P2649 Moving house will change your life.

We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6:4,6,7,&11. “For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—  because anyone who has died has been set free from sin…”  In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

Have you ever physically moved house? I have quite a few times. For those of us who haven’t ever moved, it is a long drawn out process that involves packing up your whole life, and putting everything into boxes, then shoving them into a moving van. Then you go to your new residence and you start unpacking etc. You won’t go back to that old house to live there anymore … because you’ve moved away from it.

Let’s look at what happened when we were born again. WE ALL MOVED HOUSE when we gave our lives to Christ. We left our old life behind us. There is no reason to try to live in that old house anymore, because we gave that house up in favour of living in a far superior new one. Somebody else was trying to kill us where we used to live, and that place we lived in was our life before we met Jesus.

Every time I have ever moved house, I have gone through my stuff and chucked OUT things I no longer needed.  I did not want to start my new life in a new house with junk I didn’t need anymore. When Jesus died for us - He took ALL OUR JUNK with Him to the cross. That junk is gone - just like the earthly junk I sent off to the Salvation Army! Amazingly, the bible says this: not only did we move house - at the same time WE DIED. This means we don’t NEED any of that old stuff any more! It belonged to our old way of life.

We gave up living there in favour of living in His presence, His kingdom. Our new house has given us a brand new way to live. Every part of us moved! Now our life has been hidden within Christ’s life, He took care of our sins, once and for all. Which is why sinning is a waste of time!! Why would we ever want to willingly go back to that old life where we were held hostage to sin? That was the place where sin ran the way we did practically everything.

Sin can't have power over us the way it did before. The only way it can have power over us now is if we give it permission. Our permission, our choices are the criteria that will daily make all the difference. We simply tell satan we will not be dragged back into that old way of living! There will be some adjustment required because we are used to living in that old house, so familiarity could grab us.

But that was also the house where blame, shame, rejection and abandonment lived. In that old house love was conditional - it depended upon our behaviour. In our new house love is unconditional. Our precious Saviour oversees every single aspect of our lives now. To live fully alive there, all we need to do is simply follow our Master’s clear instructions in His book and leave the old house with its old ways BEHIND.

Nothing, not our current or previous circumstances, nor our old proclivities … absolutely nothing that happened to us before we were saved has the power to force us back into that old ‘house’ … even our old habits, our old ways of thinking, doing and being. We take our way of thinking, being and doing from the bible, now by choice. The bible is our illustration of what living in this new life looks like! Practically speaking, I can’t live in my physical old house anymore, because it is about 10 suburbs away and somebody else lives there now! That way I lived is now dead to me. 

You and I could get into difficulties and become unhappy, if we decide we like the old way that we lived better than this new way. That’s why we actively look for His benefits in our lives. The bible tells us not to forget them … 

…one of the benefits of moving house for me, means my adult kids and grandkids live around the corner! Now I get to see them more. Plus I no longer live on the main road, with greatly increased traffic, now I live in a very quiet street.

When we gave our lives to Christ, we went from a life that had no purpose, no real meaning, into a life that moved forward and that new life propelled us into new exciting things. Things like getting to know the God of the Universe and beyond …!! SomeBody loved all of us enough to die for us. They WANTED us - we are not ‘extras’ on the vast stage of life, now we are HIS children.

In this new life/house we’ve been given, we all have a destiny. It isn’t just any old thing that someone made up so we wouldn’t be left out, this is something that only WE can do. If we don’t do it, it won’t get done. Now we can all ‘live for our Father’s pleasure.’ Our job is to learn to occupy our new house, so no trace of the old house/life is left. Moving house will change your life! 👋

P2648 There is no instant reward.

OR… how I have been learning to love somebody His way. Someone who drove me crazy! There’s been an important person in my life that I couldn’t live without, and yet they literally drove me nuts. I have been so angry with them! They had a terrible effect on my wellbeing. First I’d cry, then I’d start ranting and raving, then I’d cry some more - mainly because I felt bad about the raving and ranting bit! Please note, I’ve used the past tense … but I am very aware that I can’t afford to be complacent about this issue!

One of the hardest things to do is to love somebody who is difficult. People who are dangerous and hurtful in our eyes. I secretly hoped the offender would move, and go and live far, far away. Then I was utterly condemned because Christians aren’t supposed to be like that! So I repented until I was blue in the face, but this person continually kept jumping all over my heart... This situation is like an awful ride — you never want to get on, because you know you will hate it and go round and round, but you can’t easily get off either! In the past I used to get my hopes up that things were changing, and then the other person went and did something worse and I felt even more betrayed.

My bible-based learning curve started like this:  I was complaining to the Lord about how misunderstood and cheated I felt whenever I was around this individual. I tried to love them, I really did! I did nice things to please them and then they said or did something worse, and I sank back into anger and despair, adding to my failure. The list of their faults and infringements just kept getting bigger. There was no way of permanently pleasing them. It took me a while to realise that I needed to leave pleasing them behind, and start living to please God!  

I asked the Lord why He thought I had to have that person in my life. And this is what He said: “You asked me to help you to learn to love the way I love, and this person is your opportunity to learn!” Did you ever pray something when your heart was all soft and mushy at the altar, then afterward wish you hadn’t? Me too! I'd prayed He would change my response to this person - yet in the middle of the daily scrum I failed. I still wanted to punch out their lights! I was desperate, because I truly wanted to obey Him … but it seemed like I just couldn’t. My whole concept of LOVE God's Way was wrong. I kept trying so hard, but my thoughts and emotions let me down. I needed to let go and follow instructions.

Then the Holy Spirit, my Resident Expert, said this: “You see giving someone else love, is a reward for their good behaviour. I see loving others as simply living in the River of Life. It’s always your choice, whether you live in that River or not. You are angry with this person because they hurt you. They bring out the very worst in your own attitudes. Actually, they are doing you a favour, because this is a fault in you that you can’t see, and their actions have brought that fault into the light.

He was right. Duh! ... I saw God's love as FEELINGS not as a guideline for life. The thing is you can follow guidelines, it’s simple. You just follow the instructions - no feelings involved. When I consulted my feelings, I didn’t feel anything but anger, disappointment and disdain toward this person, so I didn’t think I had any love left. That's when I did the smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I gave up! And I asked Him to show me how He loved people, whether they were nice or not!  I began re-reading the Gospels. 

As I read about how the Lord was treated I noticed that very few people actually appreciated Him! They wanted stuff from Him all the time, but He didn’t get many ‘grateful hugs,’ that’s for sure! He operated His whole earthly life under a different system. He was not interested in “What’s in it for Me?’' He was far more interested in - “What can I do for you?” So I switched my focus from getting to giving. I asked Him: How can I possibly bless this person?” Loving people God's way is about how we choose to treat people, it is not about how they treat us. People cannot steal our emotional and mental health when what we are doing is OUR deliberate choice!

The Lord gave me some helpful hints:  "Don’t do a revision of how your time with this person went after you leave them. Give it all to Me, and leave it with Me. Continue on asking Me to help you love them. Then stop constantly bringing up why you are annoyed with them. Remain silent in the face of adversity.”  Did you know we can talk ourselves into bad stuff? Neither did I!The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.” Matthew 12:37. 

Lastly, He said: “Let Me define HOW you love them. You think love is about you, because it makes you feel good. Loving others is about them, not you.” Through this time I discovered that loving difficult people means we give up the right to get any reward for doing right. So I took my ‘feelings’ - good or bad, back, and I stopped trying to feel loved by them. I simply chose to obey HIM and obey His instructions.👋

P2647 Hitting the refresh button.

Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.Matthew 11:28 TPT. As I have said many times before, I am very literal when it comes to reading the bible. This means that I tell the Lord, “Please help me Jesus, I am tired out of my brain, I need Your refreshing.” I call that hitting the refresh button. Now here’s a truly great refresh button, from the bible, just for you ... and me.

“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:10, 11 &17. "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!”

So after I've read that, I put what it says in my own words. It goes like this, “If one ordinary guy (and his wife) managed to stuff up the wonderful things God had for mankind - then it stands to reason that His own Son, coming here to earth and living this life the way it can be lived - will release grace, and righteousness, plus the ability to rise above our day to day circumstances.  Amen.

Here’s a heads up. You can’t do what I just did if you are running by the bible with a piece of toast in your hand, on your way to the office! The best thing to do is to pretend you are a tea bag and just sit in the Word until its goodness comes out! If we want to live this life refreshed, we must allow the bible to wash us, and let it soak in. If a stupid computer needs to be refreshed from time to time, then I sure do. Stuff happens in my world all the time and I forget to duck! 

The other day we went to the doctor and she was such a negative Nancy I wanted to go home and pull the covers over my head. However within days, Father God proved her negative POV wrong. Sometimes people will say and do things ... ugly, grumpy, faithless things. You know when Jesus is not in charge, none of us are all that great. Life happens and it isn’t always happy happy joy joy! This means I will often need a fresh page to go on with - how about you? I need to pull focus back to what is real, and separate out whatever is shadows from the past, floating through my mind making me angry, unhappy or afraid.

The bible clearly tells me that God is not mad at me, now I have the freedom that Christ died to give me. After I soak in that thought, whatever I need to do is already done, because I am yielding to the will of the greater One within me. FYI, I've learnt to let go of my own way - my way ends in death! So ... I forgave the doctor and then I got on with what was going on, even though it was a little hairy at our house for a bit. I want His way, the way that leads to life — life and more life. This means I can have His grace for any situation I find myself in, and if I forget to partake of that Grace — then I have His Grace to lead me back into His complete redemption!

Here’s an important key to living this life refreshed … Don’t look at your circumstances and defer hope by waiting for things to change before you enjoy His benefits. “Hope deferred will make your heart sick!”  Start reading about His benefits and then start cheering.The bible tells us not to forget His benefits in Psalm 103:v2. Remind yourself of everything that He has done in your life. The more we pull on that string of remembrance the more good stuff comes to the surface - we start remembering how good He has been to us.  We can preach ourselves happy if we take the time to really remember, read, and tea-bag soak in all He has done for us when we read our Beloved’s words.

The bible is not just an ordinary book. It is God Himself speaking to us from day to day. Imagine this. Suddenly you are pulled up into the throne room, you have no idea how … and Almighty God starts speaking to you from the throne. That’s what happened to Isaiah and Paul … do ya think they might have remembered what He said? To be refreshed we need to give His book more than a cursory glance. We need to prayerfully ask “What have You got for me today precious Holy Spirit?” Then pause, and read. Read until your heart gets happy and you start to think ‘I never knew that stuff was in there.’

Every day we meet the Lord in His book, and we use that book to refresh ourselves. We pray and talk things over with Him, so we can spend refreshing times with Him. We are His kids whether we feel like it or not. We cannot afford to live in our feelings because they change with the weather and our circumstances. Push the refresh button and drag your thoughts out of hell and into heaven. He’s waiting for you … 👋

P2646 "Hope thou IN CHRIST!"

Hope is a sign our faith is healthy. If we are feeling hope-less then our situation has overcome our awareness of how Mighty God is! That’s bad. It’s bad, like not breathing is bad!! It means there is something we need to fix, first with the Lord, and then with others. Other people can be stumbling blocks - especially the ones who see no need to change, or they think they can’t, because they were just born this way! Christ knows how to walk with difficult, dumb people - He did it for three and a half years!

Here’s a revelation - everything God made is good, so if it is NOT good - then it’s NOT God. To clear that up we need to start with ME not the other guy. But sometimes the difference between not good and good is simply time! Just saying is all …

… The truth is clear, we can hang on to resentment, bitterness, anger, lying, hatred as much as we want to, but those things’ll drown ya! You end up snarling and snapping at others. It's dumb to be lying in the muck and mire when SomeBody paid for you to live an overcoming life!

You know, I think that Covid did more than make a whole lotta people very very sick. It stole some people’s hope! We gotta watch out for that. Hope is our anchor. Hope holds us steady when the waves of this life get too big for us to cope. Actually, when a boat slips it’s moorings or loses its anchor, it floats away! Hebrews 6:19 says: "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, …”  Hope anchors us into God!! Remember, we hope in what Christ is doing, not in our circumstances changing.

Jesus Christ is our hope anchor. What He did for us, and what His death gave us, anchors us into Almighty God’s kingdom. Jesus took us into the Holy place by what He did. Now we have Him as our priest praying on our behalf, before the throne, and that never ends. The Lord God Himself provided the ultimate Answer - Christ! And He is ever-mindful of our humanity. We are so blessed to have a Saviour Who is God and also a human being - He understands how tough this life is.

Sadly we sometimes forget what we’ve been given and we wander off into the wilderness, wondering where God went. Bleating: “Why is He not looking after me - He promised He would look after me?!”  In those moments we have become imitators of the Israelites in the wilderness… remember, the Good Shepherd always goes after a lost sheep! The Lord always looks after His own, He just has a different timetable than ours. That difference is meant to help us with patience and perseverance, not introduce doubt.

"There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” Romans 8:8 MSG.

When we lose sight of our anchor, our hope - Jesus Christ the HOPE of all mankind - we are forgetting who we are now. We do not have to grab, grasp, scheme, scream and connive to make life work. Now we trust God and let go of our own ideas, and pay close attention to His Word. His word is our strong fortress, our hiding place, our comfort, and our defensive position. Otherwise, we are running the risk of forgetting Who we belong to! Our strong hope is in what Christ has already done.

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God My Saviour; MY GOD WILL HEAR ME.” Micah 7:7. We remain confident that if the answer we were hoping for does not happen, then we remind ourselves that our God has heard us and HE HAS A PLAN. That’s our anchor. Hopelessness takes over when we concentrate more on the problem, than on our ever-present, always loving, constantly praying for us, Saviour. Our problem being solved is a temporary relief --instead we need to refocus on Christ Himself,  He is the Answer. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick."  BUT!!! ..."We can do all things through Christ because He strengthens us."

As we learn to cultivate patience, and wait on the Lord, we will renew our strength. We are given the energy to rise above our problems and keep running the race. We are enabled to keep on walking without fainting. Holding onto hope stretches our faith so the next time we use it, we become aware that our faith has grown. We must keep a watch over our hope, it is the warning light on the overcoming dashboard of our lives. We do not have to live downcast lives ..."SOUL, HOPE THOU IN CHRIST!"👋

P2645 Faith is our way of life.

In many churches today we have grown to think of evangelism as outreach.  That brave, but weird guy who stands on the corner preaching is kind of embarrassing - so we secretly hurry by him. We don't like to confront people, instead we invite a 'special' person with an evangelistic gift come to our church. Now our job is to ask everybody we can think of to those services so the man with that precious gift can present the Lord to others. Hey! That’s great - do it!…  BUT!! … … you just knew there was a ‘but’ coming eh?What about the guy who sits in the next cubicle at work, or the person you see daily on the bus, or the parent you meet every day by the school’s gate??? 

When we think about reaching out to others perhaps we feel that we have no spare time to prepare ourselves? What with the kids, our spouse, our church, our job, our extended family, our friends, the gym, and our pets! Here’s something I have learnt. Don’t pray for anything unless you are prepared to be a part of the answer! God loves participation, He loves to do things with us. Everybody gets to join in. WE are His part of that answer to our prayers for the guy at work, or the person on the bus, or little Jimmy’s mum at the gate. 

We've forgotten that Jesus goes with US, everywhere we go …even to the school gate. Christ won’t ever leave us or forsake us — the bible says so! He is already standing right by the throne, praying for the person in the next cubical to ours, and the cubical next to that one etc.etc. He also knows the NAME of every single individual on that bus, or train. He knows Jimmy’s mum, and everything that happens at her house. He is limitless. He just needs an interested, available conduit to both pray AND speak.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …” 1 Peter 3:15. Our job is to be ready to speak at any given moment. Hubby and I have found a fascinating thing, when we speak to one person, other people often 'hover' about eavesdropping around the edges! Jesus Christ is a great fan of ‘as you are going’ He lived that way. Witnessing is a state of mind, a way of life, not a spiel we have memorised.

It kind of works like this: …you are praying for Jimmy's mum and you meet her at the gate. She starts to tell you how Jimmy's been a right pest lately and she is nearly insane trying to deal with his rudeness, and constant obsession with the internet, plus his grumpy moods, etc. etc. She says: ‘How do you get your Johnny to co-operate?’ You shrug your shoulders, roll your eyes, and say: “I have to pray about that all the time. Jesus helps me.” "If you confess Me before men then I will confess you before My Father."You don’t have to go to that gate all primed up to speak to Jimmy’s mum - you just truthfully answer her questions.

After that I would leave that remark lying out there. Just tell Jimmy’s mum in your own words that you can’t manage Johnny or your life without God! And then leave it alone. It would be good to volunteer to pray for her and Jimmy if she wants you to. BTW the previous remarks are my suggestions to illustrate simplicity  - they are not a script anyone is meant to follow. The REAL secret is, don’t leave the Lord out of anything!  Tell Him you are on deck for what He wants at any given moment. We need to use our faith to be available to love on people, help them and tell them about the SOURCE of our help

Our faith is not meant to be a privacy issue … that’s this world’s idea of faith. Active faith is about the way we live. We simply need to be upfront and honest about what we believe. As we go along, other things will be added unto us, which means some stuff happens automatically when our faith is alive, active and central to everything else. That’s what seeking His kingdom first means. A part-time faith leaves room for confusion - you never know whether you should speak or not. That’s why it is good to always be ready to give an account of the faith that is within you.

For years Christians have been taught, and encouraged to think, that they have to be a perfect witness to the society around them. They have to look right, sound right and behave well everywhere under all circumstances. Good luck with doing that, without the Holy Spirit helping us! Sadly when we pretend with others, it actually becomes more difficult to be real with the Lord. Hiding becomes a habit. We stop talking to Him about our failures.

Meanwhile it is highly likely that other people can see through our pretence anyway!. And if they live next door to us, they probably hear us shouting at each other or the kids - on a very rare occasion, of course! 😂 Our whole life’s focus is Christ, what He did for everyone, and that cannot be a part-time pursuit. Faith is not just about salvation, it is the way we live now. “The just shall live by faith.”  Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38.  Bye 👋

P2644 Give up your right to be right.

Definition. 'Redemption means to secure the release or recovery of persons or things by the payment of a price. It is a covenantal legal term closely associated with ransom, atonement, substitution, and deliverance, thus salvation.'

Here are some great scriptures about redemption:Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” Galatians 3:13. “But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” Galatians 4:4-5. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7.“He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12.

OK, let's move on now we have established a premise. Redemption is part of our new birthright. I totally believe that it was done once and for all by Christ at Calvary - BUT - I now choose to apply it into my life, all day every day.  Today, I want to share the way I see that redemption working personally. I will begin with a hypothetical scenario. 😂 I get cranky and mess up, and I yell at my poor beleaguered hubby. I get good and angry. The first thing I need to do is to remove myself from that scene and toddle off and go sit somewhere else so I can ...

1/ Repent. Repenting always come first. It is like clearing out a blocked drain - my spiritual ears work so much better when I start with what I did. When I wander off into what the other person did or said, I will get lost! My own feelings tangle up what is in the past with the present. The real secret to repentance is this, even if I don’t think I am wrong. I still go there first. Why? Because the bible says not to 'lean on my own understanding' - that’s why! It also says 'the Lord gives grace to the humble' and at that particular moment I badly need GRACE. It is extremely important not to rush through this repentance process, because our enemy is lying at the door waiting to trip us up.

2/ Next I pray until I regain my peace. I need to do that before I even think about talking to the other person. Why? Because I don’t know what you're like, but once I’ve gotten mad it takes a while to calm down! But when I have His peace, then I know can reconcile. I’ve repented, and God has given me His Grace -  whether I feel like it or not! Now His peace is available to me and I can stand on something firm. Not my feelings, or even my own need. I stand on His peace. It’s in the book. If the other person is still unhappy with me, now I will have grace and peace to help me through their accusations and angst.

These things work because the bible says: ‘a soft word turns away anger.’ Just to make this clear, those are faith steps, I often don’t feel anything. But I choose to refuse to go over and over what happened and who said what and how hurtful it was! Instead I pray and hold fast to those words that renew my mind to think like Jesus does. I take those errant disruptive thoughts captive and I tell the Lord I am prepared to suffer wrong. At this juncture the other person cannot lead the way unless they too decide to go the way of grace and peace - otherwise everybody’s feelings get the better of us!

3/ Then I ask the Lord to please redeem the situation. Why? Because something is going on in me — or that other person that is out of order with Jesus’ ever-present, always available, redemption. I don’t try to diagnose whatever that is, because I’ve know I have fallen down that hole way too many times in the past! I can end up in the land of ‘what you did and said’ in a heartbeat. The Lord has already told me I can easily see the speck in your eye, but the log in mine escapes me! Acknowledging our mutual redemption is necessary to repairing relationships.

Next, I walk away from who is right and who is wrong, and start to pursue LOVE. Love is the perfect bond of unity - and at that point we need unity! Asking for redemption releases God’s power into a fixed or stalemated situation. That prayer is right up there with the prayer of relinquishment. Those two things are like the best prayers ever…!  I pray them all the time. If something seems out of order or difficult, I pray for redemption. I relinquish my right to be right and have things work out the way I want them to, and I yield to God’s greater judgment. 

The bible tells me, that we have authority to do it.  We are charged to participate in restoration and releasing His redemption into the world around us. I have interpersonally seen miracles when I operate under the grace of redemption. Things that could not be fixed were ... when I gave up my right to be right, and went God's way instead. Bye. 👋