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Faith

Of recent days the sad passing of my Aunty Lorraine to cancer has brought some interesting dialogue across my path regarding the “faith issue”.  There have been some disappointing responses.  These comments have come from people a little too quick to shoot from the hip.  Unwise and hurtful!

To my way of thinking I believe this train of thought is irresponsible, immature and extremely shallow.  It also brings negatively to the body of Christ, which doesn’t help our infiltration of the Gospel to a hurting and dying world.

Simply put, faith is believing, trusting in God.  He is a God that performs the miraculous.  He is a supernatural God and as Christians we must have faith.  Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God!  We must believe.  We must believe His word. Someone put it this way, “Faith spelled is risk!”

The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen, as the author of Hebrews says.

What people have called the “hyper faith” movement I plainly describe this way: Faith people are those that are trying to put into practice what God’s word says while others doubt, waver and are tossed to and fro by every whim.

The “faith teaching”, as they call it, has it’s extremes like anything.  I understand that in some cases there has been manipulation of funds for their cause, which is wrong and sinful, but on the whole faith people are normal Christians just endeavouring to live out their faith the best way they can.  We are called to walk by faith.

The Gift of Faith has been given to some and is hard for others to grasp that kind of extra-ordinary faith.  My suggestion is: Don’t criticize what you don’t have, but thank God for what you do have.

If you were sick, I would believe with you and your family to the very last breath that God would heal.  In the sovereignty of God, we commit our ways to God as the “Great Umpire in the Sky”.  He knows the end from the beginning.

He knows best and will do what is best!  We call it “God’s Sovereignty”.  That is the “faith mentality”.

I find that some intellectuals can struggle with these points of view because it sometimes just doesn’t make sense.  Analyzing and critiquing doesn’t lead to the God kind of faith we pursue. Understanding is as important as knowledge! Let’s get both!

If you formulate your thinking and theology from the excesses in the body of Christ you will become unbalanced and lop sided.  Don’t complicate what is straight forward.  Simply believe!!!!

There’s faith that delivers and faith that endures.  I love the quote, “Beaten paths are made by beaten men but faith refuses to live among the dead. If you mix with unbelief the dust of unbelief will rub off onto you.”

Smith Wigglesworth said – ” I’m not here to entertain you, but to bring you to a place where you can laugh at the impossible”.

At the end of the day, all we have is faith in God and His Word.  Nothing more and nothing less, after you strip away all of the peripherals.  Imagine how different the accounts in the Bible would be if faith was not pursued…

–          Elijah would never have been able to ask the widow to gather empty jars that would miraculously be filled with oil

–          Joshua would never have witnessed the crumbling of the walls of Jericho

–          Moses would have never made it across the Red Sea

–          Mary would never have become pregnant with the Saviour of the world!

–          Crippled, deaf, mute and lame people would never have been healed

–          Children and adults alike would never have been raised from the dead

–          Peter would never have walked on water

–          Two fish and a loaf of bread would never have fed over 5,000 people

–          And the list goes on and on!

Can you imagine!  If we have the faith to believe the Word of God, then it seems only fit that we live with that sort of faith every day in our own lives.

How do you get Faith? Faith comes through an understanding and revelation of God’s word.  Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God.  It always gets back to what God’s word says.  Love His word.  Understand His word.  Live in the truth of God’s word.  That is what will set you free in all these areas.

Friends and horsesYour connections in life are incredibly important to your future, your emotional stability, the line that you travel between success and failure.  The relationships that you subscribe to can either build you up or pull you down.  They can encourage your growth in God or push you towards a mediocre, negative and a critical existence.  The relationships that you foster can tend to run your life!  Sometimes these people can influence you and even overtake healthy decisions.  Our priority should be to encourage each other to make Godly and Kingdom focus decisions.

We need to consider who we spend time with.  Ask yourself – What do you talk about when you get together?  What mindsets are infiltrating your family culture?  Are they God inspired and Christian in their nature?

I have heard a couple of sayings that I find interesting…Birds of a feather flock together! Like minds find other like minds.  This is a positive if the outcome is to love, build and strengthen but extremely harmful and destructive if it is of a critical nature.

The other quote I have heard over the years is “The lowest form of communication is talking about other people!” Why don’t we discuss Kingdom advancement anymore?  Why don’t we talk about reaching lost souls anymore?  Why don’t we discuss the state of our heart, or the love we have for God and our family?  Why don’t we build up the church and find the positives rather than pull the church down and have roast pastor over Sunday lunch.  Look for the good, look for the noble; look for heart intent rather than outcomes, whether good or not so good.

Gossip is a terrible thing.  It’s like a cancer that spreads and takes hold of people.  Biblically it is one of the 7 deadliest sins.  Dissension!  It’s divisive in character.  This is major in importance to me as a Christian wanting to pursue Christ likeness.  I love the passage that encourages us think on such things…what’s so ever thing are pure, lovely, of good report etc think on these things.  As the mind goes, the heart and mouth will follow.  Do not be deceived, the Apostle Paul says, bad company corrupts good character.

I find the start of a new year a great opportunity to make adjustments to our thought life, our speech and our actions.

Hurting people, hurt people! Whole people hunger for a whole and safe community where love abounds and grace is evident in all.

I believe this article will help someone in their Christian walk.  I believe it will shake someone into a fresh approach to their relationships.  Don’t pretend to be a Christian.  Don’t give lip service to your aspirations as a believer.  Don’t call yourself something that you’re not.  Don’t go to church and put on a show if you’re living differently with your speech and attitude during the week.  Many folk are in communication with people who are not in church, are very critical, not submitted, not under any kind of accountability, and are fruitless.  Unrepentant, prideful and arrogant are some words that come to mind in describing these people.  They refuse to seek forgiveness and restoration in any way.

Be careful to allow these people to continue to be a part of your circle of friends.  The word of God says… “Have nothing to do with them.”  They will harm you and your family.  These kinds of people will destroy themselves and their family, any job prospects and sometimes can take a hold of a congregation rendering it unproductive and sick.

On the other hand if they repent the future is amazing.  Productivity, fruitfulness and blessing can be the result.  Safe and healthy relationships and connections should be our pursuit and desire.

The atmosphere of your life is made up of a couple of things.  One very important ingredient is the type of people you spend time with.  Be inspired to search out Godly influences and if need be make the changes in your life as I do mine every day.

The second ingredient is your walk with God.  It’s impossible to have a deep relationship with God and tear down, criticize and speak against the church for which Jesus died.  The closer I get to God the more my life portrays a Christ likeness that is full and rich in Godly character, love, joy and peace, kindness, gentleness, meekness, self control, patience.

There is a place for having people in your life that you are called to reach out to and embrace so as to lead them to Jesus and a transformed life.  However, we should be the ones influencing others in a positive and encouraging manner – we should represent Jesus to everyone that we meet.

Look for the best in each other and keep your relationships healthy!  Remember always, how would you like to be thought of and treated?  Go and do likewise!

God Bless you on your journey!

Kristan and HarryChristmas is by far the most celebrated and commercialised time of the year.

I remember seeing the tinsel and the baubles and the lights being advertised for sale back in October!

This year, I’ve had to rethink Christmas and what it means to me personally and what it means to Kylie and I as a couple.

This year I’ve thought about what it means to enjoy Christmas.

I heard recently that people are told that they are supposed to be more joyful at this time of year and as a result we end up with more people depressed!

Kyls starts planning the Christmas presents months in advance yet we left the Christmas cards til the last minute!

The world starts advertising the kids toy sales back in July…

10 % this week

20% next week

Layby now until Christmas!

We begin to think about the gifts that we’re going to give, the credit cards that we’ll have to pay off and the different Crisco packs or Hamper King Hampers that we could have had if we’d been more organised.

We start hearing Christmas carols in November and by the first week of December the sales assistants are fed up with hearing them!

We see Santa all around us and the children are convinced that this fat old man is coming down the chimney that we don’t even have to leave presents under the tree.

We receive funny emails about reindeer and sleighs.

We start to think about the people that we should send card to and wonder if they’ve moved since last year.

We see images of a baby in a manger and angels and wise men standing around adoring Him.

We get catalogues with hundreds of different types and colours of Christmas trees and lights and decorations.

We see shops using various slogans and changing the meaning from Merry Christmas to Merry Chipmas.

We see companies advertising items like cars as being great Christmas gifts.

We see television programs that mock the birth of our Saviour and others that turn it into a rock concert type celebration about jolly Santa!

Church, this morning I want to give you a few thoughts about how to really and truly enjoy Christmas.

Firstly, we need to remember the reason for the season, as the phrase goes.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was born at Christmas for our salvation.

It’s easy to forget that Jesus was more than just a baby, especially since that’s how the world continues to present Him.

Have you ever thought about the fact that when most people celebrate someone’s birthday, they don’t given them a card that shows when they were born and they don’t generally talk about their birth.

When we celebrate someone’s birthday, we celebrate them!

We remember things about them and their life.

The same should be true for Jesus.

It should be more than just remembering that He was born.

We need to remember that He left the most incredible and magnificent place ever created and such that man had never even seen, to become like us and to be with us here on earth in order to be able to bring us to where He had come from.

I don’t know about you, but every day I realise just how much more I need Him.

I’ve got such a craving for God’s presence…

We don’t need to go to a special meeting to find him.

We don’t have to run after a prophet or healing evangelist!

Jesus is here!

He’s in the pages of my bible.

He’s in me!

He’s all around me!

He is awesome.

When we acknowledge Him, when we speak out His name, He is magnified and given what is rightfully His – all honour and glory!

So beautiful!

Jesus! Jesus! I love you Jesus!

Christmas is about Jesus and about us remembering Him and keeping Him as the central focus of this season.

Everything else needs to take second place.

The food is important.

The gifts are important.

The carols are important.

The trees and decorations are important.

Kids are important.

But, they are not the main thing!

We have to keep the main thing the main thing…

Jesus is the reason for the season!!!

IN HIM WE LIVE AND MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING!

If we have Jesus in the first place, everything else is easily able to follow and be enjoyed.

Secondly, make the Christmas season a time of joy by being patient and kind.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness….

At Christmas, and especially on Christmas day, people can tend to forget that it’s important to stop and appreciate the moment.

The dishes can wait.

The table can be set in a few minutes.

It doesn’t matter if the paper is making the room look messy.

It’s wonderful that the kids are screaming with joy and happiness at the gifts that you’ve given them.

It really doesn’t matter if the peas are cold and the gravy is lumpy.

Remember, a little bit of patience goes a long way.

Don’t allow little things to become big problems or issues that have the potential to change your mood.

Allow yourself the freedom to stop, relax, and breathe today.

If things don’t happen the way they should, take a deep breath and keep going.

If a plate gets broken, be grateful that you had the plate in the first place.

Thirdly, give the gift of time.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Make a point of doing things that you all enjoy and do things that others enjoy.

Learn the art of compromise this Christmas.

If the kids want to go swimming at midnight because it’s hot, maybe indulge them.

Remember, you are creating their memories that they will hold for the rest of their lives!

Watch the Boxing Day Test with your husband – without whinging!

Maybe even bring him lunch while he’s watching it!

Make your wife a cup of tea or coffee and bring her a flower.

Start the dishes for her.

Whatever you can do for someone else in your family, make a point to do something purposefully to show them that you love them and that they are important to you.

Compliment each other and use your words to show care, love and respect.

Honour one another above yourselves, the Bible says.

Take time to allow things to happen.

Think back on other years – the days still roll on and everything eventually gets done.

You have the choice, this year, to make things memorable and worth remembering in days and years to come.

Make Christmas a time when words are special and important.

Make Christmas a time when you change the direction of your family – make a conscious choice to be an encourager all the time, not just at Christmas.

Fourthly, be thankful.

Remember to be grateful for the smallest and the largest of gifts, gestures and thoughts.

Look past the price tags and instead, look at the heart.

Be thankful that we can celebrate today.

Be thankful that you have gifts to be able to give.

Be thankful that you have gifts to receive.

Be thankful that you can celebrate in freedom.

Be thankful that you have family and friends near you with whom you can celebrate.

Be thankful that you know the Saviour and the King of Christmas.

Make a list, by yourself, or with your family for all the things that you can be thankful for this Christmas.

Maybe make it a list of things that you can be thankful for from throughout the whole year.

Be thankful that the greatest gift ever given cost more than any of us could have ever afforded.

We received the gift of eternal life, redemption from our sins and the ability to be reunited in full relationship with our Father God.

Lastly, stay in touch with loved ones.

Make that phone call that you’ve been putting off.

Forgive that person that you’ve been upset with.

Be slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Use this time to reflect on the incredible gift that Jesus gave us and give it to others – the gift of forgiveness and grace.

The gift of mercy and love.

Think about the legacy that you are leaving for your family and yourself…is it a legacy to be proud of and to be remembered for?

I want to leave a legacy for my children.

I want my children to see in me the qualities that I see in Jesus.

I want them to know that I celebrate Christmas because of the significance of Jesus and His impact in my life.

This Christmas, remember it’s a time to enjoy.

Enjoy your family.

Enjoy your friends.

Enjoy giving gifts.

Enjoy receiving gifts.

Enjoy celebrating.

Remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and because of Him we can enjoy this time of the year because we can know the Christ of Christmas.

PRAYER:

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let our hearts be tender and our hands work for the peace of all.  May we honour him by loving one another as God so loved the world He gave His beloved Son.  May we receive all the gifts that the season has to offer with open hands and grateful hearts.  And may we cherish the beauty of this season, treasuring the moments and creating memories that will bless us for the rest of our lives.  Amen

Take Up Your Cross

Jesus said that “Greater love has no one than to lay down his life for a friend” and He did this for us.

In our lives, there are times when we put aside ourselves to benefit someone else.

The world calls this philanthropy.

God calls this love.

The highest form of sacrifice and the strongest force in the world, next to God’s power.

We all have different struggles and different challenges that we face in life.

Some people feel free to share every trial and struggle with anyone and everyone they meet, whilst others share little or nothing and so it seems that they just float through life footloose and fancy free almost.

However, as Christian’s there is a cross that we must bear in order to advance the Kingdom of God.

People who are not kingdom thinkers do not understand this.

Each person’s cross is different and may change as life progresses.

My cross is different to yours.

My struggles and challenges are different to yours.

This does not change how significant your cross is.

Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow Him.

Have you ever contemplated that Jesus had not been nailed to the cross when He said this to the disciples?

We know that the cross that Jesus talked about was not pleasant.

It was not easy.

It was not for the weak or the frail.

Jesus’ cross was intense.

It was brutal.

It was torturous and gruesome.

But, before the cross was the flogging.

The pain, the humiliation and the persecution was beyond comprehension.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24,

If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also].

Jesus carried His cross.

But, it was more than just a cross.

It was more than just pain and torture.

Jesus carried our sins.

Jesus carried our lies, our deceit, our slander, our gossip, our murder, our theft, our adultery, our lust, our idolatry, our rebellion, our witchcraft, our anger, our unforgiveness, the list goes on and on.

Yet, Jesus carried this cross.

He carried it all the way to the end.

He chose to bear His cross in obedience to the Father.

He carried it to not only advance the Kingdom, but to actually bring us back into the Kingdom and into relationship with God, the Father.

He knew this cross was not going to be easy, but it was of eternal significance and importance.

Jesus was in a quandary – He did not want to be tortured and beaten and hung on a cross to die a shameful death.

But at the same time, He did not want to leave us in a place of no entry.

He wanted to put the Kingdom first.

He wanted to put us first.

He wanted to ensure that His obedience would be a sacrifice worthy of His Father, our Lord.

Luke 22:42 Message

“Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?”

Luke 22:42 New Living Translation

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Jesus knew the power of obedience and the power of sacrifice.

The power of taking up His cross.

In order for the Kingdom to advance, we need to make certain sacrifices.

Again, each person’s sacrifice is different.

You may need to sacrifice time.

You may need to sacrifice a job, or a promotion.

It might be location or lifestyle.

You might need to sacrifice time or proximity with your family.

Nothing in God is wasted and God does not return His word void.

If we sow, there will be a harvest.

Are you currently bearing a cross?

What cross are you currently bearing?

Is it for the purpose of advancing the Kingdom of God or is it advancing your own cause?

Our growth and our effectiveness in the Kingdom are dependent upon how we handle our cross.

The threshold of our pain determines our strength and our endurance.

Like James said,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Jesus never said that life with Him would be easy, pain or trouble free.

On the contrary, by telling us that we need to take up our cross suggests that it was going to be difficult and costly to follow Him.

Our ability to walk in God’s ways without wavering, ultimately our ability to stand in the face of persecution and trials and still give honour, glory and praise to God is determined by our choices.

We have to choose whether we take up our cross and follow through with the consequences of this choice or whether we just walk through life knowing Jesus but doing nothing.

Jesus said,

‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

He said this to the disciples after telling the parable about the talents.  The master had said, well done, good and faithful servant.  Because you have been faithful with the little things, I will give you more to be in authority over.

We each have been given gifts and abilities.  Sometimes to use those gifts and abilities and talents, we have to sacrifice, we have to bear our cross, for the sake of the Kingdom.

If we do not use what we have been given, it will be taken from us.

In our trials and our struggles, in bearing our cross for the cause of Christ, we grow as a person and we grow in our relationship with God.

Growing pains are a natural part of life.  Most children experience them in varying degrees, but they are for a purpose.

Growing pains mean that something is happening – GROWTH!

When we have grown to the point that was predetermined by our body, the growing pains stop.

It has finished its work.

The same is true with our spiritual selves.

Growing causes pain.

Bearing our cross will cause pain, but the growth in the Kingdom is far greater than the pain experienced for a short time.

Mothers will tell us that the pain of childbirth is almost forgotten the instant the little baby is put into their arms for the every first time.

We often don’t think about the problems that others have.

This is either because we are too consumed by ourselves or because we are unaware that they are struggling.

We often have quite high opinions of ourselves until there is a crisis in our lives or an event or time that causes us to reassess who we think we are.

When we do, it changes our perspective and our understanding of life.

Paul’s opinion of himself changed over the years of his ministry.

Over a period of time and challenges that he faced, having walked with the cross that God had given him, Paul’s perspective of himself changed dramatically.

In 49AD Paul introduced himself in his letter to the Galatians quite boldly.

Galatians 1:1

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead

Galatians 2:6

As for those who seemed to be important—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance—those men added nothing to my message.

Paul was quite pompous and arrogant – quite full of himself some might say!

But, gradually, over time, as he bears one cross after the other, his opinion of himself changes and quite possibly, his understanding and comprehension of whom God is also develops and increases.

Paul has a revelation of how incredible God is and as a result, just how sinful and pitiful he is, and we are really, but for the grace of God.

In 1Corinthians 15:9 in 57AD, he says:

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

When he wrote to the church in Ephesus, his self awareness has become even more apparent.
Ephesians 3:8

Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
He describes himself as the least of all the saints!

In 64AD he writes to Timothy and it’s almost as if he’s been praying the 5 finger prayer – OH LORD, SHOW ME MYSELF as he says to Timothy, that of all the sinners, he is the worst!

The more that God shows us Himself, the more we see how truly awful we really are – sinners in desperate need!

The more I know God the less I am, the less there is of me.
1Timothy 1:15

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Before Paul dies he tells us who he really is….he is the chief of sinners.
God had spoken to Ananias upon Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:16 saying,

…For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

Paul was aware that God had chosen him to bear his cross.

Paul knew what Jesus had suffered and that he was to suffer likewise in some respects.

However, like all of us, until we start to be challenged and mature in our faith walk, we can have a tendency to big note ourselves.

Paul did this.  He started out saying,

1. I, Paul, the apostle, which then became…
2. The least of the apostles, to
3. Least of all the saints, and finally
4. Chief of all sinners
In the Kingdom of God, it’s all about being a servant.

Not a doormat, but a doorkeeper.

We are to lead people into the throne room of God’s grace and mercy.

Are you carrying a cross?  Are you walking a line that not only shows that you are living for God, but that shows that you are willing to pay the price for someone else’s salvation?

Except for the grace of God there go I.

It is recorded that this is the cry heard by a man named John Bradford in the 1500’s as he was lead to the stake to be burned having served many years as a prisoner in the Tower of London for his dedication to the church.

He was burned to death for his faith.

It’s about God, it’s not about me.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we hand over the right to our lives and give Him full authority.

If we are not carrying a cross, if our walk is not costing us anything, we need to ask ourselves, are we walking at all?

Paul talked about having a thorn in the flesh.  Some scholars believe that what he actually meant was that the flesh is a thorn for us all.

When we walk with a cross, we can’t strut and swagger around full of pride.

The cross causes humility and dependence upon God for everything – for our very breath even.

When we carry our cross, it should be before the Lord, not before all men.

Our boast should be in the Lord, not in our personal sacrifice.  After all, we are reminded of the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made.
Luke 9:23-24

Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.

We MUST, not we can if we want, not when we feel like it, but we MUST take up our cross and deny ourselves daily if we want to follow Him.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

To die to self is to have a revelation that living for Him and not for ourselves is the only way to really live and to live a fulfilled life.

We make a personal sacrifice to advance the Kingdom of God.

Have you counted the cost of following Jesus?

Have you been reminded recently that there is a price to pay?

Let me give you a quick rundown of the disciples and the ultimate price that they paid to follow Jesus.

Really that they paid so that today, we would hear this message.

Peter, crucified upside-down in Rome circa AD 64.

James, son of Zebedee was beheaded in AD 44, first of the twelve to die (since the addition of Matthias)

Andrew, Peter’s brother, was crucified upon a diagonal or X-shaped cross.

Philip was crucified in AD 54.

Bartholomew (also known as Nathaniel) was flayed alive (skinned) and then beheaded;

Matthew killed by a halberd (spear/axe) in AD 60.

Thomas was killed by a spear in Mylapore, Madras, India in AD 72.

James, son of Alphaeus, beaten to death with a club after being crucified and stoned.

Jude was crucified.

Simon the Zealot was crucified in AD 74.

Matthias, Judas’ replacement, was stoned and beheaded.

There is a cross that I will always carry.

In fact I’ve come to the conclusion this week that there may be times in our lives whereby we actually carry more than one cross at a time in a sense.

When I left my little boys in Queensland to move to Whyalla I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

I had to decide whether or not to put a few years of weekend visits with my boys ahead of the Kingdom of God.

Or, vice versa.  I had to decide whether or not to put God and His Kingdom ahead of weekend visits with my boys.

That is the cross that I carry daily.

My boys want and need their Dad.

I want and need them.

But, for the sake of the Kingdom, I sacrificed the irregular weekend visits for, in theory, holidays here in Whyalla or at my parents in Queensland.

Many people may not agree with my decision – how could I leave my sons?

With great difficulty, but with the assurance that God would look after them and that He would give me back the years that I have lost with them, because I have put Him first.

Matthew 10:37-39

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Take up your cross and follow Me” means being willing to die in order to follow Jesus.

Are you surrendered to God?

Have you surrendered your life to God?

Today, take up your cross and thank God for the ability to make a small

WOOHOO!!  It's official! Love and Bliss!

WOOHOO!! It's official! Love and Bliss!

The 7th of June was approaching fast.  We were getting excited and everyone else was getting stressed!  Aparently that’s what wedding’s do to people!  To this day, neither Kylie nor myself were nervous, stressed or worried about anything. 

We simply knew that God had purposed everything and He would cause it all to work beautifully – Ecclesiastes 3:11. 

The week before the wedding, Kyls had her bridal shower.  Her family and friends came from Lincoln and Adelaide to help “prepare” her for our big day.  Mum and Dad were already in Whyalla helping to get our house ready and all the last minute things necessary.  Mum had made the girls dresses (from Brisbane via phone and email conversations!) so it was finally time to try them on.  Just like everything thing else, the dresses fit like wonderfully – another miracle from God.

With only a few days to go, Kyls and I were just craving quiet time together – there were so many people around everywhere!  Kylie’s dress was finished and her shoes arrived – another miracle that Kyls found on the net. 

We had planned to be married on a small bluff in a cove at the Marina in Port Lincoln, over looking the beach and the bay.  Kylie took much delight in convincing me that the weather was going to be simply stunning – the sun was going to shine and the sky would be clear.  I then took much delight in teasing her that it was going to rain ane the sky would be overcast!  It became a running joke between us to see whose prayers God would answer!

Just a few days before we were to head to Lincoln, my car decided to die.  In no uncertain terms, it was not going anywhere!  Even two of our mechanic geniuses were not able to make it right in time for our trip on the Thursday.  We were generously given a hire car – a new Commodore.  It turned out to be a God send as the volume of things that we had to take with us filled the car!  There was no way everything would have fit in my little Saab!

We said our final goodbyes to everyone and Kylie told the children in her class (who were more than excited that we were getting married) that Miss Addison would not be back at school again.  We were on the road and headed to the beginning of bliss!

We arrived in Lincoln and Kyls went and got brown!  Her tan looked fantastic (and no one knew the difference – til now!)!  Friday saw the beginning of everything finally coming together.  With the help of Kylie’s sister, Hayley and her partner, Andrea and Kylie’s Mum, Kylie’s Dad and his partner, we set the room and added the decorations and thought we were finished.  Kylie’s mum knew that she had wanted to have the most perfect room, but that we’d settled, without disappointment, for what our budget would allow.  Kylie’s mum surprised us greatly with a special delivery – everything else that we had looked at for room decorations!  The room looked amazing.  It was all white from floor to ceiling – a beautiful vision!  We had candles in pink, green and white at each table as the centre piece.  Each person had their own individual tea light candle and holder with their name painted on it. 

Our rehearsal was short and in the dark!  My boys arrived and things were getting exciting!  Kyls and I said our final goodbye and kissed for the last time as an unmarried couple.  It was the longest night but I had a great time with my boys- they were excited for us too!

Saturday morning and I had to talk to Kyls – I missed her and just wanted to hear her voice!  I spent the morning getting the boys organised (including buying my brother Phil a shirt as he’d forgotten to bring one – go figure!).  Kyls was having her hair done and the sun was shining – just as she’d hoped.  However, within minutes, the sky darkened and rain poured down.  After a few times of the sky clearing and then opening up again, Kyls made the call that the wedding would now be in a church.  We had some wonderful friends who quickly made light work of setting up the church and having things prepared for us. 

I had my photos done and then Steve, the photographer, went to Kyls.  I went with the boys to the church and waited, PATIENTLY, for Kyls to arrive!  For the first time, she actually had to be late as we had changed the venue and had to allow time for the guests to arrive. 

The moment had arrived.  Our song, ‘At the Beginning’, had begun to play.  Harry and Jordan walked down first, the Kristan and Becky.  Hayley was next and then Andrea.

I held my breath.  I didn’t know what to expect other than Kyls had aimed for the ‘WOW’ factor.  The doors opened and there she was….awesome, how beautiful!  She definitely had the ‘Wow’ factor!  I couldn’t take my eyes from her!  Now I understood why she had been asking me about dresses for so many months…she was stunning and her dress was a perfect complement to a perfect woman – my Princess.

We had a wonderful ceremony.  Kylie’s Dad and Mum gave her away and Kristan and Harry gave me away.  We had written our vows together and it was such a special and surreal experience to be able to share them with our friends.

Then, Ps Graham said…you may now kiss the Bride!  WOOHOO!!!!! Kyls and I were married!

We had a fabulous time with our photos – even got some with Makybe Diva!

Our reception was all class.  The candles were the only light in the room and the ambience was soft and romantic – quite fitting for a wedding reception!

The speeches were hilarious with an especially (funny) unmentionable mistake by our poor devastated and embarrassed MC!  Kylie’s Dad couldn’t have been more proud and my Dad was delighted to be able to welcome Kyls into the Evans’ family.  I made my speech and was so grateful and proud to be able to say that Kyls had waited for me – her family didn’t quite know what to make of that!  The comment did generate quite a response though! 

Finally, the meals were over and the dancing had begun.  We danced to a song called “The Only One” – a perfect description of our life and our love.  There were so many people that we loved who had been able to join us – we made sure to have photos with each one!

THEN…it was time for us to leave!  We said our goodbyes and headed to our hotel.

We unpacked and turned on the bath – a fabulous big spa bath.  Kyls turned on the music and …….

A little while later, we discovered that there were bubbles on the floor by our bed an the floorn was covered in water – we both thought the other had turned off the taps and then realised that neither of us had!

We called management and they did the best they could to clean up the water – there was quite a lot :(.  We had to spend some time in another room and then after a couple of hours went back to our room.

The next morning we thoiugh we’d have breakfast in our room only to discover that that wasn’t possible!  So, we did what all newly wed couples whose guests are all staying in the same hotel do – we went down stairs and ate breakfast!!  You could have knocked some of the over with a feather – we were the last people they expected to see!  It was good though as it broke the ice for them – now they’d seen their Pastor and Youth Pastor – the morning after their wedding!!!

It was a perfect wedding.  I married the most perfect woman and she tells me that she’s married the most perfect man.  How much more perfect could it get!?

It was difficult to say goodbye to my boys, but they were with Dad and Mum and my family.  We said goodbye to everyone and headed off to our honeymoon…

Our honeymoon is part 5!

Engagement PartyWith the most perfect ring on the most perfect finger, I had the most perfect gift from the most perfect God.

Engaged.  Ahhhh (contented sigh).  The promise of an amazing future together. 

Within days we had organised our engagement party and phone calls and emails and text messages were flying all over Australia with people sending their congratulations and expressing their heartfelt thoughts and warm regards for both Kylie and I.

I was continually in a state of amazement at the miracle that was unfolding before my very eyes.  Never, even in my wildest dreams, would I have imagined that God would bring me to a place that no one else wanted to go to simply to meet and marry the most beautiful girl. 

The only sadness that I had was that my boys were not part of this perfect picture.  Kylie and I would have to simply settle, at this stage, for holiday visits.  This again, was another miracle of God, that He would provide me with a life partner who is able to have every school holiday off and would then want to spend them with my boys.  The wonder of God’s grace is never ending.

Our engagement party was held on the 1st of  March 2008.  Some incredibly generous friends paid for the whole event, without us knowing.  We had a great spread put on at Kafe Laguna – it was one of the few places that we could go and sit comfortably and talk somewhat privately whilst still being in the public. 

Friends and family came to support us and show us their love.  We had a great night with great memories.  Friends and family from around Australia had been organised to call us via Skypeto share their blessings as well.  It was a special time and we were glad to be able to share it with so many special people.

At this stage, our wedding was still supposed to be in July – 3 months earlier than the original date and in the school holidays.  It was not long after we decided the date that Kylie found out that her Matron on Honour was due to have her baby the same weekend!  Well, that changed things somewhat!

We had to make a choice – change the date to be earlier, change the date to be later.  Kylie figured that since God had honoured her prayer (deal) initially about changing the date that He would be fine with us changing it again!  So, we looked through the calendar and found that the only time that would be at least mildly realistic for us to get married would be on the June long weekend. 

That gave us less than 3 months to plan the rest of the wedding and organise things.  To make things more interesting, we had decided that we would be married in Port Lincoln!  Kylie had done much of the ground work in the January holidays so some things just needed confirmation of bookings.

At this stage, only my Dad had met Kyls and they were as keen to meet her as she was them.  Our only opportunity for this was the April school holidays.  Kyls needed a wedding dress too, so we figured that we’d make the best of the situation and buy her dress in Brisbane.  She would have 4 days to find her dress as well as get to know my family!  Nothing like a little time pressure!

Again, Kyls had made a deal with God, although this time it was more of a purposed request.  She had spend countless hours reserachingand talking with me about “The Perfect Dress” and had in mind precisely what she wanted.  She knew the style, the colour, the cut, the fit, the price, down to the very last detail.  She now just needed to find it! 

Kylie and mum hit it off and got along like a house on fire.  They spent 9 hours on the second day walking the streets of inner city Brisbane trying on dress, after dress, after dress (Kyls was in 3 inch heels, none the less!).  Mum said that Kyls just looked stunning in every dress that she put on, but none were what she had dreamed and imagined.  None were her “God-dress”. 

Two days later, the day before we were due to leave, Dad drove Mum and Kyls around whilst I spent some quality Father-Son time with my boys.  After many hours, Kyls was “over” dress shopping.  There was a dress that she would settle for – it wasn’t quite what she wanted, but it was nice.  However, my mum, being my mum, said that there was one more shop that she wanted to look in.  Not wanting to appear rude, Kyls went along with the drive to the last shop.  What a God send! 

Kyls rang me from the dressing room in such excitement I could barely hear her!  She was standing in her wedding dress!!!  She and Mum hadn’t even gotten into the store when they saw “The Dress” in the window.  It had everything that Kylshad on her list – pure white, spaghetti straps, low back, minimal beading, no front line seams, short train (yes, she helped me with this part!!!) and it was the exact price that she’d asked God for.  How very blessed and delighted. 

One of the hardest things that we had to do was leave my boys.  Kylie was beginning to build a great friendship with them and I was desperately sad to have to say good bye to them, yet again.  We knew that the next time we would see them would be a the wedding and even then, we wouldn’t see much of them. 

On our way home, we had to stop in on a marriage counselling couple that the State Executive had set up for us.  Our counsel, from good godly people who sadly didn’t know either of us, was to put the wedding off for 6 months and assess our relationship then.  Our wedding was at this point, 6 weeks away. 

Kyls said to me on the way home to Whyalla that although she didn’t like the idea and she saw no valid reason for postponing the wedding, if I wanted to, she would submit to whatever I decided.  Knowing what we had already been through and what God had shown both us and other people, I saw no reason to postpone the wedding either.  In fact, to wait longer would have made life more difficult, for many reasons, some you’ll have to work out yourself!!!

So, that said, we made it official.  We would be married on the 7th of June, 2008. 

Kylie’s sister, Hayley, would be our first bridesmaid and Andrea, her long time friend, would be her matron of honour (she would also be 8 months pregnant on the day!).

Phillip, my youngest brother, would be my first groomsman and Jeremy, my long time friend, would be my best man.

Kristan and Harry would be our page boys and Becky and Jordan, our nieces, would be our flower girls.

Kylie was adamant that she wanted Kristan and Harry in the wedding – it was so important to her that they be part of the beginning of our new life together.  A life birthed in God and righteousness.

This just confirmed for me even more, not that I needed it by this point, that Kyls was truly God’s gift to me – a special and unique treasure, left waiting for me.  It was hard to believe that Kyls had been single, waiting, not even dating anyone, all this time.  She had kept herself, in her word, for me.  For the man that God would give to her to love.  I am blessed to be that man. 

Stay tuned for part 4 – the Wedding and the Honeymoon!

Just engagedSo having gone out for coffee and chatting for some 4 hours, Kylie and I decided that life together was going to be our pursuit.  Slowly, were her words.  What exactly that meant, neither of us really knew, but we were willing to explore what God had in store for us and see where He was leading us. 

The day after our first coffee, we met again and talked for many hours.  We made so many discoveries and talked through so many things – the most intimate of emotions.  Everything was laid bare, our souls were exposed and we were completely vulnerable with each other.  We laid our hearts on the line and realised as we did that our friendship, our relationship and our destiny was being cemented in God even more with each passing word. 

We determined that day that we would let the church know that we were ‘pursuing a friendship’.  In a small town where I was the Pastor and Kylie was the Youth Leader, gossip and stories had the potential to be created very quickly.

So, the very next day we announced to the church our intentions.  The standing ovation and the cheering took both of us by surprise!  So did the congratulations and well wishes for the next hour and a half!  The church couldn’t have been happier for both of us.  They had known and watched Kylie grow and mature over the past 8 years and were delighted for her that she had finally found the “man of her dreams” (her words!). 

Over the next few weeks, Kylie and I spent countless hours on the phone, sitting in MacDonalds and at Kafe Laguna or at the beach…talking and holding hands.  SHE WOULDN’T KISS ME!!!!!  We shared our hearts, our souls, our hurts, our dreams, our desires, our visions and what we believed God had called us both to do and be. 

Kylie had started what she called her “Husband Journals” in June of 2007.  In these she wrote prayers, dreams, ideals, and desires about her husband to be.  The first entry contained a list of things that her husband had to be (short version):

1 – A Godly Man

2 – A Musician

3 – A Preacher/ Speaker

4 – A Builder

5 – From a Loving Family

Amazing how God sees the desires of a persons heart and gives, very specifically, over and above what we ask. 

One of the other main things was that I had to work out what the key to her heart was.  Now, no one, not anyone, not even her closest friends knew what this was.  She told me, just ask God, He’ll tell you.  I prayed, I beseeched, I petitioned, I begged, I got Dad to ask, I had Mum try and ask, I had everyone praying and trying to find out what it was.  I was a desperate man!!!  One day, I decided that I wanted to send Kylie some flowers.  I knew that she wasn’t a fan of roses, but that her favourite flowers were sunflowers.  So, I ordered a bunch of sunflowers for her.  They had to be specially ordered in from Adelaide as they were not yet in season. 

Kylie came to my office later that day.  She had a bunch of sunflowers in her hands and her eyes were moist.  She looked like a little girl who’d just been given the most incredible gift.  She looked at me and looked at me and looked at me.  On the card I had written, “The Key To Your Heart”.  She walked over to me and said, so simply, yet with so much depth and feeling, ” I LOVE YOU”.  It was the first time that she had said it aloud and told me later that she had been waiting for the key to her heart before she could say it out loud.  I had indeed found the key to her heart. 

BUT, she still didn’t kiss me!!!

As a young girl, not long after she was saved, Kylie was given two prophecies.  One was that she would never experience first hand the pain that she saw in her parents when their marriage seperated.  The second was that she wouldn’t have to go looking for her husband because God would bring him to her, through the doors of the church.  Both of these, the first especially, provided great comfort and confirmation for me that we had made the right decision to pursue our relationship. How exciting that God would make these provisions, years before I would even get married the first time, let alone go through  painful divorce. 

God’s sense of humour is always entertaining.  Within a month of us beginning to ‘court’, I was asked to perform a wedding ceremony.  Kylie just happened to be one of the bridesmaids walking down the aisle!  What great practice for her! 

We talked very early about marriage.  Kylie was not willing to pursue something that God hadn’t ordained and we both felt that either it was for eternity or not at all.  Too much was at stake. 

We set a date, October 4th 2008, exactly one year since I arrived in Whyalla and officially met Kyls. It was exciting thinking and talking about our wedding. 

A few days before Christmas, we went to Adelaide for another friends wedding and I met Kylie’s sister and Dad.  I asked him then, on the first meeting, for Kylie’s hand in marriage!  Quite a bold step really!  He was happy for Kylie and did give us his blessing, which meant the world to Kylie.

That same weekend, we picked out Kylie’s engagement ring!  Still no kiss though!  I had so much sympathy from the church!  They were all praying for me, “poor Ted” they would say!!!  Kylie would just smile and say, not yet.  WHEN!!!!!

On Christmas day, after doing the Christmas service at church, Kylie and I drove to Port Linoln to have Christmas with friends.  Kylie’s mum was still overseas at the time.  We had a great time and on the second to last day, after 6 LONG weeks of patience, long suffering and self control, Kyls kissed me!  What a moment!

It was, looking back, such a gift from God that she made me wait so long to kiss her.  Having been through so much and having faced so much betrayl, Kylie had purposed that our relationship would be built upon trust, respect, a deep knowing of each other, friendship, God, love and truth.  Nothing else came before these things.  I realised after just how siginficant this was for me.  It made our first kiss so much more special and meaningful – it had purpose. 

After this, I went back to Brisbane for the 10 days with my and my family and Kylie went back to Port Lincoln.  It was terrible being apart!  We were on the phone as often as we were able.  It was amazing just how strong the bond between us was and how quickly it had grown in us.

After attending Influencers Conference with my boys, and Kylie at the Youth Influencers, we went back to Whyalla and my brother David came to stay with me for a few weeks.

While he was there, Kylie was able to come over and spend time with us (really, she cooked and ironed!!!).  It was during this time that we talked about getting married earlier.  I coudn’t understand why we had to wait until October and would have happily made it earlier.  I still hadn’t proposed to Kyls at this point and so a definite date coudn’t really be changed.

Kylie said to me one day that she had made a deal with God about us getting married early.  I told her that you can’t make deals with God to start with and asked her what it was.  Of course, just like the sunflowers, I was to seek God.  If it was His will, He would show me.  Great!!!  This girl wasn’t making it easy for me!

On January 30th I asked Kyls to organise a picnic at our beach after music practice the following night.  She did this extravagantly, as well as buying a new outfit and getting dressed up for our beach picnic.  Music practice always finished at 8.30 and so Kyls was expecting me around then.  By 10, she had called to find out where I was.  I said I’d still be a while as David and I were working with some of the team.  I was purposely stalling!  By 11 when I got home with David and suggested that we all just watch a movie instead, I could see her face fall, though she held her composure well.  What I didn’t know at this point was that the deal that she had made with God about us getting married earlier, in July, rested upon me asking her to marry me that very night!!! 

After a while, I said to Kyls that we should go for our picnic anyway.  So, at 11:45pm we drove to the beach, set up the fabulous spread that Kyls had prepared and we chatted.  It was important for me that I propose at midnight, so after what I thought had been long enough, I started telling Kylie all the things that I liked and admired about her.  I told her that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her and that she was my soul mate, my princess.  Then, i asked her to marry me!!!!  WOOHOO!!! It was such a beautiful and exciting moment.  The waves crashing on the beach, the moon reflecting on the water, the food, the Maison, the two of us.  It was romantic, it was special, it was one of the best moments of my life.  When she leaned over and kissed me, that was all I needed!!!!  She said yes and I slipped the most perfect solitaire ring onto her finger. 

It was then that she told me of the deal that she had made with God.  I was blown away.  When I realised that we were getting married much earlier, I was just amazed at God’s goodness and His faithfulness. 

We drove home shortly after and told David.  He was so excited, he cried!  Then we text everyone we knew, we were so excited (sorry to those who were sleeping)!  Our families and friends were ecstatic knowing that this was the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in His eyes. 

Stay tuned for part 3!

The Weeping Pastor

Ted 777Having a great up-bringing, a good education, a loving family and the blessing of God on your life is always filled with tears of joy but also marred with tears of pain and suffering.  It’s a part of life!  You will never avoid those deep moments in your life where you feel like your heart has been ripped out and trampled on.

As a boy, the fear of being left alone in the jungles of Papua New Guinea was very real in my mind.  Seeing and experiencing my mother haemorrhaging to what we were told was to be her death (praise God it was not the case).

Going from school to school!  The life of a missionary child consisted of being part of a family totally sold out on serving the Kingdom of God.  Coming to Australia only to make huge adjustments to a new way of life and a peculiar culture!  I distinctly remember the tears, sometimes tears of torment and anguish for being bullied terribly at school.

Then in my teens I experienced a different type of weeping as I invited the Holy Spirit to take over my life!  Many youth camps were spent lying down or kneeling at the altar of sacrifice as God was putting His hand on me.  My heart being broken in His presence as a word was spoken over my life.  A word of destiny, a word of hope!

I quickly realized that this was the best place, the best environment for me.  It was in His presence.  It was eating at His table.  It was partaking of His goodness.  His love saturated my being.  His anointing immersed my atmosphere.  I knew that I knew that by being connected to Him the tears would always flow.  It was joy unspeakable!

As time passed, tears as a result of His Spirit were my comfort zone and my peace.  Knowing everything was going to be ok, because I was in His presence.  I felt the emotions rise and down would flow buckets of tears.

My Grandma’s passing and later Grandpa Tommy became a significant moment for me as their love and friendship was so dear to me.  In the quietness of a split second of the day I still greave for them as they we’re my heroes.  The stories they told and the prayers they prayed we’re so powerful to me.  I found solace in their company.  At their funeral I was inconsolable.  This was the closeness of my relationship with them.  I would never again see them on this side of eternity.  As I learnt to cope without them I also learnt to communicate with God.  He also wasn’t around in the physical, but I knew His presence and talked with Him as if He was there in flesh.  Just like Grandma and Grandpa, it was a new intimacy that I could experience on a daily basis.

Then I learnt to preach and lead people into God’s presence.  There was a gift on my life and it was now being discovered through intimate and beautiful worship experiences at the foot of the cross.  There was no better place.  As I wept I knew this as my place of rest.  This was my place of peace!  This was where the healing flowed and forgiveness of sins were eradicated.  I found strength beyond my own capabilities.

I discovered that tears are never to be feared.  I learnt to embrace tears as a beautiful part of my life and my closest friend.  The anointing present was manifest when I wept before the Almighty God.

Being at home playing the piano, writing a song in the wilderness of my experience, riding my horses in an exquisite countryside!  Standing in a meeting before I was to get up to preach, God would touch my inner most being and I would weep in His presence.  The Holy Spirit said to me in that still small voice….”Ted you’re weeping because you love me, but now you will weep because you know, I love you!”  Wow! That hit me like a ton of bricks.  This is how much He loves me!  He gave Himself for me.  What a price to pay!  What a sacrifice!  Great grace beyond grace!  Incredible!

Of resent years, with the breaking down of what I thought was a good marriage, brought my world into absolute chaos.  My heart was once again broken and the ripping effect it had on my emotions and spirit was literally almost too much too bear.  Why God?  Why did this need to happen?  He said to me it another watershed moment, “It’s a broken and a contrite heart I’m looking for.  In your brokenness you will find strength and fortitude.  This will be the making of Ted Evans. This will cause him to rise up with a new found tenacity and confidence.”

Tears would flow and the more they trickled down my face the more I knew God was at work and the more I knew He was with me in my darkest hour.

James puts it this way – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Life is full of tests.  It’s how you navigate through those times of testing that is important.  It will either make or break you.  You’ll get bitter or better.

My word for you is “Having done all STAND!”  Weep at His footstool, and embrace the journey because God is in control and He’ll direct your path as you stay broken before Him.  Remember God is attracted to brokenness and you will see the sun shine again.  “Weeping may endure in the evening but JOY comes in the morning!”

Having done all that I could, having stood my ground and put my trust in God, allowing myself to find true unadulterated love in His word, He began to show me that life could be as He had intended – rich and full of blessing.  He has begun to not only restore to me that which I thought I had, but above and beyond all that I could hope or imagine, just like He promised in Ephesians 3:20. 

I have a wonderful and adoring young wife and two handsome and strong young sons, a family that supports and loves and a church community that are embracing the vision that God has given Kylie and myself.  God does deliver His promises, just not always as we expect.  Trust in Him, even when you don’t think you can trust anymore.  He will prove Himself faithful. 

Twists and Turns

Ted and ShaanaLife is full of twists and turns.

 

‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers us out of them all.’ Psalm 34:19

 

How do we navigate through dark times of extreme pain?  What ten steps are there for me to apply in my life so that I am able to come through?  Is there a book I can read or a conference I can go too?  Maybe I need to take a break from church?  What I need right now is a boat cruise overseas!  I know what I’ll do…I’ll trade in my husband for another one!

 

None of these things are really the answer.  Some people go through difficult times and the first thing they want to do is opt out, change locations, move to another church, try a new relationship, buy a new toy, get a new outfit, but nothing seems to fill the void and heal the pain in their heart.

 

Over many years of ministry, I have studied people for a living and I have observed the many patterns in people’s lives.  My conclusion is that we are all desperately in need of God.  We look here and there but all that the world has to offer never fills the gap that a relationship with Christ does.  Intimacy in worship!  Being close to Him and knowing His presence.

 

Through my previous deep valley experience I have learnt that the consistency of good, fundamental foundations are the answer to making life work each day.  Breathing in and breathing out.  Allow yourself TIME.  It’s ok to get angry!  It’s ok to be lonely and frustrated. Rejection fills your inner self. Condemnation tries to sabotage your future.  Guilt and despair… “I should have…!”  “I could have…!”  “I would have…!” 

 

Let me say… just don’t stay there.  Get up again!  Breathe in, smell the roses and know the sun will shine again.  Accept your state!  Keep close to family and friends who love you.  Stay in fellowship each Sunday in a good church.  Love God but remember it’s ok if you don’t feel you can talk to God like you should.  No prizes for being a spiritual giant.  God knows, He understands and sometimes it’s just too hard.  He is loving and gracious and will always be there for you when you’re ready to talk.

 

What I have found is that we compartmentalize our lives.  “This is my social life.”  “This is my work life.”  “This is my church life.”  “This is my family life.”  If you’re married, “this is my sex night” and life becomes all to ridged, routine and boring.  

 

I’m convinced that our lives should be just like breathing.  Being and doing, anywhere, anytime, anyhow.  Loving God and loving life!  Accepting the good days and rejoicing in them and embracing the hard days remembering that God has not left you.  Make these times your best friend as they will either kill you or teach you something.  It all depends on your attitude.

 

It’s like our worship!  It’s like our ministry!  In and out of season!  The Samaritan woman thought it was a special place, a time, and a certain way.  This is religious!  Our lives must be worship. ‘Giving Him His due worth through our responses’, our attitude our general disposition.  It’s all the time, anywhere, and with our lives we give God great pleasure and glory!

 

A old song says, ‘He walks with me and talks with me and He calls me His own’ and ‘One day at a time sweet Jesus is all that I’m asking of you’.  Simple song’s but sometimes the simple songs say the most profound things.

 

Take life one day at a time!  ‘Just float’, my Dad used to say, and God will restore and give back over and beyond because His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways…they are much greater and His destiny, meaning His course of action, for you has been planned.  He’s still on the throne and very much in control.  Relax for easy power!

 

Sometimes you just have to plod along, but other times you plod along vibrantly!

 

God bless you heaps on your journey of faith!

Ted

Maximize Your Time!

Family Worship CentreMaximizing The Time!

 

Time is a precious commodity!  You can make more money, work harder, more hours but, time comes and goes and you can’t get it back.  In turbulent times you need an unwavering faith and determination to maximize every moment of the day.

 

“Redeem the time” the Bible says.  We waste and squander time like it doesn’t matter.  God has given each of us the mandate to win a lost world, yet we get distracted away from the goal.  He has entrusted us with so much and placed seeds of greatness inside each of us, yet we allow things, and predominately people, to steal from us our time.

 

People will intentionally or unintentionally take away and even try to sabotage our future by bringing us down to a level so carnal and ungodly that before we know it we are entrapped and manipulated by their web of distraction.

 

I am very aware nowadays that I can not please everyone and I can not be friends with everyone.  I made a choice some time ago not to allow myself to be manipulated or controlled by negative people whose aim is to pull down. These people are usually takers and not givers as they profess.

 

Each of us has gifts and abilities that God has given us and it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to utilize them with the TIME we are privileged to have been given.  Sometimes we have to refocus and make adjustments, shake of self pity, resentment, discouragement and redeem the time.  Make the most of each day.  God didn’t put us here to be unproductive.  We worry too much about what others think of us – not everyone will like you!  DO NOT WASTE TIME TRYING TO RECONCILE WITH PEOPLE OR SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T WANT TO RECONCILE.

 

At the end of your life God will ask you about 4 things

1. What did you do with the TIME I gave you?

2. How did you spend the money that you received?

3. Were your words idle?

4. What was the motive behind what you did?

 

Each day is a gift! 1 Corinthians 9:26…we run with purpose, not aimlessly…

Positive, hopeful, a song in your heart, a skip in your step!

Have a plan or goal…redeem your time!

Be an ON PURPOSE PERSON!

 

TIME is limited so don’t get offended.  Just let it go and let God vindicate!  Life is too short!  Let it go and let God vindicate!

 

Some people live for years in bitterness and unforgiveness.  It’s like picking at a scab from an old injury.  The wound re-opens.  Sometime we have to change the channel.  We have the remote controls!  You need to exercise self control and get off the subject in your mind.  Take captive your thoughts!

 

When you’re emotional don’t make hasty decisions.

 

With people, remember, you can not control what people do or what they say.  Ephesians 4:26 Don’t let the sun go down!  Don’t allow the event to clutter and cloud your mind.  THE SUN WILL SHINE AGAIN!  You will regain more energy, fresh vision and new opportunities will open to you.

 

We don’t know how long we are here.  James 4:14

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY REASON TO BE GREATFUL?  CHECK YOUR PULSE!

 

God has blessed you with the gift of today.  Don’t take it for granted.  2 Corinthians 6:1 – Do not waste, don’t squander.  We can’t do anything about the past.  Don’t focus on the disappointments.  Invest time in the new doors that God opens.  We are victors not victims.  We’re going over not under.  Our best days are ahead of us.  Make the most of the TIME!  Redeem the Time!

 

DISAPPOINTMENTS ARE INEVITABLE!

Misery is optional!

 

Every person goes through valleys but every valley presents us with the opportunity to climb up to a higher mountain.  When in need, SOW A SEED!  Volunteer in the valley!  Invest in someone else.  Help someone.  Make a decision not to be negative, worried, discouraged and controlled by others.  All these things waste precious emotions and time.  David said in Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”.

 

 

Maximise Your Time!