Sunday, 8 May 2016

The L Word.

For the past few months I've been wrestling with something in my life - something that I think a lot of young Christian's may struggle with - something that isn't talked about a lot in Church.

It's not love.
It's not lust.

It's laziness.

I've experienced a complete lack of motivation.  I don't have the same passion I once had for God, for Church, for my studies.
It is terrible. It is sin.

Yet, a voice at the back of my head and throughout my day says - it really isn't all that bad. It's an easy sin to hide. My days look busy, jam-packed even. But it's what I do with my free time when I have it - that shows my complete laziness and selfishness.

Take for example my approaching exams, I feel a slight bit of anxiety when I think about them but I've allowed the verse

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Matthew 6: 34

To become somewhat of a mantra in my life. When I feel a sense of anxiety in regards to the exams, I think of this verse. I also think to myself - the results I get do not define me instead

- I am defined by the fact that Jesus, was crucified, buried and resurrected - and now I am redeemed and forgiven - a child of God - a joint heir with Jesus, sharing His inheritance with him  -

Yes, this is all true.

So how does this child of God respond to this wonderful, eternity changing, life altering truth? I spend an extra half an hour aimlessly filling my head with mind numbing entertainment via Facebook or Instagram or I go to bed earlier in sweet ignorance of the fact that I have exams in two weeks (in a course, I might add, that I pleaded with God to get on).

Completely missing the fact that I neglected the previous verse in Matthew:

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."
Matthew 6:33

I find it easy to trust God with my future - with my exams- with the identity I have in Jesus - but I find it easy to neglect to obey and seek God in my day. What sort of faith does this show?

This 'easy going' way of life / lazy life, not looking to the future, not focusing on the past and living selfishly in the present isn't working for me. This way of life that I have been subscribing to allows me to think - I can live today - free of tomorrow's consequences. I have been allowing myself to believe that God is the God of my future - whilst ignoring the fact that God is the God of my present as well.

Living in the here and now with no real purpose isn't a story I read about in the Bible, and if it was in the Bible - it would be pretty boring to read. God has purposes, above me, above the things in my day, but He can also work His purposes through my day. All it simply takes is obedience and dying to self. Yet, why do I find it so difficult?

Possibly - because 'dying' to self is a painful process, it requires effort and intent, it requires more than just passively going through my day - taking the path of least resistance.

I need to remind myself of the sacrifice Christ made. To remind myself of the generosity that God has shown in my life and to know that my purpose is to live for the Kingdom of God, not for my own Kingdom.

Has anyone else ever struggles with this? How did you overcome it?

Monday, 18 January 2016

Learn to trust the Potter's hands.

"But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are the work of your hand."

- Isaiah 64:8

Saturday, 29 August 2015

She Laughs Without Fear of the Future

"She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."
Proverbs 31:25


I remember the first time I read this verse, I was around the age of 16 and was reading through the book of Proverbs. The whole chapter really struck me, all I wanted to be was this woman.

I have always had a propensity to look towards the future - to live for it - at the age of 16 I couldn't comprehend laughing without fear of it. Instead all I could think about when I thought of it was fear, I had a fear of not doing well in school, not going into the career I wanted, I was scared I would never gain the attention of that great guy, that I would never get married. To laugh without fear of the future seemed nearly unthinkable. 

A few years, a few disappointments and heartbreak later I can laugh at my past fears - but the most important thing is I can also laugh without fear of the future (well most days!). So what changed?

I started to fear the Lord, instead of fearing the future.

It is a beautiful thought to be clothed with strength and dignity and to laugh without fear of the future - surely every woman would love to live a life like this - in fact I've seen so many non believers use this quote - but it's not so easy to wake up one morning and just decide we're going to be this woman. She has something greater behind her, she has Someone to depend on - if we look at the whole chapter the only reason she laughs, the reason her children and husband call her "blessed" is because she fears the Lord. In Him she places her future, her family, her friends. She has handed her life over to Him.

I've had to learn this the hard way in the past few years, God had to pry so many of my dreams for the future out of my tightly clasped hands - until finally I decided fighting for a future dictated by myself just wasn't going to work and I decided to lay my life before Him, hands wide open before His throne. 
It wasn't easy and there were times where I thought I couldn't do it but the Lord has shown me I'm not in this alone. I have seen so much of the Father's grace, not only did He send His Son to bear the weight of my sin and to free me from the bondage of sin, He also pursues me each and every day with a Father's heart. The more I have came to believe and accept this truth, the easier it has became for me to freely lay down my own will and to follow His perfect Will. 

So when I find it difficult to give Him my future without worry or fear, all I need to do is remind myself that what He has done in the past has secured my eternal future. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

10 Books Every Christian Woman Should Read

I always loved reading but for the first few years after becoming a Christian, I never really thought about reading Christian books - it's really only been the past couple of years that I have start reading them; now I have a constant stack of Christian books to read that just keeps growing!

Here's a few I've read over the past few years that have really blessed me and that I feel every Christian woman should read!

1. Redeeming Love - Francine Rivers

This was probably the first Christian book that I finished. I had started so many Christian books but towards the middle I always found I was so overwhelmed by the doctrines and the elaborate language that I gave up. This book however was a story, a story of God's redeeming love, inspired by the book of Hosea, it was so simple yet so powerful.  

2. Crazy Love - Francis Chan

Lukewarm Christian this book is for you. 
Allow this book to remind you of God's overwhelming love for you, and once you truly grasp that God loves you with an overwhelming, relentless love how can you ever be lukewarm again? Chan's book reminds us that God's Word is real, so real and that we need to take it seriously. Being a follower of Jesus isn't easy, in the Word it tells us that there is going to be suffering and pain but it is so worth it. 

3. Love Does - Bob Goff

There's a bit of a trend here isn't there? Love is so important!
If you've ever felt a little bogged down with rules and regulations of our faith in an ordinary world, this book is for you. It's a refreshing reminder that our faith is so not about do's and don't's - our faith is a love story. 
What I loved most about this book is how Bob has filled it with little stories about his life, seemingly ordinary experiences have extraordinary results when you show God's love to people. From having your children invited to dine with world rulers, to freeing innocent children from prisons - all these things start with one simple ingredient - love and the rest simply follows because as Bob says, love does. 

4. Kisses from Katie - Katie Davis

Christian women, read this book and be inspired. God calls us all to radical obedience, some like Katie, to the African mission field or some to the mission field outside our front door. I read this book around the same age Katie left to Uganda, and it tugged on all my missionary heart strings; after closing the book I was ready to pack up my bag and leave, ready to show God's love to the nations. Now looking back, I realise this book isn't about that, it's about laying down your life fully to God wherever he places you, showing love and compassion to everyone despite the worldly things it may cost you. 
I love this book and would encourage you all to read it. In fact, I loved it so much that after I read it on my Kindle I bought a physical copy just so I could lend it to people. 

5. The Atonement Child - Francine Rivers

A simply written novel with a heart wrenching message. Read it, cry with it and speak about it. 
Rape and abortion happen. Christian women, our faith is not clean and straightforward, it's messy. We are all broken people who can be restored to a faithful God who heals.

6. The Heavenly Man - Brother Yun

God's church is alive around the whole world. He's moving and bringing more people to Him, in the most amazing ways - ways we the western world can not imagine. Reading this book was like reading about the Church that Acts talks about. 
Christian women, so many of us live a life of so much comfort sometimes it's hard to see God beyond the comfort. But God doesn't call us to be comfortable. This book deeply convicted me, Brother Yun went through years of worldly misery and unimaginable pain in the name of Jesus - yet I struggle to stutter out to my neighbour that I love Jesus in fear of rejection or the dreaded "And she says shes a Christian...". 
Please read this book and remember those who are being persecuted in the name of Jesus and do not fear being persecuted yourself. We serve a powerful God who is worth it all.

7. 7 : An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess  - Jen Hatmaker

If you've ever felt overwhelmed by excess this book is for you! 
From food to fashion, Jen goes through 7 areas of her life in this book and simplifies them. We all struggle with excess in our life whether it's fiance or food. When it says in the Bible to trust God, it really means that so when we put all faith in money, or when we find comfort in food - we're distancing ourselves from God. Allow this book to challenge you and make you question what areas in your life you be holding onto instead of trusting in God.

8.Desiring God - John Piper

This is a book that I've wanted to read for a while. I started listening to John Piper's sermons a few years ago, they were so rich in Scripture and you could really tell he just loved the Lord and His Word. So I finally got this book a month ago, and oh wow, it's deep - I have to admit I still haven't finished it but in the first few pages there was more wisdom that in whole books I've read. So I'd really encourage you to read it, it's not a book you're going to finish in a day or a week. It's a book to meditate on. I hope it speaks to you as much as it has to me so far!

9. Praying for Your Future Husband - Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer

When I first heard the title of this book I thought, "Well that's a bit presumptuous isn't it?!"
And perhaps I was right, God calls some of us to remain single - but the majority of us will get married at sometime in our lives, so why not start preparing ourselves now?
Although the premise of this book is seemingly praying for your future husband, the most poignant message for me was to "stop looking for the one, and start preparing yourself to be the one". It seems to be directed at quite a young female audience but I feel the truths apply to those at any age. Young girls, mothers and grandmothers - read it and preach it!

10.  The Bible

Last but not least - in fact the most important of all! I'm putting this as number 10 because despite how great any of these books are I'm sure they all have flaws however, God's word is infallible. So if there is anything your spirit feels concerned about in these books check it with the Bible - if it's not in the Bible, discard it. These books are meant to be read along side the Word, they are never meant to replace it.

I hope these books bless you as much as they have me!

What books do you think every Christian woman should read? Are there any I have felt out? I'm sure there are! Feel free to leave a comment below. :)

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Bind my wandering heart to thee

I'm an extremes kind of person, I'm either all in or not in at all; I wish I could say this about my faith. I wish I could say I am all in all of the time, but I'm not. As much as my mind is all in, my heart wanders and gets entangled by the draws of the world. It's wooed by people's affections, by 'what ifs', it's held captive by anxiety, fear of man and doubt. My heart just isn't in my faith all of the time.

So I thank God that He is all in all of the time. I thank him that he hears my plea "bind my wandering heart to thee" and I thank you Lord that you show grace upon grace to me, bringing me back each time I wander.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians

I can't help but feel there's something wrong with my faith. 

I remember reading a quote from Ghandi, 

That quote hit me hard.

We live our lives happily calling ourselves 'Christians' when, in fact, we don't do very much to warrant that title.
The title 'Christian' wasn't even created by the first followers of Jesus, it was created by those around them who saw how they lived.

They were of one heart and soul? There was not a needy person among them?

If one of the first believers were to walk into a church today would they even recognise the people they were meeting as brothers and sisters in Christ? Would they feel that we were of one heart and soul? I don't know.

Disunity has been so widespread in the Church, self-righteous religion as slowly crept in and as all this has infiltrated, following Jesus has became more of a saying of the Church, rather than an action.

Putting this all down in words really breaks my heart because I'm not saying this as an outsider like Ghandi, I'm saying this as a member of the body of Christ and as I say it - I know that I'm part of the problem.

I've grown up knowing about Jesus my whole life, treating Him like a magical Santa Claus figure when I was a child, then when I lost my child-like faith in magical beings like Santa, I tried to shake off Jesus as well-but He hung on to me. From then on I've just been on a journey trying to do my best, trying to be the best Christian I can be.

But as I said at the start I can't help but feel I'm doing something wrong. I've been trying to follow Jesus with my strength and all that really results in is me saying I'm a follower of Jesus but not actually acting as I am. I'm basically that hypocritical Christian that's giving the Church a bad name. How can I change it?

What was different about those first believers? What did they have that made them so generous and loving? They had a personal relationship with Jesus, they had the power Holy Spirit within them, and they knew the love and grace of God. All these things are still offered to us.

The only way to change the problems in the Church is by prayer, patience and perseverance. We have a God who hears our prayers and answers them as well. Put it before Him, he's got the same grace and power today for us that He had for those first believers, you've just really got to believe it.

I thought that by the end of this post I would have a simple answer to this but something I've came to realise is that no where in the Bible does it say being a follower of Jesus is easy, instead time and time again we hear of persecution and hardships. Time and time again we hear of people failing God.

Faith isn't always simple, sometimes we mess up but what's so amazing about our faith is we that have a Saviour who pours grace upon grace on us when we do. So Ghandi, you might not like us and sometimes us Christians don't like ourselves either, but you know what? Our Christ loves us.

And that's pretty amazing.