Bushes, sheep and donkeys

donkey

Photo Pixabay

God can speak in unusual ways.  He has spoken through the fleece of a sheep (Judges 6), through a burning bush (Exodus 6) and even a donkey (Numbers 22).  I would like to add to the list an unusual way that God spoke to me – a Stampin’ Up! catalogue.

It was just a normal everyday day.  Then something triggered a panic attack.  But before it could get a hold on me (praising God usually helps) my eyes fell on to the open Stampin’ Up! catalogue.  It was advertising a stamp set, and one of the stamps said:

You’ve Got Courage

You’ve Got Strength

You’ve Got ME

And that broke it, but I was still a bit wobbly.  So I sat down to browse through the catalogue to keep my mind  occupied.  Lo and behold, and few pages later, another stamp set:

Good things are going to happen

You’ve got this

I’m here for you

It blew me away to think that He would use something so insignificant to get to me.    Years ago, I had a friend whom God spoke to through the paper church bulletin – the number of the bulletin and the date on it!

If He needs to tell us something, He can make it happen.  He can use even the small things in our lives to tell us something monumental.

 

 

 

New year, new ideas

It was the new year.  I was on holidays, and I was feeling well, and relaxed.  A friend of mine made an innocent comment about a business idea that I had been already dabbling in.  Wow!  This was a great idea!  Let’s do this!  So I started researching what was involved.  I sourced the materials and equipment I would need from the internet.  I even wrote out a business plan and then looked up the government sites as to what was required of me legally – did I need to register a business name, product name, tax requirements etc.  I was pumped!

And then…. I read an article by Andy Sayers called  “2016: My Kingdom Come, My Courts Be Done!”  This is the opening paragraph of his article.

At the beginning of 2015 I set out ready to conquer the world through a deep passion that I’ve worked in for many years – called publishing. By February, bizarre disappointments piled up fast. By the time fall came, I was exhausted and ready to pull my hair out (what’s left of it).

He went on to say why:

  1. I was building an empire with my own strength.

    On my high horse but going nowhere fast. Photo Pixabay

  2. I wasn’t putting the Lord first in every aspect of my life.
  3. I had to be knocked off my high horse 

I felt a few ‘tuggings’ in me.  Hmmm…. had I even asked God if this is what He wanted to do?  I realised to my chagrin that I hadn’t.  What if I had taken off with this ‘building my own empire’ as he puts it, only to have it not succeed and ending up discouraged and burnt out?  I hadn’t even finished the last thing He had told me to do (writing).

So on to the back burner it had to go, and I had to ask Him to take away my desire for this Ishmael.  I am now back to writing, and intimacy (and work or course!)  And God may open the door again for this business idea to happen and I will know if that is the case when the desire comes back.  Stay tuned.

To read the full article by Andy Sayers:

http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word.html?ID=15585

Good morning, this is God!

Ever had one of those days?  One of those weeks or even months?  I did, only it seemed every day was one of those days.

photo by Rudolf Vlcek Flickr

photo by Rudolf Vlcek Flickr

I was journalling to Father about it recently and my eyes fell on a quote on a little plaque that I received from Joyce Meyer, years ago.

Good morning, this is God!

I will be handling all your problems today.

I will not need your help –

So, have a good day.

I love you!

I must admit I was a little taken aback by the extent of what that meant, even though I had read it for years.  What, You mean I can just let it all go and let You look after it?  Can I really do that?  I asked Him for a verse, please, just in case Joyce got it wrong.  He gave me two:-

……  casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].  I Peter 5:7  AMP

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail).   Psalm 55:22 AMP

Casting can also mean ‘to drop’.  Hmmm, so I can just drop it at Your feet, and then just walk away?  Sounds almost too good to be true, but I did it anyway.  And you know what? I started feeling more peaceful, knowing that He’s got it.

Intimacy

The more I journal, the more I am hearing that intimacy with Him should be our main objective.  Everything flows out of that place of fellowship with God, even ministry.  Especially ministry.  Intimacy is the place where we draw our strength from Him, where His life flows into us. Our home base.

Photo Flickr

Photo Flickr

4 Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will

live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.  John 15:4,5  Amplified

I have never seen a grape branch bearing fruit without being attached to a vine.  I have also never seen a grape branch stressing and straining to make a grape form.  This happens naturally as it is attached to the vine.

This also is true of us, as we attach ourselves to our beloved Vine, and spend time with Him, His life flows to us, and through us.  We receive His strength, love, comfort, guidance – whatever we need really.  The result?  Grapes!

I am convinced that this should be the purpose of my life – seeking Him first above all.  Seeking His face.  And if I am launched out into ministry, then it will flow out from my relationship with Him, my strong place, my hiding place, and it will be all of Him.

PS – I spend my intimate times with Him by journaling, reading His Word, and sometimes combining the two by talking to Him about what I am reading.

How to journal

Journaling

So HOW do we journal?

Relax and enjoy the process.  You will get better at this the more you do it.  You will make mistakes and sometimes hear the flesh more than you hear God.  But even in that, there will be gems in what you write that you know weren’t you.

Find a quiet place free from distractions and where you will least likely be interrupted. Journal

Put on some quiet worship music if you like.

Commit this time to the Lord.  Present your mind and heart to God and ask Him to fill them.

Start off by writing or typing out what you want to say to God.  You may feel more comfortable talking to Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  He is three in one, so He will hear you, regardless of Who you address your journals to.

An example of what you write may be:

  1. I seem to be having a bit of a struggle this morning Father. So here I am for our chat.  What are You saying in this?
  2. Father, I seem to be so angry, and yet I don’t know why! I just can’t seem to get on top of it.  It frightens me.
  3. Good evening Father. Boy it is cold today!  Thank You that I am feeling well at present.  I have just come to spend some time with You.  What would You like to do tonight?

Pause for a bit, and wait for Him to respond.  Write down what you feel He is saying to you.  Not sure if what you are hearing is God?  Write it down anyway.  This is an act of faith, and it seems to ‘prime the pump’ and gets the flow going.

So what does He sound like?  In most probability, He will not talk to you audibly.  I can almost guarantee that He won’t.  He will speak to you through your thoughts.  They will sound different to your own thoughts, and will be in the first person, ie using words like ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘me’, ‘my’ etc.  They will be a spontaneous flow of thoughts, feelings, words etc that will seem to ‘pop’ in your mind.

These are examples of the replies to what I have written above 1, 2, 3 etc

  1. I love you. I am your healer.  I am greater than any scary thoughts, because My word is truth, not the thoughts.  I will bring you through this.  All is well, and you are safe, safe with Me.
  2. I will draw the poison out of you with My presence. But you must come to Me, and come to Me often.  And  you will become more like Me as you come into My presence.  I am not angry at you, but pleased that you come to Me with your problem.
  3. I would like to whisper secrets to you. I love you.  You are precious to Me.  You are more precious than the most precious of gems.

How can you be sure you have heard from God, and are not being deceived?  There are three things you can test it against.

  • The Word of God – does it line up with the Bible? If you are hearing that you are to have an affair, or murder someone (!), then it does not line up with the Word.  Scrap it.
  • Does it witness with your spirit – does it sit right with you, or do you get a ‘check’ in your spirit? I recently thought I heard Him talking to me about chocolate chips, but I think it was more my bed calling to me.  It wasn’t sitting right or even making sense for that matter!
  • Ask a trusted, mature Christian friend to read through your journal and give you their honest opinion.

I would love to hear how you go.

Adapted from from Dialogue with God by Mark Virkler

Additional material from my e-book Staying Afloat due to come out later this year.

Photo  Flickr

Hearing God’s Voice 2

I seemed to have had trouble most of my Christian life hearing God, until I came across a book almost 20 years ago about journaling called Dialogue with God by Mark Virkler.  For some reason, writing down my prayers and thoughts to God, and then writing down what I believed He was saying back to me, opened a door for me to tune in to what He wasJournal saying.  When God broke through what I perceived was His silence and actually spoke to me through journaling, I broke down and cried.  I still have that first journal page and am still deeply touched by what He said to me all the time ago.

I also found journaling particularly helpful after I had a breakdown a few years back.  When everything else around me was screaming and nothing made any sense, journaling helped me to quieten down and focus on Him.  There He would reassure and comfort me, and make me lie down in the green pastures.

The beauty of writing down what I felt He was saying to me was I could go back to read it later, and be blessed all over again.  Also, if I feel I am going up the garden path with my journaling, I can show it to a trusted Christian friend, and ask them to ‘censor’ what I feel I am hearing.

I must say God has shown me some absolutely amazing things that have helped me immensely in my walk with Him.  Hardly a day goes by that I do not journal.  I look forward to it.  And then I am blown away by what He shares from His heart to mine.

Do you think that this could be for you?  Next week I will blog a crash course on how to hear God through journaling.

Photo Flickr

 

Groceries

I have always had an interest in nutrition, and this was the reason I called my blog groceries and grace.  I always felt it was important to eat healthy foods and I was going to share with the world the importance of eating as naturally as possible.  Eating organic vegetables and dairy, as well as grass fed/organic meat ensures we get the lowest chemical and hormonal  load from our food.  That is, until we came upon hard financial times.  Really hard.

Gone were the organic carrots and butter, the grass fed beef and organic chicken.  These were replaced with fatty mince, sausages, and chemical sprayed vegetables.  I would have to shop from the church’s food relief store, and would have to take what they had. OrganicThis included YoGo, frankfurts, ice creams and white bread. Now don’t get me wrong, I was extremely grateful to have food at all, but I felt I needed to eat healthily to stay healthy.

What was I to do?  Then God gave me a verse:

But you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst.  Exodus 23:25  NASB

The answer was a simple as saying grace before each meal, with intent. And Who was going to remove sickness from my midst?  Well, not the food!  I found this a hard mindset to break, but here I am and still healthy.

Maybe I should have called my blog ‘justgrace’!

 Photo Flickr

Are you in training for something great? (but don’t know it)

I have discovered that to be in ministry, or to perform great feats for God, I don’t need to go to Bible College or do strength training.  I have decided that I will look after sheep instead.  Or be the receptionist at the Wholeness Centre.

David was the youngest son of Jesse, of Bethlehem, and it was his task to mind the family’s flock of sheep.  Day in and day out, taking the sheep out of the fold to pasture, taking them back to the fold in the evening.  Sitting out in the fields all day, looking after Sheep 2
sheep.  Finding grass for them to eat and water for them to drink. Mind you, not just any water, it had to be still water, not running water.  Protecting them from wild animals, his only bit of excitement in an otherwise boring day.  Making sure they didn’t wander off or fall over a cliff.   Making up songs and singing them to the sheep.  Being away from his family all day, and ‘out of the loop’ of whatever they were doing.  Sling shotting stones at jam tins on boulders.  Having to take a cut lunch every day when the family was home having (lamb) roast.

I can’t see in Scripture that David ever complained about his lot.  He didn’t slack off and was diligent to do what was expected of him.  And without him even knowing it, he was in training.

Fast forward to when he told King Saul he was going to kill Goliath.  Saul ridiculed him:

Saul answered, “You can’t go out and fight against this Philistine. You’re not even a soldier!  Goliath has been fighting in wars since he was a boy.” 1 Samuel 17:33  ERV

But David said to Saul, “There were times when I was taking care of my father’s sheep that wild animals came to take some sheep from the flock. Once there was a lion and another time, a bear. I chased that wild animal, attacked it, and took the sheep from its mouth. The wild animal jumped on me, but I caught it by the fur under its mouth. And I hit it and killed it. I killed both a lion and a bear like that! And I will kill that foreigner, Goliath, just like them. Goliath will die because he made fun of the army of the living God. The Lord saved me from the lion and the bear. He will also save me from this Philistine.”1 Samuel 17:34  – 37  ERV

What we might think were boring days for David were in fact training days.

And that wonderful book of Psalms that brings so much comfort, actually started out as sheep songs.

I have come to the conclusion that whatever God wants me to do for Him, He has got me in training already.

Photo Flickr

Secret Weapon 2

I was recently talking to  a lovely lady who was suffering from severe depression.  There is some teaching out there that says that we are to praise God for all things, and she was desperately trying to thank God for her depression.Praise 1

…….giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:20

This verse tells us to thank God for all things, but the word ‘for’ here is actually the Greek word hyper meaning over, beyond or more than.

John 10:10 clearly tell us that it is the devil that comes to steal, kill and destroy, and that Jesus came that we might have life, and have it in abundance.

Praising God for all things would mean that we would praise Him for murder, war, poverty, rape, death and destruction.

What about Psalm 106:1, and a myriad of other verses that say that:

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. (emphasis mine)

I personally don’t believe that a good God, a God of love, Who only wants the best for us, would expect us to thank Him for the bad things that happen to us.

…in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

Conversely, God encourages us to give Him thanks in all things, or in the midst of all things, and that is a big difference.

I would be really interested to hear what your opinion is on this.

Thank you to everyone who have been praying for me since my last post.  My prayer ministers and myself are finally getting some answers.  Instead of me trying to ‘work it all out’, I have just been praising, and just like that, my prayer ministers ‘knew’ what has been causing the depression.  All I can say is “Praise God!”

Secret weapon

I have just recently been through another few weeks of depression / anxiety.  Haven’t had one of these for a while, so it was a bit unnerving.

Praise 1

Praising even in the darkness. Photo Flickr.

But my gracious Father gave me the strength to do something that I had not been able to do before when I was like this.  I was able to praise!  On the really difficult days this was incredibly hard, but I found that I was able to bounce back more quickly.  Sometimes I would even get a little bubble of joy while still anxious.  Like the eye of the storm.

Did I praise Him for the depression?  Absolutely not!  But more on that in the next post.  🙂

Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God.   Psalm 42:11  AMP