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Have you ever felt you were at the end of your rope? Found yourself wondering how you could go on?
Of late I know I have been tested in this way. Across health, home and ministry I have felt stretched. It seems God knew this would happen, that at times we would find ourselves at the end of ourselves. More than that He knew that at these very times we would be blessed. Blessed! Trust me! He made it clear we were blessed in these times! No lie. Check it out! That’s exactly what He says.

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. (Matthew 5:3 MSG)

There is no if, no when. If you are at the end of your rope you ARE blessed. There is nothing you can do to change that fact. What is in question is whether you will ‘feel’ blessed. Whether you will live it out. That only comes when activating the second part of the verse – letting God do more, be more, be your all.

I’ve seen this when on missions trips to third world countries. There, a seemingly simple stomach illness for us, is a life debilitating issue for them. They don’t have any other option but to reach out to God. And that can seem like they are the ones at the disadvantage. Yet I have seen their faith more sure, as at the ‘end of their ropes’ they have sought God and seen Him do the miraculous. Where the healing for us is in a major medical operation for them, in a moments, it is a miracle from God. So who is more sure of God’s amazing power? Who is more blessed?

For me in these recent life challenges I too can attest to there being ‘more of God’. In the midst I have found more of His grace, mercy, hope and power. I don’t have all the answers to my situations. But one thing I do have is God. He is in control. He is accomplishing a great work in my heart, mind and life. Not in spite of all that is happening but through it. That is how God God is. For at the end of my rope I have found His. And His rope is never ending, it has no end.

I truly am blessed.
And so are you!

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Searching for God but faced with the enemy?

Have you every noticed how at times when you set out searching for God instead you find a battle or the enemy or even silence? It seems wrong doesn’t it. After all God said to seek Him and He would be found by us (Jeremiah 29:14) so what is with that?
Today I was reading Matt 4, the account of Jesus temptation in the desert, and for the first time I was struck by this very thought – Jesus set aside time to seek God through a fast and instead the first person he met – the devil. That seems messed up to me, at least on the surface of it. After all how could God be so cruel as to let Jesus encounter the exact antithesis of what he sought? How can He do the same to us?

But I know my God. Regardless of how my limited understanding perceives it, God cannot be cruel. He is always right, always good and always loving. So what’s the deal? You know I don’t know I can give a definitive answer. For each of us God will be working a different purpose, dealing with different issues. And let’s not forget God’s ways are not ours. Here’s what I do know. Father God was there with Jesus, and He is with us. Even if we cannot see Him in the the Matt 4 text (or our lives during the battle) He is there. I believe He was there whispering to Jesus what weapons (scriptures) to use to fight against His enemy. Weapons that resulted in Jesus standing.

Maybe it’s time we were prepared for the enemy to come at us when we pursue God. Maybe it’s time we were as armed as Jesus. Maybe? Definitely!

And remember – After Jesus temptation the very angles that Satan had sought to have Jesus use to test God came and ministered to Jesus. So when you go out seeking God and instead find the enemy and you ask ‘where are you God?’ Remember He is in the battle with you. Whispering the words you need to fight with, if you would but hear. Where is the miracle? On the other side of the battle. Encountering the enemy in our search for God is not a walk of failure but instead a walk of faith that has the enemy working in fear to stop us. Don’t grab a hold of his fear but cling to God’s favour.

Unrealised promises

A new year has begun! 2012 has become a thing if the past and we have ticked over to 2013 with it’s new possibilities, new adventures and new promises. That’s all good and well but what do you do when the promises of the old year remain unrealised? It can be easy to think everyone is excited about the newness of the year, but I know from first hand experience that this is not always the case. When you have been believing for the fulfilment of God’s promise: when everything with in you has clung to His words for you and you’ve lived in that place of faith: when you find that it has not happened as you have believed. Then what? How the do you move forward? How is hope maintained?

I don’t know what your situation might be. For some it could be a healing that has not yet occurred. For others it could be the return of a prodigal or the restoration of a relationship. The possibilities are as limitless as our God. What I do know is that in all cases pain comes with the ‘still waiting’ and New Years become hard. They lead to questions and uncertainty. Did God really say? Am I doing something wrong? Am I just not good enough? Is there something wrong with me? Why? Why? Why?

If this is you I have some suggestions for you.

1. Acknowledge it. Too often we feel we need to hide our feelings, to pretend all is fine. Not only to those around us but often to ourselves. How can God help us if we won’t even admit there is something wrong.

“Remember, when you are prepared to face a feeling and not run away from it, to really feel it, then you are in charge of it, and it is not in charge of you” Selwyn Hughes

2. Grieve with God. Whether we realise it or not each and everyone of us will be grieving over these incomplete promises. The grief cannot be avoided. You will end up in one if the grief stages, but how well you have done step 1 and whether you go to God with your grief will make the difference between camping in your grief or moving through it. Don’t this wi God rather than alone is incredibly powerful. Recently as did just this it amazed me how quickly He could turn my heart. The angst has melted and I don’t even know how. Purely being in His presence and taking it to Him makes the difference.

‘When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the Rock that is higher than I’ Psalm 61:2

3. Listen. God has something to say. It may not be in regards to the promise. I have found He very rarely answers the why question for me. But He does have something to say that will be exactly what is needed. His recent words to me have been melting my hardening heart. They have been renewing hope. Not yet in the promise but definitely in the Promise Maker. And I know that before long it will even be in the promise. For He restores my soul.

‘I sought The Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears’ Psalm 34:4

4. Praise Him. You may not understand but whatever is happening will never change the fact that God is God. He is sovereign and He has not fallen off his throne. Who He is is overwhelmingly more than enough reason to praise Him. Add to that all that He has done for you already and there is no reason not to praise. As you do what the chains gripping you fall away.

‘But I will hope continually and will praise You more and more’ psalm 71:14