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Fi mum23

Royalty, Wife, Mummy, friend, teacher, student & fitness blogger

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God’s leading

Keeping the mountain in sight

So, who else can go through times of losing sight of God’s plan for them?

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During one of my lectures last week, there was a great visual illustration discussed that really nails this topic on the head.  The story goes that a missionary went to speak in a remote location in India.  When he was picked up by his host, he noticed that they were heading straight towards the biggest, most majestic mountain he’d ever laid eyes on.  He was surprised to see how close they were actually getting to the mountain as they drove along, and was quite pleased when they arrived at his hosts home and found that the bedroom that was allocated to him had a balcony that looked directly onto the mountain.

That afternoon, the missionary thoroughly enjoyed watching the sunset splash brilliant yellows, reds & oranges over the mountain as it went down behind him.  A full moon then came up and lit up the towering beauty for the evening.  He spent quite a bit of time out on his balcony (is anyone else thinking that maybe this was kinda rude to his host??  Just sayin) that afternoon & evening and certainly by the morning, he’d made up his mind… He wanted to trek to the base of the mountain that day.  He went to his host and put the suggestion forward, saying the surely he could make it to the base by lunchtime and then head back to return by dark.  His host smiled and said to him “It is a very rugged 4 day trek to the base of that mountain.”  His host went on to explain that the mountain’s sheer size made it appear far closer than it actually was, but also, out of sight between the host’s home and the base of the mountain, were several smaller mountains, and of course valleys between.

This was used as the analogy to depict what our spiritual life can often be like.  When things are going fantastically, and we’re up on a peak… we have a clear view of God’s ultimate plan for us… the majestic mountain…  but when we head toward it, we must travel down into the valleys, through hard times etc.  It’s at those times that we may not be able to see God’s ultimate plan for our lives.  We inadvertently come back up out of our particular valley, having learnt much, and once again get a birds eye view of our ‘mountain’.

Many would say “I just wish God would chopper me into the base of the mountain, that way I can skip over the heartache.”  It would seem much simpler wouldn’t it, but I firmly believe that if we were able to do that, we’d arrive and find that we were ill-equipped for what God has for us there.

It’s in those valleys, and in particular, making out way out of them, that we learn our greatest lessons, strengthening & equipping us for what’s ahead.  God’s not silly…. he knows we’re limited by out ‘humanness’.  He only equips us for the next mountain peak and no further.  This was highlighted in today’s message at church, entitled Worry vs Thankfulness.  Matthew 6:34 tells us therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.  I believe that we can allow worry to get in the way of growth.  We know that we will have struggle ahead of us, seeing as we know that’s how we learn (and of course the obvious point that we live in a very broken world), but if we spend our time worrying about what the NEXT valley, or even the next part of the valley, will be like, we risk missing our lesson… and having to do it all over again.

This illustration reminded me so much of a previous one that was in Old Testament Survey.  Talking about Cycles (lots of focus on the book of Judges…  the Israelites experience a cycle of rebellion, retribution, repentance & restoration) and how God can be bringing us through a growth stage, but if we fight against it, not learning what it is He has for us in that particular season, we can end up going back to the beginning of the ‘lesson’ so to speak.    Just like the Israelites, who managed to turn an 11 day journey into a 40yr journey.  We may not have too many ‘valleys’ between us and God’s ultimate for us, but we can be stubborn and not learn what it is He has for us, therefore ‘cycling’ around the same valley over and over again.

I know for a fact that I did this within my marriage for many many years.  Oh my goodness, there were so many things  I was doing wrong… trying to achieve things in in ‘my timeline’ and using ‘my methods’.  I thought I needed to change DH, or convince him to change.  I wasn’t drawing on God’s strength within me and I certainly wasn’t doing anything about the enemies schemes.  I would give The Lord a cursory thank you if I believed I’d achieved some victory, or beat myself up harshly when a particular valley seemed excessively deep.  It wasn’t until I fully learnt & accepted who I AM in Christ, as well as learning to incorporate spiritual warfare in my daily prayer routine, that I felt equipped to ride through those valleys, as hard as they were, learning much along the way.

Believe me, I certainly don’t think I have it down-pat… NO WAY …..  but I have ridden through enough valleys now to know that I WILL get to the next peak if I keep in fellowship with The Holy Spirit and His leading.  When I reach that particular peak, I’ll be refreshed and rejuvenated by taking in the view of ‘my mountain’.  Each time it gets that little bit closer.  I’ve also learnt the hard way that it’s no fun to realise you’re back on the peak you started on because you didn’t learn what you needed for that season.  It’s not a fun feeling knowing you need to ride through that valley again, so that’s just more encouragement to stay the course & learn through struggle.

I can rarely get though a blog without highlighting the benefit of doing life with fellow Lionesses (& Lions for you guys reading). We are ALL walking this road with The Lord.  Our peaks & valleys can be really similar, or vastly different, but we lean on God’s word that tells that us in Proverbs 27:17 As Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Our sisters (& brothers) in Christ can often be the ones that can highlight to us that maybe we’re not learning all we can be in this particular valley.  It can get tough ‘down in the trenches’ and sometimes we get weak, drop out shields a little… and it’s then that we need our Godly friends .  We need to make ourselves accountable to trusted Godly friends in order to travel our journey WELL !!

Earlier this year, I followed a particular leading of The Holy Spirt in relation to a dear friendship.  I really really didn’t want to & it broke my heart to do what He asked of me.  The common sense side of me knew that there would be heartache ahead, for me and the person involved.  I didn’t understand His leading…  it didn’t look like a cut & dry lesson…  I wanted to challenge Him on it, as I had before on this same issue.  But, you know what… last time, when I challenged Him.. when I thought I knew better, it didn’t end well.  It might have seemed like it went well temporarily, but in the end, I was back on the original peak… and that’s not fun !!   So, right now I’m riding through a journey .. and it’s been tough….  it’s been tortuous at times…. but I’ve been through a few valleys now and I have absolute confidence that this lesson will be well worth it.  I think I’m seeing some light up on the peak, and I CAN’T WAIT to see what God has for me next.

And no, I also can’t get through a blog without tying in a fitness element… and do you know why…  these same cycles get us in our fitness journey too.  I know, because I’ve been on that particular peak before.  Four years ago, I decided to get fit, and did a very good job of it… reached my goals etc etc.  But I didn’t learn the lessons GOD had for me… I just learnt the ‘logical’ lessons.  Eat well, exercise, hydrate… you know, all the stuff a good PT will tell you.  I didn’t, however, learn the lesson that my body is a temple and that I’m worshipping God when I look after my body and make good decisions in regard to it.  I got the ‘physical satisfaction’ last time I travelled the course… I lost weight, I was happy with how I looked etc etc, but God wasn’t a part of my journey in earnest.. and I thoroughly believe I’m now walking this journey again because I didn’t learn HIS lessons last time.

This is why I’m determined to walk it WELL this time, learning from HIM !! I have a great PT & I love her, but my ultimate PT is Jesus !!  I’ve said it before… He’s with me through every workout, He’s with me through every thought process around food etc etc.

So peeps, if I can tell you anything… stay the course with HIM !!!  Even when it seems unbearable and you think you won’t make it.  It’s a heck of a lot easier to ride through it now, even when it feels like you can’t survive it, than to go back to the beginning and start the lesson over.

Much love to you all.

Blessings  xox

 

Like a tree planted by the water

Hi all…

God laid a blog post on my heart a few weeks back, but life’s been cray cray busy, emotionally draining and. well, just a tad poopy to be honest.  So, my blog post has been a bunch of notes and dot points on note paper by my Mac ever since then.  Now, tonight, I finally have the time, and emotional capacity, to get it ‘written down’.

Quite often, The Lord gives my blog post during praise & worship time.  This can be quite frustrating if he decides to give it to me during P & W at church….  I have to try and remember it all…  I really should start taking my journal to church with me for this very reason.

The title of tonight’s blog may have given it away, but it was Psalm 1 that was given to me that particular evening.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lordand on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers.  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;  for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

I always find it interesting that the Lord gives me different things for my blogs… sometimes pictures, sometimes songs, sometimes a direct message.  I was given this Psalm, and then I ‘happened’ to search up a ‘Chat with Priscilla Shirer’ to watch one evening in the week following having been given the Psalm, and low and behold, her guests were Mark & Melanie Hall.  Mark Hall is the lead singer of Casting Crowns.  I have a few of theirs albums, but must say I didn’t know much about them.  Their story is amazing.  The band is completely made up of Pastors.  I’d strongly encourage you to google them and read their testimony.  Powerful stuff !

Anyway, I had strangely (nothing like this is ‘strange’, it’s just God ‘doing his thing’ when we don’t realise He’s doing it) purchased the ‘Thrive’ album the previous week and had listened to it enough times to be quite interested in what Mark had to say about it.  Surprise, surprise… it’s based on Psalm 1.  I guess if I’d put some deep thought into it, I would have realised that after listening to the ‘Thrive’ track, but I mostly listen to it while working out, so I’m not always putting 100% attention into lyric meaning.  You know, not dropping the weight bar on my face is more significant.  LOL.

The lyrics of ‘Thrive’ go like this :

Here in this worn and weary land Where many a dream has died
Like a tree planted by the water We never will run dry
So living water flowing through, God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls With one desire
Just to know You and to make You known ,We lift Your name on High
Shine like the sun made darkness run and hide
We know we were made for so much more Than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive… We were made to thrive
Into Your word we’re digging deep To know our Father’s heart
Into the world we’re reaching out To show them who You are
So living water flowing through God we thirst for more of You
Fill our hearts and flood our souls With one desire.

The Believers Bible Commentary tells us this about Psalm 1:3-5 – The man who is separated from sin and separated to the scriptures has all the qualities of a strongly, healthy, fruitful tree.    Planted by the rivers of water – he has a never-failing supply of nourishment and refreshment.  It brings forth it’s fruit in it’s season  – he displays the graces of The Spirit, and his words and actions are always timely and appropriate.   It’s leaf also shall not wither – his spiritual life is not subject to cyclical changes but it characterised by continuous inner renewal.  As D L Moody puts it, :”All The Lord’s trees are evergreen.”  ( I LOVE that, don’t you.)

This kind of man shall prosper in everything he undertakes.  The reason, of course, is that he is living in fellowship with The Lord, and all his service is therefore guided by the Holy Spirit.  The only way to be efficient and successful in the Christian life is to be led by the Spirit of God.  Self-directed activity is an enormous waste of time, money and effort.

The ungodly are not so, that is, they are neither well planted, fruitful, enduring, nor prosperous.  Like chaff, they lack body or substance.  When the storms of life blow, they prove unstable.  a strong wind drives them away.  The ungodly shall not stand in the judgement. They will, of course, appear before God at the judgement of the Great White Throne (Rev 20:11). But the meaning here is that they will have no adequate defence.  In idiomatic language, they won’t have a leg to stand on.  Furthermore, they will never stand in the congregation of the righteous;  they will be forever excluded from company of those who are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

(If I haven’t told you before… I LOVE my ‘Believers Bible Commentary’.  I bought it about 4yrs ago now and find it an extremely handy resource.  It is written by William MacDonald and is based on the New King James version. ©1995, 1992, 1990, 1989)  And as a bonus for me, it’s LARGE PRINT…. which also makes it a good addition to my weights workout.. LOL.

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The cover of the ‘Thrive’ album is so great and tells such a great message, as well as visually depicting Psalm 1.  Digging our roots DEEP in the scriptures, while still reaching OUT into the world.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell you all that having deep roots in the Scriptures make marriage, work, church, friendships…well, basically anything, work BETTER !!!

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Getting back to what the commentary says of Psalm 1… I love knowing that I have a NEVER FAILING supply of nourishment and refreshment.  Man, I’ve needed that this year with the ups and downs of the last few months.  Even this past week, Master 11 had major eye surgery.  I actually didn’t even realise quite how major it was until he’d been in theatre 3hrs with no sign of getting that magical phone call saying ‘Your child is in recovery.. you can come in and see him now.”  Thank The Lord, that phone call ended up being the surgeon coming to us after 3hr 10mins in theatre, saying that it had all gone beautifully and our son would soon be in recovery.  It would be another nail biting half an hour before I got the call saying I could come in to recovery to see him.  Apparently he’d been under quite a deep anesthetic due to the length of the surgery and was taking a bit to come out of it.  He gave us some entertaining moments over the next few hours until he was fully awake and with it.  The knowledge that our loving heavenly Father was in that operating room, guiding the hands of the surgeons, greatly comforted me in those stressful last 2hrs in theatre.

I also want to be characterised as having continuous inner renewal.  I certainly know that I thrive for this, by both digging into the Word, and reaching out to others with the gifts and talents the Lord has blessed me with.

Speaking of reaching out to others, I have to take this opportunity to share with you the most beautiful thing that happened in hospital this week, the morning following the surgery.  I stayed in overnight with Master 11 of course, and when we were sitting having breakfast (well, he was having breakfast, I was stealing off his plate.), he nonchalantly says to me “I’m thinking after breakfast, I’m going to go and pray with each child.”  Seriously, my heart nearly burst.  Due to nurses coming, going through discharge proceedures etc, he only got to pray with one little girl, but oh well, that’s one girl who’s life he touched that morning.   My son is an EVERGREEN…..  love it !!!!

I also love what Psalm 1 says about ‘when the storms of life blow’..  and that this played out in our life this week.  The storm was hectic… there were other things going in our lives too this week…..  not so great things.. that are way too complicated to go into (future blog post), but while I was tossed around a bit, emotionally, physically….  because my roots are planted DEEP in the word, and planted by the rivers of water, I was able to power on through it, knowing who I am, and whos I am !!!

I also love these particular lyrics in ‘Thrive’ We know we were made for so much more Than ordinary lives.. It’s time for us to more than just survive… We were made to thrive.

I know that I don’t want to settle for an ordinary life… I don’t want to ‘just survive’ …I want, and plan to THRIVE !!!

Blessings Peeps  xox

Recognising the blessings

Seriously, why does it require me getting quite unwell in order for me to fully appreciate the blessings of good health?  My last few days have been, let’s just say, rather unpleasant.  I think if I was a man, I’d be calling it man-flu (ha ha).  Sore throat, aches & pains, lethargic, no workouts done (yes, this is seriously part of the sick dilemma as I do get a tad antsy when I can’t workout)  (OK.. maybe a tad crazy)

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I’m extremely thankful that this lovely state of health held off until after my trip to Adelaide with my Sis (blog to come), as it really was such a great time.  Very COLD though, extremely cold, so maybe that’s what started it.  BUT, guess what peeps, as in everything that decides to come my way, I’m choosing to LEARN something from and through it.

First thing, as already stated, being reminded to fully appreciate good health.  I was sitting thinking back to last week, feeling 100% healthy and full of energy.  It really brought it home to me that I don’t fully appreciate it when I do feel 100%.  (Man, I’m looking forward to appreciating it when it returns in a few days.)

Psalm 139:13-16 tell us… For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

‘the days that were formed for me’…  that means that this spot of un-well-ness hasn’t caught The Lord by surprise.  And seeing Romans 8:28 tells us And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.  …  I know that God is working things together for my good. 

You know what’s a super awesome thing to do when you’re feeling a tad average and have little to no physical energy to spare……

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I’ve had some fantastic chats with The Lord in the last day or so.  I’ve felt him leading me in new directions of late and am after some clarification etc, so it’s been great to have these extra ‘full-on’ prayer times.  You know how you can chat on & off with The Lord all day long, but sometimes ‘life’ only allows you the time you diligently put aside for Him.  That right there shows you how important it is to set aside that quiet time with Him each day, coz if you don’t…. life just gobbles all the time up and you find you’re not giving your relationship with The Lord the time in needs.

I’m re-reading ‘The Resolution for Women’ at present and it has some super fantastic verses in it that are great to have up around the house, on the fridge, or in your war-room.  I’m choosing to concentrate on one per day, and TRYING to remember to post it to FB also.  Yesturday’s verse was Mark 12:30 I shall love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength.  

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Another thing I’m learning is that I do a lot more physical work around the house than I realised…. How am I learning this?? coz i’m trying to still do it and just about passing out with exhaustion… what the… I mean it’s just a load of washing.  Surely it’s not usually that heavy?  :0).  Like I said, can’t wait to get back to 100%.

OK loves… not too much depth in this blog, but hey….  it’s exhausting me just sitting here at my Mac, so hey, take what you can get, right.

Blessings to you all… and HEALTH AND WHOLENESS  coming my way very soon !!!  I’m declaring it in the name of Jesus !!!

xox

Awaken, sleeping Lionesses

“If ever there comes a time when the women of the world can come together, purely and simply for the benefit of mankind.. it will be a force such as the world has never known.”  Matthew Arnold,  British Poet & Philosopher.

(Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterised as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues.)

I included that little bit of basic info on Matthew Arnold to make the point that I think he was in a very good position to have made the above statement.  And it quite frankly blows me away to think that he made that comment well over 150yrs ago.  I must say that I do tend to think that we’re predominantly in the mess we’re in since the 1960 or 70’s, as I use the rationale that when my parents grew up, there was far more respect shown to adults/elders/those in authority than there is now.  There was more modest dress, stronger family bonds & commitments, and just more consideration shown for others across the board.  So, with this in mind, it’s interesting to read his statement and note how long ago he would have made it.  Clearly, a very intuitive man.  G. W. E. Russell wrote of Arnold, “He is a man of the world entirely free from worldliness.”

This statement by Matthew Arnold has been quoted by Lisa Bevere at the beginning of her messages since beginning her ‘Lioness Arising’ teachings in 2009.

I went through the Lioness Arising teaching series in January 2012 with the lovely ladies from LifeHouse church.  I found it to be such an informative and enlightening teaching, but it’s very interesting to reflect on how I’ve continued to learn from it in these 4yrs between, and I imagine I will continue to learn from it going forward also.

The cover of the book says ‘Lioness Arising… Wake up and change your world”.  Well, wake up I certainly did that year and I’ve never looked back.

Chapter one of the Safari guide (the workbook that goes alongside the book & message series) begins with these words, “Welcome to the pride, my lovely Lioness sister.”  Now, this right here was an eye-opener for me in that lounge room that night in Jan 2012, surrounded by 12-14 relatively new friends as I’d only joined the church the previous October.  Those beautiful women became my pride for the next 3yrs and I learnt so much with and from them.  God had further plans for our family, leading us away from LIfeHouse and to the church family we now call HOME!  As a result, I have a different ‘pride’ now.  The eye-opening point though had little to do with the small group that is your pride, but realising that we, as women of God, are all in the one pride.   We support each other in our day to day within our smaller ‘prides’, but as a whole, we support the entire pride in prayer also.

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My pride today is stunning… stunning and dangerously wide awake !!  To say I love them and are grateful to do life with them is a huge understatement.   What’s fascinating about our pride is that all five of us have known each other for years…  approx 13yrs is the longest I’ve known one of my Lioness sisters, but some are a little longer, and some a little shorter.  We haven’t always been this pride…. it’s actually come together in solidarity just this year.  In these many years leading up, there’s been weddings (actually, just one, mine.  LOL), pregnancies, miscarriages, births, dedications, relationship tensions, job changes, many a school activity or awards night, family tragedy, mind-blowing blessings, and so so much more.  It continues to amaze me that God’s timing is ALWAYS spot on !  We’ve all known each other for a good amount of years, and have always gotten along, but God has seen fit to bring us together as a pride for THIS time in our lives.  All of us are riding through something at present, whether it be health, relationship, parenting, or something else.. and we’re all there for each other and in most cases can well relate to our Lioness sister’s struggles.

Another thing the 5 of us have in common… we all have a Lioness cub that has been entrusted to our care.

When someone has been given much, much will be required in return, and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.  Luke 12:48 NLt

Our ‘cubs’ range from 10yrs up to nearly 16 (so yes, we need prayer right now peeps.. ha ha).  There is so so much to be aware of when parenting a daughter and I know it’s been said time and time again, but seriously, the biggest keys are being in a Godly marriage (don’t worry if you’re a single Mum, or your husband isn’t walking with The Lord as in those situations, The Lord is the other parent when needed) The Word of God, and having open communication with your daughter.  The next biggest asset after those is being in a Pride of fellow Lionesses also mothering a cub.

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It’s so important to instil into our girls that while they have no choice but to be IN the world, they most certainly don’t need to be OF the world.  This can be crazy hard with the influence of tv, movies, magazines, books, music lyrics & videos etc etc.  To give an example, my daughter is 15, is homeschooled, goes to dance once a week, attends a life-group with girls her age at our church, and attends youth group and church on the weekends.  She also works part-time at a coffee shop twice a week.  Now, while she is free from a huge amount of negative influences that she used to be greatly effected by when she was in mainstream school, she still comes in contact with those of different beliefs, moral standards etc etc and needs to know how to respond in those situations.  Recently there was a situation at her workplace where someone was upset and resigned.  What followed was very adult conversation topics, bad language and a lack of consideration shown by some in the situation.  I need to know that I am doing the absolute best job to equip Miss 15 to best handle herself in these situations.  I’m pleased to say that she did very well, recognising where it would have been easy to slip into the gossiping with others, but refrained from it.  #proudmummamoment .  We can tend to think that if we just have our girls in youth group/life group at our church, all will be fine, or at least better than ‘out there in the world’.  This quite often isn’t the place.  Probably better, yes, but not smooth sailing by any stretch of the imagination.  Youth group and life group usually involves community kids, so therefore worldly issues, swearing, lower moral standards etc etc.  While we would love to just keep our daughters from these, they need to experience them in these years in order to learn and effectively navigate the big world when they in fact delve into it themselves, whether that be via University, the workplace, or social settings.  Not to mention… how are we to save the lost if we don’t interact with those not walking with The Lord.

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You know another important thing to do with your Lioness sisters….. LAUGH…. Laugh until your stomach and sides ache !!  I’m pleased to say that we satisfy this unwritten pride prerequisite quite well….  especially with this one here….  Oh my goodness we laugh a LOT !!  If I’m a little down, my DH will say to me.. “You need a get together with your bestie… go belly laugh together like you always do.” :0)

Through not only the benefit of laughter, but also friendship and prayer support, we are able to journey together in our walk with The Lord, becoming best equipped to help others.  As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17

In her book ‘Lioness Arising’, Lisa Bevere writes..  We live in a world filled with ever-increasing opportunities.  We are not limited like our sisters in the 1800s.  We have the ability to stretch forth and reach out to others to do this well.  We must look back and ahead.

 

In Luke 4:18-19 we read God’s Spirit is on me, he’s chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, “This is God’s year to act!”   In my humble opinion, to most effectively do this, we women NEED to be in a fully awakened and dangerous pride.

To be able to confidently know not only that I would state the following, but my fellow Lionesses would too…  So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road.  Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away.  I will tear out your heart.  I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal.  Hosea 13:7-8 NLT.  So, who didn’t know that stuff like that was in the bible??  ha ha !!

There is so much we need to shield and protect our daughters from in this current day, but at the same time, prepare them for when they go out into the world and encounter those same things.  Matthew 10:16 says Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you.  You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves.  Be as cunning as a snake, un-offensive as a dove.  

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Take this beauty on the right here….  Doesn’t she look all gorgeous, sweet and lovely??  well, she totally is :0)… but she’s also one of the fiercest prayer warriors I know, and she can be counted on to go to war for one of her Lioness Sisters at a moments notice if needed.

There is so so much more I could include in this blog, but the best I can do is suggest that if you haven’t read Lioness arising, or done the study within a group, GET ONTO IT GIRLFRIEND !!!  There’s simply too much at stake in our world right now, far too many sleeping Lionesses who need to be awakened.  We need to be Proverbs 31:10-31 women, standing by our men, honouring them so they in turn can be equiped to do their part in The Kingdom.  But as we all know, marriage is tough…  so we need our Pride in order to stay strong, weather storms, and not buy into the ways of the world.   I can personally testify to the fact that if you are surrounded by like minded, Godly women as your close friends and support system, your marriage is 1000% better.

I’ll finish with a list of Prayers Roars from the Lioness Arising Safari Guide.  Why not make it a new nightly routine to declare one of these.  I’ll include 7 so that you have one for each day of the week.  These really will set you on a fantastic path to discovering what you actually have in your hand, and how effective you can be in & for the Kingdom.

  1.  I realise I have the potential to be a living, breathing solution to human problems.  Lord, lead me as I embark on this journey !!
  2. I am ready to give expression to lovely, virtuous, capable, inoffensive, cunning, harmless, shrewd, trustworthy, faithful lioness daughters who enrich the lives of those around me and gather to strategise how to ‘do good’.  I am willing to take on this challenge !!
  3. This day, regardless of how I look or feel, I choose to echo the declaration “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”God’s work in me is marvellous.  I am stunning; but more than just looking good, I choose to develop the strength to do good, I am ready to bear some weight and carry my load, because rather than being busy, I will build, I will shift my focus to gain strength and allow hardship to re-make me invincible in Him.  I embrace my strength and choose to run to win, train hard, give it my all, stay alert and not get sloppy with the Word of God, or the seasons of my life.
  4. I present my strength for you service.  God, I refuse to allow anyone to put me in a position of status.  I choose to serve and lift others by asking “How can I help?”.  I will change the way I look at my life of worship.  It is a banquet of refreshing and strength, not a draining burden.  Show me how to be a lioness among Lions and in the process, raise up others in their strength and encourage them to dream again.  I know acts of honour are never lost in translation, so I look to my future with hope because talking less now doesn’t mean having less in my future.  I am a guide, not a guard.  I live to bring people in, not to keep them out, and enlarge my life.
  5. I pray my release means release for others.  Male and female, help me to always remember that marriage is a union, not a battle.  Let me recognise the gender difference as the affirmation of our need for each other.  I need the men in my world to be all that you created them to be.  God bless the dwellings of unity in my life.  We all need redemption and you alone are worthy of my worship. I will stop being contentious and reading too much into gender differences, because you have ultimate preeminence, may you have your say in my life.
  6. Jesus, we are ready to do something impressive and significant. For your body, show me who I am so I know how to both greet and groom my sisters and brothers.  I want to refresh and restore others.
  7. I am ready to be excellently formed and marvellously functioning.  Teach me to hunt, I am ready to grow up, give me the energy and insight of heaven.  Restore all of my healthy maternal affection that fear has twisted.  I am ready to hunt with my sisters.

Many blessings my Lioness Sisters (& any dedicated blog loving Lions still reading)

Let’s stand together and be POWERFUL !!   (Note I haven’t said anything today about who we’re standing against …. coz I refuse to give him more credit than is due.  It’s like a mozzie to a T-Rex….  We are fully armed peeps with the Word of God.)

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xox

 

 

 

 

Riding the Roller-coaster called LIFE !!

Hiya blog readers !!  It’s after 10 on a Saturday night (of course I’m in & blogging because I’m so NOT a party animal… LOL).    We actually have been at a party tonight but it was a workmate of DH’s & we seriously didn’t know anyone at all so we didn’t stay too long.  I didn’t mind that at all seeing as we had to leave the house at 7.30 this morning to head off on a loooooooong drive to the boys soccer game.  1hr 40mins to the game today… not a bad drive actually so it was enjoyable, but I’ll certainly enjoy the Home game next week.

Life has certainly had it’s ups & downs in the last month or so for us…  there have been some heartbreaking lows… BUT…  amongst all this ‘negative’, God has turned ashes to beauty !!   My DH, who is saved, but has struggled big-time with the whole ‘die to self’ part of the deal, has had more than ample reason to be angry this past month.  (seriously, a saint woulda lost his shiz through this stuff), but he’s been cool as a cucumber… and I know that it’s God’s hand in him.

I had my suspicions of course, but they were confirmed when we were at Alapha last week and one of the questions was “What dramatic change has God brought about in your life since becoming a Christian?”  DH answered “He’s taken my anger away.”  (Of course I did a fist pump on the inside at this time.. lol)

I was thinking about this in the car heading to soccer this morning.  We were listening to ABBA (coz Abba rocks !!) and I can’t remember what song it was, but a tambourine was mentioned.  Straight away…. way too fast for me to have thought it myself, I was reminded of that verse in Exodus where Miriam dances and sings with her tambourine.  (Exodus 15:20).  Hardcore blog followers of mine will remember why this is the verse that was laid on my heart this morning.

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For everyone else… here’s the super fast recap…  In 2014 my sister & I went to Colour Conference (the women’s conference at Hillsong church) and Beth Moore was one of the speakers. (LOVE Beth Moore).  She taught from the Exodus passage, bringing it home to us that we need to have our tambourine’s at the ready… anticipating the victory… be ready to grab it at a moments notice (as Miriam did) and get up and rejoice !!  I got onto ebay (trusty ebay) when at the airport waiting to fly home from Colour that year, and purchased a tambourine.  It arrived about a week later and it hangs in a very predominant place in my home…  right in the heart of our home….  handy to pick up at any time.  Even just looking at it hanging there gives me the encouragement I need to get through tough times in a normal day.

I strongly believe that these verses coming to mind during the drive this morning was a subtle reminder to me to remember to not just rejoice for these HUGE steps DH has taken of late, and throughout these struggles, but to also be EXPECTANT for more victory to come.

Exciting right !!!!!

It’s safe to say that I’m really really excited for what’s in store…. and that’s even with the knowledge that, sadly, there will be some really yucky stuff ahead too.  I always know that God totally has us covered in every situation, and I never doubt this…. but things like this morning, getting those ‘moments with The Lord’ and being reminded of His presence, always put an extra spring in our step.. and a wider smile on our face.

Blessings Peeps !!!  xox

Expand our boundaries.. drive our tent pegs deep

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Sunday night at church, Pastor Nina preached from Isaiah 54.  It was a fantastic message that re-affirmed what’s already very clearly in store for my 2016.

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.

3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.  (ESV)

While I don’t usually like referring to The Message translation, this time, I think it’s a good read.

Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep.
You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family.
You’re going to take over whole nations; you’re going to resettle abandoned cities.
Exciting right !!!  While I completely realise that this text speaks of what was going on at that time, I firmly believe that we can learn from this and apply it to our lives today.  (as we can of all scripture)
On Sunday night, Pastor Nina used a fantastic (& very entertaining) illustration of having a children’s play tent on the stage, which she actually climbed into, showing how little room there is in there, how cramped and uncomfortable any length of time in there would be.  To flipside of that though is that some people choose to stay in that tiny tent, seeing it as safe & secure.   “I need not have any fear of God asking me to do anything big, because I simply don’t have the room to do it.”  (Side note – Believe me, I completely get that stepping out is scary…  you never know what God is going to ask of you (Jonah), but I can tell you right now, it’s so worth it.)
In contrast, a big comfy chair and a large tent covering a decent sized area was brought up on stage, showing how we can spread out, allow God to have the room to work in our lives, equip us for ALL that He has in store for us.   It immediately took me back to the vision that God gave me a couple of years ago (I’m pretty sure I blogged about it).  I was shown myself, wearing a VERY BIG, like CRAZY BIG fur coat (I assume it was faux, to be fair to all animal lovers out there.. I would never buy a fur coat.)
I was initially very confused by the vision and enquired of God what He was trying to tell me.  I immediately got a response from Him, explaining that the coat was very big, in order for Him to fill it… with Blessings, with provisions, with skills, gifts & talents in order to equip me with everything I would need in order to do His work in His Kingdom for His glory !!
The ‘drive your tent pegs deep’ really spoke to me also.  To not just have a surface commitment to the things of God, but to dive in deep, have solid foundations, set aside decent time.  Once again, of course, I nearly ALWAYS find in any message that it points back to two things.
1.  We need to have a close personal relationship with Our Heavenly Father, Jesus our Saviour & Redeemer, and The Holy Spirit.
2. Be actively studying His Word on a daily basis.  Imagine it’s liquid in a big ole’ bucket and you wanna tip it over yourself in your quiet time each morning. :0)
Yes, I know I point these things out all the time, sorry for the repetition, but I really want that point to get across.  If we’re doing these two things, we’re on a very good path with The Lord and all that He has in store for us.
What I learnt/was reminded of today – Being shown things in illustrative form is often a very effective way to teach a biblical truth, or be reminded of a truth that maybe you’re not submerged yourself in of late.
What scripture verse am I soaking in today?  The one above, Isaiah 54:2-3.
Blessings Peeps !!  xox

The HS Bus is starting up !!

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So, we’re really on the countdown now to the first day of school for 2016.  Australia Day next Tuesday, and then into the thick of things on Wednesday…. our 3rd year as a Homeschool family.  Woo Hoo !!!  Praise The Lord !!

This year is shaping up to be very different, very exciting, very eye opening… and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us !!

Miss 14 & Master 13 are starting on online DE this year, which is very exciting for them.  Master 10 will continue with ACE for another year before going onto online also for Grade 7 in 2017.

If anyone of you are wondering, Yes, we are going to be continuing our Character Traits training. We’ll assign one in the second week of school, so I’ll keep you posted on that.

But…. and here’s the super exciting news that I am soooooooooooooo excited to share with you all…  I am officially enrolled in Bible College as a full time student this year !!  I’m doing a Cert IV in Christian Leadership, and I simply cannot even express how exciting and expectant I am about doing these studies.

I developed a crazy love of Bible Study about 4yrs ago when I decided to do Beth Moore’s Esther study.  I loved how it pulled the verses apart and delved into the original translations in order to fully explain a passage.  It was at that time that I began to ‘word study’ also, which is always blows me away.. just how much the Bible can be explored and expanded.

So, ever since then, I’ve done study after study, covering different books of the bible, or particular topics.  When I haven’t been engrossed in a planned out study, I’ll search Youtube for fantastic speakers, covering relevant topics that I felt lead to address at that particular time.  I particular love Francis Chan, Louie Giglio, Jefferson & Alyssa Bethke, and many others.

With all this in mind, I do understand why when I told DH that I wanted to do Bible College this year, his reaction was “Don’t you basically do that constantly anyway… for free?”  (LOL).  Yes, I guess I could continue along with how I’ve been doing things, and I’m sure I’d continue to learn and grow in The Lord, but I really wanted to sink my teeth into something thick and juicy !!

After doing my research, I have enrolled with a Bible College that is based interstate, but runs through our church.  While, I’m not able to physically go along to the groups at church, I will at least have others to be able to bounce things off, knowing that they are studying similar topics etc.  Doing the study online really does suit me so well too because of everything being digital, it means I can enlarge print etc to what I need.  I would certainly struggle with textbooks etc, as they are notoriously small.

In a couple of weeks, Miss 14s dance schedule will start up again, along with Soccer for the boys.  Life groups & Youth group will start up, and the wheels of the school term will start turning at a mind boggling speed.  It’s great to sit back in the assurance that God totally has this !!  He knows what the year contains, and is currently preparing & equipping us for it.

I feel blessed beyond measure for so many reasons.  The main ones being married to my DH, watching him grow into everything God has for him, being able to homeschool my children and have every day with them, having a great family, and the most amazingly faithful and true friends a girl could ever ask for.  There are so many other blessings I could list, but you get my drift.  This year is looking crazy awesome and it’s only Jan 20.

Disclaimer – Sadly, when you make the decision to live out Micah 6:8 and other similar passages, the enemy gets a tad upset and throws everything he can at you.  I’ve been attacked in ways these past few days that I never even saw coming.  So, remember peeps, SHIELDS UP !!!!!  1 John 4:4 – Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Micah 6:8 – He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Positioned like a see-saw

I remember sitting under a teaching a few years back about how our posture as a disciple of Jesus Christ should be with one hand stretched upwards to someone in a mentoring capacity.. to someone who is further along in their walk with The Lord than us. Meanwhile, the other arm reaches down, ‘pulling up’, encouraging & discipling someone coming along behind us.  Someone that is a little further back in their walk with The Lord than where we are.

The person you’re reaching up to has a little more life experience than you, so is able to teach and help you through similar situations.  In turn, you can teach & help the one you are encouraging, because of the trials, struggles and victories you have walked through.

I also remember receiving an image about this, back when sitting under that teaching, of one long road with people littered all along it, all at different stages.  I probably should have drawn in it seeing as I wasn’t able to find something that I felt represented it, but this gives you an idea.

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When I had this come to mind last night, the Holy Spirit gave me an image of a seesaw, but it wasn’t like one end was completely up and the other completely down…. it’s not normally positioned in that way, and I don’t believe it would be nearly as effective either.  I think the image of a set of scales where one end has a slightly heavier weight onboard than the other shows a more accurate picture of the common situation, but as the ‘weight’ part of the image makes no sense, I think the seesaw is better.

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This one is more like it.

The person reaching down needs to have the HUMILITY required to fulfil this role in another’s life, while also having the WISDOM to take on this responsibility.

Something that simple cannot be in the equation is pridefulness !!!

Just because I like definitions, let’s look at some now…

First, a ‘secular’ definition of Humility –the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance.  While in essence, this is true, I don’t like it one bit as it doesn’t sit well with me when you consider that we are a temple of The Holy Spirit.  We have the power of Christ within us, so when I consider our ROLE in God’s Kingdom, we certainly do not have a low level of importance.  I guess what it comes down to though is the importance of that role, as opposed to the importance of us as a person.  That’s where the pridefulness can come into it.  If we are prideful about our own importance & think that that importance is  seperate to God, that’s when we will run into trouble.

A biblical definition of Humility  –God says when you are humble, you are free from pride and arrogance. You know that in your flesh you are inadequate, yet you also know who you are in Christ.  I LOVE this !!!  So so true !! Free from pride & arrogance !!

Now for Wisdom… the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.

Not bad…. let’s look at it from a biblical point of view though.

Wisdom begins and ends with the fear of the Lord. It isn’t a fear of being struck by lightning or fear of being struck dead but it’s a deep, abiding, holy reverence and respect for the Lord and for His Word, the Bible. The Book of Proverbs has more to say about wisdom than any other book in the Bible. For example in Proverbs 9:10 Solomon, who was the wisest man on earth, at least until Christ came, said that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Where there is fear, there tends to be obedience and God has said He prefers obedience over sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22; Hosea 6:6). Sometimes obedience comes before understanding and when someone obeys what they know to be true, understanding usually follows. Wisdom begins with reverence for God and a fear for Him and His Word. That’s where wisdom begins. Where there is no fear of the Lord, there can never be any true wisdom. It’s just not possible.

Now, both these two traits can be tricky, and not always easy to uphold, especially in weakness during struggle.  It takes real DISCIPLINE to be HUMBLE & use WISDOM  to take the right path when in a struggle or under attack.

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Two other words that I really think needs to come into the scenario is COMMITMENT & RESPONSIBILITY !!  We need to be there for our ‘person’ at all times, even at times of our own struggles.  The only way we can do that is by walking closely with The Lord, digging into The Word & being accountable.

As a mentor, your role is to teach and inspire by words and example, so you can come alongside someone in their personal development and learning development using your life, Christian experiences, and education as tools.. You are a role model to someone. This is a precious responsibility that is to be taken seriously, but also enjoyed. You need to be one who is growing in the Lord, and who takes His Word and precepts to heart and to life. Because someone is placing his or her trust as a counselor and teacher in you, you need to be real and growing to do this right. Therefore, you are the one the Lord will use to provide opportunities for spiritual learning, development, and growth.

Matthew 12:36 & 37 tell us … I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  Words hold power peeps.. in so many ways, so be careful with your words !!!

If The Lord entrusts you with a ‘mentee’  (that’s probs not actually a word, but you know what I mean) then see it as the privilege that it is, and ENJOY it, but never ignore the commitment and the responsibility that goes along with it.

Oh.. and one last thing…. DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS RESPONSIBILITY !!  Treat it as the GIFT that it is.  You will grow through every moment as a mentor too… it’s not a one-way deal.  Another thing that has been evident in my walk and I believe I can pass onto others and it be of help, is this…  When God leads you in a different direction… be it towards a different person, or away from a person…. LISTEN TO HIM & ACT ON IT !!

Maybe you will be in a mentor type relationship with someone for a very long time, but often you will not.  People with this need or gifting come in & out of our lives at GOD’S will, not ours !!!  We may be of help, or receive help from someone for a season and that be all God intended for each of our journeys.  When that happens…  seek confirmation from Him.. and then accept & move on, being ever watchful for new doors being opened.

Isn’t it FUN being a child of God !!!!!  Seriously, I LOVE IT !!!!  So much to learn, grow in and become !!!!

Blessings peeps !!!  xox

 

 

What colour is your lifejacket?

Quite often, the Holy Spirit will prompt me on a future blog entry.  This happened to me on the very first day of our cruise, so I did what I always do in these situations, got out my phone and typed it into a note ‘for a time such as this’ (ha ha), when I’d find the time to sit at my Mac and blog about it.

As a little side-note, but still very pertinent to this blog, I am simply LOVING  (& very appreciative) how I have such a great ‘open phone line’ with my Heavenly Father, and in turn am often very aware of Holy Spirit prompting.  Now, I’m in no way saying that I always get it right, coz I so do not !!  There are times when I ignore that still small voice, or buy into the lie that it was ‘just my own thoughts’.  I always know this has happened as a turn of events play out and I’m able to see plain as day where I should have listened to the still small voice, and I didn’t.  Most of the time, it’s very small things.. nothing life changing by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m sure it’s exactly those times when The Lord is teaching me to lean on Him in EVERY situation.  It always prompts me to be constantly aware that if I don’t continue to work on and foster that relationship with The Lord, one of those times won’t be about a small, non-life-changing issue, but something much bigger.

John 14:26 – But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom The Father will send you in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

So, with all this in mind, when I am confident The Holy Spirit has given me a message, I get it written down so that I can explore it later.

Because it’s always interesting to start off a ‘story’ or message with a ‘sizzling start’ (that’s grade 3 curriculum coming back to me right there), here we go…

It was a gorgeous sunny Friday, standing on Riviera Deck of the Sea Princess.  My family & I were standing with lifejackets in hand while waving off dear friends that had come to farewell us.

As you can imagine, it’s kinda awkward walking around carrying lifejackets.  They’re not the modern type you’d use when going on a speedboat etc, but the very ‘boxy’ type that I imagine are made that way for easy mass production, as well as efficient storage in small spaces.

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After waving off our friends, we headed to our super exciting safety Muster.  As we were walking to our muster station, carrying my boxy lifejacket, I really felt, within my spirit, that I was being told the following very clear line.

JESUS IS YOUR LIFEJACKET !!

Because it wasn’t a particular ‘must be dealt with now’ type of prompting, I didn’t think on it too much at that time (too busy listening to the fascinatingly interesting safety talk of course), but it was the following day when sitting quietly on Promenade deck with nothing but my husband’s silent company, a great book and a drink (non-alcoholic of course, as I assume some of you may not like me BUI.. Blogging Under the influence …Bahahahahahaha ), that my mind went back to that still small voice and it’s message to me the previous day.

What kept coming back to me was this notion of carrying that awkward lifejacket around with me the entire cruise.  I remember thinking to myself (which, yes, I know is kinda silly) “I wonder if our friends saw us with the lifejackets and thought we had to have them with us at all times on the cruise?.”  Yes, feel free to laugh, as it is a funny picture, as I know they’re clever enough to have not thought that.  When asking for clarification it was made clear to me that the idea shows me that we have Jesus with us AT ALL TIMES and he IS our lifejacket.  He protects us and gives us that amazing sense of security.  He keeps our head above the water, even when the ‘seas’ get rough and the ‘waves’ are high.  (Is anyone  else singing ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong in their heads right now?)

The biggest illustration though was that while the boxy lifejacket is cumbersome to carry around (& worse to wear), and we all couldn’t wait to put it back on the top shelf of the cupboard in our stateroom, to hopefully stay there for the remainder of our cruise.. the lifejacket that we have in Jesus is a pleasure and a gift to ‘wear’.

Another element to the illustration was about the colour.  The boxy lifejackets on the ship are bright orange.  Most lifejackets are bright aren’t they as one of their features needs to be high visability etc.  The question we need to ask ourselves is …  When our friends, family, circle of influence etc see us ‘wearing our Jesus lifejacket’, do they see a bright orange, highly visable ‘lifejacket’ or do they see a faded, shabby one?  I wonder if some people even like their Jesus lifejacket to come in a Camo design at times… like those times that we want to ‘fly under the radar’ and slip into sin areas we know we shouldn’t.

This illustration says to me that yes, we can choose Jesus as our lifejacket but do we wear it at all times, care for it, keep it in tip-top shape?  highly visible & effective, or do we wear it only when it suits us, throw in the cupboard for weeks or months at a time, change the design of it at times so that it’s ‘easier’ (less cumbersome) to wear etc. When we do that, we are actually hurting not only ourselves, but those around us.  Those people that are possibly put across our path in order for us to witness to them.  We are called to be light in the darkness.

Personally, while working with this illustration, I want my ‘lifejacket’ to be a BRIGHT FLURO orange.. I want people to see Jesus within me from far off… & not just in appearance, but in action & deed.

I have found from personal experience over the years that when the lifejacket seems burdensome and weary to wear, it’s at those times that I have let me relationship with The Lord wane.  I’ve not given him my best, my first, my time.  Praise The Lord, I’ve never wanted to take the lifejacket off, never even come close to thinking it, but I am honest enough to know that at times my lifejacket has appeared dull and barely visible.  It always continued to have it’s practical elements of protection, but was I wearing it with the straps undone… living on the edge so to speak. I’m extremely grateful for the influences I’ve had in my life, in particular within the last 5ish years, that have brought me to a place of doing up the clips, tightening the straps, cleaning off the ‘dust’ and bringing it back to HIGH VISIBILITY.

So, to wrap up what I’ve taken from this particular message from The Holy Spirit, I want to keep my lifejacket BRIGHT and VISIBLE !!! How am I going to do that?  No matter how much time, big or small, I already devote in quietness to The Lord, I’m going to work at increasing those times.  I’m going to increase the times that I read from my ACTUAL bible, as opposed to using the app on my phone.  It’s convenient, I know (believe me, I know.. because I can make the font nice and BIG), but it’s also easy to have a txt message or a phone call come in and then poof…  quiet time disturbed.. even if you ignore the call/message.

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Also, I’m going to increase my journalling.  I really enjoy it so it’s certainly not a chore, and much is learnt from each journalling entry.

Praise & worship is also a big part of my walk with The Lord.  So many modern worship songs are full of great teachable content, but you really can’t beat the old hymns.  They are so rich in God’s word…  with so many of them copied straight off the pages.  So, increased time listening to God’s word in song is in order too.

With all this in mind, I’d say 2016 is looking pretty darn exciting !!

Blessings Peeps  xox

 

 

 

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