Practise Makes Perfect

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Now with much space and a relaxed atmosphere, I have been happily paying visits to the craft shops with the aim of coming up with new designs and products.  (This is with the desire of helping those in need, generate an income once the vision of the centre for singles becomes a reality).  In the process I also end up creating with love gifts for those dear to my heart.  The designs of the same product keep changing so that all don’t have identical products.  Of course each one’s favourite colours are used for truly customised gifts.  However, as I keep making these things and going through the process I’m realising of ways to improve it or to simply the process.  My reaction to my discoveries is then, “Doh… why didn’t I think of THAT before?”.  Well, practice makes perfect I guess – well near perfect as knowing my reduced Martha personality (and hopefully increasingly reduced too) I will keep coming up with ways to perfect the imperfections of the previous version!  Yes it becomes a bit like INFINITY I guess!

Reflecting on this blurb of mine, I realised this is what happens with the spiritual gifts that God bestows on us.  Initially we make mistakes or even oversights in what we hear.  We can filter His Word through our flesh to make the Word either sound good or be politically correct or whatever reason.  Oops… To help understand this, let me confess something that happened today along these lines despite the many years of operating in this particular gift. ..

I do try to spend time fasting and praying on a regular basis, not as a religious hard and fast practise but simply spurned on by a desire to suppress my flesh and its ways to hear God’s voice clearly above all else, above all that competes to get our attention, to feed the flesh. Of course those are the days that the phones will keep ringing or you feel unusually hungry or someone brings over your favourite dessert.. the list goes on.  This is the ‘test’ I guess!

Today while I was spending such time with the Lord (the way it often does happen), I felt a strong word coming from nowhere for a loved one who lives across the oceans.  Even within that split second or so, my mind raced through the word analysing it.  Well, what would the recipient think if I said this?  Would she think I had ulterior motives for wanting this to happen?  No, it can’t be that particular ownership but obviously has to be the other ownership… Besides isn’t the ‘situation’ I’m hearing in the word applicable to the latter and not really the former?  The “Word” mirrored my subconscious decision.  I whipped out my phone and sent out an email then and there with just this message.

I got an instant reply from her saying that she stands in agreement.  Then my phone beeped again.  There was yet another email saying that she would call me as there is much to tell.  It turned out that the “Word” was indeed a word of knowledge, confirming what had taken place.. She began the conversation saying what you wrote was indeed a word.  Having ‘tested’ the word, she continue on to tell me “however it’s not for the setting you mentioned but for the other setting.  It was indeed the” earlier scenario that I thought of not the latter!”  A totally unexpected twist to the situation had taken place and there had been things all along that I didn’t know of either.  God had answered her prayers and intervened – which is what He had shown me.

As our relationship with God intensifies, and as we learn to ‘sharpen’ our ears we are increasingly able to discern His voice.  Of course it also takes a lot of humility to stop filtering it through the flesh  or adding a head and tail to it through the flesh too.  There may be times the Word is conveyed just as it is – or there may be times that we do respond in the flesh.  Remember Moses deciding to HIT the rock when he was clearly told to SPEAK to the rock.  Remember Paul making a note,

“To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord)” in 1 Corinthians 7:vs 10 and then in verse 12 he writes… “To the rest I say (I, not the Lord)”

(This is why it is important that we test any “word” that we hear as all vessels are humans after all…)  On the other hand, there may be times when we don’t want to respond!  Isn’t that what Jonah did?  He didn’t want to take the prophecy as he knew that if the people did repent, God would relent and that would make a ‘fool’ out of him!

Of course there are also times when the Word given isn’t fulfilled due to rebellion in the recipient.  For example, the person could have been given a condition along with the promise in the Word or the person could have had a condition that they promise to meet in connection to the request.  They may have asked for it for themselves but also to bless others.  However, as the request begins to materialise with paths opening up, and they are now looking forward to it, they become greedy and don’t want to share.  They decide to hold back all of the blessings for their children and not for others.  God then suddenly puts a STOP to the paths that were being made straight.  In the event of God still going ahead with the ‘giving’, He will add ‘woes’ with it.  Ananias and Sapphiras held back from giving the full amount from the sales of their own property.  It was their own property so why did they have to die?  They sold with a heart to give but then decided to ‘cheat’ God.  This is interesting to note that this is in the New Testament, after the work of Christ on earth!

Other times we realise the purpose of a Word given to us is not for the person concerned to necessarily know about it, but rather for us to intercede or wage warfare or even step in to help the person in the need that God has shown to us or even perhaps as a warning to us for not treating the other person rightly!

Practise makes perfect!  We learn to understand the error of our ways or learn to be aware of the areas where we can easily slip and distort the Word, we learn to improve the way we hear and relay the message or what to do in response to the message etc.

When we do err in the operating of the gift, we don’t need to condemn ourselves or refrain from responding to the next ‘Word’.  God understands our weaknesses and a ‘broken and contrite heart He will not despair”!

Keep on keeping on – but keep watching out and tuning in as you do so!

To Wait or Make It Happen

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This last nomadic chapter of my life wasn’t easy but it surely had many spiritual blessings especially in the area of restoring me to His Image.  Waiting was difficult.  I was getting impatient and often threw a temper tantrum at God.  He would then still my heart.  Then the enemy would try to drill fear into me over the many years through a number of my loved ones and through those around me… “How can you get a place if you don’t search high and low?  Why don’t you get the Sunday newspapers? Go check the places first thing in the morning itself. You aren’t going to get a place if you are so picky / with that budget / with no advance payment … You should try searching a bit more interior places..  ” the list expanded on and on

At times I have gone to see places, at times in hope and at times with sheer panic and urgency.  I have made phone calls and not bothered making a trip wasting my resources. I lacked peace in all of those situations to pursue the ‘openings’ or to explore ‘my options’.  Yes there were people who jeered.. but I kept saying that in God’s time His will will come to pass – and at that time He will give within the budget or He will provide with the necessary key money or even give for free.  I believed there was a purpose for Him making me wait and I knew He had promised that where He leads He provides.  The key verse that I have been clinging on to these last 10 years of faith living has been “Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these (needs – food, shelter, clothes etc as in context of that verse) will be added” = Matthew 6:33

Sure enough He opened doors that even blew me off my feet.  I had peace even while I was walking down the road headed to see the place.  Little did I dream or imagine to get something of this calibre.  Imagine if I had decided that waiting was tough and settled with something that did come my way, if I had walked through doors that were open but where I had lacked peace!  Imagine if I had decided that waiting was a waste of time and if I had taken an alternative plan and explored my options – say move back overseas – and had ended up steering off course!

A couple of days ago, I was meditating on Matthew 20:1-16.

I was thinking of those who simply remained at the market place with the hope of being hired even after a few hours had passed.  What if they had got distracted with good intentions of not wasting time and seeing to other needs or tasks on hand?  Yes, those who got hired at the start of the day first had their hopes up that they will get an ‘increment’ after seeing the way the ‘late comers’ had been paid equally as them… When they saw they were getting only the amount they had agreed on they began to murmur.

The parable begins:

For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.

When God ‘recruits’ us for His vineyard, He meets our ‘needs’ despite the number of hours we have ‘worked’.  The waiting period isn’t seen as a ‘waste’ of time to HIM the way the world sees and perceives.

It’s also interesting to see the ‘master’ of the parable agreed a price with the labourers first hired.. but with those who were hired later on in the day were simply told, “Whatever is right I will give you”.  These workers agreed without a fear of being ‘under paid”.  I guess they were happy they were getting something at the end of the day instead of getting nothing at all.. They must have been surprised and delighted when they received the denarius!

At the end of the day, seeking God and His Kingdom isn’t about rewards and no one is favoured! It’s about God giving us what is right but most importantly it is about our relationship with Him NO MATTER WHAT.

What is it that you are waiting for?  Is it a job or ministry opening or fulfiment of dreams and visions or a marriage partner or finances or provision or a breakthrough of some sort?  Don’t lost hope! Don’t get discouraged!  Don’t allow the enemy to taunt you, to use those around you to dishearten you and lure you off course! God’s timing isn’t our timing.  His ways are higher than ours.. Don’t strive but let God be God!

Waiting isn’t a waste of time in His eyes as long as we are waiting within His will for His purpose and plan!  What we need and what He has ordained for us will be given to us IRREGARDLESS!

God makes ALL things beautiful in HIS time!

Outreach With “TRIMS”

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Salty breeze making its way through the welcoming windows proves that the works of man’s creation of fans and what not cannot compare even late at night!  The drops of the ocean are tossed about and waves lap at the rocky shores and not quietly at that.  The mind decides to be calmed to the point of leading the body to a point of physical rest!  Yet at times the train bull dozes its way at a high pitch alarming shrieking noise jolting me out of that blissful state!

Often our time of sincere worship of being at rest spiritually and physically, being in tune to the Father’s voice with a deep yearning of our hearts is disrupted and halted by a good old loud tone from a nearby instrument.  Yes it may be gospel music or accompaniments to it – but nonethless it can actually KILL someone’s worship just like the train that is taking passengers from one destination to another.

The following questions and more have been racing through my mind as I ponder on this topic.  As usual I’m REFLECTING and NOT drawing a conclusion as at the end of the day each one is accountable to God in what they do and in what God leads them to do.. However as believers it’s important to weigh every action and test it against God’s Word in context and against His nature.

I look around me and see various approaches being implemented for outreach.  Purpose?  Great!  Yet are these effective?

Likewise with many of the methods of outreach in today’s world with the fancy expensive trims – outreach to children through VBS programs and what not, and outreach to youth through ‘gospel’ DJ-ing (do the two words go together to start with?)…  Does GOD”S WORD really need all the trimmings and entertainment?  Is it attracting people to God’s love and to the TRUTH or is it attracting people to simply shift their pagan secular lives with the ‘cover’ of the gospel?  Just because the gospel is PRESENT doesn’t make it pleasing to God.  Even Satan used Scriptures to try to tempt Jesus in the wilderness.  Scriptures wrongly applied is the scheme of the enemy.

If the enemy can steal our worship he confiscates the most powerful weapon we have to fight against him – Anon

Would it help to understand the term ‘worship’ as intended in Scriptures to evaluate the scenarios we witness or do and to seek answers to these questions?

In the Old Testament, the term is translated from the Hebrew word shachah which means to be prostrate, to humbly beseech etc.  This term occurs 171 times.

In the New Testament, the term is translated from the Greek term proskumeo which means literally or figuratively to prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence, adore) and this occurs 60 times.  Another Greek word employed is sebomai which means to revere & adore.  This occurs 10 times while doxa occurs 168 times and is from the base of glory with application of dignity, honour, praise and worship.

The Greek Latreuo translated as worship in English occurs 21 times and has the meaning of ministering to God that is rendering SERVICE.

That’s just a glance at the terms and the pattern is evident.. It is about God, it is making HIM be at the centre, not man getting the attention or glory.  If at the end of the day ‘man’ is getting the latter then the question needs to be raised is this ‘worship’ to God?

Is our worship and ‘service’ actually leading people to a relationship with God, to immersing in His presence and resting in HIM?  Or is it like the train that jolts one out of that blissful state?

Are our trims and fancy methods indeed ‘tools’ or are they unnecessary or even detrimental distractions?  At the end of the day Jesus tells us to teach what He has taught us.. and we bear in mind that all ages of the Jewish culture including Jesus Himself knew the Torah (the first five books of the Bible)  by the age of 12.

Are we using TRUTH for outreach or are we using snippets or worldly pagan methods to reach out or even promising ‘rewards’?

What is the walk of a believer all about?  What do the two greatest commandments centre on?  Will our HYPE end up being like the seeds sown on the path or rocky ground or amidst thorns or is it indeed on GOOD SOIL that is ready to receive God’s Word as it is? “He who has ears let him ear” (Matthew 13:1-9)

Who has ears will hear, – and it’s to those ears that we prayerfully reach out in ways that glorify God not distract with the trims and skills.

To Point Fingers or To LOVE?

When you point a finger at someone else, 3 point back at us!  What is the message in that?

Night & Day

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What is relatively popular or perhaps even the norm – night and day or day and night?  To me at least, the phrase day and night is what flows easily!  What about you?

Whatever said and done the world trend is day and night – beginning from the calendar ‘day’ and even our approach to the 24 hour day as working and then resting.  We buzz about like crazy and then we ‘wind down’ for the day.,, or rather for the night!  (oops and I confess I’m a night owl but sadly much activity can be carried out only in the day – from banking to groceries to what not).  So the average person zips up the day for the night!

Ok ok.. you must be wondering what I’m rambling on about.. Well, THIS:

And God separated the light from the darkness.God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day – Genesis 1:4,5

and then the recurring phrases each day:

And there was evening and there was morning, the second day – v8

13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

What He created was GOOD!  Everything was good and this was HIS model for creation…the PATTERN He had for mankind.  In this pattern, God defines a day as evening and then morning – not the other way around that the world defines it.  The light was for activity, the darkness was for rest as God created it.. Mankind’s inventions brought in lighting and electricity which is great as long as we are using it wisely and that doesn’t become an idol robbing us of our quality time with Him!

I believe that we are called to FIRST rest – rest in HIM, seek HIS will, His perfect and pleasing will in everything and THEN set foot into doing what He is calling us to do…  We ZIP UP the night, we SEAL it in our hearts and rest physically putting our flesh to sleep, allowing God to speak to us in dreams and visions…

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done – Genesis 2:2

In addition to that night rest, then we take time out from the schedule of the week to once again REST in HIM to soak in HIS love, renew our minds and also to sort out the clutter in our lives, to discard the values and activities that we do driven by the fleshly desires and driven by the world trends and lured by the enemy…  to discern between the two.  I see it as a WEEKLY “spring cleaning”!!   Getting rid of the dirt and un-neccessary stuff to make room for God and the ways of God, to be able to fill our minds with things of Him and let that direct our paths, our steps!

The world says – “Do your best and God will do the rest”

but God says

REST IN ME.. Be Still and know that I am God.. Rest in ME, hear my voice and follow the leading of the Spirit…which sometimes includes you not doing ANYTHING in regards to what I reveal!

May we REST first to renew our minds and to be transformed to hear HIS perfect and pleasing will and our steps to be directed thus forth!