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!

In the Tunnel – Part 3

THE GOOD GIFT

Which one of us, would not give good gifts to his children?
How much more, will the Father give good gifts to us, His children?*

*In Matthew Chapter 10, Jesus is outlining the generosity, the affection and the trustworthiness of Father God.

The Book of Job shows us that God can allow pain and suffering, which reveals our character and our faithfulness towards Him.

Jesus died on a cross, deserving none of the pain and mocking that he received.

Scripture is full of injustice and suffering, and yet, when we experience suffering, how rare is it that we celebrate it.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” (James 1:2-3, NKJV, Bible Gateway)

While existing in the Tunnel is uncomfortable, a turn of our minds will help us. To realize the benefit of our spiritual growth and the joy that will come from it can take us through any trial.

I believe in spiritual warfare. I believe there are demons and angels in the heavenly realms. I believe God hears our prayers and uses them to change circumstances in the earth.

But I also believe that we face ordeals, from time to time, as a necessary experience to our growth in character. Perseverance does not come from sitting, but from climbing a mountain or navigating turbulent waters. Wisdom does not come from reading, but from living and from experiencing life in all of its joys and sorrows.

In the sovereignty of God, we can warfare against difficulties, but let’s not miss the truth that nothing comes to us that is not within God’s will and nothing is wasted when we live a life of prayer, trust and hope. God is sovereign. God is good. That does not mean that life will always be fair. It does mean that life will always be right. In the end, Jesus rose from the dead, and in the end, we too will always have victory.

Whenever we must travel through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4), be it the end of a dream or the end of a life, we can know that God is at the center, loving, guiding, caring for us. Even in pain there is hope. Joy always comes ‘in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5).

sunrise in winter (7)

 

 

 

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

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

The image of the lighthouse conveys guardian, watchman over those adrift at sea.

But Focus on the Family ministries is far more than that.

Check their website for info on seminars, lectures and more:

http://www.focusonthefamily.ca/

Allow the LIGHT to radiate throughout your marriage and your family.

Image

On “JESUS IS THE LIGHTHOUSE”

New Blog Site: http://www.alighthouse.com/thelighthouse.htm tells us that Jesus is the LIGHTHOUSE.

In keeping with the Lighthouse theme, I found this other site and like the prayer on the first page.

I wonder how others feel about that? Do you like or object to images of Jesus? How do prayers like this one below give you encouragement?

Father,We call upon you and ask that you
Bless everyone who enters our website.
We pray for health, healing, physically,
mentally, and spiritually.
We pray you fill our hearts with love,
peace and joy.
We pray for world peace and
that You’ll rejuvenate our faith.
We pray that You hear
and answer these prayers,
in Jesus Name,
Amen

Wealth, Riches & Money: God’s Biblical Principles on Finance

Discernment of and freedom from the fear of poverty and the lure of money

This BOOK IS NOT:

This is not a book about the prosperity gospel nor to the other extreme is it in the vein of taking a vow of poverty to avoid the temptation that the love of or desire for money can create.

This BOOK IS:

Offering an entirely new (to me anyway) way of thinking toward money (part of the world system, run by Satan) and provision (Kingdom finance ie what God gives to enable us to have our needs, obligations and wants met). Authors Hill and Pitt are able to convey without condemnation, the difference between the love of money and the practical need for wealth to extend the Kingdom. And they guide the reader to prayer and transformation – God willing – to shed fear of lack. They split the hair between the love of money and the need for provision, making it crystal clear that the pursuit of money is very different from having wealth.

Oh, if it is time for Believers to step out of the worldly financial system and into the realm of faith and provision, this might be it! We search our hearts, cleanse our motives and become vessels for God’s riches to expand the kingdom. A very good and useful book.

Available on Amazon etc etc: http://www.amazon.ca/Wealth-Riches-Money-ebook/dp/B0058LZKLA/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369204270&sr=1-4&keywords=wealth%2C+money+and+riches