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.

Second-hand Shoes

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 youwith 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! 

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Coming Home

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 mmmidross@gmail.com

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!

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