A Dream

I had a dream that I believe God showed me to encourage myself and others in the faith. There are three people in this dream who represent us in our walk with Christ.

The first person was full of cold, lumpy, grimy mud. The mud made the person look very ugly. The mud covered their face and body so as not to be able to see who they really were. All I could see was muck and mire.

This person cried out the name of Jesus. He came and he washed the mud and muck off her. Because there was so much dirt on the person, Jesus took extra care to remove it all, taking a while before it was all gone. When the person came out of the water, she was a totally different person. She was clean. She was lovely. Christ had done a great work.
The person here, of course, represents us all when we come to Jesus and ask him to be our Lord and Saviour. When we come to him, we are so full of sin (anything that goes against God’s holiness). We were “dirty,” “grimy,” and “ugly.” Sin separated us from God (Romans 3:23). Praise the Lord, Jesus died on the cross so he can cleanse us, washing us clean, pure as snow. The mud and mire are gone. We are a new creation.

The second person looked more like a cactus. There were prickly spikes all over the person. The person was hard to be around as whenever someone came by they would get hurt. No one could say anything, give hugs, give and compassion or concern to the prickly one. This person began to realise she was hurting others and herself. She was so full of hurt and pain. Life was so hard. In order to protect herself, she put up borders (spikes) so she wouldn’t get hurt again. However, the spikes were pushing her farther and farther from the ones she needed in her life.

She cried out to Jesus and he came. She grieved the loss of her friends due to her own pain. Jesus gave her a tool to scrape off the spikes. He spent much time with her, healing her of the things that hurt her. However, the greatest thing she held onto was bitterness and unforgiveness. Jesus told her that the only way to be completely healed and the spikes to be gone was to let go of the anger and forgive those who hurt her. It took a long time, but gradually, each spike fell off and the woman became a totally different person. She forgave those who caused her pain. She let go of the bitterness. Her friends came back and she apologised for all the hurt she had caused. Jesus answered because she called out his name. This woman instead of being a prickly cactus became a beautiful rose. True, there were a few thorns here and there, but time and Jesus heal the wounds.

The last person I saw was like a shining diamond with many flaws. There was much beauty as she was taken out of much dirt, washed off, rubbish was taken away. The person left was still being changed into who Jesus desired her to be. However, other people and circumstances of life were just hard. With every blow that came, another nick was found in the diamond. She didn’t understand this. She was asking over and over again why. Why would Jesus allow these things to happen? She was tired, hurt, cracked and dry.

She called on Jesus, and he came. He gave her a simple piece of sandpaper. When she asked why, he said the circumstances of life, ill health, people who rubbed her the wrong way, loss of job, constant pain, etc. was being used to purify her to be what God intended her to be. He said the sandpaper was to be used to smooth off the rough edges. He asked her to stay faithful to him despite all that was going on. He is there with her. He is carrying her through. He reminded her that the sufferings of this life are nothing compared to the glory of heaven.

I learnt a lot from this dream. It was as if I saw my own life through these different scenarios. And then, when I read my first devotion this morning, this is the scripture that just confirmed all of this I saw….

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when you faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” –James 1:2-4 NLT

God is not finished with me or you yet. Let’s stay faithful to him and he will change us into who he desires to be. Are you willing to let him? Call out to Jesus! He is as close as the call of his name. He will come and he will answer.

Trusting God in the waiting

“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” -Lamentations 3:24 NIV

The world we live in today is busy and fast paced. We can easily find things and order them with a click of the finger. The said items then can be at our doorstep as early as the next day. We can drive through and get meals to take home without having to cook. We can email or text someone on our phone instead of sending snail mail.

Regardless of how fast paced our world is, not everything comes to us on a silver platter whenever we click our fingers.

We must wait.

In restaurants and cafes, we wait for our food and/or beverages to be served. In school, we wait for exam results in order to get into 6th form or university. Even with a fast pass, we have to wait our turn to get on amusement rides.

The British are well good at waiting in queues (unless your children are with you, that’s a whole different story for another time).  We have them everywhere. From supermarkets to concerts, and cafes to museums, queues are formed whilst we wait to get in or to pay.

But…

How many of us truly enjoy waiting?

What about waiting when the doctors keep telling you there isn’t much they can do for you? All you can do is live with the pain and fatigue every day with no end in sight.

What about waiting for an organ you desperately need so your quality of life can be much better?

 
What about the job opening you have been waiting for, but the right doors never seem to open?

What about waiting for your child to turn back to God instead of doing drugs, or dabbling into other religions?

What about finding the right spouse? Waiting desperately for a child? Retirement? Holidays? There are many “what about” questions we are waiting for.

I want to say to us today, God understands. He knows our heartache. He sees the tears that fall. He knows how we twist and turn at night trying to fall asleep but the anxiousness keeps us awake.
God holds us close and whispers in our ears, “I am here.”

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Whilst we are waiting for the miracle, may we remember God is our portion. Give him praise for what he has done in the past and what he will do in the future.

I continue to wait for strength and healing for my physical body and revival for my soul.

God is my portion for each day. He provides for me. He enables me to serve him despite the pain and fatigue.

God is my Living Water. He refreshes my soul.

God is my healer, even if the healing doesn’t come here on earth.

I will continue to trust God whilst I wait.

Friends, declare God’s praises. He is still good. God is always good.

God is with us in the waiting! Keep holding on to him even if it is just by a thread. God is faithful!

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God will answer our prayers in his time, not ours. Great is his faithfulness, his mercies are new every morning. God will give you what you need for each day.

Prayer.

Father, I find it difficult to wait. I want everything to be just right, the way I like it, and I want it now. But this is not how life works. I get fed up of waiting. I know my time is not your time and your timing is perfect. Please help me to rejoice and to remember you are my portion and you are always faithful. I release my frustrations, anger and hurt to you. Help me to always know you are with me in the waiting. I surrender all to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Five Minute Friday- Inspired to write

Today’s five minute Friday word is “inspire.” I have been inspired by several different people in my life time for different avenues of service. But for today, I am focusing on my inspiration to write.

I enjoy writing. I like to write poetry, stories and generally about the Bible.

People who have inspired me in writing are Lysa Terkeurst, I love how raw and real she is with her writing, Stuart Briscoe for Bible teaching, Harry Read and David Laegar for writing poetry. I also enjoy reading Ann Voskamp’s books.

Recently, I have been taking writing courses to better myself, thanks to Proverbs 31 ministries. I am really enjoying listening to the teaching, being stretched in my thinking and writing skills.

Reading is a great past time. I tend to read as much as possible. I read different authors and different genres. This helps me to be inspired in many different ways of writing.

The five minute Friday idea is great as well as it makes me think and stretches my thoughts as to what I can share. Especially for five minutes. My mind often goes all over the place trying to think of what to share. This makes me focus, pause, take time to think and then to write.

My dream is to write a book and get one published. I have had a poetry booklet sold to raise funds for our church. HOwever, I would like the book to one day be published and sold.

I love listening to Lysa with her stories. Although I am not good with humorous stories, I do hope I can find some that will be useful in an upcoming book. I pray my writing helps others, as Lysa’s writing does. This is my prayer as I want to encourage others in their faith and walk with Jesus.

My goal is to do what Lysa says, “Dare to release that best writer within you.”

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Five Minute Friday- Collect

I like to collect different items. I collect postcards, sheep, and quotes.

I have been collecting quotes for years. In fact I have almost 800 pages worth of typed quotes.

I enjoy reading them from time to time and I use them for when I am writing my blog, sermons, etc.

God says in his word that he collects our tears. The verse is found in one of the psalms.

I am so glad God collects our tears.

Last week, my beloved bird Shadow, flew out of the window and did not come back. I tried calling for him and he just flew past me and went on his merry way.

I was heartbroken. Tears flooded down my face. I cried for a long time.

The next day our neighbour found Shadow, but he was in a very bad way.

He was attacked by another bird and he was badly bruised and beaten.

Once again, I was sad, but so thrilled he was home.

Shadow made it through the night. But he struggled throughout the next day. He laboured with his breathing.

He curled up in my hand and barely held on to life.

Then over night, Shadow passed away in his sleep.

I was beyond distraught. I was in tears as soon as I saw Shadow. My heart was beyond broken.

God saw my tears. He collected them. He carried me through the ordeal. Fortunately a week later, I am a bit brighter.

Thank you God for collecting my tears.

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Content in Christ

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:11-13

Contentment is found in Christ. Paul learnt this whilst on his travels sharing the Gospel to whoever would listen and believe. He had been through so much for the sake of sharing the Good News. He had been beaten and imprisoned several times. Whilst in prison, he sat in chains. It was nothing like our prisons today where they have exercise rooms, libraries, television, and three-square meals a day. Paul was fortunate to get a meal in prison.

As Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians, he explained that he was content. He didn’t want for much or need stuff. He had nothing but Christ. Christ was his strength.

How many of us can say that today? Can we honestly say we are content with who we are or what we have?

Since being ill, I’ve lost being able to work, go out with friends and family whenever I’d like, the ability to fully dress by myself, walk more than 10 metres and much more. Life has changed dramatically for me. I used to love to hike, take my kids out walking in nature, going to the beach, putting my toes in the sand and in the water. I enjoyed lying out in the garden, soaking up the sun. I enjoyed ministry, especially with children and those with special needs.

Sadly, whilst I was active and well, I took all of these things for granted. I wasn’t content. I was grateful, but not content. I always wanted things to be better. I always wanted more.

I wanted to be…

A better wife.
A better mum.

A better minister.

I never thought what I did was ever enough.

 

I wanted more…

People to minister to.

Time to do the things I enjoyed.
Money for ministry and for personal things to do.

Sadly, I even complained about how things should be better.

 

However, in the past 5-6 years, God has been teaching me a lot about being appreciative of what I have, especially having Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I have learnt first-hand how Christ is my daily strength, that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Though I have lost my independence and abilities to do many things, God has opened other doors of ministry and activities (lots of crafting) for me.

I am still on a major learning curve.  I still struggle from time to time being content with what God has blessed me. I continue to rely on him and seek his face for each day and the future.

Some of us have lost everything we used to know. Maybe it’s due to illness, a loss of a job, a divorce, loss of a spouse or child, or something else. Yes, there is great grief over what we have lost. We have to process through that grief and then move forward. We can be assured that Christ is with us. He is our strength and he will carry us through.

Instead of desiring more earthly things, we need to be desiring Christ and eternal things. A great question my husband asked me when we were dating, “Is it eternal?” When we find ourselves not content, we need to ask ourselves “Is this eternal?” If it is not, then we need to give it to the Lord and ask him to enable us to be content with what we have.

Can we say with Paul, we are content despite everything we have lost or been through?

Can we say we are content even if we have everything most of the world dream of having?

For Paul, contentment was found in Christ. He realised that Christ was worth living for. Christ gives us eternal life. Christ gives us strength. Christ is our contentment.

Prayer: Father, I admit many times I am not content with what I have or with who I am. Either I am not happy with all that I have, or I am not happy that I have lost everything. There needs to be balanced in my life. I desire to be like Paul and be content no matter what. May my heart not be focused on earthly things but on eternal things. Jesus is eternal. Jesus is my strength. He is my daily strength. He enables me to do things in that strength. May I be content in you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Insecurities

“Moses said to the LORD, ‘Pardon your servant, LORD, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.’” -Exodus 4:10 NIV

I am an insecure person.

Throughout my life insecurities have been a major mart of my makeup. I never thought I was good enough.

At school, I was picked on. I was laughed at and didn’t really have friends until I went to high school.

Insecurities kept me from trying out in sports. Sadly, I was usually picked last for team sports in P.E. Because of this, I guessed I wasn’t good enough, so I didn’t bother trying.

I was scared to put myself forward for anything. I didn’t mind being in the background (I still don’t.). I didn’t want to be seen as I was scared of people laughing at me.

I have continued to be insecure despite learning more and more of who I am in Christ. I struggle with my weight, the medicines I take for fibromyalgia, neuropathy and depression/anxiety, doesn’t help due to weight gain.

I have struggled with loving myself. God continues working with me in this area.

Insecurity has kept me from so much. However, God uses me despite of these insecurities.

Moses was insecure. He was called by God to rescue the Israelites from Egypt. He was to go to speak to Pharaoh and tell him to “Let God’s people go.” Moses didn’t say, “Yes, God, I’ll do anything you want me to. I am okay with myself. I love myself. I can do anything.” Instead, Moses simply said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, LORD, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10).

God already knew what Moses was going to say and had a plan in mind. He had Aaron, Moses’ brother, to go and speak for Moses. We see that Moses became courageous and spoke to Pharaoh himself (See Exodus 8).

Moses, of course, led the people out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and later on became their leader in the desert sharing with them everything God told him. Despite his insecurities, God still used him.

I honestly think we all have insecurities. We use those insecurities like a crutch keeping us back from doing what God wants us to do. I could use my illnesses to keep me from being effective for the Kingdom. I could use the words running around my head so often that I am not good enough. However, I decided a long time ago, no matter what I was going to serve my Lord Jesus Christ because I love him.

God has allowed me to write more and share what he lays on my heart. I am able to encourage others despite my limitations. I was able to be a full-time minister in The Salvation Army for 18 years, 14 of those active on the field before illness struck.

What are your insecurities? Are you allowing them to dictate your life and keep you back from what God desires for you?

God can use anyone. He is not looking for perfection. He just wants you because he loves you. Be honest with God. Moses was honest. Why keep anything back from him?

Give your insecurities to God. I have to lay them down at his feet daily. God will and can use you no matter your circumstances. You have to be willing.

Prayer: Father God, I am an insecure person. I struggle with what people think of me. I know I shouldn’t be that concerned, as I should be focused on you and what you say about me. However, I want to be loved, appreciated, and accepted. I give you my insecurities, I lay them down at your feet. I desire to live for you because I love you. Please help me to be the person you desire me to be. I am yours, Lord. Amen.

Rest ©

Awake again,

So much on my mind

Thoughts of today repeat themselves

My want to do list

Keeps growing longer.

 

I close my eyes and lay my head on the pillow,

Wrap myself halfway under the sheet.

Sleep eludes me.

 

Jesus said that I can enter His rest.

Rest for the physical body is essential

And I have to do that now

As I have no energy for anything else.

 

So why is it so hard to sleep well?

Pain takes over,

Tossing and turning

Then…

The pain medication finally kicks in.

Yet, I wake up even more tired than

Before I went to bed.

 

Rest, Jesus, I long for deep, solid rest

I trust You-

You said that those who believe

Will enter into Your rest.

You said the battle is not mine

Be still and know that You are God.

 

I am here

Waiting

Longing

Hoping

For spiritual rest

 

In the white spaces of my soul

I pause

Seek

Listen

And I am still.

 

No matter what it takes Lord,

I will find rest

Because you promised me

Rest is mine-

 

“So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God.

For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labours,

Just as God did after creating the world.

So let us do our best to enter that rest.” –Hebrews 4.9-11a NLT