He’s a Good Father : )

Today I had the joy of being surprised by God. This story is not to point to me at all but to point to the faithfulness and love of our always loving, abundant provider and Father God! He cares about us down to every last detail and every little need.

I had a small amount of money to make last 1 week until my next paycheck, and I had full faith that God would be God (as He always is) and provide. This morning I was so glad to be able to buy some coffees for some lovely girls I intern with. I didn’t care that I wouldn’t have money, I just trusted Him.

So then I went to work and I saw someone I wanted to bless with something specific but as I was on break I realized I didn’t have money on me to buy them anything. So I just prayed, “Jesus, I pray someone would give me something.”

I turn the corner and a worker at Sumo Salad looked at me and said, “Would you like a salad? Pick whatever you would like!”

I was shocked as this has not happened to me before and I thanked her and received the gift. As I was walking back I thought, God may not always give us exactly what we ask for, but He always gives us something even better for us and to bless us. I was definitely feeling blessed! But get this, I am finishing work and it turns out there’s one sandwich left, to which no one else wanted so I received it thankfully! But that’s not even the best part.

I leave work and check my phone to see missed calls from my neighbors (neighbors that have never called me before) And she says she made spaghetti and meatballs and wanted to give me some!

I am so in awe of my Father, who truly does “give good gifts to His children.” Matthew 7 tells it like this:

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

He loves us, and He is the God of MUCH MORE. More than we can ask, think, or imagine. He desires to be involved in our lives, but waits to be sought out, to be called upon, to be invited.

20Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. – Ephesians 3:20

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Your Gifts and His Purposes

Today I found myself reading the last bit of Pastor Brian’s new book ‘Live, Love, Lead’. With every chapter I’ve shed a tear as God reveals something new to me and encourages me in my journey of faith with Him. Today was no exception. It started when I was finishing up the chapter ‘Hand and Heart’. Here’s what I read that really struck a chord in me. bch

“There are numerous ways to transform the staff in your hand into a lightning rod for God’s power and purpose…’he who is faithful in the little will be faithful with much’…if you’re not willing to start small and grow from what you’ve been given, then you’ll likely remain frustrated. You can’t expect to be at the top of your game and get the outcomes you long for if you don’t put in the work.”

For context of the chapter, it’s summed up in the one statement Pastor Brian says that I’ve always loved but didn’t get a revelation of until today:

Use what’s in your hand to fulfill what’s in your heart.

I’ve been asking questions, what’s my passion? How can I use my talents and gifts for God in the grand scheme of life?

And boy, after reading the book and then reading Exodus 3-4, I had a revelation. (please read Exodus 3-4 below, and Pastor Brian’s book of course)

Moses and the Burning Bush

3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressingthem. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you[b] will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.[c] This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[d] the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,

   the name you shall call me

   from generation to generation.

16 “Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’

18 “The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

21 “And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed. 22 Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and for clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters. And so you will plunder the Egyptians.”

Signs for Moses

4 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”

2 Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

3 The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the Lordsaid to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

6 Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous[e]—it had become as white as snow.

7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

8 Then the Lord said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

10 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.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

I didn’t realize that since being in college here in Australia that I’ve been just like Moses. #what

Especially in the area of photography. Photography has been a huge passion of mine since I picked up a point and shoot at 13. I was faithful with the gift consistently, but since being in college, (besides serving on photography for conferences here and some other side things) honestly, I’ve been like Moses. I’ve made excuses as to why this won’t work, or I’m not good enough or I dont have the time or resources. I always said, “Oh one day when I get a good lens I’ll be able to take even more amazing photos.” And I’ve allowed these excuses to stop me from using my gift in a way that honors God. And as I realized this God said to me as He did to Moses, WHATS IN YOUR HAND, MARIA?

In high school my limitations never stopped me. I was faithful with the gifts God gave me and He always used them for His glory. He’s taking me back again, calling me to use the gift He gave me of photography and NO MORE EXCUSES!

So here are just my thoughts throughout this passage of Exodus 3-4 : ) I won’t post the whole verses since you just read them above…

‘Moses was tending the flock’

Moses was doing his Everyday. What came naturally to him and seemed ordinary.

‘There the angel of the Lord came to him’

IN his ordinary and seemingly mundane routine, GOD CAME. He comes not always in our big moments where we obviously expect Him, but in our moments of our normals.

‘Moses went to see the bush’

When you notice something out of your ordinary, something unexplainable, it may be the answer to your prayer, your heart’s desire. It just may come to you in a different way than you expected. Watch for Him to show up in your every day.

‘I’ve heard the cry of My people’s suffering…I’ve come to rescue them’

His purposes and the gifts He’s given you and the call on your life is ALWAYS bigger than you and it ISN’T about just you.

vs 10 ‘Go’ <- Go #1

So God says Go to us the first time and what do we do like Moses did? We ask questions. And they are usually rooted in IDENTITY. We ask, as Moses did, ‘WHO AM I?’ We start questioning who we are, what we do, and we get concerned about OUR gift. We get self-concious, to which God says…

‘I will be with you’

#thisisntaboutyouitsaboutwhoisinyou

It’s not about you, friend! The Holy Spirit is IN you and WITH you. Stop worrying about what people will think or how they’ll react or judge or whatever. Obey and honor God… And our question of identity – it matters. Big time. But we’ll only truly find it in Him alone. In verse 14 he says

‘I AM WHO I AM’

‘Go’ <- Go #2

Here when God tells Moses the second time to go, He even spills out more details than Moses could ever need- a full on agenda of what’s gonna go down, but STILL Moses questions with

‘What if?’

When we ask What if, this is where God directs Moses’ and our attention away from our fear of the future to what we (and Moses) can see right in front of us!!!

‘What is in your hand?’

‘A staff.’

We just see our gift as a talent sometimes or a natural ability or even a hobby or something that is normal to us. We may not even recognize it as a gift because it’s who we are and how we’re wired. Moses just saw a staff. What do you see?

‘Throw it on the ground’

Lay your gift and your normal and your ordinary at JESUS’ feet to see GOD do what only He can do through a SURRENDERED servant. When we hold onto our staff, our gift, we make it about us. But if we throw it down on the ground, it signifies that it’s from God, he gave it and he can take it away. And He can take what seems natural and make it supernatural – something that when people see it – the gift in action they’ll see JESUS. But if we don’t surrender it and throw it on the ground, if we hold onto our gifts for our own purposes, we will only be pointing to ourselves.

‘it became a snake and he ran from it’

Sometimes, even after we’ve surrendered our dreams and our gifts to God, all of a sudden it starts to look much bigger than us. It somehow changes from ‘this is what I always do – this is my gift – this is my hobby – this is normal’ to OH MY GOSH I CANNOT DO THIS GOD! and we run from it.

Don’t run from what God calls you into. It may seem big but God is able and He will grace you for it.

‘Go’ Go #3

As you saw in the above passage what happened after God said Go a third time, we should learn from Moses. When God says go, when God calls YOU, when God asks for YOUR GIFT, trust Him, obey Him, and go wherever He says.

Because ultimately, He wants to use you to bring people freedom from prisons and freedom from captivity. But it starts with your decisions to be faithful and obedient with whatever is in your hand today (as small as it may seem) and trust God with the rest.

Come

Through waters uncharted my soul will embark

I’ll follow Your voice straight into the dark

__________________________________

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters wherever You will call me

These are parts of just some of the songs from our House that I’ve been singing since the day I stepped into Hillsong College and Hillsong Church not even 3 years ago. And when I read them as statements and don’t just sing them as a melody, I stop myself for a second and think, “really? God, do I really want to do this?” To which the answer is always Yes, because I know that with every new step into the unknown I will know Him more than ever before. 1899788_10202837978723924_1517142615_o

Since the day I committed my life to Christ at age 12, the constant theme surrounding all the major events in my life has been Stepping Out in Faith.

And God has increased my faith with every step, from battling and coming out of a 5 year sickness, from moving across country at the beginning of high school away from all I knew into a different environment, to going on mission trips year after year, believing for miracles and healing and salvation and always seeing God come through, to answering the call to come to Australia for however long God said, to the journey I find myself on here.

This 3 year journey has been nothing short of 1000 small steps of faith, seeing God grow me and stretch me and challenge me.  I’ve had many revelations of who God really is to me. Based on many crazy experiences, I have a deep conviction that God will ALWAYS provide for me- and not just bare minimum, but plenty, and more to spare and give away. I’ve grown in spiritual gifts of prophecy, word of knowledge, hearing God through dreams and interpretation of my dreams and the dreams of others. I’ve grown in leadership. Flip, what an understatement that is. I didn’t know what leadership looked like before I came here. And wow, I’ve grown in LOVE for the Church and being planted. That’s transformed so much I never thought possible.

That just barely scratches the surface of what the Holy Spirit has been doing inside me and through me the past few years. It’s been so worth it.

And now that I’m feeling comfortable here, God said this morning, “Come out of the boat”.

Our Executive Vice Principal, Lee Burns spoke in church today on having ever increasing faith.

He used the passage in Matthew 14 with Peter walking on the water… If you don’t know the story, please read it for context.

Peter said, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come.”

“Come.”

That’s basically what I’ve been praying all year about my next step after Hillsong College. I graduate in 3 months, and so far all that’s been on my heart is going to Africa. I wrestle with the call a bit sometimes in my head because I have no idea if there’s a specific country in Africa or a specific ministry to work with or a special task He wants me to do or a specific gift He wants to use. But I do know that when God calls us to make a next step, He gives us all we NEED to know – and usually it’s just enough so we can take action, but leaves ample room for complete trust in Him alone and not ourselves.

Throughout the year He’s slowing been revealing bits and pieces (though very vague, they constantly assure me of His goodness, His faithfulness, and His love for me) of my next step. I believe that my first step out will involve Iris Ministries, probably first going to their 3 month missions training school (a ‘bootcamp’ for training up missionaries for cross-cultural ministry). And honestly, after that, I haven’t the slightest clue. But I know He’s good. And that’s all I need to know.

I just love doing life with God, with Him at my side, and going before me, and behind me, with Him cheering me on and guiding me. He doesn’t have to use me at all or love me at all, but He does. And that simple but profound truth is what keeps me with Him, no turning back. And the reality that so many people are living in despair without Hope, and I hold the answer. I don’t just have the answer, I KNOW Him intimately, and have experienced a joy and peace I could never explain in words.  And how all that works out (ministry) in between, is complex, but not complicated. And it’s hard work, and increasingly it’s more responsibility, but it’s everything we could dream of – living out our true purpose.  I’ll give my life for that.

This post has just been some of my reflections, but I pray it encourages you.

Your faith will be increased one step at a time. That means your faith won’t increase BEFORE you step out- as we’d like it- but it comes as you step out. But the beauty of it all is that it’s not about us and it’s not mustered up in ourselves, but when Jesus says, “take courage’, He offers us Himself to rely on.

When your eyes are on your lack, your inabilities, your weakness, your bank account, your efforts, your job, your lifestyle, your loneliness, your struggle, your own thoughts, your big dream alone – everything feels impossible.

But When your eyes are on Jesus, nothing is impossible.

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What’s your next step?

Being Fruitful & Prosperous

Today God has just totally blown my mind.

One thing that I’ve recently learned about myself is that I’m a problem-solver. It’s the way I think. Without any added effort I’m always thinking of ways to do things better, faster, more efficiently and in some cases, more cost effective. I find pleasure in organization, structure, and harmony.

And when that harmony is disrupted… I immediately think of how to fix it.

This can be a downfall in my personal life when I see things in myself that the Lord may bring up or I stumble across and I want to fix right away.

I like to do lists, I like improvements, I like pretty little boxes all in a row.

But this morning God reminded me who He is and who I am.

He is the Gardener, and I am the seed.

He gave me this image of a flower bed, and how I have a large variety of plants in my garden, all growing at different rates, in bloom at different seasons, and needing more or less attention. Some things are still just seeds in soil. Some things are full of roots under the ground but I don’t see a sprout yet. Some plants are visible, some are budding, some are blooming, some are bearing fruit – fruit that’s ripe, fruit that isn’t ripe yet, etc. It’s a big garden. And I’m the little girl who knows very little about gardening, staring at the plants that I still don’t see asking, “Will this one ever come to the surface? And what about this one? Will it EVER bear fruit? And how about that one over there?”

The germination process of a bean plant. Digital illustration.

And the Gardener sees my anxiousness, hears my questions, and just shakes his head…

He is so patient with me. But He also wants me to be patient with myself, and my garden. He’s wired us to desire growth. He’s created us to be fruitful and multiply. It’s IN us. For a purpose.

And I’d like to say He didn’t put that desire and passion to see growth/results/fruit/progress in us just so that we’d become busybodies, workaholics, or people addicted to checklists.

Holy Spirit rocked me when He told me this:

The true secret to being fruitful and prosperous is not in trying harder, working more, saving up more, _____fill in the blank.  Your fruitfulness and prosperity has NOTHING to do with YOUR efforts or even YOUR money or your goals. You will be fruitful and you will prosper when you do this one thing:

Remain in Me & let My Word remain in you.

Is it really that simple?

Look what Jesus says in John 15…

I want to highlight verses 5 and 7.

“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”

Bearing fruit [being productive, accomplishing, seeing progress, moving forward, living a life of prosperity, being useful, living life in the Spirit] is the RESULT of remaining in Christ [having an active, personal, intimate relationship with Jesus, communicating with Him and listening to His voice and obeying His Word.]

Therefore being unfruitful [not productive, not accomplishing, seeing no progress, uselessness, living life in the flesh] is the RESULT of departing from Christ. And if you think those without Christ can be truly prosperous, just read Proverbs. They will have their fill on this earth, and nothing in eternity.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

Seeing our prayers answered and longings fulfilled is the RESULT of remaining in Christ and letting His Word remain [take root and live] in us.

Over this last year I now have the conviction that God wants me to prosper. He wants me to be fruitful. But it all starts and ends with Him…

20

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” – Mark 4

God is in control of the harvest and the fruit. And in due time fruit will come. But it’s our choice to allow our lives to be watered and fertilized with the right things (His Word, Church, Truth, the Holy Spirit, Obedience to Him).

Gal. 6:9 says not to grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you don’t give up.

So what I’m not saying is Don’t do anything. I’m just saying, we could all calm down a bit on the fix-it mode we get into at times, remember who your Gardener is, He’s got this.

Doing is Good. Being is Great.

38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

It can be so easy to get caught up in what you wanna do for God on a day to day basis and miss out on the opportune moments to just be with God

Here at Hillsong College, you have a plethora of opportunities to get involved in various teams and ministries. Plus then there’s connect group and getting a job and going to church, and pretty soon you’ve got a lot going on. And yeah, it’s a lot of GREAT things going on. You’re passionate, you’re growing in leadership, you’re constantly being mind blown and you pinch yourself – is this real?

But man what’s the point of doing ANY of it if your first thought when you wake is what you’re going to do?

Do you think God is thinking, man I wonder what he/she will do for me today?

I believe he would think, oh how I can’t wait to be with her/him! I just want to spend time loving you. I just want you to know Me in the quiet and in the waiting. Come and meet with Me in the early hours of the morning, before all the busy people are out and about trying to change the world. I’m going to change the world. And it will be through you. But you’ve gotta experience Me in a deeper way than just the joy of Doing. I want to take you deeper in intimacy with Me. I want to impart My heart to you.

Mary experienced Jesus in a personal, intimate way that day. Martha experienced Jesus at a distance.

Mary came face to face with Jesus, experienced His whisper, His smile, His touch – up close.

Martha would have had to meet up with Mary later to hear how amazing it was having Jesus at their house. Martha was awesome – she was serving Jesus – and Jesus doesn’t rebuke her for this specifically. But she wasnt filled. She didn’t encounter Him in His fullness – and she COULD have.

I don’t want you to miss out on the joy of His presence, His voice personally to you- not through someone else’s experience.

Doing stuff for God is good, spending time at His feet is great, and never wasted. Our efforts can be wasted at times, though- depending on our heart/motivation.

Examine your own heart and life at this very moment. Are you caught up in all you are doing for God or are you caught up in His transforming presence?

You never know when God will speak. This post for example, I was running around all day, morning tasks, classes, getting to work. When I stopped while on the bus to work He whispered, “I want to be in your day.” And immediately he took me to this passage. So now I’m starting work, but out of a joy of just having been with Jesus. He’s the one thing.

Stay or Play.

Today, a passage in Acts 8 spoke to me so much about how simple it really is to partner with the Holy Spirit. Also how God is the one who plows the ground of people’s hearts and makes them ready for Himself and His Gospel message.

He has so much He desires to do THROUGH US, but it can be reliant sometimes  on our active obedience to the opportunities He gives us.

Check out the passage from the message:

Later God’s angel spoke to Philip: “At noon today I want you to walk over to that desolate road that goes from Jerusalem down to Gaza.” He got up and went. He met an Ethiopian eunuch coming down the road. The eunuch had been on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was returning to Ethiopia, where he was minister in charge of all the finances of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. He was riding in a chariot and reading the prophet Isaiah.

29-30 The Spirit told Philip, “Climb into the chariot.” Running up alongside, Philip heard the eunuch reading Isaiah and asked, “Do you understand what you’re reading?”

31-33 He answered, “How can I without some help?” and invited Philip into the chariot with him. The passage he was reading was this:

As a sheep led to slaughter,
    and quiet as a lamb being sheared,
He was silent, saying nothing.
    He was mocked and put down, never got a fair trial.
But who now can count his kin
    since he’s been taken from the earth?

34-35 The eunuch said, “Tell me, who is the prophet talking about: himself or some other?” Philip grabbed his chance. Using this passage as his text, he preached Jesus to him.

36-39 As they continued down the road, they came to a stream of water. The eunuch said, “Here’s water. Why can’t I be baptized?” He ordered the chariot to stop. They both went down to the water, and Philip baptized him on the spot. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of God suddenly took Philip off, and that was the last the eunuch saw of him. But he didn’t mind. He had what he’d come for and went on down the road as happy as he could be.

40 Philip showed up in Azotus and continued north, preaching the Message in all the villages along that route until he arrived at Caesarea.

Broken down, it’s so simple:

  1. God spoke to Philip.
  2. Philip got up and went
  3. Philip happened upon an Ethiopian eunuch (who just happened to be an ‘important’ man who would have influence.)
  4. The Spirit instructed Philip.
  5. Philip immediately obeyed.
  6. The Ethiopian asked a question
  7. Philip took his opportunity
  8. Philip told him about Jesus
  9. The Ethiopian wanted to be baptised
  10. Philip baptised him on the spot
  11. Philip was taken away onto his next God assignment
  12. The Ethiopian continued his journey a completely different man, full of Jesus and therefore full of joy.

God’s showing me how I’ve over-complicated His simple message.

God had been preparing this Ethiopian to receive the message long before he heard it. God had also been preparing Philip and doing so much in his life to get him to this point. But sometimes our preparation time seems so long to then be used perhaps at a pivotal time for what can be just a MOMENT.

And how easy it can be to let the moment pass by.

What if Philip hadn’t been listening for the Spirit? What if he was concerned about what he’d eat that day or where he’d work tomorrow?

But Philip was listening and he was available. 

That’s one of the things I see as our part of partnership. Listening for when God speaks and positioning ourselves in a place of ‘availability’.

And Philip was obedient. 

This is undeniably important… we may make ourselves available to God – that’s great – but when the assignment comes, do we make excuses?

How easy it can be when that God whisper comes, that instruction comes, that nudge from the Holy Spirit comes – how easy it is to hesitate and come up with a million rational and irrational reasons as to why we can’t… or really, reasons why we won’t. 

We say, “Ah but I can’t do THAT. ANYTHING else, Lord? I’ll do it!” Or, “I can’t go THERE. Anywhere else, Lord, I’ll book the ticket!” (Oh and P.S. change those ‘can’ts’ to ‘won’ts’. God has already promised we can do it with the help of the Holy Spirit, but for whatever reason we choose to not step out far enough for him to step in. We’re in our own way.

We say, “Right now, Lord?” But I’m comfortable here. I like it here.” And while our heart has these precious moments when we tell God, “I’m here! I’m listening! I’m available!’, when He calls us out to be used by Him, our actions at that point truly speak louder than our words. Our hesitation only says, ‘Oh. Never mind God. I like my safe world. My comfy bubble. I don’t feel like putting myself out there to be laughed at. I don’t like being inconvenienced because I need to take care of ME right now…”

What a load of disgusting, selfish crap. And I’m 100% speaking to the choir right now, aka myself. I am amazed at how God still loves me and gives me more chances at all. The Holy Spirit delights in partnering with us. However, a good team doesn’t just let go of the whole game…the whole goal…when the real action starts.  Can you imagine a soccer team spending so many hours, days, months training and preparing for a massive game… Then the coach comes and tells them, ‘Okay, it’s your time. Get out there! Do what we’ve practiced! I want you out there right now!’ and the team is like, “Eh. I’m good. I’m really feeling the warm, family vibes of this locker room right now. I also really like this uniform. I like being a part of this team. But, actually play? I don’t think I can. It’s too scary and too hard. What if I mess up? What if I fall and everyone laughs? What if I forget everything?” Soccer players don’t do that. Why do we?

When it comes down to it. I know I have a choice in following God and being used by Him. We all have the choice. Stay or Play.  I legit don’t wanna be that person that stays in the locker room. For lack of a better phrase, I wanna be saying, “God, put me in. I wanna play.” And sure, you may mess up a bit. People may laugh. But with the help and encouragement of your Coach, and your teammates, you’ll also score some goals. And the even better news is, no matter what happens, you’re on the winning team. What have you got to lose? God is cheering you on, The Holy Spirit WILL give you the words to say. His Word says ‘Open wide your mouth and HE will fill it.’ He says ‘Be strong and courageous. I am with you!’ ‘My Word is in your mouth and heart so that you may obey it!’ I pray I will just be so filled with His love that to ‘Stay’ won’t even be an option. I’ll already be out there in the action.

This Season Doesn’t Define You

“The season I am in right now does not define who I am.”

Those words came out of my mouth as I was walking home from college today. All day so many thoughts, emotions, and prayers were running through my heart and mind about this question of, “who am I becoming?” and “who am I right now?”, with the sad realisation that I am not yet who I want to be, and the fearful question of “will I ever become the person I desire to become?”

I zoned in on my life with a microscope, one that so clearly and so harshly revealed my current state of weakness, imperfections, and what feels like my inability to change myself. However, all of this was not truth in the perspective of my life as a whole.

For one thing, I was pretty focused on self today. Which my walk with Christ thus far has proven is not a place you want to hang out for long, because you then become ineffective in the atmosphere you are currently in and end up frustrated.

I cried out in chapel today, Lord, rip this selfishness from me. Take away my insecurities. Give me a heart that genuinely loves others more than I love myself.

Maybe, you too have dealt with the angst of living with the knowledge of how sinful you are. As Proverbs 14:10 says, “each heart knows its own bitterness; no one else can share its joy.”

But the truth is, I can’t let the way I feel or the season I am in define who I am.

The only thing I can allow to define me is the Word of God.

And the Word says that my weakest moments can become my strongest ones when I choose to rely on Jesus instead of my own strength, abilities, and goodness.

It’s not about being better. But I believe the more I just sit in the presence of Jesus, feed on His Word, and spend time with His kids, the more I will become like Him. The more I will be filled with His love and therefore the ability to love others.

What am I trying to say?

God is good. I am not. I want more of God in me, so that when people encounter me, they don’t encounter the self-centered me, but the Jesus in me.

The frustration for me is that I currently am seeing all these things of myself I want to change, and all these character qualities I want to have like Christ, and it seems so overwhelming and therefore impossible. But God is so patient, so loving, and He takes me one step at a time, one mountain at a time.

I don’t know if this will help anyone, besides me getting out my thoughts, but I would encourage you that you are found in Christ, who He is, what He did, His love, His truth, His grace. You are not your mistakes, your flaws, your old/fleshly nature, whatever.

YOU ARE THE RIGHTEOUS OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS. Period. Doesn’t matter what season you are in, what you did or didn’t do today.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation. The old is GONE, the new HAS COME. (2 Cor. 5:17)

And the truth is, we are saved by grace. Not our Christlike behaviour.  (Eph. 2:8-9)

Psalm 34:5 Those who look to HIM are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

Keep looking into the eyes of Jesus your Saviour.  He is literally the answer. Not your To Do list.

myself

*ADD ON BELOW* (next day)

Deserts like Eden

The Lord answered my cry yesterday. And I wanted to share it with you because I believe it will encourage you. So after yesterday (above post), that night the Lord spoke to me in my dream. I’ll summarize it for you and tell you what He told me when I woke up.

In the dream I was riding in the car on a road trip. We were passing by a kind of desert and someone said, “That’s the desert where Jesus was.” So we stop the car and get out to look. Immediately as I step out into what was supposed to be a desert as we’d just seen from the side of the road was now a completely different place. It was seriously the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. In one part was a gorgeous lake with mountains and clouds and lush, green trees. Then I turn around to see the most beautiful gushing water and streams and rivers and fountains, all of it in the most beautiful pastel rainbow colours. I was in sheer awe of this place.

After I woke up and prayed for God to reveal to me what this dream meant, He told me that the season I am in and seasons in the future where it feels like a desert, He will give me more of Holy Spirit than ever before, and I’ll experience blessings I wouldn’t have been able to without the desert. And, like with the rainbow colours, this was a promise from God that He would do this, every time. And like in the beginning when they said this is the desert where Jesus was (the wilderness where he was tempted for 40 days by the devil), this desert is preparing me for the ministry God has for me to do with Him. And Jesus is with me in this desert. I am never alone. And He understands every emotion I experience because He too experienced them.

Here are the Scriptures:

Isaiah 43:20 I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland

Isaiah 44:3 I will pour out water on the thirsty land, streams on the dry ground. I will pour of My Spirit and My blessing.

Isaiah 35:1 The desert and the parched land will be glad, the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Isaiah 35:6 Water will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.

Isaiah 51:3 The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins. He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

Be encouraged, take heart. This season you are in you are passing through (just like on my road trip it was just a ‘pit stop’), but it will be so worth it because the Lord will bring you so much blessing you won’t be able to contain it. You’ll experience so much joy and the presence of the Holy Spirit, you’ll pray for more desert seasons just so you can encounter Him in this way.

He promises He will make your deserts like Eden.