Return to the Source

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‘Come to Me, I’m all you need
Come to Me, I’m everything’
– Bethel Music

God does not want to be first in our lives. He wants to be the first, the last and the everything in between. He wants to be the one we turn to and the one we return to- in times of distress and fear, or times of joy and elation.

He alone is the source of our witness for Christ and the fire within us. We’ve heard it before but could stand to hear it another ten thousand times; without Him we can do nothing. Without Him, we wouldn’t want to do anything. He is the one who works eternal significance into every ministry effort or good work we put our hands to.

Before we turn to anyone else for advice, guidance or words of assurance, let us turn to God. Throughout the scriptures He repeatedly invites us to come to Him, when we are weary, thirsty or heavy laden. He ensures we know we are welcome to come to Him for forgiveness, mercy, wisdom and provision.

Like the man at the train station waiting for the love of his life to get off the train and run into his arms, God waits. Unfortunately, the scene sometimes plays out with the beloved jumping off the train and running into the arms of another…

Yet still, God waits. He continues to extend the invitation, rejection or no rejection. How great is our God?

We want to reach people; we want others to know the reality of salvation and a living relationship with the fully alive Jesus. We want to see people set free, healing manifested and broken hearts made whole again.

But we come to Him first. We listen to His good, pleasing and perfect directions, and then we move. This is a cycle that is designed to repeat itself; we continually have need of hearing from heaven. At every road block, at every bend in the road and wall in front of us we need to seek the heart of God.

Returning to the source is a necessary part of the process.

‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.’– John 15 v 5

How much do we believe this? Nothing means nothing worth anything in the kingdom of God.

The good news is that we can make a difference. Possibly one of the most encouraging verses in the whole of scripture tells us that it is:

‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’– Colossians 1 v 27

Therefore, if Christ is in us (and He is if we have believed and professed faith in Him), there is hope… the hope of glory.

Windows of Opportunity

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“The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are.” 
― John Burroughs

Seasons come and go in the kingdom of God just as they do on the Earth. There is a divine timing to receiving and activating things in the kingdom- windows of opportunity that could be missed if we fail to have ears to hear what Jesus is saying to us as His church.

The prophetic amongst us will recognise that tug in our Spirits upon hearing a certain message, when watching the news or reading a book on a specific topic. It is the nudge that alerts us to sit up and take more notice. We lean in and listen a little closer, we read slowly; taking in each word and mulling it over, we sense God wants to do something specific with the information or knowledge we are receiving.

This means more than jotting down extra notes in a keepsake notebook, more than an in-depth discussion after a service…

Maybe we need to pray strategically into that area? Maybe we need to focus our strength and resources into developing that area as a church community? Should we begin to declare and decree something into being? On a personal level, maybe we need to fast and actively seek God, believing that TODAY is the day of salvation. Now is the time of breakthrough for that specific issue in our homes, families and communities.

It could be simply recognising the right time to share our account of coming to faith in Jesus- with that strongly atheistic friend.

Timing is a common theme in the scriptures…

‘For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.’- Habakkuk 2 v 3

‘Therefore Jesus told them, “ My time is not yet here; for you any time will do….I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.’- John 7 v 6-8

‘And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.’- Luke 5 v 17

‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.’- Ecclesiastes 3

What nudges in our spirit have we experienced lately? What revelation has reached its appointed time in our lives- and what are we going to do about it?

Do we know when the time is ripe and the season has arrived for a particular breakthrough in our families and our communities? If we sense it, why not trust our discernment and go after breakthrough with all our hearts. Why not proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour over our cities and nations…

Our God longs to rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated, to renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Let’s move beyond merely gazing through windows of opportunity in the Kingdom, to flinging the windows wide open and letting His Kingdom come and His will be done. 

On earth as it is in heaven.

Resting in Identity

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‘The insecure often fight for identity and mistake rights for responsibilities. The more secure we become, the easier it is to live out of our divine nature, the ultimate place of rest’. – Bill Johnson

I found myself fighting for identity recently, although the concept of ‘fighting’ for my own identity makes no sense when I think about it. My true identity cannot be stolen, distorted or disposed of. It remains with me as it is me, my identity is God given. So why the defensiveness? Why the fight?

The root of it all is we forget whose hands our identity rests in. Our identity is placed firmly in the hands of God and He graciously bestows that identity into our hands. It takes a huge amount of trust in God to believe that our identity never rests in the hands of others, no matter who they are, what they have achieved or their position in life.

In my own moment of identity insecurity and defensiveness, I felt judged. The way others spoke to and addressed me, the things they said, all seemed to assume I lacked experience and knowledge of things where the opposite was true. I faced a choice of either listing off my ‘cv’ of experience and knowledge, bowing down to pride in the process- or saying nothing, allowing myself to be humbled.

It was a battle, I spoke a little of the things I had experienced but felt pride rearing its obvious head, and I didn’t like it at all. So, I stopped and said nothing, feeling indignant on the inside.

Then, in a quiet moment I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me with this gentle reminder:

‘As long as God knows who you are and you know who you are- that’s all that matters’.

It was so simple and so obvious, but I had allowed lies to cloud my thoughts and judgment. The release I experienced when I regained a hold on the truth was extremely liberating. I let my defences down and focused on the task at hand.

God knew what He had placed within me. He knew what I had experienced in life, He knew the things I had learned in the process, and He would utilise those things in me as and when He needed to and not a moment before.

It takes an act of humility to refuse to defend our identities, to rest in who we are.  But that is where we need to be, humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God. For He gives grace to the humble…and His grace is what we need.

It’s Not Over

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“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein

Listen to God. Listen to the hope hidden in every passage of scripture, breathed in to the inspiration of His word. It’s not over until it’s over.

Until then, there is always hope.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, our Father wants to heal our hearts. The hope that is placed within us from Him will be fulfilled. We can be sure of Him if there ever was anything or anyone to be sure of.

‘He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit.’- Psalm 147 v 3- 5

Our God understands the hopes beneath the surface of our lives, the hopes we harbour when all seems lost. He is astutely aware of the hope that won’t relent in the face of lost family members, sons, daughters, husbands and wives.

Hope is no longer hope when it is realised.

‘But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?’- Romans 8 v 24

Hope is not a destination but the beginning and middle part of this journey called faith. Hope transforms itself when it is fulfilled, when the promise is established.

Hope is defined as ‘to cherish a desire with anticipation’, and ‘to desire with expectation of obtainment’. We can see here that hope by definition is something to be cherished not wrestled with. It is the prerequisite to desire realised, if we honour hope itself, we may find our journey towards fulfilment is much swifter…

I am hoping for many things in my life right now, some significantly big things, some less so, but all are important to me. I am learning slowly to embrace hope, to see it as something ‘hopeful’ in and of itself and not a burden.

The greatness of hope is it leads us back to Jesus. He is the only one who can fulfil our hope in this life and the next.

And that, I believe, can only be a good thing.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

 

What I Really Need

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‘If in doubt- worship.’– Bill Johnson

I could tell you the exact details of what I was experiencing, feeling and thinking about when I hear certain songs. I think we all could. Such is the power of music.

But worship and praise music is different. The best ones have been written in earnest by believers with a purpose in mind. Birthed through prayer, with instruments played out of an awareness of the gift of God bestowed, and with a heart crying out for the living God. This is the stuff of real worship music.

The powerful authenticity of worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth.

I think most of our real needs go unmet. Not because God hasn’t moved in our lives or because we have missed something. But because what we really need is to steal away, focus our hearts and minds…and just worship.

We don’t need God to do anything but show up and be His wonderful self.

We don’t need to find the right words, we can let the lyrics and melody wash over us. The lyrics are so important in these moments; we need the focus to move from us to God, from earth to heaven, from our flesh to His Spirit.

In that posture of worship all worries of incompleteness fade away, they pale in comparison. We remember again that we are complete in Him; that He is the head over every power and authority (Colossians 2 v 10). Our faith is reinforced as we ponder His glory, renewing our mind with the knowledge that our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4 v 17).

This is what we really need.

‘All I need to do is worship.

All I need to do is say His name out loud.

All I need to do is lift my hands, surrender and bow down.

All I need to do is find Him.

All I need to do is let His presence fall.

All I need to do is worship.

Worship the Lord.’ – Rita Springer

Do you know what you need?

Impossible For Who?

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‘Keep lifting up to God the impossibility until He speaks’– Bill Johnson

God has been reminding me lately about open doors and the favour He has given to walk through them. He specialises in opening doors, making a way where there appears to be no way, providing streams in the desert.

He created the door, He initiated the way, and He is familiar with the desert. He is not intimidated by the ‘impossible’.

Maybe we ask the wrong questions. We ask ‘is this possible?’ sometimes without even realising it. We may not verbalise it with words, but our decisions, attitudes and actions reveal the unspoken question.

God asks us questions too;

‘Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?’

‘Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place?’

‘What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?’

‘Who can tip over the water jars of heaven?’

‘Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like His?’

Job ch 38- 41

God is making a point here. He wants a response from our hearts like Job’s, to exclaim in humility ‘I know that You can do all things. No purpose of Yours can be thwarted….Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.’ (Job 42 v 1-3)

To accept we cannot limit God takes humility. To embrace knowing what is impossible with man, is possible with God.

He creates and calls into being with the words of His mouth. At His command the Earth was formed, He created light and separated it from the darkness. He created something significant out of nothing worth mentioning. God has not changed; He is still speaking forth and creating life. He will speak life into our dead situations. He will speak life into the lost and abandoned dreams, endeavours and hopes hidden in our hearts for ourselves and others.

One word from God changes everything. Keep bringing Him the ‘impossibilities’ until He speaks.

The lyrics to this song sustained me and spurred me on during a time of intense ministry to the homeless and addicted on the streets of my City;

You can shine light into the darkness
And You can set every prisoner free
You can make streams flow in the desert
This is what we are longing to see

Because we know
And we believe

Nothing, nothing is impossible for You
Anything, anything can happen
When Your power breaks through
Hear our cry for Your supernatural touch
God of Miracles, come and visit us

Vicky Beeching- ‘Nothing is Impossible’

‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ was a question asked by a wise disciple of Christ.

The answer?

‘Believe in the one He has sent’ ( John 6 v 28-29).

And God said “Let there be light”, and there was light- Genesis 1

The Gathering

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“Gather/Gathering: to bring together, to pick up or amass as if by harvesting, to scoop up or take up from a resting place, to serve as an attraction for, to prepare (as oneself) by mustering strength, to reach a conclusion often intuitively from hints or through inferences, to draw about or close to something, to come together in a body, to cluster around a focus of attraction”– Merriam Webster Dictionary.

When believers gather together there is a rich resource of strength to be found. When we come together in one place, in one accord, with a shared heart and focus of mind. When we gather together in the name of Jesus to seek Him and be found by Him.

There is always the temptation to have meetings for the sake of meetings, to create the appearance of productivity and progress without the power or manifest presence of God to back it up. Nevertheless, there is power in gathering together.

‘All the believers were together and had everything in common…’- Acts 2 v 44

‘Everyday they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved ’- Acts 2 v 46-47

What a beautiful and sacred picture this paints. Think of the memories they created together, the connections they built with each other over time, the visions and dreams they must have shared with one another. It was a place of safety, so much so that God actively brought increase, He entrusted them with more and more people. This is a picture of true fellowship.

Of course, rubbing shoulders in such close proximity would bring its fair share of challenges too. Wrong attitudes and motives are sure to have been exposed and purified, nerves grated on, patience and perseverance learned. This is the stuff of life.

These gatherings would have allowed time for significant things to happen. Time to plant and uproot.  Time to heal.  A time to build and to tear down. A time to weep and to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to embrace and to refrain from embracing. A time to search. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to be silent and a time to speak.

These things did not occur in isolation, in a vacuum or on an island. They occurred in the context of community, in the heart of a gathering.

When we gather together we are a visible image of the harvest of God. In the collective of worshippers there is a shared anointing, a shared vision which is birthed and sustained by unity.

We serve as an attraction and a resting place for our God. We draw close to God and to each other, drawing strength and preparing ourselves to move forward. We inspire each other and fresh revelation springs forth.

When we are gathered together in His name, He is among us.

May we be expectant and ready for a holy visitation of God when we gather together as on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2 v 1-4). Waiting for the ‘suddenly’ to happen. He has done it before and He will do it again.

Let us not forsake the gathering. We are family, we are in this together.

Have you experienced the benefits of gathering?