Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The New Year

As I approach the New Year I feel as though I am holding my breath. A bit like when you jump into water. I feel 2014 is going to be a big year.

I usually get apprehensive about a new year. One year went so badly that I was too upset to even think about facing another year the same as the one I had just been through.

A new year brings with it the unknown and challenges we are not yet prepared to face. But this season we are all going into is not about what challenges we are going to face or about what demands will be placed upon us but rather about our attitude going into it.

When my husband and I moved to New Zealand despite all that was said to us and the way we were treated we were determined to look at that new season as an exciting adventure. We were positive about going out and making friends and not waiting for people to invite us out.
We went with expectation to make the most of it. God had a plan for sending us here and we were going to take it and go in with both feet.

And here I am today standing on the very tail end of the year. Ready. To take that leap into 2014. Fully aware that I will be made to grow and that growing isn't comfortable but knowing that as I surrender to God's will for this year and make room for Him in my life I will not be the same person I am today. Already I am not the same person I was 7 years ago nor the same person I was at the beginning of 2013.

I cannot wait to see what 2014 will have instore for me and my family.  It is going to big, massive and at times nerve-wracking but I know God is with me. I am thankful that He is not finished with me yet.

What is God saying to you today? Maybe it is to turn from certain ways of thinking. Acknowledging that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are blessed of God and are able to do all things through Christ who gives you strength. That we are more than conquerors and God is for us and who then can be against us.

What I have learnt in 2013 is that I am more than able to do what God has called me to do. That I may not see the bigger picture but that finding where some of the pieces I have in my hand go is so exciting and simple. Just start with what you have in your hands today and do it all to His glory.
I have learnt about true forgiveness. It has taken me a few years but I have a better understanding now. People can change. Misunderstandings happen all the time. It is our attitude and how we handle it that matters.
There are a lot of lonely people right next door to us. We don't have to go very far or do anything dramatic to encourage and comfort someone.

May 2014 be a blessed and amazing year for you all. Thank you for reading this year and I look forward to writing and sharing with you next year.

Happy New Year and God bless.

P.S. Please excuse any spelling and grammar errors I wrote this on my phone in the car in between cleaning up a car sick toddler and handing back dropped toys.

Friday, December 27, 2013

When things take time

Have you ever noticed that most things in life take time. When you cook food, it takes time. Boiling the kettle for a cup of tea takes time. Waiting in line takes time and instant although pretty quick still has it's limits as to how quick and instant it can be. Even the drive through, although quick, you still wait.

Planting an apple seed does not mean that you get an instant apple tree full of apples. It takes years before you even see the fruit. Some plants take longer than others before you see fruit or flower but the point is it still takes time.

Sometimes we feel like the things we are doing or trying to achieve seem to take forever. We feel all we are doing is waiting. When we are in that place of waiting we get so uncomfortable and edgy. We cannot sit still and we feel we must do something or we will burst. In the Bible we are told many times to wait.
Romans 8:24-25 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Wait with perseverance. We do not hope for the things we see but for things we do not see and we wait for it. It should be an exciting time. A bit like waiting for a really cool surprise but instead we get all twisted in knots because we are not in control anymore. That is exactly where God wants us. He knows that when we are out of control we rely on Him and we see how much He was always in control. In our weakness He is strong. In our turmoil He is the peace. When we rely on Him more and less on our own selves that is when He works miracles through us. That is when He true power and majesty is manifested through us. If we hold on to our own way of thinking and doing things we use our own knowledge and strength to do things in. We have no need for God. When we hand over full control to Him and become available to Him and open to what He is doing in our lives we are filled with peace and strength and words to pray. The Holy Spirit has been with me through so much. He comforts me and strengthens me. He helps me to say the right words to encourage others and equips me with ways to cope. When there is nothing left for me to give He is there to make sure I don't feel empty and hollow.

If you are battling today and feel like you have lost control of your situations and that you feel as though you have waited forever for the right man or woman to come into your life, the right job, home or dream to be fulfilled I feel today you need to write these things down and talk to God about them and surrender the situation to God and leave it with Him. Tell Him you are handing it over to Him to do as He wills. Then in a few months time read back on what you wrote. It has been really encouraging and amazing when I have done this even after a year. Looking back on the year and seeing answered prayer and the great things God has done has done in my life when I have let go of the reigns.
When I have made God my navigator instead of my co-pilot. 

Wait on Him today because He is good to those who wait on Him. Everything comes to pass in His time and His timing is always the best timing. I can attest to that.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Chosen Vessels

Acts 9
Acts is such an amazing book in the Bible. It is packed with awesome. Reading through the book you realise just how important we are to God. That we are not just numbers but individuals He has chosen. He knows each of us by name and He knows where we are. He knows what we need when we need it. He fills us with the Holy Spirit so we can have help to do all we have been chosen to do.

I am drawn to the conversion of Saul (Paul) and how God chose him to preach the Gospel to Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel.
I think it is amazing how Jesus came to Saul while Saul was still threatening to murder Jesus' people. Jesus chose Saul right where he was. He didn't wait for him to get right and stop his murderous ways first before He chose him.
In the same way Jesus has chosen us right where we are. He has chosen us to do many things in His name but He has chosen us while we were still sinners. While we are still messed up.
I have been a Christian for many years but I still make mistakes and mess up. I don't know everything yet and I know I never will. I do what I have been equipped to do by God. He is the one that makes me capable. The things I do in my own strength are worth very little but when I rely on God and what He is doing in my life He takes what I have and uses it to His glory and adds to it in ways I could never have imagined.

When He takes us out of our filth He doesn't just leave us but He transforms us so that we can never go back. We are His chosen vessels. He doesn't clean us out and then leave us empty. He fills us with the Holy Spirit. Not half full, not just a drop but full to the top.

If you are feeling of little worth and that God couldn't possibly use you just remember God sees who you are today but He also sees who you will become. He says the things you will do in His name will overshadow the things you have done in the past.

Saul was a bad man and everyone knew what he did but God chose him and transformed him so that people were amazed and confused that this was the same man. When God calls your name and you answer 'Lord what do You want me to do?' the Lord will tell you to arise and shine. We need to be willing to open our hearts and our hands to whatever God has chosen and called us to do. There must be no room for fear or apprehension. Saul was struck blind and he could not see the way to go but he still did what Jesus told him to do and that was to go into the city. He sat and he waited and prayed in the dark for 3 days.
Most often we are called to sit in the unknown but it isn't about how dark things are but what we do in that time. We may be in the dark but God still hears our prayers just as He told Ananias to go to Saul because he was there, without sight, and praying.

Paul suffered many things after he came to Christ and it says that Jesus showed him the things he would suffer in His name. That is true for us too. Suffering is awful and something we never want to go through but we have never been promised to have it easy. In Acts 5 we read about all the disciples suffered and yet we get to verse 41 and we see them rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Wow how can this be? How is it that they are holding the fact that they suffered in such high regard? They have seen that when they suffer they suffer not for themselves but for the Almighty Saviour Jesus. It is an honour to do this for Christ because we can never ever suffer as much as Jesus did for us. If we do not suffer are we doing God's will for us? Not everyone we meet loves us. In fact there are plenty who hate us and who even kill our brothers and sisters everyday. Are you willing to suffer the same for the name of Christ or do you play it safe for fear of offending someone with the Truth?

Sometimes it is just better to sit in my little house and do what every other person is doing but I don't want to blend in. I don't want for my life to pass by where I have done nothing even close to significant. Where I have suffered nothing and brought no glory to His great and all powerful name. Because of my comfort and my selfishness, I suffer nothing. I may offend a few people here and there with my opinion because they don't agree with me but I just keep my mouth shut when things get a bit heated. I don't mean we should argue with people and get angry but we should speak the Truth and not tie it up in a cutesie ribbon with some pretty theme music so it won't offend.

I am so sorry that things are they way they are but I cannot change the way the world is going but I can open my mouth and preach Jesus. Jesus who suffered on the cross. Taking on Himself the sin of the world so that you and I may be put back in right standing with God that we will not go to the place all those who reject God are destined to go.

Chosen Vessels. Each of us. Vessels do nothing when empty. We have the Holy Spirit that wants to fill us and use us for awesome things that will bring glory to Him throughout all the Earth. Will you be willing to be filled and poured out for whatever God is calling you to do? No matter the cost?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bearing Fruit

John 15:1-8  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

I am currently trying to put the Christmas tree up. First the base went missing. We found that and assembled the tree. Then it was time for the lights to go on. Fortunately I went against tradition and tested to see if the lights worked after I had them on the tree. And. Nothing. Not even a little spark of life. This is rather frustrating as I just want to put the tree up. I haven't had a chance to do it in the last 2 weeks because things have been crazy busy.

As I type this my husband is going through each light to see which one isn't working and causing the rest of the string to go on strike. So far they all seem fine. The test meter is coming out to check which part of the string of lights is failing.

It got me thinking about our own lives. We are like those strings of lights. Sometimes there is something in our life that God needs to be pulled out an examine or throw out. 
In John 15:1-8 Jesus tells us that He is the true Vine and the Father is the Vinedresser. We are the branches. Every branch is examined to see if they are bearing fruit. If we do not bear fruit what good are we to the Vine, Vinedresser, ourselves? We are the body of Christ and we need to be bearing fruit. When fruit is evident in our lives the Father sees it but does not leave us producing the same amount of fruit. He prunes us and allows us to go through suffering, trials and difficult times so that we may bear more fruit.

The good news is that Jesus goes on to say that if we continue to abide in Him we bear much fruit. This tells me that when I go through these tough times I need to be closer to Christ. That when I press in to Him and abide or live in Him then I bear much fruit for without Him I can do nothing. Those that do not stay close to Christ will wither. They will have no strength to draw from and they will dry up and become like kindling.

If we stay plugged in and have the broken lights replaced and we are wired correctly we will shine brightly.

If you are going through some tough times, struggles or suffering today know that Jesus is with you. You are a branch that needs the True Vine and He is right there for you while you go through this. He also knows that if you don't go through this time you will still be you but no different. Going through these things makes you stronger not weaker. It grows you and does not stunt you. That in your current weakness you are made strong in Christ and that in this time you may feel like you need to climb a tree to be able to see what is happening but God sees and will raise you up out of that tree and give you stature in your work and in all of your life.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What is Your Plan?

Luke 10:38-42  38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’[a] feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And Jesus[b] answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

This week has only started to get busy. The end of year is filled with commitments and things that need to be done. Children in school and church productions (though I shouldn't complain one of them was my idea). Prize Giving ceremonies and Parent/Teacher Interviews and loads of baking. Everyone has something on to celebrate and wrap up the end of a long year. So much attention to detail and making sure things run smoothly
Planning, lists and checking them twice and most of the kids are naughty not nice because they too are tired of the hectic schedule.

All these things are really wonderful and I love spending time celebrating with friends and family and seeing how my children have grown and watching them take the stage. A lot of our time can be invested in these areas this time of year that we tend to neglect our time with God.

We become too busy to read our Bible's or pray and if we do pray it is a quick 'Dear Lord please can I get out of this chaos in one piece, thank you Amen' But this can be said for most of the year. Life gets busy and we allow our busyness to shelve the greatest gift we could ever receive... a relationship with Jesus.

I love making or buying gifts, wrapping them and giving them to people and watching them open them. It is my favorite part of Christmas and all the other events that involve giving. I like to remember too the greatest Gift we will ever receive is Jesus and the wonder of His saving power in our lives.

It blows my mind every year to ponder the Saviour's birth and that God came to us in the form of a baby and lay in a manger. What greater gift can we receive than this. That the Father sent His only Son to die for our sins, for our wrongdoing and selfishness that we might be saved and called His sons and daughters.

I know this time is busy. It is inevitable no matter how well you plan. But it is in our busyness that we need to we focused on God. We need to be drawing on His strength and making time for Him first and then all the busyness will not be too crazy.

I know many times when I have looked at what I have to do and gotten so overwhelmed that I did not feel like doing anything. I just wanted to quit before it all started but when I have gone to God first and asked Him for help with getting through the day and reading His word and being refreshed I feel I can do things and it will all be ok. God is with me and is strengthening me so that I can do this work of wife, mother, leader and all the other hats I wear. Our plan for the day must firstly involve spending time in the Word and in Prayer. We need to order our private world within ourselves before we can be effective in out outer public world. While we are being like Martha to everyone we must not neglect being like Mary and sitting at the feet of Jesus.

My heart goes out to all those around me who feel the loss of a loved one this time of the year. Christmas is just not the same without them. A lot of people are depressed and lonely and in need of some hope, friendship and family. This is something we can pray about and ask the Holy Spirit how best we can bless our friends. We can give out Christmas cards and gifts but we need to bring them a message to encourage them and comfort them. Who best knows how to comfort than the great Comforter we have in the Holy Spirit.

My blog posts on a Wednesday may be published a bit later in the day during the holidays because I would have to wait until kids are in bed but I still plan on writing every Wednesday. After schools are closed for the year we plan to take day trips to our favourite places and watch a movie (The Hobbit) and spend time with family and friends. Mainly just veg and enjoy not having to race to school. Ah I love Summer.

 Tell me what your plans are for the Holidays?

 If you need prayer please either email me or comment below.

Until next week :)
xx Tamryn