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

 

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How to live a fulfilled life with the Holy Spirit

Today I recommend another person’s writing. Bill Johnson has written Dreaming with God, a beautiful book that reminds us how deeply valued we are by Father God, and how greatly empowered we are by Holy Spirit. Dreaming with God

God’s word is living and it lives through the Holy Spirit engaging with our reading and meditation of the words in the Bible. “We thrive with the spirit of revelation, but we perish without it” and “God hides things for you not from you” are key thoughts that the pastor expands. He challenges our thinking with, “It’s difficult to get the same fruit as the early church when we value a book that they didn’t have more than the Holy Spirit they did have.”

Totally Jesus-centered and committed to encouraging the evangelical mindset, Bill Johnson offers a way forward to draw Believers into deeper intimacy and transformation, greater understanding and fulfillment in Dreaming with God.

 

For a wide range of my longer posts, discussing Wholeness, Witness, Word and Worship and Warfare go to http://www.LarusPress.com and re-discover LarusBlog.

God bless.

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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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).

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In the Tunnel – Part 2

From Present to Past:

I’d like to begin this in-depth look at Brokenness by saying I’m feeling elated, after coming through a soul-wrenching time. God works like that, doesn’t He? He brings us through trials in order to prune, shape, enrich us – And He sets us free from situations we create or think we must bear. Saying that, I choose to reflect on the past lessons of my recent Tunnel Experience to share them so that others whom God may lead through the Tunnel will be better prepared.. I like also to exchange experiences and lessons with others. For each of us, the learning curve never ends. That’s part of the excitement and challenge of our Christian journey…. But for now, I’ll talk about the Tunnel.

How I Entered the Tunnel: The issue of Time Management…

Or rather time unmanageable.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your “to do” list? Well, I had an Ah Ha moment about my “to do” list that initiated my Tunnel experience.

I entered a spiritual Tunnel last autumn, when I realized I could NEVER keep up with the amount of work I believed I had to do. I’d started a publishing business, based on God’s leading; my hubby asked me to work on a healthy vending business . I’m a wife and mother and follower of Jesus, all of which take commitment and time. I’d developed the tendency to stay up late, or wake up early (or sometimes both) in order to try to keep up with everything. Then, in one moment, I suddenly admitted: I have no time for myself, no time to relax, no quality time at all, to live, breathe, move.

At the time, I was physically healthy (ah, typically feeling a bit overweight, and as well, a little bit tired), but I crashed – in my mind and heart – realizing I just had more that I wanted to do than I could possibly do. That ‘crash’ was a blessing in that it would eventually release me into a different perspective, but of course initially, I didn’t feel released or relief. Initially, I felt despair and disappointment. Though my “Ah Ha” moment would eventually free me to give myself permission to stop trying so hard to do everything on my “to do” list, at first I felt the pain of lost hope, a lost dream, and I had to wrestle briefly with a bit of bitterness too.

Have you ever felt God lead you to something, or ask you to do something, and then you felt you couldn’t do it and He’d left you to flail about on your own?  I felt a bit like that at the crisis moment, when I first realized I could not do all I thought I had to do. Then, I admitted He hadn’t really mandated everything I was trying to do, and that there was quite a bit of My Will mixed onto the “to do” list. Though I felt disappointed and alone, I confessed to myself that God had not abandoned me and that somehow I’d burdened myself.

Honesty with ourselves and with God is so important in our journey, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s hard to face our mistakes, but thankfully, we serve a God who is kind, compassionate and full of love. He actually brings us to moments of realization so that he can free us from unnecessary burdens. Jesus’ words ring in my mind often,

“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30 NKJV from Bible Gateway)

I admitted that, in order to have a good quality of life with my family, I’d have to let go of a part of my work that I loved. At first I felt a deep sense of loss and sadness. But that gave way to relief over only a few days. I had told myself it was God’s work but really it wasn’t. Being honest with myself, rather than being resentful toward God, proved to be a good choice.

Have you been through God’s refining fire? Perhaps you’re still there. Or maybe you made a huge discovery through it that has transformed your thinking and deepened your relationship with Him. Will you consider sharing so that others can be encouraged too?

Fire is hot – and burns can hurt. But fire also offers a means for warmth, food and protection. How has God’s refining fire affected you or a loved one, demonstrating His grace, release and love?

Fire offers Intimacy

Fire offers Intimacy

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.