Dear Brothers and sisters in Christ

 I have been asking God the Father to show me what His priorities are for me this coming fall/autumn. I try to do this on a fairly regular basis in order to make sure that His priorities for me and my priorities actually line up. My heart’s desire is to walk in deep fellowship with Him and to do that I need to know what is on his heart for me.

 Now I would love to tell you all that I have a great formula to figure out God’s will for my life, but I would be lying. What I do have though is a revelation from him that I would love to share with all of you.

 As I was asking him what His priorities for me were, I felt the urge to write down all of the things that I am involved in as a mother, wife, friend and minister of the gospel.

 I categorized my life into columns of things that were important and relevant to me, like home, kids, marriage, me time, ministry etc. I am sure that you are getting the picture. Then I asked myself these questions:

 What do I feel are my responsibilities to each of these people in my life

  • What do I personally have to do
  • What can I get others to do
  • What are the most important things that I have to do
  • Will the world end if they are not done
  • How am I going to schedule me time in the midst of what is required of me
  • What does God see as the highest priorities
  • Which ministries are the ones that the lord wants me involved in and why
  • What is the motivation of my heart to be a part of a ministry

 I was shocked at how long my list of things that I had to do was. I felt overwhelmed at the thought of it all and truly wanted to crawl under a rock and stay there until the storm had passed.

 Thankfully, God is our strength and reminded me of something so simple and yet so profound. I remembered that simple verse that says: Seek first the kingdom of God and then all of the other things will be added unto you.

 Well of course that is the truth but when you are in the midst of a two page list of things that you know you have to juggle, it can seem overwhelming. Then the lord in his great mercy led me to the following verses which showed me his true priority and purpose for my life.  Surprisingly it was not what I was thinking it was but something way simpler.

  Don’t get me wrong, my list of things are important as they have to get done, but living the way God wants me to live in the midst of doing all the other things is far more important to him than not.

 Here are some of the insights that I received from reading these verses.

 Ephesians 5:1,4,15-21

 1Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 
2and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

  • God tells us in his word that He wants us to imitate him. Well in order to do that I need to know who he is and what he does and why he does it. I can find that out in his word as I make a habit of reading and searching scriptures daily.
  • I need to purposely live a life that reflects the love of God within me, giving of myself to those around me just as Jesus did.

 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.

  • I need to purposely set a guard on my heart and mind in order for my lips to speak life and not death to those around me.
  • Recognizing the blessings that God has poured into my life will produce a harvest of thankfulness that will also come out of my mouth.
  •  15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 
    16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 
  • I need to make every effort to live my life wisely. How do I do that? I ask the lord for his wisdom and he will      give it to me, as he has promised to do that.
  • Part of gaining wisdom is reading a chapter of Proverbs a day; you would be amazed at what you learn in there.
  • I need to make the most of every opportunity that presents itself to me to spread the love of God and his message of salvation to those around me. The bible teaches that it is wise for us to teach others about the gift of salvation that we have been given.

 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 

  • The will of the lord is one of the most important things that we need know as a Christian. If we do not know his will for us and our lives we will be like a big ship that is tossed back and forth on a stormy sea with no sails. It cannot sail out of the storm as it is broken. The same with us, if we do not purposely set out to know and find out what the will of God is for our lives we will wander around aimlessly. (God is our sails and he will lead us into the paths that are good for us) Not knowing and understanding the will of the lord for our lives will rob us of the  deep satisfaction that comes from knowing that you are doing exactly what God created you to do. God’s will and his priorities always line up together for us.

 18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 
19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 

  • I need to choose to not fill my body and mind up with things that would limit the Holy Spirit from working in me. If I am drunk on wine and lose the ability to function in a full capacity then I am of no good to anyone around me. The Holy Spirit cannot reach me and I cannot hear him.
  • Now before you all start sending me nasty grams, I am not saying that a glass of wine with my dinner is bad. But when you purposely set yourself up to get drunk it will be unlikely that you will be able to be led by the Holy Spirit. You will be then led by your own flesh, which wars against your spirit. So be wise in your actions.
  • God wants me to be rejoicing in him in all things and always.

 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Thankfulness is a trait of a person whose lives reflect God. He has given us so much to be thankful for and we need to show our appreciation to him for all that he has given and done for us.
  • Trust me, when you are giving thanks to God for what he has done for you, he will fill you with a joy that goes so deep that you cannot even begin to describe it.
  • So make it a habit to thank God for everything big and small in your lives. This will also show God that you respect and honor him by obeying what he has taught you to do.

 21Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

  • Last but not least, I need to submit to my brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as my husband, pastor and all others that are placed in authority over us. This we need to do gladly and again out of respect to God for what he has taught us to do. Pride will undoubtedly rise up and say no way, but part of walking humbly with God is to obey those whom he has set in place in authority over us. We also need to be willing to serve those around us all of the time, and in this way we will honor God as well.

 I pray that as you read the scripture and the insights that the lord has given me that you will understand; that it is not what we can or should do for God but what God wants to do in and through us.

I no longer feel the pressure of all of my own priorities, but rather I can come before him with confidence to confirm his priorities for my life. I pray that in Jesus name, you will do the same.

 

  God Bless you.

The value of the truth

 I recently went on a family vacation to the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. We went for 2 weeks and it was absolutely amazing. It was very relaxing, the weather was wonderful and the hours spent on the beach were magical.

 To be honest, it was so relaxing that I let my personal spiritual disciplines fly right out of the window. What do I mean by that? Well, for the past 18 years of my life I have been in the habit (discipline) of taking time out at the beginning of my day to spend with the Lord.

 To some people that might sound like a strange thing to do and to others you might know what I am talking about. So indulge me for a moment as I explain myself.

  I love to get up in the morning when all is quiet and read my bible, pray and be “fed” spiritual food.

To be “fed my spiritual food” I need to quiet myself and ask the Holy Spirit to teach me what he wants me to know for that day, to take time out and read a portion of scripture or a verse and ask the Holy Spirit to help me understand it through His eyes and not mine.

 My eyes are dull, but the Holy Spirit’s job is to lead me into all truth. (John 14). This he does when we open up our hearts and ears to stop and listen to him. It is such a wonderful time of learning and renewal that I absolutely crave my time with him and to be honest I guard it jealously.

 I have learnt so much and grown so much over the years by following this little formula. The Holy Spirit has been faithfully drawing me and teaching me more and more about life, wisdom, Jesus and what is required of me as a woman whose heart is ablaze for God.

 Up to my vacation this was my daily spiritual discipline, but while I was on vacation, I found that it was hard to find that quiet time as there was always something to do first thing in the morning, at home the kids can get their own breakfast and tea, on vacation we have to unpack everything and light the stove go and fetch the water; I am sure that you are getting the picture.

 By the end of the vacation, I had not spent any time with God in the way that I would normally and to be honest not only did I miss it, but I was having thoughts of “you have completely fallen off the wagon spiritually, God is not going to want to have you back” Or “you are so backslidden now, there is no hope for you” or “you see you did not do your devotions and now you will never be able to hear the Holy Spirit talk to you again”.

 These my friends were just a few of the thoughts that were going through my head. You see I had let my guard down (God tells us in his word that we are to guard our minds and take our thought captive to the obedience of God) and now because of that I was being tormented by the guilt of not “doing my spiritual disciplines every day as faithfully as I should.”

 The guilt felt like a heavy weight on my shoulders and I felt not only defeated in my mind but defeated in my spirit as well. I am sure that if you could have seen me there was probably a dark cloud hanging over me with the thunder rolling and the lighting cracking.

 Ok, so I am being a bit dramatic. The truth of the matter was that I felt bad because I had not kept up my side of the relationship with God.

 When I got back from vacation, I immediately found some time to go and be quiet before the lord. There I cried out to him to forgive me and I begged him to take me back and forgive my foolishness of neglecting my relationship with him.

 What happened next was to me very precious and truly amazing.

  I believe that the Lord started to show me that He had never left me nor had he forsaken me. I was not only in Jesus’ hand but Jesus is in God’s hand. There is absolutely nothing on this earth, neither death nor life nor angels nor demons, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor  height or depths, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39)

 Brothers and sisters in Christ, this is so true for all of us, nothing can take us away from our heavenly father. I cannot earn his approval, (yes it is important to have spiritual disciplines, of setting time aside to get to know him every day) but when that setting that time aside becomes me just wanting to gain his approval of then I have missed the point.

 The point is that God’s love to us is unconditional. He loves us because that is His nature; he loved us while we were still so deep in our sin that there was no possible way out, except through him.

 He loves us in spite of our frailty as he made us and knows that we are made from dirt. (Genesis 1) There is nothing that we can do that could make him love us more or make him love us less. (Except, that is, if we completely reject him and have nothing to do with him ever again)

 If found myself in that age old striving mode, trying to earn his affections and love by being good and doing all that I knew to do that would win his approval. Then when I found myself failing, (on holiday and not spending time in prayer and bible study) I was so weighed down with guilt that I thought I was done for, for good.

 Oh, the lies of the Devil. He had me so twisted in confusion and guilt that I truly could not see the trees for the forest. I had forgotten that God says that my salvation in Him is guaranteed because I believe in his precious son Jesus Christ. I had forgotten that because I am in Christ Jesus, nothing can separate me from the love of God that he shows me through his son Jesus.  I had forgotten that God’s love for me does not depend on what I do or do not do for Him; it is given to me as a free gift, wholly and completely.

 Oh, the joy that the revelation brought to my heart. I sincerely praised the Lord with everything in me for setting me free once again from the lies of the Devil that tried to trap me and lead me away from my loving heavenly father.

 I encourage each of you, if you find yourself in a situation where it has been a while since you last spent time with God, or if you have never ever spent time with God, set up a time to do so as soon as possible. Not out of obligation but out of a sincere desire to know him more. I know that he will, with out a doubt, reveal himself to you, teach you more about his word and set you free from things that draw your attention away from him.

 When I first started my journey with God, I heard many people say, you have to set the time aside with God and he will reveal himself to you. So being naïve, I set out to do just that. I would love to tell you that it was all roses and that every time I heard him speak to me and that I had these great times with him.

 That was not always the case, it was a struggle, sometimes harder than others, but the longer I stuck it out the more precious it became to me and I could not wait to have my time with him again.

 So, I pray that each of you will take the time out of your busy lives and set some time aside with Jesus today, I ask heavenly father that you will open the eyes of my brothers and sisters hearts that they may know the wonders of your love for them, that they will have a deeper understanding of your knowledge and will for their lives. I pray that you will ignite in each of them a passion for you that sets them on fire for you in a deeper way than they have ever experienced before.

In Jesus Name

Amen.