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?

FOR THIS AND OTHER POSTS PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE: www.LarusPress.com/category/larusblog and sign up for the free week,ly newsletter too.

Larus Press: Building the Kingdom, one reader at a time.

Larus Press: Christian-based books, blogs and literature, to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.

Endings: Accepting Transitions and Change

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” (C Dickens A Tale of Two Cities)

Psalms“For everything there is a season, And time for every purpose under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Everything has its time: there are times in life when things are new, and there are times when some things must end.

I’ve just moved to Spain and have been writing about “New Beginnings” on my blog: http://sarahtunexaminelife.blogspot.com

But with new beginnings there are, inevitably, endings too.

How do you come to terms with the discovery that the way you’ve thought or interacted for years needs to change? When your dearest friends are far away, and you’ve few new folks in whom to confide, how do you pray, live, love through that?

The seed is faith. No matter what you may think or feel, it is the Spirit and our spirit, working in harmony, that is the reality. When everything seems in flux, faith is our bedrock.

Recently, I felt pretty low. I didn’t even feel like praying! But faithfully, I took out a Psalm each day for a week and read through it, allowing myself to reflect a bit at a time on what the psalmist was saying.

“In You, O LORD, I put my trust…” (Psalm 7, 11, 31, 71 – verse 1) empty chair

And do you know: even when you can’t see in front or behind, when everything is new and nothing familiar, when excitement wanes and you want someone close to say, ‘Here I am, for you’ and no one is there, do you know you don’t have to drum up positive feelings? Nor do you have to wallow in misery. Simply, allow yourself to be right where you are – physically, emotionally and spiritually – and wait. You might want to make only a few decisions – none other than what to wear or what to make for dinner – and wait. Tell the LORD what’s on your heart and mind- and wait. Ask Him for your deepest need, even if you don’t believe He’ll fulfill it – and wait.

God hears. God restores. God fulfills.

pic onlyI’m in a different place than I was a week ago. God answered my prayer, it’s true. But it isn’t in the answering of the prayer that help comes – but so much more in the waiting.

God bless you. Have a merry Christmas month and see you in 2015!

In the meantime, I welcome comments, thoughts, sharing.

 

 

Lighthouse morphs into Larus Press

FINDING YOUR IDENTITY, FULFILLING YOUR PURPOSE IN CHRIST:

Larus Press

Larus Press

I am relaunching my website: www.LarusPress.com. The new site has a newsletter, Soaring Press, and a 4-strand blog, called LarusWalk. The Walk offers 4 aspects to our Christian walk: Wholeness, Witness, Word and Worship&Warfare. As we think, pray, walk we soar (larus = gull in Latin)! At Larus Press, the aim is to build up every believer, so we discover and fulfill our unique identity and purpose – to be all God has created us to be, in order to do all God has created us to do.

For some time now I’ve been chatting, posting and blogging on various platforms. My first blog began in 2011 and I’ve gone a bit wild with Facebook pages, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Twitter and Google+ and WordPress.

Google and WordPress have been instrumental in enabling me to launch blogs and write meaningful posts for readers. Having learned a lot, met lots of terrific people and exchanged many ideas, notions and hilarity, it’s time to morph through merging: I’m becoming streamlined… at last.

This of course has been done through prayerful consideration, mentoring assistance and enthusiastic effort. In other words, I’m attempting to follow God’s lead and am grateful for other people’s advice and help.

Thanks to WordPress and Google Blogspot. Thanks to Rebecca Tun for getting me started and Natasje Van Niekerk for saying it was fairly easy (if I’d known how hard it was all going to be I’d never have started). Thanks to Corina Koch McLeod for offering techie wisdom, experience and enthusiasm, and Tony Marino for encouragement, expertise and mentoring this Canadian gal.

Thanks so much to God, for inspiring me, challenging me, birthing in me a ministry to help others who face the same challenges I’ve faced – and more.

Moving my blogging to Larus Press is exciting. I won’t close the Lighthouse, though I don’t expect to post to it. It is a reference point and may, perhaps, be reborn in a new form at a later date. Who knows? God knows.

May all your plans and purposes be a part of God’s light and may you choose to join me at: http://www.LarusPress.com where you’ll find Soaring Press – a weekly newsletter and the four-strand blog LarusWalk offering Wholeness, Witness, Word and Worship&Warfare. 

Larus Press is a publishing ministry to Build Believers through Books, Blogs and Literature, to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit. Find us there now. First edition of the weekly Newsletter to be released next Thursday, 6th May. I hope you’ll subscribe and invite your friends to take a peek. God bless and until next week…

Gull, Symbol of Survival and Freedom to Soar

Gull, Symbol of Survival and Freedom to Soar

 

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)

 

 

 

In the Tunnel – Part 1

The Beauty of Brokenness:

Am I nuts! How can being broken – that is emotionally crushed, my self-confident insides becoming wobbly like a rag doll – how can that be beautiful?

“Remember what brokenness is. It’s the awareness that you long to be someone you’re not and cannot be without divine help.” Dr Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams: God’s Unexpected Pathway to Joy (Waterbrook Press, 2001, p 73)

When I became a follower of Jesus – more commonly called a “Christian” – I said I believed and would follow the Son of God who was loving, perfect and beautiful. That surrender marked the admittance that I wanted to be someone I was not, and the recognition that I could only become who I desired through Jesus. My journey has continued for thirty years, and like you who have come to the same realization, and have made the same commitment, I can safely say He is still loving, perfect and beautiful.  I, like you, am gradually becoming a very little bit more like him and am being sanctified – ‘working out my own salvation with fear and trembling’. (Phil 2:12)

As I began this year, I had the resolve to share my perspective on brokenness, based on my story, and to share here on this platform, month-by-month, on the First of each month, so that others may comment, and we can all grow and be encouraged. So now, here is my commitment, to write monthly and to start with this series about Brokenness.

Through the autumn of 2013 I had the privilege of God honoring my prayer to be more like him.  Piece by fleshly piece, he showed me weaknesses in gentle but undeniable ways. He showed me my tendency to self-importance, my vanity, where I am judgmental and presumptuous. He also showed me my limitations — and a dream had to die. But through my sense of defeat, He gave me brokenness and through brokenness, He gave me victory.

Romans 12:2

“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.” (NKJV)
I am convinced that there is purpose in our suffering. We don’t seek suffering in order to discover the high purpose, but in all things we can persevere in Christ for His high purpose and calling. Where there is pain, the ashes can be turned to joy.
Last fall I experienced a Tunnel longer than I’ve ever experienced. By ‘Tunnel’ I mean a place emotionally and spiritually where I felt confined by failure and deep conviction; I was being crushed. That is to say my limitations through my own endeavors were being revealed and where my personality was deeply flawed, these flaws  were being exposed to me. I recognized I was in a ‘Tunnel’ and prayed, waited, remained faithful until the tunnel yielded to deeper relationship with God, greater reliance on Him, and absolute joy. Recognizing the Tunnel doesn’t change the circumstance, but it shapes the experience and makes it more endurable.
So, over the next several months I’m going to share my experience of the ‘Tunnel’: what I experienced, what I learned, and how it has changed me.
What is the Tunnel?
The Tunnel is the place where we go spiritually and emotionally, when circumstances are difficult and our efforts seem to make no impact to improve our circumstances. We began our spiritual lives when we confessed our faith and commitment to God through Christ. (I claim that this is the only true spirituality because only Christ has the authority to revive/give rebirth to our spirit. All other spirituality is false, and a matter of soul development in the guise of spirituality.)
But I digress…
Often we who come to Christ do so while in a tunnel; it is while we are in this tunnel that we admit our limitations and surrender to God, thankful for His salvation and love. Then, God blesses us with many victories, which build our faith, our confidence in Him and our thanksgiving.
But there comes a time when the world, the devil or other people hurt us. We become disillusioned, sometimes even with God who didn’t protect us from this misery. Or we who are well versed in scripture and understand the tunnel as a spiritual battle, determine to fight back, hurling scriptural curve balls at the enemy, who is behind the ‘attack’ upon us. We may be using scripture to defeat the enemy who seeks to destroy us, when in actual fact our attention might be better placed on the LORD, who is allowing the challenge to teach us about ourselves and to help us to deepen our relationship with Him.
I am saying that being ‘In the Tunnel’ is the experience of those ‘attacks’ to our soul (will, emotions, intellect), and are actually sources for our benefit and growth, when we allow God-to-be-God in them, and show us what He is teaching us. I am suggesting that the pain that is present alongside our ‘Tunnel’ experiences are a part of God’s refining us to be more like Him, just as we’ve asked him to do. Just as we have come to Christ as we recognized our sinful nature, so we come deeper to him as we see the soil in our soul.
There is much beauty in every human being. But no believer and follower remains the same as the day s/he came to Christ. Growth often has to come from pain, because it is in pain we most vehemently call upon him.
But fear not. The Tunnel does not last forever. It is inevitable I think, that we experience tunnels. But how we experience them depends greatly on our understanding of the purpose for them and our keenness to grow.
There are plenty of individual circumstances that may seem to contradict my standpoint. What about the child abused by his parents? Or the spouse betrayed by the one person s/he has placed all her/his trust in? Abuse and betrayal of the innocent is painful and wrong and not Godly. In His loving character and sovereignty, my theology does not suggest He wishes it. Rather, human beings are certainly responsible for their actions against one another. But what I am saying is that God allows suffering to draw us closer to Him. Those who follow Him are not immune to suffering and in fact can benefit most. Just as we suffered in order to discover our need for Him in the first place, so we suffer to discover our continual need to be transformed into His likeness.
I welcome discussion and will aim to reply to any comment.
God bless, until next post on March 1st.