Do you ever wonder how you will move from one position to another… in life?
If you paused to consider the question, metaphorically speaking… would you take a running leap & jump—even if you risked falling? Or would you construct some sort of bridge? You might even use people to walk over to get where you want to go. Perhaps you might resign yourself to looking for a different path—the long way around if necessary. If there is one. And there would be no guarantee of not getting lost…
Of course, if you sit at the impasse long enough, you might get so tired of waiting that you turn & go back the way you came, disillusioned & disappointed, wondering what it was all about.
What if fellow-travellers distracted you with their ideas? For goodness sake, they might even convince you to abandon your own plans & join them on their journey! Being carried along in someone else’s hopes & plans for the future might help you to forget all about your own… for a time.
Imagine a vehicle pulling up beside you. The door opens—the Holy Spirit invites you to get in. He even helps you & shows you to a seat—reserved for you! There beside you with a smile that goes all the way to His eyes, is Jesus! The light of His pleasure shines into your face. “Welcome! You‘ve joined Me for the journey! “
Breathing in the atmosphere—replete with the exquisite aroma of joy & peace & love—you respond from a deep place within. If you could even find the words, you might describe feeling more alive than ever. Paradoxically, every cell in your being seems ‘electrically’ excited but completely at rest.
Words are coming to your mind… Our Father—the One true, powerfully gentle, majestic & holy God—knows the plans He has for you. He reminds you that, “My plans are for good & not for disaster, to give you a future & a hope.”1
You remember that Jesus said, “… ask for anything in My name, & I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.”2 HIS word will be a lamp to guide your feet & a light for your path.3
Now Jesus reminds you, “Keep hold of your Daddy’s hand & walk resolutely with Him—one step at a time—just as I taught you. My Spirit will help you.” And remember… He said to His Daddy, “Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.”4
Just like Jesus said to weary travellers so long ago, so He says to you now, “Come to me, all of you who are weary & carry heavy burdens, & I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble & gentle at heart, & you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, & the burden I give you is light.”5
Still another thought comes like a gentle wind strengthening you in Christ—preparing you for the journey ahead. ‘Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.’ 6
God has not left you alone like an orphan to find your own way in life.7
Choose this day! Choose to rest in the Spirit of Jesus Christ? Trust Jesus to be the way who will reveal truth & give to you His amazing gift of joy-filled life in all its fullness!
So… how do you move from one position to another? It happens as you practice abiding in Jesus Christ. You are carried in the Living Water (the Holy Spirit) in harmony with our Father’s heart.
God made Jesus Christ to be wisdom itself8 therefore walk in wisdom… in every footstep of Jesus, there is so much to explore!
There is freedom in Christ—to move forward with courage & confidence—even when it is in the face of fear.
Scripture references (NLT)
Category: Personal Reflections
Imagine for a moment that you are sitting on the sand just by the water’s edge. Not so close that a more daring wave will take you by surprise but close enough to guarantee your access to the ocean.
Feeling pleased with yourself—for claiming such a prime location—you entertain the thoughts that come to mind. Of course, you would never voice them out loud, but they are there all the same—wrapped up in, “It’s mine!”
Dreaming about what it will be like, you set yourself up for the day. Building ‘sandcastles in the air’, you imagine the admiring glances of your neighbours as they wonder who you are and how you got to where you are.
Time passes… Unnoticed by you, the crowds have gradually departed until now, no one is left around you. And still, you hold your position.
But, now you see something you did not expect. There is water swirling all around you. Even as you watch, it slowly but relentlessly continues to rise.
The tide has turned.
So focussed as you were on maintaining your place on the beach, you did not see that your environment was changing. And yet you remain. The water continues to rise…
To the Observer, only your head is visible now. But you are not alone because fear and anxiety have become your companions. “Where will I end up… if the next big wave washes me away?” Now you begin to think. Maybe the sand was not such a smart place upon which to build a house.
A question forms in your mind even as you scan your surroundings looking for a way of escape… “Where is Jesus?” You realise you have not seen Him in a while but with a sinking feeling, you know you were not even looking for Him—preoccupied as you were with your own plans.
The water is now threatening your very existence. You decide to call out for help because you remember do you not? He is the ‘Master Life-Saver’. Tentatively at first… “Jesus!”. No one can rescue people like He does. But you wonder, will He want to?
Maybe your growing sense of courage is fuelled by you admitting to the reality of your desperate situation. Louder now, you call out again.“JESUS!”
Then you see Him. Why did you not see Him before? He is standing on higher ground. You hear His voice saying, “Come to Me beloved one. Come to where I AM”.
The water of your circumstances weighs heavily all around you but you have made a decision. Determined, you take the first small step towards Jesus.
You have surrendered to Jesus.
Now you see something wonderful taking place. It changes your whole world in a moment in time… Jesus is moving towards you! And then—He is with you—standing right beside you. Feeling magnetically drawn to Him, you look up into His face. There reflected in His eyes, you see the warmth of His eternal loving-kindness, compassion and mercy… focussed on you. God’s amazing grace!
“Come with Me” He says.“I want you with Me where I AM going. I promise you an adventure-filled life. It will not be an easy life—there are challenges ahead—but My Spirit will be with you and will be your Helper and Guide. Imagine the joy of following Me and serving God—My Daddy and yours! It is a lifestyle you do not want to miss out on.
Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all your mind and all of your strength.”
One Step At a Time? How?
Imagine… You are climbing a mountain. Now you are on the final ascent—the pinnacle is within sight. Exhorting yourself on, you shout on the inside, “Come on! I can do this. Just a little further.“
And just for another moment. Imagine… What do you do, once you have reached the mountain-top, celebrated the victory & surveyed the land laid out before you?
Have you ever thought about what is on the other side? Or do you simply presume you would descend the mountain using the same path by which you climbed it?
Are you curious—even a little bit—about what lies on the other side? Or do you presume it would be the same as what you experienced before? And after all… you just want to get there. No surprises. No distractions. No detours along the way. Tired & weary you turn. Ready, set…
Suddenly, you realise you are not alone! Instinctively, almost as if you are being drawn to a magnet, you turn to your left & slightly behind you.
There stands a Man. Dressed for hiking complete with sturdy boots & a backpack, he stands holding his hand out towards you with a welcoming gesture.
You sense your soul within you relax. At the same time, there are some things you simply just know… He is a Man with strength & power born out of identity & authority. His confidence & wisdom gives you assurance accompanied by peace that finds its way deep into the very centre of your being. You see that he knows what he is doing. Looking into his face you recognise—reflected in his eyes— an authentic kindness & honesty… an ‘openness’ together with a warm twinkle that draws you into a place of wanting to get to know him more.
You realise that you deeply want to remain with him.
You recognise something else. Where there was weariness within you & all around you like a blanket—now there is a new energy. Perhaps you might even call it… joy.
Whatever it is, you know that within, something has changed. Hope has lightened your soul where there was previously heaviness & an unrecognised (to you) expectation of loneliness, boredom, routine, of ‘going through the motions’ & more… that you thought was all you deserved.
Now you know… you will go anywhere this Man goes. Adventure beckons. The promise of enjoying the journey. Even the landscape around you seems different! Through fresh eyes, you see colour. With unplugged ears, you hear the sounds of life. And it is good.
“Come”, says this Man. “Come to me. I AM. Walk with me. I will show you the way & lead you. You will not be disappointed.
Together we will travel & together we will explore. I will provide for your journey… Look! I have everything you will need—I come prepared. Do not fear getting lost—I know the way. I even know what we will encounter along the way—I will shield you. I will help you. I will steady you when you stumble.
The adventures we will have together will give you stories to tell that will amaze all who hear of them. Others will want to join you! Place your trust in me—it is safe to trust me. Take a risk. Come on… take a risk!”
It is safe to place your faith & trust into the Spirit of the one true God revealed to the world through His Son Jesus Christ, the Man.
Yeast & a loaf of bread…
I could tell by the smell of my bread baking in the bread-oven that something was wrong. My family’s hope of fresh homemade crusty bread for lunch that day was not going to be fulfilled. When I looked at the finished product—resembling something like a sad, tooth-breaking biscuit-slice, I realised what I had done. I forgot to add the yeast!
One of the illustrations Jesus used to help us understand the ‘Kingdom of God’ is recorded in Luke 13:21: “It is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”
What happens when we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? What happens (personally, family, ministry, work, relationships, etc) when we let God’s authority rule and reign in power within & over our lives? The very atmosphere around us is changed by the Presence of the One True God. In Christ & by Christ in us (the hope of glory)… we become agents of change in a world desperately in need of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
It is mankind’s natural inclination to want to go his / her own way & be in control. But we know don’t we. God’s Kingdom is different to the kingdom of the world. You & I have stories about the times in life when we chose to surrender to God—our Daddy—even in the face of temptation screaming at us to resist Him, to turn away & do ‘it’ our own way. But the Holy Spirit helped us, didn’t He! He helped us to stand firm, trust our Father & Jesus, resist the devil & so we saw amazing things—miracles—happen.
Jesus said, (Matthew 6:31) to “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, & He will give you everything you need.” It seems to me that this is an ‘inside-out’ lifestyle. The power of a transformed heart & mind is amazing & brings glory to God. Our lives are being daily transformed to be like Jesus by the renewing of our minds—work being accomplished by God, the Holy Spirit. But we must choose to agree with His thoughts & His ways.
Are you even now in the midst of a situation where you must practice the presence of God & allow His Kingdom to rule here on earth? You are not alone. Turn to God in surrender. Keep your peace. Listen to what the Spirit of Jesus is saying to you. Look at what He is doing. Who does God want to be for you today? Remember when… Remember your testimonies of faith. (If you need to, turn to Hebrews Chapter 11 to be inspired by examples of faith.)
Begin to worship God even in the midst of today’s trial. His joy really will be your strength. His love will usher in rest. His wisdom will give you strategies that will change everything. And sensing the Holy Spirit’s confidence in your spirit, you will turn away from fear & the temptation to be in control. Be patient & wait for Him to act… God’s grace will be sufficient for you.
Our God … will give you everything you need.
The ‘year of the shoes’ stands out in my childhood memories. That year my mother passed on to me a secondhand pair of ‘Sunday-best’ shoes (‘hand-me-downs’) complete with the unspoken expectation that I would and could walk in someone else’s footprints. It was never going to work for me. Not only were the shoes too big for me but into them had been imprinted a legacy that did not fit me. Instead of taking delight in going to Sunday School, I became overly-conscious of my feet—anxious and fearful that I might fall down. I tried so hard to fit into those shoes…
Using this story (of the shoes) as a metaphor, have you ever been expected to walk in someone else’s ‘footprints’? What legacy has been handed on to you? Has it been a positive experience? Is it bearing good fruit? Have you been freely walking—taking delight in following Jesus—living the ‘rich and satisfying’ life that He came to lead us into? (John 10:10) Or… have you been so focused on maintaining your balance to avoid stumbling and falling down, that now you are beginning to recognise just how weary you have become?
Or was it you asking another person to accept something that no longer fits you or someone in your care? Maybe in that moment when you first tried to walk in those ‘shoes’ never designed with you in mind at all, you began looking around with a burning question in your mind, “Who can I pass this on to?” “How can I get rid of this…?”
What do you do with a legacy which you have inherited and are perhaps even now trying to operate under? What might be the expectations wrapped up in it? Has your identity been entangled or even somehow lost in it? How has your attitude—your stance in life—affected your behaviour?
With the eyes of your heart (your mind), let God’s Spirit help you to re-focus on to Jesus. Who does God want to be for you? What does He need to do? Take courage! Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there really is freedom. Is today the day the Lord has made for you to surrender to Jesus and let the Holy Spirit fit you with ‘shoes’ lovingly, wisely created by Him—tailor-made for you—with a Kingdom of God calling and purpose.
Our gracious, merciful and creative Father God calls you to trust Him and follow Jesus walking in His footsteps. His grace means that His Spirit will help you to do this daily. Your footprint is unique to you as it is to every single person, but we each discover in Jesus, a perfect fit—the ‘sweet-spot’! Freedom in Christ!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me (Jesus Christ). Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message —emphasis mine)
I wonder how God our Father through the work of His Spirit—the Spirit of Jesus Christ, plans to apply this in your life? Have a conversation with Him today. Ask questions. Be prepared to listen and watch for the answers…
Enjoying God—and the story of two birds.
Walking along a beachside track with Ross last week, I was startled by a brief flash of dark colour & the sound of something nearby. Hearing the sound again, its source still eluded me. Quickening my step around the bend in the path, I was amused to see a bird running for the cover of a bush!
Another day & another walk… This time it was on the cliffs high above the beach. Perched on the fence, I saw a young magpie watching our approach. Despite Ross’ sudden & inexplicable attempt to make it fly away, the bird settled back & focussed its attention on me! The pleasure I felt in the moment of interaction brought a deep bubbling-up sort of joy from within!
These two experiences led me to think about what might characterise our relationship with God. He makes no secret of the fact that not only did He decide to adopt us into His own family through Jesus Christ but it gave Him great pleasure to do so. (Go to the Bible & explore the book of Ephesians Chapter one to find out more.)
Imagine. Jesus (He exactly represents Father God) is walking towards you. Hearing His footsteps before you even see Him, you take flight running for cover. Hiding, your heart is beating with a sense of anxiety & fear accompanied by something else you can’t identify & you wonder why… Why did you hide from He who is Love—from He who does not condemn you but comes to save, heal & deliver you?
Imagine again… Sitting on a fence, you watch as Jesus approaches you. Something just tried to scare you off but this time… you’re determined not to give way to fear, anxiety & worry. Watchful, you sit even while poised to take flight.
But peace has come near, the atmosphere has changed & your confidence & trust develops moment by moment. More settled now, you listen to the sound of His voice—He might even have something to give you. Even as you wait, you’re becoming bolder & more courageous as you take joy in soaking in the life-giving pleasure & delight He has in you! Yes, you!
The Spirit of Jesus—our God—is calling us! It is time. It’s time to plunge deeper into a true heart-to-heart intimate relationship with our majestic, powerful Father for whom nothing is impossible! In this place (in Him), competing forces vying for His rightful place in our lives melt away recognising their defeat!
It is impossible to live the ‘rich & satisfying, abundant’ life that Jesus said His purpose is to give us (see John 10:10b) if we are habitually running or hiding from His Presence. It’s time to come down off the ‘fences’ straddling the high places of life & the sea of God’s radical, life-changing love, grace & goodness. His ways. His Kingdom.
Come on! Let us joyfully & courageously choose to surrender & submit (all things) to our God whose good thoughts towards us outnumber the grains of sand on the sea-shore! His plans for us are all about Jesus Christ… establishing the life of Christ in us for His glory!
We are in the process of learning to authentically live a life of glorious obedience to Jesus who calls us not to worry about everyday life & whether we will have ‘enough’. He says (See Matthew 6:25-27—NLT), Look at the birds. They don’t work or harvest or store food in the barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
Let us joyfully, faithfully & courageously walk in a submitted, surrendered, trusting life of joyful obedience to partner with our God! Come on beloved of the Lord! Let us practice resting back into God, our Daddy—from this place of love—we lean forward & give out on life’s journey. Let us not give into intimidation or fear of that which belongs to the world because, the victorious Jesus Christ… He is our Lord! And empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will walk in His footsteps!
Hello! Just a few days ago my husband Ross & I came home from 10 weeks away in Africa… 4 weeks in South Africa & 6 weeks in Zambia. So many adventures… I have met so many people or have got to know other people better. Each one of them have enriched my life in some way.
Why were we so far from home? Ross is the International Director for the MMM International Alliance (MMM was once known as Mobile Mission Maintenance). Part of his job is to visit each of the MMM member centres i.e., Australia (where we live), New Zealand, Hong Kong, Zambia with Associate Centres in Thailand & South Africa. Earlier in the year we were in South East Asia for 6 weeks for MMM related work in Thailand & Hong Kong.
His job involves consulting type work… training, equipping, encouragement, reviews, strategic plan development, etc. (If you’d like to know more about the ‘etc’ you only have to ask!) By the way, the work is a voluntary position… if you would like to investigate what partnership with us would look like, contact Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org
My job? As well as the normal stuff of life… Ross appointed me (last year) as his ‘Communications Director’. I think this position probably involves a lot & not much! Maybe somewhere in between depending on what’s going on at the time. I do know that I’m sometimes out of my comfort zone but even so, I enjoy learning new stuff & ‘having a go’.
Having said that… this blog is & will be a work in progress. If you know about WordPress blogs or about IT stuff & you would like to help me, you’re welcome as long as you… keep it simple!
I’m in transition at the moment… home is great & I love spending time with my family, friends & (Eltham Baptist) church family but after so many weeks away, it’s hard to get back into any sort of routine. (Note… “Be kind to myself”.) Of course, Ross & I are not the same people we were at the time we left home so it’s hardly surprising that it’s hard to ‘settle back’ into life as we knew it before.
I’m not the sort of person who normally likes to dive right into the deep end of a pool. I absolutely do not like cold water so I take a gradual approach… one step at a time getting used the temperature of my surroundings so I guess it’s hardly surprising that I get back into ‘normal’ life (whatever that is) gradually.
The photo is from a day from our week’s holiday at Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve been hearing about the Cape of Good Hope since I was in high school so it was exciting & surreal to be standing right there!