, streets and shopping centres.

We are not trying to get everyone who comes to faith to come to our church but we would love to get everyone in our church to lead people to faith. So on Saturday there was a training day so we could learn to become more effective in sharing our faith and leading others into life in Christ.

‘Barking’ is definitely not an effective method so I had to miss it but Andy got to join in.

The highlight of the day was leaving the building to head out into the streets. 50 folks were sent out for a couple of hours to 5 different towns and they led 14 people to The Lord!!

I get to go out on the streets regularly with Encounter* but this was the first time Andy had gone out specifically to share his faith and pray for others. I loved hearing his stories of the people he got to meet and pray for but I especially loved his own story from the day – a new freedom and vision to step out beyond his comfort zone into all that God is doing in our midst.

Maybe you’ve been feeling a wee nudge from the Holy Spirit to do the same and I think what Andy learnt from the day is an encouragement to us all to go for it.

He discovered that the fear of stepping out is much worse than the reality of stepping out. That’s the nature of intimidation. The enemy tries to intimidate you out of everything God has for you by putting up a big ‘do not cross this line’ sign. However when you risk crossing that mental barrier once, then it becomes easier to step over it again and again and again and as you do, you realise the perceived danger beyond the ‘do not cross this line’ sign doesn’t actually exist. It was all just talk – the enemy’s voice telling you ‘you couldn’t …’, ‘you shouldn’t …’, ‘what if …’ etc etc.

But he is a liar (John 8:44) so you could and you should step out. What if in doing so, you helped someone else see the barriers come down in their life and helped them cross the line to faith.

Yesterday morning I felt frustrated at not feeling well enough to go to church but no milk for my porridge forced me out to the nearby shop. As I queued to pay, a man was telling the shop assistant he’d had a narrow escape recently when the pain in his chest was not a pulled muscle but an issue with his heart and when he eventually agreed to go to the doctor, he was told if he had left it another few hours, he wouldn’t have made it. He had since had an operation to have 3 stints put into his heart.

I’ve learnt that I don’t overhear conversations like this by chance. I’m a daughter of the King so I get to carry His Kingdom and see Him make a difference. Wherever I go, He is already there.

So I asked how he was feeling now and if I could pray for him. He said yes so I simply prayed that his energy and health would be completely restored. He thanked me and then asked ‘what church do you go to?’ He told me he had been thinking of going back to church a lot recently so I invited him along. He used to go but as it says in Matthew 11:28 he had got ‘burnt out on religion’. He agreed that it maybe wasn’t by chance I had been at the garage just then!

His life could have been very different if he’d missed a doctor’s appointment and I pray his life will look very different because he didn’t miss out on a divine appointment yesterday as God reminded him how much He loved and cared for him and invited him once again to “Come to me” Matthew 11:28.

When we respond to His voice and His nudge and ignore the enemy’s lies and taunts, it can make all the difference in someone’s world (and ours too!).

What appointments will you have this week?

*Encounter School of Mission at http://www.causewaycoastvineyard.com