P2629 Going from reading into transformation.

He has rescued us completely from the tyrannical rule of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom realm of His beloved Son. For in the Son all our sins are canceled and we have the release of redemption through His very blood.” Colossians 1:13-14 TPT.


Lemme ask a curly question … if we need rescuing, and SomeBody has already done itthen what keeps going wrong?? This is the bit most of us get stuck on - mainly because we often don’t feel any different. Especially if we have been provoked by other people or circumstances. The change we need to make, is about the way we treat the Lord and other people, despite our circumstanceseven when under pressure. I’m not talking about hiding the fact that painful, hard things things exist, I’m talking about finding out what the Lord says about any particular situation, and walking through them His Way.


Our finite brains are not the most reliable guides, especially if there is a barrel load of feelings tied to some thoughts! In the academic world E = mc². That’s called knowledge. Hilariously I had to ask hubby if I remembered that formula correctly because I learnt it like, 60 years ago! I also have learnt, from experience, that my knowledge has become faulty over time. So, what if I embark upon a new way to live and I exchange my old thoughts and reactions, FOR WHAT GOD HAS SAID? That’s when I enter what Christ has already given me - His kingdom. We must move on from the concepts into the reality of living HIS way.


If I replace what I’ve learnt, or what I think I know with scripture, plus relevant matching actions, then over time that means I will automatically start to reference things that float through my head, by what HE SAID in the book. I believe that’s what this scripture means:  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2. By doing we end up testing out God's will for ourselves. 


Here’s another verse:  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. WE do it. He will help us but we do it! We refuse to entertain anything that contradicts what He has already told us in Person, through His word. Here’s yet another from Isaiah 26:3:“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.This is the kind of "work" we are engaged in now. We become vigilant to any thoughts that are contrary to the revealed will of God in the book. We live now to please Him. Here’s my last verse that explains this ongoing battle: Romans 7:23: “But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.


My body and its functions have a memory. For instance, when I think about some food, I can remember its taste. In some circumstances, I might remember fear, danger or disappointment. Those things can rule, cloud, and limit my faith if I am not prepared to put aside what I think I already know, in favour of what God has already said. The important bit is to wait upon God and find OUT what He says! We don’t just need to hear a Voice, we need to have what we hear validated by what we are reading, or have read in the bible previously. 


satan taunts us. he tells us we can’t be different because - we are still feeling, reacting, and responding the same way we always did. Feelings aren’t FAITH. We need to learn to defer to God’s opinion, not our own, and that will take time, patience and persistence. When we don't act on what we believe, we are undermining the very thing God gave us for transformation - living faith.  True faith has evidence - it has actions that match up with our belief system.  We are going to have to actively restore the balance we will need in this new life of faith … by knowing what God says even more than the data we’ve been collecting and collating all our lives. Then we go on to choose to ACT the way the bible says.


Jesus did everything that needed to be done to set us free at Calvary. Now we faithfully and progressively change our minds to think the way He thought. This means we don’t have to be ruled by our appetites and fears etc. anymore - we’ve moved away from our old location of fear etc. into a new place. We’ve been born into a new kingdom and it has a new way to live. Like that scripture above in Colossians says, we no longer have to live the way we used to


SomeBody paid our debt — and now we must clear out the closets of our old way of thinking and replace those things with Godly thinking. SomeBody - the Lord Jesus Christ! - freely gave us the power to go from reading the bible into doing what it says = transformation. Now we need to go out and act on what we read. Dying to self means we refuse to be led about by our appetites and needs, instead we live to serve and obey what our King says. Bye. 👋


P2628 “Don’t You care??”

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”  Mark 4:38. Of course you would never say that … and I would never say that either! 🙄 Hmmm… while we are all on this learning curve called life, I believe that there are times when we’ve all prayed, we’ve hoped, we’ve stood on the Word and …. and! … nothing changed. It’s what we do after that happens that matters. Fear makes a poor leader - yet we all know how it feels and what we sometimes do to avoid it!


We had one of those times recently. Hubby and I have been married for 37 years, and there are times, not often, 🙌 - when we disagree. That chaos, of course, is instantly replaced by something spiritual and peaceful…  we sing 'Kumbaya' and it is all fixed!! It is a wonder my nose is not in Pakistan by now … Me and Pinocchio, just like that.🤞


So, long story short, we argue just like everyone else. My primary reason for talking about it today, is that the only way for all of us to get to the other side, like the disciples wanted to - Is to be real about who we are and the fact that we aren’t totally transformed yet! I like to throw blame in the bin. However, there are also times when I can miss! ... I always was a lousy shot!! That’s when I discover, all over again, that I still need His help and transformation badly.  I too, can get tired of cheerily singing: “I’ve got a new way of living”  … 😊🙌 … and instead I want to have a tantrum.


So I’m praying, with tears, of course! ‘God don’t you care??’ And somehow, in the back of my mind, I can see these 12 guys stuck in this boat going up and down, up and down, taking a violent seawater bath … Now, let's look at this …Jesus is up the back of the boat taking a power nap. Yeah.I’m pretty sure I would have had a “Don’t you care Lord?” in me too.


Now let’s be clear. The Lord Jesus needed that sleep. He had just delivered an amazing sermon about planting seeds in good places and watching them grow. Of course, the disciples all thought they were getting a horticultural lesson! But the Lord was teaching them how to retain good seed and become fertile ground. Stuff like getting rid of rocks (of unbelief) and weeds (of fear and arrogance) as well as shoo-ing off the birds that want to steal and peck at your faith. (Other people’s anger, and rotten behaviour toward us.) 


These guys had had a great meeting, right before this. They learned lots … they took lots of notes … well, … probably not, … because they would have looked like nerds. Anyway!! The blooming boat starts to sink and things look pretty terrible …!! It’s not just a bit of a splash in the face, BTW, this boat starts taking water in. Boat in water OK! Water in boat NOT OK!! Anyone knows that. The disciples let their KNOWLEDGE of the sea drown out their FAITH.


These experienced fishermen were frightened out of their wits by the power of the sea and they knew a bad storm when they saw one.  So there were “we’re gunna die” shrieks and shouts … and then they remember that Jesus is up the back of the boat — and — “How on earth CAN HE BE SLEEPING??!!” Just like little kids run to their mum or dad and demand that they fix something that is broken - we too sometimes run to the Lord and drop our faith along the way. We simply can't work out why He isn't helping us.


In times like these we need to tell ourselves - one more time  … and press on, remembering that we are stretching ourselves a little bit further.  Do yourself a favour, try not to set false finishing lines. The bible teaches us: “WE STRIVE …WE STRETCH toward the goal …”  that doesn’t mean we always get there! Sometimes knowing where to run TO is everything --  especially when life produces chaos. Even though these men had just learnt about being careful about where to plant the seed of God’s Word, they immediately planted it in earthly fear instead. Don’t we all?!!  


Whatever we think we’ve learnt, is going to be tested. God is not interested in raising up a whole lot of people with fat heads and skinny, dried-up hearts. Pain will overcome our faith unless we cling to the SAVIOUR … not just focussing the result we think we need. It is not about finding the answer or not, it is about: 'where is MY faith, right now?' Sometimes my not-so-spiritual-answer is: ‘I dunno! I think it fell right down the well of my unbelief!”


If we want to follow Jesus with all our hearts, even though we know that we do dumb stuff, or sometimes we are oppressed by terrible things - then WE’ve won. Press on… !! We simply must stop throwing away our faith ... or even other saints because people make mistakes or they are not perfected yet. None of us are. Redemption is a process. Half the time none of us know what’s IN our own hearts until we get squeezed tightly by circumstances. These fishermen walked with Christ and fear still jumped on them.


The bible wouldn’t teach us how to overcome fear if we didn’t need to learn it. Some awful thoughts attach themselves to Christians like rampaging elephants, crushing the life out of them. Those thoughts do not make us a failure. Hold on … if we can just hold on, and breathe, our faith will come out the other side stronger. When we cling to Jesus in the storm we are doing OK. Remember, the God of all LOVE stood up and HE CALMED THE STORM. We cannot begin to understand the Lord’s aim in whatever is going on in our lives… all we know is that He’s been there before us!


Here’s something to chew on “the natural mind perceiveth not the things of the spirit.”  1 Corinthians 2:4. So we can’t trust what we think or feel, we must learn, progressively, by pressing in, to trust what He says. We know He cares. It’s in the book. 👋

P2627 He is always with us.

“When you pass through the deep, stormy sea, you can count on Me to be there with you. When you pass through raging rivers, you will not drown. When you walk through persecution like fiery flames, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you,…”  Isaiah 43:2.


The bible says - Lord will be ‘with’ us. It does not, however, say that He will always keep us away from dangerous, difficult stuff. I think the reason the Lord does not say: 'I will make it so you never suffer' - is because “I will be WITH you…” is SO much better! The very best thing we can do when we are in dire straights, is to look for Him. Why? Because He said He would be there, that’s why! The body of Christ has become spiritually unfit - we stopped doing our spiritual exercises and started demanding God do this and that. That's what sent the Israelites down the plug-hole!


We can see in the bible, that the fire of persecution could not touch Christ. He stood silently and faced accusation even on the way to the cross. satan couldn’t drown the Lord Jesus either. Even before He was resurrected, He walked on water. He knew Who was in charge of what He did and where He went  He was with those disciples on the water talking to them when they thought they might drown. He stood on the water outside the boat!


Almighty God respects our free will, instead of turning it over to our enemy - we need to remind ourselves Who we belong to. The best thing we can do when things go upside down and inside out, is to ask Jesus to be with us. In His Presence nothing on this earth can bother us - we simply must learn to live in His Presence. Jesus DID it! Kingdom things like grace, mercy, love, and peace etc. are bigger than trouble, they instantly exclude it. Stuff won't go away - we will WALK RIGHT THROUGH IT.


God’s peace does not sort of kind of shoo trouble out of the door, anymore than turning on the light pushes away the darkness! When His peace is present HE is present. (God’s peace is a Person, BTW - the precious Holy Spirit.) If you and I switch a light on, the darkness instantly disappears. There is no contest between light and dark. One thing simply excludes the other. That statement is our point of faith. Despite how we feel - truth is always truth. Our faith is an ever increasing revelation of Who we know God to be.


The real secret to overcoming in difficult circumstances is to make Him welcome. Tell Him: “Holy Spirit You are welcome in this place” - then point to your heart. It is one thing to do that in church and completely another to do it when stuff starts happening. It’s a faith statement. We aren’t talking about a theory - one that works sometimes and doesn’t others. Jesus didn’t try to walk on water. He simply did it, as casually as you or I would walk up the street. The wind and waves didn’t bother Him one bit. Why not? Because ...“He was going to the other side.” That’s what He said and that’s what He did.


Even on this earth Jesus lived in another kingdom! That kingdom has a different POV than this world does. God’s Kingdom has His POV. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], IN Whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].” James 1:17. Knowing God can’t deceive you despite the circumstances, is the place to stand. There is no “maybe” or “I hope so” in God’s kingdom. Everything is YES and AMEN. 


The Lord Jesus quite simply didn’t live in a place that included other possibilities. He took the time to know His Father and relate to Him. Just like you and I take a breath without even thinking about it, the Lord Jesus lived to do God’s will. As imperfect human beings we like to entertain other possibilities — mainly to explain why we are shrieking our heads off in a sinking boat, as it goes up and down in rough seas!


In heaven there is no place for doubt. Faith and Love rule. Our job is to bring those things down here - no matter what is going on around us. This will not work if we don’t practise the skill of trusting God in all things - big and small. We need to immediately get rid of those thoughts that say: “God won’t help me”“This thing doesn’t matter it is too small to bother Him about” ... "I can't." -- I can't but HE CAN. Dependance upon Him means we lean back into Him and trust He is Who He says He is.


A lack of peace begins in our soul. In our emotions, our thoughts. Fear grabs at us and we start to sink in our emotions and thoughts, first. The reason we have to wrangle this or that all the time, is that we are living in the wrong kingdom --OR ... maybe we are trying to live in both! That means we end up doing the hokey pokey with our faith! When we live by His kingdom’s rules then His life flows. Remember, nobody can kill us without His permission. And Almighty God will not give permission until it is the right time. Why? “Because there is a TIME to be born and a time to die ..” (Ecclesiastes 3) 


Sometimes I want to say to people, take your earthly glasses off and put on the kingdom ones and just leave them there, and please, don’t forget to read the book!! His book reminds us of Who He is, and how much He loves us. He is always with us. We are not of this world … we are His Kingdom people. We talk about it, carry it, live in it, breath it, and do it - and if necessary - we die for it. Bye.👋


P2626 What are we investing in?

If we actually happen to have any spare money today, what do we do with it? Some people like to invest it in stuff like blue chip bonds or some such. Me? Not-so-much! I do, however believe in banking, but that’s because I was in the ark!! (I was one of those two donkeys, in case you were wondering.) 


Seriously, 65 years ago I had a Comm Bank tin kid's bank, (It was an ugly thing!) which they eventually replaced with an ever-so-slightly more aesthetic yellow plastic piggy bank. This meant that we learnt about banking at school. Some of us took money to school, and the Comm bank representative came around to collect it and mark it in our little passbooks. That was useful stuff to learn. Mo-ving on …


Matthew 13:44,45,46 says:The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”


Just to make sure we are all on the same page, I would like to start out by saying that, yes, we did talk about this scripture a couple of days ago. But then I read it again… and saw something else! So here we go again … hang in there with me please? 😊


What I noticed first of all was that this man was observant. He wasn’t just wandering about not paying attention to what went on around him. He saw something nobody else saw, and he went after it.  After he saw an item he truly wanted, he invested physically in it. He actually went and dug up the treasure … which was no small feat. That means, he assessed the treasure’s value and decided it was worth all that effort. You know, sometimes this life turns on a pin! For this guy it turned on how observant he was, and whether he was prepared to do more than look. 


After he discovered what he had, he physically covered it up again, and then he deliberately went bought the field. Ya might want to think on that… 🤔  And finally, he went back and dug the treasure up again. The last thing this guy did was he invested in what he found, financially … The bible says ‘he sold everything he had.’ That’s a big deal! Imagine selling everything you have for just ONE THING. This guy did! He invested emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually -- and the bible said it gave the man JOY to do it!


We both know, that Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God, so this parable is not just about an exciting treasure- hunting story. The important part was that this man invested everything in what he found, not just his money. Obviously he thought it was worth it all. That concept made me think too. I came up with a few questions for all of us, to think about today.


Has the kingdom of God cost you and I everything? Yeah, bring that up!! 🙄 Seriously, what has changed in, and about our lives because we have invested in His kingdom? That man’s life radically changed. He made a commitment to what he found. So much so, if that treasure wasn’t what he thought it was, then he had just ruined his entire life. That thought should stop all of us in our tracks. How have our lives changed since we entered the kingdom of God?


How have I responded to it? What kind of investment have I made in it? Was there a big fuss initially, but then that subsided into a routine? Things like bible study Tuesday, prayer group Wednesday, Church on Sunday, joining the choir, fellowship suppers… etc. You know, that doesn’t sound much like what this man did. This does not sound like a hobby, or club to me. This man knew treasure when he found it and he did not hesitate, instead he gave it everything he had! How much is the kingdom of God worth to me? Do I go out of my way to participate in it? Do I give to it, so it can prosper? Is it my first thought in the morning and my last one at night?


Am I so devoted to it that my thoughts go to it during the day?  What are we actually investing our day to day lives IN?  We can easily think of investments as being about money, financial deals etc. But our investment into the Pearl of Great Price, is not meant to be a passing fad or a funding exercise… Or maybe a free ticket to heaven…. or even a promise of better days to come!  Jesus is telling us through this parable that our investment in God’s kingdom will cost us everything. That's the way His kingdom works. Sooner or later we need to realise, it is a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual investment and commitment. 


“… if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, then come, follow Me." Matthew 19:22. SEE… it’s costly! Bye 👋


P2625 Love needs to be given away.

"Love is never wasted for its value does not rest upon reciprocity…  …To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” (C.S. Lewis - The Four Loves.) "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be." Matthew 6:21.


I was challenged by what C.S. Lewis said, because I think it is so true. I have met people who decided loving others was not ‘safe’ — and, sadly, they seemed to be some of the most black and white people I ever met. It was as if all colour was sucked right out of them. In my opinion 'compassion and empathy' bring God’s glorious out-of-this-world’s colour into, and out of our little lives. Those incredible gifts are the very essence of Christ’s being and life. However, without His Presence we can do nothing but flap our gums and look awkward. But with Him, we can usher in His kingdom here on earth, right here, right now. Our God is always NOW.


Let’s be clear, loving others is not only hard, like C.S said, it is fraught with danger. People are not reliable by nature, instead they have been badly influenced by the world around them. However, we have, inside us, the power to speak His life into others. Nobody can tell me that this kind of thing doesn’t or can’t happen, because I’ve watched it happen time and time again! A seemingly ordinary person, who is polite and helpful - but distant - suddenly floods with the Lord’s colour and His light, and they are alive in a way that seemed impossible a second ago. It takes my breath away every single time.

 

If we want to see Him at work and watch what He can do, first we need to lay aside our fear of rejection, abandonment and looking foolish. We will need to be brave. At times like this my favourite thought is: “I am never going to see these people again, what do I care what they think of me?"  So I start with whatever small thought He has given me, and I just keep pulling on that thread. Then, I stop and wait. I’m waiting to see what the Lord will do next. I try not to speak in paragraphs or whole pages. Instead, I do my best to speak as simply and clearly as I can. But the main point is: I do what He tells me to do the way He tells me to do it.


My dear hubby has been used by the Lord in this way, in front of my eyes, many times.  And he illustrates this releasing of God's  glorious colours in others, time and time again when we are on the road. He is normally quite shy, and retiring, or that’s how he appears, until the Lord lights up inside him! At those times he is so bold when he speaks, even to strangers. And they glow under the lamp-light of God’s kindness and approval.  Then they tell him all kinds of personal things they probably wouldn’t even dream of telling people they know!


Hubby’s personal transformation illustrates to me what the kingdom looks like when it flows through us toward others. In those times we do not have to persuade anybody that God is real ... when He turns up, His Presence is self-explanatory! Everyone knows that He is there. They don’t know, how or why … but they know that something extraordinary is going on. Mostly, the people we speak to look like little children who suddenly feel at home and LOVED.


God loved us so much He gave… and unless we participate in a lifetime of giving, loving and continually caring for everybody we meet, we will get stuck in a grey world that is the same old same old, day after day after day. You know, when many Christians get stuck spiritually, they end up hoping that going to church week by week will do. Actually, our relationship with Him is meant to be alive and vibrant minute by minute. If we only have Christian friends and Christian fellowship, then we have limited our exposure to the world around us. This means we will most likely never see the Lord shine as brightly as He does in the darkness.


Lately, we've all been so focussed on making ourselves feel better, we forgotten we are keepers of the most precious substance on this earth - HIS LOVE.  Love is meant to be given away, not hidden or hoarded. Hiding it defeats the very purpose we were given love in the first place! The more we give His love away, the more our lives will be bombarded with His colour and beauty. Jesus can’t help Himself, He just loves to do extraordinary things … usually without our permission! YAY! Our privilege and joy is - we are allowed to watch Him do them.  Aren’t we the blessed ones? 👋


P2624 Take positive action.

Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone you will presently come to love him.” (CS Lewis.)


God said that like this, in Colossians 3:2-10: Set your minds on things that are above(!!!That’s where the real action is!) "… not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ Who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.

In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator….”

… “  (12-14) “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.


So here’s my question — WHO gets all this nifty, but really nitty, gritty, hard stuff? We do! You. Me. US! This means I can’t sit about on my hands praying fervently that the Lord will change me ... while I keep on doing the stuff the bible says DON’T DO! This is a really good time to remember that the Lord put Jonah in a whale (!!) to get him back on track. So if you wanna be rebellious, then you’d better stay away from SeaWorld!


Seriously, this stuff is a no-brainer. We need to take what Jesus said and make it our great AIM to leave the ugly stuff that will tangle us up and make us fall over, behind us. If you are a fighting person who gets bad tempered at the drop of a hat, then whack your hand over your mouth and vacate the premises. And don’t come back until the urge has left you! Our mouths get us in so much trouble ... sadly, I have learnt this truth the hard way. What we say, or sometimes refuse to say … is responsible for so many bad things. If we choose to abuse someone else it will escalate - and unless you are talking to a door, then that other person will retaliate!


No-one wins in an argument. Even if you think you’ve won you’ve lost! When we bad mouth or abuse someone else, we are deliberately walking away from the Lord and empowering the Old Self. Jesus won't interfere, He wants us to take responsibility for our own behaviour. Honestly, I don’t care what they said — what am I going to do about it? We must stop expecting the Lord to supernaturally intervene, and work on changing our own hearts. HE WILL HELP US but He will not do it for us! Nothing else matters but being with Him.  So put away the things that are going to drag us away from loving Him, worshipping Him, following Him. We cannot serve two Masters. Jesus said that in Matthew 6:24. 


For those of you who are related or married to somebody who loves to pick fights, or someone who gets irritable easily … stop blaming them, and quit engaging with the argument. I don’t care how wrong they are - what is the kingdom of God worth to you? Sadly, for some people it is worth less than their own opinion. We want all the power in the world so we can move mountains, but we cannot deal with the mountains of disapproval, criticism and lust in our own lives? Good luck moving that other mountain Jesus spoke about, if you can’t control YOU.


Start speaking love and approval to the other person. It is extremely hard to argue with someone else who keeps telling you how terrific you are, how valuable you are. It is not lying - that person is valuable to God! When we are angry with someone, we rehearse their faults - why not rehearse their good points?! Life is not a competition, it is not about who wins or loses. It is about life and death. Yours, theirs and the people around us. We’ve been put here to shine His light into a dark place —- not to increase the darkness! Lastly, revenge belongs to the Lord, so do yourself a favour and don't get in His Way.


Jesus said this verse nobody likes, remember? (Matthew 5:29)“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for. thee that one of thy members should perish, and. not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” Imagine what we would all LOOK LIKE if we took that verse seriously! 😱 We need to choose to participate in positive actions with His help. Lastly, “Love your enemies …”because at the very least you will drive them crazy!

Bye. 👋