Today I cleaned my house, brought my washing in, went shopping, prepared afternoon tea, had dinner on the stove and the kitchen cleaned up all by 2 pm. I had played with Exzy, stopped for a cup of tea, and set up the craft activities which i had had planned - I did this on average sleep (5hrs max) still running after my baby daughter, and didn’t find it to be a hassle. Not because i’m a brilliant home maker but because today these acts were motivated by love, not necessity.
This afternoon two little girls, who for almost a year were mine and my husbands foster-daughters, came for a visit to our house. They were and still are incredibly precious to us. Its been over a year since they lived with us and it is a huge blessing to still get occasional contact with them. We were beyond excited from the moment we heard they were coming for a visit, I actually went to bed at midnight last night because I knew it was easier to clean the house while our daughter was asleep and I didn’t want to have to do anything other then spend time with the girls when they came here.
So today when I was wiping over the kitchen bench and ticking off the list in my mind (salad made, dessert organised, bolognase simmering) I had a moment; I realized that if I am capable of being this organized and this prepared, because I value my time with these girls… Why don’t I make this effort with God? Surely as the creator of the girls I should hold him more dear? And I do love the Lord, and I love spending time with Him! But there are days where I feel u have to choose between prayer time and getting the washing done but now I see that actually if there was something dear to my heart I would always be capable of making time.
So here is my point - if you truly want a deep relationship with God you need to set aside quality time to spend with Him. No matter your schedule, your season in life, you have something which would make you go “yep THAT is a priority”, something that you would get up at 5am for, something that you would make time for! So there is no excuse, from now on your relationship with Jesus needs to be one of those somethings. Hold Him dear.
The Israelites had gone against God again and again trying to do it in their own strength and on their own terms. But when disaster struck because of their actions, they would repent and cry out, God would rescue them, and then they would turn away again! It’s insane. But look at how merciful the Lord is, even in the Old Testament before Jesus had come.
The Israelites call out for God yet again, here is His reply through the prophet Samuel -
"Do not be afraid", Samuel replied. "You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless. For the sake of His great name the Lord will not reject His people, because the Lord was pleased to make you His own…But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you. yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will be swept away"
(1 Samuel 12:20-25)
I’ve heard it said that the God of the Old Testament was an angry malicious and vengeful God, and that only in the New Testament does He show mercy. My problem with that thinking though is this - If God was only malicious and vengeful, there would never have been a New Testament. He was so humble, so loving, that He paid the price for OUR transgressions. He sent His son, part of Himself to live as man, to teach us, and then to pay the ultimate price for us. How humiliating to be beaten by those you created, and all for their own sake. How extreme to love us even whilst we were in sin. He did not wait for us to be perfect, it says that He looked for a righteous person and found none so He sent part of himself to pay the cost of our sin. He tore the veil, He broke down the boundaries we had created, and He is waiting with open and loving arms. God never changes, He was the same loving creator at the beginning of time that He is today.
The Lord our God is sovereign, His rule is mighty, His ways are perfect and His love is wonderful. When your will and that of the Lord doesn’t line up - that doesn’t mean that He is in the wrong. Even though it can be hard to accept that we do not know the future, but that He does- that He spoke the world into being and therefore has the right to decide and declare what is and isn’t right for His world and His people.
Recently I have heard arguments regarding the current topic of whether or not Australia should amend the marriage act so that it is not just between one man and one woman. The point raised that got to me was that ‘if God commands His people and followers to love then we should approve a change of the Marriage Act out of love’. The people making this argument are not themselves walking with the Lord and I think that using this argument shows great error and here is why: firstly you can not use one command in order to justify breaking another. If the Lord says to love one another, then the definition and acting out of that love should come from His definition of love and align with His will. The Lord has made it clear that homosexuality (the act not the people) is abhorrent to Him and not an act fit for His people. That does not mean that other people have the right to punish or persecute people who live as homosexuals, rather this is a boundary He has set up and an issue for the individual to work through with the Lord Himself. As a society however we have the right to defend the institution of marriage, and our beliefs and how our legal system represents those beliefs. We do not condemn individuals for their sin, those matters are between the Lord and His people, but we do and should stand up for the customs and principals which have been in place literally since the creation of the world. We do not compromise our beliefs in order to further accommodate sin, loving someone does not mean letting them do whatever they like - especially when the act (in this case changing Australia’s definiton of marriage) will cause harm to other people in society.
You may then ask - what about people who do not believe in God? Well If one does not follow God, then they are under no ‘command to love’, and are able to have their own views and opinions which may still be that they prefer marriage to remain as it is. The majority of our society however do acknowledge God they live with a belief system which clearly says marriage was created by God and is the union between one man and one woman. If ‘marriage’ is just a word, then why is it necessary to change the definition of that word? Our legal system does not persecute people for living together when they are not married, and defacto relationships have the same rights now legally anyway. Marriage is a holy covenant, and needs to remain as it is. When I married Michael three years ago we make that commitment, we signed that contract, we formed that covenant with the understanding that ‘marriage’ always has been and always would be between one man and one woman.
If you wish to let the government know your views on marriage, then please go to:
Awesome = 1. awe·some/ˈôsəm/
Tonight we watched a dvd titled ‘God of Wonders’ and I have to say it was pretty wonderful. A collection of interviews of scientists, astrologers, historians and other brilliant and educated (including a personal favourite of mine – Ken Ham) people discussing how the Earth, and everything within it, declares the existence and supremacy of God. I have a love of delving into the sciences and seeing the glory of God on display, there is nothing wrong with searching for the existence of God because He has not attempted to hide His greatness. In all my time at University, various workplaces, and life - I have never read, seen, nor heard anything which has made me doubt the existence of God, nor the validity of the Bible.
The name of this blog was taken by the following scripture, and it has particular relevance to tonight’s entry so I will type it in full. The psalmist writes–
“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.”
The Lord spoke all life, all matter, everything which we see and know, into being. He is The Creator, The Author of the Universe. When we look at the complexity and astounding amount of information and detail which all matter on Earth and indeed in the Universe contains, there can be no doubting the existence of an ‘intelligent designer’. The relationship between the complex organisms demands a designer. The Lord knows each and every star because He created them all, He even calls them by name. The vastness of the Universe is then an indication of just how Great our God is, ‘His understanding has no limit’! The psalmist also wrote in Psalm nineteen that ‘the heavens declare the glory of God’, and when you look up into the beauty of the night sky I am sure you must agree with him - who hasn’t contemplated their existence whilst looking at the night sky? The heavens, the Universe, all of creation is crying out Glory to the Lord Most High!
Genesis chapter two, verse nine tells us that when the Lord was creating the abundant life which we see all around us today, He did not just create for necessity, but He deliberately gave detail which would be beautiful to the eye –
“And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.”
Did you know that? Life is beautiful because He made it so! As a society we do not just happen to love fresh flowers, it isn’t by chance that florists can literally charge us hundreds of dollars for a handful of roses! We love this stuff because it was made to appeal to us! Not so that we would pay for it, but rather so that we would see it and recognise it as a declaration of the creative, wonderful, generous God who thought them up! When the above scripture was written thousands of years ago they had no way of knowing that people would put pots of flowers around their homes, that we’d pay into the thousands to have them around us on our wedding days, that landscaping would be worth so much in today’s economy – all they knew was what the Lord told them! And He told them that it was created by Him, for His glory, and that it was GOOD! This is amazing! Although today we see a world which is marred by sin, the extent of God’s beauty and goodness is such that it is still surrounding us on all sides every moment of our lives! There is no excuse for anyone to deny the existence and magnificence of our Lord, Paul writes in Romans
“since what may be known about God is plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).
We live in a society which is working it’s hardest to block out all and any acknowledgement of God’s existence, of His sovereignty and of the accountability which we will all face at the end of our lives. It is happening so subtly in some ways, like the way evolutionary theory is spoken of as fact. It’s called ‘evolutionary theory’ because it is just a theory! And one with many gaping holes in it - it gives no explanation to how life actually began, where did that first cell come from if not from a creator? Something which I find very frustrating is the way so many nature documentaries state evolutionary theory as fact. I love watching animal and life documentaries but I find it so hard to sit through hearing repeatedly ‘seventy trillion years ago’, or ‘this creation climbed from the water and began to breathe air instead of using its gills blah blah blah’ they have ‘0’ real evidence for such things, it has never been witnessed, it is just guess work. And guess work done on the premise that there can be no ‘creator’ so what else could have happened. When I consider the words which they say so calmly, and the complexity which they pass off as accidental and as having no true purpose, I find myself astounded that so many people today would just accept it. I will give an example of my thinking - I was eating a muesli bar today and thinking about the way that seeds are spread throughout the world by birds, the bird eats the fruit which contains the seed and as they cannot digest the seed, only the fruit around it, the seed is then left wherever the bird poops. A little gross, but that’s okay I’m sure you can deal with it. I was watching a David Attenborough dvd the other day on plant life and he stated so matter of factly that it was marvellous the way the tree had developed this method of spreading it’s seed. I thought hang on a moment, a tree developed this? A tree has no brain, no way of processing thoughts. And indeed it has no eyes or ears or mouth in order to see that birds do indeed like eating fruit. Furthermore it has no way of knowing what a bird’s digestive system is or isn’t capable of digesting, let alone a method in which it can then process those facts and apply them to itself. So how exactly would a tree or any plant ‘develop’ this theory? There is way too much information and understanding required. And yet time and time again this is what we are told by television, by individuals such as Sir David Attenborough, and even today we teach our kids this in school! It is nuts.
Life is no accident, nor was the creation of all we know. You, me, all of creation was designed and then brought into being by The Creator! By our loving God!
Let’s chew that over for a bit and I will post more soon.
"Love says I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person. Abortion says I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself…"
All life matters. That ‘matter’ is life.”
18 When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
They continue on and arrive at their destination.
This is a great passage of scripture, and I want to unpack it a little and see how it relates to us as disciples today.
The first thing I notice is that the text tells us that Jesus ordered that they go over the other side of the lake, this is his idea.
He then leads by getting in to the boat first, which means that before the men even begin the journey he is there waiting for them.
This tells me that the disciples are not only enjoying relationship with the Lord, they are actually acting in complete obedience as well. This is not like Jonah getting swallowed by the big fish.
However, the storm STILL HITS! And it hits without warning. This lack of warning is significant because we know from Matthew 4:18-21 that Simon-Peter, Andrew, James and John are all fishermen by trade. They would have grown up on the sea and would know how to read it and the weather well. But this storm hit without warning, they did not see this one coming. These men were in their element out there, they are physically with the Lord, they are acting in obedience but they become so scared that they believe they are going to die. That is a BIG storm.
Jesus is sleeping. He is not acting how they expect but is with them the WHOLE way. He is right there in the boat with each one of them.
Their reaction is to then go to the Lord and beg him to save them. However they go there with their presuppositions, they say they are going to drown. They tell Him what is going to happen.
Jesus then stands up and calms that storm and those waves. Resulting in the disciples being AMAZED! They gain an even greater awareness of his power and his glory.
They are then able to reach their destination.
It is so easy as Christians to tell ourselves that knowing God means never having to face hardships or heartache, but that is not what the Bible tells us. These disciples are so close to the Lord that they are actually face to face with Jesus but the storm still hits! Yes they reach the destination but only after going through a storm. He is there with us the whole way, but that doesn’t mean we get an alternate route. We go through the storm. The result of this experience for the disciples is that even though they already knew him, they are now further amazed at his power and his glory. They gain a greater understanding of who He is.
My point is this, when you pray saying “Lord, I want to be your hands and feet”, remember that those hands and feet were nailed to the cross. The experience may not have been pleasant but the result was glorious. And it’s the same for us as his people, you will go through storms! You may be going through one right now! So I want to encourage you, even though he may not be acting as you expect, he is still there with you! And although your vision may be blinded by the wind rain and waves, he can see the destination and it is glorious! You will pass through the storm and you will do it together, and the result will be gaining an even greater understanding of who He is! A greater awareness of his power and his glory.