Time for reflection

I know I have been pretty abscent on my blog now for months, and a lot was my own doing, and a little not mine. The one thing it has given me, is time to think about where we are going as a family with home schooling, being part of a worship team and husband worship leader of our small fellowship, my beautiful 5 cats, my illness and both our boys who have ASD and are gorgeous.

We always have a lot going on in our lives, and so much can be loud and very distracting. We know we are not the only ones by any stretch that can be busy, but we also can see how it pulls us from where we need to be and from the path made for us. It kind of saddens me that no matter how poorly I am, the business never seems to slow down and a lot of days I can struggle with the pace and keeping up with my boys.

I suppose that this time I have had of reflection has let me see quite a lot of things. I know who my Rock is, and He has given me another rock for the more tangible things of life, my strong husband. God knew I would need him even before I was born, and made sure we were in the right place at the right time to meet and be best friends before we married, which means that I am still married to my best friend 15 years down the line with illness, redundancies, kids, depression and church in between.

I know I am a child of God, and that all things work out for His plans if we are open to His guiding and leadership. I dont know whats the future for me, but I know God knows and is already putting everything in place to make it happen. Im looking to see what my next stage of life has in store for me and the next calling that He gives me as I seem to be inbetween them at the moment. I dont see it as a bad thing though, but a time for rest and more meditation on Him and His Word. He knows more than I do what is best for me and the best use of the time He has given.

Taking a bit of time out to evaluate my spirtual, physical and emotional strength and wellness is hard in a fast paced world, but I was more than happy to take it. Its given me a lot more perspective on who I am, who I have around me, who influences me and why and what takes up time in either my thoughts or actions. Maybe I need to take more of these times in the future, but not take so long processing them!

Thank you for your patience with me, and continuing on the journey with me.

Know that you are loved and precious.

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Quality not quantity?

A very sad and unfortunately normal fact for the Church in the Western world is that it is not growing, and so many churches are closing, being demolished, or being turned into nightclubs or trendy apartments in cities. This is something we should be very concerned about, and we should be being proactive in dealing with head on. How many church mission statements cover this rising trend by saying they are looking for “quality and not quantity” in their congregations.

Acts 2 shows us the wonderful Day of Pentecost, and the growth of the early church was not just in the amazing numbers, but geographically also. The Gospel didn’t just stay in Jerusalem, it went throughout the world within a few years. By the end of Acts, the Gospel had hit most of the Middle East, and even Europe and possibly England itself. What would have happened if the first church had the same attitude as we seem to have in the 21st century? It is possible it would have been a short phase and just fizzled out before the disciples had died.

A healthy church is a growing church, not just in growth of numbers, but spiritually as well. It sees its congregation growing in their walk, in their life and as they change and grow, they spread the wonderful good news of the Gospel to all they meet and live with. They live and relate in different ways to those around them, to the point that people know there is a difference to them, a feel that only knowing God can bring.

A church that only looks inwardly, that only wants to stay as it is, is destined for self – destruction. It cannot sustain itself. It becomes burnt out or it could only take one major incident that could split the congregation to the point of closure. A church cannot survive without growth, or any imbalance in how it is lead or taught.

Teaching and preaching is what we in churches do. That is part of our roles, all of us. Older, mature brothers and sisters mentor the younger spiritual members. Leaders bring teaching and leadership that gives the congregation the strength and confidence in God to go out and live the Gospel and new life they have. We all have a role of some sort of evangelism. I believe there are those with specific evangelism gifts by the Spirit, but we all have a role of evangelist when asked about our beliefs. We have the job to pray and bring those around us before the Lord, to bring the Gospel to them. How are they going to know about the new life God gives if we dont show it, live it and tell them the why and how? Don’t leave confusion of preaching christianity and then not living it. It brings words like hypocrisy into minds where there should be a wanting to know more. It is a sacrifice, it is laying down our lives to God. Its how we live for God. Its a change that happens inside when we truly understand what He has done for us and what He has saved us from.

Praise is my strength

Praise, not complaining. Praise is my strength, my joy, my peace. The Word of God is where my praise comes from. Its where my strength is the written word. The Word is where my God and Saviour is. He is in every letter, every word, every book.
Have you noticed that when we complain or whine, that we seem so tired? It is as if it takes from us. What is the answer to this? The only thing that can change us from the inside out…. Praise to and of our Father God!
God and praise of, and to Him goes before us into any battle we have. It shows itself in how we react to others, how we relate to everyone we have in our life or meet in the street. It shows itself in how we spend our times with God, and even the depths we go in the Word.
God loves our praise, and if we love Him as much as we sing about in church on a Sunday, we will want to do what He loves us to do. God knows what is best for us. He loves us to praise and He knows it brings so much back to us.
There is a saying “dance like no one is watching”…. why dont we praise like no one is watching? No one to judge how we worship. No restraint. No one to laugh or tell us we are doing it wrong. Just praise as if we are in the throne room of our Father. No fear, just praise.

Feeling Worship

I am not too sure if it just me, or something that happens to us all at some point in our walk with Christ. I can worship anywhere, and no matter how good or bad the worship band are, or how well or badly led the service is. Its not the outside influences that lead me to worship, its how much I want to be in the throne room of my God, praising Him and knowing He is hearing my voice as well as every other person in the world praising Him at the same time. My prayers and praise rises to Him as incense in a world full of chaos and for many of us sadness and stress.

Worship takes me to a place of intimacy with my Lord which drowns out the stress and noise of life, and I love to be there. In a way, it is where I get refreshed and find a peace and calm I don’t feel anywhere else. I miss those times so much, even if I only miss one time of worship, whether in rehersal with my Husband or in my fellowship during the week or on a Sunday. I can feel it inside if there is a time that is missed, even if by illness. I feel the intimacy go ever so slightly. It takes a good praise time to place myself back where I know Christ is.

I feel that God waits for our praise. He watches us as we go about our days and weeks, and waits. He sees us get up and sees us go to bed. He inhabits our praise and loves to hear us and sing with us. We dont have to set a time apart to have a ‘quiet time’. We can praise Him anywhere, and everywhere. We can praise in our work, our friendships, our family and our church. If God Himself wants our praise and us to be intimate with Him, then what is stopping us? What could ever be more important than this? How can we put anything before the Lord of Hosts who wants time with each and every one of us? How would we act if the Queen of England or the Prime Minister wanted a personal time with us, and to just sit and talk and have fellowship with us? How would we feel? Really important? Privileged? Better than others? The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Maker of Heaven and Earth wants just that. He wants to be intimate with us, to be our friend and Father.

Next time you really worship, stop and think about how the Spirit brings you closer to God. Do you feel like you can touch God Himself and at times can hear the very angels join with you? I think its the best place to be, and want to stay there for eternity.

the call of worship

We are made for worship, and to worship. If you feel called to do this as a job full time, then be careful. It is a high calling and a very stressful one at that! You are the one to lead your congregation into worship and the Throne room of God weekly, and perhaps mid – weekly as well. It is a calling demanding sacrifice and massive commitment. My husband spends many sacrificial hours on worship and some of the stuff that is in the background that others do not notice, but expect to be there any way. It is a commitment that we as his family help with as much as we can, and are glad to do it to enable our church family able to worship better and better each week that passes. My husband loves his job, and the calling he has on his life.

What motivates our family? Not recognition. Not a kind of coolness for being part of the worship team. No, it is a calling. Worship is a calling. If you want the other stuff, then look somewhere else for your kicks. This is a very serious part of the church life, and if it goes wrong, it goes very wrong! When it goes right, then WOW!

We cant think too small in worship. There is nothing that can be too big. God is not too big and can never be too small. Our worship reaches up to heaven itself. To God Himself. Angels will join you in your song, and have the power to fight in your prayers. This is so amazing and wonderful but mind blowing at the same time!

Dont focus on the four walls of your meeting place. Worship blows through them. Dont focus on the worries of the week before or ahead of you, God is your shield and strength. Dont focus on finances, God will provide. Focus on how you spend your time with Him and how you can become more like Him day by day. There is a much bigger and better picture going on that we do not see. Its bigger than we can possibly imagine.

The gift of a mentor

Mentoring is something I feel we need to see more of in our churches. As far as I can see, there is no one willing to stand up and step up to the job of mentoring the next generation of believers, or even this generation to help us become stronger and more grounded in our faith. To be a mentor is a gift. A gift of passing on all you have learnt or been taught. A gift of friendship and accountability of your actions and words.

Generations before us had so much they could teach us, and it is for us, now, to teach what we know. We may have had parents or relatives who taught us their knowledge and faith in God, and some of us had a good grounding this way. New believers sometimes get a “buddy” for a while to answer questions and to learn from them for the beginning. It is the giving of precious time and effort in someone else’s life, not a control measure and should never be used as such.

Mentoring is not for condemnation, but for a check of the heart to make sure we do things in  the right attitudes. It is allowing yourself to come alongside someone and sharpen their spiritual edges. A walk with them helping them not to stray, and if they do, a gentle hand held lead back to where they should be through prayer and support.

I wish I had a mentor while I was new in the Lord, and beyond, and also hope that one day I will be in a place to mentor someone else and pass on to them some of the amazing things my friends and leaders of my church have given me over my walk with God.

The praise that John saw

We read in Revelation that John was taken up to heaven, and he wrote down what he saw and heard. The book is amazing and one of my favourites. To see eternity and where we will be going, must have been breathtaking. I can’t wait for eternity and spending it with my Father God.

As well as all John saw, he writes down what he heard as well. He listened to the angels praising and the sounds of heaven.

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come…”

This is reality. This isn’t some dream John had. This is what goes on 24 hours a day, as a constant praise to God going on in the heavenlies. We hear lots of noise, lots of bustle and business. To go somewhere where there is total quiet to sit and wait on God is near impossible. There is music everywhere, but not the music of God. Not the music that praises Him alone.

The best we have is the praise and worship songs that are written by those who love God and some lived many centuries ago. Fill your mind with these songs of worship. Fill your mind with words of praise from the Word of God. Take your focus away from the world that is full of self pleasure and brokenness. Redirect it towards heaven and fill yourself with the images of glory that we can read in Revelation. It may cause you to fall face down in total worship and honour to the Heavenly God. He reigns in heaven and earth, and deserves our devotion.

As we worship Him more and more, we become less like the world, and more like Him who we worship. We become more like Jesus the more we devote time and pleasure to reading His word and face down in front of Him.

When we get our priorities right and put God and the worship of Him first, then everything else falls into place in our lives. As soon as that priority changes away from Him, then things can start to fall apart.

Keep your eyes focused where they should be. On the Most High God.

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