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!

A Calling Recognized and Fulfilled

My Hope and God’s Promises Fulfilled:

I have launched an upgraded website: http://www.LarusPress.com To know what really makes me tick have a view of the video on the home page.

Please know my heart: it is not to be famous or noted (I’ve been there, tried that – another story there). It is to serve.

I believe, after years of seeking mentorship support, direction to fulfill words spoken over me years ago, that I have finally matured sufficiently to be trusted with a mentor beyond my darling hubby Alan Tun (thank you Tony Marino) and a fuller picture of what God wants to use me for…

This is simply to encourage, uplift others who seek to know God’s will and purpose for their lives and to offer application of Biblical scripture to readers seeking to fulfill their purpose – their reason for being put on this earth at this time.

It’s a tall order. It isn’t me. It’s Christ who lives in me. To subscribe to the free newsletter Soaring Post see:

http://www.laruspress.com/about

In Christ we live and move and have our being. So, let’s grab hold of the promises He has for us. Looking forward and not back, pressing in and not being pressed upon. Believing and hoping that all He promises has been fulfilled for us and will be fulfilled in and through us.

Bless you Guys!

Sarah

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The Ultimate Goal

The Ultimate Goal:

‘One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 3:13b-14 (loose translation)

When I was in Discipleship Training some twenty years ago, I was encouraged to know that suffering was for the purpose of building character and building character led to usefulness and crowns in Heaven.

Now I realize that the ultimate goal will not necessarily lead me to any victory, blessing or usefulness on earth, but that the only reason for suffering may be to bring me closer to the character of Jesus. I may not be otherwise blessed at all.

So much for prosperity gospel. So much for victorious living and God’s blessings. Is being like Jesus enough?

This past year, 2013, has been the most difficult year in my 30 years as a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. I have my health, I have a safe and warm home, I have my family; I am blessed in many ways. But what I have ‘lost’ is the belief that I will one day achieve something for the Kingdom which is of lasting benefit and significance. I have, as one friend said recently, experienced the ‘death to the dream’ or as Dr Larry Crabb puts it, I have experienced Shattered Dreams (Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs, Colorado, (c) 2001).

This past year has been a year of expectations disappointed, of strain with no resultant achievement, of realization that just because I believe and work hard does not mean I will succeed in finding a job or finding an audience for my writing. That’s been a difficult lesson.
I’ve watched others in similar situations, faithful brothers or sisters in Christ, who have experienced similar. Some tell stories of God coming through in the end. Others are still waiting. For myself, I’ve stumbled upon a new reality: Jesus came to save from sin – which is both a one-time finished salvation and also a slow process of self-discovery and sanctification which may have no other end but purity.

I wonder how many believers have faith in ultimate goals being realized: hopes and ambitions that God will train us so that we can be better people in our work and ministry, only to discover eventually that life hasn’t panned out quite how they expected. And if any of those disappointed that their own dreams – what they believe or believed were the ‘desires of their hearts’ – will not be realized, have become bitter or disillusioned. My own sense of self-importance, which dies hard, has thought I will one day minister and be fruitful in producing writing that will speak to millions and change lives. Now I’m thinking that will not be how God uses me and that He may not even use me at all. Realizing this has been hard. But do I still love Him, in spite of thinking my secure middle class existence and hope for notoriety is speedily coming to an end?

Yes, I do. I may not love Him as much as I thought I did, but the seed is still there. Thank you, LORD. And I will persevere, in spite of discovering there may be no reward but the assurance I am saved by His grace. And I will love Him all the more as I see the ugliness of my selfish ambition and know He still loves me.

The ultimate goal is not to reap prosperity, nor even to be involved in the conversion of others to the knowledge of God’s ultimate gift in giving us His son Jesus. The ultimate goal is simply to be transformed to be more the likeness of the Son. And that is sometimes a hard journey.

Dr Larry Crabb’s subtitle to his book Shattered Dreams is not a promise and not a reason to persevere, but it is a hope; Shattered Dreams is God’s Unexpected Pathway to Joy. I wouldn’t urge others to persevere for the sake of it, but it is helpful to know there is a hope at the end of the tunnel. As I grow in Christ, as I journey in my faith, the tunnels seem to get longer, but so far they’ve always ended. I’ve no reason to believe the one I’ve lived in during 2013 will end on 1st January 2014, but I do have every reason to believe it will, one day, ‘burst forth into glorious day’!!

God bless and Happy New Year!

There is always Hope

There is always Hope

‘Not as the World does’

Have you ever realized you were walking in a fog? And wasn’t it great to get out of it?

Recently, I received clarity. Suddenly, all my diligence over the last thirteen years has culminated in my understanding today. After writing for years, and building Laruspress last year, it’s only now that know what it is. It is not a business, it is not a brand; Laruspress is a concept.

SOAR: See Over All Repression

SOAR: See Over All Repression

Laruspress stands for the freedom we have available when we live true to our unique identity. Laruspress’ logo – a seagull flying – is representative of freedom and survival. Our hearts are called to SOAR: to See Over All Repression, and to live without shame, anxiety, fear, oppression. Laruspress is a ministry, seeking to enrich, encourage, enable believers to recognize their full inheritance. Not only are we saved by Jesus from spiritual death. But we are also saved from all the wrong-thinking that we’ve developed and been trapped by through the experiences we’ve lived. Jesus came to set us free and we are free indeed, but most of us lack the fullness of this freedom, in one sense or another. The message is for all of us: Jesus’ salvation is complete and there is nothing that is not dealt with when we choose to follow him.

The message I’ve been given to share is this: you can be who you were created to be, so you can do all you were created to do. There-in lies fulfillment. The task I have is to provide messages, resources and services to those who’ve not yet ‘got’ the concept, so that we all continue to move ahead, toward deeper relationship with Jesus, toward greater acceptance of ourselves and toward establishing God’s Kingdom on earth.

The world does not see my mission the way I do. The world says I need to earn money, establish my name, get an audience. But I’ll make no assumptions now. I was called to write in 2000 and have done all I know how to do in order to grow as a writer. Only now I embrace that it was not for business that I wrote but for enriching my life and others’ lives with my message of freedom. Freedom costs – in time, in responsibility – but living in freedom is a joy.

And so, I discover I have freedom to pursue my writing without the world’s pull to market myself and my books. I’ll still do all I can to get exposure, but now it is for a different reason. It is for my reason, God’s reason, the reason unique to my personality and to my call: to enrich, educate, enable, encourage and equip those who seek to live in the freedom each one of us is created to have.

It is a Kingdom message. All of us need to be who we were created to be, so each of God’s people – and each of God’s messages – gets delivered in just the way it was meant to be.

Do you know what it feels like for me, to finally to have all the pieces of the puzzle fitting together? It feels wonderful!

I can move to the rhythm God put inside me. I can ignore striving and frustration and disappointment. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I do not have to think way the world thinks.

How does this awareness effect my efforts? It supercharges them, because I have clarity of purpose and of message. I am focused. And that is, for me, very exciting.

What mission has the LORD given to you? And how will you address it?

Be blessed, and until next time,

Sarah

On the band wagon : Christian Authors

I have been writing forever and as a focus since 2000 when I felt the LORD say “write”.

I have been published for just over a year.

In that time I’ve received a tremendous amount of advice about building the writing as a business. Marketing on the social network has become a part of my day. I’m doing my best to keep up with the trends, demands, opportunities of marketing my book and my work on the net.

But

I’ve come to the realization that following the “write” command – and the encouragement for it – has been relegated to second place.

I want to go back to making it the first place – even if it’s only a hobby. Because there is joy in the writing and much less in all of the ancillary stuff.

Don’t get me wrong, please. If I hadn’t put my back into building a site (www.laruspress.com) and extended my net to reach out to many on facebook (Sarah Tun and page Free to Be – raising self esteem) and on twitter (@laruspress and @disowndredeemd) then I would have missed out on a lot of good people and their posts/tweets/ideas. But this whole aspect to building business is not for me. How do I know? Because I’m muddled rather than clear-headed, and because what I’m doing isn’t unique – as Christ is – but rather I find myself following (rather than leading as is my disposition and calling) and feeling very un-creative.

What shall I do about this? I’ll pray. How do I rectify the situation? I’ll pray. Because the truth is, ‘with God all things are possible’, and because ‘unless the LORD builds the house (I) labour in vain.

So, to all Christian authors out there, I encourage you to write on. And follow God’s lead in all that you do. May you have clarity and breakthrough, and may you be aware in your journey when the LORD is leading you to change. For me, it might be quite possible I’m in for a ‘change’. I’ll keep you posted… literally.

God bless.

Surrender, Release, Abundant Blessing

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surrender and releasefrom FREE TO BE cover

What is the benefit of surrender? If I surrender, doesn’t that mean I lose my identity? Or worse, won’t my identity be squashed or crushed in order to ensure I ‘fit’ into a preconceived notion of what it is to be part of ‘the group’?

In a word, “No”. That is, not if you are surrendering to the One who created you in the first place.

It is often said that no one knows you quite like your family. Actually, I’d take exception to that and clarify by saying, your family has the greatest potential to have the most entrenched concept of who you are, based on who you were at age 2, or 5 or 8, and which may not be relevant to who you are today.

But when you surrender to the God who created you, and me, and the universe, you are surrendering to the One who truly does know your innermost being. Psalm 139 says it all: “You formed my inmost parts”.

I’ll witness by way of a personal story, how one particular act of surrender has brought me the greatest joy I could ever know… a joy I most definitely would not have experienced had I put my will before the LORD’s in my life. The joy I speak of is my eight year old son. The act of surrender was accepting God’s call to have a child.

At the age of forty-two, having been married for about ten years and having agreed from the outset we’d not have children (my husband already had a wonderful daughter from a previous marriage, and I’d never been the broody sort), one particular Sunday morning, during worship at our regular Sunday church service, I felt the LORD speak to me personally, by pressing right into my belly. I ‘heard’ impressed upon me: “I want you to have a baby.”

That threw me for a loop!
While I had grown accustomed to hearing God’s still small voice for a number of years, I’d never heard that message before!

The next Sunday, almost at the same moment on the clock (again it was during the worship portion of the morning church service) the prompting came, “His name will be Jordan.”

I immediately shot up to Him, “Well, LORD, do you think you could tell Alan (my husband)?

From that time, my husband and I began to pray to seek God’s will and not our own, and decided we’d neither force the LORD’s hand nor block it.

A few months later, when we were overseas visiting Hong Kong where we had friends, I was at a prayer meeting with two people I knew quiet well and a couple more who were strangers to me. At the end of our intercession, one of the women who was new to me turned to me. She was young in years, and fairly new to the LORD. Nervously, she said in a quiet voice that she had to tell me something. “You are going to have a baby,” she said.

About fifteen months after that word was given to me, I was pregnant. A good friend who was a believer and a gynecologist warned that, at my age, I might miscarry. That was okay I thought, as this was the LORD’s child.

At my age I had to have a test done for Downs syndrome. I should interject here to say that I have a large contingent in my family that is very bright. One fear I’d had for years was that if I ever had a child I might fail to bring one into the world that was ‘up to the mark’, and in fact, I might have a child that was a Downs baby; that was a private, deep-seated fear. Well, I had to have a medical test that measures something in the fetus’ neck; the larger the measurement the more chance the baby will be Downs. Lying on the bed in the hospital for the test, I watched as the numbers were crunching and they were off-the-scale high. I was scared at first, but then I remembered, ‘this is the LORD’s baby and He will create the baby He wants’. Immediately, I watched as the numbers dropped significantly and then settled. The test revealed that, factoring in my age, the calculations could not have given a better indication that the child was not going to be Downs. My point is, my greatest fear, when released to the LORD, was relieved. If the baby were Downs, I was ready to receive him. The child was God’s beautiful creation and I the blessed for having him. God was preparing me to accept His child, and continuing to teach me to surrender my will to His.

There are a number of other blessings that have come from surrendering my will about having or not having a child. Some readers will have experienced joy, challenge, pain or all of the above as they’ve learned to surrender on this issue; each of us has a unique calling to walk out. But it is when we surrender that we become able to walk out the journey set for us. For my husband and I, the surrender of our wills meant allowing God to change our lifestyle and future forever by choosing to make us parents. That joy we would have missed if we’d not let him do His will. That joy has been the greatest joy of my life.

What benefit is there in surrender? If we surrender our will to the Creator of the Universe, He can lead our lives to be more rewarding and fulfilling than we could ever imagine. I highly recommend the practice.

And I’d love to hear stories from others who have surrendered.

Until next time, God bless.

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WHAT IF… on divorce between Believers

I’m looking at a ‘What if…’ question that may rock the boat a bit. But if we don’t look at a full perspective on an issue, how are we going to find the absolute truth?

I am a Bible-believing Christian. I find that as I navigate through this life questions arise which prompt me to look into my Bible long and deep, to seek the answers that emulate Christ’s purpose and character.

Today my question is: under what circumstances does Jesus allow divorce?

I encourage research but I’m not going to quote scripture here. I think most Bible-believing Christians will know that scripture clearly states that divorce on the grounds of adultery is permissible  No other grounds are sited as acceptable to God.

To find an answer I will not look at the question first, or even the general issue, but at Jesus himself as the author and finisher of our faith…

I have seen the decay of marriages both in the secular and in the Christian home, and it is very sad to see how love can disintegrate. I haven’t always had an easy time in my marriage but we’ve always sought to overcome our differences and have managed to do so. I’ve seen other relationships where people haven’t managed to achieve that.

Jesus says divorce is awful. But would he support an abusive husband or a wife who wants escape? Until recently, I’ve always thought that Jesus would want the marriage to stand unconditionally and that time, prayer, counselling would draw a couple to resolve their differences; however, I’m not so sure anymore. I’ve observed abusive relationships and I’m wondering: what would be God’s heart for the abuser? for the victim/survivor of abuse? I certainly don’t condone divorce but I’m not so sure Jesus intended us to follow the letter of the law in this any more than in any other situation. He came to set us free; he fulfills the law. When we love one another as he loves us, we also fulfill the law.

In an abusive situation I’m not so sure anymore that Jesus would say the couple should stay together. I’m wondering now, perhaps Jesus’ words on divorce only related to men leaving women as that was the only direction feasible in Jesus’ day.

What are your thoughts?

Every walking faithfully, in the light of God’s Word and His revelation to me today….

Sarah