Brokenness

Joy is supernatural. So we can’t drum it up.

But what if joy seems to disappear? Is that because the LORD has departed? Or have we ignored Him for a prolonged time and therefore He has be relegated to the back burner, leaving our fire, passion – and joy – behind as we trudge ahead in our own strength? Or has some reality crept in that robs us of joy as we navigate between the world, the flesh and the devil?

I seem to be in mid-life crisis. At 54 I guess that means I’m running a little behind. I just recently woke up to the fact that I’m over 50, aging and I’ve not accomplished what I hoped to do and time is running out!

The clock seems to be running and I’m slowing down.

My joy is only in the LORD and it is complete in Him. I haven’t slipped from obedience, faith or love for Him. But reason is telling me I need to make a shift in my strategy for living. Not because I’m tired, because I’m not. But because I doubt my ability to achieve what’s in my heart to achieve and I’m not sure how to move forward.

I think what GOD is doing is sending me a reality check: what am I doing with my time and is it worthwhile?

As the proverbial clock ticks, I’ve not got any answers. I know ‘in whom I have believed’ and of Him I have no doubts. I do have doubts about myself though. I don’t write this to receive kind words of encouragement but to share that we can all, from time to time (or only once in our lifetime), have doubt – not of the LORD but of ourselves. How I am navigating through this is probably not the way to recommend: I’m hiding. But on the other hand, in my hiding I am putting my focus on others. I’ve just got less overall intention than in the past and I’m wondering if this is a permanent change.

So, the brokenness I’m experiencing is a bit like shattered crockery – it isn’t going to go back together in the same way it existed before. My faith is the glue. Though I have little hope right now, experience teaches me that this time will pass. Scripture says “I will shine forth like gold” – eventually. As I navigate through the present, I try to enjoy a moment of solitude, stillness, and pray.

To anyone to whom this all makes perfect sense, I say we hang on together, knowing the ebb and flow of life and God’s love will carry us through. For me, I’m just not sure where I’m going to end up. And in that, is a brokenness only God can repair.

God bless.

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Self-esteem and Effective Collaboration

Recently, I have been challenged in the area of relationship.

Relationship, I believe, is the single, most important aspect of our lives. We relate to Father God, Creator of the Universe; we relate to ourselves, learning to accept ourselves in entirety and to surrender to God so He can refine us; we relate to others because, surrounded by people, we must learn to get along. Relationship motivates us, excites us, gives our lives meaning and purpose.

But what do I do when I’m called to work with someone that I don’t naturally connect to? Or worse, that is so like me that I feel like I’m looking into a grubby mirror and all the worst aspects of me are being reflected back?

That is when the hard-earned self-esteem I’ve pursued and developed – after years of feeling inferior – reveals its value and I display that with God all things are possible, even learning to laugh at difficult circumstances and to surrender the outcome to Him. That is when I practice the grace I’ve received from God the Father and from His other children toward the person I find challenging. That is when I dig down and pray for the relationship and for the very best in our process together.

When I am confident in my identity, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength’ (Phil 4:13), and I can enable others to do the same by demonstrating patience, love, peace… and all the fruits of the Spirit.

Developing self-esteem is a paradox. When you discover God’s unconditional love, you recognize how perfectly He made you (see Psalm 139:16, 13). When you realize how far removed you are from His perfect creation, you aspire to be all He’s created you to be, so that the ache and shame of imperfection is washed away by the grace and love you experience from Him.

I recognize that God has created me perfectly, even though life experiences have molded me imperfectly. I can find both confidence and humility in this awareness.

We are on a learning curve, together, and the LORD is calling His children to work together. Together is how we grow and how God reflects His love and His will. In order to work together most effectively, our flesh needs to bow to our spirit, so that our spirit can yield to His Holy Spirit. We can be His hands and feet most effectively when we love one another as we love ourselves.

Let’s face the challenges the sovereign LORD puts in front of us, aware that we are just as much a challenge to others as they are to us. Let’s fight the good fight, let’s finish the race (2 Tim 4:7). Let’s enjoy one another, working together to do His will, walking His way, through the grace and power of His word.

God bless.

‘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

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD

Is it time?

‘Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon us…’ on anyone who believes and follows Jesus. That means we have the one whom Jesus called ‘The Comforter’ wherever we go.

That means we carry comfort with us, in us – assurance for ourselves and for others that we are loved, we are valued, we have purpose.

Do you know the Spirit of God? As he reigns in you, as you surrender to LORD God, you are made whole. This is part of God’s saving grace.

Are you living in the fullness of His love, grace and sovereignty? Do you know – are you living free – as Christ has set you free? Free from sin, yes, but also from emotional death, spiritual abandonment.

Soaring Seagulls

To soar, we can trust our desires to HIM.

If you are not living in that freedom… there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, and who are called according to His purpose. But perhaps now is the time to SOAR: to See Over All Repression, to walk in the light and confidence that you have in Christ. It is surely your time to embrace who you are, how God made you and what you are to become – to be all He created you to be, so you can do all He created you to do.

I pray we all live in the absolute fullness of His salvation. Now and always! His love has set us free, and whom the Son has set free, “he is free indeed.”

God bless.

BROKENNESS

Inner Healing:

Each of us is broken. There is only one who has the power to restore us to our full potential, free from shame, emotional pain and sadness. Jesus died and rose again, to conquer sin AND a whole lot more….

Salvation from Brokenness:

We are made in God’s image. Like Adam, we are sons of God and as such, we have available the tools, power, grace of unconditional love and peace to be fully restored.

I don’t know why some of us suffer from depression but many Believers do. There is perhaps some disillusionment in the imperfect way we convey the Gospel walk to one another, and so we don’t fully receive all authority and power for healing because of our collective, imperfect understanding. Or there are chemical imbalances that, while the Holy Spirit can heal, our lack of understanding or lack of perfect faith or lack of community hinders our complete restoration (sometimes too, sound medical care and medication is the path God chooses to help us; while I do personally believe that all illness can be healed by God’s supernatural power, we as a body of believers don’t always have the tools to bring each person to healing…there are so many unknowns and we all do our best to learn and to grow). I categorically believe the onus is NOT on the sufferer to ‘pull himself up by his bootstraps’ but rather as a community we are meant to work and love and pray together for the restoration of one another.*

The point is, there is no shame in suffering. Paul said it was his suffering that gave him the authority to preach, rather than his education or citizenship. Jesus suffered and died and there was certainly no shame in that. And so we must not feel shame for our incomplete healing, but at the same time, we can know that complete healing is possible, is available, through Jesus. ‘The joy of the LORD is our strength’; and so we must strive, battle spiritually and continue in the hope that we will be fully restored to the creation God made us to be – emotionally, physically, spiritually.

As for me, it is my personal hope and aspiration to be a part of the Christian community’s full recognition and realization that inner healing is not only possible but readily available.

How is it accessible? It begins with trust in God and a surrendering of control to Him. Without that, He cannot work in us. But as we release fear and control, He can begin to do a mighty work in us. Sometimes He brings ministers in human form. Sometimes He works through a quiet time alone with Him, in prayer or through studying His WORD. But He does minister. And gradually – or even suddenly – He can transform us into the persons He created us to be.

Why do we suffer? Why must we endure? Pain is something that, when endured and overcome, makes us stronger in character and faith. I haven’t all the answers, I just simply know how He transformed me – beginning when I decided to allow Him into the hollow, lonely, private places within me. When I let His light in, the darkness did flee. Pain draws us closer to Creator God, when we allow it to.

I’ve not suffered depression, but I have suffered oppression, shame, fear. And I’ve been delivered. As He can transform me, He can transform all.

God bless.

 

* revised paragraph to enhance clarity

SELF PUBLISHING Blessings and Challenges

Self Publishing is no easy feat. I’ve got friends and books and blogs and so much information (see my twitter account https://twitter.com/sarah_tun for links) there’s no shortage of material that teaches the process of self publishing, marketing and growing a business through writing. But the REALLY hard part is managing the ‘to-do’ list efficiently, choosing which things need to be done and which need to be dropped.

So, when I was approached by Lynn Kennedy of http://www.aliveinchristradio.com and was invited to appear on their flagship programme on Tuesday 25th June at 8pm Pacific/11pm EST I was delilghted, thankful for the blessing, and excited.

Next Tuesday I’ll be speaking about self-esteem – how I grew: what I had to overcome, and how we all can be confident in the life-changing love we have received through Jesus Christ. I journeyed from shame to joy, through the knowledge of the freedom Jesus died to give us. That freedom is from sin and much more. We are free from condemnation, shame, fear of man….

So I hope you’ll join in on Alive In Christ radio or tune in afterward if the live broadcast time is inconvenient.

God bless and continue to know that it is the Joy of the LORD that is your strength.

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