THE CHRISTIAN WALK

#Renewed by Nature


I am continually struck by the beauty of creation and the glory of the fullness of God. As I sit at my desk and I need inspiration, I find myself looking at beautiful pictures, lively colours, simple things and quotes. I have begun to find deep peace and inspiration in the simple things that God created and the lovely people that He has given us to live with. I am astounded every day at how small things can inspire. There are scriptures that inspire me too and below is one of the greatest ones.

Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura
Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura

Psalm 24 (KJV)

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.

This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, theLord mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.

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I walk more these days and the experience of the outdoors has opened up doors and ideas of things that I may never have found. In the outdoors I have experienced greater peace and calmness yet at the same time, the serenity has opened my heart and mind to face some deeply hidden parts of me. The parts and levels that I may never have reached because of the pressures of my life. In this place I came to realise that there is order and sense we need to make about this life that cannot be done if we are not truthful to ourselves and find places of stillness and peace.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell therein.” V1

Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura
Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura

This resonates with me because I realise that I am here on a very set and established timeline and for a set and established purpose. The purpose question stayed with me a lot. I realised that I could be looking for my purpose in big things and deep connections yet it was in small and seemingly insignificant things. Simple things came to me in different and amazing places. I realised that walking along the roadside and driving along in a car provides very different perspectives. Travelling in a public transport vehicle and riding on the back of a public service motorbike also gives astoundingly different perspectives.

The bigger question is how these perspectives affect how I live out my God given purpose.

I decided to let go of my previous perceptions and learn to seek new explanations and opportunities where I am. That is when I realised that I have met amazing people as I have walked some really long distances. The biting cold wind on the back of a motorbike gave me incredibly fresh thoughts (no pun intended). I discovered many things about me as I was sitting in the traffic listening to a radio station I naturally wouldn’t pick just because I was in a public vehicle. I have had personal and social conversations with travellers are we drove together in personal vehicles from A to B. I have walked along newly paved and lit roads at night that in the past were no go zones. The variety of these experiences has inspired me and created valuable and life changing experiences. I discovered things I didn’t know about myself that I now love.

Recently I took a motor bike to get to a meeting and I found myself leaning into the direction of the turn as the driver took corners and sitting upright behind the driver to avoid excess wind. I was suddenly aware that I had become comfortable with bikes (as long as they aren’t being driven at high speeds). My heart was no longer in my throat as we drove along. A few weeks before the motor bike experience, I was walking from one side of a suburb to another and the pace I was keeping caught the attention of a fellow walker. He was an older gentleman and we walked together for a long distance. He shared lots of insights and laughs that made the distance much shorter than it would have been if I was alone. I learnt so much from him and my spirits lifted. As we parted, a friend I needed to speak with called me and he was across the road from where I was and was headed in the direction I was heading. You can imagine my excitement when the day ended and I sat to think it through.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness there of… This fullness means that my life has meaning and purpose and every day has a purpose that must be fulfilled. I must therefore live in an ever present state of awareness that there are things to do, words to say, prayers to make and places to visit that will help me fulfil my purpose as well as help others fulfil theirs. In the book, Divine Inspiration; the key to extraordinary living; Dr. Albert Odulele says something I find totally profound…he says:

“There is ‘substantial creativity’ in you and many await it for the alleviation of their sufferings. When the things locked in you are

Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura
Picture courtesy of Sociedad Argentina de Horticultura

unveiled, joy, peace and an improved quality of life will be the direct by-product for all those who benefit from it.”

So the questions I ask myself every night…

  • Am I living the life I was sent here to live?
  • Am I having the impact that was designed for me?
  • Am I concerned about the insignificant or significant?
  • Has my day lived up to its full potential and impact?

Wow…let’s keep walking this faith walk

 

 

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

A Different Walk….Part 2


So let’s recall the generation of people in Genesis 11. They were so self-serving that they wanted to be seen as the biggest, the best and the baddest…they sought recognition at all costs. Yet in the middle of this generation was a man who was separated and able to seek after God’s own heart. There was a remnant!! A person who would do what God says and so He begun to prepare for the next step that would save the generations.

Genesis 12 introduces us to Abram later called Abraham. He was one of the people in the generation of the Tower of Babel. He wasn’t an outsider or looking in…he was born into this family yet his heart heard God when He spoke to Him….

1Now the Lord said[a] to Abram, “Go from your country[b] and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.

Imagine what that meant to Abram…a God he didn’t know asked him to leave everything he knew for a place that he didn’t even know. Would you do that today? Imagine the level of madness that was attributed to him by all those around him. He was now the epitome of madness and strange behaviour. I can imagine the response of Sarai as she considered what he had said he heard and what that would mean for their lives. They would move about in tents, eat off the land and hopefully make a living…would they survive? Would they die? Would they find a place to live? Was this for rea? I can imagine the questions and uncertainty.

Yet Abram packed and left. Yes, he packed and left to follow that still small voice he heard in his heart. This was inspite and despite of the challenges. As I read and listened to the message I saw why he moved on despite the state of affairs. Abram understood that God had made a series of promises that would be the trigger for his new found faith and ability to keep moving.

  • And I will make of you a great nation,
  • I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
  •  I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you
  • I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”[c]

 

Can you imagine this? He had a guarantee of blessings, greatness and influence as a result of the hand of God on his life. Isn’t that great? Abram was blessed and became Abraham and his walk with God did not end. It started when he was 70 and he was over ninety when God visited him again and again and gave him victory again and again. Genesis 17 outlines even greater dimensions of his relationship with God

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him,

  • “I am God Almighty;[a] walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 
  • “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations.
  • No longer shall your name be called Abram,[b] but your name shall be Abraham,[c] 
  • I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.
  • I will make you exceedingly fruitful,
  • I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 
  • I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
  •  I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession,
  • I will be their God.”

Abraham lived and walked in faith with God. He had a deep, comfortable relationship that allowed him to ask questions, deal with his doubts and fears and still remain a man after God’s heart. Abraham had never known God before the day he was told to leave and go to a land that he would tell him. He didn’t have a Bible to read to tell him about this God. He didn’t attend church or Sunday school. He didn’t have message tapes to listen to or even a congregation to support him…all he had was God. All he knew was his conversations with God.

So this got me thinking about how we struggle with doing exactly what God has said even when we have the bible to tell us the stories of the lives of people who have walked with God and all the things He has done in, with, through and for them. His life radically changed and his blessings radically grew yet he sought the heart of God more than he sought the hand of God. I begun to ask questions of my life:

  • Do I plan my life myself or do I seek direction from God?
  • Do I credit my growth to me or God’s leading?
  • What do I focus? What drives me?
  • What do I hold onto? What is my anchor?

In that moment I realised that I have no excuse for walking in fear or doubt. No excuse!! The only way to finding greater and greater depth in life is by listening closer to the voice of God and spending time in the word.

What have you learnt in your walk? Where are you going in this life?

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Wandering thoughts


SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by MARSHA BURNS:

Stay focused.  Your thoughts have wandered from things that are relevant and have brought up the past to instill a sense of failure and condemnation.  There is little if anything you can do about old issues.  Don’t dwell on the past or allow regrets to hinder your walk in the Spirit.  Release yourself from torment, says the Lord, and be free.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

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I wasn’t ready for this one but here it came. Yet it was so true.

Just this morning as the day begun I was really struggling to keep focus on the things Papa has said over and over in my life. It was like life was conspiring to make me out to be a liar. Some of the things that happened may seem normal to everyone else but to me they were big things at that time.

First, I got stuck in traffic. Now you may say that is normal but not for me…I haven’t sat in as much traffic as I did today in over three years. Next, the shop I had felt led to did not have what I needed so I had to shop around. Next, I took longer than it should have taken to find what I needed. The people I asked for help gave me wrong information and all. Urggh!!!! In the back of my mind I am thinking about the document I am working on that isn’t making sense and costs are not adding up and I am so frustrated. I had to deliver one thing, find costs for something else, be at an exhibition and still deliver on my promise to my client.

By, 9.30am I was so tired it was like 10.00pm, yet the day wasn’t even half-way. Then I read the bulletin above and realised that trouble. ‘I was basing my expectation for today on the past and not fully on the word for today. I was so caught up in how it had worked in the past I had not seen the detour sign.’ Based on these happenings my day was a mess and I could not recover it.

I had to come back to the place where I accept that the pace for today had to be different and I had to connect to the message of today and the plan for today and forget the rest. What a relief when it all came into place. The resolution came a conversation with my business partner and an honest expression that I couldn’t do the exhibition. It came from sitting in the car under the shade and decoding my thoughts on paper as I ate an ice cream cone (best part was the ice cream). It came from moments of stillness and calmness even in the deep madness of the day. It came when the nanny said that she had found resolution for her problem.

At the end of the period of calmness, I realised that my focus had shifted and that caused major panic.

I rest in the love of Papa because I was reminded again that He is God and nothing other than what He has allowed can come my way. Amazing start to a very productive second half of my day. In a very limited way I begun to understand the words of Job when he said, Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. Job 13:15

The Simple Life

Am Desperate


This is the air I breathe, This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence, Living in me

This is my daily bread, This is my daily bread
Your very word, Spoken to me

And I … I’m desperate for you, And I … I’m lost without you

Adapted

This resonates so clearly in my heart today and I am sure it does too for some others.

Desperate means ‘Having an urgent need, desire, etc.: e.g. desperate for attention,’ or ‘leaving little or no hope; very serious or dangerous.’ I have an urgent need to connect with my Papa and remember all He has continued to be even when I forget who HE is. It is interesting that He never changes and never moves away, but often I do when I am overpowered by the cares of the world and for a while forget who He is and how close He actually is with me.

 

Nothing will satisfy me unless it is the love and embrace of Jehovah Himself. I have in the past deluded myself that there are other ways to find fulfilment in my life and I have been brought back here again and again. Unless Jehovah reaches down and breathes His life into me I will shrivel up and die…unless I find time to concentrate on Him and listen to him I will shrivel up and die.

I am so desperate for You Papa, I am so desperate for You. I need a touch in places and measures that only You can understand. I’m lost without you…so lost without You. My daily bread needs to be his word in all its forms…spoken, written and Rhema. I can do nothing without Him and I can become nothing without Him.

 

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

God’s Way


Proverbs 20:24

24 A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.  How then can anyone understand their own way?

Proverbs 16:9

9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

 

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It is interesting that we all seem to think that we are in charge of our lives when in actual fact we are not. Oh, I thought you knew that. Anyway, I discovered this truth in greater depth this week so I don’t blame you. I was reading the Proverbs this week and it is amazing how this fact is repeated periodically and in different ways all through the book. I learned from one of my teachers that repetition is for emphasis and emphasis alone; it is not a stammer.

 

So it got me thinking of Jonah. He was sent to warn a city of impending destruction and he opted to go his own way. He was in a boat going the opposite direction when a storm brewed and almost overcame the boat till they threw him overboard at his own request. He did not drown even in the deepest part of the sea rather he was swallowed by a big fish and spat out on the beach near his original destination. I must say it must have been icky to be in the belly of a large fish will all the bodily fluids and all. Anyway, he eventually arrived at the spot he was sent to and spoke the word of God. When the people came to repentance and he was stark raving mad. What he didn’t realise was that God is not bent on destruction rather he wants all men to come to him and love him and make his name known.

 

The thing I find most interesting is that even in his deliberate and great efforts to elude God he was brought back again and again to the place he had to be and the path that had been set up for him to walk and accomplish. I find this utterly remarkable. Even more awesome is the fact that God was so patient and gentle with him in an effort to bring him to the light. I realised that even today, He is as patient and gentle with me and will move to ensure that I accomplish the reason he has put me on this earth. I like Proverbs 19:21 which says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

 

I need to align with the PURPOSE that God intended me to achieve or else my life be of lesser value than He intended. The thing that remains with me daily is that the purpose of the Lord prevails. Regardless of how much I resist it and try to walk in my own ways His plan for me will not change to suit me and what I want to do. It is therefore in my best interests to be still before Him and listen and meditate on Him all the time then I can be all He wants me to be and more. When I am all He wants me to be I am effective and a blessing to all.

 

Are you like me? Does it overwhelm you sometimes to keep on the path He has selected for you? Do you wonder why things are not going the way you want them to? I urge you to find your peace and rest in Him and discover His purpose for you then you will thrive. When you are sure He is the one who has said you will stand regardless of the circumstances surrounding you. I know without a doubt that being comfortable and content in Him is worth every moment and I seek to be found there daily.

 

Connect to Jehovah and walk with Him no matter what and the rest of your life will make sense. I did not say be easy, I said, will make sense…sense because you will be assured of the hand of God in all you do and that will ensure success by His standards that is better than success by our standards. Walk in His purpose for you. You are blessed.

 

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

Can anything good come out of Galilee?


I have been reading in the book of John and it is very interesting. First of all the scripture has come alive for me like never before because the frantic pace of my life has finally stopped and I am ready to stop and concentrate. Second I have learnt to be still and know the Jehovah is God and he knows.

It is interesting that the people from Galilee did not receive Christ because they knew his parents, sisters and brothers and they even knew the home he grew up in the carpentry shed where he worked. Some of them saw him in the temple as a child with a dirty nose while others watched him when he played in the street with his friends. Yet they all forgot the twelve-year-old who spoke and understood the word so well that the teachers of the law marvelled about him. They were conditioned to believe that life was only right when lived by the laws of Moses yet Christ had come to change the map of life to be lived by relationship. In the end their mental presuppositions bound them and made them less effective in real life while puffed them up with pride in the face of the others.

They got stuck on the point that nothing had yet come out of Galilee that was of significance. Yet God in his wisdom had chosen this seemingly obscure place to begin something new. Remember Christ was indeed born in Bethlehem but they fled the wrath of Herod. Remember too that his father was a descendant of David and he was pre-selected to do this work of God. When the Pharisees were talking they chose not to look back into the history of this amazing man to see the correlation with the plan of the almighty God. Well maybe not forgot but they were so set in their ways and blinded that they could not see correlations.

In many instances, the same happens to us when we are entering a new season. We are full of wonder, doubt and cynicism of whether or not we will succeed in this new walk. How will we make it through? Who will be with us? The list is endless. In reality the greatest sources of this doubt and cynicism is our families and ourselves and we hinder the move of God. You see, those closest to us know us and what we are capable of and how much or little we can and have done based on our past experiences. We on the other hand know what we are currently working through and may so doubt that we will conquer these inner struggles and make it to the other side alive and unscathed.

I am so keenly aware of this place because I have been there many times. God has declared certain things over my life and I am not sure I know how they will come to pass because currently I am nowhere near where I should be. Worse still my life seems to be taking a turn for the worse and I am in the midst of fighting the biggest giants in my life…or so it seems. When you look at me I may not seem any different from the next person but I must assure you that I am and I am clinging to the belief that what He has said about me is who I should be.

Recently a man of God put it so well when he said “We get so stuck in “what is and was” and forget that our focus should be on “the is to come”.” I am a work in progress and even if I fall flat on my face every day as I walk the road that has been set out for me I WILL continue to run with perseverance the race mapped out for me. It is not where I am or where I have come from. It is not who I know or who I walk with. Galilee may be the place I was born but it is not the place I am destined to be forever. My birthplace defined me for a while but now I am defined by the new plan that Jehovah has handed me. I am not bound by what you think of me or where I was born. I have been set free to see myself as my Father and Creator sees me and that is becoming enough for me. What other people think and where I have come from are only as important as an example but it need not tie me down or make me feel inadequate. This is not a sprint but a marathon. It is in the daily commitment to be faithful and obey that I will reap the benefits of my walk with my Father.

Therefore I will daily seek the face of Jehovah and connect with his image and his image of me so that when I get to the business of the day I know who’s I am and who I am and the rest will toe the line. I will be able to overcome days when things are quiet and seem to be going nowhere by human standards because these are the times he wants me to focus on him.

I am called up to a higher dimension that walks exclusively with my hand in the hand of my Maker and the other in the hand of the brother or sister assigned to me for the moment. I will not force anyone to walk with me no matter how much I love them. Rather I would hope that as I walk they see in me and the joy that is inherent and thereof be attracted to the same place I am and help them seek God.

 I pray that we will be on the same road…I love my Lord and Father, how about you?

 Let the amen’s resound.

THE CHRISTIAN WALK, The Simple Life

PURPOSE


The last time I wrote I was talking about obedience and the impact it has. The more interesting one was the realisation that there is so much more that enhances obedience. Think of it this way, there has to be something that makes the demand for obedience worth the pursuit and allows you the time to keep everything on track. This is PURPOSE.

I am not talking about purpose in the usual sense it is used meaning the reason we are alive and the work we are called to do on this side of heaven. I am talking about purpose in the sense of taking a pre-determined position and sticking with it. This is even more interesting when we look at the place is stands out more in scripture.

We all know the story of Daniel and often we overlook the profound truths that lie in plain sight but we never truly see them. We all know the story…Nebuchadnezzar captured the nation of Israel and took them into captivity. He gave orders to have the young men of good looks and royal bearing be brought to him to be trained and fed well in preparation for his service. In the group was four Jewish young men namely Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. With Daniel in the lead they requested to be spared the goodies of the king’s table and given vegetables and water. This was because they had PURPOSED not to defile themselves with wine and food offered to other gods. They were tested and found to be superior in all ways to those who partook of the goodies. AMAZING……

There are many things to learn but I will only highlight the ones I found most profound.

They PURPOSED not to defile themselves. This was not a half-hearted easy decision to make. In the event they did not look better than the other young men the move could cost them and the head of the eunuch’s their lives. Yet despite all this they decided to do something different and nothing could dissuade them from the same. I said NOTHING could change their minds from the decision. They settled it in their hearts that this was a risk worth taking regardless of the consequences.

They REQUESTED to be excused. Even after deciding in their hearts they informed someone outside the circle who was unlikely to understand their stand. The head of the eunuch’s did not know better than to obey the orders of his mater. This coupled with the fact that there were such delicacies he could not wrap his mind around the fact that these young men did not want the goodies. The four men politely made their stand abundantly clear and were ready to stand up for what they believed.

The FOUND FAVOUR in the eyes of man. The head eunuch listened to them and considered his options. There was no natural reason for him to listen to the strange request from these four kids but he did and contemplated it and discussed scenarios with them…UNBELIEVABLE.

They were TESTED. The eunuch agreed to try this mad diet and see if they would actually survive and be what they believed they could be. Ten days…shorter than a diet to begin to take concrete effect and they had it all down and ready. They were more handsome, brighter, fatter and generally in better shape. They passed with distinctions and were then allowed to stay on their preferred diet.

They found FAVOUR with God. God honoured their faithfulness with knowledge, skill, wisdom, understanding and the gift of interpretation. He raised them to a place of prominence that would have been impossible to attain if they did not defer and focus on God and his will.

This got me thinking…if it was me in that scenario what would I do? I am wondering because God is working on me and pushing me to do things for him that I at times find ridiculous and not the way I want it to go. Then I am reminded of different things like:

It is no longer I that live but Christ that lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith

Without faith it is impossible to please God

I cannot achieve great things for God if I am not willing to do radical things and hold onto His word over me and my life. Purpose in this sense then is brought to pass when we have a clear vision on what we are called to be and achieve in this life and make the rest of our days meaningful. What is it that I must purpose to do that I may never be cast out of the presence of Jehovah? The task or act we are called to will vary from person to person depending on our destiny. Each of us has a task to accomplish and so we must buckle down and figure out the best way forward.

In this season of my life…I have purposed to follow Jehovah with all that is in me despite the surrounding situation and the slow pace that things may unfold. I have learned that disobedience is born of an over-active self that will eventually lead me down the wrong path. I wonder what your need to purpose in your to do that your destiny may be released upon you. I have purposed to:

Have a consistent time with my father and king on a daily basis regardless on the circumstance.

Die to self daily moment by moment that I may hear the voice of the Lord clearly

What do you need to do to make the changes in your life… Seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Stand firm and do not waiver even when everyone is changing course. I am reminded of the words of a song by Cece Winans…alabaster box. She says “…you weren’t there the night that Jesus found me; you did not feel what I felt when he wrapped his arm around me…you don’t know the cost of the oil in my alabaster box.”

I believe that when we focus totally on God and his will for us, the world will stop and take notice and make room for us.

What do you need to purpose to do with his call on your life?