Maturity: A Final Post

Jesus crossToday is the 1st of May. I’ve been writing this blog for some time and while I love it, I feel the LORD saying I must minimize blogging and focus on a fiction piece I’m working on called, Jasper’s Trail, about a young girl who’s family disappears and she must find them.

It’s a tail of the supernatural, purposed to draw girls to question who is in charge of our universe and what is His character.

As I write, I’m not sure this will be the last post I ever write at Life from the Lighthouse but it will be the last post of its kind. I love AGLOW International, who call their small groups Lighthouses. Perhaps there will be a useful way I can morph this site into something that will fit for AGLOW.

Today I draw from John’s 1st letter:

“I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father.” (1John 2:13)

Each of us has been created and saved for a purpose. It is my leaning that I’m called, in part, to encourage maturity in each of us, to grow into the people we’ve been created to be, in order to do – in and through our lives – what God has created us to do. Whether we are still on the milk in the Word, or are on a steady diet of spiritual meat (see Hebrews 5:12), we need God’s Word, the Holy Spirit and fellowship with one another in order to continue to grow in the grace He provides. If you are finding growth stalled because of your anxieties, fears or insecurities, my book Free to Be is available. Even better, you need to apply the knowledge that the old man is dead, indeed, and allow the New Man to rise up in Christ, simply by refusing to dwell on anything that is not a thought or emotion of God. Through the help of the Holy Spirit, we can walk in the fullness of God’s grace today and every day, just as Jesus has encouraged us to do and has modeled for us.

It is my desire that I live out the fullness of God’s purpose for my life. There are times when I feel I’m pretty close to the mark. There are days though, when I think I’ve completely missed God’s plan. How wonderful to have fellow brothers and sisters who encourage me.

There are 3 things in my lifestyle that help me to live as I believe Jesus would have me live:

  1. I read the Word daily and I pray deeply
  2. I encourage other believers
  3. I praise God for all things that come my way.

RevelationsIt is these things that help me to grow, to learn, and to enable others to do the same. We are all part of the same body. Let’s discover, live out and encourage others to fulfil their purpose. I believe Jesus is coming soon. I believe there are positions in Heaven or in the New Earth for those who have overcome the world. Revelation 2 and 3 tells us what is in store for those who have overcome. Let us begin today by overcoming the flesh, the world and the devil, by recognizing that Jesus took all of the ‘junk’ we think or feel from us when he died on the cross, and believing the Holy Spirit equips us for overcoming and for living as God has purposed us to do.

Let us go in peace to love and serve the LORD. Hallelujah and Amen!

Does God make Mistakes?

Trusting God in ALL circumstances

God does not make mistakes.

Recently I heard of a fellow believer’s plight: while in hospital herself, her husband developed an infection and was also admitted to the same hospital. They have 3 young children.

Neither of the parental conditions was life-threatening, fortunately, but how could it be that both parents would end up indisposed at the same time, in the same hospital but due to the infection of one of them, they could not even see each other? When we are ‘down’ we are blessed through our spouse’s encouragement. In this family’s case the one was not available to encourage the other.

How could this happen? Why did this happen? We could say the enemy was attacking this family. We could say they didn’t have enough prayer covering? We could say it is purely unfortunate coincidence that both would be in hospital at the same time for unrelated illnesses. Or we could let God be God and ask a different question: What is the LORD preparing this family for that requires such strength in them, strength to persevere and to be patient? Strength to overcome and to carry on. Strength to trust God’s love and blessings in the face of inconvenience, discomfort, and trial.

I believe God is sovereign, all loving and all knowing. And any family in trial ventures through, they are shining and will shine.

I think this is a testimony and an opportunity for all of us to benefit from and to learn from: God is in our circumstances to grow us. We grow in strength, we grow in faith, and we grow in perseverance. And through this we grow in love, joy and trust in Him as our Saviour and as our Lord.
Life is pleasant and sweet at times. Life is difficult and bitter at other times. We who are committed to the Lord Jesus know that we can defeat the enemy when he attacks through prayer and intercession. But God knows our circumstances, designs them for our good, and we can embrace the trials knowing they exist because He is trusting us to trust Him and to know,

“But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

This is to be the penultimate post in Life from the Lighthouse. This will morph into something else or will be complete in itself. Stay tuned next month as I will pray through for the changes over the coming weeks. Until May, God bless and keep you safe, surrendered and full of His joy.

Overcoming in Adversity

Overcoming in Adversity

 

From My Will to Holy Spirit Will

My strength or Holy Spirit Strength

“…I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 20:17)

We have surrendered our life and our will to God. We want to utter His prayers and do His works, based on His will and not our own. Jesus said we can move mountains if we have faith. Bathed in prayer, we can walk in the Spirit and not in the Flesh.

But how can we be certain we are praying the prayers of the Holy Spirit? How do we pray God’s prayers and not our own? Is there a ‘ceiling’ above which our prayers do not rise, unless they are prayers inspired by the will of the Father?

I’d like to suggest a strategy that works for me, to help me be ‘less of me and more of God’ in my day-to-day walk.

1) ‘He who waits upon the LORD shall renew his strength’ (Isaiah 40:11)

As I wait in a quiet place I find God joins me. As I make room for Him, he shows up to inspire and to lead me ‘beside still waters’.

2) ‘All scripture is God-breathed’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

As I sit, reading and re-reading a passage of scripture, those words become alive, guiding me and inspiring me. Through the Word of God I hear the Will of God on a daily basis.

3) ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:13)

Expecting God to speak or to move through my prayers and my actions creates in me humility and hope. I can’t make Him do as I please but I can expect Him to respond to the prayers and intercession He has anointed me and inspired me to pray.

4) ‘Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness’ (1 Chronicles 16:29)

When I pray in tongues, when I sing or dance as led by God’s encouragement and freedom, I begin to lose myself in worship and adoration. When that happens I am beginning to enter into a private place with the LORD where He draws me close, speaks to me and leads me in His way everlastingly.

5) ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.’ (Matthew 7:7-8)

Breakthrough comes when we wait, spend time with God’s Word, expect Him to come, and worship Him. This is not a formula but a promise.

If we want to ‘live and move and have our being’ in Him, we need to commit our way to Him and He will give us the desires of our heart. Meditating with Him will draw our desires toward Him and His will can be done on earth in and through us, His surrendered servants.

More Blogs on our Christian Walk can be found at:

small logoMy website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
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Decluttering your mind will yield freedom and fruit in your life and ministry

Decluttering our minds:

In this revelation of himself, he <Jesus> is showing you the importance of knowing where you come from, where you are going, and who you are. It’s one of life’s greatest tasks, to gain clarity on all these matters, because your work, your relationships, and your entire life will be shaped by that clarity. (from Worknet, Geoff Shattock, Issue “Son of Man 19”, January 19th 2015)

Clutter is the enemy of the mind.

Henry David Thoreau said, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify. Simplify.” He lived nearly 200 years ago. What would he make of the clutter that arises out of the gooey mass of internet and social media?

I am learning to declutter. In one sense it has been a single decision and I aim to adhere to it stubbornly. In another sense it is a process which may take some time. But I can already see rewards that are coming from it. More time to write, less stress, more quality time with family.

I have a mug that has a1950’s style image of a housewife in an apron and wearing a big smile. Her coiffed hair is perfect. The caption reads, “A clean house is the sign of a wasted life.” Well, be it a clean house or a clean inbox the result is the same: industry for its own sake does not yield ultimate satisfaction. Fulfillment comes from running the race set before us as individuals, creating, exploring, endeavouring to fulfil our calling, our purpose in life. Perhaps for some, but I believe it is for relatively few, that purpose is met through being tidy.

Reducing or eliminating entirely the ‘unnecessary’ is a first step in decluttering our minds.

As I read So You Want to be Like Christ by Rev Charles Swindoll, the content of the book triggered in me the following list of ways to avoid clutter:

1) Work on one project at a time.

2) Finish what you start.

3) Know your limitations.

4) Start with a clean slate – even if that means letting go of some unfinished work or great ideas. Take a fresh start instead of playing catch-up with incomplete tasks or ideas.

5) Be an expert on YOU. An expert is simply someone who has been through the fire, has come out singed but alive, and smarter than he was before.

6) Set your face like flint and focus – looking forward (not back) to your goals and objectives, taking on one at a time.

If you want to be changed, you have to go beyond the revelation of what you want to be. You have to set your face like flint and go forward, focused and determined to be changed, different from who you were in all things, and changed into who you recognize you need to be. Real change is recognizing a new perspective, taking it around the corner with you, and not looking back.

I quote from Swindoll’s book, “Too much clutter in your mind leaves insufficient room for devotion to Christ.” (pg 39) Too much clutter prevents progress. To grow we need to move forward with a pure heard and a clear and focused mind.

So, even before working on our projects, let’s spend quality time – on a regular basis – with God. He’ll enable us to choose which project, and where to start. And more than that, He’ll remind us what the project and all of life is about. Then our work will be purposeful, fulfilling and enriching for ourselves and for those around us too. For with God, all things are possible. Our experiences, our lives, our relationships will be richer for our involvement with and surrender to Father God.

Extra Post: New Man – How to live the New Person we are in Christ… Permanently

maitouline lighthouse croppedThe New Man. What is the ‘new man’? How can I walk in the new man every day, all day, forever? I’m saved by grace, but don’t I have to work hard to be a Good Christian? The answer is simply, “No, you don’t.”

“Give me back my stuff,” said Jesus to Author and Prophet Graham Cooke in a personal encounter.

What is stuff? Stuff is the anxiety, worry, anger, hostility, fear, bitterness, resentment…. Stuff is all of the negative thoughts and feelings that are not a part of the Kingdom of God. They are dead, as dead as Jesus was on the cross. And they belong to the Old Man, the man you were and the man I was before accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. The old man is dead (Romans 6:6). The new man lives (Ephesians 4:22-23) and we can allow him to reign in us, by the power of the blood of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit.

We can discern the thoughts and the feelings of the old man versus those of the new man easily enough. Negativity is from the old man. Whatever is not holy, heavenly, delightful, life-giving is not the new man’s thinking or emotion. The fruits of the Spirit which are: love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, patience, faithfulness, self-control, are linked with the thoughts and feelings of the new man.

When Jesus died he took all of our stuff, so that we wouldn’t have to carry it anymore. When we fall into negative thought or emotion, we are taking back what Jesus died to overcome; we are taking back the stuff he died to have, so we wouldn’t have it anymore. He wants us to live in the new man, and let him keep the stuff of the old man.

Although the old man rises up inside of us, we don’t have to allow what is dead to be resurrected. We have the authority and the power to reject the dead man. It is not true that it is a part of us.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Recognizing the old man as dead and that his negative emotions and thoughts are not actually a part of us is an understanding that comes to the transformed mind. We are no longer ‘dead’ in our sin. Saved by grace, we have access to the thought-life and emotional life of Heaven.

The old man, as cited in Romans 6:6 is, “crucified with Him,that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.”

Continuing, “For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:7-11 NKJV)

Meditate on this. Allow it to sink into your mind and spirit, to transform you from the inside.

Paul’s reference to sin includes thoughts and emotions that are not life-giving.  They are dead, just as we were dead before we knew Jesus. And we do not have to accept them as a part of us any longer. Instead, we choose to turn a corner and to walk full of the newness that life with Christ offers.

The new man is described as, renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” and we are to ‘put him on’ (Colossians 3:10). Now, “The new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24 NKJV) is described as, “as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering” (Colossians 3:12) is the person we have become through salvation, whether or not we realize it. We no longer need to walk in the futility of our minds but we have a new mind. Saved by grace we no longer live in despair or darkness except by ignorance.

Becoming Christ-like isn’t about wrestling with our bad habits to overcome them so we can behave more “Christian”. Becoming like Christ is living in the new mindset we’ve already been given supernaturally. We are not only saved by grace, but we are also sanctified by grace. And so let us with this information, walk in the new man, leaving behind the patterns, habits and trappings of the old man. Let us run the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1) with joy, peace, faith and love, knowing the old stuff is false and the new is our true identity, already accessible. We are alive in Christ. So, let us help each other to walk in that new life, knowing the old has passed away and the new is here to stay.

Studies in the world have proven that we will often manifest what we expect. Let us expect a life free from strife, filled with joy, and moving toward the Kingdom of Heaven which has come down to Earth and has already saved us from sinful selves so that we can live in the freedom of our true selves, free to be the people God created us to be.

My favourite scripture is this:

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14

Ready: Take time to unclutter your mind and discover who you are in Christ.

Set: Choose to be resolute. Trust and surrender is letting go of hard work and doubt. It is tenacity at it’s best. It is hope and faith in action.

Go: With faith and focus like flint and with a face to match, I’m going forward in the knowledge and love of Christ, to be the new man, full of God’s grace, truth, hope and joy. Please, will you join me?

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Especially to MEN: Marriage after 20+ years

I feel loved! Fully, completely, extravagantly.

What does a wife need to feel completely loved?

Not only do I feel loved by God, which is the most fundamental love, without which we cannot feel whole. But I also feel my whole person is loved by another person – which gives me a sense of warmth and safety I have rarely experienced.

I have composed this post out of a sense of delight. But also, I share it with the public and target men in particular, because I think that many husbands and wives find it difficult to connect on an emotional level. I write this message hoping it will enable a deeper understanding of what a wife needs from her husband if she is to feel completely loved.

After over 20 years of marriage, I feel I am not alone in the deepest part of myself. I feel understood, accepted, embraced,  respected by my husband. After 21 years of marriage, I feel like we are finally ‘one flesh’. In both the physical sense and the spiritual, this ‘one flesh’ was established years ago. But today my husband and I are connected, more-so than ever before, on a deep emotional level too.

It has taken a long time, and has been a river filled with challenge, perseverance, misunderstanding and endless effort for both of us.

Today, all our efforts have culminated in a deep connectedness. The result for me is that I feel like I can cope with anything, and with a joyful assurance that I don’t have to cope on my own. Oh, I am still my own person, alone with my hopes and dreams, and the mundane responsibilities of life. But I am experiencing something new. My emotions and thoughts are completely appreciated, and that is heart-warming.

Life is a journey. The Christian life is a challenge. The married life is like riding in a boat over immense and varied seas.

For the first time in my marriage, I really feel as though we’re in the same boat, my husband and I… It is a small yacht that navigates the strong gales and drifts in the stillness, even as the tide and wind affect the movement of the waves.

This is because I am ‘seen’ now. He sees me, I do not hide, and I am not ashamed. Perhaps this is my new definition of marriage: to be seen by another and not to be ashamed of anything.

As man and wife, isn’t it total intimacy – without fear or shame – that we long for in our union, each of us transparent and vulnerable to the other, totally understood and accepted. Today, I believe I have experienced this intimacy. It is God’s perfect marriage plan.

Likewise, we who are the Bride of Christ are meant to experience this intimacy and freedom with God. As sons of Adam, that is who we would have been had he not sinned and learned shame.

So, to those who are married: well done. May we keep striving for the best that’s meant to be, because marriage is worth navigating even through the rough seas.

And also a note to the singles, be you single still or once again: may you be encouraged. God knows the best way for us to discover Him.

All of life requires effort, and the reward of intimacy is not easily achieved. Love is found in Father God. For some, it is also experienced through life with a spouse. But God’s plan for our lives is to draw us close to Him, as His bride. He knows the perfect navigation for each of his children to reach this intimacy. We can all find rest and His perfect peace that passes all understanding, knowing He leads us where we need to deepen our discovery of Him.

His love will never let us go.

What a lovely way to start the New Year.

Best to all for 2015.