To know and be known.

Matthew 6:6 (parentheses mine)

“But whenever you pray, go into your innermost chamber (the enclosed room of your heart) and be alone with Father God, praying to him in secret (not on public display). And your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly.”

I was thinking about the above verse as I’ve been preparing for this season and our church’s 21-day fast.  It led to me many more thoughts that I felt to share with you, believing they will resonate with you also.

The things of the heart…no human can see or determine. Only God.

It’s hard because we naturally all so want to be seen and known. But many of us are not getting more intimate with God, the only One who can truly know us. So we make Facebook accounts and Instagrams, all in hopes of being seen and known, even though it is so incomplete and partial, to say the least.  We’ll post our very best, be our very brightest, hoping someone will be interested.

It is a deep, insatiable cry of our hearts to be known.

But to be known as we truly yearn for, we must be exposed, fully undone. 

We can’t hide parts of ourselves. Even in an intimate human relationship, parts of you can still be hidden and veiled, even unintentionally sometimes. You can only be fully known and fully intimate as you were created to be, by your Creator.

Our longing can and only will be fulfilled in the hidden intimacy with Jesus.

This is a great mystery…the presence of God and His indwelling spirit… ridiculous to the onlooker and the most beautiful gift known to mankind.

Regardless of our many questions, stumbling blocks, baggage…He beckons, ‘come away with Me…experience Me, deeply, not on the surface…’

1 Corinthians 2:13 “The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God and brings out what God planned all along.”

As I sat there, I felt Him say to me, and to you…

“I know you have questions, desires, pain, longings, dreams, fears…stop running everywhere else, trying to find answers and the more you long for. I have always been and will always be your answer. Fulfillment, real, lasting fulfillment, is only truly found in Me. Nothing else you endeavor to do or accomplish will mean as much as it could without first finding your deepest joy and life and satisfaction in Me.

Don’t you see it? Don’t you hear it? My call? All of My creation, since the beginning of time, has been whispering, sometimes shouting, beckoning YOU, telling of My desire for you, how I long for you.

Ocean waves, how they both roar and gently summon. Sunrises, sunsets, how they passionately and uniquely call out to anyone who will stop for a moment to breathe in and look and listen. While all of My creation is so vast in its’ call, yet it is so personal. Like that cloud or shooting star or a glimpse of a flying bird that only you see. I put them there for you because I so so love you. See My creation with new eyes – gifts and messages of love to you – drawing you closer, closer, closer still…can you hear My heart beat wildly for you?

All of creation just barely scratching the surface of My love for you. Think about that!

I’m calling you, setting you apart, not for service or for bettering you – but right now I’m setting you apart for Myself. 

Oh come out of hiding, out of these many, many distractions, hindrances, noises, and hear my passionate whisper.

I just want you to know Me. 

I just want to love you.”

 

You know, we have always been too good at hiding (ever since the beginning!!). When we messed up, saw and knew our own brokenness – our nakedness, our exposure…we hide behind devices, entertainment, books, achievements, jobs, success, failure, relationships, isolation, anger..we hide by remaining hurt, not allowing Him to come in and heal.

We are far more comfortable hiding our pain and pretending it’s not there than meeting Him face to face in silence and having all our pain exposed.

But oh if we’d face them, allow Him to see and have them, how we could be healed and whole.

But all too familiar we are with our limp, disguise, mask, we’ve even fooled ourselves.

But yet He sees it all. He waits. For us to come to Him. (James 4:8)

He wants to heal. He WANTS us fulfilled and whole.

Fulfilled and whole. These two words are so beautiful, wouldn’t it be amazing to live fulfilled and whole? It’s only possible with Jesus.

I’m just in constant awe of how much he loves us and his patience with us, we (everytime I say we I include me!) need Him so much, yet we so easily remain in our stubbornness and pride.

Oh, how He knows us. And loves us still.

Geez. Too good. No other fountain, no other well.

John 4:14 But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water [satisfying his thirst] welling up [continually flowing, bubbling within him] to eternal life.”

 John 6:35-40 Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life. Come every day to me and you will never be hungry. Believe in me and you will never be thirsty.  Yet I’ve told you that even though you’ve seen me, you still don’t believe in me.  But everyone my Father has given to me, they will come. And all who come to me, I will embrace and will never turn them away. 38 And I have come out of heaven not for my own desires, but for the satisfaction of my Father who sent me. My Father who sent me has determined that I will not lose even one of those he has given to me, and I will raise them up in the last day.  For the longing of my Father is that everyone who embraces the Son and believes in him will experience eternal life and I will raise them up in the last day!”

John 17:3 Eternal life means to know and experience You as the only true God, and to know and experience Jesus Christ, as the Son whom You have sent.

John 10:10 A thief has only one thing in mind—he wants to steal, slaughter, and destroy (this is not God! He is not a thief! He’s not trying to steal your happiness, good things in life, etc. this is the Enemy!) But I have come to give you everything in abundance,more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow!

Advertisements

a story of Life

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of Life…”

So many people are alive today, but dead inside; Constantly seeking for something or someone to fill the emptiness they feel, to numb the pain they can’t face, to allow them, even for a moment to at least feel alive, only to find so quickly the same gnawing void, returning again and again.

I’m so over living my life as if Jesus is a good suggestion to a great life.

He alone is life (John 14:6), which makes no sense to those who don’t know him (1 Corinthians 1:18).

I grew up going to church – but this isn’t a story about how religion changed my life (because that never does you any good), or how going to church is so awesome (because without people who love Jesus it’s just a building filled with people doing things).  Neither of these things is anything without a relationship with Jesus (John 17:3).

I kind of don’t really tell stories because to people who don’t know or care at all about Jesus, I’m so quickly and easily misunderstood. They smack a label on me according to what they’ve experienced according to the following words they know: “Hillsong”, “Church”, “Religion”, etc.

This is my biggest frustration in life personally and it hurts to be misunderstood.  But how people receive my story isn’t my responsibility.  But everyone needs to tell their story. No one can refute your story, it’s yours, it’s your life you’ve lived. It’s very real, and it’s meant to be shared.

When I was twelve years old, I understood what it meant to surrender your life to Jesus, and I did.  Theology and jargon aside, I knew he was real, I knew he was offering to me real fulfillment and life that the world couldn’t give, and I knew deep down that I needed him. It was simple, really. When you know, you know.

From age 12-16, I was sick with an undiagnosable illness.  It interfered with my daily life often. I never felt normal. During this time, at age 14, I moved across the country to a place where I knew no one and didn’t fit in.

Both of these experiences brought me closer and closer to Jesus. He was changing my life every day, transforming my heart and filling me with a joy that could never be shaken. People ask me why I’m happy all the time; it’s not fake and it’s literally because I just love Jesus so much. He’s amazing and every day I’m left in awe of how my Creator knows me, sees me, and is using me in ways I never imagined.  Again, I realize none of this would make sense to someone who doesn’t know him. I wish I could describe it better. I just wish everyone would know him. It hurts me to tears when I realize the reality that people are dying without having really lived. It’s like everyone else is eating cheap Macca’s burgers every single day for the rest of their lives, deteriorating without realizing there was a feast they could’ve been having, with a thousand different tastes and textures and flavors and actually nourishing them. Bad example maybe, not sufficient. blinded to Truth by the enemy of our souls, unknowingly ignorant of the real life they could be having (2 Corinthians 4:4).  You don’t know what you don’t know. I’m praying that God will reveal himself to them, and by them I mean you, if you aren’t vibing with me right now (John 6:44).

I’ve experienced a lot of hurt and rejection in my life, too. When I was seven my parents got divorced and each remarried. This father role that wasn’t completely filled left me constantly turning to guys for affirmation of my worth. I was looking to guys to tell me I was lovely, worth something, desirable. I wanted so badly to be seen, noticed, wanted, chosen, loved by a man. None of these things are bad in and of themselves, as we are wired this way, but the desire for these things played out in an unhealthy way that just left me more broken and alone.

But even through all of it, Jesus was the One who would never reject or abandon me (Hebrews 13:5).  Instead of blaming God (for things mankind does or we do ourselves), positively, I ran after God all the more. I knew how much I needed Him, that He alone was the only Healer of my broken life.

He’s brought me freedom – complete freedom – from guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, discontent… And that’s real stuf. I’ve experienced those emotional realities and states deeply, so I’m not saying knowing Jesus is a get out of pain card, but he does change everything. For the better.

Over the years I’ve just been falling more and more in love with Jesus. And not some illusion of a lovely life, I’m experiencing Him every single day! It’s just too much to write, all he’s done in and around and through my life (Psalm 40:5).

I was miraculously healed of that 5-year sickness, you know. The night before I went on a trip to New York (to go tell people about Jesus), people I’d just met prayed for me and I was instantly healed. The following week I prayed for a woman in a wheelchair and she stood and walked! I’ve prayed for a blind person and their eyes were opened. And this stuff happens every day in my life! I pray and ask God for something, and he always answers with what we need! Things I tell no one, that only God knows, that I can’t control the circumstance, he comes and does the impossible.

There are countless times I’ve had zero dollars, prayed, and received a large amount of money the following hour or day or week, and many times from strangers I’ve never met! I’ve been studying now for 4 years, and the cost of my education alone has been over $32,000 that I’ve paid in full in cash (not even counting the $70,000+ I’ve spent on living costs). Guys, I haven’t made that much money. I’ve worked anywhere from 4 hours a week to 18 hours a week (minus the few months I worked full time 35 hours). And went many months with no job at all. God has provided the money, miraculously, every time and just in time when I needed it. Every individual situation could’ve only be described as God answering my prayer. Debt isn’t my portion in life.

Regardless of outward external circumstances, because in the end healing and provision isn’t the sum of what life is, my HEART and my SOUL and MIND are completely altered by Jesus. I always have peace, always have joy, and always have security. In the middle of hell and challenges – It’s not something that is there for a moment when things are going well and then gone, it remains, because I remain connected to Jesus, who IS Peace, Joy and a Refuge (John 15, Isaiah 9:6, Nehemiah 8:10, Psalm 46:1).

My whole life belongs to Jesus.

Galatians 5 says it best:

 “It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on… 

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”

I haven’t even ‘preached the gospel’ or told you how to know Him, can get into that elsewhere if you want to. I mean, I’ve been studying the Bible the last 12 years (and in school the last 4 years) and haven’t even scratched the surface of His love, of knowing what He is really like, and yet I’d love and live my life for him the rest of my days.  And I realize in this post I’ve spoken very experientially… And even though this post falls short of what I really want to convey and doesn’t even tell the slightest of the full story, I just couldn’t say nothing. I had to say something. Jesus isn’t just a part of my life, He IS my life, He is everything. He’s not a religion or an idea. I don’t have to do anything to prove anything or to tick off a box. He’s probably none of the things you’ve heard or thought he was.

He is everything good and more. He is real Love – not even remotely able to be compared to the concept of ‘love’ seen in the world, but so much better. I would hope one would see his love in the way I live my life, in the way I write, in the photos I take, in the way I love, in the way I do anything.

knowing and loving Jesus doesn’t make me perfect, but it makes me alive – resurrected, never going back alive. He flipping loves you so much, is furiously in love with you, and wants so much for you to know and experience his life and love.  He wants you to come home to your true self, who you were always created to be. That’s been another amazing part of journeying with Jesus, discovering from the depths who you really are, really and truly – astounding.

I set before you life and death, blessings and curses, now CHOOSE LIFE. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Everyone has a stumbling block (or a few) in the way of them seeing Jesus as he is. Everyone needs different questions answered, or needs to see/experience Him in a certain way to know it for themselves. That’s why we’re all unique and that’s why it’s so important that God knows each one of us and what we need. All I hope this post does is get you to think about him, about your current life without him, and spark the hunger within you, that is for him.

Psalm 16:8

“Because You are close to me and always available, my confidence will never be shaken, for I experience Your wrap-around presence every moment. My heart and soul explode with joy – full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure.”

Into the Ocean // 2018

2018!

In 2 weeks I’ll have been living in Sydney for 5 years. 5 is significant. ‘The number 5 symbolizes God’s grace, goodness and favor toward humans and is mentioned 318 times in Scripture. Five is the number of grace, and multiplied by itself, which is 25, is ‘grace upon grace’ (John 1:16).’ Wouldn’t you know it, I’m turning 25 this 21433891_137859873494267_1512214236384722944_nyear? I see you, God.

Not only this, but I believe I only have 7 months left in Australia. And after last year (it was pretty difficult), I’m encouraged by the Lord that He is assuring me that in these next 7 months He will finish the work He wants to do in me here. He’s doing a complete work. He won’t leave things undone that He desires to bring together, in me and through me here.

As I was approaching 2018, I was a little unsure. I foresaw my next 6 months to be hardcore studying as I finish my degree and then 6 months of the unknown (which I can’t even figure out how I feel about that! It’s both terrifying and intriguing). 21147737_206304883243646_7128944935906050048_n

Today, on January 1st, I got all my feelings out on the table with God.  Tried to make a few deals with him, but realized that might not work haha. I foresee the next year involving cost and risk. I pretty much left that conversation with three words, “I am willing.” It’s hard saying those words when I have no idea what I’m saying yes to. As I’ve said in the past, I could be in Africa, staying in a hut, or I could be in America, renting an apartment, or I could be anywhere in the world, really – it’s all open, I’ve not closed off any option where God could lead me (not even China – but that was a bit reluctantly that I opened that option as I have zero desire to go there but God’s put that country now in a couple of my dreams haha).

But as I sit here now, I am filled with more hope, as I lean into His voice and His heart for me and this season. The theme He’s given me for this year is INTO THE OCEAN21318921_10212913399723152_4339453039104253795_o

As amazing and crazy and hard and transformative as these last 5 years have been, I’ve been in a comfy, safe, shallow, measurable, quiet swimming pool.  And I’m thankful for the safe and sacred space God has kept me in, growing and preparing me.  But I see now that if I were to remain longer than the intended time, I would stop growing.

I hear Him calling me out into the ocean…where it’s wild, unpredictable, deep, 21371681_1921939291427068_1143180007678410752_nimmeasurable, vast, sometimes rough and sometimes scary. But also majestic, beautiful, awe-inspiring, adventurous. Though it seems vastly different and feels different than my swimming pool, I have an all knowing, all powerful Captain, a Compass I can rely on that never fails, and an Anchor that withstands all seasons.

So, even though I know little about what lies ahead, no agendas being thrown my way, I have a word from the Lord, and that’s all I need to move forward.

I’m believing for new experiences, new depths, new heights, new challenges, new revelations, new friendships, new wine. 21414642_10212913401323192_4407082683192964768_o

God gave me this verse literally and unmistakenly twice today, so I’m claiming it as my verse for the year:

 

This is what God says,
    the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
    who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
    they lie down and then can’t get up;
    they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
    It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
    rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
    —the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
    rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
    the people I made especially for myself,
    a people custom-made to praise me.

Isaiah 43:16-21

21107968_1495910997144398_2473232470447751168_nProbably significant that I named my blog New Road New Rivers.

Even in the vast, deep ocean, He can carve a path for me.

Even in a dry, hot desert, He can rush a river through it.

Into the ocean is where I’m heading in 2018!

 

21457558_10212913395243040_8974587862063913772_o

A word for you

Zephaniah 3:16-20

16 On that day
    they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
    do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

18 “I will remove from you
    all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
    which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
    with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
    I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
    in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
    at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
    among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[a]
    before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.

I really feel that God wants to speak a word to you in this season of your life.

He says do not be afraid! Do not let your hands hang limp!

What have you been secretly afraid of? What has you walking in any kind of defeat inside?

God is saying that the Lord YOUR God is WITH you in the midst of this, and look to Him because HE is the Mighty Warrior who saves!

You don’t have to keep trying to be stronger. You don’t have to hold everything perfectly together or appear good. God doesn’t need you trying to be Him, He is the Mighty Warrior who saves. He alone is Savior! And we need a Savior! We cannot save ourselves. Maybe you’ve been trying hard to fix yourself, grow yourself, work hard to prove yourself. But He’s saying no more of that, let Him help you.

God Himself IS CURRENTLY taking great DELIGHT in YOU!  In His love He is not rebuking you.

What rebuking and accusing voices have you been listening to? They haven’t been from your Maker, He is the Lover of your soul. He is CURRENTLY and constantly rejoicing over you with singing!

He hasn’t stopped singing over you. Nothing can make him stop, or love you less. Whatever shame and guilt and fear and sin or whatever defeat you’ve been holding onto, it hasn’t changed his love or delight over you. He isn’t as focused on your behavior as you have been, He is focused on your heart and loving you.

He HAS ALREADY removed mourning! At the cross when He said it is Finished, that was the end of it! We take hope in Jesus that mourning is never a lasting thing. Mourning may remain for a night but His JOY always comes in the morning! So whatever you’ve been facing that has caused a mourning in your spirit, know that it is being lifted in Jesus’ name.

He has ALREADY removed loss, burdens, and disapproval from your life.

Where you are experiencing loss, He already has in mind how it will be found and restored again in Him. Do not fear loss or be discouraged in your loss because it is not permanent and He will restore.

Where you have been carrying burdens, He is saying you do not have to carry them alone. He puts you in families and in community so they can bear burdens with you. But the ones that are too heavy even for others, HE wants to carry them for you.
What burden have you been carrying for far too long because you thought you could handle it?  He’s saying you cannot handle it, you were never meant to handle it, all you have to do is give it to Him. Literally lift it up to Him, He’s more than able and isn’t expecting you to carry the load alone.

Where you are carrying disappointment and disapproval, He is removing this too.

These things are not from God, and you don’t have to live with them. Let Him remove them. His Hope does not disappoint. He approves of you every single time.

He has ALREADY dealt with ALL who oppress you. Whatever Satan has been throwing your way, Jesus has already dealt with it at the cross!  You do not walk in defeat. We walk in victory. You may not feel victorious, maybe your circumstances have had you feeling more like a victim than anything else and you just feel bogged down in oppression. The enemy would love for you to stay this way, but by faith in Jesus, you are walking into victory! Walk by faith and not by sight into the victory He has already purchased for you. Keep speaking it until you see it. His word does not return void.

He has rescued you. He rescues the lame. Lame people can’t help themselves all the time, they need someone to reach down and take hold of them. In their utter weakness, they need someone stronger.  Jesus Christ is your only Rescuer and He has already done it. If you haven’t walked in this reality all you have to do is cry out to Him in a moment.

He is GATHERING THE EXILES.

We are those exiles. Our original home is not this earth, but the new earth to come. So if you’ve been feeling like a nomad, like you haven’t found a sense of “home” yet – if you’ve been feeling uncomfortable with where you’re located right now physically, if you’ve been feeling a stirring in your spirit, longing for a home, He is saying that is because this is not your home, you are an exile. (but good news to come!)

He is HONORING you in every place you have suffered shame.

Whatever has been causing you to hide, whatever has caused you to walk in defeat and in condemnation, He has lifted and also he is HONORING and WILL HONOR you in this area. A complete turnaround is coming and you will be amazed at his goodness.

The best part

HE IS GATHERING HIS KIDS, YOU AND ME, AND BRINGING US HOME.

We are on this upward path each day, getting closer to Jesus and closer to Home. He is taking you on a journey right now, coming home to your true self (who He originally created) and coming Home to Him, your true Home!

He says He will give you honor and praise among all the peoples and He is restoring your fortunes before your very eyes.

Honor is coming in the sight of men, for His glory, and restoration is coming as well.

 

God is so good and He’s been doing a good work all along, corporately in the Body of Christ and individually in your life, whether you’ve fully recognized it or not.

The feelings, thoughts and voices of sin, shame, fear (all from the devil – the accuser!) will be drowned out more and more as you keep coming to Him. If you’ve been feeling bogged down by any of these things, take heart and be encouraged as you read these verses and know that God is for you, He’s never been against you, and He is working ALL things together for your good, both your past and your present and future.

Cling to Truth. You are loved.

2.jpg

Isaiah 51:3

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

 

 

Express Don’t Suppress

Luke 19:40 

(context is in Jesus’ coming into Jerusalem and everyone praising him as he rides in the town, and the Pharisees wanting to shut them up.)

40 But he said, “If they kept quiet,

the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.”

From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible Commentary:

The stones would …cry out – It is “proper” that they should celebrate my coming. Their acclamations “ought” not to be suppressed. So joyful is the event which they celebrate – the coming of the Messiah – that it is not fit that I should attempt to impose silence on them. The expression here seems to be “proverbial,” and is not to be taken literally. Proverbs are designed to express the truth “strongly,” but are not to be taken to signify as much as if they were to be interpreted literally. The sense is, that his coming was an event of so much importance that it “ought” to be celebrated in some way, and “would” be celebrated. It would be impossible to restrain the people, and improper to attempt it. The language here is strong proverbial language to denote that fact. We are not to suppose, therefore, that our Saviour meant to say that the stones were “conscious” of his coming, or that God would “make” them speak, but only that there was “great joy” among the people; that it was “proper” that they should express it in this manner, and that it was not fit that he should attempt to repress it.

Okay, the first thing to note is this little post is not to be taken as any kind of exegesis of this verse.  I literally was encouraged by it in a bit of an ‘out of context’ way, so just go with me here and stone me later.

Honestly, and to my own surprise, I’ve been dealing with a lot of I N S E C U R I T Y lately.

Insecurity is a broad term, but it’s been specifically in the area of relationships with people and the underlying questions “Am I enough?” and “Am I wanted?”.

It’s crazy how it feels like it’s hit me like a load of bricks, like bam! Lies and insecure thoughts seemingly out of nowhere.

And I’m still dealing with it, and praying, and asking God to fill me with His truth because I know these thoughts and feelings are lies. But feelings are very real, and thankfully God is using them to indicate the underlying limiting beliefs I’m currently carrying that he wants to transform.

Anyway, in worship today God spoke Luke 19:40 into my spirit.

He essentially was telling me and tells you as well –

Do not wish you were like someone else. Do not believe the lie that what they offer is better or needed more.

God has put each of us individually EXACTLY where he wants us. Acts 17:26 says that “from one man He made all the people of the world. Now they live all over the earth. He decided exactly when they should live. And He decided exactly where they should live.”

Sometimes, when insecurities rise up within us, we want to run away, sometimes even physically to something different. But the same insecurities will go with you, so running isn’t the answer. So, knowing that God has you where he wants you, what else do we need to know when we’re feeling insecure?

Romans 12:6 says that “we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.”

God has you where you are because what you carry is something that place needs!

He made you different than that other person. ON PURPOSE. You have a different personality, you relate to people differently, you love people differently.

But each one of us is a unique expression of GOD and His love and grace.

The proverbial statement from Jesus of ‘if they don’t praise Me, the rocks would cry out’ can hold true for us today. If you silence and suppress your true self, who God made YOU to be, all because you think it’s not wanted or as good, God misses out on being glorified by YOU and He’ll be glorified another way.  But more than that, people around you will miss out on a picture of who God is because they won’t see it in you.

Is this making sense?

I’m writing this to encourage us both.

We aren’t to imitate anyone except Christ. (not to say don’t imitate your leaders who are following after Christ, but I’m meaning we aren’t meant to BE like anyone else!)

It’s so easy to think that we are not the one, that someone else can do it better. It’s easy to think that my skills and gifts aren’t that great or worth being used, it’s easy to believe the lies that say I’m not enough or I don’t belong.

But what if we took our eyes off ourselves (and off comparison) and just unapologetically choose to BE who God made me to be. Quirks, twerks and all 😉

The world out there needs to see the expression of God through you.

Don’t suppress your personality, your laugh, your crying, your creativity, your ideas, your gifts, your passion for anyone or anything. Instead, express it freely.

Some may not accept it, some may not want it. But I believe there’s a reason you are the way you are and you’re at where you’re at – blessed to be a blessing. Who can you bless today by being you? No one else thinks like you think, the Spirit speaks to you and gives you thoughts and ideas he may not give anyone else. Let’s engage with life and people and be in the moment and allow God to ‘use us’ to reveal an important facet of His heart.

When insecurity rises up and you feel a need to suppress,

Step out confidently in His power and choose to express.

It always costs something, it’s not always easy, but you are graced for it.

Love

1 John 3:16  This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us.

The last couple of months, God has been constantly helping me see and experience and live out real love.

I didn’t really realize that most of the ‘love’ I was giving (toward people and even God) wasn’t the love I now am getting a revelation of. I would give generously, love people, etc and have so much joy in doing it – but it was usually when it was convenient for me, when I thought of the idea, when I wanted to, etc.

I had a wake-up call the day I really understood love isn’t based on feelings but is a sacrifice (and inconvenient and a choice I must make daily). I’ve heard that before, thought I understood, but I wasn’t living it.

1 John 3 goes on to say:

3:17 This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.

I realized today that the opposite of love is selfishness. I wake up each day and choose one or the other. To live for self or to live for Love. And in those moments when we have opportunities to love someone (which is like every 10 minutes, really), usually in small but significant ways, we have a choice. Do we think, “Good idea, maybe I’ll do that later.” Or “Ah, I will tell her next time I see her”. Or do we just pass someone by that we could love on?

It’s definitely convicting reading those words above that say when we see someone in need and we turn away (because we’ve chosen self over sacrifice) God’s love ‘disappears’. When we choose comfort, convenience, and self instead of loving others, God’s love isn’t seen in us. An opportunity for His love to be revealed through us is lost.

I used to read scriptures like when Jesus said in Matthew 16:25 that ‘whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for My sake will save it,’ and I always imagined these grand statements of love – laying our life down. Words like “sacrifice” and “lay down your life” sound pretty massive. And because of how big they sound, I can forget how simple they really are, and how it’s in my every day, ordinary life.

Matthew 16:25-26 Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

I’ve always known these things in my head, but now I want to live them, really live them, and become like Jesus. “Let’s not just talk about love, let’s practice real love” (1 John 3).

It’s not the prettiest realization to find out I’ve been living a lot of my life for myself. It’s natural to love ourselves. It’s natural to look out for number one. No one taught me that. It’s a choice I must make each day to not just look out for myself, but see how I can really love people, and through that act of love, introduce them to Jesus (whether in my actions or words).

I’ve been reading God’s word lately and dissecting the verse, asking for God’s help to actually do what He is asking of me. It’s so much easier to just read the words and feel encouraged, but I want really live, and really love.

I highly recommend as well, while on the topic, of reading Love Does by Bob Goff. Best book ever!

Planted with Purpose

God has just given me fresh eyes for the season I am in.

Sometimes we can be in a season that feels like an in between season: In between promise and progress. Have you ever felt like you’re a bit stuck? You know you’re in God’s will, but you find yourself wishing you were somewhere else? Doing something grander, doing something that resembles your day dreams a bit more? The thing is, God has something called a process, and it’s not quick, it’s not easy, and it’s not mapped out for you to anticipate how to navigate it. He wants your trust and your commitment.

What we don’t always realize is that we ARE progressing, growing, maturing and bearing fruit.

God spoke to me clearly today. He said, “Do you SEE? You are planted in such GOOD SOIL. You need to remain here, abide in Me here, let your roots go deeper here.”

When something becomes familiar to you, it becomes familiar to you.

Sometimes you have to take yourself out of it (not literally, but see yourself outside of it) to realize you’ve got it good. God has blessed you and has planted you right where He wants you.

God is a tender, careful Gardener. He will not transplant you at the improper time.

I came to Australia as a seed (get figurative with me here).  I’ve been going through many different STAGES of growth and SEASONS of life. There was the initial season as a seed where I had to die, that wasn’t really fun. My 1st year living in Australia was one of the hardest seasons of my life. But we all know from both science and from Jesus’ words (John 12:24) 5

There was the initial season as a seed where I had to die, that wasn’t really fun. My 1st year living in Australia was one of the hardest seasons of my life. But we all know from both science and from Jesus’ words (John 12:24) that it must take place for life to spring forth and growth etc to happen.

Then there was the exciting 2season of being watered, cared for, and sown into like crazy; especially, in the beginning, it was like WOW this is AMAZING!!! How fresh! How vibrant! My soul is being fed a feast! I can’t believe it! And when a leaf blade pushes through (revelation after revelation and positive change occurs in your life) it’s definitely exciting! We celebrate and are filled with joy and everyone just seems so happy because we’re all frothing on life #hillsonghappyclapperstheycallus.

And this keeps happening. Each year it looks a little different, your capacity increases and your faith increases and you settle into this place I now call Home. Your love for God, the Church, and people increases. But then it starts to become familiar. And normal. And things that are supernatural and that people in other places are praying daily on their knees for are happening all around you. And you praise God, but can also become used to it. Expectant yes, but familiar too. I’ve often found myself looking for God to Wow me. When all around me God is doing incredible things, revealing himself in amazing ways, it, in fact, is still, HELLO pinch yourself God is too good! In the seasons of same or normalcy, we cannot lose the wonder.

I’m still a plant. I’m not an oak tree.

This is the time to keep letting your roots go down deep, not to hold back.  God whispered hope in my spirit as he told me that eventually, I will be one that doesn’t just bear fruit, but BRANCHES… Branches for OTHERS to lean upon and find rest and nourishment.  But don’t rush the process, that time will come soon enough. An oak tree cannot be the strong oak tree that it is without DEEP ROOTS and the GROWTH & PRUNING PROCESS.

And we aren’t going backward. Every season and stage make you stronger, able to be more fruitful and more alive than ever.

This season, even if not the most exciting as in the beginning of something new, this season of remaining and let God do his thing, is SIGNIFICANT and NEEDED. We cannot believe the lie that this is a waste of time, could be skipped over, or lacks purpose. Do not belittle this season and do not despise it. This will enrich you, not make you less.

I want to study Ezekiel now but God spoke a word to me about my life through Ezekiel 17:8, giving me vision for why I’m doing what I’m doing:

It will be said of you, “It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit, and become a splendid vine.”

God has infused my heart with hope and has given me purpose in a time where I felt it was waning.

“Stay the path” is more than just words.

Mark 4:26-29

Then Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows—he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. When the grain is fully formed, he reaps—harvest time!

4