frostyhollow

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Obsessive Compulsion

i dont think there is any excuse i can make which will cover the length of time between this blog and my last blog, so i will apologise profusely now, and get it over and done with!

ive actually struggled finding stuff to blog about recently, which is, in a way, Lesson No. 1 - look for God more in your day.
He is always there, doing things for me, looking after me, and helping me get from a to b with as few mistakes as possible! im not sure i cooperate as much as i should - my mistakes tally always seems way too high! - but i should make more effort to be aware of and remember the little things, and praise God for them.

Lesson No. 2 is, i have to confess - pride. i didnt want to blog about anything....lightweight, so i havent been glorifying God in all things, big or little. but that stops now.

Lesson No. 3 is something ive been thinking about for a while, and which still isnt completely clear in my head, but which i found, well, amazing really.
watching tv is not really a past time i can indulge in at uni, not having a tv as such, so lots of my time is spent....well, faffing really, but faffing with God. i chat to God all the time - without really giving Him the chance to talk back, but im working on that one! - and its all about Him most of the time. i would love to take the credit for this, but it is really mainly dictated by circumstances!
i cant remember exactly what it was that led up to this idea, but i found myself thinking - as a result of this enforced non-secular lifestyle - 'hang on a minute, you dont want to get obsessive about this [God stuff]'. when my lightening-fast brain finally realised what i had just thought, i stopped short. why? because i suddenly realised in my heart what i had 'known' for ages in my head, that God is the only person we can be obsessed with! He is the only person we can be all-consumed with - in our thoughts and actions. that was really a breakthrough moment for me - realising that i can be totally consumed by God; that i can think about nothing else, live for nothing else, and thats fine! not only is it fine, it's also good! wow!
we're all aware that obsessing about anything other than God is absolutely totally wrong - and ive been guilty of it several times - but we have to be so careful not to transfer that mindset onto our relationship with God as well. God is the only person we can safely obsess about, without worrying if we're out of balance somewhere. its actually not that easy, for me at least, because i know ive been guilty in the past of obsessing about things, so in a sense im almost afraid to abandon myself so completely to one person - but thats crazy when it comes to God, because the more i obsess about God, the greater He becomes and the closer i get to Him! its still hard to get out of that cautious mindset though, which is why im so excited about this breakthrough thought - ive realised that there is one obsession that i can have, and thats God.
i still have to tell myself to keep going and keep pressing in, and to remind myself that it is ok, and good, to be obsessed with God, but i am on my way towards getting there!

and its also cool to think that by loving God more, i get more revelation of His love, which can then be demonstrated to my friends and be expressed in actions outwardly towards other people - so in effect by obsessing with God, His love will force you to look outward towards other people and love them, because this is what we will see our Heavenly Father doing. im not saying im there, believe me, but its pretty cool to think that thats where we're headed!

so thank you Lord for the small things, and for being so obsessed and compelled by You that we see You in everything, and are empowered by Your love to reach out to everyone around us.

...as i was reading this through i just quickly asked God if it really was ok to be obsessed with Him - theres my doubts playing up again - and do you know He said?
why would i think about anything else?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Supernatural vs. Natural

first i guess i'd better apologise for not blogging for sooooo long! my excuse is not origional but it is valid - work. its going great (payrise - praise God!!), but it is very tiring commuting every day. still, a great oppourtunity to read 'the case for christ' on the train hoping lots of people will see and maybe someone will ask me about it! (btw, its an awesome book, please everybody read it!)

but, obviously all that doesnt go with the title.....

lots of people shy away from the word 'supernatural' - perhaps because of negative connotations and bad press, but i read an awesome article in a magazine about it a few days ago, which has inspired me to return to the world of blogging!

the first point to grasp is the reality of the supernatural. it may sound strange to say it, but the supernatural is, in fact, more real than the natural 'real' world we see around us. how can i say that? well, check out Genesis 1:1 'in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth'. awesome statement! this verse - the first in the whole bible - tells us that there was a 'time' when our world as we see it didnt exist. but God did. He created this world out of His supernatural power, so its origins are not natural but supernatural. surely the creator, and not the created, is the most true reality.

so, how do we see the supernatural at work in our everyday lives? well, firstly God is a supernatural God, so anything He does is supernatural. but, carrying on in a way from my last blog, Jesus Himself told us to do 'greater works' than He did. the article i was reading says this
'exploits [i.e. good works, like Jesus did] should not be unusual for us. remember we are working with God Himself. we should expect miracles!'

wow! expect miracles?! that is staggering! it is also completely scriptural and totally in line with God's character. how many times throughout the bible - old and new testament - does God step in and perform a miracle? when God told the Israelites to take the land of Israel, He didnt just say 'all the best lads', and leave them to it. He told them exactly what to do and where to go each time they had to fight, and gave them miraculous victories time after time. take Jericho:
'And the Lord said to Joshua: "See, I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valour. you shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. this you shall do six days. and seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. but the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times and the priests shall blow the trumpets. it shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat." '
and it happened. just like He said it would. 'when a miracle was needed, God performed a miracle'.
why would we choose to live on a 'natural' level when we can live in the supernatural spiritual world? Romans 8:14 says 'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God', and in 8:5-6 'For thos who live according to the flesh set thier minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally (flesh) minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.'
our God is the God of the impossible, and when we get our thinking lined up with His, supernatural becomes natural.

so, how do we do that? The Word. God's Word is the key to this whole thing. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says 'For all the promises of God in Him [Jesus] are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God in us.'
God's promises to us are accessed through Jesus - who is the Word of God. God's promise of salvation, as an example, is accessed through Jesus, and how do we know about this promise? the Word of God. Romans 10:8-9 - 'But what does it say? "The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (That is, the Word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.'
we confess these scriptures many times, standing on them in faith and believing God for the supernatural manifestation of this supernatural promise. but thats not the only promise in the bible that we should do this with, not by any means! 1 Pet. 2:24 says that 'by His [Jesus'] stripes we were healed'; Phil. 4:19 says 'And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus'; earlier on in that chapter, verses 6 & 7: 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.'
these are just 3 of the innumerable promises that God makes to us in His Word - and He has said that all these promises are Yes in Christ! so we have to take these scriptures and walk them out until we see the supernatural manifestation of them in our lives. we have to take the Word and speak it in faith - after all, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. speaking the Word aloud builds up our faith to recieve the promises of God - Jesus told us to speak to the mountain telling it to move, and said that he who 'does not doubt in his heart, but believes that thoses things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.'
this is not a licence to say whatever we want, but an assurance that if we say the right things we can trust God 100% to do it - and what could be more right than His Word? (see James 4:3)

we have to know and love God first, then we start to know His power to do the supernatural, and His faithfulness to His Word. there's a staggering verse in psalm 138 which says 'for you have magnified your Word above all your Name' (v.2)....wow! God's Word, this verse says, is more important than His Name....which makes sense if you think about it, because His Name's worth is upheld or undermined by His Word - like for us someone's name is respected if you know you can trust their word. this verse shows just how important God's Word is, and how He has to perform it, for His Name's sake. Awesome!

isn't it great how God's Word all ties in and corroborates and explains itself so well? God's Word is all powerful - He spoke, and it was. He's given us His Word to speak, and the faith which is 'the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' (Heb. 11:1). this faith comes by hearing the Word which God gave us to speak and stand on and believe for, and the whole lot combined means that we can see and expect to see the supernatural manifestation of God in our natural world and lives. as the artical said in closing: 'He is waiting to make the supernatural our natural.'

and as an added encouragement God has told us that 'we walk by faith and not by sight' (2 Cor. 5:7), meaning that, because we know the supernatural and God's Word are more real than the natural, we have to have faith in the Word more than in the world around us - 'let God be true and every man a liar' (Rom 3:4) - if God spoke it then that's the truth and what should and will come to pass, not what we 'see' around us....because after all, this world is only temporary, but God's Word will never pass away.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Being and making disciples

Evangalism is a word you dont find in the bible. We, as Christians, are not called to make converts of the world, but disciples. So what is a disciple? And how does being a disciple link to making a disciple?

To answer this accurately the obvious thing to do is look at the bible. The gospels tell us about Jesus and how He lived - the ultimate standard for our lives. We are being transformed daily into His image, so obviously what He did, we should be doing. Going on into Acts we see how this is possible - we see what a true disciple of Jesus looks like.

The fisrt step of these disciples was an undying, all encompassing committment to and belief in Jesus.
'So when they had brought their boats to land, they left behind all and followed Him' (Luke 5:11)
They lived their lives for Jesus, through Jesus, and as Jesus did, preaching His gospel after His death and resurrection and making disciples of all nations.

I think to truly 'preach the gospel' and 'make disciples' we have to show Jesus in His entirety, and that includes His power that we see so clearly in Acts. This is what I meant before when talking about meeting people's needs. Jesus impacted people's lives by meeting their needs - both spiritually and physically. Take the paralytic in Matthew 9. Jesus knew that his spiritual needs were most important, but He used the man's physical healing as a demonstration of His power, not only to command physical healing, but to forgive sins too. How often do we see Jesus in this role of Healer? If I were to reference all the times Jesus healed someone we'd be here all day, but the point I'm making is that these demonstrations of Jesus' power working to help, heal and save people are our example for how we too should be living. Jesus describes these works as a form of evidence for who He is in several places - Matt. 11:4-5, and particularly in John 14:9-11. This, for me, is the most amazing part.
'Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves'. (John 14:11)
It is not the works of Jesus that save us, thats a given, but they are evidence of who Jesus is, and people do need to believe that, because its only due to who Jesus is that what He did on the cross has any meaning at all.

That in itself is amazing. Even Jesus, the Son of God, didnt just persuade people through His words (though in John 20:29 He makes it clear that to believe His words is better than basing faith purely on actions), and if Jesus used signs and wonders, what makes us think we shouldn't?

Look on down to verse 12: 'most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.'
That statement just completely blows my mind. We dont have the power or authority or right to forgive someone's sins like Jesus did, so what works is He talking about? The healings,deliverances - the meetings of people's needs and the demonstration of God's love - naturally and supernaturally. Its evidence.

Jesus is our model of discipleship, as He is our model of everything, and to see how this discipleship should really work we have to look at the first disciples. Acts is full of examples of how we can all live like Jesus and how much power God has made available through Jesus to do this.
'But you shall recieve power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth' (Acts 1:8).
Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to give us power to be witnesses - people who give evidence. We are attesting to the truth of who Jesus is. Mark 16:15-18 tells us to go out and 'preach the gospel to every creature' (v.15), and then talks about the evidence that will follow the believers:
'And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.' (Mark 16:17-18).
2 Tim. 3:16 is enough to convice me of the divinity of these words of Jesus, and they are borne out by the actions of the disciples in Acts.

Look back at Acts 4 and you can see the results of these actions. In Acts 3:6 Peter healed a lame man in Jesus' name, and it is this man, I think, that they are referring to in the beginning of Acts 4. Look at verse 10:
' "let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole." '
Jesus gave us the power to do these things through the Holy Spirit for a reason. Bringing 'wholeness' to people is bringing them evidence of Jesus, and people need to know the evidence for the truth before they can believe it, whether that be words or mircales. Verse 21 shows more results of the disciples' actions:
'so when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.'
Persecution is a given for any Christian who steps out for Jesus, but this verse tells us something more than that. It tells us that people glorified God because of what was done. Earlier on verse 4 tells us that:
'many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.'
5000 - by chapter 4! Wow! And how did they do this? By combining word and wonders in witness.
We pray for revival at Reading with such fervancy - yet how much revival would we see if we healed the sick, raised the dead, set captives free?

Verse 12 of chapter 4 gives us our message:
'Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven by which we mist be saved.'
This is our 'Good News' - that through Jesus we can be saved and enter into a relationship with God. We mustn't be distracted by searching for miracles - Mark 16:17 makes that very clear: these signs follow believers, they dont lead them. We have to point people to Jesus always, and have Him as our focus - but then, thats part of the point. If we want to be true disciples and be like Jesus, we have to do the things He did.

To preach this gospel and live it out is hard - I'm rarely brave enough to do it - but I truly think this is the true gospel in its entirety. It challenges and questions us to the max - why dont we see things happen today? The easy way out of all of this is to say 'that was then, this is now. Those things just dont happen any more.' But Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, and the Holy Spirit who was in Him and those early disciples is in us too. The bravest response is to acknowledge that we have unbelief about it which stops us seeing these things, and to study the Word till we have a revelation of it. After all, if salvation is still applicable today, then healing, deliverance, and everything else that Jesus did is as well.

The apostles saw thier numbers added to daily, yet we struggle to even get our friends to church. Whats the difference? We dont show people how Jesus can meet the needs they see. They think Jesus isnt necessary today because they dont know they are dead inside. They do, though, know about the bills that need paying, the children that need to get well - and its our responsibility as disciples of Christ to demonstrate His love to them and pray with them for all these things.

Easy to say and difficult to do I know, but thats why Jesus gave us power in the Holy Spirit.

Acts 4:33 says: 'And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.'

So this is what a grace-driven disciple's life looks like.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

discipleship evangalism

first off, i remembered what i was gonna post about yesterday - my fair lady. well, not the film itself, but rather something it made me think when we were watching it the other evening. there's a scene towards the end set in Mrs. Higgins' house which is beautifully decorated with gorgeous Voysey cabinets, Mackintosh furniture and stunning art nouveau wallpaper, and i was thinking about the graceful patterns on the walls and started wondering if God's house will have wallpaper, and if i think this earthly stuff is so beautiful, how breathtaking will Heaven's be? i cant wait!!

also, the verse i put in yesterday is Psalm 22:3 - in the KJV.

i dont know if any of you have checked ed's post, but he seems to have sparked an interesting debate on the topic of evangalism. i should probably clarify what i meant by discipleship evangalism - although its a concept i heard an awesome bible teacher talk about quite a long time ago, so you'll have to forgive me if i dont explain it properly/completely. basically the idea is that Jesus told us to make ''disciples' of all nations', not just converts, so although a person's salvation is secure if all they do is confess Jesus as Lord, there is in fact more to it than just that. we have a responsibility to see that people grow up as Christians and become 'disciples' - which i have to say i think most Christians do do. the next step from that was looking at how to reach out to people in a way that makes them see how Jesus is relvant to their lives today. i think what everyone said in their comments on ed's post was spot on - it's in our day to day lives that people should see Jesus and his full gospel worked out. i was thinking more, though, of the verses at the end of Mark (16:17-18) where Jesus talks about the signs that should follow believers. what if we could take these signs out to people just like Jesus, and then His disciples did, and show just how much He is longing to do for them? who then would pass up the chance of having a relationship with this awesome Jesus?

i dont think that's completely everything said excatly how it should be, but i will do a bit more research, and get back to you!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

memory!

i spent ages today trying to think of something to post about, but pretty much drew a blank on everything. it didnt help knowing i'd thought of at least two things yesterday that i really wanted to say, but today had absolutely no idea what they were! but then i figured that, much as i love blogging, its really the comments that i like the most, and that spending more time on msn would probably work just as well. the only problem with that being that i cant get online after dark (which comes early to frosty hollow...), so i am back to square one.

but then God came to my rescue - i can talk about how awesome and wonderful and kind and loving and everything thats good He is......i only wish i could describe Him to you. even when i feel far away from God - which seems to happen a lot at the moment coz its hard to think about Him when you have to think about harmonising and weeding and sub-editing - all i have to do is thank Him for all He's done, and tell Him how great and and wonderful He is, and He's right there again. How kind is that? it says in the bible somewhere (i will check the ref. for this) that God 'inhabits the praises of his people'. He wont let anyone else have His praises, so by praising Him you get back in His throne-room which we can enter because of Jesus...who is also wonderful and kind and loving.....im really glad we have eternity coz im not sure even that will be long enough to tell God how awesome He is!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

miracles

just wanted to say how amazing God is!!! my work has asked me to go full time working 3 days in another department, as well as the two i do now!!! how awesome is that?! how great is our God?!

working

well, after such a warm welcome from my fellow bloggers, how could i possibly abandon blogging? but that was never an option anyway - why didnt you guys tell me this was so addictive?? i spent all last night feeling slightly peeved (...really annoyed) that our internet disappears after working hours, so i couldnt check for comments!!! still, praise God that at least i have the internet......even if it is dial-up!

after reading ed's blog (and again, sorry i cant put links in), i again feel shamed - how can you do that every time? - blogging should be really honest, so i will try! today is work, so i am sweltering away trying not to fall asleep at my desk, whilst harmonising disposal practices. i'm sure its the heat, and not the work, that is somewhat soporific! reading nicola's blog showed me how much enjoyment we can have in our work, and as 'the joy of the lord is our strength', i should probably start employing more of it in staying awake! but i do thank God so much for my job - it is such a miracle, and real evidence, to me at least, of His miraculous provision for His children.

speaking of jobs, sam has an interview for one soon, so prayer for that would be much appreciated. she may well blog on it herself, but i figure two requests wont hurt anyone! God is awesome in His intimate knowledge of each one of us, and He will provide the perfect job for you sammy, so all you have to do is thank Him for it!!

about to overrun my lunch-break now for various reasons (you know who you are!), so this is it for today. thanks for all the comments guys - i will return the compliment asap!

Monday, July 03, 2006

sheep

'sheep' here has a two-fold meaning: 1) that i am part of Jesus' sheep-fold, which is the best and most important meaning; and 2) that i am being sheep-like and following everyone else from CEx + sam into the world of blogging! and i have to say that already i am loving it! i have been seriously inspired by my friend's blogs.....and when i've worked out how to put links into this thing, you can see them! they are awesome though- the passion that they have for Jesus alternately inspires and shames me, as i realise how easy it is to go through a whole day without thinking about God half as much as i should, and only a quarter as much as i want to. but, they are teaching me to look for God in the smallest things, and to credit him with all the glory for them, and i am loving each new lesson!

God is awesome, and his interest in every detail of our lives blows my mind so often. i've seen Him work in some amazing ways, so you'd think i wouldnt be surprised by His loving-kindness, but each time i am caught out and He shows me again that He is not only my Lord but my Father who supplies all my needs and 'whose love endures forever'. Thank you God!