Category: joy


Ted EvansPsalm 139:14

I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.

2 Corinthians 4:18

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  And the Lord–who is the Spirit–makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.

I have been known to God since before my conception!  The same with you!

Every one of my days has been accounted for and seen by God – He knows me and has known me.

He created me – fearfully and wonderfully, to become glorious for Him.

The things in our lives, people, places, encounters with God and circumstances shape us.  Ultimately, though, who we are was determined before we were born.

There have been many situations, ups and downs , hurts and joys, successes and disappointments, in my life that have caused me to grow into and become the person that I am today.

Because of the circumstances of life in the past few years, I’ve heard it said of me:

“Ted is more understanding of people and more compassionate.”

“He’s less judgmental.”

I can agree with those statements as often there are things that we don’t fully comprehend the pain or the joy of unless we have been there ourselves.

I am more understanding.

I am more compassionate.

I am less judgemental.

I can identify with peoples brokenness.
I am more tolerant.

The thing is, this should be the case with all of us.  As we grow to become more like Christ, our lives and our attitudes should reflect that of Christ Jesus.

At the same time, as a result of what I have been through and what I have seen, there have been some other changes too.

I have little tolerance with manipulative, wishy washy, weak willed Christians that try to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

That may sound anything like what I have just previously said, but, hear me out.

I have become more loving and tougher at the same time.

I’ve become a stronger person and more decisive as a leader, knowing precisely what I want and what I want to achieve.

I have learned to rely on God when He is all I have and then at that moment, I have discovered that He’s all I need.

I have learned that tough times will either catapult you to God and to strength or you’ll go the other way displaying a victim mentality and weakness in your personality and character.

This type of weakness and victim mentality is always blame shifting!

It is always self focussed and ‘poor me’ in nature.
As a leader I have a low tolerance for bad attitudes, and the cavalier living of some so called Christians.

Jesus suffered and that’s putting it mildly in anyone’s estimations.

He was battered and bruised, He was beaten and bloodied, He was accused and taunted.

And for what?  For us.

And what was His response?

They led Him like a lamb to the slaughter…He was innocent and didn’t cry out for a pity party or pass the buck to anyone walking past.

He didn’t call out, “It wasn’t me!  It was Judas, he’s lying!”

He didn’t throw a tantrum.

He didn’t have a hissy fit.

He didn’t go around bad mouthing and slandering people and making up accusations.

No.

He went through it all and because of that He knows, He understands and He loves all the same.
I know what’s it’s like to be betrayed.
I know what it’s like to have people be disloyal to you.
I know what’s it’s like to be in deep depression and think suicidal thoughts.
I know the feeling of abandonment and what it’s like to be abandoned.
I know what emotional, physical and mental abuse feels like.
I know what’s it’s like to back slide and be spiritually empty.

I know what it’s like to be slandered and lied about.

I know what it’s like to be misjudged, misquoted, misinterpreted, perceived wrongly, and accused unjustly.

I know what loss is.
I know what it’s like to be emotionally, financially and physically bankrupt.
But, I know what repentance is!
I know what forgiveness is!
I now know God’s restorative power.
I now know His peace!

Love, forgiveness and acceptance.
These things are mine!

I know His grace!
I know how to pull myself out of the pits with God’s help.

I know how to lean on Jesus and how to keep my focus on Him.

I know how to depend on God – a strong fortress in times of trouble.

This is not me having a pity party or a poor me self expression time.

This is me, sharing with you, recognising how God has worked in and through my life and how He is causing me to be more like Him.

He didn’t stand for the Pharisees or the Sadducees of the day.

He didn’t take kindly to bad behaviour – but He did love and He did correct.

That’s what I’ve learned how to do better as a result of my experiences.
I think I now make a more understanding and capable pastor of people.
I’ve been there and can help others to come through their own life’s challenges.

I’ve not just come through, but I gained a life style of victory over self, sin and the world.

I have gained a stronger relationship with Jesus and learned that He is my source and my strength.

I have learned, and am continuing to learn, how to be content and how to trust in God with all that I have and all that I am.

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Ted, Kristan and Harry EvansJeremiah 29:11

There are certain things I look at in people’s lives to encourage them.  Firstly we should acknowledge the good things that God has done.  Don’t dwell on the negative.  There’s too many of those!  See how God has been working in your life through people and circumstances.  Remember God is shaping and moulding us into His image.  The company you keep is important in shaping your mindsets.  If you don’t have a friend, be friendly the Bible says.

A selfish person will not acknowledge good in themselves or in others.  Everything is “whatever”.  The “whatever” culture and attitude is so prevalent in people today that it’s destroying hope for a future.

If you’re young, see your youth as being a blessing.  You have your whole life ahead of you.  If you are studying and others seem so far in front in their chosen career, remember this is a preparation time.  You are in a season of building your foundation.  Planning and studying is essential.  Remember, “You’ll have your day in the sun”.  Your time is coming so study to show yourself approved.

If you’re old and consider yourself a senior, thank God for the experiences, whether positive or negative.  The experiences you’ve had can help people as you offer yourself as support and encouragement.  Life’s journey is a gift to help others in giving people wisdom they desperately need.  This wisdom can be shared.  You can provide people with guide lines and instruction to assist them from making the same mistakes you made in life.  See everything as an opportunity for good.

There are so many ways we read our lives.  The perception of how we are going sometimes gets clouded and we need another viewpoint.  Maybe a close friend can bring home some positive truths about our lives.  Talk to a pastor with a sensitivity to your situation.

Pick yourself up and believe the simple truth that God is a good God and gives good gifts.  Trust Him with your future.  Never give up and remember God loves you and has you’re best interest at heart.

In my darkest hours I held onto what I knew was right.  My convictions and values made me stay the course.  Even though there were a few hick ups along the way, I kept going to church.  I lifted my hands in worship even though I didn’t feel a thing.  I prayed even though it felt like the heavens were like brass.  My attitude was taken from the scriptural principle that says “Put on the garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness”, “Though the fig tree does not blossom, yet will I rejoice in the Lord”, “I will” rejoice in the Lord and AGAIN I will rejoice!”

Keeping the consistencies in life was so important to me in the hard times.  Don’t run from your circumstances.  Don’t look for the bottle, drugs or the easy way out.  Face the issues and slowly pull yourself out.  Get help!  Talk to someone and pray.  Step by step, one thing and one day at a time.  Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

In many lives decisions have been made without counsel and research is the last avenue most go down.  Most people have made their minds up.  God hasn’t been consulted.  Pastors’ advice is not sought after and when all is said and done the pastor somewhere along the road has to pick up the pieces.

It saddens me to see people struggle and in many cases have their destiny cut short. For some, isolation subtly becomes a reality and a way of life.  Often church attendance drops away and we forget…WE NEED EACH OTHER!  If we keep to the fellowship of the believers, consistent and continual, it will keep many from falling.

Be a giver not a taker.  Faith gives when reason would say to hold on to everything you can get.  The mindset “everybody owes me something” is wrong and very selfish thinking in its nature.  The church owes me; the school should be doing this and that, the pastor should be visiting me.  People that flounder in depression are people that stay in a place of “it’s all about me”!  I, ME instead of OTHERS, and WE!  When we put in and give, we live more fulfilled and enriched lives.

Help someone, serve in the church.  Give of your time and resource.  Live for God and others.  Bake a cake, write a card, send a gift, a word of life to a struggling person.  Fill yourself up, by pouring out.  David encouraged himself in the Lord.

Sometimes the very things that we are doing are the things that will ultimately destroy us and our family.  Our selfishness leads to unhappiness.  We pursue things, careers and life style.  No one wins and God is not glorified.  Giving people are loved people.  Giving people are happy people.  Giving people are satisfied.  Giving people don’t live for themselves.  God first!  We’ve got to do things God’s way to get God results.  The true and best pattern is God’s pattern – everything else ends up in disappointment.  Live for Jesus and the things of this world will grow strangely dim.

Don’t sit helplessly in “camp containment” put on your armour, pick up your weapons and boot Satan out of your life.  The measure of your containment is directly related to how Christlike or un-Christlike you are in your daily responses to the people, events, and circumstances of life.

Let Christ be your standard in a world as busy and involved as it is.  People are bored and empty because they have devoted themselves and their lives to things that ultimately lack meaning and purpose.  The only way to fulfil your destiny is to take the first step and then next step and the next … as God leads.

Ted EvansThe world is searching for happiness! People quit their secure jobs, leave their spouse and are constantly unsettled because of this search for so-called happiness.

I know of people who have spent the majority of their married life trying to please their partner, going along with every whim so as to see them content in what they desired.

I have seen husbands try to take leadership of the home to no avail because of a domineering wife pursuing her so called happiness (and vice versa).

I have seen couples break up and when asked why, the immediate answer was because, “I’m not Happy”, “I don’t love him anymore”, the latest phrase is, “He abused me.”

Well, who is happy anyway….all the time, I say?

Another question:

What is marriage?

Is it all about being happy?

Is that the criteria?

Is that the goal?

Is that why you married that person?

If all your ducks don’t line up does that mean all is lost?  Do you fantasise about someone else? Trade him/her in for a new model!  Maybe a rich millionaire will show me the world and give me the happiness I’m longing for!

After much soul searching and many deep personal experiences I have come to a very basic conclusion.  Life isn’t about being happy.  The bible talks about contentment, and joy.  Happiness is fleeting but joy is lasting.  To me it’s all about commitment and perseverance!  Overcoming obstacles together!

I believe so many worldly and demonic practises have been employed in Christendom.  We see so much ungodliness and it’s certainly not a spiritual thought pattern or process.  The bible doesn’t even come into play anymore, it seems.

Some people are so intelligent that they know absolutely nothing.  Ignorance is portrayed in their behaviour.  I’m sorry, you can tell me one thing but your action is telling me something else.  You can tell me you love God and put Him first but what you are doing each day says something completely different.  I guess the bible says it this way, “You judge them by their fruit.”  Time will tell, I say!

Let me write something to describe some wrong thinking.  Ultimately wrong thinking becomes wrong behaviour.  Wrong choices and heart breaking disappointments soon follow wrong behaviour.

Some calls it Relativism, meaning no absolute truth.  Rampant in the church of Jesus Christ!

Subjectivism

Rationalism

Post modernism, meaning there is no real truth

New age religion

Experimenting (The devil said to Eve…go on Eve, take it! Try it!

These and more describe what is going on in people’s lives, and in their thinking each day of the year.  Most times without them knowing these thought patterns are there, but the person doesn’t realize they are.

We have moved so far from biblical truth, the absolutes of the bible and then grapple with distorted truth and make excuses daily to explain ourselves away.

The truth is: Happiness comes out of being content.  The overflow or outcome of joy is a happy lifestyle and a person who is at peace with themselves, God and others. Joy=happiness.  Happiness is existential.  Joy is internal, from your spirit man.  Joy is a deep gratitude of the saving grace and forgiveness that Jesus gave through His death and resurrection.

I am filled with inner joy and peace because of my deep and real relationship with Jesus Christ.  This covers every sin committed past, present and future.  Sin will always have devastating effect on any human being, ultimately death, but because of His forgiveness I walk in complete joy, peace and happiness.

I reiterate happiness is not the goal.  Happiness is shallow.  Happiness can be a selfish pursuit never really being fulfilled.

Many people walk in hurt and bitterness which is the basis of selfishness.  Not getting what you want, maybe unmet expectations, leading to disappointment, hurt, offense and then bitterness.  The final result of uncontrolled bitterness is demon possession.

A self-indulgent, impure spirit has it basis in a self-indulgent life style.  Gimme!   Gimme!  Gimme!  Husbands are working excessive hours to provide the lifestyle and things that their wives are lusting for.  Only a few years after they have all the wants and desire they run off and take everything that has been worked for over many years leaving their partner desolate and confused to say the least.

Disloyally is rampant, some overt and some very subtle but it all stems from an independent spirit developed over many years.  This is the characteristic of an unhappy and ungodly person sometimes claiming righteousness but deep within the pages of their life is a chronic and devastating disorder.

Ungratefulness is in epidemic proportions to the point that people cannot keep up or fulfil their need for more and more.  The basis of ungratefulness is pride.  If you follow the path of pride in your life it will definitely lead to a basis of fear.

The bible says, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love power and a sound mind.  Now, that sounds like, JOY.  That sounds like a happy person.  Love, power and a sound mind!  Content and fulfilled in every way!

When you walk the road of dishonesty and cultivate a poverty spirit, you can become extremely lazy and unproductive.

Self righteousness comes from a person who condemns themselves, beats themselves up but also condemns and judges others.  Constantly being critical of others!  This is not only a sad person but sadly a destroyed soul.  Outwardly they claim happiness but inwardly they are in turmoil, going from one purchase to another, one food group to another, one fashion store to another and in most cases relationships are severed.  One relationship to another, searching, looking, relentlessly pursuing…but to no avail!  Empty!  Wanting!

Don’t the words of Jesus mean much to us when He says “Take no thought of tomorrow for tomorrow will take care of itself.”   In fact it implies that Jesus attends the funeral of every sparrow that falls to the ground.  “Don’t be anxious!” ”Rejoice in the Lord, and again I say rejoice!

Isaiah says “Don’t eat food, drink and work for that which does not satisfy”.  I believe as we obey the word of God that says “To seek first the Kingdom of God” Everything we need will be provided which ensures us of joy, and happiness.

We are being changed from Glory to Glory!  Being transformed into His likeness!  It takes toughness, strength and fortitude to allow our character to be shaped and moulded into that beautiful and whole person that brings glory to God.  We are the clay, He is the potter!

Life is not about self-preservation, contrary to what the world would have us believe.

It’s not about self-gratification, self-satisfaction or even self-discovery.

It’s about living a life that is full and based on worshipping God.

Praise.  Honour.  Adoration.  Worship.

We seem to be able to remember old songs from yesteryear, jingles from adverts that haven’t been on for years, yet the church has forgotten it’s praise language!

The old saying that there is strength in numbers doesn’t fall short when we think about the gathering together of the saints.  The community of believers that join together, in one accord, in total unison, the church, the body of Christ, is given the assurance by God that when we dwell together in unity, He will command the blessing (Psalm 133).

Even when there are only a few, even just one or two, or even when there are many, thousands even, the presence of God is such that not only blessings can pour forth, but chains can be broken, walls can come down, burdens can be lifted and hearts can be restored, just to name a few!

God not only desires our praise, and not only is worthy of our praise, but He inhabits our praise!

To know that the Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth says that He will inhabit our praises should stir us to shout, scream and holler His name and His praise!

At times we need to be still and hear the still small voice of the Lord, but there are times when it is absolutely necessary to shout the praise of God and to sing out worship that is due Him.  For too long the church at large has been ‘listening quietly’ and not singing out.

Paul said to the church in Ephesus, “Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,  singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.  And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20)

The Psalms say, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” (Psalm 46:4)

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Psalm 4:23)

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. (Proverbs 23:7)

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38)

Out of our heart, the depth of our being will come rivers of living water, waters of life and rivers that will make glad the Lord, as we are founded on and filled with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Out of our heart, a heart full of gratitude and love for what Jesus has done and continues to do for us, should come words of praise and worship.

Cries and utterances from our innermost being.

Psalms, songs and spiritual songs of praise to our God.

We’ve got to learn to sing in the Spirit again.  We’ve got to be able to break forth into praise and adoration in church – in a room full of people who all believe in the same amazing God.

It’s incredible to think that people are embarrassed and reserved and feel too self righteous to bring their praises to God in thankfulness.

Out of our hearts…

What is is your heart will come out…what words are you speaking out?

Are you singing the praises of God or of yourself?

Or, worse yet, are you speaking out negativity and jeopardising the work of the Lord?

We have to learn to break out of our own inhibitions and to press through in God.

Break through the fear barriers.

Break through the self control barriers.

Break through the apathy barriers.

Even when there are only a few people, a great sound in the Spirit can be made that can shake the foundations of darkness and sin and the hearts and lives of people can be transformed by the power of Almighty God.

The church and the world need to hear the voice of praise.

We’ve got to get our shout back – shout unto God with a voice of triumph, shout unto God with a voice of praise.

We’ve got to get our clap back – Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.

We’ve got to get our praise back –

Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD. (Psalm 150)

We’ve got to get our song back – Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.  Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. (Psalm 96:1-2)

God’s word does not change – not now and not ever.

The commands to praise Him are as relevant and as necessary today as they were when they were written so long ago!

It’s so important for us to get back to pure worship – loving God and expressing our love through song and singing in the Spirit – the language that God gives to each believer as an evidence that they are filled with the Spirit.

Singing in the Spirit gives us the ability to worship God as well as edify ourselves as our focus shifts from ourselves to God – the only one worthy of praise and worship.

One of the most wonderful experiences that we can have is being able to sing in the Spirit, singing out of our Spirit-man words that can only be comprehended by our Heavenly Father.

Today, spend time singing in the Spirit.  Take the opportunity in church to sing in the Spirit and see how incredibly the Spirit of God moves as He inhabits our praises and is honoured in our worship.  Let’s not lose this mysterious yet wonderful gift given by God to His children.

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This week, I want to write about experiencing God’s love.

We know that the Bible talks a lot about what love is and the Apostle Paul details it very clearly in what is known as the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13.  We know that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus, His most precious Son, to die for us.   That’s the greatest expression of His love for us.

But, we’re not going to look there.

I want to take you deeper on a journey into your heart.

We talk a lot in the Christian world that our lives should not be based on feelings but on faith.

And, whilst that is true, there is a place for emotions.

God did create them after all and the Bible is filled with accounts of circumstances that affected His emotions and His responses to situations.

I want you to know that it’s alright, it’s ok, and you are allowed to be emotional.   You are allowed to be moved by God.  You are welcome to open your heart and allow the Creator of the universe to enter in and touch the very fibres of your being.

Our perceptions of God and our experiences in life are our measuring stick.

We judge God by what has happened to us and in the world around us.

Bette Midler wrote a song many years ago and said that from a distance, God is watching us.

That’s how many people feel!

You may feel that way, that God is just up in heaven on His throne watching you go about your life,

–          watching your suffering,

–          your sadness,

–          your sickness,

–          your loneliness,

–          your brokenness,

–          your hardness,

–          your success

–          your life go by as you do the motions

You may feel that God has no interest in you – you’re a speck on His radar.

He is, after all, God and we are minute, tiny, almost non-existent if you look at us in comparison to the universe at large.

You may feel that God is like an old style school head master with a big stick, ready and waiting to strike each time you do the wrong thing.

You may feel that you’re simply not good enough, you’re never going to be good enough and there’s no way God can really love you anyway.

You may feel that God is angry with you all the time because you keep making mistakes –you’ve broken the 10 commandments more times than you can recall.

You may feel that there’s no way, even though you keep trying and trying, that you’re just not good enough.

God can’t possibly love you because

– you’re not like the people on stage,

– you’re not like the people who teach Sunday School,

– you’re not like the people who walk around with their Bible under their arm,

– you don’t know your Bible like other people do

You might be someone who thinks that God only loves you when you do good things or when you keep His commands as well as the Pharisees and Sadducees did!

You might think that God will love you when you are good enough –

You know,

–          when you don’t get upset with the kids anymore,

–          when you don’t shout at your husband anymore

–          when you don’t speed through the school zones anymore

–          when you give money to street people

–          when you stop using those words that really don’t honour Him

–          when you only spend time with Christian people and never see a non-      Christian person

Your experiences in life, the way that you were brought up and the way that you were treated, have shaped how you feel about God.

The image of God as a loving Father can be horrific for some people – those who have had a bad experience or a non experience of a Father.

If your Father hurt you or members of your family, it’s no wonder you don’t understand what the love of a Father is really like – protective and just.

If your Father was absent and didn’t have time for you, you won’t understand that God’s heartbeat is for you –for time with you.

If your Father was abusive and demanding, you might feel that God expects the same as your earthly Father.

If your Father didn’t know how to share with you, to be affectionate and relational with you, you may not know that God is absolutely relational.

Our view and perception of God can range from seeing Him as a distant and angry God to a God whom nothing is ever good enough to a God who presents as a father who is not caring or even approachable.

I want to show you today that God is so much more than any of these perceptions.

God is LOVE!

It’s not what God does for us or to us, but that it is WHO HE IS!!!

Above all else, God loves you.

If you have never experienced the love of God in a personal, heart stopping way, I pray that as you read this, you will.

We all have a different understanding of God as a result of the journey that we are each on.

I want to encourage you that no matter where you are in your walk, God’s love is not absent or far from you!

God desires that you would know, that you would feel, that you would experience the fullness of His love.

Ephesians 3:14-19 in the Amplified translation says:

For this reason, seeing the greatness of this plan by which you are built together in Christ, I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that Father from Whom all fatherhood takes its title and derives its name.

May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the Holy Spirit Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality.

May Christ through your faith actually dwell, settle down, abide, make His permanent home in your hearts!

May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints, God’s devoted people, the experience of that love what is the breadth and length and height and depth of it;

That you may really come to know, practically, through experience for yourselves the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!

Now to Him Who, by consequence of the action of His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams–

To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen.

The love that God wants us to experience is a life changing love.

A love that is almost to much to grapple with and to comprehend.

A love that has no end to how far it will go, either in time, in distance or in effort.

God’s desire for us to experience His love is not just as a one off experience – He wants us to be rooted in His love.

He wants us to know His love so intimately, so deeply, so closely that we never have to question His love.

His love for us is never ending!

God’s love for us is real.

His love is as real as the life we live and the air that we breathe.

We need a life changing experience of God’s love – an experience that disturbs, if you like, the very core of our being.

God desires for us to have an experience that brings us to our knees and removes all of the hardness, all of the fears, all of the things that bind us up and keep us from opening our heart.

When you have been hurt, whether as a child, a teen or as an adult, you are probably more reluctant to trust people.

We are often even more reluctant to trust God.

Many people know the story of how I came to be pastoring and living in Whyalla.

I was a broken man.

I had lost everything and was desperately relying on God for everything.

I remember day after day just crying out to God and asking Him to fill my heart – my heart that had been so broken.

I knew that God loved me and that He was a good God and He gives good gifts to His children.

I knew and I’d preached it and counselled it all my life.

But, I was now living in that reality of having to totally rely on God to restore my heart and potentially give me a new life partner – somewhere, sometime, somehow.

I had no idea that moving to Whyalla for 6 months was going to change the whole course and shape of my life.

Kylie and I hit it off and we began a relationship very soon after I arrived.

Immediately, I began to feel and realise God’s love for me, through Kylie.

All the things that I had craved my whole life were suddenly being realised.

Little things and big things.

Things that I didn’t even know that I needed or wanted, or that I thought were too great to even think to ask or desire of God were beginning to happen.

God knew what I needed in a wife.

He knew I needed more than just a bride.

He knew that I needed a soul mate – someone who would love me with the kind of love that God describes

–          total

–          unconditional

–          full

–          sacrificial

–          selfless

–          trusting

God knew that my heart needed to be held very gently by someone with strong hands.

I knew that God loved me, but all of a sudden I was personally and practically experiencing His love.

His very great, deep and unending love.

God doesn’t always use people to express His love.

Sometimes He does and sometimes He doesn’t.

Sometimes He speaks directly to us, to our heart.

Sometimes He uses His words – the Bible to reveal it to us.

Sometimes He uses experiences that we go through to show us His great and powerful love.

The Apostle Paul said that nothing in life can take God’s love from us and nothing can take us from God’s love because of the sacrifice that Jesus made.

Romans 8:38-39

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.

God’s love is such that He is so moved by us, His children that He will stop at nothing to show us and to make sure that we understand fully how deep, how pure and how real His love is.

God’s love is AGAPE love.

I’m sure that we’ve possibly all heard that word before and the scripture that usually accompanies it that because God loved us so much, He sent Jesus to die for us.

That’s true!  But it’s more than that!

Agape love, God’s love, is activated when He see, recognises, understands or appreciates the value of us, causing Him to behold us in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder and sincere appreciation.

Agape love is so great that it is irresistible for the giver not to love.

Agape love, when received, is emotional.

It does require an emotion response from us.

It requires, in fact, it causes us, to be moved.

Receiving God’s love is not like when you are moved by compassion to do something, but rather it is when you are moved to be able to receive from God.   You are able to receive without restriction, without restraint, or without reservation and without hesitation.

You are able to surrender to the immense love that God wants to lavish upon you.

Agape love, God’s love, is so great and loves so profoundly that it knows no limitations or boundaries in how far, how wide, and how deep it will go to show us His love.

God’s love drives Him to action.

He wants and desires you to know and experience so that you might be made whole and complete, and that you might know the fullness of His love.

Life still happens and being loved by God doesn’t change the fact that sometimes things don’t go or happen as we would like or as we plan.

However, God desires that we would know His great love that we might be able to walk full in His love through every circumstance.

He wants us to be fully rooted and intensely established in Him and His love.

He wants you to feel and know His love.

His love that is greater than any love that will ever come your way.

Greater than the love of any person – mother, father, child, husband or wife.

God’s love is for you to feel, for you to experience, for you to know above and beyond anything else.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

GOD LOVES YOU.

P9130215Jesus is building HIS church!

Over the years of my time in ministry, I’ve come to realize a few things about people and church life, Christianity and the world. These are a few observations I’d like to share with those who are willing to read and maybe take on a new way of approaching life and ministry.

1.) Don’t stress or worry especially if you cannot control the situation. Give it to God. Sleep on it. Time is a healer. 12 hours makes a huge difference and it gives an opportunity for God to move. People panic and I put myself in that category in the past, but what for? Why do it? Why allow yourself to go through all that pain? Isn’t life itself a gift? Look for the good in little! I find most people operate their lives on rational, most times making choices out of an irrational and an emotional mind set.

2.) People will do what people will do! As a pastor you can preach till the cows come home or till you’re blue in the face, but in most cases nothing changes except for a Holy Spirit encounter or revelation. Crisis does not even guarantee change in people’s lives. Counselling doesn’t change people unless they choose to change and adhere to the advice given.

3.) Church attendance! A pastor can visit his flock and can encourage them to be in church, but even then I have found that people will do, what people will do. Sunday morning comes and depending on how they are feeling at the time, a decision is made not to go or to go! Values are not considered anymore and children will be the recipients of our values, or lack of values, as parents. Incomplete obedience will be the next generation’s disobedience. On any given Sunday a third of your congregation may be away. People come into church and go! Should I say people grow or people go! Anything can set people off from a misperception to a pastor not shaking their hand at the door. It’s time for the church to grow up and develop some backbone! Maturity must be a priority! Paul said meat, not milk!

4.) We want the church to provide this program and that program but do nothing about it ourselves. Instead of getting motivated and involved with church life people get involved the clubs and activities the world offers. Where is the desire to come together to worship and have fellowship? Where are Kingdom values instilled? It must come from firstly the family then the church. You’ve got to get your family there if those values are to be taught to your children.

5.) Some times as a pastor you’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. I have come to the conclusion that you can’t please everyone! Pleasing God should be our aim.

Through many years of ministry, watching and relating to people I have come to the realization that “Unless God builds the House we labour in vain”.  The scripture is so true!   You can have all the bells and whistles, good preaching, beautiful worship, a coffee shop experience after and before church but some will come and some will stay at home. The sleeping giant needs a shaking. An awakening! A revival! You can have the best programs in the world but people are led by their feelings. Sadly they feel their way out and think their way out of their destiny! There is a permissive will but people should desire and seek after the perfect will of God! The permissive will tends to be average and mediocre. God has so much instore yet we are happy with the status quo and just getting through. Too many people are just making it and call themselves survivors rather than living in the best God has got to offer.

Some final thoughts.

Be faithful to what God has called you to do! Make every post a winner! Look for the best in people. Be an encourager! Remember to see the glass half full and make a way to help fill it right up! God is on the throne. He hasn’t stepped off and He’s not having a sleep. He is intently interested in you and is constantly reaching out to us. Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your might! Let God be God and “Seek 1st the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you”.

September2009 002Every day is a better day…with Jesus!

No matter where I’ve been in my life, or what has happened, I have always known that Jesus is by my side.

That knowledge itself has often been the one thing, the only thing, that has enabled me to continue.

The loving kindness of Jesus is our saving grace in all of our lives.

Though we walk through the flood waters, He is with us.

Though we walk through the fire, He is with us.

Though the storm comes and the rains fall, He is with us.

Your world may have crumbled around you or it may be beginning to crack and crumble at the seams, remember that Jesus has not left you nor is He unaware of what is happening in your life.

Every day is a better day!

Each day brings with it the promise of newness.

A new dawn.  A new noon.  A new evening.

New mercy.  New hope.  New beginnings.

Though each day has the potential of trouble and sorrow, the way that we approach it will determine not so much the outcome, for often circumstances are beyond our control, but the development of our character and our growth in Jesus.

Our relationship with Him has to be our foundation, if not, when the storms of life do come along, we will crumble like the walls of Jericho.

We can say, “Every Day Is A Better Day” because we know that no matter what happens, with Jesus things can be difficult but there is always the promise of hope and love at the other side of the trouble.

Without Jesus, however, there is no assurance – either here or in eternity.

I know that regardless of any of the struggles and heartaches I’ve endured and had thrown at me I’d rather say that every day is a better day because of Jesus than think about the alternative.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world.

I am more than a conqueror.

Every day is a better day with Jesus!

Today, remember that no matter what you go through, whatever is presented to you, however you are attacked, no matter the circumstances, Jesus is sure and solid.  He will never leave you and He will complete the good works that He has begun.

Jesus came to give LIFE and LIFE TO THE FULL!!!

It is a state of mind.

It is believing regardless of how the circumstances look.

Call into existence those things which are not as though they were – claim your days!

Make each post a winner!

Every day is a better day!

AMEN!

Being vs Doing!

IMG_1290Living in victory each day is being!

Walking in the light of His love and acceptance is liberating only if you know His truth and know this truth in your heart.

We tend to do and do and do and then do more!  Rather, we need to acknowledge that we are who we are and that’s how God made us.

Simply be.  “Be.”

We are made in His image, growing from glory to glory, faith to faith.

Being is relaxing in who God says you are…

Not trying to be something or someone that we are not.

God says that His “mercy is new every morning” – it’s a new day, a fresh start, a new beginning and therefore we are to live today as if it is the first day of our lives.

Contentment is the key to being.  Doing represents running around, stress, deadlines, etc.

Don’t allow small things to be blown out of proportion and become more important than they need.

Think about it – in 1 week, will it still be this urgent or this important?  If not, then relax a little more and give people around you a break!  They’re probably feeling the brunt of your stress and frustration.

Being is plodding along vibrantly or relaxing for easy power.

My encouragement is for you to declutter your life.

Keep the main thing, the main thing!

Enjoy the journey of life and learn to stop and smell the roses.

Inhale and then exhale.

Slowly.

Get the full benefit of the scent, not just a whif.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

His rest will create our best.

PC300052And so it had begun.  We were married!  The beginning of the rest of our lives was right there in front of us…not in the distance, but right there and we were walking into it!

Kyls had spent weeks researching the perfect spot for us to have our honeymoon…all 2 days of it!  Kylie had to go straight back to work so we wanted something that would be secluded, quiet, beautiful and cosy.  We had found a lovely little eco lodge on a bluff in the Coffin Bay area that was nestled on 100 acres.  It was far from anyone and serene enough to meet our needs for the weekend.

We arrived at the lovely little lodge to discover that the man who owned the place actually had a house on there too.  And, not just on the same property, but his house was under the extension that he had built as his eco lodge…THAT WE WERE STAYING IN!!!!

To make matters even funnier, it just so happened that his bedroom happened to be directly under our bedroom and living area.  Nice.

Such a friendly host, the poor gentleman didn’t quite get any of Kyls’s hints that it was our honeymoon…he just kept coming back to visit with us!  He was such a talkative chap, it was difficult to get a word in and make our point clear.

HONEYMOON.

NEWLYWEDS.

SECLUSION.

2 DAYS.

NO PEOPLE.

Nope.  Didn’t work!  The lovely man thought that we might be hungry and so he, generously and kindly, brought us up 2 bowls of delicious, fresh, homemade mushroom soup, with mushrooms that he had picked that morning from the paddocks around the house, and hot, crusty bread.  It really was great, but we really did just want some space and time to ourselves.  Surely, that was understandable!

The space was nice…there was a small living/dining/kitchen area, kind of like a cabin in a holiday park, a nice bedroom and an open bathroon with 270 degree windows….great view…if it was as secluded as we had thought!

Kyls decided that since it was so cold and since we’d not really had the opportunity to have a proper shower at the hotel (they gave us no clean towels..go figure!) she would shower now…especially since it seemed that the friendly host had finally left us in peace.

Showered and dry from a just warm shower, just like most girls, Kyls needed to dry her hair…out came the hair dryer and out went the power.  We were discovering fast that our perfect little eco lodge really meant – little power, low temperature heating and housing below!

Somehow, from out of nowhere, our friend, the chatting host, appeared!  He informed us that a hair dryer used too much power and so, with the weather having been so overcast recently the solar panels weren’t fully charged.  Ergo, we didn’t have very hot water and we had a limited power supply!  No more hairdryer for Kyls!

What a funny start to our marriage and honeymoon!

Over the two days, we enjoyed creative meals (we had very limited supplies and the closest shops was 1 hour away – and it was closed because it was a public holiday!), spurts of time with no power and lengths of timw with power.  Fortunately, Kyls had brought with us all of the candle that were left over from the wedding which meant that at night time, we at least had some light.

The gas heater was fan forced and so relied on the electricity that did and didn’t work.  Our laptop was our source of music, running on battery power.  Our little sink was our washing tub and the line downstairs, near the hosts room, was our washing line!  Our lovely wooden posted bed made more sounds than an old door in a scary movie…and that was just when we walked in the room!  The balcony, however, had a sensational view. It overlooked a peaceful little bay and early in the mornings we heard and saw native birds on the rails.  It was very romantic when we thought about it!

We figured that God was just exercsing His sense of humour and extending ours…we had to laugh or we could have been devastated.  But, Kyls being Kyls, made every moment fun and enjoyable.  We had a great time together (in spite of the power going off more that 7 times (I think) in 2 1/2 days!  We were able to appreciate and enjoy the solitude (eventually) and each other for a few precious moments before we came back to full time reality!

When we finally did arrive home, we walked in to a beautifully clean and inviting house.  Friends had organised a beautiful meal and there were more gifts to open.  Kyls unpacked…in our house…her house.

We were married.  We were one.  We were together, in our own home, delightfully happy and content.  At last.

Thank God.  Kylie’s Psalm, her word from God had finally come to pass for both of us…

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4